Chapter 1 : Forever My Draco: A Draco Malfoy Love Story: Chapter 1
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“Oh, Zoe!” Daniella wailed, tugging my close to her for a bittersweet final embrace. Her pin-straight black hair tickled my shoulders, which were exposed because of my hot pink tank top. My faded jean shorts allowed my legs to brush up against my mother’s. I flipped my strawberry-blonde curls onto my back so that she wouldn’t get them snotty. I hugged her back tightly as tears filled my own eyes, so pale a blue that they looked almost gray. “Zoe, sweetheart! How are we going to leave you?!”
“I have to go, Mum,” I sniffled, wiping my eyes and pulling away. I kissed her blotchy cheek and wiped the tears away from her puffy dark brown eyes. “The scholarship to go and the opportunity... I can’t disregard them. This is my dream.”
“I know, darling,” Mum whispered. “It is just so hard to see you go! It is what’s best for my only daughter, but I can’t help but be a wreck.”
“I need to catch my train,” I said softly, hugging her one last time. “I love you, Mum. To the moon and back.”
“To the moon and back, Zoe,” Mum repeated, kissing my forehead.
Then she was walking away, down the pavement, out of the station. I could see her open the door to her car, look back and wave once. I waved back, even though she couldn’t see, and her car pulled out of the parking lot. Tears filled my eyes and threatened to overflow, but I pushed them back. Pull it together, Campbell, I muttered. It’s your mum dropping you off for photography school. You can handle a semester of boarding school before you go home for vacation.
Just then, a trio consisting of two boys and a girl walked past me. The girl, who had a smooth voice, bushy brown hair, and matching dark eyes, looked sideways at me and smiled. I waved back, and she walked over to me, eyeing my cart with all of my trunks. The group each had one, as well, so I got excited. Maybe they went to school at the London Academy of Photography, as I would!
“Hello,” the girl said brightly. She reached over to shake my hand firmly. “I’m Hermione! Are you going to the, er, boarding school?” She gestured with her hand towards a pillar between Platforms 9 and 10. It confused me a bit, considering the train I’d be taking to the Academy was arriving at Platform Ten, but I figured she’d just gestured to the wrong place on accident.
I nodded. “I’m Zoe Campbell. Yes, actually! Are you all?”
“Yes! How lovely!” Hermione squealed. A second later, she seemed to remember something, and spun around to face the two boys. “Well?”
The boy with black hair, green eyes, and a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead stepped towards me and held out a hand. “Harry Potter.”
“Nice to meet you, Harry,” I said with a smile. There was something in Harry’s eyes that was almost unrecognizable. It was almost like he’d expected me to...recognize him? But as soon as I saw it, it was gone. Maybe I’d imagined it.
“Ron Weasley,” the second boy said with a tentative smile. He had cute brown eyes, short, fire-red hair, and lots of freckles. The result of all of those components was a very adorable boy with, presumably, a fiery temper. I gave him a shy smile in return.
“Is that natural?” Hermione asked suddenly, interrupting my daydreams. I gave her a questioning look. “Your curls. They’re beautiful. Are they natural?”
“Yes,” I said with a smile. My hair was, personally, my favorite physical asset of mine. I loved its color, and its silkiness. “Thank you.”
As Hermione chattered on with the boys and me about random topics, another boy walked past us and stopped by Harry and Ron. He was gorgeous. My heart stopped beating at the sight of him. Something about the look in his icy-blue eyes captivated me as they connected with mine. Neither of us looked away, pulled into oblivion with the other’s gaze. There was nothing besides him. Every opinion of mine I’d had about anyone else- Ron and his cuteness, the other boys I’d dated briefly at home- instantaneously vanished. I fought the urge to run up to him and fling myself into his arms.
“Draco.” Harry’s harsh, intolerant voice cut through the spell. I caught my breath, wonderstruck, and my heart throbbed. Although it had resumed a semblance of regularity, it still beat in a quickly, fluttery way. What was this?
