Chapter 6: The Ugly Truth
It turned out that Freddie and I would not just be sharing our date with Sarah and Danny, but James and Amy (much to Sarah's fury) Becky and Rich, Albus, Hugo, Scorpius and Dom(who were all going as singletons) and Lily and Lorcan Scamander, who had starting dating a few weeks ago.
Sarah and I met our respective dates at the bottom of the stairs and while I told Freddie there had been a slight change of plans (and he laughed heartily) the gang arrived.
"Hello Hugo! Haven't seen you for a while, mate!" Freddie said, rushing over to my bemused brother. The two shook hands and Hugo came over to me while Freddie started an excited chat with Albus about the Ravenclaw – Hufflepuff match next week.
"Hi Rosie. Why didn't you tell me you were seeing him again?" He asked, jerking his thumb over to Freddie.
"I thought Lily'd told you." I said truthfully. He pushed his hair out of his eyes and I watched lazily. His hair was deep reddish brown, like mine, and wavy. He kept it mid-length and thick. He was good looking and pretty popular in his year, but the fact that he never made it onto the Quidditch team was always a source of irritation to him. He inherited mum's quidditch talent, which is to say that he is about as good at flying as a cheese sandwich.
"Right. I heard something had happened with you and Scorpius at Jay's party?" He asked, confusion in his tone.
"No, that was a one time kind of thing." I sighed, pulling my shirt further over my hips.
"Oh." He wrinkled his nose. "I don't want to know. Well where are we going? I wish Sarah had told me sooner we were going out today. I might've got a date." He said, flicking his hair out of his eyes once again. I looked at him incredulously. My kid brother? Interacting with those of the female species?
Get out of town!
"You?" I asked, trying not to sound unflattering. Me and Hugo had always been very close, although we'd fought like kneazles when we were younger obviously.
"Yeah, Ro. Me." Hugo said. Apparently I'm not good at not offending people.
"I didn't mean anything by it I just meant I didn't know you were interested in girls at your age!" I said, holding my hands up.
"Oh" He cleared his throat and grunted in what he probably hoped was a mature and masculine way.
"Well… I am." He said, looking behind me, eyes wide and keen. I looked behind and saw Sarah chatting away cheerfully to James, while Amy watched from a short distance, looking furious and Danny stood beside Sarah, eyes narrowed slightly at James, who was grinning madly.
"Well you can't be interested in that one. She's off the market" I said, with a wry smile.
"Why not?" He asked as I steered him away from Sarah (who was oblivious to yet another of my relatives eying her up) and towards where Lily and Lorcan stood, slightly awkwardly, holding hands (although stood apart) and deliberately not looking at each other, cheeks pink.
"Because a.) She has a boyfriend and b.) James is still madly in love with her." I sighed, "Hi guys!" I added, sounding brighter than I felt.
"Hello Ro!" Lily exclaimed in relief.
"Hey Rose. Hey Hugo." Lorcan said in his deep but dreamy voice.
Hugo watched me as I returned back to my friends, looking disgruntled but I would be seeing him all day; there was time to make up for my less-than-sisterly-and-in-fact-blunt behaviour. I crossed the entrance hall to find that everyone had divided into smaller groups. Becky was stood with Rich, trying to sort out his shirt, both of them frowning, while Sarah and Danny kissed a few metres away, more out of the way while James deliberately looked everywhere but at them and Amy stood, hand on hip and clicking her tongue in annoyance. Albus was chatting to Freddie still, and Scorpius was stood slightly away from them, on his own, since Dom had joined Lily, Lorcan and Hugo.
"You OK?" Scorpius said as I walked towards him. I nodded.
"Yeah, I just didn't know this many people were going to be coming today that's all. I thought it would be just a double date, but apparently we got the whole family." I sighed. I wasn't really annoyed; the more people came, the less noticed I was when I would slink off to do 'the test.'
And there was also the fact that I wouldn't swap my huge (mad) family for the world.
