It had been two days since Severus got back from Forest Heath.
Currently he was in the middle of a meeting going over the actuals and forecast over his company's profits for the past three months. Normally he was always all ears for this sort of thing, and quick to make demands and call other's out for not having come through on what had been expected, but this time around; it was obvious that his mind was elsewhere.
With him there was the Vice President of Marketing, David Gourd. He kept looking over at Severus who was looking at the chart in a dreamlike state, it was obvious he was thinking of something else.
"We failed to meet the forecast goal by 230,000 pounds Mr. Rickman."
They all looked at him but he still had his stare focused on the chart. David elbowed him, and he jerked up violently.
"What is the matter with you David!" He growled with a sneer.
"Mr. Rickman; are you not listening? We failed to meet the forecast goal by 230,000 pounds" the presenter said in a trembling voice.
"So?!" He shot back. "What are you all going to bloody do about it? Am I the only one who knows how to make money around here?"
"Sir, are you alright?" David asked.
"Of course I'm not alright David; I'm down 230,000 pounds if you've been paying attention." He got up then, pushing the seat back in its place.
David saw he was making to leave and shot up from his seat. "Mr. Rickman, the meeting isn't over yet, we still have to figure out how we're going to recover from our losses."
"Oh.. I know what I need to do David, something I should've done a long time ago."
He said in a deep and serious voice before he left the meeting.
Hermione was stocking the magazines and newspapers that day. It had been almost a week since she had had her run in with Severus and the truth was that she was having a really hard time forgetting the incident. She kept thinking about how good he had looked, the feel of his lips against hers and what it did to her body. He could be so charming and brilliant when he wanted to but he could also be such a complete and utter ass. It really was a shame that in the end, his desire for money and power won out over his having a chance at happiness.
She had just finished stocking all the magazines and was now working on the newspapers when something caught her eye. On the lower right hand corner was an article that read: "Pharmaceutical giant now accepting bids for his company."~ full article on page 14.
She blinked and mumbled: "No way…"
She quickly opened the newspaper to page 14 where there was a very bad picture of Severus trying to hide his face from the camera's, the article below read:
"Alan Rickman is locally known in London as the pharmaceutical giant.
He has earned said reputation for having brought up an extremely
successful company and took less than ten years to do it.
His company is estimated to be worth some 85M (million)pounds, and
while it has suffered some setback,
it is still holding at a strong net worth which thousands of companies
would kill for, so the question remains; why is Alan Rickman looking to
sell his company when he's at the top of his game?
Many rumors are circulating with regards to this question
in particular, several of them lead to a young woman
who's name we cannot disclose at this time, but we have verified
that she was Mr. Rickman's personal financial advisor. The two
were recently spotted by the media together in Tuscany and shortly
after pictures of them surfaced, his adviser was said to have
given her resignation.
Mr. Rickman has failed to comment on the specifics of why he
is selling his company, the only thing he was quoted saying was:
"I have been in this business for many years, but my circumstances
have changed, my priorities have changed and therefore at this
time I feel I need to tend to what is truly important to me."
For some, it is hard to believe that someone as ruthless
as Mr. Rickman would give up his company for a mere woman,
that is why it is also believed that she might've been a secret
shareholder to his stocks and assets and her resignation left
him with no other choice than to sell off his company.
Vice President David Gourd was contacted but declined to comment.
For the time being, the only thing that is certain is that
two major companies are said to already have placed a bid, and it's
just a matter of time before we know who will take over
as the next Pharmaceutical giant."
Hermione hardly knew what to do with herself. What did this mean? Why was he selling his company and what was he going to do now?
Try as she might, she couldn't get the occurrence out of her mind. So much that that evening when she went to go meet Stephan and his brother Sam, the first thing he said to her was. "Geez Stacy, you look kinda pale; you sure you're up to going to the theatre? We can always cancel it for another time."
"Actually, I think going to the movies is just what I need to get my mind off of things."
His brother Sam was just as cute, but couldn't be older than twelve, he walked ahead of them which gave her and Stephan an opportunity to talk some.
"So, he must've been quite the fellow." Stephan commented.
Hermione blinked. "Hmmm? What are you talking about?"
Stephan smiled in turn. "Oh come now. I may just be a farm hand, but I know a broken heart when I see one. I'm sorry that it had to happen to someone as nice as you though, but it's a good thing you ended up in Forest Heath; I think you'll be able to start afresh from your painful memories."
Hermione kept her eye sight down as she replied: "Well Stephan, it might not be as simple as that. I'm afraid that things still aren't quite over between us, but then again I could be totally wrong and not knowing what is going to happen next is what's really got me like this."
