The holidays were coming and Professor McGonagall told our class that there would be a Yule Ball causing all the girls to break into fits of giggles while a few of the boys groaned and others actually grinned.
"Now, it is time to practice dancing," she told us after turning on an antique record player.
"Do we have to?" Ron muttered.
"Thank you for volunteering, Mr. Weasley," Professor McGonagall said, forcing Ron to his feet.
The entire class burst out laughing, as McGonagall showed Ron where he was supposed to place his hands and Professor McGonagall counted out the steps and they danced around the room. Ron was red in the face with embarrassment.
"This is priceless," Harry laughed in my ear.
I grinned and nodded in agreement.
"Ron and I are lucky we will not be here for the ball," he went on.
I looked at Harry questioningly.
"Mr. and Mrs. Weasley are going to visit Charlie in Romania. We told you last night and asked if you wanted to go and you said no."
I nodded as I remembered.
"Why don't you want to go?" Harry asked.
"I just don't want to, do I really need a reason not to go with you and Ron?" I asked.
"No," Harry shrugged.
"Thank you, Mr. Weasley, you may return to your seat," McGonagall said and Ron hurried back to his seat next to Harry. "Is there anyone brave enough to show the class they can dance?"
No one moved or said anything.
"Thank you, Mr. Diggory," McGonagall said
The Hogwarts Heartthrob rose to his feet and stood in the middle of classroom.
"Who will partner Mr. Diggory?"
All the girls giggled and jumped at the opportunity. McGonagall clapped her hands and the girls fell silent.
"I will choose," she said, looking over the class. "Miss Granger."
I felt my stomach tighten out of nerves as I looked up at McGonagall and hesitated.
I looked over at Cedric and he smiled which caused my stomach to become even tighter and my face burned. I walked up to him and he took my left hand, delicately kissing my knuckles.
"A sweet but unnecessary gesture, Mr. Diggory," said McGonagall before asking us to get into position.
I was so nervous as laid one hand on his shoulder and as he placed one of his on my waist, we held our other hands together. I was surprised at how comfortable it felt with his large hand around mine. Once the music started the dancing was a disaster on my part. I kept watching our feet causing me to trip and stumble on his feet and robes.
When class ended McGonagall said that I clearly needed some practice and she told Cedric to be my partner and help me. He asked me to meet him in the courtyard after breakfast the next day. I promised I would and then he left the classroom with his girlfriend.
"You did really well, Hermione," Ron snickered.
I scoffed before I stormed out of the classroom. Ron can be a complete jerk!
I did not talk to Ron at breakfast the next morning mainly because he thought my dancing was still funny. He didn't think he had to apologize for laughing at me, he really didn't think he had anything to apologize for.
"You don't have to see us off," Harry said as we boarded the carriages for Kings Cross.
"I promised I would," I reminded him. "By the way have your shoes been disappearing?"
"When I wake in the morning I find that one pair of my shoes is gone."
"That's weird," Harry muttered.
Ron didn't even bother to say goodbye as he boarded the train.
Harry scoffed and shook his head in annoyace. "Take care of yourself."
"I will, you too," I promised. "Have fun."
Harry smiled before kissing my cheek and then hugging me tight. "Merry Christmas, Mione."
I held onto to him just as tight, feeling my eyes burn and wetting. "Merry Christmas, Harry."
I was riding in the carriage back to Hogwarts when I remembered I was supposed to meet Cedric in the courtyard.
"You are late," he told me when I reached the courtyard. To my relief he was not angry.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I was seeing Harry and Ron off."
"Did they make it okay?" he asked.
"Safe and sound."
"Are you okay, you look like you are about to cry."
I nodded. "I'm fine."
Cedric nodded and pulled out his wand to from his jeans pocket, he gave it a little flick and slow dance music filled the air.
"Shall we?" he asked, offering me his hand.
I smiled took his hand.
We resumed our positions from yesterday and we started to dance the same as before. Horrible.
"Stop looking at our feet," he said, raising my chin. "Keep your eyes on me and listen to the music." He then counted us out but I didn't even realize we were moving not even when Cedric said I was doing better. At some point, the dancing ended with Cedric dipping me.
I couldn't think. "Was that part of the dance?" I finally stammered.
"No," he said as he straightened me. "But I always liked that move."
When I returned to my dormitory my heart was pounding and my hands were shaking and that was when I realized...
"I love him."
The next day, the only pair of shoes I had left were high heels and by the end of the day, my feet were unbearable to stand on.
