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Chapter 4 : Never Forgiven
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Aria grabbed my hand as we walked downstairs together. I didn't have a good feeling about this dinner, I was sure nothing would go in my favor. We walked into the dining room, everyone was already seated.
Aria took the seat across from Nate, giving him a look of disdain. He just smiled at her. I took the seat next to her.
"There you two are." Mrs. Merona said.
"Sorry, I was helping Draco unpack." Aria said.
"More like undress." Nate muttered. Aria kicked him under the table, and he winced painfully. Aria does kick pretty hard, believe me, I know. I'm just glad her parents didn't hear him.
"So, Nate, what have you been up to this past year?" Mr. Merona asked.
"Oh please do share." Aria muttered sarcastically. Her Father gave her a stern look.
"Not much, just going to school, trying to figure out what I want to do, considering it's NEWT year and all." He answered
"Do you have any ideas about what you want to do?" Mrs. Merona asked.
Nate nodded. "I'd like to maybe an Auror. I definitely have the grades to qualify." He smiled at Aria as though she would be impressed. Who cares if he's going to catch Dark Wizards? I don't.
"Nate, that's wonderful!" Mrs. Merona exclaimed.
"Good for you." Mr. Merona said. Okay, apparently Aria's parents care and are impressed. Shit.
"Well, Draco plans on being in the Ministry of Magic." Aria said smiling at her parents. They looked impressed.
"Really?" Mr. Merona asked.
I cleared my throat. "Yes, sir." I said. "I hope to be one of the Governers just like my Father."
"That's great, Draco." Mrs. Merona. I smiled appreciatively at her, and then gave Nate a gloating look. He raised his eyebrows at me.
"So, Aria, what do you plan on doing?" He asked her sweetly.
She gave him a weary look. "I don't think that's any of your business anymore, now is it?" She said.
"Well, it's ours." Alana stepped in. "And we want to know."
Aria sighed. "Well, I want to do something that involves Foriegn Relations. I mean, since I speak both English and French, it seems like a good idea. And it would be a job in the Ministry. So, I'd be close to my boyfriend." She smiled at me.
I smiled back, imagining in the future working in the Ministry, and getting see Aria everyday at work. Sneaking kisses in the elevator, having lunch together everyday, going to business parties together. Announcing to everyone we work with that we're getting married. Now that sounded like a perfect future. Not becoming a Death Eater and having Aria inevitably leave me because of what I am.
"That sounds so cool!" Adam exclaimed.
"I know, doesn't it?" Aria replied beaming at everyone.
Her parents exchanged a look that I didn't recognize, but I don't think it was good. Nate merely frowned at Aria's excitment of having a future with me. Alana on the other hand was smiling proudly at Aria, I wasn't sure why though.
Mr. Merona cleared his throat. "Speaking of the Ministry, Aria, did you tell Nate about your internship next summer?"
"No." She answered. "Why should I? Nate didn't tell me that he was leaving last summer. I was under the impression that we no longer told eachother things."
Damn. People really mean it when they say "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Aria is pissed.
"Aria, really?" Her Mother asked in exasperation.
"Sorry." She rolled her eyes.
"Anyways, next summer, I guess you two will have to write to eachother." Mr. Merona continued.
"Oh, well, Nate sure is good at writing letters, aren't you, Nate?" Aria said coldly. "And your so great at getting them too, huh?"
Alana and Adam gasped quietly in shock. I looked at Aria, she was practically seething. She glared so angrily at Nate, I was surprised she wasn't burning holes into his face.
"What has gotten into you?" Her Father asked.
"Nothing." She said shaking her head.
I felt so bad for Aria. She was struggling with whether to tell her parents the truth about Nate, but I knew she wouldn't. I could see how hard it was to tell me, so telling her parents would be even harder, especially because they loved Nate.
An awkward silence filled the room. Everyone looked everywhere but at eachother. I wasn't sure what I preferred: Aria's parents fawning over Nate, or this silence. Both were very uncomfortable.
