"Are you sure about this?" asked Ginny.
"Yes!” Hermione nodded. "I've never been surer of anything in my life!"
"But you'd be alone, Hermione."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "I know. It’s just what I need. Some alone time."
"What do your parents think?"
"They said it's okay if that's what I want to do."
After Hermione had announced that she wanted to live alone. Ginny had said and done everything to try and make her change her mind.
"Where would you be moving to?"
She had also been asking a lot of questions.
"I don't know yet. Somewhere close to you guys.” she explained.
"Harry is not going to be happy about this."
Hermione hadn't thought about Harry. She had been too scared to tell Ginny as it was.
"Well then... Harry will just have to support me then won't he?"
"Or I'll slap him.” said Ginny, causing Hermione to laugh.
The idea had came to Hermione after she read the article in the Daily Prophet. She didn’t think she’d have to be living with her parents for ever, especially since she was turning twenty–one in a few days, but the newspaper obviously thought she was, and she didn’t want people to think she was weak. If she was mature enough to get on with her life then hopefully the attention would shift away from her to another interesting topic. Hopefully what the ex girlfriend of The Chosen One, Cho Chang, had bought when she was visiting Hogsmeade or something along the lines.
"So how's my birthday bash coming along?” Hermione asked Ginny, as she chopped the carrots. They were in Hermione's kitchen, where Ginny had kindly offered to help Hermione with lunch.
"Brilliant! I've booked the venue, arranged the band, sent the invitations, called the–”
"You sent the invitations?" Hermione asked.
"Who did you invite?"
"Everyone you know. Which by the way is a lot! You're really popular Hermione." Ginny said as she continued stirring the Bolognese.
"Whatever, just as long as you didn't invite Malfoy... or Astoria.” she added.
"Given everything that's going on with you two, I know better than to involve your secret boyfriend."
Hermione threw a carrot at her friend.
Ginny narrowly missed the carrot and caught it with one hand; it’s like she knew it was coming. "He's going to find out soon anyways.” she said.
"What do you mean?” Hermione stopped chopping.
"Remember I suggested we put your birthday on the paper? Well I did. It was on today's Quibbler."
"Oh Ginny!” she protested. Just what she needed, more publicity.
"What? The party’s going to be huge! Anyone who's anyone is coming!" Ginny turned around to face Hermione.
"Which reminds me… we need to get you a dress!"
"I have plenty of dresses Ginny!"
"I know that!” she said rolling her eyes. "But do you own any red carpet dresses?"
"There's a red carpet at my birthday?” she asked shocked.
"Yes, it's a birthday bash."
"Okay, that is awesome!” she admitted.
"I know! You're going to need a dress! After this, let's go muggle shopping."
"You really do love anything muggle don't you?” Hermione laughed as she dropped the carrots into the Bolognese.
"I'm trying to convince Harry to get us this thing called a microwave. I read somewhere that it automatically heats up your food! You don't even need a wand!” she said with a glint in her eye.
Draco Malfoy placed the newspaper he had been reading down and switched on the TV. Hermione Granger was having a birthday bash and she didn't even bother inviting him. Maybe she was still mad at him. Or maybe it was because of yesterday's newspaper.
In the midst of his thoughts, Astoria walked into the room wearing black shorts and a black top.
"She's throwing a birthday bash.” she informed as she took a seat across from Draco.
"I know.” he muttered.
"And we weren't invited.” she finished.
"Considering your first impression, I don't blame her."
"Well what kind of a man brings a random girl home to where he lives with his girlfriend?” she snapped.
"She's not exactly a random girl. You know who she is."
"That doesn't change anything."
He had already had this conversation with Astoria before; he wasn’t in the mood to have it again.
"You know what? I don't really care."
Astoria gave a cocky grin. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you fancy her."
"I don't know what you see in her. She's plain, there's nothing good about her." Astoria continued. "She's got horrible dress sense, she dresses like a nun most of the time and don't get me started on her hair, it's awful."
"Astoria, not everyone dresses like a whore, she doesn't need to show her legs in everything she wears.” her eyes widened with shock. "And as for her hair, I think it's brilliant."
"You might as well marry her then."
"No thanks, I'm not looking for a wife yet."
"Then why are you dating me? Am I just good shag to you?"
"I didn't say that!" Draco said as he rubbed his temples.
"That's what you were implying!"
He stood up without saying another word and walked into the bedroom, returning a few minutes later, wearing a big overcoat.
