Chapter 7: That Bloody Party
The next thing I knew, I heard someone tapping on the cubicle door gently over my sobs.
"Rose, love, you've been in there half an hour. I think it's time to come out." Sarah's voice said softly from the other side of the door. I was pacing the tiny cubicle pointlessly when I heard her voice, as if coming from a thousand miles away.
Someone rapped sharply on the door.
"Come out at once young lady!" a vaguely familiar female voice demanded shrilly. I recognised it as the voice of the woman behind the till.
"I think I had it covered, thanks." Sarah said politely but frostily. There was a clicking of heels on the faux-marble and a titter from the woman as she left the small bathroom.
"She's gone Ro. But she's giving us ten minutes to get out before she goes and gets your dad from the pub." Sarah sighed wearily from the other side of the door.
I hiccoughed myself into seriousness then and sat quickly on the closed toilet seat, to steady myself. The door swung open again. Had I blacked out, losing ten minutes?
"Is she all right?" James asked. No, I told myself numbly, I had not lost ten minutes; my cousin had come in to see me.
"She'll be fine." Sarah sighed.
Her voice was coming from a considerably lower level: she had slid down the other side of the cubicle door. For some reason, knowing this made me even more scared and my head sank into my hands, tears once again seeping from beneath my lashes.
"What's wrong with her? When will she be better?" James asked anxiously; an emotion I rarely heard in the voice of my happy-go-lucky cousin.
I felt rather than heard Sarah stand up again, taking a deep breath. I unlocked the cubicle door suddenly, standing up too. This wasn't her burden to bear, and certainly was not her duty to report the shocking news to James, who was generally carefree but often hot-headed when it came to the people he loved. He'd take it out on her, and she neither deserved it nor needed it right now.
I didn't know why I was all of a sudden being so matter of fact and calm, but any emotion was a good one as long as I wasn't crying.
"Ro!" James said with relief in his voice when he saw that I was obviously upset rather than at deaths door.
"So what's going on?" He asked again as I crossed the small room to the sinks and began redoing my makeup quite calmly.
I turned to him, my mouth open, trying to find the words to tell him exactly what was 'going on'.
"I'll tell him if you like?" Sarah said after a few seconds of my impression of a goldfish.
I began feebly to protest, internally feeling incredibly relieved and she held a hand up. She knew me far too well for her own good.
"Jay, sit down." She said gently, pointing to a wooden chair next to the row of sinks.
James looked between us, eyes narrowed.
"I'm fine where I am, thanks. Spill." He said stiffly, folding his arms suspiciously.
"I wasn't asking you. I was telling you." Sarah replied wearily. James took a seat slowly, knowing she wouldn't order him around unless the news was serious.
"Rose is pregnant." She said bluntly, without preamble. James stared between us.
"WHAT?" He yelled, jumping to his feet.
Hot-headed, didn't I tell you? He took a step towards me.
"Rose how could you be so fucking stupid
?" He asked, looking furious. I could feel tears welling up again at his angry words. He was my cousin and one of my best friends in the world – if he wasn't on my side, who was?
"Jay, calm d-" Sarah began, holding her hands up in a 'stop' motion. James turned on her like a starved wolverine.
"Don't you tell me to calm down! You can back off!" He snapped at her. She didn't react, which was a first. She understood James bloody well too, it seemed. As if I didn't know that already.
"So... How could you have lost your mind long enough to go and get yourself up the duff then Ro? You're a smart girl." He asked, and although he had snapped at Sarah for saying so, he had pulled his anger in slightly; there had been a hint of plea in his voice.
"It takes two to tango!" I retorted, not just angry because he was angry with me, but angry that he had taken it out on Sarah. She might not have reacted to it, but I definitely had.
"Well who's your dance partner then?" James snapped back without missing a beat, taking my breath away. It would have been naïve of me to think he wouldn't ask who had gotten me 'up the duff', as James charmingly put it.
"The father is-" I began after a deep breath. Something made me stop in my tracks though. Saying 'the father' made this tiny clump of cells sound like a living, breathing person. Made it sound like it was already a child, a toddler or even a teenager. Like me; a child. I caught my breath slowly, Sarah's hand on my back, before the door swung open and the woman from the till stood there stiffly.
"Oh good, you're out. Are you ready to leave?" She said with relief in her otherwise pretty face.
