Like a pair of rabbits caught in the headlights, they looked at each other in horror, neither speaking as the bell continued to ring in their ears. They knew that, right at that moment, the classes would be lining up outside ready to come in. Not only would they probably be missed, they were about to get caught hiding inside the school when everybody was supposed to be outside. Unless you were seeing a teacher or going to the office, no children were allowed to be inside until after the bell had gone.
Thinking quickly, Becky grabbed Lucy by the hand and roughly pulled her to her feet, running ahead up the stairs and pulling her friend behind. Once they reached the top corridor, they ducked into the toilets and paused to catch their breath.
“If we hang out in here for a few minutes, we can sneak out and into our class when they come upstairs. And if anybody sees us, we’ve just been to the loo.”
“Genius, Becks!” Lucy glanced at herself in the mirror as she was answering, and was horrified by the sight the greeted her. Puffy red eyes, tear streaked cheeks and, worst of all, a trail of snot that looked like something you’d see on a 4 year old. Oh my, how she’d let her standards slip!
Splashing her face with cold water, she turned to Becky nervously and asked “So, do you think I’m a baby now you know what happened?”
“Oh Luce, of course I don’t. Not at all! Come on, accidents can happen, even to the best of us. Look, I’d be lying if I said that I’d never had to have a change of bedsheets in the middle of the night.” Now it was Becky who turned a shade of red. “It’s not happened for a while now…but do you remember me leaving Charlotte’s sleepover early when we were in year 4?”
Lucy was open-mouthed as she gasped “You didn’t?? You don’t need to say stuff just to make me feel better you know.”
“I’m not babe, if I was don’t you think I’d have picked something a little less, well, embarrassing? Like my Brother had done it or something? Nope, it’s happened to me too. At least you had an excuse, you were having a bad dream an after everything that happened yesterday I think it’s perfectly understandable. Me? I just forgot to go for a wee before we went to bed.”
Lucy managed a small giggle at that, and Becky was right, he did feel a little better knowing that she wasn’t the only one. Ok, so she was the only one to do it in class in year 6, and undoubtedly the only one her age to have spare clothes sent into school, but all in all she was starting to feel a bit brighter. Now she just had to get through the rest of the day, and face the rest of her class and her tormentors.
Outside the bathroom, they heard the sound of feet shuffling past, and realised it was time to make their break, before the class had sat down and the teacher noticed they were missing. For once, luck was on their side, and they stepped out of the doorway right into their own group of classmates who were filing past. Perfect! Lucy was reassured by the warm smiles so many of her friends gave her, and even more so when a few made a point of saying hi and asking how she was, but in a subtle and discreet way so as not to draw attention to her.
When they reached the classroom, Lucy very nearly went to sit in their ‘usual’ seats, but recalling the horror the had taken place there only a few short hours ago, she couldn’t quite bring herself to do it, instead guiding Becky to the desk t the very back, thinking that today of all days they may need to chat a little more than usual, so being further away from Miss Jenkins could only be a good thing.
The desk across the back of the room had three chairs rather than the usual two, and it didn’t escape either of the girls notice that none of the others had chosen to come and sit with them. Not that it really mattered, but usually there was never an empty seat next to Lucy, so it certainly stood out a bit. Lucy however shrugged this off, if the worst she had to put up with today was her mates choosing to sit a bit further away, after everything else that had happened, she could live with that. Besides, she thought charitably, perhaps they just wanted to give her and Becks some space. Yeah, that was probably it.
As they began taking out their books and pencils, along with their water bottles (not that Lucy intended to touch hers…definitely taking no chances!), a deep but nervous voice came from behind. “D’ya mind if I join you? I mean…if nobody else is sitting here, that is.”2
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