Chapter 3 : in which happy endings exist
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But what about all of my other friends? All of my teammates who warned me that Kale was no good and that I shouldn’t go out with him. They had been right, but I had shut them down. I had gone against their wishes and gone out with someone I knew deep down was not a good person.
I hadn’t let the tears fall yet, but as I was sitting alone, I finally let them. I just let the tears slip from my eyes as I hugged my knees to my chest. I wasn’t crying because I had liked Kale so much. I was crying because he had used me and embarrassed me and I had let him, even though I should have known better. It was downright humiliating and I hated feeling humiliated.
I must not have been paying much attention because I didn’t see Al plop down next to me until our shoulders brushed and I looked over. Hastily, I ran my sleeve under my eyes to try and cover up the tears. It was probably a futile effort – I was sure my mascara was smudged all around my eyes and they were probably puffy and red as well.
“How are you feeling?” he asked quietly, looking at me intently with his emerald green eyes.
I laughed humorlessly. “Not great.”
“I’m sorry he did that to you. I really didn’t think he would go so far to… be so cruel, but when I saw the way he looked at us after he kissed you…”
“Yeah, he’s a real gentleman,” I muttered sarcastically.
“He doesn’t deserve you anyway.”
“I should have listened to all of you,” I began, my words laced with regret, “Logan, Mason, Adrian, Corey… they were just trying to warn me. And I ignored them.”
“It’s not your fault,” Al insisted. “They probably didn’t go about it the best way. They made you feel like you had something to prove. You don’t, by the way. You don’t have anything to prove. They all love you. You’re like a sister to all of them.”
“What about to you? Am I like a sister to you?” I asked, the words spilling out of my mouth before I could stop them.
He looked away from me. “No, you’re not like a sister to me.”
And that was all he said about it. He eventually coerced me into going back to the common room, where my friends were all gathered round in a corner of the room that we had always favored.
“I am going to end that git!” Quinn screeched as she saw me, jumping up from her seat to catch me in a bone-crushing hug.
You wouldn’t think a pint-sized brunette like Quinn could be so terrifyingly strong, but she was.
“It’s okay, Quinn,” I told her as she (finally) released me.
“No, it’s not!” she wailed despairingly. “I totally convinced you to go out with that toerag! You probably would have said no had it not been for me and my big mouth!”
“Well, no one is arguing with the fact that you’ve got a big mouth,” Mason commented teasingly, earning himself a punch in the shoulder from Quinn.
“Don’t be a prat,” she scolded.
“Can we just forget about it maybe?” I suggested hopefully.
Truthfully, I wasn’t all that concerned about Kale in that moment. I was much more preoccupied with the conversation that had happened with Al. What exactly had he meant by those last comments? They had certainly left me very confused.
I didn’t get to ask him about it then, though, because he quietly made an excuse to leave. He was acting very strangely. No one really seemed to notice except me, though. Maybe I was imagining it. I didn’t think so, though. There was definitely something up and I was determined to figure out what it was sooner or later. I’d leave him be for the time being, however. I wanted to spend time with my friends anyway.
“Yeah, let’s forget it,” Adrian agreed, receiving approving nods from the others.
“Great,” I said in relief. “How about we play some Exploding Snap or something then?”
We settled down for an afternoon and evening of games and lots of talking. There was always a lot of talking when it came to us. We were a loud group of people. McGonagall was always coming to the common room to yell at us for being disturbing the other residents of the castle. The first years especially seemed to have an issue with it when we would be in the common room until the wee hours of the morning.
It’s not our fault they didn’t like to stay up until four a.m. on a regular like normal people.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t all that normal to stay up so late so often. But it’s what we did and we were nothing if not unapologetic.
“I’m sick of this,” Corey complained as he lost another round of chess to Logan.
“Where has Al been all this time?” Logan asked, his face looking triumphant from his many wins against Corey.
“Didn’t he go up to the dorms?” Adrian queried.
“Yeah. He hasn’t come back down,” Mason noted.
