I trudged down the corridor of the Hogwarts Express, lugging my heavy bag behind me. I used my free hand to try and flatten down my white pleated skirt that was threatening to ride up my thighs with every step I took. My extra large Ravenclaw blue sweatshirt hugged my body nicely, keeping me warm as I wandered down the air conditioned hallway.
Tugging at the white collar that peaked out from underneath my sweatshirt, I glanced into every compartment that I passed, hoping to spot some of my Ravenclaw friends whom I haven’t seen all summer.
As I glanced over my right shoulder to see if an upcoming compartment was occupied, someone rammed into my left shoulder. The corridor was really narrow, so I felt their arms tense up as they pushed past me and spat, “Watch where you’re going, you filthy git.”
The cold voice sent shivers down my spine. I clenched my teeth and dug my nails into the palm of my hands, cursing myself for running into him of all people.
I narrowed my eyes, spinning around to face the back of Draco Malfoy’s head as he mindlessly continued making his way down the hallway. I shook my head and muttered under my breath, “Go suck your own dick, Malfoy.”
He stopped in his tracks, whipping around to face me. His cold, gray eyes burned into my dark brown orbs, threatening me to repeat what I had said. “What was that, Lin?”
I straightened my posture, determined to show him that his threats will never faze me. Faking a smile, I tilted my head to one side as I said, “Oh, nothing!”
He stood there for a second, turning his lips into that ugly grimace he always does when he tries to intimidate someone. He looked me up and down before scoffing and turning on his heels, continuing down the hall towards the Slytherin compartments.
I rolled my eyes and spun around. You’d think Malfoy would mature and be a bit more respectful considering we’re heading into Year 4. But no, he’s still just as big of an ass as he was when he first stepped foot into Hogwarts in Year 1.
Then again, who am I kidding. This is Malfoy we’re talking about. How could I ever expect anything other than insults and threats from him?
I continued my trek down the corridor until I finally heard someone calling my name. I looked up to see my friend Cho waving her hands frantically from a compartment a few doors down from where I stood. A huge grin swept across my face as I sped up my pace.
I eventually made it to Cho before wrapping her in a big hug. “How was your summer, Cho? I missed you so much!”
She smiled back, tucking a strand of hair behind her ears as she offered to take my bag and placed it on the cushioned seats inside her compartment. “I’ve missed you too, Alora! And I’m alright. Kind of a boring summer, if I’m gonna be honest. So I’m really excited to be back.”
As she was finishing her sentence, she tried to casually look over her shoulder. I furrowed my eyebrows as I followed her glance. My lips turned into a smirk as I spotted Cedric Diggory leaning against wall of the corridor, joking around with some of his Hufflepuff friends.
“Ahh,” I started. “So that’s why you’re excited to be back.”
Cho whipped around, a faint pink blush appearing on her cheeks. “Wh-what?” she stuttered. “No, haha, n-no not at all. Frankly, I don’t even know what you’re taking about.”
I wiggled my eyebrows, teasing her for having a crush on someone who was two years above us.
As she turned to glance at Cedric once more, he happened to turn his head and look in our direction. His lips slowly turned into a smirk as he looked at the two of us; for a split second, I thought that his eyes had landed on me. I broke out of my trance when I noticed Cho’s knees had buckled underneath her weight; I quickly grabbed onto her arm before she could fall down.
“C’mon, Cho,” I ushered. “Let’s go before he winks at you. I reckon you’ll probably black out at the sight of that.”
She giggled as she followed me into our compartment. A few minutes later, our friends Marietta and Padma joined us. We chatted for what felt like hours, catching up on all of our summers and talking about how excited we were to begin our fourth year at Hogwarts.
“Alora, I heard you and your father went to the Quidditch World Cup over the summer!” Marietta spoke, sitting on the edge of her seat. “How was that?”
I smiled at the memory, “It was amazing actually. With my father working in the Ministry, we were able to get some pretty good seats. Although, we had to sit beside the Malfoy’s, so that was kind of a nightmare.”
Padma winced, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. That must’ve sucked.”
I scoffed, “It really did. I wanted to pull my hair out every other minute.”
The stadium was packed with fans dressed in green and red. Flags were being waved in all directions, people were pushing through the crowds to get to their seats, and all sorts of chants and cheers were echoing from the stands.
“Alora, stay behind me, alright?” my father spoke. “I don’t want to lose you in this crowd.”
I was suddenly shoved to the side by a drunk and slobby man who was pushing his way through the crowd with a bottle of firewhisky in his hand. My hip rammed into the metal railing, and I winced in pain before replying, “Yes, father.”
My father and I hadn’t made it much farther through the crowd before I heard a firm voice speak behind me, “Mr. Lin, how nice to see you again.”
I spun around, meeting the cold eyes of Lucius Malfoy. His right hand held a tight grip on the silver snake that made up the top half of his walking stick. As usual, he was dressed in an all-black robe and wore his greasy, platinum blonde hair down. Before I could look away, he turned to face me, an apathetic grin plastered on his face.
“Ms. Lin,” he nodded curtly. “You’ve grown so much since the last time I saw you.”
I faked a smile before backing up a few steps so that I stood beside my father. As my father held a high title in the Ministry, the Malfoy’s have always been keen to form a close relationship with our family, inviting us to dinners at their manor or cocktail parties with other important members of the Ministry.
“Mr. Malfoy,” my father beamed. “I was hoping we’d bump into each other today. I reckon you brought your son with you?”
As if on cue, Draco appeared from behind Lucius. I tried to maintain the cold stare I held, but it was difficult to mask the shock I felt when I saw him. Draco had grown at least four inches since I last saw him, and his hair was no longer hanging loosely over his forehead; he had his hair parted and slightly slicked back. Like his father, he was dressed in an all-black suit.
“Like what you see, Lin?” Draco teased.
I rolled my eyes, absolutely pissed that this exciting day had to be ruined by the Malfoy’s. Before I could come up with a smart comeback, Lucius spoke again.
“Now, now... There’s no time to bicker. Let’s get to our seats before the match starts.”
Lucius put his arm out, signaling for my father to lead the way. My father nodded politely, advancing down the pathway towards our seats while I remained still, glaring at Draco. With one hand in his pocket, Draco eyed me up and down before scoffing and following in his father’s footsteps. I had no choice but to follow them to our seats, fuming at the fact that I would have to sit next to Draco for the next few hours.
As the sun began to set, we heard the rattling of a trolley off in the distance. My eyes widened as I recognized that to be the sound of the Honeydukes Express.
The four of us hastened out of our seats, leaping to the door of our compartment just as the trolley lady appeared.
“Anything off the trolley, dears?” she spoke, her sweet grin bringing a smile to all of our faces.
“Could we have some Pumpkin Pasties and Chocolate Frogs, please?” Cho said.
“Of course, my dear,” the trolley lady stated as she scrambled to find those items amidst the pile of sweets on her cart.
Just as the trolley lady was about to hand Cho our sweets, Harry Potter stuck his head out from the compartment diagonally across from ours. He stopped in his tracks at the sight of us, noticeably taking a big gulp.
“Anything sweet for you, dear?” the trolley lady asked Harry as she handed me and Cho our orders in exchange for some sickles.
Harry slightly shook his head, coming out of a trance as he looked away from us and towards the trolley lady. “Um, Cho thanks- I-I mean, n-no thanks. I’m alright.”
Marietta, Padma, and I tried to suppress our giggles as a slight blush rose to Cho’s cheeks. We headed back into our compartment, munching on our sweets as we teased Cho about Harry for the rest of the train ride to Hogwarts.