The next day I do the only rational thing and force my life back into submission. I ignore the letters I receive from Draco’s owl. I ignore Seamus’s repeated attempts to get me to talk about it and choose to instead change topics and talk about something else entirely. I don’t ignore Pansy’s owls which come quite frequently, usually she just rambles on about how bored she is and how all she did was go shopping today. Ignoring what happened was working well for me…for about 3 weeks.
Now I sit here reading the latest letter and just browse over it rolling my eyes at the mundaneness of the letter as she once again rambles about her life and it’s extravagances until my eyes scan across a familiar name. Draco had come to speak to her, apparently he looked as if he hadn’t slept in about a year and all he could do was ask her how to fix things with me. My heart did an involuntary flutter and I scowl at the paper I now clutch so tightly in my hands. I can’t read anymore and instead put the letter on my coffee table and choose to stare out my window at the rain as it pours down my window. What I don’t expect to see is Draco Malfoy standing outside my house, in the rain, and just staring at my house. Pansy wasn’t lying he did look awful and I suddenly felt bad.
Resigning myself to go and talk to him I grab my rain coat and slip on my wellies. As I shut the door and proceed down my front walk he just looks at me with a look I can’t quite read on his face. “You know, you’ll catch your death out here, you’re not even dressed properly for this weather!” I scold motioning to the thin jacket now clinging tightly to his frame. He doesn’t say anything for a moment but just stares at me with a look of contemplation on his handsome face. At his piercing gaze I subconsciously wrap my arms tightly around my stomach and hop from foot to foot nervously. He just steps forward and brushes a stray strand of hair from my cheek and caresses the spot gently with his thumb. “Please don’t start something we can’t finish.” I whisper out, feeling tears welling up.
He doesn’t take his hand away, and just smiles slightly, looking down at me. “I don’t ever want to hurt you again Bella and I’m sorry for hurting you before. I’ve really left her, turns out she’s been cheating on me from the start and thanks to the prenuptial agreement my parents wrote up she gets nothing but what she came into the marriage with if you can even call it a marriage. I know your guard is up but if you’ll let me I’d like to make everything up to you no matter how long it takes.” I can’t speak I’m frozen and I’m not even sure I remember how to breath. “Let’s get out of this bloody rain and go inside, you’re freezing and I don’t want you catching your death out here as you put it.” He smiles genuinely down at me and I can only numbly nod and turn around to walk back into my house.
Upon entering I take my jacket and wellies off as Mystique walks up to Draco and rubs against his legs. “I’m sorry she doesn’t usually behave that way, she’s normally very standoffish. I apologize for her ruining your pants as you’re now covered in cat hair.” I glare at the feline as she stalks off back to her window seat and gives me an all knowing look. I swear that cat is part human, creepy thought seeing as wizard’s can be animagi…and I sincerely hoped she wasn’t one.
Draco laughs, “It’s no big deal Izzy, they’re just pants and I happen to like cats especially ones with personality. You wouldn’t happen to have a shirt I could change into though this one is soaked?” I look over at him to see his black tshirt clinging to his body and I force myself to avert my gaze.
“Um, I think I have one of your old shirts from Hogwarts, I don’t know if it’ll still fit you and it’s a little worn as I usually sleep in it.” I blush slightly glad my face is hidden as I walk to my room to find his old quidditch shirt. Unfortunately, he follows me into my room a place I hadn’t allowed any men, besides Seamus to enter. Even when I was “with” Nott we only ever slept at his place, mine was off limits. There was one room in this house I held dear and it was this very one. This had been Simone’s room and it was now my private sanctuary, it had given me clarity when I needed it most and had seen me through my worst days. I always felt like she was around me in this room which is why I kept most people out. I can feel my guard go up higher as I can hear him walking around my room looking at all my things. I try to ignore him as I dig through my drawer looking for his shirt but he makes it impossible as he stands right behind me. Feeling my heart race I stand up quickly as I finally find the shirt, as I turn around I shove it hard into his chest, probably a bit harder than I intended as I hear him groan.
“Have I angered you in some way?” I can hear him say with my back turned to him.
“It’s just, I didn’t invite you in here, I don’t just let people in here.” I say not turning around as I can hear him changing shirts.
“So this was Simone’s room then? I didn’t mean to intrude Iz, I just didn’t know, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to upset you.” I can hear the sincerity in his voice and feel him come up behind me and put a hand gently on my shoulder. “But this is only a room, it isn’t her, maybe it’s finally time to move past it. I know she was your mom but she wouldn’t want you to hole yourself up in this house and hide away in this room.” As he finishes he kisses my cheek and leaves my room, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
I hated to admit he was right. I wasn’t really doing myself any good by not really trying to move on, Simone wouldn’t want me to keep people out of my life just because I’m afraid of getting hurt. She always said half the fun was just getting in the game. I’d been guarded since her death only it’d taken me until now to realize it, until he said something to me. Why was he was always at the root of everything? Shaking my head I grab a towel and leave my room.
