“Oh, honey, I’m really going to miss you,” my mother said, wrapping her arms around me for what had to be the millionth time, as we stood outside the barrier for platform 9 ¾.
My mother had managed to turn a complete 180 ever since going to school had become a reality. So instead of giving me the silent treatment, she had been coddling me like I was a child, making me feel sufficiently guilty for leaving her. I wasn’t sure if this was her way of trying to get me to change my mind about leaving, but either way I had missed her fussing over me, even if it could get to be suffocating.
“I’ll miss you too, mum,” I said, and I meant it. While I wanted this, wanted to breakaway from my mother in this small way, I was nervous. I had always had everything planned out for me, and now I was deviating from the script.
“It’s just… I don’t know what I’m going to do without you,” my mum said, loosening her grip from around my shoulders and taking a step back, giving me a disparaging look.
“You’ll see me when I have press junkets during the weeks,” I offered weakly.
“I know,” my mum said, smoothing down my hair and giving me a sad smile, “It’s just not the same now is it?”
“It’ll be fine, mum.”
“Alright sweetie. I’m sorry I’m probably embarrassing you,” my mum said forcing a small laugh. “It’s just… you’re my baby.”
“I know, mum,” I said, adjusting the oversized lilac cardigan that I was wearing. I had spent a lot of time this past week thinking over what I was going to wear on my first day and I had decided on the cardigan over a thin white long sleeved shirt and a pair of dark-washed skinny jeans tucked into brown riding boots. Casual yet chic, as Dom would say.
“Okay… well I guess I’ll let you go,” my mother said slowly, dropping her arms back to her side, “I’ll see you next weekend for the revealing of your billboard in Diagon Alley, okay sweetie?”
“Okay, mum,” I responded, and then I said because I’d mean it, “I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too,” my mum responded, quickly leaning forward and kissing my forehead “I love you.”
“Love you too,” I told her, swallowing a lump that had formed in my throat. My eyes started to water causing me to blink a couple times before I grabbed my trunk. It was rather large compared to most trunks, and my mum had packed almost everything that was in there, checking and double checking to make sure I didn’t forget anything, but I didn’t mind much. It had made her happy to give herself something tangible to do, so I had let her do it all but willingly.
I turned away from my mum, giving her one last wave over my shoulder, before walking through the barrier to the platform. My mum had been unhappy when she heard that you had to be magical in order to get onto the platform, and I felt saddened as I left her standing there behind me.
When I entered the platform the first thing I noted, besides the loud noises of people bustling around the place, was that I came into contact with something, or rather someone.
“Oh I’m sorry,” I said looking down at the person I bumped into. She looked to be about thirteen, and she had an alarming shade of bright red hair with freckles completely covering her skin. But that wasn’t the thing about her I noticed first. The first thing I noticed was that she was dressed head to toe in pink: pink flip-flops, a pink dress, pink purse, and pink glittery hairclips.
When she looked at me, her brown eyes grew wide and she just stood there her mouth hanging open. I started to panic, wondering if I had hurt her, when a voice broke through my thoughts.
“Lily!” A guy, who looked to be about my age, if not a bit older, exclaimed breaking through the crowd. He had black hair that was a bit on the shaggy side and curled at the ends, and as he got closer, I noticed he had a strong jaw, sharp cheekbones, and startling eyes. They were brown around the iris, but then faded into a light blue, with a circle of dark blue around the outside. I found myself wondering who he was.
“Lily, I’ve been looking for you everywhere!” The guy said, walking up to Lily and grabbing her by her arm.
Lily, who I assumed was the name of the girl I bumped into, didn’t respond to the guy and instead continued to look at me her eyes as wide as saucers. The guy seemed to notice this and turned to face me, his gaze flicking over me disinterestedly before turning back to Lily.
“Is this a friend of yours?” he asked her.
Before I could open my mouth and exclaim that I had just happened to bump into her, the red head let out a loud squeal and started to jump up and down excitedly.
“Oh my god!” she shouted, a huge smile breaking over her face as she looked at me. “I can’t believe it’s you!”
I felt myself immediately get taken aback at her statement, and the guy looked at me seeming to be confused. “Uh…” I started to say but Lily cut me off.
“You’re Natasha Covington!” Lily exclaimed, clapping her hands together. She then opened her pink purse and pulled out a magazine. She held it up and I noticed it was the edition of Witch Weekly with me on the cover, my lips pulled into a pouty expression and my hair billowing around me loose curls. “You’re Miss Teen Witch! Ohmigod! I can’t believe I’m meeting you!”
“Er…” I said, not knowing what to say as Lily continued to squeal excitedly.
“Oh my god, can you sign this please?!” she asked giddily, her eyes sparkling with excitement. “Better yet, can I introduce you to my friends?! Are you attending school with us?! Oh my god, I need to tell everyone that you’re my friend!”
My head started to hurt with all of the questions Lily was shouting at me, and I felt like a deer caught in the headlights, not really knowing what to say. Lily started to scour through her purse, muttering how she needed to find a pen.
“Lily,” the guy said in a warning voice, shooting me what I assumed to be an apologetic look, “calm down.”
