Chapter 18 : Meeting With A Future Grandmother
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Usually a trip to Hogsmeade during the weekend meant an opportunity to spend time with my friends away from the prying eyes and ears that filled the halls of Hogwarts. I would sit in the Three Broomsticks and drink Butterbeer, would make jokes and talk about Quidditch matches.
For the last couple of years Leera’s older brother Lucian would come to visit on the weekends so he could spend time with his sister and so he could spend time joking around with the kids he had grown up with. But I wasn’t going to go into the Three Broomsticks to spend time with Lucian that day, to talk to him about what was going on with my life. Because if I told him the truth then it would just get back to Leera. And if it got back to Leera it would make things much more complicated than they already were. And things were already almost too complicated to deal with.
That weekend I was setting out to meet up with my mother at Hogsmeade. It seemed almost ridiculous, almost pathetic to be meeting up with her but at that point she was the only person that I could talk to about what was going on in my life. Because she and my father were the only two that knew- and for the time being I planned on keeping it that way. It really was much more simple to keep everything a secret for as long as I could. It was better for me and it was better for Rose.
My mother stood outside of Honeydukes, her hair done up in an intricate twisting style, little bits of it hanging around her face in little curls, diamond earrings sparkling in her ears. She always had a tendency to look elegant even when she wasn’t trying to look elegant. It was like it was something that came from inside of her, a light of some kind. It was a wonder to him that his father hadn’t had to fight to be sure that he got the chance to marry her. Even now she was a complete and total beauty.
The moment my mother’s eyes landed on me her face broke out into a broad smile and she moved towards me, wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me in for a tight hug. She had always been the more affectionate one out of my two parents. It wasn’t as though my father ignored me or treated me badly. But she was definitely the more affectionate of the two.
“How are you, sweetheart?” she asked once she stepped back from me, held me at arm’s length to look me over as though she hadn’t seen me in quite a long time when she had just seen me during the winter holidays. It was something she had a tendency of doing whenever we were reunited, looking me over as though I had changed entirely in the short time since we last saw each other.
“I’m doing alright, mum,” I assured her though I wasn’t entirely sure that was the case. After all, things were far more complicated for me than they ever had been before. Especially given the fact that the woman who was carrying my child tended to act like a total mental patient more often than not. I understood that she was hormonal but there was only so much that could be blamed on the hormonal shifts going on in her body.
“Well, if that’s not the most empty response I’ve ever heard,” my mother murmured in response as she moved to wrap one of her arms around one of mine and began walking with me down the street. “You don’t have to keep things from me, sweetheart. Tell mummy all about how things have been for you.”
“You mean ever since I dropped the heavy bomb on you and Dad during Christmas break? And Dad seemed just about ready to disown me.”
“Your father is just worried about you,” she assured me, tightened her grip on my arm a little bit. “You know your father loves you. Your grandfather just wasn’t quite good at showing how much he cared about your father even though he did and I suppose he got that from him. But he loves you. It’s just difficult for him to comprehend the idea of you becoming a father. Especially given how young you are. And given the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy.”
“And who the mother of the child is.”
“Well, yes. There is that. But that’s only because of the way he and her parents didn’t get along back when they were in school. And how ridiculous the circumstances are.”
“Well, it wasn’t like she didn’t knew that was really what would happen,” I reminded her though that seemed like a pathetic excuse even to me. If she had only read the spell a little more thoroughly than none of that would have even happened. Rose and I wouldn’t have to deal with the idea of becoming parents in the near future. And the idea of being a parent was scary. It was beyond scary and it hadn’t gotten easier since Rose had told me about it.
It wasn’t as though I had never considered being a parent one day. Of course I had thought that maybe one day I would become a parent. But I definitely didn’t think that it would happen any time in the near future, that I would find out I was going to be a father before I had even graduated from Hogwarts. I also never thought that I would end up having a child with someone that I wasn’t even in a relationship with.
The knowledge that I was going to be a father was intimidating every single day. The knowledge that I was going to have a life in the world that I was responsible for, a child that I had to take care of and raise, that I would have to help with issues in their life, would have to guide through hardships? It wasn’t something that I thought I would ever become accustomed to, anything I thought I’d ever be ready for. Of course, I wasn’t entirely sure that anyone was ever ready to become a parent. It seemed like it would be something you had to figure out as time went on.
“That’s not an excuse,” my mother reasoned as she glanced over at me, cocked her head very slightly to the side. “It might be an explanation but it’s not an excuse.”
“Well, she already knows that it was a stupid thing to do. No need to keep reminding her of that.”
