A Change of Heart

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Chapter 5: The Hand Incident

From his desk, if he leaned all the way back, craned his head just the right way, and shut his right eye, Draco could see Gringotts bank. He was doing just that, that Wednesday morning, because he wanted to see if he could see the place that Hermione worked, and he could...if he squinted.

He pushed his chair back to his desk, and thought about the date they would soon have, and the goodnight kiss she promised him. Draco was besotted with Hermione Granger. No two ways about it; he had it bad. He had not even gone out with her, yet he thought about her every minute of the day. He was scheduled to see her tomorrow, to discuss the Spring Gala. He didn’t think he could physically or mental wait that long. He would have to see her today.

He told his assistant to get a hold of Miss Granger, and tell her they must reschedule her meeting from tomorrow to today at 11:00 am. That way, he could take her to lunch afterward. Not a ‘professional lunch’, but a ‘personal lunch.’ It could count as their first date. Draco wondered if Hermione was the type of girl to sleep on the first date. Probably not.

While he waited for his assistant to give him Hermione’s response, he thought about her observation last night. The whole business about the, ‘King of Slytherin and the Princess of Gryffindor’. He frowned. Did she really think that they didn’t make a good match? Maybe she was just commenting on the irony of the situation. The whole ‘Mudblood’ soliloquy she delivered gave him pause for thought. He never once considered that he had hurt her that much during school. Good thing she was a better person than him, and had the capacity for forgiveness. He wasn’t sure he had quite the forgiving nature that she did.

He looked out his window again, and craned his neck, to try to get another glimpse of her building, when his assistant came in and said that Miss Granger’s assistant Owled and said Miss Granger would be happy to meet him at 11:00 am this morning. Hot damn! There was still two hours until 11:00 o’clock. He wanted to see her right now! He couldn’t get her off his mind.

He started some boring work, and met with some people to pass the time. When it was ten minutes until 11:00 o’clock, Draco’s assistant told him that Miss Granger’s assistant just Owled him again with a message that she had a “family emergency” and she had to leave to catch a “plane” and would be gone for several days. She sent her apologies.

Draco was angry at first, and then a bit concerned. If she was going to be gone for a few days, that meant no meeting today, no lunch, and no dinner. At exactly 11:00 am, a witch by the name of Betsy Blake came to see Draco, and said that she was keeping Miss Granger’s appointment for her. Draco told her to leave and that he would only see Granger. Yes, he was rude to her. He didn’t care. He didn’t really want to talk about the stupid Gala. He could care less about the Gala. He had just wanted to see Hermione.

Draco went home that night in a terrible mood, and decided it was all her fault. He was angry with her. She was bloody inconsiderate. She could have Owled him directly, or popped by and seen him, before she left. Even if they weren’t ‘dating’, they did have an understanding, didn’t they?

The weekend came and went, and there was no news from Granger. He stopped by her house several times during the weekend, and she wasn’t home. He was actually more worried than angry now.

On Monday, he walked in the office and was told that Miss Granger had been in and had left him a note on his desk. He sprinted to his desk, and picked up the note. All it said was,
“I’m going out of town again for a few days. Sorry I missed you this morning. I’ll see you when I return.” What a perfectly horrid note. He discarded it in the trash, and cursed her for her rudeness.

He no longer cared. Not in the least. He didn’t even want to go out with her anymore. She wasn’t pretty anyway. He leaned back in his chair, to try to see her building, when he stopped himself. If he didn’t care, then he had no business looking at her building.

Finally, on that Thursday, nine full days since he had seen her, he walked in his office, and saw her sitting in the reception area. He tried to avert his gaze. He didn’t even want to acknowledge her. He walked right past her and into his office. His assistant told him Miss Granger was here to see him. The stupid man. Did he think Draco was blind? He told his assistant to tell her to call ahead next time and schedule her appointments, and not to just show up unannounced.

