“And?” I ask as soon as I get back home and find my Dad and Nick talking in the living room.
“Oh, hey sweetie.” Dad says and rubs his eyes tiredly.
“What did your Mom say?” I ask as I sit next to Nick.
“Not much.” He sighs. “She won’t ask for a divorce. That means our apartment is still his and there’s nothing I can do.”
“Well, you’re going to stay with us, right?” I ask and look at Dad. ”You can’t get back there!”
“Sure.” Dad agrees. “As long as you want.”
“Thanks, but I can’t accept the offer.” He says. “You’ve already done enough for me. My Mum got out of the hospital today.” Nick says looking at me. “I can’t leave her alone with him.”
“But he’s going to hurt you!” I protest.
“He’s going to hurt her more, if I’m not there.” He shrugs and gets up. “Thanks for everything David.” He says and hugs my Dad.
“Take care, son.” Dad says as he pats him on the back.
“Thanks, Blair.” Nick says and hugs me as well. He kisses me gently on the cheek. “I’ll see you in school tomorrow?”
I silently nod my head and he tries to smile at me. Nick grabs his jacket and with another sad wave at our direction, he walks out of the apartment.
I immediately turn to Dad. “There’s really nothing we can do?”
“I’m afraid so.” He shakes his head and sits back. “We went to talk to his mother, but she’s too afraid to ask for a divorce.”
“Can’t Nick sue him?” I ask remembering what Gerard told me.
“He could, but until Sarah files for a divorce, all their belonging still belong to him.” He explains and sighs when he notices my face expression. “I know you’re worried about Nick. But he’s survived this through all these years and he’s going to be fine now.”
“He’s never going to leave his Mom like that.” I say. “Not even when he graduates.”
“Probably not.” Dad says and rubs his eyes tiredly. “We should get some sleep, B.”
“Yeah, probably.” I nod as Dad gets up and heads towards his bedroom.
“He’ll be fine, B.” he says once again and I just nod. “Good night, B.”
“I can’t believe we’re in detention!” Savannah says while she’s scrubbing the toilet the next morning.
“Neither can I.” I say grumpily as I clean the sink.
“You know this is all your and James’ fault!” she accuses me and I turn around to look at her. “If you two haven’t barged in the closet Al and I were in we would never get caught!”
“Yes, and if your boyfriend hadn’t said to McGonagall that we were on a ‘double date’, we wouldn’t get detention scrubbing all the toilets in the castle!” I snap back at her.
“He’s not my boyfriend!” she says.
“Oh, what were you doing in that closet then?” I ask with a laugh. “Tonsils check-up?”
“And you and James were just going for a walk on the moonlight, ha?” she asks and that is where both of us burst out laughing.
“How did we get into this mess?” Savannah asks while wiping tears off from laughter.
“One word.” I say shaking my head. “Potters.”
“So true.” She nods and gets back to scrubbing.
“So…” I start. “Al, ha?”
“So…” Savannah asks. “James, ha?”
“Stop changing the subject!” I throw a sponge at her. “Explain yourself! Why haven’t you told us?”
“We’re not official yet.” She shrugs. “I mean, I do like him, obviously. And I hope he likes me back.”
“Obviously.” I say.
“But you do know what dating a Potter will be like once we finish school?” she asks and when I furrow my eyebrows she sighs. “There will be reporters everywhere you go. You will always be on the cover of a tabloid. People will come up with gossips and you will always be followed by rumours. I don’t know if I’m ready for that.”
“I never taught about that.” I admit crossing my arms. “Did you talk about that with Al?”
“I did.” She shrugs. “He said to take my time thinking about it. We don’t won’t to hurry this thing. That’s why I didn’t tell you anything.”
“I guess I understand that.” I say.
“You didn’t say anything to Hilary and Lydia?” she asks and I shake my head.
“No, by the time they arrived I was already dead asleep.” I say.
