Chapter 3 : An unexpected surprise
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Chapter 3 An unexpected surprise
I feel so many things and am so lost in my thoughts that I just let my feet lead me toward my flat. It isn’t very far from St Mungos, so I know eventually I’ll end up there. As I walk, my tummy grumbles reminding me I need to eat, so I detour one street over to Diagon Alley to get something to eat, since Healer Thomas mentioned, it I am very hungry. I run through the books I have at the store mentally to see if I remember having a pregnancy book. I don’t think I do, and make a note to myself that I need to pick one up.
“Hermione?” A voice calls and I look up blinking trying to orient myself.
“Is that you? I haven’t seen you in ages.” The voice says again and I look over as a tall redheaded man walks up and envelopes me in a bear hug.
“Charlie?” I ask feeling happy; I hadn't seen Charlie since the war.
“The one and only.” He states, eerily echoing Malfoy, though grinning widely. “What are you up to?” He asks
“Oh, I am just going to get something to eat.” I answer feeling lighter, Charlie is one Weasley I never have had problems with.
Charlie just makes people feel better; he has a kind of energy about him that makes you want to smile. I have always enjoyed his company, and am pleased that I happen to run into him today. Maybe this Monday can get a little bit better.
“Well, let me treat you, and we can catch up.” He suggests and I nod and smile as he takes my hand and pulls me toward The Leaky Cauldron.
As we come to enter the pub, Charlie looks down and notices a thin bracelet that St. Mungos puts on all their unconscious patients when they enter. I hadn’t even realized that I had it on. The bracelet is charmed to show the patients name and reason for admittance. Mine would read: Hermione Granger Maternity. Panicked I pull my hand out of his and stuff it in my pocket covering the bracelet up until I figure out how to take it off.
“Are you okay?” Charlie asks concern written all over his face.
“Yes, just a check up, Cassie has the flu.” I tell him and smile as I pull him to a table and sit. I pick up the menu right away to decide what I want.
“Who is Cassie?” He questions looking over the menu as well.
“Oh, she works for me, at the bookstore.” I reply realizing he must not know about my new store.
“Apparently there is much I haven’t heard about. I found out just yesterday that you and Ron broke up.” He says looking at me.
“Um, yes.” I answer feeling sad and not looking up to meet Charlie’s gaze.
The waitress comes then to take our orders thankfully. I’m sure Ron didn’t tell his family what really happened and I’m sure that they all hate me now.
“You know, I would like the real story.” Charlie says smiling slightly. “I was told that you two decided that you would rather be friends, yet you haven’t came by the burrow once since the split, which I heard was close to a month ago?” He adds still looking at me.
I look away biting my bottom lip feeling sad and nervous, because I don’t want to cause problems. Even though now I have an even bigger problem seeing as how I am pregnant.
“Hermione.” Charlie says and waits for me to look up before he continues. “Ron is my brother, but I care about you also, please tell me what happened.” He asks as he reaches over and takes my hand.
I take a deep breath then let it out. “Well, I went over to Ron’s one day after work, to surprise him. I wanted to go out and celebrate a promotion I received at work.” I start to explain then realize I can’t stop talking. “I used the key he gave me, and let myself in. I was about to call out his name when I heard somebody else say it first.” I close my eyes even though it doesn’t stop the traitorous tears. “I was confused, so I made my way down the hall and when I reach the door of his bedroom...he was with Lavender.” I finish and drop my head to my free hand.
“Oh, Hermione.” Charlie murmurs and scoots over to wrap his arm around my shoulders. “I’m sorry, you had to go through that.” He says quietly. “Sometimes my brother is a prat.”
I lift my head and brush the tears away, trying to real in my emotions that have seemed to run wild. I lean back slightly so I can look at him and he pulls his arm off my shoulder.
“Can I tell you something?” I ask looking at him fully now.
“Yes, you can tell me something, but first, can I be honest with you?” He says.
I brace myself for him to tell me its all my fault, just like Ron did, and that Ron deserves better than me, and he changed his mind and doesn’t want to eat with me.
“Hermione, I have wanted to tell you that I sort of…” He stops, looks down at his hand that it resting on his thigh, then back up at me. “I have had a crush on you since before Ron and you started dating.” He says quickly while his face flames red.
My jaw drops, and I can’t get my mind to work through what he just said.
