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Alyssa Hoofer

New Years Sleep-Over

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Alyssa Hoofer

It was New Year's Eve, and Alyssa felt very nervous. She’d been having sleep-overs with Clarissa, Hailey, and sometimes her cousins every year, but this time it was different. She was inviting three of her school friends along with Clarissa and Hailey. Her friends were going to see her house for the first time, and they were going to meet Clarissa. What if they didn’t get along? What if they saw everything Alyssa had and did decide she was a spoiled brat after all?

 

She had two beds in her room, her parents had decided years ago to let them have two beds for sleep-overs. Usually, Clarissa or Hailey occupied the other bed. If her cousins were over, they shared the beds. Alyssa wasn’t sure if her friends would be comfortable with that, so her parents had set up cots in her room too.

 

She’d spent the morning setting up her room for her friends. Her mother had decorated it all pink when she was a little girl, but Alyssa wanted to change it soon. Eventually, she wanted to have it all in Hufflepuff colours. For now, she just had some Hufflepuff hangings on the walls to represent her house.

 

She didn’t know exactly what the girls would want to do, but she’d set up a spa system in her room. At her vanity table, she had all the makeup and nail polish she owned set up. There were also some of the facial masks and cleansers she’d gotten for Christmas. She’d also brought out several clothes for them if they wanted to dress up, although they could always choose more from her walk-in-closet. She a little nervous about showing it to them as well, others who had seen it had remarked on the fact that she more clothes than at a shop. Her friends weren’t all her size, but her mum had charmed the clothes she’d pulled out so that when they would put them on, they would fit instantly. She wasn’t sure what else to set out, but she’d decided she would ask the girls what they wanted to do. It was for all six of them after all.

 

Alyssa had her own fireplace in her room, which she’d told her friends to floo into if they were using the floo. She glanced over at the flames which were burning merrily, making the room feel nice and cozy. She often had a bit of draft in her room for some reason, and no amount of charms took it away. The fire always helped. Recently, her parents had to put a shield around the fire because of her new kitten, Scrappy. At the moment, he was on the bed sleeping but she worried about him trying to get into the fire.

 

“You’re nervous,” little Hailey stated as she walked into the bedroom.

 

Hailey was the only Hoofer sibling with blond hair. She was a cute little girl, looking smaller than her seven years. Their mother had a difficult pregnancy with her, and Hailey had been born too early. The result was that she’d been sickly as a little girl, and though she was healthier now, she was still very small and looked too skinny. She had a good appetite, but the little girl never seemed to gain weight. Alyssa thought her little sister had an angelic look to her. At the moment, she was dressed in a dark pink dress that had a white unicorn on the front and looked even more innocent and sweet than usual. She'd likely wanted to look the same as Alyssa, who also wore a dark pink dress. Her parents had bought it for her for Christmas. It fit perfectly, and she thought she looked grown up in it. It hung just above her knees and was short sleeved. She wore pink nail polish on her fingernails and toenails to match. At the moment, her feet were bare. 

 

“I am very nervous,” Alyssa agreed. “You know how Clarissa can be and what if they take all this in and think I am spoiled.”

 

“They won’t,” Hailey assured her though she’d never met them.

 

Alyssa had told her a lot about her friends, but Hailey also believed the best in everyone. Alyssa had told her only good things, well, she only had good things to tell anyway. She liked everything about her friends. To someone as sweet and innocent as Hailey, she couldn’t imagine them thinking less of Alyssa since she’d told her so many good things.

 

Hailey made her way over to the bed and then sat down on the guest bed. She frowned.

 

“Clarissa has been mean to me lately,” she replied. “She’s never been mean to me.”

 

“What do you mean?” Alyssa asked for she was very protective of her baby sister. If Clarissa had hurt her in any way, physically or emotionally, she would have to say something.

 

Hailey shrugged. “You know what she can be like. She was always nice to me, but now she’s the same with me as everyone else. She might be mean to your friends.”

 

“I hope she’ll behave,” Alyssa said and she joined Hailey on the bed.

 

She gazed around the huge room. Her friends could be coming at any time. She’d told them to come at whatever time they could. She’d never given much thought to how big her room was, not even when she went over to Clarissa’s. However, she was looking at it through new eyes. It was even bigger than the Hufflepuff dormitories and she shared that room with several girls. How would this room look to her friends? She had her own bathroom and fireplace after all. She had her own furniture set up across from the beds, and it looked as if they were in a separate room. Where she and Hailey sat, they could see into it. They could see the window seat and a couple of the chairs. Her muggle aunt had once remarked that it was the size of a small flat.

 

The flames in the fireplace suddenly grew bigger. Alyssa tensed up, and saw that it was Clarissa. She was wearing a red dress that would be pretty, but it was far too big for Clarissa. She looked as if she was swimming in it. On her feet, she wore red high heels that she seemed to wobble in a little. They’d spoken a couple of times over the holidays, but they hadn’t hung out as much. In the past, they would spend every day together. Alyssa still felt some resentment for her friend for her mean letter, and now she was worried that the girl could ruin the night. Clarissa had been spending a lot more time at home due to having a new baby sister, Michelle. However, Alyssa had a feeling she was avoiding her too. She stared over at her friend who wore a smirk on her face.

Edited by Alyssa Hoofer

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Clarissa Perenge

Clarissa stepped out of the fireplace (more like wobbled as she wasn’t used to high heels) and glanced around the room. Right across from her was Alyssa, and Hailey. She could see the nervousness in her friends eyes, and if she had to guess, Hailey had been reassuring her moments before she’d arrived. So likely they’d been talking about her. She doubted Alyssa needed reassurance when it came to her new friends. The fact that Alyssa had new friends annoyed her so much, but it annoyed her even more that they seemed so perfect. Though perhaps they weren’t. Alyssa rarely had a bad thing to say about anyone after all.

 

The Hoofer’s were too perfect in her opinion. At least Hailey and Alyssa were. Sure they were both shy, and they were pushovers, but everyone found them endearing. They all thought they were cute, sweet, perfect little children. William and Cameron could be just as annoying as well, but at least they appeared to have flaws. At least William had a bad streak to him. He was the only one out of the four who was a trouble-maker. The other three were nothing but goody-two shoe pushovers. Hailey would be the worst out of all them. There was still some hope for Cameron, and once Clarissa was at school, she’d change Alyssa.

 

She smirked as she glanced around the room. She’d gone to so much trouble for tonight. Alyssa did her best to hide her wealth, and yet clearly she was trying to show off. She had so much set out for all of them. She wanted to impress her guests, and she would want them to have fun. So she’d forgotten all about her need to be modest, and she’d gone all out for this sleep-over.

 

“Guess nothing isn’t too expensive when it comes to your guests,” Clarissa said with a sneer. “You’ve never had to impress me, but you have to with them? Guess they aren’t as perfect as you’ve made them out to be. They’ll never replace me you know, and I don’t intend to let them. I’ll let them know tonight that I come first in your life.”

 

She glanced at Hailey who stared at her with wide innocent eyes. “What are you staring at?” She demanded. She couldn’t explain it, but Hailey had been annoying her lately even though the little girl barely talked. “My sister is cuter you know,” she added. “So is Elliot. In fact, my brother and sister are better. You’re family isn’t so perfect anymore.”

 

It had been a long time since she’d been in this room. When Alyssa had gone away to school, her parents had charmed it so it stayed shut at all times. According to Alyssa, it was so that William and Cameron didn’t sneak into her room. Some of it looked the same, but there were now Hufflepuff decorations on the wall too. Leave it to her friend to be sorted into Hufflepuff of all houses. She wanted to make sure they were in the same house, but she wasn’t so sure about being sorted there. She’d prefer Gryffindor.

 

“You should have been sorted into Gryffindor or Ravenclaw,” Clarissa stated as she walked over.

