Chapter 3 : Delamere
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To be honest Hermione thought that they would be hidden in a house further than where she had driven. But then again, she had no idea where she and Draco had just come from. Who knew how far it was from her real home. For all she knew she could be in the south of England, somewhere she had never been. Delamere was a town she had only heard of a few times, and it shamed her to say that though she was good at many things, geography wasn’t one of them. And now it shamed her further that it seemed that Draco knew more of the place than she did.
She had begun glancing over at him as they entered the towns surrounding Delamere. She remarked how Draco was staring at the scenery, not taking in things that were new to him, but rather trying to figure out what had changed. Hermione furrowed her brow and refocused her eyes on the road before she ended up crashing into something. Why towns like these, muggle towns nonetheless, have appeared in Draco’s life at some point or another was a burning question inside Hermione now, but she assumed she’d be able to piece things together soon.
“What’s the house number again?” Hermione asked.
The car jerked suddenly.
“For bloody sake, Granger..!”
“I’m sorry; we almost passed it!”
Hermione was embarrassed. Here she was, the person who had, or so it seemed, successfully convinced the stubborn man next to her that driving was safe and that she was good at it, almost causing Draco to smash his head into the dashboard. She gently swallowed and reversed so that she could properly turn onto the pathway.
Certainly there’ll be no neighbors in this forest… Hermione thought to herself. The pathway had trees on either side of it, but they became lighter and nonexistent when the house came into view. The little house that Hermione was staring at was a simple cottage; walls made of stone and an anciently made wooden door with a golden knocker under a circular stained-glass window. The house had land all around it. Lots of it. And where the land ended a forest began.
“How much money would it take for you to kill me?” Draco asked as he got out of the car. Hermione followed suit and gave a gentle laugh.
“Funny, I thought you’d be too good to be killed in a muggle fashion.”
Hermione didn’t see Draco roll his eyes. She left his side to walk up the four stairs of the cottage and gazed at the porch. It was lengthy. She took notice of the wooden boards that made up the floor and a swing that was to the right of her. The right position to see the sun set before it disappeared behind the trees.
A hand was being waved in front of her face and Hermione took a step back. Draco was staring at her impatiently and gesturing towards the door, obviously wanting to get inside. Hermione tilted a small flowerpot that was near the door and found a key. She opened the door and unconsciously smiled.
“Lovely,” Hermione said softly as she stepped inside. She was standing in the middle of a small hallway; an archway to her left that led into the kitchen. When the hallway ended a massive living room began. The back of a long sofa was facing her, what seemed to be a self-carved coffee table in front of the sofa, two armchairs on either side of the coffee table, and a large fireplace facing her.
Hermione turned around and found that Draco had disappeared. Shrugging her shoulders she walked towards a room that caught her eye and smiled some more. It was a lounge. A large deep brown and beige circular rug lay in the middle of the floor and two sofas took up the room as well as a few book shelves attached to the walls, filled with books.
It’s as if this place was made for me… Hermione grinned. Either it was made by Merlin himself or Hinds simply knew her too well and figured that being trapped in a house with Draco would drive her mad if she couldn’t find a book to escape into.
And thinking of Draco, Hermione left the lounge to find where he had gone to. In the corner of the left of the room was a set of stairs. She slowly climbed her way up to find Draco heading in her direction.
“I’ll give it three days.”
Hermione furrowed her brow. “Three days? Three days for what?”
Draco sucked his teeth and looked about him before settling his eyes on her. “Three days before I lose my mind in here.”
Hermione scowled. “How can you be so moody? I mean…” She gestured down the stairs where she came from and appealed to him. “Have you seen this place?”
“No, I haven’t.” Draco pushed passed her and began descending the stairs, stopping in the middle, and looking back at her. “I was too busy concentrating on the fact that I’m not supposed to be in this bloody mess in the first place.”
“…I know that. But we are, so why don’t we just…?”
