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Hormones by Mistress
Chapter 20 : Kick
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 14


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I loved Christmas at home. Instead of the entire Weasley clan, it was just the four of us opening gifts, drinking hot chocolate (sometimes spiked with liquor), and singing horribly to carols. This time, there were five of us even though it was clear Ryan would rather be anywhere else.

I wondered if her family had many Christmas traditions since her father started gambling.

Still, she was a trooper and brought everyone refills on the hot chocolate as we took our places around the Christmas tree.

Dad believed in live Christmas trees. He went into the forest every year and brought back an absurdly large tree he swore would fit in the living room, only to come to the realization he had to trim quite a few branches for us to get past and into the kitchen. This one was just the same, stretching to the ceiling. It had to be cut for the star to fit. The outside was decorated in lights and ornaments, plenty of them handmade when Rox and I were little. Mum got a new one annually with the year written out.

Dad started to pass around gifts. Ryan went to the kitchen for another cocoa refill. When she returned, there was a wrapped gift on her chair. She stared at it for a moment, as if to wonder if it was placed there by mistake.

I really should have gotten her a Christmas gift.

“Angie, you can’t open yours in here,” Dad said, his ears going red.

“Then why did you put it under the tree? Are you daft?”

“What is it?” asked Rox.

“Probably lingerie,” I muttered.

“Not just any lingerie,” Dad announced. “Red ones! Gryffindor spirit!”

There was a collective noise of disgust between Rox, Ryan, and myself.

“What?” Dad said. “Red’s a good color on Angie. She has the right skin tone for it.”

“This conversation should have ended before it began,” Rox said.

“You asked,” I added, pulling my wrapped presents closer.

“You’re the Gryffindor.”

“What’s that mean?” I snapped.

“Apples and trees,” Rox commented.

Ryan’s eyes moved swiftly between the two of us. “A bit outnumbered, aren’t you?” she said to Roxanne. It was the most she’d spoken since we’d gotten downstairs.

“What?” Rox turned. First, she looked ticked off, but then her expression softened. “Yeah. Bunch of Gryffindors here. That’s why I like the family parties more. At least more Houses.”

Ryan seemed to be picking her words very carefully. “I don’t think anyone hates Gryffindor more than I do,” she said and Dad twitched, “but they’re your family. Can’t hate your family because of a House, right?”

“Were your parents Ravenclaws?” Rox asked suspiciously.

“Dad was,” Ryan said, nodding. “Mum was a Slytherin. They both turned out like absolute shit, excuse my language, so you’ve got a leg up on me already.”

“Sorry,” Rox said, frowning. “You haven’t had to deal with this one for your whole life.” She jerked her thumb in my direction.

“Five months is long enough, thank you,” Ryan said tactfully and everyone laughed. Except for me. What the hell?

“Presents!” Dad called. He would be mentioning that Gryffindor-hating comment to me sooner or later. “I want to know what you kids got me that I can return!”

“You can’t if it was handmade!”

“Credits! I demand credits in housework!” Dad cried, ripping open his first gift, which was a book on grilling from Roxanne. He nodded, flipping through the pages. “I’m impressed you trust me with the grill. I’ll have to test it out this spring. What d’you say to some steaks?” He showed us a picture of marinated steaks on a grill.

I didn’t trust him with a grill.

We went around in a circle. Roxanne got me a gift card to Quality Quidditch Supplies. When we were younger, she used to obsess for months about the perfect gift to get me. Something no one else would think of.

I got her the pair of shoes she’d been talking about for ages. Well, that I’d overheard her talking about for ages.

When she opened them, Rox looked up at me. “How’d you know I wanted these?”

“Heard you talking about them,” I said, shrugging.

“Thanks.” She turned away and pushed the shoes to one side, but she kept glancing at them.

Mum got me the broom-cleaning kit I’d been asking for. Dad got me a new custom suit and tie. “You might need it,” he said. I didn’t know what that meant, but it worried me.

Finally, we reached Ryan. She was on the sofa beside me, the box perched perfectly on her lap like she was worried it would jump off.

“Guest of honor!” Dad chimed. He’d definitely put some added fun into his cocoa. “Go on, open it.”

“I don’t understand,” Ryan stammered a little. “You don’t have to do this. Really.”

“I don’t have a gift of patience. My wife does. Angie, tell her.”

Mum snickered. “George, you’re red in the face. How much have you had to drink?”

