A/N: I really hope you all enjoy this chapter because it might be the last for a while ): School starts Wednesday and I'm going to be super busy then, ahh! The song in this chapter is "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton. It's one of my favorites, you should definitely check it out! Thank you once again to all my faithful readers and reviewers who've encouraged me so much!
I fiddled with a lock of my hair once again. To tuck in or not to tuck in. And was my lipstick too sheer a color of nude? Nude lipstick had always made me feel like some kind of middle aged woman trying to be chic. But the lady doing my makeup had assured me that it looked ‘splendid.’ And the dress... it was gorgeous but I was having second thoughts on how tight it was at the top. Oh God, was my stomach showing?
“Daphne!” I called out in panic. Here I was, one hour before Draco and my engagement party, my mind a complete wreck. Forget how I looked, what if people saw straight through our fake courtship act or worse, what if someone figured out I was pregnant? I was ruined. Fuck.
I heard steps coming up the stairs, “Daph, does this -” I was cut off by a different smiling face.
“Daddy?” I asked, turning around to face him. My father gave me a smile, the first in a week.
“Sorry, pet, everyone else is busy. Did you want something?” my father asked, walking over to where I was at the mirror.
I turned back around to face the mirror as my father came up behind me. My hair had been delicately curled with some strands pinned up at the crown of my head. There were little rhinestone pins scattered throughout. Still, this one random strand was bugging the crap out of me...
I shook my head at my father and let out a small sigh. “You look wonderful, princess,” my father said gently, putting a reassuring hand on my shoulder. I realized I hadn’t actually spoken to my father since the day I had found out I was pregnant, and here I was, about to be engaged.
“Thanks Daddy,” I whispered, a single tear rolling down my cheek. I repeat, bloody goddamn hormones.
“Don’t cry,” he said, turning me around to look him in the eye.
I tore my gaze away, looking down at the floor. Even though Daphne was the perfect one, I was the one my father was closer to. Whenever I had gotten in trouble in the past, it was my father who dismissed my antics with a mischievous grin. He had always been my protector.
“I’m sorry, Daddy,” I said softly as more hot tears fell down my cheeks, “I’m sorry I disappointed you and let you down. I never wanted any of this, I didn’t expect it....”
“Shh,” he quieted me, wrapping his arms around me to pull him close. I buried my head in his chest. I was a little girl again, crying over a broken doll. I was a little girl again, silently begging for my father to fight away the demons that lurked in my closet. I was a little girl again, praying for my father to tell me that it was all going to be okay. “Astoria, it’s okay. I’m not mad at you, just a little disappointed, that’s all. You were always the smart one, you always knew how to get yourself out of bad situations. I guess I never expected something like this to happen to you. You’ve always been my little girl, I can’t even get my head around the idea that you’re going to be a Mum yourself.” He stroked my hair softly, and all I could do was cry harder.
“Neither can I,” I shook my head in his chest, “It’s all so scary and intimidating. Dad... what if I’m a terrible Mum? What if my baby hates me or I mess up and they take my baby away?” It came out, finally.
“Astoria,” he said firmly, pushing me off his chest so I looked him straight in the eyes, “No one becomes a Mum knowing exactly what to do. But when the baby comes, you’ll know.”
I shook my head, “I can barely take care of myself. Half the time I can’t even keep track of myself, forget a small little fragile baby.”
“It’ll click, I promise,” he reassured me, “And darling, you’re not alone. You have your Mum, Daph, me, and of course the baby’s father.”
My stomach lurched at the last part. Oh yes, the baby’s father. I didn’t reply but simply nodded my head.
“Astoria, you love that boy,” my father said plainly. I looked at him, my eyes wide in shock. How did he know? He chuckled lightly. “You’re my little girl, I can figure out a thing or two about you. I know how jealous you used to get as a child when he would play with Daphne and not you, and how you would throw a tantrum to get attention. And I saw how this last week, you were willing to sit in front of his parents and take the blame for this baby, all in order to protect him.” I just nodded my head, slightly flaberghast. “You look like a princess. My princess. Now you’re going to be his princess.” I smiled at his horrible cliche.
“I love you, Daddy,” I said, hugging him again.
“I love you too, Tori, I love you too,” he said, holding me tightly.
The party had already started by the time I had composed myself and made my way down. The large, dome shaped ballroom was filled with witches and wizards dressed in their freshly pressed, shiny attire. This was the ‘best of the best’ of pureblood society, I had been told by my mother time and again.
