A/N: Hi everyone! Sorry it has been so long since my last update, but I am on vacation miles and miles away from my home, but I still had to write for you guys! Updates will be more regular when I get back! Xx
She skidded to a guilty halt in front of George Weasley after attempting to quickly sneak in the back of the shop. She was still in the process of putting her jumper on over her tank top and she locked wary eyes with her friend.
"Oh, don't play dumb, you are late and Fred is going to wring your neck!" there was a playful smirk on his face and she breathed a sigh of relief.
"Well, come on then…" George rolled his eyes, grabbed Lacey by the arm, and pulled her behind the counter. It was mid-afternoon and the shop was teeming with customers, but he was hardly concerned about that at the moment. After all, their products practically sold themselves.
"Are you going to yell at me about him then?" Lacey placed her hands on her hips and titled her chin up just slightly to stare him down, once again thankful for her usually ungainly height. George frowned and looked away from her for a moment, unsure of exactly what to say, which Lacey found odd. The twins usually just blurted out whatever popped into their bizarre brains-both their gift and curse.
"Lace, you and I are friends…you are a sister to me…but I don't want to see him get hurt. We all see how different you've been acting lately, and there seems like no other reason why you would say no to Fred unless there was another guy…" George shrugged apologetically. He was conflicted about bringing the matter up, but having seen Fred sulk around all morning, he thought it for the best.
"It's poor timing. I really have to get out on the floor…"
"Who is he?"
"Well, it's obviously someone," George moved to block Lacey from slipping out from behind the counter. Her eyes scanned the lively shop for any sign of the other red-head and came up empty-handed, much to her relief.
"You've just been shagged Lacey, either that or you just ran a mile…and we all know you don't run…"
Lacey blushed crimson and literally pushed against George to get away from the awkward conversation, but he was still too strong for her, "You don't know that."
"Oh, I do," he smirked, "I look at Angie every morning…she has the same look after we are through…"
"Gross!" she groaned in reply, "Please George, who I am dating, or shagging, or whatever, is neither yours nor Fred's business!"
"Ron says you've been pretty chummy with Draco Malfoy at the office lately…" his tone had turned suddenly accusatory and it was clear he was jumping to the worst-case-scenario in his mind, which in reality, wasn't far from the truth.
"I'm Ron's bloody secretary! People come and see me when they need things! Draco and I are far from chummy," she rolled her eyes, "Please just let me work and stop trying to figure this out because you never will and I guarantee that you don't want to George."
He let her slip by him only from the desperate look on her face and watched her as she turned on a smile for a father and his son, leading them over to some firecrackers. He had always thought Lacey and his twin would make a great pair, in the same way that he and Angelina did, and was truly puzzled. He had grown up with the girl, and now he felt he hardly knew her.
A few hours later, Lacey was at her 'new' house with the rest of her things from her old apartment in tow as well as her owl, Nikki, from above the Apothecary. It was still odd to her that a place so beautiful was now her home, and that she didn't have rent to worry about anymore. She had initially thought about keeping her former apartment, but no one besides Ginny…and that one time visit from Fred…had been there in a while so she had no need to keep up the appearance of it and had moved everything out.
She was un-shrinking all of her belongings from her one shabby suitcase when a particularly small female house elf appeared in front of her. Lacey let out a scream and jumped back at the sight of the pinkish-tinged elf.
"Hello!" the elf said brightly, "I's is Skippy, Missus' new house elf!"
"I am sorry Skippy, but I don't have a house elf. Never had, never will. Thanks but no thanks. Go back to wherever you guys come from," Lacey said after recovering from her shock. Unfortunately her refusal of Skippy's services sent the poor thing into a tizzy.
"But…but….then Skippy will be bad elf! Mister Malfoy said I must be your house elf and help you!"
Lacey's eyes narrowed, "You were sent by Lucius Malfoy? To be my house elf?"
Lacey couldn't have been more mad. It wasn't that she was against having a house elf…she wasn't nearly at all like Hermione in that aspect…but it was just that she had been raised to take care of herself and she wanted it to stay that way.
"Stop," she ordered Skippy to cease slapping herself in the face, "You can stay for now while I figure this out. And call me Lacey okay?"
"Yes, Miss Lacey. Skippy is so happy to serve you!" she beamed, her little smile covering all of her slightly lumpy face.
"Right…um…I don't need anything right now so I suppose you can go do whatever it is you do when you aren't serving people?" Lacey suggested awkwardly, and with a 'pop', Skippy was gone.
Lacey quickly hastened up the stairs to her new bedroom and with a glance at the time, knew she had to hurry to get ready for the dinner with Astoria and Draco at Malfoy manor.