He walked into his office, sat down, and growled. DAMN! He didn't want her to leave! He ran to his outer office. His assistant had already left to talk to Granger. Draco ran out to catch them. He walked to the reception area, and saw his stupid assistant sitting on the couch, laughing with Hermione, and she had her hand on his arm. They were flirting! He walked up to them, and decided turn around was fair play, so he took off his coat and threw it over her head. He then told his assistant to get back to work.

“Draco?” Hermione asked, with a muffled voice, from under his coat.

“What?” he asked perturbed.

“May I take your coat off my head?” she asked.

He reached down for his coat and then walked toward his office. She just sat there.

He turned toward her and said, “Come on then, I don’t have all day.”

She stood and followed him to his office. He sat behind his desk, and she sat in a chair in front. “Were you flirting with my assistant?” he asked.

“Who, Scott?” she asked back.

“How many damn assistants do you think I have? Yes, Scott, and how do you know his name?” Draco drilled.

“We were just talking,” she laughed.

“You know he’s gay, right?” Draco lied, reminiscent to what she had said about her assistant being married, when he flirted with her.

“Draco, can we get to work?” she asked.

“Did we have a meeting scheduled?” he asked back, looking down at some papers.

“I’ll come back later, when you’re back to normal,” she said as she stood to leave.

“Sit down, Granger. Tell me, where have you been for nine days?” Draco quizzed.

“I had to go with my father to Scotland,” she told him, as if that was enough information, and should make perfectly logical sense to him.

“Why?” he inquired.

“Can we discuss the Gala first, and then my miserable existence? I feel we’re so behind in the preparations, which I know is entirely my fault,” she explained, “Maybe we can have a personal lunch today, and I’ll tell you where I’ve been.”

He wanted to have lunch with her. He didn’t want to be angry with her anymore. He decided, right then and there, to stop being a prick, and just give in to Hermione Granger’s pull over him.

“I have an idea,” he said as he moved from his desk chair, to the chair next to her, “let’s talk about the Gala now, and then have dinner later tonight. Our first date and all, okay?”

She seemed surprised by this. “You really still want to go out with me? Even after I stood you up?”

“Of course, I’m smitten with you. It might be some sort of dark magic, or maybe you gave me a love potion, but I can’t help wanting to be with you.” He leaned over and kissed her check sweetly. “Now,” he added, “tell me where you’ve been.”

“If I talk about it, I’ll be in a right foul mood, and I’m sure you don’t want that,” Hermione said, in a serious tone. He had her hand, and nodded at her to continue. “Oh, it’s my stupid father! Last Tuesday, after babysitting James, my father was at my house waiting for me. He told me he met a woman and he was in love and was going to marry her.” She stood up and threw her hands up in the air. “He’s known her for only two weeks! They met on March 1, which by the way was my mum’s birthday.” She was pacing the room now.

Draco didn’t know Hermione’s mum was dead, but he assumed from the way she said
'was my mum's birthday' that she was. He stood up next to her and put his hands on her shoulders to keep her from pacing, before she made a hole in the floor.

“Continue,” Draco said.

“Well, as I said, he meets this woman on March 1, and he tells me on March 15th that he wants to marry her, on, get this, March 17th! Which, you won’t believe this one, was my mum and dad’s anniversary.” She sat down again and put her head in her hands.

“She’s a terrible woman, only after his money, I'm sure, and she’s only five years older than I am. My father doesn’t want her ever to know about my magic. I feel like I’ve lost my mum
and my dad. I went to the stupid wedding, to support him. No, I went to try to talk sense into him, and get him to use better judgment, but he married the wretched woman anyway. Then, I just needed to take some time off to think about things.”

Draco pulled her from the chair and hugged her. He put his arms tight around her and kissed the top of her head.

She looked up at him and said, “Her name is Bernice. Yuck.” She put her head back on his chest, and he tried to restrain his chuckle. “My father thought all the coincidences, like the date he met her, and their wedding date, were signs from my mother, saying she would approve.” She looked up at Draco, and tears were forming in her eyes, “My mum’s only been dead a year. A year this month, if you can imagine. I hate March.”

