A/N: Here's chapter two! You know I own nothing but the plot. And please excuse my fantastically horrible French.





CHAPTER TWO


Hermione was incredibly stressed out. She had forgotten all about the ball and the stupid show until now, two days before the scheduled masquerade was to take place. She needed a dress! She needed to fix her hair! She needed to find a bloody mask!

She glanced at her refrigerator. Stuck to the door with a magnet was a very fancy invitation. It has a rose wax seal, and it was written in deep red ink on heavy scented parchment. She sighed. She had nothing to wear to the ball.

Against her better judgement, she called Ginny Potter over the Floo network.

"Ginny," said Hermione wearily. "I need help."

Ginny sprung up from her seat at the kitchen table and beamed. She knew what was up. She had practically been counting down the hours to when Hermione would call for her help. She grabbed her purse and shouted "I'll be right there!" and "I'm going out shopping with Hermione, Harry!" before Disapparating to Hermione's flat.

Hermione turned around to see Ginny in a bubble of excitement, standing by her door, barely containing herself.

"Come on! Get dressed! We're going shopping!"

Hermione absolutely hated shopping, unless it was for books. She sighed, tugged at her plain shirt and old jeans, and took Ginny's proffered hand. The red-haired girl grinned and Disapparated once more.

"Where are we?" said Hermione at once as she took in the unfamiliar surroundings. She had a feeling they weren't in London anymore, let alone England.

"Hermione dear, welcome to Paris, France! The shopping capital of the world!" Ginny straightened her dress and then dragged an unwilling Hermione through the sunlit streets.

"I come here every time I need something fancy," Ginny explained, taking Hermione through an alleyway.

"Er…Gin--" Hermione tried to say.

"This is the absolute best place to shop for something like a masquerade," Ginny continued, stomping over some stubborn weeds that had grown through the cracks of the sidewalk.

"Ginny, why are we in a dark, scary alley?" Hermione asked as they came to a halt at the end of the alley.

"Because," said Ginny, pulling out her wand and tapping a certain brick three times, "this is the entrance to Diagon Alley of Paris."

The wall began moving and formed an archway, and Ginny wasted no time in pulling Hermione through.

"Ta-da!" Ginny announced, beaming.

It was indeed a "ta-da" moment. Hermione's mouth dropped open at the sight of the fancy magical shops and the stylishly dressed wizards and witches bustling throughout. Hermione caught a few French words from a cliquey group of girls standing a few feet away.

"Oui! Je vais aller a la boum pour le bachelor."

"Vraiment? Moi aussi! Tu peux faire du shopping avec moi!"

"Allons-y!"

Hermione watched as they skipped away and realized she had probably just met some of her fellow contestants. She couldn't help but feel her heart sink as she watched their silver-blonde hair rippling in the sunlight. How could she compete with girls like them?

Ginny waited patiently for Hermione's stunned speechlessness to end. When it did not, she said, "I know, it's amazing, right?" Without waiting for an answer, Ginny dashed into a store called Tres Jolie with Hermione at her heels.

"Time to find the perfect dress!" Ginny said excitedly, clapping her hands together.

It took a grand total of eight hours. In between the fancy stores, Ginny also forced Hermione to buy casual but pretty clothes for dates and such. They bought shoes, purses, and jewelry. Hermione repeatedly handed over her precious gold Galleons, wincing each time her moneybag became a little lighter. She caught sight of the French girls again, but didn't bother listening to their conversation to try and translate it into English. It had been a while since she studied French. Five hours in they found The Dress.

Oh yes. Not just any dress, but The Dress.

They found it at a small boutique tucked away in a corner of the shopping avenue. The lady assured them that it was handmade, one-of-a-kind. The Dress was made of deep purple silk. It went with Hermione's dark brown hair perfectly, and it made her pale skin glow. It hugged the curves she had been blessed with, showing them off. It was simple, but very elegant. Another hour later, they found a mask to go with it. The mask was purple as well, studded with small diamonds.

After all the shopping, Ginny sent the packages back to Hermione's flat with a wave of her wand.

"Can I go home now?" Hermione begged, dropping down onto a bench to let her poor feet rest.

"Of course not! We still need to get you a haircut and a manicure and a pedicure and a facial…." Ginny pulled Hermione to her feet and led her to a fancy spa.

Another two hours later, Hermione was completely and totally beautified. Her hair was silky and wavy and cut into layers, though it was still long. Her fingernails, gnawed to the quick due to various bouts of stress, were filed and polished. Her face was fresh and glowing with health.

Ginny sighed happily. "Perfect. Now, I order you to take the day off tomorrow and simply rest. Got that?"

Hermione nodded. She was unable to get rid of the silly smile that was now planted on her face. A few hours at the spa do wonders.



The next morning, Hermione followed Ginny's advice and lounged around the house relaxing. As she drank a cup of tea and finished reading Pride & Prejudice for the thousandth time, she allowed herself to fall into a lovely daydream involving herself and the mysterious bachelor. He would be handsome and tall and strong. He would be charming and chivalrous, opening the door for her, sending her flowers…. He would be intelligent as well, someone who was capable of keeping her interest in a spirited and lively conversation. He would also be an avid reader, like she was…. Now Hermione's imagination zoomed into overdrive and she pictured a wedding she had always dreamed of, with the no-longer-a-bachelor at her side; a honeymoon that involved touring the entire world; and a lovely house with a spacious library for all her--their--books. Fast-forward a few years, and Hermione imagined herself in the backyard, lounging on a blanket while her husband held her in his arms, watching their two perfect children play.

The sound of someone knocking sharply at her door interrupted her thoughts. She opened the door and found herself staring at a bouquet of a dozen red roses.

"For you," said the florist abruptly. He stomped back down to his truck, where Hermione could see dozens of identical bouquets in the back, waiting to be delivered.

She looked down at the tag. It read, "I have no idea who you are, but I cannot wait to meet you. See you at the ball tomorrow night, at seven o' clock!"

How sweet! Flowers! Hermione smiled, sniffed the roses, and placed them carefully in a glass vase that she had never used before.

Although she tried very hard not to show it, she was actually excited for the ball. 








I know, that was kind of fluffy and filler, but next chapter will have lots more action! Plus our leading man makes his first appearance! I would love it if you REVIEW! Criticism, comments, rants, raves, ideas, suggestions, anything! 
Yours till the Snorkack's horn crumples,
Queen Luna

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