Hermione’s words trailed off. Draco continued down the stairs before she could finish and she sighed. She didn’t know why she expected anything different. He was pigheaded and incorrigible. Nothing would make him see reason, so instead Hermione decided to see what the rest of the house had to offer and leave Draco to his own devices.
The second floor of the cottage was just as nice. At the top of the stairs there was a hallway in front of her and to her left. Since the hallway to her left was a shorter distance she went that direction first, finding a master bedroom equipped with everything that she’d need: bed, night tables, a rug that took up the entire floor, bureau with a vanity mirror and a large closet. The door next to the closet led to the largest bathroom she’d ever seen with a huge tub in one corner and a shower with a sliding glass door in the next.
There was a second door in the bathroom to which Hermione found let to another hallway. There was a door on her immediate left and she took it, finding a lounge like the one downstairs, also containing books. Through its second door she found the hallway again which faced the stairs. She realized now that she had gone all the way around the house, and towards the stairs another door on her left, which held another bedroom in which Hermione found Draco’s jacket thrown onto the bed.
She wondered if he had ventured any further into the house. Probably not, for if he had Hermione would’ve found his jacket in the master bedroom, a room worthy of his being and not the small room she was standing in.
And now Hermione began to wonder about clothes. What did the Mrs. Nicolette Groves like to wear? Suddenly Hermione whisked herself around and stared into the mirror at the bureau. She had forgotten that she didn’t look like herself anymore and wanted to know how she looked now. With a huff, she noted shallowly that her new physical appearance was better than her old one. She was a deep brunette now, her hair reaching just pass her shoulders and flowing perfectly with gentle waves. Her body was neat; trim waist, good hips, and a chest to be proud of. Her eyes were green now, and her teeth were perfect, except for a small one on the bottom towards the inside of her jaw that was slightly turned inward. All in all, it was an improvement that made her feel horrible for liking.
Sad to say, having not seen Draco for the past hour, Hermione could barely remember what his alias looked like. It was hard to tell when the Illusion Potion would fully sink in. Until it did what Hermione and Draco looked like to others they would like to each other. But for now the curvy brunette that was staring at her was what Draco would see, and Hermione would be met with…blue or brown eyes? Brown or black hair? It was quite hard to remember, and quite frankly she didn’t want to. The moment Draco’s features began to change back in Hinds office, she felt one thing: instant attraction, for Mr. Ian Groves was an unmistakably handsome man.
“What are you doing in here?”
Hermione turned from the mirror to find Draco standing in the door way. She took an unnoticeable sigh of relief to see him looking like himself to her and then placed her hands on the rim of her pants.
“I was touring the house.”
“I think you’ve had enough of the tour. I’d like to get some sleep if you don’t mind.”
Without a word Hermione headed towards the door as Draco made room for her to pass. The bedroom door had closed and she had already gone down half the stairs when she stopped. She gritted her teeth and went back to the second floor. She knocked on the door and waited for Draco to answer it. Naturally he was annoyed, obviously having just lain down, but before he could say a word Hermione beat him to it.
“I know I ruined things.” She said quickly. She fidgeted with the sleeves of her shirt, stopped when she realized that she looked stupid, and continued. “Minding my own business isn’t something I do well. Maybe it’s because I care too much, I don’t know. But someone needed help and I wasn’t going to stand by and not do something about it.
‘And now we’re stuck here. We’d might as well make the most of it. Unless of course you’d rather barricade yourself in this room for Merlin knows how long. Be my guest if that’s what you intend to do. Enjoy your rest…”
With that Hermione left his presence. She only heard his door close when she had firmly set her feet on the first floor.
Hermione was glad to know that the refrigerator and cupboards contained food. There wasn’t much however, which meant that they’d have to go into town soon and replenish it. But for now, making spaghetti with pasta sauce could do.
