Chapter 14 : Protestation
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Lovely image by loveatfirstview @ tda
Please, I’m just asking you to think about this. You are throwing your whole life away, and for what? For Rabastan? Do you really think he can make you happy? I know he can’t, and you must too. Please, I need to talk to you again, I can’t accept that you are just going to throw away what we have together.
Over the days that followed, the pile of letters from Ted hidden under Andromeda’s bed grew higher and higher. Pleadings of a meeting, of a change of heart, of another confirmation of her feelings. Ted’s tentative writing showed his confused mind; did her want her to get rid of Rabastan and come to him, or just make the right decision?
She felt exhausted; once it had all be so simple! When her life had been planned for her she had felt no qualms about marrying Rabastan. But now, when all she could ever think about was Ted, tears sprang to her eyes with the thought of living her life without him.
She loved him like a roaring ocean, with icy spray and angry thunder and flashing lightning. And then there was Rabastan; the sparky attraction that had always existed between them seemed of no consequence now, not compared to the tender, appreciative love she felt for Ted.
Looking at the letters on the page, and imagining the warm hand that wrote them, it brought tears to her eyes. It amazed her how Ted had once been inconsequential to her; it was as if he did not exist. Then one day, the seed of friendship had been planted and it bloomed into the brilliant flower of love.
I don’t want you to think I’m angry with you, I don’t think I could be angry with you. But I love you, please remember that, I love you.
Her letters back to him had begun formally; “Dear Mr Tonks”, but soon she had given up the charade. Coldness was her first line of defense, but Ted had become adept at breaking that down. She had written that she loved him too, but that sometimes, love just wasn’t enough.
But her head hurt. Was a letter enough? Was a simple letter enough to put an end to this love that had sprung from nowhere, those sweet kisses and the never-ending heartbreak? On last seeing Ted, she had promised she would write, but the writing wasn’t enough.
Picking up some parchment, she jotted a letter to him, telling him to meet her tomorrow evening under the gas lamp at the end of the lane that led to his house. She was sure they would be alone, and she was resolved to end it. It wasn’t even for herself anymore, but for Ted. He could not spend his whole life pining for her, and their brief romance needed a final conclusion.
Heavy grey clouds encapsulated the seemingly never-ending walk towards the lamppost. Ted would be there, and it meant the last goodbye. No more words would be exchanged; although her heart would break, she had to do it. Ted had to find someone else.
She could see him, even through the bleak grey drizzle. To her, the stage was perfect for what she was about to do. To break Ted’s heart, the scene could not be sunny. In her life, where everything was prepared for her, even this seemed a foregone conclusion, a curious end to her brief dream.
He was smiling so broadly, and he jogged towards her, pulling her into a tight embrace, “Andromeda, I’m so glad you are here!” He tried to kiss her, but she lifted her hand, and rested two resisting fingers on his lips. The movement shocked him, and his arms became slack.
“No Ted,” she breathed, “I’ve come here to say this is over. I’ve put it off and off, and I’ve tried and failed to tell you before. But I’m here now, and it’s the truth. We can never be together, and nothing you could ever say could change that fact. It’s over.”
Ted was clearly choked up, but he did not relinquish his hold on her, clearly never wanting to forget that once they had shared this beautiful intimacy. The tears tinting his voice, he spoke, cracking with emotion. “Why should this be the end? I love you, and you love me, surely that’s all that matters?”
Her coldness came back to her, furious and raging, angry at him for not understanding that she was doing this for him. So that he could find someone else who could love him as fully as she did while being able to give him the life he wanted. Secretly, she also knew she feared her family discovering what had happened between them, and for him to end up in a ditch with deep red blood running from a fatal wound.
“Because you could be happy with someone else!”
“But I don’t want to be with someone else!” he thundered, “I’ve dreamed of you noticing me since I was thirteen years old. I’ve never looked at anyone else but you! Every day I would see you in class and wonder why Rabastan was the one destined to be your husband when I could love you infinitely more! You’re all I’ve ever wanted and nobody will ever compare to you!”
While she was flattered by this impassioned outburst, she knew he had to forget these feelings, or at least conceal them deep within her heart, just as she did. “Well that’s stupid,” she hissed, “there is someone out there who will be better than me for you! What about Kate?”
He laughed derisively at that, “no, there will never be anyone for me but you.” But he could see in her eyes that the battle was lost. Letting go of her, he walked away and leant against the lamppost, his heart breaking. The sight of him tugged at her heartstrings, but she couldn’t. She knew she had to stay strong.
“You have to respect this decision, Ted,” she said steadily, “you understand that if you try and win me back, both our lives are ruined. I will loose everything, and my family, or Rabastan, could kill you.” She hoped if she put it so bluntly that Ted would understand what she was doing for him.
“No, I don’t think it would,” he stated plainly, “I think if you really wanted to, you would have the strength to beat your family and be with me, whatever they thought. But the thing is, you don’t want to, and you never will. Because you are afraid, and you are more scared of them than you love me.”
“That’s not true!” protested Andromeda, “there are just some things in life that you can never have, that can never be! And this is one of them Ted. Me and you being together can never happen because I will lose everything if I chose you. My family, my sister’s, my friend’s and my whole life. For you it is simple, you do not have to give up anything, but I have everything to lose.”
The silence descended across their conversation, and she knew she had finally convinced him by holding a mirror up to his own selfishness. “I do not want to end this with an argument. I want to say goodbye, and tell you that I do love you, and to part on good terms. Can you do that?”
Raising his eyes up to her, he seemed to consider her for a moment. But then he nodded and without saying a word walked to her and kissed her lightly on the lips. “Goodbye Andromeda,” he whispered, “I will do whatever you command me to.”
