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Chapter 22 : Together
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This chapter is the final chapter of 30 Days. I want to dedicate this chapter to (predictably) everyone who has read and reviewed this story. It was a totally different thing for me to do - a short novel in a girl's POV with way more fluff than I'm used to. It means a lot you all got on board. Also to Ramita, Haley, Gaia, and Ali for reading while I was writing and keeping me going.
There are many things I expected when we arrived back in England. One I didn’t, however, was thunder to shake the house so violently I lost my footing and crumbled beside my bed. Scorpius hoisted me up. “C’mon, love,” he said. “No time for lying around.”
“It’s raining.” I removed my hand from his and pulled back the curtains. Sure enough, everything in the drive was soaked and puddles were forming on the lawn. Typical rainy day.
“Good observation.” Scorpius moved his hands around my middle and pulled me into his stomach, chin resting unceremoniously on my shoulder. “It does look rather dreary.”
I watched the droplets cascade down the window for a moment before gasping. “My painting!”
“This is a window,” Scorpius replied. “Though it does look rather artistic...”
“It’s outside!” I cried, wiggling away from him and bolting out the door. I heard his footfalls behind me as I raced down the stairs. My parents were still curled up on the sofa, though Dad was snoring. Hugo occupied the television now, mashing buttons as Mum attempted to look interested. There was a magazine in her lap.
“Blocking the TV!” shouted Hugo as I ran in front of it.
“This is important!” I skidded into the kitchen and yanked open the back door.
Everything was soaked.
Scorpius put a hand on my shoulder, having come up at a slower pace behind me. Both of us could see the painting clearly on the deck. It had been knocked off the patio table and the rain was pounding onto the paint. Most of it had chipped off since it wasn’t dry, but the canvas itself was ruined. The middle sank toward the decking. I sighed.
“It’s abstract,” Scorpius commented, kissing my temple.
“It’s rubbish.” I closed the door since the rain was starting to find its way onto my toes.
“I’ll paint you a new one,” he said. “You probably shouldn’t be around when I do it, though. Remember what happened before.”
How could I forget? Sand. Paint. Kissing.
Dad was in the doorway to the kitchen, leaning against the frame. He was looking very smirky.
Scorpius’ face lit up like a Christmas tree.
“He spilled the paint!” I cried. Obviously. “Got on my outfit. It was ruined.”
“What outfit?” Dad said.
“The one with the... shirt.”
“Oh, that one.” He chuckled and moved to the fridge, grabbing an apple. “What are you kids up to today?”
“Not painting,” Scorpius blurted.
Dad arched a brow. “Right. Stay out of trouble. The last thing I want is to have to threaten anyone today.” He wiggled his eyebrows at Scorpius, who looked petrified. “Yes, I mean you. Look after my daughter.”
“I’m fairly certain she looks after me, sir.”
Ha. My dad was called sir.
He grimaced. “You make me sound like a granddad.” Dad yawned. “Oh. This came for you, turtle soup.” He tossed me an envelope with shiny green writing on the front. “You may as well go now or you’ll be forced to tag along with Hugo and your boring parents. What would that do for your street cred?”
“Very little, as I have a father who uses the term ‘street cred,’” I stated dully.
“I’m very hip,” Dad said with a nod, disappearing into the living room. Hugo shouted at him for walking in front of the television.
I slid my finger along the envelope to open it. “What do you think?” I asked. “Are you up for some shopping?”
“The last time we went shopping I ended up in horrible clothes made out of polyester or crup fur,” Scorpius groaned.
“I’ll let you pick out a piece of slinky lingerie you won’t see for a long time.”
“We should probably leave right now.”
Diagon Alley was bright and sunny in comparison with my own backyard. Its cobbled street was crowded with shoppers and I recognized several faces from school and several new faces I assumed to be First Years judging by their lip-biting and general terror.
We picked out books first, pausing for a while to fill our baskets with pleasure-reading. Scorpius stuffed a glossy magazine into my pile and said, “Give it a try.” Later I looked to find it was geared toward modern artists with facts about museums and galleries around Europe.
He carried the bags and we purchased some new robes and potions ingredients. I even convinced him to stay with me while I replenished my oil collection and bought a new pallet. It was much cheaper than owl order.
We returned to the pub to eat, laughing over the locals in the corner. It was nice. Relaxing. Comfortable.
“You’re sure you don’t want to wait for Hugo?” Scorpius opened the door to a boutique a few shops down from Quality Quidditch Supplies. It first appeared three years ago and had been setting a lot of fashion trends for the witch population since.
The place was enormous. It featured rows of color-coordinated tops and skirts, dresses in the back, and slinky lingerie to the side. The last few times I was in Diagon Alley, Dad was tagging along so I made no effort to so much as breathe in that direction. He knew I was quickly becoming an adult, but I was stupid to think he would picture me as anything other than his little girl for decades to come.
“How about this?” Scorpius was already surrounded in silk and lace. He held up a little black number.
