Chapter 8 - Confessions
He’s wandering around my living room, looking at things. I didn't even invite him in, yet here he is. I’m scanning the room for any sign of magic. Ollie has stayed in her basket, but is growling at Brian with obvious contempt – Crups don’t like Muggles, after all. If I hadn’t ordered her to stay, she’d be chewing on his cord jeans by now. Also, I’m fairly sure he’d find it strange that my ‘Jack Russell’ has a forked tail.
“Was there something you wanted?” I ask, not bothering to mask my obvious rudeness. His showing up here isn’t just awkward, it’s completely inappropriate. I’m also getting increasingly nervous about the Mimbulus Mimbletonia on the mantle and the moving picture in the corner. I just hope he doesn’t notice. “How did you even find out where I live?”
“Looked it up in the school records,” he shrugs, as if it’s completely normal to do such a thing.
“Well that’s not creepy at all,” I say dryly.
“I should’ve known you were fake-naming me,” he says, clearly not bothering to beat around the bush, “I mean the ‘Susanna Ryan’ thing was quite believable, but you could have come up with something a bit more realistic than Scorpius.”
I couldn’t make it up if I tried. “Actually –”
“Scorpius, who’s married to Daisy,” he continues, “Do they happen to live on Sesame Street?”
I can’t figure out if he’s being sarcastic. Apparently it doesn’t take one to know one. I have no idea where Sesame Street is, because I’m so rubbish with street names, but I’d hate for him to know that. Geography is one of my many weaknesses. “Eh, no they live on Holden Street...” I trail off when he gives me a look. I don’t get it.
“Look, I just thought I’d clear the air between us,” says Brian seriously, running a hand through his curly brown hair, sort of nervously.
“The air is clear,” I answer immediately, “And by the way, I wasn’t the only one fake-naming people, Richard.”
“I technically wasn’t fake-naming you,” he tells me, “My name is Richard Brian McDonald, just everybody calls me Brian because my Dad’s name is Richard too.”
“Well, as nice as it is to hear the family history, I have work to do,” I say impolitely, “So is there something you wanted?”
He raises his eyebrows. I now feel like a bitch. As if I haven’t had a stressful enough day with finding out that both my son and my...Scorpius...have dyslexia, I really don’t need this self-righteous muppet coming in here, making me feel bad in my own house.
“I really enjoyed talking with you on New Years,” he says. I nearly snort, but I manage to restrain myself. I don’t think I’ve heard a more blatant lie since Molly told me she only weighs six stone. “I was just wondering if you wanted to...”
“Look, Richard – or Brian, or whatever you’re calling yourself,” I hold up a hand to stop him from interrupting my interruption, “I’m not looking for a relationship, and although I acknowledge that you’re a decent looking bloke, I’m really not attracted to you.”
“And I’m sure you’re a very nice person,” I go on, “And I’m sure you’d make a very good boyfriend, but I think I need to nip this in the bud now – I’m about as sexually attracted to you as I am to a slice of bread.”
“Are you finished?” he asks and I nod, realising I may have been a bit harsh – again. “I wasn’t going to ask you out. No offence or anything, but you’re not my type.”
“Then what are you doing here?” I ask exasperatedly.
“I have an information pack on dyslexia for you,” he says, pulling a large brown envelope out of a bag, “And I just wanted to let you know that if you want to talk about it – or anything, really – my number’s on the envelope.” He hands the pack to me. “You rushed out of the school so quickly I didn’t get the chance to give it to you.” I look at him suspiciously. In my twenty-two and a half years on this planet, I’ve come to realise that men are never nice to you for no reason. And they certainly don’t give you their number just for a chat.
“What’s the catch?” I frown.
“There’s no catch,” he shrugs, “Just being friendly. Tell me, are you always this uptight?”
“Are you always this friendly?” I snap in reply. I’ve said it before, I know only one friendly person, not including Daisy, who doesn’t count as a real person. I just can’t deal with people being friendly.
“Yep,” he smiles, “No catches. Promise.”
