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Brooke opted out of the party that night but that didn’t stop Juliette and I. We primped and preened for almost an hour before she proclaimed that we were ready. We met up with some of the other girls from the Morgan Minxes and were making our way down to the Dangerous Dais’ floor to bring some of the boys along on our escapade. Although we weren’t strictly forbidden from leaving the Academy’s property, Juliette managed to flirt enough with Tyson Chase, one of the Dias Keepers, that she got him to bring our brooms from the equipment shed and hide them just outside the front doors. We were ready for an adventure.

I slowly opened the door to the Dais’ floor and held it open for Daisy O’Neill, another one of the Minxes’ Chasers. She held her left index finger to her lips as she looked back at us, her sharp eyes daring us to contradict her and make any kind of noise. We tiptoed down the hallway until we got to the room we wanted – number 434. Daisy rapped her knuckles on the door as quietly as she could, and as soon as she hit it the third time, it opened.

We all scrambled in, giggling softly as we tried to be as discreet as possible. The door closed quickly behind us and then there we were – five guys and six girls. I noticed Cedric talking to Joseph Daladier and Reid Wheeler, two other boys on the Dais, and I had to believe that they’d known each other before Oakshaft with the easy way they were around each other. I blushed when he noticed me and smiled in greeting. Daisy, Jessica Knox, and Kate Dawson were already off flirting with Tyson and Roger Blackburn – something I couldn’t fathom since both boys had overinflated egos but didn’t have the faces to match – while Juliette and Cheri William were discussing what classes they thought would be most difficult. I tried to engage in that conversation, but even thinking about starting classes and meeting our professors made my stomach turn, and I began to feel overwhelmed by what was coming up. I began to fold in on myself, effectively taking myself out of any conversation.

“Not too excited about tonight then?” A deep voice muttered close to my ear, making me jump.

While I was trying to listen to Juliette and Cheri’s conversation, Cedric had moved his way closer to me, a large grin on his face. “Parties have never really been my thing,” I told him.

He chuckled and moved closer. “Tell you a secret?” I nodded and turned towards him, urging him to continue. “Mine either.”

“Your friends brought you along?” I asked, stepping a bit farther away from him. “Heard you were a party animal, would’ve thought differently.”

“Yeah, that rumour about Hogwarts spread a bit quick, didn’t it?” He ran a hand through his hair and looked down at the ground. “I’ve been holding back as of late. One too many nights I don’t remember, I guess.”

I checked my shoulder to see that Juliette was watching us, her hazel eyes sparkling with mischief as she continued to talk to Cheri. “Yeah, wouldn’t know what that feels like, fortunately,” I mused as I turned back to him.

“Is everyone ready to go?” Daisy’s high-pitched American accent reverberated around the room, drawing all of the attention to her. She seemed to thrive under the attention, her dark eyes glowing and her hand ruffling up her curly gray hair – a colour I would usually believe was faked, but with Daisy, nothing was out of the question. “Come on, I’m not going to party in a tiny room with you losers.”

A few people chuckled, particularly Tyson, who was eyeing her in a way that made me uneasy. The majority of us just stared at the small girl as she bounced to the door. We filtered out after her, making sure to be as quiet as we could as we passed what Joseph whispered to us was their coach’s room. He mentioned that out of all of the coaches, Arthur was the one who would be most likely to actually join us on our escapade. As we made our way out of our new home, the atmosphere around us changed.

Our stifled giggles bounced against stone walls, and our bodies loosened up as we became more comfortable. The silence broke as we darted out of the building, rummaging through the bushes to find our broom. We took a moment to sort everything out, shouting out the models and makes of the ones we found and listening for our own in the mix of voices. Once everyone had their own brooms, we made our way further and further down the Academy’s driveway.

At some point we began to run, our laughs disappearing amongst the trees we passed, teenage antics dissolving in the wind. We finally got to the gate and mounted our brooms in perfect unison, a side effect of the rigorous training all of us had been subjected to in order to qualify for Oakshaft. We each lifted off one after the other, Daisy and Tyson in the lead. I grinned as the wind screamed in my ears and excitement coursed through my veins. There really was nothing like flying.

The wind rushed through my hair and I laughed out loud, coaxing my broom forward. It responded to me as if it had read my mind, speeding up until the wind against my face stung. I swerved in and out of the others, easily making my way from the back of the group to the front. I got so far ahead that I could barely make out their shouts in the distance. But I didn’t care – I hadn’t gone flying like this, so free and without purpose, for a long time.