“One second!” Lily announced, holding a pointer finger up to what I now assumed was her brother as she continued rifling through her purse. “I know I have a pen in here somewhere! You just have to sign my copy of Witch Weekly!”
“Lily,” the guy said again, grabbing her freckly arm and starting to pull her away. “Mum and dad want to say goodbye to you before the train leaves.”
Lily stopped looking through her purse and instead looked at her brother, narrowing her eyes and letting out a huff. She then crossed her arms over her chest. “I can’t believe this! I’m meeting my idol, and you’re totally embarrassing me.”
“Well what are big brothers for?” the guy said flatly. “Now let’s go.”
They both began to have a staring match. The guy was looking at her sharply, while Lily was pouting back at him. After a long moment, Lily let out a heavy sigh.
“Fine,” Lily snapped, uncrossing her arms. She then turned to me. “I’ll see you after I say bye to my parents, right? What compartment are you going to be in? I’ll find you and we can sit together!”
“Lily, stop grilling her, you’ll bump into her some other time,” The guy said guiding her forward with his arm. Lily walked towards where he pointed, and he turned around about to follow her before turning back to me a bit hesitantly.
“Sorry about that,” he said shrugging his shoulders and running a hand through his hair. “She’s a handful sometimes.”
“Oh,” I said. “It’s fine. She’s cute.”
“Yup,” he said nodding his head and not really paying attention to me, seeming to be back in his own world. There was a long pause where neither of us knew what to say. “Well I’ll see you, I guess.”
“Okay…” I trailed off, watching as he walked away, shoving his hands into his pockets as he did so. I looked back down at the trunk in my hand, and then looked at the scarlet train that was sitting on the tracks. The engine on the train made a loud honking sound, signaling it was about to leave, and I began to push my way through the crowd of people. I heard mutters of “who’s that?” from some of the people I passed, but I took no notice as I reached the door of the train.
I lifted my trunk up the steps, and looked down the long hallway of compartments, wondering which one Dom would be in. There were so many, that I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. We really should’ve made a meeting place.
“Tashy!” I heard a voice—no doubt it was Dom’s— shout as I whipped my head around to see where it was coming from. I saw Dom, waving her hands and gesturing me towards her from a compartment. “In here!”
The other students that were milling around in the hallway instantly stopped their walking and looked around, wondering who Dom was gesturing to. I walked down the hallway, passing people in my wake and making a beeline towards Dom while my trunk bobbed along behind me.
“Ah, I’m so excited!” Dom said once I reached her, wrapping her arms tightly around me and overpowering me with the familiar scent of her perfume—honeysuckles. “I still can’t believe you’re actually going to be at Hogwarts with me.”
“Me either,” I responded, pulling away from the hug and grabbing hold of my trunk again. “I thought my mum would change her mind.”
“I’m glad she didn’t,” Dom said, turning back and entering the compartment, as I followed behind her. I noticed that she wasn’t the only one in the compartment and saw two other girls sitting next to each other, looking at me with varying expressions of interest.
The first girl had thick black hair, cut bluntly just below her chin. She had a very pointed face and high cheekbones complimented by light brown eyes. Her body was very bony and she looked to be very tall, even taller than me. She was wearing a horizontal striped black and white shirt, with black jeans, and black shoes.
The other girl seemed to be average height. She was looking down at a book with a faded cover, that looked as if it had been read and reread about a million times, and her dark red hair was tumbling over her shoulders in large curls. She was wearing faded jeans and an old jumper.
I set my trunk on one of the luggage racks, before looking back at Dom.
“Natasha,” Dom said, gesturing to the two girls, “These are my cousins and best mates, Molly and Rose. Molly and Rose, this is Natasha, my other best mate.”
“Hi,” I stated shyly after a long pause.
Rose, the one with the dark red hair, nodded her head and offered me a weak smile, while Molly rolled off Dom’s introductions with disinterest. This caused Dom to narrow her eyes.
Molly, who could obviously sense Dom was not happy, sighed. “Hello.”
I stood there awkwardly. I wasn’t the best at making friends, seeing as the only time I met new people I competed against them, so I felt myself instantly start to get nervous.
“Wow, Molls,” Dom said, glaring at her. “You are just so welcoming.”
“I said hello,” Molly defended, giving Dom a defiant look back. “What else do you want me to say? Hi, I’m Molly. I love long walks on the beach and the smell of dewdrops against the grass. Dislikes include: people who chew with their mouth open, early birds, and oh yes meeting new people.”
My eyes widened a bit in shock at Molly’s caustic tone. “Don’t mind her,” Rose said to me, flipping to the next page in her book not seeming at all taken aback by Molly’s tone, “She’s cranky because she had to wake up early. This monster needs thirteen hours of sleep to function.”
“Oh,” I responded stupidly.
“I’m Rose, as Dominique said,” Rose stated. When she looked up, I noticed she had a small amount of freckles across the bridge of her nose, and piercing blue eyes. “I enjoy reading and activities that include people being quiet. I dislike cranky bitches who aren’t nice to new people.”
“Oh shut up, prefect,” Molly said, looking at Rose annoyed. “I am not cranky.”
“I’d beg to differ,” Rose shot back.
