Chapter 8 : Love rule #8
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Love rule #8 - If you love someone, let them go. If they don’t come back, beat them with a stick
Winter had always been one my favourite times at Hogwarts. Back in my parent’s day the castle was hardly heated, but these days we had under-floor heating and fires in every classroom. The suits of armour got woolie hats and scarves, and the house elves kept the fires roaring. Everything was so cosy, and I loved nothing more than waking up to find out it snowed overnight. Even though it was only mid-November, the temperature was plummeting by the day, and every day I woke up, I ran to the window to see if it had snowed yet.
Albus and I were curled up in my common room. I was helping him with his potions, and he was moaning to me about Sophie. He did, however, do this less and less lately. He’d been in a ‘relationship’ with Callie for almost two months now, and they were still the talk of the castle. The other day I’d overheard a couple of second years gushing, “Callie and Albus are so cute together! I want a relationship like theirs!”
Albus was still talking. “And her hair, Rosie, her hair! Have you seen it? So dark and soft. Although, Callie’s is soft too. And I like blonde better anyway. Callie has such blue eyes. Callie said the funniest thing the other day, she-“
But I’d tuned out. Boys were stupid. Albus was stupid. It was so obvious to me that he liked Callie more than Sophie now, but he didn’t want to admit it. I absently poked at my tummy as he spoke, wondering if it was getting any smaller. A piece of apple this morning and some carrots last night surely won't make me put on weight?
“- And even though Sophie isn’t with Petey any more, Callie reckons she doesn’t like anyone else yet. Callie told me that for Christmas she and her family-“
I tried to ignore my rumbling tummy and turned back to my Potions work, quickly finishing the essay before moving onto my next assignment. These days, I was finding it harder and harder to focus on my school work. I decided to combat the problem by just working through everything as quick as possible, and then going back and fixing it all later. The method was working great so far, my marks hadn’t even dropped.
In no time, all of my latest work was finished and I crossed my arms and just looked at Albus. He was still sighing over Callie.
The door swung open, and Malfoy entered. He was carrying a stack of books, several of which were pertinent to my next essay. I rolled my eyes at him and he made a sympathetic face back. Out of anyone in the castle, being Albus’ best friend, he understood my pain perfectly.
As he walked by, he picked up a cushion, threw it at Al’s head and continued up the staircase to our rooms. I giggled, but Al, incredibly, didn’t even notice. He eventually came back down and sat beside me on the couch. Albus was still blathering on, so we talked quietly.
“How is the boyfriend?” Malfoy asked, and I blushed. He must have heard Jake yelling at me last night when we were in the common room. He didn't want to leave, claiming “I don’t trust Malfoy, what’s to stop him from coming into your room at night?”
I’d just stared at him, incredulous. It was the most ridiculous thing I’d heard in my life.
“He’s just a bit over protective, that’s all,” I whispered to Malfoy. He raised an eyebrow, and I elbowed him. The familiar touch between us felt both comforting and terrifying at the same time. Pull yourself together, Rose. It's just Malfoy.
“Careful Rose, don’t get too close to me or Jake will find out,” he mock whispered, moving away from me with exaggerated movements. We both lapsed into giggles. Between him saving my head position and getting the currently-suspended Loretta O’Walsh in trouble, Malfoy and I were no longer at odds . We were almost even friends.
“Reckon he’ll even notice if we leave?” I asked nodding towards Al. He was now lying down on the couch and staring at the ceiling, still talking.
“Let’s find out,” Malfoy said with a wicked grin. He grabbed my hand and my stomach gave a small, strange lurch. Without another word, we jumped up and ran out of the door. I quickly dropped his hand as we walked away, but it still felt weird and tingly.
“Where to?” I asked lightly, trying not to betray my sudden nervousness.
“Just follow me,” he said with a smile, and so I did. It wasn’t until we were out in the grounds and walking towards the quiddich pitch that I dug my heels in.
"You are not putting me on a damn broomstick," I protested, paling. My fear of flying wasn't something I talked about often, but it was definitely always present. I loved quidditch, but the act of being suspended in the air on a piece of wood was just too much.
"Don't be a bloody baby," Malfoy sighed, hailing on my arm. I allowed myself to be alternatively coaxed and dragged towards the pitch, until he finally lost patience and picked me up bodily, carrying me over his shoulders.
“MALFOY! Let me down right now!” I screamed, hitting him with my fists. Oh Merlin, what if he drops me because I’m so heavy? Can he feel how fat I am?
“Okay,” he finally said, and dumped me unceremoniously at two pairs of feet.
“Hello, Rosie,” Callie said with an evil smile. She was holding two brooms, and I almost burst into tears then and there. Sophie was the more sympathetic one as usual. Helping me to my feet, she passed me a jumper and a few scarves.
“Here, honey. That’s your old jumper I borrowed ages ago. About time you got it back anyway.”
I pulled it on in relief – it was cold at the pitch – and wrapped the scarves around my neck.
“That’s a bit big on you now,” Callie muttered, giving me and my jumper a strange look. I just shrugged, but secretly jumped for joy. It was thrilling, knowing that all of my runs were getting me somewhere. That very morning, I had run further than I ever had before – almost around the whole lake.
