Jasmine did not find maths hard, not normally. But now the plus signs looked like crosses. Divisional slashes resembled stakes sliding towards a heart. Parentheses were Nancy’s hands, flung out in horror and fear.
This would not be easy. Jasmine was not pretty. Her mother had said differently, but Jasmine was not stupid. She was attractive enough, true. She was okay with the way she looked; she’d given up on trying to curl her thick brown hair or pad her bra with tissues. David had even kissed her under the mistletoe at the last interschool dance. But the snows were melting, and Jasmine knew she did not have the power to turn heads from across the room. She was not pretty in the way Nancy had been. She was not pretty in the way that Perdonious wanted.
The tutor’s cough startled her, and Jasmine handed over the test without looking up.
The janitor – a large man who moved faster than his weight would suggest – caught her going out the dormitory window that night. The headmistress managed to look stern – despite her Hello Kitty! nightrobe. The janitor’s hand was tight around Jasmine’s arm, even though she had stopped struggling.
The headmistress snapped each word: “Where is David waiting for you, girl?”
The headmistress waved her out of the room, a curt “twenty demerits” following them out. The headmistress was already on the phone. Jasmine guessed that the headmaster of St. Stephen’s School for Boys would not appreciate being awoken. Part of her wondered if David would forgive her someday, but most of Jasmine’s energy was spent hiding her glee.
They hadn’t found the small satchel of garlic, holy water, and crosses under the side bushes.
They hadn’t found the stakes.