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Chapter 8: Breakfast Before The Storm
Lovely chapter image by BitterSweetFlames @ TDA
When I woke up in the morning I knew that if I didnít tell my parents about my situation today that would mean my dear, sweet cousin Lily would end up doing so. As much as I loved that girl, when it came to things like this I didnít trust her any further than I could throw her. Not with secrets at least. Oh, she could try to keep a secret for me but I donít think she'd be able for more than until after dinner, maybe when we were all getting ready to go to bed for the night. But by the time breakfast rolled around the next day then it was, at the best, quite iffy.
So, when I woke up that morning I knew that I would have to tell my parents when we were all sitting around for dinner. But that was the last thing I was concerned about when I woke up that morning. By the time that happened my family was already downstairs, my mother in the kitchen cooking breakfast and the upstairs was almost silent save for the sound of my brother in his room down the hall. The smell of eggs cooking wafted upstairs and beneath the small crack between the bottom of my door and the floor and it made me wake up almost instantly, bile instantly rising up in my throat. Morning sickness as they liked to call it had decided to strike. And to be honest, I wasnít sure why they called it that since it didn't always happen in the morning. It happened whenever it damn well pleased.
But this time it is happen in the morning and flung my legs over the edge of the bed so that my feet hit the floor and sat up, putting my hand over my mouth just in case I found it difficult to hold it in and headed out of my room and down the hall towards the bathroom, glad that the door is open which meant it was free and threw myself into the room, slamming the door shut behind me and was instantly bending over the toilet and emptying the contents of my stomach into it, my gun wrenching with each time I did it, my eyes burning from the stomach acid.
I threw up three separate times before it stopped and I was able to collapse to the floor on my knees and rest my hands on the seat and then resting my forehead against my forearm. Normally I would want to get away from there as soon as I could but I was lacking in energy seeing as I had just woken up just before vomiting like there was no tomorrow. It was horrid and all consuming, made my head spin, made everything cloudy. It was devastating and I could feel the distinct start of a headache spiraling around behind my eyes.
The headache got worse when there was a loud knock at the door, a knock I knew quite well. It was my brother's knock. Unfortunately he had a habit of doing that, knocking really loud when I needed it the least though I couldnít really be mad at him at that time. It wasnít as though he knew what had just happened. It didnít make it feel any better though. But if I didnít answer him then he wouldnít go away so I just groaned and lifted up my hand to wipe at my mouth and looked towards the door, sighing a bit heavily. "Yeah?"
"Mum wants to know if you're coming down to breakfast." Of course she did. She always wanted us to come down for breakfast even when we werenít feeling like it. And right then I wasnít feeling like it at all. I hated the idea of having to do down there and eat at that moment. But if I didnít go down Mum would want to know why which meant I had no choice but to answer my brother.
"I'll be down after I shower," I called back to him. I really didnít want to do that, go down there and play nice, eat breakfast and act like everything was normal. But I had to do that for now. I had to pretend everything was as it always was. At least until I told my parents what was happening to me. "I'll try to make it as quick as I can."
Outside the door there was silence for a couple of seconds, probably because my voice was a bit raspy from the stress of vomiting but then I heard him tap the tips of his fingers against the door, almost like he was debating what to do. "Alright. I'll let Mum know. Donít take too long though, yeah? You know how she gets about us eating breakfast."
As soon as I heard my brother walking away from the door I forced myself into a standing position, looking at myself in the mirror. I looked about as good as I felt which you can imagine wasnít all that good considering I had just thrown up what felt like everything I had eaten in the last month and a half. My mouth still tasted like bile and my teeth felt fuzzy from it. It was a horrible feeling. So, I brushed my teeth and stepped into the shower, letting the warm water wash over me. it didnít help much but it was warm and woke me up enough that I thought I could make it downstairs on my own, not having to get help or hold on to the wall.
Once I was done showering I pulled on my robe and went into my room to get dressed and take my morning potions. The school had opted to make sure I had enough for Christmas holiday since I had promised to tell my family about my condition during the break from school. But until I did they wanted to be sure I was safe, healthy. And not just for myself but for my baby as well. My baby was, after all, an innocent. It was best to make sure that the child didnít suffer because of my secret.
I made my way downstairs with my hair still wet. My brother and cousins were already at the table and the smell of eggs was still strong in the air but after having vomited already and having taken my potions it wasnít horrible enough to make me feel sick again. Both James and Lily looked up at me when I sat down but didnít let their gazes linger on me for too long which I was thankful for. If they kept watching me for too long then my mother would get suspicious.
