A/N: Hello again! I just wanted to say really quickly that I'm so so so thankful to everyone who's stuck with this story. Your feedback and encouragement means so much to me! Finally, it's the wedding chapter, yay! I hope you enjoy!
And so the two weeks before the wedding rushed by with decorations, planning, and acting. My mother had absolutely lost it. Every time she spoke to me it was “Tor, did we plan this?” or “We did this already, didn’t we?” And most of the time, I had no idea. Actually, come to think of it, my whole family had lost it. Daphne switched between freaking out over the wedding and freaking out over my health. Seriously, all I did was sit at my apartment all day and read baby magazines and bum around. And my father just watched it all amusedly and sometimes gave my mother a suggestion that drove her up the wall and caused lots of drama. Yep, my family had gone pretty crazy.
I was numbly going through every day, trying my best to be strong and not let Draco affect me. This was remarkably hard, seeing as we lived in the same house and saw each other often. He kept trying to speak to me but I wouldn’t have it. Why should I? All it would do was open myself to more hurt and pain and lies. I wasn’t going to do that to myself. I had somehow forced myself to accept the fact that I was going to live a loveless life. I would devote all my time and energy to raising my son properly; raising him to be a good and honest man.
Still, it hurt deep inside when we accidentally made eye contact, or while setting up for dinner, his hand brushed mine, or during occasional inquiries he made about my health. It hurt, but I had to deal with it. I was trying to numb it. I would rather feel nothing than feel intense happiness and intense pain. I was neutral.
The days passed until it was my wedding day. My mum had insisted that I spend the night at home (my real home, not the apartment I shared with Draco) which was perfectly fine with me. We (Daph, Chay, Andre and I) had a massive sleepover type-thing on the floor of my bedroom that night. They fervently avoided the topic of Draco, which was insanely difficult since I was marrying him the next day. But then again, Chay was the queen of changing the topic to something completely irrelevant. They tried to make me laugh but it was a lost cause. But I could feel their love for me even if Draco didn’t love me.
My mother woke me up promptly at 8 the morning of the big day. Why I needed to wake up so early was beyond me, but I wasn’t about to argue. My Mum’s tolerance was not something I wanted to test today. I was forced into the shower, still half asleep, by Daphne, who told me to “clean up well.” Seriously, you’d think that I was capable of showering without specific instructions by now, but nope...
When I came out of the shower, I heard my mother screaming frantically downstairs. “Are Katrina and Aubrey here yet?” she yelled at Daphne. Trust my cousins who happened to be my other two bridesmaids to be late. They were supposed to be here at 9 to get ready with me, Daph, and Chay.
I couldn’t help but giggle at my mother’s hysterics. Andre walked in while I was toweling off my hair. “What’s so funny?” he asked.
“My mum. You’d think I’d be the one freaking out on my wedding day but instead Daph and Mum are running around like madwomen,” I shrugged.
“You alright though?” he asked.
I gave him a half smile. “I’m fine. I’ll survive,” I assured him.
“Surviving isn’t good enough, Tor, I need you to be happy,” he sighed.
I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, “I have my son to keep me happy,” I assured him.
“Torriiiii!” I heard two high-pitched female voices exclaim. My overly-eager cousins, of course.
“Kat! Aubs!” I exclaimed, opening my arms as they practically bulldozed me. Katrina and Aubrey were twins but looked nothing alike. Or rather, they differentiated themselves as much as possible. While Katrina had long, flowing blonde hair down to her waist, petite features, and always looked like a French model, Aubrey had shoulder length curly hair, bold, gorgeous features, and threw on the first thing she found in her closet. They were both, however, extremely lovable and sweet. (You know, the opposite of me)
“I can’ttttt beleiveeeee you’re getting married!” Katrina screeched in my ear. Aubrey nodded in agreement.
“I know. Thanks for coming and being my bridesmaids guys! It means a lot!” I gushed. Even though the wedding itself did not interest me in the least, I loved having my family close. Even if that family was determined to blow my ears out.
