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Chapter 19 : Chapter Nineteen
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All of my senses were on fire as I was closer to James than I had been to him in the past month.
Somehow, all of the tears and frustration that I had for him not being there momentarily disappeared because I wanted nothing more than for us to continue to sit here in front of the fire and just cuddle for the rest of eternity.
“Bella, we need to talk,” James murmured for the billionth time.
“You know a girl usually only hears those four word when a bloke is about to break up with her, right?” I replied quietly, tracing patterns on my very big belly. The InvisiBump had been long left behind. The bigger I got, the more uncomfortable I felt with having it on. Not to mention, everyone already knew I was pregnant. There was no point to wearing it any more.
The worst part was that I had only felt like a whale before. Now I could see that I was a whale.
James sighed, holding me closer to his body. “I’m not breaking up with you, Bella. I promised you I will never leave you.”
“Making a promise to never leave me is different when you’re making that promise because I’m carrying your daughter,” I told him.
I was being uncommonly stubborn, but the more that we talked, the more I was reminded about how James had left me alone when the news had come out of my pregnancy. My eyes had been open then; there was a difference between James being with me because he wanted to and James having to be with me because he needed to.
James stayed silent. For one horrible moment, I thought he wasn’t going to deny that he was leaving me.
“I don’t know how to make you understand how I feel, Bella,” James murmured, gazing at me intently. “I would have discovered the hard way of how much I love you if it hadn’t been for our baby. I love how you tell Lucy not to procrastinate her essays, but you like to copy Rose’s homework. I love how you absolutely don’t give a damn about Quidditch, but you are the Gryffindor Quidditch team’s biggest fan. I love how quickly you accepted having our baby into your future, and how you’re willing to endure everything for her. I can’t tell you we won’t ever argue, and that there won’t ever be anyone who might challenge our feelings for each other, but I will tell you that I will dedicate my life and soul to you and our baby.”
It was hard to argue with such a heartfelt spillage of emotions, but my doubts still lingered at the back of my mind.
It had been so easy for James to start ignoring me.
“Why’d you stop talking to me then? If you cared so much, why would you leave me alone when I wanted to talk to you the most?” I sniffed uncomfortably.
“Aquamarine said you didn’t want anything to do with me.”
“What?” I sat up, immediately, surprised and shocked. All of a sudden, my world seemed to start spinning very quickly and I couldn’t quite keep up. “Who said what?!”
“Aquamarine Woodley, Olivia’s friend,” James replied. A suspicious glint appeared in his eyes. “You didn’t talk to her at all, did you?”
“I can hardly remember if I have ever exchanged a word with her. At most I acknowledged her presence in passing,” I shook my head, bewildered at the turn of events.
Aquamarine was Olivia’s friend, and though I was fairly certain we never spoke, Olivia and us girls had far more interactions since the revelation of Olivia and Sam’s relationship. I knew her friends, Aquamarine amongst them.
I knew absolutely nothing about the girl except that she was Olivia’s good friend. I wasn’t surprised that James had believed her, despite how silly it sounds that I didn’t want anything to do with James.
I said to James, “I can’t imagine that Olivia was involved, but we have to tell her and Sam. This is making everything so much more complicated. I feel as if now there is no one we can trust.”
The thought that James had been avoiding me only because some girl had gotten in the way made me furious. It was quite enough that Lily had gotten betrayed in this process; I didn’t need another outsider coming into the picture.
“Come on,” I told James, getting up (with difficulty) and grabbing a hold of his hand.
Confused, he asked, “Where are we going?”
“To wake all of the others up so we can get some things straightened out.”
“Why are we here?”
“Shut up and just listen.”
“I really want to go back to bed.”
“It was such a long walk here.”
“No one said you had to be here.”
“Will you all shut up?”
“This is silly. We can talk in the morning.”
“Shut up, please.”
“Someone should go get food from the kitchen.”
“SHUT UP, ALL OF YOU!” Rose yelled loudly, making all of her family and friends jump. All of us were lounging on couches in the Room of Requirements, after James and I had woken all of them up. Many weren’t happy with being woken up late at night. “I don’t care that it’s late. I don’t care that some of you are hungry. I don’t care that the Room of Requirements is far away. Shut. Up.”
