It’s Wednesday. Seven twenty-two at night.
Meaning Astronomy class started in a few minutes. The sound of the red crackling fire from the opposite wall was making me want to stay longer, but I don’t need another thirty-minute talk on my attendance. Standing up from my place on the couch I walked over to the bathroom.
The tiled floor felt cold beneath my skin. I turned on the faucet to the coldest temperature, aiming to wake myself up from my idle state. Brushing my hands beneath the running water, I felt my body tense up at the icy feel. I soaked my face with the liquid before looking at myself in the mirror. Starring intensely like never before. The sound of the running sink was drowned out by my thoughts. I observed every inch of my face, the lines creating paths between my lips, the gray undertones shadowing my eyes, and my colorless pale skin.
All sounds were absent now, me, and my thoughts. In the mirror I saw myself in a white empty room, simply thinking.
What was that poem that my dad read to me every night?
It repeated quite a few times. Over and over, trying to convey a message of what seemed to be eternal love.
The words of the poem hidden deep in the back of my mind were struggling to become a fresh memory again.
“Take me under the rain- ”
no that’s not it,
“Take me to a place where it rains-
and I will love you forever.”
Isn’t that what they all say? ‘Love will last forever.’ People will love each other to the dusks of dawn. Until the skies grow cold and their skins grow wrinkly. Everyone seems to be stuck in the same trance. Taught at an early age that all you must do is find someone worthy of your love. That love is ethereal. It seems impossible for them to interpret the ending of love after a union.
Maybe love could last, today and tomorrow, but certainly not forever.
But then the sharp clock strike brought me back. My surroundings came back into view. Looking up at the clock, seven fourty pm.
The gray towel draped above the sink was used to dry my face. Then the water droplets painting the sink below me.
Walking out of the bathroom, I open my wardrobe and pick out a simple outfit. A black skirt with a white button-up, then sliding on a pair of shoes. The clock ticking sounded like a bomb, it was always ringing behind me, rushing me to leave. I grabbed my robe and harshly wrapped it around my figure while making my way out.
The moons shine through the window was the only source of light in the dim hallway. The path on the way towards the Astronomy tower was strictly lightened by that small glimmer.
Going outside during the night was one of my favorite escapes. Gazing at the stars in the dark, I would feel untied and free to everything around me. The feeling is surreal, they’re like pearls sitting perfectly cushioned above a dark curtain. Calling them beautiful wouldn’t do justice. They’re like my own drug. Diamonds I could always go back to. Even though it’s my most treasured thing to do, I don’t ever do it with anyone. They always ruin the moment by speaking about their life problems. The ones I’m disinterested in.
That’s why I prefer Astronomy.
The classroom was full. Most 30 students being on time. We had a few lamps sorted across the room, enough to lighten up the space but not enough to distract our attention from the night sky clearly visible from the large elongated windows.
I took my normal seat besides Luna. Whoever you sit beside, is going to be your partner for this year, until the semester is over; that’s what the professor warned. The desks are sorted into pairs. Normally, Sinistra would allow us to sit where ever we pleased, but as she announced last class, she will be assigning us our permanent seating.
“For your project, since it’s a difficult task, you will be working in groups,” Sinistra paused, “it has come to my attention that the same people are always grouping up together.” her vision was locked on a table at the back of the class before she continued. Her words were slowly silenced off as I turned my head to see who she must have been referring to.
Of course. Draco, Theodore, Daphne, and Adrian.
The screeching of chairs sliding across the floor made my thoughts snap back.
“I wish we would’ve been partners Nyla,” Luna gave me a weak smile.
“Who are you partnered with?” I hastily questioned. When did she even start sorting people into their permanent pairs?
Luna seemed disturbed. “Adrian Pucey.”
“Ms. Moore,” I snapped my head around to the voice source behind me, Sinistra’s tall silhouette stood above me, she looked confused. Almost questioning if I knew what I was supposed to be doing at the moment. “What are you waiting for?”
“I’m sorry could you repeat my partner again?”
