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Chapter 16 : The Beltane Ball
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The Beltane Ball
She could not believe her eyes! She could not even comprehend what she was going to do about her situation. Here she was sneaking a peak at her admirer, so that she can morally support herself before actually meeting him.
But she didn’t expect this! Standing by the Entrance Hall staircase was, none other than, Luke Castellan. What was she to do now?
She, then, looked the stone locket resting on her chest. She realized that, in the midst of getting angry at Albus’ and Scorpius’ behaviours and getting revenge, she never thought about the admirer as a person with feelings. She was too ready to use him. But now that she realized the reality of the situation, she could not get the courage to face him. She, now, knew the implications of the gestures made at the courtyard and at the library by Castellan. He fancied her. Even though he was a Slytherin. Maybe, his arsehole personality was the result of his undeclared admiration for her. Who knew? She could not judge him; at least, not after the horrid plans she made to use him.
But could she accept him as his date? But then she realized that she wore the necklace as a proof that she would accept him as whomever fate presents. And with that thought in mind, she stepped out of the shadows, and walked towards him.
“Tristan,” greeted Lily, with cold civility. She walked arm-in-arm with Lysander towards him.
“Hello, Lily. You look lovely tonight,” said Tristan, mildly. It was the truth. She was wearing a rich purple silk gown, which hugged her curves and flowed down the length of her in astonishing finesse. Her hair was tied in a loose bun, and her skin glowed with the radiance of an angel.
“If you would excuse me, Lily. I think I just saw a friend of mine pass by,” said Lysander. Then he turned to Tristan. “Wolfe, I hope I can count on you to keep my date entertained.”
But before either Tristan or Lily could protest, Lysander vanished into the sea of students.
Lily stared at Tristan. “So where is your date?”
“She couldn’t come.”
“Is that so? Or is it because there never was an actual date to begin with?”
Tristan said nothing.
“You know, you could’ve just told me that you didn’t want to go with me,” whispered Lily, fearing that if she spoke any louder her voice might break.
Tristan’s heart clenched. He wished he didn’t make her sad.
“It wasn’t because of that.”
“Then what is it?!” she barked, her voice rising an octave.
Tristan looked away and said, “I can’t tell you.”
And with that, he walked away.
“I thought he was dating Sushmita Banerjee,” commented Hestia, as she watched James dancing with a girl she had never seen.
“Er, what?” asked Albus, a little distracted.
Hestia rolled her eyes and said, “Will you stop spying on Rose? She’s a big girl. She knows what she is doing.”
“But how could she snatch a date with Luke Castellan, of all people!”
“Albus,” said Hestia, warningly.
“Oh, alright,” said he, sighing. “Now, what were you saying?”
“James. He is with this fifth-year. But I clearly remember him snogging Banerjee, a few days ago.”
This time it was Albus rolling his eyes. “And you say I’m the one spying. Why do you care about what he does? Why does he annoy you so much?”
“Because he isn’t you,” she said, smiling at Albus. “I hate that he gets away with everything when, clearly, you’re the good one.”
“Such a gentleman,” she said, kissing him on the cheeks.
But in her mind, Hestia was echoing the same question to herself.
Why should I care, if he snogs multiple girls in the course of one week?
“Are you ready to sneak out now?”whispered Luke, in Rose’s ears. “You know, to have some alone time.”
When Rose first walked towards him, she knew she made the right decision. She saw how his face lit up in a smile. From then on the night went up hill.
When they entered the Hall, there were a lot of whisperings, but they ignored it. Then, the traditional opening dance started. Usually people who are bad at dancing stay behind and watch, but Luke begged her to join, promising that if she missed any step, he would be there for. And frankly, Rose enjoyed it. After that, dinner was served. Rose and Luke took this time to talk and get to know each other. The more she got to know him, the more she realized how judgemental she was of him.
After dinner, the dance floor was open to all. But they didn’t linger there very long.
Rose followed him, trying to scurry in her clover green draped gown. They came to a deserted staircase.
“Where is this place?” she asked, a bit nervous.
“This is the place where we will get our first kiss,” Luke murmured, as he pulled her into the darkness of the stairs.
Rose was pressed against the cold wall, and there a strange fluttering sensation was going on in her stomach. She presumed it to be the suspense and excitement of the impending kiss. Luke-- with both hands against the stone wall, caging her in-- leaned in, and kissed her.
Frankly, Rose didn’t have any expectation. Therefore, she expected the unexpected: a desire soaring, fireworks erupting, earth-shattering kiss. Like the ones she shared with Scorpius. The ones where he slowly devoured her lips, suckling their softnness as if he was the dessert bedouin and she was his oasis. The one that she clearly remembered, taking place in late afternoon when the sun was setting. How the last rays of sun, as it set, hit Scorpius's golden hair............
Bloody hell! Am I thinking about kissing Scorpius, when I’m kissing Luke, she thought. Because, frankly, the kiss was just a kiss. A sloppy, noisy one, at that. It could very well be called a snog, a word that disgusted her because of its vulgarity.
When Luke pulled back to stare at her, suddenly she knew that her night will go downhill from then on.
“Are you really that blown away by the kiss?”asked Luke, with a mischevious grin.
“Er,”started Rose, as she did not know what to do at the moment.
“Don’t worry,” he continued. “Many girls have gone through this. They have this effect when they come to my Snogging Corner.” He looked at her gloatingly.
