Chapter 23 : It's About Time
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“Yeah, um… sorry about that.” The words sounded so hollow. What in Circe's name was I supposed to say to her?
She gazed at me with an expectant look on her face. It was clear she wanted a better explanation but I couldn't very well tell her I thought she was back with that git Deciles. Of course, if we were friends it shouldn’t matter who she was with. The problem was, I didn’t want to be just friends.
The silence dragged on and she eventually returned to her book, albeit reluctantly. I guess she figured I didn't plan to elaborate any further, which was true. Turning my face towards the fire, I tried to lose myself in the dancing flames. I was painfully aware of Rose's presence and I felt my breathing align with hers. I chanced a small glance in her direction and noticed that she wasn't really reading- her eyes were focused on the writing but they weren’t moving- she was just staring at the page.
“I heard something interesting at the New Years Eve party,” I began, shifting uncomfortably in my seat. It was a topic I felt weird discussing but, it was safer than talking about Deciles.
Rose shook her head a bit, probably in an effort to refocus and get out of her mind. She did that a lot.
“Yeah?” she asked.
“It was about your mother and my father...”
Her lips formed a small ‘O’ and she made an odd squeaking sound.
“I guess that means you know then?”
Rose nodded. “Is that why you haven’t been talking to me?” she asked, quirking her head to the side.
I thought about saying ‘yes’ but that wouldn’t be true so I stuck with “partially”, which was true, sort of. I mean, once I saw her with Seven and thought that history was repeating itself, yes that was part of the reason.
“Only partially?" she replied and cocked an eyebrow. "Any chance you can tell me the other part?”
Her eyes were glistening but not with tears, it was...well, I guess they were glistening with anticipation.
“I saw you and Seven and figured you two were back together so..." I hesitated, trying to select the right words. "...I guess I thought it would be best if I stayed out of your way.”
It didn’t sound too bad, right?
“Well we weren’t," she shot back. "In fact, I'm pretty sure he orchestrated a plot to make you think we were together.” She looked down, her eyes shifting steadily in my direction. She peered up at me through her eyelashes and I could see the blue of her irises locked in on me. “He thought that you might be trying to…”
My heart raced as she lifted her face.
“…to be with me.”
A heavy silence followed the statement and we both sat there, staring into each other's eyes. It felt as if all the air had been sucked out of the common room and it was just me and Rose and no one else. Neither of us breathed for a few seconds.
“He was right,” I whispered and my heart thudded in my chest. I was anxious yet relieved to have finally confessed what I was feeling all along. Now it was up to her to tell me if I'd been the greatest fool or if maybe, just maybe, there was a chance…
“He was right?” she repeated.
I nodded slowly. “Yes.”
I didn't know it was possible for a person to move that quickly but, Rose was on me before I even got the word out. Her lips were soft against mine and I opened my mouth in mere shock. Once I was able to register what was happening, I moved my own lips in sync with hers. Though her tooth had bumped my lip in the initial ‘attack’ (perhaps that was too harsh a word for what had happened but, I couldn’t think of any other way to describe it) the kiss was still incredible. I mean, mind blowingly incredible.
Until some cheeky second year wolf whistled. Stupid prat!
Rose extricated herself from my arms and they suddenly felt cold without her. I saw that her face was a brilliant shade of rose red and her eyes were flitting around the common room, probably in an effort to figure out who had interrupted us...or maybe it was to avoid my gaze.
“Come on,” I said, rising to my feet. I rose and offered her a hand. Her dainty fingers, rough with calluses from Quidditch, threaded between mine and I escorted her out of the common room.
We found an empty classroom in which we were less comfortable but more alone. As soon as the door shut behind us, I pulled her against me and continued what we had started. My fingers worked through her damp hair and I wrapped my other arm around her slim torso. It was amazing how well we fit together, like a missing puzzle piece I'd never realized I needed. Our mouths moved in a gentle rhythm with one another and I never wanted it to end. But like all good things…
She gently shoved me away. “We should slow down.” Her words came out in little breathless gasps that made me want to lunge for her again but, ever the gentleman, I restrained myself. Clenching and unclenching my fists behind my back, there was a restless ache in my hands and fingers that burned to be touch her again. Nonetheless, I nodded agreement, afraid that I might not be able to say the words.
