I hate dinner parties.
My parents have them all the time. Sometimes they invite their Muggle friends, sometimes they invite their magical friends, and sometimes they invite both. They’re all the same to me, though. The adults pinch my cheeks and tell me how much I’ve grown, and then Mum sends me out to entertain the guests’ kids, who are all under the age of seven.
However, one time was different. Mum invited her boss around, and he brought his wife and daughter with him. My parents treated them like the Royal Family, and I was ignored again.
‘Go see to the children,’ Dad said, ushering me out of the sitting room they reserved specifically for parties. ‘We’ll call you back later when dinner’s ready.’
Dutifully, I dragged myself down to the lounge, where five or so kids were jumping around screaming. I sat down on the settee, trying to block out the noise. Why in the name of Merlin did my parents make me do this?
I started at the soft voice, which was the complete opposite of the yells surrounding me. Glancing up, I locked eyes with the girl standing in the doorway. It was Mum’s boss’s daughter.
‘Um … hi,’ I said, picking up a magazine from the table. It was about the Irish National Quidditch team, and it had to be better than talking to a snobby girl. I flipped through the pages, until an article about their chances for the upcoming season caught my eye.
The girl made her way daintily around the mess of toys on the floor, before perching on the lounge opposite me. I glanced up at her. She wasn’t spectacularly pretty, but she wasn’t hideous, either. She had dark hair that swung around her shoulders, and pale blue eyes. She stared at me, and all of a sudden I couldn’t tear my own eyes away from her.
‘I’m Seamus,’ I said, leaning over and holding out my hand. She shook it.
‘Isha,’ she replied, her eyes still roaming over my face, taking in every detail. I raised an eyebrow, and she rolled her eyes. ‘What? It wasn’t my decision! I like your name, though. It suits you.’
‘How do you know it suits me?’ I asked, frowning. ‘You don’t even know me.’
She smiled, ducking as a ball went flying over her head. ‘I will, though.’
I decided then and there that I loved her.
A young family wandered down Diagon Alley, stopping every now and then to glance in a shop. The father was holding a young girl with bright red hair, and the mother was attempting to control two rowdy boys of about seven and eight, who were dashing around and trying to catch each other.
‘Stop that, James! You too, Al!’ Ginny cried out, snatching the younger boy’s arm. ‘Can’t you just try to get along for a moment?’
‘He’s trying to pinch me, Mum,’ Albus complained. Ginny narrowed her eyes at James, who put his hands up in protest.
‘Hey, it’s not my fault. You’re the one who didn’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.’
‘What’s St. Patrick’s Day?’ Lily piped up, her head resting on Harry’s shoulder. Ginny pulled James and Albus apart as they began to walk again.
‘It’s an Irish holiday, sweetheart,’ Harry said. ‘You’re supposed to wear green. If you don’t, people like James pinch you.’
James’s eyes lit up as he moved towards his sister, but she pulled up the leg of her pants. ‘Look! Green socks!’ she cried triumphantly. ‘You can’t pinch me!’
They laughed, and stopped outside Florean Fortescue’s for an ice cream. Harry put Lily back on the ground, and Ginny went inside to order. The four of them sat at a table, watching people shop in the sun.
‘Daddy,’ Lily asked solemnly, ‘do we get presents?’
‘What for?’ Harry asked, trying not to laugh.
‘For St. Patrick’s Day! You said it was a holiday, and we get presents for Christmas, and chocolate for Easter, and they’re holidays!’
‘Well, you don’t usually give presents. It’s just like another day,’ Harry explained. Lily’s face fell.
‘But if you really want one …’ Harry continued, standing up. Lily clapped her hands together excitedly.
‘Thank you, Daddy!’
‘Watch them until Mum comes back, okay?’ he said to James, ruffling his hair. James looked pleased with the responsibility, and he sat up straighter as Harry went into the shop next door. It was a children’s toy store, and he browsed for a few minutes, looking for something for his children.
When he left the shop, Ginny had returned with ice creams for them. Harry sat down, lifting a shopping bag onto the table.
‘Do you want to see what I got?’ he asked. The children nodded excitedly, and Ginny shook her head.
‘Honestly, Harry, you spoil them too much.’
He simply smiled, and pulled out two child’s broomsticks, which he handed to James and Albus. They were almost the same as normal broomsticks, except they had safety mechanisms on them, and they didn’t fly anywhere near as high.
‘Wow! Thanks, Dad!’ James cried, examining it closely.
‘Thanks!’ Albus echoed with just as much enthusiasm. Lily watched them with a look of awe on her face.
‘What about me?’ she asked, turning to her father. He reached into the bag again, pulling out a small bracelet.
‘It’s a charm bracelet,’ he said, holding it up for her inspection. ‘See the charms? They’re lucky.’
Ginny rolled her eyes, trying not to laugh. Oblivious to this, Lily took it, her eyes shining.
‘Let me see!’ James said, reaching over the table and taking it out of his little sister’s hands. She scrambled up onto her knees, trying to grab it back.
‘James! Let go of my lucky charms!’
Harry and Ginny fell about laughing.