Chapter 2 : New Friends, New Admirer?
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I imagined that my first night in Romania would be sleepless, but I was sleeping like a rock. I must’ve been more tired than I thought.
I woke up the next day feeling more relaxed than the day before. Today all the freshmen were supposed to go to the auditorium for the assembly later on the rules, the classes, and all that. The mere thought of not having to face dragons yet was enough to relieve me.
I got out of bed carefully so I didn’t wake Lisa. In the course of two days, she was already popular. When we were walking around the campus yesterday, guys had immediately turned around and fixed their eyes on Lisa. Those with guts walked up to her and introduced themselves. Hardly any of them laid eyes on me. But it wasn’t like I cared about those guys. The only guy I cared about was nowhere in sight. Lisa was really sweet, though. She tried to include me in the conversation whenever a guy talked to her.
I hurried to the bathroom, the one Lisa and I shared with the girls in the next room. I met them yesterday. Allison Gray and Dawn Ashford were nice, and we clicked immediately. Both were fascinated by the fact that I’m a Connelly. No surprise there.
I had already done my hair when Lisa woke up. “Morning,” I greeted.
“Morning. What time is it?” she asked, rubbing her eyes.
“Seven thirty,” I informed her. Lisa hopped out of bed and went to take her bath. While she was in the bathroom, someone knocked on the door. I opened it and almost gasped.
“Charlie!” I exclaimed. “Hi! What are you doing here?” My stomach did a flip-flop as he grinned. This time I was composed enough to take a good look at him. Only then did I realize how much he had changed since his Hogwarts day. He was never pale, thanks to Quidditch practices, but now his skin was even darker, making the famous Weasley hair look even brighter. He gained more freckles over the years, and they made him look somewhat younger. It was the same grin I used to admire from afar, and the only thing about his face that hadn’t changed much. His red hair looked slightly damp; I wonder if he had just had a shower. The thought of it set my cheeks aflame, so I hastily shifted my focus. I soon noticed another guy standing beside him. “Uh, hello.”
“Hi, Irene,” he stuck out his hand. “I’m Lisa’s brother, Gavin.”
“Hi.” I shook his hand, surprised. “How did you know my name?” Gavin was really handsome, and he was like a male version of Lisa. The only difference was the green colour of eyes. I had to force myself to look away from them. Those eyes were just so…captivating. Just because I had a crush on Charlie didn’t mean I couldn’t see that Gavin was handsome.
“It’s on the door,” he said, nodding at the name plate as I withdrew from my thoughts.
“Oh yeah, right,” I chuckled, colouring slightly. “Lisa’s in the bathroom. Maybe you want to wait?”
“No, that won’t be necessary.” Gavin replied. “I’ll just talk to her later.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll tell her you came by.” I shifted my gaze to Charlie, who had been quiet. “See you later then.”
I was about to close the door when Charlie called me. “Irene!”
I flung the door open, a little bit too hopeful. “I heard you’re going to the assembly later. If you don’t know where the auditorium is, I’ll be glad to walk you there.”
I could feel my cheeks burning. Charlie Weasley? Offering to walk with me? This is too good to be true! But then I remembered Lisa. I knew I couldn’t just leave her behind. She was more clueless than I was when it came to direction. I sighed. “I’d love to, but I think I should wait for Lisa,” I replied. “Some other time, maybe?” I added hastily.
“Sure,” he said with a shrug.
“Okay, bye,” I gave a small wave and smiled at both of them. After shutting the door properly, I leaned on it, replaying the scene in my mind. Why did he ask? Does he like me? Or was it out of politeness? I knocked my head against the door, my head spinning.
“I can’t believe you turned down a guy for me!” Lisa exclaimed in disbelief as we headed to the auditorium. “On the other side, that’s really sweet of you. So thanks.”
“No problem. Besides, I wasn’t ready to walk with him alone,” I answered. Lisa gave me a funny look, but she didn’t press the matter. For a moment we walked in silent as we passed the garden that stretched between the girls’ dormitory and the auditorium. We were passing the boys’ dormitory when Lisa spoke up again.