“And with vegetables on the side,” Hermione smiled to herself as she lifted the lid of the tiny pot they were in and poked them with a fork. They needed cooking just a little bit more and soon she could satisfy her starving stomach.
“…You know if I had seen that master bedroom, I’d be the one sleeping in it and not you.”
Hermione turned to Draco and chuckled. He looked like he had just woken up, which didn’t surprise her any. Aside from the fact that he’d been missing for the past two hours, nearly three, the smell of the food she was making couldn’t be ignored. It smelled heavenly.
“Well, it’s a good thing you didn’t accompany me when I walked all around the place.”
Draco nodded knowingly. He sat at the kitchen counter and, without him asking, Hermione placed a plate of food in front of him. Once she had made a similar plate for herself, she sat down opposite him. They both dug in without a word. The only thing that could be heard was their utensils hitting the plates, and Hermione subconsciously counted how many times his hit the plate before hers did.
“Do you always cook the muggle way?” Draco asked after a large swallow.
“Bit hard to believe when you’re burning things over there.”
Hermione dropped her fork in alarm, instantly remembering her vegetables. She turned to the stove and saw a large amount of smoke emanating from the pot; the smell of smoke and burnt food only now hitting her nostrils. She let water run in the sink and set the small pot inside, locking off the water and looking at her vegetables which in no way could be salvaged.
“You could’ve done something, you know.” Hermione accused as she emptied the pot into a nearby trashcan. Draco cocked a brow and sucked his teeth.
“Yes. It takes any genius to just take the pot off of the stove.”
Hermione sat back down and returned to her food, not failing to notice that Draco’s cheeks were reddening. She pondered about it, wondering what exactly would make him feel embarrassed and decided, probably not for the best, to poke around for the answer.
“You’re obviously finished eating. Put more vegetables on for me, would you?”
Draco huffed. “What do I look like to you, a maid?”
“It’s a simple request.” Hermione rolled her eyes. “I won’t bother you for a full twenty-four hours if you do just that.”
Hermione returned to her eating in order to hide her smile. She knew Draco wouldn’t want to turn down an opportunity to get her to leave him alone. She saw him reluctantly get up from his seat and deposit his plate into the sink. Hermione wished now more than ever that she was sitting at a different position at the kitchen counter. She could imagine it now: Draco, just standing at the sink wondering where to start. Of the questions he was probably asking himself, some were legitimate, and others he should’ve had the common sense to know.
“Where’re the pots in this place?”
“Below and to the left of the sink,”
Hermione heard the cabinets open and things being rattled around in there. Eventually he found a pot, one larger than necessary so she saw after a minor peek, but good enough. She heard him walk over to the fridge, open it, and take out the necessary items. After that Draco asked her where the knives were. She told him and then subsequently laughed to herself silently as she heard his struggles trying to cut what she could only guess were carrots.
He cursed, seemed to stop with them, and then moved onto something else. Hermione didn’t know what, but forever curious, finally finished with her meal and got up to see that he had taken up trying to peel a chayote. He was holding it and the knife very badly, but before Hermione could tell him something about it he had already nicked himself and had dropped both of the items in his hands.
Draco began nursing his thumb while Hermione took over his space. She threw out the chayote he was trying to peel, vegetables that she thought blood might have gotten on, and washed the knife thoroughly. Once done, she picked up where Draco left off and began peeling, perfectly, another chayote.
Draco glared at her. “You set me up.”
Hermione couldn’t hold in her smile this time around and produced it fully. “It’s not my fault that you took the bait. You could’ve told me no.”
“Humph, any chance to get you out of my hair is worthy to be taken.”
“Of course it is.”
author's note: and another chapter down, wahoo!!! makes it easy that this story is almost fully completed on my computer already lol.
i like the cottage!!! it seems...cozy. and what have we learned about draco so far? he doesnt know a pot from a spoon, how cute! lol. hope that you guys liked the chap and thanks for all the previous reviews!
hoping to see more reviews from you!
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