Chapter 22 : Chapter Twenty-One: Running Out of Time
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“They’re going to have to roll me in through the cargo door soon,” I groaned as I threw another pair of pants onto the bed and walked back to the closet.
“Oh, shush,” Emmelyn chimed from the pillow side of the bed that wasn’t covered in just about every pair of pants I owned. “You’re just going to a healer’s appointment, they’re used to seeing pregnant people. In fact, they’ve probably widened the doors and everything.”
“Ha, ha,” I called back, not amused, as I fished out a pair of black sweatpants and pulled them on. They sat right below my officially six-freaking-and-a-half-month pregnant belly looking too small. I walked out of the closet in just those and my bra (which was also a size bigger now, by the way). “What about these?”
Emmelyn barely looked up from the pregnancy book she was flipping through, “They look fine. Just like the last twelve pairs you’ve tried on.”
“I hate being fat!” I whined as I decided fuck it and threw on a large sweatshirt I’d stolen from my dad.
“You’re not fat, you’re pregnant,” Emmelyn told me.
I rolled my eyes at her. “Let’s just get going.”
Emmelyn shut the book and placed it back on the bedside table. She looked at the other end of the bed and sighed before waving her wand so my pants flew back into their places in my closet.
I grumbled thanks before exiting my bedroom.
It was mid-January now, meaning that Hogwarts had stolen back my brother and my cousins leaving me with a peaceful apartment once again. While it was nice to go to bed early without worrying that my little brother was going to bring Julie back to the apartment, I did miss having him around.
“Have you started thinking about names yet?” Emmelyn trailed after me. I grabbed my wand off of the table and turned to face her, shrugging. “Not really.”
“You only have two and a half months left,” she pointed out.
And, while I knew this, hearing her say it freaked me out a bit. I looked down the hall to the door that led to a nursery that wasn’t finished yet; the spare bed had just been moved out of it for good when Louis left. I thought about my bank account at Gringotts, which despite the fact that Uncle George was paying me way too much, was not nearly full enough to buy all the things a baby would need. I knew I hadn’t read nearly enough books to know how to care for an infant; they were so helpless! What if I dropped her or didn’t hear her cry or didn’t hold her right or didn’t feed her the right way or –
“Whoa, whoa,” I felt Emmelyn’s hands on my shoulder.
I blinked and focused on my friend’s face. Her dark green eyes were filled with concern. I realized that my eyes had watered, “I- I…”
“Calm down, ‘Nique,” Emmelyn ordered. I took a deep breath and wiped at my eyes. “Look, two and a half months is plenty of time –”
“No it’s not!” I cried. “Two and a half months until my life changes forever, Em! Two and a half months until I’m responsible for a baby, for a little girl who can’t do anything for herself, responsible for my baby girl for the rest of her life.”
Emmelyn watched me freak out and just smiled at me. “What?” I asked angrily as she smile grew wider and wider.
“You just sound like a new mom is all,” she pulled me into a hug, her reaction effectively cutting off my rant. “You sound just like all of the mothers who come through the maternity ward. You’re going to be fine, I know it. Look how far you’ve come in just these six and a half months.” She pulled back. “Six and a half months ago you couldn’t even show up to work on time and now look at you.”
“I’m not much better now,” I said in a small voice.
“You are, though,” she told me. “After everything you’ve done for your sister, for Teddy. You got a job at the shop to make money, you’ve been keeping your doctor’s appointments, you worry about if you will have enough money to get diapers instead of wondering how much firewhiskey you can buy…”
I laughed, “You make it sound better than it is.”
“You make it sound worse.”
I sighed and smiled, “Thanks.”
“I’m here for you, just like the rest of your family. We’ve got your back, okay? Even though you don’t need it most of the time.”
“When did you get so sappy,” I asked her.
“I think your hormones are rubbing off on me,” she laughed. “Now let’s get you to that appointment.”
