Yeah, yeah, ha ha ha... Ginny's tale is bloody hilarious, isn't it?
Even after all this time, she never seems to get bored of telling it.
She doesn't exactly come off to well, though, does she? Trying to hex
her own brother, and even then the best she can manage is a lighting
Suffice to say, it was a great mood-killer. Hermione
showed up about five minutes later, and she immediately swooped down on
Ginny like a mother duck with one of its babies.
"Ron," she snapped. "Can't you see that your sister's upset?"
what about me? My sister wasn't the one who nearly got hexed by a close
member of her family, was she? But I couldn't say that without Hermione
- who always picks up on the details - asking exactly why I had been
sitting in the dark. I glared at Ginny, who nodded once. At least I
knew that she wouldn’t tell Hermione about what I had been waiting to
It was a bit of a mood-killer, though. I suppose I could
have hung around and waited for Ginny to stop grizzling about whatever
had got her knickers in a twist, but after nearly having a bloody heart
attack when I realised that I was halfway through proposing to my
sister... Well, let's just say that somehow, I wasn't in the mood.
course, standing here now, sharing a wry grin with Harry, I guess it
all worked out for the best. Remus’ anti-hangover potion works wonders,
for all that it tastes worse than Polyjuice Potion. It’s definitely a
good thing that we’re standing here, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and
not still at the twins’ shop, amongst the remains of last night’s
The music starts up, some organ piece that
Hermione insisted on. I don’t think that the rest of us cared that
much, to be honest.
We turn, and there they are. Ginny looks
great, and I can practically feel the pride burning off Harry, and
then, over Ginny’s head and arm-in-arm with her father, there she is.
What the hell took me so long?
stomped back into the flat like a bear with a sore head. We had a long
trip to Bulgaria for a European Cup game the next day, and knew that I
was going to regret the late night, but I'd been planning on being in a
good mood, and having that keep me going.
Harry was there, and I was tempted to kick him, but held fire long enough to ask one very important question.
"What the bloody hell did you do to make Ginny cry, you arse!"
Harry blinked once or twice, and then swore.
out that nobody's evening went the way we'd planned it. Harry's plan to
pick a honeymoon destination and then slot in the proposal later on in
the evening had sounded pretty good on paper, but from what I'd seen,
and what Harry said, it was clear that Ginny had not understood.
of us was able to work out exactly how Ginny had worked out that Harry
was going to propose that night, but I had a feeling that the fancy
restaurant had been a bit blatant. That's why I'd settled on surprising
Hermione at her flat. Didn't cost me anything when it all went wrong,
"Not unless you count that hunk of diamond you've got sitting in your pocket, anyway," Harry was kind enough to point out.
Well, so what? I love Hermione. I'm crazy about her, and I know that she's going to love this ring. Even if it takes a bit longer then I'd planned.
is, there's no bloody way I could propose in a restaurant, anyway.
Stupid tradition, all of that 'bended knee, other diners applauding'
stuff. I've known a few blokes who’ve tried it, and it's never pretty.
tried it with his girlfriend a few months ago, at this pub in Stagsden.
Apparently she burst into tears and ran to the toilet, and it took him
all evening to get her out of there.
Oh, she said yes, but
blimey, can you imagine all that fuss? Not that I can see Hermione
getting all over-emotional like that, but...
I don't know if
you know Anthony Goldstein at all, but we got to be quite good mates
through the DA, once it became clear that Ginny and Hermione were both
off limits to swotty Ravenclaws with their parents' money to spend.
he proposed in the middle of this posh restaurant, had the orchestra
playing her favourite song, spent hundreds of Galleons on the ring,
really went for it.
She said no.
You see? What if Hermione said no? Of course, I was pretty sure she'd say yes, but Goldstein's story had become a lesson to us all: You might be wrong.
it turns out, Goldstein's girlfriend was seeing Draco Malfoy behind his
back. Funny how that git keeps popping up. I thought that after Harry
and Neville put the Curse of the Toad on him a couple of years back
that he'd have trouble with women, but I guess if you have a big enough
Anyway, what am I talking about Draco Malfoy for? Sorry, but I get a bit sidetracked when I think about what might happen when a bloke decides to propose.
the way to Bulgaria - Muggle aeroplane, Circe alone knows how they
explain all the brooms and stuff at customs, but when your team's
sponsored by a Muggle-born you have to expect these things sometimes -
I got talking to Gary Barker, an old mate of Bill's who got married a
couple of years ago.
