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Chapter 15: Distress
Lionel was hissing and growling at something when we woke up. James grumbled, “Get rid of the damn thing.” I flicked his arm and heard his muffled laugh.
I hauled myself out of bed. “You know, most boyfriends would get out of bed instead of letting their pregnant girlfriend get out.”
He snorted into the pillow. His hair was absolutely everywhere. “Yeah, they would. But I'm not like most boyfriends. I'm even better.”
I rolled my eyes. “Keep believing that.”
“I will,” he said. His voice was muffled but I could hear his amusement. I walked outside and Lionel was walking backwards slowly growling.
I picked Lionel up and tried soothing him. “What's wrong, cat?”
He looked over my shoulder and hissed again. I turned around and saw an owl sitting at the kitchen table, its amber eyes glaring at Lionel.
I put the cat down and headed over to the owl. He held up his leg and let me take the letter before hooting at Lionel (I think he was teasing him), and taking off. I opened the letter and read:
Dear Miss Larissa Rizzo,
We would like to offer you a position in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes within the Obliviator Headquarters…
The rest of the letter was just a blur of congratulations and I felt myself freeze up.
I yelped, “James!” I heard a thump and then followed by heavy footfalls.
“What?” he yawned while rubbing his head. His eyes were scrunched up and he had pillow lines one his face.
I thrust the letter at him and let him read it. When he finished, he grinned. “Congrats then.”
“So, I did get a job? It’s not my imagination?” I said, not letting myself get excited just yet in case I read it wrong.
“You got a job,” he confirmed.
I squealed and bounced up and down on the balls of my feet. I got my dream job! I hugged James and he kissed my temple. I felt a flutter in my stomach and stopped bouncing abruptly.
“What’s wrong?” James asked, watching me.
I bit my lip. “What if I go there and they won’t want me?”
“Why wouldn’t they want you?” he asked.
I placed a hand on my stomach. “Because I’m growing a foetus?”
His expression softened and he put his hands on my hips. “It will be fine. They’ll still want you.”
“How could you possibly know that?” I protested stubbornly, looking down at the floor. I couldn’t look at my feet any longer.
He hesitated. “I don't know, but even if they don’t hire you, you can always go back later, or get another job somewhere else? You don’t need to start working.”
I looked up at him. “Yeah, I do. I don’t want to be relying on you for money for the rest of my life. It’s just a burden for you.”
“You aren’t a burden, Reese. How many times do I need to remind you?” He kissed me and I felt a smile making its way on my cheeks.
He picked the letter back up and said, “You know they want to meet you tomorrow, right?”
“What?!” I yelped. “Let me look at that.” He handed it back to me and sure enough, it said he wanted to meet me tomorrow.
I needed to buy some clothes.
“Alright, so what clothes do you have?!” Victoire clapped her hands together and stared at my closed wardrobe. I had called Victoire in because she was very fashion-obsessed and was probably the best person to decide the clothes that I should wear.
I frowned. “Nothing work suitable and nothing that actually fits.” She sighed and opened the doors.
“We’ll find something,” she said hopefully.
I sat down on my bed and said, “I don’t think so. I’ve just expanded everything magically.”
She gasped and looked at me in horror. “No! You can’t do that! Everything will just get ruined!”
I rolled my eyes. “No it won’t!”
“Okay maybe not,” she admitted, “but it’s always fun to buy new clothes!”
“Yes, but with what money? It’s cheaper just expanding everything,” I pointed out.
She sat down on the bed next to me. “James has money,” she started to say.
I protested immediately, “No, no, no, that’s James’ money. I can’t use it.”
She grinned mischievously and ducked out. “James!” she called out.
“What?” I walked out and saw him and Teddy watching Quidditch. Louis was asleep.
Victoire smiled and said sweetly, “Because I’m your favourite cousin—”
“What do you want?” he asked flatly.
She grinned and said bluntly, “Can I borrow some money?”
He finally tore his eyes away from the TV and so did Teddy. “Vic, why don’t you use our money? Not your little cousin’s,” he said pointedly.
“It’s for Reese, not me,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“What for?” James asked suspiciously.
I shook my head. “It’s for the interview. I just wanted to expand my clothes but Victoire is insisting that I should buy new clothes. Don’t worry about it.”
“Why do you need clothes?” Louis mumbled, finally waking up.
“Why are you so tired, Lou?” Victoire asked him.
He yawned. “Work.”
Teddy poked him. “You don’t work. You just bug everyone in the middle of the night.”
