Chapter Twenty Two
The next day, Hermione irritably woke up to the sound of an owl tapping harshly against the window on the other side of the room. With a groan, she angrily pushed the thick duvet off her body, and feebly walked to the window. As she muttered angry remarks to herself, she slid the window opened and snatched the letter from the owl’s beak. Being awoken by an owl was not Hermione’s idea of a lovely morning. In fact, it was the exact opposite—especially after last nights’ events. She came to the conclusion that today was not the day for anyone to even try to anger her.
The envelope was signed with a neat, elegant scrawl that surprisingly irritated Hermione even more. She ripped the envelope open, and quickly scanned the short letter from a reporter who worked for the Daily Prophet.
Mr. Malfoy and Ms. Granger,
This letter is to notify you that I, along with other accomplices will be arriving in your flat in about half an hour for the interview Mr. Malfoy has agreed to.
The Daily Prophet
Hermione angrily crumbled up the letter in her hand, and threw it into the disposal bin. It was about twenty past eight in the morning, and she was tired
. Her eyelids felt much too heavy for her liking, and her body felt weaker than it ever has been. Her temper had grown extremely fragile, and her mind became overly sensitive in the span of six hours. She momentarily grew a reasonable amount of distaste for Draco, for even agreeing on a ridiculous interview such as this. What could they possibly ask that they didn’t already know? The Daily Prophet was easily able to acquire information without going through the nuisance of setting up a pathetic interview.
She stalked out of her room, ruffling her hair and making it even more of a mess than it already was. Without thinking, she stormed into Draco’s bedroom, only to find his bed made and empty. She narrowed her eyes at the empty, untouched bed; feeling ample amounts of anger rush through her body. There was no way that he was going to leave her alone to handle this interview. For the next few seconds, she searched their flat for any signs of Draco, but simply found herself disappointed once again. He was nowhere to be found. Not a single trace of a used coffee cup, or a plate with crumbs that came loose from a piece of toast.
Growling loudly, she quickly walked back into her bedroom and pulled the crumbled paper out of the disposal bin, and walked into his bedroom, towards his owl. “Bring this to Draco,” She directed, smoothening out the letter and placing it in between the owl’s beak. “And hurry.”
It wasn’t until two minutes before nine that Draco finally showed up. Hermione had been bustling around their flat, cleaning anything she could. She completely transfigured her bedroom into looking like a guest room, and moved the rest of her belongings back into Draco’s room. She placed several picture frames around his dressers and tables; attempting to make sure that his bedroom looked as if it was her own too. She tidied up the kitchen, and placed random novels lying around the flat, back into their respectively empty spots on the bookshelf.
In the past thirty minutes, she had showered, and hurriedly dressed herself—all the while, her anger still bubbling in her stomach. Each minute Draco spent away from home, Hermione felt an ounce of anger dropping in her body. The moment he walked through the door of their flat, all Hermione could do was glare at him. She couldn’t think of anything else to say; nothing even came close to describing the anger she felt towards him at that very moment. Never in her life did she feel so much resentment—so much anger towards him. Steam was practically seeping from her ears out of fury.
“Look, I know you’re mad, but in my de—” Draco began, but Hermione cut him off before he could even begin to explain why he was gone.
“Save it,” She snapped, irritated. “Just get dressed, and let’s try and get on with this interview without killing each other.”
As Hermione moved back into the living room to remove various magazines from the coffee table, Draco stayed; rooted on the spot in front of the door. “I think you’re the only one who will be having a problem in trying to refrain yourself from killing me.” He replied—more coldly than Hermione expected.
She turned to him, and glared daggers at his direction. “Where the hell were you? Did you even remember that we have an interview today? The interview that you
so kindly agreed to?”
“You don’t seem to care where I’ve been—you just immediately jump to conclusions and become angry!” Draco retorted. “If you must know, I spent the night at Blaise’s.”
Hermione scoffed bitterly. “What—you just couldn’t handle sleeping in the same house as me?” She looked away from him, and continued arranging the mess on the coffee table. “That’s so typical, Draco.”
“Are you kidding me?” he demanded. “You were the one that angrily stomped off from our conversation last night.”
“Who called me selfish?” she asked him incredulously. “Why would you even think for one second that I was being selfish? Do you even know me at all, Malfoy? After months of being with me, you don’t even know a single thing about me—do you?”
His eyes flashed with anger as they just walked into the conversation that he wished to avoid. “Oh I know who you are, Granger. Don’t think for one second that I don’t. You’ve got a short temper, and you don’t even care that maybe you’re being irrational by getting angry over such petty things. You’re a know-it-all, and you make assumptions about everything and everyone without even knowing the full story! You’re selfish too—I bet you didn’t know that about yourself.”
“I’m not selfish, you smug bastard.” She retorted furiously as she advanced on him. “How about you, Draco? You think that you’re not selfish? The only person you ever think about is yourself. You put your feelings in front of everyone else’s, making you too blind to even see or care about what other people are feeling. What about your father, Draco? His company is suffering—and here you are, trying to make me stay here with you, when clearly, that’s the only way to properly fix this issue that we single handedly created.” By the time she was done with her harangue, she was standing only a few centimeters away from him. “You’re just as selfish as you make me.”
“Yeah, that’s right. I’m Draco Malfoy, remember?” he spat. “I’m a vile, selfish Slytherin that will never grow out of his old habits.” Without another word, Draco shrugged off his coat, and walked down the hallway and into his bedroom. The loud door, slamming shut was enough to draw out an angry cry from Hermione.
Just as expected, the doorbell rang, and Hermione dropped the stack of magazines on the coffee table, and attempted to compose herself. “Look as happy and alive as possible.” She murmured to herself on her way to the door. “You’re happily married, and you’re in love with your fiancé. You’re happily married, and you’re in love with your fiancé.” She continued repeating the phrase over and over again, forcing herself to believe and act upon it.
She apprehensively opened the door, expecting to see an immediate flash from the other side. Instead, she was greeted with something—someone, rather, much worse. “Er, hello.” Hermione spoke, slowly, suspicious as to why Miranda Caldwell was standing outside her flat.
Miranda’s brilliant smile almost blinded Hermione as she pushed herself inside. “Hello, Hermione
.” She greeted sweetly. “Fancy running into you today, eh?”
Hermione’s baffled state grew more confused as a woman, and two men followed Miranda inside. “It’s not running into someone if you show up at their apartment.” She informed her, closing the door shut as the last man walked inside. “May I ask what you’re doing here, Miranda?”
As if on cue, Draco appeared behind the tallest, bearded man—casting a skeptical glance at Miranda. Hermione’s anger immediately rose once she noticed how long Draco’s gaze lingered on the blonde. “Miranda,” he choked out. “What are you doing here?” However, her anger slightly subsided when Draco found his way beside her—which was either out of habit, or simply a show put on for the photographers. Either way, it slightly assured Hermione—only slightly.
“Well, I ran into John here, in the Leaky Cauldron the other day—oh!” She exclaimed, realizing that the rest of them did not know the story behind their coincidental acquaintance. “While I was in France, John and I used to work together in a small branch of the Daily Prophet—having I told you that, Draco?” The confused look on Draco’s face gave her the answer she was searching for. “Oh, well.. I ran into John in the Leaky Cauldron, and we just got to talking…”
John Darley looked to be close to Draco’s age, disregarding the few strands of grey hair visible on the right side of his head. He had brown hair, and blue eyes—standing at a towering height of six feet and two inches. The knowing smile on his face as Miranda told their shared anecdotes led Draco to believe that there was something more to their relationship than Miranda had let on.
