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Chapter 6. Sacred Coffee Station
«I am a determined, confident woman. I'm strong. I can treat Draco Malfoy like I treat every other person in this office. Not a problem,» I whispered to myself and took a deep breath.
I quickly opened the door and stepped out of my cubicle-with-a-roof, my heart threatening to burst out of my chest.
Yes, this was good. He wasn't even here – which was better than good.
With nervous glances thrown around me, I moved to the coffee station. The smell of a freshly brewn pot of dark coffee filled my senses, and my tense muscles slowly started to unwind.
I reached for the top shelf to get a mug, then filled it with the delicious beverage, added a few drops of milk and then moved on to sugar.
Suddenly my whole body stiffened, and I felt him. I moved my eyes (the only part of my body still functionable) to the front door of the office. And there he was.
Draco flipped the wet hair away from his eyes as he walked into the building. Striding right past me without even noticing I was there. I wanted to turn away, but couldn't find the strength. I had to do something other than stare at him, so I did the only thing I could think of:
He greeted our boss cheerfully and nodded to everyone on his way up to his office. Ignoring me the whole way there, even though I knew he could see me.
I noticed the women looking adoringly in his direction. With stars in their eyes and unable to stop the drooling, they whispered amongst themselves.
Daft, pathetic excuse for women, is what they are.
Six, seven, eight teaspoons.
Finally, Draco disappeared behind the door to his office. That bastard thought he was so superior to everyone else. I really wish I could wipe that sly grin off his face. Or slap it off.
I took a sip of my coffee and quickly spit it out again.
Oh, no. Not only was he completely oblivious to my existence, but now he'd gone so far as to make me ruin my morning coffee.
That man is going down!
«God, I just- I hate him! I hate him!» I hissed through clenched teeth as I sat down with Ginny for lunch.
«What did he do now?» Ginny asked dryly, not even feigning interest.
«What do you think he did? He's still ignoring me!»
«I'd hate to sound like a broken record, but didn't you specifically tell him to leave you alone?»
«Why must you always remember every little thing,» I growled and hid behind the menu.
Ginny looked at me with her eyes cutting through me. That woman was way too perceptive for her own good.
«Why are you still bothered by him? Just ignore him back.»
My redheaded friend simply couldn't let sleeping dogs lie. What was so unbelievably difficult about just nodding in agreement once in a while? Was she physically incapable of it?
«It's not that easy when he parades about the place like he owns it. And to top it off everyone at the office loves him. That stupid idiot. God, I hate him.»
For several seconds Ginny wouldn't take her eyes off me. After she'd successfully made me feel completely mental, she squinted her eyes, cleared her throat, and leaned across the table.
«You know what you sound like?» she whispered.
«Like a woman who hates someone?» I responded half-heartedly.
«No,» she said and leaned back against her chair, «you sound like someone who's got a crush.»
I didn't see that one coming.
«What?!» I shrieked. I could feel my eyes bulging and my lungs straining.
«You know, the kind of crush we had in kindergarden. Where you pull each other's hair, destroy the other's sandcastle and drive each other crazy.» Ginny smiled before waving the waiter over to our table.
After she'd ordered for the both of us (I was still too shocked to utter a word), I opened and closed my mouth like a fish thirteen times before I could form a complete sentence.
Yes. I did count.
«I'll just repeat myself; what?!» This time I kept my voice under control.
«Hey, don't shook the messenger.» Ginny took a sip of her water, but I saw the hint of a smug smile, and I didn't like it.
«But that's completely mental!» I retorted, fighting the accusations with everything I had. «He gets on my bloody nerves, for crying out loud! He's an insensitive, brainless prick!»
«I rest my case,» Ginny muttered under her breath, and I almost didn't hear her.
My mouth dropped open, but I closed it violently. Luckily the waiter walked over and put our food on the table just then, and cut through our intense conversation. And even though neither one of us said anything all through lunch, I kept hearing Ginny's words over and over in my head.
That damned redhead. She was officially on my list.
The rest of the day I stayed put in my office – not even stepping out to go to the loo. I simply refused to eat or drink anything. And the second my workday was over(it was literally the second – I was timing it), I made a run for the door and did not look back until I was safely on the bus.
Those bimbos had been staring at him like he was a piece of meat. Of course, he was a meat-head, and I knew that, but they didn't! Apparantly he was the greatest thing since..since..the cell phone! Oh, how they disgusted me...
Again Ginny's words rang in my head.
"You sound like someone who's got a crush..."
Why did she say that? What in the world possessed her to say such a horrible thing? Especially since I was engaged to be married to Dra- Martin! Martin! I was engaged to be married to Martin.
What the hell was that all about?
