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Chapter 7 : All My Fault
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ALSO I DON’T OWN HARRY POTTER BECAUSE JK ROWLING DOES BECAUSE SHE’S SMART AND CREATIVE AND STUFF AND I’M NOT.
Also, Nutella is owned by... Pietro Ferrero. New things every day, I guess.
All My Fault
I woke up to an urgent banging on the dorm room door, and whipped up in bed.
“Can I come in?” a desperate voice outside asked.
One of the other girls (everyone else was already up, shit) yelled that it was, and Roxy stumbled in.
“Rox- Roxy, what the hell happened?”
Tears were pouring down her face, and her tie was limply hung around her neck. What dragged my focus as threw the covers off, though, still half-dazed with sleep, was her panicked and desperate eyes.
“I- I don’t know,” she whispered, and I swept her up in my arms before she could fall into them.
She began to sob into my shoulder, and I held her tightly. I waved the girls to scatter, and they did so pretty promptly.
“Shh, it’s okay, shh.”
She sobbed harder, so I began to stroke her dark hair. “I- I just-“
“Go on, sweetie, no one else is here,” I whispered softly, cuddling her close, and you know what, who really gave a shit if I missed first lesson anyway. I’d catch up.
“I- walked in on him- and her- and they were kissing- and I asked what the hell was going on, because, because I thought he’d asked me out on a date, and- and-“
She pulled away from me, hiccoughing, and trying to breathe deeply. I clutched her hand and smoothed circles into her palm, reassuring and gentle.
“-and then she just looked at me, with this smirk, with this grin, and told me I was interrupting- and- and he-“
“Calm down, please, sweetie, we’ve got all day. It’s okay, just breathe, alright?”
She nodded, putting obvious effort into slowing down before continuing.
“And he stared at me like he’d never seen me before. He just- looked trapped, and scared, and he didn’t say anything.”
“What did you do?”
“I walked out. I can’t- I couldn’t-“
“I know, okay, sweetie. Oh, I don’t know what to say. It hurts because you care about him. But if he doesn’t fight for you- if he doesn’t care enough about you to push her off- he’s not worth it.”
She nodded, eyes fixed on the floor and hand twisting nervously. “I just can’t believe him. He’s- he’s been everything. I’ve helped him through so much shit- and this is how he repays me? I can’t even...”
“It’ll get better,” I offered hopelessly. “Time heals... most things.”
I pulled her back into my arms, and we stayed that way a long time.
“I hate life,” Roxy said, glaring at her pancakes.
“At least there’s Nutella...” said one of her not-helpful friends.
I rolled my eyes. “Come on, don’t waste the pancakes. Eat them or leave, but don’t just leave them hanging.”
“They’re charmed. They’ll stay warm infinitely.”
“Yeah, but they probably feel rejected. And that’s not fair.”
“Are you really trying to make me sympathise with pancakes right now?”
“If you can’t sympathise with the pancakes, you can’t sympathise with anyone. I’m just saying.”
She smiled slightly, and picked up her fork to eat. Her friends were talking about useless crap, but she didn’t seem to mind so I stayed quiet while I read Ellie’s latest letter.
“Hmm? Oh, yeah... no worse than usual,” I said after folding it up again.
I never saw any point in telling the rest of the family the truth about Ellie. There never seemed to be any reason to.
“Good. Oh, and mum was talking about hosting a family reunion in the summer-“
“Like a Weasley or...?”
“Nope, a full-on all-out Weasleys and their spouses and their spouse’s families and godparents and godchildren and just about anyone mum can contact. Oh, and any boyfriends or girlfriends or close friends floating about at the time, as well.”
Roxy seemed happy about this prospect. I was not.
“Are you gonna bring anyone?”
“The Arsehole-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was going to get a look in, but now it looks like I’m going solo,” she shrugged, the venom in her voice telling me the obvious: she was bitter. “You?”
“-I don’t know.”
“What about Jack? -it is Jack, right?- because he seems really nice.”
“He’s been avoiding me and it’s weird and I think he just wants to be friends which I’d be fine with if he said something about it. Or anything to me at all would be appreciated.”
She hummed over it a while, stirring her pancakes in their sea of melted Nutella.
“Ask him? Confront him. Demand to know what the hell is going on and if he doesn’t give you a straight answer, fuck him.”
“I’ll do that if you do it.”
