4

It was a well known fact that Claire Dearing HATED Owen Grady. It wasn’t just for the simple fact of she was a Slytherin and him a Gryffindor, it was everything about him. His cocky attitude, smug grin and the way he always seemed ready and more than willing to go toe to toe with her in any kind of argument.

Before Owen arrived at Hogwarts Claire had been at the top of every class. Then the American transfer had arrived half way through sixth year and it had been loathing at all but first sight for Claire.

This small detail didn’t seem to bother Owen much because he still took every opportunity to talk and attempt to flirt with her.

As if that wasn’t bad enough Owen had continued to match her grades in every class, even surpassing them in Care of Magical Creatures. The icing on the proverbial cake though was when the Herbology teacher, Professor Longbottom had cut off an argument they were engaged in during class by declaring that if they did not quiet down he’d have both of the “love birds” in detention re-potting Mandrake for a week.

Later that afternoon Claire vented to her best friends Zara, also of Slytherin and Vivian of Huffelpuff recounting the whole ordeal. She bemoaned the Professor’s blatant favoritism for the student within his own house when it was Owen who had started the whole argument in the first place

Zara was only half listening but scoffed and hummed agreements appropriately. Vivian however had asked when she was going to get over this stupid rivalry they had formed and just go out with the guy already. Claire had almost screeched at the thought but stopped herself after spotting Owen and his friends making their way across the castle grounds near where they were currently sitting.

An exaggerated eye roll and slight upturn of her nose was Claire’s response to Owen’s cheeky smile and wave when he noticed her and her friends. Turning back to her Ancient Runes notes she tried to concentrate but found it impossible with the addition of the new group of students mere yards away. The American was trying to teach them a Muggle game called Baseball but it eventually turned into a game of Quodpot. The match was lively, but what else could be expected when the Potters and Weasleys were involved. One by one the players were eliminated by the exploding quod until it was down to just Owen and James Potter.

If anyone said that Claire had smiled broadly when Owen won, she could easily claim it was a trick of the light. Or that she had smiled, relieved that the noisy group had soon after left to return their brooms and equipment to prepare for the next class. And if she had admired the way Owen’s shirt had stretched over the defined muscles of his arms and chest, or the way his pants had extenuated his butt, she was after all a red-blooded teenage female. It didn’t mean she liked him. Did it?