A Marriage Most Convenient

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Chapter 12: Will you marry me and Many Other Questions?

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." – Jane Austen

I am a single man, with a good fortune, and I want a good wife. Is that so wrong?” – Draco Malfoy

I am a single woman, with want of a good fortune, and I’ll make him a good wife, so nothing is wrong.” – Hermione Granger

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“Merlin, there you are. It’s been forever!” Draco pouted. He practically pulled Hermione inside the train car. She sat down, wearily, and he could immediately see that she seemed upset. “What is it?”

“You didn’t tell me your father was on the train,” she commented.

Draco looked worried. “Did he say something to you? I’m sorry, I should have told you, I know.”

“That’s fine,” she sighed.

“You’ve not been with him this whole time, have you?” Draco asked, appalled.

“Goodness, no.” Hermione gave him a harried look. “I’ve been with Alice. I told you she wasn’t a good traveler.” Hermione sat her purse upon the floor and went over to the window. She opened it from the top, letting the top pane slip downward so that the wind blew her hair. She let her arms drop to her sides, closed her eyes, and inhaled deeply.

Draco thought she looked beautiful standing there. He was aghast! Was he truly falling for her after only two days? The sun shone through the glass, bounced around the small train car, and played with the golden hues in her hair. Somehow, just the fact that he noticed that she had gold in her hair made him realize that he was in deep, deep trouble.

He was smitten. In his own words: besotted. Love? Maybe not yet, but pretty damn close. He loved kissing her, and he wanted to do that again. He loved spending time with her. He thought highly enough of her that he was willing to enter into a real marriage with her. That had to mean something. Most importantly, she had made him completely forget about his mystery woman.

He hadn’t been anticipating any of this when he suggested that she pretend to be his fiancée yesterday, but sometimes nice things happened to bad people when said person least expected them. He wondered if she was a good lover. Was she passionate, wild, and uninhibited? Would he compare her to his masked lover? He compared everyone to her. He didn’t want to compare Hermione to her, though. He wanted to want Hermione more than he wanted the masked woman. Would that be possible?

She was staring at him now, the sun behind her head, the wind from the open window blowing her long hair forward. He held out his hand, and as if they were really lovers, comfortable with unspoken commands, she took it without hesitation. She sat next to him.

“Didn’t you have a question, or a business proposition to offer me today, love?” He brought her hand up to his mouth and kissed her knuckles lightly. He placed their entwined hands on the seat between them.

Where was all her famed courage when she needed it most? She hardly knew where to start. “Draco, what is to happen after our holiday at Whitehall is over? After Alice and I leave to go back to London?”

He frowned. “In what sense?”

“What is to happen to you? Will you tell your parents that we parted as friends? That we fought and ended our engagement? That it was pretend the entire time. Then what will you do? Start all over? Time is running out for you, you know.”

He frowned deeper and let go of her hand. “Yes, I know and I hardly need you to remind me. What did my father say to you? Did he upset you?” Gads! Had his father told her that he might have a child out there? Was she thinking he was the type of man who wouldn’t take care of his own child? Was she comparing him to that wanker ex-husband of hers? “Listen, Hermione, just tell me what’s on your mind.”

“Tell me first what you’re going to do when our holiday is through,” she insisted. She stood up again, but then the train jarred and she stumbled. He pulled her back beside him.

“Sit down before you hurt yourself,” he said tersely, angry with her and with himself suddenly. Why was she asking all of these questions? Couldn’t she just continue to play along until he could convince her to make it real?

She begged, "Please answer me."

“I don’t know, frankly. I’ve not thought that far ahead,” he answered truthfully, and with a bit of a childish pout.

“But you don’t want Talbert to inherit your money, surely,” she gasped.

“Of course I don’t! Don’t be a ninny!” Now he stood up. He reached for the window and threw up the sash. He sat in the seat opposite her. “Spill it, Granger! What are you trying to say?” He was thoroughly confused, and somewhat vexed.

“Your father knows,” she revealed, then hesitated.

“What does he know?” he asked slowly.

