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Chapter 17 : Chapter Seventeen
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It had been a while since there was an article about me in the Muggle tabloids. Dad and Uncle Rupert may have been millionaires and the owners of their own company and all of that good stuff, but I wasn’t even as big as an ant compared to the Duchess of Cambridge.
Hell, I was no one compared to One Direction’s significant others, who garnered quite the attention at times, when half of them were ordinary women.
The point is, the Muggle tabloids infrequently took notice of me; I was not someone that was high up on their radar, but I had underestimated Dad and Uncle Rupert’s influence.
I had forgotten how my little girl not only changes lives of the most important family in the Wizarding community but also for my own Muggle family.
I had temporarily forgotten that this wasn’t a world full of only wizards. This was a world in which I was sort of a someone in the Muggle world, apparently.
The escalation of the news hit all over Britain, though Muggles resorted to rolling their eyes at the news that I was pregnant.
Wizarding folks, however, weren’t so complacent.
Isolation wasn’t something that I had chosen for myself; it was something that was forced out of me after the first unbearable day.
I couldn’t stand the looks that everyone gave me as I walked down the hall. The whispers, the snickers, the glares… it killed me.
Worst of all, James and Ethan had literally disappeared off the face of the planet.
Where was James when I needed him the most?
It didn’t help that Lucy was blowing up at everyone that came within a fifty mile radius, and it didn’t help that Rose had gone bat shit on Ruby and Sapphire (whoever said that Rose was the calm one was clearly mistaken). Lily’s betrayed expression as she exploded at Sapphire right outside the Entrance Hall was unbearable, and Grace’s bewilderedness only made everything worse.
I needed to avoid everyone, and studying was the perfect escape.
Hiding myself in the Library and the Kitchens was probably the best thing that ever happened to my academic career this school year.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so productive in terms of getting homework done than the times last year when all of us were studying vigorously for OWLs.
A week after I had isolated myself, my friends staged an intervention.
“Bella Arianna Hart, you cannot do this any longer.”
I blinked, looking up from my late Transfiguration essay and saw Rose, Lucy, Grace, and Lily standing there, stern and worried expressions alight their faces.
“You can’t hide yourself in the Library and never eat at the Great Hall,” Rose continued, her voice trembling slightly as she watched me. She must have noticed the hollowed areas on my face and the worn out expression in my eyes. “Bella, please.”
“Are you even feeding yourself properly?” Lucy demanded, folding her arms and looking annoyed. “You do know that you’ll hurt my future niece if you don’t-”
“PLEASE!” I cried, standing up abruptly and cutting off my oldest friends. Placing my hand over my belly protectively, I looked into their eyes and whispered, “Stop it. I’m fine.”
“No you clearly are not fine,” Lily said gently. She clearly has much more tact than her cousins. “I know it’s hard but that’s what we’re here for. You can’t isolate yourself like this. How much homework have you done so far? I know for a fact that you’ve been asking a Gryffindor first year to give all of the professors your homework and ask them for the next assignment.”
I didn’t want to question how Lily even knew that I had in fact been berating the frightened blonde first year I saw in the beginning of the year to turn in my homework and get new assignments for me.
She’d been nice enough, once she got over the fact that the infamous Bella Hart and a fellow Muggleborn was actually talking to her.
“It makes me feel better, Lily,” I sighed, sitting back down. I rubbed my belly as I twirled my quill around in my hand. It really was too bad that I couldn’t try Human Transfiguration on myself. It seemed interesting enough and quite useful.
I ignored my friends as the four of them sat down at my table, Lucy dragging over a nearby chair rather loudly, earning the glare of Madame Pince.
I picked up my wand and started waving it, practicing the wand movements as shown in my textbook. The only downside to not going to classes was that it meant far more work for me to do on my own; my own brain was no match for the professors’ lessons.
“Have you talked to James?” Rose interjected, cutting into my concentration.
I ignored her, trying to not let my eyes tear up too much at the fact that I hadn’t seen James for more than a solid week.
He obviously didn’t care enough about me, like I thought.
“I’m going to take your silence as a no, Bella. And can I just tell you that he’s torn up himself? You need to talk to him,” Rose rambled on, pulling my Charms homework over to her and looking it over.
