"Wait…how much?" Ginny Weasley's jaw was hanging open. She knew she shouldn't have let him in here. Actually, thinking about it, she hadn't let him in here. He had asked if he could come in, she had said no, and he had come in anyway. Thinking about more, she realized that this was the only thing she had contributed to the conversation besides demands that he leave. He obviously had noticed the same thing because he was smirking at her, leaning forward to prop his elbows on his knees.
He told her the amount again.
Her jaw dropped again.
"You're kidding me. You've got to be," she half-stammered this statement, and he shook his head coolly. "Bloody hell, you're not kidding me?"
"No, Miss Weasley, I am not kidding you," he was looking at her as if she were a bit dense, but he didn't betray any signs of joking. "My friends are not the sort to dally around,"
"I guess not,"
Draco Malfoy had walked into her office to inform her that his friends had bet her an obscene amount of money that he couldn't nail her. As if this wasn't shocking enough, here she was, actually thinking about the situation. It had to be leftover hormones from her teenage years or something.
Ginevra Weasley had not had a good year; being twenty-five was not all it was cracked up to be. Her job was deadbeat (just a pretty face to file paperwork for the Ministry of Magic), her love life nonexistent, and her friendships dissolved into vindictive, bitter spats. She supposed the beginning of all this had been the day she and Ron had discovered that Harry and Hermione were getting it on after hours. Apparently, Aurors and nurses had an animal attraction for one another that "could not be ignored". Ron had been heartbroken; Ginny, however, had been murderous. She had gone after Harry with a metal spatula and her bare hands, offering to perform surgery on him that would involve her reaching down his throat and pulling out his testicles that way. Yes, she had been a not so happy camper.
Anyway, it had been a while since then, but she couldn't honestly say that anything had been peachy. Things had been pretty down and irritating, and this wasn't a sign that things were looking up. After all, people making bets regarding the potential sordid affairs of you and your enemies was not a positive thing. She looked at her enemy for a moment.
He was sitting on the leather chair across from her desk with a look of absolute calm on his face as he looked at her. His blue eyes were so pale that they appeared grey, bright and intriguing in the pale set of his chiseled features, with a strong jaw and classic profile. His hair was still blonde but it had darkened once his teenage years had passed, and he was tall, long legs resting demurely in front of him. He was the picture of poise; the extremely attractive picture of poise.
Why didn't I invest in ugly enemies? She thought forlornly, twisting a lock of red hair. Instead I pick enemies that are hotter than any of my boyfriends, my boyfriends, who are cheating scum, who sleep with women who aren't as pretty as me.
"Are you planning on giving me an answer? I could have been underhanded and tried to seduce you, but instead, I'm offering this to you as a business endeavor," he informed her in a voice as smooth and cool as Italian silk. She frowned.
"I shouldn't even have to answer you. Of course the answer is no," she replied even as her mind screamed, A third party is willing to pay huge money for you to have sex with a gorgeous man, and you're saying no?
"I should have known, but I was hoping your answer would be yes. I'm being more than fair about this,"
"Sex isn't about fairness!" She replied, tossing her hands up in disbelief. "It's about…well, it's sex!"
"I know what sex is," Draco echoed, raising an eyebrow as if he was no seeing his point. She watched his lithe fingers drum lazily on his knee, imagined catching hold of those oh-so-capable looking fingers, and thought, I bet you do.
What she said aloud was, "I'm not going to have sex with you so that you can win some bet,"
"How are you going to have sex with me?" His look was sly.
"I'm not!" She smacked her hand against the polished mahogany of her desk.
"Would you like to go out to dinner with me tonight?"
"I'm not going to have sex with- Wait, what?"
He repeated himself.
"Dinner? What, so you can try to seduce me?"
"Perhaps, but you know exactly what I'll be trying to do, so you can defend yourself. Look, Miss Weasley, I have one month to win this bet. They're giving me a month. Why don't you do the same thing? If the month ends and I haven't gotten a shag, then the end, no hard feelings. If the month ends and I have shagged you, we're both a little richer. It's a heavenly deal,"
"Heavenly deals don't exist with the devil," she muttered darkly, hazel eyes narrowed.
