If I were you
The whole afternoon went by smoothly for Hermione. After dropping by the twin's joke shop, Blaise took her for a quiet dinner in Muggle London, much to her surprise.
"How do you like the food?" Blaise asked while sipping his wine.
"I love it, I never knew this place exists," she smiled.
He chuckled, "Well now you know, it's a good thing that you love Italian food," he replied.
"You never fail to amaze me, Blaise. I mean, how do you even know this stuff? I never even told you that I love Italian food!" she replied while twirling her pasta.
He braced his elbows on the table and stared at her intently, "Well, let's just say that if I'm really interested in a woman, I make it to a point to know everything about her. I pay attention, even with the tiniest details," he replied flirtatiously.
She rolled her eyes as she nibbled on her garlic stick, "Stalking is a serious crime Blaise, make sure you don't get caught."
He threw his head back and laughed, "Love, I don't stalk. I just have a way with my words. And besides, I won't ever do that to you - you wound me woman," he said feigning hurt.
"Good to know, because if I ever caught you, I'll hex your arse to oblivion," she winked.
He leaned back on his chair and shook his head, "Totally barbaric," he joked.
She laughed; "It's nice to know that you finally got my drift, lover boy."
"Lover boy? I like the sound of that, it sounds sexy."
"Men, you're all the same."
He threw her a playful smile, "Of course not, we come in different shape and sizes," he wiggled his brows.
She giggled, "You're a pig!"
"A pig? Pray tell, what did you thought I meant, princess?" he challenged.
Her cheeks turned pink with embarrassment, "I'm not doing this with you, you're bloody bonkers!"
"So cute, you're blushing! I never thought I'd actually make Hermione Granger blush like a teenager," he teased.
"Oh, shut it!"
He lifted his hands in mock surrender, "Okay, I'm sorry. Let's just quit the topic while we're ahead. And besides, I don't want Potter to think that I'm corrupting your virtue in anyway."
"Good," she replied as she took a large sip of her wine.
"Have you already decided about my - err - offer? About the ball?"
She placed the glass back and clasped her hands together on top of the table, "To be honest, I haven't really decided yet. I miss Hogwarts and you're right, I really don't want to disappoint Dumbledore," she paused and lowered her eyes to her lap. "But I'm not sure if I'm ready to go back there just yet," she admitted.
He furrowed his brows, "Just yet? Why? Did something happen there?" he asked.
"No," she lied. She lifted her gaze and stared into his eyes, "I really don't know yet, Blaise. I'm sorry," she said.
He studied her face, "It's okay, you don't have to tell me," he replied.
She felt her whole body relax with his words, "Thank you."
Blaise knew better than to press the issue further, so he changed the topic. He reached for her hand and rested his palms on top of it, "I'm not forcing you to decide tonight, love, I just wanted to remind you. But if you feel that you're not yet ready to go back there, then I'll respect your decision - no pressure," he said with a small smile.
"Okay, I promise to let you know."
Her eyes then strayed towards their hands, "Uhm, Blaise?"
"Can I have my hand back now?"
"Why? Do I make you nervous?" he teased.
She wrinkled her nose, "Have you been hanging out with Ron, lately?"
He gave her hands a soft squeeze before pulling away, "Why ask?"
"Because you sounded like him a couple of seconds ago," she laughed.
He scrunched his face with distaste, "You did not just compare me with Weasley."
"And pray tell, what's wrong with Ron?" she asked with a quirked brow.
He shifted on his seat, "Err - nothing," he replied. "Ron is a stand up guy, I don't have anything against him and he's one of your best friend, so no - nothing is wrong with him," he babbled nervously.
She made him squirm a few more times before laughing, "You should've seen your face, it's hilarious!"
Realization dawned on him, "You're awful! You played with me back there, I can't believe this!" he said, clearly aghast.
She grabbed her fork again, "A game well played," she replied as she speared a piece of mushroom.
"I'll get you back for that," he said with a smirk.
"Bring it on,"
"Oh, it is on."
"Where have you been? I've been looking for you," Narcissa said as she stood up from her seat.
Draco smiled at his mother, "I just took an afternoon stroll and didn't notice the time. Did you need anything?" he asked before planting a chaste kiss on his Mother's cheek.
She patted his cheek softly, "No sweetheart, I just missed you," she replied with a smile.
He chuckled and led her mother back to the couch, "I've missed you too," he replied cheerfully. He sat down and pointed his wand towards the hearth to light the fire.
Narcissa sat beside him, "Sweetie?"
"Did something happen? Why do you look so...happy?"
He turned his face to the side to meet his Mother's gaze, "Do I? I didn't notice," he lied.
"Yes, you do. So tell me, what happened?"
"I can't tell you yet, but I promise if it works out, you'll be the first to know," he replied mischievously.
