“Watch it, Fawcett!” scoffed a voice behind her, narrowly avoiding a collision between them as the brunette witch made a beeline for the lift.
It was not often that Priscilla Fawcett was this sloppy; her hair was falling around her face, the bag stuffed with loose papers was threatening to fall from her hands any minute and she stampeded along, her heels clattering against the Ministry floor.
On the whole, the last six years had been good to Priscilla. Her family name and her good marks in Hogwarts had landed her a high paying job in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and at last, she had a place to channel her shrieking, her hysterics and her deep love of breaking down other people’s doors.
She still had a few of her Hogwarts friends in London and she’d finally moved into a big house of her own with her boyfriend of seven years – Nicholas Corner.
She sighed as she crammed herself onto the lift, ignoring the disapproving looks the three other witches in the lift shot at her.
But a few months ago, everything had gone so horribly wrong. So, so, so horribly wrong. Life had skidded off the careful rails she’d built for it and was now speeding towards making her entire world a train wreck.
As she popped out of the lift and elbowed her way past the Ministry crowd, she stifled down the vomit that had been creeping up her throat. Feeling dizzy, she scrambled around herself for a moment; the world became a blur of colours and indiscernible noises. Somehow, she managed to wait her turn in line and climb onto a fireplace, coughing and praying she’d make it home in one piece.
“Priscilla? Is that you?”
She clambered out of the fireplace. “Who else would it be?” she snapped back, tossing her bag on the ground and running to the loo.
“I dunno, maybe I thought it was Bernard,” said Nicholas, popping out from around the corner, a pan in hand. He made a face when he saw her bent over the toilet. “Again?”
In response, she kicked the loo door shut.
When he heard the retching noises subside and the tap started running, he pried open the door. “That’s the third time this week. Are you sure you’re okay?”
It’d been something like the eighth. Of course, he didn’t know that she ran to the Ministry loos every morning. Already, the witches in her department had begun to send glowing beams her way. Every other time she ran for the loo, it’d be McKinnon saying, “Oh, it was bad for me the first time too!” or Folwell sharing how soothing some creams could be for swollen feet.
“It’s just stomach flu,” she’d barked back at them, stuffing her swollen feet back in high heels.
She emerged from the loo, closing the door around her. Her dark hair was loose now, tumbling around her pallid face. She blinked at Nicholas warningly, as if challenging him to say more.
“I still think you should see a Healer,” he said. “It’s been going on for a whole three weeks!”
It was wonderfully convenient how bloody dim Nicholas could be, Priscilla thought gratefully. If he’d had half the sense of Jordan or Potter, he’d have known a full month ago precisely what’d happened. Precisely why the thought of pancakes made her now want to vomit or why he’d found her downstairs at one in the morning, sitting alone and eating her third bowl of cornflakes sprinkled with pineapples.
But he was an artist and a bit of a thick one at that, so it made it all the more easy for her to pretend nothing was happening.
The big, grand manor Priscilla had built had seemed rather empty in the past few months after Trista had moved out, but never had Priscilla been more thankful that there was not a single female in her presence. Trista had stayed temporarily for a few months , flitting back and forth to Ireland before finding accommodations there. If she’d been here now, Priscilla knew how painfully obvious it would’ve been.
Lucy had known after the first two times she’d seen Priscilla running for the loo, of course. Even now, the memory traumatized her slightly.
Priscilla washed her face, hoping she looked presentable enough to slip back into Lucy’s dining room unnoticed. She looked up and her heart began beating wildly when she saw Lucy standing behind her, arms folded.
“How far along are you?” Lucy asked.
“I’m not – I don’t know what you’re talking about – just a flu – ”
“You’ve been saying that for the past two weeks,” said Lucy, looking unimpressed. “I know you must know what’s happened. You’re – ”
“Don’t,” Priscilla snarled aloud. She hadn’t voiced her greatest fear yet and she’d be damned if she let Lucy Weasley spell it out. Once the truth had been said, it would spill out, irrevocable, never to be hidden away in her mind.
Lucy’s expression softened. “So it’s like that. Have you told Nicholas?”
