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Chapter 17 : Hello Goodbye
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It’s one of those really annoying things; when you want time to go fast, be it because you’re going through a difficult time in your life, or are looking forward to something, it always drags by. Similarly, if you’re absolutely loving life, it has a nasty habit of flying by right before your eyes.
That was to be said for the month of April, which sped past so quickly I couldn’t quite believe it. Before anyone knew it, it was time for Al and Frankie’s leaving party, and that meant May, which meant it was nearly summer, which meant it was over a year since Mark had proposed. I couldn’t believe how my life had come so full circle in what felt like such a short space of time.
I wasn’t the only one who was wishing time would stop all together; summer in the Finnegan household meant the last few months of Allie being at home everyday; she was starting at Muggle Primary School in August.
“She’s just a baby,” Megan complained to me as we walked through the warm, bright Muggle shopping centre, Allie in the middle of us, holding a hand each.
I smiled from my best friend, to my god-daughter, who was totally immersed in staring at a toy-shop window we were passing. This was a little bit of an exaggeration; Allie would be turning five next month, the normal age for children to start school.
“She’s nearly five,” I laughed.
Megan pouted sadly. “She’s only a baby,” She said again quietly.
“I’ll be fine Mummy!” Allie said, grinning up at her Mum. “I can’t wait for school!”
“See,” I said, ruffling Allie’s hair. “That’s the attitude you want, Megs.”
“Here we are,” She said, looking slightly resigned. We entered the brightly-coloured shop, where Megan had been recommended for Allie’s new school uniform.
“Okay,” She said, as we entered. “Allie, do you remember what you need?”
Allie nodded happily. “A grey skirt, and white shirts, and a blazer, and a grey cardigan for when it’s cold, and smart black shoes.” She recited, having memorised the list with the help of her Daddy, who was far more positive about his daughter starting school than Megan.
“You’re forgetting one thing,” I told her, raising my eyebrows.
Allie frowned for a second, until her eyes lit up in recognition. She screwed her features up into a look of dislike she had inherited from Steven.
“A tie,” She muttered, looking put-out. “Why do I have to wear a tie? Girls don’t wear ties; boys wear ties, like my Daddy and my Granddads and Uncle Al!”
“Girls wear ties to school,” Megan informed her, as we made our way over to the skirts first. “And when you go to Hogwarts you wear a special tie for your house.”
Allie’s face suddenly lit up and she grinned. Like most magical children, she was completely obsessed by the idea of Hogwarts.
“What houses are there again?” She asked us.
“Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin,” Said Megan, holding a pleated grey skirt against Allie to measure the height.
Allie tugged my arm and I looked down at her. “What house were you and Mummy and Daddy in, Aunt Rose?”
“We were all in Gryffindor,” I told her, smiling. “And so was Auntie Dom.”
“Will I be in Gryffindor?” She asked, looking hopeful.
“Maybe,” Said Megan. “Nobody knows. It doesn’t matter what house you’re in anyway, they’re all good in their own ways.”
“What house was Scorfias in?”
“Scorpius was in Slytherin, so was Uncle Albus.” Megan said, rolling her eyes at my silent response.
Allie seemed to consider this. “Slytherin must be good then,” She decided. “But I think Gryffindor is the best, that’s where I want to be.”
Megan and I grinned at each other, and I secretly hoped Allie would be a Gryffindor come her sorting in six years time; in fact I was about one hundred percent sure she would be.
“Allie I found your tie!” Said Megan, who was scanning the glass case which displayed all the school ties for the local areas. Allie and I went over to see the royal blue tie, with thin silver, diagonal stripes.
“Yuck!” Said Allie. “I’m going to look like a boy!”
“No you won’t,” Laughed Megan. “Come on we can get you silver and blue ribbons to match.”
I noticed that Megan’s smiles for her daughter did not quite reach her eyes, and I realised then just how difficult she must be finding this; from the age of seventeen, Megan’s life had been all about Allie. From that young age, just a sixth year, a schoolgirl, she had been with Allie; through the time when she hadn’t told anyone, till when I knew, to when she told Steven and he abandoned her, to her wedding; through all of it, the one person who was a part of her and there every step of the way was Allie – and now she would be losing her for six hours a day, five days a week. When I really thought about it, I couldn’t even believe Allie was starting school, so it must be ten times worse for Megan.
“Is Uncle Albus really going away?” She asked us after Megan had paid for the purchases and we were going to get Allie an ice-cream.
“Yeah,” Said Megan. “But just till the end of summer.”
“When I start school,” She said. “Where is he going?”
“Travelling,” I said. “He wants to see the world, so he and Frankie are going travelling together.”
“Will they get married?” She asked.
