A Change of Heart

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Chapter 15: The Day Off

Saturday, April 7th, was exactly one week until the ‘Spring Fling’. It was the day before Easter Sunday. The ‘Spring Fling’ was to be held at 6:00 pm at the Grand Marsh Hotel, on Saturday, April 14th. Hermione knew everything was completely ready for the event, so today she was determined to decompress. She was going to spend the whole day doing fun things - things just for her. She called it her ‘me day’. It was a beautiful spring day, too. Not too cold, and there was actual sunshine, instead of the rain that had plagued London for the last week.

Hermione had her whole day mapped out perfectly. She was going to read, watch a couple of movies, get her summer clothes out of storage, clean her closet, and definitely do something outdoors. She absolutely had to enjoy this pretty day. The next day was Easter, and she planned on going to Ginny and Harry’s for the day for baby James' first Easter, (never mind that he would never remember the holiday). She also had planned to put a wreath on her parents’ graves tomorrow.

Hermione hadn’t seen Draco since Wednesday. She gave him his first driving lesson that day, and it all went rather badly. She vowed right then and there that she would never give him another. While it might be true that she wasn’t the world’s best driver, she was an even worse driving teacher. Even she recognized that fact. She expected him to already know everything. When Muggle’s are first taught to drive, they at least know the basics: turn signals, stop lights, which pedals were which, etc. He knew nothing. They fought and argued and she ended up in tears, and he ended up leaving in a bad mood.

He sent her an Owl on Thursday, begging her pardon, and could she please meet him on Friday, so they could shop for their outfits for the gala.

She sent him an Owl back, telling him that she would be happy to go shopping with him. Then she added a quick little post script to the bottom of the note. It said: P.S. As long as you don’t drive.

She meant it as a joke. Apparently, he wasn’t amused.

He sent her another Owl, saying that they could always Apparate to the shop, if she had no problem letting him Apparate by himself. And his post script said: P.S. I know how much you love to be in control of everything.

She sent another Owl, tout de suite, asking him why he even needed her to go shopping with him, since he would probably pick out her outfit anyway, so no need for her to come.

His next Owl said that she was right, no need for her to come, especially since she had terrible taste and he was sure she expected him to pay for the gown anyway, since she was so poor, And again, that she had terrible taste.

Her poor owl Aries was very unhappy, because Hermione sent another Owl to Draco. It said that she was so sorry to forgo the pleasure of his company, oh and while he was picking out her outfit, maybe he should go ahead and pick out something for Pansy Parkinson, but make sure it was a different colour, because it would be a shame if Draco ACCIDENTLY mistook Pansy for Hermione again.

Draco’s next Owl said that it would indeed be a shame if he mistook Pansy for Hermione again, but not to worry, that would never happen, because he was pretty sure that Hermione could not quite live up to Pansy, regarding a certain “oral fixation.”

Hermione’s next Owl, which she swore would be her last, told him that she certainly hoped he hadn’t severed all tie to Miss Parkinson, since he would never, ever, in his life get that type of service from Hermione.

His last Owl, (at least she had hoped it would be his last), said that he was so glad to clear that up, and now he would know what to expect, and what not to expect from her, and he wasn’t holding his breath anyway. Then he wrote: “While I’m out shopping for our robes, while don’t you just relax. Read a book. I hear you have a million galleon copy of Hogwarts, a History, which is a fascinating read. Oh, that’s right, you sold it, you stupid bint. Love forever, Draco.”

Hermione couldn’t let that be the last word. So, she coaxed her owl over, for one last trip, and wrote on a piece of paper three little words. Three little words that Draco had come to expect from Hermione. “YOU STUPID WANKER!” Let him top that.

He did.

His last Owl, (and this time it truly was his last owl), read: “Leave it to you, Granger, to be the bigger person, and not resort to name calling. I also know you’ll be the bigger person, and not have to get in the last word. Wait, I’m confusing you with someone else. You're never the bigger person. So I await your reply, since I know you’ll want to get in the last word. Malfoy.”

Damn him. He was right. She DID want to get in the last word, but for one thing, her owl looked like he was ready to bite her finger off at any moment, and two, she did strike the first low blow, bringing up Pansy. Why did he have to bring up the comment about, “being the bigger person?” ‘He’s an idiot,’ she thought. Damn Malfoy for knowing she always liked to get in the last word. She was going to prove him wrong for once.

That was another reason she had this pretty Saturday all to herself. She hadn’t heard from Draco since their owls back and forth to each other on Thursday, and the last time they spoke face to face was on Wednesday when they had their fight during his driving lesson.

