Chapter 14 : The Leaning Tower of Pizza
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Ron burst into Hermione dressing room the day of the fourth date looking as though he was about to blow if he didn't tell someone.
“Is what exciting?” Hermione asked, jumping up. She was feeling nervous because Ginny hadn't been able to get the information for the date and Hermione now had no idea what to wear.
“We're going to Italy to see the leaning tower of pizza, then then we're going to eat some of it!”
Hermione frowned, confused.
“We're going to eat the leaning tower of Pisa?”
“Yes!” Ron said, thrilled. “I love pizza, and now I'm eating it off of a building.” he sighed in anticipation.
“Oh! No, Ron, we're going to see the leaning tower of Pisa, and then we are going to eat pizza.”
“Exactly...” Ron said.
“Ron- Pisa, pizza, Pisa, pizza. Pisa is a place.”
Ron's face fell.
“You mean we're not going to eat pizza off of a building?” he asked, looking disappointed.
“No, Ron.” Hermione said, laughing and shaking her head. “We're not. But we will be eating actual pizza. Just not off of a building.”
For a single, glorious moment, the break-up had never happened. Ron and Hermione were still together, laughing, and teasing each other about pronunciations. Hermione was about to hug Ron when the door burst open. In entered Ginny, along with (unfortunately) reality.
“Italy!” Hermione and Ginny said in unison, then laughed.
“So, I was thinking you should wear this navy shirt I found at... Ronald Weasley, what in merlin's name are you doing in this dressing room?”
“I was discussing Pizza with Hermione.” he said, glancing over at his ex with a lopsided grin on his face. Ginny looked oddly at Ron and Hermione for a few seconds, then shook her head and told Hermione that she was going to the muggle mall to find her an outfit and that she would be right back. Hermione nodded as Ginny left the room. Ron stared at her. She was determinedly avoiding his face, looking everywhere else. Her features were surprised, embarrassed, shocked... she looked as though she regretted the laughing attitude she'd had a few minutes earlier. Curse Ginny. Ron had seen Hermione almost hug him earlier, he felt as though that might result in a kiss, and then maybe, just maybe, he could get off of this bloody game show. Hermione looked like she wanted to hit someone and cry at the same time. Ron bit his lip. He knew Hermione would probably slug him if he asked, but it couldn't be helped.
“Are you alright?” he asked quickly.
“What do you mean?” Hermione asked, looking up at him with an amazed expression on her face and then quickly glancing back down.
“Well, you seem kinda... confused? Angry? Sad?”
“Good for you, Ronald, always the perceptive one.” Hermione said in return. She sighed heavily and sat down on the couch.
“Hermione, let me in. Please.” Ron said, sitting down next to her and looking earnestly into her face.
“I can't.” Hermione said.
“Tell me how you feel, what you're thinking, anything!” Ron said.
“Merlin, Ronald, would you just leave me alone!” to Hermione's surprise, she didn't feel like crying at all. Instead, anger was surging through her veins. She felt as though if she had any more she would burst. Ron got up slowly from the couch and started to leave the room.
“You want to know what I feel?” Hermione said, jumping up. “You want to know what I really think? I wish that this had never happened. No, no wait. I wish I'd never met you, never fallen for you, never moved in with you, and never heard the name Ron-bloody-Weasley, because I get the most terrible feeling in my stomach every time I hear those infuriating words! I wish you, Ron, had never entered my life, because then I wouldn't be on this bloody game show and I never would have gotten my heart broken! Do you know how much easier my life would have been without you?” she asked hysterically.
Ron looked at Hermione, his face white. Hermione held her hands up to her face, then brought them down, squeezing her lips angrily together.
“Alg... just GO!” she said finally when he didn't answer, spitting the words out distastefully as though they'd been burning her tongue. So Ron left.
“She's so moody, Harry!” Ron moaned. He was pacing in his dressing room, his hands on his head, pulling on fistfuls of hair.
