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Expecting Otherwise by majamariamaja
Chapter 10 : Almost Unnoticed
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 15


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Thanks to KatDaniels here at the site for the ci!






Chapter 10. Almost Unnoticed







There were several reasons to why I was in the library instead of joining my friends in Hogsmeade this Sunday.

One of them should be very obvious by now; I am simply too pregnant to have the energy to walk that far. And another is that it's raining. Now, I don't normally mind the rain. I love the rain! Just as long as we're not...interacting. It's like that one highly annoying relative; you love them, but at a distance

And besides, when it rains in December it makes everything so slippery, and my balance is strained enough as it is. I have a bowling ball on my stomach, that should be enough of an explanation why.

And the last reason, and most important one, is that now that everyone else is having a blast in the tiny village, I am free to roam about the castle without being continually stared at by the mass of students. 'The Starers' were now off doing whatever they pleased - probably gossiping while eating candy - far away from me.

So I had grasped the opportunity of gaining some shred of peace and quiet, and urged my friends to leave me behind. Clover wasn't happy, that's for sure. She had this whole thing planned where we would spy on her sister, Claire, and Deuce's date - but I don't know where she got the idea that I could pass for a spy. I was too conspicuous. I would probably be the worst spy in the history of espionage. And since I handed back the Invisibility Cloak this morning so that Al(who had had his Hogsmeade-privileges taken away because of some incident where he hexed a Ravenclaw) could sneak out of the castle and follow his friends into town, I was doomed to be caught staring at the star-crossed lovers after mere seconds.

Yes, here I was. All by my lonesomes. Scribbling away, and finishing the essays of one subject after another. My thirst for knowledge had been neglected for too long, and now my brain soaked up everything it had been long without.

It wasn't until I heard the large clock chime loudly - a signal to gather for dinner - that I realised how long I'd been sitting still. My limbs protested heavily as I stood up, and with a grimace I stretched and prepared my stiff legs to move forward. With fingers shaking from low blood sugar, I quickly put my things in my bag and went downstairs to get my grumbling stomach properly fed.

"Hey, Pregzilla!"

With a roll of my eyes I sought out the person whom I was now only seconds away from killing. Or maybe minutes, considering how slowly I moved these days. Being pregnant put a serious damper on my ability to track down and murder annoying people. 

It was a good thing Voldemort wasn't pregnant, cause he would have had serious trouble running around and villaining like he did.

Then again, Voldie was a man...

Life is so much easier for guys.

Speaking of guys, here was the one I was looking for.

Bray was walking toward my position on the stairs, where I was overlooking the many students who were dripping wet and hurrying into the Entrance Hall.

"Yo, Pregosaurus," Deuce greeted as well after I had let Bray kiss my cheek.

"Hi, Hef, how was the pool party in the grotto? Can you manage hiding more in there, or are you doing a bit of pre-spring cleaning?" I joked while walking down the staircase with the lads, and allowing Chase to carry my bag for me. 

"Yes, yes, very funny," Deuce mumbled and stuck his tongue out to me when nobody was looking. 

Great comeback, Deuce.

"Seriously though, how was the date with Claire?" I asked him as we made our way to our table in the Great Hall.

"He won't tell us," Chase answered for his brother. "He just makes a face every time we bring it up. Yes, like that," he said and pointed at Deuce's awkwardly scrunched up expression.

"What did you do?" I sighed.

"Nothing!" Deuce exclaimed as we all sat down for dinner. "Why do you automatically assume that it's my fault, huh?"

Chase, Bray and I exchanged glances, but refrained from saying anything.

"Oh, screw you guys," Deuce scoffed when he noticed our smirks.

"Where's Clover?" I asked Chase after spending a few seconds being thoroughly annoyed by the sounds of students chatting and laughing. "I thought she'd be with you lot."

"Well, she was, until she suddenly disappeared right after Deuce and Claire walked off on their own," Chase answered with a shrug.

I guess she'd managed to execute the "Spying On My Sister And The Manwhore's Date" plan without me.

Without any warnings a dripping wet blonde girl with mascara running down her face popped up and smacked Deuce hard upside the head.

"I can't believe you! " Clover called out, and I could see her petite chest rising and falling with each breath.

"Ouch!" Deuce said as he turned around. He was now rubbing the sore spot where Clover had just hit him. "What the hell was that for?!"

"You made my sister cry, you wanker!" she responded angrily. From the looks of it, she'd done a bit of crying herself, but I reckon it was only the rain that'd ruined her make-up.

"Ooh, this will be interesting," Chase whispered to me and grinned before adding loudly, "Hex his brains out, Clover! You go, girl!"

"Oh, shut up, Chase," Clover spat at him, but got sidetracked as she caught sight of an exposed part of Deuce's neck. Without thinking twice she pinched him hard.

"Hey!" Deuce yelled. "That hurt!"

