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Chapter 16: Vacation
A/N: I just want to take a moment to thank my reviewers and readers. I also wanted to mention and chapter one has been almost completely re-written and I will be doing the same for most of the chapter. It is nothing big but I felt there were too many plot holes and I hope this fills in some of them.
Here is a nice longer chapter since my last one was so short. Enjoy!
Hermione felt the sand settle under her feet as they landed on the beach. The sight that greeted Hermione when she broke eye contact was beautiful. Her eyes looked out upon the most clear pure blue water she had ever seen. They were standing in a small cove and each side had green sloping hills encasing them in solitude. It was hot and humid but there was light breeze blowing to help cool her skin. Hermione finally dropped Draco’s hand as she turned in a circle to take in the whole view and saw there was a set of stairs leading up the where the two side met. Hermione’s eyes followed the wooden steps up the side of the hill, even though parts of the steps where covered by trees, until she reached a gorgeous glass beach house settled about half way up the hill/mountain. She waved as she saw Narcissa leaning over the railing on the deck out front.
Draco watched Hermione as she smiled and wave at his mother. He was sure his mother had been waiting all day for them to arrive. She had been in solitary confinement on this island for the past four months. Though he knew she would never complain about spend time here. He followed Hermione as she made her way towards the stairs.
It took them five minutes to make their way to the top. They came out on the deck that Narcissa had been standing out. Hermione and Draco were both sweating from the long climb. Hermione thought to herself and three or four more trips up those stairs and she would be ready to slip in to her bikini. Draco had carried the luggage up for them. Narcissa rushed over to hug both of them despite the obvious signs of exertion. Her joy was almost palatable. Hermione thought Narcissa looked very well from her time on the island. She was wearing a turquoise summer dress and cute brown sandals. She was glowing.
“Draco, please leave the luggage there. Kali will take care of it.” Narcissa told her son as she snapped her fingers and a small house elf appeared before Narcissa. Hermione assumed it was female from the small tuft of blonde hair with a pink bow and she was dressed in a small child’s sized pink dress. “Kali, please take care of their luggage.” She told the elf while pointing to the bags in Draco’s hands.
“Yes, Mistress.” Kali squeaked as she bowed and collected luggage from Draco with another bow.
“Thank you Kali.” Narcissa added before she ushered Draco and Hermione to sit at a glass table set up on the deck. It was laid out with a variety of fresh fruits. There was a glass pitcher of bright orange liquid sitting on a tray with three glasses. Hermione absentmindedly gulped at the sight. It reminded her of her thirst from her and Draco’s hike in the hot weather. Hermione made her way to the table to get a drink. As she reached for her chair but it slid out of her grasp. Confused at to what had happened Hermione turned to look and realized that Draco was holding the chair out for her. He stood there looking at her expectantly then Hermione finally realized and sat in the chair he was offering. Draco slid the chair under her as she sat and then made his way to the seat to the left of her.
Narcissa watched the little exchange with a small smile before joining them at the table for drinks. Narcissa tried to make small talk while they caught up on what had happened since the wedding. Hermione was sure they had owled since the wedding but didn’t deem it important enough to bring up. Hermione liked the fruity cocktail that was being served. She enjoyed the pineapple concoction with a generous splash of rum in it. It wasn’t her main choice of liquor but it hit the spot on the hot day. It took her a moment to realize that someone had asked her a question since she was staring off into space over the ocean over the deck railing. She noticed both Draco and Narcissa staring at her.
“Hmm?” she inquired with the small noise. Draco started again with his question.
“It seems the Zabini’s have bought the residence on the other side of the island. Would you like to have them for dinner tonight?” Draco asked. Hermione was confused as to why he would ask her permission.
“Blaise and Astoria?” Hermione queried.
“Yes, I don’t believe his mother is here at the moment. She recently acquired a new American boyfriend.” Draco chuckled and so did Narcissa but Hermione seemed to miss the joke.
“It would be nice to see them again.” Hermione answered slowly unsure if that was what he wanted or not.
“Great, I will send Kali with an invitation.” Narcissa said with a clap of her hands. “Now, I think you two would like to freshen up and unpack before company this evening.” Narcissa suggested but Hermione got the feeling it was more of a command. Draco looked at Hermione for her opinion, which he got from the slight incline of her head.
“That would be lovely mother.” He told his mother as he stood and again grabbed the chair for Hermione. Hermione was shocked by Draco’s sudden development of manners but again did not waste time commenting on it and especially in front of his mother. Once Draco was sure Hermione was stand he gave his mother a quick kiss on the cheek. “I assume it will be my usual room?” Draco asked his mother.
“Yes, I figured you both would be comfortable in that room.” Narcissa stated but again Hermione felt the double inflection of her words and felt the question she was asking. Hermione felt it was her turn to say something.
