Adriana has a choice: does she stay & protect younger sister or leave alone to start anew?
My hand was entangled in her hair keeping her still. Her eyes pleaded with me, asking for permission but I just shook my head. Her smile faded slightly but it was all part of the game. She knew I would let her eventually but her eyes voiced her uncertainty as to when. I never denied her this carnal pleasure. To see her body open to me, her eyes bright, her mouth forming a perfect oh was the greatest treasure any one could ask for. She yelped slightly as I-
I was brought back to the present. Mr. Slue, my history teacher, was looking at me eyes wide. I could feel the heat that radiated from my cheeks, making me wonder just what exactly my classmates and teacher had seen and heard coming from me.
“Have you joined us once more Miss Force?”
“Then you wouldn’t mind telling the class about inflation during the civil war and how it affected both sides would you?”
“Inflation was a huge problem for both the North and the South during the civil war. For the North inflation was mainly in food supply. The North got most of their food from the South the agriculture part of the country, but because of the civil war their food supply was cut down dramatically. What was once enough for everyone was now split between those at home and those out fighting. Luxuries that the North had become accustomed to were in short supply. Factories were switched to making weapons and uniforms and things that the soldiers needed. The South suffered more harshly. Most of their food supply was either destroyed by their people to keep the Union soldiers from getting it or it was given to their own. The South also had less men both due to the fact that it was widely small towns and that men were needed to help run the plantations and manage the slaves. The biggest challenge that caused the South to have a higher inflation was the lack of backing on their money. Most of the gold that backed money was in the Union. However, since the Confederacy had to make their own money they needed their own gold to make it actual worth something. Without anything to back the value of the money, the paper was worthless.”
Mr. Slue and half the class stared at me. It was the most many of them had heard me speak in a long time, if ever. I didn’t speak unless spoken to or unless called upon. It helped keep me hidden and my secrets safe. It always shocked teachers that I knew what I was talking about. Many people failed to remember that I was a sophomore taking junior level classes for a reason. Everyone saw me as the daydreamer. What they didn’t see is that I spent every night and the weekends holed up in my room studying, devouring the next week’s material just so they would take me serious. You would think that it wouldn’t matter what everyone thought of me but it did. At least, it mattered what the teachers thought. If I displayed too many of the signs teachers are told to look for it would mean trouble and lots of it. I might have been able to handle trouble on my own but not Gracie. Gracie could barely take what was happening now. I shuddered to think of how she would take it if we were ever discovered.
I was starting to drift again when Angie walked in. She didn’t bother saying a word to Mr. Slue, not that it surprised any of the faculty or students. She was one of the Lucky 12, group of so called “elite” seniors who ran errands for the principals and occasionally the office. They thought of themselves above the faculty. Whenever one of the Lucky 12 was on “assignment” they tended to ignore the teacher, even in the middle of lecturing, and do what needed to be done. Today was no exception. Smiling her dazzling yet slightly annoying smile she pointed at me, finger beckoning. I looked to Mr. Slue before moving a muscle, receiving a slight stamp and pout of Angie’s foot for me not heeding her directive immediately. After receiving a nod, smile and slight eye roll from Mr. Slue I stood up. Angie started to get even more irritated but still not saying a word pointed for me to get my things as well. My heart froze. There was only one reason why I needed my stuff: Gracie. I rushed to get my stuff apologizing when I knocked a classmate’s things on to the floor.
Mr. Slue looked at me concern filling his eyes, but handed me the assignment for the day, telling me to email him if I had any questions. Before slipping out of the classroom I grabbed my ipod from my side pocket. I was never allowed to listen to my music in the classroom, unless we were doing independent work but in the hallway it was free game. I was the only student that was allowed to do so in either case. Though most of my teachers let the kids do it anyway. Momma somehow convinced the school district that it kept me calm when people touched me. She was not lying either. I could not stand anyone to touch me especially males. Angie looked at me side eyed, as we walked down the hallways towards the office. I did not blame her. My music was very loud both in volume and in bass. It blocked out my thoughts, worries, and emotions. It allowed me to be normal if only for the duration of my song.
The secretary in the office looked up from her filing as I walked in. I quickly lowered the volume of my music not wishing to anger her both with the volume and the disturbing sound of the lyrics.