It was odd, how life could suddenly become so invigorating because my friends were by my side again. Watching Rose trying to get the others’ attention for the past minute or so had been hilarious, if not for the fact that I had missed them all so much I had just stared at them fondly.
“Now, Bella, please say what you have to say.”
I inhaled deeply before looking at each one of my friends, some considerably harder to look at than others. “There’s been a misunderstanding. A huge one, and obviously, I had been in the wrong too. But first, let’s get it understood that I have never spoken with Aquamarine.”
A lot of hissing and muttering went around, including Lily declaring death upon that entire clan. She’d always been a spirited one.
“I know how it might have sounded believable because it came from Olivia’s good friend, but it’s not true,” I said, holding up a hand to pause the talking momentarily. “I shouldn’t have ignored all of you but obviously there’s been a misunderstanding.”
“You should expel the lot of them, Louis,” Lucy grumbled, throwing her arm around me. I giggled, and rested my hand against Lucy’s shoulders.
Grace pointed out with a smile, “I’m not sure that he’s allowed to do that.”
“Well, then someone should change the rules! This is crazy. None of us thought that Aquamarine would be involved, just because she’s related to Sapphire and Ruby. I mean, we can’t help who we’re related to!” Rose exclaimed, throwing a look at some of her male cousins.
I giggled again when Hugo loudly stated the offense he’d taken to her statement and Rose merely rolled her eyes at him. They were really all so endearing in their own ways.
“Anyways! Now that we have established that no one in that family is to be trusted, can I just verify that all of us are good again?” Lily asked warily. “No one of us have some issue or misunderstanding that needs to be cleared up?”
All of us looked around at each other, and I tried to avoid James’s gaze. There was still one thing on my mind that I couldn’t shrug off: Olivia.
It was almost evident that most of us were thinking the same thing, but no one wanted to mention anything. To my knowledge, Sam hadn’t said anything about Olivia knowing or the status of their relationship.
Whilst most of us didn’t think it was our place to pry, Ethan obviously held back no such feelings. “Sam, mate, you know that all of us will stand with you whatever you think. We know you would never do something horrible, but I really have just got to ask. Did she know? Did she know about this entire mess?”
“Ethan!” I hissed at him. “I don’t think that’s appropriate.”
“Come on, Bella. No one here is going to be mad if she did. It’s not like Sam was to know,” Ethan rolled his eyes at me.
As soon as Ethan had replied, however, I remembered that this was the first time we had spoken in ages, and that he was sitting here, comfortably with his friends again.
“Oh, you and James made up,” I frowned, looking back and forth at my cousin and my boyfriend.
“What an astute observation you’ve made there.” Albus snorted as Scorpius started laughing, loudly. I was ready to get up and hit the both of them on the heads when Sam spoke up.
“It’s okay for asking, mate. I don’t mind that you do,” Sam said steadily and calmly. Turning his gaze at me, he said, “I’m sorry that Aquamarine had caused such a misunderstanding and it’s because of me.”
“What are you talking about, Sam? Of course it’s not your fault,” I replied gently.
Sam shook his head. “Olivia did know. Before the whole thing got out, she already knew that Sapphire wasn’t really Lily’s friend. I had no idea that she knew and chose not to tell me. When I confronted her last week about it, she tried to avoid the subject, but I managed to get the truth. Olivia… well, she’s not to be trusted. I broke up with her when I found out that she had been lying to me this whole time.”
A pregnant pause of silence, with Louis throwing an arm around Sam comfortingly, plagued all of us as I could see all of the thoughts running through everyone’s head.
Betrayal seemed to follow us at every corner we turn. The days when we could make friends easily and not have to second-guess their motives were long gone. I wondered whether none of this would have happened, had I not been pregnant. The truth, however, is that it still would have and we had no ability to prevent disloyalty among friends and the loss of mutual respect among acquaintances.
There may not be a war to fight, but we were fighting our own battles. Life wasn’t easy, and it was even harder when those closest to you turned out to be untrustworthy people.
