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Hormones by Mistress
Chapter 19 : Black Mold
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 12


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For Flying Mandarin. Welcome to the story! And the wait. 




I kept moving, trying to find a clue as to where she might have gone. Had the incident at the feast really scared her off? Did her family pack up and move so she could go to Beaubatons? Durmstrang? That Academy in America with the pet eagle Charlotte told me about once? Was that even real? Would Ryan really want to go to school with an eagle?

All I found were empty rooms and windows sealed tight against the winter cold. I walked all through the flat, wand stretched before me, but discovered nothing. She truly was gone.

And she hadn’t told Gemma where she was off to.

Was she even coming back to Hogwarts after the holiday?

Would I ever see her again?

I leaned against the stair rail, lost in thought. I had to make sense of this. Dad could help find her. Uncle Harry, if need be, but I didn’t want to involve him. I didn’t want to involve anyone.

Hero complex, I thought.

Just then, the door burst open so hard it slammed against the wall behind it damn near shattering the window. In the frame stood the elusive Ryan Davies bundled in a wool coat and thick scarf. Her hair was up in a loose knot and her eyes were red. Not the fierce kind of red. The kind that I hadn’t seen very often up to this point.

“Weasley?” Ryan said, gaping at me like she couldn’t understand who was standing before her.

I must have looked the same. “What—quite the place you’ve got here, Davies.”

“We can’t be in here. They’ll phone the police.” She was panting.

“But don’t you live here?”

“Not anymore,” she said, motioning for me to come outside. “Hurry up then. How did you get this address? Who gave it to you?”

“Gemma. Well, she gave it to James, who gave it to me. You never answered my owl.” I jogged down the remaining steps and across the foyer, closing the door as I joined her on the front step. Suddenly the night became far more eerie. The wind was howling down the lane.

“Goddamn it,” Ryan whispered, glancing over both shoulders. “Don’t you think there might be a damn good reason I didn’t answer your stupid owl?”

“You were dead or arrested?” I guessed.

She rolled her eyes. “Come on.” Ryan grabbed my arm and pulled me down the street, careful to stay away from the doors. I didn’t like that.

“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?” I said.

“Keep you bloody voice down,” she hissed, the grip on my arm tightening. “And hurry up or work out more; this is ridiculous.” She continued down the lane, splashing through puddles without wincing. The sides of each were almost frozen and we could see our breath in the air.

Finally, Ryan turned down a slender alleyway lined with bins and black bags. I hoped garbage filled them. There were fire escapes above and a couple could be heard yelling several floors away. Toward the end of the alley there was a tall chain link fence. Just before, to the right, was a door tucked away so well you’d never seen it if you weren’t looking. Ryan shouldered it open and pulled me inside.

She hurried up a narrow set of wooden stairs, past doors on landings. One appeared as if there had been an attack on it using an axe as the weapon of choice. The hall was barely lit and I almost tripped since some of the stairs were uneven.

“Keep up,” Ryan snapped.

On the fourth landing she keyed into a green door where the paint peeled on the right side. She waited until it was closed behind us to turn on the light.

Whatever I was expecting, this was not it.

It was a one-room motel. It smelled like rotten cabbage and had one window facing another brick wall. There was a bed in the center with a few sheets and a sink to the left. A curtain was covering the bathroom area and the desk was put together at an angle. There were cobwebs in the corners and paint was peeled back from the wall in large sections.

“What…”

“Don’t,” Ryan said, shaking her head. “Just don’t. I don’t know how you found me, but just don’t.”

“I don’t understand,” I said, looking around. “That’s the address Gemma had. How do you live here? Where are your parents?”

Ryan hung her coat and scarf delicately on sharp nails sticking out of the wall. She took off her shoes, one by one, but left on her socks because it was freezing in there. She slid onto the bed, leaning back and closing her eyes. “Just don’t,” she whispered.

I sat beside her on the bed. I didn’t know what to say or do. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. “Ryan, where are your parents?”

“If you find out, let me know.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Are you thick, Weasley?” she snapped. “It means I know as much as you do about where my good-for-nothing parents are. So sod off and go back to your sweater-vest Christmas party.” She looked at me. “Are you wearing a bow-tie?”

“What? They’re cool.”

“You look like a tool.” Ryan rolled her eyes.

“So you came home and they were gone?”

“Last summer.”