“I don’t drink,” Dad said all smirky.

Ryan carefully peeled back the red and silver paper. She placed the bow beside her and I took it, sticking it unceremoniously atop her dark hair. She shot me a look, but continued to open it. Inside was a thin, box in gray.

“I really hope it’s a puppy,” I whispered.

Ryan pulled off the top and her jaw dropped. Inside was a silver bracelet lined with blue crystals. The lights of the tree were causing them to sparkle more than usual and my eyes were drawn to them.

“It was Roxanne’s idea,” Mum chimed in. “Very Ravenclaw of her.”

I took the bracelet and hooked it around Ryan’s outstretched wrist. “What d’you think?”

“It’s beautiful,” she said, still in obvious shock as she stared at the bracelet. “And yes, very Ravenclaw. Thank you. Thank you all. It’s lovely.”

My sister was behind it. That was strange.

Ravenclaws had to stick together, I supposed. Including Scorpius scab-face Malfoy.

He didn’t actually have scabs, to be clear.

“You’re welcome,” Mum said with a kind smile. “And I want you to know you’re always welcome here. For as long as you’d like.”

“Thank you,” Ryan said again, her cheeks burning. “I don’t know what to say.”

“You’ll figure it out as soon as Dad asks about your intentions and Mum wants you to help with a pie,” I muttered.

“I resent that,” Dad said. “Her intensions are clear. Make your life sodding miserable. I love it. I’d like to help.”

“You do enough,” I said as Ryan laughed.

As we cleaned up the wrapping paper, Dad excused himself to check on the security cameras and Mum went to put in the ham. Rox said she had to owl Scorpius about her gifts.

I took a breath and tossed the last of the paper into the bag. “You survived.”

Ryan nodded. “I did.” She was still staring at the bracelet. “Why is your family so kind?”

“They’re just nice people,” I said, shrugging. “Though if you cross them they have wicked tempers. I know this. I snuck out once and Mum came and found me at James’. It was a sight.”

“I mean to me. They don’t know me. They know enough about me to know I shagged you at a pub. That doesn’t exactly paint a good picture of me, does it?”

“Why does it matter?” I asked, looking over. “I did the same thing. I’m in the same position you are, just without the heartbeat in my belly. If they judged you, they’d have to judge me too. They just like to do the right thing is all. You’ll like it here if you give it a chance. Please give it a chance.”

Ryan nodded a little and leaned back against the sofa. She closed her eyes and I went back to cleaning up empty glasses and stray ribbon.

“Fred?” she said.

“Hmm?”

“Happy Christmas. I’ll deny this forever, but if it had to be anyone eating tequila chips with me, I’m glad it was you.”

I smiled warmly and patted the bow on her head. Then she slapped my hand and the moment was over and we both dissolved into laughter.

*

As per tradition, the rest of the day was spent being hopelessly lazy. Rox was wearing her new shoes, Ryan was reading, and I was stuffing my face with sweets. Dad left for a few hours to check on the shop. When he returned, he insisted everything was in working order and suggested I “get off his back” before he elbowed me. I wondered if he was taking after Ryan already.

Like I promised, I disappeared in the afternoon so Mum could have some alone time with Ryan. I met up with James for a cup of tea where he asked relentlessly about Ryan and I told him as little as possible. It was Ryan’s business where she lived. I just told him I found her and that I didn’t approve of her neighborhood, so I invited her to stay with me.

“And she accepted?” James asked, nearly spitting tea on the table.

“Barely,” I replied. I mentioned she was staying there alone, but he didn’t press the subject. I also asked him to keep it from Ollie – at least for now.

“Get anything good for Christmas?” James asked after we went too long without talking about us our the shop.

“Lots of good things,” I said. “Do you mind if we stop in a shop?”

“I’d rather not,” he said.

“By do you mind, I meant let’s go.”

“Ah. I need a translator.” He narrowed his eyes.

We moved quickly from shop to shop, but nothing caught my eye. James was tapping his fingers on every surface we passed. Clerks were asking if they could help me, but I settled on nothing.

That is, up until I settled on something.

*

“You did that on purpose.” Ryan was lounging on my bed when I returned, her knees propped up and a book facing her. “You left so your mum could have a pregnancy talk with me. I am never speaking to you again.”

“You’re speaking to me right now,” I said, kicking off my shoes and plopping down at the end of the bed.

She kicked me off. Hard.

