Chapter 12 - Learning to Live Again
How are the wedding plans going? I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since we’ve spoken. I’ve really missed talking to you and I’m so sorry for my behaviour when I found out about your engagement – how about we call a truce? This silence between us is driving me crazy. I can’t take both you and Dad ignoring me.
I don’t know if you’ve heard about the goings-on here at Hogwarts. In case you haven’t, I’ll fill you in.
Firstly, as I’m sure you know, the entire school knows I’m pregnant. That of course includes Malfoy who has been avoiding me ever since I told him I’m putting the baby up for adoption. Not only that, but he and Dom are still going stronger than ever, something I find a bit strange, but I guess I’m okay with it if she’s happy.
Mum’s living in Hogsmeade at the minute. She pops up to the school every now and again, but I try to hide from her as much as possible out of the fear she’ll try and force folic acid tablets down my throat again – these Muggle remedies are just too much for one girl to bear! But I suppose it’s nice to know that she cares. It’s more than I can say for Dad. I haven’t seen nor heard from him since he was called into the school just after the news of my pregnancy came out. It’s as if he’s disowned me now, and I’m pretty much guessing that’s why he and Mum have split up. I find myself listening to ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ by Madonna more and more these days. I’m so close to insanity, I can practically touch it!
It seems like in the last few weeks I’ve become closer with James and Al than I’d ever thought possible. Of course Lily is absolutely fuming as a result – she hates me because she has a crush on Malfoy and I kind of accidentally told her that he’d never like her…my bad. I feel sort of bad that Al and Malfoy aren’t as close as they once were. In the classes where Gryffindor and Slytherin are together, Al sits with me while Dom sits with Malfoy, because we’re all too awkward around each other. It’s awful – who knew a couple of minutes of sex would lead to such trouble? (Yes, I said a couple of minutes).
I’ve left the Quidditch team and am not playing the rematch against Slytherin, whenever that’ll be. Some fifth year bloke is the reserve keeper so he’ll be taking my place. I can tell he’s really nervous – he goes really pale any time anybody mentions it to him. But I know he’ll do just fine on the day…because if he doesn’t, James will probably kill him.
Anyway, I’ve just realised that the majority of this letter is pointless small talk. I wish I knew what to say to make things right between us – I miss talking to you, Ted. I hope we can go back to how we were before I decided to be an immature idiot and complain that you didn’t tell me first about your engagement. Friends?
Say hi to Victoire for me,
Isn’t it funny how time flies when you’re having fun? Well, maybe “having fun” is a bit of an overstatement – time flies when your mind is so preoccupied with school, pregnancy, confusion and tension that you barely even notice that January has already slipped away and February is in full swing. That is until James Potter decides to remind me of the time of year.
“It’s almost Valentine’s Day!” says James, jumping down beside me on the couch in the common room while I’m trying to read my Potions homework, “Who are you giving your love to this year, Redness?”
“I’m sure there are just thousands of men queuing up outside the Gryffindor Tower right now to date the Moby Dick of Hogwarts,” I say bitterly.
“Who’s Moby Dick?”
“The whale…you’ve never read Moby Dick?” I sigh.
“Clearly not,” James grins.
“Honestly, do you even know how to read?”
“Of course…but Mummy helps me with the big boy words.”
I smile weakly and return to reading my Potions book. James grabs it off me and snaps it shut, to my annoyance.
“You’re overworking yourself,” says James, “and Mum told me to make sure you relax…so how do you feel about a Valentine’s Day Party?”
“I feel that the last party you threw resulted in a drunken night of sex with Scorpius Malfoy and an unwanted pregnancy – I think I’ll pass on the party, thanks.”
James makes a disgusted face at the mention of ‘a drunken night of sex with Scorpius Malfoy’.
“Come on Red, it’ll be fun. I’ll make sure Phelps doesn’t get an invite,” he pleads.
“This is her common room too, you know,” I argue.
“Well…we won’t have it here then. How about in the Room of Requirement?”
“Do what you want,” I sigh, “but just don’t involve me. Can I have my Potions book back now?”
“C’mon, you never want to have fun anymore. I remember a time when you’d come raiding the kitchens with me and Matthews and leaving flaming bags of Hippogriff poo outside Flitwick’s office…what happened to you?”
“Firstly,” I say, “the flaming bag of poo was YOUR idea, not mine, I just happened to be there. And if you remember correctly, I was telling you not to go through with it –”
“Yeah, but you laughed when we did!”
