Chapter 18 : Trodding on Toes
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“No.” he said firmly. “I'm not doing this. I'm NOT doing this.”
“Really.” Ginny said, while Harry all but cowered behind her. “Ronald, you are doing this. Or else I won't even let you into the wedding, and I have a lot more up my sleeve then just that.”
“Think of it this way.” Harry piped up. “You'll get to spend hours with her, dancing, your palms pressed together. And in those few hours, you two might fall back in love.”
“Not bloody likely.” Ron complained.
“Well, Ron, you're doing this whether you like it or not.” Ginny said. “That, my dear friend, is final. Very final.”
“Great. Just great.” Ron moaned.
“Complain all you want to Harry,” Ginny grinned, kissing her husband-to-be. “I'm going to go tell Hermione.”
Ginny apparated out of the flat and Harry turned apologetically to Ron.
“She wants the perfect wedding, mate.” Harry shrugged. “I'm not going to stop her. I love her too much. You know how it is.”
“Unfortunately, yes.” Ron said, sitting down and putting his head in his hands. “Merlin save me. I'm going to have to dance.”
The Spiral Dance Studios' ballroom was one large room with a million mirrors, a hard wood floor, and echoes. Hermione set her purse down on the floor and smiled. She hadn't been in a dance studio since she was young. She started to dance, her trainers squeaking across the floor.
“Not bad.” said a French voice from the corner. “But not good either.”
Hermione started. The woman was leaning against the wall. She was wearing wizard robes with yoga pants and a leotard underneath. That being said, she was not young, maybe in her 50s or 60s, with short black hair and sharp gray eyes that Hermione could tell didn't miss a thing.
“You are wearing jeans and trainers.” the woman said in her deep voice. “Why is this?”
“I wasn't instructed on what to wear.” Hermione said defensively.
“Hmmm. Come here. I think I can find you something.”
15 minutes later, Hermione was wearing a siren red leotard, a black skirt and red high heels. The skirt was so floaty, whenever Hermione so much as shifted her position it billowed out. Madam Leona had gotten her young assistant to pile Hermione's hair on top of her head in a neat bun that was put together was a single red chopstick. When Hermione walked out of the back room, Ginny, Harry and Ron were already there. Ginny was dressed in a floaty emerald dress with the same material as Hermione's skirt.
“You look amazing!” Ginny squealed, running over to Hermione. “Where did you get that?”
“Madam Leona.” Hermione said, jerking her head toward the woman, who was watching the scene with a disinterested look on her face.
“You may keep everything, by the way.” Leona said as she passed Hermione to walk to the front of the room. Then she whistled. The sound echoed off of the walls, and Harry and Ron, who were deep in discussion about the latest Quidditch game of the season, snapped to attention.
“Nice.” Ginny said appreciatively.
“Welcome to my dance instruction.” Madam Leona said. “Now, let me see. I can always tell who is getting married, there is a certain look.”
Hermione glanced at Ron, who was smiling at her.
“Ah!” Madam Leona said. She grabbed Ron's arm, then Hermione's and shoved them together. Hermione stumbled over her heels and was forced to wrap her arms around Ron's neck to keep herself from falling flat on her face. “You are the happy couple!” Madam Leona beamed. “Congratulations.”
“Actually,” Ginny piped up, “we're the happy couple. You may have heard of Harry Potter?” she smirked as Harry wrapped his arm around Ginny's waist.
“Oh.” Madam Leona said, her smile dimming slightly. “Well, fine then.”
She turned back to Ron and Hermione, her face turning back into a broad smile.
“Then you two must be deeply in love!” she announced.
“Not... exactly.” Hermione lied. Ron's ears turned red.
“No?” Madam Leona said, looking confused. She stroked her chin and muttered to herself quietly for a while. “That is strange,” she murmured “I can always tell. I've never been wrong.” she shrugged her shoulders and threw up her hands. “They must not have figured it out yet.” she said simply. Walking to the front of the room. Ginny was laughing loudly into Harry's shoulder, and Harry was trying not to laugh, but his face was turning red and his eyes were bulging out.
“Go ahead, laugh.” Ron said defiantly as Hermione unwrapped her arms around from his neck, flushing.
“Fine!” Harry said, and both he and Ginny burst out laughing.
“Now, now, children.” Madam Leona said. “We must get to work. We want the beautiful wedding, don't we?”
“Yes!” Ginny said, straitening up. Madam Leona looked her up and down.
“Are you not a bit too young to be getting married?” she asked, wrinkling her nose.
“I am not.” Ginny said simply. “Please, teach me how to dance.”
