Chapter 4
Keep It Simple, Stupid

Previously on "Boyfriend"...

I kissed him. Not on the cheek. On the lips! It took me all of a second to realize what I was doing. I backed away about a second after that. He looked absolutely shocked. He was speechless. He was staring at me, and there was something in his eyes that frightened me. I couldn't recognize it. Then I did another extremely stupid thing. I stood up and ran out of the kitchen.

I was in tears by the time I reached my bedroom. I slammed the door behind me, not caring if Ron and Rose had heard the racket. I ran over to my bed and sunk carelessly onto it. The tears continued as I buried my head in my pillow.

Stupid, stupid, stupid! What he must think of me kissing him! We hadn't even talked about whether or not we should kiss in front of Rose. Kissing on the lips is quite a personal part of a relationship. And I am in the middle of a "fake" relationship!

Maybe I wouldn't be reacting so badly if we had agreed we needed to do some convincing kissing in front of Rose just to play out the scenario. But stupid little me went and kissed him out of the blue.

And the way he looked at me! I don't know what was going on in those pretty blue eyes of his, but it couldn't be anything good. Probably disgust.

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Suddenly, there was a knock on my bedroom door.

"Go away!" I growled, my voice muffled since my face was still buried in my pillow.

"Sorry, love, can't do that," Ron said.

I gasped as I looked up. Ron was standing in the doorway. I didn't even hear him open the door! And how can he call me "love" when I went and did something so stupid?!

I looked away from Ron as I wiped the tears from my face, and I sat up on my bed. I realized Ron was holding one of the pizza boxes. He shut the door behind him, and walked over to my bed, and sat beside me. If I was in my right mind, I might have taken this as a good sign. But all I could think about was how he could look at me after what I did.

"You only ate one piece," Ron said, "Thought you might want more."

I shrugged. Honestly, I thought I might throw up the piece of pizza I ate.

"I told Rose that you didn't feel very well," Ron said, "I might have lied and told her I noticed you looked a bit ill before we walked into your kitchen."

"Thanks," I mumbled; maybe I should vomit. It would make Ron's story come out more truthful.

I wanted to apologize for that kiss, but my brain wouldn't let me. Maybe it was a defense mechanism. As long as I didn't bring up the subject, the word "kiss", maybe we wouldn't talk about it.

"Did Rose say anything?" I asked, "After I left."

"Just said I should go comfort you," Ron said.

Once again, my wand felt heavy in the pocket of my jeans.

"Can I just go downstairs and set a Memory Charm on her?" I asked.

"What do you mean?" Ron asked.

I shrugged. If he couldn't figure it out, I wasn't going to tell him.

"Then I guess my answer is 'no'," Ron said; I looked at him, and he smiled at me. "For one reason, you've never done one before. You might get rid of more memories than you intend. Also, it is illegal to Obliviate a Muggle unless you have the proper authority."

I nodded grudgingly. He had a good point.

"For another reason," Ron said, "It isn't that bad, Hermione."

"I'm lying to my cousin, Ron!" I exclaimed. "How can that not be bad?"

"It could be worse," Ron said.

I snorted. I don't know how it could be worse.

"Besides," Ron said, "If you Obliviated her, we'd have to come up with another story."

"You're pretty good at making up stories," I said, "Where in the bloody hell did that tale come from?"

Ron blushed and mumbled something under his breath.

"I didn't hear that," I said.

"I think I dreamed about it once," Ron said.

I blinked. He dreamed about – okay, I'm just going to file that away for a later date.

"Well, it must have been a pretty good dream," I said.

Ron shrugged, but didn't say anything. I opened the pizza box that was sitting between us, and grabbed a slice.

"We should have done this from the start," I muttered, "We should have just taken one of the boxes, and come up here and shared a pizza together."

"I didn't mind talking to your cousin," Ron said, "She's a good person to talk to."

I grudgingly agreed as I bit into the slice of pizza. Still... if he hadn't told her that story, I might not have been mesmerized by it. And I might not have kissed him.

It wasn't even a kiss! It was a peck on the lips. He probably hated it. That's why he hasn't mentioned it!

"So," Ron said, "I guess we should talk..."

I glanced at him out of the corner of my eyes as I chewed on a meaty bite of pizza. Oh, Merlin, please don't talk about the kiss yet. I'm not ready!

"We did agree to talk about this – er – fake relationship after dinner," Ron said.

I raised up the piece of pizza in my hand and looked at him. "We're still eating."

Then I took another bite, just to prove a point.

Ron snorted. I smiled grudgingly, swallowed and started laughing. He laughed too, and it was a wonderful sound.

"All right," I said, after I stopped laughing, "What exactly should we talk about?"

"What have you told your cousin about us?" Ron asked.

"We met on the train when we were eleven," I said, "You teased me, called me a know-it-all. I cried and pitied myself in the girl's lavatory. A bully came and teased me more for crying, and you and Harry defended my honor. We became friends."