I had to call Ginny.
I flipped open my phone, dialled her number so fast my fingers seemed invisible, and put it to my ear.
Oh , come on, Gin.
ANSWER THE GODDAMN PH-
«Hello?» Ginny sounded...out of breath. Was she working out?
«Hi, Gin. I need to talk,» I spat every word out as though they caused me physical pain.
«Ehm, Hermione, now is not a very good time... I was actu-»
«Hermione.» Suddenly I heard something shuffling on the other end, and then Harry's voice replaced Ginny's. «I'm sorry, but I'm in the middle of doing ungodly things to my wife right now. Ginny will have to call you later, bye.»
And with that, Harry hung up the phone, and I had completely forgotten why I had ever called in the first place.
Once again, the day was almost at an end, and whenever I noticed another minute had gone by on my computer, my insides cheered. In just a couple of hours I would be on my way home, away from him and his annoying smirk.
After another glance at the clock, I got up and walked out to my colleagues – wanting to do something other than glare at the computer to pass the time.
«The day before the weekend is always the longest...» stated Linda, the chubby receptionist, and looked at me.
«Tell me about it,» I answered, sighed and sat down next to her on one of the empty chairs. The other two receptionists, Caroline and Leyla, were off eating lunch.
«Got any exciting plans with that handsome fiance of yours then?»
«Nah,» I replied and picked some lint off my sweater, «just staying in, I guess. You're off to somewhere exciting again, I suppose?»
«Not unless you call cleaning out Grannie's attic, 'exciting'.» Linda started peeling off her nailpolish. «So I really don't know why I want this weekend to come forth sooner. I'd actually much rather just sit right here and watch Mr. ButtFlex's gorgeous arse wriggle from side to side...»
«Mr. ButtFlex?» I asked, not really sure if I wanted the answer.
«Oh, yes. He walks back and forth here all the time. And I must admit that I do tend to stare at that magnificent behind every chance I get. But then again, who wouldn't?» Linda was getting carried away, and her eyes flickered to Draco's office at a two-second interval.
This was getting out of control! He'd even gotten to Linda. My sweet, cynical, negative Linda, who hated everyone and everything. What was the world coming to?
«Are you talking about Draco Malfoy?» I had to ask. Maybe I was mistaken? I hope I was mis-
«Oh, that's right. You know him. Can I ask you something? What's he like?»
All right, maybe I wasn't mistaken. She actually was talking about Draco. I opened my mouth, but no words came out. Linda didn't seem to notice my shock, and continued to speak.
«Is he like a bad boy, but with a deep and poetic and tortured soul? Or maybe, oh yes, maybe he is the kind of man that seems really nice and sweet on the outside, then BAM, he's got you under him on the nearest flat surface while doing -»
«Miss Granger, there you are.» Mr. Lipman, whom as I from now on would refer to as 'my savior', was standing in front of me.
I awkwardly stood up from my seat, and willed my brain to forget what Linda had just said.
«What can I do for you, Mr. Lipman?»
«I need you to take a look at these drawings for me...» He put three sheets of cover-art examples on Linda's desk. «It's for the 'Dark Night'-book. But I don't feel like any of these really... -»
«No, I agree. These are nothing like the book. Whose are they?» I asked while deep in thought. The drawings were good, just not what-
«That new kid. Dragon, or something...»
«Draco Malfoy?» I asked, throat tightening as I said his name.
«Yeah, that's it. Would you mind just having a chat with him about the book? I think that might help...»
«Yes. Sure.» I nodded. I don't think I have ever smiled so fake in my entire life.
«Good. I'll have to be going. I'll see you on Monday, ladies.»
Mr. Lipman exited the building, and I was left with a three-way torn soul. One part was jumping around all excited at the fact that I had an excuse to talk to him again, another was very annoyed that my plan of completely ignoring him was again going right down the crapper, and the last one... Well, the last one was the worst one, the biggest one and the one I really hated to admit... I was scared.
I do not know what I did in my past life to deserve such cruelty, but in that exact moment he got out of his office. Linda may have said something, or squealed for all I knew, but I didn't notice. All my focus was on that well-shaped figure walking toward me.
I couldn't help glaring at his oh-so-muscular back as he walked past me. Like always he completely ignored my prescence, and I longed back to the comfort of my claustrophobic office. But I had a mission, and I couldn't back out.
He walked past a group of middle-aged women, and as they huddled together to gush over his «manly charisma» (that is a direct quote, by the way), I actually heard one of them gasp.
He was just a few steps from the coffee station, and my stare burned holes in his back while he winked to the older ladies on the other side of the room. This was my moment.