“Secondly,” I continue, disregarding what he's just said, “I only went raiding the kitchens with you and Mark Matthews twice –”
“Three times,” James corrects me.
“Whatever…you make it sound like I was some sort of prankster mastermind!”
“Look, all I’m saying is you don’t have to sit in the common room with your head stuck in a book every Friday night just because you’re pregnant – come and have some fun while you still can,” says James.
The boy has a good point. In a few months time I’ll be so heavy that I’ll barely be able to get up the stairs to the Gryffindor Tower, never mind go to one of James’ not-so-well-planned parties.
“Why do you want to plan a Valentine’s Day party anyway?” I ask, “Who are you trying to impress?”
James grins at me and taps his nose.
“Ask no questions and I’ll tell you no lies. By the way, I’m going to need your help for the planning.”
“Why me?” I groan.
“Because you’re the only one for the job. And it’ll take your mind of a certain blonde haired git.”
“My mind’s not on a certain blonde git!” I protest and feel myself blushing.
James raises his eyebrows.
“Okay,” he says, but it’s obvious that he doesn’t believe me at all.
“Oh be quiet,” I snap, “I’ll plan your stupid party. But that doesn’t mean I’m coming.”
“You’re a legend, Red Weasley, d’you know that?” he says, ruffling my hair in the same way Uncle Harry does.
“You do realise my name is Rose don’t you?”
“Red suits you better,” James shrugs, “I’m gonna love you and leave you dear cousin, I have some, erm, homework to do.”
He may as well have just said he’s flying to Mars on a unicorn because that would be more believable. I pick up my Potions book again and go back to reading about Shrinking Solutions but I’m once again interrupted. This time it’s by Mark Matthews, James’ friend.
“Hi Rose,” he says, “whatcha up to?”
“Reading,” I say coldly, “obviously.”
I don’t mean to be so cold but these days it seems like everyone is pissing me off. Mark doesn’t seem to notice my coldness and sits down where James has only just vacated. When I was in second year, I probably would have killed to have THE Mark Matthews sitting beside me, looking at me with those bright blue eyes – right now I just wish he’d go away.
“So how are you anyway? I mean with the whole being preggers thing?”
I swear if that boy says “preggers” again I’m going to whack him over the face with this very thick book. Although, he does have a very handsome face…it’d be a shame to ruin it. Maybe I’ll just break his arm or something.
“I’m okay,” I shrug, “you know, hanging in there.”
“Cool,” says Mark, “I was just wondering…do you want to come to Hogsmeade with me on Saturday?”
Okay, I was NOT expecting that. Seriously, who asks a pregnant girl on a date? That’s a bit weird, right? The twelve year old girl inside me is screaming at me to say yes. I suppose I half want to say yes. Mark is definitely good-looking, with his sky blue eyes and light brown hair that frames his face perfectly…but still, is it not weird to date when you’re pregnant? Isn’t there some rule against it?
“Okay,” I say, “that sounds fun.”
Am I just completely incapable of saying no?
Saturday is both Valentine’s Day and the trip to Hogsmeade so on Friday evening I start planning James’ party. James always has me plan his parties because he’s completely dim when it comes to organisation. He just takes care of the invites. I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to organising events. It’s obvious that James knew organising a party would take my mind off the woes in my life because when I’m organising something, I pretty much do nothing else.
I go to the library with my folder to start planning. (Yes, I have a folder – so what?) Okay, first things first – themes. I think the theme is pretty obvious for this party. Pink! Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, everyone, including the boys, must wear pink. I’m especially glad I’m not going now – pink clashes horribly with my hair. I’m glad this party is going to be in the Room of Requirement – it will make the decorating much simpler. I’m thinking love-heart shaped balloons at every table (of which there will be about twenty, white, with pink roses as centrepieces) and soppy love songs playing the whole time. It’s going to be a classy party…that is until James’ friends get there and spike the pink punch and burst all of the lovely balloons. But I don’t care as long as I have fun planning!
“Hiya Rose,” I hear a voice say. It’s Jenny.
“Hey Jenny, I’m just planning James’ Valentine’s Day party,” I tell her.
“Ooh, can I help?” she says excitedly and sits down beside me, “Al just invited me to it. Are you coming?”
“I don’t think so,” I say, “I’m not really up for a party.”
“I understand,” she says, “but it might do you some good to have some fun.” She looks at my plans so far. “Wow, this looks really great! Did you come up with all of this yourself?”
