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Choices by sour_grapes_snape
Chapter 8 : Reality Check
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6


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                “James Potter, I am going to kill you!”


 

                Well. That’s really not a very comforting thing to wake up to – and on Christmas morning, no less. Yeah, that really isn’t a good omen.


 

                I heard a door slam shut and footsteps thudding loudly through the hall, approaching my room. It seems the time has finally come for my premature death. At least now it’ll be at the hands of my best friend rather than those of my mother. Is that an improvement? I’m not sure.

 
 

                I jumped out of bed as my door flew open and Selene stood in the doorway, tousle haired and fuming. Her eye was twitching, always a danger sign. I’ve really messed up now. I just wish I knew what I’d done.


 

                “You are a repulsive, reptilian sack of slime who doesn’t deserve to breathe the same air as the rest of the world,” Selene growled. Ah, I’ve missed her creative insults. I’m glad she finished with the brief stage of swearing that she went through. That was disturbing. No, these stinging epithets that she likes to use when well and truly angry are really kind of refreshing. I’d just hate to be on the receiving end when she actually means them.


 

                “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do it,” I said automatically. Then I paused. “What did I not mean to do again?”

 
 

                “What did you do?” Selene shrieked. “What did you do?! I’ll show you what you did!”


 

                Selene grabbed the hem of the sweatshirt she was inexplicably wearing – it actually used to mine, now that I think of it – and hauled it over her head, leaving her in her bra and a pair of baggy sweatpants, which were also mine. I blinked. This is an unexpected turn of events. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but it seems like a rather inappropriate time for her to be stripping. The door was still wide open. I think I’ll hold back on the objections, though.


 

                “Do you see this?” Selene hissed, pointing at her stomach. Silly, naïve Selene. I certainly wasn’t looking at her stomach. But then I did.


 

                “Woah,” I breathed. “Good Merlin, that’s… wow.”


 

                There was a bump. It wasn’t all that big, but there was a very distinct bump. It would definitely be noticeable if she wore anything but baggy clothes. I guess that explains my sweatshirt. I felt a grin spread across my face. That was my kid making that bump.


 

                Selene, however, didn’t seem quite as happy. Her face was growing steadily redder and her dreaded eye twitching was out of control. “I. Am. Fat.”


 

                “What?” I just stared at Selene, not quite comprehending. She was mad about the baby bump because she thought she was… fat? I thought this was a good thing. Selene herself had just been talking about how she needed to gain weight. And she’s never cared about appearance or body image before. I am so confused.


 

                “My jeans don’t fit,” Selene continued, “my shirts are uncomfortably tight, my ankles have started to swell, and have you seen my boobs? They’re huge!”


 

                I noticed.


 

                “Oh, are they? I hadn’t noticed,” I said, trying to fake innocence. I was unsuccessful and Selene just got even angrier. Tell my mum I love her because I’m about to die for real this time.

 
 

                “Don’t. Lie. To. Me. I saw you staring, you sick prat,”she growled.


 

                I help up my hands, hoping to shield my face, my beautiful face, when she finally snapped and attacked me. “In my defense, you did take your shirt off. I’m a bloke. What do you expect?”


 

                That probably wasn’t a smart thing to say. Yet, I wonder why people look at me like I’m an idiot. Maybe they would stop if I stopped proving them right all the time. I’d make a mental note to work on that, but I’m about to die anyways, so it really doesn’t matter.


 

                Selene walked up to, glaring like a maniac, and started poking me in the chest. Hard. I may bruise. “I expect - “ poke “- you to respect-“ poke “- me because I –“ poke “- am your best friend.” Poke, poke.


 

                “My very attractive best friend,” I muttered.


 

                Selene stared at me. The anger left her face, replaced by a tentative smile. “You really mean that? You think I’m attractive?”


 

                “Uh...” Is this a trick question?


 

                “Aw, James,” she said, throwing her arms around me in a hug. Forget murder, these mood swings are going to be the actual death of me.


 

                Nope, never mind, it’s still going to be murder. Of course my mum and sister would walk into the room when I’m being hugged by a shirtless Selene. Of course. Clearly the world hates me. Surely it shouldn’t be possible for one person to have this much bad luck.

 
 

                “Is something wrong? I thought I heard shout – what is going on here?!”


