Boy I hear you, in my dreams
I feel your whisper across the sea
I keep you with me in my heart,
You make it easier when life gets hard.
--Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat “Lucky”
It was bright and sunny out, even though it was the middle of January. I had a coat wrapped tightly around my body, and I scooted closer to Hugo for body heat. He put his arm on my shoulder and kissed the top of my head.
“I love you,” he whispered. I got chills all over my body that weren’t related to the weather. “I love you, I love you, I love you” he kept whispering, pausing between each one to kiss a spot on my neck. I giggled childishly and then I felt a push. “Get up Emily!” said a voice from above. “I don’t want to!” I argued back, trying to snuggle closer to Hugo. I felt another push and slipped out of my dream and back into reality.
“Emily?” I open my eyes to see Lily Potter right in front of me. “What were you dreaming about? You kept moaning and laughing. I could have sworn you were having an orgasm.”
“Nothing.” I respond quickly and then get up from the bed. It then dawns on me that today I was supposed to go with Lily to look for a wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses as well. Given my current size, I haven’t been really looking forward to it, but as one of Lily’s bridesmaids, its something unavoidable.
After I get dressed and we have a quick breakfast, we head over to a small boutique in Diagon Alley.
Sam is already waiting for us drinking a mimosa and flipping through wedding magazines. She’s probably the next to get married, and then Lily will get pregnant and the cycle will continue. Except I’ve done it in a different order…
I’m starting to have a feeling that marriage isn’t in my future. I mean it will be hard enough to find a guy who likes children, who my child likes, who doesn’t have a problem that I have a love child with another man, and loves my child as his own. And then what if I do find that special someone? What if we go on to have lots of babies and my first child, Hugo’s child that is, feels like it was never loved because it was a total mistake between two people who hated each other during the conception. So we can’t even say something like “we were caught up in each other and loved with such a passion…” because that’s a lie.
But, if Hugo and I get together, then we can raise the child…
Wait, no—I can’t think like that because it will never happen. I’m not going to fall for him like half the female population already has. I’m not going to be another notch on his bedpost, if he still does that.
I finally zone back when Ginny and Rose come through the door. “Sorry we’re late!” Ginny says. She plops herself down on one of the sofas in the middle of the boutique while Lily introduces us to the sales lady.
“These are my three bridesmaids, and this is my mum.” The sales lady smiles at all of us and then turns her attention back to Lily. “What colour are you thinking about for the dresses?”
“For the bridesmaids, I want a light turquoise colour, like a light blue but not a sky blue, a little greener but not sea foam.” Lily is telling her. Lily knows exactly what she wants but has a hard time putting it into words; it’s always been that way.
“And for your ma’am,” the woman asks Ginny, but before she responds Lily cuts in.
“I think she should wear a light green, like a little bit brighter than a pear colour dress,” Lily tells her.
The woman rushes around the store grabbing dresses; ones that aren’t even close to the colours Lily wants, but she says we can order them. Then she goes into the back and grabs more. Rose, Sam and I watch as Lily says no or maybe to each one of the dresses and then we go into the back where we are given the dresses that Lily said maybe to in our size.
Of course, mine are all way too big, but the sales lady says we can get it taken in after I have the baby because I have no idea how much (or how little) weight I’ll lose after the baby.
Lily finally decides on a strapless dress for us with a big white sash under the bust line. The bottom of the skirt is scalloped and the edge of the dress has little white eyelet flowers. Sam and Rose look great in it, and I can’t help but think that I’m going to look like a fat cow, because I’ll probably still have the baby fat.
Ginny gets a dress too in the exact colour that Lily wants, because she says it “will match dad’s eyes.” Ginny of course rolls her eyes to this.
Then comes Lily’s dress. None of them—and I mean not a single one in the store—is good enough for Lily. “It has to feel right. I’ll know the dress when I see it,” she kept repeating.
We walk out of the store and move onto the next boutique in Diagon Alley, which is a few blocks away.
