Chapter 25 : Between a Rock and a Hard Place
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I scanned along the rows of eyes for one in particular. My breath caught in my throat when my eyes locked with a pair of concerned grey ones. I wasn’t even sure what to say. I knew that if I opened my mouth, I was going to retch. Luckily, Scorpius seemed to understand what I was trying to say, and I heard him scoot his seat back from the table. By that time I was already out the back door.
I ran down the snow covered path, catching my toe on a loose brick and tripping, but catching my balance at the last second. I continued to plow on, out of the garden and down the driveway. I was breathing hard and my eyes were streaming, from the cold or from my emotions. I wasn’t sure which.
The icy air that was filling my lungs had a crippling effect, and I had to pause at the side of the road to catch my breath.
I spun on my heel and saw a figure emerging through the dark. The urge to run ran through me again, but my lungs still were not working as they should and I was freezing. In my haste to get out of there I had completely forgotten my coat.
I watched as Scorpius loomed from the dark and in an instant all the urges to run and to cry and fight were gone. All I felt was sad and empty.
“Hey,” he said quietly, his husky voice carrying across the cold December breeze to me.
“Hey,” I replied, my voice clouded with tears.
“Where are you going?” He stopped a few feet away from me. I could see that he was holding my jacket in his hands and that his brow was crinkled in worry.
“I have no idea,” I replied pathetically. “Away from here, I guess. Where are you going?”
“Wherever you go,” he said simply, my favorite grin playing at the corner of his lips.
Just then there was a roar of rage from inside the house and what sounded like glass or china breaking. My heart rate, which had just started slowing down, picked up again and I knew that I had to get away from here now. I couldn’t stay and go back in there to face my father. From the sounds of it, he was not going to be in a very good or forgiving mood. And I was not masochistic enough to want to go back in there regardless.
“We have to leave now,” I told Scorpius, glancing around in futility. The Burrow was a long ways run from anywhere that we could catch a cab. Neither of us could Apparate. There was always Flooing, but that would require going back inside. We were literally stuck between a rock and a hard place.
“The car?” Scorpius asked, obviously having thought the same things as I had.
“I can’t drive!” I cried hysterically, cursing the fact that I had turned down all those driving lessons my mother had offered over the summer.
“It’s okay,” Scorpius soothed, grabbing my wrist to stop me from taking off running again. I stopped and glared at him. He just looked down at me and threw my coat over my shoulders. I hadn’t really realized it in a while, but I was freezing. I thrust my arms through the holes in my coat and wrapped my arms snugly around myself.
There was another crash from inside, and now I could hear two people yelling. That would probably be my mother and father. She would be livid when she came down and heard what had happened.
Think. Think about how to get away from here.
Suddenly it dawned on me. I had never ridden on the Knight Bus before, but Uncle Harry had told me a couple of times about his trips on the bus. It would be able to get here fast, wouldn’t it? It was worth a shot.
I thrust my arm out into the street while thinking over and over again “I need help”. I wasn’t sure if the Knight Bus could read my thoughts, but it was all I had.
The yelling from back in the house was getting louder. Suddenly there was the loud bang of the door, and I heard the crunch of shoes on the snow covered ground growing closer to us. My heart, which was already hammering against my ribcage, began to pick up its pace even more, and I was finding it hard to breathe. I recognized those footsteps. I should have known that he would come after me. Any father would have come after their children had they been talked to that way.
Or maybe not.
Whatever it was, I had to get away from here, and fast. I wiggled my fingers out into the street, praying that this would help, even though I was pretty sure it wasn’t.
“C’mon!” I mumbled, bouncing up and down hysterically. “Please!”
“I KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE!”
“Bloody hell, hurry up!”
I felt a pair of hands grasp my shoulders tightly and I shrieked loudly.
“Relax, love, it’s me,” Scorpius soothed. I breathed a sigh of relief, but it still did not stop the building feelings of anxiety that ran through me. I really just wished that the stupid bus would hurry up and get here. It was Christmas Eve for Merlin’s sake. Not every teenage witch in the UK could be having a parental crisis right now!
