Chapter 6 : "Hens Do Not Go Moo."
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But in order to remain busy and not to end up as one of those “sad little rich girls who have no life and end up with some form of alcohol problem” she decided that she’d apply for a job in a boutique (note she called it a boutique, and not a shop; there would always be some snobbery in her blood) that sold bridal wear. The dresses were ludicrously expensive, hand stitched by robins or some other tiny dainty animal and fitted to the exact precise measurements of the bride’s body. From the inward curve of a buttock to the graceful slope of a shoulder, oh yes it was measured.
This was Astoria’s job. She measured female bodies then refused to tell her boyfriend about it when she got home no matter how much he badgered.
He was a minx that Draco.
That was why she loved him so tenderly and dearly.
Yes, he may have been a Death Eater who plotted to kill one of the world’s most intelligent and prestigious and well-loved wizards. And yes, he had acted like a complete arse at school. And yes, his hairstyle before Astoria came along was a tad crap to be fair, but she loved him in spite of all this. And not to mention he had the body of a – of a … fallen angel that used to model underpants when it was in heaven... along with swimwear, and sportswear, and – and partook in some drag events. Oh she could’ve gazed at him all day, feeling her loins burn with love. Astoria was a loving character, unlike the rest of the tossers in her family.
Two women had been standing at her counter for what looked like a while; one seemed to be tapping her fingers agitatedly against the surface and the other was fighting the impulse to yell profanity and curses at the poor Astoria. Admittedly, her daydream had caused her to neglect and fail to notice her customers (something that wasn’t really done when you worked in a shop).
However, something about this pair mystified Astoria. One of them (the red haired one) had a cocktail umbrella swilling around the curve of her lips, held between her teeth. The bushy haired one had the phrase “Boks = love” on her cheek, presumably painted on in lipstick.
“Boks?” Astoria thought, “What on earth were boks?!”
The realisation hit her that as this was Hermione Granger (she recognised her from school and from many newspapers that had been published since the downfall of Voldemort) so the word potentially could be “books,” or something else that Astoria didn’t want to be thinking about. It was the type of word that simply couldn’t be featured in a tale meant for fifteen year olds and over!
Another realisation was that these women were incredible drunk.
Whether it was the way their eyes had a lopsided look about them or the strange way their eyes were acting, as whilst Hermione was blinking twice as rapidly as was necessary, the other wasn’t blinking at all. Scary.
“Hello,” Astoria said nervously, trying to avoid the freakishly glassy and intense stare of what could be a Weasley, “Sorry to have kept you waiting. I made a psychotic daytrip inside my own head, involving a whip and my beautiful boyfriend who used to model g-strings in heaven.”
She said this last bit to test their reaction to it; if they deemed it a perfectly normal and socially acceptable thing to say, then yes, they were definitely drunk.
“Don’t we all,” snapped Hermione, blinking at Astoria so fast that she could’ve upset a Muggle speed camera, “My boyfriend has a great body, but I don’t imagine chasing him with whips when I’m at work, now do I?”
“That’s my brother maann…” drawled Ginny in a slurred voice, jabbing an accusing finger at Hermione.
“Shut up Ginevra Molly Wezley. I want my dress!” Hermione demanded, before pausing and adding sweetly: “Per-lease.”
“Yes, but I have it down here that you weren’t to collect it for another two – ”
“Now now now!” Hermione chanted, grinning like somebody who had just been given a bar of free chocolate, “Per-lease.”
“Ok. This is the Snowlit Moon classic from the Charmed Collection? A beautiful white boned bodice emblazoned with delicate pearl – ”
“I would like a dink press please,” Hermione said, sounding almost sober, “A dink one,” she added again, just in case Astoria hadn’t understood her the first time.
“A dink press?” Astoria whispered to herself in horror, feeling cold sweat erupt onto her forehead, “A dink press?”
“Yes a pink dress! Weren’t you listening?”
What in the name of Merlin had convinced this woman it would be a clever idea to get slaughtered drunk before going to collect her wedding dress? A pink dress! The very idea was enough to make one nauseous. Luckily Astoria was blessed with a strong stomach so any nauseous thoughts that entered her mind did not cause any vomit.
“OK, a pink dress. Erm – we have many in our sumptuous collection, varying from palest coral to the vibrant fuchsia shades – ”
“Oh my gosh would you shut up already?!” demanded Ginny, threateningly pointing her cocktail umbrella at Astoria (not with the pointy end, which abolished any frightening effect that this gesture ever had the potential to have.)
