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Chapter 43 : The Unravelling
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“Thank you.” Hermione answered, looking around distractedly. She cleared her throat and looked back at Scott. Ginny was right. He was extremely handsome. He had cheek dimples when he smiled. His olive skin was tanned from merlin knew what. He was toned and muscled, and had curly brown hair that fell over his eyes in an absolute perfect way. But all Hermione could think about saying was 'My god, what am I doing to Ron?'. She couldn't begin to fathom how he was feeling at the moment. The thought of him holed up glumly in his house was almost too much for her to even think about. Her stomach was aching with nerves, but not about her date. Nerves about her boyfriend, who was currently thinking that she didn't love him. But she did. She so, so did!
“I'm sorry if I'm a little rusty at this.” Scott said, flashing a white, straight smile at her. Dear god. He was too perfect! “I haven't dated since my wife left me.”
He hung his head, and a few curls fell into his eyes.
“She cheated on me with some guy... I don't even know who he is. Which is good because I would probably kill the bastard if I ever met him.”
“I'm so sorry.” Hermione said, glancing at her watch. She'd been there for ten minutes. That was it? It seemed like forever! She took a sip of water and tried to seem natural.
“It's alright. Alyssa was beautiful, but she wasn't the smartest woman. She could never keep up with me, intellectually.”
Hermione spat out her drink, right into Scott's recently pressed dress shirt. He immediately started mopping it up.
“Oh, I'm so sorry.” Hermione cried, grabbing her napkin and jumping up to help Scott.
He gave her a grin.
“It's quite alright.”
“Er- did you just say your wife's name was Alyssa?”
“Ex wife. And yes.”
“I'm sorry, Scott, I seem to have forgotten your last name. What did you say it was?”
“My, my, not the best at names, are we?” Scott laughed, not unkindly. “We'll have to work on that.” His eyes twinkled at her. “But it's Jefferson.”
“Oh my god!” Hermione said, her eyes wide. “She's the woman who got Ron drunk! She tried to sleep with him!”
Her head spun, and Hermione swayed on the spot. She was sitting in a restaurant with the guy that was married to the woman who had tried to seduce Ron. She was sitting in a restaurant with the guy that was married to the woman who had tried to seduce Ron! Luckily, Scott caught her before she could fall.
“You must be wrong. Alyssa cheated on me with a guy named Shawn.”
“And a guy named Ron!”
“Are you sure?” Scott asked, frowning.
“Glossy brown hair? Tall, thin? Wears tons of lip gloss?”
“Er- that sounds a lot like her.”
“Who's this Ron guy?”
“He's my boy... he's my ex boyfriend?”
“Really?” Scott asked, his eyes wide.
“No! Not really. He's the man I'm in love with! I'm sorry, Scott. I really have to go!”
She ran to the back of the restaurant, pushed open the bathroom door. Breathing hard, she leaned against the mirror. What was she doing? She had to tell Ginny! She had to tell everyone! Why was she hiding this perfect relationship? Why wasn't she forcing Ron to marry her at this point? Okay, the last one was a little dramatic. But, god, how stupid was she to go on a date when Ron asked her not to? Had she forgotten how he had made her feel since she was just thirteen years old? How, the first time she'd held his hand when Harry had first met Buckbeak, she'd let out an audible gasp at the electric current it sent running through her body? And their first kiss, their first hug, their first everything! And their seconds and thirds, too. How could she had forgotten, in just a few short weeks, how she had felt after they'd made love for the first time? What was she doing? Quickly, Hermione got out a pen and a piece of parchment, then started scribbling a note to Ginny.
Ginny- you set me up with the husband of the woman Ron almost cheated on me with. You know, Alyssa? The one that got him drunk? Well, it made me realize something. I have to tell you something. Come to my flat as soon as you can! ~Hermione.
