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Elenore Clement

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Lesson Two
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 Sizing up [Open]

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Cora Jackson
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PostSubject: Sizing up [Open]   Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:37 pm

Cora had been looking forward to coming into diagon alley for what seemed like an age, ever since the last year of Hogwarts broke up. She was heading into her third year, which meant several things. She would finally be able to go into hogsmead on the weekends during school, which meant that she would no longer need to wait for her father or older brother to provide her with sweets from honeydukes, and it was also the first year in which she was entrusted to do her school shopping on her own.

Of course, her father had driven her and her brother all the way to the leaky cauldron, where he would wait whilst they shopped. He'd never been comfortable accompanying the children shopping, being a muggle made him feel like he stuck out like a sore thumb, but he would have never forgiven himself if anything had happened to them. He had been coming once a year for the last 7 years, since Cora's elder sister had turned 11, and he still wasn't used to it. He had given Cora's brother strict instructions on keeping an eye on her at all times, but the moment they stepped through into Diagon Alley, he had been off like a shot to meet up with his friends, leaving Cora alone in his dust.

It was okay though, Cora felt confident as she stepped over the cobbled streets that she could do this alone anyway. Parents and Students all bustled their way past her, eager to get the school shopping done and out of the way before it got any busier, but Cora took her time, looking around and taking in the atmosphere. She'd never been able to enjoy the sounds and noise of diagon alley before, always being rushed around by her father, but now she had the chance to take it all in. She was surprised to see how many people were rushing around in their robes. Having a muggle father meant that Cora never wore her robes outside of term time, although she missed them during the colder days and how magically warm they would keep her. Today, she was dressed muggle-casual in torn, pale blue skinny jeans and a striped, v-neck shirt. A lightweight waterproof jacket helped keep the worst of the british chill out.

Finally, Cora reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out a list of items that her father had carefully crafted for her. Most of the books from her school reading list had already been ticked off, many of which she had owned for years already and read several times. The ones that were missing were bound to be heavy, and she had no wish to drag them round the rest of the shops with her, so made the decision to pick them up last. The next thing on the list was a new uniform, having experienced a slight growth spurt in the last year and outgrowing the rest of her clothing. Although she was still tiny, her body was definitely becoming less 'girl' shaped now, new curves causing her uniform to tug uncomfortably in the last few months of school. Not to mention the potions disaster that had set her old school robe on fire... a replacement would be needed for that too.

Cora made a beeline to Madam Malkin's Robes for all occasions, peering through the window at the latest designs... which... in esence... did not look all that different from the previous years range. Pushing open the door, she looked up as the bell rang announcing her entrance. She half expected to be quickly ushered into a stall for measurements, but nothing happened. Standing a little lost and confused Cora looked around for some sign of what she should do next, but seemed that all the staff were busy rushing around other students and wizards, too busy to have noticed her entrance.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:09 am

Clara stepped through the entrance to Diagon Alley, and looked down at her list of school supplies for the coming year. Her parents had dropped her off at the Leaky Cauldron, and then left to investigate a small used book shop down the street. As muggles, they didn't feel entirely welcome in the wizarding shopping center, and she assured them that she could take care of herself.

Scanning the list, she mentally checked off what she already had. She'd need to get her fourth year spell books, though she'd already read a couple of them. Oh, and she'd need new robes, some potions ingredients, and new ink. Easy enough. She made a mental map of the street, planning the most efficient path. She'd go to Madam Malkin's first, then Scribbulus Writing Instruments down the road, then Slug and Jiggers across the street. She saved Flourish and Blotts for last, knowing she'd want to buy more than she needed, and wanting to make sure she could afford all the necessities first.

