Hermione stood near the last row with a clipboard in hand and a quick notes quill. Everything was perfect: the decorations, the preparations for the food, everything except how she was feeling. Malfoy was standing next to Asteria with the most false smile Hermione had ever seen. What was worse was that every now and again he stole a glance to the back of the audience, catching her eye and then looking away.
He shouldn’t be marrying her… Hermione kept saying in her mind, yet she couldn’t find herself to rush down the aisle and put a stop to it all. So, she just stood there, taking deep breaths to hold back the tears and listened to Malfoy saying, “I do.”
Marriage on the Horizon Bachelor and Bachelorette-hood is over for Draco Malfoy and Asteria Greengrass for they have become engaged this past weekend. The two had been rumored to be dating but nothing was ever confirmed up until this point. The pair has not yet settled on a date-
“…But they hope to be married sometime in the summer of next year.” Harry read and closed the Daily Prophet paper. “Figures those two would get together. They’re both evil to the core so they deserve it.”
“Evil or not, I didn’t think someone could love a git like Malfoy and then get married to him.” Ron said with a false shiver. Hermione shook her head and chuckled.
“You shouldn’t say that, Ron.” Hermione told him. “There’s someone for everyone out there no matter what their personality is or how they act. You just have to find your partner and apparently Malfoy’s found his.”
“You should know not to try by now, mate.” Harry interrupted. “With her being Miss Wedding Planner, everything has an optimistic outlook.”
Hermione grinned and took a sip of her tea that was getting colder by the second. Yes, she was a wedding planner and a counselor if the couple felt like they needed it. It wasn’t at all what she had thought she was going to grow up to be, but it turned into a business for her when all of her friends started to get married.
Harry’s wedding was the first. With her being Ginny’s maid of honor, she helped to decide what colors to use and places to go. George and Katie were next, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley came after with the renewing of their vows, and pretty soon strangers were coming up to Hermione asking if she could help. After that, she gave up, became an official wedding planner and she loved it. She owned a small building of two floors near the South end of Hogsmeade, first floor as a show room to display pictures of past weddings she did, and on the second floor part of the space was used to plan the weddings and the rest for counseling.
Most of her clients asked her why she herself wasn’t married. Hermione would never give an answer, but knew it was simply because she didn’t go searching. Ron was available of course, but she couldn’t see him any more than just a friend, and didn’t push it any further than that. Besides, dealing with lovers all the time let Hermione know something: love came in its own time and she’d get her chance. So, for the most part she didn’t worry about it and concentrated on worrying about others’.
Hermione’s lunch date with Harry and Ron progressed into dinner which she ended early so she could head over to her office. She had just finished up a wedding the previous week, and they said that they’d pay her their last installment by today. Sure enough there was an envelope on her desk and she smiled greatly to see a check of ten thousand galleons. Maybe I should treat myself to a hot tub? Hermione thought to herself, laughed and shook her head. No, she wouldn’t do that. She’d probably keep some on hand to buy things with, put another portion of it in a small bag she kept under her floorboard in case of emergency and the rest stow away in her vault at Gringots.
Hermione, more or less, tended to have the “high-class” seek her out to do business which surprised her greatly. And with the high-class came high-class weddings and loads of money they were willing to spend. Though, no matter how much money she received at the end of the day, she never flaunted it. Simple was how she liked it, and in the long run saving up all of that money would benefit her.
Just as Hermione stuffed the envelope into her bag and was about to leave, the fireplace in front of her desk gave a bit of flicker of light, and soon the face of a woman was appearing in the flames.
“I’m terribly sorry for appearing so late, are you closing?” The woman asked. Hermione was tempted to say yes and to come back tomorrow, but she shook her head and cupped her hands on her desk.
“I was, but you’re welcome to-” Her words were cut off by the disappearing of the woman’s face, the fire turning emerald green, and then a tall, slender dark brown-haired woman striding out of the fireplace. She took a seat in front of Hermione without being offered and smiled.
“It’s been talk among the tops of circles that you do marvelous weddings.”
“And as a member of top society I do need a marvelous wedding.”
“I’m sure that-”
“Possibly in a different country in a beautiful garden,”
“With imported birds..? Imported champagne..? Anything extravagant, don’t you agree?”
“Wait, hold on a moment.” Hermione said, holding out her hands to stop her pending client from talking any further. “How about we start with your name? And then we can set up an appointment to discuss what you’re ideas are in slower detail.”
The woman cocked her brow and visibly huffed like as if she was annoyed. But a moment later her countenance changed and she took out a small quill and one of Hermione’s business cards.
