“We know. You just told us that a minute ago,” Fred reminds her.
“And two minutes before that,” George adds.
“And two minutes before those two minutes.” Fred looks up from the cauldron and looks at her. “Just calm down, Hermione. The experiment is taking longer than we expected, which happens with Potions.”
“It shouldn’t be much longer.” George leans forward and sniffs before grimacing. “Smells bloody awful.”
“Don’t tell me to calm down,” she says tightly. “You knew that we had plans tonight. I told you this morning before I went to work that we had to be there by seven. I’ve been ready for half an hour, but neither of you are even cleaned up yet.”
“We’ll tell you to calm down when you need to hear it.” Fred shakes his head. “You’ve been tense for days. It’s just dinner. The restaurant is still going to be there even if we’re late.”
“For the record, it wasn’t intentional. We thought we’d be done with this by now.” George looks at her and smiles. “You look beautiful.”
“She always looks beautiful.” Fred winks before he stirs the stinky potion they’re making.
“Compliments aren’t going to distract me tonight.” She taps her foot and glances at the clock. Ten minutes to seven. Even if they finish it right now, there’s not enough time for them to clean up and change before seven. She sighs and slips her shoes off before she walks to the desk to get a piece of parchment.
“What’re you doing?” George asks. She finishes the note cancelling their booking and sends it off with one of their delivery owls.
“Hermione?” Fred sounds concerned.
She looks at them and shakes her head. “I cancelled the booking. There’s no point in keeping it when we won’t be going.”
They exchange a look before George is silently appointed to speak. She knows them well enough now to understand their silent communication most of the time. “Hermione, you didn’t have to cancel the table. I know that you get impatient, but it won’t take us much longer.”
“Don’t.” She frowns at him. “Don’t put this on me and blame it on me not being patient. I’ve had to hear you two complaining for months about me not being ready to go public with our relationship. When I finally book us a table and plan a date, you suddenly decide to do an experiment that takes too long? This isn’t my fault. Not anymore.”
“She’s right.” Fred interrupts George’s denial. He smiles wryly as he looks at her. “We got scared.”
“Not scared. More like, uh, apprehensive,” George decides. “That doesn’t sound so cowardly.”
“Scared?” She runs her hand through her hair. “What do you mean scared?”
“I mean that we weren’t ready to go out to eat at one of the most popular Wizarding restaurants when most of our close friends don’t even know that the three of us are in a relationship.” Fred shrugs a shoulder. “I guess we weren’t as ready as we thought we were.”
“It’s not that we don’t want people to know,” George says sincerely. “We know it’s unconventional, but we love you.”
“We just want to tell the people we care about before the rest of the world knows.” Fred waves his wand and the cauldron moves off the fire before he walks towards her. “Are you very angry with us?”
It’s a difficult question to answer. She’s more upset than angry, but she isn’t sure how to explain what she feels right now. “You could have told me,” she finally says. “I would have understood, you know?”
“We’re men. Not always the brightest creatures when it comes to all this relationship stuff,” George admits.
“Not just when it comes to relationships,” she mutters. She looks at Fred when he reaches her and frowns. “You could have told me.” She’s said it already, but she feels hurt that they didn’t trust her enough to just be honest with her.
“We should have, but we didn’t.” Fred reaches up to tuck her hair behind her ear. “You really do look beautiful tonight.”
“In the future, you need to trust me,” she tells them firmly. “We can’t have a relationship if you keep important things from me. I was honest with you both about my concerns. It’s not fair that you keep me in the dark, though.”
“We do trust you.” George walks over to join them. “This wasn’t about you, Hermione. It was about us.”
“That’s no excuse, but it’s the truth,” Fred says. “We didn’t intend to hurt you. You have to believe that.”
After looking from one to the other, she nods. “I know. While I do understand, I’m still upset about tonight. You kept something important from me and tried to lie about it.”
“We’ll try not to do it again.” George moves up behind her and hugs her, resting his chin on her shoulder. “Even if it’s not easy, we’ll talk to you about all that emotional stuff.”
“Agreed.” Fred touches her face. “We should have said something before you got all dressed up.”
“Yes, you should have.” She leans back against George and turns her head so that she can kiss Fred’s palm. “Maybe we can have a small dinner party with our friends soon. Start off small.”
“That sounds good.” George nuzzles her neck and moves his hand to rest on her belly.
“As for tonight, will you let us make it up to you?” Fred asks as he leans down to kiss her.
“You can try,” she murmurs before her lips meet his.