A Change of Heart

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Chapter 18 - The Cuddle Virgin

The entire staff of the Public Relations Department at Gringotts bank were huddled in the conference room going over last minutes plans for the ‘Spring Fling’, and they were sorting through the R.S.V.P.’s, and going through the final seating chart.

Some of the staff members were assigned the task of going through all the items that were to be raffled. It was decided that 100 raffle tickets would be sold for each item being raffled. Each raffle ticket would sell for 100 galleons, and there were over 125 items being raffled off, with 100 raffle tickets for each item. If they sold all 100 tickets for each of the 125 items, that alone could bring in over a million galleons. The ticket prices to the gala were 1000 galleons apiece, and they had sold over 200 tickets. That was worth 200,000 galleons. Then, each carnival type attraction, of which there were over 40, could easily bring in 1000 galleons each, for a total of 40,000 galleons. When it was all said and done, Hermione was relatively sure they would raise two million galleons. Not to mention all the donations that were pouring in from the witches and wizards who couldn’t attend, but still wanted to donate.

Hermione’s head was spinning. She couldn’t think anymore. All the numbers were flashing before her eyes, and she was truly getting one hell of a headache. In only three more days the event of the season would be held, and its success or failure was in Hermione Granger’s pocket. She could only hope that it didn’t fail.

Hermione sat back and rubbed her eyes. It was nearly 4:00 pm. She finally said, in almost hushed tones, “There’s nothing more to do tonight, why doesn't everyone make an early night of things, and just go home. I’ll see everyone in the morning.” Several of her employees looked at each other, as if to confirm what she had said. When she put her head on her arm, and rested both on the table, they knew they had heard her correctly. They didn’t need to be told twice. Everyone told her goodbye, and they left her in the conference room, all alone with her thoughts and her headache.

She was supposed to meet Draco at six for dinner at Harry and Ginny’s house. She wanted to cancel so much that it was killing her. She really just wanted to rest. She hadn’t slept well for the last few nights. Every time she tried to sleep, she would think either about the gala, or about Draco. She had a hunch that he might ask her to marry him on Saturday, and it was worrying her to no end. They hadn’t dated each other that long, nor had they even seriously discussed marriage, but Hermione knew that her hunches were right nine times out of ten.

She wanted to marry Draco. She wanted it more than she wanted anything. That was what had her up at night. What if her hunch was wrong and she was fantasying about something that would never come to pass. What if all he wanted was sex? That thought almost made her laugh. She knew that he could get sex anywhere. She knew he loved her.

She was just so tired. She couldn’t keep her eyes open even one more minute.

Draco arrived at the Potter’s promptly at 6:00 pm. He hated being late. He was to meet Hermione there. Poor thing, she had probably been working right up until time to leave. He knocked on the door, and the girl Potter opened the door. “Oh, Draco is Hermione with you?” she asked.

“No, we were to meet here? Isn’t she here yet?” Draco asked, somewhat concerned.

“No, she’s not here. Harry had a couple of things to go over with her concerning our donations for the raffle, and he went to her office, only to find out from her boss that she had the entire staff leave early tonight, because they'd all been working so hard. He figured she'd still be there, but she wasn’t in her office. Harry went to her house, but she wasn’t there either.”

Draco was a bit concerned. Where could she have gone? He walked into the house, and Harry came into the room and inquired, “Is Hermione with you?” Apparently, Draco wasn’t the only one concerned.

Draco, Ginny, Ron, and Harry all sat around the Potter’s living room, discussing places she might be. They all decided to look for her at different locations, and to Apparate right back to the Potter's house if they found her. Ginny was staying put, in case Hermione was just running late, and to stay with the baby.

Draco went back to her office. He had already checked the hotel, which was his assigned task. He walked into her dark office and turned on the lights and looked around. He turned the lights back off and went down the dark hallway. Walking back down the hallway, he would pass people every now and again, and each person he’d passed he’d ask them if they had seen her, and each time he was told the same thing: ‘no’.

