Chapter 7 : Chapter Seven: Guilt
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Chapter Seven: Guilt
“Rosie, Hugo, I’m so glad you’re back. It’s been so quiet with just me and your mum,” Ron commented as he pulled into their driveway, nearly knocking down their mailbox.
“Ronald! Watch where you’re driving!” Hermione scolded.
“I know very well where I’m going, Hermione,” Ron countered as he parked crookedly.
He turned around and grinned at his kids. “Welcome back home!”
Rose and Hugo smiled as they hopped out of the car. Their dad was a little crazy, but there wasn’t any other way they’d have it.
Ron got their trunks out of the car and Hermione ushered her children inside.
“Change your clothes quickly so we can get to the Burrow. We’re already going to be late since your father insisted on driving, so hurry up.”
“Mione, we’re not going to be late. Besides, Mum doesn’t care,” Rose heard her father say as she rushed upstairs with Hugo their trunks floating behind them.
“Man, we’re barely home and they’re already bickering,” Hugo said, shaking his head.
“Hugo, it’s what they do. Plus, what they’re bickering about is harmless. It’s how they show they care. Would you want them any other way?” Rose asked her brother as she stood outside her bedroom door.
Hugo looked pensive for a moment before his face broke out into a contagious smile. “Nope.”
Hugo disappeared into his room and Rose bounced into her own room, closing the door behind her. She quickly changed out of her jeans and tee shirt into an adorable lilac coloured dress. She settled on pairing it with simple white flats and the silver rose necklace her parents had given her for her seventeenth birthday.
She dashed downstairs to find that her parents and Hugo were waiting for her.
“Ready to go?” her father asked.
“As I'll ever be,” Rose replied.
“How about you Floo first, alright Rose?” Hermione suggested.
Rose grabbed a fistful of Floo powder and stepping into their fireplace, crying out “The Burrow.”
Moments later, Rose tumbled into her grandparents’ living room, covered in soot.
She coughed, trying to rid her lungs of the soot.
“Rosie!” she heard many voices cry as she tried to dust herself off.
“Hullo everyone,” she greeted them collectively, barely noticing which Weasleys had greeted her.
Suddenly, she felt arms wrap around her and smelled the lovely cinnamon and flour scent that could only belong to her grandmum.
“Hello, Grandmum,” Rose addressed her grandmother.
“Rose, darling,” Molly Weasley cooed. “You’re but skin and bones! Let’s see what I have for you to eat.”
Molly was just about to scurry off to find her granddaughter some scrumptious, fattening food when Hugo fell through the fireplace, coughing. Molly had to repeat her standard grandchild welcoming.
Rose managed to slip away and find her favourite cousin (next to Albus), Victoire, who was busy keeping her two year old son happy and trying to get him to sleep.
“Rosie!” Victoire Lupin cried when she saw her cousin. She was smiling broadly and so was Topher, as he chewed on his fingers.
“Victoire!” Rose exclaimed as she was swept up into a big hug. “Wow Topher, you’ve gotten so big since Christmas.”
Christopher, better known as Topher, was an adorable little boy with Metamorphmagus abilities inherited from his deceased grandmother, Nymphadora Lupin and his father, Teddy. He was born with tawny-brown coloured hair and (obviously) blue eyes that soon settled to a warm brown. (That is, when he wasn’t taking advantage of his powers.) He frequently changed his hair colour to a vivid lime green, which he was sporting today, much to his mother’s dismay.
Topher giggled at Rose and immediately reached his toddler arms out to her anxiously.
Rose took him from Victoire, bouncing him on her hip.
“She’s with Teddy and Al. They are trying to get her on her first “big girl” broom,” Victoire revealed to her cousin, her voice sounding a little irritated.
“Analise is only four though.”
“That’s what I said, but I got overruled.”
Topher squirmed in Rose’s arms, attaching himself around her neck and burying his head in her hair.
