Chapter 2 : To Little Black Dresses and Grandparents
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With a sigh, Rose closed the door to her closet and walked to the girl’s room. Slowly, she creaked open the door and peered into to look at her sleeping angels…who weren’t sleeping.
“Morning, Mum,” they chimed in unison. They were forever doing that. This, of course was expected; they were twins.
“Morning, loves. What are you two doing up so early?” Rose smiled down at her children.
Bridget had climbed into Sophie’s bed for what wouldn’t have been the first time. Presently, they both sat Indian style with an array of playing cards between them. Some had made it to the floor already. Typical.
“We weren’t sleepy anymore,” Sophie shrugged, stealing a bunch of cards from the pile. It was obvious there were no rules to this game they were playing. But they amused themselves anyway.
Rose crossed the room and laid down on Bridget’s empty bed. She loved her girls’ room exponentially. She wished her mother had been decoratively inclined when she was young. Rose had wanted to give her girls the room she never had. Certainly not with silly pink frou-frou’s and princess drapes with pink walls, pink carpets, and pink bedspreads; in fact, Bridget and Sophia wouldn’t have allowed it, claiming they were two different people with two different favorite colors. So half of the room was a deep lush purple with different sized white polka dots on the wall to represent Bridget’s liking, her bedspread the same purple with white pillows to accent it, showing her vibrant, royal personality. Sophia, on the other hand, was a dreamer and it appeared in every aspect of her life. Her walls were a sky blue with wispy, drifting clouds and white stars. The stars were a bit out of place in the daytime scene, it was true, but it added a nice tough to the room. A white carpet covered the whole room.
And then, if you looked hard enough, you could see the cracks in the walls, the peeling plaster. You could see an excess amount of blankets used to block out the cold when winter settled in and there wasn’t money for heat. You could see the hand-me-down furniture, not antique, just used. You could see the worn out rocking chairs with their spots and ripped cushions. All these were the tell tale signs of the single mother hardship. Rose sighed for the second time that morning and closed her eyes, believing that maybe just maybe, if she couldn’t see it, it wasn’t there.
Sophia, being the daughter who could sense a mood change a mile away, climbed off of her bed and crossed to her mother. She scrambled on top of her, straddling her chest, and pushed her eyelids back just a bit.
“Mummy, are you sleeping?” she asked, concerned.
“Not anymore,” Rose laughed, cupping her daughter’s hands into her own.
“Are you sad?” she asked, frowning at the thought that the world couldn’t be happy playing mindless card games. Rose contemplated truthfully answering her and sharing with her the many burdens she held in her heart. But why plague a child with such thoughts? No, she decided, it was better to keep it between adults.
“No, pet, I’m not sad,” she forced herself to smile up to Sophia and though the attempt was weak, it worked well enough because the four year old cheered right up.
“Good! Because I’m hungry now,” she announced, crossing her skinny arms across her chest.
“Me too,” the other child agreed.
“Are you? Well I suppose we’ll have to do something about that!” Rose exclaimed and sat up. She lifted Sophia into her arms and stood, reaching her hand out for Bridget to grab. Eager to eat, Bridget complied and scrambled off the bed to slip her tiny hand into Rose’s, the perfect fit only a mother and her child could accomplish.
The three made their way to the kitchen and Rose deposited her children at the table. Turning to face the clock, she yawned as her body noticed what time it actually was: 7:22. Of course. These days, sleeping late was a luxury she certainly could not afford. Not if these two were to be fed, cleaned, dressed, and packed to spend the day at their grandparent’s house by 8:30. With yet another sigh, Rose reached for the cereal bowls and began her day.
“I can’t wear this!” Rose exclaimed.
“Why not? It looks great on you,” Roxy reassured, putting in her earring. After Rose had dropped off the girls at her mother’s house, she came home and spent the day cleaning the flat and beautifying herself. Now, her hair was straightened to perfection, her nails painted a shimmery red, and her legs were shaved and smooth.
“No, it would look great on me if I were ten years younger and hadn’t given birth to twins!” Rose threw the sultry black dress aside and searched her closet for something more practical.
