Chapter XX

She was demoralized but she followed him without a word, but when she saw where they were heading, she tried to pull away. "I'm not going to your bedroom again."

His grip on her wrist was inexorable. "It's the only the place where we can be alone. Contrary to what you think, I invite very few people there."

That reminded her of Denise. "What happened to your girlfriend? She must be feeling very neglected."

"I have many…girlfriends as you put it," he said mockingly. "But I assume you're referring to Denise. I wouldn't worry about her if I were you."

"I wasn't worried, I'm sure she has instructions to come back when it's less crowded," she remarked acidly.

Draco scanned her face intently. "Would that bother you?"

"Certainly not!" Hermione tried very hard to make her voice casual because the picture of Draco and the beautiful model in his arms made her almost physically ill.

"Are you sure?"

Hermione backed away from him, her breathing rapid. He must know how he affected her. He was playing with her like a dangerous predator closing in on its prey and she caught her lower lip between her teeth, unable to answer.

"Then I suppose there isn't any use in asking you to stay the night?"

"You know better than that," she said stiffly.

His face hardened and there was a hint of scorn in the way his mouth turned down at one corner. "Yes, I suppose I do. It would be most uncharacteristic. You would have to examine the idea first and weigh all the advantages and disadvantages, wouldn't you?"

"How can you say that?" she cried, stung by his cynical words. "You were the one who—" Her voice trailed away. He was the one who establish the kind of relationship he wanted—and with the payment. She had gone to him gladly with no thought of reward except to be with him. She hadn't even burdened him with a declaration of her love because she knew he didn't want it.

"I was the one who—?" he prodded, watching her closely. "Go on."

Hermione shook her head. "It doesn't matter now."

He put his hands on her shoulders and an electric current charged her blood. She bent her head to keep the knowledge from him but he forced her chin up. "Tell me what went wrong, Hermione. I honestly don't know."

Tears threatened but she forced them back. "What difference does it make? It's all over with anyway. The campaign is finished and we'll probably never see each other again."

"Is that what you want?"

She couldn't say it no matter how hard she tried. Hermione closed her eyes to hide the pain and when she opened them, he was watching her with a strange light stirring in his eyes.

"Maybe we'll run into each other around town," she said huskily.

"That isn't likely. I'm leaving for Paris on Sunday and I'm going to stay."

They wouldn't even be on the same continent! Maybe it was better that way. Her eyes wouldn't be drawn to every tall man who stood out above the crowd. She wouldn't go on hoping to see that strong handsome face or keep listening for a deep authoritative voice.

She forced a smile. "How wonderful, I hope you have a nice vacation. You really deserve it. You worked as hard as any of us."

"That's one of the compliments you ever paid me," he said wryly. "But this isn't vacation. I'm going there to buy out the old company. We've been negotiating for a long time and they just accepted our offer. It's going to be quite a challenge. The company has been going downhill since the owner died. I don't know how long I'll have to stay over there to get it back on its feet."

"Maybe what you need is the services of a good advertising agency," she smiled.

"If I didn't know you better, Hermione, I'd think you were hinting that you'd like to come along."

She stiffened. "I was speaking for McNulty and Trent, not for myself personally."

"There's no need to bristle like a little porcupine," he laughed. "I know you wouldn't willingly go anywhere with me. I had to practically kidnap you to get you to the Virgin Islands." Hermione bent her head and examined her nails with great interest, but Draco moved closer and held her chin in his palm. His voice was softly seductive. "You do remember the time at the beach, don't you?"

"I'm trying to forget it."

"Are you absolutely sure?" he murmured. His long fingers traced the curve of her mouth, gently parting the lips and then moving up her cheek to the curves of her ear like a blind man reverently touching a work of an art and Hermione felt the exciting heat rising in her body.

"Oh, please!"

"Please what, my love? Please make love to you again like I did on the sand?" He bent his head until his mouth was just inches from hers but he didn't kiss her. "Tell me you want me, Hermione."

She was drowning but she made a desperate effort to save herself. Her eyes closed. "No…no, I don't."

"I think you do."

