4 YEARS LATER
The wedding was beautiful; as I knew it would be.
This wedding, the second Zabini wedding that I had been invited to, was somehow even more extravagant than the last. I watched, sitting beside Blaise as his mother walked up the aisle towards her soon to be tenth husband. The man was positively beaming at the sight of the beautiful older witch and Blaise scoffed from beside me.
"Will you stop it," I hissed from the corner of my mouth, watching as the one Blaise simply liked to call 'ten' reached out to lift Mrs Zabini's veil.
"It's a shame," Blaise murmured, leaning in close to me, "I actually liked this one."
I made no comment to that because what could I say? We all knew what was going to happen six months from now. And it really was a shame because from the moment 'ten' entered the picture he had gone out of his way to get to know Blaise. The kindly old wizard had even gotten to know me, claiming I was part of the family too and Merlin, I was already grieving for him. Blaise had even attempted to talk his mother out of marrying this one.
Maybe Mrs Zabini had a point with this multiple weddings thing. Perhaps not the whole numerous husbands part but everyone said that the hardest part of planning a wedding was making the tough decisions. At least this way she got to try different things each time. Even her dress was strikingly different than the one she had worn during her previous wedding.
The ceremony ended soon after with the newly married couple sharing a kiss. We rose to our feet, as did the rest of the guests, to watch the couple as they exited the venue. Slowly the guests began to leave the room to head over to the reception and we hanged back a little, not wanting to be squashed by the crowd during our exit. Blaise reached down to pick up my shawl which I'd draped over the chair I had been sitting on.
"You're so forgetful," he muttered, offered me his arm.
"Well you're here to remind me."
Taking his offered arm, I let him lead me out of the chapel and towards the pavilion where the reception was being held. We walked the long way around through the immaculate gardens, taking our time before we rejoined the rest of the guests. There was only so much wedding festivity either of us could take.
Walking towards the pavilion, I watched curiously as Mrs Zabini prepared to throw the bouquet. Blaise, seeing my curiosity, rolled his eyes and nudged me.
"Don't bother trying to catch it," he said bluntly, "mother isn't kind to the ones that try and upstage her. I think it was during her fifth wedding where someone proposed to one of her friends? The couple ended breaking up within weeks. They're both still very single and spiralling towards dying alone."
"Who said I was going to try and catch the bouquet?" I rolled my eyes as we made our way towards the top table, dodging past some children that were running wild. Watching them go with a smile, I looked up to Blaise who was staring down at me with curious eyes. "Well?"
"Isn't that what girls do?"
"When they want to marry their boyfriends maybe," I allowed as we found our seats at the top table. Blaise pulled my chair out for me, "But who said I want to marry you Zabini?" He raised an eyebrow, settling down into the chair next to me, "I'm just keeping you around until Mr Right comes along."
"You're speaking as if I'm going to let you go so easily," he stated with a curious tilt of his head as he draped an arm over the back of my chair.
"Is that supposed to be romantic?" I wondered as the bride and groom took to their seats. Blaise wasn't impressed, "Although, I suppose for you that is pretty romantic?"
Before Blaise could begin his pouting, his mother cleared her throat to gain my attention. Glancing at the woman standing behind my chair, I rose to my feet to talk to her. She cast a look over my outfit – one she had insisted on handpicking – before looking to her son who was watching her with assessing eyes. The woman never quite got over how protective he seemed to be of me and she had told me as much. Out of all the girlfriends, Blaise'd had, it seemed that I was the one that he was keen on keeping away from his mother.
She cleared her throat, looking away from her son and to my surprise, embraced me quickly. I hesitated to return it as Mrs Zabini thanked me for coming. The infamous Black Widow Witch was soon distracted by her now husband and I wondered whether she knew how obvious her dislike of me was. According to Pansy it was only because I'd stolen Blaise from her. Which was ridiculous; I hadn't stolen anyone.
Reaching out to take my hand, Blaise pulled me back down into my seat and angled his body towards mine, turning his back on the rest of the guests.
"What is it?" I asked, seeing the heavy frown which settled on his features. Reaching out to cup his cheek, I watched the frown melt away into a small smile.
He shook his head. "When have you next got time off from work?"
"In a few weeks' time," I said after thinking for a moment, "but I'm not sure of the exact dates."
"Let's go away for a bit," he suggested, taking my hand in his and linking our fingers. "England's too boring right now."
"Your mother just got married –"
"That's not exactly new," he pointed out, rolling his eyes. He raised my hand to his lips, pressing a kiss to the back of it. "So?"
"You're hiding something."
He gave me his most innocent smile. "I just want to take my witch and go relax in the sun for a while. Is that so much of a crime?"