“I think that’s enough for tonight,” Rose broke the silence. “We should all be getting to bed, now that we have cleared up all misunderstandings.”
Slowly, one by one, we all got up but I made my way to Ethan, tugging on his hand. He knew what I wanted even without asking.
“You girls go ahead. I’ll head back in a moment,” I told my friends with a smile, jerking my head towards Ethan as an indication.
“Be careful on your way back. You don’t want to be caught out of bed,” Lucy warned as I nodded.
I sat down on the couch next to Ethan, picking up one of the throw pillows.
“I’m sorry!” the both of us said simultaneously, making me smile as I turned to face my cousin.
“I’m really sorry. I should have told you,” I apologized, taking one of Ethan’s hands and gripping it tightly.
Ethan shook his head. “No, it’s me who should be sorry. I never should have acted so appallingly.”
“You did so with reason,” I told him. “Tell me how I can fix this.”
“Bella…” Ethan sighed. Looking at me intently, he said, “I am very sorry. But I wish you could have told me. When I realized that it was the day after the party, and that we had a talk that very next day, it hurt even more.”
I hung my head in shame as Ethan went on. “You’d always been close with Madison and Sophie. When our families accidentally met each other in Diagon Alley that day, the day I realized that you had also got accepted to Hogwarts, I was really excited. Charlie and I had always been close, so he entrusted me with protecting you while he wasn’t there. I know I take it a bit too seriously sometimes, but that was always something that I trusted to my friends as well. I also know my friends really well. James obviously had feelings for you, even though I didn’t quite come to terms with them. I was glad that the two of you got together. There is nothing that I can approve of more. But when I found out you were pregnant… and you and James didn’t tell me? That hurt a lot. Suddenly, I found myself doubting your entire relationship, doubting my friendship with James, doubting myself. It’s hard to find out that the two people in the world that you can care for most has been both lying to you.”
Tears trickled down my face. Though Ethan wiped them away gently, I apologized again, “I know. I’m really sorry. I just didn’t want you to react horribly, and I know you’d get mad at James, and he doesn’t deserve that, and- ”
“Bella,” Ethan cut me off. “I’m sorry too. It takes two to tango, and it takes the two of us to work out a good relationship between us. I did feel betrayed, but I should have done better. If you couldn’t trust me but you could trust your friends, then I did something wrong. We’re still family. I am sorry that I didn’t do good enough of a job being your family.”
“Don’t be sorry, Ethan,” I told him as he wore an ashamed expression. “Like you said, I made the wrong decisions too. I just want you to know that I’m so glad we’re talking again. Even if I cleared up the misunderstanding with everyone else, having you by my side again is the best. You’re family, and I never appreciated that before. Not ever, not truly. We’ll do better, Ethan. The both of us. We’ll trust each other, and even though we won’t be perfect, we will always have each other.”
“Yes we most certainly will,” Ethan replied with a smile as he gave me a kiss on the forehead. “We’re family.”
“Oh Merlin, I’m sorry that I took so many classes in the first place,” I complained to Rose as she continued testing me for Transfiguration.
“Be thankful, Bella,” Rose scolded me. “As much as I love you, it’s obviously a skill to study so much but not at all.”
I stuck my tongue out at her. “I’ll have you know that it’s harder than it looks, learning magic without any guidance.”
“You got all of the theory. It’s just the wand-waving that’s troubling you,” Rose said practically. “Remember what we learned in our first day in Charms? A single deviation in however you say the spell and how you wave your wand will ensure that you don’t get the correct results.”
I complained again, “Such a bother.”
Rose said brightly, “That’s the price of magic! Now come on. Our exams are coming up, and I refuse to let you fail your sixth year.”
“Well, Sixth Year isn’t going to matter anyways, seeing as I’m probably not coming back next year,” I told Rose casually as I once again attempted to change Rose’s shirt into a vest but failed.
“You’re not coming back next year?” Lucy looked up from her own revision of Potions. “Why not?”
“It’s not practical. I mean, what am I going to do about Aurora?”
Lucy sat up, excited. “Aurora? That’s going to be her name?”
I grinned. “Aurora, meaning ‘dawn’, and with the Muggles, she was the Roman goddess of sunrise. And there’s this Muggle kids’ fairytale called the Sleeping Beauty and the princess in it is called Aurora.”
“I like it. Dawn, sunrise, signifying that Aurora will be a new start for you and for James,” Rose said thoughtfully. “Aurora Ginevra Potter.”
“Does it sound okay? As much as I love Albus, I would not name my child ‘Albus Severus Potter’,” I said anxiously, putting my wand down momentarily.
Grace shook her head and said, “I think it’s brilliant. It has a Muggle inspiration but sounds very magical. Will she have a nickname?”
“James likes Rorie, but that’s also a boys’ name. There’s also Aura or Aurie, but that not as easy to say as Rorie,” I mused.
Rose shrugged and said, “No problem with any of those. Victoire was called Tori for the longest time and many people pronounced Dom’s name like ‘Dominick’. Apparently it even took Granddad Weasley a few tries to say Victoire and Dominique’s names right.”
I was about to mention how both Vic and Dom had French names when I felt a cramp I had been feeling just a little earlier came back, very pleasant this time.
“Oh dear, that didn’t feel pleasant,” I managed to say breathily.
“You’re not going into labor, are you? You’d be three weeks early!” Lucy said, panicking.
I shook my head. “I don’t think so. The nurses and Healer said it would be obvious.”
“Well, let’s go get food. You’ll probably feel better after you get some food,” Rose suggested, looking at me as though my water was going to break any second. “The boys should be out of class soon enough.”
I nodded, and with help, the four of us managed to get down the stairs. Lucy immediately ran up the boys’ staircases to grab Albus.
By now, it was slowly easier to get used to the staring faces and peering eyes. I had gone in for my last Healer’s appointment last week, and since then, I’ve been focusing on my pending exams in a week.
“You okay, Bella?” Albus asked worriedly as he came down with Scorpius. Ironically, just as he asked, another cramp hit me, and I wondered whether that was common.
I really didn’t feel like I was going into labor, so I smiled gratefully and said, “I think I just need some food.”
Nodding, Albus put an arm around my waist, gripping me tightly like I would break yet with enough delicacy like I was glass. I had promised James that I wouldn’t go anywhere in the castle without one of the boys, and so far, I was holding true to that promise.
“Thank you, Albus,” I told him emotionally, the years of gratefulness for having a friend like him pouring my words.
With a journey that took more than twice as long as it should have to get to the First Floor, we were coincidentally met by Louis and Ethan.
“Where’s James?” I asked as Ethan took a hold of me, relieving Albus of the duty. Having one of the boys always attached by my side made me feel incredibly useless. Just a few days ago I had gotten frustrated at James for not allowing me to go anywhere by myself, but when I nearly slipped out yesterday, I became far more grateful for the help.
Another cramp hit me, and suddenly, all I wanted was to be back in bed.”
“Olivia wanted to talk to Sam after Herbology and James took the chance to talk to Longbottom about you going to labor and exams and all that stuff,” Louis explained, peering at me carefully.
“I don’t know why he’s worried. Exams are next week, and I’m not due for another three weeks.”
“Well, after a few days ago when you thought you were going to labor probably scared him,” Ethan laughed as all of us settled into a seat at the Great Hall.
I stuck my tongue out at him. “That’s not my fault. According to my Healer, that happens.”
We were barely into dinner when I suddenly need to feel the ridiculous urge to use the bathroom. I didn’t wait for anyone as I just got up and ran out of the Great Hall as fast as I could without hurting myself.
Right outside, water literally started gushing out, and I started freaking out.
A/N: I think it's pretty obvious what just happened at the very end there. If not, well....
Anyways! Next chapter WON'T be the last one, but we are reaching the end. There's only two or three more chapters left!
I never thought I'd reach this close to the end of a novel. This story is my baby, as it is my first novel, so I thank you for all the support you have given me. (but I'll save all that for the end xD)
Please leave any thoughts or constructive criticisms you have for me in a review! (:
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