The ward of castoria, p.10
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       The Ward of Castoria, p.10

           Robin Silverglate
 

  *****

  As soon as the bell rang to end school, Bryn said goodbye to Dane and then went to the nearest bathroom in order to change out of her uniform. She was due to work at the Coffee Grinder in an hour. By the time she had left the bathroom, most of the other students had cleared out of the hallway and moved onto other pursuits.

  Bryn started to walk in the direction of her father’s office so she could say goodbye, but she stopped short when she saw the Evil Stepsisters come out of a classroom. She contemplated turning around and finding an alternate route, but didn’t want to constantly change her routine in order to avoid three annoying girls. So, she gathered up her strength and continued on.

  It did not take Kayla long to notice that Bryn was in the same hallway. She looked around to see if there were any teachers before saying, “Hey Bryn. Do you need any new patients? I saw some frogs in biology class that could use your help. Then again, I’d feel bad for the frogs if your ugly face was the last thing they saw before they died in the name of science.”

  Lauren snorted in laughter.

  “Don’t you have something better to do with your time than to pick on me?” Bryn asked quietly.

  “Not really. I was on my way to a meeting to plan the school dance, but I find this much more entertaining. Do you have a date to the dance yet?”

  Bryn did not. She couldn’t care less about the dance, but she wasn’t going to give Kayla the satisfaction of answering her anymore. She tried to walk past the girls, but they moved so they were all blocking her way.

  Kayla smirked and said, “Awww. You can’t get a date, huh? With your hideous freckles and cheap clothes, no one in their right mind would want to be seen with you.”

  Bryn took a deep breath to calm herself down and said in a strained voice, “Please move. I have to get to work.”

  “What if we don’t?” Kayla asked as she looked to her friends for support. “Are you going to do something about it?”

  A door loudly closed at the end of the hallway and Dane walked in. While he was not her favorite person in the world, he was infinitely better than Kayla. She felt grateful for his sudden appearance.

  Dane looked from Bryn to the other girls and said, “Bryn, I’m going to visit my brother in Mr. Thorner’s office. Do you want to come with me?”

  Kayla’s face turned red with anger and she said, “Let’s go girls.” Then they left through the other end of the hallway.

  Bryn walked over to join Dane who was waiting by the hallway’s exit. She could feel tears stinging in her eyes. She kept on telling herself over and over to keep it together. Keep it together.

  She thought that she was doing a good job of masking her tears until Dane asked kindly, “Are you all right?”

  “I’m fine,” said Bryn with a trembling smile. She hoped he didn’t hear how her voice cracked on the last word.

  Dane stared at her for a moment, but he did not say anything. He opened the door for her and stayed by her side on the way to her father’s office. Bryn was grateful she had this time to collect herself and wipe the tears from her eyes. She hated that Dane saw her like this, but she desperately wanted to make sure her father did not find out what happened.

  Just before they reached her father’s office, Dane stopped and looked again at Bryn. He gave her a small smile of encouragement and then opened the door. Then, he practically pushed her inside where her father and Beck were working.

  Beck’s look of surprise was obvious as she entered the room. When she realized Dane was not behind her, she was a little confused. Hadn’t he said he was coming here to see his brother? Maybe she had heard him wrong.
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