*J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter!
* You all know that I try to update as soon as I can, and that isn't going to change. However, I've recently began working on a completely original story, and I'm hoping that doesn't get in the way of things! I just wanted to say, that I wouldn't have even thought of doing so without the encouragement of some of you! You don't know how much it means to me!
*Title of this chapter comes from 'Empty' by Ray LaMontagne
*Thanks for reading, leave a review!
I sob some more into Teddy's shoulder, and he rubs my back. Holden just broke up with me. I'm still in complete shock, and I can feel my shoulders shaking. I thought I'd be better off without Holden, but now I feel as if my lungs have been stripped of their oxygen. I don't know how to be without Holden. I'm not positive I really want to know.
"It's okay, Belle," Teddy whispers into my hair.
"N-no, it's not!" I cry. Does he not realize that Holden just left me? Of course, he believes things are okay, because he's still with Victoire.
"Holden shouldn't have treated you the way he did. Things are going to be better this way, you'll see."
I think about what Holden said to Teddy, how he likes to take the weakest girl he can find... is that really what hes been doing to me?
"Stop," I tell Teddy, pulling away from him suddenly. "Stop it!"
Teddy has a look of confusion on his face. I'm not sure why, because he knows exactly what he's doing.
"Stop what, Belle?" He asks.
"Stop speaking to me like that! Stop feeding me your lies like you've been doing this entire time! I was distraught when I came to you, I would have believed anything you said! You manipulated me into kissing you that first time!" I shout, my fists clenched.
"What? No, Belle, that isn't-"
"That is what happened, Teddy! You made me believe Holden was so terrible to me, when he only cared! The only one who was hurting me was you!" Perhaps Holden put his hands on me, but maybe I did more to provoke him than I realized. Teddy made me so blind to it, and I hate him for that. I just want him to suffer like he's making me.
"Holden hurt you! I saw the way he grabbed you! And you told me that he's done it before! Belle, you told me you knew that Holden had no business touching you like that!" Teddy reminds me.
I shake my head. "I let Holden walk away from me because of you! Holden was my boyfriend, he was trying to reprove me! You wanted to take me away from him for yourself! Because I was weak, and you knew you could take advantage of me!"
Teddy reaches forward to put his hand on my shoulder. I move away. "Don't you dare touch me again! Maybe Holden was right! I do like to make myself a victim too much! That's what led me to you!"
"And that's exactly what you'll be if you try to get Holden to take you back! A victim!" Teddy raises his voice at me out of frustration. I'm the one who's been deceived.
"I'm already, a victim, Teddy! At your hands!"
"What the hell are you talking about?" Teddy demands.
I pull my knees protectively to my chest again and shrink away from Teddy. "I never wanted to sleep with you. You told me we could talk, and I came to your bedroom because I knew you would be in there. When you saw me, you knew I was upset. I was crying, and you- you put your hands in my hair, and you were very kind to me, and you made me trust you. And then you locked the door, and you forced yourself onto me! I told you no, but you didn't listen! You said you would hurt me again if I told anyone," I explain to Teddy, all the while giving him a look of pure hatred.
Teddy's eyes widen, and his mouth gapes open. "That didn't happen!" Teddy yells. If it didn't, why does he seem so afraid?
"Yes, it did! And how could I ever tell Holden that his own friend would do this to me? You attacked me, Teddy! In the most terrible way a man could ever attack a woman! " Thinking about it, I begin to cry some more. "But Holden came this morning, and I had to tell him the truth. I couldn't possibly have him thinking I consented to any of this!"
"Which you did!" Teddy counters.
"You can lie to yourself, but you can't lie to me, Teddy. You deserve to be punished for what you did."
"Punished?" Teddy repeats in disbelief. "My God.."
I nod my head solemnly. Why is Teddy acting like he's so innocent? "My father will be furious when I tell him. So will Grandfather. He has the Ministry at his every beck and call. He may hate me, but he hates you a lot more. I don't think there's going to be much hope for you," I inform Teddy.
Teddy runs his fingers through his hair and shakes his head. "This is insane..." he mutters. "Belle, you know I didn't do anything to you!"
"Teddy, I'm not going along with your lies anymore. I told you that this couldn't work, and you persisted anyway. Perhaps you should have listened to me. I'm going home to go speak to my parents. My mother is going to tell Uncle Harry what you did to me."
