Disclaimer: I am not the legal owner of Harry Potter nor am I the owner of anything that is written in the Harry Potter series.
Dad helped me carry the baby's bags as we went upstairs to my old bedroom. Mum held her and with the girls and Roxanne she propped herself in the living room while Dad and I settled in. I wished I was a little girl again so that my mother would've held me like that and make me feel safe and tell me that everything is going to be all right.
"Heard anything from Lysander?" Dad said abruptly.
"Not a word." I sniffed and put down the bag with all the toys. I was never sure Dad liked Lysander that much. Sure, Luna was and still is a good friend of him and Mum but Dad always considered Lysander, unlike Lorcan and Rolf who were just as somewhat weird as Luna, not as easy going as they were, if anything Dad always thought Lysander was always a stick in the mud. Maybe it was because he was a banker, Lysander, not Dad. But even if he didn't like him that much the last thing Dad wanted was to see me unhappy.
"Now look, Lily," he said in a voice that I recognized as his 'I'm about to give you a speech like it or not this is my duty and I'm very uncomfortable doing it but it has to be done and I actually mean it' voice. "We're your family and we love you no matter what. This is always your home and you and the baby can stay here as long as you like. And…er…both your mother and I know how unhappy you are and if we can help in any way just let us know." He looked relived, glad that he had gotten that out of the way.
"Thanks, Dad." I said. "I do know it." I felt so grateful knowing that they still loved me. It was just that it was no substitute for the man who was my best friend and lover.
Dad left as I started to unpack. I kicked off my shoes and put on some of my books on the shelf. I was halfway through setting up the baby's crib when Mum came in with her in her arms.
"So, Abby and Tess?" I asked mum.
"Well, Bill and Fleur decided to take Teddy and Victoire with them while visiting Fleur's sister. I offered to take them for the summer, it's nice to have them here-" there was a sound of thumping and a bit of arguing. "-Even if they do make a lot of noise."
She set with me while I fed the baby. After I burped her and put her to bed, Mum and I sat quietly on the bed and said nothing. It began to rain and the baby never looked so peaceful.
"She's so beautiful." Mum said.
"Yes." I said, and started to cry quietly.
"What happened?" Mum asked.
"I don't know." I said. "I thought everything was fine. I thought he was thrilled about us having a baby just as I was. I know I wasn't easy all the time and had mood swings and developed strange eating habits and we hardly ever had sex because I felt so fat but I really thought that he understood."
My mother was so good. She didn't try to make any excuses for Lysander, saying he was a man therefore he was different or saying that this was just a phase. Perhaps it was the fact that she grew up during a war, or maybe because she was a journalist and saw almost every scenario possible, she never once tried to sugar coat it for me.
"What am I going to do?" I asked her.
"You've just got to live through it," she said. "That's all you can do. Don't try to make sense of it. You'll only drive yourself crazy. Only Lysander can tell you why he left, no one else can. And if he doesn't want to talk right now, you can't make him. Maybe he doesn't know or understand it himself. You can't change the way he feels. If he says he doesn't love you anymore and does love this other woman you just have to learn to accept it. You've got to live through this."
"But it hurts so much." I said helplessly.
"I know it does," she said sadly. "And if I could make it go away, you know I would."
I looked down at my little girl, she was safe asleep, so peaceful and innocent and I felt unbearable anguish. I wanted her to always be happy and to always hug her and never let her go. I never wanted her to feel the rejection, and sadness and loneliness I was feeling. I wanted to protect her. Always. But I wouldn't be able to. Life would see to it.
"What's her name?" Mum asked.
I looked at Mum. "I've decided I'm going to name her after Uncle Charlie." I heaved a look at my collection of stuffed dragons. He was always my favorite Uncle and since he never had any children I figured why not?
"Charlotte." I said.
Mum just stared dumbly at me. She couldn't master any words. Would you believe it? She was crying.
"Dinner!" Abby shouted as she burst in to the room. "Give me a look at her," she was always a little bit too much 'out-there' but meant well. Of course, without waiting for an answer she thrust her face into Charlotte's crib. The poor thing opened her eyes and started to cry in terror. Abby pulled away, slightly disgusted.
"Why's she crying?" she demanded. Dad walked in before I was able to provide her with a proper answer.
"Abby, go and help your sister set the table."
"What's wrong with all of you? What have I said? Grandma, why are you crying?" She said in exasperation.
"Was I not clear, Abigail?"
"Fine," she said. "I'm going downstairs to help Tess." She began making her way downstairs. "Unless she's going to start crying too!"
Mum finally managed to speak. "Come and see her, Harry." Dad set down, he looked a little confused. "You haven't done anything, dear."
"Then why are you crying?" Dad asked, looking slightly taken aback at the sight of the three of us weeping.
