My fingers gripped around the light and easily breakable pen I held, my jaw clicking as I stared down at the many questions I had answered, reviewing the scribbled and slightly sloppy blue words to make sure I had made no errors.
Before me sat a professor, casually scrolling half heartedly through his phone, making sure to look over it and watch the class for several seconds before returning back to his source of entertainment.
The whispers of the girls beside me, as they exchanged answers was so blatant, and I was surprised that the professor, who had seen them, said nothing. I chose to eventually listen in and frowned, realizing their answers were nothing like mine.
Chewing on my lip I stared back at my paper, analyzing it once more, irritated now. I shrugged after a moment, resting my head on the ridiculously cold wooden table and sighing. My answers were staying. They made sense. To me.
A loud yawn sounded by my ear, and I barely resisted from jumping out of my seat at the loud volume of the noise. My head raised as my professor’s chair scraped against the floor.
“Mathew Johnson!” My professor barked, slamming his phone down and glaring at the sleepy boy. “You do not yawn so louldly in this class! It is absolutely disrespectful and disruptive!"
I snickered, glancing at the two girls who were still discussing their answers. One would think that the professor should reprimand the two females instead of snapping at the boy who probably had found it difficult to hold back his yawn.
“Sorry,” Mathew muttered, scratching at his blond short hair, clearly not sorry. A slow, sleepy smile lifted his lips as he saw the way his profosser’s face turn red at his uncaring attitude. Nonetheless, profosser Greene returned to his seat, briefly locking eyes with me and I dropped my smile, looking blankly at the blank paper resting on the wooden desk.
“Rebecca,” The professor called my name and I obediently lifted my head to stare expectantly up at him. “Please do not leave once you have finished the test. I'd like to speak to you once this class is over."
My shoulders sank. I had an idea of what he intended to say to me. “Yes sir.” I muttered.
Class ended soon after he spoke to me, and I begrudgingly slid my paper to him, listening to the sound of people leaving, chattering excitedly. When the door swung closed, I sat on the edge of the professor's desk, folding my arms, trying to conjour up an answer to what he was going to ask me.
Mr. Greene sent me a disapproving look at where I chose to situate myself. “Would you like to explain why you haven't been showing up to your last four classes?”
Shrugging, I told him, “I’ve been very busy. But I did manage to catch up on the work.”
Professor Greene leaned forward. “What exactly have you been busy doing? Doing activities with the Alpha?”
I stiffened at the words he spat out, leveling my eyes with his. “No.” I paused, watching his scowl deepen. “I’ve been doing many things to help the people of this town-”
He cut me off with an unprofessional snort and I bristled, standing to my feet, startling him.
“I’ve given you my answer. If that is all, I will be taking my leave.” I bit out, already slinging my bag over my shoulder. He raised a hand, palm facing me as he shook his head.
“Not yet. I still have one more thing to discuss with you.” He adjusted the black tie he wore, relaxing himself in his chair. “During last class, I assigned partners and gave out projects, which are due on the 17th of this month. Your partner is Mathew and the details of your project,” He leaned over to a folder and withdrew a bulk of papers with printed words. “Is right here.”
My eyes widened at the sight of it, slowly lifting it from his hands. The professor continued, “I suggest you speak with Mathew further if you have any other questions,” He murmured, checking his phone which vibrated on the wooden desk. “I have other things to worry about.”
I groaned at the sight of my soggy chicken sandwich, chucking my empty and broken water bottle into a bin. It was useless now. Sighing, I stared down at the sandwhich, not wanting to through away it as well. Finally I just threw away the wet bread and half-heartedly ate the chicken, silently thankful that no one was passing by.
I had purposely chosen this secluded area, where I could relax and feel comfortable eating without worrying whether or not someone was watching my actions, which most people in this town did.
My stomach gurgled in hunger seconds after I finished eating the chicken. Glancing down at my watch I decided I would leave to go buy something to eat. Mr. Greene’s class had been my last for the day.
Mathew was a few feet away from my parked car after I entered the parking lot. His friends, Nate and Liam stood near by him, two of them smoking what smelt like weed. I hesitantly approached Mathew, ignoring the piercing stares of his friends.
“So our professor told me about the work we have to do,” I told Mathew, who watched me through squinted eyes. “And I think it’s best we get it started soon.”
His response was a slow nod. “Right.” He continued to stare at me, not offering any other words. Chuckles came from the mouths of his friends, puffs of smoke following as well.
“We’ll obviously need to meet up to do the project...where do you think is a good place to do it?” I continued, twisting the heavy strap of my bag which was on my shoulder so I was a bit more comfortable.
Mathew scratched his hair, which I began to notice was a habit of his. “Your place or mine, babe?” His voice was startingly flirtatious.
I blinked, my head tilting to the side, whilst his friends guffawed. “Um…”
“Joking, love,” He clapped my shoulder and continued. “I dunno, you choose a place. Here, I’ll give you my number and you can call or text me when you figure it out.” He held out a palm and I withdrew my phone, handing it to him so he could type in his information. After a few jabs, he tossed it back to me, and I barely managed to catch it.
Gritting my teeth I turned, the sly smirk he wore irritating. “Bye.” I said over my shoulder, walking to my car and quickly climbing inside, switching on the engine and turning on the air condition. The weather was extremely hot today and I closed my eyes for several seconds, thankful for the cold blasts of air, only straightening and leaving when I began to see a group of people heading my way.
“Leave me the fuck alone!” George screamed, tossing a wad of paper at the head of a young boy who had shoved him in his hurry to leave.
