Reality Bites by Trinka
Summary: Ginny is persuaded to be on a Bachelor-type reality show against her better judgement. Who is the hunk all the women are fighting over? We know him. We love him. But in my story, Ginny's never met him. NOTE: If you think you'll hate this story, read it anyway! I hate reality shows too, you know! lol Trust me, you'll love it...I proclaim in as non-arrogant a way as possible... *sweat drop*
Categories: Alternate Universe
Chapter 1: Reality
Chapter 2: The First Rose
Chapter 3: Dinner
Chapter 4: And So it Begins
Chapter 5: Last Group
Chapter 6: On the Road
Chapter 7: Rollercoasters
Chapter 8: Don't Be Sorry
Chapter 9: Interviews
Chapter 10: Rendezvous
Chapter 11: What's Going On?
Chapter 12: Red Like Blood
Chapter 13: Breakfast Announcement
Chapter 14: Quidditch, Knockers, and Nosey Brothers
Chapter 15: Daft Question and a Fit of Daring
Chapter 16: Discussing the Past
Chapter 17: Dreams and Living Nightmares
Chapter 18: Moonlight
Chapter 19: Eye of the Storm
Chapter 20: Check Mate
Chapter 21: Silent Treatment
Chapter 22: Lies
Chapter 23: Scream
Chapter 24: Counting Roses
Chapter 25: A Chance to Explain
Chapter 26: Phone Calls and Goodnights
Chapter 27: To Argue and Make Up
Chapter 28: In Need of a Pensieve
Chapter 29: A Sense of Humor
Chapter 30: A Different Kind of Pillow Fight
Chapter 31: Combustion and American Politics
Chapter 32: Surprise!
Chapter 33: Three's a Crowd
Chapter 34: Postponed
Chapter 35: The Ingenuity of Fred and George
Chapter 36: Upon a Star
Chapter 1: RealityEpisode One
Ginny stared blankly at the crisp, white parchment in her hands. “What is this?” Hermione turned to peer over her shoulder and just as quickly snatched the letter from Ginny’s hands with a loud squeal.
“This is incredible! I just knew they’d pick you!” she turned and hugged Ginny tightly. Ginny stood there bewildered, her hands still in the same position they had been in when there had been a letter in her grasp.
“Would you like to tell me what in the name of all things muggle is going on here?”
Hermione quieted down abruptly and had the decency to blush. “Okay, now, don’t get mad but I saw this add in Witches Weekly for this new reality show. They needed a witch between the ages of 18 and 26, which you obviously are, and I had to send in a bunch of other information too.” Ginny’s eyes widened dangerously. “Don’t worry. I know enough about you to have answered all the questions right. And apparently, you’re exactly what they were looking for. ” Hermione added brandishing the letter.
Ginny only slumped into a chair. “Please tell me you’re kidding.” Hermione only shook her head. “It’s not one of those eat-worms and hate-everyone-on-your-team type of reality shows where I’m going to make a fool of myself and get voted off on the first day, is it?”
“No, no. Of course not! Who do you think I am? No. It’s a…it’s a…dating type show.”
“Oh bugger it! You mean the show where there are two-dozen girls vying for the attention of one guy who keeps kicking off all the decent girls because they aren’t easy or don’t flatter him enough? Please tell me your kidding? This is a nightmare!” Hermione said nothing, choosing instead to just look at the floor. Ginny thought she saw a smile and figured it was very wise of Hermione to try and hide it. If Ginny could prove there was a smile hidden she’d likely hex Hermione. “Why the blazes didn’t you send in your own information?”
Hermione looked up quickly. “You know I couldn’t possibly take off that much time from work, and you’re between jobs, so it’s perfect.”
“I’m between jobs, Hermione, which means I should be looking for a job, not hiding from cameras and listening to girls talk about snogging a guy we’ve only known for two weeks! This is ridiculous!”
“Look,” said Hermione sternly.
“You’ve been pining away in this apartment for two and a half months. You and Neville are no longer together, so you might as well live like you aren’t!” Ginny glared at Hermione defensively. “Ginny, you need to get over him; it’s not healthy.”
“Fine. If I go on this show will you give me a break?”
Hermione smiled sweetly. “Of course I will. I’ll give you about a two and a half week break. While you’re off hiding from cameras, listening to girls talk about snogging a guy they hardly know and going on dates with an incredibly eligible bachelor.”
“I think I’m either going to laugh, cry, scream, vomit…or kill you.”
“Why don’t you just laugh,” Hermione said, patting Ginny’s arm. “Less traumatic that way.”
Two weeks later, Ginny still had second thoughts. For that matter, she also had third and fourth thoughts, but there was no way Hermione was going to let her back down. “I’m going to kill you when I get back,” was the last thing Ginny said to Hermione as she folded herself into the limousine and watched until her apartment was no longer in view. I can’t believe I’m actually doing this!
She had been a bit surprised by the limo. I mean, this was a Wizarding show; why not just Apparate? But Hermione explained that these shows often preferred to do everything fancy and nothing only half-way. I personally don’t think that Apparating would be doing things ‘half-way.’ It would certainly be better than an hour and a half long car ride.
Ginny sighed dramatically and leaned back against the black leather seat. The outfit she had on was one of the several that Hermione had convinced her to buy. The letter had informed her that dress robes were not necessary. Actually, they were discouraged since the dates they would be going on would be places where there would be muggles around. So, there she sat wearing a clingy, dark red, knee-length dress with modest silver embroidery that made her hair look like “burnished gold” as Hermione called it. The neckline was square and completely decent, but the dress was clingy. Ginny did not like clingy. She felt like she constantly had to tug at the spaghetti straps holding it up so that the neckline would remain as modest as it should be.
Sighing, Ginny decided that if she had to endure this long ride, she might as well try to enjoy it. Looking out the window she realized that she had never been to this part of the country before. Fascinated by all the small towns that dotted the country-side and the green springing up from all the newly planted crops, Ginny lost herself for most of the trip. She was pulled back to reality when the driver turned his head slightly to speak to her.
“We’re going to be arriving at the house in about twenty minutes. I’m to warn you that the cameras will be on you as soon as you step out, so be on your guard.” He smiled reassuringly at her through the rearview mirror when he saw the panicked look on her face.
“Thank you,” she practically croaked. Only twenty minutes till they arrived! Oh bloody hell! Picking up her tote from the floor beside her feet, she dug through it until she found her mirror. She blinked several times after looking into it, being rudely reminded that Hermione had convinced her to cut her hair. Instead of straight and to her shoulders, as had been her style for as long as she could remember, it was only about chin length and layered so that it framed her face. Not for the first time, she balked at how almost pretty she looked. I should have picked up this hairstyle long ago!
The twenty minutes flew by much faster than Ginny had hoped as she scrambled to reapply her lip gloss and make sure her make-up still looked good. She almost swore. Make-up! Since when do I wear make-up? I haven’t even met the guy and he’s already ruining me!
“Just leave all of your stuff in the car and someone will take care of it,” the driver informed her and she nodded dumbly, finding no comfort in his reassuring smile this time.
The car slowed to a stop and Ginny, who hadn’t been paying any attention, looked up for the first time to see where this whole nightmare would be taking place. ‘House’ did he say before? This isn’t a house, it’s a mansion! No, it’s a castle! “Bloody hell,” she groaned as the driver got out to open her door for her.
He had been right about the cameras — as soon as the door opened, Ginny feared she would never have privacy again. At least three different cameramen stood at different angles around her. As long as they don’t have a camera angled to look up my skirt…it would be easy with one as short as this one. She jumped slightly as she saw a house-elf step up from behind the other cameramen, thankfully staying far enough away to keep from taking any risqué shots.
I’m going to die, she thought, doing her best to smile at the cameras and not look as nervous as she felt. And if I don’t, she continued, I’m going to kill Hermione.
A pristine looking woman wearing a skirted business suit met Ginny at the door. Ginny wished briefly that she had been able to wear something as sensible, but couldn’t dwell on the thought long as she was ushered into a room full of women wearing clothing just as silly as her own. One of them seemed to be wearing a formal gown. I’ll bet she feels over dressed, Ginny thought sympathetically.
The woman in the formal attire smiled when she saw Ginny looking at her and actually came to sit next to Ginny as she found an empty couch. “Hi there. I’m Trista. Trista Clarkson,” she said in a friendly voice.
“Ginny – er, Ginevra Weasley.” For some reason Hermione thought it best that she use her real name and after much arguing, Ginny finally consented. I’ll introduce myself as Ginevra, but I don’t have to like it.
“Gosh, I’m nervous. How about you?” Trista asked looking around the room with a look on her face that Ginny was sure mirrored her own.
“Terrified,” was Ginny’s breathless response.
“Yes well,” Trista said with a sheepish grin, “at least you don’t look like your expecting to be invited to a ball.” She sighed in exasperation. “I’ve never even watched one of these shows and no one ever specified what we were supposed to wear on the first day.” She laughed slightly, but Ginny thought she could see tears forming in her eyes.
Getting an idea, Ginny excused herself, saying she would be right back, and sought out the woman in the business suit. “Trista Clarkson you say? Well, only half of you are here so far, so I’m sure there’s time. I’ll have one of the men show her where her stuff was put.”
“Thank you, I know she’ll appreciate it.” Ginny walked back toward the couch and motioned for Trista to come over. With a puzzled expression, Trista stood and smoothed her skirt self-consciously before walking over to join her. “I got you permission to go and change into something more appropriate.”
Trista looked like she was going to cry again, but her face radiated relief. “Oh, thank you so much Genevra! I’ll never forget this!” She bit her lip suddenly. “Would you mind coming with me? It took two people – besides me! – to get this dress on. I don’t think I could get it off by myself.”
Ginny laughed a bit and agreed, leading her over to Connie Young, the woman in the business suit. Smiling warmly at the two, she pulled aside one of the men that had just walked in to serve drinks and gave him orders to direct the girls to one of the rooms.
Despite looking like an old – though spectacular – castle from the outside, it was not nearly as drafty as she had expected. The two of them followed their guide through endless halls, footsteps barely making a sound on the soft white carpet beneath their feet. Tapestries hung on the walls and stands with sculptures and other art were scattered meticulously throughout so that no matter where one stood, it was neither boring to look at, nor too cluttered. I could get used to this, Ginny reluctantly admitted to herself.
They finally reached the room where the gentleman opened the door and informed them that he would be waiting outside to escort them back to the sitting room. Ginny shared an amused, yet impressed look with Trista before closing the door in his face as politely as possible.
Trista looked around for a moment before spotting her things in one corner of the room. “This is it,” she sighed tiredly. Ginny could understand. Her own nerves were starting to exhaust her as well.
Ginny helped Trista get out of her gown then waited while Trista slipped into a cute little halter-top spring dress. Afterward, they both walked outside where they were bowed to by their escort and led back to the sitting room.
Not much had changed during the time they were gone. A few more girls occupied the room and their couch was now fully occupied so they stood together near the wall and talked quietly as they watched the other girls.
“I wanted to talk to you earlier, because you look exactly like my little sister,” Trista remarked rather randomly. Ginny looked askance at Trista’s dark curls. Noticing the look, Trista laughed; a musical laugh, like a silver bell. “She’s my step-mom’s daughter. All of her kids are fair-haired, but my step-mom actually looks more like me. I’m taller though, if you can believe that.” Trista was slight and also a tad short — probably only an inch taller than Ginny herself.
“That’s interesting,” Ginny began with a slight laugh. “Everyone in my family look practically identical. We all have red hair and far too many freckles. It’s a curse,” she added for amusement.
“Are you kidding me? I’d love to have freckles. I bet they’re good at hiding blemishes.”
Ginny snorted a laugh in a very unlady-like manner, making some of the other girls in the room look at her in disgust. “Hide blemishes? They are blemishes as far as I’m concerned.”
Trista grinned at her as though she didn’t believe a word of it, but Ginny was not given the chance to prove herself. A sudden fanfare began playing.
I guess they really do go all out with these things, she thought getting over her initial shock.
Connie Young walked in after the trumpets had quieted down and announced in a magically enhanced voice: “Ladies, I would like to introduce your Bachelor to you. Please welcome Harry Potter.”
Ginny’s mouth dropped open before she could stop herself, but her reaction wasn’t nearly as bad as some of them. Half of the girls in the room looked as though they were going to swoon. Some of them did. Paying absolutely no mind to the girls on the floor being hastily awakened, Ginny stood enraptured as the Boy Who Lived walked into the sitting room.
A/N: Sadly, chapter one by itself wasn't long enough, so this is actually chapters one and two. And, I've never had to post this with html, so I hope that all of the codes work. Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll like this. So far I have 20 chapters done, and at the other place I post I update every 4 days, so I'll probably be finished with the story by the time I get up to chapter 20 here! Jaa, mata ne!
Back to index
Chapter 2: The First RoseEpisode Two
The First Rose
Harry stood several inches taller than Ginny and as he surveyed the room, Ginny realized that she couldn’t take her eyes off of him. Black untamed hair hung in waves to just below his ears, emerald green eyes that peered around him unflinching and his smile… Wait. His smile looked nervous. Interesting. I hadn’t thought that he would be nervous. Wait a minute! What’s he got to be nervous about? All he has to do is choose one of us.
Ginny looked around the room, actually seeing the other young women for the first time. They were all very attractive. Er…maybe choosing is a bit more difficult than I would imagine. Perhaps it’s more intimidated than nervous? She looked back at him just as his eyes swept past her. They didn’t stay on her for very long, but it was long enough for her breath to catch and her heart to start racing. No, that’s definitely a nervous smile, she thought…as soon as she was again capable of thought.
Why is it that your heart can start racing in a…well, in a heart beat, but it takes what seems like years to get it back to normal?
They were all instructed to sit with Harry standing in the middle of a circle of couches and chairs. Talk about being the center of attention. One by one, the 24 women gave their names and small bits of information about themselves. It seemed more for the sake of the viewing audience, since it was unlikely that Harry could see the girl who was speaking past all the cameras that crowded around her.
The camera moved ever closer, until finally Trista was speaking beside her. “My name is Trista Clarkson. I work as a freelance writer for the Daily Prophet. I’m 23 years old and I live just south of London with my dad and step-mom and I’m the oldest of 4 children,” she continued, but Ginny found herself incredibly nervous and very much envious of Trista’s calm speech with the cameras in her face.
It was finally Ginny’s turn and she just knew she was going to throw up. Do it for Hermione, she thought, wondering where the idea had come from.
“My name is Ginevra Weasley. I’m 21 years old and I live in a flat in London. I have 6 older brothers, all of which look very much like me, only, obviously, male,” Did I really just say that? Cripes! “I am currently between jobs, but most recently I was working at St. Mungo’s hospital in the Spell Damage division, specializing in incorrectly applied charms,” She finally was given a view of Harry through the tangle of cameras and after that she couldn’t remember what else she said; all she could remember were his eyes. So green, she thought, like a complete sap.
The rest of the girls spoke, but Ginny couldn’t stop staring at his eyes, even when they weren’t directed at her. When his back was turned to her as the cameramen progressed through the room, she continued to stare as though she could see his eyes through the back of his head if she looked hard enough. She didn’t even realize she was doing it.
After the introductions Harry excused himself and was led away by Connie Young. When she returned she gave instructions to the men around the room and the girls were led in groups to several rooms to freshen up before what Connie called ‘The Ceremony’. From what Ginny could remember, she believed what happened is that half of them were to be asked to leave immediately, and those that he had stay were given a rose. Or was it the ones that didn’t stay were given a rose? That made more sense to Ginny, since that way those sent home would have gotten something out of the whole ordeal, even if it was just a flower.
Ginny and Trista were able to stay together, much to Ginny’s relief; Trista was the only person she’d spoken a word to so far and after her embarrassing interview it was unlikely that any of the other girls would want to talk to her. Maybe her ‘airheadedness’ would rub off. I don’t care if that isn’t a word; it’s bloody well true anyway. Ginny sighed loudly as she checked her make-up in the wall-to-wall mirror she shared with half a dozen other girls.
“Goodness, he’s handsome isn’t he?” Trista asked breathlessly.
Ginny’s cheeks warmed as she nodded fervently. “Gorgeous,” she breathed. “Did you see his eyes? I don’t think I’ve ever seen eyes that shade before, at least not accompanied by such an attractive face. And his glasses just make him look so sophisticated. And, ah! His hair! I can’t wait to see him really smile. It’s sure to be as stunning as the rest of him! And —” Ginny suddenly noticed that Trista had stopped looking at herself in the mirror and was now staring straight at Ginny with a look of open amusement.
“Well, I think someone is smitten already. I’m surprised you didn’t mention anything about him being the the Boy Who Lived.” Trista laughed softly; little tinkling bells. Ginny wished she could laugh like that.
“I guess I never really thought of it. Perfect guy for one of these shows though, huh? I mean, you can’t get much more eligible than that, can you?” The two girls giggled together for a couple of minutes until the nerves set back in.
Ginny sighed. “I don’t know what I’m so worried about. There’s no way he’s going to keep me here after I spazzed like that. ‘They look just like me only male.’ I almost died!”
“I don’t know,” mused Trista with a twinkle in her eye. “He seemed rather amused to me. Didn’t you see him smiling?”
“He smiled?” Ginny whispered.
“Yes. He did. In fact, that was the first time I had seen any such expression on him through the whole thing.” Trista went back to fixing her hair. Not that it needed it. Every curl was placed just so and not a hair was out of line. “Now, if only I can be so lucky.”
“Don’t even say it!” Ginny rolled her eyes. “You’re twice as gorgeous as more than half of the girls out there, including me. And you didn’t make a fool out of yourself.”
Trista bit her lip. “I hope you’re right.”
Ginny nodded confidently, but on the inside… I hope I’m right too.
Ginny had just enough time to reapply her lip gloss — again — before someone was sent in to fetch them. They headed in a different direction than they had come from earlier and before long they found themselves in a room with fifteen foot ceilings and walls of dark gem tones with several floor to ceiling windows draped with curtains that matched the walls in shimmering opacity. There were couches in here as well, though these were placed in stadium seating with the back row a good two feet above the ground. Ginny rushed, while trying to seem not to be rushing, for one of the seats near the floor. It wasn’t that she wanted a front row view, precisely, but after messing up before she was not going to give herself a chance to fall flat on her face!
The chairs filled up rapidly, the noise level rising with the occupation of two dozen nervous women chattering amongst themselves. Ginny wasn’t sure she trusted herself to speak. There was only one cameraman in the room at the time…apparently the other million were swarmed around Harry. I wonder if he likes attention, Ginny thought out of nowhere. He probably does, having gotten used to it. Then again, maybe he hasn’t; maybe he’s gotten sick of it. By the time she got to this stage of reasoning she figured that thinking was just as bad as speaking. Ginny contented herself by looking around her. Ginny was quite sure that Trista had been wrong about her getting to stay on the show. Looking at the other girls, there was no way he would choose little Ginny Weasley over some of the other ravishing beauties around her. It wasn’t happening. Trista seemed to be thinking the same thing.
“Well, even if we aren’t picked, perhaps we could get the name of one of the serving men.” Her eyes twinkled as she peered interestedly around her. Now that she mentioned it, the men around the room were quite attractive; however, she found herself comparing their eyes with Harry’s. Idiot. I thought there was going to be no more thinking. Despite the fact that that in itself was a thought, Ginny tried to clear her mind and focus on her surroundings.
Because of that focus she almost didn’t notice what was going on around her. Focus on the surroundings but not on what’s happening? You really are an idiot! More cameramen began to fill the room and, as Connie stepped in, Ginny anticipated the fanfare that closely followed her arrival.
A dais with a large throne-like chair had been placed in the space in front of the seated women and after an announcement Harry walked in and sat down on it. Ginny willed his eyes to find her, but he seemed intensely interested in the toes of his highly polished shoes. He’s so cute when he’s nervous… Augh! Shut up!
As the cameramen spread out around the room to get the best shots, Connie walked regally up to Harry and handed him a bouquet of white and red roses. Wait, thought Ginny. What’s the significance in color? She might as well not have asked because it was answered straight away.
“Everyone’s name will be called in no particular order. If Harry hands you a red rose, you are to continue on the show and you are to walk through that door where you will be escorted to your rooms,” she said, indicating a doorway to the right and behind the dais. “If you are given a white rose, take the doorway to your left and you will be escorted back outside where your things will be brought and your chauffeurs will take you home. I just wanted to say that I am glad you all could come, and I’m sure Harry is as well,” the man in question blushed as she continued. “But I’ll let him do the talking now.”
Harry stood, two dozen roses in his hand. He picked out a red rose and a hush fell over the room. Even the cameras seemed to be silent. Had they been making noise before? She couldn’t remember. Stop that! she scolded herself.
“This was a really hard decision,” Harry began. His eyes swept past them all again and Ginny felt her heart beat quicken as they met her own. “I wish I could get to know all of you, but I do have to make this choice. So, without any more delay,” Connie looked slightly vexed at this statement; apparently she had been expecting more of a speech. “Laurie Bristol,” he intoned. The named girl, tears of jubilation in her eyes, walked to the front where Harry handed her the red rose and she walked through the door on the right. Next Harry took out a white rose. Ginny heard several intakes of breath and figured that many of them had momentarily stopped breathing. She was one of them.
“Carri William,” Ginny heard the girl sniffle and had to look away before she too burst into tears. This is so depressing! She knew she would start crying if she was given a white rose, but at the same time, she was afraid she would cry just as hard if she was given a red rose.
With agonizing slowness Harry continued to hand out roses, first a red, then a white, until there were only nine roses left. Three more of them would be chosen to stay. Anything could happen at this point. Then again, anything could have happened at any point before now. Harry picked a white rose from among the others. This is going to be me. I know it’s going to be me, Ginny lamented. “Candyce Robins.” Ginny let out her breath again and felt suddenly lightheaded. She was so nervous, she almost didn’t care what rose she got as long as the tension was ended!
A red rose and Trista was no longer by her side. She turned to flash an encouraging smile back at Ginny before stepping through the door on the right. A white rose. Still not Ginny. A red rose. Still not Ginny. A white rose. No. There were now only two of them left. Two roses; two incredibly nervous girls. Harry separated the last red rose from the white. There were cameramen no more than three feet from all three of them, catching every twitch of the eye, every drop of sweat. And still he held the rose.
She wasn’t expecting it. She had waited so long for her name to be called that she couldn’t believe it at first. She stood. She walked toward the dais, reached out her hand and got caught in his eyes. “Congratulations,” he whispered with a small smile. Her own smile just about split her face in two.
I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not — she heard the last girl crying from where she still sat and found that her feet had stopped moving. She turned back as the girl collapsed to the floor with her sobs. Ginny, being the closest person, besides the cameramen who were having a field day at this poor girls expense, she rushed to her side, pulling the girl’s head onto her shoulder as she wept. It could have been me. Ginny kept thinking. Smoothing the girl’s hair back, Ginny found that her own cheeks were moist so glaring at the cameras she helped the girl get to her feet.
“Joice Turner,” Harry whispered as he stepped down from the dais to hand Joice her rose. She took it, trying hard to smile and Ginny helped her walk to the door. Connie was waiting for her there so Ginny gave her over to the brisk woman and walked hesitantly to the other side of the room. Stepping through the door on the right with a red rose firmly held in her hand, Ginny realized for the first time just how much this was all going to hurt. Whether she lasted until the end, or was eliminated during the next Ceremony, this was really going to hurt.
Yay! Chapter three...er..two...is up! I'm going to have to get used to the idea that my chapters one and two are now chapter one. If I mess up, you'll all know why! Because I am a complete and utter fool. Anywha, thanks for your reviews, and I hope to get more *winks* Jaa, mata ne!
Back to index
Chapter 3: DinnerEpisode Three
Still concentrating wholly on her red rose, Ginny noticed vaguely that she was being led somewhere. Down hallways, past more tapestries and more sculptures to a room with three large beds and an even larger bathroom, unless she missed her guess.
She stepped in, thanked her escort half-heartedly and sank to one of the beds. She heard a noise from behind her and looked up to see Trista’s jubilant face peeking around the door. “I knew you’d make it! But, what took you so long?”
Another girl walked into the room at that point, and hearing the last question, she spoke up. “Ginevra here almost got herself disqualified,” she hummed at them almost happily.
“What?” demanded Ginny as she heard the question echoed in Trista’s voice. “What are you talking about?”
“Oh, I just heard all about it. You stayed behind after you were chosen using the other girl’s feelings as a ploy so that you could show off for our bachelor.” The girl positioned herself in front of one of the standing mirrors and primped with a smirk on her face, shooting occasional glances Ginny’s way.
“That is absolutely absurd! I did no such thing. It was in no way a ploy, it’s just that we were the only two left and as I heard her cry, I realized that it could have just as easily been me given a white rose.” Ginny fumed. Just who did this girl think she was?
“Well,” the girl huffed at Ginny’s tone of voice. “If it had been me, I would have just left her there. There are plenty of people to take care of her.”
“Right! Like the cameramen who only wanted to get as many tears on film as they could, or the serving men who had been instructed from the beginning not to get involved. Yeah, plenty of people,” Ginny finished sarcastically.
“Geez, you don’t have to get all fired up. Calm down.” The girl yawned. “Well, if you don’t mind, I’m just going to take a shower before dinner.” Smirking again, she grabbed one of her suitcases and disappeared into the bathroom.
“If you don’t mind, I’d like for you to drown yourself in that shower,” Ginny glowered after her.
“I can’t believe that,” Trista whispered from behind her. “How could she have even thought that?” Trista turned to look directly in Ginny’s eyes. “I know one thing for sure, that girl at least will be at home rooting for Genevra Weasley to win!”
That, of course, had not been Ginny’s intent either, but she found herself thinking about it as they all readied for dinner. Joice Turner. Ginny was determined to remember the name and look the girl up after the show was over, especially if she was kicked off soon; which of course she would be. The first red rose was a fluke, she told herself.
Dinner was an interesting affair. Twelve women and one man at a very large table. Each girl was asked one question during supper amid the whispered conversations being shared by the girls between questions. Harry must have some memory too, because he asked questions that pertained directly to what each woman had divulged during her interview.
“Trista,” he began. “You said you lived with your father and your step-mom as well as three siblings; how many of the siblings are your step-mom’s children, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“Of course I don’t mind,” she replied, as though that were the most obvious thing in the world. “My sister Bethany and my brother Curtis are both step-siblings, and my youngest sister, Stephanie, is my half-sister.” Harry nodded looking interested as he turned to ask Ginny her question. Please don’t let me spaz out again!
“Ginevra.” Ginny couldn’t believe how good her name sounded on his lips. Maybe being called Genevra wasn’t such a bad idea. “You said that you’re between jobs. What job are you trying to get?”
“Well, I’m actually trying to get re-employed for a job that I had worked previously.”
“And that was?” He urged.
Ginny blushed slightly, anticipating the giggles that were soon to follow. “I used to be the assistant editor for the Quibbler.” There it was. All the girls around her started tittering in amusement. No doubt half of them were crossing her name off in their mental check board. One down, ten to go, she knew they were thinking. Ginny wanted to sink into the floor, but instead she looked back at Harry, his eyes pulling her. He was smiling, and he too looked amused, but not rudely so. He looked genuinely interested. Ginny was amazed.
During the rest of what Ginny deemed the “question-answer time” her eyes were as locked to Harry’s as any time before. How could eyes be that green? The contrast between his dark hair and bright eyes fascinated her to the point that Trista actually had to nudge her when dessert was served because she hadn’t noticed.
Good grief girl! If you’re this enamored right now, it’s going to be deathly painful when he hands you a white rose in a couple of days! She still couldn’t believe he’d given her a red rose. With a protective spell she had set in on the nightstand beside her bed, balancing on its stem. It would never wither that way. She could have bound it and hung it upside down to dry it, but this way it would always be in bloom, and it wasn’t as though the protective spell was hard to maintain.
After dinner the girls were all sent to their respective rooms. Despite what Ginny believed, Trista was not to be staying in the same room as her. Ginny thought it very likely there would be a murder between her, and Janice, the girl that had accused Ginny of trying to get an advantage with their “prince charming,” as Janice later called him. I swear, if that girl mentions it one more time I will end up going home, but it won’t be with a white rose, it’ll be with a sore fist.
The other roommate seemed pleasant enough. Tier was a year younger than Ginny and very light haired. Platinum, almost, but it fit very well with her eyes. They were almost a watery blue, Ginny realized reluctantly, but she was very pretty just the same. She didn’t seem to like Janice either, which made Ginny like her all the more.
While she and Tier were talking Trista slipped in and Janice, annoyed by their giggling, stormed out, much to everyone’s satisfaction. “She really is a prune, isn’t she?” giggled Tier. The other two agreed whole-heartedly.
About an hour later, Janice returned commanding they all be quiet since she planned to get some sleep that night. The three rolled their eyes and gladly left the room to allow Janice her beauty sleep. “She needs it,” whispered Tier.
As they stepped out of the room into the hallway full of doors, they walked to the end were the hall opened up to a little alcove-like meeting room and mini kitchen. This was where Connie would be briefing them tomorrow morning on what was to be
expected for the next couple of weeks. The three sat and talked for a couple more hours until they decided it was time they all tried to get to sleep. “We can’t allow Janice to get too much more beauty sleep than us. I intend to last at least as long as her,” laughed Tier. Ginny decided that she definitely liked Tier.
She and Tier tiptoed into the pitch-black room, bumping into things and giggling but trying to be as quiet as possible. Ginny slipped silently into her pajamas and crawled into her bed. She’d make sure to brush her teeth extra long in the morning, but for now, she just wanted to rest. Turning her head to the side she stared at where she knew her rose was sitting at the moment. She closed her eyes and sleep drifted over her. She didn’t remember what she dreamed that night, but the next morning, she didn’t think even Janice could put her in a bad mood.
So, what do you think of Janice so far? You'll really love to hate her soon. She's horrible. Trust me. hehehe Please review!
Back to index
Chapter 4: And So it BeginsEpisode Four
And So it Begins
Hopping out of bed, Ginny stretched and headed for the shower, noticing that both Tier and Janice were still fast asleep. She checked her watch. She didn’t need to even be up for at least another hour. Oh well, that means more hot water for me.
Ginny lugged her toiletry bag into the bathroom and shut the door. Stripping she turned the water on and checked the temperature before jumping in. Fifteen delightful minutes later she got out feeling clean, refreshed, and ready to woo. She laughed at herself as she pulled out her wand and dried and styled her hair. It really was so much easier to manage at this length. She’d have to thank Hermione when she got home. Right before she killed her.
Grimacing at herself she proceeded to layer goop onto her face. She really didn’t like putting on make-up, but once it was on, she really liked how it looked. She was able to at least soften her freckles with the wonderful muggle foundation she had bought herself for this trip. Muggle scientists were far behind in some areas and yet completely outstripping the wizarding world in others.
She was just finishing up in the bathroom when Janice walked in. Hair sticking up in places and eyeliner smeared, she scowled at Ginny as she walked toward the shower area muttering to herself. Ginny caught only a little bit of what was said. It sounded like “making noise all night,” and “too chipper.” Apparently she and Tier had woken her up when they came in to sleep last night. Ginny found that she was in no way remorseful.
She walked back to her bed and sat down, pulling a smaller bag from within her largest suitcase. From this bag she pulled out her needles and yarn and started working on a scarf that she had decided to make for the upcoming winter season. Her mother always gave her children knitted sweaters for Christmas, but she only bewitched the needles to knit for her. Ginny liked doing it by hand. The repetition was relaxing. Tuck, loop, pull back, slide off. Tuck, loop, pull back, slide off. As she worked, needles clicking, Tier rolled out of bed with a sleepy smile, yawning as she headed toward the bathroom. Good thing there were multiple showers in that bathroom, because ten minutes later Tier was out, but it took Janice another half hour before she emerged, hair up in a towel and nothing but her knickers on.
Ginny was glad to have something to concentrate on so that she didn’t have to look at Janice. What a hussy! Walking around in front of perfect strangers wearing practically nothing. What is she thinking? Tier seemed to agree with Ginny on this. When Janice walked out she gave a disgusted gasp and retreated back into the bathroom.
Twenty minutes later there was a light tap on their door followed by a summons of sort to come out to the little meeting room. The three complied, with Janice thankfully dressed, but still not wearing much in Ginny’s opinion. Ginny wore striped slacks in different shades of brown and a loose white button up blouse. It was casual, but classy. Janice, however, was wearing a skirt that stopped well above her knees and a halter-top tank that looked practically see-through. That is so wrong! thought Ginny in slight horror.
Connie was already sitting patiently in one of the many comfy armchairs in the meeting room and as each girl entered she took a seat as well. Trista had saved a seat for both Ginny and Tier and to her other side was another girl that Ginny hadn’t met yet. She introduced herself as Alexa. That was as far as they got because it wasn’t long after they all showed up that Connie started speaking.
“I’m not sure how much you girls know about the working of this show, so those of you who do know how things run, I apologize for having to hear it all again. All twelve of you will go on a group date with our Bachelor in the next couple of days in three groups of four. After each of you has been on a date with Mr. Potter he will be forced to send half of you home.” She stopped talking for a moment to let that sink in before continuing.
“The first group will be going for a day trip with Harry to Hogsmeade. As some of you may know, Hogsmeade has several restaurants as well as a candy store, a joke shop and other interesting stops. You’ll be leaving right after lunch and will be spending the day there, including dinner at a restaurant of Harry’s choice. The first group of four will consist of Denise Trager, Laurie Bristol, Tier Kaiser, and Martha Lynn. The individual date will be going to Denise Trager.” Turning to look at the blushing blonde, Connie explained what would be going on with Harry and Denise, so Ginny immediately tuned her out to look at Tier.
Tier sat there without moving, her mouth slightly open and her hands clenching her skirt till her knuckles were white. Tier turned when she saw Ginny looking at her. “What am I going to wear?” she asked breathlessly. Ginny laughed.
“I’m sure you’ll think of something,” Ginny said, smiling at the look on Tier’s face.
“You’ll help me pick out clothes, won’t you?” Ginny couldn’t help the giggle that escaped her. Tier sounded so utterly helpless over such a small matter.
“Of course I will!” Ginny turned to see Connie standing up.
“After the girls leave I’ll inform the rest of you of the schedule for meals for today. Tomorrow morning at the same time I’ll tell everyone about tomorrow’s date.” Nodding when she saw they all understood, she swept out of the room without a backward glance.
The soft sound of the door closing seemed to open a dam. Girls all over the room started squealing; expressing their nervousness or congratulations, asking for opinions. It all sounded like a mess to Ginny. She hoped she didn’t sound like that when she got to go on one of the dates later.
Bolting upright from her chair, Tier turned, urgency burning in her eyes. “Ginevra, please. Can you help me right now?”
Ginny looked at her watch, confused. “You still have a good two hours.”
“I know,” whimpered Tier, “but I want to look really good, Ginevra. Please?” She pouted playfully making Ginny laugh.
“Alright, alright. But if you really want to look good, we have to call in for backup.” Dragging a laughing Trista behind her Ginny followed Tier to their room.
Back to index
Chapter 5: Last GroupEpisode Five
It wasn’t until about an hour after dinner that the three girls finally got back from the group date. Tier’s face was radiant, but as she looked, Ginny noticed that the other girls had the same look. Denise was back a good hour later practically floating into the room. Everyone started tossing questions at her like they had to the three that had come back earlier. “It was divine!” Denise gushed. Ginny thought that maybe that word was a bit over the top. A date was ‘divine’? It sounded like something a character would say in a muggle soap opera. Then again, noticing the cameras that had followed her in, Ginny thought briefly of the Hawthorn affect. No doubt if the cameras had not been watching her, Denise would not have been nearly as dramatic as she was being.
Ginny sighed wondering how she would end up acting around Harry and the cameramen. She didn’t want to think about that; it kind of came unbidden. Maybe Trista had the right idea: even if I don’t win Harry’s heart, I might impress some guy who’s watching the show, and maybe he’ll seek me out after I’m kicked off. Ginny shook herself mentally. Stop thinking weird things, Gin. Just shut up, she chided herself. Thinking had definitely becoming a bad past time.
As it turned out, Denise and Harry had spent the extra hour alone at the Three Broomsticks talking over a Butterbeer for Harry and a Firewhiskey for Denise. He had been a perfect gentleman she disclosed, but Ginny suspected that even had that not been true it wasn’t likely she’d have said any differently. After they had finished their drinks they just walked around window-shopping. Several of the nosier girls asked if he had held her hand or kissed her. Denise pretended not to hear them and continued to rave about how wonderful it all was.
“Yeah, but did he hold your hand?” one of the girls insisted.
“Did he kiss you?” another asked right on top of her.
Denise blushed defensively. “No. He didn’t.” She then decided that she was suddenly tired and just had to get to sleep immediately.
He didn’t even hold her hand! Ginny didn’t know what to think. Why not? … What am I thinking? Good boy! She laughed softly at her own immaturity before getting ready to sleep herself.
The next morning Ginny was again one of the first up. A half hour sitting on one of the comfy chairs in the alcove and she was joined by a still radiant Tier as well as Trista and her new friend Alexa. Connie walked in no more than a few minutes later asking one of the other girls to get everyone else then told them to sit down again for her next speech. Ginny waited more patiently than most of the other girls, but…that really wasn’t saying much. One girl in a chair on the outer rim of their circle was twitching her leg so fast in looked like her foot was about to fly off. Several of the girls were teasing their lips nervously. Ginny just sat. She had a feeling she wouldn’t be going on the date until tomorrow.
“The next date will be at a muggle spa,” the four girls that had already gone squealed in protest. ‘That’s not fair’ was the clear meaning to their noises. Connie gestured for quiet. “The four that will be going on this date are Trista Clarkson, Becky Montgomery, Janice Torbeck and Alexa Taylor. The individual date goes to Janice Torbeck.”
Ginny almost swore, and from beside her, she thought she heard Tier do the same. Ginny did not want to imagine Janice alone with Harry in a spa. She thought she may throw up!
For the next hour Ginny pointedly avoided going back to her room. She could only imagine the kind of boastful look that Janice would have on her face at this point, and she was quite sure that she didn’t want to see it. Instead she stayed in Trista’s room where both Trista and Alexa were going crazy trying to get ready. Make-up was a problem. Neither of them would go without make-up on — silly girls! Ginny thought companionably — but they didn’t have any waterproof make-up. Ginny pulled through for them though. Another thing she would have to thank Hermione for before she killed her.
After that fiasco was cleared up, Ginny was forced to deal with another problem, just as silly as the first one. What to wear.
“What? You mean you brought more than one bathing suit?” They both nodded mutely, not the least bit remorseful. “What do you need two bathing suits for?”
“Two?” laughed Alexa. “I brought three!” The tall brunette tossed back her long hair, a habit that Ginny found increasingly irritating and gave Ginny a smile that was almost a smirk. Ginny had to watch very carefully what she said to this girl. Biting her tongue momentarily Ginny spoke in a much calmer voice than she wanted to use.
“Okay then, let’s see them.” Alexa started heading toward the bathroom. “No, I mean, just show them to me, you don’t need to model them.”
Alexa looked scandalized. “You can’t get the full effect if I only show them to you! I want to be sure to make the right choice.” She turned back and closed the door firmly behind her.
Ginny blinked several times before looking at Trista. “Where did you find this girl?”
Trista laughed. “She’s one of my room mates. I think she’s a little insecure. She hasn’t left my side since last night and she keeps fishing for compliments. You’ll get used to her.” Ginny looked disbelieving. “Or you’ll throw her across the room,” she shrugged. “Either way, it won’t change anything.” Smiling mischievously, she held up her own bathing suits to change the subject. “Which one?”
After much discussion — and several trips into the bathroom for Alexa — the decision was finally made. Alexa didn’t actually take the suggestion and commented at how big her butt looked in all three of the suits, quite affronted when Trista was the only one who verbalized her disagreement; Tier seemed of the same mindset at Ginny when it came to Alexa.
Trista wore a one piece with a strange cut, so that from the back it appeared she was wearing a bikini. Ginny had suggested to Alexa that she wear the one with only one strap and a strange yet purposeful cut out of the side opposite the missing strap but Alexa declined and instead wore something that Ginny thought looked like something Janice might like to wear later. I don’t even want to think about how someone would describe a suit like this. I certainly wouldn’t try. To say the least, it was skimpy.
Much to her chagrin, Ginny was actually glad to see the girls go. She didn’t think she could stand any more of Alexa, and Janice being gone was a blessing as well. After lunch she spent the afternoon talking to Tier about her experience the day before.
“Oh Genevra! He really was just as much of a gentleman as Denise said. He opened doors for us and even went around and pulled out a chair for all four of us at dinner.” Ginny quirked an eyebrow at that; it seemed a little silly to her. “And I thought chivalry was dead. It lives on, though. It lives on in Harry Potter.” She was being so dramatic which was not something Ginny had expected of a girl like Tier.
Tier’s face took on a different look, as though something had just donned on her. “You’ll be going on the next date, then?”
Ginny smiled slightly before replying. “I would assume so.” Tier laughed a little at herself, blushing before going on.
“I bet you’ll get the individual date.”
Ginny’s eyes widened. She hadn’t even thought of that possibility. Shaking herself she reasoned to Tier. “The individual dates are completely random. What makes you think I’ll get it?”
Tier quirked an eyebrow and took on a mysterious voice. “I just know these things sometimes.” They both laughed and Ginny thought vaguely how much Tier had sounded like Ginny’s Divinations teacher back at Hogwarts. The professor was always talking in what Ginny assumed was supposed to be an ethereal voice…except for when someone insulted her in some way. Ginny was always amazed at how brisk her voice could become after the languid tone she usually used.
The next couple of hours were passed in about the same way. A few of the other girls joined them after a while and tried to decide where the next group date would be taking place. One of the girls that joined them, Christina, would be going on the next group date with Ginny. She was probably the tallest girl there, meaning she would no doubt be at least an inch taller than Harry. This didn’t seem to bother her at all though. With her nose stuck in the air she looked like someone Ginny did not want to converse with, but she really wasn’t as bad as she seemed.
When that conversation lagged, the other girls started talking about what had happened on their dates the day before. Christina immediately decided she wanted to be somewhere else at that point. Ginny figured that maybe it wasn’t snobbery that kept Christina’s nose in the air, but jealousy.
Jealousy. I bet there’s going to be a lot of that going on for a while. The girls continued talking and even got Ginny in on the conversations. She was glad to see that they were no longer avoiding her after her fiasco during the first interview.
Connie later came in to tell them that dinner would soon be served soon, which stopped that conversation until after dinner. Noticing the time, Ginny excused herself to hop in the shower before the other girls got back. She couldn’t help imagining her date with Harry. And, like the hopeless romantic that she was, she fantasized about getting the individual date this time. For some reason this date was taking place at the spa too — I guess even in my dreams I don’t want Janice to one-up me — where Harry made comments about Ginevra’s(even in her dreams she liked the way he said her name, also) modesty in her well-covering bathing suit as he sat near her in the sauna, the steamy air making emotions rise.
Before long, Ginny started blushing so bad that she had to turn the heat in the shower down. She sighed as she washed her hair. Right. Like that’s ever going to happen.
By the time she had gotten out and dried and styled her hair Trista and Alexa as well as the other girl, Becky, were dishing out the highlights of the evening. Every eye was focused on them as Ginny entered.
When Trista saw her she squealed and ran to her. “I so understand why Denise said her date was divine! It really was! I’ve never met such a man.” Ginny grinned in amusement as Trista went on declaring all the glories of Harry Potter, and as Ginny had imagined, there were a lot of them.
“Oh! I am just so mad that Janice got the individual date. I really wanted to spend some more time with him.” Resting her hands on either side of her face, trying to cool her blushing cheeks, Trista’s eyes looked almost feverish. Either these girls exaggerate a lot, or that Harry Potter is quite a guy!
“He really is incredible, Ginevra.” Ginny blinked, wondering if she’d made the last comment out loud. “Just wait until you get to talk to him. You’ll see what I mean.”
If he’s even half of what all these girls say he is I’m bound to fall head over heals in a matter of minutes. Ginny sighed again.
The time came when Janice would be getting back and Ginny decided to take a walk in the garden out back. It was just starting to get dark so she tried to drag Trista along, but the girl was determined to find out what Janice had done on the date. “You may not like her — I may not either for that matter — but any information we can get may help us later on.”
Strolling through the beautifully kept garden Ginny rolled her eyes. It sounds more like she’s talking about some kind of reconnaissance mission instead of a reality show. She bent down to smell one of the flowers — a blue iris, her favorite — when she heard a voice.
“You wouldn’t have believed it!” the voice cooed.
Ginny groaned silently. She had come out here to get away from Janice, and here the girl was, destroying her solitude.
“Well yeah!” she heard Janice speaking again; apparently she had missed the other girls response. “I know he looks like he’s all shy, but he is a god when it comes to snogging, let me tell you. I swear, if there had been a bed around and more than an hour of time, we would have ended up in the sack.” Silence. “Seriously! No, he is such a good kisser.” Silence again. “I’m not kidding. Why do you always say that? No, if he doesn’t pick me at the end, I will be so surprised. It was very obvious that he wanted me as much as I want him.”
Ginny chanced a glance through the shrubbery and saw Janice standing there alone. What the --? Is she planning an interview or something? Janice turned and Ginny found her answer. In her hand was a muggle cellular phone. Ginny wondered vaguely who Janice was talking to but as the conversation wore on, she decided that she didn’t want to know. Who talks about these things over the phone in the open like this? Ginny thought she was going to throw up if she had to hear that gloating voice any longer.
“Well, I should probably get going. I know that the other girls will be wanting me to divulge all of the details of the night.” Silence. “Yes, I’ll call you tomorrow to brag… Of course he’s going to pick me! Weren’t you listening?” Janice sighed like an exasperated drama queen. “Look, I really do have to go. Yes, of course. Ba-bai.”
Ginny heard the door close and stood up slowly. With a hand pressed to her back — remind me never to hide in a Garden again — she walked towards the door, hoping against hope that Janice would be far enough away that she wouldn’t see Ginny walking in right after she had.
Ginny walked over to the kitchen area to grab a glass of water, trying to give herself something to do in case Janice came back into the room. Apparently all of the bragging was going on in their room, so Ginny made sure to steer clear, which was a bit difficult since the only things she had to occupy her time were stuck in her room with Janice and her entourage of girls hanging on her every word. I wonder if she’s telling everyone about snogging Harry. I wonder if it actually happened…
The evening went by very slowly and Ginny found that being without entertainment was about to kill her. And she was so nervous about the date the next day that she just couldn’t sit still. It was too dark outside to enjoy the garden any longer, so Ginny just sat staring off into space. Despite the fact that she now considered thinking a dangerous pasttime it really was the only thing to occupy her time.