“And when he informed me that you had agreed to an interview with the Daily Prophet, who was I to give up an opportunity to help and show off just what a wonderful couple you two are.” She smiled widely, looking straight and Draco and Hermione. “Being one of your oldest friend, John allowed me to come along. Isn’t that great, Draco?” She asked excitedly, pushing her blonde hair away from her eyes.
Hermione and Draco looked befuddled—more confused than the small redhead woman that came along with them. Draco stared at Miranda with a confusion written all over his face, while Hermione stared at her the same way—except she had a mixture on disdain plaguing her pretty face. There were so many questions she restricted herself from asking Miranda, mostly because the majority of her questions would lead to painfully embarrassing Miranda’s intelligence. To Hermione, the story of how they met didn’t come close to making the slightest shred of valid sense.
“Oh John, you’re going to just love them!” Miranda cried happily. “They’re the perfect couple—so bloody in love with each other.”
From beside Hermione, Draco shifted uncomfortably on the spot. ‘Of course,’ Hermione thought to herself. ‘At the mere voice of ‘love’ coming from his ex girlfriend, he becomes all uncomfortable,’ She quickly shook the thoughts from her head, feeling guilty of assuming ridiculous things about Draco and Miranda’s rocky relationship. She blamed the resentful thoughts on the anger that seemingly never left, ever since she woke up that morning.
“Let’s get on with this, shall we?” the small redhead beside Hermione cringed as Miranda continued gushing about love. “We have another appointment; surely we can’t spend our entire day dawdling around.”
Draco mentally thanked the unnamed redhead, and lead Miranda and John—along with his small crew of photographers and reporters—into the sitting room. “Can I get you lot anything?” Hermione asked politely as everyone else took a seat around the coffee table.
“I’d like a cup of chamomile tea.” Miranda was the first to speak, as she delicately crossed her right leg over her left. The skirt she was wearing rode up to mid thigh, and Hermione noticed one of the unnamed reporters take an indiscreet glance at her legs. “I’m sure Jane would like one too, wouldn’t you Jane?” She asked the redhead, who was squished between the two unnamed men on the sofa.
The redhead sent a short look of disgust at Miranda’s direction, before turning to Hermione. “A glass of water would be fine.” She said softly, offering Hermione a slightly apologetic smile, as if she were apologizing for Miranda’s actions.
“Make that sparkling.” Miranda interjected, before John could make a request. “Darling, don’t be shy.” She said quietly to Jane, who looked absolutely furious. “Did you know Hermione
worked as a waitress once she left Hogwarts, in order to pay for auror training?” Miranda turned to John as she said this. “At some shabby pub too!”
“Sebastian, would you like something?” Jane immediately asked, cutting through Miranda’s words. She turned to the short blonde haired man that was seated on her right side. “Spit it out Sebastian, we haven’t got all day.” She snapped, as Sebastian began stuttering.
“W—water would be fine.” He said, looking at Hermione hesitantly. “Thank you,”
Hermione nodded, and turned to John, who was currently scribbling down on a thick pad of parchment. “I’d like some chamomile tea as well,” he told her, before he turned back down to what he was writing.
“Me too!” the man on Jane’s right piped up.
Without another word, Hermione angrily walked out of the living room and into the kitchen, where she wasn’t afraid to show how angry she truly was. Miranda had definitely chosen the wrong day to be herself.
About thirty seconds later, she could hear Draco say loudly from the living room, “I better go help her.” She forcefully slammed the cupboard closed once she pulled a box of teabags out. “Oh right, that’s it.” Draco began sarcastically, once he strode into the kitchen. “Don’t even bother trying to hide your anger, Hermione—I’m sure they can’t hear you from ten feet away.” His voice—full of sarcasm and disdain—was enough to completely throw Hermione off from her feeble attempt at appearing composed. She pulled out two teacups and vigorously slammed them both down on the counter, not caring if they shattered into small tiny pieces. “Stop taking your anger out on cups, and cupboards!” Draco exclaimed, taking a hold of her hand as she was about to slam a tall glass down on the countertop. “Would you get a grip of yourself?” he snapped, his eyes flaring with anger.
“Don’t even start with me.” She roughly snatched her hand back from his hold, and continued to fill two glasses with tap water. “Sparkling water my ruddy arse.” She muttered to herself. Hermione looked at the box of tea. “This isn’t even chamomile tea.” She murmured.
“Just give them anything.” Draco snapped irritably, watching her search the cupboard for the specific type of tea Miranda requested. “Who the fuck cares?”
Hermione whipped her head around to glare at him. “Why are you even here?” She questioned. “Go back to Miranda and whoever the rest of those people are.” Hermione didn’t bother trying to hide the anger that was vehemently obviously in her tone. She dropped three tea bags in the three teacups she had set out, and drew water from the tap. She quickly pulled out her wand and charmed the water to be searing hot, hoping that Miranda would burn her horrid tongue in attempt to drink it.
As he watched Hermione take her anger out on various household items, he felt slightly guilty for the pain and anger he had inflicted upon her. He was almost a hundred percent positive that the reason for Hermione’s irritable mood was because of him, and his inability to control his own anger as well as his irrational actions. Her brows furrowed with rage as she looked over the description on the box of tea that was sitting in front of her. Draco could feel the beginning of an ‘I’m sorry’ slipping past his tongue, but he quickly bit it back—knowing that it would only result in another fight.
“I’m here to remind you what we have to show them, Granger.” He drawled lazily, closing the cupboard that Hermione left open as she returned the box of tea. “We’re supposed to be happily mar—engaged, remember?” Draco mentally cursed himself once he realized how close he had come to letting the ‘m’ word slip. “We’re supposed to be happily engaged to one another, so control your incessant anger, and look happy, alright?”
Despite their talk about the interview yesterday, Hermione couldn’t help but to glare at him as he ordered her around. How could he possibly ask her to look happy with him, when the only feeling he could make her feel was anger? “My incessant anger wouldn’t be in existence, if you hadn’t gone and piss me off in the first place!” she snapped furiously, as she began levitating five cups and glasses into the living room. “Shut up before I break my concentration!” Hermione practically screamed, not caring that the people in the next room could very well hear her.
To Hermione’s surprise, none of them seemed to hear a word they said. Hermione suspected that Draco placed a silencing charm in the kitchen the moment he walked in—aware that their conversation would eventually turn into an unnecessarily loud argument.
“Oh, finally!” Miranda exclaimed once she caught sight of Hermione, levitating a trail of cups and glasses in front of her. “We were wondering why you two were taking so long.”
Hermione managed to put a small, pathetic smile on her face. “Sorry, we were—er, having trouble with finding the tea.” She explained, shooting a skeptical glance at Draco. “We couldn’t find chamomile, Miranda—we’re sorry, this is all we had.”
She watched carefully as Miranda took a sip of the tea, and scrunched her nose up with distaste. She instantaneously set the teacup down on its saucer, and set a fleeting glare at Hermione, making sure that Draco didn’t get to see the look of hatred on her face. “I was never a big fan of green tea.” Miranda spoke, pushing the cup of tea far away from her. “And it’s way too hot, Hermione.
