Chapter 12 : Belle and Alex
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As she packed her suntan lotion into her bag and zipped it up, she grabbed her phone and dialed Harry’s number.
The same day when Harry and Hermione had lunch together, Harry was hoping they could all get away from Percy’s annoyance for a while and head out to the beach to relax and have some good, old fun. Hermione was excited, of course, since Harry didn’t mention Cho tagging along. Harry had invited Ron and Luna to come along, as well as the Weasley family, but no one else could show. Ginny was busy with work at her father’s ministry. Bill and Charlie were on a hunt for the mystical dragon in Japan that was worth a fortune. The twins, on the other hand, were busy with their shop ever since it opened. They were working on opening up another joke shop in another city. Even though no one from the Weasley family could come, it was still going to be fun with just the four of them.
“Hello?” Harry said through the receiver.
“Hey, Harry.” Hermione replied, smiling.
“Hey Mione. You all packed?” Harry asked.
“Yes, I am.” Hermione looked over her shoulder at her bag which was so stuffed that it looked as if it would explode any moment. “What about you?”
“Done. I was just heading out to pick up Ron and Luna. I’ll be at your place soon.”
“I’ll be waiting.” Hermione grinned mischievously.
Harry went quiet for a couple of seconds, but there wasn’t anything awkward about the silence. “I love you.” He said his voice almost a whisper.
“I love you too, Harry.” Hermione replied, closing her eyes, and feeling his warmth.
When they hung up the phone, Hermione picked up her bag and swung it over her shoulder. She took one last look at herself in the mirror in her bathroom.
Her hair was tied up in a pony tail that revealed her bare neck. She was wearing a blue spaghetti-strapped shirt up to the waist with blue jean shorts. She smiled at herself, admiring the young woman’s image that stood before her.
The car honked outside and that’s when Hermione nearly ran to the door, almost forgetting her bag. She retrieved it quickly from the couch and locked her door, making her way to Harry’s car. He was watching her closely, with a wide smile on his face.
Ron had moved to the back seat when they arrived to Hermione’s house, purposely letting her sit next to Harry, since they were a couple.
Hermione threw her bag into the trunk and plopped herself next to Harry in the passenger seat. She threw him a shy smile, which he returned. He leaned in and gave her a peck on the lips, but it was quick since Ron intently exclaimed, “Oh, how cute!”
Luna, however; was in a cheery mood. She was smiling and joking around with Ron a lot. She even chatted with Hermione a little bit.
“I bet Hermione packed the most, huh?” Ron asked, poking Hermione in the neck.
“Ouch!” She exclaimed, turning around to poke Ron back. “No, I did not!”
“Yes, you did!”
Harry laughed and nodded his head. “Sorry to say Hermione, but it’s true.”
Hermione poked him mischievously in the ribs, pretending to be mad at him, but she knew that could never happen.
“I didn’t pack that much.” Hermione replied, giggling.
“I think you did, too.” Luna said, smiling. Hermione returned the smile immediately, glad to know the good, old Luna was back. “You always did pack a lot of unnecessary things when we were leaving Hogwarts for Winter break.”
Hermione blushed slightly. It wasn’t entirely true. She did bring things along that she knew she needed: books to read, snacks, pen and papers in case she had to write a memo…
“I guess…you’re right.” Hermione replied, happily defeated.
“I told you so!” Ron said in a mocking voice. Luna slapped him playfully on his leg.
When they arrived on the beach, it was packed in all directions. The weather wasn’t as nearly as hot as Death Valley, but the people at the beach made it seem otherwise.
Harry barely found an empty parking spot. As they got out of their cars and grabbed their bags from the car’s trunk, a pair of teenage boys and girls passed by, jumping wildly.
Luna had to snap her fingers in front of Ron’s face to get him back to reality again.
They all headed out to the beach area where they found a spot to put up their umbrellas and beach towels on the sand.
Hermione noticed something very odd about Luna quickly. Whenever the both of them were alone, Luna would turn serious again and avoid talking to Hermione, but when they were with the guys, she would laugh and giggle and be her normal self again. It was as if she was just acting like she was having a good time.
Ron was taking out his suntan lotion when he noticed the label. “Oh, Hermione. This is yours.” He said, turning over the bottle and then the bag, noticing it wasn’t his.
“I could use that right about now.” Hermione replied, looking up at her suntan lotion.
“Can you give this to Hermione, Luna?” Ron asked, handing the bottle over to Luna, who walked over happily to Hermione holding it out to her.
“Here you go, Mione. You should start applying it. Looks like you’re getting a little burned there on your shoulder.” She said, smiling slyly.
Hermione reached out to take it from her hand, but noticed something she never saw before. Luna’s right hand had a pink flowery bracelet on its wrist. Hermione had never noticed that before. She wanted to question it, but she was afraid Luna would probably get in her face for it.
As Luna strolled away to relax on her own beach towel, Hermione made her way next to Ron, sitting down next to him.