I moved my feet off the foot grips and perched myself on the broom’s handle itself, my feet far enough apart to distribute my weight. I took one, then both, of my hands off the handle, moving my left foot forward to take their place. Slowly, I straightened up, wobbling a bit as I readjusted my balance. I stared ahead of me, the darkness of the night peppered with lights in the distance; the town we were going to.

I screamed with excitement, surfing the wind on my broom. Adrenaline pulsed through me as I raced through the darkness, going higher and higher until I was surfing on clouds, the cold chilling me to the bone even through my cloak. I didn’t care what we did once we landed, I just wanted to fly forever, weaving my way in and out of the clouds as the rest of the world became unimportant. Judging by the fake IDs that Daisy had given out, enchanted to match the face of whomever was the last witch or wizard to hold them, we would be going to a Muggle nightclub - although we were all of age in the wizarding world, we were still children in the eyes of Muggle law.

What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing?” A voice screamed at me through the wind.

My heart skipped a beat and I began to wobble, the unwanted intrusion startling me into imbalance. I turned my head to see none other than Cedric Wood, his eyes wild with concern as he watched my broom shoot out from under me.

I’d heard stories about Muggles jumping from planes with nothing but a parachute on their back for fun. Mum had even done it a few times and told us about feeling weightless, as if she were flying. She once admitted to me that it was probably the closest thing a Muggle could get to flying, unless of course they were married to a wizard. Or in Mum’s case, married to a wizard with a variety of fliers in the family.

I felt that now, weightless as a feather as I plummeted through the clouds. The only difference was that I didn’t have a parachute. I screamed, the excitement in my voice from only a few moments ago replaced with agonizing fear. My nightmare from just that morning came rushing back full force and I pinched myself to make sure that this wasn’t another one. As I whipped through the cover of the clouds, I realized that this time, I wasn’t going to wake up. I grabbed at the pendant at my throat and began to cry. How fitting it was that I was to die while doing something I loved – flying.

Suddenly my body began to slow, the motion jerky at first, letting me fall a few feet before catching me in a full stop a moment later. I checked my shoulder to see Cheri, her wand outstretched and a massive amount of concentration on her face. Reid and Joseph were behind her, their faces panicked and terrified. My arms and legs were splayed about as I bobbed about in a circle until finally, Cedric whipped through the air and came to an impressive stop just inches from me.

“Merlin, I’m so sorry, I should’ve known better than to startle you, especially when you were in that position,” he rambled. “I should’ve shouted at you well beforehand, I can’t believe what an idiot I am.”

“Cedric.” I heard Cheri shout, her voice muffled by the wind.

Cedric continued, “Oh Merlin, you really could’ve been hurt, I can’t believe how much of an absolute idiot I am, I’m so sorry Molly, I’m so sorry.”

Cedric!” This time he heard her, as he turned towards the sound of her voice. “Cedric please, I can’t hold the spell much longer!”

As she said that, I felt myself slowly beginning to fall again, gravity pulling against the force of Cheri’s charm. Cedric looked confused for a moment before springing into action. He nudged his broom downwards and towards me until he was able to grab me by the waist. I turned in the air and almost as soon as I settled against the broom, I felt Cheri’s charm wear off, Cedric’s broom tilting forward as my full weight was finally applied to the front end of it.

He cursed under his breath and wrapped his arms around me to grab the end, steadying us. His body was warm against my back and I realized that I was shivering, although from fear or the water that drenched my clock I wasn’t sure. A dark figure appeared from the clouds above, the outline of a second broom trailing along behind it unsteadily. As it came closer I recognized Juliette, and was relieved to see that it was indeed my Firebolt Supreme bobbing up and down in the wind behind her. I reached out to it, my heart aching to hold it again.

“Juliette, can you keep that up until we set foot on the ground?” Cedric yelled to her, his breath tickling my neck.

She nodded but I frowned. “I can fly by myself, it’s not as if I’m injured,” I whined, turning as much as I could without falling off this broom.

Cedric raised an eyebrow at me and nodded towards my outstretched hand. “You’re in no shape to be flying. Look at you, you’re shaking. Come on, the others went on ahead for some reason, there’s no time to argue.”

I grumbled in defeat but let him urge his broom forward, following the others into the night.

“Where did you guys go?” Daisy pouted, her arms crossed over her chest, her eyes darting accusingly between Cedric and I as we touched down.

I quickly got off the broom and walked over to Juliette, who handed me my Firebolt. “Cedric startled me and I fell.” I shot a sharp glance at him as I continued. “I almost died.”

