A/N: I'm back! This new story is different from anything else I've ever done. Don't want to give away anything so let's hop right in! Glad to be back to writing in this awesome community. Cheers!
Harley Denson strained to put the book back where it belonged on the top shelf. She knew she wasn't supposed to use a chair to reach it, but the chair was right there and….
The chair wobbled beneath her and even though she was able to finally push the book home her footing beneath her gave way. She pushed slightly off the chair so as not to land on it and was rewarded by landing square on her bottom.
She cried out in pain. "That will hurt in the morning." She pushed her wild cinnamon colored hair out of her face before pushing herself up and dusting herself off. She wasn't a short woman. In fact, she was tall and thin like a willow branch. When she walked to the window to see her reflection her emerald green eyes looked back at her fair skinned face.
"Harley? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine grandpa." She called back, turning towards the back to see her grandfather making his way down from their upstairs apartment. "Really, just a short tumble is all."
"If you say so." He smiled. Harley loved her grandfather. He was a kind and gentle man in his sixties with piercing blue eyes and greying blonde hair. He took his usual spot behind the counter. "It's slow today if you want to go somewhere."
"Okay, I think I'll just go for a walk."
"Take care dear." He waved her out the door.
She grabbed a jacket from the hook by the door and started strolling down west avenue. She took a right at the streetlight and found the start of her usual walking trail at the public park entrance. She liked to walk through the park and people watch. She saw with a pang a group of young people her age enjoying a picnic underneath one of the trees.
Harley sighed. There would have been a time when she would have tried to introduce herself to the group, but she had learned a long time ago that most people in Harwick knew about "that weird Denson girl". Life as a witch in a muggle town wasn't always easy.
"What's the use of being magical if there's no one to talk to?" she mumbled to herself.
She missed Hogwarts. The school that had trained her to be a witch from the ages of eleven to seventeen had been a second home to her. She had made some wonderful friends there. In particular there were two boys named Samuel and Robert who had been her best friends. They had met on the train ride from King's Cross station on their first day and had been friends ever since. It had pained her to say goodbye to them at the Leaving Feast.
She shook her head and plopped down underneath her favorite ash tree in the park. It was on a little rise where she could see most of the park spread out beneath her. She watched a couple push their little girl on the swing. It was mesmerizing to her to watch the father and mother take turns, making sure to push the little girl ever higher. Her eyes followed the girl back and forth, as the girl's squeals of delight tugged a sad smile across Harley's face.
A small pop behind her made her jump. Before she could stand up, a silver tabby cat slinked around the tree and paused beside her.
"Hello there." Harley reached out to pet the cat, which took a seat and purred staring at her all the while. She noticed there were strange markings around the cats' eyes. The father and mother by the swings finally took their daughter and left, so Harley sat and watched other families stroll through the park or play with their children, all the while scratching behind the ears of the cat.
The sun was making its way below the horizon when Harley finally stood to make her way home.
"I would bring you home, but I don't think grandpa would approve." She looked at her newfound friend. Strangely, it almost looked as if there was a tear in the cat's eyes. "Strange, I didn't know cats could cry."
She turned to go, "Well, goodbye." She waved to the tabby. She made her way slowly down the hill, pausing for a moment by the swing the little girl had been in earlier.
"Hi grandpa." Harley called out when she had entered Aaron's Emporium. Her grandfather was behind the counter, counting the money in his register.
"Enjoy your walk dear?"
"Yes sir. I'll head upstairs and get started on dinner." She made her way to the foot of the stairs. Aaron chuckled.
"No need, there's some already waiting for you." He gave her his signature smile. She grinned in return and hurried up the stairs.
Their upstairs apartment was a simple place. A sitting room that merged into a small kitchen was to her left and a hallway to her right led to their two bedrooms. Waiting on the counter was a bubbling pot of her grandfather's chicken soup and signature crotons.
It was with a warm and full belly that she settled onto her bed an hour later with a worn copy of Phantastes.
"You and your fairy tales." Her grandfather's teasing voice proceeded him into the room.
"You know I've always loved magical stories." She grinned.
"Yes indeed." He took a seat at the foot of her bed. "I thought you might faint when your Hogwarts letter arrived. After all, it was your chance to live out some of the magic you love so much."
Her smile faltered. "Yeah…." She waved her wand at her music box in the far corner, but nothing happened. It took her three tries before the soft tinkling music began to play. "Too bad I've always been rubbish at it."
"Come now, you made excellent grades in school." Aaron soothed. "The best they had seen in thirty years in fact. You're a very gifted witch. Given your wand trouble, I would say you are perhaps one of the best."
She looked forlornly at her wand. It was a rather simple piece of thirteen inch oak wood with a single unicorn hair for a core. "You still haven't heard from Mr. Ollivander?"
Her grandfather chuckled, "You know that I haven't. You check the post every day." Harley sighed and thumbed her wand. Aaron reached out and put his hand on her shoulder. "Now come on, don't let it get to you."
"I'm the only person who didn't have a wand match." Her voice cracked as her eyes stung with tears. "Thousands of years and the only person to not have a loyal wand is me."
"That's not true. I'm sure plenty of other witches and wizards have struggled with their wands. Ollivander isn't the only wand maker you know." He cupped her chin in his hands. "I'm sure one day your wand will recognize that a great witch holds it in her hands."
Harley sniffed and forced a smile.
"There, that's better." Her grandfather smiled. "Now, I'm tucking in for the night. Don't let Mr. MacDonald keep you up all night."
She laughed as she thumbed to her bookmark. "I won't."
The door closed behind him and her grandfather made his way to his own bedroom. Opening her book to where she left off, Harley let her mind wander off into fairy land.