I find Draco looking at a photo I’d completely forgotten all about, smiling I toss the towel at him as he looks over at me. “Dry off, you’re soaking everything and I haven’t the money to replace it all.” As he takes the towel and dries his hair, I put the photo of us back on the shelf where it was. I walk over to my couch and sit down and pick up the copy of the prophet that had arrived this morning. I needed to get my head on straight and I could never seem to do that when I was in the same room as Draco Malfoy.
He sits down beside me on the couch and rests his arm casually across the back of the couch and directly behind me. I glare over at him to which he smiles. “You getting divorced didn’t change anything you know, I’m not going to just fall back into your arms.” I say into the paper I was now holding rather close to my face.
I hear him laugh, “I believe you’ve already fallen back into my arms, but I’m not complaining. I can wait for you to fall back into my arms again.”
Not looking at him and speaking again into the prophet in my hands, “You’re a cheeky bastard.”
He begins laughing as if I’d said the most hilarious thing and proceeds to put his arm around my shoulder and kiss me on the top of my head. “I love you Isabella, are you hungry? I’m starving. Want to go somewhere to eat with me?” he runs the words all together so they’re barely intelligible and I look out of the corner of my eye to see him running his hand through his hair, and I smirk in amusement. I’d heard what he said but I was going to make him squirm about it and keep saying it until I could forgive him.
“Yes I’d love to eat, but we’re not going to some fancy place so you can show off. There’s a bar with decent food on the beach here, let’s just go there and I’ll pay.” I say getting up to grab the money from my purse, as I find my muggle money his hand is on top of mine to stop me from pulling it all the way out.
“Izzy I can’t let you pay for me, I’ll pay, you can pay me back in sex.” He smirks and winks at me to which I can feel my face flush red.
“You’re incorrigible.” I mumble putting my money back. “And I’ll have you know I don’t pay people back in sex, you earn sex I don’t just sleep with someone because they bought me a meal once.” I say walking towards the door and grabbing my keys looking over my shoulder seductively at him. “That shirt looks ridiculous on you now.” I say laughing as I notice how tight the shirt is now on his muscular frame.
At this he looks down and laughs himself, “I think you shrunk it Bella.” Then his eyes pierce my own as he looks up and walks towards me,“I’m not really that hungry if you want to just ya know hang out or whatever.” He says coughing and looking into my eyes deeply, I can feel my breath catch in my throat.
Before I can say no his mouth is on mine and I’m not complaining in the slightest. It’s like we were made for each other every caress of his tongue against mine just makes my heart go wild and I can’t even breathe. My hands exploring the muscles of his chest, and his body pinning me to the front door. Just as he’s pulling my shirt off someone knocks on the door causing me to jump and us to pull apart as if we were caught misbehaving. Still with his taste lingering on my lips I turn around to see whom had interrupted and see Seamus standing on my front steps. Draco walks away and goes to the kitchen, clearly hiding from whomever was here. I roll my eyes and open the door.
“Seamus! My best friend what is it you’ve stopped by for today?” I say, once again not hiding my guilt at all, “You look like a drowned rat, come on in.” He gives me a weird look and takes the invitation.
“I came by because I was a bit indisposed last time I saw you and you looked like you needed to talk to someone yet you’ve been avoiding talking to me so I decided that I’m sick of the bullshit from you and we’re going to talk about it now.” He sits down at my piano and begins nonchalantly pushing random keys. “I figured you could play something to distract your nerves and talk to me whilst you play and then we’ll go to that bar on the beach and tell him he can stop hiding in the kitchen, next time you guys should probably hide his clothes.” At this I glare at him and he just grins as I turn to go to my kitchen.
In the kitchen I find Draco raiding my fridge to which I just clear my throat to get his attention. “Is he gone then?” He asks as his head comes out from behind the fridge door and I can see he’s found my trifle. I just shake my head and motion for him to follow me out to the living room. Once back in the living room I sit on the couch and Draco sits in one of my chairs with Seamus just sitting there with the biggest grin on his face.
“Finnegan I have half a mind to kill you and dispose of the body so no one will ever find you.” I say glaring at my best friend.
He just grins wider, “You know it’s just perfect that you’re both here so you can talk out this whole bullshit so my life can go back to normal. Ya see as much as I love my boss coming in in the most foul moods I’ve ever seen and giving me loads of mindless work to do I’d appreciate it if it stopped. So you two are going to talk this out and then the three of us will go eat, or the two of us as in me and Izzy, whichever I don’t really care.” As he finishes he closes the lid on my piano and moves to sit beside me on the couch. “If anyone here has half a mind to kill anyone its me and killing the both of you, Azkaban be damned I’ll do it if this childishness doesn’t stop. Do you understand Isabella Carrow?” He looks directly at me to which I glare harder at the use of my full name.
