“Why don’t you children have a bit of manners . . . respect is something you earn by giving . . . next time you repeat this . . . I am a teacher . . . taking you to the principal’s office . . . mannerless youth—”
Alexandra’s best friends sat around her, unaffectedly processing each and every single word that exploded from the Algebra teacher’s mouth like lava from a volcano.
She signaled to Emma who was sitting right beside her, staring at the teacher with utmost concentration.
The drama had commenced.
“Yeah. Wassup!?” she mouthed the words, still not breaking eye contact with the teacher.
Alex craned her head towards her. “I, I don’t feel so good, Emma.”
“Me neither.” came the hoarse whisper
"I mean . . . my head's feeling kinda—” and she laid her head sideways onto the table, careful though, not to hurt herself and also make it look natural.
“Alex? Alex! ALEX!” Emma shrieked vaguely to find Alex half-conscious.
“Ma’am, she—” Emma started shaking her friend so hard that Alex couldn’t suppress her expression of immobility anymore.
“Ma’am, I think Alex-andra really needs to go to the medical centre. C-can I have the pass?” Emma tried hard avoiding a ‘no’ but when she saw the frown on the lady’s face, she was downcast.
“Please, ma’am.” Hesitantly, the teacher gave the allowance pass to her. Once she got the permission card, she pushed it in her divider-skirt pocket. She gently threw Alex’s right arm around her neck and helped her out of the class quickly.
Once outside the classroom, Alex felt the strongest feelings of guilt. Her instincts urged her to tell the truth. “Well, fun to see Emma worried . . . ” thought the naughty verge inside of her.
Emma was so paranoid to see her friend like this, or if I may say, acting like this.
“Alex? ALEX! You alright? Oh my goodness! I think you’ve fever—”
“I’m alrigh’ … lil’ water—” mumbled Alex sickly.
“Righ’. Water’s whatchya need.” She quickly ran to the school water dispenser and brought a glass of clear drinking water. Even after drinking the water, Emma couldn’t see any improvement, so she started panicking again. “Oh! PLEASE don’t faint. Don’t faint; don’t faint!!”
Alex decided not to reply because she feared her best friend would know she’s lying. Well, Emma would’ve never imagined her friend go to this extent.
“I-I know where to take you. Yes! The medical centre.” Saying this, she once again flung Alex’s arm around her neck and slowly started heading to the medical centre. If you must know, the medical centre was at least half a kilometer away from where their class was.
On their way, Alex suddenly had the urge again, to tell her best friend the truth but the darker side of her did not let her do so.
“Oh my god! What if she faints? You-you’re gonna be okay girl-” Emma was muttering all the stupidity she could think of on the way to the medical centre.
Back at their class; the teacher had not yet let the verbal lava lie dormant even for a nanosecond. “. . . not your home . . . one thing you must know . . . aren’t fools to underestimate . . . what were you thinking—”
“Hey, Jess!” whispered Aurora from the corner of her lips.
“Yeah? Wondering what happened to Alex? Me too!” replied Jessica who was putting on the most innocent face of them all.
“Er—yeah! I think I saw her smirking . . .”
“Wait. So you think she was, well . . . pretending?” asked Jessica skeptically.
“Don’t we know her by now?”
“Well . . . then Emma would’ve noticed SOMETHING right?”
“Of course NOT! She would never doubt her. She could’ve never imagined Alex lying to her.”
“Well, if she wouldn’t, then we shouldn’t too.” replied Jessica, unsure.
“Bet?” asked Aurora taking advantage of the opportunity. “Hershey’s: Cookies ‘n’ Cream for whoever’s right.”
“Ooh, I’m in, Aura!” She fixed her gaze back to the angry teacher who noticed nothing amiss in her fury.
“Ow . . . what was that for!?” shrieked Alex clutching her hands over her head and smiling mischievously.
“That, was for making me bring you water from the third floor.” Emma grunted as she thumped her friend on the back.
“And that?” asked Alex indignantly.
“For making me walk under this scorching sun!”
“Bloody hell! I’m SORRY!”
“That’s more like it.” Emma gleamed, with a satisfied expression on her face.
“Ok. You’ve taken your wrath out on me. Now what?” asked Alex, maintaining a far distance from Emma, unwilling to get another blow.
“Now, go to class and own up. Duh!” said Emma rapidly.
“What!? So you’re gonna turn me in?” asked Alex, unsure whether her partner in crime would give her up so easily.
“Well, after all, you didn’t tel—” Emma’s words were abruptly halted by, “And you punished me enough.”
“Alright then. You stay here, flirting with the sun. I’m off to class.” Emma strode away.
“Emma! . . . EMMA! I thought you were supposed to be my friend.”
She ran back and hugged Alex. Again, hitting her hard on the back she said, “Don’t you dare go to the movies without me.”
They laughed about this when Alex said, “Do we really need to get back to class and—” Emma continued the sentence for her, “—hear the rest of the monster’s words?” Alex had actually intended to say the ‘zombie’s words’. But she was happily trotting beside one of her best friends to the library, dreaming over the fact that Emma was so worried about her.
They reached the school library to find Jessica and Aurora waiting for them.
"Guilty as charged." said Aurora seeing a convalescent, grinning Alex.
“Aura; Jess; what’re you guys doin’ here?” inquired Emma.
“We couldn’t stand the torture when you both weren’t a part of it.” smirked Aurora.
“Sooo, when did Alex finally decide to own up?
“Wait, she—” began Emma, whose face was beginning to boil with rage but calmed down just as then.
“Chill, Alex told us nothing.” said Jessica with an annoyed expression; the thought of losing Hershey’s was quite disturbing. “We know our Alex.”
And it was no surprise that Aurora and Jessica started whisper-battling about their bet.
“I get the chocolate tomorrow, Jess!” whispered Aurora.
“What!? NO! We both agreed and came to the library.” whisper-yelled Jessica.
Emma tucked a strand of hair behind her ear while tuning in Alex's dramatic words. “Pretty please? Don’t turn me in. Sorry for the ZILLIONTH time!”
Emma rolled her eyes and said, “Apology accepted if you give us Hershey’s: Cookies ‘n’ Cream each.”
“Yessss!” squeaked Aurora and Jessica in unison.
“Umm . . . okay, FINE.” said Alex as she crossed her arms, looking sulky.
“Guys . . . I think Mr. Ives is stalking us.” whispered Aurora to the three.
It was true. The librarian was staring at the girls over his glasses’ rims. He acknowledged this and arched his lips into a warm smile. “Don’t worry girls. I was just admiring the beauty of a four-leafed clover here. Found one from the school garden.” And he disappeared behind the columns of furnished bookshelves.
“Wow! He must be very lucky to have found a four-leafed clover . . .” said Jessica in awe.
“Well, they surely are rare.” followed Emma.
Aurora was still thinking about the odd places where the clover could've been found in the school garden.
Alex was still cross.
“Group hug guys?” proposed Emma as she winked.
Alex began grumpily, “I’m not much of a hugger—” but before she could complete, there were eight arms intertwined amidst each other.
The clover was getting squeezed a little, wasn’t it?