A Marriage Most Convenient

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Chapter 34: Two Forever, Two Become One, Two to get Ready, Part II of the Wedding

A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment’s notice.” – Jane Austen.

Everyone always thinks that the woman wants to marry more than the man, but I have to admit, I’ve wanted THIS all my life. A wife, a child, a home and a family.” – Draco Malfoy.

Once when I was a little girl I put a white, sheer curtain on my head, held up a bouquet of fake flowers, walked down a pretend aisle, and pretended to get married to my big stuffed bear, Angus. I have to say…this is better.” – Hermione Granger.

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Draco Malfoy:

Who knew someone’s hands could sweat so much? I’ve wiped them on my trousers so many times that I’ll soon have two slick spots on my pant legs if I continue. My hands are wet, my mouth is dry, and I’m fairly certain I’m having heart palpitations. Why the hell am I nervous? What do I have to be nervous about, anyway? Sod it all, I’m Draco Malfoy.

And I’m marrying Hermione Granger. Yep, that’s why I’m nervous. The king of the purebloods is marrying the queen of the Mudbloods. If she ever heard me say that thought aloud, she would rip my bloody head off my shoulders.

I wonder how many times I’ve called her that in our lifetime. I’ve known her since I was eleven, and I’m just shy of thirty, so that’s like what, almost twenty years or so of calling her Mudblood? How awful. I should be ashamed. I am ashamed. I guess.

I wonder how many times I made her cry when we were young. I used to live to make her cry, yet she hardly ever did. I would do my best (or really, my worst) and yet she hardly ever gave me the satisfaction of crying. One time she cried…when my Aunt tortured her during the war. I don’t even want to think about that. Not today, not ever.

I wonder how many times I’ll make her cry in the future. Merlin, I’m going to be a rotten husband. I can’t do anything right. I’m good looking and rich, and I have a naughty sense of humour. Those are hardly attributes that make a good husband, at least, not to someone like her. I’ll give it a go, though, and I’ll try my best. That’s all I can do, and all she can ask of me.

I wonder if I’ll ever be a good father. My father wasn’t really a good father. I love him, and he loves me, and he certainly knew how to ‘buy’ my love, but he was often disappointed in me (and visa-versa) and he always let me know it. I don’t ever want Alice to think that I’m disappointed in her, and I hope she's never disappointed in me. I love that little girl more than I thought possible.

Speaking of the little imp, I hear her out in the hallway. She keeps turning around in a circle to watch her dress flare out, and then she says, “Wee!” I suspect she’s doing it for two reasons: one, because it’s fun and truly ‘wee’ inspiring and two, because all of the adults are laughing at her. She’s a pip, a real handful and she’s all mine, along with her beautiful mother.

I look out the door and I smile at her and tell her to come here for a minute. She walks in my room and tells me that I look dashing. DASHING! A four-year-old little girl has a better vocabulary than I do. I ask her if she knows what ‘dashing’ means and she admits that she doesn’t, but that she heard Aunt Ginny tell Uncle Harry that he looked dashing, and she thought it was a nice word.

I tell her that if Harry Potter looks dashing than I’m a monkey’s uncle. She looks confused and I laugh and hug her and tell her that dashing means ‘handsome’ and that of course, I’m dashing, but that Harry Potter looks like the backside of a monkey’s uncle. She still looks confused. Oh well. Someday she’ll understand what a wanker Harry Potter is. I know that for a fact. Hatred of all things Potter is ingrained in the very soul of all Malfoys.

I ask her if she’s seen her mummy yet this morning. She tells me that she’s only seen her when the bedroom door was open and that she looks like a fairy princess, but that no one will let her in her mummy’s room. I tell her to stomp her foot a few times and to threaten to cry and that they’ll let her inside. That always worked for me when I was young. Hell, it still works sometimes.

I give her a hug and tell her to go back in the hallway, to be good, and that I love her and her mummy more than I love anything in the whole, wide world. Then I tell her that she’s the prettiest little girl I’ve ever known and that I’m lucky to be marrying her mummy today.

She gives me a smile that melts my heart. She waves goodbye and as she leaves she says, “I love you too, Daddy.” Sometimes she still calls me Draco, instead of Daddy. I know it’s just a habit, but when she calls me Daddy, like she did just now, I have to admit, I feel like a big pile of mush.

I look at my watch. Only fifteen minutes to go. Shite. I’m so nervous.

Hermione Granger, Again:

I wish Harry hadn’t told me about his present, well, really, Ingrid’s present. I wonder how she came upon such a powerful piece of magic, being a squib. I wonder why she never showed it to me? It’s all I can think about now, and I’m doubly nervous. Harry asks me if he did the right thing, by evoking the magic of the book the way he did, and I tell him that I really, really don’t know. I wish he had conferred with me. Would I have done it differently? Perhaps. Should he have left it alone? Maybe. Was it really something for Alice to decide someday, since the inscription in the book stated that, that was Ingrid’s wish? Definitely, but still, he did what he thought was best, and I hope to the heavens that it all works out. Harry's instincts are usually right.

