"Come on, buddy," I tell him gently. "You know this."
"It's a hard one," he says in frustration and I smile sympathetically.
"Yes, but you know it," I tell him as I press my fingers against the center of his chest. "What is this?"
He bites his lip and I smile fondly at the gesture as I think of the person he learned it from. "Ster… No, wait," he second guesses himself as he furrows his dark brows. "Is it… the Sternum?"
I smile proudly and his face lights up. "Very good," I tell him and he tilts his chin up as I start to button up his white dress shirt. "We have time for another one," I tell him and he smiles. "Do you think you can handle it?"
"Give me a really hard one," he says and I smirk as I look over his body and think of a hard bone for him to name. He really is a smart little thing.
"A really hard one, you say?" I joke as I bring my hand up to my chin in mock thought. I take his tiny arm and I put my hand around his forearm. "You have two bones in your lower arm," I tell him and he nods his head. "What is the name of the larger of the two?"
He smiles wide… He knows this one. "That one is easy," he says and I raise an eyebrow. "It's the Ulna."
I tap his nose. "You are much too smart for your own good," I tell him as I grab his suit jacket and I help him put it on.
Thatcher is my oldest son and he turned five earlier this year. Some days he tags along with me to work at the museum when things get a little crazy around the house because his younger brothers are such a hand full. That's when he started to learn the names of all the bones in the body and he's been obsessed with memorizing them all. I'd almost be worried about the subject matter if I wasn't so impressed with his ability to focus and remember. When his jacket is on I run a hand through his hair to tame it down and I make him face me again so I can get a better look at him.
He looks like me, that much is obvious. He has my dark hair and we share the shape of our eyes, but he has a bit of his mother in him too…He has a few freckles scattered along his cheeks, showing the Weasley in him, and he has a sharp nose that is very Malfoy. I survey him to make sure he looks alright and, when I notice something very prominent missing, I frown.
"Where are your glasses?" I ask seriously and he looks away, turning his bright eyes to his shoes. " You need to wear them, Thatch," I tell him gently. "You won't be able to see where you're going if you don't."
"But they look stupid," he says as I pat him down and find them tucked away in his front pocket. I pull them out and slide them back on his face.
"They don't look stupid," I reassure them as I secure them in place. He scrunches up his nose in annoyance as I sit back on my heels. "Your Grandpa and Uncle both wear glasses, and they don't look stupid."
"That's because they're Malfoys," he says as he blinks at me behind his glasses. He has thick dark eyelashes that frame is light eyes and the effect is quite stunning sometimes.
I sigh as I straighten his tie that I'm told is robin's egg blue. "You're a Malfoy too," I tell him seriously.
He sighs, matching my expression. "But Julian will make fun of me."
I bristle in annoyance when I think of Cassius' red haired little boy. He's the same age as Thatcher but he has a totally different personality. He's a mouthy kid, but he's never malicious, it's just that Thatcher is really sensitive.
"He's not going to make fun of you," I tell him honestly. I know Julian doesn't mean it to be mean, but it really bugs Thatcher and I never knew the special kind of pain that comes along with being a parent in these certain situations. "I talked to Uncle Cassius about it and he told Julian to stop."
"Okay," he says softly and I stand up with my hand on his shoulder. "If you say so."
"You ready to go?" I ask as I check the watch on the mantel piece. "We don't want to be late for Aunt Evie's wedding, now do we?"
I take his hand and we start walking out of the bedroom I share with his mother. When we reach the hallway he tugs on my hand.
"Dad," he says and I look down at him. He's stopped calling me Daddy this year because he thinks he's too old for it. I kind of miss it, if I was being honest with myself. "Are there going to be a lot of people there?"
"Yes," I tell him honestly and when I go to walk again, he tugs on my hand even harder. "What is it, Thatcher?"
"Do I…" he trails off and furrows his brows. "Do I have to go? I could s-s-stay home," he says. He's stuttering now so I know he's nervous.
My Thatcher is shy, almost painfully so, and we knew as soon as he started talking that he had a speech impediment. He had a hard time pronouncing certain words and he'd stutter difficult letters. When it was suggested that we take him to a speech therapist before he started his schooling, I was immediately put off by the idea. I was hesitant because of my history with therapists and the lies that were told to me by them and the people around me, but Lavinia convinced me it would be good for him. I'm glad that I gave in because he really has made progress and he starts primary school in the fall. I want the other kids to understand him. I don't want him to be made fun or thought differently of. I want him to have a normal childhood.
"I could stay in my r-r-room," he offers when I don't say anything and I give him a sympathetic look before reaching under my shirt and pulling the silver necklace over my head.
"You can't stay home," I tell him as I kneel down again so we're eye level. "You have one of the most important jobs in the wedding. Do you remember?"
He nods his head tightly. He's dreading being the ring bearer alongside his cousin. I know that. He's had a stomach ache all week over it.
"It's okay to be nervous," I tell him as I look at the necklace with the odd triangle tangling from the bottom. "But you don't have to be scared. Your mother gave me this," I tell him as I put it around his neck. He brings his hands up so he can take a closer look at the silver triangle. "And when I wear it I am never scared or nervous."
"Never?" he says disbelievingly and I smile before helping him tuck it under his shirt so it's out of view.
"Never," I confirm once it's successfully hidden. "Now, what do you think, mate? Should we Floo or Apparate?"
He thinks on it for a second before a pleased smile comes to his face. His brothers are too young to side along Apparate, so he rarely ever gets to do it. I'm fairly certain what his choice will be. "I would like to Apparate," he says and I smirk.
"Thought so," I tell him as I lift him up and carry him down the stairs. I nearly trip over a few toys along the way and I actually stumble when my foot catches on a stuffed teddy bear.
It makes Thatcher laugh. "You almost fell," he says, not realizing that if I actually fell, I would have fallen on him.
"You need to start cleaning up your things," I tell him in annoyance.
Lavinia and I don't have houseelves. We decided we didn't want any, but with three kids I really wish we would have accepted that gift from her father when he first offered. We thought we were doing what was politically correct but there are times when I really wish we had a servant. Morels be damned.
I finally reach the front door and I put Thatcher down so I can open it up.
"Dad," he says and I glance at him because we're already running late. "You're not ready to go yet," he says like it was a secret and I look down with a furrowed brow.
"Great," I sigh sarcastically to myself. I'm not dressed. I got so far as to get my dress pants and shoes on, but nothing more. I was too busy making sure Thatcher was ready to care. "Stay here," I tell him as I run up the stairs, two at a time. This house is like a time trap and I am constantly running late for things. I don't know what it is. I run into my bedroom and quickly throw on my dress shirt. I button it up halfway and I stop when I send another look to the clock. I promised I wouldn't be late.
I abandon that task and I grab my suit jacket and I throw the tie around my neck. I can handle that later and I run back down the stairs three at a time, bypassing the toys and clothes that litter the walk way. Luckily our house isn't as large as Malfoy Manor is because it doesn't take that much time to get from point A to point B.
"Alright, now we're ready," I say as I tug on the jacket and I go back to my son as he smiles at me in amusement. "What?" I ask as he snickers behind his hand. "What is it?"
"You still gots shaving cream on your neck," he says and I feel my neck and cuss gently under my breath. I was almost done shaving when he called me out of the bathroom to help him buckle his pants and I totally forgot. I pick up a random plush toy from the ground and whip off the cream from under my jaw and then I look at him with my hands out. "Anything else?"
He smiles and shakes his head.
"Good," I say. "Let's go then before your mother comes and finds us."
I hold him against me as we Apparate to Malfoy Manor and I hold his hand as we walk up the long walk way to the house that's decorated to the nines for Evelyn Malfoy's wedding day. Lavinia is in the wedding party, so it fell upon me to pick up Thatcher from his last speech session. He couldn't miss it, we were told, so I took the opportunity to get some work done at the museum before I had to pick him up. I promised not to be late but that was a promise I should have known I wouldn't be able to keep. I push open one of the large front doors and an Elf scans us to make sure we're approved. They have high security for this day and considering all the people that are going to be here, I can't say I blame them.
"Daddy!" I snap my head up to the top of the stairs and my heart starts beating faster as I see my three year old son start to run down. I hate those bloody stairs. They're a nightmare if you have children. "Daddy, you came!"
"Hold onto the railing, Silas." I snap as I run up to meet him half way before he slips and falls and breaks his head open. "You are not allowed to go down these stairs unless someone is holding your hand," I scold him for the millionth time and when I reach him he jumps up into my arms, not seeming to care in the least bit that he almost died. "What were you thinking?" I ask against his hair as I hold him closer and he shrugs his tiny shoulders.
"Silas Flint, you are not allowed to run away from me!" I turn my head to Lavinia's voice as she glares at our son.
"Oh no," I hear Silas whisper against my ear because he knows he's in trouble when she uses that voice and he holds onto me a little tighter like I would protect him from it.
"I caught him before he came tumbling down," I reassure her and when she sees me she sighs in relief. She's holding Sebastian's hand… he's our other three year old and the shyer half to Silas. They're fraternal twins so they have their own individual appearances, but they all look like me. Strong genes on my side, I guess.
"You made it," she says and when she's at the top of the stairs, she leans down and kisses my cheek. "I was beginning to think you were going to be late."
"We made it," I say with a wink and then I put my hand on Sebastian's head and I ruffle his hair. "How has your day been, little one?"
"Oh, it has been so boring," Silas answers for him, like usual, and Sebastian nods his head in agreement. He always lets Silas do the talking and I sigh because it's irritating. "Mama made us sit down and color the whole time."
"You have the toughest life," I joke and Lavinia smiles as I put him on the ground. I look behind me to see where Thatcher went and I smile again when I see him slowly make his way up the stairs, dragging his feet and biting his lower lip because he doesn't want to be here.
"How was your last day at speech, Thatch?" Lavinia asks gently and when Thatcher is close enough she bends down and kisses his forehead. "Did you learn anything new?"
"No," he mutters grumpily and when she looks at me, I shrug because I didn't get anything out of him earlier.
"Okay then," she says with a sigh and then she looks at me. I inhale quickly because I haven't seen her all day and it always catches me off guard when she looks at me full on like that. There are so many colors. "Will you take the twins down stairs with you? I just can't watch them anymore. Evelyn has me running around all over the place and I'm exhausted." She puts her hand on her back and I look down warmly at her stomach that's straining against the material of the dress. She's over eight months pregnant right now and I know she has to be uncomfortable.
"How is the baby?" I ask softly as I take the final step up and put Silas on the ground. The three of the boys run off down the hallway to talk to the paintings. I put my hand on her stomach.
"She's been moving around a lot," she says as she places her soft hands on top of mine and I kiss her temple, inhaling against her hair because she smells so sweet. "I'm too old to be a bride's maid," she says and I laugh.
"You're only twenty seven."
"Then I'm too pregnant to be one."
"That's fair," I tell her gently as I rub her arm with my free hand. "What are you going to do with Thatcher?" I ask as I look over her shoulder to see them mess with the painting of some old woman that is part of the Malfoy family. Poor thing. They're probably annoying the hell out of her. The paintings at Malfoy Manor rarely ever talk, but the grandkids have made it their mission to shock them into conversation.
"Cassius is in the groom's suite with Julian, so he'll be fine if I take him there," she says and she closes her eyes for a moment, inhaling deeply. "I am just so tired. I need a nap. She's been killing me," she says in reference to the baby.
