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Chapter 6 : Estrangement
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Six Months before the Palmers’ Murder
“Rose, are you positive that this is a good idea?” Scorpius asked hesitantly as he watched his long term girlfriend prepare herself for another family dinner.
Rose, completely unfussy about the news that she was about to break to her whole family, nodded from in front of the mirror. She continued to comb through her messy hair and replied, “Of course. Look, there’s not much they can do about it even if they don’t like it. They can’t change my mind, and I know that Albus will come around.”
Scorpius said nothing, choosing to immerse himself in his own private worries.
The two of them had been dating ever since their sixth year at Hogwarts. They had taken a short break two years after they graduated, but they were now twenty-four. Even though they had been together for almost good eight years, Scorpius was sure that Rose’s parents weren’t going to take well to their announcement.
After all, his family hadn’t quite taken well to the news. Neither Scorpius and Rose chose to talk about his grandfather’s angry bewilderment and his subsequent “disowning”.
Even with Scorpius’s father’s quiet but invaluable acceptance (in the form of telling Scorpius he was not disowned), Scorpius and Rose knew Lucius Malfoy’s overreaction wasn’t the first overreaction they would receive.
Scorpius knew how Rose’s family and friends were secretly excited when the two of them had taken a three month break. Rose had been excited to tell the news to her family ever since Scorpius had proposed to her, but Scorpius didn’t want to break Rose’s heart by telling what a bad idea it was to spring the news onto her entire family when her own parents didn’t even know.
Rose liked to think otherwise, but he knew that there were very few in her family who had gotten used to the idea of them being a couple.
“Ready, love?” Rose finally asked as she got up, after having deemed her appearance to be acceptable. There was a glow about her that made Scorpius secretly pray that her family would be as understanding and tolerant as everyone liked to think of them as.
Scorpius tried his best to hide his grimace from his fiancée and nodded. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”
Rose shot Scorpius a grateful smile before slyly holding out her left arm for Side-Apparition. Scorpius had no doubt that she wanted her engagement ring to be visible for everyone to see.
Scorpius took Rose’s arm and returned her smile. Readying himself for the unpleasant feeling of Apparition, Scorpius felt himself sucked through a tight tube before landing his feet firmly onto the top of a hill overlooking an odd looking house clearly held up by magic.
“I remember it was my favourite place in the whole world,” Rose sighed reminiscently as she slipped her hand into Scorpius’s. “Grandmum and Granddad would always be around, the house would smell like cooking, and whenever I was there, one of my cousins would always be around.”
The two of them slowly started climbing down the hill, as Rose continued to chatter on. “Teddy proposed to Victoire here at the Burrow. Do you remember when they held their wedding here?”
Scorpius nodded silently, smiling at Rose. He knew, of course, why she was thinking about Teddy and Victoire’s wedding. He remembered the stories Rose used to tell him: nearly everyone in her family had been married here so far.
By the time that Rose and Scorpius had reached the bottom of the hill, Scorpius reached and grabbed Rose gently by her wrist. “Rose, do they know I’m coming?” he asked hesitantly, glancing at the house that looked more and more foreboding.
“I told my parents and my grandparents. That means the rest of the family should know,” Rose replied, a smirk unwillingly appearing on her face. It wasn’t often that she saw this vulnerable side of her boyfriend. His usual façade didn’t leave much room for vulnerability.
Nodding, Scorpius said bracingly, “Right, then. I see no reason in delaying our arrival any longer.”
Rose, tightening her grip on her fiancée’s hand, shot him another supportive smile and walked towards the door. Very faintly and very far away, she thought she could hear the distant cries of laughter.
Before Rose could give herself the chance to knock on the door, the door was flung open, revealing a smiling Hermione Weasley.
“Rosie,” Hermione Weasley sighed as a smile graced her features. Scorpius dropped Rose’s hand, allowing her to rush forward to give her mother a hug.
“Mum, how are you? I feel as if I haven’t seen you in ages,” Rose said, giving her mother a tight hug. As she pulled away, Hermione searched Rose’s face and said, “There’s something different about you.”
Scorpius nearly started smirking as Rose went pink. She had been hoping to make the announcement at dinner, not when she hadn’t yet stepped foot in the house.
