Chapter 17 - Repercussions
I have decided that the next time I have a gut feeling, an instinct, an impulse, a whim or a desire, I am going to take that feeling, put it into an imaginary box and lock it away in an imaginary wardrobe. I will then proceed to burn said imaginary wardrobe and scatter the ashes in a far away mystical land, lock the door to that land, and throw the key into the ocean. Then I will erase my own memory, in case I feel the urge to go and find the key.
My instincts are wrong. When am I ever going to learn that?
It’s funny, but I am strangely calm on the outside. I feel like I’ve drifted out of my own body and am looking down on what is happening – I have a sudden urge to start laughing at the whole thing. But then I remember my new ‘instincts’ plan, and how I should never follow them ever again.
Deep down I know that this will end in tears – my tears – but I just can't seem to work up the energy to be worried about what has just happened. I think the kiss has numbed me into a state of euphoria, and I won't snap out of it until some time next week. Or next year. Or next century. If I live to be two hundred, I'm not sure I'll ever forget it.
Scorpius is blocking the door of the ‘present room’, looking more terrified than I’ve ever seen him look. Being about a foot taller than Jenny, it is sort of strange for him to be afraid of her. It’s like a Hippogriff being afraid of a Flubberworm.
“Jenny, you can’t tell her,” Scorpius is pleading with her. Jenny looks so enraged, but talks in a very cool, collected tone. It’s terrifying.
“Move,” she commands. She does not have her wand with her, due to the fact that this is a Muggle wedding. She didn’t think she’d need it. She didn’t think she would have to kill the maid of honour and groomsman – or she just figured she’d use her hands for that.
“Look, Jenny, if you tell Daisy it will devastate her,” says Scorpius, staring deeply into Jenny’s eyes as if wishing to control her telepathically.
“I can’t believe you,” Jenny hisses angrily, “I really expected more from you – you cheated on your wife!”
Neither of them has said a word to me. I am just standing in the background, watching the two of them argue. Maybe I’m getting off lightly.
“I know, what we did was unforgivable!” Scorpius agrees with her, “But I can promise you it will never happen again.”
“Scorpius, I remember yesterday and I was not born during it!” Jenny snaps, “I know this wasn’t just a spur of the moment! And you can’t just pretend that this was an innocent little one-time occurrence!”
And so I have finally been brought back into it. Jenny turns around to face me, and gives me a look that I have never seen her give to anyone. It is one of pure, raw hatred and in this moment I can tell that our friendship will never be the same again.
“You lied to me,” she tells me quietly, “Right to my face. You said this was over and you lied! In a church!” She adds that last bit as if that's what's going to make me feel guilty in all of this. But again, my euphoric numbness has completely washed out any bit of guilt my head knows my heart should feel. I am a bad person, and I'll just have to learn to deal with it.
"I'm sorry," I say, just for something to say. I know I can't just stay quiet or she really will clock me one.
"You're not sorry!" Jenny shrieks, "You're not even a bit sorry, look at you! You're still bloody SMILING!"
I stop. I hadn't even realised I was smiling.
"It was just a kiss, Jen," I tell her. I then look to Scorpius for a reaction, hoping that he'll oppose this statement and say it was so much more, but he's nodding frantically.
"It was a stupid mistake," says Scorpius, "Really."
"It always is with you two!" says Jenny, "Everything is a stupid mistake! Getting pregnant at sixteen? Cheating on Daisy? Cheating on Dom?"
Now my euphoria is wearing off rapidly. I can’t believe she is bringing that up again.
“I told you that in confidence!” I snap. Dom doesn’t even know about that, officially, though I’m sure she suspects that something went on between us. “That was a lifetime ago and Dom was cheating on Scorpius anyway!”
Jenny looks furious. Because she cannot get out, as Scorpius is still blocking the door, she starts pacing the room angrily. "Jenny, you should really calm down," says Scorpius, "You shouldn't get so stressed in your condition."
I momentarily forget all about the adulterous kiss. "Wait a second, how do you know about her condition?" I ask quickly. I thought I was the only one who knew about Jenny's pregnancy.
