Chapter 3 – High School's Worst
Jessie didn't seem so surprised when I told her I had detention with Mr. Marx after school. Even before I told her why. What, was she waiting for it to happen? Though she did seem over-the-top about my slapping Amber...
"You are my hero, Aves, my absolute hero! I should bow down to you and kiss the ground you walk on." She said, beaming at me like I was a goddess, clapping her hands together. "But why'd you do it? I mean, besides for being a stuck up bitch, what finally set you off?" she asked, looking like she couldn't wait to see what made me snap, crack, and slap.
"She just... started accusing me, or a lot of things at once-"
"If you'd let me finish my sentence, you'd know 'like what'." Sheesh... clearly it couldn't come out of my mouth fast enough. "She said I was dressing this way to get attention from Mr. Marx even, that I was just like every other girl who wanted him because of said first accusation, and that I'm a slut. For wearing this. This! DO you see this? My boobs are in my shirt!" I say exasperatedly, and Jessie just shakes her head and smiles. "She's trying to like... project herself onto me, or something, because she dressed that way for him! She's the slut!" I continue.
Jessie grabs my shoulders and makes me stop talking. "Avery, get ahold of yourself! You aren't a slut, okay? Calm down. Deep breath. Everything's okay," she says, and I sigh, nodding. "Now, when's you detention? With who?"
"Today after school, with Mr. Marx."
"Today too, but with the principal."
I shrug. "I dunno. Mr. Marx gave us the detentions, and he just told her to see the principal. He didn't say why."
"Hm, well lucky you. You don't have to put up with her all alone anymore."
"Yea, I guess..."
"Oh don't tell me you're the type to get all hissy about getting one detention."
"No, I've... I've gotten one before. I dunno, I just want to go home."
She scoffs and shakes her head. "Don't we all..."
Walking back to my English classroom after school, after Jessie gave me her best, like I was dying, was really strange. I mean, sure I'd stopped by after a few times for help or to ask what the reading was, but that didn't even take five minutes. And detention always varied, but it usually took longer than that...
The door was open, but I still felt obliged to knock on the door.
Mr. Marx looks up from his papers, glasses resting on the bridge of his nose, and smiled slightly. "Ah, Avery... nice to see you, take a seat." He says, leaning back in his chair and taking off his classes, setting them on top of the paper stack.
I look at the empty classroom, and I wonder if I should sit in my regular seat, or like in the front. Well, I'll just... set over here... I walk to the front of the room and pick a seat to the left of the class, by the windows. What can I say? I like window seats. I sit down and pull out some homework. That's what I usually do in detention, homework. Not that I've been here many times, but still. And besides, I'd have to do it anyways. I wasn't going to just sit around and do nothing.
"Ah, actually Avery, I'd like to talk to you." Mr. Marx states, making me look up. Oh, well, alright then... I shut my textbook and set it to the side, folding my hands and looking up at him.
"What about?" I ask with some trepidation.
"About why exactly you're here today."
Not that I thought Mr. Marx was stupid, but I thought it was a pretty redundant question. Shouldn't slapping another student be obvious reason for said detention? "Um, alright then..."
"Why do you think you're here Avery?"
Oh come on! There are a million answers to that. I know what you're thinking, that I could just say because I slapped Amber, but I have the feeling he's looking for something else. But what does he want me to say? Sigh... "Well, I did slap Amber, which isn't really allowed at school, so... that's why." I reply. He smiles at me, why is he doing that, and he nods too.
"Okay. Now... since I am an English teacher, what are other possible ways to interpret that question?"
Uh. "Why am I... on Earth? Like, what's my purpose on earth and all...?"
"Good, but try again. Relating to detention."
Is this some sort of trick question? I'm getting slightly annoyed with Mr. Marx as he presses me for a question I don't know. "I don't know, sir."
"I'm sure you can figure it out, Avery."
No I'm pretty sure I can't. "Er... why am... I in this classroom?"
"In the... principal's office? With Amber?" I try, and you can sort of see it click in my head then. "Why is that? Why'd you separate us? You could've gone home, put us both in the head office."
He smiles again. "There we go. I know you'd get it; you're a clever young woman," he says, ignoring my question, which he made me come up with. Well, fine then. He runs a hand through his chocolate brown hair. "And I split you two up because, one, I didn't want anymore 'fights' between you both. And Two, because, and this is only between you and I, I do not want to deal with her any longer today."
Now that is a wonderful answer. "You can't stand her either?" I can't help myself from asking. Even if I thought I knew he didn't like her, teachers can be quite adamant about withholding their true views on a student.