"Not that I don't enjoy witnessing Deuce being tortured, but what exactly did he do?" I asked rationally, a little smile playing on my lips.

"Yes. Why don't you tell them, bastard?" She released the full power of her vicious glare at Deuce, and he cringed a bit under the intensity of it.

He sighed and ran his fingers through his wet, jet-black hair. "We had a stunningly bad date, during which my behaviour was.. less than chivalrous."

"You ate her ravioli then hit on another girl in the same restaurant!" Clover reminded him in a high pitch voice.

"Which I agree was less than chivalrous."

"I can't believe you," Clover growled. "Claire won't even come down from the dormitory until we leave. Luckily, we're going home a day early."

"You're leaving tomorrow already?" Chase inquired, frowning. "But you're gonna miss the Christmas party tomorrow night! Bray and Deuce have been off to the kitchens every night for the past week, sneaking Firewhiskey and Butterbeer."

"'Tis true. We risked our necks to get illegal beverages for you lot." This was the first thing Bray had said since the assault on his best friend had begun. 

"Thanks, but no thanks. I don't think my sister wants to stay in the same room as that idiot over there." She nodded her dripping head over to Deuce, and this made him glower at her.

"What makes you think I want her in the same room as me?" he retorted before tensing his jaw.
 
"Was it really that bad a date?" Chase asked, at which Deuce looked directly into his twin's eyes.

"It wasn't a date, brother, it was a hostage situation," Deuce told him seriously.

"You're such a poof," Clover spat at Deuce's back before turning her heels and strut away.

"And a Happy Christmas to you too, love!" Deuce called after her.

Oh, I couldn't wait until I would go up to the dormitory and have to endure an hour long monologue about how Deuce had called her 'love' for the first time. The situation with Deuce being mean to her sister was just about forgotten right now, I would reckon...

The thought of what awaited me in the common room made me eat my dinner very slowly. Maybe if I prolonged it then Clo wouldn't still feel the need to fill my head with her crush-crap.

"Del?"

I was just finishing my third slice of pie when Deuce poked my shoulder. He was standing beside me with a bag in his hand.

"What's that?"

"It's your Christmas present, well, it's more for the baby, really..."

After giving a skeptic glance to the paper bag he was holding out to me, I decided it was safe to touch. When I looked inside it I just had to let out a chuckle.

"A teddy bear? Aw, Deuce, that's so nice! Thank you." I stood up and reached out my arms to give Deuce a hug, which he was more than eager to receive.

Too eager, it seemed.

After holding on for longer than a hug should last, curling his arms around me even after I'd let my own fall limp to my side, he snuggled his head further down from my shoulder to the swell of my breasts. It took me a second of him rubbing his cheek against my boobs before I understood what he was doing.

"Oh, get off me, you creep!" I screamed and tried to shove him away, but he only hugged me closer. "Get your hands off me or I'll take you to your knees in front of this entire school!"

"Promise?"

With that I sunmoned enough strength to push him off me, "You're disgusting!"

"What? Why?" he asked indignantly.

"You just wanted to hug me because my breasts have gotten bigger!"

"Absolutely not, I was just trying to get close enough to feel a little kick," he argued and tried to put his hand on my belly.

But I wasn't having it.

"Sod off!" I yelled while kicking him as hard as I could in the shin. 

Hah! There he got his kick.

To my disappointment Deuce didn't fall to the floor in pain, but just ran away laughing, and I wished more than ever that I wasn't so heavily burdened. 

"Pervert!" I called and threw the teddy after him. And I am proud to say that it hit him in the head. I doubt it hurt much considering it's made of very soft material, but in my imagination it was of pure concrete.

But I was still angry! 

Throwing that stupid teddy and kicking the idiot hadn't blown off enough steam to calm me down. Still fuming, I decided to get out of the public eye before some poor third year set me off by barely looking in my direction.

"You won't catch up to him, you know," Bray noted just as I began stomping off, and I quickly stopped to glare at him. "I mean, you're..." he waved his hand at my pregnant body, "you know. And Deuce is an athlete. You won't catch up to him. It'll be like an ant trying to catch up to Superman - it's pointless."

Chase had during Bray's spiel been trying to give his friend subtle hints for him to quit talking. Now he'd buried his face in his hands, shaking his head slowly.

"Excuse me, but I grew a baby inside me today, what did you do?" I glared at my boyfriend. "I can grow people, what's your superpower?"

"Woah there, Pregasaurus, cool your jets," Bray chuckled.

I just stared at him. He wasn't really very smart, was he?

"Yes, I am a Pregasaurus. You mess any more with me and you'll be extinct," I warned before stomping off for real.

Without even realising it I had marched all the way back up to the library. There was very little chance of bumping into people in there on a Sunday so I scurried inside and back into the corner where I had spent most of today.

"Hey, Della!" Tristan's voice chirped. Oh, yes. I'd told him about this secret place of mine in one of Martinez's classes.

