All characters and canon situations belong to JK Rowling and I make no money from the writing or publishing of this story. Thanks!
A Time for Romance
Chapter One: One O'clock and Someone is Late
"I really don't have time for this!" Hermione complained, rushing along with Michael Corner down the long corridor of the private museum where she had been curator for over two years. "You know the new president of the board of governors is due here any moment to interview me!"
"I know," Michael offered, "but I really didn't know whom else to ask. I'm at the end of my rope here, Hermione. The little girl is still crying, she's locked herself in the bathroom, and she won't come out, and I didn't think you wanted this kind of problem today of all days, either."
Hermione turned the corner; her face turned toward the good looking man with whom she had worked with for over a year, but had known for most of her life, and said, "I only hope this won't take long! My interview is at one o'clock sharp!"
She was still peering over her shoulder, speaking to Michael, so she wasn't paying attention to where she was going and therefore, fate being a fickle beast, she ran smack dab into someone, knocking them both to the floor.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Sir," she hurried, her legs out in front of her, her hands on his arms.
"Goodness, watch where you're going, won't you," the man said at the same time. Hermione was sitting on her bum, legs out in front of her, hands on the forearm of the man with whom she had collided. His hands went to her arms as well. It was almost as if they were embracing on the floor. He looked at her legs first, decided they were above average, looked at her skirt, hiked up as it was above her knees, and then at her waist, (small), breasts (just right) and her hair, (big as ever).
"Granger, I might have known," he said when he zeroed in on her face.
She sighed. "Draco Malfoy. Get your grubby paws off me," she huffed, removing her hands from his arms, and then brushing them together, as if she was trying to remove dirt from them. His hands were still on her forearms.
"Get yours off me, then," he announced.
She looked at him as if he was insane, said, "I removed mine, idiot!" She gave him a slight push and he was forced to let go of her arms. She brushed off her arms, just as she had her hands, and then said, "Oh, I hope I don't have any of your germs on me."
"Hilarious, Granger," he deadpanned. He struggled to stand. Michael offered Hermione a hand, but her black skirt was a bit tight, and riding a bit high as she sat on the ground, and she really didn't see how she was going to get up unless she hiked it up more, which would be unwise.
She tried to turn to her knees, but before she knew it, Draco Malfoy was behind her and he placed a hand under each armpit and he hoisted her steadily to her feet.
"Thank you, Malfoy," she murmured low, brushing dirt from her skirt. He reached over and brushed his hand across her backside twice. She turned quickly and hit his arm hard. "Don't do that!"
"You had dirt on your skirt!" he declared. However, he leaned against the side of the wall and folded his arms in front of him. He gave her a mischievous grin and she slapped his arm again. "Ow! What was that one for?"
"For being an idiot, as previously stated. What are you doing here?" she asked.
"I don't have time to chit chat, Granger," he proclaimed. "I have to get a kid out of the bathroom. She's stuck in there."
"That's what I'm doing, too. How's it any of your concern?" she asked. She continued toward the woman's bathroom, with Draco and Michael on her tail.
"How's it any of yours?" he asked back.
"I'm curator here," she answered. "My assistant curator, and the museum's director, Michael Corner, I'm sure you remember him from school, came to get me." She walked up to the bathroom and asked Michael, "Is this the bathroom?"
He nodded. He looked at Draco and said, "How have you been, Malfoy?"
"Who are you again?" Draco asked, feigning ignorance, just to be annoying.
Hermione frowned and answered before Michael could. "For goodness sakes, Malfoy. He went to school with us. You've known him since you were eleven years old."
"Sorry, he doesn't seem familiar," Draco lied. "Wish I could say the same for you," he said toward Hermione. She gave him another scowl. He leaned against the side of the bathroom door and said, "How do you plan to get her out?"
"How are you involved in this?" she asked once more. She knelt in front of the door and tried to look in the peep hole. She couldn't see a thing. She stood back up, took out her wand, said a simple spell, smiled, tried the door handle, and it still wouldn't open. She looked stumped.
"I already tried that, Granger," he said, with a roll of his eyes. He looked at Michael and said, "Does she think I didn't already try that?" Looking back at Hermione he said, "You have to hurry. I'm going to be late. I have a very important meeting at one o'clock."
"Well so do I!" she retorted. She pushed him hard, for no other reason than that he was there, and she felt like doing it. "Tell me again why you're here!"
