My walk to work was rather lovely his morning. The crunch of the leaves under my feet and the feel of the crisp breeze blowing through the colorful trees was wonderfully refreshing. I hope you're able to get out of that lab of yours long enough to enjoy the beautiful fall we've been having.
Speaking of which, congratulations! I knew all your hard work would pay off, and it's wonderful that you were able to achieve a better outcome than originally planned. Fifteen minutes rather than the thirty you aimed for! I'm sure the medical world will be delighted with your discovery.
I hope the grant people are impressed. It'd be fantastic if you were able to get started on your proposal subject. It will be fascinating to see what you come up with. It could do wonders for the medical community if you were able to come up with any type of remedy for even the most inconsequential of blood maladies.
As far as my friend goes, things are the same as always. I brought it up to her again today. She was asking about you, actually, and then she started complaining about him. Apparently he never writes her any letters at all, unless he's in need of some favor or other. I made sure she knew how I felt about the situation so hopefully she listened, but it's her life in the end. I hope you don't mind that she knows about our correspondence. We tell each other most things and she doesn't think it's strange that I have no idea who you are. She thinks it's good fun, actually.
I think it might be a theme in our generation, the lack of commitment. I have a few people in my life that are exceptions, but most people take a while to settle down these days. Give your friend some time. It's only been a few months, I'm sure he'll make up his mind soon. And so will you. I know you hate your mother pressuring you, but have you thought about telling her everything you just told me? She might actually be responsive to it. But then I've never met your mother so what do I know? Just think about it though. Does your lady friend share your opinion on the matter? Maybe you should talk to her about all of this seeing as her opinion on the matter plays a rather important role. It might help you figure some things out.
I know I don't mention my family much. I don't really mind talking about them, but I prefer not to reveal too much in general, no matter who I'm talking to. I can't really explain why but that's just the way it is. One of my cousins is actually having a birthday party soon and I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to it or not. It'll be the first time my boyfriend has been exposed to this much of my family at once so it could go horribly wrong. They can be a lot to handle at times.
I'm having lunch with my mum on Saturday and then I'll be attending a Quidditch match. I haven't had much success with the burn paste lately, but I have an expert coming in to help me work on it this Sunday, which is another thing I'm doing this weekend.
Good luck with getting things in order and I hope to hear from you next week!
He smiled to himself as he sat at his desk and reread the letter. Actually, he hadn't stopped smiling the whole time he'd been reading. Her letters always managed to brighten his day. He'd hoped he hadn't been too inquisitive in his last note. Talking about their personal lives was still new territory and he was never sure how far to push it. He was enjoying getting to know her better; seeing the emotional side of her rather than just the analytical one. Not wanting to talk about family was something he could sympathise with. Of course, hers couldn't exactly be worse than his, he was almost sure of that. Every letter held something new he was able to learn about her. For example, he now knew she liked Quidditch. The subject hadn't come up yet and he was pleased to find they had that in common. He had been strangely disappointed a few weeks ago when he found out she was seeing someone, even if the same was true for himself.
His mind wandered to his relationship. He wasn't sure where things stood between him and Melinda Parker. It wasn't as if there was anything wrong with their relationship, quite the opposite actually, and that was part of the problem. It was a little too perfect to the point of dull. There was no real spark. She didn't challenge him at all and he was sure he didn't do much for her either. They got along well enough, but he wasn't ready to commit to spending his life with someone he could hold a decent conversation with and nothing more.
He sighed as he folded the letter and placed it in the top drawer of his desk. He had waited until the end of the work day to read it and it was now officially the weekend, not that it made much of a difference for him. He'd be back here tomorrow.
Getting up, he stretched before walking over to the wall of windows that were to the left of his desk overlooking London. A smile appeared on his face once again as he stood there with his hands in his pockets. This office had been his home for two years now, ever since business had expanded. He never got tired of the view and Daisy was right, autumn was a beautiful time of year. It was slightly more rainy then it had been yesterday, but he enjoyed the damp air and the gray skies. He didn't think anything was going to be able to dampen his spirits today.
There was a light knock on the door and he turned in time to see his girlfriend stick her head in.
"Scorpius? Ready to go?"
The Malfoy heir took one last look out the window before moving to retrieve his coat from where it hung on the back of his door and following Melinda out of his office, taking her hand as if it were habit before asking about her day.