“You guys,” Dom stated, looking back and forth from the two of them, a displeased expression on her face, “can you please not act like total idiots in front of my friend?”
“Nope,” Molly responded instantly. Rose just shrugged as her response.
“Sorry, Tash,” Dom said looking at me. “Usually they at least try to act like they’re normal. But I guess it’ll be something you’ll get used to eventually since we’re all going to be friends.”
I heard Molly grunt at this, which caused Rose to elbow her in the side.
“It’s fine,” I responded as the train honked its horn a second time. I took this moment to go and sit next to Dom on the opposite side of Molly and Rose. I then felt the train lurch, and looked out the window to see it leaving the station.
“So,” Molly said, leaning towards me, seeming to actually be interested in starting a conversation with me. “You have the smother right?”
“Smother?” I asked confused, as I noticed Dom shooting warning eyes at Molly.
“Yeah, smother,” Molly said, seeming to ignore whatever Dom was trying to convey to her. “You know, a mother who smothers you.”
“Um…” I said trailing off and looking at Dom. How much had she told them about me? “I don’t know…”
“I never said that!” Dom interjected, looking at me apologetically. “I only said she was a bit controlling.”
“Whatevs,” Molly said, shrugging Dom off. “So then your mum’s fine with you being here?”
“Kind of,” I said, feeling myself growing uncomfortable.
“Molly,” Rose stated, just as Molly was about to open her mouth again, “lay off.”
“Fine,” Molly snapped, leaning back into her seat. “I was just trying to make conversation.”
“Molly’s emotionally stunted,” Rose stated, looking at me. “She isn’t good at making friends. That’s why all she has is us.”
“Tashy’s bad at making friends too,” Dom interjected looking from me to Molly excitedly. Like we had something in common that would make us surefire buddies.
“No I’m not,” I defended while Molly and Rose stared at me curiously.
“Um... yeah you are,” Dom said, not seeming to catch on to the fact that I didn’t want to look like a complete loser. “I mean sure, you’re good at getting like… corporate people to like you. But when it comes to regular people, it’s like you don’t know how to talk… kind of like now!”
“Dom, I know how to talk,” I said, looking at Dom annoyed. “Just because some of us aren’t the energizer bunny and ramble on a mile a minute about things that don’t matter, doesn’t make me unsociable.”
“Well hot damn,” Molly said, looking at me with a smirk on her face, “You’re really not that bad.”
“Is it true?!” a guy with curly blonde hair asked, bursting his way into our compartment.
“Is what true?” Molly asked, looking down at her nails with disinterest.
“Is it true you have one of Witch Weekly’s hottest bachelorette’s hiding in your compartment?” another guy asked, who was standing behind the curly haired one. This guy had darker skin and dark brown hair cut close to his head.
“Well, Freddy,” Dominique said, putting her hands on her hips, “seeing as I was on that list for the past five years, yes it’s true.”
“We didn’t mean you,” the blonde one said, sweeping his eyes around the compartment and then resting them upon me. “Merlin, Lily wasn’t lying.”
“Lily?” Dom asked, looking confused.
“Yeah, Lily, our cousin,” the guy- Freddy- said, before turning and looking at me. “She showed us some magazine you were on the cover of and said she met you on the platform. I didn’t believe her… because I mean she’s Lily. She loves to tell outrageous stories. But then I heard a couple of people talking about it in the hallways, and they all said you were in here.”
I looked up at Freddy, with a very bewildered expression, not quite knowing what to say.
“You met Lily?” Dom asked me, looking confused. Suddenly something clicked inside my brain, and I finally remembered that Dom had a cousin named Lily. Which meant the guy I had met on the platform was her cousin too. Small world.
“I think so… she was wearing—”
“Pink,” Molly interrupted, looking disgusted as she said it. “God, I cannot stand her. I still wonder how I’m even remotely related to someone like that.”
“Oh Molls, ever the cloud of doom, eh?” Freddy said walking into the compartment and sitting down next to her, ruffling her hair as he went, to which she shot him a pissed off look.
“And you Frederick are ever the pain in my arse,” Molly shot back.
“So,” the blonde said, walking over to me and sitting himself in between Dom and I, putting an arm around my shoulder, “you single then?”
“Gryffin!” Rose chastised, while I sat completely still in my seat, mentally freaking out.
My experience with boys was very, very limited. In fact the closest experience I have with them is the brothers of the girls I competed against, who either a.) hit on me just because I won to which my mum would quickly pull me away or b.) complained about the fact that their sister was crying in a bathroom stall because I beat them.
“What?” Gryffin asked looking annoyed at her interrupting him.
“You’re scaring her!”
“No, I’m not!” Gryffin shot back, before looking at me. “I’m not scaring you, am I?”
“Uh….” I trailed off, feeling very uncomfortable and not knowing how to answer him.
“Yup, you’re scaring her,” Dominique stated.
“Hmm…” Gryffin said, taking his arm out from around me and scratching his chin confusedly. “I guess I should introduce myself then. I’m Gryffin, Hogwarts resident heartthrob, but people normally just call me Gryffin the Gryffindor.”
“You mean you call yourself that, while the rest of us ignore you?” Molly remarked flatly.
