Between her job, wedding planning, and helping Ginny and Pansy she had a full agenda. She met every Sunday with Narcissa and Draco. She was with Ginny four times a week since her wedding was a couple of months away. The rest of the time she spent with Pansy. She would get home exhausted and go to sleep only to do it all again the next day.
It had become a regular thing for Draco to be at her flat when she got home. The first time had been a surprise but afterwards it became normal. On the rare occasion that he was not there she would miss him. They would talk about their day while they had dinner. He told her about Blaise and Luna. It surprised her that they had married. He also said that Blaise looked genuinely happy with his choice. She was glad to hear that, Luna deserves to be happy. During their nightly conversations they also refined their plan.
Soon it was Ginny and Harry's wedding. It was a big event since most of the wizarding world was present. It took place at Hogwarts; there really was no other place more fitting than their second home. Ron was the best man and Hermione was the maid of honor. The ceremony was beautiful and Molly Weasley was crying the whole time. Mr. Weasley was very proud to walk Ginny down the aisle. The reception was extraordinary. There was laughter and tears of joy for the newly weds. Ron was so nervous during the toast that she had to help him which earned a "Hermione to the rescue" from Fred and George.
For her, the most precious time of the wedding was their first dance as a married couple. The light in the great hall dimmed, candles lit around them making it seem as if they were dancing among stars. The atmosphere was very romantic and very fitting to their union. Silence reined as they danced, no one dared break the spell of the moment. She was so entranced by the display that she didn't notice when Draco got to her side until he grabbed her hand. She looked up at him and saw him smiling at her. There was something in his eyes that hadn't been there before. She blinked and it was gone.
Narcissa and Lucius watched them the whole night. They saw the way they looked at each other and knew that they were both falling for the other. This whole affair they had was not going to end well. They were both heading for heartbreak. Unless they admitted their feelings before it was too late. Lucius knew they were both very stubborn but one of them had to do it. Narcissa was aware that if Hermione chose not to go through with their arrangement then she would leave their world. And by the way she observed how happy her friends were she was close to making a rash decision. Across from them she could see that Dumbledore was also watching them. There was sadness in his eyes that had her wondering if he knew what was going on.
After Ginny and Harry's wedding her schedule became less hectic. Now she only had to deal with work, Pansy, and her Sunday meetings with Draco and Narcissa. On her free afternoons she would research the counter spell for the bonding. During those times she learned even more spells that someday would probably need and others that she hoped never to use. One of the spells was about pulling everything you knew into your wand and the magik would turn it into a crystal. The crystal could not be shattered to protect the information. Those that performed this spell would give up their lives and start a new. It would recreate a whole new life for the caster. Once cast the spell could only be reversed by the one who cast it.
"How can this spell be reversed by the one who cast it, if he or she could not remember anything?" She wondered out loud.
This intrigued her and decided to learn all aspects of this spell. All her energy went to that when she would get home. Soon she learned that there were two forms of this spell. The basic one was just to store the knowledge and memories into the wand, but the caster would keep their magik, thus giving them the ability to reverse it when ever they wished. The second one was the most difficult since not only the knowledge and memories but also the magik would be contained in the wand. And everyone knew that without magik you would not be able to stay in this world.
It was a close to Ron and Pansy's wedding and she was having her Sunday lunch with Narcissa. Draco was not able to attend since Lucius asked him to accompany him on a business trip. She was going over the details of the wedding and looking at some of the decoration that Narcissa had suggested. Narcissa for her part was looking at the seating chart to make sure everyone would be seated accordingly.
"Hermione I would like to set a meeting for the seamstress this week. What day would be alright with you?" Narcissa asked while making a correction in the chart.
Hermione looked up at her a bit confused. "Seamstress?"
"Yes dear, to find the perfect wedding gown for you." She smiled.
"Oh my wedding dress, yes. I…we could go on Wednesday at 4pm."
"Perfect, I will set up the appointment. Is there someone that you would like to accompany us that day?"
"Could Mrs. Weasley come with us?"
"Of course dear. What about your mother? Wouldn't you like for her to help you choose the dress also?" Narcissa put the seating chart away.
"I would have loved that but both my parents were killed during a raid just before we won the war." She replied sadly.
"I am sorry child. I didn't mean to bring up sad memories." Narcissa enveloped her Hermione's hands in hers.
"I still miss them, but I know that I have a lot of friends and a new family here. My parents will always be in my heart. And I know that they will always be with me where ever I go." She smiled.
They had gone to the seamstress and her dress was on the works. Her dress was a satin corset ball gown, with silver beading making snowflakes in the hem and crystals in the corset. The veil was satin chiffon and also had crystals all over making it sparkle. Molly, Narcissa and Hermione were delighted with the design. Time flew so fast and now here she was as the maid of honor in Ron and Pansy's wedding.
I found my self once again looking at my friends with a longing that I could not place. No, that is not true. I knew why I was feeling this way. It was because I knew that I would never feel the way they feel right now. Thanks to my logic I would never have a man look at me with love the way Ron looks at Pansy. I would never have the man that loves me defy everyone to have me the way Blaise fought for Luna. Even if I did love, the man I would be with would not love me. I look towards Draco and see that he is smiling at his mother. She is no doubt telling him something about the wedding. I twist my engagement ring round and round on my finger. I want to cry in sorrow for what we are giving up but I manage to contain myself.
"Mione, are you alright?"
"Yes, I'm fine." She smiled at Molly. "I'm just happy that Ron found his soul mate."
"You have also found your soul mate. Draco is a fine boy and he loves you."
"Do you really think so?" She looked at her with hope in her eyes.
"Oh, Child, I see it every time you are together. The way you both look at one another. There is tenderness in his eyes when he touches you. It's as if he were afraid of losing you. That is real love Hermione." They both looked at him.
"Yes, you are right. It does seem as if he is afraid I will leave." *But it is not because he loves me. It is because he is afraid that I will back out of our agreement. Nothing more.* this she does not say aloud but she knows it's true.
The party continued with the classic joke from the twins. Harry said the toast and did it without her help. Everything was fantastic and perfect for Pansy. When it was time to throw the bouquet she caught it, much to her surprise since she was behind everyone. It was no surprise when Draco caught the garter. They shared the corresponding dance, to the pleasure of all present. They looked at each other's eyes and seemed to forget where they were. Everyone smiled at the obvious love that they shared.
His eyes are gorgeous like moonlight. She knew she was doomed now. She could finally admit that she was in love with Draco Malfoy. How could she have let this happen? I mean it is great that there could be something more between them. That would make their marriage more bearable. Could he feel the same way? Could he learn to love her too someday? Could they make this marriage become real? She wanted what her friends have so much. Perhaps with time they could be as happy, after all they would have the rest of their lives together to fall in love. She saw him lean in to her, and she thought he would kiss her. She closed her eyes waiting for it.
"Soon we won't have to pretend anymore. It will not be necessary since we would be married by then." He whispered in her ear.
Hermione stiffened at his words. "What?"
"Nice acting by the way. If I didn't know any better, I would dare say that you really do love me." He smirked at her.
"Y-yes…well…I…I…" She closed her eyes again to contain her tears. She opened her eyes again and smiled adoringly at him. "I took acting classes during the summers away from Hogwarts. I guess they are paying off now." The song ended and she pulled away from him and left.
He walked after her but lost her in the crowd. He looked all around trying to locate her but she was gone. He was confused by her reaction. There was nothing wrong with what he said, that was the truth. Soon they could stop pretending.
"Did I say something wrong?" He whispered to himself confused.
Sorry for the long wait. Hope you enjoyed this chapter.