A Change of Heart

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Chapter 3: The Intentions -

Hermione was in a very good mood the next morning, all things considering. She was going to view everything that happened yesterday as a positive. Yesterday started with her looking forward to a promotion, and to her having a slight, almost insignificant, crush on Draco Malfoy. The day ended, with her being unemployed, and with her hating Draco Malfoy with a passion. These things didn’t worry her in the least. She had been unemployed before, and she had certainly hated Draco Malfoy before. She was a survival. She had survived Voldemort. She would survive this. And today was a new day!

She looked at her clock, and saw that it is almost 7:30 am, the time she would normally get up for work. She might as well go ahead and get up and get showered, even if she didn’t have a job to go to today.

She showered and got dressed. Just because she wasn’t going to work, didn’t mean she shouldn’t dress professionally today. She put on a very pretty skirt and blouse. She thought she might as well fix her hair and makeup as well. She wanted to look nice, even if she was unemployed.

She ate some porridge and drank some juice; after all, a girl still needed breakfast. It was the most important meal of the day! By the time she was finished it was almost 8:30 am. She would usually leave for work at 8:30 am. She might as well take a walk. She had nothing better to do.

Somehow, she found herself at Gringotts. That was curious. Oh well, it wouldn’t hurt to go on up to her old office. She needed to clear out her desk and things.

Come to think of it, she never really quit, after all; and Mr. Moss hadn’t actually fired her yet. Maybe he wouldn’t fire her. Perhaps, since she was all dressed and ready for work, she should just go on up to her office and pretend nothing was amiss. He might change his mind. He might not fire her. The only thing that could ruin her plan was if Draco Malfoy took her advice when she told him to tell Mr. Moss to take her job and shove it up his arse. That made her smile. There was no way Draco would really come and tell Mr. Moss such a thing. Hermione could perhaps do some damage control, and she might not lose her job. This could all still work in her favour.

She entered her office and saw her assistant sitting at her desk, talking enthusiastically with the one person who could ruin Hermione’s chance at not losing her job. Draco Malfoy. She rolled back her shoulders, walked in the office, and said, “Hello, Gail, do you know if Mr. Moss is in yet?” She decided to ignore Malfoy’s presence so she didn't greet him at all.

“He’s not. Mr. Malfoy is waiting for him as well,” her assistant said.

Draco turned from his position on Gail's desk, smiled at Hermione, and winked at her. Hermione walked over to him, and threw her coat directly over his head, as if he were a coat rack. He continued to sit there, with her coat on his head, swinging his legs back and forth.
‘What … an … idiot’, Hermione thought. “Tell me the moment he gets in, please,” Hermione said, and she left the outer office to enter her own.

Draco followed. He at least had removed her coat from his head. He threw the coat over a chair, and was now sitting on HER desk. Deciding to continue to ignore him, she sat down in her chair, and started looking through some papers, to try to look busy.

“Your assistant is a lovely girl,” he finally spoke.

“She’s married,” Hermione said, lying for some reason.

“I don’t want to marry her; I just said she was lovely. It’s no different than if I said, ‘you have curly hair.’ It’s just a statement of fact,” he goaded.

“You'd better not have been flirting with her,” Hermione scolded, standing up and going over to her filing cabinet.

“I don’t flirt,” he said, hardly able to contain his laughter. She looked at him with an incredulous look, and he said, “Okay, I flirt sometimes, but always with the best of intentions.”

“Oh, and what would those intentions be?” she asked him, as she turned to face him.

“Depends on with whom I'm flirting,” he said, seriously. “For instance, when I flirt with you, I can assure you my intentions are less than honourable.” He winked again.

“Why are you here?” It finally dawned on Hermione to ask.

“I’m here to deliver your message to Mr. Moss. I just want to make sure I have it right first...wasn't it something about sticking your job up his something or other...hmm...I can’t recall verbatim, but I’m sure when I’m standing there in front of him, it’ll all come back to me.” He turned around on her desk, and was now sitting facing her.

“Get off my desk, please,” she asked, rolling her eyes. She decided to change the subject. She hoped he was kidding about talking to Moss.

Draco started to whistle. Hermione had never trusted anyone who whistled. It was one of her rules. It might have something to do with the fact that she couldn’t whistle. She had never analyzed it before, but it was a steadfast rule, nonetheless.

