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Chapter 1 : A Mother's Love
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Grabbing a towel and her bathrobe, Molly hurried toward the hallways. “Boys?” she called to the house. Heading down the stairs to Bill and Charlie’s room she heard clack, clack coming from the kitchen below. “What are they up to now?” Molly said to herself.
Through her short shower, Bill, Charlie, and Percy had managed to make their way downstairs to the kitchen. Heavens knew what kind of mess they were in. Rounding the corner at the bottom of the stairs, Molly had to hold in a laugh at the sight before her.
Bill and Charlie were dueling each other by hitting two wooden spoons together. Bill was on a kitchen chair and Charlie was trying to hit his brother through the back of the chair. They were making up spells such as “Pig snout!” and “Dragon breath!” Molly’s eyes swept the room looking for her youngest son, Percy. He was sitting half in the pantry with flour spilled around where he sat. The amount of white powder in his hair made him look like an ancient but tiny person.
Molly stood still for a few moments observing her sons. Could she manage a photo before corralling them? Would it ruin her reprimand if she first took a picture of their adorable chaos? Deciding that she would need the laugh later, Molly stealthily summoned Arthur’s camera, and took a quick photo. Molly made an effort to wipe the grin from her face as she set the camera down.
“Bill, Charlie, put those spoons down.” Molly said with a touch of sharpness to her voice. Clearly surprised to see their mum, Bill and Charlie froze. “Percy, dear,” she said with a softer tone, “Don’t play with the flour. Look at you, covered in white.” Percy, still in his own world of white floating powder, did not hear his mum.
Still, trying not to laugh, Molly waived her wand and the flour disappeared from the floor around Percy. That got his attention and his tears. Upon hearing his brother’s cry, Bill went to Percy and tried to pick him up. “Sorry, Mum,” he said with his spoon-wand tucked into his trousers. “Me and Charlie wanted to practice fighting bad wizards.” Bill had a contrite look on his face. Charlie was trying to hide his spoon in a flower vase.
The look on Bill’s face and Charlie’s attempt to hide his spoon melted Molly’s resolve to be stern. “Oh boys, it’s okay.” She pulled Bill, and by default Percy, into a hug that Charlie soon ran to join. Kissing each of them on the forehead, Molly stood up. “How about we read a book together?”
Molly grabbed her children’s copy of Beedle the Bard and headed up the stairs with Percy at her hip. Bill and Charlie followed close behind. Charlie picked The Fountain of Fair Fortune. Molly loved reading to her little boys. They cuddled on her and Arthur’s bed as she started to read the familiar story. Percy began to snore softly halfway through the story. Bill and Charlie were dozing off quietly by the time Molly read, “The end,” in a soft voice.
Carefully slipping out of bed, Molly returned to her post-shower routine. She wanted to look a bit nicer than the average housewife at the party. Glancing at the clock Molly saw she was running behind schedule, as usual. Molly was well-practiced at getting ready fast. Using her wand to great effect, Molly styled her hair similarly to a picture she saw in Witch Weekly a while back. The hairdo slimmed her face which seemed plumper than she wanted it to be. Giving herself a critical once over, Molly decided to lay off the after dinner pudding that Arthur ate every night. She wasn’t as small as she once was.
As if to emphasize Molly’s feelings of unnecessary girth, her robes were not fitting as well as they did a few months back. Percy was a just over a year old but she still carried her pregnancy weight. The extra baggage she carried made Molly feel unattractive despite Arthur’s insistence that he found her more desirable every day. Indeed, by his actions there was no room to doubt that he continued to fancy Molly with her expanding hips and waist. Sighing, Molly cast the spell she learned for this very situation. There was no reason to fuss over doing a simple expansion charm on her robes, after all.
Glancing around the edge of her dressing screen, Molly saw that Bill was laying on his stomach flipping through Beedle the Bard. “I’m almost done, Billy,” Molly said to her eldest son. Feeling that she was as put together as she’d get, Molly stepped out from her changing area with a twirl.
“You’re so pretty, Mum,” Bill said gazing up. Molly smiled at her son. No other opinion mattered at that moment. Her children didn’t see a woman who was putting on weight and feeling less beautiful each day, they saw their mum and that was what made her lovely.
