Author's Notes:
I only own baby Nicole, and other characters that are not familiar, please bear with me it's my first time to do a fanfiction! And please leave a review! Thanks! HP Characters belongs to JKR! Enjoy everyone! :)

**special thanks to Connie (Misty_Dreamer)! my awesome beta! :D

Chapter 17

The way she licks her chopsticks


Hermione lay wrapped in her robe, all but clinging to the edge of the bed, as far from Draco as she could manage.

The clock read 2:35 am. She had not slept at all.

Draco, on the other hand, had gone into the bathroom, come out in a pair of sweats, climbed into the bed, put his head on the pillow and drifted off to happy dreamland.

This sham wedding was upsetting only to her. He’d gone through it without hesitation, saying “I do” and “Yes” and kissing her at the end of ceremony as if their reasons for marrying were the same as everyone else’s.

He wasn’t supposed to have kissed her.

That was part of the deal: No touching, no kissing, a separate bed for her. He’d agreed to it all and now she knew just how much it meant. He’d touched. He’d kissed. Now they were sharing a bed.

Hermione swallowed hard.

Maybe the real reason was why she’d melted into that kiss? Leaned into his embraced? Why she’d wanted to weep when she saw the champagne, the caviar, and the flowers that it had taken Claire too arrange?

She wasn’t a bride. Not a real one. She was a woman playing a role opposite a man who thought marriage was an unnatural act. But so what? She thought the same thing.

There it was again, that ridiculous sting of unwanted tears. Hermione blinked them back and looked across the endless expanse of bed. Draco hadn’t stirred. For all she knew, in a little while he might even start to snore.

Such a romantic wedding night this was.

She sat up, eased from the bed and the room. She thought about stopping at the nursery to check on Nicky, but Claire was sleeping there and the last thing she wanted to do was rouse the housekeeper. Instead, she made her way downstairs and onto the terrace.

The late night was warm. Below, a lone taxi prowled south. Across the street, the trees stood like silent sentinels in the darkness.

This time, when Hermione’s eyes filled with tears, she let them come.

What a fool she’d been to marry Draco. Hadn’t she realized this would not work? That to live this kind of lie would be - ?


She spun around. Draco was standing in the doorway. Her heart did a stutter-step. He was so beautiful. So masculine. He was her husband – and she could still remember the taste of his mouth, the scent of his skin…

“Draco. I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“You didn’t.” He stepped outside and leaned his elbows on the railing beside her. “I wasn’t sleeping. I just figured it was simpler to let you think I was.” He sighed. “And I know exactly what you were thinking just now.”

She felt the rush of color in her cheeks. “You do?”

“You were thinking, what in hell did we do?”

“Oh.” The breath whooshed from her lungs and wipes her cheeks from tear stains.

“Me, too. I thought it would be so simple. Get married, pretend everything’s great. But it’s turning out to be complicated.” He turned around and leaned back against the railing. “Well, we’ll just have to uncomplicate it.”

She cleared her throat, “How?”

“I don’t know,” he said gruffly. “And frankly, I’m not up to figuring it out at this hour. The only thing I’m sure right now is that we never had supper.”

She looked at him and smiled softly. “Didn’t we?”

He grinned. “No. Not even that caviar. You were too busy chewing me out for forgetting to order the bed.”

“About that…” Hermione hesitated. “I shouldn’t have been so angry. With everything you had on your mind – “

“I should have remembered. I’ll take care of it tomorrow, I promise.” He touched the tip of his index finger to her nose. “Right now, it’s the middle of the night.”

“I know. I’m just not very sleepy, that’s all.”

“What you are is hungry.”

She would have said he was wrong but her belly gave an unladylike growl of affirmation.

“See?” he said, laughing. “So, let’s have something to eat, okay?”

He held out his hand. Slowly, she took it.

“I supposed I could find something in the refrigerator and make sandwiches.”

“Forget that. We’ll do take-out.”

“At three in the morning?”

“You do know what ‘24 hours open’ means right?” He turned on the kitchen lights, drew a stool from the counter and watched as she scooted onto it.

“And bachelors know all about take-out. Claire only started cooking for me after Nicky came along.” He opened drawers, cupboards, poked through shelves and finally fanned a dozen menus on the counter in front of her. “Pick one.”

“You decide. I’ll be happy with whatever you choose, Draco.”

