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“What is it, Claudia?” I asked as I bustled into the office a minute later after apparating into a nearby alley from the restaurant. I felt incredibly guilty for deserting Draco after he just proposed to me, but I knew he understood. I wouldn’t have left him if this wasn’t important, and Claudia had assured me that it was worth coming into the office for.

Claudia quickly stood to her feet. “You got here quickly. Where were you?” She was surprised because, of course, she had no idea I as a witch. In fact, she had no knowledge whatsoever of the entire wizarding world or the wonders of magic. Sometimes it was a good thing, sometimes it was a bad thing (like when it came to questions like this).

I dismissed the issue with a wave of my hand. “Never mind that. If you wouldn’t mind, what’s so urgent that you had to pull me out of my lunch date?” I didn’t mean to sound annoyed but thinking of Draco, sitting alone in that restaurant made me feel guiltier than ever, and it was partly Claudia’s fault.

Claudia nodded, telling me she understood, no hard feelings. “Marcy called while you were out. There’s a big issue with Mars that Scott can’t seem to sort out.”

Mars was our counterpart magazine, dedicated to happenings in the world of males. Where Venus was dedicated to females, both magazines consisted of important issues and anything ranging from beauty to life problems. It was a wide variety, hence making them popular. Mars, based in America, sometimes struggled to keep up with the deadline due to Scott Price’s, the manager, lack of organisation.

I pressed the palm of my hand to my eye, exhaling deeply, fighting off the urge to go ballistic. It was thanks to a man that shouldn’t even be in the journalism business that I was pulled out of my date right after Draco had proposed to me. I didn’t need this right now. “And we wonder why he made it to the top in the first place.” I stated irritably.

Claudia nodded her head in agreement. “What do you want me to do about it? Put a reliable someone else on the job? At least that way we can keep on top of things. We all know Scott is hopeless.” She said that to be professional, I knew that, but I also knew that she had an almost school-girl-like crush on Scott. She would always blush when I mentioned his name, and she would grow all flustered whenever he called my office phone, which Claudia answered.

I shook my head. “I’ll write up some instructions and fax them to him.” I said wearily, dropping into the conference chair opposite Claudia’s desk. Claudia fell into her own chair, leaning back, watching me intently.

“You look slightly out of it.” She said straight up. I had known her for three years, ever since I started up the company, so it was safe to say we had become friends. Although she tended to be a bit nasty toward other people; she was racist and discriminated against a lot of my employees. She didn’t even realise she did it. But otherwise she was very nice and a good person to talk to. And she wasn’t afraid to tell me if there was something wrong. Sometimes it was good, sometimes, however, it was not. This was one of those times.

“I was just pulled out of a date in which Draco proposed to me all because Scott’s attention span isn’t long enough to run a magazine.” I snapped at her, not meaning to sound so harsh. Claudia winced at my tone.

“Wow, congratulations!” She said, genuinely happy for me, thankfully ignoring my attitude. Claudia didn’t know Draco that well, but she did know that he was otherwise incapable of using the telephone and that he occupied my thoughts all the time. She knew this because I was always too sidetracked to listen to what she had to say. “But I’m sorry I had to pull you out. My work’s been up to here –” she pointed at her neck –“and I didn’t know how you wanted this dealt with.”

I gave her a small smile to make up for my little outburst and I told her that I appreciated her help anyway.

“So when will the big day be?” Claudia asked, leaning forward on the desk in interest.

I laughed quietly. “I don’t know. He’d only just slipped the ring on my finger when I got your call.”

She cringed guiltily, but brushed it off. “I hope I’m invited!” She said with a small laugh.

“Of course. But I won’t be making any plans yet. I have to talk to Draco first. Speaking of which, I should get these instructions written up and then get home. Draco will be waiting for me.”

“I’ll hold your calls for you,” Claudia offered. “I’m just going to run this note down to the printing room so that I can order that paper you wanted.” She waved the message at me and I glimpsed figures and digits. Boring stuff.

I smiled my appreciation and heaved a sigh as she left the room. I bustled into my office, supposing I should get to work. The sooner I started, the sooner I would finish. I dropped down into the seat at my desk and glanced at my pen, thinking of where I should start.

*


An hour later, I apparated home (in the seclusion of the alley way around the corner from work, of course) to find the house rather quiet. There was a dirty pot on the counter and a chopping board, indicating Draco was home and had made lunch for himself.

I ventured out into the living room and was surprised to find the table laid with expensive china and a small feast, big enough for two. A candelabra in the middle of the table hosted three candles that shone dimly, casting a beautiful glow over the food. I suddenly felt hands on my arms and then giggled as Draco’s lips brushed against my neck. I turned in his arms and met his lips with my own.

“You’re too good for me.” I whispered as his arms went around me and we kissed each other hello.

Draco smiled against my lips. “I’m your fiancé. I’m allowed to be.” The word ‘fiancé’ sounded odd, especially because it was connected to me. But I found myself thinking I could get used to it. Draco stepped away and led me by the hand to the table he had set up for us. We sat opposite each other. The table was small enough so that our knees touched.

“This looks delicious. I knew you could cook, but this?” I couldn’t hide my awe.

Draco chuckled. “It’s from the restaurant. I didn’t know how much time I had to cook so I just brought our food back here.” He said, dishing out some vegetables and salad onto my plate. I smiled at him, suddenly feeling ravenous after seeing the marinated steak. At least he was honest about where it all came from.