“Scorpius?” Her sweet voice was uncertain. “What are we doing?”
Oh no! Did she regret this already? Stay calm… Stay calm… Stay calm.
“I thought that was pretty obvious?” I was able to manage a mostly level tone and gave her a small smirk for good measure.
Rose blushed, which made me want to kiss her all over again.
“I know that you cheeky pra…I mean, well…what does all of this mean? Us here, kissing?”
I took a step towards her, to which she responded by taking a step back. Okay, don’t scare the girl here.
“What would you like it to mean?” I asked, taking another tentative step forward. This time she didn't back away, instead she turned her head to the side and I watched as the blush crept up her neck.
“I…I don’t know,” she stuttered out.
Well bloody hell!
So I’m a chicken. I fully admit it. I just couldn’t sit there and tell him exactly what I wanted, which was he and I together. I know, ridiculous that I have enough guts to practically pounce on him but not enough to tell him how I feel...but feelings are different. Honestly, part of me wondered if it was even a good idea. Not the ‘us being together part’- that I was fine with- but the ‘us being together and dealing with all the drama’ didn’t sound appealing, not with Seven making snide comments, or playing with Miles on the team, and especially not with our parents. What would I say to my dad? I had a feeling he'd blow a gasket, what with me dating the son of his wife’s ex husband.
Scorpius stood in front of me, looking a little confused. I didn’t have the heart to turn my back on him and the silence was slowly beginning to kill me so I finally chanced a look at him. He was rigid but he hadn't moved and his face was as calm as ever. It was quite infuriating.
“Well aren’t you going to say something?” I asked as my nerves segued to frustration.
Scorpius raised an eyebrow. “I just wondered what it is you’re thinking...”
“I…” My mouth snapped shut. I had no idea how to respond to that. At least, nothing I wanted to vocalize.
“Personally, I think we should give this…” Scorpius gestured between the two of us. “A shot.”
“You do?” I couldn't keep the hope out of my voice but I sure as shit tried.
“I do.” He took another step forward and, once again we were a hairs breadth apart.
“Me too,” I breathed as he leaned forward to kiss me again.
Just like the last time, my body was practically quivering in anticipation and I waited for his arms to wrap around me. This reaction was not normal. Not normal at all. I would turn into nothing but a blob of jelly if this continued and I doubted my ability to function...and this was just the beginning!
Gathering my strength, I pushed him away again but this time it was a little tricky. There was a desk behind me preventing my escape. “I think we should take this slow."
Scorpius nodded but the look in his eyes made my knees want to buckle.
“And maybe we should keep this between us for no…” I trailed off as his eyes, which were practically devouring me just seconds before, went cold.
:I...I only mean...I just think we should figure this out before we go and announce it to everyone. I want...” I turned my head away so I could get the rest out. His cold eyes made me sad and nervous all at once. “I want us to be sure that this will work before we go and upset anyone.”
“What? Like your precious Seven?” Scorpius snapped.
I flinched as I had never heard that tone from him before. I slowly faced him, looking him dead in the eye and willing him to understand.
“No. Not because of Seven!" I declared. "I just, well there is the team...and Miles…”
Scorpius huffed but I pushed on. “But it's mostly because of my parents. I have a feeling this would not be the easiest news and before I go and create a bunch of turmoil I'd really like to be sure that this is not just a flash in the pan.” I stared into his eyes, begging for him to understand where I was coming from.
“Is that what you think this is?” His eyes were still distant but a little softer than before.
“No, I mean, I don’t know…I hope not. I don’t want it to be.” I reached for him and he didn’t pull away. My hand slid down the length of his forearm and I clasped his hand in mine.
“So we keep this between us for how long?” he asked.
“Just until we are little more sure of…well, of us I guess.”
“Okay...” He nodded slowly. “But, be warned Rose...I won’t do this secret dating thing forever.”
I gave him a reassuring smile. “No, not forever. Just for a little while.”
