The first time she had seen him was when she was leaving the shoe store one afternoon; she had taken off from work early and decided to splurge on a beautiful pair of gold colored stiletto's she had seen on the display window the week prior.
She was walking towards the parking lot, the only thing in view were the rows of cars and the book store that was across the street. She stood next to her car and fumbled with the contents of the purse, trying to feel for the familiar shape of her keys. She looked up in annoyance; she should've shopped for a bigger purse too. That was when she saw him.
Her eyes grew wide and her entire body went frigid as she saw him casually walk from the other side of the lot into the book store. It. Couldn't. Be. Him... It just couldn't, the man was declared dead for goodness sake!
Besides, if she remembered correctly, he was a callous man who even in his mode of walking gave off the aura of purpose and menace. The man she had just seen walked as if he didn't have a care in the world, and his hair was a little shorter, yet his nose.. That nose was so incredibly peculiar, nobody but ... him had that nose.
It was lunacy she knew, yet her curiosity got the better of her and she ended up dumping the contents she had just purchased in the back of her car and swiftly made her away across the lot. She was about to enter the bookstore but she came to a halt and backed up a bit against one of the decorative columns in front of the store.
"What if it is him? What do I say? 'Hi professor, fancy meeting you here ;I thought you were dead!"
"Lame, lame, lame!" She yelled at herself. A couple of passer byers looked at her strangely so she moved over to a bench that was just outside of the building next to the back exit of the store.
She would wait for him to come out, that was it; from where she was sitting she had a good view of both the front and back exit's so either way she'd know if it were him. She failed to realize however that apparently he was in no hurry whatsoever because an hour had gone by and there was still no trace of him. She began to feel restless and extremely silly especially that it could very well not be him. As a matter of fact; it probably wasn't him, she had probably just seen... Oh crap! He was coming! She frantically looked around her surroundings and grabbed a newspaper that was lying next to her and used that to cover her face. She could hear his footsteps slightly hesitate but then they kept going at a regular rhythm. When she could hear that they were beginning to fade, she subtly turned her head in the direction he had gone. A gasp almost escaped her when she got a clear view of him opening the door of his stylish Bentley Mulsanne. Her suspicions had been correct; the man had seen was most definitely Severus Snape.
Hermione found herself frequenting the strip mall often. So much in fact that she knew that her ex professor went to the bookstore most Friday afternoons and occasionally on Sunday mornings. It had become like a sick obsession for her. The truth was that seeing him again reignited the crush she had had on him during her school years. She was unsure of herself to approach him so boldly so doing what she was at present would have to suffice.
She had already found four spots in which she could get a good view since she knew that it would be odd to find the same exactly woman sitting on the bench reading a newspaper every time he walked by. She was sitting outside of Jareth's Cafe, having a cup of their famous fair trade coffee; black, two sugars.
She wore different color sunglasses on every occasion and made sure to change her hair and clothes so that no one would ever be the wiser. He never looked towards her direction, and he was always alone... That was until the following week. was parked just three rows away from the bookstore. She had her hair up in a bun today, and her shades were pink. She had to admit that she had an 80's Go-Go girl look to her and if anyone she had known back in Hogwarts saw her, she would never hear the end of it, but it was necessary in order to continue to go on undetected.
That was when she saw her; she was incredibly beautiful. Long flowing black hair, trim physique, and a face that even took her breath away. She was laughing as she cradled her arm with his as they entered the bookstore. He in turn had been smiling towards her; he. never. smiled. ever.
For reasons she couldn't understand; she felt something inside her begin to shrivel up and crumble. She felt as if the space around her was becoming unbelievably small, too small to bear, and before she could think any further on the subject; she was fumbling around for her keys and quickly slammed them in the ignition and roared out of the lot; almost causing an accident on the way out.
The next evening that she knew he'd be at the bookstore, she did not go, nor the next. A month when by where she specifically avoided going anywhere near the bookstore. For the life of her, she couldn't understand why she had even started spying on her ex professor in the first place, to say nothing of why seeing him with a woman affected her in such a way. The man deserved to be happy she knew. Hadn't he been through so much turmoil during his time as a teacher in Hogwarts? The fact is, she probably would've faked her death too if she had been in his position for she herself had fled form the world and back to "muggle civilization."
