Consequences of an Engagement Party….
A sodden lump in her throat, Hermione pushed open the front door and hurried into the expansive hallway, slamming it shut behind her. She slumped against it, relieved, her stiletto heels scratching into the wooden floorboards.
Stupid, stupid girl.
Roiling nausea rose up in her throat and had to be forcibly choked down. Her heart raced, her moist palms slipping against where her hand still grasped the door knob. But she couldn't afford to stay there like that. She only had five minutes, ten tops, before they caught up to her. Precious few to grab her belongings and get the Hell out of dodge.
Grasping the last remnants of her courage by the throat, Hermione propelled herself off the door and hurried through the lavish hallway, various darkened rooms and up the spiral staircase. For the first time in almost half a year, the penthouse's luxurious surroundings were paid no attention as Hermione breezed into the furthest bedroom down the hall and into the bathroom.
A quick glance at the clock on the wall. Four minutes.
The twinkling lights in the ballroom reflected off champagne flutes and diamond earrings. Laughter rang through the expansive space; well-dressed guests swept across the dance floor and others emitting a low buzz of chatter from alcoves and positions on the side-lines. Waiters in black suits moved discreetly between the guests, bearing loaded trays.
A large warm hand rested at the small of Hermione's back, guiding her in the waltz they were sweeping across the dance floor. Her gaze turned back to her dance partner whose indigo eyes laughed back at her.
"What?" Hermione asked, an unconscious smile gracing her full lips.
"Really, tesoro?" Blaise smirked, amused. Giggles burbled up from Hermione's throat, where diamonds nestled in its groove.
"Look at Harry," She motioned with a lift of her chin to the slightly drunk – and clearly ecstatic – dark-haired man, who was off to the side of the room, twirling his fiancée against her will. Pansy was reprimanding him sternly between off-beat twirls, but her wide smile gave her away.
"He's so happy," Hermione noted, her smile softening. Her handsome dance partner glanced back at her, his eyes taking on a peculiar glow. But Hermione didn't notice. After everything Harry had been through – after everything they had been through – they were somewhere they would never have expected just a decade before: happy, in great relationships and with their friends and family safe and secure.
After three and a half years together, Harry had finally popped the question to an impatient Pansy, who, paying no heed to the other diners, had practically leapt on him in the middle of La Barbe. Tonight's lavish event was their engagement party; held at Parkinson Hall with a guest list so exclusive, even Minister Shacklebolt had wondered if he'd receive an invite.
Ron and Luna were also on the fast track to marriage, with the two love birds having just become roommates after almost two blissful years.
Hermione, herself, had arguably had the most eventful six months of her life. After the now infamous dinner party at the soon-to-be Potters', her relationship with Blaise and Draco had gone from strength to strength. The passion that had sparked their 'tripling' (as Pansy had cheekily taken to calling it) had never dwindled (indeed, if anything, it had only increased), but on the various trips, adjourns and short vacations they had taken, she had learnt things about both men that she hadn't in the years they'd been working together.
Draco challenged her mentally and sexually; often arguing with her about their work, slate eyes sparking mischievously, and driving her to distraction with his various (and skilled) seduction techniques, spoiled ways and ingrained sense of entitlement. Blaise, on the other hand, was the romantic; dancing with her in the candlelit living room in his penthouse, even when there was no music, reading her verses from the old books they both loved and whispering Italian endearments to her as she trembled under their hands. The two men made her happier than she had ever been; each giving her something different, though equally as valuable and appreciated.
Yet, despite this, they had yet to determine what they actually were to each other. She couldn't help but wonder why Blaise and Draco had yet to try to pressure her into something more… permanent. Hermione's experience with Anthony made her gun-shy, but what was their excuse?
"He deserves it," Hermione murmured, turning back to the gorgeous Italian. A whirl of dark robes and red hair swept past her and Hermione shot a smile at Fred and Katie. The slightly rough hand on her bare back came up to stroke her cheek and she leaned into its warmth.
"Yes, he does," Blaise agreed, before leaning in and dropping a gentle kiss on her upturned mouth. His enigmatic gaze held her entranced for a moment. There was an odd light there that she'd caught only a few times in the last few months, before the dark-haired man quickly covered it up with a bewitching grin.
But before she could ask him about it, instantly recognisable fingers brushed her bare shoulder.
"Come on, Granger," a honeyed drawl breathes into her ear. "My turn."
