Chapter 15 - Surprise Savior
“Thanks, Mum, g’bye...” She mumbled quickly, as she tripped out of the car into the school parking lot. Camille began a speed walk toward the shelter of the school, and had almost reached the shade when she heard her Mother’s voice call her back, with a note of worry in it.
“Sweety, what’s wrong? You seem... Frazzled.” She said, as she struggled with the appropriate word.
Camille had returned to the car to help ease her mother’s mind, “No, I’m fine Mum, just a big test today.” Camille lied, and in her head she repeated the mantra, “It’s not a sin if you forgive yourself...”
“Alright,” She said, unconvincingly. Camille’s mother wished her a good day at school, and drove away.
Camille looked down at her watch; 7:39a.m. Her heartbeat began to quicken and she began to hyperventilate. She turned to go back to the school, and when she reached the building, she pulled open the front doors with such force she almost lost her balance. Catching herself, she walked slowly in, taking in her surroundings. She recognized some of the faces. Most of them, actually. But there was no Tanner.
Slightly relieved, but slightly even more apprehensive then before, Camille walked over to a cool brick wall and leaned up against it casually. Trying not to make eye contact with anyone specifically, she continued to scan her surroundings. So busy, even this early in the morning. A few minutes passed, and she looked at her watch again; it said 7:46.
“This is ridiculous” Camille thought. “He wasn’t serious, he was just playing a joke on me, I knew it!” But still, she decided to continue waiting. She closed her eyes, and above all the busy chatter of the students, she could’ve sworn that she heard sirens. But maybe she was dreaming, because after a time span of what seemed to be 60 seconds, the first bell rang for class.
With a jolt, Camille stood upright from the wall. “No Tanner Curin,” she smiled to herself. She was ashamed of herself for getting so worked up over his little schoolyard threats. Like every other day, she ascended the steps to the top floor of her highschool. “Life is progressing as normal once again,” She thought happily, as she caught up with Mr. Nerrick, who was heading to room 219. She wished him a good morning.
“Good morning to you too, Miss!” he said cheerfully as he reached the classroom door, and began to unlock it. He swung it open and waddled to his desk, and Camille sat down in her's.
“Did you hear what happened this morning, Camille?” He said with an altogether different expression. His face was almost grave, and Camille felt her expression change as well.
“No, sir. What happened?” She asked, with a genuine interest.
“Mr. Curin passed out on the way into the school at about 7:30 in the morning. Took the ambulances more than 15 minutes to get here. The boy just passed out cold, no one could revive him, so we had to call an ambulance...” He trailed off, and Camille’s blood ran cold.
“Do they have any idea what happened to him...?” She whispered.
“Not a clue.” He stated very matter-of-factly.
Camille felt sick, and apparently Mr. Nerrick saw it too. When some other kids started filtering into the classroom, very quietly, Mr. Nerrick asked Camille if she’d like to be excused. He said that she “looked green.”
Gathering herself, Camille decided to head to her locker to get her books for next class - considering in her anxiety she had forgotten books for Block A - and go sit in the library.
She stared at the floor most of the way to her locker, counting the tiles which were nearly impossible to keep track of. The different coloured lockers passed beside her, until she came to blue. She looked up, and her blood ran cold for the second time that morning.
There, in front of her locker - resting as casually as she had against the brick wall of the school - was Malcolm. Short, with jet black hair and cold - seemingly emotionless - black eyes. As small as he looked up against the row of locker doors, he still looked strong enough to rip one off it’s hinges and break it in half.
He laughed, and his pitch black eyes remained unchanged despite his mischievous smile. The lack of emotion in them was almost cruel. He seemed very bitter.
“What do you want?” Camille asked again, and she was beginning to wonder if that was the only sentence that could come out of her mouth when she was scared.
“I want nothing. Can’t you put it together? I saved you from Tanner’s perverted black mail requests, and now Teia won't find out about you.” He said casually, like playing superhero was routine to him, like he said things like this everyday. It was suspicious.
"I knew it was you." Camille said, wanting to sound intimidating but not being able to. "So, he was serious?" She looked at the tiled hallway floor. The custodians must've waxed it just recently, because she fancied that she was still able to see Malcolm's black eyes in the slightly reflective surface. She shut her eye's tight. "Should I be glad that Tanner's in the hospital?"
"Yeah, he was pretty fucking serious." He replied, and Camille thought it sounded like he wanted to laugh. She opened her eyes and looked up at his face. She was right, he was grinning.
"That kid thought he was gonna make you do some pretty nasty stuff." Malcolm continued, and Camille raised an eyebrow. "Please, don't make me tell you about it."
"He told you?" She asked.
"Yeah, why not? We're best friends." He stated, and said the last two words in a mocking tone and added air quotes for emphasis. Camille couldn't help but smile.
"So, there has to be a catch." Camille began to grow cautious again, remembering who she was talking to.
Malcolm looked shocked that she would be suspicious of him. "A catch?! No catch at all! Am I not aloud to do a good deed? I wanted to make up for hurting you that day at Danielle's..." The last sentence seemed to cause him pain. Or maybe it was just the last word. "Camille, I'm so sorry. I hope you can forgive me." He pleaded.
She looked at him, still weary of who this was coming from. "I forgive you, Malcolm." She said, and smiled. He nodded goodbye and sprinted away from her locker, around the corner. Camille stood there, staring after him. His apologies were false. His motives were false. He was up to something, and Camille was just a little bit more worried than she was this morning.