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Cough Southern_Witch_69 Cough
This story is written for the Potter_Place Prompt Challenge found at:
From a Frog to a Prince
Hermione sat in her window seat in the sitting room, gazing out the window, breathing in the scent of her strong, black tea. She was thinking about Ron and the life they'd shared. She sighed, leaning her head against the cool glass.
Hermione had thought that she'd been content—if not happy—in her marriage until dining with her in-laws the night before. She couldn't say why this particular time had opened her eyes, they'd dined with Harry and Ginny countless other times, but as she and Ron sat with the other couple after dinner, it became painfully clear that there was much lacking in her marriage.
Thinking back to the night before, she remembered how she began to notice the small things, such as once they walked into the living-room, Ginny went and sat directly on her husband's lap, cuddling in the small chair by the fire, while she sat on one end of the couch and Ron on the other end.
The Potters were constantly touching each other, gazing at each other, and finishing each other's sentences while she and her husband barely spoke on the same topic.
It was the hair comment, Hermione decided, that really opened her eyes, however. She'd watched as Harry lovingly stroked his wife's hair and then lifted a bit of it to take a long, appreciative sniff as he proclaimed that Ginny had the most gorgeous hair he'd ever seen.
Ron had snorted as he looked at his own wife, pointed to her hair, and said, "I've bought this one bottle after bottle of Sleekeazy's Hair Potion, and she never bothers to use it. Of course, she doesn't have to look at it though." He snickered then, and Hermione joined in, knowing that he was only trying to joke and not realizing he was hurting her.
That incident caused her to realize that while Harry still treated his wife like a lover, Ron treated her like a sister. As she'd watched the Potters, the thought crossed her mind that they'd make love that night. Then she jolted as she'd remembered that her own husband hadn't touched her in at least six months, and until that moment, she hadn't even given it a thought.
Hermione sighed, breaking out of her thoughts of the night before. Molly had come by earlier to pick up Hugo and Rose. They were going to spend a long weekend with Charlie in Romania. Ron had left for work as soon as the children had left with his mother, absently kissing Hermione on the forehead right before he walked outside to Apparate to the joke shop he now co-owned with his brother George.
It wasn't that she didn't love her husband, she truly did. It was that there was no passion any longer. They were more like housemates than lovers, but that hadn't bothered her until she'd watched Harry and Ginny and witnessed for herself that many years together did not have to equal becoming stale in the passion department.
Well, Hermione thought as she sat up in the window seat with a determined air about her, I am going to fix things in my marriage. Starting right now.
She'd owled the Ministry and told them she needed the day off. She was going to go to the market and purchase all of Ron's favorite dishes, buy some candles, and even a new negligee, and put some spark back into her marriage. Surely they were still attracted to each other!
Humming to herself while her determination built, Hermione quickly got ready. She eyed her bottle of Hair Potion and decided she'd use the whole damned bottle when she got ready that evening if that's what it would take to make Ron notice her as his wife and not his mate. Perhaps she'd buy some of those bath salts that Ronald liked to smell on her…
It took her hours of shopping to purchase everything she thought she'd need for the evening. Her first stop was the lingerie store, where she'd miraculously found an orange negligee, Ron's favorite color. Well, she conceded, it was more peach than orange, but it would have to be close enough.
She'd purchased candles of different sizes but the same scent so that she wouldn't overpower their bedroom with too many different odors. She'd found her bath salts and several different pairs of skimpy matching bra and panty sets for good measure.
Then she left for the market and bought the things to make Ron's favorite dinner plus the makings for a chocolate cake. Hermione wanted this night to be special… A new beginning of sorts for them, and she was going to do her damnedest to make that happen.
After she returned home, she quickly put her groceries away. When she was finished with the groceries, excited with thoughts of their evening ahead, Hermione practically skipped on her way to the bedroom so that she could display her candles in strategic places. She stopped dead in her tracks when she heard female giggling coming from behind the closed bedroom door. What the…?
Holding her bag with the candles and lingerie tightly in one arm, Hermione quietly walked to the door and gently pushed it open. The sight before her made her gasp in surprise and drop her bag to cover her mouth with her hands. There was Ron—her husband—in the bed he shared with her with some woman that Hermione couldn't make out. "Ron?"
