*J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter!
****SO SORRY for not updating in like three weeks. I've been working on this chap since I uploaded the next one, but I've been so busy with school. Last week, we had semester midterms, and I was on a field trip to the beach this entire week! Again I'm sorry to everyone I kept waiting! I feel terrible!
*Title of the chapter comes from 'Big Parade' by the Lumineers!
*Leave a review!
The past few days have come and gone rather uneventfully. For the most part, Mum and Dad have reconciled.
Since I have nothing to do today, I've been all but trapped into 'watching' my siblings. James, Lily, Al, and Daisy are over, once again, and Mum's asked me to listen out for them. I'm sitting in Nina's room with the door open. I'd much rather have the day to sleep.
"Belly?" Nina questions as she looks up at me. "Are you gonna keep reading?"
"I'm done," I tell her. "The story's over." I've been reading to Nina for the better part of twenty minutes. She can read herself, but she says she prefers hearing my voice.
Nina shrugs, and then takes the book from my hands. It's Scorpius' tattered old copy of Beedle the Bard. He gave the book to Nina because he finds the stories stupid now. They used to be his favorites.
"Read this one now. Mummy and Daddy haven't read it to me in a long time."
"Nina, do I have to read to you?" I question, trying my hardest not to sound exasperated.
Nina shakes her head. "Not if you really don't want. We could have a tea party, or play dress-up, or hide-and-seek, or whatever you want. What do you wanna do, Belly?" Nina stares at me with wide eyes, waiting for an answer.
"A nap would be lovely," I answer. "How about we both take one?"
"That's boring!" Nina scrunches her nose and her freckles form a blurred line across her cheeks. "It's not late, why are you sleepy?"
"It's just one of those days. I'm sure it's the rain," I answer, yawning.
Nina laughs. "I want to go into the rain," she decides, eyeing her pair of pink flowered rain boots.
"You'll get sick. Mum and Dad won't be happy about that."
A crestfallen expression crosses Nina's face. "But I've never done it before. Have you ever played in the rain, Belly?"
I think back to the first and last time I ever did, with Holden. I shake my head stiffly. "No, it's a very stupid thing to do."
"How do you know, then?" Nina counters.
"I just do."
Nina wrinkles her eyebrows in thought. "If we can't go in the rain, we can take a nap if you want. Now there's nothing else fun to do."
"Thank you, Nina."
"Welcome. You can sleep in my bed with me, and I won't take all the blankets. Mummy will come wake us up for lunchtime."
I can't help but smile at my youngest sister. She really is the most generous little thing on the planet, and it's amazing how much she takes after Hugo. I hope she doesn't lose her character when she grows up.
I'm about to respond to Nina when a loud shout from down the hall cuts me off. It sounds a bit like Rose, but I can't make it out clearly. I wonder what she's on about now.
"Did you hear that?" I ask Nina.
She nods. "Yeah. Someone's yelling."
I press my finger to my lips to quiet her so we both can listen. Another voice is shouting at her, a voice that I presume is Daisy's. I roll my eyes inwardly. Then, I hear Scorpius' voice, and James' voice joins in as well. I'm sure Al is part of the conversation, but his voice is always so quiet, there's no way I could hear it from down the hall.
I hear a loud slam, then Rose shouts, "You stupid bint! I'll kill you!"
"ROSE!" James shouts.
I sigh. I suppose I have to go see what's going on. If it isn't one thing, it's another. I turn to Nina. "Just stay right here. I'll be back in a moment."
Nina nods compliantly. "Kay. I will."
When I go into the games room, my face sets into a frown. The table in the middle of the room is overturned. Rose is being held back by James, and she looks absolutely enraged. Scorpius and Daisy are sitting on the other end of where the table is supposed to be, and Daisy looks smug as ever. Al is staring at the four of them, wide-eyed.
"What is happening in here?" I demand.
"Your sister tried to attack me like some mad animal," Daisy informs me, narrowing her eyes at Rose.
I refrain from telling Daisy that she most likely deserved it. "Rose, why would you do something like that?" I question, gesturing to James that he can let her go. Rose has something in her fist, but she won't open it.
