Paola loved to read. In fact, she would not have been at all surprised if she had heard any of her schoolmates describe her with some variation on “that quiet girl who always had a book.” (It would have been an accurate description, at least.) Between her love of literature and a need to occasionally read or study without the soothing backdrop of Rhia’s ranting, Paola spent a lot of time in the library. The Draco Common Room and its private library were usually also quiet, but they didn’t have the possibility that one of the library cats might sit on her lap.
And sometimes she had to go to the library because of homework. Today was such a day. Paola had a paper to write for Cultural Studies, so she was off to the library to find sources that would meet Professor Blair’s exacting standards.
Paola would readily admit to liking Cultural Studies. It reminded her of all the stories she’d heard from various embassy adults that had first opened her eyes to how big the world truly was, but Cultural Studies was more systemic, more thorough, and most importantly, it answered why. Paola left most classes feeling like her brain had been stretched open, a good feeling. However, she was more than a little intimidated by Professor Blair. (The fact that Paola also maybe wanted to be like Professor Blair when she grew up didn’t help any with the intimidation factor.) It made her feel extra conscientious about doing her Cultural Studies assignments.
Paola made her way to the appropriate section of the shelves, collected an armload of books with likely sounding titles and synopses, and after a moment to rebalance her stack so she wouldn’t drop it all, she made her way toward the nearest comfy armchair. She carefully set her books on the end table next to the chair, and then noticed that someone had left a very stylish bell-shaped green felt hat on the chair. It had the end of a peacock feather stuck into the band. Paola looked around for whoever might have left it, spotted no one, and reached for it. Her intention when she started to pick it up had been to take it up to the front desk for Lost and Found, but by the time her fingers reached it, Paola was of course going to try it on. She wasn’t even aware that she had changed her mind; she had to try on the cloche. She probably would look absolutely keen in it. If only there were a mirror here!
Still, Paola couldn’t help smiling and stroking the hat as she settled into the armchair to crack some books. Maybe she’d get to keep it, and then she’d have something to wear to the next rub she went to with her friends. Wouldn’t that be the bee’s knees?! Her feet tapped absentmindedly on the ground, once, twice, then on into a syncopated rhythm as she tried to read. She really needed to use her noodle, and that really seemed like a lot of work against the background music. Paola thrust the book aside, stood, stretched, and began soft-shoeing her way down the aisle of books.
There was another student there. Paola tapped her way up to them, hands out and smiling broadly. “C’mon, let’s find the main drag and go dancing!”