What if I am picked tomorrow for the individual date? Ginny blushed with pleasure just thinking about it. If he kissed Janice, maybe he would kiss me too. Now that was stupid! Why would I want to kiss someone that wants to kiss Janice? That’s just not right! And right on the heels of that thought, she was given another unpleasant alternative to her own wishful thinking. What if he gives me a white rose tomorrow?
Ginny realized that, after all this, she really didn’t want to go home. Tier had had the right of it the other day. Ginny wanted to last at least as long as Janice did! But how could she possibly convince Harry that he should keep her on the show? She was saved having to think up an answer by the return of most of the girls. It appeared that Janice had shooed everyone out of the room in order to sleep, but that didn’t stop them from gossiping about the whole thing.
After almost an hour of doing nothing and trying to entertain herself to no avail, it was delightful to have the others to talk to…even if the conversations didn’t hold her attention very well.
She waited another hour before heading off to bed. She didn’t know how she would react to seeing Janice at this time so she was very glad to see the lights off as she walked into the room. What a blessing to be spared having to listen to Janice’s voice again. Ginny slept wonderfully and again woke up before the other girls.
Her shower was as quick as she could manage so she grabbed her knitting stuff and immigrated to the alcove to work on her scarf until Connie came by or breakfast was served, whichever happened to come first today.
Breakfast was first. Sure, on the day that I will find out about the date I’m going on I have to wait longer. She sighed as she sat at one of the small tables set up for them. Trista sat down with her almost immediately.
“Did you hear anything about the date Janice had with Harry last night?” Trista asked as she sat down next to Ginny.
Ginny shook her head, then realized that just saying ‘no’ was a lie. “Not much, and I’d rather like to keep it that way.”
Trista smiled understandingly as they were joined by the other girls. Tier sat on the other side of Ginny with Alexa next to her. Looks like Alexa is making her rounds. She must not have gotten enough compliments from Trista. Ginny chided herself for thinking like that. She’s just insecure, like Trista said. Give her a break, Ginevra. When she realized she’d called herself by her real name, thinking was once again banned.
While she was eating, Ginny heard Janice’s voice from the other end of the table, commenting on how she was looking forward to when ‘Prince Charming’ would get to eat every meal with the girls that made it past this hurdle. Ginny saw some very glum faces after this comment as though they saw Janice’s spot as a given and their own spot precariously close to falling off the edge.
Oh, to get to see Harry at least three times every day. Ginny sighed just thinking about it. That would be wonderful, but there was no surety that she would be there when it happened.
Breakfast went by with agonizing slowness and Ginny didn’t taste any of her food. She couldn’t have told anyone what she had eaten, yet she had the feeling that she had done something stupid like putting pumpkin juice in her cereal or milk on her toast.
The girls all migrated to the alcove again to await Connie. She didn’t keep them waiting long.
Smiling she swept herself into one of the many seats and opened a folder to read off of it. Most of the girls seemed excited, even those that had already been on their dates. Janice looked bored. Ginny wanted to hit her. Really hard.
“The last group date will be at an amusement park.” Noises were made through the room voicing excitement — or vexation at only having gotten to go to Hogsmeade — and other such complaints and rejoices. “I’m sure all of you know who will be going on this date. Lila Brewer, Ginevra Weasley, Elizabeth Crow and Christina Blanche.” She paused for the noise to die down a little but Ginny was making no noise as she waited for Connie to announce the individual date.
Oooooh! Evil cliffie!! I hope this means I’ll get a lot of reviews…please? Pretty please? No, I didn’t really think that would work, but still… (please? Lol)
Back to index
Chapter 6: On the RoadEpisode Six
On the Road
“The individual date goes to Elizabeth Crow.” Those words repeated inside Ginny’s head for the next hour or more.
You idiot! Why did you think it would be you? You had never even given it a thought until Tier mentioned it. There was no way you would be that lucky. This is real life, Ginevra Weasley, not some fantasy. Ginny yanked the comb through her hair roughly, trying to keep herself from crying. Idiot! She applied her make-up, working hard to still her trembling hand; trembling with rage. Idiot! She picked out her clothes, making sure not to look at Janice. For some reason Ginny had a feeling that Janice knew exactly what she was thinking. IDIOT!
Ginny slipped into a pair of comfortable denim trousers and a lavender spaghetti strap tank top and shrunk a jacket to keep in her pocket in case she needed it. If worse came to worse she would find a privy and enlarge it again where none of the muggles could see. She also grabbed a shoulder sac and filled it with her lip gloss, wallet and comb. She really didn’t know what else to take with her.
As she turned from her bed to slip her bag over her shoulder she caught Janice’s eye. The smile on her face was so evil that Ginny wasn’t sure she wanted to scream and hide or walk over and pummel her. The latter of the two sounds very inviting. Augh! I have to get out of this room. With a glower and a raised eyebrow, Ginny swept out of the room. Would it really have hurt to punch her once? Well, I mean, it would have hurt her, of course, but would it have done me any harm? Ginny sighed and banished those thoughts from her mind.
Lila Brewer was the only other of the four that was ready so far. Ginny smiled at her and figured that she might as well try to get to know the other girls.
“Hi. I’m Ginevra Weasley,” Ginny said, offering her hand to the brunette with the heart-shaped face.
“Hi there. I’m Lila Brewer. You didn’t take long to get ready either.”
Ginny shrugged. “I had gone over in my head just about every possible locale this date could take place at and planned out what I would wear in each situation. Pretty pathetic really.” Ginny rolled her eyes. “I’m not usually that meticulous.”
Lila gave a nervous laugh. “It was exactly the same with me.” She gave Ginny a quick glance. “But, I’m always that meticulous.” They both laughed; Lila genuinely amused, Ginny a bit apologetic for her earlier comment.
The two fell into a relaxed conversation as they waited for the other girls. Christina came next, her face split in an ecstatic smile. “You must be really looking forward to this,” Ginny commented warmly. Christina only smiled wider in response.
Elizabeth took a bit more time, as was to be understood. Doubtless she was more nervous than the other three combined, knowing that she would get a chance to spend time with Harry alone. Ginny felt a stab of jealousy that she quickly suppressed as well as she could.
Not long after Elizabeth showed up, Connie came to collect them. This is really happening! Ginny thought. I’m about to spend an entire day with Harry Potter. She revised that thought. Okay, so I’ll be sharing him with three other girls for the entire day, but still! She nodded resolutely to herself before realizing that it might look a little strange nodding when no one had been talking. Thankfully, the other girls didn’t notice, being too caught up in their own internal conversations.
Connie escorted the four girls to the front of the castle where they were met by the driver of their limo, three cameramen standing in front of a large shrubbery that looked as though it was supposed to be hiding their car…and Harry Potter himself.
He nodded to the four of them and actually opened the door to allow them to enter first. He gave all four of them his heart-stopping smile as they stepped up beside him. Ginny ended up being the last of the four to get into the car. She smiled warmly back at Harry as he held the door open for her. Held the door open? It’s a car door, it stays open by itself. Ginny mentally shrugged the thought off as incredibly unimportant and banned herself from thinking once more.
Each of the already seated girls had tried to leave an open seat beside them for their bachelor. Ginny had the choice of either sitting next to Christina, who had only one seat beside her, or sitting between Elizabeth and Lila. She sat down next to Christina with an apologetic look which Christina ignored coldly. It was a choice between angering one girl or angering two…I’d rather just one.
“Sorry,” Ginny whispered to Christina, who merely sniffed her response. Ginny just sighed and sat back to get comfortable.
Harry got into the limo and sat between the two glowing girls and across from Christina who was trying hard to mask her disappointment and Ginny who felt rather embarrassed about the fact that Christina was upset with her. As soon as Harry was seated Connie stuck her head in.
“The ride should be about an hour and a half long, so you girls will get to spend about six hours at the park. Because of the travel time, Lila, Ginevra and Christina will not actually be coming home until after Harry and Elizabeth finish their individual date.” Ginny heard Christina mumble something beside her but couldn’t make out what she said or what tone of voice had been used. Ginny herself wasn’t sure how she felt about this revelation.
Connie spoke a bit longer then closed the door and bid the driver to leave. There was silence in the back of the limo for several minutes. For some reason, this silence was making Ginny want to giggle. Here they were, four girls all obsessed with the same guy and none of them could think of anything to say to him. Say something. Ginny shook herself. I’m not supposed to be thinking right now. You just shut up. Silence. Talk to him! Ginny couldn’t take it. This was hilarious! No one in the car was talking, so she was forced to carry on a conversation with herself!
Still trying to hold back the giggle that was stuck in the back of her throat, Ginny snorted slightly, which in turn, made the situation funnier, thus she snorted again. It was only seconds after her first snort that Ginny was in a gale of full out laughter. The other girls looked nervously on as though wondering if Ginevra Weasley was completely off her rocker, while Harry sat looking at her, an indefinable expression on his face.
Ginny tried desperately to calm herself down. Slow deep breaths weren’t working; they only served to make her laughs more irregular. Trying to stop the laughing cold-turkey only made her eyes tear up and run in slow rivers down her cheeks.
Elizabeth, Christina and Lila were still looking dumbfounded; they couldn’t understand what the mark was going on. Harry however…
Harry was now smiling slightly, as though having just caught on to an inside joke. The harder Ginny tried to calm herself the more he smiled. When she started crying in an effort to stop laughing he looked as though he was holding his laughter back to. By the time Ginny began to grasp her sides in an effort to stifle the pain in her stomach, Harry had joined her. Her laughs and gasps were only fueling his own, and vise versa.
Seeing their bachelor join in with Ginny’s insanity, the other girls tried to force themselves to laugh. It was pointless. They couldn’t see the humor in the situation and therefore couldn’t keep up with the other two. As Ginny and Harry finally calmed themselves down an awkward silence once again reigned.
“I’m sorry,” Ginny gasped quietly. Christina only glared harder, though averting her face from Harry so he couldn’t see the look. The other two were looking at her with unmasked confusion. What had just happened?
Taking a bold step, Lila turned toward Harry. “What was that all about,” she asked in a light voice that was slightly hampered by her still-bewildered expression.
“I have no idea,” Harry chuckled, glancing at Ginny for the answer.
Ginny nodded embarrassedly and shook her head. “It would take too long to explain.”
“We still have another hour,” Harry reminded her.
Ginny shook her head again. “Please, don’t make me explain. I’m not sure I entirely understand myself.” Harry chuckled again making Ginny blush. She felt a pressure and looked up to see three very angry, yet very well concealed glares. The tension was palpable but Harry appeared not to notice.
Elizabeth engaged Harry in a conversation that the other girls vied to be included in but Ginny thought it best to stay out of it. It was obvious that the other girls thought she had been showing off in some way and since they hadn’t understood the humor Ginny could understand why they would think that.
The next hour went by unbearably slow for Ginny but the other girls expressed how short the ride had seemed. Of course it went by fast for you. You were able to share in the conversation. Ginny sighed as Harry helped her out of the limo after Elizabeth and Lila. Christina came last and lost her footing as she stepped out, falling gracefully into Harry arms. Elizabeth and Lila glowered at her but Ginny covered her mouth to hold back giggles again. I wonder if all the dates have been this way. It’s a miracle the others can stand to share meals with each other.
Harry saw Ginny’s hand move to cover her laugh and shared a smile with her. Apparently he had seen Christina’s swoon for what it really was. Ginny found herself admiring his perception as well as his stunning good looks, his sense of humor... What a man! Ginny joked to her herself, giggling inwardly.
Harry bid the driver goodbye and was told in return that he would come back in six hours to pick them up, but that they wouldn’t be leaving for another hour after that. Ginny wondered vaguely what the driver would be doing for six hours, until she saw that he parked a bit further back and got out, heading for the park entrance from behind them. I suppose he deserves a break too.
Just as they were reaching the ticket booth at the entrance the cameramen appeared and Ginny realized with less shock than she would have a few days earlier that they would be followed the whole way. I’m just glad they weren’t in the limo with us on the drive here. She could just imagine what kind of interpretations could be made of her insane laughter.
They made it into the park without a hitch, despite the worker behind the counter that kept trying to draw attention to herself. Another case of the Hawthorne Effect, Ginny thought, rolling her eyes.
And, just like that, they were inside. Ginny was so excited now. She hadn’t been to an amusement park in years! Cosmetics and rollercoasters; two muggle contributions I could never do without! “Where to first?” Ginny asked eagerly.
“Let’s go on the Ferris Wheel!” Elizabeth chirped. The other girls agreed, but Ginny felt her elation slowly deflate. The Ferris Wheel? What’s the point of that? Give me something fast that’ll toss my stomach into my throat! Now, that’s a ride.
“Yeah, okay,” was Harry’s reply. Ginny sighed in defeat. The Ferris Wheel it was. “But after that, let’s look for a rollercoaster.” I knew I liked this guy, Ginny thought with a broad smile.
Thanks so much to those of you who have been reviewing. It makes it much more fun to post here ;) Be sure to check out the replies I give each of you because they may give clues into what will happen later on.
Back to index
Chapter 7: RollercoastersEpisode Seven
Ginny tried very hard to look interested as Elizabeth divulged her entire life’s story on the trip around the Ferris Wheel. Being large enough, the five of them all sat in one covered bucket. From the faces of the other girls when they first got on, they obviously had thought that it would only be big enough to hold two people and that they personally would be the one to ride with Harry.
It really wasn’t that bad, the ride. She was able to look around her and judge which rides she’d like to go on. There were several interesting roller coasters but some of the other rides look good too. She thought she saw a ride that looked very much like a “Twister” that she was used to, and a “U.F.O.” type ride. The Twister was kind of a Tilt-a-Whirl ride that spun each bucket individually as well as in sets of four. In other words, it frequently looked like you were about to hit someone while riding, but it actually wasn’t possible to do so. The U.F.O. was a gravity ride where you stood inside these small cages and the ride spun you around until the whole circle of cages was practically perpendicular to the ground. The thrill of this ride was the fact that you didn’t have to hold on; the centrifugal motion pulled you back enough that you could feel secure without any other support. Of course, for safety’s sake, there were still bars all over the place.
Ginny sighed quietly wishing that Elizabeth would just shut up and give someone else the chance to speak. You know, like Harry. I’m sorry Elizabeth, but I couldn’t care less about your academic or social life, I just want to hear Harry talk about his life. So, shut up!
“Speaking of social lives,” Christina piped up from her coveted spot next to Harry making Elizabeth’s eyebrow’s draw down in a scowl that did nothing to detract from her natural beauty. Uh oh, you spoke. That’s apparently not allowed. “Have you ever had a serious relationship with someone?” Ginny almost groaned. She could only imagine what Harry was thinking at that moment.
Harry blushed slightly. “Not really. I mean, I’ve dated a few girls before but they’ve never turned out very well. It was more like hero worship than an actual relationship.” Harry laughed nervously, which made the other girls giggle, as though his laugh had been their cue. Ginny just looked at Harry. He didn’t really seem to think it was funny.
As the laughter died down, they were left with an awkward silence, dangling at the top of the Ferris Wheel. The other girls finally saw the look on Harry’s face and were desperately trying to find something to say to make things better, despite the fact that they really didn’t know what the problem was. The ride was being slowly de-peopled so they were all saved the trouble of having to think of something to say when the ride came to a halt and they were directed to get off.
“Okay,” Ginny offered. “That was a significantly tame and somewhat boring ride, so…let’s find a rollercoaster!” Harry grinned.
“There was one over in this direction that I really wanted to go on.” And he led the way followed by a jubilant Ginny and three sullen girls.
“Harry,” Lila spoke up for one of the first times. “May I ride next to you on the rollercoaster?” Ginny knuckled her upper lip to hide her grin as she saw the murderous looks that Elizabeth and Christina were sending her way.
“I think that’s only fair,” Ginny began, smiling benignly at the others. “Christina and Elizabeth sat next to you on the Ferris Wheel.”
“But she sat next to him on the ride here, as did Elizabeth. I have just as much right to sit next to him as she does,” Christina spluttered.
I can’t take it! “If you think about it, Christina, I have more right than the lot of you to sit next to Harry on this ride, since I didn’t sit next to him on the way here or on the Ferris Wheel, but do you hear me fighting about it like a child?” She heard movement behind her and looked up to see a very distressed Harry. Oh cripes, what have I done?
Without looking at any of them, Harry swept past them in the direction of the nearest rollercoaster. The other girls glared at her, but that wasn’t what almost made Ginny want to cry. I’m being just like them! Why? Why did he have to hear me say that? That must have been so embarrassing for him.
Ginny followed a few steps behind and seriously debated going up and apologizing until she saw the stiff way Elizabeth, Christina and Lila were holding themselves. They would, of course, see her apology as a thinly veiled attempt at getting her way. But I need to apologize! Determined, Ginny decided that she would apologize whenever she was alone with Harry. And if that never happened… Oh cripes! Ginny almost wailed.
They all finally arrived at the ‘Mind Eraser’ and were waiting not-so-patiently in line when Ginny noticed the cameras again. Were they there before? When she’d made a fool of herself? She couldn’t remember, but she desperately hoped not. Already four of the remaining twelve girls hated her she didn’t need half of the wizarding community doing so as well.
The cameramen didn’t progress through the line with them, but instead filmed them from afar. When the girls started arguing again, Ginny wished the cameras were closer. See, I can be mature! I swear I can!
Lila sat next to Harry, Christina and Elizabeth sat together, and Ginny sat by herself. Though she was glad that she didn’t have to endure one of the other girls, she lamented having to sit by herself. A guy behind them in line with a beautiful (yet arrogant) face looked as though he was going to slip through and strap in next to Ginny…until he saw her face. No guy wants to flirt with a girl who looks at him like that, however confident he is.
When they got off the ride Harry had the spring back in his step, much to Ginny’s relief. Lila, trying to put a good face on things, looked like she’d swallowed a lemon…whole. She also looked as though she would like to rid herself of it as fast as she could. The other two were little better. Ginny got a bit of her good humor back when she saw the look on their faces when Harry announced the next ride, another rollercoaster, and headed in that direction. That was enough to put her in a better mood, if only slightly better.
On the ‘Viper’ there were three carts that fit three people each, one to a seat. Of course, Christina and Elizabeth sat in front and behind Harry and Lila sat, grumbling in the car directly ahead of Ginny. The seat behind her stayed empty once more, thanks to two glares. Ginny wondered if Lila realized they had both contributed to the stuttering of the helpless looking no-longer-confident boy they left at the front of the line.
Not quite as good as the ‘Mind Eraser,’ the Viper had the same effect on the other three girls. This time their faces looked like lemons…or perhaps more like limes. Green apples? Oh well, they looked quite ill. When Harry suggested another rollercoaster, they begged him off.
“Lets go on the Ferris Wheel again. We can let our stomachs settle.” Lila and Christina both nodded vigorously at Elizabeth’s suggestion then looked as though they regretted doing so when their heads started spinning. Ginny saw Harry glance quickly at the ride before sighing. Ginny finally decided to pipe up. If they’re going to hate me, might as well give them a reason too. She wasn’t too confident about that thought.
“I’ll go on the rollercoaster with you. I’ve been eyeing the ‘Superman’ all day…” her voice trailed off as the proverbial steam emitted from three pairs of ears.
“Sure that’ll work. I don’t really fancy going on the Ferris Wheel again anyway.”
Ginny followed Harry as he headed nonchalantly toward the ride, oblivious to the fire protruding from the gaping mouths of the girls behind them. The cameramen split into two groups just like they had — two of them running to catch up with Harry and Ginny, while the remaining three seemed to be interviewing the girls. Ginny felt sick to her stomach imagining what they were saying about her. As Ginny turned her back on them she felt an itch between her shoulder blades as though someone was about to jinx her. Don’t be stupid. They wouldn’t do that in front of a bunch of muggles. Despite that, she quickened her step and was only able to breath easier when they were lost from sight.
“Er, Harry?” Ginny spoke quietly while in line, trying to keep the cameramen from catching her words. All he did was look at her questionably, so she decided to go on. “I’m really sorry about earlier. I should have thought about how you would feel being in the middle of that. I would like to give the excuse that I couldn’t handle their manipulations any longer, but no excuse could make up for what I did. I guess I just want to say that I’m really sorry about the whole thing.” Ginny held her breath, waiting for a response.
Harry turned to her and smiled, saying nothing. His eyes told her she was forgiven and Ginny thought she would pass out from the relief.
“So,” Harry changed the topic. “Rollercoaster’s don’t make you sick, huh?”
Ginny answered eagerly. “Well, I play Quidditch and after flying through the air without any support, a rollercoaster is no problem!” Harry laughed, a sound that made the hairs on the back of Ginny’s neck stand up.
“That’s just how it is for me too. What position do you play?” Harry seemed to be in his element, his eyes shining, waiting for her response. His eyes had the same effect on her as they’d had earlier. Her heart was racing, she was having problems getting a full breath, and she was only too aware of the heat rising in her cheeks.
“I’m a Chaser. I tried being a Seeker for a while, but I like being more involved in the action.” Harry nodded as though he understood.
“I’m a Seeker.” He smiled proudly.
“You any good?” Ginny joked.
It was Harry’s turn to blush; “I’ve only ever lost one game all through school, and it wasn’t my fault.”
Ginny stared. “Only one game? That’s incredible! Why aren’t you playing professionally?”
“Well, about that…” he began, but wasn’t able to finish, as they had reached the head of the line.
What the —? That went by way too fast! They were sifted into a lot of little lines and the conversations around them made it a little hard to talk much other than “where do you want to sit?” and “I think I heard it’s better if you sit in the back.” And with that, they joined one of the many smaller lines and waited for those in front to get on.
Not too long after, they were situated in their car awaiting departure. “So, before the ride starts, would you mind telling me why you aren’t playing professionally? I mean, I’d think that any team would gladly have you, and you seem to love doing it.”
Harry grinned slightly but it seemed forced. Ginny felt instantly regretful. “I’m sorry, you don’t have to tell me.”
“What do you mean?” Harry asked confused. Ginny just shrugged.
“You looked like it was a sensitive topic.”
“A bit, but not that sensitive.” The ride started moving, but they had a while until they reached the first drop. “I’m the Boy Who Lived right?” he said bitterly, Ginny just nodded, encouraging him to keep going. “Well, I just want to be placed on a team because I’m a good Seeker, not because I have a scar on my head.”
They were both quiet for a while, giving Ginny time to digest that. “That makes perfect sense. I’m sorry. I’d love to play Quidditch with you sometime.” He smiled at her. “And not because you’re the Boy Who Lived, but because it would be an honor to play with such a great Seeker.” His smiled broadened. “Though, you would have to be on my team, because I don’t so much fancy being severely beaten.” They were both laughing as they made the first drop amid delighted squeals from the other occupants of the car.
Back to index
Chapter 8: Don't Be SorryEpisode Eight
Don’t Be Sorry
The cameramen following Harry and Ginny when they got off the ride made it hard for the two to continue their conversation. They simply stuck to talking about the ride itself and wondering aloud if the others had enjoyed the Ferris Wheel without them. Not likely, Ginny thought sardonically.
Much to Ginny’s relief, the cameramen seemed content to film them as they were and didn’t ask any questions. Thinking of that, however, reminded her that the other girls had been talking to the cameras when she and Harry had left them. I wonder what they said about me. Ginny thought on that for a moment and realized that maybe she didn’t want to know. I doubt it was anything complimentary.
Harry and Ginny found the other three just outside the exit from the Ferris Wheel, as they supposed they would, once again surrounded by cameras. But now, instead of being questioned by the cameramen, they were simply talking amongst themselves.
Christina, who’s back was to her, made a comment about Ginny that Ginny really wished she hadn’t heard. When Christina saw they were back, she had the decency to blush, at least. Hurt, Ginny couldn’t make herself look at Christina but her shuffling feet proved that Christina knew Ginny had heard. Whether or not Harry heard was a mystery. If he heard, he made no reference to it, for which Ginny was glad because bringing it up would only make the other girls dislike her more. If their bachelor was sticking up for her, they would undoubtedly use that as another check against her.
Their stomachs suitably settled (or at least, not wanting to be left behind again) the girls had seemed to come to an agreement of finding rides that were more than Ferris Wheel material, but less than rollercoaster. When Ginny suggested catching the ten-minute show in the small Omnimax Theater, the other girls flatly ignored her. It wasn’t until after they had passed it that Ginny realized that the ten-minute show was all about rollercoasters. Ignoring her in such a way made her feel as though they were monitoring her, and this was Strike One.
They went on the Twister once, and, after having begged the engineer, were finally allowed to ride four to a bucket since Lila was “so small!” Ginny sat in one alone, willing herself to enjoy the ride despite the cold frankness of the other girls. When it was decided, Harry had shot her a look, but Ginny had just smiled, in essence telling him it was all right. That look was enough to help her enjoy the ride.
Next they went on the Yo-Yo, a swing like ride that basically twirled the many chain-suspended swings in a circle, progressively higher. It wasn’t that fantastic of a ride, but the swings were individual so she was able to sit relatively close to Harry without any sparks flying from Christina, Elizabeth and Lila. Without thinking, Ginny suggested the U.F.O. ride next earning her an approval from Harry and ferocious glares from the girls. Strike Two.
Elizabeth eventually complained of being hungry, and everyone agreed with her. When Harry ordered nachos, Elizabeth, Lila and Christina immediately did the same. Rolling her eyes, Ginny ordered a corndog and a lemonade. The five of them sat at an umbrella-covered table to eat. Ginny got back up to get some ketchup and mustard and when she came back there was quite a bit of space between her and the other girls, who were now crowding around Harry. Ginny felt that she wouldn’t be surprised if she developed a twitch from this whole experience.
Ginny finished up her corndog rather quickly but was still hungry. “Could I have a few nachos?” she asked, trying to be timid, in order to possibly placate the ravenous she-wolves at the table with her. The three of them ignored her as usual, until Harry pushed his paper bowl toward her, offering a few of his nachos. They glared at her as though it was her fault; as though they hadn’t been the reason Harry had felt obligated to share. This was just too much. She knew it was Strike Three, and she was more than happy to sit this one out.
Standing up quickly she made some kind of lame excuse about not feeling well, or needing to use the loo. She didn’t remember exactly what she said, but she headed to the nearest rest area without looking back.
Locking herself in a stall, Ginny leaned against the door. I’m going insane! Ginny wished there was a bit more space in the cramped stall so she could pace. As it was, two baby-steps in each direction was hardly enough for a suitable pace. Sighing, she let her head fall back to rest against the door.
She understood what was happening, and she couldn’t really say that she was unhappy about it. She had bonded, in a sense, with Harry. She was not sorry about that, but instead overjoyed! But this same thing that delighted her, forced the others to despise her. I wonder if anyone else had this problem. I wonder if they wondered if they were the only one. I wonder why I’m allowing myself to wonder at a time like this! Shut up already!
Knocking her head back against the stall door, Ginny felt like screaming. She felt like punching something. If only Janice were here. I think perhaps Elizabeth, Christina and Lila would be suitable replacements for Janice at this point. Not quiet as satisfying, but suitable nonetheless. Growling in her throat, Ginny unlocked the door and stepped out of the stall. Keeping up appearances, she decided to wash her hands, in case someone wondered why she hadn’t. Stupid thing to think of at a time like this.
As she stepped out of the restroom she was immediately surrounded by the cameramen again. Just bloody great. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and resumed walking. After opening her eyes, of course. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Walking into something with a bunch of cameras zeroed in on her like that.
When she finally caught sight of their table, Ginny instantly knew why the cameramen were suddenly so interested in her. The table was empty except for a bored, perturbed Christina.
“Where did everyone go?” Ginny asked, looking around.
“To wait in line for the Silver Bullet. I stayed behind to wait for you,” Christina answered with fake cheerfulness.
“How did they decide to make you wait for me?” Ginny asked in a voice quiet enough that the cameras wouldn’t be able to pick it up. “Rock, paper, scissors? Or was it that you had already sat by Harry more than the others?”
Christina was obviously trying very hard to keep her face pleasant. “I offered to stay behind,” she said aloud, then dropped her voice low as well. “You’re not the only one that sees the benefit of selflessness in this situation.”
“Yes, because that’s the whole reason I’m acting like this,” Ginny hissed sarcastically. “Because I’m just as shallow as the rest of you, and see this as a war instead of a glorified game show. I wish you all would just grow up. Just because I’m not vying for a seat next to Harry for every ride doesn’t mean there’s anything behind my motives other than simple fairness.” Ginny paused for a second. “You know what fairness is, right? I could explain it for you if you’re confused.”
Ginny’s ears rang with the impact of Christina’s palm, but she tried not to flinch as she felt the blood rushing to her inflamed cheek. It was hardly a wonder there was that much force behind the blow, considering how long her arms are. A curse to all tall people! Ginny thought, all rational thought having flown from her rattled brain.
“Well,” was all Ginny said, trying hard not to let her voice crack as she felt a familiar lump at the back of her throat. “I deserved that. Shall we go meet the others now?”
Ginny headed in what she assumed was the direction of the Silver Bullet and figured she was correct when Christina fell into step behind her and made no comment. Ginny finally saw it up ahead, and began walking faster, until she realized that Christina’s pace didn’t match her own. Turning, she was surprised by the look on Christina’s face.
Christina said something that Ginny couldn’t hear over the noise of the park, so she walked back over to stand in front of her. Not nearly face-to-face since Christina was a good 6 to 7 inches taller. “What did you say?”
“I’m sorry,” Christina whispered again, looking anywhere but at Ginny’s face.
“No you’re not.” Christina’s eyes found her own angrily. “And if you are, you shouldn’t be.” Confused, Christina still didn’t look away. “I deserved to be slapped. I can’t really say I’m glad you did it because it did hurt really bad. But, I deserved it.” She paused to let her words sink in. “What I don’t deserve, however, is your treatment toward me.
“Despite what you and the other girls think, nothing I have done up until now has been for the purpose of winning. I didn’t want to be on this show, my best friend signed me up without my knowledge. I do like Harry as well as any of the other girls on this show, but I am not one to manipulate others in order to win. Nothing I have said today was said in order to make Harry like me more, as you seem to assume it was, nor do I intend to say or do anything from this point on for the sole purpose of winning.” Ginny stopped talking once again, not sure if she had gotten her point across as she hoped.
“I am sorry,” Christina finally said. “But you’re right. I’m not sorry for slapping you, even though my hand hurts right now. I’m sorry for going along with the others. I’m sorry for getting mad at you on the ride here. I’m sorry for thinking you were being manipulative…and I’m sorry we’ve been walking in the wrong direction this whole time.”
Ginny blinked. “What?”
Christina blushed and giggled at the same time. “The Silver Bullet is back that way.”
Ginny looked in the direction they were heading, then looked where Christina was pointing. “But I — it looks like — isn’t that —” Christina shook her head when she saw where Ginny was pointing. “Well, I sure feel stupid. Shall we ask the cameramen if they know what this ride is called?”
Christina laughed and made a face before shaking her head. “I’m not sure I care. I’m glad that isn’t the Silver Bullet though. My stomach hasn’t settled enough to go on something like that!”
Laughing as they walked toward the real Silver Bullet, Ginny asked Christina what she would like to do here.
“I want to go on the Bumper Cars, actually,” was her response.
“Why haven’t you suggested it yet?”
Christina only shrugged.
“Well, let me see,” Ginny pondered. “Which would get me in less trouble? Suggesting the Bumper Cars, telling everyone you want to ride on the Bumper Cars, or telling everyone that you have a suggestion of where to go, and letting you suggest the Bumper Cars?”
Christina laughed before answering. “I’m not sure. If I had the guts to, I’d say none of the above, that I should just suggest it myself, but… How about you suggest the Bumper Cars and I’ll agree with you?”
It was Ginny’s turn to laugh. “That will be the first time all day that one of you has agreed with me! It just might work…”
Grinning mischievously at the cameramen who had been desperately trying to hear their conversation the whole time, Ginny and Christina continued toward their destination.
“So, truce?” asked Ginny quietly.
Back to index
Chapter 9: InterviewsEpisode Nine
The plan for the Bumper Cars went over easier than Ginny thought it would. Instead of Ginny being on the receiving end of some horribly frightening looks, Christina endured a few incredulous stares, but no arguments. Harry seemed to like the idea and Ginny felt bad being forced to take the credit. She resolved to tell him later…if she ever had the chance. And definitely not where Lila or Elizabeth could hear. They would no doubt think she had some hidden agenda or something like that. This whole situation was getting out of hand, and the intrigues were making her head hurt.
Ginny was surprised that she had received no comments on the large red mark she was sure now graced her cheek. Harry gave it a brief look and his face clouded slightly, but Ginny just smiled at him, and he didn’t ask. Lila and Elizabeth were too busy with other things to wonder about the handprint.
Ginny was genuinely pleased to have Christina on her side at this point. Because of her intervention, Ginny was actually able to sit next to Harry on a ride other than a rollercoaster. She wasn’t able to talk to him at all but being near him was good enough for her at the moment. Since it had been Christina’s suggestion, she once again didn’t have to face down their looks; Christina seemed able to handle them much better than Ginny expected. She even told Christina so later.
“Well, they were manipulating everything up until this point, but I won’t let them do it anymore. You wouldn’t so I won’t either.” She gave Ginny a rare smile as she said this and Ginny felt like getting all emotional. She wanted to be prideful and take credit for the transformation, but she knew Christina had had it in her the whole time; she had just needed someone to back her up.
All in all, the last hour or so of the group date was much more pleasant than any of the earlier time, except for the solo ride with Mr. Potter. That was definitely the highlight of Ginny’s day.
As the five of them were walking around trying to decide what to do next, one of the cameramen made a signal to the others, and they all took the cameras from their faces. Ginny and the others stopped in confusion until one cameraman spoke. “I just got a message from the Producer. The group date is over, and Mr. Potter and Miss Crow’s date starts now.” He gestured to three of the cameramen and spoke again. “If the other three young ladies would follow these three gentleman they’ll lead you back to the limo and begin your interviews.”
Interviews? No one said anything about interviews. Ginny was a bit nervous. She knew how these reality shows worked and she just hoped she’d be able to temper her tongue well enough to not say anything that would sound incriminating, because even if you said something that obviously meant one thing, editors were great at making it seem as though you meant something entirely different.
She continued to be nervous the whole walk back to the limo and was grateful for the time it took to get there. This way she was given a bit of time to script out answers to questions they may ask. This was a smart move, as the first several questions were ones that she had been planning on.
‘Did you enjoy the day?’ was an easy one to answer. Leaving out the animosity of the other girls, Ginny instead focused mostly on how fun the rides were (minus the Ferris Wheel, which she stated was only good for finding out your position in the park) and her impression of Harry as an incredibly wonderful guy. The next question, ‘do you think you’ll be picked to continue on the show?’ though not exactly an easy question to answer, was still one that she had anticipated and she was glad that she knew how to put her thoughts into words. Telling the camera that she really didn’t know if she would make it past the next rose ceremony but hoping desperately that she would didn’t exactly seem to be the answer he was looking for, which is probably why he then jumped straight into the more controversial questions. Well, they were sort of questions…
“Earlier this afternoon when you went off alone with Mr. Potter we interviewed the other three girls. What I’m going to do is tell you what they said, and I want your reaction. What do you think of what they said? What reply would you make etc., you understand?” Ginny nodded vaguely, realizing that she was going to have to think fast.
“Miss Christina Blanche told us that you were a manipulator. She said, and I quote, ‘she’s not nearly this nice when Harry isn’t around. I just hope he doesn’t fall for her act.” The cameraman leaned his head around the camera to look at her expectantly.
Ginny smiled coolly before answering. “Nice try. Christina and I have come to an agreement, so we’re all good. If you want a reaction out of me, you need to do better than that.” She grinned at the slightly taken-aback expression on his face.
Clearing his throat, he went on. “Miss Elizabeth Crow informed us that from what she’s heard from the other girls, you’re a bit easy. She said that she’s glad you weren’t given the individual date because she was sure you would end up being a ‘snog-hog.’” He wasn’t able to go on, as, at that moment, Ginny burst out laughing.
“A snog-hog? That priceless! Oh, I love it. I’m going to have to remember that one.” Her laughter took over so she was completely unable to answer that question to his satisfaction.
By the time Ginny had stopped laughing, the other two girls had finished their interview, but unfortunately Ginny still had a few questions left. They were more like the first questions, so apparently the cameraman didn’t have a quote from Lila.
Her last answer seemed to satisfy the cameraman, not because of the controversy, but (and even Ginny had to admit this to herself) it was a very touching answer that many of the audience would be able to relate to.
“Are you upset that you weren’t given the individual date for tonight?”
“Well, yes, but at the same time, no. It would have been lovely to spend time alone with Harry…er, more than I got already,” Ginny blushed. “But if I make it past the next rose ceremony, I’ll get to see Harry every day, and if I don’t make it, I’d rather not have had a lot of time with him. It would be too painful to leave then. If I don’t make it into the top six, I’d rather not know what I’m missing.”
The cameraman dismissed her and went to join the others. That was when Ginny noticed that Lila had Christina cornered against the limo talking to her. And from the look on Christina’s face, it was not a pleasant conversation.
“Why are you suddenly siding with that…that manipulating slut?” Was the first thing Ginny heard when getting close enough. Well, now I know her opinion of me; a combination of the other two.
“You know,” began Ginny making Lila spin around with an alarmed look on her face. “If it would make you feel better you could slap me. It did a world of good for mine and Christina’s relationship, and I’m willing to go through that pain once again if it will keep you from hating me for no reason.”
“No reason? I hate you for very good reason!” Lila retorted.
“What reason? Because I’ve been ‘manipulative’? Because I’m a ‘slut’? I find it interesting that both of your reasons are ones that are nowhere near to being true.” Ginny held up one finger. “First of all, as I told Christina earlier, nothing I have said or done today was for any reason other than the fact that that is how I am. I laugh randomly. I love rollercoasters and hate the Ferris Wheel. I will gladly give up privileges if it will keep people from fighting. That’s who I am. I didn’t do any of those things in order to make Mr. Harry Potter like me. Secondly,” she held up another finger. “I have been in very few serious relationships. The most serious of which ended a few short months ago. We were engaged, but it was called off. I wouldn’t even let him kiss me for the first two months that we were dating. Does that sound like something a slut would do? And lastly, those reasons alone still wouldn’t be enough for you to hate me. You didn’t seem to dislike me earlier today before we left. In fact, at that point, it seemed we were on our way to becoming friends.
“That’s what shows like these do! They play people against each other in order to get a better story out of the situation. So, you have two choices; you can play along with them, and possibly get a bit more air time — while also getting more air time for me, I hope you realize — by ‘hating’ me publicly, or we can have a truce and you can keep both of us from looking like the bad guys.”
Lila frowned for a moment; “How can I trust that everything you’ve just said wasn’t simply to keep you from looking like the bad guy?”
Ginny shrugged. “There is nothing I can do to prove it to you if you aren’t going to believe me to begin with. If you don’t believe me, that’s okay. I know that I’m telling the truth, so I have nothing to worry about. A few rumors won’t kill me, and a few glares won’t either.” Ginny found herself thinking of Janice. She hasn’t killed me yet, but I may kill her.
“I want you to ask to sit next to Harry on the way home.”
Ginny shook her head in exasperation. “I’m not going to make what you think about me true just so that you’ll trust me. Asking to sit next to Harry when I know the three of you also want to sit next to him is not something I would do.”
Lila smiled slowly. “You passed,” she whispered embarrassedly.
Ginny stared at her dumbfounded until Lila began to giggle. In no time the three of them were laughing together and Ginny felt a weight lifting from her shoulders. As they calmed themselves down Lila’s face began to darken.
“Oh no!” she moaned out of nowhere.
“What’s wrong?” Christina asked with concern, laying a hand on Lila’s shoulder.
“My interview! I said all sorts of horrible things about you. Oh Ginny, I’m so sorry.” She looked like she was about to cry, so Ginny spoke up quickly.
“Please, don’t worry about it. All three of you told them horrible things about me earlier today and I’m still in one piece. As long as you don’t mean any of it anymore.”
It wasn’t a question, but Lila took it as one, shaking her head furiously as though a simple shake wouldn’t have convinced Ginny.
“No real harm done then.”
The girls continued to talk and laugh as they waited for the hour to pass. As they were talking, Ginny couldn’t help telling them what Elizabeth had said about her in the interview earlier.
“Snog-hog?” Lila was just barely able to ask through her laughter.
“Yeah! Can you believe it? I’m definitely going to remember that term. I’m sure it will come in useful someday.”
“I thought I heard her say something like that, but I was being interviewed at the time too, so it didn’t really register that she’d actually said that. That’s hilarious!” Christina added.
The limo driver strolled on back not too long after and let the three girls back into the limo, which was a relief. Now that the sun was setting, it was getting a bit chilly. Ginny hadn’t even thought to get her jacket out. She wasn’t sure this was an appropriate place to resize it anyway. There was no knowing in a place like this if muggles were watching.
Safely out of the cold and talking and laughing as they were, it didn’t seem very long before Harry and Elizabeth returned. Elizabeth didn’t seem very happy when she saw how well the three girls were getting along, especially when Harry joined in on their conversation, leaving Elizabeth outside their discussion, much the way Ginny had been on the way there. Empathizing, Ginny wanted to make sure that Elizabeth didn’t feel as totally left out as she had.
It really was as simple as just asking, “What do you think Elizabeth?” Elizabeth seemed confused at first, as though she had heard wrong, but then she smiled bemusedly and joined in. It was a much happier group that made the trip home than the one on the way there.
Back to index
Chapter 10: RendezvousEpisode Ten
Just as Ginny had imagined, she did not at all enjoy the hovering of the other girls when she and the other three girls got back. Trista and Tier she didn’t mind, because they asked reasonable questions. Janice, of course, she continued to despise, as well as ignore, especially when she asked the girls if Ginny had made any passes at Harry. Well, I no longer need to wonder where they got the idea that I’m a slut. Much to Ginny’s relief, Lila and Christina ignored the question as readily as Ginny herself, and Elizabeth seemed embarrassed to answer.
It was just starting to quiet down when Connie came into the alcove. Most of the girls had gone on to bed, so there were only a handful of them around when she looked briskly around the room, made eye contact with Ginny and beckoned her with a finger. Ginny stood tentatively and followed Connie out of the room and into the hallway leading to the rest of the castle.
Connie didn’t turn to make sure Ginny was following, she simply walked and assumed that Ginny was trailing her like a good little girl. The stern look that Connie had had on her face when she first walked in worried Ginny to no end. What did I do that could possibly have gotten me in trouble? Thinking of the rollercoaster, Ginny’s stomach sank to her toes. Was that against some kind of rule?
Connie stopped in front of a door and took a ring of keys out of her pocket. Ginny tried not to think about how she was able to hide so many keys in such a small pocket; she tried to stop because she knew she was only thinking about it so that she wouldn’t be thinking about why she might be in trouble.
Opening the door, Connie motioned Ginny in behind her and offered her the chair in front of her desk. They were obviously in Connie’s office and Ginny once again had to keep her mind from straying to irrelevant little tidbits of pointless fluff. Connie sat down behind her desk and leaned toward Ginny, her fingers steepled.
“I was watching the footage live today,” she began. Oh cripes, here it comes. “Normally, I would be upset about your little escapade, except…” Ginny’s breath caught; I’m not in trouble? “Well,” Connie smiled as she continued. “The producers have decided that the whole situation is sure to get a lot of high ratings.”
Ginny would have laughed if she hadn’t been so confused. “I’m not sure I understand. I mean, it’s not that I want to be in trouble or anything but…I don’t see how this situation could raise ratings.”
Connie leaned back before speaking, as though it was the simplest thing in the world. “Well you see, viewers may or may not be rooting for you at this point. You’re a nice girl, so they very well may be hoping that you win, and if so, they’ll be very upset at the comments the other girls make about you, and very excited when you got back on their good sides. Even those who may not like you could very well change their minds after today’s events are aired. Plus, when Christina slapped you, it’s sure to bring more viewers to find out what had happened, since earlier this week you two seemed to be getting along just find.”
Ginny broke in before Connie could say any more. “So, you’re saying that you’re going to use the fact that I was slapped and virtually hated by the other girls simply to make this show more popular? And you’re telling me this. I don’t know why you are, because I would have rather not known that you were going to use me in this way. Why did you tell me all about this?”
Connie didn’t seem so happy now, and Ginny didn’t care, because neither was she. This was impossible. “Because, as I said, normally you would be in very big trouble for what happened today. Going off alone with Harry and whispering conversations so that the cameramen couldn’t hear you. You may have forgotten, but this is a reality show and you are on it. You are going to be watched and your moves will be marked. People will love or hate you because of what we show. We could very well just show what the girls think about you and never show you making up with them if we wanted to. But instead, we’re going to do a nice thing for you and get some good ratings as a bonus.”
Sitting silently through the tirade, Ginny merely nodded. “Yes, this is a reality show,” she finally spoke. “But this is also a group of very vulnerable girls who will probably have to live the rest of their lives with how you portray them when this is aired. I suppose I should be happy that you’re going to put me in a good light. No, I am happy that you’re going to put me in a good light. But I don’t want to know about it anymore, please. I don’t want to know if you think people will like me or hate me when this show is over. All I care about is if these girls will like me or hate me, and most importantly what Harry thinks about me. The viewers mean very little to me at this point. So please, unless I am going to get in trouble, don’t tell me what’s planned. I really don’t want to know. I apologize for my behavior and I hope that you don’t change your mind about how you will air today’s occurrences, but if you do change, don’t tell me, and if something else comes up, whether good or bad, don’t tell me unless I’m to be punished for it.” She paused to calm herself a little before asking to be excused.
Ginny stalked out of Connie’s office and decided to try to navigate back to the rooms. She was bad with directions, but she’d rather hug Janice than ask Connie for directions. Okay…so that wasn’t true. But there were a good many things she would have rather done than ask Connie for directions.
