"He what?" Gemma asked, her egg-laden fork midway between her plate and her mouth.
"Don't make me say it again," I said, running my hand over my face. I hadn't gotten much sleep. Shock and confusion can do that to you.
"Well, did you feel anything?" Gemma asked.
"I don't know," I said. Had I? It was nice, amazing even, "I kind of forced myself out of it."
"Well, when you figure it out, be sure to let me know," she said, taking a bite only to realize that the eggs had fallen from her fork a good ten seconds ago.
"Figure what out?" Lily asked, sliding in next to us.
"Nothing," I said gloomily, nibbling the edges of my toast.
"It'll be alright, Rosie," Lily said, rubbing my back sympathetically. Lily made me want to cry sometimes, she did. I don't suppose that you're supposed to pick favorites in a family, but at this moment I loved her best. Sometimes I wished that mom and dad would adopt her. She didn't deserve to live with a pest like James.
"Thanks, Lil," I said, taking a sip of orange juice.
"Is it him?" Lil asked, gesturing down the table to where Luke was glancing at us darkly when he thought that we weren't looking. He was mad because Gemma had told him to bug off when he came to tell me good morning and I hadn't come to his aide.
"Who?" I asked, "Oh, heck no. He's the least of my problems."
"Then why do you date him?" Scorpius asked, making me jump. His voice wasn't hurt or accusing, but rather playful. Was this all a game to him?
"Dear Merlin, you scared me," I said, sliding over so that Lorcan could sit beside me, "And you're one to talk."
"You need to be more careful," he said, "We're supposed to be married, remember? If Lorcan sees you with another guy, it's going to confuse him."
I opened my mouth to retort, but then realized that he had a point. "Alright. I will."
Scorpius shrugged and walked off, without so much as a good-bye to Lorcan.
"Dada go?" he asked, looking up at me.
"Yep," I said, helping him take a sip of juice, "Dada go."
There was something oddly therapeutic about holding a sleeping toddler. His poor little cheeks were flushed with fever and his hair was slick with sweat. He had been throwing up for a few hours now, but he had finally fallen asleep.
I hummed softly and rocked him back and forth while pacing the apartment, trying to clear my head. Usually I was good at sorting out my emotions. The fact that I couldn't do that now scared me.
Scorpius and I had disliked each other for years. Our favorite pastime had been one-upping each other. Then with this project, we had been forced to leave that behind and actually work together.
When he kissed me, I felt more than I cared to admit. The question was: why had he done it?
I didn't want to think ill of him after how close we had become since this project started, but I couldn't help but wonder if this was some sort of game to him. Was I just another notch on his bedpost; a girl to be taken as a trophy? I hated to think that about him, but it was the only logical conclusion that I could come to.
Because I was sure that he could never have feelings for me.
I was Rose Weasley. He was a Malfoy. His father would skin him alive if he knew that we were friends, much less that he kissed me. It just wasn't done.
And, to be completely honest, I was scared. I had never felt an emotion of this magnitude before and I wasn't sure what it meant. I liked to be in control. Right now, I wasn't.
I was dating Luke, but he wasn't the one I wanted. It wasn't supposed to work that way.
I heard the front door open and shut and a bag drop on the floor. There was a knock on the nursery door and it opened slowly.
"Rose?" I turned around to face Scorpius, no matter how much I didn't want to. I would have to face him sooner or later, "What's wrong?"
It took me a moment to realize that he was talking about Lorcan.
"He started running a fever not long after lunch and started throwing up as soon as we stepped into the apartment," I said.
"Oh, god, I'm sorry," Scorpius said, "If I had known--"
"Then what?" I asked, a little more snappily than I had intended, "You would have missed classes, too. I was fine."
Scorpius winced at my tone and crossed the room to look under the changing table, "Did you give him anything?"
"No," I said, "There's nothing there. I figured I'd take him to the hospital wing if it hasn't run its course by tomorrow."
Scorpius nodded and leaned on the windowsill, watching me with a curious expression on his face. I was suddenly very self-conscious, though I told myself it was stupid.
"Why do you date him?" he asked after a while.
"He's nice," I said, "Gem and Al think it's a good idea, so…"
"Do you think it's a good idea?" he asked. I turned my face away. I didn't know the answer.
"I'm sorry," he said, "For what happed with Mel and with us. I--"
"No," I said, shaking my head, "Let's just be friends."
"Rose," he said, his voice pleading. With a huge force of will, I kept myself from looking into his eyes.
"No," I said, louder, "I can't talk about this right now. I can't…"
I heard him cross the room, and could feel the heat radiating off of him as he stood in front of me.
"Rose, look at me," he said gently, lifting my chin to meet his eyes, which were soft, "It's okay."
He leaned down and kissed the top of my head, then he gently lifted the sleeping Lorcan out of my arms and turned away from me.