I wished it wasn't Madam Pince's day off, so that she'd shush him and chase him out for disturbing the peace.

"I got you something from Honeydukes. Thought you'd want it," he said as he sat down by my side and handed me a stuffed paper bag with the Honeydukes logo on it. 

I grabbed it angrily and squinted my eyes at him. "You're not getting a hug," I warned him.

"Well, I see those mood swings are levelled off nicely," Tristan observed.

"I'm pissed off," I told him while stuffing my muth full of chocolate coated orange slices.

"Figured as much."

"I am a walking disaster..." I said sourly and shoved a huge piece of liquorice in my mouth. The chocolate, orange and liquorice didn't mix well, and I grimaced.

"Well, look on the bright side -"

Is there one?

" - at least you're not ugly!"

"I wish life had an escape button," I mumbled, ignoring Tristan's attempt at making me smile.

"What can I do to cheer you up?" he asked, sensing his defeat.

"Nothing. I'll never smile again." Alright, so I may be a little melodramatic.

Tristan raised his brows, smirking.

"Dare me to do something."

"Why would you want me to do that? That's stupid..." I scoffed. "Plus you'd never have the conscience to break any rules anyway. You're a Hufflepuff, so it'd be a boring one."

He looked a bit put off by my insinuation that he was boring. "Come on. Indulge me on this one thing." 

"Fine... Sneak up to the Astronomy tower."

"Lame, but okay," he snorted.

"I wasn't finished," I told him. "In the middle of the night. And howl like a wolf."

Tristan seemed to need a few seconds to process all the rules he'd break if he did this, but then very suddenly broke into a wide grin.

"Deal."






"Alright, guys, eat up!" Deuce told Bray and Chase sternly while loading their plates with eggs and bacon. 

"I'm not hungry." Chase pushed his plate away with a disgusted look at the mountain of grease.

"You need the protein! Potter knows you need every source of strength you can get, you can barely hold the Quaffle as it is."

"You're an arse," Chase mumbled.

"I'm serious, Chase! We can't fumble our way through this."

"I don't fumble, I improvise."

"Oh, so that's what you call it?"

"Yes. I'm...adaptable."

"Ah, adaptable."

"You cocky bastard," Bray said with a snort of laughter.

"Hey, I haven't dropped the Quaffle even once during training!" Chase pointed out, downing his pumpkin juice.

"You're nervous," I whispered, leaning in very close so that nobody else would hear.

"No, I'm no-" I gave him my I-know-you're-lying look. "Is it that obvious?"

I didn't respond to that. I think he appreciated it. 

"Why are you getting worked up? Is this new Hufflepuff lad really that good?"

"According to Deuce -"

"Deuce is a biased piece of shit," I said. "He's just looking for another reason to train you into a stupor. The lad has issues."

"True, but it's not only him. Knight is supposed to be Merlin's gift to Quidd-"

"Knight?" I choked. "Did you say Knight?"

"Yeah?"

"D-Do you mean Tristan Knight?"

"What about Tristan Knight?" Bray asked, and I realised I should probably have lowered my voice.

"Oh, n-nothing, I just, I didn't, I-I..." I was rambling. 

"Ah, he didn't tell you, did he?" Bray asked in a patronizing tone. It made me want to shove a cactus up his nostril.

"Of course he did," I huffed, shooting my nose high up in the air.

"Morning, Deuce."

The seductive voice made us all turn around, and surely, the voice seemed to be eminating from a creature who seemed to exude sex. She was, to sum it up, the female form of Deuce.

Bet he doesn't remember her name, and instead will call her something vague.

"Hey, girly," Deuce responded and flashed her a smile. Hah, told you. "How are you?"

"I'm good," she purred. "How are you?"

"Great."

"Hi, Deuce!"

Oh, this should be entertaining.

Clover growled as another sex-on-legs approached our part of the table. Last night she had, as I feared, spent a whole forty-five minutes reliving the moment where Deuce accidentally called her 'love'. I bet it would've lasted longer, but Claire had finished showering just then, and Clo didn't want to talk about Deuce with her in the room. I wanted to kiss Claire for gracing us with her prescence when I learned this.

"Oh, hey, ehm, you," Deuce spluttered to the new arrival, casting glances from one to the other. "How are you?"

"I'm fine. You?"

"Oh, he's just great," Clover spat before rushing to her feet, and made a point of knocking Deuce over the head with her bag as she stormed off.

"What's got her knickers in a twist?" Deuce asked me, now completely ignoring the Sluttingtons.

"Men," I growled, "you're so clueless it's sad."

"You know, Del, I-" Deuce interrupted himself with a gasp and quickly jumped up from his seat.

As one would have guessed - because Deuce wasn't a very tough person to figure out - Jade Williams had just sat down at the table opposite ours, and Deuce was already making his way over there.

I noticed Jade sighing and rolling her eyes when she saw him.

