Would You Be My Little Quarantine by Celtics534
Summary: ***Winner of the Most Romantic, Most Humourous and Best Overall, and tied for the People's Choice award in the Easter Holiday challenge***Moving was always stressful, but to be placed in a nationwide lockdown only a few weeks after moving was just too much for Ginny to think about. At least she had a fit neighbor keep her company... from two meters away, of course.
Categories: Alternate Universe, Easter Holiday Challenge (2020-1), Easter Holiday Challenge (2020-1)
Would You Be My Little Quarantine by Celtics534
Chapter 1: Chapter 1Author's Notes:
Ginny let the large cardboard box fall from her arms unceremoniously. After driving three and a half hours, lugging box after box seemed like a punishment she didn’t deserve. But it had to be done if she wanted to actually live in her new house. Her new house. It still sent tingles down Ginny’s spine when she thought about it. She had bought a house all by herself. It had taken years of saving and working extra shifts, she now was a proud owner of her own house.
And it was perfect for her. Just a simple two-bedroom in a little town just outside of London was all she needed. Her old flat, which had been a quick walk from Paddington Station, had been convenient, but not what she’d really wanted. Sure it had made traveling to her paper’s headquarters easier, but she would rather take a forty-five-minute bus if it meant she got to live in a house she loved. But half the time, she was able to write from home and didn’t actually need to go into the office, so the pros of having faster travel were moot.
“Anywhere around here, dear?” Ginny’s mother asked, a smaller box labeled kitchen utensils held in her arms. Ginny had recruited her family and a few friends to help her move out of her old London flat with the promise of pizza and beer for dinner. Most of her brothers were easily bribed with beer and pizza, but her mother had been a welcome surprise. Molly had agreed to help Ginny set up her kitchen to be efficient. Ginny would never tell her mother that she would probably live off local take-away and frozen meals so efficiency in the kitchen wasn’t on her mind, but her mother was more than welcome to have her fun.
“Anywhere you’d like, Mum. Thank you.” Ginny spun around to look out the window, which provided a great view of her back garden. A cute little porch sat attached to the house with steps that led down into a nice little green area. The only thing Ginny wasn’t overly fond of was the view into the adjoined lot’s yard.
It wasn’t too bad really, Ginny considered as she looked at her neighbor’s veranda. There was still a small fence dividing the yards, but two buildings had verandas that were only split by a short hedge that could easily be jumped over. Ginny could see the nice little table and chair set her neighbor had set out. There was also a clear view of a laundry hanger, at which stood a man.
Ginny’s mind went blank for a second as the man turned to grab a few articles of clothing from the basket. He was bloody gorgeous. Dark unruly hair that just begged to have fingers curl through it. But what was most drool-worthy, was the way he looked without a shirt. Why he was hanging laundry without a shirt was beyond her, but holy fucking hell was she okay with it. He looked better than half the football players she interviewed. The little bit of tantalizing hair that trailed from his stomach into his denims...
“Ginny, is everything alright?” Molly’s voice came over to her frozen daughter, confusion in her tone. After reaching Ginny and taking two seconds to look out the window her tone became smug. “Nevermind, I see you’re enjoying your new view.”
“Wh - I -” Ginny stuttered as she forced her eyes away from the window, where her entirely too attractive neighbor had taken a seat on one of the chairs with an iced glass of something. He was still going around sans shirt, which Ginny secretly hoped he did often.
“I mean...” Molly’s voice oozed amusement. “I would be willing to pay a view tax for something like that.”
Molly just laughed before patting her daughter’s cheek. “I’m guessing you didn’t meet the neighbors before buying this place?”
Ginny smiled sheepishly. “I didn’t think it was important.”
“Well, clearly now we know to do a fit neighbor check along with a level foundation because both can make or break a house.”
“You know,” Ginny pointed an accusatory finger at her mother. “This is why the twins are the way they are. It’s not from Dad, it’s all you.”
Molly's know-it-all grin made Ginny laugh. Before she could make another comment, a loud banging from the sitting room made both women jump.
"Sorry, Ginny!" Ron's voice called from the other room. "Nothing’s broken, I'm sure."
Ginny rolled her eyes. "I best go check on that."
"I'd say so." Molly nodded as she went back to organizing the cutlery. "I'll make sure to keep an eye on your hunk next door."
