I mentioned in my last story that I was working on a Christmas story and while this one isn't the story I was talking about, it kind of took over. I hit the writer's block hard with the one I originally had in mind and came up with this one instead. Now I realize that this plot has probably been done to death now - especially in Christmas movies - but please give it a shot! It does have some differences!
It's going to come in eight parts, I think, and while I'm posting two of them tonight I'm going to continue to try to post a chapter a night.
Anyhow, enjoy! And don't hesitate to let me kno what you think :)
Engaged For the Holidays
After Hermione's cousin boasts about having a new boyfriend for the Christmas Holidays, she creates an entirely made-up engagement with a fiancé who doesn't exist. That is, until she enlists one Draco Malfoy's help. All she has to do is get through her family's week-long holiday celebrations.
Hermione Granger loves the holidays. Loves the winter season. The first snow fall. The red, white and green. The cheery decorations. The Christmas music. She loves buying gifts for her loved ones and spreading holiday cheer. She loves, well, everything about Christmas.
Everything except the Annual Granger Family Get-Together – otherwise known as the Granger Family Week-long Holiday Celebration Torture Fest. It's the only time of year she sees her Aunt Mary and Uncle George Granger and their daughter – her annoying, superficial cousin – Caroline.
Every year it's always the same thing – they all spend the week leading up to Christmas Day at her family's winter cottage in the mountains. And every year, Caroline has a new boyfriend who she insists on rubbing in her face. Okay, so maybe she's been with the same guy – Tyler – for the last three years. But she still rubs her face in it, boasting that she's in a committed relationship – "practically engaged" – while Hermione hasn't had a steady boyfriend in nearly five years.
And just like every year, Caroline calls her the weekend before she's to join her family in the middle of nowhere, to rub it in some more.
"I just know he's going to propose this week," Caroline gushes. "I can tell. I reckon it'll ether be on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Can you imagine? That would be so romantic, don't you think?"
"Mhmm, so romantic," Hermione agrees, sounding bored.
"Anyway, enough about me. Let's talk about you. When are you going to find yourself a boyfriend?"
Hermione groans inwardly, rolling her eyes as she leans back against her Ministry-approved chair in her office. "Caroline-"
"I'm just saying, Hermione. I'm a little bit worried for you. I mean, here I am, younger than you and I'm practically engaged and you're...you haven't even been in love. And boarding school crushes don't count."
"You know, Tyler's best friend is newly single. Maybe I should set you guys up. Oh my God, that's a brilliant idea! He's into books and he's really smart and geeky – you guys would totally get along! I'm gonna talk to Tyler and see what he thinks-"
"Caroline," Hermione snaps, pushing herself forward suddenly. "Look, I..." She trails off, running her hands through her hair. And then, without thinking, she says the first thing that comes to mind – it's also the craziest. "I'm engaged."
Her eyes widen and she claps her hand over mouth as she reels at her own words.
"What are you talking about? Engaged? Since when?!" Caroline demands.
"Since – um – I...I wasn't going to say anything – I was gonna keep it a surprise, but-"
"Oh my God who is he?! Is he cute? What's he like in bed?"
"Ew, Caroline, I – I have to get back to work," she says quickly. All she wants now is to get away from this conversation and think. Think about how she's going to get herself out of this. "I have to go, I'll see you in a couple days."
"Wait, you're bringing your fiancé, right?"
Before she can respond, Hermione hangs up the phone and drops it onto her desk. She groans out loud, burying her face in her hands.
"You do realize you aren't engaged, right?" Ginny asks her as she continues to fold her clean clothes by hand. "You don't even have a boyfriend."
"Don't remind me," Hermione mutters.
"Why on earth would you tell her that?" Ginny wonders curiously.
"You should've heard her, Gin. It's the same thing every year – she goes on and on about her oh-so-perfect relationship and then she goes on and on about my non-existent relationship and I just...snapped," she admits. "God, I'm so stupid."
"You're not stupid, you're just desperate. It happens to the best of us – especially where family is involved."
Hermione snorts. "And how would you know? Your family-"
"Have you seen the size of my family?"
The brunette snorts. "Good point. I guess I should call her back and tell her the truth..."
"Or," Ginny starts, turning to face her friend. She looks cunning and mischievous. "You can find someone to play the part of your loyal, loving fiancé and get back at your awful cousin in person."
Hermione rolls her eyes. "And where am I going to find a fake fiancé on such short notice – not to mention a week before Christmas?" She asks, sounding skeptical.
"I have someone in mind, but I don't think you're going to like it..."
