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Hermione stood near the last row with a clipboard in hand and a quick notes quill. Everything was perfect: the decorations, the preparations for the food, everything except how she was feeling. Malfoy was standing next to Asteria with the most false smile Hermione had ever seen. What was worse was that every now and again he stole a glance to the back of the audience, catching her eye and then looking away.
He shouldn’t be marrying her… Hermione kept saying in her mind, yet she couldn’t find herself to rush down the aisle and put a stop to it all. So, she just stood there, taking deep breaths to hold back the tears and listened to Malfoy saying, “I do.”
Marriage on the Horizon
Bachelor and Bachelorette-hood is over for Draco Malfoy and Asteria Greengrass for they have become engaged this past weekend. The two had been rumored to be dating but nothing was ever confirmed up until this point. The pair has not yet settled on a date-
“…But they hope to be married sometime in the summer of next year.” Harry read and closed the Daily Prophet paper. “Figures those two would get together. They’re both evil to the core so they deserve it.”
“Evil or not, I didn’t think someone could love a git like Malfoy and then get married to him.” Ron said with a false shiver. Hermione shook her head and chuckled.
“You shouldn’t say that, Ron.” Hermione told him. “There’s someone for everyone out there no matter what their personality is or how they act. You just have to find your partner and apparently Malfoy’s found his.”
“You should know not to try by now, mate.” Harry interrupted. “With her being Miss Wedding Planner, everything has an optimistic outlook.”
Hermione grinned and took a sip of her tea that was getting colder by the second. Yes, she was a wedding planner and a counselor if the couple felt like they needed it. It wasn’t at all what she had thought she was going to grow up to be, but it turned into a business for her when all of her friends started to get married.
Harry’s wedding was the first. With her being Ginny’s maid of honor, she helped to decide what colors to use and places to go. George and Katie were next, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley came after with the renewing of their vows, and pretty soon strangers were coming up to Hermione asking if she could help. After that, she gave up, became an official wedding planner and she loved it. She owned a small building of two floors near the South end of Hogsmeade, first floor as a show room to display pictures of past weddings she did, and on the second floor part of the space was used to plan the weddings and the rest for counseling.
Most of her clients asked her why she herself wasn’t married. Hermione would never give an answer, but knew it was simply because she didn’t go searching. Ron was available of course, but she couldn’t see him any more than just a friend, and didn’t push it any further than that. Besides, dealing with lovers all the time let Hermione know something: love came in its own time and she’d get her chance. So, for the most part she didn’t worry about it and concentrated on worrying about others’.
Hermione’s lunch date with Harry and Ron progressed into dinner which she ended early so she could head over to her office. She had just finished up a wedding the previous week, and they said that they’d pay her their last installment by today. Sure enough there was an envelope on her desk and she smiled greatly to see a check of ten thousand galleons. Maybe I should treat myself to a hot tub? Hermione thought to herself, laughed and shook her head. No, she wouldn’t do that. She’d probably keep some on hand to buy things with, put another portion of it in a small bag she kept under her floorboard in case of emergency and the rest stow away in her vault at Gringots.
Hermione, more or less, tended to have the “high-class” seek her out to do business which surprised her greatly. And with the high-class came high-class weddings and loads of money they were willing to spend. Though, no matter how much money she received at the end of the day, she never flaunted it. Simple was how she liked it, and in the long run saving up all of that money would benefit her.
Just as Hermione stuffed the envelope into her bag and was about to leave, the fireplace in front of her desk gave a bit of flicker of light, and soon the face of a woman was appearing in the flames.
“I’m terribly sorry for appearing so late, are you closing?” The woman asked. Hermione was tempted to say yes and to come back tomorrow, but she shook her head and cupped her hands on her desk.
“I was, but you’re welcome to-” Her words were cut off by the disappearing of the woman’s face, the fire turning emerald green, and then a tall, slender dark brown-haired woman striding out of the fireplace. She took a seat in front of Hermione without being offered and smiled.
“It’s been talk among the tops of circles that you do marvelous weddings.”
“And as a member of top society I do need a marvelous wedding.”
“I’m sure that-”
“Possibly in a different country in a beautiful garden,”
“With imported birds..? Imported champagne..? Anything extravagant, don’t you agree?”
“Wait, hold on a moment.” Hermione said, holding out her hands to stop her pending client from talking any further. “How about we start with your name? And then we can set up an appointment to discuss what you’re ideas are in slower detail.”
The woman cocked her brow and visibly huffed like as if she was annoyed. But a moment later her countenance changed and she took out a small quill and one of Hermione’s business cards.
“You are the wedding planner and I suppose you do know best.” She told her as she finished writing and handed over the card. “My name and address are written there. Come by around nine tomorrow morning and we can discuss everything. Until then,”
The woman excused herself and left via Floo Network just as quickly as she had come. Hermione sat there in awe of the audacity of the woman that was a moment ago sitting in front of her. She was tempted to toss away the card and pretend that the woman had never stepped foot into her office, but it didn’t matter how snotty the client was. Everyone deserved to have their dream wedding no matter what.
Hermione grabbed her bag and made sure to lock up for the night. Though, before she hopped into the fireplace to go home, she took a glance at the name on the back of the card and stared wide-eyed.
“Asteria Greengrass? I’m planning Malfoy’s wedding?”
Hermione apparated to her flat and was startled to see a figure darting from her kitchen and into her living room. Though, it was nothing to fear because it was just Ginny who held a small carton of ice cream in one hand and a spoon in the other.
“Sorry for breaking in,” Ginny said with a small grin as she stuck the spoon into the carton. Hermione shook her head and smiled as she motioned for them to sit on her sofa.
“Far be it from me to know, but why are you here when you’ve got a husband at home to please?”
“Believe me I’d be doing it if it wasn’t Quiditch season. Harry and my brother are at some Quiditch game and I’ve become completely invisible.”
“If it’s any condolence the season’s almost over.” Hermione told her with a chuckle. Ginny shrugged and conjured a second spoon so they both could devour the carton of ice cream that was slowly melting.
“So, what’s up with you?”
“Nothing really… The Carmichaels paid their last installment today and I, well, got hired for another wedding.”
“Wow, business is going really well. Another top class family I suppose, then?”
“Very top class.” Hermione said irritably. “It’s Malfoy.”
“Malfoy?!” Ginny half-shouted. “You’re serious? Draco Malfoy actually stepped through your office and asked you to plan his wedding?”
“Well, no. His fiancée did and she’s a piece of work.”
“What do you mean?”
“Alright, so I’m sitting at my desk, getting ready to leave and I see her face in my fireplace. She asked if I was closing and I barely told her no when she strutted into my office giving me a list of things she wanted for her wedding. If I didn’t stop her from talking I think I’d still be there listening to her rant on how perfect it should be.”
“She does sound difficult. I hate to say this ‘Mione, but you’ve found the female Malfoy equivalent. And to think you’ll be surrounded by them day in and day out until they’re married?”
“Yes, Gin, thank you for making me realize that this is going to be even more tortuous than I thought.”
Hermione woke up at seven the next morning and made sure that she was apparating over to the address Asteria left her by eight-fifty-five. She had rather not to get off with Asteria on the wrong foot, so she kept time in sight.
The address was apparently the address of the Malfoy Manor. Hermione was truly surprised that she didn’t see a bunch of dark clouds hanging over it or gloomy looking statues by the front gate. If she didn’t say so herself, it was a picture-perfect home, with a white gate that opened upon Hermione stepping close to it; a long cobble-stone pathway that led to the steps of the Manor, clean freshly cut grass, flowers that grew evenly alongside the pathway, and two large fountains on both sides of her.
“If I didn’t think Malfoy was rich, I sure would now.” Hermione murmured to herself as she ascended the five steps up to the door. She was about to knock on the door when it opened and revealed an emotionless face.
“You must be Miss Granger.” He said in a monotone voice.
“Do come in and follow me.”
Hermione figured she’d have to get used to people cutting her off in mid-sentence now that she was planning a wedding for Malfoy, but it still irritated her to the core. The man who answered the door closed it, and then walked ahead of her at a brisk speed. They must’ve traveled down at least ten corridors before he led her to two tall doors, opened them and revealed what appeared to be the backyard to the Manor.
It was just as pretty as the front: fresh-looking grass, flower beds every now and again and yet another pathway. Hermione was so busy admiring everything that she failed to notice that the man who let her in was already ten feet away from her. She hastily caught up to him and then slowed down when they neared a small table with three chairs, two of which were taken by the soon-to-be bride and groom.
“I present to you, Miss Granger.”
“That will be all Geoffrey,” Asteria said with a small wave of her hand. “Have a seat, Miss Granger.” Geoffrey walked off just as Hermione sat down. The first thing that she noticed was that Asteria was well-dressed and that nothing but diamonds, not too large, but large of enough for Hermione to notice, were draped about her neck and wrists. The second thing she noticed was Malfoy, who even though he was sitting right next to his fiancée, seemed to be in a completely different world. What made things even more strange was that, Hermione was sitting no less than two feet from the man who loathed her for years and he hadn’t said a word or showed any inclination that she was there.
“You’re punctual, Miss Granger. That’s says a lot about you.”
“I sure hope it does. I like to give good first impressions. First things first, Miss Greengrass-”
“Call me Asteria, please,”
“Alright, Asteria… First I’d like to-”
“But where are your books?” She interrupted. That woke Malfoy up a bit and he glanced at her, and then shifted his gaze to Hermione who caught her eye before he began looking elsewhere.
“Your books..?” She repeated with an edge to her voice that signaled a raising temper. “So I can pick out colors? Choose an archway? Choose a place? What kind of planner are you if you aren’t prepared with your books?”
“Asteria calm down.” Malfoy said clearly agitated. “Miss Granger here couldn’t have possibly brought any books because she doesn’t know what you want yet.”
“What we want you mean.”
“Sure, what we want. Let her do her job.”
Hermione sat there slightly astounded that for one, Malfoy jumped up from his reverie, that he was defending her and trying to put some sort of control on his fiancée. Impressive… She thought airily as Asteria sighed and waved her hand in the air as if signaling to continue.
“Fine, fine… What do you, Miss Granger, expect out of this meeting if, of course, we have no books?”
“Well, you can call this meeting your daydream. This is your opportunity to go on a rant, if you will, of what you’d like to have and I, as your wedding planner, will head back to my office to see what I can offer you.”
“Sounds like a good idea to me.” Asteria said with the first true smile Hermione had seen for the morning. “Hope you have enough ink and parchment because I’m going to be giving you a ton-full and I expect everything to be taken down exactly as I say it in case I need to refer to the list.”
“Whatever you say Queen of the World,” Hermione mumbled, quickly pursing her lips as she conjured a notepad, ink, and a quill to take down everything the blushing bride-to-be said.
Hermione must’ve sat there in the slightly chilling air writing pages after pages for what felt like a solid two hours until Asteria gave up and told her that she and Malfoy would come by her office the next day at around noon. The man, who apparently who was their butler, came to escort Hermione back to the front door when they were stopped by the clearing of someone’s throat.
“Geoffrey, why don’t you attend to the cleaning,” Malfoy told him as he came out from an adjacent corridor. “I’ll show Miss Granger out.”
The butler gave him a curt nod and headed off in the opposite direction. Hermione was rooted to the spot. She hadn’t been alone with him in years and yet she still got a small shiver like she used to, though she wasn’t sure if it was him or the cold. Malfoy began to walk in the direction Geoffrey was heading and after a small push within herself Hermione followed him. It was silent for a bit until Malfoy spoke.
“I feel the need to apologize to you.” He said to her. Hermione had her head down and didn’t look up at him even though she was thoroughly surprised by his comment. “Asteria can be a tad…well you’ve spent enough time with her already. What do you think?”
“…I don’t think it’s my place to say.” She replied carefully. “I’m planning your wedding. It’s not my place to judge.”
“You’re a hypocrite then.” Malfoy chuckled. “On the back of your business card it says you also counsel.”
“Yes, well, I wasn’t exactly counseling back there, now was I?”
“True, very true,”
There was silence again as they neared the door. Before opening it, Malfoy stuck out his hand to her. Hermione stared at it for countless seconds before giving in, and shaking his outstretched hand.
“Until tomorrow then..?”
Hermione walked through the door Malfoy held open for her and fought the urge to look back and wave, knowing full well that he hadn’t left. She kept staring straight on, walked past the two fountains on either side of her, through the white gate and then disapparated back to her office to prepare for the meeting tomorrow and those books that Asteria so desperately wanted.
“I hear you’re planning Malfoy’s wedding.”
“Yeah, I’m just the luckiest woman in the world, aren’t I?”
“Merlin, I hope that’s sarcasm.”
“Oh, it’s sarcasm, don’t worry.”
Hermione laughed as she stole one of Harry’s strawberries from off of his plate. He scolded her for a moment before she allowed him to take away most of her whipped cream.
“So, do Ron and I need to threaten Malfoy or what?”
“Oh, I have someone for you to threaten alright, but it’s not Malfoy. How do you feel about tackling a woman?”
“His fiancée is the one giving you trouble?” Harry asked surprised. Hermione nodded and nicked another strawberry.
“She’s the most controlling woman I’ve ever met in my life. It’s like she’s the wedding planner and I’m just her assistant. And, dear Merlin above, I have a meeting with her and Malfoy in just under an hour. She’s worse than Malfoy used to be! I didn’t think you could get any lower than that.”
“Apparently you can.” He chuckled.
“Yeah, and the funniest thing about it is that yesterday when I was leaving, Malfoy actually acknowledged the fact that Asteria is so…unbearable. He even apologized to me.”
“Well, at least it’ll be worth the money.”
“Ha,” Hermione snorted. “Not even close, Harry. Not even close.”
author's note: hey! wat do u think? plzzzzzzzzzz remember to leave a review :)
After their lunch, Hermione said goodbye to Harry and apparated over to her office. It was eleven-fifty-five by the time she sat down to her desk and pulled out a show book or two. Five minutes later her fireplace roared to life and she took a deep breath, anticipating a rush of demands. Though, she was thoroughly surprised to see that Malfoy had come alone.
“Surprised?” He asked her as he sat down in the chair directly in front of her desk. Hermione shook her head and brought up her client-friendly smile.
“No, not all, though, I am a bit curious as to why you’re by yourself. I was under the impression Asteria wouldn’t miss this meeting for the world.”
“Normally she wouldn’t, but fortunately something came up that she couldn’t ignore.”
Hermione overlooked Malfoy’s use of the word “fortunately” instead of unfortunately and took out the notepad she had yesterday.
“Alright, break it to me gently.” Malfoy said as he leaned back in the chair. “What exactly did Asteria call for?”
“Then I’m right in assuming you weren’t listening at all yesterday morning?”
“Not to a single word, so, let me have it.”
“Well, Asteria’s asked for an out of country wedding which already hikes the cost to a hefty amount because things have to be Flooed over and of course there’s the guests of whom she’s said you’d take the pleasure in paying the hotels for those people who’d like to stay overnight.”
“She’s said that, has she?” Malfoy chuckled with a slight raise of his brow. “Lovely, what else is she causing me to go into debt for?”
“Well, she’d rather an outside wedding in the yard of a mansion, which is entirely based on you and not me. Let’s see what else… Imported birds set to release after you’ve said your ‘I dos,’ imported wine and flowers...yes those are the main things that will give your primary fixed cost.”
“And that fixed cost is how much?”
“At the rate this is going, about half a million galleons for the things I’ve just told you about. And when you factor in all the variables, it may be dangerously close to a million galleons. Excluding the wedding planner fee for doing all of this which is four thousand galleons a month until the wedding is kept.”
Normally any person would be jumping for joy at the thought of receiving a million galleons on one wedding plus another four thousand a month for their services. But Hermione felt terrible. She knew it must’ve hurt Malfoy more than in just his wallet. He was sitting there without saying word and sighed heavily. Pity overwhelmed Hermione instantly and she did something she never thought she’d ever do:
“It doesn’t have to be so expensive.” She told him. “I can talk to Asteria, try to, I don’t know, have her tone things down and lower the cost?” Harry and the others would kill her if they knew she was trying to negotiate a smaller price of a wedding that neared a million galleons. It would set her up financially for quite a long time, but she didn’t have it in her heart to do it. Malfoy shook his head and groaned under his breath.