“I’m sure we will be.” Hermione told her mother-in-law. Narcissa smiled at the answer. It was the one she had been hoping to receive. Draco looked between the two women before placing a hand on Hermione’s lower back and leading her into the house. Hermione was blown away by the house. She looked around in awe at the beautiful space. The whole exterior of the house was glass and the walls in between were a dark mahogany. The space itself was minimally decorated with furniture that screamed to be lounged on for an entire day. Hermione felt completely comfortable in the space. Draco led her through the double doors from the deck and down a long airy hallway and into a room at the end. If she was blown away by the house the room took her breath away.
Hermione found her standing in a massive room with a huge king sized four poster bed. It was the center piece of the room and stood out from the dark floors and walls with its white coverings and sheer white drapes that hung from the top. Her eyes traveled around the room. She saw the double glass doors in the glass exterior walls of the room. On the balcony there was a small dining table and two chairs that over looked the ocean. The other walled looked into the jungle that surrounded the house. Hermione felt blissful in this environment. Draco noted the joy on her face and felt some spill into him. It was a beautiful place and now he wished he had brought her here sooner.
“The closet is in the bathroom which we will have to share. I’m going to assume Kali already unpacked ours things.” Draco told her as he motion to an opening in one of the interior walls.
“Oh, then what are we to do until dinner.” She asked as she realized they had an hour and a half until dinner. Draco gave her a smirk and then Hermione realized what she had said and turned bright red.
“I planned on taking a shower. What did you have in mind?” Draco teased and it did nothing to help the color of her face.
“You know I didn’t…” Hermione started and then stopped.
“I’m joking Hermione. Chill. How about you take a shower first. I’m going to arrange a few things with my mother before dinner.” Draco tried to smooth things over but was enjoying her discomfort for a moment. He liked the blush she was sporting.
“Sure, through here, right?” Hermione asked as she made her way to the opening.
“Everything should be in there. And don’t worry no one can see you, it’s enchanted.” Draco said as he turned to leave. Hermione raised an eyebrow at his meaning but continued to walk into the large bathroom. It didn’t take long for Hermione to grasp his statement. The bathroom was as large as the one she had at the Manor but the shower was completely glass. She could see the jungle outside.
“Oh.” She said to herself before she started the shower.
After Hermione’s shower she had gotten ready for the evening by dressing in a simple black dress that stopped above her knees. She figured it would be elegant enough for dinner without trying too hard. After she had finished drying her hair so it would fall into smooth ringlets she made her way out to the balcony they had in their room. She sat in one of the chairs and looked out at the ocean. Hermione let her mind drift from thought to thought without really paying attention. Her mind had a way of running away with itself. Hermione heard Draco enter the room and head to the shower. Hermione was at peace for the first time in a long time sitting and looking out over the ocean. Hermione lost track of time and was startled when someone touched her shoulder. She jumped and turned to look for the culprit and Draco stood behind her.
“I didn’t mean to scare you but are you ready? Blaise and his wife should be here shortly.” Hermione was unsure what the night would hold for her. She really hadn’t been around the Zabini’s much since the wedding she had seen Blaise at the house one or two times but he never had a reason to seek her company. She followed Draco to the front deck where she assumed they would be eating that evening. The atmosphere had changed drastically. The sun was setting which offered a gentle orange glow and the candles had been lit on the table. The simple table had been elongated to fit five people and a burnt table cloth was draped over its surface. Hermione stood waiting for the couple to arrive with Draco was standing beside her and speaking to his mother. Kali walked around with a huge tray with a few drink balanced perfectly on its surface. Hermione gladly accepted the glass from Kali when it was offered. Hermione sipped the delicious sangria while Draco spoke animatedly to his mother about the news in Diagon Alley. He told her of a new garden shop opening up and Narcissa seemed quite excited over this piece of news. It didn’t take long before she heard the familiar pop of someone apparating and the Zabini’s had arrived.
Dinner had been pretty uneventful for Hermione. It wasn’t as though she had been long time friends with any one at the table and Astoria and Narcissa got along fairly well. Hermione was thankful that Narcissa tried to keep her in the conversation as much as she could so that Hermione wouldn’t feel left out. Astoria didn’t seem to mind Hermione but she could tell the girl was holding her at arm’s length for the moment. To Hermione’s surprise Draco and reached out and held her hand during the changing of the courses. He smiled at her frequently and he too tried to keep her in the loop as to what was going on in his conversation. The night flowed along and soon Narcissa was excusing herself from the table and headed in doors and Blaise pulled Draco away to talk about something in private.
Hermione watched from a distance as Blaise and Draco made their way to the far corner of the deck and out of hearing range. She wondered briefly about their conversation before turning to Astoria who was eyeing her. Hermione couldn’t help but wonder what was going on in everyone’s heads tonight because she felt out of the loop. Astoria looked as though she was fighting an internal battle.
“I’ve been debating all night to tell you what is on my mind.” Astoria started.
“You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to.” Hermione told her back.
