The second wizarding war had been over for three years, but slippery, elusive Draco Malfoy had not changed in the slightest. His Dark Mark no longer burned, but the image was permanently tattooed onto his pale skin and under his eyelids. Draco was still a very bitter man after the war, and had little to no desire to associate with anyone. Nevertheless, he was attending his friend (or as close as Draco Malfoy came to having a friend) Blaise Zabini's engagement party.
News of Blaise’s engagement had come quickly- Draco reckoned that he hadn’t been with the bird for more than a year, and Blaise was certainly not the type to settle down early. Draco had obliged to attend, knowing it was of the utmost importance to make his appearance at Pureblood events when they arose and when he was invited.
The April evening was unusually warm. Draco sat on the patio of his family's ancient manor, awaiting Blaise's arrival. Draco's friend was coming to escort him to the party. Draco, naturally, found this whole predicament quite ridiculous, but his mother had insisted on her son not leaving the manor alone. Narcissa Malfoy had become extremely paranoid since Lucius was sent to Azkaban. Even though he had returned and survived the war, Narcissa constantly worried about him and Draco.
So, even though Draco had tried to explain that he would be perfectly safe at the party, Blaise was still coming to get him through the Floo Network.
The former Slytherin prince sighed and walked back into the lavish manor's living room. Draco was dressed in a charcoal gray set of dress robes that almost came up to the top of his neck. It was not secondhand, but according to what he was used to, it might as well have been. The Malfoy family had been forced to cut back on their usually frivolous spending and had become much more frugal when making purchases that weren't necessities. Damn the Ministry for searching their vault, making sure none of their money had been stolen from other witches and wizards to pay for The Dark Lord's…things.
A tall figure suddenly appeared in the Malfoy's living room.
"Good evening, Draco. Shall we be going?" Blaise Zabini said with a half smile on his dark, handsome face.
"Good evening, Blaise. Yes, I suppose we shall… Mother! I'm leaving!" he called out. "Quick, let's go before the woman can make her way down here."
Draco's friend smirked, and the two boys stepped towards the large fireplace.
"When I leave, make sure-"
"I think I know how to use the Floo, thank you." Draco interrupted coldly.
Blaise smirked again and turned his back to the blonde, shouting clearly, "Zabini Manor!"
Draco took some of the green powder on the mantle and Flooed to the same destination as the man before him.
The first thing Draco saw when he stepped out of the emerald flames was a beautifully decorated room with a gigantic banner that read: Congratulations Blaise and-
Just as Draco was about to read the unfortunate woman's name, a light-headed figure literally jumped on top of him. "Drakie! I noticed you didn't reply to my owl this morning. What happened? I was ever so worried about you." Pansy’s tone was alluring-as alluring as she was capable-but Draco simply sneered at her.
"Let me up, you insolent girl. Listen, I didn’t come to this wretched party to be ambushed by someone as insignificant to me as yourself. I suggest you take yourself and your owls away from me and do not think about returning. I have no interest in a relationship." Draco watched as her eyes filled with tears and she turned on her heel out of the lavish room.
He scoffed at the annoying girl's retreating back and turned around to face the rest of the party. He saw a very attractive blonde looking at him from across the room. She had big brown eyes and a nice smile. His mouth curved upward into a half smile and he made his way over to the now blushing girl who was staring right back at him. He was so focused on not making a fool of himself in front of her that he ran right into another woman. She fell to the floor, and Draco, now a bit annoyed she had held him up, pulled the woman to her feet.
Looking into her eyes, Draco realized there was something unnervingly familiar about her. The sea green color of them was something he had only seen on one woman, a very special one.
It couldn’t be.
Astoria? Astoria Greengrass? Here? He’d always thought she hated Zabini (and he couldn’t blame her, he was really rather apathetic about things).
"Astoria?" he said.
Astoria's voice was so oddly calm that Draco flinched. The two of them had dated long ago, and he had a feeling that she still hadn't forgiven him for being such a dick.
"Astoria! H-how've you been? You look fantastic!"
It wasn't an understatement. Her skin was lightly tanned; sun kissed. The midnight blue dress she wore clung perfectly to her every curve and brought out the light blue flecks in her sea green eyes. Her chocolate curls dripped delicately down her back. Her legs seemed to go on for miles.
She really did look great. He hadn't been lying. But of course, being the hardheaded bitch that she was, she didn't realize this.
"Oh thank you, Draco. I thought girls like me weren't quite your type? I remember your fondness for blondes."
At this, Draco couldn't help but roll his eyes. Now she was just being immature. Granted, it hadn't been the smartest decision to cheat on her with Pansy, but that was ages ago. Besides, just a day after their breakup, he had caught Astoria pressed flush up against Andrew Toulson from Ravenclaw, and the pair seemed to be awfully busy.
"I remember your fondness for blondes as well," he shot back.
She glowered at him. "At least I wasn't with a complete bitch like Parkinson."
"At least I wasn't with some Ravenclaw ponce!"
"At least I was faithful," Astoria said quietly.
"Merlin, Astoria, that was ages ago. And anyway, I said I was sorry. Can't we put that behind us? Can't we just start fresh?"
"No, we most certainly cannot 'start fresh' Draco! You can't just forget about things like that!"
"Why not? Why not? Ugh, you're just as much of a prick as when I last saw you. Save it, Malfoy. I don't want to hear it. Now, if you'll please excuse me, I have my engagement party to attend to."
Had Draco heard her right? Her engagement party? Blaise couldn’t have possibly scored a woman as fantastic as Astoria! And she’d hated him!
But sure enough, when Draco looked back at the enormous banner that he could now clearly see, it read: Congratulations Blaise and Astoria!
Almost immediately after he read the banner, he whipped around to make a snarky comment back to Astoria about enjoying her party, but she was gone. He looked across the marble dance floor to find her wrapped in his friends arms, looking positively carefree.
Draco sneered at the happy couple and walked out the side door that led to a small garden on the side of the ballroom. A feeling that Malfoy men hardly ever had was forming in the pit of his stomach. Even though he had not seen his former best friend for quite some time, Draco was ridiculously jealous of Blaise and his intimate relationship with Astoria. If there was one thing he knew, things were about to get ugly.