Nothing else in that moment really mattered because Mr Hall had seen what I’d done. It happened without me noticing so there was no way to prevent it from happening. If I’d had just paid attention then this wouldn’t have happened, if I hadn’t been so caught up in Ryan’s stupid show, I wouldn’t have even made it happen.
I paused in my train of thought. Maybe he just thought I’d put them like that myself, with my hands? I heaved a sigh. That was an entirely plausible thing to do in a state of boredom; just messing around with my stationary.
Unless he’d seen them move. Without you touching them.
Panic lodged itself in the pit of my stomach again and I swallowed, reasoning with the snide little voice in the back of my mind. If he had in fact seen them move on their own, then he would have said something or cried out or just be all “get behind thee Satan”. It was fine. He. Didn’t. See.
He didn’t see. He didn’t see. I chanted the mantra in my head and, eventually, it began to take effect. Eventually, I felt silly for being so paranoid. Eventually, I felt like it hadn’t even happened in the first place; like a hazy memory which could just be part of your imagination, yet you’re not completely sure.
After my mild internal whirlwind of anxiety had passed, I was able to slip into the lesson easily.
I scooped up my belongings and made for the door once Mr Hall had dismissed the class for period two, but he stood in front of me before I could escape the lab, “sorry, Karin, can I see you in my office for moment. I’ll write you a late slip for next period, don’t worry.”
“Uh, sure… am I in trouble?” I mumbled, looking down at my scuffed trainers as Mr Hall shifted papers on his desk once I’d followed him through. He just laughed, and I looked up, shocked.
“No, no, nothing like that. I just need to ask you a couple of questions.” He smiled warmly, and I felt compelled to take a seat in front of him. So I did.
“If it’s about the lessons, I understand the work.”
“It’s not about the lessons, Karin,” Mr Hall told me. He sat back, interlocked his fingers and placed them on his lap. I realised he was trying to look as non-confrontational as possible. He smiled again, and although I knew it was there to comfort, I couldn’t help but tense my muscles in fear of being in some sort of trouble. “How are you settling in here?”
I stifled my sigh of relief. The Head must have asked him to see how I’m doing, seeing as I am literally the only student who has transferred into the sixth form. Everyone else in my year was moved up from year eleven into twelve, whereas I had attended a completely different school before moving to Parker Bell.
“Okay, I guess. I’ve got friends and the lessons are cool,” I replied after a pause.
“I see,” Mr Hall paused too, before continuing, “who have you made friends with?”
“Rowan, Audrey and I guess Ryan?” I said, slightly confused as to why he needed to know this. Maybe he was concerned I was hanging around with the wrong crowd? I wasn’t even aware Parker Bell had a wrong crowd.
I glanced around the office to escape his captivating stare. A strange thrill shot down my spine and I gasped at the shock of it.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, sorry… just got a shiver.” I smiled weakly, furrowing my brows. Weird. I felt angry for a moment; despite the fact I had no reason whatsoever to be angry. The sudden rush of anger had set me on edge.
“Hm, I see.” Said Mr Hall sceptically, as though he didn’t believe me, “anyway. The Fairwood twins? I’m glad you’ve made some friends. But as I hear it Rowan keeps to herself most of the time. Pity. Such a bright girl.”
It felt odd hearing someone refer to Rowan as a girl. I pushed down on the anger that was boiling my blood. Some people just didn’t understand, and that was okay. “Yeah, Rowan’s really nice. He has been a great friend to me these past few weeks.” I put extra emphasis on my gender pronoun. The anger that didn’t belong to me sizzled alongside my own for another heartbeat.
“And you’ve not been feeling ill? Tired? Nothing out of the ordinary?” Mr Hall suddenly struck up a new subject.
“Ill?” I repeated, surprised. He nodded. “No. I’ve not been feeling sick, why?”
There was an almost imperceptible pause where Mr Hall’s mouth just popped open. I could practically see him racking his brains for an excuse in that second before he smoothly continued the conversation, “the stress of moving to a new school can affect students poorly. I suppose you’ve been feeling tired, though?”
“Yeah, I guess so. I mean, I probably don’t sleep enough,” I admitted. “I like to read,” I added.
“Aah, you should ensure you get a suitable amount of sleep.” My teacher said kindly, “now, I don’t have any further questions. Is there anything else you feel needs to be out in the open?” Mr Hall leaned forward, a curious glint in his eyes.
“Nope. Absolutely nothing.” I said definitively.
Mr Hall eyed me for a few moments before sighing, accepting my answer to be true.
“Okay then, let me just wright you a note for your next lesson. Who do you have?”
“Mr Mac,” I replied.
Once he had scribbled down a note explaining why I was late, I left the office ASAP. I could feel his eyes on me as I left.