Chapter 4 : I'm Not You
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Lily’s looking at me, waiting for some brilliant advice that will help her get through her crush. I suppose she thinks of me as a kind of older sister. And up until recently I considered myself that way too. I mean, Lily and I even look alike. Many people do mistake us for sisters. We both have brown eyes and red hair, though Lily seems to have inherited the Evans’ dark red hair while mine is more of a ripe-tomato colour. We’re equal in height and although Lily is three years my junior, we look around the same age. She always comes to me when she has problems, particularly boy problems, but I sincerely think that this time she has come to the wrong person.
“Rose, what should I do?” she asks.
I’m not sure what to tell her. I can’t exactly tell her that Scorpius is ugly – that would be hypocritical and a downright lie. Scorpius Malfoy is easily one of the best looking sixth year boys in Hogwarts. And most younger sisters have crushes on their older brother’s friends. I suppose it’s to be expected that Lily would like Scorpius. I just wish Al’s other friends could be better looking.
“I…erm…why do you like him?” I ask, because I have absolutely no idea what else to say. Lily looks at me incredulously as if to say ‘do you really have to ask?’
“I don’t know,” she cries, “he’s…funny!”
“And he’s really kind – did you know he gives five galleons a month to the starving kids in Africa?”
Let’s hope he decides to donate to his own kid here in England.
“And he’s such a good Quidditch player.”
Then how come we’ve beaten Slytherin in the Quidditch cup for the last three years?
“And even though he’s a Malfoy, he doesn’t care about blood status. He’s different, Rose.”
My stomach lurches. I clasp a hand over my mouth and run across to the bathroom. I fall to my knees and throw up into the toilet – this is becoming quite a habit. The horrible sensation and revolting taste is becoming second nature to me these days. Lily rushes in after me, holds my hair back and asks me if I’m okay. Well, there’s one way to get her to stop thinking about Scorpius – throw your guts up.
“Rose, are you okay?” she asks, a note of panic in her voice.
“Yeah,” I say. I run the tap and stick my head under it to wash my mouth out. I wipe the tears away from my cheeks and turn back to Lily. “It’s just a tummy bug.”
Who ever said that morning sickness is just confined to the morning? Lily looks as if she believes my “tummy bug” cover up and brings me back across to the bedroom.
“Sit down,” she says, “you look really pale.”
“I’m fine,” I insist. Lily still looks really scared as if I’m about to run across to the bathroom and throw up again.
A small knock on the door takes Lily’s attentions away from me and she nearly trips over her own feet when she sees who the knocker is – Scorpius. In fact, I nearly trip over my own feet too and I’m sitting down. He looks really uncomfortable and it’s quite obvious that he’s not up here out of choice. He ruffles his blonde hair and clears his throat in a way that clearly says “I’m so uncomfortable that I wish I were dead”.
“Erm, Lily your Nana is looking for you,” he says. Lily goes red, but acts cool and leaves the room. I get up off the bed, feel a little dizzy and fall back down again. I probably look like a complete weirdo.
“Are you okay?” he asks. He’s talking to me? Wow, Christmas does strange things to people.
“I’m fantastic,” I say. My voice is a bit scratchy from the vomiting and I sound as if I’ve been smoking for the last ten years. Attractive, eh?
“Are you sure?” he says, “You look…”
“Like shit?” I finish.
“No,” he says calmly, “you just look a bit pale.”
Why is he still here? Why hasn’t he left? Why isn’t he avoiding me like he’s done for the last two months?
“Yeah well…” I trail off.
He’s standing there with his hands in his pockets, nodding uncomfortably. It looks like he hasn’t shaved in a while, but the stubble on his face is a lot darker than his hair. His eyebrows are darker too…it almost looks like he dyes his hair that light blonde colour. I know he doesn’t though, considering he’s had that same colour hair since first year. He’s wearing a grey hoody inside a black jacket and a pair of very worn out jeans – he looks homeless. His hair is falling right into his eyes; I’m surprised he can see where he’s going.
“Listen, Rose,” he starts and immediately I can see where this is going. I have to change the subject before we get onto dangerous territory and I end up saying things…well, that I’m not quite ready to say.
