Chapter 8 : Paint
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For Penguinbuddy23. Thank you so much for notifying me (twice) that my work had been plagiarized by someone else. It means a lot to have people looking out for me and supporting what I do.
“Cupcake? Breakfast is ready.”
I jerked awake. My face was still on Scorpius’ chest and he was still passed out. I sat up. Shit. That was my dad’s voice. In the hallway. The doorknob turned.
So I did what any caring, helpful girl would do.
I shoved Scorpius off the side of the bed with a loud thud.
And then Dad walked in the room. I coughed loudly to cover up and groaning from injuries I may have given Scorpius.
“Morning,” he said, his face a little pink. He walked over and sat on the edge of my bed, hair still damp from a shower.
“Morning.” I scooted close to him and put my head on his shoulder. Yep. Suck up time.
He put a freckled arm around me. That was one thing I got from him – freckles on my arms and shoulders. “We should talk, huh?”
“Probably.” I shrugged a little, feeling odd that Scorpius could hear this entire conversation.
“You want to tell me what’s going on?” Dad asked.
I bit my lip. The honest answer to that question was an astounding NO. But I had always been close to my dad. I told him everything. Maybe he was so disappointed because this was the first time I really hadn’t been honest with him. And it was about a boy.
“What did Hugo tell you?”
“Nevermind that. I want to hear it from you.”
I was afraid of that. “Well, I haven’t been going on all of the walks alone,” I explained slowly, looking at the floor. “But it’s not every walk and it’s not all the time. A lot of times I really have been just wandering around the forest. I even found these tasty berries.”
“Sharing is caring,” Dad noted with a small smile.
I chuckled. “I’m sorry I didn’t say anything,” I said. “I didn’t want to worry you. Or make you go to town looking for a shotgun.”
He grinned wider at that. “So what is it then?” he asked. “Is this just a friend? Do you fancy him? I need to know if I should set aside money for that gun.”
My cheeks reddened. “We’re friends,” I said.
Dad examined me. I had a feeling he saw right through me.
I didn’t fancy Scorpius Malfoy. I really didn’t. I just didn’t quite know how I felt about him. If there was something there or if it was just a friendship of two people that had spent a lot of time in each other’s company for the past two weeks.
And the most confusing part was I had no idea what he was thinking. Ever.
Dad ruffled my hair. “All right, cheesecake,” he said. “But I want you to tell me things from now on, okay? And spend more time here. Why don’t you bring him by sometime? Tomorrow for dinner or something?”
My eyes widened. How would they react to it being Scorpius? Dad and Mr. Malfoy never got on at school and they still weren’t exactly mates nowadays. “Yeah,” I said. “I’ll ask him.”
Dad grinned. “Good. Okay, what are you going to do today?”
He nudged me. “Hugo wants us to take him into town,” he replied. “Go have fun. Be back by dinner.” He kissed my forehead. “I’ll have the shotgun by then.” Dad shot me a cheeky wink and left.
Scorpius sat up. His hair was an absolute mess. “Should we even talk about the fact that I may die tomorrow?”
I laughed, cheeks still on fire. “That leaves you one day to live,” I told him. “In which you will learn to paint.”
“We’re still doing that?” He groaned.
I was thankful he didn’t mention anything about the actual conversation. Specifically the part about whether or not I fancied him.
“We are.” I looked around for a moment. “We should go down to the beach so we can paint the lake. I can show you how to do water.”
“Thrilling.” He rolled his eyes.
We agreed to meet a few hours later at the lake. I ate breakfast with my family and showered, and he went home to do whatever it was he needed to do. I didn’t pry.
I got there first, tugging a box of paints and brushes, along with two sketchbooks with thick pages. It was beautiful outside. The sky was blue and the view of the trees and mountains was unrivaled by anywhere except maybe Hogwarts.
I began rooting through the box for the correct colors, when I heard some twigs snap.
“I brought lunch,” Scorpius said, kicking some branches out of his way. “I figured it was better than suggesting we catch another fish.”