Oh, and we'd all forgotten about Slut #1 and Slut #2 now, and I honestly don't even remember when they left.

"Well, what a crazy, random happen-stance!" Deuce exclaimed while closing the distance between himself and Jade by poking his finger into her shoulder in an annoying fashion.

"What is?" Jade responded lazily, not even looking up at him. Well, that didn't discourage Deuce, instead he lowered down to her eye-level and tried to dazzle her.

"You, me, here - together."

"It's breakfast time. There's nothing random about it."

"Come on, Williams," Deuce chuckled. "Denial isn't just a river in Spain."

"Africa," Jade corrected, looking at him as though he'd just told her he was an alien from outer space who enjoyed the occational clubbing. "The Nile is in Africa."

Dear God, his mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork. How was it even possible to be this downright stupid? 

"So, how are you?" 

He was scraping the bottom of the pick-up line barrel now.

"I'm good."

"I bet you are..."

"Pardon?"

"Oh gosh," Deuce suddenly gasped as he looked deeply into Jade's green eyes. "You look beautiful… You just took my breath away."

"I'm not going out with you."

"You're not only smart and pretty, but you're witty as well." 

Was he not getting how obviously she was blowing him off? His bigheadedness was blocking the way, I suppose. I had to ratonalize this somehow.

"You've got the whole package. You know what's the only thing missing from this perfect picture though?"

"Me punching you again?"

"No, me!" he explained and gave a little chuckle while grazing her arm with his index finger. "I mean, I'm pretty much perfect as it is, but, you know, going out with you wouldn't hurt. I even smell nice - take a whiff." 

Chase now leaned in closer to me.

"Is my brother actually shoving his armpit in that girl's face?" he asked me in disbelief.

"Yes."

"Is she going to slap him again?"

"I desperately hope so."

Jade didn't move. She just stared at Deuce with her mouth slightly open. When Deuce inched his armpit closer to her, she pulled away.

"Nice perfume, mate," she lied, "but must you marinate in it?"

"See that right there? That twinkle in your eye," Deuce said as he pointed at her. Jade made no indication of responding to this. "Don't lie. I know you feel the sexual tension between us."

"The only thing between us is air."

"Nice one," Chase commented as though this was a Quidditch match.

"You know," Deuce continued as if she'd never said anything, "lately I've been having these thoughts. Musings, if you will."

"You have thoughts worth saying out loud?"

"Yes, I have, as a matter of fact."

"I am intrigued."

While this was happening, the oddly entertaining couple had attracted an audience. Most of Jade's mates were casting them wide eyed glances, along with Chase, Bray and myself of course. I wished there was popcorn.

"My theory is that you are into me-"

"In no way, shape or form, do I have any intimate feelings towards you whatsoever," Jade interrupter dryly. "As a matter of fact, I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth."

"Ooh, you're kinky! That proves my next theory; that you want us to-"

"You could not be more wrong. You could try, but you would not be successful." And while saying this Jade got to her feet. Deuce mirrored the movement and blocked her way with a playful smile on his gorgeous face. 

This was the final straw for poor, patient Jade. Everyone but Deuce could see what she was about to do, and then she did it - slap!

The sound of hand meeting cheek seemed to echo about the Great Hall. Followed by a whole school breaking out in laughter.

Yes, I admit I was one of them.

"That was uneccessary, Jade!" Deuce called after her as she pushed past him and marched away. "Come on, don't be mad, love! Can't we just take a shower and talk about this?"

After a moment spent laughing at Deuce's hilarious facial expressions, I watched him sulk back over to our table.

"I don't get it..." he mumbled, looking seriously puzzled. "I was only moderately successful right there."

"Well, that’s an understatement of large proportions," Chase said while choking a laugh.

"While you're at it why don't you give me a papercut and pour lemon juice on it?" Deuce said sourly and let out a grunt as he put his head on the table. "You know... Usually everything goes smoothly! No refusals, no challenge, no slap - well, unless I want it, that is."

"I may look calm, but in my head I've killed you three times for saying that," I told Deuce slowly.

"Don't interrupt me, woman, I was in the middle of a monologue," Deuce reprimanded while lifting his head back up, agitated at my comment. "I mean, I can usually just take my shirt off and they come to me, it's like a fly comes to shit. I'm telling you, flies to shit. I don't even need words." 

He sighed, but I had the feeling he wasn't done. 

"I've got it!"

"Oh, this will be fun," Bray muttered into my ear, and I tried very hard not to laugh.

"I'll do it - take my shirt off!"

We were all staring at him now.

"So, let me see if I'm getting this right..." Chase said exhasperated, pinching the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. "It's not enough that you forced her to inhale your body odours, you are actually going to waltz up to the poor girl and strip?"

"Now who's the stupid brother? Of course not!" Deuce scoffed. "I'll do it after we win the game today. You know, a celebratory strip. She won't know what hit her. Well, she and the rest of the school."

