Chapter 4 : An affair to forget.
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I can handle this. I can think rationally and take care of this situation like the intelligent, well-behaved young woman I am.
I should not, I repeat not, go on some silly rampage. It's not worth it. Strangling a thirteen-year-old girl for saying that I'm engaged to Scorpius Malfoy is hardly something I should be doing.
So, instead I just stand there in the hallway. Panting. Eyes bouncing out of my scull. Hands balled into tight fists.
And then I ask as calm as I possibly can: "What. Did. You. Just. Say?"
The girl with the long braid just stares at me and makes annoying stuttering sounds.
Another girl, a short, stubby one, steps up to her friend, looking at me.
"S-She didn't mean anything by it," she manages to press out. I have to put a leash on my irritation, and wait to let her finish speaking before I hex her. "It's all around school. Everyone's talking about it, so...we all thought it was true."
"Well," I seethe, "it's not."
"I'm sorry," she then says, and she casts a look at her friend. She stands frozen like an ice sculpture, still making those pathetic sounds.
"Who told you these lies?" I demand.
"Ehm, I can't really remember. You see, everybody is telling everybody. It's like-like wildfire."
"And they all think it's true?" I ask through clenched teeth.
She nods jerkily.
"Do you know how these rumors started, by any chance?" I'm proud of how controlled my voice sounds. My insides are burning, and the desire to punch someone is eerily prominent. And I'm usually not a violent person.
"Well, there were people at the party who-"
"Al's birthday party?" I interrupt, confused.
"Y-Yes," the stubby girl replies. She looks over at the rest of her friends for backup, but she doesn't receive a single glance in return. "A lot of people saw it with their own eyes. S-Supposedly."
"Saw what, exactly?" I'm immediately afraid - did others really see Malfoy and me together? I ransack my brain, but there's no use. It's like the memory itself has been removed.
My heart stops for a second. "Malfoy proposed?"
"N-No," the girl stutters and looks away. "You did."
My head throbs painfully, and the lights in the hallway suddenly burns my eyes. I squeeze my eyes shut and put my hands on either side of my head. Something escapes from the thick fog clouding my brain...
Colourful lights blinking like a kaleidoscope running amok. People jumping around to thundering music. I'm on a couch. The leather sticks to the sweaty skin on the back of my thighs. I'm with someone. His face is in the dark, but his unusually light hair sticks out in the darkness. His hair is soft. I know it because I have my fingers buried in it. There's an underlying emotion, something that's pushing me forward. I'm pissed off. And as a result, I want to do something drastic. To get revenge.
Everything feels confusing, yet clear. The alcohol makes it easier, though harder. Common sense is out of the window, but I still have the strong sense of doing something I think is right. Well, not right. But it makes me feel better.
But what I'm doing is wrong... Even I know that.
"Are you alright?"
My head is still spinning; the headache is gradually slipping away - but it's taking the flashes of memories along with it. I try to grasp it, to hold onto those fleeting images - but there's no use.
"Hello?" an annoying voice says, penetrating the haze I'm hidden behind. "Do you need the nurse?"
I open my eyes, and I see the stubby third-year eyeing me nervously.
"I'm fine," I repeat, my voice clearer now.
But I'm not fine. I'm so far from fine as a person can possibly get. But I put on a mask of normality to conceal my inner turmoil, and force out a laugh.
"These rumors are absolutely untrue," I tell the girls and smile, as if the mere thought of it amuses me. "That'll teach you to avoid gossip, right? Well, scatter along before you'll be late for something."
The girls don't need telling twice, and almost run out of my sight. My heart pounds against my chest, and I feel faint. The contents in my stomach looks for an escape, and I have to breathe deeply to keep it all down.
What do I do now?
I want to tell Dom, but I doubt I'll be able to tell her when I see her. This is too horrible. How could I let this happen? I always distance myself from gossip - there's never been any rumors about me. Dom is the expert in that area, not me.
Maybe I could approach Al. Find out what happened that night, and once and for all get an answer to all of my questions. But then there's the fact that he's angry at me, and would probably just run away from me. The lad likes to run away from confrontation. Which makes it even more bewildering that the two of us fought at his party.
There was Fred, but he's so loyal to Al that he'll probably run along with the lad when he escapes me.
