Chapter 17 : Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Potter
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AN: Ok I know I’m horrible. You’ve got no clue how guilty I’m feeling for leaving you all waiting for two months, but for some reason everyone at my school seems to love me. Ergo they never leave me alone. I’m even writing this in my computer class right now. That’s how busy I am. Once again I’m so sorry. I won’t leave you waiting any longer.
Three days later and there still hadn’t been any word from Lily. Kendra seemed to think it was for the best. She kept on reminding me that our youngest was pregnant, getting married, and she had a job to deal with. I couldn’t expect a call every other hour. Despite her best efforts I would still jump up with eager anticipation when the phone rang or there was a knock on the door. To be honest I think it was starting to annoy her.
I couldn’t help it though. She’s my youngest, and I love her to pieces. To go so long without a word from her was hell. Usually I would tell myself that if she did come around she’d bring Potter with her, but lately I’d been thinking the two of them as a set was better than no Lou Lou at all. He wasn’t even that bad.
This morning Kendra and I were sitting eating breakfast when there was a tap at the window. I looked up and with a swoop of joy spotted a grey owl hooting bored on the window sill. I practically flew over to it and lifted up the latch. It hopped in, and held out its leg with no real interest in either of us. I ripped the parchment from it and began to read, while Kendra offered it some of my toast.
Dear Mum and Dad,
I’m sorry that I haven’t called in a while. Things have just been really busy. I’ve been at work mostly for the past few days, and James has been bouncy around the apartment trying to find room for the crib and such. The whole ordeal’s been giving me a headache.
I’m writing because Victoria and Thomas want to have all of us over for dinner. They’re very excited and were wondering if this coming Sunday worked for you. Just send you’re answer back with Glory (the owl) and if you want James and I will come pick you up around six. Dinner would be at seven.
P.S. Give my love to Petunia and Vernon.
I smiled happily and handed the letter to Kendra. Her eyes scanned it once or twice before she set down the paper and took a sip of her tea. She didn’t look at me, or the letter. After a few minutes she seemed to break from her trance.
“Well?” she prompted me.
“I think we should go,” I stated simply, wondering why she was being so snappish and uptight. “We haven’t seen them in ages.”
“Oh please Edward. It’s just been three days,” she snapped. I started at her. “Would you just get down to it,” she continued, equally annoyed as before. Now I felt my mouth drop.
“Get on with what?” I demanded, flabbergasted. I hadn’t seen her act like this since thy night Lily had told us she was pregnant.
“Start your insane babblings about how she might not be happy with James. I can just hear you now.” She pulled a face and imitated gruff giddiness. “Oh Kendra she doesn’t sound happy. Potter’s bugging her, and she’s all cramped up in a tiny apartment. She sounds miserable. Maybe she’s changed her mind. Maybe she’s have second thoughts. She might not marry him you know. Do you think she wants to come home?”
“Stop it,” I told her with a smile at her mocking of me. She grinned back, sipping more of her tea. “Anyway, she doesn’t sound miserable to me. She just sounds pregnant is all.” I notice my wife raise her eyebrows. “What? You didn’t act much differently, either pregnancy.”
“You’re not going to turn this into some plot to get her and James to break up?” And she sounded genuinely surprised. I shook my head. Her eyes widened. “Edward…do you feel alright?” I scoffed at her.
“Yes Kendra I feel perfectly fine.”
“Then why aren’t you bemoaning our daughters wedding. What’s changed?” I gaped at her. She knew what had changed. She’d been the one who’d organized a shopping trip to celebrate it. Hell she’d been the one to get drunk when the announcement was unofficially made.
“Kendra…” I started, truly at a loss for her blindness. “She’s pregnant. Those two are getting married if it’s the last thing I do on this earth. No grandchild of mine is going to be raised by anything less than two loving, caring, and attentive parents, not while I’m still breathing.”
“So the only reason you’ve accepted James as part of the family is because Lils is pregnant?” I hesitated. If it’d hadn’t been for his dating and impregnating my daughter I would have liked him. As things stood now he’d done all those things, along with punching me in the nose. I couldn’t lie to her. If Little Love wasn’t with child I’d kick his sorry arse up and down London.
“Does it matter?” I compromised. She raised her eyebrows, knowing the real answer. “I mean they’re getting married, which is the responsible thing to do. The wedding isn’t that far away.”
“The wedding isn’t that far away because they were engaged before she was pregnant. It was probably conceived the night that James proposed.” At this I felt like I was going to vomit.
