Ginger looked scared next to me, her eyes wide and scared. I ran a hand through my loose curls, easily camouflaging my uneasiness. Ginger's foot caught a loose stone on the path and I caught her arm in a vice-like grip. I had been to Headmaster Befknock's office several times but I am worried about Ginger though; I've watched her from the side before and she's not a trouble-maker. Her bottom lip has a very slight tremble, and I notice her hands are shaking.
"You okay?" I asked her gently, lightly touching her shoulder with my black-painted-fingernails.
Her head whipped around at my fingers, and she nodded, and then shook her head. "B-ben always rips on me . . ."
"Hey, you like to be on your own, and I get that but you need someone to protect you. That's not a bad thing," I added as her eyes flared angrily, "it just means that it isn't one of your strengths. And I want a friend. You saw the way they look at me." I blinked. "So why don't you run with me?"
"B-because I have forgotten what having other people care for me feels like." Ginger turned her head away.
Mr. Befkock's office- I call it a lair- nears, its drab front dreary and worn. Ms. Bailey raps on the door, her face downcast.
"Come in!" a voice boomed.
Ms. Bailey opened the door, it's rusty hinges giving a loud creeeaaak. My eyes know every inch of the office. In the far corner he keeps his hidden stash of Playboys. In the other corner is a plant that has been dead for years. In the center of the room is a large, grand oak desk, with a thick layer of dust laying over its once beautiful surface. Two wooden, stiff chairs sit in front of the desk. Behind the desk sits Mr. Befknock himself.
He has always reminded me of a knarled, old tree. His face is creased with a million wrinkles, baggy over his eyes, which are a cold, glittering black. His mouth is a thin line, and he has dark grey, thin hair. His eyes seem to be set in a permanent glare, and he fixes me in an icy, bone freezing stare.
Ginger seems paralyzed, swaying slightly on the spot. Ms. Bailey leaves quickly, bustling out. She hates him as much we do.
"Sit." He waves a bony hand at the two seats.
I'm not sure that Ginger heard so I gently touch her arm and she jolts out of her trance. I sit in the stiff-backed chair, and Ginger takes the other one.
"Names." Mr. Befknock growls.
"Scarlet." I answer, holding his gaze. He breaks eye contact first and I smirk. Ginger is looking at me with something like awe as she answers, "Ginger."
"Oh yes." He hisses. "Scarlet. I knew you wouldn't last long out there, always beating people up."
I casually flick a piece of hair away from my face. "I don't have to talk to you."
He suddenly leans across the desk and seizes my chin, his stinking breath puffing in my face.
"Leave her alone." Ginger mutters.
"Excuse me?" the Headmaster fixes her with a stare that would freeze gasoline.
"I said leave her alone! She stood up for me. Why isn't Ben in here? He called me names, and told me that it was my parent's fault that I was in this forsaken place. He should be here, not Scarlet!"
Mr. Befknock stared at her hard and then barked, "Get out. You aren't needed here." Ginger hovers for a minute, looking at me uncertainly. "OUT!" he snarls.
Ginger bolts. The door slams behind her, and I am left alone with him.
He ignores me, and my mind begins to wander. Maybe someday I'll get out of here. Maybe someday Ginger and I will get adopted together. Maybe someday . . . .