I paused, trying to find the correct wording. My heart was racing. “You came home last summer and your parents were gone?”

“I found exactly what you did,” Ryan said, shrugging. “They didn’t pick me up at the train station, so I caught a cab here. Found what you did. Rented out this place just in case they came back. I have Connor upstairs keeping an eye on the flat for me. He’s the one that told me someone had keyed in and a light was on. I thought it was them.”

Which explains the shock.

“Do you know why?”

Ryan shrugged. “Could have been a laundry list of reasons, really. Dad’s a drunk with a gambling addiction and Mum likes lifting sweets from the petrol station. He partied away all his savings.” She looked over. I’d never seen her face so calm. So void of care. “Don’t look so shocked. I used to have it all. Big house on a hill. Dad bought me a pony when I was eight. Named it Ampersand. Don’t ask. I was going through a punctuation phase. Dad was one of the assistant coaches after his fall. My window overlooked a brilliant pond with a willow. Then it changed.”

“How did it change?” I asked. I slipped off my shoes and sat cross-legged beside her. My fingers moved into her hair absently.

Ryan didn’t seem to notice and if she did, she didn’t show it. “Mum wanted another kid, but she said if they had another kid they’d have to build an addition to the house. Dad said we didn’t have enough money. Mum told him to ask for a raise since he was obviously the reason the Arrows were winning. Dad asked for a raise and didn’t get one. Instead of telling Mum, he started going to the casino with his buddies to get the extra money. That turned into a gambling addiction and instead of getting the addition, we lost the house. We lost everything.” She laughed. “I lost everything, rather. They just brought home more booze and swore we’d get it all back. Dad lost his job. Mum stopped going in to work and was fired. All the while I was eleven years old, first year at Hogwarts. When I stepped off the train, instead of taking me out into the country, they took me to the shady part of London.” She motioned around her.

“This has been going on that long?” I said.

“That long.” Ryan nodded. “Each summer I’ll come home and get a job and help pay all the bills because Dad lost way more money than he made. I found clever ways to get textbooks and clothes for school. I even kept it from Gemma. She has no idea. In the summer we spend the weeks at her place because it is everything I used to have.”

I was still so lost for words that my mouth hung open stupidly. “That’s why you’re working at the library and the pub,” I breathed.

“I was supposed to stay at the castle over holiday,” Ryan said. She closed her eyes. “But when Zonko got under my skin, I decided to just use the money and stay here. I didn’t want to be there. Not with all the staring and the pointing. At least this way I could get away for a couple weeks.”

Everything made sense. Her aversion to having help. Her hatred of me at St. Mungos. At the maternity shop. She was too proud since she’d been on her own for so long.

It had been so ongoing that Ryan now appeared numb to it.

“I’m the only one at Hogwarts that knows, aren’t I?”

“You’re the only one daft enough to try and find me,” she replied.

“I’ve told you you’re not getting rid of me. I don’t know why you’re surprised.” I smiled a little, twirling my fingers around in her long hair. “Thank you for telling me.”

“Might as well or you’d start making up rumors about how I’m part vampire or something.” Ryan yawned. “Look, Weasley, it’s nice of you to visit and all, but I’m really not in the right place to entertain guests.”

I leaned down on my elbows, my face above hers. She opened her eyes, startled. “You do realize I’m not letting you stay here, right?”

“Don’t even. I’ve just told you a bunch of shit you should never have known so don’t even think you’re going to swoop in on your stupid fucking white horse and try anything. I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself and I will continue to do so.”

“Pretty sure there is black mold here,” I said, wrinkling my nose, not moving. “You’re coming back with me and you’re staying with me for the rest of the holiday. It’s not optional.”

“Aren’t you suddenly bossy now that you know some of my secrets,” she said.

“Yes. I am. Now pack up your shit or I’ll do it for you. And I promise I do not fold garments correctly.”

Ryan groaned and shoved me away from her. “I wish you would go away,” she said, but pulled the suitcase from under her bed regardless. She started shoving her clothes inside along with the few elements she’d brought with her.

“Have you always been working at the library?” I asked curiously.

“No. Just this year. Before this year I was doing private flying lessons for rich kids.” She tossed her tooth brush into the front pouch.

“Flying?”