“Well, all women are moody at some point in there life, I reckon.” Harry said, trying to mask a grin for a sorry grimace. Luckily, he didn't have to. Ron was paying absolutely no attention to his best friend, he was too busy thinking about his other, more annoying friend that he also happened to be deeply in love with. Merlin, why did life have to be so frigging complicated? After he hit 14 it just became a whirlwind. What exactly had happened when he was 14? Ah, right. He'd realized he liked Hermione and Viktor Krum asked her out. That was it! This was all Viktor Krum's fault!
“I blame it all on Viktor Krum, mate.” Ron said. “If he hadn't just pranced into Hogwarts and asked my girlfriend out, this never would have happened.”
Harry didn't want to be on the receiving end of a good curse, but he felt it was inevitable to point out the obvious.
“Er, Ron, you weren't going out with Hermione at the time. In fact, I'm not even sure if you'd realized she was a girl yet.”
Ron turned around, as if noticing Harry for the first time.
“Of course I knew she was a girl!” he said, throwing his hands up in the air at the daftness of his friend. Harry gave him a look.
“I really loath it when you're right, d' you know that?”
“Yeah, actually, I do.” Harry said. “Listen, mate, maybe there's something you can say to make her more... I dunno- cheerful? To make this date easier on the both of you.”
Harry could almost see the light bulb springing over Ron's head.
“W-what?” he asked, a dreadful feeling in his stomach.
“Cheerful.” Ron said, a glint in his eye. He turned around and threw open the door.
“Ron, where're you going?” Harry shouted down the corridor.
“Loo!” Ron called back to him as he past right by the bathrooms.
Right. Nice to know he was telling the truth for once.
Ron ran down the hallway, then darted between two carts full of costumes for the show.
“Priscilla!” Ginny's voice called. Ron dived into the clothes, hoping his sister wouldn't see him. “Priscilla, would you mind taking these skinny jeans into Hermione's dressing room?”
“Not at all.” the woman said, taking the jeans from Ginny.
“Thanks.” Ginny said. “hey- do you see Ron anywhere?”
“No, why?” the other asked.
“Well, I can smell his cologne... I think he overdid it because he was so nervous. Oh, maybe he just left a trail as he walked down the hall to go see Hermione earlier.”
“Maybe.” said the witch doubtfully.
“Bye then, nice to see you.” Ginny said, giving the woman a little wave and walking down the hall towards Colin's office. Ron felt a lurch as the woman started pushing the cart forward.
“Morning, Priscilla.” said a man's voice.
“Morning, Denny. Merlin, I don't know what they're putting on the carts these days but they're getting heavier and heavier... I can barely push this one!”
“Too bad, Prissy.” the man teased sympathetically. “Hey, maybe we can go get coffee later and I can teach you how to make the carriages weigh less?”
Oh, merlin, stop flirting and PUSH THE CART! Ron thought to himself.
“I'd like that.” the witch agreed, and the cart moved forward once more. Ron felt himself being carried into Hermione's dressing room. He bit his lip is excitement. He didn't need to over do it, just a tiny bit and Hermione would be much better company for the rest of the date. In fact, she might even be in such a good mood she would kiss Ron at the end of the night... Ron shivered at the thought. No one had kissed him since Alyssa, and even then it wasn't a good kiss. Well, physically it was good but emotionally he'd been so terrified he hadn't been able to enjoy it. Besides, it was nothing like the way he felt when Hermione kissed him. Ron felt as though it wasn't worth the trouble.
“Hello, Ms. Granger. Ms. Weasley has sent some skinny jeans for you.”
“Yippee.” Hermione said, sounding annoyed. “A terrible outfit for a seemingly terrible date. I do hate skinny jeans.” Hermione looked up. “I'm sorry. Thank you.” she said graciously, getting up from the couch and taking the jeans from the woman. Well, now was the time. Ron had a perfect aim at Hermione. Stomach fluttering in anticipation, Ron took his wand out and muttered the words 'noceo ridaciare!'
Hermione's facial expression changed immediately. She looked ecstatic.
