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Chapter 10: Alexa: When News is Told
I don't know why people love Fridays so much. Sure, it can mark the beginning of the weekend, but aren't most too tired from the week to want to do anything but wind down? I am; that's why Al and I, usually with the other four, would order take out and watch a movie. Saturday we'd go out, that was my favorite night of the week, although our Fridays weren't so bad, just uneventful. Until now.
Maybe one day I'll go back to having uneventful Fridays and fun Saturdays. Until then, I hate them both. I'm dreading this talk and my Saturdays are pretty much gone now.
I groan at myself in the mirror and throw my jeans onto my bed. Today we have our twelve week scan and then lunch with the guys, which will lead to us telling them I'm pregnant, and all I can think about is how much I'm hating the days. As if the days are more important; I've got four friends waiting for me and I dread to think of what they'd say.
Except Chris. I think Albus is right; he won't take it so bad, especially after his cousin... I wonder if I can talk to Tasha about all of this. She's been in my situation and, although Albus' mum and Aunt Astoria are great and all, they were in their twenties and were married. I really would like to talk to someone who knows what this is like.
Making a mental note to talk to Chris about meeting Tasha at some point, I grab another clean pair of jeans and finish getting dressed and ready. Downstairs, Al is already eating breakfast and he's alone, so I assume Chris has already gone to the Ministry. He basically tells me exactly what I've assumed while I make my own breakfast.
"How are you feeling?" he asks when I sit next to him. His eyes are narrowed slightly, concern clear in his tone, and I can't help but smile. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I consider myself very lucky to have to go through this with Al; he's sweet and caring and will be a good dad. I know a few guys who'd be inconsiderate assholes with no idea what to do and a couple who'd just walk away, sadly. I wonder if Tasha's kid's dad had walked away if he'd known; I can't remember her saying she'd told him.
"I'm okay," I tell him eventually. And I am; there was no morning sickness before. I dare not hope, it's sprung up on me in the afternoon a few times, but so far, nothing is a good thing. I hate being ill. "Are you ready for today?"
"For the scan; yes. For the lunch; not so much," he mutters honestly, playing with his cereal. "Rationally, I know that they won't take it so horribly, they are our best friends, but I can't help but think bad things anyway."
I chew my toast slowly, trying to come up with an answer good enough to make him feel better, but nothing comes to me. I decide to just wing it. "It's hard not to think negatively, but we know our friends and we know the positives. This talk will be a piece of cake. It's the rest of the world I'm worried about," I mutter that last bit, not really wanting him to hear that part. At all.
You know, I think I really started to help him, right until the end. Now he's all pale and looks like he could be sick at any moment. He pushes his breakfast away from him. "I don't want to think about anyone who isn't friends and family right now. One step at a time, please."
...Oh, so he did hear me mutter.
I squeeze his shoulder gently and nod. I hope it reassures him. "Of course, I'm sorry. We're going one step at a time. There is no one else involved, except for the two of us and our friends."
"Thank you," Al replies. We finish our breakfast quietly, then he takes our plates and washes them. "Are you ready to go?" he asks once he's done stalling.
I nod again. This part is easy, we've already done this. I follow Al through the house, into the living room, and he grabs the floo powder, handing it to me. "Ladies first."
"Thank you, sir," I reply, playing along and trying to stay serious. But it's so hard to do when he's got his really stupid grin showing. I refuse to look him in the eye and grab the floo quickly. If I look at him, I won't stop laughing. And we have to go. I call out our destination and step out, into the hospital's travel room. Albus steps out next and we make small talk on our way to the 'baby ward', as he and the males in his family like to call it... And Roxy, of course.
It's a different receptionist telling us to sit down and wait for our healer, but the same medi-witch who comes out calling my name. "I'm just going to run to the restroom," Al whispers in my ear, walking away and leaving me to enter the room alone. Well, he seems more afraid of this part than I do, I can't wait for him to realize he has to enter alone, too. I wish I could wait outside so I can see his face, but then he probably wouldn't give me the reaction I wanted, considering he wouldn't be coming in alone. I'll have to be content with my imagination.
I don't know why he's trying to stall this bit anyway, I thought he'd stall leaving.
I make myself comfortable on the bed. It seriously is so comfy, part of me wishes I could take one home. But that would be weird. I lay slouched, with my legs crossed over, and wait for Healer Moore to enter the room. Or Albus, if he hasn't caused himself to pass out on the way. He's only ever passed out once since I've known him. When they were thirteen, he and Emmett got into an argument about a girl in Ravenclaw that they both liked. The fight was about who she would like more, went on for over an hour until Albus made a stupid decision to hold his breath until Emmett backed off. Emmett called his bluff and we all watched as Albus fell to the floor. Em asked that girl out while Al was in the hospital wing.
