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I took a closer look this summer, and I discovered that my life was way more messed up than I could imagine. I was sixteen, with problems up to my ears ranging from being too fat to fit in my jeans to how the bloody hell I was going to come up with the money to pay for all those books.
There were two solutions that I saw: 1. Get a job. 2. Go on a diet. I picked one. It wouldn’t have been too bad, if it weren’t for the fact that scooping ice cream all day was a pain in the neck without a wand.
I really hated pretty much everyone who came into the shop. For example, this morning, my last day of summer, mind you, the only customers I had were Marlene McKinnon and her boyfriend, Sirius Black and then some other guy I’d never seen before. Forgetting I think Sirius is hot, so that makes me bound to hate his girlfriends, Marlene McKinnon was a bitch. Straight, simple and to the point. We shared a dorm.
Of course, since Marlene was too skinny for ice cream, she had one scoop of lemon sorbet. Call me a fat-arse, but sorbet isn’t even in the same league as ice cream.
“Can I help you?” I asked the next people in line after Sirius, frowning at his one scoop of chocolate, and Marlene.
“Yes,” said the man in front of me, simply staring at the flavors. “I’ll have lemon sorbet.”
I almost rolled my eyes. Almost. What is it with people and their stupid sorbets? None-the-less, I scooped up the frozen lemonade and handed him the cone. He paid for his pathetic excuse for a dessert and left the shop.
The rest of the afternoon passed by with a few drifters here and there, and before I knew it, it was time to close up shop. I called my boss on my way out the door, giving my thanks and telling him to remember to lock up.
I walked out into Diagon Alley, which wasn’t too busy, mostly because term started tomorrow and everyone had already bought their supplies. There wasn’t any need for me to remain there any longer, so I began to walk to the Leaky Cauldron, where I stayed this summer to keep up with my job. That and get away from a house full of men who don’t know anything about hygiene.
My mum died when I was eight, so it’s just been my dad and my two older brothers, Devon and Raffie. We lived just outside London, in a house that was old and not very well kept. Devon was two years older than me and Raffie was one. Merlin only knows how old my dad was.
Devon had just graduated from Hogwarts and was trying to study to become an auror. To tell the truth, I didn’t think he was quick enough to be one, but he was certainly determined. Raffie was entering his last year at school and had been complaining about how it wasn’t fair he had to go back and Devon didn’t.
Devon was in Ravenclaw while he was at school and Raffie was in Hufflepuff. I was in Gryffindor, just like my mum. It was really my goal in life to make her proud, even though she wasn’t exactly around anymore.
I finally made it into the Leaky Cauldron, where I said goodnight to Tom, the bartender and went up to my room, exhausted, but still having to pack up my trunk.
That was the problem with being responsible for myself that summer. I had to make sure I got up on time, went to work, held my tongue, didn’t use magic, but most importantly didn’t forget the train.
I was late for the Hogwarts Express the very first time I came to Hogwarts. Barely made it on in time, and I had to sit in a compartment with my brother Raffie, who was none too happy about that. He got over it, but only after Devon told him he was being a toss-pot.
I smiled at those memories. I really did like school. I wasn’t an expert on anything really, or exceptionally gifted, I just felt at home in that castle.
I also loved my friends. I adored Alice Collins, who I considered my best friend, and got on pretty well with Lily Evans, who I swear is the most beautiful girl on the planet without knowing it. Although, after five years of James Potter telling her that, she really ought to have known by now.
I wish I had a guy chasing after me like that. I’ve never had a boyfriend, you see. It wasn’t that I didn’t want one, it was just that no guy had ever given me a second look. It was always just ‘she’s okay looking, I guess,’ or ‘maybe if she wasn’t so chunky.’ I wasn’t that fat. I only had a little meat around the edges, really. But I suppose I can’t really sort myself into any category.
I was pretty average looking. I had carrot-colored hair that was always just a little too long for my face, but I was too stubborn to cut it, and green-grey eyes that were sensitive to daylight first thing in the morning.
I wasn’t a morning person: that was for sure. The sunlight that was coming in from the curtains hurt my eyes, and the worst part was I couldn’t do anything about it. Granted, I had been up for an hour moping about; getting dressed, finishing the packing and all that, but still, there was never a reason to be up before noon in my opinion.
I finally finished stuffing my trunk and sat on it to close it before turning to look at my reflection in the dusty mirror. I had actually bothered to do my makeup and hair today because it was the first day of term, but I looked relatively plain. I was wearing a little too much eye shadow in a dark color, and my hair was in a low bun, with my freshly-cut bangs hanging out. I chose to wear jeans and a jumper, just to keep things simple.
And to hide the fact that I'd gained just a tad bit a weight working at an ice cream shop.
But never mind that.