“You are the wedding planner and I suppose you do know best.” She told her as she finished writing and handed over the card. “My name and address are written there. Come by around nine tomorrow morning and we can discuss everything. Until then,”
The woman excused herself and left via Floo Network just as quickly as she had come. Hermione sat there in awe of the audacity of the woman that was a moment ago sitting in front of her. She was tempted to toss away the card and pretend that the woman had never stepped foot into her office, but it didn’t matter how snotty the client was. Everyone deserved to have their dream wedding no matter what.
Hermione grabbed her bag and made sure to lock up for the night. Though, before she hopped into the fireplace to go home, she took a glance at the name on the back of the card and stared wide-eyed.
Hermione apparated to her flat and was startled to see a figure darting from her kitchen and into her living room. Though, it was nothing to fear because it was just Ginny who held a small carton of ice cream in one hand and a spoon in the other.
“Sorry for breaking in,” Ginny said with a small grin as she stuck the spoon into the carton. Hermione shook her head and smiled as she motioned for them to sit on her sofa.
“Far be it from me to know, but why are you here when you’ve got a husband at home to please?”
“Believe me I’d be doing it if it wasn’t Quiditch season. Harry and my brother are at some Quiditch game and I’ve become completely invisible.”
“If it’s any condolence the season’s almost over.” Hermione told her with a chuckle. Ginny shrugged and conjured a second spoon so they both could devour the carton of ice cream that was slowly melting.
“So, what’s up with you?”
“Nothing really… The Carmichaels paid their last installment today and I, well, got hired for another wedding.”
“Wow, business is going really well. Another top class family I suppose, then?”
“Very top class.” Hermione said irritably. “It’s Malfoy.”
“Malfoy?!” Ginny half-shouted. “You’re serious? Draco Malfoy actually stepped through your office and asked you to plan his wedding?”
“Well, no. His fiancée did and she’s a piece of work.”
“What do you mean?”
“Alright, so I’m sitting at my desk, getting ready to leave and I see her face in my fireplace. She asked if I was closing and I barely told her no when she strutted into my office giving me a list of things she wanted for her wedding. If I didn’t stop her from talking I think I’d still be there listening to her rant on how perfect it should be.”
“She does sound difficult. I hate to say this ‘Mione, but you’ve found the female Malfoy equivalent. And to think you’ll be surrounded by them day in and day out until they’re married?”
“Yes, Gin, thank you for making me realize that this is going to be even more tortuous than I thought.”
Hermione woke up at seven the next morning and made sure that she was apparating over to the address Asteria left her by eight-fifty-five. She had rather not to get off with Asteria on the wrong foot, so she kept time in sight.
The address was apparently the address of the Malfoy Manor. Hermione was truly surprised that she didn’t see a bunch of dark clouds hanging over it or gloomy looking statues by the front gate. If she didn’t say so herself, it was a picture-perfect home, with a white gate that opened upon Hermione stepping close to it; a long cobble-stone pathway that led to the steps of the Manor, clean freshly cut grass, flowers that grew evenly alongside the pathway, and two large fountains on both sides of her.
“If I didn’t think Malfoy was rich, I sure would now.” Hermione murmured to herself as she ascended the five steps up to the door. She was about to knock on the door when it opened and revealed an emotionless face.
“You must be Miss Granger.” He said in a monotone voice.
“Do come in and follow me.”
Hermione figured she’d have to get used to people cutting her off in mid-sentence now that she was planning a wedding for Malfoy, but it still irritated her to the core. The man who answered the door closed it, and then walked ahead of her at a brisk speed. They must’ve traveled down at least ten corridors before he led her to two tall doors, opened them and revealed what appeared to be the backyard to the Manor.
It was just as pretty as the front: fresh-looking grass, flower beds every now and again and yet another pathway. Hermione was so busy admiring everything that she failed to notice that the man who let her in was already ten feet away from her. She hastily caught up to him and then slowed down when they neared a small table with three chairs, two of which were taken by the soon-to-be bride and groom.
“I present to you, Miss Granger.”
“That will be all Geoffrey,” Asteria said with a small wave of her hand. “Have a seat, Miss Granger.” Geoffrey walked off just as Hermione sat down. The first thing that she noticed was that Asteria was well-dressed and that nothing but diamonds, not too large, but large of enough for Hermione to notice, were draped about her neck and wrists. The second thing she noticed was Malfoy, who even though he was sitting right next to his fiancée, seemed to be in a completely different world. What made things even more strange was that, Hermione was sitting no less than two feet from the man who loathed her for years and he hadn’t said a word or showed any inclination that she was there.
“You’re punctual, Miss Granger. That’s says a lot about you.”