Okay, she turned this way into her office, so I should walk this way down the hall. Ginny started off in her direction of choice feeling rather confident. The next choice was not so easy. I think we turned right in to this hallway, so I should turn left to go back. But what if I was thinking right so that I’d know how to get back? In that case, I should actually turn right to get back. Suddenly Ginny’s stomach plummeted as she realized that straight was also an option. Did we pass any crossroads without turning at them? She had been worrying so much on the way there, that Ginny had absolutely no idea whatsoever. She was now beyond lost. She was lost, yes, but she was also aggravated, which made reasoning even more difficult than it should be; therefore, beyond lost. Eenie Meenie Minie Mo would get Ginny nowhere, so she decided on left. Why? She had no idea, but at the moment, it was as good a choice as any.
Puzzling her newest choice when she reached the next intersection, Ginny had regained a bit of her usual humor in the light of her distress: “What I need now is a Ferris Wheel,” she muttered aloud for the purpose of making herself laugh. If I laugh loud enough, someone may think I’m a lunatic and come find me; then I would be saved! Ginny thought hysterically. “Get a grip, Ginevra!”
Since this was now starting to feel suspiciously like a maze, Ginny decided to follow the age-old rule. Her last turn was a left, so she would go left again. Another left after that found her in a large, mostly empty room. Definitely the wrong direction. She backtracked and took the turn to the right instead. This hallway led to a room that was considerably smaller and also considerably fuller; which made sense, since it looked to be a storage room. Back once more, Ginny took her last choice: straight. And beyond that…another intersection.
So…I am definitely going the wrong direction here. She turned left. And left again. The next intersection, left was not a choice, so she went straight. Who built this bloody castle?? As she turned left once more she walked right in to something.
This…is not…happening, Ginny told herself from her seated position on the floor staring up into the face of Harry Potter. Things like this don’t happen. This is the kind of thing that you hope to happen that you know never will. I never wished for this! Why is it happening? Oh bloody hell.
Harry laughed and Ginny realized that the last had been spoken out loud. “Sorry,” she muttered as he held out a hand to help her up. There was an awkward silence as they both decided whether or not to talk. If Connie ever finds out about this, I am as good as dead.
“I was wondering earlier,” Harry began quietly, seeming as nervous as Ginny herself. “What was that red mark on your face earlier today?”
Ginny thought a moment how best to explain. “I needed a good slap, so Christina lent a hand, so to speak.”
“She slapped you?” he asked in outrage.
“Yes she did, and for good reason too. It did quite a number on our relationship, in a good way, believe it or not.” Harry was obviously confused, and since Ginny decided that “confused” also looked good on Mr. Potter, she really felt no need to continue explaining. “That reminds me,” she added. “The bumper cars were actually Christina’s idea.” She left out the explanation of that statement on purpose. No point in trying to sound like the hero here. She had fortuitously done that enough today, it would seem.
“I am really confused,” Harry admitted at length.
“And I am really lost,” Ginny retorted with a smile for the look on Harry’s face. That obviously had not been the response he had been looking for. “You don’t happen to know how to get back to my room, do you?” Harry gave her a look that had her hand up defensively. “Okay, I didn’t think so. Well, I had better try to find my way back before Connie finds us here. I’d really be in trouble then.”
Harry just looked at her a little disgruntled. “Okay, that one you have to explain.”
Ginny grinned broadly before deciding to give the poor boy a break. “I almost got in trouble for going off alone with you today. That’s why I’m lost. I couldn’t find my way back from Connie’s office.”
“Why didn’t you ask Connie how to get back?”
Ginny blushed. “We didn’t exactly part company with the best regards.”
Harry nodded, though it was obvious he didn’t understand at all. Ginny couldn’t help smiling again.
“What are you smiling at?” Harry asked warily.
“You’re really cute when you’re confused,” Ginny responded without thinking. Oh crap. Ginny blushed furiously and tore her eyes away from his own.
She chanced a look at Harry and saw that he was blushing too. This is getting out of hand. “Well, I’ll be leaving now. Sorry to bother you. Please don’t hate me the next time we meet.” Ginny was around the next corner before Harry could so much as open his mouth. She wanted to scream. Great Ginny. Just great. First exasperate him, then compliment him, then run away. What a way to work.
With just three more lefts, Ginny was back to the rooms. Opening the door with a grateful sigh, Ginny walked into the middle of pandemonium and was hit squarely in the face with an overly stuffed pillow.
Back to index
Chapter 11: What's Going On?Episode Eleven
What’s Going On?
“What the —” was all Ginny was able to get out before she was again hit. A pillow fight? Why on earth…? Trista, ducking around other flying pillows and giggling, ran to Ginny’s side. “What’s going on?”
Trista answered Ginny’s question with another giggle. “It’s a pillow fight, silly!” Ginny heard from behind her, where Tier was standing using one of the pillows that had just recently hit Ginny to guard herself from the continued onslaught.
Ducking down to pick up the other pillow, Ginny laughed with them as she also dodged the feather-filled weapons. “Well, I can see that, but why? Won’t it take a while to clean this up? We have the rose ceremony tonight.”
Trista shook her head, picking up a pillow to toss back into the fray. “Connie told us it’s been rescheduled for tomorrow instead. She didn’t really explain why. But it appeared she was looking for someone while she was telling us.” Ginny’s felt as though she’d just received a pillow to the stomach at hearing this comment. Is she looking for me again?
“Speaking of Connie looking for someone,” Tier added conspiratorially with a pointed look at Ginny. Trying to act innocent, Ginny just gave Tier a blank stare. “Don’t even try to hide it,” Tier laughed. “I saw Connie come in looking for you a while ago. What was that all about?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ginny answered, punctuating her reply with a pillow to Tier’s face.
What followed after turned out to be the World War III of pillow fights. It seemed as though all of the girls had joined in, this being the last night all twelve of them would be there. Janice even seemed to be enjoying herself, which was a wonder to Ginny. You know, smiling genuinely like that, she almost looks human. This thought was immediately negated when she witnessed Janice being hit in the mouth by a stray pillow causing her to stumble backward and bump into the corner of one of the end tables next to the couch. Bruised, both in pride and in body, Janice scowled at whoever happened to look at her and hobbled dramatically away, complaining that everyone was playing too rough.
Exhausted, some of the girls took themselves off to bed until only a handful of them were left. “So,” started Tier, swiping at Ginny with a pillow, which she dodged easily. “Are you going to tell us why Connie wanted to see you? Because, you know I don’t believe you’re as dumb as your acting.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” replied Ginny with a vicious smile as she maneuvered herself around and swatted Tier in the back of the head with a pillow.
“I’m serious, Ginevra. What did she need to talk to you about?”
Ginny though for a moment before answering. “Well, the way I took it, she basically told me that if I ever think of going off alone with Harry again, I might as well sleep with him, because they could use that to get better ratings for the show.” As was imagined, this comment birthed a whole slew of other questions. Answering to the best of her ability, Ginny told them all about the rollercoaster incident and Christina, who had joined the conversation not long after it started, helped explain how she fit into the story.
Ginny couldn’t tell if the other girls were mad at her for the whole thing or just shocked at what had happened. “She actually told you that they were going to use the situation for promoting the show?” Ginny nodded grimly.
“So, I wonder if she was looking for you again when she came to announce the postponement of the rose ceremony,” Trista speculated out loud.
“Wait, there’s something I’m missing,” Christina interjected. “If you were just in Connie’s office discussing this with her, why would she have had to come here to find you?”
“There you go, then. She wasn’t looking for me.” I’m saved! Ginny thought triumphantly.
“Yes, but at the same time, why did it take Ginny so much longer to get back?” Tier’s comment left a deafening silence in its wake.
“What’s going on, Ginevra?” Trista’s eyebrows were drawn down as she spoke, and the other two seemed no less interested.
Ginny sighed. “Okay, okay. You caught me.” They were still waiting, so Ginny took a deep breath to prepare herself. “I got lost on the way back and stumbled into our eligible bachelor.” She had obviously not prepared herself enough for the reaction.
“Did you talk to him?”
“Where was this? Do you know what room he’s staying in?”
Raising her hands, Ginny tried to quiet them. “Hold on a second! I can’t answer you all at the same time. First of all, yes, I did talk to him, and made a fool out of myself, like usual. What happened is that I knocked in to him while I was trying to find my way back. He made some comments about some events from the date, which I answered as well as I could. Then, I tripped over my bloody tongue, embarrassed myself to no end and ran away before he could comment.
“Lastly, I don’t know where his room is, or even why he was in the hallway, though I may be able to get back there. I’m not exactly sure; I mean, I was lost at the time, after all.”
The three sat looking at her, and Ginny felt nervous sweet run down her back. This was not how she had wanted to have this conversation. In fact, she had not wanted to have this conversation at all.
“You are so lucky!” Trista squealed. The others added their agreements and Ginny found herself wondering briefly if this was really happening.
“Why aren’t you mad at me?” she asked weakly.
“I for one know from experience that Ginevra doesn’t do things like that on purpose.” Christina said, sharing a knowing smile with Ginny.
“Oh, I didn’t think Ginevra had meant to do it, but…” Tier put a pouting face on. “it’s just not fair!”
Laughing, the girls finally decided to get some sleep. Ginny, at least, was nervous about the next day. Not having been in the room when the announcement was made, she didn’t even know when the ceremony would be held.
Janice was apparently in the shower when Ginny and Tier got back to their room for which Ginny was extremely grateful. She changed quickly and climbed into bed dreading the morning.
Standing in the hallway with Harry in front of her, Ginny knew she was dreaming and didn’t care a bit. In her dream she didn’t make a fool of herself, but instead engaged Harry Potter in intelligent conversation and made him laugh with her witticism. In her dream Harry seemed genuinely interested in every thing she said. In her dream, Harry leaned forward to kiss her. Only in my dreams, Ginny thought as she was shook violently awake.
I know this chapter is short, so I'll try to post the next one in just a few days. Reviews are always appreciated! :)
Back to index
Chapter 12: Red Like BloodEpisode Twelve
Red Like Blood
“Why are you still sleeping? The rose ceremony is in 15 minutes. Get up!” Snapping her eyes open, Ginny stared blearily at Tier leaning over, shaking Ginny’s shoulders.
“Fifteen minutes? No one told me when the bloody ceremony would be taking place. Why didn’t you inform me of this last night?” Ginny muttered angrily. Exhausted after being woken from the middle of a REM cycle, not to mention not getting to finish such a luscious dream, she was not in the best of moods.
Tier, however, was not fazed by Ginny’s crabbiness. “That’s not my fault, sleepy-head. But if you don’t get up now, you won’t look like your beautiful self for Harry Potter.”
Convinced, Ginny jumped quickly out of bed, grabbed her toiletries and took a record breaking 5-minute shower. Grateful once again for magic, Ginny fixed her hair but decided to neglect the make-up because of her lack of time. She skipped breakfast altogether in order to join the other girls in the alcove. As a group they were led down the numerous halls — no wonder I got lost last night! — and into the large room with the stadium seating where the last rose ceremony had taken place.
Not having had time to be nervous up until this point — besides being nervous about being late — Ginny now made up for it with a vengeance.
I’m so close! If I get past this, I’ll at least get another date with him, even if I’m kicked off next time. She wiped her moistened hands on her black slacks and worked hard at stabilizing her breathing. Deep breaths... Don’t hyperventilate… And, oh yeah…get a life…
Connie walked in, heralded by the usual gaudy fanfare, and Ginny had to make herself keep her mind on what was going on. Beside her, she saw Trista cross her fingers and Ginny was quite tempted to do the same.
Connie made some kind of introduction for Harry that Ginny really didn’t pay any attention to and then he was there with a bouquet in his hand. A dozen roses; six of them red, six of them white. Ginny fervently hoped that she would be able to add another red rose to the one she already had on her nightstand.
Things were moving with agonizing slowness as Ginny watched Harry walk up to the dais in front of them and stand in front of the throne-like chair. What’s the point of a chair if he never sits in it? Dumb question…this is a reality show. It’s all about presentation, like the limos here, when they could have just Apparated. Caught up in her internal monologue…again…Ginny almost missed the first part of Harry’s speech, which she would have felt bad about, since she sure did like to hear him talk! It’s sad how many times I have to tell myself to shut up, but I must do it again. Here goes: Shut the heck up.
“I hate decisions like this. I’m indecisive as it is, but when the choice you have to make is one about which you’re not completely sure you have a preference, it is impossible to make a rational decision. What I’m trying to say is that I wish I didn’t have to send any of you home, but, of course, that’s how this show works, so I have to.” There were a few nervous giggles at this point that Ginny realized she had added to. No giggling.
He went on: “I just want you all to know that I’ve really enjoyed the time we’ve had together, and I don’t want any of you to be hurt. I know that you will be hurt, and it pains me to be the one to hurt you.” After this, Harry looked at his feet, and Ginny thought she heard him mumble “Let’s just get this over with.” Tears stung at the back of her eyes when she realized how much it hurt him to know that six of the girls in this room would probably be crying within the hour because of something he had decided.
Taking a white rose from the bouquet (he must have decided that giving a red rose last was better than giving a white one last) Harry held it forth in one hand. “Martha Lynn,” he intoned with a slight catch in his throat. Ginny now had a lump in her throat to accompany the stinging tears. Martha stood, and with as much dignity as she could muster, she walked purposefully toward Harry to get her flower, and without missing a step, continued on to the door on the left.
A red rose: “Becky Montgomery.” Grasping the hand of the girl next to her, Becky rose, accepted her flower and walked off, as though in a daze, to the door on the right.
It went on like that. Each white rose caught in Harry’s throat and added to Ginny’s discomfort as she tried, with everything she had, not to cry. Lila Brewer followed Martha to the left and Denise Trager followed Becky to the right. Alexa Montgomery didn’t even try to stop her tears as she pulled the white rose from Harry’s hand and wailed as she took the door on the left. Ginny saw that Harry was now having as hard a time as she was. Oh cripes! Don’t let him start crying or I’ll never make it through this.
Janice was then given a red rose, which Ginny tried not to hold against Harry; Ginny could just imagine how persuasive Janice could be when alone with someone. She felt like she was going to sick up, though, so she tossed all thoughts of Janice out of her head.
Christina Blanche was the next name called to receive a white rose. Head held high, she accepted the rose from Harry’s hand, smelled it for a moment, and shot a watery smile over her shoulder at Ginny before walking toward the left door. Good for you, Christina. No regrets. The tears were dangerously close to falling.
Laurie Bristol was given a red rose, leaving Ginny, Trista and Tier, all seated together, and Elizabeth Crow, one row behind and one seat over. Elizabeth was given the white rose. We can’t all three make it. No! Either Trista, Tier or myself will have to leave. I don’t want that! I wanted all three of us to make it. Don’t do this, please! Ginny didn’t know who she was begging to, which might have been why nothing changed.
Trista left with a red rose, a worried look on her face. Why am I always left until the last? Ginny thought, holding tightly to Tier’s hand. One of us has to go. Why? Why couldn’t all three of us have made it? He didn’t really want Janice to stay; he had wanted Tier all along, I’m sure of it! Her grip on Tier’s hand tightened as Harry separated the last white rose. “Tier Kaiser.” Ginny’s heart fell as surely as her tears.
Turing quickly, Ginny caught Tier in a fierce hug. “I’ll be rooting for you and Trista,” Tier whispered huskily. “You had better not let me down. If either of you let Janice win, I swear, I’ll find out where you live and give you a stern talking to.”
Ginny’s laugh was half-hearted and drowned in her tears. Not able to stand at the moment, Ginny sat and watched Tier walk through the left door with a white rose clutched in her hand. “Ginevra Weasley.” Wiping the tears hurriedly from her eyes, all too aware of the cameras around, Ginny walked toward Harry to receive her rose. Red. Red like blood. Ginny smiled tremulously and walked to the right feeling the blood pulsing through her temples.
I made it, she thought lackadaisically. She looked down at the beautiful rose in her hand. Red like blood; like the blood pumping through her head that was causing the headache that grabbed vise-like directly behind her eyes.
Back to index
Chapter 13: Breakfast AnnouncementEpisode Thirteen
Trista stood just inside the door when Ginny walked through. Her escort, as well as Ginny’s stood nearby; Trista’s escort looked a bit perturbed by the fact that Trista had waited. Looking up slowly, Ginny saw the tears in Trista’s eyes and almost started crying again. Again? What ‘again’? I’m still crying!
“I didn’t get to say goodbye,” Trista whispered in anguish.
“She knew,” Ginny responded just as quietly. The two hugged briefly and finally followed their escorts back to the rooms.
When they walked in, Ginny thought they had come to the wrong spot at first. For one thing, where there had been four doors in the small hallway previously, there were now six. One for each of us? Also, the furniture had changed; not only in number, but in style. The small couch had turned into an expensive looking love-seat. The comfy arm chair had been replaced by an even comfier looking reclining chair and Ginny thought she saw a control for a vibrator. Nice.
The biggest shock of all came seconds later when, after the escorts had left, Ginny turned to see another, slightly open door on the side of the alcove opposite the hallway with their rooms. That wasn’t the surprising part though. It was the name on the door in large elaborate calligraphy that caught her eye. Harry Potter. He would be no more than 100 feet away at all times. This was too much to handle. He could walk through that door at any moment! Ginny thought, looking toward the door that led out of the alcove.
“Wow.” Ginny jumped with a small yelp when Trista spoke. Don’t do things like that to me when I’m fantasizing. Augh. That just sounds wrong. Stop thinking again.
“Can you believe this?” Trista asked. Ginny just shook her head. “I’m so sad that Tier had to miss this. She would have loved it.” Ginny nodded, fighting back the tears.
“Oh. So you made it did you? I can’t say I have much respect for Harry Potter’s judgment on this account.” An echo of her own thoughts from earlier spoken in Janice’s voice narrowed Ginny’s eyes before turning toward the speaker. “One of us was a mistake,” Janice went on. “I’m sure we’ll find out who soon enough.”
Before Ginny could make a come-back she turned sharply after hearing the door open. No one came in. Must have been the wind. Turning back to Janice again, Ginny opened her mouth to give Janice a piece of her mind…when she heard something else. When she looked she saw that Harry’s door was now closed. So, that’s how it is.
Ignoring Janice completely now, Ginny turned to Trista. “Shall we find our rooms?” Trista nodded a little too empathetically. Without another word, Ginny glided past a still scowling Janice and entered the hallway behind her.
The second door on the right had Ginny’s name on it and the first door on the left had Trista’s. Beckoning Trista in behind her, Ginny closed the door to her room as quickly as she could. “What was that all about?” Trista asked. “I mean, I understood what Janice said, but you kept, well…not responding. What happened?”
Ginny was silent for a moment. “I think Mr. Potter has himself an invisibility cloak.”
“Are you sure?” Ginny explained what she had heard. “And you’re sure that the door to his room had been open before?”
“Positive. Do you know what this means though?” Trista looked at her blankly so Ginny explained. “There’s no way for us to know when he’s around. He could be anywhere at anytime. If I hadn’t been sure to close my door quickly, he could have slipped in here. Though I don’t know why he would have done that,” she mused aloud.
“Maybe he’ll be around sometime when Janice is talking bad about you.” Ginny gave Trista a slightly confused look which, strangely, made Trista blush. “I mean, when she being mean to you.”
“Janice talks bad about me?” It didn’t really need to be a question. Ginny didn’t need Trista’s apologetic nod to know it was true. Shaking her head, Ginny tried to change the subject. “That doesn’t matter now. I mean, I should have known that she would talk smack about me, but… Anyway, has Connie been around? I mean, to tell us what’s going on this next week?”
Trista’s expression was unreadable as she responded. “I’ve been here no longer than you have, Ginevra.”
There was a pause. “…Oh yeah. Right. We should go out and wait for her then.” Suiting her words, Ginny hustled Trista out of her room and they went to sit in the alcove, which was now thankfully Janice-free.
Connie never came but Trista and Ginny had fun talking while they waited. Janice did not make a reappearance and Trista finally agreed that Ginny must be right about Harry because he never did appear to come back.
“Do you think he’s sitting here in the room with us?”
“If he was, I would ask him to take the invisibility cloak off and talk with us. But…” Ginny put a finger to her lips. “I don’t hear any extra breathing, so I doubt he’s here.
Over an hour later the girls finally decided to head off to bed. Ginny found it almost strange to have a room to herself now but found it slightly easier to fall asleep knowing that Janice wasn’t one bed over and potentially waiting for Ginny to fall asleep in order to kill her. Not that it would have happened before but the thought had crossed Ginny’s mind every now and then. It was like sleeping in a room that you knew was full of bugs or some such pest and trying to convince yourself that they weren’t going to crawl all over you. Not that I’m calling Janice a pest, of course. Ginny laughed at herself drowsily before sleep over came her.
The next morning as Ginny got ready (in her huge personal bathroom no less!) she found herself dreading the morning. They were going to be eating with Harry today, and one of the six of them would be going on a date with him. Making herself as presentable as possible, just in case she was the lucky one this time, Ginny picked out her favorite outfit. Her dark, sanded, greenish-blue denim trousers were, Ginny blushed to admit, tight in all the right places…but they didn’t look bad. Ginny was petite enough that she didn’t look trashy; far from it. For the top she wore a striped lavender and dark blue polo with the buttons undone and a white tank top underneath. Trendy yet unique.
She walked out of her room at the same time as Denise, who smiled warmly at her then dismissed her as she walked toward the dining area. Knocking on Trista’s door Ginny tried to discreetly get a view of Harry’s door. It was closed, but really, that could mean anything.
Trista opened her door a few inches and, seeing it was Ginny, gestured her in. Closing the door swiftly behind her, Trista then clutched at her stomach. “I am so nervous, Ginevra!”
Ginny laughed then agreed whole-heartedly. “I know. How can we possibly carry on a conversation with him; especially knowing that Janice is sitting at the same table?”
“That’s a good point. We didn’t know she existed when we got to eat with him before. Oh this is going to be horrible!”
“Don’t be so worried. It’ll be fine. She can’t say anything rude to us with Harry around, and I don’t think she’d be dumb enough to assume that he would be ignorant of any implications made by her as far as we’re concerned.”
Trista looked at Ginny for a moment, amused. “I…think I understood what you just said.”
“Sorry,” Ginny muttered.
They proceeded to breakfast with trepidation and Ginny felt herself blush furiously as she walked in and caught sight of Harry. Seated at the head of the table, Harry sat comfortably with Janice on one side of the table nearest him, and Denise across from her on his other side. Becky was just taking her seat next to Janice and, while Ginny hesitated in the door way, Laurie slipped in and took the seat opposite Becky. Trista and Ginny took the last two remaining seats; the two furthest from Harry, but across from each other at least.
Sitting on the same side as Janice, Ginny was able to glance down the table at Denise who was subtly tossing daggers at Janice with her eyes. Apparently I’m not the only one that dislikes Janice.
“Oooh, I can’t stand her!” she heard from beside her. Becky was occasionally leaning forward on the pretense of looking at Harry, but it seemed she was actually doing this to glare at Janice. “She is so two-faced,” she whispered to Ginny after realizing that Ginny had heard her earlier comment. “On our group date, she was acting all nice to everyone and pretending to be bashful around Harry, as though she wasn’t wearing one of the skimpiest outfits any of us had ever seen. Augh! She makes me sick.” Stifling a very amused smile, Ginny nodded interestedly and began spooning out some porridge for herself.
Breakfast went much as Ginny had anticipated: Janice dominated the conversation and hardly even let Harry get a word in edgewise while both Denise and Becky glared constantly at Janice, except when they thought Harry might see. Janice was apparently oblivious to this and, being so far from the action, Ginny and Trista merely conversed between themselves. Laurie, between Denise and Trista, seemed content to stay quiet and didn’t even seem to pay attention to any of the conversations going on around her.
Ginny was leaning forward to pour herself another glass of pumpkin juice when Connie glided into the room followed by several cameramen. “Please, carry on as you were. Pretend we aren’t even here.”
Ginny knew this wouldn’t be possible with some of them (*cough* Janice! *cough*) but decided to try it herself. She reached for the pitcher and refilled her glass and was about to take a sip when one of the cameras was directly in her face. Lifting one eyebrow, Ginny continued to raise the glass to her lips and even shot a half-sarcastic smile at the lens. Bloody cameramen.
This went on for several minutes until Connie cleared her throat to get everyone’s attention. As she spoke, the cameramen continued to drift around the room capturing at apparent randomness. “Harry here has chosen six locations to where he would like to take the six of you on your dates. The girl and location for each of the six dates were again chosen at random, and the first of these six dates will be to Diagon Alley. This first date will be given to Ginevra Weasley.”
Not expecting to be first (why, after all, when she’d been last for everything else?) she saw no reason to delay the sip of pumpkin juice she had just allowed entrance into her mouth. At the announcement, that same sip became lodged in her throat, causing her to make a very unladylike choking noise before being able to regain control of her wind pipe. When her breathing was back to normal, and her face was as red as her hair, she smiled both in the delight she knew should be there and embarrassment as she saw how closely the cameras were now watching her. She glanced down the table at Harry and found him smiling at her. Heart almost stopping, she smiled back and her blush deepened even more, if that was possible.
After breakfast, Ginny was a mess. She stood pacing back and forth in front of her bed, where Trista sat watching her. “How did this happen?” Ginny exclaimed. “Up until this point, I’ve been last for everything. I was the last person to get a red rose for the past two ceremonies, and I was in the last group date. How could they suddenly throw this on me? I was content with last; I’m not sure I can handle first!”
“It was a random choice, Ginevra. It’s not like they did it out of spite.”
“Though I wouldn’t put it past Connie to do something like this out of spite.”
Trista went on as though Ginny had not said a word: “You will have a wonderful time with Harry today, and you will end up being ecstatic that you were able to go first.”
“But I’m not really first. Three other girls have already had dates with him.”
“Stop being sulky.” Trista’s words brought an indignant squawk out of Ginny that she hoped had not sounded as impudent as she thought it had. “The difference here is that you get the date to yourself all day. None of the other girls have gotten that yet. They’ve only been with him alone for an hour or so at a time. And remembering your little escapade during your group date, I’m fairly certain you’ve had more alone time with our Bachelor than anyone else,” Trista said with a tilted head and a smirk that almost screamed “so-stop-complaining.” Ginny blushed.
Looking down at her watch Ginny blanched. “I still have over an hour.” She looked at her watch again, then looked desperately at Trista. “Wait! I only have a little over an hour! Help me,” she pleaded.
Giving suggestions for hairstyles and makeup, Trista was a great help to Ginny at this point. Ginny was practically a whirlwind running from one part of the room to the other looking for things and each time she finished something she’d ask how much time she had left. “Fifty-three minutes.”
“But the last time I asked I had fifty-eight.”
“That’s because the last time you asked was five minutes ago. You still haven’t found your shoes,” Trista reminded Ginny who jumped as though burned and started another search through her room.
Trista couldn’t help laughing. “Did you bring any robes?”
“They told us not to.”
“Yes, but did you bring any?” Trista asked again.
Ginny paused. “Yeah, I brought one pair.”
“Go try it on.”
Ginny practically ran to get her robes and threw them on. Adjusting them, she turned to Trista. Wand raised, Trista twisted her mouth in thought and suddenly pointed her wand at Ginny muttering a spell. Ginny felt the length of her robes shorten slightly and the way in which it fit around her waist tightened. Indignant, Ginny was about to tell Trista to stop when she felt something. The robe was slowly tightening somewhere else, but looking down she realized that it wasn’t the robe that was getting smaller.
Grabbing herself, Ginny screeched at Trista. “What are you doing?”
Smiling wickedly, Trista just shrugged. “They look good.”
“But they aren’t real!”
“I just added a little extra padding to your bra. No one will notice.”
“If no one will notice, then why do it?”
Trista seemed to contemplate this for a second before answering. “Because it looks good.”
Exasperated, Ginny pulled out her wand and muttered the counterspell, but just as they were…deflating, she heard Trista mutter something again, and inflate again they did.
“Stop that. If you’re not careful I’m going to end up lopsided!” Trista’s laugh was less like the usual tinkling bells and was instead sounding a bit more like Tier’s full-throated guffaw.
After much debate — and a little light hexing — Ginny finally allowed Trista to have her way, but with a compromise. “No, that’s too big,” Ginny grumbled. Trista sighed in mock annoyance and shrunk them slightly. “Still too big.”
Back to index
Chapter 14: Quidditch, Knockers, and Nosey BrothersEpisode Fourteen
Quidditch, Knockers, and Nosy Brothers
Ginny was nervous to the point of hysteria by the time Trista proclaimed her ready to go. She had only ten minutes left until she met up with Harry and Connie. Settling herself on her bed, Ginny tried vainly to settle her stomach.
If I’m like this all day, I won’t be fit to be around! This thought, however in jest she had meant it, did nothing to settle her, but instead proved to make her edginess worse.
Trista walked over and sat down next to Ginny. “Look at me,” when Ginny’s body didn’t respond as quickly as it should, Trista gently grabbed Ginny’s face and turned it toward her. “That’s better. In less than ten minutes you are going on a date. It’s quite obvious you like him, either that or you just really like being on camera,” Ginny laughed in quiet disbelief. “I thought not. So, don’t worry. You’ve made a fool of yourself in front of him before and he has yet to shun you. You are a very pretty girl and if he hasn’t noticed that yet, he’s blind. Now please, don’t make me say anymore to cheer you up, because I’m starting to depress myself.”
Grabbing Trista’s hands, Ginny looked apologetically into her eyes. “I’m sorry Trista. I don’t mean to make you feel bad. I’m so grateful that you’re here. I’m not sure how many times I would have almost killed Janice by now if you weren’t around. I don’t want to be a burden to you, so you don’t need to say anymore. I’m not nervous, okay?” Ginny lied through her teeth, which was obvious by the way her hands were shaking as they grasped Trista’s, but Trista understood.
Standing, Trista pulled Ginny up with her and hugged her fiercely. “You have fun, okay? When you come back, I want to hear that you’ve stolen half of his heart. I want the other half for myself, okay?” Ginny saluted Trista formally and they both dissolved into laughter.
This is it, thought Ginny as Trista followed her out of the room. Excusing herself, Trista slid into her own room right after giving Ginny an encouraging smile. Ginny walked into the alcove and was met by one of the many serving men that always happened to be around whenever they were needed. He gestured for her to follow him so she did.
After a few turns Ginny found herself face to face with Harry. Smiling shyly, she walked over to him — near him anyway — and noticed that Connie was also standing there.
“The limo is waiting for you two out in front. I’m glad to see you both brought robes, despite the comment that there would be no need of them. You are to meet the driver at the Leaky Cauldron — not the muggle side; not in those clothes — at exactly 10:00, which shouldn’t be a problem since most of the shops are closed by then anyway.” She paused, smiling. “Well, off you go then!”
Saying an awkward goodbye to Connie, the two were led inexorably onward through the twisting hallways. Ginny turned around making sure that Connie was no longer in sight.
“You know,” Ginny whispered, leaning toward Harry. He inclined his head toward her to better hear. “I have a feeling we’re being watched.” She looked suspiciously toward the cameramen then gave Harry a mockingly shrewd look.
Grinning on the point of laughter, Harry straightened and continued walking, giving Ginny strange looks every once in a while, as though saying “Yeah. Yeah I…I feel it too,” accompanied by a satirical nod. They grinned sheepishly at one another and Ginny wondered if the cameras were picking up on this. She gave the nearest camera a sidelong look. Tempted to the point that she almost couldn’t stop herself, Ginny very much wanted to stick her tongue out at it. They finally reached the entrance to the house, where their escort positioned himself as he gestured them on. The cameras continued to follow.
They walked toward the limo and Harry stepped forward quickly to open the door for Ginny. He held out his hand to help her with balance as she sat down, which is probably why she didn’t sense the other presence already in the seat next to her.
“Bloody hell!” Ginny yelped as she looked to see Connie sitting right next to her. Giving Ginny a disapproving look for her language that she tried to hide behind a tittering laugh, Connie began talking again.
“I forgot to tell you,” she began as Harry got himself situated in the seat across from them. “Around dinner time you have a reservation for any of the restaurants along the main strip on Diagon Alley. Oh, and Mr. Potter,” she pulled something out of her pocket. “You forgot your wallet.” And with that, she dissaparated out of the limo.
Ginny saw that Harry was blushing but he also seemed to still be on the point of laughter. Or maybe again? “What is so funny, Mr. Potter?”
“Your language is funny, Miss Weasley,” was his reply, leaving Ginny with a faint pinkish tint to her cheeks as well.
“Yes well, I’m not exactly used to people randomly appearing in the seat next to me without noticing.”
Harry gave her a strange look. “Why didn’t you notice her?”
Because you were holding my hand, was her initial answer, but she stuffed that to the back of her mind and gave the less true, though not quite false, answer. “I was distracted.” The look he gave her seemed very knowing, so she only smiled coyly at him and turned her head to gaze out the window.
She heard Harry chuckle after a while and turned to see what was so funny this time only to find him laughing at his wallet. “Well, it isn’t often that a wallet is so amusing, but I suppose to some people…” she smiled as he turned her look toward her.
“Very funny,” he grumbled comically as he stood, stooped over, turned, and seated himself next to her. “This is what I was laughing at,” he added, pointing out a picture in his wallet. It took Ginny quite a while to focus on the picture with him this close to her.
Blimey he smells good, she thought as she finally looked at the picture. It was a younger Harry, decked out in Quidditch robes. As she watched, young-Harry would brace himself and perform a flawless corkscrew flip righting himself with such a triumphant look that Ginny couldn’t help but smile. Looking closer, she saw young-Harry clutching something in his hand. “Was this taken right after winning a game?”
“Yeah,” Harry answered with a slightly far-off look in his eyes. “The flip I’m doing was the move that won the game for us. The other Seeker and I were neck and neck until I saw that the only time the snitch was close enough for either of us to catch it, it was too low. So, the next time I thought it was coming close, I flipped and grabbed it while upside-down.” He looked at Ginny with a face glowing with an almost malicious pride. “People were taunting Draco about it for weeks.”
“Draco was the other Seeker, I take it?”
“Yeah. Draco Malfoy. He was my rival all during school.”
“Malfoy? As in Lucius Malfoy? The Death Eater?”
“Yeah. How do you think the Famous Harry Potter was able to know when the Death Eaters were going to strike? Draco was completely out of it for an entire week, then one day he was worse than usual. I knew something was about to happen, so I went and told Dumbledore about it. He agreed with me and we were able to gain enough time to get ourselves ready for any attack. Then, believe it or not, Draco sided with us. He was the one that took his father hostage, in fact.”
Fitting this story into the one that she had been told for years, Ginny thought that Harry was either being extremely modest or he really didn’t understand how incredible he was.
The ride wasn’t nearly as long as Ginny had hoped it would be and their conversation kept them entertained the whole time. Ginny found herself practically intoxicated by Harry’s cologne and sometimes had to pay extra attention to what they were talking about in order to not get lost in thought. No thinking.
As soon as they strolled into Diagon Alley, Harry seemed to completely change. “Could we stop by the Quidditch shop first?” he asked like a child begging for sweets.
“I was about to ask the same thing,” was Ginny’s answer, as she picked up his mood. She felt somewhat like a child again herself.
“I haven’t been here in a fairly long time,” Ginny confessed as they continued down the alley. “I used to come by here a lot when I was living at home, but over the last few years I’ve been more worried about paying rent than I have going on outings to do nothing but window shop.”
Harry nodded. “I can understand that. I’m here almost every weekend though. Not much else to do at home, after all.”
Ginny wondered briefly if Harry lived alone or not, but didn’t feel it was her place to ask, and she didn’t exactly want to bring up a sore topic.
The Quidditch shop took up about an hour of their time as they each showed the other what they had been coveting. Ginny had her eye on the new Lightning Strike broom, which was an update on the old Fire Bolt. Harry showed Ginny some arm guards and gloves that he told her worked really well when the other team’s beaters liked aiming at you. Ginny laughed a bit, thinking he was joking then laughed even harder after seeing from his face that he wasn’t kidding.
After drooling over Quidditch for a while they resumed their walk down the alley. “Oh wait. Could we stop here? I love this store.” Harry turned toward the shop they were passing and Ginny felt her stomach drop.
“Here?” Ginny croaked. She cleared her throat immediately, but the damage had already been done.
“What’s wrong?” Harry asked as he looked up at the sign above Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes.
“Oh nothing really…except that my brother’s own this shop.”
Harry’s face, frozen in shock, turned to her disbelievingly for a moment. “I knew I recocgnized your last name! I had no idea they were your brothers though. I love these guys; they always give me a discount when I come here.”
“Well that’s not fair,” Ginny pouted. “They never give me a discount. I guess that’s because you’re the Boy Who Lived and I’m just their little sister.”
Looking from the store to Ginny, Harry’s face brightened. “Not today. Today you’re the girl on a date with the Boy Who Lived.”
Ginny’s heart leapt, but she kept her face calm. “That’s a very good point.”
As they entered the store a voice greeted them instead of the customary bell that was used in most muggle stores. “Welcome!” it said. Not very inventive this time around. She took one more step into the store. “Go away!” it said then in the same cheerful voice. Ginny sighed in exasperation. “It’s a wonder they get any patronage.” Harry just grinned at her.
Ginny suddenly had a very claustrophobic feeling and as she turned, she realized why. The Quidditch shop had been much roomier, but in a store already so full, the cameramen that had entered just behind them made the store seem smaller still.
Ginny heard Fred yell from the back, “We’ll be right with you,” but it was George that came out of the backroom.
“What the ¬—” George began but stopped at the heated look from Ginny. “What…are you doing here?” he modified.
“Harry and I happen to be on a date,” Ginny stated with determination as her face became suffused with red.
George gave Ginny a disbelieving glance before turning his attention to Harry. “How’s it going mate? Enjoying those fireworks, are you?”
“As always,” Harry answered with a laugh. The cameramen were spreading out behind them to get better views and as George noticed them, his face broke into an evil smile.
“Hey Fred, you wanna get out here for a bit?”
“Well, don’t be busy for a couple minutes and get out here.”
“Fine!” Fred accompanied his words and gave the cameras the same look that George had. Oh no.
Fred glanced away from the cameras and caught sight of Ginny. He looked confused for a moment before smiling even more wickedly and whispering something to George. Oh great, here it comes.
“Hey Gin, come here for a minute. We need a word with you.” Oh dear God, please, no. Ginny walked hesitantly toward her brothers.
“Fred here just noticed something rather odd.”
“Yeah, you seem to have…grown over night.”
Their eyes flickered down briefly and Ginny felt her face redden even more. Oh bloody Trista! I really don’t need this.
“Oh well,” Fred started.
“Must have been a mistake. I mean…”
“Our sister wouldn’t do something like that.” Fred and George were finishing each other’s sentences. Very bad sign.
While they had been talking, another customer had entered. He gave the cameras a brief look then ignored them. “Hey, where do you keep those canary creams?”
“Oh yeah, they’re over there on that really big rack,” George laughed as Fred spoke and Ginny felt like sinking in the floor.
“Yeah, thanks guys,” Ginny muttered sourly as she walked back over to Harry who was now inspecting some of the newer merchandise.
“Hey guys, what are these?” Harry asked lifting a box of something-or-other.
“Those? Ah, those are our newest inventions. Talking knockers. Door-knockers, I mean.” At this statement, Ginny thought she saw movement out of the corner on her eye. Fred stood not four paces away with his wand out. Well, I know where this is going, Ginny thought as she flipped her wand out, muttered “expelliarmus” and disarmed Fred before he could do his dastardly deed. Talking knockers, huh? Jerk.
“We’ll give you a discount if buy two,” George said, next to Harry.
“You know, a pair of knockers.” Fred was now directly behind Ginny, after having scrambled around for his wand, so thankfully he spoke quiet enough that Harry couldn’t hear.
When Ginny next looked, George had disappeared, but he made an appearance not long after when one of the cameramen cursed. “What’s going on?” another asked him.
“Get back over here boy, and get this off!” As it turned out, George had cast a spell on the lens of the camera that was publicity for the store. Ginny rolled her eyes as the boys continued to goof around for the cameras.
Harry finally bought himself a bag of tongue talkers, which made you speak in a different language for a couple of minutes. He seemed to think it would be a great joke to pull on Dudley. Whoever that is. He also bought another box of their wet start fireworks and a “Do-it-yourself Map Maker.” Harry just grinned at her when Ginny asked what it was for.
Ginny wanted to buy some canary creams for the girls but knew that Fred and George would give her a hard time (and make her pay full price) so she had Harry buy them for her and promised to pay him back.
The boys made a few more insinuations regarding Ginny’s sudden “growth” but none were very obvious so Harry didn’t seem to catch on, for which Ginny was exceedingly relieved. When Harry and Ginny had said goodbye and walked toward the door — right behind one of the cameramen who was walking backward to film them — Ginny saw George flick his wand, but wasn’t sure what he had done. As the door opened, she figured it out. “What a nice…pair,” the voice said.
“Oh yeah, speaking of ‘pear:’ if you two happen to come back this way, would you mind picking up some melons for us?”
“Yeah. Big ones.”
Ginny shot the boys a dirty look and fingered her wand, sending them a parting gift and a coy, “I think there’s something on your face, boys,” as she walked out grinning.
Fred and George had “I am a prat” written in large florescent blinking letters across their foreheads. The two looked at each other and laughed, commenting on how much like them their little sister had become.
Back to index
Chapter 15: Daft Question and a Fit of DaringEpisode Fifteen
Daft Question and a Fit of Daring
Ginny couldn’t decide if she was more embarrassed than furious or the other way around. How could they say those things about her in front of Harry? Had he really not caught on to their insinuations?
It was then that she realized that Harry was looking at her rather strangely. “What?” she asked tentatively.
“Is that how you get along with all of your brothers?”
“Thank God, no! My oldest brothers, Bill and Charlie, who were both out of school before I started, are almost like uncles to me; they don’t pick on me much and they’re great to have around when I don’t have enough money for something…plus I hardly ever get to see them — hence, uncles and not just really great brothers. Those don’t exist.” Harry laughed at this comment, but Ginny wasn’t finished yet.
“The oldest other than those two is Percy who is the complete opposite of anyone in our family. He has pretty much disowned us, and I can’t seem to dreg up any remorse about that. You saw how Fred and George treat me — and yes, it’s always like that, in case you’re wondering. Then, my youngest older brother, Ron, is just way too weird for my taste. I mean, not Fred and George weird, but just…weird. Of course, growing up with five older brothers, two of which were Head Boys, and three of which are great Quidditch players, he’s… Well, just about the only thing he’s got going for him is his height.” Ginny was thoughtful for a moment. “Though, he has fairly good taste in women. He’s been after my best friend and flat mate for years now. Speaking of Hermione…I need to remember that I’m still mad at her…”
“Wow. I wish I could forget to be mad at people.” Harry chuckled and grinned broadly as Ginny scowled at him, holding back the smile that she didn’t want him to see.
“So, what about your family?”
Harry just looked at her. “Excuse me?”
“What about — oh bloody hell! I am so sorry. Augh. I feel like such an idiot. Please forget that I even asked such a stupid question.” Ginny was beside herself with grief. What are you thinking? Are you daft?
And yet, Harry laughed. “It’s refreshing to know that someone can forget who I am every once in a while.”
Tilting her head, Ginny gazed at Harry for a moment. “I’m sorry. Who are you again?”
Harry laughed in true amusement, which Ginny took as a good sign. She had hoped that making a joke like that wouldn’t add salt to any wound made be her previous statement. Though from his expression, it didn’t seem as though there were any wounds evident.
When he finally calmed down, he looked at her seriously. “I have to say though, that you might be wrong about Fred and George.”
“Oh, am I now?” she asked disbelievingly.
“Yeah. I mean, I don’t know brothers —”
“Since you don’t have any”
“Yes. But I do know boys.”
“And that’s because you are one, correct?”
“So glad you noticed,” he replied caustically. “As I was saying, I know boys, and they don’t treat you like that because they hate you. I mean, I’m in that shop all the time, and if they ever treat someone respectfully, they rip that someone apart as soon as they leave the store. It’s the people they like that they give a hard time. Take me for example: I always brag that they give me discounts, but really…I know it’s just the same price as everyone else gets. But they told me that since I didn’t act as though I expected a discount, they decided that they wouldn’t charge me extra, as they had planned.” He shook his head slightly, amused by the expression on Ginny’s face. “So, in a way, I have a discount, because if I was as arrogant as they had expected me to be, I’d be paying double.”
“Wait a minute, though,” Ginny spoke when Harry had finished. “Why did you agree to buy the Canary Creams for me then, if you don’t have a discount?”
Ginny was surprised to see a faint blush, but she must have been imagining it, because all he said was: “I wasn’t sure you’d let my buy something for you otherwise.”
“But you didn’t. You’re going to let me pay you back for them.”
“Really? Am I?”
Before Ginny really had a chance to retaliate, Harry began speaking again.
“Do you know what time it is?”
Harrumphing facetiously, Ginny responded. “Not precisely, but I can guess based on the conversation our stomachs are having.”
“Mine isn’t talking,” Harry said, almost defensively.
“What? You stomach is too good to talk to my stomach?” Harry laughed.
“I can’t believe we’re having a conversation like this! Let’s just go get something to eat…you know, before my stomach lessens itself by responding to yours.”
Ginny stuck her tongue out and followed Harry down the street.
A half an hour later, they were busy consuming food in the classiest restaurant in Diagon Alley. Seated in a private dining room they hardly ate privately, what with the cameras around. Their conversations were less in-depth since their food was keeping them pretty well occupied. Despite its reputation, the food really wasn’t all that spectacular and considering how long it had taken Ginny to decide what she wanted to eat anyway, it really didn’t seem worth the trouble.
Harry paid and as they were leaving she boldly spoke. “If I’m still on the show after the next rose ceremony, maybe we could just eat at a fast-food place on our next date instead.”
“You don’t like sit-down restaurants either?” he asked in return.
“Either? You mean you don’t? Why in the world did we go there if neither of us likes sit-down restaurants?”
“I figured it was what Connie would expect.” Ginny nodded at this comment, but she didn’t leave it at that.
“You know, Connie isn’t here. And these cameramen aren’t going to stop us from doing something that Connie wouldn’t approve of. Heck, I’ve already just about gotten chewed out for something else that I’ve done ‘wrong’ on this show, and I would have just as rather said ‘screw Connie. Let’s eat at a muggle McDonald’s!’” Looking around she saw that the cameras were a safe distance away (thank goodness) and so did not regret her words at all.
“Alright,” Harry began. “Next time I’ll take you to McDonald’s or wherever else you might like to eat instead. Is it a deal?”
