Chapter 28 : Faith
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I ended up having to get out because Lionel was meowing loudly by his empty bowl. I sighed and flicked my wand to pour the small little biscuit things out. James walked out soon after and helped himself to a bit of my toast.
“Morning,” he said, extremely cheerful.
“Morning,” I replied, moving my plate away from his hands. “Get your own,” I said, smacking his hands away.
He laughed and said, “Yes, I could do that but I could also not do that.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “Are you drunk?”
“No!” He laughed. “I’m just in a really good mood. It’s Christmas tomorrow!”
I yawned and nodded. “That it is.” I finally understood why James was in such a good mood. He absolutely loved Christmas. I remember once at school he had a massive countdown for it. The whole Weasley family was enthusiastic about it but he and Hugo were probably the most enthusiastic. They both went crazy over it.
Me? I wasn’t really that much of a fan. Yeah, it was Christmas – a time for family and all that but my Christmases usually sucked. We would go to our grandparents’ house, have lunch and then go to a church.
I think my parents hoped I would catch on fire if I stepped in the church or something. I don’t know why, but they were always harping on me to go to church. As if being a witch could stop someone’s religious beliefs and by me going to church I would keep being religious. Not that it worked.
It wasn’t being a witch that stopped my faith in religion; it was my parents. I still had a tiny bit of faith but when I was younger I was really religious. I used to always wear a cross and I would pray before bed. I just grew out of it eventually, because I felt so alone and all my faith in everything slowly dwindled. I grew out of not having faith in anything, but I still have never really returned to religion. But even though both my parents are really religious, they were fine with Blake converting to Buddhism. He was old enough to make his own choices and he was doing it for Zoe. I think I would have been in the same boat if I wanted to convert, but they probably would have cared less because they cared less about me in general. I didn’t care though; I wasn’t ever going to see them again anyway.
“You okay?” James asked, waving a hand in front of my face.
I broke out of my reverie. “Yeah, sorry. Just thinking.”
“About?” he prompted, making himself some sausages. “Want some?”
“No thanks.” I shook my head. “Religion and stuff,” I answered his first question.
“Ah,” he said, nodding. It was quiet beside the sizzling sausages and Lionel’s chewing. “About that actually…” he said slowly. “What are we going to do for the baby’s religion?”
I shrugged. “I actually don’t mind. Whatever you want, because I’m not a really big believer,” I said, munching on my breakfast.
“Really?” he asked, looking shocked. I nodded and he said, “Well it’s not like we go to church every Sunday but… I don’t know, I still consider myself as a Christian.” I nodded and he continued, “And although we haven’t really talked about it, if we’re going to give the kid godparents, it needs to be christened, doesn’t it?”
I nodded. “Yeah, I guess it does… I didn’t think of that. So what would we christen it?” James looked uncomfortable so I said, “James, it’s okay. Whatever religion you want the baby to be, it’ll be. I’m really not that religious, even though I was born Catholic. I’m not going to cause a fuss over it. It’s clearly important to you and I want you to be happy with the decision we make.”
He relaxed. “Okay then. Well, I guess you would say I’m Anglican, so it wouldn’t matter to you if we made it Anglican?”
I shook my head and got up to wrap my arms around him. “No, that’s what you want. Do we have any idea who’s going to be the godfather? I think you can pick that because I didn’t even ask you for the godmother.”
“Yeah, but you had a good reason,” James pointed out.
I shrugged. “It still wasn’t very nice of me to do that. So you can pick the godfather. Do you know what we’re doing today?” I asked.
He shook his head. “Nup. And, um, did we get Christmas presents already?”
I laughed. “Yes, James. ‘We’ bought them three weeks ago in Muggle London.”
He grinned at me. “And have ‘we’ wrapped them?”
I nodded. “We have wrapped them.”
“We’re the best,” he said, giving me a quick kiss. I laughed but before I could say anything, someone knocked on the door.
“I’ll get it,” I offered. He returned to his breakfast (even though it was nearly midday) and I waddled to the door. I swung it open and saw the whole Potter family, sans James and Lily.
So Al, Harry and Ginny.
“Hello,” I said in surprise.
“Hi, why aren’t you ready?” Ginny asked. I heard James choke in the background.
“Ready for what?” I asked slowly. “Do you want to come in?”
Harry sighed and Ginny snapped, “James!”
“I forgot!” he said, coming to rescue me. Al laughed. Harry rolled his eyes. Ginny glared at him. “I swear, I forgot. Me and Reese –”
“Reese and I,” Al interjected.
