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Chapter 8 : Fighting Back
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I left the library with Racquel at my side, books clutched to my chest, quite looking forward to the night ahead with her. She was my best friend and tonight would be the first time in a long time that we actually spent any quality time with one another, aside from homework and Draco-talk.
And it was as if his ears were burning because no sooner had I thought his name did he breeze around the corner, all suave and sexy. He took my breath away. I’d have to tell him what was going on. “Racquel, can I talk to him for a few minutes. I’ll catch up with you.”
She didn’t look impressed but she nodded and continued on her way. Draco, who was not alone when he turned the corner, made eye contact with me and then his eyes darted towards the empty classroom on my right. I inclined my head and slipped inside. I sat down on the table top of one of the desks and proceeded to wait for the few minutes that it would take for Draco to get rid of his lackeys.
This was usually how it worked. It was either him instigating the meeting or it was me. More often it was him than me however, and that thought just now bothered me. It felt like he was now running this show that I had started.
The door creaked open and he slid inside. He waved his wand at the door and locked it. I raised an eyebrow at him. I guess he thought he was getting a little snogging in. Well he had other things coming to him because that was not why I was here. He walked over to me confidently (Merlin I love a confident guy) and brushed my knees aside to stand between them as I still sat on the desk, clutching my books to my chest.
He reached up and tried to take them from me but I held firm.
“What’s going on?” he asked, confused.
“That’s not why I’m in here Draco.”
This time he raised his eyebrow. “Why are you in here then, Sadie? It’s just us two.”
I gave him a crooked smile, “Yes I know it’s just us two. I’m here to tell you that I can’t spend tonight with you.”
His face suddenly hardened. “What?” he said harshly and with and edge.
I kept myself level and calm. He had no reason to get mad at me. “I’m spending tonight in my dorm with Racquel. I will sleep alone tonight.”
“The hell you will!” he said, his voice getting louder.
“I will!” I said more firmly. “You don’t own me Draco, you can’t dictate what I do and don’t do with my life. I don’t have to spend every night with you. I enjoy our time together but I will not let you control me.”
He reached up fast and grabbed hold of my forearms, shaking my a little. “I do control you. I began controlling you from the very first kiss.”
“If that’s really what you think then I take it all back!” I yelled in his face, shoved him back and stood before him. “You were nothing more than an irritation, Malfoy, and I will not let that irritation control my life.”
I pushed past him but he swiveled and grabbed my arm again and swung me back. His arm came up around my back hard and he crushed me to his body. “I am more than an irritation to you, Sadie, and you know that,” he growled.
“What I know,” I began saying slowly, “is that this was a mistake. I will not go from one controlling relationship to another. You can’t cage me, Draco, and that’s exactly what you think you’ve done.”
I was furious. I shucked off his arm, whipped my hair around, probably hitting him in the face and stalked towards the door. My wand arm flipped out and the door opened. I walked through and slammed the door behind me. I marched up the corridor and around the corner.
I made it to the sixth floor before the fury and anger subsided and the reality of what had just happened sunk in. Draco had thought he could clap his hands and I would come running. I guess he hadn't seen that coming had he? He was a little worm to think he could get away with something like that. After all I’d told him about my father and my mother and my life in general, he still thought he could put me under his thumb. After all we’d shared I still couldn’t believe this had happened. I thought he wanted a companion, someone to share things with. But what he was really after was someone he could control as his father controlled him.
Well I wasn’t having that. I shook it off and decided that anyone who thought like that was not worth my time. At the beginning I’d thought he would be perfect for getting some excess stress out of my system. He just turned into a little fling and then an annoyance, how fitting. Just once I’d like to find someone who was interested in me for me. Not me for my father’s money. Not me because they’re looking for a power trip. Me for me, and no more. And I want them to fall for what’s on the inside, not what’s on the outside.
When I got back to the common room and saw Racquel I tried my utter best to keep what just happened bottled inside. This was just the exact opposite of what she had wanted to do tonight. I hoped that I could get through the night without slipping Draco’s name, let alone what he had just done.
“Hey girl!” I greeted her. “What’s first on the agenda?” I gave her a big smile, crossing my fingers behind my back that the smile didn’t look as fake as it was.
“Tuck those books under your bed and then we’ll pull out the mani-pedi set, ok? My cuticles are dying for some attention.” She held up her hands to show me her nails.
I laughed, “Oh dear me. Well you first then and then me.”
As it turned out, it was easy to forget about Draco and how he’d acted when I was with Racquel. She made it look so easy, giving herself completely to the task at hand (and foot) and then when the manicures and pedicures were done, we shifted on to hair braiding and talking about her family.
Racquel had two brothers that were older than her; one aged twenty-one and one aged twenty-six. Julian and André were really great guys and had really great careers going for them. Julian worked as freelance photographer, of all things, and André worked with magical creatures all over the world, including unicorns and dragons. I have never told her this, but I have secretly had a little girl crush on Julian since forever. Well, since the first time we met.
Her parents, Raphael and Marie, both had successful careers but were now retired, enjoying their accumulated wealth on a family estate just outside of Essex. Both our families came from money, but if our parents were to disown us (hers never would though my father might) we’d still be perfectly happy. If we took away all the fancy clothes and money we’d still be who we’ve always been. And whereas my mother and father had the money and used it for power and personal gain, Raphael and Marie were the least superficial people I knew. They hardly ever used their wealth. They supported about a dozen charities, both locally in England as well as abroad wherever their business had taken them in earlier years. Their estate in Essex was their one big splurge for all their hard work and as estates went, it was a very modest country home with plenty of room for guests and entertaining while not being too exuberant.
