Disclaimer: Ain't mine. Ariana is mine. Dana, Marissa, Andrea, Alexandrè. Marie are mine. Any other OCs? Mine. It's three in the morning…can't write anything else.

AN: See bottom.

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Chapter 3: The Dangers of Meeting Ginny

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I sat at the patio table, waiting for Ginny. When I had made the date, I hadn't even known that Harry was engaged. Hell, I hadn't even *seen* him yet. I had just arrived and Ginny picked me up. 'Let's get together, Herm. Next week okay?' Of course it was, I had retorted and she dropped me off by my apartment. But as I was sitting at the Café, there were more things on my mind than meeting Ginny and catching up.

There are some things I hate about Ginny Weasley. Excuse me, I mean *Malfoy*. Don't get me wrong, Ginny *is* one of my best friends. We started sticking together the summer before my fourth year, with the Quidditch Cup and everything. Then we started talking at school and we spent our summers together. What can I say, except that growing up in a family of boys *should* have made Ginny a tomboy. But in Ginny's case, it made her more feminine. It also gave her a sense of independence.

Of course, the main thoughts in my head when Ginny sat down across from me were the ones over my weekend *sleepover* with my best friend. My *engaged* best friend. I think that if I keep on repeating those sentences, I'll eventually see some sense. "Hi, Hermi." Was what brought me out of my thoughts.

Ginny was wearing designer muggle jeans with beads up the legs and a sweater I remember seeing in a Vogue magazine that cost about one hundred fifty pounds. Her ankle boots were also from some designer and now I think of it, it *might* have been Armani. Don't quote me on that though. Dressed in Gap, I was feeling a bit over-shadowed.

That's the thing about Ginny. She can make the most beautiful woman feel like nothing. It isn't that she's stunningly beautiful, but she just *holds* herself so. She modelled a bit out of Hogwarts, but not for long. She designed some muggle and wizarding fashions, sold in the store named after her 'Virginia's'. But what she really does is writes. She's a columnist for Witches Weekly, which has changed a lot from my fourth year. Of course it *would* after Draco Malfoy bought it.

As the story goes, Ginny Weasley started dating Draco Malfoy in his sixth year and he proposed in his Seventh. Of course at Hogwarts, you can't get married, but they both knew they were going to wait. Draco started modelling after his Seventh Year, started 'Virginia's', even though Virginia isn't Ginny's full name and bought Witches Weekly. Just to show her he had a job and could support her. Ginny finished Hogwarts, started modelling herself, quit after a year, started writing and they married. The wedding for Galleonaires it was called in the Daily Prophet. Gloria Hendricks, *the* Wizarding Designer was Ginny's personal wedding planner.

Anyway, two years later, Marriage and Motherhood wasn't hurting Mrs Malfoy any. Ginny looked even more radiant. Which was another thing to kill her for. Ginny had a one year-old at home and was four months pregnant. But did she look pregnant? No. Ginny looked exactly like she did when she was an eighteen year-old Model fresh out of Hogwarts. And being a good friend, I *know* she hadn't gained any weight from either pregnancies. Weight that stayed, that is. Did I mention how I want to kill her? "Hi, Gin. Glad you could make it."

She waved a manicured hand, sweeping a strand of perfectly curled hair behind her ear. Not that she needed to. The mass of her perfect shoulder-length curls was up in a bun, the few tendrils hanging down for show. Her perfect complexion smiled at me, showing bright red lips and perfect white teeth. How I *hate* how perfect she is. "No problèmo. For you? Come, it's not like my editor can *fire* me. And I was glad to get away. There's only so much time I can spend with Alexandrè." Alexandrè being Ginny's one year-old son. Actually more like sixteen months, but I'm not sure.

"Yes, well, there are a few things I wanted to talk about-" I start. I shouldn't be nervous around my best friend, but I am. I mean, how easy do *you* think it is to confess you've just slept with an engaged man? Especially one of your best friends. I swear Fate loves toying with us. That is, if I believed in Fate.

"You slept with Harry." Ginny cuts off my sentence matter-of-factly. Her Frappachino in her left hand, she does *something* with her wrist, pointing her finger at me. "It's all in your expression, dahling." She calls the waiter over and asks for two Mai Thais. On the rocks or something. To say I rarely drink is an understatement. Actually I'm not really sure what a Mai Thai is; now I think about it.

