Chapter 3 : honey
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But of course, there is much more to the story than just that day. There is much to be said about my investigation into the secrets surrounding that day, the previous night, and the secrets from months and months before. There’s a whole lot. I would say that it’s a whole other story, but that’s obviously not true, it’s just another dimension of it. And I suppose we have time to digress, just a little bit more.
In the weeks to come, Clara began spending more and more time with one Jamie Lithgow, widely considered much more attractive than Dominic. Not by me, though. I didn’t like Jamie very much; in our third year, he beat me out for the Keeper position on our Quidditch team. I didn’t protest it, but I never forgot it. He had the same feeling of triumph that day as in getting her for himself, though I couldn’t see why. He wanted a trophy girl, but what he got was something much more dynamic than that. What he got was a liar.
No one thought about it more than I did. I couldn’t help it. If you saw the looks Clara and Olivia gave Dominic at meals, in classes, in free time, you wouldn’t be able to forget what Dominic implied, either. Clara never looked at me that way, though. She didn’t think I had anything valuable enough to threaten her with. But what I did have was better.
I had Dominic.
Not explicitly, you understand. After that breakfast when neither of us ate anything and he stormed out on me, I started gravitating towards him. Most people ignored him if they didn’t want to talk about the headmaster’s office; he had his friends, but he wasn’t confiding in them either, as Mona told me in Potions one day. I wondered idly what it was that the girls had over him that he had kept his brooding silence for so long.
He came to trust me, though. Can’t imagine why: I was after the same thing everyone else was. And he knew it, too, but still he let me sit next to him and talk to him and somehow we started to have something, as Kate squealed to me every night when I’d come back from the common room.
I guess you could say we paralleled each other, Clara and I, she with Jamie the arrogant and I with Dominic the bitter, except Jamie was much more expressive of his affections than was Dominic, who showed nothing at all for me and everything–everything–for her. He watched her and her new gentleman friend, nursing his hurt and disgust. He never talked about it in so many words, but he alluded to it so obviously that it was almost painful for me to hear about it.
I never meant to listen to hers and Jamie’s conversations, but sitting with Dominic, who definitely positioned himself so he could do just that, meant that I couldn’t help but hear them. They were such horrible conversationalists when it was just between them. “If you want to, you can always come to my house for the hols, honey.” That was Jamie. Clara would respond that she couldn’t do that, darling. Jamie pleaded. Clara refused.
All that time, Dominic made gagging sounds in his throat. I asked him what was wrong. He said it was nothing, but never looked away from the backs of their armchairs. It was highly unsettling, but I ignored it. That’s what he wanted me for–to be able to talk to without ever saying anything of substance–and that’s what I would do.
I fulfilled my role splendidly, storing up all the unsubtle hints he made about what he thought and felt. On Isabel’s birthday in late November, he approached his ex-girlfriend and told her, quite flatly, that he was sorry for her loss. Those were the first nonessential words he had said to her since that day.
He volunteered to go over Olivia’s Transfiguration essay. When it was returned, she saw that she got a P.
He made it a point in all of December to congratulate Jamie’s spectacular performances on and off the pitch. He always looked at Clara when he said this.
“Dom, what’re you playing at?” I asked him one evening, quite cross, after he had said that thing to Jamie again. The two of them had followed me with their eyes as I came to sit next to him. When he began talking, I felt their gazes divert from me. Or at least, one person’s gaze dropped from the back of my chair. Three guesses as to who was still watching me. “Are you trying to start another gossip war or something?”
“Why?” he said quickly. “Is there one?”
“You’d know before I would, wouldn’t you, seeing as how I run in slow circles.”
“What’s your point?”
“That it’s pointless to keep antagonising them unless you have an actual reason.”
“Who says I don’t have an actual reason?”
“It’s been months,” I moaned, stopping short of throwing my hands into the air. “Honestly, if you have a point to make, make it already. It doesn’t matter what you think unless you explain yourself.”
He glanced around the room, and started staring at some point above my head. Three more guesses as to what that was.
“There’s nothing to explain,” he said finally. “I just… I don’t trust them. After what she did. That’s all.” He settled back into his own armchair and started reading the evening Prophet.
I considered asking what exactly it was that she did, but decided against it. There were better ways to get to the heart of an obvious problem, even when he would prefer to dance all around it. I took lessons when I was little–had too much energy as a kid–and I wasn’t bad at it. But still–I’d rather do something than nothing.
“No one cares if you trust them,” I said. “Not even me, if you can believe it. Right now I couldn’t care less about them. What I care about is the fact that you keep saying these things and doing these things and–and I don’t know. I don’t know what you want. From me, Dominic. They say you’re not telling anyone anything, but I can tell you’re telling me something, but what? What do you want me to do?”
“I don’t want anything.”
He accepted the brand with a nod of his head. He knew it.
“This is me you’re talking to, Dominic.” I didn’t take his hand. We weren’t at that point. But I was looking at him as intently as I could without being… My brother says I can be really intense sometimes, if something means enough to me. I didn’t want to scare him off. “So please, if you have something to say, something really real and not all of that alluding stuff you do, please, please say it. You’re driving me and everyone else mad.”
Have I said what Dominic looked like yet? He looked… intense. He looked worldly, weary, everything that her new boyfriend was not. It was like he was an Auror come back from some dangerous scheme or other, like he had seen things he never wanted to, and now he lorded it over the rest of us. Look at me, he seemed to say, look! I’m so much deeper and darker than you. Are you intrigued yet?
I wasn’t intrigued. I was annoyed. I was curious. I was not intrigued.
“I appreciate your concern. Really I do.” He didn’t look like he did. He looked like he was trying not to laugh at me. “But if there was anything real I could say, I would have said it already.”
The question became what can’t you say?
But that was for another time.
It happened later that month, when everyone else was in Hogsmeade. I had gone and come back by the early afternoon, as I had a Potions paper due Monday that I couldn’t be bothered to put off doing. He hadn’t gone at all, too despondent to care about Christmas shopping and the joy to be found in the chill of winter.
For once, he sought me out. Which in and of itself was revolutionary.
But then he said this:
“Stand up, Rose.”
Then he kissed me.
That was four months ago.
I haven’t touched Dominic since then.
I’ll give you three guesses why.
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