Still yawning, Ginny got out of bed and walked into the bathroom. After a hurried shower, she moved over to the mirror, tapping her wand to her hair in order to dry it and giving her face a critical look in the mirror. The freckles over her nose and cheeks were more prominent than normal, and she briefly wondered if she should use a concealment charm to dampen them a bit. Then she scowled at herself for entertaining such a silly notion. Since when did she fret about her appearance?

‘Who’s the boy, dear?’ the mirror asked brightly, making Ginny glare at it. Meeting her own angry brown eyes, she grimaced at how she was behaving and walked out of the room.

Who’s the boy, indeed! So far, the only man her own age Ginny had met was Draco. And it wasn’t like she wanted to look nice for him.

Pulling on a light summer dress, she walked down for breakfast, in no mood to face Aunt Muriel.

‘You have made an effort today,’ Muriel greeted her as she entered the room. ‘You actually look acceptable in that dress.’

For once displeased with one of Muriel’s rare compliments, Ginny sat down by the table, trying to convince herself that she had picked the dress by chance, having no agenda at all.

‘It’s a good thing, too,’ Muriel said, making Ginny think she must have missed out on something her aunt had said. ‘Today, we’re going to Villa Oriole.’

‘What’s Villa Oriole?’ Ginny asked, a little confused.

‘Honestly, Ginevra!’ Muriel said impatiently. ‘Don’t you ever pay attention? Villa Oriole is the ruin of the villa from the first witch ever to live on this island - the Lady Oriole. For some reason, the locals celebrate her today. I dare say it’s just an excuse to have a party, but then again, the Italians are a lively bunch.’

‘How do they celebrate?’ Ginny asked, intrigued. Aunt Muriel did know how to tell an exciting tale - if one just ignored those snide hints she so frequently dispersed of - so Ginny listened attentively to her explanation about a complicated magical ritual, a large feast in the ruins, and dancing under the stars.


As Ginny walked up the hill after lunch, she could understand why Oriole had decided to have her villa built up here. Unlike the village by the bay, where it could be sweltering hot, there was a cooling breeze up here that made the climate much more comfortable. Still, there did not seem to be many people walking, and most of them appeared to be local residents. Aunt Muriel had declared she would Apparate, but encouraged Ginny’s decision to walk. (‘Uphill walking gives you nice legs, Ginevra, and that’s never bad with the men.’)

Arriving at the top, Ginny could see the ruin of the villa spread across half the hill. Apparently, Lady Oriole had been a wealthy woman. Ginny wondered how old the villa was, if it was actually in ruins - few magically strengthened buildings ever did become ruins, after all.

Moving closer in order to be able to see the ritual Muriel had talked about, she noticed Draco standing to one side, his face displaying the usual bored look, and by his side the girl with the elaborate black hair whom he had called Cassiopeia.

Ginny experienced one of her characteristic pangs of possessiveness at the sight - she never had been able to contain those - and was unreasonably happy to see Draco all but ignoring the girl beside him, apparently deaf to her attempts at conversation.

In annoyance, Ginny turned away - the last thing she needed was for him to notice her looking at him. She could only imagine what sort of sneering comments that would inspire.

‘There you are at last,’ Aunt Muriel shouted beside her, making Ginny - and several of the nearest witches and wizards - jump in surprise. ‘I almost started hoping you had found yourself a man and eloped!’ Muriel yelled, and even Ginny turned slightly pink. There was no need to shout things like that in public! Now anybody might hear.

‘Weasley. I don’t believe I’ve met your friend?’ Draco said behind her, and Ginny closed her eyes and swallowed a few choice swear words before she composed herself and turned around. Of course he would have heard! She never would hear the end of this one. And, to make it all worse, Cassiopeia was standing beside him, her arm tucked under his.

‘Aunt, this is Draco Malfoy,’ Ginny introduced. ‘Malfoy. This is my great-aunt, Muriel Prewett.’

‘Nice to meet you!’ Muriel barked. ‘And who is this young lady?’

