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Chapter 4 : "Play" Date
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“You’re fucking screwed,” said my best friend, the genius that she was, once I explained to her the events of the last few days.
“Really? Wow, I hadn’t noticed!” I retorted back at her.
“Seriously though. You and a kid? That’s like.... dude that’s just shit,” she added. How I hated her sometimes.
“Good to know you have so much faith in me,” I replied dryly. Why couldn’t I have a normal best friend who was supportive of me and told me that everything was going to be okay? Instead, I was stuck with Chaylise Noel, better known as Chay. The name suited her just about as well as the name “butterfly” would suit a warthog. There was nothing soft or feminine about her, unless you counted her tits. She had short blonde bob that had a blue streak in it, three piercing on each ear, and a fuck-it attitude to go along with it.
“But seriously, you’re gonna marry the guy? Like Draco Malfoy, your husband? Like you be Astoria Malfoy?” she asked, her eyebrows so high up they were practically in her hair.
“Well I mean, it’s not going to be like that. It’s just in name. Like, so everyone doesn’t think I’m a slut or something. Or maybe it’s so they don’t think he’s a manwhore. I don’t know!” I replied, exasperated.
“Okay, don’t sit there and pretend you’re not kinda sorta excited about this,” she said bluntly.
I shrugged. “Right now, all I can think of is how in 7 months I’m going to have a crying, kicking, screaming kid coming out of me,” I grimaced.
“That’s.... quite nasty,” she said finally. Thanks, best friend.
I nodded. “And his parents want to go through the whole wedding shabang. Not like a quick lets sign the papers kind of wedding, but a full blown engagement party, wedding, reception, the works. And it’s all going to be within the next month!” I paled at the last part. The adults had all agreed that it would be best to get this wedding thing over with before I blew up like a blimp.
“Wedding? Oi, I get to be a bridesmaid, right?” she asked. I was slightly taken aback by this question. First of all, who the hell asks to be a bridesmaid? Wasn’t I supposed to ask her? Second of all, I hadn’t even realized what this wedding shit entailed. I should have just stuck to my run away to Australia plan....
“Yeah. Fuck. Shit. Damn. I’m screwed,” I said.
Chay nodded. “In more ways than one!” she smirked.
I stuck my tongue out at her like the mature, competent witch I was. “You know what double sucks? Normally, I would’ve taken this shit scenario as an excuse to go out and get drunk. Now I can’t even bloody do that because it’d be bad for the baby!”
“Woah, woah, hold up. This baby business means you can’t drink for the next 7 months? Hah, yeah right, you can’t do that!”
“Don’t remind me. One way or another, I’m gonna die,” I said, grimacing.
“Healer Vargas will see you now, Ms. Greengrass and Mr...”
“Malfoy,” Draco told the receptionist shortly. Yes, here I was at my first baby check-up appointment, with Draco, of all people. Surprisingly, he hadn’t even been forced to come to the appointment. He said he wanted to ‘support’ me, whatever that meant. He probably just felt guilty. Not that I minded....
“Thank you,” I replied as I got up and followed the young witch. I had been told to “dress comfy” so I wore a pair of old skinny jeans I was sure wouldn’t fit much longer with a plain green t-shirt. Draco, of course, looked the same painted perfection he always did. I sincerely hoped the baby looked like him and not me.
In the office stood a middle-aged witch with dark brown, almost black hair. She had on glasses and wore a kindly expression. “Hello, my name is Healer Vargas,” she greeted warmly. She shook my hand. “You must be Astoria, the soon-to-be-Mum!” she said with enthusiasm while I nodded grimly. “And you must be....” She paused at Draco.
“The baby’s father, Draco Malfoy,” he said, shaking her hand swiftly. Right. He was here because he was the baby’s father. That was all. This was all this was, we were having a baby together, no big.
“Of course,” the Healer nodded, “Please, Astoria, make yourself comfortable.” She motioned towards the patient bed for me and a chair for Draco. “So about how far along are you?” she asked, her eyebrows lightly furrowed together.
“Uh... about two months,” I replied.