“I’m not talking to him in front of you, this doesn’t concern you. Draco we’ll go talk in my room, Seamus there’s whiskey in the liquor cabinet, make yourself useful and make me a drink, there’s trifle in the fridge too.” I say motioning for Draco to follow me as I get up and walk away.
“Finnegan, I’ll have you know I’m the bloody Minister of Magic, I give the orders not you, and I’ll be giving you even more mindless work to do regardless of how this pans out understand?” Draco stares down Seamus as he gets up and begins following me to my room placing his hand gently on my back nudging me to continue on.
As we get to my room I shut the door and he places a charm so that Seamus can’t hear what it is we say. I being pacing the room nervous to have to finally really talk about my feelings and how hurt I feel.
“I’ll start if that’ll help you feel a bit better Bella.” I nod my acknowledgement as he sits on my bed and runs his hand nervously throw his white-blonde hair. “I want to be with you, I have since 6th year and nothing’s changed in all these years. I’ve tried to forget you, I’ve tried to move on and since I’ve seen you I can’t get you out of my mind. I crave you when I’m not with you, that’s why I’m here today, something’s been missing ever since you ran away. I couldn’t find you, I looked for you everywhere, and being Minister is how I finally found you. It’s why I wanted to be Minister I needed to know what happened to you for closure. I was certain you were dead, I just wanted to find your body somewhere at this point so I’d know for sure I’d never see you again. I had just never been satisfied with just not having any idea what had happened, you were the only student missing and unaccounted for at the end of the war ya know. Where did you go?”
I take a deep breath before stating my case, I felt like I was on trial, “I was at Seamus’s house, I lived with Seamus and his dad for several years after, he got the job at the ministry and I just helped his dad around the house and then his dad got sick so I took care of him. I’d always wanted to be a healer so I got to use some of the stuff I’d learned. He died later that same year, that was when I’d decided I had to go back or rather Seamus forced me to go back to my own house. He didn’t want me feeling sorry for him, but he said he wasn’t sad because he’d had a chance to say goodbye, he told me I should contact the ministry so that the file they had on me could be marked as alive as it was currently marked missing/deceased. He kept hinting that I should find you, but by then you were married to Astoria so I didn’t see the point in dredging up old feelings.” I look down at the hem of my shirt and fiddle with it as I continue, “I left because of catching you with her and I didn’t think I could face you again, I couldn’t look you in the eyes and say I didn’t regret it. I regret it everyday, I don’t regret living with Seamus and his dad and I don’t regret finding my own. I regret not letting you know I was alive but to be honest I didn’t think you still cared. Why should you still care? You are Draco Malfoy the guy who sleeps with every girl in the school and then disposes of them like trash, I made myself believe I was just another number so it didn’t hurt so much. Then I started dating Theo, and he was sweet to me but something was missing. To be honest it’s probably the fact he did whatever I asked, never stood up to me, we never fought even when I tried to cause a fight, that unsettled me to no end. And now, well I don’t know what I’m doing, my brain is muddied and I can’t think straight. I never intended to end your marriage, I would never do that, I—“ I try to continue but he places a finger on my lips.
“You didn’t end my marriage Iz, it was never really a marriage, it was a necessity. I’m not sorry for what’s happened. I am sorry for hurting you and for not being upfront with you about Astoria thinking I was trying to fix things. I’d had a suspicion she was cheating on me and then when Pansy stopped by to talk to me I knew something was up, she never just made an appearance out of nowhere. She told me what you’d told her, said you were too scared to say it to me and you didn’t want me to think you were just trying to end it so that you could be with me. Iz, I know you’re not like that, I’m the one who chased you, you weren’t one of those girls that were chasing me at Hogwart’s. Now, can we just start all over fresh, clean slate?” He looks over at me with so much hope in his eyes I almost break down right then and there. It was awful but I wasn’t even angry with him anymore, somehow we’d come to an understanding.
“Sounds like a plan to me, but we’re not together.” I put my hand out for him to shake on it, “I’ll call a truce with you for now, but you hurt me again and I’ll disappear so that you’ll never find me, you understand?”
He smiles and takes my hand and kisses it, “I wouldn’t dream of hurting you again. Think we could just shag real quick, Finnegan will never be any the wiser.” He winks at me and I toss a throw pillow from my bed at his face. He just laughs as I get up and leave the room.
“Alright Seamus, let’s eat I’m starving.” I say as I go in the kitchen to find a glass of whiskey waiting for me, “You really are the best friend a girl could ask for!” I say smiling at him as I down the liquid, the familiar burning sensation traveling down my throat.
The three of us make our way outside and as we walk over Draco apparently can’t keep his hands to himself as more than once I have to smack him for grabbing my ass. Seamus apparently finds this hysterical as he can’t help but laugh the entire way. I’m resolved to glaring at the both of them over the lunch table, but strangely sitting here with the two men who meant the most to me felt like the most perfectly normal thing in the world. I just wasn’t sure how okay with it I was.