Chapter 13 : How Not To Keep A Secret
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One of the absolute worst things about being pregnant was when you couldn’t stop from vomiting.
There’s absolutely no feeling quite like the feeling of everything you had eaten recently making its way back up the throat and out of the mouth. And when you’re retching so much that your throat become so raw you almost feel like you’re swallowing blood, your stomach feels like the muscles are being pulled, your nose runs, your eyes water and your head spins? Sometimes you want to do nothing more than to curl up into a little ball and die. That may be quite dramatic but there are times when you can only think dramatically.
Sitting on the floor in the stall in the ladies bathroom, my back pressed against the stall wall, my head was spinning. There was a fine line of sweat across my forehead, my mouth still had the sweet-sour taste of bile in it.
At moments like that it was amazing to me that a person could be expected to gain any weight or to remain healthy when it could become very difficult to keep any kind of food down. Even if I didn’t necessarily end up vomiting I would feel sick after almost every single meal I ate. And half of the time the smell of the food would be sickening to me, much more sickening than I could ever imagine a smell could be. Even scents I used to once enjoy were too strong. The increased senses made everything chaotic most of the time.
A part of me really wanted to say that it was all Scorpius’ fault that I had ended up in the bathroom emptying my stomach, say that if he hadn’t bothered me so much, that if he hadn’t stressed me out the way he had, if he hadn’t made my headache worse then I probably wouldn’t have ended up vomiting. But the truth was I couldn’t be sure that it was the stress that was causing it. It could have been the pregnancy so if that was what had caused it? Well, as he loved to point out that would have been all my fault.
I couldn’t imagine what it must have felt like for Grandma Molly to go through six pregnancies, six different times of achingly heightened senses, of morning sickness and back pains and general stress. True, potions could help to a certain degree but they couldn’t fix everything. And you still had to deal with all of the so-called beauties of pregnancy.
The sound of the door to the bathroom opening got my attention and as I reached up to wipe the sweat away from my forehead I held my breath and prayed that whoever it was would either get out of there as quickly as they could or just wouldn’t notice I was there. The last thing I wanted to do in that moment was to have to try to find an excuse to give as to why I was sitting there on the bathroom floor. The truth definitely wasn’t an option.
The footsteps seemed as loud as drums with the way my head was throbbing and when they suddenly stopped, stood there for a few moments. All I wanted was for them to leave, not to question me, not to ask me any questions. There would be nothing worse than having to explain to someone I wasn’t close to that I was pregnant because it would raise all sorts of questions. Questions that I definitely didn’t want to answer.
I could have almost cried in relief when I realized it was just Lily. Of all the people in the world that I thought it might have been that had come in my little cousin definitely wasn’t one of them. After all, I had left her outside sitting on the lawn of the school grounds. She had no logical reason for being there and yet there she was talking to me, calling out my name. It was the best outcome I could have hoped for in that moment.
“Yeah.” My voice sounded hoarse even to my own ears.
Reaching out I braced myself against the wall of the stall so I could help myself stand. After taking a few deep breaths I reached out and opened up the stall up to look out at her, pressed my temple against the side of it. My stomach was still churning and my head was still spinning but there wasn’t anything left in my stomach so I wasn’t sure I would end up sick again. Hopefully I would be able to head back to the dorm, get my toothbrush and just brush my teeth so I could rest more comfortably.
“You look terrible.” Subtly was obviously not what she was going for in that moment.
“Regurgitating all of your stomach contents will do that to a person.” Closing my eyes tightly I took another slow, deep breath and straightened back up, smoothed down my skirt even though it was sitting perfectly fine. “What are you doing here? I thought you were going to stay outside a little while longer.”
“Malfoy came to get me. He said you ran in here pretty quickly and since you were in the ladies room he thought I would be the best choice of a person to come and check on you.”