“Wow Rose. He’s really taken a liking to you. Lately, he’s been extremely fussy with anyone but me, Teddy, and my parents.”
“Really?” Rose asked, astounded. She couldn’t have possibly guessed that Topher was a difficult child.
“Yeah. And you’re like a natural holding him! Imagine when you have children,” Victoire laughed. “Two years old is such a difficult age too,” Victoire informed Rose.
Rose was a little shocked and nervous. Did Victoire know? How could she is she did? Had Al told?
She brushed these accusations away, telling herself she was being paranoid.
She smiled slowly as she rocked Topher, hoping that Victoire couldn’t somehow tell she was pregnant, nevertheless.
“Well, I must be gifted then,” Rose joked.
Victoire laughed just as Analise came running in, grabbing Victoire’s legs.
“Mummy, Mummy, Mummy! Come see me ride my new broom!” Analise hollered.
“I will, but aren’t you going to say hi to Rose, darling?”
Analise looked up at Rose and smiled. “Hi Rose.”
Analise looked back to her mother and started pulling on her skirt. “Come on Mummy. You can come too, Rose.”
Rose accepted the offer, following Analise into the backyard, still carrying a increasingly groggy Topher.
She saw Teddy and Al laughing and talking, standing beside a small Meteor 97.
Analise dragged Victoire to the broom before she mounted it. “Watch Mummy!”
“I’m watching, Lisie.”
Analise hovered for a moment before she began ascending, no more than a meter or two in the air. It was, after all, her first “big girl” broom.
“Hello Rose,” Teddy grinned at her. “I see Topher is sleeping now. Nice job.”
Rose glanced at the little boy in her arms and saw that he was sound asleep. “Thanks, I suppose. I did get him to sleep and by doing nothing.”
“Well then, you must be a miracle-worker since Teddy and Victoire have been trying to get him to sleep since they got here,” Al said, noticing that both Teddy and Victoire were preoccupied as they proudly watched their daughter. “How was the car ride? Uncle Ron run into anything?”
“No accidents whatsoever, except when he tried to park it in the driveway. He nearly ran over the mailbox.”
Al snickered. “Wow, that must be one of the first uneventful rides in quite a while.”
Rose rolled her eyes. She knew very well that her father was not the best driver in the world, though he may think that he is. “Yes, it was.”
“So how are you?” Al asked her quietly and in a hushed tone so Teddy and Victiore couldn’t really hear.
“Al, I’m fine. Same as I was when I got off the train,” she told him, a tad irked. She was pregnant, not dying.
Al noticed the tone in her voice and backed off.
“Alright. Good. I told Lily to be quiet about you and Scorpius, just so you know. I got her before she blabbed to Mum.”
With that, Al redeemed himself.
“Thanks Al. I certainly didn’t need Lily to make a mess of everything.”
“I warned the others not to mention it also. They were more easily persuaded.”
“Thanks again Al. I really appreciate it.”
Al smiled bashfully. “Don’t worry about it. It was nothing.”
Rose gave him a look. “Stop being modest. It’s a big deal.”
He nodded sheepishly, accepting Rose’s praise.
Rose and Al dropped their conversation and turned to watch Analise fly around happily and chat with her parents.
“So, Al and I were talking about almost being out of Hogwarts. Al said that he’s ready to leave and to get on to bigger and better things. What about you, Rose?” Teddy asked her, his eyes on Analise.
“Well, intellectually, mentally, I think I’m prepared, but emotionally, I’m not so sure. I mean, I’m looking forward to becoming a Healer, after all, I’ve known that I wanted to be one since my fourth year. It’s just the thought about being out in the world on my own that terrifies me.”
Teddy nodded, sympathizing completely. “That’s to be expected. But you’ll be fine. And you’ve always got your family to lean on. There’re a lot of us to go to when you need help or advice.”
Rose’s heart jumped into her throat. What did he mean by “needing help or advice?” Did he know? Had Liam told him? Liam was his best friend after all.
