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Real Ladies. by ilharrypotter
Chapter 23 : Of Cowards and Liars.
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 13


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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.


My senior year is absolutely insane. That is my only excuse. I miss you guys terribly, and I'm so sorry for this long, awful wait I've put you all through! Never again - well, at least I hope not. I've had this written for a while, but I haven't had any time to get on HPFF! Senior projects, AP classes, graduation stuff, college applications, scholarships applications... Oh, lord. I wish I had more time for my loving HPFF family.

 



 



All real ladies will pretend to be excited in situations that warrant it… even when it’s entirely unfair.

 

 

 

I’m aware that life is like a rollercoaster. I know that there are constantly highs and lows; plunges downward, followed shortly after by quick shots towards the sky, occasionally joined by twists and turns and loops that send our hearts and souls spiraling. It’s something I’ve come to expect – the highs and the lows, the confusion and unexpected moments, the spinning and turning. I expect it out of my life – nothing, after all, in my life is predictable.

 

 

 

Today, however, I’m starting to feel like my life is no longer like a roller coaster – it’s turning into a horror film. One without a happy ending.

 

 

 

“Dom, are you okay?”

 

 

 

I nod, even though I think my heart skipped a beat or twelve a few seconds ago, and now my chest feels like it’s about to collapse. It takes me serious effort to choke out a coherent answer. “Of course, Penelope. I’m fine. Great. Just shocked – and so happy for you.”

 

 

 

Penelope smiles. She smiles down at her hand, and then she shakes it towards me again. “Isn’t it lovely?” she prompts.

 

 

 

Lovely,” I nod again. I don’t feel it. Everything I’m saying sounds so forced. Unreal. Choked. Like I’m near death, and just barely mustering the energy to talk to my best friend about this… this… I can’t even say the word.

 

 

 

Here, let me rewind a second.

 

 

 

Five minutes ago, Penelope grabbed my wrist and drug me into a shower stall in the locker room – five minutes before I’m supposed to begin Quidditch practice, seeing as we’re preparing for a very important match against Ravenclaw this very weekend. (She left the entire team out on the pitch with no leader, which is potentially problematic. You don’t even know what Fred can into when he has a broomstick and no supervision.) Then, with absolutely no preparation or warning whatsoever, which would’ve been very much appreciated, Penelope blurted out her huge life-changing news that absolutely could not wait until the end of Quidditch practice.

 

 

 

James Sirius Potter, the once infamous skirt-chaser who would never settle down to save his life until he met the ever-beautiful Penelope Laurent, proposed. Proposed marriage. And clearly, as anyone with a sixteenth of a brain cell could assume, she said yes. Therefore… well, it’s simple math, really. I don’t need to say it. One proposal plus one yes equals one… fill in the blanks. Go ahead. You all know what’s coming. And I don’t want to say the word. Even in my head.

 

 

 

Apparently unaware of how clearly upset I would be to hear this announcement, Penelope didn’t even hesitate. She shook her hand in my face, showing off the gleaming diamond engagement ring that no one here at Hogwarts is going to miss, and started gushing nonstop about the wedding – which would, apparently, take place in December, so that their little sea monkey can be born to parents that are married. It would, according to Penelope, be too horrible for her pride to have her own child attend her wedding, even if said child would be way too young to remember it.

 

 

 

“You don’t look excited,” Penelope says all of a sudden – but I wait to say anything in response, hoping she’ll answer herself without any help from me. While I’m watching her face closely to wait for recognition to finally slap her, she gasps. “Oh. Oh! Dom, oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t even think. I’m a horrible best friend! Oh, Dom, please don’t be mad. I didn’t even – ”

 

 

 

“Penelope, you’re doing it again.”

 

 

 

Translation: your insane pregnant self is going off on a tangent again.

 

 

 

Penelope looks like she’s going to cry. She twists her engagement around on her finger, to hide the diamond from my line of sight, and she blinks rapidly, probably to keep from tearing up in front of me. “I didn’t even think about you and Lorcan, Dom – I should’ve… oh, I’m sorry.”

 

 

 

I shake my head. “No, stop,” I reach out and pat her hand with mine – awkward gesture. Eep. “Don’t worry about it. I’m happy for you guys, promise. And Lorcan and I… well, we’re just changing the plan a bit, you know?”

