Chapter 26 : The Interview
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It had been an interesting rest of the week, full of gossip and rumours. I had received many howlers and bits of hate mail again from people over my treatment of Ron on the Tuesday and Wednesday, but I had also received flowers and notes of support on the Thursday and the Friday. It was most odd. There was even a rumour going about that someone had confronted Ron about him cheating on me. The things that people write I mused idly and the things they believe.
I gave myself a quick look over in the mirror. I had chosen a magenta coloured high, square necked dress with a black detailed key-hole opening from collar to bust line. It was nice without being too formal or to casual. Mum, you're a life saver I thought quietly to myself.
I was going over myself once again when my mirror said "Now stop fussing there, miss. You look amazing and you just need to calm down. "
"I suppose you're" I was cut off by a knock on the door. “Goodness! They're here!"
"Calm yourself. Take a few deep breaths. You'll be fine"
"I hope your right."
Rushing downstairs I opened the door and smiled to welcome my guest. Avalon Clare was in her late twenties to early thirties and was dressed casually in black pants, a white turtle neck, black cardigan and boots. Her honey coloured hair gleamed on her shoulders and her teeth were dazzling. I instantly warmed to her.
"Welcome to my home, Ms Clare."
"A pleasure! And please, call me Avalon."
Closing the door behind her, I lead her to the lounge asking if she wanted any drinks or anything to eat.
"A pot of tea and something light to eat would be nice." I was starting to change my mind about her when she smiled and continued "Because once I start talking to someone it can go for ages and I hate to think of them as starving, but being too polite to say anything!" She finished with a bit of a giggle.
I boiled my kettle on the stove and filled the teapot in my pre-prepared tea set. I also had some scones with jam and a mix of shortbread and chocolate biscuits and hovered them out to the coffee table.
"These look simply amazing! Did you make them yourself?"
"I wish I could say so, but my mum made them for me, except the chocolate biscuits. She buys them specially."
Biting into a scone, Avalon closed her eyes and her face took on a dreamy expression. "These are the best scones I've ever had."
"Wait until you've tried her baked dinners." I replied, a wide grin spreading over my face."
"I'll take you up on that gladly!" She laughed. "But I hear she isn't only talented in the kitchen."
"That's right. She has just launched her own label called "Enchantress Designs"."
"Sounds fascinating, can you tell me more about it?"
"Well as it's widely known I sent my parents to Australia during the Second War and I altered their memories, not erased them, to keep them safe. While there my mum fell in love with the casual elegance of the designs down there. When I found them and restored their memories of me, they returned to England and were more curious than ever about the Wizarding World. When mum saw the limited wardrobe options for us witches she decided to make her own line and "muggle things up a bit" to quote her."
"So what kind of robes does she do?"
"Mainly formal but she also does more casual robes."
"Like what you’re wearing?"
I blushed a little and nodded.
"Well I have to say she has done an impressive job and I'd be more than willing to have her do some for me. Maybe she could also do a range of stylish clothes for when we have to go out into the muggle world? I'm not sure I'm dressed right."
Assuring her she was we kept talking about ideas for my mum. We talked on and on for hours, about my childhood, my work for elf rights, what it was like being friends with the famous Harry Potter and being famous in my own right, my general interests besides reading. All the while her quick notes quill was taking notes but I noticed it copied things down as they were said, no lies or embellishments.
We were almost done when she brought up the subject of my social life.
"Now Hermione, it would be very remiss of me as a reporter if I didn't at least get some clarification about the rumours surrounding you at the moment. Have you heard them?"
"I've heard that I'm currently dating Ron Weasley, Viktor Krum and Draco Malfoy." I chuckled "And passing that legislation at work, plus attending events to spread awareness for elf rights."
"I know where would you find the time?" She asked, teasingly."Short of getting a Time-Turner I have no idea." I replied, stifling a giggle.
"So let’s sort things out then, get your side of the story. Are you and Ron Weasley currently dating?"
"No." I said swallowing back my sadness. "We broke up almost a month ago."
"Oh Hermione, I'm sorry. I didn't mean...”
"It's ok. It's just a little hard to let go of the past three years, you know?" I answered slowly.
"So you parted on good terms then?" She questioned gently.
"I'd like to think so." I replied, gazing at the fire before returning my gaze to her face.
"And what about the rumour going around that Draco Malfoy confronted him about cheating on you last Wednesday?"
At that I choked on my tea. "That has to be one of the oddest things I have ever heard. Draco Malfoy, pure-blood prince defends me, publicly, to one of the best known muggle-born supporters? It sounds like the world has gone backwards or upside down."
"So then you believe the rumours aren't true?"
"They'd have to be made up. No-one besides me and three other people know the reason why Ron and I broke up and one of them is certainly not Draco Malfoy."
“And what reason was that?”
I picked my next words carefully. “I think Ron and I had grown apart. We want different things at this stage in life.” I said simply.
"And you and Malfoy? So you two definitely aren't dating then?"
"There's a greater chance of finding Crumple-Horned Snorkacks at a petting zoo than me on a date with Draco Malfoy." I scoffed.
"So you don't believe he has changed?"
"I believe he wants to, but has at least three hundred years of family tradition to overcome first. It might take more than the impulsive actions of one twenty year old to change it."
"And the rumours of you and Krum?"
"We are old friends who haven't seen each other in years and we had a good long catch up at the ball. Nothing more I'm afraid. "
After a few more questions and taking photos of my house, the robes my mum had made, Crookshanks and myself. She took one last scone and headed out, telling me to owl her any time especially if it involved more of my mum’s robes or cooking. Laughing I told her I would and headed back inside, feeling warm and light and like I might have a new friend.
I was just about to shut the door when I saw my Wolfy Wizards owl and another, smaller owl heading for me. Opening the door wide I let them swoop into my kitchen. Now I could see the smaller owl was Pig and he had a bright scarlet letter attached. I was horror struck as I saw it start to smoke. Ripping it open I braced myself for what was coming next.
"JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? TELLING MALFOY, MALFOY OF ALL PEOPLE ABOUT US BREAKING UP!" I was stunned as the voice of Ronald Weasley filled my kitchen with hatred and rage.
"AND TO GO AROUND RUBBING HIM AND KRUM IN MY FACE AT THE SAME TIME? I'D CALL YOU A WHORE IF I DIDN'T KNOW BETTER!"
My mouth fell open in shock and I started to cry. I'd known Ron could be hurtful before, but only through being inconsiderate. This direct attack was so overwhelmingly painful with its harsh accusations.
"WELL THEY CAN HAVE YOU! YOU TWO TIMING, KNOW-IT-ALL, BORING, UGLY WITCH!" With that the envelope turned to ash and I slumped to the floor, crying as if my heart were breaking again. I'd never, ever felt this shocked, hurt or angry before. He accused me of things he had done and the injustice stung.
After a minute or two of letting it all out, I stood up and remembered that I'd had another owl. Taking the letter it read.
I would like to get to know you better, as a person and not just an object of beauty or the brain. When can we meet?
I responded quickly.
I don't think that would be such a good idea at the moment. But I would love to get to know you better too. Is owling ok?
I watched the owl soar in to the sky and hoped that maybe I'd make another friend I could lean on. Curling up on my lounge I cried into the cushions and stared into the fire until sleep came and claimed me.
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