A/N: I do not own Harry Potter or the plot of this fic!!!!!!
A soft tapping at my door woke me up the next morning.
"Mione, honey?" my father called, sticking his head into the room. "There's somebody here to see you."
I sat up in my bed, groggily rubbing my swollen eyes. "Who is it?" I asked, thinking it was probably Luna.
My stomach immediately tied itself into a cold, hard knot. Harry Potter was the last person in the world I wanted to see! I had nothing to say to him, and I couldn't imagine what he could possibly say to me.
"Tell him I'm in the shower," I muttered. "Tell him I died. Tell him anything you like, but make him go away!"
"Now, Hermione, you know I can't do that," Dad said, coming over to the bed. "It wouldn't be polite. Why don't you want to see him?"
"It's a long story," I sighed. "Please, just get rid of him, ok?"
My father shook his head. "I don't know what's going on, honey, but if you and Harry have a problem, you won't solve it by hiding from him. I'll tell him you'll be down in five minutes."
I climbed wearily out of bed, knowing that the sooner I got this over with, the better. My misery of the night before had changed to anger. Last night I was so worried that Harry would think I'd been making a fool of him, when all along he was making a fool of me!
I brushed my teeth, pulled on an old pair of shorts and a t-shirt, and ran a comb through my hair. I didn't care what I looked like, and neither would Harry. What did it matter now that he had Cho?
"He's waiting for on the porch," Dad said when I came down stairs.
Harry strode over to me as I stepped outside. "Mione! How are you feeling?"
"Fine. Just peachy," I snapped. "Why shouldn't I be?"
Startled by my sharp retort, he said, "Well, you disappeared all of a sudden, and Luna said you'd gone home sick. I wish you'd told me you weren't feeling well—I would have walked you home."
"Before or after you danced with Cho again?"
His eyes widened. "How do you know about her?"
Folding my arms across my chest, I fixed Harry a stony glare. "Luna told all about you two—how you've known each other forever, and you're practically engaged. Luna seemed to think it was all your parents' idea and that you didn't really care for Cho, but from what I saw last night, it's obvious she was wrong."
"Mione, I can explain—"
I cut him off. "You don't have to. I understand perfectly. You were looking for a girl to fill in the time when Cho was away, and I happened to be available. Now she's back, end of story."
"Mione, please—" Harry reached out for me, but I avoided his touch.
"Good-bye, Harry. I hope you and Cho will be very happy together." I said. Then I went inside, closing the door behind me.
Trembling all over, I headed for the kitchen, where Dad was making coffee. He took one look at my face and said quietly, "You're hurting real bad, aren't you, honey?"
That's when I lost it. I didn't think I had any tears left, but I was wrong! Dad put his arms around m while I sobbed my heart out. When sobs finally subside to a hiccup or two, Dad sat me down at the table and poured us each a mug of coffee. "Want to tell me about it?" he asked, sitting down beside me. "I may not be able to help, but I'm a pretty good listener."
So I poured out everything, from the time I'd laid eyes on Harry until that morning's encounter on the porch. When I had finished, Dad was silent for a moment. "Aare you ashamed of me because I'm not rich and I work with my hands?" he asked at last. "Is that why you pretended to be Grant Granger's daughter?"
"Oh, no!" I gasped. "I could never be ashamed of you, Dad!"
"Then why all the lies, honey?" why let Harry believe I was someone I'm not?"
"I don't know," I confessed miserably. "It was the stupidest thing I've ever done. Like I told you, it started out as a joke because I thought Harry was a snob and he wouldn't be interested in me if I weren't from a wealthy family like his."
Dad nodded. "I see. But you know something, Mione? I don't think you were being fair to Harry—or to me either. I work hard for a living. I'm proud of what I do, and I'm good at it. Did you ever stop to think that maybe Harry might have been just as impressed by knowing that I'm responsible for all the landscaping at Briar Grangers as he is by thinking I'm Grant Granger?"
Now I really was ashamed, not of Dad, but of myself. I bowed my head. "No, I never did," I mumbled. "I'm sorry, Dad."
He put his arm around my shoulders. "That's ok, honey. But you still owe Harry an explanation of who you really are."
