I spent the rest of the meal trying to hide my blushing face from Sirius's eyes, although I doubt I hid it very well. His dark features and soulful brown eyes were enough to make any girl swoon, and I realized that shortly after I sat down next to him. Practically every girl who passed him, not excluding Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, desperately fawned over him. I could tell he had been used to it, since he just shooed them away carelessly.
"So Marilyn," Sirius said, quite casually as he tucked a fist underneath his chin, "where exactly have you been hiding all this time? I really would like to know why I have never noticed you before." His smile was so relaxed. I fidgeted with my fork, not knowing what to say. I did not want to tell him my secret this early in the game. I decided to change the subject.
"Do you play quidditch, Sirius?" I asked, hoping the abrupt change in conversation would be enough for him to understand I did not want to talk about myself. He began to speak when James, sitting on the opposite side of him, chimed in.
"I play quidditch!" He said excitedly. "I'm the captain." I could tell he was very proud about the position he occupied. 'Of course he's the captain. Like father like son,' I thought to myself. I decided this would be a nice conversation to keep going.
"I've always wanted to play quidditch," I said, looking down at my plate, remembering all the tryouts I had been to, and all the mockery I had received for it.
"Tryouts are tomorrow!" James exclaimed. "Are you a good flyer?" I hadn't really known if I was a good flyer. I did as well as any witch or wizard could on that medieval broomstick I had stolen. I was sure, however, that with the proper equipment, I could fly circles around the Slytherins.
"Oh, yeah," I said confidently. "I can fly circles around the Slytherins." Their eyes lit up. I knew I had said just the right thing. I was very aware of the rivalry between the two houses, and although I never had a problem with the Gryffindors, I would play this to my advantage.
"We really need another chaser," James said. "Can I count on you to be at tryouts?" His eyes pleaded with mine.
"I'll think about it," I said coolly, fully intending on making the Gryffindor quidditch team.
"I really hope you come. Seven tomorrow morning, sharp!" James said, pointing his finger at me commandingly. I nodded as I took one last sip of my pumpkin juice, content that I now had more friends my first night of my new life than I ever had previously.
The next morning, I woke up before the sun had even peeked over the hills. My stomach was in knots and I could barely sleep the night before. Despite my lack of rest, however, I felt more energized than ever, and confident that today would be the day I had awaited for six long years: the day I make the quidditch team. I was conflicted as I got undressed in front of my trunk. I had no sporty clothes, and I neglected to buy some during my visit to Hogsmeade. I threw my trunk open, hoping to find something satisfactory. Then I noticed a medium sized package wrapped in brown parchment with a note on it. 'I thought these would come in handy, after seeing that broom of yours you were carrying yesterday.' At the bottom of the note, it was signed 'Professor McGonagall.' I tore off the paper and was delighted to find a full outfit of quidditch gear, including arm and leg guards, flying gloves, and a red and gold Gryffindor jersey. 'I knew I liked that woman,' I thought with a smile. I got dressed, grabbed my broom, and headed out of the dormitory, my heart soaring.
I skipped past the Great Hall. I decided not to bother with breakfast. It would only slow me down, and I needed to be light on my feet, or broom if you would like to get technical. As I walked out into the morning air, the October chill brushed my face and sent shivers across my skin. The smell of wet grass and browning leaves filled my nose as I trudged down toward the pitch. When I reached the field, I saw that I was the only person around, being over half an hour early for tryouts, just as I had planned. I wanted to get a good fly in on my broom before everyone else arrived, just to see if I was as fast as I had let on the night before. I mounted my broom and kicked off the ground, hovering higher and higher into the air. I steadied myself at the same height as the goal posts as I felt my new broom sitting underneath me. It was smooth, and I could feel the power surging through it, as if it were begging me to unleash its ability. I leaned forward and raced to the other end of the field. I had never been on a broom that went so fast, and flew so smoothly. I reached the goal posts and looped through the hoops, turning on a dime. My heart was racing at the same speed as I was flying. After looping and corkscrewing through the air for a few more minutes, I heard a whistle from below. I caught my breath and recognized Sirius and James, along with another Gryffindor boy, entering the field. I touched down and dismounted, and ran to meet them, still breathing quickly from the previous excitement so high in the air.
"My, my," Sirius said, eyeballing my broomstick, "that's some broom you got there, Marilyn. Very shiny." He gave me a sweet smile.
"Thank you, Sirius," I said nonchalantly, trying not to sound winded. "What time is it?" James looked down at his watch.
