Part Fifty-SixMature

The head teacher appears in front of me and I tell him I have to leave. He won't listen.

I must struggle, I must do. There's no other explanation because the next thing I'm aware of is being presented to my Drama teacher, dishevelled, my chest heaving and with tears streaming down my face.

My teacher looks concerned. He gestures for me to join my group.

Judo rushes to me as soon as he knows he's allowed and hugs me with so much force, it causes both of us to fall to our knees. He holds me very, very tightly.

I lean into him, feeling the warmth of his care, and we stay there on the floor.

He asks me over and over again what's wrong. Over and over again, my constant flow of tears prevents me from telling him.

The head teacher looks furious as he talks to my Drama teacher, who keeps shooting worried glances in my direction.

They both leave the room.

Judo shifts slightly so that he can see my face, but doesn't let go of me.

"Lola, please tell me what's wrong?" He begs again.

"I cant. I can't. It's bad, I'm scared, I can't." I'm trembling as I speak, he hugs me closer.

"It's OK, Lola, I..." his chest rises as he sighs. "... I'll protect you."

"I don't need protecting. I really need someone who understands-"

And then I hear ringing.

I've pushed Judo away and I'm running before I'm even sure whether it's the school bell, or if I'm about to black out.

Either way, I run.

The End

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