"I think you are giving me a bit too much credit. I'm hardly the devil,"
"No, you're worse. You're a Malfoy," There was a pause where their eyes met. Ginny imagined evil music playing. Any second now he was going to start "Muhuhahaha"ing.
He seemed to think differently. Instead, Draco stood up, stretching out his legs and rolling his shoulders once as if they were kinked. "So, I will see you tonight at Kniltholder's?"
Her jaw dropped again; Kniltholder's was a staggeringly expensive restaurant where the wizarding world's rich, famous, and influential liked to go to play. Anyone who went to Kniltholder's on a regular night was in no need of money. "Why exactly did you take this bet again?"
"It's a matter of pride, Miss Weasley. I will see you around eight,"
He stepped out of her office, and she sagged in her chair, dropping her face into her hands. She couldn't believe she was considering this. This was the most ridiculous thing ever. And to think, I'm the normal one in my family.
Ginny went to The Burrow once a week, one of Mum's rules. Right now, it was the last place in the world she wanted to be because who should be there but Harry the Harlot and Hermione the Whore. Ron, who was now dating some lovely sweetheart named Miranda, had forgiven them almost completely, and he just let them come over as if nothing was wrong. She thought it was pretty disrespectful of her feelings, but she just dealt with it. Right now, in ripped hose and a wrinkled skirt and generally disgruntled mood, they seemed even worse than usual.
Ron was sitting on the armchair, so Ginny had been forced to take a seat on the couch beside the lovebirds while her mum went to get tea. Harry was wrapped around Hermione, who was half on his lap. It was gross.
"Rough day, Gin?" Harry was trying out sympathy. She shot him a vicious look.
"Look like hell, do I, Potter?" Her voice was a bit venomous in its sarcasm, and he shook his head, obviously deciding that had not been the best of attempts to be friendly.
"You just look tired," Ron placated, but Ginny instead tucked away Harry's words to fan her personal flame of bitterness in moments where it seemed like it might go out. Molly Weasley stepped back into the room, tea tray floating in front of her, and she distributed a cup to each person before sitting down on the ottoman in front of Ron.
"How was your day, Ginny?" Molly asked kindly, a touch of empathy affected into her tone. Ginny watched her mother's eyes take in her messy appearance with mild disapproval.
"Look like hell, do I, Mum?"
Molly looked a little shocked, swallowing sharply and raising an eyebrow.
"Merlin's beard, do you have to be so grouchy?" Ron looked annoyed now. Ginny figured this meant that Miranda was coming. He always liked to pretend that the Weasleys were normal when Miranda was coming.
"Maybe she's PMSing," This announcement came from across the room, and they all looked up to see Fred and George walking through the living room door. "Fred acts that way when he's PMSing,"
"You're a wanker," Fred replied, bumping his shoulder against George's. They both laughed, and even Ginny, in her current funk, had to smile. It was little wonder they ran such a successful joke shop; they were hilarious. Ginny adored them because they never got on her case about being pissed off. They just made her smile instead.
"No, she's not PMSing. She just got off her period last week," Molly said, and Ginny turned to look at her.
"Oh, that would explain why she was a real bitch during dinner last Friday," Fred said, winking at her. Ginny narrowed her eyes at him and thought, You are not helping, Stinky.
"Hard to be cheery when you're menstruating," Hermione added, suddenly feeling like contributing to the conversation. This earned her a nasty look from her ex-friend.
"That is a serious invasion of privacy," Ginny announced loudly. "You all are a serious invasion of privacy,"
"Inside voice, Ginny," Molly observed, taking a sip of her tea. A silence descended, and Ginny watched Ron glance towards the empty fireplace, obviously hoping that Miranda would appear in this moment of quiet instead of an argument over his sister's menstrual cycle.
"Seems to me that we have put little Ginny in a bad mood. We truly are a sadistic bunch," George leaned over and slung an arm over her shoulders. "Why are we picking on you tonight, Gin? Fred and I missed the beginning. How'd you open yourself up as the butt of our family's humor?"
