Chapter 28 : Goodbye.
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Throughout the past months - as well as all my life - people had told me that being a mum was the toughest job in the world.†
This was not the case for me. At least not yet.
I was busy packing up my trunk, folding clothes and organizing my things in the quiet and empty dorm room. My eyes always kept checking the tiny bassinet behind me, and when I found the two little bundles in there, I smiled. I couldn't get over how much I loved them.†
I loved how soft their skin was; their smell, and how it made my heart grow three sizes; their tiny little feet; the soft cooing noises and creaks they made; the fact that my body could produce all they needed for sustenance. I just loved everything.†
And they were only four days old. Imagine how I would feel after four weeks, or better yet, four years.
My heart would most likely explode.
So, in that respect, I could see how parenting was tough - you constantly thought about their well-being, and worrying about them. But other than that, it was pretty bloody perfect.
They didn't scream, rarely cried and slept all night through - all of which shocked everybody, especially Mum. Apparantly it was very uncommon for infants to behave like that, and that I should count myself lucky.
But of course my offspring would be perfect. Duh.
I grinned while casting a glance at them again. My insides almost hurt, that's how much I cared for them. Sometimes I worried I might eat them, just because I wanted them close all the time. I never wanted to let go.
A careful knock on the door made me snap out of my daydreaming, and I put down the shirt I'd been trying to fold the last five minutes and went to go open the door.
"Hi," I whispered while opening it. My face cracked into a wide smile when I saw Chase standing there. I put my index finger over my mouth to signal that the babies were asleep. Chase nodded understandingly and quietly slipped into the room and closed the door.
"What are you doing here?" I asked while wrapping my arms around his neck. Like it was the most natural thing in the world, Chase responded to my touch by putting his hands around my waist and kissing the tip of my nose. It was so natural, so easy.
"Just wanted a little alone time with you before you have to say your official goodbyes," he said, and I depicted some sadness in his tone. He was only covering it up to protect me, I knew that. He was fully aware of the fact that if he showed too much emotion, I would just break down. And neither of us wanted that.
"I'm glad you did." I smiled sweetly up at him, and he smiled back.
"Are you finished packing yet?"
"Soon," I said and looked over at the open trunk on my bed. "But I'm sort of just dragging it out, you know. I'm thinking the longer I take to pack, the more time I have before I have to leave." My voice cracked a bit at the end, but I covered it up by clearing my throat. Chase didn't buy this charade and lead me over to Clo's bed. We sat down and our fingers intertwined while we both looked down at the hardwood floors.
There was a long moment where neither of us made a sound. Not even the twins were breaking this loaded silence, as if sensing the tension.
Chase was the first to speak up.
"I'm going to miss you," he said in a whisper barely audible.
"Chase..." I swallowed hard. I could sense his eyes on me, but I couldn't meet them. "Please."
"No, I know we said we wouldn't get all touchy-feely, but... This is hard." Chase squeezed my fingers. "It's like... It's like I'm losing you, or something."
"That's stupid!" I told him sternly and finally looked up at him. His eyes were filled with such emotion that I had to bite my lip to stop it from trembling. "Of course you're not losing me. This is not goodbye forever. We'll only have to get through these next months, and then we're free to be with each other as much as we want. Okay?"
My voice was breaking at the end, and I had to look up at the ceiling to control myself.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Chase nodding.
"I know that." He drew a long breath. "I just don't... I'm afraid you'll change your mind."
I dared myself to meet his gaze again, but he was the one looking away now.
"Chase, look at me," I told him, emotion making my voice shaky, and there was nothing to do about it. "I promise," I said while putting my hands on either side of his face, "that my feelings for you are not going to change. I will be right there, waiting patiently for you, until the moment you step out of those gates. Then I will hold onto you, and refuse to let go." I paused before adding one last thing with a voice thick with genuine feeling, "I love you."
"I love you too," he replied and pulled me into a close embrace. He kissed my neck while holding me tightly against his chest, and I was absolutely sure that he could feel the tears running down and making his shirt wet.
We broke apart after several minutes of this, and the reason was to change Scarlett's diaper. She had let out a creak of displeasure which told me it was time to check on her. Chase was the one doing the changing, wanting to help as much as he could before I went away. When he was done he kissed her head and brought her head up to his cheek, and with closed eyes I saw him nestle into her softness.
I had to look away and busy myself with organizing books. There was nothing more bitter-sweet than watching the man I loved loving my children. It was actually more important for me that he loved them than myself.
Strange, right? Well, that's motherhood for you. Your priorities get all weird.
"So," Chase suddenly said after putting Scarlett back in the bassinet. "Have you made up your mind?"
"About what?" I asked all innocent. Of course I knew what he was talking about. I wasn't stupid. But I was also not keen on having this conversation.
"You know what," he said dryly.
I didn't answer straight away, but instead folded another pair of socks.
"You're saying no."