“Two months,” the Healer repeated, smiling, “Lovely. Well, you came to me at just the right time, dear! Now what we’re going to do first is do a scan of your tummy to make sure everything’s just the way it should be, alright?” I nodded, unsure of what this entailed. I hoped it had nothing to do with her sticking some kind of instrument up my... you know... that too in front of Draco.
“Now. all I need you to do is lay down and lift your top up. It won’t hurt one bit, I promise,” she explained. I breathed an internal sigh of relief. No ‘take your pants off so I can shove something up yours!’
I did as she told me and thankfully, my pregnancy wasn’t showing in the least yet. Well, I wasn’t absolutely flat but it simply looked like I had a bit too much to eat, not like I was pregnant.
Healer Vargas pulled out her wand and lay its tip across my stomach, muttering some spells as she did this. Soon enough, a bluish whitish image came up on the screen.
I had seen enough muggle movies to know that I was supposed to be in awe of my ‘baby’ before me, but to be honest, all I saw now were blobbish swirls of color.
Healer Vargas must have seen the confusion on my face because she simply laughed. “Don’t worry, dear, you’re not supposed to be seeing much yet.” She went on to describe what was supposed to be a “head-end” and a “tail-end.” While she explained this, I snuck a glance over to my fiancee (was I even allowed to call him that?) who’s eyes were glued to the image on the screen.
“Now,” she continued once she’d finished pointing out the different parts of our child, “With some recent magical breakthroughs, we’ve devised a new way of determining the sex of a baby early on. It’s not 100% accurate, mind you, but would you be interested finding out if you’re going to be having a baby boy or girl?” I looked over to Draco, who nodded.
“Yes, please,” I told her as she pointed her wand at my stomach and muttered a few more spells. After 30-seconds or so, her face broke out in a wide smile. Please don’t let there be twins, I prayed silently.
“You’re going to have a baby boy,” she announced. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Draco’s face break out into a small smile. It was beautiful. He was beautiful, just like my baby boy would be, I thought happily.
We finished up the appointment shortly, but not after I had received a hefty number of potions. Ew. Gross. We walked out of St. Mungo’s in silence. It wasn’t a painful or awkward silence, it was kind of a relieved silence. We were both glad this appointment had gone off without a hitch.
“Draco?” I said finally, looking up at him. He had a good 9-10 inches on me. But that wasn’t saying much, seeing as I was far-below average in height. But that was precisely why high heels were invented, right?
“Mmh?” he replied.
“Thanks for coming with me today. It really does mean a lot,” I said truthfully.
He shook his head. “Don’t thank me, okay? This isn’t your child, Astoria, it’s ours. We are going to raise our child together,” he said firmly. He paused, as if he was debating whether to say his next few words, “I want our kid’s childhood to go smoothly. I don’t want him to grow up and not know what love is, to not know the warmth of a father’s approval or the indiscriminate love that is supposed to come from your parents.”
I nodded, unsure of how to reply.
“I mean, just because his life started as a screw-up doesn’t mean his existence is a bad thing, right?” he gave me a small smile, “We’re going to do this parenting thing right.”
I nodded again. “We can do this,” I agreed. I was shocked by this new Draco.
“And Astoria?” he looked down at me again with his eyes glinting slightly.
“Hmm?” I replied.
“If we’re going to get married in a month or so, we have to start acting like a couple in public,” he smirked. Before I had a chance to reply, he took my small hand in his much larger one. I decided I quite liked this feeling. Oh bloody hell, I was in heaven.
“And Draco?” I said again. He turned and looked at me, raising his eyebrows, “Don’t call me Astoria, please. It makes me feel like I’m in trouble. Call me Tor,”
He simply gave me that same little grin again. And with my hand in his hand and my heart soaring, he dropped me home.
“Tori, would you please look at least a little bit enthused at trying on these gorgeous dresses?” my mother scolded. I sighed. Here I was, trying on dresses for the second time this week. The engagement party, expertly planned by my mother and sister, of course, was in 4 days and I had yet to find a dress to wear.
I was now on the 5th dress and was thoroughly unimpressed. It was light green with a sequined bodice and lots and lots and lots of taffeta. Saying it was frumpy would be the understatement of the year.