She's convinced it's a girl and she's more than pleased with that. Both of her pregnancies had been pretty hard on her. Thatcher was breech and the healer had to turn him around while he was still in the womb. She was bruised for weeks after that and that instilled a fear of the doctor's office every time we went back. The twins had been such a long and difficult pregnancy, she was on bed rest for the last two months because she kept on going into premature labor and when it finally came for real, she was in labor for two days before they finally came. We weren't going to have any more because of toll they were taking on her body , but she really wanted to have a little girl and with this pregnancy she wanted to be surprised.
I don't have the heart to tell her it's a boy.
"Alright," I say softly, placing a gentle kiss below her ear. "I'll take them."
She brings her hands up and starts doing up my tie. I forgot about that. "My Dad and Gavin are in the ball room if you want to go join them."
I don't even bother to respond to that. Even though they tolerate me, neither of them really like me. I can't say I blame them, really. I don't make much of an effort to be liked. Lavinia catches on to my lack of enthusiasm and she presses her lips against mine. I lick her lips and she laughs as she pulls back, not expecting it. She tastes like strawberry lip gloss.
I smirk at her.
"I'll see you in a little while," she says softly kissing me once more before pulling back.
"Hey, look at me!" We both glance at Silas, the toddler who is constantly talking and constantly moving. He has something in his hair, something white along his temple. "I'm like Daddy!"
"Is that toothpaste?" I ask as I squint my eyes to see.
"How did he get tooth paste?" She questions and I sigh before walking over and grabbing his hand.
"Come on, Sebastian. Silas. We're going downstairs," I say tiredly as I start walking them down. I give Thatcher one last look before Lavinia puts her hand on his shoulder and starts steering him away.
"Where are we going?" Silas asks as we start walking down the long ass stairs. I hate these bloody stairs.
"Well, first we have to wash that toothpaste out of your hair," I tell him and Sebastian giggles at his brother's frown. "And then we're going to see your Grandpa."
"Grandpa!" Sebastian finally talks for the first time today and I glance at him as he smiles up at me. He does love Mr. Malfoy. I think it's because Draco always talks to him like he was an individual and he refuses to let Silas get away with talking for him.
When we reach one of the down stairs bathrooms, I pop Silas on the sink counter top and make Sebastian sit on the bathtub ledge as I wet a towel and start scrubbing the tooth paste out of the toddler's hair.
"Where did you get toothpaste?" I ask him because I honestly don't understand how he does half the stuff he does. We only turned our back for a second.
"I wanted my hair to look like yours," he explains and I sigh as I look at the mirror over his head. When Conrad Foxworth sent a killing curse at my chest it took the color pigment out of a little streak by my temple. It really confused people after that because I didn't care enough to dye it to match; people either thought I looked really good for my age, thinking I was older due to the whiteness or that I looked really bad for being so young. My sons find it a main characteristic of mine and it always shows up in their crayon drawings just as much as Lavinia's hair. "And I look like you now, don't I Daddy?" he says, giving me a large dimpled grin.
"Yeah, just like me," I mutter tiredly as I start scrubbing it out. "So, how has Mommy been today? Has Aunt Evie been keeping her busy, Sebastian?"
No one answers me. Sebastian is too busy playing with a button on his shirt and Silas is singing to himself.
"Sebastian," I say to get his attention, but he doesn't answer. I put the rag down because I'm finished with his hair and I glance down at the toddler on the tub. "Sebastian," I say a little more sternly and he looks up, blinking his eyes at me. Out of all of them, Sebastian more closely resembles Lavinia. With the same bowed lips and the same large eyes. I find myself more partial to him sometimes… as unfair as that is. "Did you hear me?"
He shakes his head and goes back to his button so I shake my head and help Silas off the counter. "Come on then," I say tiredly as I open the door and let them march past me. When we get to the ball room I find Mr. Malfoy and Gavin sitting at one of the table's speaking to each other in stern voices like they were arguing, but my sons don't seem to notice as they roar into the room. Calling their names and running towards their Grandpa and Uncle. Gavin smiles and stands up, accepting the hug that Silas gives him as Sebastian climbs into Draco's lap. I hesitate in the doorway for a few moments as they greet one another because I always feel awkward being around them. I finally build up the courage to walk in and I nod my head in greeting towards my father and brother in law as I pull up a chair next to them.
"Silas, stop it," I scold because he's trying to pull off Gavin's glasses, thinking it's funny. "Be nice."
"Yes, little man," Gavin smirks as he holds Silas down on his lap so he can't get his glasses anymore. "Be nice."
I smile a little and turn away. I'm glad that Gavin likes my children so much. I was actually kind of surprised by it, to be honest, because Gavin doesn't like me at all. I was kind of expecting him to be a little bias towards them…. But he's not. He loves them because they're his family too, even if they are half mine.
"That's my pocket watch," I hear Draco say as Sebastian goes digging through his pockets. "It's always important for a gentleman to have a time piece on a big day like this one."
Sebastian pulls out the chain and watch and looks over the face of the small clock with awe. "I don't have a timepiece," he whispers in his little boy voice and Draco smiles warmly down at him.
"That's because you're not much of a gentleman yet," Draco answers as he wipes some left over breakfast crumbs away from the toddler's face. Sebastian frowns and then looks at me as Silas gets off of Gavin's lap to join his brother.
"I want to be a gennlemen," he says, mispronouncing a word he doesn't hear very often.
"I want to be a gennlemen too," Silas pouts as they both glare at me like it was my fault they didn't have pocket watches. I sigh.
"Here," Draco says before they start throwing fits and crying. He unclips the chain from his waist coat and gives it to Sebastian. "My Grandfather gave this to me," he says before securing it in the toddler's pocket. "So you have to take very good care of it for me. Do you think you can do that?"
Sebastian nods his head and then sits back as he looks at the clock again like it was the greatest gift he's ever received. I have no idea why Draco did that. Sebastian is three… he'll probably throw that watch in the lake to see if it will swim.
Silas waits all of two seconds before chiming in. "But Grandpa," he whines as he looks at Sebastian with envy. No doubt he's planning on taking that from his brother later. "What about me?"
Draco realized his mistake and he started to look around for something to pacify Silas. He doesn't have his wrist watch anymore. He gave it to me when I married his daughter because he said I would need it more than he would now. It has come in handy when I needed to get a hold of Lavinia quickly.
"Here mate," Gavin says as he takes off his own watch with the black leather band. "You can have mine." He says and he grabs Silas' arm to put the watch on his tiny wrist. Of course it's too big for him and Gavin glances at me. "Do you know any sizing charms, Flint?" he asks.
I nod my head and pull the wand from my pocket. "Come here, Silas," I say tiredly and when the toddler is standing in front of me I start fitting the expensive watch to his little wrist. "Are you sure you want to give these to them?" I ask carefully as I tighten the band until it fits my son. "These two are like bulls in a china shop."
"Eh," Gavin shrugs and sits back with his arms crossed. "I needed a new watch anyways."
Of course. I couldn't even imagine spending the kind of money that the Malfoy's do and shrug off something so easily like that. I've never had much money so that's a totally different world to me. Once the watch is in place, Silas grins at me and he pulls his brother away from Draco so they can go play. The ball room is where the reception is going to be and there are round tables with crisp white table clothes scattered throughout the room. On top of them are place cards for the guests and the plates and crystal goblets are already out and ready for the food that will be placed on them.
"It looks like it's going to rain," I comment just to say something and the two men beside me glance out the window as well. There are dark storm clouds coming in from the south that are promising rain.
"I bet Evelyn is throwing a fit," Gavin says with a smirk and Draco shakes his head and turns back to me. "It's just her luck that it would rain on her wedding after she insisted it be outdoors."
"It'll be fine. We have a charm up to cover everyone if it does."
I watch my boys chase each other around the room as I cross my legs. I bet Draco Malfoy would move the heavens and the earth to make this day work for his youngest daughter.
After another bout of silence Gavin makes a loud sighing sound and runs his hands through his hair. "Jesus I need a drink. When is this thing starting?" he asks as he takes off his glasses and pinches the bridge of his nose. He looks more like Draco now since he's aged considering he always favored his mother more in the looks department. It's odd seeing them side by side now.
Gavin had always reminded me of his father, the way he acted, the way he carried himself and the things he said always mirrored what I imagined Mr. Malfoy was like when he was a younger man. They both are leaning back in their seats now and I glance at them out of the corner of my eyes as they relax into the chairs. Gavin's hair is thicker and he keeps it really short now, parted down the side and combed back like a GQ model and his glasses are more modern looking with thicker black frames and a more square shape. Draco hasn't changed his style much from when I was younger. Still the wireless glasses and neatly combed hair.
"How's work going, Byron?" Draco asks as we all begin watching my children play on the dance floor. "Cassius said that you spoke in one of his classes last week."
"It's going well," I say softly as I cross my arms. "I gave a little speech about anthropology in his carbon dating course…" Of course, no one listened to me. They were all sophomores and I'm sure they're going to change their majors after my boring speech.
"I don't know how you can work at the museum," Gavin says and I tear my eyes away from my boys to look at him. "I get bored when I just go to visit one. I couldn't imagine working in one of those places."
"I like it," I admit, like it was something I wasn't too proud of. I look back at the boys. They're running around the tables, chasing one another. "Hey, guys. Don't run in here," I scold and Silas stops and looks at me with a furrowed brow. "You'll have to sit down with me if you keep doing it."
"But we're playing," he says like it justifies his actions.
"No running," I repeat again and he narrows his eyes.
"Okay," he says and then he starts chasing his brother again. I can feel Draco and Gavin's eyes on me as I stand up.
"Stop running, you're going to break something," I snap, frustrated that they aren't listening to me. Silas runs again to make a lunge for his brother and he knocks over a chair. The sound of it echoes off the walls and I furrow my brows in annoyance as I walk over to them. "I told you to stop running." I say as I pick up the chair and right it. "Sit down or we're going to leave and you won't be able to see your cousins," I warn even though it's not true and Silas grabs his hand back.
"Daddy, I told you we was playing!" he yells at me and I narrow my eyes.
"You're going to ruin all this nice stuff that's set up for Aunt Evie's wedding. She would be very sad if you broke anything."
"I don't care!" he yells. He's tired, I know he is. The twins woke up earlier than usual today to be here with Lavinia and they haven't taken a nap. I know why he's acting this way… it's just so frustrating when you're in the moment.
"Young man," all heads turn to Draco's stern voice and Silas raises his eyebrows at the tone in which his Grandpa is speaking to him. "You don't talk to your father that way, especially in my house," he says and Silas gulps. "Understood?"
I look back down at Silas only to see his lower lip starting to tremble and his eyes tear up. I give him a sympathetic look because I know how scary it is to be spoken to in that voice by Draco Malfoy… loving Grandpa or not. He sends Draco one sad look before running away and hiding under one of the tables. I can hear him sniffing and crying and I turn back to Draco and Gavin… Draco looks like he legitimately feels bad and Sebastian walks over to the table his brother is hiding under and he pulls up the table cloth.
"It's okay, Si," he whispers as Silas covers his face. "We just can't run no more."
