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Silver Linings by TheHeirOfSlytherin

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 26
Word Count: 120,480
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing), Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ginny, Scorpius, Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Hugo, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Teddy/Victoire

First Published: 06/11/2012
Last Chapter: 06/07/2013
Last Updated: 03/11/2014

Summary:
Albus/Alexa

Banner by deceptive_serenade @ TDA.

One drunken night, meant to cheer up a friend, turns into a commitment neither Albus Potter or Alexa Nott think they're ready for: Parenthood.

Do you believe every cloud has a silver lining?


Chapter 13: Alexa: When Moments Deserve An Awkward Tick
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I wake up feeling more tired now than I did last night, but oddly excited. One should not be both tired and excited. Oh, God. One? Ah, I sound just like Emmett, except when he says it he's usually mocking his family. And I sounded serious.

I groan, lying back into my pillow; of all the things to think about first thing in the morning. I turn from my side to my back and stare up at the ceiling, thinking about last night. My date with Rich was fun, loads of fun, and I really enjoyed myself. He took me to a family friend's birthday dinner party, which turned out to be way more exciting than I thought it would be. Rich's friend, well the kid of his uncle's friend, is really boring, as are the guests he invited, but Rich and I kept ourselves entertained. We made up stories about them, which is definitely not mean when they can't hear us - shush - and we came up with reasons as to why they are so dull. He's quite the storyteller, almost as good as Emmett - but not quite. He picked a good career path. He's a very capable journalist.

When we left, happily leaving their disapproving looks behind, he Apparated me into the city for real food, then to the same spot we used to leave and walked me home, kissed me on the cheek and said he'd call.

Yeah, it was a fun night. And I really like Rich; it's hard to believe he and Jessica are related, except for the occasional gleam in his eye when you wonder what he might be up to and know you have to be careful. Then you see the family resemblance.

That doesn't put me off seeing him again, I like him and I'm taking Em's advice about our limited time together, but there's something... missing.

Maybe I just have too many things to think about right now; I have the baby and Albus to think about. Right now, definitely Albus. He's trying to hide the fact that he's hiding something from me, it's as though he thinks I've never seen this behavior before and he can hide it. I've seen it with others, never with me. I think that's what I hate most, that he's really using this behavior on me.

For that alone I'll find out what the hell is going on with him.

That's my goal, and with it in mind, I push back the bed sheets and jump out of bed, breakfast and a hot shower will wake me up. In that order. I leave my room and make my way to the kitchen, where I notice a recently met face sitting at the table.

"You're still here."

Xavier turns to face me and raises a cup of tea - I can smell it - in salute before going back to his breakfast.

"I am," he answers when I'm stood in front of him and he's finished swallowing. "I hope you don't mind. I made breakfast, eggs and bacon, as a thank you for letting me crash on your floor."

"Yum," I say gratefully, taking enough food for two and piling it into my plate. Well, I am eating for two, as the saying goes, and I'm so hungry. "How was the floor?"

"Pleasant." I turn back to face him, sitting opposite him at the small dining table, and frown. "Oh, Al brought me pillows and a blanket," he explains with a smile.

I smile back. I thought I loved meeting Xavier last night, all cocky and confident, except for the story anyway. But this Xavier, with the nice, genuine smile, who can cook, an Xavier who looks adorable with the dimble in his right cheek, seems way more... normal. More like a regular guy than a celebrity. I love this Xavier more.

He has a familiar face, a smile I know. I wonder why I recognize this version of Xavier so much.

Then I hear footsteps and I know Al and Chris are coming; I conclude that it's because he's only three years older than us and went to school with my brother and Nicky. I'd seen him around plenty of times, that'd be when I saw that smile.

"Oh, good, breakfast."

"Thank Xavier," I tell them, pointing to the food. "He's a better roommate than you already, Chris, I may have to kick you out and let him stay. None of us can really cook," I add just for Xavier.