Though Scorpius would have liked for Rose to announce their engagement on the spot, he didn’t fault her for discreetly and carefully hiding her left hand and saying jokingly, “Of course I’m different, Mum. I’m two weeks older than you last saw me.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and beckoned for Rose to come in. Her eyes fleeted towards Scorpius briefly and gave him the smallest of smiles politely before snapping her eyes back to Rose. She told her daughter, “Your grandmum is finishing up dinner. Everyone else is waiting outside for you.”
Before Rose had a chance to comment on her mother’s odd behaviour towards her fiancé, Hermione Weasley had already rushed back into the house. Rose turned back towards Scorpius and muttered, “I’m sorry. I think it’s a surprise for her to see you here.”
Giving her a kiss on her forehead, Scorpius reassured her, “It’s fine. That was a much better reaction than my father gave you.”
Rose led Scorpius into the house and snorted. “I think that was because you didn’t tell your father that I was coming.”
Scorpius shrugged, not bothering to defend himself. The truth was that he had been too scared to confront his father, much less his grandfather. He had vague and unformulated plans that revolved around his mother breaking the news to the rest of the family, until Rose put her foot down at the idea. She was always a bit confrontational.
“Rose, Grandmum says dinner is ready,” a voice interrupted the couple. Glancing over, Scorpius caught the eyes of one James Potter.
He prepared himself for the possibility of some snarky comment, but instead, received none. “Malfoy,” James Potter greeted with a nod of his head. “Congratulations on the engagement.”
“Thank you,” Scorpius replied sincerely with a polite smile that hopefully masked his surprise and pleasure. Being one of the more outspoken of Rose’s cousins, James’s approval meant a lot.
Flustered and bewildered, Rose stuttered, “What? But- no… what? How did you know?!” She glanced at Scorpius with a shocked expression, but Scorpius merely grinned back at his fiancée, as perplexed as she was.
“The ring on your left finger and the fact that Malfoy’s here,” James smirked as he, Rose and Scorpius made their way out of the house and towards the backyard. “And I mean it. Congratulations.”
Rose’s shock diminished and soon a wide grin replaced her features and she gave James a side-hug. “Oh James. I’m so glad that you approve.”
“You don’t need my approval to do anything, Rose,” James shook his head but returned the hug, nevertheless. “I saw this coming anyway. You two are around that time when it’s either heading to the altar or breaking up. Did you hear from Roxy that she broke up with her boyfriend?”
Quietly slipping into the background, Scorpius let Rose chatter on with her cousin as the three of them approached the long table conjured in the backyard, the entire Weasley and Potter family gathered around and talking in loud voices.
In the moment before the rest of Rose’s family noticed their presence, Scorpius reflected with the thought of how wonderful it would be to be accepted. Rose had been worrying about tonight for longer than he could remember…
“Rose! You’re here!” a solitary female voice belonging to Lily Potter exclaimed loudly above all of the rabble and a hush fell upon the table as her family turned in their seats. The welcoming smiles directed at Rose weren’t enough to overshadow the muttering and uneasy glances that were shot at Scorpius.
Scorpius felt Rose grip his hand even tighter as she firmly marched over to the two empty seats at the edge of the table. Rose’s grandmother knew he would be there then…
He tried to feel happy that he hadn’t been scorned to much as to not have a seat at the table, but the uneasiness and quietness at the table was enough to make even Scorpius, the master of masked expressions, uncomfortable.
The odd silence must have been unusual, as Scorpius noticed that the rest of the family immediately immersed themselves in loud and unnatural conversations when Rose began to attempt to connect a conversation between Scorpius and Albus.
“Al, Danny, you two know Scorpius,” Rose said to Albus, who was sitting across from them with a rather odd expression. Danny Sanford, Albus’s best friend, sat next to him. “Scorpius, you know Albus and Danny.”
Scorpius gave Albus and Danny a nod of his head and greeted politely, “Potter. Sanford.”
“Malfoy. Rose.” Danny greeted without warmth before choosing to converse with Lucy on his other side.
Albus, on the other hand, didn’t hide his displeasure as he said gruffly, “I’m surprised to see you here at our family gathering.”
“I apologize for the shock,” Scorpius replied indifferently. “I expect that you don’t often come into contact with your other cousins’ significant others.”
