A/N -- So, a lot of people left me messages about doing this story and it definitely convinced me to put it up... that and the fact that I love writing these characters. I warn you that the chapters are going to be a little longer than they usually are because I added another voice. I know some people don't want to read something too long so this is me warning you in advance. This picks up right where When the truth doesn't Matter ends, if you haven't read that then you won't understand what's happening here and if you haven't read I'm Yours then you won't understand what's happening in that story and if you didn't read Hate is such a strong word.... well, you get the idea...I hope you like it.
"I know I deserved that," Byron says softly as I help him off of the ground. His hand immediately goes up to his busted lip that's leaking blood down his chin and onto his bare chest. I refuse to feel bad about it, even though I have to look away when I see his eyes water from the pain. "I thought you were going to go for the eye."
I can't help but smile a little at that despite the situation. Only Byron would let a guy punch him in the face and then talk about it casually. I shrug and disappear into the bathroom to get a wash cloth to help him ease the sting and take off the blood. I take a moment to flex my fingers that ache from hitting my best friend and I flick a glance up at my reflection in the large bathroom mirror. I look utterly disgusted and I doubt that look will go away easily unless I confound myself or take a memory erasing potion. Until then, the vision of my naked little sister clutching a sheet around her body and my half naked best friend who just shagged said sister will always be burned into my mind like a cancer. I wish he would at least fight back when I decide to punch him. That way I wouldn't have to stop myself and feel bad like I do now.
"Black eyes take longer to heal," I say as I wet the cloth and bring it back to him.
He thanks me as he sits down heavily on the mattress, wiping off blood and wincing every time the wash cloth touches his lip. I go to sit down beside him but stop myself as I look at the rumpled blankets and the pink lace knickers on the floor. I turn around and breathe in heavily because I feel the insistent need to hit him again and my knuckles are still sore from that first punch I threw at him not one minute ago.
"What I did was disrespectful," he mumbles behind me as I close my eyes and kick my little sister's panties under the bed so I won't look at them again. It makes me want to throw up knowing she does that with boys now. Not just any boys... my best friend. I hate both of them for putting me in this situation. "I really am sorry to upset you," he says, but I notice he's not sorry for what he did. "I'll leave now if you want."
"You can't leave," I tell him disbelievingly as I turn to him again, looking all pitiful and sad on the bed.... the bed where he violated my little sister. I can't look at him so I walk towards the window with my hands in my pockets to find some peace in the scenery outside but there is none to be found out there. The temper that I have won't allow it. "My parents want us down stairs for breakfast. If you leave they'll want to know why and I'm not good at lying."
"Alright then," he says so softly I barely heard him.
He picks up the blue shirt that he was wearing last night and slinks into it. Looking steadily down at his hands like they were the most fascinating thing in the world as he buttons his shirt, forgetting to put on the longsleeved black shirt that's laying haphazardly by the bed side table. I might be paranoid but I think it smells like sex in here and it makes me scowl and my temper boil so I walk towards the door, ready to get away from it all and try to pretend like this didn't happen, wanting to allow myself to wallow in denial like most people do. I wait for him to slip into his shoes and brush his teeth. I start messing with my ring, twirling it around on my finger as curiosity gets the better of me, that and the fact there's a part of me that doesn't want Lavinia to be hurt. Byron doesn't connect with very many people and as far as I know all the girls he's been with have been one night stands that he ditched before they even woke up.
"Byron," I call to him as he comes back into the room, smoothing down his hair that was messy from sleep... and other things, but I'm trying not to think about it.
"Yes?" He answers uncertainly, like he was waiting for me to yell and scream and throw things at him. He would deserve it of course, the prat.
I look at him very seriously and his eyes flick down nervously before meeting my gaze again. "Was this the first time this happened?"
He nods his head and looks away, putting his wand in his pocket. I don't know if that answer gives me any peace or not.
"I told you before that Lavinia is really sensitive," I tell him and he looks to me again with his bright eyes almost glowing against his dark lashes. This is uncomfortable... but I can't stop myself from saying these things. She's my little sister who has a serious boyfriend and he's my best mate who has emotional issues. I have no idea where I stand on this or what I want to do. "I know you have a thing for redheads..." I trail of and run a hand through my hair to cover the weirdness I'm feeling. It's the truth, though. Any girl I've ever seen him take a look at had some variation of red hair. "And I know that you've kind of always had a thing for Lavinia..." I try not to choke on that sentence because it's so distasteful to me. "So I hope this isn't just some one night stand, because I know my sister and I know she wouldn't have done this if she didn't...if she didn't like you a lot," Or at least I hope she wouldn't. I really don't want my sister to be one of those girls.
That was hard to get through and I gulp uncomfortably when I finish. This is why I like traveling around and digging up old wizards and artifacts. Dead people are much less complicated than live ones. I look at Byron again and he stares down at the floor, chewing on his lip like a little boy. I don't think any one ever really grows up. We all just pretend to.
"I really don't want to kill you Bryon, so try not to hurt her." I want to ask him what his intentions are, but that just seems like such a Dad question and he's been like a brother to me so I can't bring myself to. Again, I hate them both for this.
"I understand," he mumbles quietly and I look at the clock on the mantle piece. We have to go or they'll send a search party up for us.
I make a motion with my head to signal we should leave and when we get out into the hallway Byron catches my attention by saying my name. "You're wrong, you know," he says quietly, not looking at me.
"About what?" I ask as I grab onto the railing and start making my way down the stairs.
His eyes go to mine and then back to the floor. "I don't have a things for redheads." What a stupid thing to say. I don't respond, knowing it's a lie as we make our way to the dining hall. "I just have a thing for one redhead, really."
I flick a glance to him we step into the dining hall but I try to seem casual as I take my usual seat by my Father and Byron goes to the designated seats for guests, towards the end with Evelyn who's happily eating her toast and jam with out a care in the world. Dad is sitting in the usual spot at the head of the table and he doesn't even look up as I sit down and fill my glass with water. He's too busy reading the paper and Mom's also preoccupied going through a thick manila folder full of college applications and letters for Lavinia. She is determined that my sister go to a university to expand her education. Evelyn smiles wide at me and Mom finally pulls herself away from her papers to smile me.
"Good morning, Cassius. Did you find your sister?" She asks and my ears start ringing. I tightly nod my head and stare at my plate with the picture of her swollen lips, messed up hair, and the hickey on her neck. I find it in me to glare at Byron who's pale cheeks flush the slightest bit.
"She'll be down soon."
"It's not like her to be late to breakfast, she's usually up before everyone," She says with a smile and then she turns to Byron. "I trust you slept well?" When Byron nods his head Mom tilts her head as she studies his face, that he is trying to hide by looking everywhere but towards her. "Oh, my, what happened to your lip, Byron?" She asks with concern clearly laced in her voice.
Dad takes a second to look up from his paper and he looks at Byron through narrowed eyes. My friend brings a self conscious hand up to his mouth and I mentally scold myself because we both forgot to heal it before we came down. "I bit it," he says quietly as he looks down at his plate, not meeting anyone's gaze.
"That was quite a bite," Dad says flatly as he studies my friend. When he looks to me I look away quickly and pretend to eat my food. He always seems to find out if we're hiding something from him and I don't feel like explaining this because I know with out a doubt that Byron would be killed in the most horrific way.
"He has a high pain tolerance," I cover quickly because I know Byron won't answer. He's officially entered his mute withdrawn state. Dad raises and eyebrow and his silver eyes look sharply at me under his glasses. "Where's Gavin?" I ask to change the subject. He's not down here yet and neither is Lavinia so that just leaves me and Byron, my parents, Evelyn, and Gavin's girlfriend, Addison, who looks terribly uncomfortable as she picks at her food.
"He's still sleeping, of course." Evelyn chimes in as she pours more sugar over her oatmeal. I swear she eats more than any person I've ever met in my entire life, but somehow she stays stick thin and dainty looking. "Gavin must get at least fifteen hours of sleep or he turns into some irritable troll with a bad rash."
I snort and she smirks at me but Mom gives her a stern look so she lets it drop as she goes back to her food. Addison makes a weird noise by her side and Evelyn looks to her with her eyebrows raise and so do I. Gavin's girlfriend takes in a sharp breath and brings her hand up to cover her mouth as she closes her eyes. I know my family intimidates people and this girl has always been kind of timid but she's been around us a while so she should be use to it. When she inhales again I note how pale she looks and I find it very strange, especially if it's her reaction to us complaining about my little brother because we do it so often.
"Do you like Black College, Addison?" My Mother asks and Addison drops her fork and turns her way with sweat gathering on her forehead. She's a weird one. "Do you think Lavinia will enjoy the campus there?"
"Oh," her eyes flick around the table nervously. "Yes, I think she would."
"Cassius, where are you going to next?" Dad brings me out of the conversation between them and I look to him as he folds his paper over and sets it beside his plate. It's then that I notice the little green vial by his glass. I know that well, I flick a glance at Mom as she yawns, covering it behind her hand, and her eyes water from drowsiness. That's a hangover relief potion...my parents got drunk last night. "Not too far I hope."
"Oh," I say, looking to Byron who is still stoically looking down at his plate, probably feeling guilty about what he did to my sister. He should. "We haven't decided yet."
"I do hope you two will be taking a break," Mom says hopefully as her dark eyes look into mine. "I really think you boys need it and it would be good to see you more. You could even get a job at one of the museums here and settle down for a while."