Almost being the key word in this story,” he quipped. “She almost died.”

I turned to him, my hands tightening into fists around my broom. “Well I wouldn’t have almost died if you hadn’t startled me.”

“And I wouldn’t have startled you if you hadn’t been doing something incredibly reckless!” he retorted. Then, turning to the rest of the group, “She was standing on her broom. Wasn’t holding on or anything.”

Awestruck faces turned to me and my cheeks flushed. “It’s not as if I haven’t done it before…” I trailed off as Reid shook his head.

“Are you mental?” he marveled, his eyes darting to the broom in my hand. “What, were you using it as a surfboard?”

I shrugged shakily then nodded, a nervous smile spreading across my face. “It’s called cloud surfing.”

I started giggling nervously as did Jessica and Kate. Soon we were all doubled over, laughter bouncing around the small alley we had convened in. Juliette came over and hugged me, hissing at me that if I ever wanted to cloud surf again that I’d bring her along. Roger and Tyson just shook their heads at me, their easy smiles betrayed by the concern in their eyes.

Daisy however, didn’t have time for this bonding moment as she took that opportunity to speak up again. “So, are we going to the club or not? I didn’t get these IDs ready for nothing. Do you know how many Muggles I’ve pickpocketed over the years for these, not to mention the countless charms put in place only today on about half of them that were out of date? We are not wasting these or this night!”

We sobered up quickly and hid our brooms behind one of the large trash bins in the alley, casting charms so that Muggles wouldn’t come across them. Then we set out for Daisy’s nightclub, which was only a few blocks away. Although there was a long line, she ushered us towards the front where a hulking man stood, his presence intimidating. Daisy smiled flirtatiously at him, twirling a small piece of gray hair around her index finger.

I turned to Cheri, who smirked as the bouncer stepped aside. Each of us flashed our IDs one after the other and walked into the club. Daisy was waiting for us inside, somehow already with a drink in hand.

“And that, boys and girls,” she sighed, “is how we Yanks get things done. Now who is ready to get this party started?”

We all roared in approval and made our way through the throng of people that were already crowded on the dance floor. Juliette grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the bar, a fistful of Muggle money already grasped firmly in her hand. Daisy brought a mountain of it with her and helped us trade our Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts with her before we left, even though she’d assured us girls that we probably wouldn’t need it. Once we reached the bar, it was as simple as Juliette batting her eyes for the bartender to make his way towards us.

“What’ll it be ladies?” He gave us a charming smile and winked.

Juliette giggled and ordered two vodka martinis. Once we got them I spotted Joseph through the crowd, sitting at a booth with Reid and Cheri. We made our way over to them and sat down just before Cedric appeared, a round of shots in hand. He had a few of them hovering between the ones he held, so it seemed as though he was just quite adept at carrying drinks. Nonetheless, I scanned the faces of the Muggles he passed, making sure that his careless act wasn’t picked up. My worry lessened as I realized that most people who looked over at Joseph were either drunk or blatantly staring at his chest - rightfully so, I might add; the boy was obviously sculpted even through his shirt. We said our cheers and they downed their shots as Juliette and I sipped on our drinks. Cheri made a sour face as she placed her empty shot glass back down on the table.

“Merlin, I hate vodka with a passion,” she choked out, coughing on the aftertaste.

I giggled, the warmth of the liquor already beginning in the bottom of my stomach. “Vodka is absolutely terrible, Cheri. You just need a better poker face.”

“And you have a good poker face?” Cedric chuckled, catching my gaze.

I smiled sweetly and took a sip of my martini. “Well, I’m able to pretend I put up with you, so I’d say it works like a charm.”

The rest of the table laughed while Cedric pantomimed his heart breaking. “Oh you wound me, Weasley,” he taunted, pretending to wipe a tear off his face. “Next time I guess I won’t save you from falling to certain doom.”

“Oh Wood, I guess I’ll have to find another knight on a shining broomstick.” With that I turned and blew a kiss in Reid’s direction, winking as I did so.

He ‘caught’ the kiss and brought it to his heart. “And so I shall be the damsel’s knight, forevermore.”

We dissolved into giggles as Joseph left to go get another round for the table. Juliette passed her drink to Cheri who took a sip and immediately gagged. We doubled over with laughter once again as she shook her head in distaste.

“So, how do you girls like it on the Morgan Minxes?” Reid asked after we were finally able to breathe.

