Claudia raised her eyebrows. "No coffee? This guy must be something..."
"He is!" Ginny replied quickly, following her friend to the back room. She had dropped by to see how business was going, but the casual meeting had quickly progressed into an interrogation. "He is.... completely indescribable," she ended clumsily, for she often found herself at a loss when trying to pick the right words to describe him. Somehow "arrogant, conceited, horribly rich, and extraordinarily handsome son from a family that my family and friends has hated for decades," just didn't sound right anymore.
All Claudia had to say was "What happened?" to get Ginny started on a detailed description of the day’s events, with the absence of Draco's name.
"...And then I kissed him..." she ended with a smile. Claudia clapped giddily.
"How romantic!" she squealed, "So who is he? This mystery lover of yours, I mean."
Ginny snorted. 'Mystery lover?' It was obvious that someone had been reading too many paperback romance novels.
"Do I know him?"
Ginny twirled her finger in hair that had long fallen out of her messy braid. "You may have heard of his family. They were talked about in the Prophet." They were. Right after Lucius was caught, the Prophet had an incredibly huge article on the Malfoys. Draco wasn't mentioned much, though.
"So, who is he?"
"Draco. Draco Malfoy."
"Yes," Ginny squeaked. This was it. Claudia had heard that Lucius was a Death Eater and now she's going to hate me forever.
"I’ve never heard of them." Ginny sighed in relief.
"Does your Potter-boy know about him?" Ginny snorted again.
"He and Harry were sworn enemies at school, I doubt they could say one thing to each other before Harry would start shouting insults and Ron would try to deck him. If I ever tell them that I'm... you know, with Draco... Well, part of me would do it just to tick them off. And the other part would because Draco's simply incredible..."
Claudia rolled her eyes. "You're making this whole 'romance' thing sound pretty appealing."
"It's the most wonderful feeling in the world!"
"I might have to get me one of these boyfriends..." Boyfriend. She, Ginny, had a 'boyfriend?' Draco was somebody's 'boyfriend?' That was too childish. Too immature. Draco was a grown man of 24, far too old to be considered a 'boy.' And he wasn't a friend either, so why put those two words together?
"He's not my boyfriend..." Ginny murmured.
"Then what is he?"
"I don't know. He's just... Draco, I guess."
"Just Draco you guess?"
"Yeah. Just Draco.”
She had been painting a particularly troublesome section of the bookcase all morning and was all too eager to get out and feel the fresh air against her face. Draco, being the gentleman, took her to a cafe, as he had been doing for some time, and got them a table. Rain hit the windows of the cafe loudly, cooling the horribly hot summer afternoon.
Ginny pressed her forehead against the window while drinking her tea. She was so tired of being inside. She wanted to feel the rain against her face, hear the wind rushing past her, and smell the wonderful smell of the outdoors. Nibbling on her sandwich, she sighed, sounding like a child who has been denied the toy she has been wanting for months.
"How much more do you plan on painting?" Draco asked, before sipping a spoonful of soup.
"I don't know," Ginny replied, pulling herself away from the glass. "I wanted to finish that bookcase, but I'm not too sure if that will happen or not from the progress I seem to be making right now."
The rest of the meal was finished in relative silence, broken only by the occasional idle comments.
"Ahem!" A particularly rude gentleman stood at their table and feigned a cough to attract their attention. The both turned to look at someone who was quite familiar to them both.
"Harry?" Ginny and Draco had both addressed the dark-haired wizard before them at the same time.
Harry Potter stood in front of them, crossed-armed and fuming. Ginny paled a little. It wasn't as though she was frightened of Harry, it was just that she knew he had a short fuse and he seemed ready to blow up now.
"What are you two doing?" he asked, teeth pressed together tightly, Ginny was sure one would pop out.
"Eating?" Draco commented innocently.
"What are you two doing?" As she said this, Ginny glanced behind Harry, seeing who she assumed was Marietta Edgecomb. She had masses of curly hair that overpowered her thin, sickly face. Her eyes were unattractively narrow and her cheeks sunken in. She looked over at Ginny and Draco with the utmost loathing. What Harry saw in her, Ginny could not see.
"That's not the point," he answered snappishly.
"Testy, are we?" Draco said coldly.
"Ginny, I thought you were just painting him."
"And I thought she was just working with you," she retaliated bitterly.
