" Erin ! "
" Erin !! " Millicent Alexandra Donavan practically shouted from the doorway. I finally looked over at the now open door.
" What ? " I asked.
" Turn that thing down, " She demanded. Sighing, I rose from my bed to do her bidding. Going over to the stereo I turned the knob and Andrew Lloyd Weber's All I Ask of You softened, but, continued to play on in the background. " Your father and I wish to talk with you. "
" About what ? " I asked.
" Not until we get downstairs. Your father and I will tell you then. "
" Yes, ma'am, " I sighed. Placing a bookmark of roses and scrollwork in between the pages of Wuthering Heights , I shut the book. Rising to my feet I smoothed my long dark brown skirt and matching camisole. I turned off Andrew Lloyd Weber and followed my mother downstairs.
Brian Gallagher James Donavan X sat behind his desk in his study. He had been studying the parchment before him, frowning. A large blue- black owl flew in with an envelope clutched within its beak. It landed on his desk. The tenth lord of Donavan Keep plucked the missive out of its beak. It hopped to the end of desk, waiting. The man eyed the bird. The animal got the hint and soared back out the open window. Breaking the seal he pulled out a single sheet. As he read, the lines that had etched themseves into his forehead softened and a smile began to tug at the corners of his mouth. An answer to my problem. After all Erin is my only daughter. I really do not want her marrying the Dark Lord. But, power is so seductive. If I give him Erin's hand, I will move up in the ranks. But, I don't want her hurt. On the other hand, I don't want to be hurt. Maybe this will be the perfect solution. A knock sounded at the door. Quickly he stuffed the parchment from Lord Riddle into a desk drawer.
" Enter, " Lord Donavan bade. The door opened, framing his wife and daughter. Her beauty would be wasted on the Dark Lord. I shall write Lord Snape after we are through discussing the matter. The sun spilling through the picture window lit my auburn hair ablaze and washed my porcelain skin with just a hint of gold.
" Ah, good. I see you were able to tear her away from her music. " Lord Donavan rose from his seat. Striding across the room my father came to stand before us. He slid an arm about my mother's waist, drawing her into hin for a kiss. That was what I wanted. Someday, with Draco. I wanted what my parents have, but, with my boyfriend, Draco Malfoy. I waited impatiently. Drawing back from my mother's lips he walked us to the burgundy armchairs facing his desk.
" As you know, Erin, this is your final year of schooling. " Duh. " As such, when your schooling is completed you shall be wed. " He was kidding, right ? I was only eighteen and did not have any plans to marry anytime soon. Even though I was in luve with Draco. I was still waiting to hear back from Julliard, a muggle music university in America.
" And am I to have a say in whom I marry ? " I asked. Looking down at the desk in front of him my father didn't see the storm clouds brewing within the depths of my green rimmed blue eyes.
" I have just received a missive from a young chap in Scotland requesting your hand in matrimony. "
" Define young. "
" In his thirties, I believe he said. "
" That is young to you !?! " I shrieked.
" Erin Aurora Donavan ! Lower your voice, this instant. A lady does not scream like a banshee. You know that, " Millicent Donavan reminded me sternly. It fell upon deaf ears. I couldn't believe my father. He wanted to sell me to the highest bidder !?!
" The man is old enough to be my father ! " I turned defiant, stormy eyes towards my mother.
" Can't you do anything about this ? "
" What would you have me do ? Your father is right. He indulged your whim and sent you to Hogwarts. After your schooling is complete you will marry this man. " I couldn't believe my ears.
" And I am to have no say in this, whatsoever ? " My eyes glinted dangerously. Fire danced within the sea - coloured orbs.
" Certainly, Erin. After all it is your wedding. You will be expected to help with the planning. "
" What if I don't like the man ? " I was a dog with a bone.
" You are going to marry this man whether you like it or not, young lady. A Pureblood lady marries at a young age. I do not care if you like him or not. You will marry him ! " Fire shown in my father's green eyes. Equally fiery eyes met his. My temper was just as bad as his. If not worse.
" Is this lecture through ? " I asked.
" I do not care for your tone, young lady. I think it's time you went up to your
room, "Brian Donavan admonished. Without a word, but, murder within my eyes, I rose to my feet. I stalked out of the room, slamming the door hard as I could behind me.
" Just who is wanting her hand, Brian ? " Millicent asked.
" A Lord Severus Snape. The man is a professor at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. "
Fleeing the room I flew up the stairs. Once in my room with a couple of waves of my wand I packed everything. One trunk filled itself with nothing, but, books. Three trunks filled themselves with all my clothes. Two with my toiletries and one with sheet music.
" Grainne ! " I called. A pale red tabby cat with emerald green eyes padded into the room. Her cage lay in the fireplace with all my belongings. Opening my arms she jumped up into them. " Drago ! " A huge midnight Great Eagle owl flew into the room. He landed on his favourite perch, my shoulder. I was ready.
