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Chapter 14 : Unwanted Criminal
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I hid in my bed for as long as I could, refusing to leave my room. That was my whole weekend, nay, my whole life ruined. Maybe if I never saw anyone ever again I could erase what I’d just seen from my memory and the whole thing would never have happened. I managed to stay hidden until about midday, when I heard a tap on my door.
“Rose?” It was Molly. I didn’t want to talk to her ever again; she was officially removed from my life. “Can I come in?”
“No,” I mumbled. She ignored me anyway, her footsteps causing the floor to creak. Sitting at the foot of my bed, she poked my thigh. “Go away.”
She didn’t move, continuing to prod me through the duvet. “Please can we talk, Rosie. I miss you. I hate it when we fight.”
While we hadn’t actually spoken since the incident, me hiding from her definitely counted as an argument. The last time we’d stopped speaking to her it was because she’d spilled marmite on my favourite dress when I was eighteen.
“I don’t want to talk to you.”
Sighing, Molly retreated, closing the door behind her. I heard muffled voices outside of the door. “I knew she’d be like this,” Molly was saying in a hushed tone. “Maybe I should get her a biscuit.”
I growled, throwing the covers back and marching out of my room. Molly looked abashed as I glared angrily at her, a mad woman with bed hair and sheep pyjamas. “You knew I’d be like what?” I demanded furiously. “And – and you can’t make everything okay with biscuits.”
Molly and Lorcan shared a look, and he got the hint and wandered off to leave us alone. “I’m so sorry, Rose,” Molly offered.
“How could you?” I said sadly.
Molly sighed, running her hands through her hair. “It’s not as bad as you’re making it out to be.”
“It is!” I cried, jabbing a finger at her. “I was so worried about you, I thought you’d died. But instead you were here, shagging Lorcan, who happens to be one of our best friends. It’s so selfish!”
Molly raised her eyebrows. “You know what?” she began. “I’m not the one who should be sorry. You’re so against anyone else being happy that you’re going off at me because you’re jealous. That’s not my fault, Rose!”
“Jealous?” I spluttered. “I’m not jealous of you. I just think you should have thought how this would have affected everyone else when you jumped into bed with him.”
“This is typical Rose,” she said with a shake of her head, her hand on her hips. “The world is not all about you. I didn’t plan this to make you feel bad; I just did something on a whim. You should try it sometime.”
“Actually, this is typical Molly,” I shot back. “You’re always telling me what to do. I’m upset about this, deal with it.”
“Just accept that you’re overreacting and I’ll stop telling you what to do.” I didn’t really feel the need to point out that that was exactly what she had just done.
“Say sorry,” I said evenly.
“I’m not sorry,” she said with a pout, turning around and stomping back to her room. I was seething, but chose not to follow her. Instead, I stormed back into my room and slammed the door behind me.
I couldn’t believe she’d just said that this was my fault! I wasn’t the one who’d just ruined all the dynamics within the few friends I had, and not only that but she didn’t even feel bad for making me worry. She could be so insensitive at times, it was really unbelievable.
Reaching under my bed, I took out the secret biscuit stash I had munched on three hobnobs. Even that didn’t seem to placate me. What was I going to do? I definitely wasn’t going to take responsibility for our argument, no way, but sitting in my room fuming about it wasn’t going to get Molly to say sorry. Maybe I should fake my own death, that would show her. She’d realise she’d been a complete cow and regret her mistake for the rest of her life, turning into a withered old spinster. Shaking my head, I swallowed the biscuits I’d been eating. Fake death wouldn’t work, that would make all my family upset too (and unlike some I did actually think about other people).
The worst thing about all of this was that I hadn’t even managed to tell Molly that I’d been promoted, or that Roxanne was back. Well, I thought grumpily, she didn’t deserve to know anyway. I couldn’t even go and moan to Lorcan, who was my usual go-to person to mouth off about Molly. What did she even see in him? He was a great friend, he was funny, but attractive? That wouldn’t have been the first thing I thought about when I saw him. I doubted she even liked him like that. She was on the rebound after Jake, that must have been it.
