The next month and a half passes by, without much commotion. Scorpius and I continue our little conversations, neither of us talking about the second almost-kiss. James grows suspicious, and corners me on Thursday, in the common room.
“Hey. I have to talk to you.” His arm was outstretched next to my head, and he was in front of me, blocking my path.
“Errrm. Okay?” I ask, trying to shrink back.
“What’s up with you and that little slimeball Slytherin, huh? Is he blackmailing you? Are you two screwing?” He sneers.
“Ugh. Get out of my face.” I try to push past him but he just steps closer, pushing me closer to the wall.
“Answer. The. Questions. Right Now.” His grip around my wrist is painful, and he’s growling, only centimeters from my face.
I’ve had enough. “Listen to me, James.” My voice is dangerous, low. “First of all, don’t ever call Scorpius a slimeball, just because he’s in Slytherin. So is your brother, after all.” He started to speak, but I stuck my finger into his chest. “Furthermore, in case you haven’t noticed, I quite enjoy the time I spend with Scorpius. Do you think if he was blackmailing me, that I would be smiling every time I’m with him?” My finger his dug into his chest, and I’m glaring up at him.
“So you are sleeping with him.” He laughs sarcastically, “God, you must be pretty eas-“
stumbled back, pure shock as he held his searing red cheek.
“How dare you!” I shriek, “You have been trying to be with me for years! Years, James Potter! If I was so easy I would have been with you, long ago. But no! I don’t have sex with stupid prats like you, because I know better.” Now it was me that had him backed against the wall, and though he has good 6 or so inches on me, he looked terrified. “The only reason you have such a problem with this, is because you are a pig-headed git, who thinks that the moment you request it, a girl should hop into bed with you! You are so daft. No better than pig bollocks!” I spin around and stomp towards the portrait door. “And if you must know; No, we have not slept together. But believe me. I would sleep with him a hundred times before I ever let you lay a finger on me.” I gave him a final glare and stomped out of the common room.
I spend the rest of my night alone.
I find Rose in the Great Hall, eating lunch the next day with the usual crew. Keeleigh had started to fit in quite nicely with us, but she isn’t sitting with us today. I sat down next to Rose, immediately tapping my cup for pumpkin juice.
“What’s wrong with you?” Rose asks, raising her eyebrows. Was she mad at me?
“Your cousin. That is what’s wrong with me.” Try as I might, I can’t say it without gritted teeth.
“What did he… Oh shit.” I turn my head to follow Rose’s gaze and a black-eyed James saunters in, eyes toward the ground.
Apparently, I had smacked him harder than I thought. His eye was black and his cheek was bruised, black and blue, with hints of green and yellow flooding his face.
“Rory. Did you do that?” Al asks in disbelief. I nod my head. I don’t feel bad. He completely deserved it.
“May I ask why?” Rose gives a shocked laugh.
“He asked if Scorpius and I were sleeping together. Then he called me easy. So, I let him have it. I think I almost made him cry.” Now I feel kind of bad. But I shouldn’t.
I can’t help but look at Scorpius, who is flushed, due to the topic.
Everyone was chattering about my damage to James’ face, ego, and reputation.
“Is this really because he thought you and I were sleeping together?” Scorpius asks after a few moments.
“Uhm, yeah. Because he’s been trying to get me to have sex with him for ages, and I never have. So when he thought you and I… well he got a little upset. Said things he shouldn’t have and so I told him how it is.” I shrug, trying to play it off.
“Well, what exactly did you say to him?” Rose asks, looking at James with concern. He was sitting at the end of our table, pushing the food around on his plate.
I sigh, “Basically I told him he was a disgusting pig who I would never sleep with. And I might have said I would sleep with Scorpius a hundred times before I would let him touch me. I was heated, you know?”
She looks a little shocked.
“Rory. That’s mean. You know he’s had a crush on you since third year.” She purses her lips at me.
“A crush? Hardly. He just wanted me to have sex with him, and then he’d be done with me.” I lick off the icing on my cupcake, stealing a glance at Scorpius, who was watching me intently.
“Whatever.” Rose sighs.
“Rose. Why are you acting so weird about this? He said awful things to me and insinuated things that aren’t even close to true.”