With Grainne tucked in one arm I grabbed ash off the mantel and stepped into what small space was left in the fireplace. Dropping the ash I exclaimed, " Malfoy Manor ! " I didn't give a damn what my father said. The only man that I would ever think to marry was Draco. I didn't want to marry a stranger. Marriage was supposed to be a sacred union between two hearts in luve with each other. It wasn't a cage or a sham between strangers. " Heavens ! " Narcissa Malfoy exclaimed, her teacup clattering noisily onto the saucer. " Erin, you gave me quite a scare. I didn't know you were coming. Betsy ! " Grainne jumped out of my arms, heading to the stairs. Drago flew out the open window in the parlour.
" Yes, ma'am, " A young girl answered, appearing in the parlour.
" Please have the guest chambers next to my son readied. "
" Yes, ma'am. "
" And have the footmen help with her trunks. "
" Yes, ma'am. "
" And find my son. "
" Yes, ma'am, " She said taking her leave.
" It is a pleasure to see you, Erin. Please, have a seat. Tea ? "
" Thank you. " I accepted a steaming cup from Narcissa and sipped. Hiding the grimace from the weakness of it I wished that it was stronger.
" Now, tell me why there are tears within your luvely eyes ? " I took another sip of the tea before answering,
" My father. "
" What did he do ? " Her pale blue eyes practically flew over my person.
" Not what you're thinking. He wants me to marry a stranger ! " My voice caught on the last word as tears began to escape from my eyes.
" My word ! " She exclaimed, drawing me into her cloyingly sweet embrace. " And you don't want to, is that right ? Arranged marriages are common, I'm afraid. We do need to preserve our magickal lines. " I pulled myself out of her arms. Picking up my tea I sipped on it. Slowly, I began to calm down. " So, are you ready for another year of school ? "
" Aye, I can't wait to get away from all the boring tea parties. But, I cannot wait for your famous annual Yule Ball. " Draco's mother beamed at that.
Green flames lit the fireplace signaling Draco's arrival home. Looking up at him I was reminded of what my father was doing. Bursting into tears I ran into his embrace.
Draco tightened his arms about me.
" What happened, mother ? "
" Her father wishes her to marry . . . "
" But, that's good. That means . . . " Narcissa cut him off with a shake of her head.
" No, Lord Donavan has arranged for her to marry someone else. "
" What !?! " The young Lord Malfoy exclaimed. " I refuse to let that happen. What if I asked for her hand ? " Narcissa stared at her son. I grew quiet in my boyfriend's arms. Did I hear him right ?
" He would have to consider me, as well. After all the Malfoy name means something. " My eyes flew up to meet his light blue ones.
" Do you mean it ? " I asked.
" I luve you, Erin, " Draco whispered, tightening his arms around me as his lips met mine. Ending the kiss he walked me back over to the couch where I had been sitting. His mother poured another cup and passed it to me to give to him. I settled back on the couch and accepted the cup. Draco leaned against the arm next to me. I passed him the steaming cup. Accepting it he took a seat and grimaced.
" Mother, it's a bit weak. And it needs lemon. " And a touch of honey. But, that was beside the point. My hand settled over his draped over my shoulder. " Sorry, mother, " Draco apologized. Narcissa's eyes widened. Draco had never apologized for anything before. Erin is certainly good for him. Maybe I should talk with Brian Donavan myself. She let it pass.
" Would you excuse me, please ? " I asked.
" Certainly, my dear. I'm sure after that scene with your father you need to rest. I can have someone show you the way, " Narcissa offered. I shook my head.
" Thank you, but, no. I remember the way. " I rose from my seat as Draco stood up.
" I'll walk you, " He offered.
" You don't have to. "
" I said, I'll walk you. "
" Very well, Draco. " I sighed. Why did Malfoys always leap to the wrong conclusions ? I took Draco's offered arm and he led me out of the parlour and up the stairs.
" Where did mother put you ? "
" Where else ? "
" My room ? "
" You wish. No, the chambers beside yours." He opened his door any way.
" Now, " He said, spinning me into him. His head descended, his lips closing over mine. I reveled in the feel of his body close to mine, his lips upon mine. Pleasure and warmth shot through me. His lips left mine, trailing over my jaw, then, my neck. His hands lazily slid down my curves.
" Are you truly all right ? What did he do ? "
" You heard your mother right. My father wants me to marry someone else. But, I luve you ! " Draco's arms tightened about me.
" I'm not going to let that happen, luv. "
" Promise ? "
" I promise, Erin, " He murmured, resting his chin atop my hair.
"WHERE IS MY DAUGHTER ?" Rent the air. Draco and I pulled apart, looking at each other.
" Did you tell anyone where you were going ? "
" No, " I said softly.