It’s true that January really is the most depressing month of the year, but there’s one day in January that I’ve come to look forward to since James got on to the Chudley Cannons Quidditch team – the annual Christmas party. Yes, it’s the 22nd of January, but nobody actually really knows when Jesus was born, do they? We should celebrate it every day, we have a one in three hundred and sixty five (sometimes sixty six) chance of getting it right.
Anyway, this year James is hosting the party in his ‘apartment’. I love these parties mainly because only the likeable members of my family are invited to it, along with the exceptionally gorgeous team members (and unfortunately their exceptionally gorgeous wives and girlfriends) and some of James’s other friends. I drop Aidan round at Mum and Dad’s before heading over to Al and Jenny’s to get ready for the party. Even Jenny gets excited about the party, despite the fact that she’s pregnant and engaged. Just because she’s on a pregnancy-induced diet doesn’t mean she can’t look at the non-folic acid menu.
I took it upon myself to invite Laura too, even though that’s probably not the best of ideas given her past history with James. She and Jenny generally don’t get along either. Oh well, maybe a few punches will be thrown if the party gets a bit dull.
“I’m getting so fat!” Jenny complains as she appears out of her room in a black dress.
“Jenny, you’re what, six weeks pregnant?” I ask, “Believe me, you haven’t seen fat yet.” She looks scared. This is fun. “Wait until your arse gets big – it’ll never be the same again. And your fingers get all swollen. And you’re ankles too. And your boobs become huge – and not in a good way –”
“Stop it!” she cries, “It’s not that bad, is it Rose?” I’m unsure whether or not to keep taunting her. “I mean, you get the gift of a beautiful child at the end of it – all the pain is worth it, right?”
“Well, I suppose it is in the long run,” I tell her, “But you won’t think that when the brat is screaming at four o’clock every morning, draining all of your energy –”
“Stop talking,” Jenny snaps.
We meet up with Dom and Laura before heading off to James’s place. The party is already in full swing by the time we arrive. James has put his Christmas decorations back up and people are dancing to Christmas music. It’s so very sad. As I suspected, all of the good looking team members are paired up with model-like women, who probably don’t have two brain cells to rub together between them. The uglier team members are trying to cop off with anyone who’ll have them.
“Alright love?” Taylor Harman, one of the ugliest men on the team – no, in the world – approaches me as soon as I get in the door. “Kiss under the mistletoe?”
“I wouldn’t kiss you under an anaesthetic,” I tell him and allow Dom and the others to drag me away to say hello to James. James is standing up on his coffee table wearing a pointed wizard’s hat, singing some awful Christmas song to a crowd of his mates, who are cheering him on.
“Red!” James cries, jumping off the table and running over to me, “You came! I thought you weren’t speaking to me.” He reeks of drink already and it’s only half nine.
“I wasn’t,” I tell him, “But I suppose life’s too short to hold a grudge.”
“Too right,” he agrees, “And just so you know, I think Daisy’s a plank.” Part of me suspects he’s just saying that to keep me happy, but I throw my arms around him in a hug anyway. I really missed James’s bluntness.
“I invited Laura,” I tell him.
“I invited Scorpius,” he tells me.
We make a silent and mutual agreement not to kill each other. Not that I mind Scorpius coming – in fact, I’d hoped he’d be here – it’s just the old ball and chain will be with him. James bounces off to say hello to Al and Jenny. Laura is pretending she’s not looking at him, but I know she is. She’s doing the same thing I do when I’m pretending I’m not looking at Scorpius.
“Fancy seeing you here,” a familiar Scottish voice says from behind me. This racing heart thing is really getting old. I’ve been listening to this voice for years and the affect is always the same.
“Mr Malfoy,” I greet him, “Mulled wine?” There are only Christmas drinks here. Sometimes I worry about James, I really do.
“Nah, thanks,” says Scorpius, “I promised Daisy I wouldn’t drink.”
Oh Merlin. I wonder where she keeps her whip hidden.
“Wow, she runs a tight ship,” I observe, sipping my own wine.
