Concluding the Experiment

Sandy withdrew her hand, and told Mr. Jacobs that she wasn’t on the fencing team. His face beamed in reply — “You’ve been here all afternoon, haven’t you? When you were apparently supposed to be somewhere else!” He pointed, without looking, behind him and up at the loudspeaker.

Feeling the wall she had erected was being demolished, Sandy stepped back, said she really needed to go. Mr. Jacobs nodded, but Annie stepped forward, blocking Sandy’s path to the large metal doors to the hallway. “Cassandra, right? That’s your name?”

The freshman nodded, and as she continued backing towards the exit, replied that most people called her Sandy. A dismissive grunt from behind Annie caught everyone’s attention. “They should call you The Bird, the way you jerk her head around.” Sandy remembered this boy with the wild stringy hair and moustache; Annie had all but grabbed him, insisted he demonstrate a proper lunge. He’d agreed, and Sandy had been impressed by the fluidity and power of his body, though she’d been confused by his subsequent complaint, something about having to use the wrong weapon.

Annie waved a dismissive hand in the boy’s direction. “Don’t let anything Double-J says bother you.”

Sandy replied that she didn’t mind (she was actually intrigued by the idea of being called The Bird), but she really needed to leave.

“We’re here every Tuesday.” Sandy liked the way Mr. Jacobs’ eyes seeemed to smile. “See you next week.” He was making demand, not an offer; Sandy thought his words presumptuous, yet also appealing. And as she turned to leave, to return to the guidance office, she began thinking of how she could arrange for staying after school next Tuesday.

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