She falters for a moment. "Because… because Daisy-"
"Because I what?" Daisy questions, tilting her head to the side. Now she's just trying her best to get a rise out of Rose. "I didn't do a thing."
"Then what reason would Rose have to try and hit you?" I ask.
Daisy shrugs. "Because she hates me? I don't know. Do you know, Scorpius?"
I don't know whether or not I'm asking in vain. I'm not sure who Scorpius will want to defend. Scorpius shakes his head, and Al gives him a disapproving look. "Al?" I question, hoping he'll speak up.
"They were fighting over a necklace," Al tells me quietly, adjusting his glasses as if making that statement was emotionally taxing.
"Thank you, Al." I turn to Scorpius' abominable fiancé. "Do you have something that belongs to Rose?"
Daisy raises her eyebrows in disbelief. "Are you accusing me of something?"
"I'm asking you a question. Do you or do you not have it?"
Rose doesn't say anything but by the look on her face, I can tell she fears she might be in trouble.
Daisy reaches into her robes pocket and pulls out part of a silver necklace. She dangles it from her fingers. "Well, part of it, anyway. It's rather ugly, I don't want it."
Rose clenches her jaw. I step forward and yank the necklace from Daisy. It's mine. "How did you get this?" I question, glaring between Daisy and Rose.
Daisy points to Rose, smirking. I could take her head off.
"I know that. Rose, how did you get it?"
Rose is infuriated to the point of tears. We may not be in each other's favor right now, but I won't give Daisy the satisfaction of embarrassing her.
"Rose, come with me," I say gently, gesturing my hand for Rose to follow me. I glance over my shoulder back at Albus, Daisy, James, and Scorpius. "I don't want any more arguments. James, you're in charge." He's definitely the most responsible out of the lot. Scorpius isn't worthy of that title.
I shut the door, and put my arm around Rose. She avoids my eyes. I walk her down the hallway a fair bit, so no one else can hear us.
"Why do you have my necklace?" I question softly.
Rose takes a deep breath. "Teddy sent it back to you," she admits. "His owl came this morning, and you were still asleep, so I took it. I planned on giving it back to you later, then it fell out of my pocket and Daisy took it and I didn't know what she was going to do with it, so I tried to get it back, and she wouldn't let go..." Rose's explanation comes out in one long sentence. I only catch one word of it.
"Teddy?" I repeat.
Rose nods. "I was going to tell you. I promise."
"I know," I assure Rose. "I believe you."
Rose's eyebrows wrinkle. "You aren't mad at me?"
I shake my head. "No, it isn't your fault. Besides, I don't really care for that necklace anymore anyway."
I open my mouth, and then close it. "It doesn't really mean anything to me anymore," I tell Rose. "You can get rid of it if you want."
Rose looks uncomfortable, but she doesn't ask me to say anything else about it. "Please, as much as we all dislike her; try to get along with Daisy. She's going to be around for a while, and it'll be easier on us the lesser conflicts we have."
"I was trying," Rose protests. "But then she took your necklace, and I lost it."
I know Rose won't outright say so, but her actions are some sort of an apology. "I understand that, but really it's no need to hit. There are better ways to handle things."
Rose gives me a knowing look. "Really? Because Dom told me that you-"
"That was different," I tell Rose quickly. She gives me a small smile. "Are we all right, now?"
"I guess," Rose agrees.
"Great, because I'd really like to have a nap, and Nina needs someone to entertain her."
Rose frowns. "Do I have to?" I don't understand why Rose and Scorpius have such an aversion to Nina. They act as if she's a house-elf and not their sibling.
"She's your sister," I remind Rose. I gesture to the window beside us. Raindrops violently pelt the window. "Besides, it's raining. What else are you going to do with your time?"
"Read a book," Rose suggests. "Anything else."
I shake my head. "No you won't. The least you could do is spend some time with Nina. How would have felt if I always ignored you?" I question, crossing my arms.
Rose mulls this over for a moment. "Fine, but if I have to do anything princess, I'm pitching myself from her balcony."
I nudge Rose on the shoulder. "I wouldn't make a promise I don't intend to keep."
Rose stops and turns around with a puzzled expression on her face. "Why did Teddy have your necklace in the first place?" She asks.
I don't know what to tell her. I can't tell him the truth. "I left it at his flat," I say vaguely.