 

 

 

“Are you sure?”

 

 

 

No, I think to myself. But instead, I nod and smile at her. “Of course, crazy girl. I do need to get back to practice, though – if you don’t mind. Merlin only knows what damage Freddie can do to a Quidditch pitch in fifteen minutes.”

 

 

 

Penelope chuckles.

 

 

 

Taking this as an agreement and the end of the conversation that I hated so much, I slide out of the shower stall – that was close quarters, phew – and she follows. Before she lets me walk out and rejoin my team, however, she hugs me. One of those big hugs that Penelope rarely bestows upon me – mostly because I don’t usually need hugs half as much as she does – where she squeezes me so tight I can barely breathe.

 

 

 

“Chill out with that crazy pregnancy strength,” I joke.

 

 

 

She releases me and shrugs. “I really am sorry, Dom.”

 

 

 

“Hey, let it go,” I grin, but I don’t much feel like grinning. In fact, every time Penelope apologizes, I want to cry even more – I feel like there’s a dragon sitting on my chest, breathing fire on my face. But I’ll pretend, for the sake of my Quidditch team and my best friend’s sanity.

 

 

 

She’s not fooled, which doesn’t surprise me. She furrows her brow and puts a consoling hand on my shoulder, like she has no idea what else she can do anymore. “You lot will figure it out soon.”

 

 

 

I don’t say a word. I bite my lip and nod, but I think we both know that every fiber of my being disagrees with Penelope.

 


 


 

 

 

Much like I expected, practice feels like work, for the first time since Holden’s older sister, Scarlett, was Gryffindor’s Captain. For me, Quidditch has been my escape. Even these past few weeks, with all of the stress and the issues and the complications… I’ve enjoyed the minutes spent on the Quidditch pitch. Minutes spent around the father of my best friend’s child, the boyfriend that doesn’t want to take our relationship to a new level, the cousin that dates a total psychopath, the bloke that knows too much about the inner workings of my brain – yet, as long as I’ve had my broomstick and my whistle, I’ve been at peace.

 

 

 

Today… that peace was gone.

 

 

 

Lorcan Newt Scamander has ruined Quidditch for me – at least for the time being.

 

 

 

I am going to kill him.

 

 

 

Practice has been dismissed for fifteen minutes at least, but I took my time showering off the stress that I’ve picked up over the evening. As I head out the door back towards the pitch, hoping to catch up with James and Penelope and walk back to the dormitory with the perfect engaged – ugh, that word – couple, I see a blond boy walking back towards the castle, not too far away.

 

 

 

“Lorcan!” I call out, despite knowing oh so much better than that. I shouldn’t talk to him today. Not today. I’m not stable. No. I can’t. Nope. Just let him go, Dom. Say you love him, give him a kiss, let him go.

 

 

 

Then, he stops walking, turns around, and looks at me – so innocently, so sweetly… like he has no idea what he’s been doing to me all this time. He raises his eyebrows.

 

 

 

“Can you…” I don’t finish talking; instead, I gesture in my direction – luckily, he gets the hint.

 

 

 

Lorcan allows for a moment to pass before he joins me at my side; then, he reaches for my hand, holds it like he always has, and looks down at me with a curious half-smile on the lips I haven’t kissed in at least three days. (I haven’t been in the mood for PDA…) “You look terribly troubled, my love,” he murmurs, acting so sweet that I kind of want to feel his forehead. He hasn’t been so sweet and loving in days. Maybe he knows something’s up. “What’s going on?”

 

 

 

Oh, Lorcan. He sounds far too naïve for him to be faking his innocence. That’s the bloke I picked for you. Always oblivious. Such good taste have I. (Cool, I just pulled a Yoda.)

 

 

 

“Let’s walk.”

 

 

 

I pull on his hand – gently, of course, even though I want to chop all of his fingers off – back towards the stands, where I know we can talk without interruption. Lily passes us as she leaves the locker room on the way back to the castle; she halts in her tracks, even though Lorcan and I don’t hesitate, and widens her big brown eyes. Then she catches sight of our entwined hands and wrinkles her nose. Luckily, Lorcan doesn’t notice that – nor does he see her cross her fingers, give me a wink that I’m sure she’s practiced in front of a mirror because it was way too perfectly executed, and rush away like she was never here – probably going to find somewhere to eavesdrop on our conversation with her faithful Finny by her side.