He asked me if I wanted to leave, and not get married after all. He told me it’s not too late. He’s so funny sometimes. I kiss his cheek, pinch his bum, tell him to get his arse downstairs and just accept the fact that I’m marrying Draco Malfoy.

I call my father back to my room. We wait until everyone walks down the stairs and then we follow.

This is it. I’m standing inside the parlor, with my dad, and we’re waiting for the music to start so that we can walk out to the garden. Ron escorted my mum to her seat, and then Harry escorted Mrs. Malfoy. Alice just now walked outside. She’s carrying her little basket of flowers so carefully, as if it’s made of glass. She’s forgetting to throw the rose petals on the ground. That’s okay. Oh, okay, she’s remembered now, but only because someone reminded her.

Dad laughs and then leans over, kisses my cheek, and tells me he’s glad he’s finally has a chance to do this 'the right way' with me. That makes me a bit sad. I smile and kiss his cheek in return.

The music changes and this is my cue. It’s time. I place my hand on my dad’s sleeve and I swallow the lump that’s in my throat. I think I have to go to the bathroom, but I don’t have time. We step over the threshold, out to the patio. When we reach the white carpet between the folding chairs out in the garden, everyone begins to stand.

I look to my left and to my right. My veil is down, so I wonder if people can see me. I hardly recognize anyone. There’s Neville. I want to say hello to him. There’s George Weasley. I smile because he’s holding Alice’s little dragon. There’s Mrs. Weasley holding little Albus, and there’s little James standing on a chair by Mr. Weasley.

I see Ginny up at the front. She’s my maid of honour. She’s pregnant with a little girl. I hope I get pregnant soon. Maybe I’m pregnant now.

Oh goodness, I can’t think of that right now. I almost stop walking. My dad literally pulls on my arm to keep me moving.

I’m afraid to look toward Draco. Why? I look at the ground instead. I hear my own heart beating. I’m on the verge of tears…happy tears, but tears nonetheless. I’m almost at the end of the aisle. I finally look up. He’s smiling at me. I finally smile back.

“Who gives this woman to be wed?”

“Her mother, stepfather, daughter and I do,” my dad says. I think that’s sweet how he includes Bob and Alice. I turn to him, he lifts my veil, and places it behind my head, and then kisses my cheek. My dad gives my hand to Draco. Wow, Draco's hands are sweating.

I start to really cry. DAMN TEARS! I’ve cried more in the last few weeks than I have in years. I turn back to Draco and I mouth the words, ‘happy tears’. I don’t ever want Draco to think that I’m crying because of him. I’ve tried hard my entire life never to cry because of him, and I’m not going to have him think I’m crying because of him now.

Draco Again:

Alice looks scared. She’s walking very slowly, and she has her finger in her mouth. My mother is probably mortified, because she practiced this damn walk with her about twenty times. I try to smile at her, to let her know she’s doing a good job, but she won’t make eye contact with me. She looks over at James Potter. James jumps down from the seat where he’s standing and whispers something to her. She nods and then starts to pick up the rose petals from the basket and lets them waft gently down to the ground from her hand. James runs back to his grandfather and stands up on a chair.

That little boy is a cute kid. Lucky for him he's not a ginger head. Too bad his father is a ponce. Maybe I’ll have a son someday, or another daughter. I want many children. I hated being an only child. Hermione told me she hated being an only child. I don’t want that for Alice.

Okay, my mind’s wandering, and my damn hands are still sweating. Finally, the music changes and everyone stands. Hermione must be coming. I crane my neck to see her, but I can’t see her yet. There she is. My stars, she’s lovelier than the day is long. I’ve never seen a more beautiful woman. She won’t look at me. Even with her veil on, I can tell that she’s avoiding looking at me. That’s okay. Probably an emotional thing. I won’t take it personally.

She gets closer, and finally she stops in front of me, looks at me, and smiles. I smile back. Her father lifts her veil. I almost faint. I feel lightheaded. If I faint on my wedding day, my father would never let me hear the end of it.

She’s crying. WHY IS SHE CRYING? I’ve made her cry again! Damn me! She mouths the words, ‘happy tears’ or some such nonsense. What are happy tears? She places her hand in mine. I hope she can’t tell how wet it is.

We turn toward the Officiate, and he says, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here together, on this day, to celebrate with joy and happiness the wedding of Draco Abraxas Malfoy and Hermione Jean Granger.”