A bell jingled as she entered the robe shop. It was much more crowded than she would've liked. She stood behind another girl, around her own age, who was also dressed in muggle clothing. She appreciated that she no longer felt she stood out in her dark jeans, grey t-shirt, and navy blue hoodie--she'd decided not to wear her robes, since she was going out to eat with her parents afterward. She absentmindedly fiddled with her zipper as she stood rather awkwardly next to the door.
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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:21 am

Cora felt like she stood there for an eternity, rubbing the arm of her jacket awkwardly. She was just about to turn and leave when the bell behind her jingled again, and it was just as well that it did otherwise she would have walked right into the dark haired girl just coming in. Cora let out a quiet, almost inaudible squeek of surprise and span back round to face the front again, but it was okay, the girl didn't seem to have noticed as she joined the imaginary queue that Cora had formed. She froze for a moment, sucking in her puffy cheeks as she rocked up and down on the balls of her toes in her sneakers.

After a few more minutes, Cora hesitated a glance behind her again. It occured to her at this point how close to the door the girl was being forced to wait, if anyone else was to come in now the door would surely push her aside. Feeling guilty Cora took a few steps forwards, turning around to smile kindly to the girl. "Sorry... I'm in the way." she gestured for the girl to go past her, rubbing the back of her neck awkwardly for a moment. This was -not- going as well as she had originally planned.

"You should go ahead... I.. uhm..." she looked at the ladies fitting again, letting out a soft sigh. "I don't really know what I'm doing. I think they're busy..." She looked back at the girl, quietly hoping she would take the offer to go first. Maybe she could attract their attention and Cora could watch how it was done. Worse case scenario was that she could flee and see if her older sister had any old uniform at home she could borrow... although the idea of wearing her sisters hand-me-downs did make her skin crawl.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:15 am

Clara had retreated to her thoughts to block out the hustle and bustle of the shop, so it took her a moment to realize the girl in front of her had moved, and was now speaking to her. Reflexively, she took a step away from the door, now that she had room to do so. The blonde girl gestured for her to go ahead of her, sounding...uncomfortable? Uncertain, judging by her words.

Clara glanced back at the attendants, who were indeed busy with other customers. She shrugged off the girl's offer.

"I think we just wait until someone is free to take our measurements. I'm not very good at this either."

Clara didn't really like coming here. Getting fitted for new robes was probably her least favorite part about school shopping--the attendants always tried to make awkward small talk while they took measurements, and Clara didn't enjoy being touched. She recognized the necessity of it, so she suffered through it, but it still made her uncomfortable. She wanted to just get it over with as quickly as possible, but there wasn't really anything she could do besides wait her turn, cooperate, and let herself get ferried along when the time came.

She looked back to the measuring area. "I think those two are almost done. We'll be next after they leave. If we look like we're waiting, they'll probably come fetch us."

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:08 pm

Clara smiled and nodded as the girl suggested they just wait, moving over to the edge of the front desk so that she would be more in view of the attendants. She was sure she hadn't had to wait like this her 1st year... but then she had been so excited by everything it was quite possible that she just hadn't noticed the wait. She wondered why they didn't just get more staff this time of year. She glanced back towards the girl behind her in the queue, sure she had recognised her from somewhere. Was she in her year? She couldn't quite be sure, but she definitely looked like she attended Hogwarts. Perhaps Cora had bumped into her once in one of her daydreaming dazes.

"So are you getting fitted for school robes too?" Cora asked politely in an attempt to make conversation, flashing the girl another soft smile as she relaxed a little. It was only now that she noticed the girl wasn't wearing robes at all and had, like herself, shown up in muggle-casual. "You came in through the cauldron too huh? Do you live in london?" she queried, nodding to the girls attire. She figured most of those in robes had probably travelled there via the floo network, which was one method of travel forbidden in her home - their muggle father wasn't fond of the idea of his children stepping into fireplaces and disappearing with a puff of smoke.

Looking back over to the two stations that had been mentioned, she noticed the attendants were indeed now putting the robes on the occupents to try and check out, each one seemingly happy with the result so it didn't look like alterations were going to be needed. Cora smiled lightly, standing with her back slightly straighter and chin up, waiting to be called over.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:56 am

Clara tried to suppress a feeling of dread as the other girl started making small talk. She never understood the point of it. Did the girl really care what kind of robes she was getting? Probably not. But her parents told her it was rude to brush people off, so she held back an expression of annoyance, and gave the girl a short nod to answer her question.

