My heart was pounding with anticipation throughout the entire day.
All I could think about was getting back up to my dormitory to work on my hair and make myself look at least passable for my Triwizard Champion. And once I started thinking about that, I started thinking about how incredibly impossible it was that he had even asked me to go to the Yule Ball in the first place, which got me thinking about why he would have even considered asking someone like me, and then everything just snowballed and before I knew it, my eyes were unfocused and Professor Flitwick had to say my name several times before I was even able to process what he was asking. Answering correctly was completely out of the question.
By the time dinner came around, I was completely out of it. I ended up shoveling my lunch down so quickly I almost choked and speeding up to my dormitory two hours earlier than I needed to in order to get ready.
Thankfully, my room was empty. But I knew that within the next half hour at least, Lavender and Parvati would rush in to start their own beautifying process for Seamus and Harry.
I thought I would get a head start, and I pulled from my dresser next to my four poster bed the bottle of “Mama Stella’s Magical Hair Remedy” potion that I had ordered from Hogsmede and the black dry cleaning bag that my mother had sent me from the muggle village back home.
It was lucky, really, that she had convinced me to go dress shopping this summer when we saw the request for dress robes on my letter from Hogwarts.
I was planning on just getting by with a dark blue pair of robes just like the ones for school, but of course my mother went above and beyond. She took me to every single boutique and high class shop within a 100-mile radius in a search for the “perfect dress.”
Since the Yule Ball hadn’t been announced at the time, of course we had no idea what this dress was supposed to be for, but my mother wasted no time in getting me to struggle my way into more than ten extremely expensive looking dresses per store.
I got the distant and vague feeling that this was her way of overcompensating for the fact that her daughter that turned out to be a witch wasn’t going to be going to a muggle formal dance.
The result of all of that nonsense, however, was a beautiful periwinkle blue dress that I thought would have been a bit much for going all alone when she first sent it to me. Once Viktor asked me to accompany him to the dance, though, I knew my overzealous mother was right in going a little overboard. It was exactly what I needed to look like I belonged with a famous Quidditch player.
I unzipped the bag and started to apply the Hair Remedy as Parvati and Lavender walked in, giggling furiously. They glimpsed at me and Lavender turned back to Parvati, whispering something I couldn’t hear but knew it was about me. Nonetheless, I kept my head high as I faced the mirror and poured the entire bottle into my hair.
I heard muffled footsteps behind me. “What’s that you’re putting in your hair, Hermione?”
I looked at Lavender’s reflection in my mirror. She was standing directly behind me, and as I watched, she placed her hands on the back of my chair. Lavender’s expression was very speculative; curious.
“It’s called Mama Stella’s Hair Remedy,” I said, looking at the now empty bottle. “I saw it at Hogsmede at the last trip we went to, I thought I would give it a try.” I shrugged my shoulders.
Lavender watched with apprehensive eyes as I massaged the clear shampoo-like substance into my frizzy hair. I refused to let her know that she and I shared the same reluctant feeling about this foreign substance, mostly because I believed I had no other choice.
Parvati was in the back putting on her own robes, excited, I knew, that she would be a champion’s date. She of course, knew nothing about Viktor asking me. I knew she would be jealous, well, who wouldn’t? But I had no interest in bragging. Plus, who would believe me? I’m definitely not the type of girl to hold the interest of an international Quidditch player.
Lavender and I watched, amazed, as the weird sticky substance I had hesitantly poured onto my head disappeared altogether. Dissolved, more like. My hair smoothed out completely and fell in straight and smooth locks around my head.
“Oh my god!” Lavender squealed, and Parvati turned around at the exclamation.
Eyes wide, they both rushed over to turn my around to face them.
“That looks amazing, Hermione!” Lavender said, combing her perfectly manicured fingers through my newly perfected hair.
I was so shocked I couldn’t say anything. I did, however, push their hands away from me and turned back to marvel at my reflection in the mirror behind me. I couldn’t remember a time that I had actually liked what I saw in the mirror that much… my hair had been bushy and tangled for as long as I could remember!
“Wow,” I breathed, a smile breaking onto my face. I even squealed a little, something I, as a brainiac and general know it all who cared nothing about what most girls my age cared about, never did.
“Right?!?!” Lavender squealed back. “Oh my god, Hermione you look amazing! Can I help you with your make up??”
Shocked, I turned around and looked at Lavender in the face again, my eyebrows raised skeptically.
“Seriously, Hermione, please??” Lavender begged. I nodded silently, still surprised and somewhat amused at Lavender’s attitude. Since when did she want to talk to me?