I stand up, and Teddy grabs my hand. "Belle, you can't lie about this! You'll get me sent to Azkaban! Getting me arrested isn't going to make Holden want you back!" Of course, it will. After this entire misunderstanding is cleared up, Holden will realize the mistake he made.
"You're just lying to me again!" I snap. "Let me go!"
Teddy doesn't relinquish the grip on my hand. "Belle, I'm sorry, but I can't. Not until you promise me that you know you're lying."
"You're the liar! Let go of me! You're hurting me!" I scream, hoping some of the residents in the flats around Teddy's will hear. "Teddy, you're hurting me! Stop!"
Teddy rises to his feet and puts his hand over my mouth. This scares me.
"Belle, calm down!" Teddy says a bit harshly. I still scream, but my voice is muffled. I try to kick Teddy, but he's holding me back. He steers me to the chair in the corner of the room. "Sit down!" He orders, his hand still over my mouth.
Why is Teddy doing this to me? Why is he being so forceful? "Belle, I can't let you go until you understand that you're lying," he tells me again.
I shake my head and try to writhe away from Teddy. I am not lying.
"Yes, you are. Belle, you can't do this. You can't say that I did something to you that I really didn't. Look, I know you're trying to rationalize what happened between you and Holden, but you can't do it this way. Can I trust you?" Teddy questions, slowly taking his hand away from my mouth. "Don't scream."'
"Teddy, this is your fault. You kissed me first, and I didn't want you to. You took advantage of my emotions," I remind him. "If anything, you would have said I came on to you, if I were to tell Holden. You knew we were having problems. You knew he would have believed you over me."
"I never took advantage of you!" Teddy snaps. "Belle, I asked you if this was what you wanted multiple times! And you said yes!"
"Don't you get it? I was sad, and lonely, and you made me think you loved me. I would have said anything! You can't possibly trust what I said, or take it as consent! You lied to me! You're the reason Holden broke up with me!"
Teddy shakes his head. "Belle, you're the reason Holden broke up with you! If you didn't want to sleep with me, you didn't have to!"
"This isn't just my fault! You told me everything would be all right!"
"And because it isn't, I'm the reason for it?"
I purse my lips. "Teddy, I'm not going to argue with you. Just let me go home, I want to speak with my parents."
"What are you going to tell them?" Teddy questions cautiously. He's still standing over me.
"I'm going to tell them the truth, of course."
Teddy narrows his eyes. "Your version of it?"
"There are no 'versions'. It's what happened, Teddy. Let me go home." I stand up, and Teddy takes a step back.
"Belle, I can't let you do that. Not until you promise me that you know I didn't hurt you," Teddy says adamantly.
I try to step around him, but it doesn't work. "Teddy, you can't keep me here. I want to go home. You proved to me that I can't trust you. I'm upset," I tell him.
"I know. That's what I'm afraid of. But Belle, think about what will happen if everyone else finds out you're lying..."
"I'm not! You know what you did!"
Teddy takes a deep breath and covers his mouth with his hand for a moment. "Holden broke up with you because you cheated on him. We were both wrong, Belle. But we both agreed to do this. Now we have to deal with the consequences." He says firmly. "Do you get that?"
I feel my eyes welling up with tears again. I'm in an absolute state of grief. "H-he's gone f-forever isn't he?" My voice comes out in a set of quiet hiccups.
Teddy has a grave look on his face. "I don't know, Belle. Maybe."
I can't even handle that thought. The next thing I know, my vision goes spotty, I'm light-headed, and I feel my knees buckle. Teddy puts an arm around me to support me before I completely collapse. "You should sit." Teddy gently guides me back into the chair.
"I-I didn't m-mean it, Teddy!" I sob, trying to calm my breathing down. Nothing is working.
"What didn't you mean?"
"I didn't w-want him t-to leave f-forever!" I wail. "I can't b-be without h-him! You have to t-tell him I made a m-mistake!"
Teddy gives me a glass of water. My hands are shaking so badly that I spill most of it. "I think we should both give Holden some time," Teddy advises. "Don't you think so?"
I don't know what I think. The longer I stay away from Holden, the more separated we will become. I take a slow sip of water. It's coolness makes my throat hurt. I'm sure it's all the crying, too.
"I-I'm sorry," I apologize to Teddy. He doesn't say anything back, but he looks completely exasperated. I'm sure he hates me now. I just want to go home.
