Title: An Awkward Affair
(although these titles were also considered:
-The Humiliating Hour
-A Mortifying Moment
-An Embarrassing Episode
and so on…)
Summary: Although it's alright to laugh at the circus or at your cousin's new haircut, it's certainly not alright to laugh at someone facing an embarrassing moment like the one Isadora Quagmire encountered at Prufrock Preparatory School.
Footnotes: Takes place in The Austere Academy; "written" as by LS at times. Fluffy, but what do you expect? They're kids. ;)
Sometime in your life, or your friend's life, or even in your second cousin's-aunt's-dentist's-judge's life that is arbitrating the sentence of my life--- well, that's beside the point, but sometime in anyone's life, you will experience an embarrassing moment. A moment in which will make you red in the face and want to hide for a couple of weeks. As I said, this can happen to anyone, and it did so happen to Isadora Quagmire one day at Prufrock Preparatory School. Although this is not as horrible as what happened to the two Quagmires by the end of Book the Fifth if you dare to remember, but perhaps just as unfortunate, so I advice you to turn back while you can…
"This here is a boot. It's not the hiking boot we measured last Thursday, or the rain boot we calculated last month, just a normal, average boot. Measure it, please, after you record the measurement of the basketball you were given."
Mrs. Bass droned on as she passed out the boots to each of her students. Isadora Quagmire wrapped her measuring tape around her finger as she waited and flashed her eyes up towards the clock. The clock must have stopped… it didn't seem possible that she had only been in class for ten minutes. She turned her head slightly around.
Klaus Baudelaire sat in the row next to her, two seats back. He was still struggling with measuring the circumference of his basketball and she could tell by the look on his face that he thought this class was absolute nonsense.
Quickly before Mrs. Bass came down her row, Isadora took out a scrap piece of paper. Because Klaus had started the school year late, he had missed the list Mrs. Bass gave the class in the beginning of the year of all the radiuses of the gym balls she would give them to measure that semester. It didn't seem fair that he had to work harder than herself just because he enrolled into school late, so in small letters she wrote:
r(of basketball)- 5.05 in.
(This ridiculous class is a terrible bore
One more hour and I could snore)
After folding her note as small as she could, she nonchalantly, a word here which means, "casually, so Mrs. Bass wouldn't catch her passing notes (a bad, but enjoyable way to pass the time in dull classes)", put the letter under her foot and slid it over to Klaus as she pretended to look for something behind her. Klaus was woken out of his dreary daydreams and gave Isadora a small smile as he went for the note.
Isadora snapped back up and found a boot on her desk and Mrs. Bass standing in front of her.
"M-my pencil. I can't find it," Isadora stammered innocently.
Mrs. Bass walked by shaking her head and Isadora turned around. Klaus rolled his eyes and they tried not to laugh. He mouthed the word "thanks" as he held up his completed measurement of the basketball and Isadora turned around with pink cheeks. He had made her feel like that a few times before lately.
The time dragged on and soon everyone had added another useless measurement to their recordings. Mrs. Bass swung her long black hair behind her and stood blandly in front of the class.
"It is to my understanding that we still have another forty minutes in this class, so it should be a good time to review for next week's final examine. Take notes, if you must," Mrs. Bass said in her monotonous voice as the class groaned inwardly, "Twelve inches make a foot, which is a ruler. Thus, a ruler is twelve inches. A yard is three feet, or rulers; therefore a yard is thirty-six inches--- Mr. Baudelaire, pay attention--- now, if a yard equals thirty-six inches, then two yards equal…yes?"
"Seventy-two inches exactly," Carmelita said in her singsong, boasting voice.
"Yes, seventy-two inches. Now what do you remember we measured that was seventy-two inches…?"
Mrs. Bass continued calling out measurements and numbers and Carmelita continued to answer them with a broad smirk on her face. Isadora scribbled bold lines on the borders of her paper and occasionally kept her eyes on the clock. The secondhand dragged on as if it weighed a ton…
"…which equals 2240 lbs. or 2420 lbs., Miss Quagmire?"
Isadora snapped up.
"Two thousand… two hundred, forty pounds, ma'am?"
"Correct, but keep your eyes up here, will you? Second time today, Miss Quagmire. Now if an elephant weighed…"
Isadora let out a deep breath and turned to Klaus. His face was lying sluggishly on his hands but he gave her a little thumbs-up. She stuck her tongue out at him and he did it right back. It was their little game they played every now and then and they turned their attention towards Mrs. Bass before she noticed.
Isadora held her pen in her hand and continued to scribble on her paper. She drew two bold circles with a tiny bridge between them and quickly scribbled over the glasses she drew before anyone saw them. Her heart thumped in her chest as she thought of Klaus and kept her head down low so nobody could see her blushing face.