"That must have been forever ago," Rose realizes, stuffing her hands in her pockets. "You haven't seen Teddy since that day when…"
She's tactful enough not to say that day when Dad lost it over Holden. "I know, it's been a long while."
Rose stuffs her hands in the pockets of her jeans. "How come you haven't spoken to Teddy in such a long time?"
"We, we just aren't the best of terms with each other at the moment."
Rose seems sorry to hear this. Even she knows how close Teddy and I were. "You guys talked like every day. Now he really only talks to Dom a lot."
"Dom?" I ask, before I can help myself. I have an uneasy feeling in my stomach.
Rose nods. "Yeah, Teddy broke up with Victoire. Dom says it's because Teddy said he loves another girl. If you ask me, Victoire deserved it. Anyway, so is Teddy mad at you?" Rose asks.
I shake my head. I'm not sure whether it's from answering Rose's question, or being in complete shock. Teddy broke up with Victoire? And he loves someone else? "W-why would he be angry with me?"
"Because you cheated on Holden," Rose reminds me. "And Holden's his best friend."
Her reasoning is a lot better than the truth. I decide to go along with it. "I'm sure that's why."
Rose gives me a sympathetic look. "Maybe if you didn't like Holden anymore, you could have told him?"
"It wasn't that easy. When you get older, you'll understand."
Rose pushes back the curtain and sits down on the window seat. At least now that she's below me, we aren't eye-to-eye anymore. Rose hasn't said anything for a few seconds, but I feel as if she's judging me in her thoughts.
"I don't see why no one ever stays together," she tells me sadly, playing with the curtain. She looks out the window instead of at me.
"That isn't true for everyone," I assure her. I don't know how to make Rose believe me, because all the people close to her have made some terrible choices for companions.
"Just about. What about Mum and Dad? What about my dad and Scorpius' mum? What about you and Holden? And Teddy and Victoire? Everyone tells people that the love them, and then later on they don't," Rose explains.
I put my hand to my forehead for a second, trying to think of something to say. "It isn't that it's a lie, it's just- sometimes, the person you're with isn't always the same person you initially fell in love with," I tell Rose.
"People change all the time, though," she persists. "Of course, they aren't the same.
I shake my head. "This is very different. I mean, at first that person is incredibly sweet and kind to you, and you're positive that they love you. And then, sometimes, when all the fun of it wears off, they don't exactly like to be around you anymore, or they take you for granted. Does that make sense?"
Rose still seems confused.
"Think of it this way: Think of how many new dolls and toys Nina gets. When she first gets them, she's incredibly excited and swears they'll be her favorite forever, right?"
"But then a week later, they're stuffed under her bed and forgotten about to collect dust. Well, sometimes it can be that way with relationships," I explain. "And if you're lucky, sometimes it isn't."
"Well, how do you know when it's not?" Rose questions.
I shrug, and I can tell that this wasn't the answer she was hoping for. "You never really know, I suppose. You just have to hope that person cares about you as much as you do them. Sometimes you get hurt, but other times, you don't. It's worth finding out, or so I've been told."
Rose puts her fist under her chin and nibbles her bottom lip. "I'm sorry for getting mad at you about my dad. And I'm sorry about those comments I made about Simon," she apologizes.
I wave my hand. "I forgive you. I could have handled it better."
Subconsciously, Rose nods. "Yeah. But I mean, Mum and Dad love each other a lot, right?"
I don't understand how Rose can have any doubt in her mind about that. I haven't for years now. "Absolutely."
"So we don't have to worry about them breaking up?" She asks. When Rose won't look at me, I can tell this has been bothering her for quite a while.
"Not in this lifetime," I promise her.
Dinner feels rather tense. Scorpius and Rose aren't particularly speaking to each other. However, Mum and Dad seem to have gotten over their little argument. Hugo is recounting all the details of his afternoon flying with Lily.
When Hugo finishes, Dad clears his throat. We all look up. "I need to make something clear," he announces.
"What?" Nina asks.
Dad looks between the five of us, and Mum looks as if she's expected it. "None of you are special."
Scorpius frowns. "My self-esteem just took a hit," he mutters. Rose rolls her eyes.