“Oh, he cares.” Maybe sarcasm wasn’t going to do anyone any good but it made me feel a lot better. With how much he had been pissing me off I couldn’t help but be bitter about things. Sending Lily in to check on me was a nice enough gesture but it didn’t mean that it meant everything was forgiven. It would take a lot more than one tiny little gesture like that to make up for acting like the total ass he had been.
Reaching back down I scooped my book up off of the floor and then edged around Lily to head over to the sink. Placing the book where it couldn’t get wet I turned on the faucet, filled my palms with water and splashed my face a couple of times, took a handful into my mouth and swished it around before spitting it out just so I could get the taste of bile and vomit out of it. My mouth wouldn’t truly feel clean until I could get a toothbrush into it but it would do in a bind.
“Getting sick comes with the territory given my condition,” I assured her as I dried off my face, turned to look at my cousin as I leaned back against the sink. Gripping the edge of it tightly I took another deep breath while I tried to stop my head from spinning. “It’s going to happen a lot as time goes on. In theory it should stop eventually but it doesn’t for everyone. Only time will tell.”
“Thank Merlin I’m not the pregnant one because I couldn’t deal with that.” Almost as soon as the words left her mouth she seemed to realize exactly what she had said, had realized it was probably rude and inconsiderate to say that when I was standing in front of her, pregnant and getting over a wave of what was more than likely morning sickness. But she was just being honest and if our positions were switched then I would probably feel exactly the same way.
“To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t choose to be in this position either. It’s most definitely not the most comfortable of situations to be in. How anyone does this more than once is a mystery to me.” I gave women who had multiple pregnancies a lot of credit though and I had found a new, heightened kind of respect for Grandma Molly. I had the sinking suspicion I would end up respecting her even more by the time the baby actually decided to grace the world with its presence. By then I might be kissing her feet for dealing with it so many times.
The corners of her mouth twitched slightly like she was fighting off a smile before she cleared her throat and nodded slightly in the direction of the bathroom door, lifted up one hand to hook her thumb over her shoulder in that direction. “Do you want me to go let Scorpius you’re alright? The tosser seemed to be actually worried about you. Nearly knocked me straight on my arse.”
“I’m pretty sure he just didn’t want anyone to think he had done something to me.” A girl taking off from a person like that, running away that quickly? It could definitely make anyone who might have seen it think that he had done something to me. Only he hadn’t done anything except talk too much but it was something a lot of people were guilty for. And despite myself I couldn’t even blame him for how sick I felt. Stress or morning sickness, it didn’t matter. His talking wouldn’t have made me vomit my guts out.
Lily made a face like she wasn’t so sure that was the case even though she also wasn’t sure that she wanted to openly disagree with that. Whether that was because she was afraid I would be angry at her for having an opinion other than the one I had or it was because she just wanted to leave things exactly the way they were wasn’t important.
“I don’t know,” she finally said after a moment, her head cocking slightly to the side, lifting up one hand and tapping the tip of her index finger against her bottom lip for a few seconds in thought. “I mean, I’m not going to say he isn’t a giant arse because he is a giant arse. But I think he was really concerned about you. Selfish as he might be? According to him you did run in here pretty quickly. Maybe he was really worried that something was wrong. You can be mostly selfish and still care about other people sometimes. I mean, stranger things have happened, right?”
The truth was that I didn’t really buy it though. With the way he had been acting like everything having to do with the pregnancy was a big hassle to him if I spoke to him about it I doubted he was genuinely concerned about me. It seemed more likely he was trying to keep himself clear of everything, make it obvious he hadn’t done anything wrong. It made much more sense to me than the idea of him actually caring whether or not I was alright.
That night I was definitely not going to be up to eating anything. When I only had a nauseous feeling rather than actually vomiting then I could eat the next meal without any problems. But once the food actually decided to show itself again in such a manner then the idea of eating anything else was definitely enough to spoil any appetite that I might have.