She wanted to blurt out everything, but she said, “He knows this isn’t a real engagement, and that’s why he went blindly along with it.” She was only partly lying. Partly wasn’t so wrong, was it?

“How does he know that?” Draco stood up again, aghast!

“He confronted me about some things,” she began, (he didn’t need to know what things), “and I blurted it out, but I also told him that I wanted to rectify that matter, by offering you a business proposition.”

“SAY IT!” he all but screamed, sitting back down.

“I think, since time is running out, and you have no other prospects, and you clearly don’t want Talbert to inherit, and we get along so well now that we’re not children any longer, and Alice likes you, and I like you, and I think you like me, and you kiss really, really well…” He stood up and placed his hand over her mouth.

“How much longer is this proposition?” he asked, pleased with what he had heard so far. “Because I told you last night, my answer was already yes.” He sat next to her, hand still on her mouth.

She placed her hand around his wrist, brought his hand away from her mouth and said, “You think we should enter a marriage of convenience, too?”

“Whatever you want to call it, yes, I’ll marry you, Hermione, if you’ll marry me,” he said, smiling.

“It would be real,” she warned. “I mean, a real business arrangement, yet also a real marriage, with affection, and shared responsibilities.”

“Of course it would be real. A marriage with all the trappings,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows.

She playfully hit his chest as she stood back up. “I mean a real business arrangement, too. I would sign a prenuptial agreement, and we can look at this as exclusively a business deal, if you want, but for Alice’s sake, I want it to seem real. I think we have affection for each other, which is more than I held for Kevin the last few years.”

He said, “Come here, love.” This time he patted his lap.

“Wait, there’s more.”

He rolled his eyes. “You’re Hermione Granger, so of course, there’s more. You want to go over every bloody point. I want to kiss. What shall we do?” Instead of his lap, he patted the seat beside him, which was becoming a familiar action.

“I really need to say this one, and get your agreement, and if you don’t agree, then I can’t marry you, no matter what. I’m serious.” She sat opposite him, instead of beside him.

He looked at her seriously and leaned forward. “I’m listening.”

She bit her lip for a moment and said, “I want more children. I won’t waver on this. If you don’t agree to this, it’s goodbye, right now. I want your solemn word on this.” After what happened with Kevin, it was highly important that she find out Draco’s feelings on children. He might have a way with Alice, a nice rapport, but that didn’t mean he wanted children. She wouldn’t be duped again.

“Let me show you my answer in a graphic manner,” he snickered. He leaned forward, grabbed her arm, and pulled her over to his lap. He took out his wand, and in two seconds flat the blinds were drawn and the door closed tight. He kissed her neck, his hands holding her tightly around her waist. “You little minx, you can’t keep your hands off me, can you?” he joked.

He was still kissing her neck and jaw, his hands traveling around her body, when she said, “Does that mean we’re engaged? Have you accepted my business proposition?”

He felt like telling her no, he didn’t accept her bloody business proposition, but he was going to marry her for real in every sense, but he would take baby steps. Yesterday it was a pretend engagement; last night it was a pretend engagement that was going to last throughout an extended holiday, now it was a ‘marriage of convenience’ or a business arrangement. With his luck, they would be madly in love by the time they hit Whitehall! He would call it ‘a marriage most convenient’, since he wanted to marry her very, very much, which was very, very convenient.

“I accept, love.” He held her to him, her breasts pressed against his chest, his hands in her hair, and his mouth slanted over hers. It all fit perfectly. THEY fit perfectly. He began to move his lips against hers when she had to ruin everything.

She pushed away from his chest and said, “I have something else to tell you.”

“Can’t it wait?” he pleaded. He urged her back toward him and kissed her neck.

Hermione tilted her head to one side to give him more room. His tongue and lips were wicked, that was all there was to it. She gained her senses and said, “Really, Draco, this is important, and it might change your mind. I have a terrible secret.”

“Do you have a deformity?” he asked, his mouth heading up toward her ear. He pulled on the lobe with his teeth.

“Oh, yes,” she said. He pulled away from her and looked at her, shocked. “No, I mean, no deformity, yes, that felt nice.”