"Well, I can't clean, so I'm pretty useless beyond the oven," he grins. "Not that I have anything to clean; I'm never home."

They do thank Xavier and sit down at the table, stuffing the food down. I don't think they're even able to taste it, not really. I keep my eyes on Albus. He notices, looks up every couple of minutes, but he doesn't keep eye contact and he doesn't speak to me when he's done eating, not directly at least.

"That was delicious, thanks. We should go, we don't want to be late."

"We've got time," Chris says, proving that by taking time to finish the rest of his eggs. "Besides I want to talk to you about you not needing to trade roommates because I may have already found a place."

"You?" I ask, skeptical. My eyebrows are raised and I can't help the chuckle that escapes. Even Al forgets he's being weird around me to share a similar look with me and he must have told Xavier enough about us for my favorite blond - other than Nicky - to keep up with us. "You found a place? All by yourself?"

"Yes," Chris says, defending himself well. But the looks we give him must cause him to give up because he sighs and shrugs. "Megan did. Oh, don't look all smug. She found a place and the one across from hers was also vacant. She put my name down and we're going to look at them after training today. The apartment building is not too far from St. Mungo's, which is convenient for her, and I can easily get to the Ministy via floo."

Albus laughs. "So, you'll be living next door to a friend who knows you so well that she understands your inability to look after yourself and will simply go across the hall to help you. Megan is basically a roommate."

"And she's okay with that," Chris says with a wide grin and eyes that light up at the mention of Megan's name. "Well, mostly. I could probably get away with take-out during some days of the week, since we'll both be busy with training, but she'll make sure we eat properly at breakfast and on weekends. She also said she'll be teaching me how to cook."

"It would make looking after yourself quite a bit easier," I point out, but not pointing out that Al and I need to follow that same advice. They all know that anyway. "Don't you need to go now?"

"Yes," Al gasps, practically running. "See ya!"

Chris rolls his eyes and follows, his pace more like a casual stroll. "Bye, guys."

He shakes his head at me, looks oddly conflicted when he turns to Xavier and leaves. I'm not the only one who noticed, nor am I the only one so confused by him, but Xavier shrugs it off quickly and points in the direction they took off in.

"So, when do you think Christopher and Megan will tie the knot and join you and Albus in baby-making paradise?"

He starts to laugh at his little joke, until he sees me shake my head. The sparkle in his eyes tell me he's still amused by something, but his expression is curious.

"We don't talk about their relationship much. They've been a very on-again, off-again couple since they were thirteen," I explain everything as much as I can. He told us a very personal story last night, so he must trust us enough to do so. That tells me I can trust him, too. I don't want to use that as a reason to tell him my friends' personal business, but I get the feeling he's staying with us. We won't see him all the time because of Quidditch, but Xavier will be around thanks to Albus. It'd be better if he knew, that way he won't say anything like that joke around them and make things awkward.

"They were mostly on again until sex became involved. Megan is sure they're each other's firsts, and she doesn't regret it, but after, Chris decided he wanted more than just one person and broke up with her. His fooling around earned him a reputation, but he's never cheated on her. They get together, try for a little while, then they break up and he's with someone else."

"Why does your friend put up with that?" Xavier asks, but that same look in his eye tells me he's already figured out the answer. It'd be hard for him not to; he saw Chris' face when we talked about her.

"Because she still cares about him, just like he still has feelings for her. It hurts her, but Megan knows Chris, just like we do; it's a phase that he'll grow out of and she'll wait because she's crazy. I mean she's patient," I amend when Xaveir gives me a look. "If she thought for a second that he wasn't going to come back, she'd stop waiting and I'd have broken his nose. But we know he will, and like I said, he's never cheated or done anything to seriously damage their relationship, so she's okay with waiting."

"Does she put her life on hold for him?"

I scoff. "No. She dates and she has fun, she doesn't take it seriously. Megan keeps hinting that her waiting is almost over anyway; the last time they broke up was at the start of seventh year and they haven't been together since, but you saw his look. Maybe this roommate thing will be good for them; he'll get to see what it's like to be with her."

