Disclaimer: I'm not J.K. Rowling--never will be.
Just One More Girl:::
The platform was already packed as I made my way towards the Hogwarts Express. I dodged my way around mothers fussing over departing children and quickly hauled my trunk onto the train. Anything to get me away from all of these families! I walked swiftly form carriage to carriage until I found Leanne sitting alone at a compartment near the back. No families present there.
"Thank god!" I exclaimed, sitting down across from my fellow fourth year. "Someone normal at last!" And by normal I mean alone. "There are too many people here!"
As if to prove my point, the Weasley family walked through the barrier at that precise moment. I pointed to them and Leanne just laughed. It's not that I don't like the Weasley's—I do—but watching them say their farewells is pure torture.
"Did you leave your dad on the muggle side of the barrier again?" Leanne asked knowingly. My discontent for families probably stems from my lack of having one. My mum died when I was little, leaving my muggle father to raise one witch of a daughter. Poor man. Anyway, I have no desire to mingle my dad's world with my own. I know it reminds him of mum, so anything having to do with school I do alone.
"There's no reason he should have to see this," I finally replied, still staring at the Weasley's. As much as I hate to admit it, that is what I want: a mother to embarrass me by kissing me good-bye, an older brother (or six) that'll glare at all the boys giving me looks—poor Ginny.
"So, how was your summer," I asked, successfully changing the subject. I'm quiet good at that, actually.
"Okay, I guess," Leanne said, brushing a strand of curly brown hair out of her eyes. I envy her hair. All she has to do is wake up and her hair is magically perfect. No pun intended. She doesn't see it that way, but what does she know? My hair, however, is just plain unmanageable, which is why it is always in a ponytail—no exceptions.
I then recounted my own summer tale which happened to include a Holyhead Harpies game.
"How did you manage to get tickets?" Leanne asked curiously. She might not be the athletic type but I don't think there is a witch on this planet that doesn't support the Harpies. Girl Power! Yeah!
"Angelina," I responded as way of explanation. "Her dad works for the Department of Magical Games and Sports and was able to snag three tickets for her, Alicia, and me."
"Oh cool," Leanne said stiffly. I can't say that I blame her.
Leanne and I have been friends since childhood. Even though we are so different—her preppy, me sporty—we've stayed friends. When we arrived at Hogwarts, however, Leanne was sorted into Ravenclaw while I went to Gryffindor. The result of this was nothing more than the fact that now we have two totally different groups of friends and integrating them would be like trying to get the Weasley twins to stop playing pranks. Impossible.
No matter our differences, Leanne will always be my best friend. I trust her with secrets that I can't even fathom telling Angelina and Alicia.
We passed the train ride by playing Exploding Snap and rating the male population of Hogwarts on a scale of one to ten. One being a total turn-off (Neville Longbottom), ten being a total hottie (Charlie Weasley—sure he's graduated but he still counts).
"Roger Davies?" Leanne asked, placing a card on the Exploding Snap deck.
"Eight and a half," I replied, "too much muscle."
"Agreed. Cedric Diggory?"
"Why are you asking me about all of the Quidditch captains?" I noted.
"They're the only ones worth the trouble."
"Agreed. Diggory's a nine."
"Okay, Miss. Gryffindor, what about Oliver Wood?" She asked with a smirk. That's just plain mean.
"I'm not answering that one," I said, trying to retain my dignity. "He's my captain."
"Oh, come on, Katie! We both know he's a ten on the Bell Hotness scale." I couldn't deny that. "Fine," she said, realizing I wasn't going to answer her. "Marcus Flint?"
"Ew…0!" Suddenly, then the lights went out and I could feel the train coming to a stop.
"I think he heard you," Leanne whispered. I smacked her on the arm and then looked out of the window. Exploding Snap forgotten, I strained my eyes and was able to make out several hooded figures coming aboard. Chill bumps formed on my arm and I didn't think it was just because of the cold. Suddenly, the compartment door slammed open and I jumped about a foot in the air.
"Does anyone know what's going on?" a familiar voice said from the doorway.
"Angelina?" I asked the figure in the darkness.