He grinned sleepily but before he could say anything, James rolled his eyes and turned back to me. “So?”
“So we need your money so we can buy Reese clothes because she has a job interview tomorrow and she needs to look pretty,” Victoire sang.
James scrutinised me and I gave him a shrug. “I can just expand everything.”
He shook his head and said, “Nah, just use it. You know where it is, right?” I nodded and bounded to our room, looking for where we usually kept the money. When I came back out, I gave him a quick kiss.
“Thank you! Love you! Bye!” I called out as Victoire tugged me out of the apartment.
“Perfect!” she said, clapping her hands excitedly. “Now we’ll go shopping!” I grinned and she danced excitedly.
“I can’t believe how cheap everything was!” Victoire said, holding about five bags.
Only one of them was mine!
I was just holding the other four.
“I know, right?” I agreed. She quickly shoved all the bags in my hands before opening the door. I looked at her and asked, “Why am I carrying all the shopping?”
“Teddy will kill me if he sees me holding all these bags,” she explained.
I laughed and she pushed the door open. “I DIDN’T BUY ANYTHING!” she yelled as soon as we walked in.
Teddy and James jumped and spun around. “How long has this match gone for?” Victoire asked.
“Not long, just since you left,” Teddy said, frowning at Victoire, “how long ago was that?”
I tried hiding the bags behind me when Victoire jumped in front of them. “That was four hours ago! What game’s that? Who’s playing?” she asked.
“It was between the Tornadoes and Puddlemere, what are you doing?” Teddy asked, as Victoire was mouthing ‘Put the bags away’.
She panicked and I quickly tried putting the bags behind me before they turned around. “A BANANA IS A BERRY!”
“…What?” they chorused.
She nodded. “Well the banana plant is a herb but the actual banana is a berry! Bet you didn’t know that! Let’s go back to watching Quidditch!” She sat down and shoved their faces towards the TV. I tried moving the bags in the corner of the room but James noticed me.
He asked, “What did you get?”
“They aren’t all mine!” I protested.
James grinned at me and said, “I don’t care. What’d you get?”
I sighed and pulled out the five of my own bags. “I paid for three of these bags, and then the rest of them I used your money.”
James frowned and he said, “Stop worrying about the money, Reese!” Teddy was talking to Victoire (who was gesturing wildly with her hands) and I beckoned James over.
“James, look—” I started.
He sighed. “Why are you worrying about this so much?”
I looked down and wrung my hands together nervously. “It’s just that I’m going to be relying on you for so long. I just don’t want to make you resent me or anything…”
He put his hand on my shoulders and said gently, “I’m not gonna resent you Reese, I got you into this situation—”
“But it wasn’t only you! I got myself into this situation as well! I can’t just sit here and let you pay for everything!” I said, noticing my nails had turned grey.
“Reese, you may as well be thankful that I make a bit more money than most people our age. It’s lucky and so why not make the most of it?”
I ran a hand through my hair. “James, babies are expensive. We can get everything second-hand and all that, but still – it’s going to be a big dip in your money and we shouldn’t be worrying about things like this! Most people our age are going out and clubbing, getting drunk every other night and then you’re being so supportive and I just feel like I’ve taken that part of your life away from you!”
He shrugged. “I got to do that before. It isn’t that great. But really shouldn’t you be annoyed because you’re the one that never ‘experienced it’?” He made quotation marks with his hands.
I sighed and rested my head on his chest. “Honestly, I don’t really care. But I just feel like – I don’t know… I feel as if—”
“As if what?” he asked.
I chewed on the bottom of my lip. “I don’t know. I feel like one day you’re going to hate me for all this. And I know it isn’t true but it’s just this nagging feeling in the back of my mind. It’s probably me just going crazy but—”
He cut me off, “Reese, I’m never going to hate you. Unless you murder all my family, then I probably will hate you.” I laughed and he pressed a kiss to the top of my head. “But I highly doubt that would happen. So in conclusion, I’ll never hate you.” I smiled and then stepped away from him.
“Come on, we have company.”
“OH MY GOSH. I AM SO FAT!” I yelled at the horrendously fat thing in the mirror.
Oh wait, that was just me.
“Calm down!” James said. “You look fine!”
“CALM DOWN?!” I shrieked. “CALM DOWN?! LOOK AT HOW FAT I AM! I’M MEANT TO BE GOING FOR A JOB INTERVIEW AND I LOOK LIKE A FUCKING WHALE!”
He blinked and walked out. I grumbled and pulled at the top a bit more, as if that would make me look less fat.