“Yeah. I was my parents’ secret weapon. After Dad couldn’t make the money back by the time I was fourteen, he put all his hope and energy into me making it big in Quidditch. I’m quite good, so it wasn’t far off.” She shrugged and splashed some cool water on her face. “He stopped caring about things like rent, so I’d cover it with the flying lessons and trick classes. That dive the Falcon’s Keeper does? I taught him that.”

“No,” I said. “You were really doing that rubbish?”

“Until you put a bun in my oven, yes,” Ryan replied, zipping her suitcase and straightening up. “I had to get clever, so I got the job at the library before I knew just for some extra hours, but when I found out I told her I wanted on full time. She’s a lazy bint, so she agreed. Then I got the job at the pub. I knew I couldn’t fly and I was making good money doing that.”

“Ryan,” I said softly.

“Don’t give me that pity shit, Weasley,” she barked. “I don’t need it and I don’t have time for it. I’m fine and I’m doing fine. I don’t need you and I don’t need anyone else. So please don’t make me feel like a pathetic, poor tosser just because you have a rich father with a joke shop.”

“We might lose it,” I said. I didn’t know why I said it, but I did.

“What?”

“If the court situation goes bad. We have too much tied up in it. Dad doesn’t want new products. He’s stuck in the past. And he has these… well, he has episodes. He loses it sometimes because of the war. Our numbers are way under profit.” I raked my fingers through my hair. “I’m not giving you pity, Davies. I’m giving you help. Please take it because if you don’t I don’t know if I’ll be able to live with myself.”

She sat beside me on the bed. I jumped when she placed her hand on mine. “All right,” she said. “But just until the end of break. Then back to normal, all right?”

“Other than my suspension.”

“What suspension? What on earth did you do?”

“I’m sorry I didn’t say anything in the Great Hall,” I said, eyes focused on the sink straight ahead. It was discolored and mold was growing on the bottom. “I should have.”

“No. You would have made things worse. It was better that way. You would have done what that little shit wanted.”

Funny how that nickname caught on.

“I did what he wanted anyway,” I said, shrugging.

“You said something? Weasley, I’m going to punch you.”

“No.” I leaned down, face in my hands. Guilt overcame me. “I beat the shit out of him. I kicked his ass. He had to be taken to the hospital wing since he was unconscious. And then he used it against me in court. Made me seem unstable.”

Ryan was so quiet I actually raised my eyes to look at her.

She was crying.

“What – what did I do? I’m sorry,” I said out of habit.

Ryan wiped at her tears with the back of her wrist. “You seriously beat him up?” she said softly.

“Yeah. On the front steps. In the snow.”

She took a choked breath and threw her arms around me, tackling me to the mattress. Then Ryan let out what sounded like weeks of emotional torture. She sobbed hard into my shirt and I drew my arms around her, pulling her close against my chest.

“It’s fine,” I whispered, kissing the top of her head as she cried. I could feel her tears leaking through my shirt and onto my skin. “It’s going to be fine.” I wrapped her tight in my embrace and didn’t let go for a long time.

“Damn it, Weasley,” Ryan whispered, choking out another sob as her fingers curled around the fabric of my shirt. “I hate you so much. Why can’t you be selfish or something?”

“Am I not?”

“You’re too fucking nice. Stop it. It’s annoying.” She withdrew, wiping at her puffy eyes again. I couldn’t help but stare. “Your family is going to think I’m mental.”

“You are,” I replied, shrugging. “But if you’re mental, so am I.”

“Oh, great. Lump me in with King Gryffindor.”

“Not such a bad place to be,” I said pulling her back onto my chest.

“I hate you,” she mumbled, but didn’t move.

“Yes, well, you’re a right piece of work and I’m not fond of you either.”

“Good. Don’t get attached.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” I said, staring at the ceiling.

Who knew? Ryan Davies. I’d pictured her life to be posh and unwanting. Living in some sort of palace with servants. Crystal chandeliers. Dogs and horses and rabbits and the like.

But she was living in a moldy motel room in a dark alley with no word from her parents, no money, and no job prospects for after graduation. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t put into words how much I admired her. She really didn’t need me. For anything.

She had me, though. More than even I knew.

*

“And you’re sure this is okay?” Ryan asked. We’d Apparated to the front garden of my house and were walking up the pavement to the door. “It’s Christmas. I can’t be intruding on Christmas. This was a bad idea. I’ll come back on Boxing Day and we’ll sort the whole thing out, yeah?”

