Rose and Toby walked alone in the grounds, hands close but not intertwined. They hadn’t spoken for quite some time, the wind dragging away any attempts of conversation.
Rose looked down at her scuffed trainers, her jeans ending in an inch of mud. She thought of a few spells that would rectify this, making it a sort of game in her head to distract her from what she knew she had to say.
Toby put his hand in his pocket, the rain starting to come down. They walked on. Rose’s hair was soaked through and straggly by the time Toby reached the tree and sat down on the limb lounging on the wet ground. Rose sat down beside him, and looked back towards the Castle.
She wondered where he was, although she knew she shouldn’t care. Toby sat next to her, perfect and sensitive, caring and so in love with her. And she couldn’t even love him back. She could sense that he knew that. But there was a downside to his complete devotion.
He couldn’t, and wouldn’t, let her go.
Rose rested her head against the bark, oblivious to the opening and closing of Toby’s mouth as he formulated a sentence to say.
‘I love you,’ he said hopefully. He didn’t see the tear streak down her face, her long fingers wiping it away quickly. She looked up at the sky, the salty air reviving her momentarily.
An owl flew away into the distance- Rose watched it go wistfully. She didn’t want to be there, alone with Toby and her conscience. So she enveloped herself in the only escape she had.
Her ears rang with what he had said, the effect of it like nothing she had felt before. She summoned his voice in her head, soft and consuming, making her skin tingle even though she didn’t know why. She had told herself that there was a draught, or that it was just because she hadn’t expected him to say it.
Her mouth had stayed shut, but she hadn’t had the strength to pull away. So her forehead remained against his, their eyes locked. For a split second she was concerned that he was looking for something in response, until she realised that his eyes told her the exact opposite. He understood why she had to let the moment pass, why she had only responded by pressing her lips to his, why he had to let her walk away even though her heart didn’t want to.
She turned back at the door, her throat closing up when she saw that he was still looking at her. Then the bookcases had disappeared, and it felt like it was only them in an empty room. Scorpius had her transfixed, and she literally had to pull herself away as she left the library.
As soon as she reached the corridor, she leaned against the wall, letting the cool stone freeze the emotions flooding her brain. Her cheeks began to cool, and she hoped that the redness had disappeared with the heat.
When she was finally content with the colour of her face, she had walked. She let her feet take over- so consumed by thoughts of Scorpius that she didn’t recognise the corridors at all. She didn’t even recognise the tapestry until her feet planted her directly in front of it.
It was as she remembered it, and now as she sat under the tree next to Toby, it flashed in her mind again.
The knight held his sword aloft, atop a white unicorn that had yellowed due to age. Rose thought this rather unremarkable, apart from the figure on the unicorn in the corner. The witch held her wand in much the same way as the knight, her long red hair congregating in a neat pile on the grass. Rose had focused on her with wonder, trying to mimic the determination on the witch’s face. Her imagination ran wild, filling with images of terrific battles and mellow sunsets as the victors departed together on their noble steeds. Until she opened her eyes and looked down at her jeans and t-shirt, in love with someone who was not her boyfriend and sporting cheeks that would rival tomatoes.
Rose brushed her fingers against the fabric, crumpling the face of the (blond-haired) knight. Then she had ducked behind the tapestry, sinking down in the archway that she had forbidden herself from returning to.
‘Rose.’ Toby’s voice cut through the memory, dragging Rose back to the hostility of the present. She turned her head, but she no longer felt anything when she looked at him. ‘We need to talk.’ She didn’t reply, so he continued. ‘Do you remember our first date?’ She looked at her lap; he swallowed. His heart had stopped, his temples beating in its place. ‘I took you to the Astronomy Tower and I showed you all of the stars I could remember. Do you remember how you felt?’
‘Toby, please. You don’t have to do this.’
‘Because I remember how I felt. I’d thought about you every day for two months. And then you were there, and it wasn’t just in my head. And I still feel like that. We’re still those two third years arguing over the Big Dipper. And I still love you. More than anything.’ He reached for her hand, ignoring her reluctance and pulling her towards him. ‘So I want to make things better.’
Toby brought his lips down to Rose’s and kissed her passionately. Rose opened her eyes, brown hair dominating her vision. She tried to look at something else, waiting for it to be over. Kissing Toby reminded her of kissing Scorpius. Thinking about kissing Scorpius reminded her that she was kissing Toby. And that made her feel guiltier than thinking about kissing Scorpius. Put simply, she felt like she was cheating… but not on her boyfriend.
She pulled away from Toby, who looked confusedly at her, his arms still around her waist. She felt like she was going to be sick, dizziness making everything look fuzzy. She stood up, and had to lean against the trunk of the tree while she steadied herself.
