A Summer Morning

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It’s funny how you can wake up one day and suddenly realize that nothing in your life is how you’ve seen it for years. It’s a bright sunny Saturday morning when Pansy has this realization, and she has to bite her lip to keep from laughing hysterically. Laughter at the dining table is impolite, after all, and all she has these days is her manners, so, instead, she purses her lips and reaches for her goblet of juice with a shaky hand.

The sun plays off the pale blond hair of her husband, giving him an ethereal glow that draws one’s gaze to the sharp angles of his face. It is easy to be struck by the simple beauty in the harsh edges and ignore the faint scars on his jaw and neck that not even magic can fully erase. Since she was a child, she has enjoyed looking at Draco. During a childhood when ugliness surrounded her, he was everything she coveted, everything she wanted to be and possess. Age, war, and a rough life have done nothing to take away the physical beauty that, to this day, makes her fingers itch to touch and pay homage to whomever created such perfection.

In contrast, she sits in the shade, allowing the shadows to conceal her as much as possible on this perfect summer morning. Upon her realization, she sinks even further into the background, moving her chair slightly as she struggles to regain her composure. A Malfoy does not display emotions, after all, and she has been a proud Malfoy for five years. Draco looks up at her from his newspaper and arches a brow, sneering slightly before he once again goes back to his reading. Pansy feels pleased that she has passed yet another test in an endless succession of them that will never end until she’s dead.

She moves her thumb along the silver band of her wedding ring while she drinks her juice and stares at her husband. They never speak anymore unless it’s polite murmurings about this social function or that scandalous gossip. The silence has become unbearable, she admits, but it is part of her life so she accepts it and focuses on redecorating the sitting room or planning a party. If she fills her life with enough meaningless activities, she doesn’t have time to think. Thinking has never been her strong suit, after all, so it’s best to avoid indulging in an activity in which she’s just a disappointment.

On the increasingly rare occasions that they have sex, as it’s not been making love for years now, Draco keeps his eyes closed and stays quiet even as he spills inside her. The soft moans and whispered words are no more. She lies there lost in memories of what once was in order to feel anything anymore, and that becomes more difficult with passing time. It’s no longer an intimate act between two people in love. Instead, it’s a necessity in the hopes of carrying on their bloodlines, but it seems as if that possibility fades a little more every day. A child will make things better, she thinks, because it’s something he wants desperately. Then she remembers her own childhood of silence and gloom and wonders if she could ever bring a child into this world they’ve created.

Draco continues to read his paper, smirking at things he reads and scowling at others; ignoring her the entire time. Her food tastes like ash but she chews and swallows automatically, not bothering to dwell on her own wants or comfort because such thoughts will do her no good. Choices have been made and dreams have died a slow death, but this is her life so she continues to do what is expected of her. She sets her goblet down and rests her shaking hand on her lap, wishing that she never fully opened her eyes in the clear light of this pretty summer day because now she can’t possibly continue to sleepwalk through this existence that has replaced any possibility of a real life.

“What time is Nott’s party this evening?”

The tone is bored and slightly bitter, which is so common now that she can barely remember what passion sounds like. She blinks and focuses, smoothing her robe down as she slips easily into a role that has come to define her. “Drinks are at half-seven and the dinner begins at eight,” she replies coolly. He nods once from behind his newspaper and continues on as if she isn’t sitting there. Pansy stares across the table at the stranger wearing her husband’s face and wonders when everything went wrong.