James Potter

Oh look, a bee. I hate bees. This is boring. The music is stupid. Here comes Daddy. He’s walking with a beautiful older lady. Now Mummy’s walking down the aisle thing. She’s smiling. She waves to Albus and me. I wave back. She told us earlier that Aunt Hermione was marrying Alice’s real father. She said his name was Draco and that Daddy didn’t like him, but that didn’t mean we were not to like him. Fine by me. Daddy hates peas, but I like them just fine.

Here comes Alice. She sure has pretty hair. I’ve never seen a real person with that hair colour. It’s yellow. Yellow hair…imagine that. I have brown hair like my daddy. Draco, her real father, has that hair colour, too.

She’s not like other girls. She’s not afraid of bugs, she likes to play outside, she gets dirty, and she reads to me. I know I’m older than she is, but she’s smarter than I am. She reads already. I think that’s good. I think I might love her. I think someday I might marry her. I pull on my pappy’s sleeve and I ask him to pick me up and help me to stand on the seat, so I can see her better.

She looks scared. She almost looks like she wants to cry. She told me earlier that she’s supposed to walk down the long aisle and throw out a few of the rose petals on each side until she reaches the end. I think that’s kind of stupid, but that’s what she’s supposed to do, and she must have forgotten, because instead of doing that, she’s walking real slowly and she’s not throwing out a single petal.

I jump off my seat. I hear my pappy call my name. I walk up to Alice and I whisper in her ear, “Remember, a rose petal on each side, until you get down to the end of the aisle. Also, you look very pretty today. I like your yellow hair.”

She smiles. I run back to my pappy and he lifts me back up on the seat. Good, now Alice is doing it right. I would hate for her to do it wrong and get in trouble or something, because, as I said, I think I love her.

The Vows:

Draco:

“You can dress me up in some disguise, but it doesn’t matter, because in the end you would still love me for what I am. I’m different within your eyes. I’m not guilty of all the sins and crimes of which I feel convicted. I know you’ve suffered in your life at the expense of my hand, but we’ve both risen above that, and our love is now our reward.

As we stand here, facing each other, hand in hand, heart to heart, you and me, me and you, we’ve become one. We stand alone, but together. Even if we part, the love in our hearts would now keep us together, and keep us strong.

And some truth remains, among the pain we’ve fed to each other all these years. And the sight of tomorrow renews us, beckons to us, telling us that tomorrow we’ll be able to start anew. Our journey isn’t over, it’s at a crossroad, and from now on, we will always travel the broken road together.”

Hermione:

“Pinch me. This isn’t a dream, is it? This is real. It’s too late for daydreaming, and I’m not asleep, so it’s not a sleep induced dream either. This is our life now, and our love is forever redeeming our past, making our future brighter. No, this isn’t a dream. If it were, I would go to sleep, and never wake up, because everything seems perfect now with you by my side.

I used to think if I could just go to sleep, I could dream away all the pain and tears and forget all of my unhappiness, and nothing and no one would ever hurt me again. I used to think I could dream of a perfect place, where no one cried, no one died, and everyone loved each other.

Now I know perfect places don’t exist, and dreams are best kept to nighttime, but my dreams of bliss can come true, because whatever exists between us makes me stronger, makes me believe in happiness again, and makes me believe in a future where things can be better. It makes me think that I can have these things for real, not just in a dream.

You, Draco Malfoy, have made all my dreams come true, and I love you.”

The Kiss, the Perfect Kiss:

You may now kiss the bride.”

Draco placed his hands on each side of Hermione’s face. She smiled at him. He brushed the soft skin beside her mouth with his thumbs, moved his hands back a bit, so that his hands cupped her head, his fingers threading in her perfectly styled hair, touching the sides of her veil.

“Shall I kiss you and make it official?” he asked.

“It seems to be the perfect way to end the ceremony,” she answered.

“Do you really love me, Granger, or is this merely a marriage of convenience?” he asked.

“Do you have to ask, Malfoy?”

He smiled back. He leaned in, nuzzled his nose along her cheek, her chin, up her jaw. He said in her ear, “I love you. Thank you for marry me for real.” He kissed his way back down her cheek, he didn’t care who saw him, and then he kissed her lips, softly, slowly, savoring the taste, the feel, the flavor, the moment. He played with her lips, his hands going from her face to her back.

Her hands went around his waist. She leaned her head to the side and opened her mouth under his, and when the kiss ended, she placed her head on his chest and sighed. Then she said, “Thanks for marry me for real and I love you, too.”

Then everyone applauded and shouted joyful cheers!

Alice let go of Ginny’s hand and ran up to her parents. She hugged their legs. Draco lifted her into the air, and then placed her on his hip. The happy family walked down the aisle, smiling brightly.

When they reached the end of the aisle, they were greeted by an unsmiling, unfriendly, ‘Aunt Phillipa’.

Draco said what everyone else was thinking. “Oh, Fuck.”

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