"I'm here alone. Didnt want to leave. My heart won't move, it's incomplete. Wish there was a way that I can make you understand..." -Chris Brown and Jordin Sparks "No Air"
Nassau was perfect. Hermione did feel bad that Ginny hadn’t been able to come and enjoy this with Harry but apparently he had promised them a two-week vacation in a month or two. Ginny had reluctantly agreed even though she was quite disappointed that they hadn’t been able to honeymoon right after the wedding as was custom. But all the same, Hermione was happy to be here with Ginny, enjoying the perfect ninety-degree weather, the beautiful warm water, the relaxing beach and a hotel, which pretty much was a dream come true.
“How are you feeling Hermione?” Ginny asked as the two of them lay back in the water, letting the salt soak into their hair.
“About what?” Hermione asked curiously, coming up to a standing position. They were both too deep in the water to actually be able to touch the ground, but she tread water quietly as she waited for Ginny to answer.
Ginny shrugged. “I don’t know. About everything… About Draco and I don’t know…”
Hermione shrugged, a pang of sadness bursting through her. “I don’t know…. I feel bad about what I said to him, but then he just upped and left. I mean, what am I supposed to do about that?”
Ginny was silent. The two girls spent the rest of the day hanging out on the beach, Hermione’s thoughts constantly wandering over what to do about Draco. She had come originally to get her mind off of him, but it seemed that that was not going to be possible. Her thoughts were going full throttle, going over a million different outcomes to her and Draco’s relationship. On the one hand, she knew that her and Draco’s relationship wasn’t resolved, but how it was going to be, she had no idea.
Turning her head in another direction symbolically for her thoughts, Hermione sighed. Everything would work itself out in due time. It always did.
It was that evening when Draco got a note up from the manager of the restaurant, saying that they would love it if he would come down and greet the guests. Why he would do that, he wasn’t sure, but for some reason, in a nod to generosity, he agreed.
He found himself an hour later in a custom-made Italian suit, standing at the door to the exquisite and decadent Le Chateau, the nicest of the five restaurants in the hotel and the most expensive restaurant on the island. The separation of guests amidst the five restaurants excluded everyone but the best to dine at Le Chateau. Draco had only been here a few times, but he could vividly remember his parents doing exactly what he was doing right now, as he stood and greeted old friends from High Society clubs from around the world.
“Mr. Malfoy?” Asked an older couple.
“Mr. and Mrs. Marray,” Draco smiled politely and nod his head. “How are you?”
“Enjoying Nassau,” Mr. Marray winked. “As usual.”
“You’ve grown up so much,” Mrs. Marray beamed. “You look just like your father.”
That hadn’t exactly been what Draco wanted to hear, but he smiled politely all the same and then motioned to a hostess to seat them. Winking at her, he got the satisfaction of seeing her blush. He watched the girl walk away, sashaying her hips, he knew, for his benefit. For some reason, it didn’t seem to fill the emptiness in the pit of his stomach.
The dull evening seemed to last forever. As Draco said hello after hello to what soon became handsome yet faceless strangers, he wondered when he was going to get to leave. Cecilia had gone out with some friends that she had run into earlier that day, which left Draco with nothing to do after he was done in half an hour. At ten PM, on a Saturday night, he had nothing to do.
Nothing to do, that was, until Fate seemed to step in.
He was walking to the men’s restroom when he bodily ran into someone. Looking down to say he was sorry to the poor woman, his eyes widened when he saw himself reflected in her gold-flecked eyes. “Hermione. What are you doing here?”
She looked as shocked as he felt, which dampened the effect of her narrowed eyed gaze on him. “I should ask the same question.”
He looked at her smugly. “I own this hotel. Didn’t you know?”
Hermione looked at him suspiciously. “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. You’re a Malfoy. You own everything.”
He shrugged. “The boon of being rich and well known I suppose. More importantly, what are you doing here?”
“You didn’t know I was here?” Hermione asked.
