Last week's poll:
What should Duke do next?
Go see Mrs. P. in Philosophy. 1 (10%)
See if he can hear what's going on in this room. 9 (90%)
Last week: Week 3
Week 2: Week 2
Week 1: Week 1
Rules: Serial Monday Rules
Supes - Week 4
After a quick glance up and down the hall to be sure no one would catch him eavesdropping, Duke moved closer to the door. A clear, lilting soprano drew him forward. The pull was almost physical, a siren’s call. He didn’t stop until his toes bumped the door. It was all Duke could do to keep from yanking open the door to follow the voice. He forced himself to look in the narrow window instead.
A petite blonde stood in front of the teacher’s desk, twirling the end of one pigtail as she sang. The teacher’s eyes were buggy behind his glasses. He stared blankly at the girl, nodding like a bobblehead.
The corners of the girl’s mouth tipped up, but she kept singing. She stopped twirling her pigtail long enough to pick up a mug from the teacher’s desk. The teacher reached out with both hands, palms up as if in supplication.
She stared into the mug, still singing. As her song rose to a crescendo, a dark wave rose up over the top of the mug. It crashed into the other wall of the mug, but not a drop spilled. The girl handed the mug to the teacher, placing it gently in his upturned palms.
She’s got him in thrall. No sooner had the thought crossed Duke’s mind than the bell rang. He shook his head, trying to shake off the near trance the girl’s voice had put him in.
Duke realized he was still standing toes to the door when it popped open. The blonde girl tipped her head to the side as she looked up at him. Her brown eyes narrowed, and she frowned at Duke.
“How long have you been standing there?”
Duke knew better than to answer that. He fumbled around in his bag. “I know I have a schedule somewhere.” He dug a paper out of his bag. “Is this Mrs., uh, Mrs. Printz’s room? I’m new, and I’m lost.”
The girl’s lips thinned as she considered Duke. She stared at him for an eon before she spoke. “No. It’s Mr. Campbell’s history room. Just like the sign says.” She pointed to a sign mounted on the wall beside Duke’s head.
Duke gave what he hoped was a sheepish grin. “Right, signs. So where’s Mrs. Printz’s room?”
The girl narrowed her eyes more and jerked her thumb toward the room to Duke’s left. Her words were clipped when she spoke again. “Next door.”
Duke gave her a flirtier smile, hoping to distract her. “Thanks. Sucks being new all the time. I need a tour guide.” He tucked his books under his arm and turned, as if to walk away. “I’m Duke, by the way.”
“I’m sure someone will send Marie to find you.” The girl sneered, and her voice grew hard. “She’ll guide you wherever you want.”
She hardly sounded like the soft-voiced siren Duke heard earlier. “Great,” he said. “Thanks for the tip. What’s your name?”
“Alle. Now will you move so I’m not late to class?” She brushed past Duke into the still-empty hallway.
Duke glanced down at his schedule. Mr. Campbell wasn’t on it until last period. Maybe Alle would be in the class and Duke could figure out what was up with the two of them.
He turned to see a leggy brunette in shoes that would star in his fantasies for weeks. She was taller than him, even without the six-inch heels. Little straps of shiny-blue-something laced their way up her feet to her ankles. Other than the shoes, she was conservatively dressed in black pants and a grey sweater. When Duke finally made his way up to her face, he blushed.
She was watching him, one eyebrow raised as if waiting for him to realize she was a teacher and he was way out of line.
“I’m Mrs. Printz, your homeroom teacher. Didn’t Marie tell you where to find me?”
Duke felt his cheeks heat again. “She did. I was one room off.” He pointed toward Mr. Campbell’s room. “Some girl named Alle showed me where to find you.”
Mrs. Printz smiled. “Alle’s a nice girl. If you have questions and can’t find Marie, she’s a good person to ask.” She turned toward her door. “Come on, let’s get you settled before class starts.”
Duke followed her into the room. He was about to set his things on a desk in the back when Mrs. Printz gestured to the seat directly in front of her desk. “Sit here. That seat’s taken, and you’ll need to be at the front to keep out of trouble for a week or two.”
“I won’t cause any trouble, Mrs. Printz.”
“Call me Mrs. P. You might not intend to cause trouble, but you will. It follows you.”
Duke started to protest again, but stopped when Mrs. P. held up her hand.
“I see probabilities, Duke. The more likely they are to happen, the stronger they appear. You’ll cause trouble.” She pointed again to the seat in front of her desk. “Just sit up here.”
Duke dug a notebook out of his bag and dropped it on the floor beside the front seat. He flopped into the chair and crossed his arms.
Students started trickling in. Each one would look at Duke in the front seat, then move to the back. When the room was half-full, Duke started getting irritated.
She’s not making any of them sit in the front. Duke glanced around, but didn’t recognize anyone he’d seen so far that morning. He turned toward the door and watched as people filed in, filling the rest of the seats behind him.
Just as the bell rang, Marie’s study partner from the cafeteria walked in.
“Hi, Mrs. P.” The girl slipped into the seat to Duke’s right. She bent over to put her books on the rack under her chair, and her curls brushed Duke’s arm. The smell of strawberries and vanilla distracted him from his irritation with Mrs. P.
He turned to talk to the girl, but Mrs. P. chose that second to start class.
Duke barely stifled a groan. It’s like she’s out to get me. Guess I should have looked at her face before I got distracted by the shoes.