CI by the amazing rockstarkisses at TDA :)
This chapter is dedicated to Jasmine aka javct for making a trailer for my story ^^
Chapter 19. When Everything Changed
Now that my body had stopped producing the same amount of adrenaline as it had just a few moments ago, I found myself curled up into a ball on the bed of the motel I'd checked myself into. It was right next to the airport, and I'd checked in with a different name, staying true to what I'd seen people in hiding do on television.
Badass. I know.
What wasn't defined as 'badass' though, was me just lying here hyperventilating. I just wasn't cut out for this sort of excitement anymore.
I had not the slightest idea of what to do now. The local island-authorities(that were much more frightening that you would have thought, by the way) had incarcerated the wrong man. Martin wasn't someone who smuggled drugs. The idea was so foolish that it now actually made me laugh. A hysterical one, but nevertheless.
I was alone.
On an island.
In hiding from the police.
My life had certainly taken a turn for the worse. And I who thought that my life was messed up before, with the whole Draco vs. Martin drama -
I hadn't had the time to think about that since this whole Martin-being-arrested business had sprung into my life.
Suddenly I jumped up into a seated position.
I immediately flew across the tiny room and rummaged through my purse until I found my mobile. I flipped it open and turned it on, impatiently drumming my fingernails on the cool plastic. When it slowly awoke to life, I discovered that I had 23 missed calls from Draco.
Oh, dear lord. I hadn't told him that I was on this spontaneous holiday!
«Blast!» I muttered and quickly pressed a button that made me call him back. I waited and waited, but only got his voicemail.
I didn't blame him. It hadn't even been twenty-four hours after I'd declared my love for him before I fled the country and ignored his calls! This was reaching a new level of awfulness, even for me.
I pressed the same button once again, panicked that he might not answer me at all.
«Please answer the phone, please, please...» I pleaded with my eyes closed.
My heart jumped up to my throat, and the second I heard his voice through the phone I was painfully reminded of how much I loved and missed him.
«Draco!» I breathed, choking on the sudden emotion I was feeling.
«So you're finally calling.» His voice was painted with accusation and disappointment.
«I don't blame you for hating me right now, and I don't expect you to forgive me, but please -» I tried to swallow the massive lump in my throat, «- I really need your help.»
There was a second of loaded silence before he answered.
«Where are you?»
«I-I don't really remember-» I really didn't! My mind was a complete blank.
«It's okay. I can locate your whereabouts from your mobile signals, I just need to see where you're calling from. Wait a second.»
It had been more than a second.
While forcing my lips shut so that I wouldn't interrupt whatever Draco was doing, I tried to control the urge to empty my upset stomach. I then heard an abrupt shuffling on the other end of the line.
«Yes. I'm here.»
«Good. Hermione, listen to me. Stay where you are. I'll be there in about an hour.»
«B-But it took me and Martin almost an entire day to get here, how are you possibly -»
«Magic, love. You should try it sometime.»
I didn't respond, but smiled at how his teasing was actually elevating my shitty mood. Oh, how I missed him!
«Thank you,» I whispered hoarsely into the phone, lowering my back down on the bed.
«Of course,» he said, as though I should've known better than to thank him for something so trivial as travelling across the world to see me. «I'll be there soon.» He hesitated for a second before adding nervously, «I-I love you.»
«I love you too,» I replied, my heart attempting to leap out of its confined space within my chest.
With that I heard Draco hanging up, and I reluctantly did the same, letting the small object stay pressed against my ear for another minute before putting it carefully beside me on the bed. I kept it within grabbing distance in case he'd call. Something he didn't.
I must've fallen asleep because I found myself being awakened by a warm kiss on my forehead. With a reaction that stunned even myself, I jumped up and flung my body against Draco's safe chest.
He didn't say anything, but let his hands do the talking as they ran gently up and down my back, hexing my anxiety to loosen its hold on me.
«What's wrong?» he mumbled into the nape of my neck, giving it a light kiss before continuing to speak. «Where's Martin?»
«He-He, he's -»
Draco put his hand over my mouth and bore his eyes into mine. «Breathe,» he commanded me, and I succumbed to his wishes.