“I know you and my brother didn’t work out, mainly because he is a prat, and you probably need time, space, whatever, but if you would consider maybe going to dinner with me, like on a date…” He says looking a little embarrassed.
I finally get myself to close my mouth as the waitress comes back with our food. I look down at the table and then back up at Charlie. What is happening?
“You, have had a crush? On me?” I squeak.
“Um, yes, I think you are beautiful, and smart and I really like you.” He says softly though seriously.
“Really?” I ask in disbelief.
He chuckles and says. “Is that so hard to believe?” I shrug.
“Ah, what is it that you wanted to tell me?” He questions, looking hopeful that we can maybe just forget everything he just said.
“Oh, well, this may change how you feel about me. Also you can’t tell anyone.” I say and then after he nods I take a deep breath and then another. I have to tell someone, I guess if Charlie doesn’t tell anyone, then it’ll be okay. I don’t know if I can do this.
“Hermione, please, you can tell me. I promise not to do whatever it is that you are worried I’m going to do.” He says smiling at me, and I relax and little.
“Well, I did just come from the hospital.” I say then quickly add. “I didn’t go for a check-up, though Cassie does have the flu.” I let out a breath not realizing I was holding it.
“Okay.” Charlie says still smiling a little though looking a bit puzzled.
“Well, you see today, this morning I wasn’t feeling very well and I got sick at work. Then I was, um, arguing with someone and I fainted.” At this Charlie looks a little distressed. “I, he, apparated us to St. Mungos and when I woke up the Healers told me that I am…” I take another deep breath let it out and looking straight at Charlie I finish. “I am pregnant.”
Charlie seems to freeze, I feel him stiffen since he still has one of my hands in his.
I wait about thirty seconds and then whisper. “Its, Ron’s.”
That seems to snap him out of his shock and he takes in a hissing breath lets it out and looks down at my stomach, like the answers to all his questions would be found there. He looks back up to my face and seems to study it.
“Charlie, I can’t be with someone who cheats, I could never trust him again.” I say simply just to finish with my thoughts. “Please, you can’t tell him, yet.” I add reluctantly.
He nods slightly seeming to make up his mind about something. “Okay, I understand, and I trust you to do what you feel you need to. It is not my place to tell about this.” He says and squeezes my hand. “I do still want to take you on a date though.” He smiles widely.
I can’t help it that is the last thing I thought I would hear and I laugh. “Are you serious?” I ask him.
“Yes, I am serious. If you want to give it a try, I would love to take you out.” Charlie says as he starts to eat his lunch motioning for me to do the same. “I confess, I was looking for you today, when I ‘accidentally’ ran into you.” He grins at me and I laugh again.
“You’re sneaky, were you really in Slytherin and didn’t want anyone to know?” I question feeling much better than I was earlier.
“Nope, Gryffindor through and through.” He says laughing at my jibe.
“I think it would be nice to have dinner with you.” I finally answer his offer of a date.
Charlie looks up from his plate and smiles. “Good, how about Friday?”
“Friday is good.” I answer and smile back.
The rest of lunch is nice, we talk about his work with Dragons, and how he is taking some time off before heading back to Romania, and we talk about my bookstore. I tell him how I haven’t talked to pretty much any one since Ron and I split. He fills me in on Ginny’s Quidditch; apparently her team is in the running for the championship game. He tells me about how Harry has been asking about me, and keeps asking Ron what really happened. I also confide in how I was unhappy with my job at the ministry and how I felt taken advantage of.
“You know Hermione, I always thought you were really smart and that people would take advantage of you, I had hoped they wouldn’t.” He tells me making me blush.
“You know, that is sweet of you.” I say and smile at him. “I have some things I need to take care of this afternoon, so I better be going.” I say to him as I stand up and reach for my bag.
“I’ll walk you home.” He says taking my hand in his, and I smile.
After we settle the bill, we exit The Leaky Cauldron and start walking toward my flat. Just a few steps from the door, a reporter from the Daily Prophet rushes up to us with a cameraman hot on his heals. Suddenly a flash from a camera half blinds me and the reporter fires questions at us.
“Miss Granger, is it true you are pregnant? When are you due? Is it true that Draco Malfoy is the father? Who is this, does Mr. Malfoy know the mother of his child is with another man?”
I’m so shocked that I lean into a frozen Charlie while my hand unconsciously squeezes his. “How did they find out?” I whisper.
Charlie snaps out of it and apparates us away.
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