"Are we ready to go yet? Or are more of you lot going to pop up out of the woodwork?" Amy snapped at me. Scorpius, Albus and Lily opened their mouths angrily, but Sarah beat her to it, looking up from Danny.
"Changed target have you? Keep your bollocks on, we're going now." She said coolly, taking Danny's hand and leading us all out of the double doors. Lily laughed loudly at Amy (who was grinding her teeth at Sarah) as she walked past and I saw James grudgingly take his girlfriend's hand and lead her down into the ground, and towards Hogsmeade.
Freddie and I walked in comfortable silence down to the Three Broomsticks, holding hands and smiling at each other every so often. Sarah and Danny were walking with their arms around each other up ahead and I could hear Amy grumbling to James somewhere behind us. Lily and Dom were giggling and Becky was walking in silence beside Rich.
Danny held the door open for Sarah and passed the handle to me with a smile as we traipsed in.
"James Potter! How're your parents? And little Rosie Weasley too! I haven't seen you two for a while, guys!" A female voice exclaimed as soon as everyone had taken our usual table at the back of the room and James and I had gone to get drinks.
"Hello?" I asked. The bar was crowded and neither James nor I could see who had spoken.
"It's me, m'lovelies. Aunt Hannah!" The woman cried and we turned to see the landlady, our 'Uncle' Neville's wife, smiling back at us from behind the bar, having abandoned her washcloth. We hugged her over the bar in turn, smiling in surprise. She doesn't always work out in the front of the bar, because she has a young daughter, Alice, but must work some days, when it's a busy day.
"How've you been?" She asked us.
"Fine!" James and I said in unison, through slightly forced grins; both knowing that neither of us was 'fine.'
"You?" I asked.
"Oh I'm rushed off my feet Rosie. What can I get you?" She asked hurriedly, eyeing a hag at the other end of the bar who was looking very impatient. Apparently, shady characters like hags never used to come in here, opting instead for the Hogs Head, but since my parents bought it, they decided here was the lesser of two evils. Much to Hannah's dislike.
"Oh, err…" James performed a quick headcount. "Fourteen Butterbeers please." He added. Hannah turned and accio-d some from behind the bar and passed them to me. James levitated a few over and I took some in my hands.
"Have a nice day, guys. Say hello to everyone from me… even your dad Rosie, although nowadays he takes most of my business!" She said mock-seriously. The effect was ruined by a cheeky wink and grin. I couldn't help but smiling back and took the drinks to the huge table at the back, which was out of the way of the rest of the bar.
"Here you go." I said, plonking the drinks down. James had taken his seat between Amy and an awkward-looking Sarah. Danny had his arm around her waist (honestly, does he ever let her go?) and Freddie was sat in the corner, beside Scorpius, who looked uncomfortable, and had saved me a space next to him.
"Cheers gorgeous." Freddie said as I tucked my hair behind my ear and sat down. The bar was loud, and everyone was chatting amongst themselves so Freddie looked at me with a twinkle in his eye. His arm crept around me and I sank into his body, eyes fluttering closed as he stroked my hair softly. I didn't care that I was in a crowded bar, or that Scorpius was on the other side of me, or even that I might have a…'little problem.' I was content at that exact moment, not knowing, and not wanting to know.
At around lunchtime we ordered our food and ate in happy conversation and for once, there were no digs from Amy (and no witty response from Sarah) and no awkwardness between any of the group.
"OK gang, Rose and I have to pop over to the apothecary for… spot cream for Becky while she gets us all some sweets from Honeydukes. See you in a bit!" Sarah said brightly when the conversation had died down slightly and we'd finished our food. Danny opened his mouth.
"I'll come with you if you want, babe?" He asked. James mimed puking, unseen by everyone but me and Lily, who nearly spat out the mouthful of Butterbeer she was drinking trying to stifle a laugh.
"Why? We're only buying spot cream after all." Sarah said quickly.
