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Chapter 18 : And Then She Kissed Me
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At some point I completely let loose. Rose and I danced until the early hours of the morning, and Osiris, clearly picking up that the two of us needed a night out after so much solitude, gladly kept refilling our cups. Rose and I were still dancing when we finally spoke to one another. My hands were on her hips, gripping tightly to keep her close, and she reassured me as she toyed with the hair at the base of my neck with her fingers.
"You finally let loose," she said. Her voice sounded as if she were more sober than she truly was.
"Yeah. Well, I was uncomfortable at first," I admitted.
"I could tell. You didn't like Osiris," she observed.
"What? That's not true," I said, my words coming together. A fake laugh filled them, and it was as if I was joking between the both of us because we both knew the truth. "I just didn't like the way he talked to you. Like you were his."
What was I saying?
"D'aw," she snickered, grinding her hips against me. "Scorpius doesn't know how to share?"
"Not with you," I commented.
"Don't worry. He's just a great friend. I come here far too often when I'm stationed here. I came so often that we finally began to talk. It's worth it; free drinks half the time."
"Still," I sighed. I wrinkled my nose and almost laughed at the guy. "Sweetheart?"
"Scorpius," she laughed, pulling away from me slightly. But I slipped my arms further around her to hold her there, refusing to let her back away from me. "Really, don't worry. He's gay."
"Ohhh," I breathed with a smile. "Well that's okay then!"
"You sure?" she asked with a chuckle. "Because I thought I saw him eyeing you."
"Really now?" I laughed, adding humor into the situation. I loved that I could finally joke again. "At least someone thinks I'm attractive."
That made one of us. I knew Malfoy was a decent looking guy, but I only knew I was proudly attractive when I was in my own skin. Still it made me stand a little taller.
She laughed as she melted against me with the music. Her hands moved to my arms, holding steadfastly. Then she looked up and I could smell the alcohol and strawberries on her breath. I bent down so I could hear her whispering into my ear.
"He's still watching. Maybe you should show him what side you swing to."
Then her hands moved down my arms to the waist band of my dress pants. They moved across my back, and I didn't quite know what she was trying for. The alcohol I had taken in made her hands feel like fire on my skin, but I found that I moved in closer towards her. Her hands moved up once again and to the front where she undid the top two buttons of my dress shirt.
"But you told Osiris we were just friends," I slurred, as if that played a huge factor on the matter. My words seemed to disappoint her, and I didn't really know why. I was oblivious to a lot of things when I wasn't very coherent.
She backed away from me slightly. "Sure, I told him we're friends. But that girl alone at the bar is not your friend."
Then I got the message. She wanted me to show Osiris that I was straight by dancing with another girl. Most like in a provocative fashion if I wanted to get the message across.
I turned to look over my shoulder at the blonde Rose was pointing to. She was certainly beautiful, and if I didn't approach her soon, another man would within the hour. It was only a matter of time before the girl was dancing out here with another bloke. But I didn't want to, strangely enough. I had danced with many beautiful strangers at clubs before; some I took back to my flat and were gone before I could wake up and even recall their name. But now was different. Now I was going back to a cottage where I would be with Rose.
And I was with Rose now. And that was enough for me. I just wanted to be with her. I didn't want to leave her side just so I could dance with a pretty blonde, probably snog her in a corner and leave her after that. I would rather just let Osiris think I was gay and just keep dancing with Rose. I didn't want to leave her alone. Partly because I didn't know who would meet her while I was away from her. Would she meet someone else that would sweep her off her feet? Would she leave the bar with him and I would lose track of her? I couldn't lose sight of her, and I knew that was part of it. But I realized that the other part of me that burned with anxiety at the thought was of how I didn't want another man to even lay eyes on her.
Had I grown so protective? Would I be jealous?
And as I thought about it, I realized that I would. I would be jealous if I saw Rose dancing with another man, and I didn't quite know why. I hated the idea of it.
Worried, I put my arms back around her. Yes, Rose was just my friend, but I had made my decision. I didn't want to be with another woman, and I didn't even want another man to look at Rose with the hopes of her availability. She couldn't look available. So I slipped my hands lower and let them play out over her round bum. I bent down, pushed her flaming hair away from her ear with my nose, and I whispered.
"I'd rather stay with you."