I nod my head and take a drink from my glass. "If you do end up staying I hope you rethink your decision to live in that hole in the wall you call a flat," Dad says flatly and I roll my eyes at his Malfoy snobbery. "I know you like it but your Mother was right when she said there are too many health code violations there. That building really should be condemned. Cock roaches are used for potions, they shouldn't be your roommates. You're a Malfoy, Cassius, not a street rat."
"I'll think about it," I tell him, uncomfortable with this topic and still feeling that teenage urge to rebel against his wishes.
He wants to say something else but he stops when Addison makes that weird gulping sound again. This time everyone looks to her as she covers her mouth with a pale hand. "Are you okay?" Evelyn asks with her hand on the girl's shoulder. "Goodness you look pale."
She shakes her head. "I'm...I'm..." is all she gets out before scooting back from the table and bolting upright. The chair slams against the cold floor creating a loud bang noise that echos off the walls and makes everyone jump.
I watch with surprise as she runs towards the door, clearly intending to leave the room as quickly as she can but she doesn't make it past the doorway. She turns her body and drops to her knees, clutching one of the potted plants used for decoration. My eyebrows shoot to the sky when she starts vomiting into the pot and everyone stays frozen to their seats as she heaves and throws up all over the small bonsai tree.
"Ew, what terrible timing," Evelyn states as we all stare at the pitiful girl who is currently puking her little heart out into one of the room decorations.
"Poor girl," Mom whispers before putting her napkin on the table and jogging over to her. She pulls some golden curls out of Addison's eyes and she rubs her back gently. "It's okay, just let it all out," she says warmly in that motherly voice that she has. Addison's body makes a rather foul noise and flinch because of it.
I look around t he table to see every ones reaction to the gross display because none of us seem able to move. Byron is watching the seen blankly with his glass halfway up to his lips, Evelyn's face is screwed up and she flinches when Addison makes a particularly gross noise before throwing up again. Finally my eyes rest on my father who's upper lip is slightly curled back in disgust before Mom shoots a look at him. When her dark eyes look into his he becomes serious. They share a pointed look that I can't begin to understand before my Dad stands up and calls for a house-elf with a flick of his wand. When the ugly creature pops into the room it bows low to the ground before asking what my father needs and with an irritable sigh my dad answers.
"Get a morning sickness potion and make sure this mess is cleaned up after she's finished."
The elf pops away and I look towards my Dad as he stands with his hands on his narrow hips. A morning sickness potion? Isn't that for.... My eyes narrow when I figure it out. Gavin, that stupid bastard. I really don't know what I should do and the others who are sitting down don't know either so we just sit and try not to stare.
"Evelyn," Dad snaps and her wide eyes turn to his in surprise. "Go get your brother and tell him if he doesn't come down here this instant then I will come up and get him myself."
"Yes, Daddy," She says as she puts her napkin on the table.
He looks to me and then to Byron who's eyes flick away under the intensity of my father's gaze. "I'm sorry boys, things aren't going to be very fun at Malfoy Manor today." He sneers a bit at the end and I stand up.
"It's alright, Dad," I tell him as Byron stands as well. "We need to get back anyways," I lie just to get out of here.
"I'll owl you later." he says flatly, sending one more stern look to my sister who flutters out of the room to go get my stupid brother. He walks out as well, pausing only a moment to speak to Mom as she tries to sooth Addison. "I want him in my study after you talk to him," he says and Mom nods her head before turning back to the girl who just puked on her shoes.
"Oh, gross," Mom mutters but she doesn't leave Addison's side until she stops throwing up and slumps against the wall.
"Let's go then," I say to Byron and he doesn't need to be told twice because we practically run out of the room that's serving as a bathroom for Gavin's girl. When we pass by them I can hear her crying softly and apologizing to my Mom.
"This is so embarrassing," She sniffs with a hiccup and Mom gives her a sad smile.
"I use to get sick all the time when I was pregnant with Evelyn..."
I don't hear the rest of that because we make it to the hallway. The Manor is huge but for some reason I think it feels terribly crowded in here and I just need to get out of here before something else bad happens. I hand Byron his cloak as I slip into my own and as I'm clasping it around my neck I hear footsteps on the stairs. Byron and I both look up to Lavinia, dressed in a light blue skirt and white top. She blushes when she sees us and she gives Byron the sweetest smile I've ever seen her give before. In fact it makes me want to throw up how sweet it is and I glare at Byron who's looking at her with this strange warm look on his face and obvious lust in his eyes as he drags his eyes across her body. I want to hit him again so I clench my fists and I'm about ready to tell Lavinia to go put on a baggier shirt but her face changes when she notices we have our cloaks on.
"Are you leaving?" She asks softly, with unsure eyes she looks between us. I nod my head and I can see hurt lingering in her expression. "Oh."
That makes me feel bad. I'm torn between wanting Byron to stay here so she doesn't have that wounded look on her face like she was being abandoned or dragging Byron out of here and getting them as far away from each other as possible. I guess overprotective, temperamental brother wins out and I square my shoulders. "We'll see you later, Lavinia." I say, trying to ignore the questioning look in her eyes.
"Oh," she says again, even though it doesn't make sense but I don't think she was actually really listening. Her eyes linger on Byron's busted lip and her eyebrows knit together the slightest bit but she doesn't ask about it. "Bye, then."
"Bye," I take out my wand and head towards the front door, intending to Apparate away but Byron doesn't move. He's just staring at her and she's just staring at him and I huff before grabbing his arm and stomping with him towards the door way. We're over twenty now, I shouldn't have to drag him around like this anymore. I open the door with more force than I needed and I nearly slam into the guy standing on the other side who has his hand up like he was about to knock.
I take a step back into the house and glare at the bouquet of flowers that are in my face. "Oh, I'm sorry," the voice says as he lowers the flowers and I see him. Darius, Lavinia's boyfriend is standing there with a flushed face as his eyes flick between me and Byron. "Is... is Lavinia home?"
Hmf. I look to Byron who snatches his hand back and narrows his eyes at the nervous looking boy who's standing across from us. I think he might be jealous. Serves him right I think to myself as I look over my shoulder at my sister who's made it to the bottom of the stairs and is looking at the scene before her with wide eyes. Serves her right too. They both deserve to be uncomfortable because of what they did to me.
"There you are," Darius smiles and pushes past Byron and I, making his way over to Lavinia and handing her the roses. "I came to apologize," He tells her with a kind smile as she flicks troubled glances towards us by the door. "I know I was kind of being a prat last night, and I guess I deserved you ditching me like that,"
He bends and kisses her and I swear I heard Byron growl beside me.
She pulls back and gives him a tight smile with a blush staining her cheeks. She sends one more guilty, apologetic look towards Byron before turning to her boyfriend who's she's been with for like a year. What were her and Byron thinking anyways? It makes me angry again so as she tells her brown haired boyfriend thanks for the roses I grab Byron's arm and Apparate us back to our flat. When we land on the moss green carpet of our tiny living room I let go of his arm and walk away from him. Intending to ignore him for a couple of days until I decide how I should feel about this whole situation. He doesn't move at all from his tense position so I reluctantly look over my shoulder. He's just standing there, glaring at the wall as he clenches his fists.
"Why would she do that?" he asks quietly after a few moment of painful silence.
"What do you mean?" I ask even though I know he's hurt right now by what just happened. This is why I hate this. He's my friend and she's my sister, I'll never know what side to take.
"Why would she kiss him like that?" He looks to me and I can see the pain in his eyes and it actually surprises me that he would care so much.
I sigh and take a step closer to him, sympathy wining out. "That's her boyfriend, Byron," I remind him.
He doesn't say anything, he just stares ahead of him and doesn't even jump when an owl taps on our window. I give him one worried glance before going to the window and sliding it open to let the small brown owl in. It hops on the ledge and I smirk when I recognize the handwriting on the letter it's carrying. I untie the letter and give the owl a treat before it flies off. into the sky.
"It's from Sid," I say but I don't expect an answer because he's too busy fuming and pouting behind me.
I turn the envelope over in my hands and open it up, smirking as I read what our friend wrote. Sid plays for a minor league Quidditch team, the Yellowsville Firebirds, and he might get picked up by a bigger team this year. It's pretty exciting.
"He's in town tonight," I say out loud, not really sure if the statue behind me is listening. "He wants us to go out with him." I know Byron doesn't like to drink, and he probably shouldn't do it at all because of the freak that he turns into when he does, but Sid always insists that we go out to pubs and get sloshed whenever he comes to town. "What do you think?" I look over my shoulder again and note that Byron's hurt has officially turned to anger and I raise an eyebrow at it. "You don't have to go--"
"I'm going," he cuts me off solidly with a sharp voice. I'm not going to school him through this because I'm too upset with the both of them to let myself get close to the situation.
I nod my head before heading to regroup in my room before we meet up with Sid. As I move papers off my bed I can hear Byron's angry footsteps coming down the hall, I jump when I hear his door slam.
Tonight's going to be fun.
Darius Coldwater is terribly terribly dull. I sigh and rest my chin in my hand as I watch Lavinia talk to her boyfriend in the front hallway, hoping something exciting will happen because I've been banished from going anywhere near Gavin and the scolding he's getting right now. I watch as she nods her head and he touches her cheek while she tries to pull away. He's perfect for her really, if you think about it. He's boring and predictable, He's good looking, he's from a good family, and he's smart. He's just like she is, so imagine my surprise when I saw her snogging the day lights out of Byron Flint on the balcony last night at her graduation party.
