The Art of Seduction
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Draco/ Asteria (my preferred spelling), with previous Draco/ Pansy, and background mentions of Lucius/ Narcissa, Daphne/ Theodore Nott, and Sally-Ann Perks/ Harper.
Summary: When buying his mother's birthday present, Draco meets a woman who takes his breath away. However, after numerous attempts to woo Asteria fail, she has to take matters into her own hands.
Word Count: 13, 574
Warnings/Content: Scenes of a sexual nature, Light bondage
Disclaimer: All characters and their wonderful world belong to JK Rowling, I'm merely borrowing them.
Author's Notes: Originally written for LiveJournal's Wizard_Love Valentine's Fest. Thanks to Kim for the awesome beta. You're a star and I love you. Thanks to whoever this wonderful prompt was from. Draco/Asteria are my OTP and I had SO much fun writing this. I hope y'all enjoy it, too
For the banner for this story please see here: i39[dot]tinypic[dot]com/2u5q9ol[dot]jpg - just replace the [dot] for fullstops.
Father's really gone and landed me in it this time, Draco sulked, stalking the narrow streets of Diagon Alley as he looked for the shop he required.
He vaguely remembered mother mentioning it once before during a shopping trip, and he was sure Pansy had talked about working there after they'd left Hogwarts.
He'd thought about Floo calling Pansy, actually, and asking for her help, but then thought better of it. Their last encounter had been painful, to say the least.
No, he'd just have to buy his mother's birthday gift himself. It couldn't be that hard, after all.
Rounding the corner, Draco looked up at the swinging shop signs and the one he wanted came into view.
Angela's Aromatics, that was the name his father had told him.
Smoothing out the creases in his robes, and running a hand through his jaw length hair, Draco gripped the door handle, turned it and entered the shop.
As the door opened a bell tinkled lightly over-head and his sense of smell was suddenly overwhelmed with the heady scents of jasmine, lavender, rose and other fragrances he didn't recognise by name but knew were distinctly feminine.
Draco scanned the shop, a store that was decorated in calming pastel colours, with rows upon rows of fully stocked shelves. Approaching one of the display areas, he found it laden with coloured bars of soap, a sign boasting that all products contained only natural ingredients and were hand-made.
He picked a bar of soap up at random and sniffed it. It smelt vaguely of roses, and judging by the pink ribbon wrapped around the middle of it, he guessed it was made from the well known flower.
Replacing the item back on the shelf, Draco looked around for where the perfumes were located and spotted them in a glass cabinet opposite.
He approached the glass cabinet and found it to be almost completely filled with ornately made, delicate glass decanters, in various different shades, with tiny hand-written labels hanging from the necks of the vials.
Draco took the closest to him, a short but wide, almost rounded, jade green bottle, and pulled out the stopper. He sniffed and then wrinkled his nose in displeasure. No, that scent most certainly did not suit his mother.
Inspire it was called, featuring essence of grapefruit, lemon-grass and litsea essential oils, the hand-written tag told him.
It was much too citrusy and fresh for his mother Draco decided, returning the bottle to its place in the cabinet.
He picked up a second bottle. This one was almost three times taller than the first, but thinner too, so that each bottle probably held the same volume of perfume. This bottle was extravagantly decorated, with a jewelled stopper, and made of glass that looked almost golden in colour.
Draco removed the stopped and inhaled the fragrance. The heady aroma of frankincense assaulted his nostrils, and Draco replaced the bottle almost immediately.
Neither his mother nor father would thank him for buying that perfume.
Continuing his search Draco pulled down bottle after bottle, unstoppering each fragrance in turn, and inhaling their various scents.
Non of them seemed quite right, and he was almost beginning to lose hope.
His mother's fiftieth birthday was now just a week away, and his father had decided to throw a surprise party to celebrate the occasion.
After their involvement in the wizarding war, the Malfoy family were just beginning to regain their social standing, and Lucius had thought Narcissa's birthday was the perfect opportunity to show that the Malfoys were back on their feet, and still a family to be admired and respected.
With the help of their house elf, Tali, Lucius had all the surprise party arrangements in hand, and Draco's only task had been to get his mother a bottle of perfume as a gift.
Wanting to prove he was no longer a child, he was almost twenty-five after all, and that he'd eventually be able to step into his father's role as head of the household, Draco wanted to get this just right. The perfume had to be perfect, because if he couldn't even manage this simple task, how would he cope with the day to day running of Malfoy Manor?
But not only that, he wanted his mother's birthday to be perfect for her. She'd done and sacrificed so much for him throughout the years, and he had done so little for her in return. Well all that was about to change now.
So he just had to find the perfume she would love. A scent that would reflect her completely. Something she could wear with pride and think of him.
The problem was, Draco had now gone through no less than fifteen bottles, and the aromas were causing him to get a migraine.
Realising that, alone at least, the mission was turning out to be a lost cause, he looked around for the cash desk, with the hope of locating the store owner so that they might be able to help him.
And then his eyes fell on her.
Draco had been so preoccupied by his mother's birthday present until this moment that he hadn't noticed the young woman standing behind the cash desk.
She currently had her back to him, and her long dark hair was falling in a cascade of curls down her back, almost to her waist.
She was wearing figure hugging robes in that maddening colour he could never decipher if it was blue or green. Teal his mother called it. Flaring out from the sleeves of her robes was the lace fringing of the shirt she was wearing underneath, a material that matched the intricately pattered stocking that clad her shapely calves, finally meeting with the Victorian style boots that ran down her legs to cover her feet.
Draco looked about himself for a moment, flattening down his own robes that had become rumpled as he had searched for his mother's birthday gift, and smoothing down the length of his hair with his hands.
He cleared his throat, approached the cash desk, and then turning on the Malfoy charm he drawled, "Excuse me Miss, I require you assistance, please."
She turned on him with bright blue eyes that were almost hidden by the dark fringe of hair that fell down to her neatly plucked eyebrows.
Raising one of those eyebrows, and smiling with rose painted lips, she replied, "Certainly. And how can I be of help to you today?"
Draco's heart pounded, and for a moment he forgot why he was here at all. Surely his mere existence depended on her radiance alone.
"I wanted to buy something," he blurted. "Some perfume … not for myself, obviously. I'm a guy, guys don't wear perfume. Its a gift … not for my wife or girlfriend though. I don't have one of those," he clarified, looking down at her hands and taking note of the absence of a wedding band. "For my mother."
The shop assistant was quick to hide her smirk and turned to Draco with a ready smile, teeth pearly white behind her luscious lips.
"And is this gift for any particular reason?"
"There are reasons to buy gifts?"
This time the woman hid her smirk a little less well, but continued faultlessly. "A birthday perhaps?"
"Erm … ah … yes. A special birthday. She's fifty, you see, and father is throwing her a massive surprise party at the manor. And its my job to buy a present for mother. And it has to be perfect. I've been looking for almost an hour now and nothing I find is quite right," Draco rambled, rubbing his now sweaty palms on his robes and leaving stains on the dark fabric.
Merlin's crusty armpit, what the bloody hell has gotten into you? Draco mentally reprimanded himself, trying to get his thoughts in order, and stop his motor mouth from running.
The shop assistant looked about Draco, as though searching him for something, and then lead him back to the glass cabinet that held the array of perfumes.
"Tell me about your mother. Perhaps if I have some idea what she's like as a person I'll have a better understanding of what fragrance would suit her."
"She's warm, and loving. Well, to father and me, at least she is. Other people probably think she's a bit of a snob. But she isn't. Not really. And sometimes she's sneaky, father always says she gets what she wants. And ... this is going to sound weird … but she's sensual too. I've seen the way Father looks at her, and I tell you, if I'd looked at Pansy that way, I bet we'd still be together now, and … " Draco seemed to suddenly realise where he was and who he was talking to, and trailed off. His pale skin blushing deeply, he added, "Sorry. I don't know what's come over me. I think inhaling all that perfume has made me a little light headed."
"Its okay," the shop assistant assured him, with a blush of her own and a giggle too. "Let's see if we can get your mother the perfect gift, shall we?"
She regarded the cabinet carefully for a few moments, her hands hovering over a number of different bottles, before she finally plucked one down and unstopped it.
