I hate this month.
“When did February get here? When did February get here?! When? When?!”
“It came after January. It came after January. Stop shaking me. Stop shaking me!”
My friends are so weird.
“Why are you repeating everything twice?” I asked tiredly, pulling Ella away from a very frazzled-looking Dom.
“I dunno. Dramatic effect?” Ella shrugged and grinned innocently at me, smoothing her hair down. “Merlin, I don’t ask for much around here, but the least you could do is – perhaps – not manhandle me every time you’re surprised. It’s starting to have a detrimental effect on me.”
“No worries love, you were already screwed up to begin with,” Alex piped helpfully from her bed. Ella threw a pillow at her in retaliation, but missed horribly.
“Good thing you’re a beater,” I said sarcastically, after looking in bemusement at the pillow, which had somehow managed to land on the sill above the window. Yeah, I don’t know how these things happen, either. The window must be a good eight meters away from where Alex is. And I thought Beaters were supposed to have beastly aiming skills. Our Quidditch Team is so screwed.
“You don’t understand!” Dom wailed, stomping her foot. “The entire January passed without me knowing it, and now I’m six months pregnant! Do I look fat?!”
There was a moment of silence while the three of us stared at her.
“You’re pregnant, Dom. So yeah, frankly, you do look fat.”
Dom promptly burst into tears and fled into the bathroom. There was a slamming noise and a loud exclamation of “I’m ugly!” from the depths of the toilets.
Whoops. My bad?
“Seriously, though. What did happen to January?” Ella let out a little laugh, plopping down on my bed and biting her lip thoughtfully.
“Nothing happened in January, so life sort of just passed.” I sighed and lay down on my back, putting my head in Ella’s lap. “Scary, isn’t it? That was our last January of Hogwarts and we did nothing about it.”
“January’s boring,” Alex intoned pessimistically.
“What’s your deal?” I asked her lazily. “Fred’s shagging not up to par?”
“Actually, Fred’s shagging has gotten quite brilliant, thanks,” Alex said sarcastically. “Next time, you can come along and he’ll demonstrate for you, yeah?”
Me and Ella both let out disgusted shrieks. “That’s gross!” I yelled, picking up my pillow and throwing it with accuracy right at Alex’s face.
“You’re the one who brought up Fred’s shagging abilities!” She laughed, throwing it back to me. It landed on my stomach. I still got the Chaser skills in this joint. Hell yeah.
“I was making a joke! You know, ha-ha-that’s-funny-Artemis-you’re-so-amusing?! I don’t actually want to know about your sex life with Fred, that’s just –”
“I’ve never had sex with Fred.” Alex cut across, her voice peculiar.
“…what?” Ella and I exclaimed in unison. It was actually rather creepy, yet still somehow insanely cool. We should practice so we can pull this off more often.
Alex sighed and fell back into her bed. “We’ve never shagged.”
“But…you’re in love with each other,” Ella said, as though Alex and Fred’s not-shagging was the most mind-boggling thing she’d ever heard of.
“We are,” Alex admitted. “But he always stops it before we…you know. Get serious.”
There was a short silence.
“Jason’s horny.” Ella threw out.
“Ella! There are some things we are better off not knowing!” I yelled. I mean, come on – I’m already a fucked-up child; don’t make it worse!
“Just trying to diffuse the tension?” she said weakly.
“Well, you’re no longer allowed to diffuse, okay?!”
“I want to have sex with Fred,” Alex burst out.
You know what I want? This conversation to end.
“That’s…nice,” I said, my voice sounding choked.
“Do you think I should tell him?” Alex’s voice was so nervous she seemed like she was about to explode in hysteria any second.
Yes, no, I don’t know?! Just stop talking to me! “Uh…sure…”
“But what if he doesn’t want me?”
The question was so ridiculous that neither of us bothered to answer it. Instead I levitated the pillow from the windowsill and smacked her over the head with it a couple of times. “You’re stupid,” I said, letting the pillow fall back onto the bed.
