Chapter 3 : Run away
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It's been six months since my birthday party. Six months since I saw him. The one person who truly knows me.
Fred left to America a day after my 21st birthday party. I guess the guilt took over. He didn't even say goodbye. He said goodbye to his parents early in the morning when I was still asleep. I thought he would write me. Or at least leave a note explaining it all. But there's been nothing. No communication. There was obviously a Christmas card but that was addressed to everyone, of course.
He's doing well out there. Researching new ingredients for his and Georges business. Talking to potential new investors. He seems to be fine. Molly said he had started dating someone. An American girl called Jennifer. George has visited a couple of times. According to him she's real hot stuff. Bit of a Barbie I was told.
I cried for a week after being told about his new girlfriend. But I was numb when he had left. I didn't shed a tear. I was in utter shock. But when I found out he had found someone new. That's when reality struck. I had lost him forever. There were moments during the day where I had to run off to the bathroom before anyone saw me cry. I had to lie and say I had a stomach bug. Molly naturally assumed I was pregnant.
I didn't sleep well for another two weeks after that. I was still hoping for a letter. Just anything. But nothing came. It's as if that night never happened. As if there was nothing between us. But obviously there is something. He loved me. He told me so. I saw it in his eyes. I felt it in our kiss... our kiss. Days go on, weeks go by, and I will never forget that moment. That surge of happiness. Feeling his lips pressed against mine, feeling his hands wrapped around my waist. Nothing could ever compare to that moment. And just as that moment happened, it was all gone again. I can only assume he's moved on.
The feeling of emptiness has tripled since then. At least before I didn't know. I never knew he loved me too. I wish he never came into my life. Why did he have to move back here? Why did he enter my life and leave it in even more pieces than it was originally?
I hate him.
And yet, I adore him so.
I need him.
It's been six months since I moved here. Time has been slow. Painful even. People who say "time heals all wounds" are talking a pile of bull. My wounds are just the same. I still love her. I still think of her every waking second of the day, and every dream I have will be about her.
But I had to do it. I had to leave. He's my brother! How could I have even allowed it to go as far as it did? I should have left the moment I knew I had fallen for her. But the way she told me she loved me! The way her lips tasted. It was too much for me. It was my piece of heaven that I couldn't resist. No matter how wrong it was.
I wanted to tell her I'm sorry. Sorry for falling in love with her. Sorry for kissing her. Sorry for leaving her. But I couldn't. I didn't know what to say. No words could explain what she means to me, and why I had to leave. All I knew was, I had to get far away from her as I possibly could. I tried writing. The amount of times I tried, but the words just didn't form.
I doubt she understands why I did it. She most probably thinks I don't love her, or the guilt took me away. And obviously she would know about Jenny, so she would only think I've moved on and am leading a new, happy life. How far away from the truth that is! Jenny's a nice girl. A bit loud, a bit brash, and she's pretty much the opposite of Hermione. And that's what I need right now.
But despite being in some sort of a relationship with this girl, all I can think about is Hermione. I thought being thousands of miles away would help. I thought being in a relationship would help. I thought having no contact would help. But I was wrong. Wrong on all those counts. Nothing will ever help, nothing could ever change the way I feel about her.
I decided to take up Mum's advice. Me and Hermione had to get away for a while. Hermione had been acting very queer and quiet the last few months, and I had a feeling she had had enough of living here. I guess she needs her own space. I've decided to take her on holiday first, and then we would start a proper search on houses.
Thinking about it now, it was quite odd how she reacted to Fred leaving so suddenly. I thought she would be a bit more upset that she was. In fact, she hardly showed any emotion when we were told he had gone. After all, both of them had become quite good friends while he had moved in, she enjoyed his company I think. But she didn't seem the least bit bothered he was no longer in the house. I think we all found it odd. But she has been a lot quieter since then. I try to entertain her and cheer her up, but nothing seems to be working. I think she just needs to get out of here and explore somewhere new.
Mum suggested we go visit Fred in America. Not only would it be a holiday, but I'd get to see my brother too. In fact, we could just stay with him and save money on accommodation. I decided to tell Hermione later this evening, hopefully that would bring back some life to her.
Hermione greets me with a kiss as I get back home, as she always does.
"How was your day, dear?" she asks
"Good, love. How are you?" I reply, looking at her thin frame and pale face. There didn't seem much life in her. I should have taken better care of her. She never complains about anything, I should have known we had lived with my parents for far too long.
She mumbles something in reply, I didn't catch it. I sit her down at the dining table.
"I have a surprise for you. I know the last few months have been hard for you. You had been ill with your stomach bug, and things at work have been hectic. So I thought we could do with a holiday! What do you think?" I asked, sure she would be happy.
She didn't really seem to take in what I said. "Yes, that sounds good. Where should we go?" she asked, not sounding at all interested.
