Sept 3: Hey guys! Thanks for the feedback so far (: enjoy this chapter!
And who cares if you disagree
You are not me Who made you king of anything?
Draco stirred. Someone was putting pressure on his stomach. Not hard pressure, but it felt as though someone's hand was resting on his abdomen. Draco tried to move his body out from under the force but he did not succeed. He opened his eyes groggily to face whoever had the audacity to wake him up.
Hesaw a blurry mix of green and blue. He blinked repeatedly, narrowing his eyes to make sense of what he saw. The orbs sharpened into two eyes staring at him.
Draco yelled loudly and flailed, waving his arms wildly at the beast sitting on him. Hermione heard his shouting and shot up out of bed, looking around quite startled. "What is it?" She cried.
There was contact on his cheek, sharp and soft, blunt and piercing. Draco heard his skin ripping. He rolled over, clawing himself free of the strangling comforter and hit his head on the wall. "Bullocks!" Draco hollered. He stumbled to his feet and raced to the bathroom.
His white blonde hair was matted and his grey eyes were wild. Draco flinched as he touched his jaw. A thin line of red starkly stood out against his pale skin.
"Draco, what is wrong with you?" Hermione yelled at him. She got out of bed and held Draco's attacker in her arms— a cat. It was black and white, with one apple green eye and one sapphire eye. "It's just a cat!"
"It was sitting on me!" Draco protested, storming back into the bedroom. Hermione was cradling the thing. "Don't touch it!"
"To quote someone," Hermione met his eyes with annoyance, "I think I can defend myself." She bent down and let the cat leap from her arms. It ran from the room.
"Let me see," Hermione walked closer to Draco. He jutted out his chin and turned his head, like a little boy who cut his knee and now was expecting a sticker from mummy.
Hermione snatched her wand from beside her bed and held it in front of Draco's face. "Repairo." She murmured, watching the skin sew itself up. Draco walked away and began riffling through his suitcase.
After the pair was dressed they walked silently to the larger house. The estate was something impressive, standing smartly over an expansive field. Hermione stared at the never ending rows of foliage, guessing they were grapes. Draco reached the house first; pulling open the side door he remembered walking through with Harlow and Hermione last night.
The kitchen was bright and airy, the walls painted a sunny yellow. A dark granite island was centered in the room. The tile floor turned to hardwood where an elegant dark wood table stood. A boy was seated there, gulping down orange juice. A book lay beside him at the table.
"Good morning!" A cheery voice called. Draco looked towards the stove, where a woman was smiling at him. "You must be Hermione and Draco!"
Hermione smiled. "Yes, hello," she said.
"I'm Mrs. Lafayette," the woman introduced herself with a smile. She had dark blonde hair and smiling dark green eyes. "But that's my mother in law's name. You can call me Susan!" She shook the students' hands before turning back to cooking. With well-planned chorography of her wrist, Susan moved her wand this way and that, making breakfast. Draco's stomach rumbled.
"And that is my son, Matt." Susan pointed to her son at the table.
The light haired boy looked up from his book. His blue eyes glinted from across the room. "Nice to meet you two."
Draco entered the dining space and took a seat at the table next to Matt. Hermione followed.
"Hey mum!" Harlow's voice came through the kitchen before she did. Then the girl walked in, hugging her mother. "Look who's up!" She grinned at Hermione and Draco. "I didn't know city slickers could rise from bed before noon."
"Cut that out Harlow," Matt nudged his sister. "Of course they can. You know city folks are up at dawn to get to work."
Hermione felt her face flush. "You know, that's not true for all—"
"How old are you two?" Matt asked them, sipping from his glass of O.J.
"I'm seventeen," Draco answered, his eyes meeting Matt's. "And personally I enjoy sleeping in."
"Me too," Harlow winked at Draco. "On both accounts."
"I'm seventeen too." Hermione piped up.
"Still young, huh?" Matt teased, grinning at Hermione.
"Oh hush Matt," his mother appeared behind them, her wand keeping several plates in the air. "Just 'cause you're all grown up doesn't mean you can pick on the little ones."
"Matt is twenty-two," Harlow informed Hermione and Draco. "He's out of North Martin and thinks he rules the world. Thanks mum," she said when Susan lowered a full plate in front of her.
