Alice: "I'll play you for it. Rock, paper, scissors."
Edward: "Why don't you just tell me who wins?"
Alice: "I do. Excellent."
~Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer
"Are you gonna eat that?"
"Adam, quit eyeing my food and eat your own, you pig." Alicia snapped as the rest of us chuckled. Leave it to Alicia to get defensive about food. She was almost as touchy as the boys when it came to all things edible.
It was strange how easily I'd fallen into a routine with my new group of friends. I slipped into an entirely different new life like I'd been living it all along. Like Hogwarts was just a dream I'd had and I was awake now, never to revisit such a delusion.
I spent all day- while they went to school- learning new magic from my mother and trying not to think about Hogwarts. Mum decided to teach me things that would be useful not only for O.W.L.s but for protecting my baby and running a household as well. When she was done teaching me things, I'd study as I rested on the sofa or up in bed.
I discovered that having a magical baby inside me, plus my own magic, made it ridiculously easy to learn new spells faster. Or perhaps it was just my determination to learn everything I could so one day I could get a good job and support my daughter all on my own like my mum had done for me. Either way, I was confident that my O.W.L.s would be a piece of cake.
But, as my pregnancy progressed, I had to stay in a little more than usual. I was tired and moody and anxious more than I'd ever been. I'd forbidden myself to relive Hogwarts and I couldn't bear to be reminded by music or books. I could no longer clean because my mother had ratted me out to my Healer, Naphtalie.
Appearantly Naphtalie had already heard about the Quidditch incident from Francie (the Healer who'd taken care of me after my morning sickness diabolacle) and she wasn't keen on having me overexert myself again.
So, things looked bleak. But that was before the A-list decided to migrate their little get togethers to my house.
Now I sat in my own kitchen, completely abiding by the rules and laughing- really laughing- at the banter between my new friends. Had it really only been a week and half since I'd been introduced to them?
"I'm just saying! Girls eat less and I'd be willing to help you finish your very large meal, " Adam defended.
Groans followed this statement. Even the guys knew that was a bad move.
"Are you calling me fat?" Alicia raised an eyebrow at him.
"Because I am not fat," Alicia glowered at him. "I could beat you at any race, any day. And, if you care to recall, I skated circles around you wobbly arse in Decemb- Ames that better not be your hand on my knee or you are going to lose it in about twoseconds."
Ames cleared his throat and removed his hand to the table as the rest of us chuckled again.
Adam huffed, not liking the reminder. "You're not fat, Alicia."
"Oh I know that!" Alicia told him, "I just wanted to bring up that I beat you at something that's all." She beamed and stabbed her food with her fork, then gloatingly popped it into her mouth while Adam glared.
"I hate you, Alicia Lawson."
"Rub some of those feelings off on Ames, will ya'?"
Studying for O.W.L.s and hanging out with Mia and her gang had kept me so busy that I forgot all about Easter holiday. That is, until we walked in the door to see James and Effie sitting at the kitchen table.
Mia, Lici and Bree had gotten off of school the day before and we'd gone out to celebrate (I could be out of the house every once in a while). I woke up, put a concealing charm on my ever enlarging stomach to avoid scandalized stares, got Muggle money from my mum and met Mia outside my house.
We went for breakfast, shopping, lunch, shopping and ice cream. Aubrey had very tactfully told Ames he couldn't come because we were having a girls only day and it may involve some female pregnancy talk that the boys wouldn't want to be present for. Alicia was greatful and we cracked jokes about it all day.
We were laughing at another as we walked into my house.
"...I still think you should've bought that top, Lici." Bree told her, as I opened the front door of my house.
"Ugh, it was practically see-through! And puce!"
"Ouah! Don't say puce." I groaned. "It sounds way too much like a different word and I ate too much this afternoon." I groaned.
They laughed as I put my shopping bag ladened hand to my deceptively small stomach dramatically.
"Ames would love it." Mia muttered.
