Author's Note: I completely forgot to praise the marvel that is my Alpha reader CasaKitten, she is wonderful and this wouldn't have gotten written AT ALL without her. Thanks.
ONE OF THE GUYS – PART TWO
Her feet itched in her shoes. She watched the figures soaring overhead and her mind raced with what she would have done differently. Peake's wasn't checking the blind spot over his right shoulder, Kirke looped too frequently and Stimson didn't seem to have any concept of Ravlinoff's fundamentals' of defensive ball handling.
Rose's hands were almost to her scalp to pull at her hair in exasperation but she caught them just in time; instead she gracefully settled her manicured hands back into her lap.
"Have you finally realized you're being insane and going to try out after all?" Scorpius asked between bites of his toast.
"No, I'm just here supporting my plethora of cousins." She answered not taking her eyes off the pathetic excuse for Quidditch going on above her.
"You're going to regret skipping this tryout and I am going to have nothing to say to you besides 'I told you so'" Scorpius had this irksome habit of agreeing with the nagging voice in the back of her head.
"I won't; and you know why?" She pointed at the group of giggling girls calling out and waving to the boys trying out. "Those are the girls who get asked out on Hogsmeade weekends." Then she pointed at three girls waiting to try out mixed in with a cluster of boys. "Those are the girls who will be knocking back rounds with their best mates at the Three Broomsticks."
"And suddenly you don't enjoy hanging out with your friends?"
"No, but I've done that for every Hogsmeade trip. I'd like to just once walk the high streets hand and hand with a boy who isn't just looking to argue about the chances England has in the play off's this year."
"First off, all boys are interested in talking about England's chances in the play off's because France has a crap team and since the Irish lost McKinney they haven't got a prayer." Scorpius gestured so wildly with his hands he accidentally sent the last bit of toast flying off the side of the stands, he looked after it mournfully and Rose wondered if he was considering summoning it back off the ground.
"Then why did you take Sylvia Towler to the leavers ball last year while both myself and Tracy Higgs, Quidditch captain, didn't get asked at all? Was it Sylvia's deep interest in how far the Tornado's would go or was it your deep interest in how far Sylvia would go?" Scorpius had the decency to color with embarrassment.
"So this goes back to getting Frank's attention." Being on the defense always gave Scorpius an angry temper and she wasn't in the frame of mind for it right now.
"I have not mentioned Frank once since he started dating that girl." Rose spat out the word 'girl' with venomous dislike.
"You know 'that girl' is your cousin whom you used to like quite bit." Rose scowled and tried to resist clinching her fists; feminine girls didn't hit boys for the sake of saying things that ticked them off.
"It's you who mentions him in every conversation. So, no, this isn't about him." She looked up and wished she hadn't as Stimson dropped the ball, again.
"Well if it's not him, than what is this whole thing about? We've all accepted you're a girl. None of us talk about strictly guys stuff when you're around anymore and I saw Andrews open the library door for you just yesterday."
"Those things are great but I am still the only girl in my dormitory that has never been kissed. I turn 16 next month and I've never even been asked on a date."
"Well fine, just go to Hogsmeade with m; whenever the hell the next weekend is?" Scorpius shouted a little louder than either of them expected and several heads turned much to Rose's embarrassment.
"It doesn't work like that!" She whispered angrily to him, hoping none of the prying onlookers would hear. "I want a real date, not you." Scorpius looked hurt which only angered Rose further. "I don't want some pity date that ends up exactly the same as every other Hogsmeade trip."
"Then it won't be a pity date, you and me, a proper date. We'll set a time to meet in the hall and we can hold hands as we walk into town. I'll buy you tea in that awful shop and you can bat your eyelashes until you're blue in the face."
"Wow, you really know how to charm a girl. No, I think I'll take my chances that there is someone out there who might see me as more than just a friend."
"Rose, come on, I didn't mean for it like that."
"No it's fine, besides now your free to ask Sylvia or whoever you're interested in now." Rose got up, too annoyed with try-outs and the conversation to sit through anymore of either.
"I thought I just did." Scorpius mumbled after Rose was already too far away to hear him.
. . .
