Chapter 5 : Part V – Taking Steps
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It was quiet. Then again it was Sunday morning and she was the only one in her house that was awake. The fact that Ginny was one of only two people who lived in her house made it quiet most of the time. But as Ginny stretched out in bed then scrunched her toes to make them click, she knew her quiet Sunday lay ins were numbered. In fact, on Tuesday she would have her first appointment with a healer who would likely tell her just how many Sunday lay ins she had left… until she became a mother.
Ginny wasn’t surprised when she tilted her head slightly to the left to find her husband, who rarely slept in past 8am, staring at her. Not staring, watching. She had noticed him watching her for days and she was pretty sure he knew that she had noticed. Harry was waiting her to finally talk to him about their pending baby. Maybe a little about her lack of quidditch/career/job, but probably more about what her thoughts were on the subject. Baby and no quidditch. Sure, she wasn’t really overly keen on giving up something she worked so hard to achieve, but that was side effect of having a baby.
But how do you tell the person you love that the one thing they really want is the one thing that you kind of dont don’t? Okay so she did want kids but not yet.
When Harry’s arms scooped her onto her side she put up no fight, instead she pressed her face into his chest and snaked her hands around him. With his chin on her head, this was her favorite place to be in the world. Most likely Harry knew that and took the opportunity to talk about the things she had been avoiding.
“I’ve said it last night a million times, but I’m going to say it again. I really am glad you changed your mind about playing quidditch,” his words were spoken softly into her hair.
Ginny wasn’t at all glad like Harry so she just made a grunting noise in reply. She was desperately trying to be fine with her decision to quit quidditch but she just needed time. After all she had only given in last night!
“I know this is not something you really want to do Ginny,” his voice was so soft. It was the tenderness in Harry’s voice that made her shuffle up the bed, out of her favorite nook, to lay her head on his pillow to look at him face to face. “I wish I knew how to make this situation better for you. I just don’t know what to do except to promise you that I will get you back on that broom.”
“Oh really?” Ginny said with a small smile.
“Yes. I’ve already thought about it. Well do that calorie counting thing your crazy couch, Jones, is always talking about that I promised to do with you last time but didn’t.”
“So you won’t stash chocolate frogs in your draw at work this time?”
“No,” Harry chuckled. “And we’ll go buy the best, most expensive jogging pram and we’ll go jogging.”
“We? You’re going to jog too?” Harry didn’t jog. He openly despised it… now. But when they had first moved in together Harry had gone jogging with her every morning. The thing was that Ginny had never even asked him to come with her; she went every morning before they lived together. It was part of her daily routine. But for some reason Harry either thought it was the right or thing to do and started coming with her. It was only after a few too many beers one night that Harry admitted he hated jogging, but went anyway because he liked watching her run. Ginny had then admitted she wished he didn’t come anyway because he slowed her down, even though it suddenly made sense why he constantly ran behind her. “You’re kidding.”
“Absolutely not. I’ll do whatever it takes to help you get back in the game. I really mean it.”
“Even jogging,” Ginny repeated to herself with a chuckle. “You do realize it’s actually going to take more than just jogging and calorie counting, right?”
Harry pulled a faux-thoughtful face, looking up at the headboard of their bed. “Well we’ve got a couple of months to figure that out. I didn’t say this was a definitive plan, but I can think if a few more activities we could do together.”
When he looked back down at her with a sly smile she should have been more prepared for what he did next. It took only seconds for him to roll them over, though it probably helped that she didn’t put up any resistance. Being pinned under Harry wasn’t a bad place to be. “I would say this would fall under ‘cardio’.”
Despite her recent bad mood, Ginny found herself laughing properly for the first time in a week. Though she still didn’t really know where she stood on the topic of babies and pregnancy at that moment the promise that she would get her career back made it all a little easier. But in reality she knew what made it better was probably just Harry.
Friends were nice. One could go and get one of them pendants with the wiggly cut down the middle that joined back up just right and give the other half to a friend. But Hannah didn’t want a wiggly cut, half pendant! She did not want to be Neville’s friend, but that’s what she was.
All she could think of that she had asked him out and he just wanted to be her friend! Of course it should have been completely obvious seeing as he said no and neglected to reschedule. Having the same amount of double letters in their names didn’t get her over the ‘more than friends’ line. It just made her slightly weird and maybe that’s why Neville wanted to keep his distance and just stay friends.
