Hermione Granger stood in front of the mirror, having a last minute attack of nerves. She was dressed in a dramatic emerald green evening dress, with her hair and make-up flawlessly done with the help of her friend, Ginny Weasley, all with the intention of spending an evening at one of the most exclusive charity evenings in the wizarding world. The evening consisted of a silent auction and drinks and was being held at a new luxury hotel on the south coast.
"What's wrong?" Ginny asked, looking up from where she was packing the things she'd brought with her to help give her friend a make-over.
"I'm not sure I should go," Hermione confessed. "Maybe Ron was right. This isn't me. I'm out of my league."
"Don't you dare listen to what my idiot of a brother has to say," Ginny said firmly. "You are not out of your league, Hermione. You're a beautiful, intelligent, powerful witch, and you have as much right as anyone to be attending this charity evening."
"Even though we both know I can't afford to match any of the bids made tonight?" Hermione asked. "Just buying this dress cost a small fortune. This isn't my world, Ginny."
"It will be if things work out with Malfoy," Ginny pointed out.
For the past couple of months, Hermione had been dating her former schoolmate, Draco Malfoy. Things weren't very serious between them yet, but they did have a good time together and Hermione had high hopes that their relationship would prove to be the real deal. It had been Draco who had invited her to the charity evening, and it would be their first evening mixing in the high society circles he'd been born into.
"Maybe he's out of my league as well," Hermione whispered, gazing at her reflection.
There was no denying she was looking lovely, and had grown into her looks since her awkward teenage years, but she knew she was no prize beauty and looks wise, Draco was head and shoulders above her. He could have any witch he desired, yet he'd chosen a plain bookwork like her.
"Nonsense," Ginny tutted in annoyance. "Do not do this to yourself, Hermione. Any wizard would be lucky to have you, and that includes Draco Malfoy. He may be rich and sexier than sin, but he's not out of your league. Not unless you're going to let Ron's petty jealousies ruin things for you."
"Do you think that's all it is? Ron's jealous?" Hermione asked.
"Of course he's jealous," Ginny laughed. "We both know the sort of life you're heading for if things work out with Malfoy, is certainly out of Ron's league. He's not rich enough to attract the sort of witch who moves in the same circles as Malfoy, and even if he could nab a pureblood princess, he could never cope at a party like the one you're going to. You know Ron, someone would say something completely innocent and he would think they were taking the mickey out of him. He would never be comfortable with the type of people Malfoy mixes with."
"And you think I will be?" Hermione asked. "In case you've forgotten, I'm a newcomer to their world. Half of them still don't think muggleborns should be in the wizarding world."
"Yet you'll be the embodiment of class and charm them all," Ginny said with a confident smile. "You underestimate yourself, Hermione. You'll fit in just perfectly, if only you let yourself. Just be yourself and have fun tonight."
"I'll try," Hermione replied as she took a couple of deep calming breathes. "Thank you for the pep talk, Ginny."
"Anytime," Ginny replied with a grin. "Go and have fun, and tell me all about it tomorrow."
"I will," Hermione promised, giving her friend a hug as Ginny left her flat.
Five minutes later, Hermione also left her flat and headed to the hotel on the south coast. As arranged, Draco was waiting for her in the bar beside reception. Hermione spotted her date before he noticed her and she just took a moment to take in how stunning Draco looked in an expensive black tuxedo. Black was certainly his colour and it set his pale complexion and platinum blond hair off perfectly.
"Hermione, you look stunning," Draco said as he rose to greet her, once he'd spotted her entering the bar.
"Thank you," Hermione replied with a small smile. "You look very good yourself."
"I do try," Draco replied with a cocky grin. "Shall we head to the party?" he asked, offering Hermione his arm.
Hermione took hold of Draco's arm and allowed him to lead her towards the back of the hotel where the party was being held. The party was being held in a large two storey open air room, with a winding staircase attaching the top half of the room to the bottom half. In the bottom half was a large pool and tables were dotted around the pool for people to sit and enjoy the lovely summer air. The upstairs part of the room contained the tables where the silent auction items were displayed, and there were bars in both parts of the room.