"Well, I just recently come to know you Stacy, but I surely wouldn't want to see you hurting. Only you can decide what's right for you, but if there is a possibility that I can help." He said with a bright smile. "Just let me know."
She smiled up at him in turn. "That's very kind Stephan, thank you."
Every day after Hermione had seen the initial article, she always made it a point to check the newspapers for any news, but all that she'd happen upon was news of a recent bidder, and only recently was the news that Sheila Abbott and David Gourd had been fired for conspiring against Alan Rickman.
She remembered Sheila; she had been that voluptuous woman that had been staring daggers at her during the meeting in Bari, and David had been the weasel who flirted with her. The truth was that news of their corrupted activities did not surprise her and it only solidified her decision to having moved away from that mess. The only troubles she faced now were the noon rush, and convincing Elizabeth to upgrade to a more advanced accounting software, but then of course there were thoughts of Severus and the pain that always accompanied those thoughts.
Approximate two weeks had passed when she finally saw the article she was waiting for. Apparently the company Howard Co. had won the bid at 80M pounds. The buyout took place immediately, and the article continued to mention that Mr. Rickman could not be found for questioning followed by rumors that he was no longer residing in London.
Hermione frowned at that, if he wasn't living in London, then where had he gone? She was about to read more of what the article said but Elizabeth came over then.
"Stacy, could you finish stocking the fiction section? I've got a couple of customers waiting on me."
She had reluctantly left her article to help Elizabeth. Thankfully she was busy the rest of the afternoon and before she knew it, it was time for her to head back home.
Since the days had been getting cooler, Hermione would sometimes choose to walk to and from work. She was just turning into the street where her house was when she realized that there was another car parked right next to hers.
Her heart pounded rapidly in her chest as she practically ran towards it. She turned the corner and up her house when she saw Severus sitting outside, his feet propped up on the rail. Her eyes were wide as she approached him slowly now. What would he say to her? What would she say to him?
"It's about time you arrived." He said in a snarky manner as he got up from the chair. She lifted a brow in turn and folded her arms in front of her, not at all surprised at his comment.
"What are you doing here Severus?"
"Yes, I'm doing fine thank you. Would it kill you to show me some courtesy Granger? And where is the bloody bicycle I got for you? Why are you not making use of it? Is this how it's going to be when we live together? Where you'll have me buy things that you don't end up using? And what about.."
But he never finished his sentence since in that moment Hermione threw her arms around him and pushed him down so that her lips captured his in a searing kiss. Their kisses became heated quickly and it was a good thing that her cottage was in the middle of nowhere for had she had neighbors, they would've been giving them quite the show.
She had wrapped her legs around his waist as he held her against the front door; he was kissing and nipping her neck ardently as she held on to him.
"I think we should go inside." She whispered.
He chuckled darkly in turn. "Weren't you the one who said that your ideal date was to make love out in the wilderness or some nonsense like that?"
"We're currently not in the wilderness Severus, we're on the front porch. If we walk out back however, did you just say make love? Mmm…." He had bit an area of her neck just then.
"I believe I did." He said as he looked deep into her eyes, and in his voice that was like silk, he said: "I want to make love to you Hermione Granger."
They never made it to the back, or the inside of the house for that matter. He took her there on the front porch and only after their initial bonding was sated, did they go inside of her cottage to resume their activities.
Her fingers trailed his face as he lay on her small bed, they'd have to buy a new one now given that if he even moved an inch to the left, he would probably fall flat on his behind.
"So you sold your company?" She whispered.
He turned his head to look at her.
"What about your house?"
He sighed. "It's still there; I've been working with a realtor to have it sold." He sighed again and stayed looking at her for several moments before saying: "There is no point in my staying in London anymore if you're not there Hermione. after I went back the last time we saw each other, nothing really mattered to me anymore. Not work, my car or my house, none of those things could fill my void; only you."
She leaned forward and kissed him, her face filled with contentment. "I can't believe you're here."
"Well believe it; I am here to stay." He said huskily as he climbed over her, readying himself for another round of love making.
Luckily Hermione didn't work that weekend so she dedicated the time to showing him the small town and cooking him food with the local meat and produce which she knew would impress him. One evening they made their way down the trail and over to the farm where Stephan stood and stared with a look of confusion on his face as he saw them both approaching.
Severus possessively intertwined his fingers with hers as the approached, letting the young slip of a boy know that she belonged to him.
"So.." Stephan said with a smile on his face. "It seems that things worked out for you after all."