"Where are you off to now?" Astoria yelled down the hall.
"Out!” he shouted. "Don't wait up."
"I love that one!" Ginny said, as Hermione flung curtains open.
"That's what you've said about all of it!” she moaned.
"I'm sorry it's just they're all so beautiful!"
"I found some lovely dresses near the back.” said Luna as she walked in to the private dressing room carrying a pile of clothes.
"Err... thanks Luna. But there's a lot here! I only need one.” Hermione said, examining the pile.
"Nonsense Hermione! You're moving out! This means you need a whole new closet.”
"Luna's right, Hermione.” said Ginny.
"These all look awfully expensive though. You know you can't pay in galleons, in the muggle world."
"Oh I know.” she said "Harry's got a tab here; he bought me shopping here two months ago, ever since I became so interested in muggle stuff. He said I can come here whenever I want."
"Wow, that's so lucky!” said Hermione.
"Yeah, there are some perks that comes with dating the boy who lived.” she winked.
After trying on a few more outfits Hermione finally decided on the perfect dress.
"I found it! The perfect dress!” she called.
"Well open the curtains then!" shouted Ginny.
"Or we're coming in!” said Luna.
Hermione quickly got changed into her black jeans and black jacket before Ginny and Luna were able to barge in.
"Why did you get changed?" asked Luna.
"You don't get to see it, until my birthday.” she smiled.
"That's so unfair." moaned Ginny.
Hermione gave her friends a cheeky grin. She packed half the outfit she had tried on, and Ginny paid for them. She secretly placed an enlargement spell on her handbag so she could put everything she bought into it.
They were going to apparate out before Hermione reminded them that they were in the muggle world.
"But it's raining! You don't expect us to walk in that do you?" groaned Luna.
"That's what muggles do.” Hermione said, mainly to Ginny as she pulled out three umbrellas from her bag.
"Well, if it's what muggles do...” said Ginny as she took an umbrella from Hermione.”Let's go."
They walked out of the shop. Ginny and Luna began running, while Hermione was slowly trailing behind.
"What's the rush?” she shouted after them.
"It's raining!" Luna shouted back.
"You pansies!” she muttered.
Hermione couldn't help but laugh at her friends, they were okay to fight a couple of death eaters, but when it comes to rain, they flee.
Hermione turned around to see a tall figure standing under a large umbrella. She didn't recognize the figure at first.
"I'm sorry, who are you?” she asked.
"It's me. Andrew Russo." the figure responded.
"Andrew! Is that really you? Oh my goodness!"
Hermione ran up to give him a huge hug, drawing the attention of Ginny and Luna who were now walking towards her.
Hermione had met Andrew Russo outside a Quidditch Stadium in Italy a few months ago. He was a Quidditch player at the time and they had gotten on fairly well, he was the reason why Hermione had stayed longer in Italy than she wanted to.
A few days before she was meant to leave, Andrew had been given a Quidditch contract in Germany. He had left Hermione without saying goodbye. And now he was back.
"What are you doing here?” she asked.
"I live here now! I play for the Chudley Canons now.” he explained.
Andrew had a soft creamy tanned complexion, with face covered with light brown freckles. He had short brown hair and light stubble. He was wearing brown cargo pants, a polo shirt and a brown cardigan. He could definitely be considered attractive, without a doubt.
"You do, that's wonderful!"
"Are you going to introduce us?" Ginny interrupted.
"Oh err... right... of course.” she stammered.
Andrew's thin lips turned into a smirk.
"Ginny, Luna, this is Andrew Russo. He's a quidditch player from Italy. Andrew, these are my best friends, Ginny and Luna.” she said.
"Quidditch player, eh?" asked Ginny as she reached out her hands to shake Andrew's. "Impressive."
"Yeah, Ginny remember you've got a boyfriend? Harry Potter." Luna reminded her.
"Harry Potter? The boy who lived?" Andrew asked, with a mischievous gleam in his eye.
"Mhm." nodded Ginny.
"Impressive.” he chuckled.
"I'm Luna Lovegood." Luna said, extending her hand.
"Andrew Russo.” he said, a deep voice.
"Oh mhm...” Luna was swooning were she stood.
"So are you single?" Luna asked. "Not for me.” she added quickly, noticing the deadly gaze both girls were sending her way.
"Actually I am.” he smiled. "Still looking for that special girl.” he added softly.
"Oh that's a shame." Ginny enticed.
