Chapter 1 : Ice Skating and Belly Dancing
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Her other brother bent down and whispered something in her ear. The girl’s resounding giggle echoed through the busy platform. All three turned at once in response to their father calling them. The girl’s dad had dark messy hair and a pair of pebble spectacles perched on his nose. Behind him followed a large group of people. A mix of ages. They welcomed each other with a knowing greeting, some shared a joke so the groups laughter attracted the stares of the others on the platform.
The target of their attention was the little girl. The girl in pigtails who had already changed into her school robes. She was the last of them to go to Hogwarts. The girl, and her red-haired cousin. He was also amongst the family. In his robes, of course. The female family members were pushing the two of them together and pulling out cameras. The man in glasses was speaking to his sons and kept glancing at his daughter. The boys nodded in response.
I sighed and leant against the stone pillar. Part of me wanting to scan through the crowd and watch all the other families. Part of me wanted to watch the wizard levitating the trunks onto the train with avid attention. Part of me wanted to listen intently to the groups of friends meeting each other after the summer holidays. They were my age. They could have been my friends.
I shook the thought away and my gaze moved back to the large family as it had been doing repeatedly. Another group had joined them now, most with blonde hair. They were welcomed with hugs and more laughter. It wasn’t fair!
“Molly!” One of the men from the group had separated and was facing me. His arm was raised, beckoning me over.
“What?” I shouted back. There was no way in Slytherin’s Cave that I was going to join them voluntarily. Couldn’t he see that I was busy observing… the levitating trunks? Okay, pointless argument.
I looked to the nearby group of Hogwarts kids my age in desperation. The red haired man walked over to me, his glasses bouncing with each step he took. “What are you going?” he asked sharply. “Would you stop making a scene?”
I looked around. There was only one set of eyes on us; an old woman who I was pretty sure was either blind or crazy due to her talking to a wall. Oh. No, make that two pairs – a cat just looked. “Didn’t I tell you about my new hobby? Yeah, I specialise in entertaining the elderly… and their cats. What can I say? I’ve found my calling.” I replied simply, looking him directly in the eyes.
His lip twitched and his eyes widened slightly as he tried to figure out if I was being sarcastic. Idiot. After a moment he decided that it was a joke. “Ha. Ha. Ha.” He said drily, “hilarious. Now, would you stop playing up and come over – everyone wants to see you.”
Somehow I doubted that. Behind the red-haired man, the family was pushing all those who were about to board the train into a group photo. All the kids together. Sweet. “I don’t know what you’re talking about Dad. I was being serious. To start I was thinking of a little belly-dancing – it’s a favourite with the elderly apparently.
Then we could move onto a pampering session – I hear there’s a new treatment; ‘Kitty Kolour’. It’s all the range. And then-”
“What? You’ll finish with your hilarious clown act? Grow up Molly! Now come on! The family is waiting!” Crap. Think. The group of school kids just welcomed another member.
“Trapeze actually and… I was going to go say hello to my… friends.”
“Your… friends?” he asked sceptically.
“Yeah. My friends. I was just going to say hi to them when you interrupted me.”
“Right.” He raised one eyebrow whilst observing me. “Well?”
Right. I’ve missed something. Or dad’s about to go join the crazy woman who’s talking to the – oh no - she’s stoking it now. Well, if I get a choice in the matter, I would much prefer him joining the crazy lady. I could do with some entertainment.
Dad sighed. “Your friends Molly. I thought you were going to go say hi?”
Damn. Someone really has it in for me up there. Personally, I vote my gran. Mum always said that ‘she didn’t understand what she was doing’. Pshh. Rubbish. I saw her lining up those peas throughout the meal. She didn’t ‘just throw randomly’. She aimed. And scored. Bitch.
Dad’s lip twitched and I could tell he was about to drag me over to the group. I don’t know why I did it – maybe Gran’s spirit got bored and decided to channel through me for a moment. “Right.” I heard myself say. “I’ll just go say hi to them then.”
My feet seemed to act of their own accord and I found myself nearing the group of students. What are you doing? Stop! Molly, stop! Just turn around. Stop walki-”
“Hello.” My voice croaked. They stopped talking mid-conversation.
Brilliant. Now what genius? Don’t you dar-”
“So how are you?” Dear Gran. I hate you.
The group looked at each other uncertainly. One of the guys coughed, it sounded suspiciously like someone covering a snort. A girl with waist length brown hair just looked at me as if I was a different species. Rude.