"Ugh!" Alicia's face twisted with revulsion.
I stopped short when I saw Molly's firey red hair. Then I spotted my mother with her belly enlarged the way mine was without the Concealment charm.
For a second I was confused. Why did my mum have her disguise stomach on? She was only supposed to wear that in public. Around people who didn't know that I was really the pregnant one.
And then I saw the rest of them.
Little Charlie was sleeping soundly on the living room sofa, Billy was watching television, Molly sat at the kitchen table with Aunt Carolyn and Effie and a very sullen looking James.
Just like that, all my problems and memories came crashing back over me like the relentless waves of the sea. The salt water stung at the wounds that were tearing open as we stood there.
The sight of my sister and cousin- two people who'd been a constant daily presence in my life at Hogwarts- had brought all my anxiety back with them home for Easter break.
"I thought you were supposed to be with her at all times."
I looked up to see James standing in my bedroom doorway (thank Merlin I hadn't taken the Concealment charm off of my stomach yet).
I hadn't stayed to chat with my family members. I'd gone down stairs with my three friends and we'd watched a movie (while I prayed James and Aunt Carolyn would be gone by the time it was over and that he didn't decide to come down with us). When it was over, Aubrey and Alicia went home. Mia stayed for a while longer but left soon afterwards. So I carefully avoided the kitchen as I crept upstairs to my bedroom. Appearantly James had followed me. And I wouldn't put it past him to use that damned invisibility cloak. Typical.
I blinked at him confused.
So he elaborated, "That's why you left school, isn't it, Airy? To be home with your mother while she was pregnant. Because someone had to be with her at all times. That's what you told everyone." He said, the anger was burning through his composure quickly. But I couldn't quite understand why he was angry with me. He stepped into my room and I saw his face better.
My heart froze and my stomach dropped. Did he know? Had someone told him? Effie? Auntie Carolyn, maybe? What if he'd told-
I wouldn't even let myself think the name. It hurt too much.
"I mean, I was under the impression that it was vital for the survival of your mum and the baby. Was I wrong? I thought my favorite cousin abandoned all of us at school for a good cause. Because your mum needed you." He continued acidly, "I thought that that was the reason that the girl I love and her friends are so anxious and sad now all the time. I thought that's why your sister was so jumpy and nervous lately. That that's why my best friend- my brother, really- is like a member of the living dead lately!" He gave me a disgusted look but I barely noticed.
I was too busy trying to smother the ridiculous physical reaction I experianced at that last part. My heart was sputtering in my chest and my stomach turned sickeningly. I even felt the baby give a kick in my hidden stomach.
"I was so happy for the holiday to come. I kept thinking that- once they all saw you with your mum to pick Ef up at the station- they'd be happier. For the first time since you left. And so, imagine my surprise when you're not there. Your cousin Molly was, your mum was but not you. What the hell, Air?!" He burst. "Your out shopping while you're supposed to be helping your pregnant mother? You don't reply to any letters Alice, Mary and Lily write you! You didn't write back to Sirius after you kissed! You barely write to me! And your letters to Effie are always cryptic! And then I come here, expecting you to at least be home and you're shopping with these strange girls that, I'm assuming, you just met-"
"I didn't just meet them. One of them was Mia. Remember her? She was my best-"
"I don't give a damn, Airy!" He shouted at me. "I wanna know what the hell your problem is?!"
"James!" I heard Effie's voice down the hall. Then she appeared at my door. "Are you mental? Leave Air alone, you prat. She's-"
"No, Ef." I told her firmly, "I got this."
My pregnant temper had a very short fuse And it had been lit when he'd ambushed me. Now it was about to blow. I turned back to my cousin and returned the hostile glare.
"James, you have no idea what this has been like for me. Every. Single. Day." I began in a deadly calm voice.
I straightened up to my full hieght as I came closer to him. My cousin may have intimidated certain Slytherins and first years but he didn't scare me. And I wasn't about to let him try.