 

                “Gross,” Lily moaned.


 

                “Look at my baby bump!” Selene said excitedly, turning around to show them. What the hell? Wasn’t she just about to kill me over that?


 

                Mum and Lily both squealed in delight, their respective anger and disgust forgotten instantly as they took in the protrusion in Selene’s stomach. I will never understand women. Honestly.


 

                “Oh, this is wonderful,” Mum said happily. “We are definitely going to have to go maternity shopping. I’ll take you before you go back to school. I think I have an old dress around that you can wear today. It should be your size.”


 

                “Thanks Ginny,” Selene said, “but you don’t have to get me clothes, though. I could never ask that of you. You’ve done so much for me already.”


 

                Mum waved her off. “Nonsense, I’d be delighted to help. That’s my first grandchild you’ve got there, after all. Besides, you know I think of you as a daughter. Harry and I have always wished we could do more for you.”


 

                Selene stared at Mum, blinking rapidly. For a panicked second, I thought her eye had started twitching again. Instead, she was just trying not to cry. Mood swings.


 

                “Come on, now, dear,” Mum said gently, putting a hand on Selene’s back. “Let’s go get you dressed.”


 

                That was weird. And abrupt. The two walked out and Lily stared at me. Her brown eyes, identical to both Mum’s and Nana Molly’s, were wide. She looked as though she was trying to process something.


 

                “You okay, Lil?” I asked her. She was starting to worry me just a bit.


 

                She nodded slowly, almost as if she were in a daze. “I’m fine, it’s just… Selene’s pregnant. She’s going to have a baby.”


 

                I gave her an odd look. “Yeah, Lily, you already knew that. You were the first person I told.”


 

                “I know that,” she said reproachfully. “It’s just, I don’t know, this makes it all seem so much more real. There’s really a baby in there.”


 

                I nodded. “It’s mad, isn’t it? It’s really hard to believe that there’s something that’s half me growing inside her.”


 

                “Are you scared?” Lily asked in a small voice.


 

                “Terrified,” I replied with a small, wry smile.


 

                “You’ll be all right,” she assured me, before taking a few steps forward and throwing her arms around my middle. “I love you, Jimmy Jams.”

 
 

                I smiled at the stupid nickname. “Love you too, Lillers.”


 

                She pulled back and then lightly hit me in the arm. “Now get dressed, prat. I want to open presents.


 

                She paused in the doorway and gave me a smile that was so full of innocence that it felt like we were little kids again. With a pang of childhood nostalgia, I realized how old I was now. I was in my final year of school and about to become a dad. And Lily wasn’t the same baby sister I’d always thought her to be.

 
 

                “Happy Christmas,” she told me.


 

                She closed the door behind her. I couldn’t help but feel that she also closed the door on my childhood as well.


 

***


 

                “James, m’boy!” Fred shouted nearly the second I stepped out of the fireplace at the Burrow. It was afternoon now, and the whole family was gathering a Granddad Arthur and Nana Molly’s house. Most of them were already there, milling about and involved in various conversations. I took off my coat as Selene came wooshing out of the fireplace after me.


 

                “Hey, Fred,” I said with a grin. He pulled me into a man-hug. You know I never really understood the purpose of those. The way I see it, we should either just go with a real hug or beat each other in greeting, not some weird cross between the two. I don’t particularly enjoy being slammed into Fred’s shoulder every time I see him. He’s a fan of them though, so I’ll go with it.


 

                “How’s the shop? I asked. Fred had graduated from Hogwarts three years ago with Dom, and was currently working with his dad. Fred always called me his pranking prodigy, though I haven’t lived up to that in the slightest this year.


 

                “Business is booming,” Fred said. “Dad and I are working on developing a line of Valentine’s Day related products. They’d be seasonal, of course, but we reckon it’ll draw in some more female customers. Their numbers have been dropping as of late. Ah, and here’s the lovely Selene!”


 

                Fred pulled Selene into a man-hug as well. He man-hugs everyone except for Nana Molly. And that’s only because she shouted at him the one time he tried it. Let me tell you, that was not a pretty sight. Wait, is it okay for Selene to be man-hugging like that? Surely it isn’t good for the baby. And she’s showing now, too. Not that anyone can tell, due to the early maternity dress Mum found for her. I could tell Selene was uncomfortable wearing it. She’d never been a fan of skirts.

