Things were so serious. I felt a little bad pressuring Henry for information that he obviously didn’t want to give me, but it was important. They weren’t things that he should just ignore. I could tell that. I could tell he needed to do something, but I also could tell that he was just trying to hold together all the pieces.
I felt like I was another broken piece that he had to get a grasp on. I knew I would be gone in less than a month and a half. I knew that no matter how much we tried to hold on to “us” that it would be gone by the end of the summer. We were temporary.
I felt my stomach knot up as I thought those words. I rolled over in my bed, away from the calendar which dauntingly hung over my bed, reminding me constantly of that fact which I didn’t want to deal with.
I let my mind wander elsewhere. I thought about Teddy, who would be visiting us today. Teddy could always make me laugh with his shoes that were always untied and his hair that flew up and around everywhere uncontrollably. The sweet way that he looked at Victoire when she wasn’t looking.
For a second, the knot in my stomach went away, but the permanent feeling of Teddy and Victoire made me think about everything again. They could be who they were without hiding it from each other. I was hiding from myself and hiding myself from Henry…the magic part. I let myself wonder for a second who I would be if I didn’t know about magic. If that part of the world wasn’t revealed to me. If I lived everyday stuck in the blandness of life, seemingly helpless.
I would be with Henry, so it wouldn’t be bland. I let myself think before wincing at what I had said.
I sat down and tried to write out the words in a poem but the words didn’t sound right and didn’t fit right so I threw them away. My breathing got short and I started to cry. I couldn’t control it. For a second I realized how ridiculous I was being but at the same time I couldn’t stop the tears. I collapsed on my bed. The thoughts overwhelming and the air suffocating.
I finally managed to calm myself down after realizing that I was having a panic attack over some summer fling. Something that probably meant nothing more to Henry than exactly that. A fling. Something impermanent.
After a few moments of letting the thoughts weigh down on me, I finally got myself up and out of my room. I counted the days left until I left. Until September 1st which for the first time felt too soon. Like I wouldn’t be going home, but leaving one. 42 days, if you count today, July 20th.
I needed to see Henry. But I stopped myself from going. I had a pile of mail accumulating on my desk that I needed to deal with. I quickly tore open letters from Dominique, telling me she’d be stopping by for a couple of days in August, a letter from Leena telling me all about Scorpius, which was for some reason really adorable and sweet, and a couple of letters from Liliana and Mads. Liliana wanted me to know that a couple of girls from our year were coming up to her house for a birthday get-together and she wanted to invite me in a few weeks. Maddie wanted to make sure that we had our ritual Diagon Alley shopping session together.
I jotted responses to all of them, excited to see them all in September. I guess it was good to open the letters. It gave me one thing to look forward too. But it also meant loosing something that I don’t think I am able to give up right now.
I tiptoed out the front door. I had kept myself locked away inside for the entire day. I gave myself some space. I gave Henry some space. I thought it would help. I thought that for some reason, if I separated for a day it would make the whole thing easier. The whole “serious” idea, which I hated but sort of loved at the same time.
I had gotten wrapped up in laughing at Teddy. Teddy was the clumsy one. The semi-shy one with a great sense of humor. When Victoire wasn’t there, he was all ours. When I was little, he was always like a big brother to me (him, and James). Not the “I’m looking out for you and protecting you kind” (even though, in reality they were) but more of the “I am there to watch you mess up. And laugh at you when you do,” kind of big brother. Which I was fine with. I always needed someone to laugh at me when I couldn’t.
We played exploding snap with Teddy and he beat us…as he always did. When he won again, Al and I sighed and he wriggled his eyebrows back and forth slyly. I made fun of Albus for Chamomile, and he made fun of me for Henry, which I managed to shrug off like he was delusional. I kept my cheeks a normal color and temperature, because if James, Al, and Teddy knew about Henry, my life would be living hell.
So, when I finally made it out the door to the familiar and warm silhouette in the glow of the street lamp, my smile widened and I ran and hugged him. I hugged him like there wasn’t some invisible boundary between us that only I saw. The boundary being reasons we couldn’t be together. I didn’t know if he did. I know he didn’t see the main one. That I was off to a magical school where I would meet a magical husband and have little magical kids. If I wanted that boundary to be gone, I would have to tell him, which could break more than it could likely fix.
