Chapter 6 : The Truth About Pretending
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No matter how much I wanted the shake the idea of not telling my mother about my father’s engagement, because I knew she wouldn’t care half as much as I did, I really wanted to speak to her. I would have used a telephone if I knew she could be reached that way, and if I knew that Hogwarts actually had a telephone. But because neither of those options was feasible, I wrote her a letter. Two lines, short and sweet: Mom, I’d like to talk to you are your earliest convenience. Hopefully sooner rather than later please. Love, Your Daughter, Sadie. While the love part was not heartfelt, because I hadn't really had those kinds of feelings for my mother for quite some time, it was expected of me. Just like my father expected uncontested obedience, my mother expected a certain amount of false love, just as proof that I was still their daughter and not my own woman just yet.
I was sitting in the library when I got a response from my mother, via owl of course. My owl swooped down, dropped the letter and then took off again. I ripped the seal and withdrew the note inside. Racquel was sitting beside me, noticed what I was doing, and leaned in to read the note with me.
I’m so glad to hear from you. I have some exciting news. I’ll be contacting your common room tomorrow night at eleven. I realize that will be rather late for you but it’s the only time I can fit you in. We have rehearsals and performances and dinners to attend to. You know all that though, of course.
Looking forward to speaking with you,
“What a charming woman,” Racquel commented.
I glared at her as I folded the letter back into the envelope and slipped it into my bag. “She’s had a lot of practice, and several charming lines to suit her when she doesn’t want to think for herself.”
“Nevertheless,” Racquel nodded, “she’s a very talented actress.”
“And a terrible mother,” I muttered in return.
“Wasn’t she a good mother once?”
“When I was seven she took me to see a production of the Phantom of the Opera at the Opera House in Paris. We spent the weekend in our villa on the French Riviera afterwards. It was a wonderful trip, but the entire weekend I could see she was being false. I was only seven but I could see it. She would laugh falsely and her comments, both to me and the people around her, were all an act. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her real face.”
“Damn,” Racquel breathed, “that’s harsh hun.”
“Mhmm,” I nodded. “And I now see that I am much more like her than I ever thought I’d be. I’m surrounded by fakes, except you of course. Am I a fake, Racquel?”
She hesitated for a moment, but my stomach had already dropped to my knees as I anticipated her answer. “You can be, but I think it’s because of the fact you’re surrounded. You are outwardly seen as some kind of material girl because that’s who you are forced to be. But I know different. Strip all that away and put you in a pair of jeans and a comfy t-shirt and you completely transform.”
I took a moment to embrace that warm fuzzy feeling that came from knowing I had a true friend beside me. Then I reached over and wrapped my arms around her. “Thank you Racquel! You’re the best.” I pulled back. “If I ever get like that, if I’m ever untrue to myself, let me know. Smack me upside the head and say ‘smarten up’, okay?”
She laughed. “Deal!”
The next evening I was dreading the moment when I’d finally have to talk to my mother. Of course there couldn’t be any hugs and kisses, not after almost 2 years being apart. No, instead she just wanted to talk to me, tell me some important news and then have it over and done with. I was thinking about it during dinner, stirring my chocolate pudding around and around in the bowl, and I finally came to a conclusion: The lack of prominent parental figures in my life made my life what it was. I sought out guys for sexual games in order to feel something akin to what I was supposed to get from my parents. They were supposed to give me love and show me what happiness was, but because I’d never known anything like that, I needed to find it elsewhere in my teenage adolescence. It had been a good year and a half since I’d lost my virginity and that was probably one of the reasons Alec had been so into me in the beginning. But after I started to actually feel something more than sex for him, he backed down and I was left broken. I definitely did not like the fact that I was using guys to feel something like happiness or joy in my life, but at the moment I didn’t think I had an alternative. I didn’t exactly have parents around who were willing to give me that.
