Chapter 23 : And All Was Well: The Epilogue
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“James, darling, we’re late for your Mum’s party!” I called from the hallway. I shoved our gift for Ginny in a bag, grabbed my clutch, and readjusted my earring in the mirror. I quickly inspected my face for any complete fuckups – like, say, if I put lipstick on my eyebrow.
Nope, it’s all good. I dropped my bag as I picked up the post, hitting my hand on the door. Fuck! What if I chipped my new manicure! I had just gotten it done for this party. Blast. I quickly checked, ensuring all was okay and caught a flash of my pavé engagement ring and diamond wedding bands. I smiled, feeling a little thrill pass through me. I couldn’t believe I’d been married to James for two years. I couldn’t believe that I – Milla Hobbes (now Potter!) – had the love of such a wonderful – and bloody sexy – man. Who was also my best friend.
It was amazing.
Hearing James’s deep voice in my ear as he wrapped his arms around my waist made a warm feeling spread inside me. Happiness, contentment, safety. Pure joy. “Milla, I don’t know how I’ll keep my bloody hands off you while we’re at my parents.”
I gave him a mock-reproving look and slapped his hand away. But then I whispered in his ear, “You’ll be rewarded for waiting.”
I smiled as he groaned. “Why did my parents decide have this fucking party again?”
“Because, they love to torture you. Oh yes, it’s also Christmas Eve, you prat!”
James rolled his eyes. “Who gives a bloody fuck, when I’ve got you as my gift…”
“Shut it, James, your cheesy pick up lines are not going to keep us from going!”
“Damn,” he said feelingly.
“Shut up, and let’s go.”
I grabbed his arm, and dragged him out of the flat to Apparate to the Potters’.
As I waltzed in the door with James being dragged by the arm – why did I marry that bloody git again? – Ginny, wearing a green dress, came over, beaming, and hugged me.
“Milla! So glad you made it on time. I know how that prat you live with is always late,” she said with a laugh.
James looked affronted. I swatted him on the arm. “Mum! How could you hug her firsti!? I’m your firstborn and your favorite!”
Ginny laughed at him. “Shut up, darling, and go say hello to your father.”
But she hugged him tightly and he looked slightly mollified. I grinned and said, “Later, loser, I’ll be saying hi to the freaks who are my parents. I’m sure they’re here somewhere - hopefully your dad and mine haven’t hared off to the library for some gin and tonics to escape the party!”
En route to the study, I spotted Mum in a black skirt and floaty top. I shouted for her and she turned around with a huge smile, “Milla darling, why didn’t you tell me you were coming this early! I wasn’t expecting you for another half hour. What with James being late all the time…”
I laughed. “So true, Mum. By the way, where’s Daddy?”
“No doubt in the study with Harry, fleeing any kind of social experiences. That man… don’t know why I married him. So bloody unsocial!”
I slapped her arm lightly. “Mum! Be nice. I don’t know how you and he get along after all these years.”
Mum smiled fondly and leaned forward confidentially, “Always flirting and going away at least twice a year for some couple time. Catch my drift, eh?” She winked.
I recoiled. “Ew, Mum! Nasty mental images!”
She grinned manically. “Don’t tell me you and James aren’t at it like rabbits all the time. Ah, I need some more champagne. And where has Ginny got to?”
With a wave in my general direction, she left. I decided to find my dad. So I weaved my way through the partygoers decked out in their holiday finest, past porters carrying trays, and waved at Lily and Albus chatting in a corner with their spouses, around a large, overly decorated tree, and finally found the study door. I walked in and saw my dad and Harry.
“Daddy!” I cried and walked over, tottering precariously in my heels. Humph, they seemed like such a good idea in the store.
“Milla dear. Come sit with your old man and Harry. Come to flee the party, too?” Dad said with a smile.
Harry laughed jovially. “Nice to see you Milla.”
“You too, Harry,” I said with a smile. I turned back to my father. “But no, Daddy, I came to make you come and behave like a normal human being! You lot should not be holed up in here, escaping human contact and –“
In the middle of my tirade the door burst open and James walked in. He saw me and froze. I narrowed my eyes. “James, why are you here?”
“To, err, say hi to my dad?” He said with a guilty look.
I knew he was lying. He knew he was lying. He knew I knew he was lying. See? This is what you get for marrying your best friend.
“No, James,” I said wearily, “We all know you’re here to avoid socializing. Well, too bloody bad. Say hello to your dad and then off we go.” I gave him a stern look before letting him clap his dad on the back. Then I promptly grabbed his arm in an iron grip and dragged him back out to civilization. “James, socialize, or you won’t get rewarded later. Got it?”
James blanched. “You wouldn’t!”
I raised an eyebrow challengingly. “Wouldn’t I?”
James frowned. Then an evil gleam entered his eyes and he pushed me against the wall, pressing himself close to me before breathing in my ear, “You wouldn’t.”
I involuntarily reacted to his warm breath on my ear and the proximity of his body.
James pulled back and grinned evilly. “See, told you!”
He kissed me quickly and then wrapped an arm around my shoulders, guiding me back to the party. I threw him a look over my arm and walked over to Charlotte and Ben, who were talking with Ian, who had brought his fiancé Laura Finnigan.