“No, it would look creepy on you at fifteen. It looks fine, really. Now get dressed, we have to leave in fifteen minutes,” Roxy stood and observed herself in the mirror.
Rose gazed at her beautiful cousin, who was the only one in the family with the tamed red hair thanks to her mother, Angelina, who had the good genes. Roxy was gorgeous, with her curves in all the right places and her hair layered. She wore a green halter dress which brought out her eyes. She had a body Rose would kill for and similarly, a perfect complexion everyone else would kill for. With her constant fashionable attire, she made wives shake in their boots as she walked by their drooling husbands. And who could blame them? A beauty competition with Roxy was no competition at all.
“Roxanne, please. I am not you. I am not stunningly gorgeous. I don’t have your curves or your body or your boobs. There’s no way I can fill out this dress the way you do!”
“You’re not supposed to. You’re supposed to wear it the way your body wants to. And trust me you’ll look amazing. You’ve got bigger boobs then I do so it’ll be even better. You see,” Roxy explained, slipping the dress over Rose’s head. “Because your chest is bigger, the dress will hug you more down here,” Roxy placed her hands on Rose’s hips. “And then it’ll billow out around your legs because you’ve got the most perfect butt I’ve ever seen. And-” Roxy spun Rose around so she faced the mirror, “ta da!”
Rose rolled her eyes and examined herself in the mirror and gasped at the reflection. Roxy was right, the dress hugged her body as if it were hers. She looked slimmer and taller and her legs looked longer and she glowed. She, Rose, was beautiful.
“Wow,” she whispered in amazement. “I’m….hot,” she laughed, surprised at herself. “I’m really hot,” Rose spun around and let the dress soar around her. She felt beautiful and twenty again. “I might even be hotter than you!” she joked. It was true, Rose was not unattractive. She had exercised through her pregnancy. Surely she wasn’t toothpick thin, but she wasn’t full of love handles and cellulite either. She was simply adorned with the curves of a fit mother.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Rose,” Roxy warned. Rose couldn’t help but laugh at her cousin’s serious tone and slowly began to put her red heels on.
“Oh, Merlin. You’re moving way too slow if we’re to leave by nine!” With two flicks of her wand, Roxy had the jewelry and make up brushes flying around Rose in a busy frenzy. It looked chaotic to say the least, but in seven minutes Rose was completely ready and looking fantastic.
“Roxy, we’re running nice and early. Do you think we could slow down for a second?” Although she didn’t want to appear weak, Rose was terrified of the upcoming night. She knew that upon seeing Scorpius again, she’d become a bowl of jello melting at his slightest touch. She’d promised herself ages ago that she’d never appear vulnerable in front of a man again a day in her life. But it seemed as if tonight would be the night she broke the rules.
“I’m sorry. I’m just so excited!” Roxy said, sliding her necklace into place. She turned to face her cousin and her expression changed immediately. “Rose, what’s wrong? You look like you’re about to throw up,”
“That bad, is it?” she joked feebly. She took several deep breaths and tried to picture herself in her happy place. But the only image she could conjure up was that of her and Scorpius, her back pressed up against the wall of his room and the heat of him radiating between the two. That was definitely not the best image to bring up right now. With a sigh, Rose stood and reassured her cousin.
“I’m fine. Just…nervous is all. We’d better get going,” she smiled at Roxy who didn’t look convinced. “Roxy, I’m fine. Really. Let’s go,”
“If you say so,” Roxy said, still looking a bit skeptical. Rose grabbed her red shawl and slung it around her shoulders. She then picked up her bag, flipped her straightened hair, pushed her bangs to the side, and smoothed out her dress.
They walked over to the fireplace in Rose’s flat and threw in a handful of Floo powder. Rose looked on as the flames turned an emerald green and smiled at the sight of it. It’d been a long time since she last traveled by fireplace. Bridget claimed she always felt sick with a tummy ache afterwards and Sophia just didn’t like it. Rose finally felt herself getting excited about the evening to come. With one final deep breath, the two stepped into the fire and made their way to Hogwarts.
