A/N: Please see the end of this chapter for an extended authors note with an important question for you, this pre-chapter one is to let you know that there's some strong language used.

Throwing the clump of tissues into a nearby bin, I slowed a few steps from my biology classroom and took out my pocket mirror. A slightly flushed version of me looked back, although her eyes had lost their puffy red rims.

The classroom had taken on its coveted self as a make-shift laboratory, with everyone too preoccupied over red lumps on glistening tiles to notice as I slipped over towards Amy. Her scalpel hesitantly touched the lump. She'd barely made a scratch before her hand jerked away as the scalpel sank minutely into what looked horribly like flesh.

"Oh my God, I'm so glad you made it! This is so gross. I can't do it," Amy said, having shoved the scalpel into my hands.

"Amy...what are we supposed to be doing?"

"Opening up the lamb's heart or something, how should I know?"

She handed me a pair of disposable gloves. As I put them on, I glanced across at the nearest lab partners, to find that they had parted the muscles and appeared to be cutting along thin strings. I looked down at our own oozing mound and submerged my fingers into the bulkiest parts. It was softer than I'd anticipated, and I did my best not to think of little lambs running about. Parting the folds of muscle revealed what must be the arteries, as fine as a cobweb.

"Amy, I need you to cut these," I said, motioning with a spare finger to the fibres. The prospect made her face blanch, and she stared down at the scissors.

"It'll be easy, I promise. I know it looks horrible, but this is what we are underneath our skin- muscles, organs and blood."

Nodding, Amy picked up the scissors, and I watched as the metal struck through the fibres. They gradually parted, revealing an inner expanse to the heart.

Dissection proved the best lesson I could have hoped for, requiring enough concentration and fascination to keep my mind from wandering elsewhere. That was until the classroom became just that again, with all traces of scientific equipment back in hibernation.

Whilst Amy couldn't get to maths fast enough, where the worst was quadratics rather than guts and gore, my whole body seemed to have stiffened with apprehension. As I trudged around the science block, I couldn't decide which was worse: having Alexa sat beside me or being next to an empty chair. Either way, she had to have been with Ms Chandra at some point.

It was an empty chair that I sat down beside, although for the first few minutes most of the tables were half empty. As the room gradually began to fill up, I looked back at the door, which a few stragglers hurried through.

"Now, where's my star pupil, Lily?" The booming voice of our maths teacher carried across the room. He drummed two fingers upon the left side of the desk as he passed by.

'Your 'star pupil' is probably being questioned by Ms Chandra in her office over cyber bullying.'

"I don't know sir. Alexa and I just had different lessons. She might have gone to the toilet."

Mr Turner gave a brief nod, his features falling for a second, before he'd turned away to rap upon the board with a pen.
"Right then you lot, settle down. Now I get it, I'm sure some of are getting sick of maths by now. But there's only six weeks until your exam. Then you'll never have to look at a quadratic equation again, though I might add that you're all able mathematicians and I hope to see several of you back for more in September- particularly you, Miss Maneates."

The name immediately drew my attention over to the door that was in the process of swinging shut.

"It's a possibility," Alexa replied, with a smile as nonchalant as her hip swaying stride across the classroom.

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