Title: Tempting Propositions
Chapter One: The Proposition
Rating: PG-13 (strong language, adult content); may be R later.
Pairing: Hermione x Draco
Setting: Ten years post-Hogwarts – ages about 26-28
Summary: At the ten-year reunion Hermione gets made a tempting proposition. Romance, lust, and snarky comments ensue when Hermione finds herself with Draco Malfoy as her new boss.
Disclaimer: I did not create Harry Potter or any of the characters from the Harry Potter series. I also have a mortal fear of lawyers. Harry Potter and all its rights ©JK Rowling.
A/N: OMG! Draco's in this story?! Lol, finally the lead man makes a cameo. The rest of the chapters post-this one will be most certainly HGDM oriented. Enjoy.
A/N2: Supriya, my little cushion lady: pretend it's shiny!
December 2008 – Hogwarts' Reunion
Hermione stared at her reflection in the carriage window as it ambled up the path to Hogwarts castle and thought back to the events that had caused the face looking back at her to have altered so.
Reunion Rule # 5: One's dress must accentuate two if not more of the wearer's assets.
This left Hermione's body 'displayed', but grossly underdressed. The gown was a rich blood red, one of Hermione's most favorable colors; not to mention that it would also leave her sporting her former House colors. Unfortunately, it only got worse from there. The bodice was like a corset, ribbed, a darker maroon, and shell-like, with thin red ties that laced all the way up her back. It made her hourglass figure – the one she hadn't even known she had – painfully obvious. Well, painfully to her at least as it was a bit hard to breathe in. Over the top of the corset-bodice was a loose swoop of red silk that barely covered the tops of her breasts, and Hermione had made sure to situate it just right so that she was as covered as well as she could be. Attached to the bottom was a skirt of red silk that clung to her hips before loosening to a respectable fitting. The only problem with said skirt was that it sported a thigh-high slit on either side. She'd been forced to go without pantyhose and her legs felt naked, cold, and freakishly pale. She felt rather ridiculous in the whole get-up and had finally compromised with Ginny so she could wear a pair of matching silk gloves that reached past her elbow. At least now her arms wouldn't be cold.
Reunion Rule # 12: Both hair and make-up of the attendee shall be professionally done.
This meant, namely, that Ginny would be the one in charge of her makeover. The red-head owned a small, though rather expensive, boutique in Muggle London which she'd opened for fun rather than to pay the bills. No, she had her Ministry job for that.
After being forced to pay an outrageous price for her dress, Hermione had demanded control over what Ginny would be doing to her hair and face. With a few subtle hints of hexing her if she didn't cooperate, Ginny relented. Though, in all fairness, Hermione had allowed her best friend to get away with something a little more elaborate than she had originally wanted.
Her make-up was simple enough that if she needed to reapply some of it at the party she would be able to, and for that Hermione was glad. While she usually settled for a bit of eyeliner and lip-gloss, the deep red of her dress made her skin look a tad washed out so Ginny had insisted on adding a little more color to her face. Black eyeliner and mascara were joined by the smallest hint of red eye shadow; just a tasteful line across the very bottom of her eyelids. Light pink blush blended into the naturally flush of her skin, accentuating her cheekbones, and red lipstick made her lips look freshly kissed.
Her hair was Hermione's favorite part of the entire ordeal. Ginny had somehow tamed the wild, bushy curls and twisted them into an elegant chiffon. Several tendrils hung across her cheeks and fell down her neck in a planned messiness to soften the sharpness of the chiffon. When Hermione had first heard Ginny's idea, she'd scrunched up her nose in uncertainty thinking she'd look as if she'd just rolled out of bed, but Ginny had insisted it would turn out 'amazingly sexy', and Hermione had to agree.
The carriage lurched to a stop and Hermione blinked rapidly as she realized she'd arrived at the entrance doors without noticing. Grabbing her beaded purse she slipped out of the carriage and walked quickly up the stairs, not bothering to wait and see who the next carriage contained.
Reunion Rule #32: Thou shalt never be the first to arrive. It is better to appear fashionably late.
Hermione looked at the giant sun shaped clock above the doors of the Great Hall. The antique wrought iron hands were resting patiently on VI and XII as if waiting for her arrival before they could move again.
