Happily Ever After Part II
Time passed much more quickly than Henry was used to. Before he knew it, Alize was preparing for her official engagement dinner, where the parents would finalize their decision for she and Scorpius to marry.
He sat in Alize’s room, watching her brush out her long, silky hair, the light glinting off her silver gown.
“Do you think you’re ready for this…?” he murmured, focusing on the rhythmic movement of her hands through her hair.
“No.” She looked up, meeting his eyes in the mirror. “Will you come with me? I don’t want to be alone.”
He nodded. “I’ll stay right by you…but I’ll stay hidden.”
“What if his parents don’t like me?” she asked after a minute, studying herself in the mirror.
“Everyone likes you. Don’t worry about it.”
She took a deep breath, pinning her hair back with diamond clips in the shape of dragons. “What’s going to happen if they decide the engagement is off? What am I going to do then?”
“You can find someone you actually want to marry.”
“What if they want to pair me with someone awful if things don’t work out with the Malfoys?”
“It is your life Alize. Just say no.”
“They’ll disown me if I don’t marry who they pick for me. I was raised to be a good wife, not live on my own…or to even know how.”
“You still shouldn’t be forced to marry someone horrid.”
“It doesn’t matter to them if he’s horrid,” she whispered. “Just as long as he’s pure.”
A knock sounded on the door, interrupting their conversation. “Lizzie, we have to leave now,” came her brother, Augustin’s, voice from the other side of the wood.
Henry moved to her side. “You’ll be fine,” he whispered as he vanished. “I know you will.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy, I am so glad that we could make this arrangement with you,” Genevieve Warren murmured to the Malfoys at the end of the evening. “I know our daughter is very proud that you have selected her to marry your son.”
“We couldn’t possible have chosen a better wife for Scorpius. And they get along so well. I can’t wait for the ceremony,” Astoria Malfoy replied, smiling.
“Oh yes, thank you for reminding me. We would like to formally invite your family to Alize’s piercing ceremony next weekend, now that the engagement has been finalized.”
“That is certainly an honor. We wouldn’t miss it.”
“Well we must bid you a good evening,” Mr. Warren cut in. “Thank you for the wonderful dinner. Say goodbye, Alize.”
Alize stepped into the room and turned to Scorpius. “Good evening, Master Scorpius,” she whispered.
“Good evening, Alize.” He smiled, smoothing his hand over his leg nervously.
“I suppose I’ll see you again in a week.”
“I can’t wait. It’s always a pleasure to see you.”
“You too. Goodbye…” She turned and rejoined her parents.
Alize didn’t speak a word to Henry as she entered her room that night. She walked silently across the room and climbed into bed without even bothering to remove her shoes.
“Is something wrong…?” Henry sat beside her on the bed, worried.
“He’s so nice,” she whispered, staring at the wall. “And considerate. I hate…I hate that I don’t like him.”
“That’s not your fault…You’re just not meant to be together…I hate that you’re being forced into this.”
She lapsed into silence for a while, so long he thought she had fallen asleep. But then she rolled over and looked up at him in the darkness. “Why can’t I love him like I love you?” she whispered.
He froze, blinking. “I…I don’t think I heard you right…” he mumbled, his mind racing.
“I said that I wish I could love him like I love you…”
She nodded. “Didn’t you notice? You’re my best friend.”
“I…I love you too…”
She sighed softly. “I would be happy if I could marry you instead, Henry.”
“Me too,” he whispered. If only….
“Will you stay with me tonight? Please?”
“I promise I won’t go anywhere.”
“You better not.” She smiled as her eyes drifted closed. “I’ll kill you if you do.”
He smiled, but it held a hint of sadness. “I won’t ever leave you, Alize.”
Five days later, Draco, Astoria, and Scorpius Malfoy arrived at the Warren house promptly at seven to watch Scorpius’s name being pierced into Alize’s ears. The act would mark Alize permanently as Scorpius’s bride.
Henry stayed near Alize, feeling his jealousy rising as he waited for the ceremony. His jealousy only grew and grew as he watched every letter of Scorpius’s name being pierced into Alize’s ear one by one. That should be his name. If he lived in a perfect world…but it was impossible. Even if Alize had a choice in the matter they couldn’t be together. There was no perfect world. Not for Henry. And not for Alize either.
Why did he have to love her? How was it possible for a dead man to love at all?
He wished he’d just been left alone. Ignorance was bliss. But then he’d have never met the one person who made him happy when he never thought he’d feel anything again…He never would have had to lose her either… You couldn’t miss what you never had, after all.
Henry watched the earrings gleam in Alize’s ear with a vague sense of hatred.
Why did it have to be so hard…? He couldn’t let her go. Not now. Not ever. He loved her too much. And she needed him. She couldn’t go through this alone.
It was close to ten when the Malfoys finally took their leave, allowing Alize to retire to her room.
“Did it hurt?” he asked, reclining beside the window.
“Not when he put them in,” she murmured, sitting in front of her mirror to pull her hair down from its braid.
“The whole thing seems so archaic…”
“It’s been our family tradition since Merlin.”
“You’re not property.” He disregarded the fact that if it had been his name he’d have no problem with it.
She shrugged, running her fingers through her hair to loosen the curls.
“There’s not much longer until the wedding…”
She seemed not to hear him. She pushed her hair behind her ears and studied the earrings in the mirror, turning her head first one way then the other.
“I hate them,” he muttered before he could stop himself.
Silence met his words. And then, suddenly, she burst into tears and lowered her head into her hands, sobbing.
“Alize…I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to upset you…” He wished he could hold her…comfort her, but like so many other things, it was impossible.
“I don’t want to marry him,” she sobbed, her words muffled by her hands.
“Then don’t. I can’t stand seeing you so miserable.”
“If I don’t, I’ll never see my family again. Augustin, April, Abel, little Amelie…” She laid her head down on the wood, still sobbing. “I can’t.”
“I love you. No matter what you do.”
She looked up at him, her cheeks streaked with her tears. “Promise you’ll never leave me.”
“I promise.” Even though he knew neither of them could feel it, he leaned down, touching his lips to hers. When he pulled away, she was smiling through her tears.
“Thank you, Henry,” she whispered.
“Thank you,” he whispered back.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“I love you so much…”
“I love you too.” She wiped the tears from her cheeks. “I shouldn’t, but I do. And I don’t want to lose you.”
“You won’t. I’ll never leave you alone.”
“Good.” She smiled, a bit sadly. “Does that make me selfish?”
“Not at all.”
“I think I should go to bed. It’s been a long night…”
“Yes…May I…lie with you…?”
He drifted towards the bed, watching her as he lay down. Was this how it would be forever? Torturing them both with his presence, while nothing could be done…and Scorpius would claim her as his wife. She quickly changed into her nightgown in the bathroom and then slipped into the bed beside him.
“Thank you for being my best friend, Henry,” she whispered before falling asleep. “You really, truly are the best.”
“Always,” he murmured. “Always.”
To be continued...