“Yay!” she shrieked, jumping up and down and waving her arms a little bit. “Okay, you do your hair the way you want it and I’ll start on my hair and then we can do our make up together and I’ll just tell you how to do it,” she said, then turned to her four poster bed and squeaked an excited, “Parvati we’re gonna make Hermione hot!” to which she received a measly “mm hmm” from Parvati.
I glanced over at Parvati, frustrated with her attitude. It’s not that we were ever really such great friends, but we had lived together for 4 years and I had never had a specific issue with her, and neither she with I. As I picked out a comb from the bottom of my school trunk (combs and brushes never really did much to help my hair in the first place), I watched Parvati, who was now sending me strange glances.
Though the comb was unnecessary, I still ran it through my newly smooth hair just for the heck of it. Once I had had enough obsessing, I twisted my hair and placed it in a large clip that matched my new dress robes.
About 10 minutes later, Lavender emerged from behind her own mirror, her hair up in curlers. “I know these are a muggle contraption,” she said to me, correctly interpreting my confused expression. “But they really do help make my hair perfectly bouncy. I tried them over summer. I added a small extension charm as well and a heating charm to help form the curls, but these things is like magic!” she giggled at her own witty comment, and I smiled a little at her amusing antics. And Harry and Ron always wondered why I never hung out with girls my age.
“Okay, Hermione,” Lavender said, excited. She picked up her large mirror and placed it next to mine, taking a seat near me and talking to my reflection. “I’ll sit here so you can see what I’m doing. I’m going to show you how to put on eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara, lip gloss, and blusher!” She twitched in her seat, excited. “Oooh! This is going to be so much fun!”
While Lavender instructed me on the general application of make up, and I occasionally put my foot down and told her things like, “No, Lavender, I will not leave this dormitory with fake eyelashes on,” or “I would never in a million years let anybody see me with dark blue lip stick, I don’t care what color my dress robes are!”, Parvati was completely ignoring us and doing her own hair and make up. I was starting to believe she was mad at me for being best friends with her date, but when she left for a few minutes to run and use the restroom, I finally got the reason.
“She’s into Seamus,” Lavender explained, a slight frown on her face as she lightly brushed on blusher onto her cheek bones. “I’m going with him, and she wanted to… but I sort of wanted to go with Harry or Ron, I don’t care about Seamus… she just doesn’t get it.”
I sighed and shook my head in exasperation. Girls could be so weird about guys.
Lavender continued. “You’re so lucky you’re going without a date, Hermione!”
I smiled ruefully, and glanced up at Lavender through my single eye shadowed eyelid. “I have a date, you know,” I said, speaking for the first time in several minutes.
Lavender looked at me, shocked for a moment, before she regained composure and seemed to roll her eyes. “Oh, that’s right,” she said. “Harry said something about that. Who is your date?”
I could tell she didn’t believe me.
“You’ll see,” I said, settling into my chair and beginning on my other eyelid.
A couple hours later, I was walking towards the Library, my school robe wrapped around me, and make up and hair perfect, thanks to Lavender.
Viktor had said that the Library would be the best place to meet, mostly because of the fact that this was where he and I met, and where he asked me to go to the dance with him. As I approached the corridor leading towards the Library, I heard muffled footsteps behind me and I turned around. “You look beautivul.”
I could feel my cheeks turning bright pink as I looked down at my feet and smiled nervously. “Thanks, Viktor,” I mumbled, and I turned my head to look behind me for more students. There weren’t any.
“Are you ready to go down to the ball, Hermy-own?” At this, my cheeks went from bright pink to downright red. As much as I loved Victor’s accent, I always got a tad frustrated when he pronounced my name wrong. At a moment like this, though, I just got even more embarrassed. I giggled and shifted my weight onto my other foot awkwardly as I unwound my crossed arms and took a step forward towards him. He held out his elbow for me, and we set off for the Great Hall.
I can’t believe I am stuck with this insufferable twit, she disgusts me in her frilly and repulsive pink costume, I thought, as Pansy clutched my arm with viselike intensity. Her nails stabbed my skin and she was squealing at 10 second intervals, consequence of various unimportant and shallow things that apparently excited her small and incapable brain. Crabbe and Goyle were walking behind us; clad in hideous green dress robes that fit them both like a very thin skin for one of the sausages they were so partial to every morning. I ambled on, attempting to ignore the pain in my arm and to put on a convincing charade that would not let slip my disappointment of the fact that Parkinson was the only girl that I even had a chance with tonight. The way I was strutting, with my chin held high, you would think that the miserable slob seizing my upper arm was the hottest thing since Ferrah Fawcet.
