"Wake up, Lucille." I shook her.
"Make me." Lucille rolled over in her bed.
I sighed, sometimes it felt like Lucille was 7 years younger than me, not just 7 minutes. "Mother sent me to wake you up-"
"God, okay I'll get up. Now get out of my room." Lucille stood up.
I exited her room and went down stairs to our sitting room. The house seemed less dusty than it had the previous night. I had a nice hot shower, I was dressed, I had eaten and brushed my teeth with a great smelling minty tooth paste; I was all ready to go to Diagon Alley. Lucille on the other hand took around 15 minutes.
"For god's sake will Lucille get down here!" Mother paced the floor. She liked to be ready early in the morning when she went shopping; She hated large crowds and liked to get places before the crowd arrived. "Did I mention that Cornelius Fudge is coming over here tonight for dinner?" I was surprised Mother didn't start hyperventilating. "Lucille get your body down here now!!!"
Lucille came down the stairs fully dressed in hot pink robes. I looked at her and then I looked at myself in my purple robes.
Lucille and I may have been identical in appearance, we're were both strawberry blondes, no actually my hair was sort of chestnut especially at the roots. I was taller and in a way thinner, she had more of an hourglass figure, I didn't really have much of a figure. Also Lucille had an attitude problem, well, actually I kind of had an attitude too. Lucille was kind of more athletic and a little more relaxed. I had trouble keeping cool, even though I'd learned not to complain when you get stressed out or anything like that; I still could get pretty panicky.
We were ready to go. We arrived at Diagon Alley by Floo Powder.
"Wow," Lucille whispered "So this is what we've been missing out on all these years."
Diagon Alley was a very crowded place; I guess Mother was probably pretty disappointed. But somehow the crowd made Diagon Alley even more special, it was busy, it had so many shops; the best description would be something I called Urban Beauty. But it was different than most big cities I'd been to, it was definitely less crowded than Tokyo or Paris and maybe not as interesting either, and less beautiful. Actually in a way it was a lot more special than all those other cities because I had wanted to go back to England these past 7 years and see the things I'd heard about. After all it wasn't exactly fair to be British and lived almost half my life outside of England. I'd lived a year and a half in Japan, a year in America, a year in Canada, half a year in Mexico, half a year in Australia, half a year in New Zealand, and two years in France.
I bumped into a black haired boy with green eyes- and a lightning bolt scar; I knew it was Harry Potter, but all I said was "sorry about that". I didn't want him to think I was some celebrity obsessed teenager.
"How about we meet here in 3 hours?" Mother said with her business like tone. "I have Ministry business."
Once again Lucille and I went our separate ways. I saw the the back of Harry Potter's head and decided to discreetly follow him. I just couldn't resist; I wanted to see where boy who defeated Voldemort shopped even though I knew that my behavior was that of a celebrity obsessed stalker.
I saw him walk into Flourish and Blotts so I counted to 17 and followed him. Then I decided to approach him. "Hello," I said cordially "what year are you in?"
Harry Potter stared at me for a few seconds like he had been expecting me to ask for his autograph. Then he replied "5th year. What year are you in?"
"5th year, but it will be my first year at Hogwarts; My parents are diplomats for the Ministry, so we've been living abroad for the past 7 years. My twin sister and I have had a private tutor since we were 11."
"Well, all I can say is good luck." Then Harry Potter went back to browsing for his school books.
I walked around the store looking for my school books, but then I realized that I forgot my list of school books. I ran over to Harry Potter and tapped him on the shoulder.
He turned around looking kind of startled. "Ummm, yes?"
"Oh, do you have a list of the books we need for school? I forgot mine." I said kind of sheepishly.
"Oh, yeah. You can borrow mine."
I offered him my hand and we shook. "By the way, my name is Daphne Alexander."
"I'm Harry Potter. If you didn't notice already."
