Chapter 5 : Chapter Four: Setting the Story Straight
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When Hermione and Teddy left Draco’s office that day, things took a turn for the worse. Cooper went into cardiac arrest but luckily, Draco was able to resuscitate him in time. Now Cooper was on a vigorous prescription regime for his heart problems – yet another problem to add to the three-year-old’s regimen.
Draco stood at the end of Cooper’s bed, finding himself wishing he could switch places with the little boy. No one should suffer this much pain in such a short lifetime. Draco scribbled a few things down on Cooper’s chart and placed it in the holder at the end of the bed.
As Draco turned to leave, Mr. Pierson came stumbling into the room. “Where’s my boy!” Mr. Pierson slurred loudly. Draco winced as the scent of alcohol came wafting across the short distance between the two men. Draco put his hand on Mr. Pierson’s shoulder and steered him out of the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
“Mr. Pierson, Cooper is resting. I need to update you on his condition,” Draco began, stopping only when he noticed the glazed look in Mr. Pierson’s eyes. Draco cleared his throat. “Cooper is sleeping. I can come get you when he wakes up.”
Mr. Pierson nodded gruffly and pushed away from Draco. “Don’t kill my boy!” he warned, holding a finger in Draco’s face. “Or I’ll kill you myself!”
Draco sighed. “He’ll be fine, Mr. Pierson. How did you get here?”
“Drove myself straight from O’Malley’s, I did!”
Draco shook his head in disgust. “I’ll call you a cab, Mr. Pierson. You can pick your car up tomorrow. You shouldn’t drive in this condition.”
“And what condition is that, you judgmental bastard!” He slurred, pushing Draco. “You callin’ me a drunk?”
Draco resisted the urge to take a swing at the man. Instead, he put his hands up in surrender. “I’m just saying it’s not safe for you to be driving right now.”
“Oh, you think you’re so high and mighty because you’re a doctor! Woo wee! A doctor, ladies and gents!” he shouted, gesturing to the nurses walking up and down the corridor around them. Draco gritted his teeth. “If the good ol’ doctor says jump then we all better as how high!”
Draco grabbed Mr. Pierson’s upper arm and dragged him into an empty room next too Cooper’s. He pushed him against the wall and held him there by the collar of his shirt. Draco quickly got into Mr. Pierson’s face. “You need to show a little sense, Dylan,” Draco spat. “While your son is suffering in the next room, you’re out at O’Malley’s in the middle of the day getting sloshed past the point of sanity.” Draco watched as comprehension flickered in Mr. Pierson’s eyes for a split second. “Now. I am going to call you a cab to take you home. I’m not going to argue about it.”
Hermione sat on a bench, watching Teddy play with the other children at the park across the street from her flat, while trying to keep her lunch down. She felt sick. How could she agree to pretend to be Draco’s girlfriend? She smiled and waved at Teddy as he ran past her. She thought back to Teddy’s checkup and how sweet Draco had been…and how attractive. She shook the crazy thoughts out of her head. No. Draco Malfoy is not attractive. Draco Malfoy is the Slytherin git from Hogwarts that made her life hell on more than one occasion. She could not put the words “Draco Malfoy” and “attractive” together in the same sentence. But he sure did look fetching in that white doctor’s coat…
“Arggh!” Hermione groaned in frustration. She reddened as a group of mothers on the next bench over startled and looked at her as though she had sprouted another head. Hermione quickly began swatting at the air in front of her. “Sorry, there was a bug!” she lied, averting eye contact.
Teddy ran to her. “Auntie Hermione, can we go home? I want to practice my magic!”
Hermione silently thanked the heavens that children were allowed to say those kinds of things without people becoming suspicious. “Sure, baby.” She grabbed his hand and walked across the street, and up to her flat with Teddy.
When she opened the door, she immediately noticed a letter sitting on her coffee table. Teddy let go of her hand and ran to the guest bedroom to find the stash of toys in the closet. Hermione picked up the letter and opened it. Her eyes scanned down to the signature and noticed it was from Draco. She held her breath and began reading from the top.
We need to start getting together more often. Pick a place and time and let’s meet up. If we’re going to start “dating” then we need to start acting like it. Owl me at your earliest convenience.
Hermione flipped the paper over and bit her lip before scribbling down her reply.
How about tomorrow at my place? Ron comes back.
