Chapter 9 : Rumor Has It
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My relationship with Harry, what's happening with Kale, my feelings about Malfoy. Everything was all messed up, and I didn't know why, and I didn't know how to fix it at all.
I mean when Harry used to look at me, I'd get butterflies in my stomache. That now occured when Malfoy would wink at me. I used to know exactly how I felt about everything, and now nothing made sense.
"So, Sloane, rumor has it that you and Harry are Hogwarts' hottest couple." Hermione said.
That didn't affect me the way it would have two weeks ago. I would have been estatic, but I merely said. "Really? That's interesting."
Hermione gave me a strange look. "Well, that's not how I expected you to act. I thought you'd be more excited."
So did I, I thought. "I guess I'm just not surprised." I lied.
"Hmm." Was all she responded with.
I wanted to tell her that things weren't the same between me and Harry. That I don't feel the way I used to when we first started dating. When Harry used to kiss me, I got chills. Now, I felt nothing. Kissing him was great, but it didn't make me feel anything anymore.
But how could I tell her that when Harry is her best friend? She's bound to tell him. Even if she doesn't, she could tell Ron, who would tell Harry, and then rumor would have it that I don't really feel the way I used to about him. All that would do is cause problems.
I can't even believe what just happened. He had said he was through with our relationship. He was tired of me lying to him about how I kept getting hurt. He was fed up with not being able to protect me from whatever it was. He broke up with me.
What did I do? I begged him to take me back. I told him that I was telling the truth and that I was sorry, and all I wanted was to be with him.
I wasn't sure why I did that. I mean him breaking up with me would have been my way out, without hurting him. I should have let him end things and then moved on. That way both of us could stop getting hurt.
But I was weak. I needed him, even if he did hurt me on a weekly basis. I would rather have a life with him where I sometimes got hurt than a life without him.
But, now I knew I would probably never end things with him. No matter how many times he lied and hit me or how many times I threatened to leave him, I wasn't going anywhere. He had a hold on me that I couldn't describe.
Apparently I had a hold on him too, because he easily took me back. I probably didn't even have to beg him, he would have come back anyways. Our relationship was toxic. We couldn't stay away from eachother no matter what.
"I'm really sorry." I whispered, laying my head on his shoulder.
"No, I'm sorry." He said. "I overreacted. And I should trust you." He kissed the top of my head.
I didn't respond, because he shouldn't have trusted me. Afterall, I was lying. But it was for the best. I think.
"I just feel like something is hurting you, and all I want to do is protect you." He continued.
"Nothing is hurting me." I said quietly. "I'm fine, I promise."
"Promise me something else." He said.
"Anything." I replied.
"Promise you'll always let me protect you and let me be there for you no matter what."
I had broken that promise before I even made it. How could he protect me from himself? How could he be there for me when he was the one that was hurting me? He couldn't.
Maybe I should tell him the truth. Tell him what he's like when he's not sober. Tell him that he hurts me. No, I can't. I can't be responsible for ruining his life. I loved him too much to let that happen.
But how long would this go on? How long would I be able to handle this? What if one day he went too far? We always said we'd be together forever, but how can that work when he's a whole different person, and he doesn't even know it? Not to mention, I wasn't sure if I was ready to live with this forever...
"Sloane, are you happy?" Hermione asked me as we sat down in Potions.
"What do you mean? Of course I am." I replied.
"I mean, are you happy with Harry?" She clarified.
How did she know something wasn't right?! I was silent for a moment before responding. "Not as happy as I used to be."
"I don't know. Everything is all wrong. My feelings are all messed up, and I don't know what to do. I don't know how I feel about Harry or Kale, or Malfoy!"
She raised her eyebrows. "And what exactly does Malfoy have to do with this?"
"Nothing." I said quickly, then I sighed. "A lot, actually. The thing is I don't hate him anymore. I actually like talking to him and stuff."
"Do you like him?" She asked.
"Please don't ask me that." I groaned.
"Because then I have to think about it, and I'm scared about what I'll decide." I said honestly.
"All right, fine." Hermione said. "What about Kale? Do you still like him?"
I scoffed. "Hell, I still love him. But I don't know if we could ever work out."
"What happened between you two?" She asked curiously.
"It's...complicated." I sighed.
"Okay, moving on again. Do you still like Harry?"
"Yes, but not the way I used to. When we were in the same room, my heart used to beat so fast, and I'd be breathless. Now, I feel just normal around him. I know that's not how things are supposed to be." I explained.
"Do you think maybe it's time to end things?" Hermione asked after pausing for a second.
I shrugged. "I don't know yet."
Later that same day I was headed to the library to meet Harry and Luna. They were already there when I arrived. Their heads close together, whispering and laughing.
"Hey, sorry I'm late." I said sitting down across from them.
"Um, it's fine." Luna said blushing slightly. That's rather odd. Luna rarely ever blushes.
Harry leaned across the table and kissed me. I happened to catch Luna staring in a way I couldn't describe. I don't know what was up with her lately, but she was acting strange. Well, stranger than usual.
