XVII. JEALOUSY REIGNS

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN:

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN:

JEALOUSY REIGNS

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      Nova had been so close. The words were on the tip of her tongue. He was staring at her, a terrifying round of eye contact that Nova couldn't escape. Just say it back, she thought to herself, begging for some part of her to feel something. Just say it back. Things will be so much easier if you say it back. Just say it. Right now.

      "Nova?" he asked, and she heard the confusion in his voice. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. "This is normally the part where you say it back, so I don't stand here feeling like a fool."

      She tried. Her mouth moved to form the words, but she couldn't make the sounds escape. It was that moment, that heart-shattering moment when she realized she didn't feel it. She could try and force herself for the rest of her life, but she'd never be truly happy. And if she wasn't truly happy, he'd never be truly happy.

      "Malfoy," she had said, her voice softer than it had ever been in her life. "I-I'm so sorry."

      She remembered actually feeling it. Feeling terribly sorry and wanting nothing more than to be able to offer the words he wanted to hear. Three words, eight letters. Incredibly easy to pronounce. But she couldn't do it.

      "You -" he cut himself short, his eyes growing wide with disbelief, "- you don't...w-what?"

      "I can't say it back," she whispered, her eyes falling to the floor. She wished she couldn't feel his eyes on her, because she knew what they would hold. Hurt. Anger. Confusion. And she deserved it. Every emotion he hurled her way, she deserved it. She wanted him to feel angry, to blame her, to hate her. "Malfoy, I -"

      "I need to get out of here," he had replied, and his voice was short and icy, the same tone that she used to keep her true emotions hidden. When he had walked away from her, Nova had fallen to the ground on the top of the Astronomy Tower, numb and feeling incredibly stupid.

      Ice Queen. You actually fooled yourself into believing you could be in love? You can't feel love. You can't feel anything.

      She wished she could say the same now.

      Ever since her realization, it hadn't gone away. She had dreamed about the stupid redheaded boy clouding her thoughts for the past three nights straight. And with the D.A. meeting taking place that evening, she was on edge. Fred and George had taken to sneaking her winks and smirks whenever no one was looking, and Nova knew they were deluded enough to think that she and their brother could actually work.

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