Chapter 8 : Race Day
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Narcissa groaned burrowing herself further under the blankets to try and drown out the sound of her husband’s bellowing. Why he felt he had to bellow early in the morning she didn’t know and she wished he’d leave her alone when her head was splitting in two. She’d drunk too much last night and she was paying the price for it now.
“What’s the matter now?” She muttered from beneath the sheets.
The door to the bedroom flew open and slammed into the wall behind it as Lucius stormed through it. “You won’t believe what’s happened!” He raged at her from his position at the foot of the bed his hands on his hips glaring at his wife.
“What?” Narcissa flicked the sheets from her face knowing she wasn’t going to get any sleep now that he was in the room using his irate tone of voice.
Lucius spluttered madly waving his arms around in a circle. “She stayed in his room with him!”
Sighing heavily Narcissa propped herself up against her pillows brushing her hair from her face and rubbing at her tired eyes. “So? You said that they could. Looks like you were wrong after all and she is his girlfriend.”
Lucius shook his head, “No.” He informed her angrily. “He’s trying to get one over, he’s gone a lot further than I thought he would.” He muttered tapping his cheek with his index finger. “Question is, how do I get him to trip up? How do I get him to back down?”
Narcissa groaned madly, “Oh really Lucius! Just leave it will you? She must be a really good friend to go along with him like this, you could ruin the friendship if you carry on pushing.”
The thought suddenly struck Lucius that he hadn’t ever heard Draco even mention Luna before. Of all the stories he’d ever told him about his activities at Hogwarts Luna hadn’t popped up in one of them. His forehead creased in concentration, what exactly was going on? Where had Luna suddenly come from? She couldn’t be friends with Draco there was no evidence to suggest that she was.
There was no evidence to suggest she wasn’t his girlfriend either except the feeling he had in the pit of his stomach that something wasn’t sitting right. His forehead creased up into a frown, for the first time in his life he was at a total loss to explain his sons actions, he couldn’t figure out for the life of him what was going on.
“Cissy? Do you recollect ever having heard of Luna before the other day, in some story that Draco had told you?”
Narcissca stifled the urge to fling herself face down in the pillows and kick and scream with annoyance until she was hoarse. “I don’t remember off the top of my head.”
Lucius smirked at her, “That’s because there’s nothing to remember. He’s never mentioned her before.”
Irritably Narcissa swung herself out of bed and crossed the room to the bathroom where she proceeded to run herself a bath and brush her teeth. “What difference does that make? I mean really Lucius, why go on and on about it? Leave things be, your giving me a headache not to mention earache.”
Lucius leant against the door frame watching her as she brushed her long, blonde hair over her shoulder before scooping it up into clips on top of her head. “You’re my wife Cissy, your supposed to listen to me.”
“I am listening to you Lucius, but your going round in circles and your talking and talking and your not really saying anything.” She complained slipping her red, satin nightgown over her shoulders and letting it drop to the floor.
Carefully she dipped her toe into the water, after deeming it the right temperature she slid in amongst the bubbles sighing contentedly.
“Oh no Lucius, are you going to talk some more?” She groaned dramatically peering at him through the mound of bubbles in her bath.
Lucius pulled a face at her making her laugh. “Yes I’m going to talk some more. I was going to say that even after all these years and carrying a child you still look the same as you did when I met you. But as you rudely interrupted me I think perhaps I’ll take it back.” He told her haughtily.
Narcissa pouted prettily at him from her bubbles. “You know, if you gave me half the attention that your giving to this stupid game you’ve got going with Draco we could be having some fun of our own.”
Lucius smirked. “Perhaps I fancy a bath.”
She chuckled a slow smile spreading across her lips. “Perhaps you do.”
“I think I’ll send Draco to Race Day. There’s something else I’d rather be doing today.” He told his wife smiling softly at her.
* * *
The sky was clear today, without one single cloud just a perfect powder blue that spread out endlessly, surrounding the golden fire of the sun. The trees in the Malfoy garden cast shimmering shadows across the grass and the light breeze caused the heads of the flowers to dance and bob around. The scene was perfect summer and gentle tranquil, setting a deep sense of serenity through Luna’s mind as she stood in the window of Draco’s room and surveyed the gardens.
“What are you doing?”
Luna had been conscious of his silent presence before he spoke, but then she figured that at the moment she wouldn’t have had a problem locating him in a crowd of a thousand other pale-skinned, blonde haired, utterly perfect looking boys. Supposing the planet actually contained that number!
She turned to look a him her hands shaking slightly. Had he noticed? She figured he probably did notice, Draco had the nasty habit of noticing everything. She let out a shaky breath as she looked at him standing in the doorway looking impossibly gorgeous in a fallen -angel way making her senses leap.
Clearing her throat slightly she replied, “Nothing much, I’m just looking out of the window. What are you doing?”
Draco shrugged lazily and Luna found herself imagining the things going on under his shirt, things like taunt muscles rippling beneath silky, smooth skin. Two strips of pink coloured her cheeks as she averted her eyes from his face.
“Father reminded me this morning that it‘s Race Day today. He can‘t go and wondered if we would like to go instead. Do you want to go?” He wondered flicking his hair out of his eyes.
“Yes.” She replied dreamily, “I’d like that very much.”
“That‘s great, my mother said that you can borrow the outfit that she bought to go if you like.” He offered holding out the dress and a hat box.
She smiled, “That’s very nice of her, thank you, Draco.”
Draco looked at her regretfully, “I’ll, um, let you change, I’ll just be down stairs in the library.”