“Fish-zilla,” I noted with a smile. He had the same large basket with him, which he placed behind me in the sand. “I brought the paint, so you’re not getting out if it.”
“You saw my abilities,” he said, groaning. “You’re really not going to get anywhere with me. I promise. It’ll be a waste of paint.”
“I’ll get over it.” I grinned.
“Maybe I’ll just take a round with your Dad and that gun instead.”
“Why are you so afraid of painting?” I asked, looking at him.
“I just don’t want to.”
“It’s because you aren’t good at it,” I said quickly. “You aren’t good at it and you hate that.”
“I don’t hate it...”
“You do!” I countered. “You hate failure.”
“What? You’re absurd.” Scorpius’ face reddened. “I can fail just fine. In fact, I fail all the time.”
I eyed him. “On what?”
He paused. “Things.”
“Right.” I shoved a pad of paper into his hands and motioned to the ground. “You’re not getting out of this. You’re going to learn and be a better person because of it. And then your modesty about yourself will extend to painting.” I rolled my eyes and sat beside him, placing the box between us.
Scorpius narrowed his eyes bitterly. Clearly he was used to getting his way and getting out of things that may make him look like a fool. Considering he had spent the better part of two weeks making me look like an idiot jumping off waterfalls and stripping in a shed, it was his turn.
I spent a few minutes introducing him to the colors and pointing out different shades in the trees and water. He said the water was blue. I told him it was a greenish brown that reflected the blue sky in places. He looked irritated. He said the trees were green. I told him they were mostly brown with some greens and black between the branches where it looked into the forest. He looked even more irritated.
I showed him how to mix colors. He just swirled two colors together and called it a day. I cringed. But at least he was trying.
It grew warmer as we sat on the beach, pausing after we got through mixing to share a sandwich and crisps.
Scorpius seemed less grumpy as time went on and squinted his eyes in an attempt to see more than just blue water and green trees. He pulled his legs up under him, straining to be good at painting. Then he would shoot me a dagger-esque look when I giggled.
“It’s not so bad, is it?” I asked. I had already gotten a foundation down for the base colors in the water.
“It’s not good either,” Scorpius mumbled in response. He had been trying to mix blue with green with brown and came up with something not very attractive. “How do you see these things?”
“You just have to look past everything else.” I shrugged.
He looked over. “What do you mean?”
I paused, pressing my lips together in concentration. How could I explain it. “You just have to take what everyone else sees and look past it. It’s an entirely different world.”
Scorpius met my eyes. His were intense, suggesting he was deep in thought. “Like with people?” he asked.
He took his brush and ran it through his mixture of colors. “Can you add to it then? This different world.”
“I don’t see why not. People build things all the time.” I looked out to the lake. Small waves were flickering onto the shore. “You should be able to add something beautiful to something already beautiful.”
“If you insist.” Scorpius placed the end of his brush against my cheek, slowly drawing a line of paint down to my chin. “There.”
“You just painted on my face,” I said, dumbfounded.
“Here.” He smiled a little and painted what felt like a star on my other cheek. Then Scorpius brushed away a few stray hairs and admired his work. “I could be a painter after all.”
I was quiet, but dipped my brush into a teal and did the same, dragging my brush from his ear down his jaw and up the other side. I was startled to find him staring at me and forced myself not to blush. It was just painting.
I drew a flower on his cheek bone, carrying the petals toward his eyes. Scorpius had very blond eyelashes. They were longer than I expected them to be. He didn’t flinch. Instead, he kept focused on me as I worked. Each petal. I mixed the teal with white to do the highlights on the flower and circled the stem down toward his lips.
Scorpius raised his brush again, moving it down my arm. It tickled, but not enough to make me laugh. Just enough to make me bite my lip.
I mixed black in with the colors, creating a teal-gray combination. Then a little more white so much that it neared his eye color. I slid the brush in small motions down his cheek, creating short lines. Then flitted horizontal lines down his neck, stopping at the collar of his shirt.
