The exam was torture. Fortunately, it was History, a subject Robin loved and had revised thoroughly. He tried hard to concentrate, but his mind kept going round in circles – and coming back to the expression on Gillian’s face. He’d seen her text on the way to the hall and was pretty sure of what he’d find when he left.
Was he ready for this? He glanced over to Cyan, who was bent over the desk, writing furiously. As if aware of the scrutiny, Cyan glanced up, flashed him a lovely smile, then went straight back to work. Oh who was he kidding? Of course he was ready. He’d been ready for ages.
After the exam all the students tumbled out of the hall and into the warm sunshine. Everyone was talking at once and there was a real sense of excitement and release. That was it. Their school days were over forever. For better or worse it was done and no going back. Rather like Robin’s relationship with Cyan and his big decision.
As expected, there were nudges and whispers as the friends made their way back to the common room, but no one said anything out loud.
“Hey, Cyan,” a voice yelled along the hall. Everyone whirled, expecting trouble.
“Headmaster wants you. Something about an award.”
“I don’t know. I was just listening at the door.” With a cheerful wave the boy disappeared.
“He probably knows about the scholarship,” Alex said. “Way to go Cyan.”
Cyan looked scared. “Will you come with me?” he asked.
“Of course I will. We all will.”
The headmaster’s office was in the other direction from the common room and they again ran the gamut of whispers, however, Robin was surprised to find that most of the whispers seemed good natured. On the whole, it didn’t seem as if anyone really gave a damn. Of course, it was exam timetables, so only about half the school were in.
Robin looked around as they walked – at the, oh so familiar corridors, with their posters and photographs, the display cases and notice boards. He’d spent most of my life in that place and it was surreal that this was the last day. It both cheered and depressed him that he might never see any of it again.
They met the headmaster before they reached the study, and he beamed. “Ah Cyan, I was on my way to find you. Wonderful news about the scholarship. There’s something else I’d like to talk to you about. Come this way.” He ushered Cyan along the corridor, making it clear with body language alone that the others were not welcome to follow.
“Robin?” Cyan said uncertainly, over his shoulder. Robin shrugged helplessly.
“You’ll be okay. We’ll wait in the common room.”
“Yeah,” Alex said. “Then we’ll go for dinner somewhere. Catch a movie. Yeah?”
Cyan brightened instantly and nodded enthusiastically.
There was a party atmosphere in the common room. As was the school tradition, the teachers put on a bit of a party for the leaving sixth formers. Tables pushed against one wall held a selection of snacks, and a huge bowl of punch. The punch was supposed to be strictly non–alcoholic, but if this year was anything like the preceding ones, someone would have sneaked in something a bit stronger.
As soon as they set foot in the room, they were surrounded and Robin was bombarded with questions. Was it true he was with Cyan? Since when was he gay? There was no sting to them, though and Robin was soon laughing and having fun. In fact, he was having so much fun, it was almost twenty minutes before he realized Cyan still wasn’t there.
“I wonder what he’s doing that’s taking this long?”
“Maybe we should go look for him,” Aivah suggested.
It took a further five minutes to get out of the room, between saying goodbye to friends and dodging gushing teachers, and Robin started to feel nervous as they hurried along corridors that were eerily empty. It was twelve fifteen and everyone was in class. The school was closing half day so they would be eagerly awaiting the bell at twelve thirty.
The door to the headmaster’s room was open, and the headmaster was standing just inside talking to
the science teacher.
“Excuse me,” Aivah said, and they both turned to look at her, with smiles.
“Are you leaving already?” the science teacher said. “You’re one of the ones I’m actually going to miss.”
Aivah blushed a pretty shade of pink and smiled, batting her eyelashes. It was all the more effective for being wholly innocent and unconscious. “We were wondering if you’d seen Cyan.”
The headmaster frowned. “He left…oh, it’s got to be going on for quarter of and hour ago. He was heading to the common room.”
“We’ve been waiting for him there.”
The frown deepened. The headmaster knew as well as we did that if Cyan told us he’d come straight to the common room, he’d not be easily diverted.
“Where do you think he might have gone?” the headmaster asked.
“I don’t know. I don’t know why he would have gone anywhere. Something’s wrong. I know it.”
“Let’s not jump to conclusions. Why don’t you head on down to the canteen, see if he’s gone looking for a snack, and we’ll have a look around up here.”
“Why would he go to the canteen for a snack, when he knows there’s a party in the common room?”
“I have long since ceased to wonder why my pupils do what they do. It’s as good a place as any.”
Robin and his friends reluctantly headed for the canteen, but hadn’t gone far before they almost literally ran into a boy, as he tore around a corner.
“Robin,” the boy gasped. “Cyan. Behind the gym.”
“Cyan’s behind the gym? What’s he doing there?”
“Blake’s got him. He punched him.”
Robin and Alex exchanged glances, then they were running.
So go check out the rest of the flashers this week. We've got a good selection, as usual.