Chapter III: A New (York) Adventure
Parvati and Padma were in disbelief. They had watched the Hermione look-a-like strut down the runway a dozen times before the event was over. Once the show was over, the two beauties found it rather easy to mingle with the crowd as the models came out afterward to chat with guests and designers.
Padma was the first to find the opportunity to speak with the tall beauty. One reason they couldn’t believe the model was in fact Hermione Granger was that the woman was several inches taller than the last time they had seen her. Of course, that had been during the war, perhaps neither had noticed the difference as they dodged spells cast from deatheaters toward them.
“Excuse me, miss, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the show.”
The model turned to Padma with a bright smile, showing her perfect teeth. “Thank you! I know it seems difficult to believe how much work we actually put in. I’m positively knackered!” The woman frowned, not seeming to know why she said ‘knackered’. Padma noticed a slight British accent in the woman’s voice. She also recognized her frown; she had seen it numerous times during their years in Hogwarts. There was no question; this woman was indeed Hermione.
“Padma Patil. My sister Parvati and I own a boutique near London.”
“Oh, I have been wanting to go to London. You would think with all the work I have done I might have gone their. Sadly, my work brings me elsewhere most of the time, and I have school so I haven’t been able to take a vacation.”
Padma smiled at the woman’s rambling as Parvati came over to join them. Padma introduced them.
“Oh, you must think I’m horribly rude. My name is Alessandra.”
They chatted a few more moments before Alessandra bid them goodnight. “I have class tomorrow.” She exclaimed.
Parvati’s eyes grew wide. “You…you still attend school? I mean, you have an amazing job…”
Hermione laughed. “I love my classes. Besides, modeling can’t be my only career. I hope to become a psychologist.” She said goodnight to the twins again, and was gone.
As the twins left they wondered what to do. “We can’t go and just tell Ron or Harry what we’ve seen. They won’t believe us.” Padma said.
Parvati nodded. “They’ll think it’s a joke, courtesy of Lavender. She goads him every time she runs into him.”
Padma nodded. “And with her not exactly speaking to you at the moment, well, she wouldn’t be pleased to know you actually helped him find Hermione.” The two began to discuss a plan, a plan that would hopefully bring Ron to New York.
The next morning Ron managed to roll into work an hour early, hoping to avoid seeing Sara when she arrived. She’d come onto him strong the night before while the two were working late on a report due this afternoon. It had started when she tried to question him about Hermione – again – which he had refused to discuss with her.
Of course, Sara didn’t know any of the details regarding Hermione’s disappearance, she only heard Penelope’s speculation of the matter.
“Goodness, Ron, she’s been gone over two years now. Maybe she isn’t planning on coming back.”
Ron whipped his head around to face Sara. “You don’t know anything about Hermione, so layoff!"
He grumbled as he noticed a stack of mail already on his desk. Bloody elves, they must work all hours of the night. No one else but Harry and Ginny knew that he was working on a proposal with his dad for their rights, his own way of carrying on Hermione’s work.
He starting opening each letter, some of them were typical requests to have certain quidditch players attend their events and how many galleons they were willing to pay for the appearance. It sickened him that some charities were actually willing to pay a hefty some for a famous quidditch player to show up at their event.
Ron grumbled again, he knew Hermione would agree that it was preposterous for “needy casuses” to pay so much. He wondered if any players actually donated their earnings from these events – at least he knew Victor Krum did. The two were now good friends, especially since Victor had recently become engaged to a friend of his.
A brown parcel caught his eye, and he opened it. Inside was a fashion catalog! He huffed, throwing it aside, intending to give it to Ginny later. He never noticed the letter falling to the floor.
Ron went through the rest of his mail, eager to get to his report. Another half-hour went by before he heard his co-workers arriving. Hoping he could catch his supervisor before he settled in his office, he started to get up. That was when he noticed the envelop lying on the floor. He picked it up, curious.
Opening he found a slip of parchment with just a few letters written on it, no signature.
HG in NYC
He dropped everything except the letter and bolted down the hall, down the stairs, and kept running until he was at an apparition point. He never noticed Sara entering the office with a bright smile directed at him, her face falling as he rushed passed her without a word.
Minutes later Ron ran into Harry’s office at the Ministry. “Harry! Hermione’s in New York!”
A week later Ron arrived at a Portkey station in New York City. Harry had offered to pay half his expenses. Ron tried to refuse, seeing as it was his fiancé he was going after, but Harry reminded him “She’s my best mate, too, you know,” During his preparations the two had researched the city, purchased maps of both the muggle and wizard territories, and marked every hospital that might have information of a woman brought in for treatment around the time she disappeared.
Ron immediately hailed a cab to take him to his hotel.
Since it was late when he arrived, Ron checked into his room and ordered a pizza, and fell asleep as soon as his stomach was full. The next morning he woke early, enthusiastic about his search for Hermione. He planned to first visit the local Ministry, or as the Americans called it, the Ambassador of Magic. Knowing he would have a long day, he decided to first visit a local coffee house and look over his maps. The places he planned to visit were marked, and he hoped to plot his course as he did not intent to hail cabs everywhere he went.
