In an instant, Snape cupped his hands around the back of Jessica’s neck Justin Penny Normal Justin Penny 2 1724 2003-01-08T00:07:00Z 2003-01-08T00:07:00Z 4 3093 13921 284 80 21654 9.2720 Chapter Four –The Loathsome and the Lovely   In an instant, Snape cupped his hands around the back of Jessica’s neck. He pulled her deeper into her own kiss and combed his fingers up into her soft dark hair. With his thumbs massaging the bare skin behind her ears, Snape let the stroking of his lips match her own and then thoughtlessly tried coaxing her into a deeper, more passionate kiss. At that moment Snape felt a sharp thrust against his chest and then quickly opened his eyes to see Jessica tearing herself from his grasp. Her entire body flung backwards against the arm of the bench and a look of pure disgust appeared on her face. “What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing?” Jessica demanded. She quickly stood up from her uncomfortable seat on the bench and wiped the back of her hand over her mouth as she watched the dumbfounded professor. “Are you out of your mind?” After Jessica took a couple of crooked steps backward, Snape pushed himself up from the bench as well and prudently kept on her. “I beg your pardon?” Snape said coldly as his eyes narrowed into a squint and his hand subtly fumbled at his side as he tried to push his cloak back over his shoulder. “What are you talking about, Jessica?” Snape had a way of twisting his face into a glower that would intimidate even the darkest of wizards. However, this time Jessica wasn’t going to fall for his intimidation. She wasn’t going to let his short temper keep her from standing her ground. “You know what I’m talking about!” she insisted. “Why did you do that?” “Do what, exactly?” Snape asked, each word sounding like it was it’s own sentence. “And don’t say I shouldn’t have kissed you,” he snarled, a threatening tone sounding through his voice. He pointed a long narrow finger at Jessica and then took one step closer to her. “You started that all on your own.” Just by looking at the cold vile look in his eyes, Jessica knew he wasn’t fooling with her. It was obvious that Snape wasn’t the type to play such games as that. He was a lot of nasty things, but he wasn’t manipulative. That couldn’t be! Jessica thought to herself. Why in the world would she ever want to kiss him? She hated him, didn’t she? Jessica took a moment of time to think and let her eyes wandered down to the stone path at her feet. Unable to fix her attention on anything, Jessica let out a sigh and squeezed her eyes shut. With her hands clamped over her eyes, Jessica pressed her lips together and tried to remember what she had done. For some reason, she couldn’t remember what she was thinking such a short time ago. It was as if all her senses for that moment of her life had just been bleeped out of existence. Jessica couldn’t think of a single plausible reason in the world that would ever make her want to kiss him. Was there? Judging her by the sudden pale complexion that took over her face, Snape figured he had rendered Jessica speechless. There were several times where her mouth would open and her eyes would flicker, but none of those occasions were accompanied by words. Her hands shuddered at her sides, also unsure of how to extract the agitation she felt bundling up inside of her. “I didn’t mean to alarm you, Jessica,” Snape found himself saying. “I assumed that when you went to kiss me, you expected me to reciprocate your actions. Obviously you’re a bit more naïve than I supposed.” Jessica’s eyes opened and her head slowly lifted into an upright position. The glossy wet look in her troubled eyes sparkled in the early morning’s sun. And yet, the lost puppy look in her eyes wasn’t quite enough to make Snape feel any sympathy for her. If anything, her craven behaviour was only testing his patience further. Snape looked back at her with the usual loathsome glare and began walking towards her. He stopped at her side with his shoulder almost touching hers and then leaned his head down to her ear to whisper. “Perhaps once you’re ready –” he stopped, thought again of what he wanted to say and then leaned just a little bit closer to her. Unexpectedly, he caught a gentle drift of her perfume and lost his train of thought. Snape closed his eyes as he breathed a deep breath of the sweet aroma. At the same time he fought every temptation he had to touch her again. And did he ever want to touch her! Her skin was so soft and so warm, Snape wondered if any sex-starved man could resist such a beautiful thing when it was so close by. It didn’t take him very long to realize he certainly couldn’t. Snape’s left hand quickly found its way to the small of her back, and the other to the side of her face. Snape burned a nostalgic look into her eyes and wondered how appalled she felt having the bare skin of his cold clammy hand touch her soft cheek. Although she probably wanted to, Jessica didn’t push him away from her, and for that, Snape was eternally grateful. He wanted this moment to last a lot longer than it would and to escalate into something it couldn’t. “I must be going back now,” Snape lied. “Once you’ve had time to decide where your heart belongs, we can have another little chitchat. Tomorrow perhaps. Until then I suggest you steer clear out of my way.” In that one moment Snape was able to make clear to Jessica all of his seriousness, his frustration and even his keenness. He wanted to establish an understanding with her, but not if she wasn’t sure of exactly what was being established. At this point, Jessica had no idea what she wanted. Not anymore. Snape watched Jessica and waited for her to say something. It didn’t really matter to him what she said, just as long as she said something. He didn’t want her to let him walk away not knowing at all how she felt. No words came. Jessica stood in awkward silence, looking deeply back and forth into his eyes. He looked intimidating and soothing all at the same time. He was so close to her, but Jessica