We walked to the office. My uncle carried a FedEx envelope with my birth certificate, medical records, and some papers my parents’ lawyer drew up. I felt