‘Rose. What the hell is going on? You’ve got to talk to me!’ Toby tried to take her hand again but she turned away from him. She started to walk briskly back to the Castle with a bemused Toby running behind her. She knew they probably appeared fairly comical, a stumbling girl running away from her bewildered boyfriend.
Rose carried on running, forgetting that she was a pitiful sprinter and Toby was not. She thought that she had got away with it, the door back inside nearing, but then he grabbed her arm and she had to face the question she didn’t want to answer.
‘Do you love me Rose?’ He looked fragile, but Rose felt as if he could do more harm to her like this than if he was carrying a Basilisk fang. She hesitated, buying herself more time to think of an answer that wouldn’t crush his heart into a million pieces.
‘I’m in love with Scorpius Malfoy.’ She could just picture his face screwing up as the silent tears began, she’d have to think of something else.
‘I did love you, but I need some time to… reassess. It’s not you, it’s me.’ Nope, that sounded worse somehow. Rose sighed in her head- how could anything be worth this?
‘No.’ Rose balled up her fists hidden behind her back. That wasn’t good enough either. She did love Toby, somewhere deep inside. She had been imagining her love for Scorpius, seeing him as exit to a relationship that she had grown dangerously comfortable in. He was a minor distraction from the love of her life. And he was standing right in front of her as she threw away everything they had. Toby: loyal and in love with her. What more could she ask for?
‘Of course… Of course I love you.’ Yet, even the words that actually left her mouth sounded foreign and forced. As she kissed him, she felt like it wasn’t actually her. That she was far away, with someone else.
Toby pulled her in once again, and Rose kept her eyes closed this time. They kissed like they never had before. For Toby, this was because every time was more powerful than the last. For Rose, it was because she felt like she was acting as another person.
Then he took her hand and led her back to the tree, conjuring a blanket for them to sit on as they began to while away their Saturday afternoon.
Scorpius watched them from the window, wanting more than anything to run down to Rose and take her away. He could see she was unhappy, and when she had started running away he had thought it was his chance. He knew he couldn’t pressure Rose into doing anything, and he would never forgive himself if he tried to. He needed her to choose him of her own volition- he had chosen her over Tabitha. Why wasn’t that enough?
Scorpius turned away from the window; sick of watching them kiss awkwardly.
He started walking down the corridor, meandering to his common room where he could get into his bed and forget this whole thing. Although he would probably dream of Rose again.
The same dream that wasn’t a dream at all, more of a flashback to that day when he had told her that he loved her.
He couldn’t look away, as she’d left the library. As soon as the door had closed behind her he had wanted, needed, to see her face again. He sat frozen to his chair; his eyes still lingering where she had been. He couldn’t remember thinking that he wanted to follow her, but ultimately, that was what he had the intention of doing when he jumped up.
Scorpius had sped to the Entrance Hall, but he couldn’t see her there or in the Great Hall. However, he did see Albus, and began running up the stairs before he could get distracted and lose his purpose. He had to talk to her, see her, before her clingy boyfriend did.
The stairs began to change, and he was directed into a new corridor, which he vaguely recognised. He began to walk down it, ignoring the pictures covering the walls and the fluttering of eyelashes aimed at him by the women inside them.
Scorpius reached the end, faced with two possible routes to the left and right of him. He was just about to turn left when he heard a muffled sob from the other direction. He bolted into the branch on the right, the crying getting louder. It had been instinctive, the realisation that he knew where it was coming from.
The tapestry had been pulled back, and he had seen her instantly. She was balled up on the floor, her knees tight to her chest as she wept into them. He let the material fall behind him, and the swish of it made her look up. Rose’s eyes were puffy, tears still falling from them.
Scorpius brought a handkerchief out of his pocket and handed it to her, ducking slightly under the archway into a small broom cupboard beyond it. It was dark apart from the ignited wand on the floor beside Rose, so Scorpius lit his own wand to add some illumination. The sobs echoed off the walls, adding to the haunting atmosphere in the confined space. There was also a thick layer of dust… everywhere. It covered the walls and the corners and the floor, apart from the space around Rose where she had removed it with a charm. Scorpius smiled at her ability to be practical in even the most difficult of situations.
With great trepidation, he had sat down beside her, and edged his arm around her shoulders. She leaned into him slightly, but her knees were still clutched against her like a parachute. She blew her noise loudly into the handkerchief. Scorpius tried very hard not to recoil.
‘Rose. Why are you crying?’ This had been a stupid question to ask, but it was out of Scorpius’ mouth before he could stop himself. So he sat quietly and waited for her reply.
‘Because I’m a… hor-rible person…’ She sniffled dramatically, and continued to sob.
