I woke up, unwillingly leaving my dream of kissing Jude Peterson. He was a Ravenclaw in my year that I had had a crush on since I was in third year. I was never sure if I liked him because the way that his honey blonde hair was gelled up at the front or the way that his sparkling blue eyes would dance across a room when he was bored. I watched him frequently in the lessons us Hufflepuffs shared with the Ravenclaws. I was verging on becoming a stalker, I know.
Yet I couldn’t help myself when I watched him. Despite the fact that I had never spoken to him properly, I was sure that I was in love. He was popular and the one thing that made me so smitten was his smile.
Who cares if he is a complete douche bag; he looked perfect. Actually, I was pretty sure that he was a douche bag. I didn’t care though. Love works in mysterious ways.
Anyway, I stumbled out of bed, bumping into one of the bed’s four posters. My guitar was still tucked safely under my bed. I had reached a habit of checking every morning because usually, it would be vandalised whilst I slept.
It didn’t take long for me to assemble my school uniform together. I pushed my tie right up to my neck with Hufflepuff pride and even though I might not be friendly enough to be in the house, I didn't want to be one of those people who looked like a walking dustbin. Yellow had never really suited me yet to be honest, I wouldn't fit in with any other house. I wasn’t ambitious, brave or clever.
By the time I had made my way down to breakfast, I had calculated that it would be one of those days where I’d be rushing around everywhere.
The Hufflepuff table was filled with excitable first years. I took a seat far away from most people, not wanting to go through the ‘are you new here’set of questions that normally followed me around every September.
When the post came flying in, I didn’t expect to receive a letter from anyone. That was why it was a surprise to me that the family owl came landing in front of me, its brown feathers ruffled up and big, brown eyes staring back at me. It read:
Annie, I’m just sending this letter to say good luck with your last year at school! You’re so grown up now! I know you’ll do well and your father and I expect great results from you this year! You didn’t forget anything this year – a first – so I can’t send anything on,but want you to know that we’re both so proud of you! Remember to tell all of your friends hello from me. With love, Mum xoxo
I quickly shoved letter into my pocket, hoping that no nosy Hufflepuffs would ever hace the chance to read it. The thing was, I had sort of told my parents that I had loads of friends. I had told them that I was popular and that school was brilliant. They didn’t know that Charlie bullied me or that I spent all the time, every day on my guitar. They thought I just took it into school for the sake of it, or to 'look cool'. They thought my grades are top of the class, even though I dip below average.
See, I was too ashamed to tell them the truth.
The other teeny lie that I’d told them was that Jude was my boyfriend. When they supposedly asked him over for summer, I pretended that we’d broken up. Merlin, I was so much of a mess that I was creating a boyfriend for myself in my own little fictional world.
After I had bolted a slice of toast down, I raced over to Herbology. I didn’t know why I decided to take that lesson. It was just a safety hazard for me, hence there being plants that bite. Yet when I had looked over my options, all the other subjects looked even more dismal and disastrous.
Professor Longbottom was nice, though. He seemed to understand why I always had no partner and why everyone asked who ‘Annie’ was when he asked me a question or called my name out in the register. Most teachers just lectured me that I was too arrogant and that I couldn’t work alone. They didn’t get it.
I lined up for the joint lesson with the Gryffindors, cowering towards the back since Charlie was at the front, talking loudly to James Potter, Fred Weasley, and Dakota. I just prayed that she didn’t turn around and notice me. If she did, well, I’d receive my first bruise of the academic year.
Thankfully, she only noticed when Professor Longbottom came out and let us in to the greenhouses. The air was humid, with a small dusting of soil carpeting the floor, and desks lined against the walls. I sighed with annoyance when I looked around the greenhouse, realising that today would be one of those theory days as I noticed no plants anywhere at that moment in time.
Thankful that we were not burdened with a seating plan, I sat towards the back, alone as usual. Charlie was already glaring at me maliciously, whilst everyone else hadn’t noticed that my seat wasn’t empty. Even when Professor Longbottom called my name in the register, people looked around to see who Annie Rowe was. As soon as their eyes locked on mine, everyone seemed to have forgotten.
Since it was the start of the year, we were welcomed by the long, familiar, tedious speech, involving the importance of N.E.W.T’s, and studying this year. See, if I did have friends, the chance would be that I never would pass any exams. Because the only things I do in my spare time is play guitar and explore the school like an excited first year. I normally had plenty of time to get my homework done.
Other than my favourite pastimes, I had become accustomed to being called a recluse, insane, or non-existent. When I went to the library to study that was when Charlie normally came and teased me. I had known not to shout out or call for help or she’d beat me even more. I didn’t know why she targeted me anyway. If she bragged about it, no one would know who I was. They’d probably think that she’d been making it up. Yet, Charlie was Charlie and I, well I was just the girl who no one recognised.
Anyway, I started to scribble down notes as Longbottom went on about some plant. See, that was the extent of my Herbology knowledge.
Charlie was sitting next to Dakota. Despite being in different houses, they were best friends. They both wore their hair in high ponytails and had the same hair accessories. Their uniforms were worn the same, apart from the slight colour changes. In my eyes, they appeared to be twins. Dakota was probably nicer than Charlie though.
The pair of them and a few other gaggling girls had last year decided the popularities of everyone in the school. They were known as the ‘elites’, sitting on par with James Potter, Fred Weasley, and people like them (which I was certain that Jude fell under that category). Then there were the ‘Semi-Populars, who were most of the Potters and Weasleys, along with most of my dorm mates. Below them was a group rather boringly labelled as ‘the Normal Ones’. The majority of people in Hogwarts were in this category.