He walked into a conference room that was at the end of her department, turned on the light and scanned the room. He was on the verge of turning off the light and leaving, when he focused on someone at the end of the table, with curly brown hair. Her head was resting on her arms, and her arms were on the table. He didn’t need to think twice - he knew it was Hermione. 

Walking into the room and looking at her pretty face, he knew she was asleep -sound asleep. All that concern for her, all those people worried, and all along she was sleeping.

He touched her shoulder, said her name, but she didn’t respond. He stood next to her for a moment longer. Her hair was fanned out on the table, covering her arm, and her breathing was even, if not somewhat shallow. He bent down, and kissed her cheek. She stirred somewhat, but still didn’t wake. He brushed the hair away from her cheek, and kissed her again, but this time on the corner of her mouth. He couldn’t kiss her square on the mouth, because of the angle of her head. When his lips left hers, she woke up and sat up slowly, almost as if she had been expecting him.

She stared directly at him, and said, “What are you doing here?”

Kneeling beside her, slipping her hand in his, he remarked, “You know, Granger, you need to pick a fairytale and stick with it. Will it be Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty?” He kissed her hand, and stood up to lean on the table.

“How long was I sleeping?” she inquired.

“No clue,” he answered, “but I know that you had us all worried. It’s almost seven o’clock.”

“Seven!” she exclaimed, standing up in shock. She had been asleep for almost three hours. “Oh goodness, Draco, I’ve been asleep for hours! I’ve just been so tired.”

“Let me go back to the Potter’s, give them our regards, and then we can go back to your house, where you can rest.” He stood her up and pulled her into his strong embrace.

She didn’t know what came over her, but she just had to ask, “Draco, are you planning on asking me to marry you on Saturday?”

He was shocked, to say the least. He didn’t know how to respond. He didn’t want to ruin his surprise, but he was concerned, for what could be the reason she would ask that question, unless she didn’t want him to ask her. “Why do you ask?” was the only thing he could think to say in response to her query.

“Never mind, I’m just being silly. I have so much on my plate at the moment, and I’m over-thinking everything. You know me, I’m not happy unless I can fret and worry about something,” she said as she hugged him around his waist. She was upset that her hunch was apparently wrong. She'd have to act as if it didn’t matter, one way or the other. They hadn’t even been dating that long. Of course, he wasn’t going to ask her to marry him.

Draco continued to hold Hermione, glad that she couldn't see his face, because he was frowning. Maybe it was too soon to ask her to marry him. She’s had a turbulent and chaotic six weeks. The first anniversary of her mum’s death, her dad dying, and the whole business with Bernice, the gala, not to mention their frenzied relationship. He would play it by ear. He could always ask her at a later date, if it appeared she was perturbed over the prospect of his proposal.

Hermione yawned again. He decided to take her right home, then he'd go tell the Potters she was all right, just tired. Then he would return to her home, and be with her. That’s all he ever wanted, just to be with her.

After personally delivering the message that she was safe and sound to her friends, he arrived back at her house. She was on the couch where he left her, fast asleep again. He was hungry, so he searched her cupboards. He found some crackers, cheese and wine. He made up a tray, and brought the tray, two goblets, and the wine into the living room. He sat on her couch and ate until he was satisfied.

About an hour later, he decided to go home. He would leave her on the couch. She looked so peaceful. He debated on whether or not to kiss her goodbye. He decided he would, so he bent down and kissed her cheek, and she didn’t stir. He was on the brink of leaving, when she opened her eyes, and said, “Hey there, I’m hungry.”

“You’re always hungry. I made up a tray with some cheese and crackers, but I had to eat mine by myself, because you were sleeping again.” He sat back down, poured her some wine, and handed her the tray. She finished every bit of the food that was left on the tray, and two glasses of wine.

“Now I’m wide awake,” she commented after eating.

“That’s probably because you slept all day,” he said back to her. “I’m actually kind of tired now.”

“We could go up to my bed and cuddle and talk for a while.”