My fragile heart was racing a marathon in my chest, and my palms were damp with sweat. I picked up the drawings and walked straight to him. It was now or never.
«Ehm, Draco, there's a -» Without saying a word or even looking in my direction, Draco walked away from me. «That was rude!» I mumbled to myself, shocked and apalled.
I know I told him to stay out of my way, but he went to extreme measures just to ignore me. It was disrespectful, and I didn't like it! I especially didn't like the fact that my heart skipped a beat every time I saw him, and the jolt of disappointment when he refused to look my way, but this was just too much!
Enough was enough!
I was tired of him ignoring me, and without thinking twice I was walking briskly after him. I rushed into his office, crossed the room and before Draco had even the chance to look up from his desk, I grabbed his face and kissed him.
After several long seconds of passionate, heart-pounding, teenager-appropriate snogging, I let go of his face and grinned smugly before taking a step away from him.
«Try ignoring that, Blondie.»
After giving him a sly look I turned my heels and marched away, leaving a confunded Draco behind me.
Oh, no. What had I done? Oh, no, no, no. Please tell me I didn't just do that.
Apparantly no one can be reasonable and angry at the same time, and someone obviously forgot to give me the memo. If I had a secretary, she'd be so fired right now.
I was sitting behind my desk. My face was buried in my hands and shaking with shock and adrenaline.
Suddenly the door to my cubicle-with-a-roof flew open, and my head snapped up. Draco was standing in my doorway, panting and staring at me. He forcefully closed the door and stepped right in front of me.
«What the hell was that?!» he growled.
«What was what?» I asked, turning my attention to the computer.
«Don't play dumb with me, Granger! Why did you kiss me just now?»
«You know why!» I hissed, refusing to look at him.
«No, I really, really don't!» His voice shook with anger.
«You know what, Draco?» I got up from my chair, meeting his eyes firmly. «Two things are infinite; the universe and your obvious stupidity! And I'm not even sure about the univer-»
«What in the smelliest dragon's shit are you on about, you insane woman?! Have you finally crossed the line into Loony-Town?»
«You,» I screeched and pushed him out of my face, «have been NOTHING but rude to me these last weeks, Malfoy! Ignoring me, refusing to even loo-»
«You physically threw me out of your office, ordering me to stay away from you!» He raised his voice but didn't yell, he probably didn't want Linda to call for security.
«I didn't touch you, you stupid prick!» I sneered, folding my arms across my chest.
«Either way - it hurt!»
«Well... I'm sorry!» Why was I apologizing?!
«Well, I don't care!» he screamed.
«Then why are you yelling?!»
«I'm not sure!»
We looked at each other – panting as if we'd been out running. His eyes cast their spell on me once again, hypnotizing me with their gleam.
«Look, Draco, I just... » I sighed and looked down at my feet. «I don't know, I guess I just don't like being ignored.»
I still felt him staring at me, and as I lifted my head, those eyes filled my stomach with butterflies.
«I actually really want us to get along. I mean, we are working together. The least we can do is to be civil, right?» My voice was no louder than a whisper.
«How do I know you won't change your mind again and physically assault me?» he snapped, raising his eyebrows at me.
«I didn't touch y- Please. Do you think we could just... let this go?» I let my arms fall to my sides.
The cubicle-with-a-roof seemed suddenly smaller than usual – one of us would have to leave, or else there wouldn't be enough oxygen.
«Maybe,» he said unwillingly, then added, «if you apologise.»
«Are you serious?» I asked. Draco just looked at me, waiting. «Ok. Fine.» I cleared my thoat.
«Whenever you're ready, Brownie,» he urged, putting his hands on his hips.
I felt like growling, but instead inhaled deeply.
«I'm sorry,» I said while rolling my eyes – I just couldn't help myself.
«You rolled your eyes!» he accused. «It doesn't count when you roll your eyes!»
If it's possible to flip someone off without physically lifting a finger, then thats exactly what I was doing right now.
«I'm sorry.» I did growl this time, and forced my eyes to stay focused on him and nothing else.
His eyes magically melted my insides as his whole face lit up.
For less than a second I marveled at how fast I'd forgotten about my hatred for him. It had simply... vanished. But then that second ended, and I found myself happier than I'd been in weeks. How odd.
«I forgive you.» He smiled, and oh dear Lord – it had been much too long since I'd been on the receiving end of one of these smiles. He reached out his big, strong hand. «Friends?»
I put my hand in his, feeling its warmth spread though every small part of my body.
«Yes. Friends.» I smiled back.
All right, so... What do you guys think?
I was unsure about them making up so quickly, but I wanted you to see the urgency of their feelings. And how much she really needs him - if only as her friend :)
Please leave me a review!!! I find them immensely helpful!
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