Chapter 20 : I Don't Trust You
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I didn't have to read the article to know what it was about. My face flushed red, and I closed my eyes, squeezing them together and attempting to wish away the headline.
I opened my eyes again. It hadn't worked, it was still there, emblazoned in a bright pink font on the cover of Witch Weekly.
Irish Quidditch star Aidan Lynch and his wife Eveline Warbeck, beloved singer, have been 'happily' married for eighteen years now. They had the life that rivalled the Potter and Weasley families, filled with fame, fortune, and a beautiful seventeen year old daughter, Anneliese, whom is close friends with aforementioned Potter and Weasley families.
But now, several women have come forward with their stories to Witch Weekly, some hiding their identity, others proud to claim they have "been intimately involved with a man like Aidan Lynch."
So far, a total of seven women have shared their stories of Lynch's seduction techniques and romantic weekends away together. The earliest account dates back to seven years ago, roughly around the time his daughter began Hogwarts.
Although there have been no men coming forward with stories about Eveline Warbeck, it is suspected she has had her fair share of affairs too, namely as since her daughter left for Hogwarts all her assistants have been handsome, young males. In our recent interview with Ms Warbeck, she spoke fondly of her current assistant, Edward Vance, and the pair had flirted heavily during the day, despite Eveline's daughter being present.
This leads us to suspect that Anneliese has known of the affairs, and has had no complaints, or else they have been silenced. Either way, the secret it out now, and the couple can no longer fake their "happily ever after" with one another.
No more happily ever after, that was for sure. I had received a brief note from my mother this morning, shortly after I had been told to read this mornings Witch Weekly. The note had merely consisted of the words,
Anneliese, I'm sorry you had to find out about your father and I's unhappiness via that awful magazine, and I feel as if you deserve the truth now. Your father and I are divorcing, as soon as possible, and for the moment I will be spending some time away abroad with Edward. I probably won't be home when you finish school, and I doubt your father will be, so you can either stay there or buy a flat with my money and get yourself a job. Lots of love, your mother.
I was furious with her, simply due to her blasť approach to the situation and my feelings, the embaressment I felt over the whole affair. I was also furious because my father had not bothered to contact me to offer me any explanation.
But I didn't really need any explanation, it was obvious what had happened. When I had departed for Hogwarts, I had given my parents an ideal opportunity to have frequent affairs and never have to worry about hurting my feelings. They had been involved in several affairs over the years, and I knew for definite Naomi's mother was one of my fathers.
I had called Naomi a liar, I had called James a liar, and I was sincerely embarrassed about it all. I was waiting with baited breath for the "I told you so", and I knew when it was delivered I would break down. It had suddenly become very real to me, I could no longer have both of my parents. I knew without a doubt that now I was seventeen my father wouldn't try to save his relationship with me, and once my mother returned (if she ever did), she would drive me up the wall criticising my life and perhaps even marry Edward. That thought made me shudder, my mother, a cougar.
Not to mention, I wanted to kick myself for ruining everything with James simply because I refused to admit to my parents affairs, due to pride and embarrassment in believing the lies. Although, now I thought about it, I'd known for years that my parents didn't love one another anymore, that something was driving us apart as a family, seeing as we never spent any time together since I had left for Hogwarts. At least now I knew why.
"Lise, are you alright?" Freddy's voice punctured my thoughts and I hastily sniffed back the tears of shame from my eyes.
"What do you think, Freddy?" I hissed, hiding my face behind the Witch Weekly. "I'm embarrassed out of my mind, everybody knows what my parents are like, everybody knows that they lied to me for seven years of my life!"
"You didn't know?" Freddy raised an eyebrow at me and I scoffed in an unladylike manner.
"Of course I didn't know! Do you honestly think I would have been alright with it had I known? I would have said something, anything to stop me feeling like this!"
"I'm sorry Lise, I..." Freddy seemed at a loss for the right words, and I didn't blame him. What was the right thing to say to calm me down? I didn't know, I didn't feel as if I could ever be calm again. I was hysterical.
"Don't worry about it, I-" I stopped, my mouth forming a perfect O-shape as I watched James slowly make his way over to me, Naomi following close behind. No, no, no, no, no not here, they can't do it here, in front of an audience.
"Bye Freddy!" I squeaked, before scrambling off the bench of the Gyrffindor table and running as fact as I could out of the hall. I could feel my skirt slipping up my legs, but I continued on, and didn't stop until I was safely locked away in my dormitory in the Gryffindor tower, where nobody like James or Naomi could get to me.
