Chapter 1 : So Close To Happiness
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A/N: This is the first chapter in my sequel to Just One Night. I hope everybody enjoys this chapter!
Charlie Weasley was standing in the jewelry shop glancing around uneasily, this wasn’t going to be easy. He knew that he was rushing things, and that Hermione would insist that things were moving too fast, but he was ready. They had already wasted so many years apart, he didn’t want to spend one more day without her as his wife. It had been six months since Charlie had appeared and claimed Hermione as his forever, and now he knew that it was time to show her how permanent this relationship was. Shortly after New Year’s Eve, Charlie had put in a request to work at a small dragon reserve in London, and moved in with Hermione shortly after.
It wasn’t enough that they lived together, he wanted to be her husband. He could see how happy it made his brothers, and his parents, and he wanted that kind of happiness. Hermione had never pressured him, and hadn’t even uttered a word of longing to him when Ginny and Harry had announced that they were expecting their first child. He could see the desire to be a mother in her eyes though, and he respected her for never pressuring him to jump too soon. It was his turn to make one of her dreams come true though. She would never admit how much she wanted this but he knew that she did, and so did he.
None of the rings seemed right though, everything was bulky and ostentatious, and so unlike Hermione. He had been tempted to ask Bill to help him pick out a ring, but considering what Bill was currently going through, it didn’t seem fair. The fight that Bill had with Fleur on New Years had been the beginning of the end of their marriage. Charlie and Hermione had watched in shock as Fleur moved out and headed back to France. Molly and Ginny had cheered, and had even taken thing to the extreme by throwing a farewell party in Fleur’s tattered memory during a Weasley Wife Meeting.
Glancing around, Charlie felt himself getting more and more frustrated at the lack of acceptable options. He was ready to walk out when he saw it, it was made for her. It was very simple, eloquent, and screamed Hermione-ish. With a smile gracing his face, he asked the jeweler if he could take a closer look at the ring. When he picked up the ring, he knew, this was the one. He couldn’t tell how he knew, and it certainly reminded him of the feeling he had when he had first kissed Hermione. He quickly asked if there was any possible way the ring could be engraved, and after a short wait, he left the jewelers with the engagement ring in his pocket.
Bill was sitting at the Weasley kitchen table looking at his hands, pain etched in his handsome face. He couldn’t believe that this was happening. He had thought that everything was great, that they were moving forward, and that they loved one another. He thought that he had every man’s dream, and he had for a little while. They had been happy, until recently, and then everything had fallen apart. It should have been a happy time for him, his brother was finally in a solid relationship with Hermione, and his baby sister was having her first child. Instead, here he was, wallowing over the shattered dreams of his perfect marriage. Fleur and him had seemed so right, until she had dropped that bombshell on New Year’s Eve. She wanted to move back to France, with, or without him. Bill had been floored, he couldn’t leave his family, the Burrow, everything. He had a career and his family, and she was asking him to choose, them, or her. Apparently she had never respected or liked his family, and she was ready to move back where there were civilized people. At first he had been shocked, which had then led to anger; but now, he was bitter and lonely. He had lost his wife the moment she walked out of their apartment, she didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore, she had made that abundantly clear.
He was momentarily distracted when he heard laughter coming from the living room. He slowly stood up and headed off to find who was causing this disruption in his sulking. What he saw when he walked into that room amazed him. Hermione was standing in the middle of the room evidently showing off a new dress to his mother and Ginny. He could see the happiness in her face as she twirled around, her laughter rang throughout the entire house, and it was evident that she was in love.
She looks gorgeous, he thought to himself as he continued to watch her twirl for his mother. Charlie is one lucky man, he found a beautiful woman.
Quickly he pushed away those inappropriate thoughts and started to head back to the dining room to continue his moping in solitude. Unfortunately his movements caught Molly’s attention and she called him to join them in the living room where Hermione had just stopped twirling, her cheeks flushed.
“Yes?” Bill questioned as he looked at his mother. “Did you need me for something?”
“Do you think Hermione looks nice today? She has a big night planned with your brother, it is their six month anniversary tonight,” Molly explained.
“Yes, of course,” Bill choked as he looked intently at Hermione. “You look beautiful today Hermione, my brother was lucky to find a woman like you.”
“Thank you Bill,” Hermione replied nervously as she looked back at him. “He is very lucky to have such a supportive brother.”
“I have a favor to ask,” Molly asked pleasantly, startling Hermione and Bill who were still staring at one another. “Bill, would you mind teaching Hermione to dance?”
“What?” Hermione stammered. “Oh, Molly, I don’t need anyone to teach me to dance, especially Bill. I am sure he is quite busy right now.”
There is was, she was giving him this golden opportunity to get out of teaching her to dance, and yet surprisingly he heard himself answer in a shocking way.
“It’s not problem, I am just surprised that Charlie hasn’t taught you already.”
“We never had time to go dancing,” Hermione explained. “Are you sure this doesn’t feel too weird for you, Bill?”
“Nonsense,” Molly insisted from her spot on the couch. “You are practically his little sister Hermione, why would it be weird? He taught Ginny her to dance, and if I remember correctly he may have also taught Ron.”
“Ron?” Hermione asked trying not to laugh.
“Oh dear,” Molly sputtered. “I shouldn’t have brought that up, he was quite mortified having his brother teach him to dance.”
“It probably didn’t help that Fred and George stood outside the room and made incessant jokes about the entire ordeal,” Ginny added with a giggle.
