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Cleo James
Setting up shop
Mon Feb 27, 2017 06:36

Cleo took a deep breath and decided that her lip was definitely not trembling. She had cried when she’d had to say goodbye to her daddy and had sat sniffling on the wagon until an older student had offered - or possibly even transfigured her - a handkerchief. It wasn’t that she wasn’t excited to go to school, or that she was even scared or anything. She just didn’t want to leave her daddy. It had always been the two of them - all Cleo knew about her mother was that she had been unable to take care of her, and had left her with her father when she was less than a year old. She didn’t even remember her. That brought its own share of confusion and curiosity, and sometimes hurt, but it was also just how it had always been. And she and daddy did everything together. He ran the general goods store in their small town and every day, their neighbour would walk Cleo home from school, she would run inside, pull on the little apron that hung behind the counter, open the till and take out the badge with her name on it which declared her to be ‘Assistant Shopkeeper’ and which her daddy had allowed her to decorate with glittery star stickers when she was much smaller. Then she would help out in the shop until closing time, perched on a tall stool behind the counter, chatting happily with their customers. When it was time to close, she would pull down the left-hand blind, which had an extra cord hanging off the loop so she could reach it, whilst daddy did the right. Then, once no one could see in, she would turn the heavy key in the door, whilst her daddy added additional protections with his wand. Then, he’d set the broom to sweeping the store floor, and take the cash from the register upstairs to count before he made Cleo her tea. It wasn’t a lot of jobs, really, and she knew that he was a grown up who could manage without her (a thought which actually wounded her pride and sense of importance a little) but they had their routine, and Cleo was sad to think about him doing it without her, both for his sake and because she felt lost and left out.

Cleo listened to the welcome speech. Most of it had already been covered in information sent about the school but it was always good to get a refresher. There was a lot to take in as, even though she had a magical parent, he hadn’t attended this school. She was excited to be reminded that they would do Herbology, and to learn that this man would be their teacher. She and her daddy spent most of their Sundays up on the allotment, where they grew vegetables. They’d cook most of them up themselves but if they had any excess that they couldn’t eat, they left them outside the shop with an honesty box. Daddy didn’t like to sell them through the shop, because it got all bogged down in needing to do it officially and properly, and because people came to expect it, and the allotment wasn’t for either of those things. It was to relax. If they got to spread some good cheer with practically free vegetables, that was an occasional plus side. Because of where they lived, they could only grow Muggle plants, and she was excited to learn about more magical ones.

They were then given free time to mingle. Making friends wasn’t a massive concern for Cleo. Certainly she wanted to be liked - who didn’t? - but she didn’t need to be the centre of everyone’s attention to feel happy. She was content to be with people, or to be by herself. Also, she had never really experienced not being accepted. Cleo was a pretty little girl, and whatever people said about it being your actions or your personality that really mattered, a cute face got you a long way in life. Plainer girls with her personality may well have been over-looked, but with her big grey eyes, shining blonde bob and delicate little features, people gravitated towards her - they wanted to count someone like her amongst their friends, and to gain her approval. As a younger child, she had had a determinedly selfish streak, and a bit of a temper, neither of which was helped by being an only child or easily liked. However, for all that she was by default the centre of his world, her father was a down to earth man. He didn’t take nonsense, and believed the two most important things in life to be doing an honest day’s work and being kind. As Cleo became more mature, this had steadily won out against her naturally less desirable tendencies, and she was, on the whole, a pleasant person, even if she hadn’t had her ability to share or to consider others pushed to its limits terribly often.

When they were free to mix with the other students, Cleo made her way over to another first year. Whilst she wasn’t a social animal, she did want to get to know her fellow students and make some friends.

“Hi,” she smiled, “I’m Cleo. Are you excited for school?”

  • New Student Orientation Professor Nathan Xavier , Fri Feb 24 09:55
    A new year was beginning and with it came the wagon loads of students, arriving from all over the country and even the world. Nathan Xavier stood on the open lawn between the school building and the... more
    • Setting up shop — Cleo James, Mon Feb 27 06:36
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