I knew this next part would finally get her interested "Well, I thought we would go to America. Neither of us have been there yet. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to visit Fred too"
Her reaction was not what I was expecting. Her already pale face turned even paler. Her lips slightly trembled. Could she be this excited? Or was it something else? A few seconds passed, and she seemed to be completely back to normal, and was now smiling at me.
"Oh, that would be lovely Ron! Seeing America would be wonderful!" she said, sounding enthusiastic.
I was pleased, she seemed to finally get a bit more life in her. She got up and busily started tidying up the room.
"When are we going?" she asked.
"Whenever you want. Why not next week?" I replied.
"Yes, that would be good. That'll be nice." she said, and then changed the subject back to work.
So it worked. All she needed was a well-deserved holiday. We'd be back on track in no time. We'd move out and she'd have that smile on her face soon enough. And above all I can only hope the sex life is back on track, twice in the last six months can drive a man wild!
I manage to get back to my room soon after dinner, avoiding too many questions. I haven't been able to think by myself about what happened earlier today. Ron telling me we're going on holiday didn't really matter much to me. I assumed his holidays would mean a trip down to Cornwall or at the most France. I was not expecting America. And I was not expecting his name to pop up. I was in utter shock, I was completely caught off-guard. In a weeks time, I would see him. I would be staying with him. I didn't know how I would react when I saw him, but I knew I had to be careful. I couldn't be too happy to see him. And I definitely couldn't show how angry I am with him either. No, that wouldn't be an issue, I knew the anger would melt the second I saw his face.
But how would I cope with him and his new girlfriend? I knew I would struggle having to see him arm in arm with another woman. A beautiful woman at that. I want him to be happy. I really do. But is it fair that I should have to suffer so much, while he had the chance of a new life. A new life without me. I knew it would be hard to see him again, especially with another woman, but I've been behind this mask for so long that I doubt I would falter for Ron to know any better. Poor Ron.
Ron loves me. He loves me so much. And yet I'm such an ungrateful bitch, pining over his brother. His brother for God's sake! This is why Fred left. Because he was stronger than me. And a better person at that. I don't deserve him. I don't deserve Ron. I don't deserve anyone for that matter.
I couldn't believe I would be seeing her today. In a matter of minutes in fact. When I found out last week that they were coming to visit, I nearly choked. Knowing I would be able to see her again and look into those beautiful brown eyes. Pull yourself together Fred! Its been over six months since you saw her! But I couldn't pull myself together. Knowing that they would be arriving via port-key any second kept me alert and tingling all over. The port-key was due to close in another ten minutes, so I knew within that time she would be appearing right in front of me.
And then I heard the large pop sound from above me. I watched as Ron and Hermione came out of nowhere above me, hand in hand, landing just a few hundred metres away. I quickly walked towards them. Ron started sorting out the luggage that flew in behind them, crashing heavily on the ground. Hermione was standing erect, hardly moving. I saw her breathe faster. I saw her turn paler as our eyes met. Ron quickly saw me approaching and held out his hands, walking towards me. I gave him a big bear hug, all the while not taking my eyes off her.
She was thinner than I remembered. Much thinner. Her eyes had sunken into her face. Her thin arms looked like they couldn't take the weight of her small handbag. I quickly approached her while Ron busied himself with the luggage again. I mechanically gave her a quick and short hug. There was no emotion in it. No warmth. I couldn't help it. I wasn't going to give myself away. I had to act appropriately. She returned the hug the same way. Quite robotic. A small pat on the back. We may as well have just shook hands, that's how cold our greeting was. But no matter how short and curt the hug was, the electricity still passed between my shoulder blades. Every feeling I had tried to hide found itself to the surface. The urge to take her face in my hands and kiss her was too much.
"How was the trip then?" I asked Ron, carrying Hermione's luggage and keeping pace with my younger brother, while she walked slowly behind.
"Fine. The usual sick feeling of being pulled into the ground and appearing out of nowhere." replied Ron "Bloody hell, its hot out here isn't it love?" he said, looking over his shoulder to Hermione.
"Yes, its lovely" she replied quietly.
"The flat I rent is about a five minute walk from the beach. You can see the seafront from the balcony in fact."
"You lucky git!" replied Ron. I knew he was jealous. He was jealous of anything and everything. He had the money to buy a luxurious house, but he had become something of a miser. Again I felt that sensation of wanting to look after Hermione. Buy her everything she would ever want and more. Buy her every book and library in the world if I could. But what was the point, I told myself yet again. She isn't yours. She'll never be yours. She can never be yours!
We entered my flat, I quickly showed them around, it wasn't big, but it was a decent sized place. I let them unpack their things in the guest room. They were staying for a week, before heading off to other parts of America to see it. I wanted the week to finish quickly, at the same time go as slowly as possible, just so I could spend as much time as I possibly could with Hermione. Though again, that wouldn't be possible, I had told myself I couldn't be left alone with her. I cant trust myself around her.