Rose immediately saw the table she was looking for and let out a sigh of relief that they were all there, same as always. She crossed the room and upon arrival immediately grabbed the pint of butterbeer out of Scorpius' hand and downed its entire contents in one swig.
"I'd protest but from the look of it, you need it more than me." Rose returned his smile and sat in the space he'd just made for her in the bench beside him.
"You have no idea," after removing her coat she leaned her back and closed her eyes.
"I'm going out on a limb here and say your proper Hogsmeade date with Andrews wasn't the perfect romantic outing you'd envisioned." Scorpius' smile was too wide and smug for her liking so she took his freshly refilled mug out of his hand and took a long lingering drink out of it before returning it only half full.
"Merlin's pants no! What kind of girl does he think I am anyway?" His smile disappeared as suddenly as it had come.
"Rose, did he do something to you? Because one word from you and all of us will go find him and let him know what sort of behavior is appropriate." Rose chuckled at Scorpius' over protective brotherly side.
"Oh, I truly wish that it had been him not keeping his hands off me. Hell, I was sort of hoping for that." She smiled at the look of shock on his face. "Don't look at me like; I'm going to get carpel tunnel by the time I'm of age if things don't move along soon."
Scorpius dropped his glass at her words and in one swift movement he covered her mouth with one hand as he guided her off the bench and away from the table. He was shaking his head at her in disbelief and she laughed against the hand he had clasped against her mouth.
He released her once he'd maneuvered her to a secluded booth in the back. He startled her by sitting beside her instead of across and she found the fabric of his trousers against her bare thigh distracting.
"Are you trying to get me killed?" he asked as he settled into their new spot.
"Have you gone completely mental?" she asked but couldn't help the bubble of laughter that escaped her as he strained his neck to check the table he'd just fled.
"You can't say things like that to me at a table full of your cousins. They would have killed me if they heard you." Rose rolled her eyes at his obvious over reaction.
"Are you at least going to order us some butterbeer and shepherd's pie. You've trapped me in here and all I had was some biscuits and tea. I'm starving." Rose asked eyeing a waitress walking by with a steaming tray full of warm and delicious smelling food.
"Why of course, and then you get to tell me all about you're perfect date with Simon Andrews."
After ordering what Scorpius protested to be an unholy amount of food, he began to pepper her with questions about the date.
"He arrived with flowers, but what am I suppose to do with them? Carry them around with me the entire time?" Genuinely asking, wondering if there was some protocol of flowers she wasn't aware of.
"What did you do with them?" He asked, obviously noting she wasn't carrying them.
"I shrunk them and put it in my pocket but then he looked at me like I was a mental case." Scorpius laughed as he took a sip of his drink. He rested his arm on the back of their bench; a sudden influx of his scent washed over her. Cashmere and Vanilla, it had taken her two years to identify the scent. Eventually the scent had imbedded itself into her brain as simply 'him'.
"Where did he take you?" Scorpius' question drew her out of her musings and she blushed at where her mind had taken her.
"To the kissing bridge, and so I thought 'Oh well doesn't he move a fast, glad I had a mint' but no! He poses me on the bridge and begins to sketch me. I spent the next quarter hour trying to stay still while he talks about the sunlit and the way it's hitting my skin." It had been genuinely uncomfortable. He had scolded her each time she'd try and break the silence by talking. She didn't realize that being romantic meant being so bored.
"How did it turn out? I mean it could be really nice to have a portrait done." Rose wrinkled her nose as she tried to word her response as kindly as possible.
"It looked alright, I guess, but the whole bridge and woods were also in it and I'm this barely noticeable figure in the distance in a scarf and coat. It could have been anybody; though my legs did look fantastic." Rose grin at her self-congratulatory remark.
"I've told you that; you do have great legs." He leaned toward her and spoke these words softly into her ear. She felt her skin tingle as his breath hit her neck and it took her a moment to shake off the sensation.
"I know, and thank you." She stammered a little before being able to fully get back into the swing of their conversation. "I have discovered boys don't seem to care that I have chicken legs if my skirt is short enough."
"Yes, I have enjoyed this preference of yours; though I don't like catching other boys ogling you right along with me." The fingers of the hand he'd draped across the bench earlier brushed along her arm and she was startled when his knuckles remained resting along her bicep.