“Hey!” Gryffin exclaimed, looking at Molly with a pissed off expression. “My name is Gryffin and I was sorted into Gryffindor. The one perk I should get is to be addressed as that!”
“Since when is it fair to go by the name you want to go by?” Rose stated, looking at Gryffin in amusement. “I tell you guys all the time to stop calling me Red and do you ever listen?”
“Nope,” Freddy and Gryffin both said at the same time.
“Then you’re not going to be Gryffin the Gryffindor, so give up that dream,” Molly stated.
“Well then can you guys at least call me Fin or Gryffie or something?” Gryffin asked, looking at them all with hope. “I need a nickname like all of you. Gryffin is just so… boring.”
“Fin?” Dom asked, arching an eyebrow. “You seriously want us to call you Fin?”
“Maybe not Fin,” Gryffin said, seeming to rethink his suggestion, “But I do need a nickname. A good one.”
“Gryffin, your name is fine the way it is,” Rose said.
“Easy for you to say, you have Red as a nickname. You’re a whole goddamn color!” Gryffin said looking put out.
“Mate, our nicknames suck,” Fred stated. “I mean they’re so unoriginal: Red, Molls, Dom, Freddy? Be lucky you don’t have one.”
“Hey!” Dom interjected, crossing her arms. “I like my nickname thank you very much.”
“Whatever,” Freddy said, rolling off what Dom said. “It still sucks.”
“I hate my nickname too,” I stated, before I knew what I was doing. All the heads in the compartment snapped over to me, and I wished I had thought over this fact.
“You don’t like Tashy?” Dom asked, looking offended.
“No not your nickname for me,” I said quickly. “My mum. She’s always calling me Nata. She thinks I like it or something… but I hate it.”
“Nata, eh?” Gryffin said sweeping his eyes over me. “I like it!”
“Oh god,” Molly said smacking her forehead. “Now that’s all he’s going to call you. Same thing happened to me when I mentioned hating Molls.”
“Molls suits you,” Gryffin stated matter-of-factly. “It’s just the right amount of bitter, in my opinion. Goes with your personality, wouldn’t you say?”
“Oh shove it, Fin,” Molly shot back.
“Ugh you guys I swear,” Dom said, looking back and forth from Gryffin to Molly, “Why can’t you all just get along?”
“Getting along with him would be like getting along with my sister,” Molly stated. “Impossible.”
“Oh come on, Lucy’s not that bad,” Rose declared.
“She totally is and you know it!” Molly exclaimed. “Yesterday she asked me if she could give me a makeover.”
“And you didn’t take her up on her offer?” Gryffin asked with a smirk.
“Gryffin,” Rose warned while Molly looked like she was about to totally clobber him.
“Are you all in Gryffindor?” I asked, deciding I should stop whatever fight I assumed would escalate between Molly and Gryffin. I noticed Rose send me a thankful look while Molly just leaned back in her seat and silently fumed.
“Yeah,” Freddy answered, nodding his head. “Same year, too. Except for Gryffin and Molls. They’re seventh years. They’re older and more responsible, as you can obviously see.”
“Oh yeah,” I responded sarcastically. “I could totally tell.”
“You speak sarcasm? Dom, I like this girl,” Freddy said pointing at me with approval. I felt a small bit of satisfaction bubble up in the pit of my stomach.
“I told you, you would,” Dom commented. “I’m not friends with just anyone you know.”
“Yeah, normally your just friends with these insanely cool people,” Rose said with a roll of her eyes, as she gestured to Freddy, Molly, and Gryffin. “They’re really the crème de la crème, aren’t they?”
“But seriously,” Freddy said, shrugging off Rose’s insult and looking at me. “You’re Miss Teen Witch, right?”
“Right,” I answered a bit reluctant.
“So you’re like... basically the winner of being the hottest girl ever.”
“Definitely not,” I stated as soon as he said this. “You don’t win based solely on looks. It’s about how you present yourself onstage.”
“Huh,” Freddy said, seeming confused at the concept. “But looks still factor, right?”
“They do some,” I said, feeling uncomfortable again. I hated discussing my looks with strangers, namely boys.
“I’m not surprised you won,” Gryffin interjected, giving me a suggestive look. “You’re definitely the hottest girl I’ve seen.”
“Oi!” Dom interjected, giving him an annoyed look. “And what are we? Hypogriffs?”
“You lot don’t count,” Gryffin said. “You’re basically my family.”
“Family my arse,” Molly muttered. “More like you wish.”
“Oh come on, Molls,” Rose said lightly. “Gryffin’s family.”
“No he’s not.”
“I’m really offended, Molls. I thought deep down, in that small black hole you call a heart, there was a soft spot just for me.”
“You thought wrong.”
“Oh the hurt,” Gryffin exclaimed clutching his chest. “I feel as though I’m dying the pain of a thousand fires.”
Molly muttered something else that sounded like a biting insult, which Gryffin responded to with vigor, and then a full out squabble started between them.
“So you guys,” Dom said, stopping the argument and looking from Freddy to Gryffin, “have any of you seen James?”
As Dom asked this, the entire compartment seemed to grow silently still. I noticed Molly looking at Rose worriedly, which I found a bit odd considering Molly didn’t seem the most caring, but Rose just looked back down at her book.
