The words emergency, abort, and SOS ran through my mind, and the urge to put my usual emergency plan into play— the one where I fake food poisoning and leave for the bathroom and stay in there for an indefinite amount of time—was very strong. What was Weasley thinking? That he could just invite his entire—
Then I caught a look at Percy’s face, and he too looked like a rat caught in the path of a stampeding hippogriff.
“Audrey, dear!” said Mrs. Weasley. She rushed towards me and engulfed me in a bone-crushing hug. I didn’t have a clue how I was supposed to respond, so I patted her back gingerly. “I thought I’d bring some of the family over to support you.
By some of the family she meant a very bored looking George, a Ginny who looked like she had to go to bathroom because she couldn’t stop fidgeting, and a stocky looking red-head who I guessed was another member of the infinitely large Weasley family.
“Now, what did the healer say?” Mrs. Weasley said as she let go of me, she was beaming for some reason.
“The baby is fine,” I said, although I addressed Percy—who was starting to turn an unnerving shade of green—and not his mother when I said this. “Very healthy. Some of the green faded away, and you could see a small smile growing on Percy’s lips, but he still wouldn’t look me in the eye.
Don’t any of them have work? I remembered reading some Prophet article about George Weasley owning his store and Ginny Weasley playing for some Quidditch team. Now that I thought about, why wasn’t Percy at work either?
“Why aren’t you at work?” I whispered to Percy while Mrs. Weasley rushed off to speak to the healer, apparently they were old family friends.
“Well, I wanted to see you,” said Percy carefully. “And Mum made everyone else who didn’t have work come with her, it’s Sunday so Ginny doesn’t have practice and George can let his friend run the shop.”
“She made you come down here too didn’t she?” I asked, giving Percy a look.
“Of course she didn’t,” said Percy, who was determined not to make eye contact, he patted my knee once and I glared at his hand as he quickly moved it back.
“Really?” I asked disbelieving.
“Fine, she told me to go down and see you,” said Percy in a rushed manner, I nodded, I already knew it. “But I would have come down anyway.”
“Looks like your boys really can swim,” said the stocky red-head, who had been sitting next to Percy this entire time and had most likely heard the conversation. He sounded as if he approved of the whole situation. I checked to make sure that Mrs. Weasley wasn’t in hearing vicinity.
“Well,” said Percy. He shrugged, and I could see a smirk grow on his face.
“She jumped you, right?” asked the bulky red-head. Now the smirk was on his face, and Percy’s ears were growing bright red. George grinned distractedly from over at his seat, his eyes were on his mother and he was probably wondering if he could get up and leave without her finding out. Ginny on the other hand was eating one of the packet of saltines that the Welcome Witch had provided. She looked utterly bored.
“Oh, Audrey!” said Percy, in an obvious attempt to change the conversation. He quickly stood up and indicated to the bulky red-head that he should do the same. “This is my brother, Charlie. He’s visiting from Romania. Works with dragons there.”
Charlie Weasley was definitely good-looking, and not like Bill Weasley was good-looking. Whereas Bill looked like he was pining for the old rock and roll days, Charlie looked more rugged. He was shorter the Percy, but was much more muscular and had several burn marks on his arms.
“Dragons are very…fiery,” I said, shaking Charlie’s hand and knowing full well how stupid I sounded.
Charlie gave me an indulgent smile. Percy looked at our still joined hands pointedly and looked as though he was going to make a comment. I felt the need to tell him he was being an idiot.
But we both behaved and sucked it up.
“And for your information, I did not jump him. He is perfectly capable of doing his own jumping,” I stated as I withdrew my hand, I could hear Mrs. Weasley inviting the Healer over for lunch and was looking for my own escape route before I too was invited.
“Defensive, aren’t we?” George asked, mocking me. “Did he touch a nerve?”
“Can we stop calling it jumping?” Ginny Weasley asked from where she sat. I was surprised she hadn’t said anything before now. “I keep thinking of kangaroos.”
“And that was when I made up some excuse that I cannot remember and Apparated home,” I said as I shifted through the refrigerator contents. Herman normally kept an array of leftover frozen meals around.