When I got home, I went to my room and cried myself to sleep. No one in my family bothered me for the rest of the day, not even Mum. I suppose they figured quite easily that I was upset.
Since I haven't seen my family for two days, I decided to come out for breakfast. On days like this, when the weather is nice, my family has breakfast outside. It was one of Mum's ideas.
"Good morning, Isobelle," Mum says, offering me a small smile as I take my seat. I can't bring myself to return it. I know I must look an absolute fright. I haven't taken much care to my appearance. For the first time in a long while, my hair hangs loose around my shoulders. "Would you like some tea?"
"Okay," I mutter, accepting the teacup from Mum. She gives me a concerned look, but doesn't say anything more.
Hugo taps me on the shoulder. "D'you want any strawberries, Belle? I know they're your favorites," Hugo offers, nudging the dish in my direction.
I feel terrible for refusing, but I'm really not in the mood for breakfast right now. "No... thank you, though, Hugo."
Nina gives me a look of confusion. Her fingers are covered in syrup and Dad is watching her closely, making certain she doesn't touch the table-cloth. "Are you really sad, Belly?" She asks. "You look like you cried a lot."
"Don't ask her that!" Rose hisses, shushing Nina. Nina sticks her tongue out at Rose.
"Girls," Dad chastises, giving both Nina and Rose disapproving looks. Mum rolls her eyes good-naturedly. I'm glad to see my family happy and getting along for the most part, but I'm completely miserable.
"What happened to your face?" Scorpius asks me suddenly. Simultaneously, five other sets of eyes turn to regard me.
I frown. "What do you mean?"
"You've got a few bruises kind of near your chin. You didn't know?" Scorpius asks me. I haven't looked in the mirror this morning. I feel my face pale. I wasn't even aware Holden grabbed me hard enough to leave a bruise. I hope there isn't one on my arm as well.
"No," I answer quietly.
Dad gives me a hard look. "Where did they come from?" He asks, his tone accusing. It sometimes angers me that he always assumes the worst.
I know immediately that I can't tell him the truth. He'll be upset. "I...er... hit myself with my... hand mirror," I stutter.
Dad looks skeptical. "Hard enough to leave bruises? Did you hit yourself more than once?"
"I suppose, I don't really know. It was an accident."
"I don't believe you," Dad says bluntly. Mum gives him an apprehensive glance. "Where were you the other day?"
"Teddy's," I answer plainly.
Mum furrows her eyebrows. "Harry told me yesterday that Holden and Teddy were together. Were you there, too?" Mum asks. Right after she asks her question, realization dawns on her face. "Oh, Isobelle."
"Mum," I say quietly, urging her not to tell Dad anything. Rose gives me a sympathetic look.
"What is going on?" Dad demands. "Did one of them-"
"Nothing," I answer hurriedly. "I did this to myself. I told you. I'm not lying!"
"Hermione," Dad says stiffly, his jaw clenched. "Do you know anything about this?"
Mum shakes her head. "If Isobelle says that she isn't lying, she isn't," she responds. Even though Mum just lied for me, I can tell that she's deeply disappointed in me.
"What reason would Teddy have to put his hands on you?" Dad questions. I can tell it's taking all his self-control to remain calm.
"Because I- I mean..." My voice trails off, instantly realizing that I just told on myself.
Dad slams his fist on the table and it makes Mum and I jump. Hugo and Nina seem confused. Scorpius remains silent, and Rose looks at me as if I somehow deserved this. "I'm going to kick his ass!" He shouts.
"You won't do anything of the sort!" Mum says instantly, putting a calming hand on Dad's shoulder. Dad brushes her arm off and stands abruptly.
"Oh, I won't? Hermione, that son of a bitch has no business hitting our daughter!"
"He didn't hit me!" I cry.
"Hugo, take your sister inside, please," Mum asks calmly. Hugo gets up and quietly ushers Nina towards the back door.
"Is Belly in trouble?" Nina asks. Hugo doesn't answer.
"Then what did he do? Tell me this instant!" Dad commands, his eyes boring into mine. I can't remember the last time I saw him this angry.
"It was...he- It doesn't matter! You don't know what I did, Dad!" I point out.
Mum puts her hand over her mouth and won't meet any of our eyes. Dad wrings his hands and paces as if he wants to hit something. I'm sure that 'something' is Holden's face.
"I don't give a damn what you did, Isobelle! I don't even care if you hit him first!" Dad yells. "That doesn't give him the right to lay a finger on you! There is nothing you can say or do to justify that sort of behavior!"
