Chapter 18. I Can't Do This
"Rise and shine, sleepyhead," said a person who'd be dead once I got out of bed.
"Hrmph," was my only verbal response, and I pulled the thick blanket over my head. This bed was too comfortable to not have people laying in it. It was its purpose, and what kind of sick monster wanted to ruin someone's purpose?
Apparently this person had a deathwish.
"Miss Adella, you're scheduled to leave for Hogwarts School in an hour, and you still haven't eaten your breakfast," the voice told me, and I ignored her to the best of my ability.
"Miss Ade- Oh, hello, Miss Laurie. She won't get up."
"Yes, I will!" I sat upright in a flash, and blinked away the stars that were blinding me. Once the blinking spots cleared, I met Laurie's smiling eyes. Her hair was red today, her eyes almost lime. Oh, didn't I mention she was a metamorphmagus? Well, she was.
"Morning, Adella," she said after the old nurse left. "Giving Mrs Ranson trouble again, are we?"
I blushed. "Not my fault she's always the one waking me up. I'm not a morning person."
"After having you here a week, I kind of got that." Laurie walked over to me. "So... The day is here. How do you feel?"
I shrugged and started absentmindedly stroking my almost ripe belly. "Scared," I admitted.
"Why?" Laurie sat down on the edge of my bed.
"I'm just terrified I might do something to hurt them again..."
"Oh, darling," Laurie whispered and grabbed my hand. "You can't go around worrying. Accidents happen. And if you feel like anything's wrong you have my phone number."
I nodded. "I know, you're right. Thank you."
"My pleasure." Laurie smiled warmly and patted my hand.
"No, really." I took her hand and squeezed it. "Thank you. For everything. I-I don't know what would have happened if..." I swallowed hard. "If it weren't for you."
She leaned in and gave me a hug. "You are very welcome, my dear." When she let go of me I caught her drying away a shy, little tear. After getting up she folded up a pair of pants I'd thrown on the floor. "Now, get yourself ready. Your Wiz-elator is scheduled to leave in an hour, and since I can't go with you, Mrs Ranson will have to escort you back to school. I hope that's okay?"
I nodded and adjusted my position on the bed so that the babies didn't squeeze my bladded to the point of exploding. "It's fine."
Laurie stroked my face gently before walking out of my room to give me privacy when I got dressed. I preferred to be alone so that nobody would see me try and fail at getting my socks on. I didn't know why I even bothered to try anymore, I always ended up cursing them and throwing them to the other side of the room. I'd basically gone around without socks for the last week.
I was also glad that I needn't go around trying to hide my inhumanly large belly anymore. It was stressful. So I'd decided I didn't care, I might as well go all the way and show it off. Actually...I was rather proud of my portruding stomach - which had taken me by surprise.
After a while someone knocked on my door. I'd just struggled myself into a very elastic pair of tights and thrown a cute-ish tunic over. I really wished it were summer so I could just skip the tights altogether, that way I would be free of the struggle. Plus I was hot and sweaty all the sodding time - it was really driving me insane.
"Miss Adella? Are you decent?" I heard Mrs Ranson call through a crack in the door. I rolled my eyes. She was older than water, this one, and she drove me insane with her...oldness.
"Yeah, Mrs Ranson," I called back. I knew she hated that I said 'yeah' instead of 'yes'. Which meant I basically only said 'yeah' around her. It made me feel good.
"Did you eat?" she interrogated, several concerned wrinkles getting deeper than usual. What a stupid question... Did it really look as if I didn't eat? To me, it looked as though I didn't do anything but eat.
Mrs Ranson squirmed.
"Good. And you're all packed?"
A wince this time.
"Great, let me get your bags and we'll be off. Do you want me to call for someone to push you in a wheelchair?"
I turned my head and looked at her as though I'd just heard the lamest joke ever.
"Are you able to walk, or would you rather-"
"I can walk. I'm not an invalid just yet." Maybe I should get you a bloody wheelchair, you dried up mummy.
Mrs Ranson ignored my rather rude answer(maybe she didn't even hear me?) and flicked her wand at the bags I'd put on my bed so that they hovered in the air.
"Are you ready?" she asked and her strict smile looked more like a grimace.
"Yeah." I got to my feet on the third try and followed the woman out of the room, through the sweet-smelling hallway and out to where the Wiz-elator(that was going to transport me safely to McGonagall's office at Hogwarts) was stationed.