Luckily for the rest of the people who were at the party, once McGonagall found the four of us in the closet, she didn’t look for anyone else. But, unluckily for us, she dragged us into detention so early in the morning I haven’t even had a chance to recover from my hangover.
Savannah and I were supposed to rub all the girl’s toilets and James and Al were supposed to clean the boy’s. That meant I haven’t even had the chance to talk to James.
“Oh, good.” Savannah says. “So, what happened with James?”
“Nothing.” I say honestly. “McGonagall showed up just as we were about to… I actually don’t know what we were about to. I was so drunk last night.”
“We’re so screwed up, ha?” Savannah says and I laugh.
“You just noticed that now?”
“What is going on in here?” Professor McGonagall asks when she barges in the toilet to check in on us.
“Nothing!” Both Savannah and I say in one voice. She looks at us suspiciously and sighs.
“You can go to lunch now.” She says. “You’ll finish tomorrow.”
“Great!” I say cheerfully.
“Just remember that if I catch you in that situation again, consequences will be even more severe.” She warns and leaves the toilet.
“Fine.” Savannah says in a whisper. “You won’t catch us!”
The two of us join Hilary in the Great Hall for lunch.
“Hey, where’s Lydia?” I ask when we sit down.
“Too hung over to eat anything.” Hilary says. “She’s been throwing up the entire morning. Never mind her, where did the two of you disappear? I haven’t seen you since yesterday!”
“We got detention.” Savannah explains. “McGonagall caught us yesterday after curfew.”
“Well, she didn’t get anyone else.” Hilary says and looks at us suspiciously. “What were the two of you doing?”
Savannah and I exchange looks and just in that moment Al and James walk in the Great Hall followed in by McGonagall. Immediately they look at our direction and both Savannah and I look at our plates in embarrassment. None of this goes unnoticed by Hilary.
As soon as she realises that, she accusingly points a finger at us. “You were doing the Potter’s!”
“Shhh!” We warn when a few people around turn to look at us.
“I should’ve known!” Hilary slaps her forehead and turns accusingly towards Savannah. “You have been dressing extra nicely lately and disappearing for hours without an explanation. And you…” she turns to me. “I’m not actually surprised. It was about freaking time.”
“Nothing actually happened.” I say to her and she raises an eyebrow at me.
“Really?” she asks and I shrug.
“Sorry to disappoint.”
“Well, something may happen now because he’s walking this way.” Savannah says and I look at her in shock.
“Hey.” James says as he shows up.
“Hey!” I say as the girls pretend really hard to stare somewhere else instead of intensely listening to us.
“How was the detention?” he asks and I shrug.
“Good, I guess.” I say. “Yours?”
“Good. Listen-“ he starts but he’s interrupted by Professor Slughorn who suddenly shows up.
“Mr Potter, it’s so nice that I ran into you like this.” He says to James and Hilary and Savannah roll their eyes. “I’m having a small gathering, so I thought you and your family should come.”
“Sure, professor, but-“ James starts but Slughorn puts an arm around him and practically starts dragging him away.
“I also think we need to discuss your Potion’s homework.” Slughorn continues not minding James. “The last one was not your best. Or even your low best for that matter.”
“Pierce!” James finally yells from across the room causing for Slughorn and the rest of the school to stare at him. “Do you want to go out with me?”
The entire school stares at me in silence and I just open my mouth in shock. Suddenly Hilary kicks me under the table and I manage to find words.
“Sure!” I say to him and he smiles causing for the rest of the school to cheer.
James winks at me through the room before Slughorn grabs him and I feel blush creeping up my cheeks.
“It was a god damn time!” Hilary states and Savannah nods in amusement.
Nick didn’t come over the next day. I sent him a letter and all he scribbled down was ‘I’m fine. Don’t worry.’ I was immediately ready to get over to his place, but Dad stopped me from doing so insisting it would only make things worse. He was right, though. The last time I went there, I almost got beaten up. I decided to give him some time alone. But when he didn’t show up at school on Monday, I got worried.