Now, I've always known that Lavinia was head over heels in love with Byron Flint, that much was obvious by the way she blushed and stuttered whenever he was around, but I always thought she would go with the safe choice. I especially did not expect to glance out a window while I talked to my Mother and see her and Byron dry humping against the stone wall while hundreds of people stood not two feet away from her. I thought she had more sense than that. In fact I think I even like her more because of it. She's always so prime and perfect so to see her act like a normal human being is quite refreshing.
"We should talk," she tells Darius softly but he seems totally oblivious to her sad tone.
"I agree," he says, moving some boring brown hair out of his eyes. He sounds relieved and happily optimistic and I can't imagine why. He takes her hand and leads her to the stairway where he takes a seat on one of the marble stairs and she pauses a moment before sitting beside him with the bunch of roses on her lap. "I know I've been pressuring you these past couple weeks but I'm leaving in another month and I want you to come with me. You were accepted into magical university there in Florida, that's right by me."
I lean over the edge of the railing to see them better and I can tell Lavinia is chewing on her lower lip. "I don't want to go to America," she just about whispers and he nods his head.
"We can deal with that too," Again with the optimism, I almost feel bad for him. Poor old dull Darius. "I mean, we're not muggles... it doesn't take us long to travel so we'll only be a fireplace away from one another."
She pulls her hand back from his and looks steadily away from him. I wonder if she's going to tell him that she cheated on him last night. That would make things so unbelievably interesting. I clutch the railing and lean over a little further, so my hair falls around my face like a curtain. "I don't think you understand and I'm so sorry..."
He grabs her face and kisses her, cutting off the blow she was about to give him and she looks shocked as well as she brings her hands up to push as his chest. "Mr. Coldwater, what are you doing here?" Dad snuck up on all of us and his cold tone made Lavinia's boyfriend jump and stand up with a totally red face. I smirk towards Dad as he glares down at them. "It's rude to show up uninvited and with out warning."
"Dad, please..." Lavinia says softly, obviously embarrassed by how mean Daddy is being to her soon to be ex-boyfriend. She stands up and takes a protective stance in between them. "He just came to apologize," she tells him as she holds up the red roses as evidence.
"Really," he states flatly, crossing his arms and staring at Darius who is staring at his shoes, hoping to blend into the background. My dad can tolerate the boys we hang around but he will never be warm and understanding towards them. In fact he hates my best friend Jeremiah just for that reason, even though Jeremiah is the last boy in the world I would ever think about kissing. "Why did he feel the need to apologize to you? What did you do, Darius?" He asks, in that fake thoughtful tone that he has that makes everyone around him uncomfortable.
Darius coughs into his hand and then messes with the collar of his shirt like it was way too tight. "I, uh, I... I think I have to go home now."
"My mom..." he trails off before spinning around and practically running towards the door. He leaves quicker than I've ever seen a person leave before and I turn back to my dad and sister who are both watching the doorway with matching looks of surprise.
Lavinia's eyes narrow and she turns back to Dad. "That boy is pointless," Daddy mutters and Lavinia's jaw tightens as he looks down at the flowers in her hands. "and you don't even like roses."
"Why do you always do that?" She hisses with a stomp of her foot. "Stop scaring everyone I bring here.... and I thought you liked Darius."
"I found him tolerable." He raises and eyebrow at her scowl. "I just asked him a question, sweetheart. It's not my fault he couldn't handle it." He brings a hand out and puts a strand of hair behind her ear. "Be mad at me if you wish but I'm doing you a favor. You don't even like him that much."
"You don't know," she says hatefully, probably just mad that he's right.
"I know a lot more than you think,"
"Draco, Gavin's waiting for you in your study," that's Mom calling him from another room and he gives Lavinia a pointed look before stuffing his hands in his pockets and walking away.
She watches him go and then she turns towards the stairs and stomps up them, towards me. She sees me standing there when she reaches the landing and she glares. I smile pleasantly.
"How long have you been standing there?"
I shrug my shoulders and bring a hand up to play with one of my curls. "Oh, not long."
"You're so annoying," she sneers as she walks off towards her bed room. I smile at her back as she makes her way down the hall. I know I am annoying sometimes, there really is no insult in that.
Now what am I going to do with myself? Being home is so boring, there is never anything to do. I start humming to myself and I do a little dance spin and curl up on my toes as I make my way back towards my own room. I think I'll go dance for a while to waste time. I love to dance. I think it's one of my most favorite things to do in the world. When I make it to my bed room I stop humming and make my way over to my wardrobe so I can pull out a black leotard and my pink ballet shoes. When I was nine years old Grandma Narcissa showed me her private dance room, hidden behind a wardrobe in the white swan room. She was a great dancer when she was younger, she was even a member of the London Royal Dance Academy of Magic, but she had to quit when she married Grandfather Lucius. She said he had the room built in the first years of their marriage so she wouldn't have to miss the studio so much. When she saw how much I enjoyed all my lessons she thought I would get some use out of it. I even put one of her portraits in there to help coach me when I was dancing.
Of course Lavinia knows of the room too but she was never very much into ballet. When she came back from Hogwarts for the summer after her first year she tried going back but Madam Violet told her that her breasts were getting too big to be practical for dancing unless she wanted to start binding them down. Of course my sister was horrified and never went back to another class. I'm shaped like Grandma so I know I'll never have that problem but I do wish I did. Jeremiah thinks that Lavinia has the best body he's ever seen and every time he's around her he drools like a puppy dog. It's actually quite irritating to be honest. The classes I take are just off of Diagon Alley at Madam Violet's dance studio, it's actually one of the best and most expensive in the wizarding world and I miss it sorely when I'm at Hogwarts, but my parents won't home school me so I'm always behind when I go back for the summer. Something Xavier LesFramboises, the bane of my existence and my mortal enemy, feels the need to point out every time I come back. I really hate that stuck up, French idiot.
I shimmy into the black leotard and pull my hair up in a tight pony tail as I grab my shoes and leave my powder blue room. I do love the color blue. I almost wish I would have been sorted into Ravenclaw so I could color code with every thing that I have. I think I look so much better in blue than green to tell the truth, but the hat said I was much too ambitious to be anywhere else but Slytherin. With light steps I nearly skip towards the swan room, swinging my shoes by their ribbons as I sing to myself some song I heard of the wireless last night but I stop when I see a door ajar. I stop and stare into the room curiously, wondering why it's open and when I see a large stone pensive sitting on the table I smile to myself. Mom and Dad must have been watching memories recently because the far wall is completely empty and cleared of all decorations and paintings so they can be projected and clearly viewed off of it.
I wonder if they left anything in there.
I flit into the room, still singing lightly under my breath, and I peek over the edge to into the stone basin and smirk when I see the swirling white mist in the bowl. I've always hated that saying, curiosity killed the cat. I think if the cat wasn't curious then it must be one of those fat felines that takes twelve hour naps in the sun only to move to a shaded area to sleep some more. What a dreadfully boring cat. I place my shoes down on the ground and put my hands on the edge of the basin so I can carefully dip my face into the mist. I get pulled into the memory and I land with a thump inside some dark and dingy bedroom. I scrunch up my face in disgust as I look at the dirty walls that were probably white at one time, but now look brownish yellow, with the wallpaper peeling at the edges. There is nothing much in here but a filthy looking bed, and a plain looking vanity with a cracked mirror. This isn't one of the memories I'm use to seeing in one of these and even the windows in this room are dirty, making the room seem fuzzy and almost dream like. It's not a warm feeling family memory they usually look at and I watch curiously as the door opens and someone walks inside.
For a second there I thought I was staring at Cassius but I realized it was my Dad. My Dad when he was a lot younger than he is now. I walk closer as he goes over to the vanity and with a determined look on his face he starts pulling things out of the bag he brought in. I watch his face as he takes out a small cauldron and dumps the contents of a flask inside of it, heating it up with his wand. Cass does look a lot like him, that much is true, but Dad's features are a lot sharper than my brother's and his eyes are more narrowed. I smile as Dad pushes some hair of his eyes and unbuttons the black dress shirt he was wearing as his potion sizzles and pops on the wooden table top. He has to be a teenager here in this memory, how interesting.
I watch his reflection in the mirror as he looks up at himself with a serious expression on his face and his lips turned slightly down. He takes a moment to smooth down his hair, that's a lot longer than it is now and he goes back to his unbuttoning his shirt. He's not wearing his glasses either. I'm so use to seeing those sleek silver frames on his face that I almost forgot what he looked like with out them. His right hand reaches into the black bag on the floor and I notice the silver ring with the black stone resting on his ring finger, that's the same one Cassius wears now and I step even closer to him as he sets the glass down on the table surface so I can watch his profile.
"Daddy, you were handsome," I whisper, even though I know this is a memory and he can't hear me. I reach out to touch him but my hand goes right through.
I look at the two little freckles on the side of his face, the same freckles he has now that are so unique to him, as he throws the shirt in his bag and stirs his potion with a wooden spoon. Under his black shirt he was wearing this red and gold stripped t-shirt and I raise my eye brows when I notice he's wearing jeans. My Dad would never wear jeans. A sharp knock on the dingy door makes me jump and step back but my teenage Dad doesn't move, he keeps looking at his potion.
"Come in," he says sharply, in that impatient way that he has when he's working on something. Nice to know that hasen't changed.
I look towards the doorway as the person steps in and I am pleasantly surprised to see a very good looking young man. He might be better looking than my father I muse to myself as I take him in. He's just as tall as my Dad but with dark, slightly curled hair and tanned skin. Just about everything on him seems darker but his eyes, that glow a bright blue underneath his lashes.
"Did you bring it?" Dad asks curtly with out greeting.