* * *
Luna stared round at the large race track, at all the women dressed in fancy clothes with hats and parasols. She was glad now that she had taken up Cissy’s offer to wear her dress; a black and white affair, simple yet elegant, cut just above the knee and a large brimmed white hat with a black silk scarf wrapped round it.
She’d had no idea the race course would be so big or that there would be a band and there were just so many people! She knew of Race Day, it was a high society affair dreamed up by the Ministry to help promote the standing of wealthy purebloods more than anything else. It had been around for years, once upon a time there had been only purebloods at Race Day but now everyone was around.
“Bloody mud bloods.” Draco muttered at her side as he scanned the surrounding area.
Rolling her eyes she decided to ignore his comment and smiled round with delight. She hadn’t been to Race Day before and she was excited to be there and thrilled that Draco had asked her to go along. Her hand was tucked just beneath his elbow and she allowed him to lead her through the throngs of people while she drank in the sights, sounds and smells.
“Here, Luna,” Draco produced a folded bank note from his pocket and carefully tucked it into the black lace glove she was wearing. “We go over here to place a bet.” He gestured to his right and began pulling her after him deciding to dismiss the weird tickle in his fingertips from where they had brushed over the bare skin of her wrist.
“You mean your going to be betting?” She asked glancing up at him, wondering if he had felt the same sensation as she had when he had touched her.
Draco nodded, “Of course, it’s Race Day, Luna, why would anyone race if no-one bets? It’s just a bit of fun. I’ll have to place your bet for you, your not of age yet. Who do you want?”
Joining the queue by the betting booth Luna scanned the paper he handed her for a horse in the first race. “The muggles do this you know. Horse racing.”
“I know that. But ours aren’t running are they? They fly don’t they? It’s different.” He replied. “Oh, I’ll put five galleons on Silver Wings.” He told the man in the booth glancing over at Luna who was still running her finger down the column of names. “Luna?”
“Same on Dark Spirit.” She replied decisively.
Draco just smiled and after placing their bets he escorted her to the stands calling greetings to various wizards as he went. Luna was not in the bit surprised when she discovered that the Malfoy’s shared a box with some of the more important members of the Ministry including the Minister himself.
Luna took her seat her eyes shinning as an excited stir ran through the crowds and the horses appeared at the starting line. Luna stared open-mouthed, nothing could have prepared her for the bright, shining colours of the riders silks, they seemed to go hand in hand with the festive music from the band.
Without even knowing it Luna laughed aloud, a child’s laugh, free and full of joyful surprise. “Oh look!” she said. She was so enraptured in the whole spirit of the event that she was unaware of Draco’s eyes watching her instead of the horses she was pointing out to him.
There was an interval for refreshments after the third race and Luna and Draco entered the large green and gold striped tent that sheltered long tables of food and house elves weaved their way between the gossiping witches and wizards bearing silver serving trays full of champagne.
Luna stayed at Draco’s side sipping at a glass of water while he conversed with some important looking wizards that she didn’t know. She smiled and nodded at the greeting but relapsed into silence while they talked and she surveyed the room drinking in the atmosphere feeling thrilled to be a part of it all.
Nibbling on a mini quiche she glanced up at Draco under the brim of her hat. He looked so elegant in his trade mark black suit, his silk shirt opened at the neck and his blonde hair hanging in floppy strands across his forehead. Luna was taken off guard by the urge she suddenly had to reach up and push the lock of hair from his forehead.
“Are you enjoying the races Miss Lovegood?” One of the wizards asked her.
“Oh yes. Very much.” She couldn’t remember the man’s name for the life of her, or any of the others either, she hoped the need wouldn’t arise to actually address one of them.
“We’d better go and place another bet before the races start back up.” Draco said suddenly taking hold of her elbow and propelling her towards the opening of the tent calling his goodbyes as he did so. “Who do you want now?”
Luna gazed up at him with sparkling eyes. “Ten galleons on Antaris.” She informed him firmly.
Draco raised an eyebrow sceptically before asking sarcastically, “And the reason for that informed decision would be?”
“Because I like the name.” She replied airily causing him to laugh easily and take the money she offered him.
After placing the bets they climbed back up to their seats at the top of the stands just as the horses came back out for the start of the race. The spectators stood up, first one or two, then groups of people and finally everyone in a wave of anticipation. Luna was practically dancing with excitement.
“Having a good time?” Draco drawled from his lounging position in his seat.
“Wonderful!” Luna declared clapping her hands joyfully. “Which one is my horse?”
Draco stood and pointed “Number four, in the gold and black silk. Number six is Mystical Skies, he’s managed post-position, number eight, Rider’s Destiny is his pace-setter.” He explained to her.
Luna frowned and wanted to ask what “post-position” and “pace-setter” meant but there was no time, the race was about to start. There were load groans from the stands as number five anticipated the starters flag.
“What happened?” Luna asked.
“False start, they’ll have to line back up again now.” He replied squinting at the starting line. “I still don’t believe you bet on Antaris just because you like the name.” He sniggered at her.
“Well, it doesn’t really matter does it? If I lose it’s your money not mine.” She grinned impishly at him.
Draco looked surprised. “Well played.” He acknowledged.
The flag went down, the red and green sparks shot into the air with a bang and the race had started. Luna didn’t realise it but she was shouting, jumping up and down and pounding on Draco’s arm with her small fist. She was deaf to the shouts of the other people around her and when Antaris won the race by half a length she let out a loud yell of victory, continuing to jump and clap her hands. “I won! I won! Isn’t it marvellous?”
Draco smirked down at her shining face and rubbed gingerly at his biceps. “I think I’m crippled for life.” He muttered.
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