I made a face at my mother. “This ones not my style,” I said finally, heading back towards the dressing room for the next dress. Normally, I would have said something a little more... sarcastic, but along with my mother and sister was Narcissa. She was surprisingly kind and was actually buying the dress for me today, as a kind of ‘welcome to the family’ present. It was niceish of her, I guess.
The next dress I tried on was in a gorgeous, deep burgundy color. It was strapless, with a sweetheart bodice which criss-crossed and met in a floral sequin appliqué slightly off center. I slipped it on, expecting it to be a major flop like all the others, but I could hardly believe my eyes when I tried it on.
The dress was... perfect, to say the least. It stayed up at the top, without me having to pull it up every other minute, and cascaded down to my waist in perfect flow. It fell right to my feet, as if it had been made for me.
I emerged from the dressing room with an audible gasp from the other women. “Astoria, that looks stunning,” Narcissa said quietly. I did a double take. Had I really just gotten this monumental compliment from a women who had never shown outwardly signs of emotion? Not towards me, at least.
“Thank you,” I said finally, giving her a smile.
“It does, Tor. You look wonderful, really,” my sister agreed. And for once, I felt beautiful. Knowing Draco would see me with this was just a small positive in this huge mess that my life had become.
The next day was an “outing” day, so named by Narcissa and my dear mother. Why? Since the two witches were convinced that all of pureblood society was now watching Draco and my every move, we were forced to play the part of the young couple madly in love. This entailed bi-weekly meetings in a public setting deemed appropriate by these two women. In short, they were set-up dates. Not that I minded. At all.
Once again, I found myself rummaging through my sister’s closet for something to wear. There were clothes strewn all over the place when said sister walked in, a cup of yogurt in hand, the spoon in between her teeth.
“Need help?” she asked kindly, her face mildly amused. I nodded. I got up off the floor and flopped down on her bed while she continued looking for clothes.
“How are you, Tor?” she asked as she held up a shirt, looked at me, and scrunched her nose.
“Bloody brilliant,” I muttered, rolling my eyes. She laughed lightly.
“I mean really,” she said again, looking at me seriously this time.
“Shit scared,” I replied honestly.
“Well, yes, I would be if I were in your place too.”
“No, you would never be in my place to begin with,” I pointed out.
“Tor, don’t say that. I’ve had my fair share of mess-ups too. We all do.”
“Yeah, overdoing the chicken one night is hardly equal to getting knocked up.”
She made a face at me. “But you’ve been really strong through it all. I’m proud of you, Tor,”
I snorted. She had seen me spend a large majority of the last few days crying. This hardly counted as being ‘strong.’
“No, really. Not only the baby part, but the wedding part. The Draco part. Handling Mum and Dad,” she said.
I shrugged. It wasn’t really that I had a choice. It was more of a ‘great, you’re pregnant now we have to do this this this to make it looked like it was planned all along.’
“Things’ll get better, Tor, I promise,” she said, handing me a pair of jeans and a floral top she picked out, “I know things look like shit now, but things have a way of working themselves out.”
I smiled at my sister, took the clothes, pecked her on the cheek and went to my room to change. No, with me things never worked out. They just ended up in a massive shit ball like they were in now.
“Right, so what can I get you two?” the waitress tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for our orders. She looked at me first and then at Draco. Actually, it wasn’t really ‘looking’ at Draco, it was more ‘gawking’ at Draco. I decided I didn’t like this witch one bit.
Here we were, on our first ‘set-up’ date. We were in some fancy, chic, upscale restaurant, and I felt horribly underdressed, although when I told Draco this he simply said I looked ‘fine.’ Easy for him to say. He had on a striped black and white button down and slacks and looked like he belonged in GQ magazine, not here, eating dinner with me.
“I’ll have a Coke,” I said finally, letting out a large sigh. This whole nothing-that-could-mildly-hurt-the-baby-while-pregnant diet was harder than it sounded. Or rather, I didn’t realize how much absolute shit I ate until now.
“A coke?” he repeated, raising his eyebrows at me mockingly. This was something he did quite a lot, I’d noticed. He liked teasing me often. It wasn’t rude or mean, but it was something.