«He's been arrested by the local authorities for smuggling drugs. But they've got the wrong man. They kept on calling him Monsieur LaRou, and dragged him away, but they let me go.» The words fell out of my mouth, and I was surprised that Draco could even interpret my stressed whisper.
«You're sure he's innocent?»
«Absolutely. One hundred percent. They've got the wrong man, and -»
«I heard you.» He kissed me on the forehead again before getting up, taking his phone and wand out of the small bag beside him and opened the door out of the room.
«Where are you going?» I called after him while jerking upright, making him turn to me with a reassuring smile.
«I'll just be out in the hall, it's only going to take a minute. You won't even have time to miss me.»
«Not true,» I insisted, smiling back. «I miss you already.» Ouch, what a cliché.
He smiled wider before exiting the room, and as if someone had turned off the heat, I began freezing at the same second Draco left me.
What if he wasn't able to help Martin? Or worse, what if he could but wouldn't because of...because of me?
I gulped, but Draco had been right, he was only gone for a few minutes before he reentered the room, bringing the warmth with him.
«So?» I got to my feet but didn't walk to him just yet. His mood had changed since he left, and I was unsure about how I should act.
Now that I thought about it, it must've been awfully difficult for Draco to help the man whose fiancee he was in love with. I bet that if he had the chance to do what he truly wanted, he'd gladly do everything in his power to make Martin rot in that foreign prison. This thought frightened me and I felt even worse when pure, raw jealousy were shining in his eyes. But I also knew that he would never do that to me. He loved me too much.
And I was definitely taking advantage of that fact.
«Well,» he replied, standing perfectly still with his wand in one hand and his mobile in the other, «they're letting him out. They apologize for the inconvenience they may have caused you, and they're giving you a certificate to get a free stay at that place you were at.» He swallowed. «Paradise Cove Bungalows, was it?»
I nodded since my lips refused to move.
«Yeah, well.» Draco cleared his throat before turning his stare to his shuffling feet. «They said you're welcome to stay there for free whenever you want.»
Great?! What the hell was that? Nothing about this situation was even remotely great!
«Anyways, they're letting him go as we speak.»
«That was fast.» It wasn't a question, nor a statement, they were just words to fill the painful and silent void between us.
«Thanks,» I whispered but still not being able to go to him, afraid to further anger the jealous creature that I knew was churning within him.
«Yes. So... I better leave, then.»
Draco looked at me. And that simple act, or lack of one, made me feel worse than if he'd screamed at me. I actually preferred him him to scream, at least then I could get angry back. But this... Those hauntingly beautiful eyes were carving his pain into my own soul.
Why couldn't he just yell at me? I had half a mind to purposely anger him just to escape the look he was giving me.
They say that you hurt the people you love the most, and I'd always sneered at it. But I realised that I was one of them. I was hurting Draco. Not on purpose, but I wasn't doing anything to stop it either.
«Wouldn't want your fiance to see me here, would you?» he asked me, finally doing something other than just stare at me, but I immediately wished that he hadn't said anything. He was right. Of course he was right. He knew me too well, and saw right through me.
«Oh...» My mind was crumbling like a dry biscuit, and I just couldn't stop it. And no matter how hard I tried, I could not keep myself from saying the next sentence. «I'll see you at work.»
Draco's expression fell into one of deep despair.
Please God, if you exist, I beg of you to never again make me crush him like this. Amen.
He nodded. With one swift motion he gathered his things and turned on the spot, vanishing into thin air.
If my phone hadn't begun ringing in that same moment, I was dead sure that I might fall into the pool of darkness that I was so boldly balancing on the edge of.
«Hello?» I croaked.
«Hermione! Thank God you're not on a plane!» Martin's voice just reminded me of the pain I was causing the man that I loved. And without one of them knowing, the two men that I loved. «They let me go. Just now! The lady in charge suddenly got a phone-call and then it was all over. Where are you?»
«The-The motel nearest the airport.»
«Great. I'll be there as soon as I can. Love you!»
«Y-You too,» I responded but Martin had already hung up.
