The Quidditch game had ended, Hufflepuff beating Ravenclaw by 10 points after a rather miraculous catch of the snitch by their seeker when they were 140 points down.
Lucy, Rose, and I were walking back from the Pitch, discussing in code for what to do.
"You have to tell him," Rose insisted. "I know him. He'll want to know, either way."
"Yeah but how can we know that I even am you-know-what? At this point, it's all just speculation" I hissed, looking around warily.
Lucy shook her head. "I thought we discussed this. Just send Clio to Charlie and have him mail a letter to your cousin Mia and ask her to get you some muggle tests."
"No, I thought about it. Mia can keep a secret as well as Lily and even if I did send a fake test back, I know that she won't be able to at least slip to my aunt and uncle that I asked her to get me one," I said.
Mia was Ethan's older sister, three years older than Charlie, and already with a husband, Tyler Castellan and a son, Matt. I love Mia but she really wouldn't be able to keep it from her husband, her friends, and my aunt and uncle.
"Maybe we can get some from the Apothecary next week at Hogsmeade," Lucy suggested. "Now that you turned down Jack because you said we're going shopping, we might as well put that to good use."
"But they're not just going to have them ready at the Apothecary, Lucy. The store isn't going to carry those. You're going to have to ask either Charlie or Mia to get you some, Bella. There's no way around it. We can place an order at the Apothecary if we have no other way but it'd be much better if you got one of the Muggle ones to check before you go running off to St. Mungo's," Rose said with a heavy sigh.
I whimpered slightly, feeling completely overwhelmed.
What had I gotten myself into?
Lucy and Rose seemed to have read my expression because Rose said, "Bella, it'll be okay. But you really need to tell him. He'll be even more pissed if you are and you didn't tell him right away."
"He's going to hate me. I dragged him into this and Ethan's going to flip out," I said, voicing my fears. At the current moment, telling James that I just might be pregnant with his child did not sound like a good idea.
"He's going to find out eventually. You can't avoid this problem forever. What are you going to do if you don't tell him? Drop out of Hogwarts, avoid all of us like the plague, have fate throw the two of you back together, realize how much you hurt him because you didn't think to tell him?" Rose demanded, sounding upset.
I looked at her in shock. Her expression softened greatly as she sighed and said, "Look Bella. I know my cousin. I know you. I love the two of you but I'm telling you now. If you don't tell him, then I sure as hell will and I won't give a damn what you say because he deserves the right to know and you know I'm right."
I sighed, knowing that she was right.
One summer, I had shown Lucy and Rose around Muggle London since the two of them had hardly been. The three of us ended up in a bookshop, Rose's favorite, and Lucy picked up an interesting but difficult to read book about practically this same situation, except their relationship was far more complicated, with the relationship ending badly, the girl discovering she was pregnant and kept it a secret, etc.
It wasn't the difficult to read as in reading accounts from the Goblin rebellions that Binns drones on about or the difficult as in reading Shakespeare and trying to decipher what he meant.
It was the difficult as in the kind where the reader had gotten both views, from the man and the woman and all three of us, after pouring over that book for an entire week, concluded that the girl, as Lucy had so eloquently stated, "is a fucking retard for hurting the bloke like that even if the bloke is an arrogant arsehole who is drinking his life away".
I had never been a complete feminist like Lucy, though I was all for equal respect and all that.
But something that all of us agreed on was that regarding things like a baby born out of wedlock, the bloke definitely had to at least know. There were some situations where the bloke made a far better parent than the girl.
But even with that knowledge safely stored in my mind, I really didn't know if I could stand it if James started hating for potentially ruining his life.
Which, I was fairly sure was going to happen.
He probably wanted to be an International Quidditch player, travel all around the world, have girls fall at his feet, and not be tied up with a baby and a woman with whom he is not involved with.
"I don’t want him hating me," I all but whispered.
Lucy gave me a stern look. "Bella, Rose and I know our cousin. He's not going to hate you, especially if the way he's been acting around you is any indication of his feelings."
"What do you mean?"
However, neither Lucy nor Rose responded because we were distracted by a scene in front of us.
Louis and Ellie seemed to be having a very intense argument.
"Weasley, I can take care of myself, thank you very much," Ellie snapped, sounding meaner and ruder than I have ever heard her.
"I'm just telling you that it's not a good idea for you to go with Turpin to Hogsmeade!" Louis argued back, his face getting red.
"Jack asked Ellie to Hogsmeade?" I frowned and said to Lucy and Rose.
Lucy snorted. "Desperate much?"
"Exactly. And he asked you only two days ago," Rose said disapprovingly.
"And why not, Weasley? What makes you think that you know what is good for me or not?!" Ellie said, her voice getting louder and louder. "You've been nothing more than an womanizing arsehole who knows nothing about what a girl deserves or not!"
