Complication #8: Try as you may, you can never truly erase the past.
“I’ve narrowed it down to three potential candidates.”
“What?” I ask, looking up from my book at a very determined Scarlett. I was enjoying some alone time in the dorm – a real rarity when you have three best friends as roommates – and I’m not too keen on being interrupted.
However, it’s Scarlett, and she’s my closest friend. So I let it slide.
“The girl Potter fucked. I’ve narrowed it down to three potential girls,” she replies matter-of-factly.
I sigh. I’m completely done with this topic, and Scarlett, along with the entire student body of Hogwarts, is not ready to let it go.
But on the bright side, my name hasn’t come up once, so maybe there’s a chance I can put this whole mess behind me.
“Who?” I ask, trying to keep the annoyance out of my voice.
“Well, there’s Madeline, because she’s obsessed with him but she’s too much of a prude to admit to sleeping with anyone. And then there’s that Hufflepuff girl Dom, is always with, not her cousin obviously, because that’s disgusting, because she wouldn’t want to say anything because she’s so close with Dom.”
“Last time I checked, that’s only two potential candidates,” I say, relaxing a little bit and smirking at Scarlett.
She pauses for a moment. “The third isn’t really a specific person, just a category. It’s gotta be someone who hates Potter a whole lot. That’s like one of the only reasons she wouldn’t go around bragging to everyone.”
My palms start sweating – while I know she’s not at all referring to me, it scares me that she’s made this sort of connection. How much longer before someone makes an actual connection to me? I can’t let that happen.
“Okay,” I reply nonchalantly, looking down at my book and hoping that my reddening cheeks don’t give anything away.
“Come on, Abigail,” Scarlett whines. “Why don’t you care about this at all? It’s crazy gossip, and if we were to figure out who the girl was before anyone else, we’d have a ridiculous amount of power.”
“We already have a ridiculous amount of power,” I reply, throwing my hair over my shoulder. “We don’t need to spend hours sleuthing around to prove it.”
She crosses her arms. “Fine then. You don’t have to help me. But I’m going to find the girl who hates Potter the most, who’s not you, of course, since you’ve got Blaise and all.”
She really needs to put it all right in my face, doesn’t she? I have Blaise, but I still managed to be the girl that slept with Potter. A vicious wave of guilt hits me like the Hogwarts Express, and I feel like I can’t breathe.
“R-right,” I stammer, “of course. I’m going to go to the loo, if you don’t mind.”
In a hurried fashion, I place my book on my bed and quickly throw myself off the bed, desperate to get to a place that’s anywhere but here.
When I get into the bathroom, I immediately take a long look at my complexion. While there are no obvious signs of my distress, I can feel a cold sweat that’s broken out across my face and neck.
I quickly splash my face with cold water, taking deep breaths. How did I manage to get myself in such a bad situation?
I hear Scarlett’s footsteps, followed by an opening and closing of a door. I know she’s left the room, so I let myself go back into the dormitory. I place my book on the nightstand, sit on my bed, and shut my curtains.
I pull my knees tightly to my chest, wanting nothing more than to rip my hair out in stress. But of course, I like my hair exactly where it is. I fight the tears threatening to spill onto my cheeks, taking deep breaths and effectively stopping my own mental breakdown before it starts.
Instead, I start planning.
I need to get rid of any hint that I could be the guilty party, and I also need to get rid of the guilt I feel every time someone brings up what happened. I push my curtains aside and start pacing the dorm room, allowing my mind to wander.
And then suddenly, I have a plan. A way to absolve my own feelings of guilt and (hopefully) quell any suspicions that I was the girl Potter hooked up with.
I have to sleep with Blaise.
If I sleep with him, I’ll no longer feel guilty about Potter, because the two cancel out, right? And then, in the process of making sure Blaise’s roommates don’t come back to the dorm, it’ll start gossip, and people will associate me as sleeping with Blaise, and obviously I wouldn’t be sleeping with both boys, because who does that?
Me, actually, but no one will know that.
I start putting together the details. This needs to happen as soon as possible. I decide on Friday night.
So between now and then, I need to make sure that Blaise’s dormitory is empty, find my most alluring lingerie, and make sure that no one ever associates me and Potter in… that way.
It’s a perfect plan, really.
Perfectly on schedule, I find myself in Blaise’s dormitory Friday night, wearing nothing but a deep red lingerie set, complete with matching stilettos. The room is dark, with the exception of about five candles near Blaise’s bed. While it’s nowhere near as romantic as the setting I had planned for his at my father’s house, it definitely does the trick. Especially considering the scenery of my previous encounter.