She wanted to forget that she had ever seen him, wanted to go on about her life and just move on to something else. Yes! That was the key! She needed to find some other activity to take up her free time and that way she could forget about ever having seen him. After work one Monday, she headed down towards a dance studio not far from where she lived, there were signs posted all over the place of the Spring Session starting soon. She walked up to the receptionist: "I would like to sign up for the Spring Session please."
The girl smiled happily and handed her a form.
"Have you ever danced before Miss?"
"If you count moving side to side during a school function as dancing then, yes I have."
She smiled again. "That's ok, that's what you're here for right? Just fill that out, and the first class is free but afterwards you have to pay the full tuition. Classes start promptly at 7:00pm."
Hermione sat down to fill out her form. She had to admit that doing something so incredibly spontaneous as this was very exciting and she began to look forward to the prospect of forgetting about her professor or having ever seen him. Who knew? Maybe she would meet someone in the class who she could in the very least become friends with. She submitted her form and the following evening came back wearing the appropriate dance attire which was pretty much standard work out clothes. She held her thick curly hair up in a bun, it showed off her beautiful pale skin, and long graceful neck; in truth she looked like a ballerina, all she needed was the tutu. She had arrived ten minutes early and was making small talk with some of the other first timers, not having noticed the last couple of students that had walked in.
There was loud hand clapping and everyone swiftly ended their conversations as the teacher walked into the center of the room. He wasn't very tall, seemed to be of a latin descent, and was very muscular; His clothes fit very, very snug.
"Ok, hi everyone! My name is Enrique, and we are going to dance!" As he said this, he began jiving his pelvis around, causing Hermione to raise an amused eyebrow.
"So you are here today because you want to learn how to dance; congratulations!" He clapped excitedly.
"Ok, so now! First everyone in the room will introduce themselves and I have asked some of my advanced students to come in and serve as helpers today, but please feel free to direct any questions or concerns to me directly, ok? So how about we go around the room." He pointed towards Hermione. "You tell us your name and a little about yourself and why you're here today."
"Hi uh.. My name is Stacy Jenkins and I work as a Financial Analyst down at Newbury Bank. I enjoy my job but I felt like I needed to do something constructive during my free time so, here I am."
"Very nice, welcome aboard Stacy, next person!" Hermione sighed a breath of relief, no matter how often she said her newly changed name, it always felt so foreign to her. She was listening attentively but all the while looking out the window of the studio when she suddenly heard the next person speak in a dark, silky voice. "My name is Alan Rickman. I came to dancing purely as an accident brought on by trying to figure someone from my past out. I'd like to learn more about her which is obviously why I'm here." All the while as he spoke he looked directly at Hermione. His onyx eyes boring into hers from across the room.
The teacher practically squirmed. "Oh my! My handsome man in black; I can totally tell you will be one of my favorites!" He winked towards him and then did a twirl before clapping his hands together. "Ok, ladies to my left, the gentlemen to my right."
Hermione was totally and completely stunned. So much that when everyone was shuffling to their places, she was still just sitting there gawking at this "Alan" fellow. She was powerless to do anything even as he came over to her and extended his hand in offer to help her up. "Miss Jenkins?" He purred.
She blinked hard a few times and finally held out her hand to him. He took hold of her and pulled her up, the contact sent a shock down her spine, and the world began moving around her too fast. She couldn't feel the solid ground beneath her, she tried to open her mouth to say something; anything, but then everything went black.
What a dream. It truly would've been remarkable to meet at the Dance hall, all except for the fainting part, that would've been terribly embarrassing, why couldn't the dream have included them dancing the night away and then going back to her place? She took a deep breath and opened her eyes, she mustn't get too comfortable or she'd be liable to arrive late for work. She sat up and took in her surroundings instantly realizing she was not in the comforts of her own home, there were shelves upon shelves of books and bottles of different items. She looked down where she was laying and saw that it was two large chairs that had been pushed together.
