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Just Decide by katiefelton
Chapter 18 : Heartache
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 28


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"It hurts my heart to see you cry. I know it's dark in this part of life.

It finds us all, and we're too small to stop the rain."

-I Won't Let Go, Rascal Flatts

Draco felt uncomfortably warm as he was lowered into his seat beside Barry for another day of witnesses, questions, and accusing glares. His cotton shirt stuck to the sweat beneath his underarms and to the rises of his chest muscles. The cuffs placed on his wrists had caused a red indent which had begun to form after the days of wearing them.

            “Who are the witnesses today, Barry?”

            His mentor cleared his throat as he shuffled through his papers.

            “A Ms. Trina Belenoff, and Mr. Steven Smitherson, a member of the maitenence staff.”

            Draco nodded silently. The thought of his former girlfriend giving a testimony about his personality concerned him. After all, their relationship hadn’t ended very smoothly. He soon felt Barry’s stare.

            “Since she was close to you recently in the year, and she has to be questioned."

            Draco attempted to lean as far back as he could into his seat.

            “I ended this relationship. And she wasn’t quite happy about that.”  

            Barry sighed.

            “She must swear on the law to tell the truth. The questions won’t be about who or what ended your flings. They probably want a testimony of your actions.”

            Draco nodded.

            “Fair enough.”

            Hermione sat in the same chair beside Adeila as she had for the entire week. For the past few days she would climb out of bed, put on a moderately dressy work outfit, and go directly to the trial. Most days she didn’t want to go; she would rather stay in bed hidden under her goose-feather comforters. But she was a member of the Ministry staff, and was obliged to attend.

            She caught Ginny waving at her from across the courtroom, and she was soon followed by her brothers and father. Hermione lifted a hand to return their greetings with a small smile.

            “Ron has such a lovely family, Hermione,” Adeila stated as she followed Hermione’s hand movements to the other side of the courtroom.

            Hermione nodded.

            “He does. I’ve known them since I was eleven. The Weasley’s are essentially my second family.”

            Adeila smiled.

            “You’re very lucky.”

            Hermione returned Adeila’s smile before looking over the crowd to find Ron. He was of course beside Harry in the auror’s box, chatting away with his co-workers. After a few moments her eyes then drifted to the defendant’s box, where Draco was silently sitting beside Barry Samsburg. Hermione wondered when he would give this up. When the conviction grew to close, and when the glares became too much, would he give into his stubbornness? She bit her bottom lip as the thoughts flew through her mind.

            “Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your patience. We will now begin with today’s questioning.”

            The room became silent as the judge banged his gavel upon his desk. Thomas Buckley and the prosecution bench ended their conversations, as well as the defense.

            “Will Ms. Trina Belenoff please come to the stand?”

            Every spectator in the room glanced around, attempting to locate the famous Ukrainian auror known for her talents and stunning beauty. A figure soon came into view; a slender woman with fair skin, and long, dark auburn hair. She walked with the grace of a ballet dancer even with the height of her shoes, and the plunging neckline of her top. Her toned legs were covered with tight, black pants, and a matching blazer jacket clung to the upper portion of her figure. A sparkling diamond bracelet dangled from her wrist, and matching rings complemented the crimson color of her nails. Her vibrant red lips were a stark contrast to her pale green eyes, which lay directly on Judge Mason.

            Hermione crossed and uncrossed her legs, uncomfortable with the stunning beauty of the woman in the center of the room. She had no flaws that could be seen; Hermione assumed she must have had veela ancestors somewhere in her family tree.

            “Ms. Belenoff, do you swear to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth?”

            Trina Belenoff crossed her slender legs and placed her intertwined fingered in her lap.

            “Yes, your honor.”

            She had a slight accent when she spoke, but it in no way hindered her speech.

            “Very well.”

            Judge Mason adjusted his spectacles.

            “Ms. Belenoff, how are you associated with Mr. Draco Malfoy?”

            The woman sat slightly father back in the chair.

            “We were in a relationship.”

            “What kind of relationship?”

            “A romantic relationship.”

            Judge Mason cleared his throat.

            “How intimate was your relationship?”

            Trina lifted her chin a fraction.