'Fashionable late' my arse, Hermione thought to herself. She'd never been late for anything important in her life and she wasn't about to start now just because of some silly made up rule. She was just about to open the doors when another slammed down the hallway and Ginny appeared around the corner.
Hermione had the grace to look sheepish. The click-clacking of Ginny's high heels were annoyingly loud as she walked briskly towards Hermione, who, by that time, had enough sense to back away from the door.
"I just knew you'd try and get here on time," Ginny sighed. Her perfectly coifed spiral ringlets bounced across her bare shoulders with a life of their own. She looked like an Irish china doll.
Ginny linked her arm in Hermione's and pulled her gently, yet firmly, away from the door and back down the hallway she'd appeared from. Ginny's heels were making that infuriating click-clacking sound again, while Hermione struggled to keep up with the rapid pace without falling on her arse.
Reunion Rule #18: Thou shalt wear heels.
Hermione scowled as her slited dress tangled itself in her legs as she stumbled to keep up in her new shoes. Sure they were red and strappy and rather cute, but just three inches too tall.
When she was escorted, a bit unceremoniously for her tastes, into the girls' lavatory she nearly gagged on the fumes. The smell of a dozen different perfumes clogged the air, turning what, Hermione assumed, were very lovely smells if left separately, into a heady mixture of fruits, spices, and very foul smelling potpourri. She had to throw a gloved hand to her mouth to keep from being sick, and in doing so she did manage to remember not to actually touch her painted lips before her silk gloves were stained irreparably.
"That is truly rank," she coughed. Silk encased fingers were doing a lot less to filter the fumes than she'd hoped.
Ginny shrugged apologetically and it made those perfect coils shake, "I wouldn't have had to drag you in here if you'd remembered your jewelry."
Reunion Rule #51: Grossly expensive jewelry shall be a necessity.
Hermione desperately fought to keep her eyes from watering. No use ruining Ginny's perfect handiwork when she was standing right there. "I wouldn't have had to be dragged if you hadn't resorted to complicated high heeled maneuvers," she sputtered.
Ginny laughed and moved to pick up the jewelry she'd gestured to earlier. Golden bracelets as thick as Hermione's three middle fingers combined were slid onto each wrist, the countless miniature gemstones glittering as the overhead lights hit the red facets. The necklace came next. It was gold as well, and the sculpted, unchangeable metal coiled over her collarbone and held a large ruby dangling in the swell of her breasts. The ruby was very real; which meant that it was most certainly not Hermione's. It was Ginny's; a gift from a past lover. The garnet and ruby bracelet cuffs were also not hers. They were on loan, along with the garnet teardrop earrings.
The truth was Hermione had purposely left the jewelry at her flat. She'd never been one for needless decoration, and the thought of wearing nearly ten thousand galleons on her person was a little daunting.
"Just one more thing," Ginny insisted, fishing around in her handbag.
Hermione's lips pursed as she thought if there had indeed been anything else she was supposed to be wearing. The answer came when Ginny pulled from her purse a ruby-studded hair comb. It was beautiful, and Hermione's jaw nearly dropped as Ginny stood on tiptoe to slide the adornment into Hermione's hair.
"Merlin's beard," Hermione whispered staring shocked at herself in the mirror. She looked wonderful.
"It's a gift," Ginny told her. Her hands rested on Hermione's shoulders as she looked appreciatively at her friend's reflection.
"I can't take this," Hermione insisted. Her attempts to turn and face Ginny were foiled by her friend's tight grip on her shoulders and she had to settle for shaking her head at Ginny's reflected face peering over her shoulder.
"You can and you will," The tone was matter-of-fact, and one Hermione had used more than once herself. "I have way more money than I know how to deal with. I'd like to spend it on a friend."
All Hermione could do was stand there, gaping at herself, in shock. She'd barely managed a strangled thank you when there was a loud, impatient pounding on the door to the lavatory.
"Hurry up, Gin. The party's in the Great Hall not the loo!"
"Ronald Weasley!" Was Hermione's reprimanding reply. Her shock was instantly gone, replaced by a frown as she gave the man behind the door a disapproving look.
"I don't know why I put up with him," She muttered to Ginny.
"Try living with him for sixteen years."
"Hermione? Is that you?" That was Harry's voice.
Of course it's me, you dunderheads. "Yes. Just a minute." She grabbed her purse off the sink and turned to the door when Ginny stepped in front of her. Without any thought of Hermione's modesty, she reached up and tugged the red sash across her breasts back down to where it was supposed to be. Hermione's eyes immediately shot down and when she gasped she feared she would pop right out of her dress.
