Chapter 7 : Sunsets and Stolen Kisses
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“Snap out of it Ez,” Enzo said, waving a hand in front of his sister’s face.
She blinked and turned to stare at Scorpius instead. He looked dejectedly, back. “Scorpius, how can you get yourself into this? How can you let something so stupid backfire like this?”
“Can you not be so judgmental please?” Scorpius muttered under his breath. “You think I know how this happened? All I want is to be with Rose without a million other things coming at me at once!”
Esmeralda’s face softened and she put a hand on Scorpius’s arm. “I know this isn’t what you signed up for, but you need to fix this once and for all.”
“How? How the hell do you expect me to fix this without making a bigger mess?”
Enzo rolled his eyes. Scorpius had the temper of an ogre. “What do you want?”
Scorpius looked at Enzo. “Rose. I want to be with her openly without any problems.”
Scorpius blanched. “I mean, I think she’s a beautiful girl. I guess I can be attracted to her, but I am definitely in love with Rose.”
Esmeralda stood up in frustration. “ Scorpius! You shouldn’t have to talk yourself into this! You can’t like both cousins but love one more and think that’s okay. How would Rose feel if she knew?”
“She would be crushed, and I know that and I don’t like Lily. I’m just confused about her after everything that has happened. I’ve spent more time treating Lily like my girlfriend than Rose and it’s kind of beginning to throw me off. And sometimes I think that being with Lily would be a lot easier, and I wouldn’t be going this crazy if I had fallen in love with Lily instead.” Scorpius ran his hands through his hair in aggravation. “I don’t even know where this is coming from! I want to be with Rose. Why am I feeling this way?”
Esmeralda and Enzo looked at one another as Scorpius continued voicing his inner battle.
“You know,” Scorpius began, turning to his best friends, “sometimes I just wish I lived a simple life where I could be with the girl who makes it easy on me, and I had a sister who wasn’t so damn difficult, and I had a mother who didn’t drive me up the fucking wall!” He stood up in front of Esmeralda and Enzo with a wild look in his eyes. “You two need to tell me what to do and I’ll do it because right now, I have never felt more stuck in my life. I can’t make this choice on my own.”
Esmeralda and Enzo looked at one another with raised eyebrows. Scorpius must be really out of it if he was putting his fate in other peoples’ hands. Scorpius, being the oldest child in his family and constantly taking care of his younger siblings, was always the one who made everyone else’s decisions. The fact that he was depending on someone else now made it obvious how desperate Scorpius actually felt.
Enzo smirked at his sister and turned to Scorpius. “Okay, since we’re making your decision, we say that you forget about Rose and stay with Lily. Your life will be easier, like you said yourself.” Esmeralda looked at her brother like he was insane, but both boys ignored her. “I’m sure if you continue playing house with Lily, you’ll both manage to end up together normally. It’ll be a fun little story to share with your children some day.”
“What?” Scorpius and Esmeralda exclaimed in unison.
Rose had slept through dinner the night before and did not wake up until 4 in the morning the next day. She continued to lie in bed until 8 am before she finally decided to push herself out of bed and get breakfast. She hadn’t eaten in 24 hours and her stomach felt like it was going to explode from hunger. It was Saturday so she knew that the great hall would be empty, and sure enough, when she walked in the only other people in there were professors and Nearly Headless Nick.
“Goodmorning,” she mumbled as she passed him and sat at the opposite end of the table. She loaded her plate with anything and everything within her reach and dug in, trying to ignore the crushing feeling pressing down on her.
Nearly Headless Nick floated over to sit closer to Rose. “Your cousin Lily and that Malfoy boy seem to be very much in love, do they not?”
Rose looked up slowly from her breakfast and grunted.
“Albus Potter does not seem too keen on their relationship. I mean I wouldn’t either were my sister to steal kisses from her boyfriend in front of me. No shame in today’s youth, if you ask me.”
Rose rolled her eyes. “Indeed. No shame at all.”
“Do you know the Malfoy boy well?” Nick asked, watching Rose pick at her food now.
“Yeah, I guess,” Rose said. “He’s quite the gentleman, actually.”
Nick snorted. “In my day, gentlemen kissed hands, not lips.”
Rose’s eyes rounded in horror. “Lips? No, you must be mistaken.”
“Oh no, my dear, a kiss smack on the lips in the middle of the great hall during lunch. In front of her brother, no less!”
“The nerve…” Rose muttered, more for Nick’s benefit than for anyone else’s. “Excuse me Nick, I really should be going.”
“Good day, Ms. Weasley,” Nick said, nodding his head and floating away.
Rose pushed open the doors and strode into the entry hall just as Scorpius and the Finnigan twins walked in from the courtyard entrance. Everyone froze in their tracks and stared at one another.
“Hey Rosie…” Scorpius said stepping closer to her. “Can we talk?”
Rose looked at Esmeralda and Enzo and back at Scorpius. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Scorpius,” Rose mumbled.
Scorpius looked back at his friends. “Oh, no, they’re alright. They know.”
Rose smiled slightly. “They know what exactly?”
Scorpius narrowed his eyes. He could tell something was off with Rose. “Listen, I’m really sorry about the other night. That drunk girl was my sister and I was really mad, and I know I have a short temper but I swear I’m working on it. Please Rose, can we just talk about this…about everything. I have a lot to get off my chest. And we should talk about…us.”
“Us?” Rose repeated blankly.
Scorpius took another step closer to her. “Yes. Us.”
Esmeralda and Enzo exchanged looks. This was just weird.
“Rose, are you okay?”
Rose blinked a few times as though the sun had blinded her. “What? Oh. Yes. No, I’m fine. We can talk. When?”