At the sound of her name, Hermione couldn’t help but notice just how disgusted Miranda sounded as she spoke her name. It was as if her name was an infectious bug she just couldn’t wait to get out of her system. “Right, sorry Miranda. You can always cool it off with a charm, you know.” Hermione took a seat on the last available armchair across from Miranda, and Draco perched himself up on the arm, beside Hermione. “So, if you don’t mind me asking,” she began, forcing a small smile on her face. “Who are you three?”
Jane was the first to speak. She carefully placed the glass of water back on the table, and turned to Hermione. “My name is Jane Perry, I’m an intern of John’s. He believed that it would be good for me to experience an actual interview—you know, so I get the hang of things.” Jane looked no older than eighteen. Her dark red hair fell around her waist, and her brilliant blue eyes sparkled as she spoke of the possibilities of becoming a big time reporter. “This idiot here is Sebastian Glover, he’s a photographer.” She pointed to the last man who was left unnamed. “And this is Bart Haggard, John’s assistant.”
Draco frowned, and spoke before Hermione could say anything. “I didn’t know reporters needed assistants.” He said, eying John curiously. “Surely all you do is gather information, and write your story.”
John smiled casually, as if this was a common question. “There are always exceptions for the best.” He replied nonchalantly.
This time, Hermione immediately interjected, and voiced Draco’s exact thoughts. “What’s a big time reporter like you, covering a story like this?” she asked curiously. “We’re getting married, not blowing up Hogwarts.”
“Mr. Darley didn’t come here to be interrogated.” His assistant, Bart cut in, before his boss could reply. “He’d prefer it if he wasn’t questioned on trivial matters.”
“No, Bart—it’s quite alright.” John turned back to Draco and Hermione, who were both eagerly waiting to hear his response. “You see, I find you two—how should I say this—interesting.” He said. “It was reported that you two were under a contract marriage—and you see, that’s the first time we’ve ever come across it. So naturally, I took the initiative to gather information, and set up a personal interview myself.”
Draco scoffed. “So you would much rather write about a couple that’s going to get married—rather than what’s happening in the rest of the world?” Hermione caught the exasperation in his voice, and she elbowed his sides roughly. “That’s hard to believe.”
“Why don’t we get on with this interview, yeah?” Miranda proposed quickly, before John had a chance to reply. “Draco, Hermione
, how about a tour of your flat?” she asked, standing up, and smoothening out her skirt. From beside her, Bart immediately eyed her slender figure. “How about it, Sebastian? Up for some photographs?”
Sebastian immediately conjured a large camera with his wand, and stood up, following Miranda’s lead. He snapped a few pictures around, making sure to include Hermione and Draco in most of them. “Would you mind if we take a look at your bedroom?” he asked, wandering down the short hallway.
Miranda managed to beat him to it, and she opened the first door she reached—the guest bedroom—in other words, Hermione’s own room. “Er, Hermione—do you sleep here?” She questioned, stepping inside with curiosity. She picked up a book on the bedside table that Hermione had missed when she was cleaning up. “It sure is.. quaint.”
“Er, no actually.” Hermione answered, leaning against the doorframe, with Draco standing closely behind her. “I sleep in the other room, with Draco.
” She knew the last part would get to Miranda; and but the momentary flash of anger in her eyes, Hermione’s speculation was correct. “This is the guest room. Narcissa stayed over a couple of days ago, and she must’ve left that book behind.”
To Hermione’s surprise, she felt Draco’s arms winding stiffly around her waist from behind. “Miranda, honestly—does it look like anyone sleeps in here? There hasn’t been a shred of life in this room since mother left.” He led them into his bedroom, and realized for the first time that day, just how much it changed. He noticed the various picture frames that Hermione placed around his room—picture frames that she never bothered moving from the guest room. He found that the bathroom now included her entire set of toiletries, and inside the cabinet, his toothbrush no longer stood alone.
In attempt to calm her anger down, Draco kept his arm wrapped firmly around Hermione’s body, keeping her relatively close to him at all times. It was for both his and her sake that he kept close—wanting to show Miranda and John that they were indeed, a happy couple. To his satisfaction, he noticed Hermione’s shoulders relax after a period of silence fell upon the group. She relaxed against his body, and he assumed that she had forgotten the reason why she was angry in the first place. Out of happiness, Draco smiled down at her, and planted a chaste kiss on her forehead. A flash came from the camera in front of them, but Draco paid no attention—he simply kept his eyes locked with Hermione’s, enjoying the sudden happiness that came upon them.
“Draco, I always thought you were allergic to orchids.” Miranda said, breaking the silence. She stood by the window, observing a fully grown orchid that was perched up on the windowsill. “I’m surprised to see this in here.”
Draco stared at the basted plant, and realized that he was in fact, allergic to orchids. “Er—yes, I am.” He glanced at Hermione, and was surprised to find that she was glaring straight at Miranda. “It’s Hermione’s favorite—I couldn’t say no.” He forced a cheeky grin, and Miranda seemed to understand, since she continued walking around their bedroom, scrutinizing the pictures and books that was littered around the room.
“Orchids are not my favorite flowers.” Hermione growled, impulsively tensing under his touch. Draco was surprised to see that anger had found his fiancé once more, and she was now glaring up at him. “You’re a prat, you know that?”
“What?” Draco blubbered defensively, making sure that no one heard their conversation. “What else was I supposed to say—she wouldn’t have believed anything else I said!”
She continued glaring at him. “What’s my favorite flower then?” Hermione questioned.
Draco pondered to himself for a moment. “Uh—roses?” At the answer, Hermione immediately pushed him away and walked to Jane’s side. “Bloody hell, women are so difficult.” He muttered to himself, staring after Hermione.
“You’d think that she has better things to do that critically examine every single aspect of a home.” Jane said quietly, once she noticed Hermione standing beside her. “I don’t even understand why she had to come along—she has absolutely no business here.”
“Yes, well—that’s Miranda.” She said, as her and Jane made their way back into the living room. “She’s got her nose in everything Draco does.”
Jane scoffed. “Hermione, if I were you—and Miranda is such a ‘big’ part of Draco’s life, or so she says—I would do well to make sure that she doesn’t mess with my
fiancé anymore.” She then shrugged. “But that’s just me—I don’t really do well taking crap from people.” Jane walked as Miranda continued disparaging each and every object in their flat that was apparently coated with a thin layer of dust. “You’d think a small bit of dust was lethal.” She spat venomously, glaring at Miranda who had now made her way back into the living room. “You know—I agree with you two. I don’t know why John is covering a story such as this. I mean, no offence Hermione, but this isn’t the type of story that is worthy enough for the front page of the Daily Prophet. You two have been the center news for the past few weeks when there are more important things going on around the world.” Hermione noticed the suspicious glances Jane sent in Miranda’s direction, and for about the fifth time that day, Hermione understood her. “If you ask me, she has something to do with this.”
“What could she have possibly done?” Hermione asked, following Jane’s gaze to Miranda.
Jane shrugged. “Beats me. But I know she had something to do with this. John had a story prior to this one—but he just blew it off.”