The perfume decanter was almost square in shape, and as wide as the assistant's palm. The glass was a deep, majestic red with a gold circle in the middle and a heavy golden stopper.
She handed the stopper to Draco for him to smell. The scent was potent, but not overwhelming. The strong fragrances of orange blossom, sandalwood and oriental spices having an exhilarating effect on his senses.
The fragrance alone evoked an image of a sensual, mysterious, alluring woman, full of unseen warmth and passion.
"That's the one!" Draco exclaimed in delight. "How did you do that?"
"All part of the service," the assistant replied with a lop-sided grin, as she lead the way back to the cash desk and began neatly wrapping the bottle of perfume.
"Well thank you anyway … ? "
"Asteria," she supplied, placing the now wrapped bottle of perfume in a gift bag.
"Well, thank you anyway, Asteria. You've really helped me out here. That perfume will be perfect for mother."
"You're most welcome. That will be exactly ten galleons, please."
Draco withdrew from inside of his robes his coin pouch, and from that took out ten large, round, golden coins. He placed them directly into Asteria's open palm, staring deeply into her eyes as he did. A jolt of electricity passed through him as their hands touched, and the heat rose in his body.
"Thank you," Asteria said, snatching her hand away as if burnt. "I hope your mother has a lovely birthday."
"Yes, happy birthday to you, too," Draco bumbled, turning around to find the exit, and instead opening the door to the store cupboard. "My mistake," he said, swinging around and almost tripping on the hem of his robes.
From behind the cash desk Asteria giggled, watching with amusement as Draco stumbled his way out of the shop.
Merlin's flaming underpants, Draco chided himself when he got out of the shop. What in the name of Salazar Slytherin has gotten into you?
His palms were sweaty and his heart racing as he made his way back up Diagon Alley and to the Leaky Cauldron.
She's just a girl … but a damn fine girl … but Malfoys most certainly do not lose their heads over a girl … but she's such a pretty girl ..
All the while that Asteria had been picking out the perfect present for his mother, and then wrapping it for him, Draco had been taking in her appearance.
She had been wearing subtle make up, expertly applied, a black lace shirt underneath her teal robes, and a necklace that held a pendant and had hung around her neck; falling down almost to her breasts … something Draco had been unable to avoid staring at.
It wasn't even that he was trying to check her out – well, okay, he was a little bit – but he had been fascinated by her pendant, and at first couldn't quite figure out what it was. Then it had caught the light, and he'd realised it was a miniature clock. Not something he'd ever seen worn on a pendant before, but charming non the less.
On the middle finger of her right hand Asteria had worn a black and white cameo ring. Draco had recognised the design almost immediately, as his Grandmother Druella had often worn one similar around her neck when he was a child. It was one of the few things he still remembered about her even now.
The image of Asteria danced in his mind. Her blue eyes glistening, and her dark hair gleaming in the sun light filtering in through the shop's windows.
For a moment, he thought about going back to the shop and inviting her to his mother's birthday party. But he knew he couldn't. Even if she were available on such short notice, the invitations had been sent out, and the plans arranged long ago.
Almost a year ago, when his father had conceived the idea of the surprise birthday party, Draco had broken up from Pansy for the third and final time since leaving Hogwarts six years previously.
The break up had been a bad one, both of them saying some horrible things, and ended with Draco vowing never to date another woman.
So, when his father had begun planning the birthday celebrations, and had insisted Draco needed a date, Draco had done the only thing he could think of … he'd invited Sally-Ann Perks.
Sally-Ann had been Draco's 'study buddy' during their O., and without her help, he probably wouldn't have gotten an "Acceptable" on his Transfiguration exam. Unfortunately, all that hard studying had caused Sally-Ann to have a melt-down; she'd missed her own exams and was forced to repeat the year.
During their time at Hogwarts, Draco and Sally-Ann had kept in vague contact, well as much contact as having Pansy Parkinson as a girlfriend would allow, and then after the wizarding war had gotten reacquainted again.
They'd dated for a short while, when Draco and Pansy were on a break, but had soon found they had no sexual feelings for each other. Draco had gotten back together with Pansy, and Sally-Ann had started seeing Kerian Harper, a guy she'd met back at school when she'd been forced to repeat a year.
Now, they regularly met for coffee at least once a week, and Draco would bemoan to Sally-Ann about his love life, or lack there of, while she boasted about how well things were going in her own relationship with Kerian.
When the arrangements for his mother's birthday party were being made, Sally-Ann had seemed like the perfect choice of date, they got along well, had fun together, and there'd be no awkward feelings, especially considering Kerian was currently on work experience in Egypt as part of his job as a curse-breaker for Gringotts.
The day of his mother's party arrived, and Draco found he had thought of little but Asteria since he'd met her. He'd been severely tempted to visit the shop again, and on more than one occasion he had Apperated to Diagon Alley during his lunch break.
One afternoon he had spotted Asteria sweeping the shop floor, and had watched her through the window for nearly ten minutes, until a passer-by had called him a pervert.
Another occasion, he'd gone into the shop under the pretence of buying his mother a bar of soap in a scent that would compliment the perfume he had bought her. However, when he spied Asteria chatting, and laughing, and flirting with Marcus Flint he had thought better of it, and left the shop without paying for the soap. In his jealousy he threw the bar in a near-by rubbish bin.
Eventually he decided that stalking Asteria was not the way to go about it, and instead decided he would quiz Sally-Ann about his new love interest when they were at his mother's birthday party.
"That perfume is nice," Draco complimented randomly, mid party, as he and Sally-Ann were taking a break from dancing to enjoy some of the expensive French wine his father had bought especially for the occasion.
"Cut the crap, Malfoy. You never pay me compliments. What are you after? If its another loan to pay off your poker debts to Goyle, you're out of luck. I'm saving all my gold for a trip to Egypt so I can visit Kerian."
"I'm not trying to butter you up for anything. Can't a guy pay a friend a compliment?" Draco insisted, flashing her what he hoped was his most dazzling smile. "And for your information, I haven't played poker with Goyle for months."
"If you insist."
"I do. It smells really nice. Where did you get it from?"
"Why the sudden interest in women's perfume?"
"I'm sorry, I'm just trying to be friendly. If you don't want to tell me then don't."
Sally-Ann barely managed to suppress a snigger as she replied, "I got it from Angela's Aromatics, where most witches buy their perfume from. Its the best toiletries shop in the country, everyone knows that."
"Its the one in Diagon Alley, isn't it?"
"Okay, Malfoy, what are you up to? This has gone way beyond paying a friend a compliment."
"Alright, alright. There's this girl …"
"How did you know?"
"Everyone knows Asteria. She took over her mother's business a few years ago so that Angela could retire and move back to Greece."
"Tell me everything you know about her."
Sally-Ann rolled her eyes and laughed good-naturedly at her friend.
"You don't know Asteria? She's Daphne Greengrass' younger sister."
"Daphne Greengrass, as in the Daphne Greengrass from my year, who recently got engaged to Theodore Nott? I didn't even know she had a sister."
"No, I suppose you wouldn't, would you? She was about two years below you at school. I only got to know her because we saw so much of each other in the library. Somewhere you never visited."
"And she owns that shop in Diagon Alley now?"
"Sort of. I think her, Daphne and their brother Alexander all have shares in it, but Asteria manages the place. Alex is back in Greece with their mother, I think and well … you know what Daphne's like."
Draco nodded his head in agreement. If anyone was more of a socialite than Pansy Parkinson, it was her often-times rival, Daphne Greengrass. The woman was well known for never working a day in her life, yet maintaining a lavish party lifestyle and many had speculated – including a very public article in the Daily Prophet by Rita Skeeter - that her recently engagement to Theodore Nott was simply because Theodore had recently been named captain of the British Quidditch team.
It was a theory Draco happened to agree with, too. Nott wasn't well know for his looks, having taken a bludger to the face that had broken his nose some years previously, and Daphne was well known for focusing her attentions on any man with a bit of money. She's even tried it on with him once, until she'd discovered that the Malfoy family were all but broke since the wizarding war.
