A Marriage Most Convenient

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Chapter 51: No, This isn’t the Epilogue, but it is Ten Years after Chapter 50 (Something about this seems so familiar):

But I don't want to go among mad people,” said Alice.

Oh, you can't help that,” said the cat. “We're all mad here.” - Lewis Carroll*

(*thanks to noona1)


“Pardon me, I didn’t know anyone was in here,” a man said to a woman as he walked into what he had hoped was an empty room in Marcus Flint’s home. The reason he needed an empty room was simple – he wanted to be alone. He didn’t want to be here, at this stupid ball, but his family forced him to come. So, he had come to the bloody ball, but that didn’t mean he had to be seen.

For that reason, he found what he had assumed was an empty room in which he could hide, but as soon as he opened the door and saw the woman before him, he knew he made a colossal mistake. The main reason he sought to be alone was standing right in front of him.

The room was mostly dark, so for a brief second he could not tell who was standing by the window. He could only see that it was a woman, in a silver dress, holding back the drapes with one hand. Light drifted in from the bright moon above, and even in the soft moonlight, he would know her anywhere. She let the drapes drop back into place, to turn to face him, the room bathed once more in darkness – still, he would know her anywhere.

“It’s alright, you may join me if you wish,” she said wistfully.

“What are you doing in here? Are you hiding?” he asked.

“I could ask you the same thing,” she argued. “I don’t think you’re supposed to be in here either. All of the guests should be in the ballroom.”

“Well, I’m special, and Marcus Flint is my godfather, don’t you know, so I can bloody well go anywhere in his house that I want to go,” he said, though he was smiling. “The same can’t be said for you. You shouldn’t be in here. This party tonight is supposed to be in your honour, so go back out amongst your guests, Little Flower.”

“Don’t call me that,” she said softly. “I told you before, I don’t like it, and you no longer have the right to call me that name.”

“The right?” he asked. He barked out a laugh. “Again, I must insist that I’m in the position to do or say anything I’d like, and I have every right to call you whatever I wish. You aren’t married yet.”

She looked over at an anniversary clock on the mantle over the fireplace and said, “I will be in thirty-two hours.”

“In thirty-two hours I’ll stop calling you ‘Little Flower’ and I’ll start calling you Mrs. William Flint,” he teased. He reached for her, but she moved away. She pushed the drapes back again, to look back out the window. He stood behind her. He drew his index finger down her back, on top of her shimmering dress. She shivered. She looked more beautiful than he had ever seen her. He wondered how much more beautiful she would look like in two days when she walked down the aisle in her wedding gown, (if she looked this beautiful now). One thing was certain - he would never know the answer to that question, as he didn’t intend to stay around and find out.

“Nervous about the wedding?” he asked.

“No,” she said, hesitantly. She shivered again when his hands went to her arms, rubbing them up and down.

“Are you nervous about the wedding night, my pure little flower?” he taunted.

She shrugged out of his grasp, dropped the curtains and turned to face him. “Why would you ask me something like that? That’s bang out of line, and crude as well, but leave it to Sam Malfoy to say the reprehensible.”

“Lily, Lily, Lily…I’ve told you, I go by Scorpius now.” He frowned. “I have since I graduated from University. I don’t know why everyone can adapt to that but you.”

“If you get to call me ‘Little Flower’ then I get to call you Sam,” she leveled. “Go away, I need to be alone.”

“Why? Do you need to contemplate the terrible mistake you’re making by marrying a man you don’t love?” he asked, sounding flippant, but feeling everything but.

She walked away from him. He reached out for her. She turned to him. He smiled at her.

“I love him.”

“I don’t believe you. He loves you, that’s for sure, I mean, who wouldn’t? But you don’t love him.” He walked up to her slowly, almost as if he was stalking her. He circled her once, then twice. He reached out for her face, brought his hand back down to his side, but then gave into the impulse and cupped her cheek with his hand. He rubbed her cheek with his thumb. “Don’t marry him, Lily. Don’t make a mistake you won’t be able to change.”

“It won’t be a mistake,” she said in almost a whisper. She looked downwards. He nudged her chin upwards with the pad of his thumb.

Leaning ever closer to her, hand still on her cheek, he begged, “Don’t marry him. Don’t be unhappy.”

“Give me a good reason not to marry him,” she pleaded, reaching for his wrist. She pulled his hand away from her face, and dropped it quickly. She wanted him to tell her that HE loved her, or that THEY should marry, but she knew that he wouldn’t. Unlike the romantic notion that she always entertained about Sam Malfoy, and the fact that someday they would turn whatever they had into love, (like her brother and his sister had) she knew deep in her heart it would never happen.