“Wow,” Draco said, since all form of words had escaped him at the moment. Poor Hermione. He'd been thinking all sorts of mean things about her for the past nine days, and she'd been going through quite a little ordeal.

She stepped away from Draco, and held up her finger and her thumb in a gesture and said, “I was this close to Oblivating his memory, but I didn’t. Well, no use crying over spilled milk.”

“What does that mean?” Draco asked.

“Nothing, it’s just another useless Muggle saying,” she laughed.

“You need to get me a Muggle to Wizard dictionary,” he said seriously.

She suddenly jumped up and down, as if she had stepped on hot coals, and said, “That's given me a great idea for the Gala, but first, I want to check out a hotel that I was considering for it. Why don’t we go there today, check the place out, have our ‘business lunch’ and go over my ideas for the Gala, and then we can stay for dinner!” She seemed so excited.

“Where is this hotel?” he asked, amused.

“It’s on the coast. It’s a Wizard hotel. It’s called The Grand Marsh Hotel. I hear it’s beautiful, and it would be the perfect venue,” Hermione said.

“So, let me get this straight, you want to take me to hotel?” he asked, raising one eyebrow.

“If the idea of going to a hotel with me repulses you, then by all mean, stay here,” Hermione said, gathering her things, “but, I’m going and I’m leaving now.” She walked out his door.

He followed.

“Should we Apparate there?” he asked as he caught up with her.

“No, it’s such a beautiful day, and it’s not too cold out, so let’s drive. Maybe it’ll take my mind off my mum,” she responded.

He thought she was joking, so he laughed. Her smile left her face, so he said, “Are you serious? In a Muggle car?”

“Haven’t you ever been in a car?” she asked him.

“Yes, but I don’t drive myself. Who’ll drive?” He didn’t seem to comprehend what she was trying to say.

“I have a car, and I’ll drive. It’ll be fun.” She took his arm, without telling him what she was about to do, and Apparated them both to her house.

“Don’t ever do that again!” he yelled. He hated side-along Apparition.

“Let’s go outside, and I’ll show you my car.” Hermione led Draco out back and showed him her car. It was nothing special, as far as Draco could see. She opened the boot end, put her satchel in there, and said, “Get in.”

He opened the passenger door and sat down. Feeling very uneasy, he shut the door and looked around.

She got in behind the wheel, and said, “Let’s go. We should be there in about an hour.” She started to back out of her drive, when she stopped and said, “Put your seatbelt on, please.”

“No, it’ll crease by suit,” he said.

She said, “I’m not going anywhere, unless you put your seatbelt on.”

“Splendid,” he said, “let’s Apparate.”

She reached around him and fastened his seat belt. He slapped her hand and said, “Fresh!”

They started driving and all Draco could think was that Hermione had lied. She was a terrible driver. Draco actually feared for his life. “Now I know why you’re so terrible on a broom,” he said, clutching the dashboard.

“Shut up, I’m a good driver,” she said, narrowly missing an on-coming car.

“Tell me about your ideas for the Gala,” he said. He wanted to get his mind off her driving. He thought he was going to be sick and possibly dead any moment.

“Why should we have the same old boring ball or stuffy dance? I thought we should do something fun. I want to call it ‘The Spring Fling’. I thought we could get a swing band, and still have a dance, but also have some fun things going on, like maybe a roulette table, and like a fortuneteller’s booth, maybe a kissing booth, and some Muggle carnival type things. We could sell raffle tickets, and raffle things like, a broom ride with the world famous Harry Potter. And maybe, play Quidditch with the world famous Quidditch player, Ron Weasley. We could even have a raffle for a date with the world famous playboy, Draco Malfoy.”

He thought everything sounded wonderful, until she said that last thing. “No,” he said, “everything but that last one.”

“Why not?” she asked, looking at him. He put his hand on her face, and pointed it toward the front window.

“Please watch the road,” he shouted, “and, the reason is because I can’t be bought and sold to the highest bidder.”

“Then, we’ll do, ‘win a date with the world famous Muggle-born’, Hermione Granger,” she laughed.

He frowned and said, “Definitely not.”

