I got in the car, slamming the door shut after flopping down on the leather seat of the blue Mercedes-Benz, the bag that had been resting on it thrown on the floor between my feet.
Mr Griffon was in the driver's seat, fingers drumming on the steering wheel and eyes set on the people that bustled about – most of them in their swimsuits –, all of them enjoying these last days of sunny weather on the beach near the town’s plaza.
“This place sure is lively. I get why you decided to come here to-“
“How did you find me?” I snapped, interrupting him.
All I got was laughter from his part, brown eyes meeting my scowl with a playful wink and a roguish smile on his lips. “Being a tracker has its advantages."
Biting my tongue to keep myself from retorting, I leaned back on my seat and took a few deep breaths. It was only after a pointed look from Mr Griffon that I fastened my seatbelt and he was able to start the car, moving away from the beach and taking the road that would lead us to the school grounds.
“Isn’t picking up students like this considered special treatment?” I asked after a few minutes of watching the scenery change through my window, the deep blue of tumbling waves giving way to the mountainside.
“Special treatment?” Mr Griffon chuckled. “Not at all. It’s my job as a teacher to make sure all my students attend school,” he finished, filling his voice with exaggerated pride.
“The Headmistress put you up to this, didn't she?”
There was more laughter, but no reply, which made me think I wasn't far from the truth.
Sighing, I began fumbling with my bag, making sure the happy-go-lucky idiot hadn’t picked up the wrong one. I had packed my things, more out of habit than anything else, but I’d never had any intention of spending my last free weekend at school, so I couldn’t really blame Mr Griffon for going out of his way to do this for the past three years.
I was stupid to think I could get away with it this year. Still, nothing wrong with trying.
We talked throughout the whole trip, Mr Griffon doing most of the talking. We got farther and farther from the coast, traveling deeper into the country. Eventually, the air began to cool down, the tremors than ran up my spine too frequent and too violent to hide from my teacher. Not wanting to hear another sermon from him, I went for my bag and changed my tank top for a long sleeved t-shirt.
I was in the process of putting the sleeves on when I noticed him staring at my back.
"What?" I asked, my tone sharp.
It seemed to work, his eyes turning to the empty road, but it didn't stop him from talking.
"I thought you were getting rid of that tattoo," he said, his tone neutral for once.
Huffing, I leaned back on the seat and crossed my arms, hating myself for feeling so self-conscious all of a sudden. I've lived with it for so long that sometimes I forgot that I even had them, the tribal tattoos that covered my entire back and shoulders.
"Too expensive," was my gruff answer, not a lie but not the honest truth Mr Griffon was probably expecting. He knew I hadn't exactly gotten the tattoo of my own free will, so maybe he figured I'd be desperate to remove it as soon as possible.
As expected, the young man didn't look convinced, but didn't push it. The conversation turned instead to my part time jobs. I told him I was still doing woodwork and gave him the necklace I'd been working on the other day. Not like I was planning on using it, and I knew that he liked that sort of thing.
"Is this a bribe?" He asked jokingly, twirling the wood beads around his fingers.
I just shrugged my shoulders, smirking at the passing trees. "Take it or leave it."
"I think I'll take it, thanks."
After a two-hour long ride, we were there, the large and majestic building appearing against the afternoon sky.
My last year at the school for special talents.
I hope I’ll survive it.