For one thing, they were never close friends, like Alice and James had been. They were more like adversaries. He was in Slytherin during school, along with her brother Al. She was in Gryffindor, so that made them natural rivals. They fought, he teased her, he often made her cry or unhappy. Once in a while he flirted with her, to no avail, as he would always end up flitting around with other girls in front of her.

Her feelings for him were never reciprocated, no matter what others said. Alice always told Lily that Sam liked her. Hermione told her father Harry the same thing. James even told her that he could tell that Sam loved her. Why oh why then couldn’t Sam tell her that, or show her that, or give her any indication that it was true?

She couldn’t wait forever. They had never even gone out on a date. He dated others and so did she. She started dating Marcus Flint’s youngest son William while they were at University. She did it to make Sam jealous, though he never even acted as if he cared. Last year, when she graduated Uni, Will asked her to marry him, and she said yes. Now, in two days, they were to get married. Tonight was their engagement ball. If Sam was going to declare his feelings, now would be the time.

Instead of declaring his feelings, all he could do was tell her not to marry Will. Pitiful.

She waited with bated breath. She said again, “Tell me one good reason I shouldn’t marry Will.”

“I could give you a dozen,” he said, popping up on the pool table, dangling his feet. He ticked things off on his hand as he spoke, “Number one, he’s a great bore, number two, his father and grandfather were both Death Eaters and your father was the bloody saviour of our world, three, he’s dense as a doorknob, four, you’ll regret it and be unhappy all your days, and five, you don’t love him.”

She glared at him and said, “That’s not a dozen.”

“Correct, it’s only five, but I could go on all night,” he said with a smile.

She didn’t give him a chance. She walked up to him and said, “Your father and grandfather were Death Eaters, you’re never serious about anything, you play the constant fool, you don’t give two figs about my happiness, and five, I do too love him.”

“No, you don’t,” he insisted. “I can tell.”

“Oh really?” she challenged. “Tell me, Sam, just how can you tell?”

He pulled on her arm, dragging her closer to him, her body between his legs, her heaving chest close to his. He kept her wrist in one hand, while his other hand went to her hair, pulling it slightly, combing his fingers through it. He brought his lips so close to her face that she could feel his breath and smell the sweetness of his breath. He let his lips linger near her ear for a moment, then moving her hair away from her ear with his nose, he said softly into her ear, “Because he doesn’t make you feel the way that I do. Because you don’t feel for him the way you feel for me.”

She placed her hand on his chest. She did it to push him away, although it rested there, aimlessly. She closed her eyes. She asked, “And how do you make me feel?”

“Come now, Little Flower, you know the answer to that,” he said against the skin of her neck. He kissed her neck with a soft kiss. She exhaled a breath and leaned against him. “It’s apparent how I make you feel,” he continued. “And it’s the same way that you feel for me.”

“What do I feel for you?” she managed to ask, her body against his, her hand clinging to the front of his jacket.

His mouth was still by her ear when he said, “You love me.”

She opened her mouth to protest, but nothing came out. Instead, she waited to hear him tell her how he felt, in other words, to say that he loved her back, since he just clearly said that they shared the same feelings.

When he said nothing else, she felt crestfallen, defeated, beyond sad. She finally said, “I don’t love you. I love him. I’m marrying him. Go away and leave me alone.” She pushed away from his chest, pulling her other hand from his wrist, and turned around, willing herself not to cry, feeling embarrassed and angry. She walked back to the window, pulled back the drapes and stared back into the great black nothingness in front of her. It was apropos. It represented her future.

Lily told him that she didn’t love him so softly, but with finality, that it made him incredibly sad, even though he knew it wasn’t the truth. He wanted to tell her that he loved her, because he did, he really did, but he wouldn’t do that. He couldn’t. He had plans! He was leaving this small community and he was going to explore the world! Nothing and no one was holding him back, not even a beautiful brunette with striking green eyes and a heart of gold. Not even this woman that he loved very much.

“Wait for me, Lily,” he found himself saying instead.

“For what reason would I be waiting?” she asked, without looking at him. “You aren’t making any declarations, or promises. Leave me be.”

“Wait for me, Little Flower. Let me go, and I promise I’ll come back,” he said, selfishly. He jumped off the pool table, and stood directly behind her. His breath was warm on her cheek, his body flush against hers.

“If all you can say is, ‘wait for me’, well, then I’m sorry, but the answer’s no.” She turned, though she hadn’t much room. He slipped his arms around her.

“I can’t offer you more yet,” he proclaimed.

He placed a hand behind her head, and one on her jaw. He leaned forward and carefully kissed her lips, a soft, fast, fleeting kiss. He said once more, “Wait for me.”

“No. Why don’t you stay for me, instead?” she asked. It begged to be asked, but it seemed to make him angry.