“Let me try the dresses on, and then I shall make an educating derision,” Hermione stumbled over the last two words, filling Astoria with dread; this poor woman’s wedding was set to be a disaster. She could already see the fervour in Hermione’s eyes that indicated she was after the dress which Astoria privately called, “The Malicious Meringue.”
“This is surely but the greatest chic- chicken night ever!” Hermione yelled, throwing her layered pink chiffon and lace skirts wildly into the air and showing everyone the frilly satin bloomers she had also insisted on buying.
“I think you’ll find that the term is hen night my dear friend,” said Ginny, who was hobbling around in an indecently tight bridesmaid’s dress that could’ve doubled up a promiscuous elastic band. Ginny had decided that she pick the bright red one just to ensure that she couldn’t clash more with Hermione’s pink meringue if she tried.
“Hen? What’s a hen?!” Hermione doubled up laughing so her diamante tiara fell forwards over her face, bringing a portion of bedraggled curls down with it.
Ginny decided the best way to show Hermione would be through a charade.
She stuck her bum out (a considerable feat considering the tightness and shortness of her red dress) and started flapping her arms around whilst making “Moo! Moo! Mooooo!” sounds.
Whilst all this was going on the other members of the party where trying to establish where they were. Night had fallen and the party had been going since around three in the afternoon (excluding Hermione and Ginny who had been going since a time considerably earlier than that). Angelina suspected it was somewhere near a pub, whilst Luna deduced they were definitely not in the sea. Neville was busy trying to read a road sign, though an angry man had told him several times that it was not a road sign but a menu for his café.
“You do realise Neville,” said Angelina, who was potentially the soberest of the lot but was still pretty close to collapse, “That men aren’t traditionally meant to come to Hen nights.”
“But I – I was invited,” Neville implored, his voice thick and slurred, “Hermione Flooed me an hour ago and asked if I wanted to hang out and I said – I said, “Yes Hermione. I would love to.””
“Right on!” Angelina gave him a friendly little elbow, “So where are we?”
“I think we’re somewhere near Beef Stroganoff.”
Meanwhile Astoria was trying to explain to Ginny that is was ducks that went “Moo!” not hens! Oh yes, Astoria had been roped into the drunken Hen night after Hermione had burst into tears at the sight of her beautiful dress and insisted on taking Astoria out to say thank you. Astoria was pretty powerless against the two drunken women whom had been drinking since the tender hours of one in the afternoon and decided to give in to a whim and go get plastered with them.
It had all worked out very well; they were all very much the best of friends now. She’d even been invited to the wedding!
“No Ginnyevra! No, a hen is more… more like this.”
Astoria squatted on the ground and screwed up her face whilst making a loud groaning sound.
“What’s she doing?” Hermione asked, her curiosity aroused and her tiara firmly back in place, “It looks painful.”
“I’m laying an egg!” Astoria said, her face still the picture of anguish, “It’s a hen-baby an egg is.”
“You look like a right fool,” Ginny said disdainfully, her red dress barely covering her knickers, “My impression was much better.”
“IF WE TURN LEFT AT STEAK AND KIDNEY PIE WE SHOULD REACH APPLE CIDER!” yelled Neville triumphantly, having finally discovered what his cryptic road sign meant.
A tremendous cheer rent the air, which aggravated most of the street in which they were standing, and the party stumbled off around the corner, high heels getting caught in cobble stones and the dresses offending everybody who had to stand too close to it.
“I love chess,” said Ron blissfully, raising a bottle of Butterbeer to his lips and smiling contentedly, “And your game has really improved.”
“Thanks Ron!” smiled Harry, “It’s great to hang out like this, just the two of us.”
“Yeah, it’s good to get some man time.”
“Just playing chess and stuff… drinking a few beers.”
They both sighed and wondered how Hermione’s hen night was going.
“What were they off doing again?” Harry asked Ron, who had just prodded a Queen forward to administer a fatal blow to one of Harry’s pawns.
“Nothing too grand,” Ron shrugged, “She just said she was going to Hogsmeade with Ginny and Luna. Get a few drinks, just chat, gossip, talk about make-up… you know, stuff women do.”
“No strippers then?” Harry asked delicately, raising his eyebrows at Ron.
“Strippers?” Ron repeated, looking most confused, “Tell more.”
“Must be a Muggle thing,” Harry rubbed his neck awkwardly, for now he’d have to explain what a stripper was to Ron, “Women pay blokes to take their clothes off.”
“But she can do that for free at home!” said Ron, very confused now.
