Hermione wiggled into the green dress which Draco had convinced her to wear. It was a rather slinky number which hugged every sin and every wonderful curve all the same.
Luckily as Eve there were many wonderful curves on her petite body.
Hermione smoothed down the front of her dress and turned to observe her appearance in the tall mirror hanging from the opposite wall.
The height and the hair were still going to flummox her, but the dress added certain wildness to her. But there was still the flash in her eyes of sorry and mystery.
The makeup was what Hermione called classy-trashy. The illusion of a classy high cheek-boned face but in reality she was caked in an inch of foundation and the lipstick colour was called scream. Trash in essence and totality.
There was a repeated light clunk, clunk, clunk, on the stairs. Draco glanced casually up at the woman descending into the large lounge.
“My, my. You scrub up well, as Eve.” Draco commented in a vaguely appreciative manner.
Hermione rolled her eyes and gracefully made the transition from the bottom of the stairs to an arm chair.
“You have mastered the art of walking, I see.” Draco commented,
“Yes, practice makes perfect.”
“Stop looking so nervous, they will be here any second,” Draco hissed through the side of his mouth.
Hermione scraped a smile across her freckled face and unclenched her fists.
There was a small patter of feet which slowly became louder and louder until the sound was echoing off the walls of the entrance hall and then became dampened by the soft hall way carpets.
“Welcome to my humble abode, Goyle how are you?” Draco said instantly turning on the charm, offering his hand to the bulky man who walked towards him with a small smirk on his face.
“Always the charmer aren’t you.” Goyle said taking Draco’s hand firmly.
Hermione stood there, like a statue, her eyes wide in shock. All the memories of her brief incarceration, in his cellar, returned to her.
“This is my partner Eve Mcall.”
Hermione was suddenly snapped out of her day dreaming by a light hand, being placed at the bottom of her back, guiding her forward.
Goyle leaned forward to plant kisses on each of her cheeks, while Hermione forced a smile on her face.
“Charmed,” he said not smiling.
“This is my mother, Annette.” Goyle said gliding his mother forward to greet Draco.
“You still wear the ring then.” Draco commented when he took Annette’s hand to kiss it.
“We are still married, Husband.” She drooled, looking satisfied and glancing rather obviously at Hermione.
Hermione was fine with the fact that she was being ignored for the moment, but she was sure that Draco would ask her to kick up a fuss just to make their relationship seem more realistic. That part she was not looking forward to.
“Shall we?” Draco asked, taking Annette’s arm and leading her towards the dining room. Hermione gave a meaningful look to Draco which he promptly ignored.
“So, where did you meet Draco?” Goyle asked, taking her arm.
“At a Ministry Christmas Party nearly three years ago.” Hermione said, turning to look at Goyle for the first time.
He didn’t look evil, just had a malicious glint about him which had remained with him since his school days. That malicious glint scared Hermione; it made her scalp tingle with fear and her hairs rise on end. Glints could lead to anything.
“So you work for the oppressors too?” Goyle asked in a slightly jokey manner, but with a hint of his real opinion.
“Sadly I do.” Hermione said smiling.
The two couples walked into the dining room and sat opposite each other.
Talk over diner turned little from the ‘old’ times, as Goyle like to call them. The reality was that they were a mixture of fantasy and a glazing over of any misdemeanour on their side. Annette completely ignored Hermione, which for once, she was relieved about. Annette was sure to notice any holes in her disguise.
“May I offer you a brandy, or a scotch? Or something else?” Draco asked Goyle.
The four of them were seated round the large fire place in the lounge; it was the same one which Hermione had arrived from the Ministry through.
“A fire whisky would be good. And mother will have a sherry.” Goyle said the fire lighting up his features in a rather disturbing way.
As usual Yves appeared on cue and distributed drinks to the guests and to both Hermione and Draco. Hermione was glad of the glass to hold. It would shift her concentration away from Annette and her prying eyes.
Draco moved closer to Hermione, placing his arm round her shoulder. Hermione gave him a quick glance, which he returned, and relaxed partially into his side. The two of them had to be more comfortable around each other or they were never going to convince anyone that they had been dating for any amount of time.
“This is very good whisky,” Goyle said admiring his glass.
“A nineteen-ninety-three I believe. A very good year.” Draco said confidently.
They chatted about mundane things, from the weather to the colour of the wall paint in the dining room, until Annette bought up The Case.
“How is your department handling the recent murder case? I read that you detained Miss Granger.”
Hermione did not even react when her name was bought up; she simply turned to Draco as if to listen to his answer. She also casually noticed his hand had fallen on her thigh as if to show the Goyle’s that she was his.
“We haven’t got very far at all. Drawing a blank I am afraid. And yes, we did detain Granger, but that was for an entirely unrelated incident involving the miss use of magic.” Draco said convincingly,
“That stupid Mudblood should have known better, wasn’t she supposed to be the brightest witch of her age?” Goyle laughed,
Once again Hermione remained composed and even managed to laugh, along with Goyle, a little.
“So they say.” Draco said tightening his grip on Hermione’s thigh.
Annette scoffed, “She could barely be considered a witch!”
“Now, now Annette, words like that can get you into trouble. Luckily for you I don’t turn in my friend’s mothers.” Draco said, smirking slightly.
Annette looked taken aback, “The Minsitry have got to you.” She accused, “and to think I am married to you!”
Goyle threw a cautionary glance at his mother.
“We should really be going; I have some business I need to be attending to. And I don’t want mother to be any more fired up than she is already.” Goyle said almost apologetically.
They bid Goyle and Annette farewell from the door way and then Hermione breathed a sigh of relief.
“That was horrible.” She said slipping out of her heals, “Every time I looked at him all I could see was my time in captivity or him organising hunts.”
“Don’t let that cloud your vision. For all we know Goyle might not even be the ring leader. We are just going on my assumption.” Draco said warning Hermione of her folly.
“I suppose. I did not like Annette, I can tell you that for sure, she always had to put in the fact that you two were still married. And the way she bought me into the conversation, she had such a foul look on her face when you defended me.” Hermione said frowning and sitting on the bottom step of the stairs.
“That is Annette for you, though I think she was trying to make you jealous. Don’t worry, you’re still my fake girlfriend.” Draco said, leaning down and kissing Hermione on the cheek in a friendly way.
“I am glad to be your fake girlfriend.” She laughed,
They hugged briefly and walked up the stairs still holding hands.
“Let me have a shower and then we can have a chat about how that went. And take a few notes on what we have gleamed from this evening.” Hermione said turning and walking to her room.
“Okay, I’ll give you half an hour then meet me in my room.”
Hermione turned and raised an eyebrow.
“I want to snuggle down in bed too you know. I am a man of creature comforts, and it has been a stressful day.”
Hermione rushed to the shower and then returned to her room, wanting a quick nap before Draco grilled her.