After five papers of A4 my hand began to cramp, I still had not finished - although Tom had repeatedly dropped his pen in order to get my attention. He had finished and was no doubt bored out of his mind in the silence of the hall. I had looked up a few times to students twiddling their thumbs or tapping their pens on the corners of their desks.
I had written a detailed account on the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536, which was a result of the first dissolution of the larger monasteries. Henry Viii had neglected Darcy’s pleas for money to battle the rebels, I had finished that paragraph and accessed what I still needed to include. Flicking over the pages I was suddenly aware of how cold it was in the hall.
The cool air caused goose pimples to rise on my arms beneath my blouse. I looked around and accidently dropped my pen onto the laminated floor of the hall – it clanked loudly and almost every student looked across at me. I gritted my teeth and gently slid my chair back to go and get my pen.
When I reached the floor, my heart stopped and I almost shrieked in horror. Luke was sitting cross-legged on the floor to the right of my desk, his arm was outstretched and he was holding my pen towards me – he smiled innocently.
“What are you doing here?” I whispered too loudly, a few students sitting close glared at me in shock. The overseer from her seat in the far corner stood up - her grey eyes watching me.
Without a word Luke stood up, the sunlight suddenly creating a mist across his skin. He wore the same clothes he had yesterday, his hair in exactly the same style.
“I am here to see you” he explained talking loudly, his voice echoing around the hall. I winced expecting someone to hear, but everyone had returned to their papers and remained oblivious. I took my pen from his hand sat down, trying to compose myself.
“Bad timing” I muttered again, slower and quieter so that I could not be heard, no-one turned to look at me but I could feel the overseer watching me. I turned my attention back to my work as Luke laughed loudly.
I tried to remain as calm as I could, remembering that this exam was the most important to me and that Luke knows that too.
“How is it going?” He asked, clearly and leaning over me to read my answer.
“Fine” I mouthed to him, watching him take in my angry expression “go away” I begged.
I checked the remaining time and realized I had only twenty minutes until the end of the exam. I picked up my pen and began writing, refusing to look up in case he was still there.
The essay was coming to a close, I was moderately proud with it although I knew that with more historical references and more revising quotations from other historians the paper would have been perfect.
I leant back flicking through my work, buying the time before the bell would sound and I could go home. Lessons were cancelled for those with exams during the day – something I was grateful for. When I looked around the room I noticed Luke was still sitting on the floor, cross legged smiling up at me.
He seemed reluctant to go and I couldn’t help but smile weakly at him for moment. I wondered whether I could hand him a piece of paper. Would it fall through his fingers? I wanted to tell him I would go and see him after the exam. Was he waiting for me? I smiled wider at the thought. I turned over some spare paper I had and wrote.
Can you meet me outside?
I held up the paper so that he could read it, and regretted it instantly. The overseer who had been in her seat was suddenly behind me. She grabbed the note and the top of my arm wrenching me up to stand with her.
“Been cheating have we?” she accused angrily. Her wrinkly face took in my shocked expression and she dragged me from the room. Luke was standing beside me at this point; his expression was angry but also upset? I wonder whether he felt as hopeless as me as I tried to break her strong hold of my arm. Students stared from every angle as she forced me from the room. The last face I saw was Tom’s – he looked angry and was standing and talking to another overseer.
I was put into a room by myself, one I had never been in before until today – the detention room. Luke had stayed, floating beside me until the overseer had pushed me into the room and shut the door.
“Luke!” I shouted angrily “I am going to be in so much trouble! Do you have any idea...oh my” I gasped at the realization of my words. “They’ll tear up my paper!”
“They will not” Luke snorted nonchalantly.
“Luke please go away” I slumped into the only chair in the room and disappointed angry tears fell down my face. I didn’t want him to go, but I could not think of any other way to act as though he wasn’t there – to prove I was not crazy to whoever would be punishing me.
“Why is it that you cry so? They will not tear up your paper...you did no wrong” his distant soothing voice made me tremble and feel too hopeful that he could be right. I looked up at him and his hazy eyes were watching me sympathetically.
“Well...we’ll have to wait and see about that. Luke I think you should go...” I whispered leaning forward as if to beg him.
“I would rather stay” he replied standing up straight, slight mischief in his brown eyes “shall I go and see what they are going to do with you?”
“Yes please” I said earnestly, thinking it a good idea to know what was going to happen. I still felt extremely worried that they would disqualify my work and to accuse me of cheating. I bunched my fists in frustration as I waited for Luke to return.