"Where is she?" Draco asked impatiently. He was sitting next to his fiancée and across from his father at the very long and overly ornate table in the main dining room. It was almost ridiculous for only four people to sit at it, but the present company did, waiting for Lacey to arrive.
Lucius was more than just agitated, he was bordering on semi-furious with his lover and mistress. It was fifteen minutes past six- the time which she had been told to join them, and she wasn't in the manor. He was clenching and un-clenching his fist on top of the dark wood table, taking long sips of his wine to fill the uncomfortable silence. He was wearing his best suit and Draco was dressed up just as well. Astoria Greengrass sat next to him, with her auburn hair piled high up on her head and a slinky green dress covering her body. She had a smattering of freckles across her rosy cheeks and a perfectly sloped nose and rose-petal shaped lips. She looked every inch the perfect pureblood wife to be and it wasn't lost on either of the Malfoy men, but Lucius couldn't help but feel she was trying too hard. Her makeup was a bit too much for her pale skin and her dress dipped far too low to be appropriate for a dinner with her future father-in-law. If Lucius hadn't known she had been raised properly in a wealthy and pure family, he would have thought her quite cheap looking.
"I can't wait to see Narcissa again," Astoria filled the silence dumbly, completely unaware of who they were actually waiting for. Neither Draco nor Lucius bothered to correct her, both too nervous. Narcissa had actually left the manor an hour earlier with the excuse to Lucius that she was having dinner and drinks with her friends Grace and Layla, both of whom ran in the highest of pureblood circles with the Malfoys. However, what she was really doing was a certain ruggedly handsome werewolf.
Astoria was making small-talk about the décor and Draco and Lucius were drinking like fish that had been out of water when Lacey finally appeared through the double doors of the dining room, having been led there by Mipsy. Draco almost spit his gulp of wine out all over his father at her appearance, but thankfully Lucius was able to hold it together a bit better.
He found it amazing at how he had been so angry with her a moment before, and the moment she walked into the room, it nearly disappeared. Instead of watching her walk towards the table, he stared at his empty plate with his cold blue eyes and tried to remember how that anger felt, instead of noticing how stunning she looked.
Lacey tried her best to smile demurely at Astoria, who was baffled, as she took her seat next to Lucius. She had chosen to wear her hair loose and long down her back, very little makeup, and a pretty shimmery grey taffeta dress with a fitted bodice and a full skirt, finished with matching grey heels. The color played nicely off her skin tone and was classy enough for such an event, in that it only really showed off her legs. Her full breasts were covered by the fabric of the bodice and the cap sleeves. Lucius and Draco both noticed this, but Astoria was still too busy gaping unattractively.
"It is such a pleasure to meet you Astoria, I have heard so much about you. I'm Lacey Delaney," Lacey started, when it had become painfully clear that Lucius wasn't going to introduce her and Draco seemed to have lost his tongue. When addressed, the girl looked positively enraged.
"Who are you?"
"Oh, how wonderful, no one bothered to even warn her," Lacey rolled her eyes at the two blondes to her right, feeling almost bad for the girl in front of her. Thankfully, Lucius cleared his throat and in the charming, low tone that only he had mastered, spoke quickly to try and smooth out the situation.
"I know you were expecting to have dinner with Narcissa, but this is a woman who is very important to me," Lucius started and Lacey was a bit shocked at his words, and wondered if they were truthful, "and it is best if you get to know her, as you are most likely going to be seeing a lot of her."
Now it was Lacey's turn to feel at a loss for words. She always found it hard to tell with Lucius and had originally thought of this dinner as a way to meet and judge Astoria and her feelings for him, but it seemed he also had some sort of plan on his side of it.
"So, you're his whore."
"Astoria!" Draco snapped at her, flushing in embarrassment. Lacey was quite shocked herself…she was surprised such a pretty little pureblood girl would dare speak out like that. She was also rather miffed that Lucius said nothing about the comment and tried to catch his eye to give him a dirty look, but eventually just settled her cold gaze back on Astoria.
"Basically," Lacey goaded Astoria further by winking at her when she had recovered from the red-head's verbal slap. Astoria made a grimace in reply as they were served soup.
The conversation took a rapid plummet and all that could be heard around the table was the careful slurping of soup. Things then progressed back to idle chatter, in which Lacey kept quiet, keener on watching Astoria.
"How's work at the ministry Mr. Malfoy?" Astoria asked, much too interestedly than any woman should have and this was the first negative sign in the direction Draco had feared. Lacey shot him a warning glance across the table, but the younger blonde seemed all too aware of the way his fiancée leaned towards his father, resting her cute chin in her hands as she looked at him with her head slightly cocked to the side. It made Lacey want to throw up the delicious lobster bisque.