“Now go ahead and get started,” Molly insisted. “Ginny and I will move to the dining room while you have your lesson.”
“You don’t want to stay?” Hermione asked to the retreating figures. Molly and Ginny must not have heard as they never turned to answer. Bill, however, strode into the room, approaching Hermione carefully. Slowly he closed in on her, and placed his hands on her waist. She looked into his eyes shocked at his touch, fear and something else swimming in her eyes as she looked up at him.
“Are you scared of me Hermione?” Bill asked, noticing the nervousness crossing her face.
“Why should I be?” Hermione asked meekly. “After all, you’re like a brother to me, right?”
“Like a brother,” he reassured, trying to convince the both of them. The tension in the room was growing thick, as he slowly taught her the basics of dancing. He tried to concentrate on the steps instead of watching the look of concentration that was flitting across Hermione’s face, but it was useless. As much as he was trying to deny it, Bill was feeling strongly attracted to Hermione, despite the fact that he knew it was wrong. She loved his brother, his brother was happy, and he wasn’t going to ruin that.
“Bill,” Hermione whispered. “What are you thinking about?”
“You,” he answered quietly, unable to stop himself.
“What do you mean me?” she asked gently.
He was about to answer her when they were interrupted by approaching footsteps. Moments later Charlie materialized in the living room doorway, and Hermione pulled away and ran off to greet Charlie. Bill was left standing in the middle of the room, the feeling of Hermione in his arms still imprinted in his mind and on his body.
“What were you doing in the living room with Bill?” Charlie asked, as Hermione followed him up to his old bedroom.
“You cannot laugh at me,” Hermione warned.
“I would never laugh at you,” Charlie reassured.
“That was not true the time you laughed at me when I had an allergic reaction to that hot sauce, and my lips swelled up,” Hermione reminded him crossly.
“Oh my goodness, I had completely forgotten about that,” Charlie laughed. “That was one of the funniest sights I have ever seen.”
“I am glad someone thinks it was hilarious,” Hermione replied impatiently.
“You know I was kidding sweetie, now tell me what you were doing,” Charlie answered as he hugged her. “Was he giving you a kissing lesson, I hear he is quite good.”
“If you must know, he was giving me dancing lessons,” Hermione announced.
“You needed dancing lessons?” Charlie asked flabbergasted. “I would have taught you.”
“I wanted to surprise you,” Hermione explained. “However, I do know something you could teach me.”
“I am intrigued,” Charlie stated. “Where exactly would this lesson take place?”
“Let’s just say it would take place in our apartment, perhaps a very enclosed space, with a glass door, where people bathe,” Hermione whispered in his ear.
“Why are we still here then?” Charlie asked. The pair quickly gathered their things and left the Burrow in a hurry.
Hermione was getting dressed for dinner when Charlie walked into the room. He gave her a seductive smile as he glanced at her in the mirror. She was still flushed from their shower escapade and if it were possible she had never looked this beautiful. His heart was pounding as he thought about what he was going to do tonight. She finished putting her earrings in, grabbed her coat and linked her arm in his as they walked out of the apartment. Her eyes were shining as she looked at him, a small smile playing on her lips.
“What are you smiling about?” he teased. “Planning on meeting someone special tonight.”
“Of course,” she played along. “In fact, I have two other meetings once dinner is done. Hope you don’t mind.”
Charlie just looked down at her and smiled, she looked amazing tonight, and he couldn’t imagine his life without her. She had made him feel alive again, she had made him realize that he needed her. His mind was full of thoughts as they continued down the street, heading to the bar where they had first started their journey all those years ago.
While most wizards and witches apparated, Charlie and Hermione rather liked walking. It had been a long standing tradition from the moment they had taken their muggle shopping day together. They walked everywhere, and with her on his arm, he felt like the most powerful and luckiest man in the world.
He watched as her face lit up as the bar came into view, she always got so excited when she saw the pub. To her it was a symbol of their relationship, and everything they had endured to be together. The visited the pub for every anniversary dinner, despite the fact that it wasn’t a romantic place.
They were almost across the street when the car appeared. He watched in slow motion as it built up speed, heading directly at them. He saw the look of terror on Hermione’s face, and did the only thing he could, he pushed her forward. The car hit him with incredible speed and force, and Hermione watched in shock as Charlie crumpled on the hood of the car. She let out a scream as the car jerked to a stop, Charlie still lying motionless on the hood.
Time stood still, all Hermione could do was watch Charlie, praying that he would stand up, and miraculously be okay. It was soon apparent that it would never happen, as wizards came running out of the pub, trying to help in any way that they could. Hermione stood frozen in her spot, all her healer instincts had left the moment she saw the car strike Charlie. He was gone, she was sure of it, he was gone, in one swift swipe, her Charlie had been taken from her.
As Charlie laid sprawled on the car nobody noticed the small black box in his jacket pocket, it went unnoticed. Nobody knew what tonight had meant to the young man who was now lying motionless on the hood. Nobody knew that tonight he had been planning on making the beautiful woman that he loved, his fiancé. All was forgotten as they tried desperately to save the young man’s life, never aware of the fact that tonight he had been planning to make the biggest step of his life. Never knowing that in one short second, so many lives would change forever.
A/N: Before everyone gets mad and tries to riot, Charlie is NOT dead! Big thanks to all of you loyal readers, hope everyone enjoyed the first chapter to the sequel. 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! Thanks again for reading!