It all began in the English classroom. Between the poems, sonnets, classical, meaningful, delightful literature and a beautiful artsy atmosphere, this was the sort of place that Lara felt that she could do anything and felt completely at ease with herself.
It wasn't just the aura of the room that fascinated Lara; in fact it was much more than that. Some might call it insane; some might call it morally wrong, but Lara McCartney was in love with her English teacher, Mr Winter. She always liked her English teacher, he was young, funny, cool, and everyone in school loved him, especially the girls. He was tall, slim build, dark haired and had beautiful blue eyes that Lara couldn't help but notice every time she looked at him. Lara was a truly talented writer but it wasn't until Mr Winter took notice of Lara's talents in class, when she really began to believe in herself and showed off her real flair for writing, that she grew fond of him. Lara always lacked a certain amount of confidence, her lack of it always held her back. Somehow Mr Winter helped Lara realise she was special, she had great writing ability. He would hold tuition classes after school on a Wednesday afternoon for those who wanted to improve their English, and Lara would always attend without fail. For the best part of a year, Lara enjoyed her Wednesday tuition classes immensely, they would discuss books that they both adored, and pieces of writing that interested each other. They would practice different kinds of writing, prose and come up with different ideas, Lara enjoying every minute. Mr Winter made Lara feel special, she felt he looked and thought of her differently than the other girls in school, he knew she was different, but in a good way, she was old before her time. She was only 16 but he felt that he was talking to a 30 year old; they could talk about any challenging subject.
As with every school year, the year would have to end. Today was the last day of school, rather appropriately a Wednesday. Lara was in her last class of the day, Careers and was eager for it to end so she could race up to the English room, ready to discuss her latest read with Mr Winter, The Great Gatsby. In class they were discussing their GCSE exams, completed just a week ago and also potential A Level choices. Lara was sitting next to her best friend Anna, who was panicking whether she would be accepted again next year for sixth form.
'Lara what am I going to do if I don't get back in?' Anna asked worriedly.
'You will get back in… I'm sure of it…'
'But I didn't revise that well and in a lot of exams I left out loads of questions out! I really hope I get to study the subjects I've chosen for A Level… What have you decided to study again?' Anna persisted.
'Oh I'm doing English Literature, Art and maybe Media Studies or Psychology. Not too sure yet, depends on the results I guess…' Lara was far too interested with what time it was rather than listening to her friend panic. It was currently 3.20, five more minutes until she was reunited with her most favourite person. Anna carried on her tedious conversation with Lara, those five minutes feeling like an eternity. Suddenly, the bell rang. Everyone leaped off from their seats and hurried towards to classroom exit with their Career's teacher Mrs Robinson, wishing them an enjoyable summer. Lara couldn't care less; all she was interested in was getting to that English classroom. Anna neared the school exit, ready to meet her summer holidays at last, until she noticed that Lara was not heading in the same direction as she was.
'So where are you going?' said Anna curiously.
'I have to nip up to Mr Winters classroom to pick up my English file, totally forgot about it! I want to keep some pieces from my creative writing module.' replied Lara anxiously.
'I should have known, you spend so much time in that classroom! Well I'll text you later on then, I'm thinking of going shopping tomorrow in town if you want to come?'
'Yeah sure, that sounds like fun!' Lara replied, eagerly wanting to leave. 'I'll see you later then!'
'Yeah, alright then…' Anna said walking away unconvinced with Lara's antics.
Lara quickly bounded up the corridor towards the English classroom excitedly. She stopped at the door, composed herself and quickly knocked the door before her.
'Come in!' a voice inside the room announced.
Lara opened the door and cocked her head around the door and smiled at Mr Winter. There he was, relaxed in his chair reading a copy of The Guardian. The room was dimly lit with candles scattered around the room, as always. As he noticed Lara's presence, he folded his newspaper and took notice of her.
'Oh hello there Lara.' He said while he took off his thick-framed reading glasses. 'Did you not get the message I sent around the school last week?'
Anna froze, puzzled wit this supposed message.
'Um, no I did not… what did it say?'
'Oh it just said that tuition classes have finished for the summer… Not to worry though. Is there anything I can help you with?' asked Mr Winter happily.