I stayed quiet through this exchange, which fortunately ended quickly as they moved on to another topic of discussion. For some reason I just had a feeling in the pit of my stomach like it was something I did that was causing Al to ignore all of us for the entire day. It definitely had something to do with the conversation we had earlier, but I hadn’t thought I said anything that could upset him.
Those thoughts ate away at me as the afternoon turned into evening turned into night. We had scampered down to the kitchens for dinner instead of going to the Great Hall and even Mipsy had noticed I was a little mopey.
Everyone probably thought I was acting that way because of Kale. And I was still very upset over that, but Al was more important to me than even my pride. I wanted to know what was going on with him, so I resolved to go talk to him while everyone was still chatting and playing games in the common room.
“I’m going to go check on Al,” I whispered to Quinn as I got up from my spot on the couch.
“…okay,” she said, slightly confused, but she shrugged and turned her attention back to the game she was playing with Corey.
I walked slowly up the boys’ staircase, trying to think of what I was going to say to Al. Unfortunately, I failed completely in thinking of something. My mind was completely blank as I stood in front of the seventh year door.
After taking a deep breath, I pulled the door open.
It didn’t occur to me until later that Al could have been naked or something. Thankfully, he wasn’t, and thus that particular embarrassing situation was avoided.
“Gabby?” Al asked in surprise.
He was sitting on his bed when I entered, but he got up and we found ourselves standing several feet apart, both feeling a little awkward and not sure what to do next.
“What did you mean earlier?” I shouted suddenly, not really aware that I was speaking until I heard my voice vibrating throughout the room.
“When you said that I’m not like a sister to you. What did you mean?” I clarified.
That had been the most confusing part of our conversation. Because it could mean a couple things. It could mean that we just weren’t very close – definitely not as close I thought we were. Or it could mean that he didn’t think of me as a sister because he thought of me romantically. My heart wouldn’t really allow me to believe that, though. It seemed so unlikely, and after the whole Kale ordeal, I didn’t fancy suffering through another bout of intense humiliation – especially when I wasn’t completely over the first one.
Al looked down at his shoes. He motioned like he was about to start speaking, but he hesitated and sputtered out one syllable before giving up.
“Just tell me,” I begged. “I can’t take this anymore, Al. Just tell me what you meant. Do you not love me – in any capacity?”
I had been sure he at least loved me as a friend, but maybe I was wrong.
He looked up and his emerald eyes told me that he was shocked by that statement. But how so?
“Gabby…” he began, shaking his head like he was trying to gather his thoughts.
I was expecting him to continue on with that started thought. I was not expecting him to close the distance between us and plant his lips on mine.
It was the second time that day I had been caught off guard with a kiss, but it occurred to me that the second time around was a lot more enjoyable than the first. I kissed Al back enthusiastically, my mind going completely blank and my body working of its own accord.
I was feeling so many things at once. Surprised, blissful, exhilarated, confused. He pulled away after a few… well it could have been seconds, minutes, or hours. I really didn’t know. His forehead rested against mine as I wrapped my arms around his neck.
“You were saying?” I prompted, somehow finding my voice.
“Gabby, I’ve been in love with you for as long as I can remember.”
I hit him on the arm.
“Ow,” he grunted, pulling himself a few paces away from me.
“Where do you think you’re going?” I scowled.
“You hit me! I figured that was a sign to move away!”
“I only hit you because you’re a complete idiot and so am I because I have loved you forever and how in the bloody hell did we not discover this sooner?!”
I didn’t exactly wait for a response, instead I just, sort of… jumped at him, crushing our lips together and clinging onto him like some sort of madwoman. He didn’t seem to mind too much, though, if his eager kissing was any indication.
“We are idiots,” he breathed out after a while before leaning in to kiss me again.
I guess sometimes you do get everything you want, after all.
a/n: OMG GROSS THEY KISSED. MY EYES. TRAUMA. anyway. that's that. the end. fin. etc. how was it? was it all the sappy goodness you ever hoped for? because i tried to make it extra syrupy like pancakes. a big shoutout to my friends who support me even when i go on crazy tirade rants of stories like this. love youuu.