“Ms. Moore start paying more attention while in my class. Mr. Malfoy is your assigned partner.” She spoke blankly.
Bloody hell. Yes, Pansy and Blaise make everyone hang out together, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy any time spent with him. He is a self-centered prick. Having to do this one-month project with him is already making me feel miserable.
I walked over to the far right corner of the room, where he sat along with the others. I felt my insides turn with each step getting closer. I noticed how Adrian had already made his way towards Luna, sitting beside her at the front of the room. Theo wasn’t sitting along with him anymore, he was seated across the room with another boy, and Daphne was seated a few chairs back from Draco, still relatively close to him.
As I took my seat beside him on the wooden chair, he didn’t even spare me a glance. He was slouched onto the chair with his knees parted from one another. I placed my head on my hands reclining my elbows onto the desk. All it took was one inhale of air. His minuscule scent consisting of parchment and cologne overfilled my senses. It was all I needed to get lost in my thoughts.
Draco shifted in his seat, I felt his eyes on me. Inspecting me. It felt like I was being read like a book. Open to the reader without a lock. “Your little puppet seemed like one to like picnics,” He was holding back a laugh.
“Can’t believe he actually took interest in someone like you,” Draco interrupted.
What the fuck is his problem. Does he really see me as someone not capable of being liked? He should sort out his fucking issues before attacking me for having something he doesn’t.
“His name is Ashton. And how do you-”
“Many people go to the forest after school,” Draco said calmly.
“Where you spying on me?” I spat, shifting in my seat to face him entirely now.
“Yes, of course, I was, I am extremely interested in your life.” he smirked, “I happened to be enjoying my time there. Until your baby talk ruined it.”
A tall outline shadowed above us, stopping my mouth from opening, “Why haven’t either of you started on the project?” Sinistra coldly questioned.
My eyes shift towards the room. A few students were collecting materials but besides them, the classroom was empty. The sounds of footsteps echoed from the roof above into the hallow classroom.
“We were just getting started,” Draco responded, offering an innocent, unwavering smile.
She gave me a look, “Do it now please. The telescopes are at the front,” she gestured her hand, pointing towards the stack of overly sized scopes.
Nodding my head, I rose from my seat. Draco did the same as she walked towards the other remaining students in the room. Placing my bag onto the table, I carefully removed my quill and book.
“Y’know you’ll be doing all the work, correct?”
From the start, I knew getting partnered up with Draco was going to turn out with me doing absolutely everything. I didn’t exactly mind it though, I found this class facile. Having to do a project about something I enjoy observing, could never have me asking for more. Besides, having him irritate me with his voice is the last thing I need.
I glanced back at him, his hands in his pockets with locks of hair perfectly placed above his eyebrows, “Perfect, I didn’t need my average grade going down,”
His eyebrows rose, “Then I should take consideration in helping, but this couldn’t affect my grade in the slightest,”
“It must really piss you off having to be second in this class,” I gibed, “but then again, being first is a difficult job,”
He studied me for a second, he seemed unconcerned, ”finally, you’re not completely invisible Moore, you actually have some sort of ‘place’,”
The thoughts inside my head are completely unnecessary, I looked away from him, he has to know that his words didn’t affect me in the slightest. I lifted my brown leathered book and quill into my arms. Did I seem invisible to everyone? The sounds of his footsteps disappeared as he got farther. He only got closer to the silver metal telescopes in the center room. We were allowed one per group.
From my place at the desk, I noticed Draco’s veiny hands reach for the scope while he effortlessly picked it up with one arm. He held the metal tight against his body as he made his way towards the stairs on the left of the classroom. I followed behind him, leaving space between us both.
Still following him, we made our way on top of the Astronomy Tower. Immediately, I notice every area filled with student pairs. Did they all have to come here? Professor Sinistra noted that students have the ability to go anywhere they please in order to study. The sound of Draco’s huff made me turn.
Keeping my tone soft and calm I finally spoke, “There’s no space to work here,”
He turned to face me, “Really? Didn’t notice.”
