So now I walk next to Bit as we approach the park where earlier today, at work, Charlie and I agreed to exchange her. I have to admit that I am taking my time, finding shop windows to stop by and peer into at the displays. Bit ambles along beside me with the lonely left mate to Whizzy’s brown Salvatore Ferragamo ‘Nostro’ Oxfords hanging from her mouth like a baby’s security blanket. Expensive chew toy…I nearly fainted in surprise when Whizzy handed it to her. His favorites, they were. That one pair of shoes cost more than my entire summer wardrobe. With his obsession for fashion, if I didn’t know he liked women I would think that Whizzy was queer. But yes, he does like women.
With a few more steps, the park bench where Charlie and I agreed to meet comes into view. And there is Charlie, alone on that bench, his elbows on his knees, his hands steepled beneath his chin…obviously in deep thought over something. I hesitate because I’m torn between not wanting to disturb him and just turning around and running away with Little Bit in tow. It feels like a hundred years have passed since Charlie and I were lovers. Perhaps it was a dream. And as I stand here and watch him I can’t help but feel that this is wrong, us being apart. This life was meant to be spent with him, not Whizzy. Whizzy and I have been together for thousands of years and hundreds of lifetimes. We’ve been together forever and for some selfish and terrified reason we can’t bring ourselves to let go of each other. I am Whizzy’s addiction and he is mine; we weaken each other’s resolve. When we are a couple we find it hard to stand alone; we are stronger together, completely dependent upon each other.
When Charlie and I were together it was not so. I could stand on my own two feet. He was his own person. Separate entities not losing the characteristics and qualities that defined our individual selves yet complimentary to and supportive of each other.
For a fleeting moment I wish that I was carrying Charlie’s baby.
Then he turns and our eyes meet. I feel the painful slap of Little Bit’s tail as it rhythmically assaults the back of my leg. Charlie smiles and I realize that I must have been smiling all along, while I was watching him. He respectfully stands and shoves his hands into his jean pockets. I let go of Bit’s lease, “Go on girl; go see your da.” And Bit is gone, bounding across the grass of the short distance between Charlie and me. My laughter cannot be contained when she reaches him and hoists her upper body into a near standing position where her front paws land at his upper arms. She is a beast…and she’s only nine months old. In another six months she’ll be just as tall as Charlie when she stands on her hindquarters. Gargantuan, but I know Charlie wouldn’t have it any other way. His dog must be larger than life, larger than allowed, Herculean. As I watch their joyous reunion I realize that Charlie Weasley is larger than life…and that’s why I love him the way I do, the way I always will.
He’s going to make a wonderful father.
“Hallo Tonks,” he laughs as he rubs Bit’s scruff.
“Wotcher Charlie, how’ve you been?” I ask.
“Good, good, but missing my little girl, you know,” he says as he fawns over the giant puppy. “And you? How’s, er, you know, the baby?”
“Growing by leaps and bounds, actually,” I reply, placing both hands on the swell of my belly. “No more flat tummy for me.”
“But you look really good, Tonks,” he looks down at my hands as they cover my stomach. His eyes pause at my mid-section and I wonder what it is that he may be thinking.
“Would you like to?” I ask with a goofy grin.
“What?” His eyes finally look up at mine.
“You know, have a feel?”
“You sure?” he glances at me sideways.
“Of course you great git,” I reproach as I reach out to take his hand and flatten his palm to my belly. “It’s moving all the time now, so much it feels like I have butterflies flapping their wings just below the surface of my skin, like little twitches, and sometimes kicks and punches.” Charlie’s fingers are spread out, my belly button at the center of his palm.
“Wow, you’re changing so much,” he muses.
“Yeah, and without morphing this time,” I ponder as Charlie pulls his hand away slowly with a chuckle. “Boy or girl?”
“What?” He’s confused.
“Are the two of you having a boy or girl?” I ask.
“Oh! A boy,” he musters. “How about you two?”
“Don’t know; don’t want to know until the birth,” I ponder. “But to tell you the truth, I think Whizzy wants a boy. The next Randall T. Worthington, you know?” I toe the ground and Bit whimpers.
“What do you want to have?” I knew he’d ask me that.
“Oh, it doesn’t really matter to me,” I reply. Charlie ducks his head to catch my eye and I look back up to him.
“Come on, Tonks,” he prods, “You know I know you better than that.” He smiles at me and I can’t help but smile in return. I laugh and roll my eyes.
“I think it might be nice to have a little girl, actually,” I say shyly, “To give Bit here a little sister.”
“You know, I think I might like having a girl one day too,” he says. “Like when I was a boy, when Ginny was born. Tell you what, baby girls change your life; Ginny was a hoot.”
“I can see you with a little girl,” I tell him as I watch him bend down to take Bit’s leash and his hand slides down her massive back. “You’re good with girls.” Charlie sarcastically raises his eyebrows in question at my comment. “You know what I mean,” I laugh. And then an awkward silence begins.
“Um, I, er, better be going,” Charlie stammers.
“Yeah, me too.”
“I’ll see you at work then?” he prepares Little Bit for departure. I stoop to pet her one last time. I nod my reply and then he is gone.
My walk back home is much shorter and lonelier than my walk to the park…