"Katie?" a new voice asked.
"Angelina, it is Katie," Alicia cried, taking the seat next to Leanne.
"We were looking for the food cart when the lights went off," Angelina said from the seat next to me. I was about to make a joke about her eating habits when I decided that now probably wasn't the right time.
"I saw some people getting onto the train," I said, hoping they had answers.
"Maybe we broke down," Alicia said.
"No; the train runs on magic," Leanne explained. Trust her to know something like that. The compartment door opened again and we all sat still.
"Who goes here?" a voice asked after several long, tense seconds.
"Fred!" Angelina cried, reaching out to hit him across the arm. "You scared us half to death!"
"Sorry m' ladies," Fred's twin, George, said attempting to sit down next to Alicia, but missing the seat and falling to the floor along with my pack of Exploding Snap cards.
"Ow!" George and Alicia both cried.
"You landed on my foot, George," Alicia said angrily.
"I'm, sorry! I can't see a bloody thing!"
Fred, however, was apparently taking advantage of the darkness. A slap was heard through the darkness and once again, I jumped.
"Fred Weasley, keep your hands to yourself," Angelina hissed.
"Sorry, I thought that was my leg," Fred argued. Even in the dark I knew he was smirking. The compartment door opened once again.
"Any room in here?" My heart immediately started racing.
"Not really, Oliver, but you're welcome to join us anyway," I said, scooting over to give him room.
"Thanks," he said, and sat down next to me.
"Ow, Wood," Angelina cried. "You just sat on my leg!"
"Sorry, Ange," he replied, adjusting his body so that he was closer to me in order to avoid the wrath of Angelina. "Who all's in here?" he asked conversationally.
"Angelina," Angelina said.
"Thanks, but I'd already figured that one out," Oliver replied sarcastically.
"Gred," Fred said.
"Forge," George replied.
George, who apparently hadn't realized Leanne was with us, fell out of his seat again. Only this time, he landed on the pack of Exploding Snap cards that had been knocked to the ground earlier and a bang filled the compartment.
"Are you okay?" I choked out as the smoke cleared.
"Yeah, fine," he replied stiffly. "Arse's a little sore though. Not sure I can ride a broom. Oliver, you might need to look for a new beater." We all laughed but when Oliver answered he was completely serious.
"That reminds me! I've worked out a whole new training program over the summer. I was thinking…." But whatever Oliver was thinking we'd never know because at that moment the compartment door opened one last time. The temperature in the small space began to decrease and I had to work just to breathe. A large hooded figure stood above us and as it took a rattling breath, I felt like my very soul was being affected. And then the memories came flooding back.
"Katie, go call 911," my dad yelled from his bedroom as I sat in the den coloring.
"But we're not supposed to call unless it's an emergency," my eight-year-old self protested.
"Go, call now!"
And then the scene changed.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Bell," a doctor was telling my dad as I listened from behind the corner. "Your wife suffered a severe heart attack. There was nothing we could do."
Memories of my mom flashed back and it was despair such as I had never known; as if I would never be happy again. I hadn't even realized how much I remembered about her death. I hadn't realized how much I'd forgotten…
And as fast as they had started, the memories were gone. The misery, however, still lingered as the Dementors moved on down the train.
When we arrived at Hogsmeade Station, I hurried into a thestral-pulled carriage, just wanting to put as much distance between me and the train as possible. Angelina, Alicia, and Leanne joined me.
"Truth or dare?" Alicia asked after a few seconds of silence.
"What?" Angelina asked in disbelief at Alicia's childish antics.
"Aw, come on," Alicia defended herself. "It's a ten minute ride!"
"Who was your first kiss?"
"Lee Jordan," Angelina said smugly. "Katie: truth or dare?"
"Truth," I responded without thinking. I'd played this game with Angelina once before and I distinctly remember flying around the Quidditch pitch wearing nothing but George Weasley's stolen boxer shorts.
"Who was your first crush?" Angelina asked.
"Fred," I responded simply. Hey, it's the truth, even if it is laughable now. Fred is just a friend which, in some ways, is a shame because I probably stand a better chance with him than I do with anyone else.
