Chapter 9 – The Decisions Made

Draco Apparated to the nearest and safest Apparition point near The Hilton Hotel in London. After arriving at that point, he walked all the way to the lobby of the hotel which was a good 3 blocks away. Once at the lobby, he scanned the people that were already there. Upon seeing Blaise with presumably Edgar Moore, he walked towards them with a purpose.

The two gentlemen stood up when Draco neared them. Blaise introduced the two of them and after a fluff of handshakes, sat down to business. Draco assessed the older man that they were meeting. He seemed to be someone who knows his way around the business. He also seemed arrogant and proud. He was the kind of person that would look down on anyone that he thinks is below him. He was also a pureblood. Draco had no doubt that this man and his father would get along quite nicely. And after a while, Draco was struck at how he could have been Edgar Moore in the future if he hadn't met Hermione.

Hermione. He thought. She changed his life and he would be forever grateful. In the two weeks that they were together, a lot of things had already happened. And for the first time in his life, he could truly say that he was happy. But then he remembered about his promise. And how he broke that this morning when he left.

"I am willing to invest 2 million Galleons in your company, Mr. Malfoy," Edgar Moore was saying. They were already at the middle of the meeting. Upon hearing that, Blaise turned to Draco and gave him a huge grin. Draco continued staring at Edgar Moore.

"I am glad about that, Mr. Moore. That will immensely help our enterprise and will help yours as well with the equipment that we carry," replied Draco. He then signaled for one of the waitresses for another round of coffee.

The waitress hurried over to their table with a pot of coffee on her tray. Upon reaching them, she tripped and accidentally spilled some on Edgar Moore. Mr. Moore flinched and was a bit surprised but remained seated. He looked up at the waitress with a menacing face.

"Oh my god! I am so sorry, sir! I didn't mean to –" she hurriedly got out her washcloth from her back pocket and dabbed it at Mr. Moore's shirt and tie which was drenched in hot coffee.

"Are you new here, my dear?" Moore asked her softly. The waitress nodded. "You are very beautiful, do you know that?" The waitress gave him a small smile and withdrew her hand with the cloth from his shirt and tie.

Draco observed the interaction between Moore and the waitress. He felt chills run down his back because he once heard the Dark Lord that his father served before speak like that to his followers. He was starting to dislike the man although he knew he needed him for his company. His company's stock was at stake and he knew that Blaise wouldn't forgive him if he didn't go through with this.

"You do know though that you are a waitress here, right?" Moore continued. The waitress once again nodded. "And you do know that waitresses have to perform their duties appropriately by delivering food properly, waiting on tables for the customers and by not spilling anything on important people who pays for your wages." The waitress wasn't speaking but Draco could see that she was on the verge of tears. "If we don't do our respective work properly, how is the world going to function well? You are just a waitress. I am an important businessman. Be thankful that I am not going to report this incident to your manager."

The waitress, having heard enough, simply gave another nod and walked away swiftly from their table. Draco followed her with his gaze and once she was at her post, he saw her break down and a fellow waitress comforted her.

Draco looked back at their table and saw Moore writing something on a piece of napkin. "I want to add this more as a bonus for you. But it would be just between us three. In return, I want to have the best of your technology and equipment. I would be expecting that," said Moore and then he slid down the napkin towards Blaise and Draco.

Blaise looked at the napkin and his eyes grew wide. He urged Draco to do the same. Draco saw that Moore had written 3 million Galleons on the napkin making their deal up to 5 million which is more than enough to save his enterprise.

As Draco pondered, however, about the deal that he was about to close – he suddenly realized that he didn't want to work with this kind of person who looks down on everyone that was beneath him. He thought of how this person would react if Moore went to his building and see the Muggles and Muggleborns working there. Draco wondered if Moore would still keep his end of the deal after he sees that. He had no doubt that Moore would not.

Draco closed the napkin and pushed it back to Moore. Blaise was looking at him questioningly. "I am sorry, Mr. Moore. But I think I spoke to the wrong person today," he said, looking at Moore squarely in the eye. Edgar Moore didn't even blink or back down from Draco's stare. "I do not think that we would be able to do business although I appreciate the offer."