‘Cassiopeia Hill,’ Draco replied curtly. ‘You’ve met Weasley before, of course,’ he added dismissively, making Ginny want to grit her teeth.

Thankfully, the ritual started shortly after, making Muriel declare in a loud voice that she was too old to stand on her feet and grab a stunned-looking Draco by the arm. Ginny smiled gleefully at the sight, but her joy didn’t last long; Draco simply drew up a chair with his wand and helped Muriel onto it before he walked away, Cassiopeia in tow.

Ginny fumed until the ritual caught her attention, and then decided to forget about Draco. She might be just the tiniest bit attracted to him, but he was still hardly worth her time.

The feast afterward was highly enjoyable, not least because Muriel sat at the other end of the table, happily gossiping in loud voices with her friend Violet. Ginny, on the other hand, ended up beside a dark-haired Italian man who introduced himself as Giovanni and flirted rather shamelessly.

As dancing began, Giovanni asked her up and Ginny happily agreed. If nothing else, she could both dance and annoy Aunt Muriel, who did not trust Italian men. To Ginny’s delight, he was a good dancer, too. Almost as good as Draco, her mind supplied, before she could rein it back in. Where did such ridiculous notions come from?

‘Ginevra!’ Muriel barked beside her as night had fallen, making poor Giovanni flinch in alarm. ‘It’s too late for a lady my age to be up, so we are going home.’ Apparently Muriel didn’t want to risk leaving Ginny alone.

‘Yes, Aunt,’ Ginny agreed. Her feet were exhausted anyway, and she would not regret leaving Giovanni behind. While fun to talk to, he was exhausting over time.

‘I left my bag by the table,’ Muriel stated, sounding annoyed. ‘I’m not nearly old enough to start forgetting things, so it must be an effect of the wine.’

‘I’ll go get it,’ Ginny offered, and hurried away. Going out in public with Muriel was something of a trial.

Walking into the shadowy ruins where the tables stood, Ginny tried to remember exactly where Muriel had been sitting. It was somewhere near the end, and her large, black handbag should be easy enough to spot.

Finding it under a chair, she lifted it and walked back outside, wondering what Muriel carried around with her that would require that large a bag. In the arched opening, she nearly collided with someone, stepping aside just in time.

‘Lumos,’ a familiar voice said, and a beam of light lit up the somewhat pointy features of Draco, making him look slightly ghostly. ‘You again?’ he asked, sounding disbelieving. ‘I’m starting to think you really are stalking me.’

‘Funny,’ she snapped. ‘I could say the same to you, you know.’

‘You’re the one staring after me with those big, brown eyes.’

She spluttered. ‘I have done no such thing!’ she maintained. ‘Maybe you ought to get your ego deflated?’

‘My ego seems to attract you just fine,’ he replied, sounding a little smug.

Ginny could not believe him. How could anyone be that annoying? ‘I can assure you, the only feeling I have for you right now is fury,’ she said coldly. This is hardly the time for that twinge to return, she reminded herself sternly, to no avail.

‘Really?’ He smirked at her, and closed the distance between them. Her breath caught as he looked into her eyes and then slowly lowered his face to hers, until her eyes closed of their own accord, and his lips touched hers. Somehow, her arms ended up wrapped around his shoulders, and his firmly behind her back. She wasn’t entirely sure how long time had passed when he drew back, but she did know she was out of breath and felt slightly light-headed from the kiss.

‘Well, I guess I’ll see you around,’ Ginny said, blurting out the first thing that occurred to her.

‘You can always hope,’ Draco replied, that smirk if possible even wider.


The next morning, Ginny walked into the village once more, her aunt having sent her to buy more ingredients for the sun-block potion, as well as a new cauldron. (‘I can’t go myself, Ginevra - I’m a hundred and ten! And if you keep your wits about you, you might just meet a man.’)

She was just done with her shopping when she ran into Draco again. He seemed to be always walking around on this island!

‘Ginny,’ he said, smiling slightly.