I scanned the room, looking for a familiar face. I frowned, unable to find any. Great, here was ‘my’ engagement party, where I knew a grand total of 0 people apart from my family. This would happen to me.
“Looking for someone?” I heard a deep voice behind me. My breath hitched as I turned to see Draco, wearing a dark gray suit with a burgundy vest to match mine. He had shaved and cleaned up, and he looked goddamn irresistible. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I had to do, resist.
He took a few steps to where I was and took my hand, bringing it up to his lips, “You look stunning,” he said, looking me straight in the eye. I swooned. Why didn’t all men have impeccable manners like this? It’s all an act, a small voice in the back of my head nagged. Right. An act. People were watching us, of course, scrutinizing our every action. We were actors and this ballroom was our stage.
“Thanks,” I replied. And for once, I felt it. I didn’t care if it was an act or not, the way he looked at me made me feel beautiful.
He held out his arm and I linked mine into his. I marveled at how easily this acting thing was going for the both of us. “Just smile and make small talk with everyone we meet, alright?” he whispered in my ear. I smiled demurely, as if we flirting instead of discussing our battle plan for the night.
And so we passed from person to person, smiling and pretending to care about how their work was going, how their children were, etc. All the different names and faces blurred together in my mind and I had simply stopped trying to remember everyone and resorted to a simple, “Pleasure to meet you.”
“Not bad, not bad at all,” Draco whispered in my ear as we made our way to the next group of people to talk to. I smiled at the compliment, “Although I must slip out for a moment. I’ll be right back,” he said suddenly, removing his arm from mind and slipping out of view.
“Left you already, has he?” I heard a nasally voice say from behind me. I turned around to see Pansy, dressed in a pale pink that made her look like an overgrown child.
I smiled but didn’t respond with the same bitchiness. “Nice to see you again, Pansy.” I smiled back at her. I was the soon to be Lady Malfoy, after all. I would not let this petty women affect me.
“What, did he pay you to marry him?” she sneered.
“No, but is that what you did to make him stay with you so long?” I asked, my tone light and nonchalant.
She narrowed her eyes at me. “Draco has secrets,” she said finally, “More than your pretty little head can handle. And when you find them out, you’re going to wish you had never been involved with the Malfoys,” she warned.
I laughed. “Right. When that happens, I’ll be sure to let you know,” I replied sarcastically. It was funny, really, how she was still working to ruin his life.
“Pansy,” I heard Draco say from behind me, placing his on the small of my back firmly.
She gave him a fake-smile back, full of disgust and contempt for us both. She was indeed good entertainment.
“Astoria, there’s some more people I would like you to meet,” Draco said smoothly, guiding me away from the horrible black haired witch.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the cropped blonde hair of my best friend. “Draco, would you mind if we made a small detour?” I asked, looking at him with a look that I hoped others would read as ‘hopelessly in love.’
“No, of course not,” he replied, placing his hand in the small of my back as we walked towards where Chay was chatting with a tall, dark haired bloke. Always on the prowl, she was.
“Tori!” she greeted me, raising her eyebrows with a look that only I could see was ‘you look so gorgeous you lucky ho’
“Hi!” I replied excitedly, returning her look with a ‘don’t start anything now, I have loads to tell you later’
“Hello, Draco,” she greeted, giving him a quick once over. Mine! I wanted to growl at her. But I knew she was only kidding and she only eyed him to get at me. But still, he was kind of sort of mine now.
“Chaylise,” he replied, nodding his head slightly in his direction. His hand was still around my waist, somewhat protectively. It was all an act, I repeated in my head.
We spoke for a few more minutes until Draco and I were called away by Narcissa to meet someone else. This witch was tall, with dark auburn colored hair that shone in the light. She wore a short emerald colored dress.
“Draco, Melanie came all the way from Paris just to attend the party tonight.” Narcissa asked her son pointedly. Melanie? What a bitch name. I decided I didn’t like her one bit. Draco nodded and shook her hand.
“Good to see you again, Melanie,” he greeted her, giving her one of his trademark smiles.
“Same to you, Draco,” she greeted him warmly, “Melanie,” she repeated, shaking my hand as well. I gave her another one of my fake smiles. I held the power here, after-all, I would not let this little witch get to me.
After another excruciating couple of minutes, we bid farewell to Melanie and Draco pulled me aside into a darkened corner of the room. Just playing the part, I reminded myself.
