Chapter 46 : Of Blueberries, Boyfriends, and Growing Up
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“So…that bit about you swearing off alcohol, was it true?” Scorp asked me ages later as I brushed through my hair on his bed. He sounded curious and mildly amused, probably at the fact that I’ve been drinking since I was like thirteen or fourteen and quitting cold turkey would be quite difficult.
“Hopefully,” I replied, moving my legs around until I mangaged to get them underneath his sheets. “I think my liver is actually dying.”
Scorpius looked worried and I rolled my eyes. “Not really.” I assured him, “I haven’t been diagnosed with dead liver yet, but it’s only a matter of time.”
“So you’re just going to quit?” He confirmed and I shrugged.
“I’m going to try.”
He rolled off the bed and landed hard on his knees, fiddling underneath it for quite a bit of time. There was a suspicious amount of noise coming from whatever it was he was doing and I had a strong urge to go clean under there. If there was one thing I couldn’t stand, it was beds with messes under them and I was sure he knew that.
“Better get rid of this then, yeah?” He asked, holding up a paper bag that I knew was full of alcohol. More than likely for parties.
“Scorpius—you don’t have to—” I started.
“It’s okay, Rose,” He smiled, rolling his eyes, “I’m just a bit better than you on the whole alcohol consumption thing.”
“But you shouldn’t stop for me,” I protested, following him into the bathroom where he was pouring the stuff down the drain in the sink. That must have cost him a fortune.
“Rose!” Al called as he entered the dorm. “I know you’re in here, no one else wears shoes that tiny in this year…in this dorm.”
“What?” I snapped, stalking out of the bathroom.
“Whoa. What’s got your wand in a knot?” Al asked, holding his hands up defensively. I didn’t even know why I was so angry. It was sweet what Scorpius was doing, and I was touched, but I didn’t want him to do it for me. And even though he says he’s doing it for him, he wouldn’t have started if it weren’t for me.
“Nothing.” I finally said, pulling my hair back into a ponytail and flopping onto Scorp’s bed on my back, staring at the top of the wooden canopy. In the bathroom, I could hear the water running, probably washing away the last of Scorp’s alcohol and I furrowed my eyebrows, looking better at the boring wood above me.
There, right at the edge, where the wood met the other wood, was a tiny white line. Somewhere where someone would hide something. Like a parchment.
I pursed my lips, sitting up and scrambling to my feet quietly so as to not alarm Al and Scorpius who were talking in low mutters by the bathroom door, completely paying me no attention whatsoever. What in the world..? Maybe I was being dumb, but I wanted to know what that little slip of something was, cleverly hidden in the cracks. Maybe it was ancient—from another time when a kid had hidden something that he didn’t want anyone to find and it was forgotten.
Or maybe Scorpius was hiding something.
I scratched at the wood, waiting until my short nails caught on the edge. They did and then I was carefully dragging the thing out. It was a photograph.
A photograph of us.
And not the us like me-and-Scorp us, but the us like me-and-Scorp-and-Al us. From when we were little. There we were, probably only eight years old. The boys’ arms were around me and I was in the center like usual, tiny next to them. There were a number of cousins running around in the background, but picture-us paid them no mind. And we looked so happy. Nothing had happened then. Everyone was innocent.
I could feel my pursed lips soften into a smile. All of my unreasonable anger was disaptating and I tilted my head to the side, running a finger over the faces of us in the past.
“Scorpius.” I said finally, looking up from the picture as I hopped off the bed. “You kept this?”
He looked confused, but I waved the picture around pointedly until recognition passed through his features, followed shortly by embarrassment.
“I hid it when we got here that first night.” He admitted and Al looked back and forth between the two of us, completely lost.
“I knew we would get back to it eventually.” Scorpius said simply and I felt my eyes swimming with tears that I blinked back as I threw my arms around his neck, hugging him tightly, the picture hanging loosely between my fingers.
Scorpius’ arms wrapped around my waist as he spun me around a little bit, soft chuckles vibrating from his chest. “You can have it, if you want,” He murmured in my ear and I nodded against his neck.
“Hey Liv, Megs, Steph.” I greeted, throwing open the door to the Ravenclaw dorm. “Long time no talk.”
They made faces and I shrugged, knowing the guilty look was on my face. But even that couldn’t get me down.
“You look happier than I’ve seen you in a while.” Megan observed, shifting in her abnormal position of the next human pretzel as she painted her toenails a glaring bright green.
“Yeah well…” I muttered, embarrassed. I didn’t want to talk about me. These girls were my friends and I haven’t seen them in forever.