Megan laughed. “Maybe, one day. Who knows?”
“So if they do will they have a wedding?”
“Yeah,” Megan said, rolling her eyes at me. “You’ve got to have a wedding to get married, silly!”
“You had a wedding Aunt Rose,” She said. “But you didn’t get married.”
“That’s right,” I mumbled, awkwardly.
“Why didn’t you get married then?” She asked, frowning curiously.
“Um…well,” I stuttered. I looked desperately at Megan and she shrugged as if to say you’re on your own. “Sometimes people get confused Allie,” I said. “And they think that they want to get married when actually they don’t.”
“So you didn’t want to get married?”
“No I did!” I insisted. “But we – Mark and I…sometimes you can confuse feelings of deep affection for love and well…you know.”
Allie looked as though she didn’t have a clue what I was on about. Which she most likely didn’t. “So you didn’t love Mark?”
Megan smirked at me, clearly very proud of her daughter. “Well you see, I did love him and he loved me but we just rushed into things, Allie, we didn’t think about it properly and it was all too soon.”
Allie nodded. “Okay. So does that mean you might get married when you’ve thought about it properly?”
I sighed. “No, I’m not going to get married to Mark ever.”
“Oh,” She said. “Well I hope you get married to someone, Aunt Rose. I’d like to be flower girl again.”
I smiled at her, and didn’t say anything else. As the ice-cream parlour came into view Allie ran towards it and pressed her hands against the glass, trying to pick a flavour. Megan gave me an annoyingly knowing look and I shook my head. She laughed.
“Bravo,” She said. “That really was a first-class explanation for your four-year old god-daughter.”
“Shut it,” I muttered, as we reached Allie. “I don’t even understand my bloody love life, how the hell am I supposed to explain it to a four-year old?”
“You know I think I had it right back in sixth year,” Said Dom irritably, as she pulled a brush through her hair. “I think I will go lesbian.”
I laughed. “Yeah Dom, I’m sure you will.”
“Well why am I still bloody single?” She demanded.
“Because you’re so fussy that every half-decent guy who comes along you send away! Your standards are too high.”
She shrugged defiantly. “I won’t take some second-rate arsehole just because he’s available. I want someone perfect.”
“Believe me, if you got the perfect guy you’d think differently,” I told her. “I had him and I pushed him away, managing to convince him in the process that I was still in love with my very second-rate ex.”
“Well there you go then,” She said. “If that’s why I’m single why are you single?”
“That’s easy,” I smiled. “I’m the one with a failed attempt at marriage and an ex-boyfriend who makes me want to break his neck.”
Dominique grinned. “Well then why don’t you go out with someone different?”
I shrugged. “Maybe I don’t want to. And maybe I don’t want to completely rule out the miniscule possibility that I might just be totally and completely wrong about everything.”
Dom eyes me suspiciously. “Does that mean what I think it means?”
“What do you think it means?”
She grinned. “I think it means you are perhaps open to the idea that Scorpius might be the one for you. Do you think I might be right?”
I rolled my eyes. “I think we’re going to be late if we don’t move it now.”
She laughed and shook her head, as if to say I wasn’t fooling her. I dragged her downstairs and we apparated to The Leaky Cauldron, which Harry and Ginny had rented out to hold Al and Frankie’s leaving party. Dom and I were going together, considering neither of us had or particularly wanted dates.
The pub had been transformed into a beautiful staging area with cream lined tables and chairs and thick golden candles. Tom, the barman, had even dressed up for the event. The bar was about half-full when we got there, and Frankie and Al rushed over to us right away.
“I suppose I should say congratulations,” I said, hugging them both. “But I’ll miss you!”
“We’ll miss you too!” Said Frankie, holding Al’s hand.
I smiled warmly at her. During their short, six-month relationship I’d made an effort to get to know Frankie; she’d been in the same year as us at Hogwarts, but a Ravenclaw so we only really knew of each other. None of us had socialised in the same circles as Frankie at school, and we’d never have guessed she’d be joining the family nearly five years later.
However, I hadn’t been left disappointed; Frankie had fit in so easily; it made us all sure she and Albus were destined for each other. They’d only been together for six months, but it felt like ten years; the way they were together, it just looked like a happy couple who’d been together forever. I was unwaveringly happy for my cousin.
To them I’d shown the upmost support of their decision to go, mainly because I knew what it was like to be so sure of something even when people were telling you otherwise; I’d faced a similar reaction when I told the family I was marrying Mark.
I caught sight of my parents talking with Harry and Ginny, and Dom and I went over to say hi. Mum and Dad greeted me with a hug even though they’d only left the house half an hour before me. They reminded me daily how much they loved having me back home again, and at twenty-two I was enjoying the freedom that came with my age, combined with the comfort of being with my family.
