A Marriage Most Convenient

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Chapter 32: April Showers Brings Tears to Hermione on the Eve of her Wedding


If there is anything disagreeable going on, men are always sure to get out of it.” – Jane Austen.


Of course I have things to do to prepare for my wedding. I have to…ah…well…I’m sure there’s something I need to do. I’ll ask Hermione.” – Draco Malfoy.


Getting ready for a wedding in a week is sheer madness, especially when one’s fiancé is Draco Malfoy.” – Hermione Granger.


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A late evening shower would not damper Hermione Granger’s day…oh no. The day was already ruined from the moment she awoke. It was the day before her wedding, and she still felt as if she had one hundred and one things to do, and she also felt slightly out of control, slightly off kilter, and she had a slight headache, over her left eye, that would not go away.


To make matters worse, it was raining, hard. It had been raining off and on all day, and while rain on a person’s wedding day was supposed to be lucky, Hermione didn’t know what rain before a wedding day meant. Perhaps it meant there would be an abundance of mud outside.


At dinner, everyone was so excited and animated about tomorrow. Lucius was questioning where they would put all of the guests. Narcissa was mentally going over the seating chart for the ballroom, the flowers and the music, once again. Alice and Draco were playing a game involving peas, custard and apple juice, which made Hermione rather nauseous. Therefore, she stood up from the table, after pudding, without anyone noticing, and she slipped out in the hall, and came upstairs to her room, for a moment of peace and quiet before the craziness that would come with tomorrow.


She lay on her bed, alone in her room, staring up at the ceiling, and she wondered if she was truly prepared for this marriage. She knew she was prepared for the wedding, because Narcissa had hired the best wedding planner, and with the help of him, Narcissa, Hermione’s mother and Ginny Weasley, every task had been accomplished and everything was ready for the ‘big day’ tomorrow.


Yes, the wedding was due to take off without a hitch. It wasn’t the wedding that she worried about; it was The MARRIAGE that had Hermione worried. Was she prepared to be a wife again? She never really felt like a wife the first go round, at least not like a good wife, so perhaps she wouldn’t be a good one this time either.


She was also missing Ingrid. Ingrid had been like a surrogate grandmother/mother/confidante/best friend to Hermione for the past five years. She didn’t know how she was going to carry on without her. She turned to her side and looked out at the late evening sky. She watched the hard rain hit the windows, relentlessly, almost as if it was punishing the glass, and Hermione sighed. It was either sigh or cry, and she really didn’t want to cry. There was no reason to cry.


She was afraid someone or something would come along to impede upon her solitude, so she didn’t want to waste one moment of her ‘me’ time crying, especially as she really didn’t see a need to do so. She was marrying a man she loved, the father of her child. Her marriage to Kevin had been annulled, by special order of the Minister of Magic himself. In addition, Harry said that he had a very special wedding present for her, which would take care of the whole ‘Phillipa’ problem. Hermione couldn’t imagine what that could be, short of her being banished to some far off island, but if that was the truth, then Hermione had absolutely no reason to feel blue.


Except that, she was sad, for some insane reason.


She had spent no time alone with Draco this week. He claimed he had things to do this week, although every time she saw him he was playing with Alice, or doing something relaxing, like reading, hiking, sailing, swimming, or riding horses.


She had no time to spend with Alice this week. Lucius spent time with her, Narcissa spent time with her, Draco spent time with her, and even Harry, Ginny, and their children spent time with her. Alice even went to spend last night with her Granny Granger. Hermione missed Alice.


When she married the first time, she did it at the Registrar’s office at the Ministry, with two witnesses. She wore a regular dress. She and Kevin went out to dinner afterwards to celebrate. Come tomorrow, there would be almost five-hundred people ascending upon Whitehall for Hermione’s wedding. She didn’t even know that many people!


She had a beautiful off-white wedding dress to wear, with a veil and a train and a bouquet of flowers to carry and the whole thing was almost too perfect. And too much.


Hermione closed her eyes, rubbed her head, and let her tears fall. She didn’t even know why she was crying, but it didn’t matter. Perhaps it would make her headache go away. Surely it was a woman’s right to cry on the eve of her wedding.


The door to her room opened, just a crack, but she didn’t notice. She had her eyes closed, so she didn’t see the light from the hallway spill into the room. She didn’t hear the door close again, or hear the person walk over to the bed. Strangely, she didn’t even hear the person standing beside her bed.


She did feel the pull of the bedspread, and a slight dip in the mattress, as Alice climbed on top of the bed to place her body next to hers. Hermione didn’t try to hide her tears from her daughter. She always used to hide them from her, only to find out later that it didn’t matter, because Alice always seemed to know that Hermione had been crying anyway.


