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Chapter 25 : Zabini's
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Draco wanted to take her to a small restaurant in the ally that Hermione had walked by many times but never really had the money to eat in. She supposed now that Draco Malfoy was her boyfriend she wasn't going to have to worry about things like that. When his father had been put away Draco had 'inherited' over half of his fortune (with the rest going to his mother) and a couple of businesses which where still making money.
To every normal couple going out to dinner would be as easy as falling asleep but Hermione and Draco where obviously not a normal couple. For one everyone knew her name and the papers followed her everywhere so she knew that when she booked a table for two under her name some sort of media was to be expected.
But it wasn't just that it was Hermione Granger, it was going to be Hermione Granger and her masked prince charming. They had spent a whole night devising a plan. Hermione and Draco were going to apperate to just outside the leaky cauldron where they would enter together. Too many people knew where Draco lived so they couldn't just walk out of his flat.
Hermione realised quickly that this was officially her and Draco's second date and panicked when she realised she didn't have anything to wear. Ginny however came up trumps once again. Hermione really was grateful that she knew about fashion because if she was honest Hermione didn't have a clue. She would much rather spend her money on books than clothes, a fact that her friend found astounding. Hermione guessed it was lucky that the quidditch player/fashion designer already had a million and one idea's and by the time the day of the date came around (just two days after Ron's big secret) Ginny already had something ready.
Hermione had politely asked Draco to make himself busy in the morning when Ginny came over as the red-head was adamant that he wasn't allowed to see it until she was completely ready. Ginny waited in the living room flicking through a portfolio of sketches she had brought to show Hermione all the other dresses and outfits she wanted to create for her. Hermione meanwhile was in the spare room of Draco's apartment (where she had been sleeping for the past week) attempting to manoeuvre herself into a dress Ginny had created.. It was nice but it was defiantly for Hermione's figure and not Ginny's.
Ginny had brought to Hermione a black dress. It was short in Hermione's opinion but she guessed that was the fashion these days. The dress was tight fitting and hugged her curves. It finished halfway down her thighs and it had a straight neckline with two thick straps. It showed a little of her back but wasn't too low for Hermione's liking. Ginny had actually done a pretty good job. It was simple and she was sure she could wear it again. What Hermione especially loved was the belt that seemed to suck in her waist. It was black like the dress but a white vine pattern decorated it and cut the dress up making it look less boring. Ginny had also had given Hermione a sheer black shawl and a black clutch bag with the same white vine pattern as well as some simple black heels.
Hermione was defiantly starting to consider letting Ginny create her whole wardrobe like she wanted but she couldn't help but wonder what the papers where going to say if they saw her like this. They had never seen the brains of the golden trio in something so revealing before.
She walked nervously out into the living room and was faced with a delight Ginny.
“Oooh sexy,” she said with a beaming smile, “he wont be able to keep his hands off you.”
Hermione shot her a weak smile and mumbled that she was going to changed back. She did so quickly but when she returned to the living room Ginny's facial expression had changed somewhat.
“Hermione Granger, are you sleeping in the spare room?” she asked as the bushy-haired girl sat down.
“Yes why?” Hermione answered. Ginny just laughed and shook her head.
“I told Harry you would be,” she said, “he was adamant that you would be sharing with Draco but I knew you wouldn't”
“It was his idea,” Hermione shrugged, “he didn't want me to feel uncomfortable.”
“But would it make you feel uncomfortable.”
Hermione blushed and thought about it. Would sleeping in the same bed as Draco make her feel unconformable. Simple answer...no. She had gone to bed for a week knowing he was just in the next room and there was no one stopping her going in. The truth was that she really did want to but she knew what would happen if she did and that made her more nerves than she had ever felt in her life. Even more nervous than she had felt on O.W..L results day. She had put it off with Ron because she wasn't sure but with Draco...he seemed stronger and like he would look after her and know what he was doing and not be upset or annoyed if she didn't. She knew he would make her feel safe.
“It wouldn't,” Hermione said to her friend.
“So you haven’t slept with him I’m guessing?” Ginny asked.
“No I haven’t.”