"Gin-.. That was a long time ago..."
"What are you even talking about? How can you saw that- Who do you- You have no idea!" Ginny rose to her feet to look Harry in the eye. "Do you know what that did to me after I found out? I was broken! I wasn't even the same anymore! I couldn't paint, I couldn't eat, I couldn’t do…anything!" She was shouting now, but she didn't even realize it – nor did she care. People were starting to stare. Actually, everybody was staring. The cafe went completely silent as soon as Ginny had stood. "I guess it’s a good thing you left me, Harry. Now I know what a shallow, cold-hearted pansy you are!"
Draco had said nothing throughout the entire exchange. Ginny was grateful; he realized that she wanted to fight this battle on her own. Once Harry found his voice, he tried to come back.
"Me? Shallow and cold-hearted? I think you're talking about Malfoy here... I was never shallow or cold to you."
"No, you’re right. I mean, you only went around my back and cheated on me with…with that sneak." Marrietta made a strange sound in her throat, but no one paid her much attention.
"I...I'm sorry, Gin. But you don't understand…" Harry forced out in a strangled tone.
"You're right. I don't understand. I don't even want to anymore. I hope you're happy with your secretary." Ginny sank back into her seat and rubbed her temples; she was starting to get a burning headache
"If you lay a hand on her, Malfoy..."
"Like...this?" Draco reached over and placed his hand on top of Ginny's head.
"You know I'm an Auror, now." Harry snarled
"What, and that's a threat?" Draco scoffed.
Harry growled and turned away. He gathered his things and his woman, and they exited the cafe.
A steady stream of muttered curses escaped from Ginny's mouth as Draco, after laying a few coins on their table, ushered her out of the cafe.
"Stupid, ignorant, bastard," she gritted out, the rain doing nothing to cool her temper. She felt like throwing something. Something very sharp at a certain someone's head. Or maybe she could just revert back to medieval methods of torture. Some of them had been proven quite effective on even the most intelligent of wizards. Or maybe she could just sneak up behind him and ring his neck. That would be fun. And a great stress reliever.
"Ginny...?" Draco questioned, interrupting her thoughts.
"What?" Ginny snapped back, a little too loudly.
Ginny stopped in the sidewalk and leaned her head foreword onto Draco's robes, arms hanging limply at her side.
"I’m sorry you had to see that… I know it was childish and immature,” Ginny explained, her words rather muffled through Draco's clothes. “But it’s just that he’s so—“
"Shhhh," he cut her off. One of his arms held her, and the other stroked her hair. Comforted by this, Ginny went on.
"I mean, he's a lying arse. I hate him. I hate him so much.”
"You won't run away with your secretary, will you?"
"I don't have a secretary, Ginny."
Ginny knew there the family would be in uproar when they found out. She imagined the pile of letters that would be waiting for her at the apartment when she got back. One from her mom, going on about how disappointed she was in her daughter; one from Ron, telling her that she should know better; perhaps even one from Hermione. No doubt everyone knew by now. Harry had probably apparated straight to the Burrow, telling everyone there. How she hated the prat.
Four owls. Four owls making a mess of her kitchen. Four owls attacking her food, leaving surprise on her floor, and scratching up her counters. She detached all of her letters and sent the owls on their ways, smacking a few as she went. She cleaned up her kitchen and then sat in a comfortable chair in her living room. One was from her mum.
Dearest Ginny...Hope you're well...blah blah blah... Harry's just informed... blah blah blah...Very disappointed...Horrible family... Horrible Father... Don't you remember the chamber incident... blah blah ... blah blah... love Mum
Ginny tossed it into the fire she had made in the grate. Next letter:
Dear Gin, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?! etc. etc... HOW THE- etc. etc..... WHAT THE- etc.... IM GONNA- etc.... From Ron.
That letter followed the one from her mother and Ginny watched it turn to ash. Next letter:
Dear Ginny, can’t believe…Disappointed... How could you...
Ginny didn't get halfway through the letter before she tossed Hermione's neatly written note away. Last letter:
You have no idea what kind of person Malfoy is. Gin, I'm an Auror, and I've heard some stuff that isn't flattering about your “boyfriend.” You know his father's in Azkaban? Well, whenever ol' Draco goes to 'visit' him, Lucius passes on instructions! Ex: Killing muggles, 'mudbloods' and especially old Death Eaters who denied Voldemort when he died. He's dangerous Gin! I only have you safety in mind. Love, Harry.