Scorpius moved his own brush to my jaw bone and then down my neck, sending chills up my spine. My lips parted instantly, heart racing. He dipped the brush and ran it along the length of my collar bone.
My entire body was on fire. It was like my other senses were dulled and all I could do was feel the strange sensation of the bristles and paint against my skin.
When I met his eyes, it was an explosion of nerves in my stomach. It wasn’t his normal look. It was intense and hungry. Scorpius brought his brush back up my neck, my chin, and stopped just under my lips. His eyes flickered down.
My brush fell into the sand.
Scorpius’ lips were on mine before I knew what was happening. His hand tangled in my hair, the other on my hip as he pulled me to him. His grip was aggressive and he kissed me hard, but in a wanting way. He tasted like spearmint and chocolate and I never wanted it to stop.
I moved my arms around his neck, tugging him closer to kiss him. I was the one that parted lips first, my fingers moving into his hair. It was soft. Everything about him was textured, but his hair was soft. I could barely keep ahold of it.
Or anything. Or my mind.
Scorpius’ hand moved to my back, pulling my body against his. I was nearly in his lap now. He kept the firm grip, unwilling to let me go. I could barely breathe. Judging by the way his chest rose and fell, he was suffering from the same complications. Everything was in a daze, but I knew I didn’t want to stop kissing him.
We fell back into the sand, me over top of him like we had been the night before, only this time our lips were locked. My hair was around his face, probably streaked with paint, and his arms were around my middle. Tight. Aggressive, but not painful.
I kept kissing him. He didn’t pull away. I didn’t pull away. I didn’t want to pull away. I couldn’t remember the last time a boy kissed like that – passionate, but not sloppy. It wasn’t until his teeth found my bottom lip in a way that made my whole body almost melt that I gasped and pulled away.
To my surprise, it wasn’t my face that was on fire. It was his.
“I’m sorry,” Scorpius said quickly, nervously. He relaxed when he saw my smile. “Maybe I’m not.” He paused. “Should I be sorry?”
I shook my head. “I don’t think so.” I sat up, still on top of him, my legs on either side in the sand. “Unless you want to be.”
“We’re going in circles.” His hands rested on the tops of my thighs.
“You have a flower on your face.” I smiled a little, sheepishly. I leaned down and traced it with my finger, down to his lips.
“You have a great deal of untalented scribbles on your face,” he told me.
My heart was still beating painfully against my chest. “I want to kiss you again.”
“I’m not sure why you stopped,” Scorpius replied, pulling me down against his body again.
The paints were forgotten at our feet, paper tossed off toward the basket. We kissed for a while. I wasn’t sure how long, but I knew I was out of breath more than once and twisted my fingers in his shirt a few times. Everything was a blur. I didn’t mind.
Eventually he rolled away from me (at one point my back was to the beach and his torso was on topof mine) and toward the remains of the fire we had built a few times. He was quiet, but I could hear him attempting to regulate his breathing. And fail.
My gaze focused on the sky. A few clouds had appeared, blocking out the sun for moments on end, but no sign of a storm. Regardless, I was thankful the trees shaded me. Even without the sun I was hot and muggy. Other reasons made that more obvious. Sweat was not an attractive feature.
I attempted to calm myself down, but all I could think about was kissing him. On a beach. Snogging Scorpius Malfoy.
Before this vacation, I had barely strung a sentence together to speak to him in years. And now we were snogging on a beach.
I tried not to let the stereotypical girl part of me creep in, but part of me wondered what snogging meant. With my last boyfriend, he snogged me and then asked me out during the same outing. Did that mean Scorpius was going to ask me to be his girlfriend?
But I didn’t want to be his girlfriend. Not that Scorpius was a bad bloke, but I didn’t exactly feel like we knew each other well enough to have a title. Besides, we knew each other here, not at home. What would it be like when we got home?
Still. What did it all mean?
It meant he was bloody gorgeous. And a good kisser. Godric. Dom was going to hear about this.
Scorpius rolled onto his stomach and grabbed the basket. He pulled out a watch and cringed. “Ah,” he said.
