Chapter 7 : Everything Has Changed
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It would be easy to blame the entire situation on bad luck, his parents or fate, but Albus knew that he alone had gotten himself into this messy situation. He had spent his entire life trying to fit into a neat little box, but it always seemed to come back to bite him. He wanted to be the good Gryffindor son of Harry Potter, one that people respected for his courage, bravery and his ability to do what is right. Life had other plans for him though, he knew that the moment he was sorted into Slytherin. It was his worst fears come to life, and it made him push himself even harder to become something more.
Albus watched as his brother James veered off the path of a true Gryffindor, with his constant partying and drinking. Each week it seemed there was a new article in the tabloids smearing the Potter name. He knew he had to be the good son; that being the lone Slytherin Potter would be his only crime.
It was not like his parents ever mentioned anything about being disappointed in him, he knew deep down that they would always be proud. Aria would say it was his own insecurities and nothing more. He knew she was right, but how did one move past them?
Since the moment that he met her, Albus knew that Aria was something special. She was driven and as internally screwed up as he was. He had always found it quite ironic how she offered help to others, but she did not seem to know how to get past her own issues. He knew it all came down to the loss of her father. She hadn’t been the same since.
Another fact that he knew, was that he had to have her in his life, no matter how selfish that made him. He deserved to be happy right?
He sat alone in the crowded restaurant lost in thought. It seemed that he was surrounded by couples. Across from his table was an elderly couple who looked to be deeply in love. He wondered if they had always been that way or was it something that came with decades of experience. He thought to his parents who acted like newlyweds most of the time. Sure they had their fights, his mother was a Weasley after all, but he knew deep down that nothing could ever tear them apart.
Albus wanted that. More than anything in the world, he just wanted to be happy. Sure he was a guy and tended to think with an organ other than his brain, but deep down he just wanted to be wanted. Aria made him feel that way; he knew just how much she cared for him. His desire to return those feelings seemed to occupy his every thought, but something was stopping him. He feared the hindering source, as it was not something that he was particularly proud of.
“Earth to Albus” called a soft voice, drawing him from his thoughts.
In front of him stood a radiant looking Isabelle, her long hair falling around her bare shoulders. There was a natural quality to her that made her beauty seem effortless. It was what had drawn Albus in the first time they met; she wasn’t like the other girls who seemed to hide behind ten different layers of makeup.
“Izzy” he managed to reply, as he stood to kiss her cheek. The gesture in itself felt so wrong and unnatural to him, but he struggled through it.
Albus knew that he had to come clean, that he somehow had to end things with Isabelle. He had every intention of being with Aria, but it felt like there was this leash that was holding him back. No matter how hard he tried to pull away, something kept him rooted. Normally the thought of being tied to a woman would have excited the immature side of him, but nothing about this situation was entertaining.
He watched as she sat her small frame on the wooden chair, taking her napkin to place upon her lap. Her every move seemed gracefully and well trained. Albus’ thoughts moved to Aria, and how different the two girls were. A bull in a china shop would be the perfect description of her. Nothing about her was graceful, yet she too radiated beauty.
Groaning to himself, Albus tried to clear his thoughts of the ugly situation he was in, but he knew that he had to act soon. Something told him that Aria wouldn’t wait much longer for him to get his shit together and to be honest, he wouldn’t blame her.
“Are you just going to stare at your menu all night Albus? You could at least pretend to be enjoying my company” came a teasing voice from across the table.
“Ugh… I’m sorry Izzy, I’ve just got a lot on mind” he gruffly responded. He ran his hands through his hair, a habit he had when he was stressed.
Isabelle opened her mouth a few times, as if to say something, but no words seemed to form. They simply fell back into a comfortable silence.
He knew that Isabelle suspected that something was off with him, but the weight of the entire situation was too much for him to acknowledge. Moving to adjust the napkin on his lap, his arm brushed against something. Bringing his hand to his pocket, he felt a small but hard rectangular object. It was like lightning had struck him hard, as he recalled the mysterious object that he had just hours ago shoved in his dress pants.