"That kid in there belongs to me!" he explained. He placed both hands against the door of the bathroom and yelled, "And she's being a spoiled brat and I think I'll paddle her bum when she gets out of there! Do you hear that! I'm going to paddle your ungrateful behind!"
"You, Draco Malfoy, have the sensitivity of a swine," Hermione declared. She pushed him away from the door and said, "What's her name?"
"Gretchen," Draco said with a sigh.
"How old is she?"
"How the hell would I know?" Draco spat.
Hermione looked from Draco to Michael, and then to the small crowd that had formed, and said softly, "You don't know how old your own child is? You really are an idiot, aren't you? I didn't mean it before, but I do now."
He glared at her, mumbled something about if she wasn't a woman what he would do to her, and then said, "She's not my kid, as in fruit of my loins. She's my goddaughter, and I brought her to this stupid museum, because for some insane reason she likes this sort of thing, and then something happened, I don't know what, and she started to scream bloody murder, and she ran in here, locked the door, and I want to know what you're going to do about it!"
"What are you going to do about it?" she asked back. "It sounds more like a personal problem. It doesn't sound like a problem for the museum!"
"Except, Granger, darling," he began, pointing his finger at her chest, very hard, "she…was…fine…and…dandy…" he poked her with each word until she grabbed his finger and held it in her hand. He continued, removing his finger," Until we went into one of your little exhibitions, and then suddenly, she began to scream, and cry, and all hell broke loose! It has to be your fault. I'll sue, that's what I'll do."
"Oh, go cry to your mother," Hermione replied. She pushed Draco again, this time because he was standing in front of her, a bit too close, and she went back down on her knees in front of the door. "Gretchen, are you in there, sweetheart? My name is Hermione. May I come in and talk to you?"
"Don't pretend to be a nice person to her, when you aren't!" Draco barked.
Hermione stood back up, pointed her finger at him, and hit his chest with her finger each time she said, "I…am…a…nice…person…Draco…Malfoy!"
He rubbed his chest where she had just poked it seven times and said, "Bloody hell, you are. Get out of the way."
She was back on her knees, but with a swat of his hand, he pushed her over, where she landed on her bum again, and he took out his wand. "Gretchen Maureen Nott, if you don't get your bony little arse out here right now, I'll smash this door to smithereens, I will! This is total bollocks!"
Hermione reached up, took his wand right from his hand and shoved it under the door. He looked shocked. She stayed on the floor and said, "Gretchen, darling, that was your stupid, Uncle Draco's wand, so now you know he can't do a darn thing to you. Let me in. I promise I'll help you. Whatever happened, I'll understand. It's hard having someone like Draco as a godfather. Is that what's wrong?" She looked up at Draco and smiled.
He gave her a dirty look and was about to pull her wand out of her hand when the door to the bathroom opened slowly. Hermione was still on the floor. She spied a pretty little girl, with long dark hair and dark eyes, staring down at her. She said, "You can come in, but he can't."
"Smart girl," Hermione said. She struggled to try to stand again, darn her tight skirt. She had worn it today because she had a very important interview and she wanted to look good. Now, after being pushed around on the floor, she was going to look a mess.
She got to her knees, but before she could maneuver to a standing position, Draco once again reached behind her and placed his hands under her arms and he pulled her up. She wasn't expecting it this time and she fell backwards into him.
She looked up at him, her head on his shoulder. His hands had moved from under her arms to her shoulders. He steadied her without saying a word. She quickly looked back toward the door and said a small, "thank you," even as he said, "no problem."
He reached over to brush at the back of her skirt again, but she had already rushed into the bathroom and had shut the door.
Michael noticed and gave Draco a strange look. Draco gave Michael a two finger salute and said, "Sod off, she had another speck of dirt on her skirt."
"Right. You were merely helping her maintain her attire. You weren't trying to feel her up," Michael said with a laugh. He leaned against the wall and waited. Draco leaned against the door and tried to listen.
Inside the small public restroom, the only female restroom on the third floor of the small museum, Hermione greeting Gretchen with a smile and a shake of her hand. "Hello, Gretchen. My name's Hermione Granger. How do you do?"
The little girl shrugged, but shook Hermione's hand.
"How old are you?" Hermione asked.
"Eleven," she answered.