Xavier's grin is practically contagious. "So, she's not completely clueless, after all."

He means me. "What's the supposed to mean?" I frown, losing my smile completely. "You mean Al, don't you?" He only nods. "I know he's keeping something from me. When it's something small, something he'd tell you about honestly if you asked, he's like an open book. But when it's like this, when Al tries so hard to keep it from you, he has the perfect poker face. I mean, you know he's keeping something from you, but he gives nothing away about what it could be. I've seen it a lot, but never directed at me before. I'm waiting for him to slip."

"Could be a while," Xavier mutters, a little bitter about it. He wants Al to tell me.

I realize then that he doesn't just know that Al is hiding something, but that he knows exactly what it is. "You tell me what it is. Or at least give me a hint," I say in a tone that I hope isn't too much like pleading when Xavier gives me a conflicted look. He can't tell me, or he doesn't want to, because he thinks it's Al's job.

He's probably right.

"It's something he's come to realize recently," Xavier relents. "Well, it's been there for years, but he'd buried it, to the point where he missed it competely and mistook it for something else. But it was never going to stay buried; it's all risen to the surface now and he doesn't know what to do. He wants to be sure about it before he tells you, he said. But he needs to talk to you to be sure, you know?"

I must have a look that he approves of because he looks relieved. Me, not so much. I'm not sure what to do with this information; will I like the outcome?

"I can practically see your brain working, connecting dots," Xavier says. "You're not clueless, Alexa. Keep going."

I nod slowly. Xavier stands up. "I hope the breakfast was enough for you to not tell Kieron I was here, even after all these years he'd flip. I should go." I say good bye, oddly calm despite my thoughts. Xavier stops at the kitchen door and gives me one last, encouraging look. His familiar smile gets to me again and he gives me one last clue. "Think about what you just saw in Chris; who is Al with when he gets that same look?"

Then he's gone and I'm left alone with half a plate of eggs tand two strips of bacon that suddenly don't look so appealing. Instead I think about what Xavier said, try to remember where I've seen Al have the same look Chris has when thinking about Megan. I think it's obvious at first; he'd have a dumb 'I think I'm in love' look whenever he saw Catrine Zabini. But I dismiss it just as quickly; yes, he had that look, but even a child could see it was more about want than love. Not that a child should be noticing those things, but the point stands. It's not real like Chris'.

But I know when it is real. It's so obvious, like it's been staring me in the face and screaming 'I'm here'. It's real when we laugh about stupid things, when we eat take-out and watch a movie, when we tell each other our secrets, and when we try to stay up all night to do work only for me to catch his eye-roll before I fall asleep on his shoulder.

It's real when he looks at me.

Damn. Emmett's right about the limited time and I finally understand why. I push my plate away and fold my arms across the table, then I drop my head on top and groan, long and loud.

I'm an idiot.

***

I give it a few days. Albus wants to be sure and I should let him do that. Even though now the looks I get from him are curious and confused; I'm not ignoring him, I'm just not bugging him about wanting to know what's he's hiding. Al hasn't spoken to Xavier since he stayed over, so I know he has no idea about our talk. Al doesn't know what to think, although I think part of him is glad I've stopped. He even asked me why I wasn't asking anymore.

"Because I'm not going to get an answer from you anytime soon and I know when to give up," I told him. Which is all kind of true.

Instead I try to focus on Rich. I know what's missing now, what I have to do and why I don't want to be with him despite how much I like him. I'd have cancelled each date he asked for, but I have to tell him that I'm pregnant. I can't put it off anymore and it's a better reason to give him about no longer dating him than telling him that everyone at school was right and my best friend has feelings for me and I'm an idiot who might just be able to feel the same, given time anyway.

God, this is so hard. And weird. And a little awkward.

"Earth to Lexi." I blink when a hand is waved in front of my face and turn to Rich. "Are you alright?"