“There’s her head,” the healer pointed at my daughter’s head. I could actually make out her head this time. I looked to Emmelyn and the healer, who was not my boyfriend, chuckled.
“What?” I asked, nervous. Seeing the healer laugh while looking at the screen that has your baby on it is not the most reassuring thing ever. “Does she have two heads? Three legs? Oh, Merlin, is it actually a boy? I’ve already decorated the nursery –”
“Miss Weasley, calm down,” she told me gently. “Look, you can see it too. Your daughter is sucking her thumb.”
Emmelyn and I turned to the monitor again and, sure enough, it was fairly easy to make out what she was saying. “That’s adorable.” Emmelyn sighed.
“She’s so precious,” I reached out to touch the monitor.
The healer smiled again, “A few more weeks and you’ll be able to hold her!”
My heart ached at her words. My daughter looked so perfect on the screen, sucking her little thumb. I wanted to have her in my arms so badly in a sudden and painful second. She was so beautiful, even in black and a white on the magical monitor. Her heartbeat drummed out a solid and steady rhythm and the healer assured me that everything looked perfect. Emmelyn took my hand and leaned her head on my shoulder. In that moment, everything seemed suspended in time. Everything seemed perfect.
“Dad? Maman?” I called as I exited the fireplace of my childhood home. I pushed the door to the kitchen open with the hand that wasn’t holding the image of my daughter the healer had given me.
Victoire, Maman, and Dad all stared at me. Oh. Lovely.
“Oh, sorry, I didn’t want to intrude, I just…” I trailed off, holding up the picture.
“What’s that, Sweetie?” Dad asked, getting up from the table and walking over to me. Maman and Victoire stayed seated. Things with Maman were still strained – well, more strained then they had been before the pregnancy and three-month-silence, so I wasn’t surprised when she was sending Victoire more worried and pitiful looks.
Awkward. Awkward. Awkward.
“I, er, I had a healer’s appointment today,” I told him softly. “This is just a picture of the scan.”
Dad took it from me and looked at it with such a soft expression on his face. He ran a thumb over the place where her head was. Watching him, I was so grateful that he didn’t hate me, that he was taking everything in stride; I have the best father in the world. He was silent for such a long time before, “Oh, Dominique.” He looked up and I swear I saw tears forming.
“What?” I asked. My good mood faded. “What’s wrong? I’m sorry! I thought that maybe… maybe you’d want to see her… I- I –”
Dad cut me off by pulling me into a careful hug. Hugging was getting more and more difficult because of my large stomach, “No, no,” he whispered. “She’s beautiful.”
Maman walked over, then, as Dad pulled away from me. I watched her, pretty sure my face was showing the shock I felt. “Look, she’s sucking her thumb!” he pointed to her as he showed Maman.
I glanced over Dad’s shoulder to my sister. She was tracing her finger along the edge of her cup looking thoroughly uncomfortable.
“Mon Dieu,” she whispered, amazed, but though this would have made me happy some other time, now my stomach was residing somewhere near my knees.
“I know,” Dad answered.
I took a deep breath and walked around them, “Hey,” I said awkwardly as I went through the process of lowering myself into a chair.
Victoire didn’t look at me.
“I-I didn’t know you were here, I wasn’t trying –”
“I know,” she said curtly. It was the first time we’d spoken directly since Christmas, since she told me it was worse to be an outcast than invisible, since I actually began to see my sister.
I stared at her. Her hair was pulled back into a long braid that fell over her shoulder onto her dark blue sweater. I knew that sweater; I knew that it had a golden V on the front. I knew that I had one that nearly matched it because Grandma Weasley had given them to Victoire and I for Christmas about three years ago.
