XI. Forget-Me-Not for True Love
Romilda lay on her bed, her hand scratching absently at Sieglinde’s ears, and she remembered a day so long ago, before she came to Hogwarts when she was truly happy. Her brother had saved up his money and converted it to Muggle pounds sterling and, with a whisper in her ear, told her to be ready by noon as he was taking her out.
She’d carefully laid out her favorite black dress, her ballet flats, and a loose summer-weight robe for the out of doors. Romilda had rarely gone out anywhere, only to a few gatherings and once or twice to Diagon Alley when someone mentioned she shouldn’t be left so long alone in the house.
Roland had winked at her when he saw her all dressed up before taking off the cloak. “You won’t be needing this,” he murmured and she looked at him in confusion, but hadn’t said anything.
He led her from the house, no one noticing that she was absent, and out into the small Muggle town they and a few other wizarding families lived in.
“Sin-a-may,” Roland had accentuated when he pointed out where they were going. “Muggles go to them. They put on a performance of some sort inside on a big photograph on the wall. It’s strange, but I thought it might be fun.” He had smiled conspiratorially down at her.
Her mind turned back to Harry. She had enjoyed the sin-a-may all those years ago, laughing with Roland at the strange people on the photograph who actually spoke as if they were real.
That was the summer before she went to Hogwarts, she recalled. She was eleven and it was a belated birthday present from her brother.
“What house do you think I’ll be in?” she’d teased him as they ate sweet popcorn together. Romilda had never tasted anything quite so delicious and plebian before, and she kept on stealing the individual pieces from Roland’s fingers so that she could have as much as possible.
Roland only laughed at her.
“Do you think I’ll be in Ravenclaw with you?”
Roland had smiled down at her. “Perhaps. You are quite intelligent, young lady.”
“As are you. You’re sure to make Head Boy next year,” she declared. “Father says so.”
“Well, if your father says so. I think that Percy Weasley’s going to be Head Boy this year. He is first in his class—unfortunately.”
She had looked up at him in question.
“The Weasleys are an old family, but, well, your father would probably call them blood traitors. Have been for several generations although strangely they always marry purebloods. Ironic, that.” He glanced over at her. “You’re turning out to be quite pretty, Ro. Quite the little lady, if I do say so myself.”
Romilda had laughed happily at him. “Prettier than Rosa?”
He’d grimaced. “Much. She is my sister by blood after all.”
She had wondered at the comment, but was unable to say anything. Instead, the photograph began to move, and she had watched it in fascination, stealing sweet popcorn from Roland and poking him whenever she thought he wasn’t paying proper attention to the strange Muggles in the picture. He had an annoying habit of looking at her instead.
Romilda wondered if Harry ever went to the strange theatres that had them. Now, she supposed, she would never know. She had had the strange notion that perhaps over Christmas break he could take her to see another sin-a-may like the one she had seen before. He’d know all about it and tell her how it worked, and would let her steal his sweet popcorn without too much of a fuss. She wouldn’t have minded if he had stared at her the entire time instead of the large speaking photograph that wouldn’t answer questions if you posed them to it.
At her insistence that he escort her to the McLaggen luncheon—the invitations had been beautifully handmade and inscribed in a delicate hand with Gryffindor red ink that almost sparkled in the candlelight—he had arranged to spend the holiday with Neville Longbottom and his family. He’d also received an invitation from Mrs. Weasley, but had kindly turned it down. They hadn’t spoken about it, but he had been holding her in the common room when the invitation arrived and from the sour looks Ginny Weasley sent him a few days later, she assumed that must have been what occurred.
Of course, Seamus Finnegan had confirmed it when he winked at her and asked if Harry was keeping her as happy as she was him. “Off to Cornwall the both of yeh, I hear, for Christmas holidays. Who are you staying with?”
“Astoria Greengrass, from Ravenclaw.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “And what might the two of you be doing in Cornwall, so nearby?”
She had smiled sweetly at him before they both broke out into laughter.
Now, though, all that was for nothing. Romilda would be glad to spend the holiday break with her friend and learn the latest gossip concerning her relationship with Malfoy, but everything seemed bleaker now than it had just half an hour ago. All of her fears seemed remote and ignorant in comparison to the heartbreak that rushed over her senses, causing her throat to close so that taking in a simple breath became almost too difficult to bear. What made it worse was that it was her own stupidity that was to blame. She’d allowed herself to get too caught up in her emotions without looking at the larger game, and now in one gamble she had lost Harry, the boy she had somehow fallen completely in love with.
