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Chapter 3: Chapter Three
“So,” I asked, stuffing my hands into my pants pockets. “Where do you want to go?”
For a spring evening it was really kind of cold, I had taken Audrey out but last minute the restaurant had shut down due to the fact that the owner’s kid’s pet rat was running around and they wanted to catch it before someone called the health inspector.
“We could walk,” I suggested, lamely, I really hoped she didn’t take that suggestion because I was almost turning blue here.
“We could,” Audrey nodded her head, and I wanted to hit myself for saying such a stupid thing. “But it’s really too cold for that.”
I relaxed, and tried to keep my mouth shut so Audrey didn’t hear my teeth playing like castanets.
“Where’s your apartment?” she asked, smiling at me as if she had something up her sleeve.
“My apartment?” I asked, why the heck would she want to go there? “It’s up the street, we could walk there if you like.”
My god, why do I keep suggesting that we walk places? Do I want myself to die from pneumonia? Do I enjoy freezing my body parts off?
“Or we could just apparate there,” said Audrey lazily. Thank Merlin for Audrey, she’s so incredibly intelligent. I don’t know about you but I’m freezing.
“So am I,” I said. She gave me a strange look.
“Alright,” she said taking my hand. “Let’s head back to your place.”
What made me think that coming over to Percy’s family’s house would be okay? I just told Percy I was pregnant going over to his family’s house and enduring their strange questions and comments sounds horrifying. And sure, there was the promise of meatballs and other wonderful foods, but I should be a bit harder to bribe, don’t you think?
After all, I am an editor. I get bribes every day, many in the form of money, some in the form of sexual favors.
I’ve never accepted one, mainly because all the wrong people were making the offers.
However, I still can’t believe I accepted Percy’s offer to come over to his parents’ house for dinner. I had wanted to discuss the baby, but after I told Percy that I was pregnant, he told me that his mum was probably wondering where he was and that if I wanted, I could come over for dinner.
That has to be the lamest subject change I’ve ever heard. I know everything there is to know about excuses, subject changes and avoiding responsibility. Believe me, Percy was avoiding responsibility.
Well too bad. He’s not actually the one carrying the child. Grow a pair Weasley; you’re going to need them for the next few years.
I tried to tell him that we should really discuss the child now, but all he said was that he didn’t want his siblings telling his mum that he was alone with a girl in his apartment and then he asked again if I wanted to come over to dinner.
Personally, I felt that he should have gotten a priorities straightened out. In my opinion, the the fact that I was pregnant took precedence over his mum’s worries and any family obligations.
But here I am, squeezed between a gorgeous blonde haired woman—who I’m pretty sure is either at least part Veela or has had work done, because those looks aren’t natural—and Percy Weasley. I feel like that time I tried to trick myself into thinking that I could wear a size five skirt—I’m a size ten, but that’s not really anyone’s business.
Turns out oxygen is not optional, I almost passed out in that skirt. I feel this tightly squeezed at this table right now.
So far, I’d counted ten people and a good many of them were red heads. I assumed that anyone that who wasn’t ginger was either a friend or related to Percy by marriage. I knew the Weasleys were a large family, but now I had just grasped how large they really were.
Wait, an eleventh just walked in. Holy Cheeri Owls that can’t be Harry Potter.
Wait. No. It is.
If only I could get a book deal from this man.
“Hello, Gin,” said Harry. He bent down to give Ginny a kiss on the cheek, but she turned around and gave him her lips. He then turned completely red and took a seat beside her.
I squeaked. They were so cute. A book about their love would sell millions of copies.
“So, Audrey,” said Mrs. Weasley as she spooned more than a healthy amount of potatoes onto my plate. “How do you and Percy know each other?”
It was rather obvious that Mrs. Weasley was fishing for information. I’m sure she would have had kittens if she knew that we had dated. I could also tell that Ginny was impatient for her potatoes because she kept fidgeting.
That last one was Percy’s, and he said it at the same time as I said colleagues. Cripes.
Percy and I gave each other looks, and the rest of his family exchanged amused glances.
“So Percy, that must be awkward,” said a man with a ponytail and an earring. Actually, what was really awkward was this man’s ponytail. I had guessed he was around twenty-nine, and yet he was dressing like he was seventeen.
The Veela at my right clearly thought the same thing, because she kept glaring at it as if she wanted nothing more than to find a pair of clippers and hack it off.
“It’s fine, whatever,” said Percy, who was now sounding very flustered.
“Yeah, but not even friends,” chuckled a shorter red haired boy. That was Ron Weasley, another potential book deal that would generate millions. I could tell that he was implying that Percy had yet to find a girlfriend.
I wonder if Hermione Granger will be here too.