All that I had ever wanted was standing right in front of me, but I was too afraid to take it.
Instead, I went into the bathroom, locked the door, turned on the shower, sank to the tile floor, and had a good, long cry.
"Mummy?" something poked my forehead and I batted it away, "Are you awake?"
I turned over and looked at the clock: 5:17.
"I am now," I said, rubbing my eyes. Sitting on the edge of the bed was Lorcan, though he was definitely not the same Lorcan that I had put in bed last night. He was older, around six, and he was looking at me with a blissfully happy expression.
"Can I go wake dad?" he asked, brushing his bangs out of his face. I made a mental note to trim his hair.
"Why?" I asked, getting up and grabbing clothes from my drawers.
"So that we can go down to breakfast together," he said, playing with the edge of my comforter.
"Breakfast doesn't start until six, love," I said, yawning, "Go find something to play with."
With a contented sigh, I stepped under the shower's warm spray. This was really the only time that I had to myself now, and I intended to enjoy it.
I did wonder, though, how this new stage in Lorcan's life would go. He would probably be more rambunctious and vocal. I hoped that I was up to the challenge.
There was a muffled thump from the front of the house, but after a few moments of silence I thought nothing of it.
Then there was a crash as the bathroom door was rammed open and a shriek as something hit the wall with a heavy thump. I turned off the water, grabbed my towel from over the curtain, and wrapped it around me securely. Then I stepped out of the shower.
Lorcan lay on the floor, his face a mixture of shock and ecstasy. His toy broom lay broken beneath him. There was a large dent in the wall and the door had been all but blown off of its hinges.
"What the--?" Scorpius asked, stepping in the doorway, wand drawn.
"I told you that this broom was a stupid idea," I said, bending over Lorcan, "Sweetie, are you alright?"
"Can I do it again?" he asked, his eyes bright.
"No," I said, laughing, "Go get some clothes on."
He nodded and left the room, holding his broken broom in his arms. I sighed and looked at Scorpius, who was looking down at me with an odd longing expression on his face.
I looked down to where his eyes were. Dear god. I was in a towel, which had slipped down a bit lower than I had intended. I was certain that my face was the color of a tomato.
"Get out," I shouted, shoving him and slamming the door.
My nerves were so fried that I couldn't even enjoy the rest of my shower.
"You look nice," Luke said as I crossed the entrance hall to where I was waiting. I looked down at what I was wearing: jeans and a simple form-fitting green t-shirt.
"You're mad," I said, taking his hand.
"Where are we going?" he asked as I led him down an empty corridor.
"Don't get too excited," I said, sure that he was picturing an empty classroom. Is that all that boys cared about?
I stopped in front of a portrait of a bowl of fruit and ticked the pear, causing the portrait to swing open. Inside, the kitchen was bustling with activity. House elves scurried too and fro, cleaning up the remains from dinner and already preparing for breakfast the next morning.
"Rose Weasley!" they squeaked as I approached, "We haven't seen you in a long time, Rose Weasley!"
"I'm sorry, guys," I said, looking down into their overly excited faces, "I've been busy."
"Pudding?" a house elf named Posie asked, holding out two bowls.
"Thank you," I said, grabbing a bowl and hopping up on one of the counters. I motioned for Luke to follow suit.
"This is an…" he said, looking around the kitchen quizzically, "Interesting idea for a date."
"I like it here," I said, shrugging and eating a spoonful of pudding, "It's where I come when I want to be alone."
"This doesn't look very 'alone' to me," he said, picking up his dangling feet to avoid a collision with a house elf carrying a tea tray.
"You think you can do better?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, yes," he said, tracing small circles around my hand, "You, me, an empty classroom..."
"Not exactly my idea of romantic," I said bluntly.
"And this is?" he asked, gesturing to the chaos around us.
"There's more to romance then snogging," I said defensively, taking my hand from his, "And I can't chance another fiasco like the other day-"
"You mean with Malfoy?" Luke asked, perturbed, "What does he matter?"
"I could care less about Scorpius," I said, the lie tasting bitter as it left my mouth, "It's Lorcan that I--"
"Lorcan, Lorcan, Lorcan," he said, throwing his hands up in the air, "It's always Lorcan. What about me?"
Dear lord, grow up, I thought. I didn't have to deal with this. I really didn't. But I couldn't bring myself to end it, either.
"I'm sorry," I said, hating myself as soon as the word left my mouth, "It's just that school is really important to me, and--"
"It's okay," he said, picking up his abandoned pudding bowl, "But I get to pick the venue next time."
A/N: So this fic may end up being shorter than I intended. But we'll see! I'm going to try and submit as much of this as I can before the queue closes. But anyways. How are we feeling about Luke at the moment? Review, loves!
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