But since Ginny Malfoy obviously does, I allow her to decide. "Yes, well, you're right. I *did* sort of-" There is nothing you can hide from Ginny Malfoy. I think she must have inherited it from her mother. She can just *look* at you and you spill your secrets. Which is one of the reasons she's the only person in the *world* who knows about my crush on Harry. Or maybe it's a bit *more* than a crush…

"You can't 'sort-of' sleep with a guy, Herms. You just *do*. And is 'Yes, well' your new fav expression?" Ginny has a way with words. Basically she speaks `cool, rich, sophisticated' talk. `Dahling', `fav' and other words that pop up are examples. And I have the *hardest* time understanding her sometimes. But don't mind me, because Ginny started to speak. "Actually, it' a good thing you did. Now you can for sure if you actually *like* Harry."

I stare at her in shock. "Gin, did you hear me correctly? I *slept*, in other words, had *sex* with an engaged man. He's getting married in what, a month? And I had *sex* with him." Now I must say I know Ginny very well. But even *I* was shocked with her answer. And to the question if I *liked* Harry, well, I *had* been secretly in love with him for the last seven years.

Ginny waved a hand. "I heard, I heard. I just don't see what the big deal was. Do you think Draco and I haven't slept with other people? Even *during* our marriage?" I was very glad that I hadn't drunk anything otherwise Mrs Malfoy would be wearing it.

"You- you've had an *affair*?" I squeaked out incredulously. Ginny and Draco have been together for six years. They're what I would say are a happy couple. Amazing what happens to your ideals when given a chance.

"Not an *affair*, Herms. I've slept with other people. That's not an affair. An affair is when you're in love with someone else. Draco and I do it just for the sex." I think my mouth dropped even lower.

"But- doesn't that bother you when Draco sleeps with another woman?" I managed to get out. What an interesting lunch we're having. Ginny confesses to me that she and Draco are sleeping with other people and still married and I confess I've slept with Harry. I pity the people sitting near us.

Ginny shrugs and takes her Mai Thai, swallowing it in a gulp. "No. And it doesn't bother him when I sleep with other people." Her mouth frowned at me. "Herms, you have *such* a virginal mind. Draco and I *love* each other. We sleep together as well, have a son, who *is* Draco's child and are very happy together. But life gets boring. I admit our first year together was just us two. But after that, well, why not experiment? It brings fun into life. As long as your partners know that this is no lasting thing, only for the sex, then it's fine." She shrugged, digging into her purse.

"So you're saying that you guys don't care. Are your *partners* married too? Or just you?" I ask, trying to fathom the depths of Ginny's mind.

"Oh, sometimes yes, sometimes no. It doesn't matter to me. The guy has to be attractive, have no STDs and willing *not* to fall in love with me. Then it's time for fun." Ginny sighed, pulling out a cell phone. "After all, stolen sweets are the best."

"*What*?" I squawk out. "Did you-" I can't even finish the sentence before Ginny waves her hand at me, telling me to quiet down as she dials a number.

"Oh, hello, Marie. How is- wonderful. Yes, I *am* expecting a call from Marcus. I know. Yes, yes. Bye." She closed the phone. Though most wizards don't have phones, a few do. Ginny has one because it makes her life easier, or so she says. I personally have tried many times to destroy the damn thing. Unfortunately I put a spell on the phone to *prevent* me from doing such acts. "Alexandrè is asleep. Children. Wonderful things but tiring. Thank goodness Marie is there." Marie is the Malfoys' Au Pair, a French woman who takes care of Alexandrè so Ginny and Draco never have to lift a finger.

I bit back my tongue from making a comment about the trouble of having children when you never do anything with them. "Who's Marcus?" I change the topic. Our earlier conversation on sex wore me out. I think I'll just move to Timbuktu so I don't have to see Harry again. It'll definitely save me some embarrassment.

"My Agent." Ginny had an Agent when she was doing modelling, but she hasn't done that in years.

"You're starting modelling again?" I still find it hard to believe. Not that she couldn't. She still looks the same as she did. I just figured she wouldn't want the life anymore, having settled down with Draco and having a family.

"No. I'm *acting*. Did you ever read the `Astronomy Tower Secrets'? It's a book series about Jessalyn and Roberto, two Seventh Years in love who are pulled apart by their families. Jessalyn gets pregnant, they get married, the kid is kidnapped, it turns out the kid might not have been Roberto's after all, Roberto kills the alleged father who is his best-friend and cousin, but then it turns out that he *isn't* the father and he tries to kill himself, but is stopped by Jessalyn who says she doesn't care. They live happily ever after, that is, until the next book."

