Chapter 2 : Muggle Studies
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We left the bar hand in hand (to keep up pretences) and ventured out into the wintry streets. I had to admit, the feel of something secure, be it something as simple as a warm hand, made me think twice about it being Malfoy. But then I thought for a fourth time. It was Malfoy and after remembering all of those years at Hogwarts, I was just about through with this charade. Even as we sat at the empty bus stop, he still wouldn’t let go and I was beginning to lose circulation in my fingers.
Wiggling my fingers (or trying to), I asked, “Do you want it back now?” I was referring to his wand, but I didn’t want to say the word aloud.
“In a bit,” he replied while watching the thick snow fall from the sky as we sat on the cold seats.
I looked down at our entwined fingers. “Why are you still holding my hand?”
Malfoy chuckled. “Being in control appeals to me,” he answered softly. I frowned. He couldn’t lie to me. I knew it was because they may still be watching us. Whoever had seen us leave, must have told the police to search the area for a brunette witch and a blonde wizard. Discretely, I peered across the street through the darkness at the few people walking the streets wondering about their identities.
I tried to yank my hand away but he held on tight and dragged me up as the bus came into view. Reaching into my pocket, I sourly gave him the correct amount of money and we boarded, stating our destination.
The bus trembled down the street noisily and at a very slow pace due to the black ice on the roads.
Sandwiched between the window and Malfoy - who was still holding onto me - I watched the others on the bus. There was only three people and I could not help but wonder if they were in the same position as us. Witches and wizards could be anywhere, as I had learnt years ago, but now, they were getting less and less noticeable. Years ago, you could spot an old wizard trying to blend in with muggles wearing a swimming costume over striped pyjamas. Nowadays, they had learnt the art so much so that everybody looked like muggles. It was amazing what fearing for your life can change about a person.
“It’s time to get off,” I whispered to Malfoy half an hour later and he temporarily let go of me to stand up and hold onto the bars as the bus moved. We jumped off and began the short walk to the old detached house I used to live in.
It looked the same as it had in my childhood except for the boarded-up windows and the chilling lack of human presence. The entire street was my life - particularly before Hogwarts - and it all flooded back to me as we approached the gate.
“How will we get in?” he asked me eagerly as we shivered in the cold.
“It’s all locked up. I doubt my key will work, they’re bound to have changed the locks.”
Malfoy took a good look at the place and amazingly found a window on the ground floor with easy access. He had removed the boards and we climbed into the kitchen. The marble worktops were cold beneath my fingertips as they fell against them. Closing the window behind us, we made our way upstairs.
The whole place was just as cold as outside, our hot breath hanging in the air.
On the landing, I said apprehensively, “I think it’s best if we stay in the same room.”
Malfoy nodded while rubbing his hands together.
There was nothing more to say.
I thought it would be good to choose my parents’ room, as it was the biggest, but changed my mind and chose my old room instead. It was smaller, therefore, there would be more heat and had a good view of the front of the house in case anyone came snooping. There was still pale carpet on the ground and pink wallpaper on the walls, but nothing else.
I sat in the corner and pulled out a jumper from my bag so that I could lay my head against it.
Malfoy sat opposite me and pulled off his jacket. I passed over his wand.
I was so tired, but the thrill of what I had just done kept me awake. It felt so weird being back in my childhood home without my parents and with Malfoy instead. All of the memories came back to me as if it were yesterday, keeping me awake still. I just hoped that they were living a good life in Australia and that they would not miss what they don’t know they had - me. I didn’t want them to miss the witch daughter they had raised, not in this world we lived in; it was better for us all this way.
“We’ll have to get jobs,” I said aloud suddenly.
“Pardon?” He heard me.
“Jobs,” I repeated. “We’ll have to live like muggles and get jobs as long as we stay here. The money will run out.”
I looked at him seriously. “We can’t stay here forever. We need jobs so that we can find somewhere else to live. And two sets of wages are better than one. Or none.”
“But -” He shifted uncomfortably beside the wall. “I don’t have any muggle qualifications.”
I sat up and laughed. “Trust me, a lot of muggles don’t have any qualifications.”
“We’ll just have to start at the bottom. Anything will do for now.”