"I'm not even going to justify that with a response." Ginny paused. "But if you could keep an eye out for a ring…"
Molly's laugh rang out as Ginny walked towards to see what her brother had dropped.
"This means you are limited to one form of outside exercise a day and necessary trips out, such as for provisions or to take someone within your household to the doctor."
Ginny listened to the reporter’s recap of the lockdown procedure. She still couldn't believe how intense everything was. Never would she have thought there would be a quarantine in her lifetime, but here she was. Stuck in her house for the foreseeable future.
At least she had things to do even though she was out of work. Sports reporters were not essential no matter how much this country loved a good football match. No, instead of writing articles Ginny had begun to focus on some of the house projects she'd thought about over the past few weeks of living in Farningham.
She had started with her garden, crafting a colorful flower bed out in the front yard, which was where she’d gotten her second sighting of her neighbor. He had been pulling into his side of the parking area on a motorbike. A fucking motorbike. Ginny would be the first to admit she had a little bit of a thing for guys who rode motorcycles… and had perpetual bedhead… and don’t get her started on lean, toned bodies…
Shaking herself, Ginny had forced herself to focus on her garden once more. She would not-- no, could not -- become the kind of woman who fell for her hot neighbor. Really, that would be too embarrassing to come back from. So she had tried to keep her eyes on her lilies. But every so often her attention would drift to her attractive neighbor who had taken out some tools and started toning his bike.
Ginny had gone back inside a little earlier than she’d originally intended that day. It had taken her way too long to dig out a spot for her next arrangement because her treacherous eyes kept drifting over to strong arms and clinking metal. So she’d decided to get some tasks done inside, where she wouldn’t be as distracted.
That had been three days ago. Ginny had allowed her pride a few days to recover before going back to finish her flowerbed.
The sun was high in the sky when she settled on her knees next to the dirt mound. She had just picked up her spade to dig out a new spot when a deep voice behind her made a shiver run down her spine. But it wasn’t out of surprise or fear, rather the voice had enthralled her.
“Hey, I like what you’ve done there.”
Ginny turned to see him. The man who just couldn’t seem to stay out of her dreams. He stood about six feet away. He had a crooked smile and vivid green eyes that brightened his features, which just added more appeal.
“I --” Ginny took a deep breath, praying her cheeks didn’t match the color of her hair. “Thank you. I thought it now was the time for some bright flowers, even if I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.”
He laughed, which sent another round of shivers across her body. “I completely agree. In these times something cheerful, like flowers, are perfect. But I can’t believe you have no clue what you’re doing. It looks amazing!”
“Are you sure you don’t need your eyes checked?”
“Nope, just went to the optometrist a few months back.” His smile widened. “He told me I had a real eye for appreciating beauty.”
“Did he now?” Ginny returned his grin. “I didn’t know they provided patients with such information.”
“It was in the notes underneath my contacts prescription. But that’s why I came out here to observe these two beautiful sights.”
“Two beautiful… oh!” There was no doubt her face was red now because the way he was smiling at her left no doubt about his intent.
“Normally I would ask you to dinner or maybe a movie, but this whole social distancing thing has ruled any of that out.”
“What makes you think I would say yes? Just because you use some smooth line? I don’t even know your name.”
To Ginny’s amusement, he blushed, his eyes widening like a child being told there was quicksand directly in front of them. “I - I. You’re totally right! How could I forget to introduce myself?” He muttered the last sentence to himself rather than her. His hand had jumped the back of his neck, which had noticeably turned pink.
“Care to tell me now?” Ginny asked. She had a sneaking suspicion that this guy wasn’t as smooth as he’d just made himself out to be, which was better in her book. Smooth talkers tended to have hidden agendas and Ginny had no urge to deal with that… again.
“Harry.” He cleared his throat. “My name’s Harry. I guess I should have added that bit into the speech I practiced in the mirror.”
She let out a surprised laugh. His awkwardness calmed all Ginny’s nerves; this was someone she would really get along with, and not just want to stare at his pretty face. “Really? And why would you go to all that trouble?”
Harry’s hand ran up his neck to run through his already messy hair, making it somehow worse. Which made it better for Ginny. “I tend to… say stupid things when I talk to someone I find… so attractive.”