For that reason, Hermione continued quietly to cry. She turned back to her back, bent her knees, and placed her hands over her face. Alice placed her head on her mother’s pillow, and placed one hand on her mother’s chest, above her heart.


“It’s still raining, Mummy,” Alice finally said.


“Yes, I know,” Hermione replied. She wiped the tears from her face and turned to her side to face her daughter. She reached over and stroked the little girl’s hair.


“It’s been raining for days,” Alice continued. “Draco told me a funny little verse. He said that April’s showers bring May’s flowers.”


“I bet Whitehall is pretty when it has flowers all around it,” Hermione said. “There will be flowers for the wedding tomorrow. I bet they will be beautiful.”


“I went into the ballroom with Grandmother and there are flowers all around it already,” Alice said. “She said it was in preparation for the wedding. What does preparation mean?” Alice reached over again and wiped a tear from her mother’s face, which her mother had forgotten.


“It means to make something ready,” Hermione answered. “Does it look pretty?”


“Yes.” Suddenly, Alice sat up and said, “I cried last night. Did you know that?”


“No, why did you cry last night?”


“I had a bad dream, and it was raining, like it is now, really hard, and I was sleeping in Granny Granger’s guest bedroom, the one that used to be your bedroom, all by myself, and I was scared. I missed you and Draco; I mean Daddy, and Nanny. Granny came in and rocked me and kissed me and then she made me hot chocolate.”


“That’s nice. She was always a good Mummy to me,” said Hermione.


“You’re a good Mummy to me, too,” Alice said. She got up on her knees and added, “And Draco will be a really good Daddy, I can tell. He’s getting better at bath time, and he likes to play with me, but he did yell at me the other day, but I really, really deserved it, so that’s good, because I needed yelling at.”


Hermione laughed. She sat up on the bed, too. “What did you do?”


“I’m not supposed to tell you,” Alice conspired, “but I will, because you once said we shouldn’t have secrets. You were in London with Grandmother, and I came up here to your room and I tried on your veil and I ripped it. Daddy came in to find me and he yelled at me for coming in here without permission and for ripping the veil.”


“You ripped my veil?” Hermione hadn’t noticed that it was ripped.


“I’ve been real worried about it, too,” Alice said seriously, “even though Daddy made it look okay. Is that why you’re crying? Did you find out that I ripped it? Is it ruined?”


Hermione gathered her daughter into her arms and hugged her. “No, it’s not ruined. Nothing’s ruined. Everything’s fine or at least, it will be.”


“I came up here because Daddy told me I needed to get my bath, and without Nanny here, you or he must do it, Mummy, and it’s time,” Alice reminded her.


“Well, if it’s time, it’s time,” Hermione said with a smile. She started to stand from the bed, when she noticed Draco standing in the doorway. She hadn’t heard him enter, either. “How long have you been there?”


“Long enough,” he answered. “Alice, go find Michelle, the upstairs’ maid. She’s going to help you with your bath tonight. She’s down the hallway.” Alice scooted off the bed and out the door. Before she left the room, she looked up at her father, who swatted her behind playfully as he said, “That’s for telling Mummy our secret.”


She shrugged. Draco laughed as Alice skipped off. He shook his head as he walked over to the bed. “Will I ever be able to keep up with her?”


“Not likely,” she said lightly.


“Why were you crying?” He remained by the edge of the bed. He reached down and smoothed out a few wrinkles from the top of the bedspread.


“Wow, you were standing there longer than I thought. I feel overwhelmed, I have a headache, I miss Ingrid, I’m getting married tomorrow, and it’s raining.” She ticked off each item on her fingers.


“Which is it? Is this a multiple choice question?” He smiled at her and sat down beside her.


“No, it’s all of the above,” she stated. “Or even, none of the above. I hope you won’t regret marrying me.”

He frowned at that statement. He picked up her hand. “Why would you make a stupid statement like that? Besides, you’re much more likely to regret marrying me than the other way around.”


“I know, but still,” she said flippantly.


“You know?” he said back. He tackled her and tickled her ribs. She pushed his hands away, laughing. They stayed on the bed, on their sides, facing one another.


He reached for her, pushed a tendril of hair away from her face and asked, “Really, why were you crying? Do you not want to get married? It’s not too late. We don’t have to get married. I don’t care about turning thirty in six weeks. If you want to wait, we’ll wait. If you don’t want to get married at all, we won’t.”