 
 

                “So, are you two keeping the staff and students on their toes?” Fred asked eagerly. “I haven’t heard about any of your new pranks yet this year.” I think he might be reliving his Hogwarts years vicariously through us.


 

                Selene and I exchanged glances. I ruffled my hair. “Er, there haven’t really been too many pranks, to be honest. Actually, there haven’t been any. We’ve, uh, been a bit busy.”


 

                Fred looked shocked. “With what? Surely you’re not actually studying this year, are you?”


 

                “Actually, he is,” Mum said, joining in the conversation. “His marks have been steadily improving, Neville tells me.”


 

                There was a time in my life when I was utterly convinced that my mum was the coolest mum in the entire world. I mean c’mon. She’s a professional Quidditch player turned coach with the scariest glare on this side of the Atlantic. Not to mention her treacle tart is out of this world. But that last comment… totally ruined it. Seriously, Mum, I don’t want you telling people I’m doing well in school. It’s so embarrassing. I thought we were cool. We were homies. She was my dawg, yo.


 

Why do I suddenly sound like a fake American “gangsta?” It’s times like these that I’m really glad no one in my family can perform Legilimancy.


 

                Fred apparently agreed with me – er, about the studying thing… not my departure into disturbing slang - because he shook his head shamefully. “Tragic. What about you, Selene? You’re not studying, are you? Don’t give in to peer pressure!”


 

                “No, I’m not studying any more than usual,” Selene said with a smile. Then she looked away awkwardly. “I’ve just been… preoccupied with other things.”


 

                “Like what?” Fred asked curiously. And this is where the panic sets in. What do we tell him? Do we brush off his question? Should I just act natural? What am I supposed to do with my hands?

 
 

                “Did you know that sound travels faster in water than it does in air?” I blurted out. “Wicked, eh?”
 

                If I could give myself the “James Potter is an idiot” look right now, I would. I need a mirror. Or I can just look at either Selene or Mum, as they are both staring at me with it right now. Fred just looked baffled. He’s been away from me for too long.


 

                “…what?” he asked. Selene slapped her palm to her forehead. That can’t be good for her mental stability. Then again, I doubt I am, either.

 
 

                “Oh, Bill and Fleur are here!” Mum said, spotting the new arrivals and effectively distracting Fred. She dropped a quick wink at me and went to greet her eldest brother and his family. Smooth Mum. Very smooth indeed. I officially re-instate the Cool Mum status.


 

                “You’re an idiot,” Selene muttered, taking a step closer to me. It should be illegal for one girl to smell this good. Bloody coconuts.


 

                “Tell me about it,” I agreed. At least I can admit it.


 

                She was still laughing when Louis walked over to say hello. “Selene? What are you doing here? I thought you weren’t going to stay with James this holiday?”


 

                “Change of plans,” Selene said in a convincingly disinterested voice. “James is a prat, but I do enjoy seeing his parents. I am hurt that you’re not glad to see me, though. And here I thought we were friends.”


 

                “What – I didn’t mean,” Louis began to protest, but Selene cut him off.


 

                “Over six years of friendship, just down the drain. You know, I really thought I meant more to you,” she continued, giving Louis a false glare. Still, Louis cowered slightly at the look. Even when she’s just pretending to be mad, Selene is still completely terrifying.

 
 

                “Now, there’s no need to mess with Louis, Leena,” I said, tossing my arm around her shoulder. “You know he doesn’t get sarcasm.”


 

                Louis gave me a flat stare. “I resent that. I don’t think it’s possible to be part of this family and not understand sarcasm. The lot of you all abuse it.”


 

                He paused for a moment, glancing back and forth between Selene and I in apparent confusion, though a smile started to spread across his face. “So when did all this happen? Last I remember James was still mooning about how much he missed you, Selene. When did you two get so chummy again? It’s about time, honestly. Nick and I have been going spare over it.”

 
 

                “No idea what you’re talking about, Lou,” Selene said breezily, though I caught her guilty glance in my direction. You know, I’d never thought how the brief – or not so brief – estrangement affected Louis and Nick. Don’t I feel like a right mucker now.