When I walked out, James was making breakfast. “James?” I asked tentatively.
“I’m sorry for yelling at you. I’m just really stressed about this interview,” I said earnestly.
He turned around and smiled at me. “I know.” I frowned and he explained, “I’m trying this new thing. Every time you yell at me, I walk out.”
I stared at him for a bit and then shook my head. I wasn’t going to waste my time trying to work out James’ insane thoughts. I went to help him but he shooed me away.
“I won’t do anything bad!” I protested.
“Yes you will. Last time I let you help and you nearly burnt Lionel. Actually on second thoughts, you can help.” He laughed and ducked when I went to slap him on the upside of the head.
Lionel grumbled from James’ shoes. I picked him up and said, “Don’t worry, Lionel. James is just a meany-poo who’s jealous of your ginger fur.”
Lionel purred and snuggled into me. He was so adorable. I couldn’t understand how James hated him! “James?” I asked.
“Yeah?” He looked up from his cooking.
“Why do you hate Lionel so much?”
He narrowed his eyes and said, “I just don’t like cats. And your cat is pure evil.”
Lionel hissed at him and I rubbed the back of his ears. Immediately, he started purring and closing his eyes in content.
“He isn’t evil! You must give off a bad aura or something,” I argued.
He laughed and turned back to the cooking. “What time’s your interview again?”
“Twelve-thirty. I have plenty of time.” I put down Lionel and brushed all the fur off me. “He’s malting!” I crinkled my nose and pulled out my wand to get rid of all the excess fur.
“See this is why you don’t have cats,” James pointed out, bringing the breakfast (well, it’s more like a brunch because it was eleven thirty) over. My stomach gave a loud rumble when I smelt the bacon.
“Shut up and let me eat,” I snapped. He looked taken aback and I said quietly, “I’m sorry again.”
He grinned and sat opposite me. “Stop worrying about it, Reese. You’ll get the job.”
I made a face and chewed my sausages thoughtfully. “I dunno, I don’t think they’ll want someone who won’t be able to work in a few months.”
He rolled his eyes and said, “So? Maybe they’ll see how great you are and hire you anyway?”
I finished my breakfast and noticed it was twelve. “James, I better get going. I’ll see you later, yeah?” He nodded and I gave him a quick kiss before Flooing to the Ministry of Magic.
After the uncomfortable encounter with an ex of mine (“WOW, YOU’RE KNOCKED UP?!”), I was waiting for them to call me in. I kept fidgeting because I’d never gone for a job before so I was nervous as fuck.
Oh God, I hope I don’t swear in the interview. Imagine that.
Interviewer: Hi nice to meet you. I’m such-and-such, what about you?
Me: I’m Larissa, it’s nice to fucking meet you!
That would be awkward.
I probably wouldn’t get the job if that happened. They’d probably kick me out and ban me from getting a job FOREVER! Then I’d be broke and always rely on James for financial issues and then I might become one of those Quidditch wives/girlfriends who always scab off their husbands/boyfriends and then the whole Wizarding population will hate me because James will end up ugly because that’s what happened to Quidditch stars with gold-digging girlfriends.
“Larissa Rizzo?” I stood up and smiled. “Mr Kate will see you now.” I nodded and followed the assistant inside. I noticed she was staring at my stomach (it was pretty hard to miss) but I ignored her anyway.
I opened the door and a middle-aged man was sitting in a massive chair.
Seriously, the thing was huge.
He stood up and strode over to me to shake my hand. “Miss Rizzo. A pleasure to meet you. Please, sit.” He gestured for me to sit and I obeyed immediately.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Mr Kate. Thank you for giving me this opportunity,” I said warmly.
He shook his head and sat down as well. “Please, call me Peter. So I’m just going to ask you a few questions, if that’s okay with you.”
I nodded and he clapped his hands together in the way rich mafia men do in the movies. “Okay, it says that you went to Hogwarts here?” he asked, looking at my résumé.
“Yes I did.” I smiled at him and he gave me a warm smile back.
“Gryffindor,” I said proudly.
He shook his head and winked. “Slytherin is where it’s at.” I laughed and he said, “Are you going to be a stereotypical Gryffindor and not trust me?”
I shook my head. “No, I won’t.”
He smiled and looked back down at my résumé. “Good, good. Now…” he asked me questions and I responded as eagerly as I could. After a few questions about my qualifications and why I wanted this job, he folded his arms.
“Now, I noticed that you were…” he drifted off and looked at me.
“Pregnant,” I finished for him.