“I should head back,” he said, sitting up and beginning to put things back into the basket. Empty wrappers. Dip. Napkins. “I told Mum I’d spend a little time with her tonight.”
“Okay.” I nodded, but didn’t move.
“I’ll see you, Juliet.” Scorpius nodded to me and headed into the trees.
And just like that, he was gone.
It was funny how confused a girl could get in a matter of hours. The very same boy that had made my heart slam into my ribcage had that very same day made me question everything while in my bed, staring at the ceiling.
I didn’t want to question everything. I had absolutely no desire to question anything at all. Mostly, I wanted to have a good vacation, spend time with someone my own age, and smile. A lot. Right now I was tossing and turning, I had skipped dessert, and my heart was racing. Not in a good way.
I didn’t fancy Scorpius Malfoy.
Let’s just get that out of the way right now.
But I didn’t not like him. And just thinking about him pulling me onto his arms made something flutter in my stomach I wasn’t comfortable with.
Like remembering first dates, first kisses, and first questions.
I rolled again, staring at the window. It was dark now.
And what was with him leaving? At one point I had been on top of him, hair tangled in his. Then he just leaves? What was with that?
Was it not good?
That couldn’t be it. Right? could it? Bugger! What if I was a shit kisser?
I was probably a shit kisser.
If Dom was here I could ask her. Not to snog me, but at least to get an opinion. At least have someone to vent to about how quick he was to leave and how confused I was. I groaned and rolled again. This was a mess.
It would be so much easier if Scorpius Malfoy wouldn’t have kissed me.
And then kissed me again. And again.
It would also be so much easier if Scorpius Malfoy wasn’t such a bloody good kisser.
“Rose?” Mum poked her head in the door. “Is everything okay? You barely ate at dinner.”
“It’s all right.”
I felt the bed move as she sat down. “Want to talk about it?”
“Not particularly,” I said in my usual seventeen-year-old angsty way.
“Okay, I’ll rephrase.” Mum moved around to the other side of the bed and sat beside me. She smoothed the hair away from my face. “Need to talk about it?”
“I feel guilty for talking about it,” I explained. “I shouldn’t be concerned about it. I should be out there spending time with you lot.”
“Oh? With Hugo? By the way, he’s given some colorful nicknames to the video game characters. I’m not sure you’d be better off in there. Your father has gotten ear plugs.” She started running her fingers through my hair. “It’s the boy?”
I nodded. “I don’t understand boys.”
“Your father told me he invited him to dinner tomorrow,” she said.
I nodded again. “I don’t know if he’ll be here,” I replied, pressing my lips together hard. He’d heard my dad ask, but hadn’t said anything about it. If he would come. Or not. Or if he was going to snog me out by the lake again.
I hated feeling like this. Like I was waiting on him.
I didn’t like waiting on people.
“I hope he comes,” Mum noted. “He’s captured your attention enough for me to be curious.” I shot her a look. “What? I’m serious. You’re usually barely interested in boys other than trying to best your cousins and the few scattered boyfriends you’ve told me about.”
At least that was positive. When I didn’t have Dom or my other mates to talk to, I could talk to Mum about boys, though she wasn’t exactly keen on sharing information, given that her and Dad had been together since she was my age. That, and she always told me that reading, classes, and friendships were more important than boys.
What happens when you start to snog a boy that was your friend?
“Is he a Muggle?” Mum asked. “Muggle boys can be very endearing.”
I shook my head.
“Really?” she said, surprised. “Fancy that. How did you find out? That must have been an interesting encounter.” The questions reminded me of an interview for a glossy magazine.
“I knew him already,” I said. My face was burning.
“Oh.” She pressed her lips together in the same way that I always did, still smoothing back my hair. “You think it’ll be okay?”
I shrugged. I couldn’t stop thinking about that kiss. In fact, it angered me that I couldn’t stop thinking about that kiss. All I wanted to do was think about anything - everything - other than that kiss.
