3 – Will You Marry Me

Hermione found a door that led inside, walked down a very long, dark hallway and then finally spied a door. Since it was the first door she saw, she slipped inside. She needed some time to contemplate her future and to think about the massive lie she had just told to her friends.

Why oh why had she told them all she was engaged?! And to Marcus Flint! She should have stopped Draco Malfoy the minute the lie came out of his mouth, but she was so angry at Ron and all the rest of them! They all acted as if something was wrong with her… as if she couldn't get married if she tried! Nothing was further from the truth, but she let them all think one thing for so long, that it would have been next to impossible to change their minds at this point.

So she didn't even try.

Gazing out a window, she heard the door open behind her and knew it was Marcus Flint before she even turned around.

"I thought you might have come in here, and I guess I was right," she heard him say.

"And I thought this room would be empty, but I guess I was wrong." She turned to face him. Goodness, but he was so very good looking, but beyond that, he looked kind and good and strong and so sure of himself. "Listen," she began, "I don't know why Draco Malfoy told them all we were engaged, and I also don't know why I didn't say anything to contradict him, but I'll go out there and make it right, I swear it."

"I know why you didn't contradict him," Marcus said, sitting down in a club chair to the left of a massive fireplace.

She sat down in the chair opposite. "Because I'm a pathetic fool?"

He smiled and shook his head no.

"Because I was tired of my friends being insensitive and of them making smart remarks to me?"

He continued to smile, but shrugged at that comment.

"Because all my life, from the time I was a little girl, I told people that I was never getting married, but never once did I tell them that I didn't want to get married, only that I never thought it would happen, but then I met you again today, and I felt something here," she placed a hand over her heart, "and suddenly I thought that perhaps my 'never' had been turned around. I thought I might be able to amend my statement from 'Never getting married', to 'Maybe someday, if I'm lucky, I can see myself married to this man'?" She covered her face with her hands. "Oh, how terribly embarrassing."

He could tell she was being honest – sincere – and so he wanted to be honest as well. "Will you look at me, please?"

She lowered her hands.

"All my life," he began, "or at least from the time I began to notice the opposite sex, I wanted to get married."

"When was that, pray tell," she asked.

"Around age four or five," he replied with another grin.

"You must have been a randy little child," she quipped.

"Still am, and proud of it," he supplied. "I told my family and friends that I couldn't wait to be married someday. My grandparents were married forever and they loved each other so much. My parents had a great marriage, too. I wanted that. I still do."

Hermione scooted toward the edge of her chair. "But you're not married."

He shook his head. "No, I'm not, and do you know why?"

"I can't imagine," she said softly and somberly.

"I haven't married before now, because I hadn't yet met the right woman. A good woman. A woman who would hold her own against me, challenge me at every turn, one I could have intelligent conversations with, or be silly and laugh the night away with, one who would be a good mother to my children, and one who was so beautiful and smart that she took my breath away."

"No small list, that," she said with amusement in her eyes.

"No small list, indeed," he agreed, leaning back in his chair with a sigh. "And now I don't know."

"You don't know what?" she asked.

He leaned forward, she leaned forward as well, as if he was a magnet and she was a piece of metal. They were within touching distance of the other. "Maybe I've finally found the right woman… a good woman." He gripped the arms of his chair so hard his knuckles turned white. He couldn't believe he was admitting such a thing to her, and he also couldn't believe how very true that statement was.

"They say a good woman is hard to find," she said with a sad smile, "as is a good man. At least you've found yours."

"It could be you've found yours as well. Tell me what attributes you'd like your future husband to possess, Hermione," he asked.

She looked pensive at first, and then her whole face relaxed and her eyes brightened. "He would be smart, outgoing, and fun. He would also know when to be serious. He could take my moodiness and understand it for what it is – a flash in the pan, not a way of life. He would be my best friend, my lover, the father of my children, and a partner in every aspect of my life. Is that idealistic? Is that unattainable? I just don't know anymore."

