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Chapter 4 : Different.
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I rolled over in bed; it was beginning to hurt to lie on my back even for a small amount of time. I wanted to sit up but with my aching back and exhaustion my body didn’t consider it an option. It was these times when my head and body didn’t agree that I was really able to just stay still and mull things over. I often found myself wondering why I had put myself into this mess. Fred was great, we had not had a fight to date and he tried so hard to be there for me through everything. Who couldn’t appreciate a man who held your hair up during morning sickness? But none of that compared to the guilt and loss I felt over the life I could have had, the life I should’ve had with Ron. The thought plagued me constantly, ever since we made the announcement.
I could sense that Fred knew I felt that way, though if he did he kept it to himself. Well himself was the operative word; George was just as much a part of that equation. Whatever Fred was feeling, George knew, no doubt. I knew in the back of my mind that if I ever needed to know something about Fred, George would know the answer, but I also knew I wasn’t prepared to hear the answers.
I had delayed getting up long enough; my mind was wandering to places that my heart was not ready to venture to, at least for today. I took a shower and got dressed before heading into the kitchen. It was a weekday so I had the house to myself, which was nice. I could scarcely hear the commotion ensuing downstairs, I breathed deeply. It felt nice to have a relaxing morning. Some mornings the shop would be so full and alive that the floors of the flat would shake and I could barely stay asleep or focus on a book to read.
I checked the clock above the oven, about half past nine. The appointment was scheduled for 10 o’clock. I had promised my Dad that I would try and make my pregnancy as normal as possible, which in his book meant seeing muggle doctors for all of my checkups. My father had always had a hard timing dealing with the fact that he couldn’t be completely involved in a huge part of my life, but this, this he could be a part of. I checked my reflection in the mirror; despite my ever growing stomach I didn’t look much different. I put on a light jacket and went downstairs. Fred was at the front counter, talking the George. He must have heard me coming because he shot me an apologetic look and held up a finger. I nodded and waited outside on a bench in front of the shop, taking in the cool October air.
A minute or so later I heard the door open beside me and Fred walked out, looking slightly nervous. I raised an eyebrow before standing to meet him.
“You okay?” I questioned lightly. He sighed deeply and then looked me, complete sincerity shining through his being.
“It all seems so real now,” he looked away from me and down the road, “today I’ll know for sure about my little guy.” He said with a playful shove. I rolled my eyes, again with the assumptions.
“We know nothing until the appointment.” He laughed to himself, clearly amused with my optimistic attitude and held out his hand. I took it and in no time at all we were standing outside of the doctor’s office. It was a small, brick building about ten minutes from where I had grown up. I could feel my nerves acting up, being pregnant didn’t help the fact that I was an already emotional person, because I knew that in the back of my mind this appointment could change so much about the life Fred and I were attempting to make for ourselves. For instance, a boy means double the clothes since he is bound to mess more of them up. It will mean more toy cars, trains, broomsticks and the like that I would have to purchase. It would mean more rough housing and less hugging. A girl, on the other hand, would mean frilly dresses, baby dolls, and more than enough hugs and kisses for the both of us. I shook my head, over analyzing the benefits of a boy verses a girl would not help me now, the baby inside of me was already one or the other and, no matter how much I would have liked to, I had no say in the matter.
We walked silently into the waiting room and I took a clipboard to fill out my information, I used my father’s address since I couldn’t use my own and the whole time Fred just watched. For a while he looked over all the required information and then he just sat back and sighed.
“What?” I questioned lightly, he seemed surprised.
“I didn’t know they would need to know so much,” Fred shrugged, “I figured we could just go in, figure out what the little guy is, and leave. This…it’s just a lot more complicated than I imagined.” I knew that our situation weighed on him but in this moment it was written clearly on his face. A hint of guilt tugged at my heart, I was the one who had put him in this situation. I erased the memory from my mind; this was not the time or place for such thoughts. Before long the nurse came and called us to the back room. My nerves kicked in full force, my heart pounding in my head.