Draco sighs and stands up. "They always do this and it gets me every time," he says as he walks past me and bends down so he can pull Silas from under the table. "Why don't you two come with me to the kitchens," he says as he wipes tears away. "I know the caterers have some nice sweets in there that need to be tested."
Silas and Sebastian both nod their shaggy heads and Draco picks Silas up. My son leans his head against Draco's shoulder and wraps his arms around his neck as they walk out of the room, with Sebastian holding his hand.
"You can stay in here," Draco says in the doorway, talking to me. "Gin is in the kitchen so we can handle them."
"Oh… okay," I say because it is actually a relief to get a break from them, even though I didn't have them alone that long. Lavinia must have had one hell of a morning.
When they leave, I realize I'm stuck with Gavin and I loosen my tie before going back over to him and sitting down. He had found himself a bottle of wine and he was pouring some into one of the crystal glasses. He offers some to me, but I shake my head.
"So, when is Lavinia's due date again?" he asks to break the silence as he plays with the stem of his glass.
"Two weeks today," I tell him quietly and he nods before downing the contents of his glass.
It's exactly ten minutes of awkward silence before someone peeks their head into the room to break up how uncomfortable it all is. I'm grateful for it. "Daddy," Emma whispers from the doorway and when she sees that I'm the only one in the room, she pushes open the door all the way and comes running towards us.
"What do you need, princess?" he asks as he puts down his glass and looks towards her.
"It fell down again," she says as she approaches.
Emma will be starting Hogwarts this fall and I realize now as she comes in wearing a more modest covering bridesmaid dress that she really is growing up.
"I'm sure there's someone else who can help you with that, Em," he says tiredly as she stands right in front of him with her hands clasped together in front of her.
She tugs on some of her blonde curls that are dangling in her face, falling from the secured hairstyle she had them in. "But you do it best," she whispers and she spares me a little glance before giving her father a pleading look.
Gavin sighs and stands up, making her turn around so he can fix her hair and I hide a smile at it. Who knew Gavin was so good with hair. After Addison died, Gavin went into total father mode. I was kind of surprised to see it happen and I was almost impressed as I watched him become so openly affectation with someone. Emma became number one priority and he really did step up to the plate and do what needed to be done. Besides, he loves her more than anything and I smile again when she turns around and hugs him around the waist when he fixes her hair style.
"Thank you," she says and when she pulls back, Gavin takes his face in her hands and eyes her critically.
"You're wearing makeup?" he comments and she grins and nods her head.
"Aunt Evelyn put some of hers on me. The lip stuff is kind of sticky though," she admits and when Gavin drops his hands she takes a step back. "She looks very beautiful," she admits softly as she looks up at her father. "Like a princess… she's so skinny," she adds and Gavin frowns.
Emma has always been a bigger girl and she still has the chubbiness of youth still clinging to her features and body. Of course, she looks like Gavin with her thick curly blonde hair, scattered freckles, and a dimpled smile, but her eyes are all Addison's, that is one thing I remember about her. She's also taller for a girl her age and I know she's self conscious of it all. Of course, Gavin would fight to the death if anyone made her feel bad about it.
"Skinny girls are overrated," he says seriously and she looks down. "You look beautiful, Emma," he tells her as he tilts up her chin and she smiles at him. "Doesn't she, Flint?" he asks and he glances at me.
"Very beautiful," I confirm and she blushes as she smiles at me.
"I better get back," she whispers and Gavin kisses her forehead before she takes off.
She's really is a sweet girl, but she is completely spoiled and she knows that. She was the only grandchild for six years… she was everyone's baby and when you come from a family like the Malfoy's that means you could get away with practically anything and have it be okay.
When she leaves through the doorway, I stand up. I don't think I can handle sitting next to Gavin and not saying anything any longer. Some people just don't mesh well and he and I fall into the category. "I'm going to stretch my legs," I tell him and he sits back and raises his wine glass at me in mock salute.
"I'll be here," he comments dismissively as he downs the glass.
I stuff my hands in my pockets and turn down the hallway once I leave the room. I debate whether I want to go to the kitchens and save Draco and Ginny from my toddlers who are currently putting that terrible three's name to the test.
When I walk past the library door, I stop when I hear a strange noise and I gently push open the door so I can look inside. I find myself staring at my wife. She's sitting on the window seat on the opposite wall and she's trying not to cry too loud. I don't go to her right away because I don't know if she would want me to. She's hiding in here, if she wanted to talk to me, she could have come and got me but I have to admit it does hurt to see her cry or be upset in anyway.
I stare at her for a few more moments, deciding what I want to do and just taking her in greedily.
I have the very rare monochromacy colorblindness, meaning I can't see any color at all…but red… I started to see red when I was five. It was odd really. I don't know why or how that even works and I know it doesn't make sense. It was just, one day I woke up and I could see red. Before that I didn't really realize I was colored blind. I was too young and I didn't know any differently until Marcus had asked me to bring him his green mug one time when I was four. When I went to the kitchen to retrieve it for him, I remember staring into the cabinet trying to decide which one was actually green because they all looked like varying shades of gray to me.
I just grabbed the one I thought looked like something green. I had known the name of colors then and I usually associated them with different shades of black and white and gray, I didn't know, but when I brought the mug to Marcus, he called me stupid, told me it was blue, and then hit me in the head with it. I fell to the ground and I may have laid there for two hours before getting up again. I tried to be very careful after that, I started to mark things when I found out what color they were just so I would never make that mistake again, but that day when I woke up and I saw how red an apple was, I knew I was missing out on something.
That's why I asked the sorting hat to put me in Gryffindor, even when he wanted to put me in Slytherin. It's also why I loved Mrs. Malfoy so much when I was a boy because she was the first red headed woman I had ever actually seen so closely before and I thought that the color was beautiful… and there was Lavinia. I could see red, very muted red, I found out, because when I saw Lavinia sitting on the Hogwarts Express when she was eleven I saw everything. I couldn't recall then if she was like this as a baby, if I could see every color on her when she was small and I was around, but it didn't matter. I could see every shade of browns, golds, coppers, and reds in her hair. I could see the peach and pinkness of her skin and the redness of her lips as she licked them and when she looked at me for the first time, I finally saw blue. It was a beautiful color. I literally couldn't breathe for a few moments then.
Again, it didn't make sense. In a world of gray and muted reds, Lavinia stood out sharply as the only colorful thing my eyes could distinguish. I didn't know if it was a spell or some kind of brain damage that made it happen, but I could literally see every color on Lavinia that made her who she was. I was fascinated. I knew there was a reason for it… I knew that she was supposed to be with me. Why else could I see her in color when everything else was black and white?
I tried to recreant that effect when I was older. I tried to talk myself out of wanting someone who was my best mate's little sister, but the red hair I was sleeping with wasn't the same bright shade as Lavinia's and I wanted to see blue again. None of them made my heart beat any faster and none of them made me feel afraid of rejection. It wasn't just the fact that I could see color on Lavinia… that was what made me stare at her all the time, and the fact that she's so beautiful really helps with that, but my heart was doing funny things whenever I was around her, so I knew it was something more.
I pull myself out of my thoughts when she sniffs again and I take a step into the room, closing the door to the library behind me. The noise makes her jump and she looks over to me in surprise as she wipes her eyes, trying to hide the evidence of her tears.
"What's wrong?" I ask seriously as I walk into the room and sit beside her on the window seat.
She closes her eyes and lets a few more tears slip before standing up and turning around to show me the back of her dress. The zipper has busted open… again. I had to fix it once this morning and she was really concerned about it.
"I didn't know I'd grow so much in a week," she whispers sadly as I take out my wand to repair the damage.
"It's okay," I tell her as I start to mend the zipper.
"I was coming downstairs to give you Silas' tie," she says as she nods to the black toddler size tie on the bench. "He left it upstairs and I dropped it. When I bent to pick it up I heard it rip…. " she inhales deeply and shakes her head. "Dani was coming and I was embarrassed so I came in here. I wish I could stay in here all day," She comments softly and I pause a moment so I can stand up and kiss the back of her neck. I look at the freckles on the back of her neck and shoulder, dusted shades of brown.
"Why don't you have one of the girls make the dress larger for you?" I ask once I'm finished with the dress and that was the wrong thing to say because she brings her hands up to her face and she starts to sob. "No, love, don't do that," I say as I pull her to me and I wrap my arms around her. "I didn't mean for that to come out badly."
"I… know…" she says between breaths. I sit down on the window seat again and pull her down so she's resting between my legs and her back is against my chest. I kiss her shoulder and let my fingers run over her pregnant stomach in attempt to cool her down.
I've read stories about pregnant women being all hormonal and terrible, but Lavinia was never really that way. She never demanded pickles and ice cream in the middle of the night and she never pulled large mood swings that made me want to pull my hair out. She just gets little weepy sometimes when it all seems to hit her at once and right now I knows she's feeling very vulnerable.
"We're in the home stretch now," I whisper in her ear. She puts her hand on top of mine and leans her head against my shoulder. "Just a little more to go."
"I wish Evelyn could have waited a couple of more months to have the wedding," she whispers, her voice still thick with tears. I kiss her temple. "We took some pictures this morning and I'm sure I looked like a bloated blimp."
I smile at her analogy and kiss her neck. "I'm sure no one thinks that."
"And you know those photos are going to be in the papers," she says worriedly. "And everyone is going to comment on my weight gain and my stupid dress keeps splitting," her voice cracked at the end and she turned face to the side, brining her free hand up to her forehead. "I'm sorry, Byron," she whispers with a quivering lip. "I know I'm being ridiculous."
"You're not being ridiculous," I tell her seriously. "You're carrying a baby, Lavinia. Everyone knows that and you look perfect," I tell her and she takes my hand and kisses it. "Besides, when he's finally born, no one is going to care about your weight. They'll be too happy that our son is finally here."
She's quiet for a few long moments. "Our son?" she whispers and I tense up when I realize my mistake.
I don't say anything and she sits up and turns around, furrowing her brows as she looks into my eyes. Her eyes, different shades of light blue surrounded in a dark navy… if I look long enough I can almost see some purple.
"It's a boy?" she asks and I look down.
"I'm sorry," I tell her, feeling bad about my slip up but not wanting to lie. I put my hand up and cup her cheek. "I know you wanted to be surprised."
She silent for a while and then she gives me a watery smile and shakes her head. "It was stupid anyways," she says and I give her a sad look because I know she's disappointed. She inhales deeply and stands up. I follow suit as she smoothes out her dress. "Another boy will be fun," she says optimistically. She's going to love another boy just as much… but I know she really had her heart set on a girl this time around. "At least we won't have to buy new clothes or anything for a while," she says and I give her another sad smile because I know she's already been buying things in preparation for a girl.
I take her hand and pull her too me, resting my forehead against hers. "I'm sorry," I repeat again.
She sighs. "Better now than later," she says gently as she brings her hand up to tighten the tie I had loosened. "Another boy would be great," she says with a decisive nod of her head, feeling the idea out. She looks up at me with watery eyes, giving me a gentle smile. "I do love my boys," she says and I smile back. "We're going to have to search for a good name, though," she says, her tears drying and her voice becomes a little more stable. "We've used up all of our good ones."
"I love you," I tell her as I run one of my hands down the smooth skin of her arm.
She smiles again. This time it's a real one. "I love you too." She takes a step back and sighs again as she looks at her watch. "I better get back upstairs. Evelyn is probably calling for me again. It's starting to get so irritating."