In the corner of the room my brother was digging through the cabinet to find the syrup. If one thing could be said for my mother it was that when we were home from school- especially if we had family visiting- she put out quite a spread at breakfast. Far too much food for all of us to actually eat but with plenty of choices so we could all have what we wanted. Sometimes my father still couldnít believe how much food she would make since in his house they had never really had money to spare, since they only tended to make what could be eaten so that they could conserve the money they did have. But he enjoyed they way Mum did things. He enjoyed it quite a bit.
Hugo popped out of the cabinet, syrup in hand and popping a cookie into his mouth. If Mum saw him she'd be upset but it just made me smile. Sometimes he had an insane sweet tooth that couldnít be sated. Mum would worry, of course, that he would ruin his appetite by snacking down on cookies before we ate but I knew that nothing could get rid of his appetite. He would be able to eat more than his fair share of breakfast even if he had ten cookies. Having just one wouldnít ruin his appetite even in the slightest.
The thing about my brother is that he was two years my junior and yet he looked older than me. I had never been able to figure out just how that was possible but he had started to look older than I was when he hit thirteen. And, of course, he reminded me of it constantly, how if anyone who didnít know us was introduced to us they would assume he was the older sibling. It didnít bother me though. Not even a little bit. alright, so thatís a bit of a lie because sometimes it got frustrating when he played into it, pretended to be the older one when people assumed that. But I had gotten used to it and had learned that getting upset over it was pointless.
He sat back down and put the bottle of syrup right in front of me. Just looking at the thick brown fluid inside made my stomach churn uncomfortably. Turns out I wasnít as over my nausea as I thought I was.
Swallowing thickly I reached over to the teapot that Mum had set out on the table and poured myself a cup, hoping that would settle my stomach a little bit. I didnít think I'd be able to handle much more than toast and maybe a little bit of fruit this morning. If I was lucky, of course. "Where's Dad?"
"Out back," Hugo replied, passing me the little ceramic container that held the sugar cubes Mum always put out on the table at breakfast time. Or tea time. She always felt the sugar cubes were easier to use than spooning out sugar. It ensured us not using too much or too little a lot easier than loose sugar. "Said he wanted to work on something." Hugo met my eyes and then rolled his. We both knew what that meant.
Even now Dad and Uncle Harry had this ridiculous urge to play a one-on-one Quidditch game every time they got the chance to. and that also meant that around the time that Uncle Harry was heading over my father would go out back and make sure that he had maintained his broom well enough that when he used it there would be no problems. So, if Dad was out back that meant there was going to be a one-on-one Quidditch match later today. Most likely between lunch and dinner. It depended on when Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny got there.
Dropping two cubs of sugar into my cubes I smiled at him a little bit, stirring my tea as I looked over at James and Lily, arching both of my eyebrows as if to tell them that it would be interesting to watch them later. If I was feeling up to it then I would watch the testosterone driven match between my father and theirs. It all depended on my morning sickness.
"You slept late." Mum turned to look at me from her place at the stove, spatula in one hand, her curly hair pulled back into a hasty, messy ponytail. "Feeling alright?"
"Fine," I assured her, lifting up my teacup to take a sip and hide the look on my face. If she could see my entire face she'd know I was lying. I donít know how she'd know but she'd know. Mum used to say that mothers have a sort of magic, that they can always tell when their kids are lying. I didnít believe it when I was really young but when I was older, when I was a teenager I finally realized that somehow she did know. So, on the rare occasion I did lie to her I tried to cover part of my face to hide the lie the best I could. "Just a bit tired, I guess." I lowered my teacup, smiled at her. It was a tired smile but still a smile. I tried to make myself feel less guilty by reminding myself that it wasnít a complete lie. I was tired. But I was only tired from feeling sick which I couldnít tell her about just yet. It would have to wait until later when everyone was around. It was just much easier to tell everyone all together.
Mum looked at me for a couple of seconds using that searching look he reserved for when she was trying to decide whether or not we were telling the truth. Generally that look was reserved for Hugo because more often than not he assumed that he could get away with lying to her. Sometimes it worked, most of the time it didnít. That ability that mothers had to tell when you were lying could be quite frightening in that way. But after a moment she just nodded her head and looked back at what she was doing. "Alright. Do try to take better care of yourself and get more sleep. I donít want you to get sick."
Lily, who had been taking a sip of her tea snorted into it and I kicked her under the table. She lowered her teacup to the table giving me a less than amused look as she leaned down to rub at her leg.
Mum turned to look at her, arching one of her dark eyebrows. "Something I said strike you as funny?"
"No," Lily assured her, turning to look at her and giving her the most brilliant smile she could manage. "Sometimes you and Mum just sound alike, thatís all." It didnít seem fair that she could lie to my mother and get away with it but somehow she managed to. I figured the whole thing with mothers knowing when you're lying only applied with their own child, however.