"No complaints," Lucius answered with a polite smile as plates were being removed and replaced with salad.
"Really? One would think it would be so hard! I mean, you work so much…" Astoria started to go on again and Lacey literally contemplated stabbing her hand with a fork. She couldn't believe how ridiculously hard she was trying…and failing…at flirting with Lucius with Draco sitting right next to her.
"He does work oh so very hard Astoria", Lacey did her best impression of her snooty voice, "but trust me when I say he has time to relax. Now, how is the wedding planning going?" Lacey tried to steer the conversation away from Lucius and although Astoria looked momentarily off-put, she followed.
"Wonderful. Everything is nearly all set…isn't it Draco?" he gave a perfunctory nod, "Just the wedding shower left, and the hen party, and then the big day!" she clapped her hands together theatrically and Lacey smiled. She knew Astoria would make a perfect trophy wife for someone one day, but it wouldn't be Draco.
"You know, Astoria," Lucius spoke up and all eyes turned to him, "It would be lovely if you could make room in your bridal party for Lacey."
Both girls could not have looked more disgusted for a split-second if they had tried, but Draco immediately chimed in that it was a great idea. All Astoria could bring herself to do was nod and pick at the arugula salad placed before her. Lacey, on the other hand, fought an overwhelming desire to laugh at the absurdity of it. She had no idea why Lucius would even suggest such a thing, unless it was to tease Astoria further.
When the salad plates were cleared, Astoria once again tried to flirt with Lucius as Lacey sipped delicately at her wine, trying her best to not get too drunk. She was thoroughly surprised, however, when she felt a large hand on her thigh, right above her knee. A quick, discreet glance down confirmed that it was Lucius, who was rubbing her warm thigh gently, but continuing his conversation with Draco and Astoria without skipping a beat. When his fingers inched towards her sensitive inner thigh, she tried hard to not make any noise, but just slightly moved in her chair, enough to let him have the satisfaction of knowing her had affected her. She saw the slight smirk play on the corner of his lips but then disappear when Astoria asked his opinion on flowers for her bouquet.
As she noticed Draco scowl into his glass of wine, she placed her hand on top of Lucius' and pushed his off of her thigh, but he only took it away for a moment and then replaced it stealthily higher up her thigh for a few minutes longer, teasing her before dinner was in front of them.
"So, Lacey, how long have you known Lucius?" Astoria finally turned her attention to her, and Lacey was surprised it had taken her so long to start on this line of questioning. Lucius turned his head towards her slightly, with an amused smile on his face as he chewed some of his filet.
"A few weeks."
"Ah, you know…you look oddly familiar…"
"Well, we did go to Hogwarts together, you were a year below me, and I played for the Harpies…so if you are a Quidditch fan…"
"I hate Quidditch," her nose wrinkled as if she had smelled something foul, "Must have been from Hogwarts then."
"Must have been," Lacey repeated with a too-sugary tone in her voice that Lucius nearly laughed at. He could tell she was annoyed, even from only knowing her a short time.
"Ginny Weasley's friend?"
"Yeah, that's my name," Lacey rolled her eyes. She loved Gin with all of her heart, but she was getting a little bit tired of the sidekick thing.
"A damned fool for not getting married to Harry Potter. I loathe the man myself, but still, she could have tried to improve her blood-traitor status a bit by hitching herself to the 'Boy Who Lived' you know?…"
Lacey's eyes went wide and she took a deep, shaky breath, "The war has been over for a fucking long time Astoria, and for you to still call the Weasley's blood traitors at this point is beyond ridiculous, even for a haughty, albeit idiotic pureblood. And for your information," Lacey had stood up from the table at this point and was telling Astoria off from her full and rather intimidating height, "Harry Potter was an arse to Ginny and she had every right to get far, far away from him!"
All three pairs of eyes watched as she threw her napkin down on the table and stormed out of the dining room, the double doors resounding behind her. Lucius gave the younger couple an apologetic look before getting up and following her, which left Draco and Astoria alone, with Draco staring awkwardly at his food and waiting for his fiancée to start bitching.
It took her no more than a few seconds before she turned to Draco, "She's awful Draco, truly awful. I mean, what is your father thinking? Am I right in assuming she's not a pureblood?"
