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Cheating the Bet by Ryebread
Chapter 14 : Lonely
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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Thanks, saturday, for the beautiful chapter image.



I spent the next few days in Ottery St. Catchpole with a sulking, cranky, and outright nasty Rose Weasley.

Upon her father seeing her and Scorpius, he grabbed her arm, shoved Scorpius away from her and side-along apparated her back to their house. He, then, very rudely and wrongly proceeded to ground her to her. Apparently, she’s grounded forever. Ron’s words, not mine.

Hermione, Mum, and I arrived a few minutes after they left. Hermione was furious and sent a horde of birds at her husband, telling him that he was being an idiot, but he wouldn’t relent. Mum and I stood awkwardly in the kitchen until we both decided to go to our rooms. This is where I found Rose dealing with her sentence.

So, taking it like a champ, Rose sat in her room, saying some very colorful words about her father and, on occasion, trying to sneak out, but getting caught and having her sentence extended to eternity (What is even the difference between eternity and forever?). The only reason that she wasn’t locked in her room was because of her mum, who thought the whole fight was ridiculous and refused to let her husband bar their daughter in. Hermione wasn’t thrilled about Scorpius, but she was willing to give him the chance that Ron was not. Unfortunately, that was all she could do for Rose, as Ron pigheadedly stood by his conviction. Though she wasn’t officially staying only in her room, Ron glared at her during the rare times that she came downstairs.

This grounding resulted in me trying to comfort my friend and being trapped in her bedroom with her. Though she wasn’t confined to her room, she wouldn’t go downstairs because her dad was there. Every time I tried to leave, she’d either start yelling about me being a horrible friend, or Rose would cry, saying she missed Scorpius and, even, her father, though every time I tried to talk about it, she denied it. Both instances left me feeling guilty and I stayed with her, even though I knew deep down that she was just being petty and shouldn’t make me feel that way.

I knew that she was being absolutely barmy, but I let her act childishly if it made her feel better to do so. Rose was a smart girl and would soon learn that she needed to stop and fight against her dad’s over-protective, prejudiced nonsense.

“Rose, come on. Just talk to your dad. Your mum can’t make him see sense, so it’s up to you. If anyone is as pigheaded as him, it’s you. No offense, Rosey. Everyone else is on your side. Just tell him how much it hurts you that he did this,” I tried to reason with her.

“It didn’t hurt. It’s annoying and infuriating. I’m never speaking to that man ever again. You can’t make me,” she said childishly, shaking her head furiously from side to side, her face smothered in her pillow. Her words were muffled.

“Well, Rose, if you’re going to just continue pouting in your room, then I’m going to leave. You’re both being ridiculous; you and your father. Stop sulking and standup for your relationship; for your love.”

“Fine, then, Alice!” she yelled from where she was curled up on her bed, obviously and immaturely ignoring my advice. “Just leave me when I’m upset. What a friend you are. If you can’t take me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best. We’re not even friends anymore.” I sighed exasperatedly.

Normally this would hurt me, but considering she said this multiple times every day, I didn’t take it to face value. The first time I sat by her side and apologized until she said it was okay, but it happened the next day and the next and the next. It got to the point of ridiculousness.

“We both know you don’t mean that, Rose. I’m going downstairs to eat some lunch and then I’m going to visit your dad to try to make him see sense. I’ll be back in a little while, yeah?” I walked out of the room, barely dodging a throw pillow that was aimed for my head and ignored some juvenile insults that she yelled my way.


After lunch, my talk with the ever stubborn Ronald Weasley went the same as his daughter. Well, except the threats of revoked friendship. He really did throw a pillow, too, although I think he saw a spider.

“My daughter won’t date that slimy, filthy git,” he said and then screeched like a girl grabbing the pillow from behind his back and chucking it at the wall behind me, so you can see why I assumed he saw a spider.

I stomped back up the stairs to Rose’s room in defeat only to discover that she had fallen asleep. She looked so at peace while dozing that I didn’t to wake her and take her wrath. With a new destination in mind, I quietly I tip-toed down the stairs and apparated to the Potter house.