"No, I'm not!" I exclaimed as quietly as I could. The kids, you know.
"Adella," he sighed, "it's the pause that gives you away."
"Chase.. I'm not saying no, okay? I'm just...I'm just not saying anything."
"Yeah," he snorted. "Cause that's so much better." He was being sarcastic, and I turned around to face him.
"I know it's not. But... I have a lot to think about now. Things are changing."
"Changing? Like your feelings for me?"
"Absolutely not!" I marched over to him and grabbed his hands. "I already told you that that isn't going to happen. I love you. I really do love you, Chase. So... Could you just ask me later?"
"How much later?"
"When things have calmed down a bit," I suggested, and looked at him hopefully.†
"I will," he said after a while, and smiled down at me, showing off his adorable dimples. "Of course I will."
And we hugged again, only this time, it ended in a complete snog-fest.
Hey, I may have been a mother, but I was still a teenager!
The babies were already in the car outside with Mum and Dad. They were waiting for me right on the other side of the big gates that secured all the students inside Hogwarts' grounds.
My stomach was churning unpleasantly. I wished I could just slip away, and just skip all the goodbyes completely. But on the other hand, I couldn't leave my friends without holding them one last time before leaving. It would be months(at best) before I would be able to see them again.
There they were. In a semi-sircle around me, shuffling their feet, and not really looking me in the eye. The tension was palpable. The inevitable was about to happen. We had all known this time would come, but none of us knew how to handle it.
It was strange seeing all of them in one place. Chase, Deuce and Clo standing side by side with Al, Lily, Ronnie, Heath and Tristan. Tristan was keeping himself a little outside of the circle, not really sure of his place. He was my ex, after all.
Chace had been holding my hand ever since we'd left the dorm earlier that morning. It was a regular wednesday, but the professors had given them all a free period to bid me farewell.
I looked at them one after the other, really taking in how they were trying to restrain their emotion. How lucky was I to have someone that made saying goodbye†so hard?
Pretty bloody lucky.
"I know this is difficult," I said, breaking the slightly awkward silence. Only a few of them looked up. "But we'll all see each other again, right? It's not like I'm off to the Galapagos or anything."
Tristan looked up and smiled. It was a sad smile, but a smile nonetheless.†
My ever so thoughtful parents honked the horn behind me, and I knew I had to speed things along.
"Write to me, okay?" I told each one of them sternly, forcing them to meet my gaze, "I want to know all the gossip. I refuse to be left out of the loop just because I'm a mother and supposed to outgrow petty rumors."
That's what made Clover break down in a fit of sobs and hurl herself at me.
"Hey," I said and wrapped my arms around her shaking body. Chase stepped back and let us have a moment. "Don't cry, Clo. You'll only make me cry."
But she didn't stop. Which meant I was soon bawling too.
Clo slowly calmed down, and gave me one final squeeze before letting me go.†
"Next," I called, and that made Tristan chuckle. He was the second one to hold me close, and I leaned into his touch. I really cared for the lad, and hoped he would find someone that was a better match for him than me. And I knew that I would kill that bitch if she ever hurt him.†
"Take care of yourself, yeah?" he whispered into my ear, and I nodded. I didn't trust my voice to be stable enough to make sense.
"My turn," Al interrupted, and took over for Tristan. With a pathetic attempt at a grin, he held me tightly and lifted me up in the air in a big bear hug. A giggle escaped me when my feet lost contact with the ground.
"You'll be an awesome mum," he told me in a low voice, as if it was a secret. "Watch out for my goddaughter."
"I will," I whispered back, and I was let back down on the ground.
Lily and Ronnie ran up to me the minute Al had stepped away, and I was soon wrapped in a cocoon of limbs and red Weasley-hair.†
"We'll miss you," they said, and kissed my cheek before pulling away. "But it's not long until summer! And we'll come visit a lot."
"I can't wait," I said with a chuckle.
Heath was still standing there with his hands in his pockets, refusing to look away from the ground.
I was the one who walked over to him, and didn't say anything while I took him in my arms. My little brother was, for once, very quiet, but responded by curling his arms around me. He buried his face in my shoulder and I kissed the top of his head.
Oh, god, I would miss this little lad.
"You be good, yeah?" I said in a choked voice. He didn't answer, but I felt him nod. "We'll see each other soon." And then I lowered my voice so I knew only he could hear me. "I love you, little brother."
"I love you too, big sister." I barely heard him, but it was enough for more tears to escape my already red-rimmed eyes.
I sniffled while we stepped away from each other, and everyone had the curtesy to ignore Heath drying his eyes with his sleeve.
My eyes swept the crowd before me. I had to take a break from goodbyes just for a second.
"This is harder than I thought," I admitted aloud.
Clover nodded in agreement. "I know. It sucks. Life sucks. It's painful."
"Life is pain, Clo," Deuce corrected, speaking up for the fist time. "Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something."