"This is rather magnificent," Hermione remarked as she and Draco stood beside the small wall in the top part of the room, which overlooked the large pool down below them.
"It is a lovely hotel," Draco agreed. "We could always stay the night if you wanted."
"Draco Malfoy, are you trying to seduce me?" Hermione teased.
"Only if it's working," Draco replied with a laugh.
"I'll think about it," Hermione promised. "But could you even get us a room at such short notice? I bet this place is at full capacity all the time."
"I'm a Malfoy, sweetheart, I'm used to getting what I want," Draco said in a low whisper that sent delicious shivers down Hermione's spine.
"I'll have to remember that," Hermione returned, giving Draco a slow smile.
Draco chuckled in response and once they'd finished their drinks, he whisked her off for a dance. For a couple of hours, Draco remained at Hermione's side as they circled the room and he introduced her to people he knew. While some people were perfectly nice to her, there were others who clearly looked down their noses at her, and whenever they came in contact with someone like that she began to doubt herself and whether she could really cope in the pureblood world Draco lived in.
After yet another pureblood snob had looked down her nose at her, Hermione excused herself and went to find the bathroom. After giving herself a quick pep talk, and reminding herself that Draco was the only person whose opinion mattered, and that he seemed to really like her, Hermione returned to the party feeling more confident.
As she re-entered the party she was stopped by Draco's best friend, Blaise Zabini and his glamorous girlfriend, Daphne Greengrass. Hermione had also gone to school with the pair, but as with Draco, it was only since leaving Hogwarts that she'd gotten to know them. Unlike some of Draco's other friends, Blaise and Daphne had been nothing but warm and friendly towards her and Hermione genuinely liked the couple and liked spending time with them.
"So how are you enjoying your induction into our world?" Daphne asked.
"It's different," Hermione said carefully. In actual fact, Daphne's mother had been one of the people who had been looking down her nose at her and judging her for not being a pureblood.
"Just ignore the bigoted old farts," Blaise said rather loudly, causing a few people to turn and give him an unimpressed glare. "They don't like me either."
"Why not?" Hermione asked. "You're lovely, Blaise."
"I know, I'm brilliant," Blaise agreed with a grin.
"Brilliantly egotistical," Daphne muttered light-heartedly.
"I'm not pure enough for them," Blaise confided. "Sure I can say I'm a pureblood, but I can't prove it. My good for nothing father sodded off when I was just a kid, and I've never had any relationship with him. My Mother reckons he was a pureblood, but then again, she's a snob and wouldn't say anything else. The truth is, I could be part muggle for all anyone knows, and this lot don't like it. They like to know what bloodline you're from. Most of the time they're only happy if they can trace your ancestry on both sides back to one family. These purebloods are an incestuous lot."
"Hey, I'm a pureblood," Daphne said, lightly slapping her boyfriend's arm. "Are you saying my parents are related in some way?"
"More than likely," Blaise replied with an unconcerned shrug. "But don't worry Daph, I still love you."
"Aren't I the lucky one?" Daphne grouched, although when Blaise shot her a smile she couldn't help but smile back and Hermione could see how much the couple loved each other.
Still chatting to Blaise and Daphne, Hermione headed back up the stairs to the upper half of the room. At first she couldn't find Draco, but then she spotted him on the dancefloor with a curvaceous blonde in his arms. As Hermione watched the blonde witch pressed closer to Draco and whispered something in his ear. Not wanting to see anymore, Hermione turned on her heel and muttering an excuse to Blaise and Daphne she hurried back down the stairs.
"Sodding Astoria," Daphne cursed, recognising the witch Draco was dancing with. "I'm going to kill her if she's ruined things for Hermione. I like her and I think she's perfect for Draco."
