Fred woke up strapped down in a hospital bed, with a nurse on one side and Jenny on the other side. Both were frowning at him. As signs went, it wasn’t the best.
He tried the restraints, not with any real force. He didn’t want to spook anyone. He really didn’t want to spook Jenny.
He worked his jaw, a bit surprised he wasn’t gagged. Then again, it hadn’t been his mouth that had gotten them in trouble.
“Fred,” Jenny said. Sobbed. “Fred, why…?”
“I…” he glanced at the nurse; she nodded.
“Go ahead, you’re not standing on protocol with me.”
“Thank you.” He reached his closer hand towards Jenny. “I’m sorry. He just got me so mad. He’s always making those stupid comments, you know…”
“He makes them to everyone. He thinks he’s better than the rest of us because he fights it. But Fred! They’re going to punish you for this. You know they are.”
“I know. I really tried not to. But… he just hit one button too many.”
“Your fighting skills are admirable.” That was from the doorway: Mr. Thurston, their home ec teacher. “But your lack of control is not. Steve backed up your story, by the way, which will mitigate your punishment. Thank you, Jennifer, back to your room now.” He hesitated, and added kindly, “I promise, if we send Fred away, we’ll give you a chance to say goodbye first.”
She swallowed another sob and fled, leaving Fred alone in the room with the teacher.
“And now the question remains,” Mr. Thurston continued, sitting down in the chair Jenny had vacated, “whether we send you away or not.”
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