“I just want to go and get some rest.” Grabbing my book I started for the door so I could continue on my way back upstairs to the dorm room. “I’ll brush my teeth and then I’ll lay down for the rest of the day. Even if I don’t sleep the rest will do me some good. You have no how much the stress and the physical changes can exhaust a person. At this rate I’m going to have to use a thousand kinds of magic to keep up with my studies while doing this.”
“I’m sure you’ll manage,” Lily assured me as we made our way towards the bathroom door, looped one of her arms through one of mine, leaned her head against my shoulder as though to comfort me, to assure me that was the case. It had never been more clear that I was lucky to have my family than in that moment. Even just having her standing there trying to reassure me was making me feel a little bit better. “You’re not the first girl to go through school in this kind of a situation. They manage. So can you.”
“You know,” I mused as we were heading out into the hall. “I wonder if any other girls have ever had to finish out the school year at Hogwarts while expecting a baby or I’m going to be the first.”
My heart leapt into my throat as I turned around to see Leera Zabini standing there with two of her Slytherin friends. Well, so much for keeping a secret.
Do you know those moments where it feels like time has slowed down so much that it almost feels like it comes to a complete stop? Where the world seems to be going past you at warp speed while the people directly involved in whatever situation you’re in seem to be frozen in time? That was what it was like standing there in the hall, Leera’s pale blue eyes widened slightly in surprise, her head cocked very slightly to the side, her dark eyebrows raised in question.
I hated her for looking as beautiful as she did standing there in the strange light. Her beautiful skin, her eyes that stood out starkly against dark eyelashes, her curly hair that somehow never looked frizzy or out of place. And by the end of the year she would still look just as good, would still have her figure where mine would be gone for a while at the very least.
But mostly I hated her for being the person that happened to hear my little secret. If anyone else had heard it, if it had been someone that I at least had a cordial relationship with then maybe I could have handled things. I could have even possibly convinced them not to say anything. But while Leera and I hadn’t gotten into a real fight or anything there was no love lost between the two of us.
Lily seemed to know how horrible the situation was because while she stood there with me her grip on my arm tightened a bit like she could somehow pull me out of that situation without being stopped. The truth was that I really and truly wanted to get out of there as quickly as I possibly could. But running away wasn’t going to change the fact that she had heard what I had said. And the odds of her forgetting what I had just said were slim to none as well.
“You’re pregnant?” she breathed out in a way that implied it was ridiculous to her. But also like she had just got the most juicy piece of information that a person could ever get. Gossip was currency in a lot of social circles, especially among teenage girls. And finding out that a classmate was pregnant was definitely a very juicy piece of gossip.
“Well, well.” Letting out a laugh she turned to look at each of her friends in turn as she crossed her arms over her chest, her posture changing entirely. It went from surprised to almost predatory as she turned her gaze back to me, her eyes sharp. “I suppose I should congratulate you. After all, aren’t you supposed to congratulate someone when they’re pregnant? But it’s funny…I never thought someone like you would end up pregnant. After all, you’re not exactly popular with the boys. Your nose is always too buried in a book. Just like your mother’s was.”
“Leave my mother out of this.” She could insult me all she wanted. I could handle it. I could let it roll off of me like water. But I didn’t want her insulting a member of my family. Especially when they didn’t have anything to do with the situation at hand. They weren’t the reason I was pregnant; they weren’t in the position to have Leera Zabini as an enemy. Their names shouldn’t have left her mouth no matter what the situation was.
“So, since guys don’t even look twice at her, I do wonder who the father of the little bugger could be.” Arching her eyebrows once more she looked at her friends again like she was asking them for theories, for them to rattle off the names of people that they thought might be the father of my child. “Tell us, Weasley. Who is the father?” Looking back over at me the corners of her mouth turned up slightly though it wasn’t into a smile but was more like a smirk.
“Unless, of course, you’re secretly a slag and you don’t know who the father of your baby is.”