Then I actually felt Rose move next to me with giggles, and I wondered if I had finally gotten through to her, if I had gotten past her thick, brave exterior and into that side where all she was was a vulnerable woman. She curved into me, pressing her chest and hips against me, and I didn't mind. I moved into it, and we continued to dance for the rest of the night. We were hot, sticky with sweat, reeking of alcohol, and clinging to one another when we finally left the bar at 2 AM. We bid goodbye to Osiris, and he appeared to have this knowing smirk on his face that I and my intoxicated self couldn't quite register.
It took some joking and some convincing between the two of us that we could apparate successfully back onto the beach in our state. Rose was the one who argued she could do it, constantly declaring that she was a "winner." When we joked about losing eyebrows or limbs and decided we didn't want that for ourselves, we found a small diner and used their floo network to get back to the cottage. We shot out of the fire place and into the familiar cottage. Sopping with sweat and alcohol, we raced down to the beach and rinsed our bodies of the two things causing us to reek only to be replaced with the smell of salt water. We abandoned our clothes on the sand, and I entered the ocean in only my boxers, Rose in just her bra and underwear. But it wasn't awkward or provocative in the least. We were too intoxicated to even notice that the other was half naked.
We just floated in the water for a good while, letting the waves bring us back into the shore. Then we finally moved up to the porch. Deciding against showering and dirtying our beds, we both haphazardly climbed into the hammock, a wet and slippery mess. We laid there in the hammock together until the early hours of morning. We talked about anything and everything, random things that crossed our mind, and even though I was cognizant of my words as Malfoy and not being myself, I felt more genuine with her than I had ever been with anyone in my entire life.
We lost track of time as it became meaningless to us, and we fell into the welcoming arms of sleep, holding onto one another as tightly as possible.
Rose and I awoke simultaneously the next morning. I believe it was my stirring upon awaking that woke her. Her hair was clinging to my chest with the dried sea water, and our limbs were tangled about. We made no attempt to detangle ourselves though. We both just sighed and gave each other a squeeze. Even though we had fallen asleep in a hammock that was all too small for the both of us with dried salt water covering our bodies, and alcohol in our bloodstream, it was clearly evident that we had both had a great night's sleep.
"Morning," I murmured to her, fidgeting and placing my head back in the crook of her neck.
She turned over, and for some reason, she was shaking her head. One of her arms went around my waist as she protested against me moving any more. "Not yet," she mumbled, and I could only assume that she wished to sleep for a little longer. I happily obliged.
I knew that sleep wouldn't be an option for much longer with the sun rising higher into the sky, the caw of the seagulls, and the May heat intensifying. There was a nice breeze though that ran through our hair and kept it comfortable for the time being.
I said nothing. I let Rose try to sleep some more as she laid half on me and half against me. I started to play with her hair, trying to soothe her back into the optimum tranquility for sleeping, but she said something after a while.
"I think I drank too much last night," she commented.
I stifled my laughter. "Hung-over?"
"Not really," she said as she evaluated herself. "I was just thinking about last night. Did I really call you a loser over and over? And say that I'm a winner?"
"Yupp," I smiled. "You sure did. And not just at racing me down to the beach. But at everything."
"Oh," she groaned. "You hung-over?"
"Nah," I answered, rolling my shoulders. I didn't feel like I was. My head wasn't pounding, not yet at least. The sun didn't feel too bright, and I didn't feel like everything was painfully ringing in my ears. So that was a great sign. "I hold my alcohol fairly well."
"I'll say," she snorted sarcastically. "After your four firewhiskeys and Merlin-knows how many shots."
"It wasn't that many, was it?" I asked uneasily.
"It was a lot, Scorpius," she said in an almost disapproving tone, but she had no room to talk. I had stopped counting her drinks after her fifth one. That was when she started downing shots as well. She shook her head at me, a smile working its way across her lips. "It was you though who suggested we take our clothes off."
I looked down to our bodies. And surely enough I was in my boxers and Rose was in naught but her bra and underwear. I found that my cheeks flushed crimson within a second. I couldn't really recall ever getting rid of them. Then I remembered they were down by the beach, but why initiated the idea to take our clothes off? Had I really? I guess I had forgotten that I am more rambunctious when I'm intoxicated, but I thought I had been fairly maintained last night....
"Did I really?" I asked, uneasy.
"Sure did," she laughed, sitting up.
"Oh," I swallowed. "Sorry."
