Oh god, it was bad.
Wendy was sitting at the edge of her seat, legs crossed and brows furrowed, desperatly waiting for her first literature class of the year to end. From time to time, she glanced at her wristwatch, as if she could make the time move faster by doing so; it only succeded in making it move slower, oh, so slower. She couldn't prevent her hands from slightly shaking; and even if she was taking notes as fast as she could, she had to wipe them onto her jeans from time to time to prevent them from sweating.
She took a look at the time again. Even if every other room had one, this was the only class without any clock at the wall.
It was the very first thing she noticed as she stepped through the door. This gave her a bad feeling. Her first day of school had gone so well so far; university could be scary to some, but to her, it was already better than high school. Finally, she could be able to muse into as much books as she wanted and she wouldn't be thought of as strange by her colleagues. And she was looking forward to her literature class.
Until she realised the clocks were missing.
Until she saw the man step inside the room.
Of all the teachers in the world, it had to be him. It had to be James Hook; the very same James Hook that she and her childhood friend Peter used to bother every single day in their neighbourhood.
Not a single Halloween went by without the pair of them throwing eggs at his door; not a single Sunday went by without the pair denying him sleep by making every kind of noise possible to wake him up at 6 o' clock in the morning. She chuckled when she thought of these days; until she moved out from the neighbourhood when she was 13, she had had the time of her life, bothering that old codfish, as they used to call him.
Yes, it was fun to think of these days; until she saw the exact same man, unchanged, step into the classroom; her classroom. And he was going to be her teacher for the whole year? Suddenly, Wendy's bright thoughts of college shattered violently upon the floor.
Thankfully, university didn't impose the teachers to call the roll. She was safe... For now. In only half an hour, Wendy had already reviewed in her mind all the moments during which the old codfish – her teacher, now – would finally come to recognize her. Her first test, for instance. He would surely give her an F as soon as he would read her name, without even bothering to read her essay. Irrationnally, she already figured she was never going to pass. What would she tell her mother?
Her literature classes were going to be pure torture. It was only fair, after what she had done to him as a child, she thought. Pure torture, because she would spend the hours hiding and hoping he wouldn't notice her. But there was something else.
Anxiously, she raised up her nose from her frantic notes to take a look at him.
Even if he had been an old codfish to her as a child, he certainly wasn't a codfish to her now. It was understandable by the way every other girls in the room were gawking at him instead of taking notes. This frustrated her slightly. But how could she blame them?
The thing that made her recognize him in the first place – his long black curls – were all tied up in an elegant ponytail, thus revealing two golden earrings at each of his ears. But the eyes that were so cold, somehow frightening long ago; the same eyes were now making an ache grow inside her stomach. She vaguely knew what that ache was for; and she was terrified by it. She certainly wasn't allowed to feel such things.
She ordered her own eyes to lower back down onto her notebook. But how could she distract herself from this ache, when his voice filled the room, when she had to write down every word he said? So all she could do was bite her lip and take a look at the time, hoping to make it move faster.
Yes, this literature class was going to be pure torture.
The strident ringing of the bell was the sweetest thing she ever heard. Faster than light, she packed up her notebook and threw her bag on her shoulder, wiping her hands a final time onto her thighs. Trying to look like she didn't have any problem in the world while her head was burning with mantras such as Don't make any eye contact and Don't look up, look down keep looking down, she headed painfully towards the exit. A few seconds streched out to eternity as she passed by the now-dreaded teacher, forgetting to breathe to make her presence even lesser. Another step, and she finally passed through the door and was safe from the blue eyes.
In the distance that she covered between her chair and the door, he didn't look at her once. And she hated herself for feeling disappointed about it.
''How did your first day at college go, Wendy?'' Peter was ever joyous when he was talking to her. She could almost see him skipping through his room at his end of the phone.
''Quite fine! I'm sure you would have loved it, Peter.''
''Me? Loving school? Peh!'' Wendy smiled sadly. Even if she had tried to convince him, she had never been able to make him change his mind about leaving high school. He was now a high-school dropout – and, moreover, proud to be one, enjoying the small jobs he could get here and there.
''So, you got any cool stories from there? Anything crazy?'' Wendy bit on her lip, the haunting blue eyes coming back to her.
''No. Nothing interesting, really.''
Now, today was going to be a great day, she thought. It was tuesday. She had looked at her schedule over and over again; she didn't have literature on tuesdays. Confidently, she walked in the halls, heading for the library. She needed some books already; a few classics, a few history books, and such. She would therfore pick the books, and enjoy an afternoon of studying. Studying would keep her mind busy; she desperatly needed it. Wendy had been disturbed since 7 o' clock in the morning; her first thought as she woke up wasn't about the friends she would make, or what she would have for breakfast.
It had been about James Hook. Whether it was because she was still feeling guilty about what she had done to him, or because, much more unsettingly, she actually wanted to see him again, she could not tell.
The halls were labyrinthine. She had almost gotten lost twice; thanks to some people she met down the corridors, she had been able to head in the right direction. But she was getting lost again. Did they say it was the second or the third door on the left? Or was it on the right?
Wendy stopped and sighed. She looked around for some help; she wasn't proud of asking, but she needed to get there before nightfall, wasn't she! Except – no one was to be found. She pulled out her phone, hoping to look for a map online. But she must have gotten in too deep, for there was not a single proof of signal shown on her screen. She almost threw it on the ground out of rage, but finally managed to calm her temper. She would knock on every single door if she had to, but she would find that library, she resolved. Wendy took a determined step towards the second door on the left and opened it vividly, expecting to head into yet another corridor.
She realised that it wasn't going to be a good day after all, as she found herself in the archives room, already occupied by someone. Someone with long black curls.
Wendy's stomach sunk into her, and for half a second she thought her legs would give up. But they didn't; yet, she didn't use them to turn around and flee as she should have. Manners forced her to mutter confused excuses first.
''Sorry to disturb you, I – I was just looking for the library.'' Wendy refrained from keeping her eyes down; there was no use in trying to avoid him now. His amused eyes were scanning her and she already felt shame burn up her cheeks. Before anything else, he took care of her apologies.
''No matter, dear.'' Oh god, do not call me dear, Wendy thought desperatly – ''I could show you the way to the library, if so you wish.''
Not in a million years – ''That's very kind of you, but no, thank you very much. Sorry again.'' She cursed herself for that reply – so blunt, so unlike her usual interactions with anybody else. But, unfortunately, this was not just anyone. Already she was exiting, fleeing from the blasted room. She hadn't finished to close the door behind her when Hook added something.
''Until next time, Ms. Darling.''
Wendy's blood chilled in her very veins. Pretending that she hadn't heard anything, she closed the door quickly and almost ran out of the halls, postponning her visit to the library to another time.
Yes, this year was definitely going to be bad.