He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right; because I keep track of every guest that walks in and out of these doors. Keep dreaming Hermione. I don’t care about my guests that much.”
Hermione shook her head. “You don’t care about anyone but yourself, Draco Malfoy. You haven’t changed one bit.”
And with that, she turned on her heel and walked away. Draco turned and sighed, closing his eyes to try and keep all the emotions he was feeling at bay. So this was what rejection felt like. If he had to feel it like this from Hermione one more time, he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to deal. Although then again, it wasn’t like he’d made such a good start. Looking at his watch, he wondered how many more chances he would get before Hermione walked out of his life forever.
“Are you serious? You actually said that?”
Draco turned away from Cecilia a couple hours later as the two of them simultaneously got ready for bed. It reminded them of the older days when they had been young and incredibly close. They had bathed and changed together, often coordinating their outfits that was, until their father had turned Draco against that concept, saying that it wasn’t manly. Though they didn’t coordinate clothing anymore, they still enjoyed each other’s company which was why Cecilia stood nonchalantly in front of the bathroom sink brushing her teeth wearing just a bra and velour sweatpants.
Draco meanwhile had the shower curtains shut and the hot water pounding down against him. Though he’d been in the heat all day, there was nothing like hot water to rinse off the sand, sweat and embarrassment that he’d suffered earlier that day. Though the water seemed to cleanse his body, it did not cleanse his mind, which was the very reason he was talking to his sister.
“Yeah, I did,” Draco said in an angry tone directed more at himself than at his sister for questioning him. He knew that that was the reason that she didn’t snap back at him. “It was stupid.”
“Um, yes,” Cecilia answered, her voice echoing through the turquoise shower curtain. “What are you going to do? I mean, you can’t just let her get away.”
Finally done in the shower, he stuck his hand out from in between the curtains. “Towel?”
A fluffy white towel was efficiently thrust into his hand. Toweling off his hair, he quickly wrapped it around his waist so that Cecilia could take her hand off from over her eyes where it had patiently lay as he’d taken his time getting out. “I’m so not equipped to deal with this right now.”
Cecilia groaned. “Will you stop being such a boy right now? This is not how a man would deal with such an ordeal. Why don’t you just tell her that you love her?”
“Because I’m not clear of my feelings myself,” Draco huffed.
“It’s so obvious, Draco,” Cecilia shook her head. “I know you’ve never been capable of loving another woman like that, but Hermione’s the girl who finally broke the chain. You might not “love” her, but you are “in love” with her. So be in love with her. She’s probably as confused as you are.”
“But how would I do it?” Draco asked. “I can’t just tell her. Besides, don’t they say that actions are clearer than words?”
Cecilia shrugged. “If a guy told me that he was in love with, I’d believe him. But I suppose flowers would be nice too.”
There was nothing that could compare to being courted by Draco Malfoy. When Hermione received one hundred red and white roses the next morning, she didn’t even need to read the card to know that it was Draco Malfoy who had sent her those flowers. Ginny of course was the one who had answered the door when five deliverymen carried in bouquets of twenty-five roses.
Ginny had heard all about the embarrassing exchange that had happened the night before at the restaurant and about how Hermione had no idea which angle that he was coming from. It was pretty obvious now which angle he was coming from. If Hermione had had any doubt before, it should’ve been erased.
“Damn it, Ginny,” Hermione cursed. “Why does he always have to do this?”
“Do what?” Ginny asked as she admired the roses, burying her nose deep inside the petals and sighing in contentment. “I wish Harry would send me this many roses. He really isn’t that romantic.”
Hermione sighed. “Ginny. Focus. You already got your happily ever after.”
Ginny snorted. “Yeah. Prince Harry seemed to miss the memo about riding off into the sunset on a romantic honeymoon.”
Hermione laughed in appreciation. “But still. Why does he have to be Draco Malfoy who could buy the entire world?”
“Because he’s Draco Malfoy,” Ginny shrugged. “And surprisingly, he does have a shred of romance in his soul.”