“That idiot?” said Priscilla, looking nervous. “No, I haven’t. Sometimes I get close, but I just can’t make myself. He’s so bloody stupid. He doesn’t realize at all. Just the other day, he told me he thought I might be gaining weight.” She gave a bitter laugh. “I’m only twenty-four, Weasley. I can’t. I just can’t. I’m too young.”
“But I’ve already got one,” said Lucy.
“But you’re you!” Priscilla barked. “You’ve been mothering me since I was eleven years old! But I can’t be someone’s mother! You know how I am! I can’t even keep a goldfish alive longer than a week. That owl my mum gave me ran off after a month. It’d be a miracle if I even managed to keep this – thing - alive for a year.”
“So what’re you going to do?” said Lucy, closing the loo door behind her and peering over her shoulder. She sat on the tiled ground, patting the space behind her, indicating Priscilla should join her.
Priscilla sank down despondently. “That’s it, though. I don’t know what to do. I haven’t told a soul yet.”
“How do you think Nicholas’ll take it?”
“I’ve got no bloody idea. We’ve never even talked about the possibility of – you know what. I suppose my father would be over the moon. He’s been on about seeing grandchildren before he dies off considering he’s already like eighty now. Even if it’s the spawn of Nicholas and not the Minister for Magic.”
Lucy put an arm around Priscilla’s shoulders. “Here’s what I think you should do. I think you need to calm down a bit. I’ve got some vitamins that I can recommend. Get loads of sleep and rest. And when you think you’re ready, tell Nicholas.”
After a long moment of silence, Priscilla looked at her. “I suppose I’ve got to tell him eventually.”
“Did you ever want children?” asked Lucy.
“I wanted them someday, I imagine. I’m not sure. I didn’t think about it much. I thought I’d have just one child when I was maybe thirty-five or something and my life was finally settled. I’d be married to a fabulously wealthy bloke and live in this wonderful house – ”
“Both of those things have already come true,” noted Lucy.
“ – and really be mentally ready. Do you know what I mean? I thought if I ever had one – which I didn’t know that I did – that I’d actually do it on purpose. Not like this.” Her face crumpled. “Not on accident and not breaking down over someone’s bathroom about it.”
“Are you going to keep it, then?” asked Lucy.
“Yes,” said Priscilla immediately. “I couldn’t just – you know. And my father’s wanted a grandchild anyway. Maybe I’d just have it in secret and ship it off to him when I’ve had it.”
“And then what? Never see it again?. And what about Nicholas? How on earth would you hide your pregnancy – ” the word earned her a glare from Priscilla, “ – from him? You live with him! And how do you imagine he’d feel knowing you hid his own child from him? Don’t you love him?”
“But we’re not ready!” wailed Priscilla. ”I’m already two and a half months along!”
Lucy’s eyes grew wide. “Are you? No wonder you’re not showing much.”
“It’s due in late December,” whispered Priscilla, mortified. “My life’s over in December, Weasley, it’ll be over if I don’t ship this off to my father!”
“At least tell Nicholas,” implored Lucy. “And if you really think your eighty year old father can raise a baby on his own in that big empty house of his all the way in France, then that’s just silly. But if Nicholas agrees, it’ll be your decision and I’ll never say another word on it again. But only do this if you’re absolutely sure you want to keep it.”
“No, I do want to keep it. But I don’t think I’m ready to have it,” Priscilla sniffed again.
“That’s why you’ve got your dad as an option,” said Lucy. She gave Priscilla a small, hesitant smile. “And for what it’s worth, Justin and I didn’t plan Ophelia either.”
Priscilla pulled away, surprise stamped on her face. “What?! Miss Manners had an unplanned child?”
Lucy’s face went wildly red. “Well, yes. We were both scared to death. It’s obviously not the same situation as yours, but you might surprise yourself.”
“I don’t think so,” said Priscilla resolutely.
Lucy sighed. “All right. It’s up to you. But please promise me you’ll at least tell Nicholas. It’d be wrong to hide something so important from him.”
During dinner, as Nicholas went on about his day in his portraiture studio, Priscilla mulled over precisely when to interrupt him with the news.
How on earth would she phrase it?
“Congratulations, we’re having a baby” hardly seemed her style. And to shout it joyously from the rooftops didn’t seem in the best taste considering her state of mind.