Girls make thirteen year old boys do crazy things. No, girls make boys of any age do crazy things. Especially Albus, he can do very crazy things for a girl.
The funniest part of that memory was what happened two years later; Emmett came out as gay. No words can describe the look on Al's face that day. He made himself pass out for nothing. Although, by that time Al already had his little crush on Catrine. They got over it pretty quickly.
The door opening interrupts any other memories from coming back and Healer Moore comes in smiling. "Good morning, Alexa," she says brightly. "How have you been? Taking the potions I gave you?"
"Yes," I reply, nodding. "Every time I should, as recommended. And I've been okay, thank you."
"Any morning sickness?"
"Ah, yes, a bit. But none today. So far," I add quickly.
"Morning sickness tends to stop around the beginning of the second trimester, so I wouldn't worry about it anymore," Healer Moore reassures me. "Where is Albus? Sophie told me you were both here."
"He is in the restroom," I explain. "He should be here any minute -" the door opens and he steps in. "Now."
"What were you two talking about?" he asks suspiciously, eyes narrowed slightly.
I smirk. "We were just wondering if you had any more obvious questions you wanted to share with us," I lie.
Albus frowns at me, and then actually frowns at Healer Moore. "None today, I'm all out of obvious questions. Where's the -" he stops mid-sentence and frowns at the chair that is by his side. "Never mind."
Both me and Healer Moore laugh. I like that we have a healer who can laugh with us. I'm so glad Ginny called her for us. Albus puts his finger to his lips; he wants us to stop laughing and pretend that his almost obvious question never happened. So I almost let it go, giving him the occasional dig while Healer Moore sets up the machine that will show us the baby again.
"We're going to check the baby's development, okay," she tells us, professional once again. We nod, teasing over for now, and I roll up my t-shirt at her request. I shiver slightly when the cold mouse-like thing (as Al so eloquently put it) touches my stomach and he squeezes my hand. I'm glad he's here, obvious questions and all. Healer Moore points at the screen. "And there she is. Or he," she adds quickly.
"Yeah, when can we find out about the sex of the baby?" Al asks. "We haven't talked about it, and I actually kind of want it to be a surprise, but I thought I'd ask. Just so we know."
"When you have your next scan, at around twenty weeks," Healer Moore answers him with a smile. "We can talk more about that scan and the baby at a later date."
She goes back to the scan, telling us about the baby; its size, its heartbeat, that its healthy. The whole appointment doesn't take as long as I'd thought it would be, and before I know it she's already taken another picture and removed the mouse from my stomach. I sit up and fix my t-shirt, my legs swinging and my hands twitching. I'm nervous now, after we leave here we're going to meet our friends in town. Chris will have finished his Auror training by now and Al and I are meeting him and the others at our regular place. It's a café not too far from Diagon Alley, we'd go there before or after we bought our school supplies, depending on what time we decided to go. Well, depending on what time Emmett decided to go; he can be such a girl when it comes to his appearance.
"Are you okay, Alexa?" Healer Moore asks quietly. They're both watching me intently.
"We're just a little nervous about lunch, we're telling our friends today," Albus explains.
"Oh," she nods once, understanding. "I remember a similar conversation once upon a time. Slightly different, though; I was married."
"But your friends took it well?" I ask.
She grimaces. "Yes. The in-laws, however, weren't exactly happy. They didn't like their Pureblood son marrying and having a family with a Half-blood. They're better around me now and they love their grandkids," she says, now smiling. I must have looked as sympathetic as I felt.
My dad doesn't really talk about how it was back then, but I know because it still can be. Old prejudices don't just go away, it doesn't matter what the Ministry says or how many parties they throw to state otherwise. I smile back and stand, grabbing my coat. I swear I don't mean to say it, it just comes out. "Do you talk to all your patients so openly?"
Healer Moore laughs at me. It's soft and surprisingly not what I imagined. I don't feel offended by the fact that she's obviously laughing at my question, which is odd because I usually hate when people laugh at me. "Usually by the end. Like I said before, after so long we end up a little closer, since I'm pretty much the only senior healer with this expertise. But I'm also good friends with your mother and your aunt; you will see a lot of me, not just here. You'll find out all of this anyway." She holds open the door for us and hands me the picture. I put it in my coat pocket. "Good luck with your talk, guys. I'll see you soon. Hopefully, Louis-free."