Or, at least, I had thought they couldn't get to me. I hadn't stopped to consider the fact that Naomi was a girl, and if somebody let her into the common room she could barge straight up here.
"Anneliese" she knocked again. "I mean it, let me in. I need to talk to you" she knocked several times more. "Anneliese!"
I moved to hide my head underneath my pillow, and her frantic knocks became a dull hammering. I had spent three hours curled up in my four poster, occasionally sobbing or punching my pillow in anger before she had ruined it.
"Anneliese!" Naomi screeched once more. Stupid bint. "If you don't open this door in ten seconds I am coming in regardless of whether you want me to!"
Fuck off, stupid little Ravenclaw. Stop ruining my life.
There was a bang as the door hit the wall and heavy footsteps as somebody stomped over to my four poster and wrenched the hangings apart. I peeked out from under my duvet and caught Naomi's look of disgust.
"It's so red in here, it's disgusting."
Charming, I'm sure Naomi was meant to be storming in here to apologise to me, not insult my house colours and dent my Gryffindor pride.
"Shut up" I mumbled. "I bet your dormitory is completely blue and disgusting."
"This red hurts my eyes, does it hurt your eyes?"
"No, it's warm" I sat up from underneath my duvet and scowled at her. "Blue's a cold colour, therefore it suits bitchy Ravenclaws perfectly."
"You look a mess" Naomi raised her eyebrows at me. I didn't disagree with her, my eyes were red and puffy, and my hair was wild from my angry movements underneath the duvet. I wondered when Naomi's apology would come.
"Are you going to apologise then?"
"Not yet" Naomi frowned at me. "I want to talk to you first."
"Nothing to talk about, my life is officially shit."
"Don't feel sorry for yourself, its not a redeeming quality" Naomi rolled her eyes at my instant glare.
"Are your parents together, Naomi?" I spat at her, and she moved backwards slightly in surprise.
"Well, yes... they are. But I don't see what that has to do with any-"
"It's not fair, is it?" I said sharply, enjoying the way Naomi was watching me warily. "Your mother cheated on your father with my father, and yet your parents are still together. You're a complete psychotic bitch, and yet your family is normal. Your parents love each other. They don't lie to you. How is that fair?"
"I was a psychotic bitch because my family was falling apart, Anneliese. I'm better now, because my parents are together again."
"So what do I become now then? My parents are getting divorced, do I have to stay hysterical forever now?"
"No" Naomi moved closer to me. "Anneliese, your seventeen, once you leave Hogwarts you're free to be an adult, you don't have to have anything to do with your parents if you don't want to. You get to prove to everybody that you're you, not Aidan Lynch's daughter, or Eveline Warbeck's."
I nodded and sniffed again. "You're right I suppose."
"I'm a Ravenclaw, I'm always right."
I rolled my eyes at her and she smiled softly. "Well, not always" she corrected herself. I looked up at her and she smiled apologetically.
"I'm sorry, truly, I am, for everything I did. I wanted to make it up to you, by helping you and James get together, by telling you about your parents. But, when you came up to me the other day, and told me to stop playing games with you, that I'd ruined your seventh year, that you'd given up.... I didn't know what to do. I wish I could take back time, and stop myself from ruining everything. You're so kind, so lovely to everyone, I wish I could be your friend... not your enemy."
She stopped as a few tears dripped onto her lap and she made herself busy by wiping them away. I didn't attempt to stop my tears, I was touched by Naomi's words, I saw it now, how much she regretted the drama she'd created.
"You're not my enemy, Naomi" I said softly, reaching to squeeze her hand lightly. "You never were. I never wanted you to be my enemy, I don't want an enemy at all. You made me angry, and you ruined my relationship with James, but I didn't want to do the same as you. I never wanted revenge, not really."
"I was a bitch."
"Yeah" I laughed quietly, a sob breaking through it as I also began to busy myself with wiping away my tears. "But I forgive you."
"You are literally the loveliest person I know, Anneliese."
"Call me Lise, we could be cliche and become friends now?" I giggled softly and Naomi joined my laughter, nodding quickly.
"I'd love that, Lise" she smiled, a true, nice smile, not a smirk. "As a friend, though, I want to ask something of you."
I raised a quizzical eyebrow at her worried expression, and nodded to her.
"Talk to James" she blurted out quietly. "Please" she met my eyes with her own, pleading. "He really, really likes you. And he only wanted what was best for you. I don't want to be the reason you two were ruined."
I bit my lip and sniffed back further tears. Naomi was right, I needed to talk to James, but I was frightened. I was scared that we wouldn't be able to go back to what we had become with one another before he told me about my parents.