"Ginevra Elizabeth Weasley!" She hissed, mortified, as she was pushed out of the lavatory and into the hall.
It took her a moment to regain her balance on her high heels and when that was accomplished she couldn't help but glanced down to make sure she wasn't horribly exposed.
She looked up, completely startled, having forgotten that Harry and Ron were standing in the hallway with her. Of course she hadn't forgotten that she had been flung out there with them half naked, but she had managed to momentarily ignore them while she'd checked that nothing terribly disastrous had occurred.
Harry's eyes were wide in shock beneath the mussed fringe of raven-black bangs, but Ron's mouth was literally hanging open. "Holy shit," he said.
Hermione promptly hit him over the head with her purse, which must have hurt with the beads and all. He rubbed his head ruefully and gave her a look that meant 'what-the-hell-was-that-for'.
"Watch your language, Ronald," she warned, shaking a finger at him.
Harry laughed and started to offer his arm, but Hermione had already started walking down the hallway. He jogged the space between them and fell into step beside her, leaving Ron and Ginny to follow behind them.
"You have to admit he had a point, Hermione. We've known you for nearly eighteen years and we've never seen you wear something like this," he teased.
Hermione's skin turned pink beneath the make-up and she jerked a glove thumb over her shoulder. "You have her to thank for that," she said with a bit of a grumble. Walking on cobblestones with three inch heels was a bitch.
"I like it," Harry said at the same time as Ron griped, "What's the rush?"
"We're late," she replied as they joined the mingling group of former students drifting into the open doors of the Great Hall.
Harry glanced up at the same sun clock she had, "It's only six fifteen."
"She has this...obsessive compulsive anxiety thing," Ginny said as way of explanation, appearing on Harry's other side.
"I have no such affliction," Hermione insisted, crossing her arms beneath her breasts.
"There is absolutely no way she can stand being late to anything," Ginny went on speaking to Harry as if Hermione's outburst was some other conversation entirely. Inwardly, Hermione scowled. Not very ladylike, Gin.
"Rule number thirty two," Parvati Patil murmured from slightly ahead of them.
She and Ginny shared a look that Hermione decided to mean she was completely hopeless as part of the female sex. She was also slightly miffed for having assumed such ridiculous 'rules' were invented by Ginny for the sole purpose of driving her crazy. Unfortunately, that also meant any hope for her gender had just dropped 4.
The quartet made their way through the crowd of early goers and managed to grab a really good table. It sat near the middle of the dance floor, and from their chairs they had a good view of all the other tables that formed a large square to border the dancing couples.
While Harry and Ron had been ordered off to get drinks, Hermione and Ginny were joined at the table by Neville, Lavender, Parvati, Seamus, Dean, and, surprisingly, Luna. Most of the gang had come without dates, for which they were all glad, and it was almost exactly like all those years ago in Hogwarts. It also meant that most of the old group hadn't settled down, which was understandable seeing as how they'd never really had much time for such things, what with Voldemort and imminent death looming around every corner throughout their childhood.
She was very surprised to see Luna once more, though not for any negative reasons, and wondered who had invited her. Hermione then realized she hadn't thought to ask Ginny who had brought her, but waved the thought away figuring either Harry or Ron had.
"So then I says to her, I says—"
Her attention was drawn away from Seamus' story when she heard her name. Harry was looking at her expectantly, his glass of punch cradled loosely in his fingers. She smiled at him softly and paused to brush a toffee curl from her eyes.
He grinned, and for a moment Hermione could have sworn she was staring at the eleven year old boy she'd met on the Hogwarts' Express. "You promised me the next time we were together for something like this I'd have a dance."
She must have made a horrified face, because he immediately began to laugh. She couldn't remember promising such a thing, but if he seemed to think so then she must have. The truth was, however, she absolutely did not like dancing. There was nothing for it though, because she was pulled to her feet and maneuvered out onto the floor.
As a slow song began, there was no hesitation for Hermione to put her hands around his neck and for his hands to move to her waist. They moved slowly around their own little section of the square and Hermione's gaze drifted around the room. The others at the table had followed their example and it was now empty save of purses and drink glasses. She saw Hannah Abbott and Justin Finch-Fletchley talking beside the refreshment table, and Professor McGonagall watching the floor from her seat at the high table.