The girl kept talking. Clara wondered what it was about people that made them want to know useless things about strangers. When she looked at the other girl, she didn't find herself at all curious about where she lived, or what she was doing in Madam Malkin's. It didn't matter to her, so she didn't feel compelled to ask. Was it different for other people?

Still, if her mum were here, she'd tell her to be polite and answer, so Clara shook her head at the girl's latest question and said, "Bristol."

It was about an hour and forty-five minutes to get to London by train. They'd left that morning, arriving a little before noon, and planned to spend the rest of the day in the city before taking another train back home in the evening. They'd made this trip every year since she'd started at Hogwarts--they'd swing by Diagon Alley to pick up her school supplies, and then they'd go out for a late lunch, and then they'd walk around the city and go book shop hopping, or visit museums. After all, they didn't go to London very often, they may as well make the most of their visit.

Of course, Clara didn't feel the need to say any of this, so she left it at one word, and looked away from the girl, trying to convey disinterest in the conversation without telling her outright. Life would be so much easier if everyone could just say what they meant, she thought, not for the first time. But her mum kept telling her that she needed to be polite, so, though she didn't see the point, she tried her best most of the time.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:33 pm

The girls limited responses did not appear to phase Cora, in fact, it seemed to give her leave to start chatting even more enthusiastically to her. The simple nod in response to the question about whether it was school robes she was purchasing made Cora want to be the girls friend - after all, they went to the same school, which was miles away from both their homes, and the girl looked to be about her age so maybe they would share some classes together. She probably wasn't a 'puff though... but thats okay, Cora didn't discriminate.

"What year are you in? I'm going into third year this year... it's so exciting, I'm looking forward to visiting hogsmeade on the weekends. Have you ever been?"

Cora's chatter became quicker as she became more comfortable, hardly noticing the girls disinterest in her or what she had to say, although she hardly gave breaks for the girl to respond either to the questions she was throwing in her direction.

"I hope they let me take my cat into hogsmeade... she's called Missy. I'm sure there would be plenty of mice there to hunt so she would love it. Do you have any pets? I'm hoping that I'll be allowed more some day. Like a hippogriff! Wouldn't it be cool to own a hippogriff? I don't think it would fit very comfortably in the dorms though..."

Cora seemed to fade off quietly as she thought about that fact for a moment, imagining a lumbering hippogriff attempting to curl up at the foot of her four poster bed in the hufflepuff dorm. She imagined the reaction of the other girls... would they love it and want to pet it? Or would they squawk and hide from the massive 'beast'. Cora got so lost in these thoughts that she seemed to completly fade away from the present day, letting out the odd giggle to herself as her eyes glazed over, forgetting completely that she was waiting for a robe fitting as one of the attendants finished up and began to approach.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:12 am

Clara wasn't exactly sure what to do. Did the other girl want her to answer? It didn't seem like it. In fact, despite the fact that she was talking to her, the other girl didn't seem to be paying much attention to Clara at all. She jumped from question to question so quickly, and didn't even wait for an answer before changing topics. Clara wanted to be polite, but this girl was making it very hard to figure out how to do that. She didn't know whether it would be more rude to interrupt, or to fail to reply.

She waited until the girl finally trailed off, then tried to remember all the questions that had been asked. "Um...fourth, yes, a cat, and no, a hippogriff would be very impractical and hard to take care of. Their diet consists mainly of birds and small mammals, like rats and ferrets, and they would have to eat a lot every day considering their size. You would need a continuous supply of dead birds and rodents, which would be very unpleasant, to say the least. Not to mention, they'd need a lot of space to spread their wings, they're known to be a little cantankerous, and the time and money required for upkeep alone would quickly surpass the capabilities of the average student."

