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Chapter 26 : The Game
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“You can’t have, cause she just kicked over here.”
“Hardly, I’ve felt a punch at least twice on this side.”
Melora peeked over her textbook at the two boys crouched down next to her stomach. “You know,” she said, “When Healer Jacoby told me to start counting her kicks, I don’t think she meant for you two to turn it into some kind of game.”
Sirius and James both scoffed and resumed their debate over which side the baby’s most recent kick had been on.
Melora rolled her eyes and returned to her book. She had been craving some macaroons, so Sirius and James offered to walk her down to the kitchens. And of course when she’d mentioned Healer Jacoby had recommended she start counting the baby’s kicks and she was planning on doing it this afternoon, James and Sirius eagerly jumped on a chance to make a game out of it.
So Melora had sat on a stool, kicked up her feet (which were getting more swollen by the day) and allowed the boys to have at it on her stomach.
She believed the game was basically the one with the most kicks on his side wins, but they spent most of the time squabbling about where the line was on her stomach that Melora was fairly sure they were missing quite a few.
She decided it didn’t really matter, she’d do it later tonight for real.
The last two weeks had been unpleasant to say the least. In addition to the return of her earlier symptoms, she’d also been dealing with the stress of NEWTs, which were drawing ever closer.
The mood swings she could deal with. The properties of the Draught of the Living Dead? Not so much.
On the plus side, her classmates seemed to have lost interest in her. Since it was fairly obvious from her large stomach she was pregnant, and also quite blatant that she and Sirius were in a relationship, be it the making out in broom closets (the ones she could fit in anyway) or the holding hands on their way to class, the only gossip that really remained was whether Sirius had proposed or not. This rumor was usually put to rest by the lack of ring on Melora’s finger, but it had dug its way into her mind.
If she told Sirius about her decision to keep their baby, would he propose?
And more importantly, if he proposed, would she say yes?
They were both so young, but they did already have a child together. And she rather liked the sound of Emily Black.
She also liked the sound of Melora Black.
Melora flushed at the thought and buried her face in her textbook. Not that Sirius or James noticed. They were still bickering over whose side the baby had kicked on.
On the other hand, Melora didn’t want Sirius proposing because he thought he had to. He was, after all, a chivalrous Gryffindor, and Melora was sure the idea would pop into his head. She wanted him to propose because he loved her. No, she wanted him to propose because he was in love with her.
There was a very distinct difference in Melora’s mind. You could love anyone. A friend, a relative, a baby, a baby’s dad. But the person you married, the person you spent the rest of your life with, you have to be in love with them.
And although Melora loved Sirius, and she knew she always would, she didn’t know if she was in love with him.
“Doesn’t matter anyway.”
Melora looked up at James and Sirius who were both standing now and stretching their legs.
“What do you mean?” Sirius shot back, “It would have changed everything!"
“Hardly,” James scoffed, “I was ahead by miles.”
“So I’m guessing James won?” Melora said dryly.
Sirius frowned and offered her a hand to get off the stool. “You weren’t paying attention?”
“I was studying,” Melora replied, waving her textbook as the three left the kitchens and headed up to their common rooms, “You do know NEWTs are in a month, right?”
“I know,” Sirius said quizzically, “So why are you studying now?”
“Especially,” James added, “When there are more important things going on.”
“The baby’s not due until after NEWTs,” Melora pointed out, “So I think exams take precedence.”
“Not the baby,” James said dismissively.
Melora and Sirius glared and he threw his hands up in defense. “Not that the baby isn’t important. The baby is the most important! But NEWTs definitely come second to…”
The couple stared at him blankly and James sighed. “Quidditch!” he cried, “The final is next weekend! I’m finally going to win the cup!”
“James you won the cup last year,” Melora smirked.
“Yes but against Hufflepuff,” James made a face, “I could do that with one hand tied behind my back. This year we’ve got to beat Ravenclaw by 135 points to edge out Slytherin.”
“Ooh, sounds like a real challenge,” Melora teased.
James puffed out his chest and ran a hand through his hair. “Hardly.”
“Will you be in the stands cheering for me?” Sirius asked wrapping his arm around the blonde’s shoulder and pulling her closer.
“Oh I’ll definitely wish you the best of luck, but I’m afraid I’ve got House loyalties to stand by,” Melora sighed dramatically, slipping out from under Sirius’s arm.
“Ouch,” Sirius laid a hand over his heart, “You cut me deep Mel.”
Melora giggled. “It doesn’t really matter who I’m cheering for, I can’t attend anyway. I’ve got another healer appointment that day.”
“Again?” James cocked his head, “Didn’t you go last week?”
“I’m supposed to go every two weeks,” Melora explained, “My mum’s coming with but it shouldn’t take long. I can catch up with you after the game and help you heal those nasty scars Ravenclaw is sure to leave when they beat your arses at Quidditch.”
Joking aside, Melora was quite anxious to meet her mum at St. Mungo’s the following weekend. She’d decided that if she was going to keep the baby, she most definitely couldn’t do it without her mother.
Unfortunately, the very idea of telling Maryanne Jones what she was planning sent Melora into a fit of anxiety and paralyzed her with fear. Since they had met in the lobby fifteen minutes ago, Melora had hardly spoken two words. Instead she buried her face in her Transfiguration textbook, not unlike she had early that week in the kitchens, and counted the minutes until Healer Jacoby called her in.
But the longer they sat there, the more Melora relaxed and the more she ran the words over in her head, the more she thought she could do this.
“Yes dear?” Mrs. Jones looked up from her Magic Monthly to her daughter. Melora sat with her ankles crossed, eyes trained on the wall across from them. She had managed to pull the textbook down from her face, so it now sat open on her lap.
“How would you feel if maybe I kept the baby?”
Magic Monthly slid out of Mrs. Jones’ hands.
All at once Melora turned to her mother and her plans tumbled out of her mouth. Not in the neat practiced way she’d planned to tell her mum, but in a jumbled hurried mess. As much as Melora wanted to stay calm, she couldn’t and by the time she ran out of words, she just prayed her mother didn’t drag her to the mental ward.
But Maryanne Jones just slumped down in her chair.
“I had a feeling it would end this way,” she sighed, “Especially when that poor couple was killed.”
Melora bit her lip. “Are you mad?” she asked softly.
“Oh love, how can I be mad?” Her mum shook her head, “You just want to keep what I suppose is rightfully yours. And I can’t take that away from you. You’re 18, an adult in the Wizard and muggle world. It’s your choice. But Melora,” Maryanne face her daughter, “This decision is permanent. Are you sure you can take on the responsibility of raising a child?”
“I won’t be alone Mum,” Melora said, “Sirius will be there.”
“Are you sure about that?”
Melora was taken aback by her mum’s quick question, but before she could formulate a response, the door to Healer Jacoby’s office opened and the healer stuck her head out.
“Come in Melora!”
A/N- Look at that quick update! I was hit by a stroke of inspiration and have up to Chapter 30 written. So hopefully the next couple chapter will come quickly.
If you're curious Melora's due in early July and we're currently in early May
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