A Marriage Most Convenient

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Chapter 4: Hotel Rooms and Lip Service:


"Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor, which is one very strong argument in favor of matrimony." – Jane Austen


Single men have a dreadful propensity for attracting single women who only want them for their money.” - Draco Malfoy


Single women should always have money hidden in a secret bank account, because otherwise, they have a dreadful propensity for being taken advantage of, once they marry.” – Hermione Granger.


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Hermione settled into her hotel room and she opened the window to let in some fresh, seaside air. She wasn’t even scheduled to come to his event, having just come back into the country a short while ago, but at the last moment, she decided to come. Harry and Ginny were to be here, and they convinced her that it would be a good idea. She decided it might not hurt to reestablish contacts, make new friends, and let people know that she was back in England.


She had been in Canada for three years, but moved back to England after her divorce. It wasn’t so much a matter of homesickness that brought her back…no, that wasn’t it. It was because of financial woes. She had a successful art dealership in Canada, which dealt with antiquities and rare paintings, and she did quite well for herself. She had a rather large house, two cars, and she sent her daughter, Alice, to a private pre-school where only the best of the best, and richest of the rich, attended. Then the proverbial rug was pulled out from underneath Hermione’s feet…in the manner of a Divorce, with a capital ‘D’.


It was no real surprise, her marriage was doomed for failure the day she came home from St. Mungo’s years ago and said, “Guess what, Kevin, I’m preggers, and we both know you’re not the father.” However, their sham of a marriage and a family continued, quite convincingly, for several more years, taking the whole family across the pond over to Canada. When Kevin fell in love with a woman named Lauren and he asked for a Divorce (still a capital ‘D’), the ‘gig’ was finally up.


Hermione thought, sure, why not, they didn’t love each other, they had been more like friends, or even distance acquaintances, than lovers or life mates anyway, so she told him no problem. Then, he started to make demands. She made more money than he did so he wanted a larger settlement. She clamped her mouth shut and told her lawyer to do whatever he wanted.


Then he said, ‘you know what, your business is more successful than mine, so I want a share of that as well.’ Hermione said, fine, take the whole, bloody business. He said, ‘I think I want the house.’ She loved that house, but she gave it to him. The last straw came when he wanted equal custody of her daughter.


She said NO, with both a capital ‘N’ and a capital ‘O’, and he knew bloody well the reason for that. In fact, he used the ‘reason’ for that to get all his other demands met, although he was never blatant about his demands, she knew he kept that ace up his sleeve, which was: Give me what I want, or I tell the world about your daughter. Yet, he had the nerve to say that he loved her, he raised her from infancy, and though he might not be her biological father, he still loved her as such. What a load of shite. He must have gotten those words right out of a Nicholas Sparks novel.


Therefore, Hermione did something she had never done in her life. She ran away, in a matter of speaking. She gave the loathsome loser all the money she had in the world, her business, and her home, and all he had to do was sign one little piece of paper giving up all rights to ‘their’ daughter. It was a small price to pay.


She packed up what was left, which wasn’t much, and came back to England with her daughter and her daughter’s sixty-seven year old nanny. Since she was low on funds, (strike that) since she was flat broke, they were living temporarily with her Mum and step dad. She was determined to build up a new business here in London, and coming to this meet and greet banquet and ball at this resort was a good way to do that. Though it was an informal ‘ball’, held by Draco Malfoy’s company, and hosted by Marcus Flint, she knew she might meet many potential business associates this weekend. Besides, the last ball she attended with Draco Malfoy didn’t turn out half bad. She turned to her suitcase, took out a picture of her daughter, and placed it on the dresser.


She closed the window to her room and went to the bathroom to shower and change.


Draco was shocked when he saw Hermione Granger earlier that day. The last he had heard, she was in Canada, and very much married. He hardly knew what to think, and she had a little girl, a daughter, only four years old. Four years old. Draco sat on the edge of the bed in his suite at the motel and thought about that. Wasn’t it a bit over four years ago when he last saw her? He really couldn’t recall. When was the last time he saw her? No matter. He was going to see her tonight, at the banquet and ball.


He wasn’t aware she was on the guest list, and maybe she wasn’t, but he was somewhat happy that she was here, and divorced as well. Things might work out better than he planned. He acted as if this little banquet and ball was a meet and greet for new and old clients, and business acquaintances, and a way for his company to say thank you to everyone for doing business with them over the last year.