            “Very intimate.”

            “Physical and emotional?”

            “Yes.”

            The room seemed to become tense as Judge Mason continued.

            “So you would say that you knew him well enough to make a judgment on his personality, opinions, and feelings?”

            She nodded.

            “I would say yes.”

            “Alright, then. Mr. Buckley, you may proceed with questioning.”

            Buckley stood from behind his desk, and made his way over to Trina Belenoff. He paused to flash her a smile.

            “Good morning, Ms. Belenoff, and thank you for your time.”

            He began to make his usual movements around her chair.

            “Ms. Belenoff, since you were, as you say, intimate with Draco Malfoy, how would you describe him?”

            Her eyes narrowed.

            “As a partner in a relationship?”

            Buckley shook his head.

            “No, we don’t need to know those details. How would you describe him in general? Can you describe him to us just like you would describe to a friend?”

            She seemed to bite the inside of her cheek before continuing.

            “He was always a gentlemen, and that’s what attracted me to him. He was always very passionate about his job, and work, and spent most of his time on that. That is partially why our relationship ended.”

            Buckley nodded.

            “Did he ever mention Terence Fletcher to you?”

            Trina responded with a nod.

            “Yes, he did. I even met him on a few occasions. They were very close friends, and Draco spoke very highly of him.”

            “Did Draco ever mention his position in receiving the Minister of Magic title after Terence finished?”

            She paused.

            “Not that I can remember. But it was common knowledge at the time that Terence was grooming him to be his successor. I figured that out on my own.”

            “Of course. Ms. Belenoff.”

            Buckley began to talk with his hands.

            “Did Mr. Malfoy ever say anything negative about Terence?”

            Trina’s eyes narrowed in thought.

            “Not that I can remember.”

            “It’s alright with me if you take your time. Take as long as you would like.”

            Trina nodded as she brought a polished hand to her temple. After a few moments she spoke.

            “There were a few times when he mentioned Terence’s demeanor with clients, but it was always in fun.”

            Buckley nodded.

            “Always in fun. I see. Do you think these fun digs at Terence’s demeanor could have been a sign of growing frustration and anger with the minister?”

            Trina paused.

            “I guess it could be.”

            Buckley paused and faced the jury, making sure they heard the last bit.

            “Ms. Belenoff, how did your relationship with Draco Malfoy end?”

            Trina visibly parted her lips and shifted uncomfortably in her chair.

            “Like I said, he was very concerned with his work, and I was a second priority.”

            “So you ended the relationship?”

            Trina seemed to narrow her eyes a fraction at Buckley before sighing.

            “No, he called it off. I was prepared to make it work even with the distance factor, but he said we wouldn’t work anymore.”

            “Why would he say that?”

            “I assume he didn’t have the same feelings for me anymore.”

            “But why wouldn’t he have the same feelings?”

            She clenched her lips.

            “I don’t know, I consider myself a good catch. Most men think so.”

            Buckley continued.

            “Was it your fault that this connection was lost?”

            Her expression remained unchanged.

            “I really don’t think so. I was there to support his emotional and physical needs.”

            Buckley nodded.

            “So it was his fault then?”

            Trina released her lips from their clenched hold, and brought her eyes to  Buckley.

            “I would say yes.”

            “Why?”

            “He was the one who stopped writing. He was the one who became busy whenever I wanted to see him. And he was the one who stopped returning my letters.”

            Buckley placed his head in the palm of one of his hands.

            “That sounds very one sided.”

            She gave him no response, obviously uncomfortable.

            “Ms. Belenoff, why do you think these events occurred that ended your relationship?”

            Trina leaned back in her seat and moved her fingers in different positions.

            “I don’t know. He just suddenly became distant. Like his mind was somewhere else. Whenever we were together he never seemed to be with me.”

            “Distant?”

            “Yes. I felt like his mind was always thinking about someone, or something else.”

            “Someone else, Ms. Belenoff?”

            She shook her head.

            “I don’t know what it was, I was just speculating.”

            “Speculating? That his mind was wandering to another person?”

            She paused.

            “Well, in the conversation where he decided to suddenly end things, “ she stated with a hint of frustration, “ I accused him of thinking about someone else.”