"Oh fuck!" her husband yelled. "Her-Hermione! What are you doing home this time of day?" Ron dumbly asked as he jumped out of the bed, allowing Hermione to make out Lavender Brown quickly covering herself with the sheet.
As Ron stood facing her, Hermione opened her mouth, but couldn't get the words to form. She looked him up and down, stopping at his penis, which was still glistening from being inside of Lavender.
"Hermione, I can explain—"
Hermione simply turned in the middle of his sentence and headed for the living room, leaving her bag, and the items inside scattered on the floor. She sat heavily on the couch, simply staring at the wall.
After a few moments, she heard the loud pop of Disapparation and knew that Lavender had left. Shortly after, Ron came into the living room wearing only his jeans. Sitting on the table in front of her, her husband took her hand into his. "I'm sorry, Hermione."
Hermione simply looked at him, not saying anything. He squeezed her hand imploringly. "Say something, please."
"What would you have me to say, Ronald?"
Suddenly, Ron stood up and knocked the table over. "Anything! I would have you say anything that showed you have some emotion, that showed me you actually care that you just walked into our bedroom and caught me with another woman!"
"Of course I care!" she yelled back. "What an absurd thing to say!"
"Do you? Do you really? Because the Hermione I know would've burst into the room and demanded an explanation! As it is, you just simply walked off. Would you have even cared if I'd stayed in there with Lavender and finished the job?"
"What's the matter with you? Are you trying to hurt me even more then?"
Ron growled and threw his hands up with exasperation. "I'm trying to get a reaction out of you! Something to show me that you give a damn about me! I want you to get angry, Hermione! Slap me, throw something! Get passionate! I honestly can't remember the last time you've been passionate about anything where I'm concerned."
Hermione winced. "So now you're saying that your affair is my fault?"
"No, not entirely. But you have to admit we haven't exactly lived like a husband and wife these past few months. You never touch me anymore, Hermione."
"Me? You've not tried to make love to me in six months!"
Ron nodded. "I know. I've purposely done that. Do you want to know why? I'll tell you! Because the last time I touched you—wanted you—you cringed! You actually cringed as if my touch disgusted you! So, I thought, 'I'll not touch her again until she wants me to.' Well, guess what? You haven't wanted me to."
"That's not fair! You don't know what I have or haven't wanted!"
"I know that if you had wanted me during those six months, you would've spoken up and said so!" He looked towards the hallway that led to their bedroom and nodded his head in that direction.
"I bet you just realized today how long it's been. What brought it to your attention? Having dinner at Harry and Gin's?" He nodded his own affirmation. "Yeah, I noticed how they acted, too. We haven't been that way in a long time."
Hermione wiped the tears falling from her face and sighed dejectedly. "I know. I took the day off work thinking to correct that tonight. But instead I walk in and find you in our bed with Lavender." She looked up into his eyes. "How long has this been going on?"
Ron shook his head. "We've only… been intimate a couple times, but we've been talking a few weeks." Ron righted the table and sat back down facing Hermione, taking her hand in his once again. "I never meant for you to find out this way."
"But you did mean for me to find out?"
"Eventually, yes. I'm sorry, babe. I need more than a best mate. I need passion, and truthfully, I need to be loved. I'm surprised that you don't."
"Ron," Hermione whispered and threw her arms around him, holding him tightly as she began to sob.
"Hermione?" he questioned, squeezing her back before leaning his head back and looking into her eyes and then at her lips. "What? Do you want to try?"
Hermione let him go, shaking her head. "No. You're right. We're best mates. That's all we've really ever been. Oh, I know there was a time when the two of us had enough passion between us to burn down Hogwarts, but without the love needed to go with it, that kind of passion burns out quickly."
Hermione sniffed and laid her head on Ron's shoulder. "I do think that my reaction to finding the two of you that way is quite telling. My pride is hurt more than anything."
Ron sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, causing Hermione to lift her head. "Do you remember me telling you a few months back that George wanted to open up a shop in New York City?"
"Yes, I remember."
"We've talked about it, and I decided I want to go to America and head that up. We found a great location and a building for sale. I was going to wait until Rose and Hugo went back to Hogwarts next month, but I think under the circumstances, now would be a good time for me to go."