"I can imagine," I reply sympathetically. I glance out the window. "It's going to rain," I comment and she nods her head. "I bet she's loving that, isn't she?"
"I've had to hear about it all morning," she says tiredly. "Here," she walks over to the bench and picks up the small clip on tie. "Make sure you put this on Silas before the ceremony…." She looks at me again with a worried furrow of her brows. "Where are they boys?" she asks in concern, like she just realized they were supposed to be with me.
"It's okay," I tell her gently so she doesn't go crazy on me. "Your parents have them in the kitchen."
She sighs in relief and I smirk. "Alright…. Well, I'll see you later then."
She gives me a quick kiss on the lips and then we leave the room together. I walk her to the stairs and watch as she walks all the way up with her left hand clutching the railing.
I don't know what I would do if she didn't love me. After everything that's happened to me, I thought I'd be in the worst kind of shape, but Lavinia helped me realize that it's not the end. Chloe, unfortunately, took the news of Bellatrix and our mother the hardest. Mom had never loved me, in the deepest corners of my heart I knew that, and the memories that surfaced after her death really made that point obvious, but she was a true mother to my sister's, because they were hers.
In true narcissist form I believe Bellatrix loved her children just because she saw them as herself. Chloe had a hard enough time already, she was just getting ready to come out of the closet to her school when all of this happened and it forced her to revaluate her life. She stopped talking to everyone after she found out, especially Lavinia, and I find myself partially to blame for that. I had taken away my sister's one true friend and she had no one. She started doing drugs with her girlfriend Lillian Westwick and after she graduated they both moved to America and got heavily involved into the drugs and modeling scene. I couldn't even wrap my head around it. It was so far away from anything that I knew that I didn't know how to help her. I haven't spoken to her in three years.
James was too young to understand and he's too old to care now. He'll be going into his second year of Hogwarts this fall and Harry has been all over him since he sobered up. He is the only family he has now, and a part of me is glad that he finally warmed up to James. There was a while there, when James was a toddler that he stayed with me and Lavinia while Harry was in rehab. The worst was Samantha though, because it just rolled off her back.
A part of me thinks she always knew and that thought upsets me.
When my mom and Chloe went into 'hiding' it never occurred to me to be suspicious that Sam didn't go with them. I mean, Harry would have watched over her anyways, but knowing that Bellatrix had married Harry to keep an eye on him to make sure nothing happened to him because he was the Dark Lord's last Horcrux, it really makes me think twice about my little sister. I guess it's a good thing that she never ended up with Cassius then because they're officially related. That would have been an awkward conversation to have.
Ever since I've found out, I've always wondered why she had to use the Malfoy children when she had me and my sisters at her disposal. She could have easy offered us up as willing bodies to the Dark Lord and his group and no one would have cared. They wouldn't have had to deal with Draco Malfoy's dark wrath had they done it a different way. I fear that's a question I'll never know the answer to… but knowing the truth about everything has helped.
I've always been clinically depressed, and I never knew that the medication that the 'Doctor' my Mom made me see weren't actually helping that. They were helping cover up the memories she didn't want me to see and they were making me even worse just to keep me under control. I have a real doctor now, and I take real medication. Sometimes I think bad thoughts… sometimes I think about suicide when things get really bad, just like Conrad had said that night that I killed him, but it's not nearly as terrible as it used to be. Besides. I have a family now. A family that loves me and a wife that loves me… not everyone can say that.
I look up the stairs as Lavinia looks over her shoulder and she gives me a shy smile before disappearing down the hallway. I stay at the bottom of the stairs for a few moments, just thinking about her.
I still work at the museum, but I've been upgraded to the preservation wing, where I help preserve the artifacts with spells and potions. I like it much better than being set into a stuffy office and on my vacations I usually go on digs with Cassius like old times. He's a professor at Black University on the off season but he's still an archeologist a majority of the time.
Lavinia decided that she didn't want to be a healer. I think Conrad Foxworth ruined the profession for her, so she decided to go into music instead. She finished with a musical education degree, but she hasn't been able to do anything with it yet. We were in Egypt with Cassius doing a dig when we found out she was pregnant with Thatcher.
She had just graduated from College and she was tagging along that summer before she went back for grad school. She hated Egypt. It was too hot where we were and the sand was irritating for her. We were in the desert and we were sleeping in a tent then and I knew she despised it, but she never complained. I think it was because she just wanted to be around me and that thought made me smile. During the days she would put ten sub blocking charms on her skin and follow her brother and I around as we set up dig sites with the little team of people we were able to assemble for the task. It was so hot that sometimes she would disappear and throw up. I forced her to keep drinking water and a few times I wanted to take her to St. Mungo's for heat stroke, but she refused, claiming she was fine.
We were there for a month and nearly every night we would make love in the tent that was right next to her brother's. I stopped feeling bad about that fact the second night when she woke me up with her mouth wrapped around me. After she realized I was awake, she pulled off her shirt and sat on top of me, riding me until day broke. It was a good trip. I took her into town towards the end of our stay and I took her to one of the clubs there as a 'thank you' to her for being so good and understanding. I wasn't a social person at all. In fact, I hated being around people in general, but I knew she was getting lonely, so we went out, but she refused to drink and when I asked her why, she gave me an uneasy look and pointed a few things out to me. She told me she had been throwing up a lot and it wasn't because of the heat and then she pointed out that we had been out there a month and she never needed any 'feminine' things, as she put it. I think my face was stuck in an odd expression for an hour before she nervously said my name.
"Byron, I think I'm pregnant," she had said. She didn't look too thrilled by it, and I didn't say anything for a long time.
Then I took her hand. She had been wearing my ring for years and, even though it was a promise that I would marry her one day, we rarely ever talked about it. We both had plans. I was going back to school for my doctorate and she wanted to go to grad school. A baby wasn't in the plans, but I couldn't help but feel a little pleased by the idea and when I told her so, she finally started crying and she hugged me around the neck. I think she thought I was going to be upset about it or something and she admitted that she thought she was with child even before we left for Egypt and that's why she insisted she come with me because it would probably be the last big trip we would ever be allowed to take alone.
It also explained all the sex, but I wasn't going to complain about that.
Three days later we were married in a small ceremony with Cassius as our witness. He absolutely hated the idea because he knew that his family was going to be pissed off because there wasn't going to be a big grand wedding, but I needed her to be my wife. Draco Malfoy scared the hell out of me, but I wanted her too badly to wait and she had no complaints so I dealt with the fury of her family when we finally got home and I used all of the money I had saved up over the years to buy us a small house in the country. It's nothing big, but it's home. Lavinia and I decided a long time ago that we didn't want to use her family's money unless we absolutely had to and we've stayed true to that promise no matter how tempting. All through college she worked at her Uncle, Fred Weasley's, shop, so she had money saved up as well that helped us get through the first year after my savings ran out.
So now I have a great job, a beautiful wife, three kids with another on the way, and a pretty house in the country with a literal white picket fence.
My life is so unbelievably ordinary now.
I absolutely love it.
I look up the stair case again, remembering the first time Lavinia and I actually had sex in this very same house and how sweet and innocent she looked that night. If I knew then what I know now…
I shake my head and put my hands in my pockets as I turn on my heels so I can walk towards the kitchens to get the twins. I think about my sensitive wife and how much she fascinates me and how grateful I am let she's mine.
And it's all completely normal.
I smile as I walk because I've never been normal before and I'm pretty sure I like the feeling.
Normal Byron Flint. Hm. What a funny thought.
"These brownies are very good," I say as I take my third from the tray and I bite into it as my Grandpa gives me an amused look. "I'm very hungry," I admit shyly as I dust the crumbs from my lips and dress.
I know I need to lose weight for Hogwarts. I want to look like the models in the magazines… I want to look like Aunt Evie… but brownies are just so good.
"Do you want a sandwich or something, sweetheart?" Grandpa asks as he wipes off my little cousin's mouth with a napkin. "I could have someone make you a proper meal if you're hungry."
"No, this is fine," I say as I swallow it all down and I reach for my glass of milk. "This day is just taking forever," I admit and Grandma laughs as she comes up behind me and massages my shoulders affectionately.
"I agree," she says against my curls as rubs my muscles. It feels really good and I close my eyes for a moment. She stops and I open my eyes to watch Grandpa Malfoy help Silas and Sebastian with their snacks as I finish off my milk. "But the reception is going to be a lot of fun, Em. You'll have to get your Grandpa to dance," she whispers as she bends down to my ear. "He is very good on the dance floor."
Grandpa spares her an irritated glance that I laugh at and I stand up from the stool so I can face her. "Dad taught me how to dance last night," I tell her as I take her hand and show her one of spins he showed me. She laughs. "How to keep time and all that," I say and she smiles.
"That was very good of your father," she says and I nod as I remember it.
Daddy and I were in the living room of our house when I disappeared into my room to try on my bride's maid dress for the fifteenth time. I just loved the way the smooth material felt against my skin and I loved how old it made me feel. When Dad saw me in it again, he rolled his eyes and turned up the radio so he could listen to the Quidditch match.
I'm nervous to go to Hogwarts. I've only had a private tutor and all my other activities always included girls my age. I've never been around boys… besides my silly cousins but they're too young to count. I stood in the door way as I watched Dad listen intently to the game and I heard him cuss when his despised team made a goal.
"Daddy," I said to get his attention because I knew he could get very deep into sports matches.
"What?" he asks distractedly as I walked into the room with my hands at my sides. "You look pretty in the dress, darling. You know that." That was his automatic response because I was constantly trying it on. "Don't get it dirty."
"Will there be dancing at the wedding?" I asked as I picked up the skirt of the dress and swished it around.
"There is always dancing, Em," he said with his brows furrowed as he put his elbows on his knees. His team was losing and he wasn't happy about it.
"What kind of dancing?" I asked. I knew I was changing. I was changing into a real girl and I needed to know these things and he was the only one who could tell me.
"Just dancing," he snapped as he turned up the radio again, hoping I would stop talking.
It had always been just my Dad and I. I know my Mom died not long after I was born and my father has rarely ever brought another woman home. I've only met two of his dates in my life. One was named Janet and she smelled odd, like she had walked through one of those over powering perfume stores and didn't bathe afterwards, and the other was named Clara. She was around for a while and I nearly thought my father loved her until he caught her pulling money from his wallet one day. It wasn't pretty. That's when my father sat me down and explained to me how I had to choose my friends wisely because I'd run into many fake people because we had so much money to our name. He said the sad thing about the whole Clara incident was that he would have given her the money if she just asked, but the worst thing you can do to a person is betray them.
I know everything about my mother. I know what she looked like because my father made sure I saw the pictures and I know how she was because he always brings around the my mother's remainging family members. My Mom is all they ever talk about when I'm there. I wish I knew her now. Even though I have my grandma Malfoy and two wonderful aunts on my father's side… it would be nice to have a Mom. Although, I'm torn when it comes to my father. I want him to happy and I want a mother, but I don't want to share him with anyone. He's my Dad and I don't want a girl to come between us. I've been his only love for a long time now and I don't want that to change.
"Emma, why are you staring at me?" he had said. I didn't even realize I was and I walked further into the room until I was standing right by the radio that was shouting out the score of the game.
