Chapter 22 : Cry And Cry Again
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“But I don’t want to live with Dad.”
“It’ll just be for a couple of months.”
“But I don’t want to! Do I have to?”
“I thought you liked spending time at your Dad’s?”
“They don’t like when Ollie barks and they get mad at her!”
“Ollie can stay here and you can visit her.”
“I want Ollie to come with me!”
“Fine, she can go with you!”
“Why am I not allowed live here anymore?”
“...Your Dad wants to spend lots more time with you. Because he loves you so much, just like I do.”
“But I want to stay here!”
“Well you can’t!”
Do not let him see you cry.
I take a deep breath before continuing. Aidan looks so hurt that I’ve shouted at him, but he’s not a crier. At least one of us is strong.
“I’m sorry,” I sigh, feeling the lump in my throat getting bigger and bigger, “I don’t like this any more than you do...”
Mum and Dad are waiting outside the flat. They’ve given me time alone to explain the situation to Aidan, then they’re helping me pack his things.
“I want to live with you!” Aidan pleads, “Please Mum! I’ll be good!”
“Aidan, you are good,” I tell him, “It’ll only be for a few months, I promise! And I’ll see you every day.”
He gives me a look that is a mixture of hurt and anger. This is the first time in his life Aidan has ever given that look and it kills me that I’m the one who’s causing him so much pain. I’m supposed to protect him from pain.
I lift him onto my knee and hold him close. His blonde hair is so soft. “I’m so sorry,” I whisper to him. I can only whisper now. If I speak he’ll hear the shaking in my voice. “I love you so much. You know that, don’t you?”
“Why can’t you and Dad live together?”
“You know why.”
Mum and Dad knock before coming into the living room. I can tell that they are trying to hide their anger from Aidan, but it’s just radiating from them. Mum looks on the verge of tears. Dad looks ready to punch something.
“Aidan, shall I help you pack up your things?” Mum asks him softly, and takes him by the hand. As they head off to his bedroom, Dad sits down on the sofa beside me and throws his arm around my shoulders. And now that Aidan is gone, I allow myself to cry.
“Had a word with Tom Fox just now, said he’d drop in later to see how you’re doing. He’s a good man,” says Dad. I plan on locking the door and turning off the lights if he comes round. “He said that the only reason the Wizengamot is giving Malfoy full custody is because they can’t judge his fathering skills on a long-term basis or some crap like that. He won’t get full custody forever.”
This really doesn’t console me. What if he is a better parent than me? He has a better flat, a wife, a better job. As of today, I have nothing. If the Wizengamot discover that Scorpius is a better parent, I will lose Aidan forever. He’ll spend more time with Daisy than with me, and he’ll start to think of her as his real mother. I’ll be his weekend mother.
“You’ve always been a good kid, Rosie,” Dad tells me, “You’ll win this. I know you will.”
“Thanks, Dad,” I mumble, knowing full well that the only reason he’s saying this is because he has to. I’m his only daughter, the apple of his eye, his first born child – if he isn’t rooting for me, nobody is.
Mum and Aidan come back into the living room, Mum holding Aidan’s bags and Aidan’s holding Bob-The-Quaffle. He still looks upset with me. I don’t know if he’ll ever stop being upset with me. It occurs to me that I should have just told him he’s going on holidays to his Dad’s house for a few weeks. If I hadn’t used the word ‘live’ – he has to live there – he probably wouldn’t have gotten so upset.
He’s just going on holidays.
That makes it a bit better.
“I’ll collect you from school tomorrow,” I tell him, “How does that sound?”
He shrugs. It’s not enough. I didn’t think it would be. “And we’ll get some ice-cream?” I suggest.
“Ok,” he replies blankly. If ice-cream doesn’t cheer him up, I have absolutely nothing. Ice-cream was created to make even the worst of mothers feel good for a little while.
Because I know Scorpius will be here any minute, I put the leash on Ollie, who barks happily at the thought that she’s going for a walk. I’m even going to miss her, despite the fact that I have to bring her outside all the time and she never shuts up barking. Anything would be better than the silence that’s going to fill the flat now.
Mum and Dad stay until Scorpius arrives, and he asks them if they could bring Aidan to his apartment. He wants to talk to me. Mum and Dad agree to take Aidan over, for his sake. Not for Scorpius. I know that no matter what happens my parents will forever hate Scorpius Malfoy from now on; Dad was never too pushed on him anyway.