 

She sat down on the other side of Hailey, and put her arm around the small girl. She felt her tense up. Lately for some reason, Hailey seemed nervous around her. She looked quite a bit like Alyssa, but not really. She could have been Clarissa’s sister instead of Alyssa. She had blond hair, so she would be the best looking Hoofer sibling. Blonds were always the best looking.

 

“I don’t quite like the idea of Hufflepuff. I’m only doing it to keep an eye on you. I still should have gone to Hogwarts with you. It’s not fair that I don’t get to go only because my birthday is in October. You’re not better than me just because you were born in February,” Clarissa continued. “If I’d gone we’d be in Gryffindor instead. You’re only in Hufflepuff because you begged the hat to let you be there so you’d be like your parents. I don’t want to be like my mum and dad so why would you? Let me guess, your friends are Puff’s too?”

 

Clarissa let out a snort and wondered where the twins were. She figured she’d spend some time with at least William. It was going to be a Hufflepuff nightmare that night. The fact that this time next year she’d have to be a Hufflepuff too didn’t sit well with her. She was doing it for Alyssa though.

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Alyssa Hoofer

Alyssa glared over at the girl who she’d once considered to be her best friend. She didn’t know if they could ever get back to the level of friendship they used to have. Alyssa wasn’t the same girl she had been back in the summer. She was no longer that shy pushover of a girl that Clarissa hoped she was. Ever since she’d sent that letter, something had broken between them.

 

All she wanted was for tonight to go well. She’d been hoping that Clarissa had grown up since the letter. All she wanted was for her new friends to meet her childhood friend. She wanted all of them to get along. She’d told her friends some things about Clarissa, and she had a feeling they weren’t sure if they were going to like her or not. If Clarissa pulled this attitude when they arrived, they wouldn’t like her. Why couldn’t she go back to the way she had been when they were little? Something had taken over her friend to the point that Alyssa often wondered if they could remain friends.

 

“My friends don’t care about my money,” Alyssa stated. “Everything here isn’t new, except maybe anything I got for Christmas. They’re going to use my things. What am I supposed to do? Hide it all and have us sleep in a closet? I just want to treat my guests right, and I don’t need to impress them. They’ve liked me since they met me. They would never take advantage of me or assume I should ask mum and dad to bribe anyone. They may not be perfect, but they’ve been real friends to me more than you have been lately.”

 

Perhaps it was a low blow, but Alyssa couldn’t help it. They hadn’t really discussed the letter since she’d come home. Clarissa had respected her wishes, and she hadn’t written back to Alyssa. The two hadn’t talked at all until Alyssa’s return home, and even then it was brief. Clarissa had given her the same attitude she was now. Maybe this sleep-over was a bad idea after all. Thankfully, if Clarissa was too mean, she could make her go home. She lived next door after all. She didn’t want to fight, but if Clarissa was going to insult her new friends or give them attitude, they just might.

 

She felt anger and her face felt warm when Clarissa began insulting Hufflepuff house. She was sure her face was red. It was a great house, and it was where their parents had met. If Ellen, Clarissa’s mum hadn’t been sorted into Hufflepuff then they wouldn’t be friends at the moment. Things would be so different. Hufflepuff was great, and so far, Alyssa liked all her housemates.

 

“Then sort anywhere else,” Alyssa snapped and glared at her friend who had her arm around Hailey who was obviously uncomfortable. “And I don’t think Hailey wants you touching her. Gracie-Mae and Tami are in Gryffindor and Zsu is in Hufflepuff with me. I told you that. Look, you and I need to have a long talk but it won’t be right now. They’ll be here soon. I don’t know how they’re getting here, I told them to come through my floo if they’re flooing but they might come another way. I want you to get this attitude out of your system right now though. You will not be mean to my new friends tonight, or Hailey, or, or the twins if they join us! If you’re like this tonight, you can go right on back home! Tonight is supposed to be a fun night to ring in the New Year, and for us just to get to know each other. Give them a chance, they really are great.”

 

She glared at her friend defiantly. Clarissa glared back, but then the other girl suddenly relaxed and grinned. It was her fake ‘let’s make peace’ smile, but nevertheless, a smile. Alyssa would take this over the attitude. As long as she was pleasant, and she likely would be now.

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Clarissa Perenge

Perhaps tonight would be fun after all. She was making her friend squirm. She would behave, or she would try. She would do her best to give them a chance, but Clarissa couldn’t help but notice loyalties had switched. Why was Alyssa defending her new friends over her lifelong friend? Maybe she wasn’t as nice and sweet as she acted. Clarissa often put on the cute sweet girl act too, but she admitted it was fake after a while. Most of the time, people knew where they stood. Alyssa was different though, and she wasn’t supposed to be more loyal to people she’d known for three minutes over someone she’d known for eleven years!

 

“Relax,” she said as she rolled her eyes. “And I dunno what you want to talk about. Get over the letter already. I won’t be mean to them, but they are going to know I come first in your life. You know I do. You think they’ll always stick around? They won’t. I will always be here though.”

 

She released Hailey who moved away and then scrambled into Alyssa’s lap. Clarissa shook her head with a smile. The little girl would never survive Hogwarts. She was too timid. She could imagine eleven-year-old Hailey clinging to Alyssa who would be fifteen. Everyone would think she was weird for following her big sister around and they wouldn’t want to be friends with her. Clarissa knew she would be popular at Hogwarts. Alyssa likely wasn’t. Likely the girls were her only friends and it was why she was so loyal to them. She laughed aloud at that thought. No one would want to be friends with a mute after all, and Alyssa had to be a mute without her around. Likely Alyssa’s new friends felt sorry for her, and that was the only reason they talked. It was why Alyssa clung to them.

 

Hailey still stared at her with wide eyes. Clarissa stared at the little girl until she looked away.She knew it wasn’t nice, and she shouldn’t be like that with a little girl, but something about Hailey was annoying her. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was. However, she did feel guilty at the moment, so when Hailey glanced back at her, she gave her a fake smile.

 

“Where are the twins?” Clarissa asked. “Are they enjoying this little get together or no?”

 

William could make things more interesting after all.

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Alyssa Hoofer

“We’re going to talk about it,” Alyssa told Clarissa. “Before I go back to school, you and I will discuss that letter. We won’t anymore today because the others will be here soon. We’ve been best friends for eleven years now, and we can’t just ignore this if you want us to stay friends. I can’t be friends with someone who thinks they are entitled to my parent's money and stop trying to intimidate Hailey!”

 

She couldn’t ignore the exchange between Clarissa and her little sister. Hailey had moved to sit in her lap, and Alyssa hugged her tightly. Had Clarissa changed so much that she was willing to intimidate an innocent little girl? She’d been changing a lot over the years, but this was new. Clarissa in the past was protective of Hailey because she used to be so frail. Now she seemed to be making fun of her. She recognized when Clarissa was being fake though, and it was hard not to notice when her friend gave Hailey a fake smile after she’d just tried to intimidate the small girl.

 

Perhaps they could talk the next day after the other girls went home. It wouldn’t matter if they got in a fight because everyone would be gone, and no one would be in a bad mood. She wanted her Hogwarts friends to have fun that night, so she didn’t want a fight with Clarissa.

 

“The twins are around,” Alyssa said to answer Clarissa’s question. “I think they’re downstairs right now. I told them to let me know if the girls come a different way other than the floo. William won’t miss the opportunity to see older pretty girls. The kid is already girl crazy even though he doesn’t know what to do with them.”

 

Alyssa never gave boys much thought. Sure, she noticed if they were cute but she didn’t really have any crushes. William was just nine and he talked about pretty girls all the time. She’d noticed lately Cameron did at times as well, but not as much as his twin. All three of her friends were beautiful, so William wouldn’t know what to do or say. Likely he would give them over the top compliments. Alyssa overheard her mum talking about how worried she was when it came to how girl crazy William was already, while her father had said it wasn’t anything to worry about.

 

“They were staring at girls in Diagon Alley,” Hailey spoke up as she nodded in agreement to Alyssa. “William even told one she was pretty.”