Harry decided it was best to wrap up the conversation and try to plot a scheme to somehow finish off Ron’s Queen.
Hermione’s party had arrived Hogsmeade. They had actually started their party here but no one remembered or noticed. Obviously those who lived there did, but they had all gone to sleep so providing that the Hen do weren’t too noisy everything should be fine.
“Ast,” slurred Hermione, slinging a puff-sleeved arm around Astoria’s shoulders with difficultly (Astoria was about a foot taller than Hermione), “I am shooo happy that I found you tonight. I’ve never met anyone as – as excellent as you before… you’re excellent.”
“I feel exactly the same way!” Astoria said tearfully, Hermione’s speech having really touched her heart, “I’ve never had friends like you!”
“You can touch my bum if you like,” offered Ginny, interrupting this tender and tearful exchange with quite a questionable offer for Astoria, “If feels quite taut through the dress… must be ‘cause it’s so tight… it like – holds it in! It’s magic… really magic… go on!”
“Nahh,” Astoria waved her hands, “I have a guy at home who might get a bit peeved if I went grabbing people’s arses that weren’t his.”
“I’ll do it,” chipped in Neville.
“You have a boyfriend!” Hermione leapt up and down in glee so she promptly vanished within the several kilometres of material that were needed to construct her dress, “Bring ‘im to the wedding! Please!”
“Yeah! Yeah I will,” Astoria agreed.
“Great!” Hermione smiled, “We should all have a drink to celebrate!”
“ACCIO FIREWHISKY!” yelled Luna unexpectedly, pointing her wand into the air, “We should check it doesn’t have any Grinchy Snapplejacks in it first… they can make you burp.”
About five bottles zoomed out of a nearby house using an open window as an escape as most of the occupants of Hogsmeade now slept with their windows open in hope of tempting a breeze to sooth the balmy summer nights.
“Beautiful…” Hermione whispered reverently, “But isn’t this stealing?”
“Definitely not,” said Ginny, who was already opening the first bottle, “Not if we give it back in the morning.”
Everyone nodded in agreement, chorusing “Definitely not if we give it back in the morning!”, except Neville who was now studying a mirror with an unreasonable amount of interest.
“I can’t see my face! I can’t see my face…” he kept saying.
Luna finally took pity on him and explained that it was a window.
“Too alholol!” Ginny held up her bottle in a toast, “And to Heniome! To weddings!”
“TO ALCOHOL!” screamed Angelina.
“I just said that!” Ginny snapped.
Everyone then grabbed a bottle and drank enthusiastically, finishing only when Neville burst into tears when he realised that his bottle of Firewhisky was anything but Firewhisky but a bottle of cold mountain spring water.
Following suit Hermione dropped her bottle to the ground, its precious brown contents soiling the street bellow.
“But Hermione, what is wrong?” Astoria pulled the pink nightmare to her chest, so Hermione couldn’t breathe, let alone speak.
“I don’t – I don’t – I’m marrying into a family – of – of emotional range of a – teaspoon!” she collapsed into a whirlwind of sobs, and slid down to the ground, tears falling thick and fast into the folds of ghastly pink fabric.
“What did she say?” Ginny hissed to Astoria.
“She said she does not want to marry a family of insensitive teaspoons. Insensitive forks must be preferable.”
Ron woke up, stretched his arms above his head, made a series of “Myum myum myum” noises whilst rubbing his eyes.
He swung himself out of bed, not even registering that Hermione wasn’t in it; she always left for work before he did. He dressed in his Auror robes and even pulled a comb through his hair. He even tried a side parting in the hope that it made him look dapper and suave. With a triumphant acknowledgement that yes, it did make him look dapper and suave he bounced from his bedroom and down the stairs.
“BAH!” he said, leaping back and landing on the bottom step.
A large amount of pink meringue had been dumped in his hall, and worse still it appeared to be breathing… was this some sort of joke? Some malicious prank pulled by George?
Cautiously, Ron edged forward and prodded if with his foot… but then a second entity stirred. Something was trying to escape from this meringue… it was trying to break out of the folds of pink and when it succeeded Ron was disgusted -
“Ginny!” Ron yelped, “What are you wearing!”
Ron blanched at his little sister’s dress (no older brother should ever have to see their little sister dressed up like a promiscuous elastic band) and was even more horrified when he realised that this pink meringue has his fiancée’s hair.
Both of them groaned and deep in the pits of her disgusting headache Hermione understood why Astoria had called it the Malicious Meringue.
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