A Marriage Most Convenient

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Chapter 21: Everyone Has an Agenda except for Alice and her Dragon:


"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment." – Jane Austen


A perfect day for me would have a dash of sunshine, a dash of romance and a dash of hope for good measure.” – Draco Malfoy


Nothing cures ails better than fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and cleansing of the soul, by being completely and utterly truthful with oneself and others.” – Hermione Granger


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They waited several hours to go on their picnic. After all, they had just eaten breakfast, and Alice still had to take her ride on the ponies. Draco had to take time to compose himself, anyway. Alice had called him ‘Daddy’. Not even ‘Father’, which is what he always called his own Father, from the cradle he assumed. The little girl who just two days before said she didn’t want another daddy, called him, her true father, ‘Daddy’ and it was the most heartrending, gut wrenching, agonizing thing he had ever experienced.


He went for a walk, on his own, but when he returned, Alice, Ingrid and Hermione were all waiting for him in the back garden. Ingrid had a large picnic basket in her hand. Alice had a small basket in one of hers, and her dragon in the other. Hermione had two blankets drape over one arm. He had planned this picnic, but left it to the others to implement it, and it seemed they had done a good show of it. He smiled as he approached Hermione. She held her free arm out toward him, hand open, ready to take his.


Yes, his life was good. It was finally good. He was finally happy. He hoped it would not be short lived.


They started their walk, Alice and Ingrid coming up the rear, and the seriousness of the present situation hit him like a ton of bricks. It was time he married, almost past time, and everything was falling into place. He was marrying a woman he loved, who had his child, and it was all he had ever wanted, yet he felt weary and guarded. He was afraid something was yet to happen to ruin it. He held Hermione’s hand, perhaps a bit too hard, as they walked along the trail, passing rhododendron bushes, and tall maple and pine trees. He wasn’t going to let her go, figuratively, or literally.


The path led upwards slightly, and Draco continued to look back to make sure Ingrid and Alice were all right. While still holding Hermione’s hand, he offered to carry Alice a couple of times, but the little girl was fiercely independent. He knew she got that from her mother, who at least let Draco hold her hand. When they reached the top of the hill, their personal summit, Hermione left his grasp and ran forward. She stood perched on the top of the hill, wind blowing her hair wildly around her, arms outstretched, face up to the sky, and a smile on face.


He approached her slowly, and she opened her eyes, stared at him and said, “I can’t believe how happy I feel. Am I allowed to feel this happy?”


That sentence caught him off guard. What did she mean by the word, “allowed”? Before he could begin to formulate an answer, Alice ran up to her mother. Hermione caught the little girl, picked her up, and pointed to the valley below. “Look at that view, Alice. Isn’t this the most beautiful place in the world?”


“Are we going to live here always, Mummy?” she asked.


“No, not always, but we’ll come here often, I’m sure,” Hermione said.


“I want to live here always,” Alice decided. She wiggled until Hermione set her down. Hermione warned her to stay away from the edge and then for good measure, Hermione said a simple spell to keep Alice from the edge of the hill. Ingrid took the blankets from where Hermione had dropped them before she reached the top and began to lay out their things.


Alice began to pick wildflowers.


Ingrid followed Alice closely.


Hermione continued to stand on the top of the hill, gazing at the sky, with a smile.


Draco Malfoy was in love with Hermione Granger.


Completely, madly, passionately in love with her, and finally, he wanted to know why she got pregnant, and why it was with him. “Hermione?”


She turned.


“Ingrid and Alice are off picking flowers, so they won’t hear. Will you talk to me? Tell me why you conceived Alice the way that you did? I’m ready for some answers.”


Hermione blinked slowly, looked back out at the scenery before her once, then back at his face. She gave him a sad sort of smile, and then nodded. She sat on the ground. He sat directly in front of her. He took her hand, for courage.


Then she began.


“I got married right out of University. Kevin was a pureblood, but his mother was a squib, unbelievably, so he didn’t have any pureblood notions. He didn’t mind that I was a Muggle-born.”


“Wait, I don’t mind that, not anymore,” he interrupted, squeezing her hand.


“I know, let me finish,” she chastised. “Anyway, as I was saying, he was actually living pretty much in the Muggle world. I didn’t even know he was a Wizard at first. I went to a Muggle University, and when we met, he assumed I was a Muggle and I assumed he was.”


“Come on,” Draco said, making a disbelieving face, “Everyone in the Wizarding world knows who you are, because of your association with Potter, and you know it.”

She shook her head and said, “No, he really didn’t.”


Draco didn’t believe that for a second, but if she wanted to be naïve, nay, stupid, let her be. He made a motion with his hand for her to continue, and then he took her hands in his again.


“Anyway, we dated for months and months before I admitted what I was and he told me about himself. He was from North America. Canadian, actually, but he came to England for school. We talked a bit about marriage, and frankly, I never really saw myself married, but I yearned for something else. I yearned for a child. I wanted a child more than I wanted anything. I can’t even explain my desire to you. I don’t understand it myself.”


