Demetria sat in front of the extravagant vanity in her new bedroom. She stared at her pale, small face in the mirror for a moment, before reaching up and pulling a couple of pins out her hair. The long, dark curls tumbled down around her shoulders and cascaded down her back. She had never liked to wear it up.
Her new position as wife of a Ministry Official, however, required her to look the part of a sophisticated, high-class lady. She had not planned to experience this kind of life, but after her family had come into a large amount of money, the upper-class began to show a terrible amount of interest in her.
Demetria was a beautiful girl, no doubt about it. She had a very delicate way about her and was gracefully tall instead of awkward in her body. More importantly, she preferred to be seen and not heard, which was a must for all society wives. Still, she had always imagined that she would marry one of her classmates and settle in the country somewhere.
This plan was torn to shreds when her father’s great aunt Clarisse died and left the family a truly incredible amount of money. This opened up what her father called “marriage opportunities.” Since she really had no opinion on the matter, she stood back and allowed her father to set her up with a young British pure-blood who also recently been promoted as Assistant to the Minister of Magic.
Knowing that it would make her father happy, she agreed to the marriage and became Mrs. Draco Malfoy within a year of meeting him.
Before their wedding, they had spent hardly more than five minutes alone together. Her husband-to-be had always been too busy discussing politics with her father or chatting about the latest updates on the Pure-Blood Movement with the other men.
She would sit and fold her hands delicately in her lap, imitating Draco’s mother. Narcissa would always attempt to squeeze some kind of conversation out of Demetria, but the girl was not very talkative at all. This never bothered Narcissa, though; it was better, she had thought, for Draco to have someone to obey him rather than someone to conquer.
On the day of their wedding, Demetria processed up the aisle clad in diamonds and expensive white silks to meet a man who she did not love but was calmly devoting herself to. He had hardly looked at her during the ceremony, and Demetria remembered wondering if he were as nervous as she was. He took her small, soft hands in his unnaturally frigid ones and promised himself to her.
With a timid “I do”, Demetria became a wife.
That night, she had consummated her marriage, but since then, her husband had shown little to no interest in her. He bought her anything that she timidly asked for, but it seemed more like a bribe to leave him alone rather than a gift of love. He made idle small talk with her over their dinner and slept in the same bed as her. Other than that, they both let well enough alone.
One night, over a meal of roast beef and red wine, Draco said to her, “The Minister has requested that I host the Christmas party this year.”
As usual, Demetria responded with, “Yes, sir.”
“I want you to be in charge of it,” he said, cutting his meat with vigor. “I have too much to do to be concerned with a Ministry party.” He raised his eyes to her. “However, it needs to be perfect. My promotion depends on the success of this party.”
Demetria poked at her green beans with her fork, nervous feelings beginning to rise in her throat. This was far beyond her experience level. She knew that the upper-class enjoyed giving extravagant parties, but she had thought that it was too early in their marriage for them to be hosting such events.
“I-I’m not sure that I’m capable,” she stammered, her skin tingeing pink.
Draco eyed her a little coldly. “What on earth are you talking about?” he asked. “All you have to do is decorate the damn place and order the food.” He set his fork down. “How difficult could that be?”
“I’m sorry,” she mumbled immediately. “You’re right, of course. It will be done.”
Draco nodded sternly. “Very good,” he said sharply. “I’m sure that you will do an excellent job.”
Later that night, Demetria lie in bed, unable to fall asleep. The comforter rose and fell as her husband breathed deeply in his sleep. He had hardly said goodnight to her. It had been this way throughout her entire marriage- a whole six months. He would go work in the morning, come home and eat dinner, and then he would spend the rest of the evening in his library. Every night, she went to bed with a feeling of loneliness invading her mind. Now that she had a party to worry her, too, the effect was utterly overwhelming.
How had she managed to wed the coldest man in all of Europe? He had never touched her or looked at her in a way that was soft or loving. The hand on her back that he used to guide her on the very few occasions that she had gone out was controlling. Every glance that he gave her held a command. She had begun to think that there was almost no feeling in him whatsoever. She was starved for affection.
Slowly, she rolled over to face Draco, studying his sleeping face. She knew that she didn’t love him either, but she had seen what could happen with arranged marriages. Her own parents had hardly known each other when they were wed, and they were a very happy couple.
She was fond of his features and used to his company, but it still puzzled her that there was no softness to him.