Draco sat on the couch in Hermione’s flat with his work binder in his lap, watching her with an amused glint in his silver eyes as she rushed around the apartment frantically trying to prepare for Ron’s imminent arrival.
“Maybe you being here is overkill,” Hermione repeated for the hundredth time that day. “Maybe he’ll just stop by, pick up his things, and be on his way.”
“Or maybe,” Draco replied for the hundredth time, “he’ll show up with Adriana Perelli, the famous Italian supermodel, on his arm, and you’ll be standing here alone like a pathetic, heartbroken loser.”
Hermione bit her lip, standing in the entryway of the kitchen, as she pondered over the different possibilities. If Ron did show up with his new girlfriend and she was alone, she would feel utterly stupid. She didn’t want Ron thinking she was waiting for him. Which she obviously was. “But isn’t this so immature?”
Draco sighed, annoyed. “What’s immature, Granger? You’re spending the day with your boyfriend. You don’t know when he’s coming for sure. He never contacted you to tell you. This is completely innocent.”
Hermione crossed her arms over her chest and leaned against the wall. “Maybe you’re right…”
“I know I’m right,” Draco said, tossing his binder aside and kicking his feet up onto the coffee table, making himself comfortable. “Now, do you know how to be a normal girlfriend?”
Hermione glared at him. She almost forgot how arrogant he was capable of being. “Of course I do. I was a girlfriend for five years, thank you very much.”
“Good. Now you get to find out first hand how a girlfriend is supposed to be treated.”
The way he said those words as he leaned back on the couch with his hands behind his head made the butterflies in her stomach come to life for a fraction of a second. But a tap on the window made her jump. She spun around and saw Hedwig in the window. She rushed over to open it and untied the letter with shaky hands.
Teddy broke the news to Ron about your “boyfriend named Malfoy from the hospital”. You’ve got a lot of explaining to do, but Harry and I have decided to play along (although Harry had a hard time masking the shock). We told him you’ve been seeing each other for only a week now and that we don’t know anything more than that, so keep this story in mind for when Ron confronts you because, with the steam coming out of his ears, it seems like it’s unavoidable. And on a side note, the bimbo keeps calling him Ronaldo as she pets his head. I have to get back to lunch with everyone. I just wanted to sneak away to write this. They keep asking me what’s taking so long. I expect to hear the whole story soon missy! – Ginny.
Hermione turned to face Draco. He looked at her expectantly. “Teddy broke the news to Ron and everybody at lunch just now. Ginny wrote to me saying she and Harry covered for me and told him we’ve been seeing each other for a week now,” she said, holding up the letter as evidence.
Draco laughed. “So I guess we don’t have to worry about breaking the news to anybody.”
Hermione gave a nervous laugh. “Yeah, the hard part is over with.”
Draco looked at Hermione shrewdly. “We should make up a back story. Unless you want Teddy to make that up as well?”
Hermione brightened up. She knew she would feel loads better if they had a solid foundation to base their fake relationship on. She didn’t want to get caught. It would look more pathetic than anything else that she was pretending to date Draco Malfoy to seem as though Ron leaving her didn’t hurt her. “Okay, so what lead us to go on our first date?” she asked, sitting next to him on the couch.
Draco thought for a second. “I took you out for dinner as a token of my appreciation for what you did for my father’s case.”
Hermione nodded. “Good one. Where did we go?”
Draco closed his eyes as he leaned his head back on the couch. He frowned. He was sure that had they actually gone out for dinner, paparazzi would have been all over them. “Let’s say I made dinner for you at my place to avoid other people because we didn’t want them to get the wrong impression instead.”
“The wrong impression?”
Draco nodded, his eyes still closed. “But then, during dinner, we both had a little too much wine, and the conversation was titillating, and I told you that I couldn’t help the desire to want to kiss you because the way your lips looked stained with red wine was enough to drive me over the edge.”
Hermione gawked at Draco’s profile. He opened one eye and looked at her. He smirked. “You really have quite the imagination,” she finally managed to stutter.
“Yes, well, I know romance.”
“So I gather.”
“Go on then,” he urged, waiting for Hermione to bring up another topic of their fake relationship.
“What did I say after you said that?”
Draco thought for a moment and closed his eyes again. “You tell me.”
