Chapter 12 : 13 Spud Pile-up
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Without a doubt, supper time was more awkward then expected from anyone. It was a constant bicker between couples and a silent competition on who can be the most affectionate. Rafe and Ron were clearly not impressed and indulged in a glass of wine when no one was looking. Through the tension at the table, no one caught wind of their activity.
“Darling, can you pass the potatoes?” Emelia asked, with a flirtatious flare.
Sirius picked up the china bowl and gingerly placed it down between them. He turned his attention to Harry, who was whispering something in Hermione’s ear. Sirius began to fork the potatoes onto Emelia’s plate, while trying to listen to their conversation.
“Um, sweetie, that’s good. That’s enough. Stop!” Emelia put her hand over Sirius’ and looked at him with a strange look. “I just wanted a single potato.”
She began to fork back the 13 potatoes that were on her plate, or napkin. Rafe almost busted a gut laughing at the mountainous potato pile in front of the stranger.
“So, Hermione, how are you adjusting to your classes?” Jenna cut in to get the attention off Emelia.
“Well, it was harder then I expected but I’m still maintaining sufficient grades. I am still struggling in Defence Against the Dark Arts. My grade just won’t do for that subject. I was hoping Harry would give me private lessons?”
She batted her eyelashes at Harry. Sirius slopped his drink down the front of him, while Lily clasped her hands together as if gazing at a beautiful object. James eyed Remus and both of their expressions were confused and amused that something so small could irritate Sirius like this.
“Of course I’ll help you.” Harry said, before placing his hand over hers on the table. “I didn’t know you needed help, but I don’t mind the least.” He smiled, almost smirked.
“Can’t you get a tutor from a higher grade? I’m sure there has to be someone better?” Sirius spit out. “I mean, if you want to get the best grade, you want the best of the best!”
The whole table went silent. A clang of Ron’s fork against his wine glass snapped everyone back into reality.
“Harry is the best.” Hermione said flatly. “Not only that, but now we can spend more time together. Much more time.” Hermione finished, almost through gritted teeth.
“Well I think its dessert time!” Jenna said in a panic.
“Good idea!” Lily supplemented. “Hermione, will you help us? And Ron, Rafe what is in those glasses?” Lily grabbed Rafe’s glass as Jenna left for the kitchen.
She smelled it and scowled at them.
“You best be extra nice to me today or I’ll squeal on both of you.” Lily said as her lips formed into a smile.
Hermione met the two of the women in the kitchen to find them huddled together like pre-game talk.
“Where are the plates, I can bring them out?” Hermione asked, to disturb them.
“Hermione, you better watch yourself.” Jenna said calmly. “It’s taken him forever to get over his first love.”
“You like Harry don’t you?” Lily asked her with big eyes.
“Of course I do. And I will be careful. I’m not doing anything!”
“You’re playing with fire. He’s a grown man. Let him live his life.” Jenna finished before grabbing the cutlery and leaving for the dining room.
Later that night, after many glasses of wine and too much to eat, they all sat around the fire. Hermione excused herself to go to the washroom, where she could sort out her thoughts. Her brain was going a mile a minute and the very thought of Sirius ever marrying another woman, made her sick. She opened the door to leave and was face to face with Sirius.
“You know, some people might find that creepy, listening in like that.” Hermione said with a smirk.
“You going to tell me what’s going on?”
“Well, I just went to the washroom, next I’m going back into the other room—“
“Since when have you and Happy Potter been together?” Sirius asked with no hint of sarcasm in his voice.
“A while I guess… You must have been too busy to notice with that woman hanging on to you.”
“You really want to know why I’m with her?” Sirius asked, leaning back on the wall.
“No, but I’m guessing you’ll tell me anyway.”
“In your note, you said you and Harry were getting closer and I just felt if you moved on, then so should I. Hermione, I don’t even know her last name!”
“So you did this to make me jealous?” Hermione asked, raising an eyebrow with amusement.
“I guess. Do you really like Harry, or are you doing this to make me jealous?”
Hermione wanted to scream out ‘no’ with all her might and that she and Sirius were meant to be. But now she got herself into a hole that she couldn’t dig out. She bit her lip and looked away.
“Um, well.. we’re good friends.”
“I can’t help but have some sort of feelings for him. I really just tried to use him…” Hermione bit her lip as the words slipped out too quickly. “I just don’t know.”
She looked up at him and half expected him to yell or storm away. He stayed there and smiled slightly.
“I can’t keep you from loving another, Hermione. But just know that no matter what you choose, I will accept it and support you. I will not marry…her.”
“Everything okay?” A voice said from beside them.
