Another day awakened, with the sun peeking into our house, the light casting strange shadows across the room. I peeked out the window, looking for Walter, but I had no such luck. Instead, I saw a creepy pink flamingo staring at me. I flinched before realizing what it was.
“Trespasser…” I whispered under my breath. I could not believe he did that. I couldn’t decide if it was creepy or absolutely hilarious. I was leaning on the side of hilarity, but I still hadn’t made up my mind.
I turned, and saw Albus standing in my doorway, rubbing his eyes.
“Rose. I am going to ask this once, and I better get a damn good answer. Why the bloody hell is there a pink flamingo lawn ornament sitting outside my window?”
I shrugged, casually, trying to downplay the situation, but slowly cracked, and started laughing hysterically. I rolled over on my bed to get a good look at the awkward bird once again, before loosing it once again. I can’t believe he did that.
“Rose…Rose…ROSE!” Albus said frustrated, still standing in my doorway with a groggy and confused complexion.
“I have no idea…?” I unconvincingly tried to reply.
“No. You know perfectly well. I know you do,” Albus said, leaning against the doorframe.
“Someone is a bit grumpy,” I said in my voice that usually only comes out when I am talking to Roxy, “besides why do you care so much?”
Albus released a little groan and then returned to the room next door, too tired to face my wit—or at least to tired to deal with my half-hearted answers.
I reached for my wand that was sitting on my desk.
“Accio…Flamingo?” I said, unsure of the correct wording, as I pointed my wand out the window.
The pink flamingo floated towards me and hit me a little hard in the chest.
“Umph….” I groaned as the flamingo hit me, “Damn it…”
I shoved the flamingo under my bed, pushing aside shoes that had fit me a long time ago, and turtle neck sweaters that my mother had attempted to shove me into at one point or another.
I felt that the flamingo needed a break, at least for a day or two. I actually wanted to see Henry. I hadn’t seen him since the whole flamingo incident, which seemed strange, but we had some sort of connection through the flamingo.
I decided to do something with my unmanageable auburn hair. I sorted through a few old books that had been sitting in piles lining my purple walls until I found a book that Aunty Ginny had given me a while ago. At the time I took it as an insult, because every insecure thirteen-year-old girl wanted to receive a book entitled “Frizzy Hair for Dummies—Spell Edition!”
I sighed, accepting the fact that I had stooped to the level of resorting to this book, something that my thirteen-year-old self would have been ashamed off.
I found a spell to straighten hair, and took a deep breath in and cast it. It is always a little bit scary to read a warning about the spell that reads, “If cast incorrectly, you will smell something burning. That is your hair. Proceed to use ‘aguamenti’ as soon as possible.”
I winced as soon as I cast the spell, a little scared to look in the mirror. After a second or two of smelling nothing burning, I opened my eyes and leaned over to see my new hairstyle in the mirror.
Hey, not bad. I thought as I pushed my bangs out of my face. I stared at myself for a couple of seconds before realizing that I was acting like an egomaniac, and snapped myself out of it.
I pulled on a white lacey tank top –still new, apparently, since I had to cut the tags off of it—and a black skirt. I put on a chunky necklace that I found in an antique shop earlier this summer and looked at myself in the mirror.
I look ridiculous, I thought. I yanked the necklace over my head and replaced the skirt with a pair of shorts. Looking in the mirror again, I decided that it was always better to ‘take fashion-forward risks’ as I had read in some muggle magazine. I put back on the necklace. I frowned at my appearance, but decided that I was too lazy to change again.
I wandered down the hall before all a sudden I heard light footsteps behind me. I turned; a little scared of what would have happened if I had not. Roxy was running up behind me, and right when I turned around she collided with my knees – in what I assumed she meant to be a hug—which caused me to loose my balance. I ended up on the ground, with which would have ended in a blood bath of profanities, had young and innocent ears not have been present.
I lay on my back, and slowly opened my eyes to see Roxy lying across me, her red hair frizzing up into my face, tickling my nose.
“Get off, Rox” I said gently pushing her off, but finding that she was quick to rebound onto her feet. She started jumping, causing the ground to shake underneath my sore body.
I unwillingly hoisted myself off on the mauve runner rug that lay throughout the hallway of bedrooms. This summer, Albus, James, and Roxy were staying in the three guest bedrooms in this hall. Hugo’s bedroom was in the hallway on the other side of the stairs, staying with Fred, and there is a bedroom for when Louis and Dom came. Luckily, the entire family was not here, because that was always a little bit too much. They usually came to stay in the week before September 1st, because we lived the closest to London.
As I stood, Roxy started running circles around me, which was dizzying to watch.
“Is there something you want, Roxy?” I asked, trying not to let my impatience show in my tone.
She stopped suddenly, her body slowly moving in circles, her eyes trying to focus. When she had finally shaken the dizziness, she looked up at me and nodded, her eyes full of pleading desire.
“Alright, what do you want?” I asked, as she continued her stare that made me feel guilty.
“Cassie! And Henry, for you!” She said, as she started in her continuous circle again.
“Ha…what?” I asked, suddenly realizing what she said.
