Sep. 20th, 2010 05:49 pm
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“How are you doing today?”

Nicholas lay stretched out on the sofa, his feet propped up on one of the arm rests. “Better,” he declared simply. “Much as I hate to admit it, I think everyone may have been right.”

“I like that you can admit that,” Paul said honestly.

“Just don’t tell Travis.” Nicholas was only partly joking. He hated how Travis would gloat, and even though everything was starting to calm down, he didn’t think that he could handle that sort of behaviour right now.

“I haven’t spoken with him since last year,” Paul pointed out.

“You haven’t?” Nicholas was surprised to hear this. He’d assumed the two had been corresponding, especially given Travis’ recent behaviour.

“No.” Paul shook his head. “Why?”

Nicholas suddenly felt rather stupid about the whole thing, and shrugged. “Just the way he’s been acting lately. I thought you’d spoken to him about what’s been going on.”

“Give him a bit of credit, Nicholas,” Paul said. “He’s been with you through tough times before. I think he knows how to recognise when you’re not well.”

“I suppose you’re right.”


He sat at the small desk in the dormitory, trying to figure out his first maths assignment while the other three boys played at being pirates or ninjas or something ridiculously loud. The whole point of boarding school was to get
away from this sort of behaviour, but if anything, the boys here were worse than his four sisters at home. Not even a full week in, Nicholas was starting to wonder why his parents were paying for something that was surely just making everything worse.

He covered his ears and put his head down on the desk, hoping that the boys he’d been roomed with would stop.

Eventually, the head of house popped into the dormitory. Nicholas was expecting him to tell the other boys to quiet down, but instead, he tapped on Nicholas’ shoulder.

“Telephone call for you,” he said when Nicholas looked up. “Your mum. Come on.”

Nicholas shot to his feet. “Is everything all right?” he asked.

“Not sure.” Mr Dalton led Nicholas to a small office, where the telephone was waiting.

Nicholas picked it up, dreading what news would be coming from home. “Mum? What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Nicky, nothing. I just wanted to check up,” Katherine said.

Nicholas cringed. “Mum, they don’t want you doing that,” he said. “It’s emergencies only for the first two weeks.”

“I know, darling. But I worry about you.”

The conversation lasted about ten minutes, and mostly consisted of Katherine reassuring herself that everything would be fine and work out in the end. When Nicholas finally hung up the phone, he wanted to scream. Not because he hated boarding school, but because it had been the second time since he’d started that his mum hand broke the rules and rang the school.

“You all right, Nicholas?” Mr Dalton asked. He started to reach out to put a hand on Nicholas’ shoulders, before remembering the bit about how those sorts of gestures would sometimes make the situation worse.

After a few moments, Nicholas looked up at him. “Can I move to a different room?” he asked. “The boys I’m with now are too loud, and I can’t do my school work.”

Mr Dalton laughed and led Nicholas back out of the office. “We’ll see about that tomorrow. Back to your dorm with you. It’s nearly lights out.”
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Police Chief Inspector Nicholas Angel

September 2013

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