“Anyway, what do you think of Gavin?” she asked nonchalantly, but by the way she grinned at me I knew the question had another meaning to it.
“He looks a lot like you,” I replied, choosing a safe answer. She gave me another look. “What? He does look a lot like you.”
“I mean, do you think he’s cute?” Lisa insisted. I rolled my eyes and nodded favourably. “Good,” she said, satisfied. “Because I think he likes you.”
I would’ve bumped into a wall if there had been one in front me. I laughed. “No way, he’s only seen me once and that was this morning.”
“Actually, he first saw you yesterday. Remember when we were in Allison and Dawn’s room and I left for like, fifteen minutes?” I nodded. “I went to give Gavin some of his stuff and he asked about you. He saw us walking together yesterday. He thinks you’re really attractive.”
I gave a sarcastic laugh, but couldn’t help blushing. “You’re making it up,” I said as we entered the auditorium. I stopped talking to Lisa to admire the room. It was almost the same size of the Great Hall of Hogwarts, but there was no long tables stretching in the middle of the room. There were, however, hundreds of seats aligned to face the high table where some adults were already sitting. I recognized the one sitting in the middle, a middle-aged man with a dark hair and rugged look. He was the Dean. I didn’t know his name, but I did know that he was a friend of my father, the reason why I could enter this school on such short notice. Huffing, I shifted my gaze. The room wasn’t what I expected; it looked more modern than medieval, with black chairs, white tiles, and high ceiling. Around me, fellow freshmen were filling up the room, chatting amongst each other.
Lisa led us to the empty seats, and I resumed the conversation. “He couldn’t possibly have told you that he thinks I’m attractive.”
“Well, he didn’t. But he had this smile on his face that he gets every time he thinks about the girl he likes.” Lisa giggled. “If you like him, I’ll play matchmaker for you.”
I slapped her arm playfully. “Seriously, Lisa, no. I don’t even know him. Besides,” I averted my gaze and tried to keep my blushing level low, “you know I like someone else.” Lisa had figured out about my crush on Charlie yesterday, after Dawn mentioned that she saw a “tall and gorgeous redhead” walk me to my room. I had denied it practically a hundred times, but she wouldn’t listen to me, so I gave up and made her swear to secrecy.
“I know, I know. But it doesn’t hurt to give someone else a chance.”
I opened my mouth to argue, but someone had walked up to the podium and everybody fell silent.
An hour and a half later, Lisa, Allison, Dawn, and I sat in the cafeteria, comparing our schedules. We all had Basics to Dragons, Medicinal Potion-Making, Intermediate Herbology I, Intermediate Charms I, and Intermediate Transfiguration I for this year. I had three classes together with Lisa, two classes with Allison, and four with Dawn. I was just grateful we were all together in Basics to Dragons. They had told us this class contains more practice than theory, which worried me a lot. I had an inkling that the class was going to be the toughest for me. But when I voiced the thought, the girls merely laughed.
“Come on, your father is the best dragon keeper in the world! He must’ve taught you some things. Basics to Dragons should be easy for you,” Allison replied. I forced a smile onto my face. I would have loved to answer that Dad hardly ever had time to teach me anything. I was at Hogwarts most of the time, and when I was home, Dad wasn’t. He tried to be with me, especially after Mum died, but his work demanded him to be away from home. I didn’t mind being home alone; it was a much better alternative to tagging along with Dad.
But this thought brought up another one. Because of Dad’s reputation, people expected me to be great. But the truth was I hadn’t even faced a single dragon without fainting. My stomach ached as I imagined fainting in front of my classmates. And it hurt even more when I looked down to my schedule.
Basics to Dragons was the first class tomorrow.
A.N: Thanks to everyone who have read/review the first chapter! I hope you like this one too. Also, huge thanks to Resplendence and Brooke for betaing this chapter. Don’t forget to review!
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