“After this conversation, twat,” Ryan barked. “Do you deny it?”

“That you’ll stop talking to me after this conversation? Not at all. You’re stubborn.”

“That you left on purpose!”

“Oh.” I rubbed my lips together. “No, I don’t deny that either.”

Ryan slammed the book shut and crossed her legs. She shoved her hair off her shoulders, sending it back into the headboard. “Is that why you brought me here? Because your mum’s been pregnant before and she can make sure I don’t drink wine and poison my baby?”

I made a face. “My mum didn’t say anything about wine.”

“She could have!”

“She didn’t though.” I hoisted myself back onto the bed. “Was it an okay talk?”

“Not the point,” Ryan muttered.

“Was it okay?”

She shrugged, her eyes on my window. “It’s snowing a bit,” she said.

And so it was. I walked over to the glass and scattered flurries were sailing toward the grass. “You want me to tell her not to talk to you anymore?”

“It was a fine conversation. It was helpful. I would just appreciate being warned.”

“Point taken.” I nodded and turned. She was back to lying on the bed, book now on her stomach. “Listen, I have something for you.”

“Don’t you dare, Weasley. I will leave right now.”

“It’s a Christmas present.” I took the box out of my front pocket.

“I swear. I will leave. You’d better stop doing shit for me because I will leave and go back to the flat or another flat you do not know the location of or will go on some vast adventure to find my good-for-nothing parents. I will leave.” She didn’t move.

“What did my mum say?” I asked, moving from the window back to the bed. I sat beside her. She was giving me an evil stare, which wasn’t unfamiliar.

Her jaw tightened. “She asked about my symptoms and appointments and gave me some tips on things to eat and yoga. I have no intention of doing yoga.”

“You’re so badass.” I rolled my eyes.

“Fuck you, straight-edge.”

“Been there, done that,” I said and she punched me hard in the arm. “Just take the damn gift. It’s non-returnable.” I shoved the box at her so I could rub my arm. Damn it, woman.

Ryan placed the box delicately on top of her overturned book and stared at it for a moment. “I didn’t get you a gift,” she said.

“You weren’t expecting to see me over break,” I argued. She shrugged. “Come on, Davies. Just open it. It’s Christmas and the shop was about to close and I used my wonderful boy charm to keep them open.”

“Why would you scare them like that?” she said. She was smirking a little, which was a change. Ryan tilted the thin box toward her and pulled the purple ribbon that held it together. She tossed it at me, so I tied it around a long-ish strand of hair.

Out of the box she pulled a black oneside, the size of a newborn (or so it said on the tag; I was skeptical). As Ryan read the words, a grin moved up her lips.

In white, facing her, it read:

My Mommy has a Great Rack

“You shit,” Ryan said, laughing.

“First-outfit material, am I right? Wheel that baby out of the hospital wearing that.”

“Wheel? Do we wheel the baby?” Ryan said, her nose wrinkling.

“Maybe it has wheels,” I said.

“We’re not having a circus side-show baby, Weasley. Maybe your family is into that, but I’m not. We’re having a Ravenclaw baby and it won’t have wheels.”

“What d’you think it’ll be?” I asked, moving to sprawl out next to her (but not too close) on the bed. “Girl? Boy? Centaur?”

“You weren’t that impressive,” Ryan muttered and I elbowed her in the ribcage. “I don’t know. Boy?”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because it would be my luck.”

I rolled onto my back. “A boy wouldn’t be so terrible. He could play Quidditch.”

“He could do whatever he wanted,” she stressed. “He could be in theatre or play Quidditch or model or paint or drive a truck.”

“I just hope he doesn’t pick drive a truck because bragging about that is going to get really difficult,” I said. “I’d have to use trucker words and wear one of those hats.”

“You’ll support whatever that kid decides, trucker or not.” Ryan smirked. “Can we, like, chew toothpicks and rub grease on our faces?”

“Whatever it takes,” I teased.

Our faces were a little close, so I backed away. “What if it’s a girl?”

“Then you’re a goner,” Ryan said softly. Her hair was falling onto the bed and she shifted it away from her eyes. The sun was setting now, an orange glow cast across our bodies. “I already walk all over you. Can you imagine a little girl with my good-looks and your smile?”

Her eyes were a shade of brown I’d never seen before, but I couldn’t look away from.

“You like my smile?”

“Yes, well, paired with tequila it wasn’t terrible.”