She looked up. Mrs. Bass was strolling the class and had now stopped in the back. Immediately, Isadora covered her arm over her paper and wrote:I wish everyone in this class would disappear
So Klaus and I could be the only ones here
"Taking notes? Good."
Isadora stopped doodling a border around her couplet and looked over to Mrs. Bass standing behind her. She could have nodded, or at least turned the page, but Isadora was in a state of frozen shock, something else you might have experienced. Mrs. Bass continued to stare at her notes but her face became stern and she took Isadora's notes off her desk and read them. Everyone sitting in front of Isadora turned around; she pretended not to see them. She could hear Carmelita laughing cruelly in front of her.
"Miss Quagmire," Mrs. Bass directed as she handed back her notes, "Go to the front of the class."
Isadora slowly got up, her face as red as the radish I ate for breakfast this morning, and hurried to the front of the class. She knew she wouldn't be able to bear a slow walk of shame, so she figured she might as well get it over with.
Now you could say what Mrs. Bass was doing was pure educational discipline and that she was only teaching Isadora a lesson so she would pay better attention in class. However, it seems clearly unfair to expect someone of Isadora's intelligence to pay attention in such a dull class, but it is downright inhumane to force someone in the way that Mrs. Bass instructed next.
"Miss Quagmire… write what you wrote on your paper on the board."
With trembling footsteps, Isadora walked over to the board. She stood in front of the board with a piece of chalk in her hand looking up at the chalkboard as if it was a wide green billboard for everyone to see.
Time is a cruel thing. It speeds up when you're having the best day of your life and seems to go twice as slow when you are waiting for something or experiencing something dreadful. Days pass by like years now that my beloved Beatrice is dead, and when I had to inform her of the terrible truth that could have saved her life of--- well, you can imagine how fast time flew. As for Isadora, time seemed to stop.
She dragged the chalk slowly across the board and soon she was already done with the first line of her couplet.
Perhaps she could change it a bit… alter a few words or names, and then---
"Copy it exactly, Miss Quagmire."
Isadora closed her eyes and in small handwriting wrote every last word down.
"Stand aside, please."
With heavy feet, she moved out of the way of the board and hurried back to her desk with her face in her hands, not daring to look over at Klaus.
The entire classroom of desks shuffled forward to read her handwriting, but Carmelita, sitting exactly in the center front row, leaned over her desk and gave a nasty giggle before reciting in a mocking voice, "I wish everyone in this class would disappear, so Klaus and I could be the only ones here!"
It would be brutal of me to describe the classroom's laughter and taunts or how utterly embarrassed Isadora was. What I can describe to you is the ringing of the bell that ended that mind-numbing class and how Carmelita when shrieking out of the class saying cruel things like, "It only makes sense that a cakesniffer like that would like the newest cakesniffing orphan in the class!" and "If one orphan likes another orphan, that equals a doubly orphanish calculation!"
Isadora waited until she heard no more footsteps shuffling out of the room before she lifted her face and packed her notes away. Mrs. Bass had left briefly and already her next victims, or students if you will, were sitting down silently. They read the board and snickered as they stared at poor, red-faced Isadora Quagmire.
She stood up and suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder and she turned around to Klaus looking shyly over his glasses.
They walked over to the chalkboard and Isadora finally stammered, "I---I'm sorry that I embarrassed you, too. I… it's just---"
"It's okay," Klaus said and he handed Isadora an eraser.
Together they wiped the board clean of her couplet, but before Isadora could erase the second line, she looked down to Klaus who was erasing the "Klaus" and writing "Isadora". He blushed when they exchanged looks and somehow that small alteration of words made Isadora feel nearly a hundred percent better. Finally, they erased the entire line.
The hall was empty when Klaus and Isadora walked out of the class. "Next class starts in one minute," Klaus said looking up at the nearest clock on the wall. They looked at each other both clutching their notebooks, when they spoke at the same time.
"Go ahead," Isadora said hesitantly.
"No, really, I insist."
Isadora stared at her shoes and then back at Klaus, "You won't tell anyone, will you? I mean, if Carmelita doesn't tell the entire school first."
"Of course I won't," Klaus gave a small smile.
"Hey, kids, get to class!" The elderly professor frowned and pointed to the clock. Only fifteen seconds left.
Klaus slipped his hand into Isadora's and they ran down the flight of stairs. Their next classroom was only a couple feet away and Isadora turned to Klaus as they ran, "What were you going to say to me before?"
Klaus stopped in front of the class holding the doorknob. "I was going to ask if I could hold your hand," Klaus smiled and before they let go, he gave her hand a squeeze and they walked inside.
If only all events as unfortunate as that could end that pleasant.