Chapter Eleven - Messages
I crash onto the sofa in Fred’s living room. I always begin the holidays at Fred since he graduated because I couldn’t see him at Hogwarts or at home anymore and I definitely need some Fred time. He lugs by trunk in behind him like the true Gryffindor that he is – seriously, of all my relatives, Fred is by far the most chivalrous – before slumping onto the sofa beside me and summoning some butterbeers from the kitchen and handing me one.
“So sis, how’s Hogwarts been treating you?” I can tell he means it well but I can still detect and element of seriousness behind his words that gets me worrying about how much he knows. I bet it was Lily; cute as she may be she can be a really busy body. “Mum hasn’t been ranting about you getting letters home about misbehaving… are you sure you’re feeling okay?” he teases and I hit him with a cushion
“I’ve been busy with OWLs Fredster,” I grin, trying to make it as convincing as possible. I don’t think he buys it.
“Sure, sure,” he snorts. “You know if you need to talk, I’m here for you Rox,” he drops the joking tone and becomes completely serious. My heart gives a little lurch when he calls me Rox – only him and a certain blonde haired Slytherin that I am not going to think about call me Rox.
“I know Fred but there’s really nothing wrong,” I lie, faking a smile which I’m not sure he believes before getting up and heading to the small room I claimed when he first moved in here. Somehow I think this is going to be a long summer… not that I am in a hurry to get back to Hogwarts with the way things are at the moment. I’m just grateful I have at least two months to get over him.
I wake up the following morning still fully clothed with a pounding headache. Urgh. I hate mornings. I can hear Fred moving around in the living room and the sun is shining through my still open curtains so it cannot be too early. Still, I would rather still be asleep.
“Roxanne Hannah Weasley!” Fred pounds on my door. “Get up now or I’ll get mum!” I shoot from the bed as fast as humanly possible – Fred’s threat all too real.
“I’m up! I’m up!” I squeal, tugging off my jumper and trousers and grabbing a towel before running to the bathroom across the hall. “Jeez Fred, you’re such a kill joy, I was enjoying my first proper lying in almost a year,” I stick my tongue out at him before slamming the door shut and jumping in the shower.
Once showered and dressed, I head into the kitchen to make myself some breakfast… or I suppose it would actually be called lunch by now. Fred is sitting at the kitchen table reading an upside-down copy of the Quibbler with a cup of steaming coffee in front of him.
“Morning, sleepy head,” he nods as I come in. “So what do you want to do today? Dad’s given me the day off work so we can do something fun,” he grins. I just shrug, knowing that he already has the whole day planned. “Well we could start by going around James’ so we can show you some potential new products for the shop… or if you want, we can go to the Burrow and just fly for a bit – see if anyone’s up for a game of Quidditch…?”
“I don’t mind Freddo so long as you don’t take me anywhere near a textbook,” I snort.
“Find, we’ll go to James’ first, he might be up for Quidditch,” he decides as I shove some toast into my mouth.
“Right girls,” Victoire grins, beckoning Lucy, Lily and I closer. “We’re gonna kick those boys’ asses!” My all glance over to where Fred, James, Ted and Lucy’s boyfriend Charlie Goldstein are huddled on the other side of the field. “I think the rules were a Keeper, two Chasers and a Beater… Lily and I will be Chasers, Lucy do you want to be Keeper?” Lucy nods. “So Roxie, you’re Beater,” I nod as well. “Let’s kick some ass!” Victoire shouts and we all cheer with her. Across the field, the boys give an answering cheer as we mount of brooms and kick off.
Grandpa is sitting on one of the old wooden garden chairs at the back of the house, watching us. When we are all in the air, he throws a Quaffle – somewhat lopsidedly – at us which James catches and the game begins. The boys picked Fred as their Beater of course and Ted was by the goals which meant that James and Charlie were Chasers. I grin at Fred before smashing a bludger in the general direction of James who manages to swerve it but Victoire takes advantage for the distraction to tackle the Quaffle off of him and send it soaring through the boys’ hoops.
“Ted! I don’t care if she is your fiancée… you can’t let them win!” James roars.
“It was a good shot!” Ted tries to defend himself as Victoire blows him a kiss from her broom, causing him to blush slightly. Lily uses the opportunity to score again much to James’ dismay. “Sorry mate,” Ted shrugs at him. “But she is part-Veela…”
By the time Grandma calls us in for some snacks, the girls are winning by well over triple the boys score. Victoire and Ted say their goodbyes and Lily goes with them, muttering something about her moody brother and how he will be in a grump for days because he lost to an all-girls team.
