Chapter 9 : Space to be Smothered
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I’m not away of much going on apart from the burning at the back of my throat. I’m in the Hospital Wing and the only person here is Albus. Family only, apparently.
“Hey Al,” I croak as he sits patiently on the iron chair.
“Are you alright, Rosie?” He asks and I sigh. I don’t bother lying. I feel betrayed and defeated and I don’t have a game plan anymore.
I assumed it was all going to be so simple; go on a second first date, have a second first kiss and slowly build up from there. But he went and got cold feet and the next thing I know, she is walking round with a ring identical to mine.
What do I do?
“Lily said she’d come after her detention,” Al says. “And James and everyone send love.”
“I threw up, Al, I’m not dying.” I remind him.
“I know,” he shrugs. “But we all appreciate that it’s not easy at all what you’re having to put up with from Scorpius.”
I inadvertently wince at the name.
“I want you to do something for me,” I say and look down at the ring on my hand with a lump in my throat.
“Sure, Rose, anything.” Albus says, eager to help.
I slide the ring off my finger for the first time since it was given to me and try to hand it to Albus. He shakes his head and takes a step back from me. “Please. Just look after it – I … I can’t keep looking at it and reading the words. It’s killing me, Al, please.”
My cousin hesitates before taking the ring from between my shaking fingers and putting it in his pocket.
“Thank you.” I say quietly.
Madam Pomfrey discharges me after giving me a potion to help calm my stomach and my mind. Albus walks me to Gryffindor Tower in silence. We’re both absorbed in our own thoughts. As soon as we reach the common room, I collect my school bag from my dorm and get Al’s attention – he’s absolutely destroying Hugo in Wizard Chess.
“Al, I’m gonna finish up some stuff in the library,” I say.
“You sure you’re going to be okay?” Albus asks looking at me with concern in his green eyes.
I try for a reassuring smile and probably miss. “Yeah. Look, I’ll see you for lunch or dinner or something, okay?” I give Albus a hug. “Thanks for looking after me, Potter.”
I turn on my heel and head through the portrait hole, down the corridor and find a secret passage behind a statue which takes me to the fourth floor.
My fingers feel strange without the ring on and my hand looks oddly bare. But I’m glad that I don’t have it anymore. The temptation was always too much to slide off the ring and read the words.
I will always love you.
Well, apparently not. Not for the time being anyway.
I’m so sick of everyone treating me like a delinquent. I walk into classes that Scorpius is in and the room hushes and everyone’s eyes are fixed on me until I sit down.
I know I’ve been feeling sorry for myself, but my cousins and my friends have been tiptoeing around me too much.
As soon as I enter the library, a familiar voice comes from behind me.
“Well, well, well,”
I turn around to see Andrew.
“Oh hey,” I say.
“You’re not going to throw up all over me, are you?” He asks with an innocent gleam in his eye.
“Urgh you suck,” I roll my eyes. “That’s not funny.”
“Sorry.” Andrew amends. “So what’s up?”
Andrew seats himself at the nearest table and I sit opposite him. “Not a lot.” I admit. “My cousins are kinda … smothering me.”
I feel mean saying that about Albus and everyone. But I need some time with someone who won’t treat me like glass.
“I know what you mean. You know they only care about you, right?” Andrew says.
“I know.” I sigh.
“So how come you were so ill this morning?” Andrew asks. I think he can tell it wasn’t just something I ate. “Was it about Scorpius?”
“Was there anything else in particular?” Andrew presses.
I hesitate. And shake my head.
He can tell I’m lying but he doesn’t say anything else. It’s personal – and I don’t feel like talking about it or telling Andrew.
“Do you want to go somewhere?” Andrew asks me.
“I have really got to do some work.” I say apologetically. “With everything that’s been going on, I’m seriously behind on my school work. The Rose Weasley reputation for school swot is slipping and I’m not sure my parents would be too impressed.”
“Alright,” Andrew says, looking and sounding slightly disappointed. “I’ll see you later.”
I try for a smile. “Yeah, okay.”
When Andrew leaves I shake myself out of the stupor I’ve been in since last night. With some effort, I get out all of my books and spread them on the table. I pull out a fresh pad of parchment and ink and a quill.
I take a motivational breath and begin to write a list of everything I need to do.
Potions essay x2
Charms notes, pages 345-359
Notes on caring for Hippogriffs
Write up notes borrowed from Al
Diagram for Divination
Looking at the amount I need to do, I start to sort my textbooks and notes into piles and go through the list with numbers of what I’m going to do first. I decide to do the quicker stuff first; Divination, writing up Al’s notes and the Hippogriff notes.
After that I feel exhausted, but I force myself into ploughing through the two potions essays that I’m behind on so I can hand them in later.
The Charm’s notes are slightly dull and I know I’m not taking anything in as I mechanically write. My brain wanders as I do the notes without even really thinking about it. I think about Andrew and wonder if I’m leading him on and if it matters that much. I think about Maci and Scorpius and the ring.
Three hours later, and the last thing I need to do is my transfiguration essay. With slight madness and dwindling sanity, I throw myself into the transfiguration essay. It’s terrible, and I know it, but at least it will be done.
