"Al knows you didn't cheat on him," Scorpius said as we walked down to Hogsmeade a week later.
"Well then why does he still seem to hate me?" I asked, pulling my jacket closer to me.
"He's hurt Ads," he said. "He's hurt and pissed off."
"Because the bloke is mad about you!" Scorpius said. "He won't talk about you, but in the one time that he did, all he said was, 'Addie is fucking Adams. He can deal with all her shit now' and stormed out of the room."
"I am not fucking Caleb!" I said loudly, causing some people to look over at me. "I'm just friends with him. That's all."
"I know that. And you know that. And Caleb knows that. Basically the entire world but Albus knows that," Scorpius said, huffing. "I've tried telling him that there was nothing going on, but he doesn't care. When I tried to get him to talk to you, he basically said he'd rather take a swim in the lake. He doesn't believe anything I say. He thinks I'm making shit up so that he'll stop being such a moody bastard."
"He's not a moody bastard," I mumbled.
Scorp gave me an exasperated look. "All he does is study and brood and when he's not studying or brooding, he stomps around, yells at anyone who gets in his path and glares at everything."
I smiled slightly at this, picturing Al running around glaring at yelling and then broodily studying. It was a funny picture. "He is a moody bastard."
"But you love him anyway," Scorpius said.
I didn't say anything to this, changing the topic instead. "How are things on the Rose front?"
Scorpius shrugged. "Same as always. She still won't speak to me, no matter how hard I try. She says that she needs time."
"So give her the time."
"I am," Scorpius said, sighing. "But how much time is too much time? I don't want to be that idiot who stands around, waiting for her." Scorpius was quiet before he spoke again. "I really wish I never lied to her. It was dumb of me to lie to her in the first place. She knew my reputation, I'm sure that she figured that I had slept with someone, so really, if I just told the truth it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. I ruined it. I ruined it for myself."
"No you didn't," I said. "If I hadn't told, then everything would be fine-"
"That's bullshit and you know it, Ads," Scorpius said as we entered the village. "I did this to myself. I ruined the relationship with Rose by myself. I was the one who lied. And I expected you to keep that from her."
"I told you I would," I said as we neared the Three Broomsticks. "I told you that I would keep the secret for you and that it would be okay. I blew it and I'm so sorry-"
"Addie, stop apologizing," Scorpius said, grabbing my arm and turning me towards him. "If anyone needs to apologize, it's me. I've been shit to you lately."
"No you haven't-"
"Yes, I have," Scorpius said, sternly. "I got pissed at you for telling Rose something that she needed to know and then, even though I knew all the shit that you were going through that night, I left you. When we were five, I promised you that I wouldn't leave you and then I left you when you needed me most. I ruined my relationship and blamed it on you because I didn't want to fess up to it." Scorpius looked down at me, his gaze intense. "I've been shit lately and I know that. And I'm so sorry for that, Addie. You needed me and I blamed you for something you didn't do. I'm sorry. You have no idea how sorry I am for how terrible I've been to you."
I stepped forward and wrapped my arms around his torso, hugging him tightly. "It's okay, Scorp." I said. "It's okay. I forgive you. I don't care about all the shit that's happened. You're here now. That's all I need. You just can't leave me like that again."
"I won't," Scorpius said. "I promise."
"Good," I said, pulling away. I heard a loud bang and looked down the street to see Fred and Al, laughing at Louis, who was now lying on the ground a trash can next to him. I looked back up at Scorpius. "He really won't speak to me?"
Scorpius shook his head. "Lou and I have both tried to get him to talk to you about the whole thing, to find out what's really going on with you and Caleb but he refuses. You've chosen Caleb over him again and again, so it's easy for him to believe that you would this time too. He knows you didn't cheat on him and he probably would be fine with you if you weren't hanging out and holding hands with Caleb so much."
"Caleb is the only person who has been there for me," I said, glancing over at Al. "I'm not just going to drop him."
"I'm not saying you should," Scorpius said. "I'm just trying to get you to understand why Albus is still pissed at you."
I nodded and sighed. "I miss him. A lot."
"I think he misses you too," Scorpius said. "More than he would like to let on. But Lou and I can tell that he misses you. He was in love with you. No matter how hard he tries, he can't just move forward from that."
