Desiree had hauled the immensely heavy trunk down to the front door, she had packed away everything from her room and she had already dressed in her school robes. Everything was ready for her to leave for her final year at Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry.
Well, not everything.
Before shutting her bedroom door she took one last look around it. The large room was beautifully furnished, but looked as though it never been lived in. Which except for six weeks a year, it wasn't. The huge windows looked out over the shimmering swimming pool and tennis courts, any other girl would have killed to live in such luxury. Desiree on the other hand, resented it; she had kept to her own room for the majority of the holidays, alone with her books and her experiments. She looked down at the floor, and walked down the four flights of stairs to the kitchen. She walked in, and three people were stood drinking coffee.
"Ah, Desiree... still here?" Asked her father haughtily. The tall, strongly built man was stood leaning against the kitchen counter sipping a cup of coffee with his moustached mouth. He dressed in beige golfing shorts, and a pale yellow cashmere jumper. One arm was round Desiree's mother, she was wearing an expensive suit, her pencil skirt just skimming her knees. Her smooth blonde hair slicked back into a pony tail which swung as she walked. She was chatting animatedly with the third person, whilst tapping ferociously on keys of her Blackberry.
"I'm just leaving," Desiree said quietly.
"Oh Desiree!" The other woman exclaimed, her dark hair piled on top of her head and her lips painted crimson. "Doesn't your school have an interesting uniform? Most schools have a blazer!"
Desiree smiled awkwardly at her mother's PA, as her mother gave her a stern look.
"We best be going Anthea," she said briskly, picking up her large leather handbag and poising on the crook of her elbow. "Now do remember Desiree, your father and I are in Fiji for Christmas, you can stay at school can't you?"
"Yes Mother," Desiree said quietly, looking at the floor.
"Excellent, safe journey and all that," she said, kissing the air, a good five inches from her daughter's face. She gave her a judging look and turned away from her. "Bye babe," she said to her husband, kissing him full on the lips. "We're meeting at the restaurant at seven remember." She flashed him a smile. "Ciao!" she said, waving with her hand above her head and striding from the room without another glance at her daughter, Anthea scurrying along behind her.
"What time do you have to be school?" Her father asked her coldly after a few seconds awkward silence.
"By six, I'm not taking the train this year," Desiree said quietly. "I should go... Bye Dad."
"Yes. See you next summer," he said, sounding bored. Desiree stood still for a second, half hoping she would receive a hug, a proper goodbye; then again she hadn't been hugged by her parents for six years. Just as she deep down, she knew he would, her Dad turned around to put his mug in the sink. Desiree nodded slightly and bit her lip, taking a deep breath she laid a folded piece of parchment on the counter, and turned to leave the kitchen.
Walking down the long corridor to the front of the house, pictures of her with her parents jumped out at her, from their ornate frames. Photographs taken on holiday, on walks, at Christmas, on her birthday. Each one of them was like a knife in Desiree's back. Ghosts of a time when her parents loved her, ghosts of a time they and she had no idea of who she really was. If a stranger to the family were to walk in now, they would believe a ten year old girl was the only child of Mr and Mrs Michaels, instead of the seventeen year old who was leaving the house at this moment. It made Desiree's heart clench painfully to remember her childhood, sometimes she wondered whether it would have been better if her parents had always been indifferent to her. Just so she never knew what she was missing.
She got to the front door, and took the handle of her school trunk. Just as she was opening the door she heard the shout from the back of the house.
"What do you mean you're not coming back?"
He'd read it.
Swiftly she walked through the door, and closed it roughly behind her. As she walked down the path, past the rose bushes and geraniums a solitary tear slid down her cheek. Without another look back at her childhood home, Desiree clenched her teeth, closed her eyes and turned on the spot.
When she opened them she was on the familiar cobbled streets of Hogsmeade station. She could smell fresh pastries and the smoke of the Hogwarts express. She could feel the air being sharper, cooler than where she had just left, far to the south. But most of all, she could sense the magic, she couldn't touch it or smell it. But she could feel it; it made her skin tingle and heart feel lighter. With a sad smile she walked toward the crowds of students walking up to the castle.
She was finally home.
With a flicker of her wrist her trunk went soaring over to the rest of them, which were just being unloaded off the train and trying not to let her robes catch in the mud she stepped into one of the carriages, already filled with her fellow Ravenclaws, who each greeted her with enthusiasm, but all she gave them was a hollow pleasantry and a polite nod of the head.