"Finally decided to wake?" Came that all too familiar voice, and she turned to him, standing, watching her.
She didn't even know what to say or what to do, all she could do was stare at him and wonder if this in itself was just a dream.
"Fine, don't answer" He said silkily, and was about to turn away from her as the beginnings of a sneer were forming on his face.
"I.. Where are we?"
Her eyes shot open. "Oh My God, that was real?"
He lifted a questioning brow. "Losing touch with reality are we?"
She could feel that was going to become frantic, she need to get out immediately. She looked around and saw that he had been gracious enough to bring along her purse.
"I have to go, I need to go." She said as she was making to grab her purse, but before she could; he appeared in front and blocked her path. He looked her straight in the eyes and with that same authoritive voice she remembered from her school days said: "SIT. DOWN."
She immediately did so, looking up as if waiting for him to give yet another order.
He looked her over and walked to the counter where he grabbed a mug and brought it to her. "Drink it, you will feel better." She also immediately obeyed said command, but the bitter taste was extremely overpowering.
"Yuck! What is this?"
"Hawthorne, it will calm your nerves." He took a seat across from where she was and looked directly at her, no particular expression on his face. "So, you want to tell me why you had been following me?"
"I.. I.. "
"And then you suddenly stopped; why?"
"I honestly don't know what you're referring to." She lied badly.
"Your deceit was obvious Miss Granger. From the very first moment I saw you covering yourself up with the 'Retired Living" section of the newspaper; I knew it was you."
She couldn't look up at him, and she could feel herself blushing, there was no way she could really tell him why.
"Were you sent by someone to track me down?" He asked harshly.
Her eyes sprang up suddenly. "What? No! I had no idea that you were alive until that day!"
"I ask you again; why were you following me?"
"I... I .. Don't really know. What I do know is that. It felt good to know that you were alive." She was speaking in earnest, looking directly at him, her eyes becoming watery. He looked back at her, his expression still unreadable. After what felt like an age he finally answered: "That is the best you can come up with Miss Granger? Such a pathetic lie."
The expression on her face changed drastically for even though she still had some childish tendencies, she would not be allowed to be pushed around and spoken down to like when she was a student.
"You know what; I don't have to explain myself to you." She said getting up again, anger now coursing through her veins. She dared to push past him in order to gain access to her purse; he took hold of her arm and sneered at her: "We are not finished."
"You may not be, but I am. In a way I'm glad I got to see you again. All those years I wondered about you, wondered what kind of man you really were because I had always thought that despite everything you were a good and decent person who deserved to be happy; that's why I followed you. Guess I was wrong. She pulled away from his grasp and headed towards what she hoped was the exit, and luckily the door gave way to the blanket of night. Now she had to figure out where she was so she could take the bus back to the dance studio to pick up her car.
She heard quick footsteps following her and was already opening the flap of her purse to remove the keychain pepper spray she carried with her.
"Miss Granger! "
She turned around, the spray already in her hands. He lifted a brow. "Traded a wand for a spray?"
She said nothing and turned back around continuing to walk towards what looked to be a bus stop. There were a couple of odd looking guys there, talking very loud and acting obnoxiously, she decided it would be better to walk towards the next stop instead. She crossed the street to avoid them, and even though there wasn't anyone around on this side of the street; Hermione still felt unsettled for she was not accustomed to walking alone so late at night.
A black car appeared on the road beside her, she recognized it from the times she had seen the professor leaving the bookstore. He rolled down the window and yelled out to her: "GET IN THE CAR!"
She continued to walk, ignoring him.
"Damn it ! GET IN THIS BLASTED CAR NOW!"
"You can't tell me what to do anymore." She replied calmly.
"Flattery will get you nowhere Professor."
"Fine! I'll just leave you then!"
She stopped. She was looking down on the floor before she looked directly at him, her face suddenly becoming completely serious. He could count on one hand the number of times he had seen such an expression on her face." Go ahead, everyone else does." She said.