She looked up at Harry to find him staring back at her. "I'm sorry," she said immediately. "It's just so odd...being in the same room with everyone again after all these years."
Harry nodded with a grin, "You really do look great tonight."
"Thank you," she replied. "I thought Ginny had gone entirely overboard, but now when I see that all the other women have gone through as much trouble, if not more, I feel very grateful that I did not arrive...underdressed," she added a bit sheepishly.
"I should drag you to these types of things more often," Harry decided. "I could get used to dancing with the most beautiful woman in the room."
Hermione rolled her eyes and shook her head at him, "And why is it you don't have a girlfriend?"
He shrugged and smiled, "Just lucky I guess."
Hermione laughed and allowed him to lead her into another dance as a more upbeat song picked up.
The night continued onwards as Hermione danced dance after dance with old friends. Hours had gone by, but there seemed to be some conspiracy to keep Hermione from sitting down for longer than a minute. Finally, good-naturedly demanding a respite, Hermione had been left at the refreshment table to chat with Ginny.
She finished her glass of wine, and was rewarded with the dryness in her throat finally soothed. Browsing along the options for snacks, Hermione heard Ginny ask if she was having fun.
Hermione nodded, selecting a miniature éclair to nibble on, "Yes, I am. In fact, surprisingly more fun than I had estimated."
Ginny beamed proudly, and Hermione realized, belatedly, that she had walked right into that one, "Of course you are," Ginny said quickly. "Who wouldn't have fun dressed like that? You look absolutely gorgeous."
Halfway through a bite of éclair, Hermione lifted her gloved hand to block Ginny's sight of her mouth while she replied, "Fishing for compliments, Gin? That isn't very ladylike," she teased.
"Neither is talking with your mouth full," the red-head shot back.
Hermione scoffed, "I had my mouth covered." She poured herself another glass of wine to wash down the chocolate aftertaste and sent Ginny her 'what-more-do-you-want-from-me' look. Ginny gave her cheek a painful pinch.
Hermione grinned. She truly was having a great time. She opened her mouth to speak, but before she could, a hand on Ginny's shoulder pulled her closer to the dance floor.
"I trust you saved a dance for your big brother?" Ron grinned and pulled one of Ginny's curls straight. He let it go and it bounced neatly back into place. Hermione had been wondering about that...
Ginny swatted Ron's chest, "Of course, you big oaf."
Hermione shook her head. When it came to family all of Ginny's calm and feminine demeanor dissolved.
"Let's see if what Lavender's been telling me is true," Ginny said pulling Ron along by his bow tie. Hermione nearly spit her wine at the horrified look on Ron's face. She set down her glass and tried to find where her old friend had gone, but he had disappeared into a sea of black tuxedos.
A hand grabbed hers and she turned to find Harry grinning down at her, "I believe you are required on the dance floor."
Hermione groaned at the thought of more dancing. The heels were really starting to kill her feet. At least now, she'd figured out how to walk in them without getting her dress tangled between her legs – it was all in the hips. She had to smile, though, as Harry tugged on her hand and pulled her out onto the floor because it was impossible to be around so many happy, smiling people and not smile herself.
Harry was finally forced to relinquish her at eleven o'clock, when the rest of the female populace began demanding for a dance. Hermione had grinned and abandoned him to the women hanging all over him, now finally able to retreat to her table. The clicking of her high heels was starting to grate on her nerves and her calves screamed from the strain that had been placed upon them.
She collapsed into her chair and finished off what remained of her white wine to sooth her parched throat. It was warm from sitting for hours and she made a face as she set it back down.
"Problem?" Someone asked in a lazy drawl.
"I hate dancing," she answered huffily, without thinking. When she did manage to think, her head whipped around to look beside her. "Malfoy?!"
He didn't look much different, but she supposed it was because she'd grown used to seeing him around. Well not really around, exactly. More like all over the Prophet. He was rather famous in the wizarding world, supposedly. Witch Weekly named him 'The World's Most Eligible Wizard', or something of that rot. On the other hand, his eyes--
He was now staring at her expectantly, and she realized she'd missed what he'd said. "What did you say?"
He smirked, and Hermione's face seemed to feel the need to flush. "While you were staring at my incredibly handsome face? I asked what you were doing at my table, Granger?'."
