A/N Sorry for the lengthy delays-life caught up to me-working two jobs, dealing with stress, working on numerous other projects. The muse just didn't speak. I hope you're still with me and that this chapter was worth the wait.
"Of all the nerve. How dare he!" Hermione stalked back to her flat feeling more confused than before. She sputtered the whole up the steps and took great pleasure in slamming her door. She walked over to her closet and threw open the doors. She had plenty of time to get ready, but she knew she'd agonize over what to wear. She shouldn't care, but she figured if she had to put up with his shenanigans, she may as well look her best. She finally settled on a dark mid-thigh length skirt, knee high boots and a dark purple top that hinted at cleavage but didn't show anything.
She laid out her clothes then went to take a shower and do her hair and make-up. If she was going to decide her life tonight, she was going to show him that she wasn't just a mudblood. If he wanted her to be 'draped' over him during certain occasions, she would at least show him that she could dress the part. She took a last glance at her hair and make up and went to put on her clothes.
Draco watched her walk away sputtering, then grinned and turned the other direction. He had plans to make for that night. He ordered their meal from a fancy restaurant and then stopped and bought a bottle of wine. He'd pick up the flowers on the way to her place. When he got home, he put the wine in the refrigerator. He then went to get himself ready. Since they weren't going to be going out, he figured he wouldn't wear his robes. He went to his extensive closet and debated. He'd heard from his various conquests over the years that most women believed guys had it easy when it came to getting dressed, but they couldn't be more wrong. He hated the same colored tie on the colored shirt that had seemed to be popular for a while. Then he thought a tie probably would be too formal. He finally settled on an emerald colored shirt and black dress pants.
He kept checking the clock and finally deemed that if he actually walked, he could leave. He grabbed the wine and called to check with the caterer to make sure they would be on time and to double check his order. He left the house and started to walk towards Hermione's flat. He stopped at a florist on the corner and bought half a dozen red roses.
Hermione looked around one last time and figured it would have to do. She heard steps on the stairs and then the knock at the door. "Coming"
She opened the door and Draco handed her the roses. "You looked like a red type of woman." Draco said as he handed them to her.
Hermione glared at him. Of course, he would figure that any woman would fall for red roses. She was definitely not a red roses type of girl. She preferred something subtler, such as tulips. She took them from him and said "No, I'm not really a roses type of girl, but thanks anyway."
Draco had the grace to blush.
He looked around her flat with new eyes. She had tastefully decorated it and of course there were bookshelves crammed full of books. He wandered over to look, noticing that many of the titles on her shelves matched the ones on his. "Nice taste in books, Granger." He drawled.
She gave him a dirty look as she plopped down on the couch. "So, Malfoy. Why you? Why do you think I should accept your offer? After all, I had a perfectly lovely offer from your buddy Crabbe"
Draco turned around and laughed. "Hermione, I know you're not seriously considering accepting Crabbe's offer, so cut the crap. Mine is the best of the ones you'll receive. You know you would never be happy with any of the Weasleys. Or anyone else. And believe me, the death-eaters are frothing at the bit to get their hands on you. After all, you were a great hero during the war."
Hermione sighed. She knew that he was right. She wasn't sure how far she could trust him, but he was on their side during the war and apparently he was the operative she had saved. She picked up his offer again.
He watched her with narrow eyes as she skimmed through the document again. She looked up at him. "I take it none of this is negotiable once you've made the offer? Or am I allowed to point out that I refuse to work only part time for now-that I won't consider it unless you allow me to work full time?"
Draco shook his head. "I can't agree to full time-you know that. You will have duties and responsibilities as Mistress Malfoy that will take you away from your work from time to time. I've already spoken to your supervisor. We'll find a way so that you can still feel 'fulfilled?'" he sneered at her.
"And you also know that I won't drape myself 'glittering' I think was the word you used?" She sneered back.
"Granger." He growled at her, "You know that you will in cases like the other night. As the heir of the Malfoy empire-I don't have a choice-plus you know that I am still doing some light spying on the death eaters and you being my wife will be a part of that deception."
