Authors Note: As more stories wind down I'm getting around to posting my new WIP stories. This one has about 13 chapters mapped out so far, and still going. Many thanks to my lovely beta, Laurel. She's swell. As always you can join my yahoo group to see the art created for this story as well get updates and contribute to upcoming stories. You can find the info on my profile. (Warning: Het relationships and sexual references in the first several chapters of this story)
The Suite Life
Dressed in a modest navy wool coat with her thick red hair tucked into her favorite Pucci scarf, Ginny Weasley walked into the lobby of the Baglioni hotel in Hyde Park. She completely bypassed the reception desk and made her way to the lift where her perfectly manicured finger pressed the glowing gold number six, jolting the contraption to life. She'd always had a bit of claustrophobia and hated the lifts, but she had already walked several blocks to the hotel in order to avoid having her magical signature tracked, so the stairs were out of the question. Her shiny patent Manolo's were already making her feet ache.
There was no one in the corridor when she emerged, so she walked quickly down the hall to suite 604 and knocked sharply, but found the door give under the weight of her hand. She pushed it open and stepped inside, marveling at the gilded room before securing and locking the door behind her. She'd been to this hotel on several occasions and it seemed they were given a different suite each time, each more spectacular than the last, which she was sure was due to her lover's talent with the subtle persuasion of people in a position to meet his various needs.
"It doesn't seem very safe leaving the front door open like that," she called out when she noticed the bathroom was occupied.
The room had a lovely view of London, beautiful old buildings and crisp green trees lined ancient city streets. She had always loved London and was so happy she had talked Harry into moving here. The entire city felt alive with a magic outside of what she possessed with her wand waving.
Every wall was either striped with gold and tan wallpaper or covered in a shimmering metallic finish that reflected the afternoon sun through the enormous windows. The room was well furnished and as she made her way around, letting her fingertips glide along luxurious fabrics and rich woods. She eventually found herself standing in a separate bedchamber with a tufted headboard that went all the way to the ceiling and a bed that could easily fit ten times the amount of people that would be using it that day.
"You went all out this time," she called out, hoping he could hear her through the door.
"Anything for you love, you know that," came a sultry voice from behind her. She whirled around to find her lover standing in the doorway with only a chocolate brown towel draped around his fit body. It left little to the imagination, but then there wasn't anything Ginny hadn't seen before. His pale skin still glistened with water droplets as he stalked toward her, his eyes looking hungry and feral.
"No popping the buttons off this time," she warned. She undid the first two clasps herself, exposing the fact that all she wore under the coat was lacy undergarments. She had a thin, almost boyish figure, but she knew he liked that about her. He was always complimenting her on how fit she looked in this or that.
With practiced ease he divested Ginny of her bulky coat and immediately removed the garters holding up her sheer black stockings, before long she found his nimble fingers had also taken off her bra. Smooth hands traced her skin and raised gooseflesh on her arms and she melted into the touch.
"Oh Draco," she whispered as the man started kissing her neck. Her entire body shuddered when the blonde's careful hands rubbed across her thighs and she could feel him smile against her cheek, never straying too close to her lips. It was one of his rules –never kiss on the lips. Draco claimed that a person could have sex without getting attached so long as they never kissed. Ginny thought it was a loose theory at best but she played along because she had grown addicted to these trysts with Draco Malfoy.
"Tell me about Potter," he requested softly against he ear. She rarely denied the man anything, but she loathed that Draco always wanted to bring up Harry during their lovemaking. Draco had no idea that Harry would disapprove of their times together, she had told him months ago that Harry was fully aware of her dalliances –going so far as to say they had an open relationship- even though that was a blatant lie. She assumed he was only checking that everything was okay and that the world's best Auror and most prestigious hero wouldn't be after him, but it was hard to think of what he actions might be doing to Harry when his name was brought up.
"He's fine," she moaned as Draco did something particularly nice with his tongue. He hesitated then and Ginny knew she would have to give him more information before he would give her more pleasure. "He's at the office," she amended. "He's been a bit stressed lately because he and Ron are fighting for the Head Auror position."
Her insight was rewarded with more shudder-inducing foreplay before Draco paused again. "And what are you doing to relieve this stress?" he asked calmly, blonde locks blocking her view of his eyes.
"Nothing. He won't let me touch him," she muttered.
"Good," he replied softly and she loved that he was so possessive of her.
Draco smiled down at her with his charming smirk and threw her to the mattress before he made all of the world fade away around her in a fuzzy landscape of orgasmic bliss.
After nearly two decades embedded in the wizarding world, Harry had begun to hate certain muggle things –'hate' might be an extreme way of putting it- but Harry had certainly lost his taste for them. One thing in particular he stopped liking was muggle liquor.
Magical spirits, like Elvin wine and fire whiskey, never burned his throat the same way that muggle alcohol did. It wasn't even as if he should be drinking at two in the afternoon on a work day, but an anonymous tip had come in that one of the Carrow's could be found at the Brunello lounge that afternoon and the bartender refused to let him sit there without ordering something.