James and Fred show Lucy some of their new products – which I have to admit are pretty cool – and I chat to Charlie. He seems a nice guy, quite shy but nice enough. We talk about Hogwarts, he asks how my exams went, I ask what NEWTs he took… pretty basic conversation.
“How’s Rose,” he asks quietly, obviously unsure of whether he should really be bringing her up. I freeze, the cookie dunked in my tea forgotten.
“I don’t know,” I reply truthfully after a moment’s silence. “How much did Lucy tell you?”
“Not a lot, just what the rest of the school knows – that you fell out over Malfoy,” he shrugs.
“I didn’t know… I had no idea how she felt about him,” I practically whisper. It was nice to talk to someone about this at last, especially someone who was fairly impartial. “I’ve tried to apologies but she just won’t listen… I miss her,” I confess.
“I’m sure she will come around eventually,” Charlie smiles sympathetically. “I think it was probably partly just the shock as well, I mean, the whole school thought you hated the bloke,” he chuckles. I give a weak smile. “But hey… things are rarely what they seem right?” he says cryptically. I look up at him to see he is staring out of the window to where Fred is giving Lucy a piggy back and I realise he is no longer thinking about my situation. I always thought he was happy with Lucy, they’ve been together for three years now… but who am I to talk, I hated Malfoy for almost five years and now look where I am.
“Roxie dear,” says a familiar voice. I turn around to see a middle-aged woman with frizzy brown hair tied back in bun.
“Aunt Hermione,” I grin, going over to give her hug. She was kind of like my second mum.
“How are you?” she smiles, cupping my face in her hands and kissing me on the forehead.
“Okay,” I shrug noncommittally.
“Hello Charlie,” she nods to Charlie who is watching us.
“Hello Mrs Weasley.”
“Just call me Hermione,” she chuckles. “There are far too many Mrs Weasley around these days! Have you seen you’re Grandma? I just came to return her- Oh what is James doing!” she shouts, spotting James running after Lucy with a gnome in each hand. At the sight of Lucy’s terrified face, I cannot help but laugh… a proper laugh.
“Roxanne!” mum cries, pulling me into a bone crushing hug. “How are you?” she smiles down at me, holding me at arm’s length. She seems to have forgotten that she saw me yesterday at the Burrow – I guess she is just overjoyed to have her little Roxie back home again.
“Hey mum,” I laugh, wiping the ash off my robes. “I’m fine… that smells good,” I wander into the kitchen where the delicious aroma is coming from. “Is that one of Grandma’s recipes?”
“Yes,” mum nods enthusiastically. “She leant me a whole book – said she knew them all off by heart anyway. Do you want to help?”
“Sure, why not…” I deposit my bags in my room and return to the kitchen to help mum with preparing dinner. Ever since I was a child, I have loved helping out in the kitchen; when Fred was at Hogwarts and I was left by myself, mum and I used to spend days in the kitchen making all kinds of cakes and biscuits and stuff. Dad used to love it because we always made him try a little bit of everything… it’s a wonder he never got fat. Sometimes we would go over to the Burrow so Grandma could teach us new recipes and we would cook enough food for an army. Of course, the Weasley family is pretty much the size of an army, especially as we all eat so much, and there was never any left overs.
“So how were your OWLs?” mum asks as I continue to cutting carrots.
“Mum, I wrote to you about OWLs – they were fine, we’ll just have to wait until the results come through,” I sigh, rolling my eyes.
“Don’t you roll your eyes at me young lady,” she chides, waving her spoon at me. “I was just making conversation. So if not your OWLs what about the other aspects of school… how are your friends?” I hesitate in my cutting. I can feel her watching me.
“Um, they’re fine… Nina is going to France for two weeks and I think Lara was doing a trip around South America.” Shrugging, I continue with my carrots. “Lara freaked out a little during OWLs but other than that, I think they’re fine,” I can tell I am beginning to blab.
“And Rose?” Mum has actually stopped whatever she was doing and has turned to look at me.
“I don’t know mum,” I shrug exasperatedly. “You see Uncle Ron all the time, I’m sure you know what they’ve got planned for the summer!”
