Chapter 16 – Love You Goodbye
I know that you’re wrong for me
Gonna wish we never met on the day I leave
I brought you down to your knees
’Cause they say that misery loves company
It’s not your fault I ruin everything
And it’s not your fault I can’t be what you need, baby
Angels like you can’t fly down here with me
Cassiah wondered if she would ever be okay again.
Despite her confident exterior when she’d left Ron in the bathroom, Cassiah was devastated.
She felt so stupid. Even after Ron had completely blind-sided her this summer, she still had kept hope like some childish schoolgirl, devising plans to make him love her again, writing happy fairy tale endings in her head.
She’d been so blindly in love with him – so naive that she was willing to get back on this emotional rollercoaster without even giving it a second thought, just for the chance to make him remember how happy they once were.
And she’d agreed to this, this friends with benefits – went as far as to convince herself that it was what she wanted – even though she knew that it would end up hurting her. Despite everything he’d done to her, she was still willing to do anything for him.
The worst part was that as hurt as she was now, she knew that if he came crawling back admitting that he was wrong, she’d forgive him. She might’ve already forgiven him, even.
Except no – this time she was angry. That had never happened before. She’d never been able to access that emotion when it came to Ron. But after everything, it felt good, like this giant dam in her chest had finally broken.
It felt healthier – to finally take him down off the pedestal she’d put him on and see him on her level. Yes, she loved Ron, and part of her probably always would, but he wasn’t perfect. He had done so terrible things. Cassiah was not solely responsible for the issues between them.
Ron wasn’t a bad person. But whenever they fought, he was blinded by anger, and he said mean, dismissive things. And when she got too drunk, he acted like she’d done something horrible when all she was doing was having fun. And many times, he’d ditch their plans to go smoke with his friends, like there was nothing more important in the entire world.
Sure, Cassiah had flaws, too. She was broken and terrified of being abandoned again, so she never mentioned that she was upset until she completely flies off the handle. Sometimes when she drinks, she gets a bit bossy. And sometimes, she overshared about her relationship to her friends and took relationship advice from the wrong people.
Maybe they weren’t actually meant to be together. Maybe they were both too passionate, too emotional. Maybe they needed partners who were more balanced and level-headed to even things out.
For the first time, Cassiah allowed herself to consider that maybe Ron was wrong for her, even if they had once been happy. She allowed herself to fathom that happiness isn’t always permanent, but you can be grateful for a person who once brought it into your life, even if they no longer can.
Maybe she and Ron weren’t meant to be, after all. Maybe passion wasn’t enough to make such vastly different people work.
But in that moment, it was no longer all on her.
She wasn’t the villain she’d been making herself out to be.
And Ron was no angel.
And that was okay to admit.
That’s how it had been since Ron saw Cassie. When she first said she was done, Ron didn’t entirely believe her. Would they ever truly be done?
But this was the longest they’d ever gone without seeing each other. Even when he’d first broken up with her, they’d interacted every now and then, even if the interactions weren’t entirely pleasant. Now it was like Ron didn’t even exist Cassiah’s world anymore.
He knew that Cassiah could be stubborn, but he’d never considered that someday that stubbornness might be directed towards him – never assumed that someday he would be the person who hurt her too badly. He couldn’t even be mad at her. He fucked up bad. Twice.
Not seeing Cassie for the better part of a month was eye-opening. At first, he was so angry at her that it was almost a relief to not have to see her, to feel liberated. But that feeling went away after just under a week and was replaced with a sinking feeling of dread. And that dread quickly became a pain in his actual heart that wouldn’t let up. He had what could have been a second chance at the love of his life, and he’d let it slip away.
He was relieved to go home for Christmas, where he and Harry and his brothers and sister could just escape from all the drama and tension that came with being at Hogwarts.
The second he’d walked in the door his Mum had been waiting there for him. He’d wanted to just crawl into her arms like he used to when he was little and tell her about his problems, but over the years, he’d set a precedent that he didn’t do that anymore so he felt like he couldn’t. All he could do was flash her a quick smile and give her a half-hearted hug before he had to use all his willpower to pull himself away from her and head upstairs with his bag.
That night at dinner, Ron didn’t even touch his food. His mom had made his favorite – a roast beef slathered in gravy with potatoes and rolls and all the fixings – and all he’d been able to do was move his food around on the plate. He might’ve had a bite or two of the bread, but for once, he wasn’t hungry.
Not with Ginny and Harry blatantly flirting right in front of him at the table. Thank Merlin the two of them were going on a day trip tomorrow.
He trudged up to his room again after dinner, stuffing a towel under the door to try to stifle the smell of smoke from leaking into the rest of the house, even though he knew it would only do so much. Normally his mother was known to put soap in their mouths for getting high in the house and stinking the place up, but even she seemed to be making an exception for him, sensing that he was in a mood and needed some space. He couldn’t decide if he was grateful for her mercy or annoyed by the fact that he was being treated differently. Probably a little bit of both.