I stopped at the reception and gave Laurie another goodbye hug before I went with Mrs Ranson into the Wiz-elator(that looked suspiciously alike a muggle elevator, with the one major difference that it could transport you to the other side of the world in mere minutes) and felt all tingly with the thought of finally seeing my dear, old Hogwarts again.
"I can't believe how long you've been gone," Tristan said as he let go of me. He'd basically attacked me when I walked into the Great Hall for lunch, and onlookers were sneaking curious glances at us. "You have no idea how boring those HR classes have been without you. I was just a day away from actually jumping off the Astronomy tower. Not just standing there naked this time."
I laughed. I had missed Tristan so much!
"How is the counseling coming along? Making any progress?" I asked and choked a laugh at his expression.
"Apparently the trips to Disneyland are, and I quote, a way for me to regress to my child state and not have to handle adult issues. It's all a load of shit."
I laughed again. Twice in three minutes? I had forgotten how much fun Tristan was.
"But enough about me and my Peter Pan-syndrome, how are you?"
My back started aching. I'd been standing still for too long.
"I'm fine. Perfectly healthy."
"And the babies?"
"Very active," I complained. I mean, I was so happy and relieved that they were okay, but come on! They were kicking so much that my ribs had begun hurting. And I bet they took turns using my bladder as a trampoline...
"That's good," said Tristan as he smiled, showing off a perfect row of white teeth. "I guess Brayder's counting himself lucky."
"Yeah." I couldn't make myself meet his gaze, and instead focused greatly on circling my fingers around my belly button.
Truth be told, I hadn't even seen Bray since I came back this morning. Deuce had muttered a 'good morning' when I walked by him passed out on the couch in the common room and Clover had alternated between hugging me and squealing. Chase, on the other hand, was the one who'd surprised me most by doing basically nothing. He just gave me something resembling a smile, a quick hug and then swiftly excused himself. When I asked Clo if there was anything the matter, she shrugged and said she didn't know, but I could see that she did.
I'd get it out of her eventually.
"Hey, Del, come on - I'm starving!" Clover had been standing idly by until this point and I'd almost completely forgotten about her until now. She pulled on my sleeve until I half-heartily said my goodbye to Tristan and followed Clo to our usual spot at the end of the table. McGonagall nodded greetingly at me, and I smiled back.
I could honestly say that she was one of the most amazing women I knew. That spell she cast on the school so that nobody could tell anyone outside the grounds about my "condition" until I did it myself had, of course, been lifted. But she'd kept all nosey reporters away, and refused to comment on it in the media. Mum, on the other hand, had made a public statement and - as we all knew would happen - havoc arose.
So now it was widely known that the Prime Minister's daughter had a bun in the oven. Correction; two.
"Where's Bray?" I asked Deuce, who'd apparently managed to drag himself off the couch in time for lunch. That boy would only get up for three things: Quidditch, food and...you can guess what the third one is.
Nobody looked me in the eye. Clo busied herself with filling her plate with bacon, Deuce pretended to doze off(but that may have been real) and Chase - who'd just sat down when I asked his brother - made a big deal of arranging his silverware.
"Seriously, guys," I said with a groan. "I know something's up. Just tell me."
"We can't tell you," Clo muttered, at which Chase gave her a burning look. "I-I mean... Ehm, cause it's nothing."
I rolled my eyes. "If none of you'll tell me then I'll just go look for Bray and ask him myself."
"We shouldn't tell you..." Chase then proceeded, and exchanged meaningful glances with Clo. "But Bray is working on something for you." He nodded to Clover, and she coughed.
"Ehm, yes, for...ehm, V-Valentine's Day!"
Deuce had given up the pretense of sleeping and had started to pour tea into a cup just by flicking his wand.
How could it already be time for Valentine's Day?
"Yeah, this Saturday. We're all going to Hogsmeade. Deuce even got Jade to go with him," Chase told me, and Deuce suddenly beamed.
"What? How did this happen?" I asked in complete shock. Jade Williams had spend the past six months literally beating Deuce if he got too close for her comfort, and now she'd agreed to go on a date with him? What happened? Had she suffered a a deadly illness and lost her mind?
"She finally saw the light," Deuce chirped. "I just asked her yesterday if she wanted to go with me, and she said yes."
"After asking twenty-two times," Chase added under his breath. Deuce ignored him and Clo stared down her own bacon, surly poking it with her fork.
"Good for you," I said, at a loss for something better to say. "So... This Saturday, was it?"
"Yeah." Clo flicked her hair out of her face, looking at me and only me. "I'm going with Derek."
"Who's Derek again?" I ask.
