Chapter 12 : Chapter Twelve
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It was bloody difficult to learn how to do a talking Patronus but I managed.
Thank Merlin Rose forced us all to learn it.
I surprised myself with my new Patronus form, a doe. Maybe it was required that all women romantically involved with a Potter male had a doe Patronus.
“Bella!” James exclaimed wildly, thrusting the eleven sickles at Stan before quickly ushering me off the bus.
I stared at him as he led me through the gates and inside Potter Manor, which had been given every manner of protection possible so that no one can enter through the actual gates of the Manor unless with permission.
Before I knew it, I had burst into tears again and thrown myself onto James, my pregnant belly coming in between us.
“Bella, what happened?” James murmured quietly, as he hugged me back tightly. I just buried my face into James’s chest and continued to cry.
The mixture of pregnancy hormones and the shock that my own father told me to get out was too much for me to handle at the moment.
There were shuffling of footsteps nearby and I had a feeling that I had just walked in on their family dinner.
Sniffing, I pulled away, wiping my tears away with the back of my hands. “I’m sorry,” I mumbled in a thick voice, looking down at my feet. “I didn’t know where to go.”
There were footsteps shuffling away once again and I bit my lip. If it were any other time, I would not be feeling mortified that I had interrupted the Potters’ Christmas eve dinner.
James lifted my chin up, making my eyes meet his own warm brown ones. He smiled and shook his head, the edges of his eyes crinkling as he did. “Bella, don’t be sorry. Do you want to tell me what happened or do you want to wait after dinner?”
“They accidentally found out, when I was explaining to Rachel about magic. Mum was disappointed and kept asking questions but Dad…” I trailed off, my voice becoming thick and my eyes starting to leak with tears.
James pulled me close to him again and I said difficultly in between tears with my face pressed against James’s chest, “Dad told me to get out. He said… he said no daughter of his would be foolish enough to get pregnant.”
I felt James tense at my words but I didn’t know what to do other than just hug him back tightly.
“I thought… I thought he might be okay- after he calmed down,” I blabbered on, sobbing. “He was so angry! I had never seen him this upset before.”
“Mum, Dad, can we talk to you?” James said tensely after dinner as Lily dragged a curious looking Albus away from the dining room.
I had keenly avoided eyes with Albus, feeling terrible about withholding truth from him.
Despite my very dramatic entrance, dinner, for the most part, went well.
I will be forever grateful to Lily for continuously chattering on and on about meaningless things to keep us all distracted from the reason why I had gate crashed their Christmas dinner. Lily, most likely, knew that she needed to keep everyone distracted, anyways.
Ginny glanced at me with a warm expression and nodded. I scooted my chair in closer to James’s and grimaced.
Through our silent conversations, I managed to convince James to tell his parents tonight.
He hadn’t been sure that the stress of everything today would be good for me but honestly, if people such as Harry and Ginny Potter couldn’t make me feel slightly better, I wasn’t sure who could.
“What is it, son?” Harry inquired, looking back and forth between the two of us, obviously dying of curiosity on the inside. He, James, and Albus were all the same.
James was rendered momentarily speechless as he seemed to be at a loss of how best to approach this situation.
Deciding to take the reins of this one, I scooted my chair backwards so that my stomach was in plain view and slowly unclasped the InvisiBump around my waist.
When it became painfully obvious that I was pregnant, Ginny gasped in shock while Harry’s emerald green eyes widened as the both of them gaped at us.
Harry seemed speechless but Ginny obviously wasn’t.
“JAMES SIRIUS POTTER! After ALL that your father and I have done for you, how can you be so IRRESPONSIBLE?!” she screeched.
James hung his head, not saying anything as Ginny ranted on for a few more moments at him about how she and Harry gave him freedom because they trusted him.
I felt terrible, making Harry and Ginny lose their trust in their oldest son.
When Ginny was finished ranting, she closed her eyes, most likely needing a moment to compose herself.
“How long?” Harry asked quietly.
“It was at the party, actually,” James replied quietly, casting his eyes away from his father’s.