            “Really?”

            “It was out of anger. I don’t know.”

            Buckley paced again.

            “Do you think his mind could have been thinking about Terence? Thinking of the position he wanted? Thinking he was wasting his time with you?”

            Trina nodded.

            “That seems to make sense. But I don’t have any idea what it was.”

            Buckley stopped in front of her.

            “Do you think Draco Malfoy was capable of murder?”

            Trina Belenoff paused, and then returned Buckley’s stare.

            “I would have said no at the time of our relationship, but now I don’t know. He turned so distant, so fast, and I feel like I didn’t know him anymore.”

             For the first time Trina turned to Draco.

            “I guess he could be.”

            Barry shot up from his seat.

            “Your honor, this witness has given her answers, and these statements have no fact, and cannot be proven.”

            “Sustained.”

            Buckely continued.

            “So this distant, unfamiliar Draco could be described as cold to you?”

            “Cold is an appropriate word, yes.”

            “Do you think he could have been jealous of Terence?”

            “Yes, I can see that. He followed him around all the time, and the power of that position could have tempted him.”

            Barry spoke again.

            “Your honor, please. Mr. Buckley has overstepped his boundaries with his questions.”

            Judge Mason looked at Buckley.

            “Finish up, Mr. Buckley, and keep it relevant.”

            Buckley turned to the jury.

            “Here we have ladies and gentlemen, of a witness who was intimate with Draco Malfoy. This intimate witness described him as distant, cold, and capable of murder. Someone who knew him well brings much validity to these statements.”

            Barry shouted over him.

            “Much validity?! The witness is an ex of the defendant who clearly was angered with the breaking of their relationship, and is using this animosity to defame my client!”

            Buckley rolled his eyes.

            “Oh please, Barry, Just because she described your client in a negative way doesn’t make it appropriate to cause a childish scene.”

            Judge Mason banged his gavel.

            “Mr. Samsburg! Sit down!”

            “A childish scene?” Barry yelled as he stepped out from the bench and over to Buckley, “You are making up these absurd statements and convincing the witness to agree with them! That is completely unacceptable!”

            Buckley leaned over Barry.       

            “I think I know that is acceptable and what isn’t, Barry!”

            “Cleary, you think dragging some ex fling of his who spews negative comments because she was dumped in a bitter breakup to validate your theories is acceptable!”

            “She is a very legitimate source!”

            Judge Mason flew up from his seat and banged the gavel multiple strokes, just as it seemed a fistfight was going to break out in the middle of the courtroom.

            “Gentlemen, that is enough! Mr. Samsburg, please sit down now! And Mr. Buckley, you’ve asked plenty of questions for Ms. Belenoff. You may also be seated.”

            Barry glared at Buckley through his glasses, while Buckley returned with a venomous stare.

            Judge Mason cleared his throat and readjusted his robes before sitting down.

            “Thank you, Ms. Belenoff. You may leave the witness stand.”

            Trina nodded before she gracefully lifted herself, and quietly exited through the doors of the courtroom.

            Judge Mason composed himself before continuing.

            “Will Mr. Steven Smitherson please come to the witness stand?”

            A short, rather plump man stood from one of the benches, and began to make his way to the witness chair. His broad rimmed spectacles rested on the tip of his nose, and a thick mustache covered his top lip. Once he had found a comfortable position in the chair, he faced the judge.

            “Since it seems that our legal experts are unable to handle questioning today,” He shot glances in Buckley and Barry’s direction, “I will continue with questioning.”

            Buckley looked agitated when he slumped into his chair, while Barry seemed indifferent and crossed his arms over his chest.

            “Mr. Smitherson, what position do you hold in the ministry?”

            The man coughed into a closed fist.

            “I’m a member of the cleaning staff in the Magical Maintenance Department.”

            “And what does your job entail?”

            “I clean various parts of the ministry. The atrium window walls, the elevators, mailrooms, offices, and anything else that needs cleaning.”

            Judge Mason nodded.

            “Had you ever cleaned Mr. Malfoy’s office?”

            Mr. Smitherson nodded.

            “Many times. But it never needed much cleaning. He always kept it neat.”

