Chapter 2 : Promise
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Chapter Two - Promise
The silence is awkward.
Well, at least I think it is, but I can’t tell if Scorpius feels the same. He’s sitting across from me in an empty compartment. He’s staring at me with those liquid teal eyes and I can’t seem to tear my gaze away. I wish he would just say something so I can leave and hit myself in the face over and over again in the bathroom.
I clear my throat. If I were able to stop looking at him, I’d be looking at the floor now. But I can’t. It’s like his eyes are holding mine, and I’m trapped in his penetrating gaze. He’s so beautiful it almost hurts to look at him. I feel like I’m his prisoner.
He blinks once. That’s probably the second time I’ve seen him blink since he invited me into his compartment to ‘have a chat’ about three minutes ago. He’s a machine. A breathtakingly beautiful machine.
I bite my lip.
“So …” he says, a hint of uncertainty in his voice.
I look hopefully at him. “So …” I repeat for the sake of filling the awkward silence.
He deliberates a little more. “How was your Christmas?”
“Family, presents, bickering … you know, the same old.” I tell him as nonchalantly as I possibly can.
His mouth pulls up at the corners in an involuntary smile. It’s gone before I have the chance to memorise it. “Sounds like fun,” he says, though it doesn’t sound like he means it at all. I don’t know whether he does or not – his face is so hard to read.
“And yours?” I ask for lack of a better response.
He shrugs. “Family, presents, bickering … you know, the same old.”
I want to laugh because it’s funny, but I don’t know if that would be appropriate or not. I’ve never really had a good grip on the etiquette of socialising. So I stare at him instead, waiting for him to say something else. His incredibly blonde hair is falling into little bangs over his teal eyes, making him look like he’s just stepped out of a magazine photo shoot; his mouth is set into a little uncertain pout, and I imagine those soft, pale lips moving against mine …
“So what did you want to ‘have a chat’ about?” I ask in a shaky voice to stop the fantasies from replaying in my head like they have for an entire two weeks.
He looks to the ground, suddenly awkward again. “Well, uh …”
I know what it’s about. Of course I know what it’s about. How can I not know what it’s about. It’s the only thing that’s occupied my mind all Christmas and New Years, the only thing I’ve been dreaming about, the only thing I’ve been sighing about. I’ve practically been a mess for the past two weeks because of what it’s about. I bite my lip again – harder, this time – as punishment for thinking about kissing him when he’s sitting right across from me.
I clear my throat.
He finds my eyes all of a sudden, and I’m shocked to discover them riddled with guilt. I swallow. He’s guilty?
“Look, about the Christmas Ball …”
He trails off and bites his lip. I want to tell him that it’s okay, that he doesn’t need to explain himself; I already know he thinks he made the biggest mistake of his life. Why do I need to humiliate myself further? But something compels me to hear what he has to say, a part of me hoping he’ll tell me it wasn’t a mistake, that he kissed me because he wants me. I’m allowed to hope, aren’t I?
He pulls his hand nervously through his silky blonde hair. “Well, uh …” he repeats.
I close my eyes, waiting for the grand finale.
“I’m sorry I kissed you.” He says slowly, his voice barely a whisper. I open my eyes and all of a sudden it starts flowing quickly and rather loudly, “It was out of line. I shouldn’t have taken advantage of you like that. You were in a bad mood and I made it worse. I … I’m sorry.”
I blink twice. It only takes a second for the anger to settle in. “You’re sorry?” I laugh humourlessly and my heart accelerates with pleasure when he looks at me in alarm, his mouth parted enough to suggest shock. I stand to my feet, tempted to hurt him, but I realise I’ve forgotten my wand. I chose verbal abuse instead. “If you regret kissing me, why can’t you just come out and say it instead of apologising? Everyone knows a little insult won’t damage the grouch Weasley any further!”
He’s suddenly on his feet, too, fury burning in his eyes. “You think I regret kissing you?”
I fold my arms across my chest. “Why else would you want to talk to me now? Usually people would just ignore me after something like this.” That was a lie; nothing like this had ever happened to me before so how would I know the normal aftermath routine? I glare furiously, anyway.
He throws his arms up in the air exasperatedly. “See, that’s why I didn’t want to have to do this! I knew how you’d react! You’re so adamant that people don’t want to have anything to do with you that the first conclusion you come to when something like this happens is that I regret kissing you?” He growls under his breath and looks away; the anger is still there in his stormy eyes. When he looks back at me, his expression is sincere. “I don’t regret kissing you, Rose.”
I’m gob-smacked, but I’m not about to show him this. “Save it for someone who believes you, Malfoy.” I step around him and reach for the door handle, but he’s suddenly in front of me, blocking my path.
“Get out of my way, Malfoy.” I growl through grit teeth.
He shakes his head. “Not until you hear me out.”
“Not going to happen. Let me by, or I’ll get my cousins on you.”
His eyes are suddenly intense, a burning teal fire that sears my gaze. I blink twice, astounded.
“Please, Rose,” he whispers.
I swallow hard and knock myself back into my senses. I fold my arms across my chest. “Fine. Enlighten me.”
The corners of his mouth flick up in the beginning of a triumphant smile, but he’s instantly serious before it turns into a full grin. He indicates the seat behind me, and I begrudgingly take it. He sits opposite me and leans close. I can smell his cologne. It makes my head spin.
He takes a deep breath. “I don’t regret kissing you, Rose. I promise you that.” He assures me again.