I start to nod, then start to shake my head, then end up just shrugging my shoulders. "I have to tell you something. About me and Al."

"I know he likes you," Rich says quickly. As does the rest of the school, I want to add. But he knows that already. "It's why Jessica hates you so much."

"That makes sense," I mutter.

"What I don't know is how you feel," he continues. "That's why I look forward to these dates so much. This is it, right?"

This time I do nod, but I don't talk about my weird, conflicted feelings for another guy or how confused I am because I like Rich, just not enough. I go on with my original plan and leave out feelings completely. I'll cross the feelings bridge when Al is ready to talk to me. The pregnancy bridge is more important right now; people are going to know soon, that the Savior's youngest son is going to be a dad, and I want Rich to hear it from me. Not from another source. It'd be horrible if his boss gave him the story to write about before he even knew.

"Not for the reasons you think," I start. He looks up and turns to me quickly. We stop and it just comes out, right there in the middle of the street. "I'm pregnant." I pause and curse. "I really should learn to say that better. This is the third time I've had to say it and I keep blurting it out, no plans or anything. It's so annoying."

Rich touches my arm, which effectively ends my rambling. He's shocked, as he should be. "Sometimes blurting it out can be a good thing, you get straight to the point, It's Al's?"

I nod. "Graduation was fun," I tell him, a bitter edge still in my tone whenever I think about that night. It changed everything, and though I can't bring myself to regret it all, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if Al hadn't caught Catrine kiss Phil.

"Whoa," Rich whispers. "Okay, that I wasn't expecting. Maybe I should have," he says after a pause. I don't care what situation we're in, I hit him for that. "I'm sorry, it's just that, well, it's you and Al. Everyone said you'd get together, I don't think this will shock the rest of our year as much as the rest of the world. Except maybe Jess," he adds as an after thought, then he freezes, eyes wide. "Oh, God. She's going to kill you."

"You can keep her away, right?" I ask, more cautious than fearful. Normally, I could handle Jessica Shepherd. But I'm pregnant now and Healer Moore says to be careful. I regret asking, though, because this night is not about her. "Sorry, we're talking about this affecting you and us."

"Oddly enough, I'm okay. Or I will be," Rich tells me, sounding mostly sincere, though his voice wavers a bit and his eyes don't hide how sad he is. "If this baby doesn't bring you two together, I don't know what will."

I don't point out that it'll be the metaphorical feelings bridge that'll most likely decide what happens between me and Al than the baby. Because neither of us will want to get together just for the kid only to break up. That's not fair. Instead I say, "I guess we'll see what happens. I'm sorry, Rich."

"Don't be," he answers in a tone that makes me think I should promise him that. He's mostly sincere again. "You can't get rid of me that easily. I learnt the hard way what happens when you don't talk to people; maybe if I had told you that I liked you sooner things would have been different. Then again, maybe not. Even when you both dated other people, the school didn't care. They only saw you and Al. So maybe you'd have gotten together anyway. We'll never know. But I like being around you, so now you're stuck with me. I can settle for friendship, I think. I've been learning to do that anyway, remember?"

I do; his first thoughts when I mentioned me and Al in the same sentence was that I wanted to break up with him for Al. Him saying he's learning to be my friend kinda makes sense.

"It'll be okay," Rich finishes, sounding more like he's promising that to himself than me. I agree anyway. I need to hear it, too. "I just want to try one thing."

"Okay," I say slowly.

I don't expect the kiss but I do part my lips for him to continue. It's short and sweet and reminds me of kissing Emmett during a game of Spin the Bottle because Fred Weasley's rule was five full minutes with tongue. I feel... nothing. Nothing special anyway. It doesn't fill me with the strong desire for more like Al's did at graduation. But that was alcohol-fueled, so I can't put much stock in Al's kiss either.

Rich's just feels... nice. No more.

And when he pulls away, I think he realizes that, too.

