Chapter 18 : Lunch, Laughter and Loving
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Are so much better
When you actually like
The person you’re sat with
So, 1 ‘o clock rolled around, and Ron, Lavender, Richard and I met up as arranged and headed over to Diagon Alley, where we decided to have lunch at Fortesque’s, a new restaurant that had been opened in memory of Richard’s uncle.
We were shown to our seats by an attractive blonde man, who unashamedly checked out Richard’s bum as he set down my work bag, which he’d carried for me from the office – an action quickly imitated by Ron, who pulled Lavender’s bag off her shoulder so quickly that she fell over.
It was a very funny time of my life.
Possibly one of the best, in fact.
Once we were all comfortably settled, the obviously gay waiter bought over our menus, careful to give Richard a rather smouldering look that made him smirk.
Eurgh, it’s disgusting when other people have admirers and you don’t.
Speaking of admirers, Ron’s rather needy one was really putting on a show.
Whenever Richard made any kind of joke, she would roar with laughter, flipping her blonde hair back as she did so, and squeezing Ron’s thigh, where she had firmly planted her hand.
Oh, how I despise that woman!
“So, Hermione,” smirked Lavender now, finally turning her attention to me, “Are you and Richy a couple then?”
“N-ow-yes!” I yelped, as Richard kicked me hard in the leg.
“Yes indeed!” grinned Richard, placing a hand on my thigh, and giving me a wink. “Partners in crime, aren’t we babe?”
“Oh, completely, babe,” I retorted, trying hard to keep the sarcasm out of my voice,
What in the hell was Richard doing?!
“Yeah,” Richard continued, squeezing my leg a little too hard to be affectionate, “Well, who could resist Hermione? She’s one of the hottest girls in the office! Don’t you think so, Ron?”
I felt my eyes widen, and my heart quicken in panic.
Was he insane?!
Ron looked like he wanted to run away – the fear in his eyes was phenomenal.
Surely he could think of some way to tactfully say that he thought I was ugly?
“N-no,” he stammered.
I could feel myself turning absolutely beetroot and felt as though I wanted to cry. A lot.
Richard looked as surprised as I did hurt.
“You don’t think Hermione’s attractive, Ron?”
Ron opened his mouth to respond but, as per usual, Lavender-I’m-such-a-cow-Brown butted right in.
“Of course Ron doesn’t think Hermione’s hot!” she laughed breezily, giving Ron a slight shake as he stared embarrassedly down at his hands. “They’re practically family! I mean, Ron’s never seen Hermione like that, that’s always been obvious, hasn’t it sweetie?”
She’s sweetie-ing him now?
God, I just want to go home.
When Ron didn’t reply, Lavender barrelled on, “If you’d been with us at Hogwarts, Richy, you would’ve suggested that ear-muffs be included on the list of essential items! The amount of arguments these two had – unbelievable! There was this one time, at Christmas, after the Yule Ball, that these two had such a screaming match that even the ghosts were afraid! I was forever feeling amazed at how you two always made up sooner or later, no matter what had happened. That’s true friendship, that is.”
She really knows how to drive the knife in, that one.
“Anyway, at Hogwarts, it was always Viktor, wasn’t it, Hermione?”
That caught my attention.
And Ron’s too, if the crick in his neck was anything to go by.
He really should learn to look up slower – his poor neck must be shot to pieces by now, the amount of times he’s done that in the past few weeks.
“Yeah, Hermione,” he piped up now, rubbing his neck, “Why don’t you tell us all about good-old Vicky, and the two years you spent with him Bulgaria?”
“Oh my God!” squealed Lavender, spinning around to look at me, her face shining with anticipation. “You lived with Viktor Krum for two years?! How did I not know about this?!”
Because you’re a self-absorbed prima donna, who doesn’t pay any attention to other peoples’ lives unless it’s of any benefit to you?
I’m just saying!
“Well, Viktor’s incredibly smart – smarter than a lot of people I know,” I replied, shooting a rather pointed look at Ron.
He had the decency to blush, at least.
“He knows how to handle the media when it comes to personal matters. I needed some time out, and he was more than willing to give it to me.”
“Oh, I bet he was,” muttered Ron, looking pissed.
“Do you have a problem, Ron?” I asked jerkily, trying to control the anger that had instantly seethed through me at his words.
“No, not all,” replied Ron stonily.
“Ok, you two,” laughed Richard, looking slightly worried as the lights above us started to flicker and the table began to vibrate slightly, “Claws away. We don’t want any magical mishaps! Why don’t we move onto less perilous topics? Lavender, you and Ron seem pretty close – what’s going on with you two? OW!”
I glared at Richard as I retracted my leg.
I was not in the mood for Ron and Lavender talk. Especially now that my big toe hurt from kicking Richard so hard in the shin.
Thankfully, I was saved from this terrible fate by a loud commotion at the door.
We all looked round to see Harry weaving his way towards our table, an important-looking document clenched in his hand.
“Hermione, Ron,” he gasped, as he reached our table. “I need a word… right now.”
I glanced at Ron, who in turn glanced at Harry.
“Has something happened?” I asked uncertainly, as my heart skipped a beat.
“Is it Ginny?”
“No! No, nothing like that,” said Harry, starting to look impatient. “I just need to talk to you about work stuff.”
“Ohhh,” I responded, finally catching on. “Oh, right, yes, sure, of course. Ron, come on, let’s go.”
As I pushed my chair back and stood up, Lavender said, looking slightly annoyed, “Are you coming back?”
“I don’t know,” replied Ron, not particularly politely, pushing his chair back, and grabbing his coat. “Just… just stay here with Fortesque, and I’ll send you an owl if we aren’t coming back.”
“Sorry about this, Richard,” I said, giving him a hug. “I’ll make this up to you another time, I promise.”
“No probs, babe,” he responded, patting my bum. “I’ll see you later.”
With a final smile (and, in Lavender’s case, a look of loathing) we left the restaurant.
“So, what’s going on?” Ron asked Harry as we both quickened our pace to keep up with him. “Is it Snape-related?”
“Kind of,” he replied, glancing around nervously. “In here.”
We were stood outside what looked like an abandoned broom shed.
Well, an old broom shed anyway – I’m not sure if they can be abandoned, seeing as how they’re just sheds. For brooms.
Getting over the maybe-abandoned-state of the shed, the fact that Harry wanted us to go in it was confusing me a little.
“Your office not clean enough for you?” I asked him, eyebrows raised.
“Or inside enough?” added Ron, looking at Harry as though he thought he had gone mad. “A broom shed?”
“Just go inside!” Harry replied exasperatedly.
“Ok, but if this thing collapses, I’m gonna sue you!”
Harry just rolled his eyes.
Gingerly pushing open the door, Ron went in, cursing slightly as he smacked his head on the mouldy door frame.
Following suit, I carefully ducked under a piece of wood that had partially fallen over the entrance.
“Nice,” I said sarcastically, surveying our surroundings. “Wish our place looked like this, Ron.”
“Would’ve saved us a lot of money when it came to decorating,” he laughed, grinning at me.”
Ok, why did my heart just start beating faster?
I am not a free woman!
My gay-not-boyfriend might get jealous!
Pushing thoughts of Ron, and how cute he looked when he smiled, out of my mind, I waited impatiently for Harry to explain what on earth was going on.
“Close your eyes and count to seven,” he instructed us.
“You couldn’t just have made it three?”
“Shut up and get on with it!”
“Harry, Ron, Hermione! Wha’ yer all doin’ ‘ere?!”
I opened my eyes.
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