I rolled my eyes. “The moon will still be noticeable from down there,” My finger points past the railing, downwards, “We can go right there next to the-”
A faint smirk grew on his face, “May I remind you we are doing a project not-”
“Malfoy I’m being serious. I’ll take the telescope.”
I snatch the scope from under his arm. It was heavier than I expected but I reminded myself how I couldn’t drop it with Draco watching. Walking back down the stairs away from all the commotion of mixed voices, I didn’t feel Draco’s presence behind me. Not turning around, I reached the ground and walked outside. The black blanket draped over the sky was only illuminated by the moon and the small sparkles of pale light.
“This is pathetic.” Draco spat.
My tired arm was placing the telescope firmly against the grass-filled ground. Turning around, Draco was taking out a book from his bag and placing it next to him as he took a seat on the grass, reclining onto the massive tree behind him. I mustn’t have noticed that my stare on him lingered for a while. “Well? are you going to get started?” his eyebrow quirked up.
Rolling my eyes, I placed both my hand on the cold metal. The sky through the telescope was much closer. There was a similar feeling of being able to hold the stars in my hands. If only I could reach up and scoop them.
We were meant to record the moon’s position and its current phase for the entire month. From what I could assume, the four-week lunar cycle recently began.
Shifting to face Draco sitting by the tree, I notice his quill moving atop his notebook. I haven’t told him any information though. “It’s a waning crescent.”
He continues to write in his journal as he stiffly nods, not giving me the smallest acknowledgment.
“Aligned to the fixed stars, it will move about 11 degrees by tom-”
His eyes meet with mine. “Already incorrect Moore. It will shift 13 degrees, its orbital motion will carry it eastward.” a small smirk painted his mouth.
I just wanted to finish and his cockiness isn’t helping. Being here with Draco isn’t my most preferred environment. Not wanting to create a neverending commotion with him, I sigh, “Alright, 13 degrees.”
His eyes studied me, waiting for my remark, instead, I kept speaking, “Orion,” I pointed towards the black sky, “I’m not very ethical at drawing, maybe you can sketch it out,” I paused taking in his baffling expression, “its outlined by four stars at the corners of the imaginary trapezoid. Within this space, seeming to draw them together into a pattern, is a row of three stars tilted at an angle - Orion’s belt-”
“I know what Orion looks like. You don’t need to explain,” Draco scoffed, “You can’t draw lines?” he queried mockingly. He rose from his place on the ground. Placing his quill and notebook down onto the ground, he walked towards the telescope placed in front of me as I moved aside, allowing him access to the center glass. He bent down at its level and lined his eye, he looked through the tube for a minute before straightening his back and holding my gaze. “If you’re looking for the one closest to the moon, it would be Taurus.”
My eyes narrow, “I’m not looking for one closest to the moon Malfoy, we need to choose one and focus on it for the project. Maybe you didn’t hear the instructions correctly.” I paused, “We aren’t supposed to draw the constellation, we’re supposed to draw what the constellation stands for.”
His nose scrunches in irritation, still inspecting my every feature. “We’ll do Lyra.”
“No, that one isn’t eye-catching,” I look back up at the sky trying to find the brightest star. If he would let me choose the constellation, this would be much easier. He said he wouldn’t help, so why even try.
His expression dulled but his eyes remained on me, “Who said it has to be eye-catching?”
I keep my vision locked onto the painted sky, “If we were to do Cassopiea, we would only have to draw the ancient queen-”
“That one is terrible.”
“Then we are doing Cancer”
He scoffs again, “You must be out of your mind if you think we are doing the crab.”
“I think it would be pretty easy,” I said vexingly, “unless you might find observing this pattern difficult.”
The sensation of his grey eyes still locked onto me was indisputable, I felt him roam over my body before speaking, “And if I did find it difficult? would you help me understand them better?”
Turning from the beautiful sky, I spot the evil smirk on his face, finally understanding the deeper meaning in his comment. “We’re doing Pegasus.”
