Chapter 1 : Rose
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The sound of the front door echoed painfully in her heart. She sat on the bed, the silk sheet wrapped around her, for longer than she could recall. Finally, she got up with a sigh, picking up a shirt from the floor and pulling it over her head. The fabric's perfume made her eyes sting with unshed tears. His scent, his shirt. She made it a point to ignore the state of the bed as she sat down in front of the mirror and pulled at the knots in her hair with a brush. She willed herself to breath, but every breath broke her heart even more, as his presence lingered in the room he had left not even an hour before.
Rose Weasley looked at her reflection, noticing with a frown how her blue eyes had dulled and how her red hair fell flat across her shoulders. Even her physical appearance suffered when he was not there. The thought made her chuckle. How the mighty have fallen. If her mother and father could see her now, pinning for an impossible love, conducting a clandestine affair at the oddest of hours. If only they knew the identity of her partner in crime. In an attempt to shake these thoughts and her curls, she started fluffing her hair and applying a light layer of make up. Ron and Hermione Weasley would never know. In the past years, she had distanced herself sufficiently from them to avoid their curious questions on her love life, her plans for the future or the state of her life. It was not the ideal situation, but it was her choice.
Leaving the mirror, she started pacing the room, her eyes falling upon the latest issue of the Daily Prophet. The headline read in bold letters “Ministry Gala Tonight.” Furiously, she picked up the paper and tossed it in the trash. Didn’t she know it? Was it not the reason she was alone right now? Her thoughts started wondering as she started at the place on the table where the newspaper had been just moments ago. It wasn’t really the Gala’s fault she was in this situation. It was her own.
Rose had always been an overachiever, courtesy of her Granger genes. She got top marks in school, rarely got into trouble and made friends easily. Unfortunately, for her, the world in which she lived was still divided by blood status and the animosities that had been rooted into her ancestors hadn’t ceased their existence, not even after two wars and countless attempts to rebuild. It was in this world, in that school, that she met him. They first spoke when she was fourteen, after years of competing silently against each other in classes and on the Quidditch field. They had been partnered for a project in Charms, in an effort to promote House unity on their teacher’s part. The heiress of the war heroes and the only son of the repenting Death Eater. Had nobody seen that it was a recipe for disaster?
The young girl had befriended Scorpius Malfoy that year and it had all gone downhill from there. She started blushing when he smiled in her fifth year, stealing glances in class or in the library. Sometimes they snuck out at night, spending countless hours hidden in the Astronomy Tower, away from prying eyes. He had made her open up to him like no other friend of hers had and in turn poured his most personal and private feelings to her. She fell in love with him and when he kissed her for the first time, Rose felt like she was complete. At sixteen, it’s very easy to believe you’ve found your soul mate, but Rose knew then, just as surely as she knew now, that he was it for her.
“Ro, if I try something, do you promise not to get mad?” Scorpius asked her, as they were sitting in their familiar spot on top of the Astronomy Tower. Her hair blew in the wind and her cheeks were flushed from the cold. She eyed him suspiciously.
“If you do something stupid like jump, I might be a little angry.” she warned, trying to keep the hint of amusement from her tone.
“You might think it’s stupid, but I don’t. So just, go with it.” he said, taking her hand and pulling her in towards him. Before she had any time to react, he had leaned in and placed his lips on hers, making her jump a little in surprise. To his delight, she had not pushed him away or ran screaming, but returned the kiss, tangling her small hands in his blonde hair.
“We can’t do this, S.” she finally whispered into his mouth as they parted, her position not changing.
“I don’t care. You’re the only one I want and I won’t let anybody tell me differently.” he argued, keeping her body pressed to his. “Trust me, Ro. We can do this, together.”
They kept their romance a secret, something only they knew and shared and it had made it all that much stronger. It was easy to sneak around at Hogwarts, in a large castle with hidden corridors and vast grounds to accompany it. It was the honeymoon of their relationship, neither of them thinking about the future and what it would bring. However, school was coming to a close and a decision was imminent. The day in which they chose to tell their parents would live in Rose’s mind forever.
They were eighteen, out of school for just a year and it was the hardest decision Rose ever had to make. When they went public, both of them would become outcasts. Scorpius had no room in Rose’s Muggle born and half blood world, where he would forever be looked upon with suspicion and Rose would never be welcomed in the world of aristocratic purebloods. She had bought a new dress and kept her make up to a minimum. Her hair was pulled away from her face and she clutched her tiny purse in her hands as she waited for Scorpius to pick her up in order to go to their lunch date with the Weasleys. When he came, an hour late, his hair was messy, his clothes creased and hanging at odd angles from his body. With tearful eyes, he told her that his father, Draco Malfoy, had suffered a heart attack the previous night and was currently admitted at St. Mungo’s. Their announcement would have to wait.
