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Chapter 2: Cold Hard Truth
I landed in my flat, and I nearly collapsed in relief.
I carefully took my mask off, and plopped on the couch. A sigh passed my lips, and I tossed the mask onto the coffee table.
Who was he?
Do I already know him?
What does he do?
Would he still be interested…?
I could hardly sit still, I was constantly squirming. I tried to distract myself so I pick at my nail polish, flip through channels on the television, and try to read, but to no avail. I sigh, and finally give up on my attempt at containing everything that had happened.
I grabbed some parchment, a quill, and some ink from the coffee table and began to write.
I know it’s late, but I simply can’t keep it to myself. I was dancing with someone at the masquerade ball. Let me tell you—he was quite charming. I was ultimately disappointed in myself afterwards…but I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I?
He was a handsome man; very tall, and muscular. More importantly, he was witty yet so...mysterious? I can’t think of any other word besides compelling.
We danced for a while, and then he kissed me. Which was terribly irrational of me to kiss him back…it was so spontaneous. I’m ashamed to admit that…goodness, I liked it! A lot.
What is wrong with me?
I gave the letter to my owl, and watched it fly off. After several moments of admiring the moon, I shook the ridiculously romantic thoughts out of my head, and proceeded to the shower.
With difficulty, I manage to unzip my dress, and hang it up in my closet. I turn the shower on, and let the water warm up, and the bathroom fills with steam.
When I get out, I wrap up in the big, fluffy robe and proceed to my bedroom.
“Hermione!” a voice yells from the corner of my room.
I flinch, and then I jump back ten feet, squealing. “Good lord, Ginny! You could give me a bit of a warning! Cough or something next time!”
The fiery ginger rolls her eyes, and replies, “Get dressed and meet me in the living room!” She leaves the room, and closes the door behind her.
When I walk into the living room, comfy in cozy pajamas, she’s sitting with a steaming cup of coffee in her hands.
“You’re never going to be able to go back to sleep if you drink that.”
“Thanks, mom,” she laughs sarcastically, “But there’s no way I will be able to go to sleep with James now. He’ll be up in…t minus three hours.”
“Sounds like fun,” I snicker, and sit down on the couch across from her. The dark rims under her eyes contrasted dramatically against her bright eyes, which were sparkling like firecrackers at the mention of a mysterious ‘love’. Her skin was a bit paler than usual; raising a baby literally seems to suck the life out of you.
“Spill the details. How good of a kisser was he? How tall was he? How did he look? Was he a good dancer? Did Ron give you any hassle?” Ginny spewed out in a rush.
“Great, taller than me by about a foot, he had brown hair and grey eyes, oh! And he was pretty pale. Muscular. But on the skinny side. He is an amazing dancer, I felt ridiculously inexperienced. Ron… well, he’s Ron. We got in a fight, but then we just went our separate ways.”
Ginny’s face cracks open in a smile, and I suddenly feel very suspicious.
“If you met him again, would you consider furthering a relationship?”
“I don’t know, Ginny! I don’t even know him, much more he is a Slytherin!”
“Was,” she replies in a light-hearted tone, “Was a Slytherin. People change, Hermione, you know this.”
“I think your crazy, Ginny,” I tell her as she finishes her cup of coffee, and makes her way to the fireplace. She scoops up some floo powder, then steps into the fireplace.
“That’s what they tell me,” she giggles.
The next morning, I sufficiently manage to sleep right through the alarm. I jolt out of bed, with only fifteen minutes till I had to be at work.
I rush to the bathroom, and tame my hair, and hurriedly put some make-up on. I scramble in my closet, and pull on a skirt and button my shirt as I’m walking out the door.
I stop outside the door, realizing I forgot my keys, purse, and my shoes. I run back in, slip into my high heels, and grab my purse and keys from the bowl beside the door.
I apparate the moment I am back out the door, and rush down the main hall of the ministry. I dump my stuff onto my desk once I am in my office, and I take a few moments to compose myself. I brew a cup of coffee right in my office—everyday I appreciate my own coffee maker more and more—and head down the hall to find Mr.Winalis, my boss.
I’m about to round the corner, when I stop dead in my tracks. I hear a familiar voice right around the corner, so I freeze.
“I don’t know, Marcus, but I’ll tell you this, I am determined to find out who she is. I mean, how hard can it be? I already know she’s a Gryffindor who graduated the same year we did! We bloody well know it isn’t Weasley’s little girlfriend, she’d run away screaming at the thought of kissing a Slytherin!”
My blood runs cold, and my heart stops in my chest. My stomach is in my shoes, and my eyes are locked on the corner of the wall.
“I don’t know, Draco, I think you’re running with some spur of the moment thing. I think you need to get back together with Astoria,” an unrecognizable voice replied.
Draco Malfoy, the most foul git to reside on this Earth, is the man I had danced with? Kissed? I felt a bit sick to my stomach.
“Mate, Astoria and I have been over for nearly half a year now! And I’m telling you, it was more than that! It was something else!”
“That something else, Draco, is called having one too many drinks that night.”
“You wouldn’t know, because you weren’t there! How is Samantha, by the way?”
“She’s wonderful; good subject change.”
“No, I honestly wanted to now how your fiancée was doing, is all!” Draco defends himself with a laugh.
Draco Malfoy…genuinely laughing?
“And I’m supposed to believe that?”
“Eh, screw you, Flint,” he laughs. I hear him move away, and I force myself from my rigid position to attempt to escape in vain, but its too late. The tall blonde collides with me, and scalding coffee has successfully been dumped down both of our shirts.
“Ah, bloody—“ Draco grumbles, and pulls the shirt away from his chest a bit to remove the heat source from his skin. I curse under my breath, and refuse to meet his eyes. I feel his eyes fall on my face, causing the blood to rush to my cheeks.
“Granger! Watch where you’re going next time, won’t you? Now I have to go change my shirt!”
“Shut up, Malfoy,” I hiss weakly, still not gathering the Gryffindor courage to look into his eyes to confirm my fear.
“What’s got your wand in a knot?” he smirks. His pale lips are twisted in a way that is not longer malicious as it once was, but more facetious. Even his tone holds no hint of hate, but more of a challenging, and playful hint.
When I finally catch his gaze, I feel light-headed. It was those unmistakable grey eyes. My stomach is wrenching, so unlike the books I had read were it is described as fluttering butterflies. Fluttering butterflies, my arse. It feels like someone was wringing out my stomach, like you would a wet towel.
Instead of answering him, I push past him roughly and go directly into the women’s restroom. I scrub at my shirt, and examine the results of the scalding hot coffee on my skin. Thankfully, it’s not too bad, but still hurts like a banshee.
Draco bloody Malfoy. I should have guessed. Not once when I was dancing did it cross my mind would it be the ferret. What had I been thinking? Much worse, I had kissed that ferret. My lips! And his lips! They touched. Good lord, I kissed Malfoy. The boy I had punched in our third year! The on Ron tried to hex several times; one of the most memorable being in our second year when Draco first called me a mudblood.
What would he say if he realized he kissed a mudblood? Bloody, stuck up pureblood, that’s what he is! He probably enjoyed it, too! But the moment he finds out he kissed the mudblood, know it all, goody two shoes Gryffindor, he would pretend it hadn’t happened.
I scrub my shirt furiously with a wad of paper towels, grumbling under my breath.
But people do change.
No, no, no. That’s not how it is with Draco.
And then he has the audacity to blame me! Maybe he shouldn’t have run into me!
Maybe it was fate. No, I don’t believe in fate!