The mood in the classroom was tense for fourth period.
No one said a word as Professor McCurdy gave his lecture.
Even Dylan’s tardy song and dance as he entered the room ten minutes late was met with minimal reaction, much to Dylan’s chagrin (he always wanted to be the centre of attention).
No, everyone was on edge due to the powder keg that was Elaine and Elizabeth.
Since Elizabeth sat one desk in front of Elaine, the class was certain that at any moment Elaine would attack Elizabeth out of retaliation for the incident in the hall.
Even now evidence of the brouhaha lay apparent on their faces. Elaine had a black eye and Elizabeth had a large scratch mark along her cheek.
But Elaine remained eerily stoic. In fact, she was filing her nails during class, apparently oblivious to Elizabeth’s presence.
Tawny knew why.
She knew that regardless of what had occurred, Elaine would still get her justice. She was determined to end the day on top. And that meant utterly humiliating those below her.
It meant reading Tawny’s acrostic poem about McCurdy.
Time ticked away slowly. At last McCurdy stopped writing on the board, put his chalk down and faced the room.
“Right…okay, class,” he said, smiling. “We have a little bit of time left. I hope you’ve all finished your assignment. Let’s end the day by listening to some of your poems. Are there any volunteers?”
As Tawny predicted, Elaine’s hand shot up immediately.
“Miss Milford…?” though he was still smiling, Tawny could detect a bit of confusion flash in Professor McCurdy eyes. He probably wants to ask why she has that black eye….
“I would like to present my poem first, Professor McCurdy,” Elaine said.
McCurdy nodded and gestured to the space in front of him. “The floor is yours,” he said.
Elaine got up from her seat and stood by her desk. “Brace yourself, folks,” she said. “What I am about to read is the most legendary acrostic poem of all time.”
McCurdy leaned against his desk and folded his arms. “Now I’m intrigued…”
“Oh, you’ll be more that intrigued, Professor,” Elaine said, as she proceeded to open her schoolbag to retrieve the poem. “You’ll be shocked. You’ll be mystified. You’ll most definitely repulsed!”
“Repulsed?” asked Professor McCurdy. “Do pray tell, Miss Milford. You’re keeping us all in suspense.”
“Just you wait, when I read this poem you’re gonna be….you’re gonna be…” Elaine’s voiced trailed off as she focused her attention on digging frantically through her bag. “Hey….where is it?”
“Everything alright?” asked Professor McCurdy.
“M-my poem…it’s gone! Her poem! She wrote it!” Elaine pointed an accusatory finger at Tawny, who put her hands up in defense. “She wrote this sick, thirsty obsessive poem all about you!”
McCurdy was unamused. “Ah,” he said, looking down at the floor. “No need to point fingers. Perhaps you left it in your dormitory…?”
“No!” snapped Elaine. “She must have stole it back like the impoverished little thief that she is!”
“I didn’t do anything!” Tawny insisted, turning red. Elaine had just outed her, but without proof, there was still a chance she could get through the embarrassment.
“Miss Matthews,” said McCurdy, looking Tawny in the eyes. “Perhaps you may enlighten us about this elusive, acrostic poem?”
Ahh crap. In all her worrying about Elaine reading her first poem, Tawny never got around to creating a new poem (she was convinced it’d be unnecessary seeing as how she was likely to die from embarrassment).
Slowly, Tawny stood up from her seat. It was now or never…
“Professor McCurdy…sir, Elaine is right. I did write an acrostic poem about you.”
For the first time, the class came alive with murmurs of interest.
Tawny took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and began to speak:
“My time at this school has been rough
Cuz…I didn’t have any friends at the time
Can’t say I know many people still
Until…you helped me on that first day
Remember? You…helped me find Room 7B
Don’t worry…I won’t be offended if you don’t
You help more people than you realize.”
Tawny opened her eyes, practically sweating bullets. The whole class was looking at her,
McCurdy stared at her intently. After several seconds, he nodded slowly, thoughtfully.
“Right. Thank you for sharing, Miss Matthews. You may sit down.”
Tawny collapsed into her seat and breathed a sigh of relief.
But Elaine was having none of it. “That’s not fair! That wasn’t her poem! Recite the one you wrote about Professor McCurdy!”
“Miss Milford, enough,” said Professor McCurdy in a firm voice. “I understand if you weren’t prepared to present today, but I’ll not have you take your aggression out on other students.”
“BUT SHE’S LYING!” yelled Elaine.
“Miss Milford!” McCurdy yelled back, startling everyone in the class, but especially Tawny. “You’ve tried my patience for the last time today. Go to the Principal’s Office.”
