“Slowly, Dorrie, do not try to keep pace with your former abilities,” Whizzy tells me as he helps me up the stairs. “Do not push yourself, darling.”
He’s right; I have to stop trying to maintain the activity level of my non-pregnant self. So I slow my pace and from the corner of my eye I can see Whizzy smile and nod. His fingers curl slightly into my waist as I accept his doting nature. He opens the door for me and we find ourselves standing in the majestic entryway of Whizzy’s family home.
“Master Worthington, welcome, welcome home sir,” the deep yet squawky voice of Wadsworth, the head of the Worthington household’s house elves, stands before us. Wadsworth has the tiniest pointed ears I have ever seen on a house elf, and the baggiest, saggy-est eyes as well. He is the only house elf I have ever seen that sports a perpetual smile, the winning Worthington smile actually. And his eyebrows form two very pointed arches directly above his pupils. Being the principal Worthington House Elf, he is very well dressed, and sports Egyptian cotton robes made from discarded linen. They are, of course, dyed black, to add to the outward show of formality. Wadsworth’s slack eyes focus on me. “Greetings to you, past-Mistress-Worthington-now-Ms.-Tonks-a
“How is my mother, Wadsworth?” Whizzy asks quickly.
“Much, much better, Master Worthington. She awaits you in the conservatory.” With a controlled flourish, Wadsworth motions to the well-lit glass enclosure at the end of the atrium. Whizzy thanks the house elf and takes my hand to lead me across the Italian tile to where we see Olive sitting in a chaise, sipping tea in the diffused sunlight of the award-winning greenhouse. What Neville Longbottom wouldn’t do to get a crack at this place.
Then we stop in the over-sized glass doorway. Whizzy and I look out across the gentle rays and shadows as they dance over each green leaf, each brightly-colored flower, until our vision comes to rest on his mother. She looks so small, so frail, a much less imposing figure than the one who once badgered me for a grandchild. I squeeze Whizzy’s hand.
“Let me talk to her first?” I ask as I turn and look up into Whizzy’s deep blue eyes. “Something tells me I should be the one to tell her,” I implore him. “Trust me?”
He hesitates, wanting to tell me ‘no’. But then he stops and nods his consent.
“Wait here and watch,” I whisper as I pull him down toward me until his face meets mine. “You’ll know when to come over, luv.” With a kiss I am gone.
Olive is reading the society section of the Daily Prophet when I approach her. She looks up at me and her tired eyes peer over the rim of her oval-shaped reading glasses and offer me an indifferent smirk. “Hello, Nymphadora,” she greets me as she smoothes the small blanket over her legs. When I reach her I bend forward and embrace her gently then kiss her on each cheek. “Whatever brings you to Ollerton this fine day? Has Randall accompanied you or are you traveling alone?”
“Whizzy escorted me, Mrs. Worthington,” I reply, “I asked him to give me a moment alone with you.” I sit in the chaise across from her and worry at the seam of my trousers. “I need to talk to you about something.”
She spies me warily. “Call me Mrs. Olive, Nymphadora, like you did when you were married to my son,” she corrects me, even though I don’t remember calling her by that name all that often. “What is it that you need to tell me, child?” She removes her glasses, folds them, and places them at her breast. The long jeweled guard around her neck holds them to her like the pendant at the end of a long opal necklace. As a matter of fact, I think they are opals. “Nymphadora?” Her voice snatches me from my thoughts.
“Mrs. Worth, I mean, Mrs. Olive,” I begin, “I, I…I have some very good news to tell you. At least I hope you’ll think it’s good news.” I hesitate as I look down at the colorful tile floor of the greenhouse. “I don’t want to upset you in any way, but need to tell you something, something very good.”
“You have already said that, Nymphadora,” she retorts as she folds her hands in her lap with reluctant anticipation. I slowly look up at her face to find her eyes watching me like an owl.
“You see, Mrs. Olive,” I falter, “I want you to know right now that your son means the world to me. We’ve found a great deal of happiness in our reunion.” Her gaze becomes more concentrated as she listens to me. “Our becoming a couple again was very unexpected, and Whiz, I mean, Randall means so much to me. I love him very much.”
“That is extremely reassuring, Nymphadora, taking into consideration the two of you have purchased and moved into a home together,” Olive says directly. “Even though the two of you remain unmarried.”
There is an uncomfortable silence in the room and a blue and red bird flies through the sunlight to perch in a fruit tree just a few meters away. I clear my throat before I speak again.
“Yes, I know. We were planning to take things slowly this time,” I say. “But then something happened, something we didn’t plan on happening just yet. But Whizzy and I are joyful and thankful for this special something nonetheless.”
Her eyes narrow in thought. “What are you saying, Nymphadora?”
“Whizzy and I are going to have a baby in November,” I blurt.
Olive Worthington says absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. She only sits in front of me and stares blankly at me. I have no idea what she may be thinking, but I fear she may be on the verge of another heart attack. “Mrs. Worthington?” I ask in a panic as I reach over and take her hand, “Mrs. Worthington, are you all right?” I look to the door in a frantic search for Whizzy and see that he is approaching us, a look of concern on his patrician face. Olive’s hand twists in my grip and she seizes my own hand firmly and looks at me intensely. I couldn’t pull my hand from her grasp if I had to. Whizzy is suddenly standing behind her as he places his hands on each of her shoulders.
“Mother?” he queries. Olive’s free hand reaches to her shoulder to take Whizzy’s. “Mother, are you unwell?”
Watching Olive’s face for any sign of disappointment, I find that instead of dread, a diminutive smile waits upon her lips. “No, Randall, I am perfectly fine.” Her eyes never leave mine as she speaks to her son. “I have waited an extremely long time to hear the news of a grandchild in my future, although your timing and circumstances leave much to be desired,” she chokes back a sob and Whizzy is immediately sitting at her side.
“Mother?” he urges. She finally looks at Whizzy.
“I suppose that when a baby decides to come into the world there is nothing that parents can do to change its mind.” Olive reaches for her son and caresses the side of his face as she squeezes my hand once more. “With the two of you for a mother and father, I know the child will be beautiful,” she whispers and turns to me, “And gifted…and very, very loved.” I wrap my arms around my former mother in law and strangely enough, she does not stiffen or flinch. When I release her it is time for mother and son to embrace, a warm embrace, one that lacks the formality and decorum usually present.
“You are not disappointed in us?” Whizzy asks.
“No, no, darling,” Olive answers as she pats his leg. “How could I dare be disappointed in such a gift? I see what the two of you mean to one another, even if you are not married. You have a deep abiding friendship and respect for one another, and heed my words: that is a rare circumstance, within or without the holy bonds of matrimony.” She is quiet for a moment before she puts her glasses back on her face and speaks again, her blue owl-like eyes taking stock of Whizzy and I. “I am truly thankful that it is you, Nymphadora, and not that vile she-demon giving birth to the next Worthington heir.”