To say I am not nervous as we head back to the Entrance Hall is an understatement. I am nervous to the point where my stomach’s doing flip flops. All I hope is that I can keep breakfast down.
“Morgan?” Dad breaks through the clopping of the horses hooves.
“Yeah Dad?” I swallow the bile rising in my throat.
“I just want to say I know your going do just fine, I mean I wouldn’t care if you failed…” I must have gone pale because he hastily continues, “not that you will but...”
Dad looks ahead, takes a deep breath, then turns back to me. “Look what I’m trying to say is you really have got talent. I know you can do it, so um, good luck today; stay focused and don’t let anyone walk on you; stand up and try and remember what you’ve learned.”
My eyes widen at his string of suggestions. He laughs slightly.
“Like I said I believe you can do it Morgan. Your my kid remember." He grins and ruffles my hair.
“Thanks Dad.” As strange as his speech was somehow I feel a little less nervous. Be strong, I tell myself. I will pass. I have to pass.
Our silence continues to be broken only by the sound of the horses until we near the elevator. Dad helps me off my horse ten he ties them up to a hitching post. I’m glad he’s coming inside with me. We’re the only ones in the elevator.
The ride up isn’t nearly as terrifying as the ride down was. For one I’m expecting the speed even if the start makes me clutch the railing. Breathe, I tell myself, be strong. Still I feel slightly pale as we walk out. Walking up to desk fifty-three I am suddenly startled by Katha’s appearance.
“Hi,” She hugs me then turns a smile to Dad. “I’m Katha, you must be Morgan’s father.”
Dad blinks, he is as startled as I am. “Um, hi. You’re a friend of Morgan’s then?”
“Well we just met yesterday, but I’m sure we’re friends.” Katha looks at me hopefully.
I can only nod. How could I not accept her friendship? Yet at the same time, I don’t want to pull anyone else into this mess that my life’s become.
“Come on Morgan,” Katha grabs hold of my hand, “Don’t want to be late for our Physical fitness test.” She then grabs Theo, who I hadn’t noticed leaning against a post. “Come on Theo, you too.”
“I’ll see you upstairs for your fitness test,” Dad calls after us.
Theo sighs as he puts his phone away. I notice it’s one of those fancy ones with a keyboard. He smiles at me. “Sleep well?” he asks.
“Okay I guess,” I reply looking forward again. My hand is clutching at my necklace. I can’t help it. I worry about Ash. We join the line at desk fifty-three. We’re towards the front, but I can hear Zack muttering behind us as he pushes his way up the line.
“Attention!” The imposing man from yesterday’s orientation nearly deafens us.
All fidgeting stops, including Zack who I can tell is only a few people behind me.
“We will be splitting you into groups of six,” his voice is being magnified by a megaphone.
The thin man from yesterday taps him on the shoulder before he can continue. Leaning slightly the imposing man listens to what he has to say. I can’t quite hear it, but he hands the megaphone over.
“I want the first six of you to split off.” His voice is still loud enough to be heard without the amplification.
The thin man counts out the first six. Katha and Theo are numbers five and six, leaving me at the front of the line. My heart sinks. I wish I could be in their group. I wish Gloria could be here.
The imposing man counts out the next six. Of course I’m number one and guess what, Zack is number four. So my two new friends go ahead of me and the bully is in my group. This is going to be fun.
Breathe, I tell myself, be strong.