Chapter 2 : Engagement Rings and Chocolate Milkshakes
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“Hermione Granger, is that an engagement ring I see on your finger!” she screamed from halfway across the law department.
Every head moved in her direction with many chairs sliding out of their cubical and one of her fellow lawyers nearly dropped her coffee. Hermione flushed pink and walked straight through the office and to one of the six office (three on the back wall and three on the right wall) doors. She looked up at the plaque. ‘Hermione Granger,’ oh god she was even going to have to change that.
Her assistant followed and Hermione did not say anything until the girl walked in and shut the door behind her. Hermione let out a quick sigh of relief and collapsed into her chair, spinning it around to face the fake window that she had in her office. The weather that had been decided for them was a bright but crisp looking day. Exactly how she felt.
“Yes it is an engagement ring Emily,” Hermione said when she looked at her assistants expectant face.
Emily squeaked in excitement and Hermione went through the motions of showing her the ring, explaining how it happened and where he did it. She sincerely hoped she wouldn’t have to do this for every person she met. In the end she snapped at the young girl (fresh from her O.W.Ls at Hogwarts) and made her go and get her a drink and something to eat.
Finally she was alone and could see to the pile of mail that sat waiting on her desk. Two of the letters were from clients, two from her boss asking for things to be done while he had gone with the international sports department to sort out a tricky situation involving a British gob stones player and an allegation of cheating in china. One of the letters was from Ron telling her that she needed to go down to the Auror department as soon as she could because they had a situation. No doubt the situation involved Lexi but she placed the letter in the bin and opened the last one.
You may be able to get away from my emails and calls but you will not escape a letter sent to your office. I know for a fact you open each and every one yourself even when you have hundreds! He proposed! It is amazing Hermione but I don’t know why you are avoiding me. Sent me a letter back immediately. Oh and Harry says congratulations too.
Love Ginny Potter (It feels good to write that!)
P.S I told mum.
Hermione let her head fall on the desk and let out a groan. Great, now Mrs Weasley knew the whole world would. It wouldn’t be long before the papers got wind of it and she would be front page again, just like she was when she and Dean had first been together. Prince Charming replaced with War Hero was the first of many captions that came to mind. She had tried to ignore them but the persisted and in the end Hermione had to talk to one of the reporters just to shut them up.
And now she was engaged. Engaged! It hadn’t quite sunk in yet.
“Knock knock,” a voice called through the half open door.
Hermione’s head shot up and she spied Dean standing in the doorway with a massive grin on his face and huge bunch of flowers in his arms. He walked in and placed the red, orange and yellow wildflowers and white daisys on the desk, leaning over to kiss her on the head.
“Thank you,” Hermione said, “they are beautiful.”
“I bet you will love this even more,” Dean said producing a wrapped parcel, “I didn’t think you would have eaten after you skipped out on me this morning.”
“The phone started ringing, I knew it was Ginny so I just sort of left.”
“Without my amazing bacon and egg bagels?” Dean asked.
“Well I have one now,” Hermione said taking the parcel and unwrapping the bagel, “thank you my amazing bagel making machine.”
“Ahh, bagel making machine,” Dean laughed perching himself on the edge of her desk and leaning in towards her, “now I knew you weren’t just with me because of my stunning good looks,” he continued leaning down slowly until their lips almost met.
“They are pretty good bagels,” Hermione giggled kissing him through her smile.
They pulled apart giggling and Hermione had to admit, she had it pretty good. She had her lawyer’s position, a position she had acquired after the mandatory year of study and internship and now a year and half on she worked twice as hard as the others and had one of the best rates of success.
Dean was working in the department of international security, he was in and out a lot but most recently he had been working with some of the aurors hunting out a possible security risk in a group based in Italy. Hermione had tried not to ask to many questions about that.
She had the job, she had the guy, she had crookshanks and her friends and enough money for her to not work thanks to her books. After everything that had happened and all the drama of her last year at Hogwarts and the heartache that followed she was finally in a good place.
“So why are you avoiding Ginny?” Dean asked.
“Don’t you have to go and do some work?” Hermione asked playfully pushing him away from her.
“Yes, but you’re not the only one who she’s been bugging.”
“No?” Hermione said pretending to be interested in a letter from her boss on the desk.
“She called me three times before I even woke up and when I answered she told me to get you to talk to her and when I said I wouldn’t she said we were two peas in a pod,” he laughed, “and she hung up on me.”
“I just know what she’s going to be like, I don’t think I could take a wedding like hers,” Hermione sighed, remembering back to the big affair that had half of the wizarding community there.
“We could always elope,” Dean said, “you me, a little church in Scotland…”
“I said I didn’t want a wedding like hers not that I didn’t want a wedding,” Hermione said, “I’d just rather not have it all pushed on me at once. We agreed we weren’t going to get married straight the way.”