didn’t feel the least bit uncomfortable anymore. Jessica closed her eyes and braced herself for the kiss she believed was coming. The quivering of her bottom lip had gone almost unnoticed as Snape neared himself to her. He came about an inch away from touching his lips to hers before he saw the trepidation in her expression. He slowly backed away, overpowered by the sense of duty. Now wasn’t the time, no matter how badly he wished it could be. Jessica was so beautiful. Snape was sure he had never seen such a beautiful face before. Thinking that he may never have a chance to do this again, Snape wondered what would happen if he just wrapped his arms around her perfect body and seize her mouth with his own before bestowing upon her the abundance of passionate kisses he was more than capable of giving her. But as much as he wanted to taste the sweetness of her kiss again, Snape wanted to turn and walk away without receiving another harsh blow to the chest. He’d had enough of that for one day. Before he had time to think about what would become of his fantasy, the man of principal soon engulfed the man of desperate desire. Deciding that it was the best thing to do, Snape let his hand glide slowly off her face and then started back towards the castle where he’d confine himself to his quarters with an aged bottle of some extremely potent gin and he’d do what he did best. He’d sulk about the dungeons and curse his fate until he passed out of exhaustion. In the same time frame that Snape finally forced himself to walk away from her, Jessica opened her eyes to see no one before her. He’d slipped away without making a single sound. Before leaving her, Jessica suspected Snape was going to kiss her again. Snape’s unexpected disappearance had left Jessica with the profound feeling of… disappointment? “You were right,” Jessica whispered to herself and touched her fingers to her dry lips. Her eyes closed again and Jessica thought back to the moment where she could still feel his lips on hers. His kiss was affectionate. Sweet. Passionate. And enjoyable. It was then that Jessica came to the realization that she wanted him to kiss her again. That morning something about the loathsome, irritable and crude Potions Master had captured not only Jessica’s attention, but a piece of her heart as well. She wasn’t sure what it was, but there was certainly more magic going to work between the two of them than either of them realized. Jessica spun her body around in time to see Snape making his way across the lawn towards the greenhouses. He didn’t stop, nor slow down, nor even turn around once to see what he had left behind. His long robes of midnight black, waving around behind him in the wind, were the last to disappear around the corner.   *        *        *   Snape didn’t see Jessica at all on Monday. He didn’t see her on Tuesday either. Wednesday went by, then Thursday and then Friday. Jessica hadn’t come. It was Saturday now and the second Quidditch game of the season would soon begin. An entire week had gone by since he had last seen her. Snape was beginning to wonder if he ever would see her again. Jessica did know she was supposed to come to him, didn’t she? Once she had time to sort her feelings, she was to come to him and inform him of her decision. Snape had made that perfectly clear, hadn’t he? Perhaps not, Snape often found himself thinking as he paced back and forth among his desolate quarters. The only thing he’d made clear was that he didn’t want to see her until her decision was made. Maybe she still hadn’t decided how she felt about him – or maybe she had and decided that she didn’t want to see him again. Sometimes after nearly losing his mind thinking about Jessica, Snape found himself half way up towards the Hospital Wing ready to march in sweep her off her feet before caring her back to his chambers where he’d assure her that it was meant to be that way for them. But then he’d come to his senses and realize that he’d only be wasting his time. She’d made up her mind already and this is the way it was meant to be for them. Jessica wanted it this way. She didn’t want to see him, she didn’t want to talk to him and she certainly didn’t want to make love to him. Snape caught a glimpse of himself in a dusty mirror across the room. He looked at his reflection for a moment and then took several long heavy strides towards it. He pressed the palms of his hands against either side of the frame and looked at himself for a moment. All he saw was a sallow malicious face looking back at him. He was a mess. No man who looked like that deserved a woman like Jessica. She was beauty beyond beauty. She deserved a man who could look at himself and feel proud of what he saw. Snape never cared what he saw when he looked in the mirror. He didn’t even know why he had a mirror in his quarters. It had just always been there. Snape didn’t care what anyone thought when they looked at him. To Severus Snape, life wasn’t about looking good or impressing others. Popularity and sex appeal certainly didn’t matter to him. What was important to him right now was… Jessica. Even if she did find him attractive, how was the ‘epitome of abysmal’ going to win the heart of this lovely eligible maiden? After the way he had treated her, Snape would have had to be crazy to think Jessica would ever want to place her heart in his hands. After all, he hadn’t given her a reason to feel anything but hatred for him. Nothing he’d done for her was kind, or friendly, or affectionate. Instead he did nothing but insult her and rebuke her. “You’re a damn fool!” Snape muttered to his reflection in the mirror. Jessica easily could have been his. They were so much alike, Snape and Jessica. They were both cynical, irate, eager, lonely and isolated. Strangers among those who were just like them. Although she didn’t yet know it, Jessica was the heir of the two most powerful wizard families in the last century, and yet she had never once held a wand in her hand. Snape on the other hand was a profound wizard capable