Again, we find nothing. We try Carlton, the department store, three other boutiques and then venture out into the muggle world looking for a dress.
By the time we’re leaving the Leaky Cauldron, I’m tired and moody. All I want to do is sit down and sleep for the rest of the day.
“This is a lot of work for a pregnant woman,” I grumble, but Lily pretends not to hear me. She seems to have all the energy in the world while the rest of us are struggling to stand up straight.
Lily walks at a fast pace while I tread behind with Sam, Ginny and Rose. “This is what we’re going to do,” Ginny whispers to us when Lily is further ahead of us. “The next dress she tries on is going to be ‘the one’. It will look great on her—because everything does so we just have to go on a rant about how good it looks.”
“Brilliant idea,” we whisper back, as we head into another boutique. Lily goes around the store, grabbing what seems like every single dress. We sit down and watch her, while the sales clerk looks on in horror. Lily doesn’t seem to have any mercy on the dresses and is draping them over her left arm, or on her shoulder.
“Let me help you with those,” the woman says, and takes them all from Lily’s hands. Lily grumbles a “thanks” back and keeps looking at all the dresses.
After looking at every single rack of the store, she finally goes to try on the dresses she’s chosen. The first one is her favourite from the store, and just like the rest of the dresses, it looks great on her.
“Wow,” Rose says. “That looks amazing on you.”
“You think so?” Lily asks, looking in the mirror.
“Oh Lily, it was made for you!” Ginny beams.
“That’s the one!” Sam tells her.
“You have to get it.” I reassure her.
“But what about the back, it doesn’t make my butt look too big?” Lily says, turning around to inspect it.
“It looks perfect, love.” Ginny says.
“You think this is the one?” Lily asks us all. We nod enthusiastically and smile.
“So there’s no need to try on any more dresses?”
“NO!” we all say, and then giggle for effect.
“Lily, you’d have to be insane not to get this dress,” Rose says, and Lily looks in the mirror one last time before telling the sales lady that she’ll take it.
“Now its time for the shoes,” Lily says, before I can even suggest having lunch.
“I like how this is turning out,” I say to the painter, who is putting a second coat onto one of the baby’s room walls.
The painter just smiles and continues working. I walk around the apartment, which is a mess of tarp, and saw dust paint cans. Hugo wanted it to be painted by actual painters, because he says the finish is nicer than when you do it magically. I think he just said that because he doesn’t know the spell.
“What are you doing?” I a voice says, interrupting my thoughts on what colours will look good against the khaki walls. I turn around to see Hugo, in business robes looking at me sceptically.
“Well I was trying to decide if red would be too feminine—“
“You’re supposed to wear a surgical mask!” he shouts, and hands me the one I threw on the front table when he gave it to me that morning.
“Hugo please, the paint is non-toxic—its not muggle paint.”
“That’s what it says but are you really going to trust a paint can?” He argues back. “I don’t want my child to come out with deformities because of some stupid mistake you made.”
“You’re being ridiculous.”
“Just put the damn thing on,” he continues to fight. I look him straight in the eye and can tell that he’s actually worried. I sigh and grab the mask from his hands.
“This is really stupid,” I muffle from behind the mask. He gives a little smirk but seems really pleased that I’ve decided to wear it.
“So what were you saying about red?” Hugo asks.
“Do you like red? I was thinking about doing accents in red. I found this great leather sofa for you but I don’t want the room to look too bland with khaki and dark brown.” I tell him.
“Er, yeah. Sounds great.” Its pretty obvious that he could care less, he was just asking to make me think he’s interested.
“And I have some great ideas for the baby’s room.”
“You better not have painted it blue.” He says sternly. I threatened to do that the other night.
I giggle but shake my head. “I chose off-white. It sounds boring but I figured that once the baby was born we could paint flowers if it’s a girl or animals if it’s a boy.” I tell him.
“Sounds great to me,” He replies.
It’s silent for a few minutes and then he finally speaks. “We’re still on for tomorrow right?” He asks.