“Okay, here’s my advice: drown yourself in sorrow and pancakes.”
I nodded, reaching for the scrambled eggs. “Now that, my good friend, seems reasonable.”
Louise’s eyes were bright when she blew hair out of them, coated in mud and grinning broadly . “I really think we’re improving!”
I nodded, smiling back. Nathan jogged past us, rubbing his hands together rapidly with his broom tucked firmly under his arm, clearly desperate for a shower. “I think so too. Even Nathan’s not such a wimp about the cold anymore.”
She nudged me with her shoulder. “You know what I mean.”
“I think it helps that you’re being less of a bitch and more of a constructive critic.”
Unimpressed, I turned on her with my jaw set, but she just put her hands up defensively. “Saying what everyone’s thinking, Lily.”
I huffed. “I tried my best.”
“Uh huh. However, now it actually seems like your best is enough.”
I couldn’t help but silently agree, although I did shove her into ankle-deep mud to demonstrate the negative aspects of badmouthing me.
I decided to leave my answer short, because I had plenty of Transfiguration homework I should have really been prioritising.
Love you too. Jack is lovely, but we’re not dating yet. I’ve barely known him a few weeks! But he is really kind and intelligent, and I know he’ll like you. And I think you’ll like him. And mum! Heaven forbid I pick someone she doesn’t approve of.
I’m at Hogwarts right now, I can’t come home, but I promise I’m coming home at the end of term- that’s only a few weeks away, okay? I love you and I’ll see you soon, I promise.
All my love,
I ran up to the Owlery two steps at a time, knowing my bag was waiting amongst the amassing partiers in the Gryffindor Common Room- it was someone’s birthday and they were a seventh year so they were getting the whole booze-oriented shebang, complete with body shots and head splitting hangover. I was not interested in getting involved at all, but I did want to return and remove my belongings before the drinking got into full swing.
I yanked the door open, and in my haste, nearly knocked over the person waiting behind it.
“Oh, hey!” I said, grinning at him. He really looked as dark, tall and handsome as ever. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to knock you over! How are you? Haven’t seen you much yet this week.”
He smiled back vaguely, returning my hug quickly. “Oh, fine. The holidays were boring. How are you?”
“The usual. Prepared to murder my mother- she’s entirely too nosy for her own good.”
I turned to Amata, and she dutifully stuck out her leg. “So... how are your muggle mates? Enjoy the games?”
“Not really. They were repetitive.”
“Not to mention misogynistic.”
I twisted around, the letter not secure yet, frowning.
“Are you okay?”
“Hmm? Sure, I’m fine.”
I looked down to his hand.
“Are you gonna post that letter or just stand there...?” I asked, smirking.
His eyes immediately fell to his own hand too, and he stared at it. “Oh, right. Yeah...”
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“What? Yeah, I’m- Merlin, stop asking, I’m fine!”
His anger was a little threatening, so I took a step back and held my hands up.
“Calm down. You just seem... off, that’s all.”
“Right. Well, I’m just gonna...”
I went back to my letter, but I couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable as I turned my back on him.
“Who you writing to?”
“Right. That’s why you have a letter. And an owl. And an address.”
“Just leave it will you, Lily?”
“No,” I said, turning back to him incredulously. “Not when you’re being a whiny bitch for no reason. Give me a reason or back off, okay? I haven’t done anything wrong.”
He rolled his eyes. “Just fuck off. It’s none of your business.”
I stared at him.
Turning back to Amata, I tried not to hurt her as I quickly unstrung the letter and ripped open the seal.
“ ‘Jack’s lovely... kind and intelligent, and I think you’ll like him.’ You’ve been ignoring me for two days now- you think I haven’t noticed?- but I still wrote that about you. And now you’re being an absolute dickhead. What’s changed?”
“Leave me alone, okay? Just-“
His hands were shaking as he tried to fix the letter on a nearby hawk-eyed owl, staring at him with fixed maliciousness.
In a split second decision, I grabbed the letter and jumped to the far side of the room.
“Tina? Who’s Tina?”
“Lily, give that back-“
He whirled around, reaching out to take it back.
“Ooh, is she your girlfriend, Jack? That would be weird, because I remember you kissing m-“
I shoved him away and darted under his arm, shoving him into a wall and ripping it open.
“ ‘Dear Tina, it was great to see you again in the holidays and-’“
“-and I know- I know...”
I dropped the letter.