Ginny knew she must be grinning like a loon, but it couldn’t be helped. This was better than she imagined. Though in her dreams this man had been doing heavenly things to her, she never thought he would have the cutest personality to go with those fit looks. “Well, Harry, that’s not a bad thing.”
He snorted. “Yeah?”
“Yeah, because I just happen to love talking with awkward blokes who think they say stupid things, but really say the right thing.” She winked at him, enjoying the flush that appeared on his cheeks as his smile grew.
“Would you --” Harry let out a breath. “Would it be alright if I join you for a bit? Staying two meters away, of course,” he added quickly.
Ginny placed a finger on her chin as if thinking about his offer, while internally cheering. “I think that would be acceptable.”
“It’s not what I ever saw myself becoming,” Harry said, his chin leaning into his fist that rested on the arm of the lawn chair he’d brought. “But now I can’t see myself being anything but a teacher.”
Ginny took a sip from the beer she’d brought. She’d honestly lost track of time as she and Harry had stood around chatting. After the first hour or so, they’d decided to get chairs and drinks and make themselves comfortable, making sure to stay two meters apart. They had talked about everything and nothing. From their first pets, hobbies, the current state of the world. Now they were on professions.“So made you decide to try teaching?”
Harry smiled. “Well, when I was in uni I had planned to head to the police academy after taking some basic courses, but then I met Lupin. He was different than most professors. He didn’t just go through the motions, rather he really seemed to care about his students. I’d never really experienced that before. In the past, a lot of teachers just kinda pushed me aside because of my history.”
“Your history?” Ginny quirked her head. “You’re going to have to explain that one.”
“I -- uh --” Harry’s hand came to run through his hair. “I guess the short story is that I was orphaned at a young age and so I grew up in an abusive house. My so-called family encouraged the local schools to treat me like I didn’t matter. They had money, so.” His shrug broke Ginny’s heart.
But even with a broken heart, Ginny’s temper had no stalling. “The fuck is wrong with them?! How could they do that to an innocent child?”
“Do you mean the school or my aunt and her husband?” Harry asked a small smile twisting his lips.
“Both!” Ginny wanted to march up to wherever his aunt lived and punch her hard.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know, but I learned a lot from it.” Harry held up a hand to stop Ginny’s protest. “It was why I was going to try and join the academy. I wanted to help children who were stuck in bad situations, and I was always a man of action so it made sense. But when I met Remus he made me realize there were other ways to help children.”
Ginny forced herself to take a deep breath. She wanted to hear his story and being blind by rage would make for a good listener. “How did he do that exactly?”
“He took me under his wing. I would spend hours after class just hiding in his office with him. Lupin would listen to my problems and give advice. But not only that, he found ways to encourage me, which was something I’d never really had before. He made me realize how much influence a teacher could have in someone’s life.”
“Wow.” She knew her mouth was agape, but she didn’t bother to close it. “Lupin sounds like an amazing man.”
Harry nodded. “He is. Remus helped me pick my major in psychology. I’ve always liked understanding why someone does something and I’d always been decent at teaching.” He shrugged. “I was kind of student-teacher for a year during secondary school, unofficially, but it showed me I had a knack for taking charge in a classroom capacity.”
“I have a feeling you’re one of those teachers that has students hanging on your every word.”
“What makes you say that?” Harry asked, a curious grin curling his lips.
Ginny looked him up and down. He had that kind of energy guys liked. And there was no way every straight female in his classes ever took her eyes off him. “I just have a sense for these kinds of things.”
Harry let out a low chuckle that sent goose pimples up Ginny’s arm in the most delightful way. “Just like my eye for beauty, huh?”
This time when she looked him over, she made sure to take her time. “You could say that.”
That adorable blush rose back to Harry’s cheeks making Ginny satisfied that her message was received. He licked his lips. “I -- uh -- I hope this isn’t too --” Before he could finish his sentence, his phone rang. Reaching for it from the armrest of his chair, he grinned apologetically. “One second.”
Ginny looked around the yard while Harry talked to his caller. She didn’t want to eavesdrop, but it was hard not to when they were only two meters apart. And not to mention there wasn’t that much to look at on the darkening lawn that provided a distraction.
“Yes. I can.” A long pause. “I’ll do that. In about five minutes.” Another pause. “Yes, Ma’am.” He hung up, his expression going grim.
