|1. "I keep forgetting," she said bitterly. "This isn't part of the arrangement, is it?"
What a great scene. Here Clodia is, wanting to be shown love in a certain specific way that...maybe the way of showing love that she's expecting is just natural to her (and some lucky men like Marcellus), or maybe it's something she's been taught, that that's the only way to show love. And there Severus is, loving her, clearly showing it in his own way (Minerva certainly sees it), but unable to show it in the only way Clodia can see it...and knowing this, knowing that "Nothing he did was ever enough."
2. I wonder if you'd clarify your intentions in the scene with Marcellus that begins at the end of the first "chapter" (not Part, SH "chapter") and continues at the beginning of the second. It's clear in this scene that Clodia isn't feeling loved in her relationship with Severus. Then Marcellus asks her why she won't or "can't" leave Severus, and she has difficulty answering. Sometimes I think the answer is that she wants the feeling of being loved that Marcellus gives her, but she wants it from Severus, and instead of accepting he can't give it to her and leaving--or just bloody asking him to do x, y and z which are the only things that make her feel loved--she'd rather stay and wish/hope (as in the other scene I mentioned). Other times I think perhaps it's just that she knows Severus loves her (even if he doesn't show it in the way she needs; maybe she just knows it intellectually, but the problem is she can't "feel" it...maybe she figured it out from the rough sex--after all she spent all that time trying to provoke him into doing something) and feels too guilty about cheating on him to feel able to leave. Or maybe it's all of those! What were you intending?
"Wha-?" she gasped, her breathing ragged and labored as she lifted her hops to meet his thrusts.
3. What's happening at the end there, where Severus drops the flowers? Has he finally been forced to bring his denial up from purely subconscious to semi-conscious? Did he find the flowers in the bedroom? Did Clodia recycle them as a goodbye gift?!? Or what?
4. winna--Erm...there is such a thing as subconscious denial. And most people who can't imagine how it could happen? Are doing it themselves. In some area of their life. Also, "having a beautiful but cheating wife is better than being alone, and where else would he find someone to marry him?" And you don't feel sorry for someone in that situation?!? Personally, anyone whose true self is so abnormal that he can't find anyone to marry him unless he puts on a completely unnatural act...sure gets my sympathy. And anyone who chooses to marry him anyway...well, if she's truly unhappy, she can always leave. And if she made a vow to be faithful, then she should either be faithful, or fricking leave already. It's not his job to break it off and save her the anguish of having to do it. (;)) OTOH, most everyone else--Don't you think totally hating Clodia is a bit harsh?
5. So Razzberry, was this supposed to be denial, social skills too poor to figure it out, or both?
6. Every time she asked how long he was going to be gone--and she often asked that, whenever he said he was leaving, in fact--he couldn't help but smile at the fondness that would prompt such a question. He'd never thought he would feel so loved, that he would feel such an important part of someone's life.
OMG teh angst! Seriously...this is so beautifully and painfully ironic.
Author's Response: 1. Thank you. I'm glad you picked up on that one. Clodia and Severus have very different definitions of love, and they're not necessarily compatible.
2. Why doesn't Clodia leave? She's got it pretty good, actually. She has a husband (a husband who would probably kill on her orders, you realize) who sees to her material needs and gives her a stability, and she has a lover who meets her romantic needs. In my concept of her, Marcellus is not the first lover she's taken.
And yes, hips. I'll go edit that.
3. Where did Severus get the flowers? I'm tempted to say Clodia recycled them, because that would be another taunt from her, but probably not. He found them in the bedroom, and perhaps even meant to ask her where they came from, but never got around to it.
4 & 5. One thing that most of my reviewers seem to have missed (maybe I didn't make it clear?) is that this was never a marriage of love. It was the socially acceptable thing for two people to do, and by doing so, they awarded each other a measure of protection. Here:
Theirs was not a marriage born of love, but he had come to love her in time. Severus had felt a gentle pressure to find a woman and settle down—his parents had wanted it, society had wanted it. Even Dumbledore had not been above suggesting it. It was not an arranged marriage, but neither Clodia nor Severus had deluded themselves into believing they were in love. It was simply a proper and convenient thing to do, and their union had put a stop to rumors that raged about both of them—Severus had been suspect because no normal man could possibly be content to live the life of a confirmed bachelor, and he was doubly suspect because of his position within Hogwarts. Clodia had been suspect because, like any beautiful and unattached woman, she was subject to no small amount of gossip. Marriage had been a simple solution, and one that awarded the both of them a certain protection from flapping tongues.
What kind of gossip followed her? Well, what sort of gossip usually follows a beautiful and single woman? I'd offer that Severus knew what he was getting into when they took the vows.
6. I love my angst ;)
Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed.