Chapter 21 : Twenty One
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I took my mum’s advice and as soon as we’re back at school I sit Alvie down and have a frank talk with her about James. In short she tells me it hurts, tells me she can’t believe I did it. I cry, she cries, tells me it’s ok, that she understands.
“I love you.” I sob as we embrace; I cling to her like a child, afraid to let go.
“I love you, too.” She chuckles, “Miles and miles.”
“Miles and fucking miles.” I reply.
James and I are happy. Happy. I still wonder how I can be, knowing everything he has with Alvie. I know deep down that I should feel wretched, but I don’t, I think that’s what makes me so sure that it’s better Alvie to have this baby than me. Not when I do these things to the people I’m supposed to love most. But I try not to think on that. I try to focus on anything but, referring to the baby as ‘turnip head’ or ‘bump’ or ‘peanut’ nothing that states it’s mine, not even in my head. I mean, even calling it ‘baby’ is a bit much some days, because babies are real things and it’s difficult to grasp that this is happening, that Alvie isn’t just gaining weight, she’s growing something, she’s feeding it, nurturing it. Like an internal compost patch that’s growing a cabbage or something, but I digress.
I’m no longer failing transfig, but potions is still sometimes a difficulty, despite all of James’ guidance. I must admit that more often than not we end up making out instead of him tutoring me. Ok, so what if I initiate it so he’ll stop talking about dragon blood? It’s not like he tells me to stop, not every time anyway.
I never did mention Miller or Izzy to James, but it still niggles at the back of my mind sometimes. I figure it always will, like those ‘what if’ questions that bubble and boil in a cut off part of your brain, they’re always there, you just have to choose to ignore them. I want to confess to being over him, completely and absolutely, but I’m not, not that I’d admit that to anyone, or even myself, not fully. He gives me sad smiles in the corridors and I’ve dutifully looked away to avoid any misinterpretation of a smile from me.
Dom and Mason haven’t taken the big step yet. I know, nothing to do with me, but it comes with the territory of being a best friend. You just know, you know? Well, even if it wasn’t that, she’s told me anyway. She said she wasn’t ready, which I totally understand. Dom has been waiting for the right guy for forever; like it’s her mission in life and given her views she’s sort of in for a penny in for a pound. The proverbial penny being her virginity and the proverbial pound probably being a lasting relationship. She’s been with him almost two months, to Dom that’s practically a decade. She’s secretly finalising the weeding plans.
She’s given it some time and has decided she’s ready, she thinks. This was three days ago and she has barely eaten since her revelation to us, the girls I mean.
“Careful, Dom, you might be digesting food there, where’s your urge to purge?” I joke as she swallows down a mouthful of bread.
“Fuck it.” I raise a questioning brow at Alvie and suck in a deep breath. “I just want to be lovely, you know?”
Alvie slurps some soup off her spoon noisily, some gloop with loads of vitamins that Dom and I are forcing her to eat, she licks her lips, enjoying that gloop more than she’d like us to think. “Dommie, you’re always lovely. Can you stop with this shit, please?” Alvie says and Dom looks sort of desperate. Like this whole barely eating thing will make Mason love her.
“Do you think I look better for it?” She asks through a mouthful of partially chewed food. “I’ve lost three pounds.”
“You’re not serious.” I take a look at her, true she’s always been concerned about her weight, like any girl is, but I didn’t think she’d stop eating, or God forbid make herself sick. “Do we need to like, stage an intervention?” My brow creases and I look to Alvie who looks less concerned.
“No! Look, I’m just nervous.” I take her frail hand and she grabs another chunk of thickly buttered bread, waves it in my face and takes a huge bite. “I thought it’d be nice though, lose a little weight, you know?”
Alvie rolls her eyes, “Please, talk louder about losing weight while I’m gaining it by the second over here.”
“Sorry, Alvie.” Dom says seeming ashamed of her behaviour.
“It’s fine, just stop being stupid and eat some of this gloop, will you? You’re worrying me and lord only knows how that’ll effect the baby.” She shakes her head seriously at Dom with wide eyes. Dom ladles some of the soup into a bowl for herself and while she’s occupied Alvie winks at me and sends me a cheeky smile. I try not to laugh at how easily she’s used the little peanut to convince Dom to eat normally again. It’s concerning how easily Dom is lead.