“It will be okay.” Mum leaned down and kissed my forehead. “I know you. Any boy is lucky to be so much as smitten with you.” She chuckled. “And if not, your father got a gun.”
“No!” I cried, sitting up. “Did he really?”
“Of course not.” Mum rolled her eyes. “Do you really think I would let him get a gun? Man can barely handle a wand when he’s emotional. Like I would let him get a gun when his daughter is spending time with a boy. Alone.”
I thought about how Dad questioned the security in the girls’ dormitory at school when I was a first year. She had a point.
“You’re really okay with him coming to dinner?” I asked.
“And you’re not sore with me I’ve been spending some time with a guy without telling you?”
“I was upset you were lying,” Mum said. “And you’re still not exactly out of the water, but I can tell it means something to you. Whether that is just a friendship or something more.”
I shot her a dangerous look. “I just want it to be simple again,” I said.
“Here’s a piece of advice,” Mum said, leaning forward and kissing my forehead again before standing. She turned off the light. “Learn quickly that life will never be as simple as it is today.” She closed the door with a soft snap and I was left alone to my thoughts.
Alone with my thoughts of Scorpius’ lips on mine.
And his sudden, strange exit.
I jerked awake late the next morning. I was a little sweaty (gross) and I knew it was later than I usually woke. I realized quickly what had done it when I heard another rapping against the window. “What the--?”
I flew onto my other side, ready to maul someone, but my jaw fell.
Scorpius was on the other side of my closed window.
Dressed in a collared shirt and tie.
And I was in kittens again. Bugger.
I moved to the other side of the room and pulled open the window. “What’re you doing here?” I asked.
“Am I late?” he asked nervously, adjusting and readjusting his tie.
“For what?” I checked the clock. It was ten in the morning. Fog was still covering a lot of the mountains.
“Dinner. I didn’t know when you had dinner.”
“Pretty sure it’s morning...” I raised a brow. “Why are you really here?”
Scorpius met my eyes, adjusting his tie again. “I left. I had to, erm, get away.”
So I was being used as a distraction again. Fancy that.
I jerked my head toward the bed. “Get in here. What happened?”
“She’s coughing up blood,” Scorpius explained, moving inside and plopping onto the bed. “They had to call in a nurse this morning.”
“Oh.” I chewed on my bottom lip for a moment, watching him. He kept running his fingers up and down the material of his tie. “On the plus side, you’re almost a professional painter.”
The look he shot me send shivers of pleasure down my spine. It was a cocky smirk, but not in an arrogant way. His eyes weren’t on mine, though. They were on my lips.
Which made me all the more nervous.
I cleared my throat. “You can blow off dinner, you know. You don’t have to hang out with my family. Or even let them know it’s you.” I hoisted myself onto my desk, not wanting to get too close to him.
“You don’t want me to meet them?” Scorpius asked. He kept fiddling with the blanket, pressing his palms against the fabric.
“It’s not that.”
“It’s fine.” He shrugged. Then he went back to screwing with his tie. “I guess it would be weird anyway, wouldn’t it? Our parents being old childhood rivals. Me being who I am. You being who you are.”
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I’m just talking.” Scorpius looked away. “I’m sorry I left like I did.”
“Hmm?” I pretended to have no idea what he was talking about. My pretending was terrible, however, and once my cheeks started to burn I saw him roll his eyes.
“The way I left,” he stated firmly. “After we snogged.” He paused. “In the sand.” Another pause. “By a lake.” Yet another pause. “Together.”
I fought off the blush. “Yes, well, I’m sure you had a good reason to kiss any run.” I had to keep my face from turning colors. Good thing the bitterness in my voice was the perfect distraction.
Was I really this bitter about it?
Scorpius bristled a little. “Are you mad at me?”
“I don’t know what I am.” My fingers found the back of my neck, rubbing it.
“Because I don’t tell you everything.” He sounded just as irritated.
“You don’t tell me much of anything,” I shot back, moving to grab the edge of the desk. Who was he to start getting defensive when he snogged me for ages and then bailed into the woods? He left me laying in the sand, lips plump and heart racing.
