Chapter 6 : Ice Cream Confessions
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Ice cream. That was all I wanted in life now, cold, sweet, sticky ice cream. Yum. Who needed men and their stupid egos? Who needed women and their two-faced personalities? Ice cream, now that was the one thing that would never let me down, I had realized about 3 cartons back, on a tub of Haagen-Dazs dark chocolate ice cream. I had now progressed to a much lighter flavor of Pralines in Cream. Yum.
I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I wouldn’t leave this room. I wouldn’t have any relationships, especially with blonde haired idiots. Last time I tried, I had ended up pregnant and heartbroken, right? What was the point? I was going to have my baby right here, and once it was born, I was going to feed him lots and lots and lots of.... you guessed it, ice cream.
No, I was not drunk. I was simply having a massive ice cream craving along with a major man-hate session, that was all. Along with some puking. Ew. I had dismissed my mother and sister’s worried glances with a simple, “I’m pregnant, bugger off!” Surprisingly, it worked.
The radio was playing some man-bashing Adele song and I was singing (screeching would be a better word to describe it) along. “You made a fool out of me, and boy you’re bringing me down!” I wailed. Oh Adele, perhaps she was the only person that really and truly felt my pain.
Suddenly, my music was stopped. “Huh, wha?” I looked up to see a tall, darkly clad figure towering over me, his lips curved upwards in a crooked smile. “What the fuck are you doing here,” I asked him bluntly. Seriously, he was the very last person on this earth I wanted to see. The. Very. Last. Person. Even if the world were ending and he were my only chance of escape, I wouldn’t go to him. You get the idea.
“Apparently, saving the world from going deaf,” he retorted. Wise ass.
“Fuck off,” I replied, eating another spoon of ice cream. I didn’t give two shits as to if I looked like a pig in front of this man I had so hopelessly been in love with for so long. All men were assholes.
He shook his head.
“I’m sorry, would you like me to rephrase that? Leave. Now,” I pointed towards the door.
He shook his head again and instead took another step towards me. “Well, if you really must know why I’m here, I came to..... apologize,” Okay, excuse me while I go puke. Draco Malfoy, apologizing? Please.
“Do you even know what that means? To apologize to someone, you have to feel remorse, which you are incapable of feeling,” I snapped.
“Astoria.... hear me out,” he said, quietly this time.
I crossed my arms. “And why should I do that? So you can talk down to me again and tell me how you don’t actually give a flying shit about me and you just want this kid so you can have a little Mini Me? Yeah, no thank you.” And seriously, where was my sister to the rescue when I needed her? Bloody family.
“I didn’t mean those things I said yesterday,” he said tiredly. On second glance, he looked as if he hadn’t slept much.
“Right,” I replied, rolling my eyes, “Whatever, will you leave now?”
“No. Can you stop fighting me and listen please? I’m making an effort here.”
“No! Because you hurt me! Gits like you think you can go around anywhere and say anything to anyone and get away with it! “
“I don’t think I can get away with it! That’s why I’m here, Astoria! Why are you so goddamn stubborn?”
“I’m the stubborn one? Me? Really? I’m not the one with an ego the size of Russia who runs around looking like they’ve got a broom stuck up their arse, alright?”
“Yes, you! I’m the one who was the bigger person here and came to you to say sorry, but apparently you won’t have it!”
“The bigger person. Yeah, you should have thought of that yesterday. Before you said those nasty things.”
He didn’t reply, but took another swift step to close the space between us. His lips crashed onto mine, hard. I was paralyzed for a moment before I used all my strength to push him off me.
“You can’t just do that,” I shook my head, more tears seeping out of my eyes. All I ever did now was cry, “You can’t just hop on over and kiss me and expect it to make everything okay. You hurt me. I spent all night crying over you.....” I admitted.
He didn’t reply for a few moments, but I was exhausted mentally so I sank down to the floor, hugging my knees in a fetal position. He sat down beside me, looking straight ahead. “I don’t know how it works,” he said finally, quietly. All trace of egotistical arrogance had left his voice.
“How what works?” I asked, lifting my head out of between my knees to look at him.
“Real relationships. I’ve never had one. I don’t know how to have them,” he said finally.
“Well I mean... It’s not really something you learn, or something someone teaches you,” I shrugged. I didn’t have the heart to be rude and sarcastic to this new Draco.
