Disclaimer: Do you *really* think I own Harry Potter? Because then I suggest getting your head checked…
AN: Okay, yes, I *am* still working on 'Swirling Colours', but my beta has it, so I can't post it… And at www.portkey.org, this challenge just leapt out at me. Basically I have to write a story containing three quotes. Check it out if you want. Anyway, on to the story.
Chapter 1: The Golden Rule of Being Female
It is one of the most amazing feelings in the world to wake up next to the man of your dreams. After a long night of seeking another's soul, mixed with wine and chocolates and silk sheets and a huge house where you are alone, with only your lover lying next to you, waking up is like dying and waking up in heaven. It is simply wondrous.
And then the real-world hits you like a train. Because, if you've learned anything in your life, it is not to sleep with a man who is in love with another woman. And as you survey the Master Bedroom Suite, with it's white lacy decor, silk sheets rustling beneath you, duvet cover on top, in the arms of the most perfect man in the world, life is looking very bleak.
See, I'm not really sure where to start. Should I start at the very beginning, when we first met? Or maybe when I first thought I was falling in love with him? Or the day I went away? Or the day I returned? Or, perhaps the day I found out you were engaged. No, none of them are right. I don't believe I've ever been in something so complicated. Seriously.
You may laugh at me. I don't care. I managed to get myself in such a mess, as in, what am I to do when *he* wakes up. And even then, I must admit the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you can't. Of course, no one said out right to me I couldn't sleep with the man of my dreams, when he's engaged to someone else. But who cares?
Apparently his fiancé. Unfortunately. Of course, that is, *if* she finds out. And I am the Mistress of hiding things. After all, how could I have hidden the fact I was head over heels in love with my best-friend for the last seven years? Of course, that is quite a different matter, seeing as there is also another party in this particular secret, and it all rests on him. Please, dear Lord, let him agree with me to keep this a secret. Oh, and please don't let him throw me out of the house, refusing to see or hear from me again.
And then I hear a rustling sound, as he starts stirring. Damn. At least she isn't home yet. And he always *has* been forgiving. But still. I'd rather not have to be in such a situation. Please, don't wake up, please don't wake up, please don't wake up_ "Hermi?" Damn again.
"Yes?" I ask, praying he won't remember what happened and I can just slip away, saying I was a figment of his imagination.
"We should get dressed." Practical as always. You'd think that being rich, famous and powerful would go to someone's head, but it was never an issue with him. He doesn't care.
And he was *always* practical. He owns both muggle and wizarding clothing, knows muggle history, science, sports, news and anything that would convince you he was a muggle. And on the other hand, he is one of the most famous wizards of all time. But every single bone in his body is practical. Sometimes I wish he *was* a bit more extravagant.
"Right". I drawl. Of course, what the most perfect thing in the world would be to snuggle up to him again and repeat the love making we had just shared. But real-life is *not* a fantasy world. Unfortunately. He throws the covers back, revealing his toned body. How am I to help myself from staring at this magnificent body before me. His broad shoulders, lean chest, chiselled abs, trim waist, I'm not going to even go into the perfection of *that* region, long, muscled legs…stop drooling, girl.
I stand up, facing the other direction as I hunt for my clothes. My bra is seemingly missing, until I hear a chuckle. Swirling around, I find him holding *my* bra. Oops …*how* did my bra get on the *balcony*? "I must have thrown it farther than I thought." He said, tossing it back at me.
I take it, fastening it as I find my jeans. "Thanks." We are a couple of little words, at least at the moment, that is. It's amazing how having sex with a man changes everything. After all, there may be some things better than sex, and there may be some things worse, but there's nothing exactly like it.
We continue to find our clothes, pulling them on in silence. When we are both finally dressed, both of us in designer muggle clothes, I might add, we finally catch each other's eyes. His eyes are a bright emerald almost glowing with a passion I have never before witnessed. I gulp at being caught beneath such a gaze. "What's going to happen with us?" He voices both of our concerns. It's truly amazing how one night can change two entire lives.
"Well, you *are* getting married." I stated matter-of-factly. Does he realise how his gaze makes me melt?
"Right." He has the decency to blush. He better. If *I* was his fiancé, I would tear his head out if I knew he just slept with another woman. Of course, it would solve all our problems if I *was* his fiancé, but I am *not* Ariana de Forá. Unfortunately.
"I should go." I mutter. This silence and discomfort between us is ridiculous. We've known each other for the last eleven years. Amazing how one event can change a relationship.
"I- I'll walk you out." Let's just thank God no one else is home. I *would* have apparate, but he has so many damn wards around his house. You can't even floo in. And good luck trying to get in as an Animagus, his wards would reveal you immediately. I leave the bedroom, not even caring that he is following behind me.
Now I think of it, the entire story probably starts at the end of our Fourth Year. He was just so *sad* then. Not really *sad* , more liked depressed. One of his main faults is that he believes every awful thing in the world is his fault. Something which is ridiculous. But *you* try convincing him otherwise. I did, and believe me, it isn't easy.