Apparently, to be on time was to be fashionably late. As this was one of Roxy’s many specialties, Rose and Roxanne appeared at exactly 9:02 to a party that started at 8, turning heads as they made their way towards a group of their family members across the room, crossing through a party that seemed to be in full swing.
Rose felt pulled back into the past as she walked through the Great Hall for the first time in eight years. The place was decorated in the House colors as was expected. There was a light and lively atmosphere as people danced and mingled, reacquainting themselves with old friends. The Hall had been cleared of all but one of its tables to make room for a dance floor. That table was pushed up against the back wall and covered with endless plates of food and drinks, courtesy of the Hogwarts kitchen elves. The Willows, the newest and most popular band around, was set up on the raised platform normally reserved for the professors and the Headmaster, playing the catchiest of songs.
Rose and Roxy crossed the Great Hall, stopping countless times on the way to chat with old classmates they recognized. Finally, after what had seemed like hours, they joined their family by the bar. Hogwarts did their reunions differently than regular muggle schools. The graduating class of a certain year was invited for their 10th year reunion along with the sixth and fifth years of that year as well. So James, Al and his wife Rosalie, Hugo and his girlfriend Gwendolyn, Dominique and her husband Chad, Fred and his wife Karen, Louis and his girlfriend Rachel, Lily, and Scorpius were all there, standing near each other and laughing at some shared joke when Rose and Roxy arrived.
“Rose! Roxy! You finally made it!” James, clearly already drunk, shouted over the pounding music.
“James, I understand this is an adult party. So there must be fire whiskey around somewhere. But why you’re already drunk is beyond my possible explanations,” Roxy said, hugging her cousin. A round of hugs was exchanged among the lot of them. Rose took special care to avoid Scorpius for last.
“Rose,” he said, careful to place his arms respectfully around her mid-back. “You look well,” he said, looking her over.
“You don’t look so bad yourself, stranger. Long time no see,” Rose smiled. She realized her tone was a bit too flirty for her liking and toned it down a bit.
“How’ve you been? You look amazing,” Scorpius asked, smiling.
Scorpius found he couldn’t pull his eyes away from her. In that dress, which certainly made no attempt to hide her luscious curves, she looked just as irresistible as the last time he had seen her on her wedding day so many years ago. Before he could catch himself, a wave of memories hit him square in the chest, showing him vivid images of Rose in her seventh year, Rose at Al’s engagement party, Rose in his bed. His heart panged at that last one.
“Thank you,” she blushed. That was something else he had missed about Rose: her ability to color her cheeks at any mention of her modest self. “I’ve been well. You?”
Rose looked Scorpius up and down and noticed all the changes he’d made from that young man at twenty to a mature, well toned man of twenty five. He had grown muscular, his shoulders broad and his arms strong. Strangely, she found it easy to talk to him, more calming and comfortable than she had imagined could be possible.
“Well,” he answered. “Been traveling, mostly. How’s your husband? Tim, was it?” Scorpius asked. And just like that, the innocence of the conversation was gone.
“We’re, um…we got divorced…a few years ago,” she said, pushing her bangs to the side. Restating the fact out loud again made her feel old and she soon lost her girlish charm, growing back into the twenty five year old mother of two that she was.
“Sorry to hear that,” Scorpius apologized, rubbing his neck. Thankfully, Louis saved him from what was to be an awkward moment.
“Oi, Rose! Come over here. I want you to meet someone!” Louis shouted to her, brandishing his model thin girlfriend like a trophy.
“Excuse me,” Rose pardoned herself, leaving Scorpius’ company to meet Rachel. And so the night went on, more or less smoothly as Rose continued to mingle with her relatives and past friends. She ran into the occasional old boyfriend or two, suffering through the awkward groping, only to be saved by Dominique who was “too forgetful to remember where the bathrooms were and needed Rose’s assistance immediately”. The highlights of her night came when a tipsy James spun her around in drunken circles on the dance floor, making her laugh so hard she had to stop and catch her breath.