The boy ran a trembling hand over his platinum-blonde hair in confusion. He looked about as lost as I felt. I could see his chest rising and falling unnaturally swiftly and heavily, and I couldn’t help but be glad that I wasn’t the only one affected by the moment.
“Lovestruck, Malfoy?” Ron asked mockingly. Hermione, Harry, and he all laughed heartily and mercilessly. Ron and Harry bumped fists in triumph. Why were the three of them being so mean?
A pink blush of embarrassment spread to my cheeks as he sought my eyes again. I bit my lip when we stared straight at each other again. This time, though, I looked down at the ground when his gaze became more intense and heated.
“Get a bloody room!” Harry shouted, extremely loudly. People all over the station turned to look at us.
The light pink in my cheeks turned into cherry red. I stalked over to Harry and grabbed his wrists in my hand. Unconscious of the fact, in a moment, I’d backed him up into a wall. His hands were imprisoned by mine and his back was flattened against it. Those green eyes had a terrified expression in them.
“Take it back,” I snarled. “Now.”
“I take it back!” Harry yelped immediately. “I’m sorry! I take it back!”
I stepped back as if someone had slapped me in the face. My hands covered my mouth and I started shaking uncontrollably. What had just happened?
I sat down on the pavement, unable to look at Harry. The anger from his insult was still there, burning inside me, but it was nothing compared to the reaction I’d had. I lowered my head into my hands and started to cry. What was wrong with me? What had I done?
“Zoe?” A hesitant voice behind me whispered in my ear. It was Hermione.
I turned to face her, tears in my eyes. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean... I don’t know what... I’m so sorry!”
“Don’t apologize, Zoe,” Hermione said carefully. “You had every right to do that, and worse. I’m sorry that we were so awful to you and Draco. We just don’t exactly...like...him. We think he’s dangerous.”
“Dangerous? How?” I questioned, accident forgotten.
“I’ll fill you in on the train,” Hermione whispered. “If you still want to sit with us. We’d understand if you don’t... We were wrong, and I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize, Hermione,” I giggled. “It’s fine. I’m sorry, too.”
“Great,” Hermione smiled. “Would you like to sit with us?”
I hesitated. “I... Let me talk to... You said his name’s Draco?”
“Yes, Draco,” Hermione said. “Here, Harry, Ron, and I will board the train. You can talk to Draco. Come to the Platform with him, and if you want to sit with us, fine us. If you don’t, I understand.” Hermione winked. She actually winked.
I stood up and walked over to Harry, who was sitting against the wall and wide-eyed. I bit my lip and sat next to him. “I’m so sorry. I have no idea what got into me. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, Zoe,” Harry laughed.
I cocked my head. “Really?”
“Yeah, really,” Harry said with a grin. “I really deserved it. I deserved worse, actually. But I’m sorry for saying that. It wasn’t nice.”
“So we’re good?” I asked.
“Completely,” Harry laughed. I joined in and hugged him.
“We good, Ron?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Ron said with a chuckle. “You’re strong, Zoe. And Harry deserved that. Next time, throw a punch or two while you’re at it.” We laughed hysterically at that one.
“Hey, where’s...?” I asked, trailing off. I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten his name already.
“Draco?” Hermione asked. I nodded. “He went that way.” She pointed towards Platform 1. “We’ll get on the train. Go find Draco. If you don’t come in fifteen minutes to tell us where you’re sitting, we’re coming back to find you. The Express leaves in twenty.”
“Thanks, Hermione,” I said, hugging her. I’d known her for all of a half hour and already we felt like sisters.
I didn’t watch to see where Hermione and the boys went. By the time I’d released Hermione from my embrace, I was running towards Platform 1 to find Draco.
I stopped at Platform 1 and looked around slowly. There was no sign of a platinum-blonde anywhere. My shoulders dropped and I sighed. He probably was on the train already, to get away from me. Just as I was about to turn back, someone tapped on my shoulder.
