Chapter 36 : Thirty-six.
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I arrive at his house, prepared to protect him from something and by doing it I will change his opinion of me forever. I will defend him from something that will cut him so deep he wonít be able to heal. But I know, in time, heíll move on. Perhaps heíll forgive me; perhaps heíll come rushing back to me, but he will never find me. I will be long gone by then. I would have run far away from everything, from him, from my family, from my past.
The moment will definitely be something I will regret, but in time, Iíll learn that what I am doing is best for him. I love you, he had said, and I had returned the words, my voice weak and unsure. He just looked so much like Lorcan.
I didnít know whether I had been lying or telling the truth - the two had been so mixed up lately that I found it difficult to differentiate between them - but I will try and show and prove my affection for him, even though it will jeopardize everything we have been through, and every feeling and every emotion will be recalled and then torn to shreds by the lies and the deception.
No one likes a liar.
I feel queasy after I apparate to his house, gingerly hoping I havenít splinched myself. I stumble around ungracefully before unlocking the front gate, something my mother would not be very proud of.
It takes a sudden assault to the senses to remind the brain that it is lodged in a body: the smell of blood, for instance - and even sounds, such as the ticking of a clock or the buzz of flies. It took me awhile to work out where I was, lying outside Atticusí house, his deformed body just inches from my own. No Molly. No sign of the shadowy figures who stole her away.
The house, although small, is more intimidating than it had ever been before. The dark windows, surrounded by untamed ivy, are like eyes, watching me as I move slowly up the path Ė perhaps it knows what Iíve got to do, and is judging me. The front garden, overgrown with wild flowers and trees, briefly reminds me of childhood summers spent here, playing games and laughing, surrounded by my cousins and my friends. I distantly recall what itís like to feel safe, to be protected and warm and well fed. Itís something I havenít experienced in a while, and something I probably wonít feel for a long time.
The roses on the pathís edge snag at my dress as I wind my way through the untidy garden. Scorpius doesnít want me here - I can see him lurking by the tree on the other side of the road, his bags packed and ready to go - and neither would Rose, if she knew what I was going to do. I doubt sheíd even associate with me if she knew what I had done.
A very small part of me wanted to tell him, for it to just spill from my mouth and for it be over and done with, but something like that would crush him, and although Iíll have to live with it forever, I could never bring myself to do that to him.
I reach the front door and I exhale slowly, my breath coming in white clouds in front of my face. I wrap my jacket tighter around me, the chilly evening gripping at my bones. I had rehearsed my story over and over in my head, but I know he wonít believe me. He knows me too well. He will be able to tell whether I am lying.
I raise my gloved hand to the door, my clenched fist pausing just inches from the wood. If I didnít knock, if I left, I shall avoid this conversation and can disappear tonight - but he would come after me, demand why I didnít say goodbye and I cannot afford for him to be found by them. If I lie to him, I would protect him from something beyond my control. I want him to be safe. So I knock, and the two sounds rung out in the cold night air. The door opened, and he was standing in the doorway, looking down at me.
I smile, my cheeks pinching with the effort. My hand grips the edge of my jacket as he sweeps forward to kiss me lightly on the lips, and all too soon, it is over. I place a hand on the back of his neck and pull him back towards me, kissing him soundly and deeply, heart fluttering in my chest, wishing I didnít have to leave.
But I did, and I do.
I release him from my arms, because I am too much of a coward. I leave him stranded on his doorstep and I run all the way down the path, back towards Scorpius.
I turn around - to look at him one last time - and the surprise on his face has changed to a snarl of anger, a grimace of bewilderment. He stands stock still, and part of me wants him to chase after me and pull me into his arms.
But he doesnít. Scorpius grabs my hand and weíre away, swirling in the hideous vortex of space, and Iím crying and wishing I could do something to stop this. I just want it to end. I just want the world to stop and for the end to come, or for life to go back to normal. I want to go back to the beginning.
There is a certain process that must be followed, to emerge from the blackness that comes after a world ends: the pain of goodbyes, the tears, and the regret. We finally reach solid ground, and I take my first steps into the new world that I must make my own.
And that's it. I know this chapter is a pretty rubbish way to end things, but a lot of stuff will be addressed in the sequel. That's right, I said it, there will be a sequel and a LOT of questions you still have about this story will be answered in that. The ending of 'Dominique' is rushed, but that's the reason (you can also blame my dubious writing skills).
The good news is that this has taken me just over three years to write (three years and a week by this time this gets validated) so hopefully you'll have that long to wait before those questions are answered. Ha ha ha.
Thank you so much for all those who have stuck by this story from beginning to end... it's been a traumatic experience, fo sho, but thank you all the same. Special thanks to various puffins to have helped me along the way, especially Helena and Janechel. Thank you to every reviewer and every reader who have kept me going. You are all fabulous. ♥
Thanks to the validators and staff and forum people for helping me get this onto the site and for various French sentences. You are all great.
- Ends long author's note -
Say goodbye to Dom now. She dies in the next one.
Or does she?
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