Chapter 4 : Skin that Burns
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It was funny how I had never noticed Malfoy after my first ride on the Hogwarts Express. We were placed in the same house, in the same year. We were both on the Quidditch team since our second year. We had basically all the same classes. Even when Lucy developed her crush on him I never cared to notice him. I never even glanced his way. I never wanted to know about our similar interests but there was a lot that we had in common. I learned a lot that seventh year at Hogwarts and the summer before. It was funny how someone I had never noticed before became one of the most important people in my life in only one night.
I gritted my teeth but held my smile in place as he introduced his girlfriend, Winona. She was about 5’7” (a good four inches taller than me) and an unnatural blonde. She had bright blue eyes dulled by too much make-up and she was wearing tight-fitting black jeans with a shiny silver bikini top. Her nails were long like claws as she held her hand out to shake mine. She looked like this party was the last place she wanted to be, like shaking my hand would give her an incurable disease.
“Hello, nice to meet you Rose,” she said my name quickly as if it gave her a nasty taste in her mouth. I didn’t like her at all, needless to say, but I shook her hand anyway.
“Nice to meet you too. What school do you go to?” I asked just for the sake of being polite. She probably went Beaux Baton, but I wasn’t really interested. I just wanted to be away from this girl and her boyfriend. I wanted to find Lucy, wring her neck for leaving me alone and then go crawl under a rock to disappear. Yes, a nice safe rock den sounded nice right about then. I was mortified that I even had a remote interest in Malfoy and with the shock of this Winona girl I wanted to hide. Quickly.
“Well that’s very nice,” I spouted before she answered me, “but I really must be going. My cousin Lucy must be searching for me. Well, I’ll see you around.” I could feel my cheeks burning as I turned and hoped to disappear in the crowd. I only got about five feet away, jostled by the number of witches and wizards flowing here and there around me, when I felt the firm grip on my shoulder stopping me. I thought it was just some drunk teenager. I thought it was just another stupid person in this crowd. I hoped that it was Lucy, though I doubted it. I hoped that it was anyone but him.
“Rose, wait up!” I heard faintly over the music. Misfortune seemed to have taken a liking to me and I fought the impulse to run. I turned to face him, my cheeks still burning bravely. Scorpius Malfoy had weaseled his way through the people that separated us and stood in front of me, only inches between us. My cheeks burned brighter but I hoped that he couldn’t see that well in the dim light. I looked square into his stormy eyes and couldn’t help but smile.
“Yea?” I shouted so that he could here me. His quirky smile had returned where as his girlfriend had vanished from his arm.
“Lucy is over there, but I don’t think she’s looking for you too hard!” he pointed to a couple snogging wildly on a sofa and my stomach twisted. There, Lucy was lip-locked with Colin holding a red plastic cup whose contents were sloshing everywhere. Well so much for that excuse, I thought wryly as I looked back at Malfoy. He was laughing and I couldn’t help but join him. How wonderfully ironic this was! My closest friend had left me with nothing familiar but an attractive guy who had a girlfriend. I laughed at myself for a few more moments and calmed down.
“Well that’s something I don’t really want to see. Where did Winifred go?” I asked purposefully calling her the wrong name, emphasizing her insignificance to me. He frowned for a second and I wanted to kick myself. It seemed that I could always snatch the smile from his face.
“I don’t know, probably with her friends or another bloke who’ll give her more attention,” Malfoy stated bluntly. I wasn’t sure what to say to that. What could I say? I barely knew this guy and here he was practically shouting at me that his girlfriend isn’t at all faithful to him. Not only that but he had basically said he didn’t really give her the time of day. It confused me more than anything. What was the point in being her boyfriend if she was interested in other guys? I really didn’t see the reasoning, but I kept my mouth shut about it.
“Oh well, I guess that leaves just you and me,” I said stupidly, instead of risking rudeness. He smirked then and looked into the dining room. He then turned back to me and grabbed my hand. His palms were surprisingly cool compared to how hot mine felt. Was it just me or had the room’s temperature sky rocketed? And when had they started playing 3OH!3?
“Dance with me,” it was an order, not a request and I kind of like the authority his voice held. I wouldn’t have been able to say no even if I had wanted to. He almost dragged me onto the makeshift dance floor and faced me, rocking and flowing with the music. It was mind boggling, the rumble of the drums, the melody of the keyboard, the husky voice of the singer. I moved my feet, swayed my hips, and rolled my shoulders. His hands were on my hips, sending danger signals to my mind but a tingling sensation down my spine to my lower belly. No one had ever touched me like he had. His grip was firm but gentle, moving with my hips. His touch was cool and went through me like water in a sieve. Every nerve in my body was on end and I didn’t want the feeling to stop.