“I have to go,” I say and jump up, ignoring my wooziness. But Scorpius doesn’t stand aside to let me by. He merely looks down at me, his eyes staring fixedly into my own. Wow, he’s tall.
“Are you going to just avoid me forever?” he says boldly.
“Move aside,” I say.
He sighs and looks like he’s going to say something else, but he then steps aside to let me by. I can feel his eyes following me out of the room and I feel most unnerved by it. I rush down the stairs and then catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror in the hallway. Lily and Scorpius weren’t lying when they said I look pale. My skin looks dry and pasty, there are large dark circles under my eyes, whose brown colour seems to have faded as of late. I go into the kitchen and I don’t care if I look like crap – and apparently neither does anyone else.
Everyone is bustling around the Burrow. Nana’s making five different desserts at the same time for tomorrow; James and Al are listening to the Quidditch international scores on the wireless while helping my Mum to decorate the Christmas tree in the living room; Harry’s out the back with Dad and Hugo putting up the Christmas lights; Teddy’s lighting up the fire in the living room; Victoire’s hanging mistletoe on the ceiling, while singing some ridiculous Christmas carol, much to the dismay of the Potter boys and Dad and Aunt Ginny are arguing like a pair of kids. Actually, they’re a whole lot worse than a pair of kids.
“Ron! You got to decorate the cake last year!” my forty-one year old aunt shouts at Dad.
“No I didn’t!” Dad screams back, “Mum! Tell her I didn’t!”
Nana rolls her eyes and shakes her had at the pair of them.
“Are you two ever going to grow up?” Nana sighs.
“Mum! You know he got to do it last year!” Ginny protests.
“Why don’t you both do it?” I say tiredly, feeling like I’m the parent here, not them.
Dad and Ginny look at me as if they never thought of that before.
“I knew you inherited the Granger brains,” laughs Harry, coming in from the garden.
Dad looks offended even though he’s the one who’s always telling me that I inherited Mum’s brains.
“There you are Scorpius!” Nana exclaims and I whip around to see Scorpius coming into the kitchen from the hallway. Lily goes red and drops the goblet she’s holding. Ginny smirks to herself as Lily dives in under the table to get it.
Grandad doesn’t look up from his newspaper, but I can see that he looks a bit disgruntled by Scorpius’ entrance. He never really liked Scorpius. Dad said it’s because of the grudge that exists between Grandad and Scorpius’ grandfather, Lucius. He was a Death Eater as far as I remember from listening to Mum and Dad’s conversations. And my parents hated Scorpius’ Dad, Draco, when they were at school. So I suppose it must be a bit strange that this generation of Weasleys/Potters are getting on with the Malfoy family.
Scorpius slides past me and coughs uncomfortably. He doesn’t acknowledge me and helps Nana with the desserts. I decide that I’m not comfortable in his presence – he’s making me feel even more nauseous. I slip into the living room where James and Al are listening intently to the Quidditch match between England and Portugal.
“Who’s winning?” I ask.
They shush me as the commentator cries “And Da Costa has caught the snitch!” They both swear loudly, causing Aunt Ginny to scream at them from the kitchen.
“Bloody Portuguese!” James exclaims, kicking the sofa. Mum sighs and mutters something that sounds very like the word “boys”.
Usually I’d be very interested in the Quidditch results, but today my brain is elsewhere.
“Bloody hell Rose, you look like crap,” says Al, taking a good look at me, “are you ill?”
Mum spins around at Al’s words to take a look at me. I hope that the colour has returned to my cheeks, but by the look on Mum’s face, it hasn’t. She jumps down from the stool she was standing on and rushes over to me.
“I knew there was something wrong with you,” she says, her hand on my forehead, “Did you eat something dodgy? Have you got sick stomach? Headache? Dizziness? Maybe we should bring you to St Mungo’s…RON!”
“I’m fine, Mum,” I say, “It’s just a bug, I don’t need to go to Mungo’s.”
Dad wanders leisurely into the sitting room and looks at Mum with a “you called me?” look.
“Rose isn’t well,” says Mum.
“I’m fine!” I protest.
“What’s up, Rosie?” Dad asks, now looking concerned. He does exactly what Mum did and feels my forehead – as if that will answer all of their questions.
“You don’t have a fever,” says Dad.
“I know! I’m fine!”
