Chapter 2 : Tear Stained White Shirts
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Chris whispered into Tessa’s hair and then made his way over to wear I was stood silently. I looked down, willing the tears not to fall. I looked up to meet his eyes and I was impressed by my own strength that I was able to smile.
“Hi Chris,” I tried hard not to make my words sound as hollow as I felt.
“Rose, hi! Me and Tessa…” he grinned raising his eyebrows, not knowing how to complete his sentence.
“Yeah,” I murmured.
“Actually, that’s why I wanted to talk with you earlier.” I frowned in confusion. “Well you are best friends and you know- I thought I could use some tips.”
Tessa smiled at me behind his back but I couldn’t bring myself to smile back. I was too hurt. Chris followed my gaze back to Tess and my heart broke as smiled at eachother.
“See you later Rose,” Chris said with his head still turned away from me and walked away not meeting my gaze again. Tessa wrapped her arms around Chris’ neck once more and nuzzled her face into him.
I suddenly felt trapped. Surrounded by people when all I wanted to do was escape. I pushed my way through the crowd, my body shaking with pain, trying desperately to find a way out, with voices calling out to me. I stopped, panting, and rubbed my face with my hands. A pair of hands wrapped around my hips and the smell of alcohol breathed onto my neck. I didn’t recognize the hold. The hands tried to move my hips, attempting to move me to the music and then turning me around to meet his face. Robert Harrison breathed in deeply, smelling me.
“Rose,” he sighed.
“Robert,” I strained out.
I was too weak, emotionally, to push Robert off me.
“I’ve liked you for a while but I didn’t think you liked me but then you’ve made such an effort recently. You came and sat with me in the library today and then you even invited me to this party. I thought you might like me too.” His breath was wretched in my face. I tried to speak, tried to tell him this was all a mistake, but his face was leaning into mine with his eyes closed. His lips met mine but almost immediately I pushed him off me. “No.”
I ran out of the room, tears indefinitely pouring down my face now. The last few minutes replayed in my head: Tessa and Chris wrapped together, her hands around Chris’ back, his hands in her hair, Robert’s breath in my face, his face leaning into towards me, his lips on mine.
I stumbled, blindly, away from the Room of Requirement, trying to escape as far as I could. I was several floors down before I stopped and collapsed against a wall. The tears fell as I was alone in the corridor; the only sound was coming from me.
My heart felt tattered, as if it was ripped into pieces in front of me and then thrown back in my face. The worst was that I couldn’t be angry with them, neither of them. They were both my friends but they hadn’t known about my feelings. I should have told Tessa earlier. I’ve liked Chris for years but I had never told her. I’ve listened to Tess for years talking about each of the different boy on the go but I could never bring myself to admit the one person I have liked.
My heart still melts when I think about Chris but the image is tainted as all I see are his hands in Tessa’s hair and his face looking at mine after he pulls away from Tessa’s lips.
A fresh wave of tears streak down my face as the scene won’t stop replaying in my mind.
I felt the most lonely I have ever felt in my life. I felt disconnected to the world, my emotions of despair and defeat were too strong, and I couldn’t escape them.
I slid down the wall until I was sat against it and I pulled my knees into my chest, trying to calm myself. This didn’t help to calm my heartache, instead I stood up an walked down another corridor, shaking my hands and then rubbing my eyes. I drew my hands back from my face and they were marked black from my eye makeup. I felt disgusted. No wonder Chris didn’t want me, I was a mess. Tessa was perfect.
My thoughts pushed me back into a seated position, now on the bottom of a staircase. I felt grotesque. My hands were covered in black marks, my eyes and face were black and swollen, my hair was tangled and knotted, my-
“Rose?” said a tentative voice.
I felt embarrassed to have been caught in this state. Regardless, I lifted my head out of my hands and peered to who had called my name.
Scorpius Malfoy was standing with a look of so much discomfort, it made me uncomfortable. It was clear he didn’t want to be here in this empty corridor with me and that he was regretting calling my name.
“Hi Mal- Scorpius” I said thickly. “How are you?” He looked aghast. It might have had something to do with the fact I was sitting here in a deserted corridor, crying to myself with a swollen face and I was asking how he was.
“Er… I’m fine. How are y- well it’s obvious you’re not fine.” He said looking afraid. It was clear to me that he hadn’t much experience of dealing with crying girls.
I shrugged. He continued to stand there for a few seconds, looking unsure of what to do. Then with an expression almost of defeat, he sat beside me. His hands distracted me of my internal anguish. He was wringing his fingers together as he fidgeted. His voice shocked me when it rang out in the silence.
“So… erm… do you want to tell me what’s wrong?” I could hear the awkwardness in the tone but I was also sure I could hear the genuine concern for me.
After a few seconds of contemplation, I shook my head. “You probably wouldn’t understand anyway.”
“I could probably guess though.” I made no move to agree or disagree with him. “It’s probably the same reason why I left the party early. I saw the girl I liked. And then I saw another bloke kiss her. Sound kind of similar?”