“I’m acting weird because you made my cousin’s face your punching bag, and you got mad at him for wanting you to like him instead of Scorpius.” She sneers his name, spitting it at me like it is poison.
“I slapped him for insulting me and calling me a name only a whore should be called. And if he wants to be so civilized with me, then he should have gone about it a different way.” My voice was getting higher, the more upset I got.
“I’m sure that he went about it just fine, and you being little Miss Priss, got all offended and blew it way out of proportion.”
“Where is this coming from, Rose? Why are you treating me like this?” I didn’t fight the tears that were welling up and spilling over.
“I’m only treating you how you should be treated, you dirty trollop.” She looks at me, disgust embossed on her face, distorting its beauty.
I don’t fight the sob. I grab my bag and rush out of the Great Hall. I make my way to the tapestry with a hidden room behind it. I always come here when I want to be alone. I push my way inside the small room, and collapse to the floor. The tears keep coming and I can barely breathe. I bury my head into my knees, and let the hurt wash through me. My best friend, my only friend, had just looked at me with such hatred. I had lost her in a matter of minutes, after years of friendship. My body shook with another sob. Then suddenly, someone wraps their arms around me and pulls me into their lap, stroking my hair.
“Shhh. It’s okay.” I can tell who it is, just by the voice. Another sob tears through me and his arms tighten around me.
“Shhh. Rory. It’s okay.” And he just cradles me like that. For how long, I don’t know. In some ways it felt like minutes, in others like years. But after the tears slowed and the shaking stopped, he pulled away so that he could look into my eyes.
“I don’t understand,” I start.
“Well, Rory. She was just a little upset about Albus, and then James… It’s actually pretty understandable, when you think about it.” He shakes his head.
“What does Albus have anything to do with this?” I ask, my head reeling. Nowhere in this ordeal had Albus been mentioned or involved.
“Keeleigh and him broke up. They had it out pretty bad last night and today.”
“But, why does that give Rose a reason to be mad?”
“I think you know why.” Scorpius frowns at me.
“No, I really don’t know why.” I am getting exasperated and I feel my throat closing up again. Don’t cry anymore, Rory.
“Well, last night, when Al and Keeleigh were getting,” He clears his throat and shifts,
“Intimate. And it was…escalating, well, he said,” Scorpius cringes, ”Your name. Keeleigh told Rose, and there was the assumption that it was because you two had been together. And then the thing with James, “ He trails off, frowning at the ground. I am still in his lap, his arms still tightly wound around me.
I’m speechless. I have never been with any of the Potter boys., or anyone for that matter.
“I’ve never slept with Albus,” I could feel the heat rise to my face. I don’t want Scorpius to think badly of me. Or anybody. Especially Rose.
“You haven’t? Well, then why did he…” Scorpius shakes his head. “It doesn’t matter. In order to patch things up, you need to talk to them all. Starting with Albus.”
I nod, and unfold myself from Scorpius’ lap.
“Do you happen to know where he is?” I ask, taking a deep breath. I will not cry anymore today.
“I think in the Great Hall.” He gives me a half-hearted smile.
“Thank you.” I whisper. I turn and start to push aside the tapestry.
“Rory.” Scorpius is just behind me. “If you need me, anytime, I’ll be there.”
I nod, feeling my heart lighten just a bit. Then I make my way towards the Great Hall. I thought over and over what I would say to James, Albus. And Rose. I sigh. It’s dark out, which means that not only have I missed my evening classes, but so has Scorpius.
The great hall is fairly empty, but I can see Albus sitting at a far table, frowning at his Potions homework. I slowly walk over, sliding into the seat across from him. He looks up, a little startled.
“I think we need to talk.” I start.
“Rory. You’re hot. Keeleigh, she’s alright but she’s boring and annoying. But she wanted to do stuff and I wasn’t going to pass it up. But, since I don’t particularly enjoy her. I thought of someone else. And last night that happened to be you. It doesn’t need to be awkward, or a big deal. And also, anybody that’s been asking me if we’ve slept together, I assure them no.” He looked a little pained, finally taking a breath.
I nod. “Got it. Thanks, Al.” I stand up, and so does he.
He leans across the table, giving me an awkward but warm hug.