“It’d be a nice gesture, but believe me, talking to her will just give her more ideas on what to add.”
“Well, can’t say I didn’t try.” Hermione half-grinned. “Within the next two weeks or so when you decide what you, or Asteria rather, figure out what you want indefinitely, we can start the billing cycle.”
Malfoy nodded and stood, shaking her hand just as he did yesterday. He was nearing the fireplace when he stopped and turned back around to her.
“Do you have anything else to do today?” He asked her. Hermione was caught off guard that she nearly dropped one of her show books.
“Um, I, no…” She managed to say. “I was actually going to get a little something to eat.”
“Would you mind if I joined you?”
Hermione was even more taken aback and truly dropped one of her show books. Malfoy went over to her side of her desk and picked it up. She quickly took it from him and stood.
“Is that a yes or a no?”
“I didn’t answer you at all.”
“I’d appreciate it if you did.” Malfoy said with a small chuckle. “It’d save me from going back to my Manor and having Asteria bombarding me with questions.”
Hermione laughed outright and put a hand over her mouth to stop. It was a bit rude, but still emitted a giggle or two seeing that Malfoy was doing so as well. She nodded and the two of them debated for several minutes on where to go until they decided on a petit salon in Fordham, between Diagon Alley (where Hermione wanted to go) and Squadon Alley (the equivalent of Knockturn Alley where Malfoy wanted to go). The place was a bit crowded but they managed to find a small table near the back.
Hermione couldn’t help but feel a bit conscious. The last time she saw Malfoy was a year after Hogwarts and they were threatening to curse each other. Now she was sitting directly across from him and staring at a menu. My friends will kill me…but none of them ever came to Fordham, so she considered herself safe.
“You must come here often.” She said in order to make small talk. Malfoy nodded and tried to signal a waiter to come over to them, but it was a bit impossible.
“Often enough that I don’t have to stare at a menu, you mean.”
“It’s probably not my place to say this but, most men would want to be spending their time with their fiancées, not their wedding planners.”
“If you didn’t want to have lunch with me all you had to do was say no.” Malfoy said angrily and begin to stand. Hermione quickly put a hand up and motioned for him to sit back down.
“I didn’t mean it that way.” She told him. “It’s just I’ve never seen someone so eager to get away from their soon-to-be spouse. But like I said, I shouldn’t be saying something like that anyway.”
“No, no, that’s just the counselor side of you.” He replied calmly. “It’s a very truthful observation.”
“Would you mind if I asked why?”
“You should know why. You’ve spent enough time with her already.”
“Yes, but that was the getting-ready-for-my-wedding Asteria. Most, if not all women are a tad, well, pushy, when it comes to their wedding. I don’t know what she’s like when it’s not on her mind. Therefore, I can’t judge.”
“Fine, you can give you’re final judgment at our engagement party next month.”
“What?” Hermione asked a bit shocked.
“I’m inviting you.”
“Mal- Draco, why does my opinion matter so much?”
“You’re a counselor too, aren’t you? You can help me decide if I should…” Malfoy trailed off of his words and sighed. “Believe me, it matters.”
“Even if I do go, it won’t be the same as real counseling.”
“Then Asteria and I will do it.”
“…It’s a twenty day counseling session.” She said slowly. “Ten thousand galleons for all twenty days and you have to pay in advance.”
“No problem,” He responded with a grin as he conjured a check book and wrote out a check for ten thousand galleons and gave it to her. “Now you won’t have a problem giving an honest report.”
Hermione stared at the check in her hand and nodded, putting it away in her purse. She couldn’t believe how hard Malfoy was trying. It was like as if he wanted her to say and fully mean that Asteria was a terrible woman, giving him the excuse to, well, not marry her. That can’t be what this is… Hermione thought to himself. He just wants reassurance, not a reason to get out of marriage. Right..? She gently smiled as a waiter finally came over to them ready to take their orders.
“…Sessions start on Monday…”
Hermione had been lying in bed for what she counted as the fourteenth, fifteenth hour? She didn’t know because she had stopped counting for a while now. Why was she in bed for fifteen hours? Well, sleep evaded her for most of the night because a certain salt and pepper owl kept coming to her window and pecking at it to be let inside. At each time the owl had a small note from Asteria giving an idea or two for her wedding that she simply couldn’t “wait until Monday to tell her.” Hermione was going off the deep end. By the looks of the owl, he was going insane as well, for when Hermione tried to send him back with a response to Asteria for the hundredth time that night, the poor creature flew around her room, refusing to be let outside. Now she was covered up in her bed sheets with her pillow over her head trying to get the sleep that she lost. However, she’d have to try again later on that night, because she could hear her fireplace being activated and felt the presence of someone at the foot of her bed.
“What in Merlin’s name are you still doing in bed?” Ginny asked her. Hermione lifted the pillow over her head high enough to take in her friend’s entire frame.
“Trying to suffocate myself,”
“Huh..?” She said with a laugh.
“Oh, Gin, I hardly got any sleep last night. Asteria kept Owling me about things for her wedding.”
“It’s bloody Sunday. She couldn’t wait another day?”
“Apparently not,” Hermione said as she threw aside her pillow and motioned to all of the letters on her dresser that had been sent to her. Ginny was in awe as she picked up one letter at a time and quickly reading them.
“And to think Harry, Ron, and I thought that Malfoy was going to be your biggest problem.”
“So did I… I can hardly believe that he’s the one keeping me sane in all of this. Talk about topsy-turvy.”
“Well, I can understand if you’d rather sleep than head into Hogsmeade with me and the men.”
“Harry and Ron are here too?” Hermione asked surprised. “I figured they’d be at the Quiditch match that’s going on today.”
“Oh they were going to be, but I got them to tag along with us.”
“How in the world did you manage that?”
“I told Harry that I’d stop sleeping with him.”
Hermione grinned and then laughed as Ginny gave a triumphant look.
“Nice work, Gin.”
Despite the fact that Hermione was severely sleep deprived, she was having a good time with her friends. She and Ginny were popping into shoppe after shoppe while Harry and Ron lagged behind, shaking down anyone in the street to see if they had any word on the Quiditch match they were missing.
“It’s a crying shame.” Ginny said to Hermione quietly as Harry sweetly told his red-headed wife that he’d make up everything to her if she’d let him and Ron go see the second half of the match. She waved him off after a bit and he gave her a kiss on the cheek as he and Ron disapparated from view.
“So, how much money are you getting for Malfoy’s wedding?”
“Well, excluding the standard fee for my services, it’s going to cost about a million galleons to make the wedding happen.”
“One million galleons… That’s maddening!”
“I know it is, and to be honest, I feel so sorry for Malfoy.”
“What for..? ‘Mione, this will be the grandest wedding you’ve ever planned.”
“But he doesn’t want to spend all of that.” Hermione argued. She sighed and shrugged her shoulders. “I know you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy-”
“But I’m trying to figure out ways to get Asteria to tone it down, so Malfoy could pay less.”
“I should turn you into the funny house for saying something like that.” Ginny told her in all seriousness. “You keep your mouth closed and give the Queen of England Wanna Be the wedding of her dreams whether Malfoy wants it or not. Call it karma for what he did to us during the Hogwarts days and the three years after it.”
Hermione sighed and nodded, feeling completely contradicted. Most assuredly the wedding day was mostly about the woman: what she wanted and how she wanted it. Yet, there was a strong urge within Hermione to hold up a hand to Asteria and just say no. But, of course, what did it matter? Wedding planners had one position and that was simply to plan the wedding; giving the blushing bride and groom whatever they wanted.
“I’m a fairy…” She said to herself. “Granting every and any wish,”
Hermione and Ginny finished their shopping around four-thirty that evening and were now sitting in a parlor and eating a small meal. They were nearly done and were about to apparate over to Ginny’s when a piercing call hit Hermione’s ears.
“Oh, Miss Granger..!”
“Kill me now,” Hermione muttered under her breath. Ginny was staring directly behind her to see Asteria waltzing up to them, tugging an unwilling Malfoy by the arm. “Hello, Asteria, Draco…” She said as courteously as possible and then turned to Ginny. “Gin, I’m sure you remember Draco, but this is Asteria.”
“It’s a pleasure-”
“I’m so glad I caught you.” Asteria said to Hermione, completely cutting Ginny off in her introduction. “Draco and I were just out looking for my wedding dress!”
“But you’re not to be married for a full year and then some. Don’t you think it’s a bit early to be looking for a dress?”
“Oh, you could never be too early to look for a wedding dress! And speaking of that, I was hoping that you could tag along with Draco and me. I could use your opinion greatly since my darling’s tastes are a bit…understated.”
Hermione saw Malfoy visibly flinch and could hear Ginny trying with all of her might not to burst out into a fit of giggles, knowing full-well that Malfoy was one to take an extreme pride in his appearance.
“I don’t know, Asteria.” Hermione started to say. “I don’t usually help with the clothes and I was just about-”
“We’ll pay you an extra five thousand for your opinions on my wedding dress and any other time after today.”
Ginny knocked over her tea in surprise, Malfoy looked as if he was bout kill his fiancée and Hermione felt itchiness in her throat and blinked several times. Ginny tapped her friend in the back to speak after seeing the look in Asteria’s eyes like as if she was becoming impatient. In all honesty, Hermione wasn’t a fool to turn down an instant five thousand galleons, or at least she didn’t want to be. So, she stood and nodded, following the couple down the street after Hermione mouthed to Ginny that she’d write her later.
This is going to be a long evening…
“Tighter… I said tighter… Not that tight you ingrate..!” Asteria shouted at the poor seamstress who was fitting the blushing bride. Hermione shot a sympathetic look to the woman who whispered a small thank you. Malfoy just sat in the chair next to her with a hand on his forehead as though he thought it would shield him from the world.
“Well, what do you think, Draco?” Asteria said as she turned to face him. He lifted up the hand that was on his hand and huffed.
Asteria narrowed her eyes at him and then turned to Hermione and placed her hands on her hips.
“What about you, Miss Granger?”
Hermione in all honesty had rather to keep her opinions to herself. In truth she was trying to find out exactly how Asteria was breathing. Yes, it outlined her shape beautifully, but at the expense of her passing out in the heat of a summer wedding? And aside from health issues, it was extremely low-cut in the back, and even more so to the front. Adding in the tightness, Asteria’s bosoms would have the attention of everyone attending the wedding.
“It’s um…very revealing.” Hermione said, choosing her words wisely. Asteria put a smirk on her face and smoothed her hands over the dress.
“I’ll take it.”
“Over my dead body,” Malfoy snapped quickly. “Besides the fact that all eyes are going to be roaming every inch of you, it’s a ten thousand galleon dress.”
“That’s where you’re wrong.” Asteria told him smugly. “It’s a twelve thousand galleon dress.”
“Draco, it’s my wedding and I deserve to have whatever I want.”
“It’s our wedding.”
“Then, as it is our wedding, don’t you want me to look beautiful for you?”
“Might I suggest something?” Hermione piped up. Asteria said no and Malfoy said yes respectively and then there was silence. Since no one was speaking, Hermione took her chance.
“Asteria, why don’t you get a less expensive dress-?”
“And make alterations on it.” She continued speedily. “Better yet, buy the fabric and have someone make you your very own dress so you can be unique.”
“…Hmm, that’s not a bad idea.” Asteria replied thoughtfully. “Alright I’ll do it.”
“Good, I’m glad that-”
“But only if you design the dress,”
“What..?” Both Hermione and Malfoy said unanimously.
“B-but I’m not a designer.”
“What’s so hard about it?” Asteria asked angrily. “A wand in hand and I dictate what I want. It’s as simple breathing. I’ll owl you about when to come for the dress fitting. I think three thousand galleons sounds about fair.”
Hermione watched as Asteria stepped off of the pedestal and have the seamstress follow her to the back of the shoppe. Malfoy was sighing and shaking his head.
“I’m sorry,” She told him. “I was only trying to lower the cost of the dress.”
“What are you talking about?” Malfoy asked confusedly with an out of place grin. “That’s three thousand for the dress you’re going to make. You just saved me nine thousand galleons. Thanks.”
“No problem,” Hermione sighed, and then winced when she heard Asteria yell at the seamstress for the millionth time that day.
After leaving the bridal shoppe, Hermione followed Asteria and Malfoy into five different fabric shoppes until Asteria screamed with glee when she found the perfect white fabric to make her wedding dress out of. In all rights she could’ve may as well bought the wedding dress, for the fabric had cost six thousand galleons. Hermione shot a side glance at Malfoy who shrugged his shoulders and mouthed to her that at least she saved him one thousand. She chuckled at him trying to find the bright side in everything and soon left him and Asteria in order to go home and prepare for their counseling session which started the next day.
Counseling sessions were more or less the highlights of the wedding process. It was the time where the soon-to-be bride and groom answered questions and realized in a shocking moment that he only wants one child while she wants four, or he wants to live in a rural area while she wants the city. So many arguments arise out of those lovely little sessions; some bad enough to destroy the engagement, others, still bad, but on the flip side make the couple realize that they needed to communicate more. Based on that, Hermione wondered what kind of counseling sessions she was going to have with Draco and Asteria. Were they just going to sit and argue?
Probably not… Malfoy will more than likely be staring off into space while Asteria rants about how much they love each other and that they really didn’t need to be there. Hermione thought as she sat at her desk in her office by. She looked at the clock and saw that it was a few minutes to ten. Counting off the seconds in her head, her fireplace came to life and out stepped the loving couple.
“I still don’t understand why we need this.” Asteria complained while gripping Draco’s arm tightly. “We’re perfectly content.”
“Well, it’s not always a matter of being content.” Hermione told her as she stood and began to lead them into the counseling session room. “Usually people get engaged and they’re worried about the wedding, naturally, but they never think about after the wedding. This is what this is for.”
Hermione sat in her comfy chair directly in front of, ironically, a love seat, where Draco and Asteria sat. After taking out her clipboard and a quick notes quill, Hermione stared at them, noticing a role reversal. Asteria, usually beaming with glee and ready to speak, was amazingly silent and if she day say scowling, while Draco, usually in another world, was wearing a smile.
“Alright let’s begin.” Draco said eagerly. Hermione hid her surprise (or at least she hoped she did), and got ready for her list of questions.
“Okay, well, I guess I should start with is have you two given any thought on where you’d like to live after you’ve gotten married?”
“In a large mansion somewhere off of the coast of an island, though I haven’t got much of a clue which island,” Asteria responded quickly.
“Is that what you both want?” Hermione asked them. Draco straightened his back and firmly declared,
“No..? What do you mean no? If you think I’m living in your childhood home, you’re right out of your damned mind.”
“Don’t talk to me like that,” Draco growled at her.
“Concede to my wishes and we’ll both be satisfied, now won’t we?” Asteria said sweetly with vindictiveness in her eyes.
“Please you two, this isn’t supposed to be a fighting session-” Hermione began to say, but soon she was drowned out by one of Draco’s snappy comments which was matched by one of Asteria’s gentle but deadly remarks. So, she sat there watching the two go back and forth and she was only too pleased to know that they had argued for an entire hour and soon they were getting up to leave.
“Completely pointless…” Asteria said to Draco as she took some Floo powder in her hand. “All we did was find out absolutely nothing.”
“I wouldn’t say that.” Draco muttered, giving a side glance to Hermione which went completely unnoticed by his fiancée. Before she could fully decipher it, they were gone, and Hermione stood there completely baffled. The counseling session was a wreck. She didn’t even get a chance to counsel. Why wouldn’t he agree with Asteria when, in the first time in the days that Hermione’s known her, she was right? Shaking her head, she closed up her office for the day and sighed, wondering what in Merlin’s name was going through Draco’s head.
author's note: okay, so heres the next chapter! i got such good reviews for the first chap so i hope i get the same for this one :) thanks!
Hermione went directly home after the failure of a counseling session. She had the wind knocked out of her and wasn’t much in a mood to do anything now, though, Ginny had different plans for her since she was sitting in the living room sprawled out on the sofa.