Before I knew it I was laying down with the nurse leaning over me with a small device in her hand. Fred sat beside me, his hand folded in his lap. I could feel his nerves without even asking, and mine were just as bad. The screen that showed the life growing inside of me was facing away from us at the moment, the nurse carefully examining our baby and writing down vitals no doubt.
I looked over at Fred, his brow held a thick line of sweat and he was now fiddling with his hands. Remorse took over me and I couldn’t help but reach over and grad one of his hands. He didn’t acknowledge the action but I could tell that it had eased him a bit. Sometimes that was all we needed, a reminder that we weren’t alone in all of this. Humor was never my forte, but I could sense that the circumstances demanded it. I tapped him lightly on the shoulder and waited for him to look at me.
“Would you like to make a bet with me?” I questioned lightly. Fred furrowed his brow for a moment, clearly confused by statement.
“What were you thinking?”
“Heads you change all the diapers, tails I do.” I said with a playful look. I hoped my feeble attempt would make him smile, something he hadn’t really done since we walked in and slowly but surely a smiled played at the corners of his lips and he uttered a small laugh.
“I think you’re a bit confused as to what constitutes a bet,” he said with a shake of his head. I rolled my eyes; of course he would have some smart comment. I smiled back at him all the same, happy for the light feel of the moment.
“Okay,” the nurse chimed in from behind her counter, “are you ready?” Then for the first time a thought hit me, maybe I wasn’t ready. What if, for a least a few more months I could feel excitement for what was to come instead of complete chaos of what all I had to purchase and how to prepare. A thought began forming in the back of my mind and before I could change my mind I let it fly from my head and out of my mouth.
“No,” I said proudly, “I’m not.” The nurse looked at me confused and opened her mouth like she might continue.
“Hermione what are you trying to say?” Fred face was a mix of confusion and worry. I looked at, hoping my face showed that I knew what I was doing and that he didn’t need to worry. I turned my attention to the nurse and waited for her to acknowledge me.
“Is it healthy?”
“Well yes Mrs. Weasley but-”, I held up my hand to stop her.
“That’s all I need to know,” I said to her before turning my attention to Fred, “think about it, Fred. How wonderful would it be going into my labor and being excited to find out what we have instead of worrying and panicking?” Fred wiped the sweat from his brow and gave me an exasperated look.
“No amount of surprise will keep you from panicking.” I had to agree, even a little, but the idea I had formulated was so unlike me that it made me excited and I knew that it was what I wanted. I looked over to Fred, begging him to understand. Finally, a realization dawned in his eyes and he nodded his head and looked at the nurse.
“We want everything to be a surprise. Tell us that our baby is healthy and that’s all we need,” he said confidently. The nurse seemed very reluctant.
“But you really should know that-”, I gave her a pointed look. One that told me we had made up our mind. She still seemed very uneasy about the idea, like there was something we needed to know but she could see the determination in our eyes. With a final glance at the screen she nodded and left the room. I got dressed and soon Fred and I were back at the flat. George was sitting on the living room couch, anxiously anticipating our return. As soon as we came in the door he jumped up and practically ran over to us.
“So is it a boy?” He questioned. Fred nodded to me, saying that he would handle it.
“Nope,” he said confidently.
“Oh so it’s a girl, that’s wonderful! Congratulations. Mum will be beyond thrilled.”
“See George, that’s the thing,” Fred said with a smile, “we don’t know.” George looked utterly confused.
“I don’t understand.”
“We decided to have it be a surprise.” Fred said as he shot a wink at me. I smiled, happy that he supported me.
“You too are mental,” George said with a raise of his brow. With that, Fred walked over to me and threw his arm around my shoulders.
“Yeah, but I think being mental fits us perfectly. It’s different,” Fred said as he smiled down at me, “just like us.”
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