Lily tensed next to me like she was ready to haul off and punch her in the face. As for myself I wanted to hex her into the next week out of frustration and anger. The implication pissed me off more than anything else in the world in that moment, that I would be the type to sleep around to the point where I wouldn’t know who the father of my baby was. Of course, I hadn’t actually slept with the father of my baby but that wasn’t the point.
Lily unwrapped her arm from mine and stepped forward to stand between myself and Leera. The last thing I wanted was for her to make things worse. Nor did I want her to accidentally let the name of the father slip. Considering how Leera had been doing her best to flirt with Scorpius it would only make things worse if she knew that he was the father of my baby. And if the way I ended up pregnant became known to her? Well, she would never let me live that one down.
“Just walk away, Zabini,” she hissed at the older girl. She definitely had a lot of courage, I couldn’t deny that one no matter what. She didn’t need to get in the middle of things like she was and she didn’t have to stand up for me the way she was. The fact that she was willing to meant quite a bit to me though.
“We’re just talking here, Potter,” Leera replied rather casually, shrugging her slender shoulders as though she were stating the most obvious thing in the world. And under different circumstances that may have been true. If she didn’t have that malice in her eyes I might have bought what she was saying but I was no fool. And neither was Lily.
“You’re full of it.” Scoffing loudly Lily shook her head, her ginger hair moving with each movement of her head. “You’re trying to be cruel.”
“It’s not my fault your slag of a cousin ended up pregnant-”
“Are all pregnant women slags?” I knew that voice so I didn’t even have to turn to see who it was that was talking. It was a voice I really hadn’t wanted to hear again that day. Especially given the fact that the voice had been giving me a headache earlier while we were talking.
Scorpius was so close to us that the almost amused smile was visible on his face as I turned my head just a little bit to look at him. Both of his pale eyebrows rose slightly as he moved closer to the two of us. His tone was more curious than anything and while I wasn’t sure what his motives were I also wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about what he was doing.
“I’m not sure that’s a fair statement to make,” he continued as he moved closer to us, came to a stop close to me though it was far enough away from me not to make it look too suspicious to the people who didn’t know the situation we had found ourselves in. Hiding things seemed to be something he was rather good at. “I’m sure that there are plenty of girls that know exactly who the father is.”
“Of course,” Leera agreed without even a moment of hesitation, her face breaking out into a slight smile. It was pure flirtation and it made me sick to my stomach to watch her like that, to see her flirting with him. I had never really liked it but I hated it even more in that moment. “But they usually offer up the name of the father easily if they know who it is.”
“Maybe she just doesn’t want to tell you,” he offered as an explanation, a perfectly plausible one considering that, no, I didn’t want to tell her who the father was but mostly because I didn’t need her hate over it. “That’s her choice.”
“Shouldn’t you congratulate her?” As though he were trying to emphasize his point he slid one arm around my shoulder in a sort of hugging motion, squeezed down gently on my upper arm. “It’s the polite thing to do, after all.”
Leera opened her mouth as though she were going to protest, her eyebrows furrowing deeply but then she pursed her lips, her mouth thinning out. She looked over at me, the malice back in those pale, pale orbs. “Of course,” she all but spit out as she kept her gaze on me. “Congratulations, Weasley.”
“Come on,” Scorpius murmured, squeezed down on my upper arm again. “Let’s get you back your dorm room. I’m sure you could use some rest.”
Turning my head quickly to look at Lily my eyes widened a little, silently begged her not to let Scorpius lead me off like that but she just looked like she had absolutely no idea what to do. And Scorpius started to head off in the direction of the dorm so all I could do was walk along with him if I didn’t want to tumble and fall.
His arm stayed around my shoulder as we walked and once we were far enough away where I knew Leera wouldn’t hear me I finally looked at him. “Why did you do that? What kind of a game are you playing at, Malfoy?”
“It’s called being nice,” came his response, his tone so honest that I almost believed him. “Despite what you might think I am capable of it.”
I didn’t believe that for a single second though, in truth, I wasn’t even remotely sure of what his real motive was.
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