My father took Kathleen, Caroline and me to Diagon Alley a week before school began. He walked a while ahead of us and then left us at Gringotts. "Stay together. I have, er, business to take care of. Got it?" he warned us. I was actually thinking of losing Kathleen, but I thought otherwise. Caroline came up from behind us and slammed our heads together. Kathleen stuck her nose in the air and stalked off without a look back for me. I practically had to run to catch up with her; Kathleen's legs are longer than mine. Caroline ran with me because she had no other choice and had been threatened by my mother and father. She casually pushed Kathleen into the closed door, so Kathleen smacked into it.
"Oops! I'm so sorry, dearest cousin Kathleen!" she exclaimed with sarcasm. I just watched.
I thought it probably must have hurt, but if Kathleen felt pain, she didn't show it but simply smirked coldly and replied, "Ooh, I cannot wait to run into you in a deserted alley on a dark night." I wasn't quite sure if she meant this or if she was just saying it to seem villainous. Anyway, after this remark she ran off, weaving skilfully through the throngs of people as if she had been running away from people through crowded streets her entire life.
I wondered if Caroline was in a bad mood because she got in huge trouble the other day after swearing at Kathleen. From what Caroline said, though, I think Kathleen deserved it.
"COWARD!" Caroline called as I dragged her away to find where Kathleen went. Caroline sat there next to me swearing the entire time.
"Do you EVER, EVER shut up?" I said. She pushed me and ran off down this alleyway.
"D#$@!" I whispered to myself. I ran off to Flourish and Blotts to check my book list. I picked up a bunch of books and went to the counter.
"Sixteen galleons." the man behind it said. I reached into my pocket.
"D%$^! D%#@! D$#@! D#%&!" I said, realizing that Caroline had all of my money.
"Ran out of cash, poor boy?" a half-mocking, half-joking voice said by my elbow. I spun around to see Kathleen putting the money on the counter.
"Caroline has it." I said. I felt kind of embarrassed.
"Hey, no problem; such is the life of an older cousin." I thought to myself that she wasn't that terrible after all. She smiled the most realistic smile I had seen since she arrived in England and continued, "I just met some kids who are going to Hogwarts."
"Where! What did they look like?" I asked, searching around. She pointed over to where Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley were standing, looking at books.
"They said they were in Gryffindor," she said, her genuine smile disappearing as she sneered.
"That's Mudblood and Muggle-Lover Junior." I screwed up my face.
She laughed shortly and said, "Nice nicknames, Draco. From what I've seen, it fits them."
We stopped our once in a blue moon intelligent, non conflictive conversation in order to exit the shop.
Caroline and I were down to open rivalry by the time we went shopping at Diagon Alley on August twenty-fourth. The sixth year and I had another verbal fight when we arrived at the Alley and I walked off.
In Flourish and Blotts I bumped into two wizards, a male and a female, who seemed to be about my age.
I didn't sneer, but I didn't really smile either, and said, "Hello. Going to Hogwarts?"
"Yes. And you are...?" This comment came from the boy. I took in his appearance as he spoke; he was tall and gangling and had bright red hair. I smirked slightly when I noticed his rather frayed, obviously handed-down clothes.
"Shroud. Kathleen Shroud. I'm a fifth year transferring from America. You?"
The girl wizard gave a half nod and, tossing her rather bushy brown hair, stuck out her hand as she said, "I'm Hermione Granger. He's Ron. We're fifth years too." We shook hands and, when I asked, they told me they were both in Gryffindor House. I struggled to suppress a rude sneer and smiled brightly and, I suppose, rather falsely.
Suddenly the boy named Ron looked over my shoulder, gave a little shudder and muttered, "Hide me; it's Malfoy."
A sudden wave of relief washed over me and I said cheerfully, "Ah, my cousin! I've been looking all over for him!" As the two Gryffindors stared at me as if I had suddenly broken out in large boils, I turned and walked over to join my cousin at the counter.