“Have you thought about it?”
“Yes,” Hermione admitted. Ginny smiled.
“Well I'm telling you this now, when he sees you in that dress it is all he is going to be thinking about.”
“What? Hermione he's a guy, it's how their brains work!”
“I guess,” Hermione said but as she said it butterflies rose in her stomach and she felt oddly excited. Maybe tonight was going to be the night?
Hermione knew that Draco had already left the flat and would be waiting for her in the leaky cauldron but she just couldn't work up the courage to apperate out to meet him. Instead she stood in front of the floor length mirror in his bedroom and examined herself from head to toe. Ginny had been right to put her in a dress like this. She looked classic. The little black dress that Ginny used to say Hermione was in great need of now adorned her body.
Her hair was down but she had the hair slide Bill and Fleur had given her for Christmas keeping it out f her face. She hadn't been dressed up since the ball and it felt nice to be out of her normal jeans and jumper.
But the butterflies were becoming more and more agitated. Hermione was sure she wasn't going to be able to eat anything. The thought that tonight might be the night that she finally slept in this bedroom made her feel excited nervous and physically sick all the same time.
Glancing around the room Hermione felt that it was a little understated for a Malfoy. There was a large double bed with black covers but other than that a wardrobe a tv and some furniture and storage there wasn't much else. The only personal touch he had was a photograph of him and his mother when he had been small and a photograph of him and Hermione which had obviously been taken from the daily prophet seeing as it was them at the Christmas ball.
Hermione shook out her nerves and before she had a chance to change her mind she turned on the spot and apperated out of the flat and into the muggle street just outside the leaky cauldron. Hoping no one had seen her (it might have been 8 o'clock but the street was fairly busy and it was only just starting to get dark) she slipped inside the leaky cauldron and looked around for her prince charming.
She couldn't help but let out a huge smile when she spied him in a corner of the room, one hand clamped around a butterbeer and one hand tapping on the table as if inpatient. A single cali lily lay on the table beside him.
Hermione almost called his name but checked herself quickly. Here was a man with dark brown hair, that he seemed to have made slightly curly, darker skin than normal, a black suit on and a plain black mask covering his identity. She couldn't exactly shout his name across the room or their cover would be blown!
But she couldn't just stand there looking like a lemon, she was starting to attract stares. A young woman dressed as she was was not often seen in the leaky couldren. Quickly crossing the room Hermione approached Draco who noticed her quickly and stood up beaming.
“You look....” he couldn't take his eyes off her and had to start again, “you look beautiful.”
He leaned in and kissed her gently and Hermione couldn't help but blush. She had been seeing Draco for four months and yet she had never felt so nervous to be with him. Her heart was doing 110mph and she felt her hands shaking as she took the flower he gave to her.
Slowly she linked her arm with Draco's and they made their way out of the pub and into diagon ally. They walked down the cobbles and Hermione could feel the stares on the back of her neck and all most hear the whispers as she went by.
They stopped about halfway down the ally, not far from Georges shop and turned into a little side street. The restaurant was lit brightly and looked so welcoming and warm...only the hoard of reporters stood outside seemed to put her off. There wasn't as many as she expected but there were enough for her to let out a little groan.
“It's okay, they wont know me,” Draco whispered to her, “and anyway, the restaurant has security keeping them back.”
Hermione nodded. That was true, they wouldn't crush her like they did last time so as she walked forward she straightened her shoulders and put on her best smile.
The questions and camera flashes started as soon as they spotted her. Who was this mystery man and were they officially an item? Why did he wear a mask? How did Ron feel about this? Over the shouting male voices there came a small feminine voice pushing itself to the front. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief as the reporter who first asked her what she was wearing came up near her, she was asking the same question again. Hermione stopped and held up her hand. Everyone fell silent. She looked at the woman and her smile grew, Ginny was going to LOVE this.
“Ginny Weasly,” she said simply, “she designed and created this outfit for me.”
“Ginny Weasly?” the reported asked excitedly, “Harry Potters girlfriend, your best friend and sister of your former boyfriend.”
