"Bitch," Ruby Smith glared at Grace as she sat with us at breakfast.
It had been two weeks the fateful day in Hogsmeade and I was on my sixth week of pregnancy.
The huge argument in Hogsmeade had spread to nearly every corner of the Wizarding world. There had even been a small article in Witch Weekly about it!
Things have been tense among almost everyone. Louis and Ellie had a strange friendship now, though they were quite awkward around one another. Lucy apologized to Ethan, Ethan accepted, he cut off all ties with Jessica, but they still couldn't speak properly to one another. Ruby now joined Megan Stretton and Leah Farley in cheerfully hating me, Lucy, Rose, and now Grace.
To top it all off, I was starting to show, though Lucy, Rose, and James convinced me that it looked nothing more like I gained weight on my stomach.
This did not bode with me and I had ordered this magical contraption called InvisiBump, designed to make your baby bump literally look invisible.
Despite it being comfortable and I wore it comfortably when I had classes, I didn't like having it on because it made me feel restrained.
Grace sighed but ignored Ruby as she marched by with Megan and Leah, all three of whom were giving us girls the evil eye.
I just glared back, at the end of my patience with those three.
Albus looked like he was getting fed up too, which was surprising behavior for him because he was usually the calmest out of all of the Potters. James had a nasty temper when he was angry. And Lily? The popular Muggle phrase 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' was probably based off of Lily.
He glared at the three of whom, who pretended not to notice as they walked off. Al's fists were clenched and he really looked like he was having a difficult time not to hex them.
"Ignore them, Grace," Rose said, shooting Al a warning look. Al relaxed but barely so.
Grace shook her head and said softly, "Don't worry about me."
The thing about Grace was that she was really shy yet she could be really fun as well. Lucy, Rose, and I had noticed how she didn't talk a lot around the other boys, especially James and the others but at our dorm, Grace was beginning to come out of her shell.
She was surprisingly sarcastic and very witty when she wanted to be. She also didn't have a problem with keeping up with a good conversation. Grace was not only a good listener but a good talker as well.
Perhaps that’s why Ruby had kept her around as a best friend.
"This is why you don't court the devil, Albus," Louis advised with a pretend solemn look on his face. He looked so ridiculous that we all couldn't help but snort slightly, the mood lifting up.
"I didn't 'court' the devil. She just seemed to think that we were an item when we clearly weren't," Al said indignantly.
James rolled his eyes from next to me and shot his brother a cheeky grin. "Dunno why she would think that though. I'm clearly the better looking one."
"You know you look practically the same, right?" Sam raised his eyebrows at his friend and Albus.
Albus seemed to be very insulted by this as he exclaimed, "We do not! Take that back! I don't want to look like James."
"Excuse me! I'll have you know that looking like me is a great honour. Al, you should feel lucky that you even remotely look like me," James interrupted.
"More like the two of you look like Uncle Harry," Lucy cut in, her eyes flickering from James to Albus. "Al looks almost identical to Uncle Harry and James too, except your eyes. If you had green eyes then you'd look like Uncle Harry. But then again, neither of you two have glasses."
"You know, I wish you didn't say that. That just planted a very bad image in my mind of Bella snogging with a teenage version of Mr. Potter," Scorpius made a face.
Immediately, I grimaced.
Bloody hell, this was too much for an early morning.
"EW! Scorpius!" I cried as I glared at him. Scorpius shot me a weak smile before ducking behind Rose who just rolled her eyes at her boyfriend. "Now I can't kiss James without thinking of Harry."
James looked peeved, more at the fact that I wouldn't snog him than anything. "Great. Now I don't get a snog from my girlfriend. Look what you done, Malfoy."
"Merlin knows you do it too much anyways. I think my eyes can take a break from watching my best mate and my cousin snog each other, thanks," Ethan said, his fork playing with his pancakes.
"No we don't! You should have seen Rose and Scorpius last year. Lucy, Al, and I could barely survive," I huffed.
I wasn't kidding. Last year, I really thought that Rose and Scorpius were always only moments away from shagging each other in public.
Thank Merlin they have gotten much better.
Rose flattened her eyes and said to me, "Thanks for bringing me into this conversation. I really appreciate it."
"No problem. An example had to be made about what is excessive snogging," Lucy grinned at Rose who just pouted at the both of us.
"We didn't snog too much! Did we?!" Rose asked frantically. She looked at Scorpius who just shrugged.
"Love, I don't think you should ask me that. I don't we snog enough these days," Scorpius said cheekily to her.
Rose ignored him however, and turned back to the rest of us. "Well?!" She demanded.
"I think you do," Louis piped up. "That's all I saw you do last year. Snog Scorpius and study for OWLs."