"Oh please as though you've ever ogled my legs." She smiled at his twisted sense of humor and took a sip of her butterbeer.
"You're quite mistaken I take great pleasure in ogling your legs as often as possible; among other things." He raised his eyebrow and he reminded her playfully of one of those devilishly romantic heroes from the cover of a romance novel.
"Other things?" she asked in her best attempt at a sultry tone; enjoying his little game to cheer her up.
"Oh yes, you're quite ogle-able." At this she couldn't keep in her amusement and it spilled over in a peel of laughter that ended in a very unladylike snort.
"That's not a word."
"But it really should be. Forget 'you're beautiful' we should say 'you're ogle-able'"
As he said this her heart felt as though it would burst from happiness. She settled her head onto his shoulder and was in awe at how at ease she felt with Scorpius. Why couldn't dating feel like this? Why did it have to be forced and awkward?
"I love it when you're in this sort of mood. You were rather unpleasant this morning and now I can't stop smiling, all thanks to you." She sighed deeply and relaxed all of her weight against his torso.
"That's because this morning you were going on a date to Hogsmeade and you could've had a perfectly wonderful time and fallen for that dunderhead." His voice was quiet in an unnerving way. "Now that you've had an awful time I can relax." his jovial tone as he finished helped her relax.
"You wanted me to have an awful time?"
"Of course." Scorpius smirked. An unfamiliar stirring fluttered through her stomach and she wondered if they'd had some bad biscuits back at the tea shop of horrors.
"Why?" Rose asked, curious at what sort of thing his ridiculous mood would come up with.
"Because I asked you first and you refused, I was jealous." The look of innocence he managed to fix on to his face when he said this startled her. She realized as she took in another breath heavy with his scent that if he went along this vein of light hearted flattery it would be all too easy to believe him.
"No you weren't, stop because I don't think it's funny." Rose rolled her eyes and hit his chest playfully, hoping he'd catch on to her discomfort.
"I'm not trying to make you laugh." Rose eyed him skeptically causing Scorpius to correct himself. "Well, I was before, but not about this." The brush of his thumb across her cheek brought her gaze upward to meet his. Rose was about to chastise him again but she found none of the expected humor in his face. His eyes were too gentle and soft to be mocking and she found herself unwilling to look away.
"I've been trying to get you to take me serious for months and you simply refuse." A rush of goose bumps flooded her skin as his finger tips ghosted from her cheek to the sensitive hallow of her throat. Her stomached fluttered again though she now suspected it had nothing to do with sour biscuits. "It's getting rather frustrating. I'm liable to just get you alone in a secluded corner and snog you senseless."
The deafening sound of heart beats thrummed in her ears as the image of his lips softly pressed against hers washed over her in undulating waves of curiosity and confusion. Her breath hitched as his hand once again moved but now to the nap of her neck, twisting into her hair in an intoxicating way.
"Like the one we're in right now?" her voice barely a whisper.
"Convenient, isn't it?" Then his mischievous smirk broke the spell that had come over her. She shook her head as though the action would reduce the fog that had temporarily rendered her insane.
"Thank you." She closed her eyes and took in a long calming breath. It may have been swept in a little bit too much; but his flirtation had definitely improved her mood.
"For what, I haven't kissed you yet." He winked, he honestly actually winked at her. Who winked these days? She threw her head back and laughed with delight.
"Thank you for cheering me up." She meant it; her spirits could have been dampened for weeks after her failed attempt at dating. She bit her lip thinking for a moment, Scorpius' fingertips began to gently glide along the skin of her arm.
"It confused me, it was exactly what I wanted and the whole time I had to keep myself from bolting; which I failed at, epically, because I did bolt."
A rush of panic swelled in her at the realization of what she'd done.
"I ditched my date. Oh my, I ran out on my first date! What was I thinking?" She made to move but Scorpius stilled her by placing his hand on hers and speaking in a calm and rational voice.
"You were thinking that you needed to get out of there." He motioned with her to take deep breaths and for a moment she sat staring into his eyes again. Heat flushed her face as the previous vision of him tenderly kissing her reemerged.
"Now you and I can have the date you should have said yes to." She rolled her eyes at him but made no attempt to move again.