He let go of her harshly and walked around the room, stating, “No one understands my wanderlust. My father doesn’t understand, because he never wanted to leave the bosom of his parents. My mother doesn’t understand, because she was forced to leave twice, once for the Horcrux search, and once when Alice was a baby. Alice doesn’t understand, because she thinks nothing exists outside of Whitehall, and even though she’s an archeologist now, she’s content to stay in Wales with James and the two kids.”

“My grandfather said he would disown me if I left after school, and didn’t join him and Father in the family business, because it’s meant to be mine someday. My grandmother reminds me everyday that I’m 24 years old now, and that in less than six years I must marry in order to have my inheritance. It’s all too much for me. I have to leave. I can’t even ask you to come with me, and I can’t tell you the things you want me to say, but I’m selfish enough to ask you to wait, although I know in my heart that you won’t.” He looked down, resigned.

She sighed…long and loud. She placed a hand on his cheek. He looked up at her slowly. “I hope your wanderlust keeps you warm at night, and happy, content. I can’t wait for you. It’s not fair to ask it of me and I won’t do it, and it’s apparent that you won’t stay for me.”

He ran a finger down her cheek. She closed her eyes for a moment. “I don’t want to break your heart,” he declared. Her breathing became shallow, and fast, due to his closeness. She tilted her head, defiantly, to stare directly into his eyes. No matter what happened after tonight, she would always love him.

“I have to go out to my guests,” she finally said in resignation. She pushed away from him, but instead of leaving, she turned back to the window. He stepped behind her, molding his body to hers. His arms circled her, and he kissed the back of her neck, moving her hair to the side with his nose, kissing her behind her ear.

She remained impassive, still, unsure what to do. Her hands went up to the cold glass of the windowpane. She said his name, once, in a form of a question. “Sam?”

In that question, she found her own answer. Clarity came to her, like a clanging of a bell. She couldn’t make him love her. She certainly couldn’t make him admit it even if it were so. But here in his arms, she felt loved at least. That was something. It would be something to remember him by. It might not be enough, but it would be all that she would have. She turned to face him.

He looked at her…his beautiful Lily, the girl that haunted his dreams, filled him with delight, and gave him reprieve from the darkness, because she was nothing but goodness and light. He wanted her, and he wanted to love her as well, but he also wanted to live out his dream of going away, and he wouldn’t let her stop him.

Therefore, he wouldn’t tell her that he loved her, even though he did. He wouldn’t place something like that at her feet, only to walk away from her. However, nothing would stop him from finally showing her that he loved her. Even if they only had this one night, at least they would have this one night, this one memory, this one moment, this final chance – his ultimate reprieve. She called out his name, a question, a plea, and he didn’t know how else to answer her but to make love to her.

He pressed her body closer to his, their lips closer enough to kiss. He trailed a row of hot kisses down her cheek, to her neck, across the thin strap holding up her gown, down her arm, and back up, to her heaving chest. He looked back up in her eyes and with a final request he said, “Lily?” It wasn’t an ‘I love you’ nor was it the more selfish, ‘Wait for me.’ It wasn’t even an answer to her question of his name to him.

It was merely a plea…an appeal…an approval…a request for salvation. “Let me love you,” he asked.

It was what it was. She nodded twice.

Everything seemed to melt away with his request and her simple acceptance. There was no resistance, only persistence. No guilt for either of them. He brought her to his arms, kissed her the way he had always wanted to kiss her, all the time thinking that she smelled like her name…like lilies of the valley, and something even more pure, like heaven, or sunshine.

To Lily, nothing was more breathtaking, or heart stopping, than the sight of the man before her. It was utter madness to give herself to him two days before her wedding to another man, but she didn’t care. They locked the door; stripped down to nothing…they even bared their souls. She was flushed with desire, he was filled with passion. Everything about her was light, and luminescence, flawless and perfect. Everything about him was right, real and rewarding.

He trembled when she first touched him, so tenderly, so sweetly, and so seductively.

They found themselves on the top of the billiards table. Neither would ever know the significance of that, as lips and tongues explored, hands held, breathing exhaled and inhaled, voices quivered, bodies shivered. Finally, his body on top of hers, claiming her, making her his forever, and she tightened around him, holding him closer to her, never once acting as if it hurt, or as if she was afraid. The feeling was exquisite, perfect, and then suddenly their world around them fell apart, shattering around them with a ferocity that neither could contain.

He let out a ragged breath when it was over. For the longest time he merely held her. There was no exchange of conversation. He looked down at her, as she lay upon Flint’s billiards table, her head on his chest, his arms tightly around her. She seemed to be sleeping. He kissed her cheek, moved his arm out from under her head, brushed her hair away from her face, and placed his jacket on top of her. Then in an act of utter desperation and selfishness, he left her alone, locked in the room, and he never looked back, and he never said goodbye.

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