She tried to turn, but I grabbed her arm. “Stop chickening out. It’s fine. The light is on, so they should be back from the party.” She gave me a look. “Yes, the sweater-vest party.”

“And bow-ties,” Ryan mumbled, wiggling her arm out of my grip.

“Yes. And bow-ties. Though James wore an actual tie.” I momentarily wondered how his rendition of Hamlet went. I assumed a lot of ketchup disguised as blood.

I took a deep breath before turning the door handle. Ryan was holding her breath.

To my surprise, all three of my family members were in the living room. Dad and Mum were curled up on the sofa under a blanket looking like they’d rather be asleep. Rox was wide awake in the chair watching a film and eating from a giant bowl of ice cream with sprinkles. Typical Roxanne sugar rush.

“Freddo, where’ve’ya been?” Dad asked, yawning. “Rox is showing us this fascinating documentary about… people.”

“It’s about the discovery of a super volcano,” Rox said, annoyed. “Shh. It’s a good part.”

“Pause it. Your brother’s home.” Dad sat up, rubbing his eyes.

“So?”

“Roxanne.”

“Fine.” Rox made a huffy noise and pressed pause. It was only then that she looked over and spotted a familiar face behind me. “Oh this should be a good explanation.”

Ryan grabbed my hand and squeezed it. I tugged her inside.

Mum sat up, blinking in confusion.

“Mum – Dad, this is Ryan Davies,” I said. “She’s one of my mates and she needs a place to stay over break. Would you mind if she stays with us?”

“Not at all,” Dad said cheerfully. “The more the merrier. Though now we’re outnumbered, Freddo. Better invite James over for a beer. It would make me feel better.”

“See?” I said to Ryan. “It’s fine.”

“Just your friend?” Rox questioned in that voice I hated. The I-know-more-than-you-think-I-do voice. Except I knew what she knew.

“Yes. Just my friend.” I met her eyes.

“Oh. Doesn’t look like that.” She motioned to our hands. Ryan released mine immediately.

I took a breath. I didn’t have the patience for my little sister tonight. I really didn’t want to say something I regretted, but it was on the tip of my tongue. Ryan was very quiet at my side. For once.

“Leave it, Rox,” I said, shaking my head. “Not tonight. It’s been a rough night.”

“Of what? Snogging?”

My face flushed. “Ryan is my friend. I’m helping her out. Could you not embarrass the shit out of me right now? I’d appreciate it if you at least waited until breakfast.”

My parents were watching intently. Dad didn’t know what he was allowed to say and Mum was eagerly waiting for something to slip.

She didn’t have to wait long.

“Come on, just tell them. We all know what’s going on here.”

I blinked back frustration. “Stop it, Rox. Just eat your ice cream and go to bed. Don’t suddenly become interested in my life after seven years.”

Ryan stirred beside me. “Maybe this was a bad idea,” she said softly.

“Of course it wasn’t. My horrible baby sister just doesn’t understand how to not be socially stupid.” I shrugged. “Let’s go upstairs. She has a problem with sugar. And reality, really.”

“You’re the one,” Rox said, clearly mad by what I’d said. “She’s pregnant and you got her pregnant! Admit it!”

We both stopped dead, me mid-word of a new sentence. My breath was gone. Ryan’s lips were parted, her eyes open like someone had stunned her. Her suitcase dropped, hitting the silence with a loud snap.

“Ha! I knew it.” Rox smirked arrogantly.

“Congratulations,” I said soberly. “You worked it out. I hope you feel good about yourself. And, just for the record, she is my mate. We don’t snog. And you are a complete asshole so I am now glad you decided Malfoy was your brother over me since nothing about that had any sibling affection to it. C’mon Ryan.” I took her hand and led her up the stairs, past my silent parents.

“Your parents aren’t trying to kill me,” Ryan whispered after the first flight.

“Dad already knows,” I said, moving faster just in case I was being pursued. “Mum figured something was up and right now they’re probably arguing in hushed whispers as to why Dad didn’t think it was a good idea to tell her. She’ll talk to me tomorrow about it. Mum knows it’s hard for me and Rox.”

“I don’t get it. Why’s she like that with you?” Ryan followed me into my room, closing the door softly behind us. “You have such a happy little family except you can’t get along.”

