“Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant's truce between virtue and vice.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
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By dinner, Dom and I were starving. We’d neglected to eat lunch because we were so caught up in catching up that we ignored our growling bellies until now. These belly-belts and the stupid effects of this bloody projects made our hunger that much more noticeable.
“Where have you been?” Andrea demanded in a way a mother would, her blue eyes narrowed into menacing, suspicious slits as she watched Dom and I pile food high onto our plates.
I rolled my eyes, as I began to cut my chicken. “Relax, Mum.” I said before taking another forkful of food into my mouth. “It’s not like I went out past curfew to a party or anything. I’m pregnant, not stupid.” I said matter-of-factly. Rose snorted into her goblet.
Dom chuckled, wiping her mouth with a napkin. “Really, Andy. Calm down. She needed a break, anyway.” She said, flicking a blond curl over her shoulder. “If it makes you feel better, I promise I won’t pull her out of class again ever again.” She said sincerely.
Andrea and I rolled our eyes. We both knew that Dom was lying. She’d do whatever she wanted, no one — well, except maybe her parents or teachers or something — could stop her. Plus, Dom was very protective of me. If she thought I needed a day off, she’d pull me out of classes one way or another. Simple as that. End of story. Dom just liked to have things done her way.
“Whatever.” Andrea sighed before popping a piece of chicken into her mouth. “You do what you want with your bad selves. I’m not going to stop you,” she said with a shrug.
“Whoa! Red alert!” I said loudly, making a few nearby heads turn to stare at me rudely for interrupting their conversation. I ignored them. “What’s up with you? Where’s your pep, your spunk? Who the hell are you and what have you done with my crazy, peppy twin?” I demanded.
Andrea laughed and shook her head. “I’m fine, Als,” she said. “Just sleepy... very sleepy.” She yawned for extra effect.
I frowned and popped another piece of chicken into my mouth. “Well... don’t fall asleep into your food.” I said. “I don’t want to be on the receiving end of your fury when you wake up and realize that your face is covered with dessert or something.” I said, taking a sip from my goblet.
“Allie?” Alice asked, her lovely soprano voice pulling me out of my conversation with Andrea. I looked up, only to see her nodding towards the entrance of the Great Hall. “Isn’t that yours and James’ marriage counselor lady?” she asked.
“Bloody hell...” I cursed under my breath.
Abigail caught my eye. She smiled and waved me over before walking out of the Great Hall.
“Can she seriously just pull you out of dinner like that?” Lily asked, baffled.
I shrugged, picking up my plate. “Don’t know, but I’m taking my plate with me... just ‘cause I can.” I said, standing up from my seat before making my way towards the large oak doors.
On my way, I saw Potter laughing with his buddies, Wacker practically on his lap. I rolled my eyes before stopping to stand in front of him. “Sorry to interrupt your... love fest” — I swear I didn’t mean to sneer — “but our marriage counselor wants to see us.” I said.
While James simply looked at me, Cassidy glared daggers at me. “Okay,” he shrugged before getting up from his seat.
“You’ll come right back, won’t you, Jamie?” Cassidy said in a supposed-to-be-sultry voice that only made me want to hurl — actually, I think I sort of did.
Either to annoy me or make me sick while I ate, James leaned down and kissed her. I wrinkled my nose in disdain and looked away. Gross... my appetite just went out the window.
I looked around for some place to put my plate (yes, I was serious. My hunger was suddenly gone). There was a space on the table between the two people in front of me. I set my plate down in front of them. I blushed when Fred and Frank looked up at me.
“Hehe... um not so hungry anymore. Mind if I set this here?”
“We gave up eating a long time ago.” Frank said with a shrug.
“You better get going.” Fred said with a wink. “She might come back to get you.” He said in a way that was supposed to be frightening, but only made me laugh. Abigail wasn’t the mean type.
Grabbing a spoon from the table, I chucked it at the back of James’ big head. “Come on, you loser.” I said before walking away.
I could hear Fred and Frank sniggering as I walked out of the Great Hall. Abigail was leaning against the wall by the door, waiting for us. She turned to me with a smile on her face.
“Hello, Allie.” She greeted warmly.
“Hi, Miss Goodman.” I replied.
James came through, rubbing the back of his head where I’d hit him with the spoon. “You really didn’t have to throw a spoon at me, you know.”
I rolled my eyes. “You don’t have to make a big deal out of everything, you know.” I retorted.
“You could’ve just said something.”
“You could’ve just walked away.”
“Is there... something you’d both like to discuss?”
“No.” We said sharply, glaring at each other.
“I see...” Abigail murmured, writing something down in her notepad. “Let’s take this somewhere more private, shall we?” she said before leading the way.
She didn’t take us to the Room of Requirement again. This time, she led us to the headmistress’s office. She sat down in the chair behind the desk, still smiling as we sat down in the seats in front of the desk.
“Professor McGonagall said I could use her desk for the time being,” she said. “So, let’s talk.” She said.
“Why are we here?” James blurted.
I rolled my eyes. “At least be civil about it!” I snapped.
Yes, I was annoyed.
Yes, I was naturally annoyed at him 99.9% of the time.
Yes, that other .1% was because I didn’t get to eat...
Abigail cleared her throat awkwardly. “So... erm... how have you two been since we last met?” she asked.
“Fine.” We answered curtly, not looking at each other.
She sighed and scribbled something down in her notepad. “You do realize that if I have to give a bad report to McGonagall, you fail this assignment and part of your grade drops — no matter how well your test scores at the end of the year are?” she asked.
We hesitated. Neither of us wanted our grades to drop.