Through bribery and possibly a few threats, I’ve already ensured that his dormmates won’t be coming back at all tonight, so I leave the curtains wide open, waiting to surprise Blaise when he opens the door.
I lounge on the bed, praying that tonight won’t be a repeat of the night before we came to Hogwarts. After all, this time around, he doesn’t have anyone blowing things up to draw him away from me.
I’m not quite sure what time he’s due back – he tutors third years in the library for Transfiguration until 9, so I think it’s suitable to assume he’ll be here around 9:15.
I look at the clock sitting on Blaise’s bedside table – 9:15. Right on schedule, I hear footprints coming up the stairs.
I quickly lie on my side, hoping to show both some cleavage and my legs, which is bound to earn a reaction from him.
The door opens, and there stands my lovely boyfriend, perfectly poised in his school uniform.
As he takes in the dimly lit dormitory glowing with candlelight, and me lying on his bed, his eyes grow huge. He all but drops his bag next to him, looking at me with a mix of wonder and confusion.
“Whoa, Abigail,” he says. “What is this?”
I throw my legs off the side of the bed, walking over to him in the most seductive manner that I can muster. I don’t really view myself as a sexual person, so this is a struggle, but judging by the way Blaise’s eyes follow my movement, it’s working.
“I’m ready, Blaise,” I reply, loosening his tie from around his neck and running my other hand down the front of his shirt. “I want you.”
“Are you sure?” he asks, showing remarkable restraint for a boy whose eyes are focused almost exclusively on my chest. “I don’t want you to feel pressured into anything, and I know you wanted your first time to be a really big deal.”
Yeah, and that dream went out the window when I lost my virginity in the Shrieking Shack while completely intoxicated.
“It’s always a really big deal as long as I’m with you,” I purr, wrapping my arms around his neck and gently pulling his face towards mine. It’s a blatant lie, but it works on him.
In an instant, his lips capture mine, and his arms wrap tightly around my waist. My fingers entangle themselves in his hair, and I instantly deepen the kiss. His tongue runs along my bottom lip, and soon I find myself flinging his already loosened tie as far away as I can, and going to work on the buttons of his white button down shirt.
He brings my legs around his waist, and I kick off the stilettos in the process. He steps backwards, and, upon hitting the edge of the bed with the back of his legs, we fall onto his bed in a tight embrace.
Afterwards, I lie wrapped in Blaise’s arms, curled up against his bare chest. He sleeps soundly, but I can’t fall asleep just yet – my mind is racing at the speed of light, refusing to let me relax.
I know I shouldn’t compare anything – Blaise is my boyfriend, after all – but I can’t help it. Everything with Blaise was perfect, exactly how I’d imagined everything going.
But with Potter, it was different. It was clumsy, awkward, and spontaneous – probably at least partially owing to the fact that we were both drunk out of our minds.
And as much as I hate myself for it, I think I preferred the latter. With Blaise, it just, it felt like something was missing. I know I shouldn’t be thinking this way, but I can’t help myself.
It makes me feel sick to my stomach.
Suddenly, I’m too hot, I’m too cramped, and Blaise’s arm feels like it’s strangling me. I have to get out of here before I forget how to breathe.
I move slowly and purposefully, maneuvering myself so that I don’t move Blaise and he doesn’t notice my absence. I’ll come up with an explanation in the morning. I quickly grab a T-shirt and boxers out of Blaise’s trunk and throw them on, immediately getting out of the dormitory and inhaling some much needed fresh air.
I don’t notice it happening, but before I can do anything to stop it, my breathing comes in short, strangled bursts and I feel like I’m drowning. I can’t catch my breath, and I sit on the stairs, putting my head between my legs in an attempt to catch my breath.
After Merlin knows how much time, I finally feel like I can breath again. Holding tightly to the rails to compensate for my spinning head, I head down the boys’ stairs and up the girls’ ones.
When I get back to my room, it’s completely dark – all the girls have already gone to sleep. I use this to my advantage; I can sneak into the room and into my bed unnoticed, because Merlin knows if they see me they’ll have questions, and I’m not sure I’m ready to answer those.
I shut the curtains around me, casting a Silencing charm on the area around my bed.
I crawl under the covers, curling into a fetal position. I thought tonight was supposed to absolve me of any guilt, but it did the exact opposite. I can’t stop thinking back to my night with Potter, and it’s killing me.