“Excuse me for wanting to keep some things private,” Scorpius snapped.
“Should have kept your bloody lips private,” I said, hopping off the desk and heading for the window. I needed some air. My face was burning with regret.
“Don’t give that to me!” Scorpius cried, moving to his feet. “It takes two to snog, Juliet, and you were the second part.” He grabbed my arm, spinning me around. “I didn’t leave because I wanted to, okay?” His eyes were intense and unforgiving.
“Then why did you?” I said, squinting ruthlessly. I snatched my arm back.
“Because I bloody fucking had to,” he said. He grabbed my shoulders and shoved me into the wall beside the window, pressing his body into mine, and kissed me hard.
All I wanted to do was shove him away and hit him for having the audacity to leave me yesterday. For kissing me and then confusing the hell out of me.
But as my back hit the wall and his hand moved to my face, I was frozen. My heart began to fly with each aggressive kiss and soon my arms were around him and my hands clutched the fabric of his collared shirt, successfully untucking it just to get a better hold.
I hated that he had this hold on me, but he did. Maybe I was curious to see what would happen, if anything. Maybe I didn’t want anything to happen and we could just go home two different people who got close in the Smoky Mountains. Or maybe I just wanted to be pushed up against a wall and kissed like the Muggle movies.
Scorpius pulled away after a few minutes, breathing hard. His gaze was on mine when I opened my eyes, but he said nothing. He was still trying to catch his breath and his hands were tangled in my hair and resting on my hip.
“I’m still mad at you,” I said softly, teeth trailing along my bottom lip.
“You have every right to be.” He leaned in again, but this time only to give me a simple, small kiss. “Just don’t leave, okay?”
I didn’t know what he meant, so I shrugged.
“Do I look okay?” He finally moved away, adjusting his tie and retucking his shirt. “Do you think your dad will want to kill me off?”
“You don’t look too threatening.” I shrugged again and made my way (shakily) over to my bed. “No tattoos or tribal signs or anything. You should be okay in terms of fatality.”
“I’ll reschedule my appointment for that tribal arm band tattoo,” he said, frowning and sat next to me. To my surprise, he slid his hand into mine. “I’m sorry for being so difficult. You really shouldn’t bother with me.”
As much as I wanted to agree with him, I couldn’t. Not when he was going home to his mum with an unknown disease and his dad on the verge of a heartbreak meltdown. Part of me knew it would always be difficult to stay mad at the boy I met in the boat.
Scorpius stayed in my room for a few hours, which was easy since my parents left to get some groceries from the general store and get lunch. We layed in my bed and talked about things like fishing and silly childhood memories and our favorite dives while swimming. We stayed away from the heavy topics like family, relationships, and personal issues.
I was glad, but at the same time, he made me curious.
Especially since he spent the entire time holding my hand as he rubbed his thumb against it.
I left him in there around six to check on my parents.
“You missed a good grocery run,” Dad said with a smirky smile once I walked into the kitchen. “That general store is packed with goodies.”
“Your father found cheese flavored banana bread,” Mum mumbled.
I wrinkled my nose.
“No regrets!” Dad cried. He was opening something I assumed would be the mentioned bread, but it looked like a lump of meatloaf with yellow mold. Not okay.
“Did Hugo enjoy himself?” I asked.
Mum snorted with laughter. “He stayed in the car,” she said. “Then whined when we asked him to carry groceries.”
“What a family man.” I rolled my eyes and plopped down at the table. “So. Um. Dad.”
“So. Um. RoseyPosey.”
“Remember what you said yesterday? About inviting that … boy?”
Dad looked up from his cheese banana bread. “He’s coming?” he asked, his mouth full. He looked like a true Weasley.
“Yes, he’s coming.” I blushed.
My parents exchanged glances.
“Change of plans?” Dad offered. “We’re going to need to do something good to entertain Rose’s new beau.”
“He’s not my beau!” I squeaked.
