“I kept my mouth shut for too long; all this time you got me wrong. Now we’re in this way too far, I’m about to break your heart, tear everything we had apart…”
“How did you know?” He asked quietly, staring at her face intently.
“Oh come on Draco, how could I not know? It was in the Prophet the next day and I happen to read the Prophet. ‘Draco Malfoy to marry Astoria Greengrass’. I was going to find out eventually, and I’m hurt that you didn’t have the courage to tell me. You got what you wanted from me, and now you can live the life your father wants you to live and do not tell me blood isn’t an issue with him, because it always will be. Astoria is a pure blood, and you two will have little pure blood babies together. I’d like you to leave now” Hermione said, arms folded across her chest and she nodded towards the door. Draco turned on his heel and left. Hermione let out a body wracking sob before wiping her face and returning to the front desk, the bell above the door had chimed and Ginny stood there, smiling broadly.
"Oh Hermione, guess what!” She squealed and she was basically jumping up and down in joy, so Hermione just smiled at her as she waited for her to answer. “You and I are going to a ball tomorrow night!” She beamed and Hermione flashed her brightest smile possible.
“Oh, Ginny I can’t. I have so much work that needs to be done and I don’t have a dress or anything.” Hermione smiled apologetically and Ginny only rolled her eyes.
“Whatever Hermione, you can leave all your work for one night and that’s why we’re going shopping as soon as you go for lunch! Please Hermione, I really want you to come and Harry can’t go because he’s got some big important meeting at the Ministry.” Her eyes got wide and round, her bottom lip dropped to create the perfect puppy dog face, Hermione sighed and nodded, defeated causing Ginny to cry out in glee.
“Fine, lunch is in about an hour so I’ll go then. You really couldn’t have picked a worse time.” Hermione smiled ruefully and turned around to finish cataloguing the books that arrived today. She had ordered in some muggle books, and they were brought in by a witch that worked there who was surprised that they were going to sell non-fiction and fiction muggle books. Ginny quickly left the shop, muttering about withdrawing some of the joint account she and Harry shared, only a little and there she would have to exchange it for muggle money. Hermione had plenty of money from saving all her life, saving for university since she was 6 and then after going to Hogwarts, she continued to save, so five minutes before lunch she quickly dashed upstairs to grab her wallet and came back down as Ginny was entering, about as excited as a bumblebee.
An hour later and Hermione dropped a half a dozen bags in her apartment. She had brought this long, navy blue dress with dark green leaves printed around it. It had two inch straps that came down into a heart shaped bust. It clung to her body until the waist, where it soft flowed out underneath a band of the same material. She decided to buy make-up to match the dress so she brought three shades of dark blue eyeshadow, midnight blue eyeliner, and light pink lipstick with a clear gloss to go over top.
She even bought herself a new pair of heels that were so high she felt she might break her neck in them. She put a charm on her ankles, to make sure they were to be steady as she stared at the heels. They were plain white and open toed. Nothing too spectacular but they looked great with the dress, and no one would be looking at her feet anyhow. In the other bags was perfume, not only for the ball but she had also run out of her bottle this morning.
“’Mione?” She heard a familiar voice call out and she climbed back down to the store. Ron and Lavender were there, Lavender was looking over the books with distaste but Hermione just rolled her eyes and continued down the stairs.
“Hey Ronald, Lavender” She said and gave Ron an awkward one armed hug.
“How come you’re not working? You’re always working!” Ron said a crooked smile on his face.
“I had to go shopping with Ginny for some ball tomorrow night, are you going?” Hermione asked, as she eyed Lavender flicking through a book.
“You mean the Malfoy ball? Yeah, I uh think Lavender wants to go to that. I dunno” He looked over at Lavender, grimacing slightly.
“You mean it’s at the Manor?” Hermione’s brown eyes grew wide with shock, but her lips were pursed with anger. Ginny seemed to have forgotten that tidbit of information. “Of course it is” She said under her breath.
“Yeah, it’s an engagement ball I think” Lavender strolled over, a dopey smile on her face as she linked arms with Ron again.
“Oh yes, because Draco is engaged to that Greengrass girl. What’s her name…?” Lavender said, and her voice was very spiteful.
