Chapter 1 : Just Couldn't Say No.
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It would be another long and boring day at work. Working for the ministry was nice and all but it certainly could be boring. It did have its perks. The pay check was good, not that I needed it. Some of the people were horrid to work with, but I was lucky no one on my floor was that bad. I was thinking about all the paperwork I had waiting for me on my desk as the cheesy elevator music played. Seriously who picks out this music?
"He's the most infuriating person I've ever met. He can't take a single thing seriously. Everything is all jokes and play. I wish he would just grow up!" I hear her fuming as I walk out of the elevator. This happens about once or twice a month. No one in the building, yes I mean building she's that loud, is surprised when they hear her complaining about him anymore.
"Hermione, calm down. You know how this is it will all just blow over as usual. He'll come to his senses and agree with you." Loren, a coworker of Hermione's, was always telling her the same thing.
"It's just so annoying, I ask him to do such simple things and he acts like it's a game. He's barely holding on to his job. He doesn't understand this is real life." Hermione was red faced and slamming things around.
I laughed a little at this before walking over to them. "Morning ladies." I flashed them a smile. Loren had the most pathetic desperate crush on me. She thought she was good at keeping it a secret, but everyone on this floor knew about it. I definitely took it for my advantage. She was the receptionist of the floor and she did practically anything I wanted her to.
"Oh! Mr. Malfoy, hi! I had a coffee machine put in your office, just like you asked." You see? Whatever I wanted. She was tall, blonde, and had bright green eyes. She was a few years older than I but she didn't look it. She was pretty and she was rather nice, but I just never had any interest in her. I just enjoyed messing with her, when I was around she always looked like she was about to pass out. "Anything else I can do for you?" She smiled hopefully, always seeking my approval and new ways to get closer to me.
"No, thank you Loren, I'm fine." I winked at her as I walked away.
"Yes you are." I heard her whisper under her breath. I heard Hermione tell her that she needed to get to her office but she'd meet her for lunch.
"You know, " she started as she caught up to me, "that woman is practically in love with you." She laughed.
"And I'm horrible for messing with her, aren't I?" I chuckled back at her, looking back at Loren. She was still watching me as I walked away.
"I feel like I should say yes, but it is quite amusing. As long as you don't hurt her Mr. Malfoy." She mocked how Loren always called me that. "Are you planning on coming with us for lunch?"
I smiled at her and raised my eyebrow. "Don't you think that would give poor Loren a heart attack?"
She giggled again. "She would probably die!" She was juggling her coffee, papers, and laptop all while trying to open her door. I opened it for her so she wouldn't scald herself with coffee. 'Thanks, Malfoy."
"No problem, Granger." I said before closing the door behind her and walking to my own office down the hall and to the left.
Being friends was a shock to the both of us. We weren't at first but after a year of working together we stopped hating each other. Then a few years after that we are actually quite good friends. But it's just Hermione. I still can't stand boy wonder or his weasel side kick. Especially Weasley. He really brought out the worst in her, around him she was vicious. She also still hates my family. We fought at first but then came to the conclusion that if we just didn't talk about those topics to each other we could actually be rather good friends. We did lead sort of a double life here at the office. At any office party or any time her friends just dropped by we went back to hating each other. We were each others little secret. It may have been a screwed up system but it worked for us.
I start the immense amount of paper work I need to get done today. I catch myself pondering what Weasley had done this time to piss off Hermione this time. I never ask because he's one of the things we don't talk about. The only time we ever did is when I saw the mediocre ring on her left hand. I had to ask, even though I knew.
We were having lunch at the building across the street from our building. She reached for her glass and the light caught the ring on her finger. I caught her eye and raised my eyebrow, questioning her wordlessly. I didn't want to be the one who brought him up.
She cleared her throat awkwardly. "Uhhhh, I know this is sort of pushing the unspoken pact we had on talking about people we know the other doesn't like but...well Ron asked me to marry him." She didn't look like any newly engaged woman I've ever seen. They were usually pushing the ring at you and bouncing as they told you. Hermione was just picking at her food with her fork and not meeting my eye.
"And you said yes I see." I was stating the obvious for lack of anything else to say.
"I made him wait a week. When he first asked I didn't give him an answer. He knew I didn't want to get married. I was content with the relationship we had. I just...we fight so much, about everything. " She signed. I couldn't tell what she was feeling, she seemed angry and sad at the same time.
"I may be out of line here but..why on Earth did you say yes." I asked.
"Well every one was just so happy when he did, I just couldn't say no. When I told him that I would have to think about it for a week every one kept coming up to me telling me how I needed to say yes. Ginny was in full blown wedding planning mode and Mrs. Weasley was just so happy. I...I just couldn't say no. I mean, isn't that the next step anyway? Wouldn't it eventually lead to this? Why not just do it now when he wants to?" I could tell that she didn't want to just get it done now and over with. She seemed like the type who had her wedding planned out by age eight.
"He seems to make you unhappy." I said truthfully, recalling all the times I've heard her complain about him.
She was surprised by me saying this. "No! I mean...I wouldn't say I'm unhappy..."
