"Of course I am. Not only are we about to do a GCSE but it's a maths one. I'm never going to pass."
"I bet you will. Have you revised?"
"With a dad like mine it's hard not to. It feels like that's all I've been doing!"
"Has he been forcing you to do loads of work?"
"He only wants the best for me."
"From this moment you cannot talk," said one of the teachers.
Alice and Maria looked at one another and mouthed 'good luck'.
"Good luck everyone," the teacher continued. He began to read out everyone's names and they walked in a line to the sports hall, where they were sitting the exam.
When everyone had sat down Maria began to panic. She was breathing really quickly and her chest felt tight. She could hear her heart pounding in her ears and she felt sweaty. One of the invigilators was looking round the hall, to check that no one was talking, when she saw how awful Maria looked. She walked over to her and asked in a low whisper, "are you ok love? You look very pale."
"No, I can't breathe properly," gasped Maria.
"Ok, let's get you out of here," the woman said, helping Maria to stand.
She staggered out of the room, the woman trying to support her, while the rest of her year stared. Alice could barely contain how worried she was. The invigilator half dragged Maria up to the main reception and sat her down on a chair. She spotted a teacher and called him over.
"Mr Sykes! I could do with a bit of help here!"
He saw Maria and ran over. "What's happened?"
"I think she's having some sort of panic attack. We're going to need an ambulance!"
The teacher grabbed his phone from his pocket and quickly dialled 999.
"No," Maria wheezed. "Exam...can't...miss...exam."
"You're in no fit state to sit an exam," the invigilator soothed. "Don't worry."
"The ambulance should be here soon." He knelt down in front of Maria. "Now, try and take some deep breaths."
Maria nodded. She could hear sirens in the distance. By the relieved look on the teacher's face, so could he.
Outside the school Jeff and Dixie jumoed out of the ambulance.
"How old did they say the girl was?" Jeff asked, as they made their way to the school entrance.
"Sixteen," Dixie replied.
"Bit young to be having a panic attack isn't she?"
"GCSE time of year," said Dixie, remembering how nervous her GCSEs had made her, but not to this extent.
When they got into the school they saw Maria straight away. She was crying and taking quick, short breaths. Her teacher was trying to comfort her.
"Hi, we're the paramedics," said Jeff. He felt stupid everytime he said thay. Who else would they be?
The invigilator looked up. "Thank God you're here."
"What's your name love?" Dixie asked Maria. She tried to answer but she couldn't catch her breath for long enough.
"Her name's Maria," Mr Sykes replied.
"Do you think you're having a panic attack princess?" Jeff asked.
Maria nodded. They got Maria into a wheelchair and wheeled her to the ambulance. Mr Sykes followed and said he would come with her. They put her on the trolley, gave her an oxygen mask and started to drive to the hospital.
When they arrived the panic attack had practically subsided but as Jeff had already explained, 'better to be safe than sorry.' Dixie and Jeff wheeled Maria into the ED. Zoe and Tom both went to make their way over to her.
"You can have this one," Zoe said. "With you being a pediatric trauma specialist and all."
Tom smiled cheekily and laughed. "Thanks Zoe." He walked over to the trolley and helped push it through the ED. "So, what have we got?"