“Honestly, Gin, do you ever spend time with Harry?” Hermione chuckled. Ginny grinned and made room for her friend on the sofa.
“Enjoy the time you have with me now, because once the Quiditch season is over, you won’t see me until next year. Now, how was it with Malfoy’s lovely fiancée?”
“How can you ask me that with a straight face? It was awful of course. She wanted to buy a twelve thousand galleon dress that made her look like she was working the aisles instead of walking down one.”
“Ha, so, what then? She decided it was too comely and bought an even more expensive dress?”
“No, actually, she got the fabric for the dress which cost nearly as much. I’m going to be making it.”
“Excuse me?” Ginny said with a brow cocked. “’Mione, you’re not a dressmaker.”
“For three thousand galleons I am,” Hermione moaned irritably. “I don’t know why I’m so stressed out about this. I’m getting three thousand for making her dress, five thousand for my opinion on her clothes for the wedding, ten thousand for counseling sessions, on top of the one million to use for planning the wedding and the four thousand a month for my services. That’s a truck load. I should be jumping for joy.”
“…You know what you’re problem is? You’re too emotionally involved.”
“It’s true. If this was some other couple would you care?”
“Of course I would. Alright maybe I wouldn’t,” Hermione retracted, seeing the look on Ginny’s face. “But how can I emotionally detach myself? As unfortunate as it is, I know Malfoy. He may be rich, but we both know he’s stingy with his money. What Asteria is trying to do isn’t what he wants.”
“Obviously it is if he hasn’t dumped her yet.” Ginny countered. “Maybe he likes it, ‘Mione. Some men are like that. They want controlling women even though it irritates them to the core. It gives ‘entertainment’ to their lives, I suppose.”
“If that’s entertainment I’d rather shoot myself…”
“Yes well, enough about them. Let’s try to figure out a way to get my husband and brother from going to the second Quiditch match they’ve had today.”
Ginny didn’t leave Hermione’s flat until five that afternoon. When she was gone, Hermione stripped herself of her clothes and went into her bedroom. Her bed was calling her, and even though it was so early, she collapsed onto it, burying her head into her pillow and closing her eyes. Just about as she was going to drift off into a sleep, there was a tap on her window. Hermione jumped up and saw an owl with a letter in its beak.
“If that’s Asteria I swear I’ll…” She trailed off of her grumbling words when she got up and let the owl inside. The owl dropped the letter at her feet and flew out. When Hermione opened the letter she was surprised to see that it was an invitation.
Miss Hermione Granger,
You and one guest are hereby cordially invited to the engagement party of Draco Malfoy and Asteria Greengrass on the 25th of July. Please dress formally. We are looking forward to your presence.
Hermione snorted at the “we are looking forward to your presence” remark. Exactly who was the “we?” Was it Draco and Asteria? Surely it wouldn’t be most, if not all, of the guests. It would be an understatement to say that they would be all shocked and disturbed to see her, a woman of “lower stature” there.
“Why on earth did Draco invite me to this stupid thing?” She moaned out loud. In all honesty she didn’t like it. One of her mottos was to not get close to the clients. It would cloud her judgment on everything and she already saw it happening when she wanted to lower the cost of the wedding. “Maybe I should decline?” Hermione asked herself, but while staring at the invitation a small grin was fighting to appear. No, she had never been to a formal party before and it would be nice to dress up for once. Grudgingly she set the invitation aside and lay in bed.
Hermione knocked on a door for the third time and wondered what was taking him so long. She tapped her foot on the cement step and was about to knock again when she heard footsteps and saw the door beginning to pull open.
“What took you so long to answer?” She asked. Ron stretched and shrugged his shoulders at the same time and then rubbed his eyes.
“I was sleeping.” He said in a tired voice.
“It’s one in the afternoon.” Hermione giggled as he let her inside.
“You can never get enough sleep. Besides, I thought it was a traveling salesman or something. No one ever comes for me at the door. Why didn’t you use the Floo like you always do?”
“Oh, well, Ginny told me that you had a date last night. After what happened last time I figured I shouldn’t Floo in today.”
“Oh,” Ron grinned sheepishly. Of course she was referring to him and his girlfriend at the time being “exposed” when Hermione paid an unofficial visit. “You didn’t have anything to worry about anyway. It didn’t go that well.”
Hermione followed him into the kitchen and watched him put water on to boil. They both sat down at the kitchen counter and she figured she should do what she came there to do and get it over with.
“Ron, what are you doing this Saturday?”
“I don’t know. Nothing right now, I guess. Why?”
“Well, I got invited to an engagement party. Formal evening wear, you know, and I need a date.” Hermione said as casually as possible. He cocked a brow and nodded.
“Couldn’t find another bloke to go with you, huh?”
“What? No, of course not! Ron, you know that I-”
“Relax, ‘Mione.” Ron laughed. “Learn to recognize humor when you see it. Yeah, I’ll go.”
“Alright, then that’s settled.”
“Whose engagement party is it?” He asked as the water began to boil. Hermione bit her lip and could already see how the next part of their conversation was going to turn out.
“Why don’t I leave it as a surprise for you?”
“What’s the big deal about it? It’s not like as if it’s Malfoy’s engagement party or something.”
Silence filled the air as Ron put the pieces together. Hermione had her teeth clenched as he turned to face her with an accusatory expression.
“’Mione you’ve got to be kidding!”
“Oh come on, Ron, don’t be like that!”
“Don’t be like what? It’s Malfoy’s bloody engagement party!”
“Ron, you don’t understand. I have to go, and I have to have a date.” Hermione pleaded. “If I don’t it could be bad for business relations-wise. Oh! And think about all the opportunities I’ll have to meet potential clients. Please, Ron? I’ll do whatever you want if you just go with me.”
“…Alright, I’ll go with you.”
“Oh, thanks, I really-”
“But only if you go with Harry and me to the championship Quiditch match.”
“You heard me.” Ron said with the hugest smile on his face.
“B-but, I absolutely hate Quiditch.”
“Ugh, you’re a menace Ronald Weasley.” Hermione grumbled. Ron laughed and wrapped his arms around her in a hug.
“Which of course is why you love me,”
Hermione spent the majority of her evening with Ron in his kitchen, sipping tea, eating whatever was in his fridge, and talking about current events. At around four, she left him to go into Hogsmeade in order to go look for her “formal attire” for Draco’s engagement party. She had five days to shop and decided that it would be better for her to start it now and get it over with.
To be honest, she thought it would be easy. Go into any shoppe, find a dress, try it on, and if she liked it, buy it and go home satisfied. Unfortunately, Hermione was going up and down Hogsmeade completely disappointed with what she was finding. There were dresses of course, but none of them shouted “high class.” None of them could mold her into Draco and Asteria’s world and it was frustrating Hermione to no end. Maybe this is a sign to not go? She thought at one point, and was just about to give up for the evening when she saw from a distance Asteria’s smiling face.
“Oh no, please don’t see me, please don’t see me.” She muttered as she turned to hide herself from view, but it was too late, and the miraculous woman strutted up to her.
“I didn’t expect to see you here today, Miss Granger.” Asteria said happily. “I’m beginning to think you love to be around me.”
“And you’d be wrong,” Hermione whispered to herself. “So, what brings you to Hogsmeade?”
“Just getting out for a bit of air… The Malfoy Manor can be so stuffy. And what about you..?”
“Oh, well I’m just looking for a formal dress for your engagement party.” She let slip. Hermione automatically put a hand to her mouth, but she was heard and could see Asteria’s facial expression change. Instead of smiling with glee, there was a sort of scowl turning into a smirk. Her eyes got firmer and narrower and her tone of voice went from annoyingly cheerful to inquisitively snobby.
“Oh yes,” Asteria started out as she playfully wrapped a light scarf around her neck. “That’s right, my darling fiancé invited you. How could I possibly forget..?”
“Yes, well, I’ll see you at the next counseling session. I have to-”
“What’s your hurry, Miss Granger?” She asked as she walked up to her and shockingly linked her arm with hers. “We can look for your dress together since I haven’t a thing to do!”
“Ah, well…I guess we could-”
“Excellent! I know exactly where we can go.”
Hermione inwardly grimaced as she felt the pull of apparation on her and soon found that she was somewhere different. Completely different she realized as Asteria let go of her arm and began to walk forward, obviously enjoying the new change in scenery.
“Asteria…exactly where are we?”
“The fashion capital of the world of course..!” She replied with a clap of her hands. “You could never get any better with Paris, darling, so, that’s the reason why we’re here.”
“Honestly, I think I can find my dress in Hogsmeade-”
“Not for a Malfoy gathering you can’t,”
Hermione cocked a brow. The deliciously evil woman smiled sardonically and even kicked in a laugh. Asteria shook her head, deciding to link arms with her again and began pulling her down the Parisian streets.
“Miss Granger, allow me to be blunt.” Asteria was telling her. “You may work with the crème de la crème, but you’re hardly a part of the crème de la crème, if you understand my meaning. Now, I don’t tell many people this, but I actually like you. In that retrospect I want to help you, so, voila! Paris for your dress,”
Should she take what was said to heart or shrug it off? Was Asteria truly trying to help her out or was there some devious plan underneath it all. Whatever it was, Hermione couldn’t run away from it. So, taking a deep breath, she allowed the princess to drag her into a shoppe at the end of the rue.
“Bonjour, bonjour..!” Asteria said as Hermione rolled her eyes out of embarrassment. Having taken trips to France with her parents many times, of course she got the gist of the language and the accent. Asteria on the other hand, made it sound like a screeching cat.
“Yes, how may I help you?” A woman who came out from behind a counter asked.
“We’re looking for a formal gown for an engagement party.”
“An engagement party you say? I’m sure I have some things that you will like. Follow me,”
Hermione nodded and followed the woman deeper into the shoppe, but not before having Asteria frown and whisper into her ear, “I wish she didn’t speak nearly perfect English. I wanted to practice my French speaking skills.” Hermione nodded sympathetically to her and thanked Merlin that the shoppe keeper knew English.
Hermione was checking her watch every five minutes to see if her day was almost over and every time she did, she found herself in yet another dress. First a broad-strapped lavender-color, then a yellow halter, then a red v-neck, and just about every color of the rainbow. Now she was stuck in what she called indigo, and wanted nothing more than to just blindly pick out a dress so Asteria could leave her alone.
“What about this one?” The shoppe keeper asked.
“I don’t know…” Asteria said slowly. “What do you think Miss Granger...?”
“I’m rather indecisive, but I honestly think that one I had on before was-”
“Miss, could you bring out the next one?” She interrupted and asked the woman. “Do turn around Miss Granger.”
Hermione grumbled and did what she asked. The only thing that was holding her back from screaming at her all of the things she’d been dying to say since day one was the fact that Asteria was a client. And as the saying went, “A client leads to another client,” and if that chain was destroyed, so would be her career.
“You know, I was very surprised to know that Draco had invited you to our engagement party.” Asteria told her. Hermione shrugged her shoulders as she turned back around.
“I figured he told you. He invited me a few days ago.”
“Why, might I ask?”
“How would I know?” Hermione asked with a small edge in her voice. She was starting to feel annoyed.
“I just thought you might. It seems as though you and my fiancée get along well. Quite well in fact-”
“I have to get going, Asteria, are we done here?”
Asteria shrugged her shoulders and waved a hand at her.
“As you like… Which one do you want?” She asked as she pointed to the two dresses that the shoppe keeper was holding up for them.
“The blue one on the right,”
“Le bleure,” Asteria said to the woman, who in turn gave her a quizzical look.
It took Hermione all her might not to laugh. Instead, she took a deep breath to suppress her giggles and said,
“Le bleu à la droite s’il vous plait…”
Hermione magically changed her clothes and had to fight yet another wave of laughter at the look on Asteria’s face which was a mixture of jealously and irritation.
“Summers in France as a child,” Hermione explained elegantly. “Maybe you should spend some summers here too. I’m sure it’ll help.”
Asteria overtly snarled and angrily began searching through her purse for her checkbook in order to pay for the dress.
“Merlin, why does it take so long for women to get dressed?”
“Why do men always complain? Aren’t you always happy with the end result?”
“’Mione, will you just come out already? I’ve been here for almost forty-five minutes.”
“Fine, fine, don’t get your knickers in a knot.” Hermione responded as she stepped out of her bedroom and in front of Ron. She was wearing a sapphire blue strapless dress that hugged her body tightly in order to see every curve. She laughed seeing how her best mate’s ears tinged a bit. “Glad that I took so long now..?”
“Uh hm,” was all Ron could say and Hermione grinned from ear to ear as the two of them apparated over to the Malfoy Manor.
Hermione for the most part was anxious. She had never really put any thought into what the engagement party would actually be like. As she and Ron followed the directions of multiple butlers and trailed a couple or two, she became skeptical and suddenly wanted to go back home. Looking ahead of her she saw people who she hadn’t seen in years, most of whom both she and Ron loathed and who loathed them right back.
“So why did I let you talk me into this again?” Ron asked her as he tried desperately to hide the looks of dislike he wanted to toss at various people.
“Because you love me and you’d hate to see me cry.” Hermione responded and heard him chuckle.
Once they hit the main room of the party, the two of them were amazed. It looked twice the size of the Great Hall at Hogwarts, draped with tables on along the wall they were facing which had tons of food, large French doors every few feet that led out onto a balcony, and flowers were decked everywhere imaginable.
“Miss Granger, welcome!”
“Brace yourself,” Hermione whispered to Ron as she pulled along the floor to Asteria who was waving to her. “’Evening Asteria, Draco,” She added, realizing that he was standing next to her. He gave a curt nod to her and then looked at Ron, a tad surprised and then cleared his throat.
“Weasley..? Humph, I was expecting Miss Granger here to bring Potter, no offense.” Draco said to him as he gracefully took a glass of champagne from off a passing a tray.
“Yeah, well, wouldn’t have been completely appropriate I expect. He’s married to my sister.”
“Draco, for Merlin’s sake, stop drinking the champagne!” Asteria hissed at him as he surprisingly downed all of the champagne in one large gulp.
“Why should I?” He smirked as he made the glass in his hand to disappear. “I suppose we should get going.”
“Yeah, us too,” Hermione told them. “We’ll-”
“Oh, no, you don’t understand. You’re coming with us.” Asteria said brightly. “You’re to sit with us among our select few, so come, come!”
Hermione looked to Ron who had a brow cocked.
“I know… She’s unbearable isn’t she?”
“Not really, I kind of like her.”
“Only you Ronald,” She sighed as they both followed the couple. “Only you,”
The evening didn’t go as bad as Hermione thought it was going to. The VIP table consisted of herself and Ron, Draco and Asteria, Blaise Zabini and his wife, Pansy Parkinson and her husband, and the parents of the soon-to-be bride and groom. She had to admit that she felt a bit weird sitting at the table with all of those people, and could feel eyes pouring over her and Ron like as if they were saying, “What on earth are they doing here?” When the small talk started, most of the questions were directed at her: how long have you been a wedding planner, do you like your job, and other questions of the like. Of course Pansy Parkinson had the audacity to ask if Hermione couldn’t find anything better to do with her life. Ron was ready to say something that would've more-than-likely gotten them thrown out, but Draco was quicker on the tongue and told Pansy that at least Hermione had a job and wasn’t living off of people. This brought the small talk to a close and Pansy and her husband leaving early.
Hermione was rather surprised that Draco said something. But then again, there was a good reason for that. He hadn’t stopped drinking champagne since the moment she and Ron arrived.
It was near midnight when Ron told her that he was going to find the restroom and then they could go. Hermione nodded and told him to find her out in the garden that she greatly admired. Most of the guests had already gone. She had only stayed because she was attempting to mingle in order to get a few more clients or at least spread the word that she was a wedding planner.
Out in the garden looked beautiful in the moonlight, and she found a nice bench to sit on and rest her feet which were aching her. She was about to slip off her shoes for a moment or two when she heard a rustle in the bushes behind her. Hermione stood on her feet and stared at the bushes until she let out a small shriek when she saw Draco’s face appearing from among them.