"So, Aria, are you up for a little swimming tomorrow?" Nate asked. "It's tradition that we go the day after I get here."
Everyone looked at Aria. "Um, no." She said quietly. "Draco and I are going to that French museum tomorrow."
"Aria, it's tradition for us all to go to the lake." Adam said. I wonder what he did at the lake. Was he able to swim considering his conditon? I didn't ask.
Aria sighed. "Fine, after we go to the museum, we'll meet up with you guys."
Nate smiled. "Great." He said. Although I knew he wasn't at all happy with me coming. He's gonna have to get used to me, because I'm not going anywhere.
After dinner, there was dessert, which was Aria's delicious cookies and brownies. I didn't like that Nate ate them, when she made them specifically for me.
I was sitting on Aria's bed, waiting for her to come back when Nate strolled in.
"Hey." He said.
"Uh, hi." I replied.
"So, you and Aria, huh?" He asked.
"Yep, for about six months." I answered. All right, yes, I added the month that we were secretly dating to how long we've been dating since we got back together, but he doesn't have to know that.
"Six months? That's quite some time. You know, I actually remember Aria talking about you. She said you were a self centered jerk."
"Funny. She said the same thing about you, though I think the word 'arsehole' also came up in reference to you."
Nate raised his eyebrows. "You know, if I wasn't trying to steal Aria back from you, I think we would be good friends." He said.
"Really?" I asked. "Because I don't. We are two very different people. And as for you stealing Aria from me, that's not happening."
"You clearly don't know who you're playing against." He smirked.
"Neither do you. You don't know me. I have destroyed every relationship Aria has ever had, including the one she has with me. I'm not afraid of destroying you too." I said threateningly.
"Last I checked, you didn't destroy the relationship she had with me." He pointed out.
"Well, you fucked that up yourself, you didn't need my help." I shrugged. "Hell, Aria is so pissed at you, you probably don't need my help now either."
"She's just needs a little persuasion is all, then she will come back to me and leave you behind. You don't know her as well as I do." Nate said.
"I beg to differ." I said. "You see, while you were at school at Beauxbatons or where ever the hell you go, I was at school with Aria, getting to know her. I've been in love with her from the moment I laid eyes on her. I was even her first kiss. Did she mention that to you?" I ask triumphantly.
He looks shocked. Guess she didn't mention it. "Oh,so you're her first kiss? No wonder she wouldn't tell me who it was. You may have been her first kiss, but now you're just her rebound from me."
I scoffed. "No, her boyfriend before me was a rebound from you. But, you see, I'm somewhat of a rebound from him. I'm sure she'd forgotten about you by the time she got with me."
Nate looks angry at my comment. I loved that I was getting under his skin. "Listen here, Malfoy." He said. "Aria belongs to me. I will do anything to get her back."
"No, you listen to me, Onsoržo." I said getting up. "Aria is mine, and I will do everything to make sure things remain that way."
"What is going on here?" Aria asked walking into the room.
Nate forced a smile. "Nothing, just having a nice conversation with Draco."
"Well, don't." She said giving him a strange look.
"Don't what?" Nate asked confused.
"Don't have 'nice conversations' with him. I don't like that." She said.
"Anything you want, mi amour." Again with the 'my love' Aria is not his love, she's mine!
"Don't do that either." Aria said rolling her eyes. "Infact, just leave. I need to talk to my boyfriend."
Behind Aria's back, I gave Nate my world famous smirk, causing Nik to glare at me.
"All right then, goodnight." He said backing out of the room.
"Goodnight, Nate." I said in a mocking tone, before Aria closed the door and locked it.
"So, what do you want to talk about, babe?" I asked.
"Nothing really. I just wanted him out." Aria said plopping down on her bed. I sat down next to her.
"Well, I have something for you." I said reaching in my pocket. "With all the drama of Nate being here, I forgot to give you this."
