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Chapter 8 : Why On Earth Would You Want To Marry That Stroppy Mare?
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Ginny was sitting at her kitchen table sipping her morning tea when the owl arrived with her paper. Slowly she walked to the window and paid the owl, grasping the Daily Prophet in her hands. As she headed back to the table she felt her hands begin to shake, just as they did every morning when the paper arrived. Gently she put the paper down on the table in front of her, took a deep breath, and began to read.
It had been fifteen years since Eloise had been born, and yet nothing had changed about her morning routine. Granted she wasn’t as tired and delirious as she had been during that first year, but she still did the same thing every morning. It had always been a daily struggle to look at the paper, expecting the worse every morning, expecting to see news of the event she knew was bound to happen eventually. In the beginning it had been painful to read about them, Harry and Cho, and their growing relationship. She could still remember opening the paper the very first time, it was a memory she couldn’t quite forget.
Ginny had barely fallen to sleep when she was awoken once again by the screams coming from the crib across the room. Tears of frustration pooled in her eyes as she pulled herself up, and headed over to get Eloise. The sun was beginning to peek through the window, and yet Ginny was yearning for a good night’s sleep. Eloise stopped crying as Ginny wrapped a blanket around her squirming body and pulled her into her arms. A gentle smile drifted over her face as she let the tears begin to fall.
As frustrated as she was with the lack of sleep, Ginny was completely and utterly in love with her daughter. These moments always left her with a bittersweet feeling, sometimes it was all to much for her to handle. She often thought about how different things would have been if Harry had been there, how it would have been if they were a family. In the precious moments of sleep that she managed to find Ginny found herself dreaming of him, and everything that could have been.
Heaving a sigh Ginny headed into the kitchen, Eloise still in her arms, now sleeping peacefully. Careful not to disturb the baby, Ginny moved around the kitchen making herself a cup of morning tea. She was almost to the table when the owl appeared, carrying her daily edition of the Daily Prophet. Once Ginny had paid the owl and headed back to the table she unrolled the paper and began to browse. She was halfway down the front page when she saw the article. She blinked back the tears furiously as she looked at the corresponding picture.
She knew that it shouldn’t have come as any surprise considering what she had seen at the Quidditch match, yet it left her stunned. There it was, evident to the entire wizarding world, Harry Potter and Cho Chang, Hottest Couple to Ever Grace Quidditch. The article went on to spout about their long and troubled past, and how they had finally found each other again. Ginny pushed the paper away as she finished her morning tea. Once she had finished she crumpled the paper and threw it in the garbage, vowing to move on with her life, once and for all.
Over time the sting had started to fade, she was used to seeing them splashed across the pages of the paper these days. The years had started to the heal the wound that Harry had caused by not coming to her, as she lay weak and alone in the hospital bed all those years ago. Immediately after Eloise was born, Ginny had changed, suddenly she had become a different person, a mother. Instead of days filled with endless gossip and homework, she was faced with days filled with diapers and watching a baby.
Despite the struggles she faced, Ginny went on to take her N.E.W.T.S and applied for the Healer’s program after graduating Hogwarts. Having spent so many months in St. Mungo’s, she had decided that she wanted to pursue a career there, right beside Hermione. With some assistance from Molly and Arthur, who were always eager to watch their granddaughter, Ginny took night classes, and eventually gained her Healer’s license. From there, Ginny began to work at St. Mungo’s, bound and determined to make a difference in the lives of her patients. She quickly learned that St. Mungo’s was too fast-paced too make a difference, and started to look into other options. When Hermione suggested that they open their own clinic, Ginny had quickly agreed. For years they had been running their own clinic, helping with all sorts of illnesses that weren’t serious enough to be handled at St. Mungo’s. It had been a long and tiresome journey, but Ginny was happy with the way her life had turned out.
