First let me apologize. I am so sorry that this has taken me so long. After band season, I was so burnt out. I needed rest, but beyond band I started to work again, and school just kept piling more and more work on to me. It took me awhile, but I was finally able to work on this again. I don't know how good it is - and I'm sorry if I disappointed you - but this is honestly the best I can do at this point in time.
Merry Christmas everyone!
-Chapter 27 - The Farewell Ball: Part Two-
"Ladies and gentlemen," a disembodied voice announced,"I present to you Frederick Weasley and Selene Lupin, this year's Head Boy and Head Girl."
We slowly walked down the staircase. All eyes were watching us. I was tense the whole way down, praying that I would not trip and fall. Thankfully I made it down the whole way without even stumbling.
Maddie was standing with Cody near the end of the staircase. Maddie looked pretty but dangerous in her bright red gown. Cody, on the contrary, was wearing subdued blue. I didn't see William and Zarah yet, but my parents and baby brother were standing off to the side. Mum and dad waved as I passed by.
Ricky and I walked up to the head table and sat down in our seats. Everyone else came in and followed our example.
"Did I mention I feel ridiculous?" Ricky asked me after dinner was over.
"About five times already," I replied, "But, seriously you look fine! Much better then one would expect you to in that particular outfit."
"I still feel like a - " Our empty dinner plates were whisked away and replaced by a selection of fancy desserts - tiramisu, caramel creme, three types of cake, and a chocolate torte. "Oh, cake!"
I laughed. Food was one of the very few things that could completely cause Ricky to forget what he was upset about. I brought him chocolate chip cookies one day, years ago, after I'd broken one of his toys. He forgot the whole thing as soon as he saw the baked goodies.
"Good evening, seventh years," Harry's calm voice filled the room. Everyone grew quiet. "While I'll be giving my actual speech at your graduation, I just wanted to say congratulations tonight. You've completed seven years of the finest magical education England has to offer. That's not an easy feat. I'm very proud of all of you, and I wish you the best of luck with your futures." Harry paused and smiled slightly. Ricky and I stood up. "I won't keep you from your evening any longer. Enjoy your night."
Ricky led me out onto the dance floor as the lights dimmed. I placed one of my hands on Ricky's shoulders as he put one on my waist. I smirked at him as our free hands met. I leaned back slightly and pointed one of my feet ballet style. The beginning of the dance was suppose to appear dramatic as the rest. For a breath taking moment, time seemed to stand still.
Then the music started.
I admit it - I love dancing with Ricky. Even before we started dating, I enjoyed being close to him, being able to feel his heart racing. I felt safe and secure yet exhilarated at the same time.
During a pause, Ricky's eyes met mine. The skin on the back of my neck prickled. There was a sly and mischievous look in his eyes that made me nervous.
"What, exactly, would you do to me if I kissed you in front of everyone now?" Ricky whispered in my ear as I spun into his grasp. I raised an eyebrow.
"I would be forced to injure you in some way, I'm afraid," I murmured. Ricky laughed out loud and spun me back out holding on to my left hand. I gracefully paused, toe pointed and right hand held in a ballerina's pose. Ricky walked over to face me, and looped his free arm around my waist. I placed my hand on his shoulder and let him lead me around the dance floor once more.
When the song ended, Ricky bowed. I smiled graciously and curtsied, lowering my eyes to look "demure" (as our original dance instructor had put it). The students applauded briefly before heading out onto the dance floor themselves.
"See you soon," Ricky whispered before disappearing into the crowd. The music picked up as the band, Poltergeist (Ricky's choice. I had no clue who they were.), went on to the stage.
Without warning, someone came up behind me, spun me around quickly and hooked his arm around my waist. I shook my head slightly to clear my vision.
"Are you going to keep doing that?" I glared at William. He had done the same thing to me at our first ball. It scared me just as bad then as it did now.
"Perhaps. You're easy to sneak up on." William grinned at me. I frowned, unamused.
"Shouldn't you be with Zarah?"
"She's talking with your mum, and I don't think she will mind if I dance with you for one song."
"Is that your idea of asking me to dance?" I asked dryly. William smiled widely and put his other arm around my waist. I put my arms around his neck.
"There are no need for words when you've been friends for as long as we have." I rolled my eyes. We swayed back and forth in time with the music.
"Right, William." When the song ended, Zarah was by our side and stole William away from me. They walked off hand in hand. I smiled sadly. I would miss them. I would miss being here . . .
"You alright, Enna?" dad tapped my shoulder.