I rolled my eyes. "What are you then?"
"I'm..." She paused to think, looking around the room. "I guess I'm comfortable. He gets me so angry but at the end of the day I know he'll be there. That's better than not having someone I suppose." Even she didn't believe that fully.
"I don't have anyone and I'm perfectly happy." Okay, I wouldn't say perfectly happy, but I was okay. Would it be nice to have someone to come home to after work every night? Yes, of course it would...but for now I'm fine.
She smiled half heartily. "Yeah, but you have a better chance at finding someone else. Women line up to talk to you. What if Ron's my only chance at getting married?"
I laughed darkly. Oh Hermione, if you only knew. Puberty did wonders for this woman. She was a very beautiful woman and smart too. She really had everything going for her. I mean, there were times where she would annoy the hell out of me, but for the most part she was good company. She never noticed the way men looked at her. Every time we would go to lunch together I would get glares from other men, even the ones who knew we were just friends.
"Don't laugh at me! There's a reason we don't talk about things like this! You have to be a git about them." She was getting angry at me. I couldn't help it, I laughed harder. "Stop that!" She yelled, which made every one in the café look at her. Noticing this her face turned bright red."Ugh!" She got up quickly and went straight to the door.
I rolled my eyes and finished my lunch. It'd be best to let her cool down. This was classic Hermione, she would storm off outraged at me, but I knew if I gave her some time and space she would forgive me. And anyway, I think she is more mad at herself than she is at me. She's mad that she allowed herself to be pressured to become engaged without really wanting to be. She's only doing this to please the Weasleys and Potters. Potter and the youngest of the Weasley clan got married just three months ago. I think that's what made Ron propose. He probably didn't want to feel like the side kick he was. Either way I know that Hermione doesn't want to get married. If I know anything about it like I think I do, she will drag this engagement out as long as she can. I don't think she's happy with him. Even she said that she was only "comfortable" and being comfortable is no reason to get married.
Call me old fashioned but I believe you should get married out of love. HAH, you should have heard my father when I told him that. He had this whole idea planned out that I would marry Astoria Greengrass. My mother kept telling me how lovely she was, how pretty she was, what good children we would make. We dated for a year after she got out of Hogwarts, she was two years behind me, but it never went anywhere. She agreed to marry into the family, not marry me. We didn't love each other or make each other happy at all. She asked one day if I was going to propose soon and I told her that by the looks of it I never would. She broke up with me right then and there. I can't exactly say I was heart-broken. My father, however, was. I didn't hear the end of that one for a very long time.
I smiled not so fondly at the ridiculous memories that I had before getting up and leaving.
When I did get back to the office I sought her out and apologized.
"Knock knock" I smiled, not actually knocking, before entering her office, just standing within the door.
"What do you want?" she didn't look up. Oh, still pissed I see.
"This is me apologizing for being a prick earlier. You can marry whom ever you want you know? But, I hope you're very happy with Weasel." I could be nice, but not too nice.
She was quiet, like she was expecting more, but I guess she knew that was the best she was going to get. She sighed and looked up at me. "Okay Malfoy. Thank you."
"We good Granger?" I asked, smirking.
"We're good." She smiled and went back to work.
And that's how it always went. We always forgave each other, never having done anything too bad to begin with.
During Lunch I heard Hermione complain to Loren even more about Weasley. He really didn't deserve her. She was telling her how he was going to lose his job if he didn't shape up. Not that he worked that good of a job. While the rest of the crew had decent jobs, the ministry, St. Mungo's, or private practices, he worked at this dead end little book store that Hermione had gotten him in to. She got him that job after he lost the one before that. He was a loser. He had too short of a temper and that got him in trouble. He would mouth off to his boss when he got frustrated. One boss even went as far as nick-naming him the "Ginger Rage".
I really didn't understand what she saw in him but I knew better than to push that topic. She got way too flustered and angry easily.
Of what little I heard from her as Loren and her walked back into the building he was too unhelpful and kept using magic while his boss strictly prohibited that, for most of their customers were muggles. I didn't see why he didn't try harder to not use magic. Every one knows that Hermione, being a muggleborn, likes doing things without magic as much as she could. I love magic and even I would of had the intelligence to not use it on the job if told not to, though I probably wouldn't be working where I couldn't use magic. But you get my point, he's a git about jobs.
Then Loren caught sight of me. "OH! Mr. Malfoy! Are you enjoying that coffee maker? Is it the one you wanted because if not I cou-" Loren was talking a mile a minute but I cut her off.
"It's fine Loren. I enjoy it very much, thank you." I did have a bit of a caffeine addiction. I drank coffee more than what should be humanly possible.
"Oh well I'm glad you like it, we all know how you love your coffee." She reminded me of a bird. You know those birds that wake you up in the morning with their high-pitched chirping that is never ending.
I laughed at her, throwing her one of my smiles. I still had my trademark smirk but I did throw out the occasional smile, which I knew melted her.
"Malfoy! You're terrible." Hermione giggled in hushed tone.
I sighed and went back to my office to finish up what I had left of the paper work.
See? Working at the ministry wasn't so bad.
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