“And then I told Dominique that gits like that aren’t in anyone’s best interest. Nubia seemed to agree, I suppose. Can you imagine that? A Malfoy running after her?” Nicholas grinned at her, amused by whatever he’d been going on with.
Priscilla cleared her throat. “Yeah. Imagine.”
A twinkle in his eye, he went on, “Blokes like that are just full of trouble…”
Priscilla surveyed her boyfriend thoughtfully. If she was to be honest with herself, she wasn’t entirely afraid of having the child. The physical pain frightened her, but not enough to throw her off so much.
It was the thought that no matter what Lucy said, she thought that they simply weren’t ready. She wasn’t sure if she would be a good mother. She wasn’t sure if Nicholas would be a good father. And she wasn’t sure if she was ready for a lifetime of commitment with him, of inseparably being stuck together by this one enormous thing.
“Why did you ask me to move in with you?” Priscilla asked suddenly, interrupting him.
He paused. “That was sudden.”
“But why did you? I don’t think I ever asked you why.”
“You haven’t,” he said, a small smile slipping on his face. “I still remember how nervous I was to ask you and you just looked at me like I’d asked you the most stupid question on the planet. And then you kind of nodded at me. Of course, at the time, I was just sick of living with Desmond and Podmore in that dinky little flat. I just wanted a bigger place. And as you must recall, St. Clair moved in with us too in the beginning.”
She felt absurdly disappointed. So it was just about the big house.
“And you know, you’re right about how big it is.” He scoured around the room; the long mahogany dining table, the glass vases scattered about and the black marble everywhere gave it an old, grandiose atmosphere. “It’s a bit too big sometimes.”
“It’s built in the Fawcett style,” said Priscilla, glowering. “It’s a replica of an eighteenth century Fawcett chateau and I upgraded it a bit.”
“At least there was some noise about when St. Clair was here. Now it’s dead quiet when you’re gone.”
“Fine,” said Priscilla shrilly. “I’ll ask Trista to move back if you miss her so much. And maybe while I’m at it, I can ask June and Potter back in too! And I’ll drag Bates up from Tanzania if I’ve got to! And then everyone’ll be all together and I’ll never have to see you around again!”
Angrily, she stood up, letting her chair fall to the ground behind her, leaving Nicholas utterly confused behind her.
He found her in the kitchen, poking around the fridge for more pineapple. Holding a few dishes in one hand, he approached her tentatively. “All right. I’m sorry. I promise I am. What did I do this time?”
“Nothing,” she said, yanking out a box filled with pineapple. “Nothing at all! You’re just so bloody perfect!”
He sighed. “Come on, Priscilla. Tell me. The last thing I remember saying was about the house.”
“And speaking of the house,” she said, “I’ve had enough of you sponging off my generosity. If all you moved in with me for was free boarding, I’ve got half a mind to make you pay rent!”
“Free boarding,” he repeated incredulously. He laughed. “Is that what made you mad? You thought I was just using you? Love, do I need free boarding? You know I make my own money.”
“Still,” she said. “You couldn’t afford this in a lifetime!”
“Maybe,” he said. “But I’d never go using you for it. I moved in here because I could come home to you. I could see you more. So we wouldn’t have to schedule a date when we could meet.” He leaned in, pressing his lips against hers. “So I could do that whenever I wanted without worrying about Desmond or Podmore waltzing in.” He pulled away after a long moment.
She snaked her arms around his neck. “Good answer.”
“Right,” he said. “So. Are you going to tell me what’s been bugging you lately? You’ve just been…so odd.”
“Stomach flu,” she said immediately. Being as dim as he was, he seemed to believe it and he sat down.
She remembered June’s advice the night she’d barged into her house, half drunk with rage and self pity.
“Oh my god,” said June, looking terrified. “Oh my god, Priscilla. I can’t believe it.”
“How on earth do you think I feel?” asked Priscilla shrilly. “I’m – I can’t be. I think there’s been some sort of mistake. I’m going to buy another one of those muggle tests. I think it’s still a little early to tell. Maybe I’m just late.”
“Do you want to stick around? Albus’ll be home in an hour and I can have him inspect you, if you’d like.”
