A Marriage Most Convenient

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Chapter 3: Sitting on a Bench:


"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance." – Jane Austen


Happiness in marriage is merely a matter of making it happen.” – Draco Malfoy


Happiness in marriage is entirely impossible.” – Hermione Granger.


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Hermione hugged her little girl and continued to tell her that she shouldn’t wander away from her nanny, she shouldn’t talk to strangers, and she shouldn’t make her mummy worry. Draco wondered what the kid ‘should’ do.


“So that kid’s yours?” Draco asked. Hermione placed her daughter’s feet on the ground, and gave Draco a scathing look.


“Yes, Draco, this is my daughter,” she said with disdain.


Draco said, “She doesn’t look like you.”

“So?” she said back.


“I remember seeing your husband once, and she doesn’t look like him, either,” he said, tactlessly.


She huffed and said, “Sometimes that happens.”


“You have brown eyes. She has blue eyes,” Draco pointed out.


Alice looked up at Draco and said, “Mummy says my eyes are more grey, than blue, see?” She leaned closer to Draco, opened her eyes widely, and Draco started to lean toward the little girl, but Hermione quickly turned her daughter away from him.


Before Draco could ponder this strange ‘eye’ fact a moment longer, Hermione’s nanny ran over toward them and said, “Oh, Miss Granger, Miss Granger, I only closed my eyes for the briefest of moments! I’m so sorry!” She took the little girl’s hand from her mother’s hand.


“Ingrid, I told you, you can’t close your eyes at all when you’re watching Alice,” Hermione said steadily. “She’s a handful, and it only takes one moment, and something disastrous could happen, like she could run into Draco Malfoy.” Hermione turned toward Draco and smiled, so he could tell that she was joking. She turned back toward the nanny and ended, “Take her back to the room at the hotel, please.”


“Goodbye, Mr. Draco,” Alice said, waving up at Draco. “I hope you feel happier soon.”


“Yes, well, thank you, young Alice, and I hope no one kidnaps you while your nanny sleeps and your mummy is off who knows where,” Draco countered. He could see Hermione frowning out of the corner of his eye, and it amused him to no end.

Hermione took a deep breath, less she hex Malfoy in front of her child, and said, “I’ll see you later, sweetheart.” She kissed her daughter’s cheek and watched as they walked away. She turned back to Draco and said, “Don’t say things about kidnapping to children, Malfoy. You might scare her. Try to use the brain that I assume is in your head, won’t you?”


“I believe in telling children the absolute truth, Hermione,” Draco said with a sly smile, “Unlike you.”


“What do you mean by that statement?” she asked, frowning even more.


He wasn’t sure what he meant by that statement, but he was sure he meant something. He wanted to laugh at the way she was frowning so openly at him, but instead he asked, “Why did your nanny call you Miss Granger? I thought you married some stupid American a few years back.”


“I did, he was Canadian, and now we’re divorced. He stayed there, and I’m back…and why am I telling you this? Why did you say that I don’t tell the truth, and why did my daughter say that you were sad?”


Draco crossed his legs and patted the bench beside him. She took the hint and sat down. He ignored her first question, and answered her second one, only vaguely. “I’m not sad. I think she might be delusional, or something. She tells me you’re teaching her Latin. A bit young, isn’t she?” Draco still had the pink flower in his hand.


“I believe a child is never too young to learn, and I’m only teaching her a few words. In addition, she’s not delusional, that’s a terrible thing to say about a child, although I have my doubts about you. You seem extremely delusional. What are you doing here, at this resort?”


“I’m on holiday,” he said. “And you?” He twirled the flower in his fingers and it accidentally dropped to the ground. He started to stand to retrieve it, but she stood quicker.


“I’m here for a banquet and ball, being held by your old friend Marcus Flint,” she said. She reached down and picked up the pink flower. Draco leaned his head over to enjoy the view. Nice legs…nice bum…small waist…nice bust…she was still an extremely attractive woman. She didn’t even notice that he was noticing her. She handed him the flower, he took it with a smile. She sat back down beside him. “I’m not really invited, but I’m riding in on Harry’s coattails. I’m hoping to forge some new business associates, since I’m starting my antique appraisal business from scratch here in England, plus I’ll take in some sights before I move back home with the folks.”

“You’re moving in with your parents?” he asked, surprised. Then he laughed. “That’s funny.”


She glared at him.


He stopped laughing.


“Oh, you weren’t joking?” he posed. She sighed and stood back up.


“I have to go. It was sort of nice to see you again, Draco.” She began to walk away.


“Whoa, whoa, whoa, get your arse back here, Granger,” he demanded. She turned and glared at him. He patted the bench again. She crossed her arms, and gave him a look that definitely relayed her response of ‘no way, you stupid prat.’ He patted the bench again, for good measure.


She remained standing.


“Why are you moving back with your parents, and starting your business from scratch?” he asked. He patted the bench again for good measure.