All of us roared with laughter as Rose turned red. Rose had literally begun preparing for OWLs on the first of September last year. The entire year, none of us could get Rose to stop quizzing us. The only time that Rose gave studying a rest was when she went to snog Scorpius or go to Quidditch practice.
Last year was unbearable with Rose Weasley, but I still loved her all the same.
"Grace, you'll take my side, right?" Rose pouted as she turned to Grace who had been watching us silently with a smile.
She shrugged and said, "Sorry Rose but I have to take their side on this one. I didn't mind but everyone would always mutter under their breaths whenever you two started snogging."
"Why are we having this conversation about Rose and Scorpius snogging?" Sam mumbled to Ethan who just shrugged.
"What would they mutter?" I asked curiously.
"Oh nothing much. Just that the Populars are at it again," Grace said nonchalantly.
There it was again. That name…
"The Populars?" Albus frowned. "What's that? Smith mentioned it the other time."
Grace blushed, only increasing all of our curiosity. When she noticed that none of us would drop it, she finally conceded and said, "That's what everyone else calls you guys. The Populars."
"Are you serious?" James's eyes widened with disbelief.
Louis's eyes lit up as he said, "That's so cool! Why?"
I almost snorted. Wasn't the why sort of obvious? And was Louis being serious? Cool?
Obviously Grace was thinking along the same lines as I was but she answered him all the same.
"Well… 'cause you know. That's what you are. All of you guys. It sort of started with all of the older Potters and Weasleys and stemmed from there. Then came the four of you, and then you five. The Potters and Weasleys and all of their closest friends are known as the Populars. Of course there are other “popular” people but you all are sort of that group, you know? The group that everyone knows at school," Grace said, finishing her long spiel.
We just all stared at her, some of us in shock and some of us in awe.
I stared at her in shock.
Really? All of us?
I wasn't sure what to think of us. I knew that Lucy and Rose were popular and well liked but I always just thought of myself as just their best friend…
After all with what Megan Stretton always said…
"Are you sure we're all known as that? I can't imagine myself with a title like that," I wrinkled my nose as I thought about it.
Scorpius snorted. "Bella, if you can then you're head's too big."
I glared at Scorpius who just grinned back at me cheekily. This boy… really. Why on Earth I was friends with him is beyond me.
But Grace cut in this time as she regarded me carefully. "No Bella you're definitely part of the group. I mean, you and Ethan are the Muggleborns and the ones who the paparazzi probably doesn't recognize but at Hogwarts, you're well known."
Ethan seemed very pleased with himself. I had to resist the urge not to lean over James and smack him on his head for that behavior.
"But I agree with Bella. It's sort of hard to think of us all that way…" Sam trailed off, looking around at us for support.
I nodded fervently and so did Rose. Even Albus gave a small jerk of his head.
"Yeah but mate it's not like you don't know that we are well liked," James reasoned with him. "The parties are indication enough."
"But that's just parties, James. Everyone loves a good party but that doesn't exactly mean you get the title of the school's most popular bloke," Rose pointed out.
Lucy shrugged and said, "I guess Rose, you have a point. Maybe we aren't the most popular, which frankly I wouldn't care about any other way."
"But Lucy you are," Grace raised her eyebrows and stared at us in disbelief.
All of us blinked at her in confusion.
"Do you guys really not know how popular you guys are?" Grace looked at us in shock.
"Well… of course… because we're not?" Albus said unsurely, cocking his head at her. His eyebrows were furrowed with confusion.
Grace smiled and said, "You are though. You all have different reputations but altogether, you're that one group that if you all weren't so sociable, smart and talented, you'd have that stereotype of the ones who have everyone at school wrapped around your finger."
I felt very flattered that Grace should think that way but I felt more concerned with what she said about different reputations.
Merlin, did people who didn't hang out with us think a lot differently about us…
Maybe that's what we really did look like to outsiders.
"What are our different reputations?" Louis asked curiously.
"Well… this is just generally so please don't be angry with me," Grace hesitated but we all nodded understandably. "Rose is the book worm, Scorpius is the bad boy, Albus is the sweet one, Lucy's the drama queen, Louis's the player, Sam's the quiet one, Ethan's the jokester, James is the outgoing one, and Bella's… well you're just Bella."
"Excuse me? What do you 'I'm just Bella'?" I said slightly indignantly, raising my eyebrows.
Besides my obscurely weird reputation, the others seemed pretty accurate. Albeit shallow but it was fairly accurate, at least on the surface.
Ethan laughed at me as he said, "Wow, Bella. Every one of us has a reputation but you're just Bella?"