I rapped on the door of the slate blue house in Godric’s Hollow.

“Come in!” I heard Ginny yell from inside. I opened the door and walked into the homey living room. A broom was sweeping up the floor on its own and a feather duster was getting the dust off of the rectangular coffee table in the middle of the room, surrounded by plush sage green couches and matching side tables. There was a chiming clock on the far wall that had pictures of all Wotter family on spoon handles and where each person was at present.

To the right was the kitchen, where dishes were washing themselves and Ginny was standing over a cookbook, pointing her wand at a bowl full of ingredients and muttering directions and curse words to herself. A skinny wooden spoon was mixing a gooey batter.

“Need any help?” I asked. Ginny whirled around in surprise, as if she forgot that she let me in.

“Oh, wotcher, Allie?” she asked turning back to her baking challenge.

“Well, I was just going to see Al. Rose is throwing a fit and her father is being ridiculous, so I thought I could use a break, but if you want an assistant, I’d be willing to give you a hand.” Ginny smiled.

“Oh, you are just so polite. You know, I told my children that they should get manners like yours, but just look at how that turned out. Anyway, no thanks, dear. I’m just trying out one of Mum’s recipes for bread pudding, but I can’t get it right. I might just have to send an owl to ask her for help,” she said frowning in frustration. Then, she began smiling again. “Your boyfriend is upstairs with Fred, Louis, Cole, Eric, and Lysander in his room.”

“H… how did you… you k… know?” I spluttered, blushing immensely.

“Oh, Alice, don’t be dense. Al won’t shut up about you. No offense, but it gets kind of annoying. Allie is so this and she’s so that. I can’t handle any more of your perfections, dear,” she said smirking at my blushing face. She continued on. “Plus, a mother just knows these things. Like I also know that James and Claire aren’t going on an “outing” as he called it. It’s so a date. Merlin knows how he achieved that. I love my son, but he is such a braggart. Anyways, go upstairs and mingle.” I snorted loudly and wiped tears from my eyes that appeared because I laughed so hard at Ginny’s rant. I waved to her as I hopped up the stairs and headed to Al’s bedroom.

I held my fist up to knock on the door, because I don’t know what’s going on in there, when I heard the boys talking. It was wrong of me to eavesdrop, but it was like I was frozen in place. I had to hear what they had to say, especially because I realized they were gabbing about me.

“…do you think she knows?” asked Louis, with a slight French accent that he picked up from his mother.

“Of course she doesn’t. Allie is bloody brilliant, but sometimes she doesn’t see what is right in front of her,” replied Al confidently. My attention was captured. What didn’t I know that was right in front of me?

“There’s just one problem…” Al trailed off. It was silent for a few minutes, except for the annoying croak of a toad somewhere outside, and I had stopped breathing, afraid that the blokes would hear me.

"Oh, that's easy, Al,” boomed Fred’s deep voice. “Just break if off. She’ll understand.” Break it off? Were they talking about what I think they’re talking about?

“It’s not that simple, mate. What if she gets upset? I can’t deal with that.”

“She won’t be upset, Al. It’s not even a big deal. You’re making mountains out of molehills. Mum proving the existence of the Gernumblies special powered saliva was a huge deal; not something like this.”

“She did not prove it!” exclaimed Cole, sounding hysterical.

"You’ll believe soon enough, Cole. Dom believes me,” Lysander disputed. Eric snorted obnoxiously.

“Please, Lysander. Dom just has a huge crush on you and would do anything to get your attention.”

“I don’t think so…” Lysander sounded unsure. “I talked to Lorcan and he thinks that she may just be infested with Nargles—”

“There are no Nargles!” cried out Cole.

“Mate, he would know. He’s very smart. That’s how he made it into Ravenclaw. But I don’t think Dom likes me that way, mates. She’s just very nice. And brilliant and hilarious and beautiful and understanding and perfect.”

“Merlin, you have it bad,” said Fred, sounding disgusted. “And Dom’s not perfect. You should see her when she wakes up. Yow! Am I right, Al?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty true. She has morning breath that could kill a troll, but can we get back to the matter at hand? What in the name of Merlin should I do? I need to do this, but it’s hard. She doesn’t deserve any of this.”