“So,” she said, resting her hands on the desk top and clasping them together over her notepad. “How have you two been? Allie, how are things with the — erm — pregnancy?”
Immediately, my hands went to my slightly bulging stomach. “I feel fine, I guess.” I said. “I haven’t been sleeping well —"
“Why’s that?” Abigail asked, writing something down in her notepad.
“Well,” I began wearily. I didn’t want to start up another argument with James over nothing. I didn’t want my grade to drop at the end of the year because of it. “Um... I guess it’s just the way I sleep or something,” I lied.
She nodded, not catching my lie (or, maybe she did, but she didn’t want to have to write anything bad down in her report?). “During pregnancy, you’re supposed to sleep at a certain way.” She said. “Try sleeping on your left side from now on. Keeping your knees bent makes the position more comfortable. I would recommend sleeping with a pillow between your knees for more comfort.” She said.
I nodded. “Okay.”
She smiled, glad to have helped in some way and turned to James. “How are things with you James, anything new going on?”
James shrugged. “Nothing new, no.” He said. “I’m just preparing for the start of Quidditch season.” He said.
“Now, I’m curious,” she said, leaning forward in her seat, setting her quill aside. “Everyone on the Quidditch team is doing this project, right?” she asked.
James nodded and shrugged. “Yeah, I guess.”
“So, with school and homework and Quidditch, do you think you’ll be able to make time for the ‘baby’ on its way?” she asked, pointing to my semi-bulging stomach.
James looked down at the bulge around my middle, caught me watching him, blushed and looked away, raking a hand through his hair nervously. “I... er — well, yeah, I plan to.” He said somewhat awkwardly. I don’t know why, but I blushed and looked away too. I was suddenly reminded of last night, kissing him in the dorm...
Urrgh! Bad Allie!
Abigail nodded, scribbling something down. “You two seem to argue a lot — no offense,” she said quickly.
“None taken,” I said.
She nodded before continuing. “How do you think the two of you will do as parents? I mean, the point of this is to prove that teenagers aren’t ready to be parents and sometimes they become parents with the wrong people. My point is, do you two think you can settle your differences and put your child first?” she asked.
We both looked at each other, wondering the same thing. The question was clear on our faces. Could we?
“I don’t know...” I said quietly.
Arguing with James... that was the only thing I knew. I mean, we had that truce to tough it out until the deadline of my agreement with McGonagall. But you couldn’t do that with real relationships, could you? Well, when life throws you lemons... I had the option to switch partners at the end of the month and finish the project with someone else... I could pass this assignment...
But what would be the point in this project if I could choose how everything went?
Having a baby... it just happens... sort of. You can’t exactly change the father of your child at the end of the first month. You have to live with him — sometimes. You can’t choose how your baby looks or who it’s parents are. It just happens that way...
“Now, I talked with Professor McGonagall about you two. She tells me that she and Allie came up with an agreement.” Abigail said, pulling me out of my reverie.
“Oh, yeah...” we mumbled.
Abigail nodded. “Are you two still planning on going along with that agreement now?”
James shrugged. “I guess... now we’ll have to think about it, won’t we?”
“That might be a good idea,” Abigail said with a nod and a smile. “I’ll tell you what,” she said, sitting back against her chair. “I’ll end our session tonight, and I’ll see you both Saturday morning. Hopefully, you’ll have come to a decision by then. Deal?” she said, scribbling something down in her notepad.
“Sounds great.” I said as we got to our feet.
She nodded. “Good night,” she said.
“G’night!” we called as we headed out of the headmistress’s office.
The walk back to our dorm was silent.
The corridors were dead quiet, everyone was still probably in the Great Hall or in their dorms already.
I don’t know what made me blurt it out. I just did. “I don’t think we should go along with my agreement with McGonagall.”
I must’ve been stupid or something.
James didn’t argue. In fact, he didn’t say anything.
I looked up at him. “I mean, the Baby Project is supposed to be about showing us how teenage pregnancies and relationships go. Sherri was just lucky and found her soul mate and had a baby with him. The two of us... well, we’re just here for God’s entertainment or something. Sometimes relationships work out like this. Real life doesn’t have fairy tale happily ever afters.” I rambled.
James looked over at me. “Will you shut up for, like, two seconds?” I snapped my mouth shut. He smirked. “I think you’re right.” He said.
“Are you mental? No, wait. Am I mental?”
He chuckled. “You know, the latter is quite possible...”
I smacked him. “Arse!”
He laughed, rubbing his arm. “But you are right,” he said. “We don’t get to choose these kinds of things in real life. This project — the Baby Project — is supposed to be based about how real life usually works.” He said, throwing his arms behind his head. “Why don’t we make it work? For the sake of our grades?” he added.
“Okay. So, we’re not going along with the agreement between me and McGonagall?”
“I don’t want to. Do you?”
“She might reduce my grade just because she was irked that I made a switch in partners.” I said with a shrug. “Yeah, let’s do this right.” I said.
James nodded. “We’re agreed... for once.”
“Technically, it’s for twice.”
I laughed. “This is our second truce.
“Ahh... you’re right.” He chuckled. “Well, let’s just get through the year without too much damage. For our grades and our... baby.”
“Okay.” I agreed.
“What are we going to do about sleeping arrangements?”
“Hm... I guess I didn’t think about that...”
Author’s Note: I wrote this in an hour. It’s not my greatest, but I’ve been dying to get an update out. I guess you can call this a (crappy) filler chapter. I promise to get chapter thirteen out right after the staff comes back from Christmas holidays, that way I’ll be able to make it über amazing for you to read! Until then, leave a review and tell me what you think! I’m sorry this chapter took so long to get out :(