Unfortunately, for Rose, the Malfoys had other plans for their son.
Astoria Greengrass Malfoy had taken every advantage she could from her husband’s illness and persuaded Scorpius that the only way in which his father would make a full recovery was if he saw him make a respectable marriage to an equally respectable young woman. She had not forced or coerced him into the marriage, but she had raised her only son to respect her opinions, her wishes and this would be no different. Six months later, Rose had wept over the article announcing the wedding of Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy to Camille Alexandra Kensington. Back then, she was sure he was gone forever, but two months after the wedding there was a knock on the door in the middle of the night.
Rose sat up straight in her bed, startled from the loud sounds that echoed through her small flat. Grabbing her wand from the bedside table, she made her way carefully to the front door.
“Who is it?” she shouted, trying to keep her voice steady. Her heart was racing and she was making a mental list of all defense spells she had ever learned.
“It’s me, Ro. Open up please.” came the reply and it made her heart stop for half a second. Weeks had passed without a sign, not even a letter. Angry, she opened the door and shoved the wand into his chest.
“How dare you? After all this time? After what you did? You show up here in the middle of the night and expect me to just open up?” she barked, jabbing him in the chest with every word.
“I needed to see you. I needed to speak to you. I’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake.” he pleaded, trying to get her to stop attacking him.
“You did Scorpius, but it was showing up here tonight! Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t just hex you and leave you outside my door for your wife to find?” she hissed, spitting out the last words as if they burned her tongue.
“Because you were right about everything, Ro.” he managed to reply and that made her stop poking him and take back her wand.
"Really, I was?” she chuckled bitterly. “What made you see sense?” she inquired, raising an eyebrow at him.
“Her uncle is next in line for Minister. It was just announced today. And guess which family is set to hold a high position in the new administration?” he said, shaking his head and rubbing his forehead with a hand.
“So there was an ulterior motive. I told you, even then. But it’s too late now, S.” she replied, using her old nickname for him. “You’ve made your choice.”
He started to advance towards her and she raised her wand one more time, trying to keep him at a distance. He took her hand and gently pulled out the wand, to her surprise, she showed no resistance, even though every fiber inside her was screaming for her to get away.
“I chose wrong. I need you. We’ve kept this a secret for so long, what’s a few more months?” he whispered softly and his tone made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. If she was ever to be free of him, she had to send him away now. He closed the distance between them and when his lips touched hers, all her reason and self-control were thrown out the window. She put her arms around his neck and with his free hand; he circled her waist, deepening the kiss. Scorpius lifted her up and her legs were now around his middle as he started walking towards the flat, shutting the door behind them as they went.
Silly, silly girl she admonished herself. How easy it was for you to believe him, to hope that one day you would be Mrs. Malfoy. The months passed by and Camille had been sharing her bed with the man she loved for almost six years now.
She was perfectly pleasant of course, educated and intelligent, reasonably pretty and very well groomed. Nevertheless, she had forced Rose to become the other woman in the life of a man where she never held the first place. As much as she would’ve liked for her to be stupid and oblivious, she realized that Scorpius was having an affair very early on, but like so many high society wives before her, she kept quiet about his indiscretions, to avoid scandal and public humiliation. The thought alone almost made Rose feel bad, but then she recalled how the woman had unknowingly messed up her whole life and the feelings of regret never lasted.
Right now, she imagined, Camille was pulling her brown curls into an elegant twist, putting on expensive jewelry and gloves, preparing to attend her Gala, on the arm of her husband. The idea of Scorpius being somebody else’s husband was wrong in her mind. She had known him longer; she knew his body and soul, inside and out. If she closed her eyes, the small trace of freckles on his back would be as clear to her as if he was standing in front of her eyes. She knew every mark, every scar, every joy and sorrow. Yet he shared his life with another.
The last thought made Rose’s breath stop in her throat. The idea was something she believed she had grown accustomed to, but never had it been clearer than it was tonight, in the darkness of her room, with her feet curled under his shirt on her sofa. She had given him almost a decade out of her life. At her young age, she realized she had catered to his needs for more than half of it. However, she always came second, forced to spend her holidays alone, nobody to be there on the mornings of her birthdays. Something snapped inside of her and she got up, marching across the room towards her writing desk, scrambling for quill and parchment as if fearing her newfound courage would fade away. With a trembling hand, she scribbled the lines that would symbolize a new beginning in her life.
You and I both knew that the day for this would come. I have given you six years to make a choice but it is now obvious that I must be the one to make it for us. I do not expect you to choose me. However, I can no longer life a half-life, sharing you and putting myself second. I have to come first, even if it is just in my life.