“Dish it, gurl,” Steph said in a bad American-girl accent and we all stared at her. “Too much?”
“Just a little bit,” I told her, grinning as I held up two fingers close together and threw myself on Liv’s bed. “How’re the beaus?”
“Al’s great.” Liv said promptly. “I have no idea why I waited this long to start dating him.”
“Fred’s been better,” Meg admitted, “But he’s working on it.”
“I’m single and ready to mingle.” Steph finished off. “We wanted to go clubbing, but everyone’s busy and a three-girl-night-out is no fun.”
“Steph!” Liv protested loudly, throwing a pillow at the brown-haired girl. “You’re not supposed to say that—it’s practically cruel.”
“Naw,” I said, shaking my head. “I deserved it. And Via does to, but she’s pregnant, so we can’t blame her.”
“You lot can blame me all you want,” Via said flatly, hauling herself into the dorm with what looked like a lot of effort. She rolled her eyes at my questioning look at Dom’s absence—those two didn’t go anywhere without the other. “Dom and Ly are on some sort of romantic getaway date. They had the gall to invite me along so I wouldn’t be lonely. As if I don’t have friends. I do! I just ignore them because I’m too wrapped up in my own shitty dramatic life.”
And now it was Via’s turn to be stared at and we did as such as she settled back onto Megan’s bed, looking through our combined collection of nail varnish colours that have been collected over the six years we’ve been here.
“Look at this.” I said finally, glancing at all of us. “The Ravenclaw Sixth Years are reunited.”
We all looked at each other, faint rueful smiles on our faces. It didn’t escape our notice that this wouldn’t be a common occurrence anymore—that our little Claw-girls’ nights in would become even fewer and farer in between. Obviously, it would have happened eventually, what with being sixth years and only having one more year of sharing a dorm before we all moved out into the world, but it sprung up on us a year earlier than planned.
But in that moment, the five of us sitting there doing mundane things like painting nails and putting face masks on each other, it suddenly didn’t matter that we were growing up and, unfortunately, running out of time to be carefree friends. Because we would still be friends. No matter how long it’s been since we’ve last talked properly, we would be able to get back on track with no effort required.
Sometimes sharing a dorm with four other girls did that to you.
“I hate this,” I finally admitted to Scorpius, pressing my fingers into my collarbone as I whispered to him in the growing dark out in our special place in the forest. It was quiet. We were alone.
“What do you hate?”
“Growing up.” I breathed. “Drifting away from people who were once so important to you because things have beaten them out in priorities list.” I blinked, surprised that I’d even thought of letting that train of thinking escape my lips, let alone actually speaking it, but this was Scorpius. Even when we hated each other, he generally knew the most about me. I had the uncanny habit of blurting things out whilst angry.
“We’ll be fine,” He murmured, brushing my hair out of my face. “Everything will be okay. No one will drift away beyond our reach.”
I smiled faintly at him. “How do you know?”
“We won’t let them.”
And I believed him.
Sunday morning found me looking for blueberries in the kitchens. I’d declined the elves’ offers of assistance because they needed to make breakfast for the rest of the student population, but I was suddenly regretting it.
Where were the damn blueberries?
I stared at the buckets of berries. Raspberries, black berries, strawberries, acai berries, boysenberries, but no dang blueberries. What is this life coming to?
I was just contemplating grabbing a handful of acai berries and trying to pass them off to Dom as blueberries when I spotted the jackpot. There in the back, was a huge bucket of blueberries.
And Bingo was his name-o!
Wow that was lame.
I grabbed the whole dang bucket—the rest of the school will survive without blueberries for a morning—and slipped out of the kitchens, waving to Bea on my way out and trying to stay as out of the way as possible. Minnie turned her head the other way when she saw me skipping through the halls in Sam’s old Quidditch jersey and no pants or shoes whist carrying a five-gallon bucket of blueberries.
Good. I so don’t need another detention. I’ve got a Quidditch game next Saturday. Ah Quidditch. The game that used to be my life. I don’t even remember the last time I’ve been to practice. Am I even on the team anymore?!
Psh. Of course I’m on the team. Hopefully. Sam wouldn’t boot me. Probably.
I darted up the secret staircase behind the tapestry with the big nose that led directly up to the corridor next to the one where the entrance to the Ravenclaw dorm was and sprinted around the corner, skidding to a stop right in front of the eagle knocker and spilling blueberries everywhere. Whoops.