He made a face, as if he smelled something bad, and mocked, “You want to go to bed and, what did you call it? Cuddle and talk?”

She laughed, and said, “Do you realize that we’ve never fallen asleep in each other’s arms? I want to do that with you. I want to cuddle in your arms, talk until the wee hours, and wake up still holding each other.”

He rolled his eyes, but gave her his hand and said, “I never thought I would ever say this, but take me to your bed to cuddle, Granger.”

She led him upstairs and told him she would meet him in the bedroom. She wanted to brush her teeth, and get into her nightclothes. He left her in the bathroom, and went to her bedroom. He looked around. Should he stay in his clothes? He wondered...What does one wear when one cuddled? He decided to take off his shoes and socks, his belt, and his shirt. That left him in his trousers and t-shirt. He plopped down on the bed, and placed his arms under his head. Cuddling? That would definitely be classified as something one did when they were in love with someone.

She came into the bedroom with a pink t-shirt, and pair of stripped pink pajama bottoms, and with her hair piled on top of her head. He looked her up and down, and said sarcastically, “Wow, sexy.”

“Shut up,” she replied. “What do you sleep in?”

“My bed,” he answered.

“What do you wear to your bed?” she asked slowly, as if he was mentally defective.

“I don’t wear anything. I sleep in the nude. Nude as the day I was born,” he  proclaimed proudly. “Why, do you want me to get ready for bed as well?” he goaded.

“By all means, get comfortable,” Hermione expressed with a lopsided grin.

She turned her back to him, and started putting lotion all over her body. It smelled nice. Like apples. He looked at her hair, and thought it looked silly like that, so he said, “At least take your hair down, you look like a clown.”

She leaned back and squirted him with her lotion, and it landed on his bare arm. “HEY!” he yelled in response. She leaned back again, and took the large dollop of lotion, and wiped it off his arm, and rubbed it on her hands and neck, and arms. “Now I’ll smell like a girl,” he complained.

“So, you act like a girl,” she leveled, without looking at him.

He reached up to remove the clip from her hair, and when he tried to pull it out of the mass of curls, it got tangled, and he ended up pulling her whole head back.

 “OUCH!” she yipped. He continued to pull, and she put her hands up in her hair. “LET ME DO IT!” she yelled at him. By this time she was on her back, across his legs. He had pulled her that hard. Since he had her handy, he leaned down and gave her a kiss. She gave his face a small ‘whack’ and sat back up and removed the clip from her hair. She stood up, and got her brush from her dresser, and brushed her hair. She turned to face him, and said, “Better?”

“Yes, thank you. Don’t ever wear you hair like that again. It looked stupid.”

“First, who are you, the hair police?” she asked, then added, “Second, do you really think I’m ever going to do what you ‘tell me’ to do. Seriously?”

She sat back on the bed, and he said, “How does one become a hair police?” He looked serious. She just sighed and got under the covers. He followed suit. She cuddled next to his chest, and he put his arm around her. She put her left hand on his stomach. He put his right hand on top of that hand.

“This is nice,” she said.

He smelled her. She smelled really good. Her hair was soft under his chin. She felt like she fit perfectly in his arms. “Yes, I admit, this isn’t bad. I could get used to this cuddling thing, only after sex of course.”

“We’re cuddling now without sex,” she pointed out.

“But the sex part is implied. After tonight’s cuddling, I'll only cuddle after sex. I just wanted you to be aware of my terms, Granger,” he stated.

She sighed again.

He asked, “So, what do people talk about while cuddling?”

She answered, “The usual. They can talk about their childhood, or about something as mundane as what they did that day, or something as abstract as their hopes and dreams for the future.” She sat up slightly and looked at him and continued, “You act like I’m the first woman you’ve ever cuddled.”

He took her chin, and said, “I have to admit, you are my first. I am a cuddle virgin.” She smiled and sank back down in the warmth of his embrace.

“Cuddle virgin,” she said and laughed again, “You’re so funny.”

“It’s the truth,” he said.

