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Chapter 11 : Decision Time
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She sat up and glanced around her bedroom. Her beautiful dress hung from the curtain pole concealing the window with its full skirt. Her shoes were laid out beside her dressing table which had all of her make-up and hair products ready for when she needed them. Everything was organised. Ron had stayed at Harry and Ginny’s and as she looked over at his side of the bed she was surprised to see that it was barely unruffled.
An ache made itself known in her chest and she sighed to herself. Here she was all alone with only her thoughts for company. It felt like Draco and Ron were battling it out to try and see who could dominate her thoughts most. But neither was winning.
The past six days had been a blur of pure anxiety. All she could do was think of the wedding and what Draco had said. Would he really be there? What would it mean if he was?
She lay back down and buried her face in her pillow and screamed as loudly as she could before it broke off into sobs. She punched at her mattress madly as her cries became louder, cascades of salty tears rolling down her cheeks. She wanted to die, right there. Just slip away slowly into the ether so she could finally be at peace. Her wrestling thoughts were too much to bear and with each new image of Draco and flash of Ron that crossed her mind she only became more confused.
“Stupid, stupid idiot!” she screamed to herself. “Why are you doing this to yourself?”
She threw the covers from her and jumped out of bed and ran for the bathroom as quickly as she could, just making it in time before she threw up. After pulling at the chain to rid the toilet of the remnants of her nerves she fell to her knees and sat shaking in the bathroom. Her whole body felt sweaty but she shivered with cold, tears once again falling from her eyes. She rocked back and forth trying to comfort herself before her wedding party arrived. She would have to be all smiles when they did.
Hermione remained on the floor until 7am when Ginny, Mrs Weasley and her mother breezed into the house in a flurry of merry banter. At the sound of their voices she had pulled herself up from the bathroom floor and fled downstairs straight into her mom’s arms.
“Hermione darling?” Mrs Granger questioned as her daughter clutched her in a tight embrace. “Is everything alright?”
“Yes” Hermione squeaked. “Everything is fine. I’m just so happy you’re here.”
“Aww sweetheart” Mrs Granger cooed as she placed both her hands upon Hermione’s cheeks. “Are you suffering from pre-wedding jitters?” she asked. Hermione closed her eyes and simply nodded. “Its perfectly normal darling, now you just sit down and I will make you a cup of tea.”
Mrs Granger hurried off to the kitchen leaving Ginny to guide Hermione to the sofa.
“Just take deep breaths dear” Mrs Weasley said kindly.
Hermione smiled weakly and did as instructed, taking in large breaths and slowly letting them out. It helped to ease her shakes but her mind was still boggled with thoughts. Ginny clutched at her hand tightly.
“You look awful Hermione, are you sure you’re okay?” She asked worriedly.
“I’m fine” Hermione said quickly. Her mother bustled into the room with a cup of tea which she took gladly. “I just didn’t sleep well and I’m feeling rather nervous that’s all. It’s really nothing to worry about”
Ginny didn’t look convinced but she let it slide and began to take out various different hair accessories from her bag. Two of them were clip on white flowers encrusted with different coloured diamantes and the other was a simple silver tiara.
“I like this one best” Ginny said holding up the tiara. “I think the flowers might be too much”
Hermione agreed and so began the chaos of the morning. After showering Hermione was flung into her dressing table chair by Mrs Weasley who began running a taming potion through her hair. An urgent call from Mr Granger caused Mrs Granger to spend most of the morning on the phone to him trying to give him clear directions to the church.
“Apparently there next to two fields of cows! Goodness knows where they are!” Mrs Granger wailed as she flipped through a map.
“We could always apparate them” Mrs Weasley offered, but Hermione refused on behalf of her family. Only her parents were privy to her being a witch, she did not want to cause her eighty year old grandmother to have a heart attack whilst being yanked along on a side apparation.
Luckily Mrs Granger managed to pinpoint their location and her husband and family were back on track to finding the church.
