Chapter 4 : The Invitation
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Hermione closed her eyes for a moment, hoping that she could possibly get back to sleep but as soon as her lids shut out the little light that was in her room, she saw them. She saw those eyes that she was worried about seeing again; the eyes that bore down into her as if they were judging her from the inside out. The brunette shivered. Draco Malfoy’s eyes flashed in her mind’s eye and that seemed to be the deciding factor for her and she threw the covers off of her lower body.
And he had to get into my head, didn’t he? Typical Malfoy. Hermione narrowed her eyes, hoping he could feel the burn of her gaze. Why did he have to look so- so haggard? Hermione cursed herself silently before she could get a chance to feel sorry for Draco and attempted to push him out of her head completely. It worked almost immediately and she was grateful for that.
She sighed quietly as she sat up in bed and dangled her feet off the edge. Hermione pulled her bundle of hair back into an elastic band before getting up and moving towards the window and putting her slippers on in one fell swoop. On her way, she grabbed her wand off of her tall dresser and put it through her pony tail. She had done so every morning since Hogwarts, and sometimes throughout the day as well; she found it the best way to keep track of it when it was not in her pocket. Not to mention it kept her hair under wraps just a bit more than usual.
Hermione approached the window within moments and opened the latch to allow the pane of glass to swing inwards. The owls hooted thankfully and hopped into the bedroom, making their way to Sebastian’s perch quickly. Now that they were inside, the two owls seems slightly more patient as Hermione made her way to a tray of treats she kept for her snowy owl. She approached the large, reddish ministry owl first, offering a treat she carried as she took the letter he offered to her. As soon as the owl was satisfied, it squeaked and spread its wings and flew off out the window; Hermione assumed back to the ministry owlery. With one letter in her hand, she moved over slightly offering the smaller, white and brown owl a treat as she took the letter it had for her.
The small owl did not take off as the other one had, so Hermione realized quickly that it had been given instructions to await a response from Hermione. She left the owl on Sebastian’s perch as she moved toward the kitchen. With one last peek into her bedroom, Hermione noticed the owl tuck its head into its left wing and she decided to take her time so that the animal could rest.
With both letters in hand, Hermione made her way to the kitchen and she rubbed her eyes with her empty hand as she attempted to free her mind of the previous night’s sleep. As Hermione passed the kitchen table towards the coffee maker with sleepy determination she threw the two letters onto the surface so that she had both hands to work with. The brunette had always liked doing things the muggle way, as a witch when everything could be simple and instant she loved the way it helped calm her and bring her back down to earth. Even after fourteen years of knowing she was a witch, sometimes it all seemed like a dream, like one day she would wake up and she would be eleven once again waiting for the New Year at her public school to start. The day had never come, and for that Hermione was thankful. After finishing the preparation of the coffee, Hermione grabbed her wand from her hair and gave the machine a tap, helping the maker produce the coffee that she so desired a bit move a bit faster.
After fixing her coffee just the way she liked it in her overly large mug, Hermione moved slowly to the kitchen window. The brunette tugged on the light blue fabric of the drapes and they opened to a scene that she loved a little more every time she saw it. Hermione took a small, hesitant sip of her coffee –careful not to burn herself- and watched the sun began to colour the sky with a simple line of orange on the far horizon. Obviously the sun, much unlike her, was a late sleeper and decided to take its time. Hermione knew that the sun would be fully awake in little time so she decided, with one last glance out the window, that it was time to begin the day without the sun’s blessing. After all, life must go on.
From her usual spot at the kitchen table, Hermione looked up after placing her coffee mug down, she could see the ever growing glow of orange and she smiled lightly. The view was the reason that she had not-so-silently claimed the first morning that her and Ron had been in the cottage. They had stayed up all night unpacking the muggle way, much to Ron’s dismay, and the sun had greeted them kindly.
A small sigh escaped the brunette as she brought the coffee cup to her lips and found herself relieved when it had cooled enough to take a larger sip; caffeine was her best friend just then, the previous night had no doubt taken a toll on her. It wasn’t as if Hermione was a stranger to sleepless nights. Not in the slightest, but it had been a while.