“Why don’t you tell me how you really feel?” I rolled my eyes a little, trying not to let my cheeks heat up. They fought back, however, and the entire room was hotter.
Scorpius must have noticed, because he laughed. “Or this?” A red lace corset.
“Maybe this was a mistake.” I busied myself with the yellow shirts nearby. Very yellow. Screamed happiness and sunshine. Summery.
He tossed fishnet stockings at the back of my head.
“How about we put together an entire outfit?” Scorpius said gleefully.
Part of me wanted to swat him in the shoulder for suggesting it, but it was nice to get him back to where he had been in the mountains. Laughing and happy. He looked positively delighted to pick out some barely-there outfit. Not that he would be seeing it anytime soon.
Not that he hadn’t seen quite enough while swimming.
On multiple occasions.
My face reddened.
“You pick out what you want,” I said at last. “I’ll keep it in my wardrobe hidden away.”
“What d’you think Dom will do when she finds it?” he asked, fingers running along the material of several bras.
“Ask me who I was and how I acquired the Polyjuice Potion.”
He laughed. “It doesn’t matter if you have any of this on,” he said, examining a pair of stockings. “I’ll still kiss you inappropriately in the hallway to the point of detention.”
I had to admit, that didn’t sound terrible.
What did sound terrible was when Scorpius gathered an armful of garments and insisted I try them on.
I stared. “Like, in the store?”
“No. Outside in the street. Let me gather a crowd.” He rolled his eyes and jerked his head toward the dressing room.
I grumbled, took the clothes, and stomped off toward the curtained rooms. “I’m not showing you, though!”
“Wouldn’t dream of seeing.” His voice was laced with sarcasm.
Once in the fitting room, I stared at the pile. Lots of lace and silk and very little fabric. I grimaced. I’d never worn something like this in my life. The closest I came was a pair of underwear with “Don’t Peek” written on the bum in glitter I got from Dom for Christmas last year.
I hadn’t exactly had many people to show undergarments.
Okay. I could do this. No big deal.
I tugged on the first bra, which barely fit. Well, it fit. But it didn’t fit.
“How’s it going in there?” He was stifling his laughter.
“I am not amused,” I grumbled, latching a corset into place. My waist looked like a stick of celery. “Okay, maybe a little amused.”
“Corset?” he asked.
“Can I see?”
I smirked a little, twirling some hair around my index finger.
“Really?” he asked.
Scorpius mumbled something and I heard him shuffle off.
The rest were easier to wiggle on, but it was strange seeing myself in lingerie. I kept staring at the bulky parts of my frame I wasn’t proud of. But I had to admit, they made me look rather film noir.
“Scorpius?” I said, placing the ones I liked in a pile to the left. He didn’t respond, so I finished dressing and poked my head out of the curtain to find an empty sitting area.
After placing the discarded garments on a rack, I returned to the sales floor. He wasn’t there. Just some women shopping, one girl trying to get reception on a mobile phone, and the cashier reading a book.
“Excuse me,” I said, placing my purchases on the counter.
The girl glanced up from the book, blinking. I felt bad for disturbing her, especially if it was an exciting part in the story. “I came in here with a boy...”
“He walked out,” she replied. “Did you find everything okay?”
“He walked out?” I said, glancing to the window. I couldn’t see much with the thick crowd outside.
“Yeah. Find everything okay?” she repeated, scanning the clothes and wrapping them delicately in tissue paper.
“Sure.” I didn’t see him standing around anywhere. What if something bad happened to him? What if he was kidnapped? Or killed? Or in the hospital?
I shoved money at the girl. “Are we set?”
“Do you want change?” she asked plainly.
“Keep it.” I grabbed the bag and rushed out the door. Left. Right. No Scorpius.
Great. I just went and got him from the States and he’s disappeared again.
I elbowed through the crowd, attempting to avoid burly men with body odors and the sticky women with children. An owl cage slammed me in the hip. Shopping today wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had. Dad ever had.
A little girl begged her mum for a packet of cheese, whatever that meant. Some unruly preteens were discussing Exploding Snap and the newest racing broom to hit the market. I only made it two shops down before I sunk against the window of Quality Quidditch Supplies.
I wasn’t comfortable with standing in the street of Diagon Alley with a bag of lingerie draped over my arm.
The glass slammed behind me and I spun, nearly being taken out by a little old lady and a poodle. Scorpius was on the inside, rapping the window with his fingers, grin lighting up his face.
“What are you doing?” I shouted, clutching my heart, which was now racing.
He motioned for me to come inside.
Into a Quidditch store. How strange.
Lingerie and Quidditch all in one day. Dad would be disgusted and proud.
I heard the bell as I walked inside, turning to where the newest broom model was surrounded by gaping fans (some of which were drooling). Scorpius moved toward me and then in one quick motion picked me up around the middle and spun me around.
“I got it!” he cried happily, kissing my cheek several times before my feet touched the ground.