The other man smiles and slithers up to my father, leaning against the vanity with his arms crossed. "Of course I did," he says with his eyes lit in amusement. "You surely do owe me one, mate. It took me a while to find Potter's stupid muggle foster family. Horrid people, they are...well... were I suppose is the better word."
"That's wonderful, Zabini, just give the goddamn thing to me." Dad puts out his hand and finally turns towards the dark youth to his side. That Zabini guy smiles again and reaches into his pocket, pulling out a small glass vial and handing it to Dad. I take a step closer to see what's inside and notice a few black hairs. What's going on here? "Are you sure these belong to him?"
Zabini nods his head. "They didn't have anything that belonged to him directly, but there was a brush that they told me Potter used once. I checked, those are human and they do belong to an eighteen year old male who has magic. The only other person in that house that would come close to that description was their fat pig of a son, but his hair was blond so I'm sure these are his."
"If I turn into some dirty filthy muggle I will kill you, Blaise," my dad snaps a glare at the other man and the cold tone he uses sounds vicious even to me so I cross my arms, feeling cold.
Zabini doesn't seem fazed and he smiles charmingly, showing his perfect white teeth. "I promise you won't. What do you need that for anyways?" He asks curiously as he looks around the room while pulling a cigarette out of his pocket. "Is this an assignment or something?"
"None of your business," Dad snaps as he uncorks the vial and carefully takes out a short black hair, he eyes it for a second before dropping it into the potion, making it hiss and glow a golden yellow color.
Zabini walks, well, more like struts I suppose, over to the window and unlocks the latch so he can push it open. He puts the cigarette to his lips and lights the end with his wand as he squints down at the people below. "Guess who I saw on my way here," He says with a sly smile as he blows smoke out the window. Dad doesn't even acknowledge him. "It was quite a pleasant surprise, of course, to see good old Ginny Weasley making her way down the street as I Apparated in."
My eyes snap to my Dad who stills his movements to listen. I can see the dark mark on his forearm and I study it with a tilted head, it's barely visible now that he's older but in this memory it is a deep black, showing out sharply against his pale skin.
"I'm surprised Snape is still letting students have Hogsmeades trips," Zabini says, flicking his ashes on the ledge, oblivious to my Father's tight jaw. "I do wish she was wearing her school uniform, though. You know how sad I was when we graduated last year because I knew I wouldn't be able to see her strutting around in that get up anymore," he looks over his shoulder and smirks at my dad. "I could look beyond her family situation to have her legs wrapped around my hips for one night." What a foul creature that Zabini is. I huff and put my hands on my hips, hoping my dad will do something. Dad snaps his head to the other man's and narrows his eyes. Zabini must have realized his mistake because he coughs and then smiles uneasily, trying to hide his discomfort. "Of course I know she's already claimed territory, Draco. You don't have to look at me like that. I'm just having a little fun at the future Mrs. Malfoy's expense."
Dad doesn't seem satisfied but he turns back towards the potion and puts the cork back on the vial. He throws it at Zabini who catches it with quick reflexes that impresses even me.
"Bring the rest of these to the Dark Lord," Dad says and I look towards him as he crosses his arms over his tight chest. "If they really are Potter's you'll be rewarded for it. I'm sure he'll find it useful."
Zabini pockets the vial and throws his cigarette out the window. "Alright, I need to be leaving anyways. I've got a date tonight with Jade O'Neil... You know I have a soft spot for blondes." A thoughtful expression crosses his handsome face and then a devilish smile returns. "I don't think soft is the right word to use for that either."
Dad doesn't answer him so he rolls his eyes and walks towards the door. "See you around, Malfoy. As always you are a ray of sunshine in my pitifully dull life."
My father nods but doesn't say anything and he watches with sharp eyes as the man leaves and closes the door behind him. He looks down at his watch and then into the mirror one last time before dipping a glass into the potion and breathing out heavily before downing it all in one gulp. With wide eyes I watch as my Dad's tall and slender build slowly morphs into a shorter, dark haired version of Harry Potter. Silver eyes turn to bright green and pale skin turns golden in the dingy light of the room. I am so curious to find out what this is all about. When the switch is totally done he turns back to the mirror and his lip curls back in distaste at the scar on his forehead.
"Stupid, ugly, blind, Potter," He mutters to himself as he takes a pair of glasses out of his pocket and places them on his face.
He blinks a few times getting use to it before looking down and checking out his new form, the shirt and pants seem a little tighter now that he's wearing someone else's body and I back off towards the bed as he starts throwing his potions materials into his bag and then stuffs it out of site. He flexes his hands and cracks his neck a few times before slouching his shoulders a bit and leaning against the wall, with his arms crossed. He stands like that for a while, every so often shifting positions like he was testing them out before he sighs. He shakes his head and then looks down at his watch. Like he just remembered he was wearing it he pulls off the Malfoy ring and puts it in his pocket just in time before someone knocks on the door again.
"Come..." He starts but he stops himself and coughs. "Come in," he repeats in a higher voice not his own.
To my surprise the door opens and a flurry of red hair enters. Mom. Now I'm totally intrigued and I stand up straight as she walks in, looking around the room with the same unease I had. When she spots my Dad, disguised as Harry Potter, her eyes light up and she smiles wide before running over to him and jumping into his arms, showering him with kisses.
"I almost didn't believe it when I got your note yesterday. Where have you been?" she asks breathlessly between kisses, my Dad seems flustered at first before he gets a hold of himself and he pushes her back the slightest bit so he can breathe. "I've been worried sick, Harry. You've been gone for months!"
"I needed to talk to you," He says seriously, taking her hands away from his face. I get the feeling that Mom is getting tricked here and this scene has my attention because of it.
"Are you going to tell me why you left with out even saying goodbye?" she questions and her joy seems cut short, being replaced with hurt. "You just went up and left one night with out even telling me... that hurt my feelings."
"Right," he says uncomfortably, coughing and looking away. "Listen, I told you to meet me here for a reason, Ginny. I have something I need to tell you."
He walks away from her and she watches him with an eyebrow raised. I look her up and down, kind of excited to see my mother this young so close up. I can see why people think Lavinia looks like her, the same long red hair, the same full lips, same curvy body, but Lavinia has more Malfoy in her and Mom's features are more open and trusting with softer tilts of her face and darker eyes. I touch my own face, wondering how much of her is in me. My mom is a beautiful woman now, but seeing her up close like this when she was younger makes me realize how truly lovely she was and I can easily see why my Father fell in love with her. With an amused smile I notice she's wearing denims with a plain white t-shirt and torn up gym shoes. I think this has to be the most casual I've ever seen my parents dress.
"What is it?" she asks softly, like she was preparing herself for something terrible.
"The Death Eaters have taken over Hogwarts now, right?" He says and I can hear my Dad's deep drawl but he's not trying to hide it as he turns back to her. "Snape is in charge and the Carrows are teachers?"
Mom nods her head and an angry scowl crosses her face. "It's terrible. We have to learn how to do all those Dark Art things now and pledge our allegiance to you know who," She rolls her eyes and crosses her arms. "The Carrows are especially bad. You wouldn't believe what they're doing, Harry. They're actually using unforgivables on students. Can you believe that?" I look towards him as he watches her like he was trying to memorize every freckle on her face. He is obviously not surprised by the information and I doubt he's actually listening to anything she's saying because of that dazed look he has in his eyes. "I'm actually surprised we're here. Snape said there would be no field trips anymore at the beginning of the year and...."
"Has any one done anything to you?" He asks sharply and Mom's eyes look to his because of the brisk tone he used. "Have the Carrows used an unforgivable on you?" He asks more forcefully.
"It doesn't really matter," She says with a smile as she goes closer to him and hugs him tightly, with her head against his chest. He doesn't move. "I actually have it much easier than everyone else. I don't know why. Poor Neville gets it the worse I think and just last week they had Luna bonded to a chair for two days straight for not following directions. It was terrible," She inhales deeply and smiles up at him, "You smell wonderful. Are you using new cologne or something?"
"Tell me what they did to you."
She searches his eyes for a few moments, and when his face remains cold and unresponsive she frowns and steps back, letting her arms drop from his body. "When's my birthday?"
"What," he snaps, clearly irritated and sounding so much like Dad that I think she'll figure out that she's not talking to Harry Potter.
"Answer my question," she says a littler harder as she reaches into her pocket, obviously after her wand. Dad notices the movement and his sharp eyes flick back to hers. "When is my birthday, Harry?"
He sighs and turns away, running a frustrated hand through his hair and scowling when he gets it stuck in one of Potters tangles. Harry Potter does have horrific hair. "It's April 14th, of course. Why would you ask me that?"
She breathes out in relief and smile returns to her face as she walks back over to him. "I'm sorry, you just... you just seem different. I guess that's to be expected, right?"
He looks at her over his shoulder. "What have the Carrows done to you?"
She looks down and shrugs. "Nothing too bad, really. Alecto Carrow just got me with a stinging curse once for talking back to her. She really is a horrid frumpy woman..."
She goes on talking about how gross that lady is but I can tell Dad isn't listening. He's too busy glaring and clenching his fists. "They should know better..." he mumbles to himself and Mom looks at him with a raised eyebrow.
"What?" She says with a little laugh, "I'm surprised they don't crucio me everyday because of my family and all." She touches him again, like it was all she wanted to do and he turns to her. She smiles sweetly before tilting her chin up and kissing him softly on the lips.