Ron stared at me for a moment, then turned away and looked down at the piece of pizza in his hand.

"Did I ever tell you exactly how sorry I was for doing all that back then?" he asked.

I felt tears in my eyes as I looked at him. He looked so miserable. I guess after being friends for so very long, you sometimes forget the beginnings of such friendship.

"Ron, we were eleven and twelve," I said, "We were kids."

"Still," Ron said, with a shrug, "I was a bit of a git back then. I shouldn't have said you didn't have friends."

"You were basically right," I said, shrugging. "I didn't have friends. Before I found out I was a witch, I might have had a couple of friends over the many years I was in school. But those were few and far in between."

"My only friends before Hogwarts were my brothers, sister and Luna Lovegood, though I hardly knew her," Ron said. "I was so damn happy that I was friends with Harry Potter, I – I dunno. I thank the stars everyday for what happened on Halloween that year."

"We were almost slaughtered by a troll, Ron," I said, rolling my eyes.

"And yet, we came out on top," Ron said, "We got in trouble, we could have gotten expelled, but we became friends. To me, nothing else mattered out of that night."

I didn't know what to say. He was being so damn sweet that I wanted to kiss him again.

"Ron," I said, "Do you really want to do this? Do you really want to fool my cousin into thinking we're a couple?"

Ron looked at me, and I swore he was looking into my soul. I saw that look in his eyes, and once again wished I could decipher it.

"Yes, Hermione," Ron said. "Honestly, you saved me from a week of wedding preparations. I'd do anything to get out of that!"

I laughed again. "Ron, what took you so long to get back here? I was so afraid you weren't allowed to come back? I really wanted to yell at you when you returned, cause you were making me worry."

"Well, it took a while to get Dad alone so I could talk to him," Ron said. "I didn't want Mum to overhear, so we ended up in Dad's shed. I explained that you sort of reacted badly at the idea of Death Eaters coming after Muggles and Muggleborn."

I rolled my eyes. Okay, I admit, I am a bit worried, but I don't think I sounded that bad!

"He explained that it might take a few days to get situated before he and the Order can put some wards around the house," Ron continued. "So I told him I volunteered to stay with you until the wards were built. I think he probably knew I wanted to avoid putting together wedding preparations."

I laughed. "I'm sure he knew that was probably one of the reasons you chose to come here."

"Probably," Ron said, chuckling. "Anyway, he thought it was a good idea. Then he told me he'd take care of Mum, that he would tell her later. I just asked him to give me time to get away from the house before the explosion came."

I laughed again.

"Well, then it took me a bit of time to pack up some things in my knapsack," Ron continued. "I couldn't figure out what I wanted to bring. Really, other than that long visit Sirius' house, and the trip to Egypt, I've never had to plan for a visit somewhere. Unless it was Hogwarts, I mean. I figured we might want to go swimming..."

I suddenly saw a scenario in my head of Ron and I at the city pool. I could see him in only swimming trunks and nothing on above his waist. I tried my best to hide the blush in my cheeks.

"That sounds fun," I said, "Sure, we can do that one of these days..."

"Well, I just piled in some summer clothes," Ron said, "Then left the Burrow and came here."

"Only clothes?" I asked, "No books or homework."

Ron looked at me in horror. "Hermione, I have the whole summer holiday to work on that!"

I laughed and poked him in the ribs. "I was only teasing."

Ron raised an eyebrow, and for a moment I thought he was going to retaliate.

"Don't you dare," I growled.

Ron laughed. "Made you think about it though."

I glared at him and cleared my throat. "Anyway, we need to discuss this whole... thing... more."

"For example?" Ron asked.

"I don't know!" I exclaimed, "I've never done anything like this before."

Ron snorted. "You certainly made me think you and Krum had a relationship through fifth year."

I glared at him again. "He was a pen-pal! I told you that!"

"You didn't exactly deny it when I asked if he was more than a pen-pal!" Ron argued.

I harrumphed. He was right. I didn't. But how could I tell him I only did it because it was fun to watch him squirm throughout the whole of fifth year?

"I'm sorry," I said. "He was only a pen-pal. I told you he wanted me to visit him after fourth year, yes?"

He shrugged and nodded.

"Well, I ended up going to Grimmauld Place," I said, "He took it pretty badly, and soon after that our relationship was just friends. I couldn't even consider him a best friend. I could tell in his letters he wasn't happy with me. I finally told him I had no intentions to take our relationship further. The last time he wrote me was just to make sure I was okay after the incident in the Department of Mysteries. He read about it in his country's newspaper."

"And it has taken you this long to tell me that?" Ron asked.

"It was never brought up, really," I said, shrugging. "And by the time I did think about it, you were off snogging Lavender."

Ron sighed and looked at his half-eaten slice of pizza.

