Hermione undid the bow at the back of her waitressing apron and redid it again, carefully taking the rough material in her hands making sure that it was a perfect bow and that it rested directly in the middle of the back. She had always had this OCD with her apron ever since she took on the job. She peered through the kitchen window door and gazed out into the small coffee shop, she noticed someone had walked in and taken a seat by the window.
She carefully pushed the kitchen door open and lifted up part of the counter top allowing her to walk towards the new customer. This evening had been pretty empty in the shop, so she was glad to have a customer, someone to take her mind of her current predicament.
Notepad and pencil in hand she greeted the customer warmly, “Good evening!” Hermione smiled happily at the customer, her head tilted sideways as it usually did when she greeted someone and her brown eyes squinted slightly as she smiled. The customer took off his black hat to reveal a mop of white blonde hair, “Hello Granger” he greeted his voice cold, but his eyes lit up somewhat amused at Hermione.
“Malfoy!” Hermione responded shocked, now her smile wiped from her face, “What are you doing here?”
“Hopefully to get a cup of coffee,” he replied, “I could ask you the same thing.”
“I work here,”
“I can see that,”
“Then why bother asking?” she snapped back,
“Well, I assumed you worked for the ministry, with Potter and Weasley”
“I’ve never worked in the ministry,” she barked back.
“Oh,” Malfoy replied curiosity oozing through his voice, “So why do you work here?”
“That’s none of your business”
“Alright,” he replied his arms up in the air as if he was surrendering. “I want coffee, black and a blueberry muffin,” he told her.
“My order Granger! No wonder you don’t work for the ministry, you wouldn’t be able to remember what your job is.”
Hermione made a slight “Hmph” under her breath before turning around and heading to the counter. She scrutinised Malfoy curiously, as she made his coffee; he had pulled out of his briefcase a Daily Prophet and was reading closely. She stirred his coffee three times anticlockwise and then took a blueberry muffin out of the counter and placed in on a pristine white plate.
She walked over to his table and carefully placed down his coffee in order not to spill any and his blueberry muffin next to it, “That’ll be £3.20” she told him coldly.
“I expect a nicer, happier tone off my waitress please Granger” Malfoy smirked,
“Piss off!” Hermione snapped back,
“Tut, tut Granger, that is not the way to talk to a customer. Will I have to speak to your boss?” he smirked again, clearly enjoying the fact her had authority over her. Hermione forced a smile on her face, “That’ll be £3.20” she repeated, her voice unusually high as she forced on a happy tone.
“That’s better Granger” Malfoy laughed, as he handed her a ten pound note,
“I’ll go get your change,” she told him,
“Don’t bother, you can have it, as a tip. Not that you deserve one, but you look like you could do with a bit extra money,” Malfoy told her. He looked Hermione up and down, her hair was back in a messy bun, but it still didn’t stop her hair from looking slightly like a bird’s nest, she wore thick black rimmed glasses, and wore a white blouse that was gradually fading into a murky colour and black trousers that were almost showing her ankles. Her shoes were black pumps that were rather scuffed around the edges.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” she snapped,
“Oh nothing. It’s just, you look like you could do with a bit more money, get yourself some new clothes,”
“Maybe you should take the change, and get yourself a hair cut to prevent you looking like a homeless man, and more like a well-kept person,” she retorted offended by Malfoy’s remark. She knew she needed new clothes; it was just she couldn’t afford them at the moment; other things came first like food and rent money.
“I’ll grace you with my remark in a moment once you’ve taken care of the customer that has just come in,” Malfoy gestured to the person who had just entered wearing a large raincoat and was waiting by the counter. Hermione once again went “Humph” before heading to the counter a large smile plastered on her face.
Behind the counter, she placed Malfoy’s ten-pound note in the till and took out the change and placed it in her tip jar. “Hello!” she greeted warmly to the customer,
“Hi,” the customer replied, “I was wondering if I could have a skinny latte to go please?” the man asked politely,
“Of course” she nodded. She began busying herself, as she began to prepare the latte. “A bit rainy out there is it?” she asked, noticing the man was very wet indeed.