Clara's eyes drifted toward the attendant that was now making her way over to them, another one following shortly behind. She hoped that meant this conversation was at an end, but, judging by how the girl had been acting so far, she'd probably continue chatting as they were being measured. She wondered if the girl would even notice if Clara just ignored her. She hoped this wouldn't take long.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:47 am

Cora blinked out of her stupor as she heard the girl start answering all the questions, although Cora had hardly remembered what it was she asked her. As she started talking about how impractical owning a hippogriff would be Cora blushed, rubbing her arm a little embarrassed - not just because she had been put in her place about her dreams, but also because she realised how rude she had been talking over the whole time. When she finally spoke again, she was a lot quieter than before, perhaps even coming across as a little more timid compared to her previous confident composure.

"I guess that's true..." she mumbled, before bringing her eyes up to meet that of the attendant stopping infront of her. She reached back into her jacket for the list of items she needed to purchase and handed it to the attendant to review, before being guided towards a fitting station. Before, moving, she looked back to the girl and gave her a slightly smaller smile. "I'm sorry I bothered you. My names Cora, maybe I'll see you about at school." she raised her hand lightly in a wave, deciding to leave the girl be unless she wanted to talk to her more.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:00 am

Clara blinked as the other girl got very quiet all of the sudden. Did she do something wrong? She felt she should be happy, considering she'd wanted the girl to shut up, but now that she had, it bothered her because she couldn't figure out why. Was it something she said? Had she made the other girl feel bad? Should she apologize? But what for?

Wordlessly, she followed the other attendant to the measuring area, toward a small stool next to the other girl--Cora, she had said. She felt awkward as she cast a sidelong glance at the cheerful blonde and wondered if she should say something. She opened her mouth halfway, but didn't know what to say, so she shut it again.

She was starting to feel rather stressed out about the uncertainty of the situation. She felt like she'd done something wrong, but she didn't know what it was or how to fix it. Or even if she wanted to--did she really want to risk giving Cora an excuse to start chatting again? But the nagging feeling wouldn't go away, and now the sudden quiet was making her uncomfortable.

Her mum had told her that if she was worried that she might have hurt someone's feelings, she should apologize just in case, and make sure they were all right. So after a long and awkward pause, Clara finally cleared her throat uncomfortably and spoke.

"Um...I'm Clara. Did I...did I offend you? I didn't mean to. I'm...sorry."

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:46 am

Stepping up to the fitting station Cora stood with her back straight, shoulders pushed back and chin up, she stared directly ahead of her at her own reflection, raising an eyebrow. She had looked in the mirror this morning, but she was sure she hadn't looked like this. Her blonde hair stuck out in odd directions from where the wind had blown it about since leaving home, but that wasn't really anything new. Her figure however, looked much different than she had before. Much older. She was distracted for a moment before hearing another advisor at the station next to her directing someone else. Cora glanced over and watched as the girl from the door was directed by the attendant before looking back in the mirror, trying to figure out what it was exactly about herself that had seemed to annoy the girl so much. Of course, Cora could talk for england, that was well known, but thinking back on their encounter Cora was almost certain that her presence had annoyed her before she had started speaking. Maybe it was the hair? She wasn't particularly well presented...

Cora raised her arms up as the attendant dealing with her directed, watching as a charmed tape measure flitted around her hips, waist and chest, the attendant making notes as she went. It was a surprise when Cora heard the girl next to her speak, and although she heard the words, she had half thought that she was directing them to the attendant. It wasn't until the attendant didn't respond did Cora realise it was for her. She thought for a moment - was she offended? Not really... but she had been a little disappointed at having her dreams crushed.

"Oh... it's okay. I wasn't offended. I didn't mean to bother you... I know I talk a lot..."

Cora caught herself before she started getting into a history of people who told her she talks to much and to be quiet. "It's nice to meet you Clara." she said finally with another soft smile, dropping her arms back to her sides as the measurements ceased.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:26 am

Cora took a little while to answer, during which time Clara silently agonized over what she might have done wrong. And then the girl said she wasn't offended.

"Oh, okay. Good," Clara said, feeling relieved, but also still a little confused. If she wasn't offended, why had she gone quiet all of the sudden? She said it was because she didn't mean to bother her, but that meant that something Clara did must have hinted that she was bothered, and she wasn't sure what that may have been. Clara had been trying to be polite--she'd answered all the questions, even though she hadn't wanted to, and though she had attempted to convey disinterest by not making eye-contact, she was certain the other girl hadn't noticed, since she'd kept talking afterward. So what made her shut up when she did?