“Kendra if you don’t mind, I’d prefer not to think of our daughters’ sexual habits.” I pushed what was left of my toast away from me with a gag.
“Edward I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, but I think that maybe our daughter’s aren’t virgins anymore.” She was grinning as I hurriedly covered my mouth, feeling the contents of my stomach jolt. With a happy jump, she was on her feet. “You can answer her letter then darling. Tell her we’d love to come and can’t wait to see her and James.” She emphasized the last two words. I grumbled my continued displeasure and nausea.
“Hi Mum, Dad,” Lily said merrily walking over the threshold Sunday night; Potter close at hand. Little Lou was looking better than her letter had lead her mother to believe. Her hair was smooth and shiny, her hips might have widened a tad, and her ankles might be swollen slightly, but all this was forgiven by her rosy cheeks adding to a seemingly angel like pregnant glow. There was no other way to say it. She was dazzling.
Potter was a different story. There were shadows under his eyes, and his hair was more ruffled than usual. His clothes were wrinkled and askew almost to the point of idiocy, and his hazel eyes were wide and staring. It looked like he hadn’t sleep since I’d dropped the two off at his apartment three days ago. I looked him up and down and decided it was beneath even me to comment. Yes sir my daughter had picked a real winner. Kendra didn’t take his appearance quite as smoothly. She blinked opened her mouth closed it again, and then compromised by nodding in greeting.
“Shall we get going then?” Potter asked, stifling a yawn. Lily nodded; she seemed much more chipper than I’d seen her as of late. With a nod James moved forward, and pulled a little silk sack from his pocket. Lovely Little One stealthy closed the curtains, as her fiancé started a fire with his wand. The flames flared up and turned green as Potter threw some kind of powder on it. “Lils you want to go first?”
“Sure.” With a happy skip, she walked into the green flames, and called out clearly. “Godric’s Hollow, Windmill Lane, 1123.” With a whoosh, the green flames engulfed her; then she was gone. Potter nodded towards the flames, indicating for us to copy her. Kendra tentatively did so, and once she’d whooshed after our youngest I was left alone with Potter. He smiled at me. I glowered back, before following after my wife and daughter.
The Potter home wasn’t really a home. It was more of a mansion. The floor, the ceiling, and the fireplace were made of a flawless pure white marble. Almost all the furniture was covered in a silk or some sort of scaling material. The room we’d rolled into had three couches, five armchairs, and three of the four walls were covered in expensive looking book shelves, with thick collectable volumes filling up all of them. A maid was even waiting on the other side of the fire place once we’d all arrived, she did a small curtsy.
James nodded to her, and she lead us out from the library and into a room with just as much numerous and expensive looking furniture, except for the bookshelves. Mr. and Mrs. Potter were sitting on one of the couches. Once we arrived they both stood up. I could see Victoria’s lips almost twitching into a frown as she looked her son up and down. Thomas seemed to have the decency not to comment. He clapped his son on the shoulder and then stepped back for his wife to great her son. She gave him a concerned hug, then after letting go kissed Lily on the cheeks. Finally she and her husband greeted Kendra and I and offered everyone drinks.
Seated with something called fire whiskey in hand, unless you were Little Lovely who had apple juice, the conversation turned to the average kind of thing. Victoria and Kendra pestered Lily for more details about the wedding. Mr. Potter demanded information from his son about work. Once that subject was exhausted they tried to start up a conversation about Quidditch, but one small cough from Lily and a death glare for Victoria and the subject was dropped. By this point the maid had reappeared to inform us dinner was ready.
Sitting at the table we were served some kind of strange pasta dish and meat and wine or in Lily flower’s case apple juice again. However with on pregnant woman and two future grandmothers in the room the subject of the baby couldn’t go unnoticed for long. It was precisely two minutes and forty three seconds before Kendra asked how our youngest was feeling.
“Oh I actually feel great. I’ve been sleeping like a baby.”
“Enjoy that while it lasts,” Mrs. Potter advised. “Once the baby actually does come you’ll never sleep again. You won’t even be able to think or even find the time to close your eyes.” At this Potter let out a groan and his sleep deprived face hit the table with a sickening thud. No one moved for a moment as all eyes were on the top of his uncontrollable hair, then Victoria turned back to Lily as though nothing had happened. “So have you asked about your maternity leave yet?”
“My what?” Little Love asked, fork frozen halfway to her mouth. Her big bottle green eyes locked firmly onto her future mother in law. James had even picked his heavy head off the table to stare blankly at his mother for a few minutes.