“Rose?” called someone behind her. Rose looked up, having been mid-dip with James when she spotted the familiar face that had called her name.
“Tim!” she said, much too excitedly as she straightened herself. “How are you?” she asked, giving him a quick hug.
“Fine, fine. And you? How have you been holding up? And the girls?” he asked, giving her a once over.
The dress was new, he noticed. At least, it wasn’t something she’d ever worn with him. The shape of her curves and her long legs brought back old memories between them and Tim suddenly felt the slightest of regrets for giving up such a beautiful woman.
“I’m good. The girls are fine. They’re four now,” Rose shared. Suddenly, the tempo of the music slowed down as couples began to pair up on the dance floor. Rose stared uncomfortably down at her feet and waited for Timothy to walk away. To her surprise, he did the opposite.
“May I?” he asked, offering a hand. Rose reluctantly obliged and placed her hands respectfully on his shoulders. Definitely not as muscular as Scorpius, she pointed out in her head and then mentally kicked herself for having such thoughts.
“How goes the job?” Timothy asked, spinning Rose in tight circles.
“Decently,” she lied.
Rose had been living off the small inheritance she had obtained from Nana Molly and Granddad Arthur when they had passed away. She’d quit her job at the dental office, tired of being a mistreated, underpaid secretary, in hopes of finding something in the field she was really interested in: journalism. But there was no need for Tim to know all of this, especially since she wanted to appear fine after their divorce. A silent moment passed between the two. Rose took this time to recall all the things she had loved about Tim. The way his hands fit delicately on her waist, the way he hugged her close to his body even now after all these years, the way he smelled of springtime no matter the season. This, however, only made the moment more awkward as they swayed back and forth in silence.
“Mind if I cut in?” a voice came behind her. Tim grew incredibly stiff under Rose’s hands, his jaw pulled taut and she turned to see who could make him so uncomfortable. Of course, it was Scorpius.
“Actually, I wasn’t done here. You’re welcome to try again later, though,” Tim challenged, hugging Rose closer to him. Now Rose truly felt uncomfortable, not understanding Tim’s behavior at all.
“Well,” Scorpius lied, “it’s just that Rose had promised me a dance before I left and I’m about to take off,” He could sense Rose’s discomfort from across the room and he’d decided to try and save her.
Tim let go of Rose and, instead of walking away, got up in Scorpius’ face.
“Listen,” Tim said just loud enough for the three of them to hear. “It wouldn’t be the first time you stole something precious away from me. So just back off, okay?” Tim gave Scorpius a shove just big enough to displace him a few steps. Scorpius just chuckled.
“Tim, I’m not going to fight you. I’ve got more decency than that. Now, you don’t really want to start something here, do you?” The two men, or rather one man and a teenage boy impersonate with raging hormones, stared each other down as Rose watched on holding her breath to see what would happen. Then Tim took a step back and looked Scorpius up and down.
“Just the same man who ruined things all those years ago,” he said loud enough for only Scorpius to here. He took one last look at Rose and walked away, making sure to bump shoulders roughly with Scorpius.
Scorpius, confused by his words but shaking his head at Tim’s childish behavior all the same, placed his arms smoothly around Rose’s waist. Twirling her around in slow circles, Rose visibly relaxed in his arms. And as she had suspected, she melted in his hands, having to lean against his chest for support.
“I didn’t promise you a dance,” she remembered, gaining her ability to make sentences again. She had to admit it, she felt more comfortable in Scorpius’ arms than in Tim’s.
“Yeah, well. I have a way with picking up discomfort,” he winked.
“Thank you,” she said, realizing she had been uncomfortable with all that silence between her and Timothy. Rose looked around the room to find the rest of her family but couldn’t see a speck of Weasley red hair anywhere. “Where is everyone?”
“Oh, actually that’s why I came to steal you away from Boy Wonder over there. We were all headed to the dungeons if you care to join us,” he said, not letting go of her.
“I’d be delighted,” Rose smiled. “Let’s go.”