I whipped around and saw Draco standing behind me with a crooked grin on his face. That grin was... Beautiful. It took my breath away. His mouth was spread wide to show perfectly spaced, white-as-snow teeth.
“I don’t believe we’ve had a proper introduction,” Draco mused. As he spoke, I realized that it was the first time I’d ever heard his voice. It was perfect, a harmony to my melody, the symphony to my instrument. It was musical, smooth, adorable. Draco stuck out his hand. “I’m Draco Malfoy.”
“Zoe Campbell,” I whispered, taking his hand to shake it. Instead of shaking it back, though, Draco rearranged it inside his palm and kissed the back. I relished in the feel of his lips on my skin. He let them linger on my hand quite a while longer than necessary, looking up at me all the while through thick blonde lashes. I’m pretty sure that I visibly swooned.
When he finally pulled away, Draco let my hand drop gently. It swished to my side, brushing my leg. The electric pull I felt towards him was almost undeniable. I wondered if he felt the same way. We were just standing on the concrete, staring into each other’s eyes once again, when we were interrupted by two adults clad in black robes.
“Mother, Father,” Draco acknowledged them with a nod of his head. He stepped back so we were side by side, facing his parents. “Mother, this is Zoe Campbell. Zoe, this is my mother, Narcissa Malfoy.”
“Hello, dear,” Mrs. Malfoy said. Her voice was an exact female version of Draco’s. We shook hands; hers was soft and small inside mine. Her grip was dainty.
“And Father, this is Zoe Campbell,” Draco said formally. “Zoe, this is my father, Lucius Malfoy.”
“Pleased to meet you both, Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy,” I said in a nervous, high voice. We’d barely met, and I was meeting Draco’s parents!
“It’s a pleasure to gain your acquaintance as well, Miss Campbell,” Mr. Malfoy said cordially.
“We must catch the Express, Mother and Father,” Draco said stiffly. I didn’t like it when his voice got like that. It made him sound like an escort. “I will see you at Christmas break.”
“Yes, Draco.” Lucius’s voice was a monotone with the intonation of gravel. “A pleasure to meet you, Miss Campbell.”
“Have a safe trip home, Mr. Malfoy,” I offered, not sure how many more versions of nice to meet you there were left.
Draco and Lucius shook hands and Lucius shook mine. His grip was all too tight, leaving me with, assumingly, bruises from where his fingers pressed into my skin. I tried not to cringe as he pulled away.
“Lovely girl, Draco,” Mrs. Malfoy commented. Both of us blushed intensely, but Draco didn’t correct her. That shot a jolt of electricity through me, and I’m pretty sure my grin was brighter than the sun in Texas. “I expect we’ll be seeing you, as well, at Christmas, Miss Campbell?”
“Uh,” I stuttered, completely caught off guard.
“Mother!” Draco snapped, color flooding his face again.
“I apologize, Draco,” Mrs. Malfoy giggled in an enchanting, girly way. “We’ll see you soon, hopefully, Miss Campbell. Have a good semester, Draco. Keep in touch.”
“Yes, Mother,” Draco said, still red in the face. Mrs. Malfoy reached up to hug him and kiss his cheek. After she pulled away, there was a very visible, very red mark of her lipstick there, which Draco was unaware of. His mother and I shared a devious look of amusement before the couple left.
Draco cleared his throat. “Er, I’m sorry, Zoe. I didn’t mean to... Did that offend you?”
“Did what offend me?” I asked in confusion as we walked back to Platform 10.
“My, uh, mother’s...insinuations?” Draco’s pale face was unnaturally colored again.
“Oh.” I blushed. “I... It’s fine. I wasn’t offended.”
“Good,” Draco said. Awkwardness was tangible in the air between us.
We retrieved our carts at the Platform and Draco turned to face the pillar. “Ladies first.”
“What?” I asked in absolute bewilderment.
“The pillar. We have to run through it to get to the Express,” Draco said, raising his eyebrows. “You’ve never been on the Express before?”
