15: Snakes & Ladders

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Games We Play

"I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong." 

Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning

15: Snakes & Ladders

             Somewhere between working hard in my classes and enjoying what I learnt – the last few months had brought me to a complete slump of procrastination and defeat. Slowly, I'd began to hate coming to class, to do work, to read my long History chapters and write the essays I needed to.

It was safe to say I wasn't having the greatest of months.

I needed to get out; it'd been four too many long years of high school and the bittersweet anticipation to graduation day was becoming a dreary long hallway with a door at the end that never seemed to be getting closer.

But this realization didn't come to me until the day I realized that my small decisions to talk to Armin and Eduardo had landed me in a position between them that was becoming increasingly difficult to escape from. And that this very position was having its own backlash to my life.

"Just come to watch the game. It'll be fun," Caius told me at the end of our TOK class as we began packing our things. "You won't be alone."

"Really? I won't? So you're going to leave the field during playing just to keep me company, is that right?" I sarcastically said. "I'll think about it anyway. Bye Caius," I laughed, pacing towards the door before hearing another word from him.

"Hey Dixie," Mr. Labadee called out as I began to walk out. "Actually, do you mind staying for a few moments?"

"Uh, yeah. Sure Sir," I said frowning, placing my books back down on one of the desks. Inwardly, I was already mentally complaining - even though it was the first class of the day, I was already exhausted. I wanted to spend my next free block back in my room sleeping but that was not an excuse I was willing to share.

Caius walked past, shooting me a smug look as he mouthed the word sucker. I bit back my smile and rolled my eyes at him, waiting for the last student to leave the class and until the loud bell and chatter turned pin drop silent.

"I hope you don't have anywhere to go to right now," Mr Labadee said as soon as the last student walked out.

"No, I have a free block now," I said. "Is everything fine?"

"Actually Dixie, I was going to ask you that," he said. "Have you been distracted lately? Personal life wise?"

My eyes widened and I almost choked on my own saliva, confused about the sudden direction of this topic. Not that I was being overly confident or a teacher's pet; but usually when Labadee asked me to stay back, it was so that he could ask my permission to use my work as an exemplar or provide me with extra reading he thought I'd enjoy.

"Everything's fine," I quickly said, trying to mask my surprise.

"Are you sure?" he asked. "I mean you're not at any obligation to share any of your personal information with me, but your other teachers and I are becoming concerned. So I took the role of asking instead of any of them, I thought you'd be most comfortable speaking to me."

"Well... thank you for the concern Sir; I mean things have just been a bit... hectic these past few months, a little different to what I'm used to," I told him, trying to sum up however much I could with what had been happening outside of classes these past few months without dragging him into the pitfall of our senior year's drama. "But it's really nothing for you all to concern yourself about; why do you ask?"

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