James ignored him. “– will get ready right now. Five minutes, I swear.”
“Wait, what’s going on?!” I asked confusedly, looking at the Potters surrounding me.
Harry laughed. “We usually go to my cousin’s place every Christmas Eve right after we pick up the kids from the station. He lives quite close and we have lunch together. It seems that James ‘forgot.’”
“Oi! I did forget!” he said.
Ginny rolled her eyes and gave her eldest son a small smack. “You did not. You’ve done this for twenty years, now go get ready.” She turned to me. “Sorry, you don’t really have a choice right now but you’re coming with us.”
I laughed. “No, it’s okay. I’ll just go get changed right now. Help yourself to some tea or something.”
I walked to the bedroom where James was tugging on a pair of jeans and a button down shirt. “Did you really forget?” I asked, walking in and grabbing a black and white maxi dress.
“Yes!” he said, looking at me in earnest. I gave him a look and he said, “I swear. I’ve just had a lot on my mind recently.”
I laughed and gestured for him to zip me up. He obliged, moving my hair out of the way. “Okay, I believe you. I’ll just brush my teeth and we’ll get going. Can you get my coat, please?”
He nodded and ran a hand through his hair. It didn’t flatten it but just made it stick up even more. I wanted to pat it down but then decided Ginny would probably fix it.
After I brushed my teeth, I walked out to see Al holding Lionel up and hissing at him. Lionel would hiss at Al and then Al would hiss in return. He laughed and hissed in his face again.
After Al hissed at Lionel one last time (although Lionel slouched away, hissing and spitting, his fur spiking up), we left for Kings Cross and waited for Lily. The students generally arrived at one and by the time we got there it was quarter to. There were a few parents bunched around and we met with Ron and Audrey. Hermione and Percy were working to the last minute for some other thing. Harry and Ron talked about it while Audrey and Ginny talked about the events for tomorrow.
Al and James were filling me in on what their cousin was like. “His name is Edmund and if he’s really rude to you, don’t worry about it. He’s –” Al paused. “Mum, how old is Edmund?”
Ginny opened her mouth to answer and then frowned. She turned to Harry. “Harry, how old is Edmund?”
Harry thought about it. Ron laughed at him. “I think he’s fifteen… Maybe sixteen?”
Al shrugged and thanked him. James continued Al’s earlier sentence. “So yeah, he’s kind of a git but he warms up eventually. I think we just intimidate him. He absolutely hates Lily though.”
“Why?” I asked, shocked. How could someone hate Lily?
Al snorted. “She riles him up. Last year she threw a bunch of turkey at him. Ah, good times.”
I laughed. “Really?”
James nodded. “Yeah.” He grinned. “When we were little, they were always thrown together – because they’re the same age – and he used to bully her because he was bigger than her. Now that she’s got magic, he isn’t as confident.”
“Also because we threaten him if he even tries to insult her a tiny bit,” Al added. He cracked his knuckles absentmindedly.
I rolled my eyes. I was about to say something and then the train came. James and Al both perked up excitedly. Even though they always insulted each other and argued all the time, they really loved each other. I could tell (even though neither ever said it) they both missed her a lot.
It was so sweet.
A whole bunch of kids came pouring out, running to their families. It wasn’t as much as the end of the year, but it was still a whole lot. We waited and slowly they all came. Lucy and Molly came first, both in an extremely good mood. Which was odd for Molly, but she seemed a lot happier. Lucy gave me a big hug and Molly just smiled at me. I smiled back at her and asked her how the year had been so far and she replied happily. I was pleased to see that she wasn’t snappy and she was willing to talk to me. She used to purposely get on my nerves, but I put it aside and chatted to her easily, waiting for Lily and Hugo.
The finally came and Lily nearly jumped in Ginny’s arms. Hugo just gave Ron a handshake, because he was too old for hugs.
Pish posh. People are never too old for hugs.
After Lily hugged everyone waiting for her, she beamed at me widely. “Reese! Look at how fat you are! Oh my God! You weren’t kidding about being the size of a whale!”
“Thanks,” I said sarcastically. I’d missed Lily, even though she popped up in the apartment piss-drunk.
She gave me a hug and pressed her hand to my stomach, feeling the baby kick. She squealed and said, “That’s so cool! It’s definitely gotten a lot stronger!”
“You’re telling me,” I said, laughing.
“Anyway, we best be off,” Ginny said, “We’ll see everyone tomorrow. Bye!” Everyone waved to us and we made our way to the car. Harry threw Lily’s trunk in the boot and we all shuffled in the backseat. Al sat up the front with Harry and Ginny, because he was the ‘tallest’. He was taller than James by only one centimetre, I think. It was barely noticeable but Al never let it go.
