Draco looked at the place his companion had been sleeping but the woman he spent the night with was no longer lying beside him. A cursory scan of the suite left little doubt that he was alone. The door to the bathroom was open and no noise came from inside. The clothes strewn across the floor all belonged to Draco. The beautiful woman he’d made love to was gone. Falling back onto his pillow heavily, Draco breathed a sigh of relief. Waking up with a woman he scarcely knew would have been awkward enough; waking up with a woman he scarcely knew after calling out for his dead fiancÚ would have been ten times worse.
It had been over a year since Draco dreamed of Ginny. He thought he was finished with that sort of thing; that he’d gotten past it. He thought he was ready to put her memory away and move on. Maybe he was. Maybe the dream was a reasonable reaction to having been with a woman for the first time since losing Ginny. Draco rubbed his eyes wearily. Maybe he didn’t want to think about that right now. Rolling out of bed, he started towards the bathroom to shower.
Miles away, Erin sped down the highway feeling numb. The morning’s events swam blurrily in her mind. After she'd walked out of Draco’s suite she had collapsed against the wall. It was several minutes before her legs were able to carry her to her own room. Stopping only long enough to change into fresh clothes and brush her hair and teeth, Erin hurried to the garage and left Draco behind her.
As she traveled west the sky became more and more overcast. Dark clouds loomed on the horizon and before long rain was pounding the roof of the little red pick-up she drove. Absently Erin switched on the headlights and windshield wipers. As her hand returned to the steering wheel, something caught her eye. Two inches below her wrist and slightly left of center there was a small brown dot. A freckle.
In her haste to leave the hotel she had forgotten to take the polyjuice pill that provided her glamour. Snape had worked with Fred and George to develop a longer lasting polyjuice that was easy to transport. They knew it was likely that at some point a member of the Order would have to go into hiding. She ended up being the guinea pig for their creation, although Fred and George didn’t know it. The pills looked like standard Muggle pharmaceuticals and altered her appearance for about 24 hours. Snape sent her a month’s supply at a time through muggle post. This was an amount that was unlikely to cause undue interest if someone were to come across her supply and it allowed her to age at a rate that would seem natural. Snape had never divulged where he got the hairs needed to make the polyjuice.
She had taken the last pill at 7:30 a.m. Friday. It was now shortly after 8:00 a.m. Saturday. Reaching into the overnight bag on the passenger seat, Erin felt around for the little case that held her toiletries. She did not find it. Carefully maneuvering the truck to the side of the road Erin began emptying the little suitcase of its contents. The case was not there. A vision of her hotel room leapt into her head. In the bathroom, next to the sink, sat a clear plastic container filled with her toothbrush, makeup and a bottle of pills. She’d left it behind.
She sat quite still for the next several minutes listening to the rain and watching her arms cover with freckles. She could feel herself changing. Her pant legs were too long and the gas pedal was no longer an easy reach. The bra that held Erin McIntyre’s ample bosom began to gape. When at last she looked up to see her reflection brown eyes returned her stare. Long ginger hair in desperate need of cutting surrounded her pale freckled face.
“Hello, Ginny,” she said to the woman in the mirror.
Groaning loudly she raked her fingers through her hair. As loath as she was to return to the hotel Ginny knew that she must. She had to get her pills; there was no getting around it. There were a few stops she’d need to make before heading back though. The chance of running into Draco in the lobby was not great but she’d need to make herself as inconspicuous as possible just in case. Her current wild hair and ill-fitting clothes were not conducive to that goal.
Grabbing her cell phone, Ginny dialed the hotel.
“Thank you for calling the Four Seasons, how may I help you?” a woman’s voice answered.
“Hello, this is Erin McIntyre. I checked out just a little while ago and I’ve just realized I left something behind. It is a plastic cosmetics case with my toiletries and medicine and I’ve left it in the restroom of my suite. Can you have someone get it and bring it to the front desk? My friend has offered to pick it up for me. I’m not able to get back in the city today.”
“Certainly, ma’am,” the woman said, “Can I have the name of the person who will be coming in and I number where you can be reached in case there is a problem?”
A name? Ginny spat out the first one to pop into her head and immediately wished she hadn’t. “Hermione Granger. My mobile number is 703-555-9854.”
“I’m sorry, could you spell that? Was it Her-hiney?”
“Thank you, ma’am. We’ll have it waiting for Hermione Granger at the front desk.”
The front desk clerk hung up the phone and smiled at the man standing on the opposite side of the counter.
“Thank you for your patience, sir. Here is your room key. You’re in room 1024.”
The man’s smile in return was devoid of any real warmth. “Thank you,” he said, taking the key. He glanced at the paper where the clerk had written notes from the phone call she received. “Hermione Granger. Quite an unusual name.”
Leave a Review