“Put your mold bread away,” Mum said, moving to the fridge. “When’s he arriving, Rose?”
I thought about it. Technically, he was in my room looking through an old photo album from my first few years at Hogwarts to see if he was in the background of any pictures. We’d already found him in two grinning like a freak.
“Soon I think,” I replied. “I can just tell him to come later. Or tomorrow. Or never.” Yes, never sounded much better. I could get used to that.
“Soon is fine.” Dad shot me a shit-eating grin and moved to help Mum with dinner. “I’ll put on something decent.” Considering he was wearing an old gardening t-shirt and lime green shorts, I figured that was a positive.
“Are you guys going to be okay?” I said, staring them down. At one point they told one of Hugo’s catches he wet the bed until thirteen.
He was fourteen at the time.
“Do you mean to say there are occasions where we’re not okay?” Dad faked an offended look. “I am simply aghast. Look at this look. Aghast.”
“I am putting money on that being on your word of the day owl,” I muttered, moving back into the hallway. “He’ll be here soon. At least try not to make me look like an idiot.” I opened the bedroom door and closed it in a hurry, reapplying the silencing charm. “I apologize in advance.”
Scorpius looked up. He was sprawled out on the bed still leafing through the photo album. “For what? Dinner? Is it going to be burnt? Should I conveniently order out for after?”
I moved beside him on the bed. “No, just my parents. I haven’t exactly … done this before. Well, not like this.”
“Previous men not measure up?” Scorpius smirked.
“Quit being a sod.” I shoved him. “It’s just dinner. It’s just my parents. You’re my friend. It’s going to be fine.”
“Exactly.” He smiled and nudged me. “So you have nothing to apologize for.”
Except that I did.
Hugo Weasley. My wonder of a brother.
“Is he almost here?” he asked, glancing out the back door onto the deck.
“I don’t know.” I stared him down. “Don’t say anything stupid.”
“Like ask him if he’s your boyfriend?” Hugo said.
“He’s not.” I smacked him on the back of his head. “We’re friends. We’ve been hanging out. That is that.”
“Snogging?” Hugo said.
I kept my voice steady. “No,” I replied. “Now bloody shut up and be nice.”
“Watch it,” Mum warned. “Get along, will you?”
“Impossible,” we sat in unison.
Then Scorpius was at the front door, which I didn’t even know he knew about, and I pulled it open. Suddenly terrified.
He was in the same collared shirt and tie as before, but this time he held wildflowers. I recognized them from the path to the creek. He looked nervous, feet brushing against the concrete of the porch.
“You look great,” he said quickly, as if I wouldn’t give him time to talk.
I looked down. Navy blue sundress. Flats. Hair down even though the humidity was already attacking. “Thanks,” I replied. I lowered my voice. “You sure about this?”
Scorpius raked his fingers through his blond hair. “Not really,” he replied with a nervous laugh. “Are you?”
“Not one bit.” I offered a small smile and took the wildflowers, pausing to smell them. They didn’t ease the nerves at all, but they were wonderful. And the perfect combination of pinks and purples and blues. I wondered if he had been paying attention while I talked about paint. Moreso than to my body language.
“And if they hate me?” He asked, following me into the foyer and letting the door close behind him.
“Then you run. Run fast.” I smirked. Then I took a deep breath (prompting him to do the same) and moved down the hall and into the kitchen.
My parents were at the island, chopping something. Dad had his apron on. Hugo was at the table.
Looking like Christmas came early.
“That’s Scorpius Malfoy!” Hugo cried, pointing like an asshole.
Cue: Blush. Not just from me, but from Scorpius as well.
Dad dropped the knife in shock, but recovered quickly and placed it to the side of the cutting board. I wasn’t sure why Mum let him have a knife when I had a bloke coming over for dinner. As friends, but still. Not the point.
“Ah!” Mum said with a smile that couldn’t have been as large as it was. She moved around the island and extended her hand immediately. “Scorpius, so it is! It’s great to see you again.”
