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In my short sixteen years of life, I have experienced many difficult situations and past experiences have led to me receiving many an awkward look. This one however took the cake.

My mouth went dry and my throat felt like sandpaper, as my brain went numb. I couldn't find the ability to speak, not that I would have come up with a suitable response. Instead I murmured unintelligible 'uhs' and 'uhms', which did not help.

James stared at me with an expression I couldn't place and a steadily whitening face, "Did I...did I get you pregnant?"

Utter humiliation passed over me like a wave crashing against the sea shore and I dropped my gaze, giving him his answer without speaking.

I heard him take a sharp intake of breath and he bit his lip harshly, nodding slowly. His eyes were saucers in the sockets and he literally looked as if he had seen a ghost.

He was obviously taking the news of the pregnancy well. Ghostlike expressions are, afterall, that of sheer joy. The only reason he wasn't speaking was probably the fact that he was so excited that it was taking all his focus to avoid running outside to find a meadow to skip through while throwing flower petals and singing about his child.

This is probably why I have found myself in a sticky situation. It's a miracle I'm not already in an insane asylum.

"And you're...sure it's...mine?"

Ooooh.

Wrong choice of words to say to a pregnant to woman.

"What?" I hissed through clenched teeth, anger boiling inside of me.

Granted, it was probably fair to ask that considering we barely knew each other and only slept together one measly time, but still. I was obviously in a very rough, stressful situation and I hadn't even sought him out to tell him, he walked in the midst of mine and Lottie's conversation.

"Take it back, Tiger," Lottie said quickly, stifling back an ooh-you're-going-to-get-it-because-you-messed-up laugh.

"I just meant-" he said, but I cut him off because I am a rude individual.

"What? That I'm a total slag? That I sleep with all the customers? That I have a little notebook where I carefully plot out my next victim? That I-"

He stopped me because he is rude as well, "Okay, okay, okay! It's mine, I understand that, I shouldn't have said that."

"You think?"

Okay, I perhaps was being slightly harsh with him, but according to Lottie and my doctor when I called him, and just frankly my entire knowledge of pregnancy (which was lacking but not nonexistent), my hormones were running rampant like chickens with their heads cut off. And not to mention I was about to bring a new life into this world with no way to care for it and not even the knowledge to know how to.

My unborn child really hit the jackpot when it was placed in my uterus.

"Well, you can't just bring on me that you're carrying my kid and then except me to just want to start a damn family band."

"I didn't spring anything on to you, you just walked in to the middle of a private conversation."

"Private?" he scoffed, "If you wanted it to be private, you probably should have kept your voices lower. And the only reason I even showed back up was for you."

"And why would you do that? You barely know me."

"Because maybe I want to get to know you, Taylor. I actually liked you."

"Liked? Past tense?" I challenged, the words stinging a little for some reason.

"Well now I'm seeing a side of you that I can't really say that I care for, so yes, possibly past tense."

I opened my mouth to speak, but Lottie beat me it, "Is that any way to talk to the mother of your unborn child?"

"Lottie," I hissed. "Not now."

"I'm just saying-"

"LOTTIE."

"Fine, I can see where I'm not wanted, this should probably be a private conversation anyway. I'm going to head home, let me know if you need anything?"

I nodded, hugged her and as she left I rounded on James who's mouth had formed into a solid line and was running his hands through his unkempt black hair.

"I wanted to tell you."

"Did you? Well, I can see how the opportunity never arose. We only spent the entire day together. Not to mention the past couple of times I've come in here since we've slept together."

"Don't do that," I said.

"Do what?"

"Act like it's just like telling someone to pick up eggs from the grocery store! What was I supposed to say? 'It was good seeing you, James. Nice dinner too. Thought you should know, I'm carrying your child. Want dessert?'"

"Don't make this into a bloody joke," he said angrily.

"A joke? You think I'm treating this like a joke?"

"It seems like it to me."

I rolled my eyes, "This is ridiculous."

"Yes, you are."

"Oh I am?" I said.

"Yes," he said in a flick of the tongue, spinning around.

"So why are you still here?"

"What?" He said returned to face me, his face looking a mixture of innocence and anger.

What a combination.

"If I'm so ridiculous why are we even having this conversation?"

"Oh, I don't know, I just figured we could have a nice little spat to end the night because I do hear that after a fight is the best time to get a lady into bed," he said.

"Now who's making jokes?" I growl.

"Me. I am. Because frankly that seems to be the only way to talk to you."

"This never would have happened if you hadn't walked in here after closing and eavesdropped."