He laid down and said, “Well, we better get looking tomorrow because we don’t have any food. And I doubt the money you have will last us any more than a few days.”
At the moment, I was funding everything with the last fifty pounds I owned. The rest of my money and his too was stashed in Gringotts vaults miles under the ground where the workers had fled.
“Will we -?” I began. Then I clamped my mouth shut.
Will we still pretend to be dating I was going to ask. He could have easily have pretended that we were siblings or even just friends, but he decided not to. Maybe he had panicked.
“What?” he repeated.
“Erm … will we stay in London?” I substituted. Oddly - and easily - we had become a ‘we’. Our plans to separate had dissolved once the reality of being in the real world hit us. It was scary being here and to be alone would be worse - it was just that neither of us had the confidence to say it aloud.
“Oh, well, I think so. Maybe not Central though. The one thing I do know is that staying close to your enemy is always best. They’ve got half of their police squad travelling north looking. So staying here must be the best option for now.” I gave him a brief smile and then he said, “I don’t know how to be a muggle. I never took the time to learn about them. I didn’t even take Muggle Studies at Hogwarts and it seems like that’s the only class that could help me now.”
The poor little thing looked embarrassed. I crawled by his side and whispered, “Well it’s a good job you have a muggleborn with you.”
Malfoy half-smiled in an embarrassed sort of way. “So you’ll help?”
“I’ll teach you all I know.”
Teaching Malfoy how to be a muggle was much harder than I expected. After a really uncomfortable four-hour sleep, we both awoke at five in the morning so that I could begin ‘Muggle Studies.’
I decided to begin with birth, christenings, then childcare, schooling, laws, religions, age restrictions, cigarettes, alcohol, British muggle foods and snacks, shopping, brands, driving, jobs and occupations, death, doctors, the government, politics and most importantly money. I took out one of each coin and note from my purse and did my best at teaching him about the pounds and the pennies and about paying bills. Then I had to teach him the history of our country, everything that seemed vague now, but contributed highly to how people acted today.
“How the hell do these people get by without magic?” he asked with his head in his hands. He had just finished weakly reciting everything I had just told him.
“Well, instead of apparition, you would walk or drive or take the train or a bus, or a plane -”
“They must have a lot of spare time.”
“Not really. And being without a wand is easy.”
“If you say so, Granger.”
“You lived without yours for six months. One of the next things we’ll have to do is to buy a cheap phone for us each. You know, to call each other? Ring ring.” He looked blankly at me. Then I had to explain all about technology and the internet as best I could. Once on that topic, I tried to tell him about things guys were into, like football and rugby, but once I got onto sport, I failed. I had no idea what the rules were for any of them. And he kept on comparing everything to Quidditch.
“Lets just hope that we are not in hiding forever,” I said, stretching and yawning. “And that you can go home and that I can find my friends.”
“I need a shower,” Malfoy said as he sniffed himself.
“Sorry, the water must have been cut off for months.”
“I can’t wait to find a place to live.”
I agreed. “One of the first things we do after getting a job. Maybe a small flat somewhere. Possibly a one bedroom apartment.”
“One bedroom?” he asked.
“Do use your brain. It’ll be cheap. I’ll have to buy a newspaper later to see what’s available.”
Malfoy nodded. “So let me get this straight. Owls don’t deliver to muggles?”
“That would be illegal. Animals have rights too.”
He looked shocked.
I could tell that it was going to take some time to get used to his constant questioning. Often, while I taught him, I would have strange flashbacks of all of those incidents when he called me mudblood, especially the first time in second year. I wondered if he was too, because occasionally I would see his face flicker or he would stare at me in such a way that it looked vaguely apologetic. He must have been sorry, I convinced myself. He wouldn’t be here, helping me and willing to live as a muggle if he wasn’t sorry. Then again, I could just be a means to an end. He could just be helping me to help himself …
I chose to see the best in him - if anything, being in hiding taught us all to be more forgiving.