"I'm serious," Dad persists. "The seven of us are a family, and we need to start acting like it. Now, I understand perfectly that we aren't all always going to get along, but these constant arguments are getting downright ridiculous."
"I agree completely," Mum says. "We used to all get along so well, and now it seems to be an accomplishment if something terrible doesn't happen. Things aren't going to be that way anymore."
Rose gives Scorpius an accusing look. "I think you need to explain the concepts of being a family to Scorpius more than anyone," she suggests bitterly.
Scorpius rolls his eyes.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Dad questions.
"It means that Scorpius shouldn't take Daisy's side over mine!" Rose says indignantly.
"Shut up," Scorpius hisses.
Mum and Dad both look completely confused. "When has that ever happened?" Mum asks.
"About three hours ago," Rose answers accusingly.
Nina nods in agreement. "Yeah, they were yelling really loudly. Me and Belly heard them all the way from my room."
"Yelling about what?" Dad questions. I'm not sure who, but I can tell that either Scorpius or Rose is about to be in trouble. Perhaps both of them will be. Hugo and I sit and watch as were at a play.
Neither Scorpius nor Rose says anything. Scorpius pretends to be interested in the rain beating on the windows. It sounds louder in the silence.
"I'm not asking again," Dad tells them both, a disapproving look on his face. "What happened this afternoon?
Rose sets her fork down and looks at me. A pleading expression is on her face. "Rose and Daisy got into some silly argument. It was rather petty," I lie, covering for Rose.
Mum makes a face. "You were there, Isobelle?"
"Well, I...er… they were raising their voices, like Nina said, and I went to see what the commotion was. They were arguing over some game."
"And Scorpius, you took Daisy's side over Rose's?" Dad reiterates, revisiting the problem at hand.
Scorpius nods. "Kind of. Rose was wrong, though. I wasn't making favorites," he promises. I can tell Rose just kicked him under the table. None of us can acknowledge it, though, because we're all lying.
"In any case, it's only a game, Rose, and you shouldn't make such a big deal out of small matters," Dad tells Rose.
She tries her best to look shameful. "I know, Dad. I'm sorry."
Dad takes a sip from his glass, ending that topic of conversation. Rose breathes a sigh of relief. "As your mother and I were saying, we don't want any more divides amongst the five of you. You're all siblings, and you need to treat each other as such. And your mother and I need to treat you that way as well."
"Huh?" Hugo asks. "Don't you do that already?" Oh, poor, naïve Hugo.
"To a certain extent. We're just trying to work on being fairer to all of you," Mum answers kindly.
Nina looks up. "More fair? Can I go play in the rain?"
"No," Mum and Dad answer together.
"You don't want to be sick in the summertime, love," Mum tells her. I don't know why Nina's so bent on going out in the rain, anyway. It isn't great at all.
Nina pouts. "That's not fair!"She complains. "Belly said I couldn't go out in the rain and now you won't let me, either."
"That's correct," Dad responds. "You know how terrible you are when you catch cold." When Nina gets sick, it may as well be the end of the world. She swears a stuffy nose is a death sentence.
"More terrible than normal," Scorpius mutters. Still, he's loud enough for Dad to hear him.
"Scorpius, that's exactly the kind of behavior your mother and I were talking about. Apologize to your sister."
Scorpius looks as if he's just been told to do the unthinkable. Dad raises his eyebrows, waiting for Scorpius' apology. "I'm sorry," he mutters.
"That's okay," Nina replies, most likely unaware that Scorpius even said anything to begin with. She pushes her dessert around with her spoon. "Daddy, if I can't go in the rain, then can I have a pink cow?"
"Doesn't it get lonely living here on your own?" I ask Simon. To make up for that horrible meeting with his brother, Simon's invited me over to have tea at his house. It was a kind gesture, but I can't help but be rather apprehensive. I don't know why.
Simon shakes his head. "Not at all, I normally have…" his voice trails off, and I'm rather glad he didn't finish. Simon clears his throat. "Anyhow, I'm sure it's better than having children running around all day."
"That isn't so bad. Well, you get used to it, at least," I assure Simon. Now, I couldn't ever imagine Malfoy Manor being completely quiet. That would almost scare me.
