Chapter 1 : A Study of Love
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Your throat hurts from the screaming. Recriminations, accusations and the most vile things you can think of were torn from the recesses of your soul and hurled at him, hoping that the shards of your broken heart would rip through his skin, embed themselves in his soul and rip it apart.
Heís left you. You know itís for the last time now. You know heís not coming back. You will have to be strong somehow in the coming days, months, years. But not today.
You gather the rising despair around you like the delicate strands of silk and desperately weave it into a flimsy shield to hide behind. You hope that this will hold for now, until youíre able to forge armor from the anger that you know hides inside. Somewhere.
Itís hard to think of how this all came about. The way your lives together had started is so very different from how it ends now.
You go along in life, thinking that youíre okay with being alone, that you have your friends and youíre going to be fine. At least for some time yet. And then suddenly, youíre watching a movie and sheís curled up at your side, a position that youíve been in many times before. Except now it means something. You realize that you want to be close to her like this all the time. And it scares you.
She makes a contented sound that reaches deep inside you and stops somewhere in the middle, in a place youíve been told where your heart resides. It ricochets off the empty walls before finally settling in a spot that seems as if it was specially reserved. A warm glow emanates, the currents at first reaching tentatively out until it spreads further and further inside of you, growing in strength until you feel it in your toes and fingers and the top of your head and you canít help but shift on the couch because suddenly your skin is too small to contain this feeling inside.
Her head lifts off your shoulder so she can look at you quizzically. You canít think at this point, the warmth having taken a hold of you, your blood pounding in your ears and you bend your head to kiss her.
You do end up bursting when she kisses you back.
The stranger slides against you, the action familiar, the skin not. Youíre trying not to think of it as cheating. You havenít heard from him in months. Long months that youíve filled with friends, family and now, other men. Itís chipped against your soul, the fragments of your heart and you think that soon, there will be nothing left of you. Not after the personal erosion that has occurred over time.
That silken despair you hoped would harden into self righteous anger never amounted to anything. It stayed as flimsy as when you first wove it and itís lain useless at your feet since your sister mentioned his name, two days after heíd left. Youíve tried to call up Hate and Betrayal, tried to cast protective charms with these volatile emotions but theyíve been stripped away by the ever-hovering Insecurity and the pitiful Love. You canít love him. But you do.
The most that you can do is remain numb. Unfeeling inside and out. You suppose youíve become a sort of challenge for the men who meet you in the dark and smoky bars, the ice queen to be conquered by their hot passion. You canít even summon black irony at the thought.
The man tries. He tries to get a reaction out of you but in the end, he fails, just as others have failed. The same cruel words come spilling out of his mouth, the attempts to assuage his manly ego. Youíre sitting up in the bed, your hair falling in a dark auburn tangle around you, one sheet barely covering your nakedness. You just stare blankly at him as he storms around the cheap hotel room, pulling on his clothes. Your eyes unnerve him even more and he slams out of the room, yelling about the priggishness of Weasley girls and no wonder your husband left you.
Maybe numb is a good feeling.
Work is your solution to everything. When you were told that your grandmother was dying and there was nothing you could do about it, you went to Gringottís and signed on as a Curse-breaker. When the fights with Molly first started, you went even deeper into the caverns of the bank to find the nastiest of treasures and the evilest of curses. When you finally couldnít take it all and left her, you asked for an assignment that consigned you to the deserts of Africa and the painful rays of the unfriendly sun.
You raise a hand to shield your pale eyes as you scan the horizon, hoping that the man you sent to get extra help for this particular aspect of the dig would be spotted on the horizon. Nothing moves on the sandy dunes, save a heat haze that hangs low close to the ground.
Sighing, you bend once again to continue shoveling back the dirt. The physical work is welcome. You keep trying to forget that gnawing hole inside of you, the gaping space youíve tried to fill with the thrill of discovery, the satisfaction at having beaten the older curses. Itís not an endeavor youíve been successful at.
Your shovel hits something hard and for a moment, youíre finally able to let go of Molly as you focus on these crucial steps of curse-breaking. Bending down, you clear the dirt away from the surface, revealing a symbol that causes your heart to seize up and your breath catch. Because you realize youíve made a mistake and then pain explodes behind your eyes and the world disappears.
You canít suppress the giggles that tickle inside as he carries you over the threshold of your new home. Youíve never been the giggling type Ė it was hard to be, given the family you grew up with (ďNo, Molly, I canít take you to the shop because youíve got to do your homework.Ē ďMolly, sit up straight.Ē ďMolly, you know it isnít proper to get only an ĎEí in your NEWTs.Ē). But the feeling settling into your bones, fusing with the marrow, carrying a sense of forever was too much to be contained in your petite frame.
Perhaps the emotion was leaking out your fingertips and into your young husband, for Rhys has a grin so wide it takes over his face. His dark head tips down to yours, enough so that the ever rebellious lock falls into his eyes.
Youíre struck anew by the sparkle of love in his eye and the hand that youíd lifted to brush the stray hair away, cups his face instead to bring him closer for a kiss.
Shock settles into your bones at the news.
Iím sorry, maíam. Rhys was on a dig in Africa when he encountered the Tetunkan Curse overlaying the buried treasure heíd found. As you are aware, the Curse activates when revealed to sunlight, leaving behind--
You canít listen any longer and abruptly stand up, effectively cutting off the bank representative sent to deliver your doom.
Get out. Your voice is steel covered with unwanted grief. You will not scream and you will not cry in front of this stranger. Where is your family? Where are one of the numerous cousins that litter the English and Scottish countryside? Why are you left to deal with this on your own?
Youíve gone through Denial and into Anger as swiftly as it took to take a breath. But you donít care that youíre about to take it out on this man who attempts to look sympathetic as he nods and gets up quietly. You stare at him as he makes his way to the door, unhindered by the loss that threatens to break you in two.
He pauses in the doorway, turning slightly back to where youíre standing, his eyes tired and sad for you, a young woman left alone. Iím sorry.
You nod once, fearing that anything else will break the minor control you have willed together to keep yourself standing. He steps out and shuts the door.
You crumple to the floor, mouth opened in silent screaming.
He ends up kissing your nose that after that first nervous date. You explode into laughter, distilling the tension thatís suddenly drummed up between you. When did you start thinking of Rhys as a man instead of your friend?
You find that you donít actually care as your gaze catches his and his hands come up to cup your face. Itís wonderful feeling this way, that youíre something so precious that he feels that he needs to take care, to try to be as perfect as possible with you. You can feel your smile widening as you stare at each other. You donít even know what youíre trying to say with your eyes or what heís trying to communicate in his. All you know now is that itís this moment that youíll keep in your heart, that will sustain you in the darker spots of your life.
You just donít realize how dark it will get and the universe mourns for you.
Hi. My name is Char and I used to write a lot of fanfiction. And Iím back with this meager excuse of a fic. But I had to get something out. Or allow my brain to stultify. Thank you for reading.
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