“Absolutely,” Ginny responded, trying to stay calm. Not ‘if you’re still around for the next date I’ll take you there,’ but ‘next time I’ll take you there’! Ooooh! Could it be? And in a fit of daring, Ginny reached out and tentatively grasped Harry’s hand.
Smiling directly into her eyes, Harry squeezed her hand and the two resumed walking. Or rather, Harry resumed walking while Ginny floated beside him.
A/N: Sorry I'm posting so randomly, but at least I'm posting :) Thank you everyone for your reviews, I really appreciate them and I wouldn't mind a few more *winks* As of now I have written up to chapter 26 so I hope you continue reading and enjoy the story!
Back to index
Chapter 16: Discussing the PastEpisode Sixteen
Discussing the Past
Ginny was still floating when she got back to her room that night. No one had been around when she and Harry had returned to the alcove so they hugged, which raised Ginny another couple of inches in her floating and went to their separate rooms.
Wondering where Trista was, Ginny closed the door and leaned her head against the cool wood for a moment to compose herself. Turning, she found Trista asleep across her bed. Ginny laughed and walked over to her friend, giving her shoulder a faint shake. Trista opened her eyes slowly. “I wondered when you were getting home. Was it fun?”
“Immensely,” Ginny responded.
“Well?” Trista pressed. Ginny had decided not to give any details unless Trista asked for them, so as not to seem to be bragging…but Trista did ask, so Ginny told practically everything.
“And by the way,” she finished. “I’m going to kill you for the padded bra thing. I saw my brothers in Diagon Alley, because they own a shop there, and they noticed that I was not my normal size.”
Trista blushed and smiled wickedly but made no move to apologize. Ginny figured she wouldn’t.
“So,” Trista began hesitantly, as though afraid of the answer. “Were there any intimacies?”
Oh yeah…that was a part that Ginny left out. “Nothing of note,” was Ginny’s reply. To some people holding hands really isn’t worth noting. I’m not lying. She told herself.
Ginny couldn’t tell if Trista believed her or not, but she changed the conversation either way. “Janice was absolutely atrocious today while you two were gone. I have never heard such language out of anyone before. And the kinds of things she was talking about! If I was the type of person to do such a thing, I would have slapped her!”
This raised Ginny’s eyebrows. If Trista had almost shown a temper, Janice must have really been unbearable. “Did she talk about me at all?”
“That’s what I almost slapped her for. She was saying all sorts of terrible things about you; implying that you would do the kinds of things that one would more likely assume of her. She is absolutely infuriating!”
“Don’t let it get to you. Apparently it’s not the first time she’s told people stuff like that about me. I do wonder, however, why it’s me she has it in for. I mean, what did I ever do to her?”
“Maybe —” Trista stopped suddenly.
“If you have an idea, do tell.”
“Well, remember after the first rose ceremony? She thought that you had used that one girl being sent home as a ploy.”
“That’s right. Joice Turner. That very well could be. She thought I was going to be manipulative like she is, so she wanted to get rid of me before I could get rid of her.”
The two were silent for a time. Eventually, Trista announced with a yawn that she had to go get some real sleep now, and Ginny agreed that sleep would be a good thing. Realizing that she had nothing to worry about until the next rose ceremony, Ginny slept better than one might have expected.
The next morning, Harry and Denise left for their date right after breakfast. Trista and Ginny spent the day together in Trista’s room. Trista, it seemed, had smuggled some contraband into the castle, so they spent their time watching movies on Trista’s television with a silencing charm on the room so that no one would hear the noise and wonder what they were doing.
Later that evening, right before dinner, Ginny decided to test out her stock from her brother’s store. Ginny had never heard Trista laugh so hard once she returned to normal after eating a Canary Cream. She promised to go check out the store sometime and Ginny told her not to tell them that their sister had sent her; who knows what kinds of pranks they would do to her then. Trista agreed with enthusiasm and they used the last couple hours of daylight with Ginny describing the wares at Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes while Trista merely asked questions and laughed her head off.
The next morning a wonderful thing happened. Well, it was both wonderful and depressing: Ginny only saw Janice at breakfast and she was gone for the rest of the day. Of course, this meant that it was her turn to go on a date with Harry, but that bitterness couldn’t quite compare with having a Janice-free day. The other five girls played games all day and, with the exception of Laurie, who seemed to collapse into herself as they day went on, they all seemed to enjoy themselves.
When Ginny asked Laurie what was wrong, she had simply glared at her until Ginny backed away. “What crawled up her arse and died?” Becky asked when Ginny walked back over to the group.
“Poor girl,” Denise cooed dramatically. “She misses Janice.” Her fake pout turned into a grimace of disgust as she made a quiet gagging noise and rolled her eyes.
“Oooh! I have an idea on how to pass the time.” Becky sat up as she spoke and her eyes were aglow with a malevolent pleasure. “We’re all here after the same guy, so let’s talk about our ex’s. I know I have some good stories, and I’m sure the rest of you do as well!” The other girls expressed their agreement and Becky went first.
Becky described the most interesting parts of her most interesting relationships which just seemed to go on and one, despite the fact that she told them she was leaving a lot out. “Good grief, Becky. How many guys have you dated?”
Becky looked thoughtful for a moment after Trista’s question. “I can’t remember anymore. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of them.”
The other girls’ love lives were nearly as elaborate as Becky’s, though Denise shared some rather that left Trista blushing, and Ginny wishing her own face wasn’t nearly as red as Trista’s.
Laurie left the alcove about halfway into Becky’s recitation and when it came time for Trista to share, Ginny heard a shower start down the hall. Ginny just didn’t quite understand Laurie.
Trista’s stories were romantic but short, yet they were nothing compared to Ginny, when she finally spoke.
“Ginevra, you’ve only dated one guy?” Denise asked in disbelief.
“No, I’ve dated three guys, but only one of them was serious.”
“Well, gosh, if we were only talking about the serious relationships, I wouldn’t have been talking as long as I was.”
“Wish we’d made that rule at the beginning then,” Becky whispered to Trista in a stage whisper that caused Denise to throw a pillow at her.
“Anyway,” Trista prodded. “Tell us about the serious relationship then.”
Ginny sighed, not sure if she wanted to divulge this information, but figuring that she might as well, since they already had. “Well, we met in school several years ago. He was a year ahead of me, the same age as my brother Ron and we were in the same house. He was atrocious at Potions, which just so happened to be one of my best subjects, so I was a year ahead and in the same class as them. Ron set the two of us up for a tutoring session and we just kind of hooked up after a while.”
“Go on.” Trista urged.
“What’s his name?”
Ginny answered Denise hesitantly. “Don’t laugh. His name was Neville Longbottom.”
“Longbottom? That’s horrible! The poor guy.”
“Ginevra Longbottom,” Becky intoned with a deep voice. “Just doesn’t sound right does it?”
“I thought it did…which is why when he asked me to marry him several months ago, I said yes.” There was silence for several minutes after this statement.
“What happened?” Trista asked, barely above a whisper, as though afraid to break the silence.
“I’m not exactly sure. We were working on some stuff together using his skill with Herbology and mine with potions, and one day, I figured out the problem we had been struggling against with a certain synthesis. He was furious that I figured it out without him — I had stayed late a couple of night to work on it. I guess he just couldn’t handle my success. It was quite pathetic if you ask me, but there was no changing it. He broke off the engagement and I went back to live with my best friend Hermione. Coming on this show was Hermione’s idea of a rebound for me.”
“That is so sad.”
“Yes well, after dating for over five years…?”
Silence reined once again as all the girls tried to think of something to say to lighten the mood. None of them could think of anything, so eventually, they all excused themselves and headed off to bed.
Trista stayed with Ginny. At length, she finally spoke up. “So, he broke up with you.” It wasn’t a question, but Ginny nodded anyway, staring at the grains in the wooden coffee table in front of them. “Are you still in love with him then?”
“Would you believe me if I said I didn’t know? I mean, I thought I still was…until I came here. Is it possible to be in love with someone as deeply as I had been with Neville when I’ve known him for a fraction of the time?” Ginny turned her gaze quickly to Trista. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I’m in love with Harry. What I’m asking is, if I do fall in love with Harry…would it be real? Or would I just be rebounding?”
“I’m sorry but I can’t answer that question.”
“I figured as much,” Ginny replied with a sad smile.
Trista smiled back at Ginny before she stood up and walked to her room. After the door was shut, Ginny continued to sit there. She knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep after all that, so she stood and walked out the door into the garden.
It was dark and much cooler than during the day and Ginny found it refreshing. She sat on one of the many stone benches along the path and just breathed deeply.
After several minutes she heard the door open and heard someone speaking. Janice again? Why must she always ruin my respite out here?
“I told you I would make it through the ceremony. I’ve told you that I’m going to win the whole thing. Why do you never believe me?” Janice was on her cell-phone again. “Dustin, you’re my ex-boyfriend; you should know better than anyone that I can get exactly what I want?” There was silence for a moment before Janice snorted a laugh. “Her? If she makes it past the next ceremony, I know how to get rid of her. It will be a piece of cake. I mean, Harry practically eats out of my hand right now.” Janice went on to talk about several clandestine snogging sessions that Ginny knew were not true, since the supposed times they took place were when there was no way she would have access to Harry, but it was alright, because it didn’t seem ex-boyfriend Dustin was believing a word of it. “You just wait. I will win this. And when I do, I will have the most famous man in the entire wizarding world at my beck and call. You watch.” These last comments were made with a voice slightly raised in anger, and she then loudly closed the cell-phone and stalked back inside.
Any chance of calming herself down before going to sleep ruined, Ginny walked dejectedly back into the castle, slipped into her room and fell into a disturbed sleep.
A/N: Sorry if this chapter was a little boring. Next chapter is better and the one after is one of my favorites!! Keep reading and thanks so much for the reviews!
Back to index
Chapter 17: Dreams and Living NightmaresEpisode Seventeen
Dreams and Living Nightmares
Ginny sat at the breakfast table reading through one of her new novels, a bowl of cereal quickly growing soggy in the forgotten bowl in front of her. She didn’t notice someone enter the room from behind her. She didn’t notice until the person placed his hands over her eyes.
“Guess who!” a male voice asked from behind her.
Smiling as she set her book down, she turned. “Neville! What are you doing here so early. I thought you were working today.”
“I took the day off so that I could come and see you. I feel like we haven’t spent any time together in ages.”
Ginny stood quickly and wrapped her arms around Neville’s neck and was forced to stand on her tiptoes to do so, which she didn’t mind in the slightest. He tucked his hands around her waist and kissed her hair lightly. “So, what have you been doing today?” he asked as he let her down.
She picked up the book and waved it in his face. “Reading. I’m bored without our research.” She sighed and set the book down gesturing to a chair as she sat back down. “What have you been doing?”
Ginny didn’t hear the answer. Something about this seemed very wrong. It felt right somehow, but at the same time, it was very wrong.
Neville reached over and grabbed her hand, idly stroking her thumb with his finger. Neville. Why would Neville being there seem wrong?
While Neville was still talking, Ginny glanced up at the window and suddenly knocked over her chair in her haste to stand up.
“Ginny, what’s wrong?”
Ginny couldn’t find her voice in order to answer him. Outside the kitchen window, smiling in at her, was none other than Harry Potter. Why is the Boy Who Lived at my house?
Suddenly having a very strong instinct — one which probably was inherited from her mother — Ginny felt as though she needed to clean the kitchen for such a famous figure-head, but when she reached down to take her bowl to the sink, she saw that it was no longer sitting there.
Ginny looked back at Neville, intending to ask if he knew what had happened to her cereal bowl, but when she saw him he was jovially conversing with Harry.
Something is seriously wrong here. But what…?
“Ginevra,” Harry spoke from beside Neville. “Your fiancé was just telling me all about your synthesis experiments. It sounds fascinating, but I’m really not catching the bulk of it. Would you mind translating?”
Our research. It was over. I’m no longer engaged to Neville Longbottom. That’s what seems wrong. Then why was this happening?
“Is something wrong, Ginny?” Neville asked, concern painted on his face.
“You should sit down, Ginevra, you look as though you’re going to pass out.”
No! This is wrong! Why are they both here? Why am I here? Why is this happening?
Neville, his concern turning very serious, walked over to Ginny and wrapped his arms around her. “Please, tell me what’s wrong.”
“NO!!” she screamed, pulling away from him. She had to quell the emotion she had to run, instead, into Harry’s arms.
“Ginny.” Neville’s voice was full of pain.
“Ginevra.” The look Harry was giving her made her want to run to him all the more.
“Ginny!” With each passing second Neville seemed to be drifting further away from her. She turned to run, but found her way blocked by a bunch of men carrying cameras.
“Ginevra.” A new voice. “Ginevra, wake up.”
Ginny felt someone shaking her shoulders and forced herself to open her eyes, which her mind tried to convince her were already open.
“Ginevra, are you alright? I heard you yell a couple of minutes ago. I think you were having a bad dream.” Trista sat next to her on the bed in a long nightgown, concern the prominent emotion on her face.
Reality suddenly hit Ginny and she found herself sobbing softly into Trista’s shoulder. She didn’t really know why. She didn’t know if the tears were for the confusion caused by the dream…or because in the dream, she and Neville had still been in love. Then, of course, there was that bit with Harry showing up and the look on his face right before she woke up. Whatever it was, it caused her to cry for a good ten minutes before she was coherent enough to explain to Trista what was going on.
“I’m sorry I woke you up. It was a dream. It wasn’t bad at first though. Oh, I don’t even know how to describe it! I’m sure it was brought on by the conversation from last night. I haven’t dreamed of Neville for weeks.”
Trista gave her a big hug, consoled her for a few minutes, then told her to get some sleep and left the room. As much as Ginny liked Trista, she was glad for the last bit. She really did want to be alone at the moment.
Ginny laid back down with every intention of looking at this dream from every possible angle until she could reason out where it came from, but no more than 30 seconds passed before she was once again fast asleep.
When Ginny woke the next morning, she was not only exhausted, but she had this sneaking suspicion that she was going to be in a horrible mood today. This turned out to be a very bad thing, since today was Trista’s date with Harry, and after helping her get ready, Ginny realized that it was going to be a day during which it would be hard to get away from Janice.
“Bad dream last night?” Janice asked her as she sat in the alcove with her knitting. Tuck, loop, pull back, slide off. Tuck, loop, pull back, slide off. The knitting had a calming effect on Ginny, so she was able to evaluate what she said in response without her emotions getting in the way.
“Not particularly. I just often yell in the middle of the night. Keeps people on their toes.”
“One would think something else could be going on with the kinds of things you yell.”
Having discussed this with Trista last night, Ginny already knew what exactly it was she had yelled. “Yes, I suppose people could draw many conclusion from someone yelling ‘no’ in the middle of the night, but I’m sure you have a truly devious mind and were able to think of the worst possible thing.” She continued knitting without even looking at Janice. “I suppose you expected me to ask what it was you thought I was yelling for, yes?”
“Not particularly,” Janice answered complacently, as though Ginny wouldn’t notice the exact repeat of her earlier words.
“Well then, you’ll forgive me if I don’t.” Janice, however, didn’t leave. “Is there something I could do for you?”
Ginny almost ground her teeth but thought better of it and simply continued to knit. Tuck, loop, pull back, slide off. Tuck, loop, pull back, slide off, ram up Janice’s nose. It was hopeless, but Ginny knew that if she left now, Janice would think she had won, and Ginny would not allow Janice that kind of satisfaction.
After a few more minutes Janice finally got bored and left the room. Ginny waited another ten minutes before standing up and leaving herself. No use having won that small victory if she simply let Janice know she had been flustered by leaving too soon.
She stayed in her room most of the rest of the day. She knew it was the cowardly thing to do, but with the mood she was in, she was likely to pull out all of Janice’s hair on a whim if she saw her again. And probably get all of hers pulled out as well. Ginny hated being a coward.
Lunch had, blessedly, been on their own, so Ginny had been able to eat in her room. She had no such luck with dinner. Without Trista to give her strength and with Denise and Becky not even attempting to hold back their disgust, Ginny found herself precariously close to giving Janice the rough side of her tongue. But that wasn’t the only temptation. About half-way through the meal, Janice asked Ginny — in a sickeningly sweet voice — to pass the butter. Ginny smiled back with her teeth bared and whipped out her wand. Ginny saw Janice flinch for a second until Ginny merely levitated the butter to Janice’s side of the table. Bit twitchy, aren’t we?
When Trista got home that night, Ginny was pacing inside Trista’s room, her wand clenched in her hand and muttering to herself. She didn’t even realize that Trista was back until she spoke. “I take it the day didn’t go well.” Ginny sighed.
“What was your first clue?” Trista calmed Ginny down considerably before telling her all about the date. Trista’s eyes were shining as she spoke and Ginny wished there was some way for two people to win at this game.
The other three dates went by quickly enough and the days seemed much shorter with Trista around to keep her in check. Ginny was not forced to be alone with Janice but just being in the same room with her was bad enough. Ginny found herself daydreaming about either herself of Janice being kicked off at the next ceremony. The way Janice was making her feel lately, either would have been a relief…though, of course, Ginny would prefer Janice leaving.
Other than Janice, Ginny also fervently hoped that Laurie would be kicked off. Ginny began to notice that Laurie’s presence was almost as bad as Janice’s, as Laurie had become a Janice-wannabe. It was a very sad sight to see; almost as though Laurie was some kind of lost puppy following around what she thought was her mother. It was sickening.
Harry continued to have breakfast with the girls just about every morning but Ginny still had not found a chance to really talk to him since their date. He smiled at her every morning, but then, he smiled at all of them. Janice and Laurie were getting a little too good at making sure that Ginny didn’t sit anywhere near Harry. I think I know who she was talking about getting rid of on the phone the other day, Ginny thought bitterly, though really, she had suspected the whole time.
The night before the rose ceremony Ginny found that she couldn’t sleep. Visions of Janice and Harry were plaguing her thoughts and she kept seeing this white rose looming over her. She got out of bed but found that even her room seemed too small; she was feeling claustrophobic.
She picked up her knitting stuff and headed out to the alcove. She only had a few rows left until the scarf was finished so she told herself that she would try to get some sleep again after she had finished the whole thing. Before she sat down, she set her stuff on one of the coffee tables and opened the door to the garden, letting the night’s breeze come in and adding some extra light with the moon.
She had been knitting for a good half hour before she finally got to the final row. The last few stitches took more concentration, especially in the dark, so she didn’t notice that someone else had entered the alcove.
“Wow. That’s a really nice looking scarf,” a voice said from over her shoulder.
Hehehe Just a little cliffie for you to make you beg me for more...which, of course, won't be necessary because there's still plenty coming :)
Review! Luff ya!
Back to index
Chapter 18: MoonlightEpisode Eighteen
Ginny jumped a good three inches off the surface of the couch before she was able to regain control of her nervous system. In that time she lost control of her knitting needles, and had the irrational thought that she hoped she hadn’t lost any of her stitches as she looked up into the face of Harry Potter.
“I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean to scare you.” Harry’s voice was hushed as he took a seat near Ginny on the couch.
“You didn’t — I mean, I’m not, er…I didn’t think anyone else was awake,” Ginny stammered helplessly.
“I had the same thought. Why are you up?”
Ginny realized that she couldn’t very well be completely honest and say “I’m up because I’m nervous that you might possibly kick me off the show tomorrow” so she simply said “I couldn’t sleep.”
“Yeah, me neither.” Harry sighed and leaned his head back on the couch. Ginny just stared. She found that she couldn’t keep her eyes off of him. Here he was, Harry Potter, in the middle of the night with the moonlight spilling in through the door to the garden looking completely at ease; and here was Ginny, completely besotted and feeling as though she was about to wet herself. Okay, well, not really, but the idea is the same.
“You know,” Harry spoke with his head still back and his eyes closed. “I never thought this would be so difficult. I mean, I knew that making these decisions would be tough, but I hadn’t the foggiest idea that I would have to hurt so many people during the course of this show. Take you for example.” He sat up to look at her and Ginny felt herself blushing and was glad for the blanket of darkness that kept her from being wholly revealed. “Even though you’ve made it through two rose ceremonies, you’ve cried both times. I didn’t think I’d have to see so many of you cry, but seeing someone who wasn’t kicked off cry… I just don’t really know how to handle this.”
Not really liking the idea of discussing her waterworks, Ginny quickly changed the topic. “So, what kind of mischief are you getting into with that invisibility cloak of yours?”
Harry sat there with his mouth hanging partially open simply staring at her. Abruptly he laughed. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you figured that one out.”
Ginny grinned wickedly. “You’re skirting around the question, Mr. Potter.”
He laughed again. “Yes, I suppose I am. I only use the cloak when I want to get to my room with no one seeing me.”
Ginny quirked an eyebrow disbelievingly. “Honest,” he declared.
Ginny reached down to pick up her knitting hesitantly, as it was now sitting next to his foot. “What are you making the scarf for?” he asked.
“Oh, I don’t know. Every once in a while, in the winter, it gets cold.” He shot her a half amused, half affront look. “Don’t you look at me like that,” she laughed. “You snuck up on me; I’m just trying to regain my dignity.”
“I think you’re trying to regain your pride,” he answered smoothly.
“Yes well — that too.” He laughed again at her response.
“So, the scarf is for yourself then?” he asked as Ginny began winding the excess yarn back up. She didn’t think she’d be finishing it tonight.
“Yeah, I guess. It’s just something to keep my hands busy.” She set the knitting aside and tried to feel at ease talking to Harry like this. It was rather nice, when she thought about it. “My mum knits all of us kids a jumper every Christmas. I guess that’s where I get it from. The difference is, mum can actually make the knitting take on a shape…I can just knit scarves.” She smiled, admitting her own inaptitude and looked at Harry through her eyelashes, pretending to gaze at the carpet.
“I like the color,” he admitted out of the blue. “That kind of dark red is my favorite color.”
She looked up smiling. “Really? Mine too. I don’t so much like burgundy though; it’s too purple-y. I prefer really deep reds, like brick red.”
Harry nodded. “I agree.”
Ginny couldn’t help laughing. When Harry looked at her, confused, she explained. “Don’t you think it’s weird that we’re sitting here in the middle of the night, in the dark and we’re talking about our favorite colors? It’s just a bit odd.”
Harry shrugged. “What else could we be doing?”
Bad Ginny! No naughty thoughts. Ginny once again colored and was doubly glad that he couldn’t see the way her face was flaming, because if he could, he was sure to know why. “I don’t know. I just think it’s strange,” she answered very smoothly, grateful that her voice had not betrayed her.
The two sat in comfortable silence for several minutes. Neither of them felt the need to break silence as they sat together on the couch looking out the door onto the moonlit garden. Ginny desperately wanted to hold Harry’s hand again, but didn’t feel that she had the courage. She decided on the next best thing instead.
“I’m going to ask you a question, and I just wanted you to know that it’s completely alright if you say no.”
Harry looked at her confused but didn’t speak, so she took the initiative to ask. After taking a deep breath she looked nervously into his eyes and asked “Is it okay if I lean my head on your shoulder?”
Harry looked a bit nervous himself as he nodded to her. She laid her head atop his shoulder and breathed deeply. Heavens, he smells good! She found that she enjoyed the view just that much more from this vantage point and decided that she never wanted to move. Ever again.
Harry shifted a bit so she was forced to move, which, had she been any more pathetic that she already was, would have made her nearly cry. “That’s not very comfortable for me,” he admitted. So he shifted his position slightly so that he faced her more and patted himself on the chest, near his shoulder.
It was much softer there than against his shoulder and Ginny found herself even more reluctant to move. Then she heard his heart. It was beating very fast and very hard. Smiling to herself, she hissed at Harry. “Don’t worry.” He jumped slightly so she laughed while she said: “You’re still alive!”
She could feel his chest rumble with laughter beneath her cheek and decided that she could die right there and have no regrets. Well, maybe some. Little tiny ones.
Maybe it was the view, maybe the fact that she was half asleep, maybe just the fact that the smell of him was intoxicating, but whatever it was, Ginny found herself searching for his hand. When she found it, he squeezed her hand back. They sat like that for a very long time. “You’re comfortable,” Ginny mumbled into his chest and was rewarded again by his rumbling chuckle.
“I’m about to fall asleep,” Harry admitted reluctantly. Ginny had to admit that she agreed, but she didn’t want him to know. “We should go to bed now. I think we should both be able to sleep better now.”
Ginny sat up and peered blearily at him before nodding. She stood up slowly and stretched before reaching down for her knitting things. She couldn’t remember when she’d let go of his hand, but she suddenly felt the loss. She wanted it back, but she knew she couldn’t.
They separated and headed to their respective rooms and Ginny wondered if Harry could possibly be as reluctant to go as she was. She had almost made it to the hallway when she heard Harry’s voice. “Ginevra,” he whispered.
She turned back to him, waiting for him to speak again.
He hesitated, but all he said was: “Your brothers called you ‘Gin’ the other day. Are there any other nicknames you usually go by?”
Ginny had a feeling that this wasn’t what he had intended to say at first, but she answered just the same. “Most everyone calls me Ginny. Why? Do you not like my name?”
He smiled at her implication. “That’s not it, I just wondered. You don’t really seem that comfortable being called Ginevra, so I wasn’t sure.” He paused. “Is it alright if I call you Ginny?”
“Of course,” she replied, and was very glad that they were already whispering, as she was sure her voice would have sounded just as breathy had they not been.
“Thank you. Goodnight Ginny.”
Ginny set her knitting, nearly finished, on the table near her bed right next to her two magically-preserved red roses. He had noticed that she wasn’t used to being called Ginevra. What are you thinking! You got to hold his hand and feel his heart beat tonight and all you can think of is that he realized that you must have a nickname? Bloody hell, girl! You need to get to sleep.
And sleep she did. She had hoped she would dream, but like most nights when you want to dream the dreams just won’t come.
She was pleasantly rested the next day when her alarm went off. Memories of the night before kept her smiling all through her shower and she felt as though she could fly. He’s going to pick me today. I just know he is!
She got out and styled her hair and even gave herself enough time to put on a bit of makeup before heading off to breakfast. She was early. She had actually gotten there before Janice and her just-as-evil clone. She sat herself down right near the end, a seat next to where Harry always sat. Hoping desperately that Trista made it to breakfast soon, Ginny mentally saved Trista the seat across from her. They would both sit by Harry this morning. The next to walk into the dining area, however, where Janice and Laurie. Scowling something fierce, Janice took the seat directly across from Ginny and Laurie took the seat on Janice’s other side. Ginny felt her stomach churning. How could she eat when she constantly had to look at that?
Trista showed up finally and was able to take the seat next to Ginny. “I wanted to save the seat across from me, but it is now otherwise occupied,” Ginny whispered out the side of her mouth.
“I see that,” Trista whispered back.
And on this morning of the rose ceremony when Ginny finally sat where she wanted and felt confident for the first time during this show…Harry didn’t show up for breakfast. It was miserable.
Despite the fact that Janice, for some reason, decided to say absolutely nothing at all during breakfast the looks she gave Ginny made her wish she had her knitting needles again. The looks were condescending and more confident than Ginny ever thought she herself could be. Ginny wished the table wasn’t so wide so she could grind Janice’s toes into the carpet.
After what seemed like hours breakfast ended and each of the girls went off to get ready for the next ceremony. Trista and Ginny got ready together and were the first to wait in the alcove for the summonses.
Becky showed up next and sat next to Ginny on the couch while they waited. Becky’s foot was kicking with nervousness making the other two occupants of the couch feel the movement. If Ginny hadn’t suddenly been so nervous herself she would have politely asked Becky to stop. There seemed no reason to now, though.
Janice and Laurie came next followed closely by Denise who made a face at Janice’s back before sitting in one of the chairs near the couch that Trista, Ginny and Becky were sitting in. A long uncomfortable silence began and with it, the entrance of the cameramen.
Ginny tried to look confident but she was sure she failed miserably so instead she merely looked anywhere but at the cameras until they moved on. Trista’s face was radiant but Ginny could see an underlying nervousness in her as well. Janice just looked smug while Laurie tried to mimic the look and failed at it as badly as Ginny had failed at looking confident. Becky kept teasing her lower lip with her teeth whenever a camera wasn’t pointed at her and Denise looked like she was going to be quite sick, yet trying to hide it behind a pleasant smile. It was a sad lot.
When someone finally came to take them to the ceremony room Ginny sighed audibly, and she wasn’t the only one. Let’s just get this over with, the sighs apparently said.
The stadium seating in the ceremony room was gone, replaced by couches and chairs that were identical to the ones in their alcove. The same seating arrangement came to play; Ginny sitting between Trista and Becky, Denise in a chair nearby and Janice and Laurie on their own couch.
The usual fanfare played as Connie entered, said something that Ginny paid no attention to and signaled for Harry to enter.
He looked gorgeous with his hair mussed as always and, to Ginny, his eyes appeared to twinkle. He was only holding three red roses. What about the white roses? Ginny thought in a panic. She couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t let him give out the white roses to the girls sent home. It wasn’t fair! They needed some kind of memento from the time here.
Harry gave a short speech that Ginny couldn’t quite absorb in her anguish about the white roses. She now wished, more desperately than ever, that she would get a red rose. If not, she’d get nothing; absolutely nothing. The other girls, minus Janice, seemed to be thinking the same thing.
Only three red roses. Ginny hoped she didn’t hyperventilate. Then suddenly — she heard her name being called. Confused, and very out of it, Ginny walked up to Harry and took her rose. His fingers brushed hers as he handed the rose down to her and snapped her out of her trance. She smiled wonderingly up at him and he smiled back then she was walking through the door and was directed back toward the alcove. She wanted to ask her escort to let her wait by the door to see who else was picked but she couldn’t get the words out so she merely continued to follow. Well, that was a bit anti-climactic.
The alcove had changed again. Three doors in the hallway; the hall had grown in width so that at least four people could walk abreast down it and not touch the walls or each other. Harry’s room was still across the alcove and the furniture was far grander than it had been, if that could be imagined.
Ginny walked woodenly down the hall and into the room with her name on it. Her name was on it. Already. These guys are good, Ginny thought with no real conviction.
She had a thought and turned quickly back out into the hallway. The other two doors already had names on them as well. The one on the other side of the hall, diagonal from her own room had the name ‘Trista’ written on it. Ginny almost cried with relief. Walking down the hall she read the name off the last door.
It said ‘Janice.’
So, did you like it? I love this chapter, so I hope you liked it. A lot of references in this chapter sound very much like my fiance and myself; hope no one minds that the two may be slightly out of character -- this is alternate universe, after all :) Please leave feedback!
Back to index
Chapter 19: Eye of the StormEpisode Nineteen
Eye of the Storm
After the shock of getting through the rose ceremony so quickly and the repulsion of seeing that Janice had made it too Ginny got back her good mood with a vengeance! Ginny and Trista stayed up late that night talking in Trista’s room. Ginny was hesitant to tell her friend about what had happened the night before, for fear that Trista would be upset, so she said nothing about it.
Trista, however, seemed to feel no such restraint and was thus regaling all the events of her date with Harry, though she had already done so days earlier. Ginny didn’t really mind; she felt a pang of jealousy every once in a while, but she would quickly quash it and listen attentively again. It wasn’t as though Trista was bragging, though, she was just so excited that she couldn’t keep anything in. That’s just how Trista was.
Ginny was tempted to sneak out again after Trista left, but the chance of another midnight meeting was rare, and even if it did happen…what would be her excuse. ‘No, actually I’m exhausted, but I thought I’d sleep out here on the off chance that you’d come out and we could repeat the actions of last night.’ Yeah right. Ginny fell asleep quickly after Trista left, and it was of Harry that she last thought before sleep overcame her.
The next morning, Ginny was nervous. She didn’t really know why, though. There were now only three of them left with Harry so she worried how breakfast would be. How would she act around Janice? How would Janice act around her? How would Janice act around Harry? Now that she thought of it, she couldn’t really remember anything remarkably horrible about the way she acted when Harry was around. Though, breakfast was the only time she had ever seen them together, and Ginny had never really been part of the conversations on that end of the table.
Ginny didn’t feel like worrying about make-up and decided that if she had to go anywhere today she would remedy that. So, she fixed her hair, practiced her smile in the mirror (and after realizing how dumb she was being, stuck her tongue out at herself in the mirror) and went out to breakfast. And, of course, she was late.
Janice and Trista each had a seat to either side of Harry. The table, which had recently been long enough to three on each side and one at the head was now sized for the remaining three and Harry. There was no head of the table; it was a perfect square and Ginny sat staring directly at Harry.
Ginny wondered vaguely why no one had taken this seat, until she realized that Janice had her chair pulled as close to Harry’s side of the table as was possible. If the table were any smaller she could have been sitting practically on his lap. Ginny wanted to grind her teeth, but instead put on a pleasant smile and began talking to Trista.
Breakfast tasted like ashes to Ginny that morning. For the first time she was really able to hear what Janice was saying to Harry and it was a pile of steaming cow dung.
“That’s so interesting. I loved my defense against the dark arts class in school, but we were never allowed to work with a boggart. I’m not even sure I know what it would have turned into for me.” Janice shivered prettily as she continued. “You must be so brave.”
He believes all that? I mean, yeah, he is really brave, but come on now! Can’t he tell she’s just feeding him lines?
Ginny looked at Harry to see him smile politely at Janice and change the subject. She latched on again. “Expelled? You were almost expelled from school? Well, I’m sure it wasn’t your fault, was it?”
Harry assured her it hadn’t been his fault. Ginny wanted to ask him to go into more detail, but Janice wasn’t going to let her get a word in edgewise. There was one time during lunch — when Janice really went all out and decided to talk to Trista, as though it would make her look good to be friendly one of her competitors — when Harry’s attention wasn’t taken completely by Janice. Ginny desperately wanted to talk to Harry but she knew there was very little chance of that with Janice at the table. She did catch his eye, though. They shared a smile and Ginny had to duck her head and occupy herself with her food so that he wouldn’t see her blushing. Mm! I love his smile!
Connie joined them not much later to discuss the plans for the next couple of days. Apparently for the next three days the girls were going to be taking Harry home to meet their families. Ginny blanched. An entire day during which Harry could potentially be subjugated by her two older and twin brothers? They were sure to try and get in as many embarrassing stories about Ginny as they possibly could in the short time. This was going to be a disaster!
“Today, Harry will be going home with Janice to meet the Torbeck family.” If Janice hadn’t been trying so hard to impress Harry, she would have been smiling at Ginny like a cat with cream on it’s whiskers. As it was, she had the audacity to look surprised and — saints preserve us! — nervous! The day that Janice Torbeck is nervous is the day I sign up to be the guinea-pig for my brothers!
As soon as they were excused, Ginny made a bee-line for her loo. She wasn’t completely sure she was going to throw up, but she recognized that it was better safe than sorry.
Trista let herself in not long after Ginny positioned herself over the toilet, and leaned against the counter looking down at her.
“Now, I really wish I had just been kicked off yesterday. Even that would be better than what I know is going to happen.” Ginny kept her head over the toilet as she spoke and felt a bit too dramatic, but not in the mood to care.
“Why?” Trista asked softly. “What’s going to happen.”
“Don’t you see? Janice has completely brainwashed Harry! As far as he’s concerned, Janice is as nice a person as either of us, though a little desperate. He doesn’t see that it’s all a show. And now he has to meet our families?” Ginny did look up then. “You don’t know my family, Trista. He’ll never want to see me again after spending time with the over-exuberant twins Fred and George, the success-obsessed head-boy Percy, and the attention-starved Ron. And one could only hope that Bill and Charlie won’t be around or we’ll really have a handful. Then there’s my dad, who’s obsessed with muggles and mum who will act like the two of us haven’t been fed properly since this whole thing started. But first, he’s going to give Janice an entire day to brainwash him about the wonderful-ness of her, and by that time, there’ll be no stopping her!”
Trista stood there looking down on her, a ghost of a smile playing on her lips. “Are you finished?” she asked lightly.
Ginny’s nod was sulky as she repositioned her head over the toilet. She felt even more ill now. “Now, don’t you think you may be overreacting just a bit?” Trista raised her voice slightly and talked right over Ginny’s protests. “I mean, after all, Harry isn’t dumb. He’s sure to see what Janice really is eventually. I would bet that him spending time at her house will be the worst thing for her. And after all, she’s going first, so the two of us have the chance to undo her brainwashing when we get our turns.” She pulled Ginny gently to her feet. “Don’t worry about it okay? Besides, your brothers are all older than you, right? Who’s to say they’ll even be there?”
“Oh, they’ll be there,” Ginny muttered sourly. “Even if Fred and George have to call in a personal holiday and close the shop, they’d never miss the chance to torment me. And Ron still lives at home, believe it or not. Pathetic sod. He needs to get married.”
Trista chuckled quietly but Ginny ignored her, focusing on the contents of her stomach, which, at the moment, seemed to have no desire to make a re-appearance.
At length, Trista coaxed Ginny out of the loo and by that time Harry and Janice were long gone. As for one, good riddance! And for the other, please see through her!
For the sake of Ginny’s stomach, Trista opted to talk of anything but the up-coming family affairs. Instead they pulled out another of Trista’s contraband and watched a movie in Trista’s room which was once again sound proofed. Good thing no one seemed to care what the ones left behind were doing; everyone was focused on the two that were gone.
Despite Trista’s efforts at trying to change the topic, Ginny somehow got to talking about Neville. “He liked this movie, you know. He’s the only guy I know who would admit to liking a movie like this,” Ginny said gesturing toward the chic-flick on screen with a wave of her hand. “He was really a sweet guy. He started out as kind of a geek, but I saw through that stereotype. By the time we finished school, there were over a dozen girls that wished they had seen what I had seen in him. And yet, he still stayed humble.”
Ginny glared as she recalled. “You see, it was after school ended that his head inflated. He had been rubbish in Potions until I started helping him in school, so after we finished school and I was helping with the synthesis he took for granted that I was doing the potions work. As far as he was concerned, I was merely an off-shoot of him; his potions were being brewed because of me, but his mind saw that they were getting finished because he wanted them to be. When I figured out that synthesis on my own, he had to realize that I was not some sub-set of Neville, but my own person. I’m not sure he was able to handle that.”
The two were silent for a long time as they watched the movie and brewed over what Ginny had said. Ginny felt tears stinging her eyes and brushed it off saying, “Oh, I love this part,” to hide the real reason for the tears.
Ginny was too miserable to stay up much later after they finished their second movie. She begged off and retreated to her room where she quickly finished the scarf through a haze of tears and fell exhausted into bed.
The next morning Trista and Ginny ate breakfast by themselves since Harry and Janice weren’t expected back for another hour at least. Connie did come in half way through to announce that Trista would have the honor of taking Harry to her house this day. After she left, Ginny felt Trista’s eyes on her and was determined not to look down crest. “Now’s your half of the de-brainwashing. You had better do a good job.” The smile on her face felt plastered and fake to Ginny but she held on to it with all her strength. Trista smiled, a bit surprised, and the two hurried off to get her ready.
They had just barely finished packing when Connie came to get her. Ginny followed Trista to the alcove and saw both Harry and Janice waiting. Before Ginny could so much as glare, Janice swept over and pulled Trista into a hug. “Have fun,” Janice cooed. “I only wish I could see your house too,” she added as she held Trista at arms length and smiled at her. Ginny closed her mouth with a snap and chanced a look at Trista who appeared to be completely dumbfounded and was looking at Janice like she was some peculiar breed of prat. Twisting her face into a brief smile, Trista squeezed Ginny’s arm discreetly and walked over to Harry.
“Want to play a game of chess?” Janice asked right before everyone left, so that they would all be sure to hear her.
After they had left Ginny rounded on Janice. “What are you playing at?” Ginny’s temper was flaring.
“What? I really do want to play a game of chess with you.”
“That’s not what I meant, and you know it. Stop using us to make yourself look good. Harry’s too smart to fall for that, and we’re too smart to let you do it.” Janice smirked
“Harry doesn’t seem to be too smart yet. He’s falling for it, and he’s falling for me. You might as well go home now, because you’ll never make it past the next rose ceremony.” She paused with another smirk. “Sure you don’t want to play chess? You’ll never be able to beat me.” That last could have been taken either way; never beat her in the show and never beat her at chess. It also had the feel of a threat.
“I’ll go get my pieces,” Ginny growled through clenched teeth.
“Wonderful,” Janice called after her as she stormed to her room.
Back to index
Chapter 20: Check MateEpisode Twenty
Ginny flung open one of her drawers and pulled out a box full of odds and ends that she had decided to pack on a whim. At the bottom of the box was a smaller box with her chess pieces inside. “You want a game of chess?” Ginny spat. “I’ll give you a game of chess. I will whip your arse in a game of chess, you manipulative little sod.” Ginny lifted the box carefully so as not to tip the contents; the queen was sure to give Ginny the rough side of her tongue if the pieces were jostled and Ginny didn’t exactly need that kind of encounter around Janice.
Trying to smooth her composure Ginny left her room and joined Janice back in the alcove. Janice was sitting quite comfortably on one of the big chairs, which she had scooted toward the coffee table in the middle of the room. Ginny would have given just about anything to see Janice actually drag that thing across the room, but then she noticed that Janice’s wand was out. Wimp.
When she entered Janice smiled at her and if Ginny hadn’t known any different she would have thought it was genuine. No wonder she has Harry fooled. Ginny pulled her own wand out, moved another chair forward and sat down across from Janice. I’m not a wimp, I just don’t want her making any comments about my skill as a witch, that’s all!
As they set up their pieces — which did not at all seem in the mood for a game — Janice gave small satisfied smirks at Ginny’s pieces. “How quaint,” she said at one point. Ginny’s queen stuck her tongue out a Janice, making her face go from a smirk to a full fledged evil smile. “And so well mannered too.” Ginny wanted to shove her king down Janice’s throat. “Are they hand-me-downs?” Janice asked smugly.
“Yes. These were the pieces my brother Ron learned chess with, if you must know.”
Janice’s nose turned up slightly. “How old are they?” she asked, scandalized.
Ginny ground her teeth before answering. “About twelve years old.”
Janice tapped her lips with a perfectly manicured fingernail as though pondering something but Ginny knew it was only to further hide her smile. “They are remarkably, um…un-worn for such an existence.”
Ginny fought the urge to roll her eyes and merely growled. “Yes.” Then spat back “Thank you,” with a hint of sarcasm and without any conviction.
Ginny had spent many years trying to control her Weasley temper, since she realized that it only seemed to make things worse. This situation — and really, all situations that Janice had put her in — were really starting to try that control.
Ginny glared at Janice who glared back mockingly and the game began.
“Knight pawn to B-3,” Ginny started, being white.
“Bishop pawn to C-5.”
The game continued slowly, each of the two taking time to analyze the next move and seeming to anticipate their opponent’s thoughts.
“Rook pawn to H-5,” was Janice’s first big mistake. Ginny’s Knight pawn was situated directly beside Janice’s Rook pawn at G-5, so Ginny commanded her Knight pawn to H-6. As the pawn moved, it dragged Janice’s pawn with it and threw it off the board when it reached its spot.
“What are you doing?” Janice demanded. “You can’t do that! Your pawn moved mine. That’s cheating.”
“No it’s not. That’s the rule of en passant, or ‘in passing.’ It’s the only time in chess that moving to an empty square can procure a capture.” Ginny tried and failed to keep the smug look off her face. “I have a rule book in my room if you don’t believe me.” Ginny’s pawn stood shaking it’s fist at Janice as the two glared each other down. Ginny was not the first to look away
Janice harrumphed and continued playing. She was still acting confident and after a few more moves she began to speak. “I hope your things aren’t so spread around that it will take you a long time to pack,” Janice said placing a Bishop.
“What exactly is that supposed to mean?” Ginny asked, placing a Knight.
“It’s just that I’m not sure you’re going to make it through the next ceremony,” she said, her voice honey, as her Rook took one of Ginny’s pawns.
“That’s strange,” Ginny mused. “I thought only Harry was able to make those kinds of decisions,” she responded as one of her pawns tossed Janice’s right Bishop off the board.
Janice tittered in a way that made Ginny want to gag. “Oh, it will be his decision. But you see? Allurement is a powerful means of persuasion. Sweet words and implications work wonders with someone who, shall we say, seems to enjoy sweets?” Her Bishop knocked one of Ginny’s Knights off to the side.
Ginny’s face reddened in anger of Janice’s intimation and embarrassment because of Janice’s insinuations at the expense of Harry’s morality.
“You know that Harry isn’t dumb,” Ginny began. “He will see through you, and I only hope I’m there when it happens.” Ginny commanded her Rook to attack Janice’s Bishop.
“If everything goes how I expect it to — how I know it will — you won’t be around to see much of anything soon.” Janice’s Rook took out one of Ginny’s Bishops, which then left Ginny the space to take the Rook.
Ginny didn’t feel this comment deserved any kind of reaction and so studiously ignored it. The game continued without either of them adding to the conversation. Slowly but surely the pieces occupying the board diminished. It was a fairly even game with Janice still in possession of her King and Queen as well as one Knight, one Rook and three Pawns. Ginny had sacrificed her Queen in order to take out Janice’s other Rook, which left room to take several of Janice’s pawns as well. Ginny was left with her King, both Rooks, a Knight, a Bishop and two pawns. Ginny castled earlier in the game which put her King at B-1 and one of her Rooks at C-1.
“I’ve noticed,” Janice began suddenly. “That you’ve gotten a bit cozy with Harry lately.” Ginny was just barely able to suppress her flush at this comment. “I’m not so sure he’ll be so comfortable around you now, however. He seems to think you’ve been telling lies.” Janice commanded her Queen which was placed at check. If Ginny saw correctly, Janice’s Queen had an expression that mirrored Janice’s smug look; it was directed toward Ginny’s King.
Before moving her next piece, Ginny innocently asked: “How’s Dustin?” The horrified look on Janice’s face simply doubled Ginny’s glee at taking the Queen with her Knight.
Janice seemed to be floundering so she merely moved a pawn. Ginny saw her victory. She moved her pawn one space closer to Janice’s King. “Check Mate.”
Janice smiled sweetly. “Not so. I can merely take your pawn with my King.”
Ginny pointed to one of her Rooks. “But then he can take you.”
“Then I’ll move my King to the corner, where your pawn can’t get me, and neither can your Rook.”
Ginny pointed this time to her Bishop which was diagonal from the corner. She didn’t speak, though. She pointed and smiled wickedly. “And,” Ginny added, pointing to her other Rook. “If you move away from the corner, my other Rook can take you.” She crossed her arms and sat back lazily. “So, I repeat: Check Mate.”