“Hey guys.” Speak of the devil, Mason plops down beside Dom and kisses the top of her head. “Hello, beautiful.” She blushes lightly. “What’re you eating?” He asks, she raises the spoon to his lips in reply. “Ew. Alvie’s baby soup? Blegh.” Dom laughs and begins to draw figure eights in the bowl with her spoon. “You going to eat that or play with it?” He asks looking at her curiously then at us too with a puzzled expression, we shrug. “Princess, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” She answers chirpily, eating more soup. “Nothing’s wrong.” She doesn’t sound like she’s lying what so ever.
“You’re sure? You don’t look well, have you lost weight?” Dom brightens and looks at him hopefully and nods her head, but Mason frowns at her. “Are you sick?” Alvie and I try not to laugh; Dom shakes her white blonde head. “Are you sure? I mean, you look kind of pale and you look skinny.” By which he means she looks paler and skinnier than usual, she’s stick thin and snow white to start, at least before it was the norm.
She sighs, “I wanted to look lovely for you.” She shrugs.
“What’s she talking about?” He asks us, bemused and we shrug again. “So you’ve what? Not been eating?” Dom nods bashfully. “Dominique.” He shakes his head a little, a smile playing on his lips. “Don’t be stupid. I’ll be happy as long as my girlfriend is healthy and at the minute you don’t look it. Get your soup eaten.” He tells her and wraps his arm around her waist as he grabs some dinner for himself. She grins to herself and begins to eat again. I take a minute to just appreciate their perfectness. I mean they suit each other; they’re just a lovely couple. He’d do anything for her, I see. I don’t doubt he’ll look after her, because God knows she needs it. I might be a menace with potions but Dom is a menace to herself. He’s not annoyed or angry at her which surprises me, I assume James would go ballistic if I stopped eating proclaiming I wanted to ‘look lovely’ for him. Mason seems to love her more for it though, like she’s just showing what she’d do, just for him.
“Where are the boys?” I ask, referring to Albus, James and Freddie who are alarmingly missing.
“When I left them Albus and James were just about to duel to the death while Freddie sat eating a pumpkin pasty with a front row view.”
“Please don’t joke about that.” Alvie says, “It always concerns me when those three are left unsupervised.”
Mason laughs and I watch Dom’s face crack into a grin at the sound, “I’m kidding Mama bear, they were getting changed.”
“What is it with you guys and quidditch?” I roll my eyes, really I just don’t see the attraction, they’ve been out there almost all afternoon.
“Well we need to train Albus up don’t we? Especially after Alvie’s dropping out. We want to have some actual competition, you know.” He says, jokingly. Alvie decided it’d be safer if she didn’t play anymore, so she’s resigned, it killed her to do it, but none of us needed to warn her what might happen. “I hope that baby’s worth all the quidditch cups you’re going to lose.” He jokes again.
“He’s worth it all.” Alvie says affectionately, “Anyway, he’ll win them back for me when he’s a star quidditch captain, so not to worry.”
“Well it’s to be expected given who its parents are.” He says, pushing a bowl of veg over to her. It’s become a running joke now that we all push Alvie to eat healthy food rather than the shit she was eating before. She groans.
“Guys, I swear to Merlin, if I eat anymore vegetables I’m going to turn green and have an intense desire to bury my legs in mud and sway in the wind.”
“I wouldn’t mind that at all, would you?” I ask the happy couple and they both shake their heads, Alvie slaps me on the back of the head.
“What’s this about Alvie getting dirty?” Freddie asks, plopping down beside Dom. We stare at him, confused. “I heard mud, I hoped for the best.” He shrugs like that’s normal, and then starts to eat mashed potato straight from the bowl, with the serving spoon. We don’t get the chance to respond because there’s a commotion at the doors, which draws our attention. The Potter brothers are jostling roughly, pushing each other as they race down the hall towards us.