“Yes,” Hermione beamed, “she has quite a collection for me as I understand.” And with that Hermione and Draco turned into the restaurant and left the crowd of reporters behind.
She turned to Draco a huge smile stretched across her face.
“That felt good,” she said.
“You just need to know how to control them,” he replied, “you are in control, you are the one they are there for, it's all about control.”
“Maybe you should have taught me that when we first had to deal with them,” she giggled as the maitre'd walked up to them. It was at that point Hermione really took in her surroundings.
The restaurant was even more beautiful on the inside than it looked outside. There were tables decorated with purple and gold that all had flowers floating just below the ceiling. To the left of the restaurant was a sheer purple curtain. It was through to that area that Hermione and Draco where led. They passed through the curtain and came into a small private area where there was a table, a violin on a stand and a personal waiter.
“I didn't ask for this!” Hermione said as she spied the purple cali lilies that were obviously there for her, “I just booked a normal table for two!”
The maitre'd left and Draco immediately took off his mask, causing his skin to pale and his hair to turn back blonde.
“Draco!” Hermione cried...then she clamped a hand over her mouth, they were going to blow the whole thing.
“It's okay,” Draco laughed, “There is a reason I wanted to bring you here...we have all the privacy we need. No one will be able to see or hear us and the only person who can come in and out of this room, is the waiter...who just happens to be...” Draco pointed to the waiter and Hermione got a good look at him.
“Blaise?” she cried.
“The one and only,” he laughed back.
“What on earth are you doing here?” she asked.
“My uncle's restaurant, you know that's why it's called 'Zabini's.' After you booked Draco called in a favour, don't worry no one will ever know he was here, I’ll cover up all the receipts and everything...which is something that I seem to do more commonly than it would be thought.” He laughed again and led Hermione to the table and pulled her chair out for her. “Might I say you do look extraordinarily beautiful tonight.”
“Ever the gentleman Blaise,” Draco laughed, “why don't you go get us some drinks, the normal for me and I think Hermione should try the Salamander Stir.” Blaise nodded, flicked his wand at the violin which started playing on it's own and left.
“Salamander stir?” she asked with raised eyebrows.
“It's not as bad as it sounds I promise,” Draco said, “but seeing as they don't do butterbeer here I figured you wouldn't have a clue.”
“True,” Hermione agreed, “I can't believe you did this though.”
“I wanted to make it special, me and mum used to come here all the time, especially when my dad was acting like an arse. It is somewhere I can get away too....and the chef always gives me free pudding.” He winked at her and took her hand across the table, “I want it to be a special place for us to. Somewhere we can come were we can be in public without having to worry about who is going to find us or report us. Blaise is coming to work here full time when he leaves, running it and all that, his uncle is getting a bit old and is letting him take over, we will always have this place to be us.”
Hermione felt like she was melting on the spot and the touch of his hand on hers was sending and odd tingling feeling up and down her body. Draco brought her hand up to his lips and kissed it gently before he dropped it gently and motioned to the menus in the middle of the table. Hermione picked it up and quickly scanned her eyes over the page.
“Draco, this is so much more expensive than I thought, I can't eat here!”
“Of course you can,” he laughed, “I'm paying and I have plenty of money to spare.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive, pick the most expensive thing on there if you want.”
Hermione went back to reading and defiantly decided not to have the most expensive thing on there. Instead she chose a starter that sounded way too fancy but when Blaise came back in with the drinks he told her that it was fancy version of a prawn cocktail. Hermione didn't have a clue what Draco had ordered and when Blaise disappeared he motioned to the drink.
“Try it,” he said as he sipped at a large glass of red wine (Hermione guessed it was French seeing as she knew it was his favourite).
The drink Blaise had brought her was an orange colour and small flames lept out of the top. Hermione was a little uneasy.
“Won't it burn my mouth?”
“It's perfectly cool,” Draco said. Hermione wasn't too sure but lifted it to her lips anyway.
He was right it was cool but the sensation as it went down her throat was the strangest she had ever felt. And the taste...well she couldn't describe it, it wasn't a hot taste but it was, it wasn't sweet but it wasn't dry. She couldn't put her finger on it...but it tasted delicious. So delicious that she couldn't wait to try the rest of her meal.