My eyes widened. I remembered Lavender reading books like that, but I really didn't pay much attention to it. Personally, I thought the book was trash and was about to change my opinion of book banning and burning. "Er…interesting." I searched for intelligent thoughts. There were none. It seemed that sleeping with your engaged best friend also killed brain cells.

Ginny didn't notice. "Yes, it *should* be a good film. We're actually almost done with it. The Premiere is in a few weeks. You're invited of course. I assume you'll be receiving a formal invitation in a few days." She picked up her purse, rummaging around for a muggle fingernail filer. I had once asked Ginny why she used the muggle method. In return, she had retorted that the muggle way was much more delicate for her nails. There are times where Ginny can be just as air-headed as Lavender Brown-er Finnegan or Paravati Patil.

I started to watch the people around us. They were, for the most part, young people in business clothes or nice casual wear like Ginny was wearing. Then again, Ginny had decided on the restaurant and I *knew* what her tastes were like. I turned back to Ginny when I realised she was talking to me again.

"-And you really shouldn't make such a fuss about it, Herms. I mean, is it really going to happen again?" Oh. She was talking about Harry and me again. I tore myself away from my thoughts and tried to answer her question.

"No. Of course not." I hoped I sounded surer than I was.

"You're not sure." Damn it. I forgot Ginny's amazing talent for seeing the truth and hesitancy. She told me once she had picked it up from her mother. 'Living in a house with six brothers, where two of them are pranksters? Hell, that's a survival measure.' I believed her.

My short romance with Ron proved to me that if I had started picking up on the hints a lot earlier, I could have dumped him easier. Unfortunately, I hadn't.

"No. I'm not certain, Ginny." There was no point in lying. "There's no way in Hell that I can be certain that I will never sleep with him again." My voice began rising as I got more into my words. "Damn it, Ginny, I didn't expect to sleep with him! We just wanted to talk, that's all, and Ariana wasn't there…and we started to drink and one thing led to another…fuck it all! I didn't *want* to sleep with Harry, I can never face him again after this, I-" I couldn't hold back my tears anymore.

They were tears of defeat and of mourning. I had finally lost my best friend. The best friend who had sworn he would always stay by me forever, the best friend I had loved for so many years. And he was forever gone, out of my reach. From now on, I would see him always with his beautiful thing of a wife, always holding hands and whispering things in her ear, stealing short kisses, doing everything I had always wanted…from him…

"Hermione Anemone Granger! Honestly, don't be so silly. All you did was sleep with Harry. Once. And Ariana isn't going to find out about it, so sush." Ginny shook her head as if she were scolding me. Too bad she didn't use her parenting skills on her own son.

"But he's my best friend! I can't just pretend this never happened? For God's sake, I've been in love with him for the last seven years or so! I won't be able to look at him in the face again!" I wailed on. I couldn't help myself. I was an investigative reporter for the New York Times and I was acting like a two year-old. Perhaps I'd have to start setting play dates for Alexandrè and me.

"So? Talk to him, Herms. Just go up to him and talk. You need to get this settled." Ginny played around with her drink a bit more. "Tell me…how was he?"

My eyes widened. "You-you has never slept with him?"

Ginny rolled her eyes. "Herms, how long have Draco and I been together?"

I thought for a second…somewhere in our sixth year was when I learned of it… "Six years?"

"Right. And when did I get together with him? How old was I?" She was walking me through this as if I was a tiny child. I felt ridiculous.

"Fifteen."

"Good girl. And do you think I was sleeping with anyone at fifteen or younger?"

"Yes." Which was true. Ginny had gotten a reputation much like her brothers', except that she was untouchable, once it was clear that she and Draco were together. Draco would have never have allowed anything else.

Ginny shook her head and sighed. "Oh Herms…no! Draco was my first. And it wasn't until my Seventh Year, when you guys were gone that I started sleeping 'around' as you call it, when Draco wasn't there. And then he confessed to me that he was doing the same…you know, no love, only sex. But for God's sake, Herms. I have never slept with Harry."

"Oh." I was feeling pretty stupid. That was it. Sleeping with your best friend definitely reduces brain activity and cells. It's just like drinking that Neutra-Sweet, I figured. Andrea had started raving about the dangers of Neutra-Sweet once, when we had first met. It was one of the things that convinced me her head wasn't on straight. Not that I'd have it any other way, though…

"Yes. Now, Herms. Repeat after me: 'I never wanted your heart - that gone, you have nothing more to give'. Got it?"

I stared at her. "And that should help me-*how*?"

She shook her head again. "If you ever feel the urge to sleep with him, repeat that, *out loud* to him. It shows him that you only want his body, not his love."