"You know, the beater n the Ravenclaw team. Broad shoulders, smoldering eyes, blonde hair."
"Sounds gay," Deuce noted with his mouth full. Clover didn't even turn to give him one if her notoriously nasty looks.
"He's coming with us to Hogsmeade, it's going to be a group thing," she continued, unfazed.
"Jade says Derek's playing on the opposite team," Deuce winked, "if you now what I mean."
"Deuce, even the loaf knows what you mean," I said, exasperated. "Besides, I wouldn't put so much faith in rumors."
"But Jade said that-"
"Jade isn't right about everything," Clo interrupted, her nose in the air. "You know, I heard she's failing Care of Magical Creatures."
"That's only because Professor Hagrid's a nutjob!" Deuce protested loudly.
"Hey!" both Chase and I exclaimed, snapping our heads in Deuce's direction. I tried to pretend that it didn't bother me that Chase ignored me completely.
"Hagrid is awesome. Nuff said."
I nodded in agreement, my tongue had suddenly gone limp.
"I thought you loved Hagrid, by the way?" I inquired, scrunching my brows at Deuce.
"I did- Well, I do, but... Jade says-"
"How come you two have gotten so close? Last thing I heard, she kicked your shin for cutting her off in a sentence." I shifted my position on the bench. I hated that bench. It made my back ache even more.
"She changed her mind." Deuce shrugged his shoulders.
"It was crazy," Chase added. "It was like, one day she retched from the sight of you, and the other she initiated a non-violent conversation."
"Yeah," Deuce mumbled dreamily, gazing up at the ceiling. "She's really one in a million."
"You know, for normal guys, that's just an expression."
Deuce didn't even notice his brother's comment, but continued to grin like the fool he was and looking up at nothing.
Saturday came quickly. Too quickly.
Clover and I were sitting in the Great Hall, eating a quick breakfast before we were off to finish getting ready. The hair and make-up was done, but we both got too hungry to complete the primping-process, so we decided to take a little break.
After only a few minutes our pleasurably quiet breakfast was rudely interrupted by a shadow hanging over us. Clo and I turned around at the same moment, and we both groaned.
"Oh, it's just you," Clo started and smirked evilly, "I thought there was an eclipse. Silly me."
"Hello. Didn't notice you there; I just thought I'd dropped my earring. Silly me," Victoria replied.
Like hell, she didn't notice us. She totally walked over here on purpose. Anyway, I just waited for the next evil thing to come out of her mouth. I started stretching my tongue like an athlete stretching before a marathon, ready for a quick comeback.
"You know, Clearmont," Vicky began in a slithering voice, "I know about a beauty salon where you can fix that disaster on top of your head. It's always open, so I bet-"
"Just like your mouth?" I asked cheekily.
"Just like your legs." Victoria's eyes shot daggers at me.
"I don't sleep around-"
"The belly would suggest otherwise," she said before whipping around and marching toward her friends. I could hear her signature cough, and I shivered inside.
We lost our appetite after the encounter with the shrew, and climbed down the stairs to the dungeons to get dressed. I, of course, finished before Clover, and left her alone in front of her closet. The couch by the fireplace was much more appealing than watching her put on and tear off another garment.
I sat on the sofa and was dozing off when I felt someone watching me. You know that prickling feeling you get when you feel you're being watched? Yes, that.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you," Chase apologized when my eyes fluttered open. He stood before me in a pair of jeans and a button-down shirt. His hair was casually tousled, and the top two buttons of his shirt were open, showing off a bit of skin. And I bet he smelled just as nice as he looked.
"Del," Chase's tone was teasing, "are you checking me out?"
"A-Absolutely not!" I denied, dragging my eyes away from him.
"Liar." He chuckled, and I caught him grinning out of the corner of my eye.
"Don't flatter yourself," I scoffed, but my gaze was immediately drawn to him again when he stepped closer to me. "Although, I do have to admit that you clean up good, Zabini."
"Coming from you, I'll take that as a massive compliment," Chase teased again.
We were all alone. I had just noticed. Everyone else was on their way to Hogsmeade, and I guess the first and second years were either still sleeping or getting lost somewhere in the castle.
The only sounds in the large room were the fire crackling comfortably, and my own thundering heartbeat. I hadn't been alone with him in so long... I'd forgotten how to act.
I squirmed in my seat, and eventually attempted to get to my feet. Chase's hand immediately shot out, ready to assist me. I took it and he carefully hauled me up from the couch.
"So, where's Clo?" he asked. He still hadn't let go of my hand. I sort of didn't want him to either...