 

                Louis rolled his eyes. “Of course you don’t. Whatever, I’m just glad to see you two are back together. Sometimes I swear, the two of you are…”


 

                “We’re what?” I asked, but Louis just shook his head.


 

                I glanced at Selene. “I think he’s trying to imply something, Lee. Should we be offended?”


 

                “We should definitely be offended,” Selene said with a grin. “How rude, Louis. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”


 

                “What would your mother say?” I asked, shaking my head.


 

                “She would be so disappointed.”


 

                “Hell, I’m disappointed.”


 

                “I’m not sure if James and I can be friends with you after that grievous insult.”


 

                “Quite.”


 

                 Dear Merlin, I have missed this. Judging by how brightly Selene was smiling, she missed it too. Reunited and it feels so good.


 

                Louis raised his eyebrows at us, but he was wearing a badly concealed smirk. “I see the Dynamic Duo is back. No one is safe.”


 

                “Lock up your children,” I agreed. “We’re coming to get you. Rules can’t hold up back.”


 

                “We can be bribed though,” Selene pointed out. “Give James some coconuts and he’s putty in your hands.”


 

                “Coconuts are the most delicious things in the world and that is a fact. Anyone who says otherwise is clearly mental,” I sad adamantly. I wonder if Selene is aware of the fact that she smells exactly like coconuts and that it drives me absolutely insane. She probably is, the wily seductress.

 
 

                “And how can I bribe you?” Louis asked Selene.


 

                She shrugged. “Just food in general. I’m not picky. Although right now, I’d really like a pickle and marmalade sandwich.”


 

                Louis looked disgusted. “You want a what?”


 

                Uh oh. It seems Selene’s pregnancy cravings are currently in full swing. Now would probably be a good time to look for an exit. I need a diversion. Perhaps a natural disaster would do.

 
 

                A loud squeal sounded from across the room, causing Louis’s head to turn to find the source. Hm, that’ll work. Perhaps karma is finally paying me back for my life being so bizarre and uncomfortable. Oh wait, no, the squeal came from Dom and she’s coming this way. Great.


 

                I think I’ve mentioned before that Dom isn’t exactly my favorite cousin. I like her well enough, I suppose, but we’ve never really gotten on. At this moment, though, she was practically skipping towards me with a delighted, glowing look on her face. I think I should be scared.

 
 

                Dominique stopped in front of Selene and I, practically elbowing Louis out of the way. He gave her a reproachful look, which she ignored, and muttered something about going to talk to Hugo. Dom didn’t immediately demand a hug, like I was expecting – she’s fairly touchy-feely – but instead stared at me, positively beaming.


 

                “Hi Dom,” I said hesitantly and Selene just nodded. She doesn’t get on with Dom much, either. Actually, she doesn’t get on with females that much in general. The only women in the family she does get along with well are Lily, Mum, and Aunt Angelina. Well, and Nana Molly. She gives Selene a Weasley sweater every year. Unfortunately this year it was too snug for Selene to wear. 
 

                “So when did it happen?” Dom asked eagerly.


 

                “Er… what?” I asked. Selene looked similarly puzzled.


 

                “You two!” Dom exclaimed. She cast a significant look at my arm, which was still draped casually over Selene’s shoulder. Oh dear.

 
 

                Selene and I jumped apart hastily, quickly catching on to what Dom was implying. We both started protesting her assumption at the same time.


 

                “No, no, no–“


 

                “You’ve got the wrong idea–“

 
 

                “-no, no, no, no-“


 

                “-that’s not the case at all-“

 
 

                “-no, no, no, no, no-“


 

                “-we’re just friends, you see-“


 

                “-no, no, no, no-“

 
 

                “-James and I aren’t dating.”


 

                “-no, no, no.”


 

                Dom raised an eyebrow. Selene punched me in the arm. Hard.


 

                “Ow! Bloody hell, woman! What was that for?”


 

                She glared. “Really James? 19 no’s? Really? Is the idea of dating me really that repulsive?”


 

                See, this is why I just shouldn’t talk. I always get myself into trouble. Someone just cast a permanent sealing charm on my mouth and be done with it. I can breathe through my nose.


 

                “That’s not what I meant at all, Lee!” I protested. “You’re definitely datable. I was just trying to make sure that Dom knew that we, however, are just friends.”