Draco scoffed, “Fine. The telescope is placed wrongly though, you could’ve spotted the wrong constellation.”
“I placed it correctly Malfoy. Want to check for yourself?” I gesture my hands towards the scope.
He reaches for the telescope, and fixes it slightly against the ground, “If I don’t then my grade will go to shit.”
“I was sure you weren’t going to help.”
“I’m helping myself,” he was eyeing me by the corner of his eye, “You happen to get lucky.”
Emitting from the darks of the forest, sudden noise caused by twigs bending and leaves rustling made my heart tamper against my chest. There was something there, deep in the shadows, but my vision could only go so far. The whispers made from bushes crinkling were getting louder and louder as the source seemed to get closer. Maybe it was nothing, just the wind. But whatever or whoever the source was, their movements were enough to send loud snapping sounds into the mists of air. I felt Draco’s body stiffen as he peeked his view towards the forest, but then loosely snap back to his calm, unbothered self. The noises came to an end as I felt his sigh fill my ears. “Feeling uneasy?” he smirked.
When I met his eyes, he noticed the fear in mine. A flicker of uncertainty passed through them. For a second it seemed like his mask of the rude heartless boy might have gotten removed, but then it got placed above his face again, cold and emotionless. “Ah, you need the prince in shining armor to protect you from the thestrals?”
I softly shove his chest, “You’re a bloody idiot.”
The thought of him spotting the thestrals, so he says, replayed itself in my mind. How come he sees them? They’re meant only to be seen if you have seen death. I want to ask him, not that I’m interested in his life or whatever, but I’m intrigued by what they look like exactly.
He sat back down in front of the tree, picking up his notebook and quill. His eyebrows rose at my awkward stance. He stares at me for what seems to be ages until he ducks his head and lowly chuckles. “I can’t believe I’ve been partnered up with you.”
“You should consider asking Sinistra to switch you.” If I got another chance with a different partner, I would prefer Luna. She has a partner though, if Draco left, then I might get partnered with someone worst. Is there someone worst?
He tilts his head in thought, “You’re slightly less annoying than the rest-” he paused taking in my undeniable confused expression, “-since I have demand you to do the work, and you’re doing it.”
“You thought I was doing this because you ‘demanded’ me too?” I fumed, my tone cold as ice.
A visible smirk laid upon his face, he was eyeing me carefully. Still and pointed, singling me to continue. He appeared unbothered, which irritated me. “Sometimes your arrogance truly does get the best of you. You think you have all these puppets willing to do anything for you. Some of them might, even as ridiculous as it sounds, they would do anything for you. Not because they admire you, no, but because they’re scared of what you might do when they don’t.”
Draco stood up from his place on the ground, never losing my gaze. He slowly placed his quill down along with his notebook, he walked toward me with his hands in his pockets. I should’ve watched my words with him, I wanted to shrink away at that point, but I straightened my shoulders.
His index finger raised my chin so he could inspect me clearer, even though for me, all I saw were blurry lines. his voice was calm, “Continue,”
Draco’s like a chess game. Difficult to understand, but his every move is planned to his advantage. Always in thought that one person may break his scheme and mess with his pawns. It’s like his life is black and white, two different choices. But sometimes I wonder if he even gets an option.
“I would consider it, truly I would, but I have a feeling you know the rest.”
“I do.” his hand retrieved back into his pocket, “This is exactly the same old rant everyone declares.”
Did many people accuse him of being a burden? An implication that is damaged, one with no remorse?
I cleared my throat, snapping my head away from his view, and straightening my coat with my palms. “Tomorrow at night, I’ll come here, again, to observe-” I paused thinking about which constellation we had agreed on. Oh right, we hadn’t agreed, “-Cancer.”
He clicked his tongue, “As predicted.”
Turning on my heel, I felt Draco’s eyes on me as I walked farther and farther from the spot. If this were someone else, I would ask them if they would want to walk back with me, so I wouldn’t have to be walking alone. But it’s Malfoy.
~The poem verse is from “And I Will Love You Forever” by Richa Rana