No, no, no, it can’t be morning already! It seems like minutes since I fell asleep.
I stretch my arms above my head and blink my eyes open to see Ella standing at the bedside.
I sit up and peel the covers back.
“What’s wrong, darling?”
“I’m tired,” she whinges, rubbing her eyes.
I scoot closer to Remus, who is still deep in slumber. He needs the rest after the week he’s had. “Then why are you awake, Twinkle?” I ask, holding out my hands to her, helping Ella climb up on ‘the big bed’.
“My kitty bit my toe,” she complains, a perfect pout forming on her face as I pull the duvet over us and snuggle down under the covers.
I try not to smile. “Oh no! Why would the kitty do that?”
“I kicked her- but not on purpose- she was sleeping on my bed.”
I pout in sympathy with her. “I’m sorry. Let’s go back to sleep, yeah?”
She nods and burrows in as closely as she can get. “Your belly is too big.”
I giggle and wrap my arms around her little frame and press a kiss to her head. When I think of what I almost lost- it terrifies me. Now there is no more Voldemort, Aunt Bella, no more Aunt Narcissa, or Uncle Lucius, no more Fenrir Greyback. Everyone who has terrorized my family is gone.
I drift off to sleep in that peace…
I feel a gentle poke against my abdomen and wonder if it’s Violet kicking, but soon I realise that the sensation is on the outside, not from within.
I open my eyes to find Ella curiously jabbing a finger into my skin.
“Oy, what are you doing?” I ask, pushing myself up to a sitting position and instantly notice Remus’ absence.
I was sleeping and felt something funny,” Ella replies, resting her head on my stomach.
I quirk an eyebrow at her. “I think you must have been dreaming, silly girl.”
“No, you are a silly girl,” she counters, sitting up and putting her hands on her hips.
“No,” I tease, reaching out to tickle her ribs, “it’s you!”
She dissolves into a fit of shrieks and giggles, eventually collapsing on the bed. I lie next to her and smile, sweeping her blonde locks away from her face.
“D’you think we should go find Daddy and make breakfast?” I ask, rolling over onto my side and checking the clock.
“Ya,” Ella yawns.
Suddenly I feel it. It’s not a little finger jabbing me; it’s a little foot trying to kick me. I press my palm to my belly and gasp as I lightly feel the sensation again.
“Ellie! Give me your hand,” I say, quickly reaching for her, guiding her hand to rest in the same position mine just was.
The baby kicks again. “There, do you feel that?”
“Ya, s’why I poked you. Something poked me first.”
I laugh. “That’s baby Violet kicking inside Mummy’s tummy. She wanted to say ‘hi’ to her big sister.”
A smile gradually creeps across her face. “Sister?”
I shift a little and feel the sensation even stronger. Ella and I squeal with surprise and excitement.
Ella and I continue to giggle when suddenly Remus flings open the bedroom door looking very harried and out of breath. His presence startles Ellie and me into a stunned silence.
“What’s wrong? Is it the baby?” he demands, wincing and panting slightly.
My expression changes from one of surprise to one of happiness.
“It’s Violet! She’s saying ‘hi’!” Ella squeals, sitting up on her knees on the bed.
“What?” Remus asks, clutching his chest and wiping his brow, seemingly relieved.
I laugh, crooking my finger, beckoning him back to bed. “I’m fine, I’m more than fine. C’mere, Violet is kicking.”
A wide grin spreads across his face. “She is?”
“Mm hmm,” I reply, biting back a grin.
He limps toward the bed, and gingerly climbs in, spooning up behind me. The warm of his body presses against mine, and he props himself up on his elbow, wincing and moving his neck slightly.
I turn and look over my shoulder, mouthing the words ‘You OK?’
He nods in reply and presses a kiss to my temple.
“Put your hand right here, Daddy!” Ellie says, grabbing Remus’ hand and pressing it to my belly.
We catch one another’s eyes and smile. I was so worried El would be so resentful of the new baby, but it seems she’s adapting OK.
His palm splays against my abdomen, and I can feel the heat radiating through my skin. I place my hand over his and direct it toward the source of the movement.
I feel nothing for some time, but I hold my breath in anticipation. Finally the baby moves again and we both laugh at the sensation. I feel Remus’ breath on my neck as he laughs- it’s the simplest gesture, one I have felt dozens of times, but suddenly I am so thankful he’s here with me and Ella for this. I can’t imagine my life without him. I couldn’t do all this without him. Hot tears sting my eyes but I try to smile and blink them away.
“What’s wrong?” Remus asks suddenly, sitting up abruptly and taking my face in his hands.
“Nothing,” I say, shaking my head- laughing and crying at the same time. “I’m just happy, I swear.”
I wipe the tear away and lean up to kiss his lips. “I promise. Maybe it’s just a release- you know, with everything that’s happened lately. I love you, and Ellie-”
“And Violet, Mummy!” Ella chimes in, clapping her hands before placing them on my belly again.
“Yes, and Violet too,” I say, tickling her sides, causing her to burst with giggles. I turn and cup Remus’ face in my hand, feeling the stubble on his cheek prick my palm. “I have never been happier in my life.”
He turns his head to kiss my palm, and settles in behind me once again. His hand returns to my abdomen, gently rubbing in wide circles.
“Did you feel it, Daddy? Baby Violet lives in Mummy’s tummy!” Ella says, waiting to feel another kick.
“Yes, Ella, I did. While Violet grows inside Mum she’ll get stronger and kick harder.”
I smile as her little eyes widen and she manoeuvres herself to rest her head against my abdomen.
I rake my fingers through her hair as Remus continues to caress my abdomen. “I was prepared to make my girls breakfast, but this is better- there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
I snuggle deeper into his arms, hear Ella yawn, and I smile. Years ago I may have doubted it, but now I know I’m the luckiest woman in the world.