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Halloween, Calypso

The school was a hive of activity as Lou and Carrie pulled into the new and improved car parking facilities. The old Victorian part of the Grammar School was now dwarfed by several new additions, including what looked to be a state of the art sports hall.

“I hardly recognise this place anymore,” Carrie said as Lou parked up facing more new buildings; laboratories and classrooms, along with the sports hall now took up most of what used to be the lower field.

“I know! This is going to be great! I can’t wait to see who’s here.” Lou enthused.

Louise was genuinely excited, but then she was hoping to bump into the chemistry teacher she’d had a crush on since he started all those years ago. Carrie had read that he was now Deputy Head, so there was no chance that he wouldn’t put in appearance. They made their way from the car when someone called out from behind them, “Hey Booff!”

Carrie scowled and turned, ready to lambast the one who had dared to call her by that bloody awful nickname. Her retort died on her lips though as Chris and Craig caught up with them; wives and kids in tow. They were her old IT class buddies. They’d just about made that particular class bearable. She grinned and shook her fist at them both, “Why, I oughtta….!”

A few awkward hugs (it had been the best part of 15 years since they’d seen each other face to face) and introductions to wives and kids later they had parked themselves on one of the tables outside of the music tent. Neither of them had changed, maybe a few extra pounds, but they looked like they had at school, even down to the haircuts!

“You’ve changed,” Chris commented. “I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something definitely different about you.”

“Good or bad different?” Carrie asked.

“Oh, good, definitely good,” Craig grinned. “You just seem more sure of yourself, like you’ve grown into whatever it was that kept you so shy and introverted when we were at school. It suits you.”

Carrie grinned back, “thanks.”

If only they knew, she thought as conversation switched to current jobs, careers, family, plans that were advertised enough on Facebook, but somehow meant more talking in person. She smoothed her fifties inspired dress over her knees and absently flicked her now waist length and straight hair over her shoulder. Her unruly curls (well, frizz) was what had inspired the “booff” nickname, which combined with the bad glasses, teenage spots and shyness had made school life difficult. She had never been bullied though; even if someone tried she just let it slide, but try it on one of her friends and you better beware.

Lou had disappeared off as soon as she’d caught a glimpse of Mr Slater heading through the café. Carrie thought she’d better do some mingling before it got too busy and she’d have to find somewhere to gather her thoughts; crowds just weren’t her thing, no matter how far she’d come from being that shy teenager. She made her excuses to the boys and their families then headed into the melee of the café, through to the old familiar main corridor of the older part of the school. Just as she passed the staircase leading to the former History, German and IT rooms a chill ran down her spine. She knew exactly what that meant and kept her head down, resisting the urge to glance up those stairs. She weaved through a sudden group of people moving out of one of the classrooms, making it to the end of the corridor and almost to the front entrance when a hand landed on her shoulder. She shrugged it off, hoping that the not so subtle hint would be taken, but alas that hand tightened round her lower arm and span her round.

“Leaving so soon?” The man asked, a smile twitching the edges of his mouth and mischief glinting in his eyes. Ah, those eyes; hazel with flecks of green in a face that looked no different to when she left the school 15 years previous. His hair though was tied back in a neat ponytail, something he had rarely done before. A smart, black shirt was meticulously tucked into equally black jeans. His shirt sleeves rolled to just below the elbows and top two buttons undone. He looked like he should be at a catalogue shoot, not the centenary celebrations of a Grammar School.

“Oh! Mac, I’m sorry. I didn’t realise it was you,” a very thinly veiled lie and by the grin now plastered across his face, one that hadn’t been believed. “You’re looking well.”

“As are you,” using his hand, which was still firmly around her arm, he made her twirl round, which although embarrassing did mean that he had to let go.

She instinctively rubbed at where he had touched her and a brief look of concern crossed his face. An influx of half a dozen new visitors made their way through the entrance hall, giving Carrie the opportunity to slip out after them, but he followed close behind.

“Did you really think that you’d be able to avoid me all day?” He called after her.

She stopped and turned, her shoulders slumped as she dropped her eyes to the ground. “I honestly thought this wouldn’t be your sort of thing.”

“Ah, I see. So, you didn’t think I’d be here, that’s why you risked coming into my territory without gaining permission first?” He closed the distance between them once more. “Whether I am present or not, you still need to ask. You know that.” He lifted her chin and looked into eyes the colour of stormy skies.

She pulled back from his touch, aware of eyes on them from the school building; Lou had obviously finished torturing Mr Slater or he’d once again avoided her advances. Mac let her step back, sensing the same invasion of their private moment.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I respectfully request to enter your territory for a period of two days.”

Mac clasped his hands behind his back before responding with equal decorum, “Request denied.”

“What?!” Carrie felt his words like they’d struck her square in the stomach. It was one thing to enter a territory without permission (an act that was punished severely if reported), but if entry was requested and then denied there was no way for the visitor to stay. She could already feel the invisible forces at work, surrounding her until she would have no choice but to obey and leave.

Lou emerged from the entrance hall and was heading purposefully in their direction. “Mr Mac,” she greeted him with the same contempt she had shown him during lessons. They’d never gotten along or liked each other very much. She grabbed Carrie’s hand and pulled her back towards the main entrance. Carrie made it a few steps before her feet firmly planted themselves on the tarmac and would not be moved.

“Come on!” Lou yanked at her hand.

“I can’t, I’m sorry.” She replied, pulling her hand free.

“Why? You need to speak more with lover boy over there?!” Lou knew that her choice of words were likely to cause a degree of hurt. Since that man had started at the school during their GCSE years Carrie had been teased about fancying him. All down to her liking guys with long hair and then he’d turned up to teach computing, well the opportunity for a little ribbing was just too tempting.

Carrie looked genuinely upset when Lou turned round and she felt a pang of guilt.

“No, I have to go.” She said as she started backing off towards the gates.

“Go! What do you mean go?” Lou was getting increasingly angry and confused.

Carrie glanced over Lou’s shoulder at Mac. “I mean I have to go. I won’t be able to make the ball later either, sorry. Say hi to people for me, ok?”

Lou’s eyes narrowed in suspicion before she whirled round and pointed at Mac. “YOU! This is your fault isn’t it?!” She stormed forward and Carrie watched in horror as she jabbed him in the chest with her finger as she spoke. “What did you say to her?!”


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