Chapter 7 : Quiet Laughter
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I could literally feel my stomach churning uneasily as Lily stood in the doorway, her mouth hanging open, her eyes as wide as saucers. It looked as though she were about to drop dead from shock over what she just heard. Well, to be honest, I had been shocked when I found out as well. She wasn’t as shocked as I had been, of course- after all, I was the one with a tiny little life gestating within me, not her- but she was doing a fairly good imitation of my reaction. And she hadn’t even gotten to see it. Quite the sight to behold.
I turned my own equally wide eyes towards James and without a single word or even a question he got off of my bed and wrapped one of his hands around his sister’s upper arm, tugging her into the room and closed the door behind her with his free hand. Lily only stumbled slightly as she was tugged inside, her eyes still wide and fixed on me as though I had grown an extra head. Well…semantics, really.
“What the bloody hell is the point of having a sodding door if no one in this family respects the sanctity of it being closed?” I groaned, flopping backwards once more onto the bed and lifting my hands up to cover my face. “Privacy in this house is a theory and not an actuality.”
“Sod off with your privacy issues. Onto more important manners- you shagged Scorpius Malfoy?”
“No!” I replied in a heated whisper, sitting up once more and doing so quite abruptly, lifting one finger up and pressing it to my lips in the universal sign to keep her voice down. “Would you lower your voice? The walls in this house have ears, you know that.”
“You know, it isn’t a good idea to get her flustered,” James scolded his little sister as he took his seat on my bed once more, folding one leg up onto the bed, the foot resting beneath the other leg. “I’ve heard it isn’t healthy for a pregnant woman to get too worked up. Could be hazardous to the child or something or other.”
“Oi!” Grabbing my pillow I slammed it against his shoulder in a rather pathetic attempt to silence him. “I’m more worried about nosy ears and vomiting my guts out, thank you. And since when are you an expert on pregnant women? Knocked many women up yourself, have you?”
He shrugged his shoulders a little, his chest shaking with unreleased laughter while his face tried to remain as innocent as possible. Innocent my big toe. “I hear things,” he tried to soothe me. “I’m listening more often than people realize.” He reached out and put on of his hands on my shoulder, still trying not to laugh while meeting my eyes. “I can assure you that you, Rosie, are the only person in this house that has a secret offspring.”
“Prat.” I swung my pillow at him again, this time at his head and when it made contact with my intended target the laughter he had been trying to hold back finally slipped past his parted lips and he began to laugh, as quietly as he possibly could but still with his entire body shaking, his eyes crinkling up at the corners. And I couldn’t help the small smile that tugged at my mouth at the sound.
“If you two are done being bloody children, I would like to know that the hell is going on!” Lily hissed at us, lifting her arms up in frustration and letting them drop back down to her sides, her palms slapping against her legs as they did. “How is it that you said you were carrying the next generation of Malfoys and then turned around and told me you didn’t shag Scorpius Malfoy. I’m not dim, Rose. I know how it is that people find themselves carrying a child.” She folded her arms across her chest and arched one of her coppery eyebrows at me, her mouth set in a firm line. Obviously she didn’t find my hitting her brother with a pillow as amusing as we had. “So, either you just lied to me or something amazingly bizarre has happened. And while I don’t want to believe that you would lie to me I have to say that makes much more sense.”
“She didn’t lie to you, Lily,” James tried to assure her, shaking his head a little as he tried to stop laughing. My smile, however, that I had been enjoying thoroughly since I hadn’t had much of a reason to smile in such a carefree manner as of late, had faded from my face. I didn’t like the idea of Lily believing I would lie to her but to be honest I couldn’t blame her for thinking I was doing just that. It seemed much more logical than, as she put it, something bizarre happening. In theory, after all, I would have had to shag Malfoy for it to be possible for me to carrying his child, wouldn’t I? Oh, if only logic was in control here.
Lily turned that cocked eyebrow towards her brother, tapping her red-socked foot almost impatiently on the floor. “That right?” she intoned, her voice disbelieving. “Then what, in the name of Merlin, is the real story?”
“You might want to sit down for this,” James advised, the laughter finally faded out though the shimmering hadn’t left his eyes, almost like he had nearly begun to cry he was laughing so hard. He held up one hand before Lily could protest and tell him that she’d rather stand and shook his head, his dark hair falling across his forehead. “Just trust me, Lily. You’re going to want to sit down.”
Lily huffed, almost seeming to be annoyed at the idea that her brother seemed to think that he knew better what she would want or need than he did but she didn’t argue with him. She merely stepped around the side of the bed he was sitting on and took a set behind him which made the two of us turn so we could look at her.
