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Chapter 11 : How to Snag the One that Gets Away
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I know that you never want to hear from me, and I respect that. But that doesn't mean I want it to stay that way. In two weeks, I am being cleared of all charges and released from prison. I know that this doesn't forgive me in your eyes, but I would still like you to consider meeting me in America in that time. It's important for me to rebuild my relationships with you and your brother. It's my dying wish for you two to let me love you again. I want to do so now, when we have time, before you go and get lives. I know you have a year of schooling after this summer, and there's a great institution in Salem where you can do that if you and Brad choose to join me in America where I want to start over. I want to be a family again before you go flying around the world.
I still remember the day you took your first steps. You were covered in mud and water while your mother was in the garden planting parrot tulips and you were watching the little brown birds skitter around the bird bath. Something was changing in your big green eyes. You looked right at me, smiling. You got up, ran several steps, and fell right into my arms. You were laughing, and I was the proudest man that ever had set foot onto the earth at that moment. It was like you were born to fly. Which is why I understand if you don't wish to see me ever again.
But I want to be your dad again. I want you to give me a second chance. I messed up, and I know this, and feel it in my chest everyday. I want to be a family, the three of us before you completely get up and fly away. I have enclosed two plane tickets for you and Brad. The tickets are for the day after finals. You can get permission from McGonagall to apparate to the airport then. You two are under no obligation to come, but just know that I'll be in Salem, waiting for you two should you decide to come. I promise that if you do, it won't be a waste.
With Utmost Love,
Taylor stared at the letter in her hands. She had read it through, front and back four times now.
I had received a similar letter as well, which was laying on the ground several feet away.
We were in the owlerey, debating what we should do about the letter.
"Brad, what do we do?" She asks, looking at me.
I shrug. "What do you think we should do?"
"Well, it's either we can go to America and face Dad, and try and rekindle some sort of family, or we stay here and leave Dad alone."
"What do you want to do?" I ask her cautiously.
"I don't know. I mean, who does he think he is, asking us to ditch our seventh year here and go halfway across the world to give him another chance?"
"Our father. Who we haven't bothered to speak to for the past two years." I point out.
She closes her eyes, thinking.
"Brad," she begins, opening her eyes again.
"I want to see him again. I miss him. And I feel bad for abandoning him all this time."
"I think we should go." I say honestly.
"Yes. We need to be a family for awhile, Taylor. Before we go off and get jobs and lives and our own families." I state. "Ever since Mom died, we've been broken. It's time to fix that. We have to stop blaming Dad for everything and accept him."
It's going to be hard leaving Hogwarts, especially our friends. Especially Al, for her. I know they have something deeper going on then just friendship and that'll make it worse. But I know we can do it. We have to if we want to be a family again.
"Okay. We leave in a couple days then." She says. "The plane tickets leave on Saturday. That's two days from now."
"I guess we should go pack."
"I need to find Al." She says, getting up. There's something going on in her eyes, something big. But I don't ask her about it, simply letting her go off.
I collect the letter and leave the tower, walking slowly across the grounds that I will not be returning to next year. I'm passing by the Whomping Willow when I see two figures standing near the tree.
It's Rose and Scorpius, arguing, as usual.
As I come closer, I can articulate their yelling more.
"Look Rose, I wrote all that stuff to you because I meant it." Scorpius is saying. "Which is what I told you earlier."
"I know! I bloody know that! But why didn't you just tell me in person? Why all the little flirty notes and the yelling and the arguing and the dance invitations? Why couldn't you just tell me?" She yells, upset.
"Because I'm a BLOODY COWARD!" Scorp shouts. "I've been trying to tell you this whole time that I'm in love with you, but I did it in the letters because I'm a coward!"
"I've read every single one of those letters and never once did you say you were in love with me! You can't expect me to read between the lines Scorpius!"
"That's because you're missing a letter." He says, calmly. He pulls a folded envelope out of his back pocket and hands it to her.
"Another letter Scorpius? Really?" She says, skepical. "I guess you are a coward."
Then she storms off with the letter, leaving Scorp looking pretty downtrodden.
I meander over to him.
"Rough break, huh?"
"So, uh, I think I should tell you, Taylor and I aren't coming back next year. We're going to America to be with our dad." I explain.
His eyes widen. "When do you leave?"
He looks panicked. "What? But you can't just leave."
"I know. But we have to. We need to forgive our dad at some point. I mean, me and Taylor are going to get jobs in a year or so, which makes now the time to do it."
"But-" He stutters.
"I know it's bad timing, but it's for the best. We'll still write, and visit you guys when we can."
"But, I mean-" He stops himself, looking off into the distance. "Where's Taylor?" He asks.
"Looking for Al. Where's Al?"
"Looking for Taylor."
"So, what'd the letter say?" I ask, curious.
"I told her to meet me in the Astronomy tower tonight."
"I'm going to tell her I love her, and I'm hoping she'll reciprocate."
"You've got some major balls, my friend."
"Let's hope they'll still be in tact by tomorrow."
It was approaching sunset when I went down to the Lake, still looking for Taylor. I found her on the dock.
"Taylor?" I call.
She turns, and I can immediately tell that something is wrong.
I take slow steps towards the edge of the dock and sit down next to her, slipping off my shoes and letting my feet touch the water.
"Al, listen. I have something to tell you." She says, watching the ripples from our feet overlap, colliding.
"I'm leaving." She begins. "Me and Brad are going to America on Saturday, and we're staying there for next year."
My heart drops down to my ankles.
"We're going to meet up with our dad. It's time for us to be a family again. We have to go. I want to go. He's our dad. It's time I accepted him."
My heart is beating heavily, rapidly. "I understand. But Taylor?"
"I don't want you to go."
"But I think you should. It's important for you."
"There's something more than friendship here."
We look at each other now. Her eyes match my intense gaze.
"Why can't we admit that?" I ask her.
"I don't want to ruin our friendship." She admits. "You?"
"What are we going to do now?" She looks sad.
"I guess we should just be friends now. There'll be other chances. Later, after school. After you go to America. I don't want to let you go, but we'll come back to each other."
She nods. "I guess that's the smart thing. Promise to write?"
"Of course. You've snagged me Tails. There's no getting rid of me. Even in America."
She smiles. "I guess that's that."
"I just have one question for you." I state, looking straight at her, absorbing her features.
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