Apparently there had been an administrative error where most of the class had been assigned the wrong rooms.
Among the crowd of kids who were just coming in, Arnold spotted the girl who had helped Carl. To Arnold’s surprise, she walked up to his table. Arnold’s shoulders tensed up as she sat down next to him.
“Uh… hey, is Carl alright?” Arnold asked nervously.
The girl turned to Arnold, and he got a look at her for the first time. She was slightly plump, with short, bright yellow hair, and wearing hipster glasses. “Yes, he’s alright. He’s resting in the nurse’s office right now." She paused. "...He told the nurse he fell out of his seat.”
“…Eh?” Arnold was surprised, and he relaxed his shoulders.
“He’s such a good kid.” The girl sniffed, and she rubbed her eyes.
“What a guy, letting a someone like you off the hook,” the girl continued. “He told me about how you were demanding pictures of his cousin, and how you attacked him after he refused. You sick, sick freak."
Caaaaarl! What the hell are you telling heeeer?!
“Look, I don’t know what lies Carl is feeding you, but he’s not the person you think he is and you shouldn’t trust anything that comes out of his mouth,” Arnold said. “He’s the freak, not me.”
The girl gave out a sharp gasp. “You’re terrible!. It’s not his fault his skin looks like that. That doesn't make him a freak!"
“Wait, what? This has nothing to do with his skin. Listen-”
Before Arnold could continue, a voice yelled out, “Class is beginning now!”
Arnold turned to the front of the room, where a white-haired old man was standing. “My name is Mr. Brandt. You can call me Mr. B if you like. As you guys may know, this year things are going to be run a little bit differently. But you’re all freshmen, correct? So I suppose it’s not really a change for you guys. I’ll be quite blunt here: our school finance’s are in trouble this year. Usually, you guys would be going to different classrooms throughout the day with different teachers, but now we’ve had to downgrade. I’ll be teaching most of your classes this year, and you'll be staying in this room for the majority of your day. So let’s try and get along, alright?”
Mr. Brandt smiled halfheartedly, and continued, “So, to break the ice, I’m going to break you guys up into groups. For the next ten minutes or so, get to know your fellow group members. We’ll have everyone introduce each other at the end. Since these tables each fit four of you, I’ll break you guys into groups of four.”
As Arnold looked around the room, surveying his potential group members, the sudden thought of being in a group with the angry girl next to him, Carl, and Steph crossed his mind. As soon as it did, however Arnold laughed the idea off. This isn’t an anime. Of course that’s not going to happen.
“Okay, in group one,” began Mr. Brandt.
Arnold held his breath nervously.
“We have Arnold…”
Arnold’s fingers gripped the desk in anticipation.
“…Fred, Max, and Lorry.”
Yes! Arnold breathed a sigh of relief, as a party began to start inside his brain. I’ll start anew- my dream high school life can yet be achieved!
“In group 2 we have Carl…” Mr. Brandt continued.
Relived of his worry, Arnold listened gleefully, eager to discover who would be unfortunate enough to end up with Carl.
Arnold’s face brightened. Yes! All the weird people are in one group! This is hilarious! A victory song began to play in his head, as the party in his head moved into full swing.
The party’s music stopped abruptly. The party members, confused and worried, hesitantly looked at one other, wondering what had just happened.
Arnold licked his lips, and spoke up. “Mr. B… you said Arnold twice?”
Arnold nodded. The party members held their breaths.
“You’re in group two.”
The party was over. A fire started to spread throughout the party room and panic spread across the dance floor as partygoers rushed for the exit. They gathered outside and watched, wide-eyed, as the host’s house fell down in flames.
“Continuing, in group 3 we have…”
Mr. Brandt’s words faded into the background, as Arnold despairingly buried his head into his hands.