Chapter 6 : Poker
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Luna’s eyes were skipping everywhere, a tinge of pink excitement colouring her cheeks as she walked through the corridors of Malfoy Manor with Draco.
She’d woken early that morning, and after a rather awkward breakfast with Draco and Lucius, Draco had taken her for a tour of the house as he had promised. She found the Manor to be a fascinatingly, beautiful and mysterious place that was steeped in riches and history. Everything about the house jumped out at her asking to be explored, the rich textures of the carpets and drapes, the hand-woven tapestries that took up half the walls; and the way the eyes of the Malfoy’s of the past followed her as she wandered enraptured from room to room.
Mostly Luna liked listening to Draco’s voice as he told her stories that had been told to him about the Malfoy decedents, about the numerous Black’s that gazed down at them from their place on the wall. There was a history behind many of the curious ornaments she noticed lurking in the rooms; and Draco happily passed the stories to her as they had been passed to him.
His voice was proud and slightly nostalgic when he spoke, some of the stories he told were before his time, and some were his own stories. These were the ones Luna liked best, the stories about Draco. It was rather exhilarating taking a look into Draco’s life, being allowed to see past the usually cold façade he presented to his fellow students at Hogwarts and become acquainted with the real Draco. The Draco he was at home, and the Draco he was in life.
Luna liked what she was seeing so far, now he seemed more real. The confident air was still there, but the arrogance had disappeared and he was now open and willing to share his past with her. It gave her a weird tingling sensation in the pit of her stomach.
Draco for his part was having the best morning he could remember having at home except for his birthday and Christmas. It thrilled him that Luna was so interested in him and his family, that she had taken to the Manor so easily; and he readily answered the never ending questions she had. At first he had thought her interest was purely out of politeness and something to talk about, but he had quickly realised that it was nothing of the sort. Luna was genuinely interested in him.
Anything Luna wanted to know Draco was happy to tell her, he figured the more she knew about him the more she could feel for him and he was still desperate for her to feel something for him. Even if he could get her to like him as a friend he would have made considerable progress. The rippling lust for her he carried round ran hot through his veins when her big, blue eyes would turn on him full of questions. When her face lit up with interest or amusement, depending on what he was telling her; his heart skipped a beat and desire would pool heavy in his stomach.
“Have you had enough Malfoy history for one morning?” He asked, grinning across at her.
Luna glanced up at him smiling easily, “Oh I don’t think I could ever get enough Malfoy history. Your house and your family are fascinating, Draco. I’m in love with your house. Can we go and see it from the outside now?”
“Of course we can. It’ll be quicker to go down these stairs than go back to the main stair case.” He gestured towards a side stair case and began to descend to the first floor.
“I think the main stair case is my favourite thing inside the house.” Luna told him decisively.
Draco chuckled, “It’s a stair case, Luna. How can that possibly be your favourite thing?”
Luna shrugged smiling. “It’s very elegant and graceful isn’t it? It just sort of sweeps up through the house. Just looking at it makes me think I could walk right up to the clouds on something so elegant.”
He shivered slightly at the lilting serene tone she used as she followed him down the stairs, absently twirling a strand of hair around her finger. He wondered what she would say if he suddenly turned round and told her that he thought she was graceful and being around her made him feel as though he could float up to the clouds himself.
Draco turned at his fathers voice. “Yes father?”
“I forgot to mention this morning, but I’m holding a poker night tonight. I’ve already invited everyone, we’ll start right after dinner around seven o’clock.” Lucius informed him.
“Excuse me?” Draco blinked with surprise.
Luna glanced up at him a small frown creasing her forehead. She could feel his body tensing up next to her, but she was unsure as to why a poker night would cause this horrified look from him.
“Poker night, Draco.Llisten when I’m speaking will you? I’ve sent the relevant invitation to the Crabbe’s, Goyle’s and of course young Mr Zabini.” Lucius watched his sons face carefully; he was extremely pleased to see a hint of fright flicker in his eyes at the thought of his friends arriving at Malfoy Manor to find his “girlfriend” there with him.
“That’s fine father.” Draco managed to choke out smiling weakly.
Lucius smirked back, “Bring your money, Draco I feel lucky.” With that he turned and headed back into his study chuckling to himself.
“Draco?” Luna whispered, touching him lightly on the arm.
Taking her elbow he nodded towards the library. Entering the room he closed the door quietly behind him scowling. “I don’t believe it! How am I going to get Crabbe, Goyle and Zabini to play along with this? He’s done this on purpose.” He fumed balling his hands into tight fists.
Luna perched herself on the edge of the nearest seat. “Maybe it would be best to come clean to your father, Draco. That way you won’t have to deal with all your friends comments about your relationship with me.” She suggested helpfully.