"He still comes here?" Albus asks in surprise.
Healer Moore shakes her head, then frowns. "Technically, no. He only came once a couple of weeks ago; he found out when my shift ended and waited outside. He must have got it from Ginny, because I was meeting her that night."
"Don't think he's gone away," Al warns her. "He can be very persistent when he wants to be. He was probably really busy with training."
"Yeah," I agree quickly. "He's actually good at what he does. He's one of the best in his class, Dad says. They look for that, make them work that little bit harder. Plus he's in his third year of training and he chose to be a Hit Wizard instead of an Auror, so he'll be given cases and stuff. If you're lucky, it'll tire him out so much he can't come to see you."
"I'll bear that in mind," she laughs lightly.
With the Louis topic dropped, we say our good byes again and leave the hospital. We floo to Diagon Alley from the hospital - we're lazy like that - and leave through the wall, out into London. The café is only a few minutes walk and, like everything else, we decided to wing what we say to them. This makes it extremely hard to fill up the silence between us. We're coming up with things are friends could say, scaring ourselves even more, even though we know we shouldn't. I know we both are because Albus always does it, has been doing it a lot just this week, and I'm usually the one who makes him stop.
God, I really have no idea what to say to them.
"Guys, I'm pregnant," sounds the easiest. Simple enough, right? If we want to get right to it. It sounds like something you'd just blurt out. Same with "Guys, Alexa's pregnant," if Albus takes the lead.
Right now, just blurting it out sounds like a great idea. It'll make the talk go a lot faster.
"There they are," Albus mutters, nudging me in the ribs with his elbow. They're sat outside, our usual table. Emmett notices us first and nods in our direction, since he's sitting at the end of the six-chaired table that faces us, making Chris, Megan and Darcy turn to us. Darcy waves us over. "Here we go."
We get to the table quickly and sit on the other side. Megan takes a sip of her glass of Coke. "Good, you're finally here. Now we can order."
"How did everything go?" Chris asks. I turn to him, trying not to look suspicious. "Al got the day off because he said he had some appointment, I'm just wondering how it went," he tells me innocently. A little too innocently, I think. What is he thinking?
"It went fine," Al assures him. So he knows Chris is thinking something too, yet he doesn't seem to care.
"It's odd, being here and not talking about getting ready for Hogwarts," Darcy muses, temporally distracting me from that thought. "Probably because we're usually already in school by this time." She pauses for a drink. "I think I'll like that we can come here more often."
"Yeah, that would definitely be the highlight of my day," Emmett replies dryly.
"Ignore Em, he's in a mood because we keep asking about his new boyfriend," Chris snickers.
"You're seeing someone?" both me and Albus ask.
Emmett says nothing.
"He won't admit to anything," Megan explains with a grin. "We're not sure why and we're trying to get it out of him. He's a very stubborn Slytherin."
"Aren't we all?" Emmett points out, rolling his eyes. "So, besides the house, what's new with you two?"
"Well," Al says, stuttering a little. "That's actually why we planned this lunch."
"I'm pregnant." See, I told you I'd just blurt it out. I should really learn to stop that. I point to Albus. "It's his."
They all share a look, which really confuses me, and then they turn back to me and Al. They're waiting for something.
"And?" Megan prompts calmly.
"You are taking this too well," I say instead.
"Sorry. And?" Megan says a little more dramatic. "Was that better?"
Albus smacks Chris across the arm. "You told them?"
I smack Albus across the arm. "You told him!"
"No!" he promises me. "He figured it out at the party and I wasn't going to outright lie about it. He promised to keep it quiet until we told everyone."
"I didn't tell them, I swear," Chris says calmly. "Emmett did. He said it as soon as we sat down and the others agreed. I don't know how they knew. I think he did something again."
"Please," Emmett scoffs. "It's you two, I'd be more worried if you hadn't slept together. And you bought a house, with a nursery and a garden with a swing. It doesn't take a genius, but I took the stereotypical viewpoint and crossed my fingers when I saw the nursery. Congratulations, by the way. And my question about what was new was referring to the appointment, which I could only assume was a scan of some sort."
I narrow my eyes. Now more than ever, I swear he has some weird psychic power. "You really are more than just a pretty face, aren't you, Em."
"Oh, so much more," he winks.
"You're boyfriend must like that about you, I would."
His smirk drops a little. "Maybe," he says vaguely.
"But you still only guessed. This could have gone so wrong for you."
"I'm lucky I was right then."
