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Chapter 1 : wake-up call
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welcome to the end, sweetheart.
Specks of amber dampened her jaw, and the strong fragrance of the city rain and alcohol would not let her be deduced as an innocent. Swathed in a designer coat and weighty boots hitting the puddled water carelessly would not let her be deduced as poor.
The deductions left ranged from extremely appropriate to extremely inappropriate.
A rose did not always smell sweet whether under its name or under another, mused Rose.
“Come home, Rose,” her letter had read, “your brother is dying.”
“The night is young,” Karine had laughed a year ago.
But she hadn’t known that the night would grow old so fast.
“The night is young,” Karine laughed, elbowing her in the rib.
Rose nodded heavily, sober blue eyes flitting over the scene almost dismissively. The night air was hot with sticky sweat and weighted in hormones. Drowsy laughter echoed in the air, and Rose found she couldn’t move without her skin making contact with limbs.
“Here,” said Karine, a skeletal glass of amber liquid in hand, “drink this. It’ll help.”
Her breath fluttered in her throat as she took the wineglass, but she tipped back her head and swallowed it down without pausing to taste the burning alcohol. Rose blinked again, finding the flashing lights more tolerable to her eyes. Her laugh imitated Karine’s after another two shot’s. “I need more.”
“More what?” asked Karine teasingly, bumping her hip into Rose’s, but a glass of firewhiskey was already in her hands.
“More of the hot stuff,” said Rose, waving her hands indicatively at the cup.
“You mean me?” Karine winked, but within seconds another shot of firewhiskey was burning down her throat, and everything was blurring together pleasantly.
“Why, hello, there,” said a tall blonde whose reddened lips stood out brightly.
“Hello,” said Rose, her tongue skimming over her own lip in envy of the color. “Where’s Karine?” Somehow her friend has vanished in between gulps of alcohol.
“I don’t know,” said the distinctly familiar blonde. “But I know what you should do.”
“Oh, what then?” The girl’s lips were dangerously near Rose’s own as she puzzled over the color and the familiarly of the high voice.
“Want to dig up a gra – a grave amount of treasure?”
Rose’s eyes widened rabidly at the thought, and the thrill running in the idea’s veins made it only the more exciting. But something told her it was a bad idea and digging wasn’t really as fun as dancing.
“I dare you to,” said the voice, and it was the words, not the tone of voice, that accelerated Rose’s heartbeat. Breathless, it took her only a second to decide.
The taste of death dirt was still in her dry mouth rather than the ashes of the Floo, and the stinging of the memory would not vanish despite her best efforts. The circular kitchen radiated maternal warmth, dusted and swept thoroughly with the aid of magic. Rose noted with a twinge of nostalgia that her Gryffindor mug was still in its special place above the sink.
Sighing heavily, she pushed herself on the counter, legs nearly missing the drawer handle with every swing. She wished she could berate herself for constantly thinking and thinking, but she knew she had a reason too. She could never forget.
She wasn’t allowed to.
“Rose,” her mother’s voice said strongly, pronouncing her name with the same sharpness she would in a Ministry meeting or against the world. Her mother was tough, and nothing could break her.
She smiled quietly, numbly falling back to her feet. “Hi, mum,” said Rose. “How was work?”
“Fine, fine,” her mother said dismissively. She looked strained, cracks of worry and exhaustion on her usually impassive face. “Rose, we’ll talk at dinner. Why don’t you go visit Molly? I’m sorry. I don’t want to be that type of mother but…” Not completing her sentence, she pushed forward and tightly gave Rose a hug and left before Rose could say a word.
“No problem, Mum,” said Rose sarcastically, eyes on the marble tile her mother had stood only moments before.
We’ll talk at dinner. When dinner came, the two of them would stumble through awkward explanations and half-hearted affections, only held together by the fifteen year old, doe-eyed boy. Except this time Hugo wouldn’t be here. Sigh. There was no use in denying the inevitable, but Rose had always been the rebellious sort.
This time she would listen to Mum, though.
“Hello to you, too, Molly,” Rose rolled her eyes up. “Are you enjoying the weather? How about the insurance policy?”
“True. It’s London. It’s always bloody raining in bloody London. Why can’t I move to Scotland? The accent is so sexy.”
“Sorry.” Pause. “Not.”
As soon as Rose had flitted in through the window – an unessential but thrilling tradition – the two of them mutually examined one another and curled up facing each other without a single word. Until Molly broke the year’s silence with a swear word. Molly had never been the sentimental sort.
“You just look so damn good though, Rose,” said Molly, leaning back appreciatively. “The streets did wonders for your – “
“Hotel room,” Rose said firmly.
Molly’s grinned widened. “A hotel room. I can hear the implications singing.”
Rose’s eyes widened. “God, no, the last time you sing out your implications – “
“My dad came in when I was describing in vivid detail – “
In desperation, Rose flung a pillow headfirst at her cousin. There was a fraction of a second of silence before a pillow thumped her face. Giggles broke into the crisp air as feathers drifted to the ground, clinging to the bubbles of oxygen until they were forced to let go. It was cliché, but it was blissful.
The spell shattered when Molly quietly said, “I invited Albus over,” as the doorbell rang insistently.
“I’m sorry, honestly.”
She stiffened as she stood up, brushing the feathers from her bare shoulders. She tucked herself into a coat as steps pounded up the stairs. “See you,” she said tonelessly.
“You should talk,” Molly caught her hand.
Rose might have been trying for redemption, but she wasn’t trying for death.
They didn’t talk at all during dinner.
Not a word.
ROSE WEASLEY, 17 – seen sober and looking good by the London’s Eye. No doubt our little drop-out will be back in Hogwarts in no time. Updates soon. Send in tips. The more scandal, the better!
The Witch Weekly crumbled in my hands, and I crumbled too. Back. She was back. Sticky with sweat, my hands clutched my stomach, and I vomit violently into the toilet.
Hello! Welcome to lifeblood, my most recent attempt at getting past the cursed third chapter that dooms me to never writing a plot again. I know the plot with the “running away from old mistakes” is a little cliché, but it’s honestly more about the “growing down before growing up” bit. I hope you like it, and I would love a favorite or review.
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