"When you dance with a boy," I said as I put my hands out to demonstrate the whole dancing thing. "Are they supposed to put both hands on your waist?" I asked and he raised an eyebrow as I began dancing with my ghost boy. "Or do you do the hand thing? Do I put my hands on their shoulders?"
He clicked off the radio and I stopped pretend dancing because I thought he was mad at me for ruining the game, but instead he turned the channel to music and he stood up and walked over to me. "A gentleman does the hand thing," he said as he took my right hand in his and then placed my left hand on his shoulder. He's tall, so I could barely reach it. "Unless you're doing a specific dance," he said as he looked down at me behind his glasses. "Which no one but your grandparents do anymore," he added with a smirk. "Then you just move your feet and keep time with the music."
He gently placed his hand on my waist and started moving us with the music playing on the radio. Swaying us back and forth, stepping this way and that way. I stepped on his toes a lot, but he didn't seem to mind. Eventually he told me to put my feet on his and when I told him I would break his toes, he gave me a firm look until I gave in and did it. It was like riding a fair ride and I loved it. I found that I liked dancing and I sighed as I placed my head on his chest. I could hear his heartbeat against my ear through his thin t-shirt.
"You can do that with me," he said and his voice rumbled in his chest. "But when you go to Hogwarts you have to stay at least arms width away from the boy you're dancing with, okay?" he said and when I looked at him, he smirked. "Ready for something fancy?" he said and I nodded my head with a smile as he held on to my hand and spun me around, making me step off his feet. "Not done yet," he said and I laughed because it was fun. He held me out by the hand and had me spin in where he dipped me down and spun me back out. I laughed again as he pulled me back into the dancing position to rock us back and forth. "Cool, huh?"
"Very cool," I agreed and he laughed.
Then the song changed on the radio to something faster paced and he smirked as he went over and turned it up. "This is my song," he said and then he started dancing.
Oh, it was horrible.
"Dad," I scolded. "I hope you're not going to do that tomorrow," I said as I went over to the windows to pull the blinds down. "What if the neighbors see you?"
"What?" he said as he kept on dancing in the worst way possible. I think he was even snapping his fingers. It was so cringe worthy.
"You're so embarrassing," I told him and he smirked as he took my hand and tried to get me to do that stupid dance.
"Come on, Em-bear. You know you like this song too."
"Oh…" After a few moments of stubbornness, I finally gave in. I did like the song. I started dancing like he was and he laughed before pulling me towards him and doing that fancy spin again.
"I see you're going to be ready for the reception," Grandma laughed, pulling me out of the memory and I nodded my head with a big grin on my face.
"Of course," I said and then I dusted the lingering brownie crumbs off my dress. "I should get back upstairs to make sure Aunt Evie doesn't need any help."
"Alright, see you later," Grandma said and I waved at them as I left the kitchen.
On the way down the hall I passed Uncle Byron and I stopped to stare at him and blushed when his eyes looked into mine as he went by. I think Aunt Lavinia is the luckiest girl in the world to be married to him. Uncle Byron is the best looking man I had ever seen and every time I see him it literally takes my breath away. I bet he was really good looking when he was younger.
I sigh wistfully before picking up my skirt and running up the stairs two at a time. When I get to the top, I'm winded and I take a moment to catch my breath before walking towards the bride's room, where Aunt Evie has been getting ready for the past three hours. On the way there, I pass my grandparents room, and the door is slightly a jar so I approach it slowly and kick it open. I look around to make sure no one's in here and then I smile as I shut the door behind me.
We're never allowed in my grandparent's room and I've only seen it a few times when I was staying over because was too afraid to sleep in my own bed so they let me sleep with them. It really is a great big grand suite with couches, tables, a vanity, a wardrobe, two closets, a large bathroom… and of course… that huge bed. I kick off my shoes as I run over to it. I think this is the biggest bed in the world, and the softest. I stand up and start jumping up and down on it because it's just so fun and no one is here to scold me for it. The pillows that had been so meticulously put on start to become disarrayed with each jump and the covers bunch up as I giggle. I make a game out of jumping up to reach the canopy and once I've touch it I fall land on my back to stare up at it with a silly grin on my face.
I'm starting to sweat, so I wipe my forehead with the back of my hand and I sit up. I should take advantage of this opportunity. I walk towards my grandma's vanity and I run my fingers over her brushes and combs. My Grandma is such a dignified lady and she's so beautiful. It's no wonder my Grandfather has loved her all these years. I look at my reflection in the mirror and frown.
Tomorrow I am going on a diet.
I walk over to their closet and I turn on the light. I love all the dresses and skirts my Grandma wears. She wears clothes that characters from a romance book would wear. They just don't look right on me yet and I sigh as I run my fingers over their smooth fabric. I go over to my Grandpa's side and do the same. His clothes always smell so nice and as I run my fingers down one of his softer sweaters, I see something on the wall behind it that makes me pause.
I push his clothes to side and move a large shoe trunk to reveal the wall to me. There are very faded drawings there, and I get down on my knees so I can see them better. It looks like time has all but ruined them, but I can faintly see the black outlines and red paint looking stuff. Dad, is written under one of the pictures. Mom, Charlie, Bill, Fred, George, Ron… I can make out all of the names and I sit back on my heels as I purse my lips. What was this?
I frown at them before looking down and seeing a small black book that had been hidden under the shoe chest and I look at it for a few moments before flipping it open and running through the pages. Bellatrix Lestrange. Is written on one of the pages to show ownership and I sigh as I throw it over my shoulder.
"What are you doing?" I jump and turn around to see Grandma staring at me from the doorway with her hand on her hip.
"Just… looking," I say as I stand up and smooth out my dress.
"Right," she says with a good natured head shake and then she puts her hand on my shoulder and guides me out of the closet as she turns off the light. "Let's get you back to the girls," she says and she sends a sad look to her messy bed. I feel a bit guilty.
"Sorry about that," I mutter as we pass her vanity.
"Sometimes things are just too tempting," she nods in understanding and when we stop in front of her vanity mirror she picks up a silver necklace that has a small star shaped charm on it. "Do you want to wear this today?" she asks curiously as she moves behind me and puts it around my neck.
"Yeah, sure," I say excitedly. I love jewelry and I've always been annoyed that Daddy won't let me get my ears pierced until I'm sixteen. She clips it in place and I smirk at my reflection as the necklace rests just above the cut of my dress. "Thank you," I tell her truthfully. "This is perfect."
"You can have it," she says and I grin again as we start walking out of her bedroom. She makes sure to close it after we step out and I hide a pleased smile when she locks it. That was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.
As we walk towards the bride's room we pass by a wall of photographs that my father had taken. He still works at the family company and five years ago he was made vice president over the smaller branch in Italy. We still live in England, he just floos there every morning and comes home the same way every night. His hobby is taking pictures with the muggle camera Grandma gave him once.
He's really good at it and he's even had a few shows in some Galleries. He claims it's just something he does for fun, but I know he likes it more than his real job. Most of the pictures on this wall are photo's he had taken of me when I was a baby, right after my Mother was murdered. I feel sorry for my father for that reason. I never really got to know her… but Daddy loved her and it still hurts him now.
"Here you go, Em," she says as she kisses my cheek and opens the door to the bride's room. "Be good, alright?"
"Alright," I say with an eye roll as I go inside and shut the door behind me. The room is a mess and dizzy with frantic women running all over the place.
I sit down and stare at Aunt Evie, who I love dearly, walk around and demand things from people as they scurry about. She's a dancer now with the Magical London Academy of Dance and she is so perfect. I want to be just like her when I grow up. Aunt Lavinia sighs as she watches her sister stomp around the room and she looks at me and we share a smile. She looks more like my Dad. More so than Evie or Uncle Cassius and I'm partial to her for that reason because that means she looks like me.
I can't decide who's my favorite.
A crash of thunder sounds and it makes everyone in the room jump as we all look towards the window.
Aunt Evelyn makes a squealing noise before stomping towards the window and I sit back in my seat ready to watch her explode. It will probably be the highlight of my day. Aunt Evie can throw a fit like it's no one's business and if I watch and learn carefully, I might be able to convince my Daddy to finally let me get my ears pierced.
I find that my Malfoy side of the family always finds ways of getting what they want. It's just a matter of tactics. Aunt Evie whines until you give in, Uncle Cassius asks so nicely you can't help but do what he wants, Aunt Lavinia is so sweet that you end up doing more than she wanted just because her smile is so beautiful, and my Dad… well, he just does whatever he wants anyways, so there's really no reason to ask.
I'm trying to decide what kind of Malfoy I want to be.
"It's probably a sign," Evelyn says as she takes off her dress again, leaving her in the white corset, lacy bra, and garter set she had on underneath. She's so skinny and I send a look at my own body, dejected for a moment that I never lost the baby weight after I had Julian. "Why does it have to rain on my wedding day?" she pouts. She's been complaining about it for the past hour and sh lookse over her shoulder at her sister who walked in a few minutes ago. "Lavinia! Where have you been? It's going to rain on my wedding day!"
When Lavinia sees that she's no longer in her dress she frowns. "What are you doing?" she asks as she walks further in with her hand resting on her back to deaden the pressure of the baby. I feel sorry for her, I really do. Her babies have always been so big and even the twins were huge considering they shared a womb. "Evelyn, you have to start getting ready. People are starting to show up. There are already fifty people outside. "
"Maybe I should cancel," she says worriedly as she walks over to the window and stares at the overcast sky. Thunder rattles the windows and it really starts to rain in earnest. "I think this is an omen." She glances at Emma, who idolizes the very ground she walks on. "What do you think, Em? Should I cancel?"
"Oh, no," Gavin's daughter says. She looks just like Gavin, just in a more feminine way of course. She's a cute girl, I can admit that. Gavin has always had that look that could go either way. "Everyone would be so disappointed."
"Put the dress back on," Lavinia says tiredly as she throws the dress at her little sister. I watch them as they bicker and I smile. Both of the Malfoy daughters are beautiful girls but in totally different ways. "It's not an omen. It's England and it rains."
I like to think of it this way: Evelyn is the modern version of pretty, with her thin tall model like body and sharp features to offset her large slate eyes. Everything she wears looks good. Short skirts, baggy pants, low tops. Ugh, I hate her. Lavinia on the other hand… I imagine she would be pretty no matter what time frame you put her in. They would think she was beautiful in ancient Greece just like they would think she was pretty in the old American west. She just has that look about her.
"Put it on," she snaps again as she helps her little sister put the dress on. It's very tight fitting around the bodice and hips and then it starts to puff out towards the floor. She kind of looks like a mermaid covered in vanilla frosting. "If I go into premature labor because of this. I will kill you."
"If you go into labor," Evelyn starts as the make-up artist comes back with a lipstick brush to fix her makeup that was smudged in the dress debacle. "Then I am definitely canceling."
"You're just nervous, Evelyn," Lavinia says gently, cooling her temper as she situates the dress so the folds lay right as a hair person comes over to tame the mass of curls on top of Evelyn's head. "Everything is going to be perfect."
"That's easy for you to say," she says seriously as she turns towards the mirror to check herself out. I sigh and put my leg over the arm of the chair as the silk chiffon of the blue bride's maid dress wrinkles with the movement. I am too bloody old to be a bride's maid. "You just went and got hitched. There are going to be five hundred people here today and you had what….four people at your wedding?"
