Chapter 13 : Snowfall
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“Oh…” he said airly, closing the book with a gentle sound, “it’s a volume my mother sent me of all the editions of the Quibbler my grandfather published from when she was a 6th year.”
“That’s nice of her,” I said awkwardly. I could feel his eyes on me, appraising me slowly.
“Are you alright?” he asked after a moment, reaching for my hand.
I could feel the warmth of his fingers holding my hand. They cradled my cold skin. Leaning against the chair, I sighed.
“You’re obviously not fine; it was stupid of me to ask you in that way. It’s the Slytherin again, it’s it?” he eyes were sparkling with some inner interest when I looked up at him. I nodded my head, placing my free hand on his arm.
“Please don’t worry about it… he’s obviously just another snake,” I turned, not thoroughly convinced of what I had just said, and walked up to the stairs of girls’ dorms. As I reached for the banister, Lorcan’s voice stopped me.
“And yet there is still some corner of your heart that… cares for him?”
I froze, again. People were really getting to me tonight. I thought what Lorcan had said over for a moment. It was true. How Lorcan was able to see through me so easily astounded me. “Yes, I suppose some part of me does want to believe that he didn’t actually choose to stumble into my room drunk,” I slid down onto the steps, and my face dropped into my hands.
The toes of Lorcan’s trainers appeared under my gaze. He rested his hands on my arms, squatting in front of my down-turned face. “Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it. This time you stopped to try out a bit of happiness. The other end wasn’t moving at the same speed. You’ll find it. I can feel it,” then he drifted away, up the boys’ stairs.
Snow clung to the window panes the next morning. It was early I noticed, as all of the other bed curtains were drawn. I pulled myself from bed. Sleep was not being kind to me and though I was exhausted from the angry things I said to Marcus swirling through my mind, I didn’t wish to lie there any longer.
Walking into the bathroom, I felt a rush of cold air. Apparently someone had left one of the small windows open the night before. Approaching it, I noticed that a large eagle owl was sitting on the sill. His feathers were fluffed around him, no doubt against the gusty wind behind him. As we recognized each other he clicked his beak in an impatient and expecting fashion, then stuck out his leg. Tied to it, as so many times before, was a roll of parchment. I sighed. Oh joy. I couldn’t imagine the horrible things Marcus no doubt wanted to say to me. After all I deserved it after my atrocious behavior. I thanked the owl in a quiet voice and removed the note. The bird turned quickly and swooped from the sill. Unrolling the bit of parchment, it was indeed from Marcus.
The handwriting seemed more cramped than normal. It must have been in anger, I mused, before reading the words themselves. The note read:
I’m sorry. I wish I could say it to you a thousand, million, trillion times, but I know you don’t want to hear it right now. There is no doubt in my mind that I deserve everything you said.
Already I was shocked at his acceptance, the recognition of his behavior and my reaction. I read on, expecting fully to find some true anger… something to make me feel less guilty for how I had acted.
I should have known better to put myself in that situation. That used to be my life, and how I thought I was strong enough to survive that atmosphere unscathed without support I have no idea. It was horrible of me to fly up to your window in that condition – for that I am eternally sorry.
Oh the guilt continued to build.
One thing I realized after my encounter with you is that I am not ready to be in a relationship with someone as wonderful as you. Like I have said in the past, you are too smart, too beautiful, and too good for me. I want you to find happiness with someone who will care for you and protect you. This is something I cannot do I now see. I will stay out of your way unless you would like to speak to me. It is not fair of me to have you suffer if you do not wish to be in my presence. I hope you will find all the love and luck in the world.
For more than a moment I stood by the window, speechless. Not that there was anyone to hear me anyway. Then there was a distinct wetness on my cheeks. I had, if it was only for a moment, completely surrendered to love in the chance that I might be able to find it. Truthfully, love had not disappointed me. I had been loved – very much so it seemed. Maybe even more than I gave him credit for. It takes great courage to accept responsibility for your actions. Even greater strength to release something you care for. My mother always said that if you know if something is right because by letting it go, if it comes back, it was always meant to be yours. Marcus was letting me go.
The part of my heart that had harbored the link to him seemed to soften. It no longer felt the stress of the threads between us being stretched. I knew in that part of me that I would never go back to him but perhaps without him I wouldn’t have learned some many things about what it means to care for another person.
Gently, I pressed my lips to the paper, catching the scent of him on it. I tore the note into tiny pieces. Remember the words would not be difficult, I was sure they were burned into my mind. The wind caught the tiny pieces as I tossed them out the open window and watched them fall, tainted snowflakes falling among the pure white ones, down to the snow covered grounds.
A witch pushed a small silver cart, overflowing with cakes and juice down a narrow corridor. Every few feet she paused and offered the chattering students pumpkin juice and pasties. Most bought a few treats from her and she moved on quickly.
Pushing the cart down the corridor a few more compartments, each revolution of a back wheel accompanied by a short squeak, she stopped across from the place where a short girl with brown hair rested her head comfortably on the shoulder of a thin boy. In the boys’ lap was a magazine, the cover of which displayed wizards flying about in Quidditch robes and boasted “Irish Dominate with New Head Coach!” The compartment was filled in with another red headed girl, a blonde boy - whose startling blue eyes seemed not to focus on anything particular - and a dark haired girl, buried in a book. While this compartment was quiet, the feeling was warm and comfortable. The dreamy boy whistled quietly and reached for the hand of the girl reading the book.
The witch with the food cart asked the four if they needed anything, they replied no. The short-haired girl said, “Everything ‘s fine here.”
Outside, smoke billowed from the scarlet engine. The chatter of excitable young people filled the platform. A tall, pale boy boarded a coach near the end of the train. His face seemed drawn, as if many thoughts swirled behind his clear, gray eyes. Eyes too hollow for a boy so young to claim.
As he walked down the corridor, he slid back the door to one compartment. Inside was another slight boy and a red-headed girl. He nodded in salutation to them, and they greeted him casually. Sitting down near the window, the blonde boy fixed his eyes on nothing outside the window.
The falling snow outside the window gave the impression of peace and tranquility as it covered the trees and fields outside with a blanket of sparkling flakes. As the boy watched with unseeing, uncaring eyes, the snow caused his breath to fog on the glass. As he watched the fog butterfly stretching its wings over the pane, he pushed away a dull aching in his chest. Things were as they always were for this boy, pushed aside and compartmentalized. Nothing truly remarkable ever stayed in his life very long. Most of the time it was his fault. He mused silently that it seemed his life was a never ending present past.
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