They had arrived just in time for lunch. I decided to take them out to the beach front and eat at one of the local cafes. I knew Hermione would enjoy that. As we sat on our table, Ron did pretty much all the talking. Hermione kept silent, pushing her food about on her plate. We had small talk of course. How her work was, how my parents were. Topics that were safe so Ron knew no better.
"So, what would you guys like to do this afternoon? There's obviously the beach to walk around, surfing, scuba diving, and plenty of shops" I suggested. I knew exactly what Hermione would like to do. Find a secluded spot on the beach and read a book. I was right.
Ron rolled his eyes when Hermione quietly suggested it. "C'mon Hermione, you read at home, you can read any time! We're finally on holiday, lets do something actually fun!" he complained.
The instant reaction to protect her overwhelmed me. Ever from such an innocent, yet annoying, comment from my brother made me want to conjure up a sword and fight a dragon for her. Instead I said "How about I take you to the surf school for your first lesson, while I find a nice spot for Hermione to go and relax?"
Ron was pleased with the arrangement. As long as his fun wasn't disturbed, he didn't care what anyone else did.
I suddenly realised the vital error I had made. I had just got myself into being alone with Hermione already, and they hadn't even been her for three hours yet. We walked Ron to the surf school. He said he would meet us back in my flat later in the evening for dinner. Me and Hermione walked in awkward silence along the beach. Not many people were out. The season for tourists to visit was nearly over, and the part I was taking her to was still relatively unknown to the people who didn't live her. I attempted small talk again, the topic went to the weather. Bloody brilliant. So typically British! As I stole a glance to look at her walking beside me, I was shocked to see her quickly wipe a tear away.
I stopped in my tracks and turned towards her.
She stopped and looked back up at me, her unhappy eyes telling me all I needed to know.
She was miserable. Desperately alone. And I had caused it.
She lowered her lids, staring at the ground.
I had to say something. I had to apologise. I wanted to tell her how much I love her, but I knew I couldn't. I knew I shouldn't.
I could hardly recognise my own voice as my feeble apology began. "I'm so sorry Hermione. I'm sorry I left you without telling you. But I kissed you! I kissed my brothers wife. I had to get away."
She nodded her head slowly, the tears now flowing freely down her face. It broke me inside, knowing I was the cause of them. I had added to her already state of unhappiness. I was the biggest arse around.
She looked up at me again. Her eyes flashed suddenly.
"You told me you love me! How could you! How could you say that to me, and then leave me like that?" she whispered angrily.
I tried to reply, but she cut me off before any words formed.
"You were the one person who knew me Fred! You made me happy! You gave me something to be thankful for! You didn't have to leave! We could have sorted this out! But to move half way across the world and not tell me! Not even write me one damn letter! How could you!" she cried at me, the tears again flowing down her cheeks.
I instinctively moved my hands to wipe her tears, but she slapped my hand away angrily. "Don't!" she shouted, and with that she turned around and ran.
I had no idea where I was going but I just ran. I had to. I couldnt take it anymore. The anger, the frustration all came out at once. I had told myself I wouldn't be angry. I didn't think that would be the emotion to erupt from me the second we were alone. I realised I never had forgiven him for leaving me like that. He didn't actually do anything wrong. In fact he did the only right thing, and I couldn't deal with that, because I'm a selfish cow. More tears came now. I had reached a large stoney boulder and stopped there, sobbing against it. I sat down on the sand, leaning against the boulder, my face in my knees. I knew I hadn't run away too far, I just hoped Fred would be sensible enough to leave me alone for a while. At least while I pulled myself together.
He wasn't sensible. He never was. I heard him approach, but I didn't expect him to do what he just did. He knelt on the ground beside me and took me in his arms. He rocked me to and fro, as I continued sobbing into his chest. I felt a tear fall on my forehead. He too was miserable. He still loved me. It was wrong, but it gave me that small spark of warmth inside me, knowing he still cared so deeply.
I felt him kiss my head, whispering in my ears how sorry he was. My heart was throbbing hard against my chest. Those same feelings the night of my birthday surfaced again. That same feeling of wanting to kiss him hard and have him hug me forever. I slowly looked up at him. He smiled weakly. I softly touched his cheek with the back of my hand. I saw upright now, I had stopped crying and in complete control of my actions. I sat across from him, reaching out for his hand, placed on his knees. We both looked down at our hands while they slowly intertwined with each other.
"We can't do this" states Fred, his face not matching what he just said.
"I know" I sigh.
We hug each other tightly, knowing that this could never continue.
We walk back to Fred's flat, my arm in his. We have a comfortable silence back. All that was needed to be said was said. We understood each other perfectly now. We still loved ewch other, and probably would continue to do so for the rest of our lives. Although it pained me to know this, it brought me some comfort that Fred still loved me. But this is how things must remain. Ron is innocent in all this. He has only been good and decent to me. We can't hurt him.
Despite the aching longing in my body.
AN: Sorry for the extremely long wait, life took over! I hope you liked this. It was originially a lot longer, but I decided the next part was best for a new chapter! Let me know what you think!
- Lena xx
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