"Now? You mean, you'd just go without saying goodbye to the children, leaving me to explain things? When would you even see our children if you moved there, Ronald Weasley—"
"No! I wouldn't do that to you! It's my fault anyway. I had thought to see them half of the summer and split holidays with you. That's the same as we do now. No, when they get back Monday, I thought we could both sit them down and explain things to them, together. Would that do?"
"Yes, that is what I want. I can see that you've been giving this a lot of thought. This is not entirely your fault. The cheating is, mind. You should've come to me, Ron, before going to another woman, and told me how you were feeling."
"I know it. But I honestly didn't think you'd care. After a couple months went by and we'd practically started living like best mates again, I knew deep down that you were fine with us not having sex. I'm not though, love. I can't live that way."
"Still, you should've come to me. Had you done so earlier, then we may have had a chance!"
"I wonder. It would've likely been like you said, we'd have gotten back on track for a bit, but after some time went by, then we would've fizzled out again. We both deserve better, I think."
"What about Lavender? Do you love her?"
Ron nodded. "I do, yes. She's wanting to come to America with me and give us a fresh start."
Ron stood and started pacing. "What do you want me to do? Stay? Go? Do you want to try again? What?"
Hermione stood and walked to the window to look out. "I want you to do what makes you happy."
He walked up to stand behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders, pulling her back against his chest. "We were happy once. If you think that we could be again, I'll stay here and give us another go. I want you to be happy, too."
"Do you love me, Ron?"
"Yes," he told her without hesitation.
"Do you love me the way that Harry loves Ginny?" He started to answer, but she cut him off. "Better yet, do you love me the way that you love her?"
Still standing behind her, he wrapped his arms around her and placed his chin on the top of her head. "We've been together a long time, and you're the mother of my children. If you wanted to give us an honest try, I would stay and try."
"No, I don't think that we'd be happy after this. Like I've said, we would be at first, but after awhile, things would become… stale again. And now that I know you've been with Lavender and that you love her, I think I would always wonder about that and doubt you." She turned and wrapped her arms around his waist, taking a deep breath and inhaling his familiar scent. "I will miss you though."
"Hermione," he said brokenly. "I swear I never meant to hurt you. I almost didn't think that I could. Maybe I did want you to find out, deep down, just to see if it would hurt you."
"Right." She smiled sadly and looked up at him. "It does." Disentangling herself from her husband, she walked into the kitchen to start supper.
"I bought all of this food earlier; there's no need for it to go to waste. I was thinking that we could tell Arthur and Molly when we tell the kids."
"Oh, Mum. I hadn't thought. She'll blow when she finds out about Lavender."
"We're not going to tell any of them about that. There's no need. She was merely a symptom of the problems we've been having. We're simply going to say that we've not been happy for a long time, you and George have this great opportunity, and that you're going to New York to start things up there."
"You're sure?" he asked her, surprised.
"Yes. For one thing, I don't want anyone placing all of the blame on you, and for another, I don't want Rose and Hugo to form a bad opinion of their father right off the bat." She patted his hand. "Don't worry. We'll work it out."
"Suddenly I feel unsure, Hermione," he admitted. "You're too calm about all of this."
"Oh, I hurt. Never doubt that. But I just don't think we could ever work things out after this, and I don't see the need to drag things out. I think it would be better for me to just get on with things. I'd never trust you again, Ronald."
She turned suddenly, throwing the wooden spoon she'd been using and hitting Ron right between the eyes. "Our bed! How could you in our bed?"
"Ouch! Damn it, Hermione! That hurt!"
Finding her anger all of the sudden, Hermione picked up the roast she'd intended to cook and threw that at Ron next. "Here! Go have Lavender cook that for you!"
She started to stomp by Ron, refusing to let him see another tear, but he grabbed her, pulling her tightly to his chest. "Let me go!" she shouted. "I have to go burn those sheets you were fucking that cow on!"
"'Mione, stop! I'm an arse, okay? I know that, but are you sure you don't want to try and work things out?"
Just as quickly as her anger flared, it deflated. "No, I don't. I know that I won't ever be able to get past this, Ron. Never. Let me go."
He quickly released her, and she walked into the hallway, picking up the items that she'd dropped on the floor earlier. She heard him step into the hall behind her.
"What's all this?" he asked as he picked up a black, lacy bra and panty set. "Hermione?"
"Nothing! Give that to me!"