I don't agree with this reasoning. Surely Al would tell James, if anyone. Then again, James isn't renowned for keeping secrets.
"Do not get off the subject!!" Jenny cries, "YOU TWO ARE CHEATERS!"
"BE QUIET!" Scorpius hisses, "Why don't you just cast a sonorous charm??"
"I would if I had my wand," she replies, folding her arms, "Daisy has every right to know."
"And you have no right to tell her," I say, "This is really none of your business."
As soon as I say it, I can tell it's a huge mistake. Monstrous, in fact. The look she gives me takes away that last bit of dizziness from the kiss - I'm back down to earth, with an explosive bang.
“None of my business?” she scoffs, “You ruin my hen weekend by starting a fight with Daisy. You ruin the night before my wedding by starting a fight with Scorpius. You ruin my wedding day by kissing Scorpius. How is this none of my business?”
“You could easily ignore it if you weren’t so bloody nosy!” I tell her, somewhat unfairly.
“Don’t make me laugh! For the last few months all I’ve heard is you bitching and moaning that Scorpius doesn’t love you anymore – you’ve made yourself out to be the victim in this when really you’re just a sneaky little cheater! I’ve never come across anyone as selfish as you in my whole life! Today was supposed to be about me! Is it that much to ask for a bit of attention on your wedding day? But no, you turn it into yet another Scorpius problem!
"Like last night for instance – I was panicking out about my veil, about getting married, and you barely even noticed because you were too busy making everything about you and SCORPIUS! So yes, this is my business, because I'm making my business! I'm sick of you making everything about YOU!”
"I do not make everything about me!" I cry, even though I can find absolutely no flaw in what she has just said. Am I really that self-absorbed?
"Really?" she snorts, "Okay then - tell me, have you asked George how the rebuilding of Weasleys Wizard Wheezes is going yet?" She doesn't give me time to answer. "No, you haven't. Have you asked James how Quidditch is going? No, you haven’t! Have you once asked me anything about the wedding, without me having to bring it up first? NO YOU HAVEN’T! You are the most selfish person I know. I can't even remember why we were ever friends in the first place."
Scorpius is looking between the two of us, clearly very uncomfortable with a situation that has now gone far beyond him.
“I think it’s time you got down off your high Hippogriff,” I snap at her. “We were friends because you felt the need to be Little Miss Goody Two Shoes when you found out I was pregnant, just so you could get on Al’s good side. You never wanted to be my friend, you just wanted to get in with the Potters!” I know that this is unfair, but right now I am so angry with her that I am convincing myself it is true. “I have no idea why I’m here as your bloody maid of honour, or why I made you Aidan’s godmother. In fact, I don’t even know why I’m here at all! Do me a favour - if my business pisses you off so much, keep your goddamn nose out of it. This -" I gesture between me and Scorpius " has nothing to do with you."
And just like that, I put the final nail in our friendship’s coffin.
“To hell with the pair of you,” says Jenny, her voice shaking with the same hurt and anger I’m feeling. She pushes past Scorpius and goes back out into the dance hall. Scorpius runs after her, and I stay in the room for a short while.
I am upset, but my anger allows me to hold back tears. On one hand, I hate Jenny for saying everything she said, but I think that is because I can find no flaw in it. Maybe I hate myself more.
Scorpius returns after a few moments.
“Jenny won’t tell, for now,” he says, “She’s giving me time to tell Daisy myself.”
“Are you going to?” I ask.
“I don’t know.” He pauses. “This can never happen again, Rose.” I knew he’d say that, but it hurts just the same. “I need to make it work with Daisy – I married her.”
“I know,” I reply.
“We can’t see each other anymore,” he continues.
I look at him. He looks broken. “What are you saying?” I ask.
“I’m saying...I think we need to discuss a new custody arrangement.”
My heart stops, and realisation dawns on me. “Excuse me?”
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while, I think it would be better for everyone –”
James’s voice suddenly fills the room outside. “Ladies and gentlemen, the bride and groom will now cut the cake, if you’d like to gather ‘round! And what a...er...nice cake...if not Nana Molly’s best work –”
“That’s not the cake I made!” Nana Molly exclaims again.