“Everything alright?” Ginny asked, giving up any pretense that she hadn’t been listening.
“Yeah… well, as alright as we can be with a pandemic.” Harry sighed as he put his phone into his pocket. “That was the head teacher of my school. Apparently we need to go over some important budget documents tonight.” He rolled his eyes. “Because even though we’re doing lessons online, doesn’t mean we can’t forget about budget meetings.”
“Ah, no rest for an essential, is there?” Ginny forced a smile while her stomach dropped.
Harry snorted. “Too right.” He stood, his eyes connecting with hers in an intense gaze. “I don’t want to go.”
“That makes two of us.” Ginny mimicked his stance. “But your job is important.”
Nodding slowly, Harry kept his eyes locked on hers. It was like his attention caused a fire to erupt across her body, starting at her stomach and spreading throughout all her limbs.
“Will you be out here working on your flowers tomorrow?” Harry asked, his voice having taken on a husky tone that sent another wave of goose pimples across Ginny’s skin.
Even if she hadn’t been planning on it, Ginny would have just adjusted her day just to say yes. “I was intending to.”
Harry’s lips curled into a delighted smile. “Then I’ll make sure to come out and see you.” He made as if to turn back to his house, but paused. “Staying two meters away, of course.”
Ginny laughed. “Of course.”
With a wave, Harry walked back up the little path to his house. On the last step before he reached the door, Ginny saw him look over his shoulder. Even in the evening light, she could see his gorgeous eyes take her in.
If there wasn’t a pandemic making the world social distance, Ginny would have already been in that man’s arms kissing him like there was no tomorrow. Well… Ginny’s inner devil spoke in that silky smooth tone of a car salesman, there could be no tomorrow. Why not get what you want before you can’t?
Shaking her head, Ginny let out a long sigh. If only she could listen to the little devil without any consequences… Picking up her empty drink, Ginny went back into her house, hoping something on the telly would provide a decent distraction from the tantalizing images rolling around her mind.
“I’m so disappointed with all this.” Molly shook her head, the video playback making her head blur slightly. “Unable to spend Easter with the family, I mean really!”
Ginny had to hold back her laughter. It would be just like Molly to make it sound like the worst part about the national pandemic was the fact that Easter was canceled. To be fair, Ginny was disappointed too. She missed her family more than she could admit unless she wanted to open the floodgates (from both herself and Molly).
"Mum, we can at least do a video chat or something," Ginny suggested, hoping to head off a rant before it started.
"But that doesn't let me hug my children and grandbabies." Molly shook her head. "It's not the same."
She was right of course. Ginny was craving a hug from Bill's lovable girls at the moment too. Also, it was hard to think about how this would be the first Easter she wouldn’t be having dinner with her family, at least in her memory. "I know, Mum."
They were silent for a moment, both lost in their thoughts, until Molly cleared her throat. "So, how is the house coming along? Do you need any more advice on flower placements?"
"Uh -- no, I think the flowerbed is looking great. Beautiful, really." Ginny hoped she wasn't blushing. Just thinking of the flowerbeds made her think of Harry, who had come out and talked with her every time she was out working. Well, talking and flirting. There was no doubt in Ginny's mind about things being mutual between herself and Harry. The way she would make him flush and then he would, in turn, say something that would send butterflies dancing throughout her stomach.
No, if there wasn't a mandatory two meter distance set between people, Ginny was positive she and Harry would be snogging on his sofa right now. But instead, they had to settle on flirty banter and looks that sent shivers down her spine. And that was enough, for now at least.
Really, Harry had been her saving grace during this whole thing. Without him, Ginny was certain she would have lost her mind or at least cried from loneliness. He was truly becoming one of the most important people in her life. And it wasn’t just because he was her only form of contact past vital shopping trips and Zoom calls. No, there was something about him, hell maybe it was everything about him, that made her feel things she hadn’t in so long… maybe ever, if she was honest with herself.
“Well, I hope you’re enjoying the fruits of your labor.” Molly smiled, which even from three hundred kilometers away still made Ginny feel warm inside. “Speaking of fruits from labors, I sent you a few things. Just some basic pastries and whatnot. Of course, I made you your traditional chocolate egg.”
