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After all this years

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Rose waited until Frank Longbottom’s car -her boyfriend- disappeared in the streets before heading to her office.

However once in her office she couldn’t focus in her job, because her mind was distracted with the phone call she received that morning. Why did she have to answer that phone call? By the end of the day Rose had exasperated Julia, her ever patient assistant so much that both women were happy that it was Friday and didn’t have to return to the office until next Monday.

Rose got in her car and went home. She was hoping to be alone for a while but Frank was already there. Odd, considering that he was a professor in a very prestigious University and his students were always waiting until the last of his lessons in order to clarify some doubts. Frank kissed her as soon as he saw her and suddenly they were heading towards her bed.

For a few moments all of Rose’s worries disappeared.

But then she started to imagine that it was Scorpius who was kissing her and thrusting inside of her. That he was the one giving her pleasure. She felt horrible for imaging such thing but couldn’t help it. That damn phone call had upset her.

And while Rose moan again and again against Frank’s shoulders feeling her release approaching, closed her eyes and tried not to shout Scorpius’s name.

Frank had to go to the airport soon after they finished. He was going to a conference in another city for the weekend, so Rose gave him a long and passionate kiss as goodbye. He gave her a beautiful and honest smile and that, for some reason, make her feel like an awful person.

Once she was alone she changed the sheets of her bed, took off her clothes and went to the bathtub, the warm water embracing her body. It was Friday night. She had less than 24 hours to decide if she would meet Scorpius.

Rose put on a clean pajama and went to the kitchen. Frank had bought lasagna, so she ate while watching TV, trying to clear her mind.
It didn’t work though.

Finally, bored with the television, she turned it off and went to the kitchen, ready to drown her sorrows with chocolate ice cream. She was still feeling anxious and she hated that sensation. She had worked so hard to get where she was, to have a good life. A stable one. The kind of life she always dreamed as a child. And she also had a great man by her side. And now suddenly Scorpius appeared destabilizing everything with just one phone call.

Scorpius

The mere thought of him sent a shiver down her body.

“It’s not fair” she thought. “It’s not fair to feel this when it comes to him”.

She unconsciously walked to her small study and pulled the yearbook from her senior year at high school off one of the shelves. She hadn't look through it in a long time. Rose turned the pages and stumbled upon many memories. Happy moments in her life.

“Scorpius” she whispered.

Her mind went back to the first time she saw him.

She was ten and playing basketball with her neighborhood friends. Her team was winning and his cousin James, who was on the opposite team and had always been a bad loser, hit the ball angrily and it fell in the backyard of one of the houses.

That backyard belonged to a family who just moved on to the neighborhood. Rose knew they were from a different city and was very curious about meeting them. Her friends pushed her to go recovering the ball. The little redhead, torn between nerves and curiosity, accepted.

For a moment she thought that the adults of the house would be mad at her, but then the door went open and a boy about her age was smiling sheepishly at her.
She felt comfortable around him immediately. The boy gave her the ball and she invited him to play with her friends. They were inseparable ever since.

Rose and Scorpius belonged together. At least that’s what everyone who knew them always said. They were best friends and secretly had a crush on each other.

Rose recalled the afternoon that they accidentally broke test tubes in the chemistry lab and ran away from school. She couldn’t really tell how it happened but suddenly a fire started within them and they were kissing.

They were 15. Both of them had some boyfriends but nothing serious. The atmosphere became passionate very soon and they ended up having their first time in Rose's room.
She still remembered the nervous touch of Scorpius over her body, his breathing close to her face and the glances they shared while exploring their bodies for the first time. After that they formally started dating and were together until it was time to go to college.

They were the perfect couple. Best friends, having an amazing time everywhere they went.

Senior year of high school was the best of Rose’s life. Not Scorpius not she allowed themselves to think about what would happen when Rose went to study at a university at the other end of the country. They spend that year enjoying every moment, always being happy.

Rose went through the last pages of the yearbook and found the picture: king and queen of prom. She looked so young and excited in that dark green dress. He was smiling in his dark suit, a hand around Rose’s waist. Used as they were to be together all the time, it was hard to break apart. They only saw each other a few days a month and so the fights started. It all got worse when Scorpius' father - who lived in South Asia having divorced from his mother years ago - became ill and he had to travel immediately to assist him.

