Complication #1: Bar fights, no matter how dignified, are never a good idea.
"So, ladies, how do I look?" I ask, as I step out of the dressing room.
"Ohmygodric, I love it!"
I don't even need them to tell me this – I know that I look amazing in this dress. The white lace is fitted in all the right places, and it accents the golden tan my skin has taken on over the summer.
I'm currently standing in the middle of Juliette's, a Muggle boutique just outside of Diagon Alley with my three best friends, Scarlett, Brooke, and Caroline.
"Then it's settled," I say simply, running a hand through my chestnut-coloured curls in front of the full-body mirror. "I'm buying it."
"Do you want me to put it behind the counter, Miss Abigail?" The salesperson, Adelaide, asks me, coming up from behind. Most of the salespeople here know me by name given how much I show here.
"That would be great," I reply, and without another word, I go back into the dressing room, peel off the dress, and pass it to the salesperson. I put on my normal clothes, a black and white dress, black peep-toe pumps, and a thick white headband, before joining the girls in the store.
I don't believe in dressing casually. If I wanted people to see me in sweatpants, I'd join a Quidditch team.
"I can't believe you found your dress for the back-to-school party on the first try!" Caroline exclaims jealously.
"It's not fair, it took me ages!" Brooke whines.
"It took you five tries, Brooke. At least it didn't take you twenty!" Scarlett adds. It's true; it took Scarlett forever to finally settle on a dress.
These girls are my best friends. We are, as the students of Hogwarts as so lovingly nicknamed us, the Ravenclaw Royals. We're easily the most popular and prettiest girls in our year, if not the entire school. And while that may sound entirely conceited, it's also entirely true.
Scarlett Finnegan has been my best friend since we both ended up in the same Muggle primary school. She's blonde-haired, green-eyed, and incredibly blessed in the chest area. Which isn't something I can say for myself.
The two of us met Brooke Dawson on the Hogwarts Express as first years. The very first thing I noticed about her was her hair: a shocking auburn colour that falls past her shoulders, blunt and stick straight. Her cheeks are dusted with a light spattering of freckles, which could be disastrous on most normal people but suits her exceptionally well, paired with her pale blue eyes.
Finally, Caroline Sinclair joined our group after the Sorting. To be quite honest, she reminds me a little of Snow White from Muggle fairy tales. She has black hair chopped into a sharply angled bob, shimmery grey eyes, and lips that are somehow naturally tinted red.
Then there's me: Abigail Winchester. I'm the centre of it all – the Queen Bee.
We walk up to the counter, where I pull out my wallet in order to pay for the dress. "That'll be 250 pounds, please," Adelaide reports cheerfully, as I pull a wad of Muggle cash from my purse.
I know most people would be shocked by the price, especially for a dress I plan on wearing only once, but this is entirely normal to me. I've grown up in a wealthy family, so spending 250 pounds on a dress is no big deal. I've purchased shoes more expensive.
I walk out of the shop, cradling the lilac shopping bag in the crook of my elbow.
"So, where to next?" Brooke asks.
"Well, seeing as we all have our dresses, how about we stop at the Leaky Cauldron?" I suggest.
In all actuality, the pub is somewhat disgusting, but it's one of the only options for food and drink on Diagon Alley, and I think we'd all prefer to be among witches and wizards for a little bit.
My offer is met with a chorus of agreement, so we set out towards the pub. As soon as we reach it, Scarlett immediately orders us four Gillywaters.
We sit down at one of the booths near the entrance: our booth. It's the best one to see and be seen in, so over the years, we have claimed it as our own.
"Have you heard the latest?" Caroline asks, sipping her water.
"You're going to need to clarify," I reply sharply. "There is far too much gossip about Hogwarts students to simply label it 'the latest.' "
"Fred Weasley managed to sleep with two fifth years in one night," she reports happily.
"Ew." Brooke wrinkles her nose in disgust. "He is such a manwhore."
"Well, it's not like he doesn't have the looks for it," Scarlett adds. She intends to sound nonchalant, but I know that she definitely means it; she's always had a little thing for him. Yeah, I guess he's attractive, but he's about as mature as Peeves the Poltergeist. Both him and his imbecile cousin seem to find pulling pranks extremely funny, which I don't understand at all.
"Speak of the devil," I sneer, looking at the two boys that have just entered the pub: James Potter and Fred Weasley.
Potter is the first to notice us, and he raises his eyebrows at us, showing off his hazel eyes, as he runs a hand through his extraordinarily messy hair. Honestly, I don't think the boy has met a comb before.
Next, Fred looks over, and winks, causing Scarlett to sigh loud enough for only me to hear. I guess I see how she could find him good-looking, with his caramel-coloured skin and shaggy black hair, but his personality kind of ruins it all.
"What are you ladies doing here?" Potter asks, having arrived in front of our table in a matter of a few short strides.
"Hmmm… I don't know. We're sitting in a pub with drinks, what does it look like we're doing?" I comment snidely.