She wasn’t wearing any make up and she looked exhausted, but she still looked beautiful. I suddenly wanted to go back in time to when we shared the bigger of the two bedrooms upstairs. I wanted to go back to when she was seventeen and I was fifteen and I wanted to make more of an effort to be her friend. I wanted to ask her opinion on outfits, even if I didn’t much care, and I wanted to teach her how to fly a broom properly. I wanted to have a real relationship with my sister instead of the one we pretended to have for the sake of the family.
“I should go,” she scooted her chair back and, picking up her teacup, walked over to the sink. She set it down and walked into the living room through the other of the two doors. I looked back and saw Maman and Dad tactfully still pretending to ooh and aah over the picture. I put my hands on the table and pulled myself up with a grunt. I hustled after her, “Wait!” I called just as she was throwing floo powder into the fire.
She stopped, but didn’t turn around.
“Can’t we just talk?” I asked her. “Like, really talk?” I knew I sounded desperate, but, hell, I was desperate.
She turned around and looked at me. Her eyes traveled from my pony-tailed hair, to my makeupless face, to the hoodie I’d stolen from Dad that curtained over my baby bump. She took a deep breath, “Why?”
“Because I miss you,” I told her. I missed her even though I never really knew her well enough to have someone to miss. I missed what we should have had. I missed the relationship that I could have had with my sister if I hadn’t been so naïve. If I’d really tried to understand how she felt instead of just assuming she was happy being the perfect-looking, perfect-acting girl I’d always seen her as.
Her face crumbled slightly before she could gain control. She looked away, off into the corner of the room at nothing. She closed her eyes and, finally, looked back at me. “I don’t think that you’ve ever said that to me before.” She whispered, her voice a bit raspy. “But it really doesn’t change anything.” And with that, she turned around and stepped into the green fire and was gone.
“She misses you, too, mon chéri.”
I turned around, wiping at my betraying eyes, and saw Maman and Dad standing in the doorway, “I wish there was a way to fix this.” I tell them pathetically.
“The only thing you can do is keep trying,” Dad says with a sad smile.
“No, I can do it –” I stopped with a sigh as Hayes bent over and picked up the stuffed bear I had been trying to pick up off of the floor. He put it in the crib, which now had sheets on it and everything, before turning back to me.
“I can do it by myself,” I grumbled, lowering myself into the rocking chair with a grunt.
“I like helping,” Hayes shrugged. He pushed a large basket of clothes over towards my chair. Like the exciting person I was these days, Hayes and I were spending date night tidying up the nursery; the next step was to fold and sort through all of the clothes I had inherited from various relatives.
We folded in a comfortable silence for a while, me in the rocking chair and Hayes sitting on the floor, before Hayes nodded towards the small end table near my chair, “You’ve started looking at names?”
I looked over and saw the name book with the latest scan picture sticking out on top of a small notebook. I liked to have the scan near when I was looking at names, even if it was stupid, I liked to look at her when I was debating a name. I had been writing down possibilities in the notebook; I hadn’t gotten very far, maybe through the G names, but it was a start.
“Yeah,” I shrugged.
“Can I see?” he reached towards the notebook, but I snatched it away. He shot me a confused look.
“I kind of wanted to do this on my own,” I told him.
He looked at me for a second before sighing turning back to the onesie he was folding. “What?” I asked him somewhat roughly. He doesn’t have any right to sigh like that; this is my daughter and if I want to name her by myself, I will.
“Nothing, Dominique.” The way he said my name implied that it most definitely was not nothing.
My eyebrows shot up, “No, do share.”
Hayes placed the folded onesie in the ‘newborn’ pile and looked up at me with those blue eyes. “It’s just…” he sighed and looked away, at the crib. “I help you set up the nursery and I go to the store for you when you are too tired and I make sure we always have that chocolate cake you like to eat in the middle of the night…” he trailed off, looking back to me. “But you don’t include me in anything.”
