July and August came and went with little event. Regulus and Lorraine’s relationship was slowly but surely progressing past its awkward points; and they truly enjoyed each other’s company. The first kiss of what promised to be many happened in August.
By September, Regulus was adjusting well to his current routine: Work at the Dive, head home to be with Lorraine; or visit her house. At either locale, the events were always the same: The two would playfully flirt with each other, sometimes a little more awkwardly than would be intended, and they would discuss prominent recent events over dinner or a book.
Their discussions ended up being surprisingly varied and entertaining; and for all their talk, Lorraine and Regulus’s relations had gotten to the point where they thought they understood each other. Mostly.
Like any couple; they were not immune from the occasional squabble or disagreement, but making up and moving forward was easier than one might assume.
One evening in January of 1981, after much deliberation, they were engaged; and Lorraine made the decision to contact her parents in America about it via phone. Regulus paced the length of Lorraine’s kitchen, as apprehensive as she was as she dialed her parents’ number and waited for either of them to pick up.
“Mom? Mom, hello! It’s Lorraine.”
“Lorraine! You haven’t called since you finished university. Your father and I were beginning to worry.”
“I know, Mom, and I’m sorry- I’ve been looking for a job lately and you know how that goes. And I also met the most amazing young man here in England, he’s about my age, too….”
Across the Atlantic in West Virginia, Sheila Rifkind sighed dramatically. God knew her youngest girl had never been a wallflower, but straight from Lorraine’s childhood Sheila had always been concerned if her daughter was a little TOO outgoing- The boys had always gone for an attitude like that; and Lorraine had dated all sorts of questionable characters on and off throughout high school.
Her new suitor, Sheila suspected, was probably going to end up being no different. But still, Sheila remained reasonably hopeful- Perhaps Lorraine had gone and found herself a nice, sane boy for a change. That would do both of them a world of good. So, she decided to listen.
“….Yes, his name’s Reginald, Reginald Ballard. We got engaged today, yeah. Do you want to talk to him?”
Sheila must have said yes, because in Burnhope, Lorraine quietly motioned for Regulus to pick up the phone.
“Hello, Mrs. Rifkind. This is Reginald, Lorraine’s fiancée. I’d like to apologize that we never told you about our relationship until now.”
Sheila found herself warming slightly to this Reginald boy- he sounded polite, which was always a plus.
“Oh, no, it’s not a problem at all; I’m just blown away you’ve gotten engaged so suddenly. Reginald, how long have you known my daughter?”
“Since February, we knew each other through my job- we started dating over the summer.”
Oh, a summer romance. Somehow Sheila wouldn’t have expected anything less of her daughter.
“Your job? And what do you do, Reginald?”
“I’m a barman, ma’am.”
A barman, Lorraine? Honestly?
Suddenly Sheila wished she had Lorraine back on the phone so she could tell her daughter exactly that.
“A bartender? I see. Will you be able to support each other financially?”
“Lorraine majored in physics and I want to start uni myself in September. I think we’ll be fine.”
Regulus’s words were true, and Sheila seemed kind enough, but he swore he detected something subtly condescending in her tone.
“All right then. It seems like you have everything planned, don’t you? Here, my husband just came in- Lorraine! Do you want to talk to your father?”
Regulus surrendered the phone then and sat, mutely watching as Lorraine eagerly conversed with her father, noting they seemed to be on significantly better terms than her and her mother.
Eventually Regulus introduced himself over the telephone to Leonard, Lorraine’s father and Sheila’s husband, and he indeed turned out to be kinder then his wife, who was far more hesitant. He seemed more trusting in Lorraine to make sensible choices in her relationship, and did not mind much that his youngest daughter was now engaged to be married in the country she now called home.
After nearly an hour of conversation, Lorraine at last hung up the phone, her parents having finally approved of the engagement and promised to attend the civil wedding (as neither the bride nor the bridegroom had religious preferences) that June.
Now alone, Regulus found he could not take his mind off Lorraine’s mother’s mostly kind but mildly questioning attitude to him on the phone and opted to confront her about it as best he could. So he began with:
“Your mother didn’t seem too sure about this.”