‘You’re not a horrible person. I couldn’t love a horrible person.’
‘I thought… the point… of lo-ve… was that you love… the person… even if they’re horr-ible.’ Scorpius laughed, and pulled her in closer.
‘True. But I love you because you’re not horrible.’ The sobbing ebbed away, and Rose slowly looked up. Her cheek was resting on Scorpius’ shoulder, and there was a damp patch on his jumper where her tears had collected.
‘So you really love me then?’ The sadness had been displaced by curiosity and Scorpius could see it all, even the hint of scepticism etched between her furrowed brows. He wrapped her more fully in his arms, and kissed her as he had never kissed anyone before. His body shivered, fighting against his need for oxygen so he could prolong that moment for just a few seconds longer. Scorpius rested his head against hers as they stopped kissing, and she smiled for the first time since he had found her. ‘That’s quite a good answer.’ She rested against the wall, momentarily content. Then her face became troubled again and she looked up at him with the same inquisitive expression.
‘What now?’ Scorpius sighed, feigning frustration. He laced his fingers into hers, gently pressing against her fingertips as they sat side by side.
‘Why do you feel that way?’
‘Why do I love you?’ She nodded. ‘I don’t even think it was a rational decision.’ He paused. ‘I just knew. I think it was you storming across the Quidditch pitch, and I didn’t know who it was because it was dark in the grounds and I was so high up. But I knew who I wanted it to be. Ever since then, footsteps have been you- voices approaching have been you. I wanted everything to be you, just so I could see you, hear you for one more minute.’ He swallowed. ‘I sound pathetic. I sound like Tabitha…’ Rose laughed in spite of herself and moved around so that her back lay against the opposing wall. She took his hands in her own and pulled herself forwards until she was kneeling in front of him.
‘It’s not pathetic. It’s the sweetest thing anyone’s ever said to me. And I really want to say it back. But I can’t. I have a boyfriend, and I can’t be honest with you until I’ve been honest with him.’
‘I don’t want to wait forever Rose. I love you. And I want everyone to know it.’
‘I know, but it won’t be forever. Give me tomorrow. I’ll break it off with him, I promise.’ Then she had kissed him, and he had walked her to the Entrance Hall, the hope of tomorrow carrying him all the way there.
So there he was. Tomorrow. And she had broken her promise.
Scorpius reached the Entrance Hall, and ran straight for the common room. He had nearly crossed the hall when an odious girl in his year appeared in front of him.
‘Scorpius,’ her high-pitched voice was tinged with unintelligence. Scorpius didn’t know if this was even possible, but it was what he was feeling, and he knew he had to get away as quickly as possible. ‘I’m Ada, Ada Plum. I think we should be going out.’
‘I don’t,’ he flatly replied, and tried to get around her. She stood resolutely in his way.
‘I’m sure I can change your mind.’ Her attempts to be flirtatious made Scorpius cringe; he wanted to get away so quickly.
Then time slowed, and he could see her lunging. Her arms were outstretched, her bulbous lips pursed in a way that made him want to escape. He tried to move his feet, but running away seemed impossible due to how intimidating Ada Plum was.
Suddenly, she was kissing him, and it was the most horrific thing he had ever experienced. But he wasn’t stopping her. Why wasn’t he stopping her? He stood frozen for an eternity, as this clearly inexperienced kisser abused his face in front of most of the school.
She stepped away, leaving Scorpius appalled in the middle of the Entrance Hall. He wiped his mouth with the back of his sleeve, and shuddered with the trauma that was becoming his life. He hated Ada with every fibre of his being, her stupid face being ripped to pieces in the graphicness of his mind.
And then he saw her, standing by the door with her hand in Toby’s. She was too far away, but he thought he could see tears in her eyes. Their eyes met, and a cold sensation went down his spine as he wallowed in the tragedy of the fact that she thought this was revenge.
He turned away and ran, lacking direction but gaining distance from the disaster behind him.
So with the shouts of ‘I KISSED SCORPIUS MALFOY’ in his ears, Scorpius started crying, the tears almost as foreign as the kiss that had hurt the only girl he had ever loved.
Ahhhh, that was hard to write! I hope you liked it and you viewed it as a cohesive piece of text. Yes? No? OK. I’m sorry…
As for the actual content, what did you think? Are you angry at Rose? Are you angry at Ada Plum? Are you angry at Toby? Do you pity him? What did you think of Rose and Scorpius under the archway? Cute? Awkward? Let me know in the review area and my happiness will make it worth your while!
We’ve got some very (well, I think so anyway) exciting chapters coming up, and I hope you’ll stick around for them!
I hope you enjoyed this slightly longer chapter. There might be more of them coming up… ;)
Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll go to my Meet the Author page at some point!
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