Lara drew up a chair and sat opposite her teacher across his desk. She ran her hands through her hair and smiled at him.
'Oh I just wanted to say thank you for this past year. Without your help I really wouldn't have improved on my English. You were such a big help and if I do get that predicted A* on results day, it'll be all down to you. So yeah, thank you sir for everything.' beamed Lara.
'You're quite welcome but I wouldn't say that it was all down to me, I just guided you. You've always had the talent; I just helped you notice it.'
'Well I'll always be grateful; you are truly a brilliant teacher.'
Lara was desperate to strike up conversation, but she could sense that Mr Winter possibly had other things to attend to.
'So I'm looking forward to sixth form English, especially if we'll be studying The Great Gatsby. It's such an interesting read, it really gripped me and I really thought Nick Carraway's narrative was simply brilliant – ' Lara was cut off when she suddenly heard Mr Winter's phone start to ring.
'Oh hold on a minute, please excuse me; I need to take this. We can discuss everything Gatsby related in just a second!' Mr Winter answered his phone and his eyes lit up at once as he looked at the caller ID.
'Hello darling! Why yes… I'm still in school. No, no don't worry I'll not be much longer, I just have to sort out some paperwork and then I'm all yours.'
Lara wondered who he was talking to; you don't greet anyone with 'darling'. She knew he wasn't married so it must be a girlfriend. Please, please don't let it be a girlfriend she thought to herself but knew all too well that it probably would be.
'Yes, the dinner reservation is still at 7. Yep, it's the new Italian place in town. I'll see you soon OK? Alright then, see you later, bye.' He hung up and pressed his phone back down on the desk.
'Sorry about that, Lara. Just my fiancée Kate asking where I was!' laughed Mr Winter.
'Oh your fiancé!'
'Yes, I popped the question to Kate a few weeks ago… and thank goodness she said yes!' he grinned, scratching at his temple. 'So yes, um The Great Gatsby! I knew you'd like, it seemed like the sort of book you would have enjoyed – and you did!'
Lara couldn't care less about the damned book, she just found out he was engaged. She felt completely numb, she couldn't believe it.
'Yes I liked it… Although I couldn't stand Daisy, she seemed like a little spoiled child throughout the book…'
'Yes, well the character of Daisy has always divided opinion!' Mr Winter clearly had other things on his mind and decided to clear his desk. 'I'm sorry to cut our discussion short today but I really should make a move.' said Mr Winter has he gathered loose papers from his desk. 'Hope you don't mind!'
'Oh not at all, I understand. We have next year to look forward to anyway.' Lara said grabbing her bag readying herself to leave.
'Of course, lots of hard work as well! So I'll probably see you next on results day I presume?' he said while he pushed in his chair and blew out a single candle.
'I suppose so, yes.' Lara said, suddenly feeling extremely stupid for pestering him.
Mr Winter looked at his watch again and grabbed his brief case and turned off the lights. He guided himself and Lara to door and on the way out, closed it and locked it. They started to walk down the corridor together.
'Any plans this summer then?' he quizzed Lara, trying to make conversation as they both quickly walked through the school.
'Oh just this and that… I do though have a reading list that I hope to get through. Nothing too exciting, I'm afraid' Lara replied downhearted. She often dreamed of spending a summer with Mr Winter, perhaps in a foreign city like Paris…
'Well Kate has arranged that we visit her parents in British Columbia this summer for 6 weeks. I suppose I won't have much time to relax! But yes, be sure to fill me in next term about the books you have read over the summer.' He said as he glanced down at Lara, smiling at her.
As they reached the school exit, Lara felt an empty and cold feeling. It was the end of the school year; she wouldn't be seeing Mr Winter for 8 weeks…. Oh what an exciting summer this will be she thought to herself sadly. As he walked over to his black VB Golf, said:
'Well I'll be seeing you next year, do make sure you have a good summer and enjoy yourself too.'
'Yes, and you too. Goodbye Mr Winter.'
'See you then!' he said as he jumped into his car. He started it up and quickly drove past her, beeping the horn and waving as he went. Oh how Lara wanted to be whisked away by Mr Winter. She wiped away a single tear that trickled down her cheek and decided to walk home, feeling absolutely foolish and miserable.