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Chapter 11 : Yuletide Heralds Jealousy
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No true love there can be without Its dread penalty--jealousy. ~Lord Lytton.
All talking ceased the second Rose made her presence known at the Burrow for the annual Christmas Eve celebration. This was possibly the one night Rose never took on events for. Not even the Weasley party. This night was left to her Grandmother and aunts and uncles. The sudden, deafening silence was confusing until a hand touched the small of her back and she remembered.
Of course. Rose had brought a date tonight. The first in three years.
She had no idea what had possessed her to do so. Actually, yes. She had a fairly good idea, even though she would deny to any and everyone who asked that it had absolutely nothing to with a certain pure-blood blonde.
And Rose being Rose, could do nothing halfway. So her date for the night was none other than Jaden Zabini. She had met him at the Auction a few weeks ago and had discouraged his outrageous flirting. But then she had seen him outside Madam Malkin's when she had been shopping for presents, accepted his invitation for coffee, and before she knew it she was asking him to the Weasley Christmas dinner.
Rose didn't miss a beat. She flashed her best 'I'm a Weasley, thus unconventional' grin, and stepped into the magically expanded room hand in hand with Jaden.
The first one to recover was her grandmother who hobbled over and pulled Rose into a death-like hug. No one else followed. They knew Rose better than to hug her.
“Hey everyone,” Rose waved gleefully, enjoying the attention a bit too much. There were a few greetings in response. “This is Jaden Zabini.” Ron choked, covering it up as a cough. “Jaden, meet...everyone.”
Jaden smiled, his sternly handsome face taking on a softer look at the expression. Gradually, everyone melted back into their own conversations, but they kept giving incredulous looks at Rose and Jaden. Rose immediately made a beeline for drinks, and Jaden followed, but soon enough he had seen the Malfoys, engaging in enthusiastic conversation with them since they were family friends. Rose was free to walk among her many family members and friends- some she hadn't seen in months- to catch up.
She kept a distant eye on Scorpius throughout the whole night, but did not approach him to talk. They hadn't seen each other since that sham of a meeting in her parent's kitchen three weeks ago: both sending their assistants to do their work. The whole ordeal had been acutely uncomfortable and highly embarrassing. She didn't have the courage to meet those icy-blue eyes without spiraling into incoherent ramblings, thus loosing her dignity in the process.
Her Gryffindor traits had slowly dissipated into slimy Slytherin ones over the years. Self-preservation had become a priority after the few, but harsh blows to her ego, pride, and sense of trust. Of course, the ambition, and thoroughly questionable favors she had pulled to get her business started might have had something to do with it.
She wouldn't risk all of those along with her tentative friendship with Scorpius for a the sake of some stupid attraction.
Even if it is a strong attraction, she thought as she passed by Aunt Audrey and Luna conversing in low whispers. Rose caught the words 'holdings' and 'bet'.
An attraction that was making itself very known as she watched Scorpius throw his head back and laugh at something Lysander was saying.
Lorcan and Louis had excused themselves a while ago to do...well, something she wouldn't mind a front row seat for.
Rose's idle thoughts didn't help as she observed Scorpius closely as he whispered something into Molly's ear. Did he have to bend so close?
A curious sensation curled up in her abdomen, snake-like tendrils reaching to her limbs, coiling and furling. Her instinctive reaction was spring through the air and plant herself firmly between her excessively flirtatious cousin and Scorpius. But she couldn't do that, of course. Instead, Rose contented herself with an internal snarl, and kept her face as passive as if she were at one of her 'darling teas' with prudish society ladies.
Rose took the moment of-anger? Jealousy? (When was the last time she had felt jealous over anything other than Albus?)- to observe everyone else in the room.
She had been right in bringing a date this year. Aside from the married couples- Teddy and Vic, Dom and Nate, Fred and Vanessa, Roxanne and Glen- there were the engaged couples: Lily and Chris and Lucy and Lysander, and of course Albus and Cely who were still at their conference. Then there was Hugo with his girlfriend whom Rose had met back in October, Katherin Keys, along with Louis and Lorcan. James was with Marissa.
Rose had been uncertain about the pairing in the beginning. Her main concern being James was on a radically different plane than Marissa. But Marissa had reassured her that she would be fine. And Rose had reassured her in return that should James toy with her, he would suddenly find himself unable to have children.
In fact, the only ones 'dateless' here were Molly and Scorpius. But they seemed to be getting on splendidly with each other, didn't they?
Rose bit back another jealously induced growl harshly, so much so that the coppery tang of bloody alerted her to stop biting the inside of her cheeks.