“Yeah,” I say, “I live to plan! Well, except for pregnancies obviously…”
Jenny laughs nervously. I really have to stop making people uncomfortable.
“Anyway, do you have an ideas?” I ask.
“Hmm…how about a game of spin the bottle?” she asks.
“Spin the bottle?” I say blankly, “We’re not twelve.”
“I know,” Jenny giggles, “but it’d be fun! It’s Valentine’s Day after all.”
“Maybe…I’m sure people would go for it when they’re drunk,” I say reasonably, “Good idea, Jen. Any more?”
Jenny and I have become quite good friends in the weeks after everyone in Hogwarts found out I’m pregnant. It’s probably because Dom spends practically all of her time with Malfoy and even when she’s not with him, there’s such awkwardness between us. I don’t think our friendship will ever be the same again. Lily hasn’t even spoken to me since I lashed out at her – I suppose I don’t really blame her. I was such a bitch. But Jenny seems to have stood by me. I don’t know why…maybe it’s because she’s with Al and wants to keep on his good side. Either way, I appreciate her friendship. She’s much cooler than I originally thought.
“How about Speed Dating for the single people?”
“Jenny Winters, you’re a bloody genius.”
On Saturday morning, I get up pretty late and head downstairs to breakfast. Al is sitting at the Gryffindor table and Dom is at the Slytherin one – this is something that happens most mornings now. Al doesn’t really want to be in Malfoy’s company anymore. When James and Mark Matthews come downstairs to breakfast, I start to feel really nervous. I haven’t been on a date in ages. I’m suddenly completely self-conscious and wondering if I look alright. I’m wearing a pair of jeans (which are getting really tight now) and a blue jumper – okay, I look like a bloody forty year old, but whatever.
“Hi Rose, are you ready to go?” asks Mark. I nod – oh dear, I feel so bloody nervous.
“I’m still not sure if I’m cool with this, Matthews,” says James to Mark, “I mean, she’s my little cousin.”
“Little?” I scoff, “I’m only eighteen months younger than you!”
James mumbles something incoherent and still looks a bit annoyed. Al’s eyes keep darting from me to Mark – what is it with these Potter boys? Why do they have to play the bloody hero all the time? Don’t they understand that I’m a big girl and can look after myself?
I get a letter in the morning post. At first I’m excited that it could be a letter from Teddy, but the handwriting is too big and curly to be his.
I heard that there is a Hogsmeade trip today and I was wondering if you’d stop by my place around lunchtime? I’d love to see you and there’s some things we need to talk about.
I hope you’re well,
It’s a bit short notice, but I know I have to go. Hey, maybe I can get her to tell me why the hell she and Dad are getting divorced. Doubtful, but it’s worth a try. Mark and I don’t bother waiting for everyone else before heading off to Hogsmeade together. It’s not awkward between us because we’ve been friends for so long. Well, not “friends” per say, but he hangs out with James quite a bit so I’ve talked to him loads.
The only time it gets really awkward is when we’re on our way to Honeydukes and we bump into Dom and Malfoy. They’re holding hands and I can feel my eyes narrowing of their own accord. Oh god, they’re stopping to talk, even though I know neither of them want to. It’s like they have this obligation to be courteous to the pregnant woman.
“Hi Rose,” says Dom uncomfortably.
“Hi Dom,” I say, “Hullo Malfoy.”
“Hi,” Malfoy mumbles and looks at Mark. Then silence for a few seconds.
“Hi,” says Mark, trying to break the tension.
“So…are you two…” says Dom looking from me to Mark expectantly.
“Oh no!” I say quickly, “No we’re not together.”
I’ve said that kind of harshly. I hope Mark doesn’t take it the wrong way. Malfoy’s glaring at Mark, who is looking at his feet uncomfortably. I just want the ground to open and swallow me up – is that too much to ask?
I check my watch and realise, to my relief, that it’s almost one o’clock.
“Erm, I have to go to Mum’s,” I say, “I’ll catch up with you in Zonko’s later, Mark.”
Before anyone can say any more, I hurry off down the street. I’m not completely sure where Mum’s place is. She told me it was past the Hog’s Head, but when I get there, I see no place that could possibly be up to Mum’s standards. All of the buildings are very dilapidated – definitely not Mum’s cup of tea. I can’t imagine what she’d be doing living around here.
I see her waving at me from one of the side streets between the Hog’s Head and the entrance to the Shrieking Shack. As I draw nearer to her I can see that the huge smile she has plastered onto her face is extremely fake. She pulls me into a tight embrace and I get that familiar Talcum Powder smell that I always associate with my Mum. It’s always so comforting.