Marcus didn't answer her questions… he didn't really think she needed an answer. "All that talk out there of weddings and such was bringing me down a bit as well," he said, knowing that was what she wanted him to acknowledge.

She laughed, although her laughter didn't reach her warm brown eyes. "Do you see yourself getting married anytime soon?"

Crossing his legs at the ankles, he said, "Well apparently, I'm getting married to you, and it sounds as if we are getting married very soon."

"How soon is soon?" she inquired.

"I don't know about you," he said, waving his hand in the air, "but I've always wanted a June wedding."

"It is June," she laughed.

"Then we'd better act fast," he countered with another smile.

"You haven't even proposed yet," she said with a fake pout. "I have to have a good proposal story to tell my children someday."

"You mean telling them that you went to Draco Malfoy's engagement party, was teased by your friends because you weren't yet married, and then having Draco Malfoy announced your engagement to a man you barely know isn't a good story?"

"It lacks certain finesse," she retorted. "And still, there's no proposal in that story."

"Let me amend that right now," he said, standing quickly, only to kneel before her as she sat in the chair by the fireplace. He took her hand in his. "Hermione Granger, will you make me the happiest of all men, and be my wife, my best friend, my lover, the mother of my children, my partner in all things, my helpmate and my most of all, my wife?"

"You said wife twice," she pointed out.

"It bears repeating," he replied.

Hermione Granger couldn't believe what Marcus Flint had just asked her. Perhaps she was dreaming, or suffering from a brain fever, or was delirious, or mad, or perhaps she was just the luckiest woman on earth.

He looked serious. He looked sincere. He was on his knees before her. His hand was holding hers. Everything felt so right that it couldn't be wrong. Hermione never did anything impulsively, and this was the epitome of impulsive!

Instead of asking him if he was certain, if he was sure, she asked, "Do you really want to get married in June, because it's the 12th of June now, and that only leaves us with 18 days to prepare."

"That seems like ample time to me," he said. "Now, are you going to say yes or not? My knees are killing me down here."

He was still smiling. So was she. She felt an instant attraction to him, but she knew in her heart it was more than that. This was the man she had been waiting for – this was the man who was going to change her 'never' into 'now'.

"I've always fancied a June wedding," she said, throwing her arms around him. "So my answer, as crazy as it sounds, is yes."

He stood, bringing her up with him. Marcus couldn't believe she said yes and that they were really talking about getting married in a few days. She was smart and beautiful and resourceful and wise. She could keep him on his toes for the rest of his life. He would never be tired of her. He could talk to her about endless topics everyday, challenge her as she challenged him, and every night he would kiss her and hold her and make love to her.

They would have a home and children. It wouldn't be perfect, but then who wanted perfect? And it wouldn't be easy, but easy was highly overrated. It would be real and it would be theirs and it would be forever.

"If the answer's yes, then I best give you an engagement present," he mumbled, snaking his arms around her waist. Then he claimed her mouth with his own, kissing her intently and passionately. He left her mouth to rain small kisses all over her face and down her neck, and then after one more kiss to her lips, he pushed away from her and said, "I guess we'd better go tell our friends that we really are getting married."

"Won't Draco Malfoy be pleased?" Hermione said with a laugh. She reached out her hand, Marcus took it firmly in his, and they left the small room together, throwing open the door and hurrying down the hallway.

Draco Malfoy popped out from behind the large statue where he had been hiding in the hallway. He couldn't hear the conversation that went on between Granger and Flint in the room beyond him, but by the way they were holding hands and laughing and smiling, he could tell that his plan worked. His best friend and a woman he'd always admired more than any other were getting married – thanks to him.

He smiled. "I'm such a great fellow," he said to himself. "Now, time to go find Astoria and thank her for helping me with my little plan." He stopped walking and said, "Perhaps I'll really ask Astoria to marry me – no sense letting this little engagement party go to waste – and then perhaps we can have a double wedding with Flint and Granger. My father would really like that, and perhaps, so would I."

The End