Chapter 7 : Second First Date
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I take several deep breaths which catch in my throat and I try not to throw up again. I don't know why I've been so nervous. I'm going on a date with Scorpius, for the love of Merlin. The boy who knows more about me than my parents do – the one who I have been going out with for two years.
So why am I so nervous? For him this is our first date. He knows nothing about me right now. For me, this is just another date amongst many and I know everything about him.
I study my reflection in the mirror. Behind me there is a huge heap of discarded clothes which is actually my entire trunk that has been turned upside down in my desperation to look decent.
I'm simply stood in my underwear when Clem saunters into the room with a liquorice wand hanging rather unattractively out of her mouth. She looks at me and pulls the sweet from between her lips.
"You're not going out dressed like that," she says in a tone rather uncannily like my mother. I give her a look.
"Not helping," I say flatly.
"Wear jeans or something," Clem says absentmindedly and rather unhelpfully as she bends over to root for something in her trunk.
"Clemence. It is nearly seven o'clock. I am not wearing jeans to go out to dinner in. Kindly help me or leave," I say dryly and put my hands on my hips, turning to face my mountain of uninspiring clothes.
Clem takes another bite of Liquorice Wand and munches it thoughtfully. "Well you want to bring back memories right?"
"So wear that dress,"
It's all I can manage not to throttle her. "Clem, what dress?"
"You know. The green one you wore on your first date with Scorp last time," she says obviously and sits gingerly on the edge of her open trunk, balancing herself carefully.
It takes a moment for it to settle in with me before I give a scream which makes Clem jump so violently that she falls into her trunk.
"Thank you!" I say happily as I haul her out. She nods and massages her lower back.
I'm feeling very self conscious as I wait anxiously in the Entrance Hall. I have taken to pacing back and forth and listening to the rhythmic clicking of my heels as the sound bounces off the stone walls and high arched ceiling.
My stomach flips when Scorpius comes into sight. The candlelight makes his hair look a darker shade of blond than it really is and it warms up his eyes.
"Hi," he says. "You look nice," Scorpius' eyes travel over my dress and there's that look again; like he can remember something but he's not quite sure what. There's a little crease that has appeared on his forehead.
"Hey," I say trying to appear calm. In my head I'm screaming; I want to kiss him and hold him and hold his hand.
"So, shall we go then?" He asks, clearly feeling uncomfortable. He offers me his arm. I take it without a second thought.
"Of course," I say with a smile that I can't help.
"So, um. There's a new place opened at the further end of Hogsmeade. You like Italian, right?" Scorpius says and he sounds slightly nervous.
"I love Italian," I say, trying not to sound like it is the most obvious thing in the world. I need to remember that he is still learning things about me.
"So how is Macy?" I ask casually. Scorpius makes a face.
"She's alright, I guess. Nothing exciting,"
"She doesn't set your world on fire, huh?" I say.
I nod and bite back the answer that I used to set his world on fire.
I catch a scent of Scorpius' cologne and give a slight frown. "You've changed your cologne," I note.
"Oh. Yeah. Macy gave it to me." He makes a face. "I don't like it that much,"
"I prefer the one I gave you,"
"So do I," Scorpius says and we both look at each other with an essence of the old spark in his eyes: but then the new mist clouds the old spark the moment is gone.
There are a few minutes of silence which isn't awkward or comfortable. There are several things I could say, but I'm cutting him some slack and trying not to overwhelm him.
Luckily, it's not far to this restaurant. Hogsmeade is near empty and the weather isn't all that great so most people are rammed inside the Three Broomsticks; looking through the windows I see witches and wizards in various coloured robes stood up with pints of Butterbeer in theirs hands and laughing heartily.
The Italian place at the bottom end of Hogsmeade is a bizarre building, even by my standards. The pure white building leans precariously at a 40 degree angle with spaghetti hanging off the swinging sign.
Scorpius opens the door for me. I thank him.
"Table for two please," Scorpius says to the Italian wizard behind the counter, who nods and seats us in a round wooden table in the bay window. We are handed menus which, after close inspection, I identify as dragon skin. But I'm not going to kick off now – not even in the defence of Uncle Charlie.
"What would you like?" Scorpius asks. I look at him over the top of my menu and I hold back a grin; he's got one eyebrow raised subconsciously which is something he does when he's trying to make a decision.
"I think I'll have the pumpkin ravioli," I say and place the menu back on the polished table, watching Scorpius as his eyes skim over the choices. "How about you?"
"I might have the lasagne –" Scorpius starts. Without thinking, I open my mouth.
"You hate restaurant lasagne," I say and then immediately clamp my lips shut. Scorpius' head snaps up to meet my eyes and we stare at each other. Its one of those moments again. "You've hated it ever since my Grandma Weasley made it for you at Christmas and you fell in love with her recipe," I can't stop talking – it all seems to just be streaming out of my mouth and I can't stop the flow. "You promised yourself there and then that after that meal you would never eat another lasagne that wasn't made from her recipe ever again,"
Finally, I shut up. Scorpius looks at me with wonder. He puts his menu down and leans forward on his forearms. "Tell me more," he says softly. "Tell me about our first date,"
He doesn't need to ask twice. "You took me to the Three Broomsticks because you remembered that I'm not a lover of dressing up and going to fancy restaurants even though that was your first choice," Scorpius' eyes look like they're welling up but I don't know if it's just the candlelight. "We had a proper pub dinner and afterwards we walked up to the castle and you walked me all the way up to Gryffindor Tower even though you had to walk back down to the dungeons."