"I tried to tell him a couple of times, but I kept getting interrupted." Fresh tears stung my eyes at the memory of the way Harry had interrupted me with a kiss yesterday afternoon.
"I think you ought to keep trying," Dad said. "I know I can trust you to do the right thing." Standing up, he added, "How about going over 'I want to spend my lifetime loving you' a couple of times before we both go back to work?"
I followed him into the living room and sat down at the piano, determined to do my best for Dad's sake. Making him happy was all that mattered now—there was no longer any reason to worry about my identity being revealed at the talent show, because after last night I knew Harry and his mother wouldn't be there.
Backstage at the auditorium the following evening, Luna rushed up to me. "Good luck, Mione," she said. "Where's your Dad? I want to wish him luck too—not that either of will need it. I just know you're going to blow the competition away."
I smiled. "Thanks for the vote of confidence. Dad's in the men's room vocalizing, but when he comes out, I'll tell him what you said."
"Aren't you nervous?"
I shrugged. "Not really."
Luna eyed me curiously. "You do know that Grant Granger arrived today, don't you?" I nodded. "Then you probably also know that he's the emcee for the show." When I nodded again, Luna jaw dropped. "How can you so calm? That means Harry will find out who your real father is!"
"Probably no tonight."
"What makes you say that?" Luna asked.
"Because Harry won't be coming. Why would he bother? We aren't even speaking, and I'm sure he and Cho have much more exciting thing to do."
"Uh—Mione, have you looked out into the audience tonight?"
"No." I smoothed the full skirt of my floral print dress. "Why?"
"Because Harry and Mrs. Lily Potter are sitting in the middle of the front row!"
My heart began racing madly, and I clutched the music sheet in my hands that were suddenly clammy. "You're kidding!"
"It's the truth. They're there alright, but Cho isn't."
There was a burst of applause from the auditorium as Grant Granger made his entrance onto the stage. As he began introducing the first act, Luna said with a wry grin, "Well, Harry may not know who your real father is yet, but he sure knows it's not Grant Granger! I'd better go—my parents are saving a seat for me."
As she left Dad joined me. "You ready, honey?" he asked. He was wearing his best suit, a white shirt, and the new tie I'd bought him especially for this occasion, and to my admiring eyes he looked exactly the way a millionaire ought to look.
I smiled tremulously. "Ready as I'll ever be."
I was so proud of my father! If only I'd told Harry the truth right at the start, things might have been different between us, but it was too late now. Even if Cho hadn't appeared on the scene, Harry would never have forgiven me for lying to him for so long. Dad and I waited in the wings while the first performer, a member of the kitchen staff who played the accordion, ran offstage and one of the lifeguards ran to do his gymnastics routine.
When the life guard made his exit, sweating and panting, Dad squeezed my hand. "This is it, Mione. We're next."
"I love you, Dad!" I whispered.
"Love you too, honey," he whispered back.
"…And now I want you to welcome Briar Grangers' head landscaper and his lovely daughter, who happens to ne one of our stable hands," Grant Granger's voice boomed out. "I wish I could claim this talented duo as part of my family, but unfortunately the only thing we share is our last name. Ladies and gentlemen, John and Hermione Granger!"
And now Harry knows everything, I thought as we made our entrance to polite applause. I sat down at the grand piano and Dad stood next to me. When we had adjusted our microphones, I played the introduction, and then Dad's deep baritone voice rang out:
"Moon so bright, night so fine
Keep your heart here with mine
Life's a dream, we are dreaming….."
"Race the moon, catch the wind
Ride the night to the end
Seize the day, stand up for the light…." I chimed.
On the next line, our voices blended together in perfect harmony:
"I want to spend my lifetime loving you…"
I didn't even have to look at the music sheet—my fingers flew over the keys as though they knew the way. Totally absorbed, I blocked out everything except the song. When the last note dies away, the audience was silent for a moment before erupting into a storm of applause. We took our bows and hurried offstage.
Dad hugged me so hard; he just about squeezed the breath out of me. "Your mom would have been proud of you, honey!" he said.
"Not half as proud as I am of you!" I murmured.