“You can go straight into the principal’s office dearie” She said, with a smile on her face. That smile was different than others before it. To an outsider that smile was genuine or seemed genuine but to someone like me I would see the ill contained worry and sadness.
I panicked. Did Gracie crack? No she couldn’t have I checked with her this morning to make sure she was still able to handle it. Was she in trouble? She could not have been because otherwise they would have called him or the authorities not me. A million questions whizzed in and out of my brain. As I slid behind the door that separated the secretary and principals from the rest of the world, I paused slightly. Before I dare open the door to office of the head principal I had to make sure everything was in place. Once I was satisfied that my face was a composed stone mask, hair in place and clothes smoothed out did I open the door. As I entered the room, I slipped my ipod into my hoodie pausing briefly to make sure it was turned off.
My heart sank when I peeked into the room. There was not only Mrs. Black the head principal, but Mr. Adam the assistant principal and Miss Sophie the school shrink. Normally I dealt with only Mrs. Black in these situations due to my demeanor towards Mr. Adam. It is not that I did not like the man. He was nice and understanding and sincere but he was a male. I despise males but I am good at faking my hatred actually no my dislike for any male. I did not care for Miss Sophie either. Shrinks analyze people like me. They make a living trying to fix those that are broken or think they are broken. I was not one of them. Although, I am sure that if you looked at her office close enough you would probably find a file with my name on it, full of things she thought or witnessed about me and somewhere in said folder it would say I was not all I appeared to be. I glanced at her sitting on the sofa not far from where I stood. No surprise she had a legal pad and pen poised and waiting. I sighed. Can she just leave me alone? Can she not see I am fine?
That sigh sent her pen whirling. Really? I sigh and you write what? The patient sighed? Mr. Adam was seated slightly behind Mrs. Black’s big black desk. Kind of fitting isn’t it? Her last name is black and her desk was black. Personally I always found it ironic and wondered if she did it intentional. Mrs. Black of course was sitting ramrod straight behind her desk like always. If only she was in position I thought. Wait what? You can’t be serious. Mrs. Black into that? No no way. You are off your rocker. I scoffed, which of course sent Miss Sophie’s pen going again.
Still standing, I glanced around the room waiting for one of them to speak. Behind Mrs. Black’s head was a picture of the school’s founder Mr. Andrew Bingly. He founded the school in like 1890 for his six daughters or something. I could launch into a long boring history of our school but I won’t. Her two windows on either side of the picture overlooked the tennis courts. If you listened closely you could hear the WHACK of tennis rackets hitting the ball and occasional one of the students taunting another. On the wall starting behind the door was a senior class photo of every senior class since she had been principal. Then there were The Cabinets, which extended from the very first senior photo to the window behind her desk. The Cabinets have been around for like 20 years. They contained a file for every current student. Do not ask how she kept track because none of us know. In each file was every email, transcript of phone calls to parents and any notes taken during meetings with students. She was one of the most involved principals in the history of the school and the youngest. No one except for some of the teachers knows how she became principal at the young age of 26, after only like three years of teaching but she did.
During this time, Miss Sophie’s pen never once ceased its scratching across the page. No doubt she was trying to figure out why I refused to sit down. I never sat unless told to or unless I was sitting in class. Although I tried to convince myself that what he chose to inflict never affected me it did. Sitting was a prime example of that. We didn’t sit in the same room as him unless he gave permission. Mrs. Black cleared her throat, causing me to jump.
“Sit down Adriana” She sounded tired. It scared me more than the look on anyone’s face.
“You know why you are here don’t you?” she continued as I sat down.
“Gracie” I whispered, hardly able to control both the tremor in my voice and the way my body shook.
“Why was your phone not turned on?” Miss Sophie asked curious. Even though my body was turned from her I knew without a doubt that her pen was waiting to take every word I spoke.