That was another thing that brought warmth to Ginny: chocolate. “Aw, Mum. Thank you. I can’t wait to see what this year’s theme is.”
“They are rather good.” Molly chucked. “I added an extra one for that lovely new neighbor of yours.” She quirked an eyebrow at her daughter. “Have you seen him around while outside?”
“Mum,” Ginny warned. Molly was notorious for involving herself in her children’s love lives. That’s why Ron wasn’t dating that bimbo Lavender any more. Molly was as devious as the twins, mixed with the superpower of mother’s guilt. “It better just be a simple egg.”
“Well, now, simple isn’t fun.” Molly waved a hand, her smirk becoming painfully mischievous. “And now’s the time for something extra fun in our lives, isn’t it.”
Ginny rolled her eyes, knowing full well arguing with her mother would do her no good, and would rather make Molly find some way to escalate her plan. “Well, as long as it doesn’t just say, date my daughter Ginny, it will be great. I’m sure he’ll love it.”
“Ah, have you talked with him enough to know if he’ll love it?” Molly’s smile widened. “It would be lovely for you to find someone new to bring around. With Percy’s wedding coming up --”
“Okay, Mum, it’s been lovely but I’ve got to go.” Ginny cut off her mother before she could let her imagination run wild. There had been no discussion of dating or going around to parents with Harry, and Ginny was not going to discuss it with her mother first. “I’ll talk with you soon, all right?”
“All right, dear, where you’ve got to go is a mystery to me seeing as we’re all in lockdown.”
“Love you, Mum.”
“So, how was today’s lesson?” Ginny asked, leaning against the rail that kept hers and Harry’s verandas apart. After her call with her mother, Ginny had gone into the kitchen where she noticed Harry hanging and removing laundry from his clothesline. The appeal of going out and watching him work was much greater than making her dinner, for one.
Harry shrugged. “A bunch of teenagers being forced to stay home and still be sent to school… I doubt anyone could keep their attention from drifting.” He pulled down a dry shirt. “What about you? Did you hear from your editor?”
“Oh yeah.” Ginny waved a dismissive hand. “I get to write some filler piece about what I suppose is the best at-home workout available to the average person and compare it to what a professional player might be doing.”
“So in other words.” Harry snapped a clothespin shut before turning to look at her. “You get to write whatever bullshit you want.”
Ginny snorted. She tapped the side of her nose twice. “Right in one, luv. No, instead of working on that I had a video chat with my mum.” She placed her elbow on the railing, letting her chin rest on a fist. “You know, with this lockdown she has a lot less gossip to inform me of.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
“How could you ask such a foolish question?” Ginny gave him a sly grin. “How else would I gather materials to extort my brothers with?”
Harry let out a surprised laugh. “Your mother gives you stories to blackmail your brothers with?”
I mean, she just likes to keep me in the loop.” She shrugged. “But my alternative motives can be our little secret.”
The doting smile that spread across Harry’s face made Ginny’s heart beat a little faster. He had moved away from his laundry and was now standing by his porch banister. Standing two meters from her. “I like having things with you.” He paused, his cheeks going red. “That sounded much better in my head.”
“It sounded good from where I’m standing.” Every fiber of Ginny’s being wanted to reach out and take his hand. Just squeeze it, maybe jump over the rail and pull him in for a tight hug… which might then escalate into something more… much more.
Ginny cleared her throat. She needed to calm down, because all she was doing was torturing herself. The number of hot, dirty dreams she’d woken up from where Harry’s mouth had just made its way from her chest, across her stomach and down to...
Stop it! Ginny forced her imagination to turn off. As much as she enjoyed the show her mind created, now was not the time or place. Praying her cheeks weren’t as red as they felt, she took a deep breath. “We talk about how odd it’s going to be without having an Easter dinner together this year.”
Harry tilted his head. “You guys get together every year?”
“Yeah, well everyone in the country does. Charlie is in Romania studying some sort of endangered antelope,” Ginny explained at Harry’s raised brow.
“Ah, so that just leaves you, Bill, Ron, the twins, and their families right?”
“And Percy, but yeah. It gets kind hectic when you mix all the kids and whatnot. Bill has two and Percy has one.” Ginny smiled wistfully. “But when Dad starts carving the ham everyone calms down long enough to enjoy Mum’s amazing cooking.” Her eyes started to burn and she blinked rapidly.
