“In order to graduate, you do. I know you are not taking it next year during your NEWTS, but for this year you need to have a passing mark! It’s only for one year, tutoring will do you good.”
Hmph. Trelawney had definitely gotten meaner with age. According to Dom’s dad, Trelawney’s class used to be the easiest and was impossible to fail. Seriously, what happened?
Longbottom was trying to get my attention again. “Miss Fields, you have no choice in the matter. If you want to graduate and aim high career-wise, you need to be able to pass Divination. It will put a stain upon your transcript otherwise, because no one does this bad in Divination.” He looked at me with what he was trying to portray as a stern face.
I put my hands up in the air and slumped in my chair. “Alrighty, Professor, go on then. You win. I’ll go through these torture sessions. But who’s my tutor?” I said the word with distaste. It would probably be some nerd whose main interest was only in Gobstones, or something. Gah.
I’d asked Longbottom if Laura could tutor me, but he vetoed the suggestion straight away. Apparently, the fact that she didn't take Divination meant that she couldn’t tutor me in it. Hmph. Who knew? It wasn't like she didn't know the subject better than most seventh years taking it at NEWT level.
Remember, this was the child who reads Muggle Quantum Physics books in her spare time.
A knock on the door interrupted my thoughts. Longbottom looked up expectantly. “Oh, that must be him, then. Perfect timing, come in!”
The large wooden door slowly creaked as a blond head peeked in through the door.
“Miss Fields, let me introduce you to your new tutor, Connor Phillips.” Longbottom stood up happily and clapped the unknown student on the back.
Wait. It couldn’t be?
The figure turned around, and the blond locks and perfect face were glancing at me in full form, looking expectantly towards me. “Nice to meet you, Rina.” He held out his hand to shake.
Meep. It was.
Why the mini freakout, you ask? Connor Phillips was an extremely cute seventh year, and also the object of my puppy love since second year. He was really smart and was the captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. And hadn’t ever looked at me until this moment. Unlike me, he had a life.
I was expected to talk and listen to this fine specimen? At the moment, that was not happening.
“H-hi there, Connor. Tutoring, huh? Who would’ve thought?” I tried to look calm as I shook his hand. The soft hand with a firm handshake, may I add.
My attempts to look cool were failing, as Longbottom looked at me as if I was slightly insane. The weird look may have been because of my, ahem, cheeky grin.
Thankfully Connor didn’t notice, and laughed politely. “Yep. Three times a week for an hour each. Shouldn’t be too bad for you. When will you first be available?”
Connor Phillips asked me when I would be available! Do you know how long I’ve waited to hear those words?
Alright, so I thought they’d be directed towards a Hogmeade trip.
And that he’d actually be asking me out.
And that it wouldn’t be in Longbottom’s office.
Luckily, I remembered right on time that I would have to answer the fine creature. “Erm, well here’s my Quidditch schedule until winter break. Other than that, I’m basically free.” I passed him a paper from my bag.
Yep, Potter handed them all to us this morning. After the hellish training session, I’d been giving him the silent treatment. Which I’d had to do more often than you’d think. My lovely pal Dommie had been bonding with her cousins these days. Laura was thrilled with the addition of the boys to our threesome – her and Fred had topics to discuss other than their own tutoring sessions. It sucked for me, though. I had to tolerate Potter and his idiotic friends, who were usually discussing things such as the usefulness of blast-ended skrewts.
Our Quidditch practices had no real routine, they were scattered across the weeks to accommodate for the team’s previous commitments. This was why our team always scrambled to book the pitch first.
Connor looked over my schedule for this week and pointed at tomorrow. “Hey, we’re both free six o’clock tomorrow. I’ll meet you in the library, yeah?”
“No problem, looking forward to it!” My voice squeaked as Connor left the room, waving.
Y’know, sometimes I really love Longbottom.
I floated down to the Great Hall and joined the Gryffindor group at our table. It was funny, since the addition of the boys it was almost the whole sixth year Gryffindor population, minus a few. Dom, Laura and I made up our dorm, save for Megan Stone, a girl who really didn’t talk to us and chose to hang with the Hufflepuff bimbos.