The door creaked open and Romilda looked up, her hand stilling atop Sieglinde’s head.
The last person she wanted to see at the moment was standing in the doorway.
“Granger,” she greeted, not moving from her position on her bed. Sieglinde was lying on top of her stomach and, even though she couldn’t be happy herself, at least her cat could be content. It didn’t matter much anyway. Sieglinde didn’t shed and even if she did, the house-elves would wash and press her uniform for her anyway.
Not that Harry would notice anymore. He’d probably never notice again except in disdain.
“Vane,” Granger said with a huff before coming to stand at the edge of the bed. “What exactly did you think you were doing?”
“What did I think I was doing?” Romilda shot back, gently lifting her cat so she could properly sit up. She didn’t want to be in a position of weakness for this particular argument. “What did Ginny Weasley think she was doing, planning to give my boyfriend a love potion?”
At the shocked look on Granger’s face, she rolled her eyes.
“If you don’t want people to hear, you shouldn’t have private conversations in the common room and should learn a simple privacy spell, Granger.”
“What she was planning to do was wrong,” Granger admitted. “I never would have let her do it anyway.”
“You have absolutely no control over her and you know it.” Romilda pushed her dark hair away from her face, not wanting to deal with it anymore. “No one has control over her. She doesn’t even exert any control over herself.”
Granger sniffed. “He never would have taken it.”
Romilda couldn’t believe her ignorance. “All it takes is him looking away from his pumpkin juice during breakfast, and he would never even know it happened.”
“Then what’s your defense?” Granger seethed back. “How could you do it to him? How could you do it to Ron?” Her face had gone red in anger, her hair wild about her face, and Romilda knew that what really angered her more than Harry being given an ineffective love potion was that Ronald Weasley had taken it.
“Weasley? I never wanted him to feel like that,” she said softly. “How could you possibly think such a thing? Why would I possibly want anyone other than Harry? I’m not Ginny Weasley who can turn on and off her attractions like one of those bizarre Muggle switch-things on the wall. Whatever they’re called.”
“Light switches,” Granger said in resignation. “They’re called light switches.” She sat down on top of Romilda’s trunk, resting her head on her hand. “And Ginny doesn’t turn her attraction on and off.”
Romilda snorted and flounced back on the bed, not caring how unattractive she looked with her swollen eyes and probably red nose. Harry wasn’t here and she was allowed to wallow for at least a week before getting her act back together.
“Then what, pray tell, has she been doing with Longbottom, Corner, Thomas, and now Zabini? If that’s not turning off attraction, I don’t know what possibly is. I don’t care what her grand scheme is to get Harry—it’s absolutely ridiculous and lacks all cunning and proper forethought.”
Granger glanced at her angrily. “You know nothing about it.”
“I know everything about it. You think I haven’t been watching since I first arrived, you think I don’t know? She thinks she loves him but it’s nothing but the hero worship of a little girl who’s been spoiled by a loving family her entire life. If she really loved him, she wouldn’t be able to bear Thomas or Zabini kissing her, she wouldn’t have allowed Zabini to sully her virtue. No self-respecting wizard will touch her now, and she can never marry a pureblood without the proper examination that’s still employed.”
Eyes widening, Granger looked at Romilda. “What do you mean?”
Romilda turned dark eyes to her. “When any pureblood marries a witch, her virginity must first be proven. It ensures legitimacy of heirs and purity of the lines. Don’t you read? How can you possibly come into the wizarding world and not learn about our society and culture?” she accused cruelly, delighting in the way Granger squirmed. “You Muggle-borns think you can just come to Hogwarts and change everything because you know so much better. You have no respect for our beloved traditions nor do you even try to understand the reasoning behind them. It’s despicable.”
Granger gaped at her, looking like an owl snacking on something a little too large. It was a rather fitting comparison with her mousy brown bushy hair and the dumb expression on her face.
“Are we done yet?”
She shook her head, wiping at her eyes in exhaustion and closing her jaw with a firm snap. “How could you do it?”