Ginny was pulled out of her thoughts once again as the chime on the clock began to sound. Quickly she cleaned up her mess and headed into her bedroom, eager to get dressed and be on her way. While most days would find her dressed and heading to the office to get ready for a long days work, today she was making a different journey. Eloise had just completed her fourth year at Hogwarts and was heading home today on the Hogwarts Express. Ginny couldn’t wait to see her daughter, it seemed like ages since she had seen her over Easter break. As Ginny got dressed she couldn’t help but think back to the day she had sent her daughter off to Hogwarts.
It was a sunny day, yet Ginny couldn’t help but feel like the world was ending. Today her baby girl was heading off to Hogwarts, and for the first time ever Ginny would be all alone. Life had been rough when Eloise was a little girl, they barely had enough money to make the bills and have food on the table. It didn’t seem fair that now, just when Ginny was finally getting ahead, her daughter was leaving. They had never had the money to take exotic trips, or frivolous shopping sprees, and now it was too late. A feeling of bitterness swept through Ginny as she watched Eloise pack up her belongs, stripping her room of every important possession. She swallowed the lump building in her throat as Eloise grabbed a picture of the two of them and placed it lovingly in her bag. Soon Eloise had finished packing and they were heading out the door, headed for the station, where the Hogwarts Express would whisk her little girl off to Hogwarts.
Once they reached the station Ginny felt herself falling apart, it was all happening too fast, she wasn’t ready to let go. She could feel Eloise’s excitement increasing as they neared Platform 9 ¾ and it was tearing her apart. She knew how much this day meant to her daughter, and how long she has waited to attend Hogwarts. Eloise had wanted to attended Hogwarts since the very first time she could utter the words aloud. Ginny watched with a heavy heart as Eloise shot her a grin and then raced towards the entryway to Platform 9 ¾. She knew that she couldn’t stop her daughter from growing up, it was bound to happen, but who could blame her for not wanting to let go of the memories of her precious daughter.
Ginny quickly followed behind, not quite wanting to say goodbye, but the moment she saw the awe written on her daughter’s face she knew it was time to let go. Slowly she bent down and gave Eloise one last goodbye hug, desperately trying to keep her emotions in check.
“I love you sweetie, be good, don’t get into too much trouble. I’ll see you at Christmas, Grandpa and Grandma have invited us over for the holidays. I’ll miss you, write lots of letters,” Ginny instructed. “I love you.”
“I love you too Mom,” Eloise replied before she grabbed her things and headed off to the train. Ginny stood and watched her leave. She stayed and watched as the Hogwarts Express pulled out of the station, taking her daughter away. Only after the train was just a speck in the horizon, did she finally let loose. Only then did she cry, Eloise was all grown up, and Ginny was all alone, once again. Ginny smiled at that memory, she had immediately come home and sulked for days, refusing to speak to anyone. Slowly she began to feel better, although she never quite got used to the emptiness in the apartment when Eloise was gone. She quickly finished dressing, grabbed her things and headed off to the train station, a smile permanently etched on her face.
Eloise was sitting in her train compartment anxiously awaiting for the train finally to reach the station. It had been a long and stressful year, and she couldn’t wait to see her mother again. Ever since Eloise could remember it had been her and her mother, they had done everything together. As excited as she was each year to return to Hogwarts, she was saddened to leave her mother.
Hogwarts had been everything she had ever dreamed, from the first moment she walked through the entrance hall. However, while most of the girls in her year had made friends immediately, Eloise had found herself finding a hard time relating to them. Her mother had always been her best friend, and she spent most of her days with her mom and her Aunt Hermione when she wasn’t at school. All of the other girls spent most of their time complaining about their parents, and ogling the boys; while Eloise had thrown herself into her schoolwork, and generally adored her relatives. From the very beginning Eloise had stood out, and not in a good way. People were intimidated by her family lineage, daughter of Ginevra Weasley, niece of Ronald and Hermione Weasley. Most of her family had at one time been close to Harry Potter, and she knew that most of her peers were unsettled by her family connections.
