Chapter 8 : The Apocalypse
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Father had always told me to keep emotions to myself: never let anyone know your thoughts, your feelings, you desires… Seeing Caitlynn, the first muggle I had ever met with whom I had a conversation lasting longer than two minutes with, my belief that muggles were imbeciles who wore their hearts on their sleeves only intensified.
If only I knew at the time how wrong I was.
“Cait! Breakfast is ready!”
I heard Granger’s muffled shout and groaned. I was tired. No, not tired, I was bloody exhausted.
And not because I read Caitlynn’s diary all night like some kind of stalker.
No, I am exhausted because I found myself lying under a white duvet that scraped my skin like I was rubbing against a wall of sandpaper, each time I shifted.
Merlin knows how anyone could possibly sleep under those conditions.
I have also found out that the She-Weasel owns an alarm clock the size of Jupiter that ticks continuously and mercilessly, and Granger grinds her teeth in her sleep.
Two things I could have done without, thank you very much.
Especially when my thoughts are in a turmoil over what I read in the f**king diary that I’m f**king addicted to because somehow I find myself f**king engrossed in the f**king life-story of a f**king muggle.
God, I’m pathetic.
“Coming!” I shouted back.
Huffing at the incredulity of the situation, and still confused as to how I, Malfoy heir, could have possibly ended up here, Weasley abode, I grabbed the pair of shoes at the end of bed and slid them on.
Trotting, scratch that, striding majestically into the dining Hall, I find myself surrounded by Red-heads. It’s a wonder I don’t heave from the emotional shock of it all.
“Caitlynn, you need to get rid of that bloody clock!”
“Good morning to you too,” I tell Ginny dryly, “Wait, what clock?”
“The one that looks like it suffered from a ten feet fall and a collision with a bus. I couldn’t sleep well with the tick tock, tick tock, tick to…”
“Yes, yes,” I interrupt her, “I get your point.”
“Honestly Cait, I really don’t understand why you carried that alarm clock with you all the way here.”
“I’ll get rid of it.”
“Thank you,” she said, relief evident on her face. “Now, what do you want to do today?”
“Umm, I wouldn’t mind some breakfast, if you could handle not assaulting me for five minutes.”
She laughed, a clear tinkling sound that made her look like she was fifteen again, instead of a woman who suffered the horrors of a war. I could suddenly see where Potter might find her attracti…
Woah, Draco. Stop right there.
“Gin, let her eat,” Granger laughed.
“Thanks Hermione,” I grinned at her. I should consider a career in acting. Seriously, I sound almost… likable or something.
“Anyway, we’ve been thinking of going to this shopping centre downtown and maybe just chilling at Starbucks or something. Or do you have any plans?”
“Great, that’s settled then. Now eat up. We’ve got a long day ahead of us.”
“Yes mother,” I droned, and Granger blushed a brilliant red.
I smirked in response.
“It’s a hoover, see. Muggles use it to clean floors and flat surfaces.”
I nod understandingly even though I have no idea what she’s talking about.
“It’s a birthday present for my dad,” she clarifies, noticing my confusion and misinterpreting it.
“Aha, I see.”
I look around the maintenance shop and tune out Ginny’s cheerful chatter with the shop keeper. After leaving the Burrow and walking around aimlessly in the endless rows of shops, Ginny decided to get a gift for her father and so, feigning interest, I followed her into the shop and settled myself in one of the stools by the mirror.
And now she’s become Ginny instead of She-Weasel.
Salazar, what have you done to me?
Bored, I opened my bag and removed from it the thin diary… Even though I knew I really shouldn’t.
Then again, when have I ever followed the rules, especially when it comes to other people’s privacy?
I flicked through the diary, words and phrases jumping at me from the pages.
Mum asked me who I was today… she didn’t recognize me… Death is not hard on the person dying, it’s hard on the person left behind, the person who has to bury their loved one… I’m scared… Papa is drinking again… Chase held my hand today and I can still feel a tingling sensation at where his fingertips brushed my knuckles… I think I suffer from multiple personality disorder, seriously… Papa told me I was going to live with another family relation for a bit, I don’t want to leave him or mum… What if mum never remembers me, ever… I’m going to cure Alzheimer’s someday… I want to buy a cat, one of those Siamese cats with their cool black eye-patches…I hate my life…
Finding the most recent entry I began to read.
