Chapter 13 : Rejection
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However, her Head-Girl duties kept Rose more than busy enough as they reached the back end of November. Her workload was getting higher and higher by the week and she was focusing on schedules and discipline so much that she barely saw Dom except when they went to bed or in lessons and meals. The weather was also steadily declining, as the rain came down in spades, further limiting everyone’s mood, especially Quidditch-Mad Dom, who was filthy and soaked after every training session, grumbling that a little rain never hurt anyone and that her team were a bunch of pansies. Roxanne, on the other hand, relished the rain and any opportunity to prank was taken with more than a pinch full of glee.
It was one evening, when most of the school was asleep, when Rose found herself stuck on patrols with Neville. They hadn’t spoken much, if at all since he had started being frosty towards her and she suspected it might have something to do with her antics after the Quidditch match. In any case, she was in no mood for him and it was only after a third snapped answer to one of her questions about random crap that she decided that she wasn’t going to take any more of it.
“Did I do something wrong?” she asked, loudly, stopping him in his tracks as he stomped ahead a few paces. “Only you’ve been really frosty towards me for a few weeks now.”
“Wrong?” Neville’s voice sounded strained and she could feel a blend of rattled emotions swelling inside her. “Nothing’s wrong? Why would it be wrong? After all, it’s not as if we’re friends or anything is it Rose?”
“Last time we spoke,” Rose replied, keeping her voice even. “You said I was confused and that you wanted to help me see that I liked you. Well I’m still confused, that much is true, but I know that I can’t stand you being like this towards me, so what is it?”
Neville sighed and started walking again, freezing on the spot when Rose followed him quickly and grabbed his arm, swivelling him to face her. His face was exactly as she could have predicted, as he looked torn, almost hurt, but he was wrestling to gain some sort of composure over it. Rose put her hands on her hips, knowing that she was being unfair, but also that they needed to get this into the open.
“Maybe I’m done waiting Rose,” Neville said quietly, far too quietly for Rose’s liking. “We’ve not spoken properly since your birthday and that’s been nearly two months. You can’t expect something like this to just wait on the backburner for that long while you go off and snog every guy you can find that’s old enough for you.”
“That’s not fair!” Rose interrupted. “That was one night when I’d drank some spiked punch and lost control, I never meant to do that and I never meant to hurt you. I didn’t realise you cared so much about my behaviour.”
“Rose, I’d have assumed by now that it was obvious that I liked you!” Neville muttered exasperatedly. “But despite that, you’ve been too hung up on the fact that I’m so young and that your perfect reputation might be damaged that you’ve failed to see that, or see that you might like me back.”
“Nev,” Rose replied. “I don’t know what I want. But, I don’t want you and me to fall out and whatever you might think I can’t stop myself from thinking about you. I don’t know whether for bad or good, but I know that you’re always in my head…”
“Look Rose,” Neville sighed. “I can’t keep going on like this forever, whatever I want to do. So do yourself a favour and find yourself a nice, suitable boyfriend who you aren’t embarrassed to be seen with, which is why you haven’t told anyone you like me, or shown any inclination towards me. That way, we can both move on with our lives, okay?”
Rose was both stunned and hurt by Neville’s words, even if she recognised the truth in them. She knew that she hadn’t exactly acted towards Neville the way she knew that she felt, and she could finally see that through the confusion and the mixed feelings, there was an underlying pain and sadness at what she was hearing. She opened her mouth to reply, but no words would come out, but as he was walking away, she found the strength to shout after him.
“You were wrong about one thing! I told Dom about you.”
Neville smiled wistfully, but she didn’t see it and then as he turned the corner, he was gone, not just from the corridor, but she sensed, from her life.
The second Hogsmeade visit of the year came in the middle of November and was generally considered to be a relatively insignificant event. The thrill of the first trip wasn’t there and at the same time, it didn’t have the Christmas hype that the third one always possessed. Hugo went with his friends, so Kelly agreed to take Lily, who had cheered up considerably and was back to her usual, bright self over the recent weeks. Lily had finally started to move on, her feelings for Lysander no longer clouding her vision or her life. She hadn’t seen much of him, as the castle itself was huge and, as they weren’t in the same year, they didn’t have lessons together. One thing that did get on Lily’s nerve was how Kelly kept going on about Hugo and how awesome he was. For Lily, this was the double whammy of both jealousy at Kelly’s happiness and the disgusting image of her cousin and her best friend together.