"That's your own fault," Lavinia states as Evelyn tilts her body from side to side as she looks into the mirror. "You wanted a big wedding."
"Well, of course I had to," she states in a haughty voice. "You broke Daddy's heart when you just went off and married Byron without telling anyone. I had to make up for your selfishness." Lavinia steps back and furrows her brows, she looks guilty and I suspect this has always been a sore spot with in the family. "Oh, I didn't mean that, Liv," Evelyn says softly as she turns towards her sister and takes her hands in her own. "You're right. I am just so very nervous." She smiles, showing her perfect Malfoy teeth. Everything about this family is perfect. "I'm actually getting married today!"
"I know," Lavinia says with a smile as she studies her sister's face. "Oh, you make me feel old."
"I need my tiara now," she says as she looks over her shoulder at her girlfriends from Hogwarts who have been all together unhelpful during this whole thing. "Will one of you be a dear and get it for me?"
"Uh," the one with the gap tooth smile starts out uncomfortably as they search around the room. "I don't see it, Evie."
She frowns. "Well, it has to be here somewhere," she says as she bats the make-up people away and she goes over to the couch I'm sitting on and looks under a cushion. "Everyone look for my veil. If I can't find it… I'm canceling."
I roll my eyes and then my eyes catch Lavinia's as she gives me a tired look. I smile and shake my head at Evelyn's silliness and she does the same before I stand up and help to bloody look for the thing.
"I think I left it at my flat," Evelyn says after half an hour of us tearing the room apart. "Oh, I did! I left it on the table."
"Why was it at your flat?" Lavinia asks as a slight sheen of sweat gathers on her forehead. She looks completely exhausted. "What were you doing with it at your flat? It was supposed to stay here."
"I just… will you just go and get it?" she asks with a pout and Lavinia makes a face. "I can only trust you."
"Oh, fine!" Lavinia snaps as she starts walking out of the room. I feel sorry for her, so I stand as well.
"I'll go with you, Lavinia," I say and she gives me a thankful look as we enter the hallway. "Evelyn is being quite the bridezilla isn't she?" I say to make conversation and Lavinia nods her head.
"I know it's because she's nervous but I just want to smack her. She knows I can't Apparate in my condition," she says as she looks down at her stomach. "I have to floo and it's so hard to get soot all the way out with a spell. I won't have time to shower and get ready all over again."
"I could just go," I tell her seriously and she shakes her head.
"We'll need both of us, I think," she states seriously. "You know how messy she is. It will probably take us hours to find that stupid veil."
"Do you mind if I check on Julian first?" I ask carefully. That was my motive in leaving that room actually. "Make sure Cassius is keeping an eye on them."
"That's a good idea," she says as she nods her head and we start walking towards the groom suit that's on the other side of the Manor hall. Lavinia is my closetest friend in the family, because Cassius and Byron are best mates we were forced to sit through a lot of double dates together and we became friends by default. I like her a lot, actually. She reminds me of her brother and we had to endure a lot of our husband's bromance together. I gently knock on the door and when no one answers I push it open. "I hope you're all dressed," I announce as I step inside with my eyes closed just in case one of them isn't.
I hear giggling and I crack my eyes open to see Cassius. He has Julian in the air, spinning him around like a helicopter as Lavinia's boy watches from the arm chair. The other groomsmen that are in wedding are all sitting around and talking in varying stages of getting dressed. I put my hands on my hips as Lavinia steps inside and goes over to Thatcher.
"It's nice to know you boys are taking your time as well," I say to the room and Cassius looks over at me and smiles. "Where's the groom?" I ask as I go over to them. He kisses my cheek as he lets our son rest against his hip.
"God knows," he mutters as I take Julian and tame down his hair. It's red just like Ginny's, Weasley red, and he has silver eyes like his father. I'm afraid the only thing he got from me is his mouthy attitude. "He's been gone for like an hour."
"Has anyone bothered to look for him?" I ask and Cassius shrugs his shoulders. I sigh and roll my eyes. "Honestly, what have you guys been doing in here?" I ask as I let my eyes sweep the room. The groomsmen are still just lounging around and Lavinia is sitting beside her son, speaking to him in a soft voice as he shows her a silver necklace he's wearing.
"I've been playing with my boy and nephew," he says as he pinches Julian's cheek.
"Hey!" Julian bats his hand away and smirks. "Fight?" he says and Cassius laughs as he pulls him away from me to set him on the ground.
Honestly, I hate it when they do this.
Cassius gets down on his knees and lets Julian attack him and they roll around on the ground like maniacs. They've been doing this since he was a toddler, just pretend fighting, and we wonder why he hits people when he doesn't get his way.
"So, I take it you guys are doing okay in here?" I say over the commotion of my son tackling his father and trying to make him stay down.
"Yeah, we're fine," he says in a strained voice as he wrestles. "Come on, Thatch," he says and Thatcher perks his head up towards his uncles voice as Lavinia puts her hand on his hair. "I need a team mate. Julian is too strong."
Thatcher looks at his Mom. Lavinia nods his head and he smiles as he stands up to jump into the fake wrestling match. "Glasses, Thatch," Lavinia says and Thatcher stops mid step to look over his shoulder. She stands up and walks towards him. "You broke them last time, remember?"
"Oh, right," he says as he slips them off and folds them. He hands them to her before jumping in with my son to beat on my husband. I roll my eyes again as Lavinia puts Thatch's glasses on the table.
"I'm leaving them right here," she says over the noise. "Don't forget."
"Okay!" he says as he holds Cassius' arm down so Julian can tickle him.
"Hey! You're supposed to be on my team."
We head towards the door way and I look over my shoulder to see Cassius get the upper hand and pin both boys to the ground as they laugh. I sigh sadly. Cassius deserves a big family with lots of kids but that's something I can't give him anymore. After I had Julian, I went back to being an Auror. A curse to the stomach stopped any chance of us having more kids and I know it hurt him. I'm on a desk job at the ministry and I know he wants to adopt. He would love any child as his own, but I just can't do that right now. I still have that little hope that by some miracle we'll be able to conceive and have another child of our own, even though I know there's little to no possibility of that. It's still good to have hope. I look over at Lavinia as we walk towards the stairway. She keeps one hand on her stomach as we walk and I can feel envy wash over me. She's getting ready to have her fourth and I'm still praying for a second.
Maybe we're only meant to have one. Of course, Cass and I have had such a rocky relationship from the get go. There were a lot of trust issues involved in the beginning, post-hogwarts, days because of everything that went down with Bellatrix Lestrange and the Dark Lord that that I didn't think we were going to make it. I always knew he was too good for me. When I was at Hogwarts I had one goal, and that was to get a rich husband. My family was pureblooded, but we never had much money. I knew it could buy happiness after seeing my richer classmates have grand parties and gifts given to them by their wealthy parents.
That's when Gavin came.
I liked Gavin of course, but not for the right reasons. He was everything a snobby rich kid should be and I was determined to put up with him for my own benefit no matter how shitty he was to me. After that fell through I set my sights on Cassius, he was the oldest one anyways and since I was aiming high, I might as well aim as high as I could. The Malfoy's were the richest family in the country and I wanted so badly to be a part of it no matter what. I didn't expect Cassius to be so sweet or kind.
I had known that he wasn't like he little brother, he was quiet in classes and he rarely ever got in fights, but I just thought there was an underlining cruelty in all Malfoys, so I was prepared. It threw me for a loop how nice he was to me, and it really fucked me up when he started to like me back. I couldn't do it anymore. I panicked because he was a real genuine person and I knew I didn't deserve it. So I fled and let him go. I went straight into Auror training as soon as I graduated. My outlook on life had changed and I wanted to be self sufficient and independent.
The whole Dark Lord/Lestrange come back was my first big job and it was all undercover. I thought I was going to get some kind of metal for my work, that was until I found out Cassius was involved. I only knew after the fact but after he came back, and the Dark Lord missed his chance to go in the first time, they were thinking of killing him and just using Byron Flint for the body.
They knew Byron was unstable, that's why they initially ruled him out because his mind had been so messed up that it wouldn't hold the spell or the potions they needed to give to prep the body, but they didn't know what had happened to Cassius when he 'died' and they weren't sure what to do with it. In fact, I was sent on one of the missions with a few others to kill him off just in case he found anything out while he was 'dead.' Cassius never actually thought his life was in danger, he was going to St. Mungo's every day and he was going over to Byron's like nothing was wrong… he never knew people were watching him and he never realized how vulnerable he was. I panicked. I was heartbroken when I thought he died, I didn't know their plan then because I wasn't that far in and I thought it was legit, so I knew I couldn't do it again.
I felt like I had missed the biggest opportunity of my life the first time that he died. I couldn't let that pain happen again.
I had convinced Dr. Bailey that the spell could work again, that they could use Cassius because he was the better option. Everyone liked Cassius, he was a world known figure by that time and he was the heir, so if something happened to the other siblings, he would have all the money in the will. That was a motivator too. The Malfoy vaults are always tempting and the Dark Lord would need funds to start out, knowing Draco was no longer at his disposal.
He agreed and sent into motion the new plan to steal the statue back and re-perform the spell once everything was in place. It wasn't supposed to go as far as it did, but I was relieved that he survived. We dated on and off for a year after that. We fought a lot and shagged a lot and some where in-between he fell in love with me. I had always loved him, so it didn't really matter, I was just pleased when he admitted he felt the same.
"I hate flooing," Lavinia says when we reach the main floo line. She sighs as she takes a handful of floo powder from the pot and she looks at me. "It had better be on the table or I'm going to kill her," she says and I smile as I take the powder as well.
"I'd help," I admit and I let her go first before flooing to Evelyn's pent house apartment.
I know there's a difference because messy and disorganized. I can't say I classify Evelyn as messy per say, but she is fucking disorganized to the point of extreme. The flat is a wreck, with mail and wedding papers and magazines all over the living room and boxes of things she hasn't even unpacked even though she moved in here a year ago.
"I can't believe he lets the place stay like this," Lavinia says with a sighs as she edges around the music collection that's lying on the ground by the coffee table. "He seems like such a need freak."
"She lives her alone, doesn't she?" I question as Lavinia moves things around the coffee table. No veil. "I thought her fiancée lived somewhere else."
Lavinia spares me a little glance before walking towards the little dining room. "She lives with him," she answers as she moves boxes full of plastic cups off the table top. "She told Mom and Dad he had his own place because Dad wouldn't have liked it if they lived together before marriage."
"Oh, that makes sense," I say as I help her look around for the veil.
It's not on the dining room table. It's not on the counter in the kitchen…
"Where in the hell is it?" Lavinia snaps. "She could have been more specific," she says as she walks up the stairs to the bedroom.
I pick the spare room to look for it as she kicks things around in the bed room. I find nothing in here and then I hear her say my name in a panicked kind of way.
"What is it?" I ask I run into the bed room. "Did you see a mouse?" In all honestly it was very likely because the place was such a disaster. When you go from having house-elves to nothing I guess it can really fuck some people up.
She stays ridged and she inhales deeply as she stares at the wall.
"Lavinia what is it?" I ask as I put my hand on her arm.
"I need to go to St. Mungo's," she whispers.
"What? Why?" I ask as she inhales again through her nostrils and closes her eyes. I look down at her stomach. "Oh." Is all I can find in me to say.
