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Playing Pretend by SilverRoses
Chapter 2: A Little Problem
Jeremy awoke to Bellatrix's scream.
He quickly got up and pulled on his shirt and pants before rushing up to see what was wrong.
Another scream, then she barreled into him in the hall and clutched the front of his shirt so hard that her nails tore it slightly, "You! Bastard! Agh!" She shoved him back and sank to the floor, beating at his legs in frustration, "Why? Why are you so horrible?"
The bewilderment he felt was evident on Jeremy's face as his visibly furious wife screamed obscenities at him. What could make her so angry? He hadn't touched her, and he had been an entire floor away from her at her first scream. He pulled himself together and asked, "Bella, what's wrong?"
"Don't call me that! And don't you dare pretend you don't know very well what's wrong!" Bellatrix shrieked, pushing herself to her feet to shove him backwards, "I hate you! I hate your freaking guts! I hate every thing you do...so why am I pregnant with your bloody spawn?"
A chill shot through Jeremy as he struggled to wrap his mind around what Bellatrix had just said. She was...
Bellatrix was pregnant?!
Of all the things he could have said, all he could manage to do was to state the by now quite obvious, "You're...pregnant?"
Her black eyes bubbled fury and her mouth tightened into a thin, hard line, "Don't. Even. Think. About. Being pleased," her voice radiated a danger he hadn't anticipated.
A thousand thoughts raced through his mind then, and, despite Bellatrix's warning, he was feeling suddenly giddy. She, the Bellatrix Black he had practically obsessed over for years, was pregnant with his child. If that wasn't enough, she was also his wife now, and, for all it was worth, they had to fake being in love for everyone else here, who would think it suspicious if they suddenly acted like enemies.
Had life suddenly fallen in love with him?
"Bella...I..." no, he couldn't just tell her that he loved her! She thought he had only tolerated her at school...maybe wanted her simply because she was popular and he thought it would make him popular...he needed to prove he loved her.
"Don't. Call me that!" Bellatrix screeched, pulling at her hair and suddenly losing her balance.
Without even considering the consequences, Jeremy reached out to catch her, and couldn't help but notice how perfectly she fit against him.
Shoving him away fiercely, Bellatrix spat, "Get your filthy hands off me, Kasica!"
He didn't know where it came from; all he knew was it was his voice speaking, "You're a Kasica too, Bella, Love."
It took a few seconds for Jeremy himself to realize what he had said, but once he did, his conclusion wasn't far behind, "She is going to tear you to pieces, Jeremy Kasica."
Eyes widening, Bellatrix's face drained of all colour before her cheeks began to grow red with barely restrained rage. Surely this miserable excuse for a living creature had not just told her that she was one of its kind...surely it wasn't that completely brainless.
Jeremy was pale, and that could only mean he realized what he had said.
Whatever he had braced himself for, it wasn't the stinging slap on the cheek.
Even as her hand fell back to her side and Bellatrix felt satisfaction rise at the red mark becoming visible on Jeremy's face, she herself was confused. He had spoken to her...like that...and all she could do to fight back was a slap on the cheek?
"Never talk to me like that," Bellatrix said, but somewhere deep down, she didn't know what she meant. No one had ever called her 'Love' before. Certainly, plenty of guys had claimed to be in love with her, but they had never used terms of endearment so naturally. And, of course, she had never listened to them.
Woah, woah, woah, something was wrong here. Jeremy Kasica never talked to her like that in the first place!
Somehow this didn't seem to matter right now...and Bellatrix felt like she was dying of starvation, so she shoved past Jeremy and rushed downstairs to the kitchen, leaving him completely befuddled.
Once she was gone, he let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding and gazed longingly after her, though she was already out of sight. Her pregnancy was not yet showing, so how had she known?
He didn't know where he was, he didn't know when this was happening, but he was determined to make it work.
Following Bellatrix's lead, he headed down to the kitchen, only to find her sitting at the table with a bag of potato chips, and a cup of yogurt...very strange combination...did all women eat weird things like that during pregnancy?
"What are you staring at?" Bellatrix snapped, throwing a chip she had grabbed to the table and glaring at him.
Making up his mind to take a slight risk, Jeremy asked, a bit nervously, "So...how far along are you?"
She clenched her teeth. To shoot him down or get him off her? He hadn't acted happy or anything equally annoying, minus the obvious, "Four months," she said, waving him away as she spoke and turning back to her breakfast.
A look of the deepest confusion came over Jeremy's face. Four months? Wouldn't it show by now, then? She wasn't exactly dieting...
"Just because you're such a moron as not to understand, it doesn't mean you have to stare a me like I'm some sort of alien!" Bellatrix rose quickly and swept out of the room, loose black dress and hair billowing behind her.
She was already dressed for the day?
Jeremy looked down at his rumpled pants and button up shirt that had been clawed by Bellatrix.
"So, I guess I'll just shower and then we can figure this thing out?" He called after Bellatrix's retreating form.
"Whatever," her curt response was not the cold tirade he had expected, but even he couldn't turn it in his mind to a nice remark.
As he showered, he thought over what had happened in the short time they'd been here.
Mainly, she was just making him love her even more by being so within reach...yet so impossibly unreachable. She was pregnant with his baby, she was his wife...that was all he had ever wanted, and now that he had it, at long last, he couldn't enjoy it as such, because Bellatrix would kill him if she knew what he was thinking.
He turned off the overhead shower and let the water run off his body for a few minutes before wrapping a towel around his waist and running a hand along his jawline. He didn't need to shave, so he turned to combing his hair hastily before getting into his dark jeans and t-shirt.