About an hour and a half after dinner, there was a knock at his bedroom door.
“Go away,” Ron mumbled, flipping absently through an old Muggle comic book of his father’s that he was just a bit too baked to fully pay attention to.
“No, I don’t think I will. What about you, George?” Fred’s voice sounded from the other side of the door.
“Me neither, Freddie. Shall we charm the door, Ronald, or will you open it yourself?”
“Ugh,” Ron groaned in frustration, fumbling around for his wand and opening the door with a flick of his wand. It opened just a sliver, getting caught on the towel stuffed under it.
Fred grinned as he entered the room, picking up the towel from underneath the door and slinging it over his shoulder. “Don’t bother with the towel, brother. The whole house is loud at this point.”
Ron pressed his lips together, fighting off a tiny, amused smile. “What do you lads want?”
The twins shut the door behind them, making themselves at home in Ron’s room. George raised his eyebrows. “Harry and Ginny are going to London tomorrow on a little day trip.”
“Don’t remind me,” Ron grumbled, his discontent at Harry’s relationship with his sister only made worse by his own loneliness and regrets about Cassiah.
“Lighten up a little bit. They’re only going to see a Muggle show,” Fred reasoned. “Anyways. We thought we’d take a little trip of our own.”
Ron immediately shook his head. “Thanks, but I just got here from Hogwarts. I don’t really feel like going anywhere–”
George tossed a baggie onto the bed and Ron’s eye widened in understanding.
“Mum will have our heads.”
"Mum is going with Dad to visit some old friends for the weekend,” Fred supposed, wiggling his eyebrows mischievously.
Ron smirked, sitting up a bit straighter in bed. “Well,
when you put it that way... I’m in.”
“Yes!” the twins both celebrated in unison, and Ron couldn’t help but grin bashfully at their antics. He was, for once, relieved Harry wouldn’t be around to disapprove.
Although he was sure if Ginny was around, she’d be down. Really, his father shouldn’t have played so much Beatles music for them as kids if he didn’t want them getting into psychedelics.
The next morning the boys got up early to eat breakfast and then hike out into the hills nearby the Burrow. Ron had packed way too many of his favorite snacks, but hopefully his appetite would be back today.
They spent the day tripping out there, surrounded by the trees, following water flowing in little streams and brooks, and watching clouds form and breeze through the sky. They hadn’t yet had the first snow of the season, and the sun was warmed enough that day to have melted any morning frost that had appeared on the grass.
Ron felt great.
After they’d been out there for a few hours, he’d wandered a little ways off from his brothers for a few minutes – or it could’ve been an hour –wanting the space to think. As he was coming down, he felt like he could have all the answers if he just searched for them. There were right there at his fingertips if he would only pluck them up and out of the grass.
Why had he never talked to anyone about his breakup with Cassiah? Whenever anyone had asked, he’d made some stupid joke or conceited comment about how he was better off or didn’t care. He knew that no one believed the act he was putting on, so why did he do it when it only made him feel worse? He didn’t want to do it anymore.
He should’ve have let her in. It was so easy to do the right thing, especially when it was everything his soul was yearning for. And yet he felt like he had to punish himself – for that anger he sometimes felt towards the world and all its uncertainty, and for hurting the one person who made him feel like he wasn’t so alone.
But punishing himself... was it hurting her just as much as it was hurting her? Yes, and he had seen the effects of that in the bathroom that day. Their sex had been so wild and passionate that he couldn’t believe he hadn’t recognized the love behind it right then and there. He’d been so blinded by fear of rejection, of being wrong, that he hadn’t noticed it in himself or he’d. But it was there, he was sure of it. She was everything he had ever wanted.
He found his brothers again, sat by a stream and chatting quietly. He took a seat beside them, taking in the feeling of the cold, damp grass under his legs and the light breeze rustling through his hair, nipping at his ears. The sun was warm enough to balance out the coldness of the Earth. Everything was a balance. He and Cassiah were a balance: cautious and spontaneous, soft and hard, organized and messy...
He shook his head.
“I made a mistake breaking up with Cassiah,” he said to his brothers, staring out at the Earth, sprawled out in front of him for him to admire.
“I know,” George said quietly, not a judgment, but an understanding.
“I just feel so out of control. It’s like over the last year I’ve completely lost control of myself, of my emotions. And I don’t want to drag her down with
Everyone was quiet for a short moment, but after was quick to answer. “Did you ever think that you aren’t dragging her down? You don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of being loved, Ron. The people who love you want to help you with that shit. Problems doesn’t feel like a burden when they’re the problems of someone you love, you know?”