"I'll be back, I need to get a book really quick." Harry said getting up and walking towards the bookshelves.
"So, Luna, I was reading the Quibbler last night, and I came across something about Wrakspurts, and-" I came to realize that Luna wasn't listening to me. Her focus was on something behind me. I turned, and saw Harry searching through books.
She was staring at Harry with a dreamy look on her face. Something finally clicked in my brain. Luna likes Harry.
The rest of the time that we were hanging out, that's all I could think about. I couldn't believe one of my best friends liked my boyfriend. What was even crazier than that was the fact that I wasn't even mad like I should be. Infact, I was sort of okay with it.
We decided to walk around the grounds, and stopped near the greenhouses. As usual, we all laid on the ground and looked up at the sky. Personally, it always made me feel so much better.
I glanced over at Luna to see if she was looking at Harry, but she was looking up at the clear blue sky.
I looked at over at Harry. He always looked so peaceful when he was looking up at the sky. But this time he wasn't looking up, he was looking at Luna. He was staring at her the way he stared at me. Or used to.
It took me until then to realize Harry didn't look at me the way he used to, like I was the most fascinating person ever, and all he wanted to do was be around me. Apparently, he was now giving Luna that look.
Why? Because he liked Luna. How did I feel about this? I wasn't jealous. I was happy. This would make what I had to do so much easier.
The next day after lessons, I sat alone with Harry.
"Hey, can we talk about something really serious?" I asked him.
"Sure. What is it?" He replied.
"I think we should stop dating." I said.
"What?" He asked.
"We should stop dating." I repeated, hoping I was doing the right thing.
"Why? Do you not like me anymore?" Harry asked.
"No, I do." I said. "Just not like I used to. And be honest, you don't like me the way you used."
"Well, I guess things have kind of changed. But I'm still happy with you." He said.
"I'm happy with you too. But let's face it. We could be happier. Me, well, I'm not sure what would make me happier, and you with Luna."
Harry blushed furiously. "Uhh..."
I smiled. "Harry, I know you like Luna, and it's okay." I explained. "I want you to be happy, and it's clear she makes you happy. I don't want to stand between you two anymore. Me and you are better off as friends. And I'm happy with that. So ask Luna out."
"I don't think she likes me." He mumbled.
"Believe me. I wouldn't be telling you to ask her out if she didn't. You guys have something special." I smiled.
Harry smiled back. "Thanks, Sloane. You're the best." He said.
"I know I am." I said. "Now let's go find Luna."
We found Luna quickly, walking around the grounds without shoes.
"Hi Luna." I said.
"Hello Sloane. Hi Harry." She blushed. It was so obvious she liked him.
"Harry and I broke up." I said. Luna couldn't hide the hopefulness that came across her face.
"That's too bad." She said.
"No, it's not. We're still going to be friends. But I think you two should talk. You both like eachother, and I'm okay with that. I want you guys to be happy...with eachother. So, I'm going to leave you guys alone. See you later."
Without another word, I walked away, smiling. I knew without looking back that they were holding hands.
I was feeling really good after that, and decided to walk around for a bit. My feelings about both Kale and Malfoy weren't clear,but I'd deal with that later, I had already dealt with Harry today.
I was walking down the hall, when I heard from behind me. "Hey,Sloane!"
I turned around to see Malfoy. "Yes?" I asked.
"Rumor has it you and Potter broke up. Is that true?" He asked.
I nodded. "Yep, we decided we're better off as friends."
"Well, that's wondeful to hear. How about that date?" Malfoy asked.
I chuckled. "Do you really just want to be my rebound from Harry? I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate that."
Malfoy paused for a second, thinking it over. "Hmm, you're right." He said. "So I guess I'll have to spend these next few weeks charming you won't I?"
I shrugged. "I guess so. But that's only if you can charm me. You think you're up for the task, Malfoy?"
He smirked. "Most definitely. But what's the best way to get you? At least give me that."
I crossed my arms in front of my chest. "Well, it's pretty simple. And it all depends on how you respond to my next two words: impress me."
"Oh, I will." He said.
"We'll see." I realized how close we were. How did that happen? When did I even move towards him.
Malfoy just stared at me. "Sloane?" He asked quietly. "Would it be too much to ask you to kiss me?"
"Just one kiss." He said.
"Fine." I said. "Close you eyes."
"Why?" He asked.
"I can't do it if you're watching." I explained.
"All right, fine." He closed his eyes. I stared at him for a moment, before quietly backing away from him.
I couldn't kiss him. Not now, not like this. It would only confuse me more.
"I can hear you backing away." He said.
"No, you can't." I said, not being able to hold my laughter.
He opened his eyes, and I turned and ran. A second later, I heard him running after me. He quickly caught up to me, and picked me up and threw me over his shoulder.
"Let go of me Malfoy!" I giggled.
"Not until I get my kiss." He said twirling me around.
"If you don't put me down, I will never go on a date with you." I threatened.
He groaned. "Fine." He put me down, and we were yet again so close.
"This isn't over Sloane." He whispered. "I still like you."
"Well, I still hate you." I said.
I think we both knew that was no longer true...
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