“Hermione, we’re going to start the interview now.” Draco said, interrupting their conversation. He placed a hand at the small of her back, but she quickly shrugged it off, and sat down on the sofa in front of the camera the photographer set up. “What the hell is wrong with you?” He questioned with a low whisper as he leaned closer to Hermione. “Would you mind telling me why you’re so mad?”
He placed a hand on her knee, but she discreetly slapped it away. “You’re so bloody difficult, Hermione.”
“Alright, let’s start—yeah?” John took a seat in front of the couple, and Miranda scurried to the spot beside him. “Now, remember—you two can choose not to answer some of these questions, it’s completely up to you.”
Miranda rolled her eyes. “Now why would they choose not to answer some of these questions?” She asked. “It’s not like they have anything to hide, do they?”
“Can we get on with this?” Hermione asked, resisting the urge to glare at Miranda. “I would like for this to be over before lunch.”
“What’s the rush, Hermione
?” Miranda replied. “Do you have other plans?”
“As a matter of fact, I do.” She retorted. “Start with the questions, please.” Hermione found it more and more difficult to sound polite with Miranda sitting right in front of her.
John nodded, and the camera beside him flashed brightly. “Now, if you don’t mind—tell us how you met.”
Hermione hesitated for a moment before answering. She was reminded of their past, and the hatred they once held for each other back in Hogwarts. “Er—well, you see—”
Before Hermione was able to say anything else—Miranda rudely interrupted her. “Oh, you wouldn’t believe how these two were back in Hogwarts!” she exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air, with a large, amused smile on her face. “They were unbelievable. They hated each other with such passion—it was unbelievable.”
“Miranda,” Draco warned dangerously. “We didn’t hate each oth—”
“Oh don’t lie, Draco.” Miranda said. “Everyone knows how much you two would’ve just loved
to kill each other.” She turned to John, who had a quick quotes quill hovering in the air beside his head. “They couldn’t even stand being in the same room with each other without killing each other with their eyes.” She chuckled lightly. “Let me tell you, John—it was insane how much they hated each other.”
“Miranda,” Draco warned darkly for the second time. “How about you let Hermione and I answer the questions?”
She rolled her eyes. “Please, anyone can answer questions about you two when it comes to your past. Everyone
knows the story about how you two were enemies. You used to come back to the common room going on, and on about how much you hated that—what did you call her, Draco? Oh that’s right!—mudblood, and how she was so vile and horrendous.”
Hearing Miranda’s words, Hermione turned to glare angrily at Draco. “I’m vile, and horrendous am I?”
“Don’t listen to her.” Draco said instantly, trying to fix the damage Miranda single-handedly caused. The last thing he wanted was to get into another horrible fight with Hermione. “I promise you, I have never called you vile or horrendous in my life.” He placed a hand on top of Hermione’s, only for it to be pushed away again. “Hermione,” He groaned. “Please—I really never said those things. Why would you believe what Miranda says?” Draco whispered.
Hermione glared at him. “She was your girlfriend back at Hogwarts—I’m positive that she would have some recognition about the things you said back then.”
“Is that what this is about?” he asked, making sure that his voice was low enough so only Hermione could hear him. “Hermione—sure, she would know the things I did and said back then. But think about it—why would she remember the things I said about you? You were nothing to her back then, so why should those things I supposedly said be even close to important?”
“Are you saying that I’m insignificant?” She snapped coldly, looking away from him. “May we get on with this interview, please?” Hermione asked through gritted teeth. She caught a sympathetic look from Jane, and she momentarily held her gaze—as if trying to show Jane just how angry she is.
“Er—alright.” John said, glancing back and forth between Draco and Hermione. “So, it’s said that you two dated back in Hogwarts. Can you tell me how this came to be? I was under the impression that you dated Miranda until about a year after graduation.”
Draco cleared his throat. “It was also revealed that this marriage was fake,” The word ‘fake’ caused Hermione’s insides to twist and turn. “We told that story to make it seem more believable. I was in fact, dating Miranda until a year after we graduated. Hermione and I never dated before. It was all a lie for the public. I needed to get out of my marriage with Astoria—and then I met Hermione.”
“Why did you choose Hermione as an alternative?” John inquired. “You said you wanted to get out of a loveless marriage, yes? Why did you believe that your marriage with Hermione would be any different than yours with Miss Greengrass? Surely you don’t love Hermione—so why did you choose her?”
Hermione nervously settled her eyes on Draco again. She had asked him this question countless of times—but would his answer be sufficient enough for this journalist? She watched his head drop to his lap while his eyes focused on the ground. He was hesitating to answer—and she knew it. ‘Just tell the truth.’ His voice rang in her head. ‘That’s all we can do at this point.’ After a couple of short moments of watching Draco’s hesitation, Hermione realized that she feared the answer to this question. She was nervous to hear it as well—it wasn’t just Draco, but herself as well.
His voice startled her. “I barely knew Astoria. My only first real interaction with her was the night our arranged marriage was announced. I hated the idea of being married to someone I did not know. We moved in together for a while, and I found myself avoiding being at ‘home’ at all cost. At the night of our engagement dinner—I wanted to get away from the mess my parents created. I found Hermione in a small restaurant not far from the Manor.” A small smile formed on his face at the memory. “She was the same know-it-all bookworm from Hogwarts—and she said that I was the same old Malfoy. We teased and argued as if we were still those same two students from Hogwarts.
“Yes, I did hate Hermione when we were young. I hated that she was everything that my own parents wanted me to be. I couldn’t match up to her—and I hated it, truth be told. In the restaurant, I realized, I knew Hermione Granger. I knew her more than I knew Astoria at that time. There was something more than resentment between us. Maybe it was hate, but it was something more than resentment. I can deal with hatred, only because I’ve learned that hatred goes away. I guess I realized that I can deal with Hermione being my wife for a few years, even if she is still a know-it-all. She’s not perfect like Astoria—she can’t cook, or clean properly—but it’s the imperfections that you learn to love.” He finished, averting his eyes from John, and to Hermione. He smiled softy at her—a real, genuine smile. To his delight, Hermione smiled back. He supposed that she wasn’t expecting a truthful answer from him.
John smiled appreciatively. However, from beside him, Miranda looked furious with his perfect answer. “So, Hermione,
” Miranda began, taking another sip of her tea cup. “Have you learned housewife lessons from Narcissa yet?” she asked. “Did she get to teach you Draco’s favorite dishes and such? He was always a picky eater—Draco is.”
Hermione struggled to hide the glare she was itching to send towards Miranda. “No, I did not. I have no plan to become a housewife.” She answered through gritted teeth. “I will be working, and completing my training to be an auror. As for Draco—yes I know he is a picky eater, but he always seems to enjoy the food I feed him, so I don’t think we will have a problem there.”
“But surely a good wife should know her husband’s favorite dishes!” Miranda exclaimed, with fake shock. “Back when Draco and I were dating—I would cook for him all the time! He loves a woman that can cook, don’t you Draco?” She looked to John with a smile. “They always say that the best way to a man’s heart, is through his stomach.”
“Well then maybe you should marry him.” Hermione snapped irritably. “He’ll just have to deal with the fact that I don’t know how to cook his favorite foods. He can go home to his mother if that’s what he wants.”
Miranda smirked. “Hermione,
you don’t exactly seem like you’re happy with this little arrangement. Now tell us—how exactly do you feel about Draco Malfoy?”
