The days where simply slipping by, one endless torturous day after another. It became so that I wasn’t sure how much time had passed, work was all I was able to do, the only thing I could allow myself to concentrate on. Otherwise, I’d lose myself in an ocean of regret, if I became distracted even for a second, I could still see him in my minds eyes, I could see the pale tone of his skin under the moonlight, I could feel the warmth of his breath against my skin and in the rare nights that I was able to slip into a steady sleep I could taste the sweetness of his mouth and smell that spicy peppermint scent that was him.
For so many years now I had longed endlessly for him and that’s why I could never regret the act itself; because I knew that if given the chance, I would fall willingly into that mistake again and again. What I couldn’t help regretting was everything I had given up for it.
I had risked it and I had lost, I’d lost absolutely every good thing I had going for me, I was alone, utterly and completely alone. Weeks had passed now since that night, since I last spoke to Susan or Harry and since my confrontation with Ginny.
Tears swelled in my eyes as I remember the letter I received two days afterwards.
Ms. Hermione Granger,
I must inform you that the establishment formally own by Mr. Draco Malfoy is now property of Mr. David M. Redford, taking into account the time and effort you have invested into the restitution of the establishment, we formally request your continuing with the case at hand, purchase and sale documentation are adjoined to the present letter and we hope to hear your response as soon as possible.
With that it ended. My life and my family, I had thrown everything away, for a man who didn’t even have enough decency to inform me personally that my sacrifice wasn’t worth a damn to him. Not knowing what else to do I accepted the case; it was at the very least something to keep me busy.
Work was the only thing I had left, I could hardly remember the last time I sat down to a decent meal and even if I ate I wasn’t able to keep much down, I spent as much time as I could in my office dragging out case after case hoping to chase away all unwanted thoughts.
“Ms. Granger, there’s some one here who wants to see you.” Mrs. Woolberry’s voice cut through my musings.
“I told you I did not want to be disturbed, take a message and tell who ever it is that I’ll get back to them.” I snapped my quill scratching angrily against my parchment.
“Oh dear, I won’t take much of your time, I simply want to know how you’ve been holding up.” a warm and familiar voice answered.
My head snapped up so fast that I felt my neck spasm but I ignored it, the sight of my ex-fiancées mother standing by my office door was not something I would not have expected given the situation.
“Mrs. Weasley…umm…come on in, please take a seat.” I offered as she stepped closer looking slightly out of place and fidgeting nervously with her purse.
“I don’t mean to be rude but what are you doing here?” I asked noticing that my hands were shaking lightly.
“I just wanted to see how you were doing, with all that’s happened I can’t help but imagine what you must be going through.” She answered her voice sounding genuinely concerned.
“But…why? I-I thought you off all people would hate me, after what I did to your son, after the things I said to Ginny.” I could feel my eyes burning and my heart heavy with shame.
“Oh…I could never hate you darling, you’re like another daughter to me and if there is one thing I have learned from being a mother is that children will always fight. Anyways I can’t help thinking that I have a large part of blame in this whole ordeal.” Heavy tears began to pool in her lashes as I gazed at her in confusion.
“Mrs. Weasley please don’t, none of this is your fault. How could you possibly think that?” I asked handing her an ink stained handkerchief.
“I just think that maybe we pressured you too much, a woman’s wedding should be one of the most important moments in her life and we were all so excited that maybe we overwhelmed you and with Ron’s new job thrown in, I can imagine now how stressful it must have been for you.” Mrs. Weasley explained wiping her tears as she did so.
“Look… Mrs. Weasley, I won’t lie to you and tell you that all of those things didn’t influence my decision, but under no circumstances should you feel guilty. It was my decision and I took the one I thought adequate.” As much as I loved Mrs. Weasley I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was a hidden reason for her visit.
“I know, I know honey and I’m positive you had your reasons for doing what you did. But me and Arthur we’re getting old, all we want these days is to see all our children happily married and starting their own families. It’s an old ladies dream and I can’t help thinking that I let myself get carried away.”
“I understand what you mean and I hope I didn’t hurt you or Mr. Weasley with my actions I love you both so much, and I will never in a million years be able to repay all the kindness you have given me. If there is ever anything I can help you with please, don’t hesitate to ask.” I urged her, knowing that what I had done was no way of repaying so many years of kindness and care from all of them.
“There is one thing I’d like sweetie, maybe it’s too much but you’re a good girl and I’m sure that in the end you’ll make the right decision.” I nodded silently; almost sure of what she was going to ask.
