Chapter 20 : Chapter Nineteen: The Circumstances Change
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“Well, at least you didn’t burn it,” Hayes commented lightly as we stood in front of the hall closet that I had haphazardly thrown all of his possessions into.
“Thought about it.”
“I’m not surprised,” He muttered. I raised an eyebrow at him. “Not that it wouldn’t have been completely justified given the circumstances.”
I had brought him back to my flat after our make-up lunch, and honestly I couldn’t take my eyes off of him for longer than a few seconds. The fact that he was actually standing in my flat, looking at me, smiling again was enough to make my heart beat embarrassingly fast.
Smiling up at him only lasted a few seconds though because he took a step closer to me and quickly leaned in to kiss me.
Which was fine with me.
My stomach may have been the size of a quaffle, but within seconds Hayes had pinned me up against the wall and was kissing me in a miraculous way that made me want to rip off his neatly pressed button down. “I missed you,” I whispered as he pulled away from me and rested his forehead on mine.
“I was a wreck without you.”
“I don’t understand why you like me. I’m fat and ugly and hormonal and –” he cut me off with a kiss.
“I don’t understand it either, ‘Nique. But I love you. And you’re not ugly or fat… though you are hormonal.” He grinned down at me and before I could smack him lightly on the arm, he leaned back in and pressed his lips to mine.
I brought my hands from his shoulders and ran them through his hair, pulling him closer to me, needing to be as close to him as possible. His hands ran up and down my sides, though I barely noticed because I was too caught up in what he was doing to my bottom lip. Somehow, slowly, we maneuvered over to the couch where I pushed him down and straddled him (which was fairly difficult, but I managed), kissing his jawline.
He made a noise that can only be considered a moan and I grinned into his mouth as he pulled my legs so I was even more on top of him. I broke the kiss and looked at him, all flushed and disheveled and beautiful. I did the only reasonable thing and hastily took to unbuttoning his nice blue button-up shirt.
He grinned at me, then, and slipped his hands under both of my shirts and around my back as he sucked on that one spot behind my ear that just drove me crazy. I arched my back into him as much as I could. This wasn’t fair.
“Fucking buttons,” I muttered, his hands burning a hot trail down my back on my bare skin. It probably sounded more like “Fuhasdga butadss,” but at that point, I didn’t give a fuck.
I ran my hands over his stomach and chest and he sighed before tugging my red sweater over my head. I threw it off as he discarded his shirt and in one swift move, he repositioned us so that my back was on the couch and he was leaning over me.
Again, I was more than okay with this.
He kissed me, hard, and I responded, enjoying the fact that he was shirtless on my couch again after so long. Shirtless is one of the ways I like Hayes best. It’s a close second after ‘naked.’
“You’re wearing too many shirts,” He whispered as he trailed kisses from my lips to my ear.
“It’s cold.” I managed to say.
“Not in here, love,” he argued, and since I couldn’t argue with that, I all but ripped off my shirt, eager to feel his skin on mine.
I let out an audible gasp as his warm body touched mine; I don’t know what it was about that simple feeling of flesh on flesh, but it was amazing. Usually, it was all I could do to stop before the whole sex thing…
But this time, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to.
I ran my hands around his back, pulling his whole body near mine as he kissed me. I could tell that he was holding himself up a bit so he wouldn’t crush my baby, and this was both sweet and irritating; I wanted to feel all of his weight on me.
He pulled back from our kiss and looked at me with those blue eyes. His curls were falling into his face, which was flushed and smiling. I smiled back at him and ran my hand over his chest and his stomach and then down further. One of his legs was resting between mine and with one of them I could feel that he was enjoying himself. I grinned at him as I felt his breath hitch.
“So I was just wondering,” I whispered as I leaned up to press a light kiss to his lips. “Hypothetically,” I kissed him again, this time on the corner of his mouth and he closed his eyes, “if I were to be intimate with someone,” another kiss, his jawline this time. His breathing was definitely accelerating now. Holy shit, does this man know how hot he is? “it wouldn’t cause any harm to the baby, would it?” Nibbled his ear and whispered, “Hypothetically.”
His eyes slowly opened and surveyed my face. I hope he knew I was being very serious.
And that this was obviously not a hypothetical situation.
“Well,” he said, I landed a quick kiss on his lips, “as a maternity healer, I happen to know that sex during pregnancy is very healthy and normal.” He then broke off and kissed all the way until he was right near my ear, “…hypothetically” he whispered, low and deep, sending shivers down my back.
“Good,” I moaned as I reached down to undo his pants. He looked at me hard and serious as I did so.
“We don’t have to, you kn-”
I cut him off with a kiss, pulling his body closer to mine with my grip on his pants. “Take. Your. Damn. Pants. Off.” I kissed him again and pulled away. His eyes were still closed. “Please?” I added, smiling as he opened his eyes and gave me the look of someone who was being tortured.
He must have finally realized that I wasn’t messing around and that if he didn’t take his own pants off soon, I was going to rip them off, because he stood up and went to pull them off…
… just as the doorbell rang.
“You have got to be kidding me.” I all but yelled.
This would happen. Just as I’m about to get laid by the man I actually love and who isn’t in a relationship, someone is at the bloody door.