Draco was now interested with this question. “Yes, Hermione,” he spoke. “Tell us, how do you feel about me?”
“I feel like we’ve just entered the battle zone.” Sebastian leaned forward and whispered to Jane, who was currently glancing back and forth between the couple, and Miranda. “Is it just me, or did it get really cold in here?”
Hermione let out a breath. “I’d rather not answer this question—if that’s okay with you, Miranda.” She turned and shot Draco a dangerous look. “Shut it, Draco—don’t encourage her.”
“Moving on.” John said quietly before Miranda could say another word. “Tell us more about this contract marriage.”
“How silly.” Miranda muttered into her tea. “What kind of person concocts a contracted marriage?”
“It’s just a set of rules we abide by to keep each other happy.” Draco answered. “We keep a distance from each others’ personal lives, er—no sex, and a few others that I can’t remember off the top of my head.”
Miranda raised an eyebrow. “No sex?”
“Yes, no sex.” Hermione answered slowly. “Is that too difficult to understand?” She snapped.
“Is there a problem with meaningless sex?” Miranda inquired, cocking her head to the side. “I’m sure you’re rather used to the idea, Hermione—meaningless sex, I mean.”
“I’m sorry Miranda—not all of us are into that sort of… lifestyle—to put it nicely.” Hermione retorted, resisting the urge to chuck Miranda out of her house.
Draco spoke up before either Hermione or Miranda could say anything else. “That’s enough Miranda.” He snapped seriously, taking a hold of Hermione’s hand. However this time, he wouldn’t let her go. “Anymore questions?” he asked John.
“Yes, actually. Now that the marriage is out in the open—why do you two still insist on staying together?” he asked. “And Draco, what are you real feelings towards Hermione?”
He pondered to himself for a moment. “Hermione…” he chuckled lightly, before looking up at John. “Hermione is well—she’s Hermione. How do I say this?” he asked, chuckling again. “I—well, I’ve never met anyone like her. She’s passionate, smart, beautiful, and temperamental—don’t look at me like that Hermione, you know you are.” Draco said laughing slightly when Hermione turned and narrowed her eyes at him. He squeezed her hand, and held it tighter when she attempted to pull it away rather abrasively. “She makes me feel like I can actually be who I want to be, regardless of what my parents want. After years of feeling nothing—she made me feel something again, and I’m grateful for that. After these few months together, I’ve fallen in love with her.” His voice turned soft, and Hermione suddenly stopped pulling her hand back from Draco. “I love Hermione Granger, and I hope to one day truly marry her, and make her my wife.” He smiled softly. “I hope that answers your first question.”
John nodded. “It certainly does. Will there be a wedding in your future?”
Draco sighed and shrugged. “Well, this all depends on Hermione, you see.” He answered. “I’ve asked her to marry me—and she has yet to give me an answer.”
“So what will it be, Hermione
?” Miranda asked patronizingly. “Are you going to marry Draco?”
Hermione’s eyes were fixed on Draco’s. It was the first time she’s ever heard him say ‘I love you’, and she was a bit angered that the first time she heard him say it wasn’t directed towards her. Instead, it was directed towards a journalist who could care less about his true feelings. “That’s actually none of your concern, Miranda.” Hermione snapped, not caring about rudeness anymore.
“Hermione will be going abroad,” Draco began, causing Hermione to snap her head back towards him. “She will be going abroad for maybe a year or so to complete her studies as an auror, and because she wanted to see the world before she settles down. She will be leaving soon—and until she returns, I cannot give you an answer on a wedding.”
John frowned. “Where do you plan on going?”
“I haven’t thought it over yet.” Hermione answered truthfully. “This was only decided yesterday.”
From beside John, Miranda was smirking smugly. She had just witnessed her plan unfolding before her very eyes, and she couldn’t be any happier.
“Truth be told,” Hermione said. “I’m a bit hesitant on leaving Draco.”
Miranda’s smirk grew wider. “Don’t worry, Hermione
.” She said, looking at Draco. “I’ll take good care of your fiancé.”
Hermione sighed heavily. “I’d rather you not, Miranda.” She snapped.
“Draco, I think Hermione
is jealous.” She said, laughing.
“Miranda, stop it.” Draco snapped angrily, glaring at her. “Please, just stop.”
Unfortunately, she didn’t seem to understand the concept of stop. “Oh please, Draco. She’s just threatened by me. She knows of our history, and she’s afraid that it might happen again—aren’t you Hermione
John’s ears perked up at the mention of ‘our history’. “History?” he asked, cutting into Draco’s sentence. “You mean when you two dated?”
“Yes,” Miranda said sweetly, her voice sprinkled with sugar. “We started dating—when was it, Draco? Third or fourth year? And we went steady ever since. Let me tell you, we were crazy in love
“Yes, and then you cheated on him with his best friend.” Hermione interjected. “We all know the story, Miranda—we don’t need to hear it again.”
“Are we done here?” Draco asked, knowing that both Hermione and Miranda were about to jump into a steaming argument. “Hermione and I have some matters to attend to.” He said.
John nodded, and stood up. “Thank you for your time—and for allowing us to interview you. You can trust that your story will appear on the front page of the Prophet tomorrow.” He shook both Draco and Hermione’s hand, as the four began making their way to the door.
“It was nice to meet you Hermione; Draco.” Jane said pleasantly, shaking both their hands. “Have a nice day!”
“Nice to meet you too Jane.” Hermione replied.
Miranda stopped in front of the couple, being the last one out the door. “Well, this was lovely.” She began. “Draco—will you tell your mother about Hermione leaving, or shall I?” No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t fight the smirk that played on her lips. “Or will she have to read about this in the Prophet tomorrow morning?”
Draco, having had enough from Miranda, began guiding her to the door. “Don’t say a word—do you understand? I’ll stop by the Manor later to tell my parents. You should leave, Miranda. Now.”
“Draco, before I go—may I speak to you? Later today—say, around three? At the usual place.” She requested, looking at him with her big eyes.
“I don’t know, Miranda.” He answered hesitantly, glancing towards Hermione.
“Please, Draco? I would really like to speak to you.”
He sighed again. “Alright, later. At three.” Before she could say another word, Draco quickly closed the door, and turned back to Hermione. “That was.. interesting.” He said, not knowing what to say next. Draco wasn’t surprised when he found Hermione glaring at him. “What? What did I do know?” he asked her exasperatedly. “Did my answers not suffice?”
She continued glaring at him. “Why are you so bloody angry, Hermione?” he asked, stepping closer to her. He reached down and took both her hands in his, but she slowly pulled them away, breaking their eye contact in the process. “What did I do?” he asked softly. “Hermione—I’m serious. Why are you so pissed?”
“Nothing.” She answered, looking away from him.
Draco rolled his eyes. “Nothing my arse. Tell me why you’re so angry.”
“I’m not angry, alright?” She snapped. Hermione turned her back to him and began making her way back to her bedroom. However, before she could take another step, Draco quickly grabbed her arm and pulled her back towards him. “What?”
“Tell me why you’re angry.” He said evenly. “If you insist that you’re not angry, then tell me why you’re acting this way.”
She looked away from him again. “I’m just not feeling well.”
Draco looked at her with a bemused expression. “Are you sick?” he asked. He made a move to place his hand on her forehead, but she quickly stepped back away from his reach. “Hermione, tell me what’s wrong with you.”