“Char! Ben!” I yelped in joy as I crushed them in a hug. “Haven’t seen you since…yesterday!”
Ben laughed. “Well, Milla, we see you like everyday.”
Char giggled, “Exactly, Milla, but I love you. More than this great pig who dumped sugar while we were baking all over the kitchen floor in an attempt to get some Firewhiskey!”
I rolled my eyes. Ben looked affronted. His blue eyes sparkled merrily. He gave Char an affectionate squeeze before retorting, “At least I didn’t break the mattress while – “
“Shut up, Ben!” Char squealed and hit him.
Perhaps I need to explain something. Char and Ben married, last year. Quite a cute couple, don’t you think?
Except for me and James, obviously.
Anyway, they married in St. Tropez with only us, Nate, Luke, Miranda, and their parents. It was really sweet and romantic. I still couldn’t quite believe that Charlotte Parker Wood was now Charlotte Parker Thompson. It boggled the mind. And secretly – to me – she had listed their children’s names – three, of course – Amy, Violet, and Miles. Oh, Merlin, Ben was in for it.
I mean, obviously I plan on having children too. I mean, I want them. And James – James would be a wonderful father. He’s so good with our dog, Lawson.
Well, I mean, clearly that’s not my only criteria for being a good father. I just have this feeling, you know?
Oh, alright, alright. I’ll spill. I’m preggers. I was planning to spill it tonight on Christmas Eve, since all the family was gathered and such. I just need to find the perfect moment ….
“Milla? Milla!” I snapped to and saw Char looking at me worriedly.
“You okay?” she whispered as Ben sent her a look.
I gulped. Should I tell her now or save it for all at once? I can’t lie very well to her. She’s know me for bloody forever. Um, okay, quick. Think. Er….
Suddenly Miranda appeared. “Char! Milla!” She hugged us and said happily, “Bloody good party, yes?”
I seized on the topic change. “Er, yes, in fact –“
Char glared at me and interrupted, “Milla has something important to tell us, apparently. Okay, we’re going to the loo. Ben, dear, be right back, “ she blew him a kiss as she dragged us to the loo.
Miranda sputtered, “What the bloody fuck is going on?”
I looked at the floor. “Well…umm…”
“SPILL IT. NOW.”
Merlin, I felt harassed. I glared at Char. “FINE! Okay, well, the truth is… I’m pregnant.”
Charlotte let out a cry of joy and hugged me. “Merlin, Charlotte, I won’t be able to have the bloody baby if you asphyxiate me!”
Her brown eyes widened. “Sorry,” and she quickly let go.
Meanwhile, Miranda was flabbergasted. “Well, you can join the party!”
Ah, perhaps I should explain more. Miranda and Nate married two years ago – right before me – and she was Miranda Walters, can you believe it? Anyhow, she and Nate apparently got busy right away since she got preggers right after the honeymoon and they had a daughter, and they named her Ella. Char was godmother.
I suddenly squealed in delight. “Damn straight! This is bloody amazing.”
We couldn’t stop laughing as we exited the loo and James looked at me strangely. He narrowed his eyes slightly, which, wise in the ways of James, I took to mean, So, you’ve finally gone bonkers, eh? It was only a matter of time,
He’s partially right.
Anyhoo, soon it was time for the annual champagne toasts and we all gathered round Mum and Ginny who would ramble on about the joys of motherhood and blessings and wishes for a happy Christmas. As Ginny tapped her glass, I finally felt a jolt. This was it! This was it!! This was when I’d tell everyone. Except, ahem, James didn’t know. So I quickly left Char and Miranda who looked at me questioningly as I looked for my errant husband. I spotted him with Ben – typical – and I dragged him over quickly.
“James,” I said in hushed tones, “We’re announcing something to your family and mine now.”
He looked inquiringly down at me, befuddled, “We are?”
“Yes, so shut up and listen.”
Ginny began, with a misty look in her eye, “So this Christmas, everyone –“
“I’M PREGNANT!” I shouted. Whoops. Perhaps not the most eloquent manner of revealing the joyous news.
Everyone looked shocked. I looked at James, who had dropped his jaw – and my arm – and was staring at me. He finally managed a vague, “You are?”
Meanwhile my Mum and Ginny were whooping joyously and hugging. “YES! YES! YES! GRANDCHILDREN!” I heard them shout.
But I ignored them. I was looking at James apprehensively. “Yes, I am,” I muttered, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you – I only found out three days ago – and I wanted it to be a surprise, although I suppose I should’ve told you sooner- before these loons and I –“
Suddenly James’s lips captured mine in an expression of pure love. I grinned into the kiss and he wrapped his arm snugly around me. He raised his voice, grinning, “YES WE ARE!”
I was laughing, crying slightly (stupid bloody hormones!) and James looked lovingly down at me. I grinned up at him.
Ben said loudly, “Now we can name her Ben after me!”
“NO! Miranda for me!”
“NO! IT’S MY GRANDCHILD! IT WILL BE GINERVA!”
Char groaned and looked at me, “And here we go again.”
Thanks for reading this whole thing! It’s been so much fun. By the way, if anyone’s interested, James’s and Milla’s children (all three – yes, I am a complete sap, will be named Laura Charlotte, Henry Benjamin, and Victoria Samantha). This has been so much fun to write. Thanks guys, until next time! Mafalda.