“How are you two?” Asked Aunt Ginny, smiling at Dominique and me.
“Good,” I said and Dom nodded. “How are you feeling about Al going tomorrow?”
Harry shrugged. “There’s not really much we can do, it’s what he wants. We just hope he’ll be careful and responsible.”
“Oh course he will,” Said Mum, nodding encouragingly. I glanced at Dom who pointedly looked at the floor.
“I told him provided he doesn’t come back with Frankie three months pregnant, everything’s fine,” Said Aunt Ginny, looking horrified at the thought. Mum gave her an understanding look which I knew meant she agreed.
“So how about you?” Harry asked. “You’ll miss him I bet!”
“Oh definitely!” I said and Dominique nodded in agreement.
“He’s our little baby cousin!” She exclaimed, smiling sadly. “And the third musketeer – who will we make fun of for getting sunburn now?”
Ginny nodded. “It’s only three months,” She reminded us. “He’ll be back before we know it.”
“Speak of the devil,” Muttered Dad as Albus came wandering over to us, sipping his drink happily.
“Talking about how much you’ll miss me then?” He asked, grinning.
“You’d like that wouldn’t you!” Laughed Harry, punching his son’s shoulder playfully.
Al laughed then looked at us. “Come mingle with the young ones,” He said. “They’re all here now and I swear if you stay here much longer you’ll start getting wrinkles.”
Al’s parents, Uncle and Aunt all laughed at him as he steered us away to the other side of the room where a large table consisted of our generation, who had all gathered to say goodbye to Al and Frankie. I noticed Frankie’s best friend, Sarah, being cornered by James. I laughed as I distinctly heard her complain “You never phoned me back you arsehole!” I saw Megan and Stevie, who had clearly just arrived and looked soaking wet.
“It’s coming down like crazy,” Said Stevie, shaking the wet out of his hair while Megan scowled at her drowned-looking appearance.
Dom laughed. “I guess we’re getting the April showers in May then?”
Megan smiled and glanced at me. “Have you seen your ex?”
“Which one?” I muttered, nervously. Megan raised her eyebrows in such a way that I knew she meant Scorpius. I sighed as she came over to Dom and me and grasped each of our arms.
“Apparently,” She said in a lowered voice. “Albus did invite Mark but he passed on the invitation; said he had too much work. I got all this from Steven.”
“Oh right,” Was all I said. “So where is he?”
“Scorpius?” She asked, and I nodded. “Over there,” She said, motioning to the busy table which housed all of our and Frankie’s friends.
I glanced around her and saw Scorpius sitting talking animatedly to Steven and James. He caught my eye and smiled. I looked back at Megan hastily.
“Smooth,” Whispered Dom, earning her an elbow in the ribs from me.
“Come on,” Said Megan, pulling us back to the table. “We need to be with Al and Frankie tonight.”
The party was in full swing, full of all different kinds of celebrations; all the generations of Weasleys had gathered to see off Albus and Frankie, along with Frankie’s Mum and Dad who were mercifully getting on greatly with Harry and Ginny. Teddy and Victoire had come along with the baby, but only stayed for half an hour to wish Al well before getting home. Arthur was only two weeks old so they didn’t want him at the loud, busy party too long.
I found myself wedged in between my two adorably frustrating, favourite cousins; James and Al. We were currently, and very unsuccessfully, trying to convince Albus that we honestly weren’t going to miss him all that much. We were of course lying, and he didn’t believe us for a second.
“You just don’t realise how brilliant we are,” I said, rumpling his hair affectionately. “I really think you’re going to be suffering some serious withdrawal symptoms.”
“She’s dead on there, Al,” Said James seriously. “You’re never going to be able to manage it.”
He nodded. “It’s a travesty,” He joked and we all laughed.
It was then that Scorpius came over, carrying a pint for himself, Albus and James. He set them down in front of them, before leaving. I glanced at them, but before I’d had the chance to say anything at all he was back with a glass of something for me.
“I’d never forget your drink, Weasley.” He said, winking at me. I looked down at the table awkwardly, and I felt James tense beside me.
“So you going to miss me as much as these two then mate?” Asked Albus, clearly choosing to ignore the uncomfortable atmosphere around him.
Scorpius laughed. “Definitely. I’m just going to have to make do with Rose for company.”
I nodded but didn’t smile at his joke. This conversation was making me very uncomfortable.
Albus laughed. “I have instructed her to owl me when you two finally get back together.”
“Albus!” I exclaimed angrily.
“Sorry Rosie…I was just joking,” He said seriously.
“I wasn’t,” Said Scorpius. He wasn’t smiling either now. “So when do you think we’ll be sending that owl, Weasley?”
