Belle froze on the spot and silently cursed herself. She was so stupid and careless!
It seemed that Mrs Anderty had frozen on the spot too, as if imitating Belle, though Belle thought that she probably wouldn't be cursing herself – she'd be cursing Belle!
Mrs Anderty's eyes goggled out. “What in the heaven's name is THIS?” she roared the last few words, and Belle was starting to wish that she hadn't asked Mrs Anderty if she could go and serve lunch earlier. If she had gone with Mrs Anderty, she would've seen how Belle had fallen, and how it was an accident.
Belle looked up at her with huge eyes. The eye trick sometimes worked. Sometimes. And it seemed now was not a time.
“Don't give me that eye trick, you. I know what you're up to, don't deny it. You were smashing the glass so I would blame Cecil, or Mary, weren't you? You ungrateful little girl!” Mrs Anderty raised her hand up to hit Belle, but right at that time, Cecil walked in, carrying a tray balanced on her arms, just like Belle had done.
Suddenly, she slipped, and a few plates came crashing down. Luckily, Belle swiftly caught them and put them safely on the table.
“Good girl, Cecil. You really are quite flexible, aren't you?” Mrs Anderty praised Cecil. Cecil frowned.
“No, no, Mrs A, you've got it all wrong. It's Belle who helped me.”
Belle glowed in a puddle of pride.
Mrs Anderty turned and looked at Belle with a piercing stare. “No.” That was the one word she said, before walking away and leaving the two girls to themselves.
Belle felt a tear forming in the corner of her eye. It was obvious that Mrs Anderty didn't like mute people.
Cecil tried to break the silence. “Gee, it must be hard to walk around carrying a slate and chalk with you all the time.”
Belle smiled. A little smile, but a smile nevertheless. She put her hand on her pocket.
Cecil 'aahed' and nodded. “That's smart, Belle. If all mute people were like you, the mute would rule the world one day.”
Belle smiled and shook her head. The silly ideas Cecil thought of. She picked up her tray (the remaining bits of food still there) and walked into the Dining Hall.
The mess would just have to wait.