Dray-co. There it was again, that softness in her voice, that way she made something as simple as his name seems to shimmer. There was that smile, too. He’d wondered if he’d ever see it again after the fiasco about the unordered bed, the fiasco of the entire day. He’d moved too fast, hadn’t taken the time to ease her fears of maybe even make her see how good this could be, being together for whatever time they had.


Draco grabbed for a menu, then for the phone.

“Wong’s Kitchen,” a voice sang in his ear. “What would you like?”

Hermione, Draco thought, and the realization stunned him.


He built a fire and they ate seated in oversized silk pillows before the hearth. He set out heavy white napery and Baccarat flutes that he filled with the chilled champagne.

Hermione laughed when she saw how much food he’d ordered. Moo shu pork, orange chicken, shrimp in black bean sauce and half a dozen other things sent their fragrance wafting into the air as he opened the white takeout boxes and arranged them in a circle.

“No plates?”

“No plates. No forks. Just chopsticks. Trust me,” he said seriously. “It tastes better this way.”

“I can’t believe I would see the day Draco Malfoy eat Chinese takeout and prefer to use chopsticks. Somebody call the daily prophet!” She grinned and dug in. He waited a while, watching as she transferred small bits of food to her mouth. Once or twice she licked the chopsticks. Damn, if it didn’t make his belly clench.

“What?” she asked, laughing. “Are you going to criticize my chopstick technique? I’ll have you know that I’ve been to China three times, well, not really, two times. The other one was in Taiwan, with my parents. And I had a nanny who knows how to use one and thought me how, when I was five.”

“A nanny, huh?”

Hermione lifted a shrimp to her mouth. “Yeah, my parents travelled a lot when I was young. And they hire a nanny to watch over me. Though, I think it must be nicer to be looked after by your mother.”


“Probably? Didn’t your mother - ?”

“She took care of herself,” he said, shrugging as if it hadn’t mattered when it damned well had. “She doesn’t show her emotions well, or maybe it had something to do with my father.”

“She’s still your mother, and besides I know for sure that you get lots of attention when you were young, considering how spoiled you were back then.” Hermione said, trying to lighten up the mood but he remained somber.

“I was raised by house elves, and I do things to get the attention from my parents. I ask them things that I really have nothing of use, expecting that they would scold me just like other parents would, to their kids. But all they do was nod and within seconds I have it in my hands. They don’t even ask what it’s for. As if I’m a disturbance for them and to make me shut up is to give me what I ask for.” He picked up some moo shu pork and chewed. “Eventually, I gave up, there is no use in getting their attention. So I learned to just pretend that they don’t exist, every Christmas, birthdays, all I get from them were gifts, and I don’t even see them during those days.”

How had this conversation grown so serious? This wasn’t the night for that. It was a night for being alone with Hermione. For realizing how important she had become to him. For wanting – for wanting –


What he was thinking must have been right there, in the way he spoke her name, the way he looked at her. Color rushed into her face. Carefully, she put down her chopsticks.

“It is late,” she said, rushing the words together. “Claire will probably be coming down in a little – “

“She’s not here. She took Nicky home with her.”

Hermione stared at him. “Why?”

“Because this is our wedding night.”

“No.” Her voice was a whisper. “It isn’t.”

“It is, Hermione. No matter the circumstances. I thought it would be easier this way, not having someone else here in the morning.”

He was right. Draco, the ever-responsible man. She forced a smile.

“Thank you.”

“What are you thanking me for, Hermione?” his voice roughened. “That you won’t have to pass an early-morning inspection? Or that you won’t have to make love with me?”

Hermione felt her heartbeat quicken. Get up right now, a voice inside her ordered. Get up and walk out of this room!

“Because what I want, more than anything in the world,” he said, “is to make love with you.”

“No. You shouldn’t say – “

“I should. I’ve told enough lies lately. Tonight, at least, I’m going to speak the truth.”

She sat very still, feeling his gaze on her skin like silken caress. She knew he wanted her. She knew it the way every woman knows when a man wants her.

And she wanted him.

“Hermione? There’s a drop of sweet-and-sour sauce on your mouth.”

All she had to do was pick up her napkin and touch it to her lips. But she was an adult. Independent. Capable of making her own decisions.

“Where?” she whispered, and saw the heat flare in his grey orbs.

“I’ll show you.”

He leaned forward and covered her mouth with his.


AN: CLIFFY!! >:) Read and Review loves! :)) sorry for the cliffy but, i really need to end it this way! LOL! :D

<3 amnitaleandra

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