 

 

 

I stop at the stands and look up towards the top. Usually, I would climb the stairs and sit near the top, where I prefer to watch the matches that my team isn’t participating and where I go to think when everywhere else is too stifling. It’s one of my favorite places at Hogwarts… but bad things have transpired between Lorcan and I there. No need to relive a shit-tastic part of my past, seeing as my future sucks enough as it is. And my present does, as well.

 

 

 

Lorcan settles down on the grass without waiting for me to choose a spot; without much grumbling, I join him, and he reaches out for my hand again. Seems like someone has picked up on my less-than-wonderful mood.

 

 

 

He fidgets with the uncut grass growing up around him, pulling out a few pieces and shredding them in the silent moments that pass while I try to gain enough strength to say something. Yeah, he can tell something is up. He always fidgets when he’s anxious. (I wonder if the Auror department can beat that annoying habit out of him. If not… he might not be out in the field anytime soon.)

 

 

 

“James and Penelope are engaged,” I blurt out simply, even though I’m sure he already knows about it. I’ve done a brilliant job of keeping the emotion from my voice, but it’s a struggle for me to contain it inside of me, even though I’ve done so well for so long. I wonder if my eyes are giving me away – and, if they are, if he even notices.

 

 

 

“I know,” Lorcan finally says after annihilating a small patch of grass. (Why do we even pay a groundskeeper when we’ve got twitchy little Lorcan Scamander to rip out all of the grass? All I’ve got to do is make him a bit anxious, and look what happens.) He looks up, leveling his glance with my own, his grey eyes somber – like he’s scolding me. “I’m quite happy for them.”

 

 

 

“I’m happy for them too,” I snap back, suddenly defensive with that almost condescending look in those eyes of his. “I’m really happy for them. It’s just awesome. Wonderful. And look how easy it was for them.”

 

 

 

Lorcan widens his eyes and his lips part, and I resist the urge to smack the cow-like look off of his face. He runs his hand through the uncut grass surrounding his most recently victimized patch, ripping out a few more pieces.

 

 

 

“Maybe I should just get pregnant. That would make things easier, wouldn’t it? We could be just like James and Penelope. I’ll get knocked up, and you won’t have a choice – you’ll have to stop fake proposing. You’ll have to do it for real!”

 

 

 

“Dominique, don’t be ridiculous. You can’t just go get pregnant.”

 

 

 

“I don’t think I’m being ridiculous at all!” I respond. And in truth, I really don’t think I’m being ridiculous. Maybe a few weeks ago, this would be considered ridiculous behavior for me, even compared to all of my other ridiculous behaviors. However, considering the life I’ve been leading recently, it makes perfect sense to me.

 

 

 

“Are you really going to do this today?”

 

 

 

He sounds so exasperated. What does he have to be exasperated about? The bastard.

 

 

 

“I’ve put this conversation off for weeks, Lorcan. And so have you.”

 

 

 

“Dominique,” Lorcan rolls his eyes, and I hate him for that. He’s doing all of the things that he shouldn’t be allowed to do right now. He doesn’t deserve to be condescending and roll his eyes. Only I deserve such expressions of irritation! He has no right to be irritated. “Do you really think I – ”

 

 

 

“No – don’t you dare talk. Listen to me. Just. Fucking. Listen.”

 

 

 

Lorcan bites his lip, but he says nothing.

 

 

 

“Penelope and James are going to get married, and it really doesn’t bother me. That’s wonderful for them. They’re going to be the perfect little family. What bothers me is how sure they are of their future – that they have the right to be so sure. I can’t be sure at all. I don’t know what I’m going to do, where I’m going to go, or who is going to be my side when I get there. I don’t know if you’re going to be with me, wherever I am.”

 

 

 

I don’t know where these words are coming from – when all of this shit exploded in my face earlier today with Penelope’s newest announcement, I thought that I was upset because Lorcan and I weren’t going to get married before they were. Now, as the words pour out, I realize that isn’t it at all. No, it’s not. And I didn’t even know it until now.