Hugo also found himself becoming tired with Kelly’s constant zeal for life and their relationship, as Lily found out when the two sat next to each other one Charms lesson. It wasn’t that he wanted to end things with her, or that he couldn’t stand her, but there was more than one occasion where he found himself wanting to spend some time with someone other than her. Luckily, Lily was happy to oblige and give Hugo some time to himself, as she found that when Kelly was with him, she found herself awfully lonely without Lysander around to talk to. More and more, she found herself sitting with Lucy, which was the height of boredom, or down at Hagrid’s hut. She owled James often, but rarely got more than a brief reply, as he was always busy. Lily found that crying was more and more becoming a useful outlet for her frustrations and half her nights she’d end up sobbing into her pillow.
Meanwhile, Lysander was also still suffering. He had spent a long time pondering talking to Lily but every time he saw her, she seemed so happy and unlike him, it seemed like she’d moved on. Lorcan had, it seemed, forgiven him for his transgression although their brotherly relationship was frosty at best. Lysander had tried hard to move on, but the sight of the girl he had fallen for always managed to drive him insane. He knew that it would become too much for him if he was placed in such a situation and, sure enough, such an opportunity arose at just the wrong moment.
It was a Saturday afternoon in late November and the sun was just falling, staining the sky a dusty red. The rain had for once stayed away for once and Lysander had considered what to do with his evening. Lorcan had gone out with Dominique and Georgia and Stephen were working in the library and he didn’t want to interrupt them. Instead, Lysander decided to indulge one of his stranger hobbies, examining creatures down by the Forbidden Forest. His parents had been experts on strange magical creatures and, although he wasn’t as obsessed, part of him had always been intrigued by this. He wandered down the rutted path towards Hagrid’s Hut and was about to veer right into the patch when a voice caught his ear and stopped him dead.
“I just don’t know what to say to her, but I think I need to say something…”
Lily’s voice sent a throbbing feeling through Lysander’s head and he groaned; every urge in his body telling him to go through into the patch. His feet ignored his brain and started moving towards Lily, her voice intoxicating him and controlling him. He could hear her more and more clearly, a ringing beacon over Hagrid’s muffled replies. He knocked on the door to the hut and there was a moment of silence inside before Lily opened the door. Her face fell and although she opened her mouth, no noise came out. Hagrid went to ask her who it was, but then he spotted Lysander and mumbled an excuse before hurrying out of the hut, dragging Fang Jr with him and leaving Lysander and Lily alone in the hut. Lily sat down, eyeing the door favourably as she waited for Lysander to speak. Now that he was here, Lysander could feel his heart creaking.
“I’ve missed you,” Lysander said eventually, his voice strangled and struggling.
“I’ve missed you too.” The tenderness in Lily’s voice took Lysander aback and he wondered if there might just be hope for the pair yet. But the tenderness was masked by a reluctance and definite sharpness. Lily was not happy, whatever she was willing to admit.
“I know I’ve not spoken to you since it happened,” Lysander continued. “And I know that what happened was unforgivable, but I was scared.”
“What’s there to be scared of?” Lily’s voice had a hardened edge to it. “That I’d not forgive you? And that we’d go nearly two months without a word to each other and that there would be lingering, painful unresolved feelings? Well congrats Lysander, you’ve done a brilliant fucking job of avoiding that.”
“I figured that you were better off without me,” Lysander replied, trying hard to keep his tone even. “I didn’t think that you wanted to ever speak to me again and I was happy to leave you to your own devices. Well at least, that’s what I thought you wanted. It’s not what I wanted.”
“And what did you want Lysander?” Lily snapped, any pretence of warmth vanishing. “Did you want to come crying to me, tell me you’re sorry and that hope that I’d take you back? Well tough. You didn’t come crying and it’s far too late now. Even if I had been able to forgive you for practically shagging my cousin in a broom closet just minutes after I thought we became official, if that’s what it is, then you’ve blown it. You can’t just swan in after leaving me to suffer and cry for so long and expect everything to be okay.”
