They arrived in front a mansion with a perfectly manicured lawn. Popping noises were behind her every so often as people began to show up and file in.
They approached the doorman, dressed rather sharply in cream and gold.
“Welcome Madame to the Dormer’s annual gala. Miss Romanoff, it is so good to have you back t join us. And who is this?”
He gestured to Marie; Natalya gave him one of her signature smiles “she is a guest of mine. Her name is Marie.”
The doorman seemed to know to not ask any questions from that point on. He just nodded and motioned to a couple of ushers.
“Can you please usher these beautiful women in?” The two men nodded and held out their arms for Natalya and Marie to take. Marie watched as Natalya linked arms with the handsome usher and motioned for Marie to do the same.
The foyer was long and intricate. Mirrors with gold filigree on the edges lined the hall. She looked at her reflection in the mirrors. Not even recognizing herself, she blushed and focused on the end of the foyer.
The double doors opened to a grand ballroom filled with all sorts of colors. She wasn’t the only one wearing green, which was expected. But, Natalya was the only one wearing red. Were they scared to wear the color?
Natalya curtsied to her usher and Marie awkwardly followed suit. Natalya sensed the feeling linked arms with Marie.
She leaned in close and whispered “here we go. Ready? This is going to be a bit of a whirlwind for you. This is our society, no longer deatheaters, but just Purebloods; trying to keep the old ways alive.”
Marie acknowledged the tip and prepared herself for all the mental notes.
Natalya steered her to a couple that she didn’t recognized.
“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Greengrass, it’s been so long.”
The strictly proper couple smiled their fake smiles “Natalya, we heard you were back. Did you hear about our daughter’s marriage two years ago? We feel it was the most advantageous marriage.”
Natalya knew it was meant to be a blow at her pride; she smirked knowing that no one could hurt her pride anymore than it was. “I did hear. You always were great at making the best matches for your girls.”
Marie looked around the room; she recognized some of the couples that she had interviewed as an intern at the prophet.
Natalya tugged her arm to signal to move forward.
Marie tried to adjust, the blur of people. The formality of it all was unfamiliar to her; she assumed it was a birthright to be a part of these people. She observed as Natalya moved with such fluidity through the crowds, smiled at acquaintances and made herself known to the more important people. She quickly realized that they were walking towards the end of the room to the Dormer’s. She resisted.
“Don’t worry; he is way too concerned with his image to do anything here.” Natalya helped soothe the butterflies in Marie’s stomach.
He was wearing dark green robes lined with silver thread and next to him stood a dark haired girl wearing the same color. She recognized the girl as being that stubborn Parkinson girl who tried so hard to get Marie to right an engagement column. Marie didn’t waste her time and felt it was inconsequential.
“Pansy Parkinson, it’s been so long. What have you been doing these days?” Natalya smirked.
“It’s Pansy Dormer now.” She flashed large sapphire surrounded by diamonds at Natalya.
“Congratulations, you defiantly deserve each other. Oh how rude of me, this is my good friend Marie. Marie, this is Damien and Pansy Dormer.” Natalya smiled a secret smile for Marie alone.
Marie smiled and found she enjoyed the game as she watched Damien look down “Nice to meet you.”
Nataya smiled and steered Marie away from the couple. Marie giggled a little “That was fantastic.”
“It’s about to get better” as she watched her good friend Blaise approach them.
Marie observed the man walking towards them. He was tall and lean, dressed in dark blue robes that matched his eyes. His black hair was perfectly messy and his smile seemed to hold a secret that only he and a woman would share.
“Marie, this is my good friend Blaise Zabini. Blaise, be a dear and watch over my friend here. I have to step outside for a minute; you know how much I hate coming here. It’s so stuffy and small.”
Marie watched as her life support left her with this dashing stranger in front of her. “So you’re the famous Marie Chambers. She mentioned you were doing a story on her.”
Marie nodded “yes, she’s proven to be the most dynamic subject I’ve had. She really is a complex sort.”
