Chapter 2 : Chapter 2: Insights
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A/N: Hiya's Thanks for reading my fic. Currently editing for grammar and spelling errors. It's big job. Please be kind, and leave me a review telling my what you liked about my story. ~S
“You look preoccupied.” Ron said to Hermione coming up behind her and kissing her neck while she stood at the stove making dinner. Hermione was trying to push the thoughts of her chance encounter out of her head; turning to her husband, looking into his eyes trying to remember all those years ago why she had fell in love with him in the first place. Ron had been always there for her. He was the one who held her at night; when she had nightmares about the war; about the tortured; about how things could have turned out. Hermione thought, and her heart twisted in fear with each one of them. Every time Ron went on assignment; each one more dangerous than the last; she died inside a bit just in-case this time he wouldn’t be coming back.
Ron broke into her thoughts while she looked through him. She then felt a hand on her cheek making her have no choice, but to look into his eyes.
“See this is what I’m talking about.” he said with a sour look on his face. “You’re in your head again.”
Hermione nodded in agreement with him. Truth be told, she was, and had been since she had seen Draco at breakfast counter.
“Let me in.” Ron whispered next to her ear, as he wrapped his arms around her holding her tightly around the waist. He then took Hermione by the hand, leading her up the stairs to their bedroom, closing the door behind them with a flick of his wrist. For that moment at least; Hermione forgot about the chance encounter earlier in the day.
They finished to a blaring from the smoke detector going off downstairs. “Damn it, I burnt dinner.” Hermione said as she ran down the smoke filled stairs wrapped only with the sheet from the bed, seeing flames bellowing out of the oven like finger tips reaching for sky. Just then Ron came up behind her, pushed Hermione out of the way, grabbed the fire extinguisher and put out their dinner finding the entire event amusing.
“I guess we have to go out for dinner.” He laughed “Let’s try that new place down the street and why don’t you put on that new blue dress you got the other day.”
“Really” Hermione’s eyes widened, “it has been so long since we have been out.” She had almost forgot how nice Ron could be; when his work wasn’t clouding up his mind. Hermione put on her new strapless blue dress, put her hair up and added a bit of make-up; a little black eyeliner, mascara, pink blush, and strawberry lip gloss as quickly as she could and out they went into the indigo spring night.
The air was crisp during the seven blocks to the restaurant. The place was a block from the beach, but had a great view of the coastline. It was packed per-as-usual. The oblong dining room had high ceilings, white walls that displaying abstract painting on them from local artists, dark wooden lacquered floors with red high backed booths; in which sat many laughing couples. Large parties crammed around circular tables; and a lengthy carved oak bar that cascaded along the wall was also just as packed with people trying to get a bite or just finish a drink. Hermione tried to squeeze into the bar, while Ron went and gave the hostess their name for a table. Hermione ordered a red wine and a whisky for him, but as the bartender poured the drinks. Hermione noticed how he spilled her wine while he poured it, but the glass seemed to fill up the same regardless even though he missed the glass completely. Then with an almost empty whisky bottle filled Ron’s whole drink up. Hermione couldn’t believe her eyes; the bottle looked only to have a few drops in it. She was just about to say something to Ron about it when the hostess came over to tell that their table was ready.
“This normie stuff just isn’t the same.” Ron stated after his first sip “I miss the good old fire whiskey we used to get back in London.” finishing his glass in one.
They sat down and ordered, but just as the appetizer came out Hermione heard Ron;s dreaded phone ring and her stomach just sank. She knew it; that again she would be left alone with take out.
“Oh ok, really, when, where, how many, I’ll be right there.” came out seamless from Ron’s mouth, his eyes averted from hers.
Ron could see how upset Hermione was, but he didn’t say anything to her when he kissed her on the cheek turning to leave and walking out the door. Hermione could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. All she wanted to do was get out of there as soon as possible. She waited to get the waitress to get the orders to go. While she sat there finishing up her wine she suddenly got a whiff of something familiar, but couldn’t place it. She racked her brain thinking of where she smelled it before. Suddenly that cold drawl broke into her self-wallowing thoughts, her stomach dropped for the second time that day, and the corners of her mouth tried to lift.
“Wow, you’re more independent than I would have thought; out on a Friday night eating alone. I would never have guessed it.”
Hermione wiped a tear from her eye while hoping that he didn’t see it. She was about to get up.
“No” Draco said softly putting a hand up “May I take this open seat instead?”
Hermione couldn’t open her mouth; she was choking on a lump that was growing her throat, only able to lift her eyes to his.