Rose sighed in bored exasperation. One thing was clear: Tonight was going to be long.
Very, very long.
Scorpius followed Rose out of the corner of his eyes surreptitiously, at the same time keeping one on Lily whilst carrying on in idle chatter with Molly. It was barely eight and Scorpius was already feeling taxed beyond belief.
Scorpius hadn't expected Rose to show up with a date. She never had in the past, after all. Why would she now?
“Scorpius, if you keep staring at Rose like that all night, I might just start feeling lonely,” Molly laughed. “Tell me, what is this brilliant plan Lily has come up with?”
“Ah, Mols, he would if he could, but I've forbidden him,” Lily sauntered over. “Can you imagine how soon Rose would find out, what with the rumor mill that keeps this family running?”
“She's here with a date,” Scorpius muttered sulkily, staring down at his glass of eggnog.
“Yes, that's quite unfortunate, isn't it?” Lily mused, looking across the room at Zabini.
Scorpius and him had gotten along decently in school even though they were in different houses. But the blonde wasn't feeling very friendly towards the ex-Slytherin right this moment.
“Yes, it bloody well is.”
“No, I mean for Jaden. It's unfortunate for Jaden.”
Molly smirked, “What have you got planned?”
“Nothing too grand. A little Weasley pranking-”
“And lot's of Potter plotting,” James spoke suddenly. Scorpius hadn't even seem him walk up to them. “Poor bloke won't know what hit him, right Fred?”
Scorpius licked his lips in anticipation, but he couldn't look approving just yet. He had to show some semblance of Malfoy restraint among the Weasleys after all. “First, pranking is not a word, and second, what are you going to do?” Scorpius stared at the two best friends. He vividly remembered Fred and James' pranks from their Hogwarts days.”
They were Fred and George Weasley reincarnated. At least in spirit, since-you know- George was still alive. Or as James liked to say James Potter the first and Sirius Black reincarnated since both were dead.
“You'll see, little Malfoy.” And James patted his head before leaving the room with Fred to converse in hushed tones.
But Scorpius never saw.
Oh, he knew they said or did something alright. But he never actually heard a first hand account.
All he knew was that Fred and James had taken Jaden out to the garden for half an hour, and when he returned he looked pale and shaken. He left soon after that muttering a low apology to Rose, insisting that she stay.
Judging by the pursed lips and hard stares Rose was directing at a chortling James and Fred, Scorpius was extremely glad he didn't know what they had done to Zabini. However, Scorpius couldn't deny himself a hearty laugh when the ex-Slytherin gave a frightened glance at all the Weasley cousins before scampering out of the Burrow.
Scorpius saw Rose being questioned by her mother about Zabini's sudden departure. Rose shook her head exasperatedly, rolled her eyes in Fred and James' direction, and muttered something to Hermione with a smirk.
Maybe...maybe she's not as disapproving bar the glowers- but even they looked forced, didn't they?
But Scorpius didn't have time to wonder about Rose's reaction because Molly had leaned in to whisper something about what Zabini could do with himself, his behind, and...sandpaper? Or was that pudding?
Neither sounded pleasant, but Scorpius laughed anyway since it wasn't happening to him.
His eyes involuntarily searched the room once more as he ignored the current conversation about a bet running in the Weasley family (probably about George's new inventions). This time, they locked onto Rose's hazel ones sharply. There was a moment during which the noise of the Burrow diminished to nothingness when Rose's lips- Merlin, what he wouldn't give to touch those lips?- twitched up in a painfully slow smile. Scorpius' breath caught in his throat, he licked his suddenly dry lips and forced himself to stop gaping like a gormless bear. He gave a smile of his own, albeit it wasn't as hesitant as hers had been. She seemed to take that as an invitation and began to make her way across the room.
Out of the corner of his eye, Scorpius saw Lily flick her wand and the joke mistletoe that Weasley's Wizarding Wheeze's produced floated over to where Scorpius was sitting. Next to Molly.
He only briefly saw the sly grin on Lily's face before she pointed and said, “Oh look! Mistletoe!”
Rose's eyes, Scorpius saw- because he was still watching her- snapped to the Mistletoe, then to Scorpius and Molly just as Molly smiled pleasantly, closing the gap between them and kissed Scorpius full on the mouth. Unintentionally, Scorpius' eyes closed at the awkward kiss. Someone, somewhere wolf-whistled as all talking stopped for the second time that night.
Scorpius would have pushed her away vehemently had he not known two very important thing. One, Molly swung the other way and two, Lily had planned this.
