I heard the words and my stomach tightened unpleasantly. I whipped around and glared at the nurse, then advanced on her. Part of me wanted to grab the collar of her shirt and slam her against the wall, but I didn’t.
“You didn’t find that weird?” I said softly, though my tone was edged.
“I did but he told me it was okay,” she replied.
I tried to curb my anger; it boiled down deep, threatening to erupt. It hadn’t been this bad in awhile, and I prayed no one was around when it exploded.
“It isn’t,” I muttered, watching my hand start to shake. “It’s isn’t okay at all, you stupid woman. Since when have you ever sent a student home with a teacher, and a new one at that? He fucking tricked you.”
“What’s happened?” the woman asked.
“Mrs. Coleman--” Aria began behind me.
I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation because her voice was fading and all I heard was the blood pounding in my ears. I closed my eyes and reached to grab onto the door handle of the office for support.
“Have you been to the school Psychiatrist?” Mrs. Coleman asked, her voice directed at me.
I started to laugh. I started to laugh and I couldn’t stop, because the idea of me going to see one of those again was ridiculous. I’d had enough of that after my mom died. The late night talks, the constantly bringing over food to see if me and my dad were holding up alright. I was getting annoyed by the whole aspect that people thought food would help us grieve.
“Caleb!” Aria hissed, poking me in the back. “What the hell is so funny?”
“Sorry,” I said. I cleared my throat. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Coleman, but we have to leave. If Tate comes back, could you keep her in your office?”
The nurse nodded as I grabbed Aria’s wrist and started walking toward the exit.
“What was that about?” she asked as soon as we were out of earshot.
“Nothing,” I told her. “Stay here and be the lookout.”
We stopped in front of the main office and I planted Aria off to the side before I stepped in. The first room was empty and I hoped the other offices would be too. It would help me a lot if no one disrupted what I was about to do.
I’ve done my fair share of trespassing, especially when I was younger, so this was nothing new. I thought about what Aria would have said if she knew what I was doing. She had this way of nagging you when she thought you were doing the wrong thing.
I crept over to the main desk and slid into the grey swivel chair that was there. I swung it a few times, thinking how they should have these in the classrooms. I stopped once I saw what I was looking for; it was sitting in the corner in a box, a small index card peeking out.
I lifted the box and put it in my lap, flipping the cards one by one until I found the one I wanted. A sudden noise made me look up to find Aria staring at me, her eyes narrowed.
“You’re breaking the rules,” she said. Then she went over and shut the door. “But I guess if it’s for Tate.” She came and leaned on the corner of the desk. “Did you find it?”
“Got it,” I said. I placed the card in my pocket and pushed the box back into the corner. “Come on, let’s go.”
I stood up and the door rattled. Someone was trying to get in and Aria had locked it. I could hear a muffled voice complaining on the other side.
“Shit!” I grabbed Arias hand and dragged her down under the desk with me I watched her curl up, and I did the same as the door was finally opened.
“Damn lock,” someone muttered as they came around to the desk.
Aria squeezed her eyes shut and put a hand over her mouth. A whimper escaped her but it was now heard from above.
I stared at the floor, suddenly, by the man’s feet. My eyes widened.
The address card was under the chair. I started to reach for it when a hand grabbed mine. I looked over at Aria and she pressed a finger to her lips. Slowly and carefully, she pulled out her phone and dialed a number.
A phone across from another office rang. The man who had sat down grumbled, stood, and went to answer it. He couldn’t see us from where we were.
We were safe.
“Nice thinking,” I whispered as we emerged from the floor. I grabbed the card, and went back into the hallway. We got as far away from the office as we could before I spoke again. “How did you do that?”
Aria smiled. “I saw a list of numbers taped to the desk for the other offices in there. I thought it might come in handy.”
I smiled at her, but my expression soon turned grim. “I hope we aren’t too late.”
“Late for what?” she asked as we exited the school.
It was raining. How ominous.
I looked at her and couldn’t speak. I couldn’t tell her what I thought was going to happen, or already had.