We held hands across the table as we ate. Draco kept playing with the diamond ring on my finger. Whenever we looked at each other, we couldn’t help but grin. I was so happy that I wanted to just leap for joy. To think that this could happen to me. And especially with Draco Malfoy. I wondered what Ron and Harry would think if they saw me now.

I hadn’t talked to either of them since Graduation. We had all gone our separate ways. We’d kind of predicted it in our seventh year, though. We didn’t hang out as much as we used to. Harry had Ginny, Ron had Lavender, and in the end I had Draco. We sensed that we were growing apart and felt it was time, so we didn’t try to do anything about it. On the day the Hogwarts Express would take us for our last journey back to London, we still hugged and said our goodbyes. I didn’t cry, like I had anticipated I would. And the goodbyes seemed more final than temporary. That’s how I knew this was it.

Harry owled me about a month later, telling me he had been accepted to train as an Auror in France and that he was moving there with Ginny as soon as she had graduated. I wrote him back, saying congratulations and that I hoped it wouldn’t seem like too long a wait. He owled me a couple of times after that, updating me every three months or so. But our letters were never as in depth as they used to be. He finally dropped all contact with me a year later when Ginny graduated. I suspected it was because Harry thought all along that moving to France would be the final cut-off point of his past life.

Ron was the complete opposite. He never talked to me again, mainly because in our last week at Hogwarts, he asked me if I would go to Romania with him for a couple of months. I had known by the way he asked me that it was a date type of holiday. After I had turned him down for dates a few times over our sixth and seventh years, he was still hopeful I would agree to go out with him. I had told him thanks, but no thanks; I love you like a brother, nothing more. Sorry.

He hadn’t taken it too well. And even though he looked heavy and sad when we said our final goodbyes, he never once tried to contact me after that final Hogwarts Express journey.

It had been hard for me even though I had expected it, but I had moved on. A part of me ached for them, to have them as my best friends again, to be able to share anything with them. But another part of me was glad they weren’t my friends anymore. It gave me a chance to move on from my childhood, to really let go of the things that had been hard. And I knew they would not approve of my relationship with Draco.

“What did you need to go into the office for, anyway?” Draco asked once we had finished eating. He filled our wine glasses up again.

“Scott stuffed up Mars again.” I said with a heavy sigh.

Draco rolled his eyes irritably. “Why is that guy even managing it? He’s almost guaranteed to do something wrong every time.” He said, half joking, half serious.

I smiled a little. “He’s getting better.”

“I don’t even know why you’re defending the man.”

I rolled my eyes at him. Draco still had a bit of his old self inside of him. He got irritable easily, even at me, and when he didn’t like someone he made no effort to hide it. But he was trying to change, trying to be tolerant enough. Even though sometimes he didn’t make things better for himself.

“He’ll get the hang of it.” I said with a dismissive wave of my hand.

Draco nodded his head in understanding, observing me intently. “Just don’t do all the work for him. Trust me, men love a challenge.” He unnecessarily added with a smirk.

I raised my eyebrow. “Oh, and how does that involve you?”

He gave me a secretive smile, but didn’t reply. My thoughts wondered back to the time he first kissed me and how long it took for me to finally kiss him again, with meaning. I knew he was talking about getting through to me. All that time we had been friends, he had been wishing for something more. I had too, but I hadn’t wanted to admit it. Yet here we were now.

“What are you thinking about?” Draco asked me after I had been silent for a rather long time.

I smiled at him. “Just about how wonderful life is right now, how happy I am with you.” I squeezed his hand affectionately.

He grinned, turning the ring over and over on my finger. “Likewise.” He had never really been someone for words, but I knew he felt exactly the same. He didn’t need to say it directly.

We cleared up the dishes, and Draco, always loving a good play, attacked me with soap suds and attempted to whip me with the tea towel. We ended up covering the entire kitchen with bubbles. At least we got the dishes clean. We retreated to the lounge and fell backward onto the couch, still laughing from our little fight.

It was a given that we would end up spread out across the couch making out. It didn’t take long for our playful manner to dissolve and our lustful one to rise. Draco cupped my chin and turned me toward him, placing his other hand on my thigh. Our lips touched once, twice, three times, and by the fourth time he was on top of me, undoing my blouse, kissing me hard.

I was living in the moment. All thoughts of the company slipped from my mind and were replaced with my life ahead with Draco. Nothing could top how happy I was right now, how excited I was to truly start my life with Draco, to share his name, to have his children. I was ready to settle down, and Draco was the perfect man to do that with. And in that moment, I knew that letting go of Harry and Ron was a good thing. I could finally move on with my life and take the next step toward happiness without thinking of all the hassles that would’ve come with it if my former best friends found out I was getting married to their childhood archenemy.

I was assured things would be OK.

That was until Blaise Zabini walked into my life, or rather, apparated.



A/N: Well, I'm really excited about this fic still. The writing's been great. It's a real change from my usual Hogwarts-based stories. It's a relief not having to centre things around classes and whatnot. And having Hermione and Draco out of school makes things much easier relationship-wise.

And yes, I know! Cliffie! Sorry guys, but you know these are what I'm best for. But I promise you that you won't be disappointed with the later chapters. I'm planning to fill them with as much passion and lust as possible so that you won't know what hit you!

So please leave a review on your way out and let me know what you think. I hope you are will all enjoy Blaise/Hermione and start to write it yourselves. xD

Danielle xx

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