"Yes." Sarah said quickly, since James appeared all for having a lock in.
We must have walked outside because one minute we were in the stuffy bathroom and the next we were in the chilly air, but I was walking around in a dream, in a huge bubble of denial. Because a small part of me thought 'this can't
be happening to you, Rose. You are
smart!' before I reprimanded myself, reminding myself that brains have nothing to do with fertility or the way you are when you're drunk.
After all, the smartest people in the world can act incredibly stupidly sometimes, just like even the dumbest people usually have at least a grain of wisdom in them.
"So, who's head am I kicking in, then?" James asked, digging his hands into his pockets and staring across at a robes shop across the road, avoiding eye contact with both of us. Sarah, I noticed, was twiddling a lock of her shiny mane around her finger distractedly; a habit of hers when she was under a lot of stress.
Once again I was about to tell him, when we were interrupted. I thanked god my makeup was looking practically perfect again, and the tiny lump in my pocket where the scroll was kept was hardly noticeable as I saw Freddie leading the rest of the group towards us.
"You've been gone an awfully long time." Albus commented matter-of-factly. "Didn't they have your favourite mascara, James?" He added.
There were a few chuckles from the crowd and Becky laughed appreciatively. James barely batted an eyelid; his eyes were fixed firmly on Sarah since she had been about to tell him at the same time as me. She pasted a convincing smile on her face and looked at James, pulling him into a hug.
"Bless him!" She said over his shoulder at the rest of us – I noted with satisfaction that Amy was looking murderous. James looked in pleasant surprise at me and I saw Sarah scrape her hair away from her face as she whispered in his ear.
"I'll tell you everything later, act natural." She hissed.
I heard, but just barely, and I was the closest person to them. As she released him from her grip, Amy hurried forward and dusted him off while Sarah rolled her eyes at Danny, who rushed towards her dopily, the glazed expression on his face that usually comes across the faces of men who are in Sarah's presence.
It said a lot for my state of shock that I didn't even feel the slightest twinge of jealousy that I felt of her usually. Amy, however, cupped James' cheek and stood on tiptoes to kiss him roughly on the mouth, making sure Sarah could see.
Well, Amy must have stolen all my usual slight jealousy for my best friend and added it to her own huge pile. Sarah looked at her scathingly and turned to me, her hand held out in a 'come on' motion.
"Come on; let's go back up shall we? It's already three o clock and I don't know about you lot but us Gryffindors have Quidditch practice at five, don't we, James?" Sarah asked.
James nodded mutely, his face still full of numb shock at my news and desperation to know all the facts so as to help me.
Or kill me with a blunt, heavy object. Whichever.
We walked to the school in quiet chitchat, but I noticed that neither Sarah nor James was saying much at all, and I said nothing to anyone on the way back. As we walked through the gates and up the sloping drive, Sarah stopped and stared over at the Quidditch pitch.
"James, I have a good tactical idea." She said slowly and convincingly, looking over at James. Amy and Danny stood by their respective partners and Freddie and I stood behind them. The others had gone on up to the castle.
"Come on you lot." I said to Danny, Amy and Freddie.
Amy shot me a filthy look, and an even dirtier one at Sarah, who returned it with interest and stomped up to the castle. I hate her; I hate her so much its ridiculous. She's so stroppy with absolutely no right to be; it's not like she's
the one up the duff for god's sake! Danny cast a quick look at Sarah and James.
"I'm on the team, I can stay, right?" He said, looking as if he had no intention of moving whatever the answer.
"Sorry mate, she's my right-hand woman. Everything goes past her before I attempt to tell the rest of you about it." James said convincingly with a shrug. "If it's any good you'll know about it at practice tonight." He promised in a passable imitation of his usual, happy self.
Danny's eyes narrowed slightly but after a moment he shrugged and made his way up to the castle, though not before taking Sarah's waist and kissing her on the lips with passion.
"Merlin's balls... possessive much?" James said to Sarah with an eyebrow raised.
As Freddie and I made our way to the castle I laughed loudly at the irony and felt James' scowling eyes on my back.
"I really enjoyed your company today, Ro." Freddie said to me when we were in the entrance hall, as he took my hand. "With or without your family." He added with a sly grin. I smiled back, it was a weak attempt but by Christ it was still a smile!
"I enjoyed it too. Sorry we didn't have much time to see each other and everything." I apologized.