“Did I scare you?” He asked with a small giggle. Hermione gave a quizzical look and then shook her head. “Good,”
Draco pulled himself from the bunches of leaves and stumbled, but not falling completely, and then stood erect as he dusted twigs from off of him.
“Nice engagement party, right?” He said as he stuffed his hands into his pockets.
“Yeah, it was really good…” She told him uneasily. He was clearly drunk, and terribly enough, there was no one else in the garden, and she couldn’t just leave him in his current state. “Um, Draco, maybe you should go back inside?”
“Rather not, thanks. Those people are in there.”
“I really think that you should go inside the Manor-”
“Are you trying to get rid of me?” Draco asked her. He took his hands out of his pockets and ran them through his perfectly done hair. “Well, are you?!”
“No,” Hermione piped up with slight fright. She cautiously walked over to him and put her hands on his shoulders. “I’m trying to help you. You’re quite drunk, if you haven’t realized.”
Draco sighed and nodded, catching her by surprise by pulling her into a hug.
“I’m counting on you, Granger. You know that?” He let go of her and almost lost his footing. “You, you can help me.”
“Help you with what? Draco, you’re not making any sense. Come on, I’m taking you inside-”
“You don’t get it! I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to marry her.”
Hermione stared at him wordlessly. She shook her head for a moment as if she heard wrong. She definitely had heard wrong.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” She said calmly. “It’s just the alcohol in you.”
“You think so?” Draco chuckled. He draped an arm around her shoulders and laughed out loud. “You really think so? Granger, look me in the eyes and tell me that I’m lying.”
“Stop talking before someone hears you,”
Draco rolled his eyes and removed his arm. He stopped her from walking and made Hermione jump in surprise at the feel of his hands on her waist.
“Draco, what are you..?”
“Shh,” He said to her. “Let’s hope Asteria sees,”
Hermione had no time to pull away or even time to comprehend what was happening. A second after he finished talking Draco’s lips were on hers, and she was completely paralyzed. His kiss was soft and subtle. And when he slipped in his tongue, she could taste the champagne and was sure that she was getting drunk. Hermione pushed him away from her when he began stroking the back of her neck and stared at him wide-eyed. Draco didn’t look drunk anymore. He had hunger in his eyes and a smirk on his lips as he said,
“Do you think she saw?”
Hermione didn’t say a word. She turned away from him and headed back to the Manor as quickly as she could carry herself.
“Mr. Malfoy’s drunk and out in the garden.” She told a butler she saw on the way. “Notify his fiancée and put him to bed.”
The butler went on his way and Hermione wiped her mouth with the back of her hand as she headed to Ron who had been waiting.
author's note: wow, its been a while since i posted but here it is!!!! its a bit of a long one too so woot for me and i hope you guys like it!! plz remember to leave a review :)
Hermione gave the fifth sigh in seven minutes, about to explain what she had said to Harry and Ginny for the millionth time.
“He…kissed…me.” She told them. “If he was sober when he did it, it would’ve been worse.”
“Doesn’t matter, ‘Mione,” Ginny said. “The fact of the matter is, is that there was lip to lip contact-”
“Gin, I already have a bad visual.” Harry groaned. “Don’t make it more terrible than it already is.”
“As I was saying,” She continued. “It still happened. And what was up with him saying that he didn’t want to marry Asteria?”
“I don’t know, and that’s what’s worrying me the most. Drunk or not, Draco was using me to get Asteria mad. I also think that’s what he’s doing with these counseling sessions. It’s like I’m his ticket out or something.”
“Yeah, but why you..?” Harry interjected. “Why doesn’t he have the guts to just tell her he doesn’t want to marry her?”
“I don’t know.” Hermione frowned. “But I wish he would and leave me out of it.”
An owl flew in through Harry and Ginny’s open window a little later on that evening. They didn’t have a clue whose owl it was, but once they caught a glimpse of the look on Hermione’s face, they had a pretty good idea. Hermione took the letter from the owl’s beak and cursed. It was from Asteria, of course, asking her to come to the Manor in order to do a preliminary fitting for her wedding dress. It wasn’t like as if Hermione could say no, so she wrote a quick response saying that she’d be there within the hour and watched the owl fly back out of the window.
“Do you think that Asteria saw you and Draco?” Ginny asked her. Hermione shrugged her shoulders and slipped her shoes on.
“I don’t know. Doubt it. She was more than likely entertaining the remainder of her guests.”
“…What do you think Draco will say?’
“Nothing I hope…that is if he was too drunk to remember.”
Harry wished her luck and saw her to the fireplace. Hermione grudgingly left but made sure that there was a broad smile on her face when she stepped out of the Malfoy Manor fireplace.
“Miss Granger?” The butler, Geoffrey, said. “I was instructed to take you to Miss Greengrass’ dressing room.”
“Oh, well, lead away then.”
Hermione followed Geoffrey up a flight of stairs and down a series of hallways until he stood knocking on a lavish door. A few seconds later the door was opened and revealed a woman who Hermione had never seen before.
“This her..?” The woman asked quickly. Before Geoffrey had the time to affirm or deny she said to Hermione, “Well, come along in,” and pulled her inside.
“Excuse me, but, who might you be?”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” She apologized. “You haven’t had the pleasure of personally meeting me just yet. I’m Victoria, Asteria’s older sister.”
“There are two of you?!” Hermione said more loudly than intended, but luckily enough her words were drowned out by Asteria who came out of a back room.
“Miss Granger, you’re here!” Asteria said contentedly. “I do hope that my sister has been behaving herself.”
“I haven’t done anything to her.” Victoria told her. “Yet,” She added with a laugh, though Hermione wasn’t sure if she was joking or not.
“Are you ready, Miss Granger?”
Hermione nodded and conjured a pedestal and had the material that Asteria bought pushed into her hands. As she began to take out her wand, she heard Victoria loudly whisper, “I hope you know what you’re doing. As you told me, she’s not a dressmaker…” Hermione huffed to herself and tried her best not to show a disgruntled face. Yes, Victoria was right, but just by saying that made Hermione want to make the best dress she was able to in order to prove her wrong. As she looked up at Asteria who was impatiently waiting on the pedestal, Hermione frowned, realizing that it was going to be a very long evening.
Hermione smiled at her work. No, she was no dressmaker but she definitely could’ve been. Asteria was smoothing out the dress and staring into a ceiling to floor mirror and grinning from ear to ear.
“Well, Miss Granger, I think you should add ‘also designs gowns’ to your business cards! A three hours well spent, I say. Wouldn’t you agree Victoria?”
“For her first dress, I’d say it’s adequate.”
“She was never good at giving compliments.” Asteria said to Hermione as she conjured her checkbook. “That’s three thousand galleons for you, and you can come back for the final touches before the month is over.”
“Thank you, Asteria. I’ll see myself out. I’ll see you around, Victoria.”
Hermione took the check and carefully put it in her pants pocket. She left the room and frowned, regretting not asking Asteria to call for Geoffrey to show her out. She had absolutely no idea how to get down to the main floor of the gigantesque manor. Sighing and having the butler nowhere in sight, Hermione began to wander down the hallways until she found the stairs. Four minutes of doing so and still being on the second floor left her frustrated, yet, she wasn’t as frustrated as she was when she turned a corner and unfortunately saw Draco walking in her direction.
“Damn my luck,” She swore to herself as he took notice of her. “Well, I figured you’d be lying down after the amount of alcohol you consumed last night.”
“A good potion took care of the headache.” Draco told her. “How’d the dress fitting go? I assume Asteria made your time here hell.”
“On the contrary, the fitting went rather well.”
“Well, that’s good, but um, Granger,”
“Yes?” Hermione answered without clearly looking at him.
“Why aren’t you looking at me?”
“What are you talking about? Of course I’m looking at you.”
“Merlin, Granger, do you always get like this when someone kisses you?”
“You remember?” She asked in shocked tone. Draco laughed and smugly stuck his hands into his pockets.
“I may have looked like it, but I wasn’t that drunk.”
“B-but…why did you do it then..?”
“I think we both know the answer to that because I do believe that I’ve already told you.” Draco smirked. “Anyway, I’m off.”
Hermione stared at him in surprise as she watched him turn and begin to walk away.
“See you at the next counseling session…”
“Draco!” She called, but he didn’t turn around and simply kept walking until he was out of view. “Why that little…-”
“Devil..?” Someone behind her said. Hermione’s voice caught in throat and she turned around, seeing Asteria’s sister, Victoria, standing behind her with her arms crossed.
“Victoria, hi, um, I was just looking for the way out.”
“And having a chat with my sister’s fiancé as well, apparently,” She told her bluntly. “You and Draco are indeed quite smitten with each other, aren’t you?”
“Not in the slightest,” Hermione said quickly and then walked away from her as fast as she could, but then stopped when Victoria added,
“I won’t tell her.”
“I said that I won’t tell her.” Victoria repeated. “From the sounds of it, it was bloody Draco’s fault anyway. Besides he was drunk.”
“But he said that he wasn’t-”
“Miss Granger, we both know that he was drunk.”
“…Yes,” Hermione caught on. “That’s right.”
“Good and my sister won’t know because for some reason or another she loves that man. I’ll see you to the door.”
No sooner had she gotten home was there an owl perched on her kitchen counter. Hermione groaned and rudely wrenched the letter the bird had in its beak and opened it. It was in Draco’s delicate handwriting, and she wanted nothing more than to crumple it up and toss it away. How dare he? Did he honestly think things were a game? Draco was messing with a woman’s heart, two, if she counted her own, all because he was afraid to call off a marriage? It was trifling and the little respect that Hermione had for him had flown out of the window when he admitted that he wasn’t all that drunk the night before. Luckily for him Hermione was a virtuous woman, and for all she knew the letter could’ve contained business. So, before she changed her mind, she opened the letter and quickly read it through, slowing down at about the third line to fully comprehend what he was telling her.
Asteria and I would like to get a start on the location of our wedding. Since Asteria would like an out-of-country wedding, she would like us to travel to where she has in mind. Inquiring further, she is thinking of Venice, which would work out nicely because I own a summer home there. We’re taking a trip there tomorrow, and we would like for you to be there. The trip should last about three to four days so you can think of it as business as well as pleasure. Be at the Manor promptly at eight a.m.
P.S. As it turns out, my lovely fiancée didn’t see our little display. We’ll have to try again, now won’t we?
Hermione dropped the letter in disgust and wanted desperately to wash her mouth out even though she had done so many times the previous night. She looked up from the ground where the letter had fallen and saw that the owl was gone. She hadn’t even realized that it had flown out.
“‘Business as well as pleasure,’ he says.” Hermione huffed. “There won’t be any pleasure on this trip, I can assure him.”
“Bring this with you.”
“Not a chance in hell,”
“Oh come on, you’re going to Venice!”
“It’s a business trip.”
“Well, who said you can’t mix business with pleasure?”
Hermione shuddered at those words, unfortunately remembering what Draco had put in the letter and watched Ginny toss a turquoise bikini into Hermione’s trunk.
“I hear Venice has lovely beaches.”
“Oh, for Merlin’s sake, Gin, I’m going there to check out where Asteria wants to have the wedding! Besides…I don’t want to look too appetizing.”
“Appetizing..? Oh, you’re not still thinking about Malfoy and that kiss, are you? He was drunk, ‘Mione!”
“What do you mean ‘not quite?’”
“Not quite as in Malfoy wasn’t all that drunk that night.” Hermione grudgingly admitted. “I saw him at the dress fitting and we were talking and he basically told me that he knew what he was doing. And in the letter he sent about the trip, he added in a P.S. and said that Asteria hadn’t seen us and that we should try again. Gin, I have no idea what the hell he thinks he’s doing, but it’s maddening.”
“It’s more than maddening, it’s sick to the stomach. I always knew Malfoy was a terrible person, but I didn’t know he was deranged as well. ‘Mione, you can’t go on this trip. You can’t give him easy access to you.”
“Easier said than done… I’m his bloody wedding planner. Face it, I’m stuck with him every step of the way. And the scariest part of all of this is that I prefer to be in Asteria’s company more than his. Now that’s saying something.”
“Yeah, and that bikini is saying something as well. Let’s leave that home, shall we?”
Hermione’s packing was rather hard. How on earth was someone supposed to go to Venice and ignore the appeal of swimsuits, shorts, and low-cut tops? It was virtually impossible, but with Ginny’s help she was able to pack accordingly so that she could stay out of Draco’s clutches. After saying goodbye to Ginny, Hermione went to bed and woke up the next morning rather early; six am in fact, so that she could be at the Malfoy Manor by eight-thirty, so they all could leave at eight-forty-five, because check-in at the Grand Wizard Hotel of Venice was at ten, because Italy was an hour ahead.
Four days…it’s only four days… Hermione was chanting in her head. How hard would it possibly be to keep away from Draco for four, long, sunshine-filled days? All she would have to do would be to just stay within Asteria’s company for all of that time, because Merlin knew that she’d keep Hermione busy.
“Easy,” She smiled to herself as she stepped out of the Malfoy Manor fireplace, having her single suitcase float behind her.
“Ah, Miss Granger, prompt as usual.” Asteria said with an extremely chipper attitude. “We’ll just be a moment. Once my sister, Victoria, finishes putting her final things together we can go.”
Hermione nodded. She didn’t know that Asteria’s sister was going to be on this little trip as well. Whether this was a good thing or not, she wasn’t so sure yet… Victoria had heard hers and Draco’s conversation in the hall the day before, yet promised that Asteria wouldn’t know a thing. Did this mean that Victoria could be counted on as an ally? It was a possibility, a very odd, but genuine possibility.
“All ready for Venice, Granger?”
“…Why not?” Hermione said without turning in the direction of the voice, knowing full-well who it belonged to. “I’ve never been to Venice before, so I consider this a small treat.”
“You should.” Draco said as he came up behind her. “I hear they have lovely beaches.” He added in a whisper into her ear. Hermione shrugged him away from her, and heard him chuckle. Asteria and Victoria came down two minutes later; two rather long and antagonizing minutes.
“All ready to go then?” Asteria grinned.
“I know I am.” Victoria smiled. “I’m in dire need of a trip, so can we please go already?”
Asteria went forward and entangled her arm with Draco who outwardly groaned without care. The two of them, with their luggage went into the fireplace and were whisked away within a matter of seconds. Victoria sighed, shook her head and motioned for Hermione to move forward first.
“This is going to be an interesting trip, won’t it, Miss Granger?” Victoria said to her. Hermione shifted herself in the fireplace so that she and their luggage could fit. A response to that, she didn’t have, so Hermione just gave a brief nod and hoped that Victoria would drop it. She did, and soon they too were engulfed in the Floo flames.
They were already checked in by the time Hermione and Victoria got all of their things out of the fireplace. When they straightened up, their room keys were given into their hands and the four of them were being showed to their rooms. Draco and Asteria had a lavish suite for themselves of course, next door was a room for Victoria, and directly across from them was a room for Hermione, who couldn’t stop her mouth from dropping when she saw how big it was.
“This can’t possibly be all for me…” Hermione muttered, and saw Asteria smirking mercilessly out of the corner of her eye. Whether that was an I’m-glad-you-like-your-room smirk, or a haven’t-you-ever-been-in-a-luxurious-suite-before smirk, it didn’t matter.
Closing the door, Hermione found all of her things already set up in her bedroom. She was about to begin to unpack when there was a knock on her door. She was hoping to think that it was room service, but she never had any luck, and even then she was still in mild surprise, because instead of seeing Asteria, as she had assumed she would, Victoria was on the other side of her door.
“May I come in?” She asked. It wasn’t like as if Hermione could say no, so she nodded and let her inside. “My sister and I are heading out for the majority of this day. Spa treatments and such since Asteria feels, that she 'needs a day off from wedding planning.’”
Hermione inwardly snorted, but on the outside continued to pay close attention to what Victoria was saying and consciously nodding where it seemed appropriate.
“She told me to give you this,” Victoria said as she handed Hermione a piece of paper.
“What is it?”