I steered Parkinson and the friends-acting-like-bodyguards to a table almost full with fellow Slytherins and plopped into a chair, finally freeing my arm of Pansy’s firm grip. “God this place looks like a blizzard hit it. That miserable oaf Hagid has overdone it with the pitiful decorations.” I said this to no one in particular, but as usual all the people surrounding me were hanging on to every word. Parkinson’s smile drooped and she looked let down, as if she was hoping I would tell her how beautiful I thought the room was. Pathetic, I thought. Wasn’t the thing she worshiped most about me my negative and insulting demeanor? When was she ever going to stop dreaming that I would be anything but cruel and distasteful towards her? The woman was deluding herself into thinking she could “change” me, as so many other foul girls had before. She’d learn eventually though, that no girl could ever pray to turn me into some kind of weak-minded fool that goes head over heels for someone. What would my father think of me?
Pansy was still squealing and jumping obnoxiously at every decoration and ball attendee as we walked past the Saint Potter and Weaselby and their so-called dates. I would never admit to my suspicion and frankly, envy, when it came to how in the hell those two ghouls managed to get the two most attractive girls in our year. But I tried not to dwell on the unpleasantness of that.
I did notice, however, that Potter’s date, whichever Patil twin she happened to be, was not particularly happy. She kept glancing over at Lavender Brown and Seamus Finnegan; glaring, to be more precise.
I followed her gaze over to her supposed best friend, that Brown girl, and saw her hanging onto Finnegan’s arm, squealing and fidgeting like a rabbit. She was pointing at something, excited, her disturbingly (and might I add, unnaturally) flouncy hair was bouncing all over the place as she jumped up and down, looking over at the other Triwizard Champions and their dates.
Wondering why I was even bothering myself with the interest of some worthless Gryffindor skank, I allowed myself to be curious as to why Brown was so excited about something. I followed her line of sight and what I saw made my heart sink and my stomach plunge simultaneously.
Hermione Granger walked past, arm in arm with a man that I never thought would stoop so low to ask a filthy mudblood to the Yule Ball. What was he thinking? What kind of publicity was he looking for? But these questions seemed to fade and then completely evaporate from my train of thought as I took a look at Granger. She was absolutely stunning.
Granger’s hair was pulled back into an elegant twist in the back of her head, it was no longer shriveled up curls or tangled or unattractive in any way. Her flawless skin was practically glowing as she beamed towards the audience in hers and Viktor’s slow progression to the dance floor with the other champions. She was wearing a beautiful set of dress robes fit for royalty, and her bare arms and legs were, I hated to admit it even to myself, enticing. The material of Granger’s dress robes floated, it seemed almost weightless as it moved around her, entwining her body gracefully. She even walked differently, held herself higher. She wasn’t hunched over with her book bag tonight; she was striding down the aisle with purpose, holding onto Krum’s arm lightly. Her cheeks were slightly flushed, and she wiggled her shoulders a little, attempting to cover some of her skin. The feeble movement of her shoulders caused my eyes to linger towards her exposed cleavage and for the first time in my life, I found myself swallowing nervously, fidgeting in my seat, finding myself completely won over by Hermione Granger.
“Oh. My. God!”
I heard Pansy’s sickeningly high pitched squeak in my ear and had to twitch away from her to try to avoid it. Was she aware that she sounded like nails on a chalkboard? Either way, it did distract me from Granger.
“Is that Granger?” Pansy screeched, digging her nails even further into my upper arm. I pretended not to have noticed Granger and looked at Pansy, saying, “Where? Did she come all alone dressed in toilet paper?” smugly.
Pansy simply nudged me and pointed in Granger’s direction, where I pretended to see her for the first time. I actually looked at Krum, so as not to start drooling again, and sneered.
I scoffed at her appearance and turned back to Parkinson, whose jaw had dropped and she was glaring at Granger as if she were the most enviable girl on the planet. Considering who Granger was with, however, that made complete and total sense.
I leaned close to Parkinson’s ear and said quietly, “You’re still better looking than she is,” and turned back to my friends. Nott smirked and I winked at him. He really was the only guy in our year that I could actually stand. Him and Blaise Zabini, who never really seemed interested in what our group of “friends”, did anyway.
Pansy gushed and began to fawn over me again, and with my impressive skills and experience at ignoring dumb little flies that flew around my head, I remained calm, collected, and more desirable than ever. Which was my goal in life, was it not?
I removed myself from the conversation and chanced a glance back at Granger, who was now dancing with Krum on the dance floor, alone with just the other champions and Dumbledore and Madame Maxime. As I watched, the dance floor was flooded with people and my sight of Granger was blocked by a group of Hufflepuff 6th year girls without dates that were dancing in a circle. I sighed in frustration, then cursed myself inwardly for being disappointed that I could no longer look at Granger.
What the hell?
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