At first he found the idea of being forced to buy a drink in order to linger inside a public establishment a bit obnoxious, but after a moment Harry was forced to admit that he could probably use a drink after the day he'd had so far. In fact, part of him was tempted to just reserve a room in the connected hotel, but no doubt Ginny would come across the bill somehow and accuse him of cheating on her when nothing could be further from the truth.
She'd grown increasingly paranoid about his fidelity in the last year or so of their marriage, though Harry hardly felt he could blame her for it entirely. He rarely touched her anymore, often retiring to bed long before she did and feigning sleep is she finally came to bed before he was able to drift off. It had been easy to avoid her; the hard part was trying to figure out why he wanted to. Sure the pressures at work were building and he really was constantly exhausted, but there was a time when Ginny and he used to be very intimate –wasn't there?
The answer to that was a booming 'no' and it only served to make Harry that much more depressed. He and Ginny had a whirlwind courtship, swept up in the media buzz after the war and pushed into a hasty yet elaborate wedding the following year. They were in love, or so Harry thought at the time, but later he had realized that everyone –including himself- used the wedding to glaze over their mourning for the family and friends lost in the war.
He did love Ginny, she was beautiful and effervescent, but their repeated failure to have children took a toll on both of them. His wife longed for a large family as much as he did, but years of trying had produced no results. It was shortly after that when Harry realized that he had grown out of his attraction toward Ginny. It wasn't that he had been attracted to anyone else instead, nor would he act on it even if he had, but, even though he still loved his wife, Harry couldn't seem to muster up the effort make love to her. Soon after that began the accusations that he was cheating, which he wasn't, and then Ron began growing irrationally angry with him over it. Ginny constantly vented to Ron about her suspicions and after awhile it seemed Ron started to believe her, which created havoc for their personal relationship.
The worst of it occurred when Ron announced he was putting his name in the hat for Head Auror after Harry had already been promised the position; making a mess out of mundane office politics. Now they were both in the running for it and part of Harry just wanted to give in and let Ron have it, but the rest of him knew how badly his friend would muck things up if he were to become Head Auror, not to mention the hell that Ron would put him through if Harry were to become his subordinate.
Ron's mind was never really in the game, he only joined to stay close to Harry, back when they were still inseparable friends. Now things were tense at work and tense at home in the evenings, all Harry had to look forward to was a quick wank in the privacy of his bedroom before Ginny joined him and he was forced to pretend to be asleep. Torture; his life had become sheer torture, which made the straight muggle scotch in his hand not taste so bad after all.
Harry swirled the amber liquid around in his glass, watching the rings in made on the sides when a familiar figure walked across his line of vision. He looked up and recognized the sapphire and lime Pucci scarf he had given Ginny for her birthday two years before and took off after it.
He couldn't see the telltale ginger hair beneath it, but he knew that scarf and thought he recognized the deep blue trench coat the woman wore as well. Other than the garments obviously belonging to his wife, it didn't make sense. Why was Ginny leaving a hotel in Hyde Park when her office was on the other side of Regents?
"Ginny!" Harry called out, leaving his unfinished drink and tossing some money on the table before hurrying after her.
She was several paces ahead of him on the sidewalk and when Harry called her name again she didn't even flinch, but ignored him outright. He had nearly caught up with her when the woman ducked into a tube station heading south. Harry paused, utterly confused, but sure that it couldn't have been his wife because not only would she be headed north, but she had never ridden the tube in her life and thought the mode of transportation quite unnecessary for a witch.
With a sigh Harry returned to the hotel lounge to wait out his target for a little while longer. Thinking of his wife and their rough times must have made him delusional, but she had seemed so familiar.
"Back again are we?" the bartender asked upon Harry's return. He took the same seat and was a tad annoyed to find out that the man had already tossed his drink, so he ordered another.
"Do you know that woman?" the barkeep asked, clearly he had witnessed the whole display and wanted to have a jab at Harry's expense.
"Thought I did," Harry replied sullenly.
"She comes 'round here all the time. Such an odd name, I'll never forget it," the man mused and Harry's heart sunk a little bit. He'd started wondering if Ginny's recent paranoia was because she herself was up to something unseemly, but he just couldn't imagine his wife stepping out on him with another man. She was more dignified than that, and he knew that she would at least be honest and ask for a divorce before she slept around on him. But at the bartender's words Harry's heart seemed to stop, because Ginevra, which is what she often went by in public these days, was indeed an odd name.
"What's he name?" Harry asked softly, dreading the answer. He made a mental note to go home and check the vault record for transactions made to muggle hotels.
"Hermione," the man answered with a laugh. "Have you heard anything so interesting? She's really quite a beauty that one."
Harry let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding and the bartender passed him his drink. So his wife wasn't cheating on him, which was good news for sure, but unfortunately his good news came as bad news for someone else.
It was no wonder he recognized the scarf, Ginny must have loaned it to Hermione –they were best friends after all. It made perfect sense that Harry felt the woman was so familiar because it was Hermione, one of his oldest friends and confidants. But how could she be cheating on Ron?