When he came out, Bellatrix was laying on the bed, looking annoyed, "About time," she muttered.
Jeremy felt a drop of water roll down the side of his face from his still-wet hair as he was trying to decide whether taking a seat beside Bellatrix would get him killed. She had shifted into a sitting position, so he opted to risk it and sit beside her.
Surprisingly, she only frowned her disapproval before speaking, "Alright, tell me how we're going to get back to our time."
Jeremy blinked, "Eh...Bella, I have no idea yet..."
Bellatrix tensed and she said, in a menacing voice, "Do not call me that."
He let her remark slip past with as little notice as possible, then inquired, "If we can't get back," a warning glance from Bellatrix, so he added, "On the very slight chance that we can't...do you think we could ever...possibly...make this time work?"
"Kasica, let me make something very clear," Bellatrix pointed a finger at him so that it was inches from his face, "I loathe you, and if you cannot get us out of this, you're even more useless than I ever thought, and I will never make myself bear your presence as a husband. You're not worth that much to anyone."
Jeremy swallowed the sting. Her words hurt more than she could ever imagine, "I'll try to find a way."
He was supposed to be finding any clues as to how long ago had been the yesterday they'd actually experienced, but...wedding pictures were not the sort of thing he could just flip through...especially because in nearly every one of them, Bellatrix was holding his hand or arm, kissing him, or he was kissing her. If only that could be now...
Thinking him the embodiment of clumsy and useless, Bellatrix had thrown a pile of scrapbooks, et cetera, at him and demanded he look for dates or some other way to tell time, whilst she looked around the house for who knows what.
They didn't look any older than they did in whatever this year was, so Jeremy guessed it had been less that five years ago. Perhaps seven or eight max.
Bellatrix looked so happy in every single picture, her black eyes practically sparkling with blissful joy. She had worn a long, white, silk and lace dress with sleeves that fell off her shoulders to surround her upper arms (judging by the pictures, Jeremy guessed they'd had a spring wedding). Her long black hair had been pinned on top of her head, yet some loose curls hung about her face.
Jeremy himself looked as if he would explode with unbounded, almost surreal exuberance. He had worn a white suit with a blue tie, obviously influenced by the blue shawl draped around Bellatrix's shoulders in the pictures taken later in the evening.
His eyes lingered on a photograph in which he and Bellatrix held hands and danced, her head on his shoulder, before he forced himself to turn the page.
And there it was.
The wedding of
Bellatrix Cassiopeia Black
Jeremy Michael Kasica
"What God has joined together, let no man separate"
There it was.
This was a paper he had longed to see for years...now, here it was, right in front of him, pressed into a scrapbook along with so many moving wizard photographs that he would have given anything to experience.
What would it be like to kiss Bellatrix?
"Woah, Jeremy, if Bella knew you were thinking that..."
But she didn't, and nothing he could tell himself would remove Bellatrix-centered thoughts such as that from his mind.
"Bella! I found it!" He called, handling it with the utmost care as he slipped it from its protective sleeve.
"Stop calling me that!" Bellatrix sounded weary of repeating herself and him not listening. She entered the living room where he sat, and his breath caught.
She had changed from her dress into fitted jeans and a grey t-shirt that was somewhat stretched, so that he could now see that she did, indeed, have a-very small-baby bump.
He knew he was probably staring, openmouthed, but something about this woman carrying his unborn child made him feel suddenly overwhelmed...with what, he couldn't quite tell.
Perhaps it was simply total adoration, or perhaps the searing pain of unrequited love. But it confused him beyond measure because it felt so new, and, while pleasant and comforting, he couldn't tell if maybe, beneath everything else, it hurt more than words could explain...or perhaps that was just the ache of not telling her the true depth of his love for her.
"Would you stop staring at me? What is it you've found?" She had crossed her arms across her chest and now stood in a 'don't-waste-my-time' manner, frowning at him as he sat, surrounded by scrapbooks, on their living room couch.
He handed her the bulletin from their wedding, and when her hand brushed his in taking it, he felt a surge of electricity, to which she seemed totally oblivious.
Her eyes took in each page as she flipped through it before throwing it down, "Rubbish, so many stupid vows...no loopholes whatsoever. Curse you, Jeremy Kasica!"
"Bella...I think we are, truly stuck here. Um...can we make it work?" He sounded unintentionally timid, and he could tell by Bellatrix's expression that she thought him a hopeless case.
"I hate you," she said, "and if you're willing to give up so easily, just die or something, please."
Jeremy flinched at her harshness, and sank down in the cushions of the couch.
"I'm hungry, and finding that I lost three years of my life doesn't make anything better," she continued, heading towards the kitchen.
Their wedding vows had been done in the Unbreakable Vow, with no loopholes. Bellatrix was truly his, and she despised it.
"I need her...I need her so badly..."
Because deep down, Jeremy knew she was, quite literally, his other half. She completed him, made him whole...
...And he loved her for it.
He caught himself before he said something uncontrollable to her just as she was leaving the living room. Why was he so concerned about it? She needed to know he loved her, right?
The truth was, he wanted nothing more than to have her say those words in return.
She had turned back, exasperatedly when he had called after her, and was now waiting with an impatient look.
"Just freaking say it!"
"Eh...I think I'll have lunch too," he finished, lamely, earning an eye-roll from Bellatrix before she marched to the kitchen without giving him another glance.
"Way to go, maybe you really are the loser she thinks you are."
Perhaps Bellatrix would be much harder to win after marriage than before.
A/N: Before one might object to her pregnancy not being visible after four months, I know two women whose pregnancies looked nonexistent until halfway through fourth month, then they grew very quickly...Bellatrix seemed like that sort of person to me.
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