Moving away from him, she nodded politely. “Goodbye Ted, I won’t ever forget you.” He gave her a sad smile before she turned her back on him and walked away, knowing full well that she was leaving him behind forever.
The following evening, the house was empty as usual.
Secretly, it annoyed Narcissa. Her parents would be out socializing, while Bella would be terrorizing Muggles. And then there was Andromeda, who was as secretive and elusive as a shadow. It was almost laughable; as if Andy would have a secret that was dangerous or dark!
Her parents were out trying to discover her a husband, but she knew it was futile. There was no way she was marrying anyone other than Lucius. In her mind, it was a done deal. He was a pureblood, and although her father and Abraxas Malfoy were not the best of friends, it wasn’t exactly an impediment to the marriage.
Due to the emptiness of the house, Narcissa was sneaking the recovered Lucius in for a brief kissing session. He hadn’t arrived yet, and she had brushed her hair so many times it was starting to go static, and she’d touched up her make-up more that strictly necessary. The only thing that was lacking was perfume, and Cissy felt that the expensive eau de toilette that Andy had been bought by Rabastan the previous summer while he was in Paris would be ideally suited.
Andy wouldn’t miss it; she knew that Andy rarely used anything that Rabastan bought her. It made Cissy laugh really; she was surprised that her sister was making so little effort with the man she was to spend her life with. Bella was different, she was in control of her future husband, whereas Andy was powerless against Rabastan, and therefore needed to be sweet and tender to him.
Andy’s room was deathly quiet. Her bed was turned out neatly just as she liked it, and every object was placed at right angles; Andy had always been that way. Even her curtains were pulled back so they were perfectly symmetrical. She would not let Tansy tidy her room, and always did it herself, so Cissy was surprised when something caught her eye.
Under Andromeda’s bed, just peeping out from under the luxurious bed sheets, was a scrap of paper. The sight of it made Cissy laugh; nothing was ever out of place in Andy’s room, and her curiosity was piqued. Kneeling on the floor, she reached out to the scrap, only to discover it was not a singular piece of paper.
When she pulled the pile of paper out from under her sister’s bed, she realized it was a pile of letters. Maybe Andy had been making an effort, and they were love letters from Rabastan! Laughing to herself, she picked one at random and began to read it.
You chastise me for not seeing this as the end. How can this be the end? You kissed me, embraced me, and told me that you loved me and yet you are throwing all this away for Rabastan Lestrange?
He will make you miserable, and you know he will. I love you, and I know you love me too. Please, see me again? I’m going mad here, thinking about you while you are all the way over the other side of the country, about to commit yourself to him. Please, I want to be with you, so please come and talk to me.
The colour drained from Cissy’s face as she read it again. Who on earth was Ted? And Andromeda said she loved him? Staggering to her feet, she felt physically sick. There was no “Ted” in any of their respectable pureblood circles that she knew of. And he clearly knew of her engagement to Rabastan, and yet was encouraging her to break it.
“Cissy, I’m here!” came Lucius’ voice from downstairs. She had left the front door on the latch for him, but he still made her jump. Running to the stairs, still clutching the letter, she leant over the bannister and called him up.
“Lucius, come quickly! I need your help!” Her heart was hammering violently. What did this mean? Did Andromeda have some huge secret? Was the reason she didn’t care about Rabastan because she was in love with somebody else, this mysterious Ted?
“What is it darling?” Lucius smiled as he arrived beside her, kissing her forcefully on the lips. She held him back, before pulling him into Andy’s room, the thought of a secret snog firmly out the back of her mind. Piling Andy’s letters onto her bed, she pointed to them, panicked.
“Read them, any one of them, I found them only a moment ago, and I can’t understand…” Tears were blurring in her eyes; this was the end of her family if this mysterious Ted got his way, if Andromeda gave up Rabastan.
Lucius’ eyes flicked over a discarded letter. “He loves her?” he whispered, “and she has said she loves him? Who is this from?” Cissy tapped the letter, and he continued reading. “Ted?” He seemed as confused as she had been, but then his eyes dawned in comprehension and horror.
“You do realize who this is?” Cissy shook her head furiously, and Lucius continued. “Ted Tonks, that Mudblood she did her History of Magic project with. The one who leaped out the sky at that Quidditch Match to catch her. The one who we put in the hospital wing!”
Ted Tonks’ image materialized in her mind. He was covered in blood and lying in a deserted Hogwarts corridor, muttering to her “please, please.” Ted Tonks and Andromeda? Together? In love? Spinning round helplessly, it was only Lucius’ arm that prevented her running out of her sister’s room.
“What do we do Cissy?” he asked, a hint of fear in his voice that she had never heard before, “do we tell Bella? Your parents? Or do we face Andromeda first?” Lucius was looking at her as if she had all the answers, when really she knew nothing.
The tears came far and fast, and she collapsed into her boyfriend’s arms. “I don’t know!” she squawked, “Bella would know! But I don’t! Andromeda’s my sister, but she’s with a Mudblood, which I cannot accept, but if I tell anyone then she will be destroyed. Aunt Walburga will burn her off the tapestry!”
Lucius tenderly kissed her brow, before whispering, “but maybe that’s her doing. Andromeda is writing her own destiny and it’s not your fault. If you want to do the right thing, you have to stop her before she gets to the position where this gets her disowned. So far, this can be covered up, but the family must know, to stop worse from happening.”
Gazing up into his steely grey eyes, Cissy knew he was right. “I know,” she murmured, “Andromeda must be made to see the light, and if that is through Mother and Father’s control or Bella’s anger, she must be made to see that she cannot have him in her life anymore.”
She knew what she had to do.
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