Supposedly, her whole family was in Hufflepuff and she was a disappointment when she became a Gryffindor. Honestly. What kind of family would want Hufflepuff purity? To compensate for her failure and family shaming, she turned up her nose at us and pretended to be part of the yellow and black house.
Anyway, that made up the four Gryffindor girls. There was space for a fifth one, a vacant bed which was currently our storage area. It used to belong to Breanne Lawson, a sort of reclusive girl who left in second year. No one knows what happened to her – it’s always been a mystery.
Of course, we could have just gone and asked Longbottom, but that would have taken the fun out of our imagination, wouldn’t it?
Dom, Laura and I always wondered if a fifth person would come and join our dorm – mid school transfers were rare, but did occur. But Longbottom said not to worry about anything of the sort. Poo.
For the boys, there were only four of them from the beginning. James was their unofficial ringleader, and Fred, Adam, and Liam followed. I had no problem with the latter three, of course. It was Potter who made me want to pull my hair out.
Our group made up the table at the moment, minus Potter. Adam and Liam were trying to fling food with their spoons at the Hufflepuffs. They cheered as they managed to get a third year, who promptly sputtered and fell over. Fred was humming and trying to doodle with his spoon in his mashed potatoes. Hmm. Repressed artist, maybe? His drawing was of a unicorn named “Sparky”, who had been labeled of course.
I sat down dreamily next to Dom and Laura, who were opposite the boys. The seat facing me was vacant, but with a full lunch plate. I grabbed it – I was too distracted (and lazy) to fill up one on my own. Why waste all that energy when there was a giant stack of food right in front of me?
I was about to take a giant bite of shepherd’s pie when the plate was unceremoniously snatched away from me, and the spoon was wrenched from my hand.
It was one of the worst feelings ever to have food disappear on you. Seriously, my stomach was ready for that bite! It was beginning to suffer withdrawal! I looked up and saw Potter holding the plate, smirking at me (of course). Gah.
With an easy air, he sat down and put the plate back in front of him. “Don’t you know it’s bad to steal other people’s food, Fields?” He took a huge bite of the shepherd’s pie. My shepherd’s pie.
Alright, not really mine, but you get the point. Why did he have to come back before I even got a taste of the deliciousness?
Laura, sensing my distress (which came a lot with food) hurriedly filled up a plate for me. This is why I loved her. She gave me food. I started eating my own, and glared at Potter. “Finders keepers, dummy. Anyway, I won’t let you spoil my afternoon – Dom, Laura; I have the best luck ever!” My eyes glazed over happily when I remembered Longbottom’s meeting this morning, and how Connor would start tutoring me.
In Divination. Where I could read his palms and look at his dreams (as an example teaching method, of course) and it would be considered class work!
I promptly pulled my two pals under the table, so the boys and Potter wouldn’t hear. I relayed to them what happened only a few hours ago.
“Guys. Connor Phillips and I get to meet three times a week! For the most lame class ever! Which means we’ll have to work less! And we can just have an amazing time! Meep!” I was chuffed.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that Dom and Laura felt the same way; they were looking at me weirdly. Dom started first. “Uh, Rina, I don’t think Connor is-“
“And it’s gonna be totally awesome and we can stare into crystal balls together-“
“But, Rina, he’s-“
“Completely awesome? I know!” I started humming an old Celestina Warbeck song I caught my mom listening to once when I was young. Warbeck was a completely horrendous singer, which made for horrendous humming.
Maybe not the best song choice. It did cause Dom and Laura to cringe and cover their ears, while voices above the table shouted “Oi, shut it!”
Quite rude, the Gryffindor table.
Laura clapped a hand over my mouth and nodded at Dom, who spoke. “Erm, Rina, haven’t you noticed anything about Connor?” She gave me a knowing glance. Not that I knew what it meant.