As much as I loved Rose, I wished she would stop talking. She sometimes lacked tact when her sense of friendship came into conflict with it.
Lucy sighed loudly and moaned, “I don’t know why you won’t even talk to James when-”
“STOP IT!” I screeched, tears falling down uncomfortably. Several heads swirled towards our direction and no doubt Madam Pince would be trotting over here soon enough.
“Stop mentioning his name and stop talking about him,” I cried, no longer caring who was looking or what they thought. “Why would I want to see or talk to someone who clearly doesn’t care about me?!”
I shocked my friends into silence. Rose was confused, Lucy was furious, Lily was resigned, and Grace was unreadable.
Going on, I ranted, “Not only has he not bothered finding me, neither have any of you tried to talk to me before today. And, Ethan is probably still mad at me, Albus and Scorpius have been complete strangers, Louis and Hugo act like I’m some form of plague, bubotuber pus and howlers is the least of my worries when I receive mail, I’m failing all of my classes, I’m still disowned by my father, I might have ruined my brother’s only good relationship because of how much drama I caused at Christmas, and to top it all off, I’m gaining so much weight that I’m like a blown up whale.”
Without another word, I picked up my wand and fled from the library, leaving behind a gob smacked Rose, Lucy, Lily, and Grace.
“I. Do. Not. Care. Any. More.” Lucy gritted her teeth angrily. “This has gone way too far.”
Rose rolled her eyes but didn’t try stopping Lucy as she stormed towards the Gryffindor Tower. Grace, scared of Lucy’s temper, didn’t say anything. Only Lily alone cried out, “You can’t just make a scene in Gryffindor Tower. Imagine how much worse it’ll make Bella feel!”
Lucy ignored her little cousin as she growled, “Mandrakes,” to the Fat Lady.
As soon as the Fat Lady swung open, she roared angrily, “JAMES SIRIUS POTTER!”
Several Gryffindors jumped in fright. One fourth year cursed loudly as he spilled all of his ink onto his homework. All conversation quieted as they watched the unfolding of another chapter in Weasley and Potter Drama.
By the corner in front of the fireplace, James turned his head, looking surprised and tired.
His eyes had dark circles underneath, looking like he hadn’t gotten any sleep the past week. His messy black hair was messier than usual, and the Gryffindor Captain looked so worn out that even Pettigrew can steamroll over him in a duel.
Lucy, however, noticed none of this and didn’t bother to notice that Ethan had been sitting right next to James, talking to him like concerned friends just moments before.
“JAMES SIRIUS POTTER YOU DESPICABLE JERK!” Lucy screamed loudly, nearly knocking over several first years in her way.
Lily trailed behind, rolling her eyes and apologizing to the first years on Lucy’s behalf.
“HOW. DARE. YOU.” Lucy continued to scream as she picked out her wand. Her face was uncontrollably red, matching her hair. “HAVEN’T. EVEN. TALKED. TO. HER.”
“OKAY STOP!” James shouted, holding his hand up and looking confused. Sighing loudly, he asked, “What the hell are you talking about?”
“She’s talking about Bella, you know? Your girlfriend? The mother of your future daughter?” Rose said, putting her hand on Lucy’s arm before Lucy blasted James to smithereens.
“She doesn’t want anything to do with me,” James muttered before turning away, staring at the fireplace blankly. “Why do you care anyways? You all didn’t seem like you cared too much.”
“YOU!” Lucy screeched, picking up her wand again.
Before Lucy could mutter a curse at James, the least likely person intervened.
Hugo, irritated and annoyed, stood up and roared, “STOP IT!”
The chaos of Lucy yelling at James, Rose trying to calm Lucy down, Lily screaming at them all to stop, Louis and Ethan demanding to know what was going on, and Albus trying to get Sam to bring control to all of them stopped immediately.
A vague expression of pride crossed Rose’s face as Hugo, fists clenched and jaw tight, said, “This is getting ridiculous. We can’t be fighting against each other right now.”
Lucy started hotly, “Maybe if James-”
“Maybe if you let me finish,” Hugo interrupted angrily, “We can actually get somewhere.”
First turning to James, Hugo said, “Bella does not want you to stay away from her. I don’t know what bullshit you’ve been hearing from Madame Pince about her hiding from you, but I don’t know why you would listen to Madam Pince anyways. Don’t be a prat and assume that she hates you because of this mess.”