Seizing various toiletries and her much-maligned hairbrush (Draco still persisted in teasing her for the uncontrollable bush that had afflicted her during her youth, but couldn't seem to resist playing with it, alluring grins lighting up his aristocratic features), Hermione shoved her few belongings into a shopping bag. The bathroom's harsh spotlights hurt her eyes and, for the first time, she cursed the marble floor. She'd slipped twice whilst hurrying across the room and now she had a sore shin which, no doubt, would bruise tomorrow. The cherry on top of a shitty evening.
How could this have happened to her? Her? The woman whose exes often complained about being kept at an emotional distance; who preferred staying at home or working on cases to meeting up with her amour of the day. Hadn't Adrian Pucey, who she'd dated for a few months a couple of years back, complained about being used (and this was a direct quote here) 'as little more than a human dildo'? Indeed, that lemon-laced comment had led to her being infinitely more open with Anthony; giving their relationship everything she had – and, often, everything she didn't.
And where had that gotten her? After that association had come to an explosive end just over seven months ago, she had vowed that she would return to her former, closed-off ways.
But, judging by her actions over the past six months, that had been a lot easier said than done….
"Granger…" a husky laugh echoed in her ear. Hermione smiled but ignored it, choosing instead to burrow further into the enticing warmth of the body in front of her. A hand traced up her bare back.
"Granger, wake up," the voice persisted, trailed by the sweep of a moist tongue along her earlobe. Shuddering at the sparks that followed, Hermione giggled. Beneath her ear, she felt the vibrations of an accompanying laugh through a velvet-skinned chest.
"Why?" She asked, cheekily, through a throat made sore from delirious begging and screaming names to the heavens.
"You're going to be late, amore mio," the chest rumbled again, its accented voice tinged with laugher. Hermione's eyes rolled to the sky. Couldn't they see that she was comfortable? Forget work. What with her impeccable track record, not a single word would be uttered in reproach, even if she didn't bother to show up at all that day.
She shrugged her shoulders; well, as best she could considering the fact that they were trapped under a muscled arm.
"Since when have either of you cared about that?" she snorted, voice muffled against Blaise's chest. "Remember last Wednesday when you showed up at my office and 'distracted' me for over an hour? Cooper almost burst in on us and I was thirty minutes late to an important deposition!"
"Yes, well," Draco was characteristically unapologetic. He didn't seem to care one whit about potentially being caught in public places; in fact, he seemed to relish the prospect. The former Gryffindor was certain that he was behind the two men's predilection for taking Hermione at any and every opportunity, regardless of location (not that she was complaining). Between their antics under tables at restaurants and in bathrooms at Quidditch games, Hermione still couldn't believe that they hadn't been caught and permanently banned by several different establishments.
"You have the follow-up, today, tesoro," Blaise took up, hand sifting through her hair. "We don't think you'd forgive us if we let you miss it." Another eye-roll.
"Then you'd blame me for distracting you - " Draco continued Blaise's thread of thought, placing a searing kiss on the sensitive nape of her neck.
"I would not!" Indignation saw Hermione turn over to face the platinum-haired man, who indolently reclined against the white silk pillows.
" – And you'd probably hex my hair bright red –"
" – That was one time and you drove me to it – "
" – Weasley and Potter would start on me, paying no heed to the devastating consequences of their unspeakably foolish actions –"
" – I'm still mad at you about that, by the way –"
"- Then you'd nag me about cursing them –"
" – I do not nag – "
" – And neither Blaise nor myself would get any – "
" – Oh, Blaise would be getting some, don't you worry –"
"And," Draco tugged the brunette back down onto the bed, the indignant woman having sat up in anger. "And there I would be: miserable, alone and horny as fuck, with no one to help me out." He pouted (something he would vehemently deny if confronted about), ruffled blonde hair surrounding his head like a halo. Hermione couldn't prevent a smile coming to her lips at the irony.
"You are just…" She started off, shaking her head. Her eyes were alight with affectionate irritation and laughter. Besides her, Blaise propped his head up on one hand, a wide grin on his handsome face. Maddened by Draco's unabashed smirk, she seized a pillow and pounded him with it. Laughing, he fended off the blows.
"I cannot stand you," She giggled, breathless from the force of her blows. She didn't notice Blaise's gaze fall to her shaking breasts, her nipples hardened from the colder air and visible through Draco's white shirt (one of the many she'd commandeered from the infamously selfish former Slytherin).
Next thing Hermione knew, she was flat on her back. Gasping at the sudden movement, she gazed up at the two men who now grinned down at her.
"Oh, really?" Draco asked, his smile turning devilish.
"Oh, no, don't even think about it," Hermione warned, recognising that sly glint in his eye. It always indicated that she was about to lose whatever clothing she had on and lose track of the next hour or so.