"Not too bad. You know how your father is just before the weekends. He wants to make sure everything's as squared away as possible so I spent most of my day writing memos and filing things. Plus making sure all of the financial and legal documents are in order for the meeting on Monday."
They'd made it to the lift and Scorpius requested the ground floor. Their office suite was on the twenty-fifth out of thirty so it was a long ride down, especially at five o'clock on a Friday.
Scorpius had met Melinda two years previously when their company first moved into the building. They'd grown to the point where his father now needed a secretary and she had been given the job. Scorpius realised it wasn't the most ethical thing in the world to date an employee, but it had happened naturally and with little to no drama. His father hadn't taken issue with it, especially since his mother had been a rather avid fan of the match. It wasn't like it had happened right away either. They'd known each other for over a year by the time they'd had their first date.
As they rode in the lift, Melinda was talking about what their options could be for dinner. They didn't exactly live together, but they'd grown accustomed to sharing meals most evenings and she spent a lot of time in his flat, preferring not to go home to her roommates. They used to go out on Friday nights but that tradition had fallen by the wayside.
She was rather pretty, he thought, as they stood together in the lift. She had warm, honey blonde hair that effortlessly fell just past her shoulders in elegant, soft waves. Her face had a rounded quality to it, but had sharp enough cheekbones to make her look striking. She had deep brown eyes and a fair complexion. Her hourglass figure was always perfectly accentuated by the clothes she wore. Scorpius couldn't deny that she was attractive. He was slightly ashamed of the fact that he probably wouldn't have noticed her otherwise.
As they made their way out of the lift and towards the Apparition point, he let himself consider what a future would be like with the girl by his side. It wouldn't be horrible. He didn't think she'd make him miserable, but would she make him happy? Did he even love her? She'd said it to him on occasion, but he'd given nothing more than a pathetic "you too" in response. She hadn't seemed too bothered by it, but it was something they would have to address eventually.
They showed up with a crack in the alley behind his flat. It was just down the street from Sam's in Diagon Alley and he could hear that the weekend crowd had already started to show up. They made their way upstairs as Scorpius suggested they actually go out for a change that night. Melinda took off her coat and shoes before collapsing on his couch.
"I don't know, I'm awful tired. Next weekend?"
"Sure," Scorpius conceded. He tended not to put up a fight with her and he didn't want to go out all that much either. Before they'd were together he was at the pub with Archie and Al all the time. He used to love it. It hit him then that it wasn't that he didn't want to go out, it was that he didn't necessarily want to go out with her.
"I'll get started on dinner then," he offered as he moved into the kitchen. He put on a pot of tea before he started pulling out chicken, potatoes, and various seasonings.
His thoughts drifted back to the letter he had read earlier.
She had told her friend about him. She had been the one to start talking about their personal lives. She was insightful and not afraid to be straight with him. He fully intended to take her advice when it came to his mother. He'd been good at changing the subject for a while now when it came to his conversations with Astoria Malfoy, but he'd never straight up told her where he stood with the idea of marriage at this point in his life and his relationship.
As he finished chopping the potatoes that he was planning on roasting with the chicken he'd already seasoned and placed in a pan, another thought struck him. Did Melinda expect him to propose at some point? They hadn't talked about it much. Actually, they hadn't talked about it at all. They'd been together for nine months and that was enough for some people to have an inkling about what the future might hold, but he was drawing a blank when it came to him and Melinda.
He stuck the roasting pan in the oven and prepared each of them a cup of tea before he walked back out into the living room. Melinda had her feet up on the couch and was reading a copy of The Daily Prophet.
"Yes?" she responded without looking up.
"Can I ask you something?"
She looked at him over the top of the paper before folding it and placing it on the coffee table. He moved to join her and handed over her tea, taking a sip of his own before he spoke.
"I had tea with my mum a few days ago," he began.
She raised her eyebrows at him when he didn't immediately continue.
"I know that, and that's not a question."
Sighing, he set his tea on the coffee table before turning to face her better.
"She raised some interesting points, about our relationship, and I was wondering if we could discuss it."
Looking interested, Melinda sat up straighter to show she was paying attention. She had almost too much respect for Astoria Malfoy and her opinions.
"The last few times I've seen her," Scorpius elaborated, "she's brought up the subject of you and me and our future and where all of this is going and I was just wondering what you thought."
She cocked her head to the side and squinted her eyes as if she were trying to figure him out.
"Could you be more specific?" she asked.
"Marriage, basically." He said it quickly, as if he were ripping off a bandage, which was kind of what it felt like.
