Ginny opened her eyes.
Okay, what the hell.
She turned to ask Hermione why she was standing in the middle of a forest with nothing but trees in sight, but Hermione gave her a quick grin, said, “Have fun!” and Disapparated.
Ginny looked around uncertainly and folded her arms to keep herself warm as an unusually chilly gust of wind passed her by. She stood this way for a minute or two, during which she started to have serious doubts concerning Hermione’s sanity. Just as she was getting ready to Apparate back to her flat, she heard a rustle in the bushes next to her and twirled to face it, whipping her wand out, just as Draco Malfoy stepped out of the bush.
Ginny lowered her wand.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, her voice mingled with surprise and distaste.
“I’m… I’m here to take you on a date,” he answered, slightly lamely and very un-Malfoy-ishly.
“You?” she asked, shocked. “You’re here to take me… on a date? But… all right, I think there’s been some sort of mix-up… I mean, Hermione took me here…”
“She did? Ah, I should have listened to her. Not obvious enough…” Draco muttered to himself.
“What… what? What am I doing here?” Ginny asked.
“I… I wanted to take you out. On a date.”
“You already took me out on a date. It was pathetic.”
“Pathetic? Oh, please.” Draco seemed to be regaining his Malfoy-ishness. “That was the nicest restaurant you’ve ever eaten at, don’t lie.”
“The nicest restaurant I’VE ever eaten at? Is that supposed to be a crack at my family and how much money we have?” Ginny demanded furiously.
“No! It wasn’t! I swear,” said Draco quickly. “I’m just saying… it was a very nice restaurant. It’s my favorite restaurant, you know.”
Ginny stared at him.
“That snooty, derivative, perversely clean place, which charges you far too much for a simple meal? That’s your favorite restaurant?”
“Yes, it is,” replied Draco huffily, “and I happen to find it quite adequate for first dates.”
“All right, we are not going to get into this again, and I am most certainly not going to go out on another one of your stupid, clichéd dates again. Take me home. Now.”
She folded her arms again, looking away with what she imagined to be an impressively haughty air.
“Careful, if it rains, you’ll drown,” said Draco nastily, referring to how high up in the air Ginny’s freckled nose was.
Ginny glared at him.
“Right. Sorry, that just slipped out,” Draco said apologetically. “Just… I’m sorry… I’m sorry about taking you out like all my other women.”
“All your other women…?” she started, enraged, but Draco didn’t let her finish.
“I know I’m not an angel. I’ve taken a lot of women out, and treated them like they were worthless, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you thought you were like every other woman I’ve ever taken out, like you were just a person in the crowd… because you’re not, all right? I’ve been thinking about you ever since you walked out on me, and you were right, I needed a straightening out. So, I’m sorry, all right? I’m sorry. You’re not like everyone else. You’re not. And I’m sorry that I made you feel like you were. But I thought that you were a rightly decent person, and wouldn’t a decent person give a bloke a second chance? Also, you should know that I’ve probably fit more 'I’m sorry’s' into that sentence than I have otherwise uttered throughout my entire lifetime. So… please. Please go out with me. I have something really good planned to make up for that bad first date. Go out with me. Do me the honor. Please?”
Ginny studied him, astonished. It was eerily quiet for a few moments. Then…
“You’re serious?” she asked. Her voice was a bit hoarse. She cleared it and blushed slightly.
“Dead serious,” he replied. After a moment’s hesitation, he reached his hand out for her. “Please?”
She stared him for a few seconds, and then a resolute look appeared on her delicate face.
“Promise this isn’t a joke, and that you have actually changed, and that you won’t treat me shitty, like all your other women?”
She said the last four words in a slightly mocking tone and he had to stop himself from smiling.
“I promise,” he said.
She took his hand.
Draco looked at their hands in disbelief and then back up at her. She offered him a small smile and he returned it and started leading her through the trees. He kept looking back at her. She was wearing a pair of incredibly worn out jeans and a T-shirt which was loose but nicely accentuated the perfect curves of her upper body. Normally, he found this sort of scruffiness a turn-off (he usually liked his women dolled up and ready to go), but he did not mind it at all and couldn’t help but notice how good she looked, even without trying.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“You’ll see,” he answered. He liked how tightly her little fingers were gripping the side of his hand.
After a few minutes of walking, they reached a clearing in the trees. The setting sun cast gleaming orange rays on the grass growing symmetrically on the ground. A large, beige blanket was spread out on the grass and there was a picnic basket set out on a corner of the blanket.
Ginny stared at the sight of it.
“Do you like it?” Draco asked.
“You—yes, yes I do. You set up a picnic?” she asked, looking back and forth from him to the blanket. “But… I love picnics.”
“I know,” he said, leading her to the blanket. She let go of his hand and sat down, looking up at him.
“How did you…?”
“I have connections,” he smirked, sitting down opposite her, next to the basket, and plucking food from inside the blanket to sit in front of them.
“Have you been stalking me?” she teased, giving him a suspicious look.
“Maybe,” he said shortly, a small smirk playing at his thin lips. “Chicken sandwich?”
He held a wrapped sandwich up and she grabbed it, her eyes widening.
“I love chicken sandwiches!” she said. “And I’m starving!”
She unwrapped it and bit hungrily into it. As the mix of chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, black olives, mayonnaise, and whole-wheat bread filled her mouth, she closed her eyes and happily munched on her food. After she swallowed, she opened her eyes to find Draco staring at her.
“What?” she said.
“That… was probably the biggest bite I have ever seen anyone take,” he said, giving her a weird look.
“So what? I love these sandwiches! Did you get them from that little place in Diagon Alley? And how did you know how I liked my sandwiches?”
“You said it yourself,” he said in a serious voice, his face completely straight. “I’ve been stalking you.”
Ginny, who had taken another enormous bite of her sandwich, discontinued her vigorous chewing for a few moments to return the weird look he had given her a moment earlier. He did it back, this time stranger than ever. She challenged this with an even odder look. Draco, never being one to step down from a challenge, mustered the weirdest look possible and flashed it at her.
Ginny choked on her food as she began laughing. She swallowed it hastily and kept on laughing, her giggle loud, unapologetic, and really, really cute, he realized as he watched her laugh with a smile on his own face. Her face began turning red with laughter and she covered it with her small, thin fingers. He wished she wouldn’t; she was very cute, even with a red face.
“Careful, or your whole being may start to match your hair,” said Draco seriously.
She smacked him on his shoulder with one hand, while keeping the other one over her mouth as she giggled.
“Ow.” He rubbed the spot where she had smacked him and pretended to be hurt, but in fact, he didn’t mind it.
He didn’t mind it one bit.
Author notes: Coming Soon (very soon!): Chapter Seven!
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