A continuation of the first scene from WIP: Cherry Street School. (https://michaelstephendaigle.com/2022/01/07/wip-first-day-at-cherry-street-school/) Theo Dubois meets Andrea Devlin, aka, Dev.
The doors opened with a whoosh of air and closed with a clank as students entered with some papers they handed to Mrs. Sternman, with the same greeting, “Good morning, Mrs. Sternman.” She would reply with their name and a quick, near smile. Theo decided after watching it three or four times, it wasn’t really a smile, but more like a twitch. The air clacked with typing and occasionally Theo heard a scratchy a voice coming from a speaker he couldn’t see. A woman would say, “I’ll send him right now,” and then call someone else and say, “Please report to room 215.”
He reached to the wrinkled paper grocery bag sitting on the floor between his feet. He didn’t have time for breakfast. He wanted to pull out one of the peanut and butter sandwiches, but didn’t because Mrs. Sternman would frown.
What’s the big deal? he wondered.
Before he could consider an answer, the door to his left opened and a girl and a teacher entered. The teacher nodded to the bench. “You know the drill,” he said.
Theo glanced at the girl and then at the floor. He peeked up to see Mrs. Sternman and the new teacher talking. “Again?” she asked. “Very well. I’ll call.”
The sense that the girl was in trouble gave Theo no relief. I’m just trying to get into school and they drop me on a bench where they put kids who get into trouble. What does that make me? he asked himself.
He peeked a glance because he felt the girl was staring at him.
She wore all black, from her shiny boots to a tight t-shirt. A large hoop earring dangled from her right ear, and her short, black hair shined with an iridescence that Theo determined was decidedly not natural.
He nailed his eyes to the floor when she turned her head.
“It’s okay, kid,” she said. “I’m used to it.”
Theo scrunched up his face and sat back and said, “Sorry.”
The girl smiled. “What they got you on the bench for?”
A friendly voice, he thought and felt himself relax.
“Dunno,” he said. “First day.”
“Got it. They’re trying to figure out where to put you.”
The girl shook her head. “It’s what happened to me a couple years ago. I came from a bigger school and the way they listed the grades was different. If they can’t figure it out, they start you at the lowest level and let you work your way up.”
She grinned. “Means they’re gonna put you with the dumb kids.”
Before Theo could respond, Mrs. Sternman appeared at the front desk. “Andrea.”
The girl wrinkled her nose and stood. “Yes, Mrs. Sternman.”
As Andrea and Mrs. Sternman huddled over the counter Theo heard Mrs. Sternman say… ”Your father…” and Andrea’s reply. “He was there this morning,” then, “Come on. It’s a big purple school bus. You’ve found it before.”
Andrea returned to the bench. “Is she frowning?”
Theo flicked his eyes toward Mrs. Sternman and then covered his smile with one hand.
“Good. I’m Dev. Andrea Devlin, but I like Dev better.”
“Hi, Dev. I’m Theo.” He pronounced it Ta-O. “Short for Theophile, for my grampa.
“That’s a mouthful. How about I call you ‘T’?”
“So, where ya from?”