" Then, how did he know to come here ? "
" It's no secret of my luve for you. Or that we are seeing each other. "
" Stay here ! I mean, right here. " So saying Draco turned on his heel, leaving me in his room.
" Don't you dare touch her ! " He shouted flying down the stairs. Lord Brian Donavan was pointing a finger right in Narcissa's face and moving closer.
" Stand aside ! " Pulling his wand out he trained it on the older man. " I said, stand aside ! " The tenth Lord of Donavan's Keep looked up in surprise.
" How dare you pull you . . . "
" How dare I ? I am not a mad man trying to intimidate and bully my mother ! I said, stand aside ! "
" Very well, " Lord Donavan sighed.
" Where is my daughter ? " He demanded.
" Not here, " Draco lied. Narcissa leveled light blue eyes at her son. Draco raised an eyebrow back at her. " Isn't she at home ? "
" No, she is not. I know the young girl fancies you. Isn't she here ? "
" Why do you think that she is here ? " Draco asked.
" She is, isn't she ? Where are you hiding her ? "
" I do not like your tone, Lord Donavan. Take my word for it, the girl is not here. My mother and I just finished tea. If you must know I was in the middle of changing to go out. There is no one here save for my mother and me. Now, would you care for a brandy ? Or perhaps a whiskey ? " Narcissa admired the way her son handled the distraught, irate man. He is so much like his father. Lucius, I wish you were here. As she watched, Draco led the man into her husband's study.
" I can offer you my assistance in the matter. There is no secret about how I feel for her. If she is in trouble I will take care of it. Whiskey or Brandy ? " Draco stood at the sidebar.
" Whiskey, " Brian Donavan answered. Picking up the decanter that housed the Gallaghers he poured two fingers into two highballs. Crossing over to the seated man he handed him one, then, settled behind the desk.
" Since you are here, anyway. I wish to discuss a matter with you. Your daughter."
" What about the girl ? " Lord Donavan asked taking a drink of the whiskey.
" You know my family, sir, " Draco began. " You are friends with my father. The Malfoy name comes with quite a bit. Prestige, honour, purity, money. She is everything to me. I would like to ask for her hand in marriage. " Lord Donavan sank back into the chair, a little stunned.
" I do not expect an answer straight away. That would be quite rude of me. Take time to think about it. In two weeks I would like to begin courting her. But, I will not do so until I have your aproval. " Lord Donavan looked down into the fiery amber liquid, then, tossed it back. Rising to his feet he said,
" I shall consider your offer, Lord Malfoy. But, be warned yours is not the only offer. I must be off. My daughter is missing and my wife is beside herself. Good day. " He strode out of the office and towards the parlour. Grabbing ash off the mantel he stepped inside the fireplace and dropped it, exclaiming,
" Parkinson Place ! " Green flames followed his departure.
" Draco Malfoy, get in here this instant ! " Sighing, Draco rose to his feet, then, knocked back the rest of his whiskey.
"Coming, mother, " He called. Quickly, he joined her in the parlour.
" Why did you lie to the man ? " She demanded of her son. " Well ? "
" I told her that I would take care of the matter. And I did. He didn't see her. Therefore he doesn't think her here. Besides, he just left for the Parkinsons. He did tell me, though, that her mother is sick with worry. "
" So, what are you going to do ? "
" I know the best thing would be to send her back home . . . "
I couldn't believe my ears ! What was Draco saying ? I thought he luved me ! Silently, I got my feet. Then, tiptoed away from the top of the stairs to my room. Grabbing my wand I called,
" Drago ! Grainne ! " One soared in as the other came running. I scooped Grainne up as Drago perched on my shoulder. With a wave of my wand I sent everything into the ornate fireplace. I grabbed ash off the mantel, but, hesitated for a second. Where was I to go ? My own family would just hand me back over to my father. My best friend, Laurianna Clayton wouldn't lie. She was the proper Pureblood lady that I tried to be. I sighed. Dropping the ash I exclaimed,
" Slytherin Common Room in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ! "
I appeared in my common room. Stepping out of the fireplace Drago flew off, probably to the owlery and Grainne jumped out of my arms and ran up the stairs. Magickally I sent my trunks ahead of me to the room that Laurianna and I would share for the year. Then, I flew up the stairs ready for a bath and bed. I was only one day early. Surely Professor Snape wouldn't mind. Magickally I unpacked everything. They all flew to their respective places. Then, I made the bed up myself. I didn't like the school's linen. So I made it up with light silver satin sheets and a dark green velvet counterpane. I also generously did the same with Laurianna's bed. I slipped into a vanilla muslin wrapper out of habit. Then, made my way to the shower room with my bath stuff in hand.
Turning the taps on I added vanilla - scented bubble bath. Once the tub was full I turned off the water. I slipped the wrapper off and slid into the scented bubbles. Ahh . . .