He is peaceful now, she thought, watching the worry lines disappear from his forehead. I will throw his party. Maybe then, he’ll find favor with me.
Over the next few weeks, Demetria worked every waking moment with the house elves, preparing for the Christmas Eve party. She watched them arranged holly and tinsel to her liking and pored over recipes for lamb and ham and vegetables and every other food that needed to be present. She worked from the moment that her husband left in the morning until the moment that he returned, when she would be standing at the door, waiting to greet him like a dutiful wife.
When all plans had been set, all meals planned, and all the decorations on display, Demetria took on the last order of business: ordering her dress. She had settled on a blood red silk, with a low-cut bodice and flowing skirt. She knew that such an outfit was enough to turn any man’s head, but she only wanted one man to notice.
She intended to capture her husband’s affection, if he had any, at the party. She simply couldn’t live without any warmth anymore.
“Welcome to our home, Minister,” said Demetria politely, taking his cloak herself and hanging in on their coat rack.
Most of their guests had already arrived and were waiting in the ball room, enjoying punch, wine, and music. Demetria’s nerves, which were almost frayed at the thought of her first real social gathering, had begun to calm down when the Minister arrived.
“Wonderful to meet you, Mrs. Malfoy,” said the old man cheerfully. “Mr. Malfoy doesn’t speak often of you.” He winked merrily at Draco. “I can see why, my dear man, she’s lovely. Don’t want anyone stealing that out from under your nose.”
The Minister’s wife gave a trilling laugh and tutted, “Oh, now, really,George! You’re embarrassing the poor girl. Look, you’ve made her face grow as red as her dress!”
Indeed, all the blood had rushed to her face at the Minister’s cheeky comment. She quickly attempted to gain her composure as she offered to show them to the ball room. Draco quickly strode to her side and placed her hand on his arm. “You’re doing quite well,” he muttered to her. “Keep it up.”
Demetria’s heart lightened considerably at this small hint of praise, and a small smile appeared on her face. Still, she felt a little dizzy at the sight of so many finely dressed strangers. A handsome young man with dark skin and piercingly green eyes approached them with a strangely, and skimpily, dressed woman with rather large breasts. “Good evening, Draco!” said the man, holding out his hand.
Draco shook it firmly and said, “Good to see you, Blaise. How is life in court?”
“Same old, same old,” scoffed Blaise, looking quite bored. “There’s no variety. All I do is win.” His eyes travelled over to Demetria, and a frighteningly lusty light appeared in them. “So you’re finally unveiling the little wife, I see.”
“Yes,” said Draco dismissively. “This is my wife, Demetria.” He glanced at Demetria and nodded his head to his friend. “This is my old school friend, Blaise Zabini.”
“Enchanted, Mrs. Malfoy,” said Blaise, bowing deeply and kissing her hand. “This is my fiancée, Erika Carter.”
He gestured the his companion, who sized up Demetria with her eyes, and obviously decided that she wasn’t much competition. Until, of course, Blaise said, “Well, you certainly lucked out, didn’t you? You one of the few gorgeous purebloods left. Damned inbreeding.”
Erika made an indignant noise, and Blaise immeadietly realized his mistake. “I meant you, too, dearest,” he said quickly, but Demetria saw him catch Draco’s eye and wink.
The couple swept away as Blaise spotted a trollish looking man named Flint and went to converse with him. Draco took her elbow and whispered, “That was Blaise Zabini. Complete skeeze. Bad family, if you ask me. Just mind your buttocks around him.”
Demetria looked up wide-eyed at him, surprised to see that there was a small light of amusement in his eyes, before nodding dumbly. “We’re expected to dance now,” he said, regaining his regal air. “Come along.”
He took her by the hand and led her in the dance, using that familiar controlling hand to guide her along. Luckily, Demetria was fairly capable of grace and managed to feign the image of a woman who knew precisely what she was doing. After a couple of minuets and waltzes, Draco decided that they had displayed themselves enough for the time being, and they went to join some of their guests by the buffet table.
They were immediately surrounded by people who wanted to brush shoulders with the man who was important enough to host the Ministry’s holiday party. Along with the idle chatter, Draco received many compliments on the gracious manner and the beauty of his wife. Demetria received these compliments with a simple smile but inside her heart was praying that Draco was taking these words to heart- that he would finally realize how good she was for him.
