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Chapter 32 : The Other Side of Normality
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“I should be home around seven,” Daisy tells me in a dead voice. Her eyes are dead too. It’s nothing new, but I can’t stop noticing these small changes that happened in her about five months into our marriage. Changes that are completely my fault.
“See you later,” I respond, equally as unenthusiastic as her. She disapparates without as much as another glance at me. There was a time when she would never leave the room, never mind the house, without giving me a kiss. Right at this minute, I can’t think of the last time we kissed.
After she leaves for work, I wander around our apartment aimlessly. I only work three days a week here, and today is not one of those three days. There is nothing to do and nowhere to go; rather, there is nowhere I want to go. Three months we’ve been in the States now, and it’s worse it is becoming. Daisy and I say about four sentences to each other per day, and even that number is becoming reduced. We eat dinner in silence, that is on the days she eats dinner at home. More often than not, she’s out eating with her new work friends, who all seem to dress the same and look the same. She has begun following their lead.
Everything is dead here. The weather, the neighbourhood, my marriage. And with every passing day I miss Aidan more. I’ve gotten to see him every two weeks, which is nowhere near enough. I have successfully avoided Rose each time, making sure he is left with my parents when I go to collect him, and I do my best not to bring her up around Aidan, for fear he’ll start talking about her new boyfriend. I really couldn’t give a shit about him. It's not as if he'll last anyway.
This time last year, I was in love with Daisy. Or at least I thought I was in love with her, which is really the same thing. I was over Rose – or, I thought I was over her, which again is the same. Now, here I am, twenty-four years old, trapped in a loveless marriage and living thousands of miles away from my son. Nobody does fuck ups like I do. Not even Rose. And she fucks up on a regular basis.
I try not to think about her. Really, I do. It’d be easier if Daisy and I were actually a functioning couple, but since we aren’t, I’ve taken up running and swimming instead to help me stop thinking about her. I tried reading, but it gets me frustrated, so I stopped. So all I have is swimming, running and work three days a week. And there are some really hot women who run on the same route as me, so I think I’m doing pretty well to be remaining a faithful husband.
As my mind starts to wander to Rose once again, I change into my running gear and head off out. It’s so warm here, especially considering it’s November. I bet it’s snowing at home, or at the very least raining. You never think you’re going to miss England’s rain until you can’t complain about it every day. But believe it or not, constant sunshine gets annoying.
I run for an hour. I barely notice where I’m going, because I run the route so often. I run past Muggles going about their business as per usual, heading to work and doing their shopping. I see parents with their kids, and I just want to spit at them. I see couples actually speaking to each other, and I want to shake them for taking their relationship for granted. I see friends having a laugh. And I realise that I have none of this; no friends, no relationships. I’m basically living inside my own head.
When I arrive back at my building, the woman who lives in the apartment above ours is coming out the front door. She’s a Muggle, I presume, probably a bit younger than me. She’s really gorgeous, too. She has very dark hair, which is a nice break from blondes and red heads. Maybe brunettes are more laid back, I don’t know. All I know is that blondes and red heads give me grief.
“Hey Scorpius,” she greets me, smiling. Her teeth are really white. She lives with her boyfriend, so I’m not about to start coming on to her or anything. And I live with my wife. I’m just saying her teeth are really white. Maybe they’re fake.
“Hi Diane,” I respond, hoping to Merlin that’s actually her name. I know she told me before, but I’m a bit shit at remembering names.
She carries on without making any further conversation, which I’m relieved about, because I’m no good at small talk. It occurs to me that I have said five words all day today, and this is only two words less than I said yesterday. Soon, my voice will become redundant. Not only is there nobody to talk to here, there is nothing to talk about.
I write to Aidan most days. There’s only so much you can write to a six year old, especially when you know his mother’s going to be reading the letter to him. I can’t wait until he’s a bit older, then we can have proper chats. Rose says I have to stop treating Aidan like a mate, but my father never treated me like a mate and I think that could be where he fucked up. I’m not getting into the ways my father fucked up, because it would take a bloody lifetime to get through. Let’s just say he’s a fuck up, and I don’t know how my mother ever put up with him.
I think I might be becoming my dad. I saw this coming a few years ago, but as long as my hair line doesn't start receding, I think I can put up with being pure evil.
When I’m back at the apartment, I eat some lunch. I watch some television. I write letters to Aidan and to my mum, who has been lecturing me about not keeping in touch. I make up some crap to her, that Daisy and I are having a great time, that I’m loving America, that we’ll have her and Dad out to visit really soon. Empty words and empty promises, but ones that might keep her happy for another week. I don’t want it to seem like I don’t miss my mum; I do. She’s about the only normal person in my life. I just don’t want her worrying about me.
