Fifty: Part One
“But she just freaked out like that?!” Bud asked me once more as the rest of the class stared at me with prying eyes, waiting for answers.
I was sitting on the edge of a table inside our classroom, waiting for the teacher to arrive. The night before I had gone to my dorm room and told all the boys what had happened. Everyone was talking about Summer’s outburst, and since I was the only one besides Anna who saw her that night, I was being attacked with questions. Everyone wanted to know what happened, even those who were new to the subject. I didn’t mind it at all, because for the first time I was the centre of attentions. It felt glorious to have everyone around me as I spoke, as if my words were made of gold and they couldn’t miss a single syllable.
“Yeah, I’m telling you. The tears were streaming down her face, she was screaming... It was quite terrifying to be honest.”
“And why did she freak out?” Someone in the crowd asked.
“Obviously Harry must be driving her to insanity!” Bud responded for me in an angry tone “That prick needs to leave!”
That was when Amanda’s voice was heard from the door “Summer can accompany him as well, that way we kill two birds with one stone,” she said with venom on her tongue “Don’t you see that they are one now? Harry transformed her into a copy of himself!”
“That’s true,” I added all of a sudden. I didn’t like the fact that once she spoke, everyone’s attention turned to her, like soldiers saluting their commander. “The things she told me were exactly the same as Harry would.”
“What did she exactly say?” asked Bud impatiently, his face crimson due to his anger.
“She said that what we did to her was unforgivable, that we were just a bunch of rich kids, and like, that we were egocentric and ignorant,” I said, the memories of the hurtful words swimming in my head. It hurt to say them out loud, but I knew they weren’t true.
“You see what Harry did to her? She is calling us egocentric when Harry and Summer do whatever they want without a care in the world!” Amanda approached the circle and joined me. “She claims we did something unforgivable when she should be talking about herself! Guys, she gave that monster another opportunity when he deserves nothing but misery for the rest of his life!”
The crowd nodded in agreement and all the attention that I had was now Amanda’s. I couldn’t blame them for it, for I sensed something in her tone that suggested authority, and more than that, she was talking with malice in her tone. I imagined her morphing into a snake any second as she spoke those words, yet she managed to keep everyone’s attention as if she was a cute animal in a circus.
“And you know what is the cherry on top of the cake? Anna is joining her,” she announced. My colleagues expressed their shock and disapproval, incentivising Amanda to continue her shaming speech. “I know! Anna, one of our best students and my best friend! You see Harry’s power?! We can’t let this spread; we have to cut the problem through the root! Never forget what that devil did to John and to all of us,” There was silence as she spoke her last words as everyone looked at each other, pensive.
“We can’t let him have forgiveness,” Bud stated with confidence, surprising everyone by his harsh words. Bud could be quite intimidating when he wanted to, but words were not his forte. “Summer is giving him that though.”
“But if he destroys her in the meanwhile, like he always does, he’ll have to watch the only person that ever helped him slip through his fingers like water,” Amanda said coldly.
That was when she came inside the room.
All eyes darted to Summer as she casually took a seat at the back of the room. The rest of us dispersed with our heads low, as if a teacher had almost caught us messing around. Looks were exchanged between the students that were part of the now non-existent crowd, but my eyes were focused on Summer while she settled in. It was like she was carrying a shield around her; it was impossible not to realise that we were talking about her when she came inside the room, it was impossible not to notice the thick atmosphere and not feel uncomfortable, yet she was acting as if nothing had happened just moments before, as if she was away from the people that surrounded her.
How was it possible? The night before she was devastated, completely broken, but there she was, minding her own business at the back of the classroom as if she wasn’t receiving death looks. That didn’t make any sense. People weren’t like that. Why was she? Why was she helping Harry? Was Anna really supporting them? Why did she choose him over us? What was I missing? Why did that girl choose to deliberately put herself through something that would hurt her immensely? I knew I wasn’t the only one to have those questions; everyone was dying to know the truth. Whoever found out would be acclaimed a hero or some other equally glorious title. People would never stop talking about that person. After all, everyone was desperate to make justice and whoever had the courage to do so would be a role model to everyone.
What a dream, to be remembered as a hero, as a righteous person.
Could I do it? Find out the truth of all that Summer and Harry were, to uncover the mysteries that had been on everyone’s minds? I had an advantage, being that I could talk to Anna and Amanda, even Summer if I had the guts.
I could actually do it. I just had to be incredibly attentive and maybe, just maybe, I could find something that would unravel the truth.
I could be remembered.
I looked at my watch. It was almost five in the afternoon. I was already sitting on a bench near Hall A, just in case Summer would come sooner. It was very unlikely, but just in case.