I glared at him and folded my arms. James pulled me close to his side and said to me, "Don't worry love. Being just Bella is perfect for me."
I gave him a wide smile before planting a soppy and rather long kiss on his lips.
When we finally broke apart, I turned back to Grace and asked in the nicest way possible, "Can you explain to me what that means?"
"Well… I'm not sure there's a good way to put it," Grace said as if she was deep in thought. "The best way to put it is that no one knows what you're really like. Like Megan tells people that you're a bitch but then other people who talk to you say that you're perfectly nice, which you are. Leah said that at parties you're a slag yet people don't see you openly fool around with blokes. Some say you're cold but then you can be perfectly friendly. Generally there are a lot of contradicting opinions about you, though now it is mainly just James Potter's girlfriend."
James grinned and said, "I like the sound of that. James Potter's girlfriend."
"Glad to know that there's nothing more important than being your girlfriend," I rolled my eyes.
"Love, to me, that's just like how there's nothing more important than being your boyfriend than besides being a good friend and family member," James said rather sweetly as he gazed down at me.
I couldn't help but inwardly squeal. Several people around us who must have heard were awww-ing under their breaths.
With a big goofy smile on my face, I gave James another kiss, ignoring the objective looks on our friends who obviously didn't like our public display of affection.
But even so, I couldn't help but think.
So people thought of me as a walking contradiction… in my mind I wasn't sure how I felt about that.
On one hand, I certainly didn't think that I was a mystery but then again, I had no idea that we were all that popular anyways.
Gryffindor had flattened Hufflepuff in the Quidditch match and Slytherin barely beat Ravenclaw, something that Scorpius had been fuming about. This placed Gryffindor in a much better position over Slytherin for their match in early February.
James and I had successfully gone on our two Hogsmeade dates, albeit the second one was not as great as the first, the paparazzi and media absolutely swarming Hogsmeade, making all of us remember that Hogsmeade wasn't completely closed off to the public just because Hogwarts students would be there.
"I am finally done! I am done with Transfiguration!" Lucy announced triumphantly as she threw her quill done on her bed, looking at her two essays, one which was due tomorrow and one of which were late. "Take that, Sinclair! Ha!"
Professor Sinclair was our Transfiguration teacher and an absolute nightmare when it came to homework. Though very easy going and fun to be around, it must have been a requirement of Transfiguration teachers to be strict and difficult with school work since McGonagall was like that when she was teaching.
Lucy, Rose, Grace, and I were sitting in our dorm, chatting and watching Lucy do her procrastinated homework.
The girl was smart beyond belief but there was no way she could be in Hufflepuff. Hard work was something completely foreign to Lucy, though she had a keen mind which could be very determined and ambitious when she wanted it to be.
That was different from Rose, who was smart but always hard working, unlike Lucy.
Rose had long given up on trying to lecture Lucy on her homework ways so she decided to change the topic before this got ugly. "So what are you going to do for the Holidays, Grace?"
Grace shifted around on Rose's bed where she was sitting uncomfortably.
"I… I'm staying here at Hogwarts," Grace said in a small voice. She looked distinctly uncomfortable like this was something she didn't want to talk about.
"Do you usually stay at Hogwarts?" Lucy asked with a frown. She looked up from where she was trying to put her essays, ink, parchment, quills, and textbooks away.
How the girl wrote two essays on her bed, having only her Potions textbook for support was beyond me. Her writing looked superb, as if she hadn't been rushing through the entire thing.
And there wasn’t a speck of ink on her bed sheets either.
Grace shook her head. "I usually stay with Ruby or Ruby stays at Hogwarts with me. My parents are always travelling so I never get to go home."
I looked at her sympathetically. Aunt Emma and Uncle Rupert were always travelling, Aunt Emma accompanying my uncle while my uncle dealt with our multi-million family entrepreneurship business along with my dad, Hart Enterprise.
But when it was the Holidays, Easter, Aunt Emma and Uncle Rupert always made sure that they were home. Dad and Uncle Rupert made absolute sure that all the meetings were at least pushed to the second week of Holidays so that all of us could at least get together for a Christmas dinner. It was the same thing with Easter, meetings and travelling if necessary only on the second week of vacations.
Of course summer was a different story but I couldn't imagine what it would be like for Grace, her parents not even bothering to stay home for their child.
"Oh I'm sorry," I mumbled.
Grace smiled and replied, "Don't worry about it. I have gotten used to it. Both of my parents work for the Department of International Magical Cooperation so they're always gone."
"Why don't you come with us for Winter break? I mean, I live right next door to the Potters and Bella lives down the street from Ethan. And Lucy, Louis, Sam, and Scorpius are always at one of our houses," Rose offered, her eyes lighting up.
