Chapter 1 : Bubbles
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Simon Granger carefully lowered his thirteen month old daughter into the bathtub. At first she didn’t have any idea what was going on and simply looked at her father curiously, then her feet touched the water and she cried out in surprise, flinched, moving her feet the wrong way at first, and tried to squirm away. However, her efforts didn’t have the desired effect at all. Instead of pulling her away from the water, Simon plunged her the rest of the way into it. Too startled even to cry, she pulled her shaking hands out of the water, examined them, and discovered that there was something wrong with them, they were all shiny now. What’s more, they were cold, very cold. With nothing else for it, she put one hand back under the water, then the other, and discovered them to be warm again.
“Bah!” she declared.
“Bah indeed,” Simon agreed.
“We’re giving Hermione a bath,” Mary Granger said into the telephone as she came down the tall. A moment later she poked her head into the bathroom. Apparently something about the response didn’t suit her because her face turned sour and she said, “I know you wanted to be here for her first real bath, Mum, but you’re out of town and she got really dirty today.” She gave her husband an exasperated look and started pacing the hallway, the telephone cord tailing after her.
“If you must know, she was drawing and got ink all over herself…”
“…well, we made sure she didn’t swallow any, and…”
“…sure, you can see them, they’re quite good actually.”
“…yes I know a child can drown in half an inch of water, you’ve told me enough times.”
“…tell you what, I’ll take some pictures and you can see them when you get back…”
“…Mum, I can’t reach the camera while I’m on the phone…”
“…because he’s the one watching Hermione.”
Hermione loved listening to her Mum talk, even though she couldn’t always understand what she was saying. She hadn’t gotten finished marveling at that last conversation before her dad scooped up some water and poured it over her hair and back. He’d been careful not to get any in her face, but, unable to help herself, she blinked and sputtered as though he had. Much to Hermione’s chagrin, he repeated the process several more times until he seemed satisfied that she was wet enough. She could only watch him, powerless to stop the downpour.
“Ih,” she moaned.
“Sorry,” Simon replied sheepishly.
Mary came back a few minutes later, looking relieved to finally be rid of the telephone. Hermione started babbling, trying to beg her Mum for mercy, but Mary merely cooed over the child, rolled up her sleeves, filled her hands with soap, and ran them through Hermione’s ample hair. This was over quickly enough, but then Hermione was once again subjected to the indignity of having water poured over her head. However, when all that was over, Hermione discovered that a most wondrous thing had happened: there were bubbles on the water. She giggled happily and started splashing excitedly, her smile showing her three tiny teeth.
Hermione like the bubbles, and soon discovered that if she got the water to move enough it made even more bubbles. Before long there were several inches of bubbles floating on the water and the air was filled with them.
“What kind of shampoo is this?” Simon demanded, grabbing the bottle and inspecting it.
“It’s the same kind we’ve been using when we give her a bath in the sink,” Mary replied. “Where are all these bubbles coming from?”
Hermione giggled and splashed even harder. The bubbles were all over now, stuck to her skin, her parents’ clothes, the wall, and the floor. She liked the bubbles, but when she excitedly put her bubble covered hand in her mouth, she discovered that she didn’t like the taste, not at all.
All the bubbles popped.
For a moment, the only sound was the sloshing water and the ticking grandfather clock in the hall, and then Hermione pointed her pudgy hand at the water and exclaimed, “Gaa!”
That finally jolted Mr. and Mrs. Granger out of their surprised stupors. With a frightened cry, Mary reached forward and pulled Hermione from the bathtub, paying no attention to the water that splashed out along with her. Simon pulled a towel off the rack and wrapped it around the startled and crying toddler, and then the three of them rushed out of the bathroom.
“What happened?” Mary cried as she set Hermione down on a couch and began checking her over for injuries.
“I don’t know,” Simon admitted, kneeling down next to his wife and placing one hand on her shoulder. “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
They spent the next few minutes calming Hermione down and concocting feeble theories involving air drafts and soap residue, but after awhile they finally conceded defeat and Simon went to clean up the water.
When he got back, Mary had dressed Hermione and made tea, so the three of them settled down on the couch.
“I tried experimenting with that shampoo in the sink,” Simon said after a moment. “It didn’t do anything unusual.”
“Oh,” Mary replied. She sounded unsure of whether or not she ought to be relieved.
“What should we tell your Mum?” Simon asked.
“Yes, I suppose she will want to know how Hermione’s first bath went,” Mary sighed. “We shouldn’t tell her about the bubbles, she’d just worry.”
“Alright,” Simon agreed. “But didn’t you promise her pictures?”
“Right,” Mary said. “I forgot. I guess we’ll have to give Hermione another bath, then.”
“Different shampoo though,” Simon suggested quickly.
“Different shampoo,” Mary agreed.
“Bubbles!” Hermione exclaimed, a happy smile creeping across her tired face.
“New word,” Simon remarked happily, running a hand over Hermione’s cheek
“How about a few less bubbles this time, alright?” Mary asked Hermione as she snuggled deeper into her arms.
Hermione nodded serenely and fell asleep. Mary smiled and kissed Hermione’s forehead and then Simon’s cheek. The pair of them stayed awake, sipping their tea and chatting about idle things, unaware of the huge milestone their daughter had just reached.
Author’s Note: Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed that. Unfortunately, barring any unforeseen inspiration and free time, this is all there will be to this story. Please leave a review and tell me what you think.
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by sammy lupin