After one small interview I called in for later that week, Malfoy had gotten a job at a solicitors firm as a personal assistant for the owner, Mr John Maxwell. Maxwell & Sons had the best legal aid in town apparently and it could not hurt if one of us had a job there. I had spent all day in a phone box calling up companies who had advertised job vacancies in the newspaper, taking turns between Draco and I for each advertisement. There was still no luck yet for me and I was actually quite jealous of him getting called in for a high profile job. Instead I was still looking. Me, the one of us who was almost a muggle and wouldn’t risk getting caught … We decided to keep our real names. Primarily because I was a registered citizen and if I was caught then they would have records of my muggle existence; Malfoy thought it would be easiest to simply keep his too (claiming his name is simply exotic) in case he slipped up trying to remember an alias.
The day before his interview, I had paid for a suit jacket, shirt and tie (from a decent charity shop) for him to wear with his own trousers and shoes and I even caught the train with him to the interview.
He sat silently for most of the journey, fiddling with the navy blue tie every once in a while and stared awkwardly at the people around.
“You’ll be fine,” I muttered. “If you remember what I told you, it will all go well.”
I had been drilling into his head all sorts of legal jargon, told him how to use a computer and clued him onto all of his ‘qualifications’ that I had put on the application form he had in a folder - people lied all the time when going for jobs anyway; plus, we were desperate.
Maxwell & Sons was a large modern building with a glass front on a street full of other lawyer businesses. I sat in the waiting room as he went inside and twenty excruciatingly worrisome minutes later, Malfoy emerged from the room smiling.
“I got it!” he exclaimed. “Only three people came for an interview and apparently I was the best.”
Screaming, I gave him a hug. I was so happy for him that I had to. We wouldn’t have to worry about money soon and that was the main problem we needed to overcome. And we did - together. To feel his warm body against my own gave me such a feeling, such a tingling thrill that I held on for much longer than I initially intended. Then I peeled myself away from him slowly. I forgot that we weren’t even friends. Yet somehow we seemed to fit together. “Sorry.”
He said nothing as we left.
One month after Draco had begun his new job - which he hated - and once he had gotten his first huge pay cheque, we decided to leave my house and move into a flat some streets away from Maxwell & Sons.
Our flat was tinier than I thought it would be, but I like I said, it was cheap. There was a tiny shower room by the front door and down the hall was an open kitchen and living room area and one small bedroom. In the first month, we just bought food and the flat lay unfurnished (besides the cheap appliances in the kitchen) and then as the months got on, we soon bought a few more changes of clothes, a single bed (which I slept in), blankets, pillows, towels, two soft chairs (one was Malfoy’s bed), a small table and a cheap mobile phone each. What started out as short term, seemed to get longer the more we stayed together and not because we intended it to. It just happened.
Christmas came that year and was surprisingly bearable. A week before, I had invested in a £5 table-top fibre optic Christmas tree, which I placed on the coffee table as soon as I got home from shopping.
“What is that?” Malfoy asked me while looking at it with contempt as he sat up in the chair. He had been lounging back reading a document for work still in his shirt, tie and trousers.
“It’s a Christmas -”
“I know what it is.”
“So why did you ask?”
“What’s the point in buying it? It’s tiny. Plus there’s nothing to put underneath it.” He went back to scribbling on a piece of paper while I tried to disguise my disappointment in him for lacking festivity. The place had been so boring recently, that I was simply trying to cheer the both of us up so that we didn’t fall into a slow depression.
I plugged the tree in and watched it begin to glow and glitter. Malfoy’s eyes travelled to it and my face as I smiled. He didn’t say anything, like I expected.
When Christmas morning came, he joined me for breakfast and, for once, stopped with working at the table. We ate in silence, literally not a word passing between us until dinner. I had been trying to find the right moment to talk to him, but it was still so awkward between us it was embarrassing although not surprising.
“Merry Christmas,” I told him as he sat opposite me eating the rest of the lacklustre turkey slices and potatoes I made.
He finished chewing and looked up at me. “Why are you wishing me a -?”
“Why do you always question what I do?” I retorted. “It’s called trying to be nice, sociable. We live together and we barely talk. The least I could do is wish you a happy Christmas.” I wiped my mouth on my napkin and took my glass of cheap sparkling wine to the living room beside us.
Minutes later, he joined me and muttered something close to “Merry Christmas.”
“Thank you,” I replied.