“Your maternity leave,” she repeated. When the whole table, especially Lily Flower and James, remained in total and complete confused silence, she continued. “For when the baby comes, your time off your job. That way you can take care of the baby.” When neither her son nor his fiancée showed any kind of recognition her voice got a little higher, as though she was panicking. “But what are you going to do with the baby when it comes if Lily is still working?”
“Well…” James started quietly and slowly. “We were down at Frank’s the other day, and it turns out that Alice isn’t pregnant too.” He was cut off her though by his mother letting out a squeal of delight.
“Isn’t that fantastic! Oh how wonderful. Did you hear that Thomas, Kendra, Edward our little grandchild will have a playmate.”
“Yes…it’s fantastic.” Little Love said quietly. “But she’s going to be taking time off the tavern while Frank’s in training and his mother’s running things.”
“That even better,” Victoria simpered. “You’ll have company while your taking care of the baby. That is so fantastic.”
“Actually mother,” Potter muttered. “We can’t…afodorlilsopwrg.” I stared at him as he mumbled something inaudible under his breath, and coughed into his hand. “So yeah,” he finished as if the matter was settled.
“I’m sorry James,” Thomas began staring flabbergasted at his son. “We didn’t catch that. What were you saying?” Potter looked down again.
“I was saying that…we were thinking we could…laehebyithaliandlicoldkepwokng.” He covered his hand with his mouth as he spoke the last part. Everyone stared at him again.
“He’s trying to say that we can’t afford for me to take too much time off work, and Alice offered to take care of the baby while I’m working and James is in class,” she stated boldly. Her mother in law stared at her, while Kendra smiled on her other side.
“Actually I’m glad to hear you won’t stop working Lily. I’m proud of you,” my wife of thirty years simpered, patting her expecting daughter on the hand. Love smiled at this show of pride and affection.
“You’re happy about the prospect of our grandchild being left to fend for himself why your daughter leaves him or her out in the cold.” James gawked at his mother.
“Mum it won’t be like that. She’s still going to be with the baby during the weekends and after work. Plus we can keep our heads above water without Lils working for a couple of months.”
“James darling,” his mother stared dangerously. “If you two are having trouble with money why didn’t you say anything? Your father and I would be more than happy to help. How much do you need?”
“None,” he said finding his voice at last. “We don’t have financial troubles. We’re just two people about to get married and having a baby with a limited income. You and Dad went through this too once I’m sure.”
“No,” Thomas said, almost ashamed. “Victoria’s parents were kind enough to spot us a lot of money till we got on our feet.”
“Exactly no parent lets their child struggle to stay afloat early on in life. Right Edward? Kendra?”
“Actually our parents never gave either of us a cent. Our success was purely our own,” I said with pride. Well what didn’t I have to be proud of? I’d brought my wife from a single bed and bath flat with a kitchen as big as the bath to a massive comfortable home in a safe neighborhood.
“Well,” Victoria started, almost snobbishly. “No son of mine is going to have to struggle to keep food on the table, and no daughter in law of mine is going to keep working after she has a baby. Just like how no grandson of mine is going to be looked after by some petty tavern owner wife. That would be a disgrace.”
“Of course because everything’s about you mother,” Potter snapped. His mother started at the harshness of his words. “Now listen. Lils wants to keep working, and I don’t want her to lose that too, and I agree with Mr. Evans. I think that we should have the right to build our own life as we see fit. And if we want to leave our baby with Alice, who is a perfectly capable sweet woman, then you will just have to live with it.”
“I won’t.” Her voice was like venom.
“Our child. Our call,” he told he simply. “You will just have to live with it.”
“I won’t stand by and watch you ruin my grandchild’s life.” Mrs. Potter yelled at the top of her voice, snapping up to her feet.
“Well then you don’t have to watch!” he hollered back, on his feet as well. With that he grabbed Lou Lou by the wrist and dragged back towards the fireplace. Kendra and I also stood up.
“Thank you for dinner. It was lovely.” Kendra smiled at Mrs. Potter on our way out. As we followed the kids back to the library I glanced at her. She just shook her head as the happy couple vanished in the flames, after shouting out our address.
“See,” I gloated. “Compared to her I’m a fantastically relaxed parent.”
“Oh yes Edward. Please I beg of you compare yourself to a lunatic,” she sighed sarcastically.
AN: You’ve got no idea how sorry I am. I know I shouldn’t have leaved you waiting for so long and I feel so horrible about it. Please forgive me.
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