“I know, I know.”
Lorraine sat down on one of the kitchen chairs, looking as though she was nursing a headache.
“Reginald…. I might as well tell you now: I’m a fickle, fickle woman. I dated a lot of boys in high school but I never could find Mr. Right- oh, stop smiling….”
But Lorraine’s final words were useless, as they were both grinning, so she continued after a moment:
“So as you can imagine, my mother doesn’t really trust my judgment any more because I went out with some guys who turned out to be assholes. But at the time I met you, I’d been single for a year.”
“I hope I can find some way to prove to her we’re both responsible people.”
“I’m sure we will. I wouldn’t worry too much.”
Regulus went to Lorraine and put an arm around her shoulder.
Trying to lighten the mood, he whispered:
Lorraine looked surprised, but amused.
“So I know it’s not a dream! Your mother doesn’t think our relationship will work. So what? We’re buggering well getting married, and we’ll prove her wrong!”
Lorraine gave a happy sigh.
“Regardless of what she thinks, god, Reginald, I love you too.”
And with that, she obliged her fiancée and gave him the kiss he’d jokingly asked for. The mood having changed for the better, just a little bit by that single kiss. And so despite the obvious, irreversible fact that Lorraine’s mother had her doubts about whether their relationship would work out, the couple resolved to find some way to show they were truly happy to be together.
And so, they stayed positive and hoped they could. And in the end, that ended up making a world of difference.
Starting the next week, Lorraine became ill. She began gaining slightly more weight than usual, and craved certain foods yet avoided others. She also occasionally complained of feeling nauseous. On Saturday, she made an appointment with her doctor and arrived at Regulus’s house with the following news:
“The test results were positive. Looks like we’re parents now!”
She smiled wearily. Regulus ran to his fiancée and enveloped her in a hug.
“I do think we need to tell your parents though,”
Lorraine broke away and sat down.
“My exact thought.”
To significantly simplify things, Leonard and Sheila were somewhat annoyed by the fact their daughter had gotten pregnant out of wedlock, they were appeased by the fact that she was engaged, and that their future grandchild would of course be legitimate. Overall, Regulus and Lorraine were fairly pleased with how they took it. And so life continued.
By March, Lorraine and Regulus discovered they were going to be the parents of a baby boy who was going to be born on July 9th, shortly after the wedding. Their child’s sex having been determined, they settled on a name: Reginald Arthur Ballard, though only Regulus knew the truth of the matter: The boy’s true name was Regulus Black III, and even unborn, he was the halfblooded heir to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.
The day of the wedding, meanwhile, loomed nearer and nearer until it was finally June 17th.
Regulus and Lorraine had chosen to have their wedding at the Woodlands Park Hotel in Cobham. As it turned out, they could not have picked a better day for the ceremony: June 17th arrived warm, but not oppressively hot. There was a gentle breeze, and the air smelled of blooming hydrangeas and freshly picked roses.
That afternoon a quick, semiformal ceremony came and quickly went, followed by a somewhat chaotic but festive reception: There were some forty guests at the wedding; ranging from Lorraine’s various family members friends who’d arrived from America, as well as some other friends she’d made in university. When Lorraine inquired as to why none of Regulus's own friends were at the wedding, he quietly informed her that they no longer kept in touch with him, nor he with them due to some disagreements, as he'd put it. And Regulus had simply been so bitter when he'd said this, she'd left the matter alone.
During the reception (which was held outdoors), there was much dancing, sharing of humorous old stories and nostalgic memories, and of course excellent food. Beneath the shade provided by a white awning, various guests sat in wooden chairs drinking wine and laughingly sharing stories from the bride’s childhood, and the photos were passed around:
Seven-year-old Lorraine in 1965, scowling moodily at the camera. Ten-year-old Lorraine three years later, a smiling girl with hair halfway down her back; wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt and in the process of scaling nimbly up a tree. Teenage Lorraine in hippie regalia, waving feebly at the photographer.
Through it all, the parents of the bride were reasonably amused, and even Sheila seemed to have accepted the fact that her daughter had finally found the man she’d wanted to be with, something Regulus and Lorraine were both happy and relieved about.