“No, you are. You’re supposed to learn it from your parents. My parents never loved me, they never showed me love. All my life I’ve just been fighting and struggling to be someone they’d be proud of. All I know how to do is use and manipulate people. I don’t know how to laugh easily like you, I don’t know how to readily open my heart to people like you do,” he paused, “I know you’ve heard terrible things about me, and trust me, I’ve done terrible things. But I’m not a bad person, Tor, I just wanted my parents to look at me once with pride and admiration. I’ve always been the massive fuck-up in the family, the ‘black sheep.’ And I guess the reason I’m so scared is because I don’t want to fuck up our child’s life too. I don’t want him to grow up and hate me and feel the same about me as I do for father. I’m sorry you had to get dragged into this and hurt by this.”
“I’m sorry too, Draco,” I replied honestly, “I didn’t mean to be so nasty as I was. I was just.... really hurt. And these friggen hormones are making me feel about 10 different things at once, and I can’t wrap my head around what I want or feel or any of that,” I shook my head, wiping the tears away.
“Do you think... maybe... for now we could be friends?” he asked.
I laughed, only because I felt like we were little kids in the playground who had pushed each other off the swings and were now looking for reconciliation. “Friends,” I agreed, resting my head on his shoulder. He wrapped his arm around me, nestling me in the crook of his arm. Friends, I could handle that.
“Err. Tori?” Draco asked a few minutes later.
“Did you..... eat all the ice cream in these cartons?”
Well this was awkward. Why did he have to go an ruin such a perfect moment with such a stupid question? I looked around and indeed, there were at least 5 cartons of ice cream scattered around. Wow, I felt like a pig. But then again, I had done enough damage on this whole lets-make-Draco-fall-in-love-with-you quest, a little more couldn’t really hurt, could it?
“Yes, yes I did,” I said smugly, “And stop looking at me like that. It’s your kid that was craving ice cream, alright!” I snapped jokingly. For once, I was comfortable, and that I could handle.
“Astoria, darling, do you prefer this color or this one for the table cloths?” I heard Narcissa’s voice ask me, drawing my attention back into the room. Tablecloths. Right.
We (Me, Mum, Narcissa, Daphne and the wedding planner) were all sitting around the table in the den, about 30 different fabric swatches splayed out before us. It had been like this all day, ‘Do you want the flowers to be this shade of red or this? Do you want the cake to be this filling or that?’
I shrugged. Honestly, all the colors looked the exact bloody same to me. I was possibly the worse witch in history with this kind of stuff. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate all that Narcissa was doing for the wedding, which was in 3 short weeks, it was just that I didn’t care. I was more worried about the fact that I would be going to be a mother in a few short months. Damn.
“Astoria, just pick so we can move on,” my mother snapped. I didn’t really blame her. Daphne had given her a well and proper year to plan her wedding, and I had given her less than a month. Hah.
I pointed to one at random, “Mum, I’m sorry, I honestly. don’t care. It doesn’t matter,” I said, going back to examining (biting) my nails.
“Well, Tori, maybe it’s time you do care,” I heard a soft but angry voice say from my other side. Daphne? “It’s your wedding we’re planning here, so maybe it’s time you grew up and started to take interest in all of this. All of us are working hard to make this day special for you and you don’t even seem to care! Why don’t you learn to show some respect instead of just sitting there making snide comments?”
I was shocked. I couldn’t speak. Had my darling, sweet sister just snapped at me? I regained my composure and met her glare with one of my own. “Me? I have to grow up? I’m sorry I don’t seem to care about this wedding and I’m more preoccupied with the fact that I’m going to be a mother soon, alright?”
“And who’s fault is that?”
“I’m not saying it isn’t my fault! All I’m saying is that while I do really appreciate what Mum and Mrs. Malfoy are doing, I don’t care if I’m married in a grand ballroom or a dingy shed. I unlike you, Daph, don’t give a shit!” And before she could retaliate, I stormed off upstairs. Had I really just fought with my darling, sweet sister? We had never gotten into an actual fight, just the plain ‘no you do the chores today!’ that all sisters got in.