"Yes, why are you crying?" I asked. It's not as if her husband has just left her or that her diaper needed changing.
"Because I was thinking of your Uncle Charlie," she sniffed. "And how happy he'll be when I'll tell you named her after him. He'll be honored." Mum hugged me just as Dad picked little Charlotte out of her crib.
"Baby Charlie, eh?" he cooed. "Does she have a middle name?"
"Actually, its baby Charlotte, Charlie is a little too butch for her at the moment." I said and Dad just gave me a smile. "Charlotte Ginevra." I turned to Mum and again she started crying but now she wrapped her arms around me. I started crying too.
Abby was back in the room. "Oh Merlin, I know, I bet you've got that post-tetonal depression thing. My friend Sally Mum's had it back in third year after she had Sally's younger brother. She almost threw her baby to the rubbish bin because she was so mad. She refused to let Sally's dad come in to the bedroom and didn't shower for weeks and looked disgusting it's no wonder she tried to kill herself. I think she was locked up in the hospital for a while. Or something." She didn't once stop to see our reactions while talking.
"Or maybe it was one of Tess's friends who's Mum went loony, or something…" she trailed off."Anyway, is that what's wrong with you?"
"No, Abby," I explained to her. "I don't have postnatal depression. At least I don't think I do." before I could tell her all about Lysander leaving me, Dad decided to break it off.
"Let's eat." We all got up and started making our way to the kitchen. "Put little Charlotte back down and come and join us." I nodded. Mum stayed with me.
"I was talking to Aunt Lily, Grandpa." Abby protested.
"Well, Abigail, you've talked enough for the lot of us." I heard him say as they walked downstairs.
"Now," I said to Charlotte. "That was your first lesson on how not to behave courtesy of your 'Auntie' Abby. I hope you won't take a leaf out of her book."
Charlotte stared wide-eyed up at me.
Mum smiled and I smiled back. It was a knowing secret smile, one that only mothers got to share. A smile of a woman who raised four children and had them do the dishes after every meal.
Later that night as I laid in bed I couldn't help but feel very odd to be going to bed that I spent most of my teenage years. It didn't help that I had a baby's crib next to mine and yet my mother gave me a good-night kiss after I just kissed my own baby.
I was a mother but I still felt like a child myself.
I wondered if there was someone there who also laid awake in bed, in the darkness. If there are they probably thinking about work, love, wondering if they ever find someone to love them or if it a woman, perhaps she is wondering if she is pregnant.
It was no comfort because I felt I was in hell.
I needed something to sooth me. Lysander was my go-to soother but seeing how that was out of the question, I checked to see that Charlotte was asleep and crept out of the room.
I unlocked the Liquor cabinet with a simple unlocking charm and found a bottle of mead I got Dad last Christmas. I went to the kitchen and poured myself a drink. I knew I'd feel better after I'll have it.
"Oh, you're up." Tess stumbled into the kitchen. "Are you thirsty too?" she helped herself with some water.
"Something like that," I said. "Sorry if I gave you a fright." Tess looked a lot like Abby, slender, cat-like eyes, cute little nose and blonde. The resemblance ended there. While Abby was loud, flirty and brutally honest, Tess was a little quieter, kinder, and sweeter. Because of these treats I was always afraid that Tess will always be in Abby's loud shadow but when I heard that she was sorted into Ravenclaw unlike Abby who was sorted into Gryffindor, I felt immensely relieved – she'd be herself.
Tess set down and stared at me. She didn't find it remotely strange to find me here in the middle of the night, drinking.
It was about four AM.
"Pour me a glass of that too," she said, gesturing at the bottle of mead. I arched my eyebrow at her but poured her a glass nonetheless.
"Cheers," she said and raised her glass to me.
"Yes, cheers." I replied hollowly. I drained my glass in one gulp.
"Do you hate him?" Tess asked me while pouring me another glass and then to herself.
So I told her the truth. "I don't know. Some moments I do but then some moments I feel like I can't live without him. It's like I love him a lot more."
She gulped down her drink and instantly refilled hers and mine. "If it's meant to be, it's meant to be."
She was so sympathetic, so un-judgmental and far too mature for a fourteen years old that I couldn't but feel a little bit calmer, a little bit more hopeful. I suppose the bottle of mead has also a helping hand in this.
I refilled Dad's mead and cleaned the glasses. Tess was a little giggly but not loud as I helped her to her bedroom.
"I think you'll be a great mother, Aunt Lily." She said as she fell on her bed. "You were always my favo…" she fell asleep mid-sentence.
I walked back to my room and found Charlotte awake. I fed her and changed her diaper before lying down on my bed.
She fell asleep soon enough.
So did I.