"I need to get Byron," she says as she closes her eyes and clenches her fists.
"Okay, well, let's get to the fireplace. We can get Byron after we're at St. Mungo's," I tell her going straight into get shit done mode. I put my hand on her arm and help her walk down the stairs. We have to pause a few times until we reach the fireplace because she gets painful contractions that have her crushing my fingers in a death grip.
"This is all Evelyn's fault," she says as tears start to sting her eyes. I hand her some floo powder as she wipes them away. "She's had me so stressed out."
"It's going to be okay," I say seriously as I push her into the grate.
"It's going to be a boy," she says as she looks at me before throwing the powder down. "Did you know that?" she asks and I shake my head as I smile sadly at her. "I love little boys," she admits before disappearing.
I pull out the small golden compact I had hidden in my bra and I click it open so I'm looking at my own reflection. Two way mirrors. An old Auror must have. "Cassius," I say into the mirror. He doesn't answer of course, he never bloody answers. "Cassius!"
"What?" he comes into focus and he looks irritated. "You know I hate carrying this around," he says in annoyance. I can hear the boys in the background playing as I stare at my husband through the little mirror. When he sees the look on my face, he lets his annoyed look drop. "What is it?"
"You need to get Byron and have him go to St. Mungos," I say sharply and he furrows his browns, turning a frown on his handsome face. He's so good looking. It's almost unfair.
"St. Mungos?" he says as he uses one hand to smooth down his hair, probably messy from the 'fight' with the children. "Why?"
"Lavinia?" he looks confused again and then realization passes over his face. "Oh."
Oh. That was my first reaction too.
"I'll get him," he says and then he closes his mirror as I do the same. Before I throw powder into the fireplace I have to wonder what will happen now.
Could the day handle a baby and a wedding?
Before I go, I send a glance around the room. There, by the fireplace is a white veil connected to a diamond tiara. I sigh before flooing away, leaving the veil on the floor.
What terrible timing for both parties.
I wait until all the bride's maids leave the suit before sneaking into the room and closing the door. Mostly all of the guests are outside now, protected from the rain by a magical canopy that Mr. Malfoy had placed there for the event. There are so many people here, it's almost panic inducing.
I find Evelyn in front of the mirror, of course, checking out her body from all angles in the white wedding dress she's wearing. She looks beautiful, almost painfully so, and it makes my heart skip to see her.
"Hey," I whisper and she turns around with a surprised 'O' curving her lips. When she sees that it's me, she smiles and puts her hands on her hips.
"Hey, you're not supposed to see me," she says as she walks over and pulls me to her for a tight hug.
"You look amazing," I tell her as I pull her back so I can check her out. Breathtaking. "I can't believe how beautiful you look today."
She smiles and starts to straighten my tie. "You look okay too," she says and when I give her a look she giggles. "You look very handsome," she admits honestly as she kisses my cheek. I close my eyes and open them when she pulls back and walks back over to the mirror. "Are there a lot of people here?" she asks nervously as she looks at herself again.
"Tons," I answer honestly and she gives me a shy look before going over to the window to double check. She rarely ever gives me shy looks like that, so I know she has to be nervous. "Hey, today is going to be great, alright?" I say as I walk closer to her and put my arms around her from behind so she can lean into my chest. I put my chin in her shoulder as we look outside at the clouds. "And you can tell your children that it literally rained on your wedding day."
She smiles and looks at me over her shoulder. "I sent my sister to get my veil," she whispers. "I can't get married without it. It was my grandmothers," she admits. "I need it."
"Does that count as your something old or something borrowed?" I ask as she turns in my arms and looks up at me. Gosh, she is so pretty.
"Both, I guess," she says with a shrug.
I smirk at her. "What about something blue?"
She pushes me back and hikes up the skirt of her dress with a sly smirk on her face as she shows me the lacy blue garter. I feel my mouth run dry to see her legs so exposed to me and I stiffen my spine as I try to make my reaction less obvious. I take a step away from her, just because being close to her is always hard.
"If… If I told you something…" I start as I move over to the side table and I pick up a random bracelet laying there. "If I told you something, would you listen?"
God, I was an idiot. She gave me a puzzled look and tilted her head to the side before laughing at me. I didn't mean to say it like that. It just bloody came out.
"I don't think I'd have much choice in the matter, really. If you decided to say something to me, I'm pretty much forced to listen."
I build up all the courage I have left in my body. This is my only chance to say this so I might as well say it now. I look at her. Her slate eyes look a bit confused as she stares at me and I look at her chin because I'm a coward. I don't want to ruin her big day, but she has to know. I have to tell her.
"I love you," I say for the first time ever and she blinks. "I love you so much," I admit as I take a step closer to her. My greatest fear becomes realized when she takes a step back. It hurts my heart to see it and I inhale before continuing. "I love you and I have always loved you and I was too frightened to admit it because I knew you could never love me. I just… well… I love you," I finished with.
It wasn't exactly how I had imagined it going in my mind… but I think by the third 'I love you' I may have gotten my point across. She stared at me for a long time. I was beginning to get nervous really. The least she could do is let me down easy.
"God damnit, Jeremiah," she says as she throws down the white glove she was in the process of putting on. I widen my eyes as she glares at me. "Why today!" she stomps her foot. "Why did you have to tell me today?"
"I'm sorry," I say defensively as I put my hands up. "I just needed to tell you before you married him," I say in distaste.
"Why didn't you ever tell me… or at least mention something before my bloody wedding day."
I was actually starting to get upset with the way she was speaking to me. I just bared my soul to her and she's all pissed about the timing.
"Hey, you listen here…" I start with a finger pointed in her direction. The fiery glare she gives me for the movement makes me swallow hard and I lower my hand. "I was too much a coward," I say softly, my angery gone because I'm such a push over when it comes to her. "Things never happen the way you want them to."
Like this conversation right now, for instance.
She walks over to one of the large chairs and falls down on it with a huff. I feel awkward so I just stare at her from my spot. "Well," she says after a few moments of silence as she brings her hand up her head. "What am I supposed to do now? I can't marry both of you."
Hope leaps in my heart. "You love me too?" I ask cautiously. I might cry if she says no.
"Of course I love you," she says dismissively and I smile.
She doesn't look too pleased by it. She's biting her perfectly manicured fingernails and glaring off into space. Um, well, that's not what I was expecting when she finally admitted she loved me too. "Just to clarify," I say with my hands out and her eyes snap to mine. I swallow again. "You love like love me love me, right? Not just as a friend?"
She rolls her eyes and crosses her arms. "Yes, I love you love you," she narrows her eyes again. "What do I do now?" she throws her head back against the edge of the couch and closes her eyes with a tight jaw.
"Easy," I say with s stupid grin on my face as I prance over to her and fall on my knees so I can put my hands on her thighs. I'm so happy I might burst right now. Jesus, she might even let me have sex with her. I inhale an excited breath and smile when she opens her eyes. Who cares if she's glaring at me? She loves me too! "Don't marry him."
"It's not that easy," she says seriously as I stare at her pink lips.
"Sure it is," I say. "Listen," I take her hands. "I know there are a lot of people outside and I know that you feel obligated, but they will understand. You can't marry someone you don't love."
She furrows her brows again. "But I do love him," she says seriously.
What the hell?
"No," I shake my head and smile a little because she must be confused. "No. No, you said you loved me. Just now," I point to where I was standing to jog her memory. "You were there for it."
"So, I love both of you okay?" she says and I shake my head.
"You can't love two people."
"Why not?" she retorts. "Those people in Idaho… or Utah… whatever is do."
"Utah?" I say seriously. "What's a Utah?"
"Jay, this is literally the worst thing you could have done to me," she says and I let my hands drop from her as I sit back on my heels.
I didn't mean to hurt her or make her feel bad and it just guts me to see her so upset. I sigh and stand up, walking away from her. "Nevermind," I say as I swallow my pride and I slick back my hair with my fingers. I've cut off all of my curls now that I'm older and I leave it short and wavy tamed with a lot of gel. "Just forget I said anything." I might cry. I'm such a loser. I rub my eyes to make them go away. "Let's get today over with and forget about this conversation."
I start walking to the door, but I stop when I feel soft hands on my shoulders. "Don't cry," she whispers.
I wipe my eyes fiercely. "I'm not crying. I just have something in my eye," I say to save myself the embarrassment. "It's dusty in here and you know I have allergies," I say hotly and when I turn around I see that she's smiling a little in a sad kind of why.
The pity smile.
"I could just confound you of this conversation," I tell her with a frown. "That way it never happened." Yes, that's a good idea.
"Don't say that," she says as she leans up on her toes. She's going to kiss. Holy Hell she's going to kiss…. She goes for my ear and I sigh in disappointment. "Don't ever be sorry for telling me you love me."
The way her breath is against my ear sends a shiver down my spine and I start breathing heavier when she pulls back to stare at me. "I love you too, Jeremiah," she says. I snort and turn away, but she grabs my chin and forces me to look at her. "I'm serious."
She looks serious. Evelyn is rarely ever serious.
She leans up again, and I fear I'm going to get another ear whisper, so I don't let my hopes get too far up, but she actually does it. She lets her soft lips press against my own and I close my eyes with a pleased moan. I've never actually kissed her seriously like this before. I was going to test my luck. I wrap my hand around the wedding dress that she wore for another man and I slide my tongue against hers after she opens her mouth for me.
I can't believe I went so long without kissing her. This is the best thing I've ever done in my life. What was I thinking before? I deepen the kiss and tilt my head a little bit more as I push my body into her as she threads her arms around my neck. She tastes so good, like cinnamon toothpaste, and she smells like lavender. I clench my eyes shut even tighter when I feel her hips press into mine. Do not premature ejaculate. Do not pre mature ejaculate. I keep chanting that over and over again in my head. I'm getting way too turned on, so I try to think about something un-sexy… Quidditch scores… my Aunt Mildred…. Xavier opening the door and catching me snogging his bride to be…
Oh, wait… that one is actually happening.
"Step away from her," he says in that stupid French accent of his and Evelyn tenses and backs away from me with a bashful look on her face.
He comes storming over to us and I cringe. I won't back down from the fight that will most likely take place right now, but I know there's no way in hell I'm winning. I'm not good at fighting and Xavier is a scrappy Frenchman.
"Don't hit him!" I hear Evelyn say as I close my eyes and prepare for the blow. I crack one eye open when none come and sigh in relief when I see Evie pulling him back. "Please, don't hit him," she says and he turns his angry French attention on her.
"What is dze meaning of dzis," he says glaring at me as she tugs him back by his lapels.
"Well, you see," she says calmly as he glances at her. "He loves me."
"Of course he does. He has always loved you, Evie," he says. Did I mention I hate the way he speaks? I can't understand a damn word he says.
Then they start talking in French.
I have no bloody idea what's being said, but it's a heated argument that boiled down to Evelyn mentioning something about Utah again. He scoffed at her and she narrowed her eyes.
"I can't help it," she says in English and I was pleased that I could understand again. "I love you both and I can't make up my mind. I don't know what I want!"
"That's a first," I chime in and they both send me irritated glares that I raise my eyebrows at.
He looks at me in disgust and then back at her. "I will not let you play widz me," he says seriously before walking towards the door. "Do not make a joke."
He leaves the room and she chases after him with her dress hiked up so she doesn't trip. I chase behind her and I can't help but feel this has been my life for the past ten years.