"I couldn't ever," Simon mutters, a disgusted look on his face. Something tells me he isn't so fond of children.
Simon's home really is beautiful. However, it's very dark inside. I glance out the window, at the garden at the far end of the lawn. Finally, some color. Some of the flowers are rather familiar, and I realize that they were most likely the ones Simon sent to me. "I never took you as someone to have a garden," I say, smiling.
His expression is stiff. "I don't. It was my wife's idea," he says bitterly. I want to kick myself. I should have known so.
"Oh, I didn't…" I'm not sure what to say. Luckily, Simon ignores it. Before I can think of something better, I say, "Do you ever think about her?"
Simon seems caught off-guard by the question. He's probably wondering why I want to know. I'm not even sure why. "No, of course not. We aren't married anymore; I don't have a reason to."
That isn't a valid reason. Mum still thinks about Ron, I'm sure Dad thinks of Astoria, and not a day goes by that I don't think of Holden, and we weren't even married. "I wouldn't be upset if you did," I assure him, reaching out to touch Simon's hand. It's cold.
"I've told you. I never loved nor cared about my wife. That isn't going to change."
I decide not to press matters with Simon. I don't want to anger him. "Do you ever want to be married again?"
"I have to get married again," Simon informs me. The tone in his voice reminds me of the reason why.
"That's right," I mutter. "You have to. If you want your inheritance. But maybe your father is testing you. Maybe he wants to see if you can really be your own person."
Simon gapes at me like I'm telling a stupid joke. He presses his lips into a thin line, and he looks at me for a long while. "My father doesn't play games. I have to remarry."
Simon squeezes my hand. "And when I do, I'd like you to be my wife."
I pull my hand away from Simon so quickly, one of my rings comes off my finger. "Are you mad?" I question, not knowing what to think. I dearly hope Simon is toying with me. But, I think he's just as serious as his father.
"No, I'm perfectly sane," Simon replies brusquely, as if I've offended him.
"You can't be. Sane people don't propose marriage after a week of dating. If you can even call this dating! I'm sorry, but I can't… I don't…"
Simon puts his hand on his forehead and sighs. "I'm not asking you to marry me now. Believe me, when I propose to you, you'll know. Now would you please sit down?"
I didn't even realize I was standing. Slowly, I take my seat again. "We can't talk about marriage right now, we need something to work toward."
"Excuse me?" Simon questions. I've finally met someone who knows less about relationships than I do.
"When you think of marriage, all that comes to mind is just doing what your parents say. A real marriage is much more than that. It's based on love, and caring, and trust, and all sorts of other things. And I'm positive you don't love me yet," I tell Simon. "You don't know yet that you want to marry me."
Simon blinks slowly, and his blue eyes look dazed. "You're beautiful, and passionate, and loyal, and brilliant. Out of all the women I've ever slept with, they've never been as intriguing as you," Simon tells me. I take it as a compliment.
"You don't have to thank me," Simon tells me. He wrings his hands. "Just stay with me. Words can't possibly describe how much I want you." I'm sure this is the most romantic thing Simon's ever said to a woman.
I grin at him. "I know that,"
Simon raises a golden eyebrow with a smirk. "Do you, now?"
"Absolutely," I nod.
Simon stands up and extends his hand toward me. "There's another place I want to show you."
I take his hand and follow him through the sitting room and up the stairs. There aren't any pictures, but instead some very interesting paintings are hanging. Some of them I've seen before, others I haven't.
"You have great taste," I comment.
"I know I do," Simon replies, a hint in his voice. He leads me down a long hallway.
I take a deep breath. Something's been nagging at me for a few days now, and I've wanted to ask Simon about it. "Simon, I was wondering if-"
Simon opens a door. When I see where he's taken me, I stop roll my eyes inwardly. I should have known. "It's your bedroom," I say. Simon's room is a calm, deep green color. Everything matches perfectly, down to the wood colors of the bed frame and dresser.
"Correct." Simon turns to me.
"You never quit, do you?" I ask, growing rather amused at this point. Simon's like a teenage boy. "I had to ask you something, do we have to do this right now?"
Simon comes closer to me. "I can quit when you finally say yes," he whispers, seeming more interested in my lips than the words coming out of them.