"I cheated on him!" I confess. Dad stops pacing. Rose and Scorpius look at each other, and then at me. "I cheated on Holden, and he found out! He broke up with me! Are you happy, now? Holden and I aren't together anymore! You win!"
Dad turns to face me, and I fear that I've angered him as well. "This isn't about winning, Isobelle. And you should be happy he left you. I told you from the beginning that this relationship wouldn't amount to anything! I'm glad it's over and done with!"
I look down again. Dad narrows his eyes. "Isobelle, you'd better tell me you're done with this boy!"
"I can't," I whisper. "I still love him..."
"Rose and I are going to go inside," Scorpius says uncomfortably, sensing the tension. Mum nods them farewell.
After the back door closes, Dad keeps his fit going. "You what?" he demands, his eyes flashing angrily. "I hope you aren't serious!"
"I can't just stop loving Holden in an instant! It isn't that easy!" I tell Dad. "Mum, tell him!" I know Mum understands how I feel. She's told me that she does. It was a long while before she was over Ron, too.
Mum sighs. "Isobelle, I'm sorry-"
"Mum!" I protest. "You have to understand!"
"There isn't anything to understand. Your father's right. It's time you and Holden called it quits," Mum agrees. "This isn't the first time the two of you have had a problem like this. Now, I don't doubt that Holden can be a very nice young man-"
"You should have every doubt about that!" Dad interjects. "Isobelle, you aren't to speak to him anymore and that is final! Do you understand me?" I'd have a hard enough time just trying to get Holden to speak back to me. He said he wanted nothing to do with me anymore, but he can't really mean that, can he?
"I don't need your permission to speak to Holden!" I remind Dad. "I'm adult!"
Dad clenches his fists. "That may be, but you are still living under my roof, therefore you follow my rules!"
"That isn't fair!" I complain. "It's none of your business whether or not I speak to him! He knows what he did wasn't right-"
"Do you know that?" Dad interrupts me. Of course, I know.
"Yes, I know that. And I told him. But now that I've given it more thought, what if everyone separated whenever they had a fight? No one would be together anymore!" I point out. "You and Mum certainly wouldn't."
Mum gives me a sideways glance, but remains silent.
"Then again, I've never hit your mother, Isobelle. I wouldn't want you to consider that a contributing factor or anything."
"Draco," Mum chides, giving him a meaningful look. Dad doesn't respond. Instead, he regards me one last time before going inside.
"Isobelle-" Mum starts.
"Don't," I say. "You should have defended me. Why didn't you?"
"You know why."
"But, you and Ron-"
"Has nothing to do with you and Holden," Mum assures me. She stands up. "I don't want you seeing him either, but I know by now you that you'll do what you want. I just hope you make the right choice." Like Dad, Mum goes inside.
I put my head in my hands. I thought Mum would at least be more sensible and see my point of view. Apparently, that wasn't the case. And Dad's just happy for another reason to hate Holden.
I feel a slight tugging on the sleeve of my robes. Slowly looking up, I see Nina's round blue eyes, peering at me with concern. When she glances over her shoulder, I know that she isn't supposed to be out here.
"Belly, don't cry," Nina says quietly, climbing onto my lap.
"I'm sorry," I apologize, "but I'm a bit upset right now.
"'Cause of Mummy and Daddy?" Nina questions, putting her arms around my shoulders.
I nod. "Sort of."
"You wouldn't understand."
A troubled expression crosses Nina's face, then she looks at me again."'Kay, but why is Mummy sad?" she asks.
I can't help but frown. "What do you mean?"
"I heard Mummy crying last night," Nina informs me. "But I dunno why." She gives me an expectant look.
"I don't know why, either," I admit. "You didn't ask her?"
Nina shakes her head. "Daddy told me to go to bed. Nobody tucked me in," she says sadly.
"I'm sorry to hear that," I apologize quietly. I just don't want Nina's to be as confusing as Rose, Hugo's or Scorpius'. I definitely don't want it to be anywhere near mine, either.
"It's okay. Do you wanna play with me?"
I consider it for a moment. I don't particularly enjoy any of the games Nina likes to play, but she does deserve for someone to entertain her. Hopefully, it will take my mind off things as well.
"Sure," I agree.
(A/N: I hope you liked this chapter! For once, I don't really have much to say, other than thanks for reading and leave a review!)