“It’s different not being with my family,” he said stiffly as we both stared at the bare wall opposite us and at the tree on the table.
I sipped my drink. “It is. That’s why I suggest we make the best of what we have for now.”
He nodded and I watched as he picked at his nails and bit his lip. The awkwardness was lingering again.
I took it upon myself to break the silence. “Did you buy me a present?”
He frowned at me, but I saw the corner of his mouth upturn into the beginnings of a smile. “I don’t think so, Granger. We barely have money for the bills.” He paused. “You didn’t get me one … did you?”
I pressed my lips together.
He sighed. “You did!” he said in shock.
I stared at him innocently.
“Granger … I didn’t get you anything … I didn’t know -”
I burst out laughing while he fretted over what I had told him. He laughed too as he lightly pushed my shoulder. “You didn’t buy me anything.” I shook my head. “You’re evil, Granger. I actually believed you!”
Chuckling, I asked, “Were you disappointed, Malfoy?”
“No,” he replied outright.
“I wasn’t,” he said like a stubborn child.
“Was!” I yelled and that went on for a while until we realised we were having fun chiding one another. There came a point when I thought we were friends - and then remembered that we shouldn’t be, it was practically against nature. We were polar opposites. He was a Slytherin in school and I was a Gryffindor. He was pureblood, I was muggleborn. He was an idiot and I wasn’t. But people say that opposites attract and that night as I slept, I hoped to God that those people weren’t right, because my heart was succumbing to him, even while I begged it not to.
Weeks later, I landed a job at a local restaurant, waitressing on the nightshift. This suited us fine seeing as our flat would rarely be empty at any given time. Malfoy worked from nine until five Monday to Friday and I worked from seven until midnight Tuesday to Thursday. Every evening, Malfoy would walked me to and from work, mostly because he was positive that I would give us up in some way if I was alone. As if.
Malfoy was getting used to living like a muggle, despite the hardships in the beginning. Even though he used the odd spell about the house (mostly to keep in practice), he was coping rather well assuming this new identity.
“I must say, I am proud of you,” I told him quietly as he walked me to work on a chilly February evening.
“For what?” he asked, puzzled. I slipped on the ice a little and he helped me to steady myself, his warm fingers holding my wrists. I blushed and he smirked back while setting me on my feet. He held his arm out to me and I took it without hesitation. Any excuse to touch him I would take. He was the closest thing I had to a friend recently, maybe more …
Recently, I had taken up watching him. At first, it was because I was suspicious that he would steal from me, take my things and abandon me, but then - somehow - I would watch him assemble furniture, then when he would change his clothes, when he got in and out of the shower … I was human, I was a young woman in the company of, dare I say it, an okay-looking man. Every so often I would remember that I shouldn’t stare, but most of the time I let myself. What was the harm in looking?
Thanking him, I continued while my body throbbed with elation as I pressed myself against him. He didn’t even move away, so I smiled timidly.
“You’ve done really well, living this way,” I congratulated.
“I like living with you,” my mouth slipped. I awaited eagerly for his reply, my eyes focused on his lips.
“Yeah,” he muttered.
I turned away from him and stared at the path ahead of us.
He never spoke to me much, but at least his acknowledgment of me was enough to keep me going. But on those cold winter nights when we were alone, what I wouldn’t have given for a long warm hug and a cuddle. We filled the time chatting about small things, like work and magic, but meaningful conversations were few and far between. Only once had he admitted that I wasn’t as bad as he thought even though I had told him on twice since Christmas how much I enjoyed being in his company. And I did. I had learned to like him, in a way. But only because he had stopped being pig-headed and rude like he was in school. I tried to tell him that, but he just couldn’t take a hint …
“You’ve changed a lot,” I said to him while I was in the steamy shower. He brushed his teeth on the outside and all I could hear was the warm water in my ears until he spoke..
He spat into the sink. “So?”
“So it’s good. I’m glad.” He said nothing. “I’m glad we can work to together and work things out between us.. To be completely honest, I don’t know how far I would have gotten without you.”
“You would have been fine, Granger. You’re muggleborn.” I appreciated that he used the correct term. “I would have been caught on day one without you.”
