SIYE Time:23:14 on 27th May 2018

Reality Bites
By Trinka

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Category: Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom
Genres: Comedy
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 759
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*
Hitcount: Story Total: 101253; Chapter Total: 4884


Episode 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.
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