"Mum?" I ask for the 31st time today. "What house were you and Dad in?"
After a sigh and a roll of her eyes, Mum answers; "Hufflepuff, dear, and we're very proud of it. We hope you will be in that house, too."
Honestly, Hufflepuff is my second to last choice, before Slytherin, which is my last. The house I want to get into is Ravenclaw, the house for brains. I don't want to hurt my mum's feelings, though, so I tell her the opposite of what I'm thinking.
"I hope so, too. But what if I don't get in there?"
"Then we'll never love you again. We will disown you, despite our loyal Hufflepuff qualities," Dad replies with a smirk.
"Mark!" Mum giggles, hitting Dad with her hat.
"Kidding!" he shouts, holding his hands up like I always do.
I stop, then look around, puzzled. Busy muggles bustle in and out of the station, weaving through crowds of hundreds.
"I thought this was Platform 9 and 3 quarters," I exclaim as I stand by the barrier between platforms 9 and 10.
Mum scuttles up to me.
"Can't you remember? You go straight though the barrier!" she says, then pushes her hand towards the wall at full force.
I gasp, expecting to see her hand break as it hits the surface of the red bricks. But I am proved wrong. Her whole hand disappears into the wall up to her wrist. I am dumbfounded. Dad runs up like a child, and without a second thought, he dashes through the barrier.
"Cool!" I say, then grab my trolley. With a firm grip on the handle, I push my body into what I think is Platform 9 and 3 quarters , muttering apologies to my black cat, Odyssey.
Platform 9 and 3 quarters is perfect. The smell of smoke from the red and black steam train on the tracks overcomes my sense, reminding me of camping in Wales. Tall wizards and witches (some in traditional pointed hats) are helping their kids with their bags and waving goodbye to them. I look to my sides and my parents are standing next to me, resting their hands on my shoulders. I open my mouth to say something, but I cannot get the words out when a young boy in a pair of jeans and a shirt walks in front of me. He has a deep hazel eyes that draw me to him. He is beautiful.
"Ariel?" a voice says. The boy is gone. "Did you hear that?" It was Dad's voice.
"Oh, um, yeah. Bye!" I stutter, then head off towards the nearest entrance to the Hogwarts Express. I carry my cat in her box in my left hand, and my suitcase in my right. The bags are heavy.
Inside the train it is cosy, and I then begin to worry if there will be any room left. I walk past about half a dozen compartments that are full until I reach the only one that I have come across with room so far. A boy is sitting alone inside, staring out of the window, restricting me from seeing his face. I decide to take my chances and ask to sit with him. I quickly smooth down my loose hair then open the door, poking my head through the gap.
"Excuse me, can I sit here? There's no room anywhere else," I say, awaiting a response.
The boy turns around.
"Yeah, sure! I've been waiting for someone to come!" he says, turning around.
He is the boy. The boy I stared at. His eyes seem to be staring straight into mine.
"Thanks!" I say, half relieved, half surprised.
I sit down gingerly, facing the boy.
"I'm Jesse, Jesse Valentine. What's your name?" he says after an awkward silence.
"Oh, I'm Ariel Winters, but you can call me Ariel," I say without hesitation.
"Thanks, you too."
Then, a plump old lady approaches us, beaming. She pushes a trolley that is packed with some of my favourite sweets.
"Anything from the trolley, dears?" she smiles.
I feel around in the pockets of my bleached jeans, in hope of finding a discarded Sickle, or a couple of Knuts. I have no luck. To my surprise, Jesse has a Galleon in his hand, and is beckoning me to go to the trolley with him. I stand up and obey him, then stop at the trolley. He selects a Liquorice Wand and A Chocolate Frog.
"What do you want to get? It's on me," Jesse says.
I pick a box of Bertie Bott's, then sit down next to him after he pays and I have thanked him. He opens the Wand, then bites into it. He looks at me, picking at my amazing jelly beans.
"Want some?" Jesse offers me the other end of the dark stick.
I nod and nibble it, giggling a little. I then decide that Jesse Valentine is my friend. And I like him. A lot.