I hug Aidan goodbye. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” I tell him, and kiss him. He simply nods. He knows that nothing he can say will change anything.
When they have left, Scorpius and I stand in my living room looking at each other. We’re both quiet for a few minutes. He still has an infuriatingly pitying look on his face, the same one he wore after the hearing ended. It makes me want to punch him.
“This got way out of hand,” he says eventually. “I...I never really meant to hurt you.”
This makes me laugh. A horribly bitter laugh. “You’ve taken the only thing that matters to me. How can you say you didn’t want to hurt me?”
He has the decency to look ashamed. “You’re right. And I’m sorry...I just needed to.”
“Needed to what?”
“I needed to hurt you.”
“I needed you to stop loving me!” he exclaims, “I needed you to move on.”
“Well done,” I say coldly, “Mission accomplished.”
He looks surprised. “Really?”
“You’ve taken Aidan from me. I don’t think I could hate you more than I do right now.”
“You know I never asked for full custody. I’m not trying to take him away from you, Rose, I just want to see him more often!” And so we’re back to this argument. I don’t have the energy to fight with him, so I say nothing. “You can come over whenever you want. I’m not going to ask for full custody at the next hearing.”
“Bully for you.”
He knows he’s not going to get a dignified conversation from me. Not when I’m so close to crying. So he turns to leave. “I’m going to go. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I don’t respond. “Rose, I’ll always have feelings for you. But I’m trying to move on, and to do that I need you to move on too. That’s why I needed to hurt you.”
Somehow he has managed to make this whole mess my fault. Throwing the blame on me has always been a true talent of his.
The next few days in the flat are some of the loneliest and quietest I’ve ever experienced. I consider so many times picking up the phone and calling Jenny, but I don’t have the guts to do it. It’s been so long since we’ve spoken, and she obviously has nothing to say to me. Al stopped by the day after the hearing to make sure I was doing alright, as did Teddy. But they’re just not the same as her. Jenny always knows the right thing to say. I miss our friendship so much, and I know she has to miss me too. Being pregnant isn’t easy, but I can’t imagine how hard it would have been if I didn’t have her standing behind me the whole way through it.
I’ve seen Aidan after work every day so far. I’ve brought him for ice-cream, brought him to Diagon Alley, brought him to the zoo, but nothing seems to be cheering him up. I do my best to avoid saying anything to Scorpius and Daisy when I see them. It’s too difficult, especially when I’m imagining what their heads might look like impaled on a large spike.
And yet, given the huge rocking my whole world has gotten in the last few days, life goes on. Brian so brutally reminds me of this when he stops by my flat after work one day to tell me that his wife wants to get back together with him.
“I don’t know what to do,” he states, “I really like Dom...”
“Then stay with her.”
“But my wife and I have such a history. We were really happy during the good times.”
“When she wasn’t sleeping with your brother you mean?”
Brian sighs heavily. A few weeks ago I might have cared more about his predicament. Right now I couldn’t give a toss. “Look,” I continue, “You asked me to set you up with Dom and I did. But I won’t dump her for you. Do your own dirty work.” If I thought Dom really liked him I’d be more bothered by this. But I’m really not sure if she even likes him all that much.
Brian gives me a sympathetic look and I realise that the only reason he’s dumping his personal problems on me is to distract me from my own. “You’re going to win the next hearing,” he tells me confidently.
“I don’t know why everybody keeps saying that.”
“Because you’re a brilliant mother,” he says. I haven’t told him that he’s part of the reason I lost the first hearing. I haven’t told him that Scorpius thinks there’s something between me and Brian. And I haven’t told him that I sort of resent him for it all, despite the fact that he’s done absolutely nothing wrong.
I’m very glad to be by myself when Brian finally leaves. Everybody seems to think that dropping in on me will make me feel less lonely, make me forget the fact that Aidan’s not here. It doesn’t. In fact, people rallying around me so much just emphasises it.
When the phone rings, I decide not to answer it. Having to endure another conversation with Mum about my feelings, or a lecture from Nana Molly about eating properly, or a rant from Dom about how much of a bastard Scorpius is, is more than I can bear. Even at work I just keep my head down to avoid the pitying glances the girls keep giving me. I hate that everybody knows my business. I hate that my business has been printed in nearly every magical newspaper there is.