"Yeah, it'll be okay," he repeats, more sure this time. He continues to walk me to the apparition point, asking me random pregnancy questions and promising he'll watch out for Jessica. He's trying, so he can stay. I'm glad.

One problem solved, a million more to go.

***

Problem number two is already up when I come down, but is no where near dressed. Though, I suppose he doesn't have to be; it's Saturday. He has no Auror training, no other commitments to take care of. He's having a lazy day.

I, however, am up and dressed and ready to go out.

"Good morning, Al," I say, putting on my brightest smile.

His own is warmer than it has been recently, has been since I told him about Rich. Now that I know what to look for, it's like the poker face has gone for me. But that's not all that I see; he's only wearing his pajama pants, which rest at his hips, and all I see is what looks like a thin layer of muscle, but what I know from my slowly returned memories of graduation are better than they look. Albus is strong, his body hard, and already just over two months of Auror training is helping him. I repeat: I'm an idiot.

"Morning. You going out?"

I swallow the weird feelings I think are mostly hormonal. I've seen Al like this before; today should not be any different. "Yeah, I'm going to talk to Tasha, remember?"

Al's smile disappears and he nods, looking as conflicted as Chris did when he looked at Xavier. I'd ask Chris what was going on, but he's at his parents' house, packing - he got the apartment, and cheap too - so I can't until later. Unless Al tells me now. "I remember."

"What is it?"

Al shakes his head and sits up on the couch and I think he's not going to tell me after all. And he doesn't, not everything at least. "I need you to see it, so that I know I'm right when you come back and can talk about it." He pauses and I wait. I've learnt to have a lot of patience around this guy recently. "I need you to look at Ethan, really look, and then ask Tasha about his father."

"Why?" I ask.

"If you see it, you'll know," he promises.

It's not the first time I've had to go on blind faith and trust Al's intentions, so I doubt it'll be the last. I nod and say okay, then I turn to the fireplace and floo to Tasha's house. She's there, waiting for me, looking so much like Chris with her huge smile and dark, wavy hair. Her arms reach out to catch me and she pulls me into a hug I awkwardly return. "Hey, Tasha."

"It's so good to see you, it's been so long," Tasha gushes. She glances at my stomach. "How have you been?"

"Good," I assure her, letting her lead me to the couch. "Where are Stewart and Ethan?"

"They've gone to the shop, they'll be back soon. How are you and Al doing?"

"Going through some things," I admit. "But I think we'll finally be working through them soon."

Yes, we will. Because I'm done waiting. But maybe it'll be after the weird hot flushes have stopped.

"I hope so, you're so good together."

"Thanks, I think," I answer, once again wondering what people really see when they see us together. I open my mouth to ask the questions I came for, regular questions I've asked Healer Moore, I just want to hear them from someone closer to my own age, who's been in this position. But the front door opens and in comes running the reason I don't completely hate kids. "Hey, Ethan."

"Aunt Lexi!" he calls, jumping up for me to catch him.

I sit him on my lap, so he's facing his mum, and he shows me his sweets. Tasha's fiancé, Stewart, gives her a quick kiss and we share greetings before he disappears to give us space. Ethan doesn't go with him, in fact I squeeze him a little tighter. I always do. Ethan is adorable, that's the only way to describe him; from his messy blond hair to the dimple on his right cheek when he smiles. I just want to keep him. I only give him back when I remember that I don't know how to look after kids.

Tasha gives me a knowing smile; she's seen this enough times to know what I'm thinking. "I'm going to be a mum now; I could easily learn."

"He's a monster," Tasha points out.

"Am not!" Ethan shouts out.

"Of course you're not," I agree. "Because you're not related to me and Kieron; we know monsters. We were monsters. One of us still can be."

Ethan giggles, his smile wide, and there's the dimple in his cheek... And the memory of the familiar smile. Along with a story I was told a few days before. Albus must have figured it out. No, I bet Chris told him; that would explain the look he gave Xavier before he left that morning.

The look that said he wanted to tell Xavier something important, but couldn't.

