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Eerste hoofdstuk, enjoy <3

Two more days until I would be back at Hogwarts.

I was sipping on the one glass of red wine I was allowed, my back resting against the wall of our ballroom. The room was lightly dimmed, classic music playing loud enough for people to dance, but silent enough for our guests to still be able to converse with each other without having to raise their voices.

As a little girl I used to love these type of parties. Getting dressed up in pretty dresses, playing with my friends, having all types of sweet treats and most importantly: being able to stay up past my bedtime.

But behind the beautiful dresses, all the dancing and rich assortment of sweets and alcohol, it was really just a really fancy Death Eater gathering.

I always knew my father was a piece of shit, but I hadn't know how evil he really was until my fourth year at Hogwarts when the Dark Lord made a return.

My father had always been abusive towards my mother, but it was the summer before my fifth year that he also started hitting me.

"He's under a lot of stress, my darling girl," my mother would tell me while pressing down a cloth filled with ice against my red cheek. She would try to comfort me, singing softly and holding me in her shaking arms.

As I look at her now, in her black ball gown, her ears and neck covered in the most expensive jewellery, a big smile on her made-up face, there were no signs of a woman being in an abusive relationship. Nobody would suspect a thing, she was truly amazing at covering up how broken our little family really was. However, if you'd remove those beautiful black satin gloves she wore you would see the dark bruises that covered both her arms. If you'd pay close attention, you would notice how she would flinch ever so slightly every time my father put his arm around her waist because of her bruised ribs.

"Zara, don't you look beautiful," I hear a familiar voice say. I look away from my mother to meet the eyes of one of my friends, Blaise. I look him up and down slowly, admiring how handsome he looks in a black suit. "You're looking mighty fine yourself," I say causing him to smile brightly.

"I brought you a little something," he then says holding up a small bottle filled with a golden coloured liquid. I feel the corners of my lips raise up, taking the small bottle from his hands. "Fire whisky?" He nods. I hand him my wine glass and take the cork out of the bottle of alcohol eagerly. Blaise watches my parents and gives me a small nod, my cue to drink. I turn around, drinking the entire bottle in one go. I can feel the alcohol burn in my throat, causing me to contort my face. Blaise hands me back my wine glass as I give him the empty bottle that he quickly puts away in the inside pocket of his suit jacket.

"Thank you for that, I really needed it," I let him know. He turned around, resting his back against the wall next to me. "I know. I heard about Draco and you." I snorted before I take a sip from my red wine to take away the taste the fire whisky left behind. "Yes, Draco. That was a lovely surprise," I say. "At least you're engaged to someone you actually like, I'm probably going to end up with Millicent," he groaned.

I couldn't help but laugh at his comment, even though it really wasn't a laughing matter. When I found out at my sixteenth birthday dinner that I was now engaged to my best friend really wasn't the sweet sixteen gift I was expecting. I hadn't been able to see Draco all summer. So I was rather excited to finally see him on my birthday. He had looked tired, worn out.

When our marriage was mentioned Draco had looked guilty, which only made me assume he had already known.

Blaise had a point. At least I would spend the rest of my life with someone I loved and who cared for me. I knew Draco would treat me right, he would never hurt me like my father did my mother.

Arranged marriages were still very common between pure blooded families. I would lie if I said the whole announcement was a complete surprise. I always kind of knew I wouldn't be able to marry someone of my own choosing, but I never expected me to be engaged at sixteen, nor with my best friend. I always thought Draco would end up with either Pansy or Daphne, and that I would be shipped of to some wizard from Durmstrang Institute.

I notice my father looking at Blaise and me. I quickly straighten my back, no longer resting against the wall and quickly drink the last bit of my wine as I see him making his way towards us. "Take a deep breath Zara," Blaise whispers, noticing the worrying expression on my face. "Mister Zabini, Zara." Even though my father addressed the both of us, his dark brown eyes were fixated on my identical ones. The only physical feature I had inherited from him. "Mister Mikhailov," Blaise replies, bowing his head slightly. "Father," I whisper while bowing my head like Blaise had, breaking our eye contact. "I am sure you have heard of the betrothal of my lovely daughter, have you not mister Zabini?"

I look at Blaise who is clenching his jaw. "Of course I have sir, I just came over to congratulate Zara on the happy news," Blaise answered. "Yes, very happy news indeed. If you don't mind, I would now like to steal my beautiful daughter away for a dance." It wasn't really a question, but Blaise politely nodded his head anyway. My father held out his hand to me. I once again handed Blaise my wine glass, gulped and took my fathers hand. As he guided me to the dance floor I glanced back at Blaise who was starring at me with an apologetic look on his face.

"I thought I had told you to behave tonight," is the first thing my father tells me when we start dancing. "I didn't know that having a conversation with my classmate counted as not behaving well," I say, instantly regretting it. He put pressure on my hand that was in his, causing me to flinch. "You didn't think that hiding at the back of the room with another male the evening we announced your betrothal to another one would be deemed inappropriate?" His voice appeared calm, but underneath I could feel his anger. "We are just class mates father, Blaise is Draco's best friend." He applied more pressure on my hand. His grip was hurting me and I found it harder to keep my smile up the harder he gripped me. "Do not test me tonight Zara," he snapped.

He spins me around and pulls me closer when our eyes meet again. He leans forward, his mouth next to me right ear. "When this song is finished I want you to excuse yourself and go to your room. I think you already had enough fun this evening," he hisses. He pulls back, spins me around again and smiles. I feel my lips trembling, but I still try and keep my smile up. The rest of the dance we both remain quiet, which was a blessing. One more word from my father and I wouldn't know if I'd be able to keep up this facade.

As the song is ending my eyes notice the white blonde hair of my best friend between the crowd. My father notices my stare and sighs deeply, clearly irritated that Draco had shown up right before he got to send me away. "A quick greeting, that's all," he tells me, letting me go the moment a new song starts. "Yes father," I reply obedient before bowing my head and walking away.

I make my way through the crowd, trying my very best to walk in a slow manner. Even though I wanted nothing more than to run in the arms of my best friend, I knew this wasn't the type of behaviour suited for a gathering like this. The entire walk towards him, his grey eyes never left mine. The grey eyes who brought me a great feeling of comfort and safety.

"Where have you been all night?" Is the first thing I ask him, confused as to why it took him so long to be here. Usually the Malfoy's were the first ones here. "I'll explain it later, but right now I need you to give me your hand so I can kiss it. Everyone is watching," he whispers. I quickly offered him my right hand, which Draco gently holds. He bows down to press a soft kiss on the back of my hand. Instead of letting go of my hand, he takes my other one as well and gives me a little squeeze. I flinch. My hand still hurting from my father's tight grip. Draco's brows furrow, he had noticed. He knew better than to ask me about it here, surrounded by our parents friends and decided not to make a comment about it, for which I am grateful.

"I'm afraid we'll have to wait until we are back at school. Father instructed me to spend the rest of the evening in my room," I whisper. "I'm looking forward to it. I missed you Z," he says, his voice trembling. I feel how my eyes started to water. I didn't know all the details, but I did know that the Dark Lord had decided that the Malfoy manor would be a great place to spend his summer holiday. I can't even begin to imagine the horrors that Draco must've been through. I hadn't been allowed to see him, or write to him, apart from my birthday dinner where our engagement was announced. But even at the dinner there wasn't a moment we were left alone together. "I missed you too Draco."

I couldn't wait to be back at Hogwarts.

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