His father had approached him merely an hour before he was about to step foot in the fireplace. They were in the family library, where Al liked to spend his time in solitude. In a loving moment, his father had placed in his hands a small gold diamond ring that had once belonged to Lily Potter I, Albus’ grandmother. It was long ago promised to the son who was first to be engaged, rather than being passed down to the oldest son. It was one of his father’s most prized possessions, and a decision Harry had not taken lightly.
Now the small ring felt like it weighed a tonne, and like the weight of the world was on Albus’ shoulders. While his heart told him to save it for Aria, his head was telling him that Isabelle was the better choice. Harry had given Albus the ring with the expectation that he would give it to the wonderful woman who was currently sitting in front of him. He did not want to let his father down, but how could he ever explain Aria to him?
“Alright Albus, seriously let’s just get out of here. This place is pretty stuffy anyways, and we can pick up a pizza or something on the way home” softly spoke Isabelle, shaking Albus from his internal debate. “Come on.”
The two of them stood up from their small table, as Albus left some money on the table to cover their drinks. Making a beeline for the front door, he continued to fumble with the ring box in his pocket.
“Let’s walk home, it’s only a few blocks” she insisted, as he opened the door for them to exit.
“Sounds like a good idea” he replied, as he followed her retreating form.
Without paying much attention, Albus pulled the box out of his pocket and took the opportunity to take another look at the newest cause of his inner turmoil. His eyes quickly flicked to Isabelle to make sure she was paying no mind to him as they walked down the front path away from the restaurant.
Just by looking at this ring, he could only imagine one person wearing it. No matter how he tried to picture it the other way, the ring suited his heart’s desire. He knew that now, without a doubt now. It also made what he was about all the harder. While he knew that the truth would hurt Isabelle, it was lying that was the worst.
Gravity seemed to have had it against him though, as he stumbled over his own feet and dropped the box. Quickly, Albus dove after the ring, hoping that Isabelle had not noticed the whole situation.
The gasp he heard from above answered his question. Looking up from the box within his hands, he saw that a shocked look was written all over Isabelle’s face, as her hand went up to cover her mouth.
Flashes of bright lights seemed to blind his vision for a few minutes, cause mass internal confusion within Albus. Panic began to set in, when he realized that the lights were coming from the magical cameras that were now surrounding him.
“Albus Potter is proposing!” yelled one voice.
Standing up from the ground, Albus had a hard time keeping his footing. A sense of alarm was coursing through his body as he turned to look at Isabelle. She too seemed just as shocked as he was. It was funny how easy one could forget about the paparazzi that always seemed to be stalking to the two of them.
Now, Albus was beating himself up for how the situation looked. There he was down on the ground holding a ring box, and now the whole world would see the pictures.
“Yes” came a panicked sounding voice from beside him.
“What?” questioned Al, bewildered. His eyes kept flicking between the girl at his side and the mass of flashing lights that seemed to be getting closer.
“Yes, I will marry you, you idiot!”
Smiling for the cameras, Isabelle took the box from Albus and opened it gingerly. Another gasp escaped her lips as she took in the sight of the beautiful ring. Hurriedly, she took the ring out of the box and placed it upon her slender finger.
This set off the cameras even more, as they continued to blind Albus. The whole situation was just too much for him and the world’s biggest feeling of dread began to suffocate him.
“When’s the wedding going to be?”
“What are you wearing Isabelle?”
“Where did you get the ring?”
“What does Harry Potter think of this engagement?”
Questions upon questions were being shouted out at the couple, as they posed for the cameras. While this was not at all what Albus wanted, how could he possibly correct his mistake right in front of a dozen cameras?
One thought though seemed to hit him the hardest: Aria…
A/N: Hey guys! I decided to try something different and see a bit from Al's point of view. I'd love to know what you think, especially since I'd like to do something similar in the future with James. I know a lot of you may be wondering where this story is going in terms of James or Al being the main love interest, but it will be a surprise.
I haven't been getting a lot of feedback which makes me a little nervous, but the amount of reads has been amazing. So thank you guys.
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