However, a spot of luck and a few well timed business ventures on Lucius' part had since allowed them to regain a small portion of their former wealth, and that's what they were drawing upon now to fund Narcissa's birthday party.
It was Lucius' hope that the celebration would not only show his wife how much he loved and valued her, but that it would allow himself and Draco to reforge some useful business contacts.
After spending two years after leaving Hogwarts in a drunken stupor, and four years after that drifting from dead-end position to dead-end position within the Ministry of Magic, Draco had finally found a job he was comfortable with. Better than comfortable, actually, a job he was happy in.
His former work in the Department of Magical Games and Sports, and his love of Quidditch had lead Draco into a career as a Quidditch agent. With his father's few remaining business connections, and the Malfoy charm, he was making a name for himself in the Quidditch world by connecting the top players of the moment with the clubs that wanted to sign them.
He'd already lead the Chudley Cannons to league victory by helping them import a number of foreign players, mostly from Bulgaria. But his crowning victory was assisting Theodore Nott to secure the position of the British team's captain. The bonus he'd received from that deal alone had paid for the recent renovations of Malfoy Manor, which had been carried out just months prior to his mother's birthday.
"And is Asteria seeing anyone?" Draco inquired of Sally-Ann, as they helped themselves to smoked salmon Hors d'oeuvres from the large silver tray Tali was carrying around.
"I don't think so, no. The last I heard she was dating Malcolm Baddock, but that was over a year ago and he's seeing Olivia Davies now. I know for a certainty that Asteria isn't the type to put up with someone two-timing her, so she and Malcolm must have broken up."
"Don't get too ahead of yourself, Malfoy. Asteria is no easy woman to charm. It will take more than flowers and chocolates."
"I know how to treat a woman."
"I know you do, I dated you remember. But what most of the wizarding world remembers is your relationship with Pansy. It will be hard to follow on from that."
"I'll make it work. Asteria is worth it."
A week after his mother's birthday party, Draco visited Angela's Aromatics again.
He checked his appearance in a cosmetics mirror attached to one of the shelves as he walked through the shop, taking care to smooth any creases to his robes Apperating had caused, and making sure not a single platinum blonde hair was out of place.
Satisfied that his appearance was acceptable, he approached the cash desk, ready to turn on the Malfoy charm.
That was until his eyes fell on Asteria. She was wearing deep purple robes this time, again in a form fitting style that was the fashion of the moment, and cut to just above her knees, revealing the patterned tights and boots she was wearing on her legs. Underneath her robes he could just see peeking out a black frilly shirt, that had lavish embroidery in a complimenting shade to her robes.
Once again the miniature clock necklace hung around her neck, and on her finger was the cameo ring. Her hair was styled up into a ponytail today, and the cascading curls had been replaced with poker straight locks. The only part of her hair that remained the same was the fringe that fell in a straight line down to her eyebrows.
But still, in Draco's mind she looked exquisite.
He opened his mouth to speak and found his throat uncommonly dry. No words would come out, and in place of a sentence he made a retching, hocking sound.
"By Godric, are you okay?" Asteria exclaimed. "Would you like a glass of water?"
Draco nodded and continued to cough and splutter in place of speaking words.
What in the name of Salazar is wrong with you? the voice inside his head yelled. You're a Malfoy, and Malfoys most certainly do not get tongue tied and start hacking up in from of attractive women.
Asteria returned from the store room with a glass of water and handed it to Draco, who gulped it down in only two mouthfuls.
"Better?" she inquired as he handed her the glass back.
"Much," Draco squeaked in a voice at least two octaves higher than his usual pitch.
Asteria tittered and raised an eyebrow. "Erm, yeah, you sound it. So, how can I help you today? And did you mother like her birthday gift?"
"She did, thank you," Draco replied, his voice returning to its normal tone at last. "I'm looking for a gift for a friend today. Sally-Ann Perks, you might know her?"
"Yes, I know Sally-Ann. How is she? Is she still dating Kerian Harper?"
"Yes, she is. And she's well, thank you. I'll tell her you asked about her," Draco replied. "I'm looking for a present for her to say thank you for accompanying me to my mother's birthday party."
"Right, okay. And what price range did you have in mind for this gift?"
"Erm … any price range really, Sally-Ann is worth it. No, wait. I didn't mean it like that. I meant, well … I'd like you to make as much money from this as possible. No, wait, that's not right either. Oh Merlin's unwashed beard, what am I saying? No more than five Galleons, okay?"
Asteria blushed and giggled. "A five Galleon limit it is then. And did you have any gift ideas in mind?"
"I don't know? What do girls your age like?" Draco blurted.
This is not going to plan, he mentally reprimanded. You were suppose to come in here, be suave and charming, then buy something nice but not bank-breaking for Sally-Ann.
Asteria smirked but recovered herself quickly. "Has she got any special events coming up that she might need cosmetics or toiletries for?"
"Well I know Sally-Ann is planning a trip to see Kerian in Egypt soon."
"Perfect. Perhaps I could make her up a travel bag for her trip, and include in it some products suitable for the climate over there, like sunscreen?"
"Sounds good to me," Draco beamed.
"Alright, great. Well give me a couple of days to make these things up, and then you can come in and collect the travel bag, okay?"
"You make everything yourself?"
"Yes, my mother prided herself on the fact all our toiletries and cosmetics were hand-made. When I took over the running of the shop, I had to continue the tradition. Its a good job I got high enough marks in potions class to do so, too."
"But there's so much in here. How do you ever find the time to make it all and run a shop?"
"I love my job, Draco, so its pretty easy really."
She knows my name. Draco's heart did a back-flip, and once again, his mouth started working without consulting his brain first, and he blurted out, "You know who I am?"
Asteria rolled her eyes, but smiled good-naturedly "Everyone knows you who are. Besides, when you came in here a few weeks ago needing help to pick a present for your mother's birthday, it wasn't too hard to put two and two together. Everyone knew it was Mrs. Malfoy's birthday, and that your father was throwing a party for her. Was it a good party? Did she have a nice time?"
"It was, she had an excellent time, thank you. You should have been there, it really was a lot of fun."
"I would have liked to have been there, but I wasn't invited," Asteria replied with a blush.
Now it was Draco's turn to turn bright read, and his throat became dry again. "I wanted to invite you … I almost did … its just, the plans were made months ago, and I'd already asked Sally-Ann, and I didn't know if you'd be busy or even if you'd want to come to the party with me. I'm sorry."
"Its okay, Draco, honestly. I only meant that it would have been nice to have been there, as Malfoy parties are usually so extravagant. I never expected you to invite me, we're strangers after all."
"I really did want to ask you to come with me though," Draco insisted. "Let me make it up to you and take you out for dinner?"
"I don't know. I'm really busy at the moment, especially with Daph's engagement. Let me think about it. Ask me again when you come in to collect the present for Sally-Ann," Asteria insisted with a reassuring smile.
Draco intended to do just that a few days later when he returned to Angela's Aromatics to collect Sally-Ann's present.
As he approached the now familiar cash desk, he saw the figure of Asteria, once again with her back to him. Only something was wrong. Her hair was shorter, reaching only to her jawline now. Had she had it cut since he's last seen her? And her robes were different, too. Not the usual subtle but fashionable style he was use to seeing Asteria dressed in. These robes were flashier and of a shorter cut, too, the bottom hemline barely covering her arse.
When she turned to greet him, Draco was met with deep brown eyes, and that's when the Knut dropped. It was Daphne, not Asteria, who was currently standing behind the cash desk, grinning inanely at him.
"Draco Malfoy, my own person Cupid."
"Daphne, looking lovely as always," he replied smoothly.
Daphne did her best to look bashful and batted her heavily painted eyelashes at him.
"Is Asteria here, please?"
"No. She's on her lunch break and I'm watching the shop while she grabs something to eat. Anything I can help you with?"
"Perhaps. I'm here to collect an order. Its for a bag of travel toiletries Asteria was having especially made for Sally-Ann Perks."
"And what are you don't collecting Sally-Ann's orders? I didn't know you'd downgraded from Quidditch agent to lackey."
"Sally-Ann didn't make the order. I did, its a gift for her."
"And what are you doing buying Sally-Ann presents? Isn't she dating that Gringotts worker? Harper something or other?"
