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I didn’t go home that night. Blaise took me back to his flat where we made love. It was even better than the first time. I stayed awake all night, lying in his arms, watching him sleep, praying the morning wouldn’t come so I could stay in his arms forever. He was a deep sleeper; I ran my hand through his hair all night, I traced every detail of his body with my fingers, watched his chest rise and fall with every breath he took. I don’t remember how many times my heart stopped that night.

It seemed sweeter the second time around. The feelings were still new but they weren’t unfamiliar. Sleeping with him seemed to make everything all right again, which worried me a little. But I tried to tune out the negatives and focused on what made me feel good about my relationship with Blaise. I only thought about Draco once or twice throughout the entire night. I didn’t know whether to feel guilty or relieved about this.

All too soon, the first rays of sunlight shined through the partly open shutters above the bed. It played delectably on Blaise’s taut chest, accentuating his bulky sexiness. I tried not to drool as I rested my head against his chest, hoping to fall asleep so I wouldn’t feel so tired. But it wasn’t long before Blaise’s fingers were combing my hair affectionately and there was no way I could sleep.

I lifted my head and smiled at his half-asleep expression. “Good morning.”

He smiled groggily. “Good morning. How did you sleep?” He traced my eyebrow with his finger, running it from my forehead to my lips.

I swallowed a shiver, trying to concentrate on his question rather than the way he was making me feel without even putting much effort into it. It was frustrating and pleasing at the same time how intoxicating he was. It was like he was my brand of heroin. Figures.

“I think maybe you slept better than I did.” I said truthfully. I wasn’t entirely up to admitting I hadn’t slept at all because I had been too preoccupied with staring at his beautiful face. The only thing about him I had missed all night was his violet eyes. Now that I could see them, I was a little more preoccupied.

He chuckled; his voice was still sleep-worn, making it sound huskier than usual – if that was even possible. “Did I keep you awake with my horrible, monstrous snoring?”

I knitted my eyebrows together as I laughed. “No… do you snore?”

“Maybe.”

I grinned. “Well, I must be good for you. You didn’t snore all night.” I told him, placing a quick peck on his collar bone.

“How do you know I didn’t snore all night?” He teased, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear.

I blushed, embarrassed. I knew I shouldn’t be embarrassed to admit I was so taken by his beauty that I felt I had to watch him all night. But there was still something about Blaise that made me a little wary about what I said. It was a difference to Draco, that was for sure. I felt I could say anything to him. But I was still adjusting to Blaise. I felt with time I would be able to completely be myself around him. For now, I would keep things like how he made my heart skip several beats when he looked at me to myself.

Blaise chuckled again and kissed my forehead. He then slipped out from underneath me. He wore only boxer shorts and I watched him with a silly grin on my face as he crossed the room to the bathroom. I checked the bedside clock and saw that it was nine o’clock. I groaned and rolled over onto my stomach, fishing through my hand bag that I had left beside the bed. I found my cell phone and turned it on.

My mouth dropped open. I had thirty-three missed calls. It didn’t take much thinking to figure out who they were all from. All of them were from Draco, bar one which was from Claudia. My face fell as guilt spread through me once again. I hadn’t realized Blaise was standing at the bathroom door watching me until he said,

“What’s wrong?”

I glanced up at his worried expression. Obviously I must look a fright. I glanced back down at my phone. “Draco called me thirty-two times last night.” I said, my voice seeping with shock. I should have expected it. My reaction was stupid. Of course he would have tried to call me. He would have been worrying about me all night. I should have called him and told him I wouldn’t be coming home. But what excuse would I have given him?

”Yeah, I stayed with Blaise all night. Did I mention I was sleeping with him behind your back?”

I felt sick.

Blaise sat down beside me and took my phone from me. He turned it off and covered my hands with his. “Don’t go back to him today.” He said; if he hadn’t sounded slightly pleading I would have assumed it was a command.

I looked away from him, his intent stare confusing me. “I think I should.” I said in a small voice.

He pressed his lips tightly together. “Hermione, please don’t go back to him today.” He squeezed my hands to show how desperate he was. I was rather shocked; I had never seen Blaise beg before.

Nevertheless, I slid my hands away from him and stood up. I walked to the window opposite the bed and stared down at the busy streets of London below. I heard Blaise stand to his feet and shuffle over to me. He wrapped his arms around my waist from behind and rested his chin at the nape of my neck. I closed my eyes and placed my hands over his. I wished this wasn’t so complicated.

“I need to go back to him today, Blaise. I can’t just stay with you all the time. It’s not fair on him.” I said quietly, regretting each word that escaped my mouth.

