By the time Tori raced into the main hall of Hollywood Arts, Jade was walking through the hall, ripping the cardboard backing from the scissors. The pieces of cardboard fluttered to the ground as she walked.
She saw a boy with a grey beanie hat come around the corner. "Hey you! Where are Robbie and Rex?"
"Ah, um, in Sikowitz's class!" The boy shuddered.
"Thank you!" Jade pushed past the boy, knocking his hat off.
Tori ran only a few feet behind Jade. She tried to call out to Jade, but the goth escaped her every time. When the she disappeared around a corner, Tori picked up her speed. If she didn't calm Jade down, nobody would be able to.
Jade's feet pounded the tiled floor as she ran down the hall to Sikowitz's classroom. She yanked the scissors out of the plastic packaging, tossing the plastic to the ground. Sikowitz's class was right in front of her. She wrenched the door open.
The door slamming against the wall caused Robbie to look up. His eyes shot wide open as he took in Jade's frightening form. In seconds, Jade's face was inches away from his.
"I thought I told you to keep your trap shut, four-eyes! Who'd you tell?" Jade glared at Robbie.
Robbie stumbled backwards. "I... I don't... I don't know what you mean... I was here the whole time."
"Lies!" Jade brandished her scissors. "Nobody else knew except for you. Now, who did you tell?"
"Hey! Rex knew too."
"What, the puppet? Of course, because everyone knows the puppet has its own autonomous personality."
Rex nudged Jade's arm. "Damn straight, girl."
Jade continued her sarcastic rant. "And because it can think by itself, and not with the help of a four-eyed, curly-headed idiot, it would be able to tell people information that clearly should not be told to anybody. That would be ridiculous."
"I'd never say sensitive things... often." Rex laughed.
Jade turned towards the puppet hanging on Robbie's arm. "What did you say?"
"Just that you and your little Tori were in the closet." If Rex could have smiled, he would be sporting a nasty, playful grin.
"Me... and Tori... in the closet?" Jade's rage built up with each word she repeated.
I know! It was way too good of an oppro- OW!"
Rex's line was cut of by Jade slashing at his foot with her scissors.
"When I'm done with you, you're going to wish you had never, ever said that." Jade held her scissors up again.
Jade yanked Rex off Robbie's arm, causing Robbie to yelp in fear. The boy grabbed for his puppet, but Jade held it out of his reach. She stormed over to the wall and pinned Rex there with one hand. In the other hand, she held her scissors.
She slid her hand through the scissors's handle. "Take back what you said or you're dead."
The puppet was silent.
Jade's eyes narrowed. She raised her scissors, the blades glinting as the light struck them. The cutting edges were razor-sharp. She smiled wickedly as she brought them forward, putting a small puncture in Rex's shirt.
Robbie squealed from behind her.
At the sound of Robbie's fear for what she considered to be little more than a glorified inanimate object, Jade struck again. Her scissors flashed as she slashed Rex erraticly. Stuffing began to peek out from the puppet's torso. Robbie tried to pull Rex to safety, but a jab too close to his glasses sent him running off like a frightened puppy.
Tori burst through the main door.
She paused, confused, when she saw Jade standing towards the wall. "Jade, what are you-"
She saw the glinting scissors and immediately took action. She ran over to the horrific scene, dodging an errant blow, and grabbed Jade's arm. Pinning that arm to her chest, she took Jade's scissor hand in her own.
"Drop it, drop it, drop it!" Tori gritted her teeth as Jade tried to pull her arm away.
As if on cue, the teacher's door opened. Lane and Sikowitz carried a huge box into the classroom. The eccentric teacher caught the scuffle out of the corner of his eye and dropped his end.
Sikowitz darted towards the students. "What in the blazes is going on?"
Lane gently set the rest of the box down before running over.
"This is one of the best practices I've seen in a long time. You've been so realistic with these slashes. I always knew you kids liked a good fight scene, but you've outdone yourselves. I especially like Jade's acting." Sikowitz grinned like a child in a candy store.
Robbie stepped in, with tears in his eyes. "She's not acting!"
Lane nodded, looking strangely authoritative. "I see. Break it up, girls."
Tori let go of Jade, who jammed her scissors in her pocket. Rex finally made a sound. It was a quiet moan of discomfort. Lane surveyed the damage. Every mark on Rex's cloth body, every bump and bruise, every facial movement of the teenagers present was caught by his watchful eyes.
He shook his head and turned to Sikowitz. "This really was not acting. Who do the juniors have for next period?"
"Theatre History. They're learning about props, I think." Sikowitz gestured to the box.
"Right." He turned back to the students. "You're going to have to excuse these four. They're coming with me."
Five minutes later, the teens were in Lane's office. Robbie was cradling Rex in his arms the way a mother might cradle her injured child. Rex was still occasionally insulting Robbie for his care. Jade glared at everyone and everything in the small room. Tori looked back and forth between the two. Lane swung in the wicker chair that hung from the ceiling.
One by one, Robbie, Rex, Tori, and Jade gave their account of what had just happened. Robbie's story was jumbled and not always clear. He frequently punctuated his sentences with tears. Rex's explanation was blunt, stating clearly what he had said and done. Tori was hesitant to speak for fear of insulting her girlfriend, but eventually Lane coaxed the story out of her. Jade turned her explanation into a rant about what horrible people she thought Rex and Robbie were.
Lane listened to all their stories, closing his eyes so he could pay more attention. After all the stories were finished, he sat in silence. The room held its breath.
"Well," Lane sounded nervous as he handed down his verdict. "under normal circumstances, Jade would be expelled. But in this case... how do I put this... that won't be possible."
Robbie jumped up. "What? Why?"
Lane looked down. "Jade would have been expelled for harming another student. However... from a legal point of view, Rex is not considered a student. The judge will not let us expel her."
"Where are the rights for Puppet-Americans? I'll sue!" Rex raised his head in arrogance.
"The best we can do is give her an out of school suspension."
Robbie whimpered. Tori glanced up in surprise. She looked over at her girlfriend. Jade was looking at the floor, stone-faced, biting her lip.
"Oh, Jade..." Tori whispered.
Lane walked over to his phone. "Jade, you'll have to stay here until your parents pick you up. I know a good puppet doctor for Rex, so he can stay here too." He flipped to the "W" section of the student directory. "Robbie, Tori, go to class please."
Tori slowly stood. The same weight that she had felt when her name had been drawn from Sikowitz's hat fell on her. She locked eyes with Jade. Jade seemed woefully resigned as Tori moved away from her. They held each other's gaze as Tori walked out of the room.
The door slamming shut behind her felt like a brick wall rising between them.
Author's Notes: There goes my first dramatic plot twist.
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