“Well, I feel as though my hand has been forced.” Astoria’s statement confused Hermione but figured she would explain further. Astoria’s facial expressions told Hermione she was still pondering something.
“Draco has always been in my life in one way or another and the way he treats you I think he made a good choice.” Hermione could hear her words but it looked like someone had poured vinegar in drink. Hermione had gotten the feeling that Astoria was less than pleased with her and Draco’s marriage but she had been pleasant enough while the boys were around. “Though I guess it doesn’t matter what I think to Draco anymore.” Hermione was still confused unto Astoria’s reasoning for bringing up the subject.
“It does because you are still his friend.” Hermione added cautiously because she didn’t know what else to say. Hermione still pondered the statement about forcing Astoria’s hand but she wasn’t sure now if she would get a straight answer.
“Well, that is beside the point. Blaise and I know that Seth is back in town and Blaise is almost certain Seth is working up a plot to destroy whatever you and Draco have. I never thought I would say this but don’t break Draco’s heart. Seth is a wicked and evil man whose sole purpose is to ruin whatever good Draco has. Just stay away from Seth.” Astoria finished in a huff.
“Oh, I know what Seth is.” Hermione told the blonde woman. Astoria cocked an eyebrow at Hermione. “I happened to walk in on a Draco and Seth in the middle of an argument. Fortunately he didn’t realize I was in the room until it was too late and he had revealed his true colors.”
“Ah, Well I see my idle chatter was senseless. “ Astoria when to stand but Hermione stopped her.
“I know I’m not who you pictured Draco with but seeing as Blaise and Draco are friends, I was hoping that we could try and get along.” Hermione voice was full of hope. She didn’t necessarily want to be friends with Astoria because she seemed a little stuck up and shallow but Hermione could use another female in her life. She also figured that with Draco and Blaise being friends it would help to get along with his friends. Astoria stared at her for a few seconds and with a slight shrug of her shoulders she sat back in the chair.
“No promises.” Astoria stated but was over it in a second. “So, have you ever met Blaise’s mom?” Astoria asked excitedly and Hermione knew she was going to share with her what she was sure Astoria thought was the juiciest piece of gossip this year. Hermione leaned in.
“No, what is she like?” Hermione encouraged the blonde woman to continue.
“Well, she looks about our age with all the beauty enhancing potions and spells that she uses and she met a new man last week. He is ONLY 20!!! Can you believe it? He is young than her son. It is so scandalous. Though she is one of those women who don’t care about what high society says.”
“Are you serious?! He is only 20. That would be so awkward. I guess if it makes her happy.” Hermione responded and Astoria seemed pleased with her reaction. Before Astoria could start in again the boys were joining them again at the table.
“It’s nice to see the two of you getting along. Draco and I were just talking about taking the boat out tomorrow. What would you two say to that?” Blaise offered. Hermione thought it sounded like a good idea. It could be fun to hang out with someone their age. Astoria was nodding energetically. Once they had decided to meet up the next day for a day on the water the Zabini’s retired for the evening. Hermione was happy because the day’s activities had worn her out. When they had left, she and Draco had changed for bed but despite the fatigue Hermione as feeling as knew her mind wasn’t ready for bed yet. So as Draco laid in bed and she was sure he was on his way to slumber land, Hermione grabbed her bottle of firewhiskey and headed to the balcony in her room.
It was cool outside and even though Hermione wished she had brought a sweater out with her she didn’t feel like making the trip back inside to retrieve it. Hermione sipped the amber liquid and felt the familiar torch her throat as it made its way to the pit of her stomach. Her thoughts drifted to the blond man she had been spending so much time with. He had proven to be gentle and kind in his own way. He made sure her needs were met and she could enjoy his company. He was intelligent enough to hold a conversation with. She knew her feelings were growing for him and still wasn’t sure if that is what she wanted. Today had been a great day for them. They had shared some jokes at lunch and she laughed like she hadn’t in a long while. Draco was great and he turn out to be completely different than what she had expected but her thoughts then drifted to him, the love of her life. He had made her laugh and he had just wanted her to be happy. Would he have been okay with it if he knew Draco Malfoy could make her happy?
Hermione was startled out of her thoughts when she felt something slip around her shoulders. It was a sweater and Draco was taking a seat in the chair beside her.
“Do you mind if I join you?” He asked. Hermione figured he was already out here so why not?
“Not at all. Would you care for a drink?” she offered the bottle and a glass she had duplicated out of her own. Draco shrugged.
Hermione was afraid he would want to talk but instead he sat back in his chair and stared out at the waves as they rolled onto the beach below. With a sigh Hermione sat back and enjoyed the comfortable silence between them and was surprised that her rush of thoughts she had been feeling before her joined her and suddenly quieted. Her mind was able to be blissfully blank and before she knew it she was nodding off in her chair.
A/N: I would love to hear yours thoughts. Please leave a review and let me know what you think.
Megthechef43 aka Meg