So that leaves...
I slowly put one foot ahead of the other, throw the bag over my shoulder, and go on a hunt for a tall, blonde Slytherin.
The halls echo with the sound of my steps, cutting through the silence. Not that I hear anything besides my frantic heart beat and the buzzing in my ears.
I feel like I've been walking for a lifetime, and I'm just about to give up and go cry in a corner when I catch a glimpse of my prey. Against my will, I speed up and jog over to him.
Malfoy's sitting on a bench, his feet crossed and eating an apple while reading a book. If I wasn't so set on interrogating him, I'd be amused at the sight of this. I wouldn't have pegged him as a person who reads for fun.
My approach must've been quieter than I thought, because he doesn't even look up from his book when I stop in front him. I stand there for several seconds, but all Malfoy does is continue gnawing on his apple with a furrowed brow while his eyes dart back and forth on the pages.
This complete lapse of attention annoys me. So I react a bit drastically.
With quick movements I grab his apple and throw it away. This finally gets his attention and he looks up angry and surprised.
"Hey!" he exclaims, but when he finds me staring back at him, his face falters a little.
He doesn't say anything. I don't say anything. Nothing is being said or done by any of us, and the air around us fills with this huge, massive silence.
Where have my words gone? Why are they hiding on the back of my tongue, and refusing to pass my lips?
But Malfoy is the same. He just sits there, staring up at me with those big, soul-searching eyes, making the uncomfortable silence even more uncomfortable. So it's not just me.
How ironic. Here are two people who have more than enough to say to each other, and neither of them can say a word.
His lips are a bit parted, as if the surprise of seeing me still hasn't worn off. They look soft. And in the back of my mind, a voice can confirm that they in fact are.
This frightens and embarrasses me, and I feel my face turning red.
"You threw away my apple," Malfoy suddenly says. "It was a good apple."
The absurdity of the situation is almost laughable, hadn't it been for my ever-growing awkwardness.
Silence surrounds us again, and I remove my eyes from his. My cheeks are burning, and I have to swallow to keep my throat from drying up.
"I like apples," Malfoy continues conversationally. I don't look up. "Red ones are my favourite."
He clears his throat a few seconds after finishing this latest confession, and I do the same. We're so out of tune, and so unsure of how to continue this, that it would even affect other people. But there are no passers-by. Nobody who can save us from drowning in the ever-growing discomfort.
"I like the colour red, too." Malfoy's voice is an octave higher than usual, and it breaks a bit at the end. He's just as awkward as I am, if not more. At least that's somewhat of a comfort. "Just like your hair."
Okay. Things just went from bad to worse.
"Not that I'm obsessed with your hair or anything!" he adds quickly. "It's just a nice, ehm, colour and - Yeah. And it's, like, shiny and...stuff."
I'm forced to smile. This lad is weirder than I am.
Suddenly he gets to his feet, and stands right in front of me. I look up, and see that he's staring right over my head and his breathing is shallow.
"I have to go," he says curtly.
But he stands still, not moving a muscle. The book he was reading is clutched in his one hand, and his knuckles are white.
I crane my neck, and realise that he's now staring down at me.
We stand like this for a moment.
"I'm sorry about your apple," I say in a whisper. And this makes Malfoy's pale cheeks get a light touch of pink in them.
"It was a good apple," he repeats, his voice as quiet as mine.
I nod slowly. "It looked good."
"It was." He leans down a bit, and I crane my neck even more. "It was good."
"That's...good." My voice can barely be heard.
I'm now standing on my tippy-toes, somehow keeping my balance, and Malfoy is so close that I can see the individual specks of light in his eyes. So many colours. So many layers. So much depth...
And before I know it, Malfoy's lips are pressed against mine. My eyes are closed and my mind is a complete blank. I react to the situation by reaching my hand up to his chest and grabbing a handful of his shirt, pulling him closer. Malfoy's rough hand cradles my face, as if to keep me locked in place.
"Aw, how cute!"
Malfoy and I jump apart, red faced and breathing heavily.
"You two are totally the cutest couple in school."
There's a girl in front of us. Her hair is poofed up and she's wearing way too much make-up on her face.