"No, she's a half-blood," Draco confirmed, frowning, and quickly added, "But it hardly matters anymore Astoria, you know that…"
"Who are you and what have you done with my Draco?" her eyes went wide and she once again took on a look of horror and disgust, "Your father is seriously embarrassing himself by sleeping with the likes of her. And having her meet me and even go so far as to suggest I should offer her a place in my wedding party?!"
"Well…" Draco was wholly uncomfortable now. He hadn't thought the dinner would have gone that badly. He was starting to like and even respect Lacey, and Astoria was frankly pissing him off.
"And I am assuming your mother doesn't know? How horrible. I should tell her…"
"He's had plenty of mistresses before. She's well aware of the situation."
Astoria froze. She wasn't the brightest witch, but her mind had started rolling in a different direction, "So, is this some sort of a Malfoy thing?"
Draco looked defeated, and with a heavy sigh said, "Sort of. For my father it is, but I do not have any intention of taking anyone else to my bed. Is that sufficient?"
"Fine," she dropped it and went about finishing her meal regardless of the lack of Lucius and Lacey, "But she won't be in my wedding party. She's honestly a heinous bitch."
Draco rolled his eyes and picked idly at his food while Astoria stewed in quiet jealousy.
"You had absolutely no right to storm out of the dining room like a petulant little brat!" Lucius scolded Lacey the second he had closed the dining room doors behind him. She was leaning with her back against the opposite wall of the hallway with her arms crossed.
"Sorry," she replied without much sincerity.
"You are not my wife and you cannot just do as you please around here…" he continued and Lacey bit into her tongue so hard she tasted the iron of her blood.
"I may not be Mrs. Malfoy but I do have certain rights as a human being, one of which is that I can say whatever I want, especially when someone else is insulting myself and my best friend!" Lacey fired back.
Lucius stiffened and with a deep breath changed the tone of his voice slightly, trying to calm himself down, "Well, you can't be rude in front of a guest."
"Guest, ha!" Lacey snorted, "You are only saying that because you want to fuck her."
The tension between the two in the hallway was so thick that their magic was sending sparks off both of their bodies. Lucius took one solid step towards her but Lacey only straightened her spine up to its full height, looking into his similar colored eyes bravely.
"Why would you say that?" he asked, his voice deep and cutting.
"Did you not even hear her? Oh Mr. Malfoy this and Mr. Malfoy that…" Lacey rolled her eyes and did a rather good impression of Astoria's simpering voice, "She wants you. Are you going to steal another one of your son's girlfriends?"
"Watch yourself Lacey," he warned her, "I don't tolerate jealousy."
"Oh, but it is okay for you to be jealous right? Okay to be jealous of Fred? What a double fucking standard Lucius!" Lacey raised her voice even louder, her stance one for fighting.
"In case you have so quickly forgotten, I bought you a house today. I am having dinner with you in front of my son and his fiancée. You are clearly different!" he told her through gritted teeth and although it made butterflies spring up in Lacey's chest, most of her was too enraged to think about the meaning behind his words.
"Oh, right, the house that came with a bloody house elf that I don't want. I am not some dumb twit that can't do anything for herself!"
"Lacey, you stubborn girl, do you hear a thing I am saying?"
"Yes, Lucius I do!" she cried, exasperated, "And I know it's only a matter of time before I am replaced…possibly by her…" she jabbed her finger aggressively at the double doors.
"No." his reply was simple as he stared at her, but she still didn't believe him. A few weeks ago she would have been glad to hear that answer, as it meant that she had succeeded in luring him in far enough to break his heart just like Narcissa and everyone else in on the deal wanted, but now that she wanted him just as much, she found it hard to believe him. Her mind was so clouded with doubt.
"When you said that I was yours, that I was your mistress, I said I wanted you to belong to me as well. But you…" her voice broke as she was overcome with emotion, "you didn't say a damn thing when she called me a whore. Not one damn word!"
Lucius lowered his eyes, mulling over her words, "I regret it. Now, I should go back inside. You can join me if you want."
Although Lacey was annoyed at his poor excuse for an apology, she shook her head and backed up against the wall again, replacing her arms against her chest.
"Very well. Stay there then. This conversation is far from over." Lucius told her and disappeared back through the double doors.
She heard muffled voices for a few long moments and then the door opened again, this time with a younger Malfoy facing her.
"Nice show Delaney," he said, with something akin to pride, "You thoroughly pissed her off."
"Good. Draco she's terrible and it's pretty obvious she wants your father, but I can tell you that she hasn't slept with him, yet." Lacey added the last word with a shudder.
"I know. I didn't want to believe it; I wanted to think she was different…" Malfoy said with regret in his voice.
"Well, you two have at least have one thing in common," he chuckled, but it made Lacey's eyes darken.
"No, we don't. She wants your father for his money and his reputation and the tattoo on his arm. You never took the mark Draco. You never spent time in Azkaban. Girls like her want that danger."
"And you don't? Why are you with him if not for all that Lacey?" Draco looked at her with curious eyes and she paused, truly thinking about it. All of those things repulsed her. She still wasn't used to seeing the Dark Mark on his forearm, hated how much money he spent on her even if it made her life better, and cringed at the thought of what he had done in his past. She couldn't very well tell him that she was with him by decree of his mother, but she would be lying if she said that now anyway. It was more than that.
"I care about him. I wasn't expecting to be with him, let alone sleep with him," Lacey said truthfully, but vaguely, "But it has developed into real feelings, and those feelings have nothing to do with what comes along with the Malfoy name."
"A Gryffindor through and through. I am impressed," Draco smirked. Although he wasn't totally accepting of the fact that his father had mistresses, he was glad his father had Lacey, in a strange way.
"Now that you are done being sentimental, where is she?"
"Convinced my father to show her the gardens," Draco said with gritted teeth.
"Fuck, well, come on…" Lacey sighed, her jealousy boiling up inside of her as she grabbed Draco by the hand and nearly ran with him to the foyer. She grabbed her coat where Mipsy had hung it up and shrugged it on, then grabbed her wand out of her purse. With little trouble she cast a strong disillusionment charm on both of them and linked her arm through Draco, asking him to take the lead out to the Malfoy gardens.
The moon was just rising in the twilight sky when they stepped out into the gardens, which were basically just perfectly sculpted and trimmed hedges making intricate patterns through the perfectly mowed grass. Here and there were beautifully manicured rose bushes and a pretty gazebo with vines growing on it in the middle of it all, emblazoned on the black wrought iron with the Malfoy crest. There were also a few fountains, one of which Lucius and Astoria were standing in front of.
Despite their invisibility, Draco and Lacey made their way silently closer to the pair, their idle chatter becoming clearer with each step, until they were situated behind a high hedge right near the fountain.
"It's beautiful Lucius," Astoria said and with a sharp intake of breath, Lacey made her feelings clear about the use of his given name when they were alone. Lucius made a noncommittal noise, his thoughts clearly elsewhere as he looked back at the Manor, but with a light tap on his arm, Astoria drew his attention back to her again.
"Are you looking forward to the wedding?" Lucius asked politely.
"Well, yes…" she seemed hesitant and Lacey felt Draco's arm stiffen next to hers at her uncertainty, "Could Lacey not be in my bridal party though?"
Oh, you bold little bitch Lacey thought, listening for Lucius's reply.
"Why ever not?" he turned towards her with a raised eyebrow.
"Well, you see…" she was clearly trying to think of a polite way to say it, "It would be rather embarrassing to have your mistress there. It won't be good for photographs, nor will it look good in the Society pages or the Prophet…I mean, don't you care about people knowing?"
"Other people shouldn't concern themselves so much with my private business. It is between my family and myself, and since you are soon to be family, I would very much appreciate it if you were nice to Lacey," Lucius said with finality, but Astoria wasn't finished.
She changed tactics, shifting her weight and tilting her head coquettishly to the side, "Can I confide in you Lucius?"
"Draco was wonderful at first, but he really isn't the one I could see myself spending the rest of my life with. I know purebloods don't marry for love and it is a smart match, but…"
"That bitch!" Draco whispered under his breath so only Lacey could hear and she had to physically hold him back from interrupting them and exposing his disguise.
"Oh?" Lucius prompted her further and although she seemed nervous, she kept talking.
"He's sweet, but he's not nearly as experienced, or as handsome, or as intelligent as a man like you. I mean, Lacey is hardly an obstacle for me, we both know that, but if it wasn't for Narcissa, I'd much rather have you than Draco," Astoria batted her eyelashes up at the shocked man and both Lacey and Draco were ready to combust with anger. Everyone was shocked further when Astoria stood on her toes and kissed Lucius hard.
"There's your fucking undeniable proof Draco. I want my damn try-out now," Lacey hissed to him, trying to hold back tears. It had only been a second but she took off in a run out of the gardens, still disillusioned, trying to get as far away from everything as possible.
"Lacey?" Draco whipped around, feeling that her presence had left. There was emotion in his voice as well. The woman he thought he had fallen in love with was kissing his father and he turned back to see that Lucius had pushed Astoria off of him, rage written all over his chiseled features.
A/N: Wow, a nice long chapter and lots of drama! What do you think Lacey will do? Lucius? I would love to hear your thoughts in a review so that even more can come soon!