Beauty was a curse. It brought the wrong kind of attention, the kind of attention that most young women yearn for. The attention of a whole room staring at the angelic beauty of a single woman who was not yet twenty. But sitting in the middle of the room, surrounded by potential suitors, Asteria Greengrass felt more alone than ever. Smoothing out her royal blue silk gown, she looked across the room to the clock. The party had four more hours left, unfortunately.
“Thank you,” she said in her poised, velvety voice as one of the young men gave her a slice of cake that she wouldn't even eat. She'd already eaten and the last thing she wanted was a piece of decadent cake that had been sitting out for the five hours the party had already been. Sighing, she picked at the moist food with her fork, her sharp blue eyes searching the room once more. Her eyes zeroed in on a tall, slender young woman near her own age.
“Blaise, will you fetch Daphne for me?” she asked sweetly, her blood red lips curving into an irresistibly ethereal smile. The black-haired man agreed and left reluctantly. As though to please her, a majority of the other young men stood up to leave as well. Sighing, she grinned at herself. She kept from laughing, for her older sister wasn't even at the party: she was still on her honeymoon.
Asteria stood up with as much grace and elegance as would be expected from such a woman as she was. Gingerly, she took a stray piece of her strawberry blonde hair and tucked it behind her ear. It simply would not do if her mother saw that one piece of hair had fallen out of the elegant bun. Carefully, she excused herself from the table at which she had been sitting. Continuing to be quite, she walked stealthily out of the ballroom.
“I wouldn't expect you out here,” a cunning voice said from behind her as she stepped onto the balcony. The cool, autumn wind blew her hair gently around her face. She tightened her velvet cloak around her shoulders and slowly turned around. A half-smile took her oval-shaped face as she looked at him. His silvery blonde hair was cropped tastefully, much different from the last time she'd seen him. It was different in a good way, though. He didn't look unkempt anymore.
“You weren't supposed to be back until tomorrow night,” Asteria pointed out as she walked over to him, her heels clicking softly on the ancient stone. She touched his pale face gently, her grin growing as she did so.
“Thank you, Draco.” She kissed his cheek tenderly and sat down on the marble railing. It made her a bit nervous, but if she had to stand and wear those wretched shoes much longer she was positive that she would fall over. To keep her from falling, Draco stood before her and placed his hand on her waist. She sighed sadly and looked into his icy blue eyes.
“I really hate parties.”
“All everyone does is look at me like I'm a life-sized doll. And that Blaise man scares me. He looks at me as though he knows what I look like naked. It's quite frightening.”
Draco laughed heartily as Asteria punched his shoulder playfully. She slung her slender arms around his neck and kissed the tip of his nose lovingly. He pulled her from the rail and placed her on her feet before him. Grinning a some what sly grin, Draco sat down at her feet. Though confused, she sat across from him.
“Why are we on the ground?” she whispered.
Draco simply looked toward the windows and smirked. When he did this, Asteria understood. Someone was looking for her. Hiding was okay for her, the last thing she wanted right now was to be inside the stuffy ballroom. Being smothered by her parents and parents' friends was not something that she enjoyed.
“Have your parents blocked Apparition from the property?” he asked, taking her hands in his. She nodded sadly. Draco screwed his face up in concentration, leaving Asteria silent. She pondered for a few moments, wondering what he was thinking about. Ever since the war ended, he'd changed a bit. Again, he hadn't changed in a bad way; he'd just become more thoughtful. Asteria liked this new version of Draco. He wasn't as haughty and arrogant, though those characteristics remained. She laughed silently to herself.
“There's a broomstick over there,” Asteria offered, pointing to a corner of the large balcony. A mad gleam came to Draco's eyes as he took her by the hand and yanked her off the cold ground. She grinned as he ran with her hand tightly in his. She'd never done anything against her parents' rules before, and surely sneaking out with Draco Malfoy fell under that category.