“The address of the place where Asteria would like to have the wedding… She thought it would be best for you to go out there and take a look at it beforehand, so that way when the four of us go tomorrow, you can give her more efficient results. She’d also like Draco to go with you,” She added in an undertone. Hermione, whose gaze had been at the piece of paper with the address on it, was suddenly toward Victoria whose expression was a mixture of concern and amusement. “He hasn’t seen the wedding spot either, and thought it would good of you two to go together.”
“We’ll go now then,” Hermione said as she tucked the piece of paper into her pocket. “In order to get it over and done with…”
“Sounds like a good idea to me.” Victoria smiled. “Wouldn’t want to do it too late, would you? You might, I don’t know, find yourselves alone in a garden again. We both know how that went last time.”
Hermione watched Victoria smile even broader and then leave, pulling the door in quietly after her. Now, Hermione was nervous. What exactly was Victoria playing at? Sighing, there was nothing that she could do about it now. In under an hour she and Draco would be wandering around Venice during a sunny day, amidst light music and colorful flowers. A wonderful Italian scenery that would make any woman’s knees melt.
“Damn,” She whispered miserably.
author's note: BIG APOLOGIES.....wow, okay, college is officially my kryptonite because it keeps me away from posting :(.... but as ive said on another one of my stories, i havent forgotten and a post is DEFINITELY coming, sooner or later
dont give up on me!! lol :)
Hermione was lying on the sofa in the suite. She was trying not to fall asleep, but it was difficult, especially with the slow and steady flow of air through the vents. As soon as she became fully comfortable, there was a knock on her door and there was only one person that it could be.
“The door’s open.” She regrettably called. She could’ve pretended to be asleep or not in the room. But no, prolonging this would only pose problems, and Merlin forbid she put off their small adventure and ended up doing it at night with the Italian moon and stars and soft music. Sighing, Hermione cocked her head to the side and saw Draco, who was wearing a small smirk (when wasn’t he?) and leaning against the door frame.
“You look rather cozy.” He observed. Hermione shrugged her shoulders and got up from the sofa.
“Let’s go do this, shall we?”
“Well, someone’s anxious.”
“If you mean anxious to go see the wedding spot Victoria’s picked out so that I can retreat back to my hotel suite, then yes, I am.”
Hermione led the way out of the suite and locked the door once Draco had stepped out. She made sure that she was at least three paces away from that little devil, but unfortunately, that strategy was completely destroyed when they had to share an elevator on the way down. To pass the excruciating time spent going down, and to avoid the fact that Draco kept stealing peeks at her, Hermione took the address from out of her pocket. She hadn’t a single idea where the place was and doubted even if she asked someone that she’d be able to find it. French, Hermione was good with, Italian, on the other hand, was a completely different story.
When they reached the ground level of the hotel, Draco motioned for her to exit the elevator first; smiling and saying, “Ladies first.” Hermione scowled at him, while some elderly woman who was going into the elevator gave Draco a smile that screamed, “What a gentleman.”
Gentleman my arse… Hermione raged. She slowed her walk as she entered onto the streets. Sighing, she glanced at the address one more time; as if that would help her. She didn’t understand why Asteria didn’t just give her an apparation site to go to, unless it was a muggle place, which made her scoff, because that was an outright impossibility… As she was thinking about this, Draco, who had been surprisingly quiet and patient, snatched the address from her.
“Hey, give that back!” Hermione said as she reached for the address. Draco, acting like he was ten years old, raised his hand high above his head.
“You want it? Jump for it.” He snickered.
“Oh, for Merlin’s sake, stop acting like a child!”
Hermione was too preoccupied to realize how many of the Italians were staring at them and probably deeply wondering what on earth they were doing. What she also failed to realize was how close in proximity she was to Draco, and how the devious man had, unconscious to her, snaked his arm around her waist in order to keep her close to him. When she finally realized that there was practically no space between them, Hermione gave up, and pushed him away from her. Draco laughed heartily and smiled.
“Giving up already?”
“Ugh, either you find out where the wedding spot is, or give me back the bloody address so I can figure it out.”
“Touchy, touchy,” He grinned. Hermione rolled her eyes.
“I don’t even understand why Asteria has you going with me. It’s not like as if…” Hermione cleared her throat. She was about to say that it wasn’t like as if he cared about what she’d chosen, but she had to remember the primary focus of this trip: business and not pleasure. This was supposed to be a business trip for her, and Hermione had to keep professional, even if Draco was being a prat.
“Can I have the address please?” She asked politely. “Since neither one of us knows Italian, it’s going to take a while to find this place-”
Draco ignored the last part of her statement and went up to a random person on the street.
“Excuse me,” He said to him. “Potete dirmi dove è questa?”
Hermione watched in amazement as Draco and the man had an excited conversation (or rather rapid talking), and after a minute or two, the man parted and Draco went back to Hermione who was at a loss for words.
“You know Italian?”
“Now you know why Asteria wanted me to go with you.” He smiled triumphantly. “Now come on, we’ve got a bit of journey.”
The place Asteria had picked actually was a muggle place. Hermione was in awe, but her astonishment died down a bit when she called to memory the name of the previous owners: The Parsons. The father was a muggle, wife a witch, and their son had grown up to be quite the inventor, and played a huge role in magical technologies of the past thirty years. Hermione wasn’t quite sure how Asteria had gotten her hands on it, but after a short travel through the city to a remote place surrounded by a lovely stream, she realized that the flat– a mansion really –was quite beautiful.
It covered three floors, many acres of land, and had gorgeous yard work done. Hermione thought that it was a great place to have a wedding just by this first look. She was sure that she didn’t have to look at the rest of it, but, just to keep professionalism and to be thorough Hermione took her time to walk all the way around the mansion. Doing so let her see that the yard was just as handsome as the front, and if it were possible, larger; a perfect place to hold the actual ceremony.
By the time Hermione had reached back to the front, she saw Draco rooted to same spot he was in when she had left him. She wasn’t even aware that he hadn’t followed her.
“So,” Draco said as he stuffed his hands into his pockets. He looked up for a moment to the sky and saw how it looked like rain. “What’s the verdict, your majesty?”
“…It’s a lovely place.” Hermione told him as she glanced back at the mansion. “Spacious, great scenery, everything,”
“Yeah, I suppose so. Can we go now?”
“I have to see the inside too, Draco.”
“What? What for..?”
“Asteria told me that she wanted everyone who was going to be involved in the wedding to stay here at least for at least two nights before wedding.” She told him as she neared the mansion and motioned for him to follow. “Therefore, I need to see the inside of it.”
Outwardly groaning, Draco reluctantly followed Hermione to the mansion. There was a small voice that echoed, “Name please..?” when they got close. Asteria hadn’t mentioned anything about name recognition, but Hermione said her name and the door to the mansion opened. It was clever, she thought as they entered the mansion. As Hermione had thought, the inside was just as beautiful as the outside. Roomy, with a winding staircase immediately to her right, a chandelier directly above her and another one stationed a few yards away…
“A quick look upstairs and then we can go.” Hermione said after she had come from exploring a room or two on the ground floor. Draco, who hadn’t gone with her and had stayed behind to stare out of one of the windows, was slowly shaking his head.
“I don’t think we’re going anywhere.” He said as he turned to look at her. Hermione had a confused look on her face
“What do you mean we’re not going anywhere? Suddenly taking a liking to the mansion, have you?”
“Hardly… Take a look outside. We can’t travel in this mess.”
Hermione walked over to where Draco was and took in the condition outside. The look-like-rain sky he had observed earlier had let loose. It was currently pouring rain furiously, and that charming stream had overflowed terribly.
“What does weather have to do with us getting back to the hotel?” She asked. “Unlike coming here, we can actually apparate.”
“No we can’t.” Draco informed her. “Asteria performed an enchantment on the mansion two days before to keep people from apparating inside or out. Of course we could go outside and apparate, but this place hasn’t been muggle-proofed yet, and we could be exposed. Face it, Granger, the only way out of here, is pass that stream, which, as you can see, has overflowed.”
It couldn’t be… He’s kidding… Hermione was thinking, but Draco was, unfortunately telling the truth. There was no way that they’d be getting back to the hotel at the moment, and at the rate the rain was falling, it would be quite a while. So, they were stuck…together.
“Damn,” Hermione muttered under her breath, and continued to stare out the window.
Hermione would’ve done anything for something to eat. She hadn’t eaten anything since that morning, and according to her watch it was three in the afternoon. The rain was relentless, though it had lightened up, it was still hard enough that visibility was difficult, and the ability to differentiate between the stream and the rest of the land was impossible. As of right now, she and Draco were lying on two different sofas. For the most part there was mostly silence, and Hermione was truly grateful, but she knew that thinking things like that always made the bad to come.
“I’m surprised that you haven’t asked.”
“Asked about what..?”
“Why the wedding is going to be here instead of the summer home that I own.”
“I’ve decided to stop asking questions like that.” Hermione admitted to him. “Asteria has her own way of doing things, so there’s no point in asking.”
“Humph, you learn fast, Granger.” Draco snickered. “Always have, and probably always will.”
“Is this your way of trying to make small talk, Draco? If you don’t mind, I think I prefer the silence.”
“We’ll be silent for a long time then. Even if the rain lets up, we still have to wait on the stream to get back to normal. We might even have to spend the night.”
“Merlin, I hope not.” Hermione said a little too quickly. From her position on the sofa, she could see Draco’s brow raise, and a small smirk creep onto his lips.
“Is that tension, I sense, Granger?” He asked in a playful drawl.
“No, no tension. I’d just rather not be left alone with you, is all.” She bit her lip. Why did she say that? It was a perfect lead-way into what was bothering her. It was so perfect, that Draco sat up from his reclining position, smiled, and cupped his hands.
“Still thinking about that kiss, are you?”
“Of course not... I’m still blaming it on the fact that you drank your way through two champagne bottles that night.”
“But I told you that I wasn’t that drunk-”
“And I wish that you hadn’t.” Hermione told him irately. She got up from lying down and stared at him. He was still wearing a smile, and it bothered her to the utmost degree. “Why did you do it?”
“Granger, I already told you why.”
“Then tell me again.”
Draco sighed. He ran his hands through his hair for a moment and then cupped them again. He shrugged shoulders and looked at her.
“I don’t want to marry Asteria. There you have it.”
“…Then why am I planning your wedding, Draco?”
“What can I say?” Draco said as he stood up and gently paced the small space between the two sofas. He stopped in front of her and stared at her with a complacent look. “I’m a man of my word.”
“A man of your word..?” Hermione scoffed and shook her head. “What the hell does that have to do with anything?”
“Granger, I proposed to her. Believe it or not, Asteria wasn’t as controlling as she is now.” Sighing, he sat down next to her. “I can’t break it off.”
“Yes, you can.”
“No, I can’t… I can only get out of this if you help me. Gran-”
“Draco, if you don’t want to be with Asteria anymore, that’s your problem.” She snapped at him. “You shouldn’t have to use anyone, especially me, to get out of a relationship.”
“Yes, I do.” Draco said forcefully. “I can’t get out of this engagement because I promised.”
“I promised. I vowed…”
Hermione looked away from him. She suddenly became more interested in the weather outside than the man she was sitting next to. She couldn’t believe it. It was the most irrational thing someone could ever do. There was only one thing she could say after that, or really, ask:
“It’s all bloody Victoria’s fault.” He said remorsefully. “It was a night at some party. Asteria had left early, and I was with Victoria because I wanted to tell her that I was going to propose to her sister. We both had had plenty to drink, but we weren’t completely out of our minds, though now I beg to differ. She made me promise. She wanted to make sure that I followed through and didn't 'break Asteria's heart.' And now, the only way out of this is if Asteria breaks it off herself, or I commit some sort of infidelity and she finds out about it.”
Silence swept the room. The only thought that was going through her mind was, why me? Hermione understood that Asteria would never break off their engagement. She loved him too much –or his money, whatever it was. Draco needed to be unfaithful in order to save himself, but why did it have to be her? No, it wouldn’t be her. It couldn’t.
“I can’t take this.” Hermione said as she stood and walked away from the sofas.
“Where are you going?”
“Back to the hotel,”
“The hotel..?” Draco said as he began to follow her. “Have you not seen the weather outside?”
“The rain has lightened up.”
“But the stream has not,”
Hermione ignored him, opened the door, and cringed. The rain was almost gone, but indeed, the stream was still overflowed. She wanted to leave. She desperately had to leave, but she was still stranded. Angrily, Hermione slammed the door shut, turned around, and gasped in surprise. Draco was standing directly behind her.
“Move,” Hermione ordered.
“I said, move.” She reiterated, and pushed Draco out of the way. He rolled his eyes and followed her back into the living room.
“You can’t say that you’re mad at me.”
“The hell I can; because you’re making me your way out! Why me? Out of all the women out there-”
“Because you’re the one who fell into my lap, alright..?” Draco admitted with a frustrated sigh. “I was ready to use any woman I could find, but Asteria picked you to be our wedding planner. How lucky was I, huh? Even if I couldn’t make anything happen between us, I knew Asteria would get jealous. Hell, she probably already is.”
“Jealous over what..? I haven’t shown the faintest interest in you.”
“But I have with you,”
That comment made Hermione stop dead. Draco was standing behind her with his arms crossed.
“Well, I know that.” She said uneasily. “But, unfortunately for you, Asteria hasn’t seen any of it.”
“I’m not talking about any of my stupid games.” He told her. “Granger, I’ve always been infatuated with you. That much Asteria knows.”
“...I’m sorry. But I can’t do what you’re asking of me. And I won’t.”
“So, you’d let me die because of a forced unbreakable vow? Thanks a lot.”
Hermione swallowed hard as she watched Draco storm off. Why should he be mad at me? He’s the one who was drunk enough to make an unbreakable vow. He’s the one who’s asking me to go against every moral I’ve set up for myself. Shouldn’t I be the one who’s angry? Then why did she feel so selfish? Shaking her head, she sighed and stared out of the window.
The rain was finished. Now she was only waiting on the stream.
author's note: yey! another chapter..... you've waited long enough, and i definitely dont want to take months to write another chapter like last time :)
so, here you go, and look out for the updates of my other stories. they're coming, slowly, but surely!!
It took a whole two hours for the stream to get back to normal. When it had, Hermione and Draco crossed it and made their way back to the hotel in silence. Both of them were angry with each other, both thinking that they were right and that the other was just being selfish. Once they got back to the hotel, they went their separate ways and into their suites. Hermione was more than ecstatic to finally be away from him. Honestly, what did he really think? That she would take pity on him and say, “Okay, I’ll have a small affair with you so you won’t have to marry Asteria.” It wasn’t going to happen, unbreakable vow or not. And besides, the vow, or at least what he told her about it, mentioned nothing about him not being able to divorce Asteria. He could do that. Marry the woman and then divorce her shortly after. Draco didn’t need Hermione despite how he made it out to seem, and thinking that completely cleared her conscience. She’d tell him that too, because it was quite possible that that thought hadn’t even crossed his mind.
Hermione sighed, and called room service since she was absolutely starving. Before she could settle into the sofa as she had before Draco came to get her, the fireplace within the room which had been ignited gave a small sputter. Furrowing her brow, she went over to it, and slightly gasped when she saw a face appear within it. After realizing who it was, she put her hands on her hips and grinned.
“How did you know which fireplace to appear in?” Hermione asked.
“I didn’t.” Harry told her. “Took a few tries before I found the right one. So, how’s Italy?”
“I’d rather be in England.”
“Are you kidding? You always told me that you wanted to go there.”
“Yes, but I wanted to go with people like you, and Ron, and Ginny; not bloody Malfoy and his prissy fiancée.”
“Whoa, what’s got your knickers in a knot? Are they giving you a hard time? Because Ron and I could always-”
“It’s…complicated.” Hermione said bitterly. “Let’s just say the wedding is hardly worth what I’m getting paid.”
“Are you thinking about not planning their wedding anymore?”
In truth Hermione wasn’t. She was merely trying to figure out a way to deal with her current situation of Draco trying to make her his exit strategy. But what if she did quit their wedding? There wouldn’t be a thing they could do about it except grip and moan. But I’d lose any potential clients… Hermione frowned. And that was the last thing that she wanted no matter how things were turning out.
“’Mione..? ‘Mione..? Did you blank out on me?”