We have a date for tomorrow?! That’s not possible, I would have remembered. What are we doing tomorrow?
When I don’t say anything he continues “The birthing class tomorrow. You said I had to go, remember?” I nod “Thanks for reminding me, actually. I wouldn’t have gone if you hadn’t said anything.”
See what a good couple we make? Picking colours for the house and reminding each other of appointments.
How did I get here? Seven months ago I wished that Hugo wasn’t even part of my life and now I’m talking about him like he’s my boyfriend.
I blame the hormones.
A few minutes later, Hugo and I lock up the new apartment and start walking outside. I ask Hugo if he wants to join me for take-away dinner—it doesn’t hurt to be friendly right, I just want him to know that we’re friends. Nothing more, nothing less.
He apparently isn’t thinking as hard about this as I am and gives a quick shrug. As we’re getting our orders in the restaurant I notice it starts snowing. When we walk outside I wrap my coat as tight as I can against my stomach, but it won’t close properly.
“You alright?” Hugo asks.
“Yeah,” I mutter. “My coat won’t close, that’s all”
Before I even know what’s happening, I feel an arm around me.
“What are you doing?” I ask Hugo.
“Trying to keep you warm,” He responds, smiling down on me.
We finally get to my building and Hugo takes his arm off my shoulder while we walk to the lift and on our way up to my flat.
When I finally reach my floor I see someone lying down in front of my door. Whoever it is has three huge suitcases with them and a trunk and is covered in a large jacket.
“What’s going on?” Hugo asks, and I start walking over to the lump.
The lump starts moving and finally removes the jacket so I can look at the face.
“Hi Emily,” my sister Natalie greets. “Can I come in?”
I nod numbly and feel a hand on my waist. I look up to see Hugo smile at me. This is the first time I’ve seen anyone from my family since my outbreak on Christmas, which has been a little over a month. It’s nice that he knows that I need him.
I put my key in the lock and we walk in.
“I’m Hugo Weasley, by the way.” I hear Hugo say to my sister as I go to the kitchen table and put out all the food.
“We got take-away,” I hear him continue. “But I’m sure there’s some food in this house.”
“I’m not really hungry,” Natalie replies nicely. “Thank you though.”
They come in as I serve the water.
“No food for you Natalie?” I ask, keeping a completely straight face. She just shakes her head nervously.
We sit down and I eat my food quickly while Hugo tries to make small talk with Natalie, and everyone keeps avoiding the big elephant in the room. So I decide to bring it up.
“What are you doing here, Natalie?” I snap in the middle of Hugo’s sentence. “What do you want?”
“I, er, just wanted to see you.” She mutters.
“That’s the biggest pile of hippogriff shit that I’ve ever heard Natalie Marie Osb—!
“I got in a fight with mum!” she says over my raised voice. Everything goes silent and she continues.
“She said that you were making a big mistake and that you deserved better and that this baby was tying you down. She said that you were going to fall for Hugo one way or another and that by doing that, you’re entire life will be over. I stood up for you.” Hugo looks nervously down at his plate of food.
“What did you say?”
“I said that you were smart and responsible and you made one mistake—no offense” she says the last part to Hugo, “and that you could handle a baby. I told her that even if Hugo wasn’t part of the baby’s life, you could still do it on your own. And then--”she pauses and plays with the hem of her shirt.
“She said that she hoped I didn’t make the same mistake. She then ranted on about how families need stability and that’s impossible without a father figure. So basically, I blew up and talked all this feminist crap, and then left, telling her I couldn’t take anymore.” Natalie finishes.
“What made you come here?” I ask.
“Well Robert and Charlotte have kids and Simon is already a total mess, so I thought about coming here.” I know that she doesn’t exactly have a home here since she’s been in Australia for so long, so she was just living with mum and dad until she got a job.
“You can stay as long as you like.” I reassure her. Then I realize one small little problem. “But I hope you don’t mind sleeping on the couch. I only have my bed because Sam moved out.”