“No,” Gryffin stated bitterly, his happy-go-lucky expression seeming to fade. “He’s probably at a compartment alone like he always is these days.”
“Gryffin,” Dom said annoyed, “Don’t be like that. You know how hard it’s been for him.”
“It’s been hard for all of us,” Freddy stated, “But it’s been almost a year, you’d think he’d be over it.”
“Nate was his best friend,” Dom argued. I noticed out of the corner of my eyes, that Rose seemed to be gripping her book rather tightly, and I found myself very, very curious.
What exactly were they talking about?
“Can you guys shut up?” Molly asked, glancing at Rose as she said this. Everyone seemed to grow quiet at Molly’s suggestion, and for the first time since I’d gotten on the train, silence seemed to hang over the compartment.
“Well,” Rose said, closing her book and standing up, “I better get going. Prefects meeting and all that.”
“Alright,” Dom said, looking down at her feet a bit guiltily, “We’ll be here when the meeting ends, okay?”
“Okay,” Rose said before walking out of the compartment door, “see ya.”
When the compartment door closed behind her, Freddy let out a breath he seemed to be holding. Everyone in the compartment was avoiding eye contact with each other, and the atmosphere seemed so much different than it had before.
“How is she?” Dom asked with her eyes trained on Molly.
“She’s fine,” Molly snapped back. “You just had to bring it up.”
Dom bit her bottom lip after Molly said this, and looked out the compartment window. The lush, green scenery was flying past, but it looked abnormally still.
And suddenly a feeling came over me. One that was totally compulsive and I would normally ignore, but I felt myself embrace it, if only because of the fact that everything around me was so new. I could do anything I wanted, be anything I wanted, and I decided I’d rescue this situation from the morose tone it had taken.
I opened my mouth, about to speak, not even really thinking over what I was going to say, but then—
I silently cursed myself for not putting my phone on vibrate as I normally did, and everyone looked over to me as I scrambled through my purse. After pushing aside various tubes of lip-gloss and eyeliner, I finally found my glittery pink phone, nestled in one of the pockets. I pulled it out and read the screen, which showed I had one new text message from my mum.
“What’s that?” Gryffin asked, leaning his head forward to inspect my phone.
“What does it look like dumbarse?” Molly interjected.
“Hey, Dom! That’s that telly phonie that you had my dad charm with those spells, right?” Freddy asked eagerly, peering at my phone.
“It’s a cell phone,” Dom said, rolling her eyes.
“That’s what he said,” Gryffin stated.
“No, it’s not,” Molly shot back, looking at Freddy annoyed.
“Yeah it is.”
“No, it’s not.”
While Molly and Gryffin continued to fight back and forth, with Freddy and Dom trying to be the buffer between them, I took this time to open my phone and check my text:
Honey, call me when you get the chance and tell me how your day went, okay? Love you, Mum.
As soon as I read the text, I felt something inside of me sink, and I was brought back down to reality. I had thought- however brief a moment- that being at this new school would give me a blank slate. I could be whoever it was I wanted. But that wasn’t true. I had my mum at an arms reach away, who would always be ready to remind me of who I really was.
So as Molly shot a scathing remark at Gryffin, to which Dom chastised her for, I found myself deleting my mother’s text message. She had taken far too much of my life, for me to give her more now.
“Hey,” Dom said softly, trying to get my attention as we stood outside of the school. “How are you feeling?”
I was studying the outside of Hogwarts, looking at it with a large amount of apprehension. Even though I had already seen the school when I visited Headmistress Chang’s office, I was now taking it in with fresh eyes.
This place was what was going to be my new home. It seemed so foreign to me. I was so used to my own house, with my own room, and now here I was, with a completely different environment that would soon be mine.
I tore my gaze away from the grey stone castle in front of me and looked back at Dom offering her a smile, “I’m good. It’s a lot to take in, you know?”
As I said this, my eyes trailed to the group of people in front of us. Molly was arguing with Gryffin about the fact that they had seemed to fall behind and were stuck with the sixth years, and Freddy was talking to Rose about something that they both seemed to find fascinating. I heard them mention Tolstoy a couples of times, and figured it had to be something intellectual.
“Yeah, I know,” Dom said, nodding her head at me, keeping her eyes trained on the group in front of us. “But you’ll get used to it, to them.”
“Yeah.” I kept my eyes fixed on Molly as she intentionally shoved a sixth year out of her way and started to mutter about seniority.
“I understand they can be a bit much,” Dom started again, “but they really are great once you get to know them. I think it’s just a bit weird because you guys don’t know each other.”
I nodded my head as if I understood. But I’m not sure if I did. I had thought that coming to Hogwarts would be easy. I mean, Dom was already here with all of her friends, ready made for me to slip in with them. I had forgotten, however, that I would actually have to put in some effort. I would have to somehow become friends with these people, without Dom’s help.
And while I was used to being thrown in with people, and charming my way into them liking me, I realized most of it was my mother’s charm. She was always the one doing the talking. I was much quieter when it came down to it, and only Dom knew my friendly side, and that was only because it would be just us. This large group of people kind of alarmed me.