“He proposed?” Herman asked. He had been standing in the kitchen by the refrigerator and had been giving me looks of complete exasperation the entire time I had been telling him the story. I had been avoiding this question ever since he asked me what had happened.
“Yes,” I said, shrugging. “But it’s not like he meant it or anything.”
“Why else would he say it?” asked Herman, passing me an unopened packet of crisps.
“I don’t know,” I said, sitting down at the table and opening my crisps. “Maybe because I’m pregnant Herman and so his mum won’t get on his case.”
“Why didn’t you say yes?” Herman was monotone at this point, which was never a good thing.
“Because we broke up for a reason. Let’s say we did get married, I had the kid, it worked out for a couple of years, and then we divorced. The child would know a full family, and then it would be taken away from it!”
“You’re acting like a hyper anime character,” said Herman calmly. “Now stop waving your hands around. You’re not Italian, you’re Irish.”
“I like anime,” I said, glaring at my crisps and missing the old days where my days off were filled by watching trash telly. “And I’m only Irish on my mother’s side. My father is Scottish.”
“I meant to ask, why did you and Percy break up?” Herman asked curiously.
“I’m seeing him tonight. His mum invited me over for dinner again. It’s like she wants to keep an eye on me and make sure I don’t run away or something,” I said, placing enough crisps in my mouth to avoid answering his question and it dissuade any one he might ask next. .
“So why didn’t you go back to work after your appointment?” Herman asked. Normally he’ll pester me until I give him a straightforward answer, but apparently he had decided to give me a break today. You love work and I don’t want you to eat all my grandmother’s food.
“I’m pretty sure Alice has blabbed to everyone about…you know who.”
“I saw him last night, you know,” said Gloria, walking into the kitchen and getting herself a glass of milk. Her dentures were missing again.
“Who, Grandma?” asked Herman, giving his grandmother a confused look.
“You Know Who,” said Gloria in a matter-a-fact manner, she took a sip of her milk. “He went into the supermarket and got himself some chocolate ice cream.”
I looked over at Herman and raised an eyebrow.
“I called the Auror department and was on hold for almost the entire night,” continued Gloria. Herman and I exchanged looks. This was not the first time Gloria had thought she had called the auror department for seeing someone that had died a long time ago. Last time she claimed she had seen Merlin walking up and down the street in a fuzzy pink onesie.
Sometimes when Herman and I aren’t around she’ll go down to the payphone and just talk randomly into the phone. It would be fine except she’s a loud talker and the muggles get confused when they hear things like ‘eye of newt.’
You can’t call the Auror Department, I said slowly, arching my eyebrow and giving Herman a confused look. At least the topic of conversation was off of me though. “And we don’t have a phone system.”
I should know I always spend about five dollars in change when I have to call my mother.
“Audrey,” said Herman he guided Gloria to the seat beside me and then he began to look through the medicine cabinet, probably for Gloria’s sleeping pills, “you just can’t spend the rest of your life feeling sorry for yourself.”
I disagreed wholeheartedly with him but said nothing.
“Anyway, as I remember your past romantic life, it doesn’t seem that you’ll be too lucky in the future finding a better person then Percy. Didn’t your last boyfriend cheat on you with another guy?”
“Hank was bi-sexual. I knew that when I started dating him,” I mumbled, looking into the empty crisp packet and hoping it contained some of my pride.
“I believe when I asked you what Hank’s boyfriend was like, you said he was the hottest piece of arse you ever saw,” Herman persisted as if he hadn’t even heard my previous statement.
Pride and dignity, where art thou? Not in a packet of crisps, that’s for sure. Maybe in a container of macaroni and cheese.
“I was in shock,” I protested.
And I will not lie, his butt was gorgeous. I could totally see why Hank would prefer him.
“Also just recently, I heard you say something about going to a gay bar to pick up another boyfriend,” Herman continued. He certainly likes poking at open wounds doesn’t he? That was like two weeks ago.
I didn’t even bother trying to defend myself. Although I will say that gay bars are better than regular bars. They have way better music and are much more hygienic then the Hog’s Head.
“Go get dressed for dinner, Audrey,” said Herman, “and start thinking like a woman who’s about to be a single mother, not a girl who doesn’t have any obligations but her job.”
Ouch, that was harsh.
“Also, your mother sent you a letter.”
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