I opened my mouth to disagree with him, but he cut me off, “No, I know that you bring me along to family dinners and you tell me about your doctors appointments, but, I don’t know. You don’t tell me anything about the baby, really, or let me help you decide anything that will affect her, even the little things like which stroller to buy at the store! I want to be included. I know –”
“You’re not her father!” I tell him, having listened to his little rant. I don’t know why this was rubbing me the wrong way, but I don’t want to be told who to include in my planning for my daughter’s life.
“I know that!” He stands up, his voice raised ever-so-slightly. “I know that, Merlin do I know that –”
“What’s that supposed to –”
“But I am dating you!” he cuts me off, his voice ever louder. He’s pacing now and I don’t like that I have to look up at him. I feel small and it’s making me more angry. “I am your boyfriend, I have been for three of the hardest months of your life and of your pregnancy and I distinctly remember asking you if you thought this a real thing, if you and I were a real thing, and you said we were!”
“I do think that this is a real thing!”
“Then you have to let me into your life, Dominique!”
“I do let you into my life!” I yell. I don’t like what he’s insinuating. I do remember that conversation, it was one we had when we’d first started dating, and I do love him. It’s just…
“Maybe,” he allows, “but you have to let me into your daughter’s life, too!”
“I can’t do that!” I yell, my hands covering my stomach protectively. I’m not even thinking about what I’m saying at this point.
“Why the hell not?!” he yells back.
“Because I don’t trust you!” It slips out, loudly and definitively, before I can even process what I’m saying. Hayes’s mouth is open in a way that would be comical if the heavy weight of the words I’d just screamed at him weren’t pressing down on the two of us.
I look away first, half-ashamed, half-relieved, and down at my hands. I don’t take it back, and I don’t apologize, because what I said was true. While I would have liked to figure this out by myself and not when I’m yelling it at him, it is nice to finally realize why I’ve been so hesitant in including him in decisions I make about the baby.
“This is about Lacey and Daniel,” he says, no longer sounding angry. He sounds shocked and even a little hurt.
I don’t bother answering.
“I thought you had forgiven me for that,” he says, his voice small. I look up at him and can’t make out what he’s feeling.
“I did,” I tell him.
“Then why –”
“Just because I forgave you for not telling me doesn’t mean that I can immediately trust you again.” I tell him. “Maybe if it were just me, but this isn’t just about me. This is about my baby, too, and…” I trail off.
“This is ridiculous! I told you everything, I apologized, it’s been a month and you never said anything!” he says, sounding both hurt and angry. “It’s been a month of constantly ripping each other’s clothes off and going to parties with your family and now you’re saying that you don’t trust me?”
“It’s not ridiculous!” I throw back at him. I can’t sit anymore, the baby is kicking me because I’m getting worked up and my back has started hurting. As I start getting up, I see Hayes move towards me to help before stopping himself and running a hand through his curls.
“It’s not ridiculous,” I repeat once I’m standing. “I found out that you had a son and a wife by walking in on you with said wife. It’s not ridiculous that I don’t trust you.” My voice is steady, something I’m grateful for.
“You can’t hold this against me for the rest of my life! You can’t hold my stillborn son against me!” He looks pained now.
“I’m not holding your son against you,” I say dangerously. How dare he try to guilt me? “I am holding the fact that you didn’t tell me about any of it against you.”
“You’re mad at me because I didn’t tell you about my ex-wife and stillborn son, but you won’t tell me a few names you like – isn’t that a bit hypocritical?”
“I’m not hiding the fact that I’m having a baby from you!”
“You’re hiding the baby from me! You’re hiding the same thing that I –”
“It’s not the same and you know it!” I yelled at him. “The only reason that I’m not including you because I can’t trust –”
“Why?” he said, “What do you think that I’m going to do to your baby if you let me –”
“I’m still not convinced that you’re not trying to get a replacement baby out of all this!” I yell over him, effectively stunning him into silence with something I didn’t even know I thought. Again.
And again, he looked shocked, but this time there was also anger. It was so evident on his face that it almost convinced me that I was wrong. Almost.