However, my decision to ignore phone calls turns out to be a rather bad one; Al turns up at my flat twenty minutes later. Really, he’s probably the best one I could hope for. Al knows the right things to say. He knows how to cheer me up.
“Jenny had a miscarriage,” he tells me as soon as I open the door.
He looks awful, like he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He’s shaking, and he’s clearly been crying. “I don’t know what to say to her, Rose. I need you.”
I hug him. It’s my first impulse. He looks like he needs to be held. “I’m sorry, Al.”
“We just found out today,” he mumbles in a strained voice. “The doctor said it wasn’t anyone’s fault...it just happened...”
“Is Jenny by herself?”
“Yeah,” he nods, “You wouldn’t answer the phone, so I had to come over. You need to talk to her. I’m really crap in these situations.”
I grab my keys, turn off the lights with my wand and apparate with Al over to his place. Jenny’s sitting in the kitchen, nursing a mug of tea at the table. She’s staring off into nothingness, but unlike Al, she doesn’t look like she’s been crying. I feel nervous as I approach her, wondering if she has possibly forgiven me yet for ruining her wedding day. It’s hard to even know if she’s realised I’m here.
“Jen, Rose is here,” Al says softly, placing his hand on her shoulder. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like the adoration Al has for Jenny. He worships her and he always has. Their relationship has always been so normal, so pure and I’ve always been a little bit jealous of it. What I’d give to be in a normal relationship, not fuelled by drama or arguments. Even when Scorpius and I were together, I’m not sure our love ever even came close to the love Al and Jenny share. Love like that is exceptional; I don’t think everybody deserves it. I definitely don’t.
“Jenny?” I sit down on the chair beside hers. “Oh Jen, I’m so sorry.”
Jenny’s eyes finally focus and she looks at me. For a fleeting second I’m terrified she’s about to spit on me and tell me to get out of her house. But she doesn’t. She smiles weakly and her eyes fill up with tears and before she can start crying, I hug her like I hugged Al, simply because she looks like she needs it. Al leaves us alone; I’ll get James or Scorpius to talk to him later.
“We were so excited,” Jenny sobs. “I know it was too early, but we’d picked out n-names. Rebecca for a girl, William for a boy.”
“Those are lovely names,” I tell her. We’ve stopped hugging now, but I’m still holding her hand.
“I started bleeding a few hours ago. I knew before the Healer told me. I felt it.”
“I can’t imagine what you’re going through.” I can feel tears forming in my eyes too. Why did this have to happen to Jenny? She’s a good person – no, she’s a fantastic person. And Al too. I deserve all of the pain inflicted on me. This just seems sadistic.
“It’s all my fault,” Jenny whispered.
“Stop it!” I cry, “This is not your fault!”
“It is. When I first found out I was pregnant, I wished I wasn’t. I didn’t want a baby.”
“That’s really not how it works,” I tell her firmly. “D’you think I wanted a baby?” Maybe that’s why I’ve lost my baby too. Of course not in the extreme way Jenny has. I can’t help but feel extremely lucky; at least I know my baby is safe.
“I heard about the custody hearing,” says Jenny, “And I think it was a rotten thing for Scorpius to do. And if you need anything at all, I’m here.”
“Jenny, you have no idea how much that means to me,” I sob, now realising that we are both in tears. “And I’m so sorry about what happened at your wedding.”
“Forget about it!” she sobs back, “I have! I was stupid –”
“No, I was stupid!”
“No, I was –”
“Jenny, I nearly forgot your veil, my son ruined your wedding cake, I snogged a married man among your wedding gifts, I screamed bloody murder at the bride -”
I notice now that between the tears, Jenny is laughing hysterically. This makes me burst into laughter, while still bawling my eyes out. Al comes rushing into the kitchen, and at first thinks we’re just crying – then he realises that we are in fact two mentally insane people.
“I can’t believe we’re l-l-laughing!” I cry.
“I know! We’re fucking idiots!”
“J-Jenny! You swore!”
This makes us laugh even more, with a few unladylike snorts thrown in for good measure. Al simply shakes his head at us in confusion and heads back into the living room.