What it really was an open market for Draco Malfoy to try to find a wife. He needed one in three months, or his goose was cooked, to put it lightly. He agreed to let his business associate, Marcus Flint, arrange this last ditch effort for Draco’s impending matrimony, so Flint invite every eligible single woman in the known Wizarding World, between the ages of 18 and 38, so that Draco could finally find a wife. He didn’t require a wife. He didn’t even need a wife. He really didn’t even want a wife. But, a wife was required FOR him, if he wanted to maintain his home, his business and his general way of life. He had already narrowed his prospects down to three women, actually, but that was before Hermione Granger came back to London.


She was as pretty as ever. She was still slim, attractive, and somewhat prickly, as evident when he told her that afternoon that she had better keep a better eye on her daughter from now on, and she told him to mind his own business. Draco smiled at the way she gave him a ‘so there’ stare, grabbed her daughter’s sticky little hand, and then woke up her nanny, before she sent the woman and child back to the motel.


She might make a decent wife, and wouldn’t his old dead grandfather roll over in his pureblood grave if Draco married the poster child for all Mudbloods. Not that he would do it just for spite, especially as the old man was long dead, and it was not fun to spite a dead man. Still, she was still very, very pretty. She was almost as pretty as his mystery woman was, and she didn’t have a mask on her face!


He still had several hours before the ball, so he decided to go find Hermione Granger’s room. He wanted to talk to her a bit more, before he announced his engagement to her tonight. He obtained her room number from the front desk, (she had a double room, so he assumed her daughter and the sleeping nanny was in the next room), and while on his way there, he realized he had a smile on his face the entire time.


What would she say if he asked her to marry him tonight? He thought about it clearly. She would probably slap him senseless. She had slapped him one time before, when they were children, and he knew she could pack a wallop. On the other hand, perhaps she would point a finger at him and laugh at him. That might smart a bit, too. Would she dare to say yes? He would feel her out right now. He was standing in front of her door.


He knocked.


The door opened. He looked in the room, saw no one, but then looked down. Goodness, he had knocked on her daughter’s door, and the little thing was the one that answered!


“Hello, Mr. Draco,” she said.


Draco sighed. Why was the little girl opening doors by herself? “Hello, Miss Alice. Is your nanny in a coma this time?” he asked.


“A what?” she asked.


“Why are you answering the door, sweetheart?” he asked, leaning down on his hunches so he was level with her.


“Because Ingrid is in the bathroom,” she said. She suddenly touched his cheek. The action shocked him. It also endeared her to him more than he could say.


“Why did you do that?” Draco asked, standing back up. He touched the place where she had just touched.


“Because I like you and because my mummy told me that you were nice to her once.”


“Really? When did your mummy tell you this?” Draco asked, very curious.


“I don’t remember,” she answered. “Did you want something, Mr. Draco?”


“You don’t have to call me Mr. Draco,” Draco laughed. “You can just call me Draco.”


“Ingrid said I should call all old people Mr. or Mrs.” The little girl moved into the room and walked over to a large cardboard box that was on the floor and said, “Will you help me make this box into a playhouse, Mr. Draco?”


Suddenly, the door between the rooms opened. Hermione walked into the room, in nothing but a towel. She said, “Who was at the door?” Then she turned, saw Draco, who had raised his eyebrows, and had smiled. She screamed and ran back into the other room.


Draco laughed and said, “I’ll be back to help you later, sweetheart. I promise. I need to help your mummy first.” He closed the door to the hallway and said, “Don’t answer the door again. Only let an adult do it, okay?”


“Okay,” she answered. Her nanny ran out of the other bathroom, her hand on her chest.


Draco looked at the older woman and said, “I would fire you, if it was up to me, even if everyone does have to pee occasionally.” He said nothing else on the subject, then he opened the door between the two rooms, and as soon as he crossed the threshold, he saw Hermione quickly putting on a robe. He flashed her a quick smile.


“Hello, Love,” he said. “Your daughter shouldn’t open the door to strangers.”


“And you shouldn’t barge into my room without knocking, but there you go,” she said derisively. She pointed to the door that would lead to the hall and said, “Get out of here!”


“Why were you in a towel?” he asked. He sat down on her bed. Her unmade bed. Interesting.


“I took a shower, you git,” she said. She pointed toward the door again. “OUT!”