We finally arrived in the entrance hallway, which was packed with students, all being ushered into the Great Hall, to where the feast would be held. I found myself under scrutiny of random girls I didn’t know, so I clung to Dom as she navigated the way through the crowd and into the Great Hall.
“What. The. Fuck,” I heard a pissed off voice, which I immediately assumed to be Molly’s, say as we walked towards the Gryffindor table.
“Molly, calm down,” Rose said putting a hand on Molly’s shoulder, which she immediately shrugged off.
“No she’s right,” Gryffin said, training his eyes at the middle of the Gryffindor table, where a group of girls that looked to be either second or third year students, were sitting. They were all one mass of bright pink, despite the fact that they were in school uniforms, and I found myself blinded just by looking at them. They were all adorned in pink accessories, from hair clips to purses, to jewelry, and I was suddenly brought back to Georgiana Spectre’s office. “What the fuck are second years, doing at our spot?”
Molly nodded her head in agreement, which caused them both to then look at each other in a sort of awkward stare-down, because they had actually agreed on something.
“Maybe they’re just misunderstood?” I suggested.
“Oh now,” Molly said, gritting her teeth, “They most certainly are not.”
As she said this, she marched up to the Gryffindor table, where the girls were now laughing and giggling, and I spotted a mass of red hair, to which I recognized that Lily was one of the girls sitting at the previously mentioned ‘middle table’.
“Oh, no,” Dom said worriedly, as we all followed Molly, albeit I followed a bit out of obligation than anything else.
Molly reached the table before the rest of us did, and once she was in front of the group of girls, she put her hands on her hips. I couldn’t see her face, but even from knowing her for such a short amount of time, I knew she was glaring at them.
“Lucy!” She scolded, looking at one of the girls in pink with a scathing expression. The aforementioned girl, who was wearing a thick pink headband in her light brown hair, along with a bunch of pink bracelets on her wrists, and a pink oxford peeking out of the Hogwart’s lumpy gray sweater, looked up at Molly perkily.
“Yeah, sis?” Lucy asked, and it was then that I noticed her brown eyes were the exact same shade as Molly’s, and that they both had an angular look about them. But, whereas Molly’s sharpness made her look intimidating, Lucy had more roundness around her chin that made her look more approachable. The fact that they were sisters though, I still found very, very confusing. I mean… they were nothing alike.
“What are you and your ‘Pink sodding Ladies’ group doing in our seat,” Molly asked, her expression one of pure malice. When she said ‘our’ she turned around and gestured to the rest of us, who were all standing behind her with various facial expressions.
Freddy was ignoring this exchange and was instead glancing around the room looking bored, Gryffin was crossing his arms and nodding along with Molly, Rose was rolling her eyes, and Dom was biting her bottom lip. I figured if anyone put an expression on me, it would be that I looked completely confused and out of my element. Well… at least that’s how I felt.
“This isn’t you’re seat,” Lucy responded nonchalantly, looking at the pink clad girls that surrounded her who all nodded their head in agreement. “We got here first, fair and square.”
“We always sit here though,” Molly exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air. “The middle table might as well be ours.”
“But, it’s not,” Lucy said, flipping her hair, which I noticed had an extra sheen that came with only proper grooming, I knew from experience seeing as my mother made sure I was always well kept. I also noted, that Lucy’s nails were painted a baby pink. “You’re welcome to sit with us if you want.”
It was then that Lily seemed to notice me, and she immediately interrupted Molly’s retort (which sounded a lot like ‘no way in bloody hell’) and squealed. Oh, god.
“Natasha! You have to sit by me,” Lily exclaimed, pushing a blonde haired girl over and patting the now open space next to her.
Molly turned to me, arching an eyebrow, while Dom looked at me with confusion.
“Er…” I said, trailing off not really knowing how to answer her.
“I was looking for you on the train but I couldn’t find you,” Lily chattered on, seeming completely oblivious. “But guys,” Lily looked at the pink clad girls as she said this, “This is my new friend, Natasha Lee Covington, Miss Teen Witch.”
I heard a couple of the girls in pink gasp, while Lucy looked at me with approval. I however, just stood there, feeling very, very uncomfortable.
“She’s sitting by me,” Dom stated, looking at Lily a bit snippily, although I bet only I could tell. An expression seemed to then come over her. “But,” Dom said, giving Lily a long look, “If you guys moved over just a little and let us have our regular seats, you could sit near Natasha as well.”
“Okay!” Lily replied happily, nodding her head excitedly as she and Lucy directed their pink group to move over to the side, leaving an empty space at the middle table.
Molly immediately sank down onto one of the benches, while Gryffin sat next to her and Rose sat next to Gryffin. I sat across from Rose, with Dom on my right and Freddy next to Dom. Luckily, the seating had made me the farthest away from Lily and Lucy that I could get, which I sent a thankful look to Dom for because I knew it was her doing.
“I’ve never seen them so happily give their seats up to someone before,” Freddy stated, studying me with a curious look.
“Yeah,” Gryffin echoed, looking at me with newfound respect, “you’re like… their god.”
“I’m not,” I stated quickly, looking to my right and catching the group of pink staring at me. “I think they just… like pageants.”