I was incredibly nervous. My legs jittered as I took deep, shaky breaths, scanning the green fields, searching for her impatiently. Despite February being just around the corner, it was still very cold despite the snow being nowhere to be seen, and I found myself putting my hands inside my pockets after a while of sitting still on that unguarded bench. Luckily, there were only a few clouds in the sky, indicating that rain was unlikely.
I waited, staring into the distance, hoping that her silhouette would appear. I checked my watch again and again. I was losing hope that she would appear as time went by, and in all honesty, I couldn’t blame her for not coming.
I bowed my head in defeat and anger. I wanted to talk to her so badly, I wanted to tell her everything, I wanted her to forgive me. I didn’t know if telling her the truth was the right decision, but she deserved it, even if it would hurt her more after that. At that point I wasn’t sure of anything anymore, except that I knew that the truth was harsh and sometimes unfair and it would hurt to hear, but at least it was the truth, and it was better to be hurt by the truth than to be consoled by a lie.
I glanced at my watch once more. I have been there for almost two hours, and nothing. I got up, not really knowing where to go, but I found my feet dragging my shaking, freezing body towards the main building. I clenched my teeth at how angry I was at myself. I was so stupid, so impulsive, so irrational... One little mistake and it all came crashing down. I cursed at myself as I realised that I needed help to find her. The only person that I could trust was Nurse Marion. I knew she would help me if I asked her, and I was pretty desperate.
I changed my course and I went to the infirmary where I knew she would be. I opened the door without knocking, and she was quite surprised when she saw me walk inside. Nurse Marion was sitting at her desk as usual and I just stood awkwardly near the nearest wall as I gazed at the ground, unsure of what to say. Once again, I had burst inside the infirmary without really pondering what I was doing, leaving me in an awkward position. I was so stupid.
“Harry, what brings you here?” she asked politely, lifting her head to look at me.
“I kind of...Well...I need your help,” I managed to say as I tried to find the right words.
“Well, you see... I’m an idiot, but I guess you already knew that,” I let my arms fall on my side as I admitted the obvious “And I somehow manage to ruin everything I touch, even after I mend it, which you also know.”
“Harry, what did you do?” she got up from her desk in bewilderment. “I have a feeling it has something to do with Summer, doesn’t it?”
I couldn’t take my eyes off the floor from embarrassment “Yeah... You see, I screwed up, and now she won’t talk to me and I really need to but I can’t find her and so I need your help.”
I couldn’t just tell Nurse Marion that I took Summer to my room, even though I desperately needed Nurse Marion to understand the severity of the pain I had caused her so she could understand my desperation in trying to amend things.
She just stared at me with disappointment clear in her features. “Well, whatever you did I hope you learnt you lesson,” she sighed shaking her head “I will help you, but I have a much better idea than searching for her around school like two headless chickens.”
I chuckled at her words. That was what I was without Summer, a headless fucking chicken.
“Dinner is going to be in an hour, “She explained as she moved closer” Write a note so I can give it to her when she arrives. Ask her to meet you somewhere and I will convince her to go.”
“But that was exactly what I did this time and it didn’t work.”
“She’ll go this time, trust me. She can’t avoid you forever, right?” she placed a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
I sighed helplessly. I had a feeling she was in her dorm room in Hall A, and I had no problem whatsoever in going in and just dragging her with me to some place where I could explain myself, but I would get her in trouble, make yet another scandal, and I would for sure leave Hudson that same night after listening to Hansen’s booming voice at how much of a failure I was. That was not an option.
That was when I felt a huge wave of sadness invading me. With Nurse Marion’s hand on my shoulder, I remembered the reason why I had screwed up in the first place. My mum was going to die, and I felt so alone, with no sense of true direction. I was alone, everyone that loved me was slowly slipping away, and I was pushing away everyone that could possibly help me.
In Nurse Marion I saw the guidance I needed. She took care of my wounds when I got in fights, gave me a chance when I didn’t deserve any, she listened, she understood despite everyone else’s constant reminder that I had no mending, and despite her disappointment, she was helping me. She was my mother at that school. I had an impulse to hug her, but she took her hand from my shoulder and moved to her desk, so I stayed put.
“Here, you can write with this,” She handed me a pen from her desk and a piece of paper, not bigger than the size of a palm. I nodded, taking the pen from her hand. I placed the paper on the edge of the desk and knelt to write.
Please, come to the music room, like we used to.
I handed it to Nurse Marion after folding it. She placed it in her pocket and gave me a smile.
“Thank you,” I said with honesty.
“You’re welcome,” Nurse Marion replied with a tender smile “I will give her the note the second I see her.”
With that I was out of the infirmary. Some students were already queuing outside for dinner. They all stared at me and whispered as I walked in the direction of the spiral staircase. Some things just weren’t going to change.