Who: Portia Diggle and Penny Diggle
Where: 5 Hufflepuff Way
When: 30 April 2001, early morning
It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Portia was no longer throwing up. Filled with cheer at the thought that she could now finish off the last slice of chocolate gateau in their fridge, Portia was applying her makeup when Penny burst into the bathroom and, without further ado, bent over the toilet and threw up. “Ew,” Portia said, regarding her sister critically. “You look terrible.” When the only reply was a weak moan, Portia picked up a clean facecloth and ran it under the cold tap for a moment. “Here,” she said, not unkindly, “wipe your mouth with that.”
Penny sat back on her heels, looking pale and ill. Portia frowned.
“I thought you were better,” she said accusingly. Remembering AJ’s advice, she added, “Maybe you should see a Healer, get yourself checked over.”
“I did,” Penny replied. “I went to St Mungo’s yesterday.”
She looked down and smiled. “I’m going to have a baby.”
Portia blinked. “Sorry, what? Penny, don’t be silly, you can’t be — you need to have — have a — well, who’s the father then?” she demanded, as if this question would prompt Penny into realising her mistake. Because she had to be mistaken. There was no way her innocent older sister could be pregnant. It was a stomach bug! Hadn’t she caught it off Penny and spent the whole weekend throwing up herself?
A hint of a blush crept across Penny’s pale cheeks. “Xavier Orpington,” she admitted, still smiling to herself, unfazed by the question.
“Orpington? Orpington?” Portia sat down heavily on the side of the bath, gripping the edge of the tub until her knuckles turned white. She didn’t ask Penny if she was sure. She knew her sister, and she knew Orpington all too well, and the whole thing made a horrible kind of sense. Who else would take advantage of a girl like Penny? Taking a deep breath, and ignoring the hundreds of questions that were crowding her mind (Does Orpington know? Does he care? Are you going to keep it?) Portia focused on the most important thing right now: damage control. “Does anyone else know?”
“No, not yet,” Penny answered. “I wanted to tell you first.”
Portia was so relieved that before she knew it she was down on her knees too, her arms around her sicky-smelling sister. “Good. Okay. Penny, will you promise me something? Don’t tell anyone else just yet. There’s a good reason for it.”
To her surprise, Penny immediately nodded. “Yes, I know. The midwitch said it’s better to wait until I’m three months pregnant, in case I miscarry. But I asked her if I could tell you and she said I could.”
“So — how far along are you right now?” Portia asked, her voice deceptively calm.
“Eight weeks,” Penny replied promptly.
“Congratulations,” Portia said automatically, her mind already racing ahead. Eight weeks. That gave her a month to sort things out before Penny would start telling everyone, unaware of the irreparable damage it would do to her reputation. A month. It wasn’t long at all. But Portia hadn’t been a Slytherin for nothing. Planning under pressure was what she did best. She wasn’t sure how, exactly, yet — but she could sort this out. She would sort this out.
And she’d make Xavier Orpington pay.