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Hermione went on with life…sort of. Shortly after the graduation, she found a part-time job in a Muggle bookshop. Life was…alright for her. It was the way things were “supposed to be” according to Ron. The only “small” part missing was Draco. She was missed him with all her heart but she just didn’t want to admit it. Too much pain came from memories and good moments. It was just too much for her. She could’ve sworn he would write to her, but he never did. But the bigger problem was that he was everywhere. In the air, in her heart, in the houses she walked by. When she walked to her work, she would always pass by a floral shop with white and red roses in the display. It reminded her of the day Draco told her to meet at the Black Lake.

            She found him standing next to a maple tree by the lake. When she arrived next to him at the tree, she smiled and he went down on one knee. Hermione had been surprised. Is he mad! She had thought. I’m only 17! I’m too young to marry! Hermione’s first instinct was to run away, which was rude and cowardly. But Draco stopped her. He said, “I’m not asking you to marry me, I just want to know that I love you. And I will never stop. I’ll never stop thinking about you, talking about you, dreaming about you. You are the wind in the air; the fire in my heart, my undying love for you will remain forever. No matter what state I’m in, I could be dead for all I care, and I’ll still dream, think, and love you. Hermione, you’re the reason for my life being so good. I want you, Hermione, I want you forever.” He finished and Hermione was crying. She nodded and kissed him. She put everything she had in the kiss. After they pulled away, Draco conjured up a white rose and took a ring out of his pocket. But Hermione knew what the ring was for. It was for faith, as long as she wore the ring it meant she never stopped loving him. That same night they escaped to the Big House and they did it. They made love.

            And to this day, she was 21 now; her life had changed so much. Ron was her boyfriend, she was successful, and she had dropped the Paris school. She just skipped it. She just didn’t feel like going. It would remind her too much of Hogwarts. Then Hermione walked by a jewelry store. She closed her eyes as she walked because yet another painful flashback came.

 

            It was a year later after graduation. She and Ron had been going out for a month already. They had been at a nice little café sitting on a table outside. They were waiting for the food to arrive as she reached for the glass of water in front of her.

            “What’s that ring on your finger?” Ron asked, staring at her left index finger. She looked down at her hand. Memories flashed before her eyes like a fast slideshow.

            “A, um, friend gave it to me.” She aid carefully. Ron rose and eyebrow and nodded. “Who?”

            Hermione got up and left. Just like that

 

            “Nosy men.” She muttered to herself. But she just couldn’t stop loving Ron. He cared for her and he truly loved her. He helped her heal, a little. But despite all of this, Hermione couldn’t help but feel something was missing. Something she had in her grasp but let go. She knew exactly what this was; she just didn’t want to admit it. Shaking her head of the memories she opened the door to her bookstore.

            “You’re late! And I had to take the register. Now, I’m going to return to cleaning the shelves.” Dianne said. Her personality was like a spunky redhead but her looks were very different. She attracted most boys but Dianne just wasn’t interested in men. She was like Hermione, successful, smart, and focused. With a little sarcasm on the side. Dianne looked stunning today, she had flat ironed her brown hair and cut it to her shoulders. Her gray eyes sparkled under the glass chandelier and her tan skin was glowing. She had on white Capri’s and a baby blue ruffled blouse. What made the outfit unique were her black converse. She loved those shoes as she rarely, if ever, wore sandals.

            Although Dianne was a teenage Muggle, she knew about magic. She loved wizards and found it fascinating to know more about them. She attended a high school about five miles away. Grade 11 and straight A student, no doubt. She was trying to earn some money to buy a car. Dianne would always say how much she looked up to Hermione and thought about her as an aunt. Hermione felt the same. Even if Dianne was young, she felt like she could tell her anything. She planned on telling her about Draco but she just couldn’t bring herself to relive it. He had not written to her at all while she was 18 and 19 to this day. She spent a year crying herself to sleep, waiting for a miracle. And nothing. Not even a phone call, if he even knew how to use a phone.

            Hermione was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn’t notice a customer walk in. She mentally slapped herself and walked over to the customer

            “Hello, may I help you with anything?” She asked. The man turned around.

            “Oh Harry! I didn’t expect to see you here!” Hermione said as she hugged her friend.

            “Yeah I know. But Ron wanted me to tell you something.”

            Hermione gave him a puzzled look. “Why couldn’t he tell me himself?”

            “Just listen, go to the maple tree next to the bistro in the corner of the boulevard and he’ll be there.”

