Chapter 3 : Getting to know you
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“Do they love you?” she asked; I thought about it.
“I think so, Father doesn’t really show it,” I said with a sigh.
Being me was very difficult. I was expected to be this perfect Pureblood child of two very famous (and racist) families. The house of Malfoy and Black. I used to be very proud but talking about this now with someone made me doubt my nobility.
“They expect me to be great,” I said. She stared at me, her brown-caramel eyes sparkling.
“They should be happy of who you are now, not pressuring you,” she told me. I let out a deep breath, rubbing my eyes for they suddenly stung.
“Well, they’re my parents, they should be proud of me,” I muttered to myself then inclined my head to look at her properly, “What about you? Don’t you feel the same way about your parents?”
“No,” she said shortly, “They care.”
My lower lip stuck out. I looked away from her for something was stirring inside me. Was it anger? No, it felt deeper than that. Yes, I knew what it was now. Jealously.
“I envy you,” she said. My head turned to look at her so fast that my neck made a crick sound.
“Why?” I asked shrewdly.
“You got that cool house down this hill. You have all the peace you want and nobody can disturb you. I could use this place. And I bet you’re so rich.”
My eyes narrowed. She looked deadly serious. I felt something boiling in the pits of my stomach as I glared at her.
“Granger, there are more important things than that,” I slowly said, sitting up. She did the same and looked at me curiously, “Well, there’s friendship—” I felt myself smile—“Bravery and…”
I looked deep into her brown-caramel eyes and felt myself get lost in them. The freckles around her cheeks were more noticeable because her skin was turning red. I felt myself redden as well. There was a moment of silence before I cleared my throat and she looked away.
“And love, right?” she asked.
I smiled warmly at her and it felt good.
“Yeah, the most important,” I said.
“Have you ever been in love?” she suddenly said.
I looked away from her for my neck was suddenly feeling very hot and turning red. The wind whistled in my ears as Granger stared expectantly at me. My mind was completely in utter mess, trying to rack through the layers of my brain to find a single person I had fallen in love with before. I took a deep breath.
“In love like with a girl?” I said stupidly. She laughed.
“Of course, Draco, unless you’re homosexual,” she joked. I laughed nervously.
“Uhm, not that I know of,” I stammered.
“Really?” she sounded fairly surprised but I somehow heard a bit of relief in her tone.
“I had my first crush when I was in the second grade. His name was Toby and he was this cool awesome skateboarder—” I had no idea what that meant—“and I was stupid enough to confess my feelings to him. He was in the fourth grade at that time so he looked at me like I was a crazy person and he just said, ‘I like you too’. Oh gosh, I was so embarrassed. Have you ever felt like that?” she narrated, grinning at me. I shook my head.
“Not really,” I answered plainly.
“Well, maybe you will. Where do you go to school anyway?”
I hesitated again. I looked away from her, scratching the back of my neck nervously.
“I go to boarding school,” I lied easily, “I really can’t say where. I’m forbidden to say.”
She looked downcast. I shrugged uncomfortably.
“Sorry,” I muttered but there was still a bit of hope inside me. I wasn’t sure if she were a Muggle or a Mudblood yet. And for some reason, when I said the word “Mudblood” in my head, my stomach would twist itself into a knot because of the guilt playing in my stomach.
“You know, Granger—” I began when she cut me off,
“Why do you call me by my surname?”
“Erm,” I swallowed. I wanted to say, because you’re a Muggle and I don’t want to have your germs rubbing off me but I managed a weak grin.
“Sorry, I’m used to it,” I lied again but this felt hard, “My parents say that I can’t call people with their first names until I’m close friends with them.”
Granger scooted closer to me until I could smell the flowery scent that came off her frizzy hair. It really made me smile to myself. She stared deeply at me.
“Well, I can’t wait to hear you say my name,” she said hopefully; my mouth dropped. She was really waiting for the moment when I would shout the word, Hermione! It made me shudder a bit but also made my smile widen.
“Yeah, me too.”
Draco was laughing until he was clutching his stomach. I just told him the time when a boy named Danny accidentally put gum on my hair and I had to wear a small wig so that the bald spot wasn’t seen. I felt my face growing red, not because of how embarrassed I was and am but of Draco who was laughing hysterically, tears spilling from the corners of his eyes as he rolled onto the grass, blades of green sticking to his blonde hair. His laugh felt like music to my ears.
