“Of course I’m pleased to see you,” smiled Hermione, regaining herself again, slipping out of the speechless mode and returning the kiss, trying to act as if nothing was wrong. She leant back and stroked the soft hair from Ryan’s face and burned her eyes with his. “I love you! But this is - it’s just such a surprise! What on earth are you doing here?”
Ryan grinned and sank to the sofa next to Blaise, pulling Hermione down with him so that she perched on his lap as he nibbled her ear affectionately. “I just couldn’t stay away for long. I decided that after everything, all the arguments and stuff, that I was being an idiot. As if you’d lie to me about anything! I trust you completely, and I’m sorry for doubting you.”
Hermione felt her face burn with shame as she sat in the arms of her lover, hearing him say these things aloud to her, his voice a drink to her soul that was always so refreshing and cleansing. But she didn’t feel cleansed. She marked the purity of Ryan alongside hers and realised what a bitch she was. She didn’t deserve him, not in the least. She had cheated on him whilst he had been carefully planning some difficult way up to the school to tell her he was sorry from his own lips. She felt disgusted with herself.
“Oh, you don’t have to be sorry for anything -”
“Yes, I do,” he assured her, dropping his eyes to the floor. “I upset you and acted like a bastard. Herm, I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
She smiled, her face like the grace and elegance of a radiant sun. “Oh, you could never hurt me . . . Ryan, tell me, how did you get here?”
He cleared his throat and leant back in the chair, Blaise Zabini still watching them both darkly. “I admit, I wrote to your mother first, asking permission. She told me how upset you were and I just felt so awful, because it was all my fault. I’ve been a prick - I should have respected your wishes to stay on at school and not questioned them. It turns out you were right after all - I’m older than you, I’ve completed school, and I had the choice of that. So you should too.”
She nodded and caressed his face with her fingers, those fingers that had run through Blaise’s hair not long ago and touched the sweat that she had formed on his brow. Guilt ate at her slowly. She wanted to scream out her sins to Ryan, to tell him all that she had done so that it did not cut her up inside, but at the same time she was afraid of hurting him and watching him walking away.
“So I talked to your mum, and she told me just to leave it for a while, but I could try writing to you. I gave her a letter and stuff and then she tore it up and decided that it would be better if I told you in person, and the only way of doing that was seeing you here, at your school. So yeah, she sort of helped me arrange it all with your headmaster and stuff, and he arranged my transport.” A frown lined his brow. “That’s one hell of a weird system you’ve got - I mean, a chimney!” He laughed. “I’ve had to wash three times to get the soot off already!”
She glanced at the black smudged on his cheek and licked it. “You missed a bit.”
Ryan pulled her close and nuzzled his nose into her hair. He pulled back suddenly and squinted at her doubtfully. “You smell of smoke.”
Hermione found her face draining of colour. “Oh, yes . . . That was Blaise and I. We went to the local village, and he smokes - hence the reason I smell like it.”
Ryan passed chocolate eyes over at Blaise, as if noticing him for the first time. “Oh,” he said a little apprehensively. “Hey.”
Blaise nodded stiffly. “Hi.”
“Ryan, shall we go upstairs? Or do you want some coffee or something?” Hermione asked, desperately trying to distract him from Blaise. She tried to focus alone on her boyfriend instead of being constantly aware of Zabini and what he might say out of spite.
“Er, coffee would be good,” Ryan admitted, but then lowered his voice softly. “But upstairs sounds even better.”
Hermione smiled awkwardly and pulled away from his grasp, walking over to the kitchen. “Go on ahead. I’ll be up in a minute.”
She watched as Ryan grinned at her and stood up, the swagger of his hips striking her love again as he moved away. As soon as he was out of earshot, Hermione put down the mugs she was pulling out of the cupboard and glared at Blaise.
“Please, don’t say anything.”
Blaise regarded her coldly but then rolled his eyes to the ceiling. “As if.”
“I’m serious Blaise, I mean it. Ryan can’t know. It will hurt him so much, and I -”
“So why did you do it?” Blaise snapped, standing up and crossing the room to stand alongside her in the kitchen. He eyed her up and down and tucked a strand of loose hair carefully behind her ear. His lips quested forward and he kissed her gently. Hermione quickly pulled away, turning to concentrate on making the coffee, throwing the granules in a little viciously.
“Don’t,” she warned darkly. “This isn’t a game Blaise. I don’t know why I did it. Maybe you put something in my drink.”
Blaise laughed chillingly and his eyes turned to glints of sparking wrathful fires. “Don’t try and blame this on me, Hermione, and don’t try and make stupid excuses. Your boyfriend is up there, the boy you claim you love, and your down here pleading with me not to tell him I fucked you. What sort of relationship is that?”
Hermione’s eyes blurred with tears of desperation and self hate as she dropped the spoon with a clutter and held her head in her hands. The tears leaked down her cheeks and she sniffed, trying to suppress a sob. “Oh god, what have I done? What have I done?”
Blaise smirked and stepped away, heading towards the door. “Alright, I won’t say anything. But trust me, you’re going to have to tell him in the end - you won’t be able to live with yourself if you don’t.”
She watched as he disappeared and wiped away the salty sting of tears. How could she do such a thing to Ryan? It wasn’t fair on him at all, and she was nothing less than a slut. How had she become like this? Once she would never have dreamed of cheating on a boy, nor having a boyfriend as gorgeous and lovely as Ryan. What had become of the old, moralised Hermione? Why had she so easily been corrupted by the fame of modeling and her life as a superstar?