“Ron is leaving for Spain day after next, all I want is for you two to sit down and talk things out. Try and make things work, you know how hard-headed Ron can be about this things. You’re a sensible girl Hermione, I’m sure you’ll find the right way to go about it.” Her voice was hopeful and pleading, I could understand how difficult it must be for her and I didn’t have it in me to make her feel worse.
“I’m not sure if that’s the right thing for me to do at the moment, but I’ll try and talk with Ron before he leaves. That’s as much as I can promise for now.” I answered avoiding her intense gaze, just in case it made me change my mind.
“Well I guess I can’t really ask for much more than that” She answered standing up and smoothing out the front of her dress, “I’ll be going now, you seem like you have a lot of work on your hands.” I stood up and stepped around my desk towards her, she extended her arms out to hug me and I complied.
“You’ll always be a part of our family no matter what, but I’m sure you’ll do the right thing, you’ve always have” She whispered pulling away and patting my cheek warmly, with that she said goodbye and hurried out.
I was left feeling guilty and with a heavy heart. A large lump lodging in my throat as tears began to pool in my eyes. I loved them; I really did love them oh so much. I couldn’t help thinking what a horribly selfish person I was for not being able to sacrifice myself for them after everything they had done for me.
“Ms. Granger…” Mrs. Woolberry called before opening the door, I turned away wiping my eyes as she stepped inside. “A Mr. Redford is here to see you, should I ask him to return another time?”
I froze at the name as I made my way back to my seat, David Redford was the man Draco had sold his restaurant to, I felt a terrible pang in my chest as I remember the events tied to that sale.
“No it’s ok, have him come in” I answered settling into my desk chair and using the corners of my jumper to wipe my still moist eyes as Mrs. Woolberry allowed him to pass.
“Ms. Granger I must apologize for intruding on you in such a manner, but I had no choice.” David Redford announced as he stepped into my office.
He was a tall and handsome man, who looked to be in his late twenties. He held himself with an air of self-confidence that was very much appealing, and with deep brown eyes, a brilliantly white smile and dark brown hair that was perfectly styled and groomed; he was a true sight of male beauty.
“It’s no problem at all Mr. Redford, please take a seat.” I answered inwardly dreading the conversation that was to come knowing that there would be no way of avoiding the mention of Draco.
“Please, I would feel much more confortable if you called me David everyone else does.” He insisted offering me a brilliant smile as we shook hands, his touch was warm and firm and very comforting in a strange way.
“Ok then David, you’re here about the restaurant are you?” I asked wanting to get everything over with as soon as possible.
“Yes, I’m afraid so. I would have presented myself sooner but, I’ve been out of the country, just got in this morning to be honest.”
“Well I’ve got the case file right here, you’ll be happy to know that we are basically done with the case, I’m actually just waiting on you license to be retuned and you’ll be ready to go in no time.” I answered, there was really no surprise there as soon as everyone found out that the place didn’t belong to Draco anymore, they pulled up their blockades and handed me the permits needed.
“You know, Draco wasn’t lying when he mentioned you were a beautiful woman. Ms. Granger” David interjected, leaning back on the chair and scrutinizing me with his deep eyes. I avoided his gaze as best as I could and handed him the papers, doing my best to hide the bleeding wound that he opened in my chest with the mention of Draco’s name.
“Thank you, now if you take a look at the papers you’ll notice that everything is in order, as soon as your license pulls through you’ll be able to open for business once more.” I did my best to return the conversation to work matters and hopefully away from Draco as well.
“You must forgive my boldness, but the way he spoke of you I really did think he was exaggerating. But I must say he did fall short in his description.” He flashed his brilliant smile once more before turning his eyes to the documents before him. “And just as brilliant as he mentioned I see.” He added as he studied the file.
“Mr. Malfoy does have a tendency to exaggerate on some things.” I answered trying to keep my tone of voice neutral. “I just have a few things for you to sign and will be done.” I added.
“You know, I’d very much like to see the place before I terminate my interactions with you Ms. Granger. It’s not very wise to enroll in a business which one is not familiar with. Wouldn’t you say so?” He inquired with a delicately lifted eyebrow.
“You mean you’ve never even seen the place?” I asked incredulous.
“Not really, Draco called me up saying he needed to sell the place, so I bought it from him, like I said I only just returned to England.” He answered placing the file on my desk and setting his deep eyes on me once again.
“Well you must truly trust Mr. Malfoy then.” I answered unable to retain the sarcasm that dripped from my voice.
“He has been a very dear friend to me and my family for years, I would trust him with my life” his voice confident and his gaze turning slightly defying. “But you seem to have a different perspective, would you care to enlighten me, Ms. Granger.?”
“I have nothing to say on Mr. Malfoy’s behalf either good or ill.” Was all I could answer, I had many things to say about the back staving bastard that was Draco, but David Redford seem to be a potentially excellent client and I didn’t want to sour any future association with him.
