I dragged Aubrey down to the Quidditch pitch to watch the team selection after Herbology. The Captain, Callie Oliver, was already there, her clear voice commanding the groups of hopefuls. The weather was great for Quidditch, and the Gryffindor team had fought hard to book the pitch. The warm autumn sun brushed my arms, the gentle breeze whispering in my ears, tempting me to fly and join them. Aubrey headed towards the stands, seating himself in between Kaitlynn and Tom. Kaitlynn was bouncing off her seat, her fingers flexing in the anticipation of the Slytherine tryouts which would take place after Gryffindor's. Waving to Aubrey, I grabbed my broom from the sideline and walked towards Callie, positioning myself on her right side.
"How've you been?" asked Callie in between her commands to the new tryouts to pick a broom.
"Great," I said, "And now even better because Quidditch is starting! How've you all been?"
"Busy," replied Callie.
"Good," said Jamie, the tall Chaser for our team, “All we need now for the perfect season is two new Beaters, a Keeper and a Chaser.”
“To join us oldies,” I laughed, “See anyone promising?”
“That little redhead over there with the Comet looks good as a Chaser,” Callie said, “And that tall boy with the curly brown hair? Arms roped with enough muscles to beat ten Bludgers!”
“I was thinking that girl with the plaited ponytail in pink would be good as a Chaser,” Jamie told us.
“Well, I reckon we should let them all fly before we start judging,” I said, grinning with the excitement of the coming season of Quidditch, “Although if you ask me, that blond boy with the Cleansweep looks like a great Seeker, but perhaps with a faster broom.”
“Gryffindors!” boomed Callie, and at once all heads turned to her, “Listen up! Welcome to tryouts for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. I’m Callie Oliver, Captain and also Seeker. This is Zoe and Jamie, both Chasers. What we’re looking for today is two new Beaters, a Keeper and another Chaser. This is how it’s going to work. I’ll be taking everyone who would like to try out as Beaters to the far end of the pit and we’ll see how you handle them Bludgers.”
“Anyone who wants to try out as Chaser or Keeper follow me and Jamie,” I said, leading the way over to the Quaffles.
There were eight people wanting to try out for Chaser, and another five for Keeper. After a routine warm up fly four times around the stadium, Jamie set to work pairing up the Chasers while I practiced with the Keepers. Balancing casually on my broom, I threw Quaffles at the rings, challenging the Keepers to keep them out. By the time Jamie had finished pairing up the Chasers, I already had a pretty clear idea as to who would definitely not be on the team.
“Right,” Jamie said, “Now each pair will get five turns at taking the Quaffle from the halfway mark down to the goals. Remember what I said about balance and anticipation. Once you are down at the goals you will have a shot each.”
“And don’t forget that Jamie and I will be trying to steal the Quaffle off you for the entire time,” I reminded them, grinning.
The first pair followed us to the midway mark, nervously chatting behind us. The girl looked lithe enough to be a good Chaser, but her partner boasted of nothing but gangly limbs and awkward body.
“Ready?” yelled Jamie as he aimed the Quaffle in the girl’s direction. He threw it without waiting for a reply.
She caught the ball neatly in her hand, twisting around on her broom to zoom back to the hoops. I leaned forwards on my own, directing the nose of the broom directly on her back. She stopped suddenly and tossed the ball to her partner, the gangly boy with unkempt black hair. I swerved up, going on an insane speed at an insane angle in order to intercept the Quaffle. Jamie was already tracking the boy, shadowing him with ever move of the broomstick. My fingers brushed against the red leather of the Quaffle, but I didn’t fly high enough to catch it in my hand. Cursing myself over this error, I flew back to the girl.
“Zoe, how did you miss that one?” Jamie asked, winking at me.
“Oh shut up you!” I yelled back at him, determined to intercept the next one.’
The boy caught the Quaffle and threw it back with more grace than I’d ever expect from him, and swerved on his broomstick to drop Jamie behind. I raced up ahead, trying to shadow the girl so that they cannot get any closer to the goal. Jamie was in front of the boy, flying in a mad pattern in order to distract the aim of the Quaffle. The boy hesitated, and I smiled in triumph as I thought we finally made them realise who’s better. Suddenly the Quaffle whizzed past my face towards a great goal position and landed neatly in the girl’s hands, although I swear she was way behind me a moment ago. I swerved forward and defended the goals, one arm reaching out over my head in a bid to block her. She swung her arm back and threw the ball hard into the center ring. Holding the broom secure between my knees, I stretched my arms and just managed to catch the ball, getting thrown back a few yards because of the force of the throw.
“Your turn,” I said to the boy as he caught up to the ring.
He plucked the Quaffle gracefully out of the air and pulled his broom over to the center. He raised his arms and paused for a fraction of a second to focus his aim, then threw the most amazing spinners that I’ve ever seen in the history of Quidditch. Jamie lurched forward to try and intercept, but the curving ball flew around him and neatly into the ring.
“I don’t think we need to hold any more trials,” I told Jamie.
“What about the Keeper?” he asked me.
“Did you not see the way the ball flew into that girl’s hand as though there’s magnetic attraction?” I said, “I think this year is going to be swell!”