“Are you sure? Maybe we should take you to St Mungo’s just in case…” says Dad.
“Would you two stop? You don’t have to take me to St Mungo’s because of a tummy bug!”
Mum’s eyes widen in realisation, although I don’t know how the hell she’s realised it – she knows I’m pregnant. I don’t know how I know she knows, I just do.
“Upstairs,” she says firmly.
I know better than to disagree. Mum marches me upstairs, followed closely by Dad, and into the first room she finds. She shuts the door and spins around to me, her brown eyes looking completely manic.
They’re looking at me with extreme worry on their faces as if I’m about to announce that I’m dying. Then again, if I were dying, Mum wouldn’t be able to give out to me, right? Actually, knowing my Mum, she’d probably turn that around too and say it was somehow my fault.
I take a deep breath, ready to spill the news, when Dad interrupts me.
“Rosie…we know,” he says.
I stare at them blankly. They look so concerned, but not angry at all. How can they not be angry with me? Why does Mum look ready to hug me?
Why aren’t they armed with machetes?
“It’s all our fault,” says Mum, her voice quivering, “we should have talked to you about this type of thing before you went to Hogwarts.”
I pray to Merlin she’s not about to give me a sex talk – it’s a bit late now Mummy dear. But Dad’s nodding in agreement. Do they really think that I’m pregnant because they didn’t sit me down when I was eleven and explain what sex was?
“We’ve failed you as parents, Rosie,” says Dad sadly, “but I suppose we never thought that you’d meet these problems. Just because we didn’t in Hogwarts doesn’t mean you won’t.”
Ew – I really don’t want to know about my parents sexual habits while they were at Hogwarts, thank you very much.
“Why did you do it, Rose?” Mum asks.
“Erm…it was just one time…”
“Yes, but after one time, it’s hard to stop,” says Dad.
I feel sick – my parents are sex addicts.
“It only takes one time before you’re hooked,” says Mum.
Yep, definitely going to throw up again.
“Tell us Rosie,” says Dad, “who gave it to you?”
Gave it to me? Oh…dear…Jesus. Parents cannot be able to talk to their kids that way – that has to be at least borderline child abuse. But not even a hint of embarrassment or even amusement crosses either of my parents’ faces. They’re bloody serious.
“Eh, it was Scorpius Malfoy,” I admit.
Mum and Dad look livid, but Dad more than Mum. He jumps up off the bed, his face almost as red as his hair and bangs his fist against the wall – even Mum looks scared.
“That Malfoy git! I always hated that bloody family!” he roars.
“Ron, calm down,” Mum asserts, but Dad continues to pace the room frantically.
“It’s not just Scorpius’ fault!” I cry.
“Rosie, that prat is going around…dealing…of course it’s his fault!”
What the hell is dealing? These 80’s kids have weird names for sex.
“We have to stop this before he deals to other girls,” says Mum.
“Would you please just call it sex?” I yell.
Dad stops pacing and Mum looks like I’ve just hit her.
“What on earth are you talking about?” Mum asks breathlessly.
Kill me now.
Seriously, if there ever was a greater time to drop an atomic bomb on this house, now would be it.
“W-what were you talking about?” I ask meekly.
“We…I mean…well, your father and I…you’re on drugs, aren’t you?”
I raise my eyebrows at them.
Oh, so that’s what they meant by “dealing”.
“No I’m not!” I say indignantly, “What do you take me for?”
Mum and Dad look at one another. Dad’s now leaning up against the door, rubbing his beard thoughtfully, yet he looks very stressed and confused.
“So…what were you going to tell us then if you’re not on drugs?” Dad asks.
It’s times like these I wish I was on drugs.
At least they’d be prepared for that.
“Well…Mum….Dad,” I say slowly, “I’m…erm…pregnant.”
I never ever thought I’d have to say that sentence. Both of their faces remain expressionless for a few moments, neither daring to talk or even breathe. I look down at my hands and their shaking furiously – I didn’t even notice until now. It feels like about a day has past since I told them at this stage, but they both have that same unresponsive look.
“Say something,” I say quietly after a few minutes.
“Tell me you’re joking,” says Mum in a very low voice. I shake my head and sniff. She clasps her hand over her mouth as if she’s going to be sick. She then starts pacing the room because she doesn’t know what else to do.