“Oh— I –wish—I –was—there!” he choked out between laughs. I punched him on the gut playfully. He took a deep breath and stopped. His face was completely red and he wore this stupid grin.
“Shut up,” I muttered, “I bet you had some embarrassing moments in school.”
“I don’t go to school,” he said, “I’m home-schooled.”
“What?” I was completely confused, “I thought you said that you go to boarding school.”
The grin slipped off his face. For a second, he looked fearful before he cracked another forced grin again.
“Oh, sorry, I didn’t say that I was going now,” he said calmly, “I’ll be starting this September.”
I felt even more confused but didn’t press the subject on. I felt like he was lying to me as if he had this secret life he wasn’t supposed to say. That made me a bit self conscious. He was soothing his sleeked blonde hair and his grey eyes looked stormy.
“ So, erm, where are your parents?” I asked, hoping to change the topic. He looked down at his Manor below and gulped.
“They’re busy,” he simply said, “I can’t tell you their jobs.”
He’s lying again, I thought. I sighed and rested my chin on my legs and stared at the clouds forming animals and objects. I spotted an ice cream cone shaped one. I pointed it out to Draco and the storm in his eyes softened.
“Oh, look!” he pointed to a one in the east. It looked like a deformed circle.
“What’s that?” I asked. He looked at me and cracked a smirk.
“It’s a heart!”
I looked at it properly and could see the shape starting to form. I suddenly felt my cheeks burn. I ignored the feeling of my stomach doing somersaults and stared at Draco who was too busy staring at the heart shaped cloud.
He looked so peaceful and the sun rays rested on his face so that it looked like silver. It sent a shiver down my spine. He turned his head to me and I had a split second to turn my face away before he caught me looking at him.
“You know, Granger,” he shifted his weight and I frowned when he used my surname. Again.
“What?” I asked. He shrugged.
“I’ve never seen you around here before,” he said absentmindedly.
“Oh, I’m visiting my grandparents,” I answered and his face darkened as if he were remembering something unpleasant. He wrinkled his nose and I stared at him.
“What?” I demanded.
“Oh, sorry, nothing, I just smelled something my servant is cooking down in the Manor,” he said quickly and his ears turned slightly pink. Lying, I thought in my head but kept my trap shut. He had used the word servant. Was he really that rich?
And then when I looked at my watch and saw 12:10, I was about to turn away when I realized with a jolt that my grandmother was waiting for me! I stood up and Draco looked at me with brows raised.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“I need to go,” I said. He looked crestfallen.
“My grandmother’s probably looking for me,” I answered and ran down the hill. He stood up and followed me, looking bitter. I pulled my bike to its tire and swung my leg over the seat. Draco looked at me hopelessly as if he really liked my bike and wanted to have it. I sighed and said,
“Bye, Draco,” I said. Time flew by so fast. I thought it was only 10:30.Draco nodded, scratching the back of his neck. He was looking at anywhere but me.
“Bye, Hermione,” he mumbled.
I was about to peddle into the fields when I caught what he said. I turned around sharply and gaped at him stupidly. He raised his brows again.
“You called me Hermione,” I told him. He blushed.
“Erm, yeah, it’s your name, isn’t it?” he stammered. I giggled.
“I thought you said you’d only call people with their first names when you’re close to them,” I said; the corners of his lips tugged.
“Erm, yeah, aren't we close now?” he was shifting his feet uncomfortably. I laughed.
“I guess I didn't have to wait that long,” I said. He smiled.
“Yeah, see ya, hopefully,” but something in his tone told me that he doubted whether or not I’d come back. I placed a hand on his shoulder and he looked at me with brows knitted together.
“I’ll be back, Draco,” I said. This made his smile widen, “You’re too lonely here.”
We both laughed. He nodded and I started to ride my bike back through the fields of where my grandmother’s house sat. The wind whistled in my ears as I passed. And when I was a good mile away, I turned back and saw that Draco was now standing on the hill under the olive tree, holding my red beach ball over his head. I had left it in his possessions again.
“Bye, Draco,” I mumbled and turned back to the road.
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