Chapter 7 : Breakdown
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Today was the day. Today was quickly becoming the worst day of my life. Cedric was lying to me and I knew it. And there was nothing I could do about it. Today the names would come out of the Goblet. Today the four champions would be announced. And Cedric would be ours. Well, our legitimate one.
I was glad my relationship with him was not on the rocks anymore, but I just couldn’t give myself in to loving him. I couldn’t just let him fall in love with me if this was the fate he had chosen for both of us.
I had had breakfast with him today too. He had waited for me outside the Great Hall, concerned surely that I would slip back into skipping meals if I wasn’t under constant vigilance. It had hurt me to sit with him knowing that he had lied to me the day before, that he had put his name into the Goblet being perfectly conscious of how scared I was and how much I had begged him not to. But no matter how hard he hurt me I still craved for him; for his grey eyes and big hands; for his warmth against my cheek whenever he reached out to play with my hair.
All day long I was aware of the time. I was aware of every single second during Snape’s class and I got used to measuring time by Cedric’s glances at me during Trelawney’s class, which seemed to happen every hundred and twenty seconds or so. I was getting used to Moody’s class though it infuriated me to know that he wasn’t the real Moody; that in a few months he would be partly responsible for Voldemort’s return; that in a few months he would be the cause of Cedric’s death. Why wasn’t Dumbledore doing anything? Where was his marvellous protection of his school, anyway?
And now we were both sitting together in the library. He was deeply concentrated on an Ancient Runes book I couldn’t understand a word of. I was practically lying down on my chair, my feet were on his lap (not a very good idea, I’ll admit) and I was cuddled with an old copy of the Quibbler Luna had given me. She had said I needed to relax a little. Seriously, how bad did I look? At exactly seven fifty-five he told me:
“It’s seven fifty-five,”
“Oh?” I said, looking as uninterested as I possibly could.
He removed my feet from his lap and looked at me intently in the eye. I backed away a little, frightened by the intensity of his eyes.
“Dinner,” he said.
“You know,” I said as nonchalantly as possible, “I think I might skip it tonight.”
I seriously did not want to go there. I knew what would happen. Couldn’t I just stay there, in the library, holding my Quibbler and crying softly in the dark? Was that too freaking much to ask?
“Oh no, you’re not,” he said, snatching the Quibbler away from my hands and grabbing me by the shoulders so that I would stand up. Damn seeker reflexes.
“Besides,” he said through a grin, “the Three Champions are announced tonight.”
He guided me by the waist all the way to the Great Hall and my table, surely to be certain I didn’t escape. When he had left me in Luna’s hands he walked away towards his own table. I thought for a second that even he thought he wouldn’t be chosen.
Please God, let him not be chosen.
Dumbledore arrived a couple of minutes later with Barty Crouch, who was carrying the Goblet. I guess I blacked out a little since I don’t really remember anything Dumbledore said, just the drumming beat of my heart and my desire not to be sitting in that Hall, in that table, with those people, waiting for the Goblet to announce that Cedric Diggory was Hogwarts’ champion.
They started with Beauxbatons. Women first, I guess. Just as I knew it would be, Fleur Delacour was chosen. Drumstrang was next and within seconds Viktor Krum had joined Fleur at the front of the Hall, both of them smiling widely at the hundreds of clapping people. My heart beat faster at the next one. I sincerely hoped it would not be him, even if somewhere inside me I knew he would be.
“And, representing Hogwarts,” Dumbledore said.
I found him between the moving heads of the crowd. They were all glancing around to see who had been the chosen one; who would be representing us in a stupid Tournament in which you could easily lose your life. I didn’t hear the words, though I knew they had been uttered. Cedric’s eyes found mine through the crowd and I felt in my heart he was sorry for what he was doing to me. He stared at my face for a few seconds before Susan Bones nudged him in the ribs and forced him to stand up. How I hated Susan Bones. I saw Cedric stand up and walk towards Dumbledore, who shook his hand. How could he let this be happening? Cedric kissed Fleur on the cheek to congratulate her and patted Viktor on the back. Had it not been for the pain that filled me, I admit it might have been a beautiful moment.
I didn’t see what happened next, Harry being chosen too and all. Once Cedric had taken his place with the other champions I stood up and managed to get to the main entrance of the Hall. For a second I swore I heard his voice in the crowd calling out to me. I couldn’t take another minute of this celebration of death. I ran as fast as my legs allowed me to until I got to the Ravenclaw Tower. I lied down in bed for a couple of hours staring at the ceiling without crying. It was as though I couldn’t cry anymore; like the tears I had reserved for Cedric had all run out and I was hollow, lying in an empty bed in the middle of an empty room, thinking about the emptiness I would definitely feel in a few months when I held Cedric’s dead body in my arms.
Hours later all the girls came back. Luna started jumping in my bed and told me all about Harry Potter and how he must have cheated.
“I don’t think he did, Luna,” I told her, barely listening, looking dead ahead at the wall.
Luna decided I must have been attacked by nargles again and forced me to stand up while she checked my pillow and covers. I didn’t really mind. I actually wished for the nargles to take me out of my misery. The girls chattered about Harry and Cedric for hours until they finally fell asleep. I couldn’t sleep anymore, so I lay under my blankets shaking like a mouse at the increasingly cold nights of September.