They fall down either side of Alvie and I. “Hello, pancake.” James smiles and I smile back. I’ve spoken to him about the PDA so he doesn’t try to kiss me, just gives my hand a tender squeeze before he begins to pile food onto a plate.
“How’re you feeling?” Albus asks Alvie.
“Just peachy fucking keen.” She groans. Alvie’s mood swings are a fucking mare. Al stutters, not sure how to approach her. I’ve told him, the best way to handle her is to remind her how beautiful she is, she gets upset about her imminent ballooning, and if she starts to growl, back away and throw liquorice wands at her. It’s the only way. “Look at me,” She growls at him, poor Albus, he always gets the thick of it. “Fucking look at my stomach, Albus.” There was a dog that lived near my Grandma Granger and I think that’s what the dog would have sounded like if you’d stood on it’s tail. Only 1. It wouldn’t have spoke and 2. It would have sounded less rabid.
“Do you want some chocolate?” He asks tentatively as we all watch the exchange.
“What, as if I’m not fat enough already!” She shouts, exasperated.
“You don’t even look that fat.” Sometimes I think Albus has a death wish. Alvie doesn’t even look at him, she stares straight ahead, her eye twitching.
“Albus, I’m going to fucking throttle you. So you’ve got about,” She seems to contemplate this, “thirty seconds to fuck off or I’m going to hurt you.” His eyes dart worriedly over us all.
“What should I-”
“Are you seriously asking that, dude?” Freddie asks.
“You heard the pregnant lady, vamoose!” Mason adds.
“As much as I might dislike you, I don’t want to see you get beat up by someone who isn’t me.” James shrugs, slinging an arm around my shoulder.
“Oh, right. Ok.” He jumps up and begins to dare I say run away, but turns and asks warily, “Are we still going over that Arithman-” Alvie cuts him off with a deep growl in the back of her throat like she might start to breathe fire any second. I stifle a chuckle, not wanting her to turn her wrath on me.
“Yep, got it, ok. I’ll erm, see you guys later. Or erm, maybe I wont see you, Alvie, you look so skinny, I almost can’t see you.” He blathers like a little boy trying to dig his way out of a hole. We’re all trying not to laugh at him but it’s blatantly obvious.
“Are you implying I’m not eating enough and therefore not caring for my baby?” Alvie doesn’t look at him but quirks a brow, a hint of a smirk on her lips. Albus swallows nervously.
“I mean you look bigger,” Her brow quirks even higher, “erm, normal pregnant size? You look so healthy you could be having twins.” She turns to him; he’s practically a puddle on the floor, a quivering mess, she raises both her brows at him as if to ask what he’s implying. “I mean erm,”
I grab his hand and smile up at him, trying not to full out laugh in his cute little face, “Just go.” I flick my head to the door and shake it, silly, smitten boy.
“Yes, I should. I’ll erm. Ok. Bye!” He says before hurrying out of the hall, knocking a girl over in the process.
“Well, that was, erm…” Dom looks sufficiently startled.
Alvie seems to calm down when we’re back up in the dorm doing work. She says her morning sickness has just about passed, which I’m very pleased to hear. We’re the only ones in the dorm; it’s been like that more recently. Saffi, Char and Raven have taken to hanging out with Raven’s Hufflepuff buddies. I mean, before Alvie got pregnant we used to hang out a bit too, just walk around the grounds, something so we weren’t in the dorm constantly. I guess Alvie can’t hack it anymore, she needs to pee all the time so its inconvenient and she’s far too tired to do anything strenuous, so we usually just come back here and chat. I don’t mind, it’s freezing and dark outside anyway. I feel bad because I’m leaving her alone when James gets off prefect duties because he said he’d tutor me, but I’d rather leave her alone than have James tutor me here.
“I feel so sorry for Albus.” I laugh while I write my essay, leaning on her back while she paints her nails. She says she’s enjoying being able to do it while she can still see her toes, I don’t comment. Alvie groans.
“I just can’t be around him, he always seems to say things that set me off.” I know she’s rolling her dark eyes.