“You can’t tell me what to do,” she said slowly.

“I can tell you what to do at this Gala, and I say no. Definitely not. If you and I haven’t even gone out on a date yet, I don’t bloody well think I’ll allow you to raffle yourself off as a date to some stranger. You’re not a prostitute,” he said seriously.

“The Spring Fling won’t be until April 14th. Surely we’ll have had our date by then,” she said, looking at him again.

“Keep your eyes on the damn road!” he yelled, “And, yes, hopefully we’ll have had lots of dates before then, perhaps even lots of sex, but still, I don’t want you to raffle yourself off as some door prize.”

“Maybe you could buy all the raffle tickets, and take me out on the date,” she replied.

He laughed and said, “No way. I already bought a bloody book for a million galleons to go out with you, and that hasn’t even happened yet. Why would I waste more money?”

“AH HA!” Hermione yelled, pointing at him and swerving the car in the process. “I knew you had ulterior motives with that book!”

“I never pretended that I didn’t,” he countered, reaching out to wheel to right the car.

“But you claimed all the time that you weren’t trying to buy me with that book, you liar,” she fumed.

“Let’s rack that oversize brain of yours for a moment, Miss Granger. You said I couldn’t buy your self-respect and pride with that book. I told you I didn’t want your self-respect and pride. I never said I didn’t want to go out with you. Which, I might remind you, isn’t exactly working out the way I planned, since we have, one: never gone out yet, and, two: I seem to some how be in possession of the book at the moment, not you.”

“So, your evil scheme didn’t turn out. So sad for you,” she laughed.

“It hasn’t worked out yet. It will,” he concluded.

“Not as long as I’m not in possession of the book,” she said smugly.

He smiled. She didn’t give him enough credit.

“Whatever happened to Pansy Parkinson?” Hermione asked unexpectedly.

He frowned and said, “Where in the world did that come from?”

“I was just curious,” she said, as she slowed down, and turned on a country lane. “You two were quite the item in school, weren’t you?”

“I was an item with a lot of girls in school,” he said finally. “Tell me something, Miss Noisy, what happened to you and the Weasel. Didn’t you date in school?”

“Tell me about Pansy first.” She turned to look at him, and he gave her a reprimanding look, and she turned back to look at the road.

“I haven’t even seen her since school, happy?” he told her. “Now, tell me the dirt on you and the Weasel.”

“We just decided we wanted different things out of life, but we’re still best friends,” she said vaguely.

“And, more details please,” he prodded.

“What more can I say? We wanted different things.”

“Like you wanted more S&M and bondage, and he wanted someone like his mummy?” he laughed.

“Yuck,” she said, and stuck out her tongue. “You’re so gross.”

“If you won’t elaborate, then I must come to my own conclusions,” he surmised.

“Fine, Ron wanted to get married and to have kids, and I wanted my career,”
she finally said.

He shook his head and said, “So, you can’t multi-task? You can’t have your cake and eat it too? Something isn’t right here. I saw you with the baby the other night. I don’t believe you don’t want kids,” he said to her in a non-mocking tone.

“He didn’t want me to work, okay. Must I explain more?” She was tired of this line of questioning.

“In other words,” Draco concluded, “he wanted you ‘barefoot and pregnant’.”

She said, “It was something like that. It doesn’t matter. It was all for the best.” Then she turned to him and said, “Barefoot and pregnant? That’s a Muggle expression, you know.”

He laughed. “I wanted to speak in terms you would understand,” he said, with another chuckle, “since you’re practically a Muggle.”

She slammed on the brakes, and he had to put his hands on the dash again, to keep from hitting his head.

“Listen, Malfoy!” she steamed, “I’m as much of a wizard as you are. You act like blood purity doesn’t matter to you any longer, but you’re such a liar.” She got out of the car and slammed the door.

For goodness sakes, he was joking. He didn’t mean anything by it.

He stayed in the car.

She stayed outside the car.

About five minutes passed and she got back in the car. She sat there, without restarting the engine.

“Give me your hand,” Draco told her softly.

“Why?”

