Deviation, Breaking the Pattern #1, p.1P.D. Workman
DEVIATION, BREAKING THE PATTERN #1
Copyright 2013 P.D. Workman
Photo Copyright: Victor Casale
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For all those who struggle to stay on the straight and narrow.
And my friends at Fraser Park Secondary
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Table of Contents
About the Author
Also by this Author
I wish to personally thank the following people for their contributions and knowledge and other help in creating this book:
My beta readers, Nichole Betourney, Lisa Comin, and Hazel Grusendorf.
Tom Grusendorf, Jr. for copy editing.
HENRY TRIED TO ENTER the room quietly and remain inconspicuous. Sort of hard when the class is all quiet for a lecture and you arrive halfway through the period. He scanned the room for an empty desk, and hoped that it was actually free, and not just empty because someone had gone to the restroom or was sick that day. He slipped in as quietly as possible, hoping that the teacher would just keep going. But Mrs. Phillips stopped mid-sentence, watching him. Henry sat down, his head down, his slightly-too-long hair falling down over his eyes. Henry’s round-framed glasses slid down his sweat-slick nose, and he pushed them back up again, leaning his forehead on his hand as he opened a notebook and prepared to take notes.
“Are you Henry?” Mrs. Phillips questioned.
The rest of the class watched with avid interest as she approached the desk.
“Yeah,” Henry admitted sheepishly. He tried to look confidently into her face, and saw her eyes widen slightly as she took in his appearance.
“Let’s go talk in the hall,” she suggested.
With the rest of the students’ eyes on them, Henry followed Mrs. Phillips out of the room and into the hall. She shut the door as the class began to buzz with gossip. She looked Henry over once more.
“What happened to your eye?”
Henry grinned nervously.
“Looks like someone belted me, huh?” he said. “I got up in the night to go to the can,” he explained, “didn’t turn on the light. Slipped on my baby brother’s toy. I dunno what I hit—the doorknob or the counter or what. Knocked me cold. My ma freaked out this morning. Made me go to the hospital to get it x-rayed. That’s how come I’m late.”
“Wow,” she said, smiling, “I just wanted to be sure. You realize school started two days ago?” She cocked an eyebrow questioningly.
Henry felt his face flush, and sweat started to trickle down his back.
“We were on vacation,” he explained, “I guess my ma got the start day mixed up. If she doesn’t write things down, she gets the days wrong.”
“Okay. Go sit down, I’ll get you the list of supplies you need, and give you your assignment.”
“Thanks,” Henry breathed.
They headed back into the classroom. Henry slipped back into his seat, sweating heavily. Great way to start school; two days late and with a black eye. Good way to stay unnoticed. At least Mrs. Phillips didn’t seem to doubt his story. He waited for his heart to slow back down to normal, glancing around to see if any of his friends were in the class. There were a couple of acquaintances. No one close. But then, he wasn’t that close to anyone. He rubbed his sweating palms on his pants and plucked his shirt away from his body.
Miss Phillips came over and gave him the supply list and assignment that he had missed. She gave him a reassuring smile, and then went back to the front of the room to continue with her lecture. Henry read over the assignment and got to work. With any luck, he’d be caught up by the end of the day.
Henry made it through the rest of the morning unscathed. Other teachers looked at his black eye, but didn’t say anything about it. Since they were only a couple of days into the school year, they hadn’t covered anything new while he was gone. Just reviewing and warming up their brains for the upcoming semester. He wasn’t going to have to do a bunch of homework or studying to catch up again.
Henry scanned the cafeteria for familiar faces. The first year of high school, there were a lot of unfamiliar people here. And a lot more faces than there had been in junior high. The room was buzzing with barely controlled chaos. Hearing laughter nearby, Henry focused in on Andrew, a boy he had known since kindergarten. There was an empty seat next to him, and Henry moved over toward it, and looked at Andrew questioningly. Andrew’s eyes lit up.
“Henry! Hey man, I haven’t seen you around,” Andrew enthused. “Thought that maybe you’d moved or something. Come on, have a seat.”
Henry slid into the seat.
Andrew took a bit of his sandwich, looking Henry over.
“Hey, you know you got a shiner?” he questioned around a mouthful.
There were giggles from some of the surrounding students. Andrew was sort of a class clown. He liked an audience.
“Yeah, I did notice,” Henry said dryly.
“You get in a fight or something? I should see the other guy?”
Henry shook his head, peeling back the edges of the plastic wrap of his sandwich.
“No… I gotta start putting on my glasses and the light when I get up at night. Stop walking into doors.”
Andrew laughed, nodding.
“Just how strong are those pop bottles? You blind without them?”
“If it’s pitch dark, yeah,” Henry agreed. “May as well have my eyes shut. In fact, maybe I’d see better with my eyes shut!”
Andrew giggled. He gestured to the boy seated across from him.
“Do you know Tony?”
“No.” Henry sketched a salute. “Hi. I’m Henry.”
“Henry’s a stand-up guy,” Andrew declared, “and real handy with homework if you need help.” Andrew nodded significantly. “Tony’s new this year, just moved into the neighborhood. He’s in most of my classes.”
Henry nodded, munching on his sandwich. The bread was stale and a bit dry. And there hadn’t been nearly enough peanut butter to coat the slices. With just bread and jam, he was going to be starving by the time he got home. But he wasn’t going to use the school lunch program unless he had to. He got enough teasing as it was.
“And I guess you know everyone else,” Andrew said.
Henry glanced at the others in the immediate vicinity. A few familiar faces from junior high last year. No one that he was particularly friendly with, but no one who bullied him, either. He got a few nods of greeting.
“Yeah,” he agreed. “Hey.”
Deviation, Breaking the Pattern #1 by P.D. Workman / History & Fiction have rating 3.8 out of 5 / Based on19 votes