Ron looked around, spotting the candles and bath salts that had fallen on the floor. "Oh, God, Hermione. I'm sorry, really! What can I—"
"Nothing! Well, you could go. I want to be alone, if you don't mind. Just pack some of your things and go… where ever, as long as it's not here."
"You're sure?" he asked.
"Absolutely. It's what I want. It's what you want, too, I think. Besides, surely you don't think I'd sleep in the same bed with you, or even the same house, after what I witnessed today, knowing that you're in love with someone else."
"I love you, too," he persisted.
"Right. It's the 'too' that's the problem. I'm going to leave here for about an hour. When I get back, I don't want you to be here." After saying that, she turned and left without a backwards glance.
Hermione found herself sitting in the Potters' living room again, pouring her heart out. After she'd told them everything, she sniffled and told them, "He's right about the passion part. There's been no passion in our marriage in a long while."
"I'm going to kill that bloody wanker!" Harry said. "How could he do this to you? How dare he go and… and… shag Lavender Brown? And in your marital bed too?"
"Harry, please calm down," Hermione begged. "This is why I wanted to tell you guys today rather than tomorrow with the rest of the family. Well, that and the fact that I want Lavender kept out of it. Tonight, I'm not talking to my in-laws, I'm talking with my friends."
"That's all well and good, Hermione, but why keep Lavender out? Why not let Molly and Arthur know what he's been up to?"
"Because I don't want everyone one blaming Ron. It takes two people to make a marriage, and while he's hurt me terribly by cheating like this, I have my faults, too. Besides, this isn't something I want Rose and Hugo to know. Despite everything, Ron's a great father, and the kids adore him. I don't want that to change."
Before Harry could argue further, his wife spoke. "I agree with Hermione, Harry." At his sharp look, Ginny quickly amended, "Not because he's my brother, but like Hermione said, for Rose and Hugo. If they're ending their marriage anyway, I think we should make things as easy as possible on the kids. Don't you?"
Turning to his friend, Harry asked, "Are you sure?" When Hermione nodded, he asked, "Then, are you sure you two can't work things out? You seem, I dunno, protective of him."
"No, not after this. I'd never trust him. Besides, he admitted that he does love Lavender. He loves us both, and to be honest, I want a husband to love only me."
"I don't blame you there," Ginny agreed. "And I know Lavender's always loved him. I just never thought that she'd stoop to such levels!"
Hermione shook her head. "Again, it takes two. However, I wouldn't put it past her to hang out at the shop or to make herself available to Ron, letting him know that when he wants her, all he has to do is snap his fingers." Hermione sighed. "I'm going to go home now and have a soak.
"Harry, please don't hate Ron for this. I don't hate him myself, per se; he's just wounded my pride mainly. With time, I'll get over it. It's just hard losing my husband and best friend at the same time."
"What will you do, Hermione?" Ginny asked.
"Well, I've been thinking. I have six months worth of leave saved up at the Ministry, and I'm going to take it when the kids go back to school and go on holiday. I'm not sure where. After that, who knows?"
"Can you afford that?" Harry asked.
"I can. It's six months with pay. Besides, I've not touched the money I received when my parents died. Add that with what I got after selling their dental practice, and I have enough to last a good while."
"And Ron will have to help," Ginny reminded her.
"Yes, with the kids anyway." Hermione stood. "I'm going home now." She hugged both her friends. "Thanks for listening."
"Anytime," Ginny told her. "You'll always be my sister, you know."
"Exactly," Harry agreed. "We love you."
"I love you guys, too. 'Night."
Hermione had been happy that Ron had listened to her for once and was gone when she'd returned home. He had left a note, apologizing again for everything, and he'd changed the sheets on her bed. Hermione had been happy he'd done that so she didn't have to deal with it herself. She didn't know nor did she care what he'd done with the sheets he'd removed, but they weren't anywhere in the house.
She'd filled the tub with hot water, placed her candles all about the bathroom, poured her a glass of red wine, and sank down into the tub and let out a deep breath.
She then let her tears flow freely. She cried for the ending of her marriage, the loss of her husband and one of her best friends, and she cried for the ending of her life as she knew it. Everything was going to be different from now on.
And, she realized with a jolt, once the kids left for Hogwarts, she was going to be completely alone.
Hope you guys like my beginning. I chose the first prompt:
Hermione and Ron are married. What would she do if she came home unexpectedly and found him in bed with another woman?
Reviews are welcome.