"I mean, he got me flowers, we went to tea then we held hands as we walked leisurely up the high street; we stopped on the kissing bridge and he said I was too breathtakingly beautiful and had to commit the whole thing to paper right away."
"There's his mistake right there, he should have said you were breathtakingly ogle-able." Scorpius smiled before taking a drink but Rose went on as if she hadn't heard him.
"Then he lead me to a swing attached to a long overhanging branch and sat me down. He brushed the hair out of my face and began to recite poetry."
"Sounds rather idyllic, why is it that you here with me instead?" He asked sounding annoyingly smug.
"Because the whole time I just kept wondering 'Is he was seriously doing this?' because it felt rather absurd."
"And so you rushed into my waiting arms." His voice was high and silly keeping her mood light.
"Is something wrong with me?" she asked looking down into her butterbeer.
"Not at all, you're perfection, that's what I've been trying to tell you." He said in a sing song voice and cracked a small smile before she went on in her woe.
"I don't think I can go back to being one of the guys. I like knowing how to manage the chaos that is my hair and I like how this skirt swishes when I walk."
"I'm rather fond of the skirt swishing myself." He leered suggestively at her legs when he spoke. She swatted playfully at his chest but continued on without paying him any real mind.
"I've done the hard part; people see me as a proper girl. My cousins have stopped looking at me dumbstruck. You've all even stopped talking about girls when I'm around. I like that. But at the core of my soul I am the romantic equivalent of a lima bean and I miss Quidditch." Oh Merlin's pants did she miss Quidditch.
"Told you so." Her only response was a scowl.
"Well this doesn't work either so I don't know what to do." Rose threw her hands dramatically into the air which effectively ended her rant. After a moment of watching Scorpius study his cup, he spoke up in a soft and serious voice.
"You could try being yourself."
"I'm trying that; I don't know what that means." Frustration welled in her and she had the sudden urge to throw her glass, she didn't, but she wanted to.
"It means that you can like or dislike however you choose; whether it's classified as girly or something else. This change was never about clothes or hair. It was about you accepting who you are, and you like skirts. You like being ogle-able. There is nothing wrong with your dislike for Andrews' perfect date because he could've never taken you on your perfect date."
"Because, you weren't honest." He didn't look up, instead he stared at the finger he was circling over the rim of his cup. "If you act like the sort of girl who wants to walk around with a bouquet show off than he's going to get you flowers that can't put in water like a sensible person."
"So it's my fault the date went badly. Thanks a lot that was very helpful." Rose was heartbroken, she'd come to him for comfort and all he'd done was affirm her worst fears. "Move so I can get out. I've got to go find Simon and apologize. Make up some excuse and fix this."
"Yes it's your fault, he was the wrong guy but I'm not going to let you go."
"Why not?" She snapped viciously, attempting to budge him out of her way and failing miserably.
"Because our date is going just fine and I'd like to finish it."
Rose looked at him, startled beyond the ability to think rationally.
"We are sitting in a private booth, talking and laughing. Having a natural and enjoyable conversation as we sip our drinks, we've ordered dinner and I've got my arm around you as I tell you how wonderful you look.
"I've tried being your best friend, being passive aggressive about my feelings, having jealous out bursts and then cryptically telling you how I feel."
"Think back Rose, it will click in a second. I'm at the my wits end on how to get you to take me seriously so I've just begun to tell you over and over again hoping you'll hear me eventually."
"What is that you're saying? Be specific."
"I. Am. In. Love. With. You."
"You love me?"
"Yes, I love the victory dances you do when you win, even a foot race across the garden, you do these long ridiculous dances. I love the freckles that dust across the bridge of your nose, and I love that you eat all of you food in color order."
"It tastes better that way." She interrupted softly but he paid her no mind.
"I am enchanted with the way you laugh when you hurt yourself." He looked at her with a steady and fixed gaze and she felt cowed by his bold attention. His brave unbelievable words that made her toes go numb with shock.
"Well it's funny when people fall; even when it's yourself." She smiled, hoping that if this really was just one of his silly moods he should break now because she couldn't take it otherwise. If this was teasing then it was cruel.