Janice sat there staring bewildered at the board for several minutes before her face was back to a smirk. “Too bad your chess skills haven’t rubbed off on anything else in your life.”
Ginny did roll her eyes this time. “My strategies are quite up to par, thank you, I just refuse to use them to manipulate others. You, however, seem to have no such qualm.”
“Of course not,” Janice said, her face twisting with malice. “With my strategies, I always get my way; I always win.”
Ginny gestured to the board. “Not always,” she whispered.
After the game Janice stalked off with as much dignity as she could hang on to. For the rest of the day she left Ginny alone. Ginny took this as the blessing that it was. Having finished her scarf, Ginny relapsed to reading one of her novels, and spent the rest of the day wrapped up in the plot. She went to bed early — having already read the book, she wasn’t exactly eager to get to the end so quickly. She knew the next day was going to be a nightmare, however, so she spent most of the night tossing and turning.
The next morning, Ginny dragged herself out a bed for a shower and was practically falling asleep into her porridge bowl during breakfast. She had slept very poorly.
When Trista and Harry got back, Trista came to Ginny’s room to help her finish packing and tell Ginny all about the day before. “My parents really liked him. He was the perfect gentleman and I’m afraid my little sister may have fallen in love with him. It was really cute, but…I almost got mad at her by the end of the night because she wouldn’t leave him alone.”
Ginny laughed at the re-telling. “I won’t have that problem…unless my mum gets it in her head to fall for a younger man. And I just don’t see that happening. I think my brothers will be able to cause enough trouble, however.” Ginny sighed. “Do I really have to go through with this? I mean, you really have no idea how scared I am. I’d rather not be made a fool of in front of Harry; I got enough of that on our last date with just Fred and George. I don’t even want to think about the embarrassment that the rest of my family is sure to cause!”
“You worry too much,” Trista said soothingly while resting a hand on Ginny’s shoulder. “What’s gotten into you?”
“Janice.” Ginny didn’t really need to say more because Trista nodded understandingly.
“I don’t know what she was trying to do yesterday with the hug and the sugary sweet words, but I think it was pretty dumb of her. I saw Harry’s face afterwards and he looked pretty confused about it.”
Ginny looked up from her suitcase before she spoke. “Janice told me something quite disturbing yesterday.” Trista handed Ginny a folded shirt to add to the suitcase. “I think she told Harry stuff about me; stuff that isn’t true. It just gave me another reason to dread the day.”
Trista came over and gave Ginny a hug across the shoulders. “It’ll be fine, don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll have lots of fun and you’ll wonder why you were so nervous. Trust me. It’ll be great.”
Ginny’s face lost all color as she looked back at Trista. “You really don’t know my family.”
If you don’t understand how to chess match panned out I can explain more thoroughly and I have a picture of sorts to explain it better too. The end-game doesn’t really matter so much as how the conversation and their plays were paralleled. I was very proud of that. Please review!!
Back to index
Chapter 21: Silent TreatmentEpisode Twenty-One
Ginny stood waiting with her things in the alcove by herself. Trista had stayed with her for a few minutes to try reassuring her but had left not long ago when she wasn’t getting a reaction. She didn’t have to wait by herself much longer.
Harry dragged his stuff out of his room not long after Trista left and Ginny offered to help. He looked up at her as though he had never seen her before. “It’s alright. If I really needed help, I could have used magic.”
Taken aback by his tone, Ginny merely agreed with a laugh that sounded hollow even to her own ears. This was going to be worse than she thought. She was tempted to say something to undo whatever it was that Janice had said to him, but then had to reflect on her reasoning. Depending on what Janice had told him, he would probably realize on his own that it wasn’t true and she knew that if she told him, her heart would be in the wrong place; her agenda would mainly be to discredit Janice and not so much to clear her own name.
Standing there, waiting, Ginny would occasionally look over at Harry but he seemed to be ignoring her. This really was going to be worse than she thought if he wasn’t even planning on talking to her. They were going to have a very boring ride if he was going to continue pretending that she was nothing but a piece of furniture.
“Um,” Ginny’s voice cracked and she cleared her throat, face flaming. “I thought I should probably tell you a little bit about my house.” He made no comment and didn’t even acknowledge that he’d heard her but she trudged on. “We call it the Burrow, but don’t ask me why; the story behind it was around for much longer than I have been. My parents, Molly and Arthur live there, obviously, and my brother Ron is still living at home also. Ron is the same age as you; one year older than me. No doubt Fred and George heard about you coming over so they’ll probably be there today too, but I don’t know about the others. Percy, who is a year older than the twins will most likely not be around since he has taken to thinking he is better than the rest of us and Bill and Charlie are working elsewhere and don’t come home very often. If we’re lucky it’ll just be my parents and Ron, but I’m pretty sure the twins will be there — they’d never miss a chance to torment me — so if that’s the case we won’t be so lucky.”
Without looking at her, almost as though he was talking to himself, Harry spoke. “Why do you dislike the twins so much?”
Ginny did a double take. “I don’t dislike them, per se, but for so many years they have treated me less as a sister and more as a live-in tester.” She stopped and looked at him even though she knew he would still be staring at the door as though hoping it would start talking to him instead of her. “Just a warning; if either of them give you something to eat, don’t eat it. Anything in the house that is truly edible will be given to you by my mum or by me. Don’t eat anything else. There’s no telling what it will do to you.”
Harry nodded still not looking at her and Ginny sighed before joining him in staring at the door. What’s taking so long?
As though to fulfill their wishes, the door to the rest of the castle opened and Connie came grinning into the room. “Everything is ready,” she told them warmly before noticing the looks on their faces. Harry’s was a mix of emotions; pensive but furious. Ginny’s, she knew without being able to see her own face, was lost, bewildered and hurt.
Connie cleared her throat and continued as though she hadn’t noticed the state the two were in. “If you’ll just follow me we can send you on your way.” Ginny and Harry bent to retrieve their things. “Don’t worry about that. They’ll carry it all for you,” she said, gesturing to the men that heeled her.
Despite Connie’s words Ginny lifted her purse and slung it across her shoulder. She trailed Harry out of the room as he followed Connie.
Ginny stared at her feet at they walked, not really seeing the hallways they walked along, not really sensing the presence of others. She knew why Harry was mad at her, but the specifics of what Janice could have told him eluded her. She said that Harry thinks I’ve been telling lies. What would she tell him I had been lying about? Ginny’s troubled mind couldn’t find the answer.
When they got outside they were bundled into the limo and Connie waved them away. It was at this point that Ginny’s emotions became completely unreadable, even to herself.
She knew she was scared about this whole ordeal, even more so knowing that Harry was upset with her. At the same time, she was also excited. It seemed such a long time since she had seen her parents. She thought she was even looking forward to seeing Ron. Plus, as much as she loathed admitting it, even to herself, the presence of Fred and George would be a balm to her mood if Harry persisted with his silent treatment. Even if it was at her own expense, laughter would be a welcome change.
But aside from those emotions she felt also apprehension. She didn’t know what Janice had told Harry so she didn’t know what to say or do to dispel Harry’s belief in them. She also felt a tightening in her chest. She hurt worse than she ever had; a pain that was not physical and so hard to describe. It was as though someone had punched a hole through her heart. Every minute that Harry’s kept silent it got worse.
For most of the trip Ginny sat gazing out the window dreading the day to come. At one point she chanced a look at Harry and had a hard time tearing her eyes away. Even when upset with her he was gorgeous. His hair was wild and untamable and thick enough that even from where she sat she wished she could run her fingers through it. His eyes, though not directed toward her still startled her with their shocking green. His scar, a fading mark on his forehead, was something that she had never really taken much notice of until this moment. Knowing now that he didn’t enjoy the celebrity he had been pushed into, Ginny wanted to be able to reassure him that the scar was not important to her but she didn’t have the words; even if she had, she wasn’t sure that he would appreciate them at this point. He still had not looked at her.
That instant that had felt like an eternity passed and she forced her gaze out the window once again, fighting back tears. You are so pathetic. She tried to tell herself that she was just being stupid but it wasn’t until now that she realized how much she cared for Harry. It sounded so cliché, even to her, but it was true. The little bit of time she had been able to spend with him had been great. They had gotten along well, carried on interesting conversations, had the same interests — and come on! — he didn’t treat her like a fool when she said something stupid. He actually thought her funny.
And now he wouldn’t talk to her. He wouldn’t talk because he believed something false about her that she knew she couldn’t talk her way out of. A single tear made a path down her cheek but she didn’t wipe it off. She knew that kind of movement would draw Harry’s eyes even for a second and she didn’t want him to know she was crying.
The rest of the ride passed with just as much silence. Ginny wondered irrationally if it would cause the same situation if she started laughing randomly again, but the rational side of her shut up the irrational side before the thought could more than skim across her consciousness.
When the Burrow came into sight Ginny almost sighed. It looked just as she remembered it. It wasn’t until she chanced another look at Harry that she realized how poor she was sure to suddenly look.
Awkward and blushing from pure gut-wrenching embarrassment, Ginny let herself out of the limo and decided that she didn’t want to look at Harry either. She didn’t want to see the disgust on his face as he looked at her house, tilting and held up only by magic with it’s desperate need of a paint job and un-manicured lawn with the occasional garden gnome. She walked stiffly toward her house hoping that Harry was as gracious as she thought him to be and wouldn’t make an embarrassing comment about the state of her house where her mother could hear. Her face was flaming when she reached the walkway leading to the door.
Molly opened the door with gusto and reached out to hug her daughter. Polite enough not to make a comment on Ginny’s face, she pulled away and greeted Harry warmly. Ginny looked at Harry from under her eyebrows and saw him smiling genially at her mum. She had never liked him more than she did at that moment.
“Please come in,” Molly said with a gesture to the interior of the house. Harry smiled at her and followed her inside. Ginny was a bit slower in entering. It was almost as if walking into the house would be waiving anything her brothers may have planned to do to her; as though there was someway to bypass the horror if she simply didn’t go inside.
The driver carrying their baggage came up behind her, however, so she had the choice of going inside or being knocked over; the driver couldn’t see around the luggage very well. She stepped inside.
Harry was now being greeted by her father who was shaking his hand quite vigorously. She saw Ron to one side of her father standing as though waiting his turn and, to her utter dismay, Fred and George stood just outside the kitchen talking to each other out the sides of their mouths.
There was noise from the kitchen and Ginny heard the most welcoming voice she could have heard at that moment. Seconds later, Hermione walked out of the kitchen. Smiling a bit smugly, she walked over to Ginny who threw her arms around her best friend. “You have no idea how glad I am to see you.” Ginny muttered to Hermione. “But I’m still going to kill you. Maybe even more so now than I wanted to originally.”
Hermione simply laughed and hugged her back. “Well, aren’t you going to introduce us?” she asked stepping back from Ginny and appraising Harry.
“Well,” she said to Harry, who actually deemed to look at her. “You’ve already met mum and dad, you already knew Fred and George, and it appears you are in the process of meeting Ron,” she started noticing that Ron was still shaking Harry’s hand, despite the fact that Harry was no longer looking at him. “So I wanted to introduce you to my best friend, Hermione.”
Like the perfect gentleman, and like he wasn’t angry with Ginny, Harry walked over and shook Hermione’s hand exchanging pleasantries. Ginny was so proud of him. He had already made a very good impression on everyone. Now, if only they could get around the whole, he’s-mad-at-her ordeal, this would have been a fairly good situation.
Harry was pulled back over to the other side of the room where he was trapped in conversation with Ron who didn’t appear to want to let anyone else in on the conversation. Harry seemed to be enjoying himself, however, so Ginny felt no need to go try to save him.
“Something’s wrong, isn’t it?” Hermione spoke quietly.
“Yes. Very wrong.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Do you have a couple hours?” Hermione grinned at Ginny’s question and the two of them isolated them in another corner of the house. Ginny could still see Harry and Ron but neither of the two couples could hear each other.
Ginny explained to Hermione all about Janice and what she had implied the day before. She went into great detail about the way Harry had reacted toward Ginny before in contrast to how he was reacting to her now.
“I can’t think of what she could have said that would make this much of an impact on him,” Ginny sighed.
“Have you tried asking him?” Ginny gave Hermione a withering look.
“He won’t look at me, let alone talk to me. I mean, I could ask him, but there’s no guarantee that he would answer me.”
Hermione nodded in understanding. She glanced over to where Harry and Ron sat. “He’s quite a bit more attractive than I ever thought he would be.”
Ginny laughed aloud before agreeing wholeheartedly.
As the two calmed down Ginny felt someone at her side. She turned with a jump to see Fred and George smiling wickedly at her. “Did we scare you?” Fred asked.
“We sure didn’t mean to.”
Ginny rolled her eyes at the two. “What do you want?”
“It appears you and young Harry are having a tiff,” Fred began
“A lover’s quarrel, as it were,” George finished.
Ginny ground her teeth before answering. “Hardly. But yes, in a sense.”
“You want we should…how would you say it Forge?”
“Blimey, I’m not sure, Gred, perhaps…” The two looked at each other.
“Well, we do have those new…”
“That’s right we could use the…”
“Contortionist confection,” they said in unison.
“It tastes heavenly,” George put in.
“Right,” Fred added innocently. “But it does have that side-effect. You know the one I’m talking about?”
“No, what’s that?” Ginny scowled as the two continued talking to each other as though this had not been planned beforehand.
“Oh, whoever eats it will have the uncanny knack of getting limbs caught in the strangest of places. Elbows caught in trouser pockets–”
“Feet caught in sleeves. It’s quite embarrassing really.”
Ginny growled at the two of them. “You’re obviously not as perceptive as you had imagined. We are not fighting. He is mad at me and I seem to have no say in it. Do you really think I would allow you to do something that would make him even madder at me?”
The twins had the audacity to look offended. “Dear sister; did you really think we meant this as a threat to Mr. Potter?”
“Really, we thought he would enjoy it.”
Hermione finally stepped into the conversation and Ginny couldn’t have been more pleased; a few more seconds of this and her brothers would have been physically incapable of administering any of their concoctions to Harry.
“Sod off, will you two?”
The twins made mockingly alarmed noises and backed away slowly. “Sod off we will. I don’t want to anger these two.”
“Yeah, they’re scary.”
Another voice was added to the conversation. “What do you boys think you’re doing?” demanded Molly Weasley.
Fred gave George a sidelong look. George swallowed. “Nothing mum. We were just talking to our beloved sister.”
“We’ve missed her so.”
“Well you leave them alone. Don’t you have something to work on; some goo-splattering ink or some such?”
“What a great idea mum.”
“Never would have thought of it without you.”
Ginny mouthed the words ‘thank you’ to Molly who smiled at her daughter and went to join Ron and Arthur who now appeared to be interrogating Harry.
“Maybe you should go save him. Even if he is upset with you, I’m sure he’d appreciate getting away from that.”
Ginny saw Fred and George headed in Harry’s direction as well and thought that intervention for Harry would be a very wise decision.
“I thought,” Ginny said to get everyone’s attention. “that you might like a tour of the house, Harry.” Ginny was rewarded by Harry’s eyes on her face as he smiled a bit distractedly and stood from the middle of the group.
Ginny headed up the stairs with Harry close behind. Without looking back she spoke to him in a hushed voice. “You don’t really have to see the whole house if you don’t want to. I just figured you’d like to get away from being the center of attention again.”
Ginny sighed when that seemed to be all he was willing to say to her.
They reached the first landing, on which Harry looked around a bit before continuing to follow her up. “This is the room you’ll be staying in,” Ginny told him when they reached the second landing. “It used to be Charlie’s room, but he doesn’t live here any longer, so it’s sort of become a guest bedroom.”
“Thank you,” he repeated.
Awkwardly she stood there as Harry opened the door and looked in, seeing his things already inside. “I’m in the room one floor up if you need me.”
He turned to look at her, face blank, and didn’t speak.
Ginny nodded to herself when he remained silent. “Well, I hope you have a really nice time here.” And with that flippant comment, Ginny ascended the staircase to her room with tears stinging her eyes.
I can't believe they don't have Fred and George as choices for characters in the story. Oh well. I love the interation between Ginny and the twins in this one. I hope you did too :)
Back to index
Chapter 22: LiesEpisode Twenty-Two
Lunch was horrible. Ginny was sure the food was delicious, but she couldn’t really taste any of it. Everyone was starting to realize what Fred and George had sensed — that Harry was mad at her. Everyone thought they were helping. Everyone was wrong.
Molly’s idea of fixing the riff between the two was to tell all sorts of embarrassing stories about Ginny when she was young. When she got to the story about the time she had caught Ginny stuffing one of Molly’s old bras with socks, Ginny wanted to sink into the floor.
“Ginny doesn’t need to do thing like that anymore,” Fred said confidently.
“At least she didn’t appear to the last time we saw her.” The twins looked at Ginny closely and she blushed, knowing exactly what they were looking at.
“Then again,” Fred mused. “She doesn’t look that way anymore.”
“Strange,” commented George.
Ginny’s face felt like it was on fire. Harry still wouldn’t look at her.
Arthur’s way of helping was to point out everything Ginny and Harry had in common. “So, you play Quidditch, do you? You know, Ginny is quite the chaser,” was about the mildest of them. Then he went off to explain all the muggle things she was privy to because of his own obsession with them. He explained everything wrong and then proclaimed proudly that Ginny knew it all just as well as he did. Ginny groaned quietly.
Hermione talked to Harry about school and commented on how good Ginny was in classes. This was a bad idea, as it appeared that Harry didn’t do remarkably well in any of the classes that Ginny excelled in. This only proved to make him uncomfortable.
Ron was just an idiot. He didn’t realize anything was going on and kept trying to interject things about himself in the light that everyone was putting Ginny. He wanted to show off for Harry and Ginny would have been glad to leave him to it. The others, however, would not allow it.
When dinner was over, Ginny offered to clean up. Her mother wouldn’t let her. In most cases this would have thrilled Ginny but Molly gave her a knowing smile and a wink and told her that she should show Harry around the garden. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. Not that Ginny actually tried to tell her mother no, but Molly just wasn’t catching the subtle hints that Ginny was tossing at her.
Hardly enthusiastic, Ginny and Harry left the house for a walk. They were silent for quite some time. Ginny really didn’t know what to say. Sorry? For what? She didn’t know what she had done wrong. I’m not as big a prat as Janice says I am? That wouldn’t work either. She was saved, in one way, by Harry speaking — it was not so much a saving grace however, when the point of his words got across to her.
“Excuse me?” she asked in a temper.
“I said, why did you make her mom tell us to come out here?”
“What is your problem?” Ginny stormed.
He turned to face her. “What is my problem? My problem is that I thought you were someone completely different than who you really are. Seeing you around your family just confirms it all. I’ve never seen anyone so ill-at-ease in their own house. Janice and Trista seemed to genuinely care about their families. I’m not even sure you like yours. What is your problem?”
“I can’t believe you’re bringing Janice into this, but since you asked I’ll tell you. I don’t know why you’re so mad at me. I know it has something to do with a lie that Janice told you about me, but I haven’t brought it up because I didn’t want it to seem as though I was merely trying to besmirch Janice’s reputation — or lack thereof. I have not done anything wrong. And the difference between how I am acting and how Janice and Trista acted is because they had someone on their side. You weren’t mad at them, you probably even tried to make them feel better if someone embarrassed them.
“I love my family, but they are embarrassing me more than I ever have been before — and you know me well enough to know that that’s really saying something. And I don’t have the comfort of knowing that you’re not taking anything to heart. The way you’ve been acting, I wouldn’t be surprised if you went back and told the bloody cameramen all about the embarrassing things you’ve heard today just so that the rest of the world can laugh at me too.”
Ginny didn’t know where she was going with this tirade or even where most of it had come from, but it felt good to let it all out. Breathing hard, she paused to calm herself slightly before asking the question she had been dying for the answer to.
“What did Janice say about me anyway?” Despite the calm she had tried to recreate, her voice was still heated with the not-quite-so dissipated rage.
“Do you think you’ll be surprised by it?” he asked savagely.
“Of course! Whatever it is, she made it up. It’ll be the first time I’ve heard of it!”
Harry glared disbelievingly. “She said that she overheard you telling some of the other girls that the two of us had been snogging on one of our dates. Not only that, but she said you were telling them that you were going to —”
Harry stopped when Ginny started laughing hysterically. “That I was going to get you in bed? Is that what she heard?”
“So it is true!”
“Absolutely not!” Ginny replied, still laughing. “Oh this is rich! The reason I knew is because I heard her telling exactly the same thing to someone else. But, of course, you’re not going to believe me now, because she already told you that I said it. It’s like, reverse psychology or something.”
Harry watched Ginny laugh for a couple of minutes without talking. Finally he asked a question. “Who did she supposedly say that to?”
Calming herself a bit, Ginny responded. “I don’t know. She was talking to some guy named Dustin on her mobile, that’s how I heard.”
Harry’s glare deepened. “You expect me to believe that?”
“Well, you sure as heck believed it when Janice was saying it about me, didn’t you?”
Suddenly his face smoothed and without expression he said: “Mobile phones aren’t allowed in the castle. I know you’re lying.” And without another word, he walked back to the house.
Ginny stayed outside for several more minutes getting her emotions under control. He had good reason not to believe her and she knew that. The fact that, despite everything, Harry was throwing his lot with Janice over her was, to say the least, painful, but in a bitter, hollow sort of way she completely understood his reasoning.
Though she was probably more upset now than she had been before, at least she understood everything so her mood brightened a bit. It brightened enough that everyone thought they had settled things. Harry did a good job of making them think so as well. He carried on conversations with everyone; he laughed with Fred and George, discussed intellectual things with Hermione, listened to Ron brag about himself, and even talked at length with Ginny’s parents. The only person he didn’t talk to was Ginny. No one else noticed. Ginny spent some time with however Harry wasn’t talking to.
By that time Fred and George had gotten tired of picking on Ginny so instead the three sat and discussed some of their most recent ideas for the store. For the first time in several years, Ginny felt that she was her brothers’ equal and not their guinea pig. Something Fred said, off-handedly, made Ginny think that their change toward her had something to do with Harry. Ginny wondered if maybe he had said something to them about how they were treating her. Even without that confirmation she knew it was true and she respected him all the more for it.
That was the worst part: throughout the entire day Harry came to like her family and her family came to like him but also, he came to be more upset with her while she came to find herself falling more in love with him. She confessed this to Hermione who laughed in her face before she caught herself.
“That’s so like you, Ginny,” Hermione gasped between laughs. “You’ve always seemed to like the guys that you had to fight for.” She sobered up quickly. “Except for Neville, of course. But, besides that; if he isn’t a match of wits and guts, you’ve never liked guys. If he lets you get away with stuff, he makes you feel weak.” Ginny thought that over.
“You don’t make any sense,” Ginny pouted. “I’m not like that at all.” Hermione shrugged and Ginny changed the topic quickly.
When Molly went to the kitchen to start on dinner she sent them all to the living room to play a game to pass the time until she was ready for them. Ginny found this odd since, usually, Molly would ask them all to help her. She didn’t complain however, so Ginny, Hermione, Harry, Ron and the twins migrated to the living room for a game. The consensus was that they play exploding snap but both Ron and Ginny begged off and instead played a couple of games of chess. Harry, after brutally losing three games of snap in a row, came over to watch the chess match, much to Ron’s delight, and, secretly, Ginny’s as well.
Ginny thought before her next move then smiled wickedly at her brother as she commanded her bishop to take Ron’s Queen. He groaned.
“Augh, I didn’t even see that one coming.” He gave Ginny an appraising look. “Have you been practicing or something?”
Ginny shrugged. “I played a game with one of the other girls the other day. It was a fairly close game the whole way through and I had to do some major thinking and it appears it has rubbed off.” She grinned and didn’t feel bad at all when Ron finally beat her. She had put up a good fight and even Ron admitted that she had gotten really good.
“Who was it that you played,” Harry asked as though he was simply trying to make small-talk.
“Janice. Right after you and Trista left. The game was merely an excuse to make me nervous; that was when she told me that you were sure to act differently toward me than you had been. She told me to expect you to believe that I had been telling lies.” Ginny gave Harry a very serious look, and realized, with relief, that Ron had not heard the conversation, as he had been paying attention to the exploding snap game across the room and seemed completely absorbed in it.
Harry’s face was pensive, but he still looked unbelieving. Ginny sighed. She should know by now that she wasn’t going to be able to change his mind. Men were stubborn that way and she just had to get used to it.
Molly called them for dinner about an hour later and the six of them trudged to the kitchen. Ginny smiled to see Ron sit next to Hermione and smiled even broader when she saw the welcome look from Hermione. It’s about time, she thought affectionately.
“What are you smiling about,” Harry whispered from beside her. The sound of his voice, for the first time all day not accusing, sent a small shiver down Ginny’s spine. Reminding herself to breath, Ginny smiled at him before answering.
“Hermione and Ron over there; Ron’s been besotted with Hermione for years, but he’s always been too nervous to make a move. Looks like he finally worked up the nerve.”
Harry’s eyes softened and the two shared a smile. Ginny wondered if maybe he was beginning to believe her. She hoped so.
As suddenly as it came, his smile left, however, and he was once again looking at her suspiciously. Ginny wanted to scream in frustration. Never had she wanted someone to believe her as much as she wanted Harry to just then.
Dinner was much better than lunch since Ginny had made an unspoken truce with the twins, and Ron and Hermione seemed virtually absorbed in each other. Molly and Arthur carried on a private conversation together and the twins occupied themselves with Harry’s attention. Ginny sat, eating and listening to the others around her. This is what her home was supposed to be like. It seemed much more right, somehow, with Harry next to her. Her subconscious brought up Neville and she tried to bring to mind a time that she had felt this at ease with him in the house. She couldn’t remember. She knew there must have been times but her brain wasn’t able to compare these two situations. She didn’t need to.
The rest of the afternoon went by quickly and before bed, Ginny found herself sitting in a room with just Harry, Hermione, and Ron. Once again she merely sat listening to the conversations and didn’t try too hard to join in on them.
It started to get late and they all agreed that it was about time they tried to get some sleep. Ron walked Hermione up to her room and talked with her for a while before going to bed himself and Ginny showed Harry to his room again in case he had forgotten.
Before she walked up to her own room, Ginny spoke. “You still don’t believe me, do you?”
Without looking at her he answered. “I really don’t know. I want to believe you, but I really can’t.”
Ginny’s anger flared up again, against her better judgment. “How can you believe something like that of me? How can you believe that I would lie about something like that? I really though you knew me better than that.” She sighed in exasperation, but he still wasn’t looking at her. “Just to put this in perspective, let me give you a little background information. I’ve only seriously dated one guy. He was the only guy I’ve ever kissed. I have never been terribly forward because I’m not sure I really have the guts for that. I would never try to get you in bed, so I certainly wouldn’t tell people I would. Maybe you should look for some kind of motives behind what you’re hearing. Do I have a motive for lying to people about the two of us? Does Janice had a motive for lying to you about what I supposedly said to others? Think about it. Prove to me that you’re as intelligent as I always thought you were.” And without another word, without waiting for a reply, Ginny calmly walked up the stairs to her room, threw herself across her bed fully clothed and cried herself to sleep.
Back to index
Chapter 23: ScreamEpisode Twenty-Three
The ride home the next morning was a silent one. Harry and Ginny had both put on their happy faces when the others were around and even pretended that they weren’t upset with each other. In the limo it was a different story. Harry seemed to be deep in thought and Ginny felt no need to interrupt him because she knew she’d just say something she would regret later. She was quite upset with the boy across the way from her.
Ginny could feel that her eyes were puffy from crying herself to sleep but she very much doubted that Harry would notice…seeing as how he was refusing to look at her at the moment. Though he hadn’t really spoken to her all morning at least he wasn’t being rude about it. She could say that much about him.
Ginny’s face reddened thinking of the things she had said last night; thinking of the things he had said. It wasn’t in embarrassment that her cheeks colored, but anger. How could he really believe that horrible strumpet over her? How could he possibly think Janice more trustworthy?
She didn’t want to allow herself to look at him, but she found that she couldn’t stop herself. This time, unlike other times that her eyes had been drawn to him, she didn’t see him as the handsome young man that he was but as a boy; a boy who was mad at her because of a rumor. She found herself running over in her head all sorts of things that she could say to try and convince him that he was an utter prat even though she knew she’d never say any of it.
She wanted to, though. She was just itching for an argument. Poor sleep from the night before had her irritable and sitting in silence with a person that thought she was a liar was getting her ire up.
I never thought I’d have to tell myself to stop thinking around Mr. Potter when it wasn’t some sappy fluff that I was thinking about instead. This time I need to stop thinking before I open my mouth and give him the rough side of my tongue.
It was a very long ride.
Even their driver seemed to feel the tension. He seemed caught between wanting to close the divider between himself and the moody young people and keeping it open on the off chance that he would need to break up a fight. The tension caused by the driver wasn’t helping the other two much.
Actually, Harry didn’t seem effected by any sort of tension; he was completely absorbed in his own thoughts. Ginny was tempted to wave her hand in front of his eyes to see if she could get some kind of reaction but, she admitted grudgingly, she was afraid of his reaction.
Ginny saw that Harry was almost startled when they pulled into the castle driveway. If the circumstances had been different, Ginny would have laughed as she told Harry how comical his face had looked when pulled from his inner monologue. As it was, she kept her mouth closed and her face smooth. No point in doing something that could possibly make him even more mad. Ginny groaned silently at how cautious she was having to be. Bloody boy!
The driver tentatively came and opened the door for the two of them. Harry stepped out and, without seeming to be thinking, offered her his hand. She took it as she crawled out of the limo. He came to himself by the time she had straightened and gave their hands a pensive look. Ginny hastily let go in case he read something into it then, to her shame, she felt herself blushing. Busing herself by straightening the skirt she was wearing, she averted her eyes and headed toward the castle without a backward glance.
Silence wasn’t an issue as they were escorted back to their rooms, as it always seemed a sacrilege to talk while the formal escorts were around.
They were suddenly flanked by cameramen and Ginny thought about how Hermione had told her that the producer had installed cameras throughout the Burrow so that they wouldn’t have to fit a dozen cameramen inside. Talk about nerve wracking. Hermione hadn’t informed her of this until the morning, so Ginny had only had a couple of hours to think of the consequences of this. Who knows if they had had cameras in the hallway the night before when she and Harry had been talking. She tried to keep her face smooth so as not to give anything away then realized, too late, that she had given something away; normally she’d be smiling her face off.
Pasting a sappy smile on now would do no good so Ginny merely sighed and pretended the cameras weren’t there. Quite a feat as they seemed to circle the two of menacingly. They’re like camera vultures. Leave me alone!
Once again, Harry seemed oblivious to it all. Ginny wondered what he was thinking about but, of course, didn’t think it wise to ask.
They reached the alcove and Harry headed straight to his room with out looking back. Ginny wanted to do the same, but as she headed toward her room, a figure stepped out in front of her.
“Did you have a good time?” Janice asked in a sickeningly innocent voice.
Ginny didn’t feel like giving Janice the satisfaction of an answer, so merely glared at her until her smile deepened. Not exactly the reaction I was anticipating.
“That bad, huh?” Her throaty laugh echoed through the room making Ginny want to cover her ears. “I think now would be a good time to start packing, don’t you?” Quirking an eyebrow, Ginny walked past her.
“I had been planning on it already, thank you.” Ginny continued walking, but stopped just outside her room and turned to Janice. “How does it feel knowing that if you win it will be because you manipulated everyone around you and that Harry couldn’t possibly feel anything for you as you really are?”
Janice threw back her head and laughed. “Don’t you get it?” she walked toward Ginny as she spoke. “I don’t give a damn about Harry Potter; I only care about the Boy Who Lived. Do you know how much publicity I could get from winning this? And afterwards, when I tire of him, I can drop him and make a big scene buying me more air time and making him look worthless.” She smiled wickedly. “Did you ever notice how much the daily prophet loves to slander him? They’ll have a field day! And my very good — very close — friend, Dustin, will be given exclusive interviews. This will boost the careers of many people; least of all me.” She put the innocent mask back on. “I’m simply doing this for the greater good.”
Ginny’s entire being felt on fire. That Janice would even consider doing such hurtful things to Harry made her want to explode out of her skin. About half-way through her spiel Ginny’s throat had tightened and it took several seconds before she realized that she was growling with every breath that she exhaled. This had gone far enough.
“How dare you,” Ginny hissed. She didn’t realize just how frightening she sounded until she noticed that Janice eyes had widened and she took a step back. “Harry Potter is the most noble of men. He despises the attention he gets and you would force him into more simply for your own sport.” Ginny couldn’t talk. She had never been so upset with anyone in her life. She saw everything through a tint of red. She’d always read of that happening and never really believed it possible, but she believed now. With a growl born of exhaustion, irritability and pure hatred, Ginny pulled her arm back and with a bout of speed she didn’t think possible, slammed her tightened fist into Janice’s face, twisting her hand as it made contact.
The scream that escaped Janice’s mouth was sweeter than any bird’s trill; more beautiful than any of nature’s sounds; more descriptive than any song by Debussy. It carried in it’s timbre a sense of infinite release. Ginny wished it would go on forever. She didn’t wait around to see if it would, however, and instead walked directly into Trista’s room without even knocking.
Okay, if I don't get a lot of reviews on this chapter I will be emotionally wounded! This is one of my favorite chapters, so I hope you all like it too!
Back to index
Chapter 24: Counting RosesEpisode Twenty-Four
A very stunned looking Trista stood just inside the room, hand raised, poised to open the door. In a voice breathy with apprehension she spoke. “What just happened?”
“I just taught Janice a lesson she won’t soon forget,” Ginny muttered, pacing toward Trista’s bed.
“And might I ask why?” Trista’s voice seemed light, as though afraid Ginny might explode on her.
Ginny rounded on her suddenly, making her take a quick step back. Seeing that she had alarmed her friend, she monitored her voice and changed the biting remark she had been planning on giving. “Trust me, if you had heard what she said about Harry, you would have wanted to punch her too.”
Trista merely looked at her, at a loss for words. “So, you punched her then?”
Ginny nodded as she plopped herself down on Trista’s bed.
“No offense but, aren’t you afraid that will get you in trouble?” Trista asked tentatively.
“No, not at all. You see,” started Ginny, trying to sound off-handed. “I’m pretty sure Harry is going to kick me off next anyway. What’s a bit of trouble compared to that?” Ginny was surprised that she didn’t feel like crying at admitting this.
Trista looked confused. “I can’t believe the day at your house caused Harry to dislike you so much that he’s not planning on letting you stay so there must be something else that happened.”
“Oh yeah. I forgot; that’s the other reason I walloped her one.” Now Trista seemed genuinely baffled.
Ginny sighed and began explaining. After putting a silencing charm on the room, she told Trista everything; she told her how she had heard Janice on the mobile, and the reason she hadn’t told Trista about it before now, what Janice told Harry that Ginny had been saying, how Harry had been treating her lately and finally what Janice had said right before Ginny’s fist implanted itself in Janice’s face.
Trista, who was now sitting next to Ginny on the bed, stared across the room, her eyes not focusing on anything.
“Come on,” Ginny muttered when Trista made no move to speak. While Ginny had been explaining everything to Trista, Janice’s screams had died down and they later heard a door slam loudly down the hall, so Ginny dragged Trista into the hall and down to her own room, casting a silencing spell on her own room after the two of them entered.
“What are we doing?” Trista asked.
“I thought you could possibly help me pack.”
At this comment, Trista sat down on Ginny’s bed and cried.
Shocked and strangely flattered, Ginny sat down next to her.
“Oh Trista, please, it’s okay.”
Trista calmed herself down quickly and dabbed lightly at her eyes so as not to smear her make-up. Ginny thought this silly since it was about time for bed anyway, but didn’t comment. Instead, she leaned toward Trista and looked her straight in the face. “Why exactly are you crying?” she asked, hoping to explain to Trista how she was feeling as well.
“I don’t want you to leave,” Trista said in a voice that just barely shook but she wouldn’t meet Ginny’s eyes. “I don’t want to be here by myself with Janice and I can’t stand the thought of you having to go home.” She looked into Ginny’s face. “I think you may like Harry even more than I do, and Janice definitely doesn’t deserve him.” She sniffled and dabbed at her eyes again. Ginny almost laughed.
“I do like him, you’re right. But if he isn’t bright enough to realize that Janice is playing with him, than I’m sure I can do better.” Ginny’s heart constricted as she lied. She hadn’t known it was a lie until she spoke it. Harry really was everything she wanted in a guy…minus the whole not trusting her thing.
There was really not much more to say on the matter and after Trista calmed down, Ginny tried to convince her to get some sleep. She declined and declared that she would help Ginny pack. Ginny was grateful at first, but after a half hour of listening to Trista sniffle, and in so doing, bringing Ginny fearfully close to crying, Ginny decided that she would finish tomorrow. After hugging Trista, Ginny ushered her out of the room and sat down on her bed.
It shouldn’t take more than another half hour tomorrow to finish packing, Ginny told herself with conviction. She wouldn’t allow her subconscious to grasp that she was upset in any way.
Ginny slipped into her bathroom and washed her face then brushed her teeth. She walked back over to her bed and sat down, staring fixedly at the roses standing on her nightstand. Would she receive a white rose tomorrow? Maybe they didn’t give a white rose in the ceremony for the final two. Oh well, she’d still have these three and that was good enough for her.
Before she would allow the tears to fall, Ginny spun and shoved her face into her pillow, conveniently giving her tears a place to rest as she once again cried herself to sleep.
Ginny slept in the next morning. Somewhere, but she couldn’t remember where, they had been told that this ceremony would take place later in the afternoon. Ginny couldn’t stand it. She wished they could just get it over with so that she wouldn’t have to think about it as much. Was it really necessary to prolong this agony?
Ginny showered, dressed, did her make-up (simply because it took up several minutes that would otherwise be spent idly) and finished her packing. Somewhere mixed in with that she had breakfast. All this took less than an hour. It was only 11 o’clock and Ginny had no idea what else to do.
Checking to see if the coast was clear, Ginny scampered over to Trista’s room and silently slipped in. Trista was sitting on her bed reading a book. “Oh, hi!” she bubbled from her perch.
“I’m bored,” Ginny muttered as comically as possible hoping to make up, in her own mind, for the tears shed the night before. It worked a bit because Trista laughed and, placing her book mark, set the novel beside her on the bed.
“Do you have anything fun to do?”
“No,” Trista laughed. “Never.”
Ginny couldn’t remember exactly what they did to pass the time but it consisted of a lot of laughing and a several handfuls of candy. Ginny found herself very grateful that Trista wasn’t one of those weight-watching girls, or else Ginny would have been forced to eat healthy food for the whole time she was here. She couldn’t figure out where Trista got it all, though. She couldn’t possibly have brought it all with her. When Ginny asked, Trista merely grinned, eyes sparkling, and informed her that it was a secret.
Dinner that night, which felt more like lunch to Ginny, having had such a late breakfast, Trista and Ginny found themselves eating alone. Harry never did show up and after a couple minutes of waiting, plus some hate-filled, bruised-eyed glares, Janice huffed from the room claiming that she wanted to eat alone. Ginny wondered why Janice hadn’t tried to find someone to heal her wound but figured that Janice must have wanted Harry to see the bruise that Ginny gave her. Ginny sure was proud of it. Less than a day had passed and already it was a beautiful plum color with dark and light green patches along the edge. Not bad for the first time Ginny had every seriously punched anyone. Her brother’s didn’t count; they existed merely for the purpose of being her personal punching bags, after all.
After dinner Trista and Ginny went back to Trista’s room and paced as comically as they could, laughing at the others feigned, yet at the same time, all too real, nervousness. It was like a play. First Ginny would get up and pace, her fingernails between her teeth as though, in her supposed nervousness, she was gnawing them off. Trista would laugh and take her place, her eyes darting around the room as she wrung her hands dramatically. It was a good way to pass the time, but it couldn’t last forever and after what seemed like no time, they were summoned to what Trista now decided to call the “Fancy meetin’ room,” which she would say laughingly, complete with a southern American accent. They giggled about it the whole way there, laughing harder when Janice would glare at them out the corner of her suddenly un-bruised eye. Apparently she had wanted Harry to see the injury, but the rest of the world was another story. Trista and Ginny shared knowing glances along with their giggles when they noticed Janice’s eye.
Ginny didn’t want it to end.
But as they sat in the comfortable arm chairs awaiting the fanfare that would announce Connie’s arrival, Ginny realized that it would end. It would end in just a few minutes. It was bitter sweet. Mostly bitter, with Janice shooting triumphant glances her way now that their giggling had stopped. Ginny preferred her glares.
The fanfare blared and Ginny’s heart stopped. This was it. It took all of her self-control to keep the tears from falling anew as Connie stopped talking, gestured behind her, and Harry entered.
Ginny sat on her bed listening to Janice down the hall. It was over and Janice couldn’t believe it. Neither could Ginny. She looked over at her nightstand at the four red roses standing, just barely suspended above the rosewood table. Four.
Janice whined again from her room and Ginny couldn’t help but smile through her confusion. Janice obviously hadn’t been prepared to be sent home, especially with such a cold dismissal from Harry. The girls were supposed to be at least partially packed before the ceremony so that some of her things could be carried out to the departing limo ahead of time, but Janice, being as confident as she was, hadn’t packed a bit. And now she was to be heading home.
Ginny could imagine Tier’s response to this turn of events. She had wanted either Ginny or Trista to beat Janice. Little did she know how well that hope would come to pass. They had both beat her. If only Tier had been here instead of Janice. But, no. One of them would have had to leave today anyway so it would have been almost as bad. It would have been nice to have gotten a little more time with Tier, however. But Ginny was ecstatic. Janice was leaving and Trista and Ginny were both still there. There was still the last ceremony to worry about, but that could be thought of later. Right now, Ginny just wanted to bask in the knowledge that she had beaten Janice, which was highlighted every few minutes when Janice would make another outraged noise. Ginny desperately wanted to overhear Janice’s next conversation with Dustin. Wouldn’t that be entertaining?
And then Janice was gone. Like a bad dream, she was gone. Gone. Ginny smiled and sighed, satisfied. It wasn’t until she lay on her bed in the dark that she realized how sudden it all was. Last night Ginny would have bet that she was Harry’s least favorite person in the world and that Janice was the most honest, then suddenly everything changed. Why did he change his mind? Not that I’m complaining, of course.
Ginny had just decided that she was going to spend the next hour or so contemplating this before falling asleep when she thought she heard her door open.
Bolting upright, Ginny clutched the sheets to her chest. “Who’s there?” she asked hoarsely.
She nearly passed out when Harry Potter’s head suddenly appeared out of thin air.
Please, don't complain about me skipping over the ceremony like I did; I had a good reason for it. Had I gone into detail than I would have felt the need to end the chapter there and the whole Harry-suddenly-appearing-in-her-bedroom thing seemed more like a cliffhanger than merely a beginning to a chapter, know what I mean? Thank for all your reviews! I've passed my average-of-ten-reviews-per-chapter which I had been working on. So, now I'm going to go do my shoot-myself-in-the-head-for-using-way-too-many-dashes. Gah.
Back to index
Chapter 25: A Chance to ExplainEpisode Twenty-Five
A Chance to Explain
Ginny swore loudly as the rest of Harry’s body materialized in her bedroom. “What are you doing in here?” she hissed angrily.
Harry looked a bit sheepish as stood folding and unfolding his cloak over his arm. “I just wanted to explain some things to you and I didn’t want any cameras around.”
“So you snuck into my room? Are you insane?” Ginny asked in a tizzy.
Harry muttered to himself for a couple of minutes. “Are you going to let me explain or aren’t you?”
Ginny sat up straighter and crossed her arms. “Go ahead.”
“Well,” Harry seemed out of sorts and a little put out that Ginny wasn’t being more cooperative. “I can’t really explain here.”
Growling deep in her throat, Ginny pulled herself out of bed and draped her bathrobe over her shoulders. “Where to, Mr. Potter?”
Harry lifted a piece of parchment up to his nose, as though trying to read something, but there apparently wasn’t enough light. Reaching over to her bedside table, Ginny lifted her wand. “Lumos,” she muttered.
“Right. Thanks,” Harry said without taking his eyes off the paper. “Looks like the way is clear, but we probably ought to stay under the cloak anyway.”
Ginny blinked at him a couple of times. “I miss the days when people would talk and I actually understood what they were trying to get across,” she muttered loud enough for Harry to hear. “What are you talking about?”
“Here,” he said in way of answering as he handed her the piece of parchment. She took it from his hand and turned it so that she could see it right-side-up. It was a map. Of the castle. That in itself would have been interesting enough — it really wasn’t a wonder that she’d gotten lost the other day. This place was insanely confusing — then she saw little labeled dots on the paper and some of them were moving.
“What is this?” she asked in awe.
“I bought it from your brothers during our date to Diagon Alley. Er, yours and mine; it sounded like I was saying I bought it on my date with your brothers, which obviously is not true. I mean, I didn’t go on a date with your brothers. That’s just weird. Sorry, I’m saying this all wrong. Anyway, remember the map-maker I bought?” Ginny nodded, dumbfounded and not sure whether to laugh hysterically or continuing being upset. “Well, this is what it makes. It’s called a Marauder’s Map, but they couldn’t use that term because it’s trademark.” Now Ginny was really confused. Harry seemed to realize that. “Well, that really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we can see when someone’s coming close so we’ll easily be able to make it to where I’m taking you without getting caught.”
“Where exactly is it that you’re taking me?”
Harry winced at the coldness in her voice. After asking her to extinguish her light, he motioned her toward the door beside him and threw the cloak over the two of them before stepping out into the silent hallway.
“Stay close,” Harry whispered. Yeah, as if I have a choice.
They walked down the hall into the alcove and Harry silently opened the door that led to the rest of the castle, pulled Ginny through, and closed it just as silently behind them. He paused for a second to look at the map again, his face so close to the parchment that his glasses had gone askew.
“Will this cloak hide light too?” Ginny asked as patiently as possible.
“I think so,” Harry answered without looking up.
“Good. Lumos.” Harry gave her a brief sheepish smile as he pulled his head back from the paper.
“I didn’t think to bring mine,” he whispered by way on an excuse as he continued to study the map.
Ginny crossed her arms as casually as possible, crouched over as she was. She always suspected that invisibility cloaks were big enough to hide two full-grown individuals. Why? She had no idea, but it just seemed more logical than standing here with her back becoming increasingly sore while the Boy Who Lived gazed at his magic map. Hurry up!