‘Draco.’ She would not show him that she was slightly embarrassed. Anyone could make the mistake of kissing a man after… well, one glass of wine. She could hardly blame that.

‘A cauldron?’ he asked, seeing her purchase. ‘You’re not making love potions, are you?’ Great. Of course he would refer to Muriel’s shouting. But, for Draco, that one was actually mild.

‘It appears I don’t need them,’ Ginny replied. ‘I didn’t slip anything into your drink last night.’

He chuckled. ‘I was just on my way to eat lunch. Care to join me?’

She experienced that oh-so-familiar feeling of disbelief. Now he spent time around her of his own free will? ‘Sure,’ she said lightly, curious to see how this would play out.

As she sat down opposite him, feeling a little cautious, she noticed that his eyes glittered as if he was amused. But he didn’t speak, just handed her the menu sitting on the table and lazily watched as she read it. His choice in a place to eat had surprised her. Draco Malfoy at a pizzeria? If she wrote home about that, they would think she had stayed out in the sun too long. Then again, if she wrote home about eating lunch with Draco, they probably would come down to fetch her back home. Her mother certainly would lapse into hysterics.

She decided on a type of pizza, and listened as Draco placed the order in what appeared to her ears to be flawless Italian. It took a lot of willpower not to look overly impressed. He had spent a lot of summers down here, after all. And for all she knew, he could be making mistakes by the dozen. But she knew that thought was simply uncharitable – his accent sure sounded impeccable.

When the waiter returned, he was bringing her pizza Napolitano, as well as Draco’s order - what looked like seafood pizza. She couldn’t help ogling at the sight. Did the man deliberately try to confuse her these days? She had no clue he could be this… not snobby.

He noticed her look, and returned her gaze. ‘You’re staring. It’s starting to unsettle me. What’s up?’ he asked.

‘It’s just not what I expected you to choose,’ she said.

‘Why not?’ Draco enquired, one eyebrow raised questioningly.

‘I’d imagined something more…’ Ginny searched for a word that wouldn’t offend him. Pretentious? Extravagant? Snobbish? Expensive-looking? ‘Sophisticated.’

He snorted. ‘Quality isn’t determined by the time of preparation for a dish, or its elaborateness, or even its price,’ he stated. ‘Although, if you quote me on that, I’ll hex you into the next century.’

She smiled. ‘You wish!’ she replied. ‘With six older brothers, do you really think you could manage that?’

Draco looked a little calculatingly at her and smiled slightly. ‘I wouldn’t feel too safe, if I were you,’ he said teasingly, and started eating.

Ginny felt her smile widen into a grin, quite on its own. It really was a little annoying that he could charm her with retorts like that. ‘I feel quite safe, I can assure you. Besides, you wouldn’t dare hex me.’

‘And why would I not dare?’

‘Because my hexes are quite powerful,’ she threatened mildly. ‘You would not want to provoke me.’

‘I’m sure I’ve been up against tougher opponents,’ he said flatly, sounding serious again. ‘Anyway, this pizzeria has been here for close to two hundred years. No restaurant survives that long without serving excellent food,’ he added, as if wishing to change the topic. Or perhaps assure her that his choice was one of fine quality?

They talked on in surprisingly friendly terms for the rest of the meal, before they rose and Ginny was about to walk away.

‘Ginny, wait,’ he called her back. ‘I’m going back to England for a few days, but I’ll be back by Thursday. Would you meet me outside my villa at one o’clock?’ Was he asking her out? ‘You do know the way,’ he added with a smirk.

She ogled at him, for once lost for words.

‘Well?’ he snapped impatiently.

‘Why not?’ she replied, a little sharply. ‘I don’t have anything else planned.’

Draco just smiled, ignoring her sharp tone, and walked off up the street.

She turned back towards the chateau, her mind reeling. Did I just say yes to go on a date with Draco Malfoy? her mind marvelled. Did I just say yes to Draco? This holiday is not turning out the way I expected.
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