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Chapter 8 : The Green-Eyed Monster
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“This is the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten!” Harry exclaimed as he lifted Luna off the floor. Hailey and Kieran stared at each other, too stunned to speak. In all the drama of the Malfoy trial, Hailey had totally forgotten that today was Harry’s birthday. Luna and Harry continued to beam at each other, and it seemed they had totally forgotten that Kieran and Hailey were in the room. As they started to kiss enthusiastically, Hailey wrinkled her nose in disgust and Kieran cleared his throat loudly.
“Oh, er, sorry,” Harry said, blushing a little. “So, you’re going to have a brother soon, Hailey!”
“Or sister,” Luna replied.
“Nope,” said Harry enthusiastically. “No girls this time.”
The tone of his voice made Hailey cringe a little. She was already sensitive due to what she’d just been through, but to hear her dad talking as though he had always been desperate for a son made her wonder if he had been terribly disappointed when she was born, and an unexpected twinge of jealousy surged through her. Feeling slightly guilty, she got up from the table.
“I forgot to ask about the trial,” Luna said as Hailey pushed her chair forward. She looked at Harry as she spoke.
“Lucius got fifteen years, and Narcissa cut a deal with International Cooperation to testify against Crabbe and Lestrange,” Harry replied, scowling slightly. “Not what we wanted, but better than nothing I guess…anyway, let’s not ruin the moment by talking about the Malfoys; we’ve had enough of all of them, and now that it’s over, it’s time to stop dwelling on it…we’re going to have a baby!”
Harry smiled happily at Hailey, and she forced herself to smile back. He didn’t seem to notice the insincerity. Kieran was glancing at her knowingly.
“I think I’m going to try to take a nap,” Hailey said, forcing a rather dramatic yawn. “I haven’t been sleeping much.” She had no intention of sleeping, and Kieran knew it.
“Well, I want you both to get some rest because I feel like celebrating,” Harry said.
Hailey and Kieran walked out in the foyer without another word, but as they were going up, Luna called Hailey back.
“I want you to know that I’m very proud of what you did today,” Luna said as she patted Hailey on the shoulder. “I know it wasn’t easy for you.”
“Thanks Mum,” Hailey replied in an overly enthusiastic voice. “Um, congratulations on the whole baby thing.”
“You should get some rest, because Mrs. McMullen and Dobby are planning a special evening for your father’s birthday, and the baby,” Luna said, ignoring Hailey’s comment, and for a moment, Hailey was sure that her mother was well aware of how artificial her words were. Feeling even guiltier that she couldn’t be happy for her family, Hailey trudged upstairs, where Kieran was waiting for her.
“You look as tired as I feel,” Hailey said as they walked into her room. She felt so full of so many emotions that she knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep no matter how exhausted she was.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” Kieran said. “You’ve been through hell today, and this kind of news is a lot to absorb…and I think Harry was a little insensitive.”
“And I am really selfish,” Hailey said guiltily. “I mean, I’m 12, not five.”
“But you’ve never had to share your parents with anyone before…well unless you count me,” Kieran replied, staring at her sympathetically.
“Yeah, but that’s different,” Hailey replied dismissively. “You’re not my b-“ She stopped herself, terrified of hurting Kieran’s feelings. He had just become part of the family after all, and the last thing she wanted to do was make him feel like an outsider.
“I’m not your brother,” Kieran said smoothly, totally unfazed. “I know that, and I-“
He cut himself off, blushing awkwardly, and for a split second, Hailey felt something that was totally unfamiliar to her, but she was too relieved that she hadn’t upset Kieran to notice.
“Anyway,” Kieran continued. “I know you think you’re too wound up to sleep, but you should at least try.”
For the umpteenth time that day, Hailey’s eyes filled with tears. She detested crying, and she hated feeling like such a spoiled brat, feeling resentful toward her parents, and this baby, and all the things she’d had to relive. It was just too much. She collapsed onto the bed shaking with sobs and loathing herself for it.
When Hailey woke up several hours later, the late afternoon sun was pouring through her window. Her eyes were still so swollen that she didn’t even have to squint to adjust to the light. She had cried herself to sleep, and it took her a few moments to realize that she was still wearing her pretty green dress robes. She climbed out of bed and walked over to the mirror, hoping her eyes didn’t look as bad as she thought they did. Her face was still bright red, and her wild curly hair was sticking out at odd angles all over her head. She knew that it would be awhile before she could go downstairs. Just then, there was a knock at the door.
“Hailey,” came Harry’s voice through the door. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” She snarled, feeling angry with him in spite of herself.