“You can’t beat yourself up because of it.” Gerard says when I bring him his usual cappuccino and almost spill it all over him. “There’s nothing you can do about it.”
“How can I leave him to handle this on his own?” I ask him. “How can I do nothing? I love him!”
“You can’t control everything.” Gerard says and I sigh but stay silent.
With Nick on my mind constantly, I leave work later than usual thanks to all the catching up I had to do. But on my way home, I suddenly get an idea.
I apparate to the parking lot of the diner Nick’s Mum works at. For a split second I think of not walking in, but I decide against it. I walk in and sit behind the counter waiting for her. She steps out from the kitchen a minute later.
“Blair?” She asks. I notice she has dark circles under her eyes, but, thankfully, she doesn’t look as if anyone hurt her.
“Hello, Mrs Anderson.” I greet her with a smile.
“Please, call me Holly.” She says with a smile as she whips her hands against her apron. “What can I get you?”
“Actually, I was hoping you would join me when your shift ends.” I beg and she sighs.
“Blair, does your father know you’re here?” she asks and I shake my head. “Does Nick?”
“No.” I say. “You can tell him, though, it’s not like I’m hiding something from him. I just want to talk to you. I’m worried about him.”
“You don’t have to be worried about us.” Holly snaps at me. “We’re doing fine.”
“Please.” I beg again. “Let me pay for your coffee.”
She stares at me for a moment, but when she realises I’m not giving up, she sighs and nods. “My shift ends at midnight. Care to wait for me?”
I smile at her and nod. She pours me a cup of coffee and goes off to serve other customers. She joins me an hour later looking exhausted.
“I’m sorry I’m keeping you up so late.” I say to her when she joins me.
“It’s fine.” She shrugs. “What is it you want to talk about?”
“I’m sure you know my Mom and Dad are divorced.” I start and she raises her eyebrows at me.
“Of course I know.”
“I have been hurt by that for a long time.” I continue. “I missed my Mom of course. And my sister. And it makes me wonder what it would look like today. Would I be a different person now? Would I be happier?” she looks at me with her arms crossed. “Did their choices cost me my happiness?”
“So you’re saying it’s bad that they divorced?” she asks me. “Is that what you wanted to tell me?”
“I don’t know if it’s bad!” I say. “My parents made that decision because they taught it was the right one. And maybe it was. I didn’t have to listen to constant arguments and fights. My Mom didn’t get beaten up regularly.”
“That’s enough!” Holly snaps and stands up but I stand up as well and grab her hand.
“You need to think of Nick!” I say to her. “He’s your child and you need to know that you’re harming him as well by staying with that man.”
“That man is his father!” she hisses at me.
“That man is an alcoholic and abusive and he needs help.” I protest. “But you need to help yourself first. Or if you don’t think of yourself, think of Nick. You want him and your future grandchildren to see you like this? Exhausted and beaten up? Too scared to go home?”
“That’s really enough!” she says as she grabs her purse and hurries towards the door.
I suddenly feel even more worried. Have I said too much? Is Nick going to be mad at me? I should’ve listened to Dad and Gerard and just stay out of it. What could I even do that would make everything better?
Nick is having hard time at home and I think I made it even worse. I don’t know what I’m going to do. He has been through so much and now this? I’m not sure how long he can take this. I’m scared, B.
And I miss you a lot as well.
I hope you’re getting ready for those exams. Only a few more weeks to the end of the year. Can’t wait to see you.
A/N: Hi, there. It's been a long time, I know. I swear, it's getting harder and harder to write this story as we reach it's ending. I don't know if I'm getting sentimental or what but I don't want it to end.
I hope you're not too mad at me for not updating the chapter sooner. I have been really busy with classes and exams and work and I'm terribly sorry.
Hope you like the chapter. I know it's a bit dull since nothing's really happening, but I beg you once again, bare with me.
Also, for all of you who want the dramatic reveal of the girl' identity, don't worry, I have written that part when I first started writing the story, so basically three or so years ago. And it will be dramatic, I promise.
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