"G-Getting ready," I answered, and swallowed nervously.
Silence. My hand was inside his, and I felt it getting warmed up by the heat he emitted.
"You look great, by the way," he told me in whispers. I finally gave in and met his gaze. His eyes were dark and sparkled slightly in the firelight.
"Thanks," I whispered back.
I didn't notice before after it was too late that I was leaning closer to him. And before I had the time to think, Chase's lips were on my own. Did I immediately push him away and march out of his presence as I should, you ask? Well... I think you already know the answer to that one.
His mouth was so warm, so inviting - and having his one hand cupping my face and the other still holding my hand didn't help clear the fog occupying 90% of my brain.
It took a loud 'pop' from the crackling fire to make my head snap into action. I jumped away from him, panting from both the intensity of the kiss and the horrible act I'd just committed.
"What the hell, Chase!" I hissed, eyes wide with terror. "What was that?! You can't kiss me!"
That's right. Blame him - that's perfect.
"You kissed me back pretty hard." His hair was messed up. Had I done that? Most likely...
"I was pushing you away with my mouth!" I lied.
There was an utterly awkward moment where we both just stared at each other, and then it seemed like something inside him cleared up, and Chase's face filled with dread.
"Oh, my gosh! I'm so sorry. I didn't-"
"No, it's alright," I cut in, swallowing hard and looking away. "It's all this Valentine's Day-business. It's got everybody all riled up."
"Yes," he swallowed as well. I could literally hear him gulp. For a second I was afraid he'd swallowed his own tongue. "Yes, of course. So... Let's just forget about it. Okay?"
"Already forgotten." Still not looking at each other.
"Good," I repeated lamely.
"Love has a face!"
Chase and I both jumped in the air as Deuce slammed the door behind him and started twirling through the common room.
The sight of the ever-so masculine Deuce spinning about with his arms flailing was more than I could handle. So I laughed. And I laughed, and I laughed, and I laughed. At some point Chase must've joined me, and I suspect it was at about the time where Deuce started singing "I can't see me loving nobody but you for all my liiiiife."
We were clinging onto each other, gasping for air. The babies were having a party in my uterus, probably not knowing how to handle this happines-overload.
"I have found her, you guys! I have found The One." Deuce grinned widely as he spoke. "My miss Right."
"By that he means Miss right now," Chase squeaked out in between each bark of laughter.
Deuce swiftly ignored this remark, and simply continued his little contemporary solo dance. Clover came down from our dorm to catch him in a particularly "fabulous" triple-spin.
"What - the - hell?" Clover's eyes were bulging at the sight before her, and that made Chase and I blurt out in more laughter. "Who Imperiused Deuce?"
"I'm happy," Deuce explained, out of breath, and beamed at us. His twin and I were breathing heavily and trying to fill our lungs with some much needed oxygen. "I got her flowers."
"Really?" I managed to ask, and sat down on the sofa. "Where are they?"
"He smoked them," Chase muttered, drying away a tear.
"I already gave them to her." Deuce looked into thin air with the stupidest grin plastered on his face. "I think she's beginning to like me back now."
"I think someone's got a crush on someone," I said, only to state the obvious.
"She's delightful." Deuce sighed dreamily. "Simply-simply amazing. Don't you think so, Clo?"
"She's an idiot."
And this is why I love my best friend.
Well, long story short, Deuce, Jade, Chase, Clo, Derek, Bray and I spent the day at Hogsmeade. We ate at the Three Broomsticks, entertained ourselves at Zonko's and just generally had a very nice time. Bray had even bought me a flower. It was a yellow rose(your typical grandma's-in the-hospital-and-we-have-to-get-her-something flower), but a flower nonetheless.
I vaguely noticed how he - Bray, of course - acted...weird. Not his usual weird, but downright not-how-he-usually-acts weird. He verged on nice. Which is not his style.
As did Jade, now that I thought about it. Deuce was the perfect gentleman; pulling out chairs, holding open doors(letting it slam in my face every single time, but yeah) and buying everything Jade even looked at. But Jade was oddly indifferent to Deuce's niceties.
It was a pleasant, but very strange, day. And I'm not sure how I felt about it.
Oh, and Chase completely ignored me. Like downright ignored. I guess he hadn't forgotten about that kiss after all...
Neither had I, but you didn't see me being all awkward and rude!
Anyways, we were now sitting in the common room. It had been a long day, and my feet were throbbing. Which meant I was in a foul mood. I mean, I almost cried when my bra strap slipped off my shoulder and I had to put it back up. That's how hormonal I was.