"Don't worry. It was a good idea," she murmured and turned her head to gaze at the ocean. The wind blew her hair, covering her expression from my vision, and I couldn't read her. Why did she believe it was a good idea? Whatever for she believed it for, I let it pass.
She turned back to me after a few minutes of silence, her voice soft and soothing. "Thank you, Scorpius."
I was pulled out of my thoughts, and I turned to look at her with a smile. "What for?"
"For last night. I know it wasn't my best discretion, but I needed it. So thank you."
"Oh," I said, slightly surprised. "Well, you're welcome. You're right; it wasn't the best discretion. But I don't blame you. We needed out."
We finally climbed out of the hammock a good while later after having pleasant, relaxed conversations. I put on more clothing and decided to postpone a shower even further, deciding that I would probably head down to the water at some point today. I fixed lunch for Rose and I, and we ate down by the water, letting the waves lap at our feet. We threw spare pieces of bread into the sky and watched the seagulls scoop them up in mid-air.
We did go back into the water. We swam out to the second sand-bar and I taught Rose how to look for sand dollars. It was a fun pass time that Rose never learned how. Instead, James, Vic, Dom, and I had mastered the craft years ago. We would dive underwater and stick our fingers into the sand on the ocean floor, wiggle two inches or so beneath the surface and push across until we found sand dollars.
It took a good hour or so for Rose to get the technique. She had found six while I had found twenty already. After a good hour we swam back to shore with the twenty-six sand dollars in a mesh bag we had swam out there with. On the shore we poured them out and watched the live sand dollars try to burrow themselves back into the sand. When it was almost all the way under, we would pry them back up to the surface and watch the process over again.
As Rose pulled one up from the sand, setting it back on the wet sand, she made a comment that made me give my undivided attention. I looked at her from the corner of my eye, listening intently.
"I used to watch Victoire and Teddy Lupin do this," she mumbled.
I smiled at hearing my own name leave her lips. I wanted her to keep talking though about it, about me, so I urged her to say more. "Oh yeah?"
"Yeah. You remember Teddy, don't you? I guess you would; he would miss out on a few of our holiday dinners to go to yours. Years ago when he was young though. Teddy was the one who found out how, and he taught Vic. James and Dom too, but mostly Victoire. I used to watch all the time," she said, her voice trailing off and a smile creeping onto her lips.
I shook my head, sending water everywhere, and I smiled. I loved hearing her talk about me.
"Of course I remember Teddy," I commented. I recalled my few and brief dinners at the Malfoy house, paying my annual respects to my distant family. "He used to change his nose to a snout or mouth to a beak. Something like that just to make me laugh."
"Yeah," Rose laughed. "I think the aqua hair is his signature favorite."
It is my favorite.
"I think so too," I chuckled. "Were the two of you ever...close?"
Her smile faded at that. "No. We never really were, but now I wish I had taken the time to actually talk to him. Then maybe we would be. Being here...at the cottage...it's been showing me a lot of things that I should have done differently."
Then I just nodded and let the conversation go at that. We took the sand dollars and pur them back in the water. Except for a small, perfectly symmetrical one; that one I slipped into my pocket with a set plan in mind of what I was going to do with it.
The rest of the day was lovely. It was relaxing, and in all honesty, it was the best day we had shared together thus far at the cottage together. Rose was in a brilliant mood; ever since she had woken up, she hadn't let her thoughts dwell on anything negative. She hadn't spoken about her trial, so I didn't quite know how things went yesterday. But I didn't want to ask, for fear of ruining the mood.
I cooked dinner again as Rose helped out, and we ate in the hammocks together, sitting opposite one another. The sun was setting when we set our plates aside and entered a more serious matter.
"I said I would have gotten to know Teddy better. If I hadn't taken so many things for granted. What would you have done?" she asked me, facing me as the sun made her hair glimmer with light. Her cheeks were tinted pink with our day spent in the sun, but I found it adorable.
I rolled my shoulders. We would be entering dangerous territory with this subject. It was a serious conversation, and I found that, in those conversations, I couldn't help but be myself. Rose had a way of doing that to me, but a more personal conversation recalling past events could potentially ruin me. I didn't know enough about the small details that Scorpius may have done differently that I could improvise with. I could only recall one from when I was in his cell with him.