“I love it,” Cheri chirped, giving Juliette the evil eye. “Most of them are really nice.”

We all laughed again as Joseph came back with the drinks.

“I wish I was on a mixed team to be honest,” I sighed, reaching for one. “If I’m going to be the best I can be, I want to play with the best I can play with. I don’t want gender bias to be the reason I don’t play with people who can make me better.”

The others mulled it over, heads nodding in unison. “I get that,” Juliette mused. “But then we’d have to share a changing room with them and the smell alone would drive me to jump from the hoops.”

We all cheered for that, bringing our glasses together and then shooting them back. Cheri coughed once again and we all laughed.

“No more vodka,” she pleaded.

“Poker face,” Cedric and I said in unison, and then we once again dissolved into giggles.

My mouth felt like it was made of cotton balls. The light shining through the curtains across the window burned hotly against my eyelids, flooding my vision with red. It was much too bright to open my eyes so I tried to turn over in bed but was stopped by another body. I stiffened quickly then shot up, my gaze travelling to the boy who was just waking up beside me. Reid’s tussle of red hair burned brightly against his white pillow, the colour almost blinding as he stirred. Clutching the blanket to my chest, I looked under it to check that I did indeed have clothes on, although there was only a fairly large t-shirt I assumed belonged to Reid and my undergarments from the night before. Reid finally turned to me, groggy eyes shining with happiness.

“Good morning,” he croaked, his voice rough and deep. “Before you get any ideas,” he tousled his already messy hair and smiled lazily; “you and Juliette were too drunk to get back to your room last night.” He motioned with his head to the other bed where I could see my roommate nuzzled against a fairly large pillow. I looked to the floor and saw Joseph still fast asleep as well. “Your brooms are in my closet and your clean clothes are on Joseph’s dresser.

I felt my cheeks burn as I nodded slowly. “And you didn’t sleep on the floor because…”

Reid reached out and grabbed my hand, his own so hot it burned against my frigid skin. “You were complaining that it was too cold. I promise that nothing happened. I would never do that.”

Juliette stirred in Joseph’s bed but didn’t wake up. I pressed my lips together tightly and stared at Reid. His gaze was unmoving, sincerity swimming in his blue eyes. My clothes were on Joseph’s dresser and I did have a vague recollection of being extremely cold the night before; and that I had spilt at least one drink on myself which was probably why Reid had let me sleep in his shirt.

I sighed as I pulled the blankets closer to me. “I believe you. Now, could you please get me my clothes?” I looked down at my legs covered in the dark blue fabric. “I’m not wearing any pants,” I whispered accusingly.

Reid’s easy grin grew but he did as I asked and swiftly got up, his quick movements leaving me to shiver in his bed as his warmth left with him. He grabbed my clothes from the dresser and threw them to me. With a great deal of difficulty, I managed to shimmy into my pants while still underneath the now cold duvet. I waited for him to start rummaging in his closet to strip his shirt off and slip into mine. I began to shiver and noticed my cloak from the night before hanging on a hook near the door. Before I could jump out of bed and grab it, Reid had thrown yet another article of clothing my way.

“It’ll look suspicious if you go down to breakfast with your cloak,” he explained as I unraveled the fabric to reveal a large hoodie. “I figured you must be hungry by now, or at least need some water?”

I nodded, the cotton feeling in my mouth getting worse with every passing minute. Shrugging into the sweater, I cast the covers aside and jumped out of his bed. I crossed the room, managing to avoid Joseph’s sleeping form as I did so. Reid held out a pair of fuzzy slippers in the shape of footballs and I rolled my eyes, trying to conceal the smile on my face before I slipped those on too before we escaped to the Canteen.

“So how did we manage to get back here?” I muttered as we walked down one of the impossibly cold hallways. I snuggled into Reid’s sweater, the smell of his cologne making me shiver.

He laughed and shook his head at me. “Joseph took Juliette on his broom and Cedric took you on his. He’d offered to let you stay with him but you were dead set against leaving Juliette alone with Joseph and I.”

I grinned. “Sounds like me. Thanks for taking care of us. I really appreciate it.” I bumped him lightly with my shoulder and smiled as sincerely as I could. I truly was grateful that he and Joseph had been there for us. Cedric too, although I was debating whether or not to let him off the hook for causing me to fall - he was much too easy to tease.

Reid looked down at the ground then back up at me. “Yeah, it’s no problem. It was a fun time.”