"Are you going to Hogwarts this fall?" Hermione asked. She sat on the vanity and smiled down at the girl. The little girl tried to join her, but had trouble getting up. Hermione jumped down, helped her up, and then jumped back up herself.
"Yes, I'm going in the fall," she finally answered. "I've heard about you, you know. You helped Harry Potter defeat the Dark Lord."
"That's right," Hermione said with a smile. "Do you like my museum?"
"It's your museum?" she inquired.
"In the sense that I run it, though I don't own it," Hermione explained. "I'm the curator. I come up with what exhibitions that we want to show and when, and I have to raise money for the exhibitions. I have a director, Michael Corner, who takes care of managing the people, but I'm the boss around here." She smiled proudly. She was proud of this little museum. Two years ago, when she took over, it was close to closing and losing money as if it were bleeding green. Now, it was successful and actually making money. Of course, it had also just been sold, and it had a new board of governors and the new president of the board was also the new owner, and he was meeting with Hermione at one o'clock to discuss her job. In other words, she was interviewing all over again for her own job.
And it was ten minutes to one.
She smiled at the little girl and said, "I went to school with your father, Theodore Nott. I'm afraid I don't know who your mother is, though."
The girl looked sad and said, "She left when I was a little girl."
Hermione thought she was STILL a little girl, but she nodded. "Oh, I'm sorry. What are you doing here with Draco Malfoy today? He's horrible, isn't he?" Hermione made a funny face when she said that and laughed.
Gretchen laughed too and said, "He's normally very nice. He spends a lot of time with me anymore, because my daddy is very busy, but he doesn't understand some things."
"Like what happened today?" Hermione asked.
The girl nodded.
"And what did happen today? Can you tell me? I won't tell a soul if you don't want me to, and believe me, even if you think it's embarrassing, I'd wager that it's not. I've done so many embarrassing things in my life I can't begin to tell you," Hermione said with another laugh.
The girl smiled again and asked, "Tell me just one."
"One?" Hermione said slowly. "I'm not sure I could narrow it down to just one. Okay, I've got one. One time Harry Potter, our friend Ron Weasley, and I made illegal polyjuice potion, when we were only kids, and I accidentally got the hair of a cat instead of a person." Hermione smiled widely and said, "Do you know what happened then?"
The girl looked shocked, placed a hand over her mouth, and said, "You didn't turn into a cat, did you?"
"I was still mostly a girl, but I was also partly a cat, and I had to show myself to my friends, and I was mortified!" Hermione laughed remembering that. "And that's one of many. Please, tell me what happened to you today."
"You won't tell Draco, or my Daddy, will you?" she asked.
Hermione jumped down from the vanity, stood before the little girl, and said, "I honestly can't promise that, but I do promise that if I have to tell them, I'll make sure they're sensitive to you, and they aren't angry. Tell me."
"Draco and I were on the ground floor, in the botanical garden area, in the butterfly room," she began. She covered her face. Hermione took her hands down from her face to beg her to continue. "Anyway, Draco was sitting on a bench, and I had a butterfly land on my hand, and I backed toward the bench, not wanting to jar the butterfly, so it wouldn't move."
"Go on," Hermione urged.
"I wasn't paying attention to where I was going, and I backed up and I sat down where I thought Draco was, to show him the butterfly on my finger. I sat down and I asked him if he thought it was pretty."
Hermione could only assume what tactless thing Draco must have said to the little girl to get her so upset. She was thinking of all kind of ways to hit and push him again, when the little girl said the rest of her story in one long rush… "So I sat down, and I missed the bench, and sat on his lap, and turned around, and it wasn't Draco! It was a boy! A boy I know from my school! A boy I have a crush on! And I sat on his lap! I'm so embarrassed! And he looked so embarrassed, too, and but all he said was, 'Yes, Gretchen, it's a beautiful butterfly,' and I remained there on his lap, and I didn't know what to do, and then Draco walked by and said, 'Oi, little bugger, hands off the merchandise. She's not for sale.' And I threw up my hands, started to cry, and I ran to the bathroom up here and locked the door! What must Jarrod think of me?"
"Is that his name?" Hermione asked.
Hermione smiled. "Well, since he didn't say anything mean or crass to you when you first sat down, I think he probably was a bit shocked too, but not disgusted at all. He might be a bit embarrassed, but I think the next time you see him you should play it off, make Draco out to be the buffoon. Say something along the lines of, 'Gee, wasn't my godfather an idiot that day at the museum?' and don't even mention that you accidentally sat on his lap. Or, tell him the complete truth. That usually works the best, though for the record, I've found that blaming Draco Malfoy for things has worked really well in my life."