"Did we kiss?" He asks and his voice has the same softness that he always used to have when talking to me.
I laugh. "Sort of. You went in to kiss me, but missed my mouth and ended up brushing my jaw instead,"
Scorpius buries his head in his hands. "Oh God," he groans. "How did I ask you out?"
"You got Al to ask me," I tease with a straight face. Scorpius' mouth nearly hits the table. I burst out laughing. "I'm kidding! You got Al to tell me that he had left his bag in Charms. I went to get it for him and you met me there where you apologised profusely for being a complete jerk to me for the past two and a half years and asked me out to dinner,"
"And you accepted!?" Scorpius asks, astounded. "Even thought I'd been awful towards you?" I nod, laughing.
"Albus always told me that you only argued with me because you liked me," I say with a smile. I clear my throat and quickly brush away the tear that has escaped. I blink my eyes several times to clear my vision.
"Tell me about something else," he says eagerly.
"Like what?" I say, with another laugh. I take a sip of water.
"May I take your order?" The Italian wizard is back with a pad bobbing in mid air next to him and a magical self writing quill.
"Pumpkin ravioli and a carbonara, please," Scorpius says politely, handing both of our menus to the wizard. "Tell me about your favourite night together,"
I think. "There are so many," I tell him truthfully. "OK," I finally decide and Scorpius and I instinctively lean in closer together. "So a few months ago in the summer you spent a week with me at the Burrow with the entire family. It was a stupidly hot day and neither of us could sleep at night, so we went out with a blanket and lay outside under the cherry blossom tree and talked all night,"
"Did you love me?" Scorpius asks quietly.
"I still do," I reply quietly. We have a moment where we seem to be leaning in closer and closer.
"Your meals!" The Italian wizard is back with our dinner. "Enjoy!"
The moment has gone again.
"So tell me about Macy," I say in faux cheerfulness as I pick up my fork and begin to eat.
"Do I have to?" Scorpius mumbles dejectedly.
"Why are you even dating her?" I ask, trying to keep the desperation out of my voice.
Scorpius thinks. "I don't even know. She was fine at first; and then the more time we spent together, the clingier she got and the more annoying I found her. Now she doesn't even have to say anything to me to make my blood boil,"
We both begin to eat. "Did we argue a lot?" Scorpius asks.
"Yes," I say but smile reassuringly. "But only about little things – the only big argument we ever had was over meeting your parents."
"You've never met my parents?" Scorpius frowns.
I shake my head. "Nope; your father wasn't pleased at all when he found out you were dating me. For the first year of our relationship you tried to go home as little as possible in the holidays. But then slowly he accepted it. And the night before your … accident, I agreed to go to dinner with you and your parents."
Scorpius is silent.
I melt inside at the way he says my name. "Yes?"
"I'm sorry for the way I've been treating you recently," Scorpius' eyes are sincere.
"I understand," I say.
There are a few minutes where we don't talk – we just eat in a companionable silence.
"Rose?" Scorpius asks again.
His hand comes closer to my face and for one crazy moment I think he's about to cradle my jaw in his hand and kiss me.
"You've got sauce on your cheek." He wipes it off with his thumb and wipes that on his napkin. My face is on fire from where he touched me – and not only in embarrassment.
"Does Macy know that you're on a date with me?"
"Yes." I say defiantly.
"Calm, Rose, I'd forgotten how defensive you are,"
"That's not funny,"
"Sorry," Scorpius says and for a moment it's like we're back to how we used to be - back and forth bickering. "She doesn't. But I'm sure she will find out somehow. Hogwarts isn't too good at hiding things."
I don't respond.
"Al said she'd gouge out my eyes." I offer.
Scorpius gives a laugh. "Not if I can help it."
Our eyes snap to each other. But then Scorpius looses the softness and familiarity and is starting to look uncomfortable. He puts down his fork and puts his head in his hands.
"Are you okay?" I ask alarmed. I put a hand on his arm but he flinches. My stomach drops.
"This …" Scorpius starts sounding torn. "This was a mistake … I have a girlfriend."
I can't speak. I don't know what to do.
"No," I plead. "No it wasn't – please don't do this …I – I can't do this without you."
"Stop." When Scorpius looks at me his eyes are desperate. "Rose, this is too much, too fast – I – I need time to … I … I'm sorry."
Scorpius digs out his wallet and puts some money on the table. With a last agonized look of apology at me he stands up and just like that, he walks out.
I stand and run into the street where it has started to rain heavily. I can see him in the distance.
"SCORPIUS!" I scream.
But he doesn't look back.
Not even once.
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