I cursed myself. I had turned my phone off during second period so I could take a test without interruption. Normally, I was allowed to have my phone on at all times due to what Momma and I had referred to as “Gracie’s delicate condition”. After Momma died Gracie “got worse” and so my special circumstance was granted continuation especially since he failed to notice anything to do with us unless he wanted something. Gracie wasn’t sick she just could not handle the way Momma and I had been able to. It was harder on her. It constantly made her sick with worry and fear so it rare for her to go more than a week without having a problem at school and needing to go home. What might have been red flags about her pale, extremely skinny condition was associated to her “delicate nature”. After the third time of Gracie coming home from school for being sick and him breaking Momma’s arm in front of us, for not being a dutiful house wife and staying home, Momma became more protective of Gracie.
I remember the night Momma came into my room. She had not said anything until she had shut my door and barracked it with my nightstand. Eyes shining she turned to me. A little Razr lay in her hand. When I asked her where she got it and how it was going to be paid for she refused to tell me. She told me it was mine to use for when Gracie got sick. Gracie’s school was to contact me not Momma in the case that someone was needed. I was ecstatic. To be like the rest of the cool kids in middle school and already have a phone was awesome. It was the best gift I had ever received. I knew Momma was risking a lot by getting it for me. Now almost three years later I still had it good as new and he was still none the wiser.
“I am sorry ma’am I forgot to turn it back on after my test” I meekly responded, head bowed.
Mrs. Black raised her eyebrows. The superintendent had said so long as my phone was on silent and given to the teacher in the event of a test, I could keep it on for Gracie’s school to get a hold of me. And it was something I never failed to do. To be honest, the only time my phone was ever off was during the weekends when it was not needed. I had turned it off this time because although I loved Gracie and needed to protect her, this test was too great to be interrupted. I had hoped that by turning it off I would have a couple moments of peace should I be needed while her school called mine and I was tracked down.
“Why do we even bother to give you these concessions if you are not going to bother to use them? Thus wasting our time by tracking you down?” Mr. Adam’s voice slightly irritated, louder than usual and his hands were raised in exasperation.
I visibly flinched. Anyone who’s voice was raised made me panic. Being able to sense his irritation and slightly raised octave, made me shake though I stopped it as quick as I could. Though according to the furiousness of which the pen ran across the paper behind me I knew it was not quick enough for Miss Sophie not to notice.
“That is enough Jeffery” Mrs. Black reproached him, though softly while stare at me gazing my reaction.
I cursed myself. Fuck now they know. What the fuck were you thinking? Do not EVER lose control like that again. I immediately realized I sounded like him but it didn’t matter. I should not have lost control that was stupid of me. Just as I got myself back under control I heard Mr. Adams mutter.
“Seriously what the fuck does it matter that we are giving her special treatment? Who cares about her sister’s “delicate condition”? They are probably making it up anyway.” He muttered it low enough that Mrs. Black and I could hear him but not Miss Sophie.
Mrs. Black turned her chair but not before I saw her eyes snapping. “That is enough Jeffery. You don’t like it you may leave” she growled.
Mr. Adam stayed quiet but did not make a move to leave the room. Mrs. Black stayed looking at him. You could see the anger rolling off her in waves. But as quickly as her anger came it vanished.
“Now. Promise me you won’t turn off your phone again during school. Answer me one last question please. Is there any reason why when your sister threw up in her classroom, I might add, there was nothing for her to throw up?”
“Yes ma’am. I won’t I promise.” I swallowed before answering her question. Gracie hadn’t been able to keep anything down since Saturday. He had been more aggressive with her in particular as of late. “No ma’am. She hasn’t been feeling well. Our father can’t take off work to stay at home with her and I can’t afford to miss full days of school, otherwise I will fall too far behind.”
She nodded, taking my answer without complaint or question.
“Try and get her to eat something. Start out with crackers. If she can keep that down give her some soup but not a whole lot. Make sure she can keep that down before she eats anything else.” Mrs. Black responded, rather motherly.
“Yes Ma’am. I will. Thank you.” I rushed. I wanted out of here and I wanted out of here fast.
Nothing was said as I exited the room. The door was not quite shut however before I heard Mrs. Black pounce on Mr. Adam.
“Jeffery you need to keep quiet during our meetings with her. You know several of her teachers here and the principal at her sister’s school suspect there is more happening than she cares to tell us. Until we get something more solid so we can help them, keep your mouth shut. They will say nothing if they think we are not going to do anything about it.”