His arms drew her against his body, molding her to its length until she could feel his arousal. She started to tremble uncontrollably and he held her close. His hand tangled in her hair drawing her head back and his mouth claimed hers, gently at first and then hot and hard the next.

Hermione closed her eyes and gave up the uneven struggle. A savage flame seemed to consume her and she returned his deep kisses. She slipped her hands inside his jacket and put her arms around his waist, her hands spreading out over his muscular back in a whirl of remembrance.

He lifted his head and his eyes were blazed with desire for her. "You want me."

"Yes," she sighed. How could she deny it when he was holding her in his arms like this right now?

She drew back his head down to hers and he kissed her harder, his tongue tangling with hers, mimicking a dance. Nothing mattered except being in his arms like this. He picked her up and drew her legs around his waist and guided them to the bed, and set her down gently. "Oh no, Draco…not with a house full of people out there!"

He stretched out next to her and put a restraining arm over waist. "I'll lock the door if it will make you feel any better."

"No…we can't! They—what will they think?"

"I don't care what they think! I want you now."

"Draco, please," she pleaded.

When he saw that she was really disturbed, he gave in reluctantly. "Alright, I waited this long, I guess I can wait a little longer." A smoldering passion darkened his eyes to slate gray as he sensuously ran his hand up and down her thigh. His head bent down to kiss the wildly beating pulse on the base of her throat, and soon his mouth was trailing wet kisses from her throat to her collar bone. "If those people know what's good for them, they'll clear out fast," he growled as he lifted his head.

A bubble of sheer happiness seemed to envelop Hermione. "Haven't you ever heard that patience is a virtue?" she teased.

"I think my present restraint qualifies me for sainthood, that's enough virtue for me." His gaze swept over her with an urgent look gathering. "It's really hard for me to be patient with you." He took a deep breath. "Maybe we'd better change the subject before my halo slips. Let's talk about Paris."

Reality intruded and Hermione's bubble threatened to burst. It wasn't fair that Draco was going away now that they found each other again. She would just have to make the most of the time they had left.

Bending her head, she asked in a low voice, "Would you like me to stay here?"

"What do you mean? You're coming with me, of course."

She looked up in surprise. Hermione meant to stay with him until he left. The idea of going along never occurred to her. "I—I don't think I could on such short notice. We aren't very busy right now, but vacations have to be arranged ahead of time."

He frowned. "That sounds like the old Hermione—the one who has to plan everything very carefully."

"It isn't like that. Please be reasonable, Draco. I just can't take off from work whenever I feel like it."

"Why not?" he demanded.

She sat up and pushed some pillows behind her back so that she could lean against the headboard. "What would you do if an employee walked off the job without notice?"

"I'd fire him or her," he said promptly. "But what does that have to do with you? You don't even have to work. You're rich, you're not a very gallant person, I can tell."

She sighed exasperatedly. "Come on, Draco. You know how I enjoy working for McNulty and Trent."

"You're right. I won't put any pressure on you. I just hope that you would want to be with me as much as I want to be with you."

"Draco, I do!"

"Then what are we arguing about?" He took her hand and kissed each fingertip. "Paris is the city of lovers and we're going to uphold its reputation." He put his arms around her and drew her head down to his shoulder. "I'll have to work during the day, at least at first, but you'll be waiting for me when I come home. Preferably in bed." He smirked.

She looked up at him with mock petulance. "It doesn't sound like I'm going to see much of Paris."

He chuckled huskily. "No, I intend to show you every inch of Paris."

Hermione stirred in his arms. "I just want to be with you, Draco."

"I know, love. That's what makes you so wonderful." He took her face in his hands and gave her a gentle kiss. "It's going to be like a honeymoon. Not a real one, of course. When get back here—I'm taking you back to the Virgin Islands for the real thing," he said, his hand absently running up and down her back. Hermione looked up at him with all of her love shining in her eyes and he caught his breath.

Her head lay back against his shoulder and he touched her cheek almost reverently. Hermione's lips parted willingly under his and the kiss deepened into a sensual, mind-spinning exploration of mouths that left them both breathless. Her hands went inside his shirt, delighting the feel of his chest. He groaned and his fingers trailed down the pure line of her throat, cupping both her breasts for a few moments before he firmly removed her hands.