“As if I’d let Potter lay hand on me!” Priscilla began walking around June’s kitchen restlessly. “I don’t know what to do if it’s true! My life is over! I’m done for!” Writhing her hands together, she could feel small spasms shaking through her body. She sank into a chair, shaking. “I’ve got nothing I can do now! I might as well quit my job and move to the mountains and live there in banishment out of shame!”
Sniffing, she looked up at June. “Will you pray for me? Pray that I’m not expecting?”
June jumped off her seat with a start. “Calm down. Let me get you something to drink. I’ve got cocoa, coffee, tea – “
“No, no,” said Priscilla, springing up again and pacing the kitchen floor. “Give me something to throw, will you?”
June shook her head, yanking a kitchen knife out of Priscilla’s reach. “How’re you going to tell Nicholas?”
“I’m not,” said Priscilla. “Not in a million years.”
“But if you’re absolutely set on keeping it, you’ve got to tell him. It should be one way or another, shouldn’t it? You don’t have to deliver it, but now that you want to, you at least need to tell him. But, Priscilla, be gentle with him. He loves you so much. Tell him kindly. Don’t yell it at him like it’s his fault.”
“It is his fault,” she steamed. “The night it might’ve been conceived, it was entirely him goading me on!”
“Oh, I didn’t need to hear all that,” said June, looking disgusted. “Have you told Lucy? She’d know what to do.”
“She’s still in Finland or whatever, remember?” said Priscilla. “I – I haven’t got anyone! I’m all alone in this!” She looked around wildly. “I’ve got to throw something!”
She walked two paces and grabbed the nearest thing she saw; an old teapot adorned with petunias. Slinging back her arm, she hurtled it with all her force at a wall. She gave a loud “URGH!” of anger. The vase swept past into the living room and hit something there.
“Please, it’s not the end of the world. Calm down,” June begged. ”Everything’ll be okay. Have you told anybody else?”
“No.” She breathed in deeply. “No. I’ve heard Lucy got back yesterday. I’m thinking of telling her next week at Justin’s birthday party. She’ll know what to do.”
“Okay, good,” June said calmly. “Now, put down that encyclopedia. Albus actually likes that one.”
Priscilla looked at her hands. As if subconsciously, she’d been walking towards one of the bookshelves and had swiped a large book to toss next. Sighing, she set it down. Before she could voice anymore of her concerns, her fears, her regrets, her difficulties, there’d been a call of “June?” and Potter had come barging through into the kitchen.
And that had been that.
“Are you quite all right?” asked Nicholas, touching her forehead. “You’ve been looking off at the table for the last two minutes. And you’re burning hot. Let’s get you into bed.”
“No, no,” she said, swatting him away. I’ve got to do it now, she told herself, or I know I never will. She remembered Lucy’s words on honesty, June’s on being gentle. She breathed in. “Do you remember meeting my father?”
“How can I not?” asked Nicholas. “What’s gotten into you? What’s all this about your father now? Let’s get into bed.”
“Listen to me,” she said. “Do you remember meeting my family? Do you remember my mum? My aunt Lysandra? Do you remember Helen?”
“Hard to forget Helen considering she was our Head of House for seven whole years,” said Nicholas. “Her mum’s quite interesting. She went on about her collection of stuffed deer for fifteen minutes, didn’t she?”
“That’s the one,” said Priscilla. “What do you remember about my family?”
“Well…your aunts are nice, if a bit strange. That other aunt of yours – the one who ran off with that Italian bloke – seemed nice enough. And your cousin Cassandra was fit.”
“That’s it?” she asked irritably. “That’s all you have to say? That you ogled Cassandra?”
“Your dad didn’t like me much in the beginning, but I suppose he’s warmed up. Like a glacier that’s melted about a drop or two, but it’s something.”
“What about my mum?”
Nicholas put his arms around her. “I’ve only met her twice. You look like her. She’s always a bit distant, isn’t she? And you won’t say much about her...”
“I don,t” said Priscilla. “And what about my house?”
“Enormous,” said Nicholas. “The one I’ve seen in France, anyway. I’ve heard that castle your dad’s bought in Belgium’s even bigger.”