Hayes pulled me up off the couch and kissed me hard, “I’ll be in your bedroom,” he whispered when he pulled away. He grabbed his shirt in one hand and held his undone pants up with the other as he walked down my hallway and into my bedroom. It took all of the self-control that I had to pull my red sweater over my head, toss my white shirt into the corner and make my way over to the door, pulling at my hair and shirt to straighten them.
I looked through the peephole, ready to formulate a plan to get whomever it was to leave a.s.a.p., and almost fell over in shock when I saw who was standing (impatiently) in the hallway. I unlocked the door and pulled it open in shock, “Maman?!” I gasped.
“Oh, so you are home,” she remarked, but she was smiling at me. I see she hadn’t changed much in the months we hadn’t spoken.
I scowled at her, “Why are you here? Did someone die?”
“Aren’t you going to invite me in, Dominique?” she asked, probably trying to imply that I wasn’t being polite.
I laughed, “No, I’m not!” I told her. She looked shocked. I’d never been that rude to her before (I doubt anyone really had).
“I said ‘no, I’m not’” I told her, angry that she was actually acting like it was her right to waltz back into my life and be accepted with open arms. “You haven’t contacted me in three months, what makes you think that I’d just let you into my flat?”
“I am your mother, Dominique,” she began, the French in her accent showing even more than it usually does.
“Exactly!” I yelled. “You are my mother and you have been shunning me for three months. Three months during which it would have been really bloody helpful to have my mother!”
She looked at the floor then. I thought about Hayes, probably naked on my bed by now, and was even more irritated with my mother for choosing now of all times to come here.
“Why are you here?” I asked again.
“I came to talk to you.”
I stared at her. Neither of us spoke as she waited for me to respond.
“‘Nique, are you okay?” I heard Hayes from behind me and I turned to look back, half of me hoping he was dressed, the other half hoping he wasn’t.
He was, though evidence that we had been fooling around was still evident in his pants.
“I’m fine,” I opened the door all the way so my mother and Hayes could see each other. I looked at Hayes and he seemed to understand what was going on. I turned back to my mother, “Well come in, then.”
I walked over to Hayes, not looking at Maman. “Do you want me to go?” he asked.
“No, but you can if you want,” I didn’t want to make him stay for this, but I wished he would.
He kissed my forehead before looking at my mother, “Hello, Mrs. Delacour-Weasley, I’m Hayes Landon.” He extended a hand to her.
My mother just looked at it before saying (with an icy tone), “I see she’s forgiven you, then.” I both appreciated and was irritated by this.
I chose to go with irritated, “Yes, because unlike some people, he actually tried to get into contact with me.”
She looked abashed. I’d never seen my mother look so upset. Her indignation at my reception had faded completely.
“Right, so, anyone want some tea?”
“Tea sounds great,” I told him and he nodded and went into the kitchen.
“I’m going to sit down,” I told my mother and I went over and basically fell onto the couch. My feet hurt, don’t judge me.
“Can I –” Maman gestured to the chair and I nodded.
I didn’t say anything, I just stared at the pictures above my fireplace. I could feel her staring at me.
“You look okay,” she began weakly.
I turned my stare to her and arched an eyebrow.
Before she could say anything else, Hayes came in levitating a teapot, coasters, and three tea cups. He lowered them onto the coffee table and sat down beside me, putting his arm over my shoulder.
I took a deep breath, “So what did you want to talk about, Maman.”
“Does he –” she began, looking from me to Hayes. I gave her a ‘you bet your arse he’s staying’ look and she sighed. “Teddy came over yesterday –”
“I know, he told me.”
“Oh, well… I just … your father has been talking about you a lot, you know,” she looked at me. She looked stressed and sad. I felt a little bad for her in that moment. Her long silvery-blonde hair, the hair my sister had, was tied back into a ponytail. Her eyes looked tired and were outlined with dark circles. I had an almost uncontrollable urge to hug her.
“He talks about the nursery and the way that the rest of the family is helping out…”
“Yeah, the rest of the family has been really great.” I felt bad for her, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to forgive her.
“Dominique,” she said my name like a sigh. “I came to say that I’m sorry.” She looked at her hands and I looked at her.
My mother is a proud woman. She is a woman who rarely apologizes, who always thinks that her way is the right way, and who is very loyal. She has only ever apologized to me three times, including this one. The first time is when she tried to fix my favorite stuffed lion and ended up burning one of the legs off, and the second was when Louis and I caught her and dad having sex in he chair in Louis’ room.
I felt myself tearing up, especially when I noticed she was. “I shouldn’t have treated you the way I did, Dominique. I-I just didn’t know what to do! I felt like I had to pick sides, can’t you understand?” she looked up at me, begging. “I saw Victoire, so hurt and broken, and you were the cause of it and I just didn’t know what to do! I’ve always connected with her more, which isn’t your fault, you were always closer to your dad and I –”
“That didn’t mean that you could say that you went wrong in raising me! I made a mistake, Maman, one night, one mistake, and it resulted in this! I never wanted this. And even though she’s not born yet, I would never stop talking to my daughter for a mistake she made one time because I love her.”
My mother took all of that in silence. She looked down at her perfectly-manicured hands. Hayes squeezed my shoulder. I took a deep breath.
