"'Hi, I'm not available to take your call. Please leave a message after the beep. And if this is you, Draco, don't bother leaving any messages. I hate you. Sod off.'"
Dejected, Draco hung up the phone.
After ten calls per day for the past two weeks, all of them going unanswered, the message was truly beginning to hit home.
He'd lost her.
He'd lost the one good woman who'd ever graced his life in all of his twenty-five years. He was smart enough to realise that, no matter how many more years he had to live before he died, he was never going to find a woman like her ever again.
He'd relinquished his hold on diamonds to chase after quartz.
He couldn't stand losing her.
Wouldn't stand losing her.
"You really fucked up, Draco," said Ginny with disturbing delight. "She hates your guts as much as she hates Divination – and that's saying something."
"Yeah, she does," concurred Lavender with a sneer. "And she has every right to, you bastard. How could you even cheat on her with that cow, Pansy?"
Draco hung his head slightly in shame, unable to muster up his usual haughtiness to combat their belittlement. He hadn't the energy to fight anymore. The only determination he had left was to fight for the woman he loved.
"So she says nothing about me?" he pleaded. "Doesn't she even want to talk?"
They both stood up as though they shared one mind, and Draco didn't doubt the possibility. These two even tended to finish each other's sentences.
"Yeah, she says things," replied Ginny in condescending tones as she hoisted her bag onto her shoulder. "Things like—"
"—you're absolute scum. Worst than hog shite—" Lavender added.
"—and flubberworm vomit, and that—" continued Ginny.
"—she never wants to see you again," they finished together.
"And truth be told, neither do we," tacked on Ginny before sauntering off with a huff, Lavender by her side.
Draco sank further into the dark recesses of despondency. He could feel his heart actually shrivelling up, being eaten away by constant rejection and lost hope. Slowly, his spirit to live was dying, and though that should alarm him, it didn't. He supposed that the only remaining cure for this immense pain festering in his heart was Death or her love. And since the latter was proving to be forever unavailable…
Coward he may be, but if this was the future he faced, one without her love or her forgiveness, then he didn't think he wanted to keep on living.
"She doesn't need your stinking letters, ferret."
Huge bundles of parchment, all littered with sonnets and poems and long, long letters he'd written pleading clemency were thrown to the floor by Ron.
"Neither these," agreed Harry as he shoved a bag filled with assortments Draco immediately recognised. CDs he'd lent her, books, teddy-bears he'd given her, even the photo album cataloguing the timeline of their relationship was in there. Whatever remnants of Draco's hope died at the sight of these mementos, returned so callously by her two best friends. For the first time in a long while, he wanted to cry.
She really and truly hated him, then. All this time, a part of him had still held on desperately to the dream that he could win her back. That there was some solution out there to reclaim her for his own. But that bag contained the evidence of their relationship, and if she didn't want them, then it certainly meant she wanted no part of him either.
"And don't be ringing her phone anymore, ferret. I'm warning you." Ron cracked his knuckles in a very threatening manner that conveyed his message clearly.
"She wants nothing to do with a git like you," said Harry quietly. "Come on, Ron. Let's go."
And even when they'd long gone, Draco could still hear Harry's words revolving in his head, taunting him, destroying him with their honesty:
She wants nothing to do with a git like you.
I can't…I can't…I can't stand losing you.
But I've already lost you.
The beach was deserted.
On a little cliff that hung over the deepest section of the water, Draco calmly undressed.
The sun was a brilliant circle of golden warmth amidst the expanse of baby-blue sky. Hardly any clouds could be seen. There was a strong breeze out, but it was moderately cool and pleasing to the skin. It really was fantastic weather for a swim.
After divesting himself of his shirt, undershirt and trousers, he stayed in his boxer-shorts as he knelt and tied a ten-pound bag of salt to each of his ankles. Task complete, he stood once more and advanced slowly towards the edge of the cliff.
Following the culmination of the War, a party hosted by mutual friends had ensured them encountering each other again. It had been on a beach. They'd talked, argued, laughed, and enjoyed each other's company. How they'd been surprised that their misconceptions of each other had been so wrong. How they'd been happy…
And he'd gone and ruined it.
And she hadn't allowed him to fix it.
She'd be sorry when she heard what had happened to him. Let the guilt eat away at her heart as the pain of losing her had ultimately done to him.
But then again, if she hated him so much, she wouldn't care.
They'd met on a beach, and he would leave on one. This would be their final goodbye, even though she wasn't here to witness his departure.
Draco didn't jump.
He merely leant forwards and let his body conform to gravity's will.
The water was cold. Very deep too.
It pulled at his body, encouraging him towards its depths.
It caressed his skin like expensive velvet.
Like her lips just before they made love.
I just couldn't stand losing you.