Potter and I have never gotten on quite well, ever since second year when he thought it would be hilarious to drop a water balloon on my head. I've never been one for using spells in the halls, but I cast a Jelly Legs Jinx and Tongue Tying Curse on him so quickly, no one even realized I had pulled out my wand until after I had already put it away. I don't appreciate being publicly humiliated.
"Well, knowing you, probably plotting your next evil scheme," he replies coolly.
"I don't plot, Potter. It's called creating a plan and executing it to perfection," I snarl. Plotting makes me sound like some sort of lowly scum who has nothing better to do than ruin other people's lives. I actually have plenty of better things to do.
"Oh, well excuse me for not consulting a thesaurus before I spoke," he shoots back in the same annoyed voice that I use towards him.
"You're excused," Caroline throws in chirpily. See, this is why these girls are my best friends.
"What are you talking about, anyway?" Potter changes the subject, obviously wanting to get away from the argument he just lost.
"None of your business," I snap.
"Not willing to confess that you were talking about your undying love for me, Winchester?"
Okay, that does it, you conceited little prat. "No, to be honest, we were discussing your dear cousin's promiscuity," I simper, avoiding Brooke's wording.
I don't curse. Ever. I think it's horribly unladylike, and there are so many other words in the English language that can be used instead.
Weasley, who had previously been watching the conversation silently, pipes in. "Oi!"
"Well, it's true," I reply, at the exact time that Potter says the same thing. Granted, he sounds much more joking than I do, but it's weird nonetheless. He looks over at me, surprised, and I glare back at him.
"So then it's settled," Brooke concludes, a false smile plastered on his face. "Weasley's a manwhore and Potter's just a twat. What a lovely pair."
"It's better than being a bunch of girls whose wands are stuck so far up their arses you can't even see them anymore," Potter comments bitterly, before dragging Fred away.
That's a low blow, Potter. You don't mess with my girls. Underneath the table, I nonverbally cast a spell, and watch with amusement as Potter discovers that his tongue is glued to the roof of his mouth. Oh, the joys of Langlock.
"Better watch your tongue, Potter," I proclaim across the pub, sending him a bright smile that only causes his scowl to deepen before turning back to our huddle.
I'm never one to publicly curse or hex anyone – words can solve most problems, anyways – but there's just something about Potter that makes me lose all self-control.
"So," Caroline turns the conversation back to our little group. "What are your plans for tomorrow night?"
As always, the night before school starts is reserved for our current love interest. While it can vary for each of the other girls, mine has stayed the same every year. I've been dating Blaise Halstead since second year.
"I think Blaise and I are finally going to do it," I comment offhandedly.
"What!?" All three girls are looking at me now. "When did this happen?"
"Well, we've been together for years," I reasoned, "So this is the next step, right? It'll make the relationship more real."
A resounding "awwww" comes from around the table.
"Well damn," Caroline comments. "Now anything we say is irrelevant, because you obviously take the cake."
"Now you're going to have to spill," Brooke adds, leaning in closer, so that our conversation is less likely to be overheard. "What's the plan?"
"Well," I start, knowing that I have already planned everything out. "It'll be at my dad's house on the beach, because he's going on a date with Diana tomorrow night. I want it to be perfect."
After all, I'm the last of my friends to surrender my V-card, even though I've had the same boyfriend for the longest. If I'm going to finally do it, it better be absolutely amazing.
"No fair," Scarlett whines. "Now my surprise date with Hudson Thomas doesn't seem all that cool now!"
"I'm sure it'll be amazing," I reassure her, although I know she will still be dreaming about Weasley the whole time. That bloke's permanently planted on her heart, which is really quite a misfortune.
"I guess you're right," she sighs contentedly, taking another sip of her almost empty gillywater.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see two boys exiting the pub. I know that they're probably dreaming up some revenge scheme, and I'm not looking forward to it.
After we finish our drinks, we leave the pub, walking out onto Diagon Alley.
Suddenly, a pair of hands covers my eyes, as a familiar masculine voice murmurs in my ear, "Guess who?"
I twirl around, looking straight up at my boyfriend. "Blaise!" I squeal, before planting a kiss on his lips.
"How's my favorite girlfriend?" he asks, wrapping his arms around my waist.
"I'm your only girlfriend," I reply coyly.
"That you are," he replies, flashing his gorgeous smile at me.
"You're still coming over tomorrow night, right?" I ask.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world." He tucks a piece of hair behind my ear, before kissing me briefly again. "Now, I've got to get into Diagon Alley; I have to meet with someone from Gringott's."
With that, he kisses me on the forehead and heads for the pub. That's my boyfriend: ever the businessman, even though we still haven't graduated Hogwarts yet.
"If it weren't for the fact that you two are so darn cute, I'd have left you a long time ago," Caroline snaps, obviously a little impatient by my hold-up. We're scheduled for massages at 5:00, and it's already 4:47. Scarlett looks a little irritated at this - she hates being late.