I stared at my phone for a few minutes, mentally commanding it to ring. That Draco would ring. But he didn't.
«I'm sorry,» I muttered hoarsely and hoped that somehow, by some freak chance, that Draco would hear me.
«So, in short, my former client, this Monsieur LaRou, stole my identity and, well, the rest you know.» Martin was holding my hand in a tight grasp, something he'd done ever since he came storming into my motel room.
«Wow.» It was all I could say, but in truth it was all that was needed to say. The whole experience had left me at a quite loss for words, but had to my slight annoyance had the exact opposite effect on Martin. He hadn't kept his mouth shut for one single second since he entered the room.
«Absolutely,» I agreed without much enthusiasm.
«Are you okay, darling? I know this couldn't have been easy for you...» He put my hand to his lips and kissed it affectionately.
«No, I-I'm fine. I'm just tired.»
«Me too.» Another kiss. «You want to go home?»
I nodded in response and snuck my hand out of his grasp. He didn't notice, his mind being in a totally different place at the moment. He sputtered out words while rummaging the room for things to pack. There were none, but he didn't notice that either.
«Ready, my dear?»
Automatically, my mind prepared me for Apparition and I was just about to spin around when I, in the very last moment, remembered that Martin was standing right there. While stopping, thinking I'd been caught redhanded, I turned to look at Martin, prepared to do some explaining. I was surprised, and a little disappointed, to find Martin still engaged in seeking under the bed for anything left behind.
He then got up from his knees, grabbed our bags and smiled at me while ushering me out of the room. I gave a silent sigh as I momentarily forgot my churning stomach and instead extended my focus upon how strange it was that the spark between me and Martin in just a few moments, not more than a second ago, had...disappeared.
As if it, like Draco, had vanished into thin air.
«You don't look too good, Miss...» Bernard, the teenage mailman, stated and stared at me.
I hoisted myself up from my curled up position on the floor, dried my mouth with a blank sheet of paper and sat gingerly down on the nearest chair. With eyes half closed so I wouldn't catch a glimpse of my own sick in the rubbish bin, I nodded at the freckled adolescent boy in my doorway.
«I'm just swell,» I croaked and smelled my own foul breath in the process.
«Are you sick?»
«You sure?» he insisted as I rested my forehead on top of a small stack of documents. «I hear there's a flu going 'round, and -»
«Bernard,» my voice was muffled by the papers that were blocking my mouth, «I'm, I'm...Swell.» I threw up a bit in my mouth and swallowed it, this grossed me out even more and made me shiver violently. «All right?»
«All right...» He pushed his cart in front of him while walking silently up to me, put my mail on the end of my desk and then retreated. «I'll just get out o' your 'air, then. Feel better, Miss Granger.»
«Mhm,» I grumbled, deciding to not open my mouth too much today. The smell would surely cause quite a few deaths, so I kept it firmly closed. You know, for the safety of mankind.
«Brownie,» I heard Draco's footsteps enter my office and I growled, «I need to talk to you.»
«Oh, swell...» I said in a mumble as I raised my head from it's (un)comfortable position. I could feel the crinkles the documents had printed on my face.
«Yes, it's my new word. I'm saying swell now.» When I right then hiccuped it tasted just as foul as my breath smelled. «Did you want something? I don't really have time to chat right now -»
«Yes, I can see how busy you are...sleeping.»
«Get to the point, Malfoy.»
«I can see we are in a mood today...» he coughed quietly in his hand after closing the door behind him and then took a step toward me. «I came here to talk about what happened this weekend.»
«I'd rather not, if it's all the same to you.»
He ignored my snarky remark.
«I'd prefer if I didn't have to do that again. If something similar happens, I won't help. And I think you can wrap your mind around why.»
«You don't like Martin.»
«It's not that I don't like him. I'm sure he's an outstanding chap, it's just the tiny, irksome fact that he's engaged to the woman I love. And that's sort of a deal-breaker for me.»
I didn't answer him, instead I was roaming through my stuffed purse in search of gum. I couldn't concentrate with this stench in my mouth.
«Why can't you just tell him?»
«What should I tell him?»