Bill’s words caused Charlie to stir from his nap. Stretching out grandly, Charlie asked, “Can I have a snack, Mum?”
“Of course, Charlie. Let’s go downstairs and let Percy sleep.” Bill and Charlie crept out the room with unnerving stealth. Molly wondered how long until they’d be sneaking around leaving her unaware of their movement through helpfully creaky house.
While the apples were chopping there was a tap at the door. Her oldest sons looked to the door, “Uncle Fabian! Uncle Giddy!” Charlie said excitedly unable to pronounce his uncle’s name. Molly’s brothers came into her small kitchen looking just as thrilled to see their nephews as the boys were to see them.
“Hi, sis. You’re looking great,” Fabian said hugging Molly. “Where’s Perce?” Almost on cue, a sharp cry came from upstairs. Fabian made an apologetic face. “Sorry, didn’t meant to wake him up.”
Molly, already at the landing, called back, “No worries, I needed to get him up soon.” Opening the door to her bedroom Molly saw Percy’s red face and felt a rush of affection toward her infant son. Picking Percy up and holding him close, Molly cooed at him quietly. “Such a smart boy. Waking up and telling Mummy you were all alone.”
Returning downstairs, Molly found her brothers playing with Bill and Charlie. Bill was showing Gideon his spoon-wand. “I can fight bad wizards like – this!” Bill waived his wooden spoon around energetically.
Fabian and Gideon laughed. “You’ll give ‘em hell, Billy.” Fabian caught Molly’s stern look and said, “Heck, you’ll give ‘em heck.”
“I’m going to fight a dragon,” Charlie said animatedly. He gesticulated wildly with his hand to show how he’d get the dragon to do what he wanted. Molly felt radiant with love for her sons and brothers. Watching them together reminded her why it was worth a few vanity pounds to have her own family.
Feeling suddenly ill, Molly strode her brothers and asked, “Gideon, can you take Percy for a moment?” With barely enough time after handing her youngest off, Molly darted up the stairs and heaved into the loo. Giving herself a few minutes to recompose, Molly tried to determine what made her ill so suddenly. She didn’t eat anything funny and wasn’t feverish. Molly’s brow furrowed slightly as she tried to remember the last time she had her cycle. Was it last month? The month before?
Humming quietly, Molly looked at the calendar in her bedroom. It had been sometime in July when she last bled. The thought that she could be pregnant, again, hit Molly. Feeling the sudden rush of panic, joy, elation, fear, love, and worry, Molly sat down at the edge of her bed. Gideon knocked lightly on the door. “You okay, Molls?”
Smiling, feeling excited by her secret, Molly called out, “Yes, I’m quite fine. Just an upset stomach but I’m much better now.” Molly could hear Gideon’s footsteps as he went back to the living room. Molly decided to check her reflection in the floor length mirror before going downstairs. She couldn’t see any baby bump but her already soft belly would take a while to show a definitive shape. Pushing out her stomach as far as it could go, Molly could tell she’d have to expand these robes yet again in a few months. Feeling that larger robes was a small price to pay for another baby to love, she smiled and rejoined the group.
Molly made tea for her brothers and a cup for herself. They were immersed in playing with the three boys she already had. Molly’s brow creased as she wondered how she could divide her love more as her family grew. Sipping on her tea, she thought through what had happened with each child so far. The love she had for her children grew as did her family. Love, she decided, wasn’t a finite resource that would dry up if too many had access. Love would expand with her family as each child expanded her body.
The clock on the wall made a noise as Arthur’s hand moved from work, to travelling, to home. “Molly, dear,” came Arthur’s voice from outside. In stepped her husband, looking weary from a long day at work, his greeting was a quick kiss and a squeeze to her rump. “I just need a few moments to change. You look beautiful, dear.” Arthur said a brief hello to the Fabian and Gideon and hugged each of his boys before going to change.
That evening at the party, Molly didn’t mind that she wasn’t the slimmest woman or the one with the fanciest robes. She had a secret that none of them could beat. She was going to have a large family, large heart, and so be it, a large body. All she needed was Arthur’s love and the love of their children – no matter how many that would be.
A/N: This was written for purplepotter77's Poetry-Inspired Challenge. The poem that insired this was For My Mother When She Doesn't Feel Beautiful by Clementine von Radics
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