“Well then, I’m sure there won’t be a problem if you accompany me to see the restaurant I’ll sign the papers afterwards.” He’s brilliant smile returned as he stood up expectantly waiting for me to follow.
Unable to think of an excuse not to do so, I grabbed my coat and purse, following him out of my office door.
Diagon alley was mostly deserted the dark sky and pouring rain not a great invitation for a day out. As we stepped into the restaurant David chivalrously held his wand over me to protect me from the out pour, “One of the things you simply cannot miss about London is its dashing weather, wouldn’t you say so?” David asked as he shook of the water from his hair and coat.
“Truly lovely.” I laughed doing the same.
“David I’m glad you’re here, you do like to take your time don’t you?” A tall and thin man appeared as soon as we’d dried ourselves of; he wore a gray suit and had an air about him that reminded me of a young Percy.
“I’m sorry, Tom but I had to stop and meet the famous Hermione Granger, and lucky for us I was able to convince her of joining us on our tour of my new restaurant.” He answered giving Hermione another of his brilliant smiles, accompanied by a quick wink that I pretended not to notice.
“Ms. Granger a pleasure to meet you, I have heard quite a bit about you I must admit. So glad you could join us here today.” If I could have rolled my eyes without being rude, I would have but I simply offered the man a dry smile for his pompous tone of voice. “If you’ll follow me now there waiting for us in the kitchen.”
I followed David as he maneuvered around the tables, heading for the wooden double doors at the back of the dining area. Tom hurried on in but David stopped and held the door open for me, I couldn’t help giving him a warm smile as I walked passed him.
“Ok gentlemen, ladies, Mr. Redford is finally with us, so we should get this meeting going. Mr. Malfoy if you’d do us the honors” Tom began in his bothersome tone of voice, but his last words froze me in my tracks my eyes running around the room searching.
I felt the blood leave my face when I saw him, he noticed me by the door at the same moment, my heart became too heavy for my chest as our eyes locked and I saw a flash of some unrecognizable emotion that disappeared before I could wonder properly about it. His eyes became cold and distant he turned his gaze away from me and made his way next to Tom.
“Hermione are you ok?” I heard David’s voice as if from kilometers away, I closed my eyes trying to recover a sense of reality; I did my best to control the pain in my chest that was quickly turning into burning anger. “Hermione?”
“Sorry, I lost my bearings there for a second.” I answered back as I began to take in my surrounding the kitchen was full of people, that seemed to be the restaurant employees, David came into the after me asking me if I need to sit down and offering me a glass of water.
“I’ll be fine, Thank you.”
“Well as all of you know already, for reasons beyond my control I’ve had to sell the restaurant, there is absolutely no need to worry all of your jobs are safe and I will make sure that you recover the pay from the days we’ve been closed.” Draco’s deep voice rose and filled the room washing over me and causing me to tighten my fist in anger.
“David Redford will be the man taking over from now on, any doubts and questions I’m sure he will be glad to answer, all I can say now is thank you for your hard work and I hope you’ll be as loyal to him as you have been to me.” With that he gave the word back to Tom and headed towards David and me.
“Draco how nice to see you, I hope you don’t mind me bringing Ms. Granger over you raved so much about her that I simply couldn’t resist.” David greeted him, with a warm handshake; I could feel my hands begin to tremble and my sight to turn red as Draco answered, not even giving me a side-glance.
“Not at all, look I wish I could stay but I have to head home, will you be ok here?” His tone was emotionless his eyes never wavering from David.
“Not at all go ahead and please say hello to your mother for me, tell her I’ll visit as soon as I can.” David answered; Draco gave him a quick nod and hurried away through the double doors.
I couldn’t control myself anymore; my blood was pounding through my veins the anger saturating my system so that I couldn’t even think straight.
“David I’m sorry I must go, I don’t feel at all well, feel free to send me those papers when you have the time.” I excused myself and hurried away before he could answer. I maneuvered my way out of the restaurant stepping into the pouring rain, turning my head in every direction trying to find the direction Draco had taken.
When I saw nothing I turned on the spot thinking of a place I had visited only once before, but had seen so many times in my nightmares;
A/N: Ok so please, please do not kill me...I know it's been ages since I last updated this story but I tried so get so hard to get back into it but I just couldn't and I'm sorry anyways I hope you guys enjoy this chapter and I Promise I already have half of the next chapter down so i should have that up in a few days. Once again I hope you can all forgive me for the temporary abandonment of the story, but here's a fresh new chapter I hope you enjoy it and Happy X-mas to all of you.