A Dragon and a Phoenix

Chapter 27

Tonight, Narcissa was insistent on discussing my parents and their impending arrival. "The two of you will be in the entrance hall by nine thirty in the morning. Once Amaranth and Marcus have arrived, they will have time to get settled in, and then we will have lunch. After lunch, Draco, you will take Marcus to view the grounds. He is to select a fitting location for the ceremony while we take care of the finer points. You," she turned her haughty gaze to me, "will meet with your mother and me so we can verify the guest list and arrange the reception."

Although she didn't seem to be giving me a choice, she still seemed to be waiting on me to voice my acquiescence. "Yes, of course," I ground out. Despite the fact that I sounded positively hostile, she seemed appeased with my answer.

Finally, she was through with her captive audience and we retreated for our own discussion of the coming days. I was so furious that I didn't even pause at my own door, but went straight to Draco's room. I tore across the room to pace in front of the fireplace; now in full rant mode. She was such an overbearing, self entitled, pushy bitch!

I spun around to face him, throwing my arms up in frustration yelling, "Your mother is one of the most infuriating people I have ever met!"

"This isn't exactly news to me," he drawled.

"What the bloody hell are we going to do now?" I demanded.

"I suppose we could always go through with her plan and just go on about our lives separately. I've been thinking; I can't imagine that she would consider the possibility of us simply going through with the wedding and then just going back to the way things were before," he mused.

"Somehow I think that she's got the possibilities covered. The whole point of this scheme is to build a solid reputation for you. Even if she didn't think of it originally, I'm sure if we tried that, she'd just come up with something new to force us to do what she wishes. She didn't go this far only to have us throw it all out that easily," I countered.

"You're probably right," he sighed.

"There has to be something we're missing," I muttered as I absentmindedly freed my hair, dropping the hairpins onto a nearby table.

"I'm sure there are several things that we're not aware of, but I don't think Mother is going to give up those details easily. I'll speak with her again tomorrow and see if I can find out what leverage she has that forced your parents to agree to this in the first place. You should see what you can find out from them when you have a moment alone," he suggested.

"Oh, I assure you, I have an abundance of things to discuss with dear old mum and dad," I scoffed, gazing into the depths of the flames dancing in the fireplace.

He caressed my cheek, drawing my eyes back to his own, fingers trailing through my hair. "You're like no one I've ever known," he whispered as he lowered his lips to mine.

I returned his kiss briefly, but tilted my head down, pulling away from him and leaning my forehead against his. "I should go back to my room. We're in for a long day tomorrow," I whispered.

"Yes, we are," he muttered as he tugged my hair tipping my head back. I saw the hazy look in his grey eyes before he reclaimed my mouth with a more possessive demeanor. He drew me closer, the length of his body pressed against mine as I twined my arms around him. I felt him smile before he released me, both of us struggling to regain our composure.

"You really should go before I decide that I can't let you," he hoarsely informed me.

Nodding, I reluctantly let go of him and stepped back. As I turned to walk away, I stopped short standing near the bed. I reached behind me as I turned back to face Draco. With one swift, smooth motion, I unzipped the silk champagne and cream colored gown and held out my hand to him as the expensive fabric pooled around my feet. He stood staring for a moment, making no sudden movements as though he feared I might come to my senses and bolt.

(To avoid being reporting and removal, certain scenes have been cut. Feel free to PM for the excerpt.)

Waking up in the watery rays of early morning light, I gently disentangled myself from Draco's embrace. His brow furrowed and he reached out to the empty space, but he did not wake. I tiptoed across the room and to the bathroom, closing the door with a soft click.

Standing under the cascade of hot water, I allowed myself to really think about what had happened last night. True that it was unexpected, but there was no denying that I'd enjoyed it. Despite the fact that he was still quite capable of driving me mad, I had come to like spending time with him. It didn't hurt that he was an excellent kisser…and pretty damned good at other things as well. This was all becoming very confusing. Everything had been simpler when I just hated him and didn't want to know anything about him at all.

So now, I thought as I rinsed my hair, I've gone and slept with the man that I'm engaged to behind my boyfriend's back; if you could call Blake a boyfriend. I giggled at how ridiculous that sounded even in my own head. But a sobering thought passed my mind, driving away the momentary spark of humor. I hadn't even thought of Blake in days. Although, what with the time limits on our search for freedom, I hadn't had a lot of time, had I? Flashes of moments spent with Draco came to mind. Oh dear, what on earth is happening here?

Stepping out of the shower, I grabbed a large and fluffy towel and wrapped it securely around myself. Grabbing my wand off the bathroom counter, I quickly summoned clothes from my room. I dried my hair and cleaned my teeth with a few quick charms. Now with fresh attire at hand, I dressed for the morning.

I half expected Draco to be awake by the time I came out, but he wasn't. Sitting on the bed next to him, I smoothed his tousled hair away from his forehead.

"Draco, wake up. Mum and dad will be here soon. You can't lie about all day," I said, nudging his shoulder.

He slowly blinked and squinted at me through bleary eyes. "Are you sure we can't just lie about all day?" he asked as he wrapped an arm around me, pulling me to his side.

"No, we can't," I laughed. "Besides, your mother would have both our skins if we aren't downstairs in an hour."

"You're probably right about that," he muttered. "Well, considering that you have clothes on I'm guessing you've already had a shower, which might I add is a shame. I'd have liked to have taken that shower with you. Another time I suppose," he remarked.

"If I'd woken you for a shower, we wouldn't make it downstairs in time. And, again, your mother would have our skins," I pointed out.

"Yes," he sighed, "you're probably right about that too." Climbing out of bed and stretching, he called over his shoulder as he walked to the bathroom, "There's a bookshelf in the sitting room, in case you get bored."

I wandered back to the sitting room to read while I waited on him. Folding my legs underneath me, I curled up in the corner of the couch. I was surprised to find that he'd been reading A Midsummer Night's Dream. He'd never really struck me as the type to read Shakespeare. Although, I suppose any wizard famous enough to be known even in the muggle world was worth having a look at no matter who you were. The well worn pages suggested that he'd had more than a passing glance at this particular book, though.

After a while, I heard a rustle of movement behind me. Looking over my shoulder, I found Draco leaning against the doorway watching me. His tailored black trousers and knit dark green sweater fit him perfectly.

"It's fifteen minutes to ten. We should head down to the foyer," he said.

I stood and set the book back on table where I'd found before following him to the door. Once out in the corridor, he laced his fingers with mine and held my hand as we walked. As it had become somewhat of a habit, I barely even noticed.

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