I could see the green outline of his eyes brighten, which showed me he was starting to come back around. I figured his agreement deserved a kiss so I lunged for him once more. This time I did not pull away.
I didn’t realize it was so late until I heard several voices echoing down the hallway outside our little hideout. From the volume I figured there had to be at least ten people coming back from Hogsmeade.
Scorpius and I split apart and I pulled my shirt a little further down my belly. Running my fingers through my puffy hair, I decided it might be better to pull it back given the state it was likely in. Scorpius adjusted his shirt and tucked it back in his trousers. His lips were a little kiss swollen and I was certain mine were too. Nothing to be done about that, though.
“Um…maybe you should go first. I’ll catch up in a minute,” I said, turning my bottoms straight (they were a bit off center-- not really sure how that happened).
“Yeah,” he replied.
Scorpius gave me another quick kiss on the lips before cracking the door and sneaking into the corridor. I waited for him to put some distance between us, taking the time to think over all that had happened. Obviously we'd had a fantastical snogging session. In fact, I don’t think I'd ever been kissed so intensely...and Seven had certainly tried.
Despite my disheveled appearance, we did stick to mouth exploration only. Scorpius' hands barely moved past my waist and, though it was something I agreed with mentally, it took all my will power to not to say ‘fuck it all’ and move his damn hand up my shirt.
I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. I really needed to get it together before I rejoined the living. I had all the faith in the world that Scorpius would be calm and collected but that would do no good if I was smiling like a lunatic. So I worked on thinking of un-fun things…like homework and the nose-picker and how much I wanted to kick Seven’s arse for trying to keep Scorpius away from me.
That did it-- I scowled.
Now I was ready to enter the real world. Opening the classroom door, I peeked out. There was no one walking down the hall. Good. Now it wouldn’t look too weird with me coming out of a vacant classroom. However, just as I closed the door behind me I heard Bertram’s familiar voice echoing down the hallway.
“It’s not like you weren’t ogling that waiter!”
“Only because you couldn’t keep the drool off of your chin!" Tabby's snarky tone shot back. "You know, if you wanted to be with that damned Ravenclaw you should have just asked her!”
I took this as my cue to take off and my slippered feet rushed down the hall as fast as they could. I quickly found myself in front of the Slytherin common room and I darted inside. I did not want to bear witness to a fight between those two. It did prove as further distraction though, which was even better. I felt a bit bad for Tabby though. It sounded like Bertram’s crush on Dom had interfered with his romantic date with Tabs.
There were a couple of groups clustered together in the common room but it seemed most of my house had gone off to bed. I did see Miles kiss Cassie goodnight at the opening to the girls dorms. Blech! He caught my eye as he walked towards his own dorm, a satisfied smirk on his face. I rolled my eyes, hoping he wasn’t dating her to get a rise out of me because: one, it wouldn’t work and, two, even though Cassie was a right bitch she didn’t deserve to be used like that.
Pausing, I realized I had done the very same to Miles. Maybe I should give him a little pretend jealousy…just to appease his ego or something. I'd have to be careful not to let him think there was a chance we would get back together though. Or maybe I should stop thinking that his dating Cassie had anything to do with me. He probably liked her...Merlin only knows why.
Jocelyn and Gates were in our corner with Scorpius and my heart did a little leap at the sight of him. I had to remind myself to keep the smile that was itching to break loose from spreading across my face. Since all the chairs were taken, I leaned on the arm of Jocelyn’s chair, which gave me a good view of Scorpius. When Jocelyn and Gates turned to say ‘Hi’ Scorpius shot me a sly little wink. Flutter. I clenched my fists and tried to contain the elation that threatened to erupt from every pore.
Before any of us could get a word in, we all turned as Tabby and Bertram entered the room. Hell, everyone in the common room turned to watch as Tabby effectively put Bertram in his place. Though all I could really make out was a lot of nasty curse words and a slap across the face. Clearly that relationship was over…again. Maybe they had finally figured out that they weren't right for each other and would call it quits for good this time. I didn't think I could take another month of awkwardness at the dinner table.
Tabby walked straight to the girl's dormitory in a huff and Bertram wandered over to our corner in a daze.