Scorpius shook her hand, remaining calm except for the color of his face, and smiled. “It’s a pleasure,” he said. “Mr. Weasley.” He nodded to my father, which my father returned in a polite fashion.
Come on, Dad. You can do it.
“Scorpius, you remember my brother, Hugo.” I pointed, tone forced for a reason.
“My friends call you Scar.” Hugo smirked arrogantly.
“They sound like keepers,” Scorpius noted, returning the smirk.
Dad choked into his drink, trying to turn it into a cough but it kept going as a laugh. Hugo shot him a look. “What? Your mates are horrible.”
“It smells wonderful,” Scorpius told my mother with a large smile. “Thank you again for having me.”
I remembered him being able to charm people at Hogwarts with a smile or a kind compliment, but I’d almost forgotten while we were in the woods how he could relax a situation with a comment.
“I’m sorry I forgot a vase,” he added, nodding to the wildflowers.
“Oh!” Mum said, grabbing the flowers out of my hands. “These are beautiful, aren’t they, Ron? I’m sure there’s a vase around here.” She started rooting around in the cupboards.
“They look like forest flowers,” Hugo muttered.
“They are,” I said proudly. “Which makes them more beautiful.”
“That’s not right.”
I stepped hard on my brother’s foot. “You’re not right.”
“Oh, so hurt.”
Scorpius coughed to disguise his laugh. “I got them by a creek not too far away. That’s where I first ran into Rose, actually.”
Dad’s ears seemed to perk up. “That’s right. So I didn’t know your family would be here of all places for vacation. Fancy you two running into each other.”
“He was trying to fish,” I noted as we took seats on the same side of the table. Hugo was across from us and Dad to my left. Mum finished getting the flowers into a vase and placed it in the center of the table.
“Trying?” Dad arched a brow.
“I had a net and high hopes,” Scorpius explained, laughing.
“Very high hopes, as I saw no fish.” I met his eyes, smiling for a moment before standing to help Mum with dinner. She made a delicious-smelling casserole with greens and thankfully no cheese-flavored banana bread.
“So Scorpius,” Dad said in a very dignified sort of way, “Do you and Rose talk much at school? I haven’t really heard your name around the house on breaks. Then again, that could be because Dom causes enough drama to fill my evenings.” He put on a fake, high voice. “Dom started snogging this boy and I kind of might have sort of liked him and then he told me he kind of liked me, but was with Dom and then she said you snooze you lose--”
I kicked him under the table.
“We don’t, actually,” Scorpius replied with a kind smile. I appreciated that he didn’t laugh, though I knew he wanted to. “Since we’re in different houses, it was hard to solidify a friendship. We did meet on the boats into school though.”
Dad looked at Mum. “Pretty sure we first started talking when I hated you.”
“Yes, well, you had dirt on your nose.” Mum shrugged.
“How’s your father?” Dad asked Scorpius, helping himself to some food. I had to hand it to him for keeping his cool.
“He’s all right.” Scorpius’ jaw tightened. “Bit of a family crisis, I’m afraid, but things are all right.”
Dad paused for a moment, casting a glance at Hugo. “I read in the paper,” he said. “Rehabilitation?” It was a simple enough question and one that Hugo seemed to ignore, as he was now stuffing his face. Dad looked strangely serious.
Scorpius nodded lightly.
He shrugged. “Too early to tell,” he replied.
Dad nodded and concentrated on his dinner. I did the same. Scorpius shifted in his seat.
“Rose wet the bed until she was twelve!” cried Hugo.
Scorpius looked over. “Did you really?”
“NO.” I crossed my arms. “Hugo, get out.”
My parents were rolling with laughter. Thanks a lot.
“I would be okay if you did,” Scorpius interjected.
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” he said.
“I hate you.”
“I quite like him,” Hugo said to no one at all.
A/N: KISS ACTION YEEEYAH! I'm sure someone squee'd. Someone better have. I'd love to snog a boy that looked like Scorpius while painting on the beach. Holla.
UP NEXT: Scorpius the Knight, plans are for Ravenclaws, and a fashion show.
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