“Yeah! We are all best friends! So come on! We need to go!” She said grabbing my arm and pulling with as much force as I was resisting her tight grip.
“One sec,” I said, while slipping back into my room. I looked at myself once more in the mirror. I still looked ridiculous. Henry was going to think I looked absolutely ridiculous. I need to change.
“ROSE! NOWWWW” Roxy said, stomping her feet impatiently. What did I get myself into volunteering to look after Roxy this summer?
I sighed and left the room, thinking that he probably won’t think I look that ridiculous. I look ridiculous every day.
We waited on the now familiar porch of Henry’s peaceful house. The paint on the wooden slats was peeling away, leaving a russet brown color popping against the white. The red door looked like it was painted recently, the color saturated and the paint looked new.
Henry’s familiar sapphire eyes greeted me as he opened the door. We made awkward eye contact that lasted longer than expected.
“You look…” he stumbled over his words, adding a cough to try and cover it up, “nice.”
“Thanks…” I said, staring down at my shoes.
“Any particular reason?” He asked, still standing in his door way, as a pitter-patter of feet came up behind him. Cassie’s bangs flopped into her face, which she blew away as she tightly hugged her brothers knee.
“Actually, no. I just felt like wearing new clothes,” feeling the awkwardness radiate from my words as I spoke them.
“That’s…fun,” Henry spoke slowly as he tried to find the right combination of words.
“Yeah. Roxy just really wanted to come over,” I said, looking to Roxy who was swinging violently on the old porch swing. I winced. The swing looked fragile already, and here this whirl-wind of a girl was attempting to push it to its breaking point.
“Well, Cassie and I were thinking about going to the museum, if you want to join us,” Henry said, looking at Cassie for approval, which he got with a short nod of the head.
“Yeah, we’d love to,” I said, distracted by his eyes again, “I better go check it with our parents, would you watch Roxy for a bit?”
“Of course,” he said stepping onto the porch completely and gently bringing the door to a close behind Cassie and him.
I turned to go, giving a little wave as I left.
As soon as I was out of his sight, I smacked myself on the forehead and shook my head, ashamed. It was really hard not to fall for a guy that was so nice. And had really pretty eyes. And a great body as well. And really attractive… Oh just stop it, Rose, I thought, ashamed that I had let my thoughts drift so much.
I wandered into the house, through the halls looking for Uncle George or Dad to talk to about our spontaneous trip. How do I bring that up. Hey, dad, this muggle who lives next door to us – you haven’t met him- wants to take Roxy and I to the museum. That doesn’t sound random or strange at all!
Maybe I would offer to drive. I was actually kind of looking forward to the ride over with Henry though….No, I would drive myself. I wasn’t looking forward to any ride, with anyone. I was a mess. I was letting myself fall apart.
I didn’t fall apart often. It didn’t happen with Keegen. Neither of us fell apart, we just kind of came together because it seemed right. And right now, I think I am the worst girlfriend in history.
I wandered through the halls of the seemingly empty house, peering into each room, until I ran straight into Uncle George.
“Hi!” I said, a little too loudly, because he had surprised me.
“Oh, hello there Rose,” he said, doing his classic eyebrow wiggle that he always did for his nieces and nephews.
“Could I… Could we…I mean me and Roxy… potentially, if it would be okay…”
“Spit it out, Rosie” George said, a confused look haunting his face.
“Well we have this neighbor, and he has a sister about Cassie’s age, and we have been all hanging out together – because they are the same age –“
“Because they are the same age? Suspicious…” George stated, raising his hand to his chin in a thoughtful way, “Go on…”
“And he offered to take us all to the museum…” I said, pausing, then realizing that it sounded a bit awkward. He wasn’t taking us. We were all going.
“I mean, he suggested that we all go to the museum,” I corrected myself, sort of regretting it, when I saw a classic, all-knowing smile that Uncle George gave me as he rocked back on his feet once.
“Alright you and this muggle boy have fun… I mean… You and Roxie and this muggle boy and his little sister have fun,” he said, turning to leave the room.
I hung my head in shame, and slightly laughed at the whole conversation before going to my room to grab a sweater.
In the window, sat the fat and stubby little owl, with a role of parchment in his beak. I leapt across the bead and snatched it from his beak, opening it slightly. I saw it was from Keegan, which surprised me. I still felt guilt from my earlier thoughts and tossed it onto my desk, wanting to read it when I felt no guilt whatsoever.
I ran down the stairs, tripping, but able to catch the banister just in time before I lost my footing all together.
“Shit…” I said, which seemed to be my word of choice in treacherous situations lately, the feeling of falling still stuck in my stomach.
“LANGUAGE!” A bellowing voice echoed from the kitchen. For a split second I thought that my dad had heard, but then I saw a grinning James round the corner.
“There are young ears here!” He said, covering his ears with his palms.
“Shut up,” I said in a recognizably high-pitched voice, which comes out when I am frustrated, before slipping out the door and pulling the door tight behind me.
Henry drove us to the mall, smoothly operating his car. It did not jerk every time he made a turn. I legally could drive, but it was not my preferred mode of transportation.
