Chapter 27 : Confrontation
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Reason Number 1: James’ lease was running out. He thought it was for three years and got a notice a few weeks back saying it was only two. That was a bit of a nasty surprise.
Reason Number 2: If we did end up getting to stay in the apartment, we wouldn’t be able to make a new room by magic because it was a Muggle complex and that would be very hard to explain to the landlord if we did do that.
Not to mention, it might break the Statute.
So it was easier for everyone for us to find somewhere to live. We were hoping for a cheaper place, because we heard that babies could be quite expensive.
We looked around; any apartment with two rooms would be good enough. Ginny suggested getting a small house but we both didn’t like that idea. I didn’t like it because I would be the one who cleaned it and James didn’t like it because it would be expensive, even if we got it with rent. But we both agreed that maybe one day we’d try and get a house, especially when the baby was older. I couldn’t picture having a toddler in an apartment.
I felt like a real adult, talking to real estate agents and such. James had a bit of experience before (obviously because he already lived in an apartment) so he didn’t feel as awkward as I did. I felt so small when I was around them and they were talking about words that I’d never even heard of. I just smiled and nodded, going along with whatever James said.
It was boring, dead-boring, looking at apartments. It made my head hurt and I just wanted to sleep the whole time. I kept on looking though, because we really did need to move.
After about two weeks of searching, we found one that was quite nice, which was quite surprising. People were constantly saying how hard it was in ‘the market’ and that we shouldn’t keep our hopes up.
Well we proved them wrong, huh. It was a nice two apartment and it didn’t smell of tinned food.
Perhaps I should explain; most people trying to get rid of their apartments were old so all they ever ate was tinned food and it really made the apartment smell weird. I knew there were charms that could get rid of the smell, but I still didn’t like it.
We were looking around and then James started talking to the landlord and long story short, we got a new apartment.
We – and by we, I mean James – packed extremely quickly and I just did our laundry because I couldn’t bend down or reach up. The latter was because I was too short; the former was because I was too fat.
We told the landlord, Esteban – who was a very nice old man – that we’d move in as soon as possible and he was so excited he wanted to throw a party for us. Apparently with every person who moved in, he threw a party to welcome them and to get to know our future neighbours and if someone left he threw a goodbye party. Which was really sweet.
It was three days to Christmas by the time we actually got to move in. Which meant Blake’s wedding was tomorrow.
We learnt that our ‘party’ was going to be next year because everyone was just so busy at this time of the year, with family things. But he kept promising us that he would throw us one.
He was much nicer than our old one. We hardly ever saw her but when we did, she was always grumpy. On the first day we moved in, Ginny came over to help me with the cleaning when James went to work. I was really grateful, because even though I could use magic, it was really tiring.
“Thanks, Ginny,” I said gratefully. “It really means a lot to me.”
She reached over and patted my cheek. “It’s no problem, dear. You need me any time, give me a call. You know I’m more than happy to help.”
“Yeah, but I guess I feel bad,” I admitted. “You have your own work to do.”
She laughed. “Yes, but I can also call Kreacher if I can’t be bothered. And let me tell you, when I was pregnant, that elf was waiting on my hand and foot. Hermione wasn’t too happy at first, but then she got pregnant and realised how tough it was.” I laughed and she grinned at me. “So how are you holding up? Do you still have any morning sickness?”
I grimaced. “Sometimes. Mostly when there are eggs around. I was fine in the first and second trimester, but now I just look at them and feel ill. Other than that though, not really. I’m just so tired all the time but I have this incessant need to clean.”
Ginny laughed. “Oh yes, I got that too. Harry once found me at midnight on the nappy-changing table painting James’ room. We said we were going to finish later that day but I just couldn’t sleep knowing that it was unfinished.”
I wiped down the bench, laughing. “I don’t think I’m that bad yet,” I said. I didn’t say it to Ginny, but if I woke up in the middle of the night, it was generally because I was feeling… um, affectionate? James didn’t mind though, of course.
We talked for ages, and I told her all the weird experiences I’d been having. I also told her about the strange dreams, like last night I dreamt that Sherlock came over to my old apartment and found that I had left the baby there, along with Merlin. And John just sat in the corner sipping tea as Arthur tried taking the sword out of the microwave.
Of course, this may have been swayed due to the excessive Muggle television I’d been watching in the past few weeks. My Healers kept telling me to relax but if I sat around and did nothing, I got extremely bored.