I looked down at the ground, letting Scorp's words echo in my head.
He was in love with you.
You love him anyway.
Al couldn't have been in love with me. And I didn't love him. At least, not yet. Both Al and I knew that we were falling into something. We were falling into something special and intense and I didn't want to name it before, but it was most likely love that we were falling into. Or were we already there?
They say that love makes everything more intense. It makes things harder and makes it so that there's more at stake. It makes you not want to lose that person if you can help it and if you do, then you will do anything to save it. It makes everything hurt more and just makes you feel more. It makes you feel more jealousy and more fear and more happiness and sadness and anger and everything. It's intense and scary and the risk is higher than ever before. And you can try to run from it but it won't work.
You don't get to chose who you love or when you love or how you love. You just do. You begin to feel something for a person and before you know it, you have already taken the leap and given them your heart. The best you can hope for is that they give you their heart in return.
I gave Al my heart. Before I was even aware of it, I gave him my heart and he gave me his.
I don't think we were in love. Not yet.
But we were on our way.
And maybe this wasn't the end for us. Maybe this was just a bump in the road that we had to get over in order to fall completely. Maybe we would work through this.
That was really all I could hope for.
"Addie," Scorpius said, pulling me from my thoughts. "You ready?"
I gulped and looked over at the door of The Three Broomsticks.
"Yeah," I said. "Yeah, I'm ready."
"You don't have to do this, you know."
"I know. But I want to."
Scorpius nodded and held the door open for me. I was thankful to be in the warmth but the sight in front of me nearly made me want to run back out into the freezing outdoors.
Matilda sat at a table in the middle of the room, bent over a newspaper. Her hair was tied back, out of her face and she was sipping on a warm cup of coffee. She wore only a sweater and jeans, but a large winter coat, scarf, hat, and gloves were all thrown over one of the three other chairs at the table.
Scorpius pushed me forward slightly and I continued from there. I walked, taking deep breaths as I went, making sure that I didn't chicken out.
I was a Gryffindor. I could do this.
Matilda looked up from her paper when Scorpius and I reached the table and smiled, standing to greet us.
"Scorpius, Addison," she said, still smiling. "Hi." She made a motion like she was going to hug me before she appeared to think better of it, settling for a handshake instead.
"Hi," I said.
Scorpius shook her hand after me. "How are you?"
"I've been pretty good lately," she said, smiling up at him. "I just can't get over how big you are, Scorp. Your mother thought you would be tall, but never this tall. You must have girls falling all over you." There was an awkward pause, before something clicked in Matilda's head, but she quickly changed the topic before I could find out what had clicked. "Will you be joining us today?"
Scorpius looked down at me, unsure. "Well, I guess-"
"No," I said, surprising everyone, myself included. "No, Scorp you can go hang out with Louis and Al."
I nodded, giving off more confidence than I really had. I knew that if I was going to do this, I had to do this on my own. "Yeah. Go. Have fun."
"Okay," Scorpius said, turning back to Matilda. "It was great seeing you. I'll just leave you two then."
Scorpius walked away slowly, as if he was expecting me to call after him, telling him that I needed him to stay with me, that I couldn't do this on my own.
But I had to do this on my own.
After all the shit that had happened in the past few weeks, I hadn't been myself. I didn't know what Matilda held for me, but I was hoping, that maybe, just maybe, it would help me find myself again.
"Please, sit," Matilda said, gesturing to the seat across from her. "Do you want something to drink? I can go up to the bar to get it for you. Or are you hungry? I haven't had lunch yet, so we could always have some pub food, or go somewhere else."
"Hot chocolate is fine, thanks," I said, and Matilda walked toward the bar, placing an order with the man there. He was around her age, maybe even a little younger, and anyone with a pulse could see how he flirted with her. She flirted back, but kept it mild, laughing at some of his lame pick up lines and teasing him.
Watching her, I couldn't help but feel a little overwhelmed. Because this woman in front of me, the woman who laughed and smiled and made everything around her brighter, was the woman that I remembered. This was my mother.
And I didn't really realize how much I missed her until just then.
Which made me so much angrier with her for leaving.
She came back to the table with my hot chocolate, a small smile on her face.