I’m not supposed to be the type of girl who cheats on her boyfriend. I’m supposed to be the perfect one – and perfect doesn’t include one-night stands with sworn enemies.
This time, I can’t stop the tears that come trailing down my face, and they quickly morph into strangled sobs as I’m hit with wave upon wave of overpowering guilt, each one stronger than the one before.
When I fall asleep, there’s a boy’s face behind my eyelids, and, much to my own dismay, it’s not my boyfriend’s.
I sleep fitfully, leaving me with quite a lot to work with when I wake up Saturday morning. Even more so than earlier this week, my hair is unkempt, my skin pale, and the circles under my eyes are heavily pronounced. I try to fix it, but there’s just no amount of makeup that can conceal the dead look in my eyes.
I throw Blaise’s T-shirt and boxers aside, replacing them with a simple purple dress and some black heels. I may look horrendous, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to dress that way as well.
“Well, thanks for waking us up!” Scarlett says cheerily, bounding into the bathroom. Despite the fact that she just woke up, her blonde hair cascades smoothly down her back.
“Sorry,” I reply, smoothing my dress in the mirror, “it completely slipped my mind.”
“No problem, but now you have to wait on the rest of us,” Brooke says, slowly getting out of bed. “And, you have to wake Caroline.”
Of all my friends, Caroline is the least pleasant in the morning. She enjoys throwing pillows at people who tried to wake her up too early – it’s a bit of a childish habit, but given that it’s first thing in the morning, I let it slide.
“I’m already awake,” a voice grumbles from Caroline’s closed curtains. “How couldn’t I be, with you three making such a raucous?”
“We’re not even that loud, Caroline,” Brooke points out, slipping into a pair of black and white patterned pants.
“You are when it’s first thing in the morning!”
Scarlett rolls her eyes playfully as she puts on her makeup. “It’s not even that early. It’s almost 10.”
I look at the clock immediately – was it really already 10? I meant to go see Blaise first thing this morning and explain (or lie about, more accurately) why I left.
There’s a brief amount of grumbling from Caroline’s bed, but she eventually pulls the curtains open and gets out of bed.
Scarlett’s ready first, given that she’s far more energetic and therefore put-together a lot faster than Brooke and Caroline.
She sits on the bed next to me, and looks at me briefly. “You look tired,” she comments.
I shrug. “I didn’t go to bed until pretty late last night.”
“Yeah, about that,” Brooke says from the other side of the room, using her wand as a curling iron for her auburn hair, “where were you last night? You weren’t in the dorm by the time we all went to sleep.”
“I’m starting to worry about all your disappearances,” Caroline says jokingly, much more pleasant now that she’s gotten out of bed.
I giggle softly, before replying, “I was with Blaise last night.”
“Oooh,” Scarlett says, nudging me playfully with her shoulder. “You just can’t get enough of him now that you’ve started, can you?”
I try not to think of my real motivation, of the stupid dark-haired boy that won’t leave my mind even when I’m with Blaise, and the massive waves of guilt I feel whenever I’m reminded of either of them.
“Something like that,” I murmur, trying to pull off a soft smile that I’m pretty sure comes out more like a grimace.
“Wait, but if you were with Blaise last night, why did you come back here?”
The question is Brooke’s and even though I’ve rehearsed the answer in my head, I still hate the idea of saying it out loud.
“I was feeling ill, and Blaise was sleeping so peacefully that I didn’t want to disturb him.”
It’s yet another lie, and I feel like they’re never-ending these days.
Sunday evening, Scarlett, Brooke, and Caroline are working in the Ravenclaw common room, and I escape to the library for some much-needed alone time.
I’m about halfway through my Defence essay, when suddenly, someone is sitting across from me at the table.
But instead of lapsing into our usual silence, he speaks.
“So you had a nice little evening with Blaise, I hear?”
“That’s none of your business, Potter,” I reply, trying to maintain a tone of civility despite the blood pounding in my ears.
“Oh please,” he replies easily, although there’s definitely a hint of something else in his words. “The whole bloody school knows, and it’s not like you’re doing anything to dispel the rumours.”
I let out a sigh, but don’t reply to his comment.
“You do know that sleeping with him doesn’t cancel out sleeping with me, right?”
The words hit me like a stray hex – sharp and completely unplanned for.
I try to come up with an equally stinging reply, but the words hit too close to home. That’s exactly what I had tried to do, and it had failed.
“I know,” I reply miserably. “Believe me, I know.”
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