If they were going to do this, they needed to do it right. Belladonna's was somewhere they had gone often back in the days when they were a couple. There was usually someone from the Prophet lurking around looking for photo opportunities. Mostly because people went there. It was on the high end of Diagon Alley. Some nights Belladonna's was like the who's who of the wizarding world.
This was an afternoon, though, so Draco did not anticipate any press. The restaurant happened to have been Tori's favorite place when they had dated. She loved their croissants. He was surprised when he walked in that the hostess recalled him and seated him at their old table. Despite the fact that he had been a Death Eater, he had always had a place at Belladonna's. A lost of Death Eaters had. Anyone who was an attention-getter with the press was welcome here.
"Will you be dining alone or-"
"Astoria Greengrass will be joining me."
The hostess had wide eyes at that remark as she set two complimentary water glasses on the table. His and Astoria's official break-up had been the stuff of legend. It had happened very publicly on a very busy Saturday night in this very restaurant.
Astoria hurried into the restaurant and was not surprised to see Draco waiting.
"I've thought about what you said, and I think it really is the best solution. After all, you know how your father can be. Just like mine was."
Draco paused with his glass of water halfway to his mouth. "What are you talking about?"
"Well, I'm not going to say aloud, Draco. Geez. We just talked about it."
"We owled, and we spoke in the infirmary at the Council. None of it was about my father."
This was eerily familiar. She'd probably dreamed they had a conversation and was now trying to finish it. Only she usually did not do things like that unless she was not sleeping. Draco scowled and took in her appearance. She looked well enough. Could be charms though. Astoria had always been very adept at hiding the effects of her 'gift' through beauty charms. He knew the signs, though. Had she forgotten who she was dealing with here?
"When was the last time you slept?"
Astoria opened her mouth to respond but the waiter approached.
"I'll have tea and the lady will have a white wine - whatever's open will suit her."
Astoria made a face. "Tea?"
"I'm working today."
"Shall I take your orders?"
Astoria nodded. Draco nodded back and gestured for her to begin. He would order her drink, but never her meal. She liked to order her meal herself. She always had.
"I'll start with the butternut squash soup then I'll have the pea and leek tart with a hazelnut salad as the side with the pomegranate dressing. And do you have fresh croissants today?"
"As basket of those as well, with some of the house spread."
The waiter nodded. "And for you, sir?"
"The roasted pumpkin soup to start and the braised duck with new potatoes and asparagus for the main."
"Hollandaise on the asparagus, sir?"
"Thank you, no."
The waiter was off. Their drinks and bread were brought shortly after.
"So... when was the last time you slept?" Draco asked.
"Blast. I'd forgotten how persistent you could be."
"Stop evading. You tried to finish a conversation with me that we never had. Is it happening again? Not over that bint you broke it off with surely. Do I need to worry about you? Because you know how I hate seeming concerned about people."
"It's a man."
"Do I need to threaten him?"
Astoria laughed. "As amusing as that would be, I can handle this. I honestly do appreciate the offer, Drake. That was unexpected of you, and you do know how I like unexpected things."
Draco offered her a tight smile. She'd gotten him through a terrible time. He was no longer angry with her about how things had ended. It was nice to sit and chat with her again. She knew his history. He could be himself with Tori. Perhaps they could even be friends. At least she would not judge him for his job.
"Can I at least know who the bloke is?" he asked.
"No," she replied as she popped a bit of bread in her mouth.
That would be all she'd need - Draco storming up to Marcus and threatening him when in Marcus' head there was no reason to.
"I can at least-"
"Draco, you're lovely, and I really had not anticipated this behavior from you. It makes me feel like maybe we can be friends again. Or what was it Pansy called us.... civil enemies. Just drop the idea of your playing protective older brother with the bloke. I said I could handle it, and I will."
"The offer is a standing one," he said honestly.
Astoria smiled. That was they way with a lot of the from Salazar's house. They could not stand one another or anyone else for that matter, but get one of them into trouble and everyone's claws came out. Of course, they'd use the situation to call in favors later and use it to their own advantage.
"Noted and appreciated."