 

                “Yeah, you made that pretty clear,” Selene said.


 

                “But I-“


 

                “Oh, just pull your foot out of your mouth and stop talking,” she interrupted, but she was smiling. That’s my girl.


 

                Dom looked back and forth between the two of us. “You two are lying to me, aren’t you?”


 

                “We’re not,” Selene said shortly. Uh oh, she’s getting irritated. “James and I have only ever been friends.”


 

                “Exactly,” I agreed, holding back a grimace. Selene doesn’t really sound all that open to changing that status. If I’m being honest with myself, I’d probably completely lost any chance I might have had a long time ago.

 
 

                Dom just smiled at us, annoying cheerful. “You’ll be eating those words when you two end up married. Oh! There’s Roxy. Toodles!”


 

                She bounced away, going over to launch herself at Roxanne. Selene and I both stood rooted to the spot, not quite able to meet the other’s eyes. I’ve had a lot of awkward moments in my life. In fact, it’s really more like I have an awkward life with the occasional brief moment of normalcy. I have to say, though, that this is just really awkward right now. My cousin just told me that me and my best friend/girl I like/baby mama are going to get married. This is right after we reconciled after not talking to each other for four months, mind you. It’s just a little weird.

 
 

                “Heh. Dom,” I said eventually.  “Am I right?”


 

                Selene furrowed her brow. “James, maybe you just shouldn’t talk.”


 

                “Lee, you read my mind,” I said, causing her to laugh.


 

                “I love you and all, but you’re an idiot. In all the best ways,” she said, nudging me in the ribs with her unnaturally sharp elbow.


 

                I grinned. “That just might be the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me. Selene Liddell, you’re going soft.”


 

                “Blame the hormones.”


 

                “Are you going to be using that excuse for the next five months?”


 

                “You better believe it.” Selene elbowed me once more. If she keeps it up, she’ll probably break the skin and I’ll bleed to death. “I’ll also probably threaten to kill you many, many more times in the near future. Just a forewarning.”


 

                I shrugged. “I figured. I’ve been living in fear of murder for a while now, though, so I can deal.”


 

                “Thought your mum was going to brutally kill you?”


 

                “I’m surprised I’m still alive right now.”


 

                “Now that’s what I call optimism.”

 
 

                “Hey,” I protested. “I happen to be a very optimistic person, thank you very much. Always look on the bright side of life and all that rubbish.”


 

                Selene raised an eyebrow. “James, you are the most melodramatic person I know. And didn’t I tell you to stop talking?”


 

                “That would be correct,” I agreed. “I, however, do not remember agreeing to do so. I just agreed that I probably should.”


 

                “If I die prematurely, I’m blaming you. You make my blood pressure shoot through the roof,” Selene said.


 

                I opened my mouth to reply, but was interrupted by Nana Molly walking in from the kitchen, calling “Dinner!”


 

                Thank sweet merciful Merlin, there’s food!


 

                “Thank Merlin,” Selene groaned, echoing my thoughts. “I was about ready to eat you.”


 

                Well that’s disturbing. “Cannibalism is not the answer.


 

                “Shut up, James,” she said as everyone began moving towards the kitchen.


 

                “Shutting up.”


 

                Nana Molly was greeting everyone warmly as they passed through the doorway and when it came to be my turn she pulled me into a warm hug. “And how are you doing, James? Staying out of trouble this year, I hope.”


 

                “Of course, Nana,” I grinned at her. “I’ve been a perfect angel. Not a single detention or toe out of line.”


 

                “That’s a good boy,” she said, patting me on the cheek.


 

                What? She’s my grandmother. Of course I’m going to brag about my secret shame like a swot. Just because I’d rather not have Fred or anyone else know, doesn’t mean that Nana Molly’s included in that. C’mon.

 
 

                “And Selene,” Nana said moving on. “You look absolutely lovely. Have I seen that dress before?”


 

                I froze. Bugger. Oh, this is not good. Not good not good not good. Remember how I was panicking when talking to Fred earlier? Well, now I’m really panicking. Shit, this is going to end in disaster.


 

                “Did you know that pearls melt in vinegar?”