Finally, Hermione lifted her eyes to meet his. “We’re just—different.” She finally said.
“Different.” He stated, still confused.
“Yes, different.” She snapped impatiently. “You know—not the same?”
The confused look still stayed on Draco’s face. “I wasn’t aware that we were alike.”
“That’s just the thing, Draco. We’re nothing alike! We’re polar opposites. We’re not alike at all.” She said. “How can you love someone who’s the exact opposite of you?”
“Well, I managed. Does that answer your question?”
She glared at him. “Don’t be cheeky you prat. Maybe you don’t really love me.” Her voice turned softer, but he could tell that she was still angry with him. “Maybe you only think you love because I’m the first girl that’s ever made you feel something.”
Draco stared at her. Was she seriously going to say something like this after he just told the entire world the way he felt about her? “Where is this coming from?” he demanded. “I don’t think I love you, Granger—I know I do. I love you more than I’ve ever loved another person before. I don’t want to lose you.”
She shook her head, her brown curls falling into her face. He lifted his hand to push her hair back behind her ear, and she inched away from him. “How can you love someone that’s the complete opposite of you?” she whispered. “You said it yourself—I’m everything you’re not. You’re everything I’m not. How does that work?”
“Why are you questioning it?” he asked her. “How do you plan on questioning how a person feels? Do you think I can control this? You think I want to be in love after knowing all the pain it entails?” He stared at her, annoyed that she couldn’t even meet his eyes. “Hermione,” he began, realizing that she had left a question in the interview unanswered. “How do you feel about me?” he questioned softly. “You never answered the question—and you’ve never directly told me either.”
Hermione stayed silent. “How do you feel about me?” he asked again, growing nervous. “Hermione.” He said, more steadily. “How do you feel about me?”
She continued gazing at him, unable to remove her eyes from his. Draco admitted how he felt, so now, she should be able to—right? “I—I,” she stuttered helplessly. “I—I,” You know how you feel about him, you idiot. Just say it! I love you!
“I don’t know.” Hermione finished pathetically.
He raised his eye brows at her. “You don’t know?” Draco repeated. “After all this, you still don’t know how you feel?”
“No—Draco, listen to me for a second.”
To Hermione’s dismay, Draco did everything else but listen to what she had to say. “Mother of Merlin, Granger!” He exclaimed angrily. “Are you just trying to play with my bloody feelings here?” he asked her incredulously. “Was that your plan this whole time? To make me fall in love with you, just so you can mess around with me?”
Hermione stared at him with shock. How could he think something like that? “No!” she shouted. “Why would I ever think of doing that?”
Furious, Draco walked around Hermione and stalked off into his bedroom. Hermione quickly followed, determined not to let him go. “Draco!” she shouted, entering his bedroom. “Please, just listen to me!”
“What?” he asked tiredly, sitting down on the edge of his bed. “What’s your big reason for being so incapable of telling me how you really feel?”
“I’m just—” she let out a breath, and looked down at him. “I’m just not used to this, okay?” Her voice turned softer as she forced herself to be more understanding towards his outburst. “I’m not used to being involved with someone. This just—this isn’t me!” Hermione slowly felt everything crumbling down around her. She felt tears stinging in her eyes while her chest clenched tightly. “The sex, the kissing, the handholding; going out together and going to dinner or parties. This just isn’t me, Draco! I’m not used to feeling like this—feeling so dependent on another person. Yes, I am used to you, but I’m not used to the way I feel about you. I’ve still got my own problems to sort out, and I didn’t quite get there just yet.”
Allowing the tears to fall freely from her eyes, she choked out a sob, and sank down onto the bed beside Draco. “I’m sorry,” she told him softly; her tone true, and sincere. “I really am. But I’m not sure about anything right now.”
Draco let out a heavy sighed, and leaned over, placing his elbows on his thighs and dropping his head in his hands. After a few moments in that position, he slightly picked his head up and turned to Hermione. “So what do you want me to do?” he asked her. “Wait helplessly until you sort out your own head? Exactly how much waiting do you want me to do? If you want to leave, at least tell me how you bloody feel about me so that I have something to go by for the next fucking year!” His attempt in trying to compose himself failed pathetically the moment his voice broke out with anger.
Hermione shut her eyes tightly, tears streaming down her face. “Draco, I’ve told you that I wanted to be with you, didn’t I? I told you I didn’t want to leave—that I can’t live without you. Shouldn’t that be enough?” she asked desperately, hoping that he would give her the answer she wanted.
“No, that’s not enough.” He stated. “That’s nowhere near enough.”
Hermione shut her eyes tightly, tears streaming down her face. “Draco, I’ve told you that I wanted to be with you, didn’t I? I told you I didn’t want to leave—that I can’t live without you. Shouldn’t that be enough?” she asked desperately, hoping that he would give her the answer she wanted.
“No, that’s not enough.” He stated, shaking his head. “That’s nowhere near enough.”
She looked away from him for what seemed like the hundredth time that night, and focused her eyes on the floor. A cold silence spread around the room, making it difficult for both of them to even think of what to say next. The prolonged silence lasted longer than either of them would’ve liked, making Hermione more and more nervous with each second. Tension—mostly coming from Draco—mingled with the silence and created an environment that became even more uncomfortable for Hermione. She had the urge to cut the awkward tension with a knife, but she knew better—she knew that silence would be the only way to get Draco to calm down.
“Do you love me?” he asked abruptly, slightly turning his head towards her. When she didn’t answer, he said with an even more softer tone, “Hermione, answer the question please.” He pleaded. “Do you love me?”
How can she say yes, when everything she was doing to him practically screamed out ‘NO’? She was hurting him beyond belief—what kind of love is that? How could this be taken as behavior of a woman who loves her fiancé?
For as long as she’s lived, Hermione had never been in love. She never believed that someone so young such as herself could even be in love until she’s seen everything—until she’s seen the world. She never wanted to be in love. The mere thought of being so attached to someone infuriated her. She’s seen several failed relationships, and she’s seen the way women get so attached to their other halves. After seeing how badly broken down these women get when they’re alone again, she decided that she did not want to be one of them. Rejecting men her entire life—she suddenly meets Draco, and everything changed; including her perception of love.
Things will be easier this way
. She told herself. It will be easier to momentarily let go if he thinks that I don’t love him.
In her life, she has never had to make a more difficult decision than this. Hermione thought long and hard, ignoring Draco’s expectant looks. She fixated her eyes on the floor, going through all the possibilities in her head. No matter how many books she’s read or what kind of knowledge she’s acquired throughout her life, she couldn’t seem to find the answer. For the first time, Hermione Granger—the smartest witch of her age—didn’t know the answer to her own dilemma. She was cornered, unable to find her way out.
Draco’s sour laugh cut through the silence like a knife. “I guess you’re silence is the only answer I need.” He said flatly. “You can go,” She turned to him, her vision turning blurry. “To wherever you want—for however long you want. I don’t care anymore, Hermione.” He stood up slowly and straightened himself out. “Make sure you have dinner tonight—maybe go to the—”
“Draco,” Hermione pleaded, standing up as well.