Ginny looked around the room, at her mother who was looking at her with mild concern, at the twins who were grinning and looking for any excuse to tease people, at Ron, who was trying to make things perfect for his girlfriend, and at her ex-boyfriend who was feeling up Hermione the Whore's leg while he thought no one was looking. She grinned.
"They're just upset that I have a date with Draco Malfoy tonight," she purred, rising to her feet and shrugging off George's arm.
She Disapparated before she could even fully appreciate the six dropped jaws around her.
Ginny looked in the steamed-up mirror at her reflection with a frown. She had no idea what she was doing. She didn't have anything to wear to Kniltholder's. It was Kniltholder's! It wasn't like she could throw on something casual and go eat a burger. When eating at that place, she was going to have to know which fork to use! Sometimes, in her apartment, she ate with a spoon because she couldn't find a fork! She had no business going to Kniltholder's!
Trailing her fingers through some of her soaking wet red hair, she let her panicky thoughts race over who she was going to dinner with. Draco Malfoy. She had seen him on the cover of a magazine lately; it had been a sort of 'Look at hot, rich British bachelors' issue, but still, he had been the cover. He had looked good, too. At the time, she had been frowning and thinking that he was smarmy bastard who didn't deserve the coverage, but after being within a few feet of him this afternoon, she knew that he wasn't all hype. He had a… a definite flair. She let out a sigh. Flair was just one word for it.
Sexy as hell is another, her mind added.
She walked into her bedroom, wearing her towel and flipped through the clothes in her closet. She didn't have anything she could wear out to dinner at Kniltholder's with Draco Malfoy. She was a loony for thinking she could pull this off; the only reason she was doing this was because she had wanted to shock her family because they were pissing her off. That was all.
And because I wouldn't mind spending an evening with Draco Malfoy trying everything he has to seduce me, she thought to herself wickedly.
Holding out a bright green dress that looked like it belonged at a summer picnic, she groaned. The selection in here, in her closet, was pathetic. She shook her head.
"Who am I kidding? I don't have anything to wear," she muttered, plopping down in her towel on the bed ungracefully. She heard a Pop!, and suddenly, standing in front of her, was the devil himself. Her jaw dropped, and she screamed, a loud, earth-shattering type of scream.
"That's a very unbecoming sound, Ginevra," Draco Malfoy said calmly, blue eyes giving her an once-over, taking in her damp hair, her towel, and everything it didn't cover. Then those blue eyes gave her a twice-over, and then they did one better and made it a thrice-over. Her face turned the color of her hair as she let loose another scream.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOME? GET OUT!" She hollered, jumping to her feet as she gripped the top of the towel for stabilization. He was wearing a crisp, snow-white shirt that just looked expensive, and a tailored black blazer. His hair was neat, his expression cool, and even his shoes looked good. She was aware of the fact that she was sitting on her unmade bed in an old, ratty towel. He seemed to be aware of that, too.
"You keep telling me to get out. Have you considered working on your hospitality?"
"YOU SAID EIGHT O'CLOCK AT THE RESTAURANT!"
"I said no such thing. I said I would see you around eight o'clock. It's seven-thirty. Close enough," he shrugged his shoulders, and she glared daggers at him.
"Get out of my room and my house, and I will be at the restaurant eventually," she tried a calm tactic. He smiled but seemed unmoved by her attempt at sounding rational.
"They won't let you in without me," he mused lazily, walking over to her closet. He began to skim his fingers over the clothes there, occasionally lingering on a particular fabric.
"Then meet me outside!"
"I'm not standing outside waiting for you. Get dressed, and we'll go now," There was a long silence, and he looked at her curiously, obviously wondering why she wasn't replying. She tugged at a lock of red hair and looked away.
"Do you not want to get dressed?" He asked patronizingly, and she frowned at him. A corner of his mouth lifted slyly. "I'm fully supportive of that idea, but it seems a bit uncharacteristic,"
"I don't have anything to wear," she muttered finally, barely audible.
"Come again," He smirked at her.