A crowd was now starting to form around the two although neither of them seem to notice.
Louis seemed agitated as he ruffled his hair in frustration. "At least I know that any girl deserves better than Turpin. At least I'm not a coward and prat like Turpin."
Ellie seemed disappointed for a moment before recovering herself. "And what makes you think I don't deserve Turpin?"
"It's not you not deserving Turpin. It's Turpin not deserving you!" Louis half yelled.
Bloody hell, I've never seen Louis this angry before. I even took a step back in surprise. Rose and Lucy seemed just as surprised to see this side of Louis as well.
Ellie seemed shocked but Louis didn't give her a chance to go on. "You know why I know that?" Louis continued, his blue eyes full of anger.
Ellie didn't answer so Louis went on. "Because I saw Bella reject him without a moment of hesitation in front of all of us at lunch on Thursday. She didn't even notice him standing there for five minutes until Lucy shook her. No hesitation, no thinking, no nothing. Just a straight out no in front of all of us, and Scorpius probably told the story to some of his Slytherin mates. And then you know what? The git had the guts to go and ask Jessica Fawcett to Hogsmeade later that night."
"How do you know that?" Ellie asked, her voice quiet and full of disbelief.
"Because Ethan asked Fawcett to Hogsmeade and she told Ethan," Louis glared at her. "You deserve much better than a git who is asking every single girl out to Hogsmeade because he got his pride bruised and can't handle rejection like a man. You deserve someone who wants to go out with you because of you and not because he wants a date to show off to his friends."
Without another word, Louis stalked off, visibly upset, leaving Ellie speechless and unable to move.
Lucy, however, seemed to be the same, oddly enough.
"Is it true?" Lucy asked in a quiet whisper as the people started to dissipate. Ellie was still standing motionless in the same spot.
Confused, I asked, "Is what true, Lucy?"
"Is it true that Hart asked Jessica Fawcett to Hogsmeade?" Lucy repeated monotonously.
Rose and I exchanged significant looks.
We had always made fun of Lucy by bringing up how Ethan had a crush on Lucy, but this was more than progress.
This was… something of substance.
Trying not to push Lucy too far, Rose cleared her throat and said, "Well if Louis said it, I think it might be true. He hadn't said anything about it though, if that's what you're wondering."
Lucy still seemed to be shocked. She said, "I can't believe it. I can't believe he's actually going with her... I thought it was a one off thing at the party…"
Rose and I could hardly keep the looks of giddiness away from our faces.
"Luce, do you… care?" I asked cautiously, my eyes not moving an inch away from Lucy's face.
Lucy scoffed unconvincingly as she snapped out of her stupor. She said loudly, "Care?! Of course I don't care! Hart can go with anyone he wants. Why should I care about who he's going with anyways?"
Before Rose and I can argue, she walked away hurriedly towards Ellie. Rose and I exchanged another look before hurrying after her.
We were catching up to her as we heard her ask, "Ellie, are you okay?"
"Oh, Lucy," Ellie smiled weakly. "I'm sorry you had to hear me insulting your cousin."
Rose shook her head and grinned at her. "Oh don't worry about that. We've been waiting for ages to hear someone call him out."
"It's true though," I added to Ellie.
"What is true?" she asked.
"What he said about Jack asking me to Hogsmeade. I had no intentions of going with him, I can assure you and I had no idea that Ethan asked Jessica though it must be true if Louis said so. But if Jack's that type of person, then you definitely deserve better," I told her with a smile.
Ellie sighed and put her hands on her face miserably. "I feel horrible! He was just trying to look out for me as a friend but I went and told him off."
I chose not to tell her that Louis probably has more than friendship in his mind.
"Are… are you still going to go with Jack to Hogsmeade?" Rose asked tentatively.
"I'm not sure but… I don’t fancy the idea that I'm his last resort and he really only wants a date so that he doesn't look bad in front of his mates," Ellie sighed heavily. "And I was really excited that someone actually was interested in me…"
She went red after she said this, though Lucy just patted her on the back sympathetically.
"Honey, I know how you feel. Don't even worry about it. Someone is interested in you, but it'll just take him a little longer to get there," Lucy said kindly.
I most certainly didn't agree with Lucy because she implied that no one is interested in her. If she can even see the way some blokes stare at her…
And Ethan… insert a goofy and mischievous smile here.
Rose and Ellie didn't seem to believe that either as they both gave her skeptical looks.
"Sorry about everything and thanks for being so kind. I suppose I need to go apologize to Weasley now," Ellie said, straightening herself up.
"You call Louis by his last name?" I asked curiously.
Ellie frowned but nodded. "Of course. He does too. He calls me Summers."
"Try calling him by his first name when you talk to him. Trust me, it'll do you good," Lucy grinned wickedly.