My voice was strong and louder than particularly nessecary when I continued. "I left because I was needed and because there wasn't a whole lot of temptation to stay- what with the whole school discussing how I'd walked in on my ex screwing one of the school whores and all!" I spat at him.
I'd never talked to James like this before. I'd never fought like this with him. I couldn't even remember being this angry with him until now. We'd had small arguements but they were never serious. We had always been so close. But I was furious and I was going to let him have it.
"My letters have been brief because I've been working my arse off here," Not a lie. I'd done alot of house work. "I didn't write to Lily or Mary or Alice because I've been feeling guilty as hell that I left without saying goodbye and frankly I didn't know what to say!"
Also completely true.
"And I don't count Sirius's little episode as a kiss. I more consider it an assault. And I think he's a narcissistic arse who lied about loving me," I lied. His name burned in my throat on the way up. "So, honestly, I didn't feel the need to read his letter. He's got plenty of slags at his disposal and I refuse to be one of them anymore."
Effie blinked at all of this information and I realized that I hadn't informed her of the kiss. I hadn't told anyone. Which made it safe to assume that Sirius had told James.
But I ignored my sister's reaction and pushed on. "So again, as I said, you have absolutely no idea the hell I've been through. And I'm sorry if my absence has messed with your perfect Marauder existance. But not everything can go the way the spoiled only precious Potter child wants it!"
Lily would be proud at such a shot. In fact, it was something she would've said herself. Which is why, I guess James blinked rapidly.
This satisfied me a little. After his ambush had drudged up everything I'd worked so hard to put behind me in the last few months. I wanted it to hurt. I wanted him to be sorry he'd ever attacked me this way and retreat with his tail between his legs. I didn't even care if he told Sirius what I said. I just wanted to make sure he never even considered this again. And I would hit below the belt if I had to.
"I don't give a damn if Sirius isn't as bubbly as you want him to be but it's probably because he's sleep deprived after all of his late night slag shagging! And I'm sorry if you wanted me to be isolated and pining to see you all again but I needed a blasted break! And I bloody deserve it!" I screamed at him now.
My face was flush with anger. I could feel every ounce of the little energy I had left going into this speech but I didn't care. I wanted to win. And I knew that I was.
Like Alicia, out skating Adam, I was out yelling James. I would show him a new meaning of 'hell hath no fury'. I would teach him never to mess with a pregnant woman (even though he had no clue that I was pregnant yet).
"I've been juggling the complicated pregnancy and O.W. L.s and the rest of this house all this time. And when Mia and Bree and Lici called and wanted me to spend the day with them, I took a day off." I explained, carefully wording things so that I wouldn't have to lie.
"So if you, or anyone else," I shot a glance at Effie, pointedly, "has a problem with that then you can bite my arse, go to hell- I don't care! But I'll be damned if you are gonna make me feel guilty about taking a day for me!" I shouted. " Because despite what you seem to believe the whole bloody world does not revolve around Hogwarts and the blasted Marauders!"
My chest was heaving as I stood there.
I heard three sets of feet running up the stairs and- mere moments later- my mother, Auntie and cousin rushed in. They took in the scene for a second. James and I stood face to face- he blinked and I glared through my tears. My sister stood behind James with wide, shocked eyes.
Then Aunt Carolyn and my mother shooed Effie and James out as Molly made me relax. She had me lie down on my bed and took the charm off my stomach. Then she got me ice and placed it on my forehead, stroking my hair affectionatly and calming me down.
But all I cared about was that my baby was fine and, like Alicia, I'd totally won.
(So there it is. I hope you like it! The next chapter should be considerably longer if all goes as planned so keep an eye out! I'll update soon. Love,
Corrections Aug. 23 2008: Sorry guys, I accidentally put Aidan instead Ames on a few of the funny parts and that typo would've bugged me forever! So I fixed it!)
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