"About ten minutes until seven. People should be arriving soon," he said as he took the box of quidditch balls and placed them in the middle of the field. I looked over at the other boy who came down with them. He was staring down at his feet.
"Sirius, are you going to introduce me to your friend?" I said, gesturing toward the boy standing beside him.
"Oh right," Sirius said, shaking his head as if he were escaping a daze. He slapped his friend on the back. "This is Remus." Sirius shoved him toward me as I held out my hand. "You would have met him yesterday, but he spent the entire weekend in the library, the studious little devil." Remus shook my hand, and I noticed he had scars on his face and a somewhat gaunt look about him. He smiled at me, and I could tell it was genuine.
"Hello, Remus. I'm Marilyn," I introduced myself, returning his smile. Something was very familiar about him. I felt like I had met him before, maybe in a dream.
"Well, Marilyn," Sirius interjected, "Remus and I are going to go up into the stands to get a good seat." He winked at me.
"You're not going to try out? You've got the build for a beater, you know," I said, eyeing him up and down. He gave a small chuckle.
"Well, like I told James yesterday, I would hate to take the spotlight from him." He came closer to whisper into my ear. "Although, I'm sure you'll be the one to do that." My ears turned red as I blushed. Sirius had such a hold over me that I couldn't shake. He and Remus walked up to the stands and I met James on the field.
One by one, more Gryffindors hiked onto the quidditch pitch, with brooms in hand. We all lined up in front of James, ready for him to give the orders. I looked around at the others, and, to my surprise, I was the only girl trying out. I thought that this would give me an advantage. I was the smallest, and therefore the lightest, so I would be quicker on my broom than the rest of these brutes. I stood up tall and threw my hair back. I had never felt so poised in my life.
"Alright, everyone. Welcome to tryouts," James said as he opened up the box of quidditch balls. "I trust you all know what these are." There were a few mumbles of 'yes' and people nodding their heads. He took out the quaffle and tossed it around in his hands. "We need a keeper, two beaters, and a chaser." James looked at me from the top of his glasses and smirked. I returned his smirk with a toothless grin. "So mount your brooms and have at it!"
All of us pushed off of the ground hard, and I noticed a few of the boys admiring my broom. James released the bludgers and threw the quaffle high in the air. I darted toward the red ball. I noticed a few people who looked like second years race me as I pursued the quaffle. I seized it in my arm and rushed toward one of the goal posts. I hammered the ball through the middle hoop, barely missing the hopeful keeper's grasp. The boy mouthed a swear word as a fist came down on his broom. He looked like he wanted this just as badly as I did. The next goal, I thought to myself, I'll make at the other end of the field.
The first ten minutes of tryouts, I tussled with the other hopeful chasers, and came out on top each time. After a while of me stealing the quaffle and making goals, it seemed that the others banded together, tossing each other the ball in hopes I would not get my hands on it again. The looks in their eyes told me that they knew the outcome of these tryouts, and it did not look good in their favor. After making one last goal before James blew the whistle signaling the end of the scrimmage, I caught Sirius's eye as he watched me from the stands. He had a smirk on his face that told me he was impressed. I smiled to myself and descended to the ground where James was waiting.
"Alright, great job all of you!" He began to clap, as only a couple other people clapped along with him. "I will have the list of the four new players posted in the common room tonight before dinner. Thank you all for coming out!" Everyone started talking amongst themselves as they began walking off the field. James was putting the three balls back into the box when Sirius and Remus came running from the stands.
"You're going to have a hard time choosing your keeper, James," Sirius said, slapping his shoulder. "None of them could block Marilyn's shots!" James chuckled as he locked the box and heaved it onto his shoulder. Sirius gave me a sideways glance.
"You were very impressive out there, Marilyn," Remus said softly. "There's no way James won't pick you." A wide smile crept across my face.
"Now, Remus," James said playfully, "we must not discuss this before I have made my decision. I doubt the other Gryffindors would approve if they knew I was deliberating the tryouts with the girl who showed them all up." We all started laughing as we headed off the field and back up toward the castle.
As we reached the Great Hall, I stopped as the smell of cinnamon toast and poached eggs wafted toward me. I just realized how hungry I was when my stomach started making some unbelievable noises. Sirius locked his arm with mine.
"Let's have a celebratory breakfast shall we?" He muttered in my ear. I just giggled and allowed him to steer me to a spot at the Gryffindor table. "We'll see you boys back in the common room!" Sirius waved at James and Remus, an obvious gesture that urged them to leave him alone with me. I could see James giving him a cautioning stare as they walked away from the Great Hall and up toward Gryffindor tower.