My eyes widened slightly as I nodded. “It hurts doesn’t it?” I asked him.
“Yeah” he said “A lot” he patted my shoulder gently and this small act of pity created yet another set of tears. I put my hands over my eyes and without thought I leant my head to the side and found Scorpius’ shoulder to rest against. Immediately, I felt him stiffen at my weight leant against him. He didn’t run and I didn’t my head but I kept it resting against him.
He allowed me to cry on his shoulder. I think I was as surprised as he was when I felt his arm around me as he held me closer and I was now crying against his chest. I mumbled a thanks but he shushed me, comforting me.
His comfortable warmth distracted me and soon I realized I could hear his heartbeat. The fast pacing threw me, it seemed he was nervous. With my thoughts on Scorpius rather than Chris and Tessa and even Robert Harrison the flow of my tears reduced until I had almost stopped crying. I realized how much I was enjoying being in Scorpius’ arms after my previous feelings of inadequacy.
After a while, Scorpius’ heartbeat slowed down to a normal pace and I had stopped crying, even though I stayed where I was. But after a few minutes I raised my head my head slightly away from Scorpius’ chest and he released me quickly. I pushed off lightly on his chest but lingered my hand there as I regained balance. I stared down at his white shirt. Over his left side the white fabric had stuck to his skin and the wetness had made it translucent.
“Thanks” I said looking into his eyes “And I’m really sorry.” I gestured to his chest. He looked down also.
“Don’t worry about that, its fine.” He smiled at me. “And besides if anyone asks I can just say I spent the evening with the Giant Squid. Probably would’ve got just as wet.”
I couldn’t help but smile and pat his arm gently in a mock stern manner.
“Well, I could say I’ve spent the evening with Sir Cadogen. Probably would’ve had the same amount of fun since I’ve been crying for most of it.”
“Cheeky,” he grinned and I grinned back but I couldn’t escape the hollow thought in the back of my kind that I wished it were Chris that had comforted me and was now joking with comfortably. I pushed the thought out of my head. Tonight displayed how little Chris thought of me the same way I thought of him.
“Cheek is just one of the many features of my personality you are yet to know.”
“Well then, I hope it’s one of the many features I do get to know.” He said sincerely.
My breath hitched slightly at what Scorpius had said. It was possibly the nicest thing anyone had ever said to me. I knew he was just trying to make me feel better but I couldn’t help but being happy. I knew he couldn’t like me and was flirting with me out of pity. He was good looking and I was a mess, especially at this moment in time.
“I hope I get to know many features of your personality also” I smiled at him, realizing he was already smiling at me.
I decided I liked Scorpius Malfoy, which surprised me considering he was a Slytherin and what I had been told to feel about him my whole life was that I shouldn’t like him.
I looked down at his chest and noticed my still lingering hand. I pulled it back as I groaned.
“What?” he asked.
“My face, it’s a mess. I’m so ugly.”
“You Rose Weasley do not look a mess nor are you ugly; on the contrary in fact, you are beautiful.”
I could hardly believe he had called me beautiful, especially in my current state. Again, I tried not to let his words of pity affect me, when they had been so strong.
“And you, Scorpius Malfoy are a very talented liar.”
Scorius shook his head, amused at my words.
“What?” I asked confused.
“You. I thought so.” He looked smug, as though he had just had a revelation.
“What? You thought what?” I asked impatiently. I didn’t like the way he was making me feel examined.
“You can’t take compliments.” He looked at me but continued on as he met my frown. “You can’t accept compliments on your appearance. You accept compliments on your intelligence and magical ability all the time. I’ve seen it, teachers always compliment you. Bit you can’t take compliments about the way you look. Maybe you don’t get told often enough how beautiful you are.”
My frown deepened as I didn’t reply. Why was he so sure he knew me, I had barely talked to him before. And yet he was right. I don’t like it when people say nice things about how I look. My parents are the only ones who have ever called me beautiful before. Lily and Tessa have occasionally looked nice but that was it. Even them comments make me uncomfortable sometimes. But nearly every day I get remarks about my intellect or ability and I barely think about them anymore.
“You don’t know me.” I grumbled.
Scorpius simply rolled his eyes and smiled.
“Maybe I do. Maybe more than you think.”
I shook my head. “So what do you do when people compliment your appearance?” I asked, probing.
“I agree. They clearly know sense.” I tried to tut and roll my eyes but instead I giggled.
“Well, you don’t need a boost in your self confidence. Do you?”
“Why would I not agree with people telling me I’m amazing when I already know?”
“Smug prat.” I threw at him, jokingly.
“I can’t disagree.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes. I couldn’t think of anything to say and neither, apparently, could he.
I surprised myself when I thought of who I was sitting beside. I couldn’t quite believe that Scorpius Malfoy was the boy who treated me with stiffness and discomfort for the last few years, even this afternoon he acted that way. But now we were sat next to each other, by ourselves, in a deserted corridor while the rest of the school were partying a few floors above. He had let my cry on his shoulder and had joked with me like we were already friends. It was like he was a completely different person from the one I had become used to for these last few years.