He stopped and his heavy breathing was the only thing I could hear.
“She’s your girlfriend.”
His gaze was fixed on the floor.
My hands were shaking.
“Does she know about me?”
He shook his head.
“When- no. I don’t want to know.”
After a moments’ pause, I reached down, picked up my own forgotten letter, and slowly, deliberately, shredded it.
“ ‘Kind and intelligent... lovely...’ I’m not dating him yet, Ellie. No, not yet, Ellie, but when you meet him, Ellie, I’m sure you’ll love him. In fact, the whole family will love him, Ellie. He’s so great, I’m sure he’ll win them all over too, with his words and his charm and his pretend.”
His breath shuddered. Mine did too as I dropped the pieces to the floor.
“He’s so sweet, Ellie. When he kissed me, I’m sure it meant something. I didn’t tell mum about him, though. I didn’t want to ruin it. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I didn’t want to be let down again, Ellie. Because it’s too painful.”
Tears were rising in my eyes, blurring my vision, but I refused to blink.
“I didn’t think he’d hurt me. I was worried I’d fuck up, I’d do something wrong... it turns out I’m just not enough. Maybe that’s always been my problem. I’ve never been enough.”
He looked up, his eyes pained, like an animal caught in barbed wire.
“Fuck you. Fuck you, fuck you and your life, and your screwed up way of treating me, and your screwed up dad and your screwed up life that you never tell me anything about- fuck you.”
I turned on my heel, and walked out of the door I desperately wished I could bang my own head against until I stopped breathing. I could barely coordinate my feet through the tears spilling over my cheeks down the slightly icy Owlery steps, but he was close behind me.
“Just leave me alone,” I whispered to the corridor, feeling his breath on the back of my neck.
“Merlin, Lily, let me-“
“No. Don’t- don’t talk to me.”
I was trying so desperately hard to stop crying- but there was this lump in my stone-dry throat. Every word felt as though I was rubbing a thousand grains of salt into a thousand tiny cuts. Every step felt the same way I had felt when I was running to find Ellie, in a maze of endless corridors that didn’t lead me the right way until I was far too late. Every second felt another little piece of my soul tear away from me.
Everyone leaves. Ellie left me. She wanted to die. She wanted to see her parents again. She never wanted me, or Al. James left me. He wanted Chelsea. He wanted to follow his dreams and her to the ends of the earth. He didn’t care I’d be alone. Al left me. He wanted to help. He wanted to make everything right. He didn’t think about me.
In the end, that’s all that matters. I’m going to be alone no matter how hard I try and I’m never going to have them back. They’ll move on, have their lives and forget everything I ever loved and I’ll stay where I am, spinning in this world of remembering, isolated by my own thoughts.
Perhaps this little belief that Jack would spin with me was merely a dream. My unconscious was begging for company and created a little character for me to play with.
That character had its own stage now. It didn’t need me anymore.
“Lily, please just-“
Turning on my heel, I slapped him across the face. I finally blinked and the tears finally fell.
“I get it,” I spat. “Now leave me alone.”
I left him in the corridor, standing and staring.
Maybe, just maybe, this time he could be the one spinning alone.
It was Kat’s birthday party, apparently.
It seemed everyone above fifth year had turned up, regardless of house or whether they actually knew Kat. There was a huge crowd of people shouting loudly over the music who were laughing at the expense of others and sharing presents. Tables and armchairs had been pushed aside to make room for the dancers and socialisers, couples huddled together and unashamedly licking each other’s faces.
I grabbed the nearest shot glasses to me, and downed three or four straight of something burning and powerful. I looked around, warmth spreading through my fingertips and drying my eyes and elating every nerve in my body. I grinned.
I noticed the group by the window most. It had McFarland in it. He was with a few other Slytherins, who were all leering at various younger girls.
Jack hated him. To be honest, he wasn’t my favourite person either.
But I hated Jack, and McFarland liked me.
He was kind of hot. Blond, tall, muscled...
A possibility for an arrangement beneficial to both of us became very apparent.
The Slytherin stared up at me across the room, and the moment I neared him, I threw my lips on his.
He was uncomfortable and heavy, weighing on me and pressing his chest to mine, hands clumsy as they tore away my clothes and mine tearing off his.
In amongst the bed sheets and the sweat, hiding under his grunts and my involuntary moans, I could hear the tiny beating of my hollow heart.
A/N New chapter soon.
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