"Are we going to have to kiss again?" Ron suddenly asked.

My stomach felt like it was in my throat. I mention him snogging Lavender and he asks me that? Great change of subject, Ron, thank you.

I looked down at my feet and thought about his question. We needed to talk about this. Except... I didn't know what to say. Did I want to kiss him again?

"I don't know. Why?" I asked; really it was the best possible response I could come up with. Also I realized I was answering my own question.

Ron shrugged and looked at me for a moment. I suddenly wondered if he was going to kiss me.

"Well, I'm not exactly sure how we're going to fool Rose," Ron said, "We can't exactly keep getting away kisses on cheeks, right? Not after that kiss you gave me earlier."

Well, so much for dancing around the fact that I kissed him. It is out in the open now. What do I say to that?

Keep it simple, stupid.

"No," I said, "Probably not."

"Then there's the fact that Rose is probably pretty good at snogging," Ron said.

"Exactly what is that supposed to mean?!" I asked.

Great, Hermione. If he didn't know you were jealous of Rose, he probably does now. Still, he didn't have to say it that way.

"Well – I – er -" Ron coughed and cleared his throat. "You told me she's had a few boyfriends, right? She probably knows the difference between a good snog and a fake one."

Oh. Right. He does have a very good point. I began to wonder what she thought of the way I kissed him. I wondered if I could back to my old argument.

I know, stupid defense mechanism. Sue me!

"Merlin, this was doomed to fail from the start," I groaned. "I'm sorry. Maybe I should just go and tell her everything. I mean I obviously wasn't thinking. Faking a relationship when we have a relationship expert in the house doesn't seem like a great idea."

"Have I ever told you that you talk too much?" Ron asked.

"Many times over!" I growled. "Exactly what is that supposed to mean?"

"I mean you are over-thinking things," Ron said, "Just like you usually do."

I sigh. I admit it, he had a good point. Damn, it looked as if my original argument was not going to win out.

"Well, what else can we do?" I asked. "If we can't manage a convincing snog -"

His hand gently caressed my cheek, silencing me. His piercing blue eyes were looking into mine, and I couldn't help but lose myself in them.

"You definitely talk too much," he said.

Before I could give my usual snappy retort only reserved for Ron Weasley, he was kissing me. Ron Weasley, my best friend, was kissing me! I mean, I know I kissed him earlier, but I didn't give him a chance to kiss me back! And now he was kissing me!

Okay. I admit it. I have fantasized about this moment for quite a while. I always wondered how he would kiss me. Unfortunately I've witnessed too many snog sessions between him and Lavender and they had given me a pretty good idea.

However, the way he was kissing me was nothing I'd ever witnessed between him and Lavender. It was like the kiss Viktor gave me. It was gentle, sweet and absolutely no tongue.

I quickly got over my shock and started moving my lips in response against his. Merlin, I never expected him to kiss me like this. Okay, I never expected him to kiss me at all! Especially after the way I pecked him on the lips earlier. I thought he was disgusted with me.

And then... before I was ready, and before I wanted him too, he was backing away.

"I definitely think we need to talk about the guidelines of this fake relationship," I muttered; Merlin help me, I couldn't keep my eyes off of his lips!

"Tomorrow," he said, then yawned hugely, "I'm quite tired. Good night, Mione."

Then he stood up and left my bedroom. Before I could even give him a snappy retort about the use of that nickname!

Or another kiss.

I sat there, on my bed, staring at the door Ron had closed behind him. And as I munched on another slice of pizza, I realized I didn't care whether he called me Mione or not.

Over the next few minutes, my mind was a blank as I began changing into my pyjamas. I set the still half-full pizza box on my desk, ignoring my thoughts about my room being a pig sty. Then I turned off my light and climbed into bed. And as I stared at my ceiling which gradually became more visible as my eyes started getting used to the darkness of my room, a voice in the back recesses of my mind was once again asking me whether or not I wanted more than a fake relationship with Ron Weasley.

I managed to ignore it as sleep claimed me.

Well, okay. This chapter was going to be a lot longer. Originally, there was going to be some events of the following day. But I decided to end this chapter with the end of the first day of the story instead. Besides, the title of the chapter makes sense with only this scene, and not what else that would follow.

I know it probably didn't answer any questions you might have had as a result of the previous chapter. But we got to see Ron's response – a kiss of his own. Also... originally that was going to be the first kiss between the couple, but my muse decided to disagree.

I know, I know... I could ignore my ideas and have the couple admit to each other exactly how they feel! But I am going to keep them oblivious to the feelings of the other, and just have them think everything that is happening is in the pretenses of their "fake relationship". Why, you ask, as you mutter that I must be going mental. I only answer with this: what I have already planned is so much better, and the wait – how ever long it may be – is so worth it.

For now, I hope you liked this chapter. I'd like to get your opinions and reviews. I accept constructive criticism, but mostly good reviews... free of charge!