Gilderoy looked around, confused, “Where am I? This isn’t that pit under the bathroom!”
“It’s all right, Mr Lockhart. You tried to wipe Ron and Harrys’ memories, but it backfired and hit you,” Hermione gently explained.
“Did it? And they couldn’t find anyone else to break it, so they pulled you out of school to try?”
“No, I’ve graduated since then. Here, you need to catch up on what you’ve missed. These will help,” she added.
Hermione walked over to a cupboard and pulled out a huge stack of newspapers and magazines. She placed them neatly on a table.
Lockhart looked at them, disdainfully, “Hermione, you don’t mind if I call you that, do you? Hermione what will help me is a mirror, a comb and a new robe that will suit my dashing personality. Be a doll and fetch them for me.”
“Mr Lockhart...” she objected.
“Gilderoy, you need to worry about what you’ve missed, not your appearance.”
“No! Personal grooming is much more important! How will I be able to concentrate when I don’t look my best?” he argued, giving her a stunning smile that showed his perfect white teeth.
She wanted to get angry, she really did, but something held her back. “Okay, okay, I’m going! While I’m gone, you can make a start on catching up.”
She was exasperated already and he hadn’t even had his memory back for ten minutes yet! The thought made her want to cry. Just how much worse would he be after a day? It didn’t bear thinking about.
* * * *
He was actually reading when she got back, but when she placed the pile of clothes and grooming equipment next to him, he immediately grabbed the comb and started kissing it.
“A comb! A comb! My kingdom for a comb!”
Hermione sighed. She left the room again to give him some privacy.
* * * *
She had knocked four times in the last hour, but each time she had been refused entry when he said that he hadn’t finished getting ready. She impatiently waited, leaning against the wall near the door. Finally, having had more than enough, she walked in.
“Ah, I was wondering when you’d come back!” he smiled and looked as though it had been he who had been forced to wait instead of her.
The full force of his massively over-inflated personality hit Hermione. It hit her like a tonne of bricks and she was totally unprepared to face it. Overwhelmed she staggered and Lockhart, being the gallant man that he was when he wasn’t being so totally self-absorbed, caught her before she fell.
Looking up into his eyes, she suddenly snaked out her hand and pulled his head down to meet hers. She kissed him full on the lips; he didn’t seem to mind.
The kiss deepened and became more passionate....
* * * *
An hour later, Hermione was hastily putting her clothing back to rights. Lockhart looked smug and contented. What had possessed her? She couldn’t say.
Smoothing back his hair, he said suddenly, “Yeah, baby! Hartie’s back!”
Hermione looked disgusted.
“Was it as good for you, as it was for me?” he asked her.
She ignored the question but answered with, “Look, I’ve got to go. Read those papers. I’ll ... I’ll be back tomorrow.” She blushed furiously and left.
“You sure will,” he said to the empty room.
* * * *
When she got home the house was empty. Heaving a sigh of relief she went to take a shower, still mussing on her actions with Lockhart. She had no idea what had possessed her to do such a thing.
She was towelling her hair dry when Ron walked in.
“You’re home early! I was expecting you to be late, as usual,” he said and was immediately horrified at how accusing his tone sounded to his own ears. All he needed now was to start another argument with her.
“Oh, Ron! I’m not always late!”
“Aren’t we going out to dinner tonight? I wouldn’t miss that by being late, now would I?” Hermione asked. She started to pull on her underwear.
“I don’t know! I might just skip dinner and go straight for dessert,” he said slyly and stopped her from dressing.
“Really? Well that sounds like a good plan to me,” she replied, feeling slightly guilty for not telling him about her encounter with Lockhart.
Ron didn’t pick up on her slight hesitation and led her to the bedroom.