Sometime in the middle of the reception, it was time for photos. There were various group shots and miscellaneous pictures of the newlyweds, but one picture alone would stand out in Regulus’s mind: One taken by Lorraine’s father near the end of the afternoon- It hadn’t been planned, he’d only been lucky enough to catch them during the right moment: In the middle of a kiss that had lasted only seconds and yet somehow seemed to go on forever. Regulus never wanted to take his lips from Lorraine, nor hers from his.
For what seemed an eternity they’d stood there in the June sunlight, framed by light, caught in a moment neither wanted to end. Regulus was very aware that this was not the future either of his parents would ever have envisioned for him; and five or even three years before, he wouldn’t have expected to be married to the woman he loved; who just so happened to be a Muggle. And yet now, none of that even mattered anymore. Because he was in love, they were in love….
It’s been said that love is blind. But it’s more than just that. During love there is no difference, no conflict…. Only a strange, but very natural, collective unity.
Regulus would later swear he’d never, in his entire life felt as in love as he had during that single, fleeting yet somehow endless moment in time. So this was how it felt, to be loved.
To be one.
July 8th came calmly and quietly. Lorraine went into labor during the early evening, and on July 9th gave birth to her and Regulus’s son, Reggie. He was of average weight, and already had a tuft of black hair, and his mother’s vivid blue eyes.
Holding his son for the first time, Regulus felt overjoyed and yet somehow numb. This marriage was all a lie, so therefore his son would also be living a lie. True, there was a chance his son could be a Squib- and in that case, Regulus would never have to tell his wife and child about the world in which he’d spent his first eighteen years. But on the other hand, squibs were fairly rare, and there was a much greater chance Reggie could be magical.
And wandless magic manifested itself during childhood, about six was considered the earliest. Once it became apparent (If it became apparent) that there was something bizarre about his son, something unexplainable, Regulus knew he would have to explain. But how would he explain that, exactly? But no sense worrying about the present, as unfortunately there was nothing that could be done now.
With a slight sigh, Regulus rocked the sleeping infant for a few minutes more before handing him back to Lorraine, falling asleep in the chair beside her bed shortly after.
Summer went by faster than Lorraine and Regulus had been expecting, but by late August he had quit at the Dive due to the fact that he and Lorraine were moving into a house they’d bought in Bedford, Bedfordshire.
The house on Pemberly Avenue was two stories, about forty years old and somewhat in need of a repaint, but Lorraine and Regulus were more than happy to have it. Lorraine was continuing her search for a job, and Regulus had found a local university he wanted to enroll at. But in the meantime, they had little to do for the moment except settle in and unpack. And the house they’d picked was going to be surprisingly comfortable with minor alterations, despite its shabby exterior.
At the moment, Regulus was currently busy packing miscellaneous clothes into his closet in the master bedroom- Lorraine was downstairs playing with Reggie, and he had promised to join them once he finished putting his clothes away.
But there was one more thing to be done, something that not even Lorraine was aware of: With a sigh, Regulus withdrew a plain shoebox from one of the larger cardboard boxes sitting on the floor. He removed the lid and checked the contents within, to make sure they were still there: What a Muggle would interpret as a polished wooden stick, and a blank notepad.
But they were far, far more than they appeared.
Regulus had finished writing his dictionary/journal shortly after Reggie was born- By this point he felt he had fully adapted to Muggle life and no longer felt any need to write down useful terms, nor his thoughts for the day. Life was becoming relaxed, quiet, and dare he think it? Normal?
With a slight smile, Regulus put the lid back onto the shoebox one last time and placed it on a shelf at the back of the closet. Just before closing the door and joining his wife and newborn son downstairs; he thought of the box, and the mementos it contained.
Perhaps one day, he and his son could go through the contents of the box together.
But just as soon as it had came into his head, Regulus was quick to dismiss that thought.
He thought to himself, but not without a wistful sadness.
That could never happen. Will never happen.
With an indescribable, bittersweet feeling lingering in him, in his very being, Regulus left the bedroom, and went down the stairs to where his wife and son were waiting.