I met a guy today, Draco Malfoy. Must admit he’s got a pretty funky name, though I didn’t tell the git that.
Instead of being insulted at being called a git, I chuckled.
I blackmailed him into going on a date with him. How desperate am I? He’s quite good-looking though, in a haunted kind of way. He can’t be older than nineteen and yet he looks like he suffered more than most do in a lifetime. He hates me. That’s okay though, I hate him too. I think he’s alone. He went on a bit of a rant about his dad being locked up somewhere and his mum being sick. I don’t pity him. I relate to him, because mum is sick too and I’m more alone when I’m with her than when I’m actually alone. People like him don’t deserve to be alone. Anyway, if I go on a date with him, maybe he’ll let me touch his hair. It’s all silky and soft-looking. Then again, maybe not. He looks like one of those people who freak out when they find a misplaced hair. I hope he shows up. He needs the company. Plus I need a guy to make Chase jealous. That guy is so thick, if he doesn’t get a clue soon I’m giving up, seriously.
I packed today. I couldn’t fit much of my clothes because I had to bring my clock. It’s the only memento I have of my mum when she still remembered me. We made it together from one of those build-it-yourself packages. Architecture was never her strong suit and we ended up with an alarm clock two times too big, and with a wonky shape. I packed in the extra piece of metal that I think was supposed to be part of the clock. I love my mum and my papa. One day I’ll come back home, I promise.
When I said I hated my life, I didn’t mean it, really.
Ciao, and until next time. It might be a while though. I’m sending you to Hermione, in case I lose my bag or one of my family relations finds you by accident. That would be awful. Hopefully I’ll go to Hermione’s and then we won’t be apart for long.
I reeled in shock at her latest entry. Even my closest friends had no idea how alone I felt. How could she have figured me out in such a short time? I thought she was sheltered. I thought I deserved to mope and be miserable because I was alone and suffering. So was she. So are many people yet…
I sighed, exhaling deeply and closing my eyes.
But I love her laugh. Carefree and infectious. Just thinking about it makes me want to smile.
She’s only a muggle and there is about a million reasons why I shouldn’t care about her.
But I want her.
I want her because she understands me more than anyone I have ever met.
Yet there is no one more wrong for a Malfoy heir, yet no one more right, no one so smart and cunning and stunningly beautiful.
I rubbed my temples, a headache brewing under the surface. My thoughts were in turmoil. Damn it, I should have never opened that bloody diary.
I can’t want her. I can’t fall in love in with…
Fall in love? Is that what’s happening to me? It can’t be. Not with her.
It would be so easy though. Just like falling.
I snapped out of my reverie and look up at Ginny and Hermione. She gestured at me to follow her and I stuffed the diary into the bag before jogging after them to catch up.
“Here’s Starbucks, if you want. I mean we can just chill here for a while and then go back, yeah?”
“Sure,” I nodded, still a little dazed at the possibility of having found someone for me. Someone I could truly, deeply fall in love with, if I just let myself go.
A strong smell of coffee wafted in my nostrils and warmth spread through me, as we neared the counter.
“Ginny and I came here so many times after the war,” Hermione whispered the last word. After a beat of silence she rolled her eyes, “Although we haven’t been since Ginny’s been on a diet or something equally ridiculous.”
“You wouldn’t believe how much takings has gone down since you’ve gone on a diet, Ginny,” the shop manager laughed, having caught the end of Hermione’s sentence.
“Oh ha ha,” Ginny retorts sarcastically.
“The usual, I presume?”
“Yes please. And…” Hermione turns and looks at me expectantly.
“Um a vanilla Frappuccino uh tall, for me,” I blurt out the first thing on the list.
“Sure thing girls,” the shop manager smiles and shouts over his shoulder, “Two caramel latte and one vanilla Frappuccino tall.”
As a strawberry blonde haired girl jumps into action at the orders, I peer at my surroundings. The atmosphere was pleasant and homey, and sofas were scattered across the floor in an orderly fashion.
“Here are your drinks: two caramel lattes and one vanilla frappuccino.”
Taking my ice cold drink, I saunter to one of the plush sofas and Hermione and Ginny settle down in the seats across mine.