“Why don’t you come downstairs,” Harry said. “Dobby is making your favorite cake.”
“Why can’t you just leave me alone!” Hailey shrieked through the door before she could stop herself. She took a deep breath and tried to sound calmer. “I’ll come down a bit later.”
“Alright,” Harry said, clearly taken aback by her demeanor. “But, I expect you to be ready for dinner in an hour.” She listened carefully to his footsteps until they faded completely. Moments later there was another knock at the door. Furious that her father had come back, she screamed to the door again.
“I told you I didn’t want-“ Hailey yelled, but she was interrupted.
“Open up,” said Luna. Her voice had the same dreamy quality that it always did, and yet this was not a request, but a command.
Hailey sighed as she tried to flatten her hair before she answered. She opened the door and saw that Luna was not alone; Harry was with her.
Feeling ashamed again, Hailey averted her eyes from both of them.
“I think I’m going to go back downstairs and help Mrs. McMullen get dinner started,” Luna said. Hailey, of course knew better, because Luna was the worst cook Hailey knew, well, besides Hagrid. She turned and left without another word.
“Why don’t you tell me why you’re so angry with me,” Harry said quietly.
“ Um, I’m not…” Hailey stammered. “ I-I’ve just had a long day, and I was trying to get some sleep before the…party,” she finished lamely.
“I know, and I’m sorry,” Harry said kindly. “But at least now we have something to celebrate; You’re going to have a little brother…at least I think so, I know it sounds silly, but I’m so sure it’s a boy; I’ve just got a good feeling.” He stared at her intently, almost as though he were waiting for some sort of reply.
“Well, I hope you’re not disappointed this time,” Hailey said quietly, unable to stop herself. Harry looked at her and smiled.
“So that’s it, huh?” Harry said, smiling wider now, annoying Hailey even more. “Trying to keep me from getting my hopes up in case I wind up with yet another girl…I appreciate that.”
“Thanks,” Hailey spat, her worst fears confirmed. She could hardly believe it! He was actually admitting to her that he’d been disappointed when she was born. She’d never felt so hurt in her life. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go for a w-walk.” She started toward the door, but her father stopped her.
“I can’t believe you actually think that I was disappointed when you were born,” Harry said quietly. “Your mum told me I hurt your feelings, and I thought she was being ridiculous, something she’s very good at sometimes. I assumed there was no way you’d ever think such a thing when you know how much I love you.”
“Well now you do and all, but that doesn’t mean you weren’t let down at the time; you’ve already said you were, so don’t try to take it back now.” Hailey said coolly, sidestepping Harry and continuing toward the door. Harry stopped her again, this time putting an arm around her.
“I never said anything of the sort, and I never felt that way, not even for an instant,” Harry said, his eyes boring into hers. “You’ve had a terrible day, and I’m so sorry I made it worse.”
The feelings of resentment she’d had toward him were gone as quickly as they came, and she smiled at him through her misty, puffy eyes.
As the four of them ate dinner just two short hours later, Hailey could hardly believe that the morning and evening had been part of the same week, let alone the same day. Her anger at Harry, the Malfoys, and the trial seemed a million miles away. She was going to be a big sister!
Mrs. McMullen and Dobby had pulled out all of the stops for the celebration, making all of Harry’s favorites; roast chicken, boiled potatoes, treacle tarts. Dobby had made one of his famous chocolate cakes, one side of which was decorated with the words ‘Happy Birthday Harry’ and the other ‘Congratulations Harry and Luna’.
They stayed at the dinner table long after the plates were clean, talking and laughing. Finally, the four of them decided to take a little stroll on the beach to walk off the outrageous amount of food they had eaten and they were just getting up to go outside when Mrs. McMullen came into the kitchen, wearing a very peculiar expression.
“Sorry to interrupt Harry,” She began, her face apprehensive. “But there’s a woman at the door who says she’s you…” She stopped, looking nervous. “Well, you’d just better come with me.”
Looking completely bewildered, Harry followed Mrs. McMullen out of the kitchen and into the entry hall. Hailey and Kieran gave Luna a searching look, hoping for some sort of explanation, but she merely shrugged, just as confused as they were. Moments later, Harry returned, followed by an older woman. She was rather thin, with graying blonde hair, a very long neck, and horse-like teeth. Her pale eyes were wide with fear, and she seemed even more nervous as she stared around the room at them.
“Everyone,” Harry said croakily, his face just as pale as the old lady standing beside him. Hailey had never seen him look so nervous. “This is my Aunt Petunia.”
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