“She can’t get along,” I corrected. “We used to be great. We went everywhere together. Did everything. Laughed. Taught each other things. At some points I thought we were closer than me and James. But once she was sorted into Ravenclaw everything changed. She didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. Like years of our lives never happened.”

“But you’re nice,” Ryan said with a deep-rooted grimace. “I don’t get it.”

“I wish I had the answer. Then maybe I could fix it. She just wants nothing to do with me and everything to do with making me seem like a fool.” I kicked off my shoes and sat on the end of my bed. “I’m sorry she said those things. It wasn’t aimed at you. Just aimed at telling our parents in a way that made me look like a complete asshole… just as James said she would.” I frowned. I didn’t want to believe him.

“Thank you for letting me stay,” Ryan said, sitting beside me. “And letting me cry on your shirt and make horrid mascara marks across the front. And defending me.”

“Don’t mention it,” I said. I stood and walked to the wardrobe, grabbing some blankets and spreading them out on the floor. “Make yourself comfortable. And tell me if you need anything. Cravings or blankets or kittens.”

“Kittens?” Ryan said, crawling up onto my bed.

“They’d be harder to get than the blankets, but I could do it.”

“You’re tempting me,” Ryan said and the bed squeaked as she moved around to get comfortable. “You just wait until I’m in the mood to snuggle a kitten. Could have used one earlier, mind you.”

“Really? I never thought you had any kindness, least of all for animals. Ah well. Learn something new every day, don’t I?” I pulled off my collared shirt and pants and moved under the blankets I made into a nest.

Ryan flicked off the light. “You learned a lot of things today,” she said.

There was silence for a while. I could hear her breathing and my parents talking downstairs. The wind was moving past the window.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that,” I said.

“I’m not. It made me into who I am.”

“I’m still sorry,” I said, pulling the blankets up to my chest. “No one should have to endure that alone.”

Ryan rolled over in bed. “D’you think they’ll ever turn up? Like they’ve run some secret gambling sweets-thieving spy program across the country?”

“If they did, they’ll probably get the rights to make a film. Then you’ll be filthy rich.”

“I’d get them so drunk one night they sign all control over to me,” Ryan said, snickering. “Then one day they’ll come home and everything will be gone, same as last June. Just gone.”

She was laughing, but I could hear the hurt in her voice.

*

I didn’t sleep well, but that was to be expected. How could I? All I could think about was what Ryan told me. Her life story. Her parents. Her family. Her life made mine seem like a stroll down the beach. With a beer in hand.

Somewhere around five I got up, pulled the blankets up over Ryan’s shoulders, and dressed quietly. She seemed peaceful, which was a rarity for her. Her dark hair was all over the pillows and I thought about moving it, but then figured she might wake up and have her wand drawn to my throat before I could arm myself.

Instead, I tip-toed downstairs to find Mum waiting for me in the kitchen. She sat at the table, mug of steaming coffee before her and a magazine open to the table of contents. She appeared calm, which was a good sign.

I sat across the table and folded my hands in my lap. “Go on. Hit me. I deserve it.”

“What?” Mum said, taking a sip of her coffee. “Since when have I ever hit you?”

“You smacked me round the head that one time I got lippy.”

“You were eight and called me a bint,” Mum said flatly.

“Point taken.”

She ran the tips of her fingers over the rim of the mug, contemplating. “Your father told me everything, so there’s no need to explain unless it’s something he doesn’t know. What I’d love to know is why I was the last to know.”

My jaw tightened. “It wasn’t supposed to happen like that.”

“Oh. Tell me, how was it planned out then? What went wrong?”

“Roxanne putting the pieces together,” I grumbled. “And waited until that moment to use it against me.”

“I don’t want your sibling rivalries coming into play here,” Mum said. “We’ll deal with that later. This is serious and I’m very disappointed to have been in the dark this long. Don’t you think I could have done something – anything – to help?”

“Of course I do,” I said, trying to find the words in the back of my mind, but they didn’t come. Not together, at least. “I didn’t want you to be disappointed.”

“Freddie,” Mum said, sighing. “I don’t think I’ve ever given you reason not to trust me. I know sometimes you take after James and he doesn’t exactly open up to his parents, but that isn’t how we are. We don’t keep secrets. That isn’t how we do things here and you know that.”

“I do,” I said, nodding. I took a deep breath and gave her more details. I told her about the appointments and the iron deficiency and the other symptoms. I told her about the heart beat.