“Looks like it’s safe,” he whispered as he slipped the now-rolled up map in his back pocket and led her down the hall. He took the map out periodically to make sure no one was around and to keep them from getting lost.
At length, he stopped her outside a room that looked familiar to Ginny somehow. “It’s locked,” Harry said in bewilderment; he apparently didn’t think it would be.
Ginny barked a mirthless laugh and pulled her wand back out. “Alohamora,” Ginny said in a bored tone.
“Right. Thanks again.”
“My pleasure,” Ginny bit back.
Harry opened the door and pulled Ginny in behind him. She found herself standing in Connie’s office. “What are we doing here?”
Harry put a finger to his lips as he relocked the door and pulled her across the room. There seemed to be a crease in the wall and when Harry lightly nudged it, part of the wall popped open. “How did you do that without your wand?” Ginny asked, confused.
Harry gave a real laugh, though a quiet one. “That was hardly magic. Look.” He pointed to a spring on the door jam and a magnet on the door. Ginny blushed but it was thankfully too dark for Harry to see. “Come on.” Harry urged.
Ginny followed Harry into the room adjacent to Connie’s office and closed the door behind them. She put a silencing charm on the room after Harry asked her to then took a look around.
They seemed to be in the archives room. She didn’t even know there was an archives room. Apparently that was intentional or it wouldn’t have been hidden behind a secret door. “Okay. So…now what?”
Harry pulled out a chair in front of one of the many screens circling the room and motioned for her to sit down. From behind her chair, Harry maneuvered his arm around to start some kind of clip on the screen, meaning that his arm was pressed up against her elbow and he was leaned over very close to her. She breathed deeply. Mmmm, he smells good. Stop that! You’re mad at him. And then another thought. Am I really?
“Here it is,” Harry murmured. He stepped back to give Ginny a better view of the monitor but he stayed behind her chair, his hands resting on either side of her head. It was admittedly quite distracting.
As she watched the screen, trying hard not to smell Harry and not to feel his presence behind her, she realized that he had started a clip of some of the footage from earlier in the show. Ginny was forced to look at Janice, which she had hoped that she’d never have to do again. “This was the first of many clues I found in here. After this one I decided that I needed to look for more.” Harry’s voice was soft, but not quite a whisper, as he worked to keep his voice quiet enough that they could still hear people talking. Janice stood in the background while some of the cameramen interviewed other people. Ginny could hear just fine but she found that she wasn’t paying attention to any of the words because of Harry’s nearness. Then, just when Ginny was about to open her mouth and ask what on earth they were waiting for, Janice’s face changed. She went from looking like her arrogant self, all self-possession and poise to suddenly looking embarrassed and almost — was it frightened? With a casualness that was very obviously faked, Janice reached slowly into the purse slung over her shoulder and lifted something out. Ginny leaned closer to the screen to see what she was holding. Ginny smiled triumphantly as she watched Janice nervously turn off her ringing cell-phone.
“Yeah,” Ginny began. “That is fairly obvious, but how did you come across this clip? It’s kind of random, isn’t it?”
“I watched all of the interviews,” Harry replied shortly.
“When is this, though? I mean, it couldn’t be during their group date because Janice would have still been with you at this point for her individual date. Plus, she’s not wearing her look-at-me-I’m-practically-naked swimsuit.”
Harry snorted a disgusted laugh before answering. “To answer your question, look at who’s being interviewed.” Ginny did.
“I don’t know her,” Ginny informed Harry.
“Exactly. This was an interview given before the first ceremony. That’s why Janice having a mobile phone was merely a clue instead of the sure-fire proof that I was determined to find. Because of this clip, I found others.”
Harry showed Ginny several more clips from days ago that could have pointed to the truth but didn’t really prove anything. One of the clinchers, however, was a clip of breakfast. It was before they had been whittled down to the final three, so Harry was sitting at the head of the table with Janice on one side, with Becky next to her and Ginny on the same side but farthest from Harry with Trista across from her, Laurie next to Trista and Denise between Harry and Laurie. There was a very good shot at one point of Becky glaring down at Janice, then later of Janice’s haughty expression, which she was always lacking when Harry looked her way, directed at anyone else that she looked at. She shot daggers down the table when Ginny coughed on her pumpkin juice; that wasn’t quite the dead giveaway he said he was looking for, but it did definitely proved that perhaps Janice wasn’t always what she seemed to be.
“I went from the oldest stuff to the newest, so I didn’t see this clip until the end. If I had seen it sooner, I wouldn’t have had to watch anything else.” Ginny watched, from above, the scene unfold. She heard the words again and they still heated her face with anger. When the figure of her on the screen punched Janice, Ginny wished she could do it again.
“That felt really good, you know,” Ginny admitted without qualm, her voice harsh with emotion.
Harry was silent for a while. “Thank you, Ginny. For standing up for me like that. I didn’t deserve it, after how I treated you, but you stood by me anyway. Thank you.”
“Even if I was pissed off at you — which I was, don’t get the wrong idea — I couldn’t let her get away with saying something like that!”
“I know,” he whispered, not looking at her. “That’s why I’m saying thank you. That’s why I’m so sorry for the way I treated you.”
“Harry,” Ginny said with a warning tone, causing him to raise his eyes to meet hers in confusion. “’Meek’ really doesn’t suit you. Knock it off”
He laughed a bit when he saw her smile. “So, anyway, I wanted to let you know how sorry I was for the other day and I figured you’d like to know where the change of heart came from.”
“Oh, indeed I did. In fact, that’s what I was thinking about when someone suddenly scared the life out of me by appearing in the middle of my bedroom.” Harry had the decency to blush at this statement but he really didn’t appear to feel guilty. “Do you know how dangerous it is to walk into a girl’s bedroom in the middle of the night? How did you know I wasn’t sleeping topless?”
Harry gaped. “You sleep topless?” he asked almost breathlessly.
“Not to your knowledge,” was her only reply. “But what if I had been? Wouldn’t you be embarrassed.” It was not a question.
“So…where do we go from here?” Harry asked at length, obviously trying to change the topic, considering the way he cleared his throat before speaking again.
“Why are you asking me? You’re the one in pseudo-charge of the whole mess.”
“Fine then,” he said with conviction. “Starting tomorrow I’m to take you and Trista — separately — back to my house. We can start over then, in a sense.”
“But not completely.”
“Of course not.”
“Because I think we had some bonding going on during our group date, what with the insane, uncontrollable laughing and the amazing rollercoaster ride.”
Harry laughed in agreement. “Did you notice that you were the only one from your group date that made it through that ceremony?”
Ginny looked at him askance. “That wasn’t on purpose, was it?”
“Not completely. But I figured that if they were so concerned with making you look worse, then they really didn’t care anything about me.”
Ginny blushed. “No offence, but I was starting to believe that you were completely oblivious to the way they were acting.”
Harry’s eyes sparkled as he smiled at her. “Just because I was blind to Janice’s ruse doesn’t mean I don’t catch anything. I was quite aware of the war waging between the three of them and you — though it was a rather one-sided war, since you didn’t seem too keen to fight back — even before you made your comments. Which is probably why I was upset with you. I felt like you didn’t believe I was bright enough to catch on.”
Ginny shrugged embarrassedly. “So, that was the case?” Harry asked with a laugh as he leaned over the back of the chair toward her. “Interesting,” he mused, his face very close to hers. She wondered if he had any idea what his nearness was doing to her heart. She wondered if he could hear her heart, if its throbbing was visible to him, near as he was. It didn’t appear so, though he did look quite amused about something.
“You know, I don’t get you,” he said out of the blue.
“Don’t get me?” Ginny was surprised her voice wasn’t breathy.
“Yeah. I mean, on the group date you weren’t upset that they were making you look bad, you were just mad at them for trying to manipulate things. Loved your interview afterwards, by the way. He really didn’t know what to do with you, did he?” He looked closely at her and Ginny had the feeling he was seeing through her eyes into her mind; into her soul. “I don’t really know what to do with you either,” he whispered in a voice that was just barely audible. If Ginny hadn’t been so close, she wouldn’t have heard anything.
The tone of his voice sent a shiver up Ginny’s spine. Her fingers were tingling and she had an overwhelming desire to run her fingers through his hair. Okay, you are getting out of control. Topic change; Ding! “So, that’s what’s happening next on the agenda for the show, huh?” Harry moved back slightly, confused.
“Going to your house. That’s next on the schedule for Trista and me?”
Harry was looking at her in a way that made Ginny feel slightly light-headed and for a moment, it scared her. She turned her head quickly back to the screen. “Was there anything else you wanted me to see here?” she asked a bit breathlessly. The spell broken, Harry stood up straight again and looked at the screen.
“Not really,” he said in a tone that implied…was it regret? Hardly, Ginny! Talk about wishful thinking.
Though…you were the one to look away.
“Well then, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to bed.”
She saw Harry nod so she stood to follow him out the room. He hesitated at the door to the hall, looking at her, before pulling the cloak over the two of them. He opened the door, checked behind them to make sure that everything was at it had been before they came, and closed the door behind them.
He forgot to look at the map first.
When he opened the map to check their status, he hissed in irritation. Ginny moved slightly to peer over his shoulder. In the faint light outside the office, Ginny could see a small dot labeled “Connie” headed right at them.
One more chapter and I'll have caught up with myself...which means, I had better finish the next chapter or I'll be in fairly big trouble. I've spoiled you into thinking I may update every week or so, but with finals, papers and a wedding to plan (12 days left!!!) I don't have all that much time to write... Please be patient!
Back to index
Chapter 26: Phone Calls and GoodnightsEpisode Twenty-six
Phone Calls and Goodnights
“We’ll just have to make a run for it,” Harry whispered in her ear, his hot breath making the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. For a second, she couldn’t think and was about to follow him quickly down the hall when a thought struck her.
She swore under her breath, but not quiet enough that Harry didn’t hear. She pulled him to a stop and pushed him back through Connie’s office door. Harry’s face was registering a very bizarre look of confusion. “What’s going on?” Harry asked as Ginny threw off the cloak, locked the door behind them and started back toward the archives room.
“We forgot to turn the monitors and stuff off. We can’t leave them on or someone will suspect people have been in here.”
Harry echoed her earlier curse and rushed to follow her into the archives room. A couple seconds after they closed the door, the outside door opened and Ginny saw Harry’s eyes follow the little dot, on the map, marked “Connie” move into the room next to the one with their labeled dots. Silently turning off the monitor Ginny tip-toed over to the door and pressed her ear to the door to see what she could hear from Connie’s office. She was on the phone.
“Of course,” she was saying. “Now, I’m not saying we know for sure, this is really just in case.” She paused. “Well, like I said, we’re not positive, but we’re all pretty sure we know who Mr. Potter is going to pick.” Ginny looked up to see Harry beside her also listening in. His face turned a deep shade of red as he heard this last comment. Harry muttered something under his breath that sounded very much like “How can you know when I don’t even know,” but she couldn’t be one hundred percent sure.
As the conversation wore on Harry stepped back from the door a bit in order to glare. Apparently, as close as he had been before, it had been impossible to focus on the door, so now he scowled as though he could see through the door in order to glare at Connie. Though, at the same time, it almost looked like Harry was blaming the door for Connie’s words.
“No, she won’t know a thing about your arrival.” A pause. “I’m sorry, but that’s our policy. You’re going to have to deal with it. We may be lucky and Harry won’t even pick her, but if he does, we’ll use you, alright?”
Without saying the name of the person she was talking to, Connie hung up the phone at the end of their conversation only to immediately pick it back up and redial. She asked for someone by name but Ginny didn’t recognize it and apparently, neither did Harry.
“Jordan, it’s me. I talked to the boy and its all set.” She listened to the voice on the other end and sighed in exasperation before answering heatedly. “No, we don’t yet have a twist for if Harry chooses the other girl, but do you really think there’s much of a chance of that? I mean, you have been watching the footage, haven’t you?” She paused again to listen. “Don’t worry. Like I told you earlier, we’re as close to being sure as is possible at this moment.” Harry snorted quietly at this causing Ginny to giggle into her hand. He glanced at her sideways and gave a half grin as though thanking her for not being offended yet blushing as though he hadn’t intended for her to hear him in the first place. Ginny grinned back, still giggling.
By the time she had stopped giggling Connie had once again hung up the phone. She shared a look with Harry as they heard Connie’s office door close. Harry sighed with relief.
Harry checked the map again to make sure that Connie really was gone and, over his shoulder, Ginny saw her dot moving down the hall. The two shuffled back out into Connie’s office, checking the archive room as they went to make sure everything was off and all trace of them was gone.
Without further ado, Harry draped the cloak around the two of them and stepped out into the hallway, moving in the opposite direction as Connie. With the invisibility cloak once again in place Ginny pulled out her wand and lit the way back to their rooms. After all the excitement, the walk back was refreshingly uneventful so Ginny was able to savor Harry’s closeness and breath deeply of his smell. She wished she knew what the smell was; a cologne? an after-shave? It was delicious, if such a word could be used to describe a scent.
When they finally got back to the alcove Ginny was reluctant to allow Harry to take the cloak off the two of them, having come to enjoy his closeness immensely. However, when the cloak did come off Ginny couldn’t help giggling.
“What’s so funny?” Harry asked in a whisper. Ginny, trying to compose herself, pulled Harry into her room in order to put a silencing spell on it.
Ginny’s voice was loud when she spoke, even to her own ears. “I’ve always wanted to use an invisibility cloak, but I never thought I’d get to do some real espionage. It’s no wonder you keep the thing around. Do you do this type of thing often?”
“I thought I told you,” Harry said in mock exasperation. “I only use it to get around when I don’t want people to see me.”
“Liar!” Ginny laughed. “You used it to sneak into a girl’s room just tonight. That proves it. I knew you were nothing better than a peeping-tom!”
Harry rolled his eyes at her, chuckling softly and folded the cloak over his arm. He looked like he was searching for something to say but he couldn’t find it. His lapse in the conversation completely changed the mood in the room and Ginny wasn’t sure what to make of it. She had tried to keep it lighthearted for a reason but that safety blanket of humor had somehow managed the smother the mood she had intended.
Ginny sat on the edge of her bed, watching Harry look around her room waiting for him to talk. When he did, it wasn’t what she had expected.
“Your room is pretty bare. I didn’t expect that of you,” he commented.
Thrown off her guard, Ginny answered much more truthfully that she would have had she had ample time to think of a better response. “Well, it didn’t use to be, but I was pretty sure I was going to be going home, so I packed all my stuff up last night.” Seeing the guilty look on Harry’s face, Ginny explained further. “I didn’t say that to make you feel bad again, you know. I’m completely baffled as to why I’ve made it this far, so it didn’t seem too far-fetched to think I would be leaving and Janice wouldn’t be.”
“So, do you not want to be here?”
“Harry Potter, stop putting words in my mouth. That is absolutely not what I said, and neither is it what I meant.” She forced herself to laugh and realized that it really wasn’t that hard to do. The way he had asked the question was almost enough to make her face heat again.
“Okay.” Harry smiled at her. “I’m glad to hear that.”
Ginny’s face did heat this time and she found herself wondering what exactly he had intended by that statement. Bloody boy and his darned adorability!
Ginny was about to make a comment when she was suddenly overcome by a fit of yawning. Covering her gaping mouth as quickly as possible, she noticed that her yawn had indeed been contagious and that Harry also looked as though he could swallow flies if he wasn’t careful. She fell into giggles as soon as she had control of her mouth back and he did the same, though his were more like deep-throated chuckles than they were giggles. Do guys giggle? Silly questions when one is sleepy.
“Well,” Harry began, folding and unfolding his cloak over his shoulder almost nervously. “I should get to bed and let you get some sleep as well.”
Ginny merely nodded, blinking tiredly to get the moisture out of her eyes that had been dislodged after the tell-tale yawn.
Not wanting him to leave so suddenly and assuming that she could later brush it off as tiredness if he seemed to be affronted, Ginny stood up fast and embraced Harry. She flung her arms around his neck and nestled her face into that perfect place between his neck and his shoulder. “Goodnight,” she whispered, pulling away.
This was when she noticed that his arms were wrapped around her too and he wasn’t letting go. Not at all complaining about this, Ginny rested her head back down again, her eyes closing in bliss. A picture flashed through her mind; Trista. Oh no. I can’t do this. She pulled back suddenly, her guilt rearing up imagining how upset Trista would be if she had found them like that. If it had been Ginny and Janice still left Ginny would have had no qualms about passionately kissing Harry at that moment, especially seeing the confused and hurt expression on his face. But since it was Trista Ginny felt like a traitor as she fraternized with Harry behind Trista’s back. Ginny may want, quiet desperately, to win, but not at the expense of Trista’s friendship.
Ginny smiled warmly, softening some of the hurt from Harry’s face but none of the confusion. “Goodnight Mr. Potter.”
He chuckled as he walked toward her door. “Goodnight Miss Weasley.”
“And don’t you go sneaking into girls’ rooms again. You never know what kind of surprise you’ll get.” Harry pulled an almost innocent face, so she had to add: “and I wasn’t referring to the whole sleeping topless thing. I meant more along the lines of — had I had access to something heavy and sharp I would have thrown it at you before seeing who you were.” He nodded at her joke and took his leave.
By the time she had showered and dressed the next morning she heard Trista knocking earnestly at her door. Ginny laughed as she opened it. “You don’t have to know, you know,” she told Trista as the girl stepped into the room.”
“It was locked,” Trista told her as she sat on Ginny’s bed.
Oh, that’s right. I locked my door to make sure Harry wouldn’t come back in. “Sorry about that. What’s up?”
Trista smiled sheepishly. “Help me pack? Connie just came to tell me that I’m going first.” She fairly bounced when she went on. “We’re going to Harry’s house now, did you hear? It’ll be great to see where he lives.”
Ginny nodded and acted surprised so that Trista wouldn’t ask her how she found out. ‘Oh, Harry told me that last night after he snuck into my room,’ would probably be a bad thing to say at this moment.
“So you’ll help me pack?”
Ginny laughed again. “Of course, you goose. When have I not helped you pack? Heck, you even helped me pack the other day.” Trista didn’t laugh quite as loud as Ginny.
“I’m so glad you didn’t go home. I’m not sure I would have known what to do without you.” Ginny sat down next to her on the bed when Trista’s face turned serious. “Will you promise me something, Ginevra?”
“What is it?” Ginny asked with concern.
“Will you promise me that no matter what happens we’ll still be friends? I know I won’t hate you if you win and I don’t want you to hate me if I win.” She made to go on but Ginny cut her off.
“Trista, don’t worry. I promised myself from the start that I wouldn’t allow Harry to mess up our relationship. You were my friend before either of us even had a clue that we could get this far.”
“That’s true,” Trista said with tears in her eyes. “I need to tell you something though.”
Ginny’s heartbeat quickened. She didn’t like the tone of Trista’s voice at the moment.
“During the last date, well…Harry kissed me. I figure that he must have kissed you before too but you hadn’t wanted to hurt my feelings and therefore hadn’t told me. So, I thought I’d tell you so that if he had kissed you too, you wouldn’t be embarrassed to tell me.”
Ginny’s heart stopped beating altogether for a few seconds. “No Trista,” Ginny said, forcing herself to smile. “He hasn’t kissed me.”
“Oh Ginevra, I’m so sorry! I thought for sure he would have kissed you if he had kissed me. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. Oh! I feel horrible now.” Tears leaked down Trista’s face.
“Trista, calm down. It’s alright. Please, stop crying. I don’t mind,” Ginny lied. Secretly she wanted to start crying too but not while Trista was there. It would only make Trista feel worse. “If you don’t stop crying your eyes are going to be all red and puffy and he won’t want to kiss you again.” Trista laughed through her tears and worked at calming herself down.
“I really am sorry. I shouldn’t have brought it up.” Ginny just smiled at her. “Are you still going to help me pack.”
“Absolutely not,” Ginny laughed, her facetious attitude brightening Trista’s mood. “Come on. I can’t help you pack in here. I forbid you to take any of my clothing with you. That would be far too weird.” The two continued to laugh as they crossed the hall to Trista’s room.
Ginny stood on the dock, her arms spread wide being buffeted by the strong winds, leaning into it, her eyes closed in delight She heard voiced behind her. Indistinct. Familiar. On the sand behind her stood two people, shoulder to shoulder. They didn’t seem to be aware of each other as they stood staring at Ginny. The first, light hair combed back meticulously, had a look of intense longing in his eyes. The other, dark of hair, smiled warmly, his eyes twinkling as though with a secret joke.
Neville. Harry. What are they doing here?
“Gin,” Neville pleaded. “I’m sorry. I want you back. Please. I miss you so bad I can’t stand being without you anymore.”
Before he had even finished speaking Harry spoke. “Ginny,” he chuckled. “It’s been a long time since I was this happy. Your sense of humor is so refreshing. I’m glad I met you.”
One face twisted with pain and yearning the other softened with humor and warmth. They spoke at the same time — pleading; affectionate.
“I love you.”
Ginny woke with a start.
“Er, okay. That was weird,” she muttered to herself. She blinked her eyes several times to get them back in focus. They felt heavy, as eyes usually did after crying yourself to sleep. She had tried not to think about what Trista had told her after she and Harry had left but the thought wouldn’t go away. She knew now who Connie had been talking about. Obviously if they had been watching the footage they would have seen Harry kiss Trista. There would be no doubt in their mind that Trista was Harry’s choice, especially after watching the footage from Ginny’s house.
Trista was going to win. Ginny had resigned herself to the fact that she would be leaving before the last rose ceremony but somehow it hurt more now. To go from knowing you have no chance to thinking that maybe you do to once again knowing you didn’t was harder than Ginny had expected. She wanted to go home now. She didn’t want to have to go through the rest of it. It would hurt too much to spend another day with Harry knowing that he had chosen someone else.
Her nap, though allowing her eyes to get puffy, had refreshed her and Ginny decided to take another shower for good measure. She didn’t know what else she was supposed to do. Lunch would be in no more than a half an hour but she didn’t relish eating at the table by herself.
After she had showered and eaten she sat herself down to finally finish the scarf that she had been putting off. When she finished that she would read. If she finished her book again perhaps she could find something else interesting to do. She sat knitting thinking about how much fun Trista must be having and wallowing in self-pity as she imagined Harry kissing Trista. It took all her willpower not to cry.
Well, I still have another chapter left after this (but only one more) and you will probably all hate me for it but love me at the same time. After that, I don't know how often I'll be able to post because by then I'll probably be a married woman (I'm getting married on the 18th) but I'll try to finish this story soon -- just a couple more chapters left, if I haven't missed my mark. Review, review! *grins*
Back to index
Chapter 27: To Argue and Make UpEpisode Twenty-Seven
To Argue and Make Up
Ginny had barely finished with her scarf when Connie came bustling in and just as quickly bustled back out with Ginny reluctantly in tow. Connie had made plans for Ginny so that she wouldn’t be bored. She made the same plans for Trista for the next day. It was the most boring day she had ever had. Ginny would have been happier being bored in the castle, as opposed to being bored and having no idea of her surroundings. Ginny tried not to remember what “activities” had been forced on her, as the sheer boredom would be sure to put her in a stupor if forced to relive it. Ginny decide that she would warn Trista to stay out of sight the next day so that she wouldn’t be roped into the horror.
But then it was blessedly over and Ginny, though nearly insane from the ordeal, found that she merely had to fall asleep and it would be over — when she woke up she wouldn’t have to be by herself anymore. When she woke up she’d be traveling to Harry’s home and spending an entire day with him; this time without him angry with her. Ginny was practically asleep before she even finished getting ready for bed.
She woke and followed her normal routine and sat, antsy, waiting for Harry and Trista to get back.
They were late.
Ginny began to get upset. Why were they given more time together than Ginny was going to get with Harry? What were they doing that was taking so long? Why had Ginny been forced to endure Connie’s ‘journey through the six stages of boredom’ for longer than Trista would have to?
When Ginny’s anger had worn off and they still weren’t back Ginny began to get worried. What if they had gotten in an accident? Would someone have come to tell Ginny if anything had happened to them? Maybe everyone had forgotten about her in their concern for the other two.
What was she thinking? The boredom must have really scrambled Ginny’s brains. First of all, Ginny couldn’t be jealous of Trista for very long; even the whole kissing thing wasn’t something that Ginny could really hold against Trista. Secondly she had already decided that she was going to make sure that Trista wouldn’t have to deal with Connie’s boredom depressant so of course she wasn’t going to have to suffer through it as long as Ginny had; she wasn’t going to have to suffer through it at all! And lastly, of course they would warn her if something happened. Heck, they’d probably tell her in front of a camera and interview her about how it made her feel.
The only problem then was that she was no longer angry and she was no longer scared but she was still alone. They still had not returned. What was taking so blasted long?
Connie came in while Ginny was still working through her emotion and stood pacing. Apparently she didn’t know where they were either. For some reason she kept shooting Ginny suspicious glances. What’s your problem? Ginny wanted to ask her. Would I be this upset if I knew what was going on?
The cameramen came in first making Ginny worry all over again that maybe something had gone wrong. Thankfully, though, Harry and Trista followed closely behind them. The two of them were acting very formal but not cold and with a smile, Harry mad his way over to his own room.
The cameramen, realizing that they weren’t going to get much more, slowly funneled out of the alcove and back into the hallway.
It was after they shut the door that Ginny realized Harry’s door hadn’t shut. When she heard someone laughing from beside her, she instinctively reached out, grabbing the invisibility cloak and yanking it off Harry.
“Sneaky sneaky, Mr. Potter,” was all Ginny could think to say. “Where were you guys?” she finally asked when Harry had stopped laughing.
“What do you mean?” Trista asked.
Ginny’s face betrayed her confusion and the anger that she thought she’d gotten over. “You guys were supposed to get back hours ago.”
“Oh that!” Trista laughed. “The three of us — Harry, his godfather and I — and completely lost track of time. Sorry if we made you wait.”
Harry was looking oddly at Ginny who worked very hard to keep her emotions from showing as soon as she noticed his scrutiny.
“Are you okay?” he finally asked quietly while Trista excused herself to use the loo.
“I’m fine,” Ginny lied. Harry obviously didn’t believe her. “Okay, so, I’m not completely fine, but I’m okay. I was just worried. I thought maybe something had happened. You know? I thought maybe you’d gotten into an accident, been mugged…eloped…” The last was said with a mischievous grin but she was still partly serious.
Harry laughed, blissfully ignorant of the way Ginny’s heart was now slowly returning to its normal pattern. Blissfully ignorant of the way his laughter relieved all of her fears and simultaneously created completely different ones.
“So, are you going to be ready to go soon?”
Ginny glared her disbelief at his question before answering. “I was ready to go a couple of hours ago when you guys were supposed to get back.”
Harry bristled slightly. “We already explained what happened and we’re sorry. Can we drop it?”
Ginny felt like sinking into the floor. He had never raised his voice to her before. It was a frightening sound and one she wasn’t keen to hear again. “I’m sorry Harry. I guess I really was worried, and, to tell the truth, a little jealous that Trista got to spend extra time with you.”
Harry’s face softened. “I understand.” That was all he needed to say. It seemed a rather petty argument, but Ginny was proud of them for having gotten through their first argument. Though, truth be told, had she been completely comfortable around him — which, she of course, wasn’t yet — the argument probably wouldn’t have ended so easily. Her desire for him to like her kept her from continuing to voice her complaints.
She was silently thinking about this when she suddenly focused on Harry’s face. “Something wrong?” he asked with concern.
“Kind of.” Ginny forced an embarrassed laugh.
“Want to talk about it?” he asked in return. At that moment, however, Trista walked back out to rejoin them.
“Later,” Ginny answered him and turned her attention to Trista.
A couple minutes later Connie came looking for them. “What took you two so long?” she asked with a huff.
“They just lost track of time,” Ginny answered her, though Connie practically ignored her.
“Well, in any case, you two need to get going now. The limo driver is getting impatient.” Ginny was happy to comply.
She said goodbye to Trista who apologized profusely for not having given Ginny a hand with her packing while Ginny repeatedly warned her to stay away from Connie if she wished to keep her sanity, and then they were gone.
Harry sat down close by her side in the limo and as soon as the chauffer had closed the door he turned to her. “Now, why did you have such a tragically serious look on your face back there?” he asked without preamble.
Ginny wasn’t exactly sure how to explain it. She wasn’t exactly sure what she had been thinking. “Bare with me while I try to put it into words.” Harry nodded. “It’s just that we kind of got into an argument earlier and, I don’t know about you, but I purposefully cut it short because I was afraid you wouldn’t like me as much if I continued to argue with you.” Harry didn’t say anything so she continued.
“I was really upset with you guys for a while because Trista got to spend extra time with you while I spent the day being ushered around by Connie, who has no knack for fun, let me tell you.” Ginny laughed at her own joke, Harry smiled at her in encouragement to go on.
“After that I got scared that something had happened and I felt bad that, if so, no one had thought to tell me about it. Then, when you guys came home and nothing was wrong and you didn’t seem to care that you’d made me wait, I was hurt. But when I tried to voice that frustration,” Ginny could no longer look in Harry’s eyes. “I guess it made me even more mad at you, but I was so scared that you’d raise your voice again that I stop complaining.
“I don’t know if you’re going to pick me — heck, you’ve confessed that you don’t even know who you’re going to pick yet — but if you do pick me, you have to know that I can’t possibly be that timid all the time. It’s not me. If you want someone who will easily submit to you than Trista is definitely a better match for you. I can guarantee that I will want to win arguments and it kind of chaffs to be denied the chance to defend myself.”
She finally looked up at him but he was no longer looking at her. In fact, his face was toward the window so she wasn’t sure what he thought about what she had just confessed. She wasn’t even completely sure that he’d been listening.
“You’re right,” she heard Harry whisper. “That was totally unfair of me, though I do think I also had the right to be a bit upset at you since I had already apologized and you had apparently forgiven me. If I was forgiven in truth, I felt that it shouldn’t be brought back up. I understand why you did though. It wasn’t very fair of us to make you wait while we were having fun. I’m sorry I got upset at you, but I hope you can understand why.”
“Of course. I sometimes use things against people to make a point; it’s rather vindictive of me and I try not to do it but when I’m really upset it’s hard to hold back.”
Harry grinned at her and, much to her surprise and delight, he took up her hand and squeezed it gently.
I love you, Ginny thought suddenly.
The thought so shocked Ginny that she almost didn’t notice that Harry continued to hold her hand. I love him?! How can I possibly know that I love him? I’ve only known him for a few days. That’s crazy Ginny; you’re being a hopeless romantic, that’s all.
But from the back of her mind, it came again. I love you.
She glanced over at Harry as he gazed out the window, idly tracing his thumb along one of her fingers, sending small chills from her hand all the way up her arm. He was truly one of the most handsome men she’d ever seen. His vivid green eyes jolted her every time they made eye contact. His smile was intoxicating to the point that she found herself constantly wanting to say something that would make him smile, make him dazzle her anew. His hair was thick and in such a dark contrast to her own. And his hands, so warm and soft and strong as he held hers.
I love you.
You’re crazy Ginny. You’re just infatuated, that’s all. Don’t be silly!
Without thinking, Ginny squeezed Harry’s hand, wanting to see him smile again. He did. And as they looked into each other’s eyes, she saw his face soften. His eyes smiled as his lips turned up in an adorable grin. His lips; oh cripes, his lips! She had never so desperately wanted to kiss someone in her entire life.
Without thinking, Ginny slowly found herself leaning toward him, her eyes darting from his gorgeous eyes to his tantalizing lips. It was when she noticed him leaning forward also that she caught herself. Trista! Her mind screamed.
Two thoughts flew through her head. One was that she didn’t want to hurt Trista. The other was that, he had already kissed Trista. It would be special to her, but he had already kissed one of the other girls.
It’s not fair! Ginny’s mind screamed as she pulled back with a silent sob.
Bwa-ha-hahahaha! I'm sure you all hate me now, but it's okay; I'm used to it ;) This is the last chapter, so far, that I've written, so it's going to take a while to get the next one up - especially since I'm getting married a week from today (YAY!) Anywha, please review, it would be much appreciated! Jaa.
Back to index
Chapter 28: In Need of a PensieveEpisode Twenty-Nine
In Need of a Pensieve
She turned away from Harry and took her hand back to place lightly against her mouth should any sound try to escape.
I’m sorry, she wanted to say, but she knew that if she opened her mouth, no words would materialize. She would not allow herself to cry.
“Ginny…” Harry rested his hand on her shoulder but didn’t try to turn her around to face him, for which Ginny was exceedingly grateful. He just left his hand there, periodically squeezing her shoulder lightly as she composed herself.
Wiping the lone tear that had escaped her eye as she had swallowed to rid her throat of the lump, Ginny turned back to Harry, smiling tremulously.
His face was confused, but not hurt. He swiped a finger across her cheek where the tear had been and cupped her cheek in his hand. The lump was back in her throat.
She closed her eyes and took a shaky breath as his fingers slid down her face and almost wept anew as his contact left.
She opened her eyes suddenly and he was still looking at her, smiling reassuringly, assuring her that it was alright, he wasn’t upset.
The feeling that welled up inside her at this felt as though it would burst through her skin.
Maybe I really do love him, the rational side of her finally confessed.
Gently, Harry took up her hand again and began talking, purposefully keeping her mind from dwelling on what had just happened.
“My godfather is really looking forward to meeting you. I told him that Fred and George are your brothers and he about went nuts. He claims that those two take after him and my father and their friends when they were young.” Ginny looked decidedly skeptical. “I assure you, he meant it as a compliment.”
“Sure, a compliment for them, perhaps,” she said with a laugh to cover up the shakiness in her voice. “But I don’t see what that has to do with me.”
He gave her a very shrewd grin before answering. “Don’t think I didn’t see what you did to the twins before you left the shop.” His eyes sparkled with laughter. “How did you get those words to blink, anyway?”
“Oh that’s nothing,” Ginny said with mock arrogance, “You should see my bat-bogey hex.”
Harry’s eyes widened alarmingly. “Remind me not to make you mad at me again. I’m not exactly sure what that hex would do but it sounds decidedly unpleasant.”
“You have no idea,” Ginny cackled at him as he produced a perfectly horrified shiver and took to laughing with her.
“No, but really; I think if you wanted to you could be just as mischievous as they are. Maybe even more so, because I wager you received better marks than they did in school.”
“Oh, indeed!” Ginny laughed. “They didn’t even finish school. They left in the middle of the term their last year. Mum was furious.”
Harry pulled a concerned face. “I can imagine. Your mum must be frightening when she’s upset.” Ginny just nodded, laughing. “So,” Harry said by way of changing the topic again. “Did you make up this bat-bogey hex?”
“I wish, but no. I found it in a book during one of my forays to the library in the middle of the night at school.” Harry quirked an eyebrow. “I know you didn’t think invisibility cloaks are the only way to sneak around undetected.”
Harry barked a laugh, smiling amusedly at Ginny. This is painful, Ginny thought as they sat staring into each others’ eyes.
Ginny turned away at length to stare out the window, squinting in the light of the lowering sun.
“She told you, didn’t she?” Harry asked out of nowhere.
Knowing exactly what he was talking about, but not wanting to admit it, Ginny asked “Told me what?” without looking away from the window
“You’re going to make me say it, huh?” Ginny turned to give Harry her most innocent face which made Harry all the more certain that she wasn’t as ignorant as she claimed. “Trista told you that I kissed her,” Harry said quietly.
“Yes,” Ginny answered him without pause. “Yes she did.”
“May I explain?”
“There’s really no need to. I really don’t need to know anything about it.”
There was a wounding silence. “Please don’t do that,” Harry whispered in anguish.
“Don’t do what?” Ginny asked, this time genuinely confused.
“Don’t act like you don’t care. It’s obvious you do and you think that pretending you don’t care will make it hurt less but it really only makes it worse.”
Ginny’s eyebrows lowered dangerously. “You don’t know me,” she accused. “You don’t know why I do what I do. You don’t know how I feel. Don’t assume that you do.”
“Ginny,” Harry said in a tone both dangerous and pleading.
“You have no idea what it did to me to have Trista tell me that. You have no idea how much it hurt to know you were about to kiss me and to realize that it wasn’t as special to you as it would have been to me. You have no idea how much I would beat myself up if kissing you ended up upsetting Trista.” Ginny stopped to take a breath, for the first time realizing that she wasn’t breathing properly. “You don’t know anything.”
“I kissed Trista when I thought that you had been lying to me. I kissed her when I thought that I would be sending you home and that Janice would soon be following her. You,” he said with emphasis, using her own words against her “have no idea how guilty I felt about kissing her when I realized Janice had been lying, not you. You have no idea how much I wished I hadn’t kissed Trista because of the unfairness of it. You have no idea…” he paused as though he wasn’t sure he wanted to finish his sentence. When he did, his voice was harsh with emotion. “how much I want to kiss you right now.”
The hair on Ginny’s arms stood on end. It felt as though every nerve in her body was working on over time and if he touched her, her soul would explode out of her skin. She wanted that contact. She wanted to burst out of herself. She wanted him to kiss her.
With the greatest of tenderness, Harry reached his hand up to her face. With his thumb, he traced her slightly parted lips. The other hand came up to cup her cheek. She moved her face into his touch as though she were a kitten. He smiled. His hand moved to the nape of her neck, playing with the shorter hair as his other hand came up to continue exploring her face.
That was it. Not being able to hold herself back, Ginny reached up to tangle her hands in his hair. With a moan of pleasure at the contact that practically melted Ginny where she sat, Harry gently pulled her face to his own.
His lips were soft and warm. Involuntarily her tongue flicked out to taste his lips. It was instinct; after having been engaged for so long that was the way she was used to kissing. The effect it had on Harry, however sent her head reeling, as it seemed to do to Harry. A noise issued from deep in his throat; a noise that conveyed both shock and desperation for more. After what seemed to him an invitation (and, probably, subconsciously, it was, for Ginny did not object) Harry tenderly outlined her upper lip with his tongue. Involuntarily, Ginny’s fist tightened in his hair.
The kiss continued in this way for several more minutes. Ginny put her tongue to rest and instead concentrated on kissing him. She found that if she sucked slightly on his lower lip, he exhaled heavily out his nose. She found that she liked this a lot and did it several times with the same reaction.
He pulled back to, her face still in his hands. He smiled, small and warm, as he continued to gaze into Ginny’s eyes.
“Well,” he whispered, chuckling. “That was nice.”
“It was, wasn’t it?” Ginny replied in a voice that was just as quiet.
They giggled together, their faces inches apart. It was then that they realized the limo was slowing considerably.
They were there.
Harry took Ginny’s hand to help her out of the limo after the driver opened the door for them. It was then, after Ginny straightened, that she saw the confused look on the limo driver’s face.
Harry seemed to be trying not to laugh at him. “We went over this last night,” Ginny heard him whisper to the driver. “It really is alright if you help us get our stuff and leave us here. We’ll be fine.” The driver still looked confused, which Ginny didn’t blame him for, but he agreed. Ginny was also very confused, as well as being very concerned. Where was Harry’s house?
Harry walked over near Ginny as the driver finished unloading their luggage. Ginny still had no idea what was going on. Harry turned the stunned Ginny in a half circle so that they were looking down the alleyway between two houses on the street. While the driver got back into the limo, Harry leaned toward Ginny. She wasn’t sure what was going on, as she very much doubted that he was going to kiss her in broad daylight with the limo driver still in sight, but instead he leaned toward her ear.
She could feel his hot breath on her skin as he whispered to her. “Number 12 Grimmauld Place.” Ginny blinked a couple times. That was certainly not what she had expected and now she found herself even more confused than before…and slightly disappointed.
Before she could voice any of her thoughts, however, a most peculiar sight arranged itself before her. A door appeared out of no where between the two house they stood in front of. Following the door was a wall on either side and windows, and more walls above the door until suddenly an entire house seemed to inflate between the two houses. Above the knocker shaped like a Griffon was a number. Twelve.
Looking to either side she realized that number eleven was on one side and number thirteen was on the other. “A Fidelius charm,” Ginny whispered in astonishment.
Harry grinned in pride as he took her hand and led her to the door. Looking closely at the house, Ginny noticed that parts of it seemed much newer than others. The knocker, for instance, seemed quite new, whereas the door was old, but had a fresh coat of paint on it. “Been doing some remodeling?” Ginny asked, causing Harry to grin again.
“You live here?” Ginny asked in bewilderment as they stepped inside. The inside was just as random as the outside. Most of the furnishings looked new, as did some of the wallpaper, but the floors creaked and there was some rather old decorations that looked as though someone had been trying desperately to dislodge them and had failed miserably.
“Harry!” called a desperate voice from deeper in the house. “Is that you?”
“Yes,” replied Harry, also shouting. “Ginny and I —”
“Harry, you must give me a hand!” The voice yelled again, cutting Harry off.
With an apologetic look to Ginny, Harry headed toward the voice calling that he was coming.
Standing in the entry way of the house, Ginny looked around, thinking that was the best thing to do to occupy her time at the moment. Next to the door was a small closet, which, when opened, revealed several things that Ginny wished she had not seen, including mounted house elf heads. Thank heavens Hermione isn’t here. She’d surely have a conniption.
Closing the closet door hurriedly, Ginny stepped away from it and turned to find herself facing a large curtain. Wondering how they could have a window in the middle of the house, Ginny made to pull the curtain back. As soon as she had moved the curtain aside, the most horrid noise issued forth.
“Blood traitors! Filth! Scum! Muck! How dare you befoul the house of my fathers! Half-breeds, begone from this place!” The voice continued and Ginny, beyond stunned, stood as still as she could, hoping the voice would go away.
She heard hurried footsteps behind her and looked up as she saw two figures run into the room.
“Don’t touch that!” they yelled in unison.
Not needing to be told twice, Ginny dropped the curtain from her hand and the voice immediately vanished.
Her breath coming in small, quick gasps, Ginny stepped quickly away from the curtain without taking her eyes off of it. She felt Harry lay a hand on her shoulder and she turned to face him. Only then did she see who had entered the room with him.
Her eyes widened in alarm, and she found herself involuntarily stepping a bit behind Harry to keep better distance between herself and the other person in the room.
“Harry,” Ginny whispered urgently. “Isn’t that Sirius Black?”
“Yes,” Harry said in a normal voice. “Yes it is.” He paused and stepped away from Ginny, toward the escaped murderer, taking her hand and pulling her along behind him. She thought he must be going insane and tried desperately to stay back.
“Sirius, I’d like you to meet Ginevra Weasley. Ginny, I’d like you to meet Sirius Black, my godfather.”
The strength in Ginny’s legs left in a rush and she landed, kneeling, in a heap on the floor.
Sirius barked a laugh, which sounded quite strange to Ginny’s ears; almost pleasant, and very mirthful.
“You’d think after getting the same reaction from the first girl — Trista, was it? — that you would have warned whoever came next.” He smiled warmly at Ginny before looking sharply back at Harry. “Or, do you delight in their discomfort.”
Ginny looked up, her eyes still wide in shock, to see Harry blushing slightly, though trying hard to hide it. “We got a bit distracted on the way here, so I forgot to mention it.”
“Harry,” Ginny croaked from her place on the floor. She cleared her throat and started again. “Harry, what’s going on? Why is Sirius Black in your house?”
“I told you,” Harry said, crouching down next to her. “He’s my godfather. He was my father’s best friend in school, and he is not a murderer like everyone thinks he is. He didn’t kill my parents; that was the work of Peter Pettigrew. But seeing as how Peter escaped after Voldemort’s defeat, we were unable to prove it, so Sirius is still forced to live in hiding.”
Ginny caught only a few words of the explanation as she was going through in her head what she could possibly do to get them out of this situation. Obviously, the crafty Sirius Black had brainwashed poor Harry. To what end, Ginny wasn’t sure, and she didn’t want to find out.”
While Harry talked, Sirius stood looking worriedly at Ginny, as she did the same to him. He didn’t look at all like she would have expected. His hair was long but freshly brushed, his face, clean-shaven. And he did seem to have a merry face, but Ginny wouldn’t let that change her opinion. “I don’t think she’s listening to you, Harry,” Sirius cut in at length, after watching Ginny’s still-frightened face.
“No, I suppose not,” Harry sighed. “The pensieve?” Harry suggested.
“I don’t see why not. It did work last time, after all.”
Harry came up behind Ginny and carefully helped her to stand, keeping hold of her hand so that she would walk with them and not bolt out the door. The three of them started walking up a flight of stairs that Ginny hadn’t seen at first. It was an odd progression. Sirius walked in front, occasionally looking behind him to smile reassuringly at Ginny, who would cringe behind Harry. As for Harry, he practically dragged Ginny up the stairs behind him and seemed to be chuckling under his breath, as Ginny could see his shoulders silently shaking.
At the first landing, Ginny was led into an almost empty room. The only furniture was an over-stuffed chair sitting beside a small table with what appeared to be a bowl sitting on it. She recognized the bowl immediately, though she had never used a pensieve before.
She vaguely heard the other two speaking. “Which memory should we use this time?”
“You and Peter right after my parents died?” Harry suggested.
“And you don’t think that one will alarm her?” Sirius asked sarcastically. “Everyone has their own idea of what happened that day that she’ll not be able to register the truth.”
“Which memory then?”
“I say we use the chess match,” Sirius suggested.
Taking out his wand, Harry tapped the silvery liquid and urged Ginny to lean towards the bowl. Without much warning Ginny was pulled into the memory inside.
She stood in a kitchen which she could only assume was in Sirius’ house. She heard something behind her and turned to see that Sirius was in the room with her. Even though she knew he couldn’t see her, she still felt a chill realizing that she was alone in a room with Sirius Black.
All she could see of him was his back as he rummaged through a drawer looking for something. He seemed to have found it, and turning, Ginny gasped at the sight. A very large sharp object was in Sirius’ hand and Ginny involuntarily hid herself behind the table that was between herself and Sirius so that only her nose and above were over the table top.
He moved a ways down the counter and started hacking at something with the sharp object. Ginny was afraid to find out what it was he was working at as he started grunting with the effort.
“Oh, very funny Harry.” She heard the real Sirius Black say from behind her as he and Harry appeared in the memory.
“What?” asked Harry, choking on the laugh he was trying to suppress.