 

                Someone buy me a muzzle. Just put us all out of our misery and be done with it. I shouldn’t be allowed to speak. Ever. It’d be really nice if I could go one day without receiving the “James is an idiot look.” I wonder if I should get that trademarked or something.


 

                Instead of distracting Nana, all I managed to do was draw everyone’s attention. All conversations ceased and everyone turned to look at me, Selene, and Nana Molly. Smooth, James.

 
 

                Selene’s face was drained of all color and she seemed to shrink under Nana Molly’s scrutinizing. “Why do I recognize that dress?”


 

                Glancing around, I saw dread cross Mum’s face. Fuck. If she’s scared, then this is really, really bad.
 

                Nana seemed to zone in on my face and she followed my gaze to Mum. Her eyes widened and shocked understanding filled her expression. Shit.


 

                “Ginevra,” Nana Molly said in a quiet voice. “Why is Selene wearing one of your old maternity dresses?”


 

                If it was at all possible, Selene’s face went even paler. She actually looked kind of grey. The entire family was out and out staring now, a few glances being flickered in my direction, though most eyes were trained on my best friend. My best friend who looked like she was about to pass out.

 
 

                “Mum,” my mum said in a strangled voice, “now really isn’t the best time…”


 

               “Young lady,” Nana addressed Selene now, ignoring my mum. “Are you pregnant?”


 

                I could tell Selene was trying not to cry. Her hands shook as she, probably reflexively, looked over at me. I didn’t even think about it. I stepped forward and pulled her into my embrace. “Please, leave it, Nana,” I begged softly.


 

                “Is that why you two have been fighting?” Louis broke in, dawning realization on his face. “You… Selene, are you pregnant? Who’s the father? James did you know this?”

 
 

                I couldn’t speak. How the hell was this worse than telling my mother? My entire family is just… staring. No one is moving. No one is speaking. They just look. I can see the judgment on their faces. It’s more subtle in some cases than in others, but it’s there. And it hurts, even though I know it’s not aimed at me. Yet.


 

                I tried to speak, but the words couldn’t come. They caught in my throat, choking me. No sound came out, I just stood there, holding Selene, with my mouth gaping open, not talking either. That was all the answer that was needed.


 

                “Well, who is it?” Louis then asked, his voice cracking slightly. “I know you two are best mates and all, but you’re my friends too! You two always have your damn secrets. Don’t I deserve to know what’s happening in your lives?”


 

                “Lou…” I said quietly, suddenly filled with guilt, and Selene just buried her head in my shoulder. She was still shaking. Remember how she said she needed to stop being so stressed, otherwise it would be bad for both her and the baby? Yeah, I’m pretty sure this isn’t helping the matter.

 
 

                “Let it go,” Lily said, her eyes wide with what looked like fear. “It doesn’t matter.”


 

                Louis rounded on her. “What, I suppose you know already? Why am I the bloody last to know?”
 

                “It’s not something that can be talked about all that easily,” I said, finding my voice.


 

                “Well apparently, talking to Selene this year wasn’t easy either,” Louis shot back. The entire family seemed absorbed in our argument, eyes flickering back and forth. “Or are you forgetting that?”


 

                “It was complicated, okay? We’ve both apologized for that, so stop throwing it in our faces! Can’t you see this is the last thing Selene needs right now?” I was getting angry. After the whole debacle with her parents, Selene shouldn’t have to go through this as well.


 

                “You still haven’t said who the father is,” Aunt Hermione spoke up, her eyes narrowed in disapproval. She’d never liked Selene all that much. Like I said, Selene doesn’t get along too well with other females.


 

                I laughed bitterly. “Take a wild guess.”


 

                That confirmed the suspicions that I’m sure were in the back of everyone’s minds. There was an almost collective intake of breath and deepening of frowns. There was a weight to it, the judgmental looks that were being shot in my direction. It just pissed me off even more.


 

                Dom was the one to speak next. “But… you just told me you two aren’t dating.”


 

                “They’re not,” Louis said, not bothering to tear his eyes away from me and Selene to look at his sister. “They’ve barely spoken all year. Unless it was a very well-kept secret.”


 

                “I don’t think this is the time,” Dad said, speaking up for the first time. There were still vague traces of disappointment in his face, from when he’d first found out, but now it was overpowered by indignation. I felt a rush of affection for my dad. No matter what happened, I was still his son. He would defend me.