Blaise laughed “yes, well you’ve captured her personality well. We’ve been friends for a long time. I suppose I look at her with brotherly affection. Well, enough talking; would you like to dance?”
He held out a hand for her and she for once, felt completely careless. She took his hand and let him lead her to the dance floor.
She made her way to the patio, the fresh air was much needed and she was greedy with it. Taking in big gulps and using the balcony as support. It had been a long time since she had been to a proper gala and she forgot how overwhelming they were.
She was the one that knew every scandal and every misdeed; now she was completely removed from it and it was unfamiliar and not welcomed. But, she defiantly had no problem creating some scandal; like old times. The look on Dormer’s face was priceless, she smirked.
She felt him behind her, his eyes boring into her back.
“What can I do for you Dormer?” she didn’t have to turn around to read his reaction.
“Why? What have I done to you to deserve this?” he made his way closer to her.
“Absolutely nothing, but I’m not fond of your little wife, so perhaps that’s the reason I’m doing it.” She turned with her back to the far drop behind her.
He put both of his hands on either side of her, so she was trapped. She knew this game, and he obviously didn’t know that she was good at it.
“I could destroy you. My company owns basically everything including some lively stock in Gringotts; wouldn’t it be a shame if the Romanoff fortune were to disappear?”
She laughed “Well, it’s a good thing the Romanoff fortune is even out of your reach. We Romanoff’s were always paranoid about our fortune falling into the wrong hands. But, I have a little proposition for you Dormer. If you promise to never threaten me nor my family name; not that was much of a threat; I will not kill your little wife like I intended to later.” She looked at him sincerely.
He stepped back as though he had been burned. “You can’t just kill people anymore Natalya. We’re not in that kind of world anymore.”
“Really, because I owe your sweet little honey a visit. She betrayed my family to the Dark Lord. Her time has come; the Romanoff’s were not only the people she had meddled too deep with and you know it. She climbed a steep ladder and will soon lose balance and fall.”
She smiled a devilish smile “I wish I was, but your sweet wife is about to have her little world crash down on top of her; and not just her, but quite a few families. Including the Greengrasses; who unfortunately are celebrating their new found fame. I’m not the only one who came back. They betrayed three families and I guess the Dark Lord thought it would be fun to have the offspring stay alive; he wanted us to be angry and see our families die. So we would get the taste of revenge in our mouths.” She turned and faced the gardens that spread in front of her. She gripped onto the balcony as if she was going to lose her balance. “So go back inside and warn your wife. Hide her in the most inconspicuous spot. It will make my life so much more entertaining if I have to look for her.”
She heard his footsteps retreat from where she was. She had accomplished her task. To isolate one of the people most responsible for the damage that was done. She had to notify the others as soon as she got home.
Marie looked everywhere for Natalya and finally found her sipping champagne near the doors to the patio. The crowd was gradually dying down and the night was nearing the end.
“Looks like this night is almost over; everyone is leaving.” She watched as Blaise joined them.
Natalya snorted “over? Oh, dear you think that this was it? You’re sadly mistaken, the night has just begun.”
Marie glanced at the grandfather clock behind them and saw it read midnight.
“Really? It’s already midnight; everyone is leaving, what else is there?”
Natalya put a hand on Blaise’s arm “the usual?”
“Yes actually, that hasn’t changed.” He smiled affectionately at Natalya.
“Thank God, I was starting to believe everything had changed since my leaving.” She grabbed Marie’s arm. “Don’t worry Blaise, I’ll be sure to get her back to you.” With that she apparated them back to her flat.
“Time to change; we can’t go to the club wearing this.”
She led Marie back to the closet and handed her a deep blue strapless sequined dress; that once again looked like it would be showing way more leg than she wanted. She sighed knowing there was no use in arguing.
She handed her a pair of silver stilettos.
She looked at Natalya, she was wearing emerald green now. The dress had a corset top with a flared short skirt made of tulle. She was wearing silver stilettos as well.
“Why do you look less revealing than me?” Marie pouted.
“Because, I’m not impressing anyone.” She smiled.