"Kerian Harper," Draco supplied. "And yes, she is. She's visiting him in Egypt soon actually. This gift is for her trip, to thank her for being my date to mother's birthday party."
"Okay, Malfoy. I never asked for your life story," Daphne teased, sticking out her tongue, and then checking under the cash desk for any orders Asteria might have put aside. She stood up a few moments later holding a large silver gift bag in her hands. "Ah, here it is," she said, placing the gift bag on the counter.
Draco peered inside and found a number of items, ranging from lotions, to potions, to balms and powders, all neatly wrapped in tissue paper, along with a clear plastic toiletries bag to store them in.
"Excellent. How much is that, please?"
"The note attached from Asteria says four Galleons, so let's call it five, okay?"
"We'll say its my expenses for minding the shop while she's off swanning around."
"She's on her lunch break, and I heard this shop was yours too."
"Good point. But my price is still five Galleons. Take it or leave it, Malfoy."
Draco huffed, but resigned himself to Daphne's demands, and withdrew his coin pouch from inside his robes. He's said to Asteria his limit was five Galleons anyway, it was she who was appearing to undercharge him. If this earned him a few Brownie points with Asteria, all the better.
Daphne stuck out her hand, open palm facing upwards, and waited for Draco to give her the money. "Was there anything else you wanted while you're here?"
Draco hesitated for a moment, and weighed his options. He'd been fully intending to ask Asteria out to dinner when he came to collect Sally-Ann's gift. He hadn't been banking on her absence and Daphne being here in her place. But would he get another chance to see her?
He was already pushing things by coming here to buy a gift for Sally-Ann. She's expected nothing in return for her agreeing to be his date for his mother's birthday party, and their relationship wasn't really the type where they bought each other gifts – unless the occasional coffee and a muffin counted as a gift.
With no other female friends having birthdays any time soon, and Christmas a long way off, he'd have no other excuses to come in here and see Asteria.
He decided he'd have to take a chance, and replied saying, "Actually, there was. I was hoping to ask Asteria to join me for dinner at La Morsure Peu this weekend."
La Morsure Peu was wizarding London's most exclusive French restaurant, known for mixing fine cuisine with spectacular magic. Its Floating Island desert was its most famed dish, given that the meringue centrepiece literally levitated a few inches above the Crème anglaise accompaniment.
The waiting list for seat reservations at La Morsure Peu was currently three months, but Draco had managed to secure a table there for this weekend, thanks to his recent deal with the manager who he'd just gotten lucrative sponsorship contract for at next year's Quidditch World Cup.
"La Morsure Peu?" Daphne said in awe. "Me and Theodore have been trying to get a table there for months. How did you manage it when the new captain of the British Quidditch team and his lovely fiancée can't?"
"The Malfoy charm, that's how!" Draco drawled smoothly. "Will you pass on the message or not?"
"Yes, but there's a price."
"Name it and its yours."
"You agree to make it a double date with Theodore and I."
Draco winced. He hadn't been expecting that. He should have really though, given what type of person Daphne was.
How would he possibly get to know Asteria with her sister and sister's fiancé there? The media circus that Theodore Nott dining out in public would cause was enough of a reason alone as to why agreeing to this was a bad idea, let alone how awkward it would be trying to woo Asteria with her sister tagging along.
But what choice did he have?
Even if he said no now and came back to speak to Asteria later there was every chance a disappointed Daphne would talk Asteria out of agreeing to a date with him out of spite. She was a Slytherin after all. If he wanted to win the heart of one of the Greengrass sisters, he'd have to win the other one over first.
"YES!" Daphne squealed in delight, jumping up and down on the spot and clapping her hands together.
"Draco Malfoy, you really are the best."
"And you'll pass on my invitation to Asteria and make sure she agrees."
"Of course, of course."
"Okay, I'll meet the three of you at the restaurant on Saturday night at seven."
"Excellent. We'll be there," Daphne replied, grinning like the Cheshire Cat.
Saturday evening approached, and much quicker than Draco would have liked. It wasn't that he wasn't looking forwards to his date with Asteria; he really was.
However, since arranging the date, his life had been nothing but hectic.
Anton Nikolova, one of the Bulgarian players he had signed to the Chudley Cannon, was unhappy with his current contract and wanted Draco's help renegotiating a new one. The problem was that the Chudley Cannon thought the current deal they were offering Nikolova was more than fair and wouldn't budge.
This meant of course that Nikolova was threatening to break his contract and walk out on the team. And obviously the task of fixing all this, and making everyone involved happy fell squarely on Draco.
Therefore, in the past few days he'd made so many Floo calls that he'd lost count. Thankfully, the negotiations had gone well, and at last a figure both sides agreed upon was reached.
Draco was hoping for a huge bonus from both the Chudley Cannon and Nikolova once the new contract was signed.
However, despite the promise of huge bonuses, the extra work with Nikolova had added to Draco's normally tight schedule, meaning he'd had no time to contact Asteria and confirm the date with her. He just had to hope Daphne had kept her end of the bargain.
It also meant he didn't return home to Malfoy Manor until five on Saturday evening, leaving him only two hours to get ready and met Asteria at La Morsure Peu.
He showered, taking the time to neaten up his beard, make sure all his other body hair wasn't unruly, and clip his toe nails, as well as shampoo and conditioning his hair. After getting out of the shower he applied some of the moisturiser he'd received as a birthday gift from his mother.
In the past few years Draco had taken his personal hygiene and grooming habits to a new level. He'd almost always taken pride in his appearance, wearing the latest fashionable robes and taking care to make sure his jaw length blonde hair was always clean, neatly combed and styled.
However, since working as a Quidditch agent, he'd also adopted measures some other men, his father included, would probably frown upon and dub "feminine", such as applying moisturiser.
It had started out innocently enough, when he'd complained to his mother of dry skin due to his constant Floo calls and Apperating around the country. She had suggested using moisturiser, and had given him some of her own, non scented, cream for him to use. Eventually she had bought him some of his own for his most recent birthday.
At first, Draco wore it out of necessity to stop his skin drying out. But then he began to receive compliments about his complexion and how well he was looking, and the few girls he had dated since he had broken up with Pansy remarked on how lovely his soft and smooth skin was, one even going so far as to say it was nice to meet a guy who took so much care with his appearance After that, using moisturiser became a regular part of his routine.
He knew, given that Asteria worked in a cosmetics and toiletries shop, that she'd appreciate the extra effort he'd put into his appearance, especially considering she was always so well groomed herself.
All was going well, and he was still on schedule to meet Asteria at La Morsure Peu at seven, when he checked his appearance in the mirror and realised something was seriously wrong. His hair was bright green.
"Mother!" he yelled at the top of his lungs.
Narcissa Apperated into his room, where he was standing in front of the mirror, a towel wrapped around his waist, staring at his reflection in horror.
"Oh Merlin!" Narcissa exclaimed trying to stifle a giggle. "Tali told me she'd fixed the problem with the water supply."
"Obviously she didn't."
"Come here and let me see if I can fix it with my wand."
Draco crossed the room and flopped down on his bed, as Narcissa pulled her wand from the sleeve of her robes, tapped Draco on the crown of the head and muttered an incantation.
She tried a second spell.
Still Draco's remain a violent, vivid, green colour.
Narcissa worried her bottom lip between her teeth, her wand hand pointed at Draco, the other resting on her hip as she tapped her finger on the bone and tried to think up a solution for her son's predicament.
"I'm popping to my room for a minute. I won't be long."
She returned less than a minute later holding a black tube. From the tube she squirted some bright pink, strange smelling, paste onto her hands and then lathered it into Draco's hair.
After five minutes she said, "Okay, we'll go into the bathroom and I'll use my wand to rinse your hair off."
Narcissa followed her son into the en-suite bathroom, and Draco knelt besides the bath, with his neck craned so his head was over the tub.
"Tepidus Aguamenti," Narcissa incanted and a jet of warm water shot from her wand and sprayed Draco's head.
She rinsed of the pink paste, and to her relief revealed white blonde hair underneath. The green was gone.
"All fixed," she announced tucking her wand back up her sleeve.