Ginny ripped his letter into little pieces before she tossed it into the fire. Just because Malfoy was a bastard to Harry and his friends didn’t mean he was a murderer. Ginny thought she would tell Harry that. She got a quill and parchment and began to write. Dear Harry.....
And so the letter continued. She actually felt much better getting her rants and frustration on paper; it made her feel more in control. The letter itself was a mess, not only physically, with its many ink splatters in her haste to write it, but also in content. The ideas jumped randomly, the tone violent and angry. But Ginny didn't mind. That was how she felt and if Harry didn't like it, then that was his problem.
She continued writing until she felt drained of any emotion. She sealed the letter with deep burgundy wax and her own seal, a simple "G.W" with an elegant flourish underneath.
Unfortunately, she didn't have an owl of her own and since Harry's had flown off long ago, she laid it on her kitchen counter and habitually reached for a coffee mug. Just as she had raised her wand, she stopped herself.
"I made a bet," she said. "Even though I didn't wager anything, I will prove him wrong, if it’s the last thing I do," she added as she put the cup back into its proper place. Instead she reached for a bottle of water sitting in her refrigerator and said to herself, "I don't need coffee, I don't need caffeine, I made a promise and I'm keeping it, as well as proving him wrong."
Ginny didn't paint for three days. She went to the manor, she had Draco sit, and she even dipped her brush in paint, but she never touched the canvas, no matter how close she came. She just looked through an artist's eyes, trying to imagine how a great master would see this or paint that. On the fourth day, she painted. A little. The green in a book wasn't quite right and it had been bothering her for weeks, although until then, she hadn't figured out what it was. She hadn't received anymore owls from any more family members, but she was sure that they would come. Her family loathed the Malfoys and would be furious to discover their baby girls in touch with one, let alone a relationship. They cared about her far too much to let her date Draco. The owls would be swarming in any day now. Any day now, they’d be filling her kitchen.
But the expected letters didn't come. True, Ginny would have found them extremely vexing, but at least the letters filled with words of anger and disappointment would show some kind of acknowledgement from her family. She hadn't gotten a single owl since the letters she had received after she had come back from that cafe. Not a single one.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Draco asked from his position on the chair. Ginny had just snapped at him for moving slightly to the left, throwing the shadows off.
"Nothing!" she replied, suppressing her annoyance at his question. "Just shut up and be still." Draco had been almost painfully formal since the cafe incident. He hadn't even done as much as touch her hand since the unfortunate meeting with Harry.
It bugged her, to say the least.
That afternoon, she was walking down Diagon Alley to relieve some tension. As she passed Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes, she saw one of her brothers standing inside, organizing a shelf. Her earlier feelings stirred inside her and she stormed into the shop. The brother turned around as the door shut and a bell tinkled, but before he could greet his sister she cut him off.
"Look, Fred. Or George. I don't know what you think you're doing, but it certainly isn't enough! What are you thinking?! I mean, I'm dating Draco Malfoy; you and he were enemies at school! You know, Draco Malfoy! Obviously you don’t like him any more now than you did at school! You are a horrible brother! Your baby sister is involved with a jerk that comes from a dark family, and you don't say anything? Not even an owl. Do you want me to get cursed into oblivion? Don't you care? It's not like I can make my own decisions anyway. Doesn't he have to get the a-ok stamp of approval?! How can you let me do this?" Ginny stopped ranting, catching her breaths and a few nervous glances from the customers.
"Gin, its George. And Fred and I just decided that you can make your own decisions. You are in your twenties. And if you see something in this Malfoy guy, then he must not be that bad all the way down." George turned back and began organizing their latest products again. Ginny was dumbfounded.
"Well, good," she said. They remained silent and the other people in the store began to talk amongst themselves again. "So…when are you and um…Julie getting married?"
"Jenna. And we broke up."
"I'm sorry. Why?"
"Let’s just say, she chose to do some things with someone else."
"Hmm. Sounds familiar. So how'd you find out?"
"Well, she wasn't very smart..."
"She must have forgotten that I come home at seven."
Ginny's jaw dropped. "You mean...? At your house? And you came in?"
"Yeah," George said gruffly, wanting to change the subject.