I grinned. “You aren’t so bad yourself, Davies.”

“Obviously. I’m the best looking person at that damn school.”

I didn’t bother to dispute her.

*

“Fred?”

It was dark. No, my eyes were closed.

Nope, it was actually dark.

“Fred. Oy. Fred.”

I was being shaken awake. There was light coming from under the door, in a stream that allowed me to barely make out the room.

“Fucker. Wake. Up.”

I blinked and sat up on my elbows, groggy. What time was it? Somewhere around three or four. No birds outside, but it was winter. I missed the birds.

And sleep. Oh, glorious sleep.

“OY.”

I found Ryan hovering over me. She was on her knees, one hand on her stomach and one on my shoulder. Her hair was a mess, but it looked nice. She, however, looked mad.

“What?” I whispered. “What time is it?”

“Shut up.” She grabbed my hand and put it on her stomach.

“Are you coming on to me?” I yawned.

“I cannot believe you are the person who got me pregnant,” Ryan snapped and forced my fingers to splay out against her shirt. “Just wait.”

“For what? This is awkward.” I yawned again. Seriously, what time was it? Everything was dark and hardly coming into focus. Was this what Albus felt like when he didn’t wear glasses?

“Just wait.” She was having a hard time not physically harming me, I could tell.

I waited, my hand pressed against her stomach. It was being very stomach-like. Just sort of hanging out. Being a stomach.

Godric I was tired. Ugh, I needed to roll over and go back to –

“WHAT WAS THAT.”

Ryan actually laughed. “The baby,” she said. “Moving. Right now.”

“Are you serious?” I leaned closer, pressing both hands to her stomach and it happened again. It was like in the movies where there’s an alien inside of someone and it’s trying to get out… then it does and there is blood and guts everywhere and the alien can somehow already talk and speak in English (sometimes in an accent) and discuss its wants and needs while the host is dead.

It happened again. Then again. Something pressing against her skin. Against my hand. In the dark.

Ryan was watching me. I pressed my cheek against her belly (she didn’t stop me so ha) and waited for it to happen again. It did – against my jaw.

“What’s it feel like?” I whispered, waiting again.

“Like there’s an alien trying to claw its way out of my stomach,” she said.

I smirked and felt it move again. “It’s active.”

“Probably the salsa I had earlier.” Ryan shrugged, ruffled my hair, and crawled back into bed. “G’night, Weasley.”

I was lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling. I’d just felt my baby move. The child I helped create – I felt it move. It still seemed strange to call it an “it.” But until we knew… that was it.

We could always call it Baby Davies or something. Let’s face it. Like Ryan would ever give up her last name. It was famous, anyway. So was mine.

Her stomach was starting to round now. Each week I could tell the difference. Not by much, but I’d invested a lot of time into noticing. So I did.

“Goddamn, Weasley. Just get up here already if you’re going to whine about it.”

I wondered if I had been whining while I was thinking. I didn’t reply, but instead crawled up onto the bed beside her and pressed my hand to her stomach again. “Does it hurt?”

“Just feels odd,” she said. “I can’t really explain it. Just odd.”

I could see the edges of her profile against the light from under the door. The way her nose sloped down and her lips and her jawline. Her stomach moved a little, but not much anymore. Ryan closed her eyes.

“What’s going to happen when we get back?” I asked. It had been on my mind since I found out she left from Zonko. Before beating the shit out of him.

Did not want to think about that right now.

“What do you mean?” Ryan asked.

“With you. Everyone knows, now. What’s going to happen?”

“They’ll know.” She shrugged. It amazed me how indifferent she could seem. “And I’ll be pregnant. And Gemma will eventually work out that it was you and threaten your life. I’ll keep consulting for Ravenclaw. You’ll keep playing Quidditch and keeping your head down. I’ll have the kid. We’ll both graduate. Ravenclaw will win the House Cup and the Quidditch Cup because, well, obvious reasons.”

I considered her theory. I knew her logic was flawed, but she was a pregnant woman with a pseudo-alien pressing at the lining of her stomach. I let it go.

*

My family really enjoyed Ryan. I had a theory that they enjoyed her more than me.

She came with me to the shop and helped stock shelves. Nothing heavy. I wouldn’t let her lift heavy things and because of it she punched me in the arm several times. Dad agreed, so she gave him one of the less-than-charming looks I was familiar with.