Once in the museum, Roxy and Cassie quickly darted around, ducking in between the crowds of people. I had never been to the museum before, or actually, any museum, so I was a little confused wandering around.
We got to a particularly crowed room, Roxy’s red hair and yellow rain boots the only sign of where she and Cassie were.
I looked around, confused, which Henry must have sensed, because he grabbed my hand and led me through the crowd of people and into a calm room, where Roxy and Cassie were staring at an exhibit of stuffed arctic animals. Their vacant eyes creeped me out.
I focused back on Henry, who was still holding my hand in his. I think he realized this at the same time as I did, and he slowly released it, letting my hand fall to my side. My eyes flickered up into his, and then back at my shoes. My cheeks tingled, and I nervously laughed. I was about to make some awkward comment about his shoes, but he was able to cut in and save me. He probably knew that I was going to say something awkward.
“Well, we’ve covered most of the museum…where to next?” He said, wandering towards Cassie and Roxy with his hands in his pockets.
Cassie excitedly jumped up, towards Henry.
“ICE CREAM?” She asked, then covered her mouth in embarrassment as she realized how loud it was.
Roxy nodded in agreement, her eyes wide with excitement.
Henry walked us to an ice cream store a couple of blocks away. We walked side by side, our hands grazing every now and then. I suddenly regret letting my hand fall, when he held it earlier. When I realized this regret, a guilty feeling sunk into my stomach. I felt a little dizzy for a second, confused with what I was doing. I didn’t want to let go of Henry, but I didn’t want to let go of Keegan either. I pushed the idea away, looking at Roxy and Cassie skipping along the street, arms linked together.
We all got ice cream, sitting in the sun. I had my feet propped up on a chair besides me, and Roxy was sitting on the table, which I had tried to convince her not to do, but she was too stubborn to listen. Cassie was eating a huge chocolate ice cream cone that was beginning to drip slowly on to the sidewalk. She had chocolate all over her face.
Henry smiled when he looked at her.
“You’ve got something on your face…just there…” He said gesturing towards her cheek. She tried to rub it away, distracted, when Henry gently tapped her hand, causing it to collide with her nose.
Henry and I laughed, while Cassie gasped, her mouth opening wide, before starting to laugh too.
After finishing our ice cream cones, both Roxy and Cassie covered in the remains of their ice cream, we slowly made our way back to Henry’s car, the car letting out a puff of heat as we opened the doors. We rolled down the windows, and Cassie and Henry sang along to a song on the radio. I had never heard it before, but I laughed as Henry and Cassie shrieked it out.
We arrived back in our familiar neighborhood. When Henry parked, Roxy looked exhausted so I decided to take her home.
Roxy and Cassie waved to each other, Henry and I facing each other as I was about to turn and go.
Henry smiled at me, and to my surprise, wrapped me up in his arms giving me a warm hug. His arms encompassed me, and I was comforted by his closeness. I didn’t want to turn and go, but much to my dismay, he let his arms fall, and gave a quick wave before returning to his house. I stood there and watched as he walked up the creaky porch steps, before reluctantly following Roxy through the gates of our house.
Goosebumps rose on my skin as I passed through the door of our house, the air cool and dry. Roxy retreated to the couch, where she quickly fell asleep, her head askew on a pillow and her leg falling off the side of the couch.
I walked back to the main hallway, sighing as I mounted the stairs. I thought of Henry, and his hug, and how I never wanted to let it end. As I thought of Henry, I inevitably thought of Keegan. I don’t know how I ended up in this mess, and I didn’t know what I wanted; I wanted them both.
Keegan was safe, and I know that nothing could ever go wrong if we happily dated through our last two years at Hogwarts. I couldn’t be with Henry. We were different people. My world, the magical world, was my secret from him, and while I wouldn’t ever give up magic, I hated it in this moment for tearing us apart.
I lay down on my bed, thoughts swirling through it. I felt a little sick to my stomach unsure if it was the guilt or the obscenely large ice cream I had gulped down earlier.
Since when do I have to worry about guys? I am too awkward to worry about guys… I lay down onto my back, the thoughts crowding my head and making me fidget anxiously.
I bit my lip and closed my eyes. I couldn’t think about anything without getting that gnawing feeling in my stomach that I had done everything wrong. I glanced over nervously at the scroll that I had tossed over onto my desk after seeing it was from Keegan. I stretched out and grabbed it, figuring it might help me solve everything.
I sucked a breath of air in, and slowly uncurled the parchment. Keegan’s messy handwriting was scratched across the parchment at an angle that made me loose focus from the text.
I need to talk to you. Something isn’t right. Don’t worry; even though I know you will, I just think we need to talk. My dad said I could use the floo network to get there, if that is okay with your family. Let me know a time.
I frowned at the formality of it. I wanted to push the note aside, pretend as if I had never read it. I know that it was supposed to make me feel better. It didn’t.
A/N: I did this chapter a little differently, with just Rose's point of view, because it just got really long. Let me know if it is okay, I think the next chapter will be just Henry. Thanks for reading :)