Ginny finished with her own make-up and took over from Mrs Weasley on Hermione’s hair. She began teasing it into loose curls with her wand, but Hermione was paying no attention. She just stared aimlessly at her dressing table, hoping that the morning would pass quickly. The sooner she got to the church the sooner her decision would be made. For once at that church she felt there was no going back and her dreams of Draco would remain just that; dreams.
“Your father made it there alright” Mrs Granger said as she entered Hermione’s room. Ginny was just fixing the tiara in place. “Oh darling you look beautiful.”
Hermione snapped out of her daydream and looked in the mirror before her.
“Wow, Ginny, its beautiful thank you” Hermione said as she admired her hair.
“Your welcome, now all we need to do is add the finishing touches to your make-up, get you in that gorgeous dress and get to the church!” she said excitedly.
Hermione forced a smile and quickly began powdering her nose just to have something to do.
Mrs Wesley and Mrs Granger waited until Hermione was dressed before they went ahead to the church leaving Hermione and Ginny to finish primping themselves before they left. Ginny’s dress was simple and elegant in a light cream colour that made her hair look even fierier than usual. She didn’t seem to like it much as she constantly wrinkled her nose when she caught her reflection, but she did not verbalise anything to Hermione, who had spent nearly the entire morning in her own little world.
“This is it, its time to go” Ginny said as she picked up Hermione’s bouquet.
“Right...time” Hermione mumbled to herself.
Ginny frowned. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Hermione took her bouquet from Ginny’s hands and nodded, forcing the biggest smile she could manage. Ginny was unconvinced but she wrapped her arm through Hermione’s and the two them apparated to the church.
Within seconds they found themselves arm in arm in front of the church that Ron had picked out. It was the first time Hermione had seen it.
It was built upon the top of a slight hill and surrounded by acres of land that was full of willow trees, flowers and cherry blossoms. The archway that led up to the church was entwined with fairy lights and white roses to match Hermione’s bouquet. The church itself was made from dark brick and had a distinctively medieval feel to it.
“I’m going to head inside” Ginny said with a smile. “This is it, soon were going to be sisters in law” she squealed and pulled Hermione into an unwilling hug.
“Yes this is it” Hermione said glumly.
Ginny scampered away across the grass and into the church. Mr Granger was waiting outside, beaming as his daughter slowly walked towards him. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, it was just glorious bright blue with nothing but the sun beating down causing the diamantes on Hermione’s dress to cast little rainbows across the grass.
The heat prickled at Hermione’s skin making her feel sick. This was it. Just ten steps left to her father before she would take ten steps down the aisle to Ron. She stopped for a moment and took in a breath. Her hands were shaking vigorously causing the petals in her bouquet to quake. She looked up; looking for a sign of bright blonde hair but Draco was nowhere to be seen.
She braved putting one foot in front of the other, moving again towards her fate. It seemed like the only thing to do. If she wanted to keep her life the way it was, this was what was necessary.
“You look beautiful darling” Mr Granger said as he beamed at his daughter. Hermione smiled weakly and put her arm through his. “Are you ready?”
Hermione stood still staring at the large oak doors in front of her. Concealed behind them was Ron, her family and friends, all waiting for a blushing bride to come waltzing down the aisle.
“I’m ready” she said shakily and with a nod from her father the doors swept open revealing an interior filled with smiling faces, sashes of cream and flowers to match.
Music began to play as she took her first steps down the aisle. Everybody was beaming at her. The minister was waiting at the head of the room; book in hand, wearing robes of gold. Hermione secretly hoped that he might faint or suffer a nosebleed and have to cancel the wedding. Her feet felt like they were wrapped in cement and she feared she would fall if her father was not there to hold her up.
Fleur, Bill, Mr and Mrs Weasley, Charlie...face after familiar face was smiling at her in delight as she passed them growing ever closer to Ron and suddenly she was there, she was down the aisle and her father was kissing her cheek, whilst Ron was taking her hand.