The waitress comes before any of us can say something else and we order our food, as well as drinks for me and Al. She writes everything down, and with a smile, tells us she'll be back with our meals soon. We stare at each other for a full minute before we all burst out laughing. Our talk definitely didn't go to plan, since they had already guessed, but they knew either way and they had taken it well. Better than I had hoped for and I can't help but be a little excited. I put one hand on Al's shoulder and stretch so my other is on Emmett's and I glance from him to Megan, wanting him to do the same. Soon we're all holding onto the other and we lean forward slightly, squeezing each other's shoulders. It's as close to a group hug around the table as we're going to get.
I really love my friends.
"The scan was fine," I tell them, taking the picture out of my pocket for them to look at. "Our healer says he or she looks healthy."
"Will you find out the sex of the baby in the next scan?" Darcy asks.
"Well, I found out today that Al wants to keep it a surprise, and I agree, so no," I reply. "We could, though. So, we have the option if we change our minds."
"You can find out a few things in the twenty week scan, if I remember correctly," Chris comments. "Tasha had tests done for any abnormalities. I went with her for that one. Everything was fine, though."
"Fingers crossed then," Albus murmurs, looking slightly worried again.
The change in atmosphere is noticeable and the others start talking over each other, until Darcy holds up a hand. "So, about Emmett's new boyfriend. Oh, don't think we'd forgotten," she laughs when he groans.
"Fine," he gives in. As they all knew he would. We're actually surprised he lasted this long. "It's new, it started in April while we were still in school, so we don't really want to jinx it by telling everyone. He's -" Emmett falters a little, but then clears his throat and continues. "He's still in school, he's a couple of years younger than us. He was sixteen and I was seventeen when we started dating."
For once, he sounds like he doesn't completely hate that his birthday is near the end of August and he's younger than the rest of us. Another couple of days and he probably would have been in the year below us and in school right now, spending his day with his new boyfriend and being harassed by Lily because she loves the idea of having a gay best friend and apparently just having Hugo isn't enough, as he is her cousin and not just a friend.
She's a strange kid.
"And it being new is why we can't know his name?" Chris continues.
"Yes and no," Emmett frowns. "I'm friends with one of his family members and they're quite close. He's more protective of the person I'm seeing than the others because he's the youngest and I don't want anything to come between me and my friend or them." He turns to Al. "I don't know what to do."
"Is this guy the type to make you choose between him and the one your seeing?" Albus asks him.
Emmett shakes his head. "I'd never think he would, but I've never dated someone in his family before. He's generally the type to make you come to an agreement before making you choose, saying we're all stuck with each other, so I hope not."
Nodding, Al smiles. "Then talk to the guy about it, maybe wait for your boyfriend to come home at Christmas, so you can do it together and he can see that you're serious. If you are serious, that is."
"I am. I really like him."
"Then from what you've said about the guy, he might be fine with it. It might be a little weird, but he'll probably get used to it."
"Yeah, maybe," Em nods. "Maybe I'll wait and we'll both talk to him. It'll give us time to figure out what to say."
"You know, he sounds an awful lot like you, Al," Darcy comments and I have to agree with her. She sounds almost nonchalant, except she's got that look in her eye that says she knows something. Maybe she's figured out who Emmett's referring to and who the boyfriend is. I'll have to get it out of her later. "You might get a new best friend out of all of this."
Emmett clears his throat, while we all laugh. "Let's not get carried away." He takes my hand. "I am sorry, Alex, I'm practically stealing your thunder here. Let's talk baby names."
I almost snap at him for the name he calls me, before I remember that he's the only one I let call me 'Alex'. It's just that he hasn't in so long and James has. I refuse to let James call me anything other than Alexa. Still, I narrow my eyes anyway. "If you are another person telling me to name the baby after you, I'll hurt you."
Emmett narrows his eyes, too. Him in genuine confusion. "Why would I do that? I want to know what names you like."
Oh, Emmett, I love you. Why can't others be like you when you're sweet like this? Set an example. I smile brightly, and as lunch arrives, we go through the list of baby names I've secretly thought of and add new one's my best friends have thought of.
Surprisingly enough, Emmett ends up being added to it.
Chris is far from happy.
It's a good job that everyone knows our group are so close and that it's no secret that Emmett is gay and that he says his new boyfriend is very understanding of our friendships, because before Emmett came out publicly and he was dating girls (and guys) who were easily jealous, they hated that we were always holding hands.