“You don’t have to explain. I think I understand.” And he did. He understood. He had felt the same hunger, the same longing, the same desire and yearning for his mystery woman, for her, for so long and he was never able to articulate the WHY. He only knew it was a fact.


She persisted with her story. “I told Kevin the only reason I would ever marry was to have children. He agreed. He said he wanted children as well. We tried to have a child every month. I would tell him when I was ovulating, and we would have sex, but nothing ever happened. I began to despair. I thought something was wrong with me.”


“Maybe something was wrong with him,” Draco interjected with a frown.


She released his hands and stood up suddenly. “Yes, there was! The bastard had a vasectomy right before we wed! He did it even though he knew that having children was the only reason I wanted marriage!”


Draco stood up as well, shocked and appalled. “Why would he do that?”


“Oh, the day I confronted him, he went on and on about how he was afraid his child would be a squib because his mother was one, but I didn’t buy that. I still don’t know his real reason.”


“When did you find out about it?” Draco asked. His head was spinning. Did she seduce him before or after she found out his infertility?


“The night of the ball. I called him and told him I was ovulating. He was rushing right home. I knew for sure that night was going to be the night. I felt it in my bones.” She began to pace in front of him. He was watching the cliff side, to be certain she didn’t get too close.


“You see, each month when my menstrual cycle began, and I knew I wasn’t pregnant, I would feel so much anguish, and he would be so sweet and kind and buy me presents, and spend the day with me, and promise me we would try again, knowing the whole time that I would never become pregnant!”


“That lying sod!” Draco practically shouted.


“Exactly!” Hermione said, with a slight grin. “So, I was waiting in his office, at our house, for him to come home, completely naked, mind you, and his phone rang…”


He interrupted. “You were completely naked?”


“Yes, and his mobile phone was in the desk…”


“Nothing on at all?” he asked.


“Nothing on at all,” she confirmed. “So I opened the desk drawer to answer his phone…”


“How were you sitting? Or were you standing? Can you show me the pose? Did you have any props?” he asked.


“PROPS?” she asked with a laugh. “Draco Malfoy, get the image of a naked Hermione Granger out of your head right now and let me finish my story!”

He smiled, closed his eyes and with them still closed he said, “Sorry, she’s still in there, and in my head she’s sitting on the desk, her chest out, her legs bent slightly, and she has a can of whipped crème in one hand and a pair of handcuffs in the other. Oh wait, now she’s starting to dance.”


She pushed him and he opened his eyes. “You’re a sick prat, you know that, don’t you?” she harped.


“You were the one that was naked on your husband’s desk with whipped crème and handcuffs, and you call me sick?” he asked and then he pushed her back. She almost tumbled, and he pulled her slightly away from the edge. He kept her hand this time.


“There wasn’t whipped crème, or handcuffs, and I was sitting on the top of the desk, in a normal pose.”


“Show me,” he smiled.


“May I finish this story? It is rather important, and I’m at a pivotal part, and you’re acting like a loon.” She yanked her hand from his and walked over to the blanket that was on the ground. He followed, but when she sat, he remained standing.


“Okay, eggs at the ready, naked on a desk, phone ringing, you open the desk drawer, what then?” he recapped.


She stared at him for a moment, astonished, before she continued. “Inside the top drawer, where the phone was, was a bill from a Muggle doctor for the vasectomy. That’s how I found out, and I was furious. I started blasting things with my wand. I destroyed most of his office.”


“Did you do all of this naked?” he asked with a grin. “Did you use your wand or the can of whipped crème?”


She ignored his stupid question and added, “I called my friend Kelly, told her I was leaving him, but she told me to calm down and think about things first. She said she couldn’t talk to me long, because she was going to some pureblood masquerade ball. She asked me if I wanted to come?”


“And you did,” he snapped.


“Yes, I did. I had a terrible time though. So, I found what I thought was a secluded room, to sort of hide away, and then you walked in, in all your beautiful glory,” she stated.


“Beautiful? Ha!” He walked around her. She leaned on the blanket, on her arms, to watch him, her head turning as he continued around her other side. “You were the beautiful one,” he proposed, “I thought so the moment I saw you at the ball. When I discovered you in the billiards room with me, I couldn’t believe my luck.”


She got to her feet and stood in front of him. “Truly, Draco, did you never guess it was me?”


“Ask me that at a later date,” he commanded. “I don’t want to reveal my story yet. This is your time, your story, your confessional.”


“Do I need to say, ‘Bless me Father, for I have sinned’? Because Draco, I don’t feel like I have. It was a calculated risk. I knew I was ovulating. I knew you were a handsome and intelligent man. I was hurt at that moment, and I needed comfort and companionship more than anything,” she explained, “but if a child resulted from my seduction, all the better.”