"Dude," Bray started, breaking the silence that had followed this statement. "Your perception of reality is fucked up. Literally."

"See that's just pointing out a problem without offering a solution," Chase cut in, earning him a glare from his twin.

"I can't wait until I beat the Hufflepuffs later.."

"We're changing the subject? That was abrupt, but all right," Chase noted, taking a piece of toast and buttering it.

"I need to get my head in the game to forget all about this little setback. Focus. Everything feels better when I'm on Cindy, wind whipping-"

"What?" I spluttered, preparing for my departure to Professor Martinez's last class of the year.

"It's his broom," Bray explained, and then turned to Deuce with a stern look. "And it can't have a name."

"Cindy can."

"It's a girl?" I asked.

"You think I wanna ride a guy?" Deuce answered and rolled his eyes at my ignorance.

"The man's messed up in the head, but he's got a point there," Chase said with a sigh and helped me get to my feet.

I tried to shut my mind off, but everything that'd happened during breakfast churned in my head.

It wasn't until I caught sight of a familiar pair of blue eyes, and the head attached to them, that I returned to the human world.

"You're the new keeper," I stated as I sat down beside Tristan.

"Sort of."

"You didn't tell me."

"Not really."

"Why?"

Tristan shrugged. "Didn't seem important."

A couple of minutes went by after this was said, and the classroom was filling up. I was expecting to hear Martinez's heels any second now, but I was instead caught by surprise to see Filch come wobbling in.

"Professor Gloria Martinez isn't coming," he announced with his scratchy voice. "I'm here to tell you that you're spending this class making Christmas cards."

"Why can't we just leave?" I heard Deuce ask.

"Because that's not what you're told to do," Filch answered angrily. He grabbed a large box that I only now realised had been standing on Martinez's desk the entire time, and opened it up. "Here's your coloured paper, along with glitter, glue and crayons. Get to it."

A few loaded seconds of silence was all that happened, nobody moved.

"We're supposed to do it without magic?" A girl behind me asked, and I turned around only to realise that it had been Katja. I waved at her, but she didn't see me. Bray caught my eye and he looked at me as though I'd lost my mind.

What was that? he mouthed. I just gave a shrug before turning to the front of the classroom.

Filch grimaced as he sat down on a chair facing us. It didn't seem like Katja was going to get an answer to her question.

"You may begin," he growled. 

Without any sign of enthusiasm we took turns to walk up to the desk and get our crafts.

"Are you mad at me for not telling you?" Tristan asked after I returned to my seat with my hands full of paper, glue, glitter and a variety of coloured pens.

"Not really," I said truthfully. "I just felt like I didn't really know you at all."

Tristan raised his eyebrows at me.

"You probably know me better than anyone. You've spent half a year listening to all the crap I had to say during these classes."

"True," I admitted.

"So," Tristan started gluing small stars to a sheet of paper, "about that dare..."

"Oh, yes!" I exclaimed. I'd forgotten all about that! "Did you do it? Did you sneak up to the Astronomy Tower last night? Did you howl?"

"Yeah. But that's not all I did." He looked at me from the corner of his eye, and then sighed. "I thought that since I was all alone, and because it was dark, that I would step it up a notch. You know, to prove to you that I can break the rules if I want to. So..." He paused for a second, and the wait almost killed me. "I took my clothes off."

I barked out a laugh.

"I didn't tell you to strip-"

"I was in the moment!"

"...You really took your kit off?"

"Mhm," he growled. "And when I was just about to remove my knickers..."

"What happened?"

"A Prefect saw me and thought I was about to kill myself by jumping off, so she'd called for Professor Flitwick to come and talk me down."

"Wow," I said while laughing. "This dare really got out of hand."

"You think?!" Tristan exclaimed, and the sudden movement of his hand made too much glitter fall on top of his card, along with his hands. "Glitter is the herpes of arts and crafts. It'll never completely go away," he mumbled angrily to himself before turning to me again. "You know, I'm being forced to see a counsellor two times a week starting after Christmas, and I'm not allowed to eat with a real knife."

The rest of the hour and a half was spent laughing and joking around with Tristan. And I had to give him credit - the lad had actually managed to cheer me up.

Another thing that cheered me up was that Clover and Claire had to push back their departure another day since Mr and Mrs Clearmont couldn't make it back from the Himalayas in time. They'd be back tomorrow, but when Clover found out her sister had to stay another night in the prescence of Deuce she had a tiny fit.

Claire couldn't have cared less, though. She was already flirting with a sixth year and didn't give Deuce the time of day.

And, yeah, Slytherin won the match.

Yay.

I am so very excited.

That is the exact reason why I am putting so much time and effort into preparing for the celebratory party/Christmas party.

I'm being sarcastic, by the way.

I was lazily brushing my hair and staring at my reflection in the mirror. Clover had helped me alter a dress so that it would practically hide my baby bump, but I didn't feel like wearing it. The tee and jeans seemed way more comfortable. I still hadn't told Clo this.