“It is,” said Priscilla. “We’ve got one more in Romania and one in Russia, I think.”
There was a pause.
“So,” ventured Nicholas, “is the interrogation session over?”
“No!” barked Priscilla, pushing him off. After a moment, she said, “I’m going to tell you some things. And you’d better listen.”
“I will,” he said patiently.
She hesitated. “Remember how I told you my family’s not the greatest?”
She stopped again, sighing. “I’ve got no idea where to start. My father’s Charles Fawcett.”
“I know that.”
“But he’s the Charles Fawcett. All the Fawcetts’ve been wealthy since the sixteenth century or so, but Father really made our family even wealthier. He was already married when he met my mum. He was fifty-three and she was twenty-four.” Priscilla leaned back, a bitter smile on her face. “Romantic, isn’t it? He was bored to death of his first wife and he’d just come abroad to France for a few weeks for work. And she was just this beautiful girl barely done with university, aspiring to be a singer. I think they met when she performed for him and his friends in one of those stuffy old socialite gatherings.”
“So they had an affair?” asked Nicholas. “Huh. Strange. How did they ever end up married?”
“Oh, they didn’t, not really,” said Priscilla. “He never thought more of it. Until he got a ring from her telling him she’d ended up pregnant. And then he left England and he moved to France and waited for me. And he’s stuck around in France since then. He may not have been a model husband. but he's been a good father to me. He's loved me and done the best he can for me.”
“But your mum?”
“Ooh, she only had me because she had to,” said Priscilla. “She knew having the child of such a rich man would mean she’d be looked after for life. And my dad had wanted a child for so long with his first wife and nothing had ever come of it. Anyway, she didn’t stick around long after I was born. When I was two or three years old, she took off to see the world. My dad paid her well to get her off our hands and she’s been traveling and singing and doing her own ridiculous things since then.”
“So she left?” said Nicholas. “And you’ve resented her for it since…”
Looking put out, she folded her arms. “The truth is, she could’ve stayed and been a real mum to me. Maybe we could’ve been a proper family. But I don’t really think she’s ever seen me as anything more than a meal ticket. Whenever she’s spent her allowance, she crawls back home and asks me to slip a word in to my father and then she’s gone again. And I’ve been raised in that big empty house since then.” She looked up at him dolefully. "You know, lots of people wonder why I got put into Hufflepuff instead of Ravenclaw or Slytherin. If you think about it, I'm not much of a fair player at all and I'm about the furthest thing from being a nice person. But if it's one thing I absolutely cannot stand, it's disloyalty. When I heard from Helen what Hufflepuff was like, I told that stupid old hat to put me there. Had a full blown argument with it, actually."
"You're a Hufflepuff if there ever was one," Nicholas assured her.
"That Hat almost didn't think so. And Father would've had me sent of to Beauxbatons if he'd had his way with it."
Nicholas thought perhaps that Priscilla appeared on edge, so he wrapped an arm around her and kissed her again.
“Back off,” she snapped. “I don’t need pity. I still had loads of governesses and the biggest house in the bloody world. I got everything I wanted if I asked for it. It was a dream childhood.”
“Was it? Is that why you seem so sad talking about it?” said Nicholas. “You know, my family’s rather well to do. Not anywhere as ridiculous as yours, of course. We’ve had a nice house, I’ve always had a big extended family. And my mum and dad aren’t much like yours. For one, my dad doesn’t give me anything I want. Actually, we’d get into huge arguments a lot when I was growing up because I’d always be up trying to sneak out and never studying much. And my mum’s the biggest nag you ever saw. She doesn’t give me two seconds alone when I’m home. She’s always smothering me and on about something or the other. But they’ve made me really happy.”
“Show off,” said Priscilla.
“What I mean is that now, they’ll do all those things for you too. They’ll be there for you if you need them. Nobody needs to be raised in a big empty house.”
He beamed down at Priscilla, expecting her to come sweeping into his arms. Instead, he drew back, aghast when she looked as though she would cry.
Pulling her arm back, she slapped him on the shoulder, a few tears slipping down. “I hate you for saying that! I hate you!”
“What?” he said, bewildered. “What’d I do?”