I had to pay for Draco's books as well as my own because his stupid sister walked off with his money. How kind of her. So anyway, our next stop was Madame Malkin's Robes For All Occasions. As we walked, we talked about Draco's darling, angelic older sister.
Draco wondered aloud why Caroline and I never got along. This made me blow up and I ranted for a few minutes about her stupidity, immaturity, lack of manners, and basically every bad point of Caroline's personality that I could come up with. I finished with, "She's a miserable B%#$@ and she annoys me so much."
"Language please." he said. I laughed in his face and walked into the shop.
I got all the books I needed for school and went into Madame Malkin's robe shop. In this shop I met more Hogwarts Students.
"I s'pose you're going to Hogwarts too?" this comment came from a girl with brown hair and a slight smirk on her face.
"Yeah, I am," I said cordially. "It's my first time going to Hogwarts, but I'll be in fifth year."
The other nodded and replied, "Same here. I've just transferred from the Salem Wizards' Academy, in America."
"Oh well, my parents work for the Ministry so we did a lot of traveling and it's our first time coming to live in England in seven years."
The other girl nodded again, and, still with that annoying small smirk, said, "I'm Kathleen Shroud, by the way." She jerked a thumb at the boy who had been standing silently next to her this whole time. "He's Draco. My cousin."
I said, "I'm Daphne Alexander. I have a twin sister who's going to the school. Her name is Lucille." Kathleen just nodded again and stayed silent.
The boy said, "Er, are you in fifth year?"
I said, "Yes, are you?" Draco nodded. "So, what's Hogwarts like?" I continued, "I've never been there before."
When Kathleen shrugged to show her ignorance, Draco said, "Hogwarts is okay. The teachers aren't that great; they don't really teach you stuff and sit there doing squat all day. They all pick favorites and you have no chance of being it because they're already all picked."
"Who are the favorites?" I asked.
He sighed and drawled, "Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, the usual."
Kathleen chipped in with, "You know, goody-goodies, suck-ups, non-smokers, et cetera..." When I stared at her, she quickly said, "I'm kidding!"
"Who's Hermione Granger? I've already met Harry Potter but I've never heard of Hermione Granger. She must not be that great. Where do her parents work?"
He smirked. "They're Muggles. They're dentists."
"That's very," I paused, "Interesting."
Kathleen smirked too. I looked at the cousins' twin smirks and could see a definite family resemblance. "Yes," she drawled. "Very interesting."
Their identical haughtiness made me uneasy: my parents were very important in the Ministry so I asked, "What's your parents' jobs?"
"My parents," she said, her nose slightly in the air, "work in the Ministry of Magic in America. The Shrouds are an old wizarding family who have been important Ministry workers for simply ages."
I normally wasn't the haughty braggart type, but I said, "Oh, the Alexander family is very, very respected, and my parents work as diplomats in the Foreign Relations Department, and a pure blood family as old as any." then I added "We live in the Alexander Mansion."
Kathleen recognized the name of the girl's domicile but let it slide by without comment, her smirk widening slightly. Quietly, she said, "Yeah, and I bet your parents love you and your sister to pieces, too. Some people have all the luck."
"Actually, they love Ministers of Magic and fancy dinner parties a lot better."
Kathleen seemed to let her cold smile slip for a moment and seemed almost sympathetic, but when I blinked and saw her, again, with her customary smirk plastered on her face, I thought I must have imagined it. "Yeah," she muttered. "Lucky you."
I said, "So, Malfoy. I've heard of your family; what exactly do they do for a living?"
"Well," he seemed to be searching for an answer. "Well, my respectable father works for the school government. And my mother, er, my mother, she gives tennis lessons and beats up house elves. And gets paid for that." He smiles widely and falsely. "But we're already so rich that she doesn't really need to do anything much."
I had already made my purchases and so I said, "I should be going. I'll see you at Hogwarts."