"Stop whistling, please, I don't like it." She took a step closer, and demanded, “And please, remove your person from my desk.”

“Come here,” he asked, wiggling his index finger, in an indication that he wanted her closer.

“No,” she said smartly.

“Please, come here,” he said with a sigh.

“I’m close enough,” she complained.

“No, I need you closer,” he said, with a lopsided grin.

“No,” she said again, less convincing this time.

“COME HERE!” he demanded sharply, pointing his finger directly in front of him.

“NO!” she shouted back.

“Hermione, if I have to get off this desk, you’ll be sorry, you little witch,” Draco said slyly.

She ignored him. She backed farther away.

“Either come here now,” he said steadily, “or I really do tell Mr. Moss that you want him to take your job and shove it up his arse."

“Must you resort to blackmail?” she fumed.

“Yes, it seems appropriate at this juncture of our relationship,” he lectured. He started to do that irritating little thing with his finger again, motioning her to come closer. She obeyed and slowly walked closer. When she was about an arm’s length from him, he said, “One more step should do it, either that or I start whistling again.”

She took one more step, and was shocked when he jumped off the desk and landed almost directly in front of her. She almost fell backwards, and in fact, would have, if he hadn’t reached around her and wrapped his arms around her waist.

She leaned away, and placed both hands on his chest. “You’re so juvenile,” she complained.

“But, I got you to come closer,” he said with a smile.

“Yes, fine, I’m closer, you win, and you have me in your evil clutches, now will you let me go, or shall I scream?” she asked, trying to remain calm. Her reality was much different. She felt short of breath, and she had that same little tingling feeling that started behind her navel, and went all the way down to her toes. If he kissed her right now, she might truly melt into the carpet.

He put one hand on her forehead. “You seem flushed. Do you have a fever, or is it me?” he asked, almost silently. His hand traveled from her forehead, to her cheek. He then put it on her neck. “Yes, rapid pulse, you may be getting sick.” Then he put his hand flat on her chest, above her left breast.

Her heart was beating so fast, she felt it would surely come out of her chest and explode.

Your heart rate is rapid. Tell me, Hermione, what's the cause of this sudden, rapid heartbeat?” Without really wanting an answer, which was good because she couldn’t speak, he leaned his face toward hers and kissed her full and sensually on the lips. He played with her lips for a moment. Not parting them, but not really a closed mouth kiss either. He put his lips on her cheek, and said, “Definitely, you have a fever. You’re very hot.” He wiggled his eyebrows, because of the double meaning of that statement, and then he put his lips on her other cheek, and her legs buckled.

That strange tingling was back, but now it was in a very different place. He tightened his arms around her, to support her weight, and put his lips on her pulse point. He kissed it, and then sucked. “Rapid...rapid...pulse,” he said with labored breathing. He kissed her chest, above the opening of her blouse. “Heart rate is still irregular,” he murmured.

She finally found her voice, and said, “Maybe I’m contagious. It seems you’re having trouble breathing, and your pulse is rapid as well.” She was out of breath. He looked at her, smiled and put his lips back on hers. She closed her eyes and gave in to the feeling.

“Yes, you’re contagious,” he said, as he finally let her go. “I fear you're completely, and utterly contagious. Oh, and you can open your eyes now.” He still had her by the waist, but not flushed up against his body. Gail knocked on the door; thank goodness she didn’t come in, and said, “Mr. Moss is here.”

Hermione opened her eyes, backed away, and straightened her clothes. She truly was flushed now. “I have to go see Mr. Moss,” she said.

“So do I,” he said to her.

“Why?” She was concerned.

“I have to talk to him,” he stated sincerely.

Hermione turned to leave the office, and he followed. He walked about a step behind her the entire way to Mr. Moss’ office. Hermione turned to him when they almost reach his door, and she actually pushed him up against the wall, and held the collar of his jacket. “Listen, Malfoy, do not embarrass me at my place of employment.”

He looked at her hands on this jacket, laughed, and said, “Like you embarrassed me at mine?”

“Please, Draco,” she said, still holding his jacket.

He pushed her hands away, and said, “Oh, by all means, call me Draco, instead of Malfoy. See if you can manipulate me by suddenly being all sweet,” he mocked her.