She instantly scowled. "This is my table," she said and jabbed her gloved finger into the tablecloth.
"I don't see your name on it," he replied, easily. Calmly. Hermione couldn't understand how he could remain so stoic, when she was nearly bursting with annoyance. Especially, after saying something as childish as that!
Impulsively, and probably due in no small part to the minor amount of alcohol in her system, she picked up a dinner knife and lightly etched her initials into the table's edge. Draco watched her in surprise, and he didn't bother to hide it. She wasn't looking. When she was finished, she brushed back the curls that had fallen in her face and gave him a smug look.
Draco just stared at her.
Finally he spoke. "That could be any H. G.," he pointed out blandly.
Hermione gaped at him in a rather unattractive fashion. "You just saw me write it," she hissed.
Draco remained unfazed as he took a sip of his wine, swirling the red liquid along the bottom of the glass. "Well in that case, you're probably going to hell for defacing Hogwarts' property."
A low sound came from the back of Hermione's throat which sounded very much like a growl, and she very nearly slammed the dinner knife back onto the table. The others seemed to have 'sensed danger' and were starting to filter back to the table. She watched them get closer out of the corner of her eyes.
"What the hell do you want, Malfoy," she sounded more defeated than angry.
Draco took that as a win for himself, and smirked at the irritation he was causing her, "I actually have a proposition for you, Granger, believe it or not."
He set down his wine glass and stood up, brushing imaginary lint off of his pristine black tuxedo. He looked down at her when he was done, one finely arched eyebrow raised over blue-gray eyes. "Let's dance."
Hermione stared at his outstretched hand in surprise, and then shot him a glare. "I just told you I hated dancing."
He smirked, "All the more reason for me to ask. I know you're curious."
And she was. She flushed slightly. Damn. She hated being predictable.
"Hermione, no! You can't trust him."
Inwardly she groaned – especially for the cliché line spouting. Ron, her ever protective body guard, had arrived just in time to catch the last snippets of conversation. She loved the guy, really, but sometimes he was just too much for her to deal with. So, instead of dealing with him, she turned to Malfoy.
Hermione looked searchingly across his face and then tilted her head to the side in a most unexpected gesture. Draco stared her down. She didn't know if she could trust him, so she was going to let him decide for her. He swallowed his surprise, the mask of patient boredom never slipping, and executed a graceful bow – even if it was more mocking than reassuring.
"I'll be a gentleman," he promised with a smirk.
Hermione smiled slowly, another surprise, and placed her hand in his. "I would expect nothing less from you," she told him, and allowed him to lead her onto the dance floor.
Curiosity had finally got the better of her, and she hoped it didn't get her killed as it had the cat...
"How very complimentary of you," He said in feigned surprise, smirking down at her.
"But you're still a bastard for dragging me out here."
"And we're back to tearing at each other's throats..." He tutted and shook his head, giving her a look of disapproval. "Can't we at least pretend to be civil for the moment?"
She shrugged, "Old habits die hard, I suppose." She glanced up at him. "You, however, seem to have kicked the bucket on a few nasty habits."
Smirk. "Such as?"
"Your excessive use of hair gel for one. And you haven't tried to look down my dress at all—"
"And what makes you think you have anything to offer that I want?"
"You'd flirt with your own grandmother, Malfoy," she snapped, rather insulted at the implication that her features were...less than adequate.
Her eyes narrowed as she felt his fingers tracing patterns at the edge of her corset-bodice, which meant they were just below her waist – dangerous territory. She felt him follow the lacings of her dress and toy with the bow that held it all together. Any fear she had that he might sink as low as to de-robe her in the middle of a slow dance disappeared as his fingers slid down again, dipping into the dimples of her lower back. The touch made her want to shiver as it left a tickling feeling across her skin, but she settled for frowning at Malfoy instead. Her eyes met his.
"If your hand drifts any lower I'm going to feed it to you," she threatened in a low voice.
Draco chuckled, but the caresses didn't stop. He stared down at her audaciously as he suddenly pulled her close to his chest, and Hermione had to turn her head to keep from mashing her nose against Draco's breastbone. She could feel his breath on the side of her face before he whispered his lips beside her ear. She could hear his heart beating against his chest, and she thought it so loud she was surprised she could make out the words he said to her.
