"Five more minutes, Emmy!" Mrs. Hansen called from the kitchen.
"Ok!" her daughter called back.
Emerald Hansen was sitting in her reading chair with her nose buried in a book. Her eyes moved back and forth at lightning speed across the page, as if she were watching a very fast Ping-Pong game. Her face was contorted with rage, but mostly sadness. A tear slid down her face and made a large mark on the paper. Sniffing, she looked up, wiped her cheeks with her hands, turned the page, and resumed being absorbed in the addicting words. After several minutes, she gasped and started crying again. With great effort, the young girl closed the book and set it on the table beside her.
"You coming?" her mother called again.
"Yeah!" Emerald choked, and stumbled toward the door. She walked through the hallway, down the steps, and into the kitchen.
"Hi Em-" her mom stopped and opened her mouth in sympathetic alarm. "What happened?"
"Oh nothing," she smiled weakly.
"That's not true. You know you can tell me anything!"
"Seriously, I'm fine. It's just that... Sirius died," the girl said, making a sad face in sort of a playful way.
"Who's that?" she asked.
Emerald gaped at her.
"Oh my God he is like my favorite character in the whole book!" she cried, astonished. "And now he's dead."
With that, she turned around and walked over to the pantry.
"Um, I hope you know that this Serious dude doesn't exist." she said, studying her daughter.
Emerald glared at her and turned to the mountain of food. She surveyed it carefully and finally picked out some cookies.
"What do you think your doing?" her mom asked.
"Eating," she said simply, and started unscrewing the lid to the jar.
"No you're not," she replied, walking over to take it from my hands. "Dinner's in half an hour."
"What is it?"
"Spaghetti, salad, and bread."
"Yum," Emerald said, and sat down in the chair beside her.
She lifted her schoolbag off the ground and set it on the table. Her mom went over to the cabinet and pulled out a pot to cook with.
"What day is it?" the girl asked.
"My Harry Potter competition is tomorrow!"
"Oh yeah," Mrs. Hansen replied.
"I wish you liked me reading this stuff."
"It's not that I don't like you reading it, I just disagree with all the dark magic and evil."
"Mom, I know it's fake. Don't worry, I'm not going to pick up a pretty stick and try to kill someone by waving it," she said, with a trace of sarcasm in her voice.
The following day, after school, Emerald was picked up by her mother. She usually rode the bus home, but because of her competition, she was a car-rider.
"How was your day Emmy?" her mom asked.
"It was good. Nothin' special," she replied.
"Yeah, we just had a few tests, that's all."
"Do you think you did well?"
"I guess. My math test went alright, I only had trouble on a few questions. My science test was nothing. And my Spanish test was fine. I'm not nervous, I expect all A's," she reassured her.
It was not a long trip, and they were there within twenty minutes. Emerald walked in the library with "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in her hands and a confident expression on her face. She sat down on a metal chair in the center of the building. There was a small crowd of people gathered around the 'Harry Potter' section of the shelf closest to her, all studying as hard as they could before the event started. She had read that this was going to be a very easy contest, so the girl only entered for the fun of it. She had been in very hard competitions before, and had won every one of them, so she wasn't too nervous.
Lost in thought, Emerald had not realized that everyone else had sat down and the host had already stood up near the judges table.