of brewing even the most potent of potions, lifting the most evil curses and restoring normality to the strangest of spells-and-charms-gone-wrong. But when it came to matters of the heart, Snape felt as ignorant as a Muggle on a broomstick. In his younger years he had known passion. A great deal of it too, but none of it had involved his heart. He’d never been in love before, not really. No wonder he was such a mess. All his life he had gone without ever knowing love in its deepest form, and now all of a sudden every molecule of his body was craving it. How was it that a woman whom he knew almost nothing about could do this to him? In only a matter of days she had turned him inside out, penetrated the dark shield surrounding his heart and rendered him vulnerable to falling in love. Damn her! He didn’t want to fall in love. But it was too late. There was no use denying it. The stubborn love-hating Potions Master of Hogwarts had fallen for the Headmaster’s grandniece. Damn those emerald green eyes! Damn that irresistible smile, the sweet succulent way she kissed, and that flawless mouth-watering body. And damn the way she made him want her!   *        *        *   Way up at the top of the tower over looking the Quidditch field, Jessica sat comfortably at the side of her great uncle admiring the astounding view of fourteen enthusiastic students racing around in the sky on their broomsticks. The sun shone brightly through the scatter of fluffy white clouds and warmed the otherwise snowy November morning. There was no breeze, and for that Jessica was thankful. She hated the cold winter season, especially the cold wind that blew against her face and froze her skin. Jessica looked again through a pair of binoculars her uncle had given her to see another pair of students racing side by side after the small twitchy Golden Snitch. Within the next few moments, the game would probably come to an end. “Your mother played for the Slytherin team during her years at Hogwarts,” Dumbledore told Jessica. “She was one of the three Chasers, and a very fine one at that.” Jessica set her binoculars down on her lap and looked curiously at her uncle. “She never told me she was a Quidditch player,” she said. “Or that she was a Slytherin for that matter.” Jessica looked through her binoculars once more to see both team Seekers still neck and neck. The tail ends of their Quidditch robes were almost all that could be seen as they dashed around in a sharp turn and then headed down and across to the other end of the field. “There are plenty of things your mother wanted to tell you, my dear,” Dumbledore said, speaking in a low grandfatherly voice. “I know she would have loved to tell you all about her years at Hogwarts. She was a top student for all seven years and earned more points for Slytherin than most others.” “I was down in the Slytherin quarter last week,” Jessica mentioned. “It’s hard to believe that such a creepy place can be a part of something as beautiful as Hogwarts.” The child-like look in Dumbledore’s blue eyes and the way he chuckled put a smile on Jessica’s face. “I mean it,” Jessica assured. “It was horrible. And Professor Snape’s reluctance to help me get out of there didn’t make it feel any friendlier.” The Headmaster’s chuckle turned into a conservative laugh and his hand topped gently over Jessica’s for a short moment. “Severus was probably quite startled to see you walking about the dungeons.” Jessica shrugged he shoulders considerably. “I guess you could say that,” she said just as she felt the first gust of wind blow her hair across her face. When Jessica reached her fingers up to tuck her hair back behind her ears she looked up and down the benches packed with professors and wondered why Snape wasn’t among them. Again, she was overcome with the feeling of mild disappointment. “Have you spoken to Severus lately?” Dumbledore asked, even though he already knew the answer. “No,” Jessica said softly. “I haven’t seen him. I guess I was sort of hoping I’d see him here today. He must not be much of a Quidditch fan.” “You’re mistaken, dear,” Dumbledore said as he adjusted his spectacles and peered over to the tower next to theirs. “Severus is just there.” He pointed his long bony finger in Snape’s direction and anxiously helped Jessica lift the binoculars to her eyes. Dumbledore’s lips curled up into a smile invisible to Jessica. He saw the eagerness in her eyes and felt more certain now than ever that his grandniece was bound to be the one who would one day soon crack the shell encompassing the heart of the forlorn Potions Master. “I see him,” Jessica said and focused her binoculars on the sour-faced professor. His grey scarf was wrapped several times around his shoulders and his overcoat was buttoned all the way up to his neck. His eyes often narrowed into squints and his attention seemed more focused on the wizard sitting in front of him that it was on the Quidditch game. Jessica looked at the young wizard Snape seemed to be eyeing and immediately recognized him – or at least the purple turban-like cloth wrapped around his head. She was sure she had seen him before. “Uncle Albus,” Jessica began hesitantly as she leaned over to him. “Who is that in front of Professor Snape? The one wearing purple,” she added and then pointed her finger in their direction. The majority of the adult crowd that came out for the Quidditch games were from surrounding towns and villages. However, Jessica hadn’t yet met anyone outside of the school. “Ah, that’s Professor Quirrell,” Dumbledore said happily. “The Defence Against the Dark Arts professor.” “He’s a professor?” Jessica repeated. “He looks so young, but perhaps that’s why he looks so familiar. I must have come across him several times in the corridors.” Dumbledore’s eyebrows raised knowingly and he tucked his chin into his neck as he looked at her over his crescent shaped spectacles. “It was Professor Quirrell who brought you from your captor to the safety of Hogwarts.”  

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