            “Did you ever come across any suspicious items?”

            He narrowed his eyes in concentration.

            “Well, nothing I can think of.”

            “Can you describe his office?”

            “It’s very large, and like any other office that belongs to a head of a department. He had various heirlooms and items displayed from his travels, and many photos of himself with officials.”

            Judge Mason nodded.

            “Any of Terence Fletcher?”

            Mr. Smitherson narrowed his brow once again to think.

            “Yes, many of the pictures did.”

            “Why do you think so many photos were of Terence?”

            “They seemed to be friends.”

            The judge laced his fingers and leaned forward.

            “Mr. Smitherson, what were you doing the day Mr. Fletcher was murdered?”

            “It was like any other day. I got dressed, ate breakfast with my wife, went to the board and found my assignments for the day, performed them, and went home.”

            “Which assignments did you perform?”

            He paused, and began to count on his round fingers.

            “Well, I washed the windows in the atrium, fixed a leak in one of the fountain pipes, and cleaned a spill in one of the Department of Magical Transportation offices. And later in the evening, I fixed a faulty elevator.”

            “How late did you stay that night?”

            “Not very late at all. I left a half an hour after the major crowds did.”

            “Which elevator were you fixing?”

            “One that led to the Department of Magical Games and Sports, as well as the Department of International Magical Cooperation.”

            The judge sat an inch further in his chair.

            “The latter is the department in which Mr. Malfoy was the head, correct?”

            Mr. Smitherson nodded.

            “Yes.”

            He paused.      

            “As a matter of fact, I did speak with Mr. Malfoy that evening.”

            “You did?”

            “Yes. It was right as everyone was leaving. I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to fix the lift. I saw Mr. Malfoy walking back to his office, and I told him that I was going to shut down the lift to fix one of the glitches, and I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take. I told him I would wait for him to grab his belongings from his office and use the lift to leave before I shut it down.”

            “And what else did he say?”

            “He thanked me for the offer, but told me that he was working late that evening, and wasn’t leaving soon. The fix took shorter than I expected – only a few minutes – and I left within the half hour.”

            Hushed whispers broke over the crowds when the statement reached their ears. Members of the jury and even Buckley sat up straighter in their chairs.

            “Did Mr. Malfoy tell you why he was working late?”

            “No, he didn’t. But I assume it was on a project.”

            “You assume, but don’t know.”

            “Yes, sir.”

            The judge waited for the talking to stop, and reached for his gavel when it failed to let up.

            “Ladies and Gentlemen, order! Order in this courtroom!”

            Hermione leaned back into her seat, bringing a closed fist to her lips. Every single witness so far had testified against him, whether they knew it or not. Her eyes searched for Draco, who had his bent slightly, and his hands clutched in front of him. Barry Samsburg was still beside him, watching the scene unfold behind his glasses.

            Buckley was next to stand.

            “Your honor, may I please speak to the jury?” he shot with an agitated tone.

            Barry shot up after.

            “Not until I do, your honor,” he spat.

            Judge Mason rolled his eyes before banging his gavel.

            “Neither of you are speaking anymore today. The jury can make up their own minds on the statements of the witness.”

            He picked up the gavel once again.

            “Court is adjourned for the weekend. Session will begin on Monday at 8:00 AM. Dismissed.”

            Everyone burst from their silence and began to exit the courtroom, or discuss today’s events with their neighbor. Hermione watched breathlessly as Draco was once again removed in handcuffs from the room, and escorted out by the guards to his cell.

            “This doesn’t look good for Draco.” Adeila stated while she shook her head.

            Hermione sighed.

            “No, it doesn’t.”

            Sensing a dip in Hermione’s mood, Adeila seemed to brighten her mood.

            “Hermione, you’re picking out a dress today! Isn’t that exciting?”

            Hermione returned her friend’s smile.

            “Yes, definitely.”

            Adelia began to exit from the box.

            “We’ve seen enough of this courtroom for a while. Let’s go to your dress fitting.”

            Hermione nodded.

            “Let’s go.”