"Huh? Oh, yeah, dad. I'm just thinking." The music started once more. Dad took my hand.
"Mind dancing with an old man?" he asked me somberly.
"Dad, you're hardly an old man," I protested with a smile.
Dad shook his head, but let my comment pass. "What were you thinking about?"
"Just . . . it's so hard to believe that I'm really leaving this place. As . . . awful as some of the experiences were, I'll really miss it here. I mean . . . I've spent the better part of the last seven years of my life here. I grew up so much while living within this castle. I've stayed up late at night many times over the years, missing you and mum terribly, but then, upon waking up, felt like this was the only place I could ever be.
"This was the place I was ridiculed, shunned by people who knew I was different. It was where I received my scars, whether the be physical or emotional ones. But I also had my friends. What happened only formed a stronger bond between us. We shared everything with each other, from pain to happiness. . ." I smiled at my dad. "I fell in love here," I murmured very quietly, hoping my dad didn't hear the last comment.
Dad hugged me tightly. "Darling, if I could do anything, it would be to keep you my little girl forever. But I can't. You're growing up and you're an amazing young woman. You'll be starting the best years of you life soon - your career, your own life, and someday - if you can find a worthy man - you'll get married and have your own family. Enna, I couldn't be more proud of who you've grown up to be."
"Thanks, Dad," I sniffed. Tears rolled down my cheeks. Mum came over, and rubbed my back soothingly. I knew she'd been listening to the whole conversation. Ian squirmed in her arms. Letting go of dad, I smiled and reached out to Ian. Mum handed me the baby.
"Hey, baby brother," I murmured and kissed Ian's head. His hair was jet black and amazingly soft. "How have you been?" He cooed in response.
"Would you like me to watch Ian for a bit?" I asked my parents. Mum smiled and nodded.
"Come on, Remus," mum grabbed dad's collar and pulled him further onto the dance floor. I laughed and shook my head. My parents, ladies and gentlemen.
"Have you liked your new home?" I asked the baby. "I know they can be a bit crazy, but they love you very much."
I spotted Ricky over by a table where a few seventh year girls were sitting. I caught his eye. Ricky gave me a pained look. Curiously, I walked over.
"So then he said - do you know what he said? - he said I was the only girl for him. Ha!" The brunette Hufflepuff girl made a face. "Like he wasn't already cheating on me with that other witch."
"But I'm sure you'd never do anything like that," the black haired girl cooed at Ricky, touching his arm. I groaned and rolled my eyes. I knew for a fact that it wasn't the girls who'd been cheated on - they'd done the cheating. I'd written the one up for snogging in closest three times in one day - with three different boys!
"Well, no, I don't cheat on my girlfriends," Ricky stammered. Plastering an angry expression on my face, I marched over.
"Frederick Weasley!" I came up behind him. He visably jumped in surprise. "Where have you been? You've left me all alone to take care of everything that's been going on? Have you forgotten what your Head Boy duties are?" I held Ian out to him. "Come on, now. We've got work to do. Excuse us, ladies."
With a huff I turned around and stompted off. Ricky hurried behind me, catching up easily.
"What duties are we talking about exactly?"
"First you must bow down and worship me for freeing you from those Hufflepuff -"
"Oh, yes, great goddess," he interrupted me sarcastically.
"Second - dance with me once more before midnight." I stopped where I was and smiled at him.
Ricky turned to look at me. "Of course, Enna. I would love to." He held out a hand.
"Now?" I laughed.
"Now," he confirmed, smiling slightly.
"But you're holding Ian!"
"I'm aware of that."
Laughing softly, I went to him. It took us a moment, but we figured out how to dance while holding a baby. We each held Ian with one arm. My free arm was holding Ricky's shoulder, and Ricky's free arm was wrapped around my waist. Despite the fast tempo of the song, we made our way slowly around the dance floor. Ian laughed when we spun or made faces at him.
"We tired him out," Ricky murmured. Ian's head was drooping. It was obvious he was fighting to stay awake.
"Poor little man," I said. With Ricky's help, I rested him on my shoulder. "I'll go find mum." Ricky kissed my cheek.
"Check the clock," he whispered and disappeared. There was no clock in the Great Hall, so I would have to find my dad - he always had a watch. I spotted my mum's hair first - vibrant pink is always easy to spot. I carefully walked over. Mum spotted us, and met me half way.
"Poor little boy," mum cooed when she took him from me.
"Feel free to put him in my room. The password is 'amour.'"
"Thank you, Enna."
"Do you know what time it is?"
