I blink my eyes at the overwhelming sunlight streaming through my bedroom window. Undoubtedly my stepmother had drawn them back as a rude awakening. I swing my legs off my bed and onto the unbelievably cold wooden floor. As if the sun wasn’t enough of a wake up call. I think bitterly as I walk across the room to stare at the calendar hanging on the wall.
“September first.” I read allowed, contemplating everything those two words meant. With a smile slowly growing on my face I traveled to the door and went down to the kitchen.
“Sausage or bacon?” Carol chirps as I sit at the small corner table. I don’t reply. My choice is the same every morning; two slice of bacon and one sausage patty with as much scrambled eggs that you can fit on the plate. Carol prepares my order in a robot like manner.
“I’m going on a quick run. Can you meet me at King’s Cross with my trunk?” I ask. It’s nine-thirty. Exactly an hour and a half before I was to be on the train for ‘boarding school.’
“Of course. Why though, do you insist on working out as much as you do? I mean, darling…you’re as thin as a post!” Carol always insisted I worry more about my hair and make-up than how in-shape my body is.
“I know I’m thin Carol. I do it to stay in-shape and to get out of the house for a little bit.” I reply through a mouthful of eggs and bacon. Carol cringes at the sight of my chewed food, but says nothing. I drain a glass of orange juice quickly and leave the room to change into my workout gear. My shorts, sleeveless shirt and tennis shoes were lying out on a chair by my bed. It doesn’t take me long to change and leave the house.
I run, faster than a jog, but not quite as fast as I can go. The breeze whips a few loose strands of hair from my face. It’s cool out. Not cold, but not a day to walk around without a jacket. As the air goes through my nostrils I feel a wave of freedom and power wash over me and smother me with a feeling of complete surrender.
I run past multiple apartments and small businesses. People stare. Not because I am particularly attractive, but because they think me insane for wearing an outfit suitable only for summer weather. Even more so, they stare because you rarely see girls my age willing to chance a drop of sweat on their perfectly painted faces. I guess you could call me a tomboy.
On my left, as I round a corner, I see a large black dog running toward me. I increase my speed. King’s Cross is only a hundred or so yards away. The black dog came closer to my ankles until we were neck-and-neck. I push myself harder, faster towards the cement building. My legs feel like two powerful propellers pushing me towards my destination. I run up the stairs and slap my hand against the wall. Heaving I straighten and look in all directions. I see no sign of the dog.
“Good run today, mate.” I receive a slap on my back that forces the small smile from my face. I thought I won that time for sure. I think as I turn to face the boy standing next to me, breathing as if he had just taken a leisurely stroll through the park.
“I thought for sure I had you that time.” I say as Sirius and I walk towards a bench against the outer wall of the station.
“You’re never going to get me, you know. I’m just too good.” He smirks. I hate that smirk of his. It makes my blood boil. I hit him playfully, though still with some force, in the back of the head. I laugh as he rubs at the spot for a minute before smirking again.
“I’m going to beat you one day. We have all school year.” I lean back against the bench and close my eyes, taking in the sounds of the city. Everything was a peaceful and how they should be. No sound was out of its place.
“Willow!” Carol ruins my meditation. I hear her heels clicking hard against the cement before I open my eyes and confirm what I had heard. She was dressed in all pink and her blonde hair curled and set with much hairspray. She was a walking hole in our ozone layer.
“Hello Mrs. Woods. How are you on this fine day?” Sirius stands to hug Carol and kiss her on the cheek as if he were her son. My stepmother blushes like any other girl at school would.
“Oh, well I’m quite well Sirius. I’m just dropping off Willow’s things before I go pick Sara up from her friend’s house. Well, have a good year at school you two.” Carol waves goodbye and runs off down the steps again. Well, more like a sort of skip. I don’t think she has ever had a good run in her life. Sirius grabbed the handle of my trunk and I followed him into the train station with stares following me once again.
“You still haven’t told her yet, have you?” Sirius eyes me up as we walk through the throngs of people waiting for their train to arrive.