“That’s not what I meant Roxanne,” she says stubbornly.
“How much do you know?” I practically whisper.
“Only what Hugo told Hermione – that you and Rose aren’t talking because of a boy,” she frowns. “Scorpius Malfoy to be exact.”
I sigh and put down my knife. Turning to face her I cannot help the sob that escapes me. At once, mum’s arms are around me and I am sobbing into her robes, telling her everything that has happened over the last few months. She just holds me and strokes my hair, listening silently.
“Oh honey,” she murmurs at last. “You shouldn’t have kept it all to yourself all this time. You could have written or asked me to come up for one of your Hogsmeade visits. Oh hun, I wish I could say something to make it better but all I can say is give it time, Rose will get over her crush and realise that your friendship is more important. But tell me more about Malfoy, you sound like you really like him?”
“I do,” I choke out. “But Rose is more important to me mum, she’s my best friend!”
“I know honey, I know.”
So the days rolled into weeks and before I knew it, July had gone and August had arrived. After my break down to my mum, things had gotten a little better, I had not seen Rose but I had sent a long and detailed letter explaining everything to her – I’m not even sure if she read it but at least I tried. Now it is her turn, I have done all I can.
Days have consisted of playing Quidditch with some of my cousins, helping either Grandma or mum cooking, working in the shop or just aimlessly wondering along Diagon Alley. No one has asked about Rose or Scorpius since mum and I keep myself busy during the day so that I cannot think about either of them. At night however, it is not so easy. I have found myself dreaming of Scorpius far more often than I care to admit. I only see his face, he never speaks, he just looks at me… and then I wake up.
Today has consisted of me getting told that I have to clear out the entire storage room. Dad said it would be ‘character building’… I say he just doesn’t want to do it himself. There are thousands and thousands of boxes back here and all of them are filled with goodness knows what from goodness knows when.
It is going to take me all day to clear this mess up… probably most of tomorrow as well.
Sighing in defeat, I shove the first box to the ground, causing a cloud of dust to rise which I choke on. I cannot believe dad is making me do this of all things – why couldn’t I just stack shelves? Carelessly opening the box with my wand – rebel that I am – I begin to sort through the junk. There are some ancient Decoy Detonators that must be from before the shop was even open as well as several pots of Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder that looks like it would turn everything green rather than submerge it in darkness. Chucking them into the massive bin that is hovering behind me, I begin to sort through the rest of the box’s content. I find several still workable Trick Wands which I deposit in the other bin shaped thing following me before moving onto the next box… I am going to be here for hours.
Anti-Gravity Hats that have lost their charms so are just weird looking hats now; broken Reusable Hangmans; some packs of dusty muggle playing cards; mouldy looking Extendable Ears; Punching Telescopes that have lost their punch; an assortment of sorry looking quills; numerous bottles of Love Potions that look decades out of date and would probably poison anyone stupid enough to drink them… Everything the shop has ever stocked seems to be back here covered in dust. What was dad thinking just leaving it all here to fester; surely he didn’t plan to use this as a punishment.
I swear they are going to have to take me to St Mungo’s to surgically remove the dust from my lungs by the time I am finished here. I gave up counting the boxes when I hit thirty – it was too depressing considering I am still only about a quarter of the way through.
“You doing okay in there Roxie?” dad calls all too cheerfully from the doo way. I turn and growl at him. “Good, good, glad you’re having fun,” he laughs in reply.
“Seriously dad, you know you might as well just bin all this junk,” I sigh, gazing out across the rows of boxes.
“But it’s not all junk Roxie,” he winks. “Some of it’s still good to sell – look at the wands you’ve found, give them a dusting and they can go on the shelves!”
“Dad… you could dust them yourself in about a second – it’s called magic,” I sneer.
“Now, now, Roxanne, we both know your mother would do a much better job of it that I could,” he frowns mockingly and I can tell he means it as a joke but I am not in the mood to laugh. I hate dust. And boxes. I’m going to have a dust and boxes free house when I move out.
“Bye dad,” I sigh again, hoping he’ll get the message I want to be left alone so I can finish this dreary job as fast as possible.
“When you’re done, you can move into the next room, the door is somewhere behind those boxes,” he indicates to the mountain of boxes I still have to sort through and I turn to him – on the edge of losing my temper. “Whoa, calm down Roxie,” he chuckles under my glare. “I was just kidding, I don’t think there’s another door there… not that I’m aware of anyway,” he teases before disappearing back into the shop.