Gretchen hugged Hermione around the waist. "Thank you, Hermione."
"You're welcome. Hey, what does Jarrod look like because there was a cute ginger haired boy standing outside the bathroom a while ago, and he looked concerned?"
Gretchen sucked in a breath. "That's him!"
"Well, there you go!" Hermione said with a smile. "If he's waiting around to make sure you're okay, he doesn't even care about the fact that you sat on his lap accidentally. Definitely, go out there, tell him the whole truth, but still turn it around somehow to blame Draco for something. That's my advice."
Gretchen unlocked the door with her wand. Hermione gave her a funny look and said, "Um…underage magic is frowned on, you know?"
"My father is the director for the misuse of underage magic at the Ministry," Gretchen said, chagrined. "I think I'll be okay."
"Ah," Hermione said, "It's good to know people." She hugged the little girl, who hugged her back, around the waist. Draco opened the door just as Hermione was kissing the top of Gretchen's dark head.
"Is everything kosher in here?" Draco asked.
Gretchen let go of Hermione's waist and said, "Yes, Hermione's really nice, and she helped me a lot, and it's your entire fault, Uncle Draco." She skipped out of the bathroom and toward the red-headed boy who stood against the other wall.
Draco stood inside the woman's bathroom, pointed toward the closed door and said, "What happened?"
"You're an insensitive git, that's what happened," Hermione said, though she smiled.
"Yes, yes, but that's neither here nor there. What happened to the ankle-biter? Why did she go all ballistic on me? Her shrill would give you a run for your money. And what was all that about it being my fault?" Draco approached her slowly, his hands on his hips, his stare menacing.
Hermione looked at her watch and declared, "Oh, goodness, Malfoy, no time to explain! I'm going to be terribly late! I had a very important meeting with the new president of the board of governors of the museum fifteen minutes ago!" She pushed him again, not because he was in the way, but because she felt like it, and started to run down the hall.
She grabbed Michael's hand and said, "Come on, Corner, I'm late!"
Draco leaned out the woman's bathroom and watched her leave. He wiggled his eyebrows. She looked really nice running away in that very tight skirt. A woman walked up to the bathroom, saw Draco in the doorway and Draco looked at her and said, "You need the loo?" He walked out of the bathroom and started slowly down the hallway, taking his time, not caring at all if he was suddenly late for his meeting.
After all, his meeting was with Hermione Granger. She was going to be so upset; she might even push him again. He kind of liked that aggressive side of her. He liked it a lot, almost as much as he liked her tight skirt.
Coming Up: Two O'clock and it's time for a Broken Toe
"Stop touching things on the desk," she warned. "You're going to get us both in trouble!"
Since everything in here belonged to him now, he could touch whatever he wanted, though she didn't know that. He picked up a glass paperweight, threw it in the air, and purposely let it fall between his fingers so that it would fall to the floor. He did it to rattle her, rankle her, and upset her. He never meant for it to hit her on her foot.
Tears sprung to her eyes. She lifted her foot, hopping up and down on her good foot; her injured foot in the air, she placed one hand on his shoulder. She said, "Ouch, Malfoy that hurt very badly! Are you trying to maim me?"
"No," he said, wincing right along with her, because he could tell she was in pain. "I was trying to upset you. Didn't mean to break your toe." He pushed her, hard, so that she fell backwards into her empty seat. He reached for her calf, (what a lovely calf it was) and moved his hand slowly down to her foot. He removed her shoe, slowly, both hands still on her long, pretty leg. Damn, what should he do now? He wanted to make a pass at her, but it was apparent that she had a broken toe.
"Fancy a jaunt to St. Mungo's?" he asked.
A/N: I decided to start another story. This one will have one chapter for each hour on the clock, so just a shorter story, kind of like my Christmas story this year. I will update my "Wizard of Oz" story tomorrow, and I just posted a Lucius/Hermione story that at this moment is only on 'Malfoy Manor' and 'Pure Arrogance' sites, so you can visit my author's profile for the link to those sites if you want to read it. I'm still working on my own story, but I need to keep doing some Dramione, too. I miss it. Thanks!