Love rule # 13 - When there isn’t any background music, make your own
“Rosie! Get out of the shower now!“ Callie yelled, banging her fists on the door. I ignored her, still humming a happy tune. I was determined to forget that in three hours, I’d be dancing in front of hundreds of people at the Winter Ball.
Great, now I was remembering.
“I can’t hear you,” I called out, shaving my legs and underarms. A thrill went through me when I thought of Scorpius seeing me in my new dress. I’d fought Sophie for the green one, and I’d won.
It was her fault that she didn’t understand that rock beats scissors – terrible muggle-born she is.
“I have vodka,” Callie coaxed in a sing-song voice. I perked up at that – maybe a drink or two will help to calm me down. I quickly finished my ablutions (great word) and turned the shower off. Wrapping a towel around myself, I opened the door and asked hopefully, “Vodka?”
“Thank Merlin for that,” said someone who wasn’t Callie, and Scorpius slipped past me, nudged me out and shut the bathroom door.
“There you are,” Callie said, coming out of my room, “If I’m going to get you ready to be the belle of the ball tonight, you need to give me the chance to get ready too!”
She stopped short when she noticed the bathroom door shut, and the sound of the shower running. I couldn’t help but giggle, hair dripping down my back.
“Scorpius," I told her.
Callie yelled in exasperation and pushed past me, banging on the door again.
“I swear to Merlin, Malfoy, if you don’t get out of that shower within ten minutes then I’m coming in.”
I could practically see his raised eyebrow and cocky grin, which wasn’t good. Because if I could see that, then I could see that he was in the steamy shower, wearing nothing…
“Earth to Rose? What is wrong with you?” Sophie said, coming out of my room as well. She was wrapped in a robe and already showered. I shook my head and blinked.
“Erm… Scorpius is in the shower,” I mumbled, and she smiled at me kindly.
“Yes dear, he is. Now stop picturing him naked and come in so I can get started. When was the last time you ate, woman?” she asked me seriously as she took in my bony shoulders, and I just blinked at her again. Umm… maybe on Wednesday? Or was it Tuesday? No, I think I ate the carrot on Thursday…
“Never mind,” Sophie heaved a sigh, looking troubled, “Let’s get started.”
She led me to my desk and sat me down. I could still hear Callie yelling at Scorpius, and I giggled.
“What kind of gentleman are you, leaving a woman to get ready last? All you have to do is put deodorant on! I need to wash my hair! And shave! And exfoliate! And moisturise! And do my nails! And do my hair and makeup! I need to make sure my dress is perfect! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME!”
Sophie smiled at me in the mirror and handed me a vodka and orange, “For the nerves.”
And in the nick of time, we were ready. Thank Merlin Scorpius and I set up the hall earlier in the day, because I would never have got it done otherwise. My stomach was cramping every few moments from butterflies, and I couldn’t be thankful enough that my best friends were by my side.
“I missed you guys so much,” I moaned, wrapping my arms around their waists. We were standing in front of my mirror, surveying our handiwork. Having them back felt amazing – even though I still sometimes struggled to get out of bed, it was made a bit easier knowing they were waiting for me.
“That would be the vodka talking,” Sophie giggled, rolling her eyes and adjusting her dress.
“I only had two!” I protested.
“On an empty stomach,” Callie muttered. I giggled and grabbed my camera. We took turns taking photos, and Sophie slipped the camera into her purse because I wouldn’t get a chance to take any pictures later on.
“But seriously girls, you both look stunning,” I said, smiling happily.
“As do you,” Sophie said, fingering the ends of my long hair. She’d managed to put some of it into a roiling, braided style on top of my head, but bits still hung down around my face, too heavy to stay up.
We quickly downed a bit more vodka (Merlin, I was so nervous. Malfoy. Dancing. Malfoy touching me. Eek, dancing) and headed down to the entrance hall. Scorp and I were meant to be meeting Higgins and a few ministry officials in five minutes.
Sophie and Callie were going together, with Callie proudly proclaiming that a man wasn’t a necessity and ‘stuff the whole male race’. I knew my parents would be there somewhere – plenty of alumni and ‘illuminated war heros’ were invited, which meant my whole family would be in the crowd.
Moving through the hallways, I stopped in a corridor short of descending the main stairs and tried to turn around.