“Well I, for one, cannot understand why they would,” Molly stated brashly, looking a bit disgusted. “Pageants are stupid.”
“Molly,” Rose warned, “you do realize you have two people who have been in pageants, sitting at your table, right?”
“Oh it’s fine,” Dom said shrugging her shoulders. “I totally agree. Pageants are idiotic excuses of time.”
“Well,” Freddy said, looking at me, “We need to be thankful Natasha is here, because we would not have gotten our usual seat without her. I guess since Victoire graduated, they felt no need to respect our seating. But with Natasha here, we won’t have to worry about that.”
Gryffin nodded his head in agreement, while I felt my face heat up. They were acting like I had control.
“Ah, Victoire,” Molly stated with a dazed off expression. “What I wouldn’t give to have the head girl back at this school. She was able to scare all those little bints into their rightful places.”
I thought about Dom’s sister, Victoire, who had probably one of the most powerful presences out of anyone I’d meant. She was very take charge and knew what she wanted, when she wanted, and I remembered admiring her for it. I think that’s how Dom got to be the way she is.
“You make her sound like Voldemort,” Dom said flatly. “And anyways, I don’t know if I could’ve put up with her another year. I mean, I love her and everything, but having to deal with her constantly breaking up and getting back together with Teddy was hell.”
I vaguely remembered Dom always mentioning Victoire and Teddy’s various breakups, which always revolved around someone flirting with someone else, thus causing a huge argument that would end in tears. They’d always break up and then immediately get back together the next day; it was a vicious cycle.
“Don’t remind us,” Gryffin groaned. “Remember last year, when Victoire thought Teddy was flirting to much with Marisol Bell?”
“I think everyone does,” Freddy answered. “She called Marisol a home wrecker in front of the entire Great Hall, and then bat bogey hexed her.”
“Victoire was going through an emotional time,” Dom defended. “She thought she was pregnant, because she used a public restroom, remember?”
“But she wasn’t actually pregnant,” Rose reasoned, “which we told her time and time again. But she continued to act overly hormonal the whole week until she got her little visit from Auntie Flo.”
“Ugh,” Gryffin shuddered, while Freddy covered his ears. “Do not mention that ever again.”
“Well, we’ll never have to worry about another fight between them,” Dom stated, ignoring Freddy. “They had their final break over three months ago, and neither of them have talked to each other since.”
“I, for one, am not surprised,” Molly stated. “Their whole relationship was based around mistrust and arguments.”
“And since when did you become the relationship expert?” Gryffin asked with disbelief. “You think that the only reason old married couples exist is because they’re too tired and lazy to divorce each other.”
“It’s true!” Molly stated. “All relationships turn to crap eventually. Old married couples are just waiting for the other to kick the bucket.”
“That’s awful, Molls,” Rose said. Molly seemed to think over what she said, and decided to act is if she was very interested in the wooden table. “In my opinion, I think Teddy and Victoire belonged together. I mean, if they didn’t work out, what hope do the rest of us have?”
“None,” Molly stated simply. “Which is why I’m never getting married.”
“As if anyone would marry you,” Gryffin stated hiding a laugh. “You’re taller than almost every guy you meet, and you’re personality is an instant turn off.”
“Wow,” Molly said, putting her hand over her heart, “You flatter me.”
I took this time to look away and scan the Great Hall, in which people were still milling into, being the last of the scragglers. I saw the guy I had met on the platform amble into the Great Hall last, and I noticed the casual way in which he walked into the room. A couple of people seemed to whisper and point at him, but for the most part nobody took notice of him. He ended up walking to the end of the Gryffindor table, where nobody else was sitting, and propped his feet up on the bench across from the one he was sitting on, looking as if he didn’t care what the rest of the Great Hall thought.
Molly seemed to follow my gaze, and I noticed her eyes narrow a little at the guy.
“Unbelievable,” Molly muttered. “He’s ignoring us as if we don’t exist. As if we weren’t all mates!”
I noticed the rest of the table snap their attention to the guy, all of them studying him with different expressions.
“Molly,” Rose said, “calm down. James can do what he wants.”
It finally clicked into my head, that the guy who I had met on the platform was James. James who was Dom’s cousin, which was about all I had deduced. I decided it wasn’t my place to pry and ask what they were talking about, so I just stayed silent.
“I know,” Molly said, letting out a huff. “But he’s being stupid.”
“When isn’t he?” Gryffin asked, for comedic effect. This elicited a couple half smiles from the group, but for the most part, everything remained somber.
Before anyone else could say anything, there was a shout of “Attention, attention!” throughout the Great Hall, and everyone looked towards the front of the room, where Headmistress Chang was now standing up and looking at the entire hall with a serious expression. There was a group of what I assumed to be the first years entering the Great Hall following one Professor, and they all seemed to be frightened as they made their way forward. All of the idle conversations stopped instantly.
“Welcome all, to another year or in some cases your first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!” Headmistress Chang said, her eyes gleaming in excitement as she scanned the room. “I’ll keep this speech short, so we can get onto the sorting, and of course the feast. So I’ll just say that I hope we have another excellent school year!”