I needed to get out of the flat, otherwise we’d drive each other mental. She needed some time to cool off before she realised she’d been a bitch. Throwing some random items of clothing in a bag, I Apparated to the only person I could think of who’d be neutral in this situation (or at least, would support me).
Banging on the door to the Shrieking Shack dressed only in my sheep pyjamas, I must have looked a bit mental. At that point, I really didn’t care who saw me as long as I could have a nice long rant to anyone who’d listen. She was so out of order!
After five minutes, I realised no one was going to answer the door; bugger. Looking behind me down the hill, Hogsmeade high street looked busy, as it tended to be on a Saturday lunch time. Shit, shit, shit. I tried to think where Scorpius could have gone; he wasn’t at work, I knew that for sure. There could have been any number of other places he could be, I wasn’t about to start traversing the country to find him. In the end I just sat down on a bench down the side of the house away from the wind and huddled myself in whatever clothes I’d bought. Then, I cried.
I refused to believe this was my fault, but Molly was so bloody stubborn that she’d never admit she had made a mistake. We were going to end up in a horrible biscuit-free stalemate, neither of us forgiving the other. But I couldn’t just give in; I was determined to turn over a new leaf and stop being such a doormat. I’d managed to stand up to Roxanne the day before, why couldn’t I stand up to Molly? I sniffed miserably, wiping ugly tears from my cheeks. It was bloody cold out here; I hated March.
There was no way I could stay out here; I’d forgotten my coat. Ten minutes of noisy sobbing and self-pitying, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer. I had no other choice but to break into Scorpius’s house (or so I kept telling myself. Going home and admitting defeat was not an option). Gathering my clothes up and sticking them back in my bag, I wandered around to the front door. Looking over my shoulder, I checked no one else was around, then whispered alohamora.
Nothing happened. Scowling, I kicked his door for good measure. I should have known that wouldn’t have worked, no witch or wizard would leave their house that unguarded. I returned to the bench, looking for a way in. There was a window just above the bench, which seemed extremely convenient for any breaking-in efforts. I couldn’t quite believe I’d been reduced to this, but it was either break in or freeze. Sighing, I climbed up on the bench and pointed my wand at the window.
“Diffindo,” I muttered hopefully. The glass cracked, clinking onto the floor inside. I poked the remaining glass through with my finger and chucked my bag inside. Again, nothing happened, but that meant that Scorpius didn’t have an alarm set inside that would detect my sneaking. I examined the window thoughtfully, trying to determine which was the best way of getting inside. If I put my legs through first, there was a very good chance that I’d pull a muscle doing the splits; if I went in head first, I’d probably hit my head on the way in and give myself concussion.
In the end, I decided to go in leg first, managing to avoid snagging my clothes on any broken glass. I hopped onto the floor of the kitchen, quickly cleaning up the mess I’d made with a flick of my wand. I was in.
I grabbed my bag, walking through to the living room, where I nestled myself amongst the cushions and tucked myself under the blanket. Then, I started to cry a bit more, feeling sorry for myself being all alone, not in my own house and now an unwanted criminal.
I heard the door creak open about half an hour later, after I’d dozed for a bit.
I opened my eyes, seeing Scorpius standing in the doorway looking bloody confused. “Hello,” I mumbled embarrassedly. I hadn’t meant to almost fall asleep on his sofa. I was lucky he hadn’t mistaken me for a burglar or a squatter and cursed me.
“What are you doing here?” he asked. “And how did you get in?”
“I sort of broke in,” I admitted, pointing to the kitchen window. I sat up, throwing the blanket off me. “I need a place to stay.” I looked up at him hopefully.
He shook his head, sitting across from me in an armchair. “You’re welcome to stay. Just, you know, try to use the front door next time.”