“You used me. I feel used,” he said, although he said it lightly. The funny thing was, he did feel slightly used.


“I did use you, you’re right. I was so nervous. I had never acted so brazen in my life, and here I was, acting like that with you of all people. Someone I’ve known forever, but someone whom I’d never really liked, who had never liked me. I didn’t think beyond the moment. I’m sorry, Draco.”


“Okay, apology accepted,” he said sincerely. He reached for her arm. His hand traveled from her shoulder, slowly down her elbow, to her wrist, then to her hand. He placed her hand around his neck, and then drew her to him.


He said, “That’s enough of the story for now. Later you can tell me more, like when you told Kevin, the wanker, and so forth. I can’t take it all in right now.”


“But you’re sure you forgive me?” she asked.


“Yes, I am sure I do.” He pressed her closer. She smelled like sunshine, apples, and grass after the rain. Her body was soft and pliant and it fit against his as if it belonged there. Just holding her in his arms made his groin tighten with want. It made his heart burst with a feeling unknown and his brain explode into a million little stars. He probably wasn’t worthy of her, but he wanted her anyway, and being the spoiled person that he was, he always got what he wanted.


What was there to forgive? In the end, he got what he wanted, and that’s all that mattered.


He looked into her eyes, and he could tell she wasn’t convinced. “Love, I forgive you everything.” He held her tightly against his chest, his chin on the top of her head, and he couldn’t see her expression, but he could tell that she had relaxed into his embrace. He looked out at the scenery where she had looked moments before and exclaimed, “Everything really is perfect, here.”


Off in a distant meadow, Alice picked yellow and white daisies. Some were small, since it was early in the season, but she didn’t care. She liked the smaller ones the best. Ingrid kept a close eye on her as she wandered across an open field not far from her parents.


She walked up to the little girl and she said, “Who are the flowers for, Alice?”


Alice sat on the ground and began to separate the flowers into piles. Then she pointed at them and said, “The big yellow ones are for Grandfather. The big white ones are for Grandmother. The small pile that has both yellow and white are mummy’s flowers. The other pile is for Daddy.”


Ingrid frowned. “Daddy?” Did she mean Kevin?


Without missing a beat, or even looking up from her toil, Alice said, “I’ve decided to call Mr. Draco, Daddy. I don’t think my pretend Daddy will mind, do you?” She looked up at Ingrid and smiled.


Ingrid tried to smile back. She said, “I think it’s nice that you call Mr. Draco Daddy, but sweetheart, remember, you aren’t suppose to tell anyone what I told you about Kevin. Not yet. Don’t call him your pretend daddy anymore, okay?”

“Oh, I don’t call him my pretend daddy because of what you told me,” Alice reasoned. She got up on her knees, pulled out her shirt, and deposited all the flowers inside it to carry them. Once she was standing she said, “I heard Mummy and pretend Daddy fighting before we left Canada and Mummy told him that he wasn’t my real daddy, so that must mean he’s my pretend daddy.”


Ingrid wasn’t aware of that. She leaned down, patted the child’s shoulder and said, “I know it’s very confusing, sweetie, but you’ll understand soon. If Kevin happens to send you anything, like a letter, a card, or a present, will you be sure to give it to me first? I’ll make sure to give it back to you.”


“Yes,” Alice agreed. She reached up her hand and Ingrid took it. They started back toward the picnic area. Alice looked up at Ingrid and said, “Maybe Draco would like a pink flower better than the white daisies I picked. Remember that first day in the park when you told me to go up to him and give him that pink flower? He really liked it.”

“Did he?” Ingrid asked. “I’m glad. I’m glad that everything has all worked out for us.”


“Me, too,” Alice agreed. “That was the day you said Daddy wasn’t my real daddy, and that the man with the hair the same colour as mine, who was sitting on the bench, was my real daddy, and I was to go talk to him and maybe give him a flower, but I wasn’t to tell a soul.” She looked back up at Ingrid and said, “And I haven’t, Nanny. I haven’t told anyone that Mr. Draco is my real daddy. Does he know it yet?”


The pair was close enough to see Hermione and Draco embracing. She said, “Yes, Alice, I believe he knows, but remember, don’t tell anyone else that you know yet, okay? It’s all working out perfectly, and soon, you’ll be a family with Mr. Draco, just like you’re meant to be.”


Alice smiled up at Ingrid. Ingrid bent down, hugged her shoulders, and then said, “Go give them the flowers now, sweetie. I want to take a little walk by myself.” Alice nodded and ran up to her parents. She let the flowers drop on the blanket, then she wrapped her arms around each of their legs as they stood there, embracing.


Ingrid watched for only a moment, smiled, and then turned around and walked away. She wished her job were done. If only it was that simple. Now she had to figure out a way to make Kevin go away forever.


At the train station, a wizard was asking for directions to Whitehall.

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