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The Classroom: A gripping and terrifying thriller which asks who you can trust in 2018

Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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Suddenly Kirsten was alone, the surreal, chaotic whirlwind of the morning finally over. Until she looked at her watch and saw her first patient would be there in fifteen minutes.

And so it has been, non-stop, until this break that is nearly over.

At times Kirsten secretly wishes she could have nothing more to do with Ian and Harriet. That she could just not get the weekly shop in, which she does so that Ian and Harriet are always well supplied with their favourite foods. Not sort out paying the bills, so they continue to have a warm, light home. Not read the books at bedtime with Harriet, then listen to Ian de-stressing from his day. Not have to do the school run. Just walk away.

But of course, she never would. Because she loves Harriet too much to do anything like that to her. And Ian too. Of course she does. It’s just that – how is this her life now? How is it that, however hard she tries, she can’t get everything right? She doesn’t mean ‘anything’ – if she just had to get one thing right a day, that would fine. But to get it all right? Too much to ask.

Time was, she would have called her best friend and fellow former med student turned psychiatrist, Clare. They’d meet for a glass of wine, or if that was too difficult, they’d just chat on the phone while drinking their own. But she couldn’t do that anymore. It wasn’t that they’d drifted or got new best friends. Their friendship had become … compromised.

Chapter 9 (#ulink_45f5aed1-1fc6-5673-8ca4-f09d808f6eb6)


Day one of the summer school. Everyone is congregated in the hall for a warm-up. It’s not Becky’s school; it’s a posher, bigger one. This is called the Main Hall, as though there are other ones. At the stage end, sitting with their legs swinging off the edge, are the cool girls. Caitlin is there in cut-off denim shorts, of course. She’s not the only one. Maybe there was a message – this is what we’re wearing today. Except Becky wasn’t on the thread.

She waves at Caitlin, expecting Caitlin to beckon her over. But no – she just gives a dismissive wave and carries on talking to Gwen Collins. Of course she does. They can flick their long blonde hair around together and share candy-cane lip gloss. Subtle? No. Effective? Probably.

Instead, Becky ties her cardigan round the waist of her (long) denim dungarees and waits for the session to start. No sign of Andy.

But then, a tap on the shoulder.

‘Hey,’ says a voice behind her.

It’s him. Andy. A little thrill caresses her spine as she turns to face him.

‘Hey,’ she says back.

‘So, you feeling all luvvie, then?’ he asks her.

Is this flirting? she wonders. If so, then maybe she should half-flirt back. You know, just in case he isn’t, but maybe he is.

‘I could—’ she starts.

But whatever her comeback was going to be, it’s cut off by the authoritarian clapping of hands at the front of the room.

‘Right, let’s make a start, shall we?’ It’s a man, casually dressed in a black top and black jeans. He’s in shape. His clothes fit well and he looks like a bona fide actor. Except then he introduces himself as a teacher.

‘I’ll be leading the course,’ he says. ‘First off, I want you to warm up your bodies and voices. Make space – reach out so your arm span is wide enough for you to just avoid touching fingertips with the person next to you.’

Andy and Becky reach out their arms. They manage to just not avoid touching fingertips, and Andy gives Becky a little smile as they both hold their pose. Becky looks down modestly at the floor. When she looks up, Caitlin is magically by her side, with Gwen. Looks like she wants to play the same game with Andy. Becky moves over. After all, the long legs and short shorts are bound to get Andy’s attention eventually.

But Andy leans in close to Becky, certainly not regulation distance away.

‘If they want us to be in pairs, we’re a couple,’ he whispers.

She smiles. Her lips may not be coated in candy gloss, but she hopes she makes up for it in genuine emotion.

‘OK,’ she whispers back.

Andy stays by her side through the warm-up exercises, until the leader announces they should sit down and take a break. Becky sits, hugging her knees to her chest. Andy, Caitlin and Gwen sit next to her. Becky notices some sweat darkening the underarms of Andy’s maroon T-shirt (and also, to her satisfaction, those of Gwen’s bubble-gum pink one).

‘So, you’ll all be wondering what performance we’re working up to this week. Well, we’re going classic musical.’ He waits to allow muted cheers/boos to subside. ‘I want a medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein – I’ve selected scenes from South Pacific, Oklahoma, a couple of others. There’s enough there to give you an intro to song, dance and some serious acting as well. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be doing auditions for those of you who want principal parts. The rest of you are very welcome to the chorus roles – but I’ll still be divvying up some lines of the score for all of you. Sound fair?’

Some nods.

Becky doesn’t nod or shake. She would rather just hide in a maths textbook. What was she doing signing up to this? The idea of singing in front of everyone – Andy, Gwen, Caitlin, and all the thirty or so others is mortifying.

‘Eurgh,’ she says, just as Gwen says loudly, ‘Well, I’ll be the girl who just can’t say no, then.’ Gwen then laughs loudly.

Becky looks at her blankly.

‘It’s a reference to Oklahoma,’ Andy whispers to her. ‘I hope.’

‘Right, got you. Thanks,’ Becky replies, grateful but embarrassed not to have known. What is she doing here?

‘You auditioning then, Bex?’ Caitlin asks.

‘Um, that would be a no,’ Becky replies.

‘Oh go on, you must!’ Caitlin says.

Andy looks at Becky. ‘Go on. You’ve got a sweet voice, I bet you do. And you’re pretty. They’ll give you a part.’

Becky shakes her head. ‘Really, no – I’m the back-of-the-chorus-line girl. No way am I singing in front and centre.’

‘I will if you will,’ Andy says.

Gwen starts making chicken noises. ‘Scaredy-cat,’ she says.

Becky figures this probably isn’t the time to be pointing out mixed metaphors.

Just then, the teacher comes round. ‘Hi again, Caitlin,’ he says. ‘Nice to see you back this year.’

Caitlin preens.

‘You kids all auditioning then?’ he asks.

‘You bet!’ say Caitlin and Gwen.

Andy says, ‘I’m only auditioning if this lady next to me does too,’ nodding in Becky’s direction.

Becky could kick Andy. This is not her scene. She’s only here because of … him.

The leader looks at them both, then round the room.

‘Ah, come on, then – both of you should. We’ve got way more girls than guys here, and I need some male talent. Don’t stand in the way of my dream – what’s your name?’

‘Becky,’ says Becky.

‘Right, Becky, you’re up first tomorrow morning.’


‘No buts. And this young gentleman is going straight after you, so he can’t break his word.’

And away walks the leader.

Becky looks to Caitlin for some sympathy. She must know how hideous this is for her. But Caitlin has got her arm linked through Gwen’s and is whispering something in her ear. So much for best friends for ever.

Chapter 10 (#ulink_30c820b9-3da8-5078-9e29-8be9cd7495c4)


Later that week, Harriet doesn’t arrive in Kirsten’s car.

Or her daddy’s car.

She’s in a white Audi.
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