 

 

 

It all comes flooding into my brain with enough force to knock me over. Chaos is my life. Uncertainty is my life. I never know what’s going to happen every day, what I’m going to say, what I’m going to get myself into. I know that, and I embrace it. I’m Dominique Weasley, after all – that’s what comes with being the person I am. But I’m surrounded with so many others who know what they want to do, where they want to be… and I guess, without noticing it happen, I started to want to be one of those people. And now, here I am – wanting to know all of these things, wanting to know if I’ll be a Harpy this time next year, wanting to know if I’ll be living near my family and helping Penelope with the baby and spending time with my friends, wanting to know if I’ll be married. I’ve never been that girl… but now I’m transforming into her.

 

 

 

“You made it seem like we had it all figured out. You said you wanted to marry me – you said it. You gave me an idea of what my future would be like. Then, you just took it all away. Took it away like it was just a joke, a game to mess with me. You changed your mind. Or you’d never made it at all.”

 

 

 

“Dom,” Lorcan puts his hand on my knee in an effort to console me, and I shake him off without hesitation. “I didn’t change my mind. I love you, Dominique.”

 

 

 

“I love you too, Lorcan. But…” I sigh. There shouldn’t be a “but”. There is no good to come out of that “but”… yet, I can’t help myself. “I can’t keep waiting for you to change back to the original plan. Nothing else in my life is concrete – I at least need that from you, Lorcan. You said you wanted to marry me. You said it. If you hadn’t said it, this might not be a problem. There would be no false expectations. But you did say it. You said it, damnit.”

 

 

 

“I wasn’t lying.”

 

 

 

“Lorcan,” I look at him, squeezing his hand tight in mine so I get his full attention. I stare deeply into those eyes, hoping my blue eyes can win his over – just as they have so many other times in much sillier situations. “Do you want to marry me? Do you? Like… really? Think about it.”

 

 

 

Lorcan looks away from me. “Of course I do, Dom. Of course. I love you. We’re in love. It’s what people who are in love do. That’s what they do.”

 

 

 

That’s what they do. They. Not us. Not we. They. That subtle difference makes me want to cry.

 

 

 

“But is it what you want?” I press further, sensing that the answer I’m receiving isn’t the truth. I want the truth, but Lorcan thinks I want the lie that he’s feeding me. Not this time. I want the truth, but he’s giving me what he thinks I want. And I can tell. (A girl can always tell.”

 

 

 

“I told you, Dom.” He still won’t look at me.

 

 

 

“Are you sure?”

 

 

 

“Dom, I love you. I want to marry you.”

 

 

 

His words mean nothing. I can feel that, as much as I don’t want to. I can feel the lie. I can feel the nothing spewing out of his mouth with his lies. He means well, I know, but he’s lying. He’s lying to me. He doesn’t mean it. He’s never meant it. He’s never wanted to propose to me. He’s never wanted to marry me.

 

 

 

Before I can stop myself, my worst nightmare comes true.

 

 

 

“Lorcan… will you marry me?”

 

 

 

Oh. Oh, Merlin. Oh. Shit. Damn. Fucking fuck. What did – oh, my Merlin…

 

 

 

I just proposed.

 

 

 

Lorcan doesn’t turn to look at me. He’s silent. Unmoving. Frozen in place by my abrupt, unplanned word vomit. (Which I understand. That was definitely unexpected. Especially for me, the person who just blurted out a very simple proposal even though that’s not how we do things, even in this century.

 

 

 

I let a long, pregnant silent pass. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t speak.

 

 

 

“Did you… did you hear – ”

 

 

 

“I heard you,” he answers, his voice weak.

 

 

 

“Lorcan…”

 

 

 

“I…” he turns towards me, finally. I can’t even read his expression. I can’t understand the look in his eyes. I just can’t place the tone of his voice. “Dominique…”

 

 

 

“Say yes, Lorcan,” I plead with him, although both of us know now that it’s no longer an option.

 

 

 

We’ve known that for a long time – perhaps since the very first fake proposal, when he laughed mirthfully like a child and I pretended to be amused, even though it killed me to wait even longer. We’ve known. There’s no saying yes. There’s no going through with it. He. Doesn’t. Want. It.

 

 

 

“I…”

 

 

 

“You said you…” I let my voice trail off and look down at the grass, grabbing up my own clump.