"Eavesdropped?" he seemed stunned for a moment, but quickly recovered. "Stop blaming me for walking in here. This never would have happened if we hadn't had sex,
obviously."

"Well, no one made you show back up to 'walk me home'."

"What? So now I'm a bad person for being a gentleman?"

"Please, you just wanted in my pants," I'm a blunt person.

"Of course I did, you're hot, when you're not telling at me, and I'm a guy, but it's not like I concocted some sort of plan to get you into bed, I had genuinely intended on taking you home."

"Could have fooled me," I spat.

Okay.

I want being fair. It was just as much my fault as his, but you know what? I don't care.

He was angry now, that much was obvious. He looked like he wanted to tell but instead took a deep breath, steadying himself, "So what happens now?"

"Well, I suppose you can just walk out that door and go back to your summer house and then continue living your extraordinary life and just pretend I don't exist."

"Is that what kind of guy you think I am?"

"It could be," I said.

He squared his jaw, "No, no, I'm not going to do that."

"Why not?"

"BECAUSE YOU ARE CARRYING MY CHILD." He shouted.

"And that matters to you?"

Even I knew how unreasonable I was probably being, I wasn't being fair to him, but the words just kept slipping out before I could stop them.

My mouth needed a toll booth for cruel words, too many flowed out freely.

"A little bit, yes it does. I can't just walk around with my head in the clouds while you're walking around wearing my kid like an internal belt."

Now that was a strange analogy.

"Maybe I should have just gone through with..." I trailer off, horrified at myself for going back to the brief consideration I had for getting an abortion.

"What?" He asked, sounding genuinely confused.

"Just that maybe I should have taken care of it already," I said.

"Taken care of it?" He looked puzzled and thought it over for a moment before a sea of realization washed over his face like a wave, "You mean an abortion?"

"It was an option," I said, honestly.

"Was? Is it not still?"

"If I went soon it might be...wait, are you telling me to abort this baby?"

"No, I-"

"Really, because that's what it sounds like."

"Can I please finish one bloody sentence without you jumping down my throat like a lion on a zebra carcass?" He said angrily, effectively shutting me up by comparing me to one of Africa's finest creatures. "I was simply asking you if this was an option you had already ruled out or were still considering."

"I thought about it, but I just don't think I could go through with it, not after hearing it's heart beat."

His eyes brightened, "heartbeat?"

"Yes, you know that thump thump sound you can sometimes hear and nearly always feel in your chest? It's not a little drummer boy in there, it's a heart beat. We didn't conceive a doll."

I am such a weird person. How did he ever sleep with me?

"I know what a heartbeat is," he said with a scoff. "I just didn't realize you had heard it. I wish I had been there. But that would require you having told me you were pregnant."

"I planned on getting an abortion, I was still making my decision," I said.

"Well, I would have liked to have been a part of the decision making process. You didn't make that baby all alone, I feel like I should have some say."

"Well, it's too late, I'm having the baby," I said.

"Okay."

"Okay? That's all you have to say? I tell you I'm going to be birthing your kid and all you say is 'okay'?"

"Blimey, could you pause for one moment. All I said was 'okay', what am I supposed to write a big congratulatory speech? Or maybe I'm supposed to get a card."

"This isn't funny."

"I wasn't laughing."

"So what does this mean, then?"

"I don't know," his voice was lowered now, more controlled. "But yelling isn't solving anything. It's late, how about I walk you home and we talk this through like adults tomorrow."

"I work most of the day tomorrow and then I have to go cook dinner for Parker."

"Okay, what about Saturday? It's only a couple days away."

"Don't you leave town Saturday?"

"Yes, Saturday evening, and I could always move it if needed."

"If that's what you want," I shrug.

"Alright. I'll pick you up at nine and we'll spend the day together and sort this thing out."

"Okay."

"Does your dad know?" He asked stiffly.

Shit.

My dad.

I gulped and shuffled my hair with my fingers, shaking my head, "No."

"He didn't take you to a healer?"

I pulled my eyebrows together, "a what?"

"Er, a hospital?"

"What's a healer?"

"Nevermind that, forgot muggles don't call them that. He didn't take you?"

"No, I took a home test," I said.

He interrupted me, perking, "those aren't always accurate though, right?"

"You didn't let me finish," I sigh. "I took the home test and then Lottie took me to the hospital."

"And you're really...yknow..with child?"

"No, I'm with mongoose."

"Funny," he said, although he didn't seen to be being sincere although I found it quite funny. "How pregnant are you exactly?"

"There's pretty much only one degree of pregnancy. You're either pregnant or not."