He chuckled and began to kiss her again, but she pushed away. “Draco, really, I have to tell you what else your father and I discussed. It’s important, it’s something I’ve kept from you for a long time, and I’m afraid it’s something that will anger you. Your father thinks I should wait to tell you until after we wed, but I think I need to tell you now.”

He closed his eyes for a moment, to mull over how to tell her to just shut up and kiss him already. “Hermione, please, if you let me kiss you right now, I promise not to become angry with you ever, and frankly, my father usually knows best, so if he says to wait, you should wait.”

“I don’t think I should wait, and I know you will become angry,” she argued.

“I know I am now, because you won’t let me kiss you,” he pouted.

“You are like a five-year-old,” she spat.

“Exactly, so give me what I want or I’m liable to throw a fit,” he promised. “I already promised to marry you, you promised to marry me, so believe me when I promise you that nothing you can say will make me angry, except for right now.”

“This will,” she said, seriously.

He considered her words, she watched him as he did, and a sudden, awkward, silent moment wavered between them, with her still on his lap. They stared at each other, her contemplating how to tell him about Alice, him trying to figure out what kind of dark secret she could have that would be so bad that he could possibly be upset with her.

He spoke first. “I don’t care about a dark secret. You could never have done half of the terrible things that I've done, and that's the truth. Whatever it is, it doesn't matter, I don't care, and I already forgive you, you have my solemn vow. I don't plan to tell you all of my dark secrets, so you don't have to tell me all of yours. In fact, I insist that you don't.”

If only it was that easy. Hermione knew if she didn't tell him now, she would still have to tell him later. This was one secret she couldn't avoid telling him, and no matter what he said, he WOULD become angry, as was his right. Still, she would give in for now. Her response to him sounded like an aching, empty plea, etched forever as one word..."Draco," she exhaled, as she closed her eyes.

He placed a hand on her neck. Her pulse was rapid. He let it travel down to her shoulder, her forearm, to her hand. He grasped her hand. He was in true awe of her. Hermione Granger was here in front of him…on him actually, and he was in awe of her. His groin grew tight just looking at her. His pulse quickened to match hers, but his was from want. He kept one hand on her back, and he let go of her hand with his other and cupped her face. His thumb rubbed her cheek, then her nose, then her full lower lip, back and forth. He rested his forehead on hers, and closed his eyes as well.

“What are you doing to me, Granger?” he asked.

“Haven’t a clue,” she said with a small laugh, “but I know it’s catching, because you’re doing it to me, too.”

He looked at her again, really, truly looked at her, and then he lowered his head, and kissed her. Her mouth was warm, so warm and soft and supple. It was special. His tongue went inside her mouth and touched hers, before rubbing the bottom lip again. She moaned and he gasped. He placed her on the seat beside him, and maneuvered them both so they were reclined, uncomfortably so, on the narrow seat, him up against the back, her on the edge.

He lifted his head and said, “I could worship you all day long. Being with you is almost a holy experience, so worship is the only word I can use to express how I feel. I would start here, at your mouth.” He kissed her mouth again, pulling her bottom lip lightly with his teeth, “and then I would go to your beautiful long neck, and I would bite you lightly.” He showed her how.

She shivered, and he pulled her closer. His hand went up and down her side, to the side of her breast. “You have a beautiful body, love. You really do. I would show reverence to your beautiful breasts first, and I wouldn’t play favourites. I would give them both the attention and adoration they deserve.”

Hermione laughed, placed a hand on his shoulder to hold on tightly, as his head went to her breasts. He kissed the exposed area of her chest, where her blouse was unbuttoned at the top. He licked a long line up from the line of cleavage, to her neck, as his hand cupped the weight of her left breast. He placed a line of kisses on the outside of her breast, over her blouse, avoiding the center.

She arched upwards. She felt a lingering want. She felt a need and a desire that had been dormant for so long, and in which he had finally awoken. She needed him to touch her breasts, and as if he could read her mind, he placed his thumb on the center of the left one, rubbed back and forth, and she closed her eyes again. He kept his open. He didn’t want to miss a moment of this. He hadn’t felt this sort of desire for a woman in ages. He kissed her mouth briefly, before his hand went down to her stomach.

