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“Aha!” said a woman. She marched over to a girl, who was taken aback by her sudden presence. By the looks of her appearance and dignified stature, standing tall in her pant suit, glasses, and tightly pinned bun, she seemed to hold a position of authority. And based on the girl’s reaction, the woman was no stranger to intimidation. Or rather, the girl was no stranger to the woman's formidable reputation.

“Trying to sneak out?” she sternly questioned.

“School’s out for the day, ma’am,” the girl replied.

The woman rolled her eyes. “Likely excuse,” she claimed, crossing her arms. “Haven’t you caused enough trouble for one lifetime?”

“Me? What have I done?” the girl asked, as if she couldn’t be more naive.

“It’s your fault, Toffee. It’s all your fault. If you hadn’t taken up with that hooligan to begin with, we wouldn’t be in this mess!”

“I-I’m going to be late for dinner..” Toffee backed away, but didn't get far before the woman caught up to her.

“Stay away from the prom, Toffee,” the woman warned, walking towards her.

“What?”

“Your being there is only going to make matters worse.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“You know exactly what I mean,” the woman began. “Where you go, the corpse follows. Mark my words, young lady. If Jonny Warner rears his mutated head at the prom, I’m pulling the plug on this whole shebang.” She continued to move forward, questioning her with each step she took. “You don’t want that, do you? For your friends to miss out on the prom? You don’t want that on your head?”

Having had enough, Toffee burst out.

“Geez, what’s your damage, Miss Strict?”

Excuse me?

The woman was utterly shocked by Toffee’s abrupt change in behavior. It wasn’t like her.

“You better watch your to -”

“What happened to you?” Why are you are you doing this? To your students? To the school?”

For once, the woman didn’t know how to respond. People generally didn’t ask about why she did the things she had done, nor did they ever ask questions concerning herself, let alone question her about her personal life for that matter. It had been a while since someone asked her something like that, and she didn’t know where to start or if she even wanted to answer.

“...Go home, Toffee.”

“No.” The girl was persistent.

The woman, who was referred to as Miss Strict, paused for a moment and looked at the girl, who awaited her response. “Miss Strict”, the girl called her. Lost in her thoughts, the woman scoffed at the title. That’s who I am now, huh? she pondered. The woman standing there now was very different from the person that she used to be. In fact, the girl in front of her, Toffee, reminded her a lot of herself when she was her age. How did she end up like this? Not even she can remember. Oh, where did the time go..

After a moment of thought, Miss Strict made her decision.

“Do you really want to know?” she asked.

Toffee nodded.

“...Very well.” Taking a deep breath, Miss Strict started talking. “I...knew someone...his name’s not important though, don’t worry…I was about your age, and attending the same high school...”