He stood up and fixed his suit, buttoning it up. Blaise gaped at him with his mouth open not believing what he just heard. Edgar Moore simply sat there and looked at Draco with a hint of a smirk on his otherwise guarded face. "Good day, Mr. Moore. Blaise," said Draco, nodding to each man and walked away from the table.

Draco was walking leisurely back towards the Apparition point near The Hilton Hotel when he heard Blaise calling him. He stopped and turned around to face his partner and long-time friend. "Yes, Blaise?"

Blaise was furious. He wanted to bellow and yell at Draco for the decision that he made with Edgar Moore. Of course, he really couldn't question the CEO's decision but foregoing 5 million Galleons was something that he just couldn't let pass. He walked right to Draco's face and almost shouted "Are you mad?!" Draco just shrugged nonchalantly, turned around once more and continued to walk. Blaise walked alongside him.

"Why did you do that Draco? What made you do that? Did you even realize that you're letting go of 5 million Galleons? That's 5 million Galleons, Draco! 5 million bloody Galleons!" exclaimed Blaise.

"I realized that Edgar Moore is not the kind of person I want to work with. Did you see the way he talked with that poor waitress at the hotel? I don't think that he'll tolerate our employees and other staff members after that incident and I wouldn't want that," explained Draco. "It's my decision, Blaise. My final decision."

Blaise looked at him incredulously. "Since when did you think about that huh? You used to be all about the stocks in the company and how we can get more accounts to always be on top. And now – you're turning that away? What has gotten into you?"

Draco didn't reply. He continued on walking and was almost near the Apparition point when what Blaise said made him stop. "Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no," said Blaise, shaking his head and catching up with Draco's quick strides. "It's a girl, isn't it? You have someone new after Pansy, is that it? That's where you're disappearing to this past couple of weeks. And she has you twisted around her hand! For Merlin's sake, what has she been feeding you, huh?"

Draco turned around and Blaise was surprised to find his best friend glaring at him ominously. "Don't talk about her like that. You don't know her. You don't know anything about Hermione."

"So that's her name! Hermione!" called Blaise, a bit triumphantly, when Draco walked again and then disappeared with a silent pop.

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Draco appeared at the middle of Hermione's living room. "Hermione?" he called but no one answered. He loosened his tie and shrugged off his coat. He rotated his neck to ease the tension and plopped down on the couch. He closed his eyes and rested his head. He knew he made the right decision of not going through the business with Moore. He wouldn't be able to work with the man anyway. Let Blaise get mad at him but he couldn't question the CEO's decision on that matter. Even if it does sound ludicrous to probably most if they heard of what just transpired a while and what his final decision was.

Draco stood up and stretched. He walked towards the bedroom and smiled at the little mess that clearly stated Hermione was just there. Her bathrobe was on the edge of the bed. Her slippers were beside the bed near the bedside table. Cosmetics and other female paraphernalia were strewn across the vanity table. Her bath towel was hanging by the door. Some clothes were thrown across the bed. Draco chuckled. Hermione must have had a hard time deciding on what to wear if the clothes that were on their bed indicate something.

Their bed.

Draco caught himself just as he was shrugging out of his slacks and shirt. He just thought of the bed as theirs. He smiled once more and thought of how Hermione was changing everything that he views about life. He wasn't sure if that was for the good or bad but it makes him feel good about himself so he presumes it was for the good.

As he changed his crisp clothes into something more comfortable, he wondered where Hermione was. He just wanted to thank her once more for everything that she had been doing for him. Tying his tennis shoes on his way out, he looked around the little flat that he and Hermione was sharing for the last couple of weeks and smiled again. It was getting easier and easier for him to smile these days, he thought ridiculously and chuckled.

Draco walked down the street and saw Justin playing with his ball by the side street, looking forlorn. He approached him and ruffled his hair, sitting down beside him. "Hey, kiddo," he greeted.

"Hey," replied Justin without enthusiasm.

"Why the long face, buddy?"

Justin heaved a big sigh. "My Dad is in the hospital again. Mum said that he was having a heart attack. I do not know what that is but it seems pretty serious. I was so scared a while ago Draco when my dad suddenly just collapsed and fell flat on his back during breakfast."

Draco draped his arm around the little kid's shoulders and pulled him closer. "Your Dad's going to be all right. Did your Mum take him to St. Mungo's?"