She gave up. She started to walk away, toward the other direction. He called to her, and she turned back to him and said, “Tell him whatever you want. I give up.”

He reached for her arm, and said, “Don’t give up so easily. You might yet be able to convince me.”

“I don’t care anymore,” she said sadly. She did look sad. Draco felt some remorse. Not a lot, but some.

“Stop being so dramatic,” he mocked. “It just so happens I have a meeting with him this morning.” He took her hand and continued back down the hall with her.

“Then where are you taking me?” she asked.

“I’m taking you to my lair to have mad passionate sex with you,” he said quickly.

She came to a complete stop, and asked, “What?”

“I said, I have a meeting with him, and so do you,” he answered.

“That’s not what you said,” she retorted, crossing her arms over her chest.

He imitated her, crossed his arms over his chest, and inquired, “All right, Miss Smarty Pants, what did I say.”

“Something about a lair and sex,” she responded, cocking one eyebrow.

“Scandalous, Granger,” he said with mock surprise. “Clean out your ears, and get your mind out of the gutter.” He opened the door to Mr. Moss’ office and walked in, leaving her standing in the hallway.

She decided it was going to be a long day.

The meeting with Mr. Moss went well. He apologized to Hermione about not trusting her. He told her Draco came and cleared up everything and that he didn’t even have to go to the Board. Then he even went ahead and offered her the promotion, which she readily accepted.

“Good thing you offered her that promotion,” Draco told the man. “I have a Vice President position open, after firing Nott, and I was hoping to steal her away from you.”

“Well, yes, good thing, then,” Mr. Moss agreed. “I have another meeting with the Board in ten minutes. Why don’t you explain to Hermione why you’re here Draco?” With that, Mr. Moss left his office.

Hermione leaned closer to Draco’s chair, after Moss left the room, and said, “Were you really going to offer me Nott’s job?”

“Of course I wasn’t,” Draco laughed, “you’re no where near qualified, although, I wouldn’t have minded you being under me, if you catch my meaning.” He wiggled his eyebrows again. Hermione rolled her eyes in disgust.

“I wouldn’t have worked for you anyway. I’m sure I would have to sue you for sexual harassment the very first day,” Hermione joked.

“Not just the first day, but every day afterwards as well, but actually, no one's sued me yet, and not for lack of trying,” he joked back.

She decided to ignore his jokes (hoping they WERE jokes). “So, tell me,” Hermione began, “what's the real reason you’re here?”

Draco started, “My company, along with your bank, is hosting a Spring Gala to raise money for a new wing at St. Mungo's hospital. We’ll co-sponsor the event, and you’ll plan the whole thing. The theme, the ticket prices, the guest list, the entertainment, the whole bloody thing.”

Hermione nodded her head up and down, excited, and agreed, “I can do that. I’ll start my team on it right away. We’ll come up with a preliminary report, and projected budgets, and I’ll meet with you with all the details, including possible dates and venues by next week. My assistant will set up a meeting with your assistant.”

Draco smiled. He was actually quite impressed with her. Then, out of the blue, he said, “Let’s go to lunch.”

“May I say something?” she interjected.

“If I say no, you still will, so go on.” He sat back in the chair and closed his eyes for a moment.

“My job is very important to me. I take it quite seriously. It’s the most important part of my life right now, especially this new job, which I've been wanting forever. Therefore, I think we need to keep our professional relationship, professional, and our personal relationship, well, personal,” she explained.

“Now let me say one thing,” he leaned closer. “No. On second thought, let me say two things: One, the fact that your job's the most important thing in your life is a little sad, and I hope to remedy that right away. Two, I agree, we must stay professional at work.”

“And our personal relationship?” she interjected.

“Pardon?” He leaned even closer.

“I said what about our personal relationship?” she asked again.

“That’s personal. I can’t tell you that,” he joked. Her face fell. She didn’t appreciate his sense of humour. He stood up, and pulled her up as well. “Our personal relationship, if that’s what you would call what we have, will at all times, stay outside of the work place.”

“Can you really adhere to that?” she asked.

“Can you?” he inquired of her.

“I’m not the one sitting on people’s desks and kissing them in their office,” she complained.