I had a feeling I knew why she said that and I grinned along with her. It would probably light up Louis’s entire day if she called him by his first name.
"I'll take your advice for it," Ellie said gratefully. "I'll see you all later?"
The three of us nodded and waved goodbye to Ellie.
"Maybe you should take your own advice, Lucy," Rose said mischievously.
She frowned at Rose in confusion. "What the hell are you talking about?" Lucy said.
"Try calling Ethan by his first name when you talk to him. Trust me, it'll do you good," I said, mimicking Lucy's earlier words.
She went a brilliant shade of red that matches Rose's hair as Rose and I roared with laughter.
"Shut it you!" Lucy said as she whacked me on the arm. "Now, where were we?"
"Where were we what?"
"Ah, right! Telling James," Rose announced triumphantly.
I groaned as I caught on to what they were saying. This time, it was Lucy and Rose laughing at me.
I really hated the Owlery. Not only were there dung and a loads of crap everywhere, but I also couldn't stand a million flying birds all around.
One owl I can handle but not a million hooting and screeching and flying all over my head.
That is why I was standing outside the Owlery as I gave my letter to Cliodna, my owl.
The letter was a letter that I had been forced to write after Lucy, Rose, and I's run in with Ellie. I had also promised Lucy and Rose that I'd tell James after Charlie sent me what I needed.
The letter read:
I know you're not used to getting letters from me but this is urgent and a matter of complete secrecy.
I need you to do me a favor, a favor that Mum, Dad, Ethan, Mia, Aunt Emma, Uncle Rupert, and everyone else CANNOT know.
I need you to pick out a couple of pregnancy tests from a convenience story.
Don't just take one box where there are only one test in there. Get at least three boxes, please.
I really need you to help me this one time. Please don't let anyone know and DON'T tell Luke and your other frat friends, either.
Really, you owe me this favor too, with the flirting you were doing with the she-devil I hate on the Platform when you were seeing me off and with your very derogatory comment after she left us alone.
Either way, we can work out that part later. Just please get it to me ASAP.
I don't what you're doing or what time it is right now. There must be 24 hour convenience stores. Go get me at least three boxes of the most accurate one you can find.
Clio will stay with you and you can send back the boxes with her.
DON'T just give the boxes to her. Wrap the boxes in at least a package so no one can see what is inside before giving it to her.
Clio can get her own food but you should offer her water or something.
I will tell her to keep clear of you until you're alone because the questions can get awkward if your friends see her, though I'm fairly sure Luke has an inkling of Clio's existence.
Thanks for doing your only sister this one favor,
"Hey girl, can you give this letter to Charlie?" I murmured to Clio as she hooted to me in reassurance. "Make sure that he's alone before you give it to him, okay? His friends are Muggles so they're not going to be used to seeing a domesticated owl in broad daylight."
Clio hooted again and nipped my fingers playfully. I grinned at her and stroked her white feathers. She was such a gorgeous owl.
The first moment I stepped foot into Eeylops' Owl Emporium, I had spotted her out of the corner of my eyes and fell in love.
"Stay with Charlie until he gives you back a package, alright? I love you, girl," I said to her, lifting my arms so she can fly off.
She hooted one final time before taking flight, stretching her white wings and disappearing as a speck into the sky.
I was at dinner the next Tuesday when Clio came back with a fair sized package and a letter. I was surprised myself at how quickly Clio had flew back. Charlie must have actually immediately got the package, like I chided him to.
Everyone nearby looked in surprise because it wasn't time for mail but I ignored them as I grabbed some bacon from Al's plate and offered them to Clio.
Since getting pregnant, I hadn't been able to stand bacon, something I found upsetting because I loved my bacon.
"Why is your owl giving you a package?" Al asked curiously, reaching for the package.
"NO!" Lucy, Rose, and I shouted all at the same time, garnering the attention of half of the Great Hall.
I went red as I snatched the package away from Al and it put in front of Lucy, Rose and I for safety.
I ignored everyone's weird looks as I ripped open the letter and started reading silently to myself.
I hope you know your owl gave me a right scare. She's bloody loud as fuck and she nearly bit my hand off when she was trying to wake me up.
Tell her not to bite me ever again, my hands are still healing and THAT makes weird questions.
I really don't know WHY you need pregnancy test but I'm going to guess that either you or one of your friends is expecting in 9 months.
And sorry about what I said. I didn't mean that. Word vomit, if you know what I mean. Would it help if I told you that there's someone I'm seeing that I'm actually serious about?
Probably not, but there you go. She's actually the one who got the pregnancy tests, no questions asked when I turned up at her dorm room at 2 AM. She went inside the store while I just waited by the door for her.
I felt guilty, though, because I don’t want her making assumptions when it just might work out this time.