When Scorpius opened his eyes to seek out the one person whose reaction he cared about, he wished he had pushed Molly away.
Rose's face was slack, void of the beautiful smile that had been there a few seconds ago. After a tense second, she gave an odd jerk of her neck that could be mistaken for a sideways nod. She then gave a quick, unmistakeable smirk, flicking her eyes from Molly to him to Lily as if to ask 'Really now?' and struck up conversation with Marissa.
Lily's triumphant grin slid into a frown.
Scorpius felt nauseous for reasons yet inexplicable.
Luna strolled over absently and patted Scorpius on the head, “It's alright. The nargles aren't life threatening.”
Vaguely, Scorpius heard Harry choke.
Draco watched the scene unfold with rapt attention. Not that he was ever anything less than attentive at Weasley occasions. No saying when one of the Weasels would turn his hair orange. He came to these gatherings for Scorpius' sake- and now for Rose.
“What say you, Malfoy? Think we might have to revise the bet?” Side-Kick Weasel sidled up to him, watching Rose and Scorpius with a keen expression.
“Bet?” The eldest Potter asked, forcing himself into the conversation. “You mean that one you made at nine and three quarters ten years ago?” He threw his head back and laughed.
Draco tried not to feel annoyed. What was so funny that Potter had to become hysterical over it?
Weasley waved his hand frantically. “Shh! Don't let 'Mione hear!”
Potter clapped his best friend on the shoulder, “Ron, mate, Astoria, Ginny, and Hermione have had a three-way bet going since Fred's wedding when Scorpius danced with Rose. Get with the times, boys.” He raised his flask in the air as if to toast 'the times'. “Half the family's got a ring under the radar. The only ones not partaking are Percy, Molly, and Fluer. And of course, you two. Oh, and Rose and Scorpius don't know of course.”
Draco was ashamed to say his expression resembled Weasley's gaping one with uncanny similarity.
Potter laughed some more, “If it makes you feel any better, it was inspired by you two. I heard you making the bet and told Ginny who told Hermione and Astoria, and Hermione told Angelina who told George who came up with the Great Rosius Betting Ring.”
Draco raised a perfect eyebrow, “I beg your pardon? Rosius? My son isn't some cheap Muggle celebrity.”
Potter rolled his eyes, “If you knew anything about Muggle celebrities at all, Malfoy, you would know they are far from cheap. Ruddy good money they make,” he added under his breath.
“Not thinking of joining them are you, Potter?” Draco smirked. “Being the Wizarding world's celebrity not enough for you?”
Potter opened his mouth to retort, but Scorpius walked up to them with narrowed eyes.
“Father,” his voice was low and steady. Draco wondered if his son realized how much he looked and sounded like his grandfather when he wanted to. “What is this I hear about a bet?”
Draco smirked, “Haven't your parents taught you not to eavesdrop?”
Scorpius snorted, “No, actually. In fact, I clearly remember the history books mentioning you reveled in dropping eaves.”
Weasley laughed, “Too right. Did I ever tell you about the time we were in Hagrid's hut and your father saw-”
“But that's not even the best part, Ron,” Potter cut across. “Remember the detention we got? And how Draco was so scared of goi-”
“For your information Potter, I was not scared. I was merely...having a bad day.”
Potter grinned, “Whatever you say, Malfoy.”
Scorpius quirked an eyebrow, “What's the bet?”
“Bet?” Rose, who was standing nearby talking to one of the many Weasleys, walked over. “You're talking about that too?”
Scorpius looked at her in bewilderment, “You know about it?”
Rose frowned at her father, “No, I've just heard people talking about it tonight. Although...no one will tell me what it's about. I want in too.”
Scorpius leaned closer to Rose and whispered theatrically, “I think our fathers have something to do with it.”
Rose smiled, leaning- if possible- even more closely. She gently touched Scorpius' elbow. “I think you're right. This has Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy all over it.”
Scorpius- Draco was embarrassed to admit, but really there was on other way to describe it- preened at Rose's touch. He turned to the Draco, Potter, and Weasley Side-Kick with a self-satisfied smirk. Draco resisted the urge to cover his face with his palm.
Must he be so glaringly obvious?
But even as he said it, he knew Rose was completely, and terribly oblivious.
“So. What's this bet about, then?”
“Unfortunately, Ferret-Junior, we can't tell you. It's in the rules,” Weasley flashed a self-satisfied smirk of his own.
“What rules?” Rose stared at her father blankly.
“The No-One-Between-The-Ages-Of-Twenty five-And-Twenty six-Can-Know-About-It Rules,” Potter replied promptly.