I glanced over at James, chewing on the inside of my mouth. Now, I adored Lily, I really did. There wasn’t a moment in my life I could say I didn’t. Even when she became completely and totally infuriating- as younger cousins can tend to do when they’re around as much as mine are- I still adored her. So, it wasn’t as though I wanted to keep this from her because I didn’t care for her. That was as far from the truth as you could get. I just didn’t want her to accidently reveal to anyone what had happened. She, like Albus, would do it quite accidently but would do it nonetheless. And while I knew that I had to tell her now that she knew I was pregnant- after all, that was the big secret, not the how- I couldn’t bring myself to form the words once more to explain the situation.
James, however, wasn’t about to come to my rescue and reveal the whole thing for me, unfortunately. He met my eyes in the dark and just held them, arching his own eyebrow at me. The seconds ticked away with none of us talking and Lily remained sitting there with her arms folded across her chest. And then, eyebrow still raised, James shook his head at me, letting me know that he wouldn’t do this for me. There were many, many things he would do for me, but telling Lily what had happened wasn’t one of them.
I sighed heavily because I was getting tired of explaining all of this and I would have to do so again with my parents soon enough. Oh, if only Lily hadn’t been nosy. Then perhaps I could have gotten away with out having to explain this all for her. Sadly she had been nosy. Expectedly.
So, I explained once more what had happened and once all was revealed Lily just sat there for several moments, watching my face. Her gaze shifted to her brother and then back to me a few times before her arms dropped from her chest. “Bullocks,” she said after a moment, slapping her leg with her hand for emphasis. “Now I know you’re lying.”
Sighing I shook my head. Of course she didn’t believe me. Why James had I can’t even imagine. It was a rather unbelievable tale, wasn’t it? If it had been happening to someone else and they told me about it I would believe that they, too, were lying. But I didn’t want her to think I was a bloody liar. Of all the things I could tolerate her thinking about me that wasn’t one of them.
So I leaned over and grabbed my school bag, asking James to give us some light in here which he did rather gladly. Once my bag was in my lap I began to dig through it until I found the book that had started this whole mess. Turning towards the page I knew so well by now and thoroughly hated to look at given my current state I held it out to her, tapping the page to indicate that she should really, really look at it.
She gave me a doubtful look but heaved a heavy sigh as though I were asking her to do something rather difficult and took the book from my hands. I watched her eyes skim across the page, watched her eyebrows draw together. She glanced up at me and then back down at the book and then back at me again.
“Bloody hell,” she breathed, dropping the book down onto the bed between the three of us. “You weren’t lying,” she continued, her eyes wide again with surprise and, perhaps, relief that I wasn’t suddenly lying to her. “You got yourself knocked up with a spell.”
“I know,” I groaned softly, lifting up the pillow I had hit James with from where I had placed it and covering my face with it, letting out a sardonic laugh into the fabric of my pillowcase. “And I have no bloody idea how I’m suppose to tell my parents about all of this.”
“Won’t that be a cheerful conversation?” Lily says unhelpfully. “Oi, Mum and Dad, there’s something I need to let you know. I couldn’t read a sodding spell properly and now I’m knocked up with the grand-spawn of your mortal enemy at school. Fancy some tea?”
Lowering my pillow from my face I gapped at her, unable to believe that she would say it like that. And then the edge of her mouth twitched like she was trying not to smile and remembered that she could be as much of a bloody prat as her brothers and let out this surprised sound, lifting my pillow up and hitting her upside the head this time.
She let out a soft squeak and grabbed the other pillow from my bed and slammed me in the head with it.
I gapped at her. “You can’t hit me,” I insisted. “I’m bloody pregnant,” I continued, hitting her in the head with the pillow once more for emphasis.
“A bloody pillow to the head isn’t going to harm your little Malfoy-spawn any,” she assured me, slamming the pillow against the side of my head again.
“You’re both nutter children,” James decided, shaking his head as he watched us.
Lily and I exchanged glances with each other and then, without a word of even a discrete motion to confirm our agreement we both slammed the pillows we were holding into her brother, listening to him grunt in surprise and then gape at us. And then it became a competition to see who could hit him the most.
It was a fun situation although exhausting so eventually we let up on poor James and dropped the pillows to the floor and all three of us lay on my bed, laughing quietly but serenely. It felt good to do something normal for a little bit. Normal hadn’t exactly been in the cards for me lately and wouldn’t be in the future so this short reprieve from worrying had been quite wonderful to be honest.
Once the laughter had faded silence set in around us, somehow both comforting and awkward.
“What am I going to do?” I asked them quietly.
“You having the baby?”
“Of course I am, Lily.”