“Hey, Ron.” She asked, watching Luna carefully.
“Where did Luna get that pink bracelet from?”
“I think she found it from somewhere. She didn’t mention it much to me.”
“So you didn’t give it to her?”
“Nope. I haven’t given her anything like that ever since I gave her that scarlet necklace for her birthday.”
Hermione rose to her feet. She was determined to get the bracelet off of Luna’s wrist somehow. She decided the practical approach.
“Hey Luna.” She said, smiling and lying down next to Luna. “That’s a pretty bracelet.” She said, pointing to her wrist. “Where did you get it?”
“I found it.” She replied firmly, turning herself over.
“Really?” Hermione said, trying to sound surprised. “Where did you find it?”
“I don’t remember.”
“Can I see it?”
Luna was quiet for a few seconds, but her reply was grim. “No.”
“Luna! There you are!” A voice exclaimed excitedly, cutting Hermione off. Hermione looked up to see who it was and she felt her stomach fall to the ground.
Not far away from where they were relaxing, Cho Chang was making her way briskly across crowds, coming towards them.
Luna quickly rose to her feet. “Hi Cho. I’m glad you could make it.” They hugged each other. Cho then spotted Hermione sitting on the floor.
“Hi Hermione!” She said graciously. “Where’s Ron and…Harry?” She said, emphasizing the last part that made Hermione nearly vomit.
Hermione stood up and faced Cho with a smile that matched hers. “Harry’s bringing his suntan lotion from the car. He wanted me to apply it on him.” She walked away and spotted Harry jogging towards her. They embraced in a passionate kiss. As Hermione hoped, Cho was watching them with angry eyes.
“Harry, it’s so good to see you again!” Cho said, walking towards Harry, who looked shocked and some-what frightened.
“H-hey Ch-Cho.” He stuttered nervously. Hermione tightened her hug on him, letting him know she was there. He smiled down at her thankfully. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, Luna here invited me.” She said, wrapping an arm around Luna and smiling at Hermione, who frowned in return. How could Luna have invited her to their get-together? It was supposed to be a non-Cho weekend. “Harry, I would like to introduce you to my cousin from Beijing, Belle Lu.” She turned around, gesturing her hand towards the woman that didn’t stand far away from Luna. Hermione didn’t even see anyone come behind Cho when she first arrived.
The woman made every man in the beach gap at her. Belle was already in her red-hot bikini and her figure made her look even more slender and curvy. She indeed had the body and looks, and made every woman jealous, but Hermione figured this was just another one of Cho’s plans.
When she looked up at Harry she noticed him almost drooling at the sight of Cho’s cousin. She expected Ron to be doing the drooling, which he was, but not Harry.
Hermione gave Harry a reassuring squeeze, but he barely even paid attention.
“Hi everyone.” Belle said her voice soft and young. She headed over to Harry and fingered his chest. “Wow. You must really work out.” Harry turned a shade of pink.
Hermione had enough. “Yeah, he does. He’s always out of our bed by five in the morning just to lift some weights.”
Belle raised her eyebrow at Hermione. She didn’t look like she was going down without a fight either. “I can see the reason why he always wants to get out of bed.”
Hermione lowered her voice to a whisper. “I’m also the reason why he gets in the first place.”
Belle smiled mischievously at Hermione, who returned the smile. This was going to be a long day, but Hermione wasn’t giving up that easily.
“I almost forgot to introduce my guy friend.” Belle said, strolling back slowly to let Harry and Ron get another good look at her behind. “Alex Whittier. He’s from Italy. And…he’s single.” She said, smiling at Hermione.
Hermione scoffed. “Then why don’t you date him?”
“He’s not my type.” She replied, winking in Harry’s direction, who turned pink again.
“Hey, Alex!” She nearly yelled. The guy she was talking about wasn’t too far away either. He was just mingling with other cute girls from other crowds, showing off his abs. When Belle yelled his name, he came quickly, like an obedient pet.
“Yeah?” He said, sticking out his bare chest.
“I’d like you to meet some of my friends.” Cho said, chiming in.
“This is Luna.” Luna and Alex shook hands as Luna blushed. “That’s her fiancé, Ron.” Ron came over and shook hands with Alex; looking as if his hand had just been squished by a machine. “And this lovely couple here…” Cho gestured. “…Is Harry and Hermione.”
The guy strolled over to Harry, shaking his hand leniently. He gave Hermione a lop-sided smile and winked at her. Hermione shrugged her shoulders and smiled lightly back. She wasn’t going to let herself be intimidated.
For most of the afternoon, Hermione saw Belle show off herself more in front of Harry, by purposely dropping something and bending over in front of him or lying down on a bath towel where he could see her. She was finally pushing her boundaries too much for Hermione to handle.
“Harry, can you please put some lotion on my shoulders? I feel a little burn.” Belle asked Harry, who looked nervous, but excited the same. Hermione came up to him.
“Harry, I’ll take care of that. Can you please get me a hamburger from the food stand? I’m starving.” She grabbed the lotion from Harry’s hand, and he obeyed.
