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The Stradivarius Effect

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Hermione was tired, it had been another long night of performing. Playing Cello in the London Symphony Orchestra was a dream come true. Years of rigorous practice with her beloved instrument had paid off when she was finally invited to the top tier of Playing performance. Everynight in the Barbican Centre had been sold out for the last month. Many of the city Elite had their own personal booths and some were frequented quite often every night by their patrons occasionally and a partner.

The largest box belonged to Lady Black. A well known aristocrat in the music circle. She attended most evenings, sometimes with a companion but more often on her own. Hermione soon learned only too well what happened when she attended alone.

It was a cold november evening just a few weeks into Hermione’s new adventure. Fresh faced and still new to the theatre she thrived with each performance. She could not shake the feeling of being watched, as she looked up, she saw those onyx eyes that stared down at her so intensely.

“That’s Lady Black.” Luna, one of the Flute players whispered during a brief interval. She clearly hadn't missed the intense staring match between both the women. Hermione blushed, no words could be found as she looked shyly at Luna, The girl smirked in an eloquent way, saying nothing more as she prepared her sheet music ready for the next piece.

 

The night was cold as she stepped out the rear door late in the evening, her Cello case awkwardly balanced as she reached to pull the large door shut towards her. A large black car pulled alongside the narrow pavement she was stood upon. She could tell by its shine the car belonged to someone important. The tinted rear window slowly wound down as a pair of onyx eyes looked out towards her.

 

“Would you like a ride” Blood red lips husked. Hermione didn’t need to be asked twice. The Cello was placed carefully in the boot by the driver, before the door opened inviting her in so confidently.

 

It was so dark inside the car, only by the streak of street lights could she see the smirk on Lady Blacks face as she stared straight into her soul.

 

“Your finger work is truly beautiful” Lady Black commented.

 

“P-Pardon” Hermione stuttered, caught off guard by the statement and starting to feel slightly nervous at what she had put herself in for after getting in the car. For all she knew she was heading for the vipers den. Her thoughts soon stopped as a delicate hand rested on her upper thigh. It was enough to stop the leg shaking with nerves.

 

“The way you play your chords, it is nice to see someone with real talent let them ring so clearly. Some of the horrid lack of clarity some people play in that group is borderline shameful. You will be a star one day.”

 

Hermione was glad it was dark, she blushed at the comment. Although starting to wonder where she was actually heading as the car left the compounds of the city.

“We are not far from my mansion Hermione. I hoped you would perhaps play something personal for me. I shall make it worth your while of course. I always pay handsomely for talent when I see it.”

 

“How did you know my name?”

 

“It was written on your Cello case Darling.”

 

They pulled up a long, straight drive, Hermione could tell just from the straight lines of sycamore trees, the house up ahead would be spectacular. 

“Welcome to Black mansion” 

The car pulled up on the stone driveway. An impressive fountain sat in the centre of the courtyard. The mansion in itself was breathtaking. A footman ran briskly down the steps, opening the door for Hermione. The driver had already assisted Lady Black from her side. Hermione went to take her Cello from the rear of the car, but felt an arm wrap into her own as Lady Black stepped beside her. “Let the footman bring it for you, it’s in good hands I promise.” 

 

She swallowed her nerves as she was led into the entrance, keeping one eye on her prized possession being carried delicately behind them. They headed into a large room. A single chair placed near a large fireplace, a large rug placed in the centre and apart from a large grand piano the room had little else in it. 

 

Another servant appeared with a small wooden chair, placing it on the rug several metres from the chair. Hermione felt a slight sense of loss as her arm was dropped and Lady B1`lack went to place herself on the chair, a glass of wine placed in her hand, like a well played ritual.

 

Hermione removed the cello from the case, placing it against her form as she perched herself upright on the seat provided. She plucked each string, fine tuning the pegs to make sure her sound was correct, before taking the bow and running it across the bridge.

 

“What do you wish for me to play Lady Black?”

 

“Whatever you desire, Darling. I want to see you play with passion”

 

Hermione lifted her bow, pausing for only a moment. She let the bow run across methodically her fingers naturally placing themselves with years of muscle memory as she dived into Bach’s Cello suite No 1. 

 

Lady Black watched silently, her eyes dancing in fascination as she watched the girl play so fluidly. Impressed with her musical choice. She placed the wine glass down on the side table,slowly rising and walking towards the girl. If Hermione had noticed Lady Black approaching, she had not faltered in her playing. The Cello the girl had was a basic model, only really just good enough for the talent she could see unleashing in front of her. She stood behind the chair, placing her right hand on the girls right hip in front of her

 

Hermione almost jumped when she felt the ghostly touch, the fingers were slowly skimming up towards just under her breast, she took a deep breath not missing a note as she continued to play. The bottom of her arm skimming across the laced clad arm that was currently touching her oh so delicately as her bow motioned back and forth. She finished her piece, pulling the bow away slowly. 

“Would you like me to play anything else Lady Black.” Hermione whispered her breath caught in her chest.

 

“Hmm, no I think that was quite adequate. And please call me Bella. It would be more appropriate for you to know when you're screaming it later.”

 

“Wha-” Hermione didn't get a chance to finish. Lady black already caught her lips in a searing kiss. Neither noticed as the Cello Thudded as it hit the floor.

