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FOUR – Complications Called Feelings
For the first time since she could remember, Effie was thoroughly and utterly confused. She had lost the order and simplicity in her life and it was all Malfoy’s fault. She had spent the best part of a week avoiding him.
Because the day after their conversation on the stairs, Effie had been sitting in the library and he had slid into the seat next to her and thrown an arm around her shoulder as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
And that made her panic.
Effie didn’t do relationships. She didn’t do getting close to people and she most certainly didn’t do feelings. The problem was, she had started to get certain stirrings when she thought about Scorpius and she didn’t like it. Now that he knew all of her secrets and her past, she felt vulnerable – not something she was familiar with.
“What are you doing?” She shrugged him off sharply.
He frowned in confusion “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t like random blokes touching me, is all” She replied instinctively.
Scorpius stiffened “Random blokes?”
Her heart throbbed. She could see he looked hurt, but that was all the more reason to do what she did next: once again, she was running away. She had snatched up her things and fled the room before he could utter another word.
Even as she hurried down the corridor she could see his face in her mind. I had to, she told herself I refuse to let myself have feelings for Scorpius Malfoy. But that right there was the problem. She couldn’t stop herself.
Her mind kept drifting back to the feeling of his arms around her, his lips against hers and it was driving her mad. And now he was acting like they were together, like because of that night everything was different now. But she wasn’t sure she wanted it to be different.
Sure, she had felt happy and safe with him, but it was now occurring to her that she depended on his trust. He had the ability to undo everything she’d worked hard to avoid – all he had to do was tell everyone about her past. That scared her more than anything.
The only thing she could think to do was stay away from him. And so every time she saw him, she made damned sure that there was no way he could talk to her. Usually by darting into the bathrooms or a broom cupboard, and refusing to sit with him in any of their classes.
“Bloody hell, Effie, what’s wrong with you?” James asked as she slammed her bag down, taking a seat beside him at Gryffindor table “you just down right terrified that third-year and that Hufflepuff guy didn’t mean to bump into you.”
“I don’t care” She snapped irritably. Who was he to tell her how to behave?
“What happened to your good mood? You were so different the other day and now…you’ve gone back to being all hard and cold” James said quietly.
For a moment Effie’s face softened and she felt bad. She cared very much about James and it was so difficult keeping him out, but if she let him in then it would be another person with the potential to hurt her.
“I’m just in a bad mood, alright?” She replied, exasperated.
His eyes darted to something over her shoulder “It wouldn’t have something to do with him, would it?”
Effie turned around to find Scorpius standing behind her. Instantly she scowled “Go away, Malfoy”
His face hardened and instead he sat down in the space next to her “Not until you tell me what the hell is going on. I don’t understand?”
“You and me both, mate” James said.
“This has nothing to do with either of you so both of you butt out!” Effie snapped.
“Effie, every time he comes near, you run a mile – what did he do?” James asked “What did you do to her, Malfoy?” James turned to look at Scorpius suspiciously.
“I didn’t do anything!” He replied indignantly “One second we’re fine and we’re getting on and the next she’s being all cold and running away from me! It’s driving me mad. I tell you, that girl should come with a warning sign: ‘don’t come near me, it will hurt’” he said rather forcefully.
Effie scowled at him “Well then, leave me alone.”
“Effie just tell me what’s the matter? You said last week you didn’t regret it so why are you acting like this?” Scorpius looked at her with slightly sad eyes.
“Didn’t regret what?” James cut in, looking between the two of them “what are you talking about?”
“It’s none of your business, James” Effie told him “and I-well, I..” she trailed off.
Scorpius studied her face before saying quietly “Are you worried I’ll hurt you?”
Effie just looked at him blankly. The answer was yes, she was. But she couldn’t let him know that. “I just want you to leave me alone alright!?”
“Will someone tell me what the bloody hell is going on?!” James cried, impatiently “are you two shagging?!”
“No! We are not bloody shagging” Effie replied “I don’t want anything to do with him!”