“Ms. Granger, your rose is here.”
“Oh, Ben, thank you so much!” Hermione said gleefully, rushing over to the rose and sniffing it. “Ooohh, it's prefect, Ben. You're brilliant.” she gave him a hug.
“Er- thank you.”
A flustered Ben backed out of the room.
“Well, have fun on your date Ms. Granger.” Priscilla said, giving Hermione a knowing look.
“Ohh, I will!” Hermione said gleefully. “I do love skinny jeans, after all. I can't wait to see Ron, I wonder where he is?”
“Did someone just say 'I can't wait to see Ron'?” Ginny asked, coming into the room.
“Ginny!” Hermione cried, rushing over to her best friend. “oh, it's wonderful to see you again. Brilliant choice on the skinny jeans, Gin-zee.”
“You hate skinny jeans!” Ginny said, frowning. “and I hate being called Gin-Zee”
“Oh, how can anyone hate anything on such a gorgie day?” Hermione asked dreamily, doing a pirouette. “Oh what a beautiful mooorrrrrnniinnnggg!” she sang in a terrible soprano voice.
Oh Merlin. Ron may have gone a little overboard with the cheering charm.
“You put a cheering charm on her?” Ginny shrieked 20 minutes later.
“Er, yes.” Ron said.
“And you overdid the cheering charm, I suppose?” Harry said, frowning.
“Er, also yes.” Ron said again.
“Ron, that's THIRD YEAR MAGIC! You couldn't do THIRD YEAR MAGIC properly?”
“I guess not.” Ron said, feeling slightly angry at his sister's lack of confidence in his magical ability. Then again, he hadn't exactly earned it. He hadn't been able to do a cheering charm right. Flictwick would kill him if he knew.
Harry meanwhile, looked as though he couldn't decide to laugh or yell. He finally decided to laugh, and an amused grin spread across his face.
“Well, I guess this is as close to a drunk Hermione as we'll ever get.”
Ginny rounded on her fiancée.
“You think this is funny?!” she cried.
“Gin, it'll make ratings go way up.” Harry suggested, shrugging his shoulders.
“Harry, this is a mess! We can't cancel the date, because if we ask them to we'll have to tell them that Ron cast a charm on Hermione without her permission and that is against the shows guidelines, which he signed, so he could get in trouble. And I highly doubt they'll believe us if we say that he was trying to help the ratings, when it's extremely obvious that he was trying to help himself. But if we let Hermione go on the date like this, she'll embarrass herself in front of the whole world. Not pleasant. And as far as I know, there's no counter-charm for a cheering charm. It just has to wear off. And judging on how cheerful Hermione is, I-”
The door burst open, and in pranced Hermione. She was grinning from ear to ear.
“Harry!” she cried. “How marvelous to see you!” she pulled him and Ginny into a group hug. She turned around.
“Ron!” she nearly shouted. Ron braced himself for the angry screams that were usually shot in his direction, but instead Hermione said “you look simply fetching!” before giving him a kiss smack on the lips. When she pulled back, Ron had the silliest grin anyone had even seen on his face. Harry and Ginny were falling over each other in silent peals of laughter. Finally, Ginny finished her sentence.
“-don't think the charm is going to wear off any time soon.”
Hermione beamed at Ginny as she reached up to kiss Ron again.
A half hour later, Hermione, clad in skinny jeans, a white, button up, eyelet-type shirt, and a gold belt hanging around her hips, was pulling Ron towards the nearest bar.
“Hermione- maybe this isn't such a good idea...” Ron said reluctantly.
“Of course it is!” Hermione exclaimed. “Live a little, won-won.”
Ron winced at the use of his former nickname, but didn't say anything.
“A firewhiskey, please.” Hermione said, bounding up to the counter like a little girl.
“Shut it, Ron, I'm 21, I can drink.”
Hermione said all this with such a good-natured look on her face Ron felt as though he had to back down. She downed the shot she was given, then ordered another. And another.