"I loved you before when you were one of the guys and I loved you when you refused to play Quidditch because it wasn't lady like enough for you. I've been sitting here all day sulking that you were with someone else and I swore that when I saw you next I'd snatch you away and not give up until I'd made you see." He reached a hand out and brushed a loose curl behind her ear; suddenly reminding her of all those months ago in the coy pond.
"That I love you." His absolute bravado stole her breath. She found it difficult to focus her eyes and she wished she'd had something to eat because then surely she wouldn't feel so light headed.
"Oh that again," Rose looked around nervously, pausing to meet his gaze. Once she did a calm spread through her. Her heart still beat furiously but her brain was suddenly catching every moment as if it were a life time. The way his pale eyes confidently met her gaze, the warmth his encircling arms set off in her body. Her mouth was suddenly dry and she licked her lips tentatively, wondering what he would taste like.
"When that you say it like that, it feels rather romantic; even if it is a corner table in a pub." One of her hands moved to his thigh of its own accord and they both looked at it for a moment. She felt bold and daring at her action and wondered how these small movements could create more stirring in her than the most beautiful sonnets.
"That's because romance isn't a checklist." He ran the back of his curled fingers across her cheek, coaxing her lips into a smile. "It's a connection." He brushed her lip with his thumb; and for a moment she wondered if this was really happening. Could the fates give her such a fantastic dream? Her chest felt both expanded with anticipation and was unable to catch enough breath to steady her.
"You are such a romantic sap." She tried to lace her words with sarcasm but her intent was lost in her whisper.
"That's very true. And you know what?"
"What?" She asked timidly.
"It would be quite romantic we kissed right now."
She felt a corner of her lips rise into a smirk as she managed a playful shrug.
"Well, you seem to be the expert, who am I to argue?" She managed a playful tone.
Despite being in a crowded pub that bustled with noise she could only hear a hazy static. She tried to watch him as he leaned toward her but on their own accord her eyes closed as she moved forward.
A flash of panic struck her in that vulnerable moment. Thoughts rushed through her mind that this could all be a joke and he would just laugh at her, so ready to kiss him. What if he got cold feet but didn't know how to tell her? Was she just waiting in rapt anticipation for something that would never happen?
When she felt lips gently press against hers all the swirling thoughts flitted away and she was left only with a blissful numbness in her thoughts. How could she manage thoughts when she felt like this?
A hand curled into the hair at the base of her neck and she felt as though the air around them was laced with some unknown energy.
The pressure on her lips began to lesson slightly and in a moment of dread that this might be ending she squeezed his thigh. A moan sounded softly from one of them but even if her life depended on she couldn't have guessed who had made it.
It was a word that popped into her head; reassuring her that the inability to think wasn't permanent.
She felt him chuckle against her and it was only then that she realized that she'd more than just thought it.
"Thank you." The effect of his soft breath had on her was entirely unexpected. A rush of goose bumps swiftly dotted her skin. The desire to swoon into him was almost too much. "You're not so bad yourself."
"I love you." she softly spoke to him as she waited for another kiss.
"No, you don't." Her eyes still flashed open as she was about to argue but he stopped her with a quick kiss. "I've had years to fall in love with you; I've earned the right to say that." He met her gaze and brushed the same persistent curl behind her ear, ensuring the goose bumps weren't going anywhere.
"You though, have just barely realized I'm not related to you in some way." He kissed her again, but this kiss he felt free to take his time on. Rose took the opportunity to relish the intoxicating effect this feeling had on her.
"We were both trying not to be 'one of the guys' Rose. I've done everything I could to set myself apart, but to you, I was always just 'one of the guys'."
Rose was quiet as he looked at her and she wasn't sure if he was waiting for to speak but she found when she looked she didn't know where her voice had gone.
He brushed her cheek again and she leaned into his hand, hungry for the contact.
"Give me a chance though, now that you see me," he lifted her chin, begging, no forcing her to look at him, "really see me," his voice was pleading and she wondered if he'd rehearsed this conversation with her before. "I hope you'll know that we're meant for each other."
Rose raised one of her hands to his face, startled momentarily by the stubble that met her fingertips. She looked into his eyes with a fixed determination.
"I can see what you mean." And he simply answered with a smile before pressing his smiling lips against hers again.
Soon they were both lost into blissful oblivion.
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