“Dominique, I love you,” she said finally, looking up. She was definitely crying now. It was a very jarring experience to see your mother cry. I had only seen it a few times, and never because of something I had said or done. I felt terrible and at the same time as if I had finally found justice. “I’m sorry it took me so long to come here and say this, I really am, but I love you just as much as I love your sister. I just… she was so hurt and I…”
“I know,” I croak. Fuck, now I’m crying. “I hate that. I absolutely hate that I did that to her and I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive myself. I never wanted any of this to happen. I love Victoire, too, even if we aren’t the closest set of sisters, I love her with my whole heart, even after all of the magazine articles and everything. I know I hurt her terribly and I’m more sorry than I can convey. But I can’t believe that you would hate me for it, too.”
“I never hated you.”
“You acted like it.”
“I was just torn. How do you comfort two daughters who caused each other so much pain?”
“Dad found a way,” I insisted stubbornly.
“There are many ways in which I wish I was like your father,” Maman said sincerely. “He is a much better person than I am.”
I wanted to reassure her that that wasn’t true but I didn’t. Because I wasn’t sure myself.
“Please forgive me, Dominique,” My mother begged, wiping her mascara-stained cheeks.
And even though I was still mad, and even though she hurt me, I nodded, “Okay,” I said and I struggled to stand up to embrace her. When I hugged her, she crushed me to herself and started full-out sobbing. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”
“I know, Maman.” I told her. She pressed a wet kiss to my temple. I was slightly scared at this point; I had never seen my mother lose her cool like this. Ever.
After way too long, my mother finally composed herself enough to let go of me and settle back into the chair. I fell back onto the couch with Hayes, who looked scared, relieved, and slightly amused. He summoned some tissues and handed them to my mother, who took them graciously.
“I’m such a mess,” she laughed, “I’m just so glad that you don’t hate me.”
“I don’t hate you,” I told her. And it was true. I may not trust her as much anymore, but honestly our relationship before wasn’t anything super close, so hopefully it would be okay.
She ended up staying for another hour or so, talking about the baby (mostly without a condescending tone, too!) and the nursery. When the conversation steered towards Hayes’ and my relationship and what would happen once the baby was born, I announced that I was exhausted and should probably get in a nap.
“I never had the time to nap when I was pregnant, it was horrible. I was so tired, but I continued to work because I knew–”
“That’s amazing, Maman, but seriously I’m dead on my feet so…” I hinted.
“Oh, yes. Well, I’ll just be going,” she grabbed her coat and began to put it on. “So I’ll see you at the Christmas Eve Party at the burrow?”
That threw me right off track. “Come again?”
“Dominique don’t act stupid, you’ve been going every year since you were born,” my mother told me in the same tone she always used to use when she was talking to me. That was quick.
“Right,” I said slowly, “I just don’t think that it would be… ah… good of me to go this year seeing as… well, I’m sure you understand.”
Hey, if she was going to use that tone, I was at perfect liberty to bring up her three-month absence in my life.
She cringed. “Everyone wants you there, Dominique.”
I raised an eyebrow at her, “I’m sure.”
She gave me this look she always gives me when I raise an eyebrow or roll my eyes at her. Apparently our relationship was supposed to just go back to normal.
“Well, I have to go to Hayes’ family’s dinner…” that was a lie. Hopefully Hayes would back me up on this –
“No, actually my parents are spending the holidays on some small island off the coast of America, so we can definitely make it to the Burrow,” Hayes tells me, slipping his arm around my shoulders. I shrugged it off and looked up at him in betrayal.
“Oh, yes, I guess you can come too,” Maman deadpanned. “Be there at four.”
I was too angry to speak.
“See you then, I’ll show myself out.” My mother walked out of my flat as if she hadn’t just been sobbing and begging for forgiveness an hour ago.
“Well, now that she’s gone,” Hayes turned and kissed me. I didn’t respond.
“I hate you,” I glared at him and marched away. I knew I was being childish, but I didn’t much care.
“Dominique,” he drew out the syllables in my name as he followed me into my bedroom. I lay down on the bed facing the wall. I felt him get on the bed, but I didn’t turn around. “Oh, come on.”
“We’re not made up for four hours and you’re already committing me to family events.”
“Okay, that’s not fair.”
I didn’t say anything.
“So, less than four hours after we make up, I’m allowed to do this,” he slipped his hand under my shirt and kissed my neck. “But I’m not allowed to come to your family’s holiday dinner?”
I didn’t say anything. Mainly because I thought it would come out as a squeak.
“That doesn’t seem right.” He leaned down and pressed his lips to my bare hip. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, trying to remember that I was angry.
“Everyone is going to stare,” I said levelly, which was victory number one for Dominique, “and I’m going to ruin the fun because nearly everyone hates me.”
“That’s not true,” Hayes said, kissing from my waistband up higher and higher. “Your Maman and dad don’t hate you” kiss “the Potter’s don’t hate you” kiss “Ron and Hermione don’t hate you” kiss “George’s family doesn’t hate you” kiss “I’m sure your grandparents don’t hate –”
I rolled over, not able to handle his evil methods of persuasion. “Victoire and Teddy are going to be there.”
“You can’t avoid each other forever,” He said wisely.
“I can’t face her,” I said pathetically. “Last time I saw her I yelled at her for that stupid article and told her about what really happened. She’ll never look at me again, and I’m not all to pleased with her, either.”