            Hermione didn’t know what to expect when she entered the dress boutique that afternoon. She had a rather simple taste, and didn’t want to bring much attention to herself in a giant, frilly gown with a never-ending train. When Hermione arrived after opening the glass door, she walked to an elegant reception table covered in glass flower vases. Behind the desk, a younger woman with sleek black hair was scribbling away. Her face lit up when she saw Hermione.

            “Hello! Do you have an appointment?”

            Hermione glanced around the room.

            “My name is Hermione Granger. My maid of honor, Ginny Weasley, scheduled my wedding dress fitting…”

            The woman sat up straighter as her smile slowly faded.

            “Hermione Granger? I…I can’t believe I’m meeting you.”

            She walked from behind the desk and reached out a hand.

            “My name is Marie. I’m the receptionist here. Your party is waiting in one of the fitting rooms.”

            Hermione smiled.

            “Thank you.”

            “Follow me.”

            She motioned for Hermione to follow her past the ornate showroom, where hundreds of dresses were displayed on golden racks which circled the room. After walking down a hall lined with oil-paintings, Marie turned placed a hand on the door.

            “Your family and friends are already in here. And Madame Aubouchon will be with you shortly.”

            “Thank you, Marie.”

            Before Hermione could open the door, Marie spoke.

            “Hermione? I just wanted to thank you for everything you and your friends did during the war.”

            A warm smile spread over Hermione’s face.

            “You’re welcome, Marie.”

            After Marie left to return back to the front desk, Hermione pushed the door open herself. She found herself in a rather sizeable circular room, covered in white. On the far wall was a mirrored stand, where she assumed the bride would stand and be fitted. There was a quaint sitting area around it, with elegant flower vases littering each table. Other decorative furniture which included cabinets, a desk, and oil paintings decorated the rest of the room. Sitting on the couches, Hermione saw her company.

            “There she is,” Mrs. Weasley cooed as she rushed to Hermione, taking her face between her palms.

            “Hi, Mrs. Weasley,” she replied with a smile.

            Hermione found Ginny and Adelia sitting on the couch in front of her, who also happened to be sitting by her mother. She saw her mother rise and warmly walk towards her with extended arms.

            “Hermione.”

            She hugged her mother, cherishing the familiar scent which lay embedded in her lavender sweater.

            “How are you, dear? I feel as if it’s been ages!” her mother exclaimed as she grabbed her daughter’s arms, and surveyed her.

            “I’m good, really.”

            Her mother clicked her tongue as she motioned for her daughter to turn.

            “You look a bit thinner than usual, Hermione.”

            Hermione playfully rolled her eyes.

            “Stop it, mum. I look the same as always.”

            Mrs. Weasley chided in.

            “I always tell her she should eat more. But never as much as my boys, of course.”

            “Will you leave her alone?” Ginny added as she reached Hermione to hug her, “We’re here to pick out a dress, not examine her to death.”

            “I’m just being her mother,” Her mum comforted with a smile.

            Hermione followed her mother, Ginny and Mrs. Weasley to the sitting area, where she greeted Adelia, and began to wait for Madame Aubuchon.

            “You are all here!” chirped a high voice from behind them.

            Madame Aubouchon entered the white fitting room with a cheery grin to make her bouncy personality. She was a petite woman, with tight golden curls pinned into a knot behind her head. A pair of violet rectangular glasses was perched on the bridge of her nose, along with matching whimsical earrings, and a vibrant shade of fuchsia on her lips. A tight olive colored sweater clung to her slender frame, and a dark skirt with a similar fit ended just above her knees. To complete her outfit, she even managed to balance on a pair of unmistakably tall pumps.

            “And where is the bride?” she asked with a lingering French accent as she held up her hands.

            “Right here,” Hermione waved from her position between her mother and Ginny.

            Madame Aubouchon grinned as she hurried over to Hermione, and held out her hands.

            “It is an honor to meet you, Ms. Granger.”

            “I’m excited to work with you too,” Hermione returned with a smile.

            She watched Madame Aubouchon walk to the small podium in front of the mirrors, and usher Hermione in her direction. Hermione followed and stood beside her in front of the mirrors.

            “Oh, my dear. You are stunning.”

            Hermione blushed.

            “That’s very kind of you to say.”

            Madame Aubouchon shook her head.