Rose couldn’t ask him to stay. It wasn’t right. She knew his family was a priority to him, and he had to take care of his father and the family business and, she knew this wasn’t going to take just a couple of weeks.

They also knew that they couldn’t fight against an entire ocean dividing them, specially giving the state of their relationship, filled with doubt and jealousy. So they decided to break up. Needless to say it was one of the worst moments of Rose’s life.

They said their goodbyes in a hotel near the airport, spending the whole day together. They didn’t cry when Scorpius got on the plane. And just as they decided beforehand, neither communicated with the other again

“And now, nine years later, he decides to call me” she said out loud while putting the yearbook in the shelf again. A lone tear ran down her cheek and Rose instantly wiped it away. She had to put herself together. She needed to analyze the situation from a different perspective. And then she knew what to do.

Rose took her cellphone and called Isabelle Goldstein, her best friend. She answered immediately.

- This better be important Rose Weasley because you know I’m super busy organizing this company gala.

Isabelle had a habit of speaking very quickly.

- Hi Belle – she rolled her eyes – Yes, it is important.

- You have approximately… ten minutes to speak – Rose was able to picture her friend reading the time in her watch – So spit it up.

Rose heard a door close and the noise that previously flooded the phone call stopped.

- Scorpius called me this afternoon.

Isabelle didn’t answer for a few seconds.

- Scorpius? As in Scorpius Malfoy your high school sweetheart, the one who broke your heart when he moved to Asia during our first year in college?

- The one and only – sighed Rose, biting her nails

- Ok – Isabell sighed too – And what did he want it?

- Well he… he invited me to have lunch tomorrow. He said he was in town for a couple of days and that he wants it to see me.

- Mmm

- So? – Rose demanded – Should I go?

- Oh no, no, no, no Rosie. Don’t ask me to decide for you

- But I called you precisely for that reason! – Rose’s voice cracked

- Rosie darling, this decision only concerns you. Beside my opinion would be biased because you know that I don't like him. I mean Scorpius was the reason you were depressed almost all the time we spent at the university and you missed some amazing parties. And I couldn’t go to those parties either because I had to make sure you were ok.

- I’m sorry for being a liability – Rose snort

- You know what I meant - Isabelle said dismissively - But seriously, Rose you must think very carefully about this whole matter. I mean ... you're with Frank now.

- I'm well aware of that, thank you very much Belle

- He’s such a nice man Rosie. He’s affectionate, handsome and intelligent. And he loves you.

- I know and I love him too Belle. But that’s just the thing. I can’t understand why I’m so upset about Scorpius’s contacting me if I’m in love with Frank.
Rose’s voice cracked once again.

-Listen to me Rose – Belle’s voice sounded firm and clear, like she wanted to make her understand something- The story you two shared was filled with meaningful experiences. It’s completely normal for you to feel upset. Look I know you love Frank but I also think that you need to see the full picture. If you accept this lunch date with Scorpius, you’re not betraying Frank. You are a free woman and you can have lunch with an old friend, right? There’s no harm on that.

-You’re right. Thank you Belle – Rose was starting to feel a little better

-Darling I would love to keep chatting but I have to go

-Of course, I know

-Any way you can tell me all about this in our Sunday lunch

-We were supposed to have lunch on Sunday? – Rose tried to remember

-Under the circumstances, yes, we will -Isabelle laughed softly- I'll pick you at two

- You should spend your Sunday resting Belle. You’ve been working really hard this week

-Oh you know me, I don’t need to sleep as much as you. And I couldn’t rest without knowing how this ends. Ok now I really have to go. Bye Rosie and good luck

-Good luck for you too Belle – she whispered but her friend had already hung up

Rose lay down in the sofa and stayed quietly staring the roof, thinking about her predicament.

If she decided to meet Scorpius, Rose was well aware that something more could happen. But at the same time she knew she was strong enough to control herself and not allow happening something she had to regret later.

And if she decided not to meet Scorpius… she will probably spend her entire life wondering what would have happened. And Rose hated uncertainty.

Rose closed her eyes, thinking once again in her predicament, but her concentration was interrupted by the sound of her cell phone indicating a new message.

