Please, I think, burying my head in my hands. Please make it stop. I can't take this boredom any more, I'm actually dying over here ... metaphorically, that is. Why won't the stupid man just shut up? What do I care if Shakespeare had modern audiences in mind when he wrote Hamlet? I was there when he wrote the bleeding play, and I still don't give a peanut! Finally, to my relief, the bell rings and the class files out of the door. Melody and her companion are among the first to leave. I slip in amongst a pack of other students and follow them, keeping my distance, but always with one eye on them. Which one? I wonder. Which one would cause more of a stir?
However, I am cut off in my planning when I find myself in a Drama lesson. I detest Drama. Acting I can deal with - I spend most of my life acting, it's not a problem for me at all - but as a lesson ... eugh. I really don't want to be here at all. I snarl and slink off to the back of the classroom. Then I see her. Ellie, standing alone in the middle of the mass, looking very confused. The back of my neck burns and my palms begin to itch. She looks so vulnerable on her own .... blast, Melody's spotted her. Thankfully that means she won't see me - not that she'd know me at this distance anyway.
The teacher walks in, a thin bird-like woman with a voice that makes my ears ring.
"Settle down." she trills. "Now, today we shall be practicing our pairwork. I have selected Romeo and Juliet for us to work from. Pair up and choose a scene, it can be any scene you like. You have half the lesson to practice, then we will perform to the class. Your time starts now!"
Oh no. I deliberately flatten myself against the back wall of the classroom, teeth gritted and fuming. The students are milling about madly, grabbing each other's arms and giggling inanely over the scripts. Ellie moves nervously through the crowd and says to the teacher.
"I don't have a partner miss."
The bird-woman sniffs. "We have an even number in the class, you should have a partner... there, what about him in the corner?"
Damn. I slope over reluctantly, and nod to Ellie, keeping my eyes down. The teacher nods and stalks off, talking to herself as she goes. Ellie shifts nervously and I keep my eyes locked on the script. Being this close is dangerous, and I can't even risk thinking something out of line or she'll know its me. I force myself to read through the script, pushing all my dark thoughts out of my mind.
"So ... uh ..." I say, a perfect awkward teenager impersonation. "You're Ellie right? You pick the scene, I don't mind."
"Oh, okay." she mumbles, looking slightly confused.
I keep my eyes down as she flips through the script, picking through the scenes one by one. She reads quickly, eyes barely skimming the words. Finally she stops and picks out a place.
"Here will do." she says. I lean over and peer over her shoulder. I feel her stiffen at my touch and back off slightly, giving her more space. I can't risk blowing my game before I've had a chance to put my new plan into action. My eyes momentarily flicker over to where Melody and her friend are laughing while trying to act out what I presume is a dramatic death scene.
However, when I look back at the scene I feel like I want to vomit.
"You picked the balcony scene?" I say, aghast. Ellie nods.
"It's a good scene, besides it's the only one I can find."
I roll my eyes, but remember my persona at the last second and scuff my feet on the ground awkwardly. "Alright. Let's try this."