Narcissa got ready for her date, studiously ignoring her eldest sister lounging on her bed. Bellatrix had been bugging her all morning, but Narcissa was not rising to the bait. She knew her older sister well enough to know she was just waiting for a reaction, and since their other sister, Andromeda had just abandoned her family for the sake of a muggleborn, Narcissa was the only one left for Bellatrix to torment.
"Don't you have somewhere to be?" Narcissa asked as Bellatrix let out another long, dramatic sigh.
"Not today," Bellatrix returned with a smirk. "Rodolphus is busy with his oaf of a brother."
"That's no way to talk about your future brother-in-law," Narcissa chastised.
"Rabastan is an oaf," Bellatrix snorted. "Not that Rodolphus is much better, but I can think of worse husbands to have."
"Don't you want to marry for love, Bella?" Narcissa asked, turning to face her sister, a serious expression on her face. "Don't you envy Andie for following her heart for the man she loves?"
"Andromeda is a fool," Bellatrix snarled. "She's given up everything for a mudblood. So no, I don't envy her in the slightest."
"And what about love?" Narcissa pressed. She would never admit it, but she did envy Andromeda and the bravery she'd shown in following her heart, despite the heavy price she'd paid for doing so.
"Love is overrated," Bellatrix snorted inelegantly. "Don't be fooled by love, Narcissa. Love fades, and then you're stuck with someone you can't abide. It's best to seek a marriage based on blood status and what it can give you. If you do that, you go into things with a clear vision of the future, and you're never left with a broken heart."
"I think that's a terribly sad way to look at things," Narcissa said softly. "I'm hoping for love in my marriage."
"Is that why you're going on a date with Lucius Malfoy?" Bellatrix asked with a laugh. "Because you love him?"
"I do not love Lucius, I barely know him," Narcissa argued. "However, there is a spark between us and I know he really likes me."
"From what I hear, Lucius likes any witch with a pulse," Bellatrix said. "He's certainly not the sort of wizard you fall in love with, Cissy. You have passionate affairs with wizards like Malfoy, you don't give your heart to them."
"I am not giving my heart to him," Narcissa argued. "Nor am I having a passionate affair with him. We like each other, and we're just going to see what happens."
"I can tell you what happens if you continue seeing him. He breaks your heart," Bellatrix predicted. "I love you Cissy, but you're too weak to handle a man like Malfoy. I can tell you one thing, he's not the knight in shining armour you're waiting for. He's not the faithful, loving husband type."
"For Merlin's sake Bella, it's one date, our first date at that," Narcissa protested. "I am not going to marry the man today. Nor am I going to lose my heart to him."
"Make sure you don't," Bellatrix said as she rose from Narcissa's bed and headed towards the bedroom door. "You can do better than Lucius bloody Malfoy."
"And you can do better than Rodolphus Lestrange," Narcissa countered.
"I know I can, but I also know I can twist Rodolphus round my little finger. He's the perfect husband for me," Bellatrix replied with a devious grin.
Narcissa shook her head at her sister as she left her to finish getting ready for her date. For someone so young, Bellatrix was already so cynical and Narcissa didn't want to end up like that herself. She knew she wasn't going to run off like Andromeda had done, but she still had high hopes for finding love. Maybe Lucius would be the one, or maybe he wouldn't, she would just have to wait and see what unfolded following her date with Lucius.
Narcissa had to admit she was still pretty impressed that Lucius had managed to get to the point where she'd granted him a date. Even when she'd promised him a date if he got to the end of the year without sleeping with another witch, she didn't really think he would manage it. But here she was preparing to go out with him for the afternoon, and to the best of her knowledge he hadn't even looked at another witch since Christmas.
The sound of the doorbell pulled Narcissa from her musings. Grabbing her bag, she took a moment to check she looked okay before she left her bedroom and calmly walked downstairs to greet her date. When she arrived in the front hallway, she found Bellatrix chatting to Lucius. At first Narcissa thought Bellatrix was playing the protective big sister and warning Lucius off, but then she realised her older sister was flirting with the sexy blond Slytherin. However, Lucius didn't seem to be responding, and the second he spotted Narcissa, all his attention turned to her and Bellatrix was left hanging.
"You look lovely, Narcissa," Lucius said sincerely, smiling at his date.
"Thank you," Narcissa replied, returning his smile. "Shall we go?"
"Let's," Lucius replied.
"Goodbye, Bella," Narcissa said as she bypassed her sister and opened the front door.
"Don't do anything I wouldn't do," Bellatrix called after the pair, quickly forgetting about the way Lucius had ignored her blatant flirting.
"The world's our oyster then, as there's not much you wouldn't do," Narcissa shot back at her sister.