“Oh Rose, I missed you so much!”
“I missed you too. Let’s never fight again.” Jenny raises her eyebrows at me sceptically. “Fine, let’s never fight for this long again.”
“Agreed,” Jenny smiles, wiping her eyes. I know I haven’t fully cheered her up. She hasn’t forgotten about her miscarriage, and I haven’t forgotten about losing Aidan. But one thing is for sure: even the most devastating of situations can be made that little bit better with a friend by your side. And if it’s not made better, well you can just laugh your arse off anyway.
Because Scorpius, James and I are the only ones who knew about Jenny’s pregnancy, we are the only ones who can comfort Al and Jenny after the miscarriage. However, Scorpius and I seem to be the only ones doing any of the work. When I go to Al and Jenny’s house the day after the miscarriage Scorpius is there, but I choose to be civil with him for their sake. They don’t want to hear us squabbling, and to be honest, I’ve had enough of our squabbling too. He’s not the person he once was, or the person I thought he once was, and I’ll just have to accept that.
However, my placid demeanour soon wears off when Al announces that James hasn’t been around at all to see them, nor has he phoned or checked in on them. Al merely left a message on James’s answering service. Panic is first to strike, and I see it flash across Scorpius’s face too. Because Al has been away for so long, he doesn’t know the full extent of James’s behaviour these days. When Scorpius and I were cleaning his flat, it was so blatantly obvious that James hadn’t been eating much, but drinking plenty. I suddenly get an image of James lying dead on the floor of his apartment.
“I completely forgot, I have to head over to Mum and Dad’s. Mum wants me to look through some things for her campaign,” I announce, jumping up from my seat. Al and Jenny look very surprised. “I’ll be back in about an hour?”
“I have to go too,” Scorpius announces, “Have to mind Aidan, Daisy’s going into work tonight.”
Two blatant lies, but Al and Jenny seem to buy them. In fact, I get the feeling that they might be slightly relieved that we’re leaving. I’m sure they want to be by themselves for a while.
As soon as we get outside Al and Jenny’s, Scorpius and I voice our inner fears.
“We have to get over there,” says Scorpius straight away.
“What if he’s dead?”
“He’s not dead.”
“How do you –”
“Rose,” Scorpius looks at me firmly, “He’s not dead.”
For some unknown reason, I believe him, even though he knows just as much as I do that it is a strong possibility that James could be dead, or at least unconscious. We apparate together to James’s apartment – it’s only been a week and I can’t remember how I got along without being able to apparate – and I start banging on the door.
“James! Open up!” I cry.
Scorpius is biting his fingernails, a habit that seriously ticks me off despite the fact that I do it myself. When there is no reply after ten seconds, Scorpius bangs on the door much harder. “James, open the fucking door or I’ll break it down!”
He finally opens the door, standing before us in nothing but boxer shorts with one eye open. “Where’s the fucking fire?” he grumbles.
“Oh, so you’re not dead,” I observe, “Because that’s the only excuse I’m willing to except for your absence at Al and Jenny’s!”
“Do you have to talk so loud all the time?” James asks, “I’m standing right here.”
“Al said he left a message for you. About the baby,” says Scorpius. “Why didn’t you call him, mate?”
“Don’t you ‘mate’ him!” I cry angrily.
“Oh yeah, got the message,” says James.
“And?” I spit.
“You know I’m shit in these situations. Best let it lie for a while.”
Scorpius and I are united in disgust at my cousin. “I can’t believe you, James,” I snarl, “I really can’t. I always knew you were an insensitive prick, but Al needs you! If you don’t get your arse over there right now he’ll never forgive you! And I’ll never forgive you either!”
“You’re doing my head in, Red,” James yawns, “I’m really not in the mood.”
“You can’t be serious,” Scorpius frowns. “You’re really not going to say anything to him?”
James looks at us both angrily. I can’t help but wonder where the hell my happy-go-lucky cousin has gone to. He’s not half the person he used to be.
“I don’t remember asking for your opinions,” James snaps, “So do me a favour; mind your own business.”
He slams the door in our faces.
A/N: Why is James such an idiot? Is Scorpius as bad as we think? Why was Brian randomly thrown in there? All shall become apparent....before the end of the story?? Should be another 10 - 15 chapters! :D
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