She quietly pushed the door open. The light pouring into the tiny living room of our small London flat from the hall outside. I sat in the over-sized armchair and watched as she turned and pushed the door closed without a sound. Her hair had escaped the elegant bun it had been in when she left. Her purse hung from one arm, her keys in hand, her heels dangling from the other hand. She turned the lock on the door, letting out a breath she must have been holding. She spun around slowly as she flicked the light on.
"Ron!" her eyes filled with silent fright.
Life has its ups and downs. I know that. Mine has been full of them, the ups and the downs. But this was the worst moment life could have thrown at me. I didn't stand, I didn't say a word, I just sat waiting for her to say something. Waiting for her to explain why she was coming home at two in the morning.
"Ron, I-" she cut herself short and walked forward, "what are you doing up?"
"That seems like a strange question to be asking me," I said calmly, though inside I was screaming, "seeing as you just walked in."
She didn't say anything to this. She didn't move. She didn't even try to hide the single tear falling down her soft skin.
I stood and walked into the small kitchen, "tea?"
"Sure," she said hesitantly taking a step to follow, "I guess."
I filled the kettle and placed in on the stove, a Muggle task I have become accustomed to. I pulled two cups from the cupboard above the counter. We sat in silence, barely able to hear our own breathing. I didn't know how long this was going on, but was glad to have my thoughts interrupted by a loud whistling. I filled our drinks and sat across from her at the table.
"I found this," I said simply, pulling a piece a parchment from my pocket.
When she saw her name in the neat handwriting at the top of the parchment I knew she recognized it. Her hands flew up to her mouth.
"Dear Hermione," I read aloud, "Thank you for joining me last night. It really surprised me that I enjoyed myself. I must say that we should get together again, perhaps when Astoria leaves you can accompany me to dinner. She leave around noon on the fifth, leaving me enough time to prepare an enjoyable dinner for us. Let me know what you decide. Draco Malfoy."
She didn't say anything, she didn't even look at me. She knew she was caught. She knew I trusted her. She knew all of this. Yet here she was, with the opportunity to explain herself to me, with nothing to say.
"At what point where you going to end this little escapade?" I asked calmly, "At what point where you going to come clean? At what point where you going to realize that I was still sitting here waiting for you to come home? At what point where you going to realize that I would catch onto what you were doing?"
"At what point do you think I was going to say that I have had enough?"
I sipped my tea, waiting for her to finish that sentence. I sipped my tea waiting for the explanation that I was prepared to blow holes in.
"It just-" she stared before trying again, "we just-" she looked up at me, "I love you."
"At what point did you think I would believe that?"
I pressed my cup to my lips, drinking the hot liquid. I felt the warmth flow through my chilled body. But within seconds the chill was back.
"I do!" she said loudly, "And if you don't believe me then you must be the one with issues. There has not been one second that I haven't loved you. Not one second that I ever questioned how much I love you."
"It sounds like you have rehearsed this."
She opened her mouth before quickly closing it. She pushed her chair from the table and stood. I slowly rose to my feet and stepped toward her. I looked down at her petite figure. We have fought many times in the past, but I have learned how to win a few here and there. I have learned to keep myself calm, to keep my voice quiet and steady, to keep my temper from attempting to show itself.
"Hermione, I know that this has been going on," I said as I stepped toward her, "I even know how long this has been going on. I have not had anyone following you. And I have not paid anyone for the information. As I'm sure you remember, this letter was given to you three months ago."
She looked away, eyes closed. This confirmed it all. This confirmed that everything I knew about this other relationship was true.
"Tell me one thing."
She looked back up at me, taking a deep breath.
"How does it feel when you kiss when you know that I trust you?"
Her eyes glistened as she fought the tears. But nothing could stop them from cascading down her smooth cheek. She tried to wipe them away, but all she did was smear the mascara and eyeliner she was wearing.
"When you are with him," I continued, "do you think of me?"
Her small body shuddered as she began to sob.
"I'm sorry," she managed to say between sobs.