Next to James, Louis rolled his eyes. It would be like James to think that this entire thing was his fault and that Bella obviously hated him because it ruined her life.
Hugo turned to Lucy and said, “You have no right accusing James of anything because you haven’t heard his side of the story. Bella didn’t want to see anyone, and James is right when he said none of you had visited her.”
“And I think we can all establish that Smith and Woodley are complete bitches and Lily didn’t realize how horrible of a backstabber Woodley can be,” Hugo continued before anyone could throw out another accusation.
There was a moment of silence among the group. No one was quite sure what to say, until another unlikely person spoke up.
Grace, who had gone mute the entire week, piped up in a quiet voice, “Ethan? Have you made up with James? Is that why the both of you were gone that morning?”
James and Ethan glanced at each other, James giving Ethan the “you talk” look.
Sighing, Ethan ran his fingers through his hair. “Yes. The answer is yes, we had made up that morning. But no, we had made up the night before. That morning James and I had an interview.”
“Interview?” Lucy interrupted sharply until Louis shushed her, giving her a harsh glare.
“Yes, an interview. Mr. Wood and some of the people he works with were here giving James and I an interview on behalf of Puddlemere United,” Ethan explained, giving each of them a significant look.
“What?!” Lily shrieked. “PUDDLEMERE UNITED?!”
The heads in the Gryffindor Common Room that wasn’t already eavesdropping swiveled towards their direction.
Lily, paying no attention to them, said furiously, “James Sirius Potter, you need to tell us of these things!”
“I don’t know! I’m sorry!” James cried, waving his hands up in the air. “Ethan and I made up, I got an offer from Puddlemere, they say I have to give them an answer by the end of this week, Bella’s pissed at me because Madam Pince and Aquamarine said she didn’t want to see me, the media’s going crazy, and on top of that, I still have to study for NEWTs!”
“Wait. Wait a second. Aquamarine? As in Aquamarine Woodley?” Rose asked dangerously, her eyes flashing. She gritted her teeth, her hand reaching towards her wand.
“Aquamarine as in Olivia’s friend Aquamarine,” James clarified with an eye roll. “I have no words for her sister but Olivia said herself that Aquamarine wasn’t involved at all. And if I can’t trust Olivia, then who else can I trust?”
“Why would you trust Olivia?” Rose demanded, before turning to Sam and saying, “No offense. But Aquamarine could be lying to her.”
“It doesn’t matter,” James said firmly, his brown eyes fixed on Rose’s wand. “Hugo said. We can’t start pointing fingers. Olivia’s been a part of us for so long. We just never realized till this year.”
Lucy sighed loudly. She leaned back on the floor against Albus’s legs and said, “Well, hate to point it out but Bella said herself that she doesn’t think you care about her anymore because you haven’t gone to see her.”
“When did she say that?” James demanded, giving Sam a look.
Sam shrugged. “Hey mate, Olivia told me the same thing. She said Aquamarine told her that Bella told her specifically that she didn’t want to see you.”
“Why would Bella tell Aquamarine of all people?” Albus asked, speaking up for the first time. “It makes no bloody sense.”
“Because Aquamarine came with a peace offering yesterday, supposedly,” Sam said. “Olivia never mentioned what it was.”
“Can you ask her? Because no offense, but I just don’t trust anyone with the last name of Woodley or Smith,” Lily said angrily. “All of them are schemers and liars who betray people’s trust. They’re despicable.”
Grace made a small sound, but it went unnoticed because Rose replied to Lily, “True as that may be, we still can’t just sit here and let Bella think that none of us care for her, especially you, James. You need to tell her about Puddlemere and tell Puddlemere you’re going to take the position. Meanwhile, the rest of us will work out how to let Bella not be so stressed, starting with you, Ethan. Please go talk to her. I don’t think any of us can fix anything until you talk to her first.”