I could feel tears welling up in my eyes as I thought of the reason I had left him for so long today. I subconsciously placed a hand over my stomach and bit down hard on the tears threatening to ruin my makeup once more.
I always thought that stopping yourself from crying when you really want to is one of the hardest things to make yourself do. There's a horrible feeling in your throat and your eyes feel really prickly.
"Look, Rosie, I was wondering... because I've had so much fun for the last few dates I want to just...I think we should. Erm, let me start again: I want to see you more often. As in every day more often." He stammered nervously.
I looked at him blankly; what the hell was this now?
"What I'm trying to say is, I want you to be my girlfriend again. I miss you; I miss us.
" He added.
Scorpius was looking at me from over Freddie's shoulder. I thought Scorpius and I were okay with each other but from the looking he was giving Freddie and I, I just didn't know.
"What d'you say?" Freddie asked.
I wanted to cry more than ever now; I liked Freddie a lot, but I was knowingly pregnant with another man's child. A man who I had complicated feelings for, when I was honest with myself. I wanted the security and love that I'd had with Freddie before, but I could never justify to myself being Freddie's girlfriend while pregnant with the child of an unknowing Scorpius. I pushed the tears further back.
"I'll think about it. Give me until tomorrow." I said slowly when I saw James sand Sarah enter the hall.
"Okay." Freddie said. And with that, he kissed me on the cheek, grinned at me and turned to go down to his common room in the dungeons.
"Rose." James said simply, coming up to me and drawing me into a heartfelt hug.
"I'm so sorry about snapping at you earlier, I know everything. It's not just your fault." He said in my ear very quietly, and staring over my shoulder pointedly at Scorpius, who was walking with Albus down to the Slytherin common room after Freddie.
"I know you'll be going through a rough time now and I want you to know that I am in your corner. Every step of the way." He said, dropping a kiss in my hair and pulling away from me, looking me deep in the eyes. He really was beautiful; his melted chocolate eyes and dark floppy hair. I buried my head in his chest, actually crying now. Sarah glided over to us.
"You all right little one?" She asked me.
"Fine thanks, honeybun." James said quickly with a cheeky wink at her, coaxing a weak laugh out of me. Nobody else could see I was crying, it must have just looked like I was enjoying a comforting hug from my cousin.
"Come 'ere, you" James said, and pulled Sarah into the hug.
She wrapped her arms around us both and I suddenly felt strangely safe; the feeling of my giant of a cousin and my gorgeous Amazonian of a best friend being completely on my side, despite my faults, made me feel so well looked after that for a brief second when James and Sarah looked at each other I felt like they were parents. Maybe that was the utter love and (as per usual nowadays) hurt (because
of the apparently unrequited love) in James' eyes made him definitely the adoring man in love and I couldn't read Sarah's warm eyes and soft smile.
"My favourite girls in the world." James said so quietly he might not have meant for us to hear it. I knew he had other favourite girls; his mother, my mother and Lily, for example, but I also knew we were high up in the top ten, Sarah definitely the highest on his 'Females I Love The Most' list.
Knowing James he's probably actually made
"Don't let Amy hear you saying that." Sarah said quietly, flashing him a wink, and with that she gave us both a squeeze and kissed me on the cheek. James looked hopefully after her but she had already hurried off to see Danny, who was watching from the bottom of the staircase. James sighed and Amy, who had been beadily watching, noticed.
"You coming to revise History of Magic, James?" She called sharply. We three were the only ones left in the entrance hall now. I looked up, no longer crying; tears all dried, and saw her tapping her foot and scowling at me.
Well sorry that I love my cousin, bitch. You'll have to share, because Sarah now officially is not the only one watching your back
. I thought maliciously. I didn't say this out loud because Sarah was already her out-and-out enemy now and I preferred to watch her like a hawk and report to Sarah to sort her out, since James was Her Business.
"Yeah I'll just take this one upstairs." He said with his arms around my shoulders. Amy huffed and sat on the stone steps. We got up to the common room in record time.
"So you got together at my last party?" James asked as we took refuge in the comfiest sofa. Sarah and Danny were playing around with their broomsticks in one of the corners, polishing the handles and clipping the twigs over conversation that made Danny smile and Sarah blush.
"Things would have been so much better if I hadn't had that bloody party." He sighed miserably, rubbing my shoulder and looking over at the girl he loved.
I wholeheartedly agreed with him.