But I find that if I blame things on the hormones people easier accept these delightful quirks of mine.

Ayla the Moody had made herself scarce tonight, knowing that a party meant having to endure people who were having fun. Maria and Claire were both already downstairs where the music was now blaring, and I hadn't seen Kat since dinner.

I would have hid somewhere as well, but since my boyfriend and friends were the ones throwing the party, it was implied that I would attend. In short, I as doomed to a night of having to stand idly by and watching people drink themselves into a dumber state than usual.

In the middle of these musings Clover finally stepped out of the lavatory with a musical "Ta-da!"

I barely turned my head to see what she was up to now, but I quickly spun all the way around when I fully saw how she was dressed.

My best friend was sporting a very short, frightfully low cleavaged and bright red dress that looked skin tight. Actually, I had to look closer to reassure myself that it wasn't in fact spray painted onto her nude body.

"Ehm..." was my only response to this.

"You like it?" Clover spun around and I swear on my uncle's famous name that I saw part of her buttcheek peek out from under the dress.

"It's new?" I asked meekly.

"Yeah, I bought it at Hogsmeade a while ago. Thought it would attract some attention."

"From whom?"

Clover squinted her eyes at me before stepping into a pair of black leather pumps.

"You can't buy self esteem," I told her, knowing that that was her real problem.

"Yes, I can, and it was on sale," Clover retorted and clicked over to the mirror to check her makeup. "How do I look?"

"Like a whore."

"Fantastic."

"How is that fantastic?"

"I'm planning on smushing tonight," she said while applying more lipstick. Honestly, as if she needed more.

"Why?"

"So I'll have a great memory to look back on when I'm old and my tits are in my shoes."

The mention of her breasts made me look closer at her cleavage.

"Is that a push-up bra?"

"It is," she admitted with a grin, and then looked down on them with pride. "Aren't they great?"

I grimaced, and Clover rolled her eyes at me.

"Not everyone is pregnant and magically grow gravity-defying boobs overnight. The rest of us have to invest in a little help," she told me and cast a jealous glance at my t-shirt covered breasts.

I didn't have any response to that.

"You're not wearing the dress I altered?"

I shook my head. 

Clover let out an annoyed sigh. "Well, come on, let's go down to the others," she said as she dragged me after her.

The common room was full of people. It seemed ours was the most popular Christmas party in the castle tonight. You see, the last night before we left for Christmas holiday was the unofficial night of partying. Every house hosted one, and everyone from fifth years and up were allowed to join any one of them.

All the four houses even changed their passwords especially for this night.

This year it was partycat.
 
Yes, I am serious.

Partycat. Not hat. Cat.

I caught myself scanning for a particular boy in the vast crowd, thinking that he was one of the few who could actually make this situation an enjoyable one. I mean, he'd already cheered me up once today, so I knew he was more than capable.

But he wasn't here... I guess he was obligated to stay away from Slytherin today, seeing as he'd let in their winning goal.

Apropos -

"So there I was, Quaffle under my arm, and the only thing running through my mind was 'How the hell am I going to get past this son of a - Oh, hey, Del."

I waved a hello before sitting down with the rest of my crowd. I noticed though that Claire wasn't there.

"Clover!" Deuce gasped, taking in her lack of clothing. "What's that?"

"My dress?" she responded with one mocking eyebrow raised.

"But this doesn't make any sense," he protested, and he had the same look on his face as when he solved a particularly hard Arithmacy equation. "You're hot!"

"Do you always begin conversations this way?" She slapped her hand on her face as to convey how stupid that question was. "Oh, I forgot. Of course it is."

"Well, I do when I'm surprised," Deuce told her, and he couldn't seem to drag his eyes away from my friend's cleavage.

"What did you expect? Scales instead of skin? Boils? Warts?"

"Well, at least that'd go with your uptight, rigid personality."

"Anyways, so I was thinking hard about how to best get past Knight." Chase obviously foresaw what was about to happen, and steered the situation away from dangerous waters. I was glad. The discussion that would have ensued would not have been a pleasant one. Those two had so much tension between them that they could blow up the castle if unleashed. 

"Then it came to me. I needed to play with him a bit, you know, make him think I was going for the right when I was in fact planning to go left. As a result of this, I scored again-"

"Something we never hear coming from the poor lad," Deuce shot in, after which he gulped down the rest of his Firewhiskey.

"Funny," Chase said dryly, and showed that he didn't care at all that people were laughing at his expence by smiling.

"I thought so," Deuce admitted and magically refilled both his own and his brother's empty glasses.

"Cheers, mate," Chase said and raised his glass.

"Great goal, brother." Deuce clinked their glasses together and then gave his twin a one armed hug. "We're gonna booze it until we loose it tonight!"