She jumped to her feet and read the message. It was from Frank telling her that he was already on the plane and he loved her and would miss her. She responded instantly with loving words and returned to the sofa feeling dreadful.

“I can’t go on like this” she sighed.

So she dialed Scorpius’s number. For a minute she thought that he wouldn’t answer, it was almost midnight after all.

-Rose – he said. His voice sounded nervous.

-Hello Scorpius. I’m sorry for calling this late; I hope I didn’t wake you up.

-Don’t worry, I was still awake. I’m having a little trouble with the jet lag.

-Right, of course – Rose said – Any way I was calling you because…

-Are you coming tomorrow? – he asked

-Yeah I’m going

-Great – his voice was filled with thrilled – Should I pick you up?

-No you don’t have to. I’ll meet you there. What’s the address?

He asked her to wait and after a few minutes he gave her the address. Rose knew immediately that it was the Plaza Hotel and her body trembled with anticipation.

-Room 708 – he said

-I’ll be there at two, is that ok with you? – Rose cleared her throat

-It’s perfect – she was able to imagine the smile on his face

-So eh… I’ll see you tomorrow Scorpius

-Tomorrow – he promised and she hung up.

Rose knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep properly that night so she went to the bathroom and took a couple of sleeping pills. The effect was almost immediate.

She woke up next morning drenched in sweat and thinking that she had missed the date. But it was barely noon.

The Plaza Hotel was a fifteen minutes ride so she had still time to get ready. Rose took a cold water shower and combed her tangled hair. Then she headed to her kitchen and ate a bowl of cereal while thinking about what to wear.

She decided on a black dress she had bought a few weeks ago, but seeing her reflection in the mirror she thought that maybe it was too sexy, and the least thing she wanted was to give Scorpius the wrong impression. In the end she opted for jeans, a blue blouse and her black heels. Rose took her purse but left her cell phone at the apartment.
Autumn was just beginning and some of the trees were already losing their leaves, the sun was shining faintly in the sky making the city look wonderful.

Rose drove her car until the Plaza. The lobby was big, elegant and filled of people. She headed to the receptionist and her voice weakened while asking for room 708.

- Mr. Malfoy is waiting for you, miss.

- Thank you – Rose said

The elevator ride was quick, and she was suddenly in front of Scorpius's suite. She considered turning around and going home, but a voice in her head made her stand firm and rang the bell.

Scorpius opened the door in an instant.

Rose’s heart skipped a beat at the sight of him, and as her legs faltered she appreciated the enormous skill she had developed over the years with her heels.

Scorpius was taller than she remembered. “Although we were pretty much kids the last time we saw each other" she thought. His platinum blonde hair just a few inches longer than before, and his face looked much more mature. His skin was no longer as tanned as when they played basketball every afternoon.

But it was still Scorpius.

Long silver eyes with a playful shine, prominent cheeks -a small scar on one of them- thin lips curved into a sincere smile. Scorpius was wearing dark pants and a red collared shirt that clung to his chest and showed his muscles.

They were both watching each other in silence, until he stepped aside, inviting her into the suite.

Once he closed the door the tension between them was gone, and they felt much more relax, like they were finally being themselves.

Scorpius approached slowly, caressed her right arm and gently hugged her while whispering "Hello again" near her ear. Rose had to refrain herself from crying and tried to formulate some clever answer. But she could only whisper his name and then, he had already step away from her.

Scorpius led her to a table he had set at one end of the suite.

- Hopefully Italian food is still your favorite

She laughed and nod.

- And always will be – said while seating across him

Scorpius seemed pleased with the answer.

-To be honest I order this from a restaurant. I still can’t cook – he admitted

-It’s fine – she was feeling less anxious now

Scorpius served the food and took his place at the table.
He had ordered Bolognese pasta, Rose’s favorite. She found sweet the fact that he still remembered that.

They remembered childhood stories while eating, but they never talked about their relationship in high school or the day they said goodbye.

Rose told him about her job, the cities she visited and he did the same. She was having a nice time, very pleased with the lunch date and also more relaxed, although perhaps it was due to the wine that Scorpius had chosen.

-Rose there’s something I’d like to show you – Scorpius said suddenly

She questioned him with her eyes and he asked her to wait.