Draco opened his eyes and sat up, facing Hermione. He leaned closer to her face until he could feel her breath on his lips. “Granger, I can’t help the desire to want to kiss you because the way your lips look stained with red wine is enough to drive me over the edge,” he murmured, looking longingly at her lips.
Her lips parted and she let out a strangled sound that didn’t sound like much of anything in particular.
Draco licked his lips and leaned back on the couch again, closing his eyes once more. “There you have it. You were speechless.”
Hermione felt her face burn. She fell back onto the couch, mortified. “I can’t believe you did that,” she wailed.
Draco chuckled. “So then,” he continued, “I kissed you. But being the gentleman that I am, I accompanied you to your home to make sure you got home alright, and I was on my way. We saw each other again three days later. This time, I came to your flat, and we had dinner here and talked. Then I went home.”
“Did we kiss again?”
“No. But you could have cut the sexual tension with a knife,” he smirked. Hermione rolled her eyes. “So, long story short, we’ve been seeing each other privately which is why the media hasn’t picked up on it yet.”
Hermione nodded. She hadn’t thought of that aspect of their “relationship” yet. But she was sure Ron would have noticed that the Prophet, and every other paper in the world, was abnormally hushed about a couple as unconventional as Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger.
“When’s your birthday?” Draco asked suddenly.
“September, the nineteenth.”
Draco opened his eyes. “That’s in a few weeks.”
Hermione shrugged. “My birthday is never a big deal, so it doesn’t really matter. When’s your birthday?”
“June, the fifth. Chocolate or vanilla?”
Hermione looked at Draco incredulously. “Vanilla,” she answered after a few beats.
Draco snorted. “Typical.”
“I take it you like chocolate, then?” Hermione said hotly.
“Dark chocolate. I like the bitterness of it.”
“Weirdo,” she muttered under her breath. “Favorite book?”
“War and Peace,” Draco answered automatically. “You?”
Hermione was impressed by his choice of muggle literature. “Wuthering Heights.”
Draco nodded. “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you choose?”
Hermione was beginning to enjoy this game of twenty-one questions. She wasn’t accustomed to the feeling of getting to know someone for the first time, learning to adapt to them and learning their greatest fears and ambitions. She wasn’t able to experience that with Ron. They had grown up together in Hogwarts. She had learned everything about him through their time together, so that by the time they began to date, there was nothing new to learn. She cleared her throat. “I’ve always wanted to go to see the French countryside. I’ve never been to France at all, but I prefer small towns to big cities. How about you?”
“I’d have to say Russia. I’ve seen photographs of the architecture in St. Petersburg, and it’s always been my dream to see it in person.”
“If you could wish for one specific thing right now, and it would come true, what would it be?”
Draco didn’t hesitate when he said, “I’d wish for my patient Cooper to get well.”
Hermione bit her lip. “Has he been sick long?”
Draco sighed. “It’s been almost four months now that he’s been in the hospital. He’s not getting worse, luckily. But he’s not getting any better either. No one knows what’s wrong with him.”
The look of helplessness in Draco’s eyes made Hermione want to console him, but she resisted the impulse. Fake boyfriend or not, she was just beginning to get to know him. She had a long way to go before she had the right to comfort him in any way. “How old is he?”
“Three,” Draco answered. “But let’s not talk about him right now.” Draco stood up from the couch, as though trying to step away from the constant weight that settled in his chest every time he thought of Cooper Pierson. “What would your wish be?”
“I’d wish for Cooper to get better, too.”
By the time the sun had set, Draco and Hermione both agreed that Ron wouldn’t be coming that day, so Draco decided to head back home. Once he was gone, Hermione flopped down onto the couch with a hot mug of tea and turned on the telly.
A loud crack sounded behind her, by the front door, and Hermione startled. She grabbed her wand and quickly turned around, only to see a beautiful woman looking around the small flat, trying to take in her surroundings quickly. She then focused her attention on Hermione. Hermione stood up, automatically feeling self-conscious which masked her surprise at the strange woman standing in her entry way. This woman was wearing a tight, white miniskirt with a gold colored crop top that exposed her perfect midriff and complimented her Tuscan sun kissed skin. Hermione stood there in cutoff denim shorts and an old grey tank top that was so distressed it was almost transparent. It was then that she noticed the figure standing behind the statuesque beauty.
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