“What’d you do?” Scorpius asked.
“Nothing,” Bertram replied as he slumped against the wall.
I quirked an eyebrow at him. Hmm, must've picked that up from Scorpius.
“I might have looked over at Dominique’s table a couple of times but, I swear I thought she was being harassed!!” Bertram rubbed his hand over his ruddy cheek.
I didn’t really know what to say to that. It was a weak excuse for checking someone out while on a date with someone else. I figured I should probably check in on Tabs. She'd had enough time to cool down by now. Usually she needed a good five minutes after a fight, otherwise you might end up the next victim of her ire.
“On that note, I think I’ll go to bed,” I said and rose from the arm of the chair. Jocelyn took the hint and followed my lead. As I passed by Scorpius’ chair I grazed his arm with tips of my fingers. Electric was the only way to describe it.
Jocelyn told me a bit about her date with Gates while we headed to the girls dorms. She said they hadn't had much chemistry but, he was a great guy and they had a good time. At least she didn’t look as pitiful as she had that morning after seeing VanBitchFace with Jason. As we entered our dorm, Jocelyn and I found Tabby flipping casually through her latest copy of M3. She was completely at ease, as if she hadn’t just had a huge row with Bertram not five minutes before.
“I guess you’re okay then?” I prompted.
Tabby looked up and a tiny line appeared between her brows. “Of course, why wouldn’t I be?” She acted as though I had just asked the barmiest question in the world.
I couldn’t keep the look of disbelief off my face.
“Um…maybe because you and Bertram just had a huge row...” Jocelyn piped up, her tone mirroring my incredulty.
“Oh, that!! That was nothing. Just having a bit of fun.” Tabby looked up from her magazine. “Now don’t look at me like that!”
“Like what?” I asked, “Like you’re mental? 'Cause I don’t know if I can stop.”
She set her magazine aside and looked me dead in the eyes.
“Okay, so the thing is, that while I find Bertram a darling, I feel that we are completely awful together," she explained. "I thought, with it being Valentine’s day and all, that I ought to have a date and Bertram and I decided to give it a go. It was apparent very early on in the date that there was absolutely no chemistry between us but the poor sod has such a fragile ego so...I figured I'd play it up a bit and act like I was pissed at him for checking out that cousin of yours-- which he was completely doing by the way, very rude of him I think-- and he wouldn’t get all sulky like he surely would if I had just came out and told him the truth.”
Oh right! That made perfect sense. Um… No, no it didn't. Not at all.
“You are mental!” I said and threw a pillow at her.
“She's genius!” Jocelyn countered.
Seriously? Jocelyn was obviously just as barmy as Tabby!
“Thank you Jocelyn. I’m glad at least one of you can appreciate my abilities.” Tabby smirked and then picked up her copy of M3.
“What about tomorrow, when Bertram is all sulky and trying to play nice to you to make it up?” I asked.
Her mouth spread into a wicked grin. “I might milk it for a bit...but I’ll forgive him eventually. Every girl knows a little suffering is appropriate, given the whole Six fiasco.”
“You are positively evil, Tabby” I proclaimed with a shake of my head.
Stalking over to my trunk, I began to get ready for bed. Now that I'd confirmed that Tabby was all right-- a nutcase, but all right-- my mind wandered to the boy sitting downstairs in the common room. I laid down, replaying the night over and over in my head. I was a little unsure when things slipped from memory to dream but, I woke up a few hours later to the sounds of Six, not very stealthily mind you, trying to sneak into the dorm room. I looked over at the clock and smirked. It was 3 in the morning. Rolling over, I stifled a giggle at my best friend’s antics and fell back into a glorious dream involving Scorpius and an abandoned classroom.
A/N: FINALLY!!!! So tell me, tell me, tell me... what did you think? Are you super duper happy? did you like how it all played out. What about them being secret? Do you think it will work?
And how about Tabs and Bertie... what a pair huh?
Thanks so much to my wonderific beta dracosgem for getting this to me even though she has been swamped at work.
Thanks to any of you who are left reading this, all your support has been really helpful and appreciated.
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