He found a quaint place that wasn’t Starbucks (there was so many of them it actually scared him), and settled for a table near the back. The place was rather crowded, but Ron wasn’t really paying attention. He had ordered a tall coffee and bagel with cream cheese. He’d never had a bagel before, and thought they looked delicious!
He was so immersed in his map that he dropped his bagel, not noticing that a hunk of cream cheese had landed on his shirt. But a woman sitting at a nearby table had noticed, and smiled as she watched the handsome young man. Smiling at his clumsiness, she decided to go over and help him.
Dabbing her napkin in water, Alessandra walked casually over to the table without Ron even noticing.
She was wearing a dark brown simple tee and hip hugging non-designer jeans, along with fake Jimmy Choo shoes. She was waiting for her friends to pick her up for an afternoon shoot, and had been reading a Psychology journal while she waited. Her friends didn’t know why she insisted upon continuing her studies online while she worked as a top model, but she was intent on finishing not knowing what the future had in store for her.
“Excuse me,” She said smiling as Ron looked up. His eyes nearly fell out as his face focused on
the young woman. She looked exactly like Hermione!
Her smile brightened as she took the wet napkin and took off the clunk of cheese. “There, all better. I hope you don’t have an interview or meeting to go to.” She said with a wink.
Ron was in a daze. This woman not only looked like Hermione, she sounded like her! Was his search really to become this easy?
It was then that Alessandra noticed the maps laid out before him. “Oh! You’re a tourist!” she exclaimed.
Ron blushed, and tried to find his voice. “I…I…um, yeah, I guess you could say that.”
She quirked a brow at him, then walked over to her table to retrieve her things. She returned and sat down beside him, plopping her journal and oversized handbag on an empty chair. “Can I help you with that?” She asked, gesturing to all the maps and notes he had out.
“Um…I take it you live here?”
Alessandra smiled again, hoping that he didn’t recognize her as a lingerie model. “Yes, and I am quite familiar with the city. You, um, you are traveling alone?” She asked hopefully. For some reason she felt drawn to this young man.
Ron nodded. He took out his hand. “Ron Weasley. I’m from England.”
“I guessed that from you accent. Funny, I recently met a set of twins from there. I’ve always wanted to go there, as I told them.”
Ron’s mind was spinning again. Twins? Did she mean Fred and George? No, they would have not only told him, they would have brought him directly to her. Wait, didn’t Neville tell him that his girlfriend Parvati had been to the States recently? Did she send him the note?
“My name is Alessandra, but my friends usually call me Alli.” (AN: pronounced Ah-Lee)
“Nice to meet you, and thanks!” He said gesturing at his shirt. “For helping me, that is.”
Just then a voice was heard from the café’s entrance. A beautiful woman had poked her head in. “Alli! We’re waiting!” She said in a Brasilian accent.
“Shit. I have to go.” Hermione said as she gathered her things. “It was nice meeting you Ron,”
“Wait! I…” He said as he stood.
Alli turned back around. When words escaped Ron, Alli decided to take the plunge. “You know, if you like, we can get together later after I get off. I can show you some of the sites.”
“That would be fantastic!” Ron exclaimed. “How…where shall we meet?”
Hermione took out a piece of paper and a pen from her bag. She scribbled something down, then handed the paper to him. “This is my cell. I should be done with work by six. Perhaps we can meet for dinner?”
“Sounds like a plan.” Ron said smiling.
Alli’s eyes lit up and her heart suddenly fluttered at the way he was looking at her. She rather liked it, mostly having to deal with smooth talking men who seemed only interested in her looks. “It’s a date, then.”
It was quarter till six when Alessandra finally rushed into her apartment and quickly got under the shower. She wanted to make it out before the handsome man, Ron, called her. It was strange how her dreams didn’t stop her attraction to him, but something about Ron was different than the other blokes who tried to pursue her. She made it out of the shower and had enough time to towel dry her hair a bit before her cell phone rang.
“Alessandra?” Ron said quite loudly. He still wasn’t used to muggle telephones.
“Yes, it’s me. I just came out from a shower. Are we still on for dinner?”
Ron blushed from the other side of the phone. He had been nervously waiting to call her, and finally had punched in the numbers from his hotel at two minutes till. “Yeah, but I wasn’t sure where you wanted to go.” His voice was still rather loud.
Alessandra smiled from her apartment. She didn’t mind, and decided to speak loudly, too. “I know the perfect place. It’s kinda homey, so no need to get all dressed up.” She said as flipped through her wardrobe. She had already decided she didn’t want to wear any of her fancy, designer clothes. No, black jeans and a nice blouse would do. She wanted to be herself, but still pulled out a pair of expensive pumps. After all, Ron was quite tall. At 5-8 ½ she felt short compared to her other model friends.
“Where should I meet you?” Ron asked.
She gave him her address, and they arranged to meet in a half hour.
When Ron put down the phone he had to calm himself. It was finally happening! After two long years, he was finally going to be spending time with his fiancée. Not that she knew they were engaged, of course, but he hoped…he hoped they would get along well enough to start something. Then he could bring her home…
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