Chapter 2 : Persuading Luna
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Sitting comfortably on her bed leaning back into the pink and lilac pillows Luna read and re-read the letter in her hand. It had come this morning via an unfamiliar owl who had a rather snooty look; if owls could have snooty looks. But this owl definitely looked different to any other owl she had seen.
She still wasn’t really sure what to make of the letter. She very rarely received much mail that wasn’t from Ginny Weasley or Hermione Granger, so to receive a letter was a rare treat; but knowing who had sent it was worrying.
Why on earth would Draco Malfoy want to meet with her this afternoon? They hadn’t ever spoken before; and now out of the blue she had a letter off him that admittedly sounded rather desperate, asking her to meet him at Diagon Alley.
Luna tapped her nose with her index finger. Did she trust him enough to go and meet him? She caught sight of her reflection in the mirror. “Curiosity killed the cat.” She told herself.
Swinging herself from the bed she crossed the room to her writing desk and pulled out a quill, dipping it into an ink pot she held the quill uncertainly over a piece of parchment. What should she write? Was there any real reason why she shouldn’t go and meet Draco?
Dropping the quill she sighed heavily and looked at the snooty owl who was perched on the back of a chair blinking at her. It was now past ten o’clock and the bird had arrived at nine o’clock. He had been sitting patiently for over and hour waiting for her to make up her mind while she read over and over the letter and huffed and puffed to herself.
She would have to send him back soon wouldn’t she, Draco might get worried about it.
Taking a treat from a draw in the desk, she crossed the room and sat on the chair holding out the treat to the owl who took it; and hooted at her as if to try to prod her into some form of reply.
“But I don’t know what I should do. Why didn’t he say why he wanted to see me?” Luna ran a hand through her long hair, absently brushing out the little knots with her fingers. “It’s not as if he’s asking to meet me somewhere quiet is it? We’ll be in a public place, what can possibly happen?”
She was still not totally convinced that going along was for the best no matter how curious she was. Perhaps she could ask Ginny to go along with her?
Sighing she picked up her glass of juice from the bedside table and took a sip. It wouldn’t really hurt if she went along would it? Biting on her bottom lip her hand shaking slightly she scrawled a reply stating that she would meet him at Flourish and Blotts at one o’clock.
Sealing the note she hesitated only for a few seconds before tying it to the owls leg and taking him to the window. “Ok then, take it to Draco.” She opened the window a little further and allowed the owl to fly away.
“Too late to do anything about it now.” She muttered, turning back to her room and throwing open the door to the wardrobe to decide what she was going to wear.
“What could Draco Malfoy possibly want?” She asked her reflection as she studied the jade green sundress she held against her.
Although it was hot again today Luna decided to leave her hair hanging free and loose down her back and ignore the bits that would stick to her neck. She looked better with her hair down and for some unexplainable reason she wanted to look as pretty as she possibly could today.
* * *
Draco paced his room dragging his hands through his hair with frustration. He had sent his owl over an hour ago and he still hadn’t received a reply. He consoled himself with the old saying of no news is good news. After all, if Luna had decided against meeting him she would have sent word straight away wouldn’t she?
He could imagine her now; sitting in her room staring at the letter wondering. Wondering what he wanted, why he had suddenly written to her out of no-where. She would be trying to work out if it was safe to meet him, if she even wanted to meet him.
He knew what she would be thinking, he had watched her often enough over the years to be able to work out how she was feeling from her actions.
Sighing heavily he flopped backwards on his bed glaring up at the ceiling. Why was she taking so long? It was agony waiting to hear back from her. Waiting to see if he would be able to front up his lie to his father. He figured if she agreed to meet up with him he could perhaps be halfway there to convincing her to come to the Manor for dinner tonight.
He glanced up at the open window as his owl hooted alerting him to his arrival. He was quick to spot the piece of parchment tied to his leg. “Thank Merlin.” Draco sat up hurriedly when the owl perched on his shoulder.
He untied the parchment and with shaking fingers unrolled the letter. He let out a sigh of relief when he read the answer. “Thanks, Luna.” He muttered to the empty room.
It was then the thought occurred to him that he was going to have to explain everything to Luna, he couldn’t just ask her to pretend to be his girlfriend without giving an explanation. Draco groaned loudly, this was going to be so humiliating. Draco Malfoy Slytherin pureblood forced to lie to his father and beg “Loony” Luna Lovegood to help him out. It was unbelievable.
He didn’t think of her as loony of course, he thought she was creative. She probably wouldn’t believe that though; it would take a great deal of begging on his part to get her to agree to help him. But it was more important to save face with his father than Luna at the moment, and he was willing to do what he needed to do.
Besides, if she agreed to help him out perhaps she would see that he wasn’t all bad; and maybe she wouldn’t mind spending more time with him. If he could persuade her to go along with him and played his cards right he might actually end up with the one and only girlfriend he had ever wanted.
Folding up her note he tucked it away in his roller desk situated by the window. He wanted to keep Luna’s note, the only thing she had ever given to him.