The unconcealed jib earned Scorpius a disapproving look from Rose, who had obviously hoped Scorpius wouldn’t rise up Albus’s challenge. From the other side of Rose, Lily looked on with vague interest.
Albus gripped his fork tightly, his plate of food completely forgotten. “No, I’m quite good friends with everyone else. I think the problem is you.”
“Albus!” Rose said in a warning tone. In an effort to conceal how troubled she was by the conversation, she handed a plate of food to Scorpius. She sent her fiancé a warning look, and said in a forced casual tone, “How is everything going at work, Lily?”
Taking the hint, Lily immediately said, “It’s going quite well, actually. You know I’m really not supposed to say anything, but I’m quite enjoying it. Cornfoot, our Head of Department, is a bit out of touch with the ages, but he’s been a good mentor.”
“Hasn’t Cornfoot been around for ages?” Rose frowned. “I’m surprised to hear that he’s still there. I thought he would have retired by now.”
“I think there were rumours of him retiring a couple of years ago, around the time that Aunt Hermione became Head of the MLE, but he never did. Burdock, who’s been there almost as long as Cornfoot has, said that Cornfoot has never been more active. Most of the work had been piled onto Burdock before,” Lily said casually, flicking some of the vegetables in her plate to the side.
The conversation drifted easily without input by Scorpius. He remained silent, only speaking when directed a question at, but kept his ear on the conversation.
Scorpius had thought that the evening had gone fairly well so far, with the polite questions of how he was doing and no one had pointed out the engagement ring that rested on Rose’s left finger, though he was sure that it couldn’t have gone unnoticed. Scorpius knew that Rose was waiting for the end of the dinner to make the announcement.
All in all, it had been a perfectly acceptable evening until the topic of politics was brought up.
It was, of course, impossible not to talk about Ministry affairs and politics when nearly half of the family had a job at the Ministry. Nevertheless, as Molly Weasley continued to talk about the heightened tensions with the Muggles and the latest Pureblood protest, Scorpius could see the furtive and not-so-secretive glances directed towards his direction.
It wasn’t as if he was surprised. When the topic of conversation was the latest Pureblood protest, Scorpius’s family would always come up, especially his grandfather.
From the other end of the table, he could distinctly hear his name paired with a couple of remarks that any other person would have found extremely offending. Scorpius, however, was used to insults, being who he was and having the sort of family that he had.
Hearing disparaging comments and insinuating remarks about his grandfather wasn’t anything new, especially around present company.
Rose shifted uncomfortably in her seat, her eyes snapping to Scorpius. The tension was rising, but Scorpius shook his head. If he was bothered by every single negative comment made about this family, then he would never be able to function in society.
“It’s fine,” Scorpius murmured. “I’m used to it.”
“Are you sure?” Rose whispered anxiously. “They’re talking about your grandfather.”
“He was a Death Eater, though, wasn’t he? No point trying to defend his past actions. There’s no point arguing that he would never get involved in that sort of rubbish now,” Scorpius shrugged, hoping that his mask of indifference would make Rose relax. He didn’t want her flying off the handle when she hadn’t even properly announced their engagement.
Scorpius knew what her family was trying to do, even if Rose didn’t catch on. By talking about the Malfoys and the rest of Scorpius’s family, they were most likely hoping that Rose would open up about the ring sitting on her left finger. Scorpius had caught multiple family members glancing over, though none of them had said anything.
The breaking point in the discussion of Scorpius’s family, however, came not from the discussion of Lucius Malfoy, as most sitting around the table had given up on trying to get a comment out of either Rose or Scorpius.
Scorpius, despite his best efforts, couldn’t help but speak up when one of his cousins, Cyril Nott, had been brought into the conversation amongst Rose’s older cousins.
Cyril had been mistakenly connected with an incident concerning a Muggle whose memory had been subjected to an Memory Charm. The result of the Memory Charm was an addled brain and a poor memory, causing the Muggle to be removed from society and placed in St. Mungo’s. Ministry officials declared foul-play, though they could find no motives.
Cyril had been held in the Ministry’s custody for nearly two days until they released him on the grounds that nothing tied Cyril to the crime.
Knowing how his cousin had barely scraped an O.W.L. in Charms, Scorpius couldn’t help but interrupt the speculation of how Cyril had gotten away. He said in a firm but non-negotiable tone, “Cyril was not responsible for what happened to that Muggle.”