 
 

                “Let’s just eat,” Mum agreed. “We’re handling this. Let the matter drop.”
 

                “And how exactly are you handling this?” Uncle Percy asked. “I think we deserve to know. This affects all of us. A pregnancy scandal in the family doesn’t look good. If the press hears wind of this…”


 

                Mum bristled, seeming to swell. I was right behind her. The press? Who gives a fuck about the press? I think Mum echoed that sentiment. “For once, Percy,” she growled, “could you maybe think about something beyond yourself and reputation?”

 
 

                “He’s right though,” Aunt Audrey said, defending her husband. “If those two children have a baby they will ruin their lives.”


 

                Selene stiffened in my arms. She lifted her head and I saw her eyes had filled with tears. Horror washed over me. I opened my mouth to say something to her. I’m not sure what I would’ve said, “Don’t listen to her” or “That’s not true,” but I never got the chance. Tearing herself out of my arms, she ran from the room. Everyone watched her go. And that was the last straw. I was done.

 
 

                “What the fuck is wrong with all of you?” I exploded. I saw Mum and Nana both frown at the language, but I honestly didn’t give a shit. I was far too furious. “Where do you all get off, judging her like that? Selene is a good person. Sure, she’s not perfect, but who the hell is? Not a single one of you, I’ll tell you that. So you can take all your judgments and opinions and resentments and shove them up your arse, but it is none of your goddamn business! And for the record, everyone makes mistakes. But a baby is not a mistake and they do not ruin lives.”


 

                I glared around at the room. I could detect distinct hints of pride from my parents and both Al and Lily gave me encouraging smiles. I gave a barely imperceptible nod to them. Then, fixing my eyes on Audrey especially, I spat, “You people make me sick.”


 

                I stormed out of the room, calling for Selene. I could hear voices picking up in the kitchen, but I paid it no mind. My parents would take care of it. They’d always have my back. Right now, I need to have Selene’s.

 
 

                I noticed the door that leads outside was slightly ajar and I ran towards it, pushing it open. Selene was sitting in the snow, shivering, and crying into her knees. I pulled off my Christmas jumper as I approached her, dropping to the ground next to her and wrapping it around her shoulders. Then I pulled her into my arms once more.


 

                “I’m so sorry, James,” Selene cried in a choked voice. “This is all my fault. I just ruined Christmas and I’ve turned your own family against you. They must hate me now. I’m so, so sorry.”


 

                “They’re the ones who should be sorry, not you,” I told her, rubbing her back as she cried into my shirt. I didn’t even care that I was freezing right now. All I cared about was Selene.


 

                “It’s my fault,” she said again, but I just held her tighter.


 

                “No, it’s not. Selene, you are the most important person in my life, and I’m not going to let you doubt yourself. You are wonderful and amazing and anyone who doesn’t see that is a blind fool. You didn’t ruin Christmas and my family will get over it. They don’t hate you, either. Once they decided to pull the sticks out of their arses, they’ll realize what utter wankers they’re all being.”

 
 

                “I’m sorry,” she whispered brokenly.


 

                I pulled back and took her face in my hands. “If you say that again, I’ll hex you,” I told her sternly. She gave a weak smile. “Forget them. Forget all of them. We’re going back to my house. C’mon, stand up and I’ll apparate us there.”

 
 

                “You’re the best. You really are,” she said as I pulled her upright. “I was so stupid to ignore you for so long. You’re my best friend.”
 

                I brushed her hair back from her face gently. In that moment, there was no doubt in my mind that I loved this girl. “Always.”


 

                With a pop, I apparated us away.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

AN

 
 

So… that escalated quickly.

 
 

That’s the part that took me so long to write. It wasn’t fun for me. I was like “What? No, why I am writing this? I don’t want this to happen!” But… I suppose it kind of had to, eh? Teen pregnancies really are dramatic and messy and… yeah.

 
 

I don’t think I’ll be able to get any more chapters put up before the queue closure, especially since exams are quickly approaching and I’m freaking out. But I should hopefully be able to get a lot written over break and by the time the queue opens again it should, again hopefully, be some very quick updates. Until then, I hope everyone has a good holiday season. Merry Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Ramadan/whatever you may or may not celebrate to everyone!

              


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