“Sassy, isn’t she?” he whispered while passing me at the register.

“Tip of the ‘berg,” I replied.

It wasn’t bad having her around. She had dry, sarcastic commentary and knew how to face products. She even talked to the customers and hid in the office when Hogwarts students wandered in. It was rarer than I wanted it to be.

Ryan helped Mum with articles and cooked and cleaned and smiled more than usual. Of course she still threatened my life on a regular basis, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. She let me feel her stomach a few more times when the baby moved and my mum even got to feel when it happened over lunch. Rox was off with Scorpius Malfoy.

She came home in a huff on New Years Eve, slamming the door behind her.

“Rubbish!” she cried.

“Is this the simile game?” I asked from the couch. I was doing a crossword, living the wild life.

“Shove off.” Rox slammed her way into the kitchen and then the fridge and she swore a few times until Dad came out of the study and asked her what in Godric’s name was going on. “It’s ALWAYS Godric! ALWAYS.”

“Rowena just doesn’t sound the same, does it?” Dad said.

I scooted a little closer to the hall, leaning against the end of the sofa. Ryan hadn’t looked up from her book, but her eyes weren’t moving.

“Do you think I care? It’s all about you guys. All about Gryffindor. And now I have to go to this STUPID party where I don’t care about anyone there instead of going and doing something FUN with my FRIENDS.”

Dad was always patient with Rox. Way more patient than I was. “You’re pretty angsty today. Are you PMSing?”

“I DON’T EVEN LIKE YOU.”

“That’s not very fair,” Dad said. “I’m quite likable. Ask anyone. Except your friend’s parents. I’m afraid they’re probably not as fond of me. I recall some interesting hexes being used in our early days.” He was snickering.

I almost felt bad for Rox. Almost.

“I don’t want to go. I’m not going.”

“Go get dressed and wash your hair.”

“I’m not going,” Rox said.

“Fine. You can go like that and sit in the corner while the flies land on you. What’ve you been doing anyway? Sledding through dirt?”

“I went on a walk.”

“Through the Amazon?”

Rox huffed. “I don’t want to go. I don’t want to be around everyone.”

“I’m tired of your whining. Go get dressed. I have paperwork to do.” The door to the study shut.

Rox huffed her way back into the living room. She narrowed her eyes like I had been the one to plan the party and force everyone to attend.

“Take it up with Mum,” I said.

“Sod off,” she snapped and stormed up the stairs.

“My god she’s worse than I am,” Ryan whispered.

“I HEARD THAT.”

I groaned and leaned back.

Ryan, however, stood.

“What’re you doing?” I said.

“Absolutely not.” Ryan tossed her book onto the chair and marched her pregnant behind up the stairs to Roxanne’s room. I heard the door shut, but then nothing. She was either speaking very quietly or put a charm on the door.

Either way, neither appeared to be dead.

Yet.

I was good. I sat on that couch staring at the crossword for a good thirty seconds before abandoning it and racing up the stairs. Like a decent, privacy-respecting older brother I pressed my ear to the door. No silencing charm.

“Yes, I understand that,” Ryan was saying. “But there is absolutely no reason for you to be talking to me like that. Firstly, I’m a guest and I’m pretty sure your parents didn’t teach you to be a twat to guests. Secondly, I’m a Ravenclaw and Rowena help me I will out you to the rest of the House so fast. Thirdly, you’re an angsty teenager and you just need someone to talk to that you don’t secretly have a crush on.”

Silence. You have got to be kidding me.

“No one likes you right now anyway,” Rox muttered. It wasn’t her ruthless mutter. It was defeat.

“Oh, because I shagged your brother and have a baby in my fucking stomach? So what? You don’t think I could still take any of them?”

I knew she could. She could beat the shit out of me with or without a wand.

“Why’d you shag him anyway? You don’t even like him.”

“Tequila and self esteem issues.”

“That bad of self esteem issues?”

My sister. She was great, really.

“You really don’t like him, do you?” Ryan asked softly.

There was a long pause before Rox said, “I don’t hate him.”

“So then why do you say nasty things about him and ignore him? It can’t just be because he’s in Gryffindor. Not that I blame you. Gryffindor sucks.”

My baby’s mother. She was great, really.

Rox sighed. “We’re just different.”

“I’m different than the rest of the school but I don’t walk through the halls pretending they don’t exist.”

“Yes, you do.”