So then I turned to Muggle television shows.
And it may have been the worst decision of my life.
After Ginny left, I decided to sit down and re-watch season one of Merlin.
You know, just so I could ruin myself even more.
I rolled over, snuggling up to James. It was freezing, and I knew I had to get up because it was Blake and Zoe’s wedding. I just didn’t want to because of a few reasons – mostly because James and the bed were both extremely warm. The baby kicked me sharply and I let out a gasp. Every day, it got stronger and my poor ribs were paying for it.
I closed my eyes and I felt a dull pain in my lower stomach. I shifted, trying to alleviate the pain but it didn’t work. I frowned; I’d gotten those pains a bit before but never this hard. It went away after a couple of seconds.
I wouldn’t have worried, because they usually went away. But this time it came back. I went to the bathroom, just to see if walking would do anything. It still hurt so I decided to wake James up in case something happened.
“James,” I whispered, poking him. “James, wake up.”
He pulled the quilt over his head and I rolled my eyes. I whipped the duvet off and said loudly, “James!”
He squinted at me and groaned. “James, something hurts.”
He sat up in a flash and hit my forehead with his forehead. “OW!” I gripped my head, and he kept apologising but I talked over him. “Now two things hurt. But – ow.” I held my stomach and looked at him. “Something isn’t right.”
James basically forced me through the fireplace (we “installed” it as soon as we moved in, as far as the Esteban was concerned, they were still working on it) and he was already talking to the Welcome Witch when I stumbled out.
“Reese, are you okay?” he asked, coming to my side. I nodded and he led me to a room where Healer Jones was waiting.
“Okay, let’s see what’s happening, huh?” She smiled at me and I explained what I felt. As I was talking, she was waving her wand around and listening to me intently.
After I’d finished, she was quiet. James said, “Well?” He had his arms folded, and looked really worried. I patted his hand softly, hoping everything was fine.
I looked at him and she just winked at me. “Nothing to worry about, just Braxton Hicks contractions, or ‘false labour.’”
I breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you so much,” I said gratefully. James looked relieved as well and I made to get up.
“Wait, wait, wait,” she said, waggling her finger at me. “You need to take it easy remember? I keep telling you this—” James looked at me and I sheepishly looked down to the ground, I hadn’t told him that so he wouldn’t fret. “—and now it’s even more important to listen, Reese. You have what? One month to go?”
I nodded. “Yeah, exactly a month.”
She looked at me seriously. “You need to take care of yourself. I know it would be a very stressful time, but take care of yourself, okay?” I nodded and then she turned to James. “Now, you. You need to be there for her all the time! Also, don’t argue with her—” James opened his mouth, to argue, but she steamrolled over him, “—and just do as she says. No buts,” she added at the look of his face, “if she says she wants a bacon and egg muffin from Uzbekistan, you get her a bacon and egg muffin from Uzbekistan.”
I laughed and James grinned at Healer Jones. “Yeah, I will.”
“Well, you better, because I will hear about it.” She grinned at the both of us. “And you guys can go now. Oh and also, one last thing. Don’t Floo when you’re in labour, it can do a bit of damage. You were lucky it was only a false alarm, but we don’t want another one.”
I nodded and then she finally let us leave. We decided to catch a taxi instead of flooing, just in case. “James, what’s the time?” I asked.
He looked at his watch. “Half ten, why?”
“Just making sure we won’t be late for Blake’s wedding,” I said, looking out the window. There was a tiny layer of snow, and everything was so dark. I wondered how we were going to survive in this freezing weather.
“Reese, er… I don’t think you should go…” James said unsurely.
I rolled my eyes. “Look, it’s my brother’s wedding. I’m going to go. I know Healer Jones said take it easy, but I’m not missing this. I’ll sit down most of the night, promise.”
I looked at him earnestly and he sighed. “Alright then, what time does it start?”
“One,” I said as the taxi dropped us off in front of our complex. I was so thankful that this apartment had an elevator. The last one had too many stairs for my liking. Even before I was the size of a whale, I absolutely hated the bloody stairs. James would just say that it was “for fitness”.
Pfft. Who needed to be fit? There wasn’t any fun in exercising.
We were sitting in the church and I had the henna decorated on my hands a few minutes prior to when we got here. I had found a witch that did it, and I made sure to get exactly what Zoe wanted. It didn’t take long and dried quickly.