The two men leaned in closer. Blaise started unbuttoning her shirt, his warm fingers brushing against her skin as he did so. Shifting, uncomfortably, heat pooling in her belly, Hermione frowned as Draco tilted her head further back into the pillows and stroked a hand down her neck.
"I mean it," She persisted. But her tone indicated anything but.
"Oh?" Blaise purred into her ear, picking up on it. Her breath hitched as two hands parted her thighs. "Let's see about that, shall we?"
Her resolve was swept away along with the shirt from her shoulders.
A few minutes later, impassioned cries echoed around the room.
Exhaustion swept through Hermione's aching body, weighing it down even further, and, for a moment, she gave into it.
She had been stupid from the start. Staying overnight, spending almost every waking hour with them; it had all led to this. Surely she had learned her lesson after Anthony? Once again, she had given too much – been drawn to their collective flame and been burned as a result.
But this was the last time, she promised herself, picking up her bag and shrugging i and shrugging the bag onto her bare shoulder. Never again would she allow herself to be played for a fool. Though, if she were being fair, she had been the only one in the game at all.
Draco and Blaise were across the room, congratulating the newly engaged couple on their upcoming nuptials. The Weasley twins were regaling Hermione with tales of their latest escapades, but, as usual, Hermione's focus was on the two men over fifty yards away. Indeed, it didn't matter where they were – at work, out with friends, in bed – she could never seem to pull her eyes away from them.
To be fair, though, it wasn't just her; the two men drew glances everywhere they went. A Greek god with flaxen hair, enigmatic grey eyes and a body seemingly carved from stone; and a fallen angel with dark hair, a face that would break Aphrodite's heart and muscles to make Narcissus sigh with envy – how was a girl to choose?
Luckily, she didn't have to.
But it wasn't just that, she pondered, shooting a quick smile at George who was still in the middle of an admittedly hilarious story. They just exuded some unknown quality; something that held her entranced regardless of where they were or who they were with. It had only been six months and already she couldn't remember what her life had been like before them. Couldn't even think about what she would do without them. How she'd be able to continue without Draco's sly smiles or Blaise's gentle hands; the way they brought her out of herself and reminded her that her life shouldn't revolve around her work; how they seemed to know her inside and out, bringing her to the highest of heights and being there to catch her when fell. What would she do if they weren't there to show up at her office with the lunch she too often forget to eat; if she suddenly had to return to sleeping alone in her huge, cold bed; if they decided that they no longer wanted to put up with an obsessive, slightly neurotic, former Gryffindor who occasionally woke up the neighbourhood with residual nightmares?
Hermione's brown eyes turned morose and, as if sensing her change in mood, Draco and Blaise paused in their conversation and glanced over at her, simultaneously. And, at that moment, as her eyes flickered between the gazes of the two handsome men, she came to a startling, nauseating, realisation.
Fred yelped in pain as Hermione's hand came down on his, fingernails digging into his arm.
George frowned, taken aback and wondered which part of his story had Hermione so affected. He had only been talking about the recent influx of applicants the twins had received for the upcoming summer months.
Blaise and Draco, who had watched as Hermione suddenly turned a notable shade of green, muttered excuses and started to make their way over.
Heart pounding, knowing she was screwed, Hermione turned and ran.
Realising that one was head over heels in love was no joke. Sickened, Hermione had raced from the ballroom and to her car (thanking God that a case had prevented her from coming with Blaise and Draco, thus ensuring that she had to drive herself to Parkinson Hall), speeding away from the Hall with a screech that rivalled the sound of Dolores Umbridge's infamously piercing tones.
The hour-long journey back to Draco's penthouse had seen Hermione alternatively berate both men aloud (with several interesting encounters with drivers in other cars at traffic lights, as a result) and beat herself up about falling in love with two of the wizarding world's most infamous playboys.
Finally, she had come to a drastic conclusion: she would have to leave. That's all there was to it. Maybe if she spent enough time away from them, her feelings would eventually fade into nothingness.
A slightly quieter (and saner) voice had told her that that was about as likely to happen as Voldemort was to rise from the bowels of Hell. But she had paid no heed to that particular voice.
So, here she was, packing up the few belongings she had kept in Draco's bathroom for when she slept over, knowing that he and Blaise had undoubtedly left the party just after her. Indeed, the only thing she had to be thankful for was the fact that she had precious little to pack, seeing as the three didn't cohabit.
Even after half a year together, they had yet to ask.
Swallowing hard to rid herself of the bitter taste of tears, Hermione hurried out of the bathroom, shopping bag in tow.
From downstairs came the sound of a key turning in a lock.
Part II should be up tomorrow. In the meantime, let me know what you think.