I wrenched off her hand and gave them both a dirty look. “Other than the fact that he’s perfect? With perfect hair and perfect blue eyes which match his Ravenclaw robes and his perfect smartness? Nope, nothing.”
Laura looked at me weirdly. “For one thing, Rina, ‘perfect smartness’ doesn’t even make sense. Also, I think you’re fabricating a ‘dream Connor’ for yourself while not seeing the real deal.” She looked at me expectantly, waiting for a breakthrough in my thought process.
Which didn’t exactly happen, as I had no idea what she was talking about.
“Guys, it’s just Connor! The cute adorable Connor who is normal and will spend time with me…” I felt myself go off into dreamland again. He was just so fit!
Dom and Laura sighed, and were about to explain their secretive clues about Connor when Liam’s head poked under the table. He was slightly surprised to see us sitting quite comfortably.
“Guys, mail’s here, so you may want to, erm, come out from there-“
He didn’t get to finish his sentence because Dom shot out like a rocket from under the table. The lucky fool always got amazing ‘care packages’ from her parents, which all of us liked to mooch from often. Laura and I were slower to get out, as we really had nothing much to look forward to. Laura only got her subscription to The Daily Prophet once a week. Me? Nothing, really. Other than the occasional letter from my parents to keep up appearances.
I wrinkled my nose as an owl flew past my plate, dropping a letter with the official seal of the Minister of Magic and his family. Lovely.
I ripped it open reluctantly, not looking forward to what I may find inside. I pulled out the heavy expensive parchment with unfamiliar writing, but with my mother’s words. The daft woman was so rich now that she could hire someone to write for her.
I unfolded the letter and started to read.
Your father’s campaign duties are ongoing. As par with the summer, you are expected to come home the weekend of November 4th for appearances. Do not attempt to argue, this is necessary. I will send Hilly for you on Friday, November 3rd. Meet the elf in Professor Longbottom’s office.
Please do attempt to keep up a presentable image at school. It was pointed out to me by my assistant that you were once again featured in Witch Weekly, referencing to Quidditch problems with James Potter. Do not continue with such outlandish behaviour. You need to appear poised and prim in front of everyone, even in school. You never know when informers and cameras are about. This is vital, as your image affects your father’s campaign more than ever. If you continue to be a cause for concern in Quidditch, you will have to let go of the sport.
Please do try to appear in Witch Weekly for a cause other than scandal. Appearances are ever so important in this world.
Geez. She couldn’t even sign it “Love, Mom”. Her letter was only full of criticism and demands; all traces of her love seemed as if they were gone from her personality. Campaign, blah blah blah. Witch Weekly, blah blah blah. Although she’d been like this since the beginning of second year, it was hard to get used to.
Sometimes, I missed her letters full of concern and love, which at least asked how I was and sent encouragement. It was like she had changed into another person.
This letter was a new low. Even her tone of writing was formal and scolding.
I missed the days before Dad was elected as the Minister of Magic. After the second Wizarding War, a decision was made to overturn the appointment system of Ministers and have elections instead. Since then, the Minister has been elected by a democratic system and has been surprisingly more stable.
It was on my eleventh birthday, the summer before first year, when Dad came home from his ministry job unnaturally eager and excited. After prodding and encouragement for months from his coworkers and seniors, all praising his leadership abilities, he decided to run for Minister. It was a big step for him, as he worked as a lowly advisor in the Department of Magical External Relations. However, no one could deny he deserved a promotion, at least.
What he ended up acquiring was more than a measly promotion. Throughout my first year, Dad worked hard on his campaign, and as presenting us as the catalogue wizarding family. I remember our family of three being so close back then. Mum was extremely supportive of his initiative, and cheered Dad on every step of the way. They were thrilled with successes, and only motivated with losses. I was often pulled out of school for appearances, and it was great fun. Mum and I were his personal cheerleaders. We were the little family that could.
Everything changed after he became elected, though. Gone was the fun, loving dad who was always there for me. In his place was an overworked, stressed man with double personalities for the cameras. Gone was my mother, who never failed to give me encouragement or support when I needed it. A superficial, image obsessed dictator took her over. As money and status came rolling in, the loving, family closeness and support quickly diminished.