"Thank you, Mother, you're a treasure," Draco said, climbing to his feet and embracing her.
"You're welcome. I'm just glad your evening isn't ruined. I'll send Tali up with your clothes."
The delay with his hair had put Draco slightly behind schedule for arriving at La Morsure Peu on time, but he was sure if he hurried getting dressed he could still make it for seven.
Tali appeared in his room just as Draco was coming out of the en-suite. But instead of placing his clean robes on the bed, the House Elf looked up at him with huge glassy eyes and tears running down her cheeks.
"Tali is so sorry Master Draco. Tali is trying her hardest to get Master's robes cleaned and pressed the way he likes them. For some reason nothing is going as Tali is telling it to."
"Are my clothes clean or not?"
"Tali is cleaning and drying Master's robes, but Tali isn't pressing them."
From behind her back the House Elf produced a bundle of crumpled dress robes.
"Tali is so sorry." And with that the House Elf promptly burst into tears.
"Fix this now."
"Tali is not knowing how to and Tali has tried every spell she knows."
"Then try some spells you don't know."
Fighting back the tears Tali picked up Draco's crumpled dress robes and began running her tiny hands over them, mumbling incantations as she did so, but nothing she tried made them less creased.
"Tali is sorry Master, but nothing Tali is doing is working."
"I don't know what Father even pays you for. Get out of here, you're useless."
Tali disappeared from Draco's room with a tiny pop and a moment later Narcissa appeared.
"Yes. That infernal elf is incapable of anything. She's completely ruined my dress robes."
"Pass them to me and I'll have a look."
Draco handed his mother the crumpled garments.
"Hum … how strange. Simple pressing spells should have these creases out without a problem, and Tali certainly knows the correct incantations for those. This, coupled with the problem with the water system, makes me wonder if there isn't something wrong with her."
"Yes, she's been over paid for doing nothing. Damn Granger and her stupid House Elf legislation."
"Now now, Draco," Narcissa chided. "You know we said after the war we'd try to see the world differently."
"And I am, aren't I?" Draco replied indignantly. "I just don't see why we're paying Tali a Galleon a month when she can't even press my clothes."
"Well obviously something is wrong with the poor dear. Perhaps we need to take her to St. Mungo's."
"You're going soft in your old age, Mother."
Narcissa turned on her son with icy blue eyes. "Draco Lucius Malfoy, watch your mouth and remember who you're speaking to."
"Sorry Mother," Draco replied looked suitably abashed. "Its just … well, I'm sort of worried about this date with Asteria and wanted everything to be perfect."
"Of course you did, Dear, but sometimes life isn't like that. I should know. You'll just have to make the best out of what you've got. Surely you have other dress robes clean?"
"Well yes, but non that look as good as those ones. They're the ones you bought me from Milan for my birthday."
Narcissa gave Draco a pitying look, completely empathising with his plight. She fully appreciated how nice those particular robes were; she'd picked them out herself after all.
"Well how about these ones instead?" she suggested, pulling from Draco's wardrobe the burgundy dress robes she'd bought him the previous Christmas.
"Yes, I suppose those will have to do if I don't want to be late for dinner."
"Everything will be fine," Narcissa assured him, straightening Draco's collar.
"Thank you, Mother."
"I told you, you're most welcome. Now go and have a wonderful time."
Narcissa left Draco's bedroom once more, and he began gathering his things before leaving, including his money pouch which he tucked into his dress robes, his travelling cloak, and the gift he'd bought for Asteria.
He'd taken Sally-Ann's advice to heart, and avoided the usual clichés of flowers and chocolates. He'd even gone so far as straying of the beaten path of common gifts one would give to a date, and in stead had gone looking in the vast Malfoy library for a book he remembered from his teens.
He'd recalled an especially difficult piece of homework the late Professor Snape had set for his potions class during his fifth year, which had required Draco to look up various exotic flowers and plants, and their properties. At the time he'd found the library's sources on the subject already taken by other students, and so he had gained permission to Floo home and search the extensive library at Malfoy Manor. There he had found a book on the subject - one of his mother's apparently, from her school days - and had taken his homework notes from that.
The book had immediately sprung to mind when thinking of a gift for Asteria. She made all the products for Angela's Aromatics herself, even commenting on the fact it was a good job she had done well in her potions exam, and he thought that perhaps she would get some pleasure out of reading the book and discovering new flowers and plants she wasn't currently aware of.
With his mother's permission, he had taken the book, and had Tali wrap it in some floral paper, complete with bows and ribbons.
It was this gift that Draco took from his desk now, and he put on his travelling cloak and slipped it into one of the inner pockets.
Then, turning on the spot, he tried to Apparate to La Morsure Peu, only nothing happened, and he remained standing in his bedroom.
Draco knew his lack of Apparation wasn't due to wards on the Manor, as his mother had been Apperating in and out of his room frequently as she'd helped with his problems getting ready.
No, there must be some other reason, he thought.
Trying a second time, and then even a third time, yielded no better results as Draco remained in his bedroom, the minute had on the clock on his wall inching even closer to seven o'clock.
"Damn it," he cursed, trying and failing for a fourth time. It was no use though, and deep down inside, Draco knew exactly what was wrong.
The same thing had happened to him once before, as he was due to meet the client of his first big deal as a Quidditch agent. The stress of getting things just right and the pressure of the situation had made him unable to Apparate, and after more than ten frustrating minutes he'd figured out if he wanted to get anywhere he'd have to use another form of transportation.
The same was true now, and as the clock on his wall struck seven, he knew if he wanted to reach La Morsure Peu on time he'd have to Floo there.
Glancing at his appearance in the mirror one final time, he raced out of his bedroom and downstairs to the main dining hall where a large, lit, fireplace awaited him. Taking a pinch of the powder always kept besides the fireplace, he sprinkled it into the flames and they turned emerald green. He stepped into the fire and in his loudest voice said "La Morsure Peu."
The room blurred and span out of view as Draco was transported in the Floo network, only for the scene to steady moments later and the entrance hall of La Morsure Peu became clear as his vision focused.
Draco stepped out of the fireplace, straightened his robes, smoothed down his hair, which for the occasion he was wearing tied back and secured with a black ribbon, and looked around for Asteria.
Immediately the sound of Daphne's laughter filled the air, and Draco spotted her and Theodore standing opposite the fireplace. Asteria was nowhere in sight.
Draco approached the couple, as Daphne opened her mouth to speak.
"Ah, Draco. How nice of you to finally join us," she said, looking pointedly at the clock that hung over the fireplace he'd just arrived via, which read ten past seven.
"Where's Asteria?" he blurted making no apology for his lateness.
Daphne and Theodore exchanged a glance and Daphne's features tightened.
"Well … erm … you see … the thing is …"
"She is coming, isn't she?"
"No," Theodore answered bluntly.
"Why in the name of Salazar not?"
Daphne gulped audibly.
"You did remember to invite her?"
"No exactly. I left her a note."
"A note? What good is a note? She was meant to be here. Send her a message and invite her now."
"I can't. She's visiting Mother in Greece."
"And when did this come about?"
Daphne's gaze shifted to the floor, and it was then that the Knut dropped and Draco figured out what was going on.
"She was never coming, was she? You used me and set this whole thing up so that you and Theodore could get into the restaurant, didn't you? You manipulated my feelings for your sister to your own ends."
"I saw an opportunity and I took it. Who wouldn't? And don't be so naive, Draco. You don't have feelings for my sister, you barely know her. You've been in the shop, what, twice?"
"Its three times actually, and I know enough about Asteria to know she's nothing like you, which is probably a very good thing."
"She's enough like me, Malfoy, to know your family isn't worth bothering with."
"Really? Well perhaps you should give Asteria the chance to decide that for herself in stead of never passing on my invitation to dinner."
Daphne snorted and Theodore smirked.
"As if she would have said yes."
"Well we'll never know now, will we," Draco spat back turning on his heal and striding back to the fireplace. "Enjoy your meal."
And with that he disappeared back into the fireplace.
After three whole days of brooding, and drinking more fire whisky than was possibly wise, Draco decided to ask Asteria out again, and this time he was leaving nothing to chance.