"I have to go... Getting late and all, I need to be home. Bye." Ginny left the shop and continued walking down the alley, shaking her head at George's misfortune.
Witches and wizards hurried past her as she ambled along, their arms full of bags from different shops. Ginny's mood had lightened a bit since talking to her brother. It seemed the twins always had a way with making her feel better, whether through means of practical jokes, or just their realistic encouragement. Ginny walked absentmindedly through the streets, her thoughts jumping spastically from topic to topic. First they lingered angrily on Harry, then moved to Draco, then jumped to random ideas which held no importance at all.
It was mid-November, four months until the 'unveiling' at Draco's birthday. The canvas was completely covered in paint. Ginny thought that half the work in painting someone was looking, and so she did - at the canvas and the model, the books and the shelf, and her paints and brushes. Most of the time, Draco didn't need to be there. Usually we would sit with her, silently reading a book, or off somewhere else, taking care of a 'business' Ginny didn't know he had. One day, he was off somewhere and Ginny was left in the library alone. She had been staring at a corner of the canvas for what felt like hours and her eyes burned. Not to mention, she pounding headache she was beginning to get behind her eyes. She decided to take a break and began searching the shelves for a book. When she found it, she relaxed on a sofa and flipped it open. She had read a few scenes from Romeo and Juliet when she glanced up to see him there.
"I'm glad I'm not paying you by the hour," he said as he walked closer to her.
"What are you doing here? I thought you had something else to do."
"I did. I was just stopping by to see how things were coming."
"Well as you can see," Ginny said, closing the book, "I am suffering from what some call 'Artist's Block.' The painting is turning out horrible. I hate it. I just can't get it right. I'm sorry, but it looks like you will have to get another artist, some ancestor of Leonardo DaVinci who has ten times my talent, seeing as this is crap." She went on ranting for some time. It felt good to vent her frustration. She may have been stretching the truth a bit, as the painting was not horrible, not even half-bad, on her standards, but it was obviously lacking something. Something important. Something vital to the greatness of the art.
Draco, meanwhile, had wandered to the canvas and was looking at it, expressionlessly.
"Looks fine to me," he said after a few more minutes of looking at it. "DaVinci could have done better, but as he is dead, this will have to do."
Ginny rolled her eyes and went to her painting. There was no flashing sign, no neon lights, no blinking arrow, and no clear indication signaling that something was wrong about the painting. But something was. True, it was not yet done yet; Ginny still needed to add some detail to Draco's clothes and the background needed to have a few more highlights, but there were something that you could just sense was wrong, despite its being unfinished.
"Not bad," Draco said quietly, apparently muttering to himself.
"Its crap," was Ginny's brash response.
"If you think that, I'm not even going to even try to make you believe differently. Weasleys are always so stubborn."
"But you are different from the rest of your family. In place of their stupidity-” Ginny began to walk away but was stopped by a strong hand on her arm, holding her where she was "-you have a horribly short temper, are obsessive when it comes to anything relating to art, officious, self-centered, and you must have everything your way-"
Ginny tried to jerk away from the hand holding her, but Draco did not let go.
"If you have finished insulting me," Ginny spat, "I would like to leave."
"Tut tut. It is only polite to let one finish another’s sentences."
"Do I look like someone who truly cares about manners?!"
"No, you don't," Draco said, pulling Ginny closer. Though she was still fuming, she felt her heart skip a beat. "Which is why you are where you are."
"What?" Ginny asked; being close to him seemed to make mud out of any clear thoughts she had.
"And why I enjoy your company."
This time, he didn't wait for a response. He leaned down and kissed her.
Authors note: I hope you all like it! This was a fun chapter for me to write, so I hope you all had as much fun reading it! I’d like to take some time to thank my reviewers. I know I’m not always the quickest updater on the web, yet you are still sticking with me. It really means a lot to me! ::hugs to all reviewers::
AAAND, I’ll soon be starting another fanfic, as I’m getting close to finishing this one (there is a lot more written than what is on here. I have to go back through and review it before I post it. ^^). I’m not going to say a lot about it, as I want it to be a surprise, but I can say it is going to be a long, angsty, songfic thing! Yay angsty songfics!
Also, if you want me to post faster, then review! I usually wait until I have a few reviews on the latest chapter before posting a new one… ^_^
So, read and review! Please!!
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