At long last, four hours later, I am truly finished. I can’t believe I’ve managed to do it all in one sitting but it was nice to have a distraction from … the issue at hand.
Packing away my stuff, I decide to go on a little trip around Hogwarts to hand in my homework that I’ve spent the last several hours catching up on.
I only manage to hand in Charms and Transfiguration when I’m ambushed.
“Rosie, where the hell have you been?!”
“Oh,” I say weakly, looking at the faces of Lily, Jennie, and Clem, all looking slightly pissed off. “Hey guys.”
“Yeah, hey yourself, Rose, we’ve been worried.” Clem demands.
“Where have you been?” Jennie asks.
“Just catching up in the library.” I tell them truthfully.
“Yeah – Andrew said,” Lily offers with a gleam in her eye.
“Andrew?” Clem cottons on. “I thought you said you didn’t want anything to do with him?”
“I don’t!” I insist as the three of them drag me in the direction of Gryffindor Tower rather forcefully. “He’s just been a very good friend.”
“Uh huh,” says Jennie thoughtfully. “Maybe it’s a good thing to take your mind off –”
My three friends swap looks. “To take your mind off him.”
Oh right. So now they daren’t say his name in front of me.
“Scorpius, you mean.” I say.
They give me a look of pity.
“Come on, I’ve got chocolate frogs in the dorm,” Jennie swiftly changes the subject and Clem goes off on another rant about Potions class.
I zone out of the whole conversation until we’re back in the common room and Al is on the sofa swapping saliva for everyone to see with a girl I don’t recognise. They’ve kind of melting into each other. It’s rather horrifying actually.
A group of first years are gaping at them with wide eyes so I catch their attention.
“And that, kids, is how not to kiss.”
Lily and Clem laugh but Jennie has gone a weird shade of white.
“I’ve just realised I’ve …” Jennie trails off and suddenly vanishes back thought the portrait hole.
Me and Clem look at each other. “I’ll go and check on her.” Clem volunteers. “You extract your cousin from Felicity Goodwin.”
“Oh that’s who it is,” I realise. “Okay, plan.”
Lily wanders off to her friends in her year and I go and sit beside Al and Felicity, neither of whom have realised I’m there.
I clear my throat. “Uh … Al?” I ask.
There’s a noise like a plunger and my cousin turns to look at me, his lips and most of his face glisten in the fire light. I try not to vomit for the second time today.
“Can I, uh, have a word?” I say. “In private.” I add throwing a hard look at Felicity who with one last kiss on Al’s mouth, sidles over to her friends who look about as nauseated with that display as I feel.
“How are you, Rosie?” Albus asks. I hand him his notes.
“Yeah fine.” I wave off. “So, you know Jennie?” I start lamely.
“I’ve noticed her,” Al says sarcastically.
“Well she’s really pretty and everything –”
“Spit it out, Rose.”
“And since you suck at picking good dates, Jennie would probably like one with you.”
Albus looks slightly taken a back but soon recovers.
“Don’t be daft.” He says in a strange voice and walks over to Felicity to start snogging each other’s faces off again.
I leave the common room and I’m heading off towards the dungeons to hand in my two Potions essays to Professor Slughorn when a hand catches a hold of mine and I look into the blue eyes of Andrew.
“What are you –?”
Andrew pulls me into a dark alcove and I try to leave but he holds me tight.
“Rose, I need to talk to you,”
“And you couldn’t do it somewhere less suspicious?” I hiss back. But there’s a part of me that wants to be wanted.
“I don’t know how to tell you …”
He trails off and looks straight at me. I don’t look away.
He starts to slowly move towards me.
What am I doing I have about two seconds to turn my cheek.
So why am I not discouraging him?
Is this cheating?
What do I do, oh Merlin, what do I do?
Andrew’s lips are mere millimetres from mine and I can feel his heat radiating onto me. He kisses me softly once, hardly at all – brushing his lips against mine. I close my eyes.
No, no, no, no, no.
Andrew kisses me again.
This time, I pull him towards me and as soon as our lips meet again we’re kissing desperately and hard, as if we’re the only thing each other has ever wanted in our lives. I have one hand intertwined in his hair and the other clutching the front of his shirt. Andrew has his hands gripping my hip and the nape of my neck.
Oh, Merlin, this feels so dreadfully good and I can’t stop.
I just need to be needed and want to be wanted. I’ve been starved and, God – I’m just so lonely.
Andrew presses me against the wall and his body full up against mine but it’s not enough. I’m clinging to him desperately and our tongues intertwine feverishly and messily but we’re too lustful to care.
My mind has just gone blank and he is my every sense. I want.
When Andrew pulls away he presses his forehead to mine and squeezes his eyes shut with a deep frown. I feel his fingers digging into me and I kiss him again. We give in to each other and his lips trail down my neck before pulling away all together.
“Rose, I’m sorry.”
“No … no,” I say shaking my head. “I …” I step towards him.
“God,” he breathes heavily. “You’re so beautiful. I’m sorry – I shouldn’t have done that.”
“Why?” I insist and Andrew looks tortured.
“Because … you’re vulnerable,” he says eventually.
I don’t know what to say.
“Rose, come back to me when you’re in a better place. I’m so sorry.”
Andrew kisses me on the forehead and leaves.
Why do I keep getting walked out on.
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