"What's up with Clo's costume?" Bray whispered to me, and I smelled the liquor on his breath. When my eyes met his, I also noticed that they seemed a million miles away, and his pupils were too dilated to pass for normal.

My stomach churned, but I forced a smile on my lips.

"Trying to snag some poor bloke," I whispered back.

"Well, by the looks of it, she'll demand money for those services," he joked.

"Yeah, she really didn't think this through," I agreed.

Bray chuckled into my ear, and then kissed my neck in a sloppy sort of way.

Deuce's outcry was a most welcome interruption. I honestly didn't want to fool around with Bray when he was this far off.

When Deuce limped over to our seats on the couch, one arm around Chase for support, he crashed down beside me. I then noticed that Deuce had the same look in his eyes as Bray.

"Oh, ow!"

"What happened?" I asked in a tired voice. This wouldn't be the first time Deuce hurt himself while under the influence.

"I just tore up an old injury," he explained and let out a hiss of pain.

"What, Quiddich?"

"No, threesome."

High-fives and whooping followed this, but I just rolled my eyes. And even though Deuce was still in pain, I couldn't find it in me to feel sorry for him. As a matter of fact, I focused all my brainpower to make it worse.

"I guess that means you won't hook up with anyone tonight?" I asked, knowing the answer.

"What? Now you're just talking crazy, woman," Deuce scoffed and shifted his position on the couch so he could look out over the mass of people.

"Really, Deuce?" I groaned. "You just think you can scan a crowd and pick whomever you want?"

Deuce looked at me as though I'd just kicked a kitten. His kitten.

"Everybody loves me, Adella," he explained in a stern voice. "It doesn't matter who or what, really. Babies, cats, hot girls, cougars. I just have unbelievable mass appeal. Actually, I should put that on a t-shirt as a warning to others."

Chase and I exchanged shrugs, and seeing the brown eyed lad smile at me now reassured my belief in the human race. At least there were still some people out there worth the oxygen they were breathing. Others I would accuse of stealing it considering how unworthy they were.

Victoria Darren was a great example of one of these 'others'.

"In some ways I'm much like a dog," Deuce continued after thirty-something seconds of thinking about nothing but himself. "They can smell fear, and you know what I smell? Possible sexual encounters."

"Like a dog, eh?" Chase cut in. "So if I throw a stick, will you leave?"

But his insult was aimed at deaf ears, because just then a brunette with fake-sized breasts and an even shorter skirt than Clover decided to walk by. This was enough to send Deuce's glazed eyes into a staring contest between himself and said skirt.

"You see that girl?" Deuce muttered to us, and Bray had even snapped out of his hypnotic state to join the real world. "I'll zap her with my sex-ray."

"Your-" I began.

"My sex-ray, yes, Malfoy. Pay attention!"

"Malfoy-Gra-"

"Yes, you have two last names, how good for you. Now shush!" Deuce squinted his eyes while keeping them on the brunette. She was now getting herself another Butterbeer, and took her sweet time filling the glass.

I bet she was so stupid that it impaired her pouring abilities. It seemed Clover was more annoyed by this than I was, and decided to go off on her hunt for a warm body to make a fool of herself with.

Well, that'd be like finding a needle in a needle shop.

"Oh!" Deuce gasped, and the other lads repeated the noise. I understood why when I saw that the brunette had dropped her hairpin to the floor and was bending over to pick it up. Yeah...remember when I said that her skirt was shorter than Clover's? Well, we know for sure now that it was, in fact, a whole lot shorter.

"Yes, we've definitely got ourselves a target, gentlemen," Deuce announced. "Locate, charge, and... FIRE!"

He was off. Smoothly creeping closer to the girl, and when he was a little more than a couple of steps away, he caught her eye - and the rest is history.

I guess being the Captain of a winning Quidditch team entitles you to an endless amount of bimbos fawning over you. I mean, this girl didn't even exchange a word with Deuce before they were glued to each other and making their way up to his dormitory.

I barely saw Deuce after that. Well, unless you count the time he yelled to the crowd from the top of the staircase, "Get ready to party! Get out there. Get filthy, creepy and weird!"

They actually applauded this pathetic speech. Dear goodness, people really had to be shitfaced to even understand whatever that'd meant - because I'd surely not understood.

I didn't see Clover either, and I didn't know whether to be worried or relieved that I didn't need to listen to her raving about the all too popular Quidditch Captain.

"Someone told me you look like an owl."

And Brayder, of course. He wasn't any better. I'd kept my eye on him, because he had the irksome tendency to act single when drunk.

"Excuse me?" I said, and almost covered my mouth when he came so close that I could almost see the green cloud reeling from his mouth.

"Someone told me you look like an owl," Bray repeated, and giggled like a schoolgirl.

"Okay."

"No!" he exclaimed grumpily, and lost his balance for a second. "You're not supposed to say that!"