 

Alyssa grinned over at Clarissa who wore a genuine smile now. Ooh, she couldn’t wait for her friends to arrive. Just what would William’s reaction be? When would they be there anyway?

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Tamsin Sauvigni

Tami had been looking fowarward to spending New Year's with Alyssa and her friends. Christmas had been a wonderful, family time when she had been opening gifts and spending quality time with Elewyn and her parents. The house had been decorated thoughout, and the outside lights were spectacular. The Christmas tree was a delight that Tami would love to demonstrate to her muggleborn friends at some point. When packed it fit into a box, small enough to fit into her younger sister's hand. When you removed it and set it out though, the tree would quickly expand to fill whichever room it was occupying. The tree itself lit up either monochrome or multicoloured depending on your preference, and it even sung Christtmas carols if it felt that people weren't being festive enough, or if anyone asked for a song. In a couple of days, one of her parents would sadly utter the command which would return the tree to its dormant, shrunken form to be put away for another year.

 

For now though, although December was in its twilight hours, it was not quite time to pack the season away entirely. In a couple of days, yes but not quite yet. After tonight though, for some reason the decoations would not feel quite so bright and cheerful. Tonight though was part of the festivities, and Tami intended to enjoy herself.

 

She had spent a couple of hours preparing herself; bathing and then getting herself ready at her dressing table. As tonight was going to represent the start of a new year, Tami had symbolic a set of new set of robes which she had been given for Christmas but would be wearing for the first time tonight. The robes were of a cream colour but with soft pink hilghlights in various places including on the sleeves, and they fit her pefectly.  She also carried a small bag containing her gifts and a few other items. Tt's diminutive size was deceptive as the bag had been enchanted to carry much larger items. The bag looked like it wouldn't fit anything larger than a single shoe yet if she chose she put a fully grown human inside and carry them to Hogwarts. It didn't matter how heavy the contents were, the bag felt like it had no weight at all. The bag was also magically linked to her, so nobody else would be able to put anything inside or take anything from it.

 

After giving her parents and her sister one last hug, Tami took a pinch of floo powder and stepped into the fireplace. "Alyssa Hoofer's Bedroom" she called out clearly as she released the powder, knowing how important it was to be precise when using this method of travel.

 

A moment later she emerged in an unfamiliar room, or rather the room was unknown but one of its occupants she identified immediately. Smiling warmly, she stepped forward. "Hello Alyssa, what a lovely room" she glanced around at the bedroom, not at all surprised is to its size. She knew that rooms could be enchanted to be as large or as small as people wanted them to be. She also saw that her friend wasn't the only girl in the room. "Hello I'm Tami" she greeted the younger blond girl and the girl in the red dress. Alyssa had mentioned her family so she had a fair idea at least of who the younger girl was, but she hoped the others would introduce themselves or that Alyssa would to the honours.

 

"Have any of the others arrived yet?" she asked, wondering if her other friends were parhaps downstairs or whether they were still to arrive. She wasn't going to reveal the contents of her bag until everybody was there to receive them.

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Gracie-Mae Goodwin

It had been a long journey - or rather, it had felt like a very long journey to Gracie-Mae. It had really only been a couple of hours by car, but that was practically forever if you asked her. She'd been eager to arrive, leaping out of the car and hastily grabbing her pack and waving goodbye to her mother before rushing to enter. If Alyssa had not informed the girls of her wealth, Gracie-Mae might have thought they'd arrived at the wrong address, but she had been prepared for this, sort of. What she'd envisioned was not nearly as grand as the sight that met her eyes, and Gracie-Mae couldn't help but look around in wonder and awe. She'd never seen anything like this before!

 

She knocked at the door of the house and was shown in by one of Alyssa's brothers. Gracie-Mae introduced herself and chatted casually all the way up to Alyssa's room. "Thanks," she told him with a grin as she stood outside the door. Gracie-Mae took a deep breath to prepare herself - from the sounds of it, others were already inside. Her friends! But Clarissa too. Gracie-Mae still wasn't quite sure how to feel about the girl, but she supposed the next few minutes would help her to figure it out. She wasn't even sure what she expected or even what she wanted to happen, but it was too late to decide any of that now. She'd just have to roll with it, whatever happened.

 

The Gryffindor adjusted her pack on her shoulder and raised a hand. She knocked three times - like she meant it, but not banging. "Hello? It's me! Gracie-Mae!"

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Clarissa Perenge

Clarissa knew all about William and his love for prettier older girls. She’d seen him in Diagon Alley or when they were out and about. She wondered what he’d be like when he was older. He was just nine and often stared. She did wonder if Alyssa’s assessment about her friends looks was right though. Alyssa called everyone pretty, but did she really know what pretty meant? Alyssa herself wasn’t exactly cute, and Clarissa was. She knew someday her friend would be very jealous of her beauty, if she wasn’t already.

 

 

She was about to comment on William when she noticed the flames lit up and an older girl stepped out. Clarissa stared at her giving her once over. Hmm, perhaps Alyssa did know what she was talking about. This girl was very pretty. She had red hair, and she always envied girls with red hair, even if she knew blond was the prettiest. So which friend was it? Clarissa opened her mouth to ask but the girl was very forthcoming with her name.

 

 

“I’m Clarissa,” she said quickly jumping up to introduce herself. “You’re very pretty you know. Alyssa has good taste in friends after all. Well, that’s to be determined. You’re the first here,” she answered Tami’s question before glancing over at her friend. How would she feel about being the less attractive girl in the room? “We’re going to have so much fun tonight. I have so many plans.”

 

 

It was Alyssa’s sleepover, but everyone needed to know that she, Clarissa would be in charge. That’s how it always worked. She glanced over at Alyssa who looked annoyed. Perhaps Alyssa had wanted to do the introductions, but she didn’t care.

 

 

Before her friend could say anything else, there was a knock on the door. Clarissa glanced over to see that another girl had arrived. She was knocking on the door. Clarissa smirked as soon as took her appearance in. Okay, so perhaps Alyssa didn’t have good taste in friends after all. This second girl, Gracie-Mae she’d called herself was another dull looking girl.

 

 

“Come on in,” Clarissa said though she wasn’t quite as friendly with her as she had been with Tami. “First things first, you and Alyssa will need the make-overs so you’re not so dull looking.”

Edited by Clarissa Perenge

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Alyssa Hoofer

Alyssa went from excitement to seeing one of her friends arrive to annoyance in less than thirty seconds. Tami had arrived, and she’d been about to move Hailey from her lap to greet her but Clarissa got there first. Her compliment should have been a good sign, but she knew that there was hidden meaning behind it. She knew how Clarissa was when it came to other girls looks, and their hair colour. Not only that, but she was already trying to take charge, just as she always did.

 

She gently moved Hailey off her lap.

 

“Just stay here,” she whispered to Hailey, and then she stood up to glare down at her friend. Even with the over sized high heels on, Clarissa was still very small. She was not going to let Clarissa take over the whole party. Alyssa was the host, but she wanted what they were doing to be up to all of them. It was supposed to be a fun night for all of them. The only thing she would take charge over was to take them all to go outside at midnight to watch the fireworks that the adults would set off.

 

“Clarissa,” she began but she couldn’t say much else as there was a knock on the door.

 

Gracie-Mae was there too. Now they just had to wait on Zsu. Again, she went from excitement to annoyance as Clarissa took over, but she also insulted Gracie-Mae! Gracie-Mae who she thought was a very beautiful girl, and Clarissa had just called her dull looking!

 

“Clarissa!” Alyssa said louder now, and she walked over until she was standing right in front of her. She stared down at her and glared directly into her eyes. “These are my friends, and you will not be mean to them or anyone else! You are also not in charge of this party! I know what you’re doing. Keep it up and- well, there is the fireplace!”