I notice hesitation on his part but after a few seconds he brings his hands up to her face and deepens the kiss with a vengeance, like he was trying to consume everything about her. He crushes her to his body and she gasps into his mouth before wrapping her arms around him for balance. I shake my head and cross my arms in disappointment that my father is taking advantage of the situation and my poor mother. When they finally pull back from snogging her face is flushed and she keeps her eyes closed as my Dad stares down at her with Potter's green eyes, looking at her like she was something out of a dream.
"I've missed you," she says and then her eyes flutter open as she smiles at him.
"I missed you too," he replies in his deep voice with out missing a beat.
"Where have you been?" She asks earnestly, "and what have you been doing? Please tell me, Harry, I know I can help."
He shakes his head like he was coming out of a daze and he takes her hand, leading her to the bed and sitting down on the filthy mattress. I sit in front of them on the floor with my legs crossed like I was watching some interesting play. I can't believe this is my parents, they usually are so boring. I bring my hands up and and rest my chin on them as I watch.
"Ginny, when you go home for Christmas break, you can't come back to Hogwarts."
"But the people..."
He shushes her with a hand up and she obeys. "Just trust me on this. Things have been bad, but they are about to get a whole lot worse. You must promise me you will not go back to that school."
"Promise me," he says sharply.
"Fine... fine, I promise," he nods his head, pleased but she turns away. "So what am I suppose to do, then? Wait around at the Burrow while you go off and fight a war by yourself?" She sounds sad and disappointed and Dad catches it so he puts some hair behind her ear, letting them linger on her face. "I could come with you," she turns to him again with her eyes sparkling. "I swear I could help. I'm not so terrible with a wand and I know more spells than Ron and I'm faster than Hermione."
"No," he says seriously and she pouts as tears fill her eyes.
"It's not fair. I'm always being pushed to the sidelines. Do you think I'm so useless, Harry, that I would just get in your way?" She sounds so upset that I even find tears in my own eyes. She's obviously hurt, she obviously loves Harry, and she obviously has no idea that the man she is talking to is not her Harry at all.
"Gin," he says, taking her face in his hands and forcing her to look at him. "My success depends on your survival." I have a feeling he's saying that as Draco Malfoy, not Harry Potter. "You must go home and you must be there when I come for you."
She nods her head in acceptance and tears fall down her face. "Okay."
He smiles a little, the same little smile that plays on my Dad's real face, and he dips his head down to kiss her. She kisses him back with a moan and her hands come up to thread through his hair. I have the urge to close my eyes and cover my ears as he pushes her back and leans over her on the bed, kissing and touching her all over her body. The places that he would kill any boy if they were touching me there. It's kind of strange seeing them kiss because he isn't himself right now so it's kind of like she's cheating on him, but this is in the past so she's actually cheating on Harry. This is confusing. I bring a curl from my pony tail and start twirling it between my fingers as I watch them. His fingers toy with the button on her jeans but when she moans the name Harry he pulls back and sits up, turning away from her.
"What's wrong?" She asks breathlessly. She sits up and kisses his cheek as he rubs his eyes under the stupid looking glasses that he's wearing. She smiles a little as she wraps her arms around him. "I know I've been kind of a prude... but you know... I'll let you, if you want," she says with a red face against the skin of his neck. "I know I told you I wanted to wait but with things as they are, it just seems so pointless."
"You have no idea how tempting that offer is, little girl."
"Little girl?" She says with a laugh in her voice. "I don't think you've called me that one before," She smiles as she touches his hair and studies his face, the face that really isn't his to begin with. "This place isn't ideal but who knows when I'll see you again."
He turns to her with his sharp eyes narrowed as he studies her face. "You're still a virgin, right?" I blush at that and so does she.
"Dad," I scold to the memory. "You never ask a lady that." I know they won't listen but I say it anyways.
"You know I am," she mumbles, looking down and I see a little triumphant smile on my Dad/Harry's lips. This is way too much information, I look around the room trying to remember how to pull myself out.
"I want to wait too," he says in a false light voice as he tilts her chin up. "Don't let me convince you otherwise if you ever see me again." He kisses her forehead and she closes her eyes. "I want to be the first and only person inside of you, do you understand that?"
She nods her head, and I almost gag. My Dad was gross. He sends an irritated glance down at his watch and then he looks to her. "I don't have much time, Gin. Just remember you must go home when you leave for Christmas. You can't come back."
"I understand," she kisses him one more time and he stands up, pulling her with him. "When will I see you again?" She asks as he walks her towards the door way.
"I won't lie, sweetheart," Again she snorts at that nickname, apparently not use to those terms of endearment coming from Potter's mouth but my Dad says them all the time. "it will be a while."
"And what am I supposed to do all cooped up in the Burrow with nothing to entertain me?" She asks with an eyebrow raised.
"If it's so boring at this Burrow, I doubt you'll mind me coming and taking you away then, would you?" he asks in his deep drawl again as he bends down and tilts her face to the left so he can kiss her neck.
"Away to some little cabin in the middle of no where, where no one can bother us..." she says with a smile as he flutters kisses up and down her neck with his hands around her waist and hers around his arms.
"Not a cabin," He says as he stills himself with his lips against her skin. I walk around them to see his face as he stares straight ahead of him. Shame on you Daddy. "How about something a little bigger."
"I think that would be perfect."
He smirks against her neck and adds a little bite before kissing the area like he was soothing the pain. "We'll see."
"I love you," she whispers and he pulls back again to look into her eyes. I think a part of him wants her to realize it's him but when she smiles again he looks away.
"Is this place you live... is this Burrow well protected?" he asks and again that suspicious worry flickers in her eyes before disappearing.
"Of course it is, silly. It's harder to get into than Griggotts and with our new secret keeper I doubt anyone will find it."
"Who's the new secret keeper?" he asks, with interest flashing in his eyes.
She looks at him and laughs a little again. "Remus Lupin, of course," she says and then she shakes her head. "Honestly, Harry... it was your idea."
He smirks at her, covering his tracks. "That's right. You have to get going now." he says as he opens the door and puts a hand on her face so he can kiss her one more time. "Be careful, Gin."
"That goes for you too, Mr. Potter," she says in response to his kiss. She pulls back with her hand on the door knob as she takes him in with love lost eyes. "You have grown up, you know. I can see it in the way you hold yourself now, your eyes, even your voice seems deeper."
"It was bound to happen," he comments as he puts his hands in his pockets.
"You had better come and get me from my awful parents or I'll never forgive," she jokes with a small smile, tears lingering in her eyes again.
A dark smile crosses Dad's/Potter's lips and his eyes look a deeper shade of green. "I will."
She kisses him one more time, trying to hold on to it as long as she can before leaving and closing the door. Once she's gone my eyes follow Dad's as he sighs and bangs his forehead against the wall. Then, like he remembered he had something to do he stands up straight and goes towards his bag, he pulls out the black dress shirt and pulls off the ugly red and gold shirt he was wearing to replace it with. As he's buttoning the buttons up his chest his body begins to transform back into the tall thin Malfoy that he is. He doesn't seem to care much as his features sharpen and his hair slicks down into blond strands around his face. When he's back to his regular body he takes off the glasses and throws them on the ground as he slings the black bag over his shoulders.
He pauses a moment to touch his lips before shaking his head and storming out of the room with his hand gripped tightly around his wand. I follow and sneer at the occupants of the pub as we make our way down the stairs. They're all seedy and gross looking with missing teeth, hooded blood shot eyes, and warts. This isn't a place I would want to be... ever and I'm surprised my Father would even look at this place considering what a snob he can be. He goes over to the bartender with a vicious look on his face as he slams down a few coins.
"I need to use your private floo line," he snaps and the pudgy man with a comb over puts down the dirty glass he was attempting to clean and nods his head.
"Of course, Mr. Malfoy, this way."
He digs into the pocket of his messy apron and takes out a ring of keys and my Dad impatiently taps his foot as the man unlocks a dark door behind the counter. Dad goes around the bar and into the room, closing it behind him, right in the bartender's face as he looks towards the fireplace. His jaw twitches as he stomps over there and grabs a handful of floo powder. He throws it into the flames and puts his head in the fire.
"I need to speak to Alecto Carrow. Right now," he says hatefully and I can tell he's pissed. Someone says something on the other side but I can't hear it. "I don't fucking care what she's doing right now. I want her over her in five minutes or I will come to her and she does not want that." A few more mumbled words follow and my Dad takes that deep dark tone that scares the living day lights out of me. "You would do well to remind Ms. Carrow that although she may have more years of this kind of life under her belt I most definitely have more tricks up my sleeve. If she wants to be on the receiving end of my wand then I am more than happy to oblige her..."
I don't get to hear the rest of that because a mist floats around my eyes and with a shock I'm pulled out of the memory. I land with a thump on the floor back in regular time at Malfoy Manor and I look around me to see why I was pulled out. No one is in here so I inhale deeply and pick up my ballet shoes, stretching my back because it hurts from being leaning into that pensive. Who was watching that memory and why was it in there? I guess a part of me should feel bad for my Mom because was was being deceived but he was doing it to protect her and in some twisted way I find that utterly romantic.
I look at the pensive once more before humming to myself again and leaving the room, wondering what I should make of what I just saw.
"You have to marry her now."
"I know that," I say with a sigh as I slump in the chair across from my father's desk. He takes a drink from his brandy and turns back to me. "I already gave her a ring."
"Good," he states sharply with his eyes slightly narrowed over my head. "Do you know how far along she is?"
I shrug, "A few months, I think."
"You think," he states flatly as he looks to me. "Has she been to a healer yet?"