She sat back down and decided not to tell him the entire truth. “I haven’t found a place to live yet, and it makes sense that since I moved to a different country, I would have to start making new business contacts.” He didn’t need to know that she didn’t have the money for her own place because her husband took all her money, and that he took her business, as well. She didn’t care about those things. She had her daughter, and that was all she ever wanted. She relaxed on the bench and looked up at the blue, April sky above her. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” She meant the day, the sky, the feeling of being alive…he could take his pick. She was just happy to be back in England, and to have her daughter.


“Yes,” he responded, taking in a very different view than she, as he stared directly into her beautiful face. She felt a soft brush against her cheek. She looked over at him quickly. He was removing the pink flower away from her cheek as she turned to look at him. Neither commented on the odd action. He didn’t know why he did it, and she didn’t know why she wished he would do it again.


Hermione felt a funny tickling, down deep, in her toes. She thought she might be blushing. She remembered the last time she saw Draco, at another ball, the night her daughter was conceived. She suddenly asked, “Are you going to Marcus’ ball?”


“Unfortunately,” he said back. However, if she was going, he might honestly be able to answer in the opposite. It might be a fortunate thing that they both were going tonight.


“Why unfortunately?” she asked.


“I have to announce my engagement tonight, at this little soiree,” he said. “I wasn’t planning on doing it, but I think it’s time.”


She felt utterly disappointed that he was engaged, although she knew she had no reason to feel that way. “Does your intended know that the imminent announcement is something that you’re dreading?” she asked with a fleeting smile.


“Oh, I have no intended,” he said wistfully. He began to move the stem of the pink flower back and forth through his fingers. He stopped, and touched her cheek with the flower again. This time, she brushed it away, with a slight movement of her hand. He stopped, and placed the flower on the seat between them.


“I’m confused,” she said, truthfully. She picked up the small flower.


He turned to look at her and said, “I’m sure you are.”


When no other comment was forthcoming from the man, she said, “Seriously, Malfoy, I’m surprised you aren’t already married, but how are you going to announce an engagement if you don’t have a fiancée?”


“It’s complicated, but it boils down to the fact that I have to marry before I’m thirty. I would be married by now, but the only woman I ever wanted to marry, I haven’t seen for years, and apparently, she didn’t want me,” he regaled. She also never wanted to be seen. He wouldn’t tell her that he had only met the woman in question once, at another ball, had slept with her, but then she left him before revealing her identity. He didn’t want to sound pitiful. He gave her a large frown and said, “Do you feel sorry for me?”


“No,” she said, with a laugh, “Nor do I believe you.”


He took the flower from her hand, his fingers lightly touching hers as he did so. The slight action made her swallow hard, and it made his groin tighten. They both looked away, but then he touched the end of her nose with the flower. “That’s probably smart, on your part. Never believe a man when he tells you to feel sorry for him. He’s probably lying.”


“You’re strange, Draco,” she declared. She still had a smile on her face.


It suddenly occurred to him that he wanted to kiss her, and that he hadn’t wanted to kiss a woman this badly since he found his mystery woman alone in the billiards room, all those years ago. How odd. This was Hermione Granger, and he wanted to kiss her. He continued to stare at her and she stared right back.


He suddenly stood up and said, “I have to go.” He didn’t have to go, he didn’t have to do anything, but he knew if he didn’t leave soon, he would have to act on his urge to kiss her. That might be disastrous, after all, he was going to have to find a woman to wed soon, probably tonight, and Hermione Granger had just gotten divorced, she had a child, and she was a Muggle-born, so there was no way he could marry her. Moreover, if he kissed her, he had a feeling he would absolutely have to marry her. Although he previously stood to leave, he sat back down and continued to stare at her.


“Draco, you’re staring at me,” she said.


“Really? I thought you were staring at me,” he said softly. He leaned forward again, was going to go ahead and kiss her, when he leaned away as a moment of clarity hit him so hard he thought he might fall off the bench. He said, “Tell your daughter thanks for the flower, because suddenly, I am feeling so much happier.” He stood back up to leave. He was going to see Hermione at the ball tonight, and that made him extremely happy.

She stood up, too. “I thought you said you weren’t sad before, and that she was delusional.”


“That’s a terrible thing to say about a child, Granger,” he laughed. He placed the pink flower in his pocket. He decided he would keep it as a souvenir of the day. He also decided that Hermione Granger might make a perfect person in which to enter a marriage of convenience, after all. He would wait and see what she thought about it tonight. Knowing her, she would probably tell him that he was delusional again, and perhaps he was, or perhaps he was having the most lucid thought of his entire life.


She gave him another intolerable glare, which he loved. She said, “I stand by my assessment, you, Draco Malfoy, have turned very odd in your old age.”


She began to walk away, but he grabbed her arm and pulled her back. The feel of his hand on her arm, even through her blouse and lightweight jumper, made her feel bubbly inside. “And I stand by my assessment, love.”


She stood stock-still, shocked, because he called her ‘love’. That was what he called her THAT night, so long ago. Surely, he didn’t suspect, did he? She nervously asked, “What assessment is that?”


His assessment that she would make him the perfect wife, but of course. He said with a grin, “Wouldn’t you like to know.” He dropped her arm and she turned away quickly, and walked down the sidewalk, turning back twice, to look at him. He continued to stand by the bench, with a stupid smile on his face.


She finally said to herself, “I think he really is delusional.”

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