I sighed, smiling wearily. It was a completely bizarre situation, and if I’d known six months ago that I was the creeper breaking into people’s houses, I definitely would have moved to another country and changed my identity. I wasn’t as bad as Scorpius, definitely not. Though, watching Scorpius as he took my bag through to the spare room, I had to admit he wasn’t all that bad.
“So, why are you suddenly homeless?” Scorpius asked curiously, sitting back down.
My bottom lip quivered. “I’ve sort of fallen out with Molly.” Suddenly, the reality of what had happened hit me, and I found myself sobbing hysterically, crawling across the floor to sit at Scorpius’s feet. I hugged his knees miserably, clinging to him for support. “She’s never going to speak to me again,” I wailed. “She won’t accept that she’s wrong and I’m right and we’ll never be friends again.” I started to rock back and forth, shivering.
Scorpius looked almost disgusted, shifting his feet from under my weight. “What’s happened?”
“She slept with Lorcan,” I said sorrowfully. “And now everything’s changed and it’s weird and I thought she’d died but she was just with him and I can never trust her again.” I took a breath. “And she said I was jealous but I’m not, and I called her selfish and she is and she won’t admit she was wrong!”
Scorpius raised an eyebrow. “That’s pathetic.”
“I know,” I said, looking up at him from the floor tearfully. “She is. How can I make her apologise?”
“I didn’t mean Molly,” he said running his hands through heavily gelled hair. “I meant this whole argument. Have you seriously moved out over one small tiff?”
“I haven’t moved out,” I said indignantly. “I’ve just escaped for a bit until she calms down.”
Scorpius looked at my sceptically. “It’s not that I don’t want you staying over,” he began slowly. “Because I do love having you around. But you really need to sort this out or it’ll just get worse.”
I sighed; he’d really missed the point. “I’m not talking to her, that’s the reason I came here. I can’t force her to apologise, she has to want to do it herself.”
“Right,” he said, frowning down at me. “Whatever. Do you want to play Scrabble?”
He’d done well to listen to me moan for as long as he did; I nodded, shuffling away so he could set up the board game. We played in silence for a good half an hour, with only the sound of Scorpius’s score thrashing mine for conversation.
Scorpius cleared his throat loudly. “Rose - we’re friends, aren’t we?”
I smiled. “Yes, we’re friends.”
“Good,” he said cheerfully. He watched me add a word to the Scrabble board. “‘Krap’ isn’t a real word.”
I scowled. “Fine,” I conceded grudgingly.
I made a different word, Scorpius never taking his eyes from my hands. “Do you ever think we could be more than just friends?”
I deliberately chose not to look up from the board. “Erm,” I stalled, trying to find a way not to insult his entire personality. “Maybe?”
He seemed satisfied with this answers, placing a new word on the board with a jaunty flourish. Love. I cringed at the sight of it. Okay, so maybe he was being nice for now, but what about the rest of the time? He was still a weirdo, just a nice one.
“Good,” he said happily. “I’ll look forward to that, then.”
I wanted to hide, though I seemed to be doing a lot of that at the moment. Why did he have to make things so awkward? Sighing, I fiddled with my letter tiles. “Scorpius,” I began, then faltered. I really didn’t want to tell him that I wasn’t interested in him like that, but he would be so hurt, and admittedly I did need somewhere to stay. I sighed again. “Why - can I ask you something?”
“Yep,” he said, not looking up from my twiddling hands. I hoped he wasn’t developing a fetish.
I chewed on my lip hesitantly. “Why do you like me so much? I don’t mind, but it used to be quite weird…”
I trailed off, hoping that he would catch my meaning; I couldn’t come out and ask him outright why he was a stalker, or why he was a bit of a weirdo. I really did need to keep him keen so that I could stay at his for as long as it took.
He finally looked up at me, light blue eyes framed with gelled hair. “I don’t really know. It is a bit weird, isn’t it?”
I frowned. He’d missed the point completely, managing to insult me in the process. “No,” I interjected. “I mean, why did you follow me around and stuff?”