He hugged me tighter to him, as if letting go would cause him to lose me forever. He didn’t say anything for a while. I began to wonder whether he would remain silent or drop the subject as quickly as it had been brought up. I cringed at the thought of his being cold toward me again. I did not want another fight with him. I silently agonized over the possibilities of what could happen while I waited for his reply.

“Then stay with me for at least a few more hours. I want to show you something.” Blaise said into my shoulder.

I opened my eyes and turned into him, burying my head into his chest. “Let me call Draco.” I murmured quietly, hoping this wouldn’t anger him. But he released me from his arms, looking at me with a distant expression in his secluded violet eyes. I stepped around him and turned on my phone. There were three more missed calls from Draco.

“Hermione?” he demanded as soon as I called him back. “Where the hell are you? I’ve been worried sick about you! Why didn’t you answer any of my calls? Where have you been?” His voice was tired but furious as he yelled at me down the line. I cringed, glancing at Blaise. He nodded in understanding and exited the bedroom, snapping the door shut quietly behind him.

I sat on the unmade bed. “Draco, relax. I decided to go into work after I went shopping yesterday to finish up some reports I’d forgotten about. I fell asleep last night. I only just woke up now.” I lied. I was surprised by how easily the words left my mouth. I waited in anticipation for Draco to start yelling at me again, to tell me he didn’t believe me. I closed my eyes, praying he couldn’t tell I was lying.

There was a long, grueling silence before Draco finally answered, “I’ve just been so worried about you.” His voice was soft and concerned, no longer angry.

I smiled with relief. “I’m sorry I didn’t call you last night. I was just so caught up and…” I trailed off, knowing that was all Draco needed to understand my situation.

“When are you coming home?”

I sighed, glancing at the clock again. It was nine-thirty. “I should finish what I started. It’s going to take at least three hours. I should be back by two o’clock at the latest.”

I practically heard Draco’s face fall. “Hermione…”

“I’m sorry, Draco. You know how things go.”

There was another long silence as Draco considered this. “Fine,” he said in a voice expected from a two-year-old that won’t get his way. “But I wish next time you will warn me when you’re not coming home for the night. I thought something had happened to you.” There was raw concern in his voice behind the re-risen anger.

I smiled at his worry despite my frustration at his old self shining through. “I will. I promise. I’ll see you soon then?”

“I love you.”

I couldn’t bring myself to say it back. “Bye.” I quickly hung up, clutching my heart. Why hadn’t I been able to say ‘I love you’ back to him? I had been able to before. Many times before. I felt sick knowing my feelings could possibly have changed so quickly.

No, I assured myself, You’re just angry at him. You still love him.

*


Half an hour later, I was sitting with Blaise in a compartment near the back of a very fast train. He sat opposite me, his leg drawn up over his other, his violet eyes staring at me. I tried not to look at him; I kept my eyes on the London streets as the train whizzed past. I did not trust myself to form coherent thoughts with Blaise’s attention so boldly on me.

“Remind me again why we’re catching the train when we can just as easily apparate?” I asked, folding my arms across my chest, fighting against the cold. The heaters on the train must be broken because I felt the cool air more than ever.

Blaise chuckled lightly. “You can’t apparate to where we’re going.” He said, his eyes never leaving mine. He never so much as blinked, even.

“Is this place related to wizards in any way?” I asked skeptically, finally finding his gaze. No matter how many times I had pressured him into telling me where he was taking me, he would not budge. I was getting rather impatient. Of course, Blaise didn’t know I hated surprises. If this trip took any longer, I was sure he would find out soon.

Blaise shook his head, a smirk creeping onto his flawless face. “I’ve already told you I’m not telling you anything, Hermione. You’ll see when we get there.”

I knew he was doing it on purpose. Obviously he had already gathered I hated surprises and was keeping me in suspense just to piss me off. I growled at him and directed my gaze out the window once again. I figured a good dose of the silent treatment might make him give in and tell me where the hell we were going. But ten minutes of utter silence passed and he still had not budged. I glared at him when I found he was still smirking at me.

Two could play at that game.

“You’re being such a child.” He said with a roll of his eyes once we had arrived at the station we were meant to be getting off at – I was refusing to get off the train.

I stuck my chin up indignantly, my arms still folded across my chest.

Blaise chuckled. “Fine, you leave me no choice.” All of a sudden, the ground swept from beneath me and I was lurched onto something hard. I opened my mouth to scream but no sound came out. It was then that I realized I had been flung across Blaise’s shoulder and he was carrying me out of the compartment and off the train.