Harry didn’t say anything but just sighed, closing his eyes as well.
Harry and Ginny must have had some telepathic communication because at that moment, Ginny opened her eyes and turned towards me, her expression a lot warmer and far kinder than I had expected.
Before I could accept any tokens of Ginny Potter’s kindness, I blurted out, “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to cause any trouble. I don’t want to get rid of it because it’s wrong but I couldn’t put it up for adoption because some horrible family might take it in. But I don’t want you all to hate me and-”
“Bella!” Ginny interrupted, holding her hand up. I stopped talking immediately and waited for her reaction. “It’s okay Bella. None of us will hate you. It was a mistake and people your age make mistakes. This one… is just a bigger mistake than the rest. I’m not going to give you the responsibility talk because I’m sure you already know. So I’m just going to say this. You will have Harry’s and my support, no matter what happens.”
My eyes swelled with tears of happiness as my heart all but burst from my chest. I had been right that Ginny Potter could cheer me up.
There was no mistaking her and Harry’s disappointment in the both of us but at least they were on my side. They would support me.
The fact that they didn’t demand for me to get rid of it, be angry with me, or kick me out of their house was worth more than I can possibly tell them.
James watched as his mother and Bella trooped out of the dining room, Albus and Lily most likely already having heard the rant about Bella being pregnant.
If not, then James would have to applaud Lily’s ability to drag Albus away.
James turned back to his father with an ashamed expression. Never in his life had been James felt so disappointed with himself.
“I’m sorry Dad. I know I screwed it up this time,” James admitted, talking with a lot more courage than he actually had.
Harry studied his eldest son.
When James had been born, Ron probably hadn’t been exaggerating all that much when he said McGonagall was probably collapsing because of James’s name. It wasn’t as if Harry had any idea just how much James would have lived up to his name.
And now, having lived in the Potter manor for the last almost 25 years, Harry felt closer to his own father than ever.
Perhaps it was because Harry knew that his father had turned out to be an outstanding man (coupled with the fact that Harry himself didn’t have a pleasurable childhood with loving parents) that he gave his own sons, especially James, plenty of leniency.
Harry may not be the best with feelings as Ginny and Hermione were, but over the years, Harry knew his children well.
Neither Harry nor Ginny were oblivious to the fact that James had always been the wildest of the three. Both of them knew the types of people that their children were and the types of people that their children would become. All three of them were so similar, yet so different.
Harry cleared his throat and said, “James, it’d be a lie if I told you that I’m not disappointed in you. I am disappointed. But I think you know that already.”
James didn’t say anything but just nodded.
And indeed, Harry knew that James already knew everything that Harry wanted to say. James probably had already predicted the words to his mother’s earlier rant.
It was probably also where Ginny and Harry’s disappointment stemmed from.
James was someone who played hard but worked just as hard. Though outsiders may not know, Harry and Ginny knew that James was someone who was responsible and dedicated when he knew it was time to be serious.
“All I want to know is what you’re going to do now,” Harry asked, deciding not to give him any further grief as he knew that James had been and probably was beating himself up on the inside far more than anyone could hope to realize.
James looked up at his father in surprise.
He hadn’t been expecting that, obviously.
“I’m graduating this year but Bella has a year left. Sam’s dad had already contacted us and both of us are pretty sure that we’ll get spots on Puddlemere, even if it’s just a reserve. Bella should keep studying and finish her NEWTs but she would need to take care of the baby, especially during the baby’s first year. I told Bella once I could get a desk job with Ethan at the Ministry but she opposes that idea,” James said, speaking everything on his mind, his concern hidden between his words.
James had spoken as if it were without a question that he would be supporting both Bella and the child. This caused a feeling of pride and affection to rise up in Harry’s chest.
“I don’t think you should give up on Quidditch, James. Reserves do get paid and you’re a brilliant Quidditch player that maybe Oliver might even call you to be part of the main team,” Harry encouraged his son.
James sighed and ran his fingers through his unruly black hair. “Maybe Dad. Either way, the Ministry is always the backup plan because if I’m in the Ministry, then I’ll definitely have enough for a flat and everything else that we’d have to get for a baby.”