“I was afraid you wouldn’t come,” she says.
“Erm…where exactly do you live?” I ask, looking around.
She leads me down the side street until we come to a rusted metal door. She takes an equally rusted key out of her pocket and after a lot of pushing, she finally gets it to turn in the lock. A couple of rats run out the door as it opens, making me squeak in shock. Mum jumps slightly, but she looks used to it.
“This is where you live?” I say, not bothering to mask the disgust in my voice.
We go up about a thousand flights of stairs before we come to another door with the number 40 on it. Again it takes a few pushes to get the door open. It opens into a very small and dusty living room with no furniture, only boxes. Off the living room, I can see a small room that I suppose is meant to be the kitchen – it has a cooker and that’s it. The place is dark and murky – even James would call it a dump, and his bedroom resembles nothing more than a pigsty. Actually, that’s an insult to pigs.
“I know it’s not exactly a palace,” says Mum.
“Not a palace?!” I exclaim, “Define palace?!”
“Oh don’t exaggerate,” she sighs, walking into the ‘kitchen’. For once in my life, I’m NOT exaggerating. This place is damp, dark and it has a really funny smell…and not in a good way. I’m pretty sure something died here.
“Cup of tea?” Mum asks.
“Erm…no thank you,” I say. I can’t imagine what I’d have to drink out of. I’m surprised the place even has running water.
“So Mum,” I say carefully, “why did you want to meet me?”
“Can’t a mother meet up with her daughter on a Saturday afternoon without having to explain herself?” Mum asks, coming back out from the ‘kitchen’ to the ‘living room’. I raise my eyebrows at her.
“So are you just going to keep me and Hugh in the dark forever then?” I ask, cutting to the point – there’s not point in beating around the bush.
“Rose…don’t start,” says Mum exasperatedly, “if you must know, I’ve asked you here to talk about your – erm, situation.”
“I wish people would stop calling it that! The “little problem”, the “situation” – not saying the word doesn’t make it any less real – I’m pregnant!” I cry.
“Yes,” says Mum, “I know. And we need to talk about it because we’ve been avoiding it for so long.”
She’s been avoiding it more like. It’s hard for me to avoid it when every snot-nosed idiot at Hogwarts likes to remind me about it between classes. But of course Mum wouldn’t know about that, would she?
“I’ve been thinking,” Mum continues, “the baby is due in July, yes?”
“Well…you could have the baby and then take a year out from Hogwarts. You could do seventh year with Molly! Then the baby could stay here with me because it’ll be that bit older –”
“Woah, hold up a second,” I interrupt her, “firstly, there’s no way any child on the planet could possibly live in this place – it’s a tip! Secondly…who says I’m keeping the baby?”
“You’re not keeping it?” says Mum, disregarding what I’ve said about her new lodgings.
“I’m giving it up for adoption,” I say, “and I’m doing seventh year with Al and Dom. I’m going to get my life back on track.”
She doesn’t say anything for a few moments, but she doesn’t look pleased.
“When did you decide this?” she asks quietly.
“Around the same time you and Dad decided you’re getting divorced,” I reply.
“We never said divorced –”
“Then why are you living in a dustbin, Mum? Why aren’t you back home with Dad?”
“Your father and I…we have some issues that need to be discussed. And he’s not exactly open about his feelings. There’s not much I can do if he won’t communicate.”
“So it’s all his fault?” I say, “Mum, did Dad cheat on you?”
Mum shakes her head, but I’m not sure if I believe her or not.
“It was something that happened a long time ago,” she says, “It’s in the past. Let’s not talk about it.”
“But if it’s what’s breaking you and Dad up –”
“We’re not breaking up,” Mum insists, “We’re just on a break – there’s a difference.”
“You’re unbelievable,” I spit, “I can’t believe that I was naïve enough to believe that I’d get some real answers by coming here. I’m going.”
“Don’t go, please,” Mum begs.
“I have to meet someone,” I say, even though I told Mark I’d meet him at two and it’s now only half one, “I’ll see you, Mum.”
I leave her in her ‘flat’ or whatever the hell you’d call that place and hurry back to the mainstreet of Hogsmeade. I see Hugo coming out of Dervish and Banges with some of his friends. When he sees me rushing towards him, he tells his friends to go on without him, that he’ll catch up.
“What’s wrong?” he asks. Now that I’m closer to him, I see that he’s wearing a t-shirt with the band “Death Metal Eaters” on the front and a picture of the Dark Mark – and oh Merlin, he’s wearing eye-liner.
