Chapter 2 : The Human Knot
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We touched down in a bright room, but before I could even look around I was bumped into by Grace, who had stumbled upon landing.
“First time using a portkey?” I asked with a quirked eyebrow.
Grace smirked and answered, “Oh please I’m not the only one.” Sure enough, I noticed a few people on the ground gathering dropped items. Since we were the first group to depart, we had to wait in the room until the other groups arrived. I stood with Grace by a window that looked out onto a concourse full of people carrying luggage.
“Are we in an airport?” Grace asked incredulously. At first I had no idea what she was talking about, but then I remembered learning about them in Muggle Studies. I looked out another window and saw planes taking off and landing.
“If we can see the muggles, can’t they see us?” I inquired, becoming worried.
“Actually, that window is enchanted. We can see out, but they can’t see in. It looks like a boarded up restaurant to them,” an unknown voice answered with an Australian accent. Grace and I turned around and saw a man who looked like he was in his 20s. He turned to Professor Lewis and introduced himself as Matt, our delegation manager.
“I don’t know why, but I was totally expecting some middle aged woman to be our tour person, not a young guy,” Sophie said as she walked towards Grace and I. I hadn’t even noticed that the other two groups had arrived while I was checking out the airport. I noticed Albus standing with Louis, but he wasn’t looking at me this time. Maybe it had just been a fluke at King’s Cross.
Professor Oakley began, “Can I have everyone’s attention! We are handing out lanyards with nametags on it that you must wear at all times. To other wizards it will display your house under your name, but muggles will only see your name and country. Once everyone has his or her nametags, we will meet our bus driver and go to our first hotel. ” The professors broke off and started handing out purple lanyards that said “Hogwarts Travel Program” in white text.
“Are they seriously making us wear these?” Molly complained as she and Lucy walked over, both eyeing their new accessories.
“I know, they are so babying us already,” Sophie remarked as she rolled her eyes. Most people seemed to be regarding the lanyards with a similar distaste. Matt the manager (wow that’s a catchy nickname) started to lead us outside where we would board the bus.
“Why are we taking a muggle bus again?” Lucy asked as we waited in line for the bus.
“It adds to the experience, dear cousin!” Louis Weasley said as he threw an arm around Lucy.
“Get off of me!” Lucy squealed and stomped her foot.
Louis removed his arm but seemed unfazed as he noticed the unfamiliar faces. “I don’t believe we have met before, my name is Louis,” he said as he flashed a winning smile.
“I’m Layla,” I offered with a smile, and looked at Sophie waiting for her response. I looked over and saw her flirting face on. Uh oh.
“I’m Sophie,” she said with a smile that rivaled Louis’.
“Hey Molls, Grace,” Louis nodded toward his cousin and classmate. Grace waved and Molly rolled her eyes, but begrudgingly smiled anyway. “Albus get over here,” Louis called over his shoulder and Albus walked over with Declan Boot, a quiet Ravenclaw guy in my year. They both just nodded and continued their conversation about Ministry jobs, or something uninteresting. I had no idea they were even friends. In all the years I had classes with Declan, he only uttered a few words to me.
We eventually boarded the coach bus, and I took a seat next to Sophie. The bus started to move and I admired the beautiful landscape. Wow. We were in Australia! To the right were gently sloping green mountains; to the left it looked like we were a few miles from the ocean.
“Oh my god Louis is so cute,” Sophie whispered, taking my attention away from the panorama. “Where are we right now?” she added, looking out the window. Before I could answer, Matt came on the microphone.
“So welcome to Cairns! We are in the province of Queensland, which is in the northeast of Australia. Because we are closer to the equator, it doesn't get too cold. So even though it’s winter here, the weather is beautiful and warm! Today we are going to take a walk on the Esplenade, a popular hangout for the people of Cairns, and tonight you will have the opportunity to try kangaroo or the local fish, barramundi.” I made a face at this one. Sophie noticed and laughed; I was the worlds pickiest eater. They wanted me to eat kangaroo? Gross. “And tomorrow, we are going snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef!” Matt finished amid cheers from the entire bus.
“But first we have room assignments,” Professor Oakley sang as She pulled out a list from her bag. She gave the boy’s assignments first; since there were less of them, they only had 3 rooms. I perked up when I heard my name. “Layla Clark, Harmony Davies, Molly Weasley, and Lottie McClaggen: Room 204.”