Rose was very well aware that she was jumping to conclusions and being paranoid again, yet she couldn’t help it. When one has such a large secret, it’s very likely to be a bit paranoid about people finding out.
Thankfully, Al answered for himself and Rose. “Of course you guys are. That’s what family and friends are for.”
“Speaking of friends, Liam’s coming tonight too. He’s even bringing a friend,” Victoire Al and Rose, somewhat suggestively. She obviously meant a girlfriend.
“Really?!” Analise squealed happily as she landed beside Victoire. “Uncle Liam is coming?”
“Shh, Analise. We’re right here. You don’t have to yell,” Teddy told her firmly. “Uncle Liam is coming, but you need to be quiet since Topher is finally asleep, thanks to Rose. You don’t want him to wake up, do you?”
“No. No I don’t,” Analise whispered.
“Good,” Teddy said, scooping his daughter up and kissing her cheek. “Time to go back inside now that Mummy has seen you fly.”
Teddy started walking toward the Burrow, whispering with his daughter.
Victoire watched them smiling.
She turned to Rose. “Do you want me to take Topher?”
Rose suddenly realized that she was still holding him. It hadn’t even dawned on her until she felt the weight in her arms. “Oh, sure. Now you can put him in his crib and he can get a fitful sleep.”
Rose was careful not to jostle him as she passed him to his mother. Luckily, he didn’t even stir.
Victoire went back inside, leaving Al and Rose in the backyard.
Al noticed that Rose stared blankly after Victoire’s retreating form and instantly knew what she was thinking.
“You’ll be a great mother, Rose. There’s no doubt about that,” he assured her. “It’s genetic. Weasleys are great parents, even when you have completely insane kids, such as James. I know my parents had their hands full with him, but he came out relatively well, now didn’t he?”
Rose chuckled and let herself be held by Al.
“Thanks Al. You always know what to say and when to say it,” Rose thanked him.
“I know I do.”
She laughed and pushed him away playfully before hanging onto him tighter.
She slowly let him go and he suggested they go back in.
“We’ve got other family to talk to, even though we both know we’d rather not,” Al advised Rose.
“Let’s just hope we’re eating soon. I’m starved.”
“But you ate probably half of what we got on the train!”
Rose looked at him strangely before pointing to her stomach. “Eating for two here.”
“Oh right. I temporarily forgot.”
“Plus that was hours ago.”
Al chuckled. Rose always did have a good appetite, pregnant or not.
Al and Rose went back inside and struck up a very dull conversation about Merlin knows what with their Uncle Percy before things got even remotely interesting. And all because Liam was soon to arrive with his friend.
Molly had just informed her family that in ten minutes time, they would be allowed to sit down and eat. Rose and all of the Weasley (and Potter) males were thrilled to hear this since their bellies were rumbling. However, the only difference between Rose and the Weasley/Potter males was that Rose internalized her hunger while the boys vocalized theirs.
Rose had just turned to her Aunt Angelina to talk about the Healer profession when two ‘pops’ interrupted the Weasley festivities.
“Hullo Weasley clan!” a rich baritone voice crooned.
“Uncle Liam!” Analise screaming, running and jumping into his open arms.
“Lisie!” he returned before planting a big kiss on her cheek. “I missed you!”
He looked to the rest of the congregation, a grin permanently stuck on his face. “And all of you too! I don’t remember the last time I came to dinner.”
Teddy strode over to his best mate and held out his hand, the precursor to a man-hug.
“I’m glad you could make it with your busy schedule. So, who’s your friend?”
If it was even possible, Liam’s grin got bigger.
He held tighter to Analise and lifted her up.
“Everyone, this is Maegan Murphy. Maegan, this is the Weasley family.”
Rose finally got a good look at the friend beside Liam. Maegan was beautiful. She had long black hair, pouty red lips, the perfect body and the most alluring eyes.