Lily sat in the middle and talked animatedly about what had happened at Hogwarts. I found myself really missing it but I listened to it anyway.
“Oh, and Lysander and I broke up,” she said nonchalantly. “So yeah, we had a detention with –” she continued her earlier story.
“What?” Ginny turned around and looked at Lily. “You never mentioned that to me in any of your letters?”
“That’s because it happened three days ago if you were listening to the story, but it’s okay. We’re just going to be friends. We basically were anyway, it wasn’t ever really romantic.” She grinned at her mum.
“Well, if you’re fine with it…” Ginny said, looking amused. “Carry on with your story, then.”
Lily laughed and whispered to me, “The break up sex was amazing though.”
I choked and tried to hide it with a laugh. I saw James look at me oddly but I avoided his eye. Lily just nudged me and continued her story.
I folded my hands over my stomach, feeling the baby kick. Lily asked me, “Is it kicking?”
I nodded. “Yeah, do you want –” Lily didn’t wait for the rest of my question and felt my stomach up. I laughed and she was beaming.
“That’s so cool,” she said in awe.
“I know, right?” James said, grinning at me. I blinked and saw the two Potters grinning at me. They looked exactly alike right then. Just put a red wig on James and you had twins.
“Wanna see something even more cool?” I said, raising my eyebrows up and down.
Lily said, “Always.” Al turned around so he could see as well.
“Watch,” I said, unzipping my coat so the dress strained against my stomach could be seen. I flattened myself to mimic lying down as much as possible and held up my fingers, indicating for them to wait until the baby kicked.
It finally did and near my ribs, the skin raised up and down, showing exactly where the baby kicked.
“OH MY GOD,” Lily and Al chorused. Al was gaping at my stomach and I laughed. Lily looked like she’d been slapped with a wet fish.
“What?” Ginny asked, also turning around. I saw Harry look in the rear view mirror.
“It was only the baby kicking,” I said, fixing myself up.
Lily said, “B-but the skin! It raised up! The foot!”
Ginny laughed and said, “It’s fine. It happens all the time.”
Al looked horrified. “But isn’t that weird? Something kicking you like that?!”
I laughed. “Well… not really because it’s been kicking me for nearly – four? Or five?” I turned to James. He shrugged, saying he didn’t know. “Well, it’s been kicking me for a while. So I guess I’m just used to it.”
“Fair enough,” Al said. We continued to talk until we finally got there. Harry parked outside a massive house that could have passed for a mansion. We all scrambled out and started walking up the ginormous driveway.
“Is this where they live?” I asked, looking at the huge house.
James nodded, and came over to me. We got to the door and Harry rang the doorbell. We waited for a few moments before the door swung open and revealed a very solid forty-something year old man.
“Harry! Ginny!” he said, grinning at them. “Come in, come in! I haven’t seen you in a while!”
“Yeah, it has been a while, nice to see you again,” Harry said, shaking his hand. He kissed Ginny’s cheek and Lily stepped forward to give him a hug. He shook Al and James’ hands and then turned to me.
“I don’t think we’ve met before. I’m Dudley, Harry’s cousin.” He held out his hand.
I shook it. “Nice to meet you, I’m Reese. James’ girlfriend.”
“Nice to meet you too, now come on. Mum, Allegra and Edmund are in the living room. Put your coats on the rack.” James helped me with mine and we made our way to the living room. The whole place smelt of flowers. Not that it was a bad thing; it just made it feel pristine and posh.
“Hello, Ginny,” a woman with long blonde hair said. “It’s simply been far too long,” she simpered and air-kissed Ginny twice on the cheek.
Ginny smiled tightly. “Yes, it has been. How’ve you been?”
“I’ve been good. Hello, Harry!” Ginny turned to us and rolled her eyes. I bit my lip to hide a smile. They all said their hellos, to Harry’s aunt and Edmund. Then James introduced me and I smiled nervously.
“Hi, nice to meet you all,” I said. “Thank you for inviting me.”
Allegra was looking at me oddly and I gave her a smile. We were told to sit down, in one of the many couches and I sat in between Al and James. Lily sat down next to Edmund.
Harrys aunt, Petunia, sat down slowly on an armchair. “Ah, I’m getting so old.”
“Nonsense,” Ginny said, “You don’t look a day over forty.”
She laughed and said, “Don’t humour me. I’ll start believing it.”
Ginny smiled and talked to Petunia, and from what I gathered, she liked Petunia a lot more than Allegra.