Justin shook his head. "No. Mum said that she doesn't think St. Mungo's would be able to treat the kind of sickness Dad has. Plus imagine what he would think if he wakes up in a magical hospital. He would probably freak out."

Draco raised his eyebrows at that statement. "But your Dad knows that your Mum is a witch, right?"

"Yep, he does," answered Justin nodding. "But he's really not that used yet with all the magic she sometimes does around the house."

Draco nodded and both of them fell silent although the silence was comfortable. After a while, Draco urged Justin to go with him to buy some ice cream from across the street. Justin hesitantly agreed but went with him, anyway.

As they were walking toward the flat where Justin lives, Justin perked up and looked at Draco while licking his ice cream cone. "Say, Draco. Are you doing anything next Thursday?"

"No. None at this moment, why?"

Justin turned around to look at him as they reach his home. "Because I need to have a dad next week at school," he said somewhat shyly. "We gotta present our parents or guardians to our classmates and tell them why they are the best for us in the world. And since my Dad or my Mum most probably couldn't come…"

Draco was pleasantly shocked at what Justin was trying to tell him. He knelt down in front of the little boy and smiled. "Sure, Justin. I'll gladly go with you next Thursday."

The little boy's face lit up and he grinned. "Great!" he exclaimed. Then on an impulse, he hugged Draco, much to Draco's surprise and ran up the stairs to where his home was. "I'll see you then, Draco. Bye!"

Draco waved his hand in response. He felt really good all of a sudden. He was whistling on his way back home when he suddenly had an idea. He grinned to himself and walked faster. He couldn't wait to see the look on Hermione's face once he accomplished what he was about to do.

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Hermione was exhausted. She'd been doing errands all day long to keep her mind off Draco. She went to the pet shelter to take a look at the animals that needed care and volunteered to help out. Then she did a bit of grocery shopping afterwards. She visited Harry and Ron for a short while but declined when they invited her to have dinner with them. All she wanted to do now was flop in bed, sleep the night away and forget about Draco for tonight.

She walked up to her flat, her feet trudging behind. She unlocked her door and a surprised gasp suddenly came out of her. Her flat was transformed into a very romantic fairy tale setting. Candles were floating all around the room, giving the whole flat a yellow-orange glow. Flowers were all around and rose petals were scattered on the floor. There was soft music playing in the background. In the middle of the living room, there was a dinner table set for two completely adorned with crystal and silver utensils. Beside it was another small table where she presumed the food was contained with the wine bottle being chilled in a wine and ice bucket. She walked towards the table and fingered the silver.

She gaped at the whole scene and suddenly, a smile graced her features. When she turned around, she saw Draco standing by the balcony, all dressed up holding one long-stemmed white tulip in his hand.

He walked towards her and gave her the tulip which she shyly accepted. "You're as unique as a tulip. I didn't want to give you any roses since they are very common." He took her right hand and kissed it. "And you're not common. You're special," he said softly and looked deeply at Hermione's eyes.

Hermione gave him a genuine smile, touched that he would do this for her. "Why all of these, Draco?"

Draco led her to one of the chairs, pulled it out for her and pushed it when she sat down. "I just want to do something special for my girl," he replied cheekily.

Hermione's eyebrows rose at the words my girl but didn't comment on it. When Draco served them their dinner, she commented, "I think you just want me to forgive you for this morning."

Draco almost missed Hermione's glass as he was pouring the wine but was able to recover quickly. Once he sat down opposite her, he stared at her and said seriously, "I realized that there is more to life than just getting all the big money in. That life cannot be just that, work for success. Sometimes, little things like a bird in the park…" Hermione smiled at this, remembering Draco when a bird sat on his head. "Or a balloon flying in the sky or this simple dinner served between two people who adore each other, are more important."

Hermione looked down at her plate, not knowing what to say. Draco reached over and tilted her chin up so they were looking at each other. "And you made me realize all that," he continued quietly. "Thank you." And with that, he leaned over and kissed her softly then intensely, their dinner forgotten quite easily.

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Dedicated to PTP. You don't know me as I know you. You don't see me as I see you. But I'm content with knowing that you can be there for me when I need you.