"Here you go love," she said, sitting down across form me as she set my drink down. "I hope it's not too hot." She folded up her newspaper and set it on the chair with all her other stuff before resting her arms on the table and smiling at me. "Addison, you have no idea how happy I am that you met me today. I honestly wasn't expecting you to."
I shrugged. "Didn't really decide until yesterday."
Matilda nodded, as if she understood. "I'm sorry if this felt intrusive. But I've been working in Madame Malkins, helping make some robes, and she wanted me to come check on her shop here. I asked Astoria when your Hogsmeade days were and when this weekend came up, I figured that I could just make my stay here a little longer." I said nothing and Matilda bit her lip. "I know that you probably don't want to be here. You probably just came because you were curious or angry and wanted to yell at me. I figure you're probably like your father in that sense." Matilda smiled sadly, like she was recalling the memory of my father. "But I really am glad that you came here today. You could be off spending it with your friends, but instead you're here with me. I'm glad that you're giving me this chance."
I didn't bother telling her that I couldn't possibly be off with my friends, since most of them weren't speaking to me. I could have been with Caleb's friends, but I realized that he made more progress with Anna when I wasn't around. I also could have hung out with Ryan, but he and Lorcen had become inseparable since the New Years Party and I didn't really feel like third wheeling on one of their dates. Or fifth wheeling if they were doubling with Lysander and Dom, who finally got her shit together and admitted she liked the bloke.
When I didn't respond, Matilda awkwardly sipped her coffee, thinking of something to say. I looked around the room, noticing that there were fewer students in here than normal. However, Rose and Alice sat at the bar drinking butterbeer and flirting with some boys around them. I could tell though, that while Alice seemed glad to be flirting with someone, glad to forget about Louis for a little while, Rose's heart wasn't in it. She would smile and chat politely, but every time the door would open, she would instantly turn towards it, as if she were waiting for Scorpius to come in and tell all the boys to scram. She had a look of disappointment every time that she saw it wasn't him walking through the door, only to get frustrated with herself that she was still looking for him.
"So," Matilda said, bringing my attention back to her. "How have you been the lately?"
Oh, Merlin that was the wrong question to ask.
"Peachy," I said, my voice clearly faking sweetness. "You know, my life is a complete wreck right now. I basically have zero friends, since I ruined everything for them all and if they are speaking to me, then they can only talk to me occasionally since it may cause problems with someone else. I've spent the last eleven years thinking that my mother had abandoned me and now I'm wondering why the fuck she came back."
"Addison, I know that I don't deserve anything from you-"
"You but your arse you don't deserve anything from me!" I said, my voice sharp. The repressed anger at her was coming back up and I wasn't fully sure I could control it. "You left me! For eleven fucking years, you left me without a family. I had Scorp, Astoria and Draco, sure, but they weren't my family! My father had already abandoned me and then all of a sudden you abandoned me too! I was completely alone with no parents and grew up my entire life thinking that they left because I did something wrong. Because I wasn't good enough." I took a breath, shocked that for once, I wasn't in tears. But I was no longer sad. I was done being sad about this situation. I was pissed. At Matilda for leaving. At myself for letting it affect me so much. At Matilda for coming back. And at myself for thinking, no, convincing myself that she wouldn't. "So why now? Why, after eleven shitty years have you decided to come back? No, I have a better question, why the hell did you leave in the first place? If you don't have a reason for leaving then I can promise you that I will walk right out that door and never see you again." My voice wavered and I wasn't sure that I would be able to completely keep that promise. "There's no way in hell you could have thought that you wouldn't have to explain yourself."
Matilda looked at me, a mix of bewildered and awe on her face.
"Bloody hell," she said softly. "You really are like your father."
My anger quickly disappeared at that.
I was like my father.
I was like some man that I never knew. He didn't just give me my curls and eyes, but he clearly gave me more of myself than I had thought.
I never knew that someone I never met could give me so much.
"Who is he?" I asked, unable to keep my curiosity down. My voice was small, so quiet that you could barely hear it. "Why did he leave?" I bit my lip, trying to stop myself from speaking. "Was it because of me?"
