SIYE Time:20:51 on 21st 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: 101097; Chapter Total: 4709


Episode 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.
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