Didn't she understand it? I *wanted* his love. Hell, that was my problem. I wasn't in *love* with him. "But I *am* in love with him. I *want* his heart, so to speak."

Ginny called the waiter over and then ordered a Scotch. "I'm going to need it." She muttered as she downed it in one gulp. "Hermione, you're missing the point. Saying something like that *totally* turned guys off. That is, guys who want to be loved." She clarified.

"But Harry's already *got* a girl friend. Why would he want to be loved by me? Wouldn't that just make him okay with sleeping with me? You know, a 'no strings attached' deal?" There were just some things I did not understand about Ginny Malfoy. And this was one of them.

"No! Heaven's sake, Hermione. Look. If you're telling a guy that you could care less about his feelings and all you want is his body, but you don't even want that, because the only good thing about him, his heart, is gone, then he's not going to want to sleep with you. And I don't ever remember hearing Harry say he's in love with Ariana."

"But he's *engaged*." I pointed out what I believed to be the most blatant fact. Apparently Ginny was of another opinion.

"Oh come on, you know there are *tons* of girls who seduce their boy friends into proposing. I mean, Harry's drop dead handsome, rich and famous. Who *wouldn't* want a piece of him? And it doesn't help that Harry thinks he's in love with her. Perfect acting time." Ginny wiped her mouth delicately on a napkin. I still couldn't understand how she could be so calm.

"But-Ariana seems perfectly fine to me. I don't necessarily *like* her, but that's me. I'm sure-"

Ginny cut me off, shaking her head. "Trust your instincts, Herm. I'm an actress. I know how to act and when it's being done. And if you ever want a chance at Harry, then you have to seduce him." Her blue eyes were getting intensely bright. It scared me, I had to admit. I had never seen Ginny so animated.

"Se-*Seduce* him?" I managed to squeak out. I was the know-it-all, bookworm, bushy-headed, nose-in-a-book, etcetera, etcetera best friend. Not *girl* friend, but *best* friend. Not *fiancé*, nor wife. Just best friend. That's all I ever was to Harry. And now, Ginny, my other best friend, wanted me to *seduce* him? "I can't possibly-"

"Herms, shut up." I shut up. "Let me think…yes. All right. Hermione Anemone Granger, are you in love with Harry James Potter?" Ginny watched me under her intense gaze, like a lioness watching a zebra.

"I-I think so, yes." I liked my lips hesitantly.

"Positive?"

"Yes." My voice grew stronger.

"Then repeat after me. 'I will succeed in seducing my best friend Harry James Potter because I feel that Ariana de la Torà is the worse possible match for him and he deserves better than that celebrity-searching, gold-digging slut'." I should have known that I was digging myself into a hole. After all, Andrea had pulled the same thing on me this morning, asking me questions when my mind was clearly elsewhere. But I could be a gullible person when distracted and wasn't paying attention to the Danger Signs. I repeated the sentence.

"Excellent, Herms." Ginny clapped her hands. Danger signal number one: signs of overly-happiness. "Now we have to go shopping." Danger signal number two: mention of shopping. "And let me hook up with a few friends I know from the business." Danger signal number three: hooking up with friends. "And remember-" Danger Signal number four: the word 'remember'. Something always follows that should be treated with immense caution. "-Nothing risqué, nothing gained." Entering target zone, torpedoes have been fired. No turning around, stand in dead centre of target. Because my life has just been *totally* turned around.

Good-bye Miss Hermione Anemone know-it-all-nose-in-book-Head-Girl-best-student-bushy-haired Granger.

Meet Miss Hermione Anemone sophisticated-gorgeous-what's-a-book-I'm-late-for-my-Pedicure Granger. For that's what Ginny was going to turn me into.

Oh Lord.

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Okay, so I took a while getting this out. So sue me…er please don't actually. Anyway, I warned you guys that this is only a sidepiece. Therefore, I hope you liked this chapter. It's three a.m. and I just finished it…be nice. I'm dead tired. And count the quotes…I think there may be four. Or only three…I'm not sure. In any case, there are a few.

So, any questions? Write 'em in your reviews. Hope you liked my view of Ginny. Oh yeah, I know that there aren't movies in the wizarding world. The explanation will come at a later chapter.

Next chapter: No idea. I suspect Andrea Dana and Marissa will be making an appearance and more Ginny and Hermi interaction. And if you're *really* nice and give me lots and lots of reviews, I'll see about sticking Harry in the next chapter…

-Miranda 4.5.03