Matilda reached forward and grabbed my hand on the table, a motion so natural you would have that that she had been doing it for years. "No, no, Addison, it was not because of you. You were probably the only reason that he stuck around for as long as he did." She squeezed my hand tightly. "Your father was a man who knew exactly what he wanted and would have done anything to get it. He was...very complicated when it came to relationships. He had issues with commitment and by the time you were born, our relationship was ruined to the point of no return and the fact that we were poor and barely scraping enough money to feed ourselves, much less a child, was adding even more stress." Matilda appeared to have tears in her eyes. "Trust me, when I say that it wasn't because of you. One day, a few weeks after you were born, I pushed him so far over the edge that he told me he was leaving. He wanted to take you with him, but I wouldn't let him. I told him that we were a package deal, that he couldn't have you and not have me, I foolishly thought that it would make him stay, that maybe he would stay with me, just so he could see you..." Matilda had tears streaming down her cheeks and I would be lying if I said that my face was completely dry. "But he didn't. He fought to take you, he even grabbed you out of your crib, but then I grabbed you out of his arms and held you close to me, not letting him take you because I wanted him to stay for us, both of us. I wanted us to be a family. I loved you so much and I was so in love with him that I thought if I gave him an ultimatum, told him that in order for him to see the one thing he loves most on this earth he had to stay with me, he would." Matilda shook her head and wiped some tears away. I squeezed her hand to let her know that I was still here, that I was still listening. "I'm so sorry for that, Addison. You have no idea, how sorry I am for doing that to you. I'm not proud of it. It was not your fault that he left, not at all. It was all mine, totally and completely mine and despite everything else, the fact that I did that to you is enough for you to hate me. You, my beautiful daughter, are so much like your father in so many ways. I could see it when you were young and I can see it now. I understand if you hate me for not letting you get the chance to know him. I will always love you though. No matter how shitty of a mother I may be, I have always and will continue to love you. But you don't have to love me back."
She pulled her hand away from mine, like she was expecting me to walk off. She wiped her tears away, best she could, but they kept flowing. Eventually, she gave up, choosing instead to just bow her head down towards her hands, which were now in her lap, trying her best to hold herself together.
I kept looking at her and felt even more tears spill onto my cheeks. Because with her hair pulled back, eyes downcast, and doing everything she possibly could not to cry and just lose it, I saw myself. I saw what I had been for the past few weeks. And I realized that Matilda and I were extremely similar.
We both had lost people. Sometimes it was our own fault and other times we were pushed away by them. I had lost my father, Matilda, Rose, Al, Scorp, Louis and Alice. Some of them came around, but in the end, I still lost them for a period of time. It still felt like I lost them for good.
And my mother. She had lost people too. She had lost my father, as well, and it was clear she was still hurt by that because she was, at one time, madly in love with him and wanted nothing more than for him to say. And then she was told that I might be leaving her too, that she might lose me too, if he got his way. She ended up losing me later, along with losing Draco and Astoria, who were her only support system. But even before that, way before any of that, Matilda didn't have a mother. She lost her mother as well. After the housekeeper gave birth to her, she was dismissed and sent elsewhere while Lucius and Narcissa took care of Matilda. Narcissa was never a mother for her though and there were a constant string of nannies until she was old enough to take care of herself. But she grew attached to every single nanny and hated losing each one of them, too. She was still at Beauxbatons during the war and quickly lost touch with everyone there. And then she met my father, fell madly in love with him and lost him.
She, just like me, had lost a lot of people.
And she was expecting to lose me again.
I took a drink of my hot chocolate, trying to regain my composure enough to speak.
"Mum," I said, softly, the word sounding strange against my lips. Matilda's head snapped up and she looked at me, straight in the eyes, and I could see that she was trying not to let herself hope. "I don't want to know who my father is."
Matilda brought a hand up to her mouth, trying to hold back more tears, only to have that fail. She pulled her hand away and smiled at me, staring at me disbelievingly.
"Thank you," she said quietly. "Thank you, so much."
I nodded, not really sure how to respond. I turned my head toward the door, which had opened, wiping my cheeks as I did so.
I knew that Rose's head, just like every other time the door had opened, had looked to see if my tall blonde cousin was finally coming in and this time, she wouldn't be disappointed.