Seriously, if there wasn't a whisper about my relationship with Al, there was a rumor about my relationship with Emmett. Someone once asked me who was better. Another wanted to know if I loved them both so much I couldn't decide. What made it worse was that no one believed me when I told them they were just friends and I was actually dating a very understanding Gryffindor named Robbie, who thought it was great that I had such an awesome group of friends and loved that I was telling people about him, but wasn't appreciating the fact that they weren't listening.
Emmett did us all a favor when he told people he was gay and seeing a Ravenclaw named Scott, people stopped talking about us when they saw us holding hands and it was just Albus and I that were the make believe 'it couple'.
Obviously Robbie and I didn't last.
I think that what got to me the most was the two questions that constantly circled in my mind: why did the school only want to see me with Albus or Emmett, especially when I spent a lot of time with Chris, too? And why did they even care?
And the only reason Em and I are always holding hands is because he likes to get lost in that creative little head of his and disappear. We need to make sure he stays with us. At least that's what we told him after he took a wrong turn in first year, after our first class together because he wasn't paying attention. He missed dinner and almost got a detention for being out after hours, but after he explained he just got a warning and suggested he get a map of the school. That was the night Al showed us his dad's Marauder's Map, which James had stolen from Mr. Potter's office and Al had stolen from James.
Him taking my hand just became a routine, that we still do now, and it makes us laugh when random Muggles point at the 'adorable looking couple', even though the fact that they're talking about us is weird. I just hope his new boyfriend is more like Scott than the others.
I miss Scott, he was cool.
Emmett squeezes gently to get my attention and I squeeze back, so he knows I'm listening. "I think we should all go out next week. We can do whatever you want, with no drinking, I just miss our Saturday nights. We barely hung out all summer."
"It's sounds like a great idea," Megan says and Chris agrees enthusiastically. Al gives me a worried look, to which I roll my eyes, and then he nods, too.
"Sure," I tell him. "Just the six of us, so you can forget you don't have your guy? Or would you not object to Darcy bringing Ewan, who would bring Will, who would bring Rose?" I pull a face. "Please say you would."
Emmett shakes his head, looking sympathetic. They all know Rose and I aren't on good terms. Al swears he'll fix it one day. I'm not so sure. "If Darcy wants to bring Ewan and he wants to invite them, we can't stop it. Besides, you just won't talk to Rose. You can be my date for the night, as long as I can secretly have at least a couple of drinks," he amends his previous statement.
"Your guy won't mind?"
"Not at all."
"I'm really starting to like this guy. I hope you introduce us soon." I make him promise.
"That's just great," Al moans. "Megan will probably find someone else to be with, which means you're leaving me with Chris," he jokes.
"And what the hell is wrong with Chris?" Chris demands, playing along.
Albus snorts. "One; I spend all day with you anyway, you need to give me my space. Two; you're just not my type."
"You know what? I just can't do this any more," Chris mock-cries. "We're just not working as partners, the spark has gone. I think we should end it before someone gets hurts."
I think he's referring to them being partners in Auror training, despite it being an obvious joke. It's what Al is talking about anyway. "You should have thought about that before you agreed to be my partner. Now you're stuck with me. Is that why you're always kicking my ass?"
"No." Chris winks and Al blushes and they both glance at me. Then Al pushes him to the side; he just misses the passing group of adults going in the opposite direction. "Sorry," he mutters to them between giggles. "Ow. I think I twisted my ankle."
Yet he's still laughing. There must have something in his drink at the café. Emmett let's go of me to walk with the guys, Megan and Darcy take a side each and we walk with our arms looped.
"So what's it like, being pregnant? Knowing you're going to be a mum?" Darcy asks quietly.
I shrug. "Terrifying. But when you're talking about it, getting the room ready and seeing the image on the screen and picking names and all that, you can't help but get a little excited. Especially when you know he's going to have the best family ever, including the aunts and uncles." They know I mean them. "I'm glad you all took it so well. I was afraid you'd freak out and leave until we drifted apart and stopped hanging out completely."
"Arrational fears was all that was," Megan assures. "We're best friends. Always have been and always will be, no matter what. We wouldn't be very good best friends if we left you when you and Al needed us. I mean, you've met Al's family; this kid is going to need us if he or she wants to survive them. Albus is no use for that, considering he spends most of his time avoiding them. His Weasley survival skills are actually lacking."
"I heard that!"
Oh, Al. I'm pretty sure he was meant to.
A/N: It's been so long since I updated this, and for that I apologize. I hope you like this chapter and I'll definitely try to make sure the next update is quicker. :)
Watch out for Emmett. There's more to him (if you're confused about how he knew...). ;)