“No,” I admitted. “I haven’t.”
“Well, you just run straight at the pillar. For people that go to the school, it opens up and lets us into the actual Platform.” Draco stated matter-of-factly.
“Um...” I tried to grasp at what he was saying. Could he be trying to make a fool out of me? I didn’t think so... “So you just run straight into the pillar and you come out on a Platform on the other side?”
“Yes,” Draco said, nudging me forward with his shoulder. My breath caught at the sudden touch, and that was all the bravery and encouragement I needed.
I took a deep breath, gripped my cart tightly, and ran straight for the pillar. I couldn’t resist closing my eyes at the last second, waiting for the crash and laughter. But there was none.
When I opened my eyes again, I was in another room, richly decorated. I was staring straight at a gorgeous train called The Hogwarts Express. I gasped; it was amazing.
“Beautiful,” Draco’s voice was right in my ear. I turned my head and his face was directly in front of mine.
I turned away to form a proper response. “Yes, it is.”
“I wasn’t talking about the train.” Draco’s voice was so soft that I wasn’t even sure that I heard it, so I just let him lead away from the entrance pillar.
We found an empty compartment and I hoisted my trunks up into the overhead storage. I turned my head as I closed the lid to the section to find Draco staring at me. “What?”
“Nothing,” Draco said in a breathy voice that made me think that he meant something.
“Wait, Draco,” I murmured as we sat down. I could feel the train start up and fly along the tracks. “Why’s this train called the Hogwarts Express?”
Draco’s forehead crinkled up in confusion. The expression alone took my breath away. “You don’t know?”
“No,” I said, biting my lip. “You’re going to the same school as me, right? The London Academy of Photography?”
“What in the bloody hell are you talking about?” Draco exclaimed.
“But...” I trailed off. “Where are we going? I got a letter from the London Academy of Photography saying that I’d gotten into the school for the two remaining years on scholarship... Books, uniform, supplies, everything was covered! How... Where are we going? Where are you going?”
“Hogwarts Academy...” Draco stopped midway through his sentence. “Hogwarts Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
I stood up, immediately in tears. What kind of cruel joke was this? Pick on the new girl? I wiped my eyes and stormed out of the compartment.
“Zoe!” I heard Draco yell as I crossed into the next car. “Zoe! Where are you going? Zoe?!”
I stormed through the door, into the next compartment. I didn’t even notice who was in it. I ran down the train until I found Harry, Hermione, and Ron sitting together and talking quietly. They all looked up, and Hermione jumped out of her seat when she saw the tears in my eyes.
“Zoe! What’s wrong?” Hermione demanded, wrapping me in her arms.
“Draco...” I wailed. “He told me... He’s being cruel.”
“How?” Hermione asked gently.
“I asked him why the train was called the Hogwarts Express, since we’re going to the London Academy of Photography, and he told me...” I sniffed. “He told me it was because we’re going to Hogwarts Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He’s being awful. What a horrible joke!”
“What did you say?” Hermione asked hesitantly.
I repeated myself. “Isn’t that an awful thing to say?”
“I hate to say this, Zoe, but Draco wasn’t joking,” Hermione said. “Who told you that you’re going to the London Academy of Photography?”
“I got a letter a week ago saying that I was accepted last-minute on scholarship!” I exclaimed, Draco suddenly forgotten.
“Do you live with your parents?” Hermione asked cautiously.
“No, they died when I was a baby,” I whispered. “I live with a woman named Daniella Thomas. Her and her husband adopted me when I was little. He died last year, though, so now it’s just Daniella and me.”
A light dawned in Hermione’s eyes. “Did Daniella like to gossip?”
“Yes,” I answered automatically before adopting a defensive attitude. “But it wasn’t cruel! She just liked to talk about everyone and know everything!”
“It makes sense,” Harry said slowly.
“Yeah,” Ron added with a pensive look on his face.