 

 

 

Instead of deliberately ripping the grass into shreds, however, I fling it away from me – everything that surrounds me, everything so bright and full of life, now disgusts me. This place where I feel the most at home, my Quidditch pitch, fills me with no warm and fuzzy feelings. It will remind me always of this very day. The day when Lorcan lied to me. The day he lied about the most important thing in our lives, the most important thing he ever had control over… he lied about it. He lied. Oh, Merlin. How many other things has he lied about? I hate to imagine.

 

 

 

“I…” he stammers. “I can’t, Dom. I can’t.”

 

 

 

I look down at the bare patch of ground that I chose to attack a moment before. Even though it’s warm outside this afternoon, I find myself shivering. Shivering with anger. Anger. Pain. Betrayal. Abandonment. Loneliness. “You’re a coward,” I accuse him in a low voice, a register that my voice so rarely reaches. I don’t have the strength to look him in the eye. “A coward… and a liar.”

 

 

 

“Dominique…”

 

 

 

What more can he say? He can’t take back anything he said – because he didn’t say anything at all. He can’t fix what he did, he can’t replace the holes he has created in my present and my future, he can’t un-break what he just broke. He can’t do anything. He can’t say anything. He can’t change anything.

 

 

 

I don’t say a word. I don’t even ask him to leave – nor do I get to my feet and run away myself. Instead, I close my eyes, draw my knees to my chest… and sob.

 

 

 

There’s tears for losing Lorcan. Tears for failing at getting what I wanted most. Tears for Penelope. Tears for jealousy. Tears for my uncertain future. Tears for my happier past. Tears for the fake proposals. Tears for my real proposal. Tears for my loneliness. Tears for Lorcan’s betrayal. Tears for the lies. Tears for the truth. Tears for myself. Tears for everyone else. Endless tears. Tears, tears, tears.

 

 

 

(And, excuse the disgusting information, a little bit of snot and slobber. I’m kind of blubbering like a baby over here.)

 

 

 

When the tears subside and the salt water begins to dry on my face, Lorcan is gone. I don’t have to look up to know that he’s gone. Gone from my present. Gone from my future. Forever in my past. And there wasn’t even a goodbye.

 

 

 

But I know I’m not alone. I can sense someone’s presence; I look up, peering around me. It takes a moment for my swollen, stinging eyes to adjust to the bright light – when they finally do, I realize that I’ve been joined by a ginger. And not just any ginger. Rose Weasley. The ginger of all the gingers.

 

 

 

“How are you holding up, Dom?”

 

 

 

I don’t answer. My blotchy face surely tells her all she needs to know. And if it doesn’t, the big patches of wetness on my jeans where my face was pressed do, unless Rose suddenly became very stupid overnight. I stare back at Rose wordlessly, aching all over with loss – but still feeling that normal curiosity of mine.

 

 

 

Why is she here, after all? Outdoors? On the Quidditch pitch? Without a book in her hand?

 

 

 

Then, I realize something.

 

 

 

Rose’s eyes, normally bright blue and filled with wisdom and knowledge that girls twice her age would die for, are glassy and red – and lifeless. She stands dejectedly, her shoulders slumping, her cheeks flushed and swollen, likely mirroring my own. There’s a similarity here that is all too noticeable.

 

 

 

It’s then that I understand something I could’ve known a long time ago, if only I hadn’t let Lorcan, or the lack thereof, take over my entire life – I haven’t been the only one suffering since the return to Hogwarts this fall. Rose doesn’t need to say a word for me to know everything. There are two broken hearts on this Quidditch pitch. Two hearts that have been breaking for longer than just a few minutes. I am not alone on this awful afternoon, and I never have been – not since the very beginning.

 

 

 

I’ve just been too caught up with my own life to see it.

 

 

 

“Scorpius is a coward,” Rose announces, confirming everything I read from the tears remaining in her dull eyes.

 

 

 

I hold out my hand for my cousin, the cousin whose pain has been hidden so well, the cousin who hasn’t let her suffering get in the way of her life and her family – the better cousin, if you were to compare the two of us.

 

 

 

When Rose takes my hand, I give her a weak smile and murmur, “Lorcan is, too.”

 

 





I hate that I came back from a hiatus with THIS... But we all knew it would happen eventually! Or at least I did.


Lots of love,

Paige.




 


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