“Oh, come on Rose.”
“You’ve never had stage fright before. You’re head girl, for goodness sake.”
“Not any more. I want you to be,” I said desperately, looking at Callie. She sighed, shared a glance with Sophie, and together they tugged me out into the open. Now everyone in the entrance hall below could see us, so I couldn’t leave.
Forcing a smile onto my face, I hissed, “You’re stupid cows and I hope you live sad, lonely lives.”
They just smiled kindly at me and went down the stairs. Freddie was waiting for Sophie at the bottom, looking up with a lovesick, sad look. Merlin, everyone was watching.
Desperate for a safety net, I scanned the hall. Where is he, where is he, where is he?
Standing at the great hall doors, taller than the officials and the same height as the headmaster, stood Scorpius. He was dressed in a dark suit and wore a white shirt without a tie. His hair was pushed back off his face, and I knew he was wearing his delicious aftershave.
Our eyes met, and my stomach lurched. Maybe I could do this after all. I gripped the handrail and wished I could just slide down it like I do at home. As if on cue, the crowd opened up a bit and I spotted Dad in his wheelchair. He smiled easily at me, and I was elated. He looked so much better! I forced myself to not run down to him, but when I reached the bottom (thank Merlin I didn’t fall), I threw myself at my dad.
“You look fantastic, Daddy!” I said, kissing his cheek. After my dramatic exit on Christmas day, my parents and I had had a few talks, and I was so embarrassed about my behaviour that I was still apologising.
“And you, my shining flower, look radiant,” he said, touching my chin. I blushed and straightened up.
“Thanks, Dad. I’ll talk to you later, there’s someone I have to find…” I trailed off, because I didn’t have to find him at all. Scorpius had pushed through the crowd and was standing in front of me, an eyebrow raised and a smile on his lips.
“Hi,” I managed.
“You look-“ we both started at the same time, and I giggled, relaxing. I could do this. “You look great, Scorp.”
“And you look stunningly beautiful, Rose Weasley. Hello, Mr Weasley. How do you do?” he asked, spotting my dad and shaking his hand. Dad nodded at him, urging us to go.
It was time to start. I hadn't eaten in days so I'd look lovely at the dance.
I kissed his cheek one last time, took Malfoy’s arm and we made our way through the crowd. They parted for us as we came through, and I couldn’t believe that I was lucky enough to be with such a gorgeous creature.
He didn’t have a choice, the cruel voice in my head whispered, but I happily ignored it tonight.
“Nervous?” Malfoy asked, cocking his head slightly and whispering. His breath tickled my ear, and I held his hand.
If a year ago someone told me I’d be opening a ball with Scorpius Malfoy, in front of a thousand people or more, I would have laughed in their face. But now, I felt nothing but sure of myself as we floated to the middle of the beautiful hall and faced each other. My eyes met his, and everyone else disappeared.
Love is cool like that – makes you forget that if you trip or stumble, your future employers and fellow classmates are in the crowd judging. The hall looked great – we’d charmed three giant chandeliers to hover in the air, the seats were all covered in satiny blue material and waitstaff (younger students who didn’t want to miss out of the fun) were dotted about wearing black and white.
Scorpius’ large hands came around my tiny waist and he pulled me close. He smelt, as I predicted, absolutely divine.
“I won’t let you fall,” he whispered, and I smiled up at him. Even when I was wearing heels, he still towered over me.
“I know,” I promised, settling my hands on his shoulders. At that, the music soared from our craftily hidden speakers and he started swaying me to the traditional music.
McGonagall had come to us a week or so back and offered to teach us the dance. Malfoy had shaken his head, asked what the dance and the music was, and proceeded to teach me himself. Thank Merlin the box step was one of the dance steps…
He flung me out and we came to my favourite bit. My dress swirled around me prettily and I laughed, spinning away from him. We moved effortlessly, but I won’t say I was completely graceful. I forgot a few steps, but managed to blunder through. The music reached a crescendo, and Scorpius pulled me back to him. I spun dizzily, very light-headed, and stopped flush up against him. His cheeks were tinged pink, and I was breathing heavily. Merlin, we were so close…
The sound of applause brought me back to myself, and I took a step away. Kissing him on the cheek, I smiled impishly and whispered, “We’re so high-fiving later for that. That rocked.”