“—Weasley’s if you can’t find anything to eat around here. I’ll tell Pansy and my mother of your decision, so you won’t have to worry about a thing.” He continued, walking into the closet, and pulling out a black coat. “And don’t—”
“Draco,” Hermione repeated, her voice more desperate as she followed him out of the bedroom and into the hallway. “Please, Draco.”
However, he ignored her pleading and continued speaking to her in a steady, even voice. “—wait up for me. I’ll probably be back tomorrow morning or maybe after work.” He was ready to walk out the door before he finally listened to Hermione’s pleading.
“Please,” she was crying. “Please, just listen to what I have to say.” She told him. “Don’t just leave like this.”
Slowly, he turned to her. “If you’re going to say everything else but what I want to hear, then don’t bother saying it.” Draco said coldly. After she stood before him in silence, he nodded stiffly and turned around, and walked out the door without a ‘goody-bye’ or an ‘I’ll see you later’.
He left her standing in the empty flat alone as she fell to her knee’s and began sobbing. She forced her mouth shut, muffling her cries, and forced her body to stop shaking furiously. She shut her eyes tightly, hoping that if she closed her eyes, the rest of the world would disappear as well. She hoped for all her troubles and pain to perish before her closed eyes, but it didn’t. The pain was still as distressing, and her troubles were still as upsetting as ever. For a long while, she sat in the hallway, silently wishing that Draco would return. Never in her life did she miss the feeling of a man’s arm around her, and yet here she was—pleading for Draco to return, as if he could hear her cry.
What hurt Hermione the most, was how everything was her fault. She brought this upon herself—she pushed Draco away. Saying those three words—saying I love you—would have been just as easy as breathing. Yet, she chose not to. She chose the latter—the more difficult route. Out of fear and sheer foolishness, she turned her back on him and went against everything she promised him during the nights prior. It hurt her more than ever to know that she wedged this now growing distance in between them, and there was nothing more she could do about it, except to lie in her now made bed.
She never knew what true heartbreak felt like, till now.
“I’m really sorry.” Draco never thought that he would here those three words coming from her mouth. He sat before her, stunned beyond belief. “I’m really, really sorry. For everything—for all the pain I’ve caused you.” He knew how stubborn she was and how much it took for her to finally yield and apologize for her own actions. “I don’t know why it took me this long to apologize—but its better late than never, right?” she forced a feeble laugh out. “Again, I apologize. I was out of line, it just wasn’t my place.”
For a minute, Draco had no idea how to react. For the most part, it was always he who took the first step and apologized first. He was the one to first approach her with an apology at the ready, and it was always her who would do the forgiving. Never in his life, did he ever think that he would be the one on the other side of the street. “Er..” he began, still unsure of what to say next.
She laughed heartily. “Usually around this time, you say that you forgive me, and we both get past this awkward apology.” She told him, a small smile resting on her pretty face. “You were always the one who apologized—I certainly remember that.”
Clearing his throat, Draco offered a small smile. “It’s fine, Miranda.” He said. “Really—just forget about it. None of it matters anymore, anyway.” He knew that he was being soft. After everything she’s done to him, he knew that he shouldn’t be forgiving her this quickly. But he did, and that was that.
“Of course it matters, why wouldn’t it matter?” she asked, frowning.
Draco shook his head. “It’s complicated, don’t worry about it.”
Knowing that she wouldn’t be able to get anything out of Draco, she nodded. “Look, I know that this probably won’t mean anything—but will you please tell Hermione that I’m sorry?” she asked, looking at him with big eyes—something she knew that he always fell for. “I was just out of it, and I’m not really used to this an—”
He nodded, cutting her off. “I’ll tell her.”
Miranda surveyed him. She cocked her head to the side, and gave him a strange look. “You know, for someone who’s in love, you don’t look so happy. Is everything okay?”
“Everything is just perfect.” His voice sounded more sarcastic than he planned. “Just dandy.” He added.” She gave him a quizzical look, and he sighed, leaning back against the bench. “Things aren’t going that well, that’s all.”
“You mean with Hermione?” Miranda asked, leaning back as well. “Is everything okay?”
Draco nodded, despite his thoughts. “It’s fine. We’ll sort it out.”
She chuckled. “Sorting it out with silence, you mean?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked, confused.
Miranda sighed. “You were always the type of guy who never faced your problems. Sure you apologize, but that’s only with trivial matters. When have you ever faced something bigger than a silly argument?”
“It’s not like that.” He told her, shaking his head. “With Hermione—it’s more than just a silly argument.”
“Well, if you’re still the same Draco that I know, you should be glad that she’s leaving for a while.” Miranda casually placed a hand on his, which was lazy draped across his lap. “Maybe this time apart is coming at the right time for the both of you—it will give you two the chance to think about what you both want.”
Feeling strange, Draco withdrew his hand from Miranda’s, and ran it through his already messy hair. “I already know what I want.” He told her. “And it’s her.”
The three little words caused Miranda to winced, and she hoped that it went by unnoticed. “So what’s the problem? You want her, she wants you—I don’t understand.”
He laughed slightly. “That’s just the thing—she doesn’t want me.”
“Then don’t waste your time on her, Draco.” Miranda told him. “Forget about Hermione.”
He shook his head, to her dismay. He placed his elbows on his knees and leaned forward, placing his head in his hands. “I can’t just forget about her. It doesn’t work that way.”
She sighed, and tore her eyes away from Draco, looking forward to an old couple sitting together on a bench not far from them. They were holding hands, and leaning against each other as they hid from the sun’s kiss. “Look, Draco. You can either be like that,” she pointed to the old couple seated on the bench. “Or you can be like me. Pining for a lost love.”
Miranda placed her hand on Draco’s once again, but this time he didn’t pull back. He lifted his head, and was surprised to find Miranda’s face inches from his own. Her eyes were boring into his, and he found himself unable to pull away. He was familiar with her gaze—the very gaze she would use in order to get what she wants—and his mind was screaming to look away, but he couldn’t. It was like old times, when he couldn’t—wouldn’t dare refuse to give her what she wanted. But what exactly did she want now?
Her face slowly began inching towards his, but he couldn’t pull away. She paused when they were centimeters apart—he could feel her minty breath on his face; her scent engulfed him with one sweeping motion.
Hermione smelled better.
In an instant, Draco blinked, and drew back—leaning against the bench again. He tore his eyes away from Miranda, and forced himself to push both Miranda and Hermione out of his mind. He focused on a tree that stood out amongst all the others. There was a red ribbon tied around it, with a perfect bow tied on the center of the trunk. He frowned, wondering why there was a ribbon tied to the tree.
His mind returned to Hermione, and he wondered what she could have been up to. Draco willed himself to stay away from his flat—away from Hermione—at all times. He wanted to give both of them a chance to think things through and he silently hoped that in the morning, she would wake up with some sort of impulsive epiphany where she realizes that she truly loves him.
The thought forced another sour laugh out of Draco’s mouth.
“Look, Draco. I’m not going to force us together anymore—I guess I can finally see how much you really care about her.” Miranda began. “But let me just tell you this. If you want something, go and get it. Just please, don’t make the same mistakes you made before. Hermione won’t be waiting forever. I’m almost a hundred percent positive that she loves you as well. You two will work it out—but you need to actually work it out.” She stood up, and gave Draco one last look. “Take her to the park, take a stroll in the moonlight or do something
romantic. Girls like that.” She smiled at him, and began making her way down the concrete road, leaving Draco alone to sulk to himself.
