I collapsed into the soft leather of the Hogwarts Express seat, and closed my eyes. I felt confident that, like in my first and second year, I would succeed in third. The train carriage is empty, except for me. I could hear laughter and excited chatter from the carriages next to me and sighed. It seemed I had been so busy making sure I kept up with my studies that I forgot to make friends. I sunk down in my seat and wrapped myself up in my soft black cloak.
I was preparing to sleep when I heard the door rumble open. I sat bolt upright, my eyes wide and my hand clutched firmly on my wand. A girl who looked about my age, fourteen, with deep brown eyes and black hair that tumbled her back was staring down upon me. A shining green and silver badge shined against her chest, emblazoned with an emerald snake. She smiled - almost a smirk - and settled down next to me. I tried not to meet her gaze and instead stared intently at my wand.
Mr. Ollivander had been especially kind to me. He sat patiently, waiting as I tried wand after wand and as each failure produced a different destructive spell. But then, finally, I had found my wand. It was 13 inches and strong, made of sakura wood with a phoenix tail core. I polished it every night, I found it worked better when kept in good condition.
I realized that I couldn't avoid her eyes any longer without seeming rude, so I hesitantly looked up.
"H-Hello... What's y-your name?" I finally managed to stutter out.
"Grace Nebel. And you?" she asked, almost bored.
"My name is Thea," I replied simply. A long silence followed, awkwardness filling the air as thickly as and noticeably as choking smog. A rattling noise shattered the tension as the snack trolley arrived, packed with all sorts of sweets, candies, and chocolates. Grace, the Slytherin girl, sat up and rubbed her hands together. "Ooh... I'll take three chocolate frogs and a pumpkin pasty!" she said, a grin lighting up her face. The trolley woman smiled sweetly and handed her the requested treats.
"That'll be 21 sickles, dear," the woman said in a voice as sweet as honey. She turned to me while Grace handed her the coins. "Anything for you darling?" she asked me in the same honey-soaked voice.
"Ah...can I...um - uh... May I please have one pumpkin pasty and a bottle of pumpkin juice?" I already had the money counted out: one galleon. I placed it in her hand as she pushed her trolley off to the next carriage.
The door rumbled open once more, and a tall figure swept in and sat opposite of me and Grace. I tried to look at him without anyone noticing. His curly black hair nearly hid his eyes, and he had a rather crooked smile on his face. Most girls would have given them a flirtatious look, maybe flick their hair, but I was always quite shy around guys. But yet, it would be rude if I didn't acknowledge his arrival.
"H-hi. What's y-y-your name?" A wave of frustration washed over me. Damn my stutter, I must have sounded like an idiot!
"My name's Michael." He grinned impishly. He had on a Slytherin scarf, which made me feel very excluded. I brushed the feeling aside as some silly, childish thing. He pulled out his wand and twirled it around his fingers. The scenery stopped whizzing by in the window, and the only view was a huge castle. Hogwarts...I was finally home.