"Who?" She asks curiously.
"He's tall, handsome, extremely charming and I know for a fact that he isn't doing anything special for Christmas anyways."
She hesitates outside his office door, his name plate glaring back at her. She can't do this, she decides. She won't. She'll just go back to her office, call Caroline and admit that she lied. So what if her cousin laughs in her face and humiliates her in front of her entire family – because she will, there's no doubt about that. It'll probably still be better than stooping so low as to ask a man like him to assist her.
She must be crazy to have agreed to go along with Ginny's outrageous plan. In fact, Ginny Potter must be crazier than her.
As if on cue, as she turns to leave and find her way back to her own office down the hall, she hears a deep drawl calling her name from behind her: "Ah, Granger. Just the bookworm I wanted to see."
She rolls her eyes, turning back to face one very tall and handsome – albeit extremely irritating – Draco Malfoy. "Malfoy," she greets him.
"I need you to pass this along to Kingsley. It's my report," he declares, pushing it into her hands.
"What, no 'please' or 'thank you'?" She snaps.
He smirks. "What are you, my mother?"
She rolls her eyes once more, folding her arms across her chest as she glares at him.
"Well, unless there's something more you'd like to say to me-"
"No, nothing," she replies quickly – too quickly.
He turns and lets himself into his office, the very one she'd been standing outside of.
On impulse, she follows him in. "Actually, there's something I'd like to ask you."
"Ask away then," he tells her, sounding bored as he lowers himself into his seat behind his desk. When she doesn't say anything he looks at her expectantly. "Well?"
Hermione blinks, clearing her throat. "You're not doing anything for the holidays, right?"
"Nope. I never do, that's nothing new," he drawls.
"Okay here's the thing: I need you to pretend to be my fiancé for the week, starting Monday," she tells him quickly. "My cousin always hounds me about the fact that I'm never in a steady relationship and she loves to rub my face in the fact that she's 'practically engaged' and it's so humiliating and without thinking I told her I was engaged. So now I need someone to pretend to be my fiancé at our Granger Family Torture Fest for the holidays so I don't make a complete fool of myself." When she finishes, she takes a deep breath, staring at him nervously.
He looks at her, contemplating all that he's heard. "And you want me to be your fake fiancé?"
"It was Ginny's idea. She said you never have plans for Christmas and that you'd be the ideal kind of guy that would help rub it in my cousin's face. You know: good looking, wealthy...charming," she replies. Perhaps stroking his ego will get him to agree.
"And what will I get out of this?" He asks expectantly, crossing his arms over his chest. "What will you do for me?"
"It's Christmas, Malfoy. Perhaps you shouldn't be so selfish."
"You're one to talk."
She sighs; he has a point. "I can pay you."
He smirks. "I don't want your money, Granger. I've got plenty of my own."
"Then what do you want? I'll do anything."
He looks her up and down – more to just rile her up than anything. Although the view is quite spectacular. "Anything?"
She glares at him. "Within reason."
He thinks for a moment. "I'm still not even sure I want to agree to this. Why would I want to spend quality time with your muggle family when you don't even like me?"
She sighs. "You know what – forget it. I'll figure something else out," she snaps, spinning on her two inch heels and walking out.
Just as she picks up her cellphone, her office door swings open and a certain cocky, blond haired wizard saunters into the room. "Put the bloody muggle contraption of yours down before you make a greater fool of yourself than you already have, Granger. I'll do it and I have my price."
She looks at him, placing the device on the desk in front of her. "What'll it be?"
"I want a date with Avalon."
She blinks, looking at him weirdly. "The secretary?"
"Why? And what do I have to do with it?"
"It's none of your business why – although I'm sure it's fairly obvious. And I want you to set it up for me," he declares.
"Why can't you do it yourself?"
"Because she's probably the only witch in the world, aside from you of course, who hates me. So I need you to set me up with her – but don't tell her it's with me, just say it's a blind date. I'll set everything else up," he tells her.
She narrows her gaze at him. "So...you want me to trick some poor girl into going out with you?"
"And yet you need me," he smirks. "That's my offer, Granger. You do this for me; I'll pretend to be your fiancé for your muggle family. Take it or leave it."
She considers him for a moment, leaning back in her chair as he plays with the small nick-knacks on the edge of her desk. "Fine."
He grins. "Great."
"But we'll have to go over some ground rules and come up with a believable story for how we met – you know, how you wooed me and-"
"Who says I have to be the one to woe you?" He disagrees.
"It'll be mutual, then."
"Fine," he concedes.