Much to the surprise of her family, Eloise had not been sorted into Gryffindor unlike the rest of her family. She had been the first Ravenclaw to grace the family in years, and her mother had been stunned. Ginny had of course blamed Hermione for corrupting her daughter, as Eloise had gained her love for books from her Aunt. In fact on her sixth birthday, much to Uncle Ron’s dismay, Aunt Hermione had bought her a copy of Hogwarts, A History and began introducing her to the world of literature.
At one point Eloise asked her mother if he father might have been a Ravenclaw, but she had been informed that her father had in fact been a Gryffindor. Eloise had learned from an early age that there were two subjects that her mother refused to speak about; Harry Potter, and her father. Eloise, as a young child, could never understand why her mother didn’t want to share the stories of The-Boy-Who-Lived, especially when it was common knowledge that at one point they had dated. It was always such a treat to visit Uncle Ron’s and Aunt Hermione’s as they would always share stories about Mr. Potter, and all of the wonderful things they had done at her age. Sharing was only allowed if her mother wasn’t present, and she was sworn to secrecy that she would never bring him up in front of her mom.
It was only after she had entered her third year at Hogwarts that she had put the pieces together. Although she didn’t have any overwhelming proof, Eloise was almost one hundred percent positive that Harry Potter must be her father. It would explain why her mother would never speak of him, and it would also explain why she felt such a desire to know more about the man. She had never told anyone about her suspicions, she knew that it would only cause problems in the family. As far as she knew nobody had spoken to Mr. Potter since the day she had been born. It was the one secret she had kept from her mother, the one secret that made her heart ache, and the one secret she wish she didn’t know. She felt so lost, Ginny had always been a wonderful mother and confidant, but she still went to bed every night hoping her father would appear. It was a silly childish fantasy, and yet she couldn’t quite let go of that dream.
Eloise was jolted back to reality as the train lurched to a sudden stop. Eloise peered out the window, and couldn’t contain her grin as she saw her mother standing in the crowd waiting for her to exit the train. With a squeal of delight, Eloise grabbed her things and pushed her way into the mob that was currently heading towards the nearest exit. Once she reached the platform she broke into a run, heading straight for her mother.
“I have missed you so much,” Ginny gulped as Eloise engulfed her in a hug.
“Mom,” Eloise started. “I have missed you much more than you have missed me. After all I have loved you my whole life, you have only loved me half of yours.”
It was a tradition, a saying that Eloise had been repeating for years, and it never failed to make Ginny’s eyes water. They were a stunning pair as they stood there on the platform grinning at one another. While Ginny was shorter and slender, with bright red hair and sparkling brown eyes, Eloise was taller than her mother, willowy, with deep mahogany hair, and animated hazel eyes. While it was apparent that they were mother and daughter, they didn’t look like cookie-cutter images of one another, each having their own individual appearance. Slowly they gathered Eloise’s things and headed out of the platform, anxious to catch up with one another.
Across town, Harry Potter was standing in a jewelry shop, looking for the perfect engagement ring. Granted he still carried around the ring he had bought for Ginny almost sixteen years ago, but he wouldn't dream of giving Cho that ring. No, it belonged to Ginny, it always would. Some nights he found himself staring at that ring for a long time, wondering where Ginny was now, what she was doing. Despite the fact that he had been with Cho for fifteen long years, he still found himself waking up every morning, wishing that Ginny was in bed beside him. He had never really given up on Ginny, he had waited months, even years for her to write, but she never had. She had slowly faded from his life, just like Hermione, Ron, Remus, Tonks, and everyone else he had once loved. Now, here he was, picking out a ring for the one person who had stuck with him through everything.
He knew that Cho had waited a long time for a proposal, yet she had never seemed to mind. Harry knew that Cho would have waited forever for him to propose marriage to her, it was something that she wanted badly. He never was quite sure why Cho wanted to marry him so much, it was evident that he still loved Ginny deep down, and he was highly committed to his job as a seeker, yet she never wavered. It was time, time to move past everything, time to give in, time to recognize that no matter how long he waited, Ginny was never coming for him.
He could still remember the night he had picked out Ginny’s engagement ring, it had been perfect. Harry had been young and nervous, but he had been happy and excited about the thought of marrying her. He had just known when he looked at the ring, that it belonged to her, it was just as beautiful and unique as the woman it would belong to forever.