He smiled at me, eyes unreadable, and grasped my hand. We walked to the edge of the crowd, who again parted for us, and up to the podium. No matter how confident I felt with Scorpius next to me, I still shyly refused to meet anyone’s eyes. There were so many people! At the top of the stairs, I slipped my wand from my dress and whispered, “Sonorous!”
“Welcome!” Scorpius’ voice boomed out, “Welcome to Hogwarts’ students and professors, alumni and parents.”
“We wish to open this inaugural ball by saying what a wonderful year we have had so far,” I continued, finding my friends in the crowd who rolled their eyes at our bullshit speech - a ‘wonderful year’, Flitwick’s left buttock.
“We could not have asked to spend an evening with people closer to our hearts,” Scorpius said, and I squeezed his hand behind the podium.
“And with that, we welcome you to Hogwarts’ Winter Ball and wish you a pleasant evening,” I finished. On cue, dinner appeared on the tables at the edge of the hall. Music, a mixture of muggle pop, boring classical and weird wizarding stuff, started playing. My tamed pixies floated around the hall, sparkling and sprinkling glitter, and looking happy for once.
I came back to myself when Scorpius squeezed my arm, and I glanced at him. He nodded at a couple waiting at the foot of the podium, and I saw his parents waiting. Swallowing nervously, I followed him down the small stairs and stood before them.
“Mum, Dad,” Scorp said happily, kissing both of his parents, “I want you to meet Rose Weasley.” I smiled at them both and we shook hands. I was meeting Draco Malfoy properly for the first time, and he was being freakishly normal.
“It’s a pleasure, Miss Weasley,” he said formally, and I blushed.
“Please, call me Rose.”
“That was a wonderful dance you did,” Astoria Malfoy said dreamily. She was a beautiful woman, elegant and plump.
“It was all Scorpius, Mrs Malfoy. You taught him well.”
I waited for the rants of blood purity and traitorous Weasleys, but in vain. Apart from a curious glance from Mr Malfoy, there was nothing. Awkward pleasantries aside, I left them to talk and allowed the crowd to swallow me up.
I was so light-headed and dizzy (no really, when did I eat that carrot last?), but happily accepted a drink someone shoved in my hand. People were talking to me left, right and centre, and all I wanted to do was find my friends.
“Over here, Rose!” someone called, and I looked up to see Al waving at me. They were all sitting at a table with drinks. I arrived to a strained silence. Albus and Callie were determinedly not looking at each other, and I sighed. I guess some things take longer than others.
“You did really well,” Sophie said earnestly, glaring at Fred, “I bet we couldn’t dance like that.”
“Oh yeah?” Freddie challenged, and I grinned at the look of horror on Sophie’s face. He hauled my protesting friend to her feet and to the dance floor, where he started jumping up and down and all around to an awful muggle song.
“I swear I didn’t choose this song!” I exclaimed, and the other two laughed, and then looked at each other in surprise.
“Um, Callie?” Albus started slowly, and Callie raised her eyebrows to show she was listening. She’s a hard woman, my Callie.
“I um… I’m sorry I hurt you?”
Callie scoffed. “Come on Potter, you can do better than that.”
Albus blushed. “I’m sorry for using you to get to your best friend?”
But Callie shook her head.
“Ummmm… I’m sorry for not telling you that I actually fell for you while I was using you to get to your best friend, which I should never have done in the first place, but I can’t help it because I’m a prat?”
“Getting better Potter, but not quite.” Callie stood up abruptly, her eyes blazing. “I’ll catch up with you later, Rosie – beautiful dancing by the way.”
Albus sighed as she walked away, his head dropping into his hands. “How can I fix this?”
“I’m not sure,” I confessed, and he looked up at me.
“Shouldn’t you be doing official head girl crap?”
“Probably,” I said with a grin, “But only after I dance with my most prat-ish cousin. Come on!” I grabbed his arm and hauled him up, and was pleased to see a small look of amusement on his face. We found Sophie and Fred among the dancing crowd, together but not together, and joined them doing the “monster mash’.
Merlin, muggles are strange.
Monster Mash, however awesome it is, doesn't belong to me! Bobby "Boris" Pickett is the owner. Props to whoever noticed the Skins reference. Hope you're loving the story!