“After I worshipped, with divine intervention I might add, your beautiful breasts, I would pay homage to your stomach and hips.” His hand went to her hips, on the outside of her grey, no nonsense skirt. He kissed her neck and jaw as his hand came back up her hip, to her stomach, and he pulled her blouse out of the waistband of her skirt.

“Why are you dressed like you’re going to a business meeting instead of a holiday?” he suddenly remarked.

She laughed again, looked up at his face, and said, “I had a business meeting today, with you, remember?”

“Oh yes, with me. Next time we have a business meeting, I want you in red knickers, bra and garters, and nothing else. Understand?” His hand was now on the bare skin of her stomach. He placed his hand flat on her stomach, with only his index finger moving back and forth, dangerously near the bottom of her breasts.

“Draco, we have to stop, this is a train, and someone might enter the car,” she said, through shallow breaths.

He smiled an almost wicked smile and said, “If they come in, I’ll say I’m in the middle of my morning prayers. I’m worshipping my deity, Hermione Granger.”

Hermione laughed again. She felt so light and happy. Everything seemed perfect and idyllic. Dare she even consider the fact that she might be falling in love? She certainly felt loved, by Draco Malfoy. She remembered how sweet he was after they made love at the ball five years ago. How he held her, and how kind and gentle he had been. Who would have thought that a man who was such a callous, spoiled, mean-spirited boy would turn into such a giving, sweet lover, who still had a hint of a wicked streak, if that look in his eye was any indication?

She couldn't help herself, she had to close her eyes once more, and he took that as his invitation to continue. His hand went over her bra-covered left breast, and he played with the center using his thumb and forefinger, as his mouth went back to hers. He kissed her hard and long as he pinched her nipple through the satin of her bra. He kissed her with a fierce desire that had tugged away at his soul for so long, that he was afraid it would never find a release.

He moved so that he was partially on top of her, not an easy feat on such a small space, his hands unbuttoning her blouse, one knee pushing up her skirt, mouth still on her mouth, when he felt, rather than heard, the door to their compartment open.

Hermione and Draco both froze. He lifted his head from hers, but kept his hand on her breast, under her partially open shirt. He remained on top of her, her under him, her hands on his head, in his hair. Only their gazes went to the door, at the exact same time, to the person who had entered.

Lucius Malfoy laughed. “And to think, you had me convinced, Miss Granger, that this was a mere marriage of convenience. A simple business arrangement, aye?” He turned around and walked out, still laughing.

Hermione placed her hands on her face and cringed. Draco stayed on top of her, looked down at her and laughed. “That will teach me to lock the door when I want privacy during my morning worship service.”

She hit his arm, hard, and moved out from under him. They both attempted to right their clothes. “I’m mortified!” she hissed.

“I’m pleased. Look at it this way, love, at least we’ve convinced the old man that its real, and that will be half of the battle.” He reached over and helped her to button her blouse. She leaned against the back of the seat, and let him. She looked out the window and continued to shake her head in shame.

When all her buttons were buttoned, and he had smoothed down her hair as well, he took her hand again, brought it to his mouth in a reassuring, familiar way, kissed her palm, set both their hands on his thigh, and he looked over at her and thought, ‘now I have to convince her that it’s real.’

Her mouth was so dry she could barely speak above a whisper. She continued to look out the window, not at him. He was still holding her hand, his thumb moving lightly over her skin. She finally spoke. “Okay, here’s the thing.” Draco strained to hear what she was trying to say. “Perhaps, it shouldn’t be pretend, or a business arrangement, or even a marriage of convenience. Perhaps your father is right. Perhaps it is real.” She dare not look at him. Not yet.

He began to smile. “Perhaps?” He liked how this was going.

“Perhaps we should really marry, just go for it,” she continued.

“Perhaps we should.”

“So, what do you think?” she ended.

He grabbed her to him and held her; she turned to look at him. He smiled and said, “Hermione Granger, will you marry me?”

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