“I did it for the same reason you cast that Confundus Charm.”
“Don’t lie to me,” Granger said tiredly. “You can’t possibly care for him more than his name and reputation.”
Romilda grimaced, turning away. She didn’t really care at this point. She was too exhausted. She looked over at the mirror in the corner of the room where her dress was hanging. She had chosen it specifically for tonight. She had sent an owl over a month ago to Twilfitt and Tatting’s with preliminary ideas and her current measurements, asking for sketches and fabric samples.
The dress was beautiful. It was gold satin that made her almond-brushed skin positively glow. It was sophisticated and yet was appropriate for her age, showing that she was a pureblood witch who was growing up, with a tight bodice, flowing sleeves of gold lace, and a skirt that puffed gently around her with a full petticoat so the ruffles brushed against her knees. She was certain that this dress would outshine any Ginny Weasley would wear that summer at her brother’s wedding. She’d spent most of the money her Uncle Atlas sent for Christmas on it, knowing that it was worth every Knut.
It had been perfectly accessorized with gold heals that would showcase her legs and make them look longer. She had planned to have her hair in an elegant twist, allowing most of it to fall down her neck with gold ribbon entwined in it.
She’d even gone so far as to whisper to Seamus Finnegan that she was wearing gold and giving him a fabric sample three weeks ago, knowing that with a shared look, he would ensure that the waist coat of Harry’s wizard robes would match, even if he had to force his year mate to buy it against his will.
Now it was all just a waste. She would never wear the dress, she decided, not unless she was on Harry’s arm.
“If you say so,” Romilda answered bitterly. “You, of course, know absolutely everything so you must be right.”
She took no pleasure in the offended look that spread across Granger’s face, making her look less flattering than she already did. And to think she thought she had some sort of chance with Ronald Weasley who, whatever his faults, wasn’t that unattractive himself, if one liked freckles and a lanky build. Playing Quidditch last year had suited him.
The door creaked open again but this time Lavender Brown was in the door.
Romilda smiled wanly at her. “Are you all right?” she asked, shuffling over and patting the bed to show that Brown was welcome if she chose to accept the small gesture of apology and friendship.
“Yes,” she sniffed, trying to retain her tears. She cast a hateful glance at Granger before settling down on the bed. “Parvati told me to come talk to you to see what really happened,” she admitted. “All I know was that Won-Won came into the common room, drank that Gillyweed water, and then was spouting his love and admiration for you.”
“It was laced with Amortentia,” Granger said self-importantly.
Romilda glared at her, before turning back to Brown. “It was an accident. It wasn’t meant for him, Brown, I swear. I tried to stop him but it just—happened too fast. Harry will get it sorted out and then he’ll go back to being your boyfriend like he did before.”
Brown looked up at her imploringly and Romilda found herself smirking at the other girl.
“Just think. He’ll be so apologetic that it can only be good for you.”
Brown giggled lightly. “You swear, on your honor as a pureblood witch?”
Romilda glanced at Granger who looked absolutely horrified. She didn’t really care. Holding one hand over her heart, she whispered, “Declaro.” She paused. “Slughorn is rather competent.”
“Anyone’s better than Snape.”
“Professor Snape,” Granger corrected.
Romilda just rolled her eyes.
“Parvati said you weren’t a bad sort,” Brown continued conversationally, as if they were the best of friends. Romilda found herself almost smiling, glad to get her mind off of everything. “Is it true that Malfoy actually dumped Parkinson and not the other way around? You’re the one to know, of course. Aren’t you friends with her?”
Romilda hesitated. “Yes. I am her friend, and he did break up with her.”
Brown looked absolutely fascinated. “So it is true.”
“Yes, it is.”
“I can’t believe you have nothing better to do than gossip,” Granger cut in authoritatively.
“You’re welcome to leave,” Romilda replied, “now that you’re done accusing me of trying to make Ronald Weasley fall in love with me when it was the last thing on my mind. You have such a double standard.”
Granger opened her mouth to refute the statement, but Romilda just continued.
“You barely spoke a word when Ginny Weasley told you she was going to give Harry a love potion, and yet you condemn me for doing just that when I was trying to protect him from the likes of her?”
Brown gasped. “How romantic.”
