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Chapter 5: Someone to Sweep Me Off My Feet
It was always hard for me to meet men. I’m a generally passive person, and it takes an unusually strong character to ask me out. Those strong characters usually never take a notice at me.
So when I left school, I tried not to be so passive. I tried to ask out boys and try to not be so picky in my tastes, because I was severely picky. But I did not want to live a life alone. I was not weak, but I wanted some guy to take care of me or even some guy I could take care of. I wanted someone who would sweep me off my feet.
But that never came easy to me. Either he was too shy or too forward or too whatever. Whomever I dated had a flaw, and not just a minor one.
I remember Todd. He was from my Muggle stage and I surprised myself when I even spoke to him. He was particularly handsome with bright blue eyes that dazzled in the sunlight. And he had a particularly good personality as well. He was kind and caring and quite the romantic. Every time he met up with me, he brought a bouquet of roses that had the most refreshing smell to them. It seemed as if he even picked them freshly that day, himself.
But then I found out that he had commitment issues. We were celebrating our three month anniversary when he said, “I love you Sandra.”
“Who’s Sandra?” I asked, embarrassed, but hoping that Sandra was his ex. I could stand that. It had only been three months.
“Damn,” he said. “I mean Monica. I do love you, Monica.”
“Try again,” I instructed, with a scowl on my face.
“Tina? Mary?” he continued to list names, and I grew frustrated. Then, a light struck his face. “I’m just kidding Hannah. Happy anniversary.”
But I had been down that road before and I read him as being guilty, so I took his phone, dialed the number displayed as Sandra, and waited to ask her, herself.
Sandra answered and my questions were answered. They had been on a date the night before, and the worst part of it was that Sandra worked at a rose garden. Immediately when I made it home, I disposed of the newest bouquet that idiot had given to me.
After about a dozen or so more guys like Todd, I gave up. I did not care about having that guy to sweep me off my feet. There were no guys like that in this world.
So I focused more on my career, and it worked out perfectly. I became the perfect employee at the Leaky Cauldron and when Tom the landlord unfortunately passed away, he gave his title to me.
I took my job seriously and I enjoyed what I did. I was still relatively lonely though.
About three months after I had taken charge, all of that changed. It didn’t happen at first, but I found the man to sweep me off my feet was not an actual stranger.
I didn’t quite recognize him at first. It had been several years since I had seen him and he walked in quite a different way than I remembered. He was more confident and his round face did not seem quite so round and unflattering, as he had finally grown into it.
He changed, but I really had not. After years of bad experience, I was back to being the blond pony tailed girl, who was afraid to ask a boy out.
“Hannah Abbott?” he immediately asked as soon as he saw my face. I felt dreadful that I could not remember his name and I reverted to my shyness once again because I did not want to ask him. Luckily, he saved me the embarrassment. “It’s me, Neville Longbottom.”
“Neville?” I excitedly squealed. “How are you?” I gave him a hug that maybe surprised him a bit, as he did not share that hug with me. So we were not best friends at Hogwarts, but we were acquaintances. I thought that deserved a hug, but maybe I was being a little too forward.
“I’m pretty good,” he smiled. “I’m teaching at Hogwarts now and doing pretty well for myself. How about you?”
“Oh, I’m pretty good,” I answered, not giving many details. “Now is there something I can get for you?” I realized that he was a customer.
“Oh, just a Butterbeer’s fine.”
I grabbed a Butterbeer for him and I soon returned to him. There was no female accompanying him or even a male acquaintance. I decided to talk to him more because the Leaky Cauldron was relatively empty. With my luck he’d be married happily with dozens of kids, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t even look as him being a possible romantic interest. I was over those days.
“How’s the family?” I asked him.
He turned his head shyly away from mine for a second, as his brain picked the right words to respond. “Gram died about a year ago,” he said. “Besides that I don’t really have anyone. I mean, my parents are still in St. Mungos, but that’s it. And it’s always hard to go visit them.”