"I don't have anything to wear," she repeated a little louder. He grinned with a sort of twisted satisfaction. You are a smarmy bastard, she insulted him telepathically as she had when she had seen him on the cover of that magazine.
"I'm glad you admit it. I was just noticing that your closet was lacking in Kniltholder's style of dress. Put something on for now. We'll go get you something to wear,"
"You'll buy me something to wear?" Her jaw dropped.
"Of course I will. I'm not a stingy person," he pretended to look shocked at her surprise.
She blinked at him several times, looking like a startled toad, before standing up. She opened a drawer and grabbed underwear and a bra, hiding them from his view, before walking to the closet. Just to be difficult, she grabbed a pair of sweatpants and a tee-shirt before ducking into the bathroom. She emerged a few minutes later, dressed. Her hair was dry, but not exactly done; it was in messy curls and waves. One curl bounced off her eye, and she pushed it away in frustration.
"Get out your wallet, buddy," she said darkly. "I'm going to break the bank,"
"Probably are," he echoed slowly.
"Oh, I definitely am. We're getting the most expensive dress there,"
"Fine with me,"
"You're taking the fact that you are about to be bankrupt very calmly,"
"I probably am. See, I failed to mention one little thing about your dress," He slipped a hand to her elbow, fingers wrapping surprisingly gently through the curve of her arm.
"What's that?" She muttered, disarmed by the gentle brush of skin on skin.
"I get to pick it out,"
"This one is lovely," he observed, holding up a slinky brown dress that left nothing to the imagination. She laughed openly at him, and he raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah right. Then, after dinner, you can put me on the street corner and pass me off as a hooker,"
"Or I could take you home myself, and we'd both get paid,"
She rolled her eyes even as her thoughts said, Good idea!. She ignored her thoughts; they had a tendency to be impulsive.
She and Draco were in a clothing store that she would never have been let in without him. Even the employees were of higher class than she was, and they kept looking down their nose at her when they weren't absolutely drooling over Draco. They swooned every time he breathed, and all but bent over to kiss his butt when he spoke to them. Ginny couldn't decide whether to be disgruntled by their apparent disrespect towards her or not; after all, they had no way of knowing that she and Draco weren't really together, so they were just proving themselves as hussies. Classy hussies, but hussies nonetheless.
Even with the situation being less than ideal, Ginny did feel like a little girl who had been swept into a fairy tale, surrounded by all these beautiful dresses. Sure, Draco was the devil, not a prince, but the dresses were definitely princess-like. She picked up a blue one, admiring it, and she heard a sound of disapproval.
"If I wanted you to look like a nun, I would have taken you somewhere else," he placed his hand over hers and guided the dress back onto its hanger.
"Modest is a good adjective,"
"Not in my vocabulary,"
They stared each other down, and finally, she grunted and walked over to another section to peruse the hundreds of "little black dresses". She was scrutinizing one when she heard a voice behind her.
"Try this one on,"
She turned to look, and Draco Malfoy was holding up a green dress, the exact jewel shade of a perfectly cut emerald. Her eyes lit up, and she grinned despite herself.
"Okay," she agreed with a nod, swooping over and taking it from him. The moment of eagerness faded as she approached one of the employees to ask to be let into a dressing room. The woman was a slim blonde with a surly, snobbish expression.
"May I try this on?" Ginny attempted to sound friendly. The woman didn't reply, just walked over to a dressing room and unlocked it with a little snort of derision.
"Well then," Ginny snorted back childishly as she stepped in and shut the door. Shedding her sweats and tee-shirt, she slid the dress on gently, careful not to look in the mirror until it was all positioned. She turned to look with a sense of anticipation, and when she did, her eyes widened. The halter-style fastenings made her shoulders and the hints of her collarbone look sensual, the fit of the dress made her curves look perfect, and it almost touched her knees, making it coy without being prudish in the least. She looked like a bombshell in it.
The devil has damn good taste, she observed with a grin at her reflection.
"Do I get to see it?" She heard his voice outside the door, and she could already tell that he knew he'd picked a good one. She opened the door. He looked at her and smiled approvingly, wickedly.