“I think they told you that you were going to the London Academy of Photography because... Everything will be explained to you when we get to Hogwarts, Zoe,” Hermione said with a soft smile. “I know it sounds confusing, but I’m sure Dumbledore- our headmaster at Hogwarts- will meet with you and tell you what’s going on.”
“Okay,” I said, completely lost. “So... Draco wasn’t making fun of me?”
“No!” Harry, Hermione, and Ron said at once. We all laughed.
“I’m not saying I don’t hate him,” Ron muttered.
“But he is being almost civil to you,” Harry said incredulously. Just then, Draco burst into the compartment. “Speak of the devil!”
Draco glared at Harry and crossed his arms. “And you’re the angel.”
“Boys!” Hermione yelled. They turned their attention to her. “Draco, please come with me. We’ll be right back,” Hermione added with a glance in my direction.
Hermione went to the next compartment with Draco and they talked for a few moments before coming back. Draco had a look of comprehension on his face as well as pity. He walked over to me and did what I’d been hoping for since the moment I met him- he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close to his chest.
I breathed in the smell of him, sweet and intoxicating. I put my face in his chest and just took it all in. What had Hermione said to him?
This time, there were no cracks from the peanut gallery as we embraced. When we pulled away, I saw that they were all looking pointedly at the landscape. They turned towards us when I coughed, my cheeks ablaze as well as Draco’s.
“We’re going back to our compartment,” I said. “Thank you, guys.”
“Anytime, Zoe,” Harry said with a smile. Hermione hugged me and whispered behave! in my ear. I blushed...again.
When we reached our old compartment, Draco and I started speaking at the same exact time.
We both laughed, looking deep into each other’s eyes. When we finally looked away, I gave myself a few moments to catch my breath. Draco told me to go first.
I took a deep breath. “I’m really sorry, Draco... I thought you were tricking me and making fun of me. And it hurt really bad.”
“It did?” Draco asked curiously. “I thought you were just mad.”
“Yeah- no.” I whispered, blinking slowly. “It hurt, definitely. What were you going to say?”
“I was going to say that you didn’t have to explain anything, because Hermione already did,” Draco said with a small smile. “And that you didn’t have to say sorry. But you already did.”
I laughed. “Yeah, I’m not really sure what’s going on... But I get that it’s a long story, and it’ll be explained when we get to the Academy- Hogwarts. When we get to Hogwarts.”
Draco grinned. “Awesome.”
Now that Draco’s flush had died down and I wasn’t preoccupied, I noticed something red on his cheek and burst into hysterics. The lipstick from Mrs. Malfoy’s kiss had remained through all of this! Draco just looked at me like I was crazy while tears poured out of my eyes.
“Your mom- kiss- lipstick-“ I managed in between bouts of laughter.
Comprehension dawned on Draco’s face. “No. No way.”
“Yes- way!” I giggled.
“Get it off!” Draco yelled, suppressing laughter himself.
I stood up from my seat and put my hand on Draco’s face. Immediately, his eyes half-closed, his breathing slowed, and his blinks became longer and longer. It was almost as if he wanted to close his eyes. My heartbeat quickened.
I ran my thumb along the red mark until it had pretty much disappeared. Even though I regretted to take my hand off his soft cheek, I pulled it back slightly. Draco’s relaxed eyes shot open and his hand reached up to cover mine, placing it again on his face.
His ice-blue eyes stared into my own pale blue ones, and electricity rushed down my spine, all the way to my toes. The intensity of his gaze captured me, and I just let myself study the facets of his eyes. The pure astonishment and adoration in my eyes seemed to match the expression on his face.
Without warning, Draco stood up and took me in his arms. It felt like home, with his hands on the small of my back, mine around his neck. I rested my head on his chest and I could hear his heartbeat. In that moment, I couldn’t even remember my own name.
Draco leaned his head down next to mine, and I could feel his hot breath on my ear. “You should go get changed, and so should I, Zoe.”
I pulled back and murmured, “Where?”
“Two cars down for you, three for me,” Draco said with a small, distracted grin. “Meet me back here?”
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