The remainder of the date went by smoothly. After Hermione had her starter she had a pasta dish that tasted delicious and then they both shared a massive bowl of ice cream that she swore she could eat over. They spent the time laughing and talking, only letting go of each others hands when they had to eat but always with legs touching. Hermione felt so much more relaxed and happy than she had in a while. She had needed this. The lightness of it all.
She loved listening to Draco and his stories of holidays in France and Italy, of sneaking into the cellar to taste the wine while is father wasn't looking. She loved knowing about when he was younger Dobby used to come into his room and read him stories and that when he heard the elf had died he had actually cried.
He told her about how he had learned to horse ride and could shoot and how he used to watch the parties his family held from the stairs. Hermione joked the whole way through about how he was a typical rich boy.
He ended up asking her about her family. She told him about how her mother would take her to the library every week and they would pick out a book for each other that they would have to finish by the end of the week. She told him about how her father taught her the piano and she used to play for him on Sunday nights. She told him about her best friend at school and how they used to go out bike riding and have picnics.
They learnt so much about each other in that one night that Hermione felt closer to him than she ever had. She knew his fathers presence had been why he had acted the way he was but she loved the way he was now, maybe he had needed to go through that otherwise he wouldn't be who he was today.
Hermione really wanted to know about him during the previous year but she knew it would be too soon for him so she didn't even mention it. Instead they joked and laughed their whole way through the evening.
By the time it came for them to leave they had been in the restaurant for two hours and it was dark outside. Hermione knew that there were going to be reporters and the thought made her blood run cold. She didn't want to have them ruin and wonderful evening, Blaise wanted to help but there wasn't a back way out. She would just have to face them.
Draco placed the mask back on his face and his appearance changed instantly. He bent down and kissed Hermione gently.
“It will be fine, if not we can make a run for it,” he winked. Hermione giggled in reply and instantly felt better.
“Okay, let's go then.”
They stepped out of the curtained room and pushed the double doors open to leave. What they met with Hermione did not expect. It was as though every single reporter from every single magazine had turned up. The security guards couldn't keep them back as cameras started flashing and questions started being thrown. They were engulfed in a sea of people and the only thing Hermione could do was try not to cry.
They couldn't apperate because of the amount of people clinging onto them but Draco grabbed her hand an pulled her out of the crowd and started running. Hermione didn't know what else to do but follow. They ran out of the crowd and around the corner but they were being followed and they couldn't very well disappear down to Draco's flat or they would know. They were both too panicked to apperate. One of the reporters had tried to grab Draco's mask and he was halfway between wanting to go back and stun the guy and wanting to get Hermione safe.
But Hermione had one last idea and pulled Draco into a small Alley where she unlocked a door and slipped inside. They heard the reporters run by shouting and then they heard them leaving thinking they must have apperated.
Hermione breathed a sigh of relief and leant back against the wall. Her ankle throbbed a little, running in heels was something she was never doing again! Draco Ripped off his mask in anger.
“They tried to take it off!” he said holding it up to her, his silver grey eyes flashing with anger. “I have every mind to sue their arses!”
“And yet somehow I think that would defeat the point of secrecy,” Hermione giggled glad to be out of the whole situation. She crossed the room and laced her arms around Draco's waist. He kissed her on the head and then looked around.
“Where are we exactly....”
Hermione opened her mouth to answer but a light from a door on the other side of the room stopped her.
“Who are you and what are you doing in my shop?” George growled pointing his wand at them.
I hope you like the chapter, Read and Review ta xxxx
And here's a sneak peak of the next chapter
She got into the bed and snuggled in Draco's arms. This was where she was safe, this was where she belonged. With him. He kissed her gently, then he kissed her again and again with such passion that Hermione hadn't felt since Christmas night. She knew he liked to be careful with her, he didn't want to overstep the line but she kissed him back just as ferociously and let her hands run along the skin of his bare chest. Their legs entwined under the covers and Hermione couldn't help but be glad she had shaved her legs earlier in the day.
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