“No.” He replied quickly. He felt dreadful that Luna would automatically think that the reason he was so worried over his friends arriving was due to her and her reputation. “I don’t care what they say, they won’t really say anything.” He added thoughtfully, “I just can’t have them blowing this whole thing before it’s ever really started.” He crossed the room and sat himself on the arm of her chair.
“Perhaps if you met them as soon as they turn up? I’m sure you’ll think of something, Draco.” She patted his knee encouragingly.
“The notebook!” He exclaimed suddenly. “Blaise and I have enchanted notebooks, they aren’t really note books, more like message pads, if I write something on mine it pops up on Blaise’s page. I could send him a message and he could get in touch with the others. Yes, that’s what I’ll do, father will never work out how I did it!” He smirked victoriously.
Luna giggled, “Sounds like a plan, Draco. Does this poker thing mean I won’t see you at all tonight?”
“No, I’d like you sitting with me when I play if you don’t mind? Sort of moral support.” He admitted, running a hand through his hair.
Luna nodded and patted him once more. “Alright, I suppose watching poker might be interesting, I haven’t done it before, and you should always try new things.”
Draco wondered what she would say if he told her the new thing he would like to try would be kissing her senseless.
Luna sat sedately beside Draco at the table in the parlour, dinner had finished hours ago and the poker game was now in full swing. On the other side of her sat Crabbe Senior and opposite Draco sat Lucius.
Luna couldn’t help but think that Lucius had chosen this seat for the intent purpose of staring at his son. She glanced over at Blaise Zabini who sat opposite her, he was busy shuffling through his cards and didn’t notice her watching him.
Blaise had been great, he had alerted Crabbe and Goyle as per Draco’s message and all three of them had treated her as an old friend, with no awkwardness or confusion as to her presence at the Manor. As soon as he had stepped out of the fireplace Blaise had enveloped her in a huge hug as if he did it every day.
Lucius hadn’t seem to pleased by the lack of surprise from Draco’s friends, which Luna was now certain was the entire point in inviting them all over to the Manor in the first place. But his mood had increased during the course of the game as he won more and more and took more money from his son.
She figured this was his way of at least gaining some revenge on Draco for successfully lying to him as he had done so far. Luna wasn’t quite sure how long Draco would be able to keep up this charade, Lucius seemed pretty determined to tear it apart and expose them as the liars that they were.
But she did hope Draco managed to pull this off. He was quick and he was sneaky. He panicked at first but once he calmed down he was pretty good at thinking of ways to wiggle out of the situation his father had placed him in.
“Well, Draco? Are you in or out?” Lucius asked him taking a sip of his drink.
“Out.” Draco muttered throwing his cards on the table and sighing heavily. He hated to lose, and he had the feeling his father was hounding him a little more around the poker table tonight ;having failed at having one of his friends drop him right in the little lie he was telling.
“Pity, you're not doing so well tonight are you, Draco?” Lucius smirked.
Draco smirked back and drawled, “It’s early yet.”
“Well I’m not doing too well myself, lets take a break, Malfoy.” Goyle Senior suggested, rubbing at his forehead and leaving the table.
“Fine with me. Draco’s money will still be here when I get back.” Lucius chuckled and rose to follow the others who were preparing to leave the table as well.
Draco didn’t move but scowled down at his pile of money that was fast dwindling away. Luna tilted her head and examined him closely. “Why didn’t you stay in, Draco? You had him.”
Draco twisted his head to look at her, “Did you see my hand? It wasn’t that good, it was too risky to stay in, Merlin only knows what he had.”
Luna rolled her shoulders, “He didn’t have anything worth seeing.” She informed Draco decisively.
He surveyed her quietly for a few seconds, “How do you know that?”
“His top lip was twitching, he always does that when he’s bluffing.” Luna said, smiling easily at his astounded expression.
“H…How?” Draco stammered in disbelief.
“They all do something you can pick up on. When your father has a good hand he smoothes the top of his cane, when Blaise has a bad hand he scratches the back of his left hand. Mr Goyle Senior tugs on his ear when he has a bad hand and Crabbe has to have a drink when he has a good hand, it’s like his mouth goes dry with excitement or something.” She listed off everything she had picked up on in a whispered voice; glancing over his shoulder to ensure that the others couldn’t hear her.
Draco grinned maliciously, “Are you sure?” Although even when he asked the question he already knew the answer, Luna wouldn’t tell him if she didn’t actually know it. Evidently Luna was very observant, and she was on his side, with Luna there next to him he couldn’t possibly loose.
“Yes I’m sure.” She told him picking up his glass of juice and taking a sip.
He liked seeing her doing something like that, some small action that told him she was starting to become comfortable with him. “Anything else?”
Luna nodded, “Goyle scratches his neck when he has a good hand and Mr Crabbe Senior always ups the stakes really early on in the game if he has a bad hand to try to buy his way out of his bluff.”
“You're good.” Draco admitted “Very impressive. What do I do?”
“You play with your ring if you have a bad hand and bite your bottom lip if you have a good hand. Don’t do it.” She advised.
