Spending the entire night, sleepless in the living room, did not do me any favours. It only made matters worse. Never in these last few months had I thought that I deserved to be punished, but in this one moment, handing myself in seemed like a good option. But I only thought that for one moment. I was being stupid. How had things come to this? I needed to help him, that was what I needed to do.
But then I thought of the consequences of my actions. What had I done?
The police were bound to question Malfoy and some things I’m sure he could not answer. And they would probably take his DNA like they did with all suspects to keep on their database. What if they realised that he didn’t exist in the muggle world? They couldn’t charge him for an assault if I did not want them to, so I wasn’t worried about that. I was worried about exposure.
Without even thinking, I went to my room and pulled my wand from my bag. I cast an undetectable extension charm on my backpack and then started shoving everything in there. I broke down the table legs and put it all in, threw in the pillows, the food, clothes, Malfoy’s things and even some of the appliances in the kitchen which we had not paid for. I had even taken the light bulbs. The only thing I left were the things that could not be taken up and the bed. I took the blanket that Malfoy slept with because the one in my room, I would never touch again.
It was still very chilly, but all I did was pull a pair of tights on under my black dress, put on my green coat, grab a hat and left the flat with my bag on my shoulders. The local police station was only a few miles away so I walked. It was four in the morning and if Malfoy was here, he would be angry at me for leaving alone after dark, but this was a matter of life and death.
The police station was full and busy that morning and when I got to the front desk I asked where Draco Malfoy was. The answer was that he was in an overnight cell and that he would be released at nine that morning.
Sitting on an uncomfortable chair, I planned to sleep until he was released.
I woke up at eight thirty and helped myself to a cup of tea from their canteen and an apple from my bag. Back in the waiting room, I watched as Malfoy was lead out to sign a few papers.
I stood by his side. He just looked at me, a face like thunder.
We walked out together and once we were far away from the police station, he let loose.
“What the hell were you playing at?” he shouted at me.
I took my time answering. “I tried to tell him.”
“Evidently not hard enough!”
I thought it wouldn’t be too bad if he spent the night alone for a moment - until I realised how bad this could go.
“They took my DNA,” he told me. “And my fingerprints.”
“I thought they might.” No one on Earth could have felt more guilty than I did.
“Which means we can’t stay here long. If they realise that I don’t really exist here, we can’t be staying in the same place. We need to get back and pack up.”
“Already done,” I told him. “Undetectable extension charm.” I leant against a wall and pulled his rucksack out of my bag. He pulled it onto his back without thanking me.
We walked for miles after this. Who knew how long we were going? Malfoy didn’t even tell me where we were headed but I doubt that he knew himself.
After five hours of circling around London, we stopped off at an internet café, got two coffees and a snack and Malfoy sat down at a computer. He was there for about an hour when I glided over and asked, “Would you like some help?”
He looked at me and then back at the screen moodily.
I placed my hand over his on the mouse and took over. Once I realised that he was looking for somewhere for us to stay, I had found us something within the next ten minutes.
We took a bus to the outskirts of London and found a small homeless shelter that was letting in a queue of people. The people all looked perfectly ordinary and I felt a tenderness in my soul that so many were left without permanent housing. Now I was one of them.
The sky was getting darker, and with that came more nervous faces behind us.
In front of us, a couple were at the desk.
“Only married couples can sleep together. If you’re just dating, you’ll have to sleep separately in the men’s and women’s dorms.” The couple did not look happy. “Sorry,” the desk clerk said. The couple hugged and kissed and were given slips of paper and two key cards. “Next!”
Malfoy held my hand tight even though I knew it repulsed him. “My wife and I would like a room,” he said. He was fast. And extremely good at this lying thing.
“Daniel and Helen Morris,” he said clearly. He was truly amazing. I almost smiled at him. Almost.
The woman at the desk looked at our entwined fingers. “Where are your wedding rings?” she asked inquisitively with narrowed eyes.
“We had to sell them,” I said sharply. “As you can see we don’t have much money.”
“Do you have anymore stupid questions?” Malfoy asked her.
She shook her head and handed him the key and a slip of paper with our room number, checkout time etc on it. “Have a nice evening.”
Feet aching, my bag fell from my back as soon as we closed the door. In this room there was a double bed and small table in the corner. Malfoy laid down on his back and closed his eyes.
“Are you alright?” I asked, knowing that he would not reply.
I mean, why would he, after what I had done? I had practically let the police think that I was another victim of domestic abuse. He didn’t deserve that no matter how horrible he had been. I could have tried harder to convince the police.
“Would you really have kicked me out?” I asked him, hoping that he would answer such an important question, maybe to clear his name.
But alas, nothing. He kept his mouth shut.
How could he be so cruel? To bring another woman into our home like that. I know I was not his girlfriend and that he did not owe me anything but did he not have any feelings for me? Not even sympathy? I had admitted my feelings too soon and only to cause that betrayal to happen. And it was betrayal because I knew he liked me as much as I liked him. That was why he was ignoring me. Because he could love me too and he hated himself for it. He thinks that if we don’t talk to one another, that he’ll forget how much he likes the sound of my voice, the sound of companionship. I loved the sound of his voice. I loved the touch of his hand. I even loved the way he threw ignorant glares at me. At least it was something. But now, he refused to look at me.
As we sat together in the food hall that evening, Malfoy was still giving me the silent treatment. His stubbornness and lack of emotion were beginning to irritate me more than usual. In a statement of protest, I had even refused to hold his hand, but he grabbed it anyway, exerting his authority over me and reminding me that I actually liked his control; it made me feel secure in an insecure world.