"Now come on! We have to get to an Apparition site!" Brooke whines, hurrying ahead of me.
After a few moments, we find ourselves down an abandoned alley. I crinkle my nose at the horrible smell, and focus on avoiding anything questionable on the ground.
"Alright, let's go!" I snap, before focusing on the spa and feeling myself be sucked away.
Instantly, I find myself standing outside of an oasis. The spa building sits in the middle, surrounded by pools and flowers on all sides.
In an instant, the other three girls appear, and we all head into the waiting room. The entire thing is cream-colored, filled with fluffy couches and a blazing fireplace.
"We have an appointment," I tell the receptionist, and she quickly guides us back to the entry room, which is filled with big fluffy robes and matching slippers to wear, instead of the clothes we came in.
Caroline starts fussing with the chunky necklace she has on, while Scarlett yanks her shirt over her head.
"This is exactly what you need, isn't it, Abigail?" Brooke asks, as she undoes the buttons on her blouse. "A little massage to loosen you up for tomorrow night?"
She has an eyebrow raised and her mouth is set in a smirk, as Caroline and Scarlett fight off giggling. "I never should have told you girls about this," I sigh dramatically.
"Of course, you should have, silly!" Scarlett exclaims. "We're your best friends, this is what we do!"
I guess she's right: when she slept with Jonathan Wright, who's two years below us, none of us would let up with the cougar comments. So, I guess this is my turn.
"After all, what kind of friends don't point out that their best friend took four whole years to finally sleep with her boyfriend?" Brooke giggles.
Oh, the joys of friendship.
I sit on my chaise lounge, flipping through the latest issue of Witch Weekly. The magazine is shallow and little bit stupid, but I do feel the need to keep an eye on any gossip. I intentionally skip past a section titled "The Wizarding World's Most Eligible Bachelors" – I've got one of my own, thank you very much – and settle for a section on beauty tips.
"Miss Abigail," a voice squeaks. I look across my room, to see Francy, my mum's house-elf. "Would you like your evening tea?"
"Yes, please," I reply.
Normally, I'd have tea with my mother, but she seems to be a little miffed with me at the moment, seeing as I'm going to see my dad tomorrow.
My parents divorced when I was 14, and ever since, they've been battling for my attention. It's almost as if whoever I love most "wins" the divorce.
If it's not obvious, the marriage did not end on good terms.
Due to this competitiveness, I have a full-to-bursting closet, the latest books and other materials, and two different, extremely huge bedrooms.
The first is here, at my mother's penthouse. The room is massive and extremely sophisticated. Everything is cream-colored, with the exception of a few splashes of navy blue. A crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling, the bathtub is big enough to swim laps in, and the king-sized bed is surrounded by a rich gauzy canopy.
My second bedroom is at my father's house, which is located on the coast in Scotland. The room there is entirely stark white, with the exception of the dark wooden floors. However, my favourite parts about that room is the view. The wall opposite my bed is covered in floor-to-ceiling windows, which look straight out onto the coast. It's completely romantic, which is why it's perfect for what I want to do with Blaise tomorrow night.
I try to tell them that they don't need to buy me things to earn my affection, and that I love them both equally, but it's become too much of a game for them. Sometimes I feel like I'm just the pawn in a chess game of revenge.
With a crack, Francy reappears, holding a steaming mug of tea. I thank her, and she disappears just as quickly. As soon as I down the burning hot liquid, I stand up from the chaise, stopping to look at myself in the floor-length mirror.
I'm not particularly curvy. The clingy silk slip I'm wearing only serves to emphasize that. Over top, I'm wearing a thin, floor-length, lacy dressing gown, a Christmas gift from my father that cost more than the dress I bought today. As much as I love it, I can't help but be reminded that it was bought with the sole intention of outdoing whatever Christmas present my mother had bought.
I push the thought out of my mind and head for the bathroom.
I quickly brush my teeth and take my makeup off, before crawling under the covers.
Tomorrow's the last day of summer, and it will go out with a BANG.
A/N: Welcome to my newest story! If you've just finished this first chapter, and you're thinking to yourself, "wow, this main character is really insufferable," then I've done my job correctly. All I can promise is that she's not this bad for the entirety of the story.
Sneak peek of chapter 2:
Excuse me, but I'm Abigail Winchester. Nobody treats me like that.
I flick my wand at the window, letting out a cry of frustration. The spell was nonverbal, and I don't quite know what it was, but the pieces shatter loudly, clattering to the ground outside of the house.
With another flick, I fix the window, but not before a tear rolls down my cheek.
I don't cry. I hate crying. You get all snivelly and snotty and hiccupping and disgusting. It's a sign of weakness. I'm not supposed to be weak. I'm supposed to be the stone wall of perfection that everyone at Hogwarts thinks I am.
But however much I hate it, I'm crying now.