When I entered the canteen, Summer was already sitting at the end of a long table as she always did. She noticed me immediately and acted as if nothing had happened. Well played. We had to be as natural as possible, or the annoying kids would start talking.
I made my way to the food table and grabbed a bowl of cereals and casually walked to the long table, where I sat two seats away from Summer.
“Good morning,” I said to her.
“Good morning,” she said and then lowered her voice “But I think I already saw you today.”
“Why didn’t she punish us?” I went straight to the point.
"She is called Aunt Marge,” said Summer, emphasising the word she and took a sip of her apple juice “And I think she likes me.”
“What do you mean, she likes you?”
“She sympathises with me, I guess,” she explained “Besides, she knows that we weren’t doing anything we weren’t supposed to be doing. She knows the truth.”
She blushed a little when she said those words, and I couldn’t help but smile.
“Summer,” a staff member called her as she approached our table “Mr Hansen wants to see you. He is in his office.”
She got up from her chair and gave me a smile before she left.
I stepped out of the canteen and walked through the empty hall that lead to Mr Hansen’s office. After being so inconvenient last night, I was terrified to hear what he was going to say, but I held a stiff upper lip and knocked calmly at his door before entering.
“I believe some letters arrived for you,” He went straight to the point without even saying good morning or giving me a smile. He was sat at his desk, facing a mess of papers and scribbling things I couldn’t understand all over them. He pointed to the stack of letters on the corner of his desk.
As I came closer to the desk, I noticed what all of those papers were about. They looked like student profiles. Each of them had a picture, the full name and personal information. In the middle of the pile, I saw lots of students I knew, one of which Harry. Harry’s profile was beneath some others so I could only see his name and picture.
“Is there any problem Summer?” Mr Hansen asked once he noticed I was staring, lifting his head for the first time to look at me.
“No, no. I was just leaving,” With that I walked out of his office with the letters in hand.
I wondered what useful information that profile had about Harry. For example, where he came from, or what school he attended previous to Hudson. All of those things could help me figure the puzzle out. I just needed to get that paper.
I pushed those thoughts aside and looked at the amount of letters in my hands; one from Anna, another from Amanda and Anthony. How thoughtful of them! I was not expecting that at all. What a wonderful surprise!
I settled on reading them right away. I opened the doors of the main building and dived into the cold air, determined to get to Hall A as quickly as possible.
With each step I took, I dug my feet into twenty centimetres of snow, which made the walk difficult and exhausting. I heard some footsteps that weren’t mine and I looked into the direction of the sound. Behind me, I saw Harry moving at a steady but fast pace towards me.
I stopped and waited for him to catch up with me. Once he did so, we continued walking.
“Hey, what do you got there?” He asked me.
“Some letters,” I casually said.
“Who are they from?”
“My friends-” He snapped the letters out of my hands and read their names.
“Oh, those...” He hissed as he handed them back, rolling his eyes.
“What do you mean by ‘those’?” I stopped walking and looked at him, my hands on my hips.
“The nerd, the snob and the wimp... Honestly, you could have chosen better,” He said carelessly. It looked like he turned into a completely different person before my eyes.
“I’m sorry, who do you think you are?” I was absolutely shocked by his words, and hurt. “At least I have friends who care about me, I have people who love me and respect me. But of course, you don’t know what that feels like, do you?”
He looked at me like he was planning to hurt me, but I was not scared of him, not anymore. I was furious. I could feel something boil inside me, ready to explode.
“Take it back,” he clenched his fists.
“Over my dead body,” I said, “But I guess that wouldn’t be very hard for you to overcome.”
I didn’t even give him the opportunity to fight back. I turned my back to him, but he grabbed my shoulder and spun me around.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” He shouted in my face.
“Why are you being so nice to me? Why are you talking to me? After all of that, you talk to me this way?” His voice was broken, desperate even. Like someone had taken his most precious thing.
“It’s okay I get it,” He stopped shouting, took a step back and looked at the ground “It was all an act. You are just- just curious.”
“No, that’s not true.”
“Yes it is and you know it,” He paused and took a deep breath “You know what?” He let escape a sarcastic laugh from his lips “I hope you end up alone, just like me.”
With that, he turned his back to me and walked away. A suffocating lump formed in my throat, tears welled in my eyes, but it wasn’t because of what he said, it was how he said it. The look on his face, his hating gaze. He was relentless, but I don’t censure him. I was mean, heartless and just careless. The words just slipped out of my mouth, like water through fingers, and I couldn’t hold them back. I completely forgot he was human too.
I cried in that very spot where he left me, not because I was offended, but because I regretted what I said. I never meant to hurt him, I never wanted to do that.
“Summer...” A small voice whispered. I looked up and Genevieve was looking at me, her hand on my back. She had a thick scarf around her neck, covering her mouth. Her eyes were big and her nose red from the cold “Are you okay?”
I wiped my tears, sniffled and faked a smile “Yeah, yeah, I’m just- I’m okay.”
“C’mon, let’s go inside,” She helped me up. She looked at my hands “Are you crying because of the letters?”
“I miss my parents, that’s all,” I lied.
“I bet next term they will visit you, don’t worry,” she tried to cheer me up, but in that moment, nothing could cheer me up.