Scorpius led the group, a huge smile on his face, with his hair messed up slightly. If the group of collective sighs was any indication, then it was clear as day to tell that he was looking good. I looked over at Rose and saw her looking at Scorpius, a half smile on her face. Scorp scanned the pub and saw Rose and stopped walking, choosing instead to stare at her in bewilderment before smiling back at her. Rose broke eye contact and looked down, squeezing her eyes shut, and I could see her telling herself, he lied to you, he lied to you, he lied to you over and over again in her head. I looked back at Scorp and saw that he too, realized she was doing this and his face fell, but Louis jumped on his back before anyone could really tell.
"Move it, Scorp!" Louis said, landing back on the ground. "I could use a firewhiskey."
"Lou, you're not even of age," Al said, appearing behind Lou. My heart started hammering wildly, especially at the smile on his face. Merlin, I fogot how good he looked when he smiled. He looked hot when he was all broody but nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, could affect me the way Albus Severus Potter's smile did. My hand went up to my necklace and I squeezed it tightly, wishing that I could do nothing more than go and tell him all about what had happened with Matilda and what she told me about my father and everything and just hold him forever.
The boys didn't quiet down as they made their way to a booth in the corner, the eyes of all the girls, no matter what age, on them. The only female who wasn't paying attention to them was Matilda, since she kept her gaze on me, her eyes connecting everything.
"So those are Scorp's friends," she said, her cheeks still stained with tears.
"Yeah," I said, playing with my necklace. "Those are Scorp's friends."
"The famous Louis Weasley and Albus Potter," she said and looked around at all the girls, sneaking glances at them. "They seem to be quite the charming trio."
I shrugged, deciding not to go into how charming they really could be.
"But Scorp seems to have eyes for Rose Weasley and she seems to still fancy him quite a bit, even though everyone knows about their falling out," Matilda said and I looked at her, my mouth slightly open but her gaze had switched over to the table. "And then, Louis, of course, has been on again and off again with Alice Longbottom over there, and currently, though the longing stares in her direction suggest otherwise, they are off again. Which leaves, Mr. Potter." Matilda moved her gaze back to me. "But anyone with a pulse can see that he's still mad about you. And that you're just as mad about him."
I stared at her, dropping my necklace, speechless.
"How...how did you know all that?" I asked her, staring at her like she had antlers or something.
She just smiled at me. "I have a subscription to Witch Weekly. It's my guilty pleasure." She thought of something and frowned. "Although I don't like it when they shit talk my daughter."
"Trust me, I'm not a huge fan of that either," I said, laughing slightly.
"So it's true then?" Matilda asked, leaning in closely and acting like a teenage girl, despite being nearly forty years old. "You're still mad about Al?"
I looked back at him. I'm not really sure why I hesitated to answer her, when I knew the answer.
In my peripheral vision, I saw Alice get up off her bar stool and head over to the table. She smiled at them as she approached and I could tell she was telling them off for being so loud. Then Lou started whining to her (once Alice realized that he didn't cheat on her, she started speaking to him again) about how he wanted a firewhiskey and that she was 17, so she could buy him one. She laughed and bantered back to him and I saw Al roll his eyes before getting up and heading in the direction Rose was in. He scanned the rest of the pub and his eyes fell on me, causing him to slow his pace slightly. He must have noticed the tear stains on my cheeks and the fact that I was sitting across from a woman, who was so clearly my mother, because he mouthed, "You okay?" to me. I gulped, suddenly hit by the fact that, no, I wasn't okay since this was the first time in weeks that he had been civil with me. That he had even showed that he cared about me still. I nodded and held his gaze for a few more seconds before he broke away and walked to Rose, taking the seat Alice had vacated and shooing all the blokes away.
"Yeah," I said, shifting my gaze from Al to Matilda. "I'm still, totally and completely mad about Al."
A/N: Yay chapter 22! I really like this chapter, personally. It's probably one of my favorites, though it is a tad shorter than the most recent chapters.
So what did you guys think? She met Matilda! Matilda told her all about what happened with her dad and Addie still didn't leave her. Also, there was finally some Scorose action! Also a bit of Louice, but not too much. And hardly any Aldie action until the end. But hey, it's the little stuff that counts right?
Follow my blog! I post a bunch of stuff on there and all the people who follow me have a heads up of when an update is coming and even have a little bit of knowledge about the chapter. Just go to my author's page and follow the link :D
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