Remus loves me; I know this, but it doesn’t make my feeling of insecurity go away. It doesn’t excuse the fact that his lips were on someone else’s.
I know that Remus has an amazing sense of self control, partially in effort to prove to others that all Werewolves are not the same, that myths can be dispelled, that men choose their fate. I know he does get angry sometimes- just as anyone would. I know people push his buttons- people like Dolores Umbridge and my father, but I admire his personal strength. I don’t have that kind of strength.
Though our discussion Friday afternoon helped lighten some of the burden in my heart, I was sick with anger toward Hilary and my father.
I can’t do much about Hilary; but so help me, if I see her on the street, I can’t be held responsible for what I’ll do to that woman. She wants me to doubt my husband, to give him up, but I won’t- not now, not ever.
Dad is another story. Not only is he butting in where he doesn’t belong, but he got violent- WITH MY HUSBAND! The father of his grand-daughter. What did he think I would do? We were at a Muggle restaurant for Merlin’s sake. What was he thinking?
Anger toward my father is consuming me; distracting me. I’ve tried, more than once, to put my feelings aside, to keep the peace between Remus and Dad, but I can’t do it anymore. (I’m tempted to tell Remus he’s got a free shot coming.) I need to speak to my father. I won’t tolerate this anymore. I needed to put some thoughts together and cool down however. I wasn’t going to go over there as angry as I was. It wouldn’t help matters.
Remus was stressed all weekend, frustrated, apologetic, and needy, and I was so consumed with anger at my Dad that I ignored him and missed his subtle hints. Then, when he finally, blatantly ‘hinted’- I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I shut him out, and I felt bad. Not because I said ‘no’ but because I wanted him as much as he wanted me. I needed to know he needed me, and when I wanted him to proposition me again, we had settled into an uncomfortable silence, and I knew it wasn’t going to happen.
Today is another story. The more I thought about Dad, the more I knew I had to see him. Today.
I Apparate over to my parents house after putting in a stressful day of work. (I thought I might send Ella home through the Floo, and see if I can get anywhere with my father.)
When I appear inside my parent’s kitchen, Ella scrambles down from the table and squeals. “Mummy!”
It’s so nice to know I was missed at the end of the day.
“Hi, baby, how was your day?” I ask, kneeling down to scoop her up in my arms.
“I had hot chocolate!”
I feign a surprised face, letting my mouth hang open and arch my eyebrows high. “You did? Did you save any for me?”
She smiles and wrinkles her nose as she shakes her head. “No,” she replies in a sing-song voice.
“Oy, you’re a cheeky little thing aren’t you?” I tease, tickling her tummy.
“Are you sure you want another one?” Mum taunts me while Ella wriggles and giggles.
I shoot Mum a faux-angry glare and poke out my tongue at her. “All right, Ellie, let’s Floo Harriet and see if she’s home; I need to talk to Granddad before I go.”
“How is Harriet?” Mum asks nervously, probably sensing the row coming on.
“A little better each day. She won’t see the B-A-B-Y though,” I say, carefully spelling out the word in front of Ella.”
“Hmm,” Mum contemplates, sitting at the kitchen table.
I throw some powder in the Floo and call out ‘Lupin Lodge’ while Ellie gathers her little rucksack and packs her crayons away. I see my own home come into view through the green flames and see Harriet quietly drinking tea at the kitchen table.
“Wotcher, Harriet, is Remus home yet?” I ask nervously, watching her set the teacup down and come to kneel in front of the fireplace.
“Hi, Tonks, no, he isn’t here.”
I frown. “Well, would you mind looking after her for about an hour? I have a couple of things I need to do.”
Harriet nods. “Sure, Tonks, is there anything I can do?” she asks hesitantly.
I try to smile. “No, s’ok. I’ll be home soon. C’mon Ellie,” I say, reaching for her hand.
“Bye Gran, bye Mummy!”
I help her step into the Floo and I end the connection, quickly rising and turning toward my mother. “Where’s Dad?”
“Now, Nymphadora-” Mum begins, ineffectively attempting to pacify me.