“I didn’t think you were seeing Scorpius,” says Mum blankly, sitting down beside me on the bed. I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable now – she’s close enough to choke me. It’s obvious that she doesn’t know what else to say.
“I – I’m not,” I admit, “It was a s-spur of the moment thing. I w-wasn’t thinking.”
For some reason, Mum has tears in her eyes too, but not ones of anger. She doesn’t seem angry in the slightest. She seems…scared? I don’t know if that’s the right word. But she’s definitely upset.
“My poor baby,” she whispers and grabs me into a tight hug.
Okay, I wasn’t expecting this.
She doesn’t let go of me for a while and we sit on the bed, holding each other and crying. I’ve never felt as close and connected with Mum as I do right now. When she finally lets me go, her eyes are all red and puffy.
Dad doesn’t say anything at all. He’s as pale as a ghost and it looks like he’s about to collapse. Mum gets up and walks over to Dad, putting her hand on his arm, but he pulls away and storms out of the room without even looking at me.
“Oh dear,” says Mum.
“He’s not going to kill Scorpius, is he?” I ask fearfully. Mum shakes her head.
“I don’t know. He’ll probably just go missing for a while,” she says distantly, as if it’s the most normal thing in the world.
What the hell did I do to deserve this family?
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“Well…erm…when your Aunt Ginny got pregnant, Ron went missing for about five hours. And then when I got pregnant, he was so scared of becoming a parent that he went missing for about three days. Your Dad is…well, a fairly simple man. He just needs his space.”
Seriously, what’s going on? It’s like my parents have been possessed by ghosts – my mum by a ghost that doesn’t seem to mind that her daughter is pregnant and my dad by a ghost that runs away from pregnant people!
“It’s alright,” she says soothingly.
And at her words, I start to cry even more. She cradles me again and I feel like I’m a little kid again after falling over and grazing my knee with my mum comforting me, telling me I’m a brave little girl and it’ll be alright. Except this time, it’s not going to be alright. Because grazes heal and scars fade – babies don’t just go away.
“You’ll have to tell Scorpius,” she says softly, “He has a right to know.”
I know she’s right. I know I have to tell Scorpius. But the thing is, I don’t really know Scorpius. I have no idea how he’d react to such news. I’ve barely spoken to him sober before. Well, maybe I have at some stage, but I’ve never had a significant conversation with the guy. How can I just walk downstairs and ruin his life on Christmas Eve?
“You can leave your father and Hugo to me,” says Mum.
I nod at her and give her a hopefully grateful look. I can tell that she’s still trying to get her head around the news, but she’s being surprisingly cool about it. And believe me, “cool” isn’t a word that’s used to describe Hermione Weasley on a regular basis.
She gets up to leave, but as she goes to go out the door, she whips back around and the look on her face tells me that the strict, overpowering monster inside her wants to scream its head off at me. Luckily, Mum manages to restrain it and leaves me alone in the bedroom.
She doesn’t speak to me for the remainder of Christmas Eve. I don’t think she’s angry with me – she’s got this air of disappointment surrounding her now. I haven’t seen her this way since I was about five years old and she and Dad had a massive argument. I have no idea to this day what it was over – all I remember is sitting on the stairs, cradling Hugo in my arms and listening to them screaming at one another. But this time it’s so much worse – I know for sure it’s my fault this time.
Luckily, Dad doesn’t go missing, but we don’t see him at the Burrow for the rest of the day. He went home after hearing the news, something that I’m very thankful for. I was afraid he’d start yelling at Scorpius and then I’d definitely have to tell him the truth. But he didn’t. We go home and find him sitting alone in the living room, staring into nothingness.
“Hugo, go to your room,” says Mum.
“You can’t tell me what to do!” he screams.
Mum glares at him. “Do you want a bet?” she hisses. Hugo knows he can’t win this argument, so storms up the stairs and slams his bedroom door shut. How I wish I could do the same.
“Ron,” says Mum gently.
“Sorry,” Dad says, his voice unusually high, “I just needed to get out of there.”
Mum nods. I stay quiet and don’t dare to move.
“How could you be so stupid, Rosie?” Dad asks with a definite note of disappointment in his voice.