Bellatrix gave a throaty laugh as she told the pair to have fun and shut the door behind them. Outside in the front garden, Narcissa turned to Lucius and asked where they were going. They'd agreed to an afternoon date as Narcissa still wasn't of age and she wasn't sure her parents would agree to her going out on an evening. As it was they'd been thrilled with the news she was going out on a date with a Malfoy, and Narcissa suspected they would have even given her permission to spend the night with Lucius if it was what she wanted.
"It's a surprise," Lucius replied with a grin as he held out his hand for Narcissa. "I've got a port key to take us to our destination."
Wondering what Lucius had in store for them, Narcissa took hold of his hand and let him sort the portkey. Within seconds she found herself falling through a vortex and it took all her years' experience of travelling in such a manner to keep herself on her feet when they landed. Beside her, Lucius landed with grace and he tucked the golden coin he'd used as a portkey into his pocket.
"Here we are," he declared with a sweeping gesture towards an elaborate picnic spread.
A large gingham blanket was spread over the ground with a picnic basket and all sorts of culinary delights spread over the blanket. Cushions were scattered around the blanket for somewhere to sit or lie. Not far from the blanket was a serene lake with a couple of swans swimming around, and turning around Narcissa spotted a beautiful manor house in the distance behind them. Between them and the manor house was plenty of lush grass, a gazebo, a maze and some gardens with dozens of colours and varieties of roses.
"This is your house, isn't it?" Narcissa asked, trying not to be too overwhelmed by the sight that greeted her. As a Black she wasn't exactly poor and her family lived in a decent size house, but she was only just realising it paled in comparison to the wealth of the Malfoys.
"This is Malfoy Manor," Lucius confirmed, the pride evident in his voice.
"Where we're standing is part of your property?" Narcissa checked.
"It is," Lucius replied with a nod. "The manor has considerable size grounds, so I thought it would be a perfect place for our first date."
"First date? What makes you think there's going to be anymore?" Narcissa teased.
"I'm an optimist," Lucius replied with a grin. "Would you care to sit down? I wasn't sure what you liked, so I had the elves provide a bit of everything."
"It looks wonderful," Narcissa said as she settled herself down on some of the cushions beside the picnic.
Lucius settled himself down next to her, and the pair dug into the feast the Malfoy house elves had provided. As they did so they talked and got to know one another. Narcissa found Lucius to be quite humorous when he was relaxed and several times he made her laugh out loud at a story he told. As for Lucius, he was even more charmed by Narcissa as she still didn't fawn all over him. She was a challenge, and even though they were getting along splendidly, he knew she wasn't going to be the type to fall into his bed after a few dates.
"How are you coping with the lack of sex?" Narcissa asked as they lay side by side on the cushions, staring up at the blue sky and white fluffy clouds.
"I won't lie, I miss it like crazy," Lucius replied, propping himself up on his elbow and gazing down at Narcissa. "But I happen to think you're worth it."
"Why?" Narcissa asked. "When you can have any witch you want, why do you want me?"
"I take it you want something more than you're the most beautiful witch I've ever set eyes on," Lucius joked.
"A real reason would be nice," Narcissa said with a smile. "Although I'm very flattered you think I'm so attractive."
"Maybe at first, it was partly because you didn't fall at my feet," Lucius admitted. "I've never met anyone like you, Narcissa. Not only are you beautiful, but you're smart and funny. And I know that you're here with me, because you genuinely like me. You're not bowled over by my looks, or my fortune."
"How do you know? I might be a gold-digger," Narcissa teased with a laugh.
"If all you were interested in was my money, you wouldn't have refused me so many time," Lucius replied. "Besides, as a Black, you're not exactly poor."
"I'm not," Narcissa agreed. It was clear that the Blacks weren't in the Malfoys league when it came to money, but they were still one of the wealthiest families in the country and marrying for money wasn't a necessity for Narcissa. "But it could have been a crafty plan to trick you into trusting me."
"I don't think so," Lucius laughed. "A far safer plan would have been to say yes the first time I asked you out, and then held onto me. By turning me down, you risked me losing interest and walking away."
"And if you'd done that I would have known that you only wanted me for one thing," Narcissa said.
"And what makes you think I still don't want you for that?" Lucius asked, leaning right over Narcissa so that their lips were very nearly touching.
"I'm sure you do," Narcissa replied softly. "But if that was all you wanted, you would have walked away months ago."
"I'm not sure I could have," Lucius said sincerely, losing himself in Narcissa's bright blue eyes. "No man in their right mind would walk away from you."
"You know just the right thing to say to charm a girl, Lucius," Narcissa said with a chuckle as she leant up over so slightly and pressed her lips against his.
Lucius was overcome with the urge to deepen the kiss, but he controlled himself and let her control the kiss. When they broke apart, Narcissa was smiling up at him, and he knew he'd made the right call in letting her take the lead. It wasn't going to be easy, but for once he was happy to sit back and let Narcissa call the shots. They could take things at whatever pace she wanted. As long as she agreed to keep seeing him, he was a happy man.