"That's enough of that, young lady. We sill have some talking to do."

"Can't we talk later?" She nuzzled her face in his neck and trailed kisses to his jaw.

"You're insatiable," he laughed.

"Only because I love you."

"And I love you."

Hermione lay very still in his arms. "You've never said that to me before."

He lifted his head from the crook of her neck and looked at her in surprise. "I must have."


"And what conclusions did that make you leap to?" he teased. "Hermione, my little idiot, don't you know that I'm crazy for you?"

She was delirious with joy, but a little nagging doubt needed to be put to rest. "You certainly didn't look like you were thinking about me when you went out with Ms. Wainwright."

He laughed and hugged her close. "I tried everything else and I was desperate. She was my last effort to make you jealous. But you should know I'm spoiled for anyone else when I've been with you. I couldn't even look at other women…" He shook his head.

"You make it sound like it's a bad thing," Hermione teased.

"Not really, as long as I have you, I feel happy. I've never been this happy since I was a child."

"As do I. You'll never know how much I suffered when I saw your pictures in the papers with Denise Wainwright."

"I didn't think I'd succeed in making you jealous," he grinned.

"Beyond your wildest dreams," she admitted. Hermione shamelessly fished for compliments. "She's very beautiful though. Much more so that I am, you have to admit."

"No, I don't. You're not only beautiful, but enchanting and sexy. And if you don't marry me pretty soon, I'm going to do something drastic."

"What did you say?" She struggled to sit up in his arms.

"I'm asking you to be my wife, is that clear enough?" He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small velvet box. Her eyes widened as he revealed a huge pear-shaped diamond ring inside.

"I don't know what to say."

"How about a yes to my proposal?"

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" She rained kisses on his mouth, face and throat. When she lifted her head, she saw his eyes glazed with passion. She started, "I believe…" She took his hand and lifted it above her heart. "This is yours."

He captured her lips again. When he finally raised his head, the leaping flames in his eyes were mirrored in Hermione's.

"We'll have a small wedding. Just friends and family," he said in a husky voice. "But how do you feel about starting our honeymoon tonight?"

The smile they exchanged was of love and intimacy. "I was afraid you'd never ask," but then her smile faded a tad.

Draco frowned. "What's wrong?"

"I—I thought about what went wrong before."

"Does it really matter now? We're back together—for life, mind you."

"Yes—it does. I—I," she stuttered. She was nervous because this might ruin what they had back again. "Do you remember when you gave me that bracelet when we returned from the islands?" At his curt nod, she continued. "I—I thought that you only wanted an affair with me. And I was afraid that you were only using me." She watched his expression carefully. "I knew you wanted something temporary and leave me broken again."

Draco tightened his hold around her. "I have to be honest with you. I never thought that you would get under my skin. It was much unexpected. In fact, I only thought it would go far as a few dates but nothing deeper than that. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 !-- /* Font Definitions */ font-face {font-family:"Cambria Math"; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:1; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:0 0 0 0 0 0;} font-face {font-family:Calibri; panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:swiss; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-1610611985 1073750139 0 0 159 0;} /* Style Definitions */ , , {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin-top:0in; margin-right:0in; margin-bottom:10.0pt; margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoPapDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; margin-bottom:10.0pt; line-height:115%;} page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} 1 {page:Section1;} -- Then I discovered, it just wasn't enough. I just couldn't stop myself from wanting you..."

They shared another kiss of promise, love and desire. It was a kiss of love forever and more.

A/N: Honest to God, I have never heard of that Margaret person. I'm not really much into romance, but I just thought it was the way how they do it? I'm more into supernatural and sci-fi. The only romance books I have ever read was from Nicholas Sparks. Just thought I might clear that up. Plaigirism isn't my thing. Thanks.

Anyways, there, I changed the ending again. Sorry, I couldn't help with the Moulin Rouge song. I just got to watch it before I wrote it and I was just so touched. Lol. I hope that's better. I'm not going to edit this again. I'm already finished and I don't wanna go through it again. So I'm backing off stories and books for a long time. Hmm.