Now, five years later, my family and I can’t stand each other anymore. Sure, we looked good for the cameras, but it was always different behind closed doors. Our family ties had been tugged and worn down to the near point of breaking. It made me sad sometimes, what we have lost. I missed my mother’s love and encouraging words, and my father’s booming laugh which I haven’t heard in years.
It was a lot to give up, but we had no idea that it would be taken from us.
My brooding was interrupted by a hand waving in front of my face. I looked around, disoriented, and saw Dom giggling at my expression. The boys were looking curious, trying to peek at my letter. Obviously, they had not seen Rina get a letter from “home” before.
Laura’s eyes were full of sympathy. “A letter from the olds, then? That’s the only time you go from hyper to bummed out so quickly. What did it say this time?”
I read over the letter once more and frowned. “Witch Weekly, studies, and Quidditch threats. The usual.” I tried to appear less bothered than I actually was.
Laura sighed. “Oh Rina, they shouldn’t be so hard on you. You’re still young, after all.”
“Well, when you’re the minister’s daughter, you can’t slip up.” I crumpled up the letter and hid it in the fruit bowl.
Dom squeezed my hand. “Well, unless it’s mandatory for appearances, you can spend all non-Hogwarts time at my house. Better than alone with a house elf.”
“Hey! Hilly’s actually quite sweet, Dom.” She was indeed the elf in the aforementioned letter whom I was supposed to meet for the appearances. “This summer when I was at home for the first two days, she taught me how to play poker and to knit! And she makes the best pumpkin pie ever…” My eyes took on a dreamy look as I recalled the pumpkin pie.
Hilly was amazing. In the past few years, she had almost replaced my real mother. While my actual mum had been out creating a social status and getting muggle plastic surgery (gross), Hilly had been with me. She was especially sweet to me as I was the only one in our family who wasn’t snobby or rude to her – my parents were starting to consider themselves above everyone and everything. While my parents only saw her as a lowly servant, she was my one and only confident when school was out. I almost didn’t mind the upcoming appearances, as I would get to catch up with her.
Well, back to the pumpkin pie. It was way better than the crappy Hogwarts one. Not soggy or gross, but perfect and warm and so pumpkiny…
Dom snapped her fingers in front of my face as Laura giggled. “Rina, you are too obsessed with pumpkin pie. But I’m glad the thought improved your mood… definitely keeping note of that for the future.”
I giggled, remembering earlier today. “Dommy, I love everything yummy. Especially yummy things like Connor Phillips…”
Dom and Laura simultaneously groaned. Laura gave me an exasperated look. “Not this again. Rina, hes-“
The boys, originally playing Exploding Snap at the table, caused their aforementioned card tower to explode. Dom, Laura, and I scooted back as a mini mushroom cloud poofed right in front of Fred’s face. Liam and Adam ducked to the side, while James hid behind Freddie.
What a lovely pal he was.
The aftermath was slightly hilarious. Fred’s eyebrows were gone, and the tips of his front hair were slightly smoking. He looked disoriented as he saw us all laughing at him. The rest of us had avoided most impact, thankfully. It was extra awesome because James’s shepherd pie (ahem, mine) burned to a crisp. Hah. The bugger had it no more.
It was nice to have a normal moment for once (as normal as it could ever be in Hogwarts), just having a good time and laughing. Not thinking about Quidditch or home, or anything else. Our sixth year Gryffindor group was quickly becoming tight-knit – save for me and Potter, of course – and it was great to feel like a regular person. Not the minister’s daughter – just an ordinary sixteen year old.
Of course, my bliss moment was interrupted by Potter flicking some still burning ashes at me and setting fire to my hair. What else would one expect?
Hey, guys! Finally, the next chapter is up – I hope you enjoyed it. So what is up with Rina’s family? How on earth is she failing Divination? And what does Rina not realize about Connor? Stay tuned for the next chapter to find out… in the meantime, please read and review! <3