“And bundles and bundles of galleons,” Hermione sighed. “I’m worried he’s just trying to buy my love.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. She loved Hermione dearly, but her best friend really did read into things way too much. She was always overanalyzing and using that brilliant mind of hers to think of the worst possible outcomes as opposed to the best. Ginny knew that Draco was trying to apologize, but there was no way that she would be able to drill that through Hermione’s somewhat thick skull.
Instead she shrugged. “Frankly, I liked the roses.”
Draco didn’t get a response from the one hundred roses that he’d given Hermione earlier that morning. What was it with her? Every other woman he knew would’ve swooned to see so many roses devoted to her and her alone. But did Hermione swoon? No. She was probably too busy overanalyzing his every single movement, thinking that logically, he must be trying to buy her instead of actually trying to love her.
But he relished a challenge. Winning Hermione was going to be like winning any other woman that he ever had. Though the only difference this time was that he actually cared about not only winning but also keeping the prize. For now, he couldn’t think of the future though, because if he did think about it without Hermione in it, he became incredibly depressed.
Sighing, he moved onto his next plan of attack.
Hermione and Ginny were eating lunch the same day of the flower display at a quaint little café outside of the hotel. Over delicious ethnic cuisine, Hermione made small talk with her friend as her mind swiftly went over all the possible things that Draco’s flowers could have meant.
“Hello?” Ginny waved her hand in front of Hermione’s face. “What are you thinking about now?”
Hermione didn’t even have to say anything in order for Ginny to understand where she was coming from. Her best friend knew her too well, though then again, that was probably why they were so close.
Before Ginny could say anything the local radio was interrupted by an announcement from a very familiar voice.
“Hey there, everyone. Hermione, if you’re out there, I want you to listen to what I have to say.
“I know that it hasn’t always been easy between us. Actually, I don’t think it ever has, what with us hating each other in school and then this whole fiasco that just happened, but I just want to let you know that I’m not trying to buy you out by giving you flowers.
“I- well… I think I’m in love with you. And if you’re ready to take the jump then I’ll be right her to catch you.”
As he signed off, the entire café burst into applause. Hermione had tears in her eyes. She and Ginny exchanged a glance with Ginny who gave her an “I-told-you-so” look.
Hermione quickly excused herself, blushing. There was one more thing she needed to do before she could give Draco another chance. And it wasn’t like she was going to devote her life to him or anything. His groveling wouldn’t be finished yet but on a tight leash, she was somehow convinced that miracles never ceased.
She found him on the sailing dock. He was rigging up a boat, his bare back, tan from so much sun turned toward her as she felt tears in her eyes.
Gulping she said. “Hi.”
Draco wheeled around quickly, not sure if his ears were tricking him or not. When he saw that Hermione was actually standing there, he nearly smiled but then he just stared at her, waiting for her to speak. “What do you want? I’m about to take these people out for a boat ride.”
“I just came to say that I got the roses that you sent to me,” she said awkwardly. “And the radio was pretty ingenious too.”
“Thanks,” he shrugged, looking completely unaffected from her pronouncement, which, for her had taken a lot of effort. It wasn’t easy for Hermione to be emotional or to admit that she had been wrong. And in the face of Draco’s rejection, she wasn’t sure if she could go on.
“Is that all you’re going to say?” She asked, slightly angrily. She had come to thank him and all he could do was stare at her?
“Is that all you’re going to say?” He repeated her question, his arms folded across his chest. “Because if it is then I think I’m going to get going.”
“No, I…” Hermione narrowed her eyes at him. “Why are you so angry with me?”
“Because I’m making all the effort, Hermione,” Draco snapped. “And it’s hard for me. And here you are, coming as if it was an effort for you to take my gifts. I put my heart out on the line and got nothing back. So I guess I'm done with all this.
“I have to go.”
And with that, he turned and walked onto the boat, leaving a bewildered Hermione standing alone on the dock.
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