Inadvertently, he’d managed to pull back the memories of her lonely childhood back to her. How many times she’d been left alone, wishing she’d had company her own age to play with. A sinking feeling resurfaced. As she whacked Nicholas harder, crying more, it was a new realization. I could never sending another baby to live all alone with my father. I couldn’t do the same thing my mother did to me.
Finally, when she was done whacking him and he stood there, looking at a cross of bemused and lost for words, she sniffed and said, “I’ve got some news to tell you. You’d better sit down.”
“Finally,” he said, sitting in a chair. “I figured something must be wrong. You’ve been absolutely insane lately. First this, the crying, eating so much pineapple…I think I know what’s happening.”
“You do?” she asked, feeling more shocked than she had ever thought possible.
“Yeah,” said Nicholas. “You’ve been seeing too much of Albus Potter again. Look Priscilla, he’s with Bernard now – there’s just no way to avoid him, you might as well get used to him - ”
“Hang on, you think this’s because I’ve been seeing too much of Potter?” She laughed. “Now this I simply must hear. Why do you think Potter’s to blame?”
“Well, it’s happened before, hasn’t it?” said Nicholas. “I dunno. Remember Christmas three years back? You went and bought all that soap and took a bath for two hours because he fell on you. And last Easter, we spent a weekend with him and Bernard in Ireland and you tried pushing him off that cliff three separate times. Or that once time last July when you tried slipping in a whole vial of itching solution in his wine and I had to pretend to spill it on myself to make sure the poor bloke didn’t die.” He held up his hand. “Look, I know we’ve been having Bernard and Potter over for dinner lately, but I’m sure they’ll understand if we tell them we need time alone. Seeing too much of someone isn’t a good excuse to start making me buy so much pineapple or hit me.”
“Nicholas – “
“And I know you’ve said you think you’re allergic to him, but it just doesn’t seem possible – ”
“Nicholas – ”
“Already spent eight Galleons just this month on pineapples and I really can’t stand the smell anymore – and I’m starting to get suspicious that might be why you’ve vomiting so much these days - ”
“Corner!” Priscilla shrieked over him. “For once, my vomiting has absolutely nothing to do with Albus Potter!”
“Really?” he said. “So what’s all this about, then?”
Nicholas stared as Priscilla went a bright, tomato red. He’d rarely seen her blush and he already felt a weight settling in his stomach. “You’re not dying, are you?”
“No, no,” she said, looking quite speechless. “I’m…um. I - erm. We are going to scandalize your mother very much.”
“Well, you know. We’ve already done everything under the sun despite not being married or even engaged. And now we’re living together. And now I’m going to be doing something else.”
“What?” he asked cluelessly.
“Think about it, will you?” she steamed at him. “I’ve been vomiting, I’ve been having food cravings, I’ve been moody, I’ve – oh, you bloody twit, I’m pregnant!” Breathing deeply, she raged, “I’ve even got to spell it out so much for you!”
Nicholas blinked, looking frozen with shock. “You’re – you’re pregnant? How?”
“What do you mean ‘how?”
“No, I know how, I mean, er – but – ” He shook his head, still trying to process it. “You’re sure? Absolutely sure?”
He gave a huge, wide smile. “Pris, that’s great.” Standing up, he engulfed her in a hug. The pointed glare she’d been giving him disappeared.
She sighed under his arms. “You’re happy?”
“Of course I am! I’m thrilled! This’s great!”
“You don’t feel like we’re not ready?”
“I suppose we’ve got no idea what we’re doing,” said Nicholas, “you’re a bit of a lunatic and you know how I can be sometimes. But it’ll be loads of fun having a son or a daughter. What d’you think they’ll be like? You suppose we’ll have a girl who looks like you or a boy who looks like me? What House’ll they go to in Hogwarts? Better not be Slytherin, that’s all I can say. How far along are you?”
“Three and a half months, I think,” said Priscilla, smiling more.
He gave an excited sort of leap through the kitchen. “That’s brilliant! In six more months, we’ll have a little you or a little me scampering around!” He stopped and looked around. “It’ll be great, Pris! We’ll be up all night changing diapers, but it’ll be a brilliant new adventure.”
“You think it’ll like us? Our kid, I mean? You think it’ll like us? You don’t think it might hate me a little?”