I kissed his cheek after we left the train, an impulse of a caring fifteen year-old girl who wasn't sure what the weird feelings going through her head were. The entire summer was anguish, let me tell you. There were so many conflicting thoughts in my head and it didn't help that my other best friend was being an arse. It wasn't until Christmas when I finally admitted my feelings, but there was no way in *hell* I was going to tell him.
"Hermi?" He spoke again, waving his hand in my face. His brows were scrunched with worry. "Are you all right?"
"Yes." I realised I had reached the front door. "I'll be going now."
At home I crawled into a nice bath. Roses with vanilla. Candles. Dimmed lights. Sparkling water. Classical Music. Chocolate. All comfort things of mine. And believe me, I needed that comfort. It's amazing what the body subjects itself to. In the time period of perhaps fifteen hours I managed to eat dinner with my best-friend, get drunk, kiss him and end up having sex with him, wake up and leave him.
Leaving him. That's exactly was what I needed to think about as I relaxed, part of the reason I had so much tension. Harry's been my best friend for years. Ever since he and Ron rescued me from the troll in our first year. Of course, if Ron hadn't been an arse and said such a thing in the first place, I wouldn't have needed rescuing. But of course, when one thinks about it, it *was* a good thing. Though at the time seeing a troll in the bathroom when all you want to do is be alone and have a good cry *is* terrifying.
During my sixth and seventh Years, I watched Harry date other people. He never lasted long with them. I was singing in side. Lavender, Paravati, Alexia, a stuck-up Slytherin in our year, Mandy, the names went on. I was *tired* of watching Harry going through girls. Which is probably why I made the stupidest decision in my life. I started to date Ron.
I'm not even going to go into Ron, except that he had his own reputation. While Harry went through the girls in our Year and a few from the Year above and behind, Ron went through *every* girl. Only the Third Years and below were safe. The paintings and ghosts whispered behind their hands that the last person who had dated every single girl in Hogwarts was the infamous Sirius `Padfoot' Black.
There were two things my mother told me as a child. Well, I was turning sixteen, about to visit Viktor Krum before my Fifth Year, so I wasn't really a child. But the fact is she sat me down and told me two things. First, don't give myself to someone I don't really care about, even if I *am* caught up in the moment. Chastity is something to be cherished. And second? Don't get caught by a Player.
At the time, the advice didn't help much. Viktor had a girlfriend, a Bulgarian neighbour, who could have passed as a model. But it could have helped me when Ron asked me to go out with him. My best-friend, who unfortunately was the very Player my mother was talking about. And I didn't catch it. There went three months of my life and my virginity down the drain.
Don't get me wrong. I *enjoyed* dating Ron for the most part. He was my first steady boy-friend and our arguing cut down a lot. Of course, it was because I was trying to be more submissive. I somehow got it in my head that guys wanted women who were submissive. And therefore I changed myself for a boy. Until I found Ron sleeping with someone else.
To make things quick, let's just say I dumped his sorry arse, slapped him as hard as I could and hexed him. Harry did a fair job as well, sticking up for `his best friend who isn't a two-timing bastard'.
I think part of the reason I left shortly after I finished Hogwarts was because of my `fling' with Ron. And because though Harry had defended me, he had defended me as a *friend*, nothing more. I was convinced he could never love me like a woman, not like a sister.
At the time, I was convinced my decision was right. I came back for short visits, usually just visiting for a few hours. Apparating was easy for me, impossible for my friends, because I wasn't disclosing my location, threatening to go as far as a Secret Keeper if they persisted to find me. I needed the time alone, to think for myself, to grow up and brace the world. I did and the few visits I had where just what I needed to be sure that my decision was right.
I was wrong. I gripped the sponge, scrubbing my skin praying that the last five years would come off. They didn't. I was stuck with my fate. Amazing how you can fuck up so quickly. And though I had to admit sleeping with Harry *was* a pleasurable experience, the guilt definitely over-powered it. Let it be said I do *not* like Ariana de Forá, but it still was unfair of me to sleep with her fiancé. Even though she doesn't deserve him.
I finally convinced myself to get out of my bath. I had soaked long enough, and the lure of breakfast was starting to come into my field of vision. It didn't matter that it was already noon.
I pulled on my dressing gown, a chenille bathrobe I got in America. It was expensive there, but it's warm and cosy and I don't give a damn how it looks. Everyone deserves a bit of comfort. I remembered a bit of wisdom from a friend, Andrea, in America. "I never loved another person the way I loved myself". Good advice, I have to admit. Why not be a bit selfish at times? And now was a time I could use a bit of pampering.
Until my phone rang.
Okay, finished. Well, with the *first* part that is. I'm working on the second part, so don't worry. It's coming. I hope that you all liked it, and so I know, I'd be honoured if you'd leave a review. With that said, I think I'll leave you there. I don't really have any comments or explanations.