“You could say that!” he chuckled as he ruffled his brown wet hair. Hermione laughed sweetly as she poured the hot water into the mug and then the latte mix and stirred it gently. She placed the lid on the cup and handed it to the man, “Anything else?” she asked,
“No that’s it,”
“Well, that’ll be £1.75 please” she asked, the man handed her the money into her hand and thanked her before heading to the exit. He stopped as he reached Malfoy and gazed down at his newspaper, “Odd looking newspaper, you’ve got there. The pictures are moving,” he observed,
“Yeah, interesting isn’t it?” Malfoy nodded as he folded up his newspaper. The man just gazed at Malfoy curiously before leaving the coffee shop.
“Could you put that away?” Hermione hissed gesturing towards the Daily Prophet on the table, “This is a muggle coffee shop!”
“I know that,” he told her coldly as he placed the newspaper back in his briefcase, and he turned around to face her. “So how come you are here working in the muggle world, when you could easily get any job you wanted in the wizarding world?”
“Why are you in a muggle coffee shop, when there are plenty of coffee shops in the wizarding world?” she resorted, her face hostile glared at Malfoy.
“It’s quieter here, plus no-one here know me. Except you, but I didn’t realise you worked here so…” he answered truthfully.
“Ok,” Hermione nodded before turning to wipe the counter tops, although she had already done this ten times before and they were as clean as could be.
“Come on Granger, humour me. I’m interested to know why the brightest-witch-of her age, is working in the muggle world, whilst looking like a tramp.”
“I’m most definitely going to answer you, now that you’ve insulted me Malfoy,”
“Just speaking the truth,” Malfoy smirked again.
“Piss off” she answered again. Malfoy tutted under his breath and walked up to the counter and placed his empty mug and plate. He placed both his pale hands on the desk and leant forward, forcing Hermione to gazed into his grey, cold eyes, he held her gaze for a few seconds before whispering in her ear, “Come on Granger, tell Draco. Or I might just have to tell your boss about the ungodly way, in which you spoken to me,”
“You’re still the same manipulative Slytherin aren’t you?” Hermione scowled,
“Once a Slytherin always a Slytherin darling” he winked mischieviously at her, “So you going to tell me Granger?”
“I’ve been magic free for three years. I finished my N.E.W.T.S and since then I’ve been magic free,”
“Magic free doesn’t seem to be working well for you Granger, does Potter and Weasley know what state you are in?” Malfoy asked with an odd hint to his voice, there was definitely something more than curiosity there.
“It is working for me perfectly,” Hermione told him defensively, “And on regards to Harry and Ron, I don’t believe that’s any of your business.”
“ I’ll take that as a no then shall I?” Malfoy winked with a knowing look in his eyes, “It’s been satisfactory seeing you Granger, best be off. Got a wonderful home with exquisite furniture, clothes, food to get back too,” Malfoy boasted. He turned away from Hermione and picked his hat up off the table and placed it on his head, picked up his briefcase and left the coffee shop.
Hermione glared after him, “Prick” she murmured under her breath, before taking his empty mug and plate to the kitchen to be washed.
As she stood by the sink washing the dishes, she felt a tear roll down her cheek, Malfoy was right she did look like a tramp and that being magic free wasn’t working for her. “Fucking slytherin,” she cursed as she began to dry the mug. She already knew everything he was saying was true, so why did he have to go and say it?
Once all the dishes and mugs were clean and the chairs placed on the table, she locked the front door and pulled down the blinds to the coffee shut. She trailed back to the kitchen and headed towards the back door. Her hand reached up and took her coat off the hanger and she put it on, then she slung the bag over her shoulder and turned off all the lights to the shop.
Locking the back door to the shop, she walked to the house next to it, and posted the keys through. She did this routinely every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday; she would work in the shop from 9:00 till 6:00 then close up and post the keys through the letterbox of her boss’s home next to his shop.
Slowly she made her way through the rain, it’s heavy downpour fell viscously onto her uncovered head. Her feet slapped against the wet ground and the puddles seeped into her shoes, soon her shoes were filled with water and squelched with each step. Hermione sighed, and stared down at her worn out pumps, she stopped and took them off her feet and carried on walking bare foot. It made no difference her walking barefooted her feet were already soaked inside her shoe; this way she didn’t have to hear the squelch.
A loud pop could be heard from behind her, she turned to see Draco Malfoy standing in the rain, his body kept dry underneath a large black umbrella and kept warm underneath his thick black trench coat.