“I wasn’t kissing myself, sweetheart. Someone else was there, whether that person wants to acknowledge that or not,” he said, almost in a defeated attitude.

Hermione started blushing. He pulled her closer, and said, “I know this is your work, but may I ask one last personal thing?” She took a deep breath. Her blush was leaving her face, and traveling down her body. He had both her hands, and he pulled them up to his lips, and kissed her fingertips. He turned one of her hands, palm side, to his mouth, and then kissed her palm. He then gave her palm a quick little lick with his tongue. Then he rubbed her palm with his thumb. That gesture was as erotic to Hermione as any of her previous sexual encounters were.

“Malfoy?” she said, hoarsely.

“Yes,” he purred.

“What did you want to say?”

“Do you even consider us as having a personal relationship?” he asked her almost hesitantly.

“I thought we were beginning to have one, at least, I had hoped so,” she said honestly.

He let her go, and said, “Get those reports to me as soon as you can, and have your assistant set up that meeting,” and he started to walk away.

Hermione thought,
'What the hell?'

He turned back around and said, “Meet me at Diagon Alley, 1:00 o’clock, for lunch.”

“Is this a business lunch?” she asked, truly confused.

“No silly, this is a ‘personal relationship’ lunch.” He smiled and waved goodbye.

Hermione went back to her office, and to her surprise, her staff had a cake and decorations waiting for her. Mr. Moss was there as well. He told her he didn’t really have a meeting with the Board, he had just wanted to share the good news of her promotion with the staff, and have time to decorate her office. She was so happy. After a half an hour of well deserved celebrating, she told her staff they had to get to work on the big spring gala.

She gave out assignments to everyone, and told them all to get their first reports to her in 48 hours. She started working as well. Before she knew it, it was almost one o’clock. She retrieved her coat from the chair Draco had thrown it earlier, and ran to Diagon Alley to meet him.

She suddenly realized he never told her were they were to meet. She walked around for almost ten minutes. Finally, she saw him down the street, walking toward her, with his collar up, to protect him from the cold.

She ran toward him, and said, “I didn’t know where to meet you, I’m so sorry I’m late.”

He grabbed her arm, led her into a nearby restaurant, and said, “It’s just so damn cold, let’s just eat here.” The hostess took them to a table.

He kept his coat on, even at the table. “Are you really that cold?” she asked.

“It’s March,” he asserted, as if that was a valid answer.

“We’re inside now,” she said in a condensing tone.

“I’m cold blooded,” he explained.

“Like a snake?” she asked, and then she hissed.

“Fine, I’ll take my coat off, but you'd better be prepared to warm me up, woman,” he laughed.

He took his coat off, and then she saw the real reason he kept it on. He was hiding something under his coat. He placed it on the table. It was a large package, with a big green bow.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“A package,” he answered.

“Who’s it for?” she wondered.

“Oh, I forgot, it’s for you. I was going to wait and give it to you if you were a good girl, but if you promise you’ll be good during our lunch, I’ll give it to you now,” he said nonchalantly, and pushed the package toward her.

"Why did you get me a present?" she asked, pulling at the green ribbon.

"It's a combination gift, for your promotion and for deciding to date me, and well, for many other things," he droned onward awkwardly, pushing the package closer to her. "Go on, open it."

She opened it, already knowing what it would reveal. It was that damn book again! She turned the rare second edition of
Hogwarts, a History around and looked inside. It was even inscribed. She would love to keep this book. However, it was the principle of the thing. It was much to valuable. She clutched it to her chest for a moment, not even realizing what she was doing, and she put it back on the table, and pushed it toward him.

He was smiling when she picked it up, but as she pushed it back toward him, he started to frown.

“Why do you keep trying to give me this book?” she pleaded.

“I thought it was what you wanted. You had Potter bid on the bloody thing for you,” he said.

“Yes, and he was outbid by you. It’s yours,” she answered.

He pushed it back toward her, and said, “I want to give it to you.”

Now she pushed it back toward him, and said, “You can’t buy me with a bloody book that's this rare and expensive!”

“What do you think I’ll be ‘buying’, if you keep that book?” he asked with anger. “Tell me, Hermione, what would I be buying?”

“My self-respect and pride,” she answered.