My insides die. This morphed version of a sixteen-year-old girl is none other than Maxie McKibben - Hogwarts' unofficial gossip queen, and self-proclaimed fashion guru.
"Now, don't let me interrupt this little snog-fest you two got going on," she continues and grins widely, ecstatic about having some more gossip to feed her followers. "Toodles!"
Maxie walks away, the sound of her heels clicking disappears.
Malfoy and I are still standing as if we've just jumped apart, and there's shock on both our faces.
As on cue, we both turn our heads and look at each other.
Our breathing slows down to normal while we stare into each other's eyes. And then it really dawns on me; someone just caught me snoggng with Scorpius Malfoy.
"Shit," I say under my breath and squeeze my eyes shut. "Shit shit shit shit-"
"I get it," Malfoy interrupts.
I can hear him let out an annoyed sigh.
"Well, it is shit," I tell him after I've opened my eyes.
Malfoy shows absolutely no sign of being stressed, or even bothered. To be honest, he looks...bored.
"How can you just stand there and act as if shit didn't just hit the fan?"
He shrugs his shoulders.
"Why are you so calm about this?!"
"Why are you freaking out about it?"
"Why? Why?!" I screech. "I'll tell you why, Malfoy, that bloody Maxie is going to tell everyone about this - ev-er-y-one!"
"And this just confirms what everyone already thinks! It's a disaster!"
"And what does 'everyone' think?"
I look at him as though he's the most stupid person in the universe.
"You heard her, didn't you? She thinks we're a couple. And, apparently, as does everybody else here at this sodding school."
"Well, you can blame only yourself for that one."
How dares he!
"Oh, really! So I was snogging myself then, was I?"
"Did I go up to myself and ask for a kiss?"
"I didn't mean-"
"Did I grab onto my own face and pull myself clo-"
"No!" he shouts, and I shut up. He is fuming. "But it was your idea to begin with!"
I squint my eyes at him and cross my arms over my chest.
"And how, may I ask, did this occour?"
"Like you don't know..." is his elusive answer.
My brows furrow. "No, I really don't."
Malfoy rolls his eyes. "Yeah, right."
"I'm telling the truth!"
"Of course you are."
And so I slapped him. Hard. Across the cheek.
Malfoy's head followed the force of my slap, and he almost didn't realise what had happened until I'd let my hand fall to my side again.
He slowly returns his angry eyes to me, mouth hanging open, and his hand holding his red cheek.
"What the bloody fuck was that for!"
"You didn't believe me!"
Malfoy sputters for a few seconds, unable to find something to say.
"And that justifies you hitting me?!"
I stick my nose in the air.
"You were being rude," is my simple reply.
"And you wanted to slap the rudeness out of me, is that it?"
"You're mental, Weasley," he says slowly while rubbing his cheek. I don't regret hitting Malfoy, but when he drops his arm and exposes the hand-shaped mark on his face, my stomach plummets.
"Does it really hurt?"
"Why? You suddenly feel bad now?" he asks angrily.
His face softens, and he looks away.
"It's fine." He sighs before turning to me again, and he gives me a sardonic smile. "Not my first bitch slap."
"It wasn't a bitch slap," I correct him.
"You're a bitch, and you slapped me. Per definition, yes, it was a bitch slap."
A chuckle escapes my lips. How did he do that?
"You're not as dumb as you look," I say and can't help but smile. He smiles back.
"And you're not as frigid as you look."
"I don't look frigid!"
"When was the last time you wore your hair down, or unbuttoned the top button of your shirt?"
I squint at him, and smirk.
"At Al's birthday party," I reply. "And look how that turned out."
Maybe that wasn't the best thing to say. Malfoy looks down on his feet with a strange, sad smile.
"Yeah," he says without looking up, "look how that turned out."
I shuffle my feet. I hadn't meant to offent him.
"I'm sorry," I press out, and he raises his head.
"For... Being a bitch, I suppose."
This time his smile isn't so sad. This makes me happy, for some unknown reason.
For some time Malfoy just stands there and watches me. I get uncomfortable under his intense stare, and feel the blush creeping into my cheeks.
"So you don't remember...anything?"
I swallow hard.
"Well, there are some parts of that night that are...unclear, but it seems I've forgotten most of it," I tell him honestly.