As soon as Hermione walked into the room, Ron's breath was stolen from him. She looked so beautiful, and graceful. All of a sudden he knew that he wanted to impress her. And he'd do anything to do it.
Her hand slid into his, just like it used to, and she wrinkled her nose, but didn't say anything. The music started, and the couples moved back and forth in a fairly easy dance number. Ron, being rhythmically challenged, struggled at first but in the end figured it out. By the time Madam Leona had said they were done, the couples were feeling fairly confident. Even Hermione had it down. She dashed over to her water bottle, face flushed happily, her smile genuine.
“It was hard, but I think I did pretty well.” she beamed.
“Please,” Ron said, taking a sip of his own drink. “that was easy.”
“Easy, was it?” Madam Leona said, walking over to them.”
“Yeah.” Ron said. “I've seen llamas do harder dances then that one.”
“Really,” Madam Leona replied coolly, her smile all-knowing. “So we would like to try a hard one, yes?”
“Yes!” Ron said. “I mean... no.”
But at the smug grin on Ginny's face, and the confused one on Hermione's, Ron knew he had to learn the dance. He took a deep breath and grabbed Hermione's hand. Her eyebrows shot up in surprise, but she followed him onto the dance floor none the less.
Once Ron had learned the steps, however, they seemed nearly impossible. Plus, there was the problem of touching Hermione. Anytime his hand moved to close to her butt or waist, Hermione angrily swatted it away, her eyes furious.
“Now you're going to wrap your leg around his and he'll spin you.” Madam Leona called over the music. Harry and Ginny did just that. Hermione stopped dancing.
“There's no way.” she said.
“Oh, c'mon, Mione.” Ron said lightly. “Are you scared or something?”
“No!” Hermione said indignantly.
Ron stuck out his hand.
“Then dance with me.” he said quietly. Hermione straitened up, then put her hand in Ron's.
“Go from the spin.” Madam Leona said, starting the music again.
“Why are you doing this?” Hermione demanded. It was a common fact Ron hated dancing.
“It's fun.” Ron shrugged.
“And you get to touch her butt.” Ginny added as Harry whirled her by.
“Shut it.” Ron growled.
“Is that all?” Hermione demanded.
“No! It's fun!” Ron exclaimed.
“Are you-” Hermione started, but she was interrupted by Madam Leona.
“I wonder,” she said, “how you two would fair doing a sweet, romantic dance.”
“I do too.” Ginny says. “I think you'd be surprised.”
“Let's do it.” Ron said, wiping sweaty hair from his eyes. “This dancing is easy too.”
“Easy, is it?” Madam Leona said, as Hermione looked at him with wide eyes. She looked amused, which was making Ron nervous, but for the sake of Hermione he nodded as he looked into her eyes.
“Yep. As pie.” Ron lied. In truth, he was struggling slightly with the steps. But he wanted to impress Hermione and he would be dammed if some bad dancing got in the way.
But, a half hour later, it became apparent that Ron did not entirely think the plan through. When he'd bravely stated that he was good at dancing, he hadn't remembered that he would actually have to partake in the activity. Hermione's face was mutinous as her foot was stepped on the millionth time. She didn't say anything, though, making Ron nervous about the blow up that was to come later.
Ginny and Harry were, as usual, moving effortlessly across the dance floor, laughing as they went. They really were the perfect couple. Ron felt a pang of jealousy as Harry and his sister soared by. He stuck out his middle finger.
“Stop!” Madam Leona said, after Hermione had actually let out a cry of pain at Ron stepping on her foot.
“You may stop now, both of you.”
“Thank you!” Hermione said, pulling away from Ron.
“I am confident that you will do, meh, reasonably well at the wedding. Or at least the bride and groom will. There is something odd about you two...”
Madam Leona looked at the two, then shook her head.
“Dismissed.” she announced.
“Something odd....” Ginny said, shaking her head. “Look, you two have to promise to be one front, united, best buddies, for the wedding, okay? I can't have you two fighting.”
“I don't want to be best friends.” Hermione said stiffly.
“Too bad.” Ginny said cheerfully. “Promise.”
“I promise.” Ron said, looking over at Hermione as if daring her to be the smaller person.
“Me too.” Hermione said, looking as though she would rather snog Lord Voldemort then be friends with Ron.
“Good.” Ginny said firmly. She linked her arm with Harry.
Harry and Ginny walked laughingly out of the room, smiling and kissing. Hermione stood there awkwardly next to Ron, listening to their giggles die down as they walked down the hall.
“See you at the wedding.” she said finally, turning around and walking out of the ballroom, her shoes leaving a chilling echo across the pristine wooden floor.
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