Romilda smiled sadly to herself. “Much good it did. It didn’t even seem to work on him, yet it did on Weasley. It was just—strange. It was as if he was drinking just Gillyweed water.”
Brown looked confused, but Granger’s eyebrows rose into her hairline.
“You’re lying,” she breathed out, her voice shaking in disbelief.
Romilda turned back to her. “What do you mean I’m lying? Why would I lie about a potion failing?”
She shook her hair, her bushy hair becoming even more unruly in the motion. “It can’t possibly,” she muttered to herself, and then she deliberately turned and left the dorm. Romilda and Brown stared after her, confused.
“Does she usually do that?” Romilda questioned Brown, who shrugged.
“She’s always been a bit strange. I don’t know how Won-Won and Harry were friends were her for so long.”
Silently Romilda agreed with the statement.
When Brown left a few minutes later, she turned her mind back to the other witch. Won-Won. Why would anyone want to call Weasley Won-Won? It sounded like a Muggle disease. She couldn’t imagine that he actually liked it. It was just—dreadful. Then again, to each their own. Roland called her “Ro” after her name-before-a-name when she was a child, and Harry had even picked up the pet name “Milly” that her sister used to make her feel small and insignificant. She had almost learned to like it. He said it so softly and lovingly that all negative connotations were washed away from it.
But he would never call her Milly again. It would revert to being a hated name her perfect sister gave her.
She closed her eyes, imagining the humiliation that lay in wait for her. Her sister would never be kind or gentle, but would quietly jab at her wound, reproaching her for not being clever or sweet enough to keep the Harry Potter. She would bring up her failure in years to come, just when she was already low in order to hurt her more. Romilda wouldn’t even be surprised if, for whatever reason things didn’t work out with Roger Davies, she chased after Harry so that she could have the one person Romilda had ever truly wanted.
Now Romilda was left with only the broken dream. She would watch as Harry finished his final two years at Hogwarts, see him fall for another girl who was not as clever or cunning as she was, who wouldn’t understand that spark in his eye and his desire to be loved unconditionally and unreservedly. Romilda would then have to read in the Daily Prophet when he became engaged, when he married, had children, and she would be left behind.
She knew that she would, of course, get up. She would present a unified front to Hogwarts and the wizarding world at large. Perhaps she would try to learn to love Roland, who knew exactly who she was, and loved her because of all of her faults and not despite them. They could keep it a secret until she graduated. He was her father’s heir and she doubted that Father would change his will even if Roland chose to marry his least favorite child. He wouldn’t be able to do that to his first wife. He adored her memory too much and would only belittle Romilda, never reproaching Roland after the first objections.
Or, if she couldn’t stomach trying to love her brother in that way, there was Blaise Zabini, whose eyes still followed her whenever she entered a room, even if he was with Ginny Weasley. The Weaslette meant nothing to him but practice, she knew, and she would be valued for her cunning and prized. She would also hold a place in society and no one would dare to naysay her.
Still, the thought sickened her. It was too soon, it would be too soon for a very long time. Her heart was still weeping for her recent loss.
A knock sounded at he door and, sighing, she looked up to see Louise standing hesitantly in the door.
“Harry’s down in the common room,” Louise whispered and Romilda just looked away, her eyes red and puffy from tears she hadn’t even realized she was crying. “He’s wondering if you’re ready.”
“Ready?” Romilda parroted, confused. “Ready for what?”
Louise blinked at her. “The party.”
Romilda was confused. “What do you mean—the party?”
“Exactly what I said.”
Romilda still couldn’t understand.
Grasping her hand, Louise pulled her from the bed. “Come on, out. Get this over with,” she insisted pushing her toward the door. “I’m not going to explain you own social calendar to you.”
“I know my own social calendar,” Romilda insisted, tripping down the stairs. She halted when she saw Harry waiting at the bottom of the stairs, dressed impeccably in his wizard robes, a bright gold satin waistcoat peaking through.
She gulped nervously. He looked absolutely perfect, and she was no longer allowed to kiss him.
“Milly?” he asked nervously, his eyes looking at her perceptively. “Are you all right?”
She nodded. “Yes, of course. You look lovely, as always.” Romilda reached out and touched the waistcoat hesitantly. It was the exact fabric she had given to Finnegan. He had done well.
A rough thumb stroked her cheek, brushing a drying tear away. “No, you’re not,” he murmured, looking deeply into her eyes.