Madam Spout asked Cedric and I to line the greenhouses with flowerpots for her first-year class.
"Ow!" I screamed after lining my third row as pain shot through my feet and I fell to the ground.
"Are you okay?" Cedric asked as he hurried to my side.
I was crying as Cedric removed my shoes. My feet were covered in bleeding blisters.
Cedric handed me back my shoes before picked me up and carried me back to castle but instead of going to the Hospital Wing, he took us to the kitchens.
"What can we get you, sir?" asked a house-elf.
"Murtlap Essence and hurry!" Cedric ordered.
The elf saluted him and then hurried away.
Cedric set me down on the closest table bench and laid my feet in his lap. He thanked the House-Elf and then placed the bowl of yellow liquid on the table and then coated his fingertips in it.
"This will sting," he warned before carefully running his fingers over the broken skin turning from blood-red to pink.
I gasped and hissed at the searing pain and tears wet my eyes again, but then the pain became cool and started to fade.
"Better?" he asked.
I nodded. "Thanks."
The house-elf then offered us a meal.
"What do you say, Hermione, will you have a dinner date with me?"
I smiled and nodded and we enjoyed our soup and when we finished Cedric silently asked me for a dance. Only this one was different, instead of usual positions, we had our arms around each other and when we stopped, I did something I never thought I would do.
I kissed him.
Cedric pulled me off him and looked at me confused.
I felt my eyes burn and I ran out of kitchens. I ran until I reached the Grand Staircase and sat on the second step and silently cried. At some point, Cedric sat down next to me.
"You forgot your shoes," he said, passing them to me.
I took them and set them at my opposite side.
"You kissed me," he said after a long, quiet moment.
"You know that I am with Cho."
I nodded again, closing my eyes as tears fell.
"I can't be unfaithful to her."
I grabbed my shoes and hurried upstairs.
A few nights later, I went to the Yule Ball alone and did not dance, just watched everyone else dance. My eyes then fell on Cedric and Cho. They looked so happy together and I almost ruined that!
I had to leave, as I much I wanted him to be happy, I could not watch.
I stepped out onto the courtyard where the snow was just starting to fall. I moved into its center, looked up at the black sky and let the snowflakes melt on my skin.
"Beautiful, isn't it?"
I turned around and saw Cedric standing there, holding his suit jacket over his shoulder.
"It is," I agreed as I rubbed my arms.
Cedric walked up to me and draped his jacket over my shoulders and then he bowed offering me his hand.
"Dance with me?" he asked.
I looked down at his hand, frowning.
"What about Cho, I thought you couldn't be unfaithful to her?" I asked trying not to cry.
"I'm not. I just want to dance with my partner."
I was still frowning at his hand but I took it anyway and we danced as we were taught with the snow falling around us like a snow globe. Our eyes never leaving each other. I don't how long we danced, he twirled me and then dipped me, but neither of us were smiling as he looked down at me. We stayed in that position until Cho called for him. He stood me straight, I gave him back his jacket and he left.
We didn't talk again.
It was finally the day of the third task and I could not wait for it be over! I was tired of Ron always talking about Viktor Krum, how Durmstrang should win because Viktor Krum is their champion, and an end to that foul woman, Rita Skeeter's horrible rumors.
I sighed in annoyance when I noticed a fold piece of parchment with my name on it.
I stared at it for a second before I opened it.
Meet me at the Quidditch Pitch, in the entrance under the stands.
There was no name.
When Dumbledore said it was time for the task to begin, I hurried to the Quidditch Pitch where I found Cedric pacing and wringing his hands at the end of the tunnel entrance, sunlight was the only source of light. I hurried up to him and he looked up at me at the sound of my footsteps.
"What's going on, are you all right?" I asked.
"I am terrified," he said, his voice trembling as well as his hands.
I grabbed his hands. "You are going to do fine in the task, I know you will."
Cedric shook his head, his eyes were shut tight. "It's not the task I am afraid of."
I stared at him confused. "What are you talking about?"
Dumbledore's voice boomed throughout the Pitch causing Cedric and I to look out at the Pitch.
"All champions should make their way out onto the field for final instructions!"
Cedric and I looked each other and then Cedric started breathing heavily as he held my face in his hands and then kissed me. When he pulled away still holding my face in his hands, I stared at him, my mouth slightly open.
"Wait for me," he whispered before hurrying out onto the field.
I followed him to the entrance, watching him join the other champions as I brought my hand over my tingling lips.