In her haste, her letters were messy and disoriented, but she didn't have time to care. She quickly scanned the note, before apparating home and giving it to her owl. Then she flooed to Ron's house. All the lights were off. Hermione bounded up the steps and knocked quickly and loudly on the door. A few seconds later, it opened, and Ron stood there, looking disheveled and exhausted in a ripped tee shirt and the same pair of jeans he had been wearing when Hermione had arrived earlier that night. It looked as though he had been constantly ruffling his hair. Little pieces were sticking up everywhere. His face looked pale, and he seemed tired. As he looked at her, relief washed over his face, and he ran a hand through his hair once more.
“Hermione.” he said, and that was all. She rushed into his arms, melted into him. “It didn't last very long, did it?”
But an overwhelming sense of love and passion had taken over Hermione, and she shook her head as she reached up to kiss Ron. Her lips traveled over the soft underside of his arm, to his shoulder and neck, to his cheek, the corner of his mouth, and, finally, his lips.
“I love you,” she murmured against him. “Oh, god, you wouldn't believe how much I love you!”
Ron was starting to grin, and he seemed slightly amused.
“You just realized that?”
“Well, I knew... but suddenly it just hit me so powerfully the restaurant seemed stifling,” she said, using words that she knew were dramatic but somehow seemed fitting.
“It didn't hit you that powerfully when we were shagging?” Ron joked. Hermione nodded.
“Well, it did, but... sometimes you need a reminder. Did you ever just have this moment when something hit you so much you were shocked? Like, you'd consciously known it before, but I love you was just starting to become words. And then I saw this man, and his wife cheated on him with you, and I realized that he could never have her again, even if he still loved her, but I could have you, and by not telling people and going on this date I was almost... using you. So, we're telling everyone.”
“Thank god!” Ron sang, pressing her face to his chest. “But- wait- me?”
“Long story. No time.” Hermione said, kissing Ron so furiously he had absolutely no choice but to kiss her back.
Hours later, they were lying in Ron's room together, Hermione's head on Ron's chest. They were discussing how best to tell everyone they were together, and just enjoying the sounds of the other breathing. Both were just about asleep, but it was nice to be staying up and talking like this.
“I think the best thing to do would be to tell everyone at Sunday night dinner at the Burrow.” Hermione suggested.
“It's Friday. Doesn't that seem too long?” Ron asked. “Besides, who said you were invited?”
This was obviously a joke. Hermione came to every Sunday night dinner that Mrs. Weasley hosted.
“Yes. But tomorrow we have the taping of the final episode. It's live.” Hermione sat up, looking suddenly awake. “I should go. You're never going to let me get to sleep, and I don't want to look like a hag on live television.”
“You could never look like a hag!” Ron argued.
“I think you're a little bias, sweetheart,” Hermione teased.
“Yes, that, and, Ginny would never let you go out there without the perfect amount of concealing makeup.”
Hermione hit him with a pillow, then sighed.
“Well, no matter how much makeup, I could still embarrass myself,” she said worriedly. “It's best if I just go home.”
“Fine.” Ron sighed, kissing the top of her head. “I'll see you tomorrow. Ready to reveal our undying and unyielding love for each other on live television?”
“You bet. I'm glad that your family isn't watching the show until we get to their house. Then we can tell them before they see it on TV.”
Ron nodded happily, and Hermione got up, then pulled on her shorts.
“Um... Ron, have you seen my shirt?” she asked suddenly.
“No...” Ron said. He leaned up as though he was doing a crunch or a sit up, then stayed in that position and looked around. Hermione halfheartedly attempted not to stare at his abs. “Here, just take one of mine.”
He searched the floor for a few seconds, then grabbed a Chudley Cannons tee-shirt and tossed it to Hermione. She went over to the light switch to put it on, but Ron put his hands up over his eyes and said,
“What? You want me to dress in the dark?” Hermione asked, trying to keep the laughter out of her voice.
“That's the idea.” Ron said, and when he noticed Hermione's moonlit glare, “What? No one's going to see you!”
Shrugging, Hermione put the shirt on. She walked over to Ron to kiss him goodbye, and exited the house through floo powder so she wouldn't wake anyone up with the loud crack of apparation. As soon as she got out of the fireplace, she stumbled exhaustively into the kitchen, looking for a drink of water. Then she let out a loud yelp. Ginny was currently occupying one out of two chairs, arms crossed, eyebrow raised, eyes narrowed angrily.