So in light of making a complete fool of herself, Hannah had avoided doing any bar work in the middle of the day so not to see Neville when he came to get his lunch. It meant spending time in the hotel part of the Leaky and straightening tacky floral bedspreads.
She was going over the list of check-ins for the day, mentally ticking off made up rooms to each name when someone pushed the bell at the counter. Fair enough to push it when no one was standing at the counter, but she was standing a metre from it. In the name of customer service she forced herself to smile, though slightly fake, as she looked up at the bell-ringing customer.
“I asked Tom, he said you were hiding here,”
“I wasn’t hiding,” which was a lie, but when Neville happened to be the person standing in front of her, she decided it was ok to lie. You could tell white lies to friends.
“It was just a figure of speech, I just hadn’t seen you so…” His sentence finished in a low mumble.
“Right,” she said slowly staring him in the eyes. An awkward silence fell between them, but for reasons she could not fully explain to herself she stared up him unblinkingly. She knew she looked a little impatient and maybe a little rude, but the best she could think was that this was the best way to look unfazed by his rejection to her date suggestion. When he didn’t say anything, she spoke up, but immediately regretted her words. “Did you want something?”
“Well, um, kind of,”
Again, when he didn’t speak, she looked back at him expectantly.
“I just, wanted to know if you’re free on Saturday night?”
“Ah, no,” she said honestly.
Her brain ticked through her work roster before it clicked onto why he might want to know why she was free on Saturday night. But it was too late, and Neville dug his hands in his pockets before giving an awkward shrug. “Oh, I guess I…”
“It’s just that I just had Saturday off for Harry’s birthday so… I work in a pub, Neville. Saturdays are our busiest day,” Hannah said cutting him off, hoping to explain her thoughtless and quick no. While part of her wished, it was also the part that hoped, Neville would just ask her out in a firm solid way, she couldn’t deny that was one of the things she found endearing about him. While the word ‘friends’ floated through her thoughts she just… just really liked Neville. More than she cared to admit. So even though she could make a fool of herself all over again, she couldn’t just let him shyly leave. “I’m free Wednesday and Thursday. Are you?”
“Wednesday, Thursday, definitely.”
It was slow, but it was a start away from wiggly-cut half pendants and over the ‘more than friends’ line. After all, her granddad did always say, slow and steady wins the race. Hannah hoped he was right.
Lavender wished she could have had a chance to prepare for having her heart broken like people prepare for bad weather. If someone knew they were going to get snowed in, then they would stock up on supplies. Although eating baked beans from a can was getting old, she could live with that just to stay in. But the last roll of toilet paper was not going to last long and that was something she could not live without.
If the slew of visitors that came to visit her, offer their condolences and make sure she was all right had awkwardly told her anything, it was that she looked a mess. Which wasn’t surprising really, because that’s exactly how she felt. So when she left to stock up on supplies she didn’t look in the mirror, because she didn’t want to see how horrible she looked. Instead she found her biggest sunglasses and kept her hair down and in her face.
The whole trip had been exceptionally uneventful, which Lavender was thankful. An uneventful life was more appealing than ever. But it would seem that the fates did not intend to keep it that way for long. If she had still been into divination she might have taken the time to foresee this.
It had been six days and of all the visitors that had visited, none of them had been Seamus, and now here he was. Her first instinct was to spin around and walk back in the direction she came from, but from his spot on the steps to her building he had already seen her. Of course it was hard to miss her while she was carrying an eight pack to three-ply. Instead she decided to simply walk past and pretend she had not seen him.
In a determined pace, she took the stairs two at a time as she passed Seamus. When he called her name, she kept on going. In her head she imagined what it would be like to throw a can of beans at him, but as satisfying as it was, she simply did not want to look at him. When she continued to ignore him, she registered his voice getting louder, that it was following her, but still she continued to ignore it.
That was until he grabbed her arm.
Lavender looked determinedly at her grocery bag, and not up at Seamus. “Let go of my arm.”
“Look, I can explain,” His voice sounded desperate as he let go. “It didn’t mean anything. I promise. I love you.”
It was the three words that she did not ever want to hear from him. Before she knew it, her daydream became a reality. Groceries on the floor, she found herself swinging the value eight pack of toilet paper. “That’s not love… you… you… turd!”
When she felt two arms grab her from behind, she vaguely registered that someone was trying to stop her from beating Seamus with the three-ply. When her hands could no longer reach Seamus, she found herself trying desperately to kick him. “If you loved me, you would have been here six days ago,” she shouted. “You weren’t and that’s not love,” she said delivering a kick to his knee. “And I… I don’t love you so just… fuck off!”