Hermione blushed in turn. "They did. Stephan I'd like for you to meet Alan." Severus greeted the boy even though Stephan seemed reluctant to. "Nice to meet you Stephan; I'm sure you'll see Stacy and I together more in the future no doubt." He said giving emphasis to the word together.
Stephan blinked and stuttered a bit. "uhh.. sure.. anytime!"
They ended up buying a bit of everything. Butter, cheese, milk, eggs, and went back to the cottage where Hermione made a honey and cheese tartlet.
She was currently sitting on his lap while feeding him the dessert. He closed his eyes as he savored it. "You know…" He said after swallowing. "I think I might just get accustomed to living in the country."
3 months later
"Wow, you're back from London sooner than I expected." Hermione said as Severus walked in. He placed his keys on the coffee table and sighed loudly. "Yes, it's a done a deal. The house has been officially sold. You know, it's odd Hermione."
"What is?" She asked.
"While I was there, all I kept thinking about was returning here to Forest Heath."
She smirked as she walked over to him and kissed him soundly on the lips.
"I have something to tell you." She whispered.
"No, I have something to tell you. I picked up a trifle of sorts while I was there."
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small velvet box. Hermione's eyes went wide as he opened the box and before her was a 6 CT asscher diamond engagement ring.
"Hermione, for a long time I had made myself believe that I was incapable of being happy, even after my life began anew as a muggle; I had everything except for happiness and then I found you, trying so ardently to spy on me. I still to this day don't fully understand what awoke in me that day when I discovered you had found me, but all I know is that I don't ever want to be separated from you and even though I can be difficult; I hope that you'll be able to see past it and accept my proposal."
Hermione couldn't even speak she was so overcome with emotion; all she could do was cry and nod yes. He then took the ring out of the box and placed it on her trembling finger where afterwards he led her to their small sofa where they kissed and held each other for several long minutes. She loved kissing him, he was so passionate and skilled at it, and you'd never think it from simply looking at him.
After a while Severus whispered. "So what was it that you were going to tell me?" He was now gently nipping her neck, her desire for more escalating.
"I….I was going to say that I think we're going to have to move from the cottage."
He blinked and his face hardened slightly. "Why? I particularly have taken a liking to this cottage. There is nobody around to bother us, it's close to where you work, and is not too far from Greenfield. Is it the land lord? Should I make arrangements to see if he'll sell it to us?"
"Severus, there's nothing wrong with the actual cottage in itself. I simply think that in the not so distant future it will be too small for our needs."
His face hardened yet again. "I don't understand Hermione, what are you saying?"
"Severus…" She smiled. "I'm pregnant."
She heard as he loudly sucked the air through his teeth and suddenly lifted her up off the couch and spun her around.
"You're saying.." He said, unable to suddenly speak as he held her against him. She nodded in turn. "I found out Yesterday when I went for a checkup."
"Hermione.." He whispered as he looked deep into her eyes and then gently traced his fingers around her tummy. "This changes everything Hermione. I have an idea! I will make arrangements with the landlord. I will make him an offer on the house, and then we will build an addition to it. We will make the kitchen larger, build a nursery, and we can also make plans to fix the back yard and.. you will definitely have to stop working."
"What? Severus I like my job. I shouldn't have to stop working just because I'm pregnant."
"Hermione. I have more than enough money to take care of us and our future children for many years to come. What if something were to happen to you while at work? I would never forgive myself Hermione."
She sighed, they were definitely going to have to talk about this, but in the meantime, she couldn't get over at how he was reacting to the news. She watched as he walked over to the kitchen and brought out the ruler to make measurements on how long the extension should be. She realized then that he would make an excellent and attentive father.
A Year Later….
Severus was bundling his son, Quentin in the stroller. The afternoons were always so gorgeous and He and Hermione had gotten into the habit of taking their son out for walks on the stroller. Sometimes they'd head over to Stephan's farm either to buy milk or just to say hi. He was engaged to a young lady who had a couple of months ago moved to Forest Heath and she and Hermione had become immediate friends.
Severus and Hermione had made a compromise where she would still work but only four days a week in the mornings. At noon, usually Severus would be waiting for her with their baby in his arms; it always brought a bright smile on her face.
Hermione had at one point worried that such a drastic change in his life particularly would eventually get to him. He had been use to power and dealing with money and the corporate world in general. She had asked him this once and all he said to her in response was: "You and my son are worth a million times more than what I have left behind." And even though he didn't voice it aloud, she could tell just from seeing the peaceful semblance on his face, that he had finally found happiness.
Both of them had finally found happiness.