"Sounds like you had the right idea," he
said. "That's how I proposed to Sandra, anyway. Of course, at first she
reacted like your sister and I had to duck a frying pan before I could
convince her I wasn't a burglar or anything, but it makes the story a
bit funnier whenever it gets told at family parties."
arrange to meet her at her flat, get there early, light some candles,
get some romantic music playing on the stereo and just do it. Best
decision you'll ever make, right up until the point where you say ‘I
do’ and the minister does his ‘I now pronounce you’ spiel."
I think you're right," I said. "Not sure about the candles, though.
I've had some bad experiences..." I trailed off as I remembered the
first and only time I tried impressing Hermione with candles. I
shivered. "Yeah," I repeated. "I definitely think you're right."
Meet me at the flat after work.
I sat there for hours, waiting for her to come. She's still at the
Ministry, and sometimes she can't get away from work on time, sometimes
she's even slept over there, but not if she knows that I'm waiting for
Eventually, when it was nearly midnight, I gave up.
wasn't sure exactly what was wrong, but clearly I'd messed up somehow.
We hadn't spoken much since Ginny spoilt my first attempt at proposing,
and I know that she wasn't very impressed by my 'insensitivity', as she
called it, but I thought that things were okay, really I did.
left her flat, locking it as I did so. It's nice that Hermione trusts
me enough to give me her keys, even if I could get in with a quick
Unlocking spell. It's the symbolism of it.
Guess what? I actually understood that when she gave me the keys. For once, I didn't need Harry to explain it to me.
I hesitated, thinking about popping the keys back through the letterbox, but I didn't. If things were that bad, Hermione would have said something, wouldn't she?
I didn't know. She'd never stood me up before. It could hardly be a good sign, right?
been acting really odd recently. Now that I came to think about it, she
always seemed to be thinking about something else. It wasn't often that
Hermione was the one to drift out of a conversation, but more and more
I'd noticed myself having to wave a hand in front of her face to get
her to pay attention.
It worried me.
I went downstairs and out into the rain, too miserable to Apparate home. A walk, I thought, would do me the world of good.
darted here and there as I made my way to the nearest Floo point, a pub
about a mile down the road. I'd taken Hermione there many times, and
Harry and I had hatched the proposal plans over a few pints there a
couple of weeks beforehand. Of course, he'd got second thoughts and I'd
had to spend ten minutes calming him down over Hermione's phone-thing
one night, but Harry's a right wimp when it comes to my sister. It was
how I knew that he was serious about her; he never got that bad about
Cho, that's for sure.
I thought about Cho as I trudged soggily
through the umbrellas that shielded everyone else from the rain. She
was Seeker for the Tornadoes now, and a good player, too. The gossip
pages were always full of stories about her latest boyfriends, and the
relationships never seemed to last very long. There had been a spell
when some of the Cannons players had been pinning the stories up on the
team notice board, right up until Puddlemere visited and Harry went
ballistic. He came storming into the Cannons dressing room and
threatened to hex whoever it was unless they stopped.
that Harry will always feel guilty about Cedric, will always think
that's he's partly responsible for his death. Nothing anyone can say
will ever change that, although he doesn't say much nowadays. With
Sirius, and Dumbledore, and even Snape and Flitwick, we got through to
him, but Cedric is Harry's personal nightmare, the first to die because
of Harry, although I'd never put it that way to anyone else. I know
it's not fair, but there is a logic to it. It's not Harry's fault, but
for a time no-one close to him was safe.
guess there's a part of me that wonders when Hermione's going to
realise that just being around me is stopping her being whatever she
wants to be, when she'll turn to me and say that I've ruined her life,
that she's leaving, that just being around me makes her feel ill, and
that she's wasting her time.
That night, as I squelched
through the mud, that part of me was going wild. By the time I was
halfway to the pub, I knew that it was over. If she wouldn't even pop
back to her flat for five minutes, she clearly didn't want to see me.
My face wasn't just wet because of the rain.
wasn't really looking where I was going. The rain was so heavy that I
could barely see two feet in front of my nose, and to be honest, I
wasn't paying much attention anyway, just hurrying to get away from
there, get home, get to bed and then in the morning go into work and
ask for a transfer.
I hear Portree's nice this time of year...
I walked into someone, it barely registered. If they hadn't fallen over
into the mud with a loud splash, I imagine that I would have just kept
on walking. Rude, I know, but sometimes a bloke's just not in the mood,
But Mum bought us all up to be polite, so I stopped,
and stuck out my hand, muttering an apology as I pulled the other
person upright. I wasn't surprised that they'd been knocked over - they
were as light as a feather.
It wasn't until they were fully
upright and standing close enough that I could see their face that I
realised just who 'they' was.