“And I am?”
“Blaise likes you and so does Dormer; you’re one lucky woman tonight. Why not celebrate it?”
Marie blushed “Blaise is very sweet.”
Natalya linked arms with Marie. “This is a different world than the one we were in. You’ll see that.”
He saw her. The minute she apparated in, he saw her; he could pick her out of a crowd of thousands. She was so breathtaking; truly he forgot to breathe every time she was around. It was common and he got used to the feeling in school, but it had been so long since he had felt the feeling. He looked to his left at his wife. Astoria was supposed to be a replacement, a filling for the void that had formed inside. She had caused his heart to jump when he saw her; and of course her family had pushed for a quick engagement and marriage within the same year. But even he knew that she was no Natalya; and that woman stood not but twenty yards from him wearing his colors.
She was laughing; exposing that long beautiful neck that he used to like to smell. It always carried the most potent smell of her.
“You’ve got it bad, my friend.” He looked over at Blaise and rolled his eyes.
“Don’t be stupid about it; at least hide it a little. You couldn’t be more obvious, you might as well wipe that drool off your face mate; she isn’t interested in you anymore.”
Draco looked at Blaise “and you would know, how Blaise? Are you her confidant now?”
“I’ve always been her confidant Draco, even you know that. Anyways, words out that she has her eyes on a few people who betrayed her family, along with two others. She hasn’t changed one bit, our Natalya.”
“Blaise I need you to be completely honest with me. Who is it she has eye on? This is of the upmost importance.” Blaise looked at his friend; he looked genuinely worried.
“I have no idea mate. I’m sure it’s all a bunch of talk.”
“Then you don’t know her as well as you thought.” Blaise watched as his friend left the VIP section they had reserved at the club. He shook his head; this was a mess that he for once wasn’t going to clean up.
He looked at the dance floor and saw sweet Marie dancing with the soon to be absent Natalya. Originally he had danced with the girl as a favor for Natalya, but he had grown a fondness for the girl after sharing a rather intimate conversation with her.
He stood and walked towards the dance floor and smirked as Draco led Natalya out the door. An opportune moment at the expense of his friend; he approached the unaware Marie and started to sway with her. She turned and smiled at him.
He truly enjoyed this game; he glanced at Dormer's table and grinned when he saw him get more and more anxious. He put a hand at Marie's waist and moved with her; swaying back and forth to the music that was pumping through the stereos.
"Not until I get some answers; I got some disturbing news Natalya and I hope it isn't true" They rounded to an alley next to the club, smiling to some of the more concerned wizards and witches that walked past them.
She was finally able to wrench her elbow away from him "what's it to you, Malfoy? Last time I checked we are no longer an item and have no business getting involved in each other's lives; especially you!"
"Are you really seeking revenge Natalya? The war is over; you have no one to serve anymore." He raked his hand through his hair afraid of her response.
She reached over and yanked his sleeve up, exposing something that was never removed "it's not a religion, Draco. It's who we were, remember Draco? You may put yourself on a high pedestal as a changed person, but you're hands are just as red as mine, and they will never be clean. "She looked at him with disgust.
" You put your trust in Blaise now? Are you two an item Natalya?"
She snorted "Blaise, he's a dear, but never will I ever consider that man anywhere close to more than a friend."
He sighed "they'll find you Natalya; after you've achieved this so called vengeance of yours; Potter and Weasley will throw you in Azkaban and you WILL receive the dementor's kiss."
"So be it then. I would join my parents at least; and my father would be proud. In the end that’s what it's all about right? Making our family happy?"
He knew it was a blow at him and took in deep breaths, preventing him from reaching out and choking the woman in front of him. He had picked up the trait of patience after the war, but this woman was trying it and it was about to crack whatever amount of patience he had left.
"The Draco I knew, didn't give a damn what his family thought of him." She slinked around him and walked back towards the doorman. It started to rain and Draco rolled his eyes. Of course it would start to rain. He yanked his shirt sleeve down and walked back towards the club, no clearer than he was when he came out here in the first place.