Hayes ran his fingers down the side of my face, “It’ll all work out. She’s your sister, that hasn’t changed.”
“It would have if she could make it happen.”
“But she can’t, so you’re stuck with each other.” I didn’t say anything. He started again, “You’ll regret it if you don’t go, ‘Nique.”
“I will not,” I pouted stubbornly.
He gave me a look and I couldn’t help but smile, “I hate you.”
“It’s possible,” I concede, pulling his face down to mine. “Now remind me where we left off before?” I grinned evilly as I began unbuttoning his shirt again.
Sex with Hayes was a million times better than what I remember of sex with Teddy. It probably had something to do with the fact that I actually had feelings for Hayes and I wasn’t drunk, but either way… it was something I could easily get used to.
It was admittedly a bit awkward at first. Honestly, I was a bit self-conscience. I mean what if I was terrible? Or what if I was gross and weird because I was pregnant.
And I couldn’t stop thinking about my huge stomach. We had to work to get the position right, but in the end, despite all of my fears and insecurities… it was amazing.
In fact, I think I’m going to forbid Hayes from ever getting dressed. And leaving the bed. And doing anything but eating, sleeping, and having sex with me.
I really like the sound of this plan. At least until I have this baby and then I’ll be responsible for another human being so that will probably have to change. But the baby does have to sleep sometimes and if somehow I don’t also want to pass out…
We’ll see. I and judging by the way that right now, he’s passed out beside me sleeping with a stupid grin on his face, I couldn’t have been too bad.
I turned my head to kiss the chest I was laying on.
Sweet Circe, I love this man.
Even if he makes me go to family Christmas Eve dinners.
“No, you’re not.”
“I’m throwing up right now.”
“Then how are you still talking?”
“Dominique there are boys in my year that are more mature than you are right now and that’s saying something.”
“I’ve seen newborns more mature than her.”
“I don’t doubt it.”
“You two are not allowed to gang up on me!” I cried from my spot in the bathroom. Which I may or may not have locked myself in. I can feel the judgment radiating off of them from here.
“It’s only going to get worse. Fred said if you’re not there by five, he’s coming to drag you there.” Lily answered me. Fucking thirteen year old was ruining my life. She’d showed up at four-thirty when I still wasn’t at the Christmas Eve party. She and Hayes have been bonding over my misery. “Plus my mum doesn’t know where I am and if she starts freaking out I’m going to sic her on you.”
That caught my attention. I opened the door, “You’re an evil, evil person, Lily Potter.”
“I try,” she grins cheekily at me.
“Can we go now?” Hayes looks at me. He’s dressed in a blue sweater with a white button-down underneath. He looks damn sexy.
“Yes,” Lily grabs my hand and begins to drag me out of the bathroom.
“I could fall and kill the baby, you know,” I tell her, trying to resist. How is she so strong?
Probably growing up with James and Al for siblings. Goddamnit.
“That would be your own fault,” she answers, throwing all of her weight into her task. I stumble forwards.
“Fine, fine, I’ll go!” I relent, and she lets go of my hand.
“Good, you’re heavy.”
“Go curse yourself.”
“Good one,” she rolls her eyes.
“It won’t be that bad,” Hayes assures me as he leads me to the fireplace.
“I’ll be there the whole time.”
“Damn straight you will.”
“I’ll run interference when necessary,” Lily tells me. She’s already promised this around four hundred times. “Really, who isn’t going to be distracted by me? I’m beautiful. And hilarious.” She spun around and her long hair twirled with her. She was in a nice green sweater with fitted black slacks. Her hair was half pinned up and it looked like she’d snuck some of her mum’s mascara. She was truly a beautiful little girl.
“Let’s just get this over with.” I grumble and after making Hayes go in front of me, I throw the powder into the fire and state my destination: “The Burrow.”
I opened my eyes when the spinning stopped and couldn’t help but smile. It was just as I remembered it. Everyone was laughing and talking over each other and running around making sure this was okay and that was in its proper place… Lucky for me, though, all of this noise and distraction kept them from noticing their new guests.
I stepped out of the fireplace just in time, and Hayes was soon behind me, taking my hand. Lily had rushed off somewhere but before I could even guess as to where, she returned with Fred and Emmelyn. It was still somewhat weird to see them holding hands.
“Look who finally got off her arse!” Fred grinned and enveloped me in a bone-crushing hug.
“I hate you,” I told him, but I was smiling.
“I hate you too, ‘Nique,” he grinned as he pulled away.
I hugged Emmelyn tightly and when I pulled back from her I felt an awkward stiffness in the air. I looked over and saw Fred glaring at Hayes.
“Fred,” I said in a warning voice.
He held a hand up to me. “I really don’t like you, Landon.”
Hayes took a breath, “I wouldn’t expect you to.”
Emmelyn slid around me and squared off against my boyfriend with hers. Bitch.
“Guys,” I started, taking Hayes’ hand.
“If you lie to her, hurt her, or even look at her weird again, I will end you.” If I hadn’t seen the words coming out of Emmelyn’s mouth I would have sworn they were Fred’s.
“I already covered this, guys,” Lily crossed her arms.