“What? Oh, sorry, and no, I’m not going to stop planning the wedding.” Hermione sighed and crossed her arms. “I’ll deal with it, don’t worry.”
Harry nodded just as there was a knock on the door. There were only three people it could be so she rolled her eyes and told Harry that she’d talk to him later or simply see him when she got back. Once his face was out of the fireplace Hermione answered the door and saw Victoria with a broad smile on your face.
“How was the small trip with Draco?” She asked. Hermione wanted to vomit because of the tone of voice Victoria was putting on. It was such a false aura of friendship and sincerity.
“Really, even with that terrible storm earlier?”
“Yes, well, there are worse things than rain. On a more business note, the place that Asteria has picked out is quite lovely.”
“Fantastic so long as you don’t change your mind when the four of us make a trip there tomorrow,”
“Trust me, I won’t. Especially since I don’t want to go on another trip with Draco.” She mumbled underneath her breath. “Um, is that all you wanted?”
Victoria, who had taken it upon herself to venture into Hermione’s suite and take a small look, turned to look at her and then grinned.
“No, that’s not all. I’ve come with a message from my sister. She’s treating everyone to dinner this evening. Semi-elegant wear, of course, and we’re to meet her and Draco in the lobby promptly at seven-forty-five.”
“Alright then, I’ll make sure that I’m ready.”
Victoria nodded and made her way out of the suite before stopping, and giving Hermione a wry stare.
“You know, Draco seemed a bit…shaken when you both returned. You wouldn’t happen to know why, would you?”
“I don’t know.” Hermione said half-truthfully, but then gave a rival stare and added, “It’s not like as if I’m his keeper, right?”
“Humph, of course not... That’s what Asteria’s for.”
Hermione closed the door after she left and leaned up against it. She shook her head and painfully realized that this was only day one of this four-day trip. So far she had already learned that Draco was an idiot for making the Unbreakable Vow, drunk or drunk not, and that he was completely unfair in what he was asking her to do. What was going to happen the next day? Draco was going to sneak into her suite, crawl into bed with her, and make sure that Asteria found out? Hermione shuddered at the thought and double checked that the door was secure.
Hermione had expected that she would have an “elegant” evening during at least one point in this business/pleasure trip, so she was happy to know that she had planned accordingly and brought along one or two outfits that could pass as such. By six-thirty she was in the shower and by seven-thirty-five she was putting the finishing touches on her face and hair. After finally feeling satisfied with herself, she hurried downstairs where she saw with discontent that Draco was the only one in the lobby.
Why should you be surprised, Hermione? She asked herself. He always finds a way to be with you when you’re alone. Just accept the fact that Merlin hates you. She slowed herself down to a walk (for she had been rushing) and stopped when Draco spotted her. He looked good. Dressed in black slacks, a white button-up and a semi-formal jacket; if he and Hermione was a couple they would’ve matched since she was wearing a simple black knee-length dress. Normally she would’ve complimented him, not just because she was a nice person, but because it was always good to butter up the clients from time to time. Yet with the current situation he was lucky she hadn’t hexed him yet.
“You look nice.” Draco mumbled to her. Hermione clutched her small purse and nodded.
“Thanks, so do you.” She replied briskly. If now more than ever she wished Asteria was there. Anything to break the awful tension that she was feeling... “Where’s Asteria?” Draco looked up at her and chuckled as he stuffed his hands into his pockets.
“You sound like as if you actually want to see her. What’s the matter, don’t want to be alone with me?”
“When have I ever wanted to be alone with you?” Hermione snapped at him. Sighing, she added in a whisper, “Besides, after our little conversation back at the mansion it gave me a bonus reason.”
“For Merlin’s sake, you’re acting like as if I asked you to do something unreasonable.”
“And you don’t think asking me to have an affair with you isn’t unreasonable!”
“In order to get me out of this mess..? No-!”
“Are we all ready to go?”
Hermione and Draco quickly ended their just-above-a-whisper row as they saw Asteria in all her glory walking towards them with Victoria following at her side.
“Oh, Miss Granger, don’t you look lovely!”
“Thank you, Asteria. You look great as well.”
“Well, of course she does.” Victoria said arrogantly. “She didn’t pay nearly five thousand galleons for her dress for nothing.”
Draco visibly flinched and scowled when he heard the price and Hermione, someone who had had pity for him when it came to money, merely huffed on the inside declaring that he deserved it. The four of them locked hands with each other since Asteria was the only one who knew where they were going and landed in an abandoned alley. Asteria, arm-in-arm with Draco, led the way out and up a block to a petite restaurant. Once inside they were presented as the “Malfoy party” since Draco’s fiancée had taken it upon herself to book their time at the restaurant in his name.
The restaurant was nice, Hermione concluded. She had expected nothing than the best if Asteria was planning anything. The four of them were led by a waiter to a petite round table on a small pedestal which gave a perfect view of the entire restaurant.
“So, how did you like the wedding spot, Miss Granger?” Asteria asked after they ordered. Hermione automatically casted at glance at Draco, who was heavily sipping wine, and then looked toward Victoria, who had a sly smirk on her face.
“It was very nice.” Hermione answered. “Very spacious, excellent grounds… A wonderful place to have a wedding, truly,”
“I’m so glad that you think so. I’ve already put a down payment on the mansion-”
“You did what?” Draco said after nearly choking on his wine. “And what if she didn’t like the mansion?”
“Well, a couple thousand galleons would’ve gone down the drain. Come on, Draco, you and I both know that you can afford it.”
Victoria snickered, Draco scowled, Asteria smiled triumphantly, and Hermione was tempted to drink all of her wine in one go and then call for another like as if she sitting at a bar. She didn’t feel like having an extravagant dinner anymore (not like she had in the first place). Somehow in this moment she realized that she disliked everyone she was sitting around. Asteria was quite the piece the work and cared nothing but about herself. Victoria was a woman of games and seemed to be watching Hermione like a hawk. And Draco, bloody Draco, was giving her the biggest headache out of the three of them, and seeing him watching her from the corner of her eye was driving her insane.
“Miss Granger, are you alright?” Asteria asked her gently. Hermione jumped up out of her reverie and sighed.
“No, not really… Feeling a little bit ill, actually,” She lied. “I think that I might have to go back to the hotel.”
“Oh, how awful,” Victoria said in mock sympathy. “Why don’t you let Draco go along with you? If you’re ill, you shouldn’t be heading out by yourself-”
“No, it’s quite fine. A small apparation and everything will be alright.”
“Very well then… Until tomorrow then, Miss Granger,”
Hermione nodded and gathered her things to leave. She was happy to finally be out of there and hurried her steps to the apparation spot once she was clear of the restaurant. Once she was back in her room at the hotel, Hermione let out a sigh of relief. Now more than ever she wanted to go back to England. Sure she wouldn’t have been shot of Draco just yet, but at least she’d be able to go home and not be any more than a door down from him.
After kicking off her shoes and loosing the band that held part of her hair together, there was a knock on her door. Furrowing her brow, Hermione looked through the peep hole and cursed out loud. She put her hand on the doorknob and was tempted to just back away and pretend she never heard the knock. How would he know that she was back in her room already? She could’ve taken a small walk around the city for a moment or two before apparating back for all he knew.
“Come on, Granger, open the door.” Draco called from behind it. Sighing, Hermione unlocked and opened the door.
“What in Merlin’s name are you doing here? I didn’t think Asteria would’ve had you to leave her dinner party. Or her side for that matter,”
“I told her I was stepping out for a moment to answer a business owl. You know her; won’t let me mess up on anything that allows me to make money.”
“Yes, yes, we both know that Asteria’s…” Hermione bit her tongue and collected her composure. She didn’t really allow herself to talk bad about her clients, especially when another one of them was standing in front of her. “What do you want, Malfoy, I’m ill, remember?”
“You and I both know that you’re not ill.”
“And what does that matter to you? All I want right now is to let the next few days to roll on by so I can go home. I won’t be rid of you there either, but at least-”
“You could be rid of me right now if you just do what I ask!” Draco shouted at her.
“Or you find another guinea pig, Malfoy..!” She shot back at him. “I signed up for a wedding, Draco. Not to get you out of a situation that you made yourself,”
“…Fine, alright, it wasn’t fair, I get it.” He sighed and ran his hands through his hair. “But I’m kind of desperate here, Granger.”
“I’ve noticed, and don’t think that I’m not sorry for you. I am, because this is a stupid thing to die over. But you really need to find another way.”
Hermione frowned and saw that he was defeated. As of right now she hardly cared. So long as her as his way out of marrying Asteria was out of the agenda, it was all fine with her. She had turned away from Draco and was pretty sure that he had silently left the room. She shook her head and positioned her hands in order to zip down her dress. It was much easier zipping up than down, she figured, and was about to go get her wand, when she shivered at the feel of cold hands at her back. Hermione muffled a small gasp when Draco’s voice whispered in her ear.
“Just helping,” He told her, and she felt the zipper of her dress slowly go down. After that Draco slipped himself out of her suite, and closed the door behind him. Hermione closed her eyes and sighed.
“The sooner I get out of here, the better.”
author's note: okay, it took forever to write and get posted up here, but i did! hope you liked it and please remember to review. it gives me inspiration for the next post so....yup! :)
The rest of the time in Italy flew by. Hermione kept her head on straight and was in professional mode one hundred percent. She even solicited Asteria to come to her room so she could get a detailed list of how she wanted the mansion to be set up so Hermione could start the bulk of the ordering. “The earlier we get this out of the way, the more time you can spend on yourself.” She had told her, and at the mention of Asteria having the ability to focus on herself, her eyes lit up. This pleased the bride-to-be so much that she went to Hermione’s suite twice a day the rest of the three days so her vision could be written down. Sure it was a tad torturous for Hermione to have to sit and listen to Asteria ramble on and on, but aside from the fact that it almost made her ears bleed, she was able to get substantial amount of work done. And to top it all off, Hermione didn’t see Draco with the exception of a passing glance.
Before she knew it, Hermione’s time in Italy was over, and she was apparating home. She never thought that she would be so happy to be home, but she was. She didn’t have to worry about opening her door and seeing Draco on the other side of it with that pitiful look that he had developed. But just because she wasn’t in such a close proximity of him anymore, didn’t assuage much of her feelings. Draco was still in a rut. Hermione had told him that she would help him find another way out, but how?
I could point him in the direction of some other woman he could sleep with… She thought, but no matter how much she didn’t want that for herself, Hermione couldn’t put it on someone else. In her mind she would only be like Draco, and that was the last thing that she wanted. Sighing, Hermione decided that she would think about it tomorrow. It wasn’t like she had a choice anyway. Asteria wanted her to come by the Manor in order to perform another dress fitting. Sure, it was three thousand galleons in her pocket in one afternoon, but she was hoping to have at least two days worth of a break from them. However, things were never that easy.
Unlike the last time, Victoria wasn’t in on the dress fitting. To make light conversation, Hermione asked why, and Asteria uninterestingly shrugged her shoulders and said that her sister had some business to take care of. Though most people would take that excuse and be done with it, Hermione couldn’t help but feel sketchy. A woman like Victoria had “business” that her uppity sister didn’t know about? It sounded odd, but as long as she didn’t have to see her again or at least anytime soon, Hermione hardly cared.
“Alright, how does that look for you?”
“So far it’s perfect.” Asteria said happily. “I think one more dress fitting and I’ll be completely satisfied.”
“That’s good then.” Hermione said as she tucked her wand away. “And I’ve contacted the florists, the sculptors, and the designers for the invitations. I’ll write to you the cost and we can go from there.”
“Excellent. I suppose the next time that I’ll be seeing you will be at the next counseling session?”
“Oh, yes, on Monday as always.”
After making sure that Hermione had all of her things, she was about to leave the room until Asteria called her back with a question that seemed unbefitting of her.
“Miss Granger…do couples always fight at counseling sessions?” Asteria asked her. Hermione stared at her curiously and had temporarily become at a loss for words. For the first time knowing her, Asteria had said something in a gentle and meaningful tone, like as if the answer was really important to her.
“…Well, um, sometimes.” Hermione told her, which was the absolute truth.
“Does it usually mean something bad? I mean, like, things won’t work out?”
This was the perfect opportunity. Hermione could’ve told her that in most cases it did mean something bad, and that maybe she should postpone the wedding and think about things. But for Hermione, that was an awful thing for her to do. She couldn’t lie. It would be a disgrace to her profession. She was supposed to help couples work out their issues, not add ones to those that they already had. Sighing, and blowing the perfect moment, Hermione said,
“Not all the time… It just…needs work is all. Only work,”
Asteria smiled whole-heartily, while a part of Hermione was calling her an idiot. Maybe in this way, Asteria would see that she and Draco truly did have problems, and maybe things could’ve escalated from there and the wedding would’ve been cancelled. But sadly, Hermione was no liar. So with that, she left Asteria’s room and walked down the halls that she just about knew by heart. She was about to go down the stairs when she heard his voice. Hermione closed her eyes and silently cursed under her breath. She knew that it was too good to be true; to spend an entire afternoon with Asteria at the Manor and not run into him. Her luck wasn’t that good.
“You blew it, you know.” Draco said to her. Hermione turned to face him and furrowed her brow.
“I don’t know what you’re-”
“Didn’t you realize that she was thinking? That she, for the first time since this whole ordeal started, had doubts? Now she’ll be all smiles again because of you.”
“…You were listening?” Hermione said repulsively as she crossed her arms. Draco shook his head.
“I was walking pass the door when Asteria asked you about the sessions.”
“I was merely being honest.”
“You should’ve lied.”
“And you’re in no business to tell me what I shouldn’t or should’ve done. Besides,” Hermione added as she began to descend the stairs. “You’ve plenty more counseling sessions. I haven’t made my diagnosis yet.”
Harry was the first one to see her after Hermione had gotten back from her little trip in Italy. He was eagerly waiting to find out how the rest of it had turned out, especially since she wasn’t too happy when he had talked to her through the fireplace at the hotel. Hermione merely shrugged her shoulders, told him that Asteria was a regular pain in the arse and that Draco kept giving her his well-known seductive eyes the entire time. Though Ginny, who had tagged along with her husband, could look into her friend’s eyes and see that there was a whole lot more to be told. Luckily for them, Harry had to head off back to work, which gave the two women time to talk.
“Alright, now it’s time to tell me the parts of the story that you left out.” Ginny said. Hermione sighed, knowing beforehand that she spilling the rest of the story before the evening was over.
“Well, I found out why Malfoy’s been using me in order to break him and Asteria apart.”
“And…? What’s the reason?”
“Gin, he made an Unbreakable Vow with Asteria’s sister so that he’d have to get married to her. If he doesn’t, he’ll well, die.”
Ginny’s eyes grew wide and her mouth dropped. For a few moments she couldn’t speak and was completely at a loss for words.
“That’s the wildest thing I’ve ever heard!” She exclaimed. “What on earth possessed him to do that?”
“Long story,” Hermione said with a groan. “But just know that he’s been trying to get with me because it’s the only way out of the vow. Asteria has to be the one to call off the wedding.”
“Insane…absolutely insane… But why you, ‘Mione..? Out of all of the women he could you know with.”
“Because I’m the one who fell into his lap, so he says.”
“Bullocks, if you ask me.” Ginny argued irritably. After a few passing seconds she looked at her friend with a bit of worry in her eyes. “You’re not going to do it, are you? You know…help him?”
“Not in the way you’re thinking.” Hermione replied. She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. “I told him that I would, but not by having some stupid affair with him. Asteria has to be the one to call off the wedding, then so be it.”
Ginny stayed over at Hermione’s flat for dinner since Harry had owled her and told her that he would be getting home a bit late. Unfortunately, their meal was interrupted by an owl that made Hermione want to toss herself from off the roof. It was from Asteria, naturally, saying that she was doing a bit of shopping for the gowns and suits for those who were to be in the wedding and that she wanted Hermione to tag along. She was tempted to reply back saying that she was ill and unable to come, but Ginny reminded her that there were five thousand galleons in it for her, since this outing counted as giving her opinion on the clothing. Since Hermione was, just as most people were, a sucker for money, she wrote back to Asteria saying that she’d be at the Manor within the half hour.