“We’re having dinner at her parents’ tomorrow, I have to keep a clear head,” he explains, looking a bit embarrassed. I can’t help but frown. Since when does Scorpius do what anyone tells him? He’s a stubborn idiot – that’s just who he is. I didn’t think anybody could change that.
“Sweetheart, did you remember to lock the back door?” Speak of the devil, and the Daisy shall appear, slipping her arm around Scorpius’s waist. “Oh, hello Rose.”
“Hello,” I reply and take a rather large gulp of wine. I pour myself another glass.
“Yeah, I remembered,” Scorpius tells her and puts his arm around her. I try my best not to vomit. She calls him Sweetheart. This is worse than the time I found a chain belonging to Dad that said ‘My Sweetheart’ in the attic – I can’t believe Mum would give him something so disgusting. She must have been drunk. Or maybe she found it in a ditch. I finish my glass of wine and pour myself another one. “Eh, Rose, shouldn’t you steady on a bit?” Scorpius looks a bit concerned. A bit.
“I’m fine,” I tell him, “Don’t nag.”
“I’m not nagging,” he argues.
“You’re always nagging,” I snap.
“Okay!” Daisy interrupts before Scorpius can retaliate, “Let’s just drop it, yeah?”
“Fine,” says Scorpius.
“Fine,” I reply.
I stalk off, unable to take any more of Mr and Mrs Malfoy. I grab some more wine as I go. Dom is chatting to Tony Platt, a reserve Chaser, whose girlfriend couldn’t make it tonight. “She’s got Chlamydia!” Dom told me earlier on, excitedly. I really don’t know why this would be an incentive to chat up her boyfriend.
Al and Jenny leave early. They’ve become such an old couple recently. They used to be fun. Well, not that fun, but more fun than they are now. I spend the night talking to Laura, who is pretending she’s not at all bothered by the fact that she’s in James Potter’s flat – sorry, apartment. He’s the one person, I’m fairly sure, she swore she’d never go near again.
“And her hair is more straw-coloured than blonde,” I babble on to Laura, voicing my inner thoughts on Daisy. After a few glasses of wine, my thoughts aren’t so inner anymore. “I know my hair is red, but I could dye it you know. I could dye it any colour of the rainbow.”
“Yeah,” says Laura in a bored voice.
“Red...or orange...or pink –”
“Pink’s not a colour of the rainbow,” she tells me, “And you’re hair’s already reddish-orange.”
“Okay then – green! See, Teddy can have any colour hair he wants. I want Teddy’s hair. I used to want Teddy, but now I just want his hair,” I say. It’s nice to get things off your chest.
“Rose, you’re drunk,” Laura tells me, “This is the first time I’ve ever felt like the sensible one around you.”
“I’m not drunk,” I protest. I hate when people tell me I’m drunk when I’m not. “You’re drunk.”
“I’m going to get you a glass of water, alright?” she tells me and then walks towards the kitchen.
Anyway, even if I were drunk, which I’m not, I’m nowhere near as bad as the majority of people at this party. Everybody is at least a little bit tipsy. You can’t enjoy a Christmas party in the middle of January without being at least a little bit tipsy. Scorpius and Daisy are dancing, but unlike the people around them, they’re slow dancing. I can tell it’s not Scorpius’s idea because he hates dancing, and apparently nothing is Scorpius’s idea anymore. Apparently when you get married you just become one mind with somebody else and lose all opinions and thoughts. I’m never getting married. I’m having another drink – Laura hasn’t returned with my water. Clearly I should have more wine.
Slowly but surely, people begin to leave. I’m too tired to stand up at this stage. Dom has copped off with Tony Chlamydia, though thankfully she hasn’t moved it into the bedroom. Hopefully she’ll have more sense. Daisy leaves too, but Scorpius doesn’t go with her. I see him say goodbye to her at the door and then comes back inside.
“Are you alright?” Scorpius asks me tiredly, flopping down onto the couch beside me.
“Yes,” I reply, “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“You’ve had quite a bit,” he says.
“No I haven’t,” I say and pat him on the head. He has soft hair. I kind of want to smell it.
“Okay, you haven’t,” he grins, “You’re perfectly fine.”