I rest my chin on her shoulder, “You’re sure that’s what it is?” I joke, “You sure you’re not just sexually frustrated. Pregnant people are usually very hormonal.” I laugh at myself and Alvie sits still. I move to the side and pull her back by her shoulders to look at her face. She gives me a blank stare like I’m the most idiotic person in the world and she deserves a medal just for putting up with me.
“Please,” She rolls her eyes, “Don’t you think you’d know if it was that?”
I consider this and shrug, “Hm, you’re probably right.” There’s a knock on our door that cuts the conversation short. “That’ll probably be James.” I say and leap from the bed and skip to the door.
“You’re early,” I sing, “Oh, it’s just you.” I say when I see Albus. “Come in, Alvie’s turned back into a human.” I tell him, flopping down onto my bed.
“I’m glad to hear it.” He smiles and walks over to her, hands her a brown paper bag. “I erm, it’s supposed to help with mood swings…” He blushes. Such a cutie.
“MOOD SWINGS?! WHAT MOOD SWINGS?” Alvie shouts angrily and Albus jumps about a meter in the air, leaving Alvie to cackle at him. “Sorry, Alby, I’m just kidding.” She pulls him onto the bed and ruffles his already messy hair. You know what they say about threes a crowd and all. But thankfully I don’t have to wait long because James shows up after around five minutes.
“I’d warn you about safe sex but really what’s the use?” I joke as I’m leaving.
“Well I’ve got some condoms if you and James-” I slam the door behind me giving James a big sheepish grin.
“What was that about condoms?” He wriggles his brows suggestively.
I scoff, “No chance.”
“You’re sure about that?” He pins me up against the door and I squeak and give a gentle nod. “Lets see if I can’t change your mind then.” His voice is low, seductive, before he kisses me passionately. I’ve just started to play my part in the kiss when the door is opened and I find myself flat on my back, the heavy lump that is James flattening me. Albus tilts his head at me, like he’s confused why I’m on the floor while Alvie holds her stomach laughing on the bed. Oh it’s all well and good when it’s not happening to you. Bitch.
“Are you ok?” James asks, coming to his senses, scrambling off me and pulling me up.
“Fine, lets go.” I say, trying not to cry out from the pain he’s accidentally inflicted on me, he’s no fairy princess and let me tell you he weighs a bit more than Dom does.
“I thought someone knocked on the door.” Albus says in way of an explanation while Alvie tries to stop laughing on the bed.
I’m really not in the mood for anything after that given James well near broke my arm, so it’s fairly boring because we actually do work, oh the mirth. I do learn how to make a forgetfulness potion though thanks to one of James’ handy rhymes. It’s quite interesting really; if I share a sort of memory with someone I can make them forget by brewing this potion and adding some of my memory. It frightens me to think that people can actually brew this, I mean, if I can brew it I don’t even want to think what kind of things dangerous people could concoct. James offers to walk me back to my dorm and I roll my eyes at him, whether he’s just being chivalrous or trying to get in my pants I don’t know, but I tell him there’s no need, because I’m a big girl and also because it would be a wasted journey for him. He kisses me goodnight and we go our separate ways. I take my time in walking back; I’m in no hurry. Despite that I find myself in the common room in no time. I decide to sit there for a while; it’s not late, just after nine. I walk around the chair to the couch and when I sit down I see that the chair is occupied. I consider leaving but I don’t want to make things more awkward, so I just sit there, looking at nothing but pretending to look at everything.
“Hi.” He says, his voice a little strained.
“Oh, hi.” I say, like I hadn’t seen him. He knows I saw him so he smirks a little.
“Oreo.” I cave. It taste sweet on my lips, my tongue revelling in the shape of his nickname. My name for him. Mine.
“How’ve you been?”
I shrug, characteristically, “Well, you?”
He gives a short laugh, “I’ve been ok. How’s Alvie?”
“She’s brilliant.” I smile, relishing at the topic because it’s not about me, or him, or James, “She’s stopped being sick.”
“Good.” He says, “And what about you, are you coping with it?”
“Why wouldn’t I be? I’m not the one vomiting up everything that passes my lips.” I comment, trying to sound flippant and like I don’t know what he’s talking about.
