Christina had been dreading this moment. She had managed to avoid Susanne up until now. They were in the same English group, and although Christina had deliberately arrived late, it looked as if their teacher was going to be even later.
Susanne was already there.
‘Oh look what the cat’s brought in!’ sneered Susanne as soon as she saw Christina. ‘God woman, you are a mess. You want to do something about those silly curls.’ She walked towards her and ruffled her hair. ‘I’ve got some scissors in my bag. Shall I cut it all off for you?’ She let Christina’s hair drop and pulled a face. ‘No wonder he dumped you. I expect he thought he might catch something.’
The bitch, that was rubbish. He hadn’t dumped her. Perhaps it had just looked to him as if she had dumped him.
‘He didn’t dump me!’ Christina retaliated. ‘You stole him.’
‘Stole him?’ Susanne laughed. She turned to her friends. ‘Now why on earth would I want to steal another girl’s boyfriend? I’m not that desperate, like some people.’
Susanne’s friends were now grinning too.
‘Of course, Jan told me it was my eyes that did it,’ Susanne continued in a very loud voice. ‘He just can’t stand green eyes!’ She looked straight at Christina.
Christina remembered Jan telling her that her eyes fascinated him. She’d always hated them until then. Susanne’s were a more normal blue. Susanne smiled sweetly at Christina, and raised her eyebrows. The blue eyes mocked and challenged.
‘Oh shut up, you bitch!’ snapped Christina.
‘Want to make me?’
‘Yes, if you like.’
Christina lunged towards Susanne and grabbed her hair. Susanne screamed and put her hands up to her head, trying to get away, so Christina bit her arm. Escaping from Christina’s grip, Susanne screamed again. Christina raised her knee and pushed her into the wall. Hitting her head, Susanne lost her balance and fell to the floor. Christina started to kick her. Then she made the mistake of stopping for breath. Susanne was back on her feet in seconds and soon they were hitting each other again. There was a loud crack as Christina caught Susanne’s nose. And another loud crack as Susanne punched Christina’s mouth. A crowd gathered in no time.
‘Go on, give her one,’ Christina heard one of the boys called out. ‘She’s a right bitch, anyway.’
She most certainly is, thought Christina, and suddenly found the strength to punch Susanne’s nose hard again. This time blood came rushing out.
‘Come on Susanne, show her,’ called one of Susanne’s friends.
Susanne grabbed Christina’s hair again and started twisting it round.
Christina lashed out with her arms and her feet and suddenly Susanne was down on the floor again. Christina kicked her even harder now. She didn’t care how much she hurt her or how much trouble she was going to get into. She just kicked and kicked.
‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ It seemed that the whole of the school was watching and cheering. Suddenly Susanne grabbed Christina’s ankle and bit it. The pain was the worst yet and took Christina’s breath away. The room began to sway and everything went dark and blotchy in front of her. Then there was another bite, which seemed to bring her back into her body. She hit out again at Susanne, then lost her balance and fell down on top of her.
‘Get off you bitch,’ cried Susanne. ‘You’re breaking my back.’
Good! thought Christina and raised her arm ready to start thrashing Susanne again.
‘Just stop right there!’ demanded a voice. ‘What on earth do you two think you’re doing?’
Christina looked up to see Mr Reynolds the headteacher, standing in the doorway. Behind him looking quite stern was the relief teacher who sometimes took classes when other teachers were absent. Pity he hadn’t turned up earlier. Then none of this would have happened.
Christina felt another pain in her ankle. She looked down and saw that it was bleeding. Susanne’s mouth was open in a wide grin and her teeth were covered in blood.
‘Bitch! Slut!’ shouted Christina. ‘What do you think you are, a bloody vampire?’
‘Whimp! Toffy-tart!’ retorted Susanne.
‘Enough!’ yelled Mr Reynolds. ‘My office, now, both of you.’
Christina fidgeted in her seat. It was hot here in the head’s office. The sun was shining right into her eyes, giving her a headache. She wished they would get this over with.
‘We will not tolerate fighting at this school,’ said Mr Reynolds. ‘There is no room for people who behave like that.’
Her dad gave her that look, which always made her want to cry. She hated letting him down. She hated disappointing him, and Mum looked as if she was about to cry.
‘However,’ Mr Reynolds continued. ‘As this is a first offence, we shall allow her to stay here. But she will have a detention every night after school for a month. We have expelled the other girl involved as this was the latest in a long line of misdemeanours.’
Mr Reynolds turned to Christina. ‘I am so disappointed in you, Christina,’ he said. ‘You have been such an excellent student up until now. Let’s get these detentions done, and put this behind you. Can you do that?’
‘Yes,’ mumbled Christina. She supposed she could. Nothing really mattered anymore, now that she had lost Jan.
Her mother was staring at her. She had a look on her face as well. Hers said, See what getting involved with older boys does for you.
‘Thank you,’ said Mr Grant, standing up and shaking Mr Reynolds’s hand.’ Thank you for being so understanding.’ He looked at Christina. There seemed to be a question in his eyes.
Christina had to bite her lip hard to stop the tears coming. There was a huge lump in her throat, which stopped her swallowing. ‘I’m really sorry,’ she managed to whisper to no one in particular as she followed her parents out of the room.