«That you're in love with me? That you don't want to marry him anymore? That you're a witch?»
«What doesthat have to do with anything?»
«Nothing...» he sighed. «It just proves that you don't trust him.»
«That's a load of -» While quickly plastering my hand in front of my mouth, I swallowed hard several times in order to keep my meal where it was supposed to be. Not that there really was a meal in there anymore, it was just a figure of speech.
«Are you okay?»
«You're really over-using that word, Hermione.»
The nausea was coarsing through me, and I had to breathe slowly. Four second inhale, four second exhale. While giving a sigh I opened my eyes and freed my mouth from the tight hold of my hand.
«Back to our discussion -»
«I don't want to discuss. I'm not going to decide what to do, especially not right now while you're hovering over me.»
Draco took a step back.
«Hermione, please tell me why.» With a frustrated gesture of his arms he started pacing back and forth. «I want to know why you won't be with me! I love you, you love me – we've already established that. So why -»
«You know why!»
«Martin?! This excuse again? Why not stop considering his feelings, and start considering your own? Or better yet...mine,» he added the last line as more of a whisper, and it sent chills through me. «Martin's feelings is your only excuse, and -»
«And it's a pretty bloody good one, if you ask me,» I said and swung my chair around so he wouldn't see my face, see through my mask and notice the doubt. Draco was dangerously, and rapidly, becoming the man I visualized as my future -
No! I couldn't think about that right now.
«You're really just a big one-string banjo, aren't you?»
«Are you calling me fat?» While swinging back around, I gave him a teasing look. I would do everything in my power to avoid the subject at hand, and this was my chance of escaping.
«How did you get fat out of that?»
«You said big.»
«I meant as in human-size, not as in the ugly yeti.»
«You think I'm ugly?»
«Oh, come on!» He was sweating now, and I giggled.
«How I love watching you squirm like a worm on a fishing hook.»
There was a small pause before Draco began smiling, this insignificant act made my heart flutter.
«Have I ever mentioned how evil you are?»
«Don't hate the player, hate the game.» I'd found a piece of gum in my purse and now threw it in my mouth. «And yes, you have. Several times, in fact.»
«Good.» The steps he was taking toward me seemed to go on forever, and I held my breath the entire time. The moment he was standing in front of me, our legs gently grazing each other, he took my hand and pulled me slowly up from my chair only to kiss me softly on the corner of my lips. This was all he did, after it he spent a few seconds looking into my eyes and then walked away from me. When I was alone, I sat back down on the chair, suddenly getting the sense that I might throw up again.
This was beginning to annoy me.
I impatiently began clicking on the keyboard in order for the computer to spring to life.
«Google is your friend...» I muttered to myself as I entered the site.
I typed in my symptoms, and clicked 'search'.
And there it was. Jumping out from the screen, paralyzing me.
I couldn't read more. I had no funtioning braincells left.
I couldn't be.
It was impossible.
No, not impossible, a little voice in my head reminded me. And it was true.
Suddenly it all washed over me. I hadn't had my period since that weekend with Draco. Why hadn't I connected those dots earlier? How could I possibly have overlooked this?!
We hadn't even used any protection...
Brightest witch of her age? Yeah, right!
«I'm pregnant,» I said aloud, and it suddenly became so very clear. «I am pregnant.»
Tears were streaming down my face, and all the complications this was doomed to bring was crushing me inside. The sobs were shaking me, and I could feel myself falling apart.
I had to tell someone. I couldn't keep this a secret.
And I knew just the right person to tell.
«I knew it.»
Ginny was staring at me, her expression not in alignment with her words. With her mouth hanging open, and her eyes slightly popping out of their sockets, she barely breathed.
«If you don't take a breath soon you'll go into early labour.»
«Well, it wouldn't be unwelcomed. I'm so sick of being pregnant.»
The sudden change of subject made us both quiet down after realising it, and we didn't speak for several minutes. We were sitting on a cold bench overlooking a park where the signs of autumn were painting the leaves orange, and made the air crisp with the promise of a cold winter.
«What are you going to do?»
«I don't know.»
«You're keeping it.»