He sighs, clearly sensing my glib tone. “Right,” Is all he says, then, “Can we talk for a while? Just like friends, not about anything, just,” He runs a hand through his hair and I bite my lip, “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too.” I admit in a whisper, shake my head, clear my throat, this isn’t right, “I’m with James.”
“I know, just, let me talk to you. I can’t just go from being with you, everything we had, to nothing. It’s too much.” I nod once; it can do no harm to talk to him, right?
“Come on.” I nod up to my dorm, “I’m freezing down here. Albus was up there with Alvie, best check she hasn’t killed him.”
He follows me up and I sit him on my bed while I get changed in the bathroom. Saffi, Char and Raven aren’t back yet and the curtains on Alvie’s bed have been drawn, I wonder which she tired of first, Albus or work. I tiptoe across the cold floor and jump into bed, he’s on top of the covers so it’s difficult for me to arrange them, but I don’t say anything. I lift a finger to my lips and whisper, “I don’t want to wake her, she gets angry.” He chuckles lightly, I smile.
“I can’t believe she’s quitting the team.” He whispers back, I wrap the blankets around me and sit up.
“I know, it’s killing her.” I admit.
“I was thinking maybe asking her to be like the manager or something, you know? Like think up new plays for us? Keep her involved.”
“I think she’d like that.”
“Yeah, she would.” He looks over to her bed. “She’ll be a brilliant mum, Cassie.”
“You will be too.” He turns to look at me, “Some day.” He adds but he leaves too long a pause and I get a little hurt by it. Like he’s rubbing in my face that it’s not going to be mine. I shrug it off. There’s an uncomfortable silence for a few minutes. “So, how’re your parents?”
I laugh a little, “They’re good.”
“Oh, good.” He nods his head then laughs a little, “I’m sorry. I just, Jesus, I’m so far in the friendzone I’m asking about your parents.”
I laugh at him, “It’s sweet,” I say, appreciating his concern for everyone. I lie down, smiling up at the canopy above, he does the same. I can tell he tries to stay as far away as possible, but it’s a small bed and he’s not a little lad. I chuckle at his attempts. “I’m not going to explode if our skin touches you know.”
“I know, but it’s just respectful, isn’t it? You’re not mine and if you were, I wouldn’t like the thought of a lad in your bed, touching you.” He stops and looks at me, “I should go.”
“No.” I say, almost desperate, but I’ve missed the familiarity of him, “Please, I won’t tell.”
“It’s not right though, I wouldn’t like this.” How can he be so nice and have wanted me when I’m so horrid? I’m glad we broke up. He deserves someone better. I mean, maybe he kisses someone once, he was drunk. I wasn’t at all under the influence when I kissed James. I knew what I was doing.
“Can you just lay quietly, please?” I say. “Nothing’s going to happen and no one is going to get hurt.”
“Ok.” He lies down and his exposed skin touches mine, sending unwelcome shivers through my whole body. “I’m sorry.” I don’t speak, “I’m sorry this all ended this way.” He finishes.
“This isn’t the end, we can be friends.” I say. “No ones perfect Orion, I forgive you.” It’s myself I don’t forgive. I hear the first syllable of his next sentence but a giggle cuts it off. We raise questioning brows at each other and sit up, we look to Alvie’s bed. I turn to him and he points to something on the floor, I look but all I see is her work and a few robes. She’s even messier now that she can use the excuse of being tired to get out of cleaning.
I shrug at him not understanding, he leans in close and whispers, “whose robes are they?” He asks and I shiver, take a minute which I hope he thinks is me being stupid and thinking, but really it’s me trying to remember how to breathe. Then an extra thirty seconds to try and riddle what he’s saying. In the end I don’t need to work it out myself because someone whimpers, “Albus,” I stare at him gobsmacked, my mouth making a perfect o.
He smirks at me and raises his brows. “You think they’re…” I trail off when I hear a couple more soft moans. “I guess they didn’t hear us come in.”
“Well I think we’re about to hear Albus ‘come in’.” He quips and I push his shoulder hard and try not to laugh too loudly. He smiles at me and I let gravity pull my body down into the soft mattress. I sigh.