“Not at all!” Natalie says. “Thank you so much Em, you don’t know how much this means to me.”
“Glad to help Nat,” I say, finally happy to be reconnected with someone in my family.
“So Lily tells me that Frank’s stag party is the same weekend as my baby shower,” I say on our way home from birthing class the next day.
“Yeah,” Hugo says smiling. “It will be fun, we’re going to Majorca for the weekend.” I notice him fidget with his hands a little, as if he’s nervous.
“Well I know Lily is trying to act like she doesn’t care if there are strippers, but I know she does.”
“She has nothing to worry about really, I mean James and Al definitely wouldn’t go for that.” He responds, still looking nervous.
“Please, it’s not a real stag night without the strippers.” I joke.
“I couldn’t agree more.” He muttered, still looking nervous. “How’s Natalie doing?”
“She’s good, it’s a bit crowded in the flat, but she’s really helped out.” I tell him, thinking about the delicious breakfast she made me this morning. “She’s looking for a job, I think she’s planning on staying longer than I imagined.”
“I wanted to talk to you about that, actually.”
“What exactly?” The last thing I want to hear is that he wants to date my sister.
“Well I was thinking about when the baby comes, we should probably live together, just for the first few months.” He says, surprising me completely.
“I mean it makes sense,” he continues, “I know you’ll have main custody of it, but I still would take it for the weekends, or at least twice a week. I need to know how to take care of it, its food and sleeping habits, and so it would probably be if I got accustomed to it the first few weeks. You shouldn’t have to do it alone anyway.”
I hadn’t really thought about the baby as a newborn, to be quite honest. “Alright, sounds logical.”
“And you know, I have an extra room in my current apartment and in the new one, so I thought maybe, if Natalie could afford to, she could live in your flat and then you can live with me.”
“Live with you?!” I say surprised. This was not what I was expecting. “But we’re not even going out!”
“Friends can live together.”
“But it just sounds a little weird, Hugo. I don’t know, it just feels weird.” He looks heartbroken.
“I mean yes, I think it’s a good idea the first few weeks after the baby comes, and maybe two weeks before just in case I’m early. But right now? I have to think about it.” I explain.
“Alright,” he finally smiles a little, and I’m happy to see him cheer up.
When I get home, I see Natalie sitting at the dining room table with the Daily Prophet in her hands.
“What are you doing?” I ask her, slumping down in the seat across from her.
“Looking for a job. I applied to about 10 shops in the area this morning. Now I’m seeing if anyone need a personal assistant or something like that.” She looks up and puts her pen down. “How were the birthing classes?”
“Good,” I say absentmindedly. “Hugo’s very…supportive.”
“Is he?” she smirks. Last night I told her about my childish crush on him. She's the only person who I can tell, seeing as Lily can't keep her mouth shut and Sam would just keep smirking in a I-told-you-so way.
“He asked me to move in with him,” I respond.
“Well that was random, you two aren’t even dating.” Leave it to my twenty-three year old sister to still use words like “random”.
I tell her about our conversation and her mouth drops open.
“A good looking man who you are head over heals in love with wants you to live with him, and you say no?”
“Well its not that easy.”
“You want to get closer to him, but you freak out when he says he’s willing to live with you.”
“It’s just a weird idea.”
“Yeah, it is. But who cares? Do you realize what this can do? You can walk around in sexy night gowns, or keep the door open to the bathroom when you shower. You can totally seduce him.”
“You know I’m not like that, besides, it’s not exactly sexy when you’re the size of the whale.”
“Please, pregnancy turns guys on faster than a lacy bra.” Natalie argues. “But that’s not the point. The point is that you want to be more involved in his life, and clearly he does too, or he wouldn’t ask you to move in with you.”
As she says this, a picture of the two of us unpacking comes up in my mind. I see him helping me by lifting the boxes, and then helping me make the bed, just so I could lie down.
Natalie laughs, and breaks me out of my daydream. “So I guess you’re going to say yes then?”