As Astoria and Draco approached the gates to the Greengrass estate, Draco stopped and turned to Astoria.
"I'll be waiting right here."
"You aren't coming with me?" Astoria exclaimed, having expected that he would be by her side when she faced off with her mother.
"I think it will be easier without me there, believe it or not. I will stay right here until you return, don't worry."
Even though she had wanted him there to support her, she knew he was right. Mrs. Greengrass could barely remain civil to Draco in public; there was no telling what she could unleash in the privacy of her own home. With a nod, Astoria walked through the tall iron gates and up the driveway to the house. Pushing open the front door, Astoria took a deep breath. This is it. Be strong, tell her you refuse to follow her crazy plan, and leave. Before she had even had a chance to look around, her mother's voice echoed through the foyer.
"Astoria! Where did you run off to? I have been looking for you. There is something we need to discuss. I have made an arrange-"
"I know what you've done!" Astoria blurted without letting her finish her sentence. "I think it's a ridiculous, archaic idea and I won't be part of it! You can't play with my life like this!"
"Well it's hardly up to you now, is it?" Mrs. Greengrass scoffed. "You are such a drama queen, Astoria. It's not as if you even have to exert yourself! Honestly child, if you would just refrain from being stubborn for one moment you would see that this marriage is what's best."
What's best? How could she be so dismissive about this? Astoria would not stand for it.
"How dare you decide what's best for me?!" she shouted. "And what do you mean I don't have to exert myself? You want me to be stuck in a marriage with someone I don't even know for the rest of my life and you're saying I don't have to exert myself?!"
Then, surprisingly, there was a moment of silence. Mrs. Greengrass looked at Astoria with a look of pure confusion. Not what I was expecting, Astoria though. Suddenly, the most bizarre thing happened- Mrs. Greengrass started to laugh. It was not the triumphant, maniacal laugh one would expect to hear from such a woman, but more of an amused giggle. What was going on? Astoria could not even think how to react, so she just stood there until her mother finally regained her composure.
"Oh dear, you thought the marriage was for you? That's a laugh. I'm your mother Astoria, I know you would not be capable of living in an arranged marriage."
"What…but I thought…. I don't understand, I heard you talking with Mr. Zabini!" What the hell? Astoria was so confused. "What's going on then?"
"The marriage is for Daphne."
Daphne? That made no sense. Daphne was the model daughter, always willing to charm any handsome pure blood boy their mother pointed her towards. Mrs. Greengrass must have guessed what she was thinking, because she continued her explanation before Astoria said a word.
"Daphne has been getting a bit of a reputation with men. I thought it would be best if she were settled sooner rather than later. We have discussed it, your sister and I, and she is very willing. You see, you may not know Blaise Zabini, but Daphne does; they were friends at Hogwarts for a time. The wedding is planned for April." Her mother finished, looking rather pleased with herself, then added "and you are expected to be a bridesmaid."
Astoria felt overwhelmed with this new information. She was not being married off to a stranger. Her relief was so intense she momentarily forgot that Draco was still outside waiting for her. Suddenly she realized this battle was not over. Just because her mother wasn't marrying her off didn't mean she was going to let Astoria be with Draco. Again her mother must have read her thoughts, because she spoke before Astoria had finished gathering her thoughts.
"I suppose you thought I wouldn't notice Mr. Malfoy standing by the gate?"
"Mother, about Draco-" but her mother cut her off.
"I don't need to hear the speech I'm sure you have prepared about him being a good person, and you not caring about reputation, and all that blabber." Her mother sighed, and said something Astoria never would have expected- "You know I don't like it, and I still dislike the Malfoys, but I'm getting tired of fighting you on this. I can see you two care for each other, so I am prepared, if only to avoid losing my daughter, to give him a chance- or, at the very least, act civil towards him."
Astoria was shocked beyond words. Her mother had never shown this much compromise where the family's social life was concerned.
"Thank you." Astoria said finally. "I think you will like him, despite what you think."
"Perhaps. However, I do have some terms. You must wait to make the relationship known until after the wedding. Can't have nasty gossip ruin Daphne's day. Also, he must keep that awful dark mark covered at all times. "
There it is, can't just let me be happy, got to throw in some terms. Even so, this was better thanshe could ever have expected. She thanked her mother again, and without another word, ran out the door and back down the driveway. She ran full speed right up to Draco and leaped into his arms, almost sending them both crashing into the gravel.
"So it went well then?" He asked, clearly confused.
"It's not me. Daphne is getting married." Astoria could hardly contain her joy. "And that's not all! My mother said she will give us a chance!"
"What?" Draco looked like someone had just told him that there was a house elf juggling on the kitchen table. "She actually said that?"
"Yes! We just have to wait to announce it until after Daphne gets married."
With that, Draco took Astoria's hands in his, leaning down to kiss her. It had always been said that forbidden romance was more passionate, but in that moment, knowing that they were finally allowed to be together, Astoria couldn't imagine anything better.