To Find You Again
It had been seven years since she had last seen him. Seven years she had tried hard to forget the effect he could still have on her. In the years they had been apart, Draco still could command a room and liquify her bones. No man had ever had such an effect as he did. Not even Ron had the ability to draw her to him like a moth to a flame. Draco could. A simple touch, a husky whisper in her ear would be enough to send her over the edge and straight into paradise.
Hermione shivered, hating the way her body was reacting to the fact that it knew her husband was in the room. There was nothing she could do to squash the sensation of her blood coursing through her body, her heart pounding wildly against her breast, or the sensation of her senses springing to life. Even her skin was betraying her. The fine hairs on her arm rose in silent recognition.
“Our guest seems to be an attractive man, don’t you think?”
Hermione had heard Sean’s comment, but his words sounded immensely far away, and she attempted her answer, but the words choked in her throat. For Hermione, it was for the best anyway. She was afraid she would offer some sort of embarrassing flub that would give way to who she really was, and she had perfected her new life for seven years.
“I don’t doubt there isn’t a woman in this room that isn’t wondering if his performance in the bedroom matches his performance in the boardroom.”
At that moment, Hermione wanted nothing more than to disappear, but she knew such a fete would be impossible. She knew that Blaise was not here just to offer his thoughts on the conversation. No, Blaise was often brought along when Draco wanted to corner a rival to offer words of wisdom that would send the rival with their tail between their legs. Tonight, was possibly no different. If Draco had already seen her, she knew her husband would probably send Blaise out to intercept her before she could leave the hotel unnoticed.
“Jean, my dear,” Clive acknowledged happily upon seeing his bright, rising star. There was a ting of admiration in his words as they approached both she and Sean. He took her hand and placed a gentle kiss on her hand. “It is always so wonderful to see you. I had been hoping you would come.” He turned to both Draco and Blaise. “I want you to meet our wonderful investor, Mr. Draco Malfoy, and his companion, Blaise Zabini.”
Hermione swallowed whatever fear she had and steeled herself in his presence. She would not give him the satisfaction of knowing that he could denounce her right here on the spot. She did not want to spoil Clive’s soiree either. He had been so happy in the weeks prior while making his rounds to discuss the plans for this party. He had wanted everything to be perfect and had begged her to be there for the newest investor to answer any questions he would have.
Hermione realized now she should have inquired the name of the investor. It would have helped in the long run as whether it had been safe to come. But now here she was in the den of the snakes and both seemed ready to strike. She could feel the rage emanating from Draco’s tall form. She knew he was angry at her and Blaise – well, he seemed more amused by the situation than anything.
“If you will pardon me,” Blaise spoke up before giving Hermione a chance to answer, “I must make a phone call.”
Hermione watched Blaise excuse himself and walk away. She looked at Draco for a moment and then at Clive and spoke finally, “It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Malfoy.”
Draco raised a slender blond brow and she knew the game was on.
“A pleasure,” came the cold response, “Ms. Jean.”
Clive, unaware of the anger radiating from Draco, turned to the young Malfoy Heir and quickly went into conversation over the various potions and other great things that had been coming from her sector. There were some quick questions fired in her direction from Draco and she answered them in depth with the hopes that she had helped secure the needed funds from her estranged husband.
Clive looked pleased and ushered Draco away from Hermione and Sean wanting him to meet other people in other departments. This would be here a chance moment to leave. She glanced around to look for Blaise, but she could not find him among the sea of colors.
“I think I should head home,” she stated once they were alone again. “I don’t want to keep Luna there all night.”
Sean smiled and took her champagne glass. “Go on, dear girl. I think you did a marvelous job this evening of convincing Mr. Malfoy of investing.”
“I hope so,” she returned giving a small smile. “Have a good evening and tell Janet I will see her soon.”
Janet was Sean’s fiancée. A sweet, young woman in her early twenties with bright green eyes and dark hair.
Before Sean can reply, Hermione had already made her way through the crowd of people pausing only briefly to offer a hello or to speak to other department members. Each one was happy to see and speak to her. Once she had made it to the foyer of the hotel, Hermione paused to take a small breath. She moved her handbag in front of her, opening it to look for her car keys.
Blaise had seen Hermione depart and smirked. He knew that she had been looking around for him, but Blaise had taken to a dark spot in the corner near the entryway. She had even passed him by. As Blaise stepped out into the entryway behind her. He took a moment to notice that her small breath of relief before her search for something in her purse. Quietly, Blaise flicked his wrist, and out of his sleeve popped his wand. He quickly cast a silencing spell to give privacy.