The thunder seemed to shake the earth as the rain started to plummet down, causing a few pedestrians to start running with newspapers over their heads, in order to keep dry.
"We would love to stay and chat a bit longer, but as you can see–" Luna trailed off.
"It's raining cats and dogs." finished Ginny.
"Hey! I finally get that expression." smiled Luna.
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Okay, we're going to go to the ladies room to apparate. We'll leave you guys to catch up on stuff."
"Alright then, bye guys.” Hermione said as she hugged the girls.
"Owl us the details." Ginny whispered to Hermione.
Hermione watched as the girls walked into a public toilet.
"Pansy, are you trying to get him drunk or something?" Blaise asked as she walked to the barman.
"Let her be, Blaise. I need someone to spoil me." Draco smiled, as he took a sip of his fire whisky.
"Problems with Astoria then?” he asked.
"Am I that transparent?"
"You're a window Draco."
"Thank you.” he smirked.
Pansy came back with a butterbeer and two fire whiskeys and placed them down on the table before taking a seat beside her boyfriend.
"So what are we talking about?" Pansy asked.
"Well Draco's having problems with Astoria.” said Blaise.
"Is it about the newspaper article?"
How was it, that Pansy always knew what was up? Draco asked himself.
"Yes. And the fact that I bought her home."
"What? Draco, you idiot! Why the fuck would you do that?"
Draco saw Blaise moving slightly away from his girlfriend, obviously noticing her anger.
"We were trying to avoid the reporters.” he explained. "I apparated us to my house."
"Rookie mistake mate." muttered Blaise.
"Excuse me?" Pansy asked, turning to face her boyfriend.
"Um... nothing babe." Blaise said, placing his right hand on Pansy's shoulder.
Pansy shrugged him off. "It better be nothing."
Draco saw how happy Blaise and Pansy were, despite that they usually argue most of them time, they know how to make each other happy. Draco wanted a love like theirs, something he knew he could never have with Astoria.
Draco's eyes were glued to door as he watched random people enter ‘The Hog's Head’ pub. His eyes lit up as he saw Hermione Granger enter, followed by a tall brown haired bloke.
Blaise had also noticed the couple.
"Merlin! Is that Hermione Granger... with Andrew Russo?" he asked, pointing at the couple.
"Who's Andrew Russo?" Draco asked.
"Who's Andrew Russo?" Blaise mockingly repeated.
"He's only like the most successful Quidditch player there is. He only started to play last season and he's the already helped the team win loads!" Pansy said.
"What position does he play?"
"Seeker.” said Blaise.
"Gosh, even the back of his head is beautiful." Pansy sighed.
"He's not that good." muttered Draco.
Pansy gave him a deadly look. Draco quickly stood up in fear that her look could kill. He then decided to take a chance and walked over to where Hermione sat with the Quidditch bloke.
Hermione turned around to face Draco Malfoy.
"Malfoy? What are you doing here?” she asked.
"I'm having a drink with friends.” he replied.
Hermione gave a quick glance to where Blaise and Pansy sat, waving nervously in her direction. "Oh right."
"And who is this?" Draco asked as his eyes finally landed on the man in front.
"I'm Andrew." Andrew said extending his hand forward for Draco to shake.
"I'm Draco. Nice to meet you."
Hermione eyed Draco; a little confused, and surprised that he was being so civilized.
"Is he your... boyfriend?"
Spoke to soon.
"Draco!” Hermione softly cried. "Andrew's just an old friend."
"Oh right." Draco smirked. "Will he be coming to your birthday?"
Hermione glared at him. "I didn't get a chance to ask him."
"Your birthday? I wouldn't want to miss that." Andrew chimed in.
"Neither would I! I'll see you there." Draco said before he headed off.
"Err... one sec.” Hermione excused herself from Andrew before she followed after Draco.
"What the fuck are you trying to do?” she hissed at him, trying to be as quiet as possible.
"Nothing. But you just invited me to your birthday."
"No I didn't!"
"Yes you did. I'll be expecting my invitation."
"I feel bad for your girlfriend; she's the one that has to deal with you 24/7!"
Hermione immediately regretted mentioning Astoria, as Draco's face turned serious in a flash.
"I'll see you on Saturday." he said, before walking off to join his friends.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or the brilliant characters you recognize! They belong to the amazing JK Rowling!
Hermione's birthday's two chapters away! Not giving anything away, but expect the unexpected! Don't forget to review and tell me what you think on this chapter!
Lots of love, Vicky! xx