After our conversation with the Alexander girl, I turned back to Kathleen, who was carefully examining a set of icicle-blue dress robes with a low scoop neck. At first I had wondered (as I watched her look at progressively more revealing dress robes) whether she would actually buy and wear clothes like that, but I figured that in America they might do things a bit... differently.
"We should go find Caroline." I said to Kathleen. Sighing, she reluctantly finished browsing and paid for the robes.
We walked out of the shop and saw Caroline, obviously spelled to stay still, being frisked by the wizard police. She was yelling and screaming bloody murder and then I saw my father walk by her, his head held low with embarrassment. He caught a glimpse of us by the store and I gave him a look that told him "you need to get over here, NOW!" He strolled over, taking his sweet time.
"Yes, son?" he said even slower. He kind of sounded like Dracula in the Muggle movies.
"What's happened to Caroline, Father?"
He sneered. "Not as if it's any of your concern, boy, but she went into Gringotts and killed a couple of goblins, summoned the Dark Mark, and attempted to walk off with five hundred stolen galleons. She's done worse, as you know. However, she most likely will not be beginning Hogwarts with you this year." Kathleen and I smirked at each other as he continues, "She has disgraced the Malfoy blood once again. This will take a long time to clear up." He must have seen me roll my eyes at Kathleen because he said coolly, "And if you ever do anything like this, you will be disowned immediately. I could do that for rudeness too." I rolled my eyes again but if he noticed, he didn't let on.
Kathleen and I slipped away after that and I patiently bore about two minutes of her gloating about how stupid my sister was before I got tired of it and interrupted, "So where are we going now?"
"Pet shop," she answered, an evil glint in her eye. "I need to buy a snake. My mother's fat old cat ate my old one."
I just shrugged and said, "Well, I'm going for ice cream. Meet me there all right?"
Nodding, she walked purposefully off towards the Magical Managerie. I shook my head and walked off in the opposite direction, towards the ice cream shop.
I saw Ministry police (I recognized them by their uniforms) using their wands to put yellow tape around the Magical Menagerie, a crowd had gathered and then had either been screaming, or scared silent. I looked up and saw the dark mark in the sky above the building. I joined the crowd, eager to find out what had happened, not just because I liked the drama but because I was concerned.
Then the police brought a stretcher covered with a white sheet out of the building; I knew what was under there. I gulped and so did the rest of the crowd.
Then the Police Chief stood and made a speech:
"The shop owner and a customer were killed along with almost all of the animals in the store. The culprit is believed to be long gone; I would suggest that you all go to your homes where you will be a lot safer."
I didn't wait any longer. It was probably about time to meet mother and Lucille so I went to our meeting spot; I saw them both frowning at me when I arrived.
"There was a murder." I said hoping that that would be enough of an excuse.
My mother's lips thinned. " I know."
I was with Hermione at the scene of the murder. The minstry workers were rushing around and whispering and shooing off Rita Skeeter, who was trying to get pictures and interviews for the Daily Prophet. I could only think about that girl who said she was Draco's cousin. Hermione was next to me jumping up and down on her tiptoes, trying to see what was happening in the front where all the chaos was.
"So, what do you think of Malfoy's cousin?" I asked her.
She looked at me and replied, "I don't know, she didn't stay long enough for me to really get a good gauge of her personality, but she seems to be a lot like him. And that is not a good sign."
"Oh," I said faintly.
"Why?" she asked me, looking at me quizzically.
My short answer was, "Just wondering."
"Well, she's probably a completely conceited brat, anyway," Hermione shrugged and went back to craning her neck, trying to see what was happening.
"Hermione!" I snapped. "Pay attention! Do you have to nose into this? You can't see; lets leave!"
Looking considerably annoyed, she replied, "Don't you talk to me like that, Ronald Weasley. But fine, have it your way. What should we do now then? I don't see Harry anywhere..."
"Let's go to a sweet shop or maybe ice cream?!" I said.
She shrugged. "All right, then." I caught up to her easily when she started walking off towards Florean Fortescue's; after all, my legs are longer than hers.