“Thanks, Luna. Watch me clean them all out from here on in.” Draco grinned at her. “Oh, here, will you look after my ring? I might give myself away accidentally.” He tugged the large onyx ring over his knuckle and dropped it into her out stretched palm.
“Of course, I’ll keep it very safe.” Luna replied, slipping the overly large ring onto her tiny finger.
Draco felt his chest tighten at the sight of his ring on her finger. He wished he was able to give it to her under difference circumstances, when it would actually mean something. “Thanks.” He muttered, adverting his eyes from her face terrified he might give himself away.
“Ready again, Draco?” Blaise wondered slipping back into his seat, he glanced over his shoulder to make sure no-one was watching. “What the hell is going on?” He demanded in a heated whisper; looking from Draco to Luna and back again. Draco hadn’t been very detailed with his message.
“Not now, Zabini.” Draco warned. “Yes I’m ready whenever you are, Blaise.” He added in a louder tone.
Presently the rest of the men rejoined the table and the game began again. Luna had to hide her smile behind her hand as Draco won, and won, and won some more.
Lucius however, Luna was quick to notice looked ready to explode at any second. His eyes flashed angrily and the muscle in his neck twitched alarmingly. Luna wished Draco would just back off and not rile his father to this extent; but Draco being Draco liked to win and displayed no sign of being gracious with his new advantages over his opponents.
She watched Draco’s grey eyes turn narrow and calculating as he watched those around the table, reading them as she had taught him. In turn she saw Lucius’ pupils dilate in pure rage as he kept losing money to his own son.
“Well that’s it for me, Draco, I’m out and I’m staying out.” Crabbe complained, dropping his cards and pushing himself back from the table.
“Me too, I don’t know where your lucks coming from, Draco, must be the lovely lady.” Mr Goyle Senior smiled easily at Luna and she smile softly back at him.
Soon everyone dropped out and it was left to father and son to battle it alone. Lucius raised the bet, Draco covered him and raised it again, so it went on to a ridiculously high amount and Luna started to feel nervous. She had been watching Lucius all through the game and he gave nothing away. From the tension in Draco’s face she knew he was wondering the same thing as she was, had Lucius worked out how Draco was suddenly winning so much?
Luna almost yelled with relief when she spotted his top lip twitching. Draco evidently had also noticed it and he called his fathers hand.
“Four of a kind.” Lucius informed him smugly, spreading his cards on the table.
Draco smirked easily, “Straight flush.” He responded, taking great care to place each card on the table separately.
Luna thought for a split second that Lucius was going to hex Draco, but the rage quickly vanished. “Very well played, Draco.” He said, his voice as strained as the muscles in his face.
“I thought so.” Draco admitted lazily.
“Call it a night shall we, Malfoy?” Crabbe Senior suggested.
“Good idea, I’m now officially potless.” Blaise complained. “I need a good luck charm,” He added gazing meaningfully at Luna.
“Sorry, Zabini. She’s all mine.” Draco replied flicking his wand so that his money sorted itself into neat piles. “I’ll owl you soon.” He added and Blaise gave him a discrete nod before following the others from the room.
“See you soon, Draco,”
“Yeah see you, Goyle.”
“Bye, Luna.” Blaise called, prompting both Goyle and Crabbe to call out their own goodbyes.
Luna waved dreamily and smiled at Draco, “Happy?”
“Oh yes. You're amazing!” He told her enthusiastically, a little to enthusiastically he thought; but Luna didn’t seem to notice. “Hey, we should team up when we get back to Hogwarts, we could run our own poker scam.”
Luna frowned, “I’m not going to help you scam everyone at Hogwarts out of their money, Draco.”
Draco shrugged and grinned at her, “It was worth a shot. I’ll split the winnings with you, there wouldn’t be any if you hadn’t have helped me out.”
He wasn’t sure how offended he was by the surprised look on her face at his generosity. True he had never been generous before, and he admitted that under normal circumstances he probably wouldn’t offer to split his winnings with someone else. But Luna wasn’t just anyone else and he wanted her to know he could be generous if he wanted to be.
Luna smiled dreamily at him, “Thank you, Draco, that’s very sweet.”
Sweet! Sweet was good, he hadn’t ever been called sweet before in his life; and he really liked the idea that Luna thought he was. Naturally over the course of the next two weeks he would show her how sweet he could really be.
“Draco, may I have a quick word in my study?” Lucius suddenly appeared in the doorway. It wasn’t so much a request as it was a command, and Draco felt his good mood flee him immediately.
He glanced at Luna as he stood up and she gave him an encouraging smile, although he was quick to spot the uncertainty in her eyes. Swallowing nervously he left the room, he was certain his father knew how he had been winning all night and now would come the punishment.
Trying to lie to his father had been an extremely bad idea, but conning him, fleecing him out of his money was probably the dumbest idea he had ever had!
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