Belle was feeling frustrated, but decided to play games with Hermione.
When Harry was out of sight, Hermione threw the lotion bottle to the side and sat next to Belle.
“Aren’t they adorable for each other?” Belle said, not talking to Hermione directly.
“Who?” Hermione asked suspiciously.
“Cho and Alex.”
Hermione followed Belle’s gaze and sure enough, she saw Cho and Alex snogging beside the ocean water. Cho was on the sand while Alex was on top of her, caressing her neck with kisses. Hermione was happy to see that Cho wasn’t chasing after Harry anymore, but she knew why. She had little Miss Belle Lu there to chase him for her.
Harry was heading their way, carrying a plate of two hamburgers and two sodas.
He placed the plate between Hermione and Belle, who plopped herself on her elbows, her long black hair falling loosely behind her back.
“I…um…thought you might be hungry Belle…so I…” Harry said, but stopping himself after the look he got from Hermione.
“Oh, thank you Harry. You’re so sweet.” Belle said, smiling at Hermione. Harry got up and left to the food stand to retrieve a hotdog for himself, leaving the two girls alone again.
Hermione thought for a moment. She decided to find out a little more about young Belle; perhaps she would have her answer how to rid of her for good then.
“So, Belle…how old are you?”
“I’m 19 years old.”
“Oh, really?” Hermione asked, relieved and secretly happy that she didn’t know about something Hermione was an expert at now: Concentration Magic.
It was as simple as levitating, but it took much needed concentration. Besides that, every witch and wizard needed to become of age to learn Concentration Magic; at the age of 21 and older. Concentration Magic was the simplest form of imagination magic that Godric Gryffindor came up with. You concentrate your mind on what you want to achieve the most. For example, if there was a goblet on a table and you wanted to bring it to yourself, you would first close your eyes and concentrate hard on visualizing the goblet in your mind. Then, you would think of it floating in the air and coming towards you. Of course, your eyes have to be closed when doing concentration magic or the spell will break off.
Concentration Magic was mainly used for the wizards and witches to retrieve things when they didn’t have their wands around. Many underage wizards and witches have tried to do this magic, but it never worked. Gryffindor thought it would only be proper for older wizards for good use; young wizards would only use it for an advantage. Although Concentration Magic could be used for many things, it was not a perfect advantage against evil because it did not work with powerful spells or curses such as the unforgivable curses.
Since Hermione found out from Belle that she was only 19, Hermione decided it wouldn’t hurt to have a little fun with her imagination.
“Yeah, I’m still young and all the guys want me. But I don’t want to rush things.” Belle continued, waving lazily at a pair of teenage guys checking her out.
Hermione wasn’t paying attention anymore. She had work to do.
“Will you excuse me?” Hermione said, heading over beside Ron and Luna who were chatting if the beach was a good place for a wedding. She sat herself beside them, making sure not to interrupt them. Harry seated himself next to Belle, on her request. He ate his hotdog as Belle ate her hamburger.
Hermione closed her eyes and focused herself as much as possible. She took about three deep breaths before she tried her first spell. She imagined Belle being awfully hungry. As she continued to imagine it, it was actually happening.
Belle gulped down her burger in two bites, her mouth covered in three different sauces. Harry stared uncomfortably at her. She stole the hotdog from his hand and stuffed it down her mouth as well. She looked panicky, but hungry as well.
When Hermione opened her eyes, Belle was running to the nearest trashcan, vomiting out what she stuffed down her throat.
Hermione giggled. This was fun. It wasn’t long when Belle returned from the bathroom, her makeup and hair fixed, that the guys were winking at her again. She laid herself on her towel again and took out her lipstick. Hermione closed her eyes and went to work.
Belle was rubbing the tip of her red lipstick all over her face, making herself look ridiculous.
While other girls were pointing and laughing at Belle, Hermione focused her mind again, this time, making Belle jump up and down wildly, shoving guys around and pulling on random girls’ hair.
When Hermione opened her eyes again, Belle, once again, was looking shocked and frightened. She ran away from everyone that was laughing at her. Even Harry couldn’t help but to chuckle a little bit.
Hermione wanted to imagine some more, but to her surprise, and relief, Belle grabbed her towel, wrapping it around herself and leaving the beach. Cho came running at her.
“Belle! What’s wrong with you?”
“I don’t know!” She screamed back crazily. “I’m leaving!”
“No, don’t go.” Cho said. Then she lowered her voice to a whisper. “I need you, remember?”
“I don’t care! I want to get out of here!” She stormed out of the beach, heading for the parking lot, where a few more people were staring at her strangely. “What are you looking at?!” She yelled at them.
Cho looked at Alex, who just shrugged his muscular shoulders. She looked over at Harry, Ron and Luna. They were all laughing and talking. She peered over at Hermione who was lying on her back on her bath towel. She had a huge smile on her face while her eyes were closed.
‘Better luck next time, Cho.’
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