Out of the corner of his eyes, Scorpius could spot the resigned expression on Rose’s face. No doubt she figured that Scorpius would speak up sooner or later.
Louis Weasley stared at Scorpius in disbelief. “He was at the scene of the crime when it happened! How could he not be responsible?”
“Being a witness to a crime does not mean that one has to be responsible,” Scorpius answered calmly, trying his best to ignore the quieting of nearby conversations. He ignored neither Rose’s mother nor the one of Rose’s cousins who worked in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement spoke up.
It seemed to Scorpius that the adults were feigning deafness as they chatted on themselves in low voices, most likely a cover for their actual interest in the conversation.
“And why are you convinced that he is innocent?” Roxanne Weasley demanded, setting down her fork and fixing Scorpius with a steely look. “I was in the same year as Cyril Nott in Hogwarts. It seems to me that he’s quite capable of doing something like this.”
“If you’re referring to the fact that he supposedly humiliated you in front of every single student in the Great Hall, then perhaps you might care to remember that it was you who had put itching powder all over his clothes and bed,” Scorpius replied dryly. He knew that he shouldn’t rise up to their accusations and continue to engage in this goading conversation, but Scorpius felt extremely irritated.
Cyril was his favourite cousin amongst his three cousins on his mother’s side. Damian, Cyril’s older brother, was much older than Scorpius, and the fact that Damian rarely smiled or relaxed himself even around family was off putting. Arista, Cyril’s younger sister, was in Scorpius’s year at Hogwarts. She tended to focus on things that were utterly and completely pointless, such as hair products and pimple-removers.
Cyril had been Scorpius’s first friend, and he remained Scorpius’s confidant. Had it been Damian or Arista who was the topic of discussion, Scorpius might not have bothered getting into the argument. Cyril, however, was someone that Scorpius would venture to hell and back for.
“Maybe we should-” Rose began to say before she was interrupted by Lucy Weasley.
“I know that Cyril knew what had happened, but he refused to say anything,” she said in a matter-of-fact way. “That may not make him guilty, but it makes him an accomplice.”
“Then why didn’t you arrest him? Oh, right. Because he was completely innocent,” Scorpius scowled. He had never been good at managing his anger when it came things that mattered.
Society’s perception of his family wasn’t important because there wasn’t any way to change it and Scorpius had long accepted his family’s dark history. Cyril, however, mattered. He was someone who didn’t even want to get harmless revenge on Roxanne Weasley, much less inflict any sort of pain upon another human being.
Scorpius wished the accusations would stop and regretted ever taking a part of the conversation as Hugo Weasley opened his mouth and began arguing furiously about how it was wrong on Cyril’s part to “hold back information from Ministry officials”.
Rose, however, seemed to have read what Scorpius was thinking and cut across her family’s fierce arguments, saying, “Stop. If any of you were caught at the scene of a crime, I don’t think any of us here would doubt your innocence. Cyril Nott is going to be my cousin-in-law, so I will not stand for these horrible accusations.”
A collective gasp went around the table as the adults stopped pretending they weren’t listening and turned to gap at Rose with wide eyes. Scorpius thought their reactions were rather humours; hadn’t they seen the ring on Rose’s finger, or were they merely determined not to believe it?
“So you are engaged.” Albus concluded in a fierce tone. Scorpius spotted James further down the table rolling his eyes.
“Of course. Why else would I bring my boyfriend to family dinners that he clearly isn’t welcome at with a ring on my hand?” Rose replied sarcastically. She turned to her parents and said, “Mum, Dad, I am going to be married. I hope you can be happy for me.”
Scorpius noted with that such an announcement typically would have been met with squeals of delight, hugs, and words of congratulations. Instead, the table remained utterly silent. At the head of the table, he saw Rose’s grandparents stiffening as though they were just told bad news.
Hermione Weasley’s voice shot up into an uncharacteristically high tone as she said, “Oh! Of course, Rose. Congratulations, but isn’t this a bit… sudden?”
Rose frowned at her mother, most likely displeased with such an answer. “Well, not really. We’ve been dating for eight years.” She stared at her mother with an odd expression, as Hermione Weasley merely stared back, looking as if she was lost for words.