His voice sounded closer now. I wasn’t really afraid that he would do anything to me – there was a whole houseful of people less than a hundred yards away who would personally see to it that he was sent to Azkaban for the rest of his life if he laid a hand on me – no, I was afraid that once he found me, I would be unable to leave again. And it wouldn’t even be his doing. It would be mine. If I saw how pathetic, how miserable he had become, I wasn’t sure I would have the heart to leave. I wasn’t sure I would be able to leave him too.
But I had to do this. I had to do it for me. I had to get away, fix myself up and become stronger in myself. That way, when I did return to help him, it would take a hell of a lot more to tear me down than it did now. I was sure that he would be able to tear me down too. But maybe if I took some time away, it wouldn’t hurt as badly.
“THERE YOU ARE!”
Scorpius and I turned as one on the spot to face my father. He was standing a few yards away, his hands balled into fists at his sides. Just then there was the squeal of tires and the roar of a loud engine. I knew without having to look that the Knight Bus had arrived. If only they had been a few seconds earlier.
I watched as my father’s eyes widened as he took in the appearance of the bus.
“So that’s it?” he asked bitterly, glaring at me with such fury that it was a miracle I didn’t set on fire from the heat of his gaze. “You’re leaving then.”
I nodded solemnly. “I am.”
“You’d rather be with the Malfoy scum than with your own family?” he roared.
“If you mean that I’d rather be with people who were kind and appreciated me, and not yelled at me every ten seconds, then yes!” I shouted back, my voice shaking with anger.
“Then leave! Anyone who would choose a Malfoy over a Weasley is no family of mine!”
I felt hot tears of anger running down my cheeks. I wanted so badly to run over there and punch him until my arms got tired and I collapsed. Yet he was my father, and I could not bring myself to do such a thing to him. Damn my morals.
“Let’s go,” Scorpius said quietly to me, his hands still on my shoulders. I had almost forgotten he was there. I nodded and turned at his prodding walking quickly over to the giant purple bus. The conductor was standing on the first step with the doors open. I guessed that they had seen the tail end of that little exchange, because his mouth was hanging open slightly.
Scorpius helped me up onto the bus and then climbed on after me. I could still feel the heat from my father’s angry gaze on my back.
“Hullo, sir, miss,” the conductor said as we boarded. “Merry Christmas and welcome to the Knight Bus. My name is Stan Shunpike, and I will be your conductor for this evening.”
“Merry Christmas, Stan,” I mumbled sadly, unable to stop more tears from flowing down my face. I turned to look at the inside of the bus. I was surprised to see that there were not rows of seats like a Muggle bus, but a row of beds. All of them were unoccupied. I sat down tiredly on the nearest one and Scorpius sat next to me, instantly wrapping his arms around my shoulders. I leaned into him and smothered my face in his shoulder. He didn’t seem to mind the fact that I was probably ruining his sweater with my tears, and I was glad.
“No luggage?” Stan asked, glancing at the two of us curiously.
“No, no luggage,” Scorpius replied. There was a bitter tone to his voice that I hadn’t heard in a long time.
“All right then, let’s go Ern,” Stan said, turning to the driver of the bus, who was wearing a small pair of black sunglasses despite the fact that it was pitch black outside.
Stan paused with his hand on the lever that opened and closed the door. Scorpius gently pried himself out of my arms and stood up. I glanced up at him nervously, and I saw that muscle in his jaw jump angrily.
“Scorp,” I called nervously, but he did not pause in his swift strides to the door. I stood up and hurried after him.
The sight I saw before me had me gasping in horror. My father was standing on the bottom step of the bus glaring up at Scorpius, who was standing on the top stair. Stan had plastered himself to the side and was mumbling something that sounded like “No fightin’ on the bus, please, no fightin’ on the bus.”
It seemed like my father had said something to Scorpius, because he was grinning smugly, while Scorpius stood there, his fists shaking at his sides.
“I’m sorry Mr. Weasley,” Scorpius said, his voice dark and filled with anger, “but they don’t allow bastards on the bus.” And with that, he punched my father clean across the jaw.