Focusing he slowly walked around the store, yet nothing was jumping out at him, begging to belong on the finger of the woman he loved. She’s not the woman you love, he thought to himself, the woman you love walked out of you life almost sixteen years ago.
Frustrated he sought out the largest ring he could find and asked the jeweler to wrap it up. He knew that Cho would never find the beauty in an antique ring, and if it wasn’t diamond she would be disappointed. Better just to find the largest, most generic diamond ring now and make her happy. He was planning on proposing tonight, better to just to get it over with. No sense in postponing what inevitably was going to happen. He was marrying Cho, and when he stood on that alter, he would be imagining Ginny walking down that aisle.
“So tell me all about you school year,” Ginny insisted as they carried Eloise’s things into her bedroom. “Do you have any summer homework?”
“Things went well,” Eloise fibbed. She looked up at her mother, and was struck with an amazing idea. “Actually I do have an essay that has to be completed by the beginning of next term for History of Magic. We have to write an essay about the great Harry Potter, so I was thinking I could set up a meeting with him.”
“NO!” Ginny yelled before she could contain herself. “I just mean that I don’t think that is a good idea. Let me see if I can contact the school and get you out of that essay, it’s summer after all.”
“Why don’t you want me to learn about Mr. Potter?” Eloise questioned, although she knew why her mother didn’t want her near him. “Did something happen between you two that you never told me?”
“Eloise,” Ginny sighed. “I know that this will probably come as a shock, but I was trying to protect you from getting hurt.”
“Protecting me from what mother?” Eloise asked bitterly. “The fact that Harry Potter is my father? The man who I have waited fifteen years to meet? The man who I used to wish would come and find me? Is that what you were protecting me from Mom? A chance to meet the man you loved all of your life, the man who saved you numerous times; you were protecting me from him?”
“You don’t understand Eloise,” Ginny tried to reason. “Sit down, I’ll tell you the whole story. You’re old enough to understand now.”
Cho was sitting at the dinner table, watching Harry squirm nervously in his seat as they began to eat. She watched sadly as his eyes glazed over and a small smile fell over his face. He was thinking of her, Ginny Weasley. Cho had watched in pain for fifteen years as Harry drifted off frequently, his mind filled with loving thoughts about his former lover. She tried to ignore the looks in his eyes, and how quiet he got when he was consumed by memories of Ginny. Cho knew that she had made this situation happen the moment she had lifted her wand to that letter all those years ago. She often found herself speculating what the woman had written to Harry, what had been so important that she had to search him out. She never regretted what she had done, it would take time for Harry to understand that they belonged together. However, she did regret that Harry didn’t seem to love her as much as he loved his memories of Ginny.
She was lost in her own thoughts when Harry grabbed her hand, and gave her a forced smile over the table. It didn’t matter to Cho that his smile was forced, he was smiling at her, she was the woman he was dating. She was the woman who had the title of Harry Potter’s girlfriend, as far as she was concerned he belonged to her. Slowly he cleared his throat and reached into his jacket pocket and produced a small jewelry box. Her heart leapt as he opened the box and revealed a large, sparkling diamond ring.
“Cho, will you marry me?” Harry asked.
She was so excited to see the ring and hear the words that she didn’t see the light in Harry’s eyes fade. She didn’t seem to notice that there were no romantic sentiments uttered as he proposed. Just the cold, dry facts of marriage between two people. He didn’t love her, but he was marrying her, and that was all she cared about. She would be Mrs. Harry Potter, and Ginny Weasley would be a distant memory.
A/N: Big thanks to all of you loyal readers, hope everyone enjoyed this latest chapter. I know that is was a boring, but I had so much information to cover, please bear with me! Thanks for taking the time to read, have a wonderful day. As always reviews are appreciated, thanks again so much, you all make my day! Just a friendly reminder, despite how much we hate Cho right now, make sure those reviews are 12+! Thanks again for reading!
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