The break after our two hour transfiguration lesson flies by and we all check our timetables. Muggle studies for half of us. And do you know why? Because apparently, according to most people I’ve asked, ‘it’s an easy O.’
“My bum hurts,” James pipes up suddenly, as Freddie, James and I walk to class.
“Thanks for that,” Freddie winces and James sticks out his tongue.
I look at him sceptically. “How can your bum hurt? You’ve been sitting on it all day.”
“Which is precisely why it hurts.”
“Oh. But how?” I ask, still rather confused.
“Dunno,” he shrugs. “I guess I just have a really, really soft bum.”
“A soft bum?” I repeat dubiously, ignoring Fred.
James grins. “Yeah. Wanna feel?”
My mouth drops open and I feel myself reddening. Because was that really necessary? Making the new girl uncomfortable on her first day of classes? “I-you... mnnff... you- you are such a boy!”
“I’m glad you noticed,” James replies, back to his innocent look which, I can now tell you, is very, very deceiving.
“I’m ashamed to call you my cousin.”
“Coming from the guy with the skittles pick-up line?”
“Hey! That was a long time ago!”
“The skittles pick-up line?” I say. “Is that the ‘I have skittles in my mouth – wanna taste the rainbow’ one?”
“Yeah,” Freddie smirks as we pause outside the classroom. “Works a charm.”
We stand in front of the empty classroom and I peer in, confused. A short, heavy man leaps up, excited, and runs to shake my hand. “Ah, my first student. I’m Professor Cobby!” He exclaims. “Greetings, my girl. Or what is up, as you youngsters say.” Professor Cobby chuckles.
What is up?
“Er... are we the only students in the class?” Fred asks, craning my head around him to look at the empty room.
“No, I should think not. They probably got lost.” He rubs the back of his neck, looking embarrassed. “After all, muggles are wack! I’m sure they’ll be here soon.”
James raises his eyebrow. “Wack? Wack? What’s wack?”
“Sit, sit!” Cobby orders, indicating with his hands to the chairs. James and Fred sit at a table at the back of the classroom and I, after glaring at them for abandoning me, sit at the desk in front of them with my arms crossed grumpily.
“Mollie looks pissed,” Freddie muses, just loud enough for me to hear.
“It’s because we abandoned her.”
I turn around and glare at them. “Actually, I’m not immature enough to get annoyed about that.”
I turn back around, but not before sticking my tongue out at James, proving that I am indeed ‘immature enough.’
“Sorry we’re late, sir,” a teeth-grindingly annoying voice trills from the door. I turn to see the devil reincarnated pouting at Cobby. Megan shoots a look at the two girls by her side. “They had some trouble in the toilets.”
“Sit, sit, kids, we were just getting started on television,” Mr Cobby ushers them into their seats before resuming his babbling about TV. The stool next to me scrapes against the floor and I look up, shocked. Becca has taken the seat next to me, her blonde hair swishing me in the face.
“I’m onto you, Mollie,” she spits my name out. “I know you’re trying to split James and Megan up.” I roll my eyes and ignore her.
“And then you press a button and the channel changes!” Cobby squeals, demonstrating by jabbing his finger on a remote, making the TV screen flicker and die. “Oh. Oh, dear.”
Becca looked up briefly, to snigger at the old man, and then turns to me, her lipsticked mouth pursed. “As if he would even consider you as a girlfriend,” she tuts. “You look like you woke up in a bush!”
“Becca, I’m trying to listen,” I growl, my eyes not moving from the professor frantically pressing buttons on the remote. “Can I ignore you some other time?”
I had to smirk at that. I mean, it was bloody brilliant. Actually, the coolness of it rather loses its touch seeing as I stole it from my mother when she was cooking and I was pestering her about moving. No one must ever know that.
“No, you can’t,” Becca says, matter-of-factly. “Because you’re a sad little tramp with no life.”
“Oh, go play in the traffic,” I snap, and put my hand up to attract Cobby’s attention.
“Yes, Ms Pert?”
“Press the big red button at the top of the remote to turn it back on, sir.”
He obeys me, holding his finger tightly down on the standby button and the TV blares into life, showing a rerun of ‘Hollyoaks.’
“Right, kids!” Cobby exclaims, clapping his hands delightedly. “Have a go on these TV’s!”
I scrape my stool back and walk over to where Freddie and James seem to be arguing about how to work the TV. “Uh... guys?”
“-No way! I don’t want to see that!”
“You’ll learn something. It’s factual!”
“What are you talking about?” I interrupt.
“He,” James glowers, pointing at Freddie, “wants to watch The Elephant Diaries.”
“Elephants are fascinating.”
“They’re elephants! How ‘fascinating’ could they get?”
“I think I should choose something. I am the new girl after all,” I grab the changer off of Freddie who looks down at his hand, surprised, while I flick through the channels, finally settling on a cartoon of The Lion King. Which, by the way, never fails to make me cry. And I suppose that wasn’t the best idea in a class half full of people I hardly know. But, as the bell goes, signalling for the beginning of lunch, I have to practically drag a weeping James from the room when his feet are planted firmly on the ground, staring at an adult Simba.
“You’re heartless!” He cries to me as I pull him through the doorway, trying to find the Great Hall. “Did you see his cute little face when his daddy died! How could you not cry?!”