“The hostess said it would be at least an hour before she could seat me, and you have this great table, plus you’re sitting by yourself.”
Hermione looked up at him bewildered. “Twice in one day.” she said with a crack in her voice, as he nonchalantly brushed the hair from out of his eyes , before sitting down.
“I guessed you wouldn’t mind if I joined you.” he said with a smile on his face.
Hermione gave him a weak nod. She was still stung from Ron leaving and barely could get the words out in fear of crying in front of him.
“So, what is a married women doing having dinner by herself?”
“Well, if you must know. I wasn’t by myself till a moment ago. You just missed Ron. You probably walked by him on your way in.”
“Oh” he scoffed “Had to go because of work, huh.” He said adding air quotes.
Hermione was about to reply when the waitress came up to the table looking confused at her new guest “Do you still want that to go, miss?”
“Oh, yeah, um, yes, please.”
“But he would like to order something, and I will take another wine.” Hermione shot him a look with raised eyebrows then said “you’re treat right?” a small smile couldn’t help itself from crossing her face as the thought of sticking him with the bill.
“Yes” he said shooting her the same look. “And I’ll take a vodka on the rocks with a twist of lemon.” He added without missing a beat. The waitress batted her eyelashes at him and then went on her way.
Draco ordered a steak while, she drank her wine. When his food came, he asked
“You sure I can’t order you anything else.”
Hermione shook her head to say “No thanks.”
Just as she did that, she saw the bartender do it again; fill the drinks up with an empty looking bottle. It must have slipped out, because then Draco grinned through chewing and answered.
“So, you finally noticed, took you long enough.”
The look on her face must have been priceless, because he started laughing joyfully.
“I have been watching the bartender and what you said earlier; just kinda of stuck with me. What did you mean by that earlier; we aren’t the only ones here? I mean, I‘ve lived here for so long. How could I’ve not known?”
Draco put down his knife and fork and took a sip of his drink to gather his thoughts. “I thought you would have been cleverer than this. You have been away far too long.” he said while still laughing a bit.
“Ok, watch that busboy over there.” He gestured slickly to his left with his thumb; just as he said that the busboy, with only a sweep of his hand cleared the table. Hermione gasped and spilled her wine all over the table. The busboy looked startled and Draco gave the boy the slightest wink to calm down the boys nerves. He then came over to them and with the same sweep of his hand, cleaned up the wine, before handing Hermione a full glass back.
Draco smiled at the busboy; in turn making her legs tremble. She was glad to be sitting down at that moment.
“I can’t believe it. I never noticed it before. Is that why you are here?” she inquired leaning over the table into him in disbelief
But, Draco turned away catching the waitress’s attention. “Check please!” he asked “and can you have one of the bus boys take this to….” And to Hermiones surprise, he said her address.
“Draco you’re beginning to worrying me now.” she said as they left hurriedly out of the busy restaurant. “How did you know my address?”
“To many extra ears in that place” Said Draco as he looked over his shoulder, took Hermione by the hand and led her outside down the street.
A few steps later Hermione stopped,
“Ok, now you have to clue me into what is going on here or I am leaving.”
He looked at her for a second, pondering and checking if the coast was clear. “Well, you know that case I am working on with the Americans? Well, that’s why I am here and you may be a little more involved, then you might know.”
Hermione absent mindedly started to walk again letting him guide her with his hand placed on the small of her back. “What do you mean?” she asked not realizing that they had started to walk again, and had made it all the way to the beach. She could hear the familiar sound of the waves crashing on the water’s edge. The moon was out and bright hanging over head like a mirrang pie in the sky, when Hermione looked over at him and he gestured her to come over to him. Without a word he waved his hand. He had summoned a blanket, two glasses, a bottle of wine and a lantern; then placed them next to them.
“When did you get so good at non-verbal spells, Malfoy?” he didn’t say anything back to her, just winked at her, and smiled.
“Remember that night, the last time I saw you. The fire was overcoming us, flames were everywhere and I panicked. I was such a coward back then.” he chuckled. “I thought it was the end, and without a second thought you came back for us; for me; casted a wall of water to save mine and the lives of my friends. I have to admit; I was surprised that you came back at all, even though it was my fault that you were there in the first place”
Hermione was taken a back from his comment “I just couldn’t let you die in there …. regardless. I mean, a life is still a life no matter what you had said to me or done to me in the past.”
