Here is the problem with having a boyfriend from a different House: it is almost impossible to find somewhere to be alone. You would think, of course, that with Hogwarts being a castle of enormous size that there would be a room SOMEWHERE where two people could be alone, talk privately and maybe… yes, kiss. But this proved to be impossible, the more Scorpius and I searched. There was simply no place in the castle that was so closed off that no one would burst in on us at bad times. We had tried the Library, under the pretext of studying, though really kissing behind the bookshelves, but were interrupted by Ophi, who turned very red in the face and walked off, muttering to himself about needing information about dragon snot, in which case he was in the wrong section. We had also tried an empty classroom, but were discovered by Peeves, who proceeded to throw water balloons at us, and yell about students out of bed and we had to run back to our Common Rooms to avoid being caught by one of the teachers. We had even tried the Quidditch field after dark, thinking that no one in their right minds would want to go out there, but yet again we were wrong. It turns out that James, my older cousin, likes to practice his flying skills at night. James, true to form, seemed on the verge of a rage blackout. His eyes bulged in that peculiar way that makes me worried that they might one day just spring out of his sockets. James' face grew steadily redder and redder as he surveyed the scene in front of him. As a boy who has watched his cousin grow up her entire life, it couldn't have been easy for him.
Scorpius and I had been sitting across from each other, kissing, and, I am almost embarrassed to admit it, Scorpius had been roving around a bit under my shirt. The sight that met James was one featuring Scorpius, hair slightly askew, looking up at James with a smirk on his face, and me, straightening up my shirt, blushing furiously.
"You…" James rasped, jabbing a finger into Scorpius' face. He seemed to have lost his voice. "And you!" He pointed aggressively at me. "Here! On- on the Quidditch field! Kissing! Or worse! Here!"
James stared at us some more, as though no words could describe the crime that we had committed against him, personally. "On the Quidditch field!" he wheezed, sounding as though both his voice and his air supply had gone upon receiving such a shock. "On this most holy of places…"
"Oh, honestly, James," I said, rolling my eyes. "It's only a patch of grass."
James' eyes seemed to grow, just as his rage at this comment seemed to grow. Scorpius turned to me, a look of bewilderment on his face. "You did not just call the Quidditch field a patch of grass," he said.
I had forgotten that I was in the company of two Quidditch obsessed freaks. Honestly, I enjoy Quidditch very much as well. I am, after all, the best Chaser on the Gryffindor team. I just see it as a sport, as any healthy person would, not as a religion.
"What were you doing to her?" James yelled at Scorpius, having suddenly regained full use of his voice.
"What does it look like?" Scorpius asked, his smirk only growing wider. At that moment, I actually didn't know which of those two irritated me the most.
"You – you – THAT'S MY LITTLE COUSIN!" James roared, and with that he punched Scorpius right in the face. Scorpius keeled over backwards and fell on the ground.
"James!" I screamed. "What were you thinking? You might have hurt him. He would never attack you –"
"Furnunculus!" Scorpius cried from the ground, and James yelped. Boils started sprouting out all over his face and his hands.
"Scorpius!" I shrieked.
"Densaugeo!" James hollered. Scorpius dodged this spell and instead yelled, "Tarantallegra!", which caused James' legs to start tap dancing maniacally.
"Please stop, both of you!" I shouted at them, but to no avail. Before their stupid fight was over, James was covered in boils, had sprouted antlers and had very sore legs. Scorpius had horns, several ugly marks on his face from when James attacked him with birds as well as a black eye, and was unable to say anything, due to the fact that his tongue was glued to the top of his mouth. I marched both of them up to the Hospital Wing, which Madam Pomfrey was not too happy about. She fixed them up, however, and informed their Heads of Houses, so that they each lost fifty points for their House. Both were in a particularly bad and bitter mood.
The next day I made them apologize to each other, which was not easy as both of them were clearly still hurting from the night before. They shook hands, however, for my sake, and after that they became oddly formal whenever they saw each other.
Scorpius and I were still no closer to finding an ideal place for spending time alone. We had now finally decided to just take long walks around the lake, which was becoming more unbearable as we reached the Christmas holidays. It was in the week up to Christmas break that I told Scorpius that all this walking around the lake was becoming a tad bit too painful for me.
"It's far too cold," I complained.
Scorpius refused to see this. "Don't worry," he said brightly. "I'll warm you." He wrapped both arms around me and began to try to warm me up by rubbing them against my arms.
"It'll be better during the Christmas break, when we maybe can be alone a bit," I said. I knew that this was laying it on a bit thick. Scorpius and I had only been together for two months, and I knew that I didn't really have any right to demand to be invited over to his house for Christmas break. But I really did think that we needed some time alone. Also, I couldn't invite him over to my house, as my parents had no idea that I was seeing Scorpius, and I had sworn my family at Hogwarts to secrecy. I hoped that Scorpius wasn't waiting for an invitation to my house.
"Yeah, that would be nice," said Scorpius, stopping up and looking at me. What ensued was a staring contest, a battle of the wills. Scorpius was clearly waiting for me to say something, and I was waiting for him to say something. It just wasn't going to happen. And I couldn't tell him that I was keeping our relationship a secret. That would truly hurt him.
After about two whole minutes, I said, "Oh, look, the Giant Squid has caught a student!"