“So you will be staying with Bella?” Harry asked, more for confirmation than anything else.
He didn’t want to push his son, and it wasn’t as if Harry hold a grudge against Bella if she and James didn’t work out but he really had hopes that the two of them would marry.
A smile tugged at James’s lips as he looked up as his father. “Yeah I will. We actually sort of started going out because of the baby and everything but I think it has actually been one of the better decisions in my life, if not the best,” James answered confidently.
Harry grinned widely at his son. He could already hear his next words.
“Mum wants to tell you that she still loves you and wants you to come home for Easter,” Charlie said over the phone.
I sighed and nodded. It was New Year’s Eve and I hadn’t been home since Christmas Eve. Ethan had Flooed over to where I was staying with the Potters with my trunk, Clio having joined me at the Potters only a day after I arrived.
“I know, Charlie, you told me that how many times now?”
“A million times but I think I can do for a million more,” Charlie replied, unfazed. “Seriously, be angry at Dad all you want, but I think you should talk to Mum.”
“I know I know. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to her, but you know I hate making Mum come in between me and Dad. Just… it doesn’t matter. Tell her I love her too but I don’t think I’ll be home for Easter,” I said to Charlie as I walked around Rose’s room.
The two of us were currently getting ready together for the New Year’s Eve Ball at the Malfoys. She was currently messing with her hair, waving her wand around to make it straight.
No underage magic rules applied for Rose Weasley, being in a home full of magic so that the Ministry of Magic can’t detect underage magic.
I could hear Charlie sigh over the phone but he just said, “Sure. I’ll see you in June then? When you’re having your bloody baby?”
“Goodbye, tosser. I’ll owl you or something,” I rolled my eyes before hanging up the phone and throwing it onto Rose’s bed.
Rose glanced up at me from where she was sitting in front of her vanity and grinned. She said, “You know, you have no idea how weird it is for me to hear you converse normally with your brother. Usually all I hear are insults being thrown.”
I snorted and picked up my wand as well, deciding that magic was a lot faster as I slipped on my dress, my makeup already done. “You have no idea how weird it is for me either. If it weren’t for the fact that Mum is still disappointed in me, I think she would have thrown a flipping party because we’re actually being civil to each other now.”
“Not just civil,” Rose commented, finishing the final touches on her hair. She was straightening her hair before twisting it up into a beautiful bun on the top of her head, a few pieces falling out elegantly.
She was wearing a beautiful strapless white dress that was tight on her upper body before falling loosely down at the bottom. The bust was also bejeweled, sparkling and shimmering away. She looked absolutely beautiful so I told her this.
Rose beamed at me in appreciation but instead said, “Honestly Bella. It’s like you and Charlie are actually friends now.”
I wasn’t quite sure how to react to this so I just raised my eyebrows and said nothing as I continued to curl my hair into gentle waves with my wand.
When I was finally finished, I looked at myself in the mirror.
I was wearing a sapphire blue sleeveless dress to make my eyes. The straps were covered with jewels which also lined the sides and waist of my dress. The back was low but the rest of the dress was bellowing, falling loosely so as to cover my baby bump though I was wearing the InvisiBump as well. On my feet were silver heels and I finished off the entire look with silver hoop earrings.
Rose was looking at me with a smile when I turned around to face her.
“You look gorgeous. But are you sure you don’t want to take off that InvisiBump? Your dress is a lot looser on the stomach area than our uniforms are,” Rose asked.
I shook my head immediately and said, “Come on Rosie. You know I wouldn’t want to take the risk of showing.”
“But you’re not even showing that much!” Rose protested as I crossed the room with my wand in hand.
“Come on Rosie. I normally have a very flat stomach. All of a sudden I have a bump on my stomach. Even if I gained weight, it raises questions and I really don’t want to do that,” I told her as the two of us made our way out of her room.
Rose rolled her eyes but didn’t say anything as the two of us made our way down the stairs. It was briefly silent for a moment before she said softly, “You’re going to have to tell people about the baby eventually, Bella. You can’t hide it forever.”