Throughout the entire evening, though, the only glimpse that she got of anything but the normal, straight-laced, frigid Draco Malfoy was his one comment about Blaise Zabini. As she bid her guests goodnight and showed them out the door, she put on a mask of a smile to hide her disappointment.
With instructions to the house elves to clean up the party, she headed up the staircase to prepare herself for bed. She left her lovely dress on, not quite ready to remove it. She sat in front of the extravagant vanity in her new bedroom. She stared at her pale, small face in the mirror for a moment, before reaching up and pulling a couple of pins out her hair. The long, dark curls tumbled down around her shoulders and cascaded down her back. She had never liked to wear it up.
Suddenly, a strange sound reached her ears. She shook herself slightly, convinced that she was hearing things. But still, a lovely, romantic piano sonata was floating through the halls. It’s him, she thought, her heart jumping.
She knew that Draco retreated to his study every night, and she knew that he often spent hours playing on the piano as a relaxation technique, but he had never allowed her to hear him. He had always shut the door and soundproofed the room.
But here was this melody ringing throughout the halls, riddled with such passion and feeling. Surely that can’t be coming from his fingers, she thought in disbelief, going to the door and sticking her head out.
She made her way through the halls, regretting that she had removed her shoes, for the floor was absolutely stone cold. When she reached the library, she found the door slightly ajar, and the music pouring out from it. The sound was so beautiful- the melody so passionately played that Demetria just had to see it for herself.
She turned her face to the small crack in the door and peered inside. There sat her husband, bathed in moonlight and playing the piano with closed eyes and such an expression of rapture on his face that Demetria was completely taken aback. How could it be the same cold and perpetually professional man that she lived with every day?
She watched his fingers move up and down the keyboard with natural grace and rhythm and each chord involved his whole body, as if the music were a part of him that needed to be released. Wondering if she should dare it, Demetria timidly pushed the door open all the way to take in the full view of it.
Draco opened his eyes, looking unsurprised, and continued playing. She started to apologize for interrupting, but the words caught in her throat at the intensity of his gaze. His piercing grey eyes kept control of her own as he finished the song, and they would not release her from their hypnotic stare.
When he finished the piece, the notes rang in the empty silence for a moment. Neither of them moved for a moment. Then, without so much as a word, Draco began a new song, just as lovely as the first. His wife took a seat in a small chair near the piano and listened to the beautiful music. The melody carried true emotion and, most importantly, the affection that she had been yearning to have for months.
Draco played for at least an hour while Demetria sat, content to listen. When he was all done, he stood up slowly, his dress robes swooshing around him. “You came down,” he said quietly.
Suddenly, Demetria was frightened that he was angry with her for interrupting his solitude. “I’m s-sorry,” she stammered. “I didn’t mean to intrude.”
“No, I wanted you to,” he replied, shaking his head. “I wanted you to know. I didn’t know how…”
He trailed off, unable to finish his sentence. Demetria, aware now of how desperately she needed to be near to him, said, “What did you want me to know?”
He looked uncomfortably at her and touched his brow as though his head were aching. “I’ve never loved anyone…except my mother and father,” he said slowly. “I’ve had many girls. Never loved them.” He looked back up at her, and Demetria saw his eyes travel across her face, studying everything about her. “What you did for me tonight was more than anyone has ever done for me,” he continued, and Demetria could sense that he was trying to put back on his professional face.
“You are my husband,” she said tonelessly, though her eyes and her heart said that she felt more. “It is my duty.”
He strode forward and slid his hands around her waist, pulling her towards him. Demetria’s soul cried with happiness at the feeling of his touch.
“I got the promotion because of you,” he said fiercely. “All the guests tonight didn’t care about the party. They cared about your beauty, your grace, your utter loveliness.” He reached his hand to caress her cheek, and she shivered at their coolness. Now, however, it served to calm her fiery passion instead of chilling her to the bone. “I’ve taken you for granted.”
She tried to break the barrier of her quiet demeanor to tell him she felt now, how she wanted to love and be loved by her husband. When she couldn’t find the words, he didn’t seem to mind. Instead, he whispered, “I didn’t want to marry you. But it would have been such a mistake if I hadn’t.”
And with that, he pulled her tight to him and kissed her lips gently. The dam of happiness in Demetria’s heart burst, and her spirit began to soar as she kissed her husband for the first time since their wedding. She felt the feeling that the music had been trying to inspire within them both as she tasted sweet rapture. The experience made her shiver but not from cold.