I screamed. I wasn’t really sure why I was screaming, but I could only imagine the fight that would ensue now. And Scorpius was sure to lose.
My father staggered back a step out onto the road and Scorpius yanked the lever for the door, shutting them tightly. I glanced out the window and saw that my father had fallen on his bum in the snow and was holding his nose. I imagined that his nose was broken.
“Drive,” Scorpius ordered the driver with the sunglasses. The man nodded and threw the bus into drive and we sped off. I nearly lost my balance from the force of the start, but caught myself on a lamp that was nailed to the wall.
I glanced out the window one last time before we pulled out of sight from the Burrow and I saw a dark figure standing at the edge of the road.
“Oh my god,” I mumbled breathlessly, sitting down unsurely on the floor, seeing as the bed I had sat on previously had slid back about thirty feet. “Oh my god.”
I could feel myself beginning to hyperventilate. What had just happened? It had all happened so fast. My father had yelled at me. I had yelled back. We had got on board the bus. My father had come after us. Scorpius punched him. Scorpius…
“Rose,” a voice asked from in front of me.
I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts, but that wasn’t really helping.
“She’s going into shock,” a new voice said from farther away. “You might want to slap her.”
“I’m not slapping her!” the first voice growled. “Mind your own business anyway.”
“My bus, my business,” the second voice responded nastily.
I shook my head again. Everything sounded so far away. Maybe someone should slap me. That might help my brain feel less fuzzy. If only I could have opened my mouth to ask someone to hit me. It seemed that along with my conscious thought, I had lost control of my body.
“Rose, c’mon, speak to me love,” the first voice said again. Love. Wow, that sounded familiar. Scorpius. Yes, the first voice was Scorpius. That meant that the second had to be the conductor.
I tried again. “Scorpius.” My voice sounded so small and so soft.
“Yes?” He had heard me!
I tried shaking my head again. My mind seemed to clear enough that my vision focused. I could see that Scorpius was crouched down in front of me, his brow wrinkled with concern. Stan stood behind him, peering down at me curiously.
My eyes met Scorpius’s and he smiled. I guessed that he was relieved that I was at least semi-conscious again.
“Scorpius,” I said again, my voice stronger this time.
“Yes, that is my name,” he chuckled.
I smiled up at him, and without another word threw myself into his arms. He tottered back and fell on his bum as he tried to balance both of our weights. Neither of us minded though. Or at least I didn’t. It just felt so good to be held together by him.
“I’m sorry to interrupt this little love fest,” Stan smirked from above. “But Ern would like to know where we’re taking you lot.”
I pulled away from Scorpius just enough so that I could see his face.
“I have no idea,” I answered honestly, glancing from Scorpius up to Stan. “My plans didn’t extend further than getting on the bus. Do you have any ideas?”
“Could you take us to 132 Boehm Road, please?” Scorpius asked without looking at us.
“Sure thing kid,” Stan replied. “Hear that, Ern? 132 Boehm Road! That in London?”
He looked at Scorpius. “Yes.”
“In London!” Stan called to the driver. Then he sat himself down in a chair that had been nailed down to the floor next to what looked like a set of stairs and pulled out the day’s paper and hid behind it.
“What’s in London?” I asked Scorpius.
He looked down at me, his grey eyes twinkling. “My house.”
Stan glanced out from around his newspaper at me, and I grinned up at him apologetically. He sniffed disdainfully and went back to the paper.
“Where do you expect us to go? A hotel? On Christmas Eve?” Scorpius asked, one of his eyebrows cocked. I could tell that he was a little bit offended by my reaction, and I felt guilty. If there should have been on thing I’d learned throughout this whole experience, it was that people aren’t always what they seem.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “I just – I’m just – ugh.”
“What if they don’t like me?” I asked in a small voice. I blushed a deep shade of crimson and stared down at the floor.
“They’ll love you,” Scorpius promised, pulling me to him again. I buried my face in his shoulder and tried to remember anything I’d ever been told about the Malfoy family.