"You look good in it. I bet you look better out of it. Why don't you let me in there to find out?"
"And to think I was just about to thank you,"
"Sarcasm is unflattering,"
"According to you, everything I do is un-something,"
"You are difficult. Do you realize that?"
"I've been told,"
"Draco…" A voice suddenly crooned at his elbow, and he turned to look at the employee who was speaking to him. Ginny took this as a moment to glance at the price tag dangling from her dress. She gulped. It cost more than she made in six months.
"--take it. Here's my card," Ginny saw him handing the woman his credit card, and she burst out.
"Wait!" She held out the tag for him to see. The women sniggered at her. He looked confused.
"What?" He asked.
"Look at the price!" She hissed. Just don't freak out when you realize how much you almost spent! Her thoughts urged silently.
"I know how much it costs. I picked it out, remember?" He looked unfazed.
"Holy God! Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!" She gasped as he shooed the women off with his credit card.
"Should you really be talking to them while you're with me?" He teased.
"Guess not," she muttered, still feeling air-deprived. He reached down and grasped the price tag, tugging it off with strong fingers.
The dress was hers. It was the most expensive clothing article she had ever even tried on, let alone owned. She felt like she couldn't breathe. She owed him. He had just bought her the most beautiful thing she owned. If she accepted this, it was a gift from the devil. She was sealing her fate. She wouldn't be able to just ditch him after this. Her conscience would never let her live it down. You slimy weasel. You dirty ferret. This dress is an underhanded bid for my compliance…and so pretty on me…
"No strings attached," he assured her with a sly smile.
"To hell you say," she put a hand to her head, massaging her temple. "Quick. Take me to Kniltholder's. I think my blood sugar's dropping,"
"You're just in awe of my generosity,"
"Whatever you say, Satan,"
Kniltholder's was stunning; it oozed charm and perfection from the very walls. Unlike the employees at the store, the waiters and the hostess treated her like she was a goddess. She knew it was just because she was with Draco Malfoy, but she didn't care. It made her feel radiant. She dipped her fork into her rice stuff that Draco had ordered for her (in Italian) and took a bite. So this was how the rich and famous and beautiful ate.
"This food is wonderful," she observed, swallowing her bite. Draco nodded noncommittally, sipping his White Russian. After a pause, she sighed gently. "Let's talk business,"
He raised an eyebrow. "Let's talk dirty," he countered, and she flushed crimson. As her imagination ran away with that, she frowned at him disapprovingly. He sighed, too. "Fine. Let's talk business."
"I'm willing to give you a month because I like eating good food and wearing pretty dresses and being envied," she said, twirling her fork in her rice. A few pieces ended up flinging onto the table. She just grinned bashfully. He shook his head.
"No. You're willing to give me a month because you want me,"
"So, I get a month. Does your family get to know?"
"Yep. They're the first to know. I like pissing them off,"
"Do we treat it like a normal relationship?"
"As normal as possible,"
"That means we should have sex tonight," he said with a cool grin. She laughed.
"Nice try, Lucifer,"
"Had to give it a shot,"
"So, we're dating now. For a month,"
They looked at each other, and he lifted the fork from her fingers, setting it on the table. "Let's shake on it, Miss Weasley,"
He extended his hand; she folded hers into it, sealing her fate, making her deal with the devil.
"I must say I didn't expect you to be so open to this plan. You do realize that for a month you're going to have to deal with being a part of my world," he commented, not letting go of her hand and looking absolute wicked. She smiled and shrugged her shoulders lightly.
"What can I say? I hear hell is nice this time of year."
Author's Note: Well, I must tell you all. This is what we call in the business: an impulse story. I had an idea, I started writing, and this came out. I'm not sure what it's going to amount to, but I enjoyed writing this first chapter. For the purposes of reviews, please tell me these two things:
1.) Should I stick with the focus on Ginny, or should it alternate chapter to chapter between Ginny and Draco?
2.) Do you mind the out of character way I am writing most of the characters? I'm not going to change it if you do, but I am curious to know. Let me point out, though, that is definitely deliberate.