She sat up again, hit his chest hard, to which he grimaced, and she said, “You have got to be joking with me!”

“No, I don’t have to be joking with you. It’s the truth,” he said, rubbing his chest where she hit him.

She looked at him oddly and said, “Well, I’ve never.”

“I’m sure you haven’t,” he responded with a laugh. He pulled her back against his chest. “Start talking, Miss Granger, but I don’t need to hear about your childhood, because I already know it was idyllic. I know what you did today, you slept all day, and I know your hopes and dreams for the future.”

“Do tell,” she waned.

“Well, they include me, you, and a can of whipped crème. Perhaps some chains, a hammock, and an English bulldog.” He snickered.

She sat up for the third time, laughed aloud, and said, “I think you might be sick. An English bulldog? What does that have to do with sex? Are you a pervert or something?”

He pinched her arm hard and said, “You’re the pervert. I just thought we might like to have a pet someday. Not everything is about sex, you know.”

“It is when it comes from you,” she rejoined, from the crook of his arm again. She put her head back on his shoulder. “Tell me about your childhood, or what you did today at work, or about your hopes and dreams for the future.”

“My childhood is best kept in the past, it was what it was, as you well know, and talking about it won’t change things. I was awake during work today, unlike some people in this room, and my hopes and dreams for the future include you, me, a can of whipped crème and an English bulldog,” he measured.

“Must you talk about sex all the time?” she complained.

“I have to talk about it these days, because I so rarely ever get any. I’m not even sure if I remember how to do it. They say it’s like riding a bike, you never forget, but I’m not so sure,” he said, now yawning himself.

She looked up at his face. “We just had sex a couple of days ago!”

“Yes, and that’s a long time ago,” he countered.

“How often do you think we should have sex?” she wondered.

“A couple of times a day,” he answered with a smile.

“Maybe the English bulldog will accommodate you,” she said, also smiling.

“Maybe I should get a mistress,” he joked.

“You’re hopeless.” She yawned again.

“Yes, a hopeless romantic,” he snapped, “and I thought you'd say something cheeky about the mistress line.”

“Fine, if you get a mistress, I’ll hex you so fast that you won’t know what hit you. Okay?” she said, finally tired. “Also, I wouldn’t describe being a horny little bugger, who only thinks of sex all the time, as a ‘hopeless romantic’.”

“What do you know about it?” he asked. “How many hopeless romantics have you dated?”

“Fair point,” she conceded, not wanting to argue.

“How many men have you been with, anyway?” he asked her.

“That’s personal,” she said slowly.

“That’s the point of having a personal conversation,” he laboured.

“I’m really not answering that question,” she responded.

“That many, huh?” he said jokingly.

“NO!” She sat up once again. “For your information, I’ve only slept with three men! Happy?”

“Only three?” He was seriously surprised. “I'm not sure that makes me happy or not, but I bet you're not that pleased. Does that include me?”

“Yes.” She lay back down.

He asked, “And Weasley?”


“Who’s the third? Potter?” Now he sat up, worried about the answer to that question.

“Harry? Goodness no,” she retorted with a small laugh. He fell back down on the pillow in relief. He hugged her close again.

“Who’s the third?” he asked, curious.

“It doesn’t matter,” she said adamantly.

“I think it does,” he said.

She tried to sit up again, but he held on to her tight. “We can’t cuddle if you keep sitting up!” he told her. After several silent moments he asked, “Now, who was it?”

“Promise not to get angry?” she asked.


“Promise not to over-react?” she pleaded.

“NO!” Now he sat up. Who was this bloke, and why did he have a funny feeling that he'd rather not know? He thought it would be bad if it was Potter, but it had to be someone much worse than him if she was afraid he would be angry.

She was sitting up in bed now as well, and turned to face him, and said, “Scott Morgan.”

He looked confused. “Who the hell is Scott Morgan?”

“Honestly, Draco!” She was stunned. “Your assistant, Scott. Are you telling me you didn’t know his last name?!” She was outraged.

