Experiment, Part 6

Sandy stood up abruptly, pointed to the loudspeaker near the ceiling on the far end of the cafeteria wall, and announced to the group that had been slowly gathering around her that she was being called, and needed to leave. She was immediately filled with relief, as if the words she’d just spoken had formed an invisible shield around her, protecting against the attention that had been descending upon her.

“Very well.” The bearded teacher kept approaching, breaking through her shield. “I saw you working with Annie earlier — ” he nodded in the direction of the pony-tailed sophomore — “I didn’t want to interrupt, but did hope to at least introduce myself before you left.” He stepped forward, right hand extended. “Jacobs. Dan Jacobs.”

Sandy stared at his hand a moment, knowing instinctively how she should respond but pausing out of surprise, as she could not remember anyone, certainly not a man, ever offering to shake her hand. She blinked, then suddenly reached out and grabbed his hand. It was warm, slick with sweat. She then told Mr. Jacobs that it was a pleasure to meet him.

“We’re not in class now, my friend.” Before she could pull her hand away, she felt him squeeze firmly, then suddenly clap his other hand on top of their shake. “This is practice, for the fencing team. And during fencing time, I prefer to be called Coach Dan.”

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