“Astoria” Hermione snapped back. Ron was standing there awkwardly, looking at the ground. “I am fully aware of Draco’s relationship; it’s been in the Daily Prophet every damn week since he proposed.” Hermione spat as her eyes glowed with anger.
“Come on Hermione, Lavender didn’t mean to offend you.” Ron pleaded and gave her a little smile while he jabbed Lavender in the ribs.
“Of course I didn’t.” Her voice was polite with an undercurrent of sarcasm.
“If you’re not buying anything can you please leave? I have paperwork to finish and I’ve been nothing but distracted all day.” Hermione smiled tightly and didn’t move until Lavender shifted, turned around and walked out the door. Ron smiled at Hermione again before following after Lavender.
Draco looked out across his backyard as the sun began to set. Sun rays shot out across the sky, tinting clouds with gold and pink. He felt sick. Hermione thought she knew everything. She didn’t. Draco hadn’t wanted to get engaged to Astoria, she was a stuck up princess who whinged and bitched until she got what she wanted. It was his father that wanted them to marry, his father that handed him the ring that now sat on her bony finger, his father that screwed everything up with him and Hermione.
Narcissa was standing out on the vibrant green backyard, instructing several men to put up giant white canopies, and making sure that the pale white lilies were glowing softly from miniscule orbs laced along the petals. There were three of them on every table and though they weren’t very bright, they would give everyone enough lighting to see. This was where everyone would gather after hours of dancing, to get off their feet and relax, eat and drink with each other. Draco turned away from the sight, uneasiness quelling up inside him.
He rushed out of his room, sealing the door behind him and dashed through the house until he made it out to their backyard.
“Mother” He called but she didn’t look at him, she was keeping a watchful eye on the men setting up the area.
“Yes darling?” She asked when he drew near and his eyes stared at her soft face.
“Mother I can’t do this. I’ve been polite about this whole ordeal but no more. I do not want to marry Astoria. I don’t love her” He pleaded and Narcissa finally looked at him.
“Draco, your father and I were arranged to marry. I didn’t want to at first; because I thought I was in love with this slightly older American boy who was here visiting. He was pure blood, but he wasn’t what my parents were looking for. You remember what Grandfather and Grandmother were like, very strict and this boy was carefree, he wanted me to run away from here, run away from your father and leaving him standing at the altar like a poor fool, but I couldn’t. I had an obligation to my family. When the boy found out, well, he didn’t like it at all and left violently, calling me a coward and all sorts of things. It was my engagement party, the night was wearing off and I went to go to the bathroom. Well, when I walked in, he was there with a girl I thought was my best friend.” Narcissa finished quietly, sadness pulling her lips down a fraction.
“Mother, what has this got to do with Hermione and me?” Draco asked abruptly. She seemed to have snapped out of her reverie.
“Parents are almost always right. I fell in love with your father as we were standing at the altar. He was so strong, sturdy and reliable. I knew I could trust him and be able to depend on him. Astoria will be like that for you too. Hermione was always running off with Potter, what makes you think anything’s changed? What makes you think they don’t love each other? You can’t trust muggle-born’s dear; it’s in their blood to be flaky.” Narcissa smiled down at Draco, but he glared up at her.
“Hermione isn’t flaky! And she most certainly does not love Potter. They are best friends, much like me and Blaise. You wouldn’t know a thing about Hermione, or muggle-born’s. Hermione was the brightest witch of our year and most likely one of the brightest witches to have ever graced the halls of Hogwarts. Astoria isn’t sturdy and reliable; she’s greedy and power-hungry.”
“Draco, you are marrying Astoria and that’s that. Do not argue with me” Narcissa seemed to have grown as she towered over Draco, rage building up inside her. He just turned on his heel and disapparated. He looked around and realized that he was in Hogsmead so he strode briskly to the Hogshead, sat at a cramped booth and rested his head on his crossed arms.
“Draco?” An unfamiliar voice said but he just ignored it. “Draco, it’s me, Renae” He supressed a sigh and looked up. Renae was standing there, her long blonde hair in a thick fishtail plait that hung down to the middle of her back. She was wearing tight black jeans, a black and white striped sweater and a dark violet cloak. In her hands was a big mug of butterbeer and Draco eyed it, his mouth watering.