“May I have your hand, please?” he asked. She handed him her left hand, and he kissed the back of her hand, and then he kissed each finger. She felt the kisses all the way down to her toes.

“Do you have a hand fetish?” she asked finally.

“What?” he laughed, still holding her hand.

“Well, that day in Mr. Moss’ office, you did that little thing to my hand and palm, which almost curled my toes, I have to admit, and now this. So, I beg to ask, do you have a hand fetish?” she pleaded again.

“Are you serious? I don’t even recall what I did to your hand in your boss’ office.” Draco said with a smile.

She must have found it more memorable than he did, and that hurt her feelings. “Never mind,” Hermione said, snatching her hand from his as she started the car.

He reached over and turned the car off again.

“Show me what I did. Jog my memory,” he said to her in a husky voice.

“NO!” she said sharply. “I’m embarrassed enough that you don’t even remember the incident. I’m certainly not going to do it to you.”

Draco said calmly, “If I’m being accused of having a hand fetish, I would at least like to know the reason why. Show me.”

“If you don’t remember, then forget it,” she said again.

“But you remember. Show me Hermione,” he said in a low voice.

She put her head on the steering wheel. He was insane. She was so embarrassed. She plucked up all her nerve, and turned to him. She took his left hand and cradled it in both of hers. She felt excited just holding his hand. Electricity was pumping through every fiber of her being. Was she really going to do this? She had never taken this kind of initiative or risk with a man before.

He took his seatbelt off with his other hand. He didn’t want any restraints. The excitement she felt was nothing compared to what he felt. The feeling of stimulation was paramount, at that moment, and all she was planning to do was to kiss his hand, for Merlin’s sake.

She took his hand, and started gently to massage each finger with her hands. She caressed each finger and then placed the palm of his hand up to her mouth, and kissed it with a semi-open mouth kiss, almost as if she was kissing his lips. She flicked her tongue on his skin, every so lightly and quickly. He was staring at her intently. She had her eyes closed. Perhaps she was embarrassed, or she could just be caught up in the moment. Whichever was the case, he was getting hard just looking at her.

She ran her tongue up and down each finger, paying special attention to the web of skin between each finger. She kissed each fingertip. She put the tip of his index finger in her mouth and gently sucked. She twirled her tongue around his finger. Now he had his eyes closed. If her mouth on his hand was causing him such abandoned bliss, what might it do to the rest of his body? She was slowly killing him.

She turned his hand over, and kissed the top of it. She gently bit his skin over the top of his hand, and then she dropped his hand on his lap. He opened his eyes and looked languidly at her. She had a pleased look on her face.

When he felt composed, he said, “I don’t remember doing the little sucking thing on your index finger, but that was a nice touch.”

She hit his arm, and said, “I knew you remembered.” She looked at the floor of the car, suddenly embarrassed.

“Of course I remembered,” he exclaimed. “Goodness, Granger, I don’t think I feel quite satisfied. Hopefully we’ll be at the hotel soon.”

“I’m not sleeping with you at the hotel,” she scolded.

“I wasn’t thinking of sleep,” he said back.

She rephrased the sentence. “I’m not having sex with you at the hotel, either.”

“Who said I need you? I’m sure there are plenty of young ladies at the hotel who would accommodate me,” he joked.

She rolled her eyes, and said, “Put your seatbelt back on, and let’s get on the road.”

He squirmed in his seat. He had a raging erection, and he knew he wasn’t going to be comfortable in the car with her, until he took care of his little problem. He opened the door to the car, and ran into the woods. She called out, “Are you car sick? Do you need to go to the bathroom?” He just ignored her. She was so naïve.

She got out to follow him and he shouted over his shoulder as he headed for the woods, “Leave me be for a moment.” 

She went around to the boot of her car. She might at well get out her satchel. They would be at the hotel any minute. Opening the boot, and saw Hogwarts, a History, plain as day, in the back of her car. How did he sneak it in there? She was going to have to be smarter and more cunning than Draco Malfoy if she wanted to win the war of the book, and she knew just what to do.

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