“What did I do?!” Scorpius asked desperately “just tell me what I did to make you so mad and I’ll fix it I swear, but I don’t know what I did!”
“Just stay away from me!” Effie cried “I want you to stay away!”
James frowned at her then narrowed his eyes at Scorpius “Look, I don’t understand what’s happening but I think you should just leave.”
“Effie why won’t you just talk to me-” Scorpius began
“I said leave me alone!” Effie shouted at him so loud it hurt her throat. Several heads turned to stare at them.
“You heard her” James said coldly.
Scorpius looked between them both and with one final, sad look at Effie, he got up and walked away. Effie watched him go, ignoring the pang in her heart. She knew she was hurting him and technically she supposed he hadn’t done anything wrong…but he could and she wasn’t going to let that happen.
James watched her for several moments “You going to tell me what all that was about?”
“Nope” Effie replied without looking at him.
He sighed and turned to his plate, helping himself to food and shaking his head.
For the next few days she was in a bitter mood. She snapped if someone so much as looked at her and even James had trouble avoiding her hexes. The only good thing was that Scorpius seemed to have got the message.
Whenever Effie saw him he looked miserable and she could often feel him watching her, but he didn’t come near her and he didn’t try talking to her again. She sat on her own in every class and in the ones where she had previously sat with Scorpius, she felt more alone that ever. It took her a while to realise it but she knew that she missed him. She missed his company, his understanding silence.
One day while she was brooding grumpily in the back of the Potions class, pointedly looking anywhere but at the back of Scorpius’s blonde head, someone slid into the empty seat beside her.
She looked up and saw a messy mop of black hair and an angular face, for a second thinking it was James before she realised it was Albus, his brother. She had spoken to Al on a few occasions, he was a nice boy and easy to talk to, but they were not friends.
She looked at him quizzically, momentarily forgetting to scowl. She wondered why he had come over here.
“James is worried about you” He said simply, his green eyes so intense that she had to fight the urge to look away.
“He told you to come and talk to me, did he?” She asked, raising an eyebrow.
“No, I’ve just come to tell you that talking about it will help” He replied seriously “I know it might seem hard – I know what you’re like Effie, not just because your only friend is my brother but because I’ve shared classes with you for six years – but talking about it is good for you. You shouldn’t keep it all bottled up.”
“What makes you think I’m keeping anything bottled up?” She challenged coolly.
He smiled “C’mon Effie, even for you this mood you’re in is brutal”
She sighed. She knew he was right. Of course he was, the kid was a fricking genius, but she was so scared. So, so scared that it could all backfire on her one day.
She didn’t notice as Albus got up and returned to his seat, but when she next looked up he was gone and she was alone again. For the rest of the lesson she endured an internal battle, arguing with herself over whether she should do as he said and speak to Scorpius about how she was feeling, or just run, and never look back.
It turned out she didn’t have to choose because when the lesson ended and she was walking along the corridor frowning to herself, a strong arm wrapped itself around her waist and a firm hand covered her mouth, dragging her backwards into darkness.
She screamed, mostly out of shock rather than fear, and wriggled out of the grasp of her captor only to find herself standing in a secret passageway facing Scorpius.
“Kidnap is not exactly staying away, Malfoy” She spat. How dare he just drag her in here!
“Look, I’m sorry Effie but I had to talk to you. It’s been killing me this past week – will you please just talk to me?” He pleaded. She’d never seen him look like that. Normally he was cool, quiet and in control, smirking like he knew something you didn’t.
“I told you I don’t want to talk to you” Effie said, trying to push past him. He blocked her path, stepping in front of her.
“But why? What did I do?” He asked “On the stairs that day you said thank-you! And then I tried to talk to you in the library and you just flipped out!”
Effie sighed. This was all so difficult, she didn’t know what to do. Inside her brain was still fighting an on-going battle of choices and decisions.
“I’m sorry alright! I was just scared!” She cried, the words slipping out without her permission.
He stared at her. “Scared of what?” He asked softly.
She looked at him desperately. She wanted to tell him but she was struggling to find the courage to say it.