My mother gave me a look as if to say she didn’t entirely agree with me but didn’t really see the need to argue the point with me. And maybe Rose could be reminded of that repeatedly. Maybe it wouldn’t do any harm to remind her over and over again that she should go ahead and read spells more carefully before attempting to actually perform them. Maybe then she wouldn’t get herself into trouble again.
“Leave it alone, Mother,” I requested, unflinching under the look she gave me. She knew by then that I didn’t flinch under that kind of gaze coming from her, especially when I wasn’t the one she was silently- or sometimes not so silently- judging for poor choices.
“Regardless of how she ended up in the condition she’s in, Rose is driving me nuts.” It was a bit sad that in that moment the only person I could go to was my mother when it came to talking about such things. With Rose it felt like I was talking to a brick wall and most of my friends were either friends with Leera or knew her at the very least. And anything I said to them would get right back to her.
Leera was the last person I wanted to have hearing about the situation and not just because I knew Rose would probably kick me right in the ass if she found out Leera learned about it. It was because despite the fact that I knew Leera wasn’t as obsessed with me as Rose seemed to think she was she would give the two of us hell over the whole situation. Things were stressful enough without Leera getting bent out of shape over things.
“I know she’s hormonal and everything but she’s driving me mad with her mood swings.”
“Hormones only account for so much when it comes to how pregnant women act,” my mother informed me with a very slight shrug of her shoulders. “I can admit that sometimes we’re not the most pleasant sort when we’re pregnant. But we can’t really blame everything we do on hormones. Some of us are just naturally emotional rollercoasters even without pregnancy hormones.”
“I can’t do anything to please her,” I informed her and I was sure that my weariness over everything was evident in my voice. I was so exhausted from trying to figure things out, from trying to decide what to do with her, trying to make her happy, trying to get her to stop complaining and to just let me be. Nothing I ever did seemed to make her happy. Even when I gave in and did what she asked of me it never seemed to be good enough, always ended in another disagreement between the two of us.
“It seems like no matter what I do she gets upset with me. She won’t tell me what she wants but she expects me to know. And I can’t read her bloody mind.”
“Well, perhaps she doesn’t k now what she wants, sweetheart,” my mother reasoned as she looked over at him, gave her a very slight smile.
“I’m not making excuses or her or taking her side,” my mother cut me off to reassure me before I even got the bulk of my sentence out of my mouth, shook her head slightly and raised her free hand to make a dismissive gesture. “I’m just saying that she might not be able to tell you what she wants because she isn’t sure herself what she wants. She’s a teenage girl and she’s pregnant. It’s a lot for an adult to figure out but it must be even more difficult for her. She might just need some more time to figure things out.”
“And in the mean time she’s behaving like a total nutter.”
“She’s behaving like an indecisive, hormonal teenage girl. There’s a difference, Scorpius. Sometimes it’s not easy to tell the difference but there is one.”
“What am I supposed to do?” Pausing in making my way down the snowy streets with her I turned to look over at her. My shoulders slumped in resignation, in weariness. Trying to figure out exactly what it was that Rose wanted me to do was becoming extraordinarily exhausting, was getting to the point where I felt like I was going to lose sleep worrying over it. “If she can’t even tell me what she wants then how am I supposed to make her happy enough to stop bothering me so much.”
“I don’t have an answer for you, sweetheart,” she lamented as she cocked her head very slightly to the side, unwrapped her arm from around mine and lifted up both hands, pressed her palms against my cheeks. She smoothed her thumb over my skin like she did when I was a child, tried her best to make me feel better, to calm me down. It was one of the few things that worked when I was a kid and though I hated to admit it? It worked sometimes nowadays.
“All I can tell you to do? It to try to be patient with her, give her time, be understanding. And talk to her. Maybe if you discuss things with her then you’ll figure things out.”
“Every time I talk to her it feels like I’m talking to a wall. We never can come to any kind of an understanding. Nothing ever gets resolved.”
“My poor baby.” Standing on her toes she leaned up to press a kiss to my forehead which made me feel like I was a baby but at the same time I couldn’t deny that a part of me enjoyed it. Sometimes it was nice to feel like a little kid again, to have my mother comfort me. It was nice to be able to pretend for a little while that I wasn’t dealing with the intense things that I was, that my childhood was going to be over before I knew it, that I was about to become a parent in a few short months. A part of me wanted to hold onto my childhood forever but it was already almost over. And as soon as that baby popped out? My childhood would be completely over.
“You’re too young to be dealing with all of this,” she mused as she kept her gaze on me, dropped her hands down away from my face. “But I think you can handle this. You just need time. And I’m sure things will work out in the end. You both just have a lot to deal with right now and it can put a strain on almost anyone. It puts a strain on adults when they’re preparing to be parents. It makes sense that it would be harder for someone your age.”