"Nonsense," he told her. "I told your two pets I would be a gentleman."
"And you're being true to your word?" She made her suspicions evident.
He chuckled, his chest reverberating against her cheek. "Only because it amuses me for the moment to do so."
"You haven't changed at all, have you," she made it a statement and sighed softly. As if to agree, his fingers drifted in a lazy line down to her tailbone.
"Pervert!" She hissed, yanking back from his grip. He was stronger than her, however, and he spun her around, keeping them dancing. People were staring. She glanced over at her friends to find them halfway out of their chairs. She shook her head at them over Malfoy's shoulder and gave them a genuine smile to let them know she was alright.
"I don't suppose I'll ever get one of those smiles out of you?" He jibbed.
Her smile immediately turned to a frown and she glared at him. "You can be such a bloody prick sometimes, Malfoy," she said hotly.
"Such a caustic tongue, Granger."
She shrugged, and it seemed a bit tired. Arguing with Malfoy was really wearing her out. "I guess that's the effect you have on me."
He leered at her and waggled his eyebrows suggestively. "Interesting. I didn't know my bodily presence...affected you."
He said the word in a low, husky voice as if it were a dirty secret they had just divulged. Hermione shook her head and ignored his double meaning. "Yes. You make everyone around you bitter and angry. Congratulations."
He scowled darkly, and Hermione knew she gotten through to him. She decided to press her advantage. I mean, he wouldn't hurt her...
"Now give me a good reason for not having let my friends hex you into the dance floor," she said smoothly. Effortlessly.
"Ah, yes." He said, and Hermione watched with dismay as the annoying smirk fell back into place. "The proposition."
The music was dying away and with nothing to dance to, Hermione couldn't help but notice his touch on the small of her back again. "Out with it Malfoy." Her voice trembled slightly. Damn. "I'm not going to be dancing with you all night."
She watched the grin on his face with horror, as he thought about what a great idea that would be. She glared at him and stomped her high heeled foot. Malfoy actually laughed at her, "Stop being so bloody impatient. I'm offering you a job, you stubborn woman."
She would have been quite content to stand there staring at him in shock, but the music began again. Murmurs of confusion spread throughout the crowded couples as the song began with an unfamiliar beat. Malfoy recognize it though, and unfortunately, so did Hermione. He started to pull her closer, but she was squirming frantically out of his grasp.
"I refuse to dance this," she hissed, glaring at him vehemently, forgetting everything else but the fact that there was no way in Tartarus she was going to dance to that song.
"Come now, Granger. We're not finished talking."
Hermione cursed herself for not seeing him grab his wand sooner, but even as she lunged at him to take it he said a spell beneath his breath. Not caring about being 'ladylike', Hermione let out an undignified shriek over the music as a great gust of wind picked up directly beneath her feet. The couples around them had taken a step back as Hermione fought to keep the skirt of her dress from flying up over her head. What knickers she was wearing was nobody's business.
There was a loud flapping sound, like fluttering wings and she found her legs encased in a dozen petticoats. The gauzy gold laced edges peeked out from beneath a wide hoop skirt. The red silk was still the same, but some additions had been made to the hem. She looked like she'd walked straight out of a French history book. None of this mattered at the moment; however, because right now Hermione's sole focus was punching that smirk right off his face.
He grabbed her fist easily – damn, those Seeker reflexes – and wrapped his other arm around her waist. The layers of her skirt rustled as they were pressed against his legs. The beginning stanza of the song was being repeated over and over again, waiting for people to begin dancing. She scowled at him angrily and struggled to get away.
"And away we go," he murmured, and Hermione barely managed a horrified, 'NO!', before he'd whisked her away across the dance floor and the magically animated instruments began the Viennese waltz.
"I loathe you," she hissed at him as they spun around and around again.
No one else was dancing. Apparently they were the only two who had been forced into ballroom lessons.
"I don't know what you're so upset about," he replied, conversationally. "You're doing just fine, Granger."
"Just because I know how to dance the Viennese waltz, doesn't mean I wanted to, you foul, loathsome, evil—"
He spun her out suddenly, cutting off her steamy tirade, and she twirled back in. Her fingernails dug into his shoulder making him wince as she showed him how much she hadn't liked being interrupted. At least she wasn't struggling anymore, but that was only because a) it would be very embarrassing, and b) if she didn't hold on to him properly, she'd probably slip, fall, and end up back at reason 'a'.