“Oh,” he said slowly, appearing to consider it. “I thought you were cool. I wanted to be your friend. But we’re friends now, so I don’t need to do things to get you to notice me.”
I raised my eyebrows, staring at him. He looked embarrassed, but held my gaze. “You wanted to be my friend? That’s what all that was about?” He nodded. “I wish you’d told me that years ago,” I admitted. “I started to worry about my personal safety for a bit.”
“I’d never hurt you,” he said earnestly. “I just didn’t know how to talk to you. I’ve never really had any friends before.”
The sad reality of that statement hit me, and I felt the need to hug him; I didn’t, because I didn’t want hair gel on my pyjamas, but the thought was what counted. I couldn’t imagine not having friends, or at least not having family who I poached as friends. My eyes began to tear up at the thought of my best friend, who probably felt as miserable as I did. I was an idiot; I shouldn’t have shouted at her. Guilt started to overwhelm me.
“I have to go,” I said suddenly, standing up and sending the Scrabble tiles flying.
Scorpius frowned. “Was it something I said?”
“Yes,” I said. “But in a good way.” I gathered up my things. I turned around, gave Scorpius a quick peck on the cheek in thanks and then Disapparated.
Faced with my front door, I took a deep breath before sticking my key in the lock. I should have planned this a bit better; I had no idea what I was going to say to make this better, but I’d say anything to patch it up. Unlocking the door, I found the courage to go inside.
I found Molly curled up on the sofa nibbling on a chocolate hobnob. She looked incredibly grumpy, but I nevertheless soldiered on.
“Molly,” I called to her from the door. She looked up, seemingly relieved to see me.
“Rose!” she said angrily. “Where have you been all day? I’ve been worried sick! I almost called your parents.”
I blanched. “Please tell me you didn’t.”
“No, of course I didn’t,” she said calmly. “I’m not stupid.”
We looked at each other, waiting for one or other of us to break the awkward silence. When it seemed very clear that Molly wasn’t going to say anything more, I coughed. “Molly, I’m really sorry about earlier. I didn’t mean to get so angry, or upset. I’m sorry.”
Molly nodded. Then, she offered me a biscuit. I took it, understanding that this mean that we were okay. She pulled me into a hug and I made a promise to myself right there and then that I’d never fall out with her again.
“Come sit down,” Molly said, plopping herself back down on the sofa. “We have lots to discuss.”
I joined her, smiling genuinely for what felt like the first time in years. I had Molly back! Life would be back to normal, we’d share happy biscuits over cups of perfect tea and everything would be smiles and rainbows, just like I wanted.
“Where did you go?” Molly asked as I made myself comfortable.
“Scorpius’s,” I admitted grudgingly. “We played Scrabble.”
“Is that a euphemism?” Molly waggled her eyebrows suggestively.
I looked at her in horror. “No!”
“Good,” she said with a small smile. “That would be too much drama for one day, if you ask me.”
The untouched subject of Lorcan came unbidden into my mind, and I let out a deep sigh. “So,” I said nervously. “What’s going on between you and Lorcan?”
Molly frowned. “Not a lot, I don’t think. He left soon after you and we haven’t spoken since.”
“Sorry,” I said again. “Do you want there to be something going on?”
“I think so,” she admitted carefully. “I’ve been thinking that I like him for quite a while. I just wasn’t sure.”
“And you’re sure now?” I stabbed the mental images away.
“Yeah, I am.” She allowed herself to grin. “I mean, aside from our spat, I don’t think I’ve felt this happy in a long time.”
I flung my arm around her shoulder. “I’m glad. I want you to be happy.” I squished her to me. “I want us all to be happy.”
Author's Note: Okay, I need to thank Jenny/Erised for being so ridiculously encouraging, even though it means I'm updating more often than I'd like to. Thaaaanks Jenny, for being such a bad influence. Thank you to everyone who reviewed the last chapter - I love you! Have a mince pie on me.
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