Daisy comes home from work at seven, just as she said. She doesn't greet me, and I don’t greet her. I’m not sure how much longer I can go on living like this, but I’m not at breaking point just yet. I thought breaking point might have been when she fed Aidan nuts, even though I’m sure I told her he was allergic. Then I thought breaking point might be when my psycho ex-girlfriend encouraged Daisy to stalk me and accused me of cheating on her. And yet, I’ve moved to America with her. I really will do anything to avoid large confrontations.
She bustles around the apartment, cleaning and cooking dinner, which we eat once again in silence. She does the washing up by hand instead of using magic, probably because it gives her something to do and an excuse not to talk to me. It’s fine. I don’t really feel like talking to her anyway.
When the phone rings while Daisy is doing the washing up, I answer it, giving me the chance to say more words than I have in days.
It’s my dad. It’s so weird that he’s calling; he never uses phones, even magical ones, because he thinks they’re ‘too Muggle’. What’s even stranger it that it is the middle of the night at home.
“Dad? Everything alright?” I ask immediately. My mind jumps to Aidan. But if there was anything wrong with him, surely Rose would call me. Unless there's something wrong with Rose...
“It’s your mother,” he tells me frantically. “She’s taken a bad turn.”
“What d’you mean?” I panic. Daisy stops washing up and turns around to face me, looking very concerned.
“I...I don’t know what happened, she was fine one second, the next she was unconscious. She’s in St Mungo’s now...”
“I’m coming home,” I say straight away. “I’m getting an emergency Portkey right now.”
When I hang up, Daisy pulls off her rubber gloves and apparently puts aside her vow of silence.
“What’s happened? Is it Aidan?”
“No, my Mum,” I respond. “She’s in St Mungo’s. I need to get an emergency Portkey now.”
Daisy begins making calls. One of her mates at work has a contact in the State Ministry who can get me a Portkey in an hour. Daisy helps me to pack some things, assuring me all the while that my Mum will be just fine. For the first time in months, I appreciate her. I see the woman I fell in love with.
We go to the State Ministry together, and we get through security quickly enough. We have a half hour to spare, and she sits with me as I wait.
“I’m sure everything will be fine,” Daisy assures me for the fiftieth time. “Your mum is young and healthy, she’ll be fine.”
“Yeah,” is all I can say back. I wish I could express myself better, thank her for being here. But I’m a bit too Malfoy for all that stuff.
“Scorpius...” Daisy says, her voice shaking. I look at her and see that she’s crying. “You should stay at home. You should stay in England. For good.”
“What?” I can’t quite believe she’s saying this. I should have seen it coming, of course. It's weird that I never even expected her to come home with me to see my Mum.
“You’re not happy here,” she continues. “We haven’t been happy in a long time. We both know...this wasn’t going to last.”
“But-” I start to argue back, but she interrupts me. I’m kind of glad she does, because I’m not sure what I’d argue.
“You don’t love me anymore,” she says.
“Daisy, I do,” I say, and I mean it. I do love her. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have tried this hard.
“You don’t love me enough,” she rephrases. I can’t argue that. “I know you love her more.”
No need to ask who ‘her’ is.
“There’s nothing between me and Rose anymore,” I tell her. I’ve told her that so many times. I’m not sure if I ever meant it, or if she ever believed it.
“There will always be something between you and Rose,” she says. “I tried to ignore it, and I tried to hate her, but it’s difficult to hate her. Especially considering it’s your fault you two never got together.”
I get defensive. “Hold up, she messed me about for ages! I wanted to be with her, but she got all Rose-ish...how can you say it’s my fault, it’s completely her fault!” I can’t believe I’m having this argument with my wife. I can't believe she's on Rose's side! When did they start liking each other?
“No,” Daisy snaps. “You never fought for her.”
“Yes I did!”
“Name one time you fought for her. I mean really fought for her, Scorpius. You always took her ‘no’s for an answer. You never tried to apologise for all of your wrongdoings because you were too proud. You told me all about you and her before we got together, Scorp, don’t forget that!”
I did tell her everything. I should have known it was a bad idea to marry her after telling her everything about Rose. But in my defence, when I told the stories, I was always the one who came off looking like the good guy.
“Why should I have to fight for her? If she wanted to be with me, she’d be with me,” I shrug.
“Oh, and it’s as easy as that?” Daisy asks. “You need to fight for her, or you’ll never be happy. I want you to be happy.”
“Why can’t we just try to work this out? You and me?” I ask, knowing it’s completely futile. This is definitely over.
“Because I don’t want to be married to a man who’ll always love someone else,” she sniffs. I hate that I’m the one who has done this to her. I hate that this is the first real conversation we’ve had in months, and probably the last one we will have ever. “Go home. Look after your Mum. Fight for Rose. Be happy, please.”
I don’t know what to say back to this. I hug her, and we hug for a while, and I realise finally that this is the end of my marriage. Although it’s been ending for a while, it’s still a shock. There’s still a part of me that wants to cling to it, to try and salvage it, even though it’s no use. It’s like my marriage has received the Dementor’s Kiss, and no matter how hard I try to resuscitate it, its soul is gone forever.