Her eyes widened as she began to laugh before rising from the couch.
"Scorpius," she chuckled while looking down at him. "I'm in no rush, really. I don't wish to settle down anytime soon. I'm only twenty-one and I don't plan on marrying til I'm at least twenty-five."
She started making her way into the kitchen and began pulling salad fixings out of the ice box. He turned around so he could still see her from his place on the couch.
"If you're mother's pressuring you," she hollered from the kitchen, "just tell her I'm not ready. That way she's not riding you about it and you can pin it on me. Does that answer your question?"
Scorpius watched her for a moment as her words sunk in.
"Yeah, thanks," was all he managed to say. Throughout her declaration, he'd gone from feeling relieved to distraught in record time. He wasn't keen on settling down anytime soon either, but if he was going to do it with Melinda, waiting four more years seemed like a long time. If you know you want to be with someone for the rest of your life, why would you put it off that long just for the sake of putting it off? Not that he was ready to settle down with Melinda, but he would have liked to know that she had considered it. It struck him as odd that she was willing to let his mother (whom she wanted nothing but approval from) think that it was all her fault that their relationship wasn't progressing. Maybe it was just a sign of how seriously she took her plans as far as marriage was concerned.
As they lay in bed that night, he couldn't shake the fact that he might be in a stalled relationship. She didn't want to marry him anytime soon, and he couldn't imagine himself getting down on one knee in the near future either. Would that change in time? Would they eventually fall desperately in love? Or had they sunk into too comfortable a cycle for there to be any passion or romance in their lives. Not that there really had been before. Things had stayed pretty much the same throughout their entire relationship and he'd always secretly wanted butterflies and fireworks. Scorpius didn't like to think of himself as a romantic, but he knew he was one anyway.
He was finally about to drift off to sleep when a loud banging sounded on his front door. He shot up in bed and Melinda did nothing more than roll over undisturbed. Rising from the bed as quietly as possible, he crept out of his room, grabbing his wand off his nightstand. The banging came again accompanied by the holler of his best friend. He rushed towards the front door and threw it open. Archie Davies stormed into the flat and Scorpius reflexively cast a silencing charm around his living room.
"I don't think I can take it anymore, mate. She's about to do my head in."
Archie started pacing around the living room, his hands running through his shaggy, light brown hair. His thin frame looked even more slight than normal in the blue glow of the moon shining through the window.
"What's she done this time?" Scorpius asked, turning a lamp on as he made himself comfortable in his favorite armchair. Archie stopped in front of him and flung his hands in the air in exasperation.
"She keeps picking fights with me in public! The minute I'm not paying the slightest bit attention to her, she thinks she has the right to complain to me about whatever the fuck happens to be on her mind at the moment, in front of my friends no less!"
Archie flopped down onto the couch and looked pitifully at his best friend.
"She might be the fittest bird I've ever been with, why can't she be the sanest too?"
He leaned his head back on the couch and covered his face with his hands, letting out a mournful groan.
Scorpius chuckled at his friend's plight.
"You knew she was bat shit crazy when we were in Hogwarts, what made you think something had changed?"
"The fact that most people tend to grow up might've had something to do with it," Archie said through his hands. He let his arms flop to his sides and looked at his friend again.
"She wasn't this bad in the beginning, you know."
Taking pity on him, Scorpius decided teasing wasn't what his friend needed right now and opted for a genuine conversation instead.
"Look, Arch, you've known this was doomed from the beginning, and so have I. What's stopping you from ending it?"
"Al asked me the same thing actually," Archie mumbled.
"See!" Scorpius said. "You've always said Al was the sensible one. So what's stopping you?"
"Honestly? The shagging might have something to do with it." Archie had a crooked grin on his face as Scorpius chucked a pillow at him.
"Other than that, you pig."
Archie thought about it for a moment before shrugging his shoulders.
"Who knows? Maybe I hate myself."
"Or maybe you're afraid to hurt her," Scorpius said knowingly.
Archie looked at him blankly for a moment before shrugging his shoulders slightly. Leaning forward and rested his arms on his knees, Scorpius looked sincerely at his friend.
"Arch, not everyone's as fragile as-"
"I know Scor," he cut him off. "I know that. But it's not easy to shake."
They sat in silence for a moment before Scorpius rose from the couch and clapped his hand on the young man's shoulder before moving towards his linen closet.
"I expect you'll just crash here then? I don't trust you to apparate with alcohol in your system."