Allegra then said, “I’m going to fix lunch up.”
Ginny said, “Here, I’ll help.” Dudley and Harry decided to go barbecue or something and then we were left alone with Edmund and Petunia.
“Lily, how has school been?” Petunia asked, smiling.
Al whispered to me, “Lily is Aunt Petunia’s favourite. She likes us all of course, but Lily always is a bit more special.”
“What happened to your uncle?” I asked, still whispering.
James muttered, “He died when I was five. It gets Aunt Petunia upset so we try not to mention it much.”
I nodded as Lily answered, “It’s so good! I’m passing all my subjects, thank God, but I’m going really well in Charms.” She grinned.
Petunia gave her an affectionate pat on the hand. “That’s excellent, dear. What about you James? How is the Quidditch?”
James said, “It’s going great actually, I was offered a new position on a different team.” He grinned at her.
“Oh good for you. Al, what have you been up to?” she asked him, still holding Lily’s hand.
“I’m going great. I actually work with Quidditch as well. I’m more in the behind the scenes. I work for the club, more than the team. I deal with sponsors and stuff. It’s pretty good, because the club I’m with is pretty well-off, so we’ve already got a lot of sponsors, meaning I don’t have much work.”
She smiled. “That’s fantastic. Edmund is top of his class in Maths, aren’t you Edmund?” She looked at him proudly.
“Yes,” he said grumpily.
Petunia sighed and Lily rolled her eyes. “What about you, dear? Are you doing anything?” she asked me. James wrapped a hand protectively around my waist.
I shifted uncomfortably. “Nothing at the moment. I wanted to be an Obliviator – which is a person who makes Muggles forget they’ve seen magic – but I thought it’d be better if I just took it easy,” I said. “Sorry, could I just ask where the bathroom is?”
After it was obvious Edmund wasn’t going to answer (he was busy on his phone), Petunia told me to go down the hall and it was the second on the right.
After doing my business, I walked past the kitchen and heard Dudley and Allegra talking.
I know, I know, I shouldn’t listen but I thought I heard my name.
“… always knew that was James would have been the one to mess his life up,” Allegra said.
“Allegra,” Dudley said in a warning tone. I wanted to go in there and punch her face.
And weren’t Ginny and Harry in there as well? Where had they gone?
“You have to admit it’s true though, Albus is extremely smart and Lily has a lot of common sense. James was always the one that wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. He ruined his life; he was so great at that sport, he’s probably going to end up having to quit to look after them. You can’t have a baby and a professional sports career…”
I felt the heat rising in my cheeks. I didn’t want to listen to her and her stupid opinions anymore. I knew that James was always the least academic of the Potter kids, but that didn’t mean he was an idiot. He still had his head screwed the right way.
Okay, yes, we both had a lapse of judgement that night. But we were equally drunk and equally stupid. The blame should be put on the both of us. But I didn’t care anymore, I was going to have a baby and no one could take that away from me.
That wasn’t ‘ruining’ James’ life. He was excited for this baby, I was sure of it.
But what if it was ruining his life? What if he couldn’t travel for Quidditch because of it? He was in a better team now, that meant he’d be travelling a lot more and be away from me and the baby. What if he didn’t go or something, and then ended up being kicked off the team.
Quidditch was his life, he couldn’t live without it. He was on his holidays now and, already he’s missing it. He doesn’t do it for the money – he does it because he loves it.
And I couldn’t take that away from him. I could never do that.
A small voice in the back of my head said: He can always leave you though, he has that ability.
I shook my head to get rid of those thoughts. James had been extremely supportive throughout my whole pregnancy. He had minor lapses, which was normal. If he hadn’t been freaking out, I would have been worried.
I walked back in the living room, seeing Harry and Ginny talking to Petunia. Ah, so that’s where they were. I sat back down and Al and James shuffled over so I had more room.
“Yeah, so as I was saying, nargles are one hundred per cent real,” Lily said earnestly, looking at Edmund. She caught my eye and gave the most miniscule of winks.
I caught on pretty quickly but still kept quiet. I didn’t want to antagonise him.
“How could you possibly know that?” he said stubbornly.
Al rolled his eyes. “Who’re the magic ones, round here?”
He looked like he swallowed a lemon. Lily said, “Even though we’ve never actually seen one, my aunt says that although they’re quite annoying, they’re good luck near Christmas.”
Ginny said, “Don’t listen to her, Edmund. She’s just being silly. They don’t exist.”
“They so do!” she protested. I silently laughed and Edmund looked at her flatly. She sighed. “Fine, okay. They’re not real, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in them!”