Perhaps it was only a business meeting, he tried to convince himself, and there was no need to go jumping to conclusions. Just because his marriage was in the shitter didn't mean Ron and Hermione's was too. He'd just need to ask her and see what was what, and if it turned out to be true, he'd have to plead to her sense of reason and get her to stop. No matter how many times he and Ron feuded, Harry still cared about them both and he wouldn't see their lives torn apart by infidelity.
With a heavy sigh, Harry downed the rest of his drink in one go and left the bar, assuming his anonymous tip had been a wild goose chase and headed home where he dreaded his next encounter with Ginny.
Ginny slipped out of bed while Draco was in the shower. She always felt a bit guilty right afterward, especially since her blonde lover refused to simply lounge in bed with her or even hold her for a moment. "Time is money," he always said and leapt up to bathe the sticky grime that their coital exchange created.
She sighed and adjusted her coat to make sure nothing was visible underneath –somehow her bra had gotten lost in the room and she didn't want to be there when Draco reemerged from the bathroom so she didn't take the time to look for it.
When she finally stepped into the lift her heart began to ache; she was developing feelings for the cold man she had just shared her body with, but it was the guilt she felt about what she was doing to her husband that was nearly unbearable. She'd make it all better by being the model wife for Harry when he got home though. She kept meaning to tell him, let him make the decision to leave her or not, but every time she left Draco she assured herself it would be the last time. But then he would floo her at the office, his voice a perfect tenor, and ask her to his hotel room and she never refused.
It was wrong, she knew that, but Harry was so distant and he never wanted her anymore so she assumed he was doing the same. Maybe they had just grown tired of one another and this was what marriages usually came to, maybe her secret rendezvous with Draco weren't so abnormal after all.
When she stepped into the lobby she veered toward the lounge. She needed a drink to clear her head and she remembered the bartender from other afternoons she'd spent in the bar directly after her time in Draco's bed. The man was nice and flirtatious but not overly so, which made her feel better, less dirty and more worthy of Harry's love. When she rounded the corner to the lounge however her heart nearly froze in her chest.
There at the bar -staring at his drink- was her husband.
What the hell was he doing there? His office was nowhere near the hotel and neither was hers, which was why she and Draco selected it in the first place. Time stood still as she wondered what to do. He hadn't seen her yet and if she was sure, if she was careful, she could just slip through the exit unnoticed. Unfortunately, she wasn't careful enough and as she walked quickly passed she caught Harry's reflection in the exit windows staring right at her.
She heard her name being called and couldn't resist the pull to look back, but thankfully, Harry had turned to pay for his drink and didn't see her face. She walked as fast as her expensive shoes would carry her until she heard Harry's voice call her again; this time she was clever enough not to turn around. She kept her pace, swiftly rounding the corner and running any excuse she could think of through her mind for when Harry caught up to her –she didn't expect to get away- he was an Auror after all and used to pursuits.
"Oh, sweetie, I didn't hear you back there. Yes, I had a meeting here in hotel conference room," she thought to herself and rolled her eyes at the idiocy. "I was going for a walk in the park and got lost, just stopped in there for directions," she tried again, but nearly screamed at how bad a liar she was. She'd have to ask Draco how he became so good at it next time.
The thought almost made her stop and turn herself in right then; it would have been the perfect opportunity to tell Harry the truth. But it seemed fate intervened and she was offered an exit as she spotted the entrance to a Tube station, somewhere she felt certain that her husband wouldn't follow her. "I love you, Harry," she whispered under her breath and made a beeline for the southern train.
A sigh of relief escaped her lungs as she boarded alone. Harry has turned back just as she suspected and as soon as the train stopped next she disembarked and walked as fast as she could to the nearest alleyway. The thrill she always got when apparating flowed through her and a moment later she was looking up at the lovely town home she shared with Harry. Fear coursed through her veins as she turned her key in the lock and hoped to Merlin that Harry hadn't come back to their home to check on her -something like that would be just like her hero husband- but thankfully all that greeted her entrance was silence.
Quickly she mounted the stairs up to their bedroom and rushed to change, finding a new bra to replace her lost one and stashing her coat and scarf into the far reaches of her closet. She wouldn't be able to wear them again any time soon –if ever again. Her heart was still racing as she slid into a somber skirt and blouse and raced back downstairs to the fireplace so she could floo back to the office in case Harry checked on her there instead.
It took nearly an hour for her pulse to settle after her close call with Harry, and even then she still worried that she might have forgotten something or left some kind of invisible clue that she couldn't spot, but Harry would. Even though he was a trained Auror –the best really- Harry seemed quite oblivious when it came to her and she was sure he and she was sure he wouldn't catch on, so she tried not to dwell on it too much.
She waited until just past six and apparated home to find Harry sitting on the sofa with a Quidditch magazine. When he looked up she beamed at him and she could tell he was studying her outfit before smiling back at her.
"Honey, I'm home," she announced formally and blew him a kiss before heading off to the kitchen to start dinner and thank her lucky stars for the close call.
Authors Note: One of these days I'm going to write a story that makes you all like Ginny. You'll see... lol