We entered the Canteen and made our way to the buffet line where Reid piled his plate high with sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, baked beans, hash browns, and half a tomato while I settled for two fried eggs and some toast with strawberry jam. We each got a cup of tea and I got an extra cup of coffee and one of water, then we made our way through the dining area with our trays before finally settling at one of the many round tables that had been set up. Almost as soon as the trays hit the table, Reid started shoveling food into his mouth, making my stomach turn. I drank my water and my coffee – two spoons of cream and four heaping mounds of sugar – before starting on my eggs, which were cooked to perfection.

“Are you going to eat all that?” I finally broke the silence and pointed to the heaping pile of bacon that Reid had on his plate.

He surveyed me suspiciously then shoved his plate my way. “Take a piece or two if you’d like. I can always get more.” I smiled appreciatively then dug in, taking a grand total of four. “Oi! I said one or two,” he swiped at my hand, pouting. “If you wanted bacon, there was a perfectly good pan in the buffet line, you bacon-stealing heathen.”

“I’m a growing girl, Reid,” I retorted, winking at him as I swiped another piece. “I need my protein. How else am I supposed to go cloud surfing?”

“You’re mad, you know that?” he grumbled, shoving the tomato into his mouth. “How did you ever learn to do that by the way?”

I shrugged and swiped a hash brown as he glared. “I had to do something impressive to get in here. I saw the Magpies try it a few years ago and decided to learn it right then and there. Took me an entire summer to be able to stand up like that on a broom.” I downed the last of my tea in a swift move and grinned.

He laughed and shook his head. “You’re determined I’ll give you that. So you’re a Magpies fan then?” I nodded as he pulled out his keys, a small black and white magpie keychain hanging off the ring. “Glad I’m not the only one.”

A grin spread across my face and we launched into talking about the recent season, arguing and laughing well into the morning.

The water pounded against my aching muscles and I groaned as the pain slowly subsided. Practice had just ended but I could still hear Dan Hubbard, our trainer, yelling at us to keep running, to ignore the pain, and Bridgett Hays, our strategist, calling out play after play, giving us only seconds to grab the Quaffle she would throw into the air and race down the pitch before we had to double back just to start all over again. Once we were back in the changing room, Anabelle Greene, one of our Beaters, put on music. The song that was playing at the moment was drowned out by the stream of water I was standing under.

I had no idea how any of them still had any energy after the four-and-a-half-hour practice we’d just endured. If it weren’t for the promise of fish and crisps in the Canteen, I would’ve sat down in the shower and never gotten up. I rinsed the last of the conditioner from my hair and turned off the shower, quickly wrapping two of my three towels around myself, the cold air piercing my body. As I walked out of the shower stall and back into the main part of the changing room towards my locker, I twisted my hair up with my last towel. As I grabbed my clothes from the top shelf, I turned to see Brooke and Juliette walking out of the shower area as well, smiles across their faces.

I liked Brooke. She had no tolerance for bullshit and would call you out on it within seconds, her personality as fierce as she was on the pitch, her bat flying. But she also seemed really sweet and if Juliette liked her, she must be. I smiled in greeting when they walked over as I struggled to put on my jeans over my damp legs.

“Is it just me or are your legs killing you as well?” Brooke whined as she sat down beside me. “Juliette says she feels fine.” She glared at the girl who was standing in front of us with her arms crossed.

I stretched out my own legs, feeling the pull and ache of sore muscles. “Nope, it’s definitely not just you. Juliette’s just horrifically in shape.”

Juliette grinned and shook out her already dry, blonde hair. “I wouldn’t say that.”

Brooke rolled her eyes as Juliette and I giggled. We all dried ourselves off and pulled on our clothes before heading to the Canteen with the other girls. We raided the buffet and had just sat down when the Dais arrived, followed closely by the Powerhouses. The Bears had already arrived and were seated on the other end of the Canteen, and as the noise level grew, it became almost impossible to hear each other unless we were shouting.

“So where are you all from?” Anabelle asked, her normally loud voice a perfect level for us to hear over everyone else. “I went to Ilvermorny, and I’ve never really travelled, so this is all so surreal to me.”

“I went to the Castelobruxo, over in Brazil,” Brooke yelled, just before shoving another piece of fish into her mouth. We were all ravenous, the amount of food piled on our plates could’ve rivaled the amount on the boys’. “The rainforests there are more amazing than you could ever imagine.”

“I went to Beauxbatons Academy of Magic,” Juliette continued, her usually soft voice travelling as she struggled to keep herself heard.