He sighs. "I shouldn't be—"
"Oh, it's only me, the girl who slapped her. It's not as if I'm about to start gossiping with her about what you said during my detention."
"I know, but Avery, as I teacher I shouldn't—"
"Mr. Marx, really, we can either be completely silent, working on... homework and correcting essays, having a very awkward time sitting about, or we could enjoy one another's company, spending some quality time getting to know one another."
He stops trying to say no and gives me a hard, long look, biting at his lower lip and eyebrows furrowed. Then he sighs and leans back in his chair, putting his hands behind his head. "You know normally talking back, and interrupting a teacher, would earn a student more detention. But, I know you aren't really a bad student. And... you're right. But I don't think gossiping about Amber is the appropriate discussion topic."
I grin and wave my hand dismissively. I don't know when I started getting so confident about talking with my English teacher. "No one's going to know. It can be our secret, alright?"
"...you really want to talk about her don't you?"
"Just a little. Just. Let me rand about her for a few minutes. Then we can talk about whatever English literature you want. Jessie keeps cutting me off—"
"Jessie Hurley. She's my best friend." I rattle out quickly, "And you seem like you'd understand my dislike, or at least find some of my antics... enlightening."
"Well, she's convinced that if she acts the way she does, you'll just... magically love her..."
And thus, it begins.
"...can't guess a sound!"
"Because it's 2 letters! It's hangman, you can only guess a letter at a time, or the whole thing. Not 'eh'."
"Fine, Avery. C."
I draw the first arm on my little stick figure next to the underlines, some with letters, some without, and a 'no' box with letter that aren't in said word. So far he's got _i_ _o_s out of the word 'mirrors' on the white expo-marker board. There are a few other games to my left, in his writing and mine, as we've been trading off 'turns'.
With a smile I put a 'c' into the 'no' box and turn back to him, who was standing now, and leaning against his desk, facing me, to the front of the room. He'd loosened his tie and rolled up his sleeves, and I'd taken my jacket off. It seemed to have gotten warmer... "Guess again."
"Can I get a hint?"
"No, that'd be cheating." I shake my head, and he pouts. Yes, my English teachers Is pouting at me. But, after the hour or so it's been, I didn't seem surprised, though you'd just know if anyone else saw a teacher pout at you, you'd have a scandal on your hands.
"But I need help."
"Well you're a clever man, an English teacher no less, you can figure it out." I said with a teasing sort of look.
He groans and pulls at his hair. "But there are so many words in the English language! With those letters and otherwise! I'll never guess." He moans.
"You're acting more like a student than a teacher, Mr. Marx. I'd assume you'd try and figure this out rationally, without groaning about it!"
"Oh don't tease me. I'm allowed my moments." He cracks a grin. "But alright, how about... 'm'."
I smile and tack the 'm' in its proper place and he shouts 'mirrors!' with obvious enthusiasm. Ah, there we go...
"Congratulations!" I exclaim, filling in the other letters and putting a smile on my stickman's face, despite his lack of left leg and arm.
He chuckled and gives himself a few claps. "See? I knew you'd figure it out, once you use your brain..." I add and he rolls his eyes.
"Well when you pick a word with 3 of the same letter, it confuses you."
"You maybe. I would have gotten it."
"It was your word!"
"That... doesn't matter!"
He laughs and shakes his head, glancing at the clock. "Alright, whatever. It's about time to end your detention anyways, I think..."
I smile and sigh. "I should be going, yea. Still have that math homework to do," I say, capping the pend and handing it over, walking back to my things.
"Well would you've rather have done it now? Or play hangman with me?"
I sigh in defeat. "...play hangman with you..." I mumble, gathering my things and heading for the door. "Bye, Mr. Marx- or are we friends now? Can I call you Spencer? 'Spenc' maybe?" I joke with a grin.
He chuckles and shakes his head, but gives me a look. "How'd you know my name's Spencer?"
"Amber said it, when she was telling me off today."
He nods. "Hm, wonder where she got it..." he muses. "Well, outside of school, I suppose it wouldn't matter if you called me Spencer. But not at school. Please."
"Really?" I say. I was sort of joking, actually, but I mean if I actually can...
He shrugs. "Sure, I don't mind." He smiles.
"Oh, well, okay. See you tomorrow Mr. Marx." I say, opening the classroom door. "Technically we're still at school." I respond to the raised eyebrow on his face.
"Alright, bye Avery. And... Thank you. It's been... fun."
"No problem, sir. If you're ever in a bad mood just put me on detention and we'll do it all again." I smile, giving him a final salute before heading out.