He pushed and pulled me, twisted me around his finger until I was so tangled up in him that I couldn’t tell left from right or up from down. We were a whirlwind of bodies, close and sweating, losing control. I was having the time of my life and it was because of him that I was breaking out of the final layers of my shell. He was controlling me in a way I couldn’t understand. I was too inexperienced and too naïve to stop him and in all honesty I didn’t want to stop whatever tantalizing spell he had put on me. I could barely breathe and the heat on the dance floor was scorching my skin. It would have been perfect had it not been for a little nagging voice in my head that sounded a lot like the boy I was dancing with. I’m not your boyfriend baby…
What was I doing? What was I doing! Dancing! With a Malfoy? I stopped and Malfoy frowned.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, concern laced into his eyes. I shook my head and bolted for the glass doors in the back. I heard him call my name but I ignored him as I slipped through the clear doors and ran on the back lawn. People were crowded on the patio and water splashed from the swimmers playing in the pool. I avoided it as I ran and stopped in a fairly secluded area of the garden where it was poorly lit but comforting. I lay in the grass and tried hard to calm down. I didn’t even know what had freaked me out so much. Why had I run? I let my hair fan out around me and my breathing slowed as I relaxed in the coolness of the grass. It was a warm night, which was rare, and the air felt great against my exposed skin.
Skin was what had scared me, his skin on mine, my skin under his; the skin that wasn’t touching his but was still humming with a thrilling sensation because of his proximity. I had never thought skin could prove so scary. I heard the grass rustle and knew that he had sat down next to me. My skin was humming but I didn’t move at all. I just breathed in and out slowly. I could feel his eyes staring holes through me but I didn’t care. All I saw was the dark purple sky and the few stars that decided not to hide. After a few minutes he laid his head next to mine and his hand brushed against mine. It must have been my imagination but I could’ve sworn that I heard his heart beating rapidly, a race against my own beating heart.
“I shouldn’t find you intriguing you know,” I told him quietly. My eyes were still on the stars, the only witnesses to my embarrassing confession.
“Well, people don’t always do what they should, now do they?” his tone was playfully serious, in a way that I thought only he could manage. I could feel his smirk like a burning sensation on the back of my neck, his gaze making my hair stand on end. I closed my eyes, imagined that lopsided grin, the one that only he seemed to wear. I could feel myself smiling I spite of my efforts not to.
“No. I guess not,” I finally replied, eyes still shut tight. It was silent for seconds. Minutes. Hours? I wasn’t sure. I just remember him lying with me, breathing in the night. Finally he spoke.
“When did you get that?” he asked quietly. He didn’t have to specify what “that” was.
“A couple of days ago,” I told him, my hand moving to touch the jewelry in question. My elbow was touching his side. I could feel the heat through his t-shirt, or was that just me?
“Did it hurt?”
“A little, but it was worth it. I like it.”
“It looks good on you. Belly button piercings are hot.” I could feel the smirk in his voice, confident and unafraid of rejection. I wished I had that confidence. I giggled a bit, like an idiot, of course, and then I opened my eyes. I hadn’t felt him move but now that my eyes were open I could see his face above mine. His body a careful distance away so I wouldn’t notice just how close he was with my eyes closed. I sucked in a short breath of surprise and he smirked. I bit my lip, smiling, as I thought about his lips. They looked delicious…
“Should I?” he whispered, his breath lightly tickling my nose. He lowered his lips even closer to mine. I didn’t have to think to know just exactly what he was talking about. And I definitely didn’t have to stop to think about my reply. It was my turn to smirk.
“People don’t always do what they should,” I answered. And then his lips were on mine, hot against my skin. I had never felt something so warm. It was a bone deep warmness that made my blood all fevered and electrified. So this is what his skin felt like? Merlin, it was soft. Nathan Caldwell, when I was 14, had never kissed me like this; neither had Jordan Cooper when I was 16. It was so different that I didn’t know what to think. So I decided not to think and just let him kiss me. Lightly, his tongue grazed my lower lip and I let him deepen the kiss. A shiver ran through my nerves as his tongue met mine. He tasted sweet with a small hint of sour firewhiskey. And then he was gone. At least, his lips were.
I felt embarrassed then and to make matters worse, I blushed. He was sitting up next to me, seemingly unaffected by our kiss. I was so flustered that I could barely breathe. Had he not felt what I felt? Had it not been as warm for him as it was for me? Had I done something wrong? While all these thoughts were running through my head I sat up and wrapped my arms around my legs. I tried to play it cool, act as though I hadn’t been affected either, but my act felt so see-through. Surely he knew how taken I’d been. Regardless, I tried my best to look indifferent. He was watching the party-goers. I was watching him. It was a long moment before he finally turned his attention to me again.
“I should look for Winona. I have to leave soon.” He told me. His voice was oddly empty.
“Oh,” I replied in a small voice, “so soon?”
“Yeah, I have important obligations tomorrow morning.”
“Oh,” was the only thing I could think to say. Disappointment popped my heart like a pin and my lungs deflated. I tried not to look at him.
“I only stayed this long in hopes that I’d see you.” He said quietly as he turned his head to look at me. I still didn’t look at him. It was flattering and had my heart beating rapidly in my chest again, but it also had my blood rushing to my face. I didn’t want him to see how badly I was blushing. He was here to see me! I could barely contain my excitement. I wanted to talk to Lucy, tell her everything that just happened. But I wouldn’t make a fool of myself and act like a silly little school girl in front of Scorpius. I didn’t think he’d like that.
“Well, see you around Rosie,” he picked up my hand and kissed it softly, like proper gentlemen used to way back when. I shivered. His breath was hot and sweet as it burned the back of my hand. Then he was gone for good, moving across the lawn and pool area, through the crowd of people until he disappeared from my view completely. I stood and brushed the dirt off my butt., bracing myself for fighting the crowd. It was time to find Lucy.