“Have the Malfoys been informed?” Ron Weasley said, interrupting the silence that had fallen upon the table. He turned his gaze towards Scorpius, and he noticed an angry glint in Mr. Weasley’s face that Scorpius knew would appear.
Nodding, Scorpius replied, “Yes. I have told my grandparents and my parents. They are aware.”
Scorpius wasn’t sure whether that did anything to assuage whatever ill feelings Ron Weasley was having. No doubt Ron Weasley disliked the idea that the Malfoys knew before he and his family did.
Rose snapped her gaze away from her mother and turned to her father with an hesitant smile. “Daddy, Scorpius’s parents have given their permission. We hope that you and Mum might give us your approval.”
“What will you do if we don’t?” Ron Weasley said bitingly. Next to Ron, Rose’s uncle, Harry, let out a noise, and Scorpius saw him elbow Ron.
Expecting the question before it had been asked, Rose replied firmly, “I will marry Scorpius regardless of what anyone here at this table thinks. I had just hoped that I would have been greeted with better reactions here with the family that pleads tolerance.”
The words seemed to have shook some sort of monster out of multiple people sitting around here at the table. Almost instantly, everyone was in an uproar, shouting disapprovals, voicing concerns, and ordering others to shut up. Some were shouting at Rose for accusing them of not being tolerant, while others were bashing the notion of their engagement altogether.
There were very few, in fact only two, voices that shouted down everyone else for their disapproving reactions.
James Potter and Teddy Lupin were the sole voices of comfort to Rose, whose eyes started to fill with tears. Scorpius slipped his arm around Rose’s waist and gripped her hand tightly. There was nothing more that he wanted to do than to Disapparate away.
Though he knew that it was a bad idea to confront her entire family about their upcoming union all at once, Scorpius had hoped that his pessimism regarding the Potters and the Weasleys might have been misguided.
After all, they were the ones who always talked of tolerance and acceptance. It seemed rather hypocritical that they couldn’t accept Rose’s romantic choices, even if that meant joining a family with a dark history of siding with Voldemort.
“SHUT UP!” Teddy Lupin roared, standing upon his chair and looking wild. Several of Rose’s cousins quieted down, though the adults looked extremely mutinous.
Looking around at the table with a wild look in his eyes, Teddy Lupin finally turned to Rose and said, “Rosie, congratulations. I will be there at your wedding, I will help out with any planning, and if no one else here at this table will be reasonable, then I will happily give you away if it ever comes to it.”
His words, once again, seemed to bring out another side of Rose’s family that was unexpected. Several of them glanced around, looking sheepish. It was as though the entire family acted with one mind, reacting as others around them did.
Rose hastily wiped away her tears and shot a grateful smile to Teddy Lupin. Teddy, Scorpius noticed, nodded towards his direction.
Scorpius nodded back, making a mental note to thank him in private later. He also made a mental note to tell Grandmother Malfoy about what had happened. She always took particular interest when it came to Teddy Lupin, as he was Grandmother Malfoy’s sister’s grandson.
“Rose, the only thing that I want is for you to be happy,” Rose’s grandfather spoke up. He looked tired and the lines on his face more pronounced. “I just want to know that you will be happy with the family that you will marry into.”
There were the unspoken words of how much Rose’s grandfather detested Scorpius’s grandfather; Scorpius saw Arthur Weasley glance at him ever so slightly with wariness.
“Oh, Granddad, I will be,” Rose sighed, trying her best to keep the peace. “Really, the Malfoys are already coming around to the idea.”
Ron Weasley looked red in the face. Hermione Weasley had a shocked expression as she gazed at her daughter, seeing but not believing. Around them, several of Rose’s aunts and uncles looked around at each other, unwilling to voice their opinion when it so clearly wasn’t their place.
A silence fell upon the table, and for one glorious moment, Scorpius thought that Rose’s family might quietly accept the inevitable and leave the matter alone. This would have been a comfort to Rose, who, though did not expect the initial uproar, would have liked to know that her family accepted the decisions she made.
Then, the moment ended as Albus Potter spoke up, his tone indicating displeasure and unhappiness. “Rose, he is a Malfoy. Are you forgetting what we learned in History of Magic about the Death Eaters? Voldemort bloody lived at their house!”