“I know that,” Lysander whispered. “But I couldn’t take being alone, being without you anymore. I needed to talk to you, to at least try and patch things up, because not being with you is killing me. Don’t tell me you feel differently…”
“Why?” Lily asked, her voice now deathly quiet. “Why did you do it?”
“I don’t know,” Lysander replied, tears now starting to fall from his cheeks. Lily’s eyes remained dry. “I can’t tell you what I thought, but I was happy yet frustrated and you wouldn’t…and then I bumped into Dom and I drank more and I was so…out of it, that when she kissed me, I went along with it. More than that, I controlled it. But I didn’t realise what I was doing until it was too late, and when you saw me, I felt horrific. I shouldn’t have done it, but I can’t take it back.”
“I loved you Lysander,” Lily said quietly. “But I’ve spent too many nights crying over you and I can’t trust a word that comes out of your mouth. You cheated on me, with my own cousin and then you didn’t even try to atone for it.”
“I’M TRYING NOW!” Lysander yelled; his voice shattering the quiet tension as Lily leapt to her feet, her own tears now finally flowing freely as her red hair whipped around her neck.
“Well it’s not good enough!” she shrieked. “You can’t just put me through hell like you have and expect me to suddenly change my mind about you! I’ve tried to forgive you Lysander, and maybe I could forgive you, but I’ve forced myself to move on and I can’t just turn my back on that.”
“I never stopped caring about you!” Lysander shouted. “And I still do, as much as the day I kissed you. I made a mistake and they happen and I wish more than anything that I could go back to that day and stop it and I only didn’t say this earlier because I thought you were happier without me in your life, but I can’t live like that…”
“Well you were right!” Lily screamed, her voice breaking as she broke down into sobs. Lysander went over to comfort her, but as soon as he placed his hand on her shoulder, she turned, lashing out at Lysander and sending him stumbling back. She slapped him hard across the cheek and his nose was bleeding from the punch. Lily pulled out her wand but dropped it, unable to say a curse as she fell to her knees. Fury was replaced by overwhelming sadness and she cried fiercely. Lysander looked at her and dared to open his mouth.
“That’s enough lad,” Hagrid said, having arrived when he heard the commotion. “I think you’d better leave the girl alone now, she’s been through a lot.”
Lysander looked pitifully at Lily.
“Just go Lysander,” she managed to say. “We’re done here.”
“I’m going to kill him! I’m going to fucking kill him.”
“Kelly,” Hugo groaned. “Can we please talk about something else?”
“No we fucking can’t!” Kelly growled, stomping around the common room in anger. “I’m going to kill the little bastard.”
Lily opened her mouth to say something but Kelly drowned her out with another angry shout towards Lysander. The three of them were alone in the common room late that night, Lily sat on the sofa with Kelly and Hugo on their feet. Kelly’s rampage had been virtually unrelenting since Lily had returned and neither Hugo nor Lily could shut her up.
“I’m going to rip his intestine out, feed it to him and then watch him try to digest it!” Kelly fumed as Hugo placed a calming arm on her shoulder that she then shrugged off.
“It wasn’t his fault,” Lily tried but to no avail. “He didn’t…”
“He didn’t know that I’d come and kill him!” Kelly shouted over her.
“Oh for fuck’s sake Kelly, just shut up!” Hugo yelled, silencing Kelly who looked shocked that Hugo had both sworn and spoken loudly against someone. “Lily has said that it wasn’t down to him, it was as much down to her as it was to him. Their relationship should not have you enforcing it and for Merlin’s sake, both of us are just getting fucked off with your constant, unrelenting anger! How hard is it just to relax and not be aggressive towards someone for ten seconds?”
“Hugo…” Kelly stammered, taken-aback. “I…”
But Hugo was already gone, weaving past the pair and earning a sympathetic look from Lily on his way up to bed. Kelly’s jaw had hit the floor but she found Lily sat there looking miserable with her arms folded.
“Well don’t look at me,” Lily grunted. “He’s right.”
A/N: Please please leave a review, we haven't had many in a while :/ Next chapter will be up shortly with luck :P
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