I hope it's okay that I told her it's either for you or your friends because contrary to what you might think, I actually fancy her this time.
I think I might bring Rachel 'round for Christmas.
You should feel lucky. No one in our family knows about Rachel just yet because I know that Mum and Dad won't believe me until they actually see her.
Ethan… well, he wouldn't believe me either though he'll pretend like he does.
And you know Mia. She'll probably say something rude to Rachel like she always does. Aunt Emma and Uncle Rupert will just think it's a huge practical joke.
This time, Rachel's not just some bird who is trying to leech money off us. I know that because she's Luke's cousin or something like that. They're related and that's actually how we met a couple years ago.
Anyways. Rachel also said that her older sister tried this brand when she got pregnant and it worked well for her so all reassurances there.
Don't worry I won't tell Ethan or the others, though I hope you know that if it's you that is needing the test, you won't be able to keep it from Ethan that long. That boy is too perceptive.
There was a couple of sentences were scratched out though I could just make out the words:
I'm glad you wrote to me because you never do. It's nice, writing to you, actually since we never talk during the school year.
His letter went on, saying:
Luke actually does know you have an owl, though he thinks is the coolest thing ever. He has no idea of your little secret so rest assured.
Ask Ethan for me how far along he got with your friend Lucy for me. And if he hasn't done anything yet, tell him to suck it up like a man and ask her out.
I had enough of this whining about this Lucy Weasley, whom I have met probably a grand total of two times from far away.
If I hadn't heard her name from you, I'd expect she actually doesn't exist, the way that Ethan goes on and on about her. She sounds like an angel, a badass, and a bloody hot model the way Ethan wanks off about her.
See you at Christmas, Bella. I hope you don't make me an uncle.
But if you will make me an uncle, then do me one favour in return for me getting these pregnancy test for you.
Let the guy know that you're pregnant, give him a good kick in the balls because Ethan won't be there to play the overprotective relative, and tell yourself that everything will be okay because it will be.
You're welcome, from your brother who is writing this at 3AM,
I had tears in my eyes by the end of this letter. Besides the fact that I've never seen Charlie write so much before in his life except for a school paper, I felt really touched.
Not only am I the first one to know that Charlie actually got himself a serious girlfriend, but he also apologized and put so much emotion into the letter that I know he wouldn't be able to show if I was actually standing in front of him.
Maybe there was much more to my brother than I originally thought.
"Bella! Are you okay?" Ethan asked, startled by my tears.
I just handed Lucy the letter as she read, Rose reading over her shoulders. I nodded, wiping the tears away from my eyes and grinned at all of them.
"Are… are you sure? I've never seen you cry over a letter before," Al said, glancing back and forth between me and his female cousins. He looked worried, though for good reason.
There was a pang of guiltiness that I hadn’t yet told Al; he should have been one of the first to know, seeing as he was one of my best friends but this was special circumstances.
I smiled at all of them, avoiding eyes with James because I know now that I have to tell him.
Suddenly, a part of Charlie's letter suddenly stood out to me and I looked at Ethan sternly.
"You told Charlie?" I said menacingly. The boys all seemed surprised by this sudden mood change but I ignored it. "I can't believe you whined to Charlie about a girl!"
I grabbed the letter from Lucy's hand suddenly, ignoring her protests and said, "Charlie said, 'She sounds like an angel, a badass, and a bloody hot model the way Ethan wanks off about her'. I can't believe you!"
I placed the letter down on top of the package and glared at Ethan. Lucy immediately grabbed it back as soon as I placed it down.
Ethan suddenly went beet red as James, Louis, Sam, and Albus roared with laughter.
"Bloody hell, mate. That's gold right there," James laughed so hard that some tears came into his eyes. "I love your cousin."
"He wants to know how far you've gone and Charlie said that if you haven't done anything yet, then suck it up like a man and ask her out," I said with an angry glare.
Ever since Lucy found out for sure that Ethan was indeed going with Jessica to Hogsmeade on Saturday, she's been acting odd whenever the subject of Ethan came up.
Rose and I secretly think that she likes him but just doesn't want to admit it.
Ethan glared at me and said, "Thanks for embarrassing me in front of everyone, Bella."
"Well you do it enough to me and you are acting like a wanker so there you go. Besides, Charlie said so," I shrugged nonchalantly.
"You couldn't have handed me the letter?" Ethan demanded.
I froze momentarily as an unbidden thought came into my mind.
I was going to eventually have to tell Ethan and my parents and it was not going to be pretty. I must have looked worried because all of them looked at me weirdly, except for Lucy and Rose who was still reading the letter intently.
"Are you okay, Bella?" Louis frowned while he messed up his hair in confusion. "You're acting really odd. First you don't eat your bacon then you eat an ungodly amount of food that can rival Uncle Ron and now you're having mood swings like Victoire when she was pregnant."