“I’m going to leave,” he finally said, his voice controlled. “I’m going to leave before either of us says anything else that we’ll regret.”
He turns and walks out of the nursery, “Hayes.” I say, following him. He doesn’t stop.
“Hayes!” I catch up, which is quite a feat in my state, and grab his arm just as he reaches for the floo powder.
He turns to look at me, his eyes betray his hurt and anger and my chest constricts.
“I’m sorry,” I tell him. I don’t even know what I’m sorry for, but I am sorry.
He just nods.
I let go of his arm and he throws the powder into the fire and disappears.
My daughter kicks me and my hands caress my stomach again as I feel the first few tears leak out of my eyes.
“You didn’t write him!” the bell on the door rings as Emmelyn flings it open and marches in, her curly hair bouncing wildly behind her.
I look up suddenly from checking out a father and his son, frowning for a moment at the seemingly crazy girl in intern scrubs that just stormed into the store before turning back to the customers I was helping. “Sorry, she’s a slightly insane friend of mine, let me just get you checked out…”
“Don’t you ignore me, Dominique Cedrella Weasley, you promised!” Emmelyn slid over the counter, nearly knocking off some of the family’s items, and landed directly in my personal space.
I tried not to groan aloud at her use of my middle name, a name my dad had given me after his great-grandmother Cedrella Black who was burned off of her family tree for marrying into the Weasley family. It’s all well and good for her following her heart and all, but why couldn’t she have a name that didn’t sound like a combination of Cedric and Cinderella? Constantly having people mishear your middle name for either that of a guy who died a horrible death at seventeen or a muggle princess who fell in love with a shoe (I think that’s how that story goes, anyway), isn’t my favorite thing in the world.
I ignored her anyway, scanning each of the items on the counter and placing them into a bag. “Your total is four galleons, ten sickles, and a knut,” I told the father, who looked a little terrified at the look my best friend was giving me. Well, join the club.
He handed over the money and I handed him his change and his bag of products as leisurely as I could with Emmelyn tapping her foot impatiently right next to me. “Have a good day!” I said as cheerily. He nodded, grabbed his son’s hand, and hurried out.
“Great, you probably just scared them away forever,” I said, taking my time to properly close the cash register so I didn’t have to turn around and face her.
She didn’t respond, just kept tapping her foot. Without even looking at her, I knew her arms were still crossed and could picture the exact look she was giving me. I vaguely thought about asking her to teach me that look so that I could use it on my kid when she was born.
Finally, when I couldn’t put it off any longer, I turned to face her. She was still in her hospital scrubs and smelled vaguely of vomit. I tried not to dwell on that so that I wouldn’t vomit.
“You promised,” she repeated.
I sighed, “I know.” I collapsed into the chair Uncle George had gotten me when he noticed I was holding my back after standing for too long. It was Tuesday, meaning it had been four days since Hayes and I had our fight and I hadn’t heard from him since then, which I guess makes sense given what I accused him of. “I know I did, and I sat down to write the letter and then I couldn’t think of anything to say.”
“Here’s a thought, start with I’m sorry and end with can we please make sweet, sweet love to celebrate our making up.”
I narrowed my eyes at her, but her flat expression didn’t crack.
“I… just don’t know if I’m sorry,” I finally admitted, looking at her semi-helplessly.
She glared at me a few more seconds before sighing and uncrossing her arms, walking over to me a bit before sliding down the back of the counter and pulling her legs to her chest. I was envious of the way she could pull her legs in like that; the closest my legs got to my chest these days is when I was sitting in a chair.
“There’s a difference between being sorry and being wrong,” she told me, leaning her head back on the counter with a soft thud.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, over Christmas when my brother walked in on me and Fred in my own bedroom at my own apartment, I told him I was sorry but I wasn’t wrong. I can do whatever I want in my own bedroom.”