Draco looked down at his own plate. There were two pancakes, two waffles, two strips of bacon, a couple sausages, and over-easy eggs, all arranged to look like a smiling face. He grabbed his fork and stabbed a pancake, quick to eat.
"I'll take that as a compliment, Draco!" She beamed. "I'm going to call my husband in to meet you." Mrs. Lafayette left the room.
Hermione looked down at the hearty breakfast and felt a little lost.
"So are you two purebloods?" Draco asked after swallowing a forkful of pancake.
"Malfoy! You can't just ask someone that!" Hermione fumed at him. Draco only shrugged.
"It's no worry Hermione," Harlow reassured her before answering Draco. "Half-blood. My mom's a witch, and my dad's a muggle."
"That's why we grew up on a winery," Matt explained. "Not many wizard families do. Truth is I think dad's still a little uncomfortable around our kind!"
"Draco, Hermione!" A man entered the dining space. He had dark blonde hair like Harlow, and blue eyes like Matt. "I am Mr. Lafayette, call me Scott." His calloused hands shook the new-comers'.
"What are your plans for today?" Mrs. Lafayette asked the children as she rustled up another plate of breakfast for her husband.
"I figured we could show our guests around the winery," Harlow said over the rim of her mug.
"They aren't 'guests' much longer." Scott Lafayette grinned at Hermione and Draco. "I have a special project for you two."
Hermione forced a hunk of waffle down her throat. "What is that?"
"The Lafayette family has been famous winemakers for decades," Scott said, linking his fingers. "My father, his father, and /his/ father, and continuous men before them, were well-known craftsmen in this field. Each of them taught their sons how the business is run, and then that son would take over Lafayette Winery at the age of thirty. Then he will have a son, and that son will also learn the trade, and so forth the cycle continues." He looked at his son. "And that's what Matty will do too. As I was saying, your job. On the estate there are two private tasting rooms. I'd like to add a third. Your mission for the next three months is to help furnish the room. Matty and Harlow can show it to you this afternoon."
"Will they help us too?" Draco furrowed his brow. He did not remember signing up for a summer of slave labor.
"Matt is launching his company this summer," Mrs. Lafayette cast a proud glance at her son. "The H.B.C."
"It's the Half-Blood Club," Matt explained, setting his fork down. "I'm working with a few interns at the U.S. Ministry of Magic. Other founders of the H.B.C. are from the Ministries of Magic of other nations. It's a program to promote wellbeing of all half bloods. Most people just pay attention to purebloods or muggle-borns, but we matter too."
"Well for me, this summer I'm staying on the grounds." Harlow said.
"Oh, yes of course," Mr. Lafayette nodded at Harlow. "You can ask Harlow for anything you need when you're here. She will be staying on the estate for the entire summer."
Harlow stood up suddenly. "Are you two ready for a tour?"
Draco, Hermione, Matt, and Harlow were standing outside the house. Draco held up a hand to shield the bright sun. "Are these all grape vines?"
"Almost four hundred rows," Matt answered, walking past the sight that captivated the Hogwarts students. "We can keep going, follow me."
The group of four traveled in silence. "Your eyes are very unique," Hermione finally broke the quietness to Harlow.
"Oh, thank you!" Harlow grinned at Hermione. "Yea, they're different. Mum says it's 'cause of the wine in my family."
Draco shot her a funny look, taking another glance at her violet eyes. "Are you joking?"
Matt lead them to a medium sized building past the main house and the house Draco and Hermione were staying. "That is where two tasting rooms are," he pointed to the building, and kept walking. Behind that building was yet another; It was fairly small, one story. The walls on the outside were cream, and large windows plastered each side. "This is the third tasting space," Matt announced, pushing open large double doors.
Behind the impressive doors was an equally notable sight. The room was the size of a classroom at Hogwarts. Hermione turned her head, scanning the bare, snow-white walls. Dark panel framed windows filled the space with sunny light.
"This is where you two will be living for the next couple months," Harlow joked.
Draco's attention was diverted when he heard a noise from the window. He looked outside a second too late, seeing a figure walk by, but not a face.
Matt noticed too, and stormed over to the closed doors, wrenching one open. "This better not be—" his face flashed anger. Matt pushed the door open to its full wideness. "Rory is here."
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