“Had to start the memory here, did you?” Sirius glared at Harry and Ginny went back to watching memory-Sirius. As he turned from the counter, he set down what she then realized was only an ice pick, which was obvious from the slivers of ice all over the counter and in the cups of lemonade he now held in each hand. Ginny also glared at Harry for his deception as he continued to stop himself from laughing hysterically.
Ginny followed memory-Sirius out of the kitchen to a room where another wizard sat at a table with a chess set resting on it. Sirius and the other wizard were apparently in the middle of a game. Moving around the table to better see the outplay of the game, Ginny’s breath caught.
The other wizard was none other than Albus Dumbledore.
Ginny had never met the man but she knew who he was from his picture on the collectable cards in Chocolate Frog packages which her brother Ron had been collecting for years.
Albus Dumbledore was in Sirius Black’s house playing chess.
She could make herself believe that Sirius Black would be capable of brainwashing Harry, but she couldn’t possibly conceive of Sirius Black being powerful enough to mess with Albus Dumbledore’s mind.
Seeing that Ginny had gotten their point, Sirius forced them out of the memory and back into the almost empty room.
Blushing, Ginny smiled sheepishly at Sirius, and shot a glare at Harry.
She held out her hand. “Hello Sirius, I’m Ginny. It’s nice to meet you. Now, if you don’t mind I’m going to beat the hell out of your godson.”
Sorry this chapter took so long, but, after all, I did just get married. Please review!
Back to index
Chapter 29: A Sense of HumorEpisode Twenty-Nine
A Sense of Humor
Ginny couldn’t breath.
She was laughing so hard, she literally could not breath. Next to her, Harry was having the same problem, though not to the same extent, and he seemed to be laughing at her more than laughing about the same thing she was laughing about.
After several minutes, Ginny was able to breathe a bit more regularly as she looked over at Sirius, who was wiping tears from his eyes. “To make matters, worse,” Harry added. “I ended up having to take Potions from him at Hogwarts. He hated me, since he knew my father, but I had no idea who he was.”
“I’m confused though,” Ginny began. “Wasn’t this Snape character one of you? I mean, wasn’t he a — for lack of a better word — good guy?”
“Well, sure,” Sirius explained. “But there are as many degrees of ‘good guy’ as there are people in the world.” Ginny looked confused, so he continued. “Snape was a spy for us, with Voldemort, which means that at one time he was a bad guy. It was partially because of Harry’s father, myself and our friends that Snape ended up being a Death Eater. I mean, when the ‘good guys’ treat one badly, one tends to side with their adversaries, right? So, anyways, he started spying for us, but he still hated me and he was less trying to protect Harry than he was trying to get rid of Voldemort. And, if he had to protect Harry in order to defeat Voldemort than he would, but grudgingly.”
“He doesn’t hate me quite so much now, though I’m not exactly sure where the change came,” Harry said.
“It’s because of me,” Sirius responded. Both Harry and Ginny gave him questioning looks. “Well, he still hates me, doesn’t he? And what would be the best way to annoy me? Buddy up with my godson and continue to treat me like rubbage.”
“Well,” Ginny said sweetly. “Aren’t we arrogant?”
“You better believe it!” laughed Sirius. “And quite proud of it, thank you.”
“Now,” Harry said pointedly to Sirius. “Before you start in on another story, don’t you think you should let me give Ginny the tour?”
Sirius sighed in mock exasperation. “Oh, fine, fine. Take away my adoring fans, and then what do you have?”
“A godson who’s heard all your stories before and a girl who was scared of you only a few hours ago,” was Harry’s caustic reply.
“Well, if you want to get technical,” Sirius pouted.
“Come on,” Harry urged, holding out a hand to Ginny.
“I’ve just had a thought,” Ginny said out of no where as they walked out of the kitchen.
“Well, that’s new.” Ginny slugged Harry in the arm.
“As I was saying, how exactly does this all work?” She paused. “Let me rephrase that sentence so that it makes a bit more sense. How is it that we’re able to be in this house with an, allegedly, escaped felon when we’re on a reality show and there are probably cameras all over the place?”
Harry shrugged. “Sirius is a genius.” He smiled. “Okay, so technically, Dumbledore is a genius and Sirius is well adaptive.”
Ginny gestured that this was not enough of an explanation and Harry chuckled as he went on. “Dumbledore knew a problem like this — well, obviously not just like this — was going to come up so he started working on a solution. What he came up with was the nefas promptus charm which, when administered, makes the user’s identity undefinable.” Ginny still looked slightly confused so Harry tried another tactic. “Have you ever watched muggle television?” Ginny nodded. “On some shows they have to hide the identity of someone, and to do so they kind of…wash out the person’s face. It’s like drawing something with chalk and then smearing it with your hand. You may be able to tell what the drawing may have been but you can’t tell exactly how it used to look.”
“But we’ve been saying his name constantly. Aren’t they going to hear us and know it’s him?” Ginny asked in a whisper.
Harry leaned toward her and in a conspiratorial voice whispered “No.” Ginny rolled her eyes. “That’s another part of the charm. Once anything picks up or records the voice, the listener automatically forgets what the name was.”
“And it’s not dangerous to be talking about how the charm works?” Ginny asked disbelievingly.
“I told you. Dumbledore is a genius. He figured everything out…of course, we don’t know what all he did, but I trust Dumbledore to know what he’s doing.”
Wait a minute! Ginny thought. “If Dumbledore did it all, then why did you claim that Sirius was the genius?”
“Oh that,” Harry answered with a cheeky grin. “That’s what he told me to tell you. He just made up the name for it.” Ginny snorted a laugh.
“Now, shall we get back to the tour?”
“’Back to’? You mean it started at one point?” Harry chose to ignore her question.
They were still standing outside the kitchen, so Harry grabbed Ginny’s hand again and headed toward the entrance. He turned her toward the screaming…window, or whatever it was and stepped forward. Muttering a silencing charm, he opened the curtains.
Instead of glass and panes like Ginny had been expecting, there was a picture of a handsome older woman whose mouth was moving furiously and whose eyes were near to popping out of her head. “This,” said Harry, motioning to the picture. “is Sirius’ mom. She has such a lovely personality, don’t you think?” The woman in the picture immediately stopped moving her mouth and sat glaring at Harry for a few seconds, then she started again. Harry closed the curtains in her face and took the silencing charm back off.
He then turned away and led Ginny to a staircase. On the first landing was the room she was to be staying in, which was evident to Ginny because her luggage was there already. There was another door down the hall which Harry claimed as his own but refused to show it to her. The second landing had two doors as well. One, Harry told her was Sirius’ room. “What’s the other room for?”
“That?” answered Harry hesitantly. “That’s Buckbeak’s room.”
“Who’s Buckbeak? A pet?”
“No, no,” Harry responded hastily, then hesitated. “He’s a friend of the family.” Was the only answer he’d give her.
She heard footsteps on the stair and turned to see Sirius walking toward them holding a large bucket in one hand. “Excuse me,” he said as he walked between them and headed to the second door — to Buckbeak’s room.
As he walked past, Ginny smelt something horrible and looked down just in time to see that the bucket contained several dead rodents. With a face of revulsion, Ginny looked expectantly to Harry. “You want to explain that just a bit more to me?”
“He’s a hippogriff.”
Ginny paused, waiting for more. “That’s it? You’re not even going to tell me what a hippogriff is?”
Harry shrugged. “Come see for yourself.”
It was now Ginny’s turn to hesitate as she watched Harry walk toward the room that allegedly belonged to a hippogriff named Buckbeak. Before they reached the door, from which Sirius was apparently singing to Buckbeak, Ginny grabbed Harry’s arm. “I’m not so sure about this.”
Harry’s face was so infuriating after this comment that Ginny felt obliged to add “Don’t make me hit you again,” at which time Harry flinched and his face became decidedly less knowing. He stopped his progression to the door however, so Ginny was glad despite her threat.
“He won’t hurt you. Just remember: hippogriffs are very proud creatures, so do not insult him. Bow to him, keeping your eyes focused on his. If he bows back then go ahead and pet him or whatever. If he doesn’t bow, I’ll get you out of there, okay.”
Ginny’s eyes widened perceptively at the end of each of his sentences. “This sounds just a bit too dangerous for a ‘family friend.’ One would assume that ‘family friends’ would not attack other ‘family friends,’ don’t you think?”
“Don’t worry. You’ll be fine,” Harry tried to reassure her. “I’ll protect you,” he added with a facetious grin as he put his arm around her shoulder and steered her toward the room. Well, perhaps it’s illusory, but I certainly feel safe, Ginny thought, feeling keenly Harry’s arm around her. She could walk within spitting distance of a dragon without fear as long as he was touching her. I am so pathetic.
As the door opened Ginny got her first look at Buckbeak the hippogriff. He was majestic! Kind of funky looking, it’s true, but his eyes were so intelligent as his attention shifted from the dead ferret Sirius was coaxing him to take to her. She felt as though a human was staring at her from within the great beast. She was spellbound.
“Bow,” Harry reminded her sharply, though not unkindly. It snapped her out of her reverie just in time, because the decidedly intelligent eyes were beginning to look rather hostile. She bent low at the waist, keeping her eyes fixed on the golden eyes in front, and rather far above, her.
There was a tense moment when no one moved, then Buckbeak’s head lowered slightly at Ginny heard both Harry and Sirius exhale. She decided to do the same, not having noticed that she was holding her own breath.
Reluctant to move forward, despite the formal gesture from the mighty hippogriff, Ginny felt Harry pulling her forward. With reluctance, she tentatively reached her hand to the hippogriff and, as she touched his beak, he blew out air through his nose, almost like a horse, scaring Ginny unconscious. Literally.
By the time Ginny had gained full awareness she was incomparably pissed at Harry Potter. “What the hell! Are you trying to kill me?” she asked from her sitting position on the bed in her guest bedroom.
As she continued to glare at him and anticipate a response, Harry merely grinned at her. “You know,” he said. “You’re really cute when you’re angry.”
“Yeah, well, just so long as you don’t start impersonating John Wayne I’ll let it go for now,” (A/N: Kudos to anyone who knows to what I’m referring) Ginny responded, trying to hide her appreciation of his comment by more angry words. “But I swear, Harry — escaped felon godfather or no — I will kill you if you do anything else to embarrass me while I’m here!”
Harry’s face turned pensive. “So I guess the mud wrestling is out then?”
“You are so twisted.”
Harry shrugged, smirking.
Ginny tried to sit on the edge of the bed and when she couldn’t, she noticed that the bottom half of her body was someone lashed to the bed. “Why can’t I move?” Ginny asked in a very patient voice, but her eyes showed a different emotion.
“Oh that,” Harry laughed nervously. “That was just in case you were really upset and tried to launch yourself at me or something.”
Ginny sat calmly and folded her hands in her lap as Harry scratched the back of his neck, embarrassed. “You know,” remarked Ginny. “You’re acting a lot differently now than any other time I’ve been around you.”
“Well, you haven’t been around me for very long stretched of time before this,” Harry cut in.
“I know that. Let me finish,” Ginny grinned. “What I’m saying is that, I thought you were kind of, well…almost boring at first. You seemed really shy and you were completely cowed by Connie. But now I see another side of you.” Ginny smiled a small smile at Harry. “You’re exciting,” she whispered. “But if you don’t let me off this bed, I’ll show you just how ‘exciting’ I can be.”
Harry’s laugh filled the room as he performed the counter-curse that let her move from the bed. Standing up, she walked toward Harry who was practically doubled over with laughter and grabbed his hand. “Just for that, you have to show me your room now.”
Still having a hard time breathing normally, Harry nodded and this time, it was Ginny who grabbed his hand as they left the room. I could certainly get used to this, she thought squeezing his hand lightly.
Harry’s room was surprisingly clean, which, he later admitted, was because he was told he would be bringing people back here before he left, so he had hastily tidied up a bit.
There were Quidditch posters nearly wallpapering the room. Several had pictures of himself and, apparently, friends from school all flying around on their brooms tacked on top of the posters. The bed looked slept in and there were a couple pairs of trousers laying on the floor; it looked homey, and it definitely looked like a man lived there. It had no feminine touches, which, of course, it wouldn’t. But it could, Ginny thought with a wicked grin as Harry led her back out. She gripped her wand and muttered something deliciously inventive before following him out.
He showed her around the rest of the house and they chatted in the sitting room for hours. Ginny found Harry to be a great conversationalist and they eventually had to put a silencing charm on the room, afraid they would wake Sirius up with their laughing, since it had gotten to be so late.
Eventually, Ginny found herself sitting next to Harry on a couch, his arm around her, snuggled into his side. She yawned and he caught it, yawning after her. “We should get to bed soon,” he whispered.
She sighed. “I know,” her voice was muffled, as her face was pressed against him as she pouted. He chuckled at her tone of voice and kissed her on the top of the head before standing partially up and lifting her into his arms.
Ginny giggled, not having expected this, and found herself impressed by how easily he lifted her and effortlessly carried her up the stairs.
He set her on the bed, tucked her in, kissed her forehead and was about to leave when Ginny’s voice stopped him. “If I were you,” she said very quietly. “I’d be cautious when going into your room. I left you a surprise.”
Harry stiffened at this pronouncement and immediately walked to his room. Ginny could hear his footsteps and she grinned broadly as she heard the door open.
Back to index
Chapter 30: A Different Kind of Pillow FightEpisode Thirty-One
A Different Kind of Pillow Fight
Harry made a very loud indistinct noise from down the hall and, tired as she was, Ginny couldn’t help leaping out of bed to see his reaction up close.
“What did you do?” he squeaked. Ginny laughed at the pitch of his voice and had trouble forming any sort of reply. “Where are my posters? And what in the name of all things muggle is that all over my bed?” Ginny stepped in behind Harry to view her handiwork and thought that Harry was reacting a bit too strongly for the minimal changes she had made. After all, she’d only had his Quidditch posters change into Witch’s Weekly poster spreads of all the men recently highlighted in the last couple of editions — twenty or so. She didn’t see what the big deal was. Hermione had most of these posters hidden under her bed, which she thought Ginny didn’t know; that’s where she’d gotten the idea.
As for his bed, it was now sprinkled with rose petals, which she thought was fitting, considering that he had so much experience with them now.
“Don’t be such a baby,” Ginny said between laughs. “I could have given you ruffled pink bed sheets and several large teddy bears.” She took a couple seconds to full regain control of her breathing before continuing. “Besides, don’t you think the guys in these posters are hot?” One of them winked suggestively at her after this comment.
Harry turned sharply to her. “You like this kind of guy?” he asked in disgust.
“Truthfully?” she paused. “No. Not at all. But I thought it would be fun.”
“Fun — ?”
“Shhhhhhh. You don’t want to wake Sirius up, do you?”
“Yes, rather, I would. Then perhaps he’d set this right for me.”
“Big powerful Harry Potter can’t change a few posters and vanish a couple flower petals? How pitiful.” She turned to give him the cold shoulder so she didn’t see the pillow that hit her squarely in the back of the head.
“Hey!” she exclaimed before retrieving the pillow and lobbing it back at him. “This is no fun,” she laughed as Harry threw it back at her again.
“Yeah, only cause your losing,” he picked up another of the pillows Ginny had sitting on his bed.
“No, that’s not why.” Ginny threw two pillows at once and ended up missing him with both. He laughed while she finished talking. “One of the first nights, all the girls had a pillow fight together. I wasn’t really in the mood for it then, and I’m definitely not now.”
Harry wasn’t listening as he smiled wickedly and, taking a pillow in either hand, forced her to stand behind his bed to protect herself. She squealed a laugh as she dodged the first pillow by throwing herself on the bed. The second pillow took her in the back. She turned and pulled at Harry’s arm causing him to lose his balance and fall, practically on top of her. Rose petals fluttered in the air, popped up from the bed’s surface from Harry’s fall.
They were both breathing heavily from the excursion and Ginny at least was trying to stop herself from laughing. She turned to smile at Harry and saw an interesting look on his face. Did he just look at my lips? That’s what people in movies do right before they kiss... Oh…
Propped up on one elbow, Harry used his other hand to pull her face toward his own. He pulled away slightly to make sure this was okay with her but she heard herself whimper from the lack of contact. She couldn’t believe she just whimpered, but she found that she didn’t care anymore as soon as he started kissing her again.
Ginny pulled away a bit this time as her lips felt dry. She darted her tongue out to lick her lips quickly, making Harry growl in longing as he pulled her back towards himself.
By this time Harry was halfway on top of Ginny and she could feel his warmth through his clothes. Reaching her hand out, she untucked his shirt from his trousers and slipped her hand up, moving her hand along his back. His skin was so warm. Harry shivered from her touch making Ginny grin into their kiss.
Harry’s lips suddenly left hers making her open her eyes to see what was wrong only to close again with a sharp intake of breath as Harry began to kiss his way from her ear down her neck. When he got to the collar of her shirt he moved part of the fabric aside. If felt so good. His lips were burning her skin and she relished in the heat. He found a particularly sensitive spot near her collarbone and Ginny found herself involuntarily arching her back to give him better access and…was she panting? Who the bloody hell cares?
Still with her hand up his shirt, she shifted her placement and placed her hand on his chest, right over his heart. It was beating as hard as her own.
Right at that moment she heard something from the doorway. A door opening. Shit! “Hey, what were you guys yelling about? I was trying to sleep. It’s three o’clock in the bloody —” Sirius walked in, his voice causing the two of them to leap apart as though burnt, but it was still pretty obvious what had just been going on. “Oh,” he said embarrassedly, his face suffusing with red. “I’m sorry.” He walked quickly back out leaving the door open. “I’ll just be leaving this open, okay?” he asked from the hallway before the two of them heard his quickly retreating footsteps make their way up the stairs.
They looked at each other with wide eyes before they erupted into giggles, shooting nervous glances at the door. Ginny could just guess what Harry was thinking at the moment; probably something along the same lines as what she was thinking: Well…that was awkward…
As their laughter trailed off Ginny had to cover her gaping mouth as she yawned wide enough that her jaw cracked. “Sorry,” she apologized as Harry also yawned.
“Stop doing that,” he glared at her.
“I said sorry.”
Grinning at her as she yawned again, Harry spoke. “We really should get to bed. We have to head back fairly early tomorrow.”
Ginny nodded. He walked her back to her room and at the door she stopped. “Can I ask you something?”
“Now, if you don’t want to answer that’s okay, but I’d like to know. Well, I think I’d like to know,” she paused. “Depending on the answer I’d like to know. I think.” She sighed, exasperated at her lack of communication.
“Fine, I’ll just ask. Did you…” she hesitated, getting her nerve up. “Did you do that with Trista last night?”
Harry let out a breath. “Wow. Er…I don’t know if I want to answer that question.”
Ginny’s heart sank. “It’s okay,” she said with a mirthless laugh. “I know the answer now.”
“Oh, do you?”
Ginny gave him a look that said ‘oh, come on. You’re not fooling anyone.’
“It just so happens,” he said with conviction. “That I didn’t.”
“Yeah, ‘oh,’” Harry mocked.
“Why didn’t you want to tell me that?”
“I don’t know. I guess I figured that if I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know my answer. Silly me,” Harry replied sarcastically.
“There are always assumptions,” Ginny quipped.
“Yes. But, if you recall, yours was wrong.” Ginny glared at him.
“Oh fine. Get technical.”
“What would you rather I do.”
Ginny looked at him coyly. “You could always kiss me goodnight.”
Harry grinned with half his mouth as he moved in and Ginny closed her eyes in expectation. Suddenly something Harry had said hit her. He hadn’t done any of this with Trista last night. Cripes! She pulled away quickly. “Goodnight,” she said with no small amount of embarrassment but tried to sound chipper.
Harry looked confused as he said goodnight back to her and even more confused as her door closed in his face. Oh cripes: Trista! What’s she going to think of me?
At length, Ginny wondered why she cared, then it came to her. Oh yeah. She’s a nice person. It’s not nice to betray a friend. Am I really betraying her? I mean, she’s kissed him too.
Not the same way though, her conscious bit back.
It was quite a while before Ginny was able to get to sleep. She was dreading seeing Trista tomorrow because she knew she couldn’t keep this a secret from her. Her half asleep mind made everything seem more horrible than was physically possible so she was expecting the worst and because of that she feared the worst; feared it with an intensity that made her stomach clench. If I don’t stop this I’m going to give myself an ulcer, Ginny snarled to herself.
Eventually she did drift off to sleep, but it was a sleep troubled with dreams. Horrible dreams that she, blessedly, was unable to remember when she woke up but there was a lingering aftereffect that made her believe they had not been pleasant dreams. Evidence to that was the fact that she found it very hard to eat the eggs Sirius made for them the next morning. That may also have been because of the garlic salt that Sirius had mixed in along with the pepper. “Adds a little kick,” Sirius had informed her smiling. Yes, well, the ‘kick’ was now kicking her arse and she did not appreciate it. Well, not literally, of course; it was more or less kicking her stomach but that just doesn’t sound as dramatic.
Harry seemed to notice that something was wrong, alerting Ginny to the fact that she obviously wasn’t as good an actress as she thought she was. He didn’t ask what the problem was, though, for which Ginny was grateful. She wanted to get the whole thing off her chest, but she didn’t really feel like involving Harry in her internal struggle when he was part of said struggle. She knew that, as good as it might make her feel, it was sure to make Harry feel uncomfortable.
Sirius, on the other hand, was completely oblivious which made Ginny slightly more at ease. He joked as he dished out their breakfast and went into yet another story of his adventures at Hogwarts. It was very refreshing, despite the fact that her stomach didn’t like her at the moment.
After breakfast Harry helped Ginny pack her things back up (he, apparently had packed his the night before. Was he having trouble sleeping last night too?) and all too soon it was time to leave.
The two of them said goodbye to Sirius and Ginny stepped outside as Sirius said a few final words to Harry. She heard him ask “Is there something wrong with Ginny?” in a low tone, making Ginny ashamed of her hasty judgment of Sirius’ perception, before she reached the sidewalk and the house behind her winked out of existence.
Harry joined her moments later and the limo drove up after only a couple of minutes. Harry helped the driver get the luggage in the trunk then opened to door for Ginny who had been trying to help them but was continually rebuffed in her efforts.
As they settled in and the driver started off, Ginny leaned her head on Harry’s shoulder. “Despite the fact that you tried to trick men, your godfather’s mother scared the living daylights out of me and your friend the hippogriff shocked me unconscious…I had a really good time.”
Harry leaned his head on top of hers and chuckled. “Yeah, so did I. Especially the part right before Sirius embarrassed himself.” Harry laughed and Ginny tried to as her face heated and her stomach started roiling again.
Ginny fell asleep on the way back to the castle and she was pretty sure Harry did too because when she woke up as the limo slowed down, Harry seemed to jump as though surprised. Ginny grinned sleepily at him as he rubbed his eyes and grinned back. They both yawned.
The walked in, followed by one of the many serving men carrying their luggage. They had a guide as well, but by this time they had just about figured out how to get around the castle. That reminded Ginny of the night she had gotten lost and bumped into Harry in the hall. She smiled at the memory and was tempted to give Harry’s hand a squeeze but then she remembered that they would be seeing Trista again and she didn’t want to make Trista feel bad at all. That resistance took everything she had.
“Think we have some time to sleep before Connie schedules something for us?” Harry asked after another yawn.
“Your guess is as good as mine. I just hope that Trista was able to stay out of sight yesterday and wasn’t dragged to all of the ‘attractions’ like I was the day before.” Ginny explained briefly what she was talking about when she saw the confused look on Harry’s face. He expressed that he also hoped that Trista was spared that torment and apologized for Ginny having to go through it.
As they entered the alcove and headed off to their respective rooms, Trista was no where in sight. Ginny didn’t know whether to be relieved or allow her nervousness to escalate. If Trista wasn’t already here, did Ginny really have to seek her out to explain? I don’t really have to tell her do I? Ginny thought, then immediately kicked herself for even thinking of chickening out.
Knowing very well that Harry was probably falling asleep in his room and knowing also that she desperately wished she was too — falling asleep, not in his room, of course, Ginny blushed at the thought — Ginny, instead, made her way toward Trista’s room, her heart hammering in her throat.
Tensing before the door, Ginny raised her hand to knock.
Back to index
Chapter 31: Combustion and American PoliticsEpisode Thirty-One
Combustion and American Politics
Ginny waited for a response but got none. She knocked again. Still no answer. Humming a small “hello” she slowly pushed the door open, thinking Trista might be sleeping.
The room was empty. Trista was obviously not there.
“Bollocks,” grumbled Ginny. She needed to find Trista before she lost her nerve. Knocking on the door itself was enough to make Ginny’s heart hammer and it was even worse now, knowing she still had to wait.
Ginny went out to the alcove to wait for Trista to get back from wherever she was. Situating herself on one of the couches, Ginny willed herself to stay awake. Her sleep deprivation, however, won over her will, hands down.
She was jerked awake as someone landed heavily on the couch beside her. Trista sighed as she turned to look at Ginny. “Oh!” she exclaimed, guiltily. “I didn’t realize you were asleep! I’m so sorry.”
Yawning, Ginny smiled at her. “Don’t worry about it. I wasn’t going to fall asleep but my consciousness had other ideas.” She yawned again. “Where were you?”
Trista sighed again, rolling her eyes toward the ceiling as she did. “I tried to take your advice, but that Connie!” She growled in a most unladylike way, causing Ginny’s eyes to widen in disbelief. “I tried hiding from her, telling her I was going to take a nap, telling her I was in the shower — she actually walked into the bathroom with me, but I couldn’t very well strip with her standing there! Good grief she’s a stubborn woman.” She sighed again and slumped into the couch. “I sure hope you had more fun than I did.”
Ginny was suddenly having to swallow her heart, as it had lodged itself in her throat. “About that,” Ginny croaked. “There’s something I have to tell you.”
Trista turned serious as she looked at Ginny’s face. “You kissed him, didn’t you?”
“Oh Trista!” Ginny blurted out with a tearless sob. “I didn’t just kiss him! I snogged him. I’m so sorry! I’ll understand if you hate me. I didn’t want to. I mean, of course I wanted to; I was dying to! But I didn’t want to hurt you, so I tried not to but, my gosh, it’s hard to resist him and —” Ginny stopped talking abruptly as she saw the veritable steam coming out of Trista’s ears. Ginny was going to ask Trista how mad she was, but found that she now had absolutely no control over her voice.
Trista, however, didn’t seem to be having that problem at all. “You what?” she hissed. “I tell you last night that I kissed him and today you tell me the two of you MADE OUT? How am I supposed to respond to that? Come on, Ginny. I thought we were friends. How could you do this to me? I would have preferred if you’d kept it a secret. This was so tactless of you!”
Ginny had the urge to remind Trista that she had done the same thing last night, and as such, Ginny would also have preferred to be in the dark on the subject. She held her tongue however.
Trista’s hair started to catch on fire and Ginny looked down in surprise to see that she was literally holding her tongue. This surprise had just barely registered when Trista’s head exploded like a stick of dynamite, causing Ginny to sit up suddenly, which consequently also woke her up.
It had been a dream. Ginny sighed in relief then gasped anew as she heard a voice beside her. “Oh!” exclaimed Trista’s voice. “I didn’t realize you were sleeping.”
Deja’vu! Ginny thought in horror. She sat up very straight and looked cautiously at Trista to make sure that nothing was about to burst into flame as it had in her dream.
“What’s wrong, Ginevra?” Trista asked worriedly, convincing Ginny that she wasn’t dreaming again: Trista had called her Ginny in her dream.
“I have something I need to tell you, but I really don’t want to because I just had a dream that I told you and it didn’t go well.”
“How did I react to whatever it is you want to tell me?” Trista asked interestedly.
“You blew up. Literally. I mean, your head exploded.”
Trista tittered. “Well, I promise that won’t happen if you tell me.”
Ginny hesitated and Trista turned serious. “What is it?”
“Remember what you told me last night?” Ginny asked with trepidation.
“Ginevra, did you and Harry kiss.”
“Yes. Yes, we kissed, but that isn’t all.”
Trista’s eyes widened. “You didn’t sleep with him, did you?” she whispered intensely.
“What? No. No, no, absolutely not!”
Trista laughed again, relieved. “You scared me there for a second. So, what did you do?”
“Wesnogged!” Ginny rushed the words.
“Ah,” Trista said without expression. “I can’t honestly say that I’m not upset about that, but I was rather expecting that to happen when I came on this show. After all, the Bachelor usually makes out with most of the girls and often sleeps with them as well. I thought I had hardened myself to the idea, but I can admit that it still hurts a little.”
“I’m so sorry Trista. I wasn’t going to because I didn’t want to hurt you, but… Well, you know.”
“Yes. I know.”
“At least you had the time to harden yourself to the idea though,” Ginny muttered, not thinking.
“What do you mean?”
Crap. “Can you keep a secret?”
Ginny looked around to make sure that no cameramen were hidden anywhere or something like that. “I didn’t actually sign up to be on this show,” Ginny whispered.
“What?” Trista whispered back in shock.
“My best friend and flat-mate saw an add and sent in my information because she thought it was taking me too long to get over my ex-fiancé. I didn’t know anything about it until I got the letter notifying me of my acceptance.”
“That means — did she forge your signature?”
Ginny thought about it for a second. “She must have,” she answered in an aggravated monotone.
Trista started laughing. “And what is so funny, Miss Trista?”
Trista spoke between laughs: “You poor thing. Here you are — in the semi-finals — and you didn’t even want to come here.” She couldn’t talk now she was laughing so hard. “Are you going to kill your friend or thank her when you get home from this?”
“Funny you should say that,” Ginny said, hoping that Trista would not die of asphyxiation from lack of oxygen intake. “I’ve actually be wondering that same thing since I left to come here.”
“And the verdict?” Trista asked.
“At the risk of sounding cliché, the jury is still out. They were a rather biased bunch to begin with, however. One look at our bachelor and they pretty much had their minds’ made up. Sods.”
So much for hoping Trista would stop laughing. And, with the amount of sleep Ginny had gotten the night before and her relief that Trista was, in fact, not going to spontaneously combust, Ginny couldn’t help laughing with her.
Eventually their laughter subsided. “I am so tired.” Ginny’s words were followed by a tell-tale yawn; Trista giggled again.
“Well then, why don’t you get some sleep. Lord knows I’d like to get some. I know I won’t get any tonight. Tomorrow is the beginning of the end.”
Ginny felt all the blood leave her face and felt it all frantically travel to her heart. The end. Tomorrow it would all end. “Wait here a second,” Ginny commanded as she jumped up from the couch and sprinted to her room. She grabbed what she had come for and raced back to Trista.
She tore the piece of paper in half and gave Trista one half and a pen and kept the other for herself. “Give me your address. We’ll fire-speak sometime. Unless: does your house have a telephone? My dad is crazy about all things Muggle, so we’ve had one for years at our house, and my flat-mate is muggle born, so we had to have one too.”
“Actually, I do have one. I’ll put my number down too.”
They finished writing and swapped papers. “Now,” Ginny began. “we have to promise that, no matter what happens tomorrow, we’ll still get in contact. We can’t let the outcome of this silly show effect our friendship. Promise?”
“Absolutely,” Trista grinned.
They two hugged, which made Ginny slightly uncomfortable, since she really wasn’t the hugging type, then Ginny complained that if she didn’t get some sleep soon, she was certainly going to start hallucinating, and she claimed that the thought scared her. “The last time I dreamed, your head exploded, so hopefully I can keep that from happening.”
Ginny walked to her room and threw herself on the bed, sighing with the comfort the soft mattress lent her. She scooted herself toward the pillow and curled up on her side. Ten minutes later she changed positions. Another five and she moved again.
Despite the absolute exhaustion, Ginny couldn’t fall asleep. Sighing again, Ginny crossed one arm behind her head and stared at the ceiling.
Tomorrow was the end. Would it be the end, or just the beginning of the end, like Trista suggested. Tomorrow, it could either all be over, or only just beginning. Ginny wasn’t sure which she wanted it to be.
Dinner was set in a fancy dining room several confusing turns in the hallways away. The three of them sat at a strange almost square table set with candles and a more-than-glamorous oh-my-stars-how-much-did-that-thing-cost centerpiece. The room was far too large for the table and Ginny was almost afraid to talk, thinking that the echo would deafen the lot of them.
Ginny had never sat down for a meal with so many silver-ware choices. She had heard that in fancy restaurants there were specific forks for salad and the like, but she couldn’t imagine which one was for what. Harry seemed to be equally confused, and relieved that someone else was as confused as him. Trista seemed completely at home and actually giggled as she explained the uses for all of the things on their table. Ginny felt very uncomfortable eating like this, because she had never had impeccable table manners.
Now, is one supposed to cut meat by poking the fork in and cutting with the knife and immediately eating the piece cut off? Or is one supposed to gently hold the meat with the fork and trade hands after the piece has been cut in order to skewer the piece and then eat it? Or neither? Gah! I hate this.
Trista had flawless table manners, making Ginny hope that her face was not turning an obvious shade of green. Eventually Ginny just gave up trying to look graceful as she ate, because it was taking too long and she was torturing and slowly starving herself by trying.
Trista was eating gracefully and she was doing it effortlessly. Good thing I promised nothing would damage our friendship, because this would be getting me close to hating her, the part of Ginny’s consciousness, that had decided that lack of sleep was a horribly cruel thing for the world to force upon her, grumbled.
Ginny was very glad when dinner was over, especially after Connie came in half way through the meal and began rattling off the itinerary for the next day. Ginny’s appetite left her and she began to have a horrible heart-swallowing stomach ache at hearing about the next days events that she was sure she would never want to eat again.
Connie seemed oblivious of the torment she was putting Ginny through — either that or the wench was taking delight in it — and so continued on about it for nearly ten minutes. Oh yes, Ginny was very glad indeed when dinner was over.
After dinner, and one very gorgeous, green-eyed smiled later, Harry took to his room and Trista followed Ginny back to hers.
The two talked several hours into the night until Trista, noticing the glazed look in Ginny’s eyes, commanded her to go to sleep. Trista yawned as she left and, smiling, wished Ginny good luck for the morrow. Ginny almost wanted to cry. She stopped herself, however; the logical part of her consciousness — or the part of her consciousness that was actually still conscious — knew that if she cried right before falling asleep she was sure to have unsightly puffy-eye when she woke up. And that, of course, just would not do.
Laying on her bed with the lights off and still fully clothed, Ginny decided it was definitely time to try to get to sleep when the logical part of her consciousness and the part that thought the world was cruel and all that rot, began a heated discussion about American politics, which Ginny’s overall consciousness actually knew nothing about.
“I am absolutely nutters,” Ginny whined to herself as she rolled over and forced her mind to turn off for the night.
You know, maybe Bush really isn’t as much of a wanker as everyone makes him out to be.
Ginny groaned as she debated whether or not to start laughing hysterically or crying herself to sleep; hang the puffy-eyes.
Yeah, so, sorry this took forever to update. I've been busy with married life and school and work and debating whether or not we're going to transfer to another school, and all that rot, so...
I hope to get at least another chapter of this written by the end of Spring Break, but I may wait a few days before I post it, because I seem to get more reviews that way *winks*
Thank you all for being so patient!
Back to index
Chapter 32: Surprise!Episode Thirty-Two
Some strange high pitched insect was buzzing in Ginny’s head. It wasn’t until after she had tried to swat it away several times that she realized it was the alarm clock going off. Groaning, Ginny rolled over and slapped the alarm, hoping that would turn it off. Nothing happened.
Ginny pulled herself up to look and saw that someone had removed the snooze button from the alarm. “Bloody marvelous,” Ginny muttered heatedly as she searched the annoying thing for an off switch.
That crusade being won, Ginny threw the covers off and staggered over to the bathroom. The warm water felt wonderful and Ginny found herself almost falling asleep. It was going to be a very bad day.
Or a very good day, Ginny thought to herself optimistically. Remembering Trista, however, she changed her mind again. No, very bad day. No matter what happens,something is going to go badly.
Cutting the shower short so as not to tempt unconsciousness, Ginny jumped out and dressed quickly. She half-heartedly did her hair and makeup then slogged over to Trista’s room.
“Good morning,” Trista sang as Ginny walked into the room.
Ginny couldn’t help but feel her spirits rise with the enthusiasm of her friend. Ginny was about to say as much when the door opened.
“Oh good, you’re in here too, Ginevra. I need both of you to pack up all of your things as quickly as you can.”
“Both of us?” Trista asked, shooting a confused look at Ginny.
“Well, yes, of course,” Connie giggled. “No matter which one of you stays, neither of you will be sleeping in these rooms tonight.” She was still giggling as she left the room.
“Well, isn’t she a little ray of sunshine?” Ginny asked bitterly.
“What do you mean?”
Ginny looked at Trista for a couple seconds, contemplating whether or not to say anything. “Never mind. I just never believed that woman really liked anyone, that’s all.”
“I always thought she was very sweet,” Trista argued, confused by Ginny’s opinion.
“You’re probably right,” Ginny lied, smiling.
The two parted company in order to do some packing and later helped each other finish up. They were brought a bit of food to eat while they were working and Ginny was struck by a bit of irony. “You notice that we’re doing all the work here, without any help from them, and yet they decide to bring us food?”
“Well, they couldn’t very well pack our stuff up for us, could they?”
“I don’t know. They did move rooms on us before, if you remember.”
The two sat down to rest as they ate then immediately got back to work. There wasn’t much left to be done by that point, and they finished up ahead of schedule. After leaving their packed bags where they were readily available, they changed into their dress clothes to await their final summonses (Trista’s, incidentally, was the one she wore the first day of the whole fiasco). They then made their way to the alcove to wait. They sat in silence for a few minutes until Ginny’s heard a sound coming from Trista.
A very unlady-like snort came from Trista as she hastily wiped at her eyes. Who would have thought that Trista would be graceful in everything…except crying…
“…Why are you crying?” Ginny asked confusedly, moving over to a seat beside Trista.
“Oh!” she moaned into her hands. “I don’t even know!” She sniffled and reached for the tissue box sitting on the table beside the couch. “I was just thinking about which would be worse in this situation: being sent home or knowing that you had been.”
“I’ve been thinking along those same lines. But why are you crying?”
“Why aren’t you?” Trista countered with a small sob, snorting again as she inhaled a breath. Ginny had to try very had not to laugh.
“I don’t know. I guess, because, if I get sent home, I know you will be happy and I won’t be angry at you for being so, and I hope you would feel the same if you were sent home.”
“I would, of course,” Trista sniffled again and dabbed at her eyes with the tissue. “I just wish neither of us had to lose.”
“Do you really consider it losing?” Ginny asked quietly.
“What do you mean?”
Ginny hesitated, wondering if she really believed what she was about to say. “Well, I don’t think either of us is really going to ‘win’ in this situation, so how will one of us ‘lose’? Obviously Harry likes both of us or we wouldn’t have gotten this far and I’m sure this is a really tough choice for him. If that’s the case, and we can keep it from being weird, I’m sure all three of us could be comfortable together after this is all over.” Ginny paused to let this sink in. “I know that if I ‘win,’ at least, I’ll want you hanging around. I think you and Hermione would get along great. And I hope that if you ‘win’ you won’t forget all about me either.”
“Of course not.” Trista blew her nose.
“Well then, nothing to worry about,” Ginny said in a chipper voice, hoping that she didn’t sound too superficial.
“You’re right,” Trista said dabbing the rest of her tears away. “Augh! Look at me, I’m a mess. I’m going to go redo my make up before anything else happens.”
Ginny laughed as Trista left. As soon as she heard Trista’s door close, Ginny stood up and repositioned her dress. Ginny wasn’t used to the halter-top dress that Hermione had convinced her to buy (and Trista convinced her to wear) she constantly felt as though she needed to rearrange something. The pulled at the fabric near her waist and sighed as she snugged it tighter. It was indecently tight, in Ginny’s estimation, when it was snug like that, but she had to admit it looked silly when it wasn’t snug.
She was about to sit back down when someone walked into the room. Turning, Ginny both hoped and dreaded that it would be Harry. The blood rushed to her face, then left her pale as she saw it was only Connie. A very smug looking Connie.
“Where did Trista go?”
“To fix her makeup,” Ginny answered with apprehension.
“Well, come on.” Connie began to leave and looked back when she noticed Ginny wasn’t following. “Well?”
“Where exactly are we going?”
“Well, neither of you are allowed to know which of you is going first, or what Harry’s final answer for you is. That being the case, you can’t be around each other when you’re summoned.”
Connie came back and started tugging at Ginny’s arm. “I didn’t get to say goodbye to Trista though,” she struggled against Connie’s grip but her arm wasn’t loosened.
“That won’t matter soon. Come on.”
That won’t matter soon? It had a very ominous sound to it, and Ginny felt her apprehension rise. She didn’t remember their traverse through the castle, and only came out of her trance as the limo driver opened the door for her.
Relieved that Connie didn’t seem to be about to follow her, Ginny was about to settle in for a peaceful ride. However, as she relaxed against the seat back she looked up to see both a cameraman and an interviewer sitting across from her.
Swallowing back the scream that had threatened to escape her in fright, Ginny looked timidly at the two men sitting across from them. The interviewer was the same one from before, from her group date.
“Oh, not you again,” she muttered. He smiled wickedly.
“We are rolling, by the way, Miss Weasley.”
“Peachy,” Ginny responded with an affected smile that melted into a bitter grimace. “So, what startling questions do you have for me today?”
“Well, getting right down to it,” no, please, by all means, stall — wanker. “How do you feel about Janice being kicked off earlier?”
“Considering that Janice was a lying manipulator who only wanted to win for publicity — and you can quote me on that, as well as look up the facts in earlier footage — and considering that she absolutely despised me and only chose to hide the fact when Harry was around…I don’t find that I miss her at all. How odd.”
The interviewer blinked a few times. “Please, tell us how you really feel.”
Ginny didn’t even give him the satisfaction of chuckling at his pathetic joke but instead merely waiting impatiently for him to get on to the next question.
He cleared his throat when he realized she wasn’t planning on responding. “Right. What do you think of Trista? Hate her too? Is she conniving and evil as well, h’mm?”
Ginny’s eyebrows scrunched up. “No. Trista has become a very good friend during the time we’ve been here. She’s a very nice person and I’m proud to have made it as far as her. I’m glad the two of us made it this far together.”
“Mm’hmm. I find it very interesting that the one who was kicked off you claim to hate, and the one still left you claim to really like. How very interesting.”
“What is this? Make Ginevra look bad day?” Ginny muttered. The interviewer asked her to speak louder, so she said. “If you had asked me what I thought of Janice and Trista last week I would have given the same answers. Janice has always been a bitch, and Trista has always been an angel. Does that answer satisfy you, or would you like to probe a bit deeper?”
“You seem very tense,” he commented right on the end of her response. “Are you nervous?”
“Are you daft?” was her only response.
While the interviewer spluttered a bit at this insult, Ginny chanced a glance out the window. “What the — why are we going in circles?” She watched as they drove past the castle in the same direction they had gone when they left.
“Didn’t Connie tell you? You aren’t allowed to know which of you is going to see Harry first, and since you know you left the castle first, we’re going to drive around for a bit so that you don’t know who is seeing him first.”
“This is ridiculous.”
Ginny began to ignore the interviewers questions as they got more personal and much more scathing. She watched again as they drove past the castle for a third and then a fourth time. Suddenly they were taking a different rode. They were no longer driving in circles. Ginny’s heart began to race. This was it. In only a few more minutes, she was going to find out whether or not Harry had chosen her. She wondered briefly how these shows actually ended. Was she to expect him to propose to her? Cripes! How would she respond to something like that? Heaven knew she liked him, maybe — possibly — loved him…but she didn’t know him nearly enough to marry him yet. She found herself squirming nervously in her seat with a sickly sweet grin on her face and red cheeks. The interviewer was still asking his unanswered questions and seemed not to notice her current state, for which she was relieved. She tried to calm herself down, thinking that soon the suspense would be over.
Perhaps soon wasn’t the correct word though. After they stopped driving in circles it still took a good half hour more until they reached their destination. Ginny had gone from impatient, to excited, to bored, and back again during the ride. She was beginning to hope that it would just end, no matter how it played out. She was sick of riding in this stupid limo with this stupider interviewer.
The limo stopped and the limo driver came to help her out. Before she had placed even one foot on the pavement, the interviewer asked his final question. “Do you think Mr. Potter is going to pick you?”
Ginny paused. “I hope so,” she whispered. She wasn’t sure if the microphone had picked up her response and she didn’t really care. Giving her hand to the limo driver, she stepped out of the limo and, with satisfaction, heard the door close behind her.
This is it.
Ginny was led around a large building whose walls had ivy growing thickly over the brick finish. The ivy leaves swayed in the breeze and Ginny closed her eyes as she felt the breeze whip around her as well. What a beautiful day. She hoped it continued to be beautiful in her estimation.
Around the corner, Ginny got her first glimpse of Harry. Her escort stopped and motioned her on. Harry stood at the end of a terrace overlooking a dazzling scene. But she didn’t see the scenery. She saw only Harry. He was holding a blue rose.
Blue? What does a blue rose mean? Augh! I can’t stand this!
She walked slowly down towards where Harry stood, hoping that she didn’t trip in the disastrous stilettos Hermione had picked out to match the dress. She had a hard time walking anyway, since she wasn’t looking at all where her feet were going, but staring instead at Harry.
He looked unbelievably handsome. He was wearing a black tux with a black shirt and a tie that matched his greens eyes perfectly. Ginny had to remind herself to breath as she drew nearer and their eyes met. Ginny hoped she wasn’t imagining the emotion she saw burning in his eyes.
“You look…beautiful,” Harry breathed when she reached him.
“You are gorgeous,” she whispered back, blushing. She smiled to see him blush at her comment.
She saw his eyes drift downward slightly before he brought his now widened eyes back up to her face, his cheeks redder than before, and cleared his throat.
“I’m supposed to give a little speech,” he whispered, his lips barely moving. “It’s silly, but please don’t laugh.” She smiled with her eyes at this comment, trying not to give away that he had said anything.
He cleared his throat again. “You and Trista are both wonderful girls and I’ve come to care deeply for both of you. But I have to choose just one of you. My decisions for you and Trista to progress during the course of this have not been a tough decision. I’ve liked both of you from the start. Choosing between you to has been a bit more difficult, but I have finally come to a decision.”
Harry handed Ginny the blue rose in his hand and took her other hand in both of his. “I don’t feel we know each other well enough for me to propose to you just yet, but I wan the chance to get to know you that well.”
Ginny didn’t dare breath. She wasn’t sure she had understood correctly.