"You may be waiting a while." I put my hand out to hold Simon at bay. It isn't even worth it. He moves my hand and kisses me, slow at first, then as if his life depends on it. I suppose anything I wanted to say is going to have to wait.
Simon's teeth graze along my neck and across my throat. His hands move rapidly along my chest, rushing to undo my robes as quickly as possible. As his fingers near the last button, I pull away to stop him. Simon gives me a look of displeasure.
"I've waited for so long. You can't possibly tease me any longer", he growls, reaching for me again.
I shake my head playfully. It really is gratifying to see Simon in such a state.
"I understand. And I know it hasn't been easy for you, and you've been so wonderful to me despite everything."
"Not wonderful enough," Simon murmurs, a pouting expression on his face. It makes me want to laugh.
I tap my finger to my chin. "Well, I suppose you've earned a small something…"
Without warning, I go slowly to my knees, kneeling in front of Simon. I reach for his belt and grin at the look of pure bliss on his face.
"This should do," he murmurs.
"I thought so," I agree, pulling Simons trousers and boxers. I walk my fingers up and down his legs, playing with him.
Simon's hand presses hard against my hair. "Don't toy with me!" He snaps harshly.
I bite back a laugh at his tortured expression. "Patience...It's all part of it. I'm just as experienced as you, just not with so many different partners."
Simon gives an amused sigh and his eyebrows rise. "Why didn't you ever tell me you were this... adventurous?" he questions.
"Had to leave something to the imagination."
I bow my head. Simon takes a sharp breath, and then lets out a sigh. Subconsciously, his hand goes back into my hair, doing his best to control me.
"You still are," Simon points out in a begrudging tone, his voice ragged.
I stop to look up at him, at his protesting expression. "Do you want to complain? Because I don't have to do anything..."
Simon shakes his head quickly. "By all means, continue," he says, trying his best to sound like he isn't affected. I'm not fooled for one second.
Apart from the occasional grunt of approval, Simon remains silent. It really is sad how simple it is to entertain him
When I'm done, I take Simons hand and bring myself to my feet.
"Thank you," I say again, smiling.
"I'm going to have to give you more reasons to be grateful if this is how you plan to repay me,"
Simon mutters. "Those lips of yours are quite talented."
"Oh, this won't be an everyday thing, I can assure you," I tell Simon.
He frowns. "You torture me."
I shake my head. "You're never happy, are you?"
Simon circles his arm around my waist. "Do you know what will make me even happier?"
"Waiting," I answer for him. "Besides, I have a favor I want to ask of you." I tilt Simon's chin upward to face me, trying to give him my best pleading face.
Simon's unperturbed. "Haven't I told you, I don't do-"
I roll my eyes. "That's such a lie. You've done me favors before, and I've just done one for you. And what was it you told me? 'No favor goes unreturned'?" I question, playing with the buckle of Simon's belt for reminder.
"You're using my own words against me," he mutters. "What is it that you want?"
I take a deep breath. "Well, you remember how you told me I could have anything I wanted from you?"
Simon nods. "Of course, I remember. Is there something you need?"
"Yes, actually, and it's rather important. But I knew you would be able to do it?"
"What is it?" Simon questions.
"Well, my family's beginning to get on really well again, and I don't want anything- or anyone- to jeopardize that. If it isn't too much to ask, could you find a way to keep Astoria away from my family? I know how you feel about her, but you know how I feel, and this is my family-"
"Consider it done," Simon tells me.
I can't help my look up surprise. "That easily? You aren't going to argue? I remember last time you said you couldn't do anything."
"You wouldn't have asked me if you knew for certain there was absolutely nothing I could do," Simon reasons. He raises a fair point. "And, I'm quite sure I could pull some strings if need be."
I can't tell Simon how grateful I am. Finally, one of our problems is solved. "You won't get in any trouble, will you?"
Simon shakes his head. "As if that's a possibility. I can do what I like. And if it's what you want, then it's going to be done. I told you, you're going to have everything."
I smile at Simon and give him a kiss. It seems that things are finally falling into place. I hope that doesn't change.
(A/N: Hope you liked the chapter! Again, sorry for not updating in like a century! Please leave a review! (My birthday is Tuesday and it would make my week ) Love you all!