Chapter 71

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Our first day was due to be spent at the Smithsonian museum. I had fallen asleep the previous night in my room in the hotel that I shared with Emily in the hopes of waking up the next morning in the absence of nausea.

That, unfortunately, had not actually happened. I was feeling even weaker that I had done on the flight. Convinced that I had actually started to show symptoms of the illness I’d been pretending to have to avoid going to school, I got out of bed.

Breakfast at the hotel was nothing short of awful, and hardly anyone ate a morsel of food. I don’t even think I could have done so if it had been nice. My stomach wasn’t allowing me to eat anything at all.

Around the breakfast table, I seemed to blend in with everyone else on the trip that was completely tired.

I had been placed in a group with Laura, and three other girls and a boy. Denise, Katie and Wednesday were all in the same friendship group, and I had never really noticed Liam hanging around with any of them before – let alone even being in the school. Needless to say, it was awkward.

After breakfast, we had headed out to the bus that was taking us around DC, and I began to feel slightly better – if even so at all.

We were stood outside of the Smithsonian museum, waiting for Jackson to take a head count to make sure that the same number of people who had got on the bus had got off.

“Sir?” Denise laughed out. “Why do you even need to do this? Can’t we just go inside? How the hell are we going to go missing on a bus?”

“You’d be surprised” he answered her question with a smirk. Everyone sort of looked around each other, trying to speculate, and as I turned to try and see someone that I actually spoke to, I met with Emily’s gaze, and her eyes were wide open as she glared at me.

As I narrowed my eyes to answer her mentally, Laura called out my name.

“Charlotte?” she said with some distaste. “Come on. We’re going inside now.”

I turned to follow her and the rest of my group who were all going up the staired pathway into the museum.

God only knew how we were going to be spending all of our time. I didn’t even think that there was enough we could do – and I’d never been quite so interested in anything of sorts.

Matt and his group of my classmates walked ahead of us once inside the museum, and turned the opposite corner to the one that we were headed to. As he did, almost everyone in our group went completely silent, and the only thing that could be heard was Liam’s iPod.

We were all still walking, but as I followed the trail of eyes coming from the girls’ eyes, it was pretty obvious what it was that had made them silent.

Denise turned to Katie and Wednesday, swooning, “how attractive is Mr Sanders? Oh, God, I heard that he just broke up with his girlfriend. She’s probably suicidal right now he’s just so hot.”

The other two girls nodded as they continued to giggle about it. I wasn’t really hanging around with any of them in my group, and I was completely avoiding Laura. I wasn’t in the mood for any of them, but as I heard Denise say that, I became rather interested in talking to them.

Laura had also clearly heard them, and was trying to tune into our conversation which was, admittedly, part of the reason why I pretended to be so intrigued.

“Guys?” I asked, trying to giggle slightly. “Did I just hear what I think I did?”

They all exchanged glances before nodding.

“You’re so lucky Charlotte” Katie remarked. “You have him as your mentor. I wouldn’t say no to that.”

I laughed at her, and she thought I was laughing for the same reason as her when really, I was laughing because I actually hadn’t said no to him.

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