"I want you to focus particularly on the different levels of Gothic description in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Is it just in the characters that the Gothic elements appear or is it also in the setting? Think about the subject and think about how people might have been interested in the psychology of split personality, and focus on Freud. I will be asking everyone for their opinions at the beginning of the next class." A collective groan travelled around the room and Mal grinned. "Oh come on. This book is incredible; you shouldn't have taken English if you don't like to read."
"It'd be nice to read something from this century for a change." One of the lads at the back who had been a thorn in her side since day one called.
"Adult magazines don't count as reading David." Everyone chuckled while David scowled, and Mal saw Aurora trying to cover a smirk. "Jekyll and Hyde. Next class. You'd better get started. Off you go." Everyone began packing up their things. Mal saw David heading through the seats, his eyes fixed on Aurora. She'd never seen them talking, and they sat far away from each other, but maybe they were friends. She hoped Aurora had better taste than that. David reached Rory and grinned, leaning on the table in front of her. She looked at him, confused. Not friends then, Mal thought. She kept an ear out while she pretended to be looking for a paper in her folder.
"Hey, you're Rory right?" David said.
"What're you doing on my desk David?" Her tone wasn't accusatory, but she didn't seem too impressed by him. Mal smirked and hid her face with her long hair.
"I wondered if you'd like to get a drink with me?"
Mal froze, and then busied herself with her papers again quickly. None of her business. It was none of her business. Nothing to do with her. Aurora's friends were giggling at the door. Mal shot them a glare and they hurried out, closing the door behind them.
"Erm... I..." Aurora fumbled.
"Is there any chance that I might have my room back Mr. Smith, Miss Rose?" Mal shot at them, standing up straight and crossing her arms. "You can continue your flirting somewhere else."
Aurora blushed and opened her mouth but David got there first.
"Sure no problem. Come on Rory."
Aurora followed him out, glancing at Mal with a small frown before the door shut. Mal sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. Stupid. Stupid.
Outside the door there was a loud shout, a clatter and then the sound of lots of people talking and laughing. Mal stormed to the door and yanked it open.
"What is going on?" She stormed when she was met with a large cluster of students. They parted for her, as well they should, and she found David on the floor, clutching his crotch.
"She fucking kneed me!" He shrieked. Rory was stood over him, looking angry and slightly shocked.
"Miss Rose, my office, now!" Mal growled, scowling to hide the joy that was filling her. Rory picked up her bag and marched passed her, head held high. "Someone get him some ice." Mal said and turned on her heel, heading in to her room. She slammed the door for effect and strode through the classroom to her office. Rory was there already, her bag discarded on the chair while she stood, arms crossed, scowling.
"He deserved it!" She defended herself before Mal could say a word.
"I have no doubt." Mal smirked and leant on the closed door.
"He's a pile of- wait what?" Rory blinked and frowned.
"I'm sure he did. But violence isn't tolerated in this University so what did you expect? That I'd 'high five' you and walk away?" Mal smirked again, and Rory's eyes flicked to her lips momentarily before she looked at the floor.
"So you're just going to let me off?"
"No Miss Rose. While I'm a firm believer that rules are made to be broken, there are some that should be kept in tact as much as possible. So you tell me what he did to deserve a possible neutering and I'll make a decision."
"A decision about what?"
"Your punishment." Aurora looked at Mal with what could only be described as hunger in her eyes, and the older woman suddenly felt a desire to cover herself up. The way Rory was looking at her did funny things to her; she felt stripped bare. To avoid her staring, Mal crossed the room, keeping away from Rory, and went behind her desk. "Sit down Miss Rose."
Aurora sat slowly, and crossed her legs. Mal mirrored her behind the desk, and ran her fingers through her hair to attempt to calm her nerves.
"So..." Aurora said.
"What did he do?" Mal asked.
"He didn't do anything." Aurora shrugged. Mal frowned.
"It was what he said." Mal rolled her eyes.
"What did he say then Miss Rose?"
Aurora frowned and bit her lip. Mal felt the urge to run her fingers through her hair again. She crossed her fingers instead and put her hands on the table.
"It wasn't very nice."
"Well I assumed that, considering your reaction. You have to know though Ror- Miss Rose, that whatever he said, you are a much better person than him and you shouldn't take it to heart."
Rory bit her lip again and Mal almost cursed. She wished she'd stop doing that.
"He wasn't talking about me. He was talking about you."
Mal raised an eyebrow.
"He said..." Aurora frowned.
"I'm a grown woman Aurora. You can tell me. I'm not going to burst in to tears over some silly boy." Mal snorted.
"He called you a dried up, jealous, old hag."
"That's it? I've heard worse dear." Mal chuckled. Aurora frowned. "Really. Although I'm flattered by your defence of my feelings, I've developed an immunity to men and boys and their petty words."
"You're really okay?"
"Yes." Mal chuckled.
"Good. I mean why would you be jealous anyway? You're... well you." She waved at Mal, identifying her body and face.
Mal tried hard to not look embarrassed and stood up, brushing her clothes free of invisible dust.
"Well, since he did nothing that the Head of Faculty, or indeed the Head of the University, would find merited that response, I'm going to have to find some sort of punishment to fit what they would probably call an assault."
"Fine. Punish me." Mal wasn't looking at Aurora when the blonde spoke, and she was glad, because she could feel the loaded sentence like a brick to the stomach. It couldn't just be her. Rory was saying things deliberately and she had to know. She had to know the effect it was having.
"I, ahem, I'll discuss it with the Head of Faculty and see what he thinks."
"Fine. But I'm not sorry."
"I can tell." Mal smirked and turned to face her. "But you should at least pretend to be if anyone asks."
"Because everyone is going to think that attacking a fellow student because of a derogatory remark made towards the 'bitch monster from hell', is a suspicious reaction when I've only just moved here."
"Suspicious how?" Rory questioned and Mal was once again thrown. Didn't she know? Or was she just pretending? Was everything in Mal's head?
"Well..." There was a knock on her office door and Mal breathed a sigh of relief. "Come in!" She barked.
The Head of Faculty appeared through the door.
"Ah Ms Moore. And Miss Rose. Excellent. I heard about the incident in the hallway."