That was a bad idea. Most of the things I’d been told were bad. His grandfather was in prison because of his activities as a Deatheater. His grandmother was known as a heartless shrew. His father was the Anti-Christ in most of my family’s eyes. His mother was a hard woman who made the Stepford Wives look like trailer trash.
Yeah, bad idea.
“Or they’ll hate me,” I reminded him.
“Not all families are prejudiced,” Scorpius pointed out.
“Are you saying my family is prejudiced?”
“If the shoe fits.”
I glared at him. My family was not prejudiced. His family had helped an evil dictator who had tried to exterminate an entire race for Merlin’s sake! Then again, he had almost gotten into a huge fight this afternoon with James just because he was a Malfoy and was in Slytherin.
“Okay, so my family is a bit prejudiced,” I conceded. “But that’s not the point. I don’t want what happened today to happen again.”
“It won’t,” he said, kissing my temple. “I won’t let it ever happen again.”
The rest of the ride to Scorpius’s house passed fairly quickly. The Knight Bus really moved fast. Before I even had time to really think about what we were doing we were slowing down to a stop in front of a posh looking apartment building.
“This is it,” Scorpius told me, standing up from the bed we had moved to. I stood up slowly, not really wanting to get off of the bus. I had to wonder how Scorpius could ever have wanted to meet my family. Just the idea of seeing his family at the train station would have been nerve wracking. The idea of going to spend Christmas with them, unannounced, well it was mind blowing to say the least.
“C’mon,” Scorpius said teasingly. “They don’t bite.”
“Good to know,” I mumbled, taking his outstretched hand and allowing myself to be led off the bus. Scorpius dropped a few coins into Stan’s hand. I wasn’t sure what that whole exchange was about, but my guess was that it was to keep his mouth shut about what he saw back at the Burrow.
We walked out into the cold London air and I shivered. Scorpius squeezed my hand reassuringly and I tried to get my heart rate back to normal and to stop my palms from sweating so horribly. Scorpius hadn’t seemed to notice yet, or if he had he hadn’t said anything, but I felt gross.
There was the loud squeal of tires and the roar of an engine from behind us, and I knew that the Knight Bus was gone. The Muggle doorman, who stood a few meters from us, hadn’t seen or heard anything. As if he had known I was thinking about him, he turned towards us.
“Oh, Mister Malfoy, it is a pleasure to see you this evening. I was not aware that you were coming home from your friend’s this holiday. What brings you here tonight?”
“Just thought it would be nice to spend Christmas with my parents,” Scorpius said casually, stepping forward and bringing me with him. “I get to see them so rarely. I also wanted to introduce them to my girlfriend.”
“Yes, yes” the doorman said, looking to me for the first time. He seemed surprised to see me standing there, hand in hand with Scorpius. Who had he been expecting, Anna? “Well it is good to see you. Shall I tell them that you are here?”
“No, that’s fine, thank you Nigel. I think I should like to surprise them,” Scorpius replied. I had to bite my lip to stop myself from laughing. He sounded so posh, and so – well, so much like how I would have expected him to act last year. It was odd, now that I knew what he really was like.
“Right,” he said, winking. “Good night Mr. Malfoy. And Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas, Nigel,” we chorused, walking through the opened doors and into a very bright, white lobby. Golden lifts ran along one side of the room, while a set of golden mailboxes was on the other. A white, leather sofa and a glass table sat along the right wall, with the newest magazines and newspapers arranged strategically along the edge of the table.
Wow, and I thought I lived in a nice house.
“Wow,” I gasped, looking around at the lobby. “It’s beautiful.”
“Its home,” Scorpius grinned. “What were you expecting – a castle, turrets, and dungeons?”
“Something like that,” I mumbled, still unable to take my eyes off of the room. The place my parents had described to me a long time ago looked nothing like this.
He led me over to the lifts and pushed the up button. A second later the closest lift doors opened up and we stepped inside. Much like the lobby, the lift was white, with a mirrored back wall and golden handle bars.
The doors closed shut, and Scorpius pressed the 23 button.
