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Chapter 5 : The Party
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“Come on Hermione! We still have to get there remember!” Ron called from downstairs.
She put on her make up and tried to compose herself. She was nervous about seeing Fred again after their last meeting. She hoped he didn’t say anything in front of the family today, but she also had to talk to him. She rushed downstairs where Ron stood, mouth open.
“You look... Well you know, nice. Worth being late for, now let’s go.”
He put his arm around her waist, something he had taken to doing all the time recently, and they left the house.
When they arrived at The Burrow everyone was already there and cheered and clapped as they entered through the kitchen. Everyone except Fred who was leaning against the fireplace with a fire whiskey in his hand. Harry came over and gave her a big hug, closely followed by Ginny.
“Finally!” Grinned Harry, “We wondered when you would follow suit.” As he gestured to Ginny who was holding his hand and was now heavily pregnant.
“Shut up Harry! Leave them to get around to it all in their own good time, I’m so happy for you two.” She smiled.
“Thank you, of course we haven’t even begun planning the wedding yet...” Began Hermione as someone handed her a glass of champagne. “...Sorry can I be excused for a moment.”
And she wriggled away from Ron whose arm was still firmly around her waist. She headed in the direction of the stairs and stopped briefly by Fred.
“We need to talk!” She hissed as she passed. “Follow me.”
Much to her surprise he did exactly as she asked. When she reached the top of the stairs she gestured to his old room. He walked in and leaned his back against the wall.
“What exactly is it you want Hermione?”
He looked at her with scrutinizing eyes and folded arms.
“Do you want to explain yourself? I thought we were friends, I thought we understood each other. But now I just don’t know what’s got into you!”
She came over to face him no more than a foot away. He looked down.
“You know what, I thought we understood each other too, it would appear I was wrong. All that bullshit about not planning your future or whatever- what was that? A joke to you? Not to me! I really believed in those things. I thought you understood how I felt!”
He looked her in the eyes again, he was clearly in pain.
“That is me Fred, that is me! I don’t know why you’d think differently. You mean...a lot to me, I mean... I’ve missed your friendship”
She put her hand out to touch his face, but he flinched away.
“What can I do to make things better?”
This time he didn’t flinch away as she reached out. He held her other hand in both of his. He leaned his head against hers and once again she breathed in his scent, it was so comforting. She looked up at him but his eyes were closed as if he was trying to concentrate. He opened them and held her chin, slowly dragging her mouth towards his. He placed a gentle kiss upon her lips, he looked into her eyes to see if she wanted to stop but they were closed. Hermione’s sensibility was fighting to regain control but her passion made her wrap her arms around Fred’s neck. He picked her up and ran his hands through her hair. He sat down on his old bed and simply held her for a while saying nothing.
He rested his face next to hers and said “Sorry I was cruel, I was protecting myself.”
A single tear fell from Hermione’s eyes. Although she’d never felt happier, she was consumed by the guilt that her fiancé was downstairs waiting for her with his family. She also didn’t want to break away from Fred’s embrace, but found the strength to do it and sat up on the bed.
“We shouldn’t go down together, wait five minutes” was all she could say and as she left the room she was acutely aware that he was sat up on the bed watching her leave.
Hermione rejoined the party downstairs and allowed Ron to put his arm back around her waist nor did she push him away when he tried to kiss her constantly all night. Every few minutes her eyes met Fred’s who never looked away and poured himself drink after drink.
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