“Sorry Renae, I didn’t recognize you there. Please, sit” He motioned towards the cushioned arm of the booth opposite him and she happily sat down. She sipped at her mug while Draco watched.
“Are you thirsty, Draco?” She finally asked, a shy smile on her face.
“It’s not that, it’s more that I haven’t had butterbeer in a little over two years and I’ve really missed it” He gave a bark of a laugh and flicked his eyes off the amber liquid.
“So, what are you doing in Hogsmead on this fine autumn day? It can’t be the company seeing as you were sitting here alone” Her bright eyes twinkled as her lips pulled up into a considerate smile and he couldn’t help but smile back.
“Had to get away from the family for a bit and didn’t know where else to go. What about you?” He sat back in the booth, slouching slightly.
“Its Hogsmead weekend” She said simply and sipped from her mug again.
“So you work at Hogwarts? Doing what, if I may ask?” He said politely, though at the moment he didn’t really give a damn.
“Assistant to Madam Pince, though do you really care? Because everything from your posture to your voice says otherwise.” He cursed himself in his head and smiled the best he could before replying.
“I’m sorry Renae, it’s been a rough couple of weeks and I can’t seem to find a way out of it.” She looked at him evenly over her mug and he instantly conjured up the mental image of Dumbledore doing the same thing with his glasses. Guilt washed over him and he looked down again.
“You mean the engagement to Astoria Greengrass? I can imagine that ruffled someone else’s feathers just as much as it’s ruffled yours. If story be true, Hermione is actually going to be at the ball tomorrow night with George Weasley as her partner. She was going to be with Ginny but Harry was made available again. I actually hear that she and George are looking quite serious, but that’s just gossip and how much of that is actually true? Well anyway, I best be off. There is a lot of sorting that needs to be done at that library, centuries of students putting books back wherever they felt like it and I’m not even close to finishing. Everything will sort itself out, Draco. Haven’t you ever seen any of the muggle movies?” Renae smiled and then quickly departed. Draco sat there, dumbfounded. Hermione and George Weasley? There couldn’t be any truth to that! Hermione wasn’t ever interested in Weasley’s in that sense or she would have been with Ron, someone she was thought to have been with anyway. He had to find out for himself, and he would tomorrow night when Hermione was at his house.
Hermione arrived with George right beside her as the sun was just setting below the horizon. The house sparkled with activity and lights, music thumped loud enough that they could hear it almost perfectly from where they were. George squeezed her hand and they headed up the driveway, they were one of the last couples to arrive so the pre-engagement party was in full swing. The actual engagement party was to be conducted out the back with glasses of champagne and lots of babble. Ginny and Harry were there, swaying with the beat of the music and they were doing a pretty good job considering Harry had two left feet. As to be expected, Ron and Lavender were on the outer rim of people, not dancing which wasn’t impressing Lavender one bit.
“Come on, let’s show these squares how we do it” George said in her ear and then swept her out onto the dance floor. Hermione giggled as he twirled her around, a broad smile on his face. She soon spotted Draco and Astoria dancing elegantly and her throat closed up. Of course he was going to be there, with Astoria. It was their party after all and Hermione knew she was going to have to look at them eventually. “Hermione, don’t worry about Draco. This wasn’t his choice” George muttered into her ear as he dipped her down low. She looked at him, astonished and he just shrugged. “I know the way old families work and this is a definite rule among them, just have fun tonight and worry tomorrow.” George smiled and kissed her on the lips quickly and smoothly, just a friend kiss but if Hermione was going to be force fed jealousy; she was going to force feed Draco the same poison. She deepened the kiss, much to the surprise of George. A cold hand grabbed her elbow and yanked her away. It was Draco.
“I need to talk to Hermione in privacy, I’ll bring her right back, I swear” He sneered and George just rolled his eyes at Draco before heading over to a shocked Ron and a disgusted Lavender. “Come with me to the maze for just a moment” Draco hissed and dragged Hermione after him.
“I will, when you let go of me” Hermione said, trying to twist out of his steel grip, but he didn’t give and continued to drag her along.
*Everything recognizable belongs to J.K Rowling; lyrics to Mouth Shut belong to The Veronicas. Okay guys, this chapter looks quite awful because it just wouldn't allow me to have normal looking spaces between paragraphs. So sorry!