Great, now the one person I could count on in the world hated me too. I sighed and flopped down on my bed. “Well at least you’re not mad at me too,” I said, stroking my pregnant stomach, “Everyone’s mad at me, and I don’t blame them. I’m a mean, mean, bitch. I mean witch. I don’t even know what it is that’s made me like this, pet. At least your Daddy and I are on okay-terms. Your Daddy loves you so much, it’s beautiful to see. You’re gonna be so spoiled when you’re born. Even if my whole family hates me, I doubt they can stay away from their first grandchild,” I sighed. Yes, I was talking to my unborn child. “Mummy loves you,” I said finally.
I must have fallen asleep because it was significantly darker the next time I woke up to a knock on the door. “Astoria?” the voice called from the other side of the door. I couldn’t place it at first. And then I realized - it was my soon to be mother-in-law.
“Yes, come in!” I called back, furiously wiping my tear streaked face. I realized I must’ve looked like some wonky madwoman to her, storming out on my own family and now sitting in my room crying. Lovely, wasn’t I?
“Do you mind?” she asked, her expression gentler than I had ever seen before. Her usually proud and stone-like expression was now kind and compassionate.
“No, not at all,” I shook my head, motioning for her to sit down on my bed, “I’m really sorry for that back there, it’s just-”
“Astoria, let me speak,” she said firmly but not unkindly. She could command a whole room with a simple word.
“I understand where you’re coming from. If I was in your place, I would have reacted much the same,” she said.
I shook my head, “You wouldn’t have yelled at your own sister like that.”
She shrugged, “I might have. Darling, you’re pregnant. You’re hormonal and you’re overwhelmed. It’s understandable,” she said, her eyes soft.
“Its.... its just that I keep messing things up,” I said finally, sighing.
“No,” she said firmly, “It’s not you, it’s the situation. And I think I might be able to relate to you more than you think.”
I looked up at her in disbelief. I highly doubted she had gotten knocked up with Lucius’s kid out of wedlock. She was the perfect high-society women, incapable of doing such a thing.
“You see, Lucius and I had an arranged marriage,” she started slowly, “I was only 17 at the time, and I didn’t want anything to do with it. I wanted to be free and live my own life and be who I wanted to be, not bound by the rules of society and propriety.”
I nodded, trying hard to imagine this rebellious Narcissa. I was having a hard time doing so.
“During the time we were being set-up, Lucius was cold and distant, obsessed by power and greed and fortune. I hated it all,” she shook her head, “But yet I agreed to the marriage because I couldn’t let my family down. I couldn’t go against everything they stood for. There I was, stuck in a loveless marriage.”
She paused, looking up at me with a small smile, “But that soon changed. Lucius and I grew with each other, we changed each other. He opened up to me and I learned of the wonderful man he is behind that icy exterior.”
Somehow, I found it difficult to imagine this “wonderful man” she spoke of, but I nodded again. Maybe my story was actually a pattern in the Malfoy family.
“I know you feel forced into this now, but I promise it will get better. Draco, he shows caring differently than what one expects. He’s afraid to show his true emotions. And I don’t blame him. And I won’t say that I’ve been the best mother, but do know that I only want what’s best for my son. I think you’re good for him, Astoria,” she finished.
I looked at her for a few moments, taking in everything she had said. “I don’t think you’ve been a bad Mum,” I told her, “Draco’s just struggling because he doesn’t... he doesn’t want to be the same as his father,” I said slowly.
She nodded in agreement. “Lucius was indeed hard on Draco. And in many instances, I was too weak to resist his controlling personality. I let him mold Draco into another version of himself.”
“I....” I didn’t know how to reply to that. I mean, what do you say when a women you barely know shares her life story with you? Err...
“You’re strong. Much stronger than I am,” she said, “You and Draco will do a fine job in raising your son.”
“Thank you. That means a lot, coming from you,” I told her honestly.
“And dear, don’t worry about your Mum and sister. They’ll come around,” she assured me.
I nodded. No, she didn’t know how stubborn the women in my family really were.
We sat in silence for a while; I was still taking in the weight of everything she had said.
“I’ve always wanted a daughter,” she said finally, “Welcome to the family,” she smiled and nodded at me.
“Thank you,” I said again as she stood up and touched my shoulder gently.
This all reminded me vaguely of some alternate reality. My sister had turned into a bitch while my soon to be mother-in-law was being nice to me? And I was kind-of sort-of friends with my fiancee? Woah there.
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