She sat down in her seat, and a couple of people whooped as she finished speaking, but most just kept their eyes transfixed on the Professor who was now setting up a stool with the hat that I recalled sorting me.
The hat opened its mouth and began to sing, while I kept my eyes on James, studying him. He sat staring straight ahead, his fingers drumming the table top in a staccato rhythm. I don’t know why I kept staring at him, I guess it was just the way he looked so careless… or carefree. And maybe a little of something else that I couldn’t quite figure out.
While my gaze remained trained on James, I noticed him turn his head and suddenly, he was staring right at me. He tilted his head up in just the slightest of nods as he noticed me looking. I found my cheeks heating up at the fact that I was caught staring at him, and I immediately looked away.
God, why did I have to stare at him? Now I looked like a right loony.
“Sortings are so boring,” Molly stated, as she rested her head on the wooden table. A students name was called, and he walked up to the stool, with the hat being placed on his head. “I don’t understand why the whole school has to watch them.”
“I don’t understand why we can’t eat and watch,” Gryffin stated, rubbing his stomach. “I’ve been waiting all day for this feast, and all these first years are making me wait.”
“I like watching the sorting,” Dom chimed, as she avidly watched the student that had just been sorted into Ravenclaw walk to his table.
“Yes well, you also like house elves and Herbology, so you’re weird,” Molly stated.
“Herbology is a lovely class,” Rose said, giving Molly a look.
“Yeah,” Freddy agreed, “The only reason you don’t like it is because that plant bit you that one time.”
“I wasn’t even near it!” Molly defended. “It attacked me!”
“You were poking it with your wand,” Gryffin stated. “You were provoking it.”
Molly and Gryffin continued to argue about whether or not she had provoked the plant, while the rest of us sighed and continued to watch the sorting with disinterest (except for Dom who acted like it was the most riveting thing she’d ever seen). Once the last person had been sorted, they finally stopped arguing, because Headmistress Chang had stood up again.
“Now, that concludes the sorting. I hope all of you are happy in your new houses, as they will be your family for the next seven years,” Headmistress Chang stated, sweeping her gaze around the room. “I also would like to inform you that we have a new student who will be entering her sixth year here, and has been sorted into Gryffindor, and that student I am please to announce is Natasha Lee Covington.”
I felt myself become very uncomfortable at the fact that there were now the eyes of the entire Great Hall on me. I just smiled awkwardly and gave a little wave, hearing Molly muffling laughs while I sunk down farther in my seat.
“I hope that you all welcome her to the school. She will be staying until the end of winter term and after that she is going to tour the world as the face of Miss Teen Witch, so let’s make a good impression on her, alright?” Even more whispers broke out as she said this. Headmistress Chang then looked at me with a welcoming smile before turning away. “Now, let’s tuck in and eat, yeah?”
As she said this, food suddenly appeared on the table, and I found myself shocked that food could appear. Just like that.
“You’re going to tour the world?” Rose asked, looking at me very interested after the speech ended. Everyone else looked at me as I formulated a response.
“Yeah. It’s going to be a year long tour to visit other girls in different countries and do a lot of publicity work and stuff,” I stated, picking up food from the middle of the table and putting it onto my plate.
“Damn,” Freddy said, “I wish I could’ve competed. I’ve always wanted to tour the world.”
“Too bad you’re a boy, dumbshit,” Molly stated, rolling her eyes. “Good luck winning that.”
“Molly,” Rose reprimanded, “you’re being mean.”
“Seriously though, Nata,” Gryffin said, as I cringed at his use of my nickname. He smirked once he noticed this, but then put a serious expression on his face. “You’re so lucky. I mean, that’s some serious street cred. And you get to tour the world? It doesn’t get much better.”
It was weird, how people could look at the same situation and come up with completely different thoughts on it. I was dreading my yearlong tour. I was not looking forward to the fact that I would have to just get up and leave, and go to a bunch of countries, faking smiles and acting like it was everything I wanted.
All I wanted was to go to school and make friends. And here was Gryffin, someone who went to school and had the normal life I longed for, and he was envious of me? It seemed warped and twisted. But, I guess that was the point. Nobody would ever be happy with what they were handed, and maybe that would always be the case. So I should just suck it up and be happy that I’m Miss Teen Witch, because as Georgiana said, I was living every girls’ fantasy.
“You’re right, Gryffin,” I said slowly, a small smile entering my face. “I guess I am lucky.”
“Wow, Fin, someone actually thinks your right!” Molly exclaimed with fake enthusiasm. “You should be so proud.”
The smile on my face was starting to tug at the corners, a reminder that it wasn’t real. That it was all forced, all an act. But I hadn’t had a real smile in so long, that it was almost a comfort.
A/N: Alright my lovely, amazing readers! Here is chapter 6! Natasha arrives at Hogwarts! What do you all think?
There were a bunch of new characters thrown in, so I hope none of you got confused, but I loved them all so much that I had to include them. I hope you loved them too?
Normally I have a ramble of questions but I can't think of any specific ones to ask other than what you felt about the characters, and the chapter. So please review and let me know, because I'm very curious as to what you all think!
I really hope you liked this chapter, it was fun to write :)
Okay well that's about it... Read and review if you'd like, as that would make my day!