At the Manor, Hermione met quite a few people, most of whom were at the engagement party from the week before. They, Asteria introduced, were her bridesmaids and their grooms. Victoria of course was to be her maid of honor, but Asteria had set up a special day for herself to get her dress ready. As they all began to disapparate to the shoppe they were getting the clothes from, Hermione asked a question she thought that she never would:
“Where’s Draco?” She asked.
“Oh, he’s not feeling too well, unfortunately. He’s stuck in bed, but I’m sure that he’ll be better by the time we return.”
Hermione nodded and vaguely wondered if Draco was sick at all. Probably not…she thought, and was soon being swarmed by questions and determined stares. “Does this dress hug me tight enough?” “Do you think the shoulders in this jacket are too broad?” “Is this color too loud?” Hermione answered them as honest as she could, but as it neared the third hour of being in the same shoppe pouring over hundreds of clothes, she crossed the point of not caring and began saying anything that crossed her mind. By eight that night, Hermione was finally to be shot of everyone and there were five thousand galleons in her pocket, but unfortunately, her job wasn’t quite done yet.
As of right now, Hermione was back at the Manor with a tux hanging over her arm. Since Draco was “sick,” she was asked to see if the tux that Asteria had picked out looked fine on him; and if it didn’t to “make the necessary changes,” because she was that fantastic of a designer.
So, Hermione traversed the halls in order to find the bedroom where Draco was supposed to be and eventually found it after countless minutes of searching. The door was slightly ajar but she wasn’t going to head right in. After a bit of hesitation, Hermione knocked on the door without pushing it further open. There wasn’t an immediate answer, but soon after contemplating leaving the tux at the foot of the door, it opened, and she saw Draco’s face.
“What are you doing here?” He asked.
“Tux,” She replied, gently raising it so that he could see. “Asteria asked me to make sure it fit properly.
Draco stared at her for a moment, looked her up and down and then allowed her into the bedroom. Hermione went in and shut the door behind her. The bed was rather messy, signifying that he had been laying in it. If she stared into his face good enough, he really did look sick.
“If you’re not up to it, we can do this later.”
“No, it’s fine.”
Hermione handed over the tux and Draco conjured a partition for him to change behind. She sat on the edge of the bed and waited until he was finished. By the time he had finished and come from behind the partition, she could tell that additional work was needed.
“This won’t take long,” She told him as she took out her wand. “Just a few moderations,”
Draco nodded and stood still as Hermione fixed the hems of the pant-leg and then moved on to the cuffs.
“…You look awful.” Hermione said softly. He chuckled.
“Yeah, thanks for pointing out the obvious.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean-”
“It’s fine.” Draco interrupted, and then let his arms fall to his side once she was finished. “I know how I look. I wasn’t feeling so well soon after you left.”
“You know, it could be just stress.”
“Oh, I know it’s stress.”
Draco magically changed out of his clothes and sat down on the side of his bed. He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. Hermione thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to go, but somewhere inside of her pity had swelled, and she was compelled to sit down beside him.
“I’ve been trying to rack my brain and figure out what Asteria saw in me in the first place.” He said to her. “You know, maybe if I could figure it out, I could undo everything, but I haven’t quite found anything as of yet.”
“Well, if you ask me, I think that even if you did that, she’d still cling onto you for dear life.” Hermione giggled, and then stood. “Alright, now off to bed you go.”
“Believe it or not, but I’m sending you to bed. You really do look like you need your rest.”
“Fine, if you say so.”
Hermione shook her head and smirked slightly as she watched Draco crawl into bed and pull the covers up to his waist.
“I hope you’re better by tomorrow.” She told him. “I don’t think that I could stand being alone with Asteria like how I was today.”
Draco laughed and grabbed a hold of her hand which was resting near him. Hermione looked at it but didn’t fight for it back. She merely let him have it for those few and long seconds until he released it. After a short contemplation, Hermione gave him a small and quick kiss on the cheek –a sort of silent good-bye –and then nodded, easing herself out of the room and apparated back to her flat.
author's note: wow, okay, so its been a little while since i posted, but, of course, the life of a college student is so busy! anywho, here's a post and i hope that you liked it.
don't forget to review! :)
Draco stayed sick for a couple days. Hermione was actually worried about him, and frustrated on top of that because her time was taken up mostly by Asteria. During this time the invitations were sent out, the mansion in Italy was fully paid for, and the wedding clothes were just about picked out. Hermione had advised Asteria that she might be moving a bit fast. “Maybe you should wait until after the counseling sessions are over?” she had asked, but Asteria would hear nothing of it.
As time flew by and the counseling sessions were coming to a close, they were nearing the three month marker. Hermione had done so much for the wedding already and there was still seven months until June when the wedding would take place. For an ordinary couple, it would be right around now where she would really start getting into things and meeting with the soon-to-be bride and groom to discuss things in greater detail. But with Asteria, it definitely sped up the process, and Hermione began to realize that in the two or three months before the actual wedding, she’d have nothing to do.
If there’s even going to be a wedding… She thought to herself. The last counseling session was the next day. Hermione had let on to Draco that it would be there that she’d declare that he and Asteria weren’t a good match for each other, or at very least say that they had some things to work out and that maybe it was a good idea to push back the wedding for a few months.
It wasn’t a complete lie, the second part. Hermione honestly did think that the wedding should be pushed off, and that they should have a serious talk about their future. As for them not being a good match, that was a different story. Though it didn’t seem like it, Asteria fit perfectly into Draco’s world. She descended from money. She was a part of the high social class. She knew everyone there was to know, and settled for nothing but the best. Draco was the same way. The only thing that Hermione could find that made his and Asteria’s relationship bad was the fact that there was absolutely no consideration of each other’s feelings. They did what they wanted for themselves and not for each other. If they could work that out, they’d be fine.
As the counseling session went on the next day, Hermione was having a fit. She didn’t show that on the outside, of course, but because of her nervousness, she had been to the bathroom more times that morning than an average person should’ve. She was stuck between a rock and a hard place: doing what Draco wanted her to do and her morals. She kept thinking about Asteria and her asking if fighting among couples meant that they weren’t going to last. That was the first and only humanistic thing she had ever said to Hermione, and suddenly her whole view of the princess had shifted. Yes, she was still an arrogant prick much like her fiancée, but buried somewhere underneath that horrid personality and millions worth of diamonds, lay a heart that wasn’t completely oblivious to the problems that she and Draco shared.
“So, what do you think of us?” Asteria asked as she linked her arms with Draco. Hermione stared between her notes, and them, strongly conflicted. Sighing, she settled her stare onto Asteria’s beaming eyes and Draco’s impatient ones. With the stopping of her heart and a rush of blood to her head, Hermione blurted out,
“You two are perfect for each other.”
“I knew it!” Asteria shouted with glee. “I absolutely knew it. Not that I had any doubts, of course.”
“Now, I will admit that you two do have some communication issues.” Hermione added, trying to rectify herself, though the look of daggers Draco was giving her wasn’t easing the situation. “Asteria, you really should learn to talk to Draco more. You know, try not deciding on everything yourself.”
“Yes, yes, I suppose I could. Come love,” She said as she stood, pulling Draco up with her. “Let’s go celebrate.”
“Alright, I’ll meet you downstairs. I just want to have a small word with our counselor.”
“Don’t take too long.”
Asteria left the office while Hermione had gotten up from her seat and began rearranging her paperwork, anything to distract her from the fact that Draco was still in the room. For a second she was beginning to think that he had left without a noise, but she knew that he didn’t for he said in a calm accusing tone:
“You’re a liar.”
“Excuse me?” Hermione asked as she turned around. Draco licked his lips quickly and nodded.
“I said you’re a liar. Come on,” Draco said as he stuffed his hands into his pockets. “Out with it. Say what you were supposed to say.”
“Fine, you want me to say it? Alright, here it is: you and I know that Asteria is vindictive, controlling, and cares about absolutely nothing but herself and how to make herself look good. And as for you, well-” Hermione stopped and took a deep breath. He was waiting, gazing at her intently for her to finish explaining why she lied. With great difficulty, she continued. “As for you…we’ve both established that you don’t truly love her. But I was not going to tell Asteria that. What I said… I gave her advice… You could use that to-”
Draco didn’t wait around for her to finish. In a flash he had angrily left her office and was gone, leaving her office door half open.
“I think you’re absolutely mad.”
“Oh come on,”
“I’m being serious.”
“You know, I came to you because I thought that you’d be the least judgmental.”
“And you came to me for that? Now I know that you’ve lost your mind.”
Hermione drank two large gulp-fulls of her tea that nearly choked her so she could keep her mouth shut. Yes, it was quite stupid of her to go to Ron –one of the most judgmental people she knew –to ask for advice. But she needed someone new to talk to. She had already known what Harry and Ginny would say to her after hearing what she had done, but thought that hearing Ron’s opinion might give her at the very least an inch of a different insight. Though, as she sat in his kitchen that afternoon she was beginning to think that she should’ve kept things to herself.
“This whole thing could’ve been over if you had just lied, ‘Mione.” Ron told her. “The wedding would’ve been called off, Malfoy would’ve been a free man and so would’ve you.”
“I don’t think it would’ve been that simple.” Hermione sighed. “As much as a fighter Asteria is she would’ve contested it. She would’ve told me that I was wrong and probably would’ve fired me.”
“Well, I’ll be damned if you sleep with him. I’d rather you be with Krum before that ever happened.”
“No,” Ron smirked, and Hermione laughed.
“Oh, I don’t know what to do. This is Malfoy’s bloody problem, not mine. Maybe Ginny’s right. Maybe I really do care too much.”
“Come on, you should never hate yourself for that. It’s one of the things I love about you.”
“Stop,” Hermione began to blush. “You love a lot of things about me.”
“I know, and the fact that you care about people is ranked number one. Just remind Malfoy that divorce is an option. If he doesn’t go for that then, well hell, at least you tried.”
Hermione was asked to fix Victoria’s maid of honor dress two days later. The last person she felt like dealing with was Victoria. She was just as unbearable as her sister, but what was worse was that she knew. She knew about that kiss –that wasn’t at all Hermione’s fault –and always wore a smirk on her face whenever she saw her and Draco together. Surprisingly, the dress fitting wasn’t all that bad. Victoria had mostly kept quiet during the whole thing, though when it was over, she had finally decided to speak.
“My sister told me about the counseling session today.”
“Figured she would,” Hermione replied as she pocketed her wand. “She’s still positively beaming.”
“Of course she is.” Victoria said in a matter-of-fact tone. “You gave her full reasoning not to postpone the wedding.”
“She was going to postpone it?”
“She was thinking about it. But alas, Miss Granger, you gave her hope. Can you believe that she’s actually going to start considering Draco’s feelings? It’s rather amusing.”
Things in life were cruel. Hermione now had the sudden urge to want to vomit. It could’ve been over. It could’ve all been over if she had lied. Well, lied about the right thing, that is... For the first time in her life, telling the truth had done absolutely nothing for her and it still left everyone in a hole. And now what..? There were very few cards left to play now, and Hermione feared the very last one.
Sighing, she gathered her things and left the bedroom. Just as she was leaving, Hermione saw Draco turning the corner. He looked up at the sound of her footsteps, saw her, and then immediately went back to where he had just come from.
“Malfoy, wait!” Hermione called, but he didn’t stop walking. He was a tall man, and she had to basically run to catch up to him. “Malfoy,” She said again once she got near. She put her hand on his shoulder and he instantly knocked it off and turned angrily towards her.
“What do you want, Granger?” He replied coldly.
“You left yesterday before I could explain.”
“Explain what? What could you possibly explain to me? It’s pretty obvious that you completely screwed me over.”
“Excuse me? I believe that you were already screwed over before I came into play.” Hermione snapped at him. “You never gave me the chance to explain that this could work in your favor. When Asteria tries to communicate with you, fight it. Make it difficult for her. Merlin knows you’ve made this bloody difficult with me.”
“…You don’t understand.”
“Then make me.”
Hermione was getting frustrated. Draco was complaining to her about her messing things up, when there she was offering a perfect solution and he was shutting her down. What the hell was he playing at? Why was he making things so hard? Hermione was on the verge of hurling herself at him, but instead shoved him inside an open room and locked the door after herself.
“I don’t understand you!” Hermione shouted. “I give you options, but you don’t take them! You have no idea how close I am to just leaving you high and dry-!”
“You annoy the hell out of me.” Draco said randomly. And in a weird twisted turn of events he had, unknowingly to Hermione, backed her against the door. “I thought you were smart.”
“What are you talking about?” She asked confusedly, and wished dearly that he wasn’t so close. He chuckled and placed his hands on either side of her.
“I suppose it hasn’t occurred to you at all that I want no other option?” He said to her, and before Hermione could react he kissed her. The difference between the kiss at the engagement party and this was that she could taste no liquor. His hands were on the back of her neck now, and she couldn’t even pull away. There was no space between her and him, or between her and the door that she was so heavily pressed against. There was nothing that she could do except play along until some way of escape reached her.
Hermione kissed him back and felt ashamed of herself. She was trying to keep her mind straight. She was only cooperating until Draco gave her some bodily space –enough room so she could push him off of her, slap him maybe, and go home. But he wasn’t letting up. If anything he was pushing against her even more, and when his lips gracefully moved from hers to just beneath her chin and alongside her neck, Hermione couldn’t move.
Her eyes involuntarily closed at the feel of his hands around her waist and gripped her tightly. There was no escaping now, and as Draco stopped momentarily and looked into her eyes, Hermione frowned. She was shaking beyond belief and knew he could feel it. There was only one thing to say at this point.
“I hope to hell you know how much I hate you right now.” She said to him. Draco smiled and nodded, and was thanking Merlin that the room they were in was completely sound proof. He kissed her again with much more force, this time with Hermione’s full participation.
author's note: hm, i wonder how long has it been since i posted... lol... well, here it is anyway, and i hope that you liked it. please leave a review like you always do, and i'll be sure to answer them :)
Chapter 9: Confusion, Just Because, and No Howlers
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Hermione was pacing up and down her flat mercilessly. She had Owled Ginny almost an hour ago and she still hadn’t made it yet. Sighing, she was rubbing her shoulders up and down and then stopping, remembering how Draco had done the same. Suddenly she took a quick sniff at her clothes and cursed the fact that they smelled like him.
“Damn it,” Hermione swore aloud. She immediately went into her bedroom and changed out of her clothes. She even went as far as throwing them in the trash. She wanted nothing that was going to remind her how stupid she had been and how she had momentarily lost her mind. How had he gotten her to lose all control? She had been so steady, so unmoving, and yet in one moment Hermione had lost her footing completely and fell…hard. It was unbelievable, and she had absolutely no idea how she’d be able to face him –or Asteria or her sister for that matter –ever again.
The sound of apparation filled her ears and Ginny stood in the middle of the living room apologizing.
“Sorry, I was busy and only just saw your owl. What’s going on?”
“Gin, you’re going to kill me.”
“What? What for..?”
“It has to do with Malfoy.”
“I still don’t understand. What would I kill you for?”
“Well, it sort of has to do with, um, Malfoy’s little proposal to help him get out of marrying Asteria.”
“- No,” Ginny said with wide-eyes. She gripped her best friend’s shoulders and accused, “You slept with him?!”
“No!” Hermione shouted. “No, I didn’t do that. But…oh Gin, let’s just say that we did enough things to each other that... Oh, I can’t even talk about it.”
“I don’t believe it! Hermione, you said you wouldn’t! I advised you that you shouldn’t. And it’s…it’s…it’s Malfoy! And he’s getting married! And it’s Malfoy!”
“I know, I know! You have no idea how awful I feel. Thank Merlin there was a fireplace in the room so I didn’t have to sneak around Asteria when trying to leave.”
“Oh, no, Asteria..!” Ginny said urgently. “I hope that she didn’t, you know, hear you.”
“No, if you’ll believe it the room was sound proof.” Hermione said with her head in her hands.
“But I don’t understand. What happened to- to standing your ground? To not letting Malfoy getting his way? How on earth did all of that just completely fly out of the window?!”