I set my drink, which I hadn’t taken a sip from, down onto the table and got up. I gave him a furious look before storming towards the door and out of the heaving pub, out onto the quiet street.
I leaned against the wall, breathing quickly. I felt an uncontrollable anger at Scorpius for being able to say those things to me. Megan and Steven, it appeared, had not been lying about the heavy rain. It was falling heavily, bouncing off the streets. I’d only been out here a few minutes and already my hair was starting to get heavier with wetness.
It didn’t take him long follow me, as I knew he would. What I didn’t expect however, was for him to grab me by the arm and pull me around the side of the building, to where it was mostly deserted. He stood several feet away from me and glared angrily.
“So what was that all about?” He demanded.
I frowned. “You need to ask?” I shouted. “How dare you say those things to me!”
“It was a joke Rose,” He muttered impatiently. “Why couldn’t you just laugh along with the rest of us?”
I felt anger boiling up to the surface and I worked hard to control it. “Because I didn’t find it funny!” I exclaimed. “You can’t just sit there and make comments like that as if we’re teenagers Scorpius! It’s not like that now and I won’t stand for it!”
The rain was pounding off of us, my hair now stuck to my head, soaking wet. I shivered, the thin material of the top I wore soaked through and sticking to my wet skin.
“You know what I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again,” He said, angrily. “I’m not going to tiptoe around you like you might break! I don’t give a shit if I hurt your feelings Rose because if that’s what it takes to get you back I’ll do it! That’s just the way it is.”
When I answered, I spoke in a softer tone. “I can’t,” I muttered. “Scorpius I…I was meant to get married! And you came and you stopped it and then Mark left and everything is such a mess! And I don’t know what to do!”
He looked at me sadly, as the raindrops ran down my cheeks along with my tears. He took a step closer to me, and his expression was one so tender, one I’d only seen a few times in my life, in these charged moments of our history.
“Just follow your heart you mental case!” He said, laughing shortly. “That’s all you can do.”
I shook my head. “It’s not that easy,” I told him. “I’ve made such a mess of my life and it’s like everyone’s just waiting for me to screw up again.”
He shrugged. “Then don’t screw up this time.”
“It’s not me I’m worried about,” I reminded him.
Scorpius threw his arms wide at his sides in frustration, screwing his face up. His hands balled into fists as he looked at me with a look close to desperation. His hair too was plastered to his head, its blonde shade turning darker as a result. His jaw was set, his eyes pleading.
“Stop judging me on who I used to be, and give me a chance to show you who I am now!” He shouted. “Or go back to Mark, or forget the both of us! Just for once in your life Rose make a bloody decision and stick to it!”
I felt tears welling up in my eyes, for our wasted chance, for the way we'd both made such a mess of something potentially wonderful. "It's just hard," I whispered. "It's all really hard."
He nodded, and I knew he understood. "I understand that," He said quietly, so that I could hardly hear him above the pouring rain. "But you need to know Rose, I don't care how long you make me wait...I know I've messed you about and I know I don't deserve a second of your time but you know what I'm selfish! And I want you."
He looked at me intensely, and I shivered. "And that's just the way it is."
With those words, in that moment, something triggered within me. And it was something that only Scorpius could do to me.
As I acted on impulse, I felt all the barriers I’d put up slip away, one by one. The security system I’d put around my heart after he left me, the pretence that I didn’t need him like I needed air to breathe – all slipped away in that one glorious, incomprehensible moment.
And like so many times before and yet somehow never quite like this, I threw myself towards him and met my lips with his at last.
And if I could have sighed in sweet relief, I would have. His strong arms constricting around me, one hand on my waist, one in my hair, was the feeling I’d been missing for three and a half years. And his lips; the kiss I’d missed for so long, the kiss I’d dreamed of so many nights.
I was in ecstasy as I pressed myself as close to him as I could and he held onto me tighter, our lips meeting and parting like we’d been made to kiss each other forever.
And he kissed me back, groaning in his victory at last, and it all clicked into place. Not only had I been lying to everyone else, but I’d been lying to myself all these years. Of course I missed him; of course I still wanted to be with him.
Of course I loved him. And the only person I’d been fooling was myself.
Finally, our wet, slippery arms sliding against each other, we parted. He held my face in his two hands and his expression was one of wonder. And I knew mine was too.
For having known someone for ten years, it was the first time I’d ever truly seen Scorpius Malfoy. I blinked as the rain continuously fell, dripping onto my eyelashes, running down my back.
Scorpius finally spoke, and it was no more than a whisper. “Wow,” Was all he could say, and I nodded in response.
In truth, ‘wow’ was pretty much the only expression that summed it all up.
I pressed my lips to his once more.
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