“Bad example. I wouldn’t do that to my siblings. So what is it then? Jealousy? Does he embarrass you? It’s not normal, whatever it is.”

“How do you mean?” Rox asked.

Ryan drummed her fingers on the wall. “Because he’s been cut up about it for years. Just looking at him when he looks at you hurts. And I don’t do the hurt thing, so that’s a big deal. He’s constantly on the verge of saying something to you and then he shuts up. What’s that about?”

“He thinks I replaced him with Scorpius,” she said.

“And did you?” prompted Ryan.

“Yeah.”

That stung more than I thought it would. I sank to my knees next to the door but kept my ear pressed against it. My heart was hammering, but not with adrenaline and anxiety. Because I felt cut across the chest. I wanted to think it was fiction – I was imagining things. I wasn’t.

“Why?”

“Because he wasn’t there anymore.”

“When you got sorted?” Ryan asked. “Since he was in a different house?”

“Listen. I like Ravenclaw. I do. I like it a lot. But I grew up in this family. In this big extended family. Everyone assumed I’d be in Gryffindor. I wore red and gold under my robes the first day. I wanted to be in Gryffindor and Freddie told me everything about it. The secrets and the people and the tower and I’d never wanted anything so bad in my life.” Rox paused for a few seconds and took a breath. “Then suddenly I didn’t have it. I was shoved off to another table with people I didn’t know and colors I didn’t like and I could see his face. He was disappointed.”

My palm stretched out over the wood.

“So you replaced him because he was disappointed?”

“Not in the hat. In me. My brother was disappointed in me and I couldn’t live with it. And he went off and had his Gryffindor fun and I met people who accepted me and that was that.”

“That’s it? One look across the Great Hall and you haven’t said more than ten sentences to your own brother in years?” Ryan said.

Rox didn’t reply.

“I don’t even have parents,” Ryan said. I could hear the annoyance lacing her voice. “I don’t have parents or siblings or a house or a joke shop or anyone in the entire school of Hogwarts who gives a shit about me. And yet you have this huge family that loves you, parents who care so much about you, and this brother who would jump in front of any hex for you, whether you speak to him or not, and you just parade it around like you’re too good for that. You don’t want to go to some stupid party because you want to hang out with your puppy love crush. Let me give you a little advice, Roxanne, you’re not too cool for your family if they are an actual fucking family. You have no idea how good you have it and I’m ashamed of you being a Ravenclaw at the moment. That’s right. I’m disappointed in your behavior. Are you going to shut me out too?”

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” Rox said. It was quiet.

“I don’t care what you want to talk about,” Ryan continued. “You cut off your brother because you were ashamed of yourself. Admit it. You were ashamed you didn’t get into stupid Gryffindor so you cut everyone off and stuck your nose in the air and walked off the other way. You didn’t care who you hurt because you had already hurt yourself and how hard could it be? Except over the years you realized just how hard it was. But you trained yourself to hate that house and everything it represented because that house represented a time when you were actually happy. When you had a good relationship with your family – with that boy who is probably on the other side of the door listening who would do absolutely anything for you. Even though you treat him like absolute shit.”

To my surprise, the door didn’t open.

“What am I supposed to do, then?” Rox’s voice rose a little. Something was in the back of her throat. “I hate him for getting everything I wanted.”

“He got a fucking HOUSE.” Ryan was all but yelling at her. “He got to hang out with Potter a bunch and play Quidditch. Big fucking deal. I want to punch him in the face every day but damnit, he has a big heart and even though I hate him for it, he’s there and he’s not going anywhere. So either cut him off completely because you’re too selfish to admit you were wrong, or figure this shit out. Because you sure as hell aren’t infecting Ravenclaw with your bullshit, Roxanne.”

Neither of them spoke for a while. I hurriedly crept back down the stairs and onto the couch. Dad was sitting on the other side now with my crossword puzzle.

“Both of them are sassy today,” he said.

“We should probably not go to the party and just hide in a storm shelter,” I said.

“Do you have one?”

“I don’t. Do we know anyone with one?”

Dad considered this. “Why don’t we just go the pub?”

I laughed as Ryan came down the stairs. Her face was red and blotchy. She sat back on the chair and propped her book on her knees.

“So,” I said.

“You’re welcome,” Ryan said.




 

UP NEXT: New Years Eve, back to Hogwarts, gossip, and Ryan gets ahold of a Zonko's product.

 


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