Running his hands over his face Draco realised that he hadn’t showered this morning he had been too preoccupied with Luna. Grinning to himself and feeling slightly better that things were at least moving along, he pushed open the door to his adjoining bathroom and began to run himself a bath. A nice hot, relaxing soak was just what he needed before humiliating himself before Luna.
The tiled floor was cool against his feet and he yawned widely as he grabbed a soft, fluffy towel and dropped it beside the large, square bath tub. Easing himself into the water his mind began to turn over trying to work out the best way of explaining his problem without making himself seem anything but pathetic or egotistical.
Closing his eyes he titled his head back against the side of the bath and let the steam seep into his pores and the creases of his skin, he felt it rise up into his hair and stick the platinum strands to his forehead.
Draco sighed deeply, sinking further into the water he allowed his mind to wander to Luna.
* * *
At exactly one o’clock Draco stood outside Flourish and Blotts leaning against the wall, his eyes scanning the street for Luna. He hoped that she hadn’t changed her mind about coming. Nervously he fiddled with his belt buckle.
Draco’s head snapped up when he heard her voice. He’d know it anywhere; he’d listened to it often enough when he was supposed to be listening to Pansy babbling on. It was a mellow voice, never raised in anger but always dreamily flowing like a sheet of gauze floating on the wind.
“Hello, Luna. Thanks for coming.” He smiled uncertainly at her. His gaze automatically swept her body as he had done on many occasions; but she had been totally oblivious to it. Today she wore a white sundress with large yellow sunflowers splattered across it, the material clinging to her trim figure and her blonde hair hung down her back like a silk curtain.
Luna tilted her head to the side and studied him for a few seconds. “You should smile more. You look a lot nicer when you smile than when you're sneering at people.” She informed him, her tone decisive.
Draco was slightly taken aback at her statement, but he was pleased that Luna thought he looked nice when he smiled. He made a mental note to smile more when she was around. He usually got the urge to smile when he saw her; but the happy feeling would soon pass when he saw her with other people who were allowed to spend time with her talking and laughing. A sharp pain would stab at him that he was not one of those people, and he would relapse into moody silence.
“I’ll remember that,” he told her. “You want to grab a drink?”
“Alright.” She fell into step beside him as they made their way to the coffee shop he had sat outside the day before with his father, when he had gotten himself into this mess.
Settling herself in a seat opposite him she remained silent when he ordered their drinks watching him expectantly.
Draco shifted in his seat, her gaze made him uncomfortable. He reflected on the quirk of fate that had him sitting here with Luna when he was going to ask her to pretend to be his girlfriend when all he really wanted to do was sit here with her as her boyfriend. Life sucked sometimes.
“How’s your holiday going so far?” He asked as a way to break the ice.
Luna smiled serenely at him, “Alright I guess. Nothing too exciting happening, but it’s nice to have a break from school isn’t it? Have you been anywhere nice?”
“No I haven’t been anywhere. Yeah it’s nice to have a break but the holidays seem to go by so fast,”
“Yes they do.” She paused to sip at her drink tilting her face up towards the sun, “Lovely weather we’ve been having isn’t it?”
“Yeah, really hot again today.” Draco replied, starting to feel a little bit more relaxed. It was nice just sitting and talking about nothing with Luna.
She turned her misty eyes on him suddenly. “So, why did you want to see me, Draco?”
He liked the way his name seemed to roll off her tongue in one fluid motion, it didn’t sound foreign but natural and warm.
“I have a problem I need your help with.” He began awkwardly.
She looked interested by his statement, “Oh? What could I possibly help you with?”
Running his hands through his hair taking great care not to look her in the face, Draco ended up confessing about his lie to the glass of coke that sat in front of him with ice cubes bobbing about on the surface.
Luna sat quietly through his explanation listening intently. She felt sorry for him that he would feel it necessary to lie to his own father to try to live up to expectations. “Why me? Why did you say my name?” That part she couldn’t understand, of all the girls in the school why her?
“Um, well, I happened to look up and see a copy of The Quibbler, it made me think of you obviously.” Today was humiliating enough without telling her the complete truth.
Luna considered for a few minutes. “Why don’t you just tell him the truth? He’s your father, he’ll understand.”
“No he won’t. He’ll think I’m even more pathetic that I already am. Come on Luna, help me out, it’s just a few hours one night. It can’t hurt can it?” He prodded.
“I don’t know.” She wiggled under his gaze.
“Oh come on, Luna.” He took a deep breath, now came the mortifying part. “I’m willing to pay you for your time, Luna.”
She looked insulted at his offer. “I don’t want your money, Draco.” She snapped irritably.
“What do you want? Jewellery? Clothes? What? I have money to buy you anything you want. Just name it.” Draco was getting desperate, it didn’t look like she had any intention of agreeing to help him at all.
Luna shot him an annoyed look, “I don’t want anything from you, Draco. But I am willing to help you out.”
Draco blinked, “You are? You’ll help me? For nothing?”
Luna nodded. ”Why not, I’m not exactly doing anything else tonight. What time do you want me to be there?”
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