Molly and I exchanged a relieved glance when we first heard our names, but Molly’s face quickly turned into a grimace when Lottie’s name was called. I don’t really know Lottie, but she shares a dorm with Molly and Grace. She is petite (she probably just scrapes 5 feet), has shoulder length, straight, blond hair, and absurdly clear skin. I honestly cannot find one imperfection on her face: no dry patches, blemishes, nothing. Just a rosy tint to her cheeks and a light splattering of freckles on her nose. Her appearance suggests a sweet girl, but Molly’s reaction to her insinuates otherwise. Then again Molly doesn’t like a lot of people. I decided to judge for myself.
We all grabbed our luggage, found our rooms, and quickly claimed a bed. The room had 4 beds: one full bed, two twin beds, and a cot. The trick was to get the twin; you don’t look greedy by grabbing the biggest bed, but you aren’t stuck with the cot. Unfortunately, Harmony and Molly called the twin beds, so I was left in the awkward position with Lottie. Wanting to be the better person, I let Lottie have the bigger bed. It was only two nights, after all.
20 minutes later and I had already learned one major thing about Lottie: she is super comfortable being naked around people. We were supposed to change into our bathing suits, and while I opted to change in the bathroom because I had just met half the room, Lottie dropped her pants then and there. I averted my gaze but she just laughed and told us about her love of being naked. I found it weird. Molly just rolled her eyes.
We were to meet in the lobby at noon to walk down to the Esplenade, so Molly and I walked down once we were changed. It turned out that Sophie and Lucy were roomed together with two other girls, and Grace was in a room with a nice girl I knew named Annabelle, whose dad worked with mine. Once everyone congregated, we walked the 3 blocks down to the ocean. The Esplenade turned out to be a boardwalk along the water, with a big public pool and field on one end. We did a few getting-to-know each other activities when we first arrived, led by Matt.
The first was called the human knot, where everyone holds hands with two people across the circle, and then tries to untangle the “knot” without letting go. We broke off into 3 groups, so in mine was Sophie, Grace, Louis, Albus, Molly, Lucy, Declan, and Freddy Weasley. Freddy followed in his father’s footsteps as the Hogwarts resident prankster and class clown, and had just graduated the month before.
“Ok now form a circle, grab someone’s hand with your right hand, and then someone else’s with your left,” Matt instructed. We did as we were told until we looked like a mess of limbs. I ended up holding Lucy’s hand with my left hand and Albus’ with my right. I did everything in my power to try to keep my hands from sweating. I pleaded with the forces inside my body, called on Dumbledore (may he rest in peace), and even tried a nonverbal spell. However, I doubt Al even noticed.
“And now try to untangle!” Matt cheered as he watched us struggle.
“Oh hell no,” grunted Freddy and his arm was twisted into what looked like a very uncomfortable position. Lucy, being the smallest, attempted to step over Sophie’s arm and shimmy her way to the other side, but she brought my arm with her. And since the rest of my body is attached to my arm, I was pulled into the middle.
“Can someone please move or at least do something,” I pleaded from my spot in the center.
“Yeah this is really not working,” said Al, who was awkwardly leaning into the center because of me. Louis decided to take charge
“Okay. Sophie, you duck under my arm, so that Freddy can twist him arm back. Yeah, that’s it. Now Grace follow Al into the center-”
“OW!” Molly screeched as she was pulled in two different directions. She let go and we all toppled in a heap, with several grunts and groans emitted. Since I was in the middle of the knot, I unfortunately was at the bottom of the pile. My luck, however, was not the worst. I was trapped by none other than Albus Potter. He smirked down at me, and I was too shocked to do anything. Except notice how green his eyes were. I was so mesmerized that I didn’t notice when he had stood up and held out his hand to help me up. I must have looked really stupid lying on the ground, staring, because he gave me an extremely confused look. I quickly shook myself out of it and accepted his extended hand.
Day two of interesting eye contact with Albus, check.
Bet you weren't expecting chapter 2 yet! I just got excited. So, again, I love ALL REVIEWS, so please make me happy by reviewing. Thank you to those who have caught my mistakes with Australian facts! Has anyone ever been in a human knot before? I have. It's really uncomfortable. Thank you for reading, I love you all!
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