"Elizabeth!" Eileen exclaimed, surprise and relief inter-mingling in her voice. "How come you are here?"
Eileen and her parents had just reached Platform Nine and three quarters and much to Eileen's surprise, she had just spotted her friend from school. Muggle school, as her parents referred to it.
"Eileen!" Elizabeth called out and rushed towards her. "I'm in my third year at Hogwarts! Oh...just wait until you get there! Its so beautiful! Come, I'll introduce you to my friends."
Eileen looked at her parents and they nodded, encouragingly. Elizabeth, though, kept on chattering as she dragged Eileen to a group of students standing at the door of a compartment.
"Hey guys," Elizabeth called out. "Meet my friend, Eileen. She stays at Spinner's End, quite close to my place."
Eileen felt a pang of guilt when she heard Elizabeth mention Spinner's End. She missed Tobias and felt wretched about lying to him. But Hogwarts seemed so exciting. Much better than her Muggle school.
"Hi Eileen," a tall boy drawled. He offered his hand to her and she shook it quietly, waiting for Elizabeth to start the introductions.
"Oh...Eileen, that's Harry. Harry Evans," Elizabeth said. "And this is John Longbottom," Elizabeth said, pointing to the boy with a mop of brown hair standing next to Harry. "And this one here," she said, pointing to a short, little girl who was standing beside Harry. "She's Augusta Mason. Don't go by her looks, Eileen! She's a firebrand!"
They all smiled warmly at Eileen and she felt some of her nervousness slip away.
"Where's your stuff?" Augusta asked. "We'd better tell Harry and John to load it up the compartment for you."
Eileen pointed to her trunk that her parents were holding. They watched their daughter as she chatted amiably with her new friends and sighed with relief. Just a few days ago, they had taken her to Diagon Alley to buy her the first year school books and her wand. She had been enchanted by the sights and sounds of Diagon Alley and it made her parents happy to see that she had accepted the Wizarding World so easily.
"Don't worry, Augusta," Eileen assured her. "I'll get it myself. I want to go and meet my parents for one last time."
"Ah..don't you worry, Eileen," Augusta said. "You go and speak to your parents and let the boys get your trunk for you. oi Harry! John!" she called out. "Get Eileen's trunk for her."
Eileen walked up to her parents and hugged both of them. "When will I see you again?" she asked her mother, trying hard to stop the tears that were welling up in her eyes.
"Very soon, Eileen," her mother reassured her while her father patted her head. "You can come home for Christmas."
She then walked Eileen to the door of the compartment and helped her to board the train. As the train started moving, Eileen craned her neck and looked out of the window till her parents went out of her sight.