“Oh right,” I said, forgetting that his parents were still trapped in an endless nightmare from the first war. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Neville’s brown eyes perked up. “What about you? How’s your family?”
I seemed to have the same reaction that he had. No one ever asked me about my family, which suited me well. I wasn’t exactly prepared to answer the question. “Well, you know my mum died in sixth year.” His face filled with sorrow, and I had to keep my eyes below his sorrow-filled glare. Sorrow made it worse. Even though it had been years since my mum’s death, sorrow made it feel like it was yesterday again. It was difficult to get over, and the sorrow made the feeling come back. “And my dad and I never really got along,” I finally found words to continue. “I moved out a year after the war ended and I haven’t seen him since, so I don’t really have a family either.”
“Don’t say it,” I interrupted, as I heard him whisper, sorry. “I just can’t stand to hear that word. It makes it worse.”
“Okay,” he said, though I knew he was having trouble stopping himself from repeating the line again.
“I... erm…,” I knew the conversation was getting awkward, so I decided that should be it. We really didn’t have anything in common, and I did have to work. “I need to actually work. If you need anything else, just let me know.”
So I left him and I didn’t think anything more of the confrontation. He was a nice boy, and I’m sure he was a nice man as well, and even though we were friends, we were not too close. And we never would be.
Or so I thought.
About an hour later, he did call me over. I had been glancing over at him every so often to see if he needed anything and he had seemed deep in thought. He had been whispering words to himself for lengths at a time, and I stayed away. Maybe he was still traumatized from the war. He was a big part of that.
“Hannah,” he said, as I came over.
“What do you need?” I asked him, flashing a fake smile in his direction.
“Would you like to go out sometime with me?” he finally asked, with confidence that I had never heard from him before.
I had no reason to object, so I agreed. And I thought he was a little odd for whispering to himself, but he was just finding the courage to ask me out. That was sweet.
I have to admit that our first date didn’t go so well. He spilled his soda and I tried to kiss him, but he backed out at the last minute. We both put on sweet smiles though, and we agreed to try again, admitting our poor dating skills. I soon learned that he had had as many troublesome dates as me, and he was ready to call it quits on the dating world, until he saw me. I thought that was sweet, but I still was not sure if we had any chemistry. We did not converse too much, and it took awhile for us to grow comfortable in each other’s presence. We were both so alike, but different at the same time. Our relationship was not easy, but we kept it up. We both grew to like each other’s company.
It was that magical number when I realized that he could possibly be the one. Our seventh date was just a simple home cooked meal that he made himself. It was a sweet gesture.
Seeing him under the dimly lit lights, speaking of the new plant species that he was growing, with care and cautioned concern, made me see something different in him. It was like a light tinkered off inside my mind, and I finally realized how wonderful of a person he was.
And when that happened, I grew more at ease talking to him. And when I grew more at ease talking to him, he grew more at ease talking to me. And when the evening ended, it was not just a thank you and a goodnight kiss. He asked me to stay for awhile.
He played a collection of music that he had. I briefly remembered the scene of the Yule Ball when he danced with that Ginny Weasley. If only I had her determination, and her looks. Maybe I wouldn’t be single, but I also would not be with Neville at that precise moment in time.
I was not a dancer. I did my best to avoid any dance, but when he asked me to dance that night, I could not turn away. I had just made the realization that he could possibly be the one, and he was the only person that I had truly opened up for in recent history. So when he asked me to dance, I opened up as well.
We danced for hours. I did not know that dancing could be that fun. I did not know that dancing could be fun in the first place. And later that evening, I made a second realization. He had swept me off my feet. He had been the one that I was waiting for.
Each date after the magical seven got better. We became closer and we learned to love together. Our relationship improved with each meeting and we learned what it meant to take care of one another. He continued to sweep me off my feet and I continued to sweep him off of his. It took some work, but we grew together, learning to care, learning to love.