Hermione turned to see Harry standing there with his arms crossed.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just ran into Sirius.” Hermione smiled and walked to Harry. “Looks like the washroom is all yours Sirius.”
The train ride home was silent. Rafe and Ron fell in a deep slumber due to their sneaky glasses of wine, that added up to nearly six or seven. Harry and Hermione found better things to do with their time, but kept silent all the same. They were back at the castle before they knew it. Harry was more then happy to wake Ron and Rafe up from their snooze.
The word of Harry dating a muggle born got through the castle faster then they intended on. Harry began to limp more then usual and Hermione was ignored more by Ron. Holly and Gracie Potter were thrilled to have Hermione in Harry’s life. They, along with Ginny, thought that she was the best influence on him. Hermione found herself lounging around the common room one night at the end of February with Ginny and the Potter twins.
“I can’t believe you’re dating my brother.” Holly said, scrunching up her nose.
Hermione laughed. “It’s not that strange. He’s a good guy.”
“But you don’t know what he was like before you came.” Gracie said, with her arms waving about in animation. “He was the devil! He didn’t even say hi to us in the halls, but now he’ll come up to us and walk with us.” Gracie flipped her black hair over her shoulder and smiled to herself as Ron and Rafe walked in and went to the corner.
Hermione caught wind of Gracie’s awe-struck look towards the boys and smirked.
“Something caught your eye, Gracie? Or should I say, someone?” Hermione asked with a laugh.
“Who?” Ginny shouted. “Who in the world do you like?” Ginny continued, still clueless.
Call it a twin’s intuition but Holly kept silent and darted her eyes between the boys and her sister.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Gracie lied, as a pink twinge dusted her pale skin.
“Oh my gosh, who is it Gray?” Ginny asked, standing up and sitting beside Gracie on the couch. “Don’t lie.”
Gracie’s eyes darted towards Ron and Rafe absentmindedly and her blush deepened.
“You like my brother?” Ginny shrieked, putting her hand over her mouth. “Ew! That is disgusting Gracie!”
Gracie shielded her eyes and turned a nice shade of maroon. “It’s not Ron. Jeeze guys, can you change the subject.”
“Since when have you liked Lupin?” Holly interrogated her sister.
“Since right after boys stopped having cooties!” Gracie glared at her twin.
“We never knew!” Ginny replied, with a mock look of fury.
“Doesn’t mean it isn’t true!”
“Ron, Rafe, come over here!” Holly shouted across the room.
The boys’ ears perked up when their names were called. Ron ran over and jumped onto the couch and nearly sent his sister flying off to the floor. Rafe casually strolled over and sat on an arm chair, beside Hermione’s chair.
“What are you girls up to?” Rafe asked, relaxing back in the squashy arm chair.
“Just girl chat, nothing much.” Gracie said quickly.
Everyone’s head turned to her because she spoke abnormally fast. She looked away and fiddled with her hair nervously. Hermione found this rather amusing because for once since her return, the attention was not on her. She barely knew the Potter twins, but she definitely wanted to help Gracie out.
“I’m going to go for a walk, guys. I’ll be back in a bit.” Hermione stood up and excused herself from the talk.
She was hoping that the others would clue in and leave Gracie and Rafe alone. Hermione stepped through the portrait hole and into the hall. She made to walk away, but a tap on the shoulder stopped her. She turned to see blonde-haired Rafe smiling at her.
“Hey, are you okay?” He asked quietly. “I know this past month has been murder for you.”
Hermione nodded slowly. “I’m fine. Thanks.”
“Are you actually fine, Hermione. You can tell me.”
Rafe walked closer to her as her eyes filled up.
“Why is this so hard!” She burst out, letting her emotions get the best of her. “Ever since I came back here, life has been nothing but a bloody hassle!”
She crumpled into him, resting her head on her friends shoulder. He held her tight without saying a word. There wasn’t one thing in her life right now that made it worthwhile. She’s using her former best friend to make another man jealous, Ron and Rafe were often leaving her out, and the girls had their own thing going on. Not to mention that school was hard and her mind was always somewhere else.
“I’m sorry you have to see me like this, Rafe.” Hermione sobbed.
The portrait door swung open and a gasp interrupted their hug. Hermione pulled back and looked at Gracie, realizing how this looks.
“Oh! I was…just going to see…if you needed some company…Rafe.” She swallowed loud and looked distinctly upset. “But, I guess you don’t.”
Gracie slammed the portrait before either of them could talk.
“What was that all about?” Rafe asked, scratching his head in confusion.
“I should get back inside.”
Hermione ran into the common room in search of Gracie. She had to explain that nothing was going on between them. With all her troubles, she could now add this to them. When it rains, it pours.
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