A quick check in the bucket told me we still had more than enough to keep PsychoDom happy. I rushed an answer to the bird beak before running full speed into the common room and up the stairs to the boys’ dormitory where the Prego-Lair was.
“Back!” I cried, clutching the stitch in my side and panting heavily.
“Four minutes and fifty two seconds,” Dom read off of the watch. “Impressive.”
“Told…you…” I gasped, thrusting the bucket of blueberries at her and bending over to hold my legs. “Give…me…the…money…”
Dom shrugged and tossed a miniscule bag of galleons at my head, watching gleefully as they bounced off painfully and landed near my feet. Not only had she demanded blueberries at five thirty in the morning, but she wanted them within six minutes of her request.
Damn psychopregnant women. I stooped down and grabbed my winnings and wandered into the bathroom to take a shower and pursed my lips in a sulky manner at Via’s tinkering laughter.
That was not a good wakeup call. But at least I’ll be in shape for the practices Sam was sure to force me to attend this week.
I let the water run down my back as I read through my magic-water-proofed to-do list. I have one for each week, and each list is separated into days of the week. It’s good fun, and super helpful so I know which NEWT book I’m supposed to be reading as well as which almost-NEWT homework I’m supposed to be doing as well as pregnancy things and Scorp-dates and hang out seshs with the girls. This list is my life. I don’t go anywhere without it anymore.
I crossed off Dom’s weird morning food craving which was right after Morning Vomit Party and right before Send ‘rents anniversary gift because I’m such a wonderful daughter. After that, of course, was Remind Hugo about anniversary which was before Realize that you have to torment Hugo about his new girlfriend . Because I’m just that good of a big sister.
I folded the list back up and shut off the water, shaking the excess out of my hair and stepping out of the shower stall, fluffy blue towel wrapped around my frame.
“Rose.” Dom called from the room and I walked out there, rifling through my trunk for a pair of jeans. I found some royal blue ones and I shrugged at them, stumbling into them as I tried to listen to Dom yammer on about her night with Lysander. I didn’t really want to know, but if PsychoDom quizzed me later, I would need to be able to come up with something.
I pulled on a puffy black and white stripped tank top and left my hair down, yanking on my standard black stiletto-pump-things. Scorp said something about us going into town later and since I went on our last two dates in sweats, I needed to look presentable.
“Let’s get going, girls,” I said, snapping my fingers before pulling up the zipper of Dom’s dress and leading the way down stairs after leaving a few windows open to air out the room from the slightly hot feeling it had because of too many people in it for too long.
“Rose Weasley is back on top, I see,” Megan said, flittering her fingers at my outfit and I smiled slightly.
“I’m going on a date with Scorpius later,” I explained. “And I wanted to look nice.”
And then the girls were ooh-ing and the boys were high-fiving Scorp who’d met us at the entrance.
“Hi,” I breathed as he took my hand.
“The lovebirds have departed to GooGoo Land.” Steph announced loudly and I scowled at her.
“Bitter.” I sang and she raised her eyebrows suggestively at an older Ravenclaw boy who had just left. Sam groaned when he winked back at her and I pressed my lips together, amused.
“I’m just happy to be out on the market again,” Steph replied dramatically before shaking her head. “We parted as friends. I don’t have to wait the suggested month before finding a new boy toy. Via and I can go man-hunting together.”
“Please never refer to the male species as your boy toys again. And don’t even start on the ‘man-hunting’.” Sam moaned and Scorpius patted him on the back with mock-sympathy.
“Hey Al,” Liv said happily, skipping ahead of our ever-growing group and hugging my cousin. “Missed you.”
“Missed you too, Livvy,” He said gruffly, torn between looking manly and being a good boyfriend.
“Grow up Al and kiss your girlfriend like the whipped boyfriend you are,” Lysander said loudly and Al shot him a glare before pressing his lips to Liv’s in a manner that made everyone who was related to him protest loudly and all of the boys hoot and cat-call like morons.
“Shut up, Scorp,” I said, smacking him on the stomach. “You’re just as whipped.”
And then there were the dramatic ooh’s as everyone chuckled at Scorpius’ expense and he tried protesting before quieting at my raised eyebrow and thus proving my point valid.
Okay, okay, I know I promised James and an explanation from Via, but I swear it's in the next chapter--I've already written half of it. In the midst of getting a new computer, I misplaced my NTW file (again, god, this story is like a bad omen) and started this from scratch. It's completely different from what I'd originally had, but I like it. I hope you lot did too, and don't worry, next update will be out shortly! xx
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