Chapter Three: Don't Call Me 'Ross'

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Chapter Three: Don't Call Me ‘Ross’

My feet planted themselves firmly on the carpeted ground, “moving” a word that had been extracted from my vocabulary. I was by no means scared—I didn’t get scared. Well, not anymore, at least. It wasn’t a matter of fear, but rather a lack of desire to enter. Going into the room that was lined with books from wall to wall and would serve as my prison for the next week didn’t seem too enticing as I stood before it.

       “Ms. Ross, is that you?” Mrs. Meriwether’s voice called, much resembling that of a correction officer’s, only gruffer.

       “Yup,” I said, a mask of confidence replacing my apprehensive emotions so well that it was almost alarming. My feet betrayed me, allowing me to walk into the dungeon of literacy. “Oh, and, Brenda, please don’t call me ‘Ms. Ross.’ I prefer Olivia, Livy, Liv, Olive, or Liver,” I told her, grimacing at the sight of the woman who would act as my warden.

       As old people went, Brenda wasn’t exactly the type that could enter a cuteness competition with a corpse and win. In fact, she was pretty damn ugly. Her white hair specked with strands of gray was tied into a bun that practically gave her a facelift it was so tight. Two piercing eyes of darkness were somewhat hidden behind large-framed glasses, never blinking. A mole the size of a basketball sat right above her weakly tinted lips of crimson, and wrinkles were rumpled in every visible region of her aging skin.

       She had one of those demeanors that just screamed, “I HATE KIDS!!!” which was something I never understood about people who pursued careers involving children. As librarians went, I had to give her props for knowing her Shakespeare and Robert Frost, but, as a person, I wasn’t too sure she knew what the word “friendly” meant, which was also ironic, considering her profession and all.

       “I will call you what I want, Ms. Ross,” she emphasized her chosen name for me, “and you will only refer to me as Mrs. Meriwether. Are we understood?”

       “Yeah, sure thing, Brenda.” I wasn’t the type of student to use a teacher’s first name when they weren’t around—I much preferred calling it to them to their face. The reaction was much more rewarding, and I chose to live life under the belief that consequences were fictitious.

       “Ms. Ross—”

       “Olivia,” I corrected with an innocent smile.

       She exhaled deeply, probably taking a note from a past anger-management class, before continuing. “This will be a very long week for the both of us if you don’t behave. So, it would behoove you to drop the attitude.”

       “Attitude? Why, Brenda, I would never address you with this ‘attitude’ that you speak of; I respect you too much.” The last few words were hard to get out, but I managed. She glared at me, pointing a gnarly finger to the back of the library.

       “Did you retrieve your work from the office before you came down?” she deployed her eye accessory so it balanced on the edge of her nose.

       “Why yes, yes, I did!” sarcasm oozed from my mouth. I couldn’t help it, really.

       “Go to the back of the room and get to work; at lunch you are allowed a thirty minute break, and then expected to return to your studies.”

       “That I am,” I nodded. “Well, see ya at lunch, Brenda!” my voice echoed around the empty room as I gradually made my way to the back.

       As mission control centers went, this one wasn’t too bad. There was a barricade of books blocking me from Brenda the Big Bad Beast, a few tables, some seats, a couch, and two beanbag chairs. I had survived in harsher conditions many a time, so was pleasantly surprised with how I would have to live over the next few days. It could’ve been worse.

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