She left things badly with Draco. She really did need to go shopping for her gown. The gala was just seven short days away. She would go shopping Monday, because today was her ‘me day’. She ate breakfast, showered, and got dressed in her oldest, but most comfortable, jeans and a white t-shirt and a yellow pullover sweatshirt. The yellow sweatshirt made her think of Draco for some reason.

She decided to watch a movie. It was still early, only nine in the morning. She could watch a movie, and then proceed to some of the other ‘fun’ activities she had scheduled for her ‘day off’. She opened her front drapes to let in the light. She put her movie in the player. It was a very old movie that had been one of her mother’s favorites, and Hermione loved it as well. It was called, The Black Narcissus. It was romantic, and sad, and exotic, and for some reason it reminded her of Draco. Was everything today going to remind her of him?

She was so engrossed in the movie, that she didn’t even realize she had started to cry. She was feeling melancholy. Some of it was because of the movie - it was sad and it didn’t have a happy ending. Some of it was because this movie reminder her of her mum, and some of it was because the main male character in the movie reminder her of Draco. The female character in the movie was torn between her vocation, and the man she loved. The male character was torn because the woman was beyond his grasp, and he knew he was in love with someone he could never obtain. Why did that remind her of them? That was the saddest thing of all.

Hermione did feel torn between her job and Draco at one time, but she didn’t feel that way anymore. She wanted Draco. Her job be damned. And she didn’t want Draco to feel like he could never obtain her. She felt that down deep he thought she was beyond his grasp, and that she might disappear in a blink of an eye. She didn’t want him to always worry about whether or not she would be there for him. She wanted him to be secure in their love.

This movie always made her cry, anyway. The ending credits began to roll, and she stood up to remove the movie from the player. She had just put it in the box, when she heard a knock on her door. She thought, 'Please let it be Draco.'

She wiped the tears from her cheeks, and went to answer the door. When she pulled open the door, all she saw at first was a hand, holding a single yellow daisy. Then he came forward, having taken a step away from the bushes, where he had been crouched down hiding, he said, “I’m sorry.”

She opened her door all the way and rushed into his arms. He was flabbergasted, but in a good way. He hugged her tight.

She took a step back from him, and merely said, “Hey, Granger.” He touched her cheek. He could tell she had been crying. He hoped she wasn’t crying for him.

She then said, “I’m sorry, too.” That was when he handed her the flower.

“Have you been crying?” he asked. She went inside the house with him in tow, put her flower on the coffee table, and handed him the movie. He looked at the box, nodded his head in understanding, and said, “So, it’s a sad one, huh?” She nodded her head ‘yes’. “No happy ending?” he added.

“No, it’s not a very happy ending, in that the man and the woman don’t end up together at the end,” she said.

“Does the woman die at the end?” he asked. She shook her head no.

“Does the man die at the end?” Again, she shook her head no.

“Does the woman sell a book that he bought her for a million galleons?” he quizzed as a joke.

She glared at him for a moment, then she said, “The man loves the woman, and she loves him, but she picks her career, in this case, being a nun, over him. Not all movies have a happy ending, you know? Just like real life.”

“Well, we wouldn’t know about that, would we, Granger, since we’re expecting a very happy ending, as far as we’re concerned,” he surmised with a large smile. She hugged his left arm, and dragged him to the sofa.

“Did you get your dress robes?” she asked, sitting next to him on the couch. She put her feet under her, because they were cold.

He responded, “Yes, and I’ll be simply the most dashing man at the whole Spring Fling, Granger. Have you gotten your gown yet?”

“No, but I will soon,” she confessed. She moved her feet in front of her, and put a pillow over them.

“Are your feet cold?” He laughed.

“Yes, they are,” she simply stated.

“Go get some socks,” he said matter of fact.

“I’m too lazy,” she admitted with a smile. He took the pillow off her feet, and put her feet in this lap. He rubbed them. They were cold. She tried to sneak one up his shirt, and it was so cold it made him squeal like a little girl. He took the same foot and tickled it, and then he pulled on both her feet, and pulled her whole body closer to him. He straddled her body and started tickling her ribs. She laughed so hard, she cried.

“STOP!” she finally yelled, “I’m going to pee my pants!”