As if on cue, a bushy-haired witch walked in. “Hello everyone,” she said as she took a next to Ron. “Sorry I’m late.”
“Hello, Hermione,” said Percy in a very obvious attempt to switch the focus of the dinner conversation. “How was work?”
“Work was wonderful, thank you very much,” said Hermione. As she looked towards Percy, she noticed me. “Oh, who are you?”
“A colleague of Percy’s, apparently,” snickered Ron.
“How lovely,” Hermione said. She clearly did not get the joke. “So where do you work in the Ministry?”
“I don’t work in the Ministry, actually,” I answered. “I work in publishing, for the firm Wands Crossed. I read manuscripts and then if I like them, I suggest them to my boss. If he gives the go ahead, I’ll start editing it, grammar and the like.”
If I could get a book deal from Granger I would get a raise, I could move out of my flat, at the very least I’d be able to hire an exterminator for all those mice that nibble my toes in the middle of the night (what am I to those mice? A cupcake?).
“So you and Percy don’t even work together?” asked Ginny, jolting me out of my fantasy. She looked confused. “But you told us you had to discuss business.”
“Yes, the Ministry is thinking of collaborating for a book,” said Percy quickly.
I clearly underestimated this man’s ability to think up excuses.
“Kinglsey allowed that?” asked Harry, who sounded very skeptical, I honestly couldn’t blame him; that sounded like a very boring book.
But I played along and nodded my head as Percy continued talking.
“Well, actually, it’s only a few people so far,” explained Percy. “When we have the right backing, we’ll show it to him. I was just talking to Audrey to see how much it would cost.”
I looked over at him admiringly. Smooth, Weasley, very smooth.
“How long have you known Audrey?” asked Mr. Weasley.
“Well, we met, about three, maybe four months ago—”
“It was three,” I interjected.
“All right then,” said Percy. “And then we didn’t talk for a month, and now…well…we’re talking.”
Mr. Weasley raised an eyebrow. I panicked. He knows, and now he knows that I know that he knows about him knowing about me.
“Did you guys date at all during those three months?” Mr. Weasley asked offhandedly, pretending that this was just casual conversation.
The last one was Percy’s, and it was said at the exact same time as I said ‘yes’. That boy is really going to meet an early death.
Everyone exchanged amused glance—again. I glared at Percy.
“I mean…yes,” stammered Percy.
“All right,” said Mr. Weasley as he leaned back in his chair and nodded. “That would explain it.”
I did not ask him what it would explain. He and I both knew what he meant. Instead, I shoved an unhealthy amount of potatoes into my mouth.
These are very delicious was what I was thinking when I almost choked at George’s next question.
“Would explain what Dad?” he asked between mouthfuls of meatballs, as Percy thumped my back.
“Nothing interesting,” said Mr. Weasley shaking his head. “Now eat your meatballs.”
I could tell that everyone else at the table was trying to figure out what Mr. Weasley had meant. Please Merlin, let them be stupid enough to not get it until I leave.
“So Perce, what’s in this book?” asked Harry Potter. I couldn’t stop staring at him; I could hardly believe the savior of the wizarding world was eating sprouts right across from me.
And he just called the father of my child Perce. That’s got to be an annoying nickname considering it sounds like a woman’s handbag.
“Just different people’s stories,” Percy explained. “It’ll help the community understand different positions and why they’re needed.”
“Please tell me there won’t be a section on cauldron butts,” snickered George.
“It’s an important issue,” said Percy coolly.
“Anyway, I think the term is cauldron bottoms,” I interjected. I was pretty sure that if George was making butt jokes then he wouldn’t figure out I was pregnant.
However, Ginny and the blonde who was sitting beside me were still deep in thought about what it was that Mr. Weasley had said.
“Calm down on the meatballs,” said a boy with a ponytail as I took another serving.
Don’t comment on my meatball intake; after all you’re the one who looks like a Stubby Boardman wanna-be, really, would it kill you to cut that hair of yours?
“Why?” asked Percy defensively. “Because you’d like thirds?”
“Don’t get so defensive over your…colleague, Percy,” the man said, giving Percy a weird look.
The blonde girl shouted something in French and pointed at me.
“You know,” I said, taking my bag and the plate of meatballs, “I should be going. Thanks for the lovely dinner. Mrs. Weasley; I’ll return the plate—”
“YOU’RE PREGNANT!” Ginny yelled, jumping to her feet and pointing at me. “YOU’RE PREGNANT WITH PERCY’S KID!”
Well, she clearly does not know the meaning of private discussions at a more appropriate time.
“That might not have been something to shout,” said Hermione as she calmly continued to eat her food.