Scorpius returned a few moments later with a small bag in his hands. He led her to one of the sofas in the suite. Now that Rose was less nervous she could appreciate the beautiful view of the city in front of her.

- I’m not sure if you remember this but… - Scorpius took a necklace out of the bag

There was a ring in the chain necklace. She took it in her hands and the gasped.

-Is it… is it the same ring I lost back then at the beach? But how…?

Scorpius smiled.

-It’s a replica. I had it customized for you. I thought maybe you would like to have it back.

-It’s beautiful Scorp – she said. It was identical to the one she lost all those years ago, how could he remember all this details?

-May I? – He asked taking the chain necklace. Rose understood what he was trying to do

-Sure – she nod and placed her hair over her shoulder so he could put the chain around her neck

Scorpius's hands brushed Rose's neck as he placed the chain and she shuddered at the contact. Scorpius moved closer to her so he could close the chain charm and Rose could feel his breath on the nape of her neck.

-It’s done – he whispered but instead of moving away he placed his hands on Rose's shoulders and the next thing she felt were his lips kissing her neck.

Rose unconsciously arched her neck and Scorpius put her hands around her waist as he continued to kiss her. Rose's mind was completely clouded. In that moment, only existed Scorpius’s kisses on her skin.

Rose turned to him and cupped his face in her hands before kissing him. The kiss brought to mind many moments from the past and with each memory both deepened their caresses.

Scorpius stroked Rose's neck with his fingertips. He knew it was her soft spot. She began to moan softly as Scorpius' kisses moved from her jaw to the birth of her breasts.
Rose reached under Scorpius's shirt and touched her now well-formed, muscular chest, feeling a familiar warmth form in the lower part of her belly.
They both seemed to feel an urgency to caress their bodies, so in a complicity long shared, they stood up and took off their clothes.

Suddenly they will in his bed and their bodies merge into a melancholic embrace, recognizing each other one more time.

Scorpius' hands ran down her legs and then ascender to her thighs, touching her warm, wet center. Rose moaned against his mouth, he nibbled her bottom lip between his teeth as his entered two inside Rose. She placed her hands in Scorpius's erection and massaged his swollen member, repaying the pleasure he brought her.
Scorpius soon entered her, thrusting hard and began a frenzy with which they tried to say how much they had been missed in all these years and how much they still wanted each other.

-No marks - Rose whispered between moans as she felt Scorpius's lips on her neck.

He growled, annoyed, and his movements intensified until she felt he was very close to her ecstasy. Rose took Scorpius's face and looked directly into his gray eyes. Both achieved their release a few moments later.

They stared at each other without saying a word for several minutes, until their breaths were even and he fell asleep next to her.

Rose watched him sleep for a long time. But to be honest she couldn’t really tell if he was actually asleep or just pretending.
Despite the moment they just shared, now that the excitement was gone, she felt so distant from him.

She stood up, picked up her clothes, and went into the bathroom. She examined her body in front of the huge mirror and confirmed with relief that Scorpius had left no mark on her. Her skin was red but that would be gone in a few hours. Rose wiped her as best she could and got dressed.

As she came out the bathroom she ran into Scorpius. He was wearing a pajama bottom now.

-Where you leaving without saying goodbye? – asked, his voice hurt.

-I have to go now – she said

-You don’t have to. You can stay here – he come close to her – Stay Rosie

-For how long Scorpius? How long until you have to go again? – her voice sounded bitter

He didn’t answer.

-I’m sorry – she said – I better go

She picked up her purse and walked a few steps, but suddenly turns around. She still had something to ask him.

- Why did you called me Scorpius? Why? Why after all this years? Why did you have to call when we, we decided not to contact the other unless…?

- Unless everything has worked out well at the end for both of us

Rose nodded.

-It worked out for me – he said - I spent these years with my sick father taking charge of his business. I always thought of you, of coming back to you. And now I no longer have my father, there is nothing that prevents us from being together as we always wanted. I... have had no one. It has always been you, no one else.

-But I have someone – she was almost crying now – And he is one of the best men I’ve ever met. He cares about me and he understands me…

“And he put together the pieces of the broken heart you left behind” she thought but did not dare to say it.