“Well, well,” Blaise began startling Hermione and sending her spin on the heels of her satin shoes, “who would have thought the cat would have sent a mouse scurrying out from protection.”
“Blaise,” she whispered softly momentarily dropping her search for her keys. She could feel the fear rising once more within her. She knew that Blaise could keep her trapped here until Draco was able to getaway.
“What do you want?”
“What do I want?” He echoed her inquiry with a raised brow and smirk. He circled around her like a shark having smelt blood in the water. “Well, I could hold you here and hand you over to my dear friend, who, by the way, has been searching the world for you since you departed seven years ago. Imagine Hermione Jean Granger-Malfoy just simply vanishes from the face of the earth and yet we find her in this small world right under Draco’s nose. I can assure you he is quite furious with you.”
“Blaise,” she implored him, “I can’t do this with him now please.”
“But why?” He questioned. There was curiosity in his words. “I do not understand why you would walk away from a happy marriage that gave you everything.”
“When there are three in your marriage, the situation becomes different,” she offered vaguely to him.
This seemed to be even more curious to him and Hermione could see the wheels in his head turning and she knew he was starting to put some of the pieces together. She was certain there were still gaps and he was going to inquire for more, but Hermione did not have time to play twenty questions with him. She wanted to be away from here before Draco was free from his duties.
“Please, Blaise, let me go,” she begged glancing behind him to see where her estranged husband was, but she could not see him among the crowd and the fear was beginning to build up. “This isn’t the time nor the place for this.”
“Astoria is behind this, isn’t she?” Blaise demanded softly. “Give me this much and I will let you go.”
Hermione nodded unable to answer him.
“Go,” Blaise said gesturing and it was enough for Hermione to flee from the hotel.
Draco Malfoy moved through the crowd. His silver-blue eyes sweeping across them looking for any sign of Hermione still there, but he knew she was gone. He looked once more for Blaise and found him leaning against the doorway of the ballroom. Draco peered behind him hoping that Blaise had managed to keep her from fleeing, but there was no hide nor hair of her anywhere.
“Where is she?” Draco inquired taking his friend by the arm and leading the two away from the door. He did not want this conversation to be privy to anyone else within ear’s reach.
“Gone,” was all Blaise would offer on the situation. His mind was already swirling with questions.
“You let her go?” Draco hissed furiously. He glanced around briefly to ensure that they were quite alone before drawing out his wand and casting a silencing spell bubble around them. “Why?”
Blaise tapped his chin in thought. For a moment, he contemplated telling Draco the small piece he had learned but decided against it. He offered, “I tried to follow her, but it seemed like she has a secret keeper helping her.”
“A secret keeper?” Draco asked surprised. He ran his long, thin fingers through his platinum blond hair. “I never thought of that. How did you know?”
“As Hermione left, I sent a tracking spell after her,” Blaise admitted. “Unfortunately, the spell only managed to track her so far before it hit a wall of sorts.”
Draco let his words sink in. “I wonder who she would have trusted enough to give such a privilege to.”
“What about the boy who wouldn’t die and the Weasels?” Blaise asked curiously.
Draco shook his head. “They abandoned her when Weasley King decided to shack up with Brown. They blamed her for the relationship falling apart.”
Blaise said nothing, processing his words. Then said, “There has to be someone she trusted then.”
Draco furrowed his brows and contemplated all those who Hermione had called friends.
“There was one,” he said finally.
“Oh?” Blaise asked. “Who?”
“Luna Lovegood,” Draco answered. “I am not sure if they are still in touch, but I can only surmise that she has some link to the Secret Keeper.”
Blaise smiled at this new information. “Leave it to me.”
Draco’s brow rose again as he looked at his friend for some sort of information upon his words.
“Lovegood and I go way back,” Blaise suggested, “and I do mean way back. I am quite sure I could get something out of her that would break the Keeper spell.”
Draco seemed to be considering this for a moment. Then, he nodded giving Blaise what he wanted. “I trust you to find out for me soon. I have an estranged wife to sort out and return to my bed.”
“Of course, Draco,” Blaise purred, “and I have a former Ravenclaw to tangle with happily again.”
Draco wondered if he should inquire about the relationship between him and Lovegood but decided against it. In time, he would know of it. For now, he just wanted to go home and tell his parents the news.
“Come,” Draco spoke up pushing them toward the front of the hotel, “we have much to accomplish soon and I have parents who are waiting for me over this. I am quite sure my mother will be pleased that I have found Hermione.”
End of Chapter