“Scared of having feelings for you! Is that what you wanted to hear?” She shouted huffily “I got scared of getting close to you and I ran away like that coward I am!”
He looked deep into her eyes “I don’t think you’re a coward” He said quietly.
“Effie, I care about you. I know what you’ve been through and I know how hard you must find letting people get close to you but please, just trust me when I say that I will never hurt you. I promise” He whispered. He took a step closer to her.
“How do I know that?” She whispered, her voice barely audible.
His face was closer to hers now. Their eyes locked.
“Because I have feelings for you, Effie. I could never do that to you” he lowered his head so that their lips brushed, before kissing her softly.
Without even thinking Effie wound her arms around him and welcomed the feel of his arms around her waist, pulling her closer. His warm lips felt familiar and pressed up against his chest, she instantly felt safe.
Finally she was letting her heart win.
* * *
When she returned to the Common Room later, she went straight to where James was sat in an armchair and squeezed herself in so that they were sharing it. He looked at her in surprise “Effie, you’re smiling” he grinned.
She grinned back “I know, but don’t get used to it.”
He smirked “Al told me he spoke to you.”
Effie glanced across the room to where James’ brother was sitting playing exploding snap with his friend. She caught his eye and he gave a warm smile, which she returned. “Yeah, we talked.”
“And?” James looked at her questioningly.
“And your brother is a smart kid” She replied.
James chuckled “Yeah, he is. So have your sorted things out with Malfoy?”
Effie nodded, containing her smile. She had arranged to meet Scorpius at the Astronomy Tower later that night.
“And you’re not in evil-ice-bitch mode?” He grinned.
She smacked him upside the head “No, I am not.”
“Good” He ruffled her hair.
His friends watched with slightly confused faces. Fred Weasley’s jaw was actually hanging slightly open as the coldest girl in the school leant her head on James Potter’s shoulder and grinned.
“What are you lot ogling at?” Effie demanded, noticing their stares.
“Probably you – you do resemble a caged animal at times” James snorted.
Effie smacked him again.
“Oh good, you’ve stopped scaring the first years” A mane of red hair by the name of Rose Weasley had appeared, giving the way Effie was curled up next to James an appraising look.
“They shouldn’t be so wussy” Effie argued.
“I dunno Effs, you can be pretty terrifying” James grinned.
Rose raised her eyebrows at the two of them “Are you two an item, then?”
They both laughed and Effie replied “Rose, nobody actually uses the word ‘item’ anymore”
“Well are you or aren’t you?” Rose asked, ignoring Effie’s comment.
“No, we are not” James rolled his eyes and ruffled Effie’s hair “Effie has something going on with Malfoy and everybody knows that no matter how much I ask her, she simply will not sleep with me.”
Rose looked torn between disapproval and amusement “Oh good, because I don’t think I can take another of Effie’s mood swings if you two broke up.”
“Pfft, that was nothing” Effie scoffed.
“Yes, that’s what’s worrying” Rose gave her a wary look “to be honest the only thing stopping you from turning the school upside down is James.”
“Thanks for your flattering compliments” Effie replied drily. Luckily for Rose she was in a good mood, or she probably would have silenced her already.
“Don’t worry Rosie, I’ve always got my eye on her” James winked and Effie scowled at him.
James laughed “Speaking of, want to come and prank the Slytherins with us?” he gestured to Fred and Blake who were playing exploding snap.
“As tempting as that sounds, I’ve already got plans” Effie told him.
He grinned “Plans that already involve a certain Slytherin?”
“If you don’t stop that I’m going to hex you, Potter” Effie growled.
James continued to grin “There’s the Effie I know, for a moment I thought you’d turned nice”
“In your dreams” Effie snorted.
OHMYGOD. I know its crappy but i just couldnt have Effie ignore Scorpius any longer, it was killing me. Her life was so rubbish without him.
please review, let me know what you think? Is Effie's soft side too much of a drastic change that it's a little unrealistic? Please, let me know what you think!