 

Without saying another word, she turned and walked over to the door to greet Gracie-Mae. She hoped her friend wasn’t insulted. She walked over to her hug before she grabbed her hand and dragged her over to where Tami was.

 

“Hi, you two!” She said excitedly. She let go of Gracie-Mae’s hand and then hugged Tami. “We are just waiting for Zsu. I am so excited you two are here. I have everything out that we need. Food is downstairs if we get hungry. My parents are having a party too, but we can ignore them and bring up what we need later. Mum is just making trays of finger food for us. I think it will probably be a veggie and fruit platter and maybe crackers, cheese, and some meat, and bowls of crisps. We have different desserts too. They have a lot of guests for their party, so we probably won’t have what mum calls ‘real food,’ but she said she will make something if anyone really wants something else.”

 

As soon as she finished saying this. An owl flew through the door and straight over to Alyssa. She took the envelope from it. She didn’t recognize the owl, so she wasn’t sure who would be writing to her. Would someone from Hogwarts write her? Everyone she really cared for was in the room, or would be arriving soon. She opened the envelope and felt disappointed as she read through it.

 

“Looks like Zsu can’t make it after all,” Alyssa said. “She didn’t say why. I hope everything is okay.”

 

She was disappointed, but she wouldn’t let it ruin their night. Instead, she turned to walk over to the bed where Hailey was still sitting. She set the letter and envelope on the bed and then took her little sister by the hand and pulled her gently so she would stand up. She smiled at her reassuringly. She knew Hailey would be a bit shy at first, but she wanted to make sure her sister was at ease too.

 

“This is Hailey,” Alyssa told the girls. “She’s going to hang out with us tonight too for girls night. The twins might join us at some point.”

 

Hailey moved closer to her as she stared at the newcomers.

 

“Hi,” Hailey said shyly and then she hugged Alyssa and buried her face into her side.

 

“She’s a bit shy, but she’ll warm up in a bit,” Alyssa said stating the obvious as she gave Hailey a reassuring squeeze. “So it’s really up to all five of us what we want to do. I did pull stuff out for make-overs, but I mean the night is for all of us. So we can discuss what we want to do first,” she said and then she pointed at the other bed where her kitten Scrappy was still asleep. He didn’t notice the newcomers yet. She’d just remembered he was there and figured she should introduce him too.“That’s my kitten Scrappy. I got him for Christmas. You can play with him too if you’d like,” she added. “So what would you three like to do. It’s a group decision,” she added staring right at Clarissa. Gracie-Mae and Tami didn’t need to be told this. Hailey would do whatever everyone else wanted.

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Tamsin Sauvigni

It didn't escape Tami's attention that the first person to greet her was not Alyssa but the small blonde girl. That seemed wrong, this was Alyssa's party and she should be the one to welcome her guests. The other girl was usurping her position. The girl introduced herself as Clarissa and told Tami that she was pretty. She was not the first person to do so, and although Tami was not overly self-conscious, she acknowledged what she initially thought to be a complement with a soft "Thank you." The next words out of the girls mouth immediately told Tami that Clarissa was not being all that nice. How could she go from being complimentary to offensive in the space of two heartbeats? ".... but not for that" she added when Clarissa started throwing her weight around. Who the heck was she to threaten to pronounce judgment on Alyssa's friends! - then act as though only her own opinion mattered?

 

She could see that Alyssa was also displeased, she was calling Clarissa out and warning her that she would go home if she continued in that manner. Tami fully approved of her friend's handling of the situation, and she was prepared to back her up if necessary. She was already starting to see that she and Clarissa were not likely to get along. "Well, if you would like to offer your suggestions, then we can see what everyone wants." She agreed with Alyssa, this was not all about Clarissa's plans.

 

She was delighted when, after a knock on the door, Gracie-Mae joined them. She was not even remotely pleased though with Clarissa's rude response. "I believe you owe both of my friends an apology" she instructed. Whether or not Clarissa would offer one, she did not know but she was going to make her own feelings on the matter known.

 

Tami happily returned Alyssa's hug before she hugged Gracie-Mae as well. "Did you have a good Christmas? How was your journey?" she asked her fellow Gryffindor. She knew that as a muggleborn, Gracie-Mae would not have arrived via floo powder as she had done. She also knew that muggles had their own methods of transport but they were much slower than traveling via magic.

 

Alyssa mentioned that her family were having their own celebration but that her mother was making them a finger buffet. "That's very kind of her, I am sure it will be fine" she smiled. Tami wasn't at all fussed about the food on offer, she was just glad of the company; well that of her friends at least.

 

Just as an owl was flying through the door, Tami reached into her handbag-sized bag and took out a couple of items. "I thought these might come in handy." She handed Alyssa a box of magical party poppers and a bag of self-inflating balloons. With the balloons you just had to take them out and give them a shake and they would fill with air. When you were done, you needed only to give them a gentle squeeze and they would return to their deflated state.

 

Like Alyssa she was disappointed to hear that Zsu couldn't make it. "Oh dear" she frowned "I hope she is okay too. I'll send her a note with Cecil tomorrow." She would have to ask Cecil to send Zsu's gift as well, Tami had it in her bag of course but unfortunately she wouldn't be able to hand it over in person.

 

Alyssa introduced her younger sister, and Tami recalled that she had mentioned her before. "Hello Hailey" she gave a gentle smile. She was aware that the girl was shy, she hoped though that she might warm up to her eventually. She smiled again when Alyssa introduced her kitten. "He's adorable!" She exclaimed "I'm so delighted, I know how much you love cats. Elewyn would love him too." Her own younger sister was also a cat fancier.

 

When Alyssa asked what everyone wanted to do, Tami knew immediately what she really didn't want, at least not right now. Clarissa had cruelly asserted that Alyssa and Gracie-Mae had needed immediate makeovers, as though there was somehow something wrong with their appearance. That was disgusting! Tami had no desire to play into Clarissa's hands. If there was anything she didn't want to discuss at this point, it was makeovers.

 

She made another suggestion, although she wasn't sure how practical it would be. "Perhaps you'd like to show us around your home?" she queried "but only if it isn't going to be too much trouble. I wouldn't want to intrude on your family's celebrations." Whilst she was curious, Tami was also practical and sensible. She was fairly sure that the people downstairs would want the girls to stay out from under foot.

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Gracie-Mae Goodwin

Gracie-Mae smiled brightly from the doorway, glad to see her friends again. But Clarissa's words made her pause, and wiped the smile right off her face. Dull-looking? Gracie-Mae had been ready to give Clarissa a chance, and she was a little disappointed to be the target of such a comment so soon - but this feeling paled in comparison to how she felt at the mention of Alyssa needing a makeover.

 

"I don't think Alyssa needs a makeover," she ventured, before glancing to her friend. "You look like a princess!" she added, because Alyssa did, with her pink dress and pink nail polish. In fact, all the others looked rather princess-like. On the other hand, Gracie-Mae was probably under-dressed if anything - she had worn a dress, but it wasn't very fancy, just a simple grey, with one of her usual hoodies over the top, half-zipped, and brightly patterned leggings underneath.

 

She was impressed by Alyssa's words to Clarissa, and hugged her friend before happily following her to Tami. Gracie-Mae didn't hesitate to hug her fellow Gryffindor, too. "Yeah, it was great! The journey was ... well, I thought it was long but I guess it wasn't that bad. A couple hours by car. Mum brought me." And then it struck her. "Do you know what cars are? Oh! And how was your Christmas?"

 

She quieted down at the mention of food, quietly setting her pack down next to her as she listened to Alyssa speak. "That sounds great! S'long as there's something to eat, I'm happy," she said with a grin. 

 

An owl had swooped in but Gracie-Mae was more preoccupied watching with wide eyes as Tami pulled things out of her bag. How did they even fit in there?! But wait, Alyssa was saying that Zsu couldn't come? "Aw, I'm sure she's okay. She'd tell us if she wasn't, right?" If Gracie-Mae had to guess, Zsu was most likely helping someone else who needed it. In the back of her mind, she was just a little bit worried for her friend, but her confidence in Zsu won out.