“Of course not,” he gushed warmly, taking her hands, “it’ll love us. It’ll be a lunatic just like you and it’ll be the best lunatic the world ever saw. We’ll be a proper family, Pris. You kept going on about how much you didn’t like yours, now have a look at what’s happening. You’re going to have a brand new one and it’ll be wonderful.”
She stared at his hands enclosing her own and then at her stomach. “I suppose it might be fun.”
“Yeah, it will, it really will,” he assured her, before looking about. “But maybe we’ll need a place that’s a bit more hospitable, eh? No more ice sculptures and marble floors? Maybe some carpeting and some wood ought to do the trick. And some regular stairs too, not these fancy ones that go on forever. And maybe we could change up that room with all those portraits of your grandfather.”
“It’s family tradition, though.”
“But this’s going to be our home now, isn’t it? Let’s make it more like one and maybe less like your dad’s study.”
A small smile crept across her face. “Fine. The portraits are negotiable. The black marble bathtub in our bedroom stays. So does that collection of old violins.”
“Fine, fine,” he said dismissively, continuing to leap about. “Holy hell, now we’ll have to ring the whole entire world and tell them all. I’ll call my parents and you call your dad. I imagine he can write to your mum or we can tell her whenever she turns up next.”
He made a mad dash and appeared again, telephone in hand. “Then we should call Bernard, she ought to be thrilled. And Weasley, Jordan, and Podmore too. They’re all still in England, so it shouldn’t be too expensive. I’ve got no idea what Bates’s number in Tanzania is, though. I suppose I can just a letter and hope the magical post sorts it out. And we can ring up St. Clair in Ireland.”
Priscilla laughed as he began punching in numbers. When nobody on the other side picked up, he barked into the phone, “Mum! It’s me! It’s Nicholas! Priscilla’s pregnant! And it’s actually with my child too, so dad owes me ten Galleons! Er – call me back when you can.”
He hung up, looking energized. “Can’t believe she didn’t pick up the phone the one time I actually want to talk to her.”
Still bubbling with energy, he turned around and kissed Priscilla once more, a happy look settling into his face. “Can’t believe we’ll be a proper family now. Now I’m all grown up and settled – ” he broke off, eyes huge. He scoured around the kitchen, obviously looking for something. Finally, at a loss, he grabbed a clean spoon off the table and sunk to the floor.
Priscilla stared at him. “What the bloody hell are you doing? Cleaning the floor with a spoon?”
“No, no,” he said urgently. “I realized after all that I said about being a family, we’re not married. And we might as well be, Priscilla. I’ve known for ages I want to spend forever with you, but every time I get started on this topic, you try shutting me up.” He sank on one knee, holding the spoon aloft. “But I’m not shutting up this time. And even if it’s just with a spoon, it’s still something. Priscilla Marie Fawcett, will you marry me?”
She stared at him for a long moment and broke out in laughter. “You know, I expected someone to propose to me one day. And I’m from one of the richest families in Europe, so we always get huge diamonds. And now I’ve been proposed to with a spoon. I think I’ve seen everything.”
“I’m serious,” he said, flustered and sweating.
“You know I said I never want to get married,” she said. “I don’t believe in it as an institution. My mum and dad were technically married and look how far they went with it. And besides, I’m too young to be married. I refuse to take anyone else’s name.”
“Priscilla, please.” He waved the spoon at her. “For me. If you really love me. Please.”
“Urgh,” she said, rolling her eyes. She took the spoon from him with a, “Fine. I’ve accepted your proposal. We’ll get married someday.”
As Nicholas rose up in relief, she added, “Not someday soon, though! I’m too bloody young! Maybe when I’m forty!”
Author's Note: I actually updated on the dot! It's been exactly seven days! Huzzah! Anyways, now you all know precisely why Priscilla was acting up during the first chapter. Poor Albus waltzed in on a full scale mental breakdown, hysteria and all.
So I've always intended for Lucy to be the family type and Priscilla to more or less fall acicdentally fall into that way. I'd love to see your reactions to her pregnancy and whether or not you think she'll be a good mum. Plus Igot to add in backstory about her family! I've been wanting to do that for ages!
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