“Well, that was impressive.” Miranda’s heard jumped out of her chest, and she turned around to find Pansy standing behind her. She had her arms crossed over her chest, and an expression on her face that told Miranda, she wasn’t impressed—not at all. “What’s your plan now?” Pansy asked her, coming closer. “Get on Draco’s good side, apologize for everything—and jump back on him when Hermione’s gone?”
Miranda stared at her. “I just wanted to apologize, Pansy.” She said sweetly. “Is there something wrong with apologizing?”
Pansy snorted. “Coming from you? Yes. When did you ever apologize for something in your life?”
“Well Draco seems to believe that I am truly, genuinely sorry—and that’s enough.” Miranda replied.
Releasing a heavy sigh, Pansy dropped her façade, and took another step closer to the blonde. “You may have Draco fooled, Miranda—but not me. Trust me when I say this, he has too much going on in his mind right now. Even if Voldemort were to apologize, he would forgive him. I’m bloody serious Miranda. You better not go any further than a simple apology.”
She rolled her eyes in response. “Pansy, you can’t tell me what to do. Draco is a big boy. He can do whatever the hell he wants. You’re not his mother.”
“You’re not anything to him either.” Pansy snapped. “Leave him alone for now. If friendship is what you truly seek with him—judging by your little apology—then you’ll be generous enough to give him time to sort his head.”
“What makes you think I won’t be able to help him do that?” she asked Pansy.
Another snort came from Pansy. “Because you caused most of it! Just leave him alone for now. Please—if you truly care for him, then leave him be.”
“Hermione?” Their flat was dark. The moment Draco entered; he felt a cold chill sweep through his body. He suddenly began worrying—what if something happened to Hermione? Fortunately, his fears were dismissed once he heard the sound of a cup being placed on the coffee table. “Why are you sitting in the dark?” He asked softly, flicking the light switch on.
Hermione groaned as the light momentarily tortured her eyes. She shut them tightly, and almost cried with frustration when her eyelids didn’t do the job shielding the brightness from her eyes. She felt her head pounding against her skull and she felt her face swollen from crying. Her first reaction to Draco’s presence was moving her face away from his view. She didn’t want him to see her crying—she felt strangely weak and helpless with tears staining her face, and her eyes read, and swollen.
Once he got a good look at her, Draco instantly felt guilty upon realizing that he was the cause of her pain. Her eyes were puffy, and her lips were incredibly red. Her cheeks looked tearstained, and her hair looked like a nest. “What’s wrong?” he asked carefully, sitting down beside her.
After his talk with Miranda, he tried everything to keep him away from Hermione. He went to a pub, visited Blaise, spoke with Pansy and even went back to his office to get some early work done. To Draco’s dismay, he couldn’t take his mind off Hermione the entire day. He had spent days away from her before—what made this so different? Unfortunately, by the end of the night, his self-control grew weak, and he found himself apparating back home and to his fiancé. He was hesitant to walk through the door at first—hastily brewing up a big, hearty speech about how much he cared about her, and everything else that was left unsaid between them—but the moment her face popped into his mind, he immediately turned the knob, and pushed the white door open.
“What happens when I leave?” she suddenly asked him, keeping her eyes fixed on her lap. “What will you do?”
He took a moment to respond, surprised by the abrupt question. “I’ll do what you wanted me to do. Fix everything and make it better for when you come back.”
“What about Miranda?” she asked softly.
Draco frowned. “What about Miranda?”
“What’s her role in your future?”
He was confused as to why she was asking such strange questions. What was this about? And why was she suddenly bringing up his old girlfriend into the conversation? In their entire ‘relationship’ she has never show any interest in Miranda—none at all. So why now? He yearned to read whatever was going on in her mind—maybe that would give him the answers to his questions. “What do you mean?” he asked her slowly. “She’s Miranda, Hermione. What other role could she possibly have?”
Hermione bit her lip, and Draco stared. She chewed on her bottom lip as she continued pondering. Her hands were clasped together, and from time to time, she would brush one through her hair. “I saw you today.” She told him, her voice slicing through the pregnant silence. “You two almost kissed.”
“Y—you saw us?” he sputtered. “What—why—how?”
She shrugged. “I went to find you so I could apologize, and tell you what you wanted to know. I asked Pansy where you might be, and she told me that if you were meeting Miranda, then I would find you in that park. And I did.” She explained what happened after he left, and she repeated, “You two almost kissed.”
Draco sighed. “We didn’t.” he told her.
“Do you still feel something for her?” she asked him. “Anything at all?”
Without a moment’s hesitation, Draco shook his head. “No.” he answered steadily. “Haven’t I already told you how I felt?”
Another silence came upon them. Draco surveyed Hermione, as she continued chewing on her bottom lip, leaning back against the couch. He knew she was in deep thought, and in any other circumstances, he would have allowed her to think—but not this time. “You don’t trust me with her, do you?”
“No I don’t.” she answered instantly. “It’s not you I don’t trust, it’s her.”
“Well, that’s all that matters—isn’t it? If you trust me, then you trust that nothing will happen?” he replied.
“You two almost kissed today.” She bit back, glaring straight at him. “How do I know that it won’t happen again? Or go any further?”
He rolled his eyes. “You don’t trust me do you?”
“I don’t trust you with Miranda.” Hermione told him. “There’s a difference.”
Draco stood up and shook his head. “No, there’s not. You don’t trust me.” He walked around the couch, and made his way towards the door again. “Bye, Granger.” And then he walked out—leaving Hermione alone for the second time that day.
this is my longest chapter yet. i pondered over this long and hard, deciding if i should break it up.it wouldn't work out though. the next chapter, Hermione is leaving! it's a lot shorter than this one. :P
SOOO. what did you guys think? are you guys finally able to stand MIranda? Or do you all still hate her? and how do you feel about Draco and Hermione? Do you think she should've told him how she felt, or was it really better off this wayy? And was she reasonable to think that maybe while she was gone, something might happen between Miranda and Draco?
And how about Draco? Was it rational for him to just storm off like that? he seems to be doing that a lot when Hermione can't find an answer to his questions.
and what do you think about John? Why would he be doing a story on something as small as a little fake marriage?
Lastly, how did you guys like the interview?
Let me know what you think! Any questions or confusion, don't be afraid to ask!
Any 'why don't they just do this...' questions should be answered in the next chapter!
is still in the process of being edited. i know i said i wouldn't post this chapter till i'm finished, but at the rate i'm going, it would take about two weeks to edit all twenty two chapters.
The next chapter should be out shortly!
Preview for Chapter Twenty Three
"Ron, you’re practically drooling on the carpet. That redhead is way out of your league anyway." Ginny said, shaking her head.
Ron shot a hateful look in Ginny's direction. "Anyway, Hermione," Ron said, continuing where he left off. "Why didn't you just apparate to Australia?"
"Yeah, Hermione. You're a witch, remember?" Blaise told her. "Use your godly witch abilities and save yourself loads o—" Another woman walked by, completely capturing Baise’s attention. This time, the woman had short brown pixie hair that stuck out at all angles. She was a thin, short woman, barely reaching his shoulders. “I love the airport.” He announced with wide eyes as he turned back to his friends. “Seriously, this place is amazing!”