“So tell me,” I asked as we began to rise, “how is it that you know how to work a lift, but not a microwave?”
He looked down at me and grinned. “I know how to use a microwave, Rose. I just pretended not to know.”
I hit him hard in the shoulder. “Why would you do that?”
“So that you could feel like you knew more than me for once.”
“I just pretend to know next to nothing so that you feel good,” I joked back.
“Well then, you are a very convincing actress,” he smirked.
I stuck my tongue out at him and he kissed the top of my head.
When the doors slid open a few moments later I felt my stomach drop into my bum. I was really here. I was really going to meet the Malfoys. Dear Merlin help me.
“Are you ready for this?”
I looked up at Scorpius, knowing full well that I was giving him a look that said “are-you-mental?”
“I feel like I’m being fed to the sharks,” I admitted.
“Where’s that Gryffindor courage?” he joked.
“I’m not a Weasley anymore, remember?” I asked bitterly, looking down at the carpet. It too was white.
“Hey!” Scorpius barked angrily, pulling my chin up to look at him. “I don’t ever want to hear you talk like that, okay? You’re more a Weasley than your father, or your mother, or anyone else is. You hear me?”
“I hear you,” I mumbled.
“Good,” he replied, his hand still holding my chin. He bent his head down a little bit and gave me a light peck on the lips. “We should go in now. Otherwise they’ll start to wonder who is standing and talking outside the door. It would ruin the surprise.”
“Oh joy,” I muttered. From the way Scorpius chuckled, I was sure he had heard that comment.
I watched as Scorpius raised his hand and grabbed the door handle. I knew it was stupid, but I closed my eyes. I couldn’t watch. It was too nerve wracking. My palms were sweating again. I moved my palm away from Scorpius’s, so that just our fingers were twined. There. That would do.
But what if his father wanted to shake my hand. Then he would feel my sweaty palms and would be completely put off from me. Then his mum would hate me because his dad hated me. And if his mum hated me, then his grandmother would definitely hate me. Oh, it was a vicious cycle. My relationship with Scorpius would be ruined because I had sweaty palms.
I heard the door knob click and then the sound of the door swinging open. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes. Well that wasn’t so bad. It was just a normal foyer.
We stepped inside, and Scorpius took off his shoes. I followed suit, not wanting to break any rules already.
We walked down the hallway, which was as white as the lobby had been, but was accented every few feet with family pictures. There were a lot of Scorpius and pretty ones of Mr. Malfoy and Mrs. Malfoy together on vacations or on a blank white background.
The hallway was not as long as it seemed from the foyer, and soon we were walking into the giant common room like thing. On the right was the open living room. On the left was a small kitchen table in an open area that lead to a walled kitchen. The nearest kitchen wall had a small bar cut out into it, and there were very modern looking black stools pushed up under the bar. The hallway kind of ran between the two sides and really reformed on the other side, where I’m assuming it led to the bedrooms and bathrooms.
Scorpius stopped when we reached the bar. I could hear someone cooking in the kitchen, despite the fact that it was going on eight thirty. I stood there awkwardly and tried not to make any noise. It seemed that Scorpius really was going for the surprise technique since he still hadn’t shouted or anything to announce our presence.
I glanced through the bar into the kitchen, and I saw a dark haired woman, probably in her late thirties or early forties, taking a pan of cookies out of the oven. She had her back turned to us, which is probably why she hadn’t turned around yet. She wore a pair of black jeans and a long sleeved emerald shirt. I had to admit, I was surprised. I wasn’t sure what I had expected – corsets and dark black cloaks maybe – but the woman standing before me definitely wasn’t it.
Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.
I guess his mum must have sensed that there were two sets of eyes staring at her, because she turned around, taking off her oven mitts. I watched rather sheepishly as her eyes found Scorpius first and grew very wide.
“Scorpius!” she cried, throwing her oven mitts down on the counter and hurrying around to meet us. “I didn’t expect you home this year! This is wonderful! Draco! Look who’s home!”