“Are you telling me you slept with that wanker?” he asked back, now as outraged as she was.

“Yes, but it was long before I started seeing you,” she explained.

“His arse is so fired!” He actually pushed the covers back and got out of bed.

“You can’t fire him for that. That’s not right!” she complained. She got up on her knees on the bed to face him.

“I really thought he was gay,” Draco said, pacing the floor.

“I told you he wasn’t,” she argued, falling back on the bed.

He sat back down on the bed, with his back to her, and said, “Maybe you turned him gay.” Then he looked at her and smiled.

“You can’t fire him,” she implored.

“Fine, but I’m transferring him. I can’t look at him everyday knowing he’s been intimate with you.” He was serious. “How did you meet?”

Hermione moved on the bed to sit beside him. “It was before I worked at Gringotts. I was a buyer for Flourish and Blotts. He was an assistant manager. We had a love of books in common, but not much more. You know, he’s the one that bought the book from me,” she confessed.

He already knew that, but he didn’t want to let her know that he knew. “Really? How could he afford it?”

“Maybe he’s been embezzling money from your company,” she lied and laughed. She got back under the covers. He followed her, and they started to cuddle again. “Really, don’t fire him,” she finally said.

“I said I wouldn’t, but I don’t think I can look at him again,” he said truthfully.

“If I took that stance, and refused to look at any of the women you've slept with, it would be easier to gouge my eyes out, and become legally blind; because I’m sure they’re everywhere,” she joked.

He joked back, and said, “That’s close to the truth.”

“Have you ever been in love before?” she asked him tentatively.

“No, I’m a love virgin, too,” he said with a smile.

“You’re just a twit,” she said.

“Were you in love with Weasel?” he asked.


“Were you in love with that wanker, possibly gay, Scott?” he asked more deliberately.

“Yes. I don’t sleep with someone unless I love them. I told you that when we first started seeing each other,” she reminded.

“Did you love them as much as you love me?” He stroked her hair.

“Love isn’t measurable by degrees or any other means. Love is just love. But, I’ll acknowledge that what I feel for you is much different than what I felt for them, and I’ve never felt this way for another man before,” she said.

That was what he wanted to hear. “Good,” he decided.

“Why haven’t I met your parents?” she asked.

"You've met them before, Granger," he replied. "How could you have forgotten?"

"Of course I've met them, don't be obtuse." She took a steady breath and tried again. "Why haven't I met them as the person you love? As your girlfriend?"

“Because once you meet them that way, it’ll ruin everything,” he said seriously.

“Why, won’t they approve; because I’m a mudblood?” she asked quietly, with her head resting on his chest.

That hurt his feelings. But, she was right, and he was shamed to admit as much. “Perhaps,” he admitted, “It’s hard to explain, but just because I’ve changed, doesn’t mean they ever will. My mother would probably come to accept it, if it makes me happy, but my father left prison a broken and bitter man, with pretty much the same beliefs that he always had. I don’t want to submit you to that. Anyway, I’m sure they've already been made aware of the fact that we’re dating, from a variety of sources.”

“But they haven’t heard it from you,” she said. It was like she was accusing him and rightfully so, but still he didn’t need that to be told to him. He was aware of his shortcomings; he didn’t need them pointed out to him. He was suddenly angry, at her, his parents, but mostly at himself.

He finally spoke, after a few moments of silence. His body, which had grown rigid with his guilt, was suddenly more relaxed. “You know, I think I’m more ashamed of them, if I were to admit the truth, and that hurts as well, you know. I’m sorry, Hermione, I’ll tell them about us,” he confessed.

“What’s your favourite colour?” she asked to change the subject.

“I don’t know if I can handle any more of these deep personal questions, Granger.” He pulled her tighter, and gave her shoulder a squeeze. “But in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll tell you - it’s black.”

“Black?” she questioned.

“Yes. Black; deal with it,” he said proudly.

“Okay, black it is,” she said, hugging him tighter.

“What’s yours?” he inquired.

“White,” she said.