I look at Scorpius. “We better get out there,” I say.
“We need to talk –”
“Not here,” I tell him firmly, and walk out the door back through to the dancehall.
Jenny and Al are surveying the very shoddily made wedding cake with some scepticism. Victoire looks very embarrassed, while Teddy and Remus look like they are stifling some laughs beside her.
Daisy is talking with Aunt Angelina, and smiling at the seemingly happy couple, completely oblivious to what has just gone down only a few feet away from her. I feel sorry for her in one sense, and I even feel guilty – but I still can’t help but think that she is the one who put the idea of the custody arrangement in Scorpius’s head. And for that I will always resent her.
Jenny is better at putting on a front than I thought. She is smiling away, ever the beaming bride, but she will not look at me. I don’t expect her to. I can barely even look at her without feeling guilt and anger all at once. And I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before she tells Daisy. If Scorpius doesn’t do it first, that is.
However, after the cake has been cut, Al makes an announcement and presents Jenny with a wedding gift – a honeymoon. In their rush to get married before Jenny starts showing, they hadn’t bothered to plan one.
“A month in New Zealand?” Jenny squeals happily and throws her arms around Al. I feel like puking at the sentiment, but at least I don’t have to deal with her for another four weeks. I am just about the only person who doesn’t clap and shriek at the announcement.
They are leaving tomorrow. I feel a sudden pang of sorrow at the thought of not seeing my cousin for a whole month. Al is like a brother, and ending my friendship with Jenny so abruptly will definitely take its toll on my relationship with him. If it comes to taking sides, Jenny is always going to trump annoying slightly-older cousin.
“Why do you look so depressed?” Brian appears beside me so quickly, it’s as if he’s mastered apparition. And that would seriously depress me if a Muggle learned to apparate before I do. I’m still one class away from taking my apparition test.
“I really can’t tell you here,” I mumble. Brian nods and does not push it. “How is it going with Dom?”
Brian’s face lights up like a Christmas tree. “She is amazing, Rose!” So she clearly hasn’t told him about the time she and James went killing rats in the alley beside the Leaky Cauldron then. “She is so funny and pleasant and intelligent –” I try to stop myself from snorting, really I do, but it just comes out, followed by a loud and hearty laugh. I definitely needed something like this to pick me up again.
“Thanks Brian,” I laugh, “That’s exactly what I needed!”
“I’m serious,” he tells me. And that just cracks me up even more. I notice Jenny glaring at me from the front of the room, clearly pissed off that I am now laughing and not buried in a deep pit of shame inside some church – so I carry on laughing. And maybe if I just keep on laughing, everything will be fine. Or I’ll just be institutionalised in St Mungo’s – which really sounds very relaxing to me at this point.
Al and Jenny leave for their honeymoon the next day. Al asks no questions when I say absolutely nothing to Jenny while waving them off from their flat, but James corners me as soon as the pair have disapparated.
The only reason I’m even here is because Aidan wanted to say goodbye to them.
“So what was that about, Red?” James asks me. Up close, I notice just how old he looks these days. His skin is paler than usual, making his eyes look darker, and the bags in under them make him look constantly exhausted, even if he doesn’t act that way. His cheekbones are so much more pronounced; he looks sallow, thin and ill.
“Are you alright?” I ask him, “Are you sick?”
He looks at me as if I’m crazy. As if there hasn’t been a dramatic change in his appearance in the last few months. How can he not notice how thin he’s become? “Fit as a Flobberworm, my dear cousin!” he tells me. “And don’t get off the point. Why was Winters throwing daggers at you just now?”
“Winters is now Potter, remember?” I remind him, “And it’s nothing...just forget it...”
James might be stupid, but he knows when to keep his nose out. He simply nods and invites me to his next Quidditch match, handing me three tickets. The match is in a few weeks against the Holyhead Harpies men’s team.
The next stop is Mum and Dad’s. Expecting a rather nice afternoon of tea and chatter, James and I rather naively let ourselves into my old house, talking idly about Quidditch and the weather, when we realise just what we have truly let ourselves in for by coming here –
Plotting the demise of Auntie Audrey, in other words.
Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry are here. Looking at them now, you wouldn’t think that their youngest son has just been married. They should be happy, celebrating the new addition to the family (despite her being a nosy cow), but instead they are here looking incredibly serious and thinking of ways to defeat another member of family – and another nosy cow at that.
“He’s such a prat!” Dad is venting about Uncle Percy again. “I thought he might have stood down by now once he realised how stupid he’s being.”
“Ron we’ve been over this,” says Mum, “He’s being brainwashed. Can’t you tell?”
“I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that any self-respecting man could possibly be that much under his wife’s thumb! Does he just do everything he’s told?” Dad grumbles.
“Oh I don’t know,” Mum sighs, “Now make a pot of tea for James and Rose, would you?”
I’d laugh, but this is generally how most of Mum and Dad’s conversations go. Dad flicks his wand at the kettle and fumbles about looking for the teabags, while James and I pull up a chair at the kitchen table. I flick through Mum’s very organised folder of campaign ideas, and see that her main idea is to paint herself as a loving, family person.
It probably won’t look so good when she impales Auntie Audrey on the fence outside.
“‘Hermione Weasley – the Family Woman’,” I quote from her list of possible slogans. I raise my eyebrows at her. “Seriously?”
“It’s the best we could come up with!” Mum cries dejectedly, “She may be a thundering bitch, but Audrey knew how to canvas...”
It takes a lot for my mother to swear. This means she’s really ticked off.
“Hermione Weasley – Empowering People ... ‘Satisfaction’ is her middle name...” James reads. “Wait, I thought Jean was your middle name?”
“Give me that!” Mum snaps the folder out of James’s hands. Ginny gives James a very severe look, telling him that this really isn’t the time to joke around.
Mum’s campaign, to put it lightly, is crap. It sounds like she’s trying to advertise some cheap potion to cure colds. I don’t want to say this to her, of course. I do however offer my services to help her out more, partly to take my mind off all the other crap in my life.
Aidan is on at me to let him go to Scorpius’s today. I can’t very well say no to him in front of everyone, or they’ll know something is wrong. James is watching me closely too, still trying to figure out just why Jenny was so cold to me earlier on. I consider telling him what happened – I know he’d be on my side – but then I decide against it. I think it would probably be best if we all just pretended nothing happened.
Luckily I get a message from work while at Mum and Dad’s place asking if I can come in and fill in for Hazel today, who rang in sick. So I very nicely ask James to drop Aidan to Scorpius’s, and head off for work while still looking totally and completely innocent.
I arrive at St Mungo’s and am greeted by an enthusiastic Linda and a weary-looking Gladys – Gladys doesn’t like being left on her own with Linda for too long. She says it gives her more grey hairs.
“So how was the wedding?” Linda asks me excitedly, “Did Jenny look beautiful?”
“Suppose,” I reply sourly. I think it might be this receptionist desk that makes me so bitter all the time.
“Anything to report?” Gladys asks, with that look on her face that shows she wants gossip, and she wants it to involve Scorpius. Linda wants it too, but she’s not quite as upfront about asking.
“Nope,” I reply, “Not a thing.”
A/N - First off, Happy Birthday Marina!! (Okay, I'm a day late, but whatever!) Secondly, I am so sorry everyone about this chapter taking so long, but it's a busy time of year! I hope to get the next one up sooner, but it will be at least a week to two anyway. I know, I'm a bad person!
Finally, a little rant:
I thought after the little plagiarism incident last year with Delicate that it was over and done with. Nobody would be dumb enough to do it again. But I underestimated the stupidity of some people, and for that I apologise. Somebody started posting Delicate on another website - again. The story has been removed now, but it still annoys me that people think it's okay to take someone elses work and pass it off as their own, and put stuff like "should I continue?" at the end of the chapter. In other words 'I dont want to continue copying and pasting if you dont like it, because it just takes so much out of me'. So I'm asking, PLEASE dont copy this story, or any other. You're not fooling anyone and you WILL be caught.
Thanks so much for reading my story all you lovely people! I adore you all. (",) << Bob hates copycats.