“Gavin walked in on you and Fred?” I asked, trying not to laugh as I pictured Emmelyn’s very attractive, six-years-older brother walking in on her and Fred. Then I stopped picturing that, because it involved picturing her and Fred doing something two of your best friends should never be doing.
“Yeah, it was really awkward,” Emmelyn cringes at the memory.
“What’d Fred do?”
“Stammered at him like an idiot and grabbed the sheets off of me to cover himself.”
“That’s Fred for you.”
“I don’t know why I fancy that boy,” Emmelyn shook her head, looking at the ceiling and smiling widely.
“Me neither,” I rolled my eyes at her, tugging my hair out of it’s ponytail and tying it up in a messy bun instead.
“Stop trying to change the subject!” Emmelyn suddenly said, pointing a finger at me.
“You changed the subject all by yourself, Em.”
“Yeah, well, still.”
“Thanks,” she shot me a look. “I just want you to be happy, ‘Nique. And he makes you happy, and you make him happy. Both of you are miserable right now and I don’t like seeing that when I know that you could just talk it out.”
I leaned my head on hers and sighed, “That’s the thing, though, I don’t know if we could just talk it out. This isn’t a ‘you forgot to put the toilet seat down’ kind of argument.”
Emmelyn’s head shot up, “But really, that’s totally a valid argument to have, how hard is it to give it a little push – I mean gravity does the rest for you!”
“Trying to be serious here,” I laughed.
“Sorry,” she leaned back against the counter.
“I think that I know that he doesn’t want a replacement baby,” I felt dirty even saying those words. “But I don’t know if I can just trust him again after what happened. And now that I’ve realized that that’s why I’m hesitant, and now that I’ve said it aloud to him and everything… can we really go back?”
I felt her nod, “I understand what you mean. And I get that what you’re feeling is important, but I’m beginning to think that I can’t really offer advice on this.” She looked directly at me. “The biggest trust issues in a relationship that I’ve dealt with is trusting that Fred isn’t going to hook up with some Slyther-slut while he’s at school. And honestly, that’s hard enough for me to do after seeing the way he was with girls when we were there. But I do trust him, because when I look at him and I see him looking at me, I know that there’s something there. And I know that he wouldn’t hurt me. But none of my issues are as big as yours, so I don’t know what to tell you.”
I groaned putting my head in my hands, “I guess.”
“You should talk to your mum.”
My head shot up, “What?” I almost laughed. “You want me to talk to Maman about this?” This time I did laugh, “Oh, yeah, that’ll go over fantastically. And after we have that discussion, I’ll ask her how she feels about mine and Teddy’s week-old daughter being the unofficial flower girl at Teddy and Victoire’s wedding!”
“I’m being serious,” Emmelyn’s face sobered me up pretty quick. She was serious. “You need to talk to someone about this, someone with experience, before you completely ruin something that could be a good thing.”
I looked at my feet. Names popped into my head: Aunt Angelina, Aunt Hermione, Aunt Ginny…
I knew they would all give good advice, but I felt weird asking them about relationship things now; maybe they would think it was petty of me to be worrying about a relationship with a man who was not my baby’s daddy when I was six and a half months pregnant.
And then it hit me.
Now be the perfect time to have an older sister; one I could actually talk to about things like this. For some reason, this realization hurt a lot more than I expected it to.
This might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. Well, after sleeping with my sister’s fiancé – that obviously takes first place for the rest of my life.
I’m standing on the front porch of my childhood home still in my WWW uniform pacing back and forth in front of the door (by ‘pacing’ I mean shifting my weight from one foot to the other; that counts as pacing when you weigh roughly the same as a dragon). I was currently debating whether or not I should actually go through with knocking on the door and talking to Maman about my boy problem.
The very idea is laughable.
The last time I told Maman about a boy problem, I was seven years old and I had to admit to punching a boy on the playground because he was picking on Louis. Maman had given me a lecture on lady-like behavior (not that punching him had messed up my hair or anything, I wasn’t a savage), Dad had given me two cookies and a wink when she wasn’t looking.