"What makes you think I've been drinking?" Archie said testily as Scorpius tossed sheets and a blanket at him.
"I'm willing to bet you were just down at Sam's, like always, plus I could smell it as soon as you walked in the door, not to mention the permanent pout on your face. Always a dead giveaway."
Archie furrowed his brow at him in annoyance.
"You can use the pillow I tossed at you earlier. Please keep some of your clothes on. I'd rather my girlfriend not die of fright at the sight of your bare arse in the morning."
Scorpius was grinning teasingly at Archie who was having a hard time keeping a straight face. They were both remembering an incident that had occurred early on in Scorpius's relationship on a night much like this one. Archie had come in a little worse for wear and had unconsciously stripped down before passing out on the couch. Melinda had been greeted by a sight she wasn't likely to forget anytime soon the following morning.
Scorpius turned to leave before Archie called his name.
"Thanks, mate. I know I'm a lot to handle at times."
He looked rather guilty and Scorpius knew he felt like a burden sometimes. He didn't have any family in the area and Scorpius was the person he felt the most comfortable going to.
"Don't be silly Arch. There's no one else who's mess I'd rather handle."
The corner of Archie's mouth lifted in a smirk.
"You're gonna make me cry, mate," he teased.
"I'll try my best," Scorpius retorted before heading back to his room for the evening.
The following morning there was a note from Archie left on the kitchen table, thanking Scorpius once again for his "unwavering kindness and support" and assurances that he'd "be lost without him." Scorpius chuckled at his friends uncanny ability to be superfluous in everything he did. He hadn't said anything regarding his plans for his doomed relationship, if you could even call it that. Scorpius hoped that Archie had finally turned a corner and would be able to maneuver his way out of his current predicament. His thoughts were interrupted by a sharp rap on the door. He made his way to it and looked through the peephole. He rolled his eyes at the frizzy haired brunette that stood on his doorstep and plastered a false smile on his face as he braced himself before opening the door.
"Clara! To what do I owe the pleasure?"
She scowled at him before forcing herself into his home.
"By all means, do come in," he said sarcastically. She stomped around the flat, flipping on all the lights and banging open all the doors. Scorpius was grateful that Melinda had already left to have breakfast with her mother.
"Alright, where is he?" she demanded, storming back into the living room. Stopping in front of him, she crossed her arms and popped hir hip out. Taking her seriously was a difficult task for Scorpius. Her brown curly hair was cropped short and had an afro-like quality to it as a pink headband attempted to keep the majority of it off her face. She wore a pink sequined skirt and a white lace top. Her heels were hot pink and two inches taller than what would be considered practical. He could barely see her face through her makeup. Maybe he understood what so many other men saw in Clara Murphy, but she was all sorts of over the top as far as he was concerned.
"Where's who?" Scorpius asked, feigning innocence.
"That friend of yours. Where's Archie? I know he was here last night. He always comes crawling to you and he wasn't at his flat. I already checked there."
"Well he's not here either so I don't know what to tell you." He moved towards the door as if to usher her out but she didn't follow.
"Well he was here, that much I'm certain of. Did he say anything about me last night?" She almost looked hopeful and Scorpius felt bad for her for a moment before remembering that he didn't believe her motives to be honest. He'd always suspected that she was after Archie for his money. His grandfather had been one of the main shareholders and board members of St. Mungo's and he'd also started a foundation in Scotland for children who had been orphaned during the war, particularly one's whose parents were Muggleborn. His father now held both of those positions and Archie was expected to succeed him.
"Nothing that bears repeating," he told her with a pleasant smile on his face. She just continued to scowl at him.
"Well if you see him, let him know I'm looking for him will you?"
"I'll do my best to warn him."
He turned to open to door and she grunted in frustration before stomping out just as Albus Potter showed up outside of Scorpius's flat. He stepped back in surprise as Clara almost bowled him over in her tempestuous exit. Al paused in the hallway, glancing between Clara's retreating figure and Scorpius who stood in the doorway, unsure of what he'd just walked in on. Scorpius rolled his eyes as he moved back into the flat.
"She was looking for Archie. Don't go getting any ideas. Even if we were both single, there's no way in hell."
Al chuckled as he shut the door behind him.
"I imagined so, but it wasn't something I expected to witness this morning. Just took me a little off guard."
Scorpius moved to the kitchen and poured them each a cup of coffee.