“Sorry about that,” he said softly, giving me an apologetic smile.
“For what?” I asked, raising my eyebrows.
“For that immensely awkward conversation. Melanie is quite a.... character.”
“Right. Care to fill me in?”
“We... well it was more her, a one sided thing, we sort of had a fling. But it was short. But I guess she’s still a little bitter about it,” he shrugged.
“It’s fine,” I shook my head. Of course, I had no claim over him except for this baby, “She’s quite beautiful.” I noted, glancing back to where she was flirting with another poor bloke.
He shrugged, “Sorry,” he repeated. I shrugged and we stood in silence for a minute before he took my hand and back out into the main room. There were couples filling the dance floor. A new song filled the room. “May I have this dance?” Draco asked, his eyes twinkling slightly. All an act, all an act I chanted to myself.
“Of course,” I replied as he led me onto the floor. I smiled when I recognized the song, Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. “This is one of my favorites,” I mused as Draco wrapped his arms around me and I wrapped mine around his neck. I felt so small in his larger frame, but it didn’t feel wrong. It was... surprisingly comfortable.
“Mine too,” he nodded in agreement. I smiled as I heard the words of the song. In my imaginary world where I happened to spend most of my time, this relationship wasn’t pretend, the words actually meant something. "We go to a party and everyone turns to see, this beautiful lady that's walking around with me. And the wonder of it all Is that you just don't realize how much I love you. "
The words were gentle and soft and loving. I wanted them to be true so much my heart ached. I rested my head against Draco’s chest, breathing the scent of him in deeply. People were watching us, after all.
“Astoria,” he whispered my name softly. I lifted my head up off his chest to look at him. He leaned his face closer to mine, and before I knew it, his warm lips were pressed against mine. I kissed him back, softly. Oh God, I wanted this to be true so badly, I wanted Draco to want to kiss me, I wanted him to want me. I wanted him to want me, not fill some familial obligation he had. As we kissed, the lines between real and acting were blurring and I could no longer control my raging emotions or the fact that I was madly in love with this man.
“What’s wrong?” he asked as we broke away. I hadn’t realized tears had slipped from my eyes.
“Nothing,” I replied flatly, breaking away from him as the song ended. “Excuse me,” I mumbled as more tears stung my eyes. I discretely left the room and found myself in a secluded section of the lobby. I sat down, my shoulders slumping.
It was all an act. He didn’t like me, I repeated to myself. As much as I wanted to believe it, he didn’t want me. I brought my knees up to my chin and hugged myself, crying silently. This was not beautiful. I did not feel beautiful nor was I “wonderful” as the song claimed. I was just a lonely, lonely girl, alone and pregnant.
“Please don’t cry,” I heard Draco’s voice say as he sat down next to me. I didn’t reply and made no effort to stop crying. “I’m didn’t mean to put you in this situation,” he said.
“What situation? You don’t even know why I’m crying,” I snapped back. I was tired of acting and tired of this facade.
“No,” he shook his head, “But we have to make this work, Tori. I can’t throw another failure back at my parents.”
“Is this all this is for you? Am I just little doll to make your parents happy?” I snapped back angrily.
He shook his head, “No... the baby....”
I snorted. “Yeah, right, you love this baby, I forgot. You don’t give an rat’s arse about me. As long as you get your little Draco Jr. all safe and soundly delivered to your door in 7 months, you don’t give a shit about me, or how all this is affecting me.” Okay, maybe this was going a bit far. I blamed the hormones.
“Not with an attitude like that, I don’t. Besides, you think you know me. At all?” he shot back.
“Yes, well of course I don’t know you! Every time I try to get to know you or have some kind of relationship with you, you’re just cold and distant. What the hell am I supposed to do?”
“First of all, don’t just go off and assume I want a relationship with you, okay? In case you don’t remember, we didn’t really put much thought into this whole damn thing. Secondly, yes, I’ll say it, I do just care about the baby. Are you happy now?”
“Really?” I raised my eyebrows, “Because right now all you seem to care about is your fucking self. I hope our baby turns out nothing like you, you fucked up git!” With that, I got up and apparated home, tears streaming down my face at such a rate I couldn’t even see. Fuck him. Fuck the fact that I thought I’d loved him. And screw these bloody hormones!
A/N: Oh no! Teehee, I'm evil. This chapter was perhaps my favorite to write and I hoped you all had as much fun reading it as I did writing it! As always, please review because I love hearing what you all have to say! Thank you for reading!