As 11 o’clock rolled around I wasn’t any less nervous about seeing my mother, and my stomach had tied itself in knots, and I had a small migraine coming on. But on the dot there was a flash of flames and my mother’s head appeared in the Gryffindor fireplace.
“Darling!!!” she said exuberantly. “So lovely to see you.”
“You too, Mum.”
“Oh do smile, Sadie, you look positively morbid when you frown. Frowning does nothing for ones image. So smile.”
I plastered what could only be considered as the fakest smile in the history of the world on my face and hoped it would suffice for my mother.
“Better! Now darling, I know you had news, but I have news as well and I just cannot restrain myself anymore!”
“What is it Mum?”
“I’m getting married!” she almost exploded while saying it, sending sparks flying all over the carpet.
“Yes, dear, I said married. His name is Flynn Casey and he’s a brilliant director/stage performer. I’ve been seeing him for a year now and he just proposed last week! I am so excited. We’re thinking a Christmas wedding. Do you think your father will let you come down to Australia for a week or two?”
“Why? I mean, I know your father is a heartless bastard, but I’m getting married for crying out loud.”
“Mum, I got a letter from Dad the other night. That’s why I wrote you. He’s engaged too, getting married over Christmas. I thought I should tell you. I mean…I didn’t think your news would be you’re getting married. I can’t go to Dad’s wedding and your wedding over the same holiday!”
“Why not?” She seemed almost cheerful.
“Because! It’s crazy. Candy is going to expect me to be in her bridal party, as is Dad because I’m the face of the company. And you’re going to expect me to be in the bridal party—”
“What? No I’m not. Darling, it’s going to be a small wedding. Just close friends and family. I wanted my daughter to be there. And it’s not like it’ll be too difficult for you. The Floo Network will accommodate.”
“Mum, look, let me think about it, okay? School is a little crazy and dad’s riding my back about the company and Candy and just about everything else in my life. I’ll think about coming to Australia over Christmas for a few days.”
“Alright darling, that’s very reasonable of you. I shall await your reply. Oh Flynn’s back from the theatre, must go. Lots of love, kiss kiss, hug hug.” And she was gone, just like that.
“Yeah, bye to you too,” I muttered. Bringing my hands up to my face, I rubbed the skin in frustration and then ran my fingers through my hair. “Ugh!” I stood up and instead of going up to the dorm room as I should have done, I went out through the portrait hole and down the hall. I didn’t know where I was going, but I couldn’t sit in the common room or in the dorm room either with all the thoughts that were rolling around in my head.
I shoved my hands in my pockets and just walked. I saw a few prefects but they didn’t stop and ask me what I was doing outside of my common room. It was an unwritten rule that my father had enforced when I started coming to Hogwarts. I didn’t like the fact that I was above everyone else in that sense because it meant preferential treatment and I hated being separated like that. But at times like this, it was on my side.
I wandered down several flights of stairs, heading in no direction in particular. All the thoughts buzzing around in my head were starting to get to me and I kept running my fingers through my hair, pulling and twisting at some strands, as if I could pull the thoughts from my head that way.
Then a voice came from behind me, scaring the crap out of me. “Rough night, Morris?”
“Ahhh!” I screamed and whirled around to face the speaker. “Shit!!! Malfoy!”
He stood a few feet behind me, not wearing his Hogwarts robes, but simply in a white dress shirt and black trousers. His hair was mussed as if he too had been running his fingers through his hair. And as much as I hated to admit it, he looked really good. I almost felt as if he were exactly the person I wanted to see.
“Didn’t mean to scare you,” he said coolly.
“Pfft, ya right, you expect me to believe that?”
He sauntered forward so he was standing in front of me now. “Maybe. I ask again, rough night?”
I threw up my hands snapping, “Well yes, if you must know. Turns out that not only is my father marrying a woman young enough to by my sister, but my mother just told me she was engaged to someone. And here’s the kicker, they all want to get married over Christmas, which means I get to be thrown right smack dab in the middle. I know that Candy is just marrying my dad for his and my money. My mother didn’t say as much, but Flynn Casey sounds like a pompous ass and she’s probably marrying him for that exact reason. When did my life get so bogged down by money and appearances and all these hateful people? I just want to go somewhere and never come back! Why can’t I do that?”