However, that was followed by ‘The Nerds’. People who fell into that category were along the likes of the people who lived in the library and sat at the front of every lesson. There was only one more category, and one name that fit into it. Annie Rowe was labelled as an ‘untouchable’. So bad that I should be avoided at all costs and made to know of my horrifically low status.
Charlie wasn’t writing notes that lesson. Instead, her gaze was directed at me, beady eyes pinpointed on where I sat. Her expression didn’t look friendly or kind. If looks could really kill, she would be trying to kill me with her eyes that reminded me of some sort of ferocious dragon.
“Watch your back, guitar freak,” she mouthed to me, laughing shrilly and loudly, not even bothered when Professor Longbottom told her to be quiet.
I don’t really hate many people. I don’t know them well enough to label them as someone I dislike, but Charlie was an exception. I was the sort of person who forgives and forgets. I didn’t look for trouble or problems from anyone about anything. I was content with sitting by myself half the time. Despite my easy going nature, I really could say that Charlie was one person I would wish dead.
Well, maybe not dead. That would be awful.
She was just so irritating and violent towards me when she had no motive. I didn’t get it at all.
That was why I thought about Jude so much. He was muscular and strong; a beater on the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. If I was with him, he’d protect me from Charlie, and he’d probably scare her away permanently.
Ah, Jude. Jude, Jude, Jude. He was becoming an increasing obsession of mine. Even though I didn’t sing much, I had written a song dedicated to him (which I had originally called it Him – then changed to the rather 'unique' title of Jude). The guitar was easy enough to compose and I often found myself playing it over in my head, taping my fingers on the table to its rhythm.
I would never tell anyone that though. Even though they wouldn’t listen, it would make me even more of a laughing stock than I already was. Maybe people would learn my name and I wouldn’t become forever branded as that loner with the crush on bad boy Jude.
Jude really was a bad boy, rebel type though. He was always landing in detentions. I knew because I overheard him – by complete coincidence of course – talking about it to his friends. He was like the mirror opposite to me. Maybe that was why I was so attracted to him?
Does Annie and Jude have a nice ring to it? Jude and Annie? What would our couple name be? Jannie? Anude? I’ll think about that if I ever even speak to him. Which will probably never happen. Who am I kidding; I stood no chance with him. He, like the rest of Hogwarts, was oblivious to my existence.
I did know for a fact though that he had no girlfriend. He did last year but they broke up. I was such a stalker.
Maybe that was why I was friendless. Maybe that was why I’ve never kissed anyone or even held hands with a male that wasn’t my dad.
I sighed, drawing a heart on the back of my hand, writing ‘A+J’ in the centre. I never was one for mushy declarations like that, but what was the chance that he’d ever see? What was the chance that anyone would take a look?
Zero per cent. Probably because I didn’t know anyone who goes around looking at people’s hands.
When I graduate, I should get a job as a professional stalker. No one could catch me of they were unaware if I existed. Genius.
The love heart smudged slightly as I leant my hand on the table. It was just like everything else, really. Nothing lasts in my life. My guitar strings vanish once a month, usually. I have spent so much money on new ones just because someone (like Charlie – merlin knows how she gets into my dorm, but I swear she has been through my stuff) keeps on cutting them, stealing them or making them so ridiculously out of tune that I spend around an hour getting it perfect again.
Herbology gradually dwindled to a close. Getting up to leave, I scooped all my notes into my bag, and tried to rush out before Charlie could catch me and make me late for my next lesson. It was too bad that she spotted me before I left the room.
“Who’s ‘J’?” She spat, lifting up my hand and waving it in her face. “James Potter?”
I shook my head quietly. “No,” I mumbled.
“It is, isn’t it? Gosh, that’s so sweet. Too bad he think’s your name is Alison. No one knows you exist. You’re better off not existing, actually. You know what? Everyone who knows you thinks that you’re a little freak,” she whispered maliciously in my ear, marching off with a happy spring in her step.
Great, now she thought that I liked James Potter. I didn’t even know him. I didn’t know Jude but that wasn’t the point. I knew more about him than Potter, anyway. I hadn’t stalked him and I don’t plan on it. If he was a friend of Charlie’s, I couldn’t bear to be near him if there was a chance that she’d come and taunt me.
If only she knew how smitten I was for Jude.
I bit my lip, still slightly shaken by the encounter with Charlie despite the fact that I got it all the time. I just slowly made my way to Divination. Another subject that I wasn’t planning on passing. I just knew that it was less likely that I’d hurt someone taking it.
There weren’t many Hufflepuffs taking Divination, seven maximum, and there was an odd number of people in the class so I was always alone. Sometimes, Trelawney decided to pair herself with me. I was surprised that she was still going, actually. She must have been really old.
That lesson, I sat on a lavender coloured pouf, incense wafting into my nose from all around the room. It seemed to be that people shunned away from me like the plague, leaving a gap where no one sat around me.
To be honest, it didn’t faze me that I was, once more, a loner.
“Is it the inner eye you possess?” Trelawney suddenly said, coming out from behind the blackboard. I almost jumped out of where I sat; a startled expression on my face. “Are you really one with the gift of the sight?”
Her voice was ominous sounding and I swear that I heard one boy say that she looked high.
Yet she glided around the room, peering over everyone’s shoulders. I wonder if she was a loner like me when she was at school. It was probable actually.
“Now then class,” she said sternly, no longer sounding like she was in a dreamy state. Her eyes looked vacant to me though, as they spun around the room.
She didn’t focus on me for long. One girl in the class apparently had the ‘inner eye’ so Trelawney seemed to look at her more than everyone else. Even by teachers, I remained unnoticed and out of sight.
When would be the day that people started to notice Annie Rowe?
Today didn’t look like my day, however.
A/N So I hope you like chapter two! The update hasn't been so long, has it? O.O
Anyway, thank you for reading and please leave a reivew, I respond ot them all! :)