“Is Weasley fine?”
Harry nodded, his nose brushing against hers, causing her breath to catch in her throat. “Yes. Slughorn mixed something right up for him and then invited him to the party tonight as he figured Ron needed something after the experience,” he laughed. “He and Lavender are getting ready right now. Why aren’t you dressed?”
She leaned her forehead against his, delighting in the feel of his skin. “Dressed?”
“For Slughorn’s party,” he supplied. “The Christmas party.”
“I—what? I thought—“ She glanced away nervously, biting her lip.
Harry tangled his hand in her curls and began to run his fingers through them. “You thought?” he prompted.
“I tried to slip you a love potion,” she murmured. “I did slip you a love potion, though I can’t figure out how it didn’t work. How can you bear to look at me?”
Harry laughed quietly and then kissed her lips gently. She started in surprise, but soon found strong arms around her, and moaned when his tongue slipped beyond her lips. “Milly,” he breathed into the kiss and she sighed. “I’m in love with you. I don’t care that you slipped me a love potion. Curious, of course, but I assume there must have been a very good reason as I’m already completely in love with you.”
“Still?” she moaned against his lips and he nodded, his eyelashes catching a stray tear.
“Forever, Milly. I could never stop loving you.”
She stared at him for a long moment before tangling her hands in his hair and pulling him close. “I love you so much,” she vowed. “I couldn’t bear to lose you.”
Romilda kissed him passionately, standing on her toes to have better access to his mouth. He tasted of treacle tart, his favorite, she knew. When she finally drew away, he was smiling brightly at her. She’d never seen a more perfect sight.
“Hence the love potion?”
She laughed. “Hence the love potion.”
“Never doubt. I wouldn’t lie to you, Milly.” His strong arms pulled her closer to him and he nipped at her bottom lip lightly.
“I know,” she confessed. “Ginny Weasley was planning on slipping one to you, as well as a few other girls, and love potions don’t work if one’s already in place.” She cupped the side of his face and looked up at him imploringly. “I was so heartbroken thinking about it, but I couldn’t bear to lose you.”
He kissed her gently again, his eyes flashing green. “Didn’t you know, Milly? Amortentia doesn’t work if you’re already truly in love.” He stroked her hair and then pulled away. “Now, I think the most beautiful girl at Hogwarts has a party to prepare for, and it wouldn’t do to be too fashionably late,” he teased her.
Kissing him once more, she smiled impishly at him and then rushed up the stairs. He wouldn’t know what hit him, she decided.
Epilogue. Amoranth for Immortal Love
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” Romilda repeated to Astoria, glancing down at the beautiful engagement ring on her left hand. “It’s a Muggle tradition for weddings, and as Harry has gone through all the trouble of giving me the perfect wizard ceremony, I thought I could follow at least this.”
Astoria laughed happily. “You haven’t even started your seventh year and you’re getting married to Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, the Chosen One, The Conqueror.”
“Astoria,” Romilda moaned and her friend embraced her from behind.
“I’m just teasing you,” she assured the bride. “I know neither of you like all of his—titles, for lack of a better word. You’d think after a year the world would get tired of the speculation.”
“I’m certain that proposing rather publicly less than a day after he defeated You-Know-Who didn’t help,” Romilda sighed happily. The proposal had taken her completely by surprise. She was exhausted, battle weary, and had just come down to the remains of the Great Hall for an early lunch, when she found an engagement ring already waiting for her—and more than four hundred people to clap and cheer when she gasped and threw herself in Harry’s waiting arms.
Ginny Weasley hadn’t been pleased from what she heard, nor had Granger. That just made it all the sweeter.
Astoria bustled about in her gown. She was Romilda’s maid of honor in the simple ceremony she had chosen. It was a handful of close friends only, and they each only had one witness, neither wanting anything too large or ornate. Their plans had privately caused a bit of a scandal.
Rosa had been horrified that her sister was getting married before she was. She had postponed her own wedding because of the wizard war and was planning to get married that August, but Romilda and Harry had wanted to marry almost as soon as she stepped off of the Hogwarts Express at the end of her sixth year, so they waited only a week for Romilda to settle into being home before the ceremony was to take place.