“It just really showed me that there might be more out there then my parent’s ideals about blood status. I was such a coward then, I was so lost. I had no identity and was trying to find my place in what I thought the world was. I was taught that being Pureblood meant being something, noble, proud and worthy. That being Pureblood made me better by divine right” He met her unwavering stare and nodded “Can you believe I use to believe that? But, that was all I knew.” He let out another small chuckle.
“And, because I did, I let them pull me into a world of hate. I was pulled into a world, that I thought I wanted to be part of, but it only turned everything, and everyone I loved into ruin. Then, you guys came in and fought, no matter what the cost was, you guys saved the world from evil, saved me, and every one I loved or care for.”
Draco stood up to tossing a shell in to the waves, instead of sinking like a rock it bounced upwards becoming a white bird that flew up into the moon light.
Draco gave her his hand, and she took it; letting him pull me up from her seat. For any normal person, in any normal situations, that lead normal lives, the man would normally at this moment let go of the woman’s hand after successfully helping her up. But, they weren't normal people, this wasn't a normal situation. So, she let him hold her hand and didn’t let go. They walked hand in hand all the way down the beach in the light of the moon, the entire time not sure why either one of them was letting the other one do it.
The moon was full, the moonlight falling off of it made his eyes glitter, it outlined his muscular frame, and made his pale skin seemed to glow. Hermione stood up, and felt that feeling again in her stomach. So, many thoughts were spinning in her head. Had he always looked like this? Have I always felt like this? Had I gotten these feelings confused for hate.
At that very moment he grabbed Hermione and pulled her into his strong arms, which abruptly pulled her out of any thoughts/ doubt that she was having at that very moment.
“This is why I am here. It’s now my turn to save you. You are in grave danger.”
His smell was intoxicating, Hermione had a hard time listening to what was coming out of his mouth as he spoke and missed the signals of about to be leaning in for a kiss.
But, Hermione broke the moment by blurting out her thoughts as they popped into the foreground of her mind.
“What do you mean?” she asked through her eye lashes.
It must have brought him to his senses, because Draco let go of Hermione, letting it fall unceremoniously to her side. She felt the cold water at her feet; the tide must have risen while they were standing there.
Draco looking away from her, and up to the stars “How much do you know about Ron’s job?”
“Not much,” She answered taking backing up from him “He doesn’t talk much about his work. Well, since he got the promotion. He says it’s for ‘my own safety’.” It was Hermione’s turn to throw up air quotes
Draco with an all knowing look directly in her eyes “He’s right you know.”
“The only thing is….. I’m not sure if he knows he has you right in the middle of it. There has been a lot of late night meetings lately, coming home late or even early, or even not at all sometimes, without giving any reasons on why. Maybe even a few strange late night phone calls, right?” his tone insisted while she looked at him in the pale moonlight not able to fully understand what he was purposing.
“Possibly a few, maybe” she said trying not to let him know he was right, by doing her best to not to look up in his eyes staring at her feet digging in the sand. She knew she would lose all train of thought if she did.
But one in particular came to mind a few weeks ago. Hermione started to tell Draco about the 3am cell phone call that woke her up. She answered the phone only to hear a strong accented women sobbing and saying “It was over. It’s all over”
Ron grabbed the phone from her and walked down the hall so that Hermione didn’t hear the rest of the conversation. Only to come back to our bedroom a few minutes later freaking out on her for answering his phone.
“I just took it as stress.” she said defensively, looking away from Draco, and into the black waves crashing down on the beach.
It felt weird talking to someone about this, especially to Draco, she thought. Hermione didn’t know why, but it was just so simple to talk to him. Everyone seemed to think that Ron and she had this perfect marriage, but also she never did do anything to make anyone think otherwise. Plus, to Hermione it wasn’t anyone’s business, anyways.
“Draco, what are you getting at? What is my husband involved in?”
Draco’s demeanor change at the word husband, Hermione raised her eyes to meet his and their worlds became one again as their gaze met. They connected in a way that she never knew could be possible. Hermione noticed now that his eyes weren't only blue and beautiful, but they were also deep and understanding; whereas Ron’s looked like he wanted to be somewhere else. A gasp almost escaped when she noticed how they didn't just sparkle in the moonlight, they seemed to burn in the moonlight into hers. Draco then squeezed her hand tighter before saying
“I owe you my life.” He took a deep breathe, and smiled slightly “I just couldn’t let him or anyone in fact, hurt you. Then for you not to even know what kind of man that you married is something I couldn’t let happen. In time I will tell you everything, but I just can’t right now. Please try and trust me.” A pleading look crossed his face “I know I haven’t earned the right to have you trust me, but please try.”