Well, I totally would have except I was too busy sniggering at a cartoon making James Potter, quidditch captain/practically famous, cry.
“Because, Potter, it turns out that I am more man than you,” I announce proudly as Freddie sniggers.
“Yeah, mate, man up.”
“Fred, don’t act like you didn’t blub, too,” I interject, as James utters an ‘I am too a man!’
“Did, too,” James agrees.
We enter the Great Hall and settle ourselves down by the others who are grumbling about how much they hate divination/athrimancy/astrology. I begin to pile tuna sandwiches onto my plate.
“How was Muggle studies, then?” Hally asks.
“It was great. Watched the Lion King. James cried.”
“So did Fred!”
You know, those adorable sandwiches which have the crusts removed and are sliced into tiny triangles.
Yes, I am still talking about sandwiches.
“Did bloody too!”
“Oh God, both of you shut it,” Dom growls, shooting a dirty look at both the bickering boys.
A shrieking behind us distracts me for a moment and I drop my, it’s got to be said, amazing sandwich. Katie runs towards the table and throws her arms around Fred’s neck. “Weasley!” Katie exclaims fondly, her face buried in her neck as he chuckles. “Long time no see!”
“Weasley?” I ask. “You’re related to them?” I indicate James and Dom.
Hally grins at me. “Woah, you’re a bit slow.”
“Being a Weasley makes you practically related to half the school.” Freddie explains.
“My mum is related to Freddie’s dad, George, and Dom’s dad, Bill-o.” James adds.
“They breed like rabbits,” Hally quips in cheerfully as Dom lobs a bread roll at her head. It was a terribly bent throw and ended up somewhere near the Ravenclaws table. Hally sticks her tongue out.
“That was meant to miss!” protests Dom.
“Sureee,” Hally snickers.
“I once threw a yoghurt in someones face.” Everyone ignores me. Well, who wouldn’t? I was talking crap! I don’t know why I bother sometimes, if I’m just going to be ignored. “So, I set fire to your face,” I test them, my tone carelessly bored. They all continue eating, albeit Katie who looks at me weirdly for a moment.
“Did you know that you four,” James says, pointing at me, Hally, Dom and Katie in turn. “All have different hair colour?” We look at each other, startled. Hell, Dom even puts down her sandwich.
“Wow,” Dom breathes in awe.
I blink at him. “Amazing.”
“Well, yeah, but so do you guys,” Katie points out wisely.
“You’re right!” James exclaims, getting even more excited. I swear if someone gives him a lollipop he’d probably wet himself from all this ‘excitement.’ “We should start a gang.”
“But I’m the only red-head!” Dom whines, shoving a fistful of grapes into her mouth.
“We can get Hugo to join us,” Freddie says, pointing a thumb to a group of first years laughing uproariously at something Hugo Weasley said.
“I’m not having a first year cramping my style,” James retorts, his face contorted in a grimace.
“What style?” Geoff scoffs, earning one of the sandwiches chucked at him. What a bloody waste, I think. I’m sure Dom agrees with me on that, considering the disgusted look she threw at Geoff.
We finish our lunch, chatting good-naturedly and when the bell rings Geoff groans.
“Ow, man, double potions.”
“Score.” James mutters sarcastically.
I get up to leave, but not before spying Dom sneaking handfuls of food into the pockets of her jacket, looking totally innocent.
The hall is bumbling, the students busily scoffing down their food. I notice James, Freddie and Geoff all talking in hushed tones, their heads crowded together. I eye them suspiciously but Dom takes in the sight of the food hungrily and squeezes in beside Freddie. They fall silent as I approach and resume eating and I sit myself beside James. All three of them are unusually quiet, every so often flashing smug looks at each other.
“What are you up-,” The rest of my sentence is swallowed by a loud rumble from the ceiling.
I look up, warily, before being drenched in a downpour of rain. There’s a second of silence as all the students take in what’s happening. Then I yelp and other students follow my lead, some leaping up and running around the hall, others hiding under tables and chairs. Dom continues to eat, unconcerned that she’s getting soaked, but desperately trying to cover her shepherd’s pie with a hand.
I glare at the three grinning boys, ready to scream bloody murder, when James wraps his strong arms around me. The smell of wet concrete wafts through the air making me wrinkle my nose in disgust. “How are you dry!?” I hiss to him.
“I’m not gonna let my own prank get me wet now, am I?” I feel him smile against my shoulder. “You’re getting me all wet, Mollie.”
“S’your fault. Stupid prank,” I mumble, burying my face in his neck making him giggle. The raindrops patter quietens but students are still screaming. James takes his arms back.
“Silence!” Bellows the headteacher. “Sit down and carry on eating. Quietly. Now I don’t know who did this but-,”
James gasped. “He knows!”
“Ooh, the sneaky prat,” Freddie says astonished.
“Am I missing something here?” I demand, confused.
James response was to pat my head, pushing my curls down. I growl.
“Going to bite me, Pert?” James smirks then looks thoughtful. “You know, Pert’s really fun to say.”
“I know, right!” I gabble in a fake enthusiastic voice, before leaving the table halfway through my dinner and making my way to dryer ground.
The common room, basically.