My mother’s eyes widened, her fingers immediately pinching his ear harshly. “Language!” She hissed, only dropping her hand when he uttered a yelp and a 'sorry’. She shook her head, glancing at me. Alyssa barely held back her smirk, her face pressing into my leg as she hid it.
“I want cupcakes,” Alyssa whispered to me after we left her school. She was sucking her thumb, which I wriggled out of her mouth. It was a recent nasty obsession of hers.
I glanced around at the nearby stores and shops as we left the school she and George attends and began walking to my car. “I’m not sure where we could get some.”
Alyssa’s hand tightened in mine, taking small, determined stomps. “I'll show you,” She said, all but pulling me in the opposite direction of where we were initially heading. Behind me, I could hear my mother’s and brother’s footsteps, following us.
Alyssa led me to a store, one which was filled with pastry and cakes. Her eyes lit up with excitement at the sight of the treats and she released my hand, bucking forward. George slipped against the floor as he ran, pushing his sister so she couldn't reach the cupcake she had wanted.
“Be nice, George!” My mother hissed, seeing tears welling up in her youngest daughter’s eyes. She plucked the cupcake he had grabbed from his hands and handed it to his sister, pausing to stare sternly down at George. “She was there first, so she gets the cake.”
Now it was George’s turn to cry. I stood awkwardly, watching as fat tears rolled down his cheeks. An employee took one look at me and the crying children before hightailing into a backroom.
My eyebrows furrowed as I suddenly remembered all the assignments I had to work on. I frowned, trying to recall which assignment was due tomorrow. It wasn’t that History one, no. And it wasn’t the Pyschology one either. I had received that today and doubted that it would have to be submitted this week. At least I hoped not.
“Rebecca!” I blinked out of my thoughts as I saw my brother run towards me, looking for some pity. He burrowed his face into my stomach, wrapping his small arms around my leg.
“I want the cupcake.” He said, his voice muffled. I patted his hair.
“I’m sure they are other ones that you’d like.” I offered, trying to calm him down. His grip tightened as he lifted his head, glaring at his sister who cradled her blue cupcake to her chest.
“I want that one.” George whined. Sighing, I looked around the store, realizing that they were many similar cupcakes to the one which Alysaa held. However, he was firm in wanting the one his sister held.
When his cries increased, I tugged him off of me, my head pounding as a headache approached. Squatting down so I was to his level, I told him, “You either find yourself another cupcake or you won’t get any at all.”
He stared, his lower lip trembling for several seconds. And finally, with tight fists he marched away from me, heading towards a tray of packaged cupcakes. I sighed, straightening to my full height. My mother came to stand beside me.
“You look tired.” My mother said. Shrugging, I gave a slight nod.
“You should probably take a day off- just to rest and relax.”
I snorted. “I don’t think that's a good idea. I have classes to go to and places in the communities to visit to make sure that things are being established properly."
My mother frowned. “You can afford to skip a few classes. And I’m sure Xerxes can oversee what's supposed to be done in those communities.”
I shook my head, wincing at the sight of George stuffing his mouth with a cupcake. “I’ve already missed too much classes. Skipping won’t be a good idea.” I muttered, rolling my shoulders, wanting to ease the tension I could feel there. I wiped at my face. “I’ll pay for the treats and drop you guys home. I have some work to finish off.”
My mother's frown didn’t budge as I shuffled past her, walking to a cashier who stared expectantly up at me. The employee who had hidden in the backroom re-emerged, a look of pure relief on his features as he saw that my little brother had stopped crying.
Five hours later, I slammed my laptop closed after saving my progress on the History assignment I was given. Thankfully, it was due in a couple more days and not tomorrow. And there was no other assignments due tomorrow, luckily for me.
My bones cracked as I stretched, finally moving my stiff body from my chair and hobbled over to the kitchen, switching on a kettle and placing some tea bags into two cups.
I heard my front door open, and a yell from Harold as he entered my home. He tossed his suitcase on the sofa, yawning loudly.
“You wanted to talk?” Harold asked, his voice husky with sleep. He leaned against a wall nearby, watching me with tired eyes, which looked like they were about to close any moment.
“Yes.” I gestured to a wooden stool which he promptly sat at. I took the another one, hesitating to speak to him because of how exhausted he looked. But what I had seen for the past few days didn’t sit right with me and I needed to talk to someone about it.
“I’ve been seeing people with these rings,” I began, noticing the way Harold's shoulders stiffened. “They all share a certain design.”
Harold’s hand shook as he stroked his chin, clearly uncomfortable. “What do you mean exactly?”
I leaned closer to him. “They all are designed the same way. On the rings they are two helmets which rest in a circle.”
Harold was silent for a long while, and I began to think he hadn't heard me. His fingers had stopped stroking his beard and he stared ahead at a wall, deep in thought.
The kettle clicked and I stood, taking the handle and pouring the steaming water into the two cups with tea bags. Taking one, I placed it on the table. “Would you like some tea?”
Harold didn't move. Worried now, I prodded his shoulder. He flinched, as if he had been scalded. He shook his head, standing abruptly. “N-no thanks. I wouldn't worry about those rings, Becca. They're not important.” He scrambled from his seat, whilst I stared at him in bewilderment. He paused, as if noticing that he was behaving odd.
He offered a strained smile. “I will be leaving. I heard that there may be some heavy rainfall tonight and I need to purchase a few things from a store before that happens.”
I narrowed my eyes sharply. “Right.”
Harold's shoulders drooped as he walked to the front door, but then staggered to a stop. Barely sparing me a glance he grabbed his suitcase which he had left on a sofa and hurried back to the door, slamming it closed behind him as he left.