I nodded. “Yes. Your kid here is apparently not a huge fan of alcoholic beverages,” I smirked, putting extra emphasis on the ‘your kid’ so the waitress would here. It was satisfying to see the brief look of shock that crossed her face when I said that. That’s right, bitch, I’m carrying his kid.
“Then I’ll get the same, I guess,” he replied coolly.
“That witch was totally eyeing you and giving me the death glare,” I told him as the waitress wrote down our orders and left.
“Oh really?” he looked bemused by this. “I get that a lot,” he said smoothly, giving me a small wink. He was so damn attractive. Why was he so attractive? Why did my stomach do a massive flip every time he gave me those looks? This could not be good for the baby.
I was about to reply when a snotty voice interrupted our cozy little meal. “Why if it isn’t the jerk-wad himself,” I heard the voice say. I looked up and saw Pansy Parkinson. Really, the best insult she could come up with was ‘jerk-wad?’
“Hello, Pansy,” Draco replied, unperturbed.
She faked smiled. “And who do we have here? Astoria? Does darling Daphne know you’re here?” God, I hated fake people like her. It made me want to sock her a good one in the face.
“Hello to you too, Pansy,” I replied, smiling just as fakely back at her. Two could play this game.
“So what are you, his next booty-call?” she asked. The expression on her face made her look like an iguana, I decided. How had my sister ever been friends with her?
“No, Pansy, unlike you, we are able to carry on a normal adult relationship. I wouldn’t expect you to understand,” Draco replied. Hah. Our relationship was the furthest thing from normal.
She snorted. “Right, Astoria, dear, when he’s tired of you as a toy and swaps you for the next one, don’t say I didn’t warn ya. Anyways, I’m off, buhbye!” she teetered off in her barely there silver colored dress. What a slag.
I turned my attention back to Draco who looked completely unfazed by the interaction. “Don’t mind her,” he told me.
“Don’t worry, I wasn’t,” I assured him, “And I think I’m the furthest thing from a booty call.” Or would be the furthest in a few months when I weighed 300 pounds and closely resembled a dying whale.
“Good,” he replied, running a hand through his hair. That hair. I hoped my baby had that hair.
“You know what we should do?” I said suddenly. I could feel my whole face lighting up with the idea.
“Hmm?” he replied, acting uninterested.
“Let’s ditch this snooze-a-thon and go somewhere.. exciting!” I said, giggling. I hated fancy dinners. This was boring. Whoever had invented the cliche that dinners were romantic was a massive idiot. It was just food, after-all.
“What do you have in mind?” he asked, raising one eyebrow up, mildly interested.
“Welll.... I’ll have you know I know somewhere that has the best muggle milkshakes. Ever,” I said, just for emphasis, “C’mon?” I asked, giving him my best puppy dog face.
“Milkshakes?” he repeated, looking skeptical.
“C’mon. Don’t even pretend you’re having fun here, because you’re obviously not. This place is meant for uptight bitches like Pansy.”
“Our mothers would not approve,” he said finally, making a face.
“Yeah, well, look at all the fucks I give!” I replied, laughing, throwing my arms out.
He chuckled. It was a nice sound, I decided, his chuckling. And it was nicer that I was the one that had made him laugh.
“C’mon,” I urged him again. Before he could reply, I got up off the table and grabbed him by the hand. I could practically see the disapproval in my mother’s face now. Oh well.
We apparated back to my house. “What? Why are we at your house? I thought we were going to to a muggle place?” he asked.
“Shhh, trust me! We’re just here to... pick something up,” I explained. I led him to the secret entrance to the back yard. We went all the way to the far back corner, to the hidden shed. “In here,” I told him, pushing open the door of the shed.
Inside stood a vintage motorcycle, complete with a fresh coat of red paint and leather seats. “Is it yours?” he asked, his eyes wide.
I shook my head, “It’s my dads. My mum doesn’t know though. When I was little and would cry and throw a fit, he would steal me out of the house and take me for a ride on this thing. As I grew up, he taught me how to ride it for myself. Now, whenever I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I take this baby out for a ride,” I said, “C’mon,” I urged, sitting myself down on the front seat.