“We wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Aubrey nodded, her face glowing. Why the hell do I have such a freaking attractive family? I was probably the only woman who looked like a troll on her wedding day compared to her family.
“Kattt! Aubss!” Daph exclaimed when she entered. Queue a repeat of the huggling-squeeling-phenomenon that just passed with me.
“Girls!” my mother exclaimed as she burst into my room. She quickly kissed Katrina and Aubrey and paused at me, “Oh, Tor,” she gushed, pulling me into a hug, “I can’t believe it’s finally the day!”
“Mummmmm no need to get all mushy again,” I laughed, trying to lighten the mood. Seriously, I thought I was a drama queen but compared to my family I was apathetic.
“I know baby,” she smiled, “Anyways, girls, the makeup and hair ladies are here, so if you would all calm down and sit in one place, we can get you all ready, alright? Ohh, you girls are going to be so beautiful!” she gushed again, proceeding to kiss us all again on the cheeks. Oh, mother.
For the next two hours, my hair was straightened then curled then pinned into an intricate bun, with a few strands loose around my face, and liberally hair-sprayed. Then I had about 5 different types of foundation layered on, followed by 4 different shades of eyeshadow, 2 blushes (to add ‘dimension’ I was told), and finally, a gorgeous pinkish lipstick.
I wasn’t allowed to see myself in the mirror until after I was all zipped up in my dress. When I did see myself, however, I couldn’t believe the image of the woman before me. She had gorgeous chestnut hair pulled up in an elegant updo, with makeup that accentuated her features perfectly. She didn’t look overdone in the least but instead seemed to emit a glow. The dress fit her as if it was cut on her body. It didn’t look over the top in the least. The top was strapless, with floral embroidery running diagonally all the way down to the dropped waist. There were alternating light strips of silver with the white, giving the dress a shimmery quality. The dress then fell down in waves all the way down to her feet. Was that me? Plain old Astoria?
“Oh Tor, you’re the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen,” my sister gushed, hugging my shoulders. Her eyes shone with tears.
“Don’t cry, Daph! You’ll ruin your makeup!” I scolded.
“I can’t believe my baby sister is getting married,” she smiled, gently drying her eyes.
“Seriously, Tor, you look hot,” I heard Chay say from her chair where she was still getting made-up.
I smirked. “Thanks.” I looked back at the mirror, scrutinizing myself like I always did. But today, I looked nothing like myself. I looked like an elegant woman, not a screw-up who was entering the worst marriage ever and pregnant.
It did hurt, though, deep inside. I wish that I had the fairy-tale wedding everyone thought I was having. I wish I really was marrying the man of my dreams, and I wished so much that he loved me back. I wanted all of this to be true. I wanted to look beautiful but I wanted to look beautiful for him. I wanted him to feel like the luckiest man on earth because he was marrying the woman he loved. But instead, I was in this shit of a situation. Loveless. Emotionless.
I hadn’t realized that tears had slipped out of my eyes until I felt Daph’s gentle hands wipe them away. “I’m so sorry, Tor,” she whispered in my ear so my cousins would not hear, “It’ll all work out one day, I promise you.” she squeezed my hand gently.
I nodded even though I did not believe it. I couldn’t see how things would ever work out. I would be stuck in this forever. I would be acting for the rest of my life.
“Ready, sweetheart?” my father asked me as we were about to walk down the aisle. The cathedral was full of dress-robe clad witches and wizards, all excitedly awaiting my arrival. It was a little dizzying to think about, really. I had been too preoccupied by the pregnancy deal to think about all the ways this could go wrong, and trust me, there were many. The main one involved me face down on the aisle. Whoever had decided to put me in 6 inch heels was an idiot. I was going to die.
I gave my father a half smile. “You look dashing, Daddy,” I smiled at him, giving him a quick hug.