I pulled out the velvet box and opened it to reveal a sterling silver charm bracelet, with charms of the Eifel Tower, a heart, the words "Je t'aime" meaning I love you of course, a teddy bear, and a few other charms related to France.
"Draco!" Aria exclaimed. "It's stunning! Why did you-? This much have cost a fortune! You didn't have to..."
"I know, but I have yet to show you the perks of having a rich boyfriend." I said smiling.
"Wow, it's...it's perfect. I love it." She said.
I helped her put it on and she examined it closer. "Hun, this beautiful, I don't know what else to say."
"Say you love me." I whispered.
"I love you." She said closing the distance between our faces, but not kissing me. "Anything else?" She asked.
"Say you'll never leave me." I said.
"I'll never leave you."
"That's all I need to hear." I said kissing her.
Waking up the next morning, I had hoped the previous day had all been a dream, and that today is really the day that Draco is coming and my surprise is really a puppy instead of my ex boyfriend.
That wasn't the case, because I could feel Draco's arm around me right now, and the feeling of his warm breath on my neck. I could also see the gorgeous charm bracelet Draco got me on the table next to my bed. Therefore, everything that happened the previous day was real. Shit.
Draco stirrs next to me, muttering something that sounds like "Mine, not yours." I have no idea what that even means. I lay there for a few minutes, in silence, except for Draco's occassional muttering.
I turn and look at him, thinking how lucky I am. Draco could have dumped me yesterday after finding out about Nate, but he didn't. He was being really cool about it, and I knew that was hard for him, because his jealousy was something that drove him crazy at times.
And maybe he could see that I really didn't want Nate anymore. And I never would.
Getting away from my family to go to the museum proved difficult. They kept asking if were sure we wanted to go and if we wanted to maybe go another time all together. That was not happening.
After that, they told us to make sure to meet them at the lake when we were done, and make sure we had our swimming suits. I swear, they really didn't want us to go.
Finally we got away, though. The relief was quite clear on Draco's face. I couldn't blame him, because I was just as relieved as he felt. I was excited for the museum, Draco had never been, so it would be fun to show him all my favorite pieces.
We had a great time, which of course had to be ruined by us having to go to the lake. When we get there, my parents are sitting in lawn chairs, and Alana, Adam and Nate are in the water. Adam is floating as usual, not moving much, considering he his legs can't move.
"Do you want to go in?" I asked Draco.
"Yeah, sure." He replied. "It is pretty hot out here."
I pulled of my shorts, and my shirt, to reveal my dark purple bikini, and then ran towards the water and jumped in. I opened my eyes underwater, and it was just as beautiful as it always was. It calmed me, and gave me a sense of peace that I hadn't had since I saw Nate again.
I surfaced to be splashed by Nate when I did. "Hey!" I said splashing him back and laughing as he sputtered.
"You're going down!" He said sending a huge wave my way.
"You suck!" I yelled as I sent a wave of my own his way. Only when Draco joined me did I remember that I hated Nate and shouldn't be having fun with him.
Unfortunately, Draco's presence didn't stop Nate from splashing us. Draco sputtered, wiping the water from his eyes.
"Are you okay, hun?" I asked, laughing slightly.
"Of course babe, I can handle a little water." He said.
"Good." I said throwing some water in his face and giggling.
He picked me up and threw me over his shoulder as I squealed. "What are you doing?" I asked.
"Paying you back for the lovely water you just threw in my face." He said.
"Let go!" I laughed.
"All right, fine." He dropped me in the water.
When I got back above water, I gave my mean look. "Draco Malfoy! You did not just do that!"
"I think I did." He smirked, flicking some water at me.
I swam over to him. "Ugh! I hate you." I said, even though I was smiling.
"Hmm, really?" He asked, pulling me to him. "I never thought I'd love hearing you say that." He kissed me. I wrapped my arms around his neck, and my legs around his waist.
I was very aware that everyone could see us. But, that was a good thing. Now maybe they'll see how happy I am with Draco, and that Nate was in the past.