Allegra popped her head in. “Lunch is ready if you all want to come to the dining room.”
We all followed her to a MASSIVE table. It was absolutely humongous. I sat down next to James carefully and he whispered, “If you haven’t noticed already, they’re ridiculously rich. Uncle Dudley got his father’s business and made a whole lot of money and Allegra… I don’t know, but she’s also stinking rich.”
I laughed lightly and said, “I noticed. But is it really necessary for this ridiculously large table?”
“Edmund is extremely popular. How else would all his friends be able to sit down and eat?” he said sarcastically. I giggled and he gestured to my plate. “Do you want me to put your food on your plate?” Everyone had started to grab their own food.
I looked at him and said gratefully, “Would you? Thank you so much.”
He piled my plate with food and I stared at him in horror. I couldn’t eat all that! Yes, I’d been eating a lot more lately but he basically put all the food at Hogwarts on my plate.
He looked at my expression. “Too much?” I nodded and he said, “I’ll have this plate then. How much do you want?”
“A normal, sane amount?” I said, grinning at him. He rolled his eyes but packed a whole bunch of stuff on my plate, but they were nice normal sized portions.
“Thank you,” I said, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek before starting to eat. I took a bite of a piece of chicken and said, “This is delicious.”
Allegra gave me a tight lipped smile. “Thank you, dear.” I smiled back at her and started to eat. The table kept up a mindless chatter but I stayed quiet for the most part, mostly because I didn’t know them very well and had no idea what they were talking about.
I’d nearly finished eating when I heard, “Reese, when are you due?”
I blinked. “23rd of January. Not long left to go,” I said, smiling.
Petunia asked, “Do you know what you’re having?”
“No we don’t,” James said, grinning at his great aunt. We kept talking about the baby and then the conversation topic deviated to work stuff. At about five, Harry announced that it was time to leave.
We all wished each other Merry Christmas and we finally got back home just after six.
When we walked through the door, James asked “Are you okay?” I nodded and he said, “You just seem a little off.”
“Just tired,” I said. He nodded and I said, “Edmund wasn’t that bad.”
James said in surprise, “Yeah, he wasn’t. He got a bit obnoxious when we started talking about school but other than that, he was actually quite ni–”
“James, have I ruined your life?” I blurted out.
“What?” he asked, looking completely shocked.
I swallowed and looked at him earnestly. “Have I ruined your life?”
He looked perplexed. “Why do you think that?”
I closed my eyes. “Just tell me.”
“No,” he said. “What brought this on?” I didn’t respond but just look at him intently. I wanted to see if there was a tiny bit of apprehension. “Reese?” he prompted.
I sighed. “I just feel like I’ve ruined your life.”
He walked up to me and cupped my face in my hands. “You haven’t. Don’t ever think that again.”
I looked away from him. I felt like they were staring in the depths of my soul. “Just… What about Quidditch? What if I drag you down or something? You’re going to be travelling a lot more, focusing on other –”
“Reese, stop it,” he interrupted me. “Yeah, I’ll probably travel a lot more, but if there’s one thing my parents taught me is that family is the most important thing in someone’s life. I’ve been raised to think about my family before anything else. I’m not going to give you or the baby up because of a job. And if I do lose opportunities, it won’t be because of you or the baby; it’ll be because I chose to put my family ahead of my career. I love Quidditch, but if it interfered with my family, I would always choose family first.”
I nodded and he looked at me suspiciously. “Seriously though, why this thought all of a sudden?”
I bit my lip. I didn’t know if it would be smart to tell him. But I caved when I saw his look. Biting down on my lip, I said quietly, “I overheard Allegra saying some things…”
He laughed. “Don’t worry about her, she’s a snobby bitch. Always has been, always will be.”
I grinned at him. “So you really don’t feel like I’ve ruined your life?”
He rolled his eyes and pulled me in for a hug. “No, I don’t.” He placed his hand on my stomach, feeling the sharp kick. “I’ve told you this a lot: I’m super excited for this baby!”
I blushed and looked down. “I know, but I worry.”
“Well don’t,” he said. I snorted and he said, “Have a little faith, won’t you?”
Hello again! Hope you all enjoyed this chapter!
I just wanted to say that with the religion soliloquy-thing, it's not my opinion and I don't intend to offend anyone, as it's purely fictional.
Also, I wanted to let you guys know that I'm back at school (*cries forever*) so I don't know what my updating will be like. I've written chapter 29 and making my way through 30 but I can't make any promises!
Thanks for reading, please review on your thoughts! :)
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