I grinned and his face got close to mine, the blue of his eyes searching mine. Locked in place. The corners of his mouth turned up showing a toothy grin. He picked me up and spun me around. It was like a bad romance movie, a dramatic and intense love scene. I squealed as I began to get dizzy and when he set me down stumbled around until I fell into his chest, his arms coming up to catch me.
When the elation finally wore off, I leaned my head against his chest, listening to the comforting rhythm of his breaths, and the beating of his heart.
We stayed like this, interlocked in the middle of the street, surrounded by darkness, for what seemed like hours. What I wanted to be hours.
Without words we tumbled into the grass, never separating touch. My hands were interlocked with his and his arms were pulling me closer to his body. We looked up into the starry sky. He took my pointer finger and drew lines in between all of the stars.
For a moment, I forgot. I let myself go. But there was that nagging feeling every time my breath slowed or his eyes looked into mine. But, at least for a little while, I was lost with him in the night.
Our words, though very few, were exchanged in whispers. Not like they would be heard by anyone else, but because they were like secrets. Secrets that no one else would understand.
Just when I thought I knew what I was going to do, what I was going to say to him as I boarded the Hogwarts express to leave, to let go of the past, to let it remain as just a memory, he made me question everything. He made me want to run away. To fly away, like nothing would hold me back.
I lost my rationality around him. I didn’t understand it. I was always rational. I always thought things through. There was never an excuse to let your emotions get in the way of what was right. Sometimes, emotions were right. But not in this case, and despite the fact that my mind was fighting it, I couldn’t listen and I let my self slip into the unknown darkness of emotions.
But it wasn’t scary. It wasn’t like when I let my emotions take me too far, to control my thoughts and my actions before. It was like it was right. Like allowing myself to let go of the reasonable me was the right thing to do. Like being with Henry was the right thing to do.
I clenched my stomach. Henry must have felt a change in my body language. He stroked my back with his thumb as I rolled over and sat up off the grass, looking off into the distance.
“Rose…” he muttered, and I couldn’t look him in the eye. I couldn’t let myself fall into the irrationality again.
“What’s wrong?” he whispered into my ear as his hand stroked down my hair and onto my back, a feeling that made my skin feel electric.
I shook my head, leaning back onto my palms and tilting my head towards the air.
“I just feel so…free,” I whispered back.
And then we were kissing. Our bodies were pressed together. His hands on my waist sent a shock through my body and suddenly I was shivering at the same time that my body was soothed with his warmth. I couldn’t let go.
We had spent the whole night together. The time passed quickly. I knew I would need to go home soon, and just leaving each other for the shortest time seemed strange. Seemed wrong. So I stayed. The sun touched the edges of the clouds sending pink light shattering through out the night sky, mixed with the stars and the silky blue still scattered with stars.
“What if we left?”
His word hung in the air for a while before I was able to realize what he was saying, realize what he meant, and realize the decision he was asking me to make.
“What do you mean?” I said, trying not to show the fear in my voice. I don’t even know why I was afraid. Why I was afraid to say no, to disappoint him. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that he needed a way out. I had school to run away to, but all he had was family problems that he would be stuck dealing with.
“Nevermind, I shouldn’t have said anything. I was just thinking. We could leave. We could be together. We wouldn’t have to deal with this neighborhood anymore, this place…we could just pack up and leave,”
I knew by leaving he meant leaving behind his struggles and his doubts. I knew that leaving would never fix that. There was always the guilt. The wondering. The feeling of loss. They held you back and prevented you from leaving completely. There was no way that you could leave and feel free. If anything, you’d feel more tied down. But I wasn’t going to tell him that.
“You’re crazy,” I said, yawning to try to lighten the blow. To try to pass off my refusal as confusion and tiredness. So the look of dissapointment only flashed across his face for a moment, a millisecond; that millisecond was way too long.
I knew I was going to have to disappoint him.
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