Instead, he stood up from the bed and crossed over to the wardrobe. “What are you wearing tonight, to the banquet?” He was trying to change the subject from her shower, because he was having impure thoughts imagining her IN THE SHOWER! He opened the door and started to finger her clothing. She didn’t seem to have very much hanging in there. In fact, he only saw one dress, and it was nothing special.


She tried to shut the door, right on his hand, but he pushed her away, and pulled out her dress. “Please, tell me you are not wearing this.”


She stood with her mouth agape and said, “Are you mentally ill, Draco? Do I need to call a doctor for you? Have you escaped a mental institute, or something more sinister? Why are you even here in my room and why are you suddenly interested in my clothes?”


He tried to hide his smile. He held her dress against her. His hand brushed her hair first, and then her shoulder. She openly flinched. He said, “This dress will never do. Where are your other dresses?”


She suddenly seemed very serious. “This is the only one I brought,” she answered.


“Well, pop back to your parents’ house, grab a different one, and pop back,” he suggested.


She felt hot and embarrassed. She took the dress from his hand, slowly, and she threw it over a chair in the corner. She licked her dry lips and said, “I mean it’s the only one I brought back to England with me.”


“You left some of your clothes in Canada?” Draco was confused.


No, she sold most of her clothes for plane fare home. Lord that seemed so pitiful, even to her. How could she tell him that she was using her last bit of money to pay for these rooms this weekend? She knew she was blushing. She felt hot, embarrassed, and overwhelmed. Plus, she was extremely aware that the quieter she became, and the longer she took to answer, the closer he was walking toward her.


She backed against the doors of the wardrobe. He was right in front of her, so close; she could see silver specks in his grey eyes. They were just like the specks that were in her daughter’s eyes. She looked down.


He touched her chin. She shuddered. She looked up. He smiled. “You know what, I think this is a beautiful dress, Hermione, but would you allow me to make a suggestion? I believe you would look lovely in a little thing I saw down in a store by the hotel. I’m going to buy it for you.”


She was shaking her head no, all the while he was shaking his head yes.


“Why?” she asked, finally.


He waited for the answer, too, but he didn’t know what to say to her. He could hardly say, ‘because tonight is your engagement party.’ She would hex him to oblivion. Suddenly, it dawned on Draco that she might say no tonight. It hadn’t dawned on him until that moment that she might say no.


She wouldn’t say no, would she?


“No,” she said.


What? Why was she saying no now? “What?”


“You can’t buy me a dress, Draco. It wouldn’t be right,” she said.


“Your daughter gave me a flower today. I’m repaying the kindness.”


“You don’t need to repay a kindness,” she said, although she smiled.


“When was I once nice to you, Hermione?” he asked, pondering the very thing her daughter had told him.


“What?” She seemed confused. “What are you asking me?”


“Nothing, never mind. I want to do this for you,” he said. He reached for her hair. It was so soft. He let it slip through his fingers. She turned her head slightly, and watched his hand as it fell away from her hair. When she looked back into his face, he was right upon her. His head was lowering, his hands were at her waist, and then, to her shock, his lips were right on her lips. Her lips parted slightly under the pressure of his, the intimacy and warmth of his mouth shocked her to her core, and sent a memory to her soul, and she placed her hands on his shoulders and began to return the kiss.


When suddenly, they both stopped when they heard Alice say, “Ouch.”


They turned to face her at the same time. Hermione backed away from Draco, her hand rushing up to her mouth. Draco leaned down to the little girl again and said, “Why did you say, ouch?”


“I bit my finger,” she said. She held it up to his eyes, to examine.


“Why?” he asked, smiling.


“Because it was in my mouth,” she said, as if he should just know that.


He rose up, took her hand and said, “A word of advice, young Miss Alice, keep your fingers out of your mouth, and don’t walk into your mummy’s room unless you knock.” He walked her back to her room, and ushered her into it, then he closed and locked the door. He turned back toward Hermione, but she was gone. No matter. She couldn’t have gotten any farther than the bathroom.


He walked up to the bathroom door. He pressed his hand against it. “Hermione? Can you hear me? Are you in there?”


She pressed her hand against her side of the door. “Yes.”


“Well, remember that answer for tonight, okay? I’ll have your dress delivered. I’ll see you later.” He walked out of her room, smiling again. He felt happier than he had felt in a very long time.


She opened the bathroom door quickly and said to the thin air, “Remember what answer? Draco? Where did you go?” She walked back into the bathroom and said, “He’s more delusional by the minute.”

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