"I'd ask Remus for the exact time, but I believe it's a few minutes before midnight."
"Thanks, Mum." I kissed her cheek. "I'll be back soon." She gave me a confused look, as I rushed outside into the the gray night.
Rain had begun to fall, softly, slowly, causing the trees and flowers outside to twinkle in the glowing candle light. A silver sliver of moon peaked out from behind gray-blue clouds and shone with a somber light. The tightly spun curls around my face began to slowly unwind into longer, graceful loops that stuck to my damp face.
I entered the secluded courtyard, as silently as possible. The low heels of my shoes gave soft clicks as I walked down the stone ground. I paused. Ricky was sitting on the courtyard's solitary stone bench, under the shelter of the weeping cherry's long branches. He was leaning on his knees, slowly twirling a creamy ivory-colored lily with his fingers. He glanced up at the sound of my shoes. After gazing at me intently for a moment, he smiled apologetically.
"I couldn't find a rose," he explained quietly. "I went out too late in the week to get a nice one."
I smiled slightly before crossing the small courtyard in a slow, deliberate way. I sat down on the bench next to Ricky, facing the opposite direction. Ricky handed me the lily, and I gently placed it on my lap. I leaned against Ricky slightly, staring absently at the soft pink blossoms on the tree branches.
"So," I murmured, turning my head to look Ricky in the eyes.
"So . . ." he replied as quietly. He held my gaze for a moment before looking down at the necklace I was wearing. He smiled and gently touched my collarbone where the necklace sat. "It does match your eyes then." His hand trailed back behind my neck as he leaned over to kiss me. It was a brief, chaste kiss, but an entirely sweet one.
"Well, my Secret Admirer, now that you've been revealed, what do you have to say?" I teased. An amused glint lit Ricky's eyes.
"That I fell in love with my best friend many years ago without realizing it. I've since then found out I was in love with her, and I think that I've suffered in silence long enough." Ricky shook his head. "Honestly, En, what were we thinking?"
I thought for a moment, trying to decided the best way to answer his question. While Ricky had known he'd loved me for quite awhile, I still had a long way to go. We both had separate relationships. I had a long term one with his closest cousin; Ricky had one with my ex-roommate. We had both been loyal to our respective companion, but neither of us made a deeper commitment.
Trust came easily to me, but, for some reason, the willingness to give my whole heart was difficult. With William, I had held back, unsure of myself and Will as well. But with Ricky things were different. The ability to love him came naturally. I'd never given it a second thought. Now I knew it was because I'd loved him all the while.
Despite the long time we had taken to get to this point, it was worth it.
I cocked my head to the side, and replied, "We needed to give each other time to grow up." Ricky smiled and tucked a curl of my hair behind my ear.
"I have something to ask you." Ricky paused and pulled a small box out of his pocket (which, in all honesty, was surprised that there was one in his outfit). He opened it. Inside was a delicate white gold ring. A dark gemstone adorned it.
I felt the blood drain from my face. Was he going to as me that question now? I wasn't ready to get married! I'd barely begun dating the guy! Yes, I loved him, but we still needed to get use to the idea of being in such a relationship. I blinked rapidly as Ricky sought to make eye contact.
"En, I love you, and I know we've only been dating for a couple of months, but . . . would you consider wearing this promise ring?"
Promise ring? Oh . . . That's a much better idea! I smiled happily at Ricky.
"Yes!" Ricky took my left hand and slipped the ring on my third finger. I held up my hand to admire the gem's glitter. Ricky slipped an arm around my waist possessively and kissed my neck.
"You're mine now," he whispered and pulled me closer.
"Correction," I replied, tangling my fingers in Ricky's hair, "You're mine."
Our lips met gently. Raindrops, finally making their way through a maze of tree branches, slid down our faces as we kissed under the murky moonlight. The quiet scent of cherry blossoms was in the air.
We never did hear the approching footsteps. At a sudden, collective gasp, Ricky and I broke apart in shock.
"Hi, Mum, Dad, everyone . . ." Ricky and I greeted the group sheepishly.
And there you have it, the final chapter in "The Werewolf's Daughter." Don't worry, I'll be writing an epilogue so you know what happens. Sorta. The rest is left to your imagination.
Thank you for reading and putting up with me this entire time. I cannot tell you how much it all meant to me. Especially to my faithful reviewers who reviewed every chapter. You all rock!
And, bograt, dear? Thanks for letting me run ideas past you and moan about writer's block. I love you to bits. I'm just sorry we haven't been able to talk in these past months.
Thank you all, once again.