“That's the limit!” Ron said after two, but Hermione kept on drinking. Finally, Ron managed to pull her away with the promise of pizza. Hermione reluctantly agreed and allowed Ron to pull her towards the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Ron knew that if Hermione had been in her right state of mind, she would have been thrilled to be going to the leaning tower of Pisa. Unfortunately, and because of Ron, she wasn't in her right state of mind, and therefor couldn't enjoy it. Ron made a vow to bring Hermione to the tower if they ever did get back together. Meanwhile, he had a more pressing matter on his hands.
“PIZZA!” Hermione was yelling happily. “PPPIIIIIIZZZZZZAAAA!”
“Stop it, Hermione!” Ron hissed.
“No, no, no, no, NO!” Hermione exclaimed, shaking her head like a wet dog. “you stop it!”
Ron made a face, but kept on pulling her. He had a feeling this was not the impression Hermione wanted to make on Italy.
“Ronnie-poo?” Hermione said. “Are we going to eat pizza off of the leaning tower of pizza, or is it just there for show?”
“Er- it's Pisa, Hermione.”
“I know that, silly.” Hermione laughed and slapped Ron playfully in the arm. “the Leaning Tower of pizza! But my question is, are we going to be eating the pizza off of the building or not?”
“No, Hermione, it's just there for show.” Ron said, already looking tired.
“Oh, Ronikinz, you're so smart!” Hermione giggled gleefully. Then she wriggled free from Ron's grip and started skipping down the road.
“LEANING TOWER OF PIZZA! LEANING TOWER OF PIZZA!” she sang as she ran, still giggling. People turned to look at her.
“It's PISA!” one brave tourist called to her.
“I KNOW!” Hermione called back, starting to sing a Celestina Warbeck song Ron didn't know, since he hated the damn singer. Finally, they reached the tower. Ron looked thrilled to have Hermione out of his hair as she skipped closer and inspected the tower serenly.
“Alrighty, then.” Ron said after a few moments of this behavior. “Time to go.”
“It's doesn't look like pizza.” Hermione said, frowning as he turned around. The next think Ron knew, Hermione had said “Accio tower of Pisa!”
When he turned around, the whole tower had fallen down, and Hermione was holding a large chunk in her hand.
Ron screamed, and everyone turned to him. He realized that, although his accidental scream had turned everyone's attention away from the tower, he had no idea what to do next.
Henceforth, Ron did the first thing that came to mind.
“LOOK! IT'S HARRY POTTER!” he yelled, pointing a shaking finger away from the tower. As soon as everyone turned, chanting Harry's name excitedly, Ron ran back to Hermione.
“Listen, you have to put it back!” he said urgently, tugging on her shirt sleeve. Hermione gave him a look, obviously thinking he was crazy. “You have to put it back!” Ron cried hysterically. “Before they all turn around.”
Hermione gave Ron a mischievous grin, one that he usually adored, but one that he now couldn't stand.
“If I put the tower back, will you give me a kiss?”
“Yes, yes, I'll do anything, YES!” Ron pleaded.
“Okay.” she said cheerily, putting the tower right.
Ron looked over at the still distracted crowd.
“Oh, never mind, it was a costume!” Ron said to the crowd. They all groaned. Ron turned back to Hermione to tell her it was time to go.
“You owe me a kiss.” she said expectantly, tapping her lower lip with her wand. Ron gave her a light peck, then pulled back.
Hermione opened her eyes.
“Yes, well, I'll give you a better one later.” Ron said hurriedly. He turned to leave yet again, but his hand was still in Hermione's and Hermione wouldn't budge. Ron slowly turned around, knowing he was not going to like what he saw once he had turned the full way around.
Hermione was staring at the tower with a musing expression on her face, her arms crossed and her wand balanced on her chin.
“I reckon they'd like it much better if it was put right.”
Ron's eyes nearly bugged out of his head. Oh, no. Oh no, no, no. This could not be happening.
Hermione pointed her wand to the tower and it righted itself.