“I sure hope it does. I like to give good first impressions. First things first, Miss Greengrass-”
“Call me Asteria, please,”
“Alright, Asteria… First I’d like to-”
“But where are your books?” She interrupted. That woke Malfoy up a bit and he glanced at her, and then shifted his gaze to Hermione who caught her eye before he began looking elsewhere.
“Your books..?” She repeated with an edge to her voice that signaled a raising temper. “So I can pick out colors? Choose an archway? Choose a place? What kind of planner are you if you aren’t prepared with your books?”
“Asteria calm down.” Malfoy said clearly agitated. “Miss Granger here couldn’t have possibly brought any books because she doesn’t know what you want yet.”
“What we want you mean.”
“Sure, what we want. Let her do her job.”
Hermione sat there slightly astounded that for one, Malfoy jumped up from his reverie, that he was defending her and trying to put some sort of control on his fiancée. Impressive… She thought airily as Asteria sighed and waved her hand in the air as if signaling to continue.
“Fine, fine… What do you, Miss Granger, expect out of this meeting if, of course, we have no books?”
“Well, you can call this meeting your daydream. This is your opportunity to go on a rant, if you will, of what you’d like to have and I, as your wedding planner, will head back to my office to see what I can offer you.”
“Sounds like a good idea to me.” Asteria said with the first true smile Hermione had seen for the morning. “Hope you have enough ink and parchment because I’m going to be giving you a ton-full and I expect everything to be taken down exactly as I say it in case I need to refer to the list.”
“Whatever you say Queen of the World,” Hermione mumbled, quickly pursing her lips as she conjured a notepad, ink, and a quill to take down everything the blushing bride-to-be said.
Hermione must’ve sat there in the slightly chilling air writing pages after pages for what felt like a solid two hours until Asteria gave up and told her that she and Malfoy would come by her office the next day at around noon. The man, who apparently who was their butler, came to escort Hermione back to the front door when they were stopped by the clearing of someone’s throat.
“Geoffrey, why don’t you attend to the cleaning,” Malfoy told him as he came out from an adjacent corridor. “I’ll show Miss Granger out.”
The butler gave him a curt nod and headed off in the opposite direction. Hermione was rooted to the spot. She hadn’t been alone with him in years and yet she still got a small shiver like she used to, though she wasn’t sure if it was him or the cold. Malfoy began to walk in the direction Geoffrey was heading and after a small push within herself Hermione followed him. It was silent for a bit until Malfoy spoke.
“I feel the need to apologize to you.” He said to her. Hermione had her head down and didn’t look up at him even though she was thoroughly surprised by his comment. “Asteria can be a tad…well you’ve spent enough time with her already. What do you think?”
“…I don’t think it’s my place to say.” She replied carefully. “I’m planning your wedding. It’s not my place to judge.”
“You’re a hypocrite then.” Malfoy chuckled. “On the back of your business card it says you also counsel.”
“Yes, well, I wasn’t exactly counseling back there, now was I?”
“True, very true,”
There was silence again as they neared the door. Before opening it, Malfoy stuck out his hand to her. Hermione stared at it for countless seconds before giving in, and shaking his outstretched hand.
“Until tomorrow then..?”
Hermione walked through the door Malfoy held open for her and fought the urge to look back and wave, knowing full well that he hadn’t left. She kept staring straight on, walked past the two fountains on either side of her, through the white gate and then disapparated back to her office to prepare for the meeting tomorrow and those books that Asteria so desperately wanted.
“I hear you’re planning Malfoy’s wedding.”
“Yeah, I’m just the luckiest woman in the world, aren’t I?”
“Merlin, I hope that’s sarcasm.”
“Oh, it’s sarcasm, don’t worry.”
Hermione laughed as she stole one of Harry’s strawberries from off of his plate. He scolded her for a moment before she allowed him to take away most of her whipped cream.
“So, do Ron and I need to threaten Malfoy or what?”
“Oh, I have someone for you to threaten alright, but it’s not Malfoy. How do you feel about tackling a woman?”
“His fiancée is the one giving you trouble?” Harry asked surprised. Hermione nodded and nicked another strawberry.
“She’s the most controlling woman I’ve ever met in my life. It’s like she’s the wedding planner and I’m just her assistant. And, dear Merlin above, I have a meeting with her and Malfoy in just under an hour. She’s worse than Malfoy used to be! I didn’t think you could get any lower than that.”
“Apparently you can.” He chuckled.
“Yeah, and the funniest thing about it is that yesterday when I was leaving, Malfoy actually acknowledged the fact that Asteria is so…unbearable. He even apologized to me.”
“Well, at least it’ll be worth the money.”
“Ha,” Hermione snorted. “Not even close, Harry. Not even close.”
__________________________________________________________________ author's note: hey! wat do u think? plzzzzzzzzzz remember to leave a review :)
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