Callie suddenly clapped her hands together, going into quidditch captain mode.
“Okay, team! Brooms in hand, right away!” There was a silence. “Well?” she demanded, and Sophie and Scorpius exchanged looks.
“Callie, we already have our brooms. Let’s just get on with this,” Sophie said, tugging the spare broom out of Callie’s hand and giving it to me. I took it with numb, shaky fingers. I can do this. I can. Really. Merlin, please don’t let me die.
“Scorp, me and Soph are going to warm up. You’re the most patient one, so teach Rosie how to take off and land properly.” Callie said, and she and Sophie jumped on their brooms. They were in the air almost before she finished talking.
“They tried to teach me a few summers ago," I told Malfoy, shaking, "It was a disaster. Really, they just jumped on their brooms and left me to fend for myself. Is she always that bossy down here?”
“You betcha. But she’s a great captain, so I have nothing to complain about. Now, about that broomstick you’re holding…”
With that, Malfoy starting teaching me, and I decided that maybe flying wasn’t so daunting after all. Eventually, after several goes, I slowly raised into the air. It was far more controlled than my last go on a broomstick, right back in frist year, and I felt elated.
“Scorp! Scorpius! Look I’m doing it!” I cried, and he laughed. I was only high enough off the ground that my eyes were level with his.
“That’s the first time you’ve ever called me ‘Scorp’”, he said, grinning. Without warning, he put his hands under my broom and lifted me further into the air. I shrieked and rose higher.
“I hate you!” I screamed at him, but there was no need to yell. He’d already jumped on his own broom and risen to my height.
“Higher!” he cried, and he coaxed me further and further away from the ground.
Eventually, I was able to direct my broom to where I wanted to go, and I even tried accelerating. I grudgingly accepted that flying wasn't too bad and the view was beautiful. But not beautiful enough to make me want to stay there. When I’d finally had enough and Scorpius taught me how to land properly, I slipped of the broom on shaky legs and fell over. He landed much more gracefully a few metres away.
“What are you doing?” Callie yelled, coming in to land beside me. I tried to salute her as captain, but I was just too tired and I started to giggle.
“Stop this and get back on your broom!” She continued, too keyed up to remember that I wasn’t on her team and we weren’t actually training.
“Aye aye sir,” I giggled from where I was sprawled on the ground, and her eyes bulged. Sophie landed beside her and grinned at the situation.
“If you want to stay on this team, you will get back on that broom and get in the air!”
By now, Malfoy was laughing too, and I had tears running down my face.
“Callie, hi? It's me, Rose, I'm not on your bloody team," I laughed, my stomach aching.
Callie approached me, her eyes narrowed dangerously.
I jumped up and ran away from her, straight down the pitch. I looked back to see her running after me, an old school broomstick in her hands. She looked ridiculous, and I fell to the ground, weak from running and laughing. Tears were still streaming down my face, and Sophie and Scorpius were on the ground nearby.
“Stop, stop, I can’t take anymore,” Scorpius moaned between laughing, clutching at his stomach. The whole situation was ridiculous. Fearing for my life as Callie got closer, I struggled to my feet and started running again.
“What are you going to do with that thing, Cal?” Sophie called out, “Beat her with it?”
At that, we all dissolved into laugher again, and I changed course, running at Callie and catching her in a hug. She giggled, and we fell to the ground in stitches.
“Where were you today?” Of course it was Jake. I was sitting in the great hall with Freddie before dinner, turning an apple over in my hands uncertainly when Jake pounced on me.
“With the girls, how come?” I replied, craning my head to look up at him. He was standing over me, and I wished he’d just sit down.
“No you weren’t.”
I’d started to smile at him, before I realised that he looked really mad. His lips were pursed into a thin line and he kept clenching and unclenching his fists.
“Erm, I’m pretty sure I know what I was doing today, Jake. I was down at the quidditch pitch. What does it matter? Did we have something planned?” I asked, puzzled and confused by his behaviour.
Anna Hart’s words from a few weeks ago drifted through my head – “He’s too jealous and obsessive for you to have a healthy relationship”. I’d ignored her at the time, but now perhaps I was wrong to do so.
“I saw you, Rose!” he hissed, and I stared at him.
Anger bubbled up in me, and I stood up abruptly. Couldn’t I have friends and do something that didn’t involve him?
As I pushed my chair back, it clattered to the ground loudly and several heads turned my way.
“And?” I asked, glaring at him.
I loved Jake. We’d been friends for years and now something more, but I certainly hadn't expected this new side of him when we mistakenly started dating. I noticed I barely reached his chin, he was that tall – and Merlin knows I’m not the tiniest, most delicate female in the world.
”You were with him,” he all but hissed in my face, taking a step closer. I stared at him, incredulous. He had to be kidding me – this was seriously about Malfoy? I heard Freddie snort into his chicken pie, shaking his head.
“Chill out, dude,” Fred said with a relaxed smile. I was a bit concerned Jake would have an apoplexy when Freddie spoke.
