Chapter 13 - The Bedroom
He stepped out from the flames as glorious as she had imagined him. And as she had dreamed, the smile came, pearly and true. He was dressed in smart black robes with his hair neatly parted. It was odd for Rose to see, for Scorpius was always far scruffier at school. He walked quickly towards her and wrapped her in his arms; Rose melted into them with a blush. Never would he understand what these moments meant to her. When they pulled apart she smiled up at his ivory face and he returned it.
‘You have no idea how glad I am to be here!’ he declared, holding her shoulders and she revelled in his gentle grip. He released her and she almost felt a tad dizzy. ‘Father hasn’t spoken to me all day because I’ve come here – which is a good thing really. And I managed to completely avoid Anwen.’ Rose was cheered to hear the final addition.
It was only now that Scorpius seemed to become aware of his surroundings and surveyed the warmly-coloured room. ‘Nice place,’ he smiled, ‘very you - especially all the books.’ He walked around the edge of the room, running his fingers along the spines of the leather-bound volumes.
‘I don’t even read that much,’ she argued.
‘More than me.’
At this point the door opened and Hermione poked her head round.
‘I thought I heard you arrive,’ she stepped into the room and smiled at Scorpius, who seemed pleased, if somewhat surprised, by this reaction.
‘Hello, Mrs Weasley.’
‘I’ll leave you two to it,’ she said, ‘just call me if you want anything.’ With this, Hermione left the room and her footsteps vanished down the corridor.
Rose and Scorpius stood in silence for a moment. They smiled warmly at each other but total harmony was marred by a slightly uncomfortable tension in the air. Looking at his pink lips, Rose recalled how she had imagined there touch and felt her cheeks grow slightly warm. He looked back and Rose wondered what his own thoughts on her were.
‘Are you going to show me around then?’ he asked playfully.
‘Oh, yes, of course,’ she said, roused from her thoughts. ‘This is the living room, as you probably guessed.'
‘I like it,’ he said, ‘it looks warm – all the rooms at the Manor are monochrome.’
She led him out of the room and down the corridor. She noticed how he looked around with a kind of wonder, apparently adoring all the details from the miniscule people in the family photos as they giggled and smiled, to the old, battered Chudley Cannon figurines that whizzed through the sky around their box. He showed similar interest in the open and breezy, forest green dining room; the small but homely kitchen and the small grove that lay in the garden, with its blooming apple trees and old rope swing that hung by a pond, little flashes of gold indicating the life beneath. They went up the stairs, with more family photos lining the wall. Rose looked over her shoulder to see Scorpius paused at one that was solely of her. Taken only months previously, the Rose of the picture was reluctant to smile, glancing from side to side almost nervously, before her gaze paused on him and radiated a silent sadness. Rose wondered whether Scorpius could see the sorrow in those shimmering eyes of blue.
‘C’mon, she said quietly. He nodded and smiled, then followed her up the rest of the staircase. The next door they came to was one of bare wood. Engraved in it was ‘ROSE’ in delicate calligraphy, along with the predictable depiction of the flower besides the writing. She opened the door, and Scorpius peered around to see the blue room fully.
‘It’s quite plain,’ he said, ‘but I love it. It’s pretty.’ Rose didn’t really know what he was talking about, though she agreed that plain was certainly the fair description. Scorpius walked into the room and spun round, apparently revelling in his surroundings. Rose followed him and shut the door behind her. ‘Rose, I love it here. It’s so beautiful! I probably sound crazy but I’m so used to being locked up in my horrible old place. This is full of colour and light – and happiness!’ Rose couldn’t decide whether to be amused by his enthusiasm or to just enjoy watching him twirl in the beautiful amber light that tore through her curtains and drenched him.
‘I’m glad you like it,’ she said, and sat on her bed. He spun to look at her and grinned.
‘When I get home I’m redecorating my bedroom – something more like this. My parents won’t like it so I’ll have to do it the muggle way, but it’ll be fun. You could always help me?’ He suggested, tilting his head.
‘At your house? Meet your family?’ Rose felt a mix of excitement at the invitation and terror at the prospect of meeting the Malfoys.
‘If you wanted,’ his voice was weak and, though she may have imagined it, nervous.
‘Yes, I want.’ She smiled and he bounced slightly on the spot, almost bouncing to sit next to her on the bed. She looked straight at his face, close now, and felt again the waves of that overwhelming urge to touch him and have him closer still. ‘I’m so glad things are back to normal. I’ve missed you so much.’ He looked at her intently.
‘I’ve missed you too.’ The urge was almost overpowering. She felt her chin begin to tilt towards him but stopped herself before it was noticeable. He stroked her arm and held her towards him in an almost-hug. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever been as close to anyone as I am to you.’
She couldn’t help but allow a gasp to escape her at the words and tried to blink back the tears that now prickled at her eyes. She rested her head on his shoulder and he wrapped his arm around her. They heard the door open and close downstairs and the distant murmur of conversation, but they ignored it. He turned his face so that he could see her as she leant on him. Her eyes flicked to his and he raised his hand to her cheek. The sun glittered behind him and gave him a halo of golden light. She could feel his breath on her cheek, warm and comforting. She drew nearer now, no longer disguising her intention.
‘ROSE!’ her father bellowed from downstairs. They jumped apart, startled. ‘GET DOWN HERE!’ Without a moment to process what had happened, or regret that it had not been fulfilled, Rose stood up and headed downstairs and Scorpius followed her. They did not exchange a word.
Arriving at the landing, she saw her father standing at the door in his work robes. Ron Weasley’s red hair was receding a little now, but his face retained its youth in its habitual playful chirpiness, which had now been replaced by flustered anger.
‘What were you doing up there?’ he demanded and Rose squirmed with embarrassment. Ron’s accusing eyes did not look at her, but firmly at Scorpius.
‘I was showing him around.’ Rose made her annoyance clear in her voice.
‘Oh, Ron, stop overreacting!’ said her mother, walking in from the kitchen.
‘I’m not overreacting, Hermione. But Rose is 16, far too young to have a boy in her bedroom!’
Rose met Scorpius’ eye and found that he was as red as her.
‘Oh, stop it,’ said Hermione, ‘You and Lavender Brown were all over each other at her age.’
‘That’s not the point – I was far more mature.’
Rose indicated the living room to Scorpius and the pair sloped off quietly, allowing her parents to bicker in peace. They came to a rest on the sofa and there was a moment of silence as they both acknowledged the awkwardness instilled by her father’s interruption and subsequent suspicions.
‘Sorry about that,’ she muttered quietly.
‘No worries,’ he said, the blush fading from his cheek.
Rose knew that they would not resume where they had broken off. Even if it were not for the presence of her parents metres away, the air had changed and the moment in which they had lost themselves was now definitively over. Rose thought regretfully whether such an opportunity would ever re-emerge.
Hermione stuck her bushy head around the door. ‘We better get ready to go now.’ Ron followed her in, not meeting Scorpius’ eye and the newly-arrived Hugo trailed behind him. It was Hermione who first went into the fireplace, taking a handful of powder and saying ‘THE BURROW’ clearly. A green flame immersed her and then she was gone. Hugo went next, before Ron followed quickly.
‘Is it the Burrow?’ Scorpius asked, stepping into the fireplace. Rose nodded and soon Scorpius had vanished into the flames. For a moment Rose stood in the empty room and felt the butterflies fluttering away in her stomach – they had not stopped since Scorpius had arrived – and took a deep breath. She too stepped in, declared ‘THE BURROW’ and vanished.