"It's not exactly what I wanted to wake up to this morning either, but the effects of our friend's horrible taste seem to be spilling over into our lives as well."
Albus took a seat at the bar in the kitchen as Scorpius started to make himself some breakfast.
"How's work?" Al asked, flicking lazily through a copy of Potioneers Periodical that was laying on the counter.
"Not too bad. It looks like things are moving forward as far as the expansion project goes."
"That's brilliant! Any details?"
Scorpius shook his head.
"None that I feel comfortable giving to the cousin of a rival."
Al looked offended and disappointed by his friend's denial to give him any information.
"I'd never tell Rose. Come one, you know I can keep a secret."
The pleading tone in Al's voice was almost enough to make him cave, but he'd learned to be smarter than that.
"Maybe you doesn't spill secrets, but drunk you sure does. Anyway, is there a reason you're at my flat this early in the morning?"
With a roll of his eyes, Al let the subject go.
"I know you have to work this weekend," he began, "but is there any chance you could give me a hand this morning?"
"Probably, what's up?" Scorpius asked as he magicked some eggs into being whipped and scrambled.
"Abigail and her mother bought a crib yesterday and it's being delivered today. I need some help getting it put together."
Scorpius looked at him questioningly.
"Can't you just use magic for that?"
"Apparently not," Al sighed. "Abigail insisted that since her father built her crib by hand, I should do the same. Some muggle tradition, thing. She said I could have help, though."
Exhaustion didn't even begin to describe how Al looked. His eyes were drooping and his shoulders were sagged. It probably hadn't helped that he'd been out drinking the night before. Yet there was still a look of pure joy about him, in his eyes and in his smile, that had been there since he'd heard he was going to be a father.
"How come you were out last night? Archie said you were at Sam's."
"Abigail's mum wanted to spend their last night together knitting more clothes for the baby and chatting about motherhood, and my loving wife decided I would just be in the way. Same thing this morning. Her mother left and then she went into full on cleaning mode and there I was, in the way again." Al looked resigned to his wife's current state as he chugged his coffee.
"I thought only last week she was crying every morning you left for work?" Scorpius asked as he leaned back on the counter, eating his breakfast as he regarded his friend.
"She was," Al sighed. "These mood swings just might be the death of me. Luckily for you, Mel's a lot more even keeled than Abigail ever was on a normal day before the pregnancy so you might not have anything to worry about."
Scorpius choked on his eggs at his friend's words.
"Pardon me? Who says Melinda and I plan on having kids?"
"Well you've been together long enough, haven't you at least talked about the future?"
"It's been nine months," Scorpius protested.
"And I knew I wanted to marry Abigail after three."
"Seriously?" Scorpius questioned. They'd been halfway through their seventh year when they'd gotten together.
Al nodded as if it were obvious.
"Well, we actually did talk about it, just yesterday," Scorpius admitted.
Albus raised his eyebrows in interest.
"She doesn't seem too keen on it, to be honest," Scorpius said. "Laughed at the idea of marriage when I brought it up. Claims she's too young to even think about it for the next four years."
"Wow. How does that sit with you?" Al asked.
Scorpius shrugged, still unsure how the whole thing made him feel.
"I'm still processing, I guess. Mind, I only brought it up because my mother's been pestering me about it. I think I felt relief in the moment, to be honest. I'm only twenty-three and I have plenty of time to settle down and start a family, but I don't know if I fancy having the decision taken away from me for the next four years."
Al nodded his head slowly, pondering what his friend had just told him before speaking up again.
"Is that something you think you might want though? Eventually? Is it enough of a possibility for you to stay together?"
Scorpius delayed responding by cleaning up his dishes and finishing off his coffee before finally answering his friend.
"I honestly don't know. It would be a whole lot easier if I did, that"s for sure."
"Well, can't dwell on it can you? Time will tell I suppose. So," Al stood and clapped his hands together. "Shall we get a move on? We can grab lunch after. On me."
Thankful for the change of topic, Scorpius accepted Al's offer.
"Alright. I guess a little manual labor would be a nice distraction."
"What made you bring it up with her anyway?" Al asked as they made their way out of the flat.
His mind flashing to the letter he had received the previous evening, Scorpius couldn't stop the small smile that played at the corner of his mouth.
"Just took some good advice from a friend."
A/N: I'm guessing you all knew who was on the other side of the letters, but in case you weren't sure, now you know! Thanks so much for the warm response to chapter one! Hope you all enjoyed the second installment :)