"Yeah..." I trail off. I think she has, I don't go to her appointments. "You're acting like this is a surprise. You said you knew last night..."
He shakes his head at me and takes another drink. "The wedding is going to have to be soon. I think weddings with a pregnant bride are terribly tacky but I can't have my first grandchild be born a bastard."
Dad's always been Conservative, but sometimes his views trail right along the line of medieval. "We can wait until the baby's born, Dad. That's really not a big deal."
He looks to me with sharp eyes and I know I'm going to lose this battle. "You're already living with her, what's the difference if you're married?"
I didn't even know he knew that. Sometimes it's freaky how much he catches up on. I slump in my chair again and start messing with my bracelet to avoid his hostile look. He seemed cool and laid back about it last night but now he's acting like a prick.
"Do you know why I called you in here?" he asks, changing directions.
I feel like a small child when he takes that tone with me and I nod my head. "You're going to preach to me about responsibility, aren't you?"
When he doesn't say anything I look up at him as he studies my face. "You're a man now, Gavin, so you have to act like it. You aren't the only one you need to worry about anymore. You are starting a family so you can't keep acting like a child."
"I'm not acting like a child!" I hiss, angry that he thinks I have been.
"Where were you when Addison was vomiting into one of your Mother's bonsai trees?"
"That's not fair... I was sleeping. I didn't know she was getting sick," I almost stand up and start defending myself like it would help, but I know it won't. Not against my Dad.
"You should have been there anyways," he says and I cross my arms and shake my head. "That girl is going to be having your child, Gavin. You need to be the first to wake up and the last to go to bed.... and she shouldn't have to read about you partying it up in the gossip pages every weekend. Do you understand?"
"Do I get to smack her if she talks back to me?" It was a really low blow, and I even regretted saying it but he didn't seem affected.
"This is the childish behavior I'm talking about, son," I roll my eyes. "You also need to decide where you're going to live. A one bedroom flat isn't going to cut it. If you wanted to you could live here after the wedding until you get on your feet and we could help you with the baby because I'm sure Addison wants to finish college."
"God, no." That is the last fucking thing I would want to do.
"Fine," he says sharply, "Then you have two other choices. The Manor in France can be cleaned and reopened or the you can stay at the Villa in Italy."
"You're not going to offer the beach house?" I ask sarcastically as he turns around to fill up his glass again.
"That belongs to your mother," he answers like that was obvious.
"Why can't I just get my own house?" I ask, just to rebel against what he was saying.
"You could do that... but somehow I don't think you will. You like it when things are handed to you."
He's such a fucking bastard sometimes. I sneer at him and stand up, intending to leave his presence all together. "This has been pleasant, but I have to go now."
"I'll see you Monday morning, then," he comments with a raised eyebrow. "Try to be on time for once."
I want to say something back but I stop myself, so instead I glare at him and stomp out of his stupid study with my hands slammed in my pockets so I don't punch something. Fucking bloody prick. I shake my head and storm towards the dining room to collect Addison so we can go home as soon as possible. She's right where I left her, sitting in one of the wooden chairs next to my Mother.
"We're leaving," I say shortly when I enter the room and my Mom snaps a look at me so I try to soften my tone. "Let's go home, baby."
I hold my hand out for her to help her up and she takes it. I notice she's clutching a small purple bottle. "If you need any more of that potion let me know," Mom tells her and Addison nods her head, still looking pale. "I'll have the house elves send some right over."
"Thank you, Mrs. Malfoy," she answers tiredly and I put my hand on her back.
"I'll see you later, Mom," I say, my anger deflating. She smiles and takes a step closer to me, hugging me tightly against her. She doesn't let go right away so I pat her back awkwardly. "Mom?"
When she pulls back I can see water in her eyes and I sigh. I hate it when girls cry but I especially can't stand it when my own Mother does. She kisses my cheek and puts some hair behind my ear, looking at me like I was a little boy that she so sorely wished would never grow up. "Goodbye, Gavin. Be good."
"Always," I say with a smirk before leaving.
When we finally reach our flat my anger at my Father and the way he spoke to me came tumbling back down like an avalanche. I slammed the door shut and started to throw off my shoes cussing about him the whole entire time.
"Stupid, bossy, fucking jerk..." I mumble as I plop down on the black leather couch in our living room.
"What did your father say?" Addison asks, leaning against the wall, watching me closely like if she was to take a step towards me I would bite her head off.
"He's just being a goddamn tyrant like always," I sneer and lean back against the cushions, ready to rant more about him but when the person I'm confiding in doesn't respond I flick a glance over to her. She's just standing there, looking down at the floor. "What's wrong with you?"
"What's wrong with me?" She asks with a little disbelieving laugh in her voice. "Gavin, I'm completely mortified," she shakes her head and sits down on the arm of one of the arm chairs bringing a hand up to her face to hide her embarrassment. "I'll never be able to look at any of your family members again after what I did."
She closes her eyes and crinkles her nose up like she was remembering that particular ghastly memory. "You have nothing to worry about," I say as I rub my eyes. They woke me up too early there. "My Dad sides with you."
"What do you mean he sides with me?" she asks curiously, as I yawn into my arm.
I ignore that question. "We're going to have to get married as soon as possible," I comment flatly, not really thrilled with the idea. I do want to marry her, it's not that. I just didn't expect it to be so fucking soon. "My wonderful dictator of a father will have it no other way because he knows you're with child now." I sigh and open my eyes, sitting forward and resting my elbows on my knees. "I fucking hate shot gun weddings," I mumble to myself and there's a long pause before she replies.
"You... you don't want to marry me?"
I snap an irritated glare up at her and that hurt face she's sporting. "I wouldn't have proposed to you if that was true, you silly girl."
"Did you only ask me because I'm pregnant?" she asks softly and I can tell her feelings are right on the edge right now. Again I sigh and stand up, walking over to her with a small little smile on my face as I tilt her chin up and kiss her pink pouting lips.
"The situation sped up the process," I admit honestly, "but I would have asked you anyways... I vote we go take a nap," She smiles a little and I smirk, "After the morning you had I think you deserve it."
"You're right," she says tiredly, standing up and stretching her back.
I watch as she walks over to our kitchen counter and places the purple bottle on the table. "What is that anyways?" I ask as I start to take off my shirt and she takes the hair tie out of her hair, letting her strawberry blonde hair fall down her back in waves. It's no where near the color of Evelyn's... it's more blonde than red.
"It's a morning sickness potion," she says as she heels out of her shoes. "You're mother said it was really useful. Do you think I should write her a thank you note for being so good to me today? Maybe I should buy her a new tree thing, I'm pretty sure I ruined it.. what was that anyways. God, I can't believe I did that...."
I roll my eyes. "Bed, now," I command as I stalk over to her and she yelps a little when I pick her up, forcing her to wrap her legs around my waist and her arms around my shoulders. She's light like a little bird and I smile at her as she kisses my neck. "I won't be able to carry you like this much longer," I muse out loud as I flick a glance down to her stomach.
"You don't have to remind me I'm going to get fat," she says dejectedly as I walk us towards the bedroom. Before we reach it I push her back up against a wall to regain my balance and kiss her for good measure. I dip down to do just that but then pull back sharply. "Did you brush your teeth?"
She scoffs and rolls her eyes but I think it is a perfectly good question to ask someone who spent the better half of a morning throwing up. "Of course I did," She snaps, as I hike her up, with my hands on her legs so I don't drop her. "Did you?"
It was meant to be sarcastic but I smiled anyways. "Of course not," I told her before kissing her roughly on the mouth as she tries to pull away in disgust. "Not going to happen," I say to her attempts at avoiding my kiss. I lead us into the bedroom and throw her down on the bed, ready to crawl on top of her but I stop when my eyes catch the clock hanging on the wall. "Damnit."
"What is it?" She asks, sitting up on her elbows and looking at the clock as well. "What's wrong?"
"I promised Theo I'd meet him for drinks at one," I answer as I go over to my drawers and pull out a shirt to wear, having discarded my other one in the living room.
"Theo? That old guy who runs that paper?"
"He's not that old," I say as I pull the green t-shirt over my head.
"You're going out for drinks?" She's acting slow right now and I roll my eyes again.
"That's what I said."
"But it's not even night time yet."
I ignore her and start leaving the room.
"Wait, you're leaving right now?" she sounds wounded and I glance at her over my shoulder as she sits up on the bed with a frown on her face.
"It's almost one right now," I say slowly so she understands. She looks extremely disappointed and upset and I can't imagine why. I pause a moment in the doorway before going back to her and kissing her forehead. "Take that nap. I'll be back later."
She shakes her head and lays back, looking up at the ceiling with this blank look on her face. "No, you won't..." she sighs.
Her eyes flick to mine. "You won't be home tonight," she tells me and I raise an eyebrow. "It's Saturday, Gavin, you always stay out all night with your friends on Saturday."
I kiss her unresponsive lips before leaving her there without saying goodbye knowing she's right and only feeling slightly guilty about it. I shake my head to rid it of that pitiful look she was giving me as I meet up with Theo Nott to discuss some important business with his paper, ordering myself and firewhisky and smirking at the pretty blonde waitress who hands it to me.
I wonder what he was thinking when he left. I hope he wasn't mad at me, I mean, I was trying to tell Darius that we needed to take a break, so that was good, right? I sigh as I sit down on my bed and start chewing on my nails. I've been burning a hole into my carpet for the past half hour, thinking over last night events and how they affect today's situations. I really thought my heart was going to break in two when I saw that hurt look on Byron's face after Darius came but how was I suppose to know he would just show up at my door with those roses this morning? I was hoping I'd get at least a couple days to gather myself and try to figure out exactly what to say to him and how to break up with him in the least painful way I could. I mean I do like Darius and all that, but it's nothing in comparison to...