"All right, so, ehm, what am I supposed to say?" I asked, and I could easily hear how my voice had taken on the tone I'd used on Heath when he was younger and hadn't gotten his way.

"Who!"

"Who?"

"Yes. Now I'm going to give you another chance, but pay attention, okay?" I nodded, rubbing my eyes and swallowing a yawn before it escaped my lips. "Someone told me you look like an owl."

"Who?"

I am embarrassed to say that this caused my boyfriend to go into a fit of giggles. Then it very suddenly went from one extreme to the other, and Bray turned deadly serious, but he still swayed drunkenly.

"Brayder, are you okay?" I asked him and reached out to hold his hand, but he yanked it away from me.

"Abso-fucking-lutely," he slurred, and when I again moved toward him he jumped away. I hate to admit it, but I had the sudden urge to cry. It was a stupid momentarily strike of emotion, and I swallowed hard to rid myself of it.

"You're drunk, aren't you?"

"No. I'm sloshed," he argued, downing the contents of his glass in one gulp. "And I highly recomment it."

I pointed to the bump on my stomach containing our spawn. "I'm pregnant. I can't."

"Yeah." He dragged the word while fastening his eyes on the bulge, grimacing a bit. "I know." His grimace grew deeper and deeper until I was on the verge of asking him if he was having a seizure. "Would you excuse me? I have to go throw up a little bit."

With that he left me behind and stumbled his way to the lavatory.





Why was I doing this?

My bare feet found the usual path past the common room and toward the lads' dormitory. The cold stone floor gave me chills, and I wished I'd had time to put on slippers.

Up until just now I'd been listening to Clover's excited squeals as she repeatedly gave me the play-by-play of the evening. Apparently Deuce had snagged her away from a sixth year Ravenclaw, and simply started snogging her.

I had merely escaped from her evil clutches a few moments ago when Clo had gone to the lavatory. I grabbed that opportunity and fled the room, leaving the snoring Claire, Kat, Maria and Ayla to handle Clover.

It wasn't planned at all where I was going, but my feet had forced me to walk this way and I wasn't in any position to argue with them at the moment.

The door creaked when I slowly opened it. A wave of sounds crashed over me as I stepped inside. Snoring, squealing beds and the occational fart filled the air and I lifted my hand up to cover my mouth and nose.

One quick scan of the room confirmed my fears. Bray wasn't here. 

I now understood that it was my own lonliness that'd brought me here, and I stifled a little sob when I realised that I'd have to walk all the way up to my own dormitory without even a few consoling words.

Someone was talking in his sleep, so I pushed away my depressing thoughts and indulged my curiosity. I walked over to the only bed that'd drawn the curtains. 

Just a peek, I told myself.

But when I opened a sliver of the drapes and peered inside, the wind was  knocked out of me.

Chase was lying there. So innocent, so sweet. His arms open as if welcoming me into them.

The need for human touch got the best of me.

"Chase?" I whispered, almost inaudible, and shook him lightly. "Chase, wake up."

"Whoever it is, go away," Chase said gruffly.

"It's Adella," I whispered, hoping that it somehow made a difference.

"Del? What are you doing in here?" he asked and tried to open his eyes to get a good look at me.

"Where's Brayder?" My voice almost couldn't be heard, and Chase didn't seem particularly intent on listening.

"In his bed, I reckon," he said while yawning.

"No, he's not."

"Then how would I know?!" he growled and changed his position on the bed in an aggressive manner. 

While letting out a sigh, I tried to push away the thoughts in my head that were forcing themselves to the front. I didn't want them in the front. I wanted them in the back, the far back.

I sat down with images of Bray in the woods, inhaling toxic drugs, stumbling through the dark with some vicious creature hunting him like a-

"Why are you looking for him?" Chase asked in a more tender tone. "Is there anything I can do?"

"No."

"Anything wrong?"

"No."

"The baby's okay?"

I smiled at his concern.

"Mhm."

"Then what is it?"

"I was just... lonely," I admitted, fiddling nervously with my fingers. Why was I nervous? "I wanted to, you know... Be held, only for a little while."

It should probably strike me as odd, and I should probably have refused him when he stretched out his hand and took mine - but I didn't.

Instead I let him guide me into his bed, curling up next to him, a comfortable sigh escaping me when he wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me closer. A protective, warm hand positioned itself on top of my round belly, before a thick blanket was tucked over the both of us. The whole experience caused me to snuggle further up against Chase's warm, naked chest, not being able to keep myself from smiling.

I may have dreamed this, but I am fairly certain that just before I slipped into the world of dreams, Chase gave my neck a very light, very careful, almost unnoticeable, kiss.

The worst part?

I wanted him to do it again.






--------
A/N:

I know, I know - long chapter. But I really hope I didn't bore you! 

So, what did you think of this Chase/Adella moment at the end here? Love it? Hate it? 

Any particular parts you enjoyed? I'd be very happy if you told me!

Thank you so much for reading!

*Maria


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