“You look so stunning, I don’t even know what to say, pet,” he replied, looking down at me with tears in his eyes. Seriously, I was the pregnant hormonal witch here.
“I love you, Daddy,” I said as he held out his arm for me to wrap my arm around. He smiled at me in response as the door opened and the wedding music began.
At the end of the aisle were some of the most gorgeous witches I had ever seen. Daphne, her eyes shimmering with happiness, Chay, looking at me knowingly, her blonde hair sleeked back for the occasion, my cousins, glimmering with excitement. Their bridesmaids dresses were a pale blue that looked equally stunning on each of them. And then, beside them, Draco. He was in black dress robes, with gray accents. His hair was shorter than before and styled. His gray eyes were serious and looked at me with something I couldn’t place. I couldn’t help but admire how perfect he looked standing their, awaiting my arrival. I allowed myself a few moments to admire the perfection that was him, the perfection that I would never again allow myself to love.
I walked slowly, deliberately down the aisle, seeing that for once, all eyes were on me. His eyes were on me, watching my every move. I heard a few “ooohs” and “isn’t she beautifuls” from the crowd. I couldn’t help but smile. I did feel wonderful and gorgeous and everything they were saying.
We finally reached the alter, and with a kiss on the hand, my father placed my hand in Draco’s. “You’re so incredibly beautiful, Tor,” Draco whispered as he took my hand. I smiled, partly because people were watching and partly because he still had a hold on me. As much as I didn’t want it to affect me, his compliment filled my insides with a kind of warmth.
I wasn’t paying attention to what the minister was saying. I was simply staring, letting myself be lost in Draco’s unfaltering gaze. For once, I let myself be deluded into the terrible fantasy make-believe we were playing. I let myself play the part of the young woman madly in love who was marrying the man of her dreams. He held my gaze, but I could not read the expression. He was looking at me so intensely, unlike anything I had seen before. I had done everything I could in the last 2 weeks to avoid him, and here I was, falling into his web again.
“Do you, Draco Lucius Malfoy take Astoria Christine Greengrass to be your wife?”
“I do,” Draco nodded, looking at me.
“Do you, Astoria Christine Greengrass take Draco Lucius Malfoy to be your husband?”
“I do,” I said.
“You may kiss the bride.”
Draco leaned into me, his lips tender, their movement different from anything I had experienced before. I briefly wrapped my arms around his neck, deepening the kiss. He held me tenderly, gently, but I soon pulled away. I broke out into a smile, beaming like the happy bride I was supposed to be. Draco took my hand in his as everyone broke out into cheers and he led me into the waiting carriage to take us to our reception.
Once we were alone in the carriage, I pulled my hand away. “Astoria...” Draco’s voice sounded tired.
“It’s pretend, Draco,” I said harshly, waving demurely to the guests as our carriage departed.
“I said I’m sorry,” he tried again, putting his hand on my chin and turning me to face him.
“Sorry’s not enough,” I bit my lip. I could feel the tears welling up, the tears I had practiced so long to stop.
“Please.... I screwed up... give me another chance.....Tor...” he was practically begging now. I shook my head and turned away again. He kissed my hand before sighing and giving up. I refused to be victim to his games. I would not let him have this maniacal control over me. I would now always put my child before me and I would not let this man control me.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to now present to you the newly wed couple, Draco and Astoria Malfoy!” the DJ called excitedly as Draco and I entered the ballroom, my arm draped around his elbow. Astoria Malfoy. I was now Astoria Christine Malfoy. The name carried a power, a power that I would now use to carry myself through my dismal marriage.
I smiled what I hoped was “radiantly” as we greeted our friends and family (most of whom I had no idea existed.) Inside, I was numb as we passed through the obligatory “hellos” and “thank you for comings” and “don’t you look lovelys.” It was all the same. This was the day to mark the beginning of the loveless rest of my life.
After about an hour or so of mingling, it was time for the bride and grooms first dance. As he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me onto the dance floor, I smiled and acted but forced myself to feel nothing. Unlike the last time we had been in this same situation, I did not listen to the music nor did I attempt to feel happiness. I was just there in body.