Hand in hand we waited outside while other contestants performed. At last Grant Granger strode to the center of the stage to announce the winners. I held my breath while a tap dancing waitress was awarded third place and the lifeguard – gymnast accepted second prize.
"And Briar Grangers' grand prize goes to… John and Hermione Granger!"
The applause was deafening as Dad and I stepped out onstage. After Grant Granger gave a huge bouquet of roses and kissed my cheek, he presented Dad with a big golden trophy and a check.
"Congratulations, John and Mione," he said when the clapping had died down. "I always knew my head landscaper was a great singer and his daughter was an accomplished pianist, but until tonight I never realized that Mione also has the voice of a nightingale!"
My father and I thanked him for his kind words, and then we left the stage, accompanied by more enthusiastic applause.
Dad beamed at me. "Happy, honey?"
"Oh, yes," I assured him, forcing a smile. "It's great that we won the grand prize."
"Let's celebrate our victory at the ice cream parlor, ok?" Dad asked. "I'll bring the car around to the side entrance."
"Ok. Meet you there in a couple of minutes—I just have to pick up my purse."
Still holding my roses, I headed for the dressing room with a heavy heart. I was glad for Dad's sake that we'd won the contest, but I had lost the boy I loved. How would I survive the rest of the summer, seeing Harry and Cho planning their future together?
I was on my way to the stage door when suddenly there he was. My heart started pounding so rapidly that I thought I might pass out.
"Mione, we need to talk," Harry said.
Controlling my emotions with great effort, I replied stiffly, "There's nothing to talk about. You shouldn't even be associating with me now that you know I'm just a lowly stable hand, not Grant Granger's daughter."
He grinned. "I've known all along."
I've never been so astonished in my entire life. I stared at him openmouthed, unable to say a single word.
"Well maybe not all along," Harry went on. "I have to admit that I bought your story right after I knocked you into the pool. But do you remember my telling you and Luna on our moonlight hike that I'd been hanging out with one of the guys who work here?"
I nodded numbly, still incapable of speech.
"After he told me about the ghost of Lost Creek Trail, we got to talking. When I mentioned that I'd just had a couple of run-ins with Grant Granger's daughter, Mione, he told me that that was impossible because Mr. Granger didn't have a daughter. The only Mione knew about was John Granger 's daughter, who works at the stables."
"Oh, wow!" I croaked. My legs gave away beneath me and I sank down on a nearby bench. "Why did you let me go on thinking you believed I was who I said I was?"
Harry sat beside me. "Why didn't you tell me the truth?" he countered.
"Because when we first met, I didn't like you at all and I thought you wouldn't give me respect unless you thought I was somebody important. And then later…" my voice trailed off.
"What about later, Mione?" Harry prompted.
I might as well be completely honest for a change, even if it makes me look like a fool, I decided wearily. "Later, I stared liking you a whole lot, but I was afraid you were seeing me only because of whom I was—or who I said I was."
Harry shook his head. "You don't have a clue about the kind of guy I really am, do you?"
Raising my chin defiantly, I said, "Oh yes I do! You're the kind of guy who makes a girl feel wonderful and special for a little while, and then drops her the minute his longtime girlfriend shows up!"
"Mione, believe me, there is absolutely nothing between Cho and me," he protested.
"I suppose next you're going to tell me that Luna was lying, and your parent don't want the two of you to get married someday1"
Harry seized both my hands in his. "Maybe they do, but we don't! I'm not in love with Cho and she's not in love with me. As a matter of fact, she has a serious boyfriend over in Paris. She was telling all about him while we were dancing the other night, and I was telling her about you."
"You—you were?" I whispered. "What were you telling her?"
His green eyes positively glowed as they gazed into mine. "That John Granger's daughter, Hermione, is a very wonderful, very special girl, and I've fallen in love with her."
I caught my breath. "Do you mean it?"
Haryy nodded solemnly. "Absolutely."
"Oh, Harry!" pulling my hands out og his grasp, I threw my arms around his neck. "I love you too!"
And this time I was telling the absolute, honest truth.
A/N: there you all have it folks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The last chapter of Rich in Romance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you soooooooooo much for all of your reviews!!!!!!!!!!!! I absolutely love them!!!!!!!!!!