Chapter 15 : Arrival
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Hermione watched the south west English countryside of Wiltshire speed buy the limo windows. The hills were lush and green and every so often they would pass a small cottage or an old church. There seemed to be a lot of farmers in this countryside and she wondered how a mansion would even begin to fit into place in such a quaint atmosphere. Every now and then the limo driver would have to slow down and sometimes even come to a complete stop to let a sheep herder pass with his flock. Hermione put the heavily tinted windows down every time to say hello and to get a better look at the sheep.
Draco sat silently watching her and all her reactions. His heart jumped every time she turned to him with that grand smile of hers and look of excitement on her face when they past something of great interest to her. He was not sure how she would be reacting to coming to the Manor but she seemed very at ease and eager, willing he assumed to get away from it all. He sat there thinking how gorgeous she was and how lucky he had been that she took him up on his invitation. He felt slight guilt, knowing he had a better chance at winning her heart the further she was from Ron and Harry, but he pushed this thought out of his mind. He would help her get settled over the weekend and then he would depart again for London. He had not forgot he would allow her ample time to herself but he could not help feeling excited knowing he would be spending most his weekends with her if she wished it.
“Here we are,” he said as the limo rounded a corner and turned up a long drive lined with tall trees.
Hermione hit the button which slid open the skylight window and she stood up out of it. She breathed in the fresh air and stared up at the tree canopy. It was breathtaking the way the sun crept golden rays in through the little holes of green shelter. She tilted her head to the sky, or where the sky would be for the tree canopy was so thick, and allowed the escaping sunrays to warm her face.
“Draco you have to see this,” she said excitedly to him from above for he was still sitting patiently inside the limo. He stood and she moved over to let him squeeze into the small skylight opening space with her. He watched as she tilted her head again to the heavens and spread her arms to welcome the warm air. She was so full of life, even when times were so confusing for her. He had never met anyone like her in all his life and he hated he wasted so many years loathing her.
“Isn’t this just beautiful?” she asked him her eyes now level with his.
“I have seen prettier things in life,” he said with a warm smile, and she knew what he meant and took it as a compliment.
“Well, here we are,” he said turning her around and putting his arms around her, he knew he shouldn’t have but she did not pull away so he took the chance.
Hermione gasp, the only house she had seen bigger then this was Hogwarts itself, that or the royal palace of England. She stared in aw of the very presence the mansion put off. She had expected it to be cold, dark and creepy looking but she was very wrong.
The outside looked as if it was constructed of solid brick or a heavy stone and was covered in ivy. The windows were all very large and some even seemed to be stained glass and very old looking. The grounds leading up to the manor were very well kept and the same lush green as the hills that surrounded it. The entire presence of the manor was welcoming, not creepy at all.
“Malfoy Manor,” he said proudly as the car rolled to a gentle stop.
“I thought,” she began but he cut her off.
“You thought it would be dark and cold I assume,” he finished for her. She nodded in astonishment. He simply laughed.
“We Malfoy’s might have hearts of ice but I confess we live in grandeur,” he said with a slight laugh in his tone.
If Hermione had heard him say that a year ago she would have considered him as being arrogant, but she knew now he was simply telling her how it was. The Malfoy’s really lived in splendor and though she had always known Draco to come from wealth she never imagined she would picture herself taking refuge upon it. This manor was to be her sanctuary for the next few weeks for she had taken off from the ministry for the entire summer; anyone could justify that with the recent events she needed it.
She had attempted to gather her own luggage but between the two butlers and the limo driver she was banished from even the thought of it. She mustered a smile as they took her things into the mansion and followed Draco up the steps to the massive double doors that awaited her like open arms, waiting to take her in and allow her peace and comfort. Draco stepped aside and held out his hand to her as they reached the top of the stone steps, she put her hand in his and he gently lead her to the threshold of the doors; with a deep breath and a little uncertainty she stepped inside.
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by Diana Marie