He nodded and continued, “Didn’t want to assume or anything. So, if you did get the job, how would this work?”
I bit my lip. “I’m currently twenty weeks, so half-way. I would be able to work any days but I’d probably leave about two weeks before I’m due?” I asked hesitantly.
He looked thoughtful and nodded slowly. “Currently, we’re quite desperate for people, so I’ll have a talk with the other managers and I’ll send you an owl if you got the job or not. I think you will, you seem like the perfect candidate.”
“Oh, okay,” I said, smiling at him, “do you know how long the owl will be?”
“About a week or so. But I think you will get the job, you answered everything correctly and you got the required marks. So I’ll just congratulate you on the baby.” I smiled and shook his outstretched hand. “Do you know if it’s a boy or girl?” he inquired.
“We decided to keep it a surprise,” I said, “but thank you so much for giving me this opportunity.”
He opened the door for me and said, “It was no trouble at all. Thank you for coming in.” I smiled at him and walked out.
I had the biggest smile on my face and when I was walking, I heard a, “Reese?! Is that you?!”
I turned around and saw Colleen Finnigan walking towards me. “Colleen!” I said excitedly, giving her a hug.
“I heard that you were pregnant! I didn’t think it was true though,” she said, staring at my stomach.
“How’d you hear that?” I asked, nervous in case the media found out.
She rolled her eyes at me. “Who would have told me? Roxy of course!” I relaxed and she said, “So what are you doing here?”
“I just had an interview,” I said proudly.
She started jumping up and down excitedly. “Ooh! Where, where, where?!”
“The Obliviator department.” Her jaw dropped and I suddenly remembered that she wanted to be an Obliviator as well. “Do you work there?!” I asked excitedly.
She nodded and gave me another hug. “Oh my God! We can be work buddies! That’s so exciting! And it doesn’t mean I have to work every day! YES!”
I put my hands up. “I don’t have the job just yet, though. So save your excitement because I mightn’t get it.”
She rolled her eyes. “They do that with everyone. They usually all get the job.”
“Might be different for me,” I pointed out.
She waved a careless hand. “Nah, it probably won’t be. They need people, stat. So I’m sure you’ll get it,” she assured me confidently.
I shrugged and said, “Anyway, I better be going. Catch up soon, yeah?” She nodded and gave me one last hug before walking off.
After waving, I Flooed back home and I heard James in the shower. I was so eager to get out of the tight skirt and into comfy pants.
I had just pulled on a pair of track pants (it was uncharacteristically cold today) and I felt a little nudge in my stomach. I didn’t think much of it until it happened again.
HOLY SHIT THE BABY JUST KICKED.
My hand flew to my stomach and I waited for it to kick again. After a few minutes I felt another kick and a massive smile took over my face.
“JAMES!” I shrieked. I quickly ran to the bathroom and knocked on the door. “I’M COMING IN!”
I threw the door open and he was wrapping a towel around himself.
“What?!” He looked at my hands, which were clutching my stomach and then his eyes widened. “What’s wrong?!”
I grinned and grabbed his sopping wet hand. “Feel! Feel! Feel!”
He tried pulling his hand back. “Reese, I’m wet – your shirt is going to get w—WAS THAT A KICK?!”
I nodded and he grinned like Christmas had come early. He shifted his towel and then placed both of his hands on my stomach. His face fell slightly and I pointed out, “It can’t kick all the time, you know.”
He nodded and went to take his hands away but then the baby kicked again. He beamed and said, “That’s amazing, Reese.”
“I know,” I agreed. He bent down and gave me a kiss. It was a little sloppy because he was so wet, but it was still very sweet.
When we broke apart, I saw that his hair was dripping everywhere, the water was still running and my shirt was ridiculously wet but I couldn’t care less. My baby had kicked!
He went back into the shower and I walked out of the bathroom to get changed. I rubbed my stomach and thought about the little baby inside of me.
When I first saw the scan photo, I didn’t have that ‘attachment’ that everyone seemed to talk about. I didn’t cry – I didn’t feel anything.
But now, feeling my baby kick was absolutely incredible. It was strange, I was just twenty weeks but this baby had changed my whole life already.
What was it like when he or she was actually going to be born?
I smiled as I felt another slight movement and an unexpected warm feeling rushed through me. Something that I didn’t expect to have.
Something called love.
Okay, in case any of you were wondering track pants are what Americans call sweat pants, I Googled it to see what English people called them in case Australia was just weird but nothing else came up...
So hopefully this is right! If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me in a review! ;)