Chapter 7: “You’ve got to be kidding me”
Draco thought his plan was truly brilliant.
Getting Astoria to agree to it was pure ingeniousness. She was perfect for it. They were purebloods, and pretending to marry each other wouldn’t cause any scandals that would ruin his family’s reputation. In fact, this was more helpful to redeem their reputation than his father’s plan. The Greengrasses were known to be one of the few pureblood families neutral in the war. If the wizarding world sees a union between the Malfoy and Greengrass family, then they might be less spiteful towards the Malfoys.
Or they would think that the Greengrass family had finally shifted to the other side.
Draco hoped that the latter wouldn’t come true. He needed this desperately. Anythingto get him out of marrying Granger.
Suppressing a shudder at that last thought, Draco turned towards Astoria who was standing stiffly beside him in the living room, waiting for Lucius and Narcissa in front of the fireplace.
Draco didn’t remember much about his drunken night. All he remembered were a pair of hazel eyes he couldn’t stop staring into and a small figure lying close beside him all through the night. He knew very well whom those belonged to now, and he wondered if he had actually liked holding her in his arms.
Astoria narrowed her eyes at him as she said sharply, “What?
“Now, now. Is that a way to talk to your loving fiancé?” he teased.
Astoria sighed irritably as Lucius and Narcissa strolled into the room. Lucius stepped inside the fireplace first and disappeared amongst emerald green flames. Narcissa followed after him and then, Astoria, taking a deep breath, followed her. Draco, with one last look at his living room, walked inside the fireplace and said clearly, “Greengrass Estate.”
"Do you really believe that Astoria and Draco are -?”
“Please, don’t speak such nonsense, Pansy. There is no way that Draco would like my sister.”
Daphne waved her wand and an enchanted comb started brushing through her golden hair. Pansy was sitting on the edge of the large double-bed, clutching the Daily Prophet and looking quite flustered.
“But the Prophet -”
“Oh for Merlin’s sake, the Prophet would do anything to make its sales go higher. The couple you see in the picture could very well be someone else entirely.”
Pansy sighed, wishing for Daphne’s words to be true. If it was true, then where could Draco be? And why did he leave the party so soon? He didn’t even ask me to dance,Pansy thought disappointedly.
“Where do you think your sister is then?” asked Pansy.
“She’s right here,” answered another voice.
Daphne swivelled around to find Astoria standing at the door with her arms crossed and a smug expression on her face. Daphne narrowed her eyes at her sister.
“How dare you show your face after -”
Astoria faked a yawn and pretended to look at a watch. “Are you done? I’m just here to say that mother is calling you.”
Daphne blanched. “Me? Why would she be calling me?”
Astoria shrugged, but a hint of a smirk was on her lips. “Why don’t you go and find out, sister dearest.”
Daphne scowled while Pansy looked puzzled. Something was not right. Whenever her wretched sister looked smug, it only meant one thing – something was about to happen, and Daphne wouldn’t like it one bit.
Ten Minutes Ago.
To say that Mr and Mrs Greengrass were surprised to find the Malfoys and their youngest daughter in their living room would be an understatement.
Mrs Greengrass gave a little gasp and the book she was reading slipped out of her hands and fell to the floor with a thud muffled by the carpet. Mr Greengrass yelped loudly and spilt coffee on the front of his robes. A house elf scurried to his side to clean up the mess.
Astoria was quite amused by the reaction. She wondered what her parents were thinking.
Lucius and Narcissa smiled politely at the Greengrasses as they rushed forwards to greet them. After many pleasantries, Mr and Mrs Greengrass sat down again, still looking very shocked, and the Malfoys sat opposite them. Draco and Astoria sat on a sofa beside the Malfoys, with Draco’s hand at Astoria’s waist, a gesture that was not missed by Mrs Greengrass who looked like she would faint any moment.
“Well…” began Mr Greengrass. “We are quite…surprised to see our daughter with you, Lucius.”
“I hope she hasn’t done anything to displease you,” chimed in Mrs Greengrass, narrowing her eyes at Astoria. Her eyes flicked to Draco’s hand at her waist, and she pursed her lips into a thin line.
“No, no. Quite the opposite in fact,” commented Narcissa, beaming at Astoria and Draco.
“Yes, we bring good news, Carmine,” said Lucius. “I am quite proud to announce that the Malfoy and Greengrass family are going to be united in a few months.”
It was very hard for Astoria to stifle her laughter when she saw her parent’s different reactions. Her father frowned and stared at Lucius as if he’d grown an extra head. Her mother gasped and widened her eyes in realisation, looking like an owl.
“You mean…” started Mr Greengrass but stopped, as if to choose his words carefully. He shook his head and continued. “What do you mean?” he asked incredulously.
The Malfoys weren’t disconcerted by the reaction. In fact, Narcissa surprised Astoriaby giving her an encouraging smile before continuing to explain.