“And we won’t,” Dean said placing his hands on Hermione’s shoulders, “she’s excited but I’m sure when you tell her she will back off.”
Hermione raised an eyebrow at her fience.
“Are you sure you have met Ginny?” Hermione asked but Dean just laughed, kissed her and stood up.
“Yes I’m sure, talk to her it will be fine, I promise, and if not I’ll get Harry to talk to her.”
“Like she listens to Harry,” Hermione scoffed.
“Trust me,” Dean said walking over to the door, “I’ll be late home tonight okay, the boss wants to see me after work but I’ll bring take out okay. Don’t want you burning the house down.”
Hermione rolled her eyes as he left but had to admit, out of everything, cooking was definitely her weakness, she was sure she would cremate ice cream if she tried anything but eat it straight from the tub.
Emily eventually came back with a coffee and food but Hermione ended up letting the skinny girl eat the sandwich thinking it would serve her better and having only just finished her bagel she couldn’t have eaten it anyway. They talked for a bit before Hermione sent her on some errands to make sure her May 2nd dinner dress was on its way. Ginny would be back from her honeymoon two days before and Harry and Ron were flying out the next day.
The invitation had landed on her desk a month ago. Dark blue with gold writing inviting those involved in the war to come to the dinner and drinks in the gardens that had been built in memory of those who died in the war. Hermione had to accept, they had all had to they were the golden trio after all but since everyone was going to be there Ron had had a hard time finding a sitter for Lexi. In the end he had agreed to let her go to France and stay at Fleurs parents with her cousins for a couple of days before Mr Weasley picked them all up.
So she had replied and was going to make a speech which she was dreading. Deciding she had to look her best she had turned to Ginny and the girl had whipped up a design within seconds and it was being delivered from the dress maker later that day.
But she had more important things to think about apart from dresses and dinners. Ron had wanted her. God knows why but she had to go and see what it was before he threw a fit and sent someone looking for her, something he had done on so many occasions that in his office they joked that the new guy was always on ‘Hermione watch.’
Dean didn’t like it too much, he still thought Hermione was crazy to be friends with him after everything he had done to her. Dean and Ron were still friends of course but when he thought Ron was being too protective of the girl who he had hurt Dean would always get this look in his eyes that Hermione knew meant he was annoyed and once or twice the pair had had shouting matches with Ron claiming that he could be as protective of her as he wanted and with Dean snapping back that Hermione was his girlfriend and Ron should stay away if he knew what was good for him.
“He’s still in love with you,” Dean had said one night over dinner, completely out of the blue.
“What?” Hermione had asked back confused at how a conversation about Luna’s exploits in the mountains of Syria with her new boyfriend had turned into a conversation about someone who was in love with Hermione.
At first she thought he might be talking about Draco and that he had come back and Dean had seen him but he wasn’t.
“Ron,” Dean shrugged pushing a green bean around his plate, “he still loves you.”
“Come off it,” Hermione replied.
“No I mean it, he came into my office today asking all these questions about our relationship and saying stuff like if it didn’t work out he knew some girls he could set me up with.”
“That’s just Ron being an idiot.”
“Okay, when was the last time he went on a date?”
“I don’t know Dean, I don’t keep track of his personal life, besides he has Lexi to look after.”
“Yet he still makes time to come over and see you whenever I’m away with work?”
“Him and Lexi, you’re being stupid Dean.”
“No, I’ll stand by it Hermione, Ron is still in love with you.”
Of course the conversation was brought up many times in arguments but Hermione always brushed it off, convinced herself that Dean was being stupid. She didn’t even have to convince herself because she just didn’t believe it. Besides he had a date that weekend, hence why Hermione had babysitting duties.
He was standing in one of the cubical at the front of the large department office talking to one of the aurors. They were talking about a small band of ex-death eaters who had evaded them.
“I need you to get all the paperwork on these guys ready so that when Harry comes back he has everything before the trip… Hermione!” Ron called when he spotted her walking towards him.
He gave her a quick look up and down taking in the grey trouser-suit, the jacket undone to show a pretty white blouse. His gaze made her feel uncomfortable so she quickly pulled a band from her pocket and pulled her long hair up into a bun. Drawing his eyes from her body to her face and the stern look in her eyes, only his gaze did go to her face it lingered on her finger.
“So, Ginny called me,” Ron said walking out from the cubical and leading Hermione down the corridor.
“I thought she might have,” Hermione said fiddling with the ring again, nerves flitting around in her stomach, “we wanted to tell you ourselves but Ginny and her big mouth seems to think it is her job.”