I noticed an aunt was staring at me so I smiled and waved at her, and she gave me a quick smile before turning to my uncle, talking animatedly with a few not-so subtle points towards me. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. I turned to James and asked, “Do you want me to point out anyone?”
He shrugged. “If you want to, I don’t really mind. I feel like we’re not going to see them very often.” I glanced down at him, and he was in a gorgeous suit with a skinny tie. He looked great and I couldn’t stop staring at him. He noticed me staring earlier and started teasing me.
I laughed. “Yeah, you’re right about that. But I’ll point out people anyway. We’re only a small family, it’s Zoe’s side that’s huge.”
“I worked that out myself, funnily enough,” James said, grinning at me. I rolled my eyes at him and showed him my two aunts and uncles, and then my three cousins. Only one, Robbie, was married but I didn’t know who to. He got married when I was still in school. All I knew was that her name was Jessica.
James looked surprised. “Your whole family is less than half of mine. That’s so weird.”
I nodded. “Yeah, that’s why I was so terrified when I first met everyone. It was so different. And at those family gathering things, I was always the youngest so I was always cast aside. So it was so weird for me to be – not the oldest – but like…” I drifted off, struggling to say something.
“I get what you mean,” James said. He was about to say more, but then the bridal party started to come through.
All the groomsmen walked in, and Blake winked at me. I grinned at him and then Nate walked by, mouthing something.
I didn’t understand but then James whispered, “I think he just mouthed, ‘You look fat.’” I looked up at Nate and he laughed, waggling his eyebrows.
“I think you’re right,” I whispered back. Lauren turned around, ready to snap at me, before realising who I was. Her mouth dropped, and I gave her a tight smile. “Hey, Lauren.”
She closed her mouth. “Hi.” She turned back around and whispered loudly to the guy next to her, “And my family thought I was the one who was going to get knocked up. At least I was smart enough to use birth control.”
I closed my eyes and counted to ten. James gripped my hand comfortingly and I tried to push it to the back of my mind. My hand absentmindedly went to my stomach and then we had to stand up for the bridal party.
There were three bridesmaids, all dressed in a pale yellow, walking with lilies (Zoe finally decided on the flowers she wanted) and smiling at everyone. I noticed there were no girls from my side of the family. I felt kind of pleased, because everyone on my side was a complete bitch.
Then Zoe came out, arm looped in her father’s arm. I noticed he had tears in his eyes, and immediately, my own eyes watered. James looked bored, but then he noticed me subtly trying to wipe my eyes. He grinned at me but I ignored him. “Sap,” he breathed. I dug my elbow into him and grinned at him.
Zoe looked absolutely gorgeous. She had a gorgeous long sleeve lace dress, and her long hair had been curled down her back. There was a pale blue ribbon wrapped around her middle, and she was beaming at Blake. I turned to see him and he looked absolutely gobsmacked.
The ceremony didn’t last long, but throughout the whole thing I had tears in my eyes. I was so happy for my brother, and especially after going through all that crap with the planners, they deserved to be happy.
We were now sitting at a table at the reception. We were in a table full of unfamiliar people so I introduced myself. “Hi, I’m Reese,” I said, taking a sip of water, “and this is James.” I gestured to my right. James grinned at them.
“Nice to meet you, I’m Hiruni; and this is my brother, Dilan; sister, Anu; and my cousin, Indika,” she said, smiling at me. “So, how do you know the happy couple?”
“I’m Blake’s sister,” I said, “you?”
Dilan laughed. “Isn’t it obvious? We’re part of Zoe’s massive family.”
I nodded and grinned. “Yeah, but you could have just been family friends,” I pointed out.
“Point,” he said, shrugging. He turned to Indika and started to talk to him about something.
Anu asked me curiously, “Do you mind me asking about your baby?”
James looked at me and I shrugged. “Sure, why not?” The rest of the table groaned and Anu scowled at all of them. “Did I do something wrong?” I asked confusedly.
Hiruni rolled her eyes. “No, it’s just my sister is obsessed with babies. Zo knows that, she must have thought it was funny.”
“I am not obsessed! I just find them adorable!” she protested.
Indika snorted. “Anu, remember when you nearly went to jail because you—”
“Shut up,” she said, heat rising to her face. “Reese was it?” I nodded. “So when are you due?”