            Hermione’s insides froze as Draco’s face came into her mind. A maple tree. “I can’t, busy.” Hermione said and turned away from him. But Harry caught her wrist. “I’ll cover your shift. I promise everything will be alright.” Harry thought she was worried about her job.

            “Harry, it’s not the job I’m worried about.”

            “Then what is it?”

            She shook her head. “I don’t really want to talk about it. Just tell Ron I was busy and that I love him.”

            “But—“

            “Tell him!” She said as her eyes started to mist. Stop being a baby, she thought as she hastily wiped her eyes.

            Harry reached up to touch her face. “Hermione are you—“

            “Go!” She nearly yelled at him.

            She watched Harry’s hurt face as he left to go tell Ron. Great, another thing that reminded her of Draco. This was just like the time on the train when she told Blaise to tell Draco that she loved him.

            “Dianne!” She said as the tears started to pour out.

            Her face poked out from the shelves and changed quickly to concern. “Yes?”

            “We need to talk.”

 

A few miles away, Draco Malfoy was in bed with another woman.

            It was his only way to forget about Hermione. She was everywhere. In the earth, the air, the flowers, the birds. Everything beautiful reminded him of her. He had written 365 letters to her, and never got a reply. He was heartbroken. Maybe Hermione did move on. But despite all this, he had still been working on fixing the house, just like he promised Hermione.

            The house was working out great, blue shutters and white walls. Even if he knew he could’ve just used magic to fix the house, he wanted to work on it bare-handed because then it would be…real. All he needed was to find out a way to pay the bank back for the loan for all his supplies. He had been working part-time in a small café on James Ave. (Another thing I made up) Not much money, but it was something. Blaise had even offered to help and it was agreed he would pay one-third of the loan. Draco did not know what he would be doing without his loyal friends. Blaise had stuck with Draco in these times of darkness. Even if he wouldn’t even talk to anyone at night or day. Or even move from where he was sitting. Blaise helped no matter what.

            Draco’s dad had died two years after Hogwarts. Life was rough for him. He had no place to live, for his father had ordered for the Manor to be demolished in his will and he had no money. Then, when the Minister came to Draco while he was at a diner to read the missing part of his father’s will, he found a new light in the tunnel. Draco’s father had left him two million seven hundred forty two thousand dollars for him. It turns out; his father had been saving up for his whole life to pay for a new manor and gave the money to Draco on his will.

            He wanted to use the money wisely. He bought a small, but nice, apartment near a little boulevard with a Bistro in the corner and shops all around. Thankfully, it was near Hogsmeade. That way he could work on the house every day.

            “I’m going to leave.” Lisa Frank said as she got off the bed and put on her clothes.

            “Why?” Draco asked as he stretched.

            “I can see your mind is on something else. Don’t expect me to come back.” She grabbed her purse and left.

 

Draco stared at the silver ring on his finger and thought of Hermione.

Tonight, he was going to the Bistro.

*                                                           *                                                                       *

“Wow. That was emotional.” Dianne said as she comforted her friend.

            “He hasn’t written to me.” Hermione sobbed into a tissue.

            Dianne didn’t know what to say. She was sixteen! Well, so was Hermione when she met Draco. Wizards sure have to deal with a lot of things. She glanced at the clock hanging by the door. Eight o-clock!
            “Blimey, eight already. I’m sorry Hermione but I have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She gave her friend one last hug and left.

            Hermione was all alone. She went to the bathroom and washed her face. Leaning with her back against the sink, arms crossed, she sighed. Maybe she ought to go see Ron after all. Would he still be there? Oh well. If he wasn’t she would still eat because she was starving.

            She grabbed her purse from the bathroom counter, locked the register, shut off the lights and shut the door. Sticking her keys in the lock, she looked at her surroundings. Who knows what crazy old goon would be doing right now. The Bistro was right across from her store, barely twenty meters away. She walked across the street and into the sound of nice jazzy music and a waitress asking, “May I seat you at a table?”

            She looked around and spotted Ron, Ginny, and Harry at a table close to the band. She pointed, “I’m with them.”

            “Oh all right. Help yourself.” The waitress handed her a menu.

            Hermione walked to the table admiring the twinkling lights above her. Tonight, she promised herself she would not be sad. Looking around again she saw a bar occupied with three people. A man with a woman and a snowy blonde by himself. Their backs were to her as she finally reached the table. Was Draco the snowy blonde? She shook her head. Not tonight, she thought.

            “Hello Hermione!” Ginny said as Hermione squeezed in next to her on the round table.