Our meal was chicken pie and vegetables. Other pies were available, but Malfoy had chosen for me. I could have told him that I wanted a steak and kidney pie, but instead shrugged and moved on, where he chose my apple juice and chocolate chip cookie. If this was what it was like being married to him then I was totally opposed to the idea or even the prospect of it.
We sat among the rest of the temporarily or permanently homeless, eating quietly. Malfoy’s left hand was still clamped to my right; he could eat perfectly well, while I was forced to use my unfamiliar left hand.
The couple from earlier at the front desk were named Elijah Simmons and Claire Thomas. They were sitting opposite us on the long table.
“Hi,” Claire said “We saw you before. I’m Claire.” Even while she spoke to me, I could not help but wonder if she was a relation of Dean Thomas. She did look like him.
“Hermi -” Malfoy squeezed my hand. “Helen Morris.” I had almost forgotten the fake name he had given me. “This is Daniel,” I said, referring to Malfoy.
They both said hello and introduced themselves.
“When did you get married?” Elijah asked.
I smiled and looked smugly at Malfoy. If he wanted to create this fake marriage, he could make up all of the fake details.
Giving me a vacant look which told me that he was very unhappy, he put his fork down, looked up and smiled at them.
“It was last year. June. June 5th. My birthday. You see, my Helen dotes on me. Wants to give me everything I want. Does anything to please me.”
Grinding my teeth together noiselessly was the least that I could do. The most would be to knock him out flat.
Elijah nodded as if he approved. “You two look young.”
Again, I turned to Malfoy.
He decided not to lie about our age. “We were both eighteen. Our parents didn’t approve of our relationship so we eloped and got married a few miles away from home. We refused to split up even when everyone else wanted us to and we’re still going strong today.”
Claire blinked at us dreamily as if we were the cutest thing since newborn puppies. Then she sighed. “Must have been hard, having to give up your rings.”
Malfoy said, “It was. They were a symbol of all the hard times we’ve been through together.”
“Dan had gotten me a white gold and amethyst engagement ring,” I made up while looking at my vacant ring finger. “But he promised to buy it back one day.” I smiled sweetly at him and he smiled back - I knew it must have pained him awfully to do so.
“Not any time soon though,” he said laughing. The others joined in. I would spend a long time in hell before he ever bought me a ring - white gold or any kind.
Thinking again, I stated spontaneously, “Actually, I don’t want anything from you. Just the fact that you’re here with me now is more than enough.” I added a wide grin while I looked up at him.
He must have really had to psych himself up for his reply. “I know, Helen. As long as we have each other, we’re good. You and me against the world.”
Taking my opportunity, I leaned onto his shoulder, beaming.
“Oh, you sound so in love!” Claire exclaimed excitedly.
“Yep,” Malfoy said. “I love her with all my heart.”
My ear had been pressed to his shoulder so I thought I may have been mistaken. But no, the other ear was in working order. He had said he loved me. Malfoy loved me. Had I been magically transported to an alternate universe? What was going on?
Looking into his light grey eyes, I whispered, afraid, “I love you too,” in such a way that no one could doubt that I was sincere.
His lips looked so appealing in that moment, but even before I could think of kissing him, he kissed me first. His mouth slightly parted, it met mine to form one mind-blowing kiss which would impress itself so deep into my memory that I would be able to recall it clearly on everyday of the rest of my life. Malfoy’s hot breath warmed my cheeks. His hand made its way to my face offering security and stability. The tip of his tongue swimming lightly over my own made me giddy and unsteady inside, made me feel as though I could fly and that there were no troubles pressing in on me. Even while we kissed, his hand did not let go of mine. If anything, he held on tighter, sealing between our grasp the longing and yearning that we had finally acted on. That feeling was always there, growing stronger and multiplying like a virus. I had caught it and there was no cure. I just wanted more of this poison in my body, a poison which would never relent. It was as if there was no one else in the room with us and we were alone. The hundreds of faces had melted away into the insignificant background. I bet neither of us could recall how long we were holding onto each other like that. Time seemed to have stopped functioning and we were stuck in one fraction of a second so that every movement and every feeling seemed to last much longer and every sense in my body was vibrating with elation a million times over. I could barely focus on breathing or even being. All I was focussing on was getting the most out of him as possible because who knew what tomorrow would bring? I hoped beyond hope that he would not ignore me again. My heart could not take the pain and rejection, the thought of never having his lips touch my own again …
That was my final thought as we reluctantly stopped. The distant whooping and clapping from Elijah, Claire and the others around us forced us to pull apart.
“Sorry,” I muttered to no one in particular. I know it did not show on my face (because all that showed was shock and embarrassment), but I was so happy. He had done it again. He had kissed me and it went better than that fiasco in our kitchen.
“Don’t apologise,” Elijah said, as he stopped clapping. “It’s great that you still have high spirits when at a low place in life.” High spirits indeed.
I intended to go back to my meal, when Malfoy said, “Could you excuse us?”
“Sure,” Claire allowed.
Malfoy pulled me out of my chair and led me determinedly to our room. He looked upset.
He closed the door behind us.
“So what do you want me to do, apologise?” I said before he could. “Well, I won’t. Besides, you kissed -”
He slammed me against the back of the door and melted my insides with another kiss. My eyes closed instantly as his lips explored my face; my cheeks, flushed and pink; my closed lids and flickering eyelashes; my forehead, my hairline; the tip of my nose. That tickled, making me smile.
Then he took me. Not only onto the bed, but to paradise. He took me away from hiding, from witch trials, away from fear. His clammy skin pressed to my own as we made easy and unhesitant love.
I sighed and then breathed heavily.
“I’m not hurting you, am I?” he whispered to my ear.
“No,” I told him. “Never.”
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