Rosa was also rather offended that she was a guest and not in the wedding party. She’d gone so far as removing Romilda from her own line of bridesmaids, but Romilda didn’t really mind. She and Harry would be on honeymoon and although they were planning on taking an international Portkey back to England for the ceremony, it would be easier to leave quietly partway through the large reception instead of having to deal with a demanding bride and various wedding duties.
Her father was also rather angry at her, but she didn’t really mind. She was paying for her ceremony herself and had decided to have Roland walk her down the aisle.
Roland, dear sweet Roland. She hadn’t spoken to him since halfway through her fifth year, when he arrived at Hogwarts to beg her to give up “the undesirable Harry Potter.” He’d pleaded, begged, cried, and finally kissed her passionately, but she’d only remained limp in his arms, tears forming at the corner of her eyes as she wished it was Harry and not the man she thought of as a brother.
She’d forbidden Roland from coming near her since then, but now—now that everything was settled—she hoped they could move on. Romilda needed her older brother, and wished that his acceptance of the duty of a father that he had finally forgiven her for not loving him as he always wanted.
The Weasleys also were generally offended. In the end, Harry decided that he only wanted to invite George and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Ronald Weasley serving as his best man. Mrs. Weasley of course was coming, but she was rather upset that her other children weren’t invited, and had been quietly persistent about her dislike of Romilda. For some reason she also thought that Granger should receive an invitation although Harry and Ron hadn’t spoken to her since she cast a Confundus Charm on Cormac all those years ago. Neither of them had really forgiven her, even when their own friendship had strengthened over the love potion debacle to the point where Ronald went on the run with Harry during what should have been their seventh year to bring down He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Romilda, catching on to the scheme, had quietly sent Cormac along as he had become a friend as well as a political ally. Someone also had to make sure Ginny Weasley didn’t hide herself in the baggage.
Ginny, Romilda had understood, had been rather vocal about her absent invitation, especially when her ex-boyfriends Dean Thomas and Blaise Zabini were invited, as well as Draco Malfoy. Romilda really couldn’t care. It was her wedding and she wouldn’t have anything ruin it.
“Right. What was that rhyme again?” Astoria asked and Romilda grinned.
She was sitting in the bedchamber that served as her changing room, her wedding dress already on.
“Something old,” she began.
Astoria looked her over and then touched the necklace that hung around her neck. It was the same one she had been wearing when she met Harry and which she never took off, a single black pearl with a diamond embedded in it, a gift from the man she would always cherish as a brother. “You have that.”
“It’s not that old,” Romilda countered.
Astoria smirked at her. “You got it just before you went to Hogwarts and it’s clearly an Estate piece. It’s old. Now, something new?”
Romilda stared at her.
“Does your wedding dress count?”
She looked down, touching the white chiffon that was covered in a line of embroidered gold flowers. “Yes, I think so. Something borrowed.”
“I have that!” Astoria said happily and quickly unclasped the string of pearls that was around her wrist. “Draco gave them to me for St. Valentine’s Day,” she said. “It was so romantic.” She took Romilda’s right arm and fastened the bracelet. “Don’t lose it.”
Romilda blinked back her tears. “Never. I promise. Finally, something blue.”
“I think it’s to rhyme, to be honest. I’ll never understand Muggles.”
“Be thankful for that,” Astoria said sweetly, looking about the room for anything that was blue. A smirk crossed her lips. “Romilda, darling? What color is your underwear?”
“White, of course. It’s the color of purity.”
“Take them off,” she insisted and, eyeing her wearily, Romilda complied. A brief charm later and they were suddenly made from a light blue lace and Astoria handed them back. “Something blue.”
“I’m not quite certain that’s what the Muggles meant,” Romilda whispered softly and Astoria just tucked a curl behind her ear.
“Probably not, but they are only Muggles after all.” She paused. “Who would have thought nearly three years ago that our lives would bring us here? You were just starting to date Harry and Draco had that marriage contract.”
Romilda sighed happily. “You do love him, don’t you, Astoria? I want you to be happy.”
“Yes. Almost as much as you love Harry.”
“Amortentia defying love, then,” Romilda teased, her dark eyes sparkling with happily. “Then he deserves you.”
“As you and Harry deserve each other.”
Romilda had never heard truer words. She touched the bracelet on her wrist. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. She smiled. She was ready.