Amelia soon found that the students were very receptive to the idea of her relationship with Ben. Though many students were too shy to address it directly, a small number went as far as congratulating Amelia or verbalizing their approval.
Lila Dominick, a Fifth Year Slytherin, actually approached Amelia to apologize for her mother’s biting letter. Amelia graciously accepted and, internally, breathed an enormous sigh of relief.
So I haven’t ruined my career and reputation. Thank Merlin.
Her NEWT-level Charms class had the most amusing reaction by far. These students were bolder because of their age and felt no qualms about making their opinion on the subject known.
It was actually exceedingly helpful.
“I’m sorry, Professor,” Parvati Patil announced, “But it’s about time! Honestly, we’ve been waiting months!”
The other girls in the class nodded emphatically while the boys shuffled their feet awkwardly.
“Thank you, Parvati,” Amelia said bemusedly. “I only hope that it doesn’t affect how my students see me.”
“Why would it?” Pansy Parkinson interjected, entering the room and putting her books on her desk.
Though a Slytherin through and through, Pansy’s father had fallen out of favor with the Death Eaters and she aligned herself recently with the Ravenclaw girls. Amelia noticed are marked improvement in her general attitude.
“There have been parents…”
“All Slytherin, I’m sure?” Pansy guessed. “Or at least Pureblood.”
Padma nodded sagely beside her.
“What do you mean?” Amelia asked, somewhat confused.
“They have no problem with two teachers having a discreet relationship. I mean, they’re not ones to talk, are they?”
Some of the students that had gathered around smirked knowingly.
Why do my students know more than me?
“Professor,” Parvati explained. “Upper-class Purebloods are not known for their, um, fidelity. Especially the men.”
“P-Pardon?” Amelia stammered.
“Mistresses,” Hermione explained in simple terms. “Really, not at all unlike many upper-class Muggle marriages.”
“Anyways,” the Slytherin continued. “The issue isn’t the relationship – it’s your blood status.”
Amelia’s eyes widened to the size of saucers at Pansy’s bold discussion of her blood status.
“Don’t get me wrong, Professor,” Pansy clarified. “I don’t have a problem with Muggle-borns… not anymore at least. Daddy says they’re a new market to be tapped. It’s just that a lot of snobs don’t think Muggle-borns should mix with Purebloods. And Professor Auden is Pureblood.”
“O-Oh, I see,” Amelia managed to say. “I hadn’t considered that.”
In truth, she hadn’t considered that dilemma presented by her Muggle blood and Ben’s magical blood. They had spoke of it briefly at New Year's but it never mattered to either Ben or Amelia, so she often forgot about it all together.
“Well, that definitely gives me some food for thought,” Amelia said pensively.
“Don’t let it bother you,” Hermione said kindly before taking her seat and signaling for others to do the same.
Amelia smiled with effort and began class as planned.
“Ben, are you sure your family is okay with the fact that I’m Muggle-born?”
“W-What?” Ben stammered.
He had been nuzzling and kissing Amelia’s neck for the past five minutes with a very specific goal in mind, but Amelia’s non-sequitur completely threw him.
“Well?” Amelia prompted, scooting away from him so that she could see his face. “Do they mind that I’m Muggle-born?”
“Amelia,” Ben said, thoroughly perplexed. “I already told you back at New Year’s… they don’t care. My grandparents probably aren’t thrilled, but my parents and I have never really valued what they think.”
Amelia nibbled her lip as she gazed into the fire in the sitting room.
“You don’t believe me?”
“I believe you, love,” she replied quietly. “I just- I don’t know. Forget it.”
“No, love. What happened to make you think like this?”
Amelia relayed her conversation with Pansy and Ben listened in silence. When she had finished, he leaned back on the sofa and sighed.
“She’s not wrong,” he admitted. “But my parents aren’t part of that elitist Pureblood society.”
He draped an arm around Amelia’s shoulders and pulled her close to him.
“I suppose you could say that they’re rebels,” he continued, smirking. “They don’t think like that.”
“Then why haven’t you brought me to meet them,” Amelia whispered, surprising herself in the process. She hadn’t realized it was bothering her until the words came out of her mouth.
Once said, however, Amelia felt a release within her. Apparently she had been holding that one in a bit.
“Amelia,” Ben gasped, sitting up straight and turning to face Amelia directly. “You don’t think that I’m hiding you deliberately!”
“I don’t think I do,” she hedged. “But I guess it makes me wonder.”
Ben stared at her for a moment before settling back against the cushions once more.
“Well, at least that’s easy to fix,” he said simply. “We’ll go to my parents for supper this weekend.”
And now it was Amelia’s turn to sit up straight in shock.
Amelia pulled nervously on the cuff of her robe as she stood beside Ben on the stoop of the Auden Residence, Number 9 Ladyslipper Lane, Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire.
Ben glanced to his right and caught Amelia’s fidgeting hand in his own.