“Exactly a month from now,” I said, looking at James. He grinned and she clapped her hands together.
“Aw that’s so cute! Do you know what it’s going to be?”
I shook my head. James said, “Nah, we’re keeping it a surprise.”
She continued to ask questions, and I didn’t feel awkward or anything, because she was purely asking about the baby, not about our personal lives. It was a nice change.
Dilan then asked, “Do you mind me asking how old you are? Because you only look young.”
“I’m 18, James is 20.” I smiled, hoping they wouldn’t look appalled. I saw James raise his chin slightly, just waiting for them to say something. His expression basically said, I dare you.
I rested my hand on his thigh, silently warning him to be good. However, they didn’t care that we were young. Anu just said, “Well, good on you guys for giving it a shot. It must be tough with uni and school and stuff.” She smiled at me.
I shook my head. “Nah, I dropped out –” It was an easy excuse to why I wasn’t in school. As soon as I’d started Hogwarts, all I could think of was what I was going to tell my extended family when I left school. “– and James is already working, he didn’t go to uni.”
James nodded. “Yeah, I wasn’t very academic—” That was true. He generally scraped a pass, or failed by a mark or two; “—so I just work in my uncle’s shop.” We decided that would be the safest route, because James – although having quite a bit of knowledge of Muggle football – couldn’t pretend to be in a professional team; everyone would know he would be lying.
They nodded and I steered the conversation towards them, asking what they did for a living. We continued to talk, all throughout the meals and it was nice, they were really easy to talk to and all had a great sense of humour.
Just before the speeches, Nate came around and poked me in the shoulder. “Reese, how are you going?!”
“I’m great,” I said, giving him a hug, “what about you?” I looked up at him as he sat on the table.
“Being worked down to the bone.” He looked at James. “Ah, so this is James. You look like your dad.”
“I get that a lot,” James said, smiling tightly at him. I dug the heel of my ballet flat onto his toe.
Nate winked. “I’m sure you do. Anyway, I just came round to say hi—” A loud cough came from Hiruni and he rolled his eyes. “I see you people every day. I don’t need to say hi to you.”
Indika threw a bread roll at him. “Kinda slack, because we know all your secrets,” he said, tossing another bread roll in his hands.
Nate rolled his eyes. “And I know all yours. So shut it.” He grinned as he dodged another bread roll. James caught it reflexively and Nate whistled. “Pretty fast reflexes,” he commented.
James shrugged. “I’ve always liked sports.” I ate another bite to hide my grin. Nate then hopped off the table.
“Well, I’ll best be off then,” he said. “Nice to meet you, James; bye everyone.” He stole James’ beer and squeezed his shoulder a bit too flirty for James’ taste. He winked at me as he left to sit back at the front table and I just rolled my eyes at him.
James frowned and I saw the penny drop. I laughed and whispered in his ear, “I told you he wasn’t interested in me.”
James scratched his eyebrow and said, “Yeah, I’m going to get another drink. Anyone else want one?” They all said no and he left for the open bar, his ears quite red. I laughed and continued eating my dinner. I made everyone switch so I wouldn’t get the chicken but James couldn’t take it because he was allergic to parsley. So we did the traditional switching thing. I ended up with a vegetarian lasagne which was extremely delicious.
The speeches started and I looked towards the front. I saw my parents sitting at the ends, looking unpleasant as usual. My heart thudded loudly and I wondered if James could hear it as he took my hand comfortingly. One of Blake’s friends had made a slideshow of their two lives. It was funny but when we got to the family pictures of it, I realised I was in only one photo. I tried to not let it get to me, but I couldn’t help it. I knew it wasn’t Ash’s fault (Ash was Blake’s best man), but I had a feeling it was due to my mother.
After they finished all the speeches (which were both sweet and boring), Zoe and Blake danced their first dance. Slowly other people joined and I finally found it acceptable to use the loo. I quickly told James and got up to go to the bathroom. After I finished my business, I opened the door to find my mother walking in.
The tension in the room tightened and dully, I could feel the baby kicking me. I took a few deep breaths and said in a small voice, “Hi.”
She didn’t even so much glance at me. “Hello.” My stomach turned and I felt like I was going to be sick. She made to walk past me but I held my arm out, blocking her.
“Really? That’s all you have to say to me?!” I tried not to let my anger show.