“So…are you going to answer my question?” Alex asked hopefully, her hair sticking up in fifty different directions.
“No. Now go and shag Fred.” Ella said dismissively. Alex shrugged and walked out.
“And then there were two,” I grinned, looking up at Ella. She grinned back and played with my boingy curls for a couple of seconds.
“Sorry love, but you’re going to have to deal with hormonal Dom yourself. I’m meeting up with Jason to go to the library,” She said apologetically, moving my head onto a pillow and stepping off of the bed and into her shoes.
“But you both hate studying!” I protested.
“We don’t go there to study.” She smiled roguishly at me. For a second I stared at her – what…?
“Ella, that is just – you – gah! Think of those poor first-years!”
I fell back against the pillow moodily as she closed the door behind her.
There was a shuffle, and my head shot up. “Dom!” I said joyfully. She smiled brightly at me.
“Guess what? I’m allowed to be fat! I’m pregnant!” She announced, as though she had just made a life-changing epiphany.
“Genius,” I deadpanned.
“Yep! So now I’m going down to the kitchens with Apollo to eat food, snog, and traumatize some house elves! Toodles!” She bounced happily to the door and thundered down the stairs.
“Bye,” I said gloomily.
I sighed and put my head on the pillow again. I’m such a loser.
Dom: Seven months pregnant. Moodier than ever. (Refer to explosion during dinner yesterday, when she screamed at a second-year for breathing loudly around her.)
Apollo: Scared beyond his wits.
Me: Also scared beyond my wits.
Quidditch: a hazy blur of numbers and faces. We made it to semi-finals. Practice is worse than ever.
I miss James’ smile.
Current Status: ONE MORE MONTH TO GO.
State of Dom: Fat, irritated (and irritating), hungry, and very, very pregnant.
State of the rest of us: Frazzled, terrified, irritated, and generally not very pleasant.
I can’t wait until she pops this thing out of her.
We made it to Quidditch Finals, but none of us really care that much.
I miss James’ eyes, and his laugh, and the way he used to shine.
Now it seems like Sarah’s taken all of that away from me, too.
Any day now.
Dom is huger than ever, and she usually spends her days with her fat arse on an armchair. She likes snarling at random younger children to massage her feet for her. They’re all too terrified to say no. Hell, even I’m too terrified to say no. Usually I try not to pick fights with the crazy pregnant woman, but sometimes things get a little tense.
I distract her with something shiny.
“We really have to get one of these for the baby’s room, Apollo!” Dom chirped happily as she leaned back against his chest and continued twirling the hanging mobile of sparkling stars that used to be a sock. It was levitating right above her head, courtesy of me.
“It’s yours,” I said to her, mostly so she would be quiet. She never shuts up these days; it’s exhausting.
“I think you should throw me a baby shower,” Dom said seriously a little while later.
I exchanged exasperated glances with Ella and Jason as we stared at our Quidditch diagrams for our match against Ravenclaw the next day. Dom had already yelled at us every time we mentioned the words ‘baby shower’ around her.
Maybe if we just ignore her, she’ll shut up and haul herself and her package up the stairs. And leave us alone to contemplate the Game Day.
“Team!” James yelled, standing up at precisely eight with a shit-eating, excited grin covering his face, “Bed! Now!”
A part of my brain demanded quite sullenly to know what he was so bloody happy about.
There was an almighty cheer as we all got up and trudged up the stairs to our respective dormitories. There really is nothing special or heroic about a bunch of extremely tired kids getting ready to go to sleep, but Gryffindors always had a flair for dramatics.
I fell asleep with an uneasy knot in my stomach, haunted by flickers of the future, shooting back and forth between a flickering frame of James’ dead face, a muddly kind of darkness, and the sound of a child crying endlessly.
I wondered why I even bothered anymore with any of this.
The next day, I was woken up by a sliver of sunlight, a flutter of anticipation in my stomach, and a pregnant girl screaming bloody murder.