He stopped, but stayed on top of her. “That’s not a nice picture,” he said with a fake frown. He put a hand on each side of her face, and pushed her hair back. He leaned down and kissed her forehead. Then he kissed her lips. He sat back up, and she licked her recently kissed lips. He leaned down and kissed her again. He sat back up, and he thought if he didn’t get off her immediately, he would be forced to ravish her in her living room, so he sat back at the end of the couch, and she sat back up. He took her feet again, and put them in his hands. “When you get your gown, would you let me come with you?”

“I was expecting you to come,” she admitted, then as an afterthought she added, “after all, who’ll pay if you don’t come?” He smiled at that.

“Go get some socks, Granger.” He let go of her feet. Touching her, in any sense, just made him want her more. She kicked him, and he grabbed her foot again, and tickled her behind her knee. “Are you ticklish, here?” he said as he continued to tickle her.

“STOP!” she pleaded again. He let her go. She jumped off the couch and said, “I’ll go get socks, for goodness sakes.”

“Come back here,” he ordered. She was flushed and breathing hard. He tugged on her hand, and pulled her to his lap. He put one of his hands on her cheek, and kissed her jaw line, down to her neck. She wanted to melt into him. He pulled her chin toward his face, and said, “Why do we fight so much, Granger. I hate fighting with you. I'd rather make love to you.” He kissed her again.

She slipped off his lap, to sit beside him again. “I think we fight so much because we’re such passionate people, and our passion just overflows in every aspect of our lives,” she answered, as if it was obvious.

“I hate it when we fight,” he reiterated, “I kind of like it when we bicker back and forth, though. That can be fun. It’s so easy to irritate you,” he admitted, “But, I don’t like fighting.”

“Neither do I,” she agreed. “Listen, let’s make a deal, right here, right now, that we won’t end another day being angry with each other. Let’s make sure we always resolve all conflicts, and apologize to each other, before the sun sets.”

“I’d like that,” he agreed.  "That way, we can always have lots of great make up sex.” She laughed, and playfully punched his arm.

Draco asked, “So, my beautiful girl, what do you have planned today?”

“You mean on my ‘me day’?” she asked back. “I planned on watching a movie, which I just did, read some, catch up on some housework, clean out my closet, maybe get my summer clothing out of….” and she trailed off because he yawned, and was now feigning slumber. She didn’t say another word.

“Oh, did you stop talking?” Draco asked, opening one eye, then the other. “I was listening. Seriously, it all sounded fascinating. I’m completely and utterly enthralled.”

“What did you have planned on this pretty, spring day?” she asked, trying to sound bored.

“I was going to watch a movie with my girl, but she already watched it without me, then I was going to watch her read, and watch her clean her house, and watch her try on her summer clothes…” Now he was cut off by her placing her hand over his mouth.

“I wasn’t going to try on my summer clothes. I was going to get them out of storage,” she reminded him.

“In my plans, I was going to watch you try them on,” he challenged.

“So, you just plan to watch me do all my tasks completely from the sidelines and not join in?” she wondered.

Draco stood up, and looked at his nails, and said, “I wouldn’t want to sully my hands. I just got a manicure.”

She stood up beside him and frowned. A manicure? Was he joking?

“You’re a priss,” she reprimanded.

“And your not,” he joked, “Let’s go buy your dress.”

She smiled and walked toward the kitchen. “I was joking before, but you really are a priss.”

He followed her, and tried to pinch her bum. She hit him on the top of his head with a wooden spoon that was on her counter.

“Come on, let’s get out of this house and do something exciting,” he whined.

“I have plans,” she tried to explain.

“Yes, boring plans,” he said, grabbing her around her waist. “The only reason to stay in the house on a beautiful day like this is to have sex. You pick. Outside, we’ll have sun and fresh air. Inside, we’ll have lots of hot passionate sex. You pick.”

“I want to spend the day at home, but doing the things I want to do.” She backed away from him. He took a step closer, and trapped her between his body and the sink.

He leaned into her, and put his face next to her neck. He smelled her hair. He flicked his tongue on her neck, and then he bit her ear. He said, in barely a whisper, “Do you want your solitude, or may I stay?” He took a deep breath, and let his hands move from her shoulders, down both arms, and to rest on her hips. He moved his thigh between her legs, and pressed his hard body next to hers.

She felt trapped, but in a good way. She put her hands around his neck, and pressed her body closer to his. He could feel her breasts against his chest. She could feel his want against her lower abdomen.

She kissed his neck, then his jaw, and then whispered in his ear, “You may stay, but we still aren’t having sex.” Then she reached behind her, turned the faucet on fast, grabbed the sink hose, and sprayed him with the water.

She actually sprayed him! He put his hands up to block the water. “Damn, Granger!” he yelled.