It wasn't a question, it was a statement, and it was a proof of how well Ginny knew me.
«This is getting complicated.»
«You have no idea.» I swallowed hard so I wouldn't cry, and had to look up at the treetops to keep the tears from falling. «What the hell am I going to do?»
«I have to leave Martin.» I couldn't say this and keep the tears at bay, so they began falling in buckets. «It just hurts so bad.»
«I know, sweetheart,» Ginny murmured and put her head on my shoulder. «I know.»
We sat like that for some time, but the moment could have lasted a lot longer on my part. Because when the silence was broken, the only thing I wanted was to glue it back together.
«You have to tell him.»
«Which one?» Why did I have to try being witty now? This was so not the moment...
«Both of them.»
«Eh, yes, of course. But this thing is all about timing, so I have to -»
«Hermione, get serious, this isn't about just you anymore. There's a baby involved. Think about the baby.» She lifted her head and stared at me while taking my hand within her own petite ones. «Besides, there's never a good time for something like this.»
«You're right.» I gave a sigh. «I know you're right.»
«Have you gotten it confirmed by a Healer or doctor, by the way?»
«No, not yet. But I did take about a million of those home pregnancy tests, so I'm guessing that's confirmation enough at the moment.»
«Yeah, you're pregnant all right.»
«Stating the obvious, but thanks.»
«So, when are you telling Draco?»
«No idea. Soon? Never?»
Ginny gave me a look that I'm sure was supposed to be comforting, but it had the complete opposite effect. She walked me home later, the both of us feeling the need to use our feet instead of Apparating.
When I entered the apartment, I had every intention of telling Martin. But a knot the size of a lorry was situated deep in my stomach, and I flunked out when I saw him.
«Did you have a good day?» He was smiling, and I was momentality lacking the capacity to take breath. «Mine was crazy busy. The police has been interrogating me all day in order to find the real LaRou.»
«I still can't believe this all has actually happened, it's barmey. These things only happen in the movies, not in real life. And especially not to me.»
«Mhm.» I rushed away from him and into the bathroom. I bet he didn't think anything of it. I was notoriously known for having a small bladder, so he was used to me rushing off to the restroom.
I stared at myself in the mirror, both hands leaning against the sink.
«Martin...» I whispered as low as possible while I studied my own reflection. «I'm pregnant.» Then, while pushing away from the counter, I changed my expression to one of dramatic desperation. «I'm with child!»
I snorted. Then added to myself, while sitting my bum on the toilet seat, «..but it's not yours.»
The next day didn't go any better. I'd had so many chances to tell him, they'd come and gone all day long without me saying anything. This was one of those moments. Draco was sitting across from me in my office, the two of us actually working for once.
«Hey, did you hear me, Brownie?»
«What?» My mind was snapping into action, and I wanted to slap myself in order to awaken properly. Safe to say, I hadn't slept much the previous night.
«Where's your head at today? You're very distant...»
«Oh,» my moment was here, «it's nothing. I'm fine.»
And then it was gone.
«Why do you say that?»
«You really think I'm going to buy that whole 'I'm fine'-act. Which I find funny.»
My moment was back, all I had to do was open my mouth and say it. Just blurt it out, even. Anything.
«It's really nothing. Promise.»
Who am I kidding? I'll never have the courage to tell him. Nor Martin, for that matter. My child will be fatherless. Or worse, have two separate ones.
And I'll have to bribe it with candy every day just to keep it's little mouth shut. But that couldn't go on forever, could it? Its teeth would eventually rot in its mouth...
«Come on, give it a rest, Hermione. There's something bothering you, so you can just tell me. I can handle it.»
«No, I seriously think you can't.»
«Why the hell not?»
«I don't want to.»
«Why is it alway about what you want? Why can't it ever be about my needs?» When I didn't answer, he got up from his chair and kicked it away. I would have been worried if it weren't for the fact that we were the almost the only ones in the building, working overtime.
«There's no need for violence, Draco,» I hissed at him, wanting to rise to my feet abruptly, but knew that I'd get overwhelmed with dizziness if I did.