I shot up, clutching my dizzy head with one hand and yanking the blankets away from me with the other so that I could stagger over to Dom. What if her water broke? What if she started giving birth in the middle of the night and she didn’t even realize that her child popped out and now it’s in her bed and she doesn’t know what to do and –
“YOUR MATCH IS IN FORTY MINUTES! HAUL YOUR ARSES OUT OF HERE NOW!”
I stopped, realizing that Dom was standing upright, still very pregnant, and with no screaming child. A wave of relief washed over me, and then I registered her words.
“Shit!” I screamed, running over to Ella’s bed and physically pulling her out of it. She landed on the floor with a loud thump, but I didn’t wait to see if she made it up, going over to Alex’s bed and doing the same for her. Ignoring their grunts of protest, I pushed them both into the bathroom and shoved them under full sprays of the shower, clothing and all.
“Forty minutes. Final match. Shut up and shower,” I commanded before either of them could protest. Ella shut her mouth and pulled her top off to show her compliance.
Twenty minutes, much swearing, a lot of pregnant sweating, and tons of braided hair later, we were sprinting at full speed towards the breakfast table, with Dom waddling after us in a distressed sort of way, upset that she couldn’t go faster yet wanting to get herself and her spawn there as fast as possible.
“It’s okay,” she finally called after us breathlessly as we toppled around the corner, “I’ll just see you at the match. Don’t worry about me.”
“I’ll wait up for her,” Alex said, pushing me so that I could run along with Ella, “you two go!”
“Love you!” Ella screamed over her shoulder.
We skidded into the Great Hall just as James and the rest of the team was getting up. As soon as they saw us, relief was evident on their expressions.
“You’re late!” James barked as we stopped in front of the table, panting between fragmented words of explanation.
“It doesn’t matter,” he finally said. He shoved two bananas into our hands and handed us both glasses of milk. “Chug now, eat on the way.”
I choked down the milk and made a face at the fruit.
“I hate bananas,” I complained.
I got a withering glare in response.
Hmph. Who died and made you boss of All Things Quidditch?
Now fully in sulk mode, I pulled open my banana and took the first disgusting bite, making a face at the squish and causing Fred and Al to laugh loudly at my obvious displeasure.
“You are such a brat,” James said absently, checking to make sure that everyone was present, eating a banana, and fully intact.
“You flatter me,” I responded dryly around another mouthful of banana.
I chewed slowly as my eyes travelled around my teammates, noticing a conspicuous lack of bright blonde.
“Hey,” I said, “Where’s Sarah?”
James didn’t even glance up from the notes he was reading last-minute. “I broke up with her a couple of days ago.”
Surprised didn’t even begin to cover it. My mouth hung open rather stupidly as I stared at him.
“Why?” I finally managed to croak out.
“Because she was annoying the piss out of me,” he responded, taking the banana out of my hand, peeling back the skin, and sticking it in my mouth. “Much like you are right now.”
I had too much banana stuffed into my face to muster a response, but I hope my terrifying glare sufficed.
“Shouldn’t you be dancing about in glee?” he asked.
I swallowed the last clump of mush and rolled my eyes at him. “Don’t flatter yourself, James.”
He grinned. “Just checking.”
“Would you like me to dance about in glee?”
“Well, now that you mention it…”
I threw my banana peel at him. “I’m going to the locker room and changing.”
“You don’t even sound excited, for Merlin’s sake!” He called after me as I turned around. “I thought you were supposed to love me!”
I stuck a loving middle finger in the air without turning around.
You know, he has been rather happier this past week. Wonder why I didn’t notice it before.
…then again, I was pretty busy wallowing about in a pathetic state of constant moping. Do I desperately need to grow up? Probably. Do I care? Definitely not.
But before I could help myself, a huge grin unfurled over my face. He broke up with Sarah. He broke up with her.
