The first class I have this year turns out to be English. I, of course, already knew this - but as always, a lot of the students in my class complain about not knowing, and therefore make up excuses for why they did not bring their books. Miss Sanders, my favourite teacher since freshmen year, shakes her head resignedly.
“Well, no more excuses for today,” she speaks, and grabs the cup of coffee she always has standing on her desk. The sound of chatter dies out slowly, as Miss Sander watches the class patiently. There is something about teachers who wait for the students to quiet down, it always seems to work.
“Welcome back,” she finally says as the last voice, belonging to Jake Russell (a guy who always sits in the back and draws doodles), dies out. “As you might have noticed, you are now the oldest students in this school.”
A few people start to mumble excitingly, but they quickly quiet down again and miss Sander continues. “And we have a whole group of new freshman,” her tone shifts from welcoming to more serious, “I expect you all to be nice to them and take well care of them.”
No one says a word, but we all know what she is referring to. On the first day back to school, there is a bonfire on the beach - and by bonfire I mean an outdoor party with a big fire. A lot of the freshmen show up with shaking hands and nervously flashing eyes. Last year there were a couple incidents with drunk fifteen year olds, and the school said they would prevent the bonfire from happening this year. Every year they have threatened to find a way to take it down, but I do not think anyone truly cares. They just don’t want a bad reputation for their perfectly boring school.
What I like the most about miss Sanders is how she never covers anything up, “I will not tolerate hearing that anyone in this class-“ Her big blue eyes wander over all of our faces, “serve alcohol for minors.”
Technically we are all minors, but miss Sander is from Europe, and as far as I am concerned, they have a lot looser alcohol rules there. She is well aware of what teenagers do, most teenagers anyway, and she never seems to think it is wrong. I am sure that I once heard her talking to Mr. Smith (my history teacher) about how she thought that this was the time for us to test our limits. I do agree with her there. The thought of people starting to drink in college kind of scares me. What if they get too drunk and no one is there to take care of them? I know that I will never completely alone as long as I live here. In the worst case, I can even call one of my parents. They will give me the talk the following day, but will be glad that I called them instead of wandering around alone and intoxicated at night.
As you probably can tell, this has happened before. More than once - but only once where I was alone. Sometimes my mother picks me and the girls up after parties, and then they all crash at my place. The morning after is always nice. Anna is usually hung over, Jennifer talks about that one boy she made out and Kathleen drinks all the coffee in the house.
Miss Sander rips me away from my drunken memories, and I instantly fall back into reality - into the classroom of East Haven High.
“Anyway, I suppose you all know this.” She speaks.
We all nod distantly.
Then her face loosens up a bit, “I hope you have fun tonight.”
“Are you not coming?” One of the guys ask and a couple kids laugh a little.
Miss Sander shakes her head with a smile, “I have a party of my own to attend.”
“Can I come?” Another guy asks.
“You are a little too young, Cooper.”
Marcus Cooper is his name. We are not exactly friends, but we get along well and worked together a lot last year.
“Guess you’re not a cougar then?” Markus asks and sinks back in his seat as if he just heard that his grandmother died.
Miss Sander laughs a little, “Most certainly not.”
A low chuckle fills the classroom, until here is an attention catching knock on the door. I am positive that it is our principal. Miss Sander fast reaches out for the handle and opens up the door for our guest.
“Hello,” I can hear a deep voice say. It is not our principal. Anna - who is sitting beside me - glances in my direction. I meet her eyes. “New guy?” She mouths and I shrug my shoulders.
The thought of him attending one of my classes never occurred to me, but when Miss Sander steps aside and lets the raspy voice enter the room, I realise that maybe I should have given it a small thought. In walks the guy that smiled at me - or Jennifer - outside. His hair is brushed back and looks longer than it did earlier. His eyes have a light colour, but I can not quite point of which one from where I am sitting.
“Class,” Miss Sander says, “This is our new student-“ She looks to the curly haired boy, who looks far too relaxed standing in front of all us.
“Harry.” He says, “Harry Styles.”
“Harry Styles,” Miss Sander repeats. “He just transferred here from Holy Cross High School up in Waterbury.”
“Heard you got kicked out?” It is Markus Cooper again, always a bit too foul-mouthed.
“Coop-“ Miss Sander starts out with a warning voice, but the new student, Harry, speaks up before she gets a chance to scold him.
“I did,” he says causally and glances at me. I fast look down and shift uncomfortably in my seat. He seems sure of himself.
“What for?” Juliane Summers asks. She leans a bit forward and does not seem nearly as uncomfortable when Harry turns to look at her.
“Class, I do not think it is appropriate to ask such things.” Miss Sander says with an apologetic voice.
“No-no. It is quite alright. I like curious minds.” His eyes once again travel to me. How does he do it? I twist the ring on my left hand a little, as I look away from him and to Juliane.
“What for then?” Juliane pushes it.
“Murder,” Harry simply says and a shocked silence falls over us all. My eyes shoot away from Juliane and to him. Two seconds pass before Markus laughs and then the rest of the class follows. Of course he is kidding. I am a hundred percent positive when his lips curl up in a wry smile - but somehow we all believed it for a second. It must have something to do with his attitude.
Miss Sander asks him to take a seat two rows in front of me, and he quietly obeys. He does not seem like the obeying type. The class continues, but all I can think about is:
What did he do in order to get kicked out of private school?