“Miss Nicholson? Miss Nicholson, I would appreciate if you didn’t sleep in my classroom at this time.”
My eyes flew open and laughter pressed against me. I shot a weak smile towards Professor Mink, the Muggle Studies professor, whose eyes twinkled at me.
“It’s alright, Miss Nicholson. Now, as a reward for you sleeping in my class--” here everyone else chuckled or snickered at me, “why don’t you tell me what this is?”
Professor Mink held up a cylindrical, shiny object that I identified at once. “That,” I said slowly, enunciating every letter so that everyone in the class could hear, “is a can of Sprite. It’s a Muggle soda.”
“Correct,” Professor Mink smiled. “Five points to Hufflepuff. And as a reward for knowing the answer to my question so quickly after distracting yourself in class, I’ll give you the soda for you to enjoy.”
Whispers of disbelief ran across the room as the professor handed me the can. I stared at it in wonder. I couldn’t believe someone was actually handing me a gift. A real, heart-warming gift.
Was there a catch?
Apparently not. Professor Mink was still smiling at me, encouraging me. “Open it.”
My breath caught as I pulled back the soda can ring, and a popping noise emitted in the silent room. I lifted the can to my lips, taking a cautious sip.
It was perfect: the right balance of flavor and bubbles, giving an elated feel as it ran down my throat. I put the can to my mouth for another taste, but it was ripped away from me by a forceful hand.
Some soda spilled on my lap, and I gasped in disbelief. Who was taking my gift from me? Was the professor taking it back?
No, that was impossible. I slowly turned around in my seat to face a mocking James Potter. “Want your soda back, Nicholson? Come and get it!”
I froze in terror as James Potter stood up, taunting me. Professor Mink, who was calmly examining the situation, lifted her wand. “Accio soda!”
The class’s attention turned to her, and she stared at Potter with a disapproving look. “Detention tonight, Mr. Potter. My office.”
She looked at me with concerned eyes. “Alice,” Professor Mink said softly to me, “I’ll keep the soda for you, and you can pick it up after class.”
I jerk awake from my memory and back to the present. As I realize that today is the first day of classes, I jump off my bed and prepare for breakfast. It is 5:30 in the morning, but the time is absolutely necessary.
I’m sure everyone knows the maxim that says something along the lines of, “Hufflepuffs are nice, caring people.”
It couldn’t be more wrong!
If Hufflepuffs are nice, caring people, then I don’t need to wake up at 5:30 every morning. I don’t need to sit by myself at breakfast. I don’t have to creep into the dorm after everyone else is asleep.
If Hufflepuffs are nice, caring people, they always rally against James Potter in my defense, since I am a fellow house member. But no, they are all wimps. They are all scared of his power over the school.
I gather my books and trek out of the dorm quietly to the Great Hall in my storm of defiant thoughts. As usual, I am the only one around in the corridors. Well, at least that’s what it seems to be.
I hear a clanking noise around the bend, and I freeze, inching back along the wall. I see the person’s shadow from the torches, and the figure emerging is just a little first year. Apparently he already knows his way around, as he’s carrying a pack of Muggle sodas from the kitchens.
As he approaches I notice they’re cans of Sprite. I walk past him as nonchalantly as possible, trying to not let it show that I was afraid of him at one point. But then I discover what the clanking noise was.
A lone, empty soda can lay on the floor, a few feet away from the wall. I assume the boy drank what was inside, tossed it, and didn’t pay it any mind. Fury grows within me as I compare the small action to my personal situation. I gently pick up the can, cradling it, and head for a stop to the kitchens before going to the Great Hall.
“Miss Alice! How can Ellie serve you this day?” squeaks out my favorite house-elf.
“Can you put this can in the recycling, please?” I ask her. “I found it lying on the ground in the corridor.”
“Why, of course, Miss Alice! You are so caring about the environment,” Ellie babbles as she takes the can from me, “and Ellie has never met someone as devoted as you.”
I smile fondly at her retreating back, not noticing the other presence in the kitchen watching me curiously until I heard, “Mr. Alby Potter, would you like anything else?”
I freeze once more. Alby? As in Albus Potter? I think I am almost dying of embarrassment. I have been so caught up in the idea of that first year littering that I haven’t even noticed Albus’s presence.
I slowly turn to face him, and he chuckles at the incredulous look on my face. “Hello, Miss Alice.”
“Hi...” I trail off a bit before I gather my wits again, smirking, “Mr. Alby Potter.”
“Fair enough,” Albus replies, grinning. “I’m not sure we’ve properly met before.”
I uncertainly take a step back from him. I do not need another Potter/Weasley making fun of what they know about me.
“Look,” I spread out my hands, my heart thumping with regret at what I was going to do. “I’d love to be able to meet you properly, but I’m sure you already know quite a bit about me from your wonderful brother, James. I don’t need to be hurt anymore.”
A pounding in my head ensues. I cannot believe I just rejected Albus Potter’s hand of friendship. Hell, I think I’m in love with him! Why am I doing this?
A sarcastic tone creeps into my mind. Oh, wait. Maybe it’s because I know it’ll never work out.
Albus frowns, but his eyes are still smiling. “What does this have to do with James?”
“You seriously don’t know?” I start to laugh, to get a bit hysterical. My heart is sinking. Albus knows absolutely nothing about me. “Where have you been all these years, Potter? Under a rock?”
Albus stands up, a ghost of a smile on his face, but now concern is showing full force in his emerald eyes. “Hey, calm down. I’m pretty sure I haven't been under a rock.”
He thinks this is funny? He thinks this is a joke? I can’t, I cannot calm down. My hands ball into fists as I acknowledge the fact that after all these years of pining for this boy, this clueless boy, he doesn’t even know who I am. I have been humiliated countless times in front of the public, and he is still unable to recognize who I am. Even "the girl that James tortures" would suffice.
Ellie returns to my side. She chirps out, “Is there anything else Miss Alice would like?”
I let out a whoosh of air as I turn to my little friend, giving her a small, forced smile. “Nothing else, Ellie. I’ll be going.”
“Hey! Wait!” Albus runs to me as I reach the portrait door, his long arm snagging my shoulder. I struggle, but his grip is relentless. “Come on, I don’t even know your name.”
“My name?” I wonder out loud, a bit like a lunatic. He doesn’t even know my name. I think of the soda can lying on the floor in the corridor one more time. “My name is Sprite.”
I wrench out of his grasp and run for it.
A/N: So, what do you think of this chapter? Alice pushed Albus away :(( Aw..
I had some issues with past and present tense in this chapter...so any help with that would be great! Comments and constructive criticism are, of course, appreciated!