Chapter 10 - Deep regrets
Hermione got into work a little later than usual. She had chosen a tight pencil skirt and red blouse with matching pumps to wear. Usually she would throw on anything for work, but since she was now in a relationship, she felt the need to put more effort into her appearance.
Jaws opened as she entered her department. Was that really Hermione Granger? She walked in with confidence, looking forward to seeing Draco later.
Ron heard the rumours that Hermione had arrived in work looking like a siren, and wanted a better look himself. He couldn't believe what he saw - there was Hermione - yet it wasn't her either. Since when did she ever dress up like that? It was obvious to Ron that she was now definitely in a relationship with someone. He had to find out who it was.
Ron made his way to his office, trying to figure out how to approach Harry without seeming too nosey. Ron ached to know who had the privilege of dating Hermione. Ever since the Christmas Ball, Ron had every desire to be near Hermione. As much as he had been rude to her or ignored her, it hurt him to see her looking sad, but hurt him even more to see her looking happy.
Ron had been a fool for letting Hermione go. He had it all, and he knew it. But lust and desire were too strong for him. He had always had a weak spot for Lavender; she had thrown herself on him, and he didn't even once try to reject her advances. He thought he could juggle two women around, but as Lavender kept pestering him to break up with Hermione, he finally agreed to. He knew he chose the wrong girl, but he couldn't go back on his decision.
And now he was facing the bare truth of it all - he had thrown away the best thing that had ever happened to him.
Hermione entered her office, smiling after all the lovely comments she had received from her co-workers. For the first time in ages, she felt happy. She was sure she had moved on from Ron, and felt she was ready to face anything thrown at her.
Harry went to see Hermione. Ginny had showed him the note she had sent the previous evening. "So, I believe congratulations are in order then?" smiled Harry, fully aware that Hermione would be embarrassed about the topic.
Hermione blushed slightly and went over to hug him "I feel so alive Harry! For the first time in so long, I've actually got up out of bed and actually felt like someone out there cares for me"
"Oi missus, me and Gin care for you!" joked Harry, fully aware of what she meant.
"Harry! You know what I mean!" she said, playfully slapping him. "I'm obviously slightly scared too though"
"Why?" asked Harry, surprised.
"Well, I just like him so much!" she laughed. "I guess I'm scared I'm going to get hurt again. This isn't something that I just do, jumping into relationships, but this feels so right."
Harry patted her shoulder "He wont hurt you. Because he knows whats in store for him if he does" he replied, meaning every word he said.
Hermione laughed "Anyway, I feel good. I was actually thinking perhaps us four could go out for dinner sometime?"
"What, a double date?" laughed Harry "This is going to be interesting!"
Hermione smiled "I'd really like it if you and Ginny got to know him better. Outside of work, you know? It would mean a lot to me."
"Of course, just let us know when and we'll do something" replied Harry, still quite amused by Hermione's new found happiness and how she was so keen for everyone to get along. "So, are you going to start telling other people or anything?"
"Erm, no, not right now Harry. It's just too soon, and well, I can imagine this would be amazing gossip for everyone, but I just don't think either one of us wants to tell the whole world just yet."
"Ok, fair enough. My lips are sealed!" smiled Harry.
As he left her office, he bumped into Ron just outside. "Oh, alright mate?"
"Yeah, alright, you? Listen, I need to have a word with you later if that's alright?"
"Yeah sure, just pop into my office whenever. Everything okay?" asked Harry, looking at his troubled expression "You seem a bit... upset?"
"No, no I'm fine. Will see you later then yeah." he replied, rushing off to his office.
Harry walked off to his office, he knew something was troubling Ron. Harry was thinking about the contrast in mood between his two best friends. Hermione seemed to have finally found some sort of happiness, just as Ron seemed to be facing something that was upsetting him. I guess I'll find out later whats bothering him, no point worrying about it now he thought.
Draco went to see Hermione as lunch approached.
"Hello gorgeous" he said entering her office, planting a cheeky kiss on her lips.
Hermione smiled broadly, "Hello you. Hows your morning been?"
"Alright, yours?" he said, sitting on the edge of her table.
"Good thanks. Actually, Harry came to see me this morning. I was just asking him about us four going out for dinner sometime?"
"Oh, right. Yeah, that would be good I guess" replied Draco.
"What? Don't you think it would be a good idea?" asked Hermione, concerned Draco didn't want to do it.
"No, no, I think its a brilliant idea. Just dunno how good the evening would be, we all have quite... dark history together. We've never spent any time outside of work together. It would be... odd."
"Oh. Yes, well that's the exact reason why I think we should. I think it'd just be nice for them to get to know you. After all... you're going to be a big part of my life now" she said, smiling at him.
Draco felt warm inside, happy that Hermione was so keen to have him in her life. He swooped down for another kiss "You're amazing, you know that? Organize the dinner and I'm up for it any time"
They went for lunch together. They purposely didn't hold hands or act coupley as they had discussed the previous night that it would be best to keep things secret for a little while at least.
Ron went to see Harry later on in the day. He had a lot to get off his chest, and he had no one he could talk to except his best friend.
"Ron, I've been wondering when you'd make an appearance. Would you like some tea?" he asked, pointing at the already boiled teapot on his desk.
"Yeah, I'd love one mate." he answered, pouring himself a cup. He took a sip and sat in silence for a moment longer.