“Draco, I need more then that right now.” Hermione pulled her hand from out of his “I have been feeling for a long time that Ron and I have grown apart. We were so young when we got together. Plus, he is the only man I have ever been with. I knew something was up, but I didn’t want to believe it. What can I really do in essences?” Hermione paused as her words sunk in hearing her fears aloud for the first time “But, now you’re here telling me, that all along, I have been right, that there is something wrong.”
A new feeling started to drip down her spine “What is going on?” she didn’t realize she had to yell in the blackness of the night
After taking a long awkward pause while trying to figuring out what to say next. “Ok, ok” He took a cautious step towards her. “Do you know why you had to move out of London?
“Had to….” Her eyes narrowed “move out of London? What do you mean; had to?” Hermione emphasized “We didn’t have to do anything. Our lease was up and it is good to try new things.” Hermione said tersely and matter of factly.
Draco racked his mind on a way to redirect his question “Oh ok, how about why you started to get shit from your coworkers for no apparent reason.”
“How did you know about that?” Hermione turned her back to him.
“Come on Hermione, I thought you were clever. What about going from pay check to pay check to buying a beautiful brownstone by the beach? You know Weasel-bee doesn’t make that kind money, even with the promotion.”
“Don’t call him that.” A tear slowly leaked out running down her cheek. Hermione chose that moment to start walking home. She could feel his eyes burning a hole in her back. But, she couldn’t turn around, taking that one last look, even though for some reason she really wanted to.
Had Ron started to take bribes? Is that why he started to do all the banking? Is that how we got the house? How could I have not known? Before, she knew it she was standing in front of their door hearing a loud pop behind her. Hermione took a side step into the shadows, taking cover from a tree in front of their stoop. She took good look around only to see Ron walking around the corner wearing blood splattered on his t-shirt.
Dumbfoundedly, Ron walked right by her and didn’t even see Hermione standing there barely only half hidden in the shadows of the street light. She gave him a minute to go inside, and then followed.
When she walked in, Ron was over the sink standing in his under shirt, magically scrubbing something in the water. Hermione knew what it was, but didn’t say anything.
“Sorry to have to leave like that.” Ron said from the kitchen not looking up. “Nice night? What did you get up to? I see you didn’t eat by the look of the bags on the table.” He then asked still scrubbing away at whatever was in the sink.
Hermione was unbuckling her shoe “No, had some wine, then took a walk down by the beach.”
“Oh” was all he said as his shirt wrung itself out in the sink of him. No signs of blood anymore as it hung itself in the laundry room that was off to the left of the kitchen; dripping loudly on the floor.
Hermione lost herself in washing her hands but was brought back into the moment when Ron asked
“Who is D?” He was thumbing the receipt stapled to the brown bags of take out.
Hermione’s heart sunk. “Oh yeah… D is Lucy’s husband Dan. I saw them after you left, they saw I was upset, and offered to buy me dinner. But, before I could say no thanks, it was a done deal.”
One of the girls she had met at the gym was named Lucy, so Hermione felt safe with the lie. But, then the night’s events flashed in her mind’s eye. The way Draco looked at her, the way they walked down the moon lit beach, his hand in hers, how soft and warm it was, but how it still had that manly roughness to it. How the smell of him made her weak in the knees; how when they talked, they had a real conversation. She forgot what it felt like to talk with someone who an intellectual equal, and how they almost kissed. Those thoughts just kept circling her brain while she lay in her husband’s arms that night, thinking of that chance encounter. How did this all happen, why did this happen? Were only thoughts as she drifted to sleep.
Weeks went by without anything happening. No sign of Draco, just more insights into the world around her. Seeing gardens weeded and groomed by frail old ladies who barely lifted a finger to do it. Rose bushes with bright blooms of countless varieties all growing perfect blossoms, not one defect among them. Hermione always had thought that these ladies had nothing better than to work methodically on their flowers, but now she saw that they had a “little help” along the way. She was beginning to feel stupid because she had never notice before. Leaving London for this quaint little seaside village just threw her for such a loop. Hermione thought it was her fault that they left London and started somewhere new. It never dawned on her that there could be more to this place then a new and nice place to start a family. But, the more Hermione looked around the village; the more she could see that it was filled with magic and other witches and wizards. All of it made her wonder what else she could be missing.
Again, thank you to all of you who have inspired me. You are too countless to name, but thank you anyways.
Please leave a review tell me how I'm doing so far. Thanks for reading my story.
Ongoing editing as of 5/2013. I hope it's getting better.
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