Scorpius let go of my hand and walked forward to envelope his mum in a hug. She was rather tall, almost as tall as he was, and was even prettier from the front. She has large green eyes, and her dark hair was fashioned in a stylish bob. She and Scorpius had the same twinkle to their eyes.
“Yeah Mum, we weren’t expecting to come home either, but circumstances…” he told her. She pulled away from him until he was an arm’s length away, and studied his face carefully. I knew what she was doing – my mum did it every year when we came home. It was the check to see if anything had changed in you since they last saw you, and the check to make sure that you were really there, in their arms again. It was a mum thing.
Suddenly, something he said seemed to dawn on her. “We?”
“Uh, yeah, Mum,” Scorpius said awkwardly. Hadn’t I been standing next to him when she turned around? “We.”
He gestured behind himself to me. I felt my cheeks turn bright red, and I smiled sheepishly at Mrs. Malfoy. Her eyes grew very wide and then she turned to Scorpius. Some unspoken understanding ran between the two of them, and he nodded. Then she turned back to me and beamed.
“Oh, you must be Rose!” she cooed, extracting herself from Scorpius and coming to stand in front of me. She was even prettier up close. “I’ve heard so much about you! It’s a pleasure to meet you!” She pulled me into a hug, and I stood in her arms in shocked silence. That definitely hadn’t been the welcome I was expecting. Where was the loathing, the awkwardness?
I looked over at Scorpius, who was staring wide-eyed at the sight of his mother hugging me, the expression on his face one of horror. His face was turning bright red.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Malfoy,” I replied, hoping that this would stop her from hugging me.
“Oh please,” she said as she released me, “call me Astoria. Mrs. Malfoy is my mother-in-law.”
“Okay, Astoria,” I said, smiling. I couldn’t help but smile around her. She was just so nice! It was odd.
“All right, Mum,” Scorpius said, stepping around his mum to stand next to me. I could tell that he was mortified by the entire situation. “That’s enough. Where is everyone?”
Astoria grinned at her son (they had the same grin!) and then spoke. “Your father’s in the bedroom. I don’t know what is taking him so long. Draco! Come out here please! Look who’s home! Draco!”
There was the loud sound of a door opening and closing, and the sound of two sets of feet on the floor, followed by what sounded like a man saying “I’m going to get you” in a pretend scary voice. What in the name of Merlin…?
Suddenly there was a high-pitched tiny scream, followed by a burst of giggles, and the sound of a man laughing, and then Draco Malfoy stepped around the corner. In his arms was a little oriental girl.
“What is it Astoria? I was just getting Mira ready for bed-“ his words were cut off when he saw Scorpius and me standing there.
“Look whose home,” Astoria echoed, smiling at her husband.
“Scorpius,” Mr. Malfoy said, stepping forward more into the room. “Look at you. We weren’t expecting you home this year.”
“Yes, well, things got complicated,” Scorpius replied.
Mr. Malfoy’s eyes narrowed at his son’s words, but he did not say anything. The little girl in his arms was squirming, so he put her down on the ground at his feet. She was very small, barely reaching Draco’s knees, but she looked to be about four years old.
I watched as she turned around and looked over at us, her eyes going very wide when she saw Scorpius.
“Scorpy!” she cried, running forward and throwing herself at Scorpius, hugging his legs.
“Miri!” he replied, picking her up and swinging her around. “Oh, I’ve missed you! How’ve you been, sissy girl?”
“Good,” she told him, grinning. She was missing her two front teeth. “I’s is four now.”
“Wow!” he said, as if this was the most amazing thing in the world. “Four! You’re getting so big.”
“I’m a big girl,” she nodded, pointing at herself.
I had to admit, she was the most adorable thing I had ever seen.
“Who is dat?” she asked suddenly, pointing over at me.
Scorpius grinned as I blushed. She was only a four year old, for Merlin’s sake, but somehow I knew that this was the real test.
“This is my friend Rose,” Scorpius said, turning so that I had a better view of the girl. “Rose, this is my sister Mira.”
“It’s very nice to meet you,” I said, smiling at the girl.