"Don't go," she says when they reach the hallway. "Let's talk about this."
"Dzere is nothing to talk about," he says. When he gets to the middle of the stairs he stops and turns around to stare up at her. "You do not love me. Dzis was supposed to be our wedding day, Evie," he sounds hurt. It looks like he may cry… I want him to cry so badly so I don't look like the only wimp. "You have broken my heart."
She whimpers a little and then takes off after him when he starts walking a bit. "This isn't fair," she says angrily as she takes off her diamond bracelet and throws it at his back like a child throwing a tantrum. "I can't help the way I feel. Jay understands."
"No, I don't," I say seriously, and she looks at me over her shoulder, like she was surprised that I was following her and even more surprised that I didn't agree with her.
By looking back at me, she wasn't looking at the stairs and she tripped on the corner of her dress. I saw it happening in slow motion and I didn't move as she started to fall. It wasn't that far of a tumble, we were already towards the bottom of the stairs, but it was enough of a fall to hear a disgusting snapping noise and her scream as she grabbed her ankle.
Xavier looked panicked and he kneeled down and I ran down the steps until I was beside her. Her face was red and real tears were leaking from her eyes. Evelyn barely ever cries unless it's serious, so I knew this was bad.
"I think it's broken," she whispers as Xavier pushes back her dress to get a better look at her ankle. I make a face when I see it. It's already swollen. "Can't I just… Can't I just marry you both?" she says.
"No!" we both say and then we share a look before Xavier scoots towards her middle and picks her up bridal style… Ha. Bridal style on the day that was supposed to be their wedding. It's almost funny.
"Hey," I say when I realize he's walking away with her. "Where are you going?"
I get up to follow as he shoots me an annoyed look. "I am taking her to a healer. She is a dancer, you idiot. It needs to be healed right away."
"French Frog," I mutter angrily because he called me an idiot and I follow them all the way to the fireplace. "I'm going with you," I announce. I didn't want him to have any alone time with her to make her change her mind about loving me.
"Non," he mutters hatefully and I glare at him as he tells her to grab the floo powder.
"Jay," Evelyn says sweetly and I stare at her tear stained voice as she looks at me. "Will you please go tell my parents what happened?"
"That you love me and the weddings off?" I say and Xavier gives me the death stare. Oh. "About the ankle," I say and she nods her head. "Alright." I suppose. "I'll meet you there."
They leave with the green flames and I turn around to go find her parents. Draco Malfoy scares the living day lights out of me so I know this isn't going to be fun. I run out back to where all of the guests are all ready seated on white wooden chairs. Rows and Rows of people all here for a wedding that should never take a place. I sigh and start walking towards the front.
Every one stares at me.
Mr. Malfoy is towards the front, speaking to Gavin Malfoy about something and he asks the gentlemen beside him for the time as he taps his foot. The wedding was supposed to start an hour ago and I'm sure he's pissed because he was supposed to walk her down the aisle. When I approach, I tap him on the shoulder and he gives me an odd look with an eyebrow raised.
"What?" he snaps and when he realizes who I am he narrows his eyes. "If you're here to tell me that my daughter has canceled this wedding, I will punch you in the face."
"Draco," Mrs. Malfoy whispers as she stands beside him. "I know you're tired but don't act like a child."
He lets the scolding roll right off his back as he continues to glare and I swallow the lump in my throat.
"Um, well, it's an interesting sorry—"
"Byron!" Everyone looks around to see where that panicked voice is coming from and I'm almost relieved that cut me off because I didn't want to get punched in the face by Evelyn's father. I know for a fact not many men lived to tell that tale. "Byron! Please come to St. Mungo's!" The woman makes a painful yelling sound. I know that voice. That's Lavinia Malfoy. Everyone looks around again until they spot Byron Flint sitting in one of the chairs, with two of his kids sitting beside him. He looks horrified as he looks down at his watch that's glowing and yelling at him. "Byron, please, the baby's coming."
Over five hundred people are staring at him as he stands up and he looks at Mrs. Malfoy and then back to his two boys as they get up to follow him. Something passed between them, because Evelyn's Mom goes over and takes the boy's hands to keep them with her as they try to follow their father.
"I have to go," is all Byron says as he turns on his heels and starts running down the aisle as five hundred guests watch him.
Then five hundred people look at us.
"Fuck," I hear Mr. Malfoy say and then he glances at me. "Tell Evelyn that we might have to postpone."
"Um, well," I say and he narrows his eyes at my mumbling. "Evelyn-fell-down-the-stairs-and-broke-her-ankle-so-now-she's-at-st-mungos-and-the-wedding-is-probably-off-." I said that all in one breath and without pausing and he lifted his brow.
"What did you just say?" he says dryly and I swallow again.
"Evelyn fell down the stairs and broke her ankle," Gavin answers for me as he stands up and puts a hand inside of his waist coat. "She's at St. Mungo's too so the wedding is off."
I'm grateful he did that. I watch as Gavin walks over to the marriage wizard and he pushes him aside so he can use the microphone. "Excuse me everyone," he says to all the people in crowd. The microphone whines at him and everyone covers their ears as he taps on it. "I apologize for the inconvenience, but it looks like there won't be a wedding today." A few people make awing noises like they were sad about the outcome but he shakes his head. "Now, before you all leave and tell the papers all about it, let's go inside and celebrate. We have a great dinner ready and lots of alcohol that will make us all good dancers by the end of the night."
He gets cheered for that as Mr. Malfoy pinches the bridge of his nose.
"And," he finishes as he puts up his finger to point at the crowd. "I want every single one of you to tell my daughter how pretty she looks today. Understood?"
They all say yes and before he can dismiss them to the ball room, Cassius' little red headed boy and Lavinia's oldest son come running towards us with their hands up. "Wait!" they say like maniacs. "Wait!"
"What is going on?" Mr. Malfoy growls as the two little boys stop to catch their breath with their hands on their knees.
"Dad. Said. To. Find. You. And. Uncle…" Julian says between breaths and Mr. Malfoy cuts him off.
"Catch your breath first," he snaps and the boys nod their heads.
Cassius comes behind them next, looking flushed, but not nearly as out of breath. He sends a look to the crowd. They're all staring at him like this was an interesting play unfolding in front of their eyes. "Hey," he says gently when he's close enough to his father. "I need to find Byron."
"Is this about the whole 'having the baby' thing?" Gavin says into the microphone and Cassius flinches before looking at his brother and giving him the 'wft' look. "If that's the case, then you're too late, mate. Always arriving a second too late to the party."
A few people laugh as Cassius furrows his brows. "What the hell is happening?" he asks as he looks at his family. Gavin shrugs his shoulders and Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy just stare at him.
"Alright people, everyone inside. Let's celebrate a Non-wedding and a birth," Gavin says as the people get up and form two single file lines to go inside. Gavin hops off the wedding stage thing and walks over to us with a pleased grin on his face. "Well," he says when he's close enough and he puts his arm around my shoulders. "Let's go get drunk."
"No one's getting drunk," Mrs. Malfoy says as she tries to control the crazy twins she's holding the hands of. "We have to go the hospital."
"Why?" Gavin asks seriously and he gets glared at.
"Both of your sister's are there," she says seriously.
"And what am I supposed to do with that?" he says with his hands up in defense. "Lavinia is probably going to be in labor a while and Evelyn is going to be healed in like an hour. Come get me if something important happens," he says as he starts walking off. "I promised my girl a dance," he says as he goes off to find his daughter with the other confused brides maids.
"I'm going to go to the hospital," Cassius says to his parents. "You know how nervous Byron gets…." He looks at his son and Thatcher. "Will you watch them?"
They nod and Cassius takes off as Mrs. Malfoys sighs.
"I need to go too. Make sure everything is okay." Ginny says seriously and Draco nods his head.
Then they both look at me.
"Jeremiah, I'm really sorry to do this to you," Mrs. Malfoy says and I furrow my brows as she starts pushing the twin boys in my direction. "They're just such a handful and I can't bring them to St. Mungo's. I know you've watched them before."
"We won't be gone long," Draco says as he eyes me. "I just need to make sure they're okay before I come back."
I look at the two older boys as well. Four Malfoy children at the same time? I get handed one of the toddler twins and I shake my head. "I'm sorry. I need to—"
"It will only be a minute. Thank you, Jeremiah," Draco Malfoy cuts me off. "Please don't let them out of your sight. There are so many people here."
"But I need to…."
"You're a good man," he says before taking his wife's hand and they both start walking off.
Once they're out of sight I look down at the four children I had been practically forced to baby sit and I sigh loudly. So much for winning over my love today.
"Let's go to the play room," I say as I grab the other three year old's hand so I don't lose him. "Follow me." I can lock them in the play room. That way I don't have to worry about losing one.
I kind of feel like a pouting child as I walk them to the room. We pass by the ballroom where loud music is playing and I narrow my eyes. Not only am I missing out on being around Evelyn who I knows loves me now because of this, but I'm also missing out on the party. Fucking great. When we reach the play room, I put the twin that I'm holding down on his feet and lock the door as the four of them run off to play. There's a kids chair by the door and I slump in it grumpily with my knees up to my chin as I put my face in my hands and glare around me.
How terrible this is.
This is the worst day of my life.
"Jay," The redheaded one, Cassius' boy comes running over to me. "We're playing Aurors and we need a bad guy," he says and Lavinia's oldest son Thatcher nods his head as he pushes up his glasses.
"Let me guess," I say dryly as they blink at me. "You want me to be the bad guy." They both nod their heads and I shake mine. "Nope, I'm not playing," I say and you would think I told them that their parents didn't love them or something because they both looked so put out. After a few moments I sigh and stand up. "Alright then. But I need a cape. Bad guys always wear capes."
They find me a black cape that's comically small on me and a fake wand. I get to keep the twins in a dungeon under one of the play tables as Thatcher and Julian, the oh so noble Aurors, attempt to free them from my prison.
"You will never win!" I say, getting hardcore into my evil wizard part as I chase them around the room, shooting fake curses at them as they try to overpower me. "Give up now!"
"Never, you pee head," Julian Malfoy says and I pause for a moment, trying not to laugh.
"Pee head?" I say and then I start to chase him. "I'll show you who's the pee head."
I nearly catch him when I hear the door open and I look over my shoulder at Evelyn. She's smirking at me from the doorway and then she crosses her arms are she leans against the frame. I see she's changed out of her wedding dress and is wearing a more modest, shorter dress that she was probably going to wear for the reception.
"Hey," I say as all the boys run after her to give her hugs. The twins escape their table dungeon and run over as well. I quickly take off the cape, hoping she doesn't see it. "All better?"
"All better," she confirms as she hugs and kisses each of her nephews.
"Jay is mean," one of the toddlers who I think is named Silas, says as he turns into her arms. "He is a bad wizard."
"We were playing Aurors," Cass' kid explains to her. "He was the bad wizard."
"A bad wizard, indeed," she says and when she looks at me she smiles.
I notice Xavier isn't with her and she stands up straight as I approach.
I may have a chance after all.
I was wrong… this isn't the worst day of my life and when Evelyn smiles at me again and starts playing with her nephews I'm quite sure it may turn out to be the opposite.
Maybe she'll let me kiss her again….
She looks at me and smiles.
I smile back.