“Hello Weasleys. Liam has told me how you are practically his second family,” she said. “It’s lovely to finally meet you all. Liam has just been raving about you all.”
Her words were like honey and seemed to be absolutely genuine.
“Well, Maegan, now you’ll get to meet every single one of them!”
Liam started with introducing Teddy, then Victoire, Analise, and Topher, followed by all the rest.
When Liam finally got to Rose, he gave her a wink.
“And this is Rose.”
“Finally I get to meet the Rose you talk about so much. It’s truly a pleasure. I hope we get the chance to talk later, after I meet the rest of the Weasleys.” Maegan paused before reassuring Rose that Liam hadn’t told any embarrassing things.
“He can’t help but gush about all the amazing things you’ve done,” she revealed to Rose, her kindness shining. “You are clearly the younger sister he’s never had.”
Rose beamed under Maegan’s words. She quickly glanced at Liam and saw that he was blushing.
She smiled at Maegan. “I’d love to talk with you later. Maybe we can sit near each other at dinner and start from there?” Rose suggested. Maegan seemed to be a really wonderful person.
Maegan agreed enthusiastically before Liam led her to the remaining Weasley members.
Soon enough, Maegan met every member off the Weasley family (including all spouses) and Molly Weasley also called the gang to the feast.
Rose couldn’t remember the last time she had such a normal meal with her wild family. Not to mention how pleasant it was. Fred didn’t try any pranks, Lily didn’t monopolize the conversation, and Dominique didn’t complain about how fattening the food was (but that might have been due to the fact that she had finally lost the last of the forty-seven pounds she had gained from her pregnancy). Her parents didn’t even start a fight in the middle of dinner!
Once dinner was finished, Molly shooed everyone but her daughter and daughter-in-laws away to prepare for dessert. Maegan took this opportunity to talk to Rose alone, to get to know the girl her Liam loved so much.
The duo surprisingly found a quiet, secluded part of the Burrow to talk in.
“Rose, you’ve no idea how glad I am to finally meet you. With all that Liam has told me about you, I couldn’t help but feel as though I already know you. In a way, I do. You actually remind me a lot of myself. Crazy, isn’t it?” Maegan laughed.
“Not really. I kind of feel the same way, even though I probably don’t know nearly as much about you as you do about me.”
Maegan smiled and laughed.
“And since I know practically nothing about you, except that you were a year behind Liam and Teddy and that you’re an Unspeakable, I’d like to know how you met Liam.”
Maegan grinned again. “You know, you’re the first to ask me that question tonight.”
“Really? Then it’s about time!”
A chuckle escaped from Maegan’s mouth. “Well, I was late picking up my son, Jonathan, and Liam was picking up his cousin Maya’s daughter, his goddaughter, Kiley, from school. Kiley had refused to let Liam take her to the park until she knew that I was coming to pick Jonathan up. She’s a very caring seven year old that way.
“So, knowing very well that I was late, I rushed like mad to Muscroftt’s Primary School, expecting Jonathan to be waiting alone, only to find Liam sitting on the school steps with Jonathan and Kiley. Frantically, I thanked Liam for staying with Jonathan, wrapping my son in a huge hug. Liam insisted that it was Kiley’s idea though. Eventually, I just accepted that before finally introducing myself. Liam promptly introduced himself as Kiley’s cousin and godfather.
“Somehow, we got talking and he managed to invite Jonathan and me on a play-date to the park with Kiley and him. The way he asked me, I was incapable of saying no. He was so kind and honest. I’m pretty sure I fell in love with him that very afternoon.”
Rose was surprised to hear this. Rose hadn’t know that Liam had any cousins, let alone that he was a godfather to someone else besides Analise Lupin. She wasn’t surprised in the least that Maegan had managed to fall in love with Liam, but the fact that Maegan had a seven year old son was the most surprising of all.
“You have a son?” Rose finally blurted out, completely forgetting to censor herself.