He led her around the dance floor again. Each time they spun around, Hermione's skirt would swing around gracefully as well, making their dance all the more enchanting. Her feet were invisible beneath the skirt so the whole dance made it appear as if she were gliding across the dance floor. Wherever Draco led, she followed.
But she didn't have to be happy about it.
"Whatever the hell you did to my dress, you skunk, it had better not be permanent. I spent a lot of money on it, and if you ruined it—"
"I'll buy you a new one," he interjected smoothly.
Hermione could barely handle the emotional rollercoaster she was on, "W-Why?" She sputtered.
"Because who knew the muggleborn bookworm would turn out looking like a princess when she wears a seventeenth century hoopskirt." He smirked down at her as they completed their circle and began again. "Of course, I could just be bribing you to accept my offer."
Hermione's lips pursed and it took her a moment of thought before she realized what he was talking about. She looked up at him, and he was momentarily startled by how quickly her anger had dissipated. She didn't seem to notice, however, and he recovered quickly.
"What do you mean by 'job'?" She asked.
"I meant it just as it sounds. You know, hours, money—"
"I know what you meant, you insufferable prat!"
And the anger was back again...
"Granger," he cut in. "Unless you were truly planning to keep me on the dance floor all evening, I suggest we forgo the...pleasantries...and talk business."
Her face was pink with embarrassment and she ducked her head a bit to avoid catching the eyes of their audience. She cleared her throat and looked up at him, her face clear and composed once more. "Then let me rephrase me earlier question," she said. "Which job is it that you are offering me? Completely out of the blue, I might add."
Another series of spins. "I want you to head the 'Management and Research Department for Mystical and Magical Creatures'."
Hermione opened her mouth, but Draco interjected quickly, "And the job is just what it sounds like. The hours may not be the best some days, but the position is grossly overpaid. Besides, I'm offering it to you on the level; you don't have to waist your time working your way to the top, you're already standing there."
Hermione was silent. It sounded like a tremendously generous offer. And that made her all the more uncertain about it. Why had Malfoy come to her and nearly handed her the perfect job on a silver platter.
"Why are you offering me this job?" Ah, it seemed that she just had to open her mouth. "I mean, not that I'm not grateful," she said quickly. "And I am. I really am. It's just that I'm curious as to why you've so suddenly approached me with this..."
"The last several people who headed the department were insufferable blokes that couldn't tell a hippogriff from a hinkypunk," he told her bluntly. "Now the department has been run into the ground, and if I don't do something about it soon then I'll lose a great deal of money."
Hermione smiled to herself as she twirled out and then back into his arms again. Of course, it would have to be about money.
"I had to think of someone who was annoying and nosey enough to get the department back on its feet—"
"—And you immediately thought of me?" She interrupted. "How very sweet..."
Her mocking tone only deepened his smirk, "Of course not. Potter was the first, and though it would have been an immense pleasure to be the one in charge of Potter's paychecks, I couldn't stand the thought of him in my company, much less heading any department."
"But you can stand me?" She made it a question. Her honey colored eyes watched his face for a response. He smiled then. Not a smirk, a smile, and it just about made her melt into her shoes. 'World's Most Eligible Wizard'...ok, so maybe not that much of a rot.
His fingers kneaded into her lower back, and Hermione had to force herself to stare resolutely back. "Well..." he murmured. His voice was low and husky; a warm breath across her skin. "You are of the female variety."
She clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth, "I am also of the ability to recognize sexual harassment in the workplace, lecher."
He smirked showing a flash of brilliant white teeth, but his eyes were locked on hers, "Are you accepting my offer then, Granger?" He inquired, his voice silky. "Are you saying yes?"
The waltz had ended and they were left standing with Malfoy's hands on her waist, with one of Hermione's resting across his shoulder, and the other lightly holding one of his arms, as if she were about to pull it away. They stood frozen.
"I'm saying..." Her breath caught in her throat. She stared down at the puffy skirt pressing against Malfoy's black slacks. "I'm saying..."
Her eyes went to his face; they met his. "I'm saying...yes."
Note: If you don't know what a Viennese Waltz looks or sounds like, then download the Blue Danube Waltz. It may help you remember. If not: This dance whirls around the floor at a fast pace. Poise is very important as you glide over the floor. There is LOTS of spinning.