“What do you mean by ‘many girs’?” she asked, suspiciously.
Luke stilled for a moment.
“Nothing,” he said, recovering. “I meant nothing by that. It was a slip of the tongue.”
But she couldn’t continue anymore as he swooped down and kissed her again. This time though, there was an edge to it that scared her. She thumped her fist against his chest and pushed him away.
“How many girls have you lured here?” she barked.
“None.” He replied, with a blank expression.
“Liar!” She was fuming, her anger boiling as she realized her stupidity in trusting him.
“Okay, okay,” he said, feinting defeat. His cocky, mischevious smile was back on. “I did bring my previous, er, girlfriends here. My friends call it my Snogging Corner. It’s kind of embarrassing really.”
He closed in on her, this time gripping both her arms and pinned then to the wall. “Now where were we…..?”
His kiss was even more vile and aggressive than before. Rose tried to free her hands, but he was too strong for her. Finally, after enduring at least two minutes of his vileness and running out of ideas to struggle free, she kicked him on his groins.
Luke released her and doubled over in pain. Rose seized this moment, and fled as fast as a Boggart.
“YOU CAN’T JUST WALK AWAY LIKE THIS, TRISTAN WOLFE! TALK TO ME!” yelled Lily, as she entered the garden behind Tristan.
She followed him, throwing angry words at him, all the way to the garden. The garden was made just for the Ball. It was off to the side of the courtyard.
“WHAT IS THERE TO TALK ABOUT!” barked Tristan.
All of a sudden, the rage vanished from Lily, and pure pain and hurt replaced it.
“Why did you not want to go with me as a date? Why? What have I done wrong?” pleaded she, tears cascading down her cheeks.
Tristan stared at her, and debated. How much hurt will he inflict upon her by telling her that he never thought of her as a friend? That he had always loved her?
“Please, Tristan, say something!”
He wanted to, but he didn’t know if he could. What will happen if she rejects him? He knew that she liked Lysander. That she never thought of him as more than a friend. Nothing more than her brother’s best friend. But there was a part of him wanting to be proved wrong. And that part was dominating at the moment.
“Is it because you thought it would be awkward if we went as a date?” inquired lily, sobbing.
“No,” replied he.
“Then is it because-“
“It’s because I’m in love with you,” blurted Tristan. Stunned silence met his confession. “I always have. It was hard for me to be just your friend. It was even harder for me to see you spend time with Scamander . Even harder, when I realized that you might even fancy him. I tried to distance myself from you, but you are so persistent, Lily. You always have been. That’s why I love you.”
“Y-you l-love me?” she asked, timidly.
“Yes,” he replied firmly. “But I understand if you don’t feel the same way. We can pretend that this never happened. Or even better, I will stop hanging out with you if you find it awk-”
But the rest of his speech was cut short, as lily came pounding, wrapping her arms around his neck, and pulling him down for a kiss.
A very shocked and out-of-balance Tristan did not respond for while.
“B-but I don’t understand,” stuttered Tristan,pulling back. He looked into her eyes, swimming with tears, and was in awe at the situation. He could not believe that she was in his arms. Finally! He was actually embracing her, holding her close to him, where he’ll protect her from danger.
“You idiot!” exclaimed she, thumping his chest. “If you had only told me this before! Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I have always had a crush on you, but I always thought you viewed me as nothing more than your best friend’s sister. That’s why I thought spending time with Lysander will help me forget. But it didn’t. No matter what I could never erase my feelings for you….”
He looked deep into her eyes, and asked, “Truly?”
“Yes,” Lily whispered, before kissing him once more. “Always.”
“Al, where’s Lily?”
Albus, who was dancing with Hestia, turned to find a flushed James glaring at him.
“With her date, obviously.”
“Her date is chatting with Sushmita,” said James.
Hestia, who was quietly fuming at the interrupter, said, “Why James? Are you jealous?”
“Nobody asked you to butt in,” spat James.
“And nobody asked you to interrupt this dance,” fumed back Hestia.
Albus knew what was coming next, so he hurriedly said, “Guys! Please.”
But all was in vain, as Hestia and James continued their squabble. Albus, giving up on them, scanned the Hall for other red-head sibling of his. The fact that Rose and Castellan were missing was unsettling.
Even more unsettling was the fact that Malfoy, Layl and Hera had also vanished.
She loved him!
How could she be so stupid? How could she assume that some unknown stranger would change the fact. No matter what she did, she could never change the fact.
As Rose ran down the moonlit hallway, her failed and stupid plan was becoming more apparent. I'd much rather see him boil in hell than tell hhim him that, thought Rose. Firstly, the whole time during the Ball he refused to acknowledge her. Then, he has the balls to actually flaunt his "affection" for that whore!
No! No matter what, she'll never confess to him, unless he puts his pighead of brain to good use and realizes that he loves her as well.
And that two-faced lying snake! How could she be charmed by his facade?
Wait a moment, she thought, coming to a stop. But what about the letters? They clearly came from a well educated, and well-versed gentleman...........
"Phasmatis of orbis terrarum, suplex pro nos. Nos es tua sacerdos quod vadum sceptrum sententia til terminus of vicis. Rapio meum sacrificium et grando us. For tuum potentiae es nostra. Nos sunt nocte et die et infinitio."
The chant of a haunted, hollow voice stilled her.
What in the name of Merlin is that?
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