“Er- hi, Ginny.” Hermione said, raising a hand to rub her eye.
“Hermione Jean Granger. I have been here for hours, after receiving a very interesting letter from you.”
“I came over just as soon as I got it, to hear some news, and comfort a friend in need. It is three o'clock in the morning. Where the hell have you been? And why is your hair so messy?”
“I-” Hermione started helplessly. But she was saved by Ginny's eyes zooming in on her shirt.
“Hermione... why is your shirt inside out and backwards?”
“I got dressed in the dark,” Hermione was pretty sure this was going to be the only truth she told tonight, unless Ginny decided to choose that moment to become incurious and stop asking questions. But instead, Ginny stood up, circling Hermione like a predator circled her prey.
“Hold on... is that a Chudley Cannons shirt?” Hermione's eyes met Ginny's, whose eyes widened. Then, suddenly, she let out a delighted and incredulous laugh, and jumped up and down. “Hermione! I had no idea you were the type of girl that put out on the first date. Congratulations!”
Ginny swooped in to hug Hermione, and her stomach unknotted itself. It was okay. It was going to be fine. Ginny would find out at the Burrow with everyone else, when both she and Ron were there. But, just then, Ginny took in a deep, satisfied breath. And then she stopped breathing.
“Wait a minute.” she said, slowly backing away. “Oh my god. That shirt doesn't smell like Scott. It smells like...”
She took another whiff. Hermione cringed.
“RON! Oh my god! You had sex with Ron? But you're not with him! You hate him! Were you drunk? No...”
Realization was suddenly dawning over Ginny's features.
“You didn't want to go on the date with Scott. You were in love with Ron again, but then you hated him worse than before. You asked if I was setting him up on a date, too... oh my god, Hermione. You're back together with Ron!”
The single, sorry tear rolling down Hermione's cheek was all the confirmation Ginny needed.
“How long?” Ginny asked, her face openly wounded.
“Since the Hogwarts Reunion.” Hermione said, choking on her words. She grabbed Ginny's hand. “Ginny, I'm so sorry. You weren't supposed to find out this way! Everyone was going to find out on Sunday at dinner at the Burrow.”
Ginny jerked her hand away.
“I'm your best friend, Hermione. I'm not everyone.”
“I'm going home now. I'm really... happy for you two.”
There was an awkward pause during which they both let tears roll down their cheeks, then Ginny walked over to the fireplace and flooed home. After she had gone, Hermione sat down in the chair and tried to be still. She couldn't do it. She went to the living room and tried to read a book, but couldn't do it. She tried to go to sleep, but there was absolutely no chance in that. The whole thing only took an exhausting forty-five minutes before Hermione got out of bed, threw floo powder into the fireplace, stepped in, and shouted Ron's address. Then she spun into his home, and rushed to his room. He was sleeping peacefully, the moonlight splayed out across his face. Hermione crawled into bed next to him and placed her head on his chest. An eye peaked open, and Ron looked groggily up at her.
“Mione? What're you doing here?”
“I just needed to be with you. I'll explain in the morning.”
“Mmmm.” Ron said, leaning into her palm. “M'kay. You alright?”
“Go back to sleep, love. Every thing's fine.”
“I uv ooh.” Ron sighed contently, and in a few minutes, his comforting and familiar snores filled the room.
A/N: Oh my god! OVER 500 REVIEWS! You guys are amazing!!! I never dreamed that this story would get so many reviews when I submitted the first chapter. I can't believe it! On the flipside, the last chapter got hated on more than any other chapter I've ever written... apparently you have no faith in either the way I write Hermione or my love of the ship :) But, hey, I think I salvaged this! She didn't fall in love with Scott, she went right back to Ron, and was thinking about her actual boyfriend the whole time... all good, yeah? I actually just saw an interview where JKR said that Ron was more loved than Harry... I guess she's right, although to be honest I think I've met more Harry lovers than Ron lovers in my RL. Anyways, I hope you'll review and tell me what you think! ~writergirl8
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