She left the coffee and walked over to the bathroom, where she unlocked her private cabinet with a wave of her wand and pulled it viciously open. The potion that would kill any child Blaise possibly could have made inside her, wobbled dangerously. She felt dirty and befouled, cruel and malicious. Taking up the amber potion, she poured a sufficient amount into her mouth, then stared at herself in the mirror. A girl unrecognisable stared back at her with sullen eyes. She couldn’t believe how much she had changed, and worst of all she couldn’t believe what she had done to Ryan.
Hermione washed herself over quickly, trying to get rid of the smell of smoke and Blaise from her skin. Where earlier she had been drenched in lust, now she was drenched in disgust. She parted her lips, wanting to scream and smash apart the reflection that was herself, but stopped when she realised that now was not the time, and it would not do any good.
She would have to tell Ryan. She couldn’t live with herself knowing the sins she had committed when he had been so loyal to her.
Carrying the mgs of coffee into her bedroom, she found Ryan sat on the edge of the bed, and handed one to him. Glancing about, she noted his possessions strewn about the floor. She thought about rebuking his untidiness, but then held her tongue before it could move.
She connected his luscious pout with her mouth, tasting his beauty as she sat down and then pulled away, quickly dipping her head to drink her coffee. Ryan peered across at her curiously.
“Hermione, are you ok? You don’t look so well. You seem . . . Melancholy. Have you been crying?”
She shook her head hopelessly even as the sob shook out of her and she found a sob clenched in her throat. Ryan stared at her in shock before taking the mug from her hands and placing both cups on the floor. He pulled her into his warm, reassuring hug, but that only made her cry even more.
“Herm? It’s ok, whatever it is, it’ll be ok.” He kissed into her hair and stroked her back, trying to sooth her and stop her from shaking. “Please, tell me what’s wrong. It can’t be that bad.”
“Oh, but it is.” She clenched her teeth, burying her face into his shirt and smelling that all-too glorious scent of vanilla there again. “Ryan, it’s terrible. I’ve done something r-really w-wrong.” Her breath shook her words and they trembled as they staled the air.
Ryan held her at an arm’s length and looked at her with serious eyes. “Tell me.”
“You’ll hate me.”
“Herm, I could never hate you, surely you know that? I love you.” He began to laugh softly. “And I trust you. So tell me.”
His confidence in her broke Hermione’s heart. He felt so assured that she would never betray him that the words she forced out were a complete shock, something he’d never dreamed her capable of doing.
“I’ve - I’ve had sex with someone else.”
She dared to look at him. He sat, still and silent, stunned. She forced herself on hurriedly.
“I didn’t mean for it to happen, it just did - It’s the biggest mistake of my life, and I’m just so sorry.”
“You slept with someone else?” Ryan sounded painfully hurt, his face a fragment of agony that stung his eyes to incredulity, that broke away his previous smile to lips that were trembling slightly.
Hermione swallowed hard; she had to get the truth out. It was his right to have all his questions answered. “Blaise Zabini - the boy I was downstairs with just now. I’ve held out for this long - ever since you walked away from me, when we fell out, I’ve been faithful. Well, there’s been kisses but I’ve realised that they were all mistakes and then tonight I just -”
Ryan held up his hand and spoke quietly. “It’s alright. You don’t have to say anymore.”
“How could you Hermione? How could you do this to me? I thought you loved me . . .”
“I did, I do! I love you so much that it hurts Ryan and -”
“Obviously not enough.”
“Ryan, please, just sit down,” she tempted him as he got to his feet and walked to the door, running frantic hands through his hair and trying to drive the tears away. “Listen to me. We’ve got to talk this out. We’ve got to clear the air.”
He snorted disdainfully and turned back to face her with anger spiting from his eyes. “Clear the air? Hermione, you’re telling me you’ve slept with another guy, and not only that, but you’ve done it just now!” He wrinkled his nose and stared at her with disgust. “Is that why you smell of smoke? Do you have his scent on you still? When I came in, and you fell silent, was it because you were about to screw him again?”
“No, Hermione. Just shut up.”
The tears of pleading traced her cheeks as she felt his hurt against hers. Her voice came out as a whisper. “We need to talk.”
“No, we don’t. I need to get away from you.”
“Where are you going?” she yelled frantically as his hand pulled at the door handle.
He turned round to look at her and shrugged, his hair damp now from the tears that she knew he tried to hide. “I’m going home. I’m going back to America.”
“Ryan, you can’t -”
“Yes,” he interrupted coldly. “I can do what I like. You seem to. I always thought that home was where you were, Herm. Now it seems someone else has invaded that spot. I’m leaving.”
“Ryan!” she screamed as she tugged at his arm when he stepped out from the door. “I’m sorry, ok? I’m sorry.”
He turned round and stared at her flatly, his mouth moving against her ear. “That’s not enough, Herm. You shouldn’t have done it in the first place. We’re over.”
She mouthed the words silently in shock as he disappeared from the door, disappeared from her life, disappeared from her torn heart and walked away until he was out of her sight. The finality of his departing footsteps echoed in her mind as taunting jibes that promised she would never see him again.
She sank slowly against the doorway, her sobs choking her and stopping her from breathing. Draco Malfoy’s arms wrapped about her and pulled her into a hug, but she hardly noticed as her knees gave way and all she could concentrate on was her lost love and the constant drenching flow of her tears.
Author's Note: Wow, thank you so much to everyone who reviewed last time, I want you to know how much I apprechiate it. Everyone seems so divided upon who Hermione should be with - personally, I think Ryan, but I want to know what you lot think - not that it's going to change my plans for this fic - they're set in stone now. But, what's your favourite pairing in this? Hermione/Ryan, Hermione/Draco, Hermione/Blaise or Hermione/Harry. Tell me which one and why. It's always interesting to know. Thanks for reading!! :-)
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