“I choose you, Ginevra ‘Ginny’ Weasley, if you’ll have me.” Harry grinned like a little boy as he said this and Ginny felt tears coming to her eyes.
“Or, if you’ll have me.” Ginny heard the voice behind her and saw Harry’s face lose some of its color. She recognized the voice, but she didn’t want to believe it was true. She turned slowly, keeping her eyes locked on Harry’s until the last possible moment.
She turned and looked into the face of the last person she had expected to see.
I’m sure you all hate me by now for how long it took me to update. I have no excuses except to say that I’m lazy, busy and recently had the flu really bad. Plus, for some reason, my creativity was completely gone and I figured you all would hate me even more if the chapter was short and sucked, so I thought I would take a bit more time, get my inspiration back and give you a longer more rewarding chapter. Hope you didn’t mind the wait too much…and if you did, I don’t want to hear about it -grins-
Back to index
Chapter 33: Three's a CrowdEpisode Thirty-Three
Three’s a Crowd
Ginny couldn’t seem to be able to breath. And she couldn’t seem to take her eyes off Neville, no matter how hard she tried. She stepped back away from him, toward Harry. She wanted to grab Harry’s hand and tell him that she didn’t care what happened, she wanted to be with him. Not Neville. Oh dear God, not Neville!
Before she could move anymore, she saw the cameramen flanking them. They were poorly concealed, but since she hadn’t really been paying attention to anything but Harry as she had walked down, it wasn’t hard to understand why she didn’t see them.
Standing behind a group of them was Connie, her smug smile still in place. Ginny wished she was closer so that she could punch her. Or spit in her face and tear her hair out. Ginny wondered if Connie would like a cat-fight for their show, even if she herself was involved in it too.
“Ginny,” Neville spoke, stepping toward her. Ginny didn’t think she had the strength to move a muscle. “Gin, I’m so sorry.” His voice sounded sincere, and after so many months of pining for the man before her, Ginny couldn’t help the tears that came to her eyes.
“What are you doing here, Neville?” Ginny choked the words out around the lump in her throat.
“I found out that you had come on this show and I couldn’t stand the thought of you being with someone else. Ginny, please believe me. I am so sorry. Please, take me back?”
While he had been speaking, Connie had begun to walk closer, as he finished, she signaled to the cameramen, who walked off. She laid a hand on Neville’s shoulder, making him sag a little under the slight weight. He seemed as though his sadness had destroyed him. Ginny couldn’t help but feel pity.
“You don’t have to decide now,” Connie said in the kindest voice she had ever used with Ginny. Ginny didn’t believe the sincerity in it at all, and she thought Connie knew that very well. She was acting for the sake of the boys. How many fake people are involved in this stupid show? Ginny thought in desperation.
“Tonight,” Connie began again. “The three of you will be going on a date together,” Ginny’s heart sank into her stomach, and then popped back up to her throat bringing her stomach with it as Connie laid her hand on Ginny’s shoulder. Ginny felt her bile rising at the contact. Don’t touch me.
“Wait,” Harry spoke, his voice faint. “All three of us?”
“Yes,” was Connie’s only reply. Ginny willed Connie to take her hand away before Ginny really did slug her; that or vomit all over someone, preferably Connie. Ginny smiled inwardly at the thought.
“Why all three of us?” Neville asked harshly.
“Well, Ginevra here has to decide between the two of you. She can’t very well do that if she doesn’t spend some time with you. And being with both of you at the same time will make it easier for her to compare the two of you.
Compare them?? Ginny’s mind screamed and Ginny wished she could voice it.
“We still have a few more hours before then, however. So, each of you will be taken some place where you can freshen up for dinner tonight,” she paused and looked briefly at Ginny. “I would suggest you wear something more comfortable. After all…don’t you think that dress is a little inappropriate, Ginevra?”
I’ll kill you. I swear, I will kill you.
“Well then,” Connie sighed, smiling brightly and smirking at Ginny who was still silently letting Connie insult her. “Come along you three, we don’t have that much time, after all. And Ginevra here always seems to take forever to get ready.” Connie twittered a laugh. “Isn’t that right, Ginevra.”
Oh, you did not just go there.
Neville laughed at Connie’s joke, lighthearted and commenting that he had always noticed the same thing. Ginny heard Harry take a quick breath behind her but was too embarrassed to turn and look at him. How she hated people making fun of her in this fashion; especially when the joke wasn’t even true!
Ginny felt a hand on her arm and was hoping that it was Harry, but instead, one of the many tuxedoed men was instead standing behind her, waiting to escort her somewhere new entirely. I am so sick of this, Ginny thought lethargically.
The building Ginny had passed coming from the limo to the terrace where Harry had been waiting was the building her escort led her to. The hallways in this building were as confusing as the ones in the castle they had been staying in, but, if possible, this building was even grander.
Her escort finally stopped outside a door. He opened the door and gestured her in. “I’ll be back for you in one hour,” the escort intoned in an almost bored voice. As he walked away, Ginny stuck her tongue out at him before stepping inside the room.
In the room she entered, which was less a room and more a small finely decorated apartment, her things were already laying about as though someone had unpacked for her. Sure, they’ll unpack, but we had to pack our own stuff earlier. This thought brought Trista to mind and Ginny felt tears sting her eyes. She hoped that Trista wasn’t upset with her for winning. She hoped that Trista would find some other great guy to give her heart to. She hoped that Connie didn’t have any more tricks up her sleeve. Ginny found herself hoping a lot of things.
Ginny took another quick shower in order to be able to redo her hair in a style that was less flashy than the one she currently had. After the shower, she found something more suitable — damn Connie — and slipped into it before examining herself in the mirror.
I never would have guessed that I would have men fighting over me after spending so much time fighting with other girls over one man. This is pathetic.
Ginny redid her make up, taking special care to not go overboard — Augh! How I hate Connie — and even after all this was done, she still had a quarter of an hour before the escort would be back for her. So much for me taking “forever” to get ready, huh, Connie?
Ginny felt her anger rising again and had to quash it before her face got all red. She hardly wanted to look unattractive at dinner. It really wouldn’t do if both Harry and Neville determined she was too much of a handful and both decided that they didn’t really want her. The thought that Harry might not still want her caused a lump to lodge itself in her throat. Breathing was difficult for a few seconds as she tried to calm herself down.
Wishing that she still had some knitting to do, or that she hadn’t already finished the book she brought with her, Ginny sat gently on the bed and waited. There was a clock hanging on the wall across the way from the bed and Ginny constantly looked up at it, willing the time to move faster. Not that she wanted to have this horrid dinner, but she might as well get the whole debacle over with. Plus, Ginny was always impatient when she was nervous, and she was probably more nervous now than she had been this morning before she had found out that Harry had picked her.
Before, the decision had been out of her hands. She had wanted to be chosen, but if she hadn’t been, she wouldn’t have blamed herself. Now, the choice fell on her. Ginny hated having to be decisive. This whole ordeal did not bode well with her.
At length, Ginny heard a tap at her door and sighed in relief. She stepped out of her room and followed the well-dressed serving man to dinner. She was the first one there, besides Connie who gave Ginny a poorly concealed venomous look.
“I decided to have you sent for first, since it takes so long for you to get ready. I thought that extra notice would bring you faster. Seems I was right.” She smiled. Ginny almost bit her.
Ginny held her tongue in order to not go off raving about how she had been ready for the last fifteen minutes or more because she knew that Connie would pretend that she didn’t believe her anyway, so there was not point in wasting her breath. She had a feeling that breathing was going to be difficult enough at dinner this night. The man she used to pine desperately over and the man she had begun to pine desperately over. This was going to be a very awkward dinner indeed.
Instead of arguing, Ginny gave Connie what she hoped was her most winning smile and took a seat in the chair she assumed was for her. It was alone on one side of the table with two chairs facing her. This is going to be like facing the firing squad.
Harry and Neville both walked into the dining room from different doors and Ginny almost dropped her jaw at their appearance. I’ve never seen a firing squad that was quite this attractive…
They were both wearing dress robes. Harry’s were a dark emerald green, so dark that it almost didn’t appear green at all except that it made his eyes stand out as though they were glowing. Neville was in navy dress robes, ones that she had seen him in on countless occasions. They had always been her favorite dress robes of his and she had often told him so. She hadn’t realized he had actually been listening.
The two men both smiled at her as they came in. Neville’s smile was confident and Harry’s rather shy as though he thought he looked silly. Ginny thought he couldn’t be farther from the truth. She had to remind herself not to look exclusively at Harry because she knew Neville would notice. She wasn’t exactly sure why she cared though. I guess I still have feelings for him, Ginny admitted to herself.
Whatever they had for dinner was delicious, though Ginny didn’t really notice what she was eating despite the fact that she paid a lot of attention to how she was eating. Neville struck up a conversation immediately and Ginny felt herself falling back into the old routine of conversing with him. Harry said very little, he just sat eating and glancing at Ginny and occasionally looked at Neville sidelong.
Ginny was starting to get annoyed with Harry. He wasn’t even trying to get in on the conversation. She found herself subtly flirting with Neville just to get a reaction from Harry. It did just the opposite. The more Ginny giggled and blushed at Neville while talking, the more she playfully slapped his arm or reacted to his stories, the further Harry seemed to pull into himself until he almost looked like a turtle withdrawing into its shell. The sight almost made Ginny sick.
She was most grateful when dinner was over. Harry hadn’t spoken a word other than asking someone to pass the pasties during dessert and requesting a refill from one of the serving men. It was obvious to Ginny that Neville was beginning to believe that Harry was a complete vegetable and Ginny could see the calculations in Neville’s mind about how wrong everyone had been about the famous Mr. Potter. Ginny wanted the slap the smug look off his face, but instead she merely dabbed at her lips with her napkin and shot furious glances at Harry when Neville wasn’t looking. By this time, however, Harry had completely stopped looking at her so her fury went on unnoticed.
Ginny glanced at the clock on one of the walls and realized that they had been at the table for far longer than she had thought. It was getting rather late. She made excuses for herself to leave in order to get to sleep at a decent hour. She also really just wanted to get away from the men for a while to think, but she obviously wasn’t going to tell them that.
Neville stood up and hugged her when he heard her say she was going to leave. It felt just as good as it always had. She smelled his familiar smell and began reminiscing about their times together. She felt a longing deep inside her to go back to those good times. She had been happy then.
He released her and Ginny had to blink to keep herself from tearing up. Harry stepped up to her as well but instead of embracing her as Neville had, he lifted her hand tenderly and placed a soft kiss on the back. “Goodnight Ginny,” he whispered, looking up into her eyes. She read the betrayal in his eyes. She could tell that he knew what she had been thinking. She turned away suddenly, wishing even more desperately that Harry had hugged her. She needed a good cry and Harry’s shoulder would have been very therapeutic.
Instead, she left the room and followed her escort impatiently. She wanted to run to her room but she had no idea where it was. When they got there, she shut her door in his face, which he didn’t seem to mind in the slightest and fell back on her bed gasping between sobs as she smothered her face in a pillow.
Why? Why wasn’t Harry fighting for her? Was he beginning to think he’d made a mistake? Didn’t he care for her anymore? She still loved him. She thought she loved him. She still really really like him, at the very least. But he was just passively letting Neville win. She screamed into her pillow, crying all the harder.
Would it really be so terrible to go back to Neville? She knew she loved him and she was pretty sure he would act better than he had before. No, she was positive he would. He loved her and he wouldn’t hurt her again.
But she didn’t want to be with Neville anymore. She wanted to be with Harry. But Harry didn’t want her anymore.
Ginny picked up the pillow she had been crying into and chucked it across the room, hearing a satisfying ‘thunk’ as it made contact with the far wall.
She wished she had something to hex. Grabbing her wand, she stood looking around the room to see if there was something that could withstand a bat-bogey hex. It was on the tip of her tongue and she was ready to let it loose.
Suddenly a knock sounded at her door. The door opened not long after to admit Connie’s head. “Is something amiss?” she asked innocently. “I just wanted to tell you that you’ll have to make your decision early tomorrow morning. You’ll be on the other end of the rose ceremony then. I’ll explain how the whole thing is supposed to work tomorrow after you’re up. Be ready by 8 o’clock.”
Ginny’s hand shook with the desire to lob the hex at Connie but she knew it wouldn’t be a good idea. She ground her teeth and tried to smile and nod at Connie when she really wanted to hear the horrible woman scream as her hex hit her squarely in the chest. Maybe she could just punch her like she had Janice. That would be satisfying as well.
Not interpreting any of Ginny’s signs, Connie smiled in a pseudo-friendly way and shut the door. Ginny quickly muttered a silencing charm on the room before she screamed until her throat went hoarse.
Back to index
Chapter 34: PostponedEpisode Thirty-Four
It appeared to Ginny, when she woke up several hours before it was necessary for her to be up, that perhaps she had been premature in thinking that it had been time to go to bed the night before. Clearly the hour that she had assumed would be a “decent hour” was in reality several hours too early, just like her hour of awakening. In Laymen’s terms, she was wide awake and severely bored.
Not only was she bored, but she was nervous. She was not any closer to making her decision now than she had been the night before. True, at dinner Harry had practically ignored her, but the more she thought about it, the more she realized he had been acting rather like a wounded animal. Perhaps he had not betrayed her; he merely believed she had betrayed him. This thought made Ginny regret very much her attitude from the night before, but thinking about it was only making her more nervous and more wide awake.
She decided to indulge herself in an incredibly long shower, as she had not permitted herself to do so practically since she’d arrived at this infernal show. It took her a full hour to bathe and dress herself. She spent another half hour carefully applying her makeup and styling her hair. She had to admit, she was looking good.
At least an hour before she assumed she would be summoned, a knock sounded at the door. Ginny headed toward it to invite the knocker in but it opened before she got there. In strolled Connie looking much the worse for wear. Ginny wasn’t sure what had happened, but anything that bent Connie so out of shape was alright with Ginny.
“You’re already up.” There was a question lingering in her gaze, but the comment itself did not seem to be a query. “I would have thought you’d be lounging in bed at this hour.” Ginny ground her teeth but remained silent. As though muttering to herself and not expecting Ginny to hear, though obviously speaking loud enough that Ginny would have had to be deaf to miss it, Connie said “how you manage to be late when you wake up so early, I’ll never know.”
“To what do I owe the pleasure of your company so early in the morning?” Ginny bit off the words in the manner she wished she could bite off each of Connie’s finger.
“Oh, yes, I nearly forgot.” Connie twittered a laugh and Ginny had to struggle not to roll her eyes. The laugh did not reach farther than Connie’s mouth, however; she still appeared to be in a very bad way. “Your decision has been postponed until tomorrow. It appears,” she added, seeing the incredulous look on Ginny’s face, “that the boys have made themselves rather…indisposed.” She said no more. She left with the air of one who walks into a room and completely forgot the purpose for her entrance. Ginny smiled grimly at her discomfiture.
Indisposed? Ginny thought. What is this about?
She stepped out of her room and was about to start getting herself lost in the process of finding someone who knew what was going on, but she was not given this chance. One of the many pretty-boy escorts was stationed outside her room.
“May I help you Miss Weasley?”
“Erm…I wanted to talk to —” Harry! “Neville. Could you show me where he’s staying?” Why? Why did I say Neville? I don’t want to see Neville right now! Gah!
He turned and hurried off down the hallway and Ginny had could do nothing but follow. She figured that if she changed her mind half-way through, it would get back to Connie and there was no telling what she would make of it. ‘A bit fickle, aren’t you Ginevra?’ ‘I would have thought you’d be the type of person who stubbornly sticks to her first instinct.’ Oh, how I hate that woman.
In a much shorter time than Ginny expected, they reached what were apparently Neville’s chambers. Thanking the man rankled since she had not really wanted to see Neville, but she couldn’t very well blame him. She had asked, after all.
As the man walked off down the hallway Ginny raised her hand to knock, but paused. She wished now that she had asked Connie more information, as much as it would have delighted Connie to dangle something that Ginny wanted above her head. She did delight in vexing and belittling Ginny at any opportunity, after all. But facing Neville’s door, behind which was assuredly Neville himself, Ginny wished she could be prepared for what she was about to hear, whatever the excuse was.
She knocked. She heard shuffling about inside the room but it took quite a bit longer than she expected for the door to open. Neville squinted out at her, the door barely open. All the lights were off beyond and Ginny wondered if Neville had been sleeping when she had knocked.
“May I come in?” she asked timidly, as Neville certainly didn’t look capable of entertaining at the moment.
“Sure,” he muttered. He opened the door wider and blanched at the amount of light, immediately turning himself and going deeper into the room. He turned on a single lamp after she closed the door and as they sat across from each other in two of the comfortable chairs, Ginny distinctly saw Neville’s eyes cross and it appeared as though her were about to fall into the chair instead of merely sit in it.
“What on earth is wrong with you?” Ginny asked bewilderedly.
“That friend of yours can really hold his liquor,” was his only reply. He started to laugh sheepishly, but apparently his head hurt badly, as the laugh was cut off rather abruptly.
Ginny understood. Neville was hung over. She couldn’t believe it. Neville had never really been the type to drink more than a single alcoholic beverage in a night. What could have possessed him to drink enough for him to be this uncomfortable this morning? She hardly needed to ask however, as the answer immediately came to her. He had not, as she knew, been a heavy drinker, but he had been the type who would do silly things in order to keep from looking a sissy in front of people he wanted to impress. She and Neville had gotten into many a fight about this over the years. She would come over to see him some days to find him wearing clothing with dried blood on it. He had had his wounds healed, of course, but medics rarely took the time to clean blood stains off after healing a patient. When she would ask him what happened, he’d laugh it off and say he and the boys had just been having some fun. It infuriated her, because she knew that doing such things was, instead of making him seem “cool” to his friends, merely let them know that if they had a stupid idea, they could count on Neville to entertain them by doing it. He, of course, disagreed most strongly.
“You and Harry were drinking last night? Where did you even find the liquor?”
“Oh Harry knew that if we looked long enough in one of the kitchens, we were sure to find some. Boy was he right!” He tried to laugh again, but his headache caused the laugh to turn quickly to a moan as he grabbed his head and placed it between his knees in a very uncomfortable looking position.
Apparently it was not as uncomfortable as it looked, however, because Ginny heard his breathing deepen and knew he had fallen asleep.
“Brilliant,” Ginny muttered as she picked herself up off the chair and stormed out the door. As she closed the door slightly louder than she intended to on her way out, she jumped at the presence beside her. The same man who had escorted her there was waiting to escort her back. Ginny started to follow without a word but realized that her aggravation would not allow it.
“Wait,” she said quietly, the escort stopped and turned to her. “Would you show me where to find Connie?”
“Of course,” the escort said as his traditional response.
By this time, Ginny was fuming. She was going to make sure she got some answers this time. Connie didn’t have Neville’s excuse — only unconsciousness invoked by Ginny herself would allow Connie out of answering Ginny’s questions.
In very little time, the escort stopped outside another room. Ginny was practically quaking with anger as she knocked on the door. It didn’t take Connie very long to answer. When she did, it was obvious that Ginny was the last person she suspected to be there by the expression on her face. The expression that Connie tried very hard to hide behind an affected smile. “Miss Weasley, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Shut up and let me it,” Ginny growled. She hadn’t meant to start in on Connie so soon, but she had been holding her anger at bay for over a week now and she was not going to hold it any longer. If ever a dam of emotion had erupted, it was now.
Taken aback, Connie stepped back and allowed Ginny access to the room without seeming to think about it. Ginny heard Connie take a breath as though about to say something, but the look Ginny gave her caused Connie’s mouth to shut with a snap.
“Neville lost consciousness before he was able to fill me in on all the details of last night and I want to know what happened. You’re nosey enough that I’m sure you know all about it. Speak.”
Connie’s mouth opened again at Ginny’s command but Connie seemed to realize that she was being order around here and didn’t seem to like it. An unpleasant noise issued from Connie’s mouth before she shut it again with a scowl. “Now see here,” she began again.
“Oh, shut up!” Ginny cried. “I am so sick of you and your meddling, just answer the bloody question!”
“Apparently Harry found some alcohol and started a drinking party with Neville. It’s assumed that Harry thought his chances with you were slim and he wanted to exact revenge on Neville for taking you from him.”
“So, you’re saying that Harry started it?”
“I don’t believe you. You’ve had it in for me since I came here. I know that, for some reason, you’ve hated me this whole time. I don’t believe what you’re telling me. Convince me.”
Connie started laughing. For the first time, Ginny did not sense malice in her humor. She seemed genuinely pleased about something. The sound made Ginny uncomfortable. “If you had shown this type of spirit from the beginning, trust me, there would have been no enmity between us. You always seemed the good upstanding boring contestant that I’ve always hated. We don’t get good ratings with people like you. I started to think there might be something to you when you got upset at me after the group date, but you remained timid after that.” She smiled at Ginny. “This is what I’ve been waiting for.”
“That’s all very fascinating,” Ginny said acidly, “but it doesn’t bring me any closer to knowing what’s going on here.”
“Of course. Forgive me.” Ginny blinked at Connie’ readiness to speak now that Ginny had yelled at her. Go figure. “This mansion is owned by a wealthy backer of the show who agreed to let us use it. He’s a rather heavy drinker and often gets lost after he’s giving in to his oft debauchery. Because of this, he keeps stashes of booze in many of the rooms in case he needs some and can’t remember where exactly he is. I’m surprised Harry was able to find a stash, though, because we made sure not to give any of you rooms near where the master keeps his liquor. He’s quite a resourceful man, isn’t he?” Ginny didn’t answer her, but merely glared, so Connie cleared her throat self-consciously and continued.
“I don’t know much more of the story except that they eventually lost consciousness and were found this morning with unbelievable headaches. I believe by the man escorting you at the moment.” Ginny raised her eyebrows at this. How very convenient.
“I swear, that’s all I know,” Connie said in a voice that sounded very much like a whine. She had misread Ginny’s expression. Ginny didn’t bother to correct her.
“So,” began Ginny, “my decision will be made tomorrow, then.”
“That’s the plan,” Connie answered quickly.
“Thank you.” Ginny affected her own smile with biting sarcasm thinly veiled behind it and let herself out.
“Back to my room, please,” she spat at the escort. He seemed to understand that she was not speaking harshly to him, only venting her anger at Connie, because he smiled slightly and led her away.
“So, you found them last night, did you?” Ginny asked without looking at the man escorting her.
“Yes, Miss Weasley.”
“What’s your name?” she asked out of sudden curiosity.
He seemed surprised by her question. “Roger, miss.”
“Well, Roger, what’s your side of the story.”
He looked back at her as though weighing her before speaking, but what he said was not at all what he expected. “You don’t care for Connie much.” It was not a question, but Ginny decided to answer anyway.
“No, not at all.” She was a bit impatient about her question however, so she added. “About last night…?”
“I would suggest you ask Mr. Potter, miss.”
“You would?” Ginny asked in disbelief. “Why?”
“I think you may find his side of the story a bit more…” he searched for the right word. “Enlightening.”
Intrigued, Ginny nodded when he looked back at her again. Ginny saw a shadow of a smile on Roger’s face as he turned back to watch where he was going.
As they stopped outside a third room, Ginny nodded to Roger in respect before knocking on the door and saw something rather interesting as she did so. She knocked, and as she heard movement from inside, she made a quiet comment that made Roger jump as though he had been nettled. “Nice watch,” Ginny said shrewdly.
The door opened and Harry peered out at her.
Hear Harry's side of the story next chapter!
Back to index
Chapter 35: The Ingenuity of Fred and GeorgeEpisode Thirty Five
The Ingenuity of Fred and George
Harry appeared to be no better off than Neville, though, at least Harry looked like he had been awake when Ginny had knocked. He appeared surprised to see her at first, but she saw him shoot Roger a very knowing look when he thought she wasn’t paying attention. This was all becoming very suspicious.
“May I come in?” Ginny asked, though not nearly as tentatively as she had asked Neville. She was more than willing to fight her way in if he required it of her.
“Please,” he said, opening the door wider to allow her entry. This showed good judgment on his part. No one could say Harry was not an intelligent man…or at least a cautious one.
He shut the door behind her and winced, his eyes opening up slightly cross-eyed before he exhaled heavily and sat down on the nearest available seat. Ginny sat in a seat near his and watched him. Something seemed very fishy.
“What can I do for you?” Harry asked after he regained his composure.
“What you can do for me, Mr. Potter,” Ginny bite off every word, “is tell me your side of the story.”
The expression on Harry’s face would have been very convincing if she hadn’t been expecting it. It was a little too innocent for the situation. “I’m not sure what you mean? I would think that any side of the story would be the same. Why do you need mine?” He didn’t seem at all taken aback by the tone in her voice. Ginny wished he show some hesitation, just to give her a reason to be madder at him.
She decided to change her tactics. “Roger out there is sporting a very nice watch. I wonder where he got it. It looks very new.” She received the reaction she had been hoping for.
Harry jumped as though he had been goosed and his eyes seemed clearer than they had a few seconds earlier. “What’s that got to do with me?” he asked defensively.
“You don’t know how Roger could have gotten a hold of such a nice new watch?”
“How would I know anything about that?” Harry stood up as he asked this question and started pacing slightly. He seemed very spry and not at all as though his head was bothering him any more than would be normal.
Ginny had a thought, a suspicion, and she was curious to see if she was right. If she was, Harry would have a lot of explaining to do though at the same time, many things would explain themselves.
She stood up and with deliberate casualness, walked toward the door she had entered by. Casual or not, Harry stopped pacing and watched her confusedly, as though wondering why she was leaving so soon. She opened the door slowly and, watching Harry closely, slammed it as hard as she could.
The sound of the closing door echoed throughout the room but Harry no more than flinched. “What are you doing?” he asked, genuinely confused.
“What happened to your hangover, Mr. Potter?”
Comprehension dawned on Harry’s face before he started laughing. “I should have figured I couldn’t get one past you.”
His smile broadened when he saw Ginny’s face darken with anger. The insufferable man! Being amused that his silly trick hadn’t convinced me.
Ginny started in on him. “Harry James Potter, what on earth is going on?”
Harry did a double take, his smile disappearing completely from his face.
“How do you know my middle name?”
Ginny rolled her eyes before answering. “You’re Harry Potter: everyone knows your middle name. Now, don’t change the subject.” Still standing by the door, Ginny placed her hands squarely on her hips and glared at Harry as he smiled at her. “I want to know what’s going on, and considering the situation, what I know of it, I think I have every right to know.”
“That you do,” Harry grinned. “Why don’t you sit down? This may take a while.”
Still glaring, Ginny took Harry’s suggestion to sit. She was about to sit in the seat she had just vacated, but there was an open seat next to Harry on the couch. He gave her a knowing look, daring her to sit next to him. Turning her nose up slightly, she took that dare. She plopped herself down on the seat beside him and turned to face him squarely. His smile deepened and Ginny felt her face burning in anger at his uncanny ability to read her thoughts.
“Well, I assume you’ve heard that Neville and I were drinking last night?”
“Of course. Though I am curious as to how you managed to escape from that unscathed. You must be quite a drinker if you can handle that without a hangover.”
“If you’d let me explain you would understand how it was managed.”
Ginny huffed and crossed her arms. “Well, go on then.”
Harry smiled again. “Do you know anything about the man who owns this house?”
Ginny blinked several times. She sat there for a moment to make sure she had heard him say what she thought she heard him say. It was ludicrous. He couldn’t be serious. “What the hell does that have to do with anything?” she asked with venom in her voice.
“Quite a bit, as you will soon see.” Ginny gestured impatiently with him to get on with it. “Since you apparently don’t know about the man who owns this house, I’ll have to explain.
“The man who owns this house is named Lesley Caldwell, though that’s not important. What is important about him is that Mr. Caldwell is an alcoholic. Practically every room in this house has a stash of liquor somewhere, it’s just a question of where to look. You see, Mr. Caldwell doesn’t like being anywhere without his drink.”
“How do you know all this?”
“The escorts know everything, it would seem.” Ginny’s face registered her confusion, so Harry explained. “In order to explain, I suppose I have to go back even further. You, of course, know that my parents were killed when I was young, but few know where I was for the first 11 years of my life. I stayed at the house of my mother’s sister and her husband, Petunia and Vernon Dursley. They, along with their son Dudley, delighted in making my life miserable.
“I knew nothing of magic, let alone my connection to it until I received my acceptance letter to Hogwarts. My aunt and uncle had concealed everything from me, even the true nature of my parents’ death. Needless to say, I was surprised, when I finally joined the wizarding world, that everyone knew who I was.” He laughed, “I didn’t even bloody-well know who I was!
“To make a long story short — or at least shorter — I didn’t know I was famous and I certainly didn’t want to be famous. Not for that reason, anyway. Who wants to be famous because they lived when their parents were killed? So, for quite some time now, I’ve been trying to show people that I’m an ordinary person. No one needs to realize that more than those who are told they are inferior.”
“What are you talking about?” Ginny asked quietly, hoping that she wouldn’t ruin his train of thought.
“Over the years, I’ve made friends with house elves and other such creatures. I have friends among the lower ranks of the Ministry of Magic whom I hold more dearly than those who have vied for my ‘friendship’ in the upper reaches. I have even,” he added in a tone of conspiracy. “made friends with the escorts and cameramen.”
“So,” Ginny asked knowingly. “what did Roger do for you that warranted you buying him a watch?”
Harry grinned again. “I’m not sure my gift-giving is any of your concern. Suffice it to say, he did me a favor.”
Infuriated, Ginny crossed her arms and sat back with a huff.
“For just about the whole show, I’ve been meeting with the guys each evening. In fact, I was just going to meet them the one night that you saw me in the hall, remember?”
Oh, I remember! thought Ginny. “Sure,” was all she said.
“Well, last night I met with them all again. I was pretty bummed out about the way dinner had gone,” he missed Ginny’s glare at this point and continued on. “But while I was sitting there, feeling sorry for myself, Roger showed up.” Ginny’s look of confusion was not lost on Harry this time, who stopped to explain. “Roger walked you to your room last night. He’s escorted you most of the time here.” Ginny blushed to realize that she had not really noticed Roger until that day.
“So, anyway, Roger showed up and gave me a most shocking bit of news.”
Ginny waited expectantly. “He informed me that when you reached your room, you not only began crying, but you were also screaming and throwing things. This struck me as odd,” he continued, despite the murderous look that Ginny was casting toward the closed door, behind which Roger no doubt waited for her. “because you had seemed pretty much set on Neville. I had figured that I didn’t have a chance. When I heard that you had been crying, it dared to give me hope that perhaps your heart wasn’t set on Neville.”
“Anyway, Roger showed up and told me what he found out and I realized that I had been stupid. I knew I needed more time. I needed a chance to explain myself. You see,” he looked at her out of the corner of his eye. “I thought that you were still in love with Neville. You seemed happy talking with him and I didn’t want to get in the way of that. That’s why I backed off. I wasn’t because I didn’t care; it was because I do care. I wanted you to be happy,” he whispered the last. “When I heard that you had been crying, I thought perhaps I still had a chance.”
Ginny thought distantly that perhaps she shouldn’t have tried to make Harry jealous the night before. It obviously didn’t have the effect she had been hoping for. She didn’t tell him this, of course.
“So, the guys helped me come up with a plan. They showed me where one of Mr. Caldwell’s liquor stashes was and helped me figure out what to do. It was really with the help of a small item I picked up at your brothers’ shop a couple years back that made the plan what it was.”
“I had one of the guys get Neville for me and made sure I was drinking something when he walked in. I offered to share some drinks with him and he agreed rather quickly. It wasn’t until after several shots that he started getting suspicious. I figured I ought to at least act like I was getting sloshed. Not having much experience with the matter, I merely imitated Neville. He seemed rather good at the whole drunk thing, considering that he was already intoxicated.”
“How did you manage to stay sober?”
“That’s what I meant about the little item from your brothers’ shop. Now that I am of age, whenever people see the ‘Famous Harry Potter,’ they usually offer to buy me a drink. After several years of this, I decided it was time to do something about it. I really don’t like alcohol that much. The buzz isn’t bad, but the stuff tastes horrible. I found the answer to my problem a couple of years ago. It’s called the Inebriated Liberator. Have you heard of it?” Ginny shook her head slowly. “Well, basically, it’s a tiny sponge. You put it under your tongue and it absorbs all the alcohol as soon as it enters your mouth. I tried using it once and it wasn’t exactly what I needed, so I went back to your brothers and they made a small modification. The way they had made it originally, it stopped absorbing after a certain amount of liquid was present. I explained that I needed it to have no limitation. They were only too glad to fix it for me.
“As long as we weren’t drinking vodka, there was still enough liquid left after all the alcohol was absorbed that I was still swallowing something substantial. I didn’t swallow a drop of liquor last night, though, poor Neville, we just about finished off all that Mr. Caldwell had in that specific stash.”
“You mean to tell me that you spent hours pouring alcohol down your throat and didn’t swallow a drop of it?”
“Yeah, pretty impressive item isn’t it? One of the more ingenious ideas of Fred and George, I believe.”
“And you expect me to believe that?”
Harry glanced at her in consternation. “Do I look hung over to you?”
“Well, you were acting like you were when I came in. How do I know you’re not acting as though you’re not hung over now?” Ginny asked without much conviction.
Harry laughed and Ginny found herself smiling along.
“So, where does this put us?” Ginny asked suddenly.
Harry’s laugher died out and his face turned serious. “I’m not sure that’s for me to decide. This is your decision.”
That’s not the answer I wanted from you! “Yes, I suppose it is,” Ginny answered noncommittally. If he’s going to be ambiguous, so am I!
“Well,” Ginny said, standing up. “I should get back to my room in case Connie comes looking for me.”
Harry quirked an eyebrow. “Is that the real reason you’re leaving?”
Ginny gave an exaggerated fake sigh as she walked to the door. “Really, I think I need a drink.” She winked at him as she closed the door behind her and she could still hear him laughing as she followed Roger around the corner.
Back to index
Chapter 36: Upon a StarEpisode Thirty-Six
Upon a Star
After Roger showed her back to her room, Ginny found herself in a very boring situation. She considered looking for one of these infamous liquor stashes in order to keep herself occupied. But it just wouldn’t do to have the last decision postponed because she got a hang-over as well; although, it would be nice to have another day before having to make the fated decision.
She noticed a pillow on the floor, right where it had landed the night before after she had thrown it. She picked it up and placed it back on her bed, trying not to relive the emotions of the night before.
Her excuse to Harry about getting back to her room in case Connie came around had, of course, been merely that —- an excuse. So, she was quite surprised when, not long after she got back to her room, Connie did indeed stop by.
Acting rather demure and with a sweetness that Ginny found sickening (yet quite more convincing that usual), Connie began speaking without preamble. “Well, it looks like we’ll be able to get the hangovers taken care of sooner than we had expected. Even with magic the effects of alcohol are hard to negate, however. In light of that, we’ve decided to bump the last Rose Ceremony to tonight instead of tomorrow morning.” Ginny’s throat constricted and she involuntarily swallowed, causing her to cough. Without stopping her thread of speech, Connie tapped Ginny on the back a couple of times as though something like that actually works when you can’t breath.
“Everyone involved has decided that this would be the best thing to do.” Ginny wanted to comment that she was pretty sure she should be included in “everyone involved” but she still didn’t think she could talk, due to the coughs that were making her eyes start to water.
“Oh! I wanted to make sure you knew.” Connie continued, smiling happily with twinkles in her eyes that made Ginny want to cringe. She didn’t like anything that made Connie this happy. “The show will be airing the week after you leave here (so, a week from tomorrow), and depending on the popularity of the show, we may ask you back for a kind of encore!” Connie said all of this with the air of one handing out a wonderful treat to a small child.
“An encore?” Ginny asked, after finally regaining control of her vocal chords, not to mention her lungs. “What do you mean by an encore?”
“Well, you and whoever you choose tonight,” she elbowed Ginny conspiratorially at this point. “will be given a couple of cameramen in order for the world to see how their new favorite couple is handling life.” Connie grinned broadly, her teeth showing more than Ginny thought was possible.
“What if we don’t want to be followed around by camera crews anymore?”
“Oh don’t be silly.” Connie playfully slapped Ginny’s shoulder. Ginny almost slapped Connie back, but not playfully and not quite on the shoulder. “The world will want to know how their new favorite couple is doing,” repeated Connie as though the matter was finalized. As far as Connie was concerned, it was. As far as Ginny was concerned, Connie was off her rocker.
Connie finally seemed to notice the less-than-pleased look on Ginny’s face and her smile faltered slightly. “Well, we’ll talk about this later then, huh?” Walking to the door, Connie gave a small wave before she let herself out.
The pillow that Ginny had recently set back on her bed hit the door seconds after Connie left. Damn, thought Ginny. I missed.
In light of the momentous occasion (and probably partly because Connie found that she liked Ginny more than the night before) a crew of make-up and hair designers were sent to Ginny’s room that afternoon after Ginny had finished a lonely dinner (she, apparently was not allowed to see either of the boys again until that night). Ginny supposed it was just like Connie to leave Ginny to tend to herself this entire time and only think to give her help on the last day. Even so, Ginny nearly screamed in fright when she opened the door to several very strange looking individuals who asked for admittance in to her room.
The least Connie could have done was warn her that so many people were going to invade her room. Ginny was very glad that Lesley Caldwell had such very large rooms in his mansion, otherwise, the lot of them would not all have fit. And, from the arrogant airs of those foreign to her room, she imagined, job or no job, they would insist that she be the first to leave, had there been any less room.
Several cruel, torturous hours later, Ginny was done and after looking at herself in the mirror she decided that, despite the torment of having these peacocks gussy her up, she would happily put up with any length of their nagging if she could look this good every day.
She gazed at herself for a very long time before speaking. Nothing else seemed right in the situation, so she spoke, very surprised: “I look hot!”
The peacocks tittered from behind her. One of the makeup artists looked scandalized by her choice of words, but seemed to decide to over look the crudeness and take the meaning as the compliment.
Before the whole event of “beautifying Miss Weasley,” Ginny had been told that the last ceremony would be taking place out of doors, under the stars. When Ginny asked how on earth they were going to be able to see any of the stars, since they were so close to the city, all she got in response were mystifying looks. Artists and their mysterious façades.
Before leaving, the crew of peacocks gave her strict instructions on how not to mess up their work. Pretty much, she was required to sit there and look pretty, was not to move, and was certainly not to eat. Use of the loo was also strictly prohibited. Had they only warned her before they had begun, this command would not have been so much of a problem.
She was finally left in blessed solitude a little after nine. She knew that in less than an hour she would have to make her decision. The only problem was…she still didn’t know what she had decided.
It was true that at the moment she was desperately in love with Harry Potter. But she had only known him a few days. Could she really base a relationship on so little time? Though, they had gotten along splendidly and she had rarely felt as comfortable speaking to any man.
But Neville… Neville had been with her through some of her most trying times. They had been together since they were young. Despite his slight bouts of jealousy and obsession with his work, he had always been a good man. He had always taken care of her. She could still remember the day he had given her the ring with which he promised to be with her forever.
However, he had broken that promise. But wasn’t he here now to remedy that? Wasn’t he here to make good his promise? Should she not allow him one more chance?
But what took him so long? It had been months since they had broken up! Why did it take a television show to bring him back? Ginny imagined that he had heard from Hermione that she had been chosen for the show and had immediately realized what a berk he had been. But if that was the case…couldn’t something else have changed his mind?
Was this just a ‘boys with toys’ scenario? Did he only want her now because he knew another man wanted her?
Augh! How on earth am I supposed to make a decision with so many unanswered questions running through my head? What do I do?
Ginny wanted desperately to throw herself back on the bed, but that had been another of the peacocks’ warnings: do not lie down. They had been quite adamant.
More questions and worries plagued Ginny as she sat stiffly on her bed looking more beautiful that she was likely to look for the rest of her life. But, even beauty did not make her unhappy thoughts go away. Tonight, she knew, she would have to do that which she had always been sorry that Harry had been forced to do.
She was going to have to break someone’s heart.
More difficulty was required with her decision, however, because Harry was breaking the hearts of total strangers. Ginny was choosing between two men that she loved; the two men that she loved most deeply.
And after tonight, one of them was bound to hate her forever.
There was a knock on the door and Ginny was relieved to see Roger’s face and not Connie’s peek around at her. “Connie is coming down the hall for you,” he warned her with an understanding smile.
Ginny stood up slowly (she could hardly move in the dress, let alone quickly) as Connie entered her room. Connie stopped dead after she entered, her mouth going slightly slack. “Now, my dear!” she exclaimed, stepping toward Ginny. “You look absolutely radiant! Oh, there is going to be a heart break tonight!” This thought seemed to delight Connie to no end, but it made Ginny’s stomach drop.
“Come now, come now,” she clucked as she ushered Ginny out of the room. “The world is waiting for you.”
Ginny’s heart joined her stomach.
“So,” Connie cooed. “Who have you decided on?”
She didn’t know how she managed to keep her voice light, or how the thought to try to placate Connie even came to her, but Ginny found herself using one of the peacocks’ mysterious smiles and saying “It’s a surprise!” in a too-cheery, gag-me-with-a-spoon voice.
This is it, thought Ginny. This is the fateful moment. I would so much rather be on the receiving end of this ceremony…then again, that would mean someone else would have to break someone’s heart. But still! Why do I have to make the decision? Ginny’s hands were sweating but she just didn’t feel right about wiping them on her dress; it was too beautiful! Besides…she might leave water spots.
Water spots?? Are you insane? You’re worrying about your dress right now? Very nearby are two men with whom you are in love and you’re worrying about getting water spots on your dress?
I mean, granted it’s a very nice dress, but–
AUGH! SHUT UP!!!
In order to prove to the voice in her head that she was not overly concerned with her fancy dress, Ginny lightly dabbed her hands on the skirt. It did very little to rid her hands of sweat, but she felt vindicated — and she didn’t do anything to the dress.
In what seemed like no time, they reached a glass door leading outside.
“The boys aren’t here yet,” Connie informed her, to which Ginny wanted to respond, why the hell didn’t you tell me this sooner, you wanker? But she didn’t, of course. Foul language would besmirch her lovely dress. Shut up. Shut UP!
Connie opened the door and led Ginny to a platform just barely out of view from the door. Garlands of roses were draped around in pleasing arrangements but what Ginny really noticed were the stars. It was as though the mansion had been cloaked in the dakest night. The lights from the city were practically nonexistent as Ginny looked up into the heavens twinkling with lights. She was not superstitious, but she desperately wished she would see a shooting star so she could wish that this were all over and that, whatever decision she made would be the right one.
Connie left Ginny standing on the platform by herself. She entertained herself by looking for her favorite constellations. It had been such a long time since she had really been able to see them. It hadn’t been since she lived with her parents that she had had the time or the necessary darkness to walk outside and gaze at them.
She had just located Cassiopeia when she heard a door open. Several of the escorts joined her outside, including Roger, who gave her a warm smile which seemed to wish her luck. She was grateful for a friendly face in this sea of indecision.
The door opened again and Connie entered. She flourished her wand, the first time Ginny had ever even seen Connie in possession of a wand, and then she suddenly couldn’t see anything. Her vision was covered in a dark filmy gauze. Knowing enough about magic, Ginny kept her face clear, just in case everyone else was still able to see her, even if she couldn’t see any of them.
She shouldn’t have worried, however, because it was obvious that the boys didn’t even know that she was there when they exited into the yard. They both politely greeted Connie and Ginny could hear them taking positions before the platform. With only the warning of Connie clearing her throat, the gauze lifted from around her like a stage curtain lifting for curtain call. She blushed with pride when she saw the looks on the boys’ faces. It was obvious that they agreed with her assessment of her appearance tonight: she looked hot.
She tried to ignore the cameras that were surrounding them and she was very glad that she had been unable to see when they had come, because watching them take their places would have been very disconcerting. This way, she could convince herself that the noise she heard behind her was not a cameraman focusing on her back side but merely some woodland creature. Or, perhaps, considering who lived there, an intoxicated pet (for everything and everyone who lived in this house must be perpetually smashed).
With a start, Ginny brought her thoughts back to what was going on, instead of lingering on the possibility of there being a drunken Chihuahua hiding somewhere on the premise.
It was a good thing she brought her attention back when she did, because it wasn’t long before she heard Connie announcing that Ginny was to be giving a speech.
A speech?? Why doesn’t that woman ever tell me anything beforehand?
Yet, even with her hysterics, Ginny found her mind strangely at peace and she began to speak without having to think about what to say.
“To tell you that this is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make would be quite an understatement. You both mean so much to me and it kills me to know that I have to say goodbye to one of you.
“Neville, we were together for so many years and shared so much together. And Harry, though I’ve only known you for a few days, I’ve rarely felt as comfortable around anyone.
“I’ve dreaded this decision because I don’t want to hurt either of you, but I know that I have to. I wished on a shooting star that I didn’t even see that I would make the right decision. I wished on a star that has not yet fallen from the sky. And that wish has given me the courage to do what I believe I’ve always known I have to do.”
Ginny stepped down from the platform and walked toward the man of her choice. She glided toward him and saw as his face brightened with a look of hope that what she was doing meant what he thought. She found a rose in her hand, a rose of such deep red that it might have been black in the starlight. She had not remembered Connie giving it to her, but with the utmost care, she reached out and, gazing into his piercing green eyes, gave the rose to the Boy-She-Loved.
She didn’t remember any movement, but the next time she glanced over, Neville was gone, as were the escorts. The cameramen, of course, were still present and Ginny could hear Connie sniffling somewhere behind her.
“You chose me,” Harry said. It was almost a question.
“I love you,” Ginny whispered back.
The smile that lit up Harry’s face was beyond anything she had seen on him. She thought he had never looked as handsome as he did at that moment. He took Ginny into his arms and they embraced for what seemed like hours. He lightly kissed her on the cheek: it was tender and soft, warm and loving. “I love you too,” he whispered quietly into her ear. She knew that the cameras couldn’t possibly have picked up on it, and she loved him the more for his privacy.
They pulled apart slightly and quickly both of them turned to the right. Their eyes had been caught by a star streaking across the sky.
“You’re lucky,” Ginny giggled. “I think I’ll keep you,” she whispered the words.
In response, Harry laughed deep in his throat and kissed her so intensely she felt as though breathing air was no comparison to breathing in Harry.
Yay! It's finished. And I've already posted the first chapter of the sequel. It's called Fantasy (how unique, ne?)
Thank you all for your support of my story and thank you for your reviews - they've meant a lot to me! Jaa!
Back to index