My daughter kicked me particularly hard, and my hands to flew to my stomach. I frowned down at her, “You’re trying to tell me to just do it, aren’t you?” I asked her.
Apparently I’m that person who talks to her unborn child now.
She kicked me again. “Fine,” I sighed and reached up to knock on the door. She kicked me again. “I said I’m doing it, calm down.” I rubbed the spot she was kicking and wondered briefly if I was going insane.
After what seemed like an eternity, the door opened to reveal a surprising face. “I have got to stop showing up here unannounced,” I muttered to myself as Teddy gaped at me.
“Who is it?” I hear Maman call.
“Er – a coworker, sorry I’ll be right back, I have to deal with this,” Teddy calls back.
“Hey!” I move to push past him into the house, but he quickly steps out onto the porch and shuts the door behind him. “What the fuck, Teddy? I need to talk to Maman!”
“We need to talk,” he says, running a hand through his hair. It’s brown today, but not a depressing brown. A healthy, grown-up looking brown. He walks past me, “Let’s go down to the beach.”
I turn to look at him, unable to speak.
“First of all, you’re ditching my sister, my mother, and my dad to talk to me? Do you really think that that’s a good idea?” I ask him. “And secondly, you want me to walk all the way down to the beach right now after working a six hour shift on my feet? You’re out of your mind.”
Teddy looks back at the house nervously, “Look, Dominique, I’ve been thinking about what you said at Christmas and we need to talk about it.”
“I get that, but you do understand that if my sister walks out right now and sees you talking to me, she’ll be really hurt again, right? I’m not going to do that to her.”
“I talked to her about everything, she knows that I need to talk to you,” Teddy explained.
That was unexpected.
“She didn’t threaten to leave you as soon as you mentioned my name?” I ask.
“Well, at first, yeah,” Teddy admits. “But we needed to talk about it. Especially with the wedding coming up.”
“Don’t forget the birth of your child,” I add in through my teeth.
Teddy just nods.
I take a deep breath and tell myself that hexing him would be more trouble that it’s worth. I look back at the house, tugging at a stray strand of hair that had fallen out of my bun. “I don’t want to talk about this here,” I finally tell him. He opens his mouth to argue, but I cut him off. “But I do want to talk about it, so why don’t you come over to my place tomorrow around six?”
Teddy looks like he wants to argue, but with a quick glance at the house, he nods, “Okay, that sounds good.”
Deciding that I was no longer in the mood to discuss anything with my mother and that interrupting what I assumed was a wedding-planning session was probably a bad idea anyway, I smile one last time at Teddy and begin walking away from the house.
“Wait, will Hayes be there tomorrow?” Teddy calls when I’m halfway to the apparation point.
Taking another deep, calming breath to ease the sharp pain in my chest at his name, I turn back, “No.”
Teddy examines me. “Are you two fighting again?”
I narrow my eyes at him. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Dominique, I –”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I repeat firmly.
Teddy shuts his mouth, but nods.
“See you tomorrow,” I tell him.
My daughter kicks me as I start walking again, “Don’t give me that, I tried.” I tell her.
It was so late that it was early when I woke up to the frantic sounds of someone knocking on my door. My heart rate accelerated as my mind worked through the many scenarios in which someone would be knocking like that this late at night, and I didn’t hesitate as I grabbed my wand off of the bedside table and hurried out of my bedroom as fast as I could.
Peering through the peephole of my front door, I saw a mess of dark brown hair standing in the hallway with a baby carrier. I opened the door quickly, “Allison?” I asked. “What’s –”
“I’m really sorry to wake you up this early or at all, really, but my parents are out of town and I just got a call saying that David’s dad was involved in this huge explosion and he’s in the hospital in Romania in critical condition,” she was talking very fast. She picked up the baby carrier, slung a large bag over her shoulder, and walked into my apartment as I stood there in shock.