When she looked back on the absolute scene she made of herself, she was sure she heard a male voice telling Seamus he had better go. She was sure that Seamus had tried to speak to her, but she had not heard it. She hadn’t wanted to hear it. When he was gone from her sight, Lavender felt sense slip back into her slowly along with the realization at someone had witnessed her lose the plot.
Slowly she spun around and found herself face to face with Ernie Macmilan. She often forgot he lived two floors above her “I ah…”
“You ruined your toilet paper,” he said with a small smile. “If it makes you feel any better, I’d want to beat him too. Might have picked the weapon better though.”
Lavender didn’t really know what to say. She was sure that he was trying to lighten the mood but she just didn’t think it that funny in the current situation. Maybe another time, but not now. She found herself staring at him, confused and perplexed. “Well I’ll just get going. Thank you for holding me back, I guess?” She added s shrug for good measure.
Like a perfect gentleman he picked up her groceries, and silently they climbed the remaining stairs to her floor. At the top they shared a silent bag exchange, “Thank you again,” she added as she turned to leave.
“Just so you know, some of the best songs were written because of heartbreak.”
“What?” Her head snapped in his direction. But he had already started back onto the stairs.
“I hear you playing your guitar sometimes. I like it,”
Though he had called them over his shoulder, his words made her smile to herself… until she realized she still needed to get more toilet paper.
“I want a dog,” Ron said.
Sometimes when there was nothing else to do and the weather permitted Hermione and Ron found themselves at the small park at the end of their street. It wasn’t particularly pretty or green but it was outdoors and the fresh air was good. Living in a townhouse didn’t give a lot of room to stretch their legs and Hermione had always thought that Ron rather missed the large yard of the Burrow.
Sometimes they’d watch kids play football but today they got to sit and watch a puppy training school.
“We don’t really have the space,” Hermione added practically. “It would be cruel to the dog.”
“Yeah probably,” Ron said wistfully, likely still thinking of having a dog.
Hermione leaned into Ron’s shoulder and watched young couples trying to get their wayward puppies to sit by holding snacks above their noses. She found herself watching the couple closest to them who were spending more time bickering and laughing at the other’s lack of puppy training skills than actually teaching their pet any obedience, though they seemed to be having the most fun.
“You’re useless, I do not know why I married you,”
“Because your mum paid me!”
To the instructor’s dislike, his face was full of frustration, the couple began laughing loudly, distracting the rest of the group and their dogs. Despite herself Hermione smiled thinking that if they did get a dog, they would probably be that couple. The one that bickered and made fun of each other, that they’d be that distracting couple at the back.
Except they wouldn’t be married.
Suddenly, as though the words had a life force of their own she heard herself say, “Ron, marry me.”
Sure, she had given Ginny’s advice some serious thought but she had not decided to go and propose marriage. After the words came out of her mouth she sat deadly still trying to work out if she had indeed said what she thought she had. But she guessed by the stiffness of Ron’s arm wrapped around her shoulder, she actually did say them.
Hermione turned slowly to look up at Ron, hoping he hadn’t turned catatonic or something similar. His blue eyes met hers. “No,” he said quickly. “No no no you cant ask me that.”
“What?” She whispered in confusion. In her mind, when it came to getting married to Ron it was a matter of when, not if. Never did she expect he would say no.
All of a sudden, Ron went from stiff as a board to waving his hands around in panic. “I just mean, no you can’t ask me. Harry has you’re ring,”
“Oh,” Hermione whispered. “So um… You were going to ask me?’
“Yes,” He proclaimed a little too loudly. “Dinner at a fancy-smancy restaurant and everything. I guess I don’t have to worry about you saying no then,” his finished with an awkward smile and a cough laugh.
For the second time that day she lost control of her actions as she launched herself through the small space between them. Hermione did not remember they were in public until she and Ron fell from the bench with a thump. Their audience of several people and their k-9’s watched her and Ron detangle themselves, some disgusted and some amused.
With Ron’s hand on her back they made a hasty departure from the park and their prying eyes. “I can’t believe you just did that in the middle of the park,” she accused between fits of giggles.
“What? You attacked me!”
“You didn’t say no!”
“Indeed, I didn’t.”
Author’s note: I have no good excuse for the excessive delay except life. But I have plenty more written no so we’re all good for more updated in the near future. Let me know what you think; your favourite part or line and any old thing you like in a review. I heart them.