Jesus, I need to stop thinking about it.
I stand up with stiff steps and head towards my bathroom where I take an hour long shower, running my hands over all the places that Byron touched last night and wondering if they look different now that they've been caressed by him. The pleasant ache between my thighs refuses to let me forget what happened but I wouldn't want to anyways. There's just one thing I have to do now, besides dump my loyal boyfriend, and that's to tell the one person that I usually tell everything to. Chloe. I just don't know how to bring that up in a normal day conversation.
Hey, remember how I had a crush on your brother well... guess what I banged him!
So, I cheated on my boyfriend and slept with your older brother last night, could you pass the salt?
Ugh, I let my head drop to the tiled wall as the water beats down around me, scolding my skin and leaving it red. I did not think this whole thing out very well... not well at all. I turn off the water and step out into the cold bathroom, drying myself off with a towel and wrapping it around my body so I can step out into my bedroom to change. I smile at Cato as he rubs up against my legs and I'm pulling clothes our of my drawers when someone knocks on my door.
"I'm getting dressed," I call to whoever decided to disrupt me and I kick the black and white cat to the side as I drop the towel and slide on my knickers.
"Lavinia, it's me," I roll my eyes at Mom's voice. "Let me know when you're done."
I grumble to myself as I get dressed and when I'm decent I open the door, with one towel up to my hair, drying it out. "What do you want?"
She sits down on my bed and when she doesn't say anything right away I look to her with an eyebrow raised. She has a few papers in her hands and a book as she looks around my room like she never had a chance to look at it before.
She shakes her head and looks to me, and then down to the papers in her hands. "I came to ask you about school, Lavinia."
"Mom," this time my voice is whining as I drop my towel in my hamper. I don't want to talk about it anymore.
"Sweetheart, it's really important that you further your education. Black University is close to home, and Addison goes there if you're scared..."
"I'm not scared," I snap as I pull my hair up into a bun to get it out of my face. I few shorter strands fall into my eyes anyways and I scowl before blowing them out of the way. "I just don't know what I want to do, alright?"
"You don't have to snap at me," she says flatly and my cheeks turn pink because I know I shouldn't. "The confirmation dates for these schools are starting to pass, Lavinia. You need to make a decision."
"What if I don't want to go to school right away?" I ask as I turn around and start messing with things on my desk to avoid looking at her. She's been all over me all year about this and frankly I'm tired of it. "Gavin didn't have to go and he makes more money than Cassius."
"He's working for your Father, that doesn't really count." I doubt Gavin sees it that way and I let the silence hang in the air for as long as I can before she sighs, "Come here, Liv," she says as she pats the spot beside her on the bed. I hesitate before sitting down beside her, sending sideways glances at the papers in her hands, the papers that will decide my whole furture. "You need to go to college, even if you're there for one semester and drop out, at least you tried," I roll my eyes but she takes my hand, making me look to her again. I'm a Slytherin, I want to succeed... I just don't know what it is I want to do just yet. "Barely anyone I knew went to school because of the war and I was in hiding for my last semester of Hogwarts."
Her dark eyes are looking into mine earnestly and I know she's trying to convince me.
"I married your Dad and then I got pregnant with Cassius not long after that and I never had the opportunity to go... but I wish I did. I don't want you to miss out of that opportunity. Lavinia, please, just try it. It will be better than hanging around the Manor for the rest of your life working some boring job."
She's looking so deeply into my eyes and I can feel the honesty in her words so I really can't do anything but nod my head. She smiles and hands the papers to me, which I take with slack fingers. I stand up and place the papers on my white writing desk, promising myself I will actually look at them and face the future.
"There's something else I wanted to talk to you about," she says softly, putting the familiar looking brown book beside her on the bed. I look at her again as she stands up and faces me.
"Okay, what is it?" I ask softly, almost wishing she would leave so I could go back to worrying about boys.
"The house-elves cleaned the guest rooms after breakfast this morning," I nod my head, not understanding why she's telling me. "They found some of your clothes in the red bedroom where Byron Flint was," my heart starts beating in my ears and I can feel my pulse racing. I just stare at her like an idiot, as she looks at me with unease. "Were you in there?"
My first instinct is to lie so I do just that. "No."
She nods her head and looks down, I know she knows I'm lying. "You can tell me, you know. I won't be upset with you." I don't want to tell her anything of the sort because it is much too embarrassing so I turn around and bite my lower lip. "I noticed that he had a busted lip this morning," she says and I close my eyes. Cassius must have done that to him, I was surprised when I saw it before he left. She takes a step closer to me and I hold my breath. "and the elves said there was also some blood on his sheets. He didn't hurt you, did he? Did he force himself..." she trails off uneasily and I realize how hard this is for her.
I turn around horrified that she would think that. "Oh, no, no, no, Mom." I shake my head, not really able to form a good sentence. "He didn't... No, he wouldn't hurt me like that at all."
She looks at me closely, trying to judge if I was telling the truth. "Are you sure?" She asks seriously. "You need to tell me what happened."
I gulp and close my eyes again, about ready to admit the very last thing you ever want to say to your parents. "He didn't, Mom. I went to him..." I inhale deeply and look down, feeling my face flame and for some unknown reason my eyes start to water. I think it's a curse that whole crying easily thing. "It was my idea. He was so nice to me and he even tried to... Mom, Byron didn't do anything bad. I swear it."
I look into her eyes so she knows I'm telling the truth and when she sees that I'm crying her face warms considerably.
"I didn't want you to find out." I whisper and that's pretty obvious. "I just..."
"It's okay," she whispers, pulling me into her arms as I cry against her shoulder. I have no idea why the hell I'm crying. I'm supposed to be a woman now, I shouldn't be this weak. She starts rubbing my back and I sniff into the material of her dress. "So, you still really like this Byron kid?" shes asks against my hair and I nod my head, unable to say anything because of those annoying stupid tears I'm crying.
"Don't cry, honey," she says against my ear. "I know you probably hate that I found out but I have to ask you another terribly uncomfortable thing."
"What?" I sniff again, sounding so much like a little girl that it makes me cringe.
"Were you safe?"
Oh, Jesus Christ. This day just keeps on getting worse and worse but as mortification from the question turns my insides my whole body tenses when I realize we weren't. I'm so stupid. "Thought so," she whispers as she pulls away from me and reaches into the pocket of her cardigan. She pulls out a small blue pill. I watch it uneasily as she hands it to me.
"What is this?" I ask, wiping away tears as I look at it.
"It will make sure you don't have any surprises," she says and my own idiotic actions slam right into me as I nod my head and swallow the pill. I wish she didn't look so disappointed in me right now so I turn my body away and cross my arms to avoid it.
"You can always talk to me about anything, you know," she says and I nod my head.
"Thanks, Mom," I say just above a whisper and she nods her head. "And I'm sorry."
"You all have to grow up sometime," she says softly as she makes her way back towards the bed. "I just wish it didn't have to be so soon." I can't bring myself to look at her, I hate that she knows I did that. I'll never be able to look her in the eyes again and right now I feel so unclean. I feel her walk back towards me but I can't find it in me to turn. "Here, you probably want this." I flick a glance down at the thing she's holding and my eyes widen the slightest bit when I see Byron's worn looking leather journal. I realize that's the book she was carrying the whole time. I look up to Mom with my eyebrows knitted together and she smiles. "He left this in the room as well. I figure you'll want to be the one to return it."
I take it and cradle it to my chest, remembering how mysterious I once thought it was and how it gave me a glimpse into his mind so many years ago. "Thank you."
She looks me over and sighs before kissing my forehead. I close my eyes and welcome the affection, happy with the fact that she still wants to touch me after what I did. "Is there anything else you want to talk about?"
I shake my head. "I just kind of want to be alone right now," I answer truthfully. If anything else comes out I might die of embarrassment.
"Alright then, see you later, Lavinia."
She goes to my door and opens it so she can leave. I think of my father and a chill of fear goes down my spine. "Mom?"
She stops with her hand on the doorknob and turns to me. "Yes?"
"Please, don't tell Dad."
I am generally worried for every ones welfare knowing how he might act if he knew what happened but my Mom just laughs like what I said was funny. "Honestly, Lavinia. Like this is something I would tell your father," she rolls her eyes at me and I sigh in relief. "Draco has his limits."
She leaves me then and I fall face down onto my bed, smothering myself with my pillows, kind of hoping that the lack of oxygen would kill me but I abandon my half hearted attempt at suicide as the journal digs into my chest. I roll over on my back and hold it in front of me so I can run my fingers along the old grooves in the leather. I could read this right now, but I choose not to. There's a part of me that wants him to reveal his secrets to me himself. I don't want to have to steal them by reading them in this old book. I fall asleep like that, tired from the long night I had yesterday and I wake up to one of the house-elves handing me a letter. It's from Chloe and she wanted me to meet her at Diagon Alley to go out to eat. I responded with an affirmative and bounded down the stairs to ask my parents permission.
Unable to face Mom because I was still uncomfortable that she knew I was no longer a V card holder I went to my Dad who was working away in his study. He looked up when I came in and smiled at me behind his silver glasses.
"What do you need, princess?"
"Can I go to Diagon Alley tonight?" I went straight to the point and he put his quill down and sat back.
I look down at my watch and then nervously back to him. "Right now."
"Chloe wants to meet up for dinner."