“Blaise!” I began beating my fists angrily on his back. “Put me down this instance!” Despite alarmed onlookers, I continued to throw protests at him, hitting him with my fists, yelling at him to put me down. I was surprised the Police didn’t come to arrest Blaise for kidnapping.

He finally let me down in a secluded street not far from the station. I mumbled, disgruntled, to myself as I straightened out my clothes and fixed my hair. My face felt red from hanging upside down for so long. “That was not funny!” I hissed at him as I felt the redness draining from my face. Finally.

Blaise looked highly amused. “How else was I to get you off the train? You’re being such a kid.”

I’m being a kid? Ha!” I scoffed at him but didn’t bother taking the argument further. I was just glad I was on the ground again. Only Merlin knew how I could stand Portkeys when I couldn’t even stand being carried on someone’s shoulders.

Blaise chuckled for what seemed like the fiftieth time that morning.

I glanced around us for the first time since we had arrived. “Where are we?”

Before Blaise could answer, he grabbed me and pulled me toward him. In an instant, I heard a deafening ‘crack’ and we were suddenly in a different environment. Blaise steadied me as I searched for my bearings. The problem was, I didn’t have any. I had no idea just where on earth we were.

“Somewhere in France.” Blaise finally replied with a crooked grin.

I glanced around me to find we were in a private forest area. Red sunlight was shining through the trees, casting a soft, harmonious glow across the forest floor. I gasped, forgetting about my anger toward Blaise. “I thought you told me you couldn’t apparate to where we were going.”

“I know. I was just putting you off.” He said with a small laugh.

I randomly realized that today Blaise had laughed the most I had ever heard. I blinked at him, a smile spreading across my face. He grinned back, taking my hand in his large one. “Come on, we’re going to miss it.” He pulled me through a clearing in the forest.

“We’re going to miss what? Where are you taking me now?”

“You’ll see.” He said with a secretive smile.

Here we go again, I thought, trying not to grow frustrated once more by another ‘surprise’ of his.

Minutes later, we reemerged on a grassy bank. I looked out at the horizon to see that the sun was setting. My mouth dropped open as I gazed upon its beauty. Blaise laughed at my reaction as he led me further onto the bank. It was then that I noticed a small picnic was set up. A grin occupied my face as I realized what the surprise was. Blaise had brought me to France to watch the sunset.

“Champagne?” He asked me as we settled on the comfortable velvet blanket.

He poured us a glass each and we toasted to nothing in particular. “You didn’t have to go to all this trouble.” I said, amazed by the thought he must’ve put into this. Suddenly I wasn’t so angry that he had tried to surprise me. It had been worth the anger and apprehension.

“It’s not trouble when it’s for you.” He said, taking a sip of his wine.

I batted my eyelashes at him. He opened his arms and beckoned for me to come over to him. I snuggled into him, silently marveling at how perfectly I fit into his arms. I closed my eyes and listened to his breathing. It was rhythmic and calming, and despite my surrounding, I soon found myself dozing off.

Blaise shook me after what felt like hours but was only a few minutes. “I didn’t bring you all the way to France so you could fall asleep. You’ll miss the sunset. It’s brilliant here.”

I sat up slightly. The sun was halfway below the horizon. I goggled at its radiance. “This is by far the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me.” I said in awe.

I felt Blaise’s fingers under my chin. He lifted my face up so that my eyes were drawn to his. He wasn’t smiling, but his eyes were glassy, filled with emotion I couldn’t quite comprehend. Their intensity scared me, yet at the same time I was encompassed by their violet beauty.

“I was hoping this would only be the first of such moments I could share with you.” He whispered as his face neared mine. The passion in his voice was so genuine that it seemed violent. All expression was erased from my face as he lowered his lips to mine. At first, I wasn’t sure whether he was kissing me, but when I was lowered onto the blanket and his body was covering mine, the moment felt that much more brilliant.

“Of course,” I whispered against his lips. With a pang of thrilled excitement, I realized my words were true. “Of course, Blaise.”



A/N: OK, before you all start barracading me with angry comments, just know that I had no access to my laptop for two weeks, hence the late arrival of this chapter. But rest assured Chapter Ten should come quicker because I now have my laptop back and everything is fine. xD

OK, so this chapter was rather fluffy, I know. But at the same time it wasn't. Hermione has to realise so many things before she can decide what's going to happen. It is very hard for her, you must understand. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed the chapter and that you'll all leave encouraging reviews.

Until the next chapter, thanks for your patience!

Danielle xx

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