How do you tell someone you barely know, someone who has just told a story about losing a child, that your two year old cousin might be that person's son? That he might be the child they'd thought they'd lost and realize they were told a lie.

Albus is right; you know when you see it. I know what he wants me to ask Tasha.

I set Ethan down on the floor. "Sweetheart, why don't you go and play with your toys? I need to have a grown up talk with your mummy."

"Okay," Ethan replies with a smile that only reminds me of Xavier and leaves the room.

"Are you okay?" Tasha asks me, concerned by my sudden change in mood.

I nod. Questions about pregnancy can wait for a little while. "Tell me about Ethan's dad."

Tasha freezes.

***

"I can't believe it! You were actually right!" I call as soon as I'm through the floo. "Did Chris tell you? I remember he's had this really odd look on his face ever since Xavier told that story. Albus?" I search the rooms for him. "Al?"

"I'm upstairs!"

I climb the stairs as fast as I can, shouting all the way up. "I just can't believe - whoa!" Like a child, I cover my eyes with both of my hands, but like the hormone-crazed teenage girl I've become more of these last few days, my body responds to the sight of a wet, only-covered-by-a-towel Albus Potter enthusiastically. "Al?"

"What?" he asks. I'd roll my eyes at him for sounding so innocently confused, only I've got my hands pushed tight against them so I can't. Not that he'd see it anyway. "Are you okay?"

"You're naked," I point out.

"I've lost count of the number of times you've seen me in a towel. It's usually me averting my eyes," he reminds me and I wish that wasn't true, but it is. I slowly drop my hands and keep my eyes on his concerned, embarrassed face. At least that hasn't changed, in fact I've think it's gotten worse, probably because he likes me, but he still won't move. He never has. He has this disease called pride. It's a dangerous thing. "Are you sure you're okay?"

"Fine." I frown at how high-pitched my voice sounds, clear my throat and try again. "It's just being a weird day."

A little better.

Albus moves away from the bathroom, his cheeks still pink - I'm not sure whether it's all embarrassment or if it's partly from the hot water - and comes a little closer. I used to tease him about running away to get dressed first, what I'd give to have him do that right now, because I have a horrible feeling that he's trying to be confident about this to show he feels something for me rather than actually tell me - because he shows, he does not tell. Making himself pass out to get Emmett's attention, for example, or the kiss at the graduation party. And I don't want him to show me, I want him to go, because I also have a horrible feeling that this sudden rise in hormones is something pregnancy related and not so much to do with him. Because I've haven't had thoughts about Stewart before today either. In fact, I'm pretty sure I read about it in one of the pregnancy things Healer Moore gave me.

I want to tell him all of this... But my mouth has gone a little dry.

"You were talking about your visit to see Tasha," he prompts, either not noticing my reaction to him or noticing everything and thinking that whatever he's doing is working and therefore pretending not to notice. Such a cunning Slytherin. "What did she say?"

There's genuine curiosity there, his need to know this for his friend coming through, and I hold onto it. Because I have that dangerous thing called pride, too. In fact, I usually have more of it than he does, and I can't run away and lock myself in my room like I desperately want to. Maybe it's just a natural Slytherin trait. I've heard of others having it as well. We can't not have our pride, even if it does become our downfall.

"She was shocked when I mentioned it, but she knew I knew as soon as I asked, she'd seen my reaction when I looked at Ethan, like you said. She couldn't deny it and she told me." I congratulate myself pn keeping my voice mostly normal. I almost clap, but stop myself by folding my arms across my chest and continue. "She met Xavier at the after party after his first game. They were celebrating in his honor; he'd won on his first game, beaten some sort of record, beaten something anyway. He hadn't told anyone about his sexuality and when Tasha came over, they were all cheering him on, suggesting he talk to her. So, he did and they got very drunk and the rest is history. Xavier kept going on about his career taking off, but she'd thought they'd be able to work something out, until he told her that he was gay. She didn't want to ruin his career by making him a single dad, so she panicked and lied. Stewart knows everything, thinks she should tell him," I finish and have the urge to congratulate myself again.