The entire time he spoke, she was shaking her head no. Finally, when he finished she said, “If I know one thing for certain, I know I want to marry you. Don’t mind me. I can’t articulate why I feel so sad right now. It’s a combination of Ingrid dying, leaving Canada, and even what’s happened to Kevin. It’s also a bit of missing you.”

He pointed to himself, made a funny face, and said, “Me? I’m right here.”


“I miss the years we should have had, we could have had, if I had been braver and had come to you and told you the truth. If I had stayed after Marcus’ ball and taken off my mask. Don’t you rather think all of this is my fault…all the wasted years?” She covered her face again, though she didn’t cry.


“I suppose so,” he said. He wasn’t going to coddle her. It was partially her fault, as it was partially his, and he told her so. “Let’s not live in the past.” He jumped up on his knees, held her wrist, and pulled her up as well. “Come on, love, it’s the eve of our wedding, let’s do something fun and reckless, like having sex outdoors. We’ve never done that before!”


She pushed him away from her so hard that he tumbled off the high bed and rolled onto the floor. She laughed, crawled on her stomach, and looked down at him on the floor. “You nutter, you. That’s practically the only way we’ve had sex! More to the point, I’m not having sex with you again until the night of our wedding.”


He sat up. “Yeah,” he said, rubbing his backside, “You said that last week when we were at Potter’s house after we got the license, but I assumed you were joking. I also assumed you had a terrible sense of humour, and you would come to your senses, yet I’ve been hopelessly alone every night since then.” He moved so that his back was up against the wall, under the window. She sat before him, on the bed, staring out at the rain, as twilight gave away to night.


“I want to tell you what’s in my heart, right now, in private, not tomorrow at our wedding,” she said, though she continued to look out the window and not at him.


He frowned a bit, bent his legs, and clasped his hands. He said, “Go on then, spill your guts.”


She looked down at him and grinned. She stood over him and he reached for her hand, pulling her down on the floor beside him. They sat on the floor together, under the window, in her ever-darkening room, where raindrops continued to race each other from the top of the window down to the sill. She said, “I won’t continue to live in regret, because from this moment on, I know that I have you in my life, and I’ll love you forever, and I’ll never regret another day.”


He held both her hands and returned, “Surely those aren’t your heart felt words, only to be uttered in private, because they were rather pithy and not very flowery at all.”

“Well, hell, Malfoy, what would you say in return to me?” she teased.


“Granger, heart of my heart, love of my life, beauty personified…” he began.


She snorted.


“You seriously did not snort during my loving words of love to you!” he snapped.


“Loving words of love? A bit redundant,” she remarked. He glared at her. She said, “So sorry, please continue, you stopped at beauty personified.”


Now he laughed. “I just can’t do it. I know what I feel, and you know what I feel, and you know what you feel, and I know what you feel.”


She glared at him with a slight grin and said, “In other words, you feel and I feel.”

“Shut up,” he said, eloquently. “You know what I mean. We don’t need to trade words off and on to each other.”


“You mean we don’t need to converse? Ha! And on that note, get up!” She pushed on his chest and struggled to stand. He stood after her and she said, “Alice should be done with her bath by now, and we’re on the last chapter of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. I want to finish it tonight, and then when we come back from our honeymoon, we’ll start the book Ingrid gave her.”


They started out of the room and Draco said, “By the way, where are we going for our honeymoon?”


“I don’t know, where?” she laughed back. She took his hand and walked into the hall.


“Seriously, where?” he asked again.


She turned, pushed him with both hands (so hard that he hit the wall) and said, “Draco Malfoy that was your ONE JOB! You were to figure out a place for us to go to for the weekend after our wedding! I did everything else! Is this how our marriage is going to be? Me doing everything and you doing nothing!”

He held up his hands in defense and then said, “Probably.”

“You’re hopeless.” She pushed him again and she walked up the staircase toward the third floor.


Draco laughed. Lucius stood in the doorway of his bedroom and he said, “Did you really forget to plan something for your honeymoon?”


“Yes I did, but I still have time,” Draco affirmed. “We don’t get married until tomorrow. May I borrow the chalet in the French Alps for my honeymoon, Father?”


Lucius shook his head, turned around and said, “You are hopeless.” However, he smiled. He turned back and said, “I hope you didn’t forget to buy your future wife a very nice wedding present, because I happen to know that she got you something incredible, because the little witch asked for my help with it.”

“I have to get her a present, too? Since when? Isn’t it enough that I’m marrying her?” Draco pouted. He turned toward his mother’s bedroom and shouted, “Mother? I need your help! Apparently I have to get Hermione an effing wedding present!”

Lucius shook his head and once again said, “Hopeless, he is truly, utterly hopeless, but I love him, for some odd reason. Perhaps because he’s mine.”

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