“White?” He seemed offended. “That’s not even a colour!”

“I was joking. I thought since you said black, I'd say white. It’s really orange.”

“I’ve never heard of anyone who likes orange,” he stated.

“I’m sure a lot of people like orange,” she said back to him.

He moved her from his chest, and turned to his side. She was on her side as well. He had his top leg over hers, and they were holding hands. “It’s my turn for stupid questions,” he said. “If you could be any animal, what would it be?”

She thought for a moment, and then answered, “Probably a cat. Not a house cat, but some type of exotic wild cat, like maybe a cheetah, or an Iberian jungle cat, or maybe not a cat at all, maybe a lemur. What animal would you be, a snake?”

“Very funny,” he responded. “You’re seriously hurting my self-esteem with all the snake comments.”

“Sorry,” she said, tweaking his nose. He pulled on hers hard.

“I'd be a raven,” he answered.

“Because it’s black?” she asked.

“You’re a riot,” he spat, stroking her forehead with his fingertips and then her cheek.

“Well, explain your answer,” she said.

“You didn’t explain yours, but on second thought, I’m getting very tired, and if you go into one of your long boring speeches, I may end up fast asleep, so no need for explanations from you,” he mocked.

She seemed mildly offended, but mostly annoyed. “I would have had a short explanation, but now you’ll never know what it was, because I’ll never tell you.” She moved to lie on her back. He put his head on her shoulder, and started drawing circles up and down her arm.

“Tell me,” he asked.

“No, it doesn’t matter now. Tell me why you picked a raven.”

“Because it flies, it talks, and it’s black,” he said, yawning again.

“You have the depth of a puddle,” she said with sarcasm.

“And you have the tolerance of an English bulldog,” he said with a laugh. He yawned again. He was truly getting tired.

She asked him, “Are you getting tired? You can go to sleep, or if you'd rather go home, I won’t be offended.”

“No, it’s fine. If I get truly sleepy, I’ll coax the whole ‘why Granger wants to be a cat’ story out of you, and that’ll put me out like a light,” he retorted.

“You really are mean sometimes,” she said honestly.

“So I’ve been told,” he answered. She turned so her back was to him. He pulled her closer to him, so their bodies were in the same position. He wrapped his arms tight around her, and slipped his top leg in between hers. He really liked this cuddling business.

There was a moment of extended silence. Draco really did feel close to falling fast asleep. He was fighting it, but it was a losing battle.

She said softly, “Are you happy with me?”

“No, not at the moment,” he complained. “I'd just fallen asleep, and you woke me up.”

“But in general, are you happy with me?” She turned her face slightly to look over her shoulder, to see his expression.

He smiled, kissed her neck, and said, “I am happier now than I've ever been in my entire life, at this precise moment in fact.”

“Good to know,” she said back.

He had started to drift off again. She noticed that his grasp on her had relaxed, and his breathing was slower and steadier. He moved from his side, to his back, and brought her along with him. She watched his chest rise and fall at an even interval. She was certain he was sleeping. She stayed cradled in his arms, and began to stroke his chest with a feathery touch. She looked at him again, as his arm dropped from her shoulder. She moved, and put his arm over his chest. She touched his fringe of hair at his forehead, ever so lightly, then bent down and kissed his forehead, with the lightest touch.

With his eyes still closed, he said, “Are you purposely trying to arouse me, so I’ll wake back up and ravage you?”

“I thought you were asleep. I was trying not to disturb you,” she answered softly. “I won’t touch you anymore.” She moved away from him, to the other side of the bed.

He pulled her back to him, and put his arms around her again. “It’s just that even an innocent touch can arouse someone, you know?” 

“An innocent touch can be construed as sexual?” she asked.

He starting stroking her arm, as if to demonstrate, and said, “A stroke of the hand can be sexual, a harmless hug can be sexual, a laugh, a smile, or even a look can be sexual. Sometime I can just think of you, and I get aroused.”

“You have some libido, you do,” she said.

“You have no idea,” he answered, with yet another laugh.

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