"I meant how many weeks," he said.

"Eight and a couple days," I say.

"Sounds about right, now that I think it over."

"Yeah," I say awkwardly, unsure of where to take the conversation.

A normal person would apologize for being a crazed pregnant lunatic but I think it had well been established that I was not a normal human being. I was actually so abnormal I probably barely qualified as a human being at all.

"So, shall I walk you home?"

"If you want," I said.

He laughed but it wasn't a deep, joyous laugh, there was strain behind it, "One of these days you'll learn that I treat ladies like ladies."

I smiled, he thought of me as a lady. And, by the sounds of it, he expected us to be in each other's lives for a long time to come. And for some reason that brought a strange feeling to my gut. A mixture of nerves, happiness and a little (or a lot) of relief.

"Wait, now what are healers? And why do you keep calling me a muggle?"

"All in good time," he said quietly. I arched an eyebrow and he continued. "One thing at a time, Taylor Bowie. Let's sort this baby stuff out before we go hopping on that express."

*

Now, I obviously didn't know everything about James Potter. Hell, I didn't even know his middle name, thus making there a lot more that I didn't know than that I did actually know. But, I didn't know that there was about a ninety five percent chance that he came from money. He was, after all, staying at a pretty nice little cottage for the summer before he went back to a boarding school. And, to the best of my knowledge, boarding schools were extremely expensive. And I lived in a shabby, run down flat in a pretty bad neighborhood. (Robbery was pretty common, hearing police sirens was practically a lullaby to me at this point with how many times the police were called to my street.) I may be sixteen and carrying a child; but I wanted the little bit of spared pride I had to stay so I didn't have him walk me home, we walked to Lottie's home, which I let him believe was my home.

Lottie wasn't rich. But she also wasn't poor either. She was happily bordering the line between the two, comfortable, and lived in a really cute little house with the storybook white picket fence in front. It was a really cute little house and I dreamed of having a home like that someday. Nothing colossal and fancy, but above what I had. I longed for the day I could get Parker and myself, him in particular, in to a better situation.

When we got to the gate, he turned to face me, "Cute place, I like it."

"Thanks, I like it too," I said honestly. I really, truly, did.

"So, see you Saturday?" He asked, his eyes flickering to meet mine and then looking away.

Our entire walk home was very awkward, needless to say. I had ruined his life although I don't know if that reality had struck him yet.

"See you Saturday," I confirmed, nodding a little bit.

We had this little awkward moment where neither of us moved but also neither of us spoke so we just stood in an awkward silence.

"Well," I sighed. "Goodnight."

I slipped inside the gate and made my way to the porch, turning around and waving at him when I reached the door, sighing with relief as he started back down the street. I stood there a moment, not even moving as the lights flickered on and Lottie came outside in her robe, tightening the wrap around her.

"Are you alright?" She asked, guiding me to the porch swing that rested at the end of the porch.

I contemplated the different ways I could answer that question, but the only thing that wound up coming out was an "I don't know."

"Come here," she pulled me into a tight hug, but it wasn't long until I pulled away, shocking her a little. "Tell Lottie all about it."

"I don't even know where to begin. We're meeting up in a couple days to talk about it, not that that is a good idea."

"What? That's a great idea."

"No, Lottie, it's not. He's either going to tell me to shove off and raise it alone which is going to feel like an icicle being shoved in my chest because I know for sure I'm in this alone or he's going to want to be involved in which case that same icicle will plunge into my chest because I have effectively ruined his life and that's something I don't think I can have on my conscience."

"Taylor, first off, what James does is up to James. It's his kid too. And you're never in this alone. Hello? What am I? Chopped liver? I'm with you in this, Tay. You don't have to be the hero all the time."

"Heroine," I correct.

Yes, because that is obviously what needs to be focused on.

"What?"

"Heroine. A hero is a guy, a heroine is a girl."

She just laughed, "Leave it to you, the English professor. Want to come in? Have some tea or something?

"I'm sorry, I just have to go home," I said.

Technically, I could stay over. But I just couldn't make myself ruin her night with the tears and self pity I was bound to drown myself in the entire night.

"You sure? I don't mind," she said.

"I know," I smiled. "But, I just really want to be alone tonight."

"Understandable. Well, if you need anything at all, I'm here for you, sweetie."

"I know," I said.

"Before you go," she says as I start towards the gate. "I'm sorry about earlier, about blurting out that you're pregnant. I should have seen him pass by the window."

I shrug, "It was probably going to happen eventually."

"That makes sense seeing as he is the dad."

"Father," I correct.

