*Harry Potter belongs to Joanne Rowling!
*Title comes from 'Thistle& Weeds' by Mumford and Sons!
**So, I have decided that I will re-write 'Can't Stop loving you'. It's already in the works, so I'm very excited for that! Keep an eye out!
*Thanks for reading! Leave a review! :)
I sit up and look Teddy in the eye. "Why do you care about me so much?" I ask.
He gives me a blank look. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, why do you care so much how Holden treats me? Why do you care how I feel about him?" I ask. "It isn't any of your business."
Teddy furrows his eyebrows and frowns at me. "Belle, when you come to my flat crying about something Holden's said to you, it is my business," Teddy says firmly.
"I can handle myself!" I snap.
"No, you can't," Teddy says quietly. I know he doesn't mean to hurt me, but it still makes me angry. I glare at him."You needed to hear it."
"What do you mean 'I needed to hear it'?" I demand. "Teddy, you're mad at Holden for saying things like that, and then you say it? Look, you don't have to feel obligated to take care of me!"
"I don't!" Teddy cuts me off. "It's just a little frustrating to think that I respect you more than you respect yourself!"
"What is that supposed to mean? I respect myself plenty!" I tell Teddy. Who the hell is he to say whether or not I respect myself? He doesn't know the first thing.
"If you did, you wouldn't let everyone walk all over you! And you'd learn how to make opinions for yourself, not just do what everyone else wants you to!" Teddy argues.
"Is this still about Holden?" I question. "Look Teddy, however he treats me has nothing to do with you!"
"Fine, but what's the point of being with someone who doesn't even realize how amazing you are?" Teddy asks me. Does he honestly think that I stayed with Holden for seven years without feeling as if he loved me? Teddy knows first-hand that Holden was never wrong to me. Until recently, we almost never argued. I miss that.
"What, because Holden and I argue I'm not supposed to love him anymore? Maybe you don't understand how important loving someone is, and that you don't just give up on them! You also don't go around kissing other girls when you don't even mean it!" I say fiercely, giving Teddy an accusing look.
"I meant it..." Teddy nearly whispers.
I stare at him, completely baffled. "What do you-?" Before I can even finish my question, Teddy's hands are on my face, his lips are on mine, and I'm pulling him closer to me. I don't love Teddy. Not like that. I don't feel any differently about him than I do for my siblings, or my parents. I can't feel any different. I can't love Teddy the same way that I love Holden. It wouldn't be fair.
Teddy tumbles on top of me, and I don't do anything to stop him. His lips are still crushed against mine, desperately and longingly at the same time. My fingers wind their way into Teddy's hair, bringing him nearer to me still. I can't think straight. It feels as if nowhere else exists other than the living room. I wish things were that way for a while. Then, all my problems would be gone.
Teddy starts placing light kisses on my neck. His fingers slide my robes off my shoulder. I put my hand over his. I don't why Teddy kisses me. Or why he says all these nice things to me that he thinks I need to hear. Better yet, I don't know why I kiss him back. When I think how Holden would feel knowing about this, Victoire even, it makes me feel guilty.
"You're beautiful," Teddy tells me, kissing me again.
"That must be hard to say, seeing as you're with Victoire," I reply quietly. Being part-Veela, Victoire is one of the most beautiful girls I've ever seen. No matter what, I could never compare to that.
Teddy shakes his head. "It's not hard at all. You're way more natural than Victoire, more beautiful," Teddy assures me, giving me another kiss.
"I am not." When Teddy says this, I feel like he's mocking me. How could he possibly hold my looks higher than Victoire's? Even I don't.
"You just don't see it," Teddy tells me. "You don't see a lot of things that are great about you."
"And you do?" I question, wrinkling my eyebrows.
Teddy nods, brushing a stray curl out of my face. "I like to think so."
I'm silent for a long while, just thinking. Thinking about how only a couple weeks ago, I was sure that Teddy and I could never be together. I laughed at the idea of seeing Teddy as anything more than my cousin. How could I? Now, the joke just doesn't seem as funny.
"This could never work, you know," I whisper, Teddy's lips centimeters from mine.
He frowns. "What couldn't work?"
"You and me," I say. "What would everyone think? Mum would be appalled, Holden would hate us both, as would Victoire. Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny would have heart attacks. And Dad-"
"Would he really care?" Teddy questions, raising an eyebrow.
I shake my head. "Well, no. He likes you a lot more than he likes Holden. And besides, he's used to the idea. His entire family is."