“That sounds like a good time.” Harry grinned “Though I’m surprised that the twins don’t pull some sort of prank, based on the stories you’ve told about them.”
Ginny laughed. “Oh, they learned their lesson the last time they tried to mess with one of Mum’s holidays. Let’s just say they didn’t sit down for that supper if you catch my drift.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “Ouch! How old were they, like ten?”
“Try like twenty-five.”
He stared at her for a second before laughing so hard he bent over slightly. “Ginny, your family’s great,” Harry said, between his laughter.
Ginny chuckled at and with him. “Well, if you ever want to meet them, my mum says you have an invitation to come to the next event.”
Harry looked up at her, his smile slowly slipping from his mouth as he became serious. “Really?”
“Of course.” Ginny smiled warmly. “I may have mentioned you maybe once or twice.”
“Really?” Harry wiggled his eyebrows at her
Ginny pretended to be lost in thought. “Or maybe it was because on the day I moved in, she saw you out the kitchen window. You shirtless-ly doing your laundry really must have made an impression on her.”
His jaw dropped. “Wha --”
“Now that I think about it.” Ginny nodded knowingly. “That must have been it. Of course, I wasn’t as impressed as her, but I imagine seeing a man who knows how to hang his trousers must do something to her.”
Harry blinked at her for a few moments, before he seemed to notice his mouth was still agape. After closing it he shook his head, an amused smile curling his lips. “So do you think I have a chance to get with her? She sounds like a real dynamite girl.”
It was Ginny’s turn to be stunned into a jaw-drop. “What?!”
“Yeah.” Harry nodded enthusiastically at her, his grin wide. “You’ve made her sound so great, and I mean if she looks even half as beautiful as you, I’d be a lucky man.”
“I -- you --” Ginny stopped, thinking about what he’d just said. “Oh, you think you’re clever?” she asked with fake annoyance, while her heart did a set of jumping jacks in her chest.
Harry laughed heartily. “Well, they don’t let anyone teach psychology. Besides, I only speak the truth, darling.”
“Pet names won’t get you out of this.”
“I promise to make it up to you as soon as I’m allowed within two meters of you.”
Ginny let out a shaky breath. The little devil in her head started its compelling argument for breaking quarantine, again. If she broke it now then she could continue to get close to hi -- No Ginny!
Growing up with so many brothers had taught Ginny to always go for the knockout punch when you were getting close to the end of your rope. Clearing her throat, Ginny plastered a coy smile on her lips. “I have no doubt you’ll fulfill your promises and my desires.”
Harry’s cheeks darkened as his eyes widened. “I -- uh -- when is this all supposed to end?”
“I’ll be knocking on your door as soon as I hear.”
Ginny toed her running trainers off by the door, stretching her arms high above her head. She had improved her run time by two minutes, one of the few silver linings she'd found in this whole quarantine; she had the time to go for longer runs.
Deciding she would grab a snack and bottle of water before heading to work on her article, Ginny veered towards the kitchen. She figured a few biscuits would hit the spot perfectly, nevermind the fact that they would completely negate most of her run.
As she walked through the doorway, her eyes drifted towards the kitchen window. It wasn't her fault if she had such a great view and wanted to take it in… even if that view was typically just her neighbor doing his daily workout. But instead of seeing the tremendous sight of Harry performing his stretches, she saw a note stuck to the outside of the glass.
Confused, Ginny completely forgot all about her water and biscuits. When she got closer she was able to read the thin, slanted, adorably messy handwriting that covered the page.
I hope you had a good run! Today is the perfect day for it… well that and a picnic, but of course we couldn't have a picnic because of this whole stay apart thing….
There was an arrow pointing to the left, which led to another window with another paper
Which sucks even more because it's Easter and you should be with your family. I've been wracking my brain, trying to figure out how I could fix all this.
Another directional to the left, this time bringing her to the sliding glass door.
But I'm not a wizard, so I've done my best.
The next arrow pointed her out of the house. She had no clue what was going on but Ginny thought it had Harry's name written all over it, even if he hadn't signed his name.
Once out on her porch, Ginny took a deep breath of the perfect spring air. Spring had always been one of her favorite seasons because of the natural smell of flowers and crisp air that always seemed to fill her lungs. But as she inhaled something other than flowers reached her nose.