“Just break it off. Do it like a band aid; fast and painless,” answered Louis assertively. A chorus of yeah’s and I agree’s followed him.


“Okay. I’ll do it and then this whole thing will be over,” said Al, sounding relieved.


I bit my tongue to keep the tears from flowing. Speedily and silently, I stepped down the stairs.

“Did you forget something, dear?” Ginny asked, looking at me curiously. She must have seen my stricken face.

“Oh, no, I… er… have an errand for Mum that I forgot to do. I have to get it done right now. See you later, Ginny. Good luck with the bread pudding!” I barely made it out of the door, ignoring Ginny’s protests and questions. She knew I was lying.

Once out of her sight, I ran back to Rose’s house and into the red and black colored guest bedroom that my parents were staying in. Mum and Dad were out Christmas shopping for Mum’s muggle relatives and I took this opportunity to grab Al’s present from under their bed. I had hid it there just in case he visited Rose and I in her room. After retrieving it, I curled up in bed and wrote a letter.

When I was finished, I felt hollow. The note was strangely final, but my heart felt as if it was ripped out of my chest. I looked over the letter one last time, hoping that something or someone would stop me from sending it.

            Al,

            I’m sorry that I couldn’t be enough for you. I hope you find someone that is better for you. I think it’s best if we stop this whole relationship and break if off.

            --Alice

            P.S. Here is your Christmas present. I figured you should have it.


It was short and to the point. With a tear running down my face and a sorrowful hiccup as I tried not to outright sob, I tied the letter to Tilly’s foot. She hooted non-stop, almost in protest, I thought, but that would be ridiculous. Once it was tied to her foot, I attached his gift and she flew out of the window to Al. I wrapped the big red comforter around me and fell into a fitful sleep, dreaming about sadness and loneliness.


Al’s POV:

I laid on my Gryffindor colored bed holding a black velvet jewelry box that held Allie’s present in it. My cousin, Fred sat in my red bean bag and Louis sat in the chair of my desk that was in the corner of my red and gold room. My friends, Eric, Cole, and Lysander, were sprawled out in random places on the floor.

“So why did you want advice on Allie’s present? You’re her boyfriend,” questioned Eric. I opened the box to show a charm bracelet. Each charm was animated. The owl that represented Tilly flapped its wings, a mug filled up with sterling silver liquid to represent her mum because she own the Leaky Cauldron, a plant had leaves that grew and shrank to show her father, then there was the broom that flied because I wanted her to remember me, too (Too sappy?), and lastly, a toad to memorialize Trevor II that croaked irritatingly.

Irritating wasn’t even the word that covered the shiny toad charm. It croaked every minute and was loud, obnoxious, and infuriating. It made me want to scream every time the silver figure opened its mouth.

“Oh, wow,” said Louis sounding impressed. “She’ll love it.”

The toad croaked.

“Bloody hell, mate. What is that?” asked Fred.

“My problem,” I stated. “The toad croaks like this all the time. It’s so annoying, but she’d love to have a figure of Trevor II on her bracelet.”

“That’s bloody awful, but do you think she knows?” asked Louis, wincing as the toad squawked again.

“Of course she doesn’t,” I scoffed. “Allie is bloody brilliant, but sometimes she doesn’t see what is right in front of her. There’s just one problem…” The guys all nodded understandingly and the toad crowed a third time.

“Oh, it’s easy,” reassured Fred. “Just break it off. She’ll understand.”

“It’s not that simple, mate. What if she gets upset? I can’t deal with that,” I said, thinking of when I actually killed her toad. She really did love that toad.

“She won’t be upset, Al. It’s not even a big deal. You’re making mountains out of molehills. Mum proving the existence of the Gernumblies special powered saliva was a huge deal; not something like this,” Lysander tried console me in his own special way.

“She did not prove it!” yelled out Cole, who looked like he was going to burst a blood vessel in his forehead.

“You’ll believe me soon enough, Cole. Dom believes me,” Lysander said confidently. I suppressed a snicker. My cousin’s crush on Lysander was known to everybody, but the recipient of her affection. Eric snorted loudly.