“I GOT PASSION IN MY PANTS AND I AIN’T AFRAID TO SHOW IT, SHOW IT, SHOW IT, SHOW IT…I’M SEXY AND I KNOW IT!”
And….cue the wild dancing.
I watched on in amusement while I strapped on my gloves as Jason, Ella, Scorpius, Al and Hugo jammed out to a pre-game song. Apparently it gets them all properly pumped up for the game, adrenaline flowing and all. I think it’s just a ruse so that the boys can air hump without getting judged for it.
I winced. Ella’s doing it too.
“I’m judging you!” I called over to them.
“I WORK OUT!”
“…still judging you!”
“Ready for the big game?” James asked, sidling up to me while I laughed at their antics. Hugo had hoisted Ella up onto his shoulders and she was flinging her hair around while he danced around. She’s ready to fall any second. I won’t even feel bad for her when she does.
“Definitely,” I replied, grinning. I felt as light as air. He broke up with Sarah. Thank Merlin. “You?”
“Hell yeah.” There was a short silence while I strapped on my other glove and he pulled his robes on. “I actually have to talk to you,” he told me, raising his voice over the music, which had reached a particularly deafening level.
“What about?” I called back.
“I – fuck it,” he muttered, grabbing me by the elbow and tugging me into the bathroom. The music thrummed through the walls, but I could finally hear myself think. “It’s about Sarah,” he said. “You always wondered why I’d dated her, right?”
I tilted my head to the side. “Yeah, but –”
“Yeah. There’s a reason,” he said heavily, “and I don’t know what the reason is, but I think you can tell me.”
He looked steadily at me as I open and closed my mouth wordlessly.
“I…what?” I finally managed.
His gaze flattened, “you’re going to make me spell this out for you.”
“Er, I suppose I am, since I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about.”
He ruffled his hair, looking at everything but me for as long as possible. “Just…I don’t want you to tell anyone,” he finally said, “it would just cause a lot of unnecessary drama and pity and it’s just not something I want.”
My brow furrowed. “I won’t tell anyone, but James –”
“She…she knew something about you,” he rushed out, “and I don’t know what, but she held that over my head from the beginning.”
My mouth dropped open, fury bubbling up inside me as I realized what he was saying. “She blackmailed you?!”
“That bitch,” I snarled, turning back towards the door, “I’m going to land that whore in the hospital wing –”
“Cute, but let’s focus,” James said, pulling me back to face him. He looked anxious and desperate. “Artemis, it’s been killing me. I don’t know what she knows about you, but if you’ve kept it a secret for this long then it’s obviously something really important. And I just couldn’t take it anymore…I was irritated at you, and at her and mostly just myself and I dumped her.”
“Well, I’m glad you dumped her –”
“You don’t understand, she’s going to tell people now,” James said, running his hand through his hair again. It stuck up more than usual from the friction his gloves created.
“I don’t care,” I said simply, pulling his hands out of his hair. “I can’t believe you put up with that for me.”
He flushed. “I was really mad at you, you know.”
“And I’m still pretty pissed.”
“Again, completely understandable.”
“And you’re going to tell me what she knows because I bloody deserve it.”
I laughed. “I will.”
He raised an eyebrow.
“Now?” I yelped. He nodded impatiently. I bit my lip. I was not planning on telling him like this. I mean, we’re in a bloody bathroom, and that bloody song’s playing in the background and our teammates are dancing inappropriately just in the other room and there’s no way I’m telling him my biggest defining characteristic like this.
“After the game,” I said.
He laughed like I’d just told him something mildly endearing. “Nope. Spill.”
I shook my head coyly. “Meet me by the Black Lake after the game.”
His eyes narrowed. “Fine,” he muttered. He turned back towards the locker room, but I caught his sleeve.
“Kiss for good luck?” I asked innocently, widening my eyes and pouting slightly.
The James Smirk spread across his face. “Not on your life, Jones.”
those lines belong from LMFAO's I'm Sexy And I Know It.
I WORK OUT