“I’ll ruin your ability to have children. Happily.” Fred continued. I rolled my eyes.
“You will do no such –”
“That sounds fair.” Hayes nodded.
I looked at him in confusion.
It even threw Fred and Emmelyn for a second.
“Right, well… good.” Fred finally said.
Emmelyn and Lily nodded beside him. This has got to be the least threatening group of people ever: Fred Weasley, a man who is hardly ever serious, Em, dressed in a long pink sweater that hugged her petite frame and leggings, her long curly brown hair actually tamed for once, and Lily, my thirteen-year-old cousin.
Actually, Lily would probably be the one I was most afraid of. She had inherited the ability to do a mean bat-bogey hex from her mother. I’d seen it done before on James and could honestly say that it was something I didn’t want to experience.
I shook my head at the three of them. “Now that that’s all settled…” I grabbed Hayes’ hand in mine and looked around.
There was a group of my cousins over by the tree. From where I was standing I could see James laughing with my brother, Hugo, and Lucy, I could see the backs of who I assumed were Al and Rose, the latter of the two was tucked under the arm of a white-blonde boy who was sitting next to another boy, this one with brown hair, that I didn’t recognize.
“Oh, do you want to meet Renton!” Lily said brightly, blushing a bit.
“Is that who that is?”
She nodded as she led me and Hayes over there. “Oh, and I should warn you. The other one, the one holding Rose, is Scorpius Malfoy – he and Rose have been dating for a while now. Uncle Ron was pissed when he found out about it and tried to ban her from seeing him, but Dad talked him down a bit using the fact that he’s in Gryffindor and friends with Al. Al and James keep a pretty close eye on them anyway, probably for Ron, though they are kind of like that anyway,” she finished darkly and I wondered what they had done to her and Renton.
I blinked as it tried to take that in. Wow. A Weasley and a Malfoy… that’s something this world never thought it’d see. “How are his parents taking it?” I laughed.
“They hate it just as much as Uncle Ron does; they also hate that he’s in Gryffindor, though so he’s pretty used to being a disappointment.”
“Wow, that’s harsh.”
“It’s how he tells it,” Lily shrugged.
“Dominique!” James saw me first and jumped up. “Bloody hell, you’re giant!” he exclaimed stopping short of hugging me and gawking at my stomach.
“Go die, Potter,” I smacked him upside the head.
He grinned, “Good to see you again, ‘Nique,” he hugged me. He moved over to talk to Hayes as my other cousins stood up.
My brother was the next to reach me though, “Shit, sis.” He said. He’s always been so eloquent…
“Yeah,” I sighed.
“You look good, though,” he smiled at me. That smile that Hayes had said so long ago that we all shared. He pulled me in tightly. “I miss you.”
It’s that little gesture, so unlike my tough-on-the-outside brother, that again brings tears to my eyes. I hate crying. Goddamnit. “I miss you, too.”
He pulled away and looked horrified, “I’m sorry! Did I hurt you? Did I hurt it?”
I laughed, wiping at my eyes, “No, no. Just… me being stupid,” his face relaxed. “But don’t be calling your niece an ‘it.’”
“Sorry,” he said. “Have you seen Maman or Dad yet?” he asked it in a way that implied he was really asking if I’d seen the member of the family he left out.
“No, I haven’t seen any of them.”
“Don’t look so worried,” he grinned sadly at me. “Dad and Maman were talking about you all last night. Dad was over the moon that Maman finally talked to you.”
“Yeah, that was … awkward.”
“I bet,” he nodded. “Merlin, living in that house with them is awkward now. I feel like we’re always tip-toeing around the fact that you and ‘Toire aren’t speaking and…” he trailed off, looking up to see if he’d said something wrong. My face must have given away the fear and guilt I felt because he immediately said, “Oh, no. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to –”
“Louis, calm down. You don’t have to be careful around me, okay?” I put my hands on his shoulders. “I’m a big girl now, remember little brother?” I smirked.
“I’m not little anymore, damnit,” he laughed, throwing my hands off.
“You’ll always be Little Louis to me, dear,” I made to pinch his cheek and he ducked away and flipped me off.
“I lied, I don’t miss you.”
“Oh, well then I won’t offer to let you stay in my flat for a while to get away from Maman and Dad, then.” I shrugged. I had been thinking about it recently. It would be nice to have him around some during the holidays.
His eyes got big, “Merlin’s pants, that would be amazing. Please, please convince them to let me, I have to get out of that bloody house!”
“I don’t know,” I toyed with him. Of course I’d ask. I just wanted to make him beg.
“You are cruel.”
“Louis! Come help your grandmother with these pots!” we both turned as we heard Dad’s call from across the magically expanded living room.
“You can help too James, Al!” called Uncle Harry.
“What about Lily!” James called indignantly. Lily kicked him.
“She always helps,” I heard Aunt Ginny yell from the kitchen.
“Ha,” Lily stuck out her tongue. I noticed she was holding the brunette boy’s hand. I smiled at her and she blushed.
I heard to loud sighs from my left. The three boys gave me exaggerated dismal looks as they trudged past me. I was about to laugh before I realized that everyone had now noticed me standing in the corner with my cousins and boyfriend.