“How about now? By our tree?”
“Haven’t we learned our lesson about that tree, Scorpius?” Rose said. “How about we talk right here, right now?”
“Oh,” Scorpius said with a start, “yeah, sure…”
“Me first!” Rose said with excitement.
Scorpius waved a hand in her direction, allowing her to proceed.
“When were you going to tell me you kissed Lily?”
Esmeralda and Enzo took a step back in unison. “Hey, we’ll see you later Scorpius.”
Scorpius ignored them and stared at Rose in shock. “Who told you?”
“So it’s true?” Rose whispered.
“Yes. Well, technically yes. But no I didn’t mean to kiss her. I went in for a kiss on her cheek to make Potter mad but she turned her head and our lips kind of collided.”
“So it was an accident?” Rose said, relieved.
“I think so.”
Rose blanched. “What do you mean, ‘you think so’? You think Lily did it purposely?”
Scorpius closed the distance between them and put his hands on her arms. “I don’t know Rosalie, but we really need to talk about this.”
The way he looked at her and the way he said those words made Rose’s stomach drop. Thoughts of avoiding the situation altogether crossed her mind, and she was very tempted to just run away but she couldn’t move her legs. She felt like it was over before it even began.
Esmeralda felt sick to her stomach. She hated watching the people she loved get hurt. She knew that Scorpius always wanted to do the right thing but this entire situation had spiraled out of control.
“Enzo, I’ll be right back,” she said as she walked toward the direction of the owlry. Enzo shrugged and continued toward Gryffindor Tower.
On her way up to the tower she ran into just the person she was planning to write to.
“Hey, beautiful,” Albus said, catching her around the waist and pulling her to him. He kissed her on the lips and stood back, searching her face. “What’s wrong?”
Esmeralda ran her fingers through her hair and huffed. “Nevermind, this is stupid and definitely none of my business.”
“Is this your way of getting me to become curious about all of this? Because you know it doesn’t work that way with me,” he teased, arching a brow at her.
Esmeralda rolled her eyes. “You know me too well.”
“Okay, so spill it.”
Esmeralda searched Albus’s face. She reassured herself that this was the one guy in the world who would get her the moon if she asked him to. Albus, she knew, would do anything for her. She just never happened to ask.
“You know Scorpius is like a brother to me, right?” She began, feeling nervous but trying to put on a determined face.
Albus rolled his eyes. “Yes, I know that, but he’s such a-“
“A what?” Esmeralda cut in. “You have no reason to hate him as much as you do.”
Albus sighed. “Is this his way of trying to get me to approve of him dating my sister?”
“No!” Esmeralda said quickly. “This isn’t about your sister at all. This is about me wanting you to get along with someone I love and whose opinion matters to me a lot.”
Albus looked at her suspiciously. “Does he even know about us? Has he said something about you being with me? Because that would make him a hypocritical asshole.”
Esmeralda groaned in frustration. “No Al! This isn’t about us. It’s about you and him. It hurts me to know that you hate him so much.”
Albus looked at Esmeralda intently and touched her cheek. “I don’t want to hurt you. I’ll try to be civil.”
Esmeralda beamed at him and Albus smiled back. “That’s all I ask,” she said sweetly, standing on her toes and kissing him on the lips. “Oh, and try to get to know him a little, too, if you can.”
Esmeralda was betting on Albus getting to know Scorpius and realizing how great of a guy he actually is. But she was hoping that she could do that without Scorpius or Enzo realizing that she was actually dating Albus. She crossed her fingers and hoped for the best.
Esmeralda sat at the Slytherin table during lunch but kept her eyes open for a certain red-haired beauty. When she saw her walk into the great hall she got up from her table and intercepted her before she sat down at the Gryffindor table.
“Walk with me,” Esmeralda said in a low voice, holding Lily by the arm. From the corner of her eye, she noticed Albus stand up from his seat and walk toward her. She smiled at him and pulled Lily out of the door and into an alcove before Albus could catch up to them.
“Can I help you?” Lily asked, pulling her arm out of Esmeralda’s grasp.
“How convenient of you to ask,” Esmeralda said sarcastically. “I’m a friend of Scorpius’s and I thought I would introduce myself.”
Lily raised her eyebrows in surprise. “This is a unique way of introducing oneself.”
“Well, I’m a unique girl, what can I say.”
Lily continued to look at Esmeralda like she was insane. “Well, nice to meet you.”
“Right. So, tell me. How long do you plan on dating him?”
Lily looked taken aback. “Why? Do you want to date him?”
Esmeralda snorted with laughter. “Merlin, no! He’s like my brother.”
Lily stood there, confused.
Esmeralda sighed in exasperation. “I just don’t want you hurting him. He didn’t tell me how serious it was between the two of you and I just want to know if I should be worried about his happiness.” What a sack of bullshit, Esmeralda thought.
“Oh, umm…it’s pretty casual right now. But it may get serious, depending on how things work out.”
Esmeralda quirked an eyebrow. “Really? You have that much hope in your relationship with Scorpius?”
“Excuse me?” Lily asked, looking affronted. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Okay,” sighed Esmeralda. “Let’s try a different approach…why do you like Scorpius?”
Lily looked confused but answered nonetheless. “Because he’s sweet, and masculine, and strong. He’s funny, and really good-looking. He’s just fun to be around, and I love being his girlfriend.”
Esmeralda felt her stomach drop. It didn’t sound like Lily Potter was playing pretend anymore. And by the dreamy look on her face when she spoke about Scorpius, Esmeralda could sense trouble brewing. Esmeralda’s simple plan of actually seeing if Lily was even a threat had turned out for the worst.