“I love you,” I blurt. Something tells me I’m going to regret saying that. “I love Scorpius the most.” And that.
“Okay,” he laughs, “I love you too.” He says it in a jokey way.
“No, I really do,” I say, slapping his knee for some reason, “I really love you.”
“Rose,” he looks at me with those eyes. Those eyes that I just want to pluck out and keep in a box so I can look at them any time I want. Is that weird? “You’re drunk.”
“You’re drunk,” I reply, “But I love you anyway.”
He’s half-laughing at me. Here I am, pouring my heart out and he’s just laughing at me! “You’re a lost cause, Rose Weasley,” he shakes his head, “Go to sleep.”
“Scorpius!” I frown. Why doesn’t he get it? “Scorpius, Scorpius! Scorp! Scorp-O!”
“Rosie Rose,” he replies, trying to catch on to this new ‘how many different ways can I say your name’ game, “You talk a lot of crap when you’re drunk, d’you know that?”
“You talk a lot of crap when you’re sober,” I reply, “But guess what?”
“I love you.”
“You really are twisted, aren’t you?” he laughs, “I’ll get you home.”
We floo back to my place, which is a very fun experience after a few wines, but not so fun for Scorpius I can imagine as he has to hold on to me to make sure I get out at the right fireplace. We stumble out into my living room, casting soot and dust everywhere. Usually I would clean it up, but I’m just in the mood to lie down right now.
“C’mon, go to bed,” Scorpius tells me, “And drink some water, it might make the hangover a little less severe tomorrow.”
“I’m fine!” I tell him, “I’m not as think as you drunk I am.”
He leads me into my bedroom and it’s all I can do not to kiss him and drag him into bed with me. I kick off my shoes and climb underneath the covers, not bothering to undress. He summons up a glass of water and leaves it by my bedside. He then kneels down by my bedside and strokes my hair softly.
“Rose?” he asks quietly, checking that I haven’t completely conked out on him.
“Did you sleep with that bloke on New Years?”
“No,” I tell him, my voice muffled in my pillow, “On’y ever been you.”
He kisses my forehead, stands up and apparates away.
Pain. Bright lights. Pain. Oh the pain. Why is the sun so fucking bright in the morning? It’s January. It’s supposed to be miserable. It’s supposed to be dark and raining. I sit up in my bed, realising that I’m still in my green dress I was wearing last night at the –
Oh no. No no no no! There is no way I could possibly...I mean, I couldn’t have...
I told Scorpius I love him, didn’t I?
I should be locked up. I’m a hazard to society. I go around telling married men I love them. I’m never drinking again. Never ever. Ever. Not even water, just in case someone has spiked it.
I roll out of bed and check my clock – it’s past midday. No wonder it’s bright out. I need to talk to Jenny about this immediately, before I start overthinking things and eventually explode. She’ll know what to say. I get no reply from her, so I try both Dom and Laura, but I get nothing from them either. I even try Lily and Molly, but apparently nobody wants to answer their bloody phone! I clean myself up, desperately trying to remember my exact words to Scorpius, and more importantly, his reaction to them. I take a swig of some hangover potion that Dom left here a few months ago, which helps with my headache, but not with the tiredness.
I try the girls again, but get no reply. I even try Gladys and Linda. Who the hell am I supposed to talk to? I can’t possibly deal with this by myself. I’m ill-equipped for this kind of situation! I have a tendency to over-dramatise everything and make a big deal out of even the smallest of situations. Where is Jenny? She’s the only one who can bring me back down to earth!
Then I spot the brown envelope on the table; the same brown envelope Brian McDonald gave me with his number on the back. I bite my thumb-nail and look at it for a while. I really need to talk to someone about this. I pace back and forth. He’ll think I’m nuts if I ring him. He really will.
But he did say if I wanted to talk about anything...
Before I even know what I’m doing, I’ve picked up the receiver and dialled the number. He was quite good company on New Years, after all.
“Eh, is this Brian?”
“Hi...it’s Rose Weasley...”
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I love you! (No, I'm not drunk!)