Ham and… was that potatoes? She looked around and noticed the clothed table that was covered in some of her favorite holiday dishes.
And on his veranda stood Harry, dressed in a clean button-up and dark denim. His hair was more disheveled than usual as if he had run his hands through it a million times.
"Harry?" Ginny couldn't for the life of her figure out what was happening. "What is all this?"
"Yeah, so… um." Harry gave her a sheepish smile. "I figured because you couldn't have dinner with your family that you… might consider having dinner with me?"
That's when she noticed the second table of food on his porch. "Did you make all this?"
He nodded, biting his bottom lip. “I made sure to wear a mask and gloves the whole time too. In case you were wondering.
In complete honesty, the thought hadn’t crossed her mind. All Ginny could do was blink at him. He had made them an Easter dinner all because she had been sad she could see her family.
Harry started to ramble, clearly taking her silence to be bad. "I'm sure it's nowhere near as good as your mum's, especially because I'd never made a ham in my life. I watched so many cooking shows over the last few days trying to find a way to make it taste decent. It turns out a lot of people like a honey glaze, which is super simple as long as you have the ingredients. I fortunately had --"
"Harry," Ginny cut him off before he could list off the entirety of his cupboard. "This is literally the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me."
The blush that rose on Harry's cheeks made him all the more adorable. "Really?"
"Yes. Harry, this is… incredible." Ginny met his eyes and hoped he understood how much this all truly meant to her, even if she couldn't find the words to express it.
“Well, I mean…” Harry’s shy, stuttering persona was just as adorable as, well, everything else he did. He ran a hand through his hair. “Don’t say that until you at least try the food.”
“It could taste like cardboard and I wouldn’t care.” Ginny moved to the porch railing so she was standing as close to Harry as she could. “If I could, I would kiss you right now.”
Harry licked his lips. “I wouldn’t be opposed.”
“Good, because I was serious about showing up at your door when this is all over.” Ginny kept her eyes locked on his. The way he was staring at her made the temperature increase by ten degrees. “I know there is this… thing between us and I want to see how real it is as soon as we can.”
The slow smile that spread across Harry’s face made Ginny’s body tingle. “That good, because I do too.”
They stood there in silence, neither needing any other words. How was it that he could make her feel so… good by just looking at her. It was just so intimate between them and they hadn’t even held hands. Ginny knew the moment they finally could touch… the mere idea of it made a shiver run down her spine.
Harry was the first to break the silence. “We should eat before it gets any colder.”
Ginny nodded. “Good idea.” She took her seat, never taking her eyes off Harry. Once he claimed his chair she picked up the glass of wine he’d poured. “To family, being alive, and to you.”
“To us,” Harry countered.
Ginny plopped down on her sofa with a long sigh. She had intended to go for a jog, but the summer heat was just too much right now. The moment she’d opened the door, the wall of heat made her turn right around. Ginny figured she would go out and get her daily lockdown outdoor time once the sun had gone down most of the way.
To replace her workout, Ginny had sat her arse down with a bowl of crisps and fully intended on finishing the new season of Mindhunter. Before she could click the Netflix button the remote the newscaster drew her attention.
“So, am I understanding correctly that you’ve lifted the lockdown?”
“That’s right. We have lifted the lockdown, but still advise people to avoid large crowds. Try to keep your contact to a minimum.”
“And what are some tips you have in order for everyone to stay safe?” The reporter asked, his smile genuine.
“We suggest keeping masks on any place with more than ten people who you do not know. Also, limit physical touching whenever possible. This is not us saying that we believe everything has gone back to normal, but that we believe we’re over the worst of it.”
“I’m sure many people at home are wondering if this means they can go see their family they’ve been unable to for the past four months. Would you say it’s safe to visit with a loved one?”
The man in the nicely pressed suit, whose name was a complete blank to Ginny no matter how many times he’d been on the television over the past months, nodded slowly. “Though we still recommend staying home as much as possible. If you do decide to go visit a loved one or friend, ask if they have been in contact with anyone over the past two weeks. If they have, try and keep your distance and continue to wear a mask.”