 

"Hey Hailey! It's nice to meet you. I'm Gracie-Mae," she said gently when Alyssa introduced her sister. Hailey reminded Gracie-Mae of her own younger sister Gloria-Faye, and she immediately felt protective of the younger girl. 

 

"They got you a kitten just like you wanted?!" she flailed excitedly when Alyssa introduced them to Scrappy. "Awwwwww," she couldn't help but add as she looked on. She thought Tami was right: the kitten was adorable. 

 

But what to do? Gracie-Mae glanced at Hailey and smiled. "My vote's for whatever Hailey wants to do," she said kindly. When Gracie-Mae had friends over, she knew how much her own little sister had appreciated being included in their fun, and she was determined to do what she could to make that happen for Hailey.

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Clarissa Perenge

Clarissa laughed. She found this whole situation funny. She should have known that any friends Alyssa had made would be overly sensitive. She was surprised when Alyssa actually came over to tell her off. It just wasn’t like her friend to do this. In the past, she would just allow her to do what she, Clarissa wanted. She didn’t like the fact that they weren’t doing this now.

 

“Well look who has actually grown a backbone,” Clarissa said to Alyssa as she folded her arms. She continued to laugh. “But no, I don’t think I will be apologizing to anyone,” she said to Tami. “They know it’s true.”

 

She couldn’t help but feel annoyed at the fact that the three of them seemed to be in some kind of bubble that she couldn’t penetrate. She knew it was because they were at Hogwarts together and she wasn’t. If she’d been able to go school with them, none of this would have happened. In fact, she’d be the leader of their little group. That is, if she'd allowed Alyssa to even hang out with them. She wondered why this Zsu girl hadn’t shown up. Was she close to them as well? When Alyssa had mentioned she’d made friends, she hadn’t expected it to be like this. Well, no one was going to steal her friend from her.

 

Tami seemed to have brought all kinds of goodies for the party. Alyssa hadn’t mentioned they should bring anything for the party, but she’d assumed her friend would have everything they needed. She didn't like the way things were going. Perhaps Alyssa hadn't told her to bring anything because she wanted her to just sit back while the others made the decisions. She couldn't help again to wonder what had happened to her friend? It wasn't that she didn't want Alyssa to have confidence, she just didn't want her to have confidence at her expense. And why was it that they'd been friends for over eleven years, and she'd never made progress with Alyssa's shyness but these two girls, and the mysterious Zsu had?

 

She moved over so she was right beside Alyssa and Hailey. She smirked down at Hailey who was embarrassing herself. She was much too old for this kind of behaviour. She’d have to learn someday that she couldn’t always cling to her older sister.

 

“Well, I second a tour,” Clarissa finally said as she ignored most of the conversation around her. “I know this place really well too. I’m Alyssa’s best friend out of everyone here. We grew up like sisters. Technically we are sisters because my mum is her godmother and her parents are my godparents. Anyway, I know this place just as well as my own house, so I can show everyone the place,” she reached down to try and grab Hailey’s hand. “It’s what you want to do, isn’t it Hailey?”

 

The little girl pulled away from her sister to glare at her. Clarissa was shocked. Hailey had never looked at her that way before. She didn’t think the little girl was capable of anger or hate, and yet she was glaring at her in the same her sister just had. Hailey let go of Alyssa and to Clarissa’s astonishment; she walked straight over to Gracie-Mae and then took her hand. Hailey never acted this way with strangers. It always took her a long time to warm up to them.

 

“I can show everyone around,” Hailey said gazing up at Gracie-Mae. “Want to see my room? Can I?” She added looking back at Alyssa.

 

Clarissa was angry now. If Hailey was going to go to one of Alyssa’s friends, it should have been her!

 

“You know, Alyssa isn’t such a good friend,” she said furiously. “She was going to hide from you all about her money. What kind of friend does that? I’d be angry if I were you. She didn’ t trust you!”

 

She headed to the door to lead the way out. She wanted to be the one to show everyone. Why were they going to let a seven-year-old tell them what to do?

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Alyssa Hoofer

“Thank you,” Alyssa said to Gracie-Mae who had complimented her. “You look beautiful too. You always do though. All four of you do,” she said making sure to add Clarissa in even though as usual, she’d insulted her looks.

 

She’d brought out some stuff for them to have makeovers for fun, but of course, Clarissa had to ruin that for them. Now if they did it, she’d think it was because it was improving their looks when none of them in the room needed to look better. They were all pretty in their own ways. It was just a fun thing to do, but as usual, Clarissa had ruined things for them. She should have known better than to invite her over. She’d turned the makeovers into something negative!

 

“My Christmas was great,” she said ignoring Clarissa’s laughter and comment about her growing a backbone.  Sometimes with some comments, it was best to ignore them when it came to Clarissa. It just gave her what she wanted. “Mum and dad always manage to make the day seem so magical. And Santa came as usual. You can still see all the tracks in the backyard from when he was here,” she doubted very much that her friends still believed in Santa, but she’d said it for Hailey’s sake. It was traditional for them to look out the window every morning to find the footprints, the sleigh tracks, and the reindeer prints. All courtesy of her mum who did some sort of charm in the snow to make imprints in it. “We always look for them out my window,” she added as she pointed to the window seat. “But you can see them from the patio too. The boys behaved too. Usually they have a prank or two, but they didn’t do anything. They might to us tonight, just to give a fair warning.”

 

She listened as Gracie-Mae explained her journey to them by car. They owned a car, not that it got much use since they travelled everywhere by magic. However, her dad had decided it was a good idea to get one with four kids. At times it was hard to floo or take all four of them everywhere by side-a-long apparition, especially when they were little.

 

“We have a car,” she said in answer to Gracie-Mae’s question. “We don’t use it much, but when they need to take all four of us somewhere and all our stuff we use it. I think once all four of us are at Hogwarts we will use it more.”

 

She hadn’t thought to ask her friends to bring anything, but she was glad to see Tami had. They had plenty of party stuff downstairs, which Alyssa hadn’t thought to bring up. If they already had enough stuff upstairs, she may not have to go down and get more. She was glad to have people around who thought of these things.

 

“Thank you for bringing all that,” Alyssa told her. “We have stuff downstairs too, but I forgot to bring the party favours up, so we’ll be able to use all of this too. I agree with a tour of the house.”

 

She was glad to see her friends like Scrappy, and even more that they liked Hailey. She was impressed with Gracie-Mae’s attitude with her little sister, and was astounded when her little sister moved over to take her hand. She knew part of it was because Clarissa was being her usual diva self, but she felt that it was because she felt comfortable with Gracie-Mae. By suggesting that Hailey decide for them, it had helped win her little sister over.

 

“Enough,” Alyssa said to Clarissa who it seemed to her was throwing a temper-tantrum. Clarissa had already moved to the doorway. “Hailey wants to show everyone around. Clarissa, you are not in charge of this party. I know what you are trying to do and it won’t work. I’m sure your parents are downstairs, and I bet they won’t be happy to hear you’re acting like this. I know that your mum told you to behave tonight, and I don’t care about being a snitch, so stop it! Won’t you be embarrassed if they send you home with the baby-sitter?”

 

She wasn’t going to let Clarissa ruin tonight, and if she kept this attitude up for much longer, she would go down and tell her parents everything. She knew Clarissa’s mum was tired of all this, and she would personally escort Clarissa home. She ignored the comment about the fact that she’d hid her wealth from her friends since that was old news. Her friends already knew all about it. All she wanted to do was start a fight between all of them since she wasn’t getting her own way.

 

“Hailey, you can show everyone what you think we need to see, and if you want, I can tell them what each room is,” she said before turning to the two girls. “Wait until you see Hailey’s room. It’s every little girls dream,” and then she lowered her voice so Clarissa wouldn’t hear. “I will kick her out if I have to, but don’t let her get to you too much. She loves getting to people. Just say the word if she bothers you too much, and I’ll kick her out. Likely once she sees we are serious about her going home, she’ll stop. That being said, don’t let her walk all over you either.”