I shrug, "Polo's probably," I answer.
"Who else is going to be there?"
I always let myself forget that Dad likes to interrogate all of us in situations like these.
"Are you planning on doing anything else?"
I sigh and let my hands drop at my sides. "Dad, please?"
He watches me closely and then he scoots back in his chair to open one of his drawers. I watch with my arms crossed as he takes out a small pouch of coins and throws it towards me. Of course my coordination is not the best and I don't catch them, instead they fall to the ground at my feet and I have to bend down to pick it up.
"Be back at ten."
"Thanks," I sincerely as I stand up straight with the money in my hands. One would think that since I am officially done with school and I am of age my curfew would be extended just the slightest bit, but that will never happen. Not with Draco Malfoy as my Father.
"Have fun, sweetheart," he says as he picks up his quill and goes back to his work.
I find Chloe waiting outside of our usual restaurant and we get seated not long after wards. I can't seem to tell her about my relationship with her brother because I'm a coward so I let her do most of the talking as I pick at my salad.
"I had to babysit that horrid child all day," she says as she picks up a piece of shrimp and bites into it. The lamps hang low in this restaurant and we're sitting in one of the green leather boothes towards the back of the darkly lit restaurant. "They don't even pay me for it."
"He's your little brother," I say softly before taking a drink from my glass. "And he's not a horrid child, he's just a baby."
"That's easy for you to say, you don't have to watch him all the time." I smile at her as she messes with her black hair, twirling it between her fingers as she glares at the thought of James Albus Potter, her one year old half brother. Her mother and Harry Potter decided they wanted to have more kids and poor Chloe is the only older child still home, so she gets to deal with it. "You know what he did today?"
"What?" I asked amused by the excitement flashing in her eyes. It makes me feel normal and it helps that the attention is away from me so I don't have to dwell with all my thoughts.
The waiter comes back and hands us our checks and she pauses a moment before leaning closer to me. "I had to do laundry and he walked right over to the basket where I had put all of my folded clean clothes and he puked all over them."
I snort at her anger. "Poor James."
"You would say that, wouldn't you?" she fake sneers at me. "Feeling bad for Potter's little spawn and not your best friend who you've only known for years."
"I think James is a cute little boy," I tell her, just to see her riled up. I smirk as she rolls her eyes.
"Are you done?" She ask as she takes out her money and lays it on the table, I copy her movements and also leave a tip. "I want to walk around for a bit. There are a few shops I want to look at."
I nod my head and follow her out into the cold night air of Diagon Alley as people move in groups around us. I look at Chloe from the corner of my eyes as we walk down the cobble stone roads. She really has busted out of her shy girl shell since we've been friends. I wish I could say the same. She catches me looking at her and smiles.
"We should go to a pub and get sloshed tonight, to celebrate the first official night of our summer and your freedom from Hogwarts."
"You won't be allowed to drink." I remind her and she shrugs her shoulders.
"What do you think you're for?" she asks as we push our way through the crowd. "What do you say? I think it will be fun to get totally wasted for once."
I smile but shake my head. "I have to be home at ten and you know how my Dad is. He'll come and find me if I'm even five minutes late so getting sloshed is out of the question."
She hooks her arm with mine and gives me a sympathetic pat on the hand. "I guess your father's so strict because he loves you so much."
I don't say anything to that, I just look forward as we turn the corner to walk down a new street and a commotion from one of the buildings makes us both stop. It's obviously a fight because there's a crowd of people, jeering and yelling at whatever or whoever it is they're circled around. Blasts from a wand light up the night and illuminate the people watching in strange colors and wild noises hiss from the curses. Chloe's hold on my arm gets tighter as we get closer.
"Let's watch," she whispers as she creeps up even closer to the crowd. Personally I think this is a terrible idea, what if we get hit with a curse? We push through a few drunk men and women to see the duel first hand and everything is moving so quickly that it's giving me a headache.
I shake my head and look around at the faces watching. I see someone familiar and I do a double take when I see Cassius' friend Sid standing off to the side with his wand gripped in his hands and his mouth slightly open, looking pale and shocked at the fight before him.
I turn to the two fighters with my heart skipping a beat when I realize who it is. I bring my hand up to my mouth to cover my gasp as I watch Byron, looking all disheveled a blurry eyed, throw down his wand and tackle my brother to the ground. Cassius hooks him in jaw before his back cracks against the street with Byron falling on top of him, bashing punches down on him like a common muggle. It's horrifying and they both are all bloodied up. I realize this fight is most likely my fault so I run over to them, ignoring Chloe who's trying to hold me back.
"Hey, girlie, let them fight it out!" One drunk idiot in the crowd yells as I make it over to the two animals who are rolling around in the dirt, kicking and punching at each other.
I glare at the moron before grabbing Byron's arm and attempting to pull him off. "Stop this," I say sternly, he rips his arm away from me with out even bothering to look. They're determined to kill one another it looks like. Cassius knees him in the stomach and Byron spits blood on his face. I try again. "I said stop."
"Leave me the fuck alone," Byron slurs before punching Cass in the ribs.
I shake my head in anger and take out my wand intending to stun both of them. "You aren't barbarians," I say as I point my wand.
I'm about ready to mutter the spell but Cassius pushes Byron off of him, causing Byron to fling backwards... right towards me. I don't even have time to think as his arm flies back and his fist connects with my face. I fall to the ground with a thump and tears immediately spring to my eyes as the pain starts to redden my cheek. That really hurt... I bring a hand up to my face and a small sob escapes my throat from the painful stinging.
"Lavinia!" Chloe runs over to me and kneels at my side. "Oh, are you okay?"
I sniff and sit up while nodding my head, still gripping my wand. I open and close my jaw a few times to see if I still can, it feels like my whole face is broken. The crowd has died down and a few guys decide it's time to end the fight and they pull Cassius and Byron apart from one another, finding it not as amusing when a girl gets punched in the face. Chloe pushes some hair out of my face and I watch as she flinches when she looks at me. More hot tears fall because it must look bad and I'm almost dreading to see it for myself.
"Lavinia?" I look up as Cassius walks over, wiping blood from his nose and mouth. His eyes take me in and then they narrow towards Byron who Sid is helping off the ground. "You hit my sister in the face, you bloody lunatic," he says fiercely.
"It was an accident," I mumble as Chloe helps me up and it hurts to talk because of the sharpness on my cheek bone. I start crying again as most of the spectators go back into the pub. The street we're one is dimly lit by tall street lamps and it smells like beer and whiskey out here.
"She probably deserved it," I snap my head to Byron's in surprise as he sneers at me. Why would he say that?
Cassius looks to me and shakes his head, "He's really drunk, Liv, don't pay attention to him."
I look at Cass' bloodied up face and his left hand that he's holding like it was broken. "You obviously did." I say and my brother looks away.
"We should go," Chloe whispers, sending a death glare to Byron who's jerking his arm away from Sid who tried to help him as he fell against the brick wall of the pub.
"How was Darius Coldwater anyways, Lavinia?" Byron says drunkenly as he stumbles his way closer to me. His eyes narrow as he takes me in and Cassius tells me to go home.... but I don't move. "Hm, is he a good kisser?" I blush, but you probably couldn't tell because of the throbbing on my face. His hair is all wild and there are scratches all over his face, I think he might have gotten those from Cassius' ring. "Did you use him like you used me?"
He is obviously drunk but I don't care. That shouldn't give him an excuse to talk to me like that. "I didn't use you," I tell him seriously as Cassius picks up both their wands and pockets them.
"Take her home, Chloe," he commands but Byron shakes his head and takes another step closer to me. Sid comes up to push him back but he jerks away again.
"No, she's not going anywhere, she's going to tell me why she acts like such a fucking slut."
"Byron Flint!" Chloe stomps her foot but her brother is too busy staring a hole into me to care.
"You were just acting like some scared little virgin to fuck with me, weren't you? It was all an act wasn't it?" Her eyes flash dangerously and I take a step back. "Wasn't it!?"
My mouth falls open in surprise and my heart feels heavy in my chest. Where is my sweet, shy, Byron that I'm so use to? "Sid, I suggest you take Byron home and make sure he sobers up," Cass hisses as he storms towards me and takes my arm. "Come on, I'll take you home. Chloe you can handle yourself, right?"
She nods her head and I look over my shoulder with tear blurred eyes as Byron says more hateful things about me while Sid tries to pacify him.
"He was really drunk, Lavinia," Cassius repeats again as we reach a Apparation point. "He turns into a real beast when he's drunk."
"Does he do that often?" I ask with a sob in my voice as he puts his arms around me and lifts his wand.
He sighs and looks down at me, his face has to look ten times worse than my does. "Only when he's upset."
I nod my head even though I don't think that's a good enough reason to act the way he just did and when we land outside of the Manor Cassius says goodbye to me so he can go to his flat to heal his own wounds.
"I'm sorry about that," he says, touching my sore cheek and wincing for me. "The house-elves should heal it. Byron's going to feel like a real jackass tomorrow."
Again I nod my head but I can't speak because I can't believe my perfect Byron just said those things to me. When I get inside I run to my room, relieved when I don't meet any of my other family members as I slam my door shut and fall on my bed. I curl into a ball and cry into my pillows... I'm not sure if it's because my face hurts or my heart does. I crack my eyes open during my sob session and see the cover of Byron's leather journal laying on the corner of my bed. How could he say those things to me after what we did last night? Suddenly angry I sit up and grip his journal in my hands, tempted to tear out every page and throw them in the fire just to hurt him like he just hurt me.