“And I think that you would do well to remember that it is not your place to judge Scorpius as you have detested people judging you,” Rose flared up in anger. “As for Malfoy Manor, I have been there several times. It is a lovely place that had been remodelled completely since the end of the last war.”
Scorpius knew this was stretching the truth, as Rose never felt comfortable being at Malfoy Manor. She knew of how his family had cleansed the place entirely and tore down a good three quarters of the house for rebuilding. But even so, Rose never felt comfortable in Malfoy Manor.
Scorpius felt a rush of gratitude and love towards his fiancée for defending his childhood home even if she hated the cold and clammy feeling she always got whilst she had been there.
“I don’t know why you’re defending that place. You weren’t so keen on defending it the last time you visited,” Albus scoffed. Next to him, Danny glanced back and forth at Albus and Rose, looking unsure whether he should add in his input.
Rose looked furious. Knowing that she was unable to provide a comeback for the truth, Scorpius cut in. “Potter, you may dislike me as much as you want, but try to remember that this is your cousin’s happiness that is on the line.”
Albus Potter opened his mouth to let out an angry retort, but Lily got there first. “Rose…” she started off saying hesitantly. “We just care about you, that’s all. We’re all trying to move on with our lives, but… Rose, the Malfoys were Death Eaters. Dating a Malfoy is one thing, but marrying into the family is another matter.”
“Shut it, Lily,” James retorted angrily, shooting his sister an angry look. “Do you want someone dating you just because your dad is the Chosen One and your mum is a famous Quidditch player, or do you want someone to date you because he genuinely likes you?”
“Doesn’t change the fact that the Malfoys are branded with the Dark Mark,” Lily rolled her eyes. “And I’m just saying-”
“Just because someone has the Dark Mark doesn’t make them evil,” Rose said crossly, interrupting Lily before she could finish her sentence. “Or have we all forgotten how Albus here is named after a Death Eater?”
“Severus Snape was a brave man who did all he could to keep me safe, Rose,” Harry Potter said quietly. He looked unwilling to comment, but he seemed keen on reminding Rose of this particular fact.
“Then we will all do well to remember that Mr. Malfoy was threatened by Voldemort when he was forced to take the Dark Mark,” Rose said forcibly, turning towards the adults with an annoyed look. “I thought at least the lot of you would have been more understanding, but obviously I was wrong.”
“Rose, we do understand,” Ginny Potter said gently. “We just want to make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into. Marriage is an important matter that can’t be entered into easily.”
Rose looked stricken as she glanced between Lily, Albus, Ginny, and Harry. Scorpius knew that the Potters were the ones that Rose had always been the closest to, and he couldn’t fault her for the tears that were starting to appear again.
In a furious tone, she said, “You all are despicable. Acting like you care about my well-being. Have you thought that my well-being is tied to Scorpius’s well-being? Even the Malfoys were courteous enough not to talk about me as though I wasn’t there, yet you lot are all sitting there, accusing Scorpius’s cousin of a crime he didn’t commit and bringing up things in the past that is neither here nor there. Albus, I thought that you would have been happy for me. Lily, I can’t believe your hypocrisy. Aunt Ginny, Uncle Harry, you both should understand better than anyone and you both should be giving me support when no one else would, but obviously I was wrong.”
“I don’t think Scorpius Malfoy being a Death Eater is neither here nor there. It’s rather important if you’re going to marry him,” Lily muttered resentfully, deep anger rooted in her voice.
Scorpius’s insides turned cold, and suddenly, it was as if someone had doused him with ice cold water when he was already shivering. Never had he been insulted to the point of being accused of being a Death Eater… the thought of being loyal to Voldemort sickening.
Obviously, Rose thought so too as she stood up with angry screech. “I will marry Scorpius Malfoy with or without my own family’s support. I had thought this sort of childish behavior was beneath my family, but obviously not!”
Without another word, Rose took Scorpius by the hand and marched away, tears streaming steadily down her face.
Author's Note: I am back (kind of). School had been really busy, and I didn't have time to even begin writing. I have planned out the updates for the rest of this novel, so even though they are not all written, I want to make it a goal of updating this at least one every two weeks. If you are still sticking by me as a reader, thank you so much!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter. Rose's estrangement from her family has been a huge topic, and I hope that this addressed the reason why she barely talks to them anymore!
Please leave a review :)
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