“Anyway, I need an excuse… what should I say?” Hermione moaned, obviously continuing the conversation that I missed while I was having my oh-Merlin-I-might-possibly-be-in -love-with-a-muggle crisis. “I’m so crap at excuses but I really don’t want to go.”
Hermione turned to look at me.
“Well you could say that… your boyfriend’s really ill and you need to take care of him so you can’t go.”
A believable excuse that sounds caring. Genius.
Hermione looks at me quizzically,
“I can’t tell my boyfriend that I can’t go on a date with him because my boyfriend’s ill. Are you an actually idiot?”
“Says the girl dating Ronald Weasley,” I retort before I could stop myself.
Ginny burst out laughing,
“She’s got a point, you know.”
I grinned and took a small sip from my drink which cooled my tongue as soon as I put the liquid in my mouth. After a moment of comfortable silence I asked,
“But, Hermione, I thought you loved him.”
I proceeded by mentally slapping myself.
Malfoys do NOT say the l-o-v-e word out loud. They just don’t.
“No I do love him, really, quite a lot, I… it’s,” Hermione blubbered, a red tinge gracing her cheekbones as she tried to describe her feelings for Weasel.
“But the first date was a disaster and what if I mess up again and ruin everything and…”
“You won’t. And you’ll never know if you don’t at least try,” I tell her reassuringly.
Oh my God. What am I doing? I sound caring. This is bad. A Malfoy showing… concern. Isn’t that one of the sure signs for the apocalypse? What have I done?
“Well it’s Valentine’s day soon right? Take your chances then,” Ginny tells her while I have my mini aneurysm on how I may have caused the future destruction of the planet.
“You look… disgusted, Cait. What’s wrong?”
Quick come up with an excuse that doesn’t involve the apocalypse, the destruction of the planet, my identity crisis or my grandfather turning in his grave over the shame I put on the Malfoy name by uttering the L-word.
“Valentine’ day,” I begin.
Where am I going with this?
“It makes me go ugh splutter cough cough ugh” I writhe in disgust.
I have such a way with words.
“And I hope St. Valentines died alone, surrounded by couples,” I announce.
At least that was truthful.
“I take it you don’t like Valentine’s Day then?” Ginny asks dryly.
“No, why would you say that?” I look at Ginny, shocked.
Ginny’s response was interrupted by the sound of a bunch of idiotic teenage boys guffawing loudly in the seats next to us and I turn at the sound. One of them starts swinging his arms back and forth like he’s holding an imaginary stick of some sort and the other males look at him, properly impressed or laughing.
“What a bunch of loons.”
“My sentiments exactly, Ginny. What are they even doing?” I ask wryly.
“Pretending to play baseball. I presume that guy is the batter,” Hermione answered me, calmly picking up her drink.
Ginny looks at her blankly and I sip on my Vanilla Frappuccino, pretending I know what she’s talking about.
“Baseball is a game where the batter has to hit a ball and then run really fast around these four bases to get points before the other team catches the ball and…”
“No, it’s worse than it sounds,” I reply to Ginny’s sceptical expression.
“Actually it’s quite entertaining if…” Hermione’s affronted voice is cut-off by the boys’ boisterous laughter.
We all simultaneously shake our heads and sigh at their antics.
“Why do men need to prove they can play sports outside of the sports field? I mean, you don’t see housecleaners suddenly hoovering do you?” Ginny stood up and pretended she was vacuum-cleaning the floor, “Oh dear, missed a bit.”
Hermione glanced at me and we promptly burst out laughing.
After we catch our breath, we settle for a long conversation about almost everything and my mind wanders to thoughts of Caitlynn, to my discovery of her childhood and her sick mother, to my discovery of how I may be in love…
No. That I am in love with her.
My heart took off, beating wildly in my chest at my admission. I laugh manically to myself, not with humour but with desperation and a need to know how anything could make me so happy and yet be so wrong because,
I, Draco Lucius Malfoy, am irrevocably and unconditionally in love with Caitlynn Granger, a muggle,
Who also happens to be the cousin of one of the Golden Trio members,
Who is also in love with her best friend, Chase,
And a girl, who, I’m pretty sure, hates me.
Oh good Lord. I am so screwed.
A/N Any thoughts? And please review :) Love you all and many thanks to all of you who reviewed and favourited my story!