Teddy traces random patterns on my collarbone with his finger. "This would be the first time your grandparents ever accepted anything you did," he realizes.
I purse my lips. That would be the truth. "Teddy, can I ask you something? And be honest."
He nods. "Yeah, anything."
"Do you think Holden loves me?" I ask. I know Holden loves me, and he says he does. I just want to know what Teddy thinks.
"Of course, I think Holden loves you. I never said he didn't. It's just, he doesn't always treat you the best," he answers.
"Oh." I nod quietly. I don't know what to say for a while. "Do you love me?" I ask. Teddy looks away for a second, but he doesn't say a word. I don't know his answer.
When I come home, I hang my cloak by the door. I'm completely confused. I went over to Teddy's to confront him about what happened between him and I, and it only made things worse.
"Isobelle, is that you?" I can hear Mum ask. Really, who else would have come through the front door?
"Yes, it's me," I answer.
"Come into the kitchen, please."
"Why?" I ask. No answer. Of course, now I've got to go and find out. I walk into the kitchen. Mum is standing in front of the refrigerator with with her arms crossed.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm about to make lunch. I just can't decide what to cook," Mum answers. I don't understand why she cooks anyway.
"Just leave it to the house-elves. They always come up with something," I suggest.
Mum shakes her head. "No, they do too much around here as it is."
"You don't seem to mind it when they do the laundry," I point out. "Or clean the house."
"Isobelle, it would take me days to clean this place on my own. And almost just as long to do laundry for seven people. Especially between you and your father," Mum tells me. "But cooking, I can do. There's no point in making the house-elves do more than they have to."
"That's the point of house-elves altogether," I mutter.
Mum ignores me. "I'm sure you could lend a hand around the house as well. Besides, what are you going to do when you move out?"
"Take my house-elf with me," I answer. It's obvious, isn't it? "She was a birthday present," I explain at the confused look on Mum's face.
Mum frowns. "What do you mean?"
"I mean Dad bought her for me on my birthday like any other present. What do you think happens? Scorpius has a house-elf too."
"I know that," Mum says. "But I always thought they were just your favorites or something like that. I didn't think they were really yours." It's surprising how thick Mum can be sometimes.
"No, we own them," I say again. "As in paid for. They're ours."
Mum turns around to face me with a look of disapproval in her eyes. "That is slavery!" she says in a shrill voice. "My children will not be slave-owners!"
I cover my mouth with my hand to keep from smiling. "They aren't slaves, they're house-elves. Besides, we love them. What ever would we do without them?"
Mum closes the refrigerator door and huffs. "I still don't like it."
"I don't believe house-elves were the reason you wanted to come and talk to me?" I ask, sitting down at the counter. It isn't often that I'm in the kitchen. It still feels like I shouldn't be here.
"Of course, not. I wanted to ask you about Scorpius and Rose."
My heart starts beating faster. "What about them?" I question apprehensively.
"Do they seem different to you?" Mum questions.
"Well, of course they do. They're growing up, aren't they?" I answer.
Mum gives me a look. "Isobelle, you know that isn't what I mean. Behaviorally, do Rose and Scorpius seem any different to you?"
In spite of myself, I nod. "Yeah. They're... quiter," I say.
Mum nods, pursing her lips. "I'll say. Rose hasn't spoken to me in three days. And Scorpius, I have no idea what's gotten into him. I barely even see him, he's so shut up in his room. But he has no problem whatsoever talking to Draco."
I want to tell Mum that's because dad is and has always been Scorpius' father. It isn't that way with her. "You have Astoria to thank for that," is what I say instead.
Mum puts her hand to her forehead in distress. "Of course, I do. I really don't like the idea of her being involved with Scorpius again."
"No one does," I agree. "She's bad news all over."
"I couldn't possibly agree with you more."
Neither Mum nor I say anything for a long time. I fold my hands on the counter. "You know we have to talk about Ron," I say finally. "You can't act like that didn't happen."
Mum sighs. "I was waiting for you to confront me about that. What do you want to know?"
"After all these years, why are you even speaking to him? He's married, and you are, too."
"Isobelle, this isn't about Ron and I. Whether or not either of us are married, we still have children together," Mum reminds me.
"You can't force Ron to see his children," I tell her. "It's only going to make him resent you more."
Mum furrows her eyesbrows. "Resent me?"
"Resent you," I repeat. "You married his enemy, and you're letting him raise his children. He doesn't want anything to do with that," I reason.
"Isobelle, Ron is still their father. I know that and so does he," Mum says.
