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Chapter 18

 

Hermione spent her last day in the hospital bed, reading Pride and Prejudice when suddenly Ginny stormed in the room.

 

’Mione, I’ve got good news for you! You are going to Paris!’

 

’Instead of Malfoy?!’

 

’No… Actually… With Malfoy.’ Ginny’s smile faded a bit.

 

’WITH Malfoy?!’ Hermione sat up shocked.

 

’Dumbledore got a mail from Beauxbatons during lunch. He was asked to appoint a student to be the British coordinator of the Organizing Committee of the Olympiad. The Headmaster said you would be the most suitable for the post.’

 

’And it means I will have to work together with Malfoy.’ Hermione concluded.

 

Ginny nodded not too enthusiastically. Hermione’s gaze shifted to the daisy on the night-table.

 

’It was his owl I saved. Malfoy’s.’ Hermione said quietly.

 

’Yes, I’ve heard.’

 

’He came to see me… He behaved in a friendly way… Surprisingly friendly.’

 

’He might have been grateful to you for saving his owl.’ Ginny remarked.

 

’Maybe,’ Hermione sighed.

 

’Then it will be easier to cooperate with him, don’t you think so?’ Ginny said wisely. ’Anyway, Dumbledore wants to see you two. In his office, after dinner.’

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione was sitting in Madam Puddifoot’s tea shop again. With Draco Malfoy. Again. They were preparing Malfoy’s presentation about Hogwarts, for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympiad.

 

They had finished the English version but they had to translate it into French, too. Surprisingly, it was very easy to work with the blond Slytherin. Firstly, because his French was very good thanks to the summer holidays spent in Nice, the famous seaside resort of France. Secondly, because he gave up his arrogant style, concentrated on the task seriously and came up with lots of ideas. Hermione wondered what might have made him change so much.

 

Yes, they pretended to be working hard, focusing only on the task (as Dumbledore had asked them the day before), avoiding looking into each others’ eyes. But deep inside both of them were nervous and embarrassed.

 

Hermione couldn’t forget the words Malfoy said in the hospital wing… about her being pretty and nice… And the way he was watching her during French class. And the daisy. She sighed. In spite of these flattering things she decided she would never forgive him. Never. And she would always hate him. Always. Well, maybe not as much as she used to, but she definitely will.

 

Malfoy watched the girl’s slightly trembling hand, jotting the lines down on the parchment. Hermione had wanted him to do it but he managed to convince her that her handwriting was much nicer than his… He was afraid she could recognise his letters from the diary… And he was not ready for this. Not yet.

 

’What about your owl?’ Hermione asked suddenly catching him off guard. ’Getting better?’

 

’Yes… Making a quick recovery,’ he stammered. ’Thanks to Hagrid.’ He added.

 

Hermione’s heart melted for a moment but the boy’s next question made her body tense.

 

’And your penfriend? Are you going to meet?’ He asked casually.

 

’No… Not now… He cannot make it. He’s in the middle of a project, he said. I mean, he wrote.’ Hermione replied though didn’t know why. Why didn’t she simply say ’It’s not your business, Malfoy’? But now it was too late.

 

Malfoy’s eyes were soft blue now, sending Hermione a knowing look.

 

’It means he has a girlfriend.’

 

’A girlfriend?!’ She was taken aback.

 

’Yes. To be in the middle of a project, in men’s language, usually means to be in a serious relationship. He might not know whether to break up or not.’

 

Hermione shook her head.

 

’It’s impossible. He’s not like that.’

 

’Have you asked him? Have you?’ Malfoy raised his eyebrows.

 

’No…’ The girl confessed.

 

’Then do it.’ He suggested.

 

’I won’t,’ Hermione looked stubborn.

 

Malfoy shrugged his shoulders.

 

’Next week we’ll have to go to London… I mean, you and me,’ Hermione said quickly, wanting to change the topic. ’To design the Hogwarts robe you are going to wear in Paris.’

 

’Okay,’ the blond boy nodded. ’Next Saturday morning. Hogsmeade Station, eight o’clock?’

 

Hermione nodded.

 

OOOOO

 

Dear Friend,

You may find my question odd, especially now… Do you have a serious girlfriend?

Please write asap.

 

The answer to Hermione’s question arrived the next morning.

 

Are you kidding?! What sort of question is that?! I thought you trusted me. I got it… Your friends keep telling you I don’t meet you because I have a girlfriend, right?

 

Hermione closed the diary. She was confused. Very, very confused.

 

End of Chapter 18

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