“Dominique! When did you get here!?” Uncle Ron was the first to sling his arm around my shoulder. “Rose, go help your grandmother,” he sent the boy, Scorpius, who was holding her hand a mean look as Aunt Hermione appeared beside him.
“Ron, she has a guest. Hugo, you can help this time.” She said. Hugo scowled and followed the others. Ron pouted at his wife. “Be nice,” Aunt Hermione gave him a stern look. I took deep, calming breaths so I wouldn’t laugh.
“Blonde git,” I heard Uncle Ron mutter. He pulled his arm back and looked at me and Hayes. “So, how have you two been?”
I was guessing he didn’t know the whole story of me and Hayes, for which I was grateful. “Good. He dragged me here.” I accused.
“Well, then thank you, kind sir,” Uncle Ron shook his hand.
“My pleasure, Mr. Weasley.”
“Call me Ron – Mr. Weasley is my father.” He paused. “And all of my brothers.”
Hayes laughed and I smiled. I was glad they were getting on alright. We talked to Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione about random topics until Uncle Ron spied Rose and Scorpius heading up the stairs.
“Oi! Where do you two think you’re going!” he yelled, barreling after them.
“Ron, for Merlin’s sake!” Hermione sent us a quick smile before disappearing too.
“That poor boy,” Hayes commented.
“That poor girl,” I said. I had been the victim of many parental and cousin cockblocks. It was not fun. Then again, whenever you need one… I put my hand to my stomach.
Dad found me next and scowled at Hayes for the first ten minutes of our conversation. He finally warmed up to him (well, stopped scowling at least) when he mentioned that he had traveled to Egypt for a Healer’s internship and he and Dad went off talking about pyramids and all that stuff he loves to rant about.
Over all it wasn’t too bad until around six, when dinner was ready. Hayes’ had offered to help set the table, so I was sitting on the couch with Uncle Harry and my father when things got problematic.
“Look, ‘Nique, I should tell you that your sister is going to be here soon. She had to stop by Teddy’s grandmother’s nursing home with him but she’ll be here with Teddy for dinner.” My face immediately reflected the horror I was feeling. “It’s okay, I talked to her and told her to be nice.” Dad told me.
I felt the blood drain from my face. I guess I had (happily) assumed that she just wasn’t coming. “I bet that went over well.”
He grimaced. “She promised to be civil.”
A knot formed in my stomach. I swallowed hard. I needed Hayes to be beside me, holding my hand.
“Don’t worry, Dominique. It’ll be fine. She probably won’t even seek to talk to you,” Uncle Harry pointed out.
“She said she wasn’t going to speak to you, actually,” Dad added ‘helpfully.’
“Great,” I said weakly. My hands were resting on my stomach and I could feel my heart rate accelerating. I felt sick.
“I need to use the loo,” I said quickly, hoisting myself up and practically running to the nearest bathroom. I locked the door and sank down against it, feeling both too hot and too cold at the same time.
I can’t do this. I have to leave. I have to get out of here. I can’t face her. I lean my head back against the door and close my eyes. Bad decision because I’m immediately assaulted with memories of the last time I saw her, only this time, I’m not angry. This time, I can see what I didn’t care about before.
“HE’D DENY IT BECAUSE I DIDN’T FUCKING SEDUCE HIM!” I yelled at her. Her face crumbled into a mixture of shock, disbelief, and pain.
“You’re just saying that –” she said. Her voice sounded like it does when she’s breaking down but trying to be strong. I know, because I’d held as she cried her after she used that voice back in her sixth year when her ancient cat died.
“Do you hear him denying it, Vicky?” I spat. Why had I needed to be so blunt? What was the point in hurting her like that? Yes, she’d hurt me with that article, but I guess I did deserve it. She never deserved any of this.
“Shut up,” Victoire breathes. Her eyes look scared. “You just want what you can’t have! Isn’t that right Teddy?” she looks over my shoulder to Teddy, who only affirms what I’m saying with his guilty look. In that moment, I see my sister’s heart break all over again.
I open my eyes just as I feel a way-too-familiar feeling and rush over to the toilet just in time.
After retching, I lean my head against the wall and think about the last time I threw up from stress. I think it was during my N.E.W.T.s. Merlin… to think that wasn’t even so long ago.
What was I going to do? I needed to calm down, I knew that I was stressing the baby out because she was kicking like crazy and I could feel her turning. I took deep breaths and tried to think of a good game plan.
I could say that I was sick and leave, though that would look like I was flaking.
Which, essentially, I was.
That’s what I’d have to do. I can’t handle this right now. I’m not strong enough to look at Victoire and Teddy. There are too many emotions there. Betrayal, hurt, guilt, still a hint of misplaced anger about that damn article, more guilt.
I stood up slowly and leaned over the sink, looking at myself in the mirror. I was in the midst of cleaning myself up when the door unlocked and opened. I looked over in horror, excepting it to be Victoire or Teddy or someone else horrible, then relaxed a bit when Emmelyn slipped in and locked the door behind her.
“Are you okay?” she asked, walking over to me and placing her hand on the small of my back, rubbing in soothing circles. I just looked at her. “Yeah, stupid question.”
She didn’t say anything as she turned me around and went to work fixing my smeared makeup with her wand. I felt better with her there, helping me. This is what best friends do and somehow I had undeservingly been given the best one.