“Is that a thank you?” I asked lightly.
“I suppose so,” he said while turning off the tap.
I smiled as the water ran over me. “I really appreciate that, Malfoy … I’m happy that I’m not alone.”
“Sure. You couldn’t wait to lock me out last week.”
“That was an accident!”
And then we continued arguing, but I had tried, honest.
Malfoy walked me inside the restaurant and said goodbye and that he would be back at midnight.
“Evening,” a colleague of mine, Stacey, said cheerily.
“Evening,” I replied as I pulled on my uniform. It was my second month here, my eighth away from magic, and Stacey was my closest work friend.
“Your boyfriend drop you off again?” she asked smiling.
“Yes,” I forced myself to say. After all, he wasn’t really. No matter how much I wanted part of it to be true. I’d sometimes want to kick myself when my hormones took over. Especially with Malfoy. What would Harry and Ron say if they knew I had these thoughts in my head? They’d have me sectioned, I know it.
“He’s such a gentleman for dropping you off and picking you up every night,” she said as we walked into the dining area.
“Well, he doesn’t want me walking alone, that’s all.”
“True. Especially seeing as all of these magical people have been exposed.”
“Exactly,” I mumbled, not meeting her eye.
As the night went on, Stacey kept on pestering me about my relationship with Malfoy. I wished that we were more busy so that she would leave me alone, but eventually I ended up opening up to her. After all, I probably wouldn’t be here for long.
“When did you two meet?” she asked as we put away a few menus.
“At - at school. We went to the same boarding school.”
“So you’re childhood sweethearts? How cute!”
“No,” I said laughing. “We only … got together in the past few months.”
“Wow, it’s like fate brought you together or something…”
“I hadn’t thought about it that way.” And I hadn’t. Were we supposed to have this adventure together? It can’t have happened by chance. Were my feelings meant to grow so rapidly? “But yes, I suppose something sort of pushed Malfoy and I together.”
“Malfoy is a weird name,” she mused.
“It’s French,” I automatically replied.
“Do you always call him by his last name?” I knew she found it odd when we first met.
“Yes … it’s just a habit of ours. He still calls me Granger.”
“Right.” She pushed her short black hair behind her ear. “Draco is a funny name too.”
“He’s named after a constellation of stars and -” I slammed my mouth shut. How the hell did I know that? Wow, I must really like him. And why was she questioning his name so much?
“Oh, how cute,” she said smiling. “I wish my boyfriend was like him and walked me to work. At least you know he cares. I’d give anything for a little affection.”
“Me too …” I said airily. I went to collect some glasses, hand out a few drinks and returned to Stacey.
“You watch, he’ll pop the question soon, Hermione.”
My ears turned red. “What question?” Our other colleagues were beginning to stare as I attempted to walk away from her, only for her to follow me.
“The question. It’s obvious. You’ve known him for years, next you meet up again and he asks you out and now you’ve moved in together. It only makes sense.”
“Trust me, that’s not going to happen.”
“It does in all of the romantic novels I read.”
“This is not a romantic novel.”
“So it’s complicated?” Stacey guessed.
“Very.” I sighed. “He’s only dating me because it’s convenient.” Convenient for our cover story.
“Oh honey …” She patted my back. I thought she was going to say something consoling, but then she whispered, “Have you two … you know …?”
“Have we what?” I asked angrily. I knew what she meant though. How dare she?!
“You know … ‘laid together?’ As they used to say in centuries gone by.”
“I don’t think that’s any of your business.”
“No then?” She sighed understandingly. “Maybe he doesn’t think you two are serious.”
“Trust me, I’ve got that covered.” Of course we weren’t serious! Last week, we were almost at each other’s throat when deciding what to order for a takeaway. I wanted Chinese, he wanted pizza. Plus, he would barely look at me most days …
Stacey announced that we were taking our ten minute break and we went into the back room to chat.
“Talk to me,” Stacy said and this time she looked as though she really wanted to help me. “Start from the beginning.”
“Well, in school I used to hate him. He hated me. He bullied me.”
