“D’you wanna go out for lunch?” James asked me, staring into the empty pantry.
I shrugged. “Sure, why not?” He grinned at me and I pulled myself off the couch. I had gotten so much larger in the past few weeks and although it was probably the least stressful part (I mean, I had stopped peeing every five seconds and I only threw up if someone shoved fish right under my nose so that bit was okay) and I could still walk without waddling. Although it had been getting harder and I was struggling a tiny bit.
And I had just entered the third trimester which was just a teensy bit terrifying.
Okay, it was so fucking scary that I could hardly comprehend it. I was about 28 weeks and although that doesn’t sound very far along but in a mere twelve weeks I would have a child. Like, a living and breathing and eating and pooping baby that I would have to watch 24/7.
Not terrifying at all.
So James and I walked to a wizarding restaurant and ordered our food before I said the thing that had been on my mind for weeks. “James, should we start thinking of names?”
He looked at me in surprise. “I completely forgot about that. I’ve just been so focused on you being pregnant; I think I forgot what comes after it.” He laughed and I grinned at him.
“Well the thing that comes after it is a pretty life-changing thing. You can’t really ‘forget’ about it.”
“I might want to,” he said lightly.
I narrowed my eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?!”
His eyes widened. “Nothing! I was just trying to make a joke.” I glared at him and he sighed. “Reese, it honestly meant nothing. Okay?”
I nodded but before I could say anything, a waiter came to our table, asking brightly, “Did you guys want to order now?”
I smiled at him and said, “Yes please, I’ll have a Caesar salad thanks.”
He beamed at me and said, “It’s absolutely delicious! Good choice!” He scribbled down the order and asked James, “And you? What did you want to eat?”
“Uhm, I’ll just have a burger thanks,” he mumbled.
The guy beamed at him and recited our orders and then he looked at James. “You look awfully familiar. Do I know you?”
James winked at me and I looked at him confusedly. He then turned to the guy and asked seriously, “Do you watch porn?”
I clapped a hand to my mouth, trying to stifle my laughter as the poor guy went bright red. Then James started laughing, “Nah. I’m just messing with you. I play for the Chudley Cannons.”
“Ah! You’re James Potter! And is this your girlfriend?” he asked, putting a hand on my shoulder.
“Yeah I am,” I said, feeling embarrassed.
He said, “Well aren’t you pretty?! If I wasn’t married I’d snatch you up in an instant!” He laughed and turned to James, “Hold on to her tight! You don’t want this one to go missing!” He winked and said, “I’ll give your orders to the chef. It shouldn’t take too long.” He walked off and James looked at me with a grin.
“I thought he was gay,” James said, laughing.
I grinned and then asked, “Do you usually say things like that if people don’t recognise you at first?”
He grinned. “Well, I change it every now and then. It gets fun. Al and I had competitions who could come up with the weirdest ones.”
“Who won?” I asked curiously.
He grunted, “Al. I keep trying to think of a new one but I can’t beat it.”
I stared at him for a bit and when he didn’t say anything, I asked, “Well what was it then?”
“He convinced someone that he was the ghost of their son and that only they could see him. It was pretty good; it lasted for about ten minutes as he spouted some crap about how life was in Heaven. Then Mum came and ruined it, the people were so embarrassed.” He laughed and I shook my head, but I was still laughing.
He was about to say something but our food arrived. We thanked the waiter and started eating. He was definitely right, the salad was delicious. James and I didn’t really talk as we ate, but I was aware of someone watching us.
I tried to look behind me surreptitiously and met a girl’s eyes. She quickly looked down at her soup, looking far away from me. She looked oddly familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I finally finished my salad and then rested my hands on my stomach, feeling the baby kick. I watched James finish his burger and then he asked, “Do you wanna get out of here?”
I nodded and pulled myself out of the chair. James left a couple of galleons on the table and we walked out together. He held the door open for me and when I walked out I was blinded by the glare. I raised my hands over my eyes and James laughed.
“What are you laughing at?” I grumbled.
“You. You have one eye closed and the other half-closed with your nose scrunched up.” He gave me a grin and I scowled at him. “Come on, Reese. You still look beautiful.”
I grinned. “That’s better.” He pulled me in close for a kiss and I grinned against his lips. “I love you.”
“Love you, too. Now let’s go home.”
I nodded and pulled away but held onto his hand. I then asked, “So, James, should we start thinking of names or something soon?”
“Oh, yeah. Sure. Er, how will we do it?” he asked, looking at me.
I shrugged. “Compose a list of all the names you like – for both boys and girls – and then we go through them all together?” I asked.
“Sounds good.” He opened the door of the building for me and then pressed the button for the elevator.
We waited for the elevator and then just as the doors opened, we heard a squeal, “JAMES!”
We both turned around and saw Roxy running towards us. She gripped James in a bear-hug and said, “My coach just told me the good news! You’re gonna be a Tornado!” He laughed and hugged her back.
“I know! Finally, right?! But let’s get in the elevator before it closes,” he said just as the elevator doors closed.
Roxy laughed. “Oops?”
“I have a list,” I announced a few days later. “Did you want to read mine and I’ll read yours?” I asked James.
He looked at me blankly and I clarified, “Names? You know, for our unborn child?”
“Ah yes.” He nodded in understanding. “I’ll get it now.”
I smiled at him and settled in the couch, rubbing my belly. He came out from the bedroom and gave me his parchment while I gave him mine. He settled himself opposite me and had a quill to scratch out the bad choices.
I started reading and crossed off the ones I didn’t like. I put a star next to the ones that I really liked and then just left the okay-ish ones plain. After a few minutes James looked at me expectantly and asked, “Have you finished?”
I snorted and muttered, “That’s what she said. But yeah, I have.” We switched back and I looked down at the ones he’d crossed out. “Why’d you cross out Tamara?” I asked.