He straddled his legs on both sides of the seat behind me. He wrapped his arms around me, sending tingles down my spine once more. He was so close that I could feel his heartbeat, strong and unfaltering, against me. Calm, Tor, calm, I whispered to myself like a mantra.
I took us to the nearest Muggle Diner when Draco made a face. “Trust me,” I said simply, giving him a look. He simply shrugged and followed me, taking my hand in his again. We weren’t in Wizarding company anymore, I noted, so I was unsure of what this meant. But screw it, I was too busy to analyze this at the time.
“Two chocolate milkshakes, please!” I ordered at the counter, smiling hugely. I hadn’t even realized how much I’d been craving one of these until now.
“Come here often?” he mused, looking around the diner.
“Sometimes,” I shrugged, smiling back at him, “I’m more of a rebel than you thought, huh?” I asked.
“Well I wouldn’t quite say ‘rebel’ is the correct word to describe you.”
“You can say I’m the opposite of what a prim and proper pureblood witch is supposed to be?”
“True. But then again, I wasn’t expecting you to be. We’re in this situation to begin with because you,” he poked my chest lightly, “Happen to be pregnant with my kid. I can’t really say I was expecting you to be little miss goody two shoes or anything.”
I scrunched my nose in distaste, “I don’t even know what that means, little miss goody two shoes. Who comes up with these dumb phrases anyways?” he simply shrugged when the waitress called up our order.
I walked back over to wear we were sitting and passed one over to him. He peered inside the cup, his eyebrows raised. “Don’t judge it until you’ve tried it!” I scolded. I took in a long, good gulp of the milkshake, letting out a small but extremely satisfied, “Ahhh,” at the end.
He too took a small sip and seemed to be contemplating the taste. “I think you’re mad,” he said simply, taking another sip of the choclatey goodness.
“I’m mad? I’m not the mad one here, I think it’s you for not liking it,” I shot back, mocking anger.
“Who said anything about not liking it? All I said was that you were crazy. It’s a statement of fact,” he shrugged. I stuck my tongue out at him. I was really scoring big on the ‘let’s get this guy to fall in love with you’ scale. Ah well, fuck that, at least I was kinda-sorta having fun.
After finishing up our milkshakes, we rode out into the darkness of the night, the blackness enveloping us completely. The almost-spring breeze was cool and stung my face lightly, but it was a good kind of pain. The pain of liberation and freedom. We rode higher and higher into the mountains, into the beautiful silence of the night.
All I could hear, or feel rather, was his steady breathing against me, and the soft hum of the motorcycle. I realized this was the first time I was completely alone, so far from society with him.
I stopped at the top of the mountain, close to where the cliff ended and began its descent into the dark, mysterious ocean. “Why are we here?” he whispered, his hot breath tickling the back of my neck slightly.
“You’ll see,” I said simply, dismounting the bike. I took his hand again and took him to the familiar spot on the cliff.
“It’s dark, you can’t see anything,” he pointed out bluntly.
I shook my head and sat him down beside me. “We’re not here to see, we’re here to listen,” I said, and, as if on cue, I heard the reassuring sound of the waves breaking along the rocky cliff wall.
And just like that, we both listened in silence to the unfaltering tempo of the waves crashing. Over and over and over, it was soothing in its steadiness. It was steady and assuring like nothing else in my life was.
I hadn’t realized I was shivering until I heard Draco taking his coat off and draping it around my shoulders. “I don’t need it!” I protested, when he simply put his fingers to my lips.
“Don’t only think about yourself, Tor,” he said gently, “You have to take care of yourself for two people now, right?” I nodded. We sat in silence a while longer, and I let my drowsiness get the best of me and rested my head against his much larger shoulder. To my relief, he didn’t pull away or comment.
In the darkness, I paid no mind to the fact that my heart was beating 5 times faster than normal, or that in 7 months time I was going to be a mother. In the darkness, I could pretend we were everything that we were not. I could fool the moon and the stars in the sky, I could fool the unfaltering ocean, I could fool it all into believing that this gorgeous man next to me was mine. If only for the next few moments, I could pretend.
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