Chapter 1 : Luminescent
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I hug my knees to my chest as I stare out into the still, green-tinted water of the Black Lake. A slight breeze blows stray strands of hair into my face, but I don't bother pushing them away. A rising sun peeks tentatively over a wisp of cloud, not yet ready to come out, not at this time. It's only dawn, after all. Only it and I are out here, at the early time of dawn. Or so I thought.
My head whips round to see the intruder. So much for peace and quiet. And of course, it's him. It always is. I have never come to expect anyone else.
“I knew you’d be out here,” Lorcan says, voice harsh and loud in the silence of our surroundings. He drops down beside me and my resting place with another loud ‘thump’. I can’t help but flinch at the noise. “You always are. Why?”
“What?” I reply stiffly, ducking my head and inching away from him slightly. “I can’t even wake up early anymore without a bodyguard?” I don’t see him actually do it from underneath the sanctuary of my hair, but I can imagine his eyes suddenly soften at the question.
“Where’s Sander?” Lorcan never was good at changing the subject.
“Sleeping,” I say, “like you should be.” Like I should be, for that matter. “Why are you here? Can’t I be alone, for one second in my life?”
“Lucy, stop avoiding the question!” he says crossly, and I chance a glance at him. He’s avoiding my eyes, looking out into the horizon. “Why are you up so early?”
“I’ve already told you,” I snap, suddenly irritated with Lorcan’s intrusion in my early morning. “I want to be alone! After - after Robbie, you’ve never left me alone, not for a minute.” I shrink into myself, suddenly embarrassed, not because of the reason but because of the catch in my voice after saying Robbie’s name. I know Lorcan’s no idiot - he’s noticed. “This is the only time I can properly be alone. No sane person would be up right now.” I look back at him, defiant, only to see his eyebrow quirked.
“I hope you know that you just called yourself insane,” he comments mildly.
“As I did you, too.” I stick my tongue out at him, settling comfortably once more into our immature banter, but Lorcan blinks at me for a second and I suddenly realise something has shifted in the air when he moistens his own lips. I look away. A moment of silence passes between us, just a moment, but Lorcan has never been the best at keeping quiet for long periods of time.
“I’m sorry.” The two words, coming from him of all people, shock me so much that I jolt, but Lorcan ignores it.
“Why?” The question is out of my mouth before I know it, and he glances at me with something strange in those brown eyes of his.
“I knew you wanted me to be alone,” he mumbles in answer, voice so quiet that I barely hear them. “Who wouldn’t be, after having to deal with a cheating boyfriend?” I suddenly stiffen at his words, blinking rapidly to fight the sudden urge to cry, but despite my best efforts one tear manages to leak down my cheek. He sighs. It’s only been two days since I first found out, and I’m not quite over it yet.
“Come here, Luce,” he offers softly and I willingly shift closer towards Lorcan, trying my hardest not to sniffle as he wraps an arm around me and holds me close. The memory of Robbie doing the exact same thing makes me shuffle closer, almost properly curled up in Lorcan’s arms. If I hadn’t been trying not to cry, I might have been embarrassed but it is nice to know someone is there for me.
“Don’t cry, Lucy,” he says tenderly, a thumb reaching upwards to brush the lone, slowly drying tear track. “I know how it feels.”
“No, you don’t,” I huff, closed eyes flying open as I peer upwards at him, his steady breathing making my cheeks warm. “Mel would never cheat on you.” I feel his chuckles reverberate through me.
“Funny how everyone seems to think that.” He smiles at me, but it’s a sad one, and I feel guilty for tearing up over Robbie when it seems Lorcan has had his own problems to deal with.
“Did you break up with her?” I ask in a small voice, half-dreading, half-anticipating the answer. He doesn’t answer for once, and I take that as a ‘yes’. “Did you find out? Or did she tell you? Or did someone else tell you?” Another silence, and I just about give up on ever hearing another word from him until I hear his quiet answer.
“I found out,” he murmurs, holding me closer, and I can’t deny that I like it. Everyone insists that I have a crush on him, and I have never said a word against it.
“It was yesterday. Sometime in the evening, during my patrols. They were in the closet, the one nearest Gryffindor Tower.” To hear him say this so matter-of-factly to me almost breaks my heart all over again.
“Why would they be up near the Tower?” I ask, curious despite myself. “Melanie’s a Slytherin with you, isn’t she?”
“He was the Gryffindor,” Lorcan answers. “They didn’t think I would find them, but I did. Melanie and I were long over before that. This was just the last straw.” A pause.
“I’m sorry,” I say humbly. “I didn’t know.” He sighs once more.
“No one did, Luce.” Another silence, though this one much longer. The sun has finally decided to brave gracing the sky with its presence, and I welcome the warmth it gives me. I brush at my now-dry eyes and lift my head from his shoulder and turn to look at him. I freeze.
Lorcan’s face is so, so close to mine, and I can see every detail of his face. The honey-brown lashes, the tilted bridge of his nose, the flecks of amber in his brown eyes and, of course, the thin, slightly parted lips. His eyes rove over my own face, and I feel suddenly self-conscious.
“Lorcan?” I say tentatively, heart hammering in my chest and it’s a wonder he can’t hear it. He licks his lips again, but this time I follow the trail of his tongue with my eyes, my breath quickening and heartbeat pounding in my ears.
“Lucy.” It’s not so much a question as a statement, and Lorcan leans forward, just slightly, but it’s enough. His lips brush over mine, capturing them in a chaste kiss under the light of the early morning sun.