"You're right-you know I'm looking for an excuse to refuse you Malfoy. Although I know that Dumbledore and McGonagall hope that I can still be of use to the Order." She leaned over and looked at it again.
Draco held his breath. He knew if he offered her the real reason he offered for her, she would rip up his offer in a heartbeat. She could never believe that he honestly had feelings for her. He saw her reach for her quill and closed his eyes.
Hermione looked at him before she signed it. His eyes were closed and he looked rather tense. She set the quill down. Hearing the clink on the table, Draco opened his eyes to see her staring at him curiously. 'Shit!' he thought. 'She'll figure it out.'
"Well?" He sneered.
She rolled her eyes. 'Here we go again.' She thought to herself. "Fine-I'll sign it. But we will negotiate over some terms, Draco." She said quietly.
He let his breath out, not realizing he was still holding it. She picked up the quill and signed her name with a flourish. The document disappeared. She looked at Draco and asked, "What now?"
"We celebrate, then begin plans for the wedding. You'll need to contact your parents and you will certainly need to meet with my mother to find out the particulars of a Wizarding wedding. I think we have thirty days to throw this thing together. You'd probably better talk to your supervisor first thing in the morning about switching your hours." He said, without trying to reveal the relief in his voice. He had been so certain she's be spiteful and turn him down somehow.
She sighed and leaned back into the couch, pinching the bridge of her nose. She dreaded telling her parents about it. She knew how they would react to her marrying so quickly and someone who had been her childhood nemesis to boot. But her mom had been nagging for years about how the weren't getting any younger, so they would be happy in some respects-but thirty days to get everything done would be tough too.
Draco sat across from her watching the flurry of conflicting emotions run across her face. He wished he could comfort her, but he wasn't ready to make that move yet.
"So, tell me about the GREAT Hermione Granger." Draco said, leaning back into the couch. He watched amused as her seyes flew open, slightly startled.
"What do you want to know now? It's obvious that you know a lot about me already." She snapped back at him.
"Let's not fight tonight Hermione." Draco said softly, leaning forward to take her hands into his. "After all, we are now engaged to be married. Can't we pretend for one night to be happy about this?"
She sighed and began to talk. After a little while, her doorbell rang and Draco got up to answer it, knowing the food he ordered had arrived.
She shook her head at his audacity, but let him handle the arranging of the meal, since it was his bright idea to order in at her apartment.
After the caterer had set up, Draco offered her his arm and escorted her to the table. He pulled out her chair and gestured for her to sit down. Then he placed her napkin in her lap. He then seated himself across from her and proceeded to pour them both wine. He served her first, then placed food on his plate. After he had done this, the slowly began to talk and by the end of the evening, Hermione actually found herself relaxing and laughing to some of the stories Draco was telling her about his friends.
Draco, on the other hand was relieved that he had finally gotten her to relax. Granted, it had taken a third glass of wine to get her to finally chill, but he would take his victories where he could.
All too soon, the caterer was back to clean up the table and to clear their dishes. Draco lead Hermione to the couch and sat down beside her. He took her hands in his and look into her eyes. "Hermione, I promise to try not to hurt you. Please trust me on this."
She looked into his eyes and almost believed him. She shook her head and responded, "Draco, we were enemies in school. I didn't know it was you that I was saving during the war. I'm not sure I can trust you right now."
Draco looked at her lips, aching to kiss them, but knowing with her response that it was too soon. "Well, I hope you'll try. I better leave. Starting tomorrow, we will have a lot of work to do to be ready within the 30 day window." He leaned over and started to kiss her on the cheek..
Unconciously, Hermione turned her head at the last minute and his lips crashed down on hers. She sighed softly as his lips met hers. Draco lifted and eyebrow in surprise, but he wasn't going to argue with this unexpected gift, so he gently parted her lips with his tongue and entered her mouth. This action startled her just enough that she pulled away. "I think you had better go Draco." She told him trying not to look at him, as she was feeling rather confused at the moment.
He stood up, disappointed and replied "Yes, I think I had better. Until tomorrow, Hermione." And he turned and walked out of her door.
She watched him and quietly whispered, "Until tomorrow."