Clo only scowled as an answer to this, but I guessed he'd get an earful later on.
Chase and I had planned on saving our final goodbyes for last, so I turned to Deuce.
"So..." I dragged, a little nervous for some reason. "Goodbye-hug?" Deuce wasn't one for showing emotions in public, so I had no idea how he would react.
"No, it's fine," he said, waving off my offer, and I gave a disappointed sigh. But he continued. "It's not like I have any of those... Oh, what are they called? Ah, yes, feelings." He opened his arms to me with a grin. "Are you stupid? Of course I want a hug!"
And I ran into his expecting arms with a smile. Not that I would ever admit it, but I would actually miss that disturbing young man. He always had the ability to make me forget my stupid issues by...well, just being his sick self.†
"When I get out of this dump, I'll come over and start giving my godson lessons about manhood," he said as we broke apart.
"He'll only be a couple months old," Chase reminded his brother.
"So? You have to start young, you see, or else he'll turn out like a loser. Much like yourself."
This earned him a glare from Chase, but I chuckled. I was glad I got to see one more fight before I went. Their bickering was annoying, but it could also be somewhat entertaining.
Another honk of the horn, and I knew my parents were growing impatient. Or maybe the babies needed something. I knew I had to end this session, but it wasn't easy. Luckily for me, Chase helped me out.
"I think you have to get going," he said, and took my hand.†
"Yeah." I swallowed hard and grimaced. "Will you walk with me?" I added in a whisper.
More goodbyes were exchanged, and then everyone turned away to make their way into the castle. It wasn't a good feeling to watch all of my friends walk away from me, but there was nothing to do about that. I couldn't take them with me, could I?
"Let's go," Chase interrupted, and his voice somewhat soothed my inner turmoil.†
His hand was grasping mine, warming me, and I never wanted to let go. The walk up to the car that would take me away was both the longest in my life, and much too short at the same time.
Before I knew it, we were only a few feet away, and Chase turned around to face me.†
I had never seen such devastation.
"Oh, Chase," was all I managed to say before I threw myself against him and tied my arms around his body like I never planned on releasing him.
I felt him kiss my hair several times, and he stroked my back with soothing hands. He sighed several times, and I squeezed my eyes shut while trying to memorize how his embrace felt. How his chest rose and fell with each breath, the faint heartbeats through his shirt, the clean and masculine scent that emitted from him.†
And then it felt as though my heart literally broke. It was as if it was cutting itself in half in order to give one of the pieces to the man holding me.
We didn't say anything. Not a word passed our lips.†
There was a brief and soft kiss, and then I placed myself in the car, moving like a zombie.
"Ready?" Dad asked stupidly.
Of course I wasn't ready!
A sob threatened to burst out of me, but I held it in as not to wake up the babies beside me. Mum cast a glance over her shoulder and saw how I was struggling, and figured it was better to leave me alone.
"Just go, dear," she mumbled to Dad. And then we were off.
I started panicking.
I was leaving. I was actually going away. Leaving my childhood, my memories and a piece of me behind.†
And Chase. Who held my heart like no one ever before.
Nobody could ever make me feel like that. I knew it.
"Stop the car!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.
"Stop the bloody car!" I screamed louder, not remembering that there were two infants sleeping right next to me. "Now!"
Quite confused about the sudden change, Dad stopped the car. My feet hit the ground before it came to a complete halt, and I didn't even have time to close the door before I ran back the way we came.
"Chase!" I called out, and rounded a corner. "Chase!"
He was still standing there. Right at the spot where I'd left him. And there were tears streaming down his face.
"Adella?" he said, utterly surprised. His face lit up and he ran up to meet me. I jumped into his arms, and kissed his lips passionately.
"Ask me," I demanded in a clear voice while Chase was spinning the both of us around. †"Ask me again. Please."
Chase's eyes filled with new tears, but he put me back on the ground. Then he bent down on one knee while still holding my hand. A kiss was placed on my palm, and then he gazed lovingly into my eyes.
"Adella Malfoy-Granger," he began in a hoarse voice, "will you marry me?"
I had to giggle - that's how elated I was, and tears were pouring out of my eyes like faucets.
"Yes," I choked. "Yes, Chase Zabini. Nothing would make me happier than marrying you."
And, somehow, this made it all easier to leave. When I went back and got into the car, I was still crying, but this time with the happiest, goofiest smile on my face.
And, like Mum had told me before, I counted myself very, very lucky.
Things are almost at its end. The next chapter will be the very last.†
I hope you enjoyed this VERY emotional and gooey, lovey-dovey chapter - because I completely LOVED writing it. I was finally inspired to write again and it felt so good :)
And even though I'll be glad to have successfully finished this story, I must say I'll miss writing it. I've spent YEARS writing about this family. Starting with Otherwise Engaged, and continuing with Expecting Otherwise. It's become such a huge part of me, and I will forever treasure it.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you leave a little review for me :)
Until next time,
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