 

She smiled over at Hailey who was staring up at Gracie-Mae with a smile on her face. She didn’t care what anyone said, Hailey was adorable. Perhaps she was biased, but she thought almost everything Hailey did was cute.

 

“So lead the way Hailey. You be the tour guide,” she said smiling and then grinned at Tami and Gracie-Mae. She hoped they were okay with her little sister leading the way. “Maybe we’ll run into the twins on the way. They’ll be excited to meet you two. I’ve been telling them about all three of you. I know my parents will love you too. They won’t mind being interrupted for a few moments, and neither will their friends.”

 

She glanced over at Clarissa willing her to behave. She’d wanted so much for Clarissa to be the nice girl she could be, but she was already being a nuisance. She’d already angered her two friends, and she’d insulted Gracie-Mae. Tonight was supposed to be fun, but Alyssa was already feeling stressed. She didn’t want to stress Clarissa’s parents out either, who were at their wits end about their oldest daughter, but she would tell them if she had to. Behave. She mouthed at Clarissa who rolled her eyes.

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Tamsin Sauvigni

Gracie-Mae said that Alyssa looked like a princess, and Tami nodded her agreement "So true" she confirmed. When Alyssa replied that they all looked beautiful, she smiled back at her. This was a true-compliment, not the back-handed variety that Clarissa had offered. Clarissa had cruelly suggested makeovers, but Tami inwardly thought that she was the one who needed to look in a mirror. Clarissa may look pretty on the outside, but Tami did not care at all for what she was seeing underneath. She didn't say anything though, she was far too polite for that.

 

Gracie-Mae explained that she had a great Christmas, but that the car journey seemed to take ages. She asked if Tami knew what cars were, and she nodded. "I've seen them often enough, but I've never traveled in one" she admitted "they seem to be everywhere these days." Curiously, Tami's family had never needed a car, they had other means of transportation available to them. Two hours seemed like an awfully long time for a girl who was used to getting to her destination in the blink of an eye.

 

She then went on to describe her family's Christmas. "Oh it was great, such a wonderful festive occasion that the tree didn't complain at all this year." Their Christmas tree started singing carols if it felt that people weren't celebrating enough. "I'm sure I ate far too much on Christmas Day." Who didn't? She then recalled that her sister had asked her to pass on a message. "Elweyn asked me to say 'hello' to everyone, and she hopes we all have a wonderful new year." That was just like her sister, she was always thinking of other people. This would be the first New Year's Eve she hadn't spent with her sister though, and deep down she knew that Elewyn would be feeling a little lonely.

 

Clarissa refused to apologise and tried to confirm her previous comment. Tami was not going to let her get away with it though. "Then I guess we have nothing to say to each other" she deliberately turned her back on Clarissa and turned her attention to her friends, and Hailey. Clarissa was clearly trying to be an attention hog, and Tami felt the best way to counter that was to not give her what she craved, and instead ignore her completely.

 

When Gracie-Mae deferred to Hailey, that was a work of sheer genius, and Tami smiled her approval. She could think of no better way to support a shy young girl than to let her make the decisions. The girls seemed to like the idea of a tour, and apparently Alyssa's family would be okay with that too. Clarissa offered to run the show again, but Hailey volunteered for the role and Alyssa sided with her younger sister. Despite her attempts to take over, Clarissa was not getting what she wanted, and Tami had no sympathy for her whatsoever.

 

She heard Clarissa's little temper tantrum when she tried to bad mouth Alyssa to her friends, but Tami wasn't about to listen. She had decided to ignore Clarissa until such time as she behaved properly, and so she wasn't going to pay any attention to her outbursts. She didn't need to say anything either, once more Alyssa was giving the girl a dressing down and she even threatened to send her home to the baby sitter. Tami felt that outcome was becoming more and more likely every time Clarissa opened her mouth. "I'm fine" she quietly assured Alyssa, also speaking quietly so Clarissa couldn't hear "if she gets out of hand, I could stick her in here." Tami lifted her bag slightly for demonstration "It has an undetectable extension charm cast upon it, among other spells." Alyssa had threatened to send Clarissa home, and that was fine as well but Tami wanted to show that there were other options available. She wouldn't do anything without Alyssa's agreement though.

 

Alyssa encouraged Hailey to begin the tour, and Tami smiled her encouragement. "Whenever you are ready, Hailey" she agreed.

 

Edited by Tamsin Sauvigni

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Gracie-Mae Goodwin

It had not escaped Gracie-Mae's notice that Clarissa had never introduced herself. Not that there was any question as to who she was - Alyssa had called her by name not long after Gracie-Mae had arrived. But still, the girl's lack of enthusiasm to meet her and unwillingness to apologize didn't sit well with Gracie-Mae. For a moment, she gritted her teeth, ready to argue and stand up for herself, but then her expression softened. Clarissa was Alyssa's friend. Alyssa wanted them to get along. Gracie-Mae was going to try her best even if it was difficult.

 

She chose instead to smile at Alyssa. "Thanks!" she chirped. She wasn't sure if she was exactly beautiful, mostly because she didn't really care how she looked the way a lot of other girls seemed to, but that just made Alyssa's words even sweeter. 

 

Gracie-Mae made sure to look appropriately impressed at the mention of Santa, the way she would've if her own younger sister was around. She listened carefully and nodded. She listened with interest too when the other girls discussed cars. A flicker of confusion crossed her face when Tami talked about her tree - did it usually complain? - but Gracie-Mae stayed quiet on the subject. She could always ask Tami about it another time.

 

"That's really nice of Elewyn! Will you give her my new year's wishes too?" Gracie-Mae replied when Tami passed on her sister's greetings.

 

But then Clarissa was going on about how she was such good friends with Alyssa and how she was going to give them a tour and it really didn't sound all that fun to Gracie-Mae but what else could she do? Gracie-Mae had just resigned herself to the experience when suddenly Hailey took her hand, rescuing her - and the others, too!

 

"I would like that very much," said Gracie-Mae, only to realize that Clarissa wasn't going to give up that easily. Gracie-Mae's jaw dropped and she was completely unable to believe what Clarissa was saying. Alyssa isn't such a good friend?! Seriously? Gracie-Mae was ready to jump to the Hufflepuff's defense but Alyssa handled the matter gracefully and so Gracie-Mae stayed quiet. However, these words unsettled her far more than any of Clarissa's previous ones. What kind of friend said things like that about their friends? Not a very good one. 

 

But as much as she was beginning to dislike Clarissa, Gracie-Mae wasn't going to be the one to request the younger girl's dismissal from the party. But she did listen to Alyssa's words and nod. 

 

Determined not to let Clarissa get her down, Gracie-Mae tried to focus on all of the exciting things at the party instead. Like Hailey and the tour she was about to give them! "Lead on!" Gracie-Mae encouraged with a smile.

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Clarissa Perenge

Clarissa felt tears of frustration in her eyes. She looked away so the other girls wouldn’t noticed and blinked them back. Nothing ever went her way anymore. It seemed everyone was just out to get her for whatever reason. Even her own parents. She wanted to find the twins, but even they were unfriendly around her lately. She’d actually been closer to William lately, but even he didn’t want to talk to her and it was annoying.

 

She took a few deep breaths before turning to look at Hailey. Why was she using her cuteness to manipulate the other girls? She ignored the nagging voice telling her that the little girl wasn’t doing it on purpose. She took another deep breath to get herself under control. She hoped the other girls hadn’t noticed her tears. She was never one to cry, but lately, it was all she ever did.

 

“Okay then,” she finally said. “Lead the way Hailey.”

