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I DROPPED into school with half of the day already gone just to see that one person.

"C'mon Els," I plea, "no one ever takes the last two weeks seriously. Half of the school ain't coming."

"You know I can't, Dean," she persists. "My parents, they are super strict. They want me to attend every class like my life depends on it. And if my mum finds out about you... She'll blow the roof off the house."

"Then we'll be careful," I persevere. "We'll get our names marked off and then we'll sneak out. My friends and I do this literally all the time. The teachers hardly ever notice, trust me."

"Yeah I know," she scoffs. "I see you doing it."

I pause.

She sighs, "I'm sorry. I really cannot."

"Look," I heave, "I know we don't know each other very well..."

I think to myself. How can you speak to someone that you've just met but, in another life, you've known each other for what seems like a lifetime? How can you pretend you're not in love when every atom in your body tells you otherwise? How can you pretend you're not seeing technicolor in a jet black sky?

"Sometimes I feel like I'm here but at the same time, I am not."

Ella gazes at me weirdly.

I gulp, have I said too much? "Must be 'cause Mr Burrows talks and talks but never shuts the hell up. Maybe that's why I'm always dozing out?"

She contains her smile.

I continue, "and I'm just like-"

"Dean," Ella cuts in, "shut up."

"No, really!" I chuckle. "He always has his meaty fingers pointing to one person or another. 'Youth is wasted on the young' or 'history is written by victors,'" I mock the many quotes Mr Burrows constantly mentions. "Who even said that? Lenin?"


Ella cringes.

I spin around. Oh shit. I glance at Ella who has her hand over her mouth.

"Mr Burrows..." I lose all confidence. "H-how's it going?"

"I don't know, Zinedine," he mumbles, mixing his coffee with a teaspoon, "you tell me."

"Ermm..." I gulp. "Good, I guess?"

Mr Burrows stares at me, squinting like he's trying to find my soul through my eyes.

"Actually, you know what, Mr Burrows? I was just asking Ella over here what you use for your handlebar mustache because it looks cooler and cooler each day," I smile dumbly.

"Oh, this?" he blushes, twirling one of the curls with his index finger. "Just some any old wax does the job," he giggles like a schoolgirl.

Ella and I awkwardly join in.

"Anywho!" he abruptly stops laughing. "Lunch break's almost over. You two better get going to class soon." He begins waddling off. "Oh, and Dean?" he pauses without turning around. "It's Churchill. Winston Churchill said that."

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