“Are you following me?” Hermione questioned exasperated,
“Now why would I be doing that Granger?” Malfoy asked, his voice and face stayed emotionless, “I think you should use my tip for a new pair of shoes,”
“Thanks for your opinion, but I really don’t want to hear it,”
“You don’t get a choice,” he told as he continued to talk, walking behind her as she continues forward. “You could save yourself all this trouble if you just used magic. You could repair your shoes, or even apperate home!”
“Piss off,” she told him again,
“That seems to be your favourite phrase Granger,” Malfoy tutted, “Hogwarts Hermione would never have dared to speak like that.” Hermione stopped abruptly, caught off guard by the use of her actual name. She turned around quickly and faced Malfoy, “You called me Hermione,” she pointed out, “You have never called me Hermione. Why are you here?”
“I came to offer you some help,” he told her with actual sincerity in his voice. Hermione raised an eyebrow quizzically at him, “As if I would actually believe that,” she told him, before turning back around and continued walking.
Hermione was soon at her flat, and hadn’t heard a word from Malfoy, she turned her head cautiously to see if he was still following her. He was. Once again she stopped suddenly and turned to face him, “Why are you following me!” she shouted at him.
“Calm down Granger” he laughed hollowly,
“Just leave me alone Malfoy!” she shouted back, “Leave me alone!”
Malfoy looked at Hermione sceptically before nodding, “Ok.” With a pop he disapperated, leaving Hermione alone.
She turned the key in the lock and opened the door into her flat. Her flat was quaint, it had a small kitchen, bathroom living room and bedroom, and almost every inch of it was covered in books. Hermione closed the door behind her and walked into her living room, she let out a high-pitched scream, as she saw someone sitting on her small sofa. “Get out of my home, Malfoy!” she shrieked,
“You weren’t joking about no magic for three years were you?” Malfoy asked, sounding completely oblivious to her screaming, “No protection spells or anything. I was able to walk right into here.”
“Get out of my home!” Hermione shouted again,
“What will you do if I don’t leave? I doubt you’ll use magic, no point in calling those muggles called police. They’d never find me. So why don’t you hear me out Granger?”
Hermione’s brown eyes watched malfoy sceptically, the cogs moving around in her brain. Cogs that hadn’t moved for years. Her life had been pretty simple up to today, nothing to do with the magic world ever came into her life; her days consisted of work and sleep. “I’ll hear you out” she told him, “as long as when I tell you to leave you’ll leave, ok?”
“Perfectly fine with me Granger,” a sly smirk spread across his face, “ now take a seat down next to me.” His pale hand tapped Hermione’s brown sofa, telling her to sit down. She obliged.
Hermione sat down opposite Draco Malfoy, her body slightly tilted towards his and her face angrily watched him. Malfoy turned and faced her, “Well Granger, I’m here to offer you some help.”
“Help?” he queried
“Yes, help! You are obviously in a predictament, you are barely able to keep yourself afloat by the looks of things. So I am here to offer you something, that you’d be stupid to turn down. Money.”
“What are you on about?” Hermione questioned, wondering what he was on about,
“Money. Enough money to fix all your muggle problems,”
“Why are you offering me this?”
“Because I’m a kind and generous person (Hermione scoffed at this) Seriously, I just want to help,” there was something in malfoy’s eyes that caused Hermione not to trust him. The look in his eyes and their history, Hermione couldn’t help but be distrustful. “And what do you want in return?” she asked,
“So you want the money?” Malfoy asked,
“I’m not saying that I want it!” she snapped back, “I’m just wondering what the catch is. I know what you’re like Malfoy,”
“No, you know what Hogwarts Draco is like. I’m different now. There’s no catch. I just want to help.”
“You know I have a hard time believing that,” Hermione told him, “So now that I’ve heard you out why don’t you leave? I don’t need your money, I am getting on perfectly fine. I have plenty of money and I am fine being magic-free.”
“Why are you magic-free?” Malfoy asked curiously,
“I thought I told you to leave”, Hermione stood up from the sofa and pointed towards the door, “now,”
“Touchy subject Granger. Hit a nerve have I?” he teased,
“Leave now!” Hermione shouted at him again. Like before Malfoy held up his hands and said, “Ok” before dissaperating.