She stared at him for a few more seconds, "Draco, are you talking about a woman?" she asked.
Draco just smirked and stood up. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead, "Don't stay up too late, Mum. Goodnight," he said before padding towards the staircase.
Her eyes widen in incredulity, "Come back here, we're still talking! Did you meet a woman? Who?"
"Love you too, Mum!"
She shook her head and leaned back on her seat, "Some things will never change," she mumbled.
"You don't have to walk me home Blaise, I can manage," Hermione said as she stood up from her seat and clutched her purse.
"I know you can manage, but I want to walk you home," Blaise insisted.
"Are you sure? Don't you have work tomorrow?" she asked while looking at him with uncertainty.
He threw her a lopsided grin, "Yes, I do, but I can manage too," he joked.
"If you insist," she replied.
He gestured towards the door, "Shall we?"
She nodded, "Yes, let's go."
They walked along the streets, keeping a respectable distance between them. He kept the conversation flowing, asking her questions about her hobbies down to her job. She enjoyed conversing with him; he was not as shallow as she originally thought he was.
"So, are you're telling me that you didn't find me attractive before?"
"Do you want an honest answer?"
He glared at her playfully, "Why do I feel like I wouldn't like the answer you're referring to?"
She feigned innocence, "What? I'm just asking if you want an honest answer," she replied as she poked his arm.
"You wound me again, woman. You already did that twice today, you're lucky I like you," he replied as he yanked her hand into his. "Merlin! Your hands are freezing!"
"Err - yeah, it's a little chilly."
He immediately dropped her hand and started unfastening his jacket.
She stopped and stared at him, "What do you think you're doing?"
He took off his jacket and covered her with it, "There, now you won't be cold anymore," he said with flourish.
She tried shrugging it off, "No, Blaise - you need this too, I'm okay," she argued.
"Don't be so hard headed, I'm not even cold, I insist."
"Are you sure?"
He fell into step with her and gently grabbed her hand, lacing their fingers together. "I'm sure."
She moved her eyes to their joined hands, but didn't pull away. "His hand his warm, but it doesn't fit mine," she thought with a hint of sadness.
He squeezed her hand, "This alright?" he asked.
She lifted her eyes to meet his gaze, "Yes," she replied.
He grinned at her and started to resume their pace, "Almost there," he said gingerly.
"Uhuh," she replied, not missing the double meaning behind his words.
Draco plopped down on his bed and folded his arms behind his head. He stared at the ceiling, his lips curling into a large grin. "They're not yet married, I still have a chance with her," he said. He then turned to his side and pulled the drawer open; he reached for a picture frame and held it close to his face. He moved his other hand towards the glass and ran his finger along the old photograph that Ginny took for them, "I've missed you so much, Mi. I'm sorry if it took me so long to come back..." he said. He then let his hand drop and rested the frame on his chest, "This time would be different for us because now, I will do everything I can to fight for our love, to fight for you. I love you so much."
"We're here," Hermione said.
Blaise looked at her apartment building, "That was fast."
She squeezed his hand, "I should go in, we both have work tomorrow," she said.
"Yes, you should."
"Err - Blaise?"
"Can you let go now? Because I can't leave if you're still holding my hand."
His cheeks turned pink with embarrassment as he let her hand go, "Sorry about that," he replied awkwardly.
She threw him an appeasing smile, "That's okay, I had fun today, thank you for spending time with me," she said.
"Me too, let's do this again?" he asked, his tone borderline hopeful.
Before her brain can catch up with his question, her mouth already gave out an answer. "Yes, I think we should."
His face lit up like a Christmas tree, "I'll hold on to your word, Ms. Granger," he said excitedly.
She can't help but smile at his enthusiasm, "He can be cute sometimes," she thought. "You should, now I bid you goodnight," she said.
"Can I kiss you goodnight?"
She felt her breath hitch in her throat, clearly shocked with his question. She looked into his eyes and to her surprise, all she saw was complete sincerity. "It's just a kiss, it doesn't have to mean anything, right?" she thought. She swallowed thickly and slowly nodded her agreement, "Yes," she breathed out.
He shifted closer and gently cupped her face with his warm hand. He stared into her eyes for a couple beats before leaning forward, pressing their lips together.
She closed her eyes and tried searching for the spark she once felt, but came up with nothing. "Damn it!" she mentally cursed.
He nipped her lower lip once before pulling away, "Goodnight Hermione," he whispered.
She forced out a smile, "Goodnight," she replied. She then turned on her heels and started climbing the stairs.
"I'll keep waiting for your owl, don't make me wait too long, love!" he said cheerfully.
She unlocked the door and pushed it open, "I will let you know, bye," she said with a wave. She then stepped into the threshold and closed the door with a soft snap. She braced her back on the cold wood and let out an audible sigh, "Why can't you feel anything?" she asked herself.