“Mum, no. I don’t know if you know the full truth or not, but Remus is my husband, and I’m going to defend his honour, and my own.”
I stalk off through the house, looking in each room I pass, not finding Dad anywhere. Mum travels along in my wake, urging me to be calm, and hold my tongue, but I don’t hear a word of it.
I throw open the door to Dad’s study and find him reading. He looks up from his book to where I stand in the doorway, and looks back down, not saying a word.
“Is that how it’s going to be then? You have nothing to say to me?” I say accusatorily, putting my hands on my hips and stomping into the room.
Dad removes his glasses, setting them on the desk, mentally notes the page in his books and sets it down as well before replying. “I’d tell you to leave your fool of a husband, but I don’t think you’d listen. If you left him I’d give you your inheritance.”
“No, you’re damn right I wouldn’t listen, and I don’t want one sickle from you. I’ve let this go on long enough, and I’m not going to take it anymore. Now the first time I didn’t really blame you for jumping to conclusions, and defending my honour, but Remus explained himself-”
“And you believed him,” Dad finishes.
“You didn’t know the whole story then, and you don’t know it now!” I retort.
He shakes his head and rolls his eyes. “And you do?”
I raise myself to my full height and walk further into the room, stopping just short of his desk. “Yes I bloody well do. He was protecting me. I might not agree with it, but I know where his heart lies. I don’t have to explain his behaviour to you.”
“Just how does he justify the behaviour of kissing another woman on the streets of London? What rubbish has he filled your head with?”
I’m practically speechless- does he think I’m an idiot? “He didn’t kiss her! She kissed him. She’s a- she’s a- tart! That’s what she is. She’s an unstable woman who’s in love with my husband. Remus would have told you that if you let him, but you didn’t, did you? Say, Dad, did you tell Mum what you did next? Hmm?”
I turn around and look at my mum, hovering near the threshold. “Ted, you didn’t tell me anything else. What have you done?”
“He hit Remus, that’s what he’s done! Punched him right in the face- at a Muggle restaurant!” I shout, rounding on my father again.
“I stand by my decision,” my father begins, not meeting my eyes. “I was defending your honor-”
I interrupted. “I never asked you to! There was nothing to defend, and if you’d stuck around to hear Remus out you’d know that. Blimey, you’re worse than Ella- should I remind you to use your words first before you fight?”
This seems to have really set Dad off.
“Damn it, Nymphadora! This isn’t some silly joke! You’re my daughter, and you’re letting that- Werewolf make a fool out of you! He’s left you once- he’ll do it again. Mark my words. If he’s kissed that woman, he’s probably shagged her too. They have a history together- that’s for damn sure. If you stay with him you’d better watch yourself. I wouldn’t doubt it if he’s the father of Harriet’s baby as well.”
Suddenly the dam of willpower holding my tears back broke, and the tears spilled over the banks of my eyes. I never thought I’d hear my father talk like that. “That’s out of order, Dad. I’ve had enough. I don’t have to stand here and listen to you bad mouth my husband. Remus is a good man, he loves me, and he would never intentionally hurt me- like you have.”
I feel Mum’s hand on the small of my back and I hope she’s willing to back me up. “Ella will not set foot in this house until you apologize to Remus. He’s her father, and the father of this baby,” I say, pointing at my stomach, “and no one else’s. D’you hear me?”
Dad puts his hands on the desktop and stands abruptly and stammers, grasping at straws. “If you do that- you’ll- you’ll get no inheritance from me.”
It’s a slight comfort to me that I seemed to have rattled him. “Dad, I don’t want your money. You know that Remus loves me and that he’d do anything for me- and I don’t know what your problem is, why you stopped trusting him when you’ve always gotten along, but as I see it- you’ve got six more months to figure it out.”
I wipe the tears off my cheek, turn and storm out of the room. I can hear my mother saying something to my father, but I don’t really care- I want to go home and see Remus, but I don’t want him to see me like this, not quite this worked up. I need to calm down first. I begin to think as I hurry back through the house to the kitchen- I should go see Darcy, Harriet’s baby.
I Disapparate for Phoenix House.