And while they were wealthy in their own right, Racquel’s parents always encouraged their children to do their own thing. It was plain to see that Julian and André had taken that advice to heart and gone their own way in their careers, doing what they loved to do best. I didn’t know what Racquel was planning on doing just yet, but I had faith that she would find her own path.
I loved my best friend and I wanted all good things for her. There were times that we hated each other, but then times like this, when we forced each other to forget the problems in our lives, we reconnected and found our friendship again.
I was sitting on my bed early in the morning, thinking about everything we’d talked about, and all the things were said and I was thankful that Racquel had made me do it. But now that the sun was starting to rise and it was a new day I started to worry about my problem with Draco again. It wasn’t so much a problem I guess, it was more of an irritation I had to work through, just like I’d yelled at him. He thought he could control me, but also like I’d said, I wouldn’t let him do that. I had begun to let him though, going to him whenever he asked and not thinking for myself. I had succumbed to being in that tormenting relationship and lost myself in it, when I had planned on coming out on top.
I didn’t think I could let it end as it had however. I would have to find Draco and explain things so that he understood. I couldn’t let some other unsuspecting girl getting wound up in that nonsense and so I’d try to fix the problem first before warning off any girl who showed the slightest interest, not that there were many I would imagine, it being Draco and all.
But…I wouldn’t go to him right away. There was no point because that would just give him the biggest ego boost, thinking I’d come “crawling back”. I would wait, leave him to drive himself into a fury about not getting his way, and then knock him back twenty feet just to put a fine point to it. I was done taking it lying down. I’d always been a fighter and the past weeks hadn’t seen much of the fighter-Sadie. Well she was about to come at life with her claws out. At the thought I started to smile.
“What are you smiling about?” a voice said to the right of me.
I turned to see Racquel had woken up and was looking at me. “Morning,” I greeted.
“Morning…what are you smiling about?” she asked again.
I flipped my blankets aside and went to wrap my arms around her. She hugged me back hesitantly. I pulled back. “I’m about to fight back.”
She then smiled widely. “It’s about damn time!” she exclaimed.
“Life wants to kick me down, I’m gonna kick back. And it starts with my mother.”
“Yup. She wants me to come down to Australia for a few days for her wedding, well she’s gonna have to earn it!”
Racquel looked skeptical. “How?”
“You’ll see,” I winked back at her.
She did a little fist pump and said, “Yes! My Sadie is back!”
I nodded, “And this time she won’t get lost.”
“Yes Miss Morris, please come in.” Professor sat behind her large oak desk, her hair twisted into a bun at the back of her head with a stern look on her face. I had long ago forgotten to be intimidated by her however and so the stern look only fueled my mission.
“I was hoping to talk to you about arranging transportation for me to visit my mother this weekend.” I said coolly, holding her gaze.
“This weekend? And I didn’t know your mother had sent for you. Usually it goes through the school first, Miss Morris.”
“I understanding, Professor. My mother gave me notice the other day that she was engaged to be married. I need to speak to her however. I know it’s unorthodox but I was hoping you could arrange a short visit for me.”
I had been to my mother’s Australian home once before since she had left when I was ten. I wasn’t letting her know I was coming this time however; she needed a little reality check.
I’ll have to double check with the Headmaster, Miss Morris, but I will see what I can do.” She looked reluctant to do and I knew she only agreed because of my father’s wealth and power in the wizarding world. There wasn’t a man in the world who could intimidate Albus Dumbledore, but he had always remained calm about it, knowing that it really wasn’t a great deal. My father provided a lot of funding towards the school in any case and Loden was never beneath mentioning it to the great Albus Dumbledore when his will was contested.
“Thank you, Professor,” I said to McGonagall.
“You’re welcome, Sadie. Please congratulate your mother for me.”
“I will,” I answered automatically.
I turned to leave but then her voice stopped me again. “Can I ask you a question Sadie?”
I turned back, “Professor?”
“Are you happy at home?” I just stared. “I know it’s not my place to ask, and I don’t have the right to pry into your family life, but I have seen you leave from this office, and arrive again to notice the look on your face. You look exhausted. Are you not happy at home?”
I took a few moments. It really wasn’t her place to ask or pry, but she was a professor and I felt like I could trust her. It didn’t feel like an intrusion. It was more like I was talking to a family friend. I had seen more of Minerva McGonagall than any other professor at Hogwarts and while we weren’t always friendly, I suppose I sometimes considered her as a friend.
“I haven’t been happy at home since I was very little, Professor,” I finally said. “My parents divorced right before I came to Hogwarts and since then I have seen very little of my mother and too much of my father. I cannot shirk the responsibilities of the company because he relies on me too much, but I would rather not go at all. I feel like I am perhaps missing parts of my adolescence because of him.”
“And your mother?”
“She is too wrapped up in her own life to care about mine.”
“And so what is the purpose of this visit, if I may ask?”
I nodded, “I don’t mind telling you. I am going to remind her that I am still her daughter and that from time-to-time I’d like her to step back from her theatrical and drama-filled little life to see the only real thing she has in her life: me. I have never once seen my mother being truly sincere; it’s always been an act. If she’s going to get married and wants me to be there for the ceremony, I want her to stop acting. If she doesn’t then I won’t have anything to do with her.”
McGonagall absorbed what I had said and nodded her head. “I will make the arrangements. You can leave Friday night after your classes finish.”
“Thank you Professor.”
“You’re welcome. Don’t ever hesitate to come speak to me, Sadie. I will always listen.”
“Have a good day.”
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