“She’s pretty,” Mira said, turning back to Scorpius. I flushed crimson and looked down at the carpet. “Do you kiss her?”
“That’s enough, Miri,” Mr. Malfoy interjected before I could die of embarrassment. I looked up to see that he was smirking down at his son, who too was red from embarrassment.
“It’s a pleasure to have you in our house for Christmas, Miss Weasley,” Mr. Malfoy said, taking Mira from Scorpius. “Make yourself at home.”
“Thank you, Mr. Malfoy,” I replied. “It’s a pleasure to be here.”
He nodded at me and then at his wife and son, and carried his daughter back the way he had come. I thought I distinctly heard Mira whining that she didn’t want to go to bed yet, and I suppressed a chuckle.
“Well, that was awkward,” Scorpius announced after they were gone.
“She’s cute,” I replied. “I didn’t know you had a sister.”
“We adopted her four years ago,” Astoria told me. “She was brought to St. Mungo’s, where Draco works, and just left there. Draco brought her home as a surprise for me, instead of taking her to an orphanage. I’d always wanted a little girl, but after Scorpius was born I was told I wouldn’t be able to have any more children.”
I wasn’t really sure what to say to that. “I’m sorry.” I decided that that was probably the proper thing to say.
“Oh, no need to worry,” Astoria said. I could tell that this topic was somewhat painful to her still, for her pretty eyes were clouded. “Mira has been a blessing to us. Anyway, you two look exhausted. We should all get to bed. It’s a big day tomorrow.”
“That’s a good idea,” Scorpius said. “But where should Rose sleep?”
“Oh dear,” Astoria replied. “We can’t have her sleeping on the couch, and your father and I turned the guest room into an office for him. He’s been working at home more lately, now that he got that promotion. Oh! There’s a pull out couch in Miri’s room. I’ll make that up for her.”
“Really, I don’t mind sleeping on the couch,” I told her, not wanting to cause any trouble. “It wasn’t really fair of us to just drop in like this. I don’t want to be a bother.”
“Oh no, Rose! It’s fine, really,” Astoria assured me. “You’re part of the family now. We’ll make room. You’re not a bother.”
“Well, thank you,” I replied, pleasantly surprised. I felt Scorpius take my hand back into his and give it a light squeeze.
“Rose,” Scorpius said, “you don’t have any clothes.”
“We left your trunk back at your house,” he clarified. “You don’t have any pajamas, or clothes for tomorrow, or anything.”
“Damn, you’re right,” I sighed. “Well, I don’t mind sleeping in this. And I guess I could Floo home tomorrow and get my clothes.”
“No!” both Scorpius and Astoria insisted at the same time. I knew Astoria was saying that to be a good hostess, but Scorpius seemed infuriated at the idea of me going back there.
“Rose, you can borrow some things of mine,” Astoria assured me. “We seem to be about the same size.”
“Are you sure?” I asked meekly. They really were being over-accommodating. I was just a huge problem.
“Yes, yes,” Astoria said, placing her hand on my shoulder and pulling me towards her bedroom. “I insist.”
“Thanks Mum,” I heard Scorpius call after us. I glanced back to see that he was still standing there, staring after us bemusedly.
Astoria led me down the hallway to the back end of the flat, which had four white doors.
“The room closest on your right is Scorpius’,” Astoria told me, “and the one next to that is the bathroom. Mira’s is straight ahead. Ours’ is the room on the left.”
We walked into her bedroom, and I felt my mouth drop open. The room was large, larger than the kitchen and dining room put together, and very open. In the middle there was an enormous bed. It was made of dark wood and had emerald sheets and pillows, and emerald hangings around it. There was an armoire of the same color on the right, and dressers of the same color on the left. There were two French doors on the left, which I assumed led to the closet. A few paintings hung on the walls, and there were pictures of their family on the dresser, along with many expensive looking perfume bottles.
“Your house is very beautiful,” I commented, afraid that she would think I was an idiot if I kept my mouth open any longer.
“Thank you very much,” she smiled.