            “I mean it. You have the most beautiful brown eyes.”

            She watched the designer hop of the podium and face the group.

            “I have a few in mind that would look magnificent on her. I’ll go find them, and she can model them for you.”

            Hermione’s eyes widened.

            “Model?”

            Madame Aubouchon chuckled.

            “Oh, just give them a few turns. That’s all. Come now, dearie.”

            Hermione followed Madame Aubouchon behind a nearby door, where she plucked a handful of dressed from the various racks. She chose a first pick for Hermione, helped her put the gown on, and ushered her out towards her family.

            “This is the first of the ones I chose,” she motioned as Hermione appeared.

            Hermione walked past the couches and stepped up onto the podium in front of the mirrors. When she saw herself, her lip curled a fraction. The dress had a loose fitting bodice which led to a poofing skirt littered with bows and pearls. After surveying herself, she turned.

            Her mother’s eyes widened in shock, Mrs. Weasley’s brow narrowed, Ginny began to violently shake her head, and Adeila seemed to combine the movements of all three.”

            “Absolutely not,” Ginny shot.

            “It’s not you,” Adelia chided.

            “I think there’s something wrong with it,” Mrs, Weasley half whispered.

            “I’ve seen prettier things on you, dear,” her mother warmly stated, covering up her disapproval of the dress.

            Hermione nodded.

            “I agree. Another choice?” she asked Madame Aubouchon.

            For the next few hours, Hermione seemed to try on every single dress in the designer’s gown room, but each came with disapproval from her companions, and mostly from herself. None of these seemed like her; all were too extravagant for her taste. She felt slightly bad for Madame Aubouchon, who had to hear commentary on her creations from Mrs. Weasley and Ginny, who were very vocal about their opinions.

            The next dress she tried on seemed to have no end, and when she walked out into the room, the reactions were as expected. When Hermione saw herself in the mirrors, her mouth opened in shock. She seemed to be trapped in mountain of ruffles, which began at her neck, and continued down to her feet.

            Ginny covered her eyes with a free hand.

            “Hermione, it’s ghastly,” Ginny shot.

            “You seem somewhat like a snow creature,” Adelia tried to nicely state through narrowed eyes.

            While Mrs. Weasley held up her hands, and closed her eyes as she violently shook her head, her mother tiled her head to the side.

            “Ruffles never suited you, I’m afraid.”

            Madame Aubouchon’s smile seemed to fall a fraction.

            “I’m afraid we’ve gone through most of my dresses in the store.”

            Hermione sighed.

            “Well, we need to have the dress by today. I don’t have any time for any fittings before the wedding…”

            Madame Aubouchon brought a hand to her chin.

            “Give me a few moments. I may just have something in mind.”

            She scurried from the room, and remained in the dress room for a few minutes, before ushering Hermione inside to try on her new pick. Hermione, unable to see herself in a mirror just yet, wasn’t able to just the final contender. When she followed the designer from the room, Hermione decided not to look at anyone’s expressions until she judged it first. Hermione half closed her eyes as she stepped onto the podium, and allowed the fabric to fall beside her.

            When she opened her eyes, her bottom lip released from the top half. The dress was stunning; it had a tighter bodice with a sweetheart neckline that went to her mid waist, and led to a flowing elegant skirt which fell around her legs. The skirt was covered in tiny sparkles, and was finished with an intricate lace hem. After taking in the gown, she turned to the couches.

            Ginny was speechless, her expression mimicking Hermione’s. Beside her, Adelia was radiantly grinning with her hands covering her lips. Mrs. Weasley was smiling with her hands clasped together in front of her, and she even caught her mother possibly holding back a few tears.

            “Well?” asked Madame Aubouchon.

            Hermione allowed a smile to form on her face.

            “I love it. I think it’s the most beautiful dress I’ve come across. I’m sure it’s the one,” she beamed.

            “Hermione, darling, you look absolutely stunning,” her mother cooed through misty tears.

            “You look like a princess,” Adeila said through her grin.

            Mrs. Weasley threw her a giant smile.

            “Just lovely.”

            Ginny stood up to get a closer look, and jumped back to catch Hermione’s gaze.

            “This is it. I mean, I can’t see you in anything else. It’s the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen.”