She then made a swift turn to the right and up a one way street where he couldn't go.
"Blasted Girl!" He yelled before changing the gears in his car and swerving around, going well above the speed limit to reach the end of the street where she'd ultimately end up except that she was nowhere in sight. He banged his steering whee,l cursing himself before he sped off up and down the nearby streets, but he never did find her.
Hermione stayed had hidden behind one of the buildings, waiting many minutes before she dared to step out and walk towards the bus stop again. She got home about an hour later and immediately collapsed on her bed where the sunlight streaming down and into her eyes were what finally woke her up.
She shook her head; opening her eyes slowly for fear that she'd wake up somewhere else again but was extremely relieved to find the familiarity of her flat. She got up and stretched, walking by her clock when she did a double take. She looked at it in alarm, and then looked at her wrist watch; she was an hour late for work already. She quickly showered and dressed in her cream suit and matching heels. She didn't have time to really tend to her hair so it was a bit of a frizzy mess when she walked in the office. The receptionist looked her over with some concern.
"You alright Stacy?"
"Yeah it's just that.. I had trouble sleeping and then when I finally did fall asleep I overdid it and woke up frantic to get here as soon as possible."
"Oh geez that's terrible; listen, I hate to break more bad news to you, but there's a guy waiting in your office. He says that one of the lenders told him to come and speak to you about his account."
She sighed loudly already knowing where this was going. "What's his name?"
"Right, ok." She said carelessly as she dragged her feet towards her office.
She opened the door and found him sitting on one of the chairs across from her desk. He was wearing a muggle suit; black of course. It looked very expensive, as did the shiny leather shoes he was wearing, the tie looked to be pure silk. She had to force herself to look him in the eyes and away from his body for he looked so incredibly attractive.
"Do you normally keep your clients waiting like this Miss 'Jenkins'?"
She closed the door, and threw her purse over on the small love seat she had in the corner of her office.
"What do you want from me?" She said as she crossed her arms in front of her.
Instead of answering her, he made a comment about the previous night. "What you did Yesterday was incredibly stupid."
Hermione clasped her hands together and landed unceremoniously on her chair. "And? You've come here to slap me with detention?"
"You could've gotten hurt silly girl!"
She folded her hands on her desk, instantly reminding him of when she was his student except that she had not the eager inclination to learn etched upon her face. She looked tired, and angry.
"If I remember correctly Mr. 'Rickman' The whole reason that I was even in that predicament in the first place was because you took me from the dance studio all the way across town without my consent!"
"You had fainted, I was treating you!"
"You took me because you wanted to interrogate me since you have this paranoid notion in your mind that I've been sent by God knows who to spy on you! You didn't care about my well being!"
He got up from his chair and came around her desk to face her, she immediately stood up. "That's why I followed you out and then drove around for an hour trying to find you, because I don't care. That's what a person who doesn't care about someone else does right? And that's why I came here first thing in the morning, because I don't care; Is that what you want me to say?"
She sighed loudly, and then waved her hand in the air. "I don't want to do this with you Professor." She looked up at the name plate on the door. "Office of Stacy Jenkins" That's who she was now, it was the path she had chosen and maybe having met up with her ex professor served as a reminder that even though the new life she had chosen was lonely at times, it still beat the hell out of her previous one no matter how you looked at it. The fact was, what really made her stop was that he said he cared; and she knew that he did but the memory of that beautiful girl he was with that day at the book store brought everything to a halt. He probably had it made now and she was just an obstacle in his new life.
She smiled awkwardly before looking up at him.
"Is it possible that maybe we can just forget that any of this happened?"
He had a confused look on his face, she extended her hand out to him. "I'm sorry for the trouble I caused you professor. I appreciate you taking time out of your schedule just to make sure I'm alright and I really did mean what I said that day about being happy to find that you are alive and well. I wish you much happiness in your new life."
He still had a confused look on his face and for a moment she thought he was going to leave her hanging, but then he extended his hand and firmly grasped hers. She smiled and looked up at him. "Goodbye Professor."
There will be one more Chapter...