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Chapter 2: How about a change?
Mum and Dad drop me off at Platform Nine and Three Quarters at exactly twenty minutes to eleven on the dot. They envelope me in a small group hug of three which smells strongly of soap and perfume from Mum and nothing from Dad. My dad is scentless today; he must have run out of his Gilderoy Lockhart aftershave. They give me well wishes to eat plenty and don’t get put down by what I see in magazines (‘you’re perfect the way you are, love,’ says Mum) which is completely pointless because I’ll never eat any less than I do already. They should really be telling me to eat less with the way I’m going. I accept both their kisses on my cheeks and walk away to shouts of ‘goodbye’ and ‘we’ll miss you!’
I hop onto the train (not literally; if I did that I’d probably fall headfirst into the welcome mat) and speed walk down to the end of the carriage where I guess Hugo will be waiting. It’s the carriage we usually try to get.
In the carriage I don’t see Hugo (but is that a surprise? At this time?) But I do see our other friend, Isobel Stretton who greets me with a toothy grin which I return. Isobel is like mine and Hugo’s other friend. Her best friend’s a Slytherin so she doesn’t get to see her that much but Hugo and I took her under our wing. Any way, it’s nice to have a girlie friend and a close dorm friend as a break from Hugo’s boyishness.
‘Tia!’ she greets happily. ‘How were your holidays?’
I put my trunk away with some struggle and sit down in the seat opposite Isobel.
‘They were all right, a bit boring really but we went to visit Mum’s family in Wales which was fun,’ I pause, ‘and cold. What about yours?’
Isobel goes on to tell me about how she went to Spain with her Auntie for three weeks and got a wicked tan. She also tells me how good looking boys over there are but I can’t agree with her because I’ve never been to Spain. However Isobel is a good judge of attractiveness so I’ll take her word for it.
Isobel still has her tan which is odd because she’s ginger (she claims to be auburn) and I thought gingers were meant to burn. Maybe Isobel just has ginger hair but not the skin, I think it’s possible. She’s like the opposite of Hugo.
‘Happy late birthday,’ she says.
‘Thanks for the card,’ I reply.
Then Isobel’s cat, Sir Puddington, leaps across the space between our seats and climbs up my arm to rest itself on the top of the seat behind my head. I don’t know whether Sir Puddington is a boy or girl but what I do know is that they have really fluffy fur. There’s soft cat fur and then there’s Sir Puddington. He or she’s a cat like no other.
I hand Isobel a sweet out of the packet of muggle sweets Mum bought me to keep me from worrying about my body image (again, I don’t remember ever mentioning to her that I cared) and scoff down a handful myself. I leave the open back next to me for Isobel to take as he pleases.
Isobel finishes chewing on her sweet and gives me a sly, smirking look and I feel awkward under her gaze because her eyes are very big, very brown, and very round which is slightly creepy especially when she stares at me.
‘What?’ I ask.
‘You know what,’ she says.
I ponder it for a moment and come up with the conclusion that no, no I do not know what. I shake my head at her with confusion clear on my face.
‘Corner…’ she hints.
Oh. That. I mean – him. Me and Lewis Corner had a brief three month relationship which we had ended last night. We ended it on my birthday but it was mutual, I swear. He sent me an owl suggesting that we break up and I sent one back agreeing. That makes it mutual right?
‘We broke up,’ I mumble quietly.
Obviously I didn’t mumble it quietly enough because Isobel lets out a gasp.
‘What, he dumped you?’
‘It was mutual,’ I say defensively.
Isobel raises an eyebrow at me – how does she do that? – and shakes her head sympathetically. It makes me feel like I’m six again and I’ve just knocked over Mums plant pot while trying to play a game of giants with my niffler. That’s the same shake of the head Dad had given me.
‘Break ups are never really mutual, Tia,’ she tells me.
‘Well this one was,’ I say.
‘You know I don’t believe that,’ Isobel scoffs.
‘I know,’ I inform her, ‘but it really was mutual.’
Isobel sighs. ‘You two were so perfect together. It was like something out of a love story,’ she rambles. ‘The practically unknown girl –’ this earns a protesting ‘hey!’ from me which Isobel ignores ‘– who’s been in love with the boy for, like, ever and then he finally notices her they become the golden couple of the school. No one else could rival.’
Lewis and I were not the so called golden couple of the school; in fact not many people cared to know about our relationship – if you could even call it that.
Hugo flings himself down on the seat next to me, panting and red in the face. Something tells me he almost missed the train again. You’d think with a Mum as punctual as his that Hugo would be at least five minutes early at the very latest to catch the train but apparently he can delay anyone, even Hermione Weasley.
‘Hey Hugo,’ I greet him and Isobel does the same if a bit begrudgingly.
Isobel and Hugo are honestly complete opposites (except for their weird Quidditch obsession) which stop them from getting along. Actually, scrap that, they bloody hate each other. They can’t stand each other and only put up with each other to and from Hogwarts.
‘How was your summer, Tea?’ Hugo asks.
‘Well you say me yesterday… but other than that it was pretty naff,’ I say.
‘Guess who got Ravenclaw Quidditch captain?’ Hugo sings.
I gasp with both shock and delight. ‘Hugo! That’s fanta –’
‘No,’ Hugo cuts me off, ‘not me, it’s your little boy friend Corner or whatever his name is.’