"It's too late for that."
She looked up into my eyes, her eyes filled with fright. I hated seeing her like this, but there was nothing I could do, she had brought this upon herself. She decided to continue this affair. I could do nothing to stop her. On multiple occasions I gave her the option to go to dinner with me. But with each offer, came more excuses. With each offer she would turn me down, and run off to him.
I never thought anything like this would happen to me-to us. We were happy. I had proposed to her, and she had excepted so happily, telling everyone she knew as soon as she could. We planned a beautiful wedding, with flowers, and cake, and music, and anything else she wanted.
I had been planning to give her the most beautiful wedding I could. After we left Hogwarts I got a job at the Ministry, and I would put as much money as I could each time I got paid into an account so that by the time I had proposed to her I had enough money to give her anything she wanted for the wedding.
Back then, if anyone told me this is what would become of our marriage, I would have laughed in their face. But now as I stand in our kitchen, waiting for her to deny my words, I realized how wrong I was. I don't regret saving the money, I don't regret spending it, I don't even regret getting married. I only regret is that I didn't see it coming before now, that I tried to get myself to look past it all, that I tried to convince myself I was wrong. But now as I stand here, looking down at my wife, I realize that it is time to say the words that have been running though my mind all night.
"Hermione," I whispered.
She looked up at me, stepping away from me slowly.
"I need to say this, or I will just keep lying to myself."
Her lips parted as if she knew what I was going to say. Her eyes were glistening with fresh tears. I gently wiped her cheeks clean of her smeared makeup, before placing a kiss on her forehead. The last kiss I would ever give her.
"Your love is a lie."
I said this quickly and quietly, but I knew she heard me. And without another look at her, I swept past her. I picked up my bag from our bedroom that I packed earlier. I stood at the front door. I took a breath, mentally preparing myself for the last words I would say to my wife. This was the hardest part for me. The was more difficult than anything else I had said to her today, more difficult than anything else has ever been for me. I turned to face a small table near the door, reaching out to place the one item of mine that I never indented on letting go of till a few days ago on the table. I looked at the gold wedding band one last time before turning to leave.
"Goodbye Hermione," I said quietly as I opened the door, "I will always love you."
I walked thought the door, pulling it closed behind me.
"Ron!" she yelled as I heard the door click closed.
I made my way to the stairway slowly, almost hoping that she would come running though the door after me. She didn't. I was almost hoping that when I made it out to the chilled street she would lean out the window calling for me to come back. She didn't.
But that was just the part of me that held onto the life I was leaving behind. And I knew that no matter what I did, that little piece of me would always be holding onto the past. Holding onto the hope that she would run after me, begging me to come back.
I sat in an oversized armchair of my flat, Daily Prophet spread out across my lap. I just finished reading an article about the new law that had just been passed. I turned the page and a headline halfway down the page caught my attention.
I didn't bother reading the article. I already knew she was getting the promotion to Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, but seeing her picture plastered under that headline brought back the memories of why they were no longer together.
It has been three years since he left her alone in their old flat. Six months after she married the man she was seeing when they got divorced. Draco Malfoy. She had a one year old son, Scorpius, and was pregnant with a second child.
This voice brought a smile my face as it broke through all my thoughts. I looked up to see a flash of blonde hair before feeling warm lips pressed against mine. I pulled the woman kissing me to sit on my lap before pulling out of the kiss.
"How was tea with your mother?" I asked.
"She was complaining that you didn't come, again," she said brushing a stray strand of hair from her face, "but it was good. When are you going to come meet her?"
"Next time, Lav," I told her, kissing her again, "I promise."
"Because we have been going out for almost a year and you haven't even met my mother."
"I promise I will," I said pulling a small box from my pocket.
I opened it to reveal a small golden heart-shaped necklace. She let out a squeal as she hugged me tightly. She kissed my cheek before pulling her hair away from her neck allowing me to place the necklace on her.
"And so are you," I whispered in her ear before kissing her forehead.
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