‘FLOREAN FORTESQUE’S ICE CREAM PARLOUR – Now Open!’
James and Lily stood about half way along Diagon alley gazing in wonderment at the brightly coloured new shop. It was packed; mainly with children but there were a fair few adults pushing and shoving to get to the front and read the list of endless list of flavours and infinite possible combinations.
“It’s like those new Bertie Bott’s thingies isn’t it?” Lily asked, grinning excitedly into the place, like a little girl gazing happily into her new dolls’ house.
“Do you want me to take you in Lilykins?” smirked James, she always got so wound up when he used his baby voice, and she was cute when she was a bit annoyed. Indeed, at his words Lily and given him a sharp dig in the ribs, grabbed his arm and dragged him inside in a way that said ‘I’m the boss here and I don’t need you to take me anywhere.
“I love it when you tell me what to do,” James said as they stood at the back, trying to crane their necks around the man in front who, unfortunately happened to be huge.
“I quite like it too,” she said, as she jumped up and down while looking around to make sure nobody was watching her do so. “Can you see anything yet?”
James maintained a bit more composure and was not even bothering to look in the direction of the board because he knew that all he was likely to see were two big shoulder blades. “No, just calm down and wait, all that jumping can’t be good for the baby. Plus,” he added, “Once we get to the front we can spend as long as we like deciding and we can laugh at all the people stood behind us.”
“Yeah great,” replied Lily sarcastically, though she did stop bouncing and held her stomach as if telling the unborn child she was sorry. “Sorry, but I was hoping we could leave here without being on the receiving end of about two hundred curses. I’ve only got a weeks to go and I would be very annoyed if I died now.”
“Glad to hear it,” smiled James, however, a glint of nervousness did shine from his brown eyes, “Go, quick, now! There’s a gap over there!” They sped around the giant man into the vacant floor space and suddenly found that they had a completely unobstructed view of the front of the shop. And what a view it was…
At least twenty members of staff, all wearing hats like upside-down ice creams were running along the counter, adding dollop upon dollop of brightly coloured delectables onto cones, but they too were not the usual cones you may expect. Some of them spun in the hand when a different variety was mashed onto them, others grew and grew over time while a few more seemed to be made of the ice cream itself.
“What you thinking of?” James asked, moving his eyes up to where hundreds of bizarre tastes scrolled across the display. Just in those few seconds James caught glimpses of words like ‘Ash leaf’ and ‘Mermaid hair’.
“What? I can’t hear you!” Lily yelled back. James gazed around, looking for the source of the high-pitched whistling noise only to see a very embarrassed young witch mouthing ‘tea pot flavour’ to her friend.
Eventually, Lily and James were walking out of Florean Fortesque’s arm in arm. James was licking his ‘Leaning Tower of Pizza – Twenty Pizzas, One Box’ while Lily had opted for the ‘Continental Breakfast Cone – Not just for Mornings”.
“While the fried egg was nice,” she mused as they wended their way towards Gringotts “I prefer them scrambled.”
“Wait,” said James as he slurped at the ham and pineapple section of his own treat, “Are you still talking about ice cream or are you actually saying that you like eggs scrambled?” Lily gave him an amazed yet withering look,
“Ice cream James, ice cream,”
“Right,” he replied slowly “But how do you like your eggs then?”
“We’ve been married three years now and you still don’t know about my egg habits?”
“Well do you know about mine?” James countered defensively. Lily opened her mouth as if to say something but seemed to think better of it so instead ran ahead up the steps and into the wizarding bank.
It was then that it happened…
She felt pain, intense pain. Her stomach was closing in on her. She could barely breathe. Her knees were growing weak, she was trying to call out but all she could sound were violent rasps.
“Lily?” said James, concerned as he caught up with her, “Lily!” She had turned bright red as she staggered around, determined not to collapse. Her abdomen was repeatedly clenching and unclenching, making Lily look as if she was having some sort of seizure.
“Shit!” muttered James as he scooped his wife up into his arms and spun on the spot.
An hour later Lily was safely in a bed at St. Mungo’s with James holding her hand. A nurse was also present, though she wasn’t saying much at the moment.
“James, it’s early,” Lily said for the forth time, squeezing his hand, and yet again James responded by saying
“Only a week Lily it’ll be fine; just stay calm and don’t worry.” They were in a private room next the one in which they had had their first scan. “I’m sure nurse… I’m sure the nurse can tell us what’s going on?” He said turning to look pleadingly at the young women behind him.
“Oh, yes,” she said, flustered, “Um… well, we’re used to births happening slightly before schedule and it hardly ever makes a difference at all…”
“But it does sometimes?” Lily cut in, eyes wide in alarm,
“Lily,” James said exasperated, “It – will – be – fine.” He was trying to give his tone that finality that he had always admired in Dumbledore but in reality he just sounded like he had breathing problems.
“Yes, we think the unusual ice cream may have sped up the process a little,” continued the poor nurse, “He…I mean it will be on its way any time now.”
“What was that?” asked James, getting worked up himself now,
“I said any time now,” the nurse replied terrified, “Maybe I should go and fetch nurse Troy.”
“No!” said Lily, “You said ‘he’, I know you did!” She had sat bolt upright and was resisting James’ attempts to gently push her back down.
“Lily please…” James begged, increasing the pressure but, as he did so, he also turned to the nurse and said “Did you?”
The young nurse looking to the ground and said so quietly it was barely audible, “Yes.”
“Let me hold him!”
“No, it’s my turn!”
“Your turn’s over!”
“Hey, I think I deserve a turn a little longer than yours; I’m the one who had to shove him through a tight hole!”
“Well if it hadn’t been for me shoving something else up that hole you would never have had the chance so give him here!”
“James!” Lily said, shocked, “There’s a baby in the room!”
“Yeah, because he really knows what I’m saying,” James mocked, “Anyway, what should we call him?”
“I had a favourite uncle called Peter?” Lily suggested,
“I had a favourite uncle called Ulberk, but I think that may be classed as child abuse so how about we think of a new name?” James said as he leaned in to kiss his son’s forehead.
“Okay, we already decided that the second name would be one or ours and I guess James would be more appropriate for a boy,” Lily said as she pulled the small blanket higher up the child’s chest.
“Thank Merlin you said that,” James sighed in relief, “I thought I was going to have to stop you calling our child Lily.”
Lily, ignoring James said, “I’m trying to think what we liked in the book…”
“Screw the book!” James moaned, growing impatient, “How about Harry?”
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