He made a face. “I don’t really like that name. How come you crossed off Scott?”
This time it was me who made a face. “Well, it doesn’t really go with Potter, does it?”
James’ jaw dropped. “What? The kid’s gonna have my last name?” he asked incredulously.
I smiled. “Of course. Rizzo is a shitty last name, isn’t it?” He beamed at me and I was so glad that it made him happy. I was a lot to handle, and I knew that, but I just wanted some way of repaying him.
Obviously this wasn’t all of the repayment, but it was a start.
He said, “Reese, are you sure?”
I nodded. “Of course I’m sure. I want our kid to have your last name.”
“Thank you,” he said gratefully. He came around and kissed me, tangling his fingers in my hair. I responded enthusiastically and soon enough, my chipped varnish was purple again.
I was lying in the bed as I read the revised version of James and I’s name list.
Brandon – boy
Arianne – girl
Andrew – boy
Kaitlyn – girl
Zara – girl
Alex – boy
Mason – boy
Hayden – boy
Skyla – girl
Luke – boy
Sasha – girl
Sydnee – girl
Jasper – boy
Ryan – boy
Lena – girl
I stared at them for a while but none of them really called out to me. I liked Ryan as a boy name and I was ninety-four per cent sure that if I was to have a boy I’d call him Ryan.
Zara was quite nice but once I had said it a few times I got sick of it. I said each name a few times, for both boys and girls.
I decided definitely on Ryan, but I wasn’t too sure for the girls. I said them a few times until one caught my eye.
Yes. Sasha for a girl and Ryan for a boy. Those names were perfect. Sasha Potter, Ryan Potter – it was a perfect fit.
“James!” I yelped. He came running in with wide eyes.
“What?!” he asked worriedly, rushing to my side.
“I’ve found the perfect names!”
He visibly relaxed and sighed. “What are they then?”
I grinned and said, “For the boy, Ryan.” I watched James think it over and then he smiled.
“Yeah, that has a nice ring to it. What about the girl name?”
I could barely contain my excitement. “Sasha!”
He grinned and said, “That was one of my names! It was one of my favourites as well, you really like it?” I nodded and crawled over to give him a hug.
“Definitely. But you definitely like those names?” I asked. He nodded and I relaxed, leaning back. “That’s good then, we’ll decide middle names later?”
“Yeah, sure whatever you want,” he said, going back to the bathroom. “Can I have my shower now?” I nodded and he gave me a quick kiss before ducking out of the room.
I was thinking we should give the middle name from someone we know. My first thought was Ginny and Harry of course, because they had done so much for me.
But Ryan Harry Potter didn’t sound good at all. Sasha Ginevra Potter sounded okay. Unless the kid didn’t have a middle name. I mean, was it really necessary?
I guess I should talk to James about it, considering he’s the father. I looked at the list again and thought about middle names.
Ryan Brandon Potter, Ryan Andrew Potter, Ryan Alex Potter, Ryan Mason Potter, Ryan Hayden Potter, Ryan Luke Potter, Ryan Jasper Potter, Sasha Arianne Potter, Sasha Kaitlyn Potter, Sasha Zara Potter, Sasha Skyla Potter, Sasha Sydnee Potter, Sasha Lena Potter.
They all sucked. I think if it was a girl, Sasha Ginevra Potter would be nice. It had a nice ring to it. Ryan Harrison Potter sounded pretty good as well, and it was kind of like Harry.
I was thinking about it when my phone rang. I picked it up and looked at the screen where Blake’s name was flashing.
“Hey,” I said, putting the list aside. “What’s up?”
“Erm, quite a big thing actually. You know how our wedding is on the 23rd?” he said, frustratedly.
“Well, yes.” I’d gone flower shopping with Zoe a few weeks back and she was practically peeing her pants from excitement and nerves.
He huffed. “Well the fuckers have organised it for the 23rd of December, not November.”
“WHAT?!” I shrieked, “That’s Christmas Eve Eve!”
“I know! Zoe was furious, she yelled at the girl for three hours straight. So it’s this big dramatic thing and they can’t change it so it’s going to be in December.”
My jaw dropped and I said, “Blake, if it’s going to be in December –”
He cut me off, “I know, I know. You won’t be able to be a bridesmaid. I told Zoe that and she had a back-up cousin so now she’s going to be a bridesmaid. But look, I really have to go and I need to see you soon. I haven’t seen you in weeks.”
“Okay then, I’ll come over in a few days or something. I’ll help you organise everything if you want, I just sit at home doing nothing, I may as well at least do something,” I offered.
“Really?” he asked hesitantly, “That would be great, Larry. Do you want to come round tomorrow?”
“Yeah, sure. See you soon!”
“Thanks, I’ll see you tomorrow then. Come whatever time.” Then he clicked off and I looked at the phone in shock.
Well, that was unexpected.
See this is why people should never get married; people get stressed and yell at other people for three hours straight.
I sighed and went back to the list. Ryan Harrison Potter sounded okay-ish. But Sasha Ginevra Potter could be the perfect name.
I really hope James likes those names. But I think he would because it was after his parents. And people hardly use middle names anymore. It just made it look more posh.
Lionel came running up to me and then he jumped up, snuggling up against me. I pat his fur, closing my eyes. I just wanted a nap; I didn’t want to do anything.
I closed my eyes and then I heard a knock at the door. James was still in the shower so it would have to be me who got up. I grumbled and heaved myself off the bed, walking towards the door.
I opened the door and stared at the man in front of the door. He had receding brown-grey hair, a bit of stubble, green eyes, those faded blue jumpers that all old men have and dark jeans with sneakers.
The man smiled nervously and said, “Hey Larry.”
It was my father.