At this, Isobel interjects. ‘For goodness sake Hugo, Tia and Lewis broke up be a bit more sensitive towards her feelings!’
‘Oh why don’t you just shut up, Stretton.’ Hugo grinds his teeth and I can see his ears turning red. ‘Corner was a prick anyway, you don’t need him Tea.’
I smile at Hugo at the same time Isobel huffs at him. Hugo may be the most insensitive boy I’ve ever had the displeasure to come across but just those little things he says can make me feel instantly better about things.
‘So how’s Eleanor?’ I ask Hugo, trying to diffuse the tense atmosphere.
I’m still curious about Eleanor What’s-her-name because really, think about it, she’s a Sixth year Gryffindor interested in a Fifth year Ravenclaw and something about that is just off with me. But that’s just because I don’t understand it. If I was her, I’d be too busy lusting after the Seventh years to even care to think about the stupid little Fifth years.
‘Dunno,’ says Hugo, ‘haven’t owled her since yesterday morning. Do you think she’s bored of me?’
‘Well you’re not exactly the most exciting person I’ve ever met,’ says Isobel using some of her Slytherin snark she’s obviously learned from her friend and that she reserves especially for Hugo.
‘Nah, I don’t think she’s bored of you. Maybe she was just busy preparing for school or something, or just busy but I doubt she could be bored of you,’ I comfort Hugo after shooting Isobel a warning look.
The next hour passes by fairly quickly with Isobel leaving to go find her friend and Hugo falling asleep across my lap. I think he might be drooling although even though it’s disgusting, I won’t wake him because I just feel bad doing it. And Hugo’s a right moody git when he’s woken up so I won’t even try it if I want him to stay in a good mood right up until we reach Hogwarts and hopefully after would be good.
I take out my small coin purse with the silver clasp. I’ve had it since I was a toddler and it’s one I got when we went to the seaside. As a child, I had an obsession with bags and purses and it’s not completely gone actually.
Due to complete and sheer boredom, I count up my coin – put them back in the purse – take them out – count them again – put them back in the purse – repeat the process until I’m positively sure that I have two galleons, 19 sickles and 12 knuts. Not a lot but it should be enough for some pumpkin pasties and maybe a chocolate frog or two off the trolley lady’s sweet trolley.
My favourite part of the train ride is the sweet trolley, I’ll admit because really, what else is there to be excited about on a 6 hour train ride?
The trolley lady arrives soon enough and just the mere mention of sweets wakes Hugo up and he darts to the door where she stands, I trail behind him. As always, the trolley lady – who I don’t know the name of – wears a huge smile on her wrinkly little face. She’s so sweet.
I buy four pumpkin pasties and some chocolate frogs (what? I need to stock up in case I get hungry tonight) and Hugo buys…well, Hugo buys a lot more. Until I met Hugo, I thought I ate that much but that boy’s stomach is like some sort of endless black hole. Mine’s just a deep hole, there is a limit to how much I can eat.
‘Thank you dear’s, you’re always my best customers.’ The trolley lady grins at us, exposing a missing front tooth which I take care not to stare at because with the amount of sugar I eat, it’ll be shocking if I have any teeth left by the time I’m 21.
Just as we settle down to eat and Hugo is just getting out his Snakes and Ladders game – which I always lose at – we receive yet another interruption. One can’t expect a peaceful train ride up to Hogwarts these days.
The door opens to reveal a tall, pretty girl. She’s slim and I can’t help but envy her, I mean who wouldn’t? She’s got long dark – almost black – hair and green eyes. To put it simply, she’s like a bloody female reincarnation of Harry Potter or an evil hag’s cat. I’ll go for the hag’s cat theory.
‘Oh, Eleanor,’ says Hugo through a mouthful of liquorice wand and hurries to swallow it, struggling immensely. ‘Hi.’
‘Um, hey,’ she replies uneasily. ‘Can I speak to you?’
‘Yep, okay, fire away.’
‘Alone.’ Eleanor looks a bit annoyed now.
‘Righty-o,’ says Hugo as he stands up. ‘I’ll be right back, Tea.’
They leave the compartment together and I don’t even want to think about what they’ll be speaking about. That’s all they will be doing right? Just talking because Hugo knows how to treat a girl better than that (from past experience, he probably doesn’t but for the sake of my innocent mind).
Here I am, overreacting about them kissing am I really that protective over Hugo? The answer to that is yes, yes I am – I don’t care if he’s older than me, he’s my best friend and I have rights to be protective. He was like this when I was with Corner; I’m only returning the favour.
So here I sit, all alone in the compartment up to Hogwarts. I feel like my life really has hit an all-time low. Not that I was much of a socialite to begin with, mind you. I talk to people I don’t know on the occasion but usually I just stick to Hugo, Isobel and occasionally Hugo’s cousin Lily and Lewis Corner (but I think that might change) and of course I exchange ‘hello’s and the like with the girls in my dorm but I’m not like a whizzing social bee.
I think that this year I should make an effort to change that. It’s not definite because it would involve actual social interaction outside the little box I’ve confined myself in but I think I can do it. Maybe, possibly, perhaps.
A/N: Annnnd here's chapter two! Thank you to anyone to who reviewed the last chapter, I really really appreciate it and yeah, thank you :) So what did you think of Isobel? Tia? Hugo? Eleanor? The chapter in general? Please tell me your thoughts :-)