Mum didnít catch the lie though. She just smiled at her. "Most mothers tend to sound alike. Such is the curse of becoming a parent. One day you'll sound like your mum as well." Great, I thought. I was going to sound like my mother when I got older. There were worse fates, of course. But I wasnít sure I wanted to sound like her. Or a mother in general though it seemed I didnít have much of a choice since I was planning to actually keep the baby. And thatís when I realized that Hugo was going to be oh so happy to be able to say he was the good child for not reproducing at our age. My, my. My life was getting less and less appealing by the moment.
"Hopefully I won't have to sound like Mum any time soon," my cousin replied, still smiling as she turned to face the table again.
"Oh, Merlin forbid," Mum breathed, waving a hand in the air like the very thought made her feel as though she were going to have a heart attack. Leave it to Lily to make the situation worse with a couple of words. It made me want to kick her again. Hard. Things were already going to be odd, be complicated. The last thing I needed was for it to be made harder but thatís exactly what Lily was inadvertently doing. Little cousins. Can't live with them, can't kill them.
Luckily- or unluckily, I wasnít sure which it would be yet- my father came in just before I could slam my foot against Lily's leg again, his face covered in dirt, his hair just a bit too long and curling at the ends which meant Mum would have to cut it again soon. If I hadnít been sure already that Dad was out playing around on his broom the dirt on his face would have been all the proof I needed. There was absolutely no other reason I could think of that Dad would have that much dirt on his face. Especially since Mum would have killed him if he normally went around dirt on his face like that. As it were she flinched a little when he kissed her on the cheek because his dirt covered nose brushed against her face.
"Clean yourself up," Mum demanded quietly, waving a hand at him like she's trying to shoo him away though its more like she doesnít want him to sit there with dirt on his face or that she doesnít want him to get dirt on her face when he kisses her cheek like that.
Dad just laughs at her, grabbing a towel from the counter and bringing it over to the sink, turning the water on and dipping it beneath the water. "Yeah, yeah," he says after a moment, waving his free hand at her and then reaches up to wipe at his face with the towel, turning to lean against the counter while he cleans his face off.
Dad's eyes jump across the tables, looking at each of us in turn, scanning our faces until his gaze stopped on mine. My stomach clenched again because it seemed like no matter what I did they were going to keep looking at me like that, like I had suddenly turned into something strange and bizarre than they had ever seen before. But, of course, that could have been because I was so pale from having vomited immediately upon waking up. His ginger eyebrows furrowed as he looked at me, pausing in wiping the dirt off of his face. "You alright, Rosie?"
"Fine," I assured him, smiling just a tiny bit. I wasnít sure how many more time I could handle someone asking me that before I felt ready to scream at the top of my lungs. That would have looked quite suspicious though so it better served me to refrain from doing so. If I freaked out on anyone for simply asking if I was alright then it would be pretty obvious that I wasnít alright, that something was horribly wrong. "I'm completely fine, Dad. Just a bit tired, thatís all."
He watched me for several seconds like he wasnít sure if he believed me. I was getting quite used to that look since I had been faking okay for quite a while but it didnít make it any easier to handle, didnít make me think they'd believe me anymore. But I kept my face blank in a very practiced manner. And after a moment he nodded his head a little bit as if to say he accepted what I had said. "Alright,"
"I already told her that she should try to sleep more at school," Mum told him without even looking away from the food she was cooking.
"Your Mum is right," he agrees, nodding his head a bit as he washes his hands off in the sink and then drops the towel onto the counter. "Sleep is very important ye know, Rosie. Can't be expected to keep up your grades when ye donít sleep." He sat down at the table, smiling a bit at me. "And you know how proud your Mum and I are of your grades."
I gave him a bit of a shaky smile. In all honesty I wasnít sure that my grades were going to be staying on par as my pregnancy went on. And then, once I had the baby, that was another thing entirely. It probably would mean that my grades would falter almost entirely. After all, raising a baby takes a lot of time and energy. It wasnít as though I could put the baby second and my grades first. Only a horrible mother would do that. And I really didnít want to be a horrible mother. I wanted to be the best mother I possibly could and while I wasnít quite sure how good that would end up being I was going to try my hardest.
Lily must have noticed something on my face because she cleared her throat and looked over at Dad, "What time are Mum and Dad coming?" she asked him, giving him a bit of a smile. She was covering for me, yes, but she was also sucking up to him in a lot of ways. Lily was quite good at sucking up to other people's parents, especially when they her aunts or uncles or something of the sort.
"Around five," he tells her after a moment, pouring himself a cup of tea.
"And supper will be at six," Mum interjects from her spot at the stove.
Well, that gave me a timeframe at least for how long I had until it was time to tell everyone about my little bit of news. I was sure that they were all going to be quite displeased to hear the news of the little one growing inside of me but it had to be done. Lifting up my teacup towards my mouth I glanced at Lily and James as discretely as I could. Countdown to war.