"Is it not the same thing?" She asked, clearly a little bemused.

"No. He's the father, that doesn't necessarily make him a 'daddy'. I don't even know what qualifies someone as a 'daddy', so I think I should determine that before I call him a 'daddy'."

Her puzzled expression told me all I needed to know: I sounded like a nut job, although that is not anything new.

Honestly, how do I not only have friends but have a possible suitor or is responsible for half of the DNA in my womb? Oh god. I called him a suitor. Someone really needs to lock me away and throw away the keys.

"Okay..." She said slowly. "Well, it sounds like you need some rest, so goodnight, sleep tight to you and Gregory."

"And Gregory is..."

"Your baby." She answered decisively.

"Lottie, I don't even know if it's a boy and I'm not naming him Gregory."

"What's wrong with the name Gregory?"

"Noting is wrong with the name, it's a lovely name, but this baby doesn't even have a name yet and we don't know if it's even a boy."

"Oh, it's a boy."

"So, you're a psychic now?" I laugh.

She waved her hands around like people do over crystal balls in movies, "You have discovered my secret, Taylor Bowie. I foresee exciting things in your future."

I laugh, "Goodnight, Lottie."

"Goodnight, Taylor. Goodnight, Gregory slash Anita."

I didn't even bother correcting her about the name, it wasn't worth it and she just wanted to make me smile.

I didn't deserve a friend as great as her. I really, truly didn't.

*

The next day I vomited a grand total of five times, ate a pickle smothered in peanut butter for lunch and snapped on three customers. So, it was an extremely productive day.

By the end of the night, I honestly felt like my feet were going to crumble apart they part so badly.

The emotional scarring from my conversation with James last night carried on into today because all I could think about (besides my weak stomach) was everything about the night before. And the whole sex-leading-to-our-illegitimate-child fiasco.

I wasn't sure if I was happy that James knew
or if I wished he hadn't found out. I especially wish he hadn't found out the way he did. Now we had had a huge fight and yet he seemed to want to be involved with me and this child and I wasn't sure if I even wanted that.

It was already dark when I pushed open the door to our shabby flat in the even shabbier building. I was expecting to have to be extra quiet due to the possibility of Parker sleeping, but I heard him laughing from the kitchen, much to my shock. That meant that our father wasn't home and that he had an imaginary friend or had created some sort of game that would likely end with something broken and me in big trouble both with my father and financially.

"Parker?"

"Hi, Taylor! I'm in the kitchen!"

I know this, but thank you captain obvious.

Now, my life has always been anything but predictable. If you try and assume you know what will happen, prepare for a surprise .& had learned that long ago. Walking into the kitchen was, as he has said. Parker. What he did not tell me though was that he was not alone. Seeming to direct him about something, was none other than James freakin' Potter.

"James?"

Why did I put a question mark at the end of my greeting. I obviously knew it was James, there wasn't exactly a question.

"Hiya, Taylor," he greeted casually.

"Um, not to be rude or anything, but why are you here?"

"I was showing Parker here how to be smooth with the ladies," he said with a smirk.

Upon second glance I noticed my little baby brother was attempting the same smirk, although it wasn't quite up to James' standard. Although he had set a high bar.

"James, he's in elementary school," I sigh.

"C'mon, Tay, why you gotta be a buzzkill?" Parker groans.

Okay.

"Excuse me?" I mock gasp, "I am never a buzz kill."

"Are to," he argues.

Typically I might argue back with 'am not', but with James standing there in my shabby flat, I thought I would spare the last bit of dignity I still had to my name.

"Parker, why don't you run back to your room and go to bed, it's late and we need to talk."

"Please, you just want me to leave so you can kiss your booooyfriieeeeend." He said, crossing his arms defiantly.

"Parker, now." I say sternly.

"But-"

"No, Parker."

"At least let me show you what I've learned!" He begged.

Normally I would not take bargaining as a way to handle it, but I did have an interest in what I would be having to kill James Potter over teaching my brother, so I relented with a small 'fine' escaping pursed lips.

He took a couple steps forward, looked me up and down, bit his lip harshly while tipping his head to the side, "Darlin' lookin' flawless. Why dontcha add a little Mister Perfect to ya life?" He says confidently.

Oh. My. God.

James Potter was dead.

I wasn't even able to find words for a moment, which James clearly found amusing. When I had composure, I re-iterated that he had to go to bed and that I would deal with this 'girls lesson' in the morning. When he had left, I rounded on James.

"How could you teach him that?"

"What? It's funny, lighten up," he defends himself.