Draco listened contently to the first part of my rant but when I started talking about wanting to go somewhere and never coming back he stepped forward and put one hand on my shoulder and the other on the side of my head, drawing me into him. I didn’t realize until that exact moment that I was crying. My previously flailing hands wrapped around him of their own volition, gripping at the white material of his shirt. All the thoughts that had been swirling around my head just spilled out in the form of salt tears and I was grateful to have someone there to hold me, even if the reality of it seemed to surprise me. He didn’t let me go though. He held me to him, one hand around my back and the other on the back of my head as I cried into his shoulder.
I stopped shaking and started to breathe normally again. I loved being in his arms, but it was still too weird so I pulled back, hands going instantly to my face to clear away any remaining tears. He let me go with little effort. I turned slightly to the side and stepped away from him.
“Why are you following me, Draco?” I couldn’t help myself from asking.
He stuffed his hands into his pockets and shrugged, looking away from me. “Couldn’t sleep. Felt uneasy. I needed a walk.”
“So you just happened upon me by accident?”
He raised an eyebrow at me, “So it would seem. You don’t believe me?”
“I’d like to believe you Draco, I really would.”
His stare turned dark. “Yes, I suppose I’m not exactly trustworthy.”
“That intimidating look doesn’t help,” I pointed out.
“I thought you said you weren’t intimidated by me,”
“I’m not,” I countered. “I’m unnerved by you. It’s unsettling being near you.”
His features tightened slightly and he didn’t say anything for a few moments. He was thinking. I could feel the corners of my mouth turn up slightly. I could practically see the wheels turning in his head. Then he turned back to face me. “I suppose you wouldn’t believe me if I told you I’m the same way about you?”
“You’re not unsettled by anything or anyone,” I said defensively, trying to protect my heart now. I had promised myself I wouldn’t get into another mess like Alec and while this had a little more unconventional beginning than what Alec and I had, it was still heading in the same direction.
This time Draco smiled slightly. “You don’t really believe that, Sadie, and we both know that.”
How had he seen through that? I had seen him unsettled a few times. Usually it had something to do with Harry Potter. Potter was a little weird anyway though. He was a great guy, but I didn’t particularly understand what went on in his head at times.
I stood there looking at Draco; the only thing moving between us was the rise and fall of our chests as we breathed. Then, without realizing the words were coming out of my mouth, I said, “Let’s go somewhere.”
He smiled again, this time it was a smile void of anything dark or intimidating. He reached out for my hand and I took his almost instantly. He started back up the hall and I didn’t have to ask him to know where he was taking me. I already knew.
Before we even crashed through the door of the Room of Requirement we were in each other’s arms, lips locked together passionately. He pushed me up against the door as it shut behind us, pinning my arms above my head. He drew back and gave me a lustful glare. “I told you you’d come crawling back to me.”
I smiled, yanked my arms free in one swift movement and grabbed at the front of his shirt. “And I said you’re not allowed to talk to me like that.”
“How should I talk to you?” he said, brushed my hair back over my shoulders, his fingers tracing my collarbone.
My intensity slowed to a simmer and I saw the sincerity in his eyes and heard it in his question. He really wanted to know how to talk to me. “Like you mean everything you say, Draco. No sarcastic remarks. Not with me.”
“Done,” he said, putting his arms around my back, taking a step backwards, pulling me forward with him. “I’m going to take my time then. Mean absolutely everything from here on in.”
I felt a shiver zip down my spine. “What do you want from me then?” I couldn’t help but smile.
“Be honest with me. You can’t hide behind your clothes or your money when you’re with me. I know that trick. I use that trick. With me, you’re just Sadie.”
“Help me find her and she’s yours.”
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