Albus moves again, this time to lean against the wall, and sighs. "Do you think she will?"

"No idea," I say, my voice small and quiet as I watch water drops drip from his hair to his chest and down to his belly button.

I'm so screwed.

"Do you think I should?" I try to answer but my throat dries up again. Screw pride, I'm running. Or I would if I could; just as I turn, Al grabs my arm. "Should I?"

Don't kiss him, I tell myself. That's all I can think. I can't kiss him, not like this. I shouldn't kiss him. Don't kiss him.

But I do. I lean up and I kiss him. It's me who starts it this time and it's both amazing and horrible at the same time. Horrible because I'm still thinking don't kiss him. The amazing feeling, probably the hormones, is so much louder and clearly winning this internal argument, because the kiss just deepens until I forget everything.

***

I'm trying to understand how we got into the bedroom.

"You dragged me," Albus answers, equally shocked now that it's sunk in.

It takes me a moment to realize that he's answered me because I spoke out loud and he's not suddenly become a Legimens. I concede and nod; I dragged him, I pulled him to the bed, I initiated it the second time around and I regret it more than the first time. The first time we were drunk, control was sort of lacking. This time, I'm pretty sure I just unintentionally used him for my own needs.

I'm a horrible person.

"Can I ask what happened?" Al asks cautiously. "I mean, I know what happened, but... How? Why? What happened?"

"I, er..." I stop, having absolutely idea how to answer him. What do I tell him? Finally, I settle on the truth. We're good at telling each other the truth. Well, most of the time. "Remember the part of the book I showed you that mentioned hormones rising or falling?"

"Yeah. Oh." I cringe just listening to Al's voice; he's so disappointed.

I grab the blanket to keep myself covered when he pulls it back to sit up. I turn to my right, to face his back. "I figured out what you're hiding from me."

His back tenses. "You have? That's just perfect."

He stands up, not seeming to care that he's completely naked, and I sit and watch as he grabs his towel. "Al, wait."

He stops and, maybe against what his head telling him, judging from how long it takes him, Al turns around. "What?"

"I want to talk about this."

"Maybe when I'm not freaking out," he says and leaves. I dress quickly and follow him, knocking on his door. He opens it eventually, dressed. "While you were gone, I promised Chris I'd help him sort his things in his new apartment. I'd told him I'd wait for you and ask if you wanna come. If you do, we're now very late."

"Fine, be like this. It's not my fault you don't want to talk about it. And you should be grateful I do want to talk about it, because I never do." He narrows his eyes at me, but I'm on a roll here. "I'll go to Chris' with you and I'll bug you about it the whole way and every day until you decide to finally talk to me about us."

"Fine," Al snaps back, moving past me. "Are you coming?"

"Yes." I follow him to the fireplace. "Word of warning; if Chris asks, I'll tell him the truth. Every little detail and you can't run away from that."

"You wouldn't?"

Honestly, I'm not sure. The thought of telling Chris anything about me and Al is more than a little nauseating. The others maybe. But saying I'll tell Chris was the only one likely enough to get some kind of reaction out of him.

"Try me."

"This is definitely not how I thought this day would turn out when I woke up this morning," Al sighs, all fight and anger seemingly gone.

"Me neither," I tell him honestly. "And I'm sorry about the hormone thing. I wish they had fallen, not risen."

"You didn't make me sleep with you. I wanted it," he snaps again. Then he closes up and I know he's not going to talk about it now because he has enough time to say, "I'm not ready," before flooing to Chris' new place.

Going through life-altering moments that can make life with best friend and father of baby go in either direction? Check.

For this part of the life-altering moment, I'll go and put a big, fat tick next to the box marked awkward.



A/N: Finally got a new chapter up. And things between them are a little bumpy now, but at least she knows. They're getting somewhere. ;)

I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please let me know what you think. :)

Sam.


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