“Well, then it looks like you’re going to have to prepare to be a Mum,” she said quietly. It was something she knew that I knew but for some reason felt the need to say. “And, of course, try to figure out how the hell you’re going to explain all of this to your Mum and Dad. And to be honest I don’t quite envy you. I don’t know how I would be able to tell Mum and Dad about something like that. I’d probably give Dad a bloody heart attack.”
“I think Dad has a bit of a stronger heart than Uncle Ron,” James insisted and then reached out, placing a hand on my arm. “No offense.”
“None taken.” Hell, I knew that my father was easily excitable. My mother had told him on more than one occasion that he was going to burst a blood vessel one day if he didn’t learn to take things more in stride. I didn’t think this was one of the things she’d think he was overreacting to, however. Hell, Mum could end up being just as bad as Dad if not worse.
“Malfoy know about all of this?” Lily asked.
“Yes,” I told her. “Told him a bit ago. Apparently he has decided that while I have to inform my parents about this little mess during the break or else the school will that he isn’t in danger of that nor is his body going to change so he has absolutely no reason to inform his parents about what’s happening.”
“Bloody wanker,” Lily muttered under her breath and I couldn’t help but smile. “You ought to hex him into the next blood century for being such a prat. It’s his bleeding child, too. No matter how it got there it carries that blonde-Slytherin-Malfoy genes.”
“He said that he was going to at least be a part of this, even if this whole thing was my fault,” I assured her. “Said that since the child was, technically, still his as well that he wouldn’t just pretend it didn’t exist. That Malfoys didn’t abandon their children or something like that. I was a little shocked that he even said he was going to be a part of it all.”
“Surprised you didn’t have a heart attack yourself,” she said quietly. “Bloody hell, Rose. You can only keep this from the rest of the school for so long. Eventually you’re going to start to show and, well, it would be rather difficult to hide it, won’t it?”
“I had thought about that, actually. And it’s just something I supposed I’m going to have to learn to deal with.”
“You going to let people know who the father is when they start to wonder?” James asked, turning his head a little to get a better look at my face.
“Hadn’t been planning on it. If Malfoy wants to step up and tell them all that he’s the bloody father that’s his choice. I won’t tell them for him.”
“If you refuse to tell people who the father is they’ll talk about you,” Lily warned me. “They’ll start calling you a slag and all sorts of horrid things.”
“I know.” And the thing of the matter was that I did know that. But I just couldn’t bring myself to reveal who the father was. It wasn’t my place to put him on the spot like that in front of the whole school. And what if he changed his mind about wanting to be a part of this child’s life? Couldn’t say I would blame him or be all that surprised. It wasn’t as though we were even friends let alone together. And he hadn’t really done anything to warrant becoming a father. If people knew he was the father and he decided to walk away then he’d be a bloody outcast. Only his Slytherin friends would stick by him but the rest of the school…well, they wouldn’t think to highly of Scorpius Malfoy anymore, would they? My reputation being ruined is enough in all of this. There was no reason to ruin his, too.
“I’m willing to accept that consequences of my own stupidity, Lily,” I told her quietly. “It isn’t bloody ideal or anything. None of this is, actually. But I’d rather not drag him down with me, to be honest. I got myself into this mess. I can’t even say he did anything wrong or that he’d be an outright bastard if he walked away. It isn’t as though we shagged and then went ‘well, bloody hell, now we’ve gone and made ourselves an accidental baby’ or anything. We haven’t even done anything close to that.” I shrugged my shoulders slightly. “No point in ruining his reputation. How he handles this whole thing is entirely up to him.”
“You’re better than me,” Lily said after a moment. “Because if it was me, the moment someone questioned who the father was, I would bloody well scream that it was him so he’d have to be a man and do the right thing.”
I laughed at her a little, closing my eyes. “Then I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m the one in the situation and not you, isn’t it?”
“When are you going to tell your parents?” James asked me.
I thought about it for a second. “Tomorrow,” I decided. “Family dinner. With your Mum and Dad here it might be entirely possible to keep my parents relatively calm. And perhaps I won’t have to repeat it to anyone again. Or I hope not.” I turned my head slightly to look at Lily. “You can keep it a secret until then, right?”
After a moment Lily nodded her head a little. “I know: I’m not the best person to trust with a secret,” she admitted quietly. “But this is a big one. An important one. And I can keep it a secret that long for you while you try to figure out just how to tell your Mum and Dad.”
“Thanks.” I looked up at the ceiling and closed my eyes again. “Wish me luck,” I requested quietly.
They didn’t say it out loud.
They didn’t have to.
I knew they were already doing that for me.
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