“How do you expect me to tell her? ‘Well, Carol I don’t go to a boarding school. In fact, I don’t go to a normal school at all. I go to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Yes, I’m a witch. I fly on brooms and I have a black cat and I even wear a pointy hat occasionally.’ I don’t think that would go over too well.” I whisper sarcastically. Sirius’ bark-like laugh drew more attention than the word ‘witches’ and ‘wizards.’
“Well, I don’t think that would be the best thing to say, but I guess it’s up to you whether to tell her or not. Hey, do my muscles look any bigger?” Sirius flexed his arm that wasn’t dragging my trunk behind us. I rolled my eyes and walked faster as a couple girls giggled and waved at him.
Platform 9 ¾ was busy as always; students, soon-to-be and old, rushed across the platform to say hi to friends and bye to parents. I had never experienced that and neither had Sirius. His family disowned him last year and my father ran out on me, leaving me alone with Carol. Instead, we made our way over to a couple standing next to a boy with hair as black as mine and Sirius’ and horn-rimmed glasses.
“Sirius! Willow! We thought you had forgotten to say goodbye to us!” Mrs. Potter gasped when she saw us. She wrapped Sirius into a tight squeeze, making him drop my trunk to the floor, and then moved on to do the same to me. Mr. Potter patted Sirius on the back as men do. I stepped up and he wrapped me in a hug and twirled me around, just like my father used to do.
“Course we didn’t forget about you, mum!” Sirius and James embraced in a ‘manly’ hug. I laughed as Mr. Potter set me back on the ground. I had stayed at the Potters’ for a majority of my summers’ since third year. They had become more of my family than Carol and her daughter Sara.
“So, Sirius beat you again, eh?” James teased me as he bent to kiss my cheek. I stuck my tongue out at him and moved closer to Mr. Potter’s side. James and I fought constantly, like brother and sister.
“Now, James…don’t get me started on how Willow almost always scores on you in Quidditch.” Mr. Potter patted his son on the back. I smirk wide at James, who flushed a slight shade of pink.
“Alright children, enough bickering, the train is about to leave and your father has to get to work James.” Mrs. Potter gave us all one last kiss on the cheek and a few parting words before the three of us walked off, dragging our trunks behind us. Sirius, apparently, had arrived early to the platform and left again, I assumed, because he already had stored his trunk in a compartment near the back of the train.
“Sirius, I really can get my own things. I’m not that weak.” I try to take my trunk from him as he tries to lift it into the storage above the seats. I pulled harder at the handle opposite of Sirius and was surprised when the weight of the trunk flew back at me and I landed on the floor with the trunk slamming down on my chest.
“What the bloody hell!” I scream at Sirius from beneath the trunk. I doubt he heard me over his barking laugh. I hear James laughing along with him. Then, the compartment door slides open and Remus’ voice joins in the mix.
“Here Willow. Let me help you.” Good old Remus was always the guy to count on to help you with friend issues, homework troubles and just to talk things out…but he was not one to help you lift a heavy object from your body. The poor boy was weaker than I was.
“Moony, you need to work out with us more instead of reading all the time.” James chimes in. The trunk is lifted from me and I can finally see the room again. James and Sirius swing my trunk up into the storage compartment and then take a wheezing Remus’ trunk and do the same.
“Where’s Peter?” I ask, finding the missing element to our compartment.
“Oh, he met a girl on the platform. I think he walked in with her sometime after I did. So I imagine he’s with her somewhere.” Remus offered me a hand up. I brush off the back of my robs not really listening to what Remus had just said. When the words process in my mind I look up, open-mouthed, at Remus.
“Peter has a girl!” Sirius, James and I shout at the same time. All of us with the same fish-like stare at Remus.
“Well…yes, I suppose.” Remus looked taken aback. How can he not be in utter shock at this? I think as I stare at the expressions on Sirius’ and James’ faces. They match mine.
“Wormtail has a girlfriend! Wormtail has a girlfriend!” James and Sirius begin to chant. I laugh and collapse on the bench. I take in the scene before me, and for the hundredth time today, I realize how good it is to finally be going home.