A tape measure flew around Clara as she stood atop the stool with her arms out, trying not to show her discomfort at the invasion of her personal space. She nodded absentmindedly at the other girl's standard greeting, then decided she may as well ask the question that she couldn't figure out herself.

"How could you tell I was bothered?"

She was actually quite interested to hear the answer, because it could be very useful. If there were certain, concrete, telltale signs that meant someone was bothered, then she could learn to look for them in future interactions, and she wouldn't have to be confused as to whether she was bothering people. In fact, this could turn into a very interesting conversation indeed, if Cora could provide a helpful answer--she might be able to explain other signs too, like how to tell if someone was upset or frustrated. Maybe Cora could help her understand how to read people, so she wouldn't be so hopelessly uncertain in the future.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:37 pm

Cora shifted side to side, legs apart, legs together, arms up, stretched out sideways, stretched out forward and then down at her sides as instructed by the Assistant, occasionally needing to swat away the charmed tape measure as it swung too close to her head, scared it might get tangled in her mess of blonde locks atop her head. The silence that fell between them for several minutes was painful for Cora, who was used to a lot of noise, chatter and giggles in her day to day life and was struggling for the life of her to bite her lip and stay silent - she wanted so desperately to talk all about the charms on the tape measure, how she had managed to charm one herself at home - although it could only manage straight lines currently and often just headbutted into things in it's way - but no, stum she stuck.

She was therefore surprised, and relieved, when it was Clara to break the deafening silence between them. Her own assistant had disappeared away from the podium for the moment to fetch some plain robes for Cora to try on for size. She rubbed her arms lightly, uncomfortable from all the stretching as she turned to watch as the other girl got measured up, thinking about her answer for a second before replying.

"I tend to bother people." she said after a moment, letting out a soft sigh and a shrug before continuing. "The way I talk on and on... my Dad always tells me off, to stop for breath, to let others speak... I get it. I don't think I'd like it much if someone kept shooting questions at me without giving me a chance to talk either." she explained lightly, before peering at the girl.

"You weren't too interested to elaborate on your answers either... except to..." she was about to mention the cruel way her dreams of her hippogriff had been admonished, but decided against it and just went quiet again. She didn't want to be mean - especially when the girl had just willingly talked to her first. Best not ruin that now.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:03 pm

Oh, thought Clara. The answer was not helpful, but at least the other girl was self-aware. It was a redeeming quality, and her opinion of Cora improved somewhat. She knew that she herself also tended to ramble, spouting off copious amounts of information all at once when she was thinking aloud--she supposed the only difference was that she only did it when she found a topic fascinating, whereas Cora was seemingly content to ramble about anything, no matter how vapid. But then again, Clara figured that what she found interesting may not captivate other people as much as it did her, so perhaps she did understand, at least a little bit, where Cora was coming from.

"I didn't feel the need, they were all pretty self-explanatory except the last one. I did explain myself on that one because I was expressing an opinion that differed from your own, so I assumed that you wouldn't immediately understand my reasoning unless I clarified."

Her attendant stepped back and gestured for her to lower her arms. The tape measure, having done its job, drifted away from her and came to halt by the attendant's head. He finished making a few notes, then told her to stand still while he went to the back room. She relaxed, glad for the break.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:31 pm

Cora shrugged on one of the robes that the attendant returned with, watching as the woman looked her up and down. The robe felt pretty short to Cora, who wasn't all that tall herself anyway, and the attendant seemed to eventually notice the way it was hanging far too high around her lower leg. She demanded Cora to take it off, which Cora did, but apparently not quick enough as the attendant yanked it from her shoulders to hang it back up and threw another her way to put on. She nodded to the girls explanation about not expanding on her answers to her, giving a little shrug.