I shake my head, trying to comprehend his words. “I don’t understand. Why would you want to kiss me?” It all sounds so farfetched to me.
He bites his lip, his face a mask of uncertainty. “I don’t know.”
I’m suddenly angry again. “Then why the hell are we here? If you don’t know why you kissed me, then obviously it was a big mistake and you never should have done it!” I can’t stop myself from yelling. I’m sure the entire train can hear me, but I don’t care. Scorpius needs to be taught a lesson.
There’s desperation in his expression, now. “It wasn’t a mistake! I … I don’t know why I kissed you, but I swear it wasn’t a mistake. I haven’t been able to think about anything else since! You … you’ve been on my mind for an entire two weeks and no matter how hard I try I can’t stop thinking about you!”
I’ve never seen him so passionate, so confused before. It makes him seem so much more beautiful than he already is. I exhale slowly, replaying his swift, furious words in my head. What?
“You … can’t stop thinking about … me?” I spill the words before I can think about them.
His chest is rising and falling with leftover rage from his outburst, but he nods calmly. His teal eyes burn with sincerity.
“Okay …” I say to the floor.
I can feel his gaze smouldering into my forehead. “I wanted to apologise because – although I may have wanted it – it was wrong for me to kiss you without permission. I … I’m sorry.” He says again.
I look back up at him, trying to decipher his expression. The desperation is there again, but this time it’s different – not angry, but riddled with another emotion I can’t quite put my finger on. I bite my lip.
“Thank you,” I whisper; it’s all I can do to stop my head from spinning and my heart from beating out of my chest.
He nods once. Silence fills the compartment again.
Both our bodies straighten and we stare in alarm at the compartment door. It’s Lily; she’s out in the corridor looking for me. I glance at my watch. It’s been twenty minutes since I excused myself to the bathroom to get changed. She must think something has happened to me. If she found me here …
I glance at Scorpius, anxiety apparent in my expression. “I have to go.” I rush to the door, ensuring Lily’s facing away before I attempt to slip out of the compartment.
But Scorpius’ hand is on my wrist quicker than I can escape. I swallow and turn to face him, shaking with nervousness. What if he tries to kiss me again? I don’t know how I would react.
“I want to see you again, Rose.” He says quietly in a husky voice that sends alarm bells ringing within me.
I stop breathing. “Really?”
The corners of his mouth suddenly pull up into the most beautiful grin I have ever seen, and my heart soars. I struggle to restart my lungs.
“Rose?” Lily calls again, “where the hell are you?”
I pull my wrist out of Scorpius’ grasp and step away from him. I glance back at him once more before I rush off to catch up to Lily, who is now looking worried out of her mind. I ignore Scorpius’ intense gaze as I tap her on the shoulder. She spins around and all of a sudden relief clouds the concern.
“Rose …” she breathes, “I thought you’d jumped off the train or something.”
I laugh; it’s too high-pitched to pass as real. “You’ve been watching thriller films again, haven’t you?”
I try to keep the atmosphere light as we walk back to the compartment together. No such luck – Lily’s far too observant. “Weren’t you supposed to get changed into your robes?” There’s suspicion in her voice. Why on earth would she need to be suspicious?
“I – er … I got caught up with Esther Reynolds. She wanted to know the Prefect patrol roster. She was disappointed when I told her I didn’t have it.” It’s a lame excuse, but Lily seems to buy it.
She rolls her eyes. I’m off the hook.
The rest of the journey back to Hogwarts is uneventful. By uneventful, I mean in the way of the activity within the compartment – Dominique is reading her tattered Jane Austen book for the fifty-millionth time, Lily is caught up in her own head as she stares out the window, Lucy and Roxanne have fallen asleep on either sides of Fred’s shoulders, and Fred, who doesn’t mind the attention, is in a complex game of Wizard’s Chess with Molly – but within my own mind it’s busy.
I can’t stop thinking about Scorpius and our second encounter. I’m struggling to understand his words. No one has ever said anything like that to me before, and it scares me. Sure, I’ve been fantasising for two weeks that he would approach me on the train and say something along the lines of what he just said, but for him to actually say that he didn’t regret kissing me, to assure me he was only sorry because he didn’t ask my permission first? I mean, what kind of universe exists where Scorpius Malfoy wants me?
I suddenly have that awful feeling that someone’s watching me, and I cautiously glance at each of my cousins until my gaze lands on Lily’s assessing one. She instantly looks back out the window once I catch her staring at me, and my heart races. She’s onto me. I know it.
She doesn’t look at me again until we reach Hogsmeade Station – probably afraid I’ll catch her in the act once more – and we all grab our trunks and start the gruelling process of getting up to Hogwarts and settling in. All of my cousins are suddenly animated on the carriage ride up to the castle, glad to be back at Hogwarts, but I sit in silence. I feel Lily glancing worriedly at me a few times, but I do well to ignore her. She doesn’t have to go through what I’m going through. No one does.
It’s not until after ten o’clock that I’m in bed. I’m not looking forward to going back to classes tomorrow. It all seems like life is just one big routine that I can’t escape from. But now something’s messed up – a line has been kicked out of place and it’s screwed up the rest of my routine. It’s not something I think I can ever get used to.
I close my eyes as I think about the possibilities of tomorrow, something I often catch myself doing just before I fall asleep.
Scorpius Malfoy wants to see me again.
I can’t stop the grin that stretches wide across my face. If that’s not a possibility, then I don’t know what is.
A/N: Yes, it's short, but it's only a bit of a filler, so I promise the next one will be longer!
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