“Smile, Tor,” Draco whispered in my ear. Right, people were watching. We were the newly wed couple, after all. I tugged my lips upward into an unfeeling smile. He held me tight to his body, almost too tightly, as if he wanted to make sure I would not escape.
When the song ended, Draco dipped me down and kissed me on the lips. I complied, deepening the kiss just for those watching. His lips moved with mine, the now somewhat familiar sensation. But I was stronger than this. I would not fall for his charm once again. As much as I wanted to melt right there and truly believe that he meant the kiss, I would not believe it.
After the dance was over, the song changed to a more upbeat, lively dance. It was my father’s turn to dance with me. I smiled when I was supposed to as he complimented me. I pretended this was the happiest day of my life, as was expected of me. Then I was passed to Andre, who kept up a constant stream of insults to Draco the entire time, which made me laugh at least. Then I was passed from cousin to cousin and finally again to Draco.
After that song was over, Draco pulled my arm and took me out into the hallway. This reminded me vaguely of our engagement party, when I was falling madly and deeply in love with him. Now, it was nothing, cold, unfeeling. Instead of him being the hardened one, this time it was me. I had always thought he was the stone one, but in truth, I had become even more distant than him.
“What?” I snapped.
“Tell me you felt it,” he asked, his eyes searching my face.
I didn’t show any emotion. “Felt what?” I asked cooly.
“Anything. When we kissed. You can’t deny it,” he said, stepping towards me. He caressed my cheek with his hand but I turned away. Just a few weeks earlier, that simple touch would've been enough to make me leap into his arms and never want to leave. But no, I was stronger this time. Don’t fall for it again, I reminded myself.
“Why don’t you understand? I feel nothing for you anymore,” I said harshly.
“I never meant to hurt you,” he sighed, looking down at his feet.
“Really? And you never realized this during the many weeks you lied to me?”
“I didn’t lie to you, dammit! It was all Melanie!”
“Keep your voice down, Draco, others may overhear,” I replied calmly.
“It was all Melanie, I swear....”
“Melanie forced you to lie to me, did she?”
“No. She forced me to say those things!”
“Stop lying to me. I’m not going to fall into your stupid web of lies again.”
“I love you, Tor,” he looked at me, his eyes more open and honest than I’d ever seen them before. I froze. Here they were, the words I had longed to hear from him since I was a little girl. How many times had I dreamed of him saying these very words to me, looking at me the way he was now? Countless dreams had been filled with this - our wedding, the “I love you,” the happily ever after. Only now, there would not be a happily ever after. There would never be a happily ever after for me.
“Fuck off,” I replied before I could process what he’d said. I then left the hallway and reentered the ballroom, greeting my guests with enthusiasm and no trace of the confrontation that had just passed.
Andre was by my side a few moments later. “Say the words and Draco Malfoy will never father a child again.”
I laughed. “That happens to be my husband you’re talking about,” I said dryly.
“Where is that git anyways?” he mused.
I shrugged. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him in a darkened part of the room, having a heated discussion with Melanie. Of course. Before I could reply to Andre, my mother appeared by my side.
“Darling, Mr. and Mrs. Applegate are leaving, do come say goodbye?” she said. I nodded and followed her, playing the role of the dutiful daughter.
This is what I’d always be. I had been the (almost) perfect daughter. I would now be Draco’s perfect wife, but only in the sense that I would fulfill what was expected of me. In 6 months time, I would become a mother and would devote the rest of my life to being the perfect mother. This was all I had now. I had lost the lively, enthusiastic, fun-loving, sarcastic Astoria. I had been replaced with the unfeeling woman who did only what she had to do. This was my life now.
A/N: Oh dear. Don't hate me please! What did you guys think of Astoria's immense resolve in this chapter? And the dress? And Draco's change of heart? Please let me know in a review! Thanks for reading!