"What a stupid, Gryffindor, thing to say," he spat. “You have false pride and no respect for yourself, if that’s what you truly think,” he continued, with indignation. “At least you didn’t think I was trying to buy sex.” He got up from the table, and grabbed his coat. “Burn the blasted thing, throw it off the highest tower, I don’t give a damn.” He put his coat on and left. He also left the book.

She was shocked. She really must have hurt his feelings. She picked up the book, grabbed her coat, and ran after him. Did Draco Malfoy actually walk out on her? Did she really hurt his feelings? She stepped out of the restaurant, clutching both the book and her coat, and looked to the left, then to the right. He was long gone. Great, she thought. Her lunch hour wasted, and she really was hungry. Her hunger was what made her angry. Not him. Never him. At least, that was what she told herself, even though she knew that wasn't the truth.

She walked back toward her building, and about a block away, someone grabbed her and pulled her into an alleyway. She didn’t even have time to scream. The person put his hand on her mouth. She was shaking and frightened. She dropped her coat and the book. The stranger whispered in her ear, “Do you have a death wish?” He let go of her mouth, and she turned around. It was Draco! She hit him hard, several times, with her closed fists on his chest.

“You scared me so much! If I had my wand, you would be so sorry right now,” she yelled at him. He put his hands up to block her blows. “And what was with the ‘death wish’ comment?”

“I meant because it’s so bloody cold out here, and you didn’t have your coat on. Goodness, Granger, you’re a violent, little thing.” He picked up her coat and the book and handed them both to her. She handed him back the book, and slipped her coat on. He tried to hand the book back to her, and she shook her head no. He held it high above his head, acting as if he would smash it to the ground, so she reluctantly took the damn thing. He probably really would leave it in the alley. She would see that it got back to him later.

They walked in silence back to her building. “Since lunch was a wash, would you care to have dinner tonight?” he asked her, hugging her tight, as soon as they got to the entrance of her building.

“Maybe you shouldn’t hug me so close to my work. Someone might see,” she chastised him.

“This is merely for medicinal purposes. So we won’t become ill. Body heat, you know?" he explained, and then he added, “So, what about dinner?”

“What is your malfunction?” she asked.

“I really don’t know what that means,” he said, seriously. He probably didn’t. She would explain.

“What it means is, you act all angry and indignant back at the restaurant, and then you accost me in an alley, and now you ask me out for dinner,” she told him, shaking her head in disbelief.

“What are you saying?” he asked, letting her go. “You don’t want to go out with me?”

“Here, just take your book, please.” She tried to hand the book back to him.

“Give it to me tonight at dinner,” he suggested, running his hand through his hair.

“I really have plans tonight,” she said in return, shivering, since he was no longer holding her.

“Are you cheating on me, before we even start dating?” He laughed to hide his anxiety.

“I’m babysitting for Harry and Ginny, so nothing quite as exciting as a date with you.” She playfully hit his arm.

“Potter and Little Red have a baby?” he asked her, with a look of disgust.

“Yes, its a little boy, named James, and he’s a few months old. They haven’t gone out, just the two of them, since he was born. I can’t back out of this now,” she explained. She put her hand on his arm. “Will you ask me again, or have I blown my only chance?” she asked, also trying to hide her anxiety.

He sighed. She thought he was going to tell her that she did indeed blow her chance, when he shocked her by saying, “It just really makes me sick.”

“What does?” She didn’t understand.

“The thought of Little Red and Lightning Bolt having sex. Yuck. It’s gross,” he blanched.

“Well, sex is usually how people have babies, Malfoy. Hasn’t your father ever had the ‘sex talk’ with you?” She laughed. “They're both very attractive people, whom love each other a lot, so I’m sure for them, having sex isn’t disgusting at all.”

He shut his eyes for a moment, and said, “Nope, you’re wrong. In my imagination, it’s gross.”

“Goodbye, Malfoy.” Hermione smiled and started in the building.

“What time are you babysitting?” he called after her, “I’ll come over.”

“Maybe we will see each other in a few days, and have dinner, like you suggested. I’ll see you.” She waved and walked through the lobby. She left him outside. She still had his book, so she would have to see him again, if only to give it back.

And he decided he would see her tonight while she was babysitting.

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