The entire family turned to me. A smile was growing on both Ponytail-man’s, Ginny’s, Ron’s and George’s face. Mrs. Weasley looked to be in shock and Harry Potter just looked skeptical.
“Percy?” he asked, now just looking amused. “But…how could Percy—no offence meant, Percy—but how could Percy get someone pregnant?”
Apparently someone doesn’t know much about the Birds and the Bees, and I’m not going to be the one to explain it to him.
“She jumped him, obviously,” said Ron, giving Harry a look as if the answer had been obvious. Must have been desperate or something.
I glared at him. I am not and never have been desperate—alright, maybe—no, not the point. I was not desperate when I was with Percy.
“Language Ron,” said Mr. Weasley mildly, he seemed more amused than anything.
“Excuse me?” I interrupted; I gave Ron a withering look. “I did not, jump him. He’s perfectly capable of doing his own jumping.”
Actually, Ron Weasley was sort of right, I had initiated it. But Percy responded pretty quickly. It wasn’t like I’d forced him into bed.
Percy just stared at the ceiling, and I got the feeling that he was fervently praying for this to be a dream.
“Well, you are pregnant, aren’t you?” Ginny asked point-blank, turning to me.
I sighed. “I might be pregnant.”
Percy was still ignoring the entire conversation. Lovely. This man is the father of my child, and he can’t help me out.
“Might?” asked Mrs. Weasley, looking at me curiously.
“I took a couple of tests. Some said yes, one said no, so I’m not sure.”
“You ezz pregnant,” said the French in heavily accented English. She shook her head. “Believe I.”
My word, she just butchered that whole sentence. The grammar Nazi inside me was screaming.
“Oh! I’ll go owl the family healer,” said Mrs. Weasley quickly. “I’ll make an appointment for you,, probably for tomorrow. Is that all right, dear?”
I was quite petrified at this point, so all I could do was nod.
“So you’re definitely keeping the child?” asked Mr. Weasley, he was as calm as…calm things.
Percy and I exchanged looks (he had finally unglued his eyes from the ceiling), and still looking at him I nodded slowly. “Yeah, why not?” I said.
“Great, now we now have wedding party,” said Ginny, licking her lips. “I’ve been dying for some fancy cake.”
Really, the priorities of this family are ridiculous.
“Me too,” said Ron, nodding. Hermione rolled her eyes fondly.
I opened up my mouth to talk again, but Mr. Weasley spoke before I could. “Ginny, Ron, calm down, don’t rush the poor girl.”
“Well, doesn’t she like cake?” asked George, confused.
“I like vanilla cake,” said Ginny, as if someone had been asking her.
“I’m sure she does, but that’s not the point,” said a dark-skinned girl with braids who had been sitting next to George.
“Well, why else would you get married?” asked George. He quickly received a smack on the back of the head from the girl.
“Because you love the person, and you want to spend the rest of your life with them.”
“Or you got them pregnant,” Harry pointed out, and the family nodded in agreement.
“Well, hopefully if you got that girl pregnant you have some love for her…or the girl has some love for you.”
“You know,” I said, standing up. I felt dizzy and remembered that this was the reason why I avoided family reunions. “I have to get going. It’s pretty late.”
“I’ll Apparate you,” said Percy as he quickly tried to stand up.
“No need,” I said, putting my hand on his shoulder and pushing him back down into his seat. He could deal with his family’s questions for once. “I’m fine. Do you mind if I use your fireplace though, Mr. Weasley?”
He indicated to the green flower pot.
“Oh, dear!” said Mrs. Weasley, running towards me as I made my way for the fireplace. “The healer said that he could see you at one o’clock tomorrow. Just go to St. Mungo’s and tell them your appointment is under the name Molly Weasley.”
I nodded, “Thanks, Mrs. Weasley,” I choked out.
I was pretty sure she had said something that sounded like pudding, but I didn’t hear because I had stepped into the fireplace too soon.
I would have liked to have had pudding.
I landed on the fluffy throw rug in front of the couch where Herman was reading his grandmother a book titled Moby Dick.
“Hello dear, who are you?” asked Gloria.
I didn’t bother answering. I just headed for the kitchen as Herman explained who I was to his grandmother.
“There’s leftover food in the refrigerator,” he called.
“Not hungry,” I called back, quickly pouring myself a glass of water and almost falling over as I sat down on one of Gloria’s uncomfortable plastic chairs.
“Did you meet with him?” asked Herman as he entered the kitchen. He also poured himself some water.
“I take it that it didn’t go well,” said Herman. He was leaning against the sink.
I shook my head. “His family wants to know when the wedding is.”
“And that’s a bad thing?” asked Herman hesitantly.
Herman muttered something about nuts, and how he should get paid double his salary for having to work with one.
Good luck with that one, Herman.