“I thought you needed a cold shower,” she explained while she laughed. She dropped the sprayer, and ran out of the room. He wasn’t even going to chase her. He was too dignified. He used his wand and dried off, then he sat at the table for a moment, before he decided to walk up the stairs to see where she went.

She was sitting on her bed, putting on socks.

“Do you really want me to stay, or do you really want your solitude?” he queried. He sat next to her.

“Yes, I want you to stay, and I don’t think you know the meaning of the word solitude anyway, but I really do want to just have a lazy day. I don’t want to go shopping, and at the moment, I don’t want to have sex. Okay?” she asked back.

He fell back on her bed, and scooted himself up toward the headboard. He piled her pillows together and leaned against them, sitting up. He took his wand and accio the flower he brought her up the stairs. “Come here,” he said, and to his surprise, she obeyed without arguing. She sat next to him, and he put the yellow daisy behind her ear. “There,” he said simply.

She stood up from the bed and said, “Are you going to help me with all my activities today, or are you going to stay on my bed and watch?”

“Is there any possibility that if I stay on the bed, we’ll have sex?” He was grasping at straws.

“You're incorrigible,” she accused. “Hey, I have an idea. Stay there.” She walked over to her bookshelf.

“Please…don’t read to me!” he whined and put his hands over his ears.

She ignored him, and came back over to the bed holding a Muggle picture album. She sat back by him, and extended her legs out next to his. She put her back against her headboard. “Would you like to see pictures of me when I was a child?” she asked timidly.

He laughed, and at first her feelings were hurt. He saw her face fall, so he was quick to add, “I only laughed because that was a silly thing to ask. Of course I want to see.” He really did.

They started looking at pictures from when Hermione was a baby. She was a very pretty baby, and she had a lot of curls even back then. There were pictures of her at birthday parties, and Christmases, and school events. There were pictures of her mum and dad and her all together. There were pictures of her family on holiday; at the beach, skiing, camping. Draco was totally taken aback by what a wonderful childhood she must have had. She was really loved growing up, and she knew it. When they finished with that album, he asked, “Do you have another?”

She smiled and jumped off the bed. She returned with another album. This one had Muggle pictures, as well as Wizard pictures. There were pictures of her from Hogwarts and pictures of her right after the war. She excused herself to go to the bathroom, while he continued to look at the second album.

There was a picture of her, Potter, and Weasley that looked as if it was taken around 5th or 6th year. He removed the picture from the sleeve, and tore the picture in half. He put the half with Scarboy and Weasel back in the album, and the half with her he put in his pocket. He closed the album and put it back on her shelf. He looked quickly to see if she was returning. She wasn’t. He took the picture back out of his pocket, and examined the image.

This was the Hermione he hated when he was young. This was the Hermione he tormented in school. This was the Hermione that had to tolerate being called mudblood and worse. This was the Hermione that was tortured by an Unforgivable Curse by his aunt, in his presence, in his home. This was the Hermione that had to endure a year of suffering, to help Potter defeat Voldemort, and most of all, this was the Hermione that he needed to understand how very sorry he was for all that he did, and all that he was. He put the picture back in his pocket, and a second later, she came back into the room.

He picked up a picture in a frame that was on the shelf of her, her mum, and her dad. She stood over his shoulder as he held the picture. “That was taken the night of my parent’s 35th anniversary. It was taken on March 17th, and four days later, on March 21st, my mum died.” He turned to look at her. She took the picture from his hand, and put it back on the shelf.

He sat on the edge of her bed and hung his head. In a small voice he said, “I don’t know what I'd do if I lost you.” Her mum and dad looked so happy in that picture, as if they were really in love. He really loved Hermione. He suddenly felt incredible sorrow. He felt sorry for her dad, and the fact that he had to try to continue on without her mum, knowing that he himself would not be able to do as much, if he lost Hermione. It would be as if he'd lost half of himself.

She sat beside him, and touched his hand. He squeezed her hand tight. She could tell he was in a somber mood all of the sudden and she didn’t know why. She decided to lighten the mood. “Here are the choices for what we can do next; we can go downstairs and eat lunch, we can pack a lunch and go to the park, or we can bring lunch up here and eat in bed after we make mad, passionate love.”

He turned to her, and laughed a small laugh, and said, “Well, now you’re just being cruel. Don’t promise things you won’t deliver.” He stood up, grabbed her hand again, and said, “This may surprise you, my dear Granger, but I pick option two. Let’s pack a lunch and go to the park.”

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