Chapter 11 : Chapter Ten - Ascension to Clarity
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Ascension to Clarity
Hermione smiled across the room as she sipped from the delicate champagne glass clasped between the fingers of her left hand. The yellow and red of the stones in her ring glistening in the sun light from the windows.
The bubbles tingled in her mouth as the taste and smell of the drink filled her senses.
Her mother was trying on outfits for the wedding in a shop that had said it could accommodate al female parties, including the bride. Right now a salmon pink knee length dress was being tried on, very classy, but not quite what her mother had in mind.
Having only one option left that she hadn’t rejected Hermione passed her a pale green dress and a cream jacket with matching green piping on the seams.
At that moment Ginny came out of the next dressing room in a sky blue dress and Luna followed wearing the same one. It had a sweet heart neckline and a diagonal cut hem that started at the right knee and finished at the left ankle.
She smiled at the pair and placed the glass down on the table. She moved closer and took their hands.
“You look amazing.”
“Well you chose them.” Said Ginny; squeezing Hermione’s hand as she smiled back at her.
“I know, but,” she lowered her voice. “Mum’s being a little difficult.”
“I like them,” said Luna absent-mindedly. “It’s not something I’d have chosen for myself but they look good.”
“Don’t forget Hermione, you’re next.” Hermione rolled her eyes as her mother came out of the changing room. She was, finally, smiling.
“I love it dear.” She said as she walked swiftly across to them. “Are you sure I won’t clash with the bridesmaids though?”
“No mum, here stand next to them and look in the mirror.” She did so. “See?”
“I suppose.” She said slowly, looking at herself from all angles. “Yes, I’ll have this one.” The assistant came over with the bottle of champagne to refill their glasses.
“And now for the Brides’ turn?” she asked excitedly as she put the bottle down on the glass topped table.
“I guess.” She felt suddenly nervous, unsure of how to proceed. She bit her lip.
“Just go and have a browse, while your mother and bridesmaids get out of theirs, and they’ll meet you through there once you’ve got an idea of what’s on offer.” Hermione took a steadying breath, followed by a steadying swig of Champagne and went through to the section where the wedding dresses were hung.
She was sure she wanted White or Ivory.
But confronted with rows of White and Ivory dresses, that didn’t narrow the choice down too much.
“O.k. Just browse, work your way along one rack and see if there’s anything you like.” She muttered to herself.
As she got through the first few she knew that she wanted a wanted a full length dress, with at least a small train. Not one that was overly big and puffy, but she didn’t want a particularly slinky one either, it needed to feel like a real wedding dress.
Part way down the first rack she found a definite contender. She lifted the hanger off the pole and held it out. It was white with ivory embroidery and beading decorating the bodice, the chiffon skirt parted to reveal a lace underskirt also decorated with the same embroidery and beading as the bodice. Somewhere deep inside her she felt a flutter of excitement.
She hung that one by the door and went back to browsing.
A little further along another dress caught her eye, it was again, white. It had blue beading on the bodice and train with a blue sash round the waist. Smiling at it, she hung that one up too.
Soon everyone else had piled into the room and was looking at the other rail of dresses.
Next thing Hermione knew, there were a dozen dresses waiting for her to try on. All of them fitted her rather brief specifications, and she found herself dragged to the changing room to try the first dress on.
It was Ivory, but the neckline was wrong for her body shape so that one was discarded.
The next because she decided a strong colour contrast with any embroidery or beading didn’t work for her.
She then decided halter necks looked wrong too so all of those were put back on the rails.
The dress with the blue sash suited her amazingly well and although gorgeous, just didn’t feel right. She ran her hand along the blue silk band that ran around her waist, something about it, felt alien to her.
She looked up at her mother, sat on the armchair with tears brimming in her brown eyes. Then across to Ginny and Luna sharing the posh sofa holding each others hands with their mouths open, champagne glasses half full in their other hands completely forgotten.
“Oh Hermione.” Said her mother breathlessly as she laid a hand on her chest, clearly having nothing else to say about the dress.
Not even the shop assistant seemed to notice her uncertainty.
Sighing she looked left at the mirror, and was almost unable to contain a cry of frustration.
Yes, it looked amazing but it wasn’t the one. She looked longingly at the dress still untried in it’s protective bag.
She then looked right, out of the window, to look at anything but her reflection.
The glass of the shop large front windows was frosted with the name of the shop and its logo being the only clear sections of window.