 

It became a ritual. Every night Hermione would play with the orchestra, as she longingly looked up at Lady Black who admired her from above with such intense lust. She would be picked up outside the rear door and taken straight to the mansion. Sometimes she would play. Sometimes she would listen to Lady Black as she played her piano, or sometimes they would skip it all together heading up to the master bedroom to spend hours in constant passion between the bedsheets until exhaustion kicked in. Hermione had several gifts bestowed on her. A Black rose waited one evening in her playing seat. Lavish Shopping trips from stores she had only dreamed of. But nothing compared to the evening Bella pulled the expensive antique Stradivarius Cello from its case. She had never heard an instrument so beautiful. The most prize possession she could ever dream of. 

 

But dreams never last forever. Within a month it was like it ended overnight. Lady Black no longer looked in her Direction, instead she was looking at Lily the new Violinist; her red hair and green eyes made her quite striking. 

 

She refused to shed tears as she walked herself home that night watching the car drive away after the redhead got in. And a week later she vowed to never be hurt by the cruel intentions of the seductive Lady Black as she found Lily crying in tears next to the roadside as the car once again drove away with Cho Chang the newest recruit that week in the orchestra. 

 

It was regular for talent seekers to come hunting regularly to the shows. An eager Minerva McGonagall was eager to sweep Hermione up to teach at one of the top musical colleges in France to cover a 6 month absence of the current tutor. Hermione jumped on the chance a sabbatical sounded just great right now. 

 

Six months passed in no time and she returned to England, a ray of confidence. An innocent friendship of letters and calls between herself and Lily had developed into a loving, blossoming relationship as she settled back into life.

 

She did not return to the theatre. Instead she was recruited to a high stake agent who organised high paid commissions doing either solos or recording work. 

 

Her agent called one evening that an anonymous Client wished to hire her for a private concert in the penthouse suite at the Ritz. She wasn’t keen but the price was very tempting and it would definitely pay the rent and allow a few gifts to spoil Lily with, in the upcoming few weeks.

 

She pulled up at the Ritz looking ever as glitzy as it did in the movies. She hoped she had dressed well enough, very little detail had been given other than a driver had been sent for her. She carried the Cello delicately to the elevator following the porter. He opened the door to the penthouse and left without saying a word. She saw a chair placed by the love seat, a small table next to it held a pitcher of water and glass. She poured water taking a sip of the cool liquid. Nerves were a thing of the past, it was second nature for her to play more intimate settings with a small audience, she unclipped the hard case pulling the Cello out, checking the strings and bow before playing a few notes to warm up her fingers. 

 

Too engrossed she did not notice the figure stepping through the archway. “I see you have taken good care of it Darling.”

 

Hermione's eyes shot up at that familiar voice. Lady Black sod as beautiful as ever Black Curls tightened into a neat bun with a few tendrils placing delicately around her face. A tight fitting velvet black dress with a corset bodice shaping her voluptuous features.

 

Hermione took a deep breat, placing herself on the seat, Cello in place and all ready to play. “What would you like me to play Lady Black.”  Hermione asked, determined to be professional and waited. Lady Black not put off by this, strutted in, taking a seat on the couch, She turned to Hermione, smiling “Play me The Moonlight Sonata” She requested. Hermione was determined to not let it affect her, remembering the last time she played this piece, Lady Black on a rare occasion had played the piano, they had played together and it was so beautiful. She still remembered they finished Lady Black grabbed her and took her unashamedly right there on the piano. Hermione looked up and she knew Lady Black was thinking of the exact same thing, she could tell by the small smile on her face. No doubt she purposely picked this particular piece exactly.

 

It was like deja-vu she noticed her stand up and come towards her, stepping around her like a well rehearsed dance right behind the chair, the same hand on hip brushing against her delicately. She hoped that the months had passed had healed her. But with just a few brushes against the skin old passion and memories were ignited like a flame once more she was the moth drawn to it. 

 

 She finished her piece and turned to Lady Black determined to be professional. “Is there anything else you require me to play.”

 

Lady Black undeterred, ignored the statement, playing with a tendril of Hermione's hair. 

“I’m tired” She stated. “Time to go home”. Her eyes flicked up to Hermione. Who waited in anticipation. “I don’t like sleeping alone” She continued as she ran a finger across Hermione's cheek, the girl shivered as the finger stopped pushing down on her lip. “Why don’t you come with me?” she propositioned.

 

“I can’t” Hermione choked. “My girlfriend is at home, She will be worried”

 

Lady Black was undeterred, she bent down to the shell of her ear, her breath tickled as she whispered. “I am all yours tonight”

 

Hermione jumped, the jingle of her Mobile phone blasted, distracting them both. She pulled it in front of her. It Was Lily, the name and a picture of them hugging and laughing practically glared at them from the screen. Hermione leaned forward answering it.

 

“Hi” she squeaked. She grunted to clear her throat. “Yes, Sorry Baby. I’m alright, Just leave the door unlocked, I forgot to bring my key.

 

Bellatrix grabbed the phone placing it to herself. “She’s not coming back, because she's sleeping with me.” and with that hung up the call. Hermione was shell shocked. She didn't know how to react. Lady Black, not missing a beat, grabbed her and with no hesitation pulled her in for a kiss.

 

Hermione couldn’t even bring herself to pull away, the taste of forbidden fruit was once more too enticing, The bed of Lady Black did not stay empty for long.