"What?" said Scorpius, and spun around to look at the lake, which was frozen without any sign of students or squids. "Rose, the Giant Squid isn't even here."
"Oh, oops," I said. "I must have been seeing things."
Scorpius raised his eyebrows at me, but clearly decided not to pursue the subject. Instead he decided to kiss me, pressing his cold lips against my own. It was slightly awkward, as my teeth were chattering so much that my entire face was shaking. Scorpius sighed. "Maybe we should start meeting in the Library again."
That evening at dinner, I related my troubles to my best friend, Albus. "Is it because he doesn't want to see me over the holidays?" I asked him, spooning some tomato soup into his bowl (Albus is blind, after all).
"No," said Albus.
"Well, what do you think it is? Do you think that he is ashamed of me? Doesn't want to introduce me to his parents?"
"Maybe," said Albus. "But I sincerely doubt it."
I sighed. "Well, if it's because he's ashamed of showing me to his parents, he really is more of an arrogant prick than I thought."
"Yes, something, what?"
I glared at Albus, forgetting for a few moments that, as a blind boy, Albus is immune to this. He gave in nonetheless.
"It's just – you don't think that you're being a little unfair?" he said in a very gentle voice, as though talking to an aggressive dragon that might blow fire at him any moment. "I mean, you're accusing him of not inviting you to stay because he is embarrassed to be your boyfriend. But… you haven't even told your parents about your relationship. Aren't you the one who is embarrassed?"
"Of course not!" I cried out, enraged. "How could I ever be embarrassed about Scorpius? He is the best looking boy in our year – no offense – and he is smart, and funny and kind – when you get to know him. I just… I just have no idea how to start that conversation with my parents. You know how much they hate the Malfoys – especially my father."
"You say, 'Hi, mom, hi dad, I have a new boyfriend at school, his name is Scorpius Malfoy, he's a great guy,'" suggested Albus.
"No," I said, shaking my head. "No. They would either laugh, because they thought it was a joke, or cry, because I had betrayed the family honor, so, no."
Albus sighed. "Well, then, how do you know that Scorpius isn't in the same situation?"
"Because Scorpius isn't intimidated by anyone. Not even James," I said, recalling with annoyance their fight on the Quidditch field.
"You don't know how he is with his parents," said Albus. I still thought that I was right, though. Scorpius just wasn't the type to be afraid of saying anything. In fact, he delighted in saying whatever popped into his head, whenever. He didn't really care about accidentally offending people that much.
"Speak of the devil," I said, as I spotted Scorpius and my other good friend, Demetria, making their way from the Slytherin table over to our Gryffindor table. Scorpius stopped behind my chair and stooped to kiss me on the cheek.
"Hello, queen of my heart," he said, and ruffled my hair. James, from across the table, grew suddenly somber and glowered at Scorpius.
"Malfoy," he said formally.
Scorpius glared back at James. "Potter," he spat out.
"Looking forward to break?" James asked in falsely polite voice.
"Very much, thanks. Enjoying your dinner?" Scorpius inquired, echoing James' tone.
"I was," said James bitterly. I cleared my throat in warning, and Scorpius turned back to me.
"Just wanted to say goodnight," he said. "I have to go back to the Common Room and finish an essay for Charms."
"Right," I said. "Good luck with that."
"No such thing," said Scorpius, and grinned at me before stalking off, stopping only to throw another scathing glare in James' direction.
Demetria threw herself into the seat next to me. "Boys," she said.
"So," Demetria continued, "how are you, despite everything?"
"Oh, you know," said Demetria, "being a Weasley, being a redhead, being Scorpius Malfoy's long – suffering girlfriend, being freckled…"
"Well, yes, despite my unhappy fate, I'm good," I said.
"Glad to hear it," Demetria said, grinning and thereby showing her abnormally sharp teeth. "We're going to have so much fun this Christmas break."
I wasn't aware that we would be seeing each other. "We are?"
"Yeah," said Demetria, looking at me with bewilderment. "At Malfoy Manor?"
"I – I didn't know that I was going to Malfoy Manor," I said quietly, looking down at my hands.
"What?" Demetria said loudly. "Has Scorpius not asked you yet?"
"You mean he's going to?"
"I don't know!" cried Demetria, throwing up her hands. "I just – I just assumed, seeing as you're a couple, and his parents are hosting a ball…"
"They're hosting a BALL?" I almost shouted.
"You didn't KNOW?" Demetria nearly yelled back at me.
We sat in silence, staring at each other for a few minutes. "I can't believe he hasn't invited you. It's the biggest event of the year!"
I looked down at my hands again, feeling ridiculous. "Maybe – maybe he's ashamed of me," I said in a very small voice.
"Of course he's not ashamed of you. Stop being such a martyr," Demetria said. I had forgotten that she wasn't much for comforting people. Demetria isn't that good with feelings. Perhaps because she rarely has any. "He adores you. Can't shut up about how gorgeous and witty you are, though Merlin knows I can't always see it." Demetria isn't that good with compliments, either. "Look, I'll talk to him, okay? I won't say that we talked, I'll just beat up his little blonde behind for being such a prick."
This brought out a smile. "Thanks, Demetria," I said. The thought of Demetria scolding Scorpius for not mentioning his family's ball was comforting to me, but it didn't quite help mend my worries – why didn't Scorpius want to invite me to his house for Christmas break?