Mum smirked at that. “Your father sobbed like a first year falling off a broom.”

“What? Are you serious?”

“I didn’t even cry because I was sore with him for making a stupid comment,” Mum explained. “But once he heard that he was done. Simply wept like a child. You had him around your finger before you even knew it.”

“You think he still thinks so? Even since I mucked up the court hearing?”

“You made up for it, didn’t you?” She smiled. “You took responsibility for what you did and made it right.”

“It probably won’t do anything.”

She leaned forward over the table, her dark eyes pouring into mine. “Fred. Listen. You are as much a part of this family as your father and sister. I know things are overwhelming, but we’ll work it out. As a family.”

“And Ryan?” I said.

“And Ryan is welcome to stay as long as she’d like,” Mum replied. “I had your father make up the guest room before he went into the shop this morning. I’ve always taught you to help people and it is clear Ryan is in need of some help to get her on her feet.”

I lowered my voice to a whisper in case Ryan was awake. “Her parents left. Last June. And she doesn’t know where they are. She’s on her own.”

I saw a dozen things flash through Mum’s mind before she spoke. “That’s a shame. She seems like a very sweet girl.”

“When she’s not threatening my life, yeah.”

“She can stay as long as she’d like,” Mum repeated. “I encourage her to do so. Would you mind making yourself scarce today so I can have a talk with her?”

“Mum, please don’t ask what her intensions are…”

She smirked dangerously. It made me uncomfortable.

“Yeah, fine. I have to owl James sometime today and tell him Happy Christmas and say that I found her. But just don’t be … a mum, okay?”

She smirked. “Considering I was pregnant twice, I suppose I can offer up a little advice and assistance. Or is that too mum-like for you?”

“Watch your wording,” I said, grumbling. “Dad be home in a bit?”

She checked her watch. “Should be. He only went to finish up payroll and check on the new stock of pygmy puffs. The tree is all lit and the gifts are there.”

“Aw, shit. Davies is probably going to feel awkward. I should have gotten her something.” In the chaos of Zonko outing her and trying to find her, I hadn’t considered Christmas. Bugger.

“Took care of it, love.” Mum grabbed some juice from the fridge and poured me a glass. “Go get your sister up. See if Ryan would like some breakfast. I can’t assume she’s been eating all that well.”

I nodded and walked upstairs. I paused outside Rox’s room and started banging on the door. “Get up, lazy! It’s Christmas! I’m going to temporarily forget that I hate you for what you did last night, thanks!” I pounded a few more times and continued back upstairs to my room.

I cracked the door, but found Ryan already awake. She was dressed, laying in bed, and reading. She looked perfectly content.

“Happy Christmas,” I ventured with a lopsided smile. I didn’t know how to act now that she was staying with us. It was probably hard for her not to threaten my life already.

“And you,” Ryan said, snapping her book shut. “Your bed is lumpy.”

“Morning person, I see,” I said with a cheerful smile. “Mum wants to know if you’d like breakfast. Dad’s going to be home soon.”

“This is weird, Weasley. I should go.”

“You’re not,” I said, sitting beside her. “I want you to stay.”

“That’s because you’re in love with me.”

“I really couldn’t be even if you weren’t so impossible,” I said, wrinkling my nose. “But it’s always nice of you to point out. Seriously. Come downstairs for some pancakes. Mum’s a brilliant cook.”

“It’s Christmas. That’s family time. I don’t want to intrude.”

“Stop making excuses. It’s annoying.” I grabbed her hand and tugged her out of bed. “Now come downstairs or I will carry you.”

“You wouldn’t.” Her eyes narrowed.

“Wouldn’t I?” I said, smirking and bending down as if I was about to scoop her up in my arms.

“Point taken, jerk.” Ryan shouldered me out of the way (hard) and moved past me into the hallway and downstairs. I followed, rubbing my shoulder, only to have Rox elbow me out of the way when she came bounding from her room.

Women. Ugh.




A/N: The first half of this chapter is probably one of my favorites in this story. I've been sitting on Ryan's past the last 18 chapters and it's FINALLY out. So now hopefully a lot more things make sense about why she makes the choices she does.

UP NEXT: Weasley family Christmas, something happens at night, and Ryan decides Fred may think it's okay to tolerate Roxanne's bullshit, but she sure as Rowena isn't.


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