I can't see her -- Her! -- in the next bed, not through the hangings -- but I can hear her. Oh yes, I can hear the cow all right. I can hear her breathing -- quiet, regular, easy. She's lying there peacefully, not a care in the world, while I'm lying here crying on my pillow. She's not crying, is she? Oh no. She's perfectly happy, I bet. When I was losing my rag tonight, she was just standing back looking like the cat that's got the cream. Why shouldn't she? After all, it seems she's the one Ron wants.
It's not fair! I just know it was me who really got his interest first, not ... not Her. It was me who actually tried to make it plain what I felt about him. Why, oh why, couldn't something have happened for me and Ron before? Why did I wait till this year to make a move? I could so easily have gone to that Yule Ball with Ron -- if I'd just waited a bit longer, if I hadn't already said yes to the first boy to ask me, in case no-one else did.
Well, all right, it would only have been because he and Harry hadn't got dates yet, but it might have been a start, mightn't it?
Hah! A start. Yeah right, dry your eyes, girl, it's finished now, isn't it? And I've got to face Her in the morning now, somehow, Merlin knows how, because I don't. I don't know how I'm going to face poor Ron either, after the way I completely went to pieces when I saw them tonight ... oh you deserved it though, Ron, you ... you ... you ... you bastard!
Yes! That felt good. Poor Ron? Hah! You bastard, Ron, you bastard!. Leading me on all this time, letting me think -- hope -- you might actually care about me. I wanted to think you cared about me, Ron, you ... you bastard! I can be really, really stupid sometimes.
Oh hell. I'm going to have to face you and Her together tomorrow, aren't I? And the next day, and the day after that, and the rest of the year, wouldn't be surprised. And each night I'm going to have to come up here and get ready for bed and try to go to sleep knowing She's in the next bed, and then wake up in the morning and get up to see Her looking smug, and I'm going to have to pretend like mad. Pretend I don't really mind. Pretend I didn't cry my eyes out over it. Pretend I couldn't care less about Ron or who he's with. Oh yeah, like everyone's going to believe that.
Self-examination. Me, doing self bloody examination! It's a bitch, isn't it? As big a bitch as her! I'm pathetic! I've always had a bit of a crush on Ron, really. The poor lamb's just so ... so ... so sweet sometimes, even if he is totally clueless, bless him. Suppose I even used to find those stupid crude jokes he made in class funny, not like I was ever going to let him know if I could help it!
Maybe I should have. Why couldn't you have noticed that, Ronnie! Other people noticed. My Oh-So-Pretty-And-Popular friend, she noticed. Yeah, of course she noticed. (When she wasn't keeping half an eye on Harry anyway. Hasn't got her very far, has it? He only had eyes for that Cho Chang.) Oh all right, she found it a bit of a laugh, but she did notice, she did encourage me to finally have a go this year. Reckoned in the end, I'd just have to swallow my pride and make it so obvious he couldn't possibly miss it before the daft prat cottoned on that I really liked him.
Well, fair's fair, she was right, wasn't she? It worked -- well, I thought it worked, before tonight. Hah! Suppose She must have outbid me, mustn't she, been even more obvious. Ron wouldn't ever have gone for Her otherwise, would he? Not that I've ever been able to prise him away from Harry long enough to get him to notice me before, especially not last year with all that ... that You-Know-Who thing going on. I can still hear Her -- yes, you in the next bed, Little Miss Go-Behind-My-Back! -- shooting her mouth off about it the first night back. It was all talk about Harry and the DA last year, wasn't it? Never gave Ronnie a thought then did you?
Yeah, Her in the next bed. I can still hear Her all right. Turning over, probably having sweet dreams.
What are you dreaming of, eh? Whatever it was you were doing with Ron tonight when I caught the two of you sneaking around together? No I don't want to think about that but I can't bloody stop! Oh Ron ... you bastard. I don't want to picture you ... kissing Her when you should have been kissing me or imagine you holding Her like you held me or you and Her ... no, you couldn't have been. Could you? You wouldn't. Not with Her. Not with Little Miss Peaceful in the next ... is that why ... oh hell, I'm going to start crying again! Why couldn't she just have stuck with the nice Irish boy she pulled and left Ron alone?
I'm not even surprised. Not really. I've been wondering if she was starting to take an interest in Ronnie for a while now. She was being suspiciously nice to him all of a sudden, like she'd hardly said a word to him for ages! Poor lamb, he must have been flattered by it ... oh, sod him, he's not poor anything, is he? Sod him, the creep, if he wants that cow more than me. I don't know what he thinks She can give him that I can't. At least I wanted our relationship to be serious.
Wonder if Harry knows about Ron and Her yet? Probably does. He and Ron must tell each other everything. Those two are practically joined at the hip. That's why tonight, I finally knew. When Ron came down the boys' stairs with Her, and Harry was nowhere in sight, I knew. I knew I was out of luck. I knew I couldn't keep pretending Ron really wanted to keep going out with me, not any more. I knew She'd cut me out. I knew She'd won.
And I'd bloody lost. And then I blew it completely. And now I have to lie here, with Her sleeping peacefully in the next bed. Peacefully. Hah! I'd like to strangle her with her own stupid bushy hair.
And I'm going to have to just cry myself to sleep. And try not to hear Her ...
Author's Note: Yes, Lavender's POV! Hermione's 'Irish boy'? -- Cormac McLaggen. (Well, both his first name and surname are Irish, so ...)