“What? Crazy pills?” People were staring.
“I was looking at shirts and they grabbed me,” Scorpius said, a little out of breath. His hair was all over the place. “I went on this audition earlier in the summer – and I didn’t get it – but they wanted me for something else – then they couldn’t contact me – we were in America – they found me! I got it!”
“I am even more confused than I was before,” I said. The shop was stifling hot.
Scorpius took a deep, heaving breath. “I’ve got a commercial!” he said loudly, his face exploding with laughter. “The Firebolt XL wants me to do their commercial for the new model!” He was bouncing on the balls of his feet.
I stared. “What?”
He threw his arms around me again, kissing me hard. Repeatedly. “I can’t believe it!” he said finally, squeezing my ribcage. “Rose, this is insane.”
I was dumbfounded. And amazed. And ridiculously impressed.
“You’re going to be in a commercial,” I said and the words sounded great. “My boyfriend is going to star in – no, be the star OF a commercial! For a Firebolt! Which is a broom, right?”
He laughed. “Your cousins can tell you all about it.” He kissed me again and grabbed the lingerie bag from my arm to put it with the others beside the window.
“So when does this happen?” I asked, peering over at the shiny new broom, which I could barely see between the heads of second years.
“Next week,” Scorpius replied. “I have to go to London and shoot in a studio.” He was bouncing again. “This is wild, Rose.”
“Let’s celebrate.” I kissed him.
“I can show you that lingerie...”
“No, you sod.” I smacked him on the back of the head. “But I know a place.”
We were there for hours. Scorpius and I spent the afternoon and evening without shoes, painting the lake and the surrounding trees, some of which were shrouded in fog. He pointed out that I painted with my tongue between my teeth. I pointed out he was a git.
We ate the packed dinner, sandwiches and salads, and shared a bottle of champagne which filled itself after each glass.
The paintings dried by the trees and Scorpius built a fire. I maneuvered worms onto hooks and was lucky enough to keep my own out of a tree. Scorpius caught three fish to my one. He unhooked four, tossing all of them back. No Godzilla-fish this time, though he expressed gratitude at not being smacked with any smaller fish.
We kissed beside the fire until the coals were low and far too much sand was up the back of my shirt.
Scorpius tossed a few logs onto the dying embers and glanced over. “Pretty nice vacation, hmm?” he said, grinning. Part of me wondered if he was still thinking about the lingerie.
“I’d say I had a good time.” I turned away, pulling off my shirt and shaking away the sand. Once I turned back, flattening the material against me, I noticed he was blushing.
Good. About time.
“Did you?” he stammered.
“I’m glad we ended up here.” I twisted my hair around my finger again. “I’m glad I went to the creek and I’m glad I stole your clothes.”
His cheeks darkened a little. “You just wanted to see me naked.”
I kicked some sand at him and a bit went into the fire. “You do know everything is going to be okay, right?” I said eventually, watching his intricate movements.
His eyes switched from the logs to me. “Yeah,” he replied eventually, voice empty of the enthusiasm it had before. “Yeah, I know.” Scorpius tossed another log on the fire and shuffled the coals with a stick.
“I mean it.” I closed the distance, placing a hand on his shoulder. “We’ll just do this together. It’s much easier with two people.”
“A lot of things are much easier with two people.” He shot me a wink. I pinched him. “Relax, Rose. I know it’ll be okay. I have you if I fall.” He straightened and kissed me.
“Literally,” I said, kissing his cheek. “I love you, you know that?”
Scorpius didn’t reply right away. He slipped his hand into mine and brought me closer, his other hand finding my hip. “I do,” he said. “You just told me.”
It was true. Everything about that moment was honest. The kiss that followed his words, the colors of the air around us, and knowing that whatever happened in the future, we would face it together.
Okay. Many of you asked if there would be an epilogue or sequel. Unfortunately, the answer to that is no. It's always possible I'll come back to them again later on or in a one shot, but as of right now there is no planned sequel (but look what happened with The Keeper's Daughter being based off Keep Away). This is mostly because I wrote this story in a span of just over 30 days and during that time I was only writing this and only in Rose's head. I'm not in that place anymore and I can't do her justice.
Regardless, I want to thank everyone for following this story and giving it a shot. Who doesn't like a little fluff, hmm?
Thank you to those of you who found this and then went to look at my other stories. Those of you who heard about this from my A/Ns on other stories and gave it a chance. Those of you who reviewed and let me know what you thought of Rose and Scorpius.
No matter how many of these notes I write when I finish stories, I will never begin to put into words what it means to have people reading what I write for fun.
So thank you. A zillion times.
I hope you enjoyed the final chapter of 30 Days and aren't too mad for the ambiguous ending. Sometimes things aren't wrapped up in neat bows in life. Some things are left to mystery and I like that about life. Do with that what you will. I like to think it turned out in a nice happily ever situation.
Thanks, HPFF. Now back to updating 3 stories at once in stead of a thousand ...
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