“But—” Elaine pleaded.
“Now,” demanded McCurdy. In a huff, Elaine took her bag and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
At that moment the bell rang, and the students filed out, chattering excitedly amongst themselves about what happened.
As Tawny tried to leave, she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was Professor McCurdy.
“Miss Matthews…a word, please?”
Tawny’s heart skipped a beat. She nodded and stayed behind, sitting down at one of the desks in the front row.
As McCurdy turned his back to her to erase the chalkboard, Tawny had a strange case of déja vü.
When she tried to figure out why, she realized a similar scene had played out in her dream of few nights before.
Flustered at the thought, she attempted to shake the memory out of her head.
“You alright?” asked McCurdy when he was finished clearing the chalkboard.
“Yes, I…uh, was trying not to sneeze,” lied Tawny.
“I see…” said McCurdy. “Miss Matthews, I’ll just cut to the chase. I don’t believe you had prepared a poem for today, did you?”
“No,” confessed Tawny. “I made it up on the fly.”
“I see…” McCurdy said, thoughtfully.
“Am I in trouble?” Tawny asked. Secretly, she hoped he would say yes, that she’d be forced to spend an hour after school with him for detention for an entire week. What a punishment that would be!
But McCurdy shook his head and smiled. “No, of course not. I just wanted to commend you for your ability to improvise on the fly. Tapping into one’s creative talents at will is an ability few people possess. You should be proud.”
“Thank you?” Tawny said.
“I normally expect the written assignment on the same day as presentations, but how about I give you the weekend to transcribe your creation on paper?”
“Thank you…” repeated Tawny. “Double-spaced, 12-point font?”
“Sounds good,” replied McCurdy. “Unless you want to surprise me. I must say you are quite apt at doing that…”
McCurdy winked at her, and it took of Tawny’s will not to faint on the spot.
“You’re dismissed – go enjoy your weekend,” said McCurdy.
Tawny stood up and as she headed for the door, McCurdy spoke again. “You’ll be attending the Ivoree Gates Autumnal Social?”
“Yes,” replied Tawny.
“Lovely,” he said. “I’ll be chaperoning the event. I do hope to see you there.”
Tawny left Professor McCurdy’s classroom with a wave of emotions. Which is why she nearly leapt out of her skin when someone grabbed her by the arm.
“Aah!” she screamed.
“Sorry!” replied Dylan, who had apparently stayed behind to talk to her. “I came in late today. Did something happen that I missed?”
“Only the biggest character assassination in the history of Ivoree Gates,” came a voice. Maddie had appeared behind the two of them.
Dylan looked at her in confusion, so Tawny and Maddie explained the entire “Fire Sale” fiasco that happened during the day.
When they were done, Dylan contorted his face, frowning. “Wow,” he said. “Okay. Good to know. Thanks, Tawdry.”
“It’s TAWNY,” Maddie said. “God, we fill you in, and you still call her that?”
Dylan smiled, chuckling. “I swear, I’m not doing it on purpose. Perhaps it’s easier to call you Matthews? Less chance of a Foodian slip-up.”
“That’s Freudian slip-up,” corrected Tawny.
“Right…” said Dylan. “Anyway, thanks for the update. That gives me a lot to mull over. See you later.”
And with that, Dylan walked off.
“Well that was…strange,” Maddie said, as the two of them walked in the opposite direction down the hall.
“Not nearly as strange as what happened in English class,” remarked Tawny.
“Now that you mention it…yeah, you’re still here, alive and kicking. What went down?”
“I’ll tell you all about it,” said Tawny. “Right after I use the loo.”
Tawny and Maddie entered the washroom just as the first stall opened. Out emerged Elizabeth; her eyes were still tearstained, but there was a look of fiery defiance behind them.
“Uh-oh,” said Maddie, gearing up for a fight.
Elizabeth walked right up to Tawny so that they were just inches apart. She then dug in her hoodie and pulled out a crumpled sheet of paper. She then grabbed Tawny’s hand and placed it in her palm.
“So we’re even then,” said Elizabeth. “Want us to be squared before I leave Ivoree Gates.”
“You’re…leaving?” said Tawny. “Why?”
Elizabeth pointed to her stomach. “To take care of this.” Maddie looked horrified. “Not like that, no! I mean…it’s time for me to own up to my mistakes. I’ve made a lot of them. But this right here? Won’t be one of them. I want to start off on the right foot. But I can’t do it here. So later…and thanks.”
Elizabeth exited the bathroom. Tawny uncrumpled the piece of paper and smiled. It was the acrostic poem.
Looks like I have more allies than I realized, mused Tawny.Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in