Chapter 3 : Dress Dilemma
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As soon as they stepped into the over-perfumed shop, Shirley Malkin, Madam Malkin's daughter and assistant, came rushing over to see if they needed any help. Harry was going to admit that they did when Ron said firmly that they knew exactly what they were doing. Harry suspected that this had more to do with the fact that Ron wanted to look competent and intelligent- Shirley seemed to be a fan of rather tight clothing.
As Shirley went back to sitting at the counter and doing her nails, Ron and Harry made their way to the back of the store, where there was a large, glittery sign announcing 'Women's Clothing'.
Ron took one look at the array of dresses, and shot an aghast look at Harry.
“Erm- what- what do you think Harry?”
Harry looked at a few of the dresses. There were all sorts of colours and 'styles' (at least, that's what the girls seemed to call them- they were always discussing the latest 'styles').
“Well, what's her favourite colour? That's got to be a decent starting point hasn't it?”
“Ummm...” Ron produced a face that reminded Harry of Goyle- made even better when he made a small grunting noise.
“Blue. I think. Or possibly purple. But they're basically the same aren't they?” he said, unscrewing his face.
Harry was pretty sure the two colours weren't 'practically the same' but he decided that, for sake of ease, to leave it, and started a search for purple or blue dresses.
“This is nice- look.”
'This' was a floaty, layered indigo thing. Ron considered it for all of two seconds, before shaking his head grimly.
Harry was quite surprised that Ron didn't end up hurting his neck quite badly that afternoon, the amount of times he shook his head. Dark dresses were pronounced as being too dark, but few shades lighter and they were instantly too light. Other complaints included 'too bright', 'too girly', 'too over-the-top' and 'too purple!'.
Harry, who found the last comment rather confusing as it was applied to a rather blue dress, shook his head, and decided to suggest extending the colour margins to 'all colours except neon or yellow'- the only thing he and Ron had actually managed to agree on.
However, even allowing for most colours to be considered Ron still couldn't find anything he accepted as 'appropriate'. After three quarters of an hour (Harry was sure there were some sort of charms, as new dresses seemed to appear everywhere) and six visits from Shirley 'just checking' they were okay (though Harry suspected other motives- there was a lot of giggling, eyelash-batting and hair-twirling whenever she came over- and she was just as bad, though Ron looked distinctly put out when it seemed she was more interested in Harry), they decided it was time to go and search other shops for a present that wasn't 'wearable'.
Ron was quite ready to give up and get a selection of quills from Flourish and Blotts, but Harry, however trying he was finding the ordeal, knew that Ginny would be expecting him to take a hand in getting the present, and he didn't want to see Hermione's face when she opened a parcel to find a collection of quills.
So, the intrepid two decided to try another shop- but first, the new Diagon Alley branch of the Three Broomsticks seemed to be calling their name...
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