“Thank you, Mr. Jackson. We appreciate all you’ve done in these troubling times.” The reporter turned his body so he faced the camera. “If anyone at home is looking for the full list of counteractive measurements when going out in public or visiting a friend, just go to our website which can help bring you to the World Health Organization website. Now over to Charlie for the weather.”
Ginny stared at the screen, not focusing on the forecast at all. The lockdown was finally being called off. She could go out and see her family, maybe even get together with Luna and Neville. The thought of getting to see everyone after only having video chats and texts for four months sounded like a dream…
She shot up off the cushions as if they had electrocuted her. This meant she could finally, finally go see Harry. After that Easter dinner, their relationship became more of a middle-ages courtship than anything else. They would spend hours talking, laughing, and, if a few drinks were involved, singing (not that either of them sounded very good). The only thing missing was the ability to actually touch him. Oh, and how she craved to touch him. The number of dirty dreams she’d had for him could have filled up an entire journal.
But now… Ginny had to take a deep breath to steady herself. She could go over there and, as long as he hadn’t been in contact with anyone else, touch him as much as she pleased. A sudden rush of nerves hit her. What if it wasn’t like she expected? If there was no spark between them?
Ginny shook her head. It was like she’d become a teenage girl again. Her anxieties were trying to get in her head and make it so everything would feel awkward. In her heart, Ginny knew it wouldn’t be like that for them. There was just something about Harry that felt so right even from six feet away and getting closer could only make it better.
There wasn’t a second of hesitation after that realization. Ginny slipped into a pair of sandals and the homemade mask she kept beside the door and walked along the pathway that led from her house to his. Every nerve in Ginny’s system seemed alert as she knocked on the solid wood of his front door. She backed off the step so when the door would open there would be a good four meters between them.
It really only took Harry about ten seconds to open the door, but Ginny it felt like a lifetime. He stood in the threshold, his mouth falling into a shocked O.
“Gin --” He snapped his jaw shut as he cleared his throat. The look of surprise, being replaced with one of panic. “Ginny, are you alright? Has something happened.” His eyes raked over her, looking for any sign of injury.
“No, I’m fine.” Her voice came out slightly muffled by the fabric. “I was just wondering if you’d looked at the news today?”
“The ne -” Harry blinked at her. “No, I haven’t. Did something happen?”
“Well, the stock market is still suffering, a baby was saved from a burning building by a dog, the lockdown has been lifted, there was a new test for self-driving- -”
“Wait,” Harry cut her off. “They lifted the lockdown?”
“Yeah,” Ginny waved off his words as if she hadn’t been thinking about it for the last four months. “But that dog saving that baby --”
Harry snorted. “Ginny, I will be very interested in hearing about the rescue dog after you tell me about the demolished lockdown.”
“Oh, well they are saying we can limit our interactions. So, we still shouldn’t go out and have a party, but going to visit a few family members is fine. Though they do suggest asking about someone’s history before going in protection-free.” She moved closer, close enough to reach out and touch. “So tell me, Harry, have you been safe?”
She could see the goose flesh rise on his arms as he moved closer, easily closing the gap between them. “Trust me when I tell you I’m as clean as a brand new whistle.”
“Good.” Ginny reached up and ran her fingers along his stubby jaw, loving the roughness. “I’d hate to be limited in how we can meet one another.” She brought her other hand to remove her mask.
The way Harry was looking at her, as if he was finally able to see for the very first time, made a delightful shiver run down Ginny’s spine. His hands came to rest on her waist. “Is this all right?”
“Oh, it’s more than. I think it’s about time you back all those claims from the last few months.”
Harry’s lips curled in a delighted smile. “More than happy to, my darling.” He leaned down and finally -- finally -- kissed her.
All of Ginny’s previous anxieties were shoved out of her system the minute their lips met. It was better than she’d imagined, better than she’d dreamed. The feeling of his hands running up her back and into her hair. Getting to wrap her arms around his neck. Her dreams did even come close to the real thing.
Harry pulled back, his forehead coming to rest on hers as they locked gazes. “Is that a good start?”
Ginny licked her lips. “I’d say so, but you’ve got a lot to make up for. Four months of sarcastic and witty comments, so you should probably invite me in because this may take all night.”
“A promise is a promise.” Harry kissed her once, letting his mouth linger for an extra second, before taking her hand to lead her into the house.
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