"I guess that's true... and your final answer was uhm..." she thought about her wording for a session. "very well reasoned and thought out. You obviously know a lot about hippogriffs..." she paused again for a second before adding on to the end, "more than me I guess." She let out a soft sigh, straightening the sleeves on the new robe she had on, it felt like a much better fit at least and the attendant started to walk laps around her, tugging it in different places to check the fit.

"Do you like Care of Magical creatures?" She asked after a moment, resisting the tempation to say about how it was one of her favourite classes and she couldn't wait to get involved again this year. She would atleast give Clara a chance to answer first, although it looked like she wouldn't be able to talk for much longer as the attendant appeared to be finishing up.


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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:50 pm

Clara's attendant returned with some robes, and handed one to her to try on. The sleeves were slightly too long, so she took it off and exchanged it for another one. After a few attempts, one of the robes fit perfectly, but the attendant walked around her, adjusting it here and there to make sure. Clara squirmed a little as she felt his hand on her arm, but tried to stay still and let him do his job. She didn't like being touched.

She shrugged at the girl's comment. Was it a compliment? No, not quite, she decided. Just an observation. 'Thank you' didn't seem like the right response, so she didn't know how to respond. She only knew a few basic facts about hippogriffs actually, and she'd never interacted with one. She just remembered what she'd read in some textbook or other. Did she like Care of Magical Creatures?

"No, not really. I just read a lot. I don't really get along with most living things."

Her tone was matter-of-fact. It didn't really bother her that animals didn't usually like her--she didn't usually like them either, so she kept her distance whenever possible. But she was happy to read about them, just as she was happy to read about most things.

She glanced at Cora and saw that she was nearly finished with her robes. They both were, actually. She handed the robes that fit to her attendant, who folded them neatly, and she stepped off the stool.

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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:41 am

Cora was surprised when the girl said she wasn't interested in Care of Magical creatures, and then instantly decided against leaping into her unending ramblings about why she was so excited to go to it this year. She had never had the option in the previous years, although there had been times when she had snuck over to the part of the grounds where the classes took place to see if she could peek some of the animals. It was about as rebellious as Cora got.

"Maybe you do get along with them but you just don't realise it?" Cora asked after a moment, looking over as she stepped off her own stool. It wasn't as if the girls slight awkwardness hadn't gone unnoticed, but Cora would never have said that their encounter could be classed as not getting along. She knew there were people out there who just thought so lowly of themselves that they didn't notice when people liked them, or were just being nice to be nice rather than with alterior motives. Maybe Clara was just one of these people.

The attendant neatly folded the correct fitting robe and popped it in a bag, along with a second ~ Cora was that clumsy that she almost always had to take double of everything to cover herself when she ruins one of them, probably in some incredibly embarrassing event that the whole school witnesses no doubt. She took a deep breath and took the bag of robes before looking back at Clara.

"Well, I have to go pick up some more things so maybe I'll see you around at school Clara. Please feel free to say Hi if you see me around first though..." and she really meant the last part, hoping a little encouragement might ease the tension.

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Clara Goldstein
Ravenclaw Fourth Year
Ravenclaw Fourth Year
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PostSubject: Re: Sizing up [Open]   Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:07 pm

Clara let out a wry laugh at the girl's suggestion. "No, I'd say it's fairly obvious that I'm not good with plants and animals. I killed a cactus once by watering it too much. I'm okay with cats because they're rather independent, but most animals I'm just not sure what to do with. And as for people...well, people are difficult."

She shrugged. She'd always been content with her books and her puzzles. She'd never felt she needed anyone besides her parents. In fact, she tended to feel more alone when she was with other people than she did by herself--she felt like an outsider most of the time, like everyone knew something she didn't, or they were speaking in a language that she couldn't quite understand. So people were frustrating, and it was much easier to just stay away from them.

Her attendant handed her a bag with her robes, and she fished some galleons out of her pocket to pay for them. As the other girl said her goodbyes, she pulled her lip into an awkward half-smile.

"Bye," she said. "I'll um...I guess I'll see you."

Then she followed Cora out the door and strode down the road in the other direction, with hardly a backward glance.

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