What she saw through the clear gaps in the frosted glass was a pair of grey eyes, not looking a though they had been there for a long time spying, but as though they had at that moment paused in the process of the second part of a double take.
Her heart skipped, before the eyes moved on.
It wasn’t him.
It wasn’t Draco.
She couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
“Hermione? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Said Luna
“Are you O.k?” asked her mother, standing up and coming over. She took Hermione’s now shaking hand in hers and beamed. “You’ve found it, haven’t you?”
“I don’t know. I’d like to try the other dress on.” She motioned to the last one left, the first dress she had picked up.
“But why darling?”
“We do need to close soon.” Said the shop asisstant tentatively.
“Of course. If you hold the dresses we’ve selected we’ll be back to confirm everything on Saturday.” Said her mother briskly. “Now go and get out of that one while we finish up our Champagne.”
Hermione nodded and followed the shop assistant, this wasn’t the right dress, and she had a feeling that the other one would have been.
Twenty minutes later they left the shop and in that time Hermione had made the decision to come back in her lunch hour tomorrow and try that other dress on alone. As the conversation between her three companions flowed easily Hermione couldn’t help but feel guilty about what she thought she had seen through the window.
Standing nervously outside the shop she wrung her hands before taking a deep breath and pushing the door open.
The shop assistant smiled at the jingle of the bell above the door.
“Miss Granger, how can I help you?”
“The Dress I didn’t try on yesterday…”
“I had a feeling you might like to try it.” She said with a smile. “Follow me.”
Fifteen minutes later she was stood in front of a full length mirror wearing the biggest smile she had ever worn from seeing herself in a particular item of clothing.
She was speechless.
The shop assistant merely smiled and left the room for a moment. She could hear talking but presumed she had missed the bell, absorbed as she was in her reflection. She felt something wet roll down her cheek and wiped away the tear of happiness.
A few minutes later the shop assistant came back.
“I’ve got another customer booked in for 1:30.” She said.
“That’s fine, I have to actually eat before going back to work anyway. Thank you so much.”
“Here let me help you.”
That evening Hermione found herself standing outside another door wringing her hands. Again she took a deep breath before raising her hand to knock on the door.
It took a minute or so, but he eventually answered the door.
“Mione?” he was a little surprised it seemed and less happy at her visit than she would have expected.
“Hi Ron.” She bit her lip.
“Come in.” he stood back and let her pass into the short corridor that led to the kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and bedroom.
She went into the lounge without hesitation and sat on the sofa.
“Would you like a cup of tea?”
“I’m O.k. actually.” He stood there for a moment unsure what to do with himself. Then sat down on the other end of the sofa.
“Did the dress shopping go well?”
“It didn’t go as planned.”
“What do you mean?” he was confused, for once she didn’t blame him.
“You know I haven’t brought this up before now because I didn’t think it was worth it.” She took a steadying breath before continuing. “When you proposed…”
“I know I was acting like a jerk, but I was nervous.” He said far too quickly.
“But that hasn’t changed since, has it?” She said, finally able to look at him, she found he was looking guiltily at the floor.
“Ron, when you asked me to marry you, what did I say?” she asked, not taking her eyes off him.
“You… You said…” he paused, clearly at a loss. “I don’t remember?”
“That’s because I didn’t actually get a chance to say anything, Ron.” He looked up at her clearly wondering where this conversation was going.
“What do you mean?”
“I didn’t say yes.”
“But, you went along with everything. I thought you wanted this!”
“I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I wanted to try and do the right thing.”
“The right thing! Hermione I thought you loved me!”
“So why are we having this conversation?”
“I can’t marry you Ron.” This time he didn’t say anything in the gap he left him. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry? You come over here, call off our engagement and all you can say is sorry?”
“Not just our engagement Ron.”
“Get out.” He choked.
“Ron…” she moved closer to him, but he stood up and opened the lounge door.
“And I’ll have the ring; if you don’t want it then I’ll get my money back.”
“Give me back the ring and get out.” She slowly took the ring off and placed in his open palm.
“I’m sorry.” She looked down at her feet and walked past him into hall. He followed her out into the hall as she let herself out. She stood on the pavement and looked back at him he was now standing holding the front door.
“I never meant....”
“Save it.” He snapped and slammed the door in her face.
Well that’s that then, I guess, no more Ron and Hermione.
Do you love me or hate me?
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