“After James and Ethan have talked to Bella, Albus, you go around and do damage control on Hogwarts students. Louis, go ask Ellie for help and make something happen so that Bella isn’t getting tormented by anonymous owls. Sam, go figure out what the deal is with Aquamarine and Olivia. Hugo, you’re going to have to ask our family for help about the media. Lily, make sure that Bella isn’t in need of any more appointments with her Healer. Grace, come with me and Lucy, and we’ll supervise and make sure that Bella isn’t feeling so alone,” Rose barked out orders to the entire group, none of whom were surprised at her leadership attitude.
There was another beat of silence until Grace asked, “What about Scorpius?”
Everyone seemed to have forgotten about Scorpius, despite the fact that his presence in the Gryffindor Common Room wasn’t that uncommon.
Rose hesitated. She hadn’t forgotten about her boyfriend. “I’ll fill Scorpius in on what happened. Leave Scorpius’s job up to me.”
“Scorpius, I need your help.”
Scorpius glanced up, surprised and bewildered. He knew that voice and it shouldn’t belong in his dorm room.
“Rose!” He exclaimed. “How’d you know the password?”
Rose rolled her eyes, and sat down on next to Scorpius on his bed. “I got a second year to tell me. It wasn’t that hard. I bribed him with some extra Honeydukes’ chocolate.”
Scorpius leaned over with a smirk. “Always know the ways to a man’s heart, don’t you?”
“Of course you would assume it’s a boy,” Rose scoffed, a small smile tugging at the edges of her lips. It had been far too long since a proper one on one time. “What if I told you it was a girl?”
“I’d tell you that you are just too smart for your own good,” Scorpius replied, his fingers drawing circles on Rose’s thighs.
Rose didn’t answer. Instead, she just scooted in closer and put both of her legs across Scorpius’s lap. “Maybe you’re just too sweet,” she murmured, playing with the edges of his robes.
“Maybe you want something,” Scorpius replied in a low voice, pulling Rose closer to him. “You hate coming to my room.”
“Who says I have to want something to come here?” Rose asked, faking an offended tone.
Scorpius didn’t reply; Rose stared at her boyfriend, wondering if there was ever a limit to how much he could surprise her with what he knew about her.
“Okay fine. I do want something, but it’s also been a while. I miss this.”
Scorpius smirked. “You mean you miss this?”
Without hesitation, he leaned in and gave Rose a very wet kiss on the lips.
After about ten minutes of Scorpius reminding Rose just what she had been forgetting in the business of their sixth year lives, Rose had to remind herself that she was here with a mission.
Pulling back, she breathed heavily, “Babe, I really need to ask you for a favor. It’s about Bella.”
Immediately, Scorpius straightened up and frowned. “Of course, I’ll do anything for Bella. What is it?”
Rose took a deep breath. This was what she loved about Scorpius. Sometimes, no one realized just how generous and heroic of a person he can be. “You know how your father and Bella had a weird relationship? Because he works with her dad in the Muggle world, but she’s still a Muggleborn and sometimes your dad struggles with that?”
“Yeah…” Scorpius replied slowly, sensing where this favor was going.
“It would be easier to just owl Bella’s brother or someone and ask them to smooth things over with her dad because Bella’s dad is still quite angry at her, but imagine how much more effective it would be if your dad did it,” Rose reasoned.
In Scorpius’s mind, he can see it.
His father was many things. He was a changed man, he was a war veteran (that can get controversial), he was essentially an economic and social philanthropist, he was a pureblood with a Death Eater mark on his left forearm, he had graciously told Scorpius he was happy about his relationship with Rose Weasley, and he was quite a serious man (unless the person he was talking to was his family and friends).
There was no doubt that Garret Hart would ease up if someone like Draco Malfoy put reason into his mind; if anything, Scorpius knew how much Garret Hart respected his father.
But Scorpius’s father hated involving personal feelings into work, and after all, Draco Malfoy and Garret Hart strictly met on business. Draco preferred not to dwell on the fact that he sometimes had lingering old prejudices that one of his business partner’s daughter was a Muggleborn witch.
It would be difficult, nearly impossible, to convince Draco Malfoy.
“Sure, Rosie. Anything for you and Bella,” Scorpius found himself replying.
A/N: Sorry this update took so long!
College has been ridiculously busy.
What did you all think about Bella and the girls?
Draco Malfoy? Rose's plan?
I love all of the reviews you guys leave me (:
They are chocolate to my soul.
(btw, do you like the new banner? :D)
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