«Really? Because I can't think of a better time, actually.» He was panting and sneering at the same time, and I had to give him credit for that. He actually looked kind of frightening. «Every time I open myself up to you, every time I put my heart at your feet, you crush me. I don't know why I even bother anymore!»
«What are you saying exactly?»
«I'm saying that maybe I don't want to struggle with you any longer. That maybe I deserve someone who would actually choose me over someone else. Someone who'd make me their priority. Someone who actually gives a shit. And you're not any one of these.» He swallowed hard, and even though his face was turned to the wall, I imagined how his face was clearly showing how shattered he felt. «I don't know what to do or say to make you... to make you choose me. I've tried everything.»
«But, Draco, I lov-»
«Hermione, don't say that when you don't act like it.» He slowly turned around, and I noticed how red-rimmed his eyes were.
It might as well have been a real life knife that cut me, because it sure felt like it.
I didn't say anything after this.
«That pause says it all.» With a shallow breath he continued. «I'm afraid you said more by saying nothing. And I think I should just leave.»
«I won't let you stop me this time, Hermione. We both know it's about time we stop fooling ourselves. That this -» he pointed his finger at the two of us, «- isn't going to work.»
With heavy steps he walked over to me, kissed me softly on the forehead and walked backwards to the door.
«You can't do this,» I said in a hoarse voice. «You can't leave me.»
«I'm sorry.» His eyes closed as he wrapped his fingers around the handle of the door. «But I love you too much to bear the moment where you leave me for another man.»
And he left. He didn't even let me say that I chose him! Because when he left, I suddenly knew. I wanted him - always had.
I got up and ran out the door, but the hallway was empty, and I knew he'd Disapparated. I also knew that there was no way of knowing where he'd gone.
«But I choose you!» I called out into the dark, empty hallway. My own tortured words came echoing back to me like small, sharp knives being thrown at my exposed body. «I choose you...»
I don't know how or when it happened, but I somehow managed to lie in a fetal position on the cold linolium floor, sobbing my heart out. And at some point I fell asleep. The lack of sleep the past night had finally caught up with me, and I slept soundly for several hours before being rudely awakened by the janitor. I excused myself while getting my things and walked out of the building.
When out in the chilly night air, I tried to assemble the few thoughts that were still in my head. One thing was getting clearer as I put one foot in front of the other, and that was that I had to get Draco back. I was choosing him. I was carrying his child, and I loved him – what other signs was I looking for? It was unbelievable how I'd been behaving. I just hoped against hope that he'd consider taking me back. If he didn't... I wouldn't know what I'd do.
With that thought still very fresh in my mind I rounded a corner, past a crowded pub, and into a dimly lit alley.
What I saw cut through my core like a knife, and there was nothing I could do about it. My limbs were frozen, my eyes glued to what was in front of me.
Was there any way of going back in time and unlive this dreadful, crushing moment? How had I ended up here, now, watching this?
I was crying because there was nothing else to do. Even though my brain was screaming at me to react. To yell, get angry, claw someone's eyes out, be hysterical. Anything. Anything other than what I was doing, which was standing still and crying. It was so useless to cry, nothing good ever came of it, and I knew that. But even though my insides were in complete uproar, my body didn't move an inch. It was as if the nerves that went from my brain to the rest of my body were completely cut off – my head was suddenly speaking a different language, a language my limbs didn't understand.
And now that my heart was breaking, I thought bitterly to myself that it wasn't just heartbreak, because truthfully it felt like every particle in my body was equally broken.
The blond, tall, muscular man I'd grown to love so desperately, the man whose child was growing in my womb, was pressing Annie-The-Intern up against the brick wall of this narrow alley.
The redheaded harlot was moaning and pushing her body against his.
That was my job.
Suddenly the hurt went away and was replaced by fierce and uncontrollable hate. The venom in my mouth would choke me if I didn't spit it out soon...
So I did.
So, Hermione's pregnant, any thoughts, comments, opinions?
And what about what Draco just did? Is this just a one-time thing brought on by alcohol and pain, or has it been an ongoing affair?
Will Hermione ever tell Draco, or Martin, that she's pregnant?
Tell me what you think, my beauties!
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