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Ron shifted nervously in his seat. “These muggle theatres are awful cold,” he muttered.
“That’s the air conditioning,” Hermione explained. She grinned over her shoulder at him and added, “I do agree though. It is a bit chilly in here, but once the movie starts, you won’t even notice. I promise.”
Ron was skeptical. As the other patrons filed in around them and took their seats, he couldn’t stop staring. All he could think of was how his Dad would react. He’d want to know everything. How the seats worked, how they fit such a big picture through that tiny hold in the wall behind them, and then what made the picture move if not magic. He started to say he wished his dad was there, but on second thought, did he really want his father with him on his first real date with Hermione?
“Stop fidgeting, Ronald,” she reached over and put her hand on his. “The movie will start any minute.”
“I can’t help it,” he muttered, looking over his shoulder at a suspicious man behind them. “I feel so exposed. Like everyone is watching us.”
“They won’t be watching us,” she laughed. “They’ll be watching the film.”
“If it ever starts.”
“It’ll start soon,” she reassured him, squeezing his hand.
Ron looked down at her fingers, which had wrapped so naturally around his. Even after two weeks of them being official about their relationship, it still made his stomach feel fluttery every time she touched his hand. He hoped his skin wasn’t too clammy, and if it was, he hoped she wouldn’t notice. He strained his neck and looked behind them again, just in time for the lights to dim. He gasped.
“It’s all right,” she leaned in to whisper. “That just means the movie’s starting.”
“Oh,” he said. “All right then.”
“Shh!” the suspicious man behind them put his finger to his lips.
Ron widened his eyes, “How rude.”
Hermione laughed softly, “Shh, Ron. It isn’t polite to talk once the movie starts.”
Not polite to talk once the movie starts? Oh dear. He hadn’t realized when he’d agreed to come with her that they wouldn’t be able to talk. It was their first real date and he’d really been expecting conversation. He’d imagined endless hours of Hermione going on with boring facts about redcaps and Hogwarts a history.
There was a strange crackling as the film began to roll, and seconds later there was sound as the picture blazed to life on the screen. He looked sideward at Hermione, who had settled in comfortably, and when she looked over at him, she smiled acknowledgement before returning her attention to the previews, and Ron looked down at their hands, which were still tangled together on the arm rest.
Twenty minutes into the film and he was bored. Hermione sat munching on popcorn and he had eaten more chocolate than was probably healthy. The sugar had gone to his head and he began to fidget again. It was here that he noticed how uncomfortable the seats were, but Hermione didn’t seem distracted at all as she sunk down a little lower in the seat. Ron tried to mimic her slouch, but that seemed to cause his back to ache even more. He sat up again just in time for the man behind them to lean forward and whisper, “Will you be still, young man?”
“Did you hear that?” He astounded.
“Shh!” the man shushed him again.
“Just forget it, Ron. Try to be still,” she whispered.
“These seats are killing me.”
“I’m sorry,” she said. “Do you want to go?”
She had been so excited about this, taking him off to the movies, and if he couldn’t be bothered to suffer through it, she’d be very disappointed. “No,” he dropped his chin.
“We can go, Ron, really, it’s no big deal.”
“No, we’ll stay,” he said. “I’ll be quiet.”
Hermione squeezed his fingers, and he looked down at their hands again. This was love, he thought. Just thinking about it made him feel all weird inside, almost like that time he’d misdirected the slug spell with his broken wand. Love felt like it was wiggling around inside his stomach, and from time to time he thought he might be sick from it. Then Hermione would smile at him, or she would rub the smooth tip of her thumb over the back of his hand, and he was sure he’d be sick with it. Then he thought about one day maybe kissing her, and his face grew hot with the very notion. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to kiss her, but as he looked over her profile, which was pale and beautiful in the dim light from the movie, he noticed how soft her lips looked.
Had she ever kissed anyone before? Had she kissed that oaf, Krum after he had taken her to the ball in fourth year? Ron realized here how stupid he was, how inexperienced. He was sixteen and he hadn’t ever even kissed a girl before, except his mum, and really that didn’t count.
What if she was more experienced than he was? What if he made a complete fool of himself? Hermione had noticed he was staring at her, and when she turned her head, he looked quickly away, back at the screen in front of them, but he could still feel the burn of her eyes on him. He thought she was smiling, and when he allowed his gaze to crawl back in her direction he realized that she was. Their eyes met and for a moment, all the could think about was how beautiful she was. He leaned forward, and he didn’t even realize he was doing it. She seemed to be leaning to, and their noses touched together only seconds before he kissed her.
It had happened so unexpectedly, and he felt like every inch of his skin was on fire. His heart was thumping so hard against his ribs that surely, any minute now, the weirdo behind them was going to tell his heart to be quiet. In that moment he could think of nothing else but the confirmation of how soft her lips were, and that they tasted vaguely of strawberry.
As he drew back to look at her, Hermione pulled her bottom lip between her teeth. She’d never looked more beautiful.
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