"Ah OK." Danny sighed, not looking particularly happy about being left with the family of doom.
"I'll come." James piped up, looking brightly up and Sarah, who had stood up.
"Why?" I asked.
"I need some shaving cream." He replied, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
"I'll get you some." Sarah said desperately.
"No I want to browse." James said, making to get up.
"I know your brand, come on Rose." Sarah said, false cheerily but looking panicked.
"I want a different one. See you freaks later." James said stubbornly, addressing the table and following us out of the bar. As soon as we stepped into the cold air, James put his arms around our shoulders.
"Right chicklets, what are you trying to put over on us?"
"Don't lie to me, Sare. You're beautiful, but I can usually tell when you're lying to me."
"What has that got to do with her being beautiful?" I asked, frowning and smiling at the same time at his flawed logic.
"Nothing whatsoever, I just like to compliment her." He said, rubbing Sarah's shoulders and winking at us both in turn. Sarah laughed.
"You look like you're having a fit." She snorted, as we crossed the road to the apothecary and he continued to wink madly at us.
"You love it."
"Shut up, James." She laughed and he began poking her in the ribs as the tinkling bell and rush of warm air told us we had just entered the apothecary.
Sarah was trying to escape James and giggle silently at the same time so stuffed her knuckles into her mouth, ducking behind one of the shelves of 'Women's Pain Potion' to avoid the steely gaze of the witch on the till. James made sure she was crying with laughter before he straightened up and began following me around the shop, Sarah hot on our heels (once she'd gotten up from the floor that is.)
"Here are the tampons!" Sarah said loudly enough for James to turn a weird shade of pink and mumble something about shaving cream before turning tail and beetling to the other end of the large apothecary.
"OK, grab a test, buy it and find a toilet! I can buy you some more time, but only if I do a bit of flirting!" She said desperately. I grabbed the nearest pregnancy test and I was paying for it when I heard Sarah talking to James.
"You really don't need a different shaving cream. I really
like the smell of the other one. And it shaves so close
!" She was saying as she touched his chin lightly to prove her point.
"Really?" James asked, his voice considerably deeper at her compliment. What is it with men that around Sarah they go all…manly and weird?
Oh yeah, beauty from heaven itself. Damn her.
"Well maybe I will buy the usual then…" I heard James grunt as the witch on the till directed me to a toilet.
The woman didn't look like the kind who would usually let randomers use the employee's toilet, but she must have seen the fear in my eyes.
Or maybe it was the pregnancy test she'd scanned that gave her the hint. Hmm.
It was along a short, narrow corridor and said 'EMPLOYEES ONLY' is large gold letters. I took a deep breath, my hand on the door and closed my eyes. I didn't do anything to steady my nerves, and I could still hear Sarah's very obvious flirting and James' masculine growls of pleasant surprise. My last wish before I opened the door was that he did not read too much into her words. The last thing any of us needed was him thinking she still loved him back. The door swung shut behind me with a quiet swish and I sat down in a handy chair beside the row of sinks. I realised I didn't know how to take this test and began reading the instructions:
DIRECTIONS: Swallow small purple potion (enclosed) followed by red and yellow potions IN ORDER. Wait for results.
I looked inside the box and found the purple potion. It was tiny and had '14ml' printed on its cap. I swallowed it, tasting overwhelming fake strawberry essence barely masking the taste of copper. I then gulped down the other two potions and waited. I re-read the instructions and realised I had no idea how the result would present itself. Just as I was beginning to panic, my stomach glowed blue through my shirt. I could sense something crawling up my throat and coughed instinctively. I opened the hand I had used to cover my mouth and found a small scroll of parchment, completely bone dry, there. I locked myself in the nearest cubicle and unrolled it carefully with shaking hands and began to read the miniscule letters that would be my downfall.
"4 wks Pregnant
Mother: Rose Weasley, 17 years old.
Father: Scorpius Malfoy, 17 years old."
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