“No, you chill out, dude,” Jake yelled, and I stared at him..
“He is chilled out. Freddie is always chilled out,” I muttered, trying to distract him. Jake’s eyes narrowed, and my heart actually skipped a beat when he raised his hand. He grabbed my arm and proceed to drag me out of the hall, but I tore away from his grip.
“Seriously Jake? You’re going to push me around like this? What in Merlin’s name is going on with you lately?” I cried, aware that we had the attention of everyone in the vicinity.
“I know you’re cheating on me with Malfoy!” he yelled, facing me. We were standing between the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw tables, and the nearest students edged away. I could only shake my head. This was ridiculous. There was absolutely nothing between Malfoy and I – we were barely even friends.
I continued to shake my head as I walked away, heading back towards Freddie who was still eating his pie and watching us through half-lidded eyes. I noticed his wand ready beneath the table, and felt a surge of affection for my cousin.
“Oh, no you don’t!” I heard from behind me, and Jake grabbed me again. This time, I whipped my wand out of my pocket and wrenched my arm away. I rested the tip my wand on his chest, shocked it had gone this far.
“How dare you touch me like this! How dare you accuse me of cheating when there is absolutely no evidence, and when everyone in this room will happily tell you that Malfoy and I are barely on civil speaking terms?” I was breathing heavily as anger bubbled in my chest. “I am my own person, Jake, so don’t even try ordering me around and acting like you know what’s best. Not that I currently care what you think, but I promise you that Malfoy is the last person in the world who I could ever love, let alone date!”
Movement at the entrance to the hall caught my eye, and I glanced over to see Callie, Sophie, Albus and Malfoy just entering.
They’d obviously missed out on most of the events, and the girls were staring between my boyfriend and me with wide, shocked eyes.
Malfoy however, was simply looking at me. There was something unreadable in his icy blue eyes, and I remembered how happy and bright they’d been down at the quiddich pitch. Something dropped in my stomach. Before I could interpret his unfathomable gaze, he simply turned around and walked away. I felt ill, stupidly only just realising that Malfoy and I had definitely become solid friends lately, and I’d just insulted him in front of the whole school.
Before I could think any more about him, Jake caught my attention again.
“How could you, Rose? You know I love you more than anything, and this is what you do to me,” he said, eyes boring into me.
I just shook my head yet again. This was ridiculous. All I wanted to do tonight was stare at my apple, not be accosted and accused mercilessly. I truly felt as if I didn't know the person in front of me.
“Bye, Jake,” I said with a sigh, “Whatever is going on between us? It's over.”
I went back to Freddie who gave grimaced and handed me my bag. Pushing past Jake, I turned and walked out of the hall, ignoring the stares and whispers from my fellow students.
I stormed out of the hall, through the front doors and down to the lake, dropping my bag near the shore. How dare he accuse me of something so low, so . . . unRose. I would never cheat, even on an idiot like Jake.
I sat down heavily on a rock, throwing stones at the lake. The anger was fading away, leaving me feeling really down and exhausted.
"Rose?" I heard Albus say, and I craned my neck around to see him standing a few metres away.
"What?" I muttered, throwing another rock. It sunk with the tiniest 'plop'.
"What you did to Scorp back there? That was low. Really low."
“I didn’t do anything to Malfoy. Besides, it's none of your sodding business!” I snapped. Albus just looked at me sadly.
“You don’t even realise, do you?” he asked, starting to walk away.
“Realise what, Al?” I yell, losing my temper again. What was with my short fuse lately?
“If you don’t even know what I’m talking about, you don’t deserve him,” he sighed without turning around.
A noise, something between a grunt, scream and cry escaped my throat. I scooped up a handful of sand and threw it at his retreating back. It wouldn’t have hurt him, and I shouldn’t have lost my temper, but Al spunaround with murderous eyes.
“What the hell is wrong with you lately, Weasley?” he yelled at me, advancing closer again.
“You’re what’s wrong with me, Potter! Why are you having a go at me?” I was meant to be fierce and angry, but instead I burst into tears.
“You had a go at me! You just threw sodding sand at me! Grow up, Rose. Your actions are hurting people who happen to be my friends. Our friends. Just grow up,” he hissed, and I couldn’t breathe.
I opened my mouth, but no words came out. Dizzy, vision distorted, I pushed past my cousin, the person closest to me in the world. I tore my arm away as he tried to grab it, and just ran. I didn’t even realise where I was until I pushed the common room door open and Scorpius Malfoy stood up from the sofa he was sitting on.
He opened his mouth to talk, but I interrupted before he could start.
“No, Malfoy. I don’t want to hear it,” I whispered, not bothering to wipe my tears away.
“No,” I cried. I already knew all he was going to tell me. Selfish. Childish. Fat. Boring. In a box I can’t get out of. I ignored his proffered hand and ran up the stairs to my room, locking the door.
Climbing into bed, I pulled the covers over my head and huddled down, sniffing. Albus' words were running on a loop through my mind and I eventually fell into a restless sleep.
Stupid. Childish, Selfish.
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