Harry allowed him to take his time. He knew something was bothering him, and he knew it was difficult for Ron to share his feelings sometimes. He wanted to give him plenty of time to discuss whatever was on his mind.
"Harry. I've been an idiot. A bloody idiot, and I don't know what the hell to do" he started, talking very fast but quiet. "I've been blind and a complete fool."
Harry still had no idea what he was talking about so allowed him to continue without asking any questions or interrupting him.
Ron paused again, trying to carefully think what he was about to tell Harry. "I let her go. No, I made her go. I left her. I left the best thing that ever happened to me" he said, his face turning red and his eyes slightly tearful.
Harry immediately knew he was talking about Hermione. So it's finally hit him he thought, it must be the gossip of her new relationship that's got to him. Again, Harry didn't respond but allowed his best friend to continue.
"She's changed. Have you noticed? She's suddenly become this amazing, sexy woman, and I never noticed it before. When we were together all she wore were those dowdy boring clothes, and now look at her!"
Harry wasn't quite sure what to make of this. Had Ron realised that he had lost an amazing woman, or was he jealous that Hermione had come out of her shell and was dressing up to please her new beau?
"Ron, I don't quite understand. You used to tell me how bored you were with her. And when you dumped her you said you felt like it was a new lease of life? What exactly has changed now? And don't tell me its her clothes, cos you know that's just you being a red-blooded male more than anything else!"
"It's not that Harry. Well, obviously that's played a part. I've just realised... she's got everything hasn't she? The brains and the looks."
Harry still wasn't convinced that this was nothing more than Ron noticing that Hermione had a good pair of legs. "So, when did you finally realise this then? Are you sure this isn't just the festive season having an effect on you?"
"It was at the Christmas party. I couldn't help but notice how sophisticated and stylish she looked. And then I look at Lavender. And all I see is a cheap, loud-mouthed immature girl. Ever since then I can't stop comparing them. I go home and Lavender will either be lounging about in her joggers, wanting to order a takeaway, or she would have got back from getting her nails and hair done. That girl is expecting me to pay for everything, she won't even go and get a goddamn job! And then there was Hermione. I'd come home, and dinner would be all ready on the table, and she'd greet me with a kiss. Every single evening. I dunno how she did it, considering we work nearly the same hours."
Harry realised this was a lot more serious than he originally thought. Ron had finally seen the light, and was now telling Harry how much of an idiot he had been. But surely it was too late?
Ron continued comparing the two women, only complaining about Lavender while giving Hermione much praise. Praise he never once said when he was actually in a relationship with her.
"So what exactly does this mean, Ron? You want Hermione again? You're gonna dump Lavender? Cos I'll tell you mate, I really doubt it's going to work this time around" said Harry truthfully.
"What do you mean it won't work? And of course I'm not going to dump Lavender, as I know Hermione wouldn't exactly come jumping back into my arms now would she? I'd have to try really hard to get her back first."
Harry was shocked. "You're going to try and get her back?"
"Yes. I've decided. I've realised I was an idiot, as I've said, and I need to fix this problem. The problem is me no longer having Hermione."
"But yet, you're not going to dump Lavender?"
"Not yet. Not until I get Hermione back anyway"
Harry shook his head "You can't keep playing women around Ron. You obviously don't want to be with Lavender, you don't respect her, so just end the relationship now. Not when you know you've got your next relationship in line!"
"Harry, Lavender might not be good at many things, but I'll tell you what she is good at. She's an animal in bed!" grinned Ron.
Harry was disgusted. He really didn't think his best friend could get more low. "Stay away from her Ron. You know she's in a relationship now, you'll only embarrass yourself"
"You're meant to be my best mate! She's your best mate! Surely you would want to see us back together?" demanded Ron, quite hurt that Harry wasn't giving him the support he assumed he would.
"Ron, Hermiones moved on. Shes happy now. And to be honest, shes more happier now than when she was with you" said Harry, waiting for a full-blown argument.
"That's because I didn't pay her the attention she deserves. I've told you I know what went wrong. I took her for granted, okay, I admit it. I admit I was an absolute arse, I shouldn't have cheated on her, I shouldn't have dumped her blah blah. I know now, and I'd obviously be a much better boyfriend this time round" replied Ron.
Harry wasn't convinced, and had no idea what more he could say to stop Ron trying to ruin Hermione's happiness. As much as he would love for the trio to be able to hang out together again, he knew that for Hermione it would be wrong. Ron could never change. He'd be good to her for a couple of months, and then it'll all go back to the same way it was before, and Hermione would only end up getting hurt again.
"Harry, I don't care what you think. You're my mate and I reckon you should be supporting me a bit more to be honest. I'm going to get her back. I know she still loves me, whether shes in a new relationship or not. I'm her childhood sweetheart, the love of her life. Everyone said we were meant to be together. I'm going to make it happen. I'll get her back."
AN: Wow... hello everyone! Many apologies for the VERY delayed chapter! Life suddenly took over in the last year, got a new job, got another degree, bagged myself a fiance! Just been mad! I finally have a lot more time for myself so will be continuing this story as regularly as I possibly can. And I promise... no more year gaps between chapters!! Hope you enjoyed this chapter, and let me know what you all think! Thanks for reading,
- Lovely chapter image by panacea. @tda