No one spoke. Slightly awkward. Make an excuse and leave. Now Molly. Leave.
“Are you a Weasley?” I jolted and instead looked at a girl with a raven ‘pixie’ haircut. Her head was tilted to one side. “They’re pointing at you. And you have red hair.” She elaborated at my stunned expression. Oh.
“A Weasley?” The girl with long hair asked nasally.
I nodded. “I-I just thought I’d say hi.” Really Gran? Why do you hate me so much?
“I thought we’d met all the Weasley’s. Besides – you don’t go to Hogwarts. So wh-” Her voice trailed off and I winced slightly. Damn. Nasal-bitch’s eyes widened and she seemed to grin slightly maliciously. It was only then that I noticed the green rim around her trunk. Oh brilliant Molly. You absolute idiot.
“Unless you’re Molly Weasley?” She continued. The guy snorted, not even bothering to cover it this time. Pixie bit her lip in what suspiciously looked like pity. Time to go.
“Well this was… nice.” I croaked, seriously? When did my throat decide to mimic a frog exactly? Once again Gran, looking at you.
I turned and walked away from the group, not fast enough apparently as I still heard them all burst into laughter. Yey.
It was just my luck that this encounter hadn’t gone unnoticed to those nearby who were now deliberately avoiding my eyes. To add to my amazing experience, I now noticed that the Weasley group were all watching me intently. Fan-flipping-tastic .
“Hello.” I nodded politely.
They smiled back, just a little forced in my opinion. Okay, I didn’t exactly make it easy. But they were my family – aren’t they supposed to love me unconditionally and all that?
“Why were you talking to Zara Jones?” James asked bluntly. Cheers Jamie. Way to make it awkward.
“I was just talking to my… friends.” I replied.
“You’re friends with Zara Jones?” questioned James, again.
I looked round the group for a topic shift but instead found Dommie and Rose trying to hide their grins. Auntie Hermione looked at me sympathetically and Uncle Ron just stared. Cheers Family. I love you too.
“How’d you meet?” James asked. Seriously? Isn’t there a mute button on this boy?
“We…er… met… ice skating.” Ice-skating? Really? You don’t even know how to ice-skate!
“You went ice skating with Zara Jones? I thought Zara was scared of the skates?” I hate my life. Really? Out of all the Hogwarts students, I manage to pick the one girl whose scared of skates… to go ice skating. Brilliant.
“Yeah. We… um… met as a skating rehabitation centre.” A skating rehabitation centre?
“I didn’t know that you were scared of skating, Molly.” A dreamy voice interrupted. Luna Bloody Scamander. “It’s not surprising since the Doolie invasion.”
I nodded. It’s saying something when your only ally is Luna Scamander. “Yeah, well I’m not anymore. Due to the rehabitation centre – I’m thinking of doing it professionally now.” Since when? Dear brain, why don’t you try thinking before you speak? Just a bloody suggestion.
“Really?” Auntie Hermione questioned. “That sounds really interesting. Why don’t we all go when your cousins get back from Hogwarts at Christmas? You can show us your skills then.”
“Yeah – that sounds good.” Dear Gran, I was your granddaughter – doesn’t that count for anything? Brilliant. New aim: Learn to skate. Fan-bloody-tastic.
Auntie Ginny, overhearing this conversation, decided that now was the time to change the conversation. “So Molly, are you excited?”
I looked at her blankly. “You’re finally getting to go to school! I know you’ve wanted to go to Hogwarts for years, and now you get a chance. It sounds very exciting.”
Thank you Auntie Ginny. For making this more awkward then it was already. For pointing out that I wasn’t the same as everyone else. Cheers.
“Hmhm.” Damn. I’d almost managed to make myself forget. “But it’s not exactly Hogwarts, is it?” I rolled my eyes.
Ginny bit her lip and looked at the others for help. Bloody James decided to step in. “Yeah. But it’s as close as someone like you is going to ge-”
“James!” Ginny said sharply.
Well this just got even more awkward. Even more awkward then that time Gran jumped out of her chair to pull down my trousers on the way back from the swimming pool. Yep, including when everyone saw that I had forgotten to bring spare underwear.
Because today, I, Molly Elisabeth Weasley will be going to school for the first time. At 16 years old I was about to go to the Ministry of Magic’s new idea. Swanley’s School for Squibs.
I hate my life.
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