I punch the stack of boxes in frustration… which was probably not such a great idea as they all tumble down in a massive cloud of dust. Coughing and spluttering, I sit down in the middle of the mess I just created and reach into my pocket for the dust cloth to wipe the dust from my face. My fingers brush against something with a blunt edge and I pull it out to find the folded piece of parchment I had shoved in there at the beginning of the Easter Holidays.
I had forgotten about it thanks to Fred’s genius idea of plunging the enter Platform into darkness as a way of greeting me. Malfoy had given it to me on the train but I had been too confused to read it. It had taken the Quidditch match for me to realise that I didn’t actually hate him anymore but I think it was that episode on the train when my feelings first began to change… it was the way he looked at me when he handed me the note.
My fingers shake slightly as I unfold the parchment to find three words scrawled in oddly elegant handwriting: I am sorry. That is it… but it is enough to make my heart crumble all over again. I lean back against one of the fallen boxes and try to supress the emotions threatening to rise again. I am sorry… I wonder what he was sorry about. Kissing me? Upsetting me? Having us almost get caught by Rose… jeez if Rose had actually walked in when we were kissing, I wonder what her reaction would have been like then if she flipped her lid just seeing us holding hands.
Rose. I miss her. I miss how close we used to be. I miss my best friend.
I am sorry. If only those three words could heal everything.
Resting my head on my knees I think of all that has happened since I broke Scorpius Malfoy’s nose in that deserted corridor back in April. That had been the first time he had kissed me…
“Roxanne,” a voice echoes up the empty corridor. Hesitantly, I turn around – I know that voice.
“Malfoy,” I growl. How dare he call me by my first name? I watch as he slowly makes his way towards me. Something in the back of my minds tells me a should run away, or at the very least insult him. I stay still. I stay silent.
“Rox,” he breathes and my stomach constricts – only Fred calls me Rox. “You are beautiful,” he whispers when he is just inches away from me.
“What do you want Malfoy?” I surprise myself by how steady my voice is. He grins his wicked grin before answering.
“You of course.”
That was when his lips had closed the last gap between us, pressing firmly against mine and making my entire body shiver – I think even then, his kiss had the ability to set me on fire. He was right: I had responded eagerly, I cannot remember why but even then my traitorous body wanted him. When I had not pulled away – at the time I put it down to shock – he had wrapped his arms around me and somehow moved us to the wall where he had deepened the kiss, entwining his fingers in my hair and making me feel like no one had ever made me feel before – I felt wanted. Properly and completely wanted, not in the way a family wants you, in a way that made me feel that Malfoy could not survive without me. Of course, that was the point where I went absolutely ballistic and punched him in the face repeatedly until the Headmaster had found us but I think even then I knew, deep, deep down, that I didn’t really hate Malfoy.
And then there was the time in the library when he had been so completely freaked out by the way he made me feel that I tried to punch him again and we had our second kiss. And then the Quidditch match with Ravenclaw where his presence alone distracted me from catching the Snitch, something that had never happened before and thankfully not happened since. The constant glances in Potions, the musky sent I had smelled in my Amortentia that I have come to associate with him… All the kisses we have had since then.
I remember that night when he first told me he loved me.
He had been so caught up in our kiss that I don’t think he really meant to say it out loud but somehow I feel as if he really meant it. I had been too scared for him to mean it at the time because it would have meant I would have had to re-evaluate my feelings for him earlier. I was scared because the thought of Scorpius Malfoy loving me different repulse me as much as it should have done.
The dust swirls across the floor in the sunlight pouring through the door from the shop and I stare into the mesmerizing patterns, wondering if Scorp misses me just as much as I miss him. Because I do miss him, I miss everything about him, even the way he makes me see red. He is perfect for me.
The patterns of the dust are disrupted as a shadow falls across the floor, blocking the sunlight from the doorway. I look up to see the tall silhouette of a man.
“Can I help you?” I ask politely from my seat on the floor amidst the boxes.
The man doesn’t reply, just stares at me and I blink, adjusting my eyes to the now very dim light, trying to make out the features on the man’s face. I look at his silhouette again and I realise what my heart already knew…
Just one more chapter to go plus an Epilogue and then Roxanne's story is finished! Let me know what you think and sorry about the cliffhanger,