"Same here," Alicia and Angelina said at the same time and we all started giggling like mad. All of our first crushes had been Fred? Go figure!
"Poor George," Leanne noted.
"No, I liked George at one point too," Angelina said. Alicia was nodding. "I've had dirty dreams about the two of them—together," she added and I couldn't help but laugh. That's Angelina for you.
"Okay, truth or dare, Leanne?" Alicia asked, ignoring the fact that it was my turn to ask the question.
"Um, truth," Leanne said, obviously surprised to be included.
"If you could date any Gryffindor, who would it be?" Leanne looked at me apologetically before answering and in that moment I knew exactly who she was going to say.
"Oliver Wood," She replied, and even though I was prepared for it, it still stung.
"Oh, thinking big," Alicia said and laughed at her own joke. She then seemed to be pondering something for a few moments as a small frown crossed her face. "You know," she finally said, "I can't even remember the last time I saw Oliver with a girl."
"He does date," Angelina said, also frowning, "but nothing serious. Quidditch is his life—his love. Honestly though, if you stood in front of him naked, holding a Firebolt, he'd be more interested in the Firebolt." Hmmm, I'd have to try that.
When the carriage finally arrived at Hogwarts we walked into the great Hall and sat down at our house tables, waiting for the sorting to start. And when it did, I swear to God it was longer than all three of my other sorting ceremonies combined. This may have had more to do with the fact that I hadn't eaten in twelve hours than actually reality, however.
Finally the feast began and I dug into the food directly in front of me. I didn't even bother putting it on a plate. Rather unladylike, I know. It was faster though.
After my initial hunger was sated, I scanned the table and was intrigued to find Oliver having a conversation with Percy Weasley. That's an odd couple. On further examination, however, it was obvious he was giving Oliver a lesson on responsibility. He was continually pointing at his own Head Boy badge and then at Oliver's Quidditch Captain one.
Oliver didn't look like he was listening. Percy was glowering at his apathetic attitude when Oliver suddenly looked up—straight at me. I should have looked away but something was keeping my eyes there. He looked surprised to find me staring but he quickly recovered. He rolled his eyes and gestured to Percy. I gave him what I hoped was an encouraging smile.
Percy was still talking when Oliver suddenly got up, grabbed his plate, and walked half way down the table to sit across from me. Unfortunately, Percy followed.
"All I'm saying is that the younger kids are going to look up to you and you need to set an example," Percy said, seemingly unbothered by the fact that Oliver had just moved to avoid him.
"Percy?" Oliver said through gritted teeth, and Percy looked eager, almost as if Oliver was about to start asking questions. "I'm, saying this with all due respect, mate. You really need to get laid." My jaw dropped and looking over I noticed that Angelina and Alicia had similar looks on their faces. Percy blushed and quickly excused himself. Was he really always that polite?
"I wish I hadn't said that," Oliver said when Percy was gone.
"Why?" Angelina asked cheerfully. "I think he needed to hear it. Penelope's been begging for ages!"
"Yeah, but I have to share a dorm with him and Lord knows it's going to take him all year to realize I wasn't trying to make fun of him."
Professor Dumbledore then stood up and gave the start-of-term speech but I wasn't paying much attention. I wandered through the rest of my night in a sort of dreamlike state; between the Dementors and the close proximity to Oliver at dinner, I was totally out of it. When I finally got to sleep, however, I dreamed about how good his eyes felt on mine.
Review! PLEASE! It doesn't even have to be long. A period (.) will do, although an exclamation point (!) would be better. I just want to know that people are reading and enjoying my story. Got questions? Ask them. I'll answer if it doesn't spoil the plot.
Next time on Love and Quidditch:
"Angelina, what are you doing?" I hissed to no effect.
"If I may have your attention, please," she said, addressing the now silent common room. "If I could have all single guys fourth year and up come over here, please." My jaw dropped. Literally. I probably looked like a goldfish that had been hit by a semi-truck. I could feel my cheeks flushing and the embarrassment only deepened when over a dozen eager guys actually followed her orders.
"Ok, Katie. Spin the bottle," she said, grinning broadly.
Thanks for reading!