Lucy nodded excitedly as well and chimed in, "Oh that's perfect! You can come to the New Years' Eve Ball at the Malfoy's as well! This is perfect!"
Grace's eyes widened in shock at the invitation and looked speechless. She hesitated and asked, "Are… are you sure? I don't want to intrude."
"Oh it's not intruding! We'd love to have you! I'm not sure you want to stay with me because my brother is around this time around, introducing us to his first ever stable girlfriend but Rose has more than enough room and Molly moved out from Lucy's house just this summer," I rattled off.
The three of us stared at Grace hopefully until Grace finally nodded and said, "Yes thank you. I would really appreciate that."
The three of us squealed and Rose gave Grace a tight hug.
"This is so exciting! Do you want to stay with Lucy or me?" Rose asked.
"Uhm… does it matter?" Grace asked tentatively.
"Of course not. I mean, we'll all see each other all the time anyways so it's not going to matter. If you stay with me, you won't have to put up with James and Albus but you will have to hear my dad talk, which is pretty boring. If you stay with Rose, you won't have to put up with my dad and her house is bigger, but you'll see James and Albus and all of the boys are usually always at the Potters," Lucy explained, now flopped on her bed and polishing her nails magically.
Grace looked very unsure so I stepped in and said helpfully, "You should stay with Lucy. Mr. Weasley is nowhere near as bad as it can be if all of the boys are around."
"Okay then. I think I'll do that, thanks," Grace sighed with relief, not having to choose. Sometimes this girl was too nice for her own good.
"So Charlie is really going to bring his girlfriend?" Rose asked me, getting up from her bed to help Lucy fix one of her nails that had gotten messed up.
I nodded and answered, "Yeah. Rachel Holmes. Same age as Charlie, twice as smart, and ten times nicer by the sound of it."
"What does she look like?" Lucy asked after shooting Rose a grateful smile.
"I don't know. Charlie didn't really describe her except for saying that she's 'really fit' which doesn't help at all," I said, scoffing slightly.
"Charlie's a guy. You don't expect him to give us details about her do you?" Rose laughed a little, shaking her head at me. "But how do you know she's that much nicer? You know I have nothing against Charlie but she could very well turn out to be sort of nasty. Remember how Dom's boyfriend turned out like that?'
Dominique Weasley, Louis' older sister, was similar to Charlie and Louis, never getting in a serious relationship and always fooling around though Dom was so much nicer. The first time she actually got a boyfriend, he turned out to be a complete jerk and she dumped him right after he subtly insulted the Burrow.
"Well she was the one who got the pregnancy test right? And I haven't received any letters or anything from Mum, Dad, or the others which means she definitely hasn't told anyone I'm pregnant," I said nonchalantly before realizing my mistake.
My eyes widened with horror and Rose clapped her hand to her mouth. Lucy gazed at Grace uneasily, who just had a shocked look on her face.
I loved Grace but telling her that I was pregnant wasn't exactly on top of my to do list.
"You're… you're pregnant?" Grace stuttered, her mouth resembling a fish.
I swallowed difficultly and after several moments, I nodded my head in a jerky manner.
"Yeah I am. The future granddaughter or grandson of Harry Potter is in my stomach and James Potter is going to be a dad," I finally said after contemplation. There was no point of denying it anyways.
"You cannot tell anyone," Rose immediately begged. "The only people that know are me, Lucy, James, Bella's brother Charlie, and his girlfriend Rachel."
Grace immediately nodded and I let out a breath of relief that I didn't even realize I had been holding.
"Of course. I totally understand. The Daily Prophet would literally explode if this got out," Grace said understandingly.
I nodded and grimaced.
"How far along are you?" Grace asked curiously.
"This is my twelfth week. I actually have to go in to do those magical ultrasound things later this week on Friday before we leave for Vacations. I'm starting to show really badly," I said as I took off the InvisiBump that I had been wearing.
It was such a relief to take it off and I realized with immense happiness that now I didn't have to wear this in our dorm.
Grace gaped at my stomach momentarily before she shook her head and said, "It's not so bad. I've seen worse. You're probably not carrying twins because I've seen that before and it gets really obvious."
I grinned at her appreciatively, and the rest of the night was dedicated to talk all about pregnancy and babies.
A/N: Hello my dearies!
What do you think of Grace becoming close with Bella, Lucy, and Rose? Of Grace finding out Bella's pregnant? Of Albus's quick temper? Of what 'The Populars' mean?
This is more of a 'filler' chapter, but I hope you liked it!
Please leave a review! It always makes me so happy (:
Write a Review A Rollercoaster Called Life: Chapter Nine