Folding the parchment, she gave it to the small spotted owl that was perched on top of its cage, whispering the name of the person that was to receive it. As she rested her forehead against the window, her eyes followed the bird as it departed, carrying her sealed fate.
She had made the choice, she was free.
Rose took several deep breaths to calm her furious heartbeat and turned to face the room. Anger surged through her and she pulled the sheets in which their bodies had tangled so many times before from the bed, throwing them across the room. Her hands shook as she pulled the pillows from their cases and gathered the soft, silky fabric in her arms, dumping everything in her bathtub and turning the water on. She dumped too much detergent on top of it and started washing them in a sort of frenzy, stopping only when her hands screamed in protest from the hot water. She pulled the shirt over her head and threw it in with the rest of the evidence that Scorpius had ever been in her room, in her flat, in her life. She barely registered the hot tears that were pouring down her face or the steam that had enveloped the entire bathroom.
Right now, he would surely be reading the letter, after which he would burn it and take his wife to the party. How fitting for her, a party on the night she got her husband back. The irony of the situation almost made her smile. Turning back to her sheets, she rinsed them thoroughly and hung them on the clothes’ line above the tub trying her hardest to concentrate on the task in front of her and not let her mind dwell on other things.
There was a knock on the door. Rose suspected it was her imagination playing tricks on her, though she had no reason to hope for somebody at her door, not tonight, not ever again. A second knock, more forceful, convinced her she was not imagining it. She pulled a bathrobe around her body and crossed the room once more, turning the knob to face her unwanted visitor.
He stood there, his hair as messy as it had been six years ago, the top of his dress robes loosened. But there was one more thing Rose noticed with surprised. A trunk lay at his feet. Her eyes searched his, blue meeting blue and he was the one who broke the silence.
“I wasn't the one who received the letter. “
Camille Kensington Malfoy eyed the little bird perched on the bedroom window curiously. It was unusual for anybody to deliver mail at this hour, not when all her acquaintances would be meeting her in only an hour. She opened the window and retrieved the parchment, noticing that there was only an initial scrawled on top.
Her gloved hands began to shake as she read the note that was addressed to her husband, mixed feelings surging through her. How dare she write to him when he was at home, with his wife? But as the contents of the letter started revealing themselves to her, something else replaced that anger. Joy, happiness, calm. It was over. The other woman was leaving Scorpius and then she would be free to make him fall in love with her. A smile had crept on her face and in her exhilaration she did not hear the door opening behind her.
“Camille? What do you have there?” Scorpius asked, looking at her curiously from across the room. A laugh escaped the woman’s lips as she turned to face her husband.
“It’s something for you, Scorpius dear.” she replied, tossing the letter on the bed next to her, for him to read.
“What is it?” The tone in which he spoke those words showed his displeasure at her reading his mail.
“The answer to my prayers.” she stated simply and returned to her beauty routine.
His insides turned to ice as he read Rose’s words and realization dawned on him that he was about to lose her. That he had indeed lost her. He felt his legs almost give out and he took a seat on the side of the bed, rereading the note repeatedly, trying to find new meaning to the few sentences scribbled in it.
“You don’t need to look to upset, darling. After all, what could be more amazing than a chance for you to actually get to know your wife.” she commented, her tone light and the smile still on her features.
Scorpius felt like he was going to be sick. Surely, he had not been the best husband but he had always appreciated the fact that Camille was a kind woman. But this, her attitude, it did not show kindness, it showed cruelty.
“I don’t think I’ll be taking that chance.” he announced, making her turn on her heels and march towards him.
“I think I heard you wrong, husband.” she started, pressing on the word. “But if I recall correctly, your little girlfriend just broke up with you and under the law I am still your wife.”
“Under the law Camille.” he hissed. “But in my heart you know as well as I do that you were never the one. I fell in love with her when we were together, then fell deeper in love with her in the years we were apart.”
“Fine then, have it you way.” she spat. “I don’t need you to love me. I was fine all these years and I’ll be fine for as many as necessary.”
Scorpius was shocked by the woman he now had in front of his eyes, her arms crossed, and her eyes ablaze with anger. And like never before, the rest of his life seemed like a vast and desolated desert.
“”You won’t have to be fine.” he announced. “I’m leaving tonight.”
By the end of his story, Rose became aware that they were still standing in front of the door. Whatever she had expected to happen, this was not it. After all the years in which she had loved Scorpius, her heart was now afraid to swell up with the happiness that she knew she should be feeling.
“What does this mean?” she inquired, placing a hand on her hip and studying his face.
“It means that, really, there was no choice to make. It’s always been you.”
Their lips found each other in seconds, pressing feverishly against each other as she pulled him inside the flat, closing the door behind them for the last time. A choice had been made and they would be facing its consequences together.
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