“Called me all sorts of names. You see, his family looked down on me because … well, just because. A-and when school finished I thought I was in a relationship with one of my best friends, but he went away. I haven’t seen him in nearly a year. Then Draco Malfoy happened to be staying in the same hotel as me and … and then we left together …”
I had modified my story a little, but the basic elements were true.
And what was my problem? “I really like him,” I finally admitted. “My friends would disown me if they found out about us living together, but I can’t help my feelings even when I try hard to ignore them. I only realised a few weeks ago and I’m positive that he doesn’t feel the same way that I do. I mean, why would he? It feels like pity.”
Stacey put her arm around me. “You’re gorgeous, Hermione. And you’re such a lovely person. If he doesn’t see that -”
“How do you know?”
“I just do. He barely speaks to me. We walk around like zombies in our flat, sometimes in silence. It gets awkward, but I can feel the tension.” Cheeks growing redder, I picked at my fingernails.
“Well, he asked you out, didn’t he?”
“I’m not sure he meant it,” I replied. We were pretending. It was as simple as that. And all of these surging feelings that I had all of a sudden developed for him scarred my insides. It hurt me so much knowing that all of this was an act. His hand on mine was the most exhilarating feeling. I couldn’t even enjoy the kiss he had given me weeks ago because I had been so shocked. I wished that somehow he would be forced into doing it again, but there was never an opportunity. I felt like I needed to kiss him one more time, to see whether I was losing it or not. Maybe I didn’t have real feelings for him and it was just a crush seeing as he was the only male I have been around for months.
“When was the last time he took you out somewhere nice?” she asked.
Shaking my head, I whispered, “He’s never taken me out.”
Stacey had a look of utter disgust on her face. “He’s never -? Not even -? What kind of a boyfriend is he? How did he ask you to be his girlfriend?” she asked urgently as if her life was depending on it.
“Erm, in a bar during a stop and search.” That was basically when the whole thing began.
“That’s horrible,” she admitted. “You should have turned him down.” Shaking her head, she took my hands in her own. “Hermione, I think you should take him out. Show him what he’s missing.”
“I couldn’t -”
“You should.” She grinned. “You don’t want to lose him, do you?”
“No … I don’t,” I said in a faraway voice. The realisation of this fact was as evident as an elephant in the room. Loneliness was kind of a scary prospect to me in a world where I was being hunted for being alive. I needed company and it so happened that I was simply used to his.
Stacey and I got back to work serving the most ungrateful people known to mankind. I received absolutely no tips tonight so I hung up my apron with a sad face and stood out on the cold street waiting for Malfoy.
Stacey walked up to me and said, “Waiting for my taxi.” She hugged herself in her thick green jacket. “Here he is.”
Coming down the street with his head low and his hands in his pockets, Malfoy strode towards us with his usual cool demeanour. He looked great as he always did, tall, strong, and I felt proud and so happy to say that he was mine in some way.
“Hi,” I whispered.
He nodded and held out his hand. Instantly, my cold palm met his warm one and he shoved our fingers into his jacket pocket. The heat of his body made me smile. It was the little things like this that he did that made me wonder whether he liked me too. The hand-holding, the walking me to work thing, the text messages asking me if I am safe, the checking on me in bed, concern for me … all signs of affection, were they not?
“Not gonna say hello?” Stacey asked him rudely.
“Who are you?” he shot back viciously.
She did not seem fazed by his attitude. I had warned her. “Stacey Cunningham. Hermione’s friend.”
I could tell that she was getting angry, “Stacey, don’t -”
Don’t let him find out that I like him.
“No Hermione,” she said as she stepped forward. “Listen, Malfoy, Hermione’s been upset all evening because of you.” Malfoy took a glance at me and his fingers loosened over my own. “She’s sick of you ignoring her and wants to know that you care about her. She’s your girlfriend. Let her know that you want her.”
I couldn’t breathe. The shame was pouring all over me.
“I didn’t know,” he said, lips barely moving. And I couldn’t quite figure out what the tone of his voice meant. Was it sympathy, humour, spite?
Dragging my hand from his, I stepped away from the pair of them. “Thanks a lot, Stacey,” I whispered, upset. I had never been more humiliated in my life. When we got back home, I could imagine things getting even more frosty between us than usual and living together would officially become hell.