“Well, it seems that Draco and Astoria have been seeing each other for quite a long time,” said Narcissa. “They didn’t tell us of their relationship because of your eldest daughter, Daphne, whom they believed had an infatuation with Draco.”
Mrs Greengrass turned her head towards Astoria, but she opened her mouth and then closed it quickly, her eyes landing once more on Draco’s hand at Astoria’s waist.Astoria had the feeling that her mother was having a very hard time believing any of this.
“But, yesterday, the Daily Prophet saw them together, and they decided to inform us of their relationship,” continued Narcissa.
At that point, Draco cleared his throat, drawing everyone’s attention to him.
“Mr Greengrass, I’d like to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.”
Draco turned his head towards Astoria and smiled at her as he took her hands in his.
“I’ve been in love with her ever since I saw her,” continued Draco, looking into Astoria’s eyes. “I’d like nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with her and make her happy.”
Then, he raised Astoria’s hand to his lips and pressed a kiss on her fingers.
Astoria tried to ignore the tingly feeling she got when Draco said those words. Even though she knew they weren’t true, Draco said them with such feeling, that Astoriaalmost believed him. He had such an intense look in his eyes that her heart started beating faster.
But maybe they looked so intense because she was the only way he could get out of his situation. Maybe it was just a pleading look instead of…well, something else.
Astoria broke eye contact with him and looked towards her parents who had watched the exchange in complete shock. Draco kept Astoria’s hand in his and they waited anxiously.
“Well…” said Mrs Greengrass, her eyes still wide with surprise, “That’s…”
She stopped, looking round at everyone in the room. When she lastly met Astoria’s eyes, her lips broke into a smile.
“Wonderful, my dear,” she said softly, her eyes becoming glassy.
Mr Greengrass still looked confused. But seeing his wife smiling at Astoria, a gesture that was quite rare, he seemed to realise that they were serious and not playing a prank on him.
“You have my consent,” he finally said to Draco as he nodded his head.
Lucius rose and shook hands with Mr Greengrass but Astoria did not pay attention to what he was saying. Her eyes were on her mother who was dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief. Narcissa sat down beside Mrs Greengrass and talked to her in hushed tones.
Astoria didn’t know what to make of this. Were her parents angry at her or proud of her? And why was her mother crying?
“Well, that went good,” Draco whispered to her.
“Oh, just wait. Daphne’s still left,” Astoria replied.
Draco smirked. “I can’t wait.”
“Astoria,” called Mrs Greengrass. “We must inform Daphne of this.”
"WHAT?” screeched Daphne.
“Hush, Daphne!” commanded Mrs Greengrass. “They’re just in the next room!”
Astoria removed her hands from her ears when she was sure Daphne wouldn’t start screaming. Daphne had a look of utter disbelief plastered onto her face, her eyes wide and her mouth agape, making her look quite comical.
“But – but how?” she asked incredulously. “You and Draco? When did that happen? Did you give him love potion or something?”
“Daphne, do not talk like that with your sister,” scolded Mrs Greengrass, much to both Daphne’s and Astoria’s surprise. “They have been seeing each other for a year.”
“A year?” exclaimed Daphne. “They’ve been hiding this for a whole year? Yeah, sure I believe you,” she scoffed.
Mrs Greengrass sighed. “Daphne, I know why you’re having a hard time believing this, but your sister and Draco are getting married. You must accept this.”
“But – but Mother!” whined Daphne. “Who wouldn’t have a hard time believing this?”
“It’s alright, my dear. You’ll get over him. There’re plenty more eligible men around.”
The gobsmacked look on Daphne’s face almost threw Astoria into a fit of laughter, but she masked it as a cough.
“What do you mean I’ll get over him? Get over whom?” Daphne asked, puzzled.
“Why, Draco of course,” Mrs Greengrass calmly informed her. “We all know of your infatuation with him. But let’s not let that get in the way of your sister’s happiness, alright?”
While Astoria was surprised to hear her mother siding with her, Daphne was getting more and more confused by what her mother was informing her. They were distracted by a shrill wail erupting from upstairs.
“What was -”
“Pansy,” sighed Daphne. “You see mother, Pansy’s the one with the infatuation, not me.”
“Don’t be in denial, Daphne. Draco’s a charming and handsome young man. It’s alright to like him. But now that your sister’s going to marry him, you must forget him.”
With that, Mrs Greengrass went upstairs perhaps to comfort Pansy whose sobs could be heard from the kitchen. Astoria was feeling euphoric. After all those years, her mother was finally beginning to take her side...even though everything was fake. She sighed inwardly, wondering how her parents would react if they ever found out that all of this was orchestrated.
Daphne was still looking at her younger sister in utter bewilderment.
“I don’t know how you managed to pull this off, but you haven’t fooled me, sister,” said Daphne. “I’m going to find out exactly what you’re up to.” With those finishing words, she glared at Astoria one last time and left the kitchen.
Astoria felt like banging her head on the kitchen counter.
Just what had she gotten herself into?