"I'll talk to him. But I don't promise anything, Naomi. And if we don't... get back together, I want you to know it wasn't your fault at all."
She nodded and flashed me a brilliant smile, launching herself towards me and wrapping her arms around my neck, hugging me tightly. "Thank you!" was all she whispered into my ear.
"Such an odd sight" somebody spoke up from the door, and Naomi and I twisted around to see Bea and Alice stood in the doorway with incredulous looks upon their faces.
"I never thought I'd see the day you two hugged" Alice chuckled from the doorway and Naomi and I smiled to one another.
"We've resolved all our issues" was all I gave for explanation, and Bea and Alice seemed happy enough to leave the subject at that.
"James is looking for you, Lise" Bea smiled slightly to me. "He says he really needs to talk to you."
My heart leapt to my throat as I began to panic but Naomi simply pulled on my arm and reached to make me appear more presentable. After a few moments of hair brushing, wiping the tears away, and Alice's hasty application of minimal make up to reduce the red-eye effect, Naomi propelled me towards the stairs and shoved me into the common room.
"What the hell is Naomi Smith doing in your dormitory, Lise?" was the first incredulous voice that punctured the silence that had begun as soon as I had appeared.
I felt Naomi chuckle beside me and I smiled slightly. "We're friends now" I told the voice, who was an extremely confused Freddy.
"James is by the portrait hole" Naomi murmured into my ear, pushing me forward so I stumbled slightly, attempting to calm my shaking limbs as I approached James.
"Hi" I stammered, as I made eye contact with him. His expression was miserable, confused, and hurt all at the same time.
"I want to talk to you" he ignored my greeting and went straight to the point.
"Shall we go somewhere else? I don't fancy everyone listening" he tried to smile then, but it was forced and unhappy. I stepped out of the portrait hole before him, then waiting for him to join me before we set off in silence.
It wasn't until we reached the Astronomy Tower that either of us made any sound. With a clear of his throat, James broke the silence.
"I'm sorry about your parents."
"I'm sorry I didn't believe you." I counteracted and James shot me a confused look. "I should have, I've always known my parents weren't happy. I was just embarrassed, that somebody knew before I did that I'd fallen for my parents' lies."
"Nobody blames you for it. I don't."
I smiled slightly. "I should have trusted you."
"Why didn't you?"
"I suppose... the whole Naomi thing made me loose my trust in you James. When you chose her over me, I couldn't help but think that it was bound to happen again."
"I didn't know that then."
"So, where do we go from here?" James sounded nervous, and I clenched my eyes shut to stop the tears from falling. It seemed ironic really, that where we had began was the same place it would end.
"It won't work James" I told him softly and his eyes instantly filled with hurt.
"It would!" he argued. "You're my best friend! Everyone says we're meant to be!"
"Everything has gone too wrong..."
"I'm a Potter, I don't like it, but there's always something dramatic going on. But that's the whole point, that we like each other enough to get past it."
"I just want some space, James, from all of it. I just want to concentrate on everything else... not my feelings for you."
"So, you admit you have feelings for me?"
"You know I do."
"Then I'll wait" he titled his chin upwards confidently. "I'll wait for you to be ready."
"Don't, James, please don't."
"If you don't want to be with me Lise, then just tell me" James' eyes flashed angrily and I frowned at him.
"Stop it James, this is complicated for me."
"What's complicated about it?" James raised his voice. "We like each other! That's all we need!"
"I don't trust you!" I blurted out, instantly regretting my words as James' face fell. I gasped, my hands flying to clasp over my mouth as my eyes widened. "I-"
"Don't" James shook his head harshly, blinking quickly as if he was about to cry. My heart faltered for a moment.
"I understand now. No more James and Lise, right?"
Despite the fact my mind was screaming no, I nodded slowly, my eyes filling with tears at James' dejected expression.
"Alright. Well... it's good... that we had this chat, Lise" James swallowed awkwardly. "I'll... never mind" he shook his head hastily and strode out of the tower and down the stairs.
Slowly, I slid down against a tower wall and looked out on the grounds, the tears obscuring my vision as they fell fast and thick. My whole body was shaking, with hurt, my sobs and the biting cold wind that whipped my hair around my face.
I honestly didn't know if I'd just done the right thing... it hurt that much. But then, after I'd told James I didn't trust him, he'd stopped fighting for me. I supposed that in some twisted way, that mattered. He cared more about keeping himself from being hurt than me. Or was that just selfish to think?
A/N - ok, you definitely hate me now! I appreciate all the fantastic reviews, keep them coming and I'll keep the updates coming as quickly as possible! Hope you enjoyed X
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