The dark streets were empty ahead of me as I walked away, my pace getting faster the further away from them I got. From the looks of things, they were still talking and all I wanted was to get home and to sleep the night off.
A strong hand gripped my wrist and twisted it. I screamed. A glint of metal and then a knife was at my throat.
“Give me all of your money,” a gruff voice spat at me from behind.
“I don’t have any,” I whispered, teeth chattering and heart thumping to near explosion. “I swear. AHHH!” It felt like my wrist was going to break. If only I could get to my wand …
“You swear?” the stranger said. “That’s what they all say.” He dragged my hair and pushed me against a brick wall and I screamed as he did so. He had pulled out clumps of my hair and my head spun. “Your bag,” he ordered.
My breathing was short and shallow, each one hoping it was not the last.
Cold air rattling inside of me, I stayed still as he pressed himself against me. “Your bag,” he repeated. He absolutely stunk of urine and alcohol and I tried to hold my breathe, but I was so scared.
“DRACO!” I screamed. “HELP ME! DRACO! PLEASE! SOMEONE! HELP -” The man punched me around my face and I fell onto the ground. He could have stabbed me and for that I was grateful. He was at my side in the next second trying to wrench my bag away from me. I clung onto it tight.
“No!” I fought back with tears in my eyes, but he kicked me down and took it anyway.
Before he could take a look through it, I heard footsteps and the next thing I knew, the stranger was sprawled on the ground with blood dripping from his teeth. Draco had kicked him in his mouth and took my bag back. He threw it at me and I missed, but I dragged it from the ground and pulled it onto my shoulder.
Draco took my hand. “We better go before he -”
The man rolled over and grabbed my leg. Then my head smashed against the ground.
I’m guessing that Draco - I mean, Malfoy had carried me back to our flat. I was lying on the bed in the bedroom alone with my arm bandaged up. My head hurt a lot and it swayed as I sat up.
Throat dry, I stood up to make my way to the kitchen for a glass of water.
I hit the wall as my head circled around again, my vision blurring for a moment.
“Hey, you should be resting.” Malfoy came from the living room and lifted me up, putting me back in the small bed. He was being increasingly nice all of a sudden and I had to say, I was pleased.
After bringing me some water, he asked, “Are you feeling alright?” His fingers caressed the side of my cheek and hovered lightly over my facial wounds.
When he finally stopped teasing me, I drank a few gulps of water. “I just need to change.” I usually slept in this bed while Malfoy slept in the living room and I pushed my hands underneath the pillow to find my pyjamas - an oversized T-shirt.
Malfoy took it from my hand.
“What are you doing?” I said, head still spinning. I closed my eyes and rubbed my forehead.
He lifted my arms up, his silky fingertips running along the underside of each arm. Goosebumps followed - the good type. Every hair on my body stood on end. He started to take off my clothes. Total shock came over me and that was bad. I could never appreciate anything when I was shocked and a moment like this should not be ruined. My jumper came off quickly and then he laid me down and pulled off my trousers. Then off came my socks. And he did this mostly staring straight into my brown eyes. I had wanted to turn away from him. My head was pounding but I still found the energy to keep my eyes open and fixed on his smouldering grey ones as he stripped me down to near-nakedness. Hugging me close, he unhooked my bra and put it aside. My first thought was to cover myself, but I fought this urge immediately and let his eyes wonder. This was it, I thought. He was going to kiss me. He was going to take me away, put me under his spell, pull me deeper into this fantasy.
He did nothing for a while but stare at me. And even I was dying from the anticipation. I wanted him so badly in this moment, more than ever before, and from that yearning look in his eye, I could tell he felt the same.
All that was in my head was the thought of making love to him however crazy that sounded.
The touch of his cold hand on my shoulder made me close my eyes and sigh. Just his skin on my own made me drunk with happiness.
And then all of a sudden, my heart quivered sadly. Malfoy pulled the oversized shirt over my head and slipped my arms into the allotted gaps.
“But …” I whispered. My lips lacked any more words. They also lacked his kisses.
Malfoy tucked me into the bed and pulled the sheets right up to my neck as if seeing any more of my body offended him in some way.
“Goodnight,” he said as he turned off the light and left the room.
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