My mind was working to understand what was going on, but I couldn’t seem to catch up. I tried to rub the sleep out of my eyes.
“So I have to go there right now but I can’t take David because of all the check points and the apparations are super long distance,” I shut the door and followed her into my living room. She put David’s carrier on the couch and turned to face me. “I couldn’t think of anyone else that could watch him, or that I trusted enough to, I guess, and I know that it’s late and that you don’t even know what’s going on but Alex could be dying and –” she broke down then, collapsing onto the recliner with her head in her hands.
I took a deep breath, suddenly wide awake, and walked over to Allison putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. “It’ll be okay,” I tell her. I feel her take a few deep breaths before looking up at me.
“I have to go to Romania,” she said, her eyes bloodshot and her hands shaking.
“He’ll be okay,” I told her because it’s what you tell people in situations like this.
“Will you watch David?” she asked me, and my breath caught.
“I can’t take him with me! The regulations are all weird and it would take three times as long and Alex could be dead by then and –”
“I don’t know how!” I interrupted. I couldn’t watch a baby! I had two months before I had to do this, I needed to prepare!
Allison shook her head, “You do, you just don’t know it. Look, it’s easy enough; I wrote down his feeding schedule and instructions to make his bottles here,” she pulled out a small notebook. “And his nap times are here, too. And I put in a bunch of diapers and toys and…” she trailed off at the look on my face.
“Look, Dominique, I know that this is a lot to ask, and I won’t be gone for more than a day or two, I swear, and I wouldn’t ask if it weren’t an absolute emergency, but Alex…” She turned her pleading, puffy eyes at me and I took a deep breath.
“Okay,” I said shakily. I was probably having a stroke, agreeing to this, and yet… “I’ll… watch him.”
Relief flooded her face. “Thank you so much,” she stood up and hugged me. Letting go, she moved over the David, “I’ll be back soon, okay? I have to go check on Daddy and make sure that he’s okay,” she told her sleeping son. “But I’ll be back before you know it and Dominique is going to take great care of you. I love you.” she kissed his forehead gently.
She turned to me, “If you have any questions, I have a muggle mobile that reaches internationally and I wrote down the number in the notebook with the instructions.”
I nodded. I don’t think I had completely comprehended the fact that she was going to leave me alone with her baby yet.
“I’m sorry, I just –”
“I know,” I told her.
“Thank you,” she said, tearing up again. “I hate leaving him, but –”
“Alex will be okay.”
She nodded mutely and I walked with her to the front door where a large duffle bad waited in the hallway. She picked it up before turning back to me, “Take good care of him.”
“I – I will.”
“I know,” she smiled briefly before turning on the spot and disappearing with a crack.
I stood there for a few seconds, probably in shock, before I slowly closed the door to my flat and walked back into the living room. Making my way to the couch, I lowered myself onto it, careful not to jostle the carrier that much. I peeked in and saw that David was still sleeping soundly, even through his mother’s frantic pleading. He was much bigger than the last time I’d seen him even though it had only been about a month, and he had more light brown hair covering his head.
I reached out and ran my hand over his head gently. “It’s going to be okay,” I said, not fully sure if I was talking more to myself or to the baby.
A/N: I AM SO BAD. I AM LITERALLY THE WORST, I KNOW. fjaklsgh i'm really, really, REALLY sorry guys! I have been having major writer's block with this story (as you can probably guess by the WAAAYY too long wait for this chapter), and i'm not very happy with this chapter, but it's what i have. it's kind of short, and pretty filler-y, but the next chapter will be more action-packed what with the conversation between Teddy and Dominique and Dominique trying to take care of David and other things...
so, if i still have any readers out there, i love you. and i'm so very sorry for the horrible wait. it won't happen again (i hope/am going to try very hard to not let it happen again). please review, if you're still out there. i need some motivation!
over and outt.
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