“There.” Hermione said, dusting off her hands and looking quite pleased with herself.
Ron jumped onto a park bench and screamed,
“LOOK! IT'S HARRY POTTER AND GINNY WEASLEY!”
Once again, the whole crowd turned to see the now-famous couple.
“Hermione!” Ron jumped off of the park bench and ran back over to Hermione, who looked extremely proud of herself. Ron swore. “Hermione, put it back, please!”
“Why?” Hermione asked. “They'll like it much better this way.”
“Hermione, this is a famous building. You can't just right it! It doesn't work that way.”
“It doesn't?” Hermione asked, her lip quivering.
Oh hell. Oh, bloody, bloody hell.
“No. It doesn't”
“But everyone's going to be so pleased with me when they find out I've fixed their tower!”
“No, they won't, they'll be infuriated!”
“Really?” Hermione said, looking doubtful.
Ron could see that this tactic was simply not working. He got down on his knees, took one of Hermione's hands in his and said,
“Please! Please, I'll do ANYTHING!”
“Look!” someone in the crowd screamed. “A proposal!”
“Oh, oh where?” Hermione cried, looking away from Ron's blue eyes. “I love proposals!”
But everyone in the crowd was turning to look at Ron and Hermione.
“Ron! You're proposing? Oh, Ron! Yes! YES!” Hermione cried gleefully.
“No! NO!” Ron bellowed over the clapping of the crowd. Hermione pulled Ron off of his feet and hugged him and the crowd whistled.
“Hermione.” Ron whispered into her ear. “Put it right.”
“Fine.” Hermione said, beaming. She took her wand out and tilted the tower back.
“Right, then. Let's go.” Ron said hastily, grabbing Hermione's arm and leading her away from the scene.
“But it's not perfect yet!” Hermione protested.
“yes, but we have to go- er- pick out your ring.” Ron said hopelessly.
“Oh, I'm so excited, Ron!” Hermione said, beaming as they ran. “What colors should the flowers be? And the dresses? Why are you leading me into dark alleyways that smell like pasta and meatballs? What kind of dress robes should you men wear? Who will be my maid of-”
“Hermione.” Ron stopped running, then leaned down and kissed Hermione. “I'm not proposing.”
“You're not?” Hermione mumbled between kisses.
“No.” Ron said gently.
“Oh.” Hermione said.
“I love you.” Ron told Hermione, still kissing her. “Are you okay?”
“Oh, fine.” Hermione giggled. “love you too.”
Ron leaned down and gave her another kiss on the lips. Hermione's hand snaked up Ron's chest then behind his neck and into his hair. She sighed against his lips. Then the sigh stopped, and Ron was pushed roughly back.
“What the hell do you think you're doing?” Hermione asked, her eyes looking as though they were on fire.
“I can't believe you just kissed me!” Hermione said, pacing back and forth, looking exasperated. “Oh, merlin!”
“Hermione-” Ron started, but Hermione looked up at him.
“Ron, what the hell am I doing in a dark alleyway with you?”
Ron had a number of snappy comments to throw at her, but decided in favor of certain reproductive organs that it would be best to keep his mouth shut.
“And, for the love of merlin, what am I doing in skinny jeans?”
Hermione looked shocked. Then it seemed to dawn on her.
“Why were you kissing me? Why can't I remember coming into this dark Alleyway? Why can't I remember putting on skinny jeans?”
“Er- Ginny will explain it all.” Ron said.
“Has the date started?” Hermione asked, looking quite faint.
“It's over.” Ron said, looking quite relieved. After making sure Hermione got safely back, he put his finger on his rose and portkey'd back to the studio. Who ate pizza in Italy, anyway?
A/N: Happy new year, everyone! I hope this year is even better then the one before :) How did you like this chapter? It's one of my favorites, I can't ever read it without laughing. Tell me what part made you laugh most in a review! Speaking of- oh my gosh! 100 reviews! Thank you so, so much to everyone who took their time to review this story. This chapter is dedicated to you. ~writergirl8
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