Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

Ͼ Ella White Ͽ

I tapped my pencil on my notebook, staring into the distance. My chest constricted at the thought of going back to work tonight. He was probably going to fire me, right? I was doomed. He wasn't going to believe me. He would think I made up some story to cover for the fact that I'd forgotten to lock up (which I had. I was so desperate to get out of there, I didn't realize I hadn't locked the door), and so some drunk seniors or something came in, and trashed the place.

I bit at my cracked lip, staring out window, at the school garden. Nothing moved. Everything was completely still and silent. The green, so rare in New York, was plentiful here. The last haven I had left.

Glancing to my classmates, I knew they wouldn't agree. They were the kind of girls who wore shoes so high, they would sink about a foot into the grass outside, and their real height would be revealed. Sometimes, when I'm in a crowd of them, I feel like a total dwarf.

The teacher gestured at the graph, and I forced myself to concentrate. Come on, I told myself, for about the hundredth time this academic year. You paid so much for this education. You have to value it, and take this chance. I pulled myself into the real world.

Habitually, I rubbed at my nose, over the splattering of fading freckles. I'd gotten those when I worked at that outside market by the beach last summer.

The teacher – Mr Vann – was explaining something about economic growth. I took notes, with the same nonplussed expression I always had. To tell you the truth, I liked it. I liked school, I liked taking the notes, and I liked the classes. But if I ever voiced that...well, the girls here would destroy me.

I glanced up at the window, and I froze.

Something had moved.

I stared out of the window, hard. Something had moved. I was sure of it. In our garden – the school garden that was off limits to everyone during class. I craned my neck, trying to see further than the window would allow. There it was again! A flash of black, that was gone in a –

"Miss White? Would you like to explain what you are doing?"

I spun my head around, suddenly realizing the whole class was looking at me. Most of the girls looked smug, and they nudged each other. They could sense some drama approaching.

Blood rose to my cheeks. "I'm sorry, sir. But it was just that, outside, a –"

"I am not interested! While you are in my classroom, you will concentrate on nothing but what is being taught, understand?"

"But –"

"Do you understand?!"

"I understanding, sir," I muttered, looking down. My cheeks were red from everyone's gazes. I wasn't the type of person to do this. I was shy, reserved. I had to be, just to survive.

"Good. Then we shall proceed."

He turned around, and started annotating the line. I bowed my head, and waited for everyone to look away. There was a tap on my shoulder. I turned around.

"Are you okay?" Lucy said, smiling at me sweetly, tossing her blonde hair, letting it catch the light. She did an amazingly good job of looking like she cared. "He was being totally harsh!"

The girls around her smirked.

"I mean, all you were doing was looking out of a window!" she continued, her eyes widening innocently. "Just because you family are poor, doesn't mean that you're a delinquent. Oh!" she said, covering her mouth, as if she'd just realized. "I didn't mean it like that! I only meant that your family aren't as...well off...Sorry," she said, completely unconvincing way.

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