 

She didn’t want to have to go home, and she didn’t want Alyssa to talk to her parents either. Not only because she would be in big trouble, but because it would be embarrassing. She hated being scolded by her parents in front of other kids, but it was also hard in front of adults as well. She would also hate to go home to be baby-sat with Elliot and Michelle. She hated the way they looked at her. As if they were all judging her for being a horrible kid or something. She didn’t understand her emotions or feelings lately. All she knew was that she was angry about all this change happening lately, and worst of all, Alyssa got everything she wanted!

 

“Hailey really does have an amazing room,” Clarissa said but this time it was sincere.

 

She and Alyssa had been allowed to help with some of the plans for the room. It had made her few like a big girl, and she thought it was an amazing responsibility considering how young they had been. Her own mother hadn’t let her have anything to do with Michelle or Elliot’s room. She thought back to last summer when she’d asked her mother if she could help.

 

No, you would probably just pick a tacky theme. With your behaviour lately, we can’t trust you at all.

 

She tried not to think of her hurt feelings when her mum had said that. She would never have done anything to make Michelle’s room look tacky. She stepped back and allowed Hailey to lead the other girls out into the hallway first. She figured for the moment, she would follow them around until she stopped thinking about all the negative things in her life.

 

Hailey’s room was just beside Alyssa’s. It had been planned that way just as William and Cameron had their rooms beside each others. She kept quiet as Hailey led the girls to the doorway of her room. She wondered if they’d be impressed just as she usually was when she stepped into it.

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Alyssa Hoofer

If she wasn’t sure that she had friends before, she was certainly sure now. Gracie-Mae and Tami were on her side right away. She’d told them about Clarissa, but she was sure they still hadn’t been prepared to deal with her attitude. She just hoped that Clarissa’s horrible behaviour hadn’t ruined the day too much. It was still quite early, so she hoped they could have fun.

 

She smiled when Tami mentioned her bag. Perhaps it could be useful. She didn’t like being a tattle-tale, but she would if Clarissa got out of hand. On the other hand, if she kept up her nasty behaviour, they could just threaten her that they would stick her in the bag. So she gave Tami a wink and then grinned at Gracie-Mae as well.

 

She glanced at Clarissa who seemed to be on the verge of tears, and she couldn’t help but feel satisfied. For once, she was getting what she deserved. She was sure they were tears of self-pity. Perhaps she was hoping that they would all feel sorry for her or something. It was what she had done in the past, and the old Alyssa would have felt bad, but not this time. She just remained quiet, hoping that Clarissa would finally end the temper-tantrum. She raised her eyebrows in surprise when Clarissa told Hailey to lead on, and she even stepped back to let them out first.

 

Hailey continued to cling to Gracie-Mae as they stepped out into the hallway and headed to the doorway to the left of her room. Her parents had put Hailey right beside her room while the twins rooms were across from theirs and side by side. Both their doors were shut, so Alyssa wondered if they were in their rooms now. They even shared a bathroom which connected their rooms.

 

“We should see if the twins are in their rooms after we see Hailey’s room,” Alyssa told the girls.

 

Hailey opened her door so they could see inside.

 

“We all worked on this room,” Alyssa told the girls in the hallway. They could see the whole room in the hall. “Even the twins did, and they were only two. If you look up to that area above the beds where the ladder is, you’ll see scribbles on the wall. Mum and dad let them do that, and then mum charmed the scribbles so they move around. Mum and dad wanted all of us to be involved. It was mine and Clarissa’s idea for it to have an upstairs like that.”

 

She remembered the two of them discussing it together, and then presenting their idea to her mum. They thought it would be neat for Hailey to have a fort, or a little area to do what she wanted with. Usually Hailey used it to just read or play. Her mum had loved the idea so much that she'd wanted to do it in Alyssa's room, but she had put her foot down. She liked her room the way it was.

 

“I like the scribbles,” Hailey said quickly. “It’s one of my favourite’s.”

 

It was something her little sister was defensive over whenever someone mentioned they should cover them up. A lot of the adults thought that they didn’t look like right in this room since it was fancy, but she was ready to stick up for them anytime anyone mentioned it. Hailey could be quiet most of the time, but sometimes she could be very outspoken which always surprised people. Alyssa knew exactly why Hailey spoke up now, although Alyssa really doubted her friends except Clarissa maybe would say anything against them.

 

“Come inside,” Hailey told the girls.

 

Hailey pulled Gracie-Mae into her room while Alyssa stood back. She wanted Tami to go in first.

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Tamsin Sauvigni

Gracie-Mae showed her gratitude towards Elewyn and asked to pass on her own greetings in return. "I will" she smiled her response.

It had not escaped her attention that Hailey was clinging to Gracie-Mae, and this pleased her. It was great that Hailey had already accepted one of Alyssa's friends. With Gracie-Mae looking after her, and Alyssa overseeing, she was sure that Hailey would be in good hands.

 

She saw tears on Clarissa's face, although the younger girl tried to hide them. If Clarissa was genuinely sorry for her actions, then there would be a reason for her to get upset That girl had done nothing but complain about people she found fault with and try to assert her own dominance. These were not the actions of a girl who was sorry, but the mean spirited jibes of a vindictive, manipulative little minx. She had no reason to think that someone like Clarissa would be upset, and that mean that her tears were not genuine. Of all the things that Tami could drown in, crocodile tears truly were the least appealing. She chose to ignore them, just as she had chosen to ignore the girl who shed them. The one thing Clarissa said, that she felt she could believe, was when she complimented Hailey's room. Tami didn't think she would have any reason to say that if it wasn't true.

 

She caught Alyssa's wink when she mentioned her bag, and she nodded her agreement. Tami would not do anything to Hailey without Alyssa's approval, but the offer was there and Alyssa could use it however she chose. Clarissa was Alyssa's friend and also her responsibility while she was a guest in her house.

 

Alyssa pointed out that they should call on the twins, after seeing Hailey's room, and Tami looked across the hallway to a set of doors which she thought might lead to the twins' rooms. Those doors were close together, and if the girls were close then it would stand to reason that the boys would be too.

 

As Alyssa opened to the door to Hailey's room, Tami could see that Clarissa was actually right for once, the room was stunning. "Any princess would be proud to sleep here" she smiled, at Hailey as Alyssa explained the scribblings on the wall. That enchanted artwork was a true inspiration.

 

Hailey pointed out that she liked the artwork, and Tami smiled her own approval. "It is a wonderful feature" she agreed "the twins gave something of themselves to that wall, and you are reminded of them every time you watch it. It is a mark of love, and the bonds of family." Was that Hailey's impression? It was certainly what Tami saw when she looked at the artwork on that wall. "You should be very proud of your scribbles."

 

As Hailey and Gracie-Mae entered the room, Tami followed after them, wondering what over secrets this delightful room might reveal.

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Gracie-Mae Goodwin

Gracie-Mae didn't notice that Clarissa was blinking back tears. She was trying not to focus on the girl who seemed determined to ruin the evening for the rest of them. After all, Gracie-Mae didn't want to make things worse by telling Clarissa what she thought of her - this was Alyssa's party and Clarissa was Alyssa's friend so Gracie-Mae was trying really hard to get along. She was pleasantly surprised when Clarissa gave in and allowed Hailey to lead them on a tour.

 

Hailey and Alyssa spoke about Hailey's room, and Gracie-Mae listened while gazing through the doorway. "It's amazing!" she said. "The upstairs, the scribbles ... everything, really." Gracie-Mae was almost speechless. She only wished that she had a room half as great as Hailey's. Gracie-Mae couldn't help but marvel at just about everything. She hardly even knew what to say - her own room, and her whole house really, paled in comparison to what she was seeing.

 

She liked her own home, but Gracie-Mae couldn't help but feel a little self-conscious when faced with such nice things. Her home was nice too but in a completely different way - it was a home, and it was hers, and there was lots of love in it. It wasn't big or fancy, but Gracie-Mae loved every inch of it, and she'd missed it when she was away a Hogwarts. It was hard not to feel like her own home was inadequate when she looked around at just one room of Alyssa's home, but Gracie-Mae was more awed than jealous. After all, it was impossible to feel anything more than the slightest flicker of jealousy towards Alyssa and Hailey, who were both so very kind.