“What the hell are you wearing?” I say, forgetting about our dilemma, “Oh man, are you wearing make-up?”
“What do you want?” he says angrily.
“Have you seen Mum's place yet?,” I ask him, “I think she and Dad are breaking up for good.”
“Like I care,” he says, “They’re a pair of idiots anyway.”
“I know they are,” I say, “but I just thought you’d like to know. Stupid of me to think you’d actually care about anything other than straightening your hair.”
“I cared when you got knocked up, didn’t I?” he shoots.
“Do you want a medal for caring about your sister?” I snap, “You’re such an ungrateful little git!”
“Whatever,” he says, trying to be cool, “I’m going to get my eyebrow pierced – later, ho.”
Who the hell says “later, ho”?
“Hugo Harry Weasley, get the hell back here!” I shout as he walks away from me and towards his friends.
Mark appears beside me. He’s obviously seen me screaming like a mad woman down the street.
“Sometimes I wish I were an orphan,” I sigh.
Mark throws a very big brotherly arm around my shoulders and gives me a squeeze before dragging me to a small café called “Patil Pastries”.
“So Mark,” I say as I dig into the chocolate chip muffin he so kindly bought for me, “why did you ask me to come to Hogsmeade?”
“I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you,” he grins.
“Come on,” I smile, “we’ve known each other for six years, we’ve gone kitchen-raiding together, snuck out at night countless times –”
“Okay, okay,” he gives in, “if I tell you, you have to swear not to get angry and…kill your cousin, okay?”
“Which cousin? Believe me, I’m capable of killing all of them.”
“Well…don’t take this the wrong way, Rose. I think you’re one of the coolest girls I’ve ever met – I mean, you’re smart and funny…you’re just a total legend, you know?”
“I know,” I say, “quit buttering me up.”
“Okay…it’s just…since that Laura Phelps bitch announced to the school that you’re up the spout–”
“Thanks for putting it so delicately.”
“– well, James has noticed that you’ve been a bit depressed.”
A bit depressed? That’s the understatement of the millennium.
“Go on,” I say, getting increasingly worried by the second.
“And he asked me if I’d take you to Hogsmeade.”
“He TOLD you to ask me out?” I cry, causing many people to turn around and look at us, “I’m going to wring his little neck!”
“He only asked me to do it so you’d feel…”
“So I’d feel what? Like I’m not the biggest freak in Hogwarts?”
Oh no, I think I can feel tears coming.
“You’re not the biggest freak in Hogwarts,” says Mark, “what about that Ravenclaw bloke who eats his own hair?”
“Okay, so I’m the second biggest freak after Hairy Joe –”
“And what about that Hufflepuff who takes her pet rabbit for walks on a leash around the lake?”
“Right, I’m the third biggest –”
“And that cross-eyed Slytherin who talks to walls?”
“Okay!” I exclaim, “I’m in the top ten biggest freaks in Hogwarts!”
Mark counts silently on his fingers.
“I’d say top twenty,” he says and I throw a bit of my muffin at him.
“James just wanted you to feel as special as you are, Rose,” says Mark.
“By making his friends ask me out on pity dates?”
“Come on, you’re having fun aren’t you?” he says.
“And you got to make Malfoy jealous…”
“Yeah – wait, what?” I exclaim.
Mark sips his coffee innocently and then smiles knowingly at me.
“I was not trying to make Malfoy jealous!”
“Sure,” says Mark sarcastically, “But whether you were trying or not doesn’t matter – the bloke was jealous.”
“No he wasn’t!”
“Well I’ve never gotten more evil glares than I did from him earlier on today,” says Mark, “If looks could kill, Malfoy would be in Azkaban.”
I don’t say anything. What can I possibly say back to that?
“Look, we’re friends, right?” he says and I nod, “So you can talk to me about stuff. Stop moping about like the mother of all sorrows and have some fun! Come to this Valentine’s Day party you’re planning.”
“No chance,” I say.
“Because it’ll be couple central and I’ll look like a complete idiot!” I exclaim.
“So? You can come with me – as friends of course,” he adds quickly, “and anyway, maybe I need you to make someone jealous.”
“Who do you want to make jealous?” I ask excitedly.
“Ask no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”
I hate when they say that.
A/N - The Valentine's party will be in the next chapter. More Scorpius/Rose contact comin' up! Keep on reviewing, they make me happy! (",)
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