She walked over to the set of French doors and pulled them open. I had never seen so much clothing in my life. She had enough to form a store in there! She walked inside and I waited politely outside, not wanting to hover or crowd her. A moment later she returned, something silky and red draped over her arm.
“Here you go,” she handed me the clothing. “I think that these should fit you.”
In my hands I held a red silk robe, that didn’t look like would come down past my mid-thigh, and a very short red silk nightdress.
“Umm, thank you,” I replied. Did that woman remember that I was her son’s girlfriend? Why was she giving me lingerie?
“You’re welcome!” she smiled. “I’m sorry I don’t have anything more appropriate, but I always sleep in nightdresses.”
“Oh, it’s really fine,” I answered, smiling despite the fact that I was dying of mortification on the inside. “Thank you for loaning me something.”
“It’s not a problem at all dear,” she said. “I’m just glad you’re here. I haven’t seen my son look at a girl this way in a long time. If you make him happy, I’m happy.”
“Scorpius is a great bloke,” I told her, feeling warm and fuzzy at what she had said.
“Well, good night, Rose,” Astoria said after a moment. “You can use the bathroom to change.”
“Good night, Astoria,” I said on my way out. I walked out into the hallway, and was not surprised to see Scorpius leaning against the wall by his room.
“You got some pajamas?” he asked when I had shut the door behind me. I held up the silky red things, blushing furiously.
“Yes. Your mother was very generous.”
Scorpius eyed the lingerie curiously. “My mother is a divine woman,” he said wolfishly, letting his eyes run over my body, as if he was imagining them on me.
“And you, sir, are a devil,” I joked back.
He strode over to me and wrapped his arms around my waist. “So seriously,” he said, gazing down at me with his forehead against mine. “Is this so bad?”
“Compared to my place,” I conceded, “this is pretty nice.”
He smirked, as if to say, “I told you so.”
“Scorpius,” I asked after a moment, “do you think I’ll ever be able to go back there again?”
He was quiet for a moment, and his eyes took on that curious look again. “Time heals everything.”
I nodded, feeling like I was going to cry again. His hands pressed more firmly into my back, pulling me closer to him. I felt my breath catch in my throat as I looked up at him. There was something furious in his expression, something wild.
“Rose,” he said very solemnly, his voice thick with some unknown emotion, “I’m sorry I punched your father.”
“I’m not,” I replied honestly. He seemed startled by the conviction in my voice, but happy at the same time. “He deserved it.”
“I just-“ he began, but stopped, trying to find the right words. “I couldn’t stand hearing him say those things to you. You don’t deserve that.”
“Well thank you,” I said, starting to cry. I felt like all I was doing was crying these days, but I really couldn’t help it.
“I won’t let him hurt you again,” he promised. Then he leaned down and kissed me very lightly on the lips. One of his hands cupped my cheek, and I felt my own hands snake around his neck. I pressed my lips harder to his and I felt my mouth open a little bit. He pulled me tighter to him and responded with just as much vigor as I had. I felt his tongue trace my bottom lip.
Scorpius and I pulled apart quickly and I felt myself turn bright red.
“Mira!” Scorpius said angrily, looking down at his sister, who was standing outside the door to her room, grinning at the two of us mischievously. “You’re supposed to be asleep.”
“I can’t sweep,” she said, gazing up at him innocently.
“Do you want me to read you a story?” he asked tiredly, running his hand through his hair uncomfortably.
“Yeah, yeah! Read me Babbity Rabbity!” she cried, running over to Scorpius and grabbing his hand.
Scorpius looked back at me apologetically and let himself be pulled into her room. “Good night, Rose,” he called softly before he disappeared behind the door.
“Good night, Scorpius,” I called back. ‘I love you’ I thought softly to myself.
A/N: Yay! I finally finished it! What did you think? I really hope you liked it. I'm sorry this chapter has taken so long (although really it was only six days) I was pretty busy with New Years and I had some issues with the beginning of this chapter. It was re-written about five times.
Anyway, what did you think? Did you like it? Dislike it? Favorite quotes? Characters? Please, please review!
Thanks for reading everyone! I hope you enjoyed it. :)
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