“There,” she smiled at me. I looked in the mirror and there was no evidence that I had cried or thrown up or leaned against a wall for a few minutes. I just looked a bit peaky.
She looked at me for a few seconds, “You’re going to split, aren’t you?”
I was used to her guessing my every move, so I didn’t question how she knew, “I can’t face her, Em.”
“But you bitched her out so well last time,” she told me.
I half-smiled, “I know, that’s why I can’t do it. I feel awful. I caused all of this, how do I get off yelling at her?”
“That awful article, that’s how!”
“I would have done the same thing.”
Emmelyn gave me a look, “No, I know you and I know that you wouldn’t have.”
I thought about it. If Victoire was pregnant with my fiancé’s… with Hayes’… baby, would I go to the press? I would be pissed. The thought of her touching Hayes nearly made me mad at her all over again, but no. I wouldn’t ever sell her out like that.
“Dominique, you are going to have to face her sooner or later. The later it is, the worse it will be. Just go out there and establish a cool demeanor now and it’ll be fine.”
Goddamn Emmelyn for being so rational.
I walked back out holding her hand for support and we quickly found Hayes and Fred, together, talking with Uncle George and Aunt Angelina. Hayes was holding Roxy, who was giggling and tugging on his curls to watch them spring back in place. I smiled at the sight of them. He looked so natural holding her.
“Are you okay?” he asked as I walked up beside him. I nodded.
“Dom!” Roxy exclaimed upon seeing me, reaching out of Hayes’ arms and into mine.
“Hey, cutie,” I grinned as I took her and rested her half on top of my stomach.
“Hayz,” she said proudly pointing to my boyfriend.
“Yes, that’s Hayes.”
She laughed and went to playing with my hair. Aunt Angelina smiled, “I can take her if she’s too heavy.”
“She’s fine for now,” I told her.
“You look wonderful, preggers. Your face is shining like a full moon!” Uncle George proclaimed.
I decided not to point out that it was probably just the sweat left on my face from puking my guts out.
Aunt Angelina rolled her eyes.
“Thanks, Uncle George.”
Suddenly there was a huge commotion being made from the other side of the room, near the door, and my face paled. Aunt Angelina smartly relieved me of her daughter, who cried out in protest. I felt Hayes wrap his arm around me.
“Oh, this is going to be awkward,” Uncle George commented. Aunt Angelina sent him a glare. “I’m just saying.”
“It’s okay Dominique,” Aunt Angelina put an arm on my shoulder.
I took a deep breath and nodded. The crowd by the door was beginning to disperse. Lily and Renton walked over to me and Hayes hand-in-hand. She looked torn.
“I don’t think you’ve been introduced,” she started slowly, obviously trying to distract me. “This is Renton, my boyfriend. Renton, this is Dominique.”
“Nice to meet you,” I looked down and shook the boy’s hand. He was smiling and I had to admit he was quite handsome for a fourteen year old. He had hazel eyes and light brown hair, was a head taller than Lily was (which was saying something), and looked like a genuinely nice kid.
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” I saw Lily blush and look down. Aww.
“I’ve heard about you, too. Lily’s right, you are one of her most beautiful cousins,” he smiled and I was immediately flattered. I wondered if Lily paid him to say that; she was smirking.
“Thank you,” I smiled.
But even talking with Renton and Lily, my attention wasn’t kept for long, especially when Hayes and Renton started talking about the Wasps. I looked around the room and finally spotted my sister.
She looked as beautiful as ever in leggings, a short black skirt, and light blue sweater that matched her (and mine and Louis’) eyes. Her hair was down and flowed perfectly over her shoulders. She looked so much like my mother, with just enough of my father to tell she was part Weasley.
It ached in my chest that she was so close and for the first time in a long time I really wished I could run up to her and hug her, like I used to when she would come home to Shell Cottage from Hogwarts when she was eleven and I was nine and a half.
Teddy stood beside her, holding her hand in his, wearing a simple black sweater and jeans, they looked like the prefect couple they always had appeared to be. He looked more out of place… or maybe it was just less comfortable… than he normally did. I couldn’t blame him. Half of the men in the room were glaring daggers at him.
I pulled myself closer to Hayes and breathed in his scent. I loved the way he smelled. Like dryer sheets and open windows. It calmed me.
Maybe I could get through this.
Dinner was quite the affair. The topic of my pregnancy sat like a huge dragon (or maybe just like a large, protruding stomach) in the room, but no one mentioned it. Maman and Dad sat in the middle of the table, subtly not taking sides, and Louis sat on my right side with Hayes on the left at the very end. Victoire and I sat at different ends of the table, never making eye contact once, though it’s not for lack of me trying.
I really didn’t want to make eye contact, but I couldn’t stop looking at her. I wanted her to acknowledge me at least. To prove that she knew I was there, even if she just glared at me. In school, I’d always felt invisible as her little sister and her actually going out of her way to ignore me brought back those memories. I knew it wasn’t fair of me to want her to notice me or anything, not after what I’d said and what I’d done, but I couldn’t help it.
Something was making me miss her more in that moment, and it was overpowering the guilt I felt for what I’d done.
Again, I’m going to take this moment to blame the hormones.