The reason I'm telling you this is because it explains why I growled long and loudly when Deuce came into the common room and slumped down beside me. He ruined the good position I'd spent a half an hour finding.
"Can someone please explain to me why the hell females insist on smearing this 'sticky gloss' all over their mouthes?" he asked, and I knew he only asked cause it was his way of telling us he'd just made out with Jade. I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction.
"Lip gloss", I corrected him.
"Worst. Invention. Ever.," Brayder agreed, and then nodded to me. "This one isn't allowed to wear it."
"Good call, becau-"
"Hang on," I interrupted, my hand in the air, head slowly turning to stare at my soon-to-be-dead boyfriend. "I'm not allowed?"
"Oh, and he had such a pretty face," Chase mumbled while leaning his back on the sofa cushions with an entertained gleam in his dark eyes.
"Yes. I've forbidden you to put that glue on your face."
"Oh, of course, I remember," I said in a voice dripping with scary sweetness. "You forbade me."
"That is right." My tone was cold and I slowly breathed in and out.
It didn't help.
Quick as a whip, my hand cut through air and met the side of Bray's face with such force that the sound echoed through the whole common room.
"Fuck!" Bray screamed as his whole head snapped to the side. "What the fuck?!"
Not deigning him any sort of attention, I stood up and threw the hair away from my face with a dramatic air about me.
"Excuse me, but I have to go bathe in all the sticky things I can find," I proclaimed, my nose so high up in the air that I bet they could see right up my nostrils and notice the booger in there that had been annoying me all day.
I quickly lowered my head as that thought struck me, then marched right off and disappeared out of the common room. Well, I like to believe that it looked like marching, but it probably more resembled wobbling like a goose, and who are we kidding? I couldn't disappear in this state even if my life depended on it.
I glared accusingly down at my own bulging stomach, blaming it for slowing me down in my attempt to dramatically leave a room.
Of course that was when they began kicking like crazy in there, and forced a smile on my sour face.
How was I ever going to be able to raise these kids right? I was a softie already. Their teeth would probably rot in their mouthes because their mother couldn't muster up the strenght to deny them sweets before dinner.
I hope they didn't find out about the power of puppy eyes. Hell, who was I trying to fool - if they had my genes they'd probably figure it out by the age of one.
In other words, I was doomed.
But I would soon know how much worse everything would become, and I daydream of the time where the least of my problems were whether or not I could be a strict enough parent.
It all began at dinner. After being absent for most meals for a month or so, Bray was gracing us with his presence. I actually though things were looking up. He'd even let the whole slap-situation go without a comment.
So I found it to be a great idea to grab his hand excitedly and place it on top of my belly when the babies began kicking like crazy.
"Oh!" I grinned as I'd taken his hand. "They're kicking, Bray! Can you feel it? Isn't that amazing?"
He mumbled something in return, but being too caught up in the sensations in my stomach, I didn't hear him.
"Did you say something?" I turned my grin up to him, but it immediately faltered when I saw the expression on Bray's face.
"I can't do this anymore."
"I can't go through with this!" he shouted as he ripped himself from me and got to his feet.
"Bray, sit down-"
"No!" he growled loudly. Everyone in the hall was watching. "I won't fucking sit down and pretend that everything is okay, because it's not! I can't bloody do this. I can't!" His voice had risen to a scream, and my throat was closing up.
"Brayder," Clo hissed angrily. I'd tried to say something myself, but it was impossible. "Calm down. Have you just lost your mind?"
"No, that happened earlier when I actually agreed to participate in this insane situation," he answered her harshly.
My entire body shook as the realisation of Bray's words hit me. "A-Are you breaking up with me?"
"Fuck yeah, I am!" His tone cut like a whip, and I could feel the imaginary wounds throb in pain. "And I'm breaking up with your sodding puppies as well. I don't want anything to do with them, or you, for the rest of my miserable, damn life." He climbed away from the bench and was just about to walk away, but he stopped and turned back around with a sneer. He actually glared at me. "And you know what? I doubt they're even mine. Considering the way you've whored yourself-"
And then Chase interrupted Bray.
With his fist.
Sorry for the wait! But I hope this eventful chapter somehow makes up for it :)
A lot of stuff happening here! What's up with Jade suddenly tolerating Deuce? Chase and Del kissing again? Bray breaking up with our heroine? Chase punching Bray?
Please tell me your thoughts and feelings about this chapter!
All my love,
The song Deuce sang: "Happy Together" - The Turtles
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