Malfoy scrunches his brows and I can almost hear his mind going into overdrive.
"So what do you remember?"
"Drinking. A lot."
"Being angry, for some reason."
"And... Kissing you."
"And then walking out of the room of requirement."
He looks surprised. "So...you have no idea what we did?"
"Oh, I do know we had sex, if that's what you mean."
Scorpius visibly relaxes and lets out a relieved breath.
"And anything else is... Forgotten," he says. It's not a question.
"I think so."
Now he's the one nodding. He's thinking hard, I can see that.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Sure," he says and gives me a serious look.
"Why did Al and I fight?"
Malfoy suddenly looks uncomfortable.
"Well.." He scratches his neck and grimaces. "Remember, you were really drunk."
"I am aware of that."
"And you were acting a bit...loose."
"What do you mean, loose?"
"You were basically grinding yourself on everyone...including me. And that made Al snap. He was blinding drunk too, you must know, so he said things that he didn't really mean. You were just stealing his thunder with your short dress and your high heels, and that made him mad."
"What did he say?"
"That you were acting like a whore. A common, dirty, filthy whore, to be exact."
"And then you retaliated."
"Well, he sure deserved it."
"You got him back by calling him a wanker who people only liked because he was the son of Harry Potter."
I am stunned. Had I really said such an awful thing?
"And then you angered him some more by grabbing me and start snogging."
"Oh, so that's how it happened..." I say to myself. "I was wondering about that."
"Yeah, he got really mad then," Malfoy continues as if I'd never said anything.
"So why didn't you stop me?"
"It's not often a hot, willing redhead jumps me, is it? Plus, I was pretty wasted as well."
"And this happened in front of everybody?" I ask, already knowing the answer.
Malfoy just nods.
"But..." I swallow hard. "This is awkward... But someone congratulated me today."
"I know, it's been happening to me as well."
"R-Really?" I stutter and shuffle my feet. "Then you know what people think?"
"Yeah, that we're engaged."
And why doesn't he freak out?
"Of course I did," he scoffs. "I wasn't that drunk."
There's a pause.
"Wait... You didn't remember, did you?"
I shake my head violently.
"No wonder you've acted so weird..."
I let out a sharp breath. "How did that happen, by the way?"
"Well..." he scratches his neck again. Does he have a mosquito bite or something?
"Al got mad at me too, and acted like a complete arse, calling me names and shit."
"And then, well, we got this idea."
"Who got an idea?"
"You and I."
"And that idea was?"
"Telling people we were getting married. It made perfect sense at the time."
"How in the world would that make sense?"
"Because then Al couldn't call you a whore anymore. You'd be an honorable, engaged woman. And that would slap Al right in the face."
"That's ridiculous. What was in it for you?"
"Are you bloody serious?"
"I am. Sadly."
"So...I would give you sex, if..."
"If I went along with us getting engaged."
"And why did a third year Hufflepuff tell me it was I who proposed?"
"Well, because you did."
I bury my face in my hand. This is way too much.
"Girlpower and feminism and all that," Malfoy explains, and I groan.
"How embarrassing!" I whine and sit down on the bench Malfoy sat on when I approached him. It seemed like a lifetime ago now.
I sigh heavily and pout as I look up at Malfoy who's still standing.
"But why are people still thinking we're engaged? Haven't you told them it was all a joke?"
"And why the hell not?"
Malfoy simply looks at me.
"Because I promised I wouldn't."
This stuns me. My mouth hangs open, and I look up at this confusing, yet oddly great man.
The large clock chimes, interrupting the little moment Malfoy and I were having.
"Dinner," Malfoy states.
"Yeah, dinner," I repeat, nodding.
Then he reaches out his hand. "Walk with me?"
Despite being absolutely flabbergasted, I can't help but smile. I put my hand in Malfoy's and let him pull me up. He holds onto me until we reach the staircases, and then we pull apart, walking down separately.
We go to sit by different tables, but our eyes keep meeting every now and again. I can't help myself; I'm giggling.
"What's this bullshit about you and Malfoy being engaged?!" Dom yells just as she stops in front of me.
Here it is! Many questions answered in this chapter :)
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All my love,
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