As soon as I finish my meal, I excused myself from the table. Hayes looked up from his conversation with Uncle Harry, but I smiled at him telling him that I was fine and to stay. I heard him pick up his conversation as I left. I grabbed one of Grandma Weasley’s many jumpers that hung by the door and pulled it over my head; it must have been one of my Uncle’s because it was huge on me.
Walking out into the backyard, I took a deep breath; when I exhaled the steam from my breath mixed with the drifting snowflakes. I wasn’t long alone with my thoughts before I heard the door open again.
I held my breath, knowing it probably wasn’t my sister and both hoping it was and praying it wasn’t.
“You have to be freezing.” It was my grandmother. I hadn’t really had a proper conversation with her since the news came out. I was scared of what she would think of me now; she was always so into family loyalty.
“It’s not that bad,” I told her softly. She walked up behind me and put her arm around my waist. I don’t know how she was always so warm, or how she always smelled of freshly baked cookies and that good smell that comes with the roaring of a nice fire in the fireplace.
“You didn’t eat much tonight.”
“I wasn’t very hungry.”
She chuckled, “While eating for two? That’s hard to believe.”
I didn’t say anything. We stood in silence for a long time, me leaning into her warmth.
“Victoire is probably angry that everyone still talks to me.”
There was another silence.
“I remember when you were born, Dominique. When your parents brought you home from the hospital,” I looked up at her. “I was watching Victoire for them and when they brought you home, she absolutely hated you.” She smiled and I laughed.
“Oh, yes,” she nodded. “She was so mad. She was so used to having all the attention on her, what with her being the only grandchild at the time, and her little one and a half year old mind could not understand that she would have to share her parents and her grandparents with this little carrot-topped, crying thing.”
“And you were precious,” she continued. “You were such a tolerant baby. Eventually, even Victoire couldn’t resist you and she decided she was never going to leave your side.” I laughed. I couldn’t imagine Victoire acting like that.
“Are you serious?” I asked.
“Mhmm,” Grandma Weasley nodded. “She would only nap when you did, and she helped your Maman and Dad feed you and change your diapers, and she would always be shaking toys just a little to close to your face trying to make you smile.”
“I can’t imagine that.”
“You two were as close as close could be for the first two years of your life.”
“Then what happened?”
“Louis was born and Victoire had to start competing for your attention with a brand new baby.” I thought about that for a minute. It seemed impossible. That Victoire would want to be my friend so badly, even as toddlers, that she would try to compete with Louis for my attention.
“I’m not sure if I can believe that.”
She sighed. “Dominique, you may feel invisible sometimes because you’re her sister, but you need to realize that she’s always been trying to be your friend. You’re the one that’s been pushing her away.”
We heard a snap then and turned around. My sister was standing a few feet away from us in what looked like Teddy’s jacket. “I-I just came out here because Uncle George has set the stove on fire again and water isn’t putting it out.”
“Oh, won’t he ever learn! Flour puts out grease fires for Merlin’s sake!” she yelled as she hurried off into the house leaving Victoire and I standing facing each other.
I knew she’d heard what Grandma Weasley had said, I just didn’t know how true it was. I wanted to hug her and apologize and cry but I knew she’d never let me.
“I still remember that, you know,” she finally said, looking at the ground and looking so vulnerable.
“What?” I asked. My voice cracked.
“The day that they brought Louis home. I know I was only three and a half, but I remember.” She paused. I wanted desperately to ask her what happened, but I knew it didn’t matter. What mattered was that for the next sixteen years, I paid more attention to my brother because I liked him better than my pretty, perfect sister who got on perfectly with Maman. We were more Weasley. She was Delacour.
She looked up at me, then. Really looked at me, too. Not scrutinizing my stomach or judging me, just looking. “I’m not as petty and pretty and uptight as you think, Dominique. I just act that way because people expect me too. I mean… I’m not like that with Teddy. He knows that…” she paused and took a deep breath before looking back up. “Because I didn’t play quidditch and play pranks like all of you, you expected me to be like Maman. I’m not Maman.” She looked on the verge of tears now. I felt one slide down my cheek. “I only ever wanted to be my little sister’s best friend, but you didn’t want me so I picked Teddy. And then you took that from me too.”
“I didn’t take –”
“You’re having his baby!” she said and her exterior broke. I could see that she was crying from where I was standing. “I know, he loves me and I know we’re getting married, and I can only hope that it’ll all work out but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re having his baby, not me.”
“‘Toire, I’m sorry, I –”
“You may have felt invisible sometimes, but that’s a hell of a lot better than feeling like an outcast,” she said just loud enough so I could hear before she turned and hurried back into the house, her blonde hair whipping in the wind behind her.
So my pregnancy wasn’t the only reason she hated me, it was only the final straw.
Suddenly everything made a lot more sense.
A/N: I AM SUCH A HORRIBLE PERSON. I all but forgot about this story. And now i'm updating just hoping and praying that you guys are still out there and will still give me a chance. I will (hopefully) NEVER have a wait that long EVER again. I can't even believe myself. I wrote this in like three days, that's how mad I was at myself. I'm putting off all kinds of homework... ANYWAY. Here you go.
If you are still out there, can you tell me what you think? Maybe?
I love you all, even if I suck at updating. (((But this was a super long chapter. Like 9000 words. Can you at least love me for that??)))
over and outt.
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