“I wish I knew.” Hermione groaned. “He wouldn’t let me get away. And by the time I could’ve actually done so…it was a bit hard to. What am I going to do? I can’t face either of them ever again.”
“Well, maybe you won’t have to.”
“What do you mean? Gin, I’m their wedding planner.”
“Not anymore you aren’t,” Ginny told her. “Malfoy’s finally had his affair. Once Asteria finds out, it’ll all be over. You’ll finally be rid of him.”
Hermione had been looking at the downside of her little…thing with Draco, but she had completely forgotten the plus side of it. She was free. The wedding would be called off now and then she and Draco could finally go their separate ways. She could put everything behind her and hold her head up high –or as high enough as her dignity would allow.
Hermione took two back-to-back showers that night and went to bed early. She was sure that she wouldn’t feel better about herself for at least another week, but the thought that everything would be called off made up for how she felt. Before she went to lie in bed, she opened her window wide enough so an owl could fly through. In the morning she figured that there would be an owl perched on desk with a letter in its beak from Asteria, stating that the wedding was off and condemning her for running her pending marriage.
When Hermione woke up the next morning, there was a letter from Asteria on her desk just as she knew there would be. She was quite surprised that it wasn’t a howler. But what surprised her most was that the first words of the letter wasn’t, “The wedding is off.” In fact, she couldn’t find those words written anywhere in the letter though Hermione had read it at least three times. All it said was that Asteria wanted her to go to the Manor in order to fix a few “wardrobe malfunctions” for a few of the bridesmaids and that she would be paid handsomely for it.
To say that Hermione was confused was a complete understatement. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. She was supposed to be finished. There wasn’t supposed to be a wedding anymore, and her career as a wedding planner should’ve been suffering a peg or two. There was only one way to figure out what was going on and that was to immediately head over to Manor, do what Asteria had asked her to do, and find Draco.
Fixing the bridesmaids’ gowns wasn’t that difficult. In fact, Hermione could find no fault in them, but Asteria insisted that something about them “just wasn’t right.” But of course, nothing was “just right” when it came to Asteria. She strived for perfection, though Hermione didn’t have the heart to tell her that there was no such thing as having the perfect anything.
Once she was finished, Hermione went in an open search of Draco. She didn’t care if someone saw that she was looking for him. She had only one agenda right then, and once she found him in what seemed to be a study, she openly asked, “Why am I still planning a wedding?”
Draco looked up at her in full surprise. “You really shouldn’t say something like that in the middle of the hallway.”
Hermione was apprehensive about being anywhere alone with him, but he was right. Sighing, she walked inside and closed the door behind her. “Well? Answer me. I should be rid of you right now.”
“Why? Because of yesterday..?”
“No, because the bloody circus came to town… Of course because of yesterday..! Malfoy, I thought that this would be over by now, but instead I was here fixing dresses!”
“Granger, do you really think that if I told Asteria about yesterday that she would’ve believed me?”
Hermione was going to pull her hair out. Instead, she went over to Draco and did what she should’ve done yesterday: slapped him. She slapped him once and hard and raised her hand to do it again, but Draco stood from his seat and grabbed her arm before it came in contact with his face again.
“Let me go, Malfoy.”
“Are you going to play nice?”
“Then I won’t let go.”
Hermione continued to struggle against him but cursed the fact that he had a good grip on her and was too strong for her to push him away. She eventually gave up and stared into his eyes, sighing, and said, “What was the point? If you weren’t going to tell Asteria, then what was the whole point of it all?”
“I already told you that telling her would’ve proved no difference. Asteria would’ve had to seen it for herself.”
“If you knew that, then I shall ask again, what was the whole point?”
Draco swallowed and let Hermione go. He took a deep breath and ran his hands through his hair. “Can’t you just accept the fact that I just wanted to do it?”
“Absolutely not,” Hermione said with an almost hysterical chuckle. “It’s not…it’s not rational!”
“Damn your rationality then. For Merlin’s sake…I guess it would’ve made you feel better if my thinking was that Asteria would hear us, come barging in, and then we’d both be off the hook, right?”
“Y-yes, yes it would.”
“And that’s what it was –at first.” Draco admitted. “It was bloody perfect. Until I realized what room we were in. But by then, we couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop.”
“…I won’t do it again.” Hermione told him quietly. She shook her head and frowned. “I can’t.”
“Give me one reason why not.”
“Because after yesterday…I don’t think I’ll be able to stop.”
Hermione was pacing her flat after she left the Manor. She kept thinking back over her words. Because after yesterday, I don’t think that I’ll be able to stop… What business did she have to say something like that? Why she said that would be the better question. Sighing, Hermione realized that it was just a moment of honesty. She was many things, but she was no home-wrecker. And okay, Draco and Asteria’s relationship was already wrecked, but it wasn’t beyond repair. To her shock, Asteria actually recognized the problems that were obvious to Hermione and was willing to fix them. If Draco could just get on board with her, everything would be fine.
But no, Draco was through. Somehow he had fallen out of love with her in a rather quick fashion. Hell, had he ever been in love with Asteria? Probably not, Hermione presumed, because she knew how these things worked. Two well-to-do families, their children having known each other for years, and they were already destined to be together whether they wanted to or not. They would’ve been paired up to go to parties together, have lunches together, and what would form was what Hermione liked to call “Rich Love.” It wasn’t as pretty as it sounded, because all it entailed was the rich marrying the rich, more than likely loving the money, rather than who it belonged to.
Asteria fit into that category perfectly, and perhaps Draco had been an odd mold –loving her first and then suddenly realizing that she preferred his money rather than him. Yes, Asteria “wanted” to work out their numerous problems, but did Hermione think that her new-found attitude was going to stick. Absolutely not… When the wedding date would come, all of that would drop dead, and Asteria would go back to her money hungry ways.
Of course that is if there’s a wedding… Hermione thought to herself. Draco was going to destroy this wedding no matter what and he was going to get her to help him. But would it really be about getting him from out of Asteria’s clutches? Hermione sighed. He had figured out that the room was sound proof, but he didn’t stop. He had asked if it hadn’t occurred to her that he had just wanted to do it, and no, it hadn’t crossed her mind at all because like she had told him, it was ridiculous.
What was more ridiculous was that Hermione was scared. She was scared of how she felt in that room and of being anywhere alone with him again. She couldn’t fully blame Draco because she had a mind of her own. There were plenty of times while they were there that Hermione could’ve pushed him away from her, but she didn’t. Who would’ve?
Awful things can happen when a man and a woman are left alone together for an extended amount of time. They don’t have to like each other. They don’t even have to know each other. Unfortunately for Hermione and Draco, they both knew and liked each other (for Hermione more towards the spectrum of friend-worthy than intimately). They were cursed for now, and she had no idea what was going to happen next.
author's note: a new chap, wooppee!! i've been doing homework all day long and i decided to put up this next chapter. alas, now it's time to get back to working on my 10-pg research paper due tomorrow at 9 am..... fun isnt it? lol
reviews would cheer me up greatly haha... hope you liked the chap :)
That night Hermione, still in distress, was in her bedroom reading a book that she had read a thousand times. She needed something to distract herself, and doing her favorite hobby had definitely done a good job of that. It had done such a good job that Hermione hadn’t heard the incessant tapping that was on her window. She looked up from her reading and saw an owl through the glass.
“Oh, I hope you weren’t out here for too long!” Hermione said apologetically as she opened her window and let the owl inside. She instantly recognized it as Asteria’s owl and groaned. “If I have to fix one more dress for this woman, I swear…”
Hermione took the letter from the owl’s beak, but it didn’t move. A response was needed then, so she quickly scanned the letter and then frowned. She expected a lot of things from Asteria –sarcasm, insulting positive comments, and a lot of other things –but none of it included a letter that was dripping in sadness. She asked if she could come over and talk to her that same night. Hermione didn’t want her to come, but, she couldn’t exactly turn her away. Sighing, she replied that yes it was alright and that she could come right away. Almost an hour later, the fireplace in the living room activated, and Asteria stepped out looking completely distraught.
“Asteria..?” Hermione said hesitantly, completely taken aback. She had never seen her looking like this. She wasn’t even wearing any of her many diamonds or clothes that screamed look at me. “Asteria, what’s wrong?”
She didn’t say anything but just went to sit on the sofa. Now Hermione was worried since this woman never passed up the opportunity to speak. She was subtly hoping that Asteria was so upset because Draco had just broken up with her –which would explain the tears because her ex-fiancé would’ve dropped dead before her eyes.
“I’ve just heard the most distressing news.” She said softly. “My grandfather owled me moments ago. He said that my grandmother is terribly sick. It’s possible that she won’t make it until the summer, which means that she won’t see me get married.”
“Oh, Asteria, I’m so sorry to hear that. But…what can I do that you’ve come to see me?”
“Well, I’ve come to ask you if you think it’d be possible to have the wedding moved up.” Asteria’s eyes brightened as she began to smile. “A Christmas wedding would be just as beautiful as a summer wedding, don’t you think?’
“But that’s next month!” Hermione shouted. She cleared her throat and then spoke again, much softly than before, and added, “Next month, Asteria? That’s awfully soon.”
“I know, I know, but I’d just hate to know that my grandmother couldn’t see me get married. It’s always been her dream before she…you know. I’m sure that it can be done. You’re a wonderful wedding planner, and, luckily for us, all of the clothes have been chosen and the mansion for the wedding has already been bought. The only difficulties would be resending invitations and promptly decorating the mansion. So, what do you say, Miss Granger?”
“I… I…” Hermione was tongue-tied. If she told Asteria no, the woman would promptly ask why not and there’d be no way to argue. If she told Asteria yes, then Draco would be in more trouble than he already was in.
“You’ll be paid extra, of course.” Asteria added. “It’s a lot that I’m asking of you. Draco’s already agreed.”
Asteria nodded enthusiastically and searched throughout the purse she had carried with her and took out a check to hand to her. Hermione took it and nearly fainted at the amount.
“By the look of your eyes, I assume this means that you’ll tackle my wedding at an earlier date?”
Hermione looked up from the check that was in her hands and stared at Asteria, who no longer looked as though she was swimming in a lake of misery.
“Yes, without a doubt.” She told her. “I’ll get started on the invitations tomorrow and then we can talk about how you’d like to have the mansion decorated.”
“If you get money like this, I think that I just might switch careers.”
“It isn’t like this all the time. It’s only with the richest of the rich, and only the top two percent would pay me the way Asteria does.”
“And lucky you, you got to work with the top two.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and sighed with a twinge of a smile. She took back the check from Ginny’s hands and stared at it much like how she had done for most of the night.
“Fifty thousand galleons just for moving up the wedding,” Hermione breathed as she stuffed the check back in her bedroom and then walked back out to Ginny who was sitting on her sofa. “What’s confusing me the most about this is that Asteria said that Draco agreed to pay me this.”
“So?” Ginny asked with a shrug of her shoulders. “What’s wrong with that?”
“It’s Draco, Gin. The penny-pincher that he is wouldn’t agree to this. Especially when he doesn’t want to marry Asteria in the first place,”
“Maybe he’s changed his mind? It’s not like as if you’re willing to ‘help’ him get out of the engagement. He’s probably given up.”
“If there’s one thing I know, he hasn’t given up.”
“…Where are you going?” Ginny asked Hermione as she saw her gather her jacket.
“To the Manor… I have to fix the invitations and discuss a few wedding things with Asteria-”
“And talk to Malfoy while you’re there, I’m sure.”
As expected, Draco was nowhere in sight when Hermione had gotten to Malfoy Manor. She was escorted to see Asteria, discussed with her the ideas for decorations of the mansion that she had bought and began to, singlehandedly, create new invitations and send them out to the respected people. When Asteria saw that she wasn’t needed anymore, she excused herself and left Hermione to her work.
That was the biggest relief of the day. Sure she was doing work for a wedding that had moved up considerably in date and that was a headache in itself with everything that was going on, but somehow she thought that not talking about it and just doing it would make things just one level better. But, of course, something would come to disrupt her temporary serenity.
“What are you doing?” Draco asked her after circling her and her work station for a few seconds.
“What does it look like?” Hermione snapped at him. “I’m fixing invitations.”
“Well, I can see that. But, why, is what I want to know. The bloody invitations have already gone out, haven’t they?”
“Obviously we can’t use the same invitations, Malfoy.”
“Why can’t we? They were fine.”
“Well, if you don’t mind a wedding with no guests, then that’s on you. But then again, you don’t want a wedding anyway, so I guess that’d suit you just fine.”
“What have I told you about saying things like that out loud, Granger?” Draco said harshly as he took a look about him. Once he was sure no one was listening he turned back to her. “And what are you talking about no guests? You’re confusing the hell out of me. I already have a bad enough headache.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and sighed. She set aside the invitations that were already finished and held up one to his face. “There’ll be no guests at your wedding if the date is kept the same, Malfoy. I don’t know what you look so puzzled about. You agreed to this. And why did you?” She asked him suddenly. “I should be the one saying that you’re confusing the hell out of me.”
“Wait, wait, wait, hold on a second. The wedding date is changed?”
“Yes, it’s changed. Why do you look like you didn’t know about it?”
“Because I didn’t..!” Draco argued.
Now, Hermione was staring at him with complete bewilderment.”But you must. Asteria said that you agreed to pay me extra for having the wedding moved up to next month.” She told him, and watched Draco grow red from anger and call Asteria something that rhymed with “witch” and utter a few other choice words. He dropped himself onto the chair that was in front of her and began massaging his temples.
“She tricked me.” He said after a short while. Hermione sat patiently and waited for him to continue. “I was drinking last night and I remember her coming to me. I don’t remember what we talked about, but it had to be about that blasted wedding and changing the date. Obviously I said yes since I’m…-”
“Agreeable, while drunk..?” She finished for him. Draco groaned and nodded. “I couldn’t tell her no. With that story she gave me about her grandmother, you know I wouldn’t have been able to. What are you going to do? You have less time to work with now.”
“Don’t you mean we?” He asked her. “Don’t you mean what are we going to do? That we have less time to work with?”
Hermione bit her lip and gathered all of the finished and unfinished invitations and shrunk them to fit into her bag. She preferred to work on them at home. The longer she stayed in the Manor the worse she felt, and it didn’t help that the source of her problems was sitting across from her and sharply staring at her.
“There aren’t any options left, you know.” He said simply. “You’re the only one left.”
“You already used me as your option, remember?” Hermione said coldly. “It’s not my fault that the room was soundproof!”
“And it’s not my fault that I didn’t realize that it wasn’t.”
Hermione sighed. Now it was her that was massaging her temples for her head had suddenly began to pulse terribly. “…Have you… Have you ever thought about just going through with it?”
“To just go through with it –marry her. There’s nothing in the deal you made with Victoria about not divorcing Asteria after.”
Draco stared at her with his hand under his chin and huffed. “No… No, I didn’t think about that. But what makes you think that Asteria would accept the divorce? As you’ve seen, she’s a very strong woman and knows how to hold onto what she wants.”
“Well, I’m sure you’ll be able to think of a way.” Hermione nodded assuredly, and then left Draco alone as fast as she could. There, it was done. She told him that divorce was an option and therefore it was done. Maybe now he would give up on her and she could walk out of this with her head held up high.
As Hermione headed to the fireplace so she could Floo out, she thought that she heard footsteps behind her. If this is Draco, I swear… She turned around and then swallowed. It was Victoria, and she was wearing a wicked smile on her face that Hermione didn’t like.
“Leaving so soon, Miss Granger?” Victoria said.
“Ah yes…I’ll be finishing the rest of the invitations at home and send them out promptly in the morning.”
“That’s fabulous, but I was wondering if I could have a small word with you before you go?”
Hermione wanted to say no and that she had some matters to attend to as soon as she left, but knew that Victoria would only press upon her to say just for a moment. So, with a sigh, she replied, “Yes,” and dreadfully followed the woman down the corridor she had just come and into an adjacent room.
author's note: wow, so i have to apologize for two things: 1) i havet updated this in just about two months..... 2) this post is a shortie.... so SORRY *apologetic face*
hope you liked it anyway, and i hope to post again before the queue closer, if not, directly after :)