Scorpius narrowed his eyes, “I suppose this means Al and Cely don't know about it either?”
“I suppose you shan't find out until they get back, hmm?” Potter smiled into his glass.
“That's not fair,” said Rose, looking to Scorpius for support, who nodded furtively like the lovesick puppy he was. “I guess we're not going to get any answers from you lot, are we?”
“Rose, dear,” Draco smiled, showing all his teeth. “You're talking to an ex-Auror, a Head Auror, and a former Slytherin. The odds aren't in your favor.”
Rose scowled. Scorpius frowned. They both looked at each other, then looked away just as quickly. Both sporting light pink tinges on their cheeks.
Rose looked back at her father, “Well fine. If you aren't going to talk- I'll find someone who will.”
With that declaration, she turned on her heel and stalked to where her cousins were grouped. Scorpius stared after her for a moment, and took off in the opposite direction.
Draco sighed, “I think, Weasley, that a revision sounds like a grand idea.”
Rose paced the length of her office from the fireplace to the door and back. She wrung her hands nervously, bit her lower lip, and chewed at the tips of her long hair.
She had made up her mind- or she thought she had- to go meet Scorpius, or his assistant, whichever came, to the weekly meetings. There was much to discuss-
Yeah, right. Discuss.
Rose shoved the snide voice away. There really was much to get done in the next five months and she couldn't send Marissa in her place like a coward. She was a Gryffindor, dammit! Or she was, until she realized how Slytherin-like she had become.
You're going off track. Just go to the meeting, act normal, come back. And if he isn't there then so be it.
Marissa knocked and entered. She froze upon seeing Rose's frazzled state.
“Oh, Rose. What's happened?” She placed her small notebook on the coffee table and gathered Rose in a surprise hug. “Don't worry about the wedding. We'll have everything done in time. You watch, when Cely comes back from...where ever she's gone to, she's going to love it. You've done a marvelous job.”
Rose nodded. Because really, what else could she say? She couldn't very well tell Marissa why she was so distressed. Hell, she didn't know why she was so distressed. The prospect of seeing Scorpius since Christmas Eve made Rose want to break something. Just remembering the kiss between Molly and Scorpius brought back a jolt of electric rage. No...no, it was easier- safer- to let Marissa think this was work related. Rose couldn't admit to herself what she felt for Scorpius. She only knew that there were feelings involved. Feelings that included jealousy.
But jealousy could mean a lot of things...right? It didn't mean she liked the-
Who the fuck am I kidding? I like Scorpius Malfoy. I like fucking Scorpius Malfoy.
Or she would anyway, if they ever got to the fucking part.
Hadn't she been telling herself a couple of months ago that shagging her cousin's best friend would not be a good idea? What the bloody hell was wrong with her?
Scorpius Malfoy, that's what.
“Yeah,” Rose pulled away with a fake smile she knew to be effective. “I know Mar. We'll pull through. We always do.”
Marissa smiled encouragingly, “Good. That's what I like to hear, boss.” Rose gave a weak grin. “Well, I'm off to the meeting with Je-”
“No,” Rose spoke sharply, starling Marissa. “I'll go today.”
Marissa blinked, “Oh- oh...okay. If you're sure.”
“I am,” Rose assured her, running a hand through her frizzed hair, picked her bag and Apparated to the Ministry. Marissa had told her from her previous visits that she met Jenna on the Ministry cafe on the fourth floor.
Rose quickly made her way there to find Jenna already waiting.
Rose squashed the disappointment bubbling in her chest as if it were an annoying mosquito out to bite her. She had known he wouldn't be here. She had warned herself not to get her hopes up. But what did one do when they hadn't gotten their hopes up, but merely dared to hope?
Merlin, when had she turned into such a sap anyway?
Not for the first time in that hour did she curse Scorpius Sodding-I-Have-Bloody-Deep-Blue-Eyes-A-Woman-Can-Swim-In-For-Hours Malfoy.
The meeting with Jenna lasted a short half hour. How had she not noticed Scorpius and her stayed longer than necessary during these meetings? There wasn't much to talk about without Scorpius' dry remarks about her choice in wall decorations, or his seemingly innocent remark about Rose's workaholic habits.
Must. Stop. Thinking. About. Him.
Besides, you are the one who suggested you stop meeting for a while.
Rose suppressed another sigh as she left the Ministry to the Calligraphers for magical invitations for another boring, mindless, international gala.
At least her work kept her busy, and her mind off the blonde. Well...sometimes.
A/N: Alright, so. What did you think? Good? Bad? Alright?
Favorite part? Least favorite part?
Let me know in a review.
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