            “Hey!” She said, smiling at everyone.

            Ron nodded to her and Harry merely looked at his hands. Ginny crinkled her eyebrows in confusion and looked at Hermione. Hermione shook her head and knew that Ginny took this as the signal for, later. Wow, not even a minute has past and everyone already feels awkward.

            Ginny clapped her hands and rubbed them together. “So, um, we haven’t ordered yet but we know what we want so you can take a look at the menu.” Leave it to Ginny to make things a whole lot awkward.

            “So.” Ginny said. Ron grunted and Harry finally stopped looking at his hands to meet Ginny’s eyes.

            “Why are you here?” Ron grumbled, his eyes searching her soul.

            Hermione’s face turned into an expression of shock. He knew why she was here! The only reason he was asking was so she could relive everything that happened. What happened to the old Ron? The Ron that would let her cry on his shoulder when something was wrong or give hugs to people he cared about. Ever since Hermione was dating Draco, Ron had turned…tough. He never seemed to care about anything that much. If Hermione ever asked anything, he would always return it with a grunt. After about ten times of asking the same thing, he would either tell her to stop and leave, or – when he was in a very sour mood—yell at her. Hermione found this strange. It just wasn’t in his nature. Even if she asked herself this, she knew the answer. She was just too afraid to tell herself.

            “Because I wanted to spend time with my friends.” She said with dignity.

            “Then why didn’t you just meet here earlier today?” Ron growled.

            “I-I couldn’t” She picked at her fingernails under the table.

            “Harry even offered to cover your shift.” Ron narrowed his wary eyes.

            Hermione replied with silence.

            “Do you even know what I was going to ask?” Ron continued.

            She shook her head and placed her hands on the table. She felt like a small child. So powerless.

            Ron reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a simple but beautiful diamond ring and held it in front of him.

            “I was going to ask you to marry me.” His expression showed no softness or desire. Only hurt and resentment.

            Hermione lifted both her hands to her mouth as her eyes misted. Ron stared at the ring on her finger.

            “Bloody hell, Hermione, take it off!” Ron said.

            “No!” She took her hand away from her mouth and protectively set them on her lap.

            “Why not?” Ron said.

            “Who gave that to you?” Harry asked softly. It was his first words since she sat down. Ginny muttered something that they couldn’t quite catch.

            “What?” Hermione said, leaning in so she could hear her better.

            “Draco.”

            Hermione’s face went blank. How did she know?

            “Is this true?” Ron snarled, turning back to Hermione.

            Hermione opened her mouth to answer but was interrupted by Ron.

            “So for years, years, you’ve been grieving over a man who bullied you, got together with you, and then broke your heart?” Ron crinkled his eyebrows. “That all happened four bloody years ago!

            “I can’t believe you! Are you always like this? You think you can tell me what I feel? For your information, you didn’t bother to notice my feelings for him because you were too busy with snogging with Pansy!”

            “I was as heartbroken as you are right now! I loved you, and still do despite the fact you don’t love me back! Do you know how it feels to watch the women you love in the arms of another man?”

            “I never said I didn’t—“

            “You didn’t have to. I knew that ring wasn’t from a bloody‘ friend’. You were always so quiet and unlike yourself.”

            “You think I wasn’t acting like myself! You should have heard and seen yourself! You never answer me, you’re always sour, and you never act like the Ron I used to know.”

            “The same can be said about you.”

            “No! This is different! You don’t know how it feels to lose someone you love so much. Or someone you’re positive you can’t live without. Well, right now I’m on the verge of breaking. Are you too bloody thick to realize what’s been happening?” She let the tears spill out and began to realize that they were both standing now.

            “Do you always only see your own side of the story? Why don’t you step inside someone else’s shoes once in a while? You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.” And with that, he stepped away from the table and weaved through the crowd and outside the restaurant. Hermione went to follow him, and as she did, she spotted the snowy blonds face. But her lips were just forming his name and her hand was stretched out as he left the restaurant and disapparated.

 

I think this is the best chapter yet! Sorry about responding kind of rudely to one of the reviews. I was really in a bad mood and I let it out on you. I promise it won’t happen again. ): I’m a terrible person!

 

On another note, I know I really zoomed into the whole Draco and Hermione relationship but I will make the last part—where they find each other—long. Hope you enjoyed the story! By the way, thanks for all the wonderful reviews and feedback. More would really be appreciated though. ;)

P.S.- I can't believe this reached 1,500 reads! Yay!

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