 

Gracie-Mae felt Tami had praised the scribbles more than adequately so she instead nodded to Alyssa, and made a point of looking around to nod to Clarissa as well, if she could catch the younger girl's eye. "An upstairs is a brilliant idea, well done you two."  As much as Gracie-Mae wasn't impressed with Clarissa, she had to give credit where it was due. 

 

When Hailey tugged at her hand to pull her inside, Gracie-Mae followed without hesitation. She was enjoying the tour so far and she was eager to take a closer look at whatever Hailey wanted to show her. 

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Clarissa Perenge

 

Clarissa wanted to make a snappy retort when Tami mentioned that the room was for any princess. She bit it back though. The Hoofer girls had always been treated like little princesses. They had clothes and toys any little girl would love to have. They got everything they wanted, muggle or wizarding. She kept quiet though. The night wasn’t going the way she wanted it to, and for the moment, she felt it was pointless to speak her mind even if it was hard to keep her mouth shut.

 

Instead, she moved forward straight to the ladder. She kicked off the high heels that were hard to walk in and climbed up it. She wondered if the others would follow her. She wasn’t going to ask. If they wanted to come up, they could. The truth was, she loved it up in this area and it had been a while since she’d gone up. When she reached the top, she began walking around to see if there were any changes since she’d last been up here. It wouldn’t surprise her, it had been years since she’d really taken a good look around Hailey’s room after all.

 

She gazed down at the girls wondering what to say. Perhaps she should have been friendly with them first before she’d given them her true opinion. She assumed now they would think that anything she had to say was sarcasm or a complaint. Yet, she didn’t want to be fake either. She was about to ask the four girls if they wanted to explore when she saw the pair behind them. At some point, William and Cameron had come out of their rooms. They were standing in the doorway. William had a black box in his hands.

 

Clarissa had a feeling they wanted to scare the girls and as their eyes met, William winked at her. The boy had been ignoring her for so long, she didn’t want to give the boys away. So she just gazed around the room instead.

 

“You get an amazing view from this vantage point,” she finally told the girls hoping that no one had noticed that she’d been staring at the doorway.

 

As soon as she finished talking, William pulled a string that hung from the box. As soon as he did this, there was a loud bang that sounded like an explosion.

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Alyssa Hoofer

Alyssa felt that what Tami had said summed it up well. She was going to wait until later to explain it because she didn’t think she’d told them yet, but she didn’t want to explain it yet in front of Hailey. It was something her parents wanted to tell Hailey someday when she was a bit older, but Tami had hit the nail on the head.

 

The main reason they’d all participated in this room was because Alyssa’s mother had trouble with her pregnancy with Hailey, and then Hailey had come early. Her mum couldn’t have more babies because of whatever had happened. It was something Alyssa had only found out a couple years ago, so she wasn’t even sure if the twins knew about it. She knew now that her parents had been worried about Hailey, and there was more meaning behind this room then they’d let on. Perhaps when they were back at school she’d explain it more.

 

“That’s exactly it,” Alyssa finally said to Tami and then smiled down at Hailey. “Right?”

 

“Yes,” Hailey answered. “I like that everyone helped with my room even though they didn’t know me yet. They already loved me anyway. And someday maybe I can do the same. I wish we could have done the same for Michelle, Clarissa’s new sister.” she added as she glanced over at Clarissa who had gone over to ladder.

 

Alyssa watched as Clarissa kicked off the high heels and then climbed up it. She was surprised that Hailey hadn’t actually taken them up there right away. Instead, she was still gazing around the room. Alyssa wondered why Ellen, her godmother hadn’t let them help. It was something she’d ask later. She didn’t think it was too important at the moment.

 

“I’m sure Ellen had her reasons,” she told Hailey still watching Clarissa who told them it was great vantage point. She wondered if she was trying to show off again or something but just as these thoughts entered her mind, there was a loud explosive noise behind them.

 

Alyssa jumped and turned feeling fearful for a second until she saw William and Cameron laughing behind her. William was holding some kind of open box in his hand, and it was still making the loud awful noise.

 

“Stop it William!” She shouted.

 

Where had he gotten that thing and what was it? William smirked for a moment and then shut it by pulling a string. The room was quiet again.

 

“Tami, Gracie-Mae this is William and Cameron, William is the one holding the annoying box, whatever that thing is,” Alyssa said with some annoyance that her brothers felt the need to introduce themselves this way. “William, Cameron, that’s Tami,” she said as she pointed to Tami, “and this is Gracie-Mae,” she said pointing to Gracie-Mae and Hailey. “That wasn’t very nice,” she added to William.

 

“Pleased to meet you,” Cameron told the girls as he entered the room. “I told him not to do it,” he added to Alyssa with a shrug.

 

“You’re all fine aren’t you?” William asked as he followed his brother. “Dad bought this for me for Christmas. He wanted me to use it,” and then he smiled winked at the girls. “I just wanted to show it to your friends. If all the girls at Hogwarts are as pretty as you two, I can’t wait to go.”

 

Alyssa’s mouth dropped open when he said this. She knew he noticed pretty girls already, but her brother was nine! She’d never paid attention to boys when she his age (she barely did now) and she had a feeling that he’d gotten that line from their parent's friend Jared, who was also the twins godfather, and liked to flirt. Alyssa wondered how her mum would feel knowing that he said things like that in front of the boys. Where else would William have learned that from?

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Tamsin Sauvigni

Tami was a little surprised when Clarissa didn't answer her with some nasty retort. It seemed that the girl had criticised practically anything for which she couldn't take any personal credit and Tami didn't think she was ready to stop yet. Clarissa's attitude was threatening to ruin their entire evening, and although Tami wasn't going to say it, she felt that they would have been better off if she hadn't been invited.

 

Alyssa told her that her assessment of the scribbles had been correct, and Tami nodded. She wasn't going to say anything more though. If Alyssa or Hailey wanted to inform her of any specific details then that was their choice. It wasn't in Tami's nature to stick her nose in where she wasn't invited. Hailey spoke of how pleased she was that everyone helped out, and that made Tami smile in turn. Hailey seemed like a kind and warm hearted young girl and Tami already liked her. When Hailey also pointed out that Clarissa had a sister, Tami privately hoped that this Michelle was a little nicer than her sibling. Hailey was someone that Tami was pleased to have met, Clarissa however was not.

 

Clarissa headed up the ladder to the raised section of Hailey's room. Tami didn't follow her though, she wasn't about tostart giving Clarissa any more attention than she deserved, and she also clearly felt that the upstairs section was Hailey's private domain; she wouldn't go up there unless Hailey invited her, no matter what Clarissa said.

 

At that point they were interrupted by a loud bang that made Tami jump a couple of feet in the air. She looked around and saw that a couple of boys had joined then; one of them carrying a box that appeared to be the source of the noise. As Alyssa started berating the boy for his actions, Tami decided to respond in more lighthearted fashion Kneeling down, she made a move with her hands, as though she was scooping something off the floor. "My skin" she pointed out to the boy with the box "you scared me out of it." Her tone as she spoke was playful rather than firm, and she even smiled a couple of times. It wasn't as though any real harm had been done.

 

As she got to her feet, the second boy offered a friendly greeting and attempted to apologise for his brother. "Pleased to meet you Cameron" Tami nodded to the boy "and hello William." She wasn't actually displeased to see him either, but now that he had made his prank, she rather hoped he might discard his jester's hat.

 

It seemed though that William was not done shocking them just yet. He was precocious, to say the least. Tami wasn't used to being viewed in that manner, and certainly not by a boy of William's age. "Thanks, I think." Her tone was confused, these were not the sorts of words she expect to hear coming from a nine year old boy's mouth.

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