Her words stopped me in place. Rose turned around with a questioning look in her eyes.
Sighing, I took a step closer to Rose and said, “I know that. I know I’m going to have to tell people eventually. But what if people judge? What if people have the wrong impression? Maybe someday, this will end up as one of those stories to tell the kids. Maybe someday, I can tell my son or daughter that Mummy and Daddy got pregnant with you when they were still at Hogwarts but they ended up just fine. But it’s a long road until then and I’m scared.”
“And I’ll be right here with you,” Rose said seriously as she pulled me into an unexpected hug. “We will all be right here with you and James. Everything is so crazy, I know. It’s like we’re all riding this one huge Muggle rollercoaster called life, and it just won’t stop because you know what they say, life goes on. But I have every ounce of faith in you and James. I know that you two will be able to make it through this rollercoaster called life.”
I pulled away from Rose with tears threatening to fall. Even if Rose used the cheesiest analogy ever, words can’t describe how much they meant to me. Willing the tears away, I returned Rose’s genuine smile and jerked my head.
“Come on. They’ll all be waiting for us.”
When the two of us finally got into the living room, all of the Granger-Weasleys and Potters minus Lily were waiting for us.
“Finally!” Hugo said exasperatedly, throwing his hands up in the air. “I swear, you two take so bloody long.”
Rose rolled her eyes but just said, “Well you’re looking rather dashing, Hugo.”
“And no compliment for me?” James said, grinning as he got up from the armchair he was sitting at and made his way over.
“You look fantastic,” I said as James wrapped his arms around my waist.
And indeed he did. James was wearing a Muggle suit with a black jacket, black shirt unbuttoned at the top with no tie, and black slacks. His hair was as messy as usual but his brown eyes were twinkling.
The entire look worked well for him and I felt my knees give up slightly as he gave me a kiss.
There was a noise of mild disgust behind James so I pulled away and glared at Al who was having his cuff links fixed by Ginny, who was wearing a gorgeous long sleeved gold dress that hugged her body, showing off her amazing curves even after she gave birth to three children.
“I had really hoped that we had gotten over the whole public displays of affection, especially when there are adults around, but obviously I had thought wrong,” Al said, rolling his eyes at us.
“You know what, I don’t think you get a compliment,” I bit back, huffing at him. Al did deserve a compliment, however, as he looked rather impeccable in his own Muggle suit, though he donned a white shirt instead of black. Hugo was wearing nearly the exact same thing, though Hugo had on a tie which James and Al did not.
“Be nice, Al. When it’s your turn to get a girlfriend, you’ll understand what it’s like,” Harry chided his son as he made his way over from his conversation with Ron and Hermione over to us.
Harry was wearing green wizarding dress robes, which brought out his eyes fantastically. He had a smile on his face as he watched James and I. Somehow, I had a feeling that there was something that he knew that I didn’t know from the way he was looking at us.
“You look marvelous, Bella,” Harry complimented, glancing over at James.
I smiled back and said, “The same for you, Harry. I like the choice of color on your dress robes.”
“Ginny picked these out for me. Funnily enough, my first pair of dress robes were the same color and bought by Molly Weasley,” Harry laughed.
Ron had stalked his way over to us and grimaced. “Yeah you got the nice ones while I got the horrible looking ones with laces that made me look like my great Aunt Tessie.”
“What was it that you said, then? You smelled like your great aunt Tessie as well?” Harry said innocently as we all laughed, Ron’s face turning red.
“Don’t worry dear, that was ages ago,” Hermione comforted her husband with a grin. She was wearing a beautiful long sleeved red dress. “You look much better now.”
Indeed he must. Ron was wearing neat dress robes of a deep purple color that worked surprisingly well with his flaming red hair.
“Well we all look spectacular but we really should get going,” Hermione said as she glanced up at the clock. “We shall apparate in pairs, shall we?”
My eyes widened as I glanced at James before turning my gaze to Rose, both of whom looked panicked at me.