They both turned to me and I almost choked on my pumpkin juice. “Oh, I went to Hogwarts. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

Anabelle’s eyes widened and she leaned forwards. “So you went to school with that Joseph guy. God, I’ve got such a crush on him.” We giggled and her cheeks flushed. Her gaze flickered to a table to my right and the rest of us whipped around to see a group of Dais at the next table over. “Hey! Be a bit subtler, yeah?” Anabelle growled.

Our quick reaction caught Cedric’s attention and he nodded at me while still talking to Joseph and Reid. I raised an eyebrow and propped my cheek up on my hand, almost daring him to come over, but he just shook his head and chuckled, then turned back to his friends. When I turned back to Juliette and Brooke, they were staring at me accusingly.

“Only here for Quidditch?” Juliette muttered, the edges of her mouth turning up into a smirk. “I definitely believe you.”

I shrugged and finished off my last piece of fish. “I am.” With a quick glance back at the boys’ table, I felt my heart skip a beat as my gaze met Cedric’s. I quickly turned again and blushed fiercely. “But that’s not to say I can’t think that someone might be cute.”

We erupted in giggles, drawing the attention of the other three girls at the table. Jessica gave us a dirty look but Daisy looked intrigued, while Kate seemed to want to go back to their conversation. But before Daisy could ask us anything, the coaches walked into the Canteen, something about their presence causing everyone to quiet down and stare at them as they stood in the entranceway.

“You may not have known this,” Sonia, the coach for the Broadmoor Bears, said, her voice traveling in the large room, “but today was not just some ordinary practice. Today was also yet another tryout.”

Arthur stepped forward, cheers from the Dangerous Dais accompanying him. “You have already been scouted for Oakshaft and have obviously shown that you have what it takes in your entrance tryouts. You may have realized that there are fourteen of you for every team.”

“That is because for each team there will be a First String Team and a Second String Team,” Jenna continued. “They are not set in stone, but we have taken into consideration the amount of effort everyone put into the practice this morning. First String Teams will be composed of those players most likely to get offers from reserve teams.”

“You’ll find the lists in your changing rooms and the first match is tomorrow, the First String teams of the Morgan Minxes versus the Broadmoor Bears,” Heather finished, her tone so much different than her usual bubbly personality.

They took one more second, the whole performance so theatrical that it almost seemed fake, then walked out. Almost as soon as they were out of view, chairs scraped against the hardwood floor and there was a stampede to put trays away, although some left theirs right there on the tables. It was a rush to get out of the building, and I was squished between Florence and Cheri as we all raced towards the pitch. As soon as we reached the threshold, everyone began to run, each towards their respective changing rooms.

Ava McKnight got to our changing room first and flung the door open, the rest of us crowding around the door and shoving each other until we had all crowded into the room. Ava had grabbed the list and was standing on one of the benches, facing us as she waited for everyone to listen to her.

“First String!” she called out, the murmurs in the room stopping as we all felt the same pit in our stomach. “Keeper: Cheri William.” Cheri beamed but otherwise kept quiet. “Seeker: Roseann Short.” Roseann, aptly named because of her small size, yelped a bit, her face going white. “Beaters: Brooke Aguilar” – Juliette cheered and hugged Brooke who seemed about as surprised as Roseann – “and Anabelle Edwina Greene.” Anabelle shrieked and hugged Roseann, the two girls clinging to each other. “Chasers: Juliette Michaud,” – I felt woozy as Brooke and Juliette celebrated – “Ava… Erica… McKnight… oh Merlin, I got First String!” she screamed, jumping up and down and letting the list slip through her fingers.

Daisy, Jessica and Eleanor Weiss, the other three Chasers vying for the last First String position, converged onto the list, but I was frozen in place. I couldn’t bear to look at the list and see my name under Second String. I’d promised Dad that I’d get all my N.E.W.T.s, but in truth, I was skeptical. I wasn’t as smart as Dominique or Lucy or Rose. I’d fought tooth and nail just to get my O.W.L.s while Dominique had barely glossed over her notes and Rose had studied only the night before. Quidditch was all I had. It was the one thing that set me apart from any of the cousins. Although we all had some experience playing Quidditch, I was the only one who had ever thought of it as a career.

I watched as the girls fought over the paper, elbows and nails flying. Finally, Jessica managed to wrestle it from the other two, her greedy eyes scanning the paper until they finally came to a halt. Her face dropped into disappointment, then hardened into a sneer.

Molly Weasley.

A.N.: Thank you so much to my wonderful Beta Julie/banshee for everything she's done for me and this story!

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