The woman’s sleepy eyes looked around her kitchen for what seemed the first time in months; possibly even years. Sure, she had looked at it but she wasn’t sure that she had actually seen it. Autopilot sometimes did that to Hermione and a sad smile appeared on her face as she took in her surroundings.
The small, round mahogany kitchen table sat in front of her, she had opted not to get table cloths for it because both she and Ron had liked the look of the wood. She sat on one of the four matching chairs that sat around the table looking as empty as she felt. Quickly she looked away, hoping she could abate the oncoming tears with a change of scenery. The small kitchen boasted white cabinets and a pale blue colour on the walls, not unlike the slightly darker drapes she had pulled back not more than a few minutes previous, and a dark wood floor similar to the table she sat at.
It was a simple country kitchen, and that was what Hermione liked about it. The appliances were old fashioned; a small white gas range stove, vintage fridge in a powder blue, old farm house sink below the large window. It was the character that had made her fall in love with the house. The soft grey counter tops slid in a U shape from the back wall out to the middle of the room, fortunately there had been enough room for them both to move around it. Not that it had mattered either way; Ron never used anything in their kitchen properly, the muggle way.
Just passed the arm of the U that intersected the middle of the room was a pair of glass paned doors that lead out to the rolling fields that served as her backyard. Without thinking, Hermione moved towards the doors and pulled the shades up, filling the room with a bit more light than it had previously. The sun had finally decided to make an appearance, as she could see a tiny sliver of the orange orb over the hill straight in front of her. With another small sigh, Hermione moved herself back to her spot at the table and looked at the two letters that were waiting patiently for her to open them.
Hermione shook her head and grabbed for her coffee once more, with her eyes planted firmly on the window as she watched the sun rise. For once in her life, Hermione chose not to be punctual, she felt almost liberated. Almost. She brought the oversized mug to her lips, took a generous swig and watched as - what some would call - a beautiful scene unfolded just outside her window. She knew the feeling would subside eventually so she enjoyed it as long as it would let her.
A few seconds ticked by, Hermione measured by the faint but ever present ticking of her living room clock, and slowly lowered her eyes from the ever growing sliver of sun. Her honey brown eyes settled on the two letters in front of her. One was large and brown, the parchment looked thick and there was a ministry seal that she could see since the letter had landed upside down. The other was smaller and looked lighter. The envelope was crisp and white, almost blindingly so, and it had a medium blue wax seal that had something she did not recognize represented on it.
Hermione clicked her tongue a couple of times as her eyes moved from one to the other and back again. It was a hard choice, and for the second time in her life –and that day- Hermione chose the less official looking of the two so she could put off work for at least one more moment.
Upon closer inspection of the crisp white envelope’s seal, Hermione could see that it was an animal of some sort but the wax had curled in on itself slightly making it near impossible to identify what it was exactly. Only a moment after the seal had been broken, Hermione dropped the thick envelope onto the table with a small gasp.
From inside the envelope she heard small cheers and applause followed by a slow wedding march. Curious, Hermione picked up the envelope once more and finished opening it. The wedding march died down and the cheers erupted again as a bunch of confetti bits threw themselves at the brunette. Hermione could not help but smile a little bit as the pieces of paper flittered down towards the floor, some catching in her hair and the rest finally stopping on the table. Hermione’s eyes narrowed as she grabbed a small pinch of the paper and realized that they were little animal cut outs; lions and ravens, to be precise. The ravens were a bronze colour, and the lions gold and immediately Hermione got the reference to the Hogwarts houses; what she did not get, however, was who was getting married. The woman racked her brain attempting to recall any of her Ravenclaw friends and Gryffindor friends who had showed interest in each other.
Slowly, Hermione pulled the double thick parchment out of the singing envelope which finally stopped making noise once the invitation was out. Another small gasp emerged from the woman’s lips as her mind slowly realized what the -clearly charmed- invitation was telling her.
Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood wish for your presence on the day of their wedding.
The bold lettering gave way to show a moving picture of Hermione’s old friends waving and smiling up at her from their little place in the invitation. It seemed as if they were sharing a joke, and then the picture version of her friends kissed. The brunette couldn’t help by smile to herself as she watched the picture fade and more words appear. She tried reading the words but soon felt the familiar sting of tears behind her eyes. Hermione’s vision slowly blurred and for a moment she attempted to bite back the tears that would soon wash over her freckled cheeks.