“Mrs. Weasley, Hermione, I can’t apparate,” I said quickly.
Hermione cocked her head at me in surprise. Before she could ask, however, Ginny thankfully rushed to my rescue.
“James, I think you and Bella can Floo over to the Malfoys. I have owled Astoria Malfoy earlier and she said that she had arranged everything,” Ginny said, shooting Harry a look.
I breathed a sigh of relief and smiled thankfully.
Choosing to not to ask why, Hermione nodded and said, “Well then. Ron you can take Hugo. I can take Rose.”
“Since Lily isn’t here, Harry do you want to take Al?” Ginny asked her husband. Harry nodded in response.
“Well then. Malfoy Manor, everybody,” Hermione said as Rose rushed over to her mother’s side. “Bella, you know there the Floo powder is.”
“Just say, Malfoy Manor, West Wing Drawing Room,” Ginny instructed as James and I moved towards the fire place.
We shot them one final smile before all of them disapparated with a loud pop.
When they were gone, however, I sighed and turned to James. “I hate being such a bother. Your mum had to owl Mrs. Malfoy and everything.”
“Don’t worry about that,” James rolled his eyes as he took the Floo powder from where it was hanging next to the fire place. “You should have heard her going on to Dad when you were with Rose. She’s ecstatic. And here I was, thinking that she’d be upset making her a Grandmum at 42.”
I took a batch of Floo powder and laughed. “Can you imagine how ecstatic your Grandmum will be when we tell her? Her next great grandchild.”
I stepped into the fireplace, feeling very conscious of the soot getting onto my dress. “See you in a moment, James. Malfoy Manor, West Wing Drawing Room,” I said in a loud and clear voice before throwing the Floo powder down as the Weasleys’ living room disappeared.
As I stepped out of the fire place, I looked down onto my dress and groaned. Soot had not gotten onto the floor of the Malfoys’ Drawing Room but it had gotten onto my dress.
James appeared in the fireplace the next moment and I wheeled around to face him with a pout. “Soot! On my dress!” I complained as I helped him climb out of the fireplace.
“Magic, Bella. That’s why we have magic,” James smirked as he pulled out his own wand from his pocket and pointed it at my dress. “Scourgify.”
Immediately, he siphoned the soot off, leaving me feeling very foolish.
I blushed as James tucked his wand back into his pocket. “Right, of course. I totally remembered that.”
“Mmhm, of course you did,” James teased as we walked hand in hand out of the Malfoys’ drawing room. “Now, do you remember where to go?”
“If the music coming from the end of the Hallway isn’t an indication, then I don’t know what I’ll do with you, Mr. Potter,” I rolled my eyes as I steered James towards the direction of the Ballroom.
As we entered the Ballroom with architectural designs that could rival that of Versailles (I wasn’t kidding; apparently the remodel of the Manor after the war had been based on Versailles), there was a woman of perhaps twenty or younger who was immediately batting her eyelashes at James.
“May I take your coats?” she asked in a would be sweet voice.
James smiled back, only causing her make her eyelashes flutter uncontrollably. The green eyed monster inside of me leapt out as he did.
“No thanks, love,” James said casually as he took my hand and steered us away.
I watched him with reproachful eyes, however, as I said bluntly, “You were flirting with her.”
This made James stop in his tracks as he looked back at me incredulously. “What? No I wasn’t.”
“You were,” I accused him, though in the back of my mind I knew that the pregnancy hormones was making me talk ridiculousness. “Was she pretty?”
“Bella, if I was flirting with her, I wasn’t doing it on purpose. She was decent looking but you’re the most beautiful,” James said in a no nonsense tone that sounded as if he was incredulous that this was even a conversation.
His words, however, calmed me and I sighed. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I’ve been really moody lately. Just ignore me.”
“Don’t worry love,” James chuckled after his expression softened. “Now come on. We have to find my parents to let them know that we’re here.”
A/N: What did you guys think? of Harry and Ginny's reaction? of James's declaration to Harry? of what's to come at the party?
I hope this update wasn't a disappointment and I would love a review! (:
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