He would go to Angela's Aromatics in his finest robes, present Asteria with an expensive bouquet of roses and not leave until she agreed to go to dinner with him.
Or that was his plan, at least. The reality was much different.
Draco dressed in the robes from Milan that he'd been intending to wear for his dinner date, until the house elf Tali had been unable to press them, and then Daphne had failed to pass on his invitation to Asteria. They were a shade of green so dark they almost looked black, until they caught the light and then shimmered iridescently with the colour of emeralds.
He once again styled his hair so that it was sleeked back, and then length of it tied neatly at the nape of his neck with a black ribbon.
Once again he completed his personal grooming routine of applying the moisturiser his mother had bought for him, and also spritzed himself with the expensive cologne he'd bought from his recent trip to Paris.
Once dressed and neatly groomed, Draco Apperated to Diagon Alley, where he began making his way to the florist there. He and his father had been using this particular shop for year, it was where they bought all of Narcissa's floral gifts from and where Lucius had gotten the flower arrangements for his wife's birthday party from.
However, as he was nearing the shop, a mother with two small children, both too young to be at Hogwarts yet, passed him by. As the children came close to him they noticed a puddle from the recent rainfall, and taking no care for Draco or his fine clothes, began splashing in it, causing muddy water to spray all over his best robes.
"Control your children," Draco spat as the woman caught up with her two young boys.
"I'm sorry, sir. Here let me clean off your robes," the mother said, blushing furiously, as she scolded her children for being so careless, and then withdrew her wand from her handbag.
Pointing it at Draco she incanted Scourgify, but instead of the dirt vanishing like it was meant to when faced with the scouring charm, it spread and covered his robes almost to the waist. Obviously due to her embarrassment, and fear that Draco was going to react badly the woman's magic had not worked properly, making more of a mess than had been there previously.
"I'm so, so sorry, sir," she said, her face now as red as a tomato. "I don't know what's come over me. Nothing like that's ever happened before. I use Scourgify every day without a problem. Here, take this and pay to get your robes professionally dry cleaned," she finished, thrusting a Galleon into Draco's palm, and then taking her children by the hands and hurrying off with them.
"A Galleon won't be enough to pay for dry-cleaning robes of this quality." Draco scowled at her retreating form and them withdrew his own wand. He tried both Scourgify and Tergeo but neither did anything to lift the dirt from his clothes. Next he withdrew a handkerchief from his pocket, and using Aguamenti to wet the cloth, he dabbed at his robes with it. This removed a little of the mud, but not enough to make himself look presentable.
Draco then weighed up his options. He was due at a very important client meeting in an hour, and thankfully had a spare set of robes at his office to change into.
However, if we went there now to change, even with the speed of Apperation, he wouldn't have enough time to change his robes, buy some flowers, talk with Asteria and still make it back to for his meeting. He'd either have to leave visiting Asteria for today, miss his meeting or visit Asteria with dirty clothes. The first two options just were not viable, and so he resigned himself to the fact he would have to face Asteria in mud-stained clothes.
His perfect plan already seemed doomed to fail.
Still, determined not to let a little thing like dirty robes stop him in his conquest to win Asteria's heart, Draco entered the florist. Pretending to ignore the obvious stares at his dirty robes as he entered, he approached the cash desk.
"Hello, I'd like a dozen of your finest roses, please."
"Certainly sir. Traditional red? Or perhaps another colour?"
Draco contemplated the question for a few moments. He wasn't sure if Asteria was a traditional type of woman or not, and she'd certainly know the meaning of the differently coloured roses, so he'd have to choose carefully least he picked a colour that didn't represent his intended meaning and accidentally offended her.
"I'll stick with traditional red, thank you," he said finally.
"Good choice," the florist agreed, walking around the shop until she reached a large bucket of red roses. From there she picked out twelve and took them back to the cash desk to wrap them in floristry paper to form a bouquet.
"That will be ten Galleons, please," the florist told Draco as she finished arranging the bouquet and tied it with a red ribbon that matched the petals of the roses.
Draco reached into his coin pouch, withdrew the required gold and handed it over to the florist in exchange for the bouquet.
"Thank you. And good luck with which ever woman you're trying to charm with those flowers.
"Thanks, but I won't need any luck," Draco replied flashing her what he hoped was his most dazzling smile. It seemed to have the desired effect because the florist blushed and batted her eyelashes at him.
Now if only he could work that charm on Asteria.
With that thought firmly in mind, and the bouquet of roses in hand, Draco began making his way to Angela's Aromatics.
He opened the door to the toiletries and cosmetics store, and in doing so caused the canopy above to spill its contents, which was the day's worth of rainwater, down upon him. The sudden shower finally cleared the mud from his robes, but soaked him through, caused his hair to come untied and dishevelled, and the roses he'd just bought to become waterlogged and limp on their stalks.
"Damn it," he cursed aloud, realising no matter what he did now his plan was ruined. He looked a complete state and wouldn't have time before his meeting to return to his office and change, as well as to buy a new bouquet of roses.
He'd have to leave his wooing of Asteria for another day, he realised with dejection, and he was just about to turn and leave when he heard her voice ring out.
"Hello Draco," she said simply, staring at him from across the store. Though curiously, her eyes were fixed on his own and not on his unkempt appearance. "Did your friend like the travel bag? And what can I help you with today?"
All thoughts left Draco's mind, and it took him a few moments to even work out what she was on about when Asteria mentioned the travel bag for his friend. Finally comprehension dawned on him and he opened his mouth to speak.
"I … erm … yes she did … thank you. And erm … I wanted to ask … you see, the thing is … Daphne was meant to ask you," he blurted.
"Yes?" Asteria prompted her eyes a curious mixture of hopefulness and confusion.
Mind blank of any idea what he was meant to be in here for Draco looked around the store for some source of inspiration, and his eyes fell on a range of hair colouring treatments.
"I wanted one of those," he said, pointing at the first hair dye that came to hand and happened to be bright pink.
"Erm … yeah … sure," Asteria replied looking slightly dejected, though Draco had no idea why she should be when he was spending money in her shop. "Anything else?"
Her gaze drifted almost hopefully to the roses in his hands.
"Oh, okay. That will be one Galleon exactly, then, please."
Draco handed the gold over as Asteria bagged up his purchase.
"Thank you," he said taking the package from her.
"Any time. And please come back if you need anything else."
"Will do," Draco replied, turning to leave. However he'd only gotten half way across the shop floor when he stopped and faced her again. Something was nagging at the back of his mind. He'd come in here for a specific reason, but right now he couldn't quite recall what it was. He racked his brain for a few moments, as Asteria stared at him with wide eyes, and finally it came to him.
"You should get out and eat more," he blurted.
Asteria looked utterly aghast, and Draco himself had a horrified expression on his face.
This is not happening, he complained inwardly.
It was too late now though. The mistake had been made, and he'd also purchased a hair dye completely useless to him. Even if he could get Asteria to look past his stupid comment and bedraggled appearance he didn't have enough time before he was due to met his client to explain this whole mess to her and make it right.
No, it was best to cut his losses and get the hell out of there as quickly as he could. So, not wasting another moment, Draco strode from the shop, turned on the spot and Disapperated, leaving a bewildered looking Asteria standing on the threshold of the shop, and staring at the rose that had just fallen from the bouquet Draco had been holding, which had landed on the street floor as he'd hurried away.
Draco Apperated into his office and swore. Loudly.
Checking the clock hanging on the wall opposite his desk he realised he only had fifteen minutes before his client was due. He plonked the useless pink hair dye and ruined red roses down on his desk and then entered the small dressing room he'd had custom built into his office.
The dressing room consisted of a magically powered shower, toilet and sink, a mirror and a dressing table that held various items like moisturiser and cologne.
A spare set of robes, these ones in midnight blue, hung on the back of the door.
He stripped out of the rain soaked robes, leaving them in a crumpled pile on the floor, and jumped into the shower. Muttering a quick incantation caused warm water to rain down upon him, and he reached for his sage scented shower gel.
Minutes later, Draco emerged from the shower, and waving his wand over his body he dried himself off before dressing in the robes hanging on the door.
He applied a little moisturiser and cologne, then combed his hair and tied it back neatly.