“I didn’t even know they were together.” Hermione scolded herself out loud in her lonely kitchen, her voice almost as watery as her eyes. Quickly enough, her vision blurred seemingly beyond repair and within an instant she went blind to the world.
People bustled about with their daily lives, seemingly blissfully unaware of the tourist couple that found themselves amongst the finest shops and individual grocers that Paris had to offer. Hermione was grateful for Ron who had quite obviously found a lunch bistro well off the beaten path of the other tourists, hopefully so she would have the feel for the real Paris before they left. Hand in hand, the brunette and redhead made their way slowly down the cobblestone pedestrian street towards the bistro, neither of them had any reason to worry or rush. For once in their lives they had a chance to relax, and both of them planned to enjoy it; armed with light smiles on their faces as they passed multitudes of people.
Neither of them spoke, Hermione was comfortable in the silence and Ron seemed content with the fact that Hermione was happy. After a few more moments, the pedestrian street came to an end with the flourish of a public garden. They entered willingly, unable to resist the charm of the waist high wrought iron gate with the shrubs on either side. As they entered, a throng of smells hit them in the face, almost welcoming into the garden. Hermione was glad that it wasn’t over powering. They continued walking and soon found themselves sitting on a bench with the warm sun caressing their backs. Hermione breathed a small sigh of happiness, a smile playing at her lips, as people passed them by.
“Hermione?” Ron’s voice broke the comfortable silence between them. It was the first time that either had spoken since leaving the hotel, and if he had not been holding her hand she might have forgotten of his presence with all of the thoughts rolling around in her head as she took in the sights and sounds of the little Paris park.
“Yes Ron?” She turned her freckled face towards her boyfriend, a light smile playing at her lips still.
Ron seemed to be arguing with himself, in some sort of inner monologue, because his face displayed multiple emotions so quickly that Hermione did not have a chance to decipher them before he spoke again.
“Nevermind.” His quite voice rang out after a moment, his face broke into a smile and he squeezed the hand that was interlocked with his once. Ron placed a light kiss upon her cheek before returning his attention to the garden before him. Hermione, pleased with what had transpired, returned the small squeeze before resting her head on one of his broad shoulders.
A strangled cry brought the brunette back to her kitchen after only a few short minutes of blind sobbing. Hermione’s eyes finally cleared and she swiped the back of her hand roughly over her face to dry the tears away. With a final sniff she continued reading the wedding invitation, silently scolding herself for crying on such a happy occasion.
I will not think of him. This is a happy occasion and I will not ruin it for my friends, whether they are here or not. The woman thought to herself as she wiped at her face again, clearing the remaining streaks from her face.
The wedding will be taking place at the Lovegood family home on September Fifth.
Celebrations will begin promptly at seven minutes passed noon and will continue into the night.
Please send your RSVP with the owl provided as soon as possible.
With the words, there came a small box near the bottom of the invitation. It was a simple yes or no checkbox; Hermione checked the yes with tearful eyes and sniffled slightly once more. Before she knew it, she was up and moving toward her bedroom to the small bird awaiting her invitation. With one last look at the card in her hand, Hermione noticed something that was not there only moments previous. At the very bottom of the crisp invitation, in nearly illegible fine print, Hermione made out a few words:
The bride and groom wish that everyone enjoy their time of celebration therefore guests should note that they will be checked for Wrackspurts at the door.
The sentence made Hermione laugh out loud despite her previous mood, causing the little bird to ruffle its feathers and look at her as if she was crazy. As the owl flew off, Hermione was still laughing and continued to do so while showering. Harry and Ginny would have been pleased, and Hermione couldn’t help but be pleased with herself as well. It had been far too long since she had enjoyed a good laugh. The brunette was still chuckling to herself, with a large smile plastered on her face, as she turned on the spot and apparated to work for an uneventful Thursday.
A/N: Hey everyone! Here's chapter four! What did you think? I'm sorry this may seem a bit forced, it was hard to get out. I'm starting on chapter five now!