“Please, Lysander. Dom just has a huge crush on you and would do anything to get your attention,” he said, still guffawing. Lysander shook his head adamantly.

“I don’t think so…” he replied, but I could hear a little doubt and a tad bit of hope in his voice. “I talked to Lorcan and he thinks she may just be infested with Nargles—“

“There are no Nargles!” exclaimed Cole, for the millionth time since he and Lysander met.

“Mate, he would know. He’s very smart. That’s how he made it into Ravenclaw. But I don’t think Dom likes me that way, mates. She’s just very nice. And brilliant and hilarious and beautiful and understanding and perfect,” said Lysander dreamily. I was frankly pretty disgusted. He thought that about my cousin, who I saw eat fifteen treacle tarts in under two minutes and then belch loudly? If that’s perfection, I don’t want to be perfect. Fred was just as disturbed.

“Merlin, you have it bad,” said Fred, shaking his head and looking at Lysander pityingly. “And Dom’s not perfect. You should see her when she wakes up. Yow! Am I right, Al?” I nodded my head.

“Yeah, it’s pretty true. She has morning breath that could kill a troll, but can we get back to the matter at hand? What in the name of Merlin should I do? I need to do this, but it’s hard. She doesn’t deserve any of this,” I said, feeling agitated.

“Just break it off. Do it like a band aid; fast and painless,” advised Louis with his mild French accent.

“Okay. I’ll do it and then this whole thing will be over,” I said. Wow, that was a relief. Why was I so worried anyway?

I took me about five minutes to twist and turn the charm off, but eventually with the help of some pliers and Fred’s teeth, I got the toad off the bracelet. The second it was plied off, it stopped croaking and we enjoyed sweet liberation from the annoyance that is the toad charm.

“There it is!” I held up the bracelet for all to see. “Now, that is perfection. I don’t know what you were saying about Dom.” Lysander glared at me.

“I agree with Al,” Eric said suddenly. “I like a girl with long brown hair and blue eyes and ivory skin and long legs and bright smile and—“

“And named Aileen Finnegan,” added in Fred.

“Yes, and named Aileen Finnegan,” agreed Eric, not realizing at the moment what he admitted. Then, a second later realization dawned on his face.

“No way! I was kidding about that. You guys know that?” he pleaded desperately.

“Sure,” Cole said patronizingly. “Of course, Eric, though that description is a lot like her, don’t you think?” Eric’s ears turned bright red.

“Psh… no. Not even close. And you shouldn’t say anything about it since you’re dating my twin sister. How weird is that?”

“Not weird. More like hot. Yesterday we were in an abandoned corridor and—“

“Ah!” screamed Eric. “La la la la la la. I can’t hear you.” He put his fingers in his ears as the rest of us just laughed our arses off.

An owl pecked at my window as we snorted and I regained composure to go see who it was from. I recognized Allie’s owl, Tilly, and untied a letter and a parcel from her leg.

I was extremely curious about the package. It was about half a foot long and was oddly shaped. I unwrapped the brown paper and started in complete awe.

In the midst of the wrapping paper was a pair of seeker gloves. Made of black dragon hide leather, they were water proof and fire proof (Though, who needs fire proof gloves?). The stitching was gold and scarlet, so they were obviously customized, but that wasn’t the best part. Stitched into the wrist of the gloves was Merry Christmas, Al and on the second glove Love Always, Allie. It warmed my heart and I felt like cheering, but all the guys were staring at me, so I settled for a beaming smile.

“What is it?” asked Louis, craning his neck to get a better view. I tossed them to him and let him examine them and pass them around.

My next order of business was to open the letter.

            Al,

            I’m sorry that I couldn’t be enough for you. I hope you find someone that is better for you. I think it’s best if we stop this whole relationship and break if off.

            --Alice

            P.S. Here is your Christmas present. I figured you should have it.

My happiness at her gift faded. No, not even faded, it plummeted. It dove off of a cliff and went splat on the ground. I crumpled the parchment in my hand and threw it in the waste basket with a yell.

What happened to Love Always, Allie?


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