“I guess she thought it might be weird that a woman who is about to be married has to tell an ex,” Ron laughed but Hermione detected a small hint of nervousness in that laugh.
“Yes,” Hermione said stopping in the deserted hallway, “but you deserved to hear it from me and not her.
Ron shrugged, “it was bound to happen. I mean there was a time when I thought we…” he trailed off and flushed red.
“I know,” Hermione whispered thinking to herself that he only had himself to blame for that.
“Well at least it is with someone like Dean,” Ron said, “he is a good guy, a good friend.”
“I think the moment he became Uncle Dean he could do no wrong,” Hermione laughed thinking of Lexi.
They started to walk again and Ron came to his office. He was one of only four aurors to have an office of his own. Their soon to be retired boss had the big one, Harry had one, Ron had one and…
“Hello Hermione, I thought I heard your voice,” Neville said as he stuck his head through the door next to Ron’s, “Congratulations, I heard the good news.”
“Thanks Neville,” Hermione replied, “I hear Professor McGonagall has been in touch with you.”
“Yeah,” he said a flush of excitement coming over his face, “Professor Sprout is thinking of retiring after this last year, she wanted to know if I would take the position.”
“Plants or Dark Wizards,” Ron laughed, “not much of a choice is it Nev.”
“We will be sad to see you go,” Hermione smiled putting a hand on Neville’s arm.
“Still got a year left, you never know what could happen.”
“I know we still have the double date on Friday.”
Nev blushed and rolled his eyes, “as long as you don’t pour fire whisky down my throat like last time it should be fun.”
He waved at the pair and disappeared into his office.
“He is good at his job but he would be happier there I think,” Ron said.
“Double date?” Hermione asked.
“Yep, the girls are friends,” Ron shrugged and Hermione didn’t think she wanted to know anymore.
Ron opened the door to his office and sure enough sitting in her father’s chair drawing was a small red-headed child oblivious to the two people who had walked into the room.
“Lexi,” Ron said.
The little girls head shot up and a wide smile spread over her pale freckled face.
“My-nee!” she squealed and struggled to get out of the chair and run over to her ‘aunt.’
Hermione drew the tin girl into a hug and turned to glare at Ron.
“I knew it would be about Lexi,” she said quietly, trying not to shout in front of the girl.
“I only need you to look after her until two when my dad can come and get her, please Hermione I have a really important briefing and I don’t trust her with anyone else.”
Hermione let go of the girl and made her go and finished her drawing while she stepped out of the office with Ron. Once outside she let her anger show.
“I am not her mother Ron!” Hermione snapped, “this is what her mother is supposed to do.”
“Well her mother isn’t here. She was meant to be back already but she isn’t and I can’t get hold of her. Please Hermione.”
“I thought you put her in the nursery in the day?”
“They have closed it for the day, something about some sort of virus they don’t want the kids to catch. Please, I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t desperate, mum has hurt her foot and she can’t look after her on her own.”
“Two?” Hermione asked.
“Yes, my dad finishes at two, he will come and get her.”
Hermione looked at Ron for a few seconds then sighed and nodded.
“Fine I’ll take her, but you owe me one Ronald Weasley.”
“Thank you,” Ron said gratefully, opening the door to his office again.
“What do you think about milkshakes with Auntie Mione?” Hermione asked holding her arms out for the child.
“Yes!” the girl cried, “Choc!”
“Okay, I’ll get Emily to get us some chocolate milkshakes then.”
“I swear every time you are with her you get her one of those,” Ron laughed.
“She’s tiny, besides it won’t do her any harm,” Hermione shrugged gathering up the girls things as the child clapped her hands happily, swaying on Hermione’s hip.
“Choc Shake!” Lexi cried and gave Hermione a big kiss on the cheek, then child spied the ring, “pretty, like GinGins.”
“Yes just like Auntie Ginny’s,” Hermione laughed.
“I throw flowers?” Lexi asked, her big blue eyes staring up at Hermione, “like GinGin.”
“Yes, you can be a flower girl just like at Ginny’s, but not just yet.”
Hermione put the squirming girl into the pushchair Ron was handing her and strapped her in so she wouldn’t go wandering off, something she had a tendency to do…often.
“Thanks for this Hermione,” Ron said again.
“Anytime,” Hermione smiled through gritted teeth and walked out of the office.
She loved Lexi but Hermione wasn’t her mother and Ron needed to sort things out with Lavender before Hermione turned around and said no and Lexi was left in the middle.
I hope you are enjoying it so far! I'm not sure how often I will be posting and there will be a break around the 15th of september as I will be going back to uni and I dont know how quickly I will have internet BUT I will be constently writing so I promise you wont have to wait forever! Read and Review. Secret Passion
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