I sighed, trying to be nonchalant and reminiscent, sentimental, and yearning for something better. "I don't know, really. I think I would have done something differently with my life. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. Free tickets to all the matches? It's great, but I just keep thinking that there is something out there where I could have done so much more," I said.
In truth, the words all seemed real to me as they came out of my mouth. I, as Teddy, did feel this way. I know that I'm not on trial for murder, but this house arrest situation had taught me some things as well. It had showed me how to live life to the fullest, that you should take every second as it comes to you and do something unexpected. Never have one regret. Now, with some much time being forced in one place without my choosing, I was being shown all the things that I could have done of my own free will.
Being an Auror was never my dream job. Still to this day it isn't, and this stay here had taught me even more that I should have done something different. So, as I opened up to Rose, the words became true for Scorpius Malfoy as well as for me.
Rose nodded. I assumed she didn't say anything more because she couldn't sympathize. She had a great career; she got to travel the world. Something maybe I should have done. She did question me further though.
"What would you have done?"
I shrugged my shoulders at that. "I don't know. Maybe I'd still have the same job, but at least try to take more vacations. Get out and do something, see great places. Thanks for taking me to Egypt," I said. "That was one thing I definitely hadn't done before. One less place to see."
She giggled and responded to my thanks. I began to doubt my words, if I should have said that. I actually didn't know if Malfoy had been to Egypt or not. Maybe he had been there for a match, but I know I hadn't. Rose didn't seem to know any different though, so I was lucky in that aspect.
"What about Joelle Thomas?" Rose asked, and I drew a blank.
Who the hell was that?
I said nothing for a few seconds. I just sat still and hoped that she continued further about the girl so that I could improvise a little instead of free-styling the entire situation. I could feel the heat rush to my face though. It had been awhile since I had faced a difficult conversational task with Rose while trying to be Scorpius.
Her head inclined, and she waited. But I still remained still. She moved closer to me and put a hand on my knee; that gave me the vibe that it would have been a touchy subject with the real Malfoy, but she finally inclined further. "Your ex. Would you have done something different?"
Ah. Joelle Thomas. An ex of Scorpius Malfoy. I made a mental note of that.
I shrugged my shoulders in dismissal, trying to wing it as best as possible.
"Not really. Things with Joelle worked out that way for a reason. She's not worth it, and I've moved on," I said.
I tried to speak from experience, and I did. I thought about my past relationship with Victoire that had ended a good few years ago. We had had our go, fallen in love, and thought it would work out, but it didn't. Too much happened that made Vic feel like she was living with a five-year-old, and I felt like I was living with my gran again. Our break up had been the best for both of us, and now we had both moved on. But Vic was still one of my greatest friends. I turned to her for anything and everything.
"She never should have done that to you," Rose whispered, looking down to one of the holes in the hammock between us.
She poked her finger through it, trying to keep herself busy. I could tell she wanted to the conversation to lead somewhere. There was something she wanted from this conversation, but I couldn't seem to understand just what it was. She kept her eyes averted from me, so I finally reached down and grabbed her hand. I pulled her fingers free from the hammock and clasped it between my own, subduing her nervous habit.
"It's okay," I said quietly, almost a whisper. "I'm past it. I haven't spoken to her in a year."
"But I just don't...How could she have done that to you? To you," she emphasized as if there was something secretly special about Scorpius that I didn't know yet. "You didn't deserve that. You're...You're different, Scorpius."
Rose was getting serious. She almost seemed as if she was beating herself up for something I knew she couldn't change. So I threw in a comment in attempt for a laugh. "Says the girl who didn't want to snog me after our broom cupboard incident."
She did smile, giving a small laugh and embarrassed nod. But she didn't say anything more. Her eyes moved to our clasped hands, and a different expression took over her face. I wondered if she was okay, so I moved forward. I bent down so that I could see her eyes, and her beautiful blue eyes immediately locked with mine. Something filled them, something that made my heart race, made my mouth water and my skin burn.
Her free hand moved to my face, but we didn't dare break eye contact. I could feel her small hand between the two of mine seek purchase with my fingers, and she entwined them. Her palm opened up to my cheek, moving against my skin, and I found that I moved to fit the curve of her hand.
I was not prepared for what she did next. I don't think I could have ever been prepared for this. This changed our entire relationship, broke our boundaries and formed new ones, gave me a better understanding of what had been going on inside her head, of what her eyes had been full of.
Rose kissed me.
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