Ron had never heard his brother so serious. He was always so focused on the next punch line.
“Yeah,” Ron relented, “I mean, I know that all I want to do is help her with her problems. They don’t feel like a burden. But sometimes I feel like I’m too tired from my own problems to take care of hers, and then what do I do?” He paused, considering. “I felt like I was failing...” he added quietly after a moment, rolling a blade of grass between his fingertips.
“You do what you would do if I or Fred or Harry or anyone else asked you to do something that you couldn’t handle,” George responded, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Maybe it was. “You just be honest. You say you wish you could help, but all you can do is be there.”
“I was never honest with her about that shit,” answered Ron immediately, “I always buried my shit. Like it didn’t exist. So that I could take care of her. But the thing is, I know that’s bloody stupid. I know she would never hate me for that. She’d want to help me with it. So why did I not tell her?”
“Well don’t act like you still can’t,” Fred said. “It’s not like she’s bloody dead or something. You could tell her the second you get back to Hogwarts if you really want to.”
Ron nodded. I can tell her, he thought to himself. Yes, they’d fought, but Cassie could never truly hate him. There was nothing more powerful that honesty, and maybe they’d never been honest before and that was the problem. Or the answer to all their problems.
He plopped back in the grass, relishing in the way the cool dirt felt on his back while the sun beat down on his front, undoubtedly promoting freckles to pop out on his face.
The next night, Ron was drunk. So drunk. He didn’t remember the last time he even was this drunk. It must’ve been when he and Harry were fifteen or sixteen, not knowing the limits. Ron was always the one to push things too far back then, getting sloshed and running around the halls, doing reckless shit, yacking in prefect bathrooms.
He didn’t do that anymore, didn’t get like that.
Except for tonight.
Minus the yacking part, hopefully. So far, so good.
Their parents were out of town and Ginny and Harry were back from their trip. Ron had accidentally let them know about the little trip he and Fred and George had gone on yesterday, too drunk to remember that it was a secret as he hiccupped. Thankfully, he realized with an utterly boyish giggle, Harry was also too drunk to remember tomorrow.
Ginny would remember though, and there would be hell to pay for not including her. Even as the room spun around him, Ron shivered at the idea of Ginny’s wrath.
They were several, several rounds deep into a game of Ginny’s invention – Truth or Dare or Drink. Very few truths were told, a couple dares were done, and well... many drinks were drunk.
Ron observed Harry and Ginny from across the room. Of course, Harry normally wouldn’t have the balls to try some shit with Ron in the same room. But Harry was blasted, maybe even as blasted as Ron was (if that was even possible) and he was sitting so close to Ginny, one hand on her leg. And the way they were looking at each other...
But it wasn’t disgust he was feeling when he looked at them, for once. No, it was something else entirely. He felt inspired.
“I’ll be right back gentlemen,” he announced to Fred and George, clapping them both on the backs before stumbling up the stairs to his room.
He eased the door shut behind him and clumsily found his way into his desk chair. He leaned over to reach into his drawers, nearly face planting onto the floor in the process.
Merlin, I am so obliterated, he thought to himself, giggling in a way he would be embarrassed about sober.
He produced a blank piece of parchment and a quill and ink. He began to write.
He fumbled, spilling ink all over that piece of parchment.
“Fuck!” he mumbled, chuckling at himself. He crumpled the soiled paper up, lamely tossing it to the side before placing a clean one down in front of him, smoothing it out.
This time more carefully, he scrawled out:
It was messy, but it would do. His handwriting was messy even when he was completely sober.
I realzied that I am have no been honest with you. For so long I pretended to not to care. But I do! I am gonna to be honest with you now, Cassie.
He didn’t remember anything else.
The next morning he woke up the screeching of Pig landing in the window frame. The sound went through his head like a knife.
He jolted up to see what was happening and immediately regretted the decision. The sudden movement made the ache behind his temples pulse and his stomach lurch. He burst out of bed, shoving Pig to the side as he reached the window just in time to empty his stomach out the window.
“Bloody fucking hell!” he heard George shout
from the floor below, “I didn’t need or expect to see that shit go by my window first thing this morning, Ron! Merlin!”
Ron grimaced. He did feel better though, even if it wouldn’t last.
He looked back over at Pig.
And then it registered.
Bloody– There was no way.
He crossed the room to his desk and saw the remnants of his work from last night – the original soiled parchment was there, but it was what was missing that really made him feel sick. His letter was gone.
He suddenly had the faintest, blurriest memory of passing it to Pig. He couldn’t believe it was real.
And he was so wasted that he couldn’t remember exactly what it was he wrote. Unfortunately, he was
pretty sure he knew the gist of it.
Bloody hell. It was times like this that he remembered why he was usually a stoner.