The Portkey, which is a fizzy drink can, begins to glow, and I grasp hold of it.
“Goodbye Scorpius. I’ll have your things sent on.”
I nod, and am pulled away from America in a flash, landing in the foyer of St Mungo’s a short time later. Transatlantic Portkeys are so much more disorientating than normal ones, but my mind is so focused on my mother now that I barely even notice.
There are no receptionists working at this time of night. I stop a Healer in the hall and ask if he knows where Astoria Malfoy is, and he asks a Porter, who tells me that she is on the fifth floor in room 508, as far as he knows. Neither of them have any idea how she is doing. I rush to the fifth floor.
Rose is sitting on one of the chairs outside room 508 in her green pyjamas. I hadn’t expected to see her here, especially not in the middle of the night; she always manages to take my breath away, even when my mother is sick. She stands up when she sees me coming.
“Scorpius,” she says gravely. She looks upset.
“What is it?” I ask immediately.
“Oh Scorp, I’m so sorry,” she whispers. “It was a brain aneurysm. There was nothing anyone could have done...”
I can’t comprehend it. Why is she talking like my mother’s dead?
“What d’you mean?”
“She...Scorpius, she passed away a few minutes ago.” Rose is crying, and she hugs me. She hugs me so tight, like she’ll never let go.
I don’t understand. She was fine. She was always healthy; she never drank or smoked. She was never even sick. How can she just be dead? I just wrote her a letter, did she even get to read it?
“I...don’t understand,” I say. “She...she wasn’t even sick...”
Rose pulls away from me, but holds onto my hands.
“I know,” she whispers. She’s been crying for a while. “I’m so sorry. Your dad called me when she got admitted. It’s so hard to believe.”
“Where is she?” I ask.
“In there,” Rose nods to 508. “Your dad is with her. You should go in. I’ll be right out here.”
I go into the room. There are no healers there, just Dad, sitting with his head in his hands, and Mum. She’s lying in the bed, looking like she could just be sleeping. I know that’s cliché, and people always say that about dead people, but she really does.
“Dad,” I whisper. He doesn't look up. My Dad isn’t good at showing his feelings. My mother was the only person he ever opened up to.
I sit the other side of Mum’s bed, and I just stare at her, not quite feeling anything yet. I don’t like showing feelings in front of my Dad anyway because he thinks I’m too sensitive anyway. I’m definitely not – just ask Rose.
I always got on better with Mum than Dad. When I got Rose pregnant, Mum was supportive, even though I knew she was furious. Dad, on the other hand, acted like a complete sociopath. Mum is the reason I’m in any way normal. And now she’s gone. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects me.
I have her eyes, people always tell me.
I continue to stare at her blankly, expecting her to wake up. Dad says nothing; he doesn’t even look at me. If it were him who died, I’d be holding Mum, and we’d be comforting each other. I’m not sure how to act around Dad without Mum.
A Healer comes in a few minutes later, and says that she needs to move the body to the morgue. We need to leave the room. She pulls the sheet over Mum’s head, waves her wand, and Mum vanishes. And then it hits me, and for all my trying, I start to cry. And I mean really cry. I’ve never cried like this; or if I have, I don’t remember it.
Dad disapparates straight away. I assume he’s gone home. I don’t much care.
Rose rushes to me, and I’m so glad to have her here. She hugs me again, and she’s crying too, so I don’t feel as stupid. She keeps telling me how sorry she is, but I wish she wouldn’t, because it doesn't change anything. She’s here. I love that she’s here.
When we stop hugging, she once again keeps a hold of my hand. I’m holding her left hand, and I feel her ring digging into my hand. I look down, and see that it is a small diamond ring, on the ring finger of her left hand.
“Who did you leave Aidan with?” I ask, piecing everything together.
“Tom’s there,” she says. “Come on, you’d better get home, there’s no point staying here. I'll explain it all to Aidan. Is there anything else I can do?”
You can tell me why Tom’s in your house. And why you’re wearing a fucking engagement ring.
I didn’t even know they were still together. Because Aidan doesn't mention him, I assumed he was out of the picture, or at least not serious. Certainly not engagement ring serious.
I don’t say any of this.
“No,” I respond. “Go on home. It’s late.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. Go home. I’ll...I’ll see you.”
She doesn't accept this. She apparates to my house with me, makes me a cup of tea, and waits for me to go to bed before she goes home her fiancé. I sit alone in my bedroom and Dad alone in his. It truly is astounding how much a family can fall apart in the space of a few hours; yesterday I had a wife and a mother. Today, I have neither.
I don’t even have Rose.
A/N: I know, it's sad, but I had to do it. Here is the alternate POV so many of you asked for! I don't know if this will sway any of the Scorpius haters out there one way or another. Thank you so much for your ongoing support and outstanding response. I appreciate and read each and every review. Next update shouldn't take too long. :)
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