-I love him – Rose said

And she knew it was true.

Something in Scorpius’s eyes went off.

- We’re not kids anymore Scorp – something inside her was encouraging to keep talking – We have different lives, I have plans, goals. And this, us, this can’t happen again. I’m not saying this was a mistake because I don’t regret it. I believed we both needed this closure. But it won’t happen again.

- Are you sure about that? – He asked

- Completely – her voice sound loud and clear – I will not be the kind of woman who meets an ex-love from time to time. I will not live like this Scorpius. His love is too precious for me.

Scorpius gave her a sad smile.

- I will not contact you anymore Rose. And I won’t tell this to anyone. The only thing I really want is for you to be happy. I thought that perhaps I still had a chance but now I can see that the destiny was cruel to me.

Rose’s eyes were filled with tears. She approached him and took his hands in hers.

-I want you to be happy too, Scorp. You deserve to be happy. I know you will find someone else.

She whispered “goodbye” and was ready to leave, but he took her wrist.

-Can I have at least a goodbye kiss?

Rose nodded. Scorpius closed his eyes and she stand on her toes so she could gently kiss him in the forehead. Rose knew it wasn’t the kind of kiss he expected, but Scorpius didn’t protest.

-Goodbye Rose. I hope you have the life you always dreamed about – he caressed her cheek with a sad smile and Rose almost ran to the door

Once outside the room she ran to the elevators and then across the lobby. She managed to get to her apartment without crying or making a scene, but once inside the house she collapsed. Especially when, checking her cell phone, she saw that Frank had sent her many photos of the places where he was. Her boyfriend was always thinking of her. It didn't help to see the portraits of the two together on the shelfs in the living room.

Rose burst into tears suddenly feeling very dirty about everything she had done, so she ran to the bathroom. She took off her clothes, went into the shower and rubbed her skin until it was red. Her tears mixed with the water as she remembered everything that had happened that afternoon. When she managed to calm down she came out of the shower and texted Isabelle to cancel the lunch of the next day.

But then she lay down on her bed and the tears came over her again.

She cried thinking of Scorpius, of what they had had years ago and what had happened recently. She thought of Frank, of him looking solemn and professional at the university conference.

Rose cried until she felt asleep.

When she woke up strong arms were gripping her tightly. She didn't have to turn to find out who they belonged to.
Rose sat on the bed and Frank did the same.

At the mere sight of him she started crying again. He cradled her in his chest without asking anything, just cooing until she calmed down.

When she stopped crying, he wiped away the remaining tears on her face and forced her to put on pajamas because she was still wearing the bathrobe from the night before.
Frank made her hot chocolate and cradled her again.

-Well? – he asked eventually

-I missed you – she said

-We’ve been apart for more than two days Rose, what is it really?

For a moment Rose thought about being honest. It was not only fair but necessary if she was decided to start a new life with him.

- I’m just so emotional – she sighed – Mr. MacMillan called. I lost the account I was working on for the past couple of months. And I felt useless because I screwed up. And my mother called too, my father’s treatment is not working as well as we expected.

The last part wasn’t a lie.

Frank hugged her again.

- You’re not useless Rose – he said – This kind of things happens and you’re not the one to blame. You will have new accounts and opportunities. And about your dad… - he considered for a few minutes – You’ll have vacations soon. And I can ask the university for days off, so we can go visit him.

Rose felt a wave of warmth and love spread throughout her body. She launched herself at him and hugged him with all her heart.

-Don't ever leave me Frank -she asked again, her eyes in tears

-Hey, I'm not going anywhere love -he replied wiping her tears- Now come on, you have to rest.

Frank changed the wet sheets of the bed and tucked her in the duvet. Then he put on the pajama set he had permanently at Rose's house and lay down next to her.
Rose suddenly remembered something and stood up.

-I’ll be right back

Rose went to the bathroom, and searched the pile of clothes from the previous day until she found the chain with the ring that Scorpius had given her.
A part of her wanted to keep it, but she knew it was wrong. In the end she flushed it down the toilet and lowered the chain. It disappeared after a few moments. Rose pulled the chain again to check that it was truly gone.

"Goodbye", she whispered and returned to the room and to Frank's side forever.