"Lighten up? You're teaching my baby brother to objectify women like they're objects and-"

"Stop," he says abruptly. "He's like seven years old and everyone will just find it cute. It made him happy, did you see that grin."

"I can't even deal with this right now. What are you doing here?"

"Talking to you."

"Before I got here?" I growl.

"Waiting for you."

"Why?"

"To talk to you."

"We just talked. And how did you even know where I lived?"

"I've followed you home before."

Yes, because that isn't creepy.

"Not something to brag on. Should I be scared?"

"No. But I know when you get off and I wanted to make sure you got home safe and that if something happened I would be there to watch out for you."

"That's still a little creepy."

"Just think of me as your guardian angel," he says, shooting me a smile which I almost want to return.

"Why would you even do that?"

"Let me tell you once again," he sighs. "I like you. And although you make it difficult and make me question why, I do. You're cool."

"Is this just some ruse to make fun of me? Is this a joke?"

"What?"

"What? James Richpants Potter who stays at a summer cottage with friends over the summer before going back to a fancy boarding school gets to laugh at a girl who lives in what's basically a shed? Congratulations, you succeeded. Job well done."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. First off, my middle name is Sirius. And second of all, that isn't what this is about. I like you for YOU, not where you live or how much money you have. I have more integrity than that."

"Why are you even still here? Aren't we supposed to have to talk in a couple days?"

"I couldn't wait, I needed to see you tonight. I lost my cool and talked to you wrong and that isn't how you should talk to a lady and I apologize. You were so upset earlier, I wanted to make sure you were alright. I"

"I'm fine."

"I wouldn't go that far. You're a little antsy."

"Antsy?"

"Oh, did I say antsy? I meant angry."

"Well, maybe I am a little angry but that's only because you keep pushing my buttons."

"But your little buttons are so adorable," he says smugly.

"Stop doing that."

"Doing what?"

"That face?"

"Okay, let me just run back home and change faces."

"Not funny."

"Only because you refuse to let it be."

"That doesn't even make sense. And what kind of a middle name is Sirius?"

"It does, actually. And it comes from my father's godfather. Although I don't understand why I keep offering you explanations when you fail to offer any of your own."

"What what have I hid?"

"Where you live, to start with."

"I explained that well enough and-"

I was cut off when I heard keys jingling around outside the door and a man's voice saying "damn doorknob" gruffly.

Oh shit.

Oh no.

No no no.

"You have to go. Now." I say, pushing him towards my room. "Go in my room and keep quiet." I demand.

"Barking orders? I don't remember becoming your bitch."

It was all I could do not to either laugh or slap him.

"Please, you have to be quiet," I plead.

"Why?"

"My dad is here. He can't see you and you can't see him."

"Taylor, part of the reason I'm here is so we can all three have a discussion about this whole pregnancy thing."

"No, no we can't, that's a terrible idea. He's probably already been drinking and-"

"TAYLOR GET IN HERE!" He booms.

"I have to go, keep quiet. Please. If you care about me at all, you'll stay here and stay quiet. Please."

"TAYLOR LOUISE BOWIE I WILL KNOCK YOU INTO NEXT WEEK IF
YOUR WORTHLESS ASS IS NOT IN HERE IN THE NEXT TEN SECONDS."

I saw James' jaw clench, "He can not talk to you that way," he started to move, but I stopped him.

"Please, James, you'll only make it worse. He probably just was out of money and couldn't get any booze and needs money. That's all. Please...stay."

And with that I slip out of my room toto find my mountain of a father standing in the too small kitchen, peering down at me.

"It's about time you got in here," he growled.

"Sorry, I was busy," I say quickly, quietly.

"Doing what? Making more trouble? You weren't out making money, that's for sure."

"Dad-"

"I wasn't finished speaking. You'd do best to learn your place in front of a man."

"Yes sir." I say quietly.

"What's that?" He challenges.

"I said yes sir," I say louder.

"Is that mockery?" He growls.

"No, it's not. Let me get you a drink-"

"NO!" He booms, throwing a fist on the table. "I haven't had a drink all night because somebody thought they could be sneaky and not give me my money last night. So you think you can steal from me now?"

"I didn't steal anything," I say, although it was a bad choice of words and I knew that.

"Don't lie," he growls. "Now hand it over."

Unwillingly I handed him what little I had and watched as he shoved it into his pockets, "where's the rest of it?"

"That's all, it's been slow," I say.

He bites his lip, "I'm getting tired of your shit, Taylor. Hand over the money."

"I swear that's all I have," I back into a wall and cringe, letting out a slight shriek as I see his arm swiftly move up, as if preparing to strike.

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