She let Scorpius lead the way out of the Great Hall and down the familiar corridors to the dungeons. Not surprisingly, they stopped at what used to be Snape’s old room. The rest of them were already in there sitting on the floor, drinking from bottles of butter beer. Scorpius held the door open for Rose as she stepped in, feeling the draft that she certainly wasn’t dressed for. As if reading her mind, Scorpius slipped off his jacket and placed it around Rose’s shoulders.
A crowd of “Aww”s went up at the courtesy. Then came an awkward silence. It seemed Scorpius was the only one in the room who didn’t know he had daughters. Because James was too drunk to have any filter between his brain and his mouth, he decided to bring up old happenings.
“Rose, remember that time you and Malfoy were about to go at it sixth year but me and Al walked in on you?” he began with his eyes closed.
The heat of the world found its way to Rose’s cheeks and stained them a blood red.
“No, I-I don’t re-recall that…at all,” Rose stumbled, keeping her eyes low. The room had gotten silent in anticipation of what James was going to open his mouth and say next.
“Well, that just reminded me. We should all have dinner at the Burrow tomorrow night,” he suggested, still not opening his eyes.
“How, if at all, are those two things connected James?” Dominique asked, confused.
“Dunno,” And as quick as he had started, James recalled something else.
“Remember that time-,” Rose squeezed her eyes shut, praying he wouldn’t bring up any other heated moments of her past. “-when Aunt Hermione came up to the castle with my mum because she’d heard a rumor that Hugo and I had been doing drugs?” Rose let out a relieved sigh, as did several others in the room.
“Oh yeah!” Hugo recalled. “And they came into our dorm room at half four in the morning and started yelling at us, waking up any sleeping children within a ten mile radius of the place,” Everyone let out a reminiscing chuckle at the story.
“And to prove to them we weren’t high, we had to give them a urine sample right there in the room to take to the Toper Clinic to get tested,” James filled in. He passed both Rose and Scorpius a bottle of butter beer.
“If I recall correctly, they still didn’t believe you,” Fred added, remembering how the two had searched all the boy’s bunks and trunks for the drugs.
“Right, so to get them off our backs, we told them Rose and Dominique had liquor in their trunks for when they were sleeping around,” James guffawed, now remembering everything.
“Yeah, thanks for that,” Rose said, remembering herself how her dorm’s trunks were searched next.
“And Headmaster Longbottom threatened to call the guards to escort them off the grounds because they were disturbing the peace,” Lily said, chuckling.
“We were still talking about that a month later in Ravenclaw,” Rachel shared stories of how the people in her common room had stayed up and betted on who’d be expelled first.
Rose felt comfortable surrounded by her friends and family, joking around the way they used to do when they were mere teenagers, sneaking down to the dungeons to meet Al and Scorpius who’d been Slytherins at the time. They’d come with all their treats from Diagon Alley and pigged out until three in the morning.
“Just like old times,” Rose said out loud.
“Where’d the years go?” Fred pondered, taking a swig of his butter beer.
“We grew up, mate,” Louis slung his arm around Rachel who rested her head on his shoulder. Dom, in turn, snuggled up to her husband and Karen laid her head against Fred’s chest. Hugo fell back so that his head rested in Gwendolyn’s lap while Rosalie cuddled warmly in Al’s arms. Even Lily massaged James head as he complained about his pounding migraine.
It was then that Rose felt truly alone and wished she could rewind time to a setting just like this one only with her laying in Scorpius’ arms. And for the second time that night, as if Scorpius had read her mind, he came over, took a seat next to her, and effortlessly rested his arm about her shoulders.
“Just like old times,” he repeated what Rose had said earlier. Rose, with the comfort that could only be found between two lovers, laid her head on his shoulder, letting her guard down in the heat of the moment.
“Just like old times,” she agreed and for the first time in a while, she felt she truly was where she was supposed to be.
M'kay folks. Chapter Two. Pretty please leave a review. As my birthday is fast approaching (Jan. 30), I would love to reach 20 reviews! So pretty please tell me how you feel: you like it, you hate it, whatever.
And be sure to check out my other fanfic, PANDORA'S BOX!!
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