“Scorpius, could I ask you something?”
“You just did.” He looked slightly uncomfortable.
“No, a proper question.”
“I- okay then. Ask away.”
“The thing is, ever since we’ve been at Hogwarts you’ve barely said two words to me and now you’re being really nice and acting like someone else. How come?” I looked up at him expectantly.
He looked stiff for a moment and I could see the frown he was trying to hide. Then his body seemed to relax and his face was framed with an easy grin. Yet, I could see the tension in his eyes.
“Well that’s simple. I didn’t know you.”
I wanted to ask so much but I could sense his discomfort. We sat in tense silence, time dragging.
His voice rang out in the silence once more.
“Are you tired?”
I laughed slightly before replying. “A little bit.”
“What was funny?” he asked, confused.
“Your attempt at small talk.” I smiled “I was trying to think of some.”
“Rose,” he said unexpectedly “Who was the boy?”
“You know, the boy you like.” He spoke faster than normal. “No. Wait, I’m sorry. It doesn’t matter. Too personal.”
“It is. I’m sorry but I’d rather not say,” I realized I was trying to say it gently so I didn’t hurt his feelings. The idea was ridiculous. It was likely just another attempt at small talk. “And you don’t want to say yours either, do you?”
He shook his head, looking down. “No, not really.” His voice was low.
His conversation had reminded me of Chris and brought back the cruel, vivid image of Chris and Tessa entwined into my mind, polluting my thoughts. I didn’t want to cry again. I roughly rubbed my eyes with my palms trying to banish the picture.
I felt a hand gently touch my wrist. I stopped rubbing my eyes and looked up to see Scorpius looking down at me, concern written in his face.
“Are you okay?” I must have looked a complete nutter then.
“Yes” I replied.
“Are you sure?”
“You were rubbing your eyes.”
“Why were you doing that?”
“Is this interrogation over?”
“Why were you rubbing your eyes?”
“I’m tired,” I thought quickly. “It’s been a long night.”
“Oh, yes it has,” he agreed, seemingly in deep thought. He looked back at me sharply. “I’m walking you to your common room.”
“No, it’s okay, you don’t have to do that. I’m fine. Actually, I’m not even that tired. And I can walk by myself.”
He stood up abruptly. “Come on,” he demanded and I just looked at him. He held my hand and raised me into a standing position.
“If you’re tired you are going to bed.” He said, still holding my hand and pulling me along slightly.
I didn’t want to go but I didn’t argue. His hand in mine felt warm and it was all I could focus my exhausted mind on. My night had been a nightmare, yet I felt that if I hadn’t talked to Scorpius it would’ve been a lot worse. When I was feeling low and inadequate he had let me rest on his shoulder, told me I was beautiful and was now holding my hand. He had been so nice to me.
I didn’t realize the walk to the Gryffindor common room was so short. We arrived with our hands still together. We stopped outside and Scorpius looked at my face and then our hands. His face was guilty was he let his hand slip out of mine.
“So, it looks like goodnight then.”
“Yes, it does,” I agreed “Goodnight Scorpius.”
I was happily surprised when he reached out and took me in his arms. He held me for a moment and I snaked my arms around his back, holding onto to him also. He kissed me on my forehead but before I could think about this move he had released with a guilty look on his face once more. He started to walk away. I watched him until my brain caught up.
“Scorpius,” I said loudly. “Could I tell you about something?”
He looked surprised but then encouraging. “Of course.”
“Erm… well the thing is- I really don’t know how to say this… at the party, earlier, well, you know the Gryffindor prefect Robert Harrison? Erm… he kissed me and I didn’t want him to and it was only for like a second and well…I just wondered if maybe I could do rounds with you instead? If that’s okay? I think I’d feel uncomfortable spending an hour a week with him.”
Scorpius looked annoyed for a moment as he stared at the floor, he shook his head slightly and then looked at me, his expression softening.
“Of course it’s okay. Actually, it works out good for me too. I don’t like the other Slytherin Prefect. I think she thinks I fancy her or something so she treats me with like disgust as if she’s far too good for me.”
I smiled. “Thank you so much.”
“No, no, it’s fine. I’ll tell you what; I’m good mates with the head boy so I’ll sort it out this weekend. I’ll tell you what’s been sorted in a few days.”
“Thank you so much Scorpius.” This time I hugged him. “Goodnight Scorpius” I said quietly against him. The portrait of the Fat Lady opened to reveal a small 2nd year. She looked petrified to have been seen by two prefects, who were hugging in the corridor, the female looking as though she had been crying and so she disappeared back through the wall immediately. We let go of each other, laughing, and I gave the password to the Fat Lady.
“Goodnight Beautiful.” I heard as I climbed through the hole.
A/N- So what do you think? Is it good or bad? I don''t know so the feedback would really help :)