My alarm clock started ringing, stating that it was ten-thirty and I needed to get my arse down to King’s Cross. I took my wand from the counter and shoved it in my pocket before grabbing my bag and trunk and briskly walking out the door. I really hoped I had everything.
I thundered down the steps of the Leaky Cauldron until I reached the bottom, and waving good-bye to Tom, bolted out the door, afraid I’d be late. I was going to have to take a muggle cab to the train station, so thankfully I had sent my owl, Christopher, along ahead of me. I can’t tell you how many weird looks I’ve gotten from people regarding that bloody bird.
I walked down to the corner of the street, knowing that getting a cab in the alley would be impossible and sat down my trunk. I couldn’t wait to get back to school. I was excited to see my friends, and thrilled that I had been named commentator for this year’s Quidditch season for the third time in a row. I loved Quidditch. I didn’t play; I had an irrational fear of heights, but I loved watching.
I was finally able to hail a taxi and climbed in. “Kings Cross station, please,” I told the driver, who mumbled something and drove off after I had paid the fare. I always pay ahead of time because I tend to forget.
The ride to the station seemed unusually short, and when I staggered out into the sunlight, I knew why. The tosspot had dropped me off at the other side. Cursing under my breath, I grabbed up my trunk and began to walk very briskly to platforms 9 and 10.
“Thanks, buddy,” I mumbled as the taxi drove away, putting up my middle finger to the arses of the world.
After much walking, I made it to Platform 9 ¾ just in time. 10:55 was really cutting it close. There were only a few stragglers left getting on the train, including my brother Raffie. I waved at him and he sort of gave a twitch in my direction. Sometimes that boy really is thick.
Anyway, now my main objective was to get on the train in time, so I did just that, dropping off my luggage in the luggage train, and stepping on the Hogwarts Express, dying to see my friends.
I had barely stepped on the platform when I heard yelling.
“JAMES BLOODY POTTER! I WILL MURDER YOU IN YOUR SLEEP IF YOU SO MUCH AS BREATHE AT ME THIS YEAR! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”
Well, at least I knew that Lily had made the train.
“I DON’T CARE! GO BACK TO WHATEVER HOLE YOU CRAWLED OUT OF! AND TAKE YOUR STUPID EGO WITH YOU!”
I did my best not to smile as I started towards the voice. I came upon a head full of fiery red hair, and another of short and spiky black hair. “Alice! Lily!” I exclaimed and the two figures turned around.
“Elsa!” Alice all but screamed, throwing her arms around me. “God! How was your summer! Where were you? We were supposed to meet on the platform, remember?”
“Sorry, there was this giant mutated duck that came out nowhere and started mauling me. You know how it goes.”
Lily frowned, but I knew that she couldn’t resist my odd explanations as she hugged me.
“So, I see you’ve found James,” I said casually. Lily cleared her throat awkwardly.
“Can the whole train hear me, then?” she asked, seemingly afraid of the answer.
I shrugged. “Yeah.”
She groaned and tugged on my arm into the compartment. Mary McDonald was already sitting in there. I didn’t really know Mary that well, but she seemed nice enough and was good enough friends with Lily. Alice and I tended to hang out with the boys while Lily and Mary dated them. Marlene, who was our other dorm-mate just snogged them and then crawled back to Sirius Black.
Speaking of the devil, there he was, leaning causally at the door of our compartment with that stupid cute smile on his face.
“I’m sorry, did I miss the memo about it being ‘stare creepily at lovely girls while trying to be charming’ day?” I said to Sirius, who just continued to smile.
“I don’t know about the lovely part…”
Alice, who was sitting in the seat next to the door, stomped on Sirius’ foot.
“Ow! I was only joking! And I’m here to ask if you’ve seen Marlene,” Sirius explained, standing up straight.
“No, why would we. You don’t remember that she hates our guts. Mine especially? Besides why do you want to find her?” I asked Sirius, who surprisingly had no retort.
“Hey, Elsa, you should really try and be nice to Marlene this year. Who knows, maybe she’s changed,” Lily encouraged, a sweet smile plastered on her perfect face.
Alice and I exchanged looks before bursting into laughter. To my surprise, so did Sirius.
“Are you insane?” Alice managed to choke out, “She’s hated us since before we met!”
I looked at Alice with a serious face. “Hey. Maybe Lily’s right.”
Lily brightened up at the prospect of me agreeing with her.
“Maybe she finally had that stick that’s shoved up her ass removed.”
Alice and I roared with laughter again as Lily shot us dirty looks and Mary placed a dainty hand over her mouth to stifle the giggles. Sirius, who had been laughing, suddenly had a –forgive the pun- serious expression on his face as Marlene McKinnon came into the compartment, her horse-like face frowning and glaring.
“Aha ha ha…Oh, shit.”