“Relax,” he whispered soothingly. “They’re excited to meet you.”
Amelia nodded nervously and allowed Ben to pull her against his side.
“They’ll love you,” he assured her as they waited for the door to be answered.
Amelia opened her mouth to ask Ben how he could be so sure, but the door suddenly swung open.
“Benjamin,” cried a fifty-ish woman with greying brown hair and eyes blue like Ben’s. She ushered them into the Arts and Crafts-style foyer.
“Hi Mum,” Ben said sheepishly as his mother kissed him on both cheeks and held him at an arm’s length to be studied.
“You look well, darling,” she said approvingly. “Now, introduce me to your young lady.”
Grinning broadly, Ben nudged Amelia forward.
“Mum, this is Amelia Mason.”
Amelia put her right hand out to shake Mrs. Auden’s but, much to her surprise was pulled into an embrace instead.
“Amelia, dear,” she gushed. “I’ve heard so much about you. Welcome!”
“Thank you, Mrs. Auden,” Amelia replied politely.
She was feeling very shy and out of her element. Ben’s mother reminded her of a somewhat more polished Molly Weasley and she just wasn’t accustomed to such nurturing, warm attention.
“Mrs. Auden? Heavens, no!” cried the older woman. “You’ll call me Brisa.”
“Brisa,” Amelia corrected, smiling politely and feeling utterly overwhelmed.
And there are four more people inside to meet…
“Now, come in and meet the others,” Brisa ordered kindly, leading the couple into a room off the foyer.
“We’ll be right in, Mum,” Ben said to his mother.
She pursed her lips approvingly and disappeared into what Amelia assumed was the sitting room.
“You’re overwhelmed,” Ben said plainly when his mother had left.
Amelia smiled weakly. “It’s okay, Ben… it’s just, well, I’ve never done this.”
She gestured around them.
“Never done what?”
“I’ve never been brought home to ‘meet the parents,’” she explained.
“Never? What about…?” Ben didn’t finish his statement. Amelia knew it was because he didn’t want to dampen her mood by bringing up Blake.
“No,” Amelia said. “It’s okay. Just don’t leave my side, yeah?”
“I promise,” Ben said solemnly, kissing her softly and taking her hand in his.
Ben squeezed her hand as he pushed open the door to the sitting room and led Amelia into the firing squad, so to speak.
Once seated in the sitting room, Amelia was subject to rapid-fire questions from Ben’s three sisters. The oldest, Thea, seemed focused on her time in America. Ben’s younger sisters, Daphne and Belinda, asked a variety of questions from Amelia’s birthday, to how Ben and Amelia connected, and even to awkward questions about Amelia’s family. Those questions were answered vaguely and Amelia spoke only of her adoptive parents.
By the end of the night Amelia had decided that Ben’s father was by far her favorite. Ambrose Auden was quiet, reflective, and warm. He asked her no more than three questions and they were simply about her time at university in the States. All in all, he was the one who overwhelmed her the least.
When the clock struck nine, Ben disappeared for a moment and returned with his and Amelia’s cloaks.
“Ready to go, love?” he asked as he helped Amelia into hers.
“So soon?” Brisa protested.
“Sorry, Mum,” Ben apologized. “I promised Minerva we’d be back before ten.”
“Oh, very well then. Go on and say good-bye to your sisters then.”
Brisa pushed him toward the sofa that the girls occupied. As soon as Ben was preoccupied, the older woman pulled Amelia out into the foyer.
“Amelia,” she said warmly. “I just wanted to thank you.”
“F-for what?” Amelia asked in confusion.
“Why, for making my son so happy!”
Before Amelia could respond, Ben and the rest of the Auden clan emerged from the sitting room to see the couple off.
“I survived,” Amelia said, chuckling softly.
Ben looped his arm through Amelia’s as they trekked up to the castle from the Apparition point.
“They loved you,” he assured her. “You were great.”
“How can you be sure?”
“Because they told me, of course. When I went to say good-bye to my sisters, all three of them told me that if I do anything to muck this up they will personally castrate me with my own wand.”
Amelia was fairly certain that they meant it, too. She got the impression that one didn’t mess with the Auden girls.
“Oh, wow. And, uh, your parents?”
“Dad’s quiet, but I could tell he approved. He was really interested in what you had to say; if he didn’t like you, he’d ignore you.”
Amelia nodded in understanding. Ambrose definitely had been interested in their conversation.
“And Mum,” Ben continued. “She’s already planning the wedding, I guarantee it.”
Amelia smiled at the thought.
“I think I’m fine with that,” she whispered.
“Good,” Ben replied softly as he leaned down to kiss her cheek.
"Ben," Amelia said suddenly. "Why is Minerva's light still on? She's never in her office this late."
I apologize for the delay! Things have been crazy at work and my muse has been playing hide and seek.
Please leave a review... they often help me find that sneaky muse!