I'm not sure why I couldn't sleep. I thought I was tired, but apparently not. I slipped out of bed, careful not to wake Draco and went down to the kitchen for a little midnight snack. I found some graham crackers and apple juice and sat on the counter, eating.
Only a few moments later, I heard footsteps. I wondered who else couldn't sleep like me.
Nate walked into the kitchen. "Aria? What are you doing still up?" He asked.
I shrugged. "Couldn't sleep."
"Me either." He said.
We were silent. I hoped he would leave. He didn't. "Aria, what do I have to do for you to forgive me?" He asked.
"Nothing." I said.
"Wait, so you already fogive me?" His voice was hopeful.
"No. There's nothing you can do to make me forgive you. I never will." I said.
"But, come on, Aria, I said I was sorry." Nate said.
"But you're not sorry!" I said. "You're sorry that I found out what you did. I bet if you could go back, you'd still do the same thing, you just wouldn't get caught."
"That's not true." He said quietly.
"Well, I don't know what the truth is with you anymore."
He sighed. "B-but just think of everything you're throwing away. I mean, we both know it's not that easy to let go of everything we had. Everything we planned." He took a step towards me.
"Well, you can blame yourself. You screwed up, not me." I replied.
"What do you want me to say?" He asked desperately. "That I'm truly sorry for leaving you for Anya? That it wasn't even worth it? That she didn't make me feel the way you do? What?"
"You don't get it, do you?!" I asked. "It's not the fact that you left to be with Anya. It's the fact that you lied to me. You didn't have the decency to even lie to my face either. I deserved the truth! I didn't deserve to wake up and find you gone! I at least thought I was worth that."
"No." I interupted. "When you left, I thought I did something wrong! I thought I deserved to have you get away for some space because I had screwed up in some way. I blamed myself for everything. And even after I found Anya's letter, I still thought it was my fault. Why wasn't I good enough to keep you satsified? What did she have that I didn't? Why couldn't you be happy with me?" I was crying now.
"Don't cry. It wasn't your fault..." He said.
"That doesn't matter anymore." I shook my head.
"Yes, it does. We can fix this, we can try again." Nate insisted.
"No, we can't. We never will." I said. "But just so you know, you meant everything. I thought I couldn't live without you. And you hurt me really bad. But you know what's crazy? After all that I still loved you. I still wanted you to come back. I wanted to feel like I was worth something to you still. Apparently, I wasn't."
"You were, and you still are." He said closing the distance between us. "Aria, I still love you."
I closed my eyes, and shook my head, trying to block out his words. "Just forgive me." He whispered.
"No." I cried. "I can never forgive you. Nate, you made all these promises. You promised we'd be together forever, and that we'd get married, and that you'd never leave me, and you broke all your promises. And just because you're back now, doesn't mean you get to get me back."
I walked past him, but he grabbed my arm. "Aria, please don't run away from me."
"I should have started running from you a long time ago. It would have saved me a lot of pain. But I have to thank you, because you made me see that I'm better off without you."
"No, don't say that." Nate said. "Just stop and think for a moment. Think of everything we've been through. All the memories."
"You can take back your memories, I don't want them anymore." I said.
Nate leaned in to kiss me, and I pushed him away. "No. I will never kiss you again. Or miss you, or want you, or fall to you...or love you. Never again."
I turned around and walked out of the kitchen. When I got to my room, I climbed into bed. I shook Draco a little bit.
"Hmm?" He asked sleepily.
"Will you please hold me?" I asked my voice breaking.
"Babe, what's wrong?" He asked fully awake now.
"Just please hold me, and tell me you love me." I said.
He did as I asked. "I love you, so much." He said quietly.
"Now, tell me you'll never leave me." I said.
"I will never leave you. And I will never hurt you." Draco said. I didn't even ask him to say that. He just knew that's what I needed to hear.
A/N: Thanks for reading. Tell me what you think. :)
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