"Knowing you have children doesn't necessarily mean you have to acknowledge them," I mutter, drumming my fingers on the table absentmindedly.
"Don't do that to me," Mum sighs. "I just, I don't know. I suppose I don't want Rose and Hugo wondering about their father the same way you wondered about me."
"You mean Rose. Hugo couldn't care less. He's completely satisfied with Dad. With everything, I mean. It's Rose you need to worry about."
Mum walks over to the oven and turns around so that I can't see her face. "I am worried about Rose. She's been so distant from me lately. Have you noticed that, too?"
"No," I say so quickly, it causes Mum to turn around to look at me. I couldn't possibly tell Mum all those things Rose said about her, or that she knows the truth about Nina. "What I mean is, Rose doesn't seem distant from you in particular. She, er, seems that way with everyone."
"Do you think it's because of Ron? She really seemed to be upset that day."
I shrug. "Wouldn't anyone be? I mean, that was the first time she saw Ron in seven years, he barely spoke to her, and you told her to go home. It would be quite odd if she wasn't upset," I point out.
Mum nods solemly. "I know. I suppose that wasn't exactly the right thing to do. It's just that... I am trying. You do know that, don't you, Isobelle?"
"Yes," I say quietly. Mum sits down beside me at the counter and hands me a cup of tea. "I know." Like Dad, Mum does seem incredibly stressed. It's sometimes hard to believe that they're barely more than forty years old.
Mum takes a sip of her tea quietly. "Isobelle, where were you this morning?" she asks matter-of-factly. I hate it how Mum always asks where I've been.
"I was at Teddy's," I answer stiffly, reminded of this morning. Just thinking about it gives me a headache.
"Oh, how is he doing?" Mum questions. "I haven't seen him in a week or so."
"He's doing great. Except he and Victoire are having some... problems," I venture slowly.
Mum seems interested in that. "Problems? But Victoire and Teddy always seemed to have such a great relationship."
I nod. "Yes, they did. But lately, Victoire and Teddy have started arguing a lot, and it really bothers Teddy," I tell Mum, watching her closely.
"Do they argue about anything in particular?" Mum asks.
"Not really. It's just that, well, Victoire hasn't really been treating Teddy the way she should. She just...walks all over him. He's too nice to her. He just wants her to be happy with him, and sometimes he has to forfeit his own happiness for that," I explain, messing with the teabag in my cup.
Mum doesn't seem to pick up on anything. "Is that what Teddy told you?"
"Well, what did Teddy say he was going to do about it?" Mum seems rather intrigued. Considering she knows them both on a personal level, and Victoire was her neice at one point, I guess Mum's got a right to be concerned with what happens between them.
"I told Teddy to tell Victoire how he feels about her, but he doesn't feel like he can do that. And then, there's this other girl."
Mum sets her teacup down. "What do you mean?" she asks carefully.
"They've known each other for a while now, from school or something like that. I don't know her. But she and Teddy are extremely close, and they've been...messing around just a bit."
"You don't mean-" Mum says, looking appalled.
"They haven't slept together," I say quickly, a bit too quickly.
Mum gives me a strange look. "That wasn't what I was going to say. I was going to ask you if Teddy's cheating on Victoire, but you've seemed to have answered that question."
I nod solemnly. "And this girl is cheating on her boyfriend, too. And Teddy knows this. He asked me what he should do, but I honestly don't know."
I wait for Mum to get angry and say that Teddy's wrong no matter what, but she doesn't say any of that. "Well, I would ask Teddy to discuss with this girl why they're so dissatisfied with their own relationships that they feel the need to cheat," Mum says. Teddy and I both know why we're dissatisfied, that isn't the problem.
"I don't think it's that, because Teddy says this girl always tell him that she is very happy with whomever she's with. But she knows Teddy cares about her, too. And sometimes, this girl feels like Teddy cares more about her than who she's with. But it isn't acceptable for these two to be together because of... reasons," I say.
"What sort of reasons?" Mum questions, completely oblivious.
"Some people in their family wouldn't accept it. And the four people involved are very close, and they don't want to hurt anyone," I respond slowly.
"No matter what, someone will get hurt," Mum tells me. "It's inevitable. No matter how difficult, if Teddy and this girl cared, they would break it off with whomever they're with. They shouldn't put them through that."
I know Mum's making sense, but things aren't as easy as she's making it out to be. "But what if Teddy and this girl aren't ready to end their relationships? What if Teddy and this girl don't really don't know what they want?" I ask timidly, twisting my ring around my finger.
"Then they need to figure it out, and whatever's going on between them needs to stop until they do," Mum says firmly.