She had not dared look at Ron but now it was unavoidable. His smile was one of pure undiluted ecstasy. She had never seen him looking so happy, he was a vision. He looked incredibly smart in his black tuxedo. He had worn that for her, he hadn’t wanted her family to be confused by the wizarding robes so he had done that for her. Tears bubbled over Hermione’s eyes, she couldn’t hold them in. Everyone gazing at her took them as a sign of happiness but they were anything but.
“Ladies and gentlemen we are gathered here today in the presence of god to witness the union of Ronald Bilius Weasley and Hermione Jean Granger”
Hermione had to swallow the bile in her throat. She caught Harry’s eye and noticed the worry plastered over his expression. Ron squeezed her hand tightly; she was still shaking like a leaf. The ministers voice was nothing but a blur, all she could focus on was the growing pain in her chest. A little bead of sweat dribbled down her neck, she could hardly breathe she felt too hot. Harry was still looking at her, the concern in his expression growing. She knew he knew something was wrong. She couldn’t hide it anymore. As she glanced up at Ron knowing what she needed to do, she savoured his blissful expression, for she feared it was the last one she would ever see from him.
“If there are any persons who have just cause why these two should not be married please speak now or forever hold your peace”
“I can’t do this” Hermione said to her surprise, she had not intended it to just slip out. A multitude of gasps filled the room, with chattering coming from everyone as they questioned what she was doing. “I’m sorry” Hermione said sincerely, tears once again filling her eyes. “But I cannot marry you” Gasps of horror rang through the church again as Ron watched in shock as she tugged at her engagement ring and pulled it from her finger before placing it in his hand.
“Is this a joke?” Ron asked, his face was deathly pale. “Stop messing around, put this back on” he ordered as he grabbed at her hand trying to force the engagement ring back on her finger.
“Stop it Ron!” Hermione wailed pulling her wrist from his tight grip. Ron desisted and looked at her horrified. “I can’t do this anymore, I’m so sorry. I thought I could but I can’t....I don’t...i don’t..love you” she sobbed. “I don’t love you like that anymore”
“This is insane. Hermione!” Ron said angrily taking a step towards her but Hermione backed away.
“I never should have let it get this far” Hermione insisted, wiping her tears away. “For that I will be eternally sorry, but I just can’t pretend anymore”
Mrs Weasley was sobbing, Mr and Mrs Granger stood in shook, Ginny looked furious and Harry vindicated but Hermione felt nothing but free.
Tears cascaded from Ron’s eyes as he watched Hermione hike up her skirt and run down the aisle, her perfect dress swishing elegantly behind her. All she could hear were gasps and the sound of her heels against the concrete floor, but her eyes were fixed on the doors. As she burst through them into the warmth of the sunlight she felt a smile creep across her face and she gazed up at the sun feeling its extraordinary warmth and let the feeling of delight spread through her body. She was no longer shaking. No longer feeling sick. It had all just faded away. She took in a large breath and began to walk down the path towards the archway when she spotted him and froze. Draco sitting alone at the bottom of the grassy path.
Shocked, he got to his feet, his mouth stretched into a wide smile and he hurried towards her.
Hermione rushed down the path smiling wider than she ever had before. They met in the middle, both wrapping the other in a tight embrace. He lifted her up into his arms as there lips met and they kissed with insane passion. It was difficult for her to distinguish what she felt more of; relief or happiness. Here she was in the arms of the man she truly wanted, and here had been, waiting for her as he had promised. It was a perfect moment. It was everything she wanted, sealed with a kiss.
As her feet graced the ground, there eyes met and for a moment no words were spoken as they just gazed at the other in delight and surprise. Hermione had not expected to find Draco out here just as he had not expected Hermione to run out on her wedding. He gently tucked her hair behind her ear and placed a tender kiss upon her lips.
“I love you” Draco said, his hand stroking Hermione’s cheek. “I only want you.”
Hermione smiled, the tears that ran from her eyes were finally tears of joy. “I love you too.”
“GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM HER!”
A/N: Hello Readers! Hope you enjoyed this chapter! If you have the time I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! Thanks for reading!
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