“Alvie,” I bite my lip and stare up at Orion who’s staring down at me lying on his side, head propped up on his fist.
I give him an awkward, apologetic smile and whisper, “Do you have your wand?” He looks down to his pants and then back to me, raises a brow. I chuckle and shove him again. He gives a soft laugh and shakes his head, “I left mine in the bathroom and I don’t want to risk making any noise going to get it. That’d be even worse if they heard us listening.” I roll my eyes. His green eyes stare into me.
“I’ll stay with you until they’re finished.” He says and I’m glad.
“Thank you.” I smile.
“How’s potions going?”
“I’m getting better, I’m not a threat to Hogwarts every time I’m near a cauldron now.” I smile, proud of myself.
“Thank Merlin, it’s a constant worry for me every time I know you’ve got that lesson.” He remembers my timetable.
“Orion,” I say, I’m not sure what I’m about to do or say but it’s lost when a louder moan cuts through the air.
“She’s not a screamer, is she?”
I roll my eyes at him, “I guess we’re going to find out. I’ve always wanted to know Alvie more intimately.” I joke. “Serious, it’s like my favourite thing to know about people.”
“I’d love to know more about you, in that case.” He jokes. I bite my lip and look away.
“We’re just friends.” I close my eyes, willing myself to believe what I’m saying.
“Friends get to know each other.” He continues. As bad as it sounds I try to calm myself down by listening to Alvie panting. Good God this is fucking dire.
“I’m not in the mood,” I take in a quivering breath, “to get to know you right now.”
“Sure you’re not.” He laughs lightly. “I’m kidding, Cassie.” He shakes his head at me, smiling.
I roll onto my side and he looks at me intently, content. This might have even been romantic were it not for Alvie moaning across the room. I mean they’re quiet enough, but there are no other sounds in the room so they’re pretty much magnified to their full extent. My head beings to swim with thoughts of him and I bolt upright, alarmed. “I can’t erm,”
“I’m sorry, I’ll just,” He makes to leave but the floor creaks loudly under his foot and Alvie and Albus stop what they’re doing.
“What?” We hear Albus ask. “Is it the baby? Am I hurting you?” I hold my breath so I don’t chuckle at him.
Alvie waits a breath before she breaths heavily, “I thought I heard something.”
“You’re sure you’re not hurting?”
“Albus,” Alvie’s tone is harsh, commanding.
There’s no more talking.
“Guess I’d best stay here then.” He whispers again and I nod.
As much as I fear what I’ll do if he stays I don’t want to ruin this for either of them, even if that means listening to them have sex. I deserve at least a few brownie points here; I’m trying to make it up to her. She’ll thank me later.
The two of us are silent for a while; I can’t say the same for Alvie and Albus.
“Boys got some stamina.” Oreo comments.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t have dragged you up here.”
“It’s ok,” He smiles at me and adjusts himself on the bed, I let me eyes rake down his body and blush violently when I see why he’s squirming. Not that I can talk the things I’m thinking, not all of them concerning cupcakes and books or even James. He apologises and I tell him it’s ok. He blushes a little but secretly looks a little pleased with himself, I can see why. Jesus.
“So when are yo-” I smash my lips to his, not able to take it anymore. I want him. I need him. If for nothing more than to distract me or soothe the dull ache.
“I hope you’re quiet.” He whispers.
“Well you’re about to find out.” I reply, pushing every thought from my mind and focusing on now. Not what might happen, not what has happened, but what is happening right now.
Ah jeez. Hm. This chapter was just a bit, I dunno, kind of pointless bar maybe the ending scenes. I guess I just thought Dom was getting a bit too happy, she needs to have some issues given Cassie and Alvie have more issues than Witch Weekly! Dom was getting off lightly, like I can’t just write her with the perfect life, can I? She was getting far too happy for my liking! But anyway, a few of you should love this chapter ;) We all knew it was going to happen sooner or later, didn’t we? I was missing Oreo and his quick wit! I just felt like writing something a bit more, I don’t know, fun? Not so serious, you know? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed because we all know I can’t just write something happy and there not be a shit storm after it, don’t we? Thanks for reading! xo