            “We’ll be taking this one.” Her mother told Madame Aubouchon as she stood to chat with the designer.

            While her mother and Mrs. Weasley began chatting excitedly with Madame Aubouchon, and Adeila began giving adoring comments to Ginny about the delicate details of the skirt. Hermione turned to look her herself in the angled mirrors once again.

            It was strange seeing herself in her wedding dress. The image before her had always been present in her daydreams and images of her wedding in her head as a little girl. She ran her hands over the bodice, and the fabric of the skirt, feeling every inch of silk beneath her fingertips.

            The realization of how close her wedding was approaching finally had hit Hermione as she stood on the circular podium in front of the mirrors. It had always been a date, a fantasy in her mind, but very soon, all the planning would unfold into one day. She was marrying Ron Weasley, her childhood best friend turned boyfriend. All her life she had always imagined the flowers, the gowns, the guests, the cakes, and the vows, but she had never been able to place an exact face on her groom. But now she could.

            Hermione closed her eyes as these memories swirled behind her eyelids. Her stomach suddenly twisted when she understood why these images felt somewhat wrong. There had been a face on her groom when she was younger; an intricately detailed face which she had imaged would be standing beside her on the day that was fast approaching. But it had never been Ron who had placed the golden ring on her finger in her teenage dreams: it had been Draco.

            The sound of his name ringing in her chest caused her to tilt her head to the side. When she had been 14, 15, 17, Draco had been beside her. It was only natural for a young girl to picture her current love beside her at the altar one day. It had never been Ron until recently. It had always been Draco who she pictured waiting for her with smile at the end of the altar.

            Feeling a sudden dampness upon her cheeks, she lifted her fingertips to graze the sides of her face. Tracing the lines with her fingers, she realized that she had begun to cry, and tears were leaking from the corners of her eyes. Her face was numb, unable to stop the water dripping  under her eyelashes. Hermione watched her silent tears form under her brown eyes, slowly descend down her red cheeks, wrap around her chin, and fall in tiny droplets to the carpet.

            “Hermione!”

            Her mother became visible in the reflection, her lips parted in worry as she wrapped her arms around her daughter.

            “Is everything alright?”

            Hermione turned to face her mother, opening her lips a fraction to respond with a mechanical “yes.” She froze however, as the tears fell over her lips.

            Her mother pulled Hermione to her chest as she placed a hand on her chestnut curls. Hermione clung to her mother, allowing the feelings to overcome her, and praying they would leave as quickly as they always seemed to.

            Ginny, Adelia and Mrs. Weasley held back, allowing Mrs. Granger to comfort her child. Madame Auboudon placed a hand on Hermione’s back.

            “It is always emotional to find your dress. I believe a wedding dress is not just a gown; it’s a symbol of your special day, and of your new, happy life.”

            Mrs. Granger chuckled.

            “She’s fine, just overwhelmed with happiness. My daughter is known for stressing herself past her limits. It’s such a stunning dress, and she loves it.”

            Madame Aubouchon grinned.

            “Oh yes, I’ve seen brides weeping on the ground, brides screaming like banshees, and even brides fainting with joy when they find their perfect gown. Not to worry.”

            As Mrs. Weasley, Ginny and Adeila thanked Madame Aubouchon with hugs, Hermione remained buried into her mother’s chest, going against her stubbornness, and allowed herself to be physically comforted. Even if her mother failed to understand the truth welled inside her shimmering tears.
Hi readers! There's chapter 18! Wow, 18 chapters already...I hope you all enjoyed the dress fitting scene, but I have to admit I teared up when writing the last bit. For those of you who are getting a little frustrated, just wait! I promise you'll be satisfied eventually :)

I also have to thank everyone who has read and reviewed this story. The feedback I get from you on this story is amazing, and each review has helped me so much! Thanks so much guys!

And oh my gosh...Deathly Hallows part 2 was AMAZING! I've never cried that much during a movie, but I was beyond awesome. I loved every minute of it:) Although Draco looked a bit odd in the 19 years later, didn't he?? haha :)

Please review! It only takes a few little seconds:)

Until Chapter 19,

-katie :D

 


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