“You’re my friend, Rore. And always will be. “
We said our goodbyes and then I made my way to the Gryffindor Common Room to find James.
“Hinkypuff.” I say to the Fat Lady, before she can say anything to me, or before I lose my nerve.
I walk in and everything goes quiet. Rose scoffs and stomps to our room.
“James. Can I have a word?” I try not to sound pleading, but it doesn’t really work. I think he knows, because he stands up and nods. A girl named Penny grabs his arm and whispers something in his ear. He shakes his head at her and she sits back down, glaring at me.
We went into a corner, and I rack my brain, trying to think of what to say.
“Are you going to say anything? Because you’re wasting my time right now.” He doesn’t look as irritated as he sounds.
“I’m Sorry.” I whisper, and he snorts.
“Whatever, Rory. I don’t have time for this.” He starts to walk away, but I lay my hand on his arm.
“James, please. Hear me out.” He nod, sighs and turns back towards me. “I didn’t mean what I said.” Well, for the most part. “ I don’t think you’re disgusting, or a pig. Actually I think you’re brilliant. I just don’t like it when people try to control me. You should know that. And I love you to bits, and you’re great, but I’m not going to be anything more than friends with you. You’re like a brother to me. And that’s how I’d like it to stay.” I feel absolutely horrendous. He looks rather heartbroken.
“Rory. Thank you.” I look up at him in surprise.
“Yeah. Thank you. That’s all I needed to hear. I think you are gorgeous, and your curves are heavenly. Al and I used to talk about you almost every night.” He chuckles at the memory. “But anyways. As long as we can be friends, and I can hug you and be here with you. That’s all that I ask. And I’m glad you told me how you feel, because now I can try to move on.”
“James.” I smile and throw my arms around him.
“You’re my best girl friend, Rore. I would have forgiven you, even if you had beaten me with a club, because I dunno what I’d do without you.”
We stand in our embrace for a few moments and then pull back from each other.
“While we are talking, may I ask you a question?” James asks.
“Why did you sleep with Al, and not me?” He purses his lips and looks a little hurt.
“I didn’t.” I tell him, frowning.
“You didn’t? Well that’s not what Rose is saying.”
I look at him, astounded.
“What? Rose is telling people that I slept with Al?”
“Errrm, yeah. She’s told a few people the story.”
I am stomping up the stairs to the girls’ dormitories before he even finishes his sentence.
“Rory, wait!” I hear him call, but I don’t stop.
I burst into the dorm just in time to find Rose telling the story to the bitchiest girl in the school, Amanda Layner. If Amanda knows, the whole school is going to know. A slow, malicious smile spreads across Amanda’s face.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t the Hogwarts Whore herself.” Amanda chirps.
“Shut up. Get out.” She starts to protest but I point my wand at her. “Get the hell out of this room, NOW.” She looks frightened and runs out.
I round on Rose, “You! How dare you!”
“Oh, save it, Aurora. How dare YOU. Not only do you ruin one cousin’s life, but both of them? Are you happy?”
“Put a sock in it, you daft bimbo! You don’t even know the truth and then you go spreading lies around? And you would believe what Keeleigh says, and not even talk to me about it? No don’t speak.” I say as she opens her mouth. “First of all, I have never EVER even thought about having sex with Albus, let alone actually doing it. Second, how dare you go around telling people that I have! Amanda Layner? Are you stupid? Now not only are you making me look bad, but James and Albus, too. She will make them look just as bad as she makes me look. And do you honestly think she won’t bring you into it? Because she will. And I already know what she’ll say. Do you, Rose? Hmm? She’ll say you’re jealous of Scorpius and me, so you decided to spread nasty rumors. Are you happy, now Rose? Do you feel accomplished? Because, for all the trouble, I hope it’s worth losing the things that mean most to you. Or maybe I meant nothing at all. Good night, Rose. I hope you sleep just great.”
She’s looking at me with complete shock, so I turn on my heel, and leave it at that. As I come down the stairs, everyone just looks at me. They had heard everything.
“I’m glad you understood, James. I’m glad you and I can be friends again. “ He nods and gives me a small smile. I slip out of the common room and spend the night awake, behind my tapestry.