The room had been quiet for hours when I heard a shy tapping at our window. Since no one else seemed to hear it I got up and walked to the window to have a look at what was making the noise. Holding a little piece of parchment I found a tiny grey owl. I opened the window and let him in. I took the piece of paper from its beak and rewarded it with an entire cupcake Luna had brought me for dinner. While the owl nibbled at its prize I opened the note:
Meet me where we first met at midnight.
I checked my wristwatch and discovered that it was almost time. I closed the window deciding that the tiny bird might as well sleep in our room that night. I grabbed a thick sweater and left the room as quietly as I could, careful not to wake any of the girls. Though I thought it would be hard to get to where Cedric was waiting for me, I ran into nobody, not into Filch, Mrs. Norris or, my greatest fear, Snape. Soon I found myself standing in front of the doors of the Great Hall, leaning on which Cedric was waiting. He held the door open for me and waited until I was inside to close it behind him. I leaned back on the thick wooden doors.
“I can’t be here long, Ced,” I told him.
“It’s alright,” he said, “I won’t take long.”
He was pacing back and forth before me, as if he couldn’t quite decide how to start. Eventually he stopped and walked closer to where I was; he took my chin with his right hand and forced me to look him in the eye. I thought I was going to faint. I looked at him for no more than a couple of seconds and then looked away, releasing my chin from his grasp.
“Please don’t be mad, Gee,” he said, “I need you to be on my side right now.”
“I’m not mad, Ced,” I said. I really wasn’t, but I wasn’t on his side either.
“What’s the matter, then?” he said stroking my cheek. As if that would make anything better.
“I-I-” I stammered. I couldn’t quite figure out what way to put it. I didn’t want him to feel any worse; and yet, I knew that if I didn’t just tell him then I would feel much, much worse.
I kept quiet for about a minute, during which Cedric let the hand that was stroking my face fall and he backed away, as if knowing already that my answer would not please him.
“I begged you not to do it Cedric,” I said finally. Cedric breathed heavily and I could tell I had already exhausted him with my constant nagging, “I didn’t want you to.”
“My father wanted me to!” he yelled at me, making me jump and bump my head against the door, “This whole fucking school wanted me to!” he kept yelling. I wanted to back away but found the doors wouldn’t let me, “Why does nobody fucking care about what I want?” he yelled finally.
“What do you want, Cedric?” I asked him trying to refrain my voice from shaking.
“Who the fuck cares what I want,” he said, pacing back and forth once again, “You certainly don’t, Georgiana, you only know what you want me to do.”
It was the first time he had ever called me by my full name. It sounded beautiful coming from his lips, even if it came under these terrible circumstances.
“I just,” I stammered, “I don’t think you are fully aware of what you’re doing, Ced.”
In one swift movement of his feet he was standing right in front of me. He crashed his hand against the door on which I was leaning, his palm colliding with the wood just a few inches away from my face.
“Ced-” I said in surprise.
“I don’t know what I’m doing, huh?” he said ironically, “I have been fucking aware of every single one of my movements since I was five,” he said in a fierce whisper.
“Ced, please,” I begged him. Cedric Diggory was the last man on earth I ever thought would terrify me this way, and yet there I was, caught between the door and his body, shaking from head to toe.
“I have been fucking aware of everything since I was a child!” he started raising his voice, “Fucking aware of everything everyone expects me to do!”
He hit the door with his other hand, now leaving me really trapped between his body and the wooden door. I was shaking like a feather, my eyes closed. The yelling stopped as suddenly as it had come and I opened my eyes just to discover his face merely a few inches away from mine. I saw in his eyes the same expression I had often seen him wear around me, the expression I knew he had seen reflected in my eyes too.
“Let me go Cedric,” I said in as fierce a whisper as I could let out.
“No,” he said fiercely, his arms were still stretched at either side of my head and I was still very aware of this.
His left arm abandoned its position on the door and his hand found its way towards my neck. He took my hair out of the way and pulled me closer to his face; his right hand also abandoned its position and found its way to my waist. I felt him leaning closer to me and I supposed for a few seconds that this would be it, that my resistance had finally come to an end, here, in the angry, loving arms of Cedric Diggory. He closed his eyes before finally pulling me to his lips and I saw my only chance of escaping. My right hand rose to meet the one he had around my neck and I slowly lowered it, pushing it away from my body. He opened his eyes in surprise. My face was less than an inch away from his and yet I refused to kiss him.
“Let me go, Ced,” I told him in a whisper. His expression changed to one of utter confusion and what I hoped was not sadness.
“No,” he whispered. His right arm wrapped still tighter around me defiantly, “I am fucking tired of people telling me what to do.” I lowered my left hand and stopped him from pulling me closer. My eyes closed.
“Let me go,” I said. Finally I managed to disentangle my body from his and reached for the doorknob. I opened the door and left as calmly as I could, shaking with sobs until I got to my bed in the Tower.
Hello everybody! See, I promised things would get a little more physical. Sure, maybe it's cautious physical, but at least he's touching her! I hope you enjoyed the chapter and please leave comments! Got my first review ever this week and am so happy! This one, therefore, goes out to RoseParsons. Thanks for reading!
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