“I don’t really have much to say to you, Larissa,” she said coldly.
I swore under my breath, and pulling out my wand, I locked the door. She jumped and looked at my wand warily. “What? Are you scared of a stick?” I snarled.
She pursed her lips and I said, “I don’t know what your problem is, Mum,” I spat the word as if it was poison, “but this is getting ridiculous. I’m not going to waste my time in pretending you might one day care about me, but I want to know how you can’t feel anything?! No remorse, no sadness, not even anger?!” My grip tightened on my wand.
She replied coldly, “I have nothing to say to you. You were always a disappointment to me.”
I snapped, “Do you even know what you made me do to myself?!” I quickly shoved my wand back in my bag and lifted up my floor length dress, showing a deep scar on the top of my thigh. I didn’t let the Healers get rid of that one. I wanted something to remind me to never fall on that bandwagon again. When James first asked about it, I lied and said a dog bit me when I was younger. Now, he knew the truth.
“This was the only one I kept. I tried killing myself when I was 15, Mum. I never got Blake to tell you guys because you would have just said I was a crazy freak. I spent about a month in the hospital. I take anti-depressants every day. Because of the way you treated me.”
She was still silent so I continued, “Tell me you don’t feel anything now.”
She shook her head imperceptibly and I let out a loud cry of frustration. I let my dress fall back to the floor and grabbed her bony wrist and forced it on my stomach, where the baby was kicking.
“Look me in the eyes and tell me you don’t have one tiny ounce of emotion!” I yelled at her. I could feel myself shaking and tried to be calm. Just this morning Healer Jones was telling me I needed to take it easy. I dropped her hand and she pulled it back towards her, as if she’d been burnt. I could tell that she didn’t give a damn, so I quickly unlocked the door and swung it open. My pulse was racing and I felt like I was short on breath.
“You’re a worthless human being and I never want to see you or Dad again. You’re just as bad as each other.” I looked her in the eyes. They were stony. “You disgust me.”
I strode out and took a deep breath. I blinked rapidly, trying to get the tears away. I walked back towards James and he noticed something was wrong immediately. “Are you okay?”
I shook my head. “No. We’ll say bye to Blake and Zoe, and then can we get going?” He nodded and got to his feet. I made my way to Blake and plastered a smile on my face. I wasn’t going to ruin his night.
“Blake!” I cried, hugging him tightly. He wrapped his arms around me and held me close to him. I didn’t want to let go. “Congratulations,” I mumbled into his shoulder.
He broke away from me and grinned at me. “Thanks, it couldn’t have happened without you, you know that?” I laughed and he said, “Seriously, Reese. Thank you all for your help. You were amazing.”
“No,” I protested but then Zoe came up next to Blake and agreed with him.
“He’s right! This wouldn’t have happened, and I can never thank you enough!” She moved Blake out the way and gave me a hug. “Are you leaving now?”
I nodded and Blake said, “Come on, it’s still early!”
“I’m really tired,” I said. “Sorry.”
He sighed and gave me another hug. “Fine. Take care of yourself?” I nodded and he gave me a kiss on the forehead. Zoe gave me a hug and told me that I could call either of them at any time.
I smiled and waved, and James quickly gave Blake a handshake before following me out. Nate was out the front, smoking.
“You know they could kill you,” I said. He turned around and stomped on his cigarette.
“Yes, they could, but it takes willpower to quit. And I can’t really be arsed. Where are you two going?”
“Home,” I said. He pouted and immediately I snapped, “Don’t do that to me! You know that I can’t handle it when you pout!” He perfected the puppy-dog look at a young age and I could never refuse him anything. He took full advantage of that.
He dropped it and grinned. “I know. But I need to see you more often, I miss you!” I nodded and gave him a hug.
“Of course. Bye then,” I said, stepping away from him. James gave him a handshake, and then he walked back inside. James got us a taxi and when we sat inside it, he immediately asked me what happened.
I told him the whole story, and I tried not to cry while telling it. It wasn’t going to do me any good.
It didn’t work, but James listened and that was all I really needed.
Merlin and Sherlock and their characters are not mine, they're BBC's (AND FULL OF EVIL).
Sherlock is made by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Merlin is made by Julian Jones, Jake Michie, Johnny Capps, Julian Murphy loosely based on the Arthurian legends
I own none of the above. :)
Thanks for reading, hope you all enjoy! :D
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