I finish the last of my tea and push the cup away from me. "All right, I'll tell him everything you said. Thank you, Mum." Well, that was semi-informative. I get up to walk out of the kitchen. I get my hand on the doorknob before Mum's voice stops me.
"Isobelle, are you cheating on Holden?" She questions. I can feel my heartbeat in my ears, and my spine goes rigid.
"No, why would you say that?" I question, shaking my head frantically. "I love Holden. Holden loves me, too. I would never do that to him. Ever. Why would you even say-"
"I wasn't born yesterday," Mum tells me. "I knew you were talking about yourself as soon as you began."
"I am not cheating on Holden!" I say forcefully.
Mum sighs. "Isobelle, you can lie to yourself, but you can't lie to me. Why are you doing this?"
Because Teddy makes me feel as if my entire existence isn't a total mistake? Because he doens't make me feel as if I owe him something? "Why do I do anything?" I retort.
"That isn't an answer. Isobelle, I don't want to ask you again," Mum tells me in a patronizing tone.
"I have needs, too!"
"What sort of needs do you have that involve you cheating on someone?" Mum asks me.
I cross my arms. Apparently, she doesn't get what I mean. "It may seem foreign to you, because you grew up feeling as if everyone important to you loved you! You never were a problem to everyone! But if you were, and you met someone who didn't make you feel that way, you wouldn't forget that so easily!"
"Yet, I'm on my second marriage," Mum points out wistfully.
What the hell does that matter? "You are so consumed with trying to preach to everyone in this family that you can't step down for one minute and just be my mother!" I shout. "Forget about what's 'right' for one moment and just listen to me! I'm not you! I don't make all the same choices as you! Why don't you understand that?"
Mum puts her face in her hands for a count of three. "Isobelle, I realize that we aren't the same person. I know that. I simply don't want you making the same mistakes as I made. You've made so many wrong choices," Mum explains. She acts as if I wake up every morning thinking of ways to deliberately hurt as many people as I possibly can.
"There isn't always a right choice! Don't you think this is hard for me? I've never been with anyone but Holden! Do you think I can just walk away from him without looking back? But at the same time, you would think he wouldn't want to give up seven years, either. You would think that he would try his hardest not to say hurtful thigs to me!" I tell Mum. "And I can't even look at him without feeling guilty!"
Mum looks up at me. "Guilty about what?" I clench my jaw and look away from Mum. Tears sting at the backs of my eyes. I feel so childish, and so stupid.
"Holden told me that I was just something else to deal with once he came home from work. He says he doesn't feel as if I'm his girlfriend. He thinks of me as someone that he needs to look after. But yet, he still loves me. How is that?"
"He said those things to you?" Mum questions disbelievingly. To her, Holden was always a perfect gentlemen, someone ideal for her daughter to be with. He was once that way to me, too.
"Yes," I confess.
Mum massages her temples. "He can't speak you that way. And you can't let him. First, it's things like that. Then the next thing you know, he's calling you a bad mother, and saying you're too invested in yourself to be with him, and that no matter what, no one else is going to love you," she says. It sounds more like Mum is speaking to herself than to me. I can't imagine Dad saying something like that to Mum. He could never. It may be Wizarding War Three when they argue, but Dad loves Mum instensely.
"Dad said that to you?" I ask, hoping it's not true.
Mum glances at me and shakes her head. "Of course, not. I'm not talking about your father. I'm talking about Ronald," she answers quietly.
"Oh," I mutter. I suppose that's better than Dad.
"I don't know how you feel, do I?" Mum questions sarcastically. "I don't know what it feels like to have the first person you ever loved be so hurtful toward you, and look at you like they don't even know you anymore. The worst part is, they don't even tell you whether or not it was your fault."
"I didn't know..."
Mum swallows hard."Isobelle, divorcing Ron was the second hardest thing I have ever had to do."
Mum stares at her wedding ring for a long while then stands up. I have no idea what she means by that. She brushes past me and walks out of the kitchen, leaving me all by myself. I smell food burning in the oven.
(A/N: I know the little kids weren't technically in this chapter, but I felt as if it was sort of time to get toward the root of Belle's feelings. I haven't really done that much since TbaM, and seeing as this story has a pretty huge gap, it felt necessary. Also, I feel as if Hemrione can be a confusing character at times, with unclear motivations. In my head, she's just so complex because so much goes on in her head that she never has one concrete reason for doingwhat she does. That being said, hope you guys enjoyed the chapter! Leave a review!