“Yes. Liam is fantastic with Jonathan and Jonathan loves him. Liam loves him too.”
Rose expected to hear that. Liam loves kids.
“I hope you don’t think of me as extremely rude to ask this, but is Jonathan’s father in the picture?”
Maegan smiled sadly. “Oh, Rose, hun, I don’t find that rude in the least. I’m actually really glad you asked. Most people try to be too politically correct and just assume that when I say I’m a single mother, that my son’s father is a bad guy and doesn’t deserve to be a father. But, frankly, that isn’t the case at all,” Maegan assured Rose. “The truth is, we were young and in love. We were the Head Boy and Girl and madly in love. One time, just one time, one fleeting, blissful moment passed, and I got pregnant. We went about it rationally, the intelligent people we were, and decided to keep the baby. We told a few people; our best friends and our parents. Throughout my pregnancy, everything was fine. We had plans of an engagement and getting married and having a happy little family. Then when I went into labour, he disappeared. He didn’t even get to see Jonathan’s birth.
“Three days after Jonathan was born, he came back. He told me he had fallen out of love with me. I had asked him if there was anyone else and he told me truthfully that there wasn’t. He said that if I still wanted him to be Jonathan’s father, he would be. I had to give him that right. I had loved him. So he met his son and told me goodbye and that he’d owl me soon. Then he left.
“I didn’t shed one tear while he told me he wasn’t in love with me anymore, but the moment he left, I bawled. I couldn’t stop. I cried for days before I finally pulled myself together for Jonathan’s sake. Jonathan’s father and I eventually came to an agreement; he gets to take Jonathan every Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ve come to peaceful terms and now we are friends.”
Rose was speechless. Maegan dealt with a very similar situation that Rose would be dealing with very soon.
“Oh my god,” Rose uttered, refusing to meet Maegan’s eyes. She desperately hoped that her pregnancy wouldn’t end like that.
“Rose, honey, I’ve come to accept it. Jonathan almost understands now too. His father and I both love him very much, even though we aren’t together anymore. But you should know that all teenage pregnancies end differently.”
Rose’s eyes travelled to Maegan’s.
“Liam didn’t tell me. He accidently gave me your letter and I had to ask him about it. He was so distraught that he broke your trust, even if it was only accidentally. Since I found out, he asked me to offer my expertise. I understand if you don’t want it and I promise I won’t tell anyone.”
Rose stared at Maegan before unexpectedly flinging her arms around the older girl.
“I’m so glad that I am not alone.”
Maegan hugged Rose back, silently relieved that she had accepted her help.
“Well, you’re not. More people that you probably think have to deal with teenage pregnancy. You certainly aren’t the only one.”
Rose pulled away from Maegan embarassed and distractedly ran a hand through her hair.
“What do you think I should do?”
“For one, you should tell your parents that you’re dating Scorpius as soon as possible. Once they know, tell them you’re pregnant, but wait a while so they can adjust to your relationship with him. It will be easier for everyone.”
Rose nodded, entirely overwhelmed. Overwhelmed and guilt-ridden. Why hadn’t she told her family ages ago that she was dating Scorpius? That way, she wouldn’t have had to sneak around and she probably wouldn’t be pregnant.
“Rose, if you ever need anything, you can owl me or Liam. Jonathan and I are moving into his flat soon, so you’ll be able to reach us both, too, when we do. And don’t feel so guilty. It’s my belief that things happen for a reason. Maybe all this happened for a reason. There’s no point in fighting fate,” Maegan told her.
Rose thought about it briefly before accepting her theory. Maybe everything did happen for a reason, and that there is no way of changing fate.
Maegan stood up. “Come on. Let’s not worry about that anymore and instead, go get that dessert your grandmum mentioned. If it was half as good as that feast she prepared, I'll be in Heaven.”
“Grandmum makes even better desserts,” Rose told her, in a much happier and freer mood.
“Yum!” Maegan cried as she and Rose hurried back to the party.
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