“Do you two even know what you’re going to do about the baby?” she asked as she turned to start walking down the street again, wrapped her arm back around mine and began walking again, sort of tugged me along with her down the street.
“We haven’t discussed it,” I admitted though that seemed almost ridiculous to admit to her in that moment. It seemed like that would have been one of the first things that we discussed once I decided to step up and pull my weight in things like Rose had wanted me to. After all, if she was going to give the baby away then there wasn’t logically all that much I could do besides be there for her during the pregnancy. Then my job would basically be done. But if she wanted to keep it? Then I would have an even bigger job to do. Because being a parent was a lifetime commitment and I wasn’t sure how to prepare for that.
“I assume she wanted to keep the baby though,” I admitted to her after a moment. Rose hadn’t said it, hadn’t discussed it with me at all but it seemed like that was what she wanted. If she didn’t then I couldn’t see her getting as upset with me as she did when it came to not being there enough for her. But she had yet to say anything to me about it. Or anything about what would happen once the baby was born.
“Well, then maybe instead of focusing on the little things right now that could drive the two of you insane trying to figure out? Focus on the big things. Whether or not she’s going to keep the baby, if she is what the name of the baby is going to be, how the two of you are going to handle the whole co-parenting situation. Those are important manners. You two need to establish exactly what your role is going to be with the baby. And if she’s not going to keep it? Then you two need to discuss that as well and who will get the baby.”
“How am I supposed to talk to her about anything when every time I try to? She gets emotional and upset with me. She talks in circles most of the time.”
“I can’t help you with that, sweetheart,” she replied in a tone that implied she felt bad about not being able to help me figure things out. Not that she had any reason to feel guilty. It wasn’t as though I expected her to magically have all of the answers. There was little more my mother could do for me than try to be there for me when I needed someone to talk to, to give me one-sided advice. “But have you stopped to ask yourself what it is that you want in all of this?”
The truth was that I hadn’t stopped to think about it. From the moment Rose told me that she was pregnant I had no idea what to do, had no idea what I wanted. At first all I wanted to do was pretend that it didn’t happen, pretend that I wasn’t about to be a father. Especially considering the fact that it wasn’t as though I had slept with her and had knocked her up. At least then I would have the sense to deal with things. But given the circumstances? It made no sense to me at all.
When I finally decided to do something about it, to accept my part in things I hadn’t really considered what it was that I was getting into. I only knew that Rose had been right. Even if she had been the reason that the baby was created? It was also my baby which meant at the very least I had to accept that, had to be as much of a part of it as she wanted me to be. I wasn’t really sure how much she wanted me to be a part of things though.
Whether or not I was looking forward to being a father or whether or not I even wanted to be a father wasn’t something I had even stopped to consider. Was I ready to be a father? Was I prepared to accept the responsibility of it all? Was I even sure I could do it? By that point I wasn’t sure that I could do anything except try my best. Only I wasn’t sure that my best was good enough. My best probably wasn’t even close to good enough.
As a matter-of-fact, at that point I was almost positive that I wouldn’t have what it took to be a father. I wasn’t sure if either Rose or I would be good parents, not because I thought there was anything wrong with Rose, that I thought she didn’t have any kind of parental instinct. I was sure that with how close her family seemed to be that they would teach her the skills she needed to be a parent, that they would be there to help her out. And while I knew my parents would be there if I had to be an actual father? It wasn’t the same thing. And I wasn’t sure how I would handle it.
“I don’t know what I want,” I admitted to her even though I hated to admit that. I had been so worried about Rose and what she wanted that I hadn’t stopped to consider what it was that I wanted, what I could do to help her and make her feel better about things. And I admittedly had been focused on trying to ignore the situation.
It was stupid and childish to try to ignore the situation since it wasn’t going away. But I wasn’t ready to do that. I wasn’t ready to admit that my childhood was basically over already; I wasn’t ready to give up being a teenager, give up being able to joke around and spend time with my friends. I wasn’t ready to imagine spending my time changing diapers, checking on the baby when it cried in the middle of the night. But if Rose ended up keeping the baby? Well, I would have to get used to that idea as soon as I possibly could, would have to step up and accept the reasonability. It was a daunting thought.
“Well, then I suppose you’re going to have to think about it then, aren’t you?” she mused as she looked back over at me, gave my arm a bit of a squeeze as though she was trying to encourage me.
The biggest problem was that it was hard to figure out what I wanted when I wasn’t even sure what Rose was going to do in the end.
And talking to her, most of the time, was like trying to talk to a brick wall. And bashing your head against it repeatedly.
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