With an embarrassing squeak of surprise, I made to slam the door. Oliver, however, had other plans, pushing back against it.
"Rue," he sighed, "please let me in."
I was still pushing against the door with all my might, but Oliver's shoulder held the door open. I huffed, blowing a lock of hair from my eyes.
"Why?" I snapped. I really wasn't in the mood for another proposal.
"Let me–I just–Can we talk?" he finally asked.
I drummed my fingers against the doorframe as I weighed my options, finally reaching for my room key and stepping out in the hall. The door closed with a soft click behind me.
"Fine," I crossed my arms over my chest.
Oliver looked between me and the door before shaking his head.
When he didn't say anything, I pushed past him and walked towards the staircase. Maybe I could escape.
And then I remembered I had left my shoes in the room. I halted.
"Rue, listen," Oliver said behind me. I felt his hand on my waist and I reluctantly turned to face him at the top of the stair landing.
He nodded. His hand hadn't left my waist as he stepped closer.
"I am so sorry for everything–" he started. I rolled my eyes and opened my mouth to give a snarky reply.
"Don't," he warned, shooting me a glare.
I shook my head, waiting for him to continue. How many more times were we going to have this conversation?
"I really am sorry, Rue. For Keira, for–for that stupid–for visiting you the other week and," he struggled to find the right words, or so it seemed. "I just–everything–I messed up. I messed it all up with you."
He shook his head. I felt like we were back in sixth year. But I knew, or at least the adult part of me that had been growing over the years knew, that this wasn't entirely Oliver's fault. But I wasn't about to apologise.
"I just thought that maybe," he paused, looking at his feet. Or maybe he was looking at mine. They looked really small wrapped up in my tights. He was probably thinking about how ridiculously small my feet were. Great.
"I've missed you, Rue," he confessed. "I missed you before you even left, it that makes any sense. And then, all of a sudden, four years later, I see you in a pub in Piddle Twitten of all places, and you haven't changed a bit. You're–"
His dark brown eyes searched mine.
"Merlin, you're pretty," he breathed, his fingertips brushing against my cheek.
"Oliver, please," I whispered, turning my face away from him and pushing his hand away. "You're drunk."
"So?" he retorted. I suspected his growing frustration. "You are, too," he mumbled.
His hand fell to the long chain I wore around my neck. I looked down as he turned the ring between his fingers.
"The nightly heavens are not more beautiful than you," he breathed. My hand, entirely of its own accord and a little shakily, wrapped around Oliver's wrist in a feeble attempt to get him to release my necklace just as he turned his attention to the bowknot charm next to the wring. When his hand finally dropped, I stepped around him and walked back down the hall to my door. I had heard enough. And, in all honesty, I was probably on the verge of tears, listening to him say those words to me again.
"You still have it," he remarked.
I froze, having just pushed the key into the lock and turned it. I hadn't realized he had followed me.
"Of course I do," I said softly, staring blankly ahead of me.
"You can't tell me I mean nothing to you, then, Rue," he said, his temper flaring.
I turned sharply to face him, my hand not leaving the key. "I never said that," I managed out in a tight voice.
"If you must know, the day I got your letter was one of the worst days of my life," I hissed. "I hated you, and I wanted to throw this stupid ring into the river and completely forget about you, but I couldn't, Oliver. I couldn't do it. And I've wanted to do it a thousand times since then, but I still have it. Of all the things I can't do, being unable to forget about you has got to be the most frustrating and impossible."
He only stared back at me. I angrily turned to the door and pushed it open. I could feel a migraine coming on–either from all the alcohol or the current, infuriating situation. I just wanted to crawl into my bed.
But I was going to have the last word, first.
"You broke my heart. Maybe you should apologize for that," I spat venomously. Just as I was about to step into the room and slam the door shut behind me, Oliver closed the distance between us, turned me to face him, and kissed me. I struggled for a moment, pounding a fist against his shoulder. But, he had me pressed to the doorframe and I eventually gave in.
This was entirely different from that gentle kiss we had shared downstairs at midnight. This was demanding and passionate and unapologetic and everything I didn't want in a kiss from Oliver. Not now, not after everything we had been through.
Instinct took over. My hands tangled in his hair as he hoisted me up. I wrapped my legs around his hips as a sudden fear of falling hit me. Someone let out a low whistle accompanied with a clap as they passed us, but we ignored them. Oliver's mouth trailed kisses down my jaw and neck. My head fell back when his mouth reached a sensitive, small spot near my collarbone.
And then we were moving into the room and the next thing I felt was the soft bed beneath me. Oliver hovered over me for a moment. I could feel his breath against my neck before he leaned forward and kissed me again. My hands cupped his cheeks, and his scruff pricked my palms.
For a brief moment, I wished things had never changed between us. That I had never dated Clancy and he had never dated Keira Bray. That I had never left for America and had stayed here, with him, instead. I could have suffered through a job at the Ministry if I had known that it would come to this–this miserable place we were in. But I didn't make that choice.
Oliver's lips suddenly left mine. "I'm sorry, Rue," he breathed. "I'm sorry I did this to us."
For the first time, I noticed the smell of alcohol on him. I'm sure I didn't smell much better, but I was hit by a wave a nausea.
He gave me one last chaste kiss, "I–I'm sorry I broke your heart."
His hands smoothed over my legs before he pulled away with a deep sigh and left, pulling the door shut behind him. I was left staring up at the ceiling in the flickering candlelight.
What in Merlin's name had just happened?
That question would have to go unanswered. The nausea slammed against me again like a tidal wave and, groaning, I rolled over and crawled to the loo. It was going to be a long night bent over the toilet.
I like to think I'm on a roll, and I wish I could promise you another chapter (that isn't just filler) this week, but I have midterms and a birthday trip. So, it'll have to wait until spring break. (Get this-it's my last year in college, and my parents bought my tickets to go home and cat-sit for a week and a half while they go on vacation.) As always, J.K. Rowling owns all things you recognize from her brilliant Harry Potter series. That which you don't recognize is mine. Anyway, thank you for reading and please review! Yours.