"She is," Blaise agreed as the couple began to move across the room to where Draco and Astoria were dancing.
As they got closer to the couple, they could see Draco were wearing an annoyed expression and his grey eyes were darting around the room looking for an escape route. When he spotted Blaise and Daphne, he removed Astoria's arms from around his neck with an obviously relieved sigh.
"I don't suppose either of you have seen Hermione, have you?" Draco asked, ignoring the pouting Astoria standing next to him. "She went to the bathroom and I haven't seen her since."
"But I've been keeping him company," Astoria simpered, smiling up at Draco like a lovesick puppy.
"So we saw," Daphne said sharply. "As did Hermione."
"Where is she?" Draco asked, looking around for his date.
"Where do you think, she saw my sister slobbering all over you and she bolted," Daphne snorted.
"Shit," Draco swore as he turned and bolted towards the low wall that overlooked the ground part of the room. "Hermione," he cried, spotting his date standing beside the pool, looking visibly upset.
Hermione looked up at his shout, but she merely shook her head and turned to leave. Swearing again, Draco glanced towards the stairs and found he would have to push past lots of people to reach them and get down to Hermione before she left. Knowing he needed to get to Hermione before she left and refused to speak to him again, Draco climbed up onto the small wall, drawing gasps from people behind and below him.
"Draco, what are you doing?" Blaise cried as he and Daphne rushed towards their friend.
"Taking a chance on love," Draco replied before diving head first off the wall and into the pool below.
On the lower floor, Hermione was almost out of the room when she heard the loud splash of something hitting the water in the pool. Thinking that someone had fallen and might need medical help, Hermione turned and ran back towards the pool. When she reached the edge, she found a soaking wet Draco treading water in the middle of the pool. Looking up she found Daphne and Blaise leaning over the wall, looks of concern etched on their face.
"What are you doing?" Hermione demanded of Draco. "Did you jump?"
"It was the only way," Draco replied as he made his way to the edge of the pool.
"The only way to what? Try and paralyse yourself?" Hermione snapped. "Do you have any idea how stupid that was? You could have been seriously hurt."
"I would have been hurt if you'd left," Draco said sincerely. "I didn't know if I could reach you using the stairs."
"So you jumped into a pool?" Hermione asked, unable to help a small smile breaking out on her lips.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time," Draco muttered. "Hell, it seemed like a romantic gesture."
"Romantic?" Hermione chuckled. "Draco, you're soaking wet and very likely to catch a cold."
"It'll be worth it if you just listen to me," Draco said, finally hauling himself from the pool. "Astoria and I were just dancing. I'll admit that she fancies me and was trying it on, but I wasn't interested. The only girl I'm interested in is standing right in front of me."
"Really?" Hermione whispered.
"Really," Draco confirmed. "I wouldn't throw myself into a swimming pool for anyone you know. I only do that for the really special witches."
"How many witches have you done that for?" Hermione asked.
"Just the one," Draco replied. "So what do you say Hermione, will you give me a second chance?"
"I will," Hermione said, walking forward and pressing her lips to Draco, unbothered by the fact his wet clothes were now pressed against her and her new, expensive dress was getting wet.
"How about we get that room now?" Draco asked in a slightly breathless voice when they finally came up for air. "I don't know about you, but I need to get out of these wet clothes."
"It looks like you were right, you do get what you want," Hermione laughed as she agreed to getting a room and spending the night with Draco.
"I just didn't realise I would need to go to such lengths to get it," Draco replied as arm in arm the couple headed back into the hotel to see if they could get a room for the night.
Thanks to Draco's family name, and a substantial bribe of gold, a room was miraculously available and the couple found themselves ensconced in a stunning suite for the night. And that night was the start of a new page in their story. Their romance moved up a notch and became more serious, eventually leading to them moving in together and getting engaged. On their wedding day when Blaise made his best man speech, he recalled the incident that had solidified their relationship. By diving into a pool fully clothed, Draco had taken a chance on love and it had well and truly paid off.