“Dad, I’m sorry.”
“Have we taught you nothing?” he says, his voice now getting stronger, “Have we really been such bad parents? Have you ever heard of contraception?”
“I wasn’t thinking,” I say, my voice shaking.
“Well that part’s obvious!” he shouts. I’ve never seen him so angry…well, not at me anyway. It feels like there’s a golf ball stuck in my throat and there are tears in my eyes, but I’m determined not to cry.
“DON’T say you’re sorry again!”
“Ron, calm down,” says Mum.
“I WON’T CALM DOWN! You are sixteen years old, Rose! Do you have any idea of the amount of responsibility being a parent is?” he roars.
“Ron!” Mum cries, “You’re not helping! What’s done is done and we can’t change it!”
“Yes, we can,” he says, “There are ways.”
I know what he’s getting at.
“And you think getting an abortion is the answer?” I ask quietly, as tears stream down my cheeks, “You think that this will all go away if I kill an innocent child?”
“It’s not a child, it’s a bunch of cells, Rose!” Dad shouts.
“IT’S NOT A BUNCH OF CELLS!” I scream, “I didn’t want to get pregnant, but now that I am I’m not going to just run from it! I’m taking responsibility. You don’t have the right to tell me what to do just because you’re scared!”
“You’re taking responsibility?” he laughs bitterly, “Really? So why haven’t you told him yet?”
“He has a name, you know!”
“I know,” Dad says resentfully, “and it’s Malfoy.”
He says the word "Malfoy" as if it's contaminated.
“Grow up, Dad!” I shout, “Just because Grandad hates Lucius Malfoy and you hate Draco Malfoy doesn’t mean I should hate Scorpius too!”
I’m being slightly hypocritical considering Scorpius and I don’t actually like each other, but this isn’t the time for technicalities.
“I’m not you!” I continue, “Just like Scorpius isn’t his father!”
Dad looks livid – I’ve never spoken to him like that before.
“Don’t take that tone with me,” he says (a classic parent’s line), “I am your father!”
“Well then start acting like it!” I cry, “I don’t need you to tell me how stupid I am, I already know that much!”
And I dramatically storm out and upstairs to my bedroom. It feels like every drop of water in my body is being cried out right now. I can hear Mum and Dad shouting at one another downstairs. Mum’s sticking up for me while Dad’s going crazy, shouting at me to come downstairs. I stay where I am. There’s a small knock on the door and Hugo comes in, looking concerned.
“Are you okay?” he asks uncharacteristically. He comes and sits on my bed and pats me awkwardly on the arm. I love that boy. I sit up and hug him, thankful that he’s left his petty “I’m-a-rebel-death-metal-head-emo” act safely in his bedroom and is acting like an actual brother now.
“I’m sorry, Hugh,” I say, “It’s my fault they’re fighting.”
“I know you’re pregnant,” says Hugo.
He shrugs and smiles mischievously, revealing his over-sized front teeth and looking uncannily like Mum.
“I hear things,” he says, “Uncle George sent me a pair of Extendable Ears in the post a few weeks back.”
“I’m sorry,” I say again.
“It’s okay, Rosie. You’re going to be okay. I’ll help you,” he says. I’ve never heard Hugo sound more mature in my whole life. I’m so proud to call him my brother.
“You’re the best little brother ever,” I say and smile at him.
“I know,” he says smugly, “I’m pretty brilliant.”
“And so modest,” I add.
“That’s me,” he smiles.
“You won’t…you won’t tell anyone, right?” I ask.
“Of course I won’t.”
I really do have the coolest brother in the whole world. He pats my arm one last time (god bless his awkwardness) and leaves me alone in my room again. As he’s going out the door, Mum comes in. Her eyes are red and swollen and she’s sniffing a lot.
“I’m sorry Mum,” I say and burst into tears.
“I know,” she says and sits down on the edge of my bed, “you have to stop apologising. It’s not going to change anything.”
She says it in a despondent way.
Mum shrugs. “Gone for a walk.”
“Mum…could we not tell anyone about this yet?” I ask, “Not even the family?”
“Suit yourself,” she sighs and gets up again. She walks out the door but turns back before she closes it and says, “Merry Christmas, Rose.”
She then turns off the light and shuts the door.
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