Pleased that he once again looked presentable, Draco re-entered his office, just as a knock sounded at the door. The pink hair dye and ruined roses lay, forgotten, on his desk, as Draco crossed the room to show in his client.
"Good afternoon Mister Brankovitch, so pleased you could make it."
Maximus Brankovitch III was the manager of the American Quidditch team the Fitchburg Finches, famed in his youth for being the Finches most successful Seeker and the youngest American player to earn a place on the national team, he was currently in England to source new players for his beloved Finches and had sought out Draco personally to help him.
Brankovitch was a lithe and athletic man who looked surprisingly good for his age, had tanned skin and a pearly white smile.
He returned Draco's greeting with a strong handshake.
"Thank you for having me, Mister Malfoy."
"Please, take a seat. And can I get you a drink? Tea? Coffee? Or perhaps something stronger?" Draco enquired, showing Maximus Brankovitch III to his seat, and recalling the bottle of fifteen year old, oak matured, fire whisky he kept in the bottom drawer of his desk for such occasions.
"A fire whiskey would be excellent, thanks," Brankovitch sitting down on the plush leather seat and eyeing Draco's desk. "Interrupting something, am I?"
Draco finally remembered the hair dye and roses he'd left there and hastily swept them into a drawer.
"Obviously I'm paying my cleaner too much for the terrible job she does," he lied, having fired his cleaner a month previously for forgetting to remind him about an important business deal, even though keeping up with his schedule had never been part of her contract anyway.
Deferring Brankovitch's attention away from the items on his desk, Draco handed the Quidditch manager a glass of fire whisky and asked, "So, how was your journey to England? Pleasant, I hope."
Maximus Brankovitch took a sip of his fire whiskey, smacked his lips together and let out a satisfied "Ahhhhh." His eyes glazed over for a moment, then he regained his senses and replied to Draco's question.
The meeting with Maximus Brankovitch III over, and the American manager now in negotiations with three of England's top players, Draco reclined in his seat, poured himself another fire whiskey and let out a long sigh.
It was barely five in the afternoon and already Draco felt exhausted and couldn't wait for the day to end.
He had a few owls to write and send before the business day ended, then he intended to Apparate back to Malfoy Manor, have some dinner, and then take a long hot bath.
Tomorrow he would come up with a new way to woo Asteria and get her to agree to go to dinner with him. Perhaps, if he found the right words, he could even ask his father for some advice that evening.
Taking out his eagle feather quill, Draco began writing his first owl, when a knock sounded at his office door.
Not expecting anyone, and annoyed by the interruption, Draco let out a frustrated growl as he rose from his seat and crossed the office to answer the door.
He swung it open angrily, demanding to know who was disturbing him.
Standing on the other side of the door was Asteria. She looked slightly put out by his outburst, and Draco began to hastily apologise.
"Asteria, I'm sorry. I wasn't expecting anyone. That was really rude of me. I'm sorry."
A small smile quirked Asteria's lips, which Draco noted were painted a deep plum colour today, and she raised a neatly pencilled eyebrow.
Draco appraised her appearance. Asteria was wearing a travel cloak in a shade that patched her lipstick, and leather gloves in a similar hue too. Underneath her travel cloak he could just see a hint of her robes, which appeared to be made from black lace, with purple embroidery. As always the cut of Asteria's robes fell just to her knees, and her legs were clad in purple tights, with Victorian style boots on her feet.
Asteria's dark hair was curled into ringlets and piled onto her head, held in place by an elaborate hair pin that was decorated with amethysts. As always, her fringe fell loose to her eyebrows.
She looked breath taking.
Asteria caught Draco and smirked, her teal eyes sparkling with mischief.
"Malfoy, shut up, sit down and listen," she commanded, though not unkindly, and strode into the room, forcing Draco to walk backwards until his back was pressed up against the edge of his desk, where the hard wood dug into his spine.
Asteria advanced upon him until she was mere inches away, then leaned in close and whispered in his ear, her hot breath tickling his neck.
"I said sit."
Draco scrambled round his desk and fell into his leather chair, his cheeks flushed and his heart racing.
Asteria stood opposite him, the oak desk separating them, as she grinned liked a Cheshire cat.
"Don't move and listen to what I've got to say," she instructed, withdrawing her wand from her handbag and flicking it at Draco.
From the tip of Asteria's wand shot a length of purple silk, that snaked along the floor and wound around the foot of Draco's chair so that his legs were bound in place. A second silk scarf followed the first, this one trailing up the back of the leather seat to wrap around Draco's arms and tie his hands behind his back, so that he was held firmly in place.
"Oh, like this is it?" he drawled, both fascinated and slightly alarmed by Asteria's behaviour. His heart was hammering in his chest and he could feel the sweat tricking down his brow.
"Did I give your permission to speak?" Asteria responded with a smirk. Draco instantly fell silent. "I know why you've been coming into my shop so often, and I know that it isn't just for my fine cosmetics and toiletries. Sally-Ann told me you never buy her presents normally, and I finally got the truth out of Daphne that you'd invited me to dinner at La Morsure Peu. If you wanted to date me, Draco, you should have just asked."
"Obviously not hard enough."
"No. I really did. I came into see you today. That's why I had the roses. Its just … well … I don't know. This never normally happens. Every time I try to ask you out something goes wrong."
Asteria smirked again. "And that's why some things are best left to a woman."
She finished the sentence by slowly removing her leather gloves, taking her time to withdraw each finger, revealing long nails that were painted black, before flicking her wrists and dropping the clothing to the floor.
Her gloves shed, she licked each finger in turn, her eyes fixed on Draco, as she popped each digit in and out of her mouth. As she reached the thumb of her right hand, Asteria opened her mouth a little to allow Draco a better view, and swirled her tongue around the appendage.
Draco's cock twitched and he let out a groan of longing.
Asteria's eyes flashed bright and her cheeks flushed, but she recovered herself quickly and began carefully unbuttoning her travelling cloak, swaying her hips slightly as she unfastened the garment and allowed it to fall to the ground.
Draco's attention was wrapped and he couldn't stop looking at her even if he wanted to.
He hadn't known what to expect when Asteria had bound him to the chair and told him to remain silent. It certainly wasn't this, but he was loving every minute of it non the less.
Her eyes fixed on Draco, who's own eyes had gone wide since Asteria's had begun undressing, she smiled at him and raised her left leg so that it was resting on the edge of his desk. She pulled up her robes so that they moved from her knees to her thighs, revealing the top of her stocking and the suspender belt holding them in place.
Nonchalantly Asteria unlaced her boot and removed the footwear, dropping it down next to her travelling clock, before lowering her left leg and raising the right, once again propping it up on the desk.
She repeated the action of unlacing her boot single handedly, as the other hand snaked up to her robes and she hitched them just a little higher, flashing Draco a tantalizing glimpse of her lace panties.
Draco sucked in a breath, as he felt his growing erection hardening in his pants.
"Like what you see?"
Draco could only nod in reply.
With both boots now removed, Asteria stepped back and unpinned her hair. The dark curls cascaded down, falling in a veil around her shoulders.
"Merlin you're beautiful," Draco complimented.
Asteria smiled demurely and unhurriedly began unfastening the buttons on the front of her robes taking deliberate care with each one.
Draco squirmed in his chair as his cock throbbed. He wanted nothing more than to leap over the desk, rip all of Asteria's clothing off, and ravage her there and then. But the silk scarves binding his arms and legs held fast and he couldn't move.
Asteria smirked again, and shrugged out of her robes, allowing them to flutter to the floor and join her discarded boots and travelling cloak.
With her clothing fallen away, the pale skin of Asteria's arms and legs was revealed, her body covered now only in a black lace baby-doll suit that fastened down the front with purple ribbon. Attached to the baby-doll suit was a suspender belt that held up her purple stockings.
"Holy mother of Merlin," Draco exclaimed, his heart racing and his cock now so hard it was causing his robes to tend up.
Asteria bent at the waist and Draco was able to see down the front of her baby-doll suit, getting a full on view of the rounded mounds of her breasts.
She picked up her wand that was still in her handbag, which she'd left on the floor, then stood straight again.
"You're wearing entirely too much clothing," she told Draco, flicking her wand at him and making not only his robes, but his pants vanish too, so that he was completely naked in his leather chair.
The cold material of the seat under his arse was a pleasant contrast to his own raised body temperature.
Without any modesty, Draco looked Asteria in the eyes and asked, "Well?"
Asteria appraised his naked body, her eyes lingering only for a second on the Dark Mark branded on his inner left forearm, as her gaze swept up to take note of his curling blonde chest hair and lean muscles. With amusement she noted he had other tattoos on his upper arms, including the logo for the Wimbourne Wasps, as well as a symbol of a crowned dragon most commonly associated with the popular rock band Regnum Dracones. Finally her gaze trailed down to his cock, which was fully hard now, and her eyes widened.
"Let's see what you can do with it."
Picking up her wand once more, Asteria pointed it at herself and then at Draco. In turn they were both bathed in a pale pink light.
Draco looked at her questioningly.
"An extra precaution in case my contraceptive potion doesn't work," she informed.
"Good thinking. I would have preformed the incantation myself but I'm kind of tied up right now."
Draco wriggled in the leather seat to emphasise his point, his cock bouncing left and right, causing Asteria to smirk as she strode over to where he was bound to the chair.
With surprising strength Asteria pushed back Draco's oak desk to allow room for both of them, and then she climbed on top of him, situating her arse directly in his lap, so that the lace of her panties brushed up against his cock.
"Good Godric you feel good."
Asteria smiled and inclined her head towards his, placing butterfly light kisses against his lips.
Hungry to taste more of Asteria, Draco tried to enter her mouth with his tongue, but she shuffled back just out of his reach, and with his hands still bound he was unable to do anything pull her closer again.
"Naughty naughty," Asteria teased, grinding her still covered pussy down on his cock.
Draco groaned and Asteria smirked.
She moved her hands from where they'd previously been, laced around Draco's neck, and ran them down the smooth planes of his chest, stopping only to tweak his pale pink nipples between her thumb and forefinger.
Inclining her head again Asteria flicked out her tongue and ran it along Draco's jaw-line, stopping when she reached his lips and capturing them with her own. She drew his bottom lip into her mouth and sucked on it.
Draco moaned against her mouth and thrust his cock against her panties.
Asteria wiggled her hips so that her pussy pressed against his erection, and rubbed her throbbing clit against his hard shaft.
"Need you," Draco panted.
"Then come get me."
"How? My hands are still bound."
"Oh come on, Draco, use your imagination."
Asteria looked pointedly at his mouth, and then gazed down at her cleavage, which was still encased in the lace baby-doll suit.
It didn't take Draco long to get the hint, and straining against the scarves holding him in place, he bent his head forwards and gripped the ribbon ties of Asteria's negligée with his teeth, tugging until it came unfastened.
Asteria's pale breasts tumbled free of the lingerie, revealing them to Draco in all their round and firm glory, her rosy pink nipples hardening ever so slightly.
Lashing out his tongue, Draco licked one of the nipples lasciviously, drawing the pert bud into his mouth and sucking on it greedily.
Asteria let out a soft moan and ground against him.
Draco continued his assault on Asteria's breasts, carefully dividing his attention between each one, as he licked, sucked and nipped gently with his teeth. He wanted to touch them, fondle them, feel them so desperately, and strained against his bindings, but his arms would not come free.
Asteria's hands explored Draco's upper body, as she continued to grind against him. With her fingertips, as light as butterfly wings, she traced the designs of his tattoos that adorned each bicep, before her hands worked their way into his hair. Her touch was slightly rougher now, as she tugged on the locks and pulled his face up to meet hers.
Draco smothered Asteria's mouth in hungry kisses, greedily parting her lips to dart his tongue inside her mouth, where it battled for dominance with her own tongue.
And all the while, Asteria continued rubbing her pussy, which was still covered by her lace panties, against Draco's throbbing cock. Her clit ached, almost to the point of being maddening, as she ground her hips in deliberate circles.
Asteria's breathing was coming in ragged little bursts now, as she moaned against Draco's mouth, and he could tell not only from the noises she was making, but also the wetness of her panties against his cock that she was close to coming. He desperately wanted to make Asteria come; to see, hear, feel and taste her as the orgasm consumed her, and so he thrust his cock hard against her clit, joining with her frantic movements as she get herself off against him.
The orgasm hit Asteria like a freight train, one moment she was in control of her movements and could feel the slow and steady build up of desire within her core, and the next thing she knew waves of pleasure were crashing down upon her. She sucked Draco's bottom lip into her mouth as she moaned incoherently, and dug her nails into his biceps.
Feeling Asteria's thighs clench as she straggled him, and her whimpered cries as she came, caused Draco's cock to twitch and he felt the first spurts of pre-come drip out of him. He was so close he knew he'd barely last a few minutes inside of her. But he needed more of her. He needed to be inside Asteria, to fill her wet pussy with his cock.
Draco struggled hard against his bindings, and eventually broke free of the scarves tying him to the chair. He scooped a quivering Asteria up in his arms, and then with one hand he pushed everything off his desk - not caring at that moment about the ink bottle that shattered and spilled its contents, or about the letters that became crumpled – and lay her down gently on the oak surface.
Asteria looked at Draco through heavily lidded eyes, her gaze glassy and faraway, and gave him a dreamy smile.
"Fuck me," she commanded.
Draco didn't need telling twice, and he pulled off panties and dropped them to the floor, before plunging his cock into her waiting pussy.
He gripped her hips tightly as he thrust into her warm wetness, Asteria moving her arse so that she matched his movements.
As Draco continued to pound into Asteria, his right hand left her hip and reached up for her baby-doll suit, which her tore open fiercely and began fondling her breast. He squeezed it hard, pinching her nipple between his thumb and forefinger. Asteria moaned and he felt her pussy clench around him.
The sensation sent Draco over the edge, and after a few more thrusts, he came hard spilling his seed inside her, as his ragged breathing tickled her neck and he collapsed fully on top of her.
Asteria tangled her fingers in Draco's hair, and captured his mouth in a kiss. Her tongue swirled against his, as both of their breathing returned to normal and their heart rates resumed a regular pace.
Despite his cock having gone soft now, Draco remained inside Asteria, lying on top of her as he gazed into her eyes.
"Are they blue or green?" he blurted, his cheeks flushing red as he realised that once again his mouth was acting before consulting his brain.
Asteria giggled, her own cheeks flushing too. "They're teal, obviously," she teased, pecking his lips affectionately.
Eventually cramping in both their legs meant that Draco and Asteria had to move from the desk, and he carefully climbed off her, before offering Asteria his hand to help her down.
Draco surveyed his office and groaned as he noticed the broken ink bottle and crumpled papers.
"Reparo," he incanted, pointing his wand at the mess. The ink bottle joined back together, and refilled with ink, the papers uncreased and leaped back on to his desk, and to both of their surprise, their crumpled clothing folded themselves into neat piles on the leather chairs.
"I should, erm … probably Apparate home and shower," Asteria said awkwardly, scooping her clothes up in her arms and holding them to her chest.
"No need, I have a dressing room here," Draco replied, pushing open the door to reveal the small bathroom. "Care to join me?"
Asteria giggled, shook her head in disbelief and followed Draco into the wash-room. "Draco Malfoy has his own bathroom in his office. I don't believe it!"
"What? I need to keep clean."
"Well, I can't say it isn't useful."
Together they climbed into the shower, and Draco muttered an incantation that sent jets of hot water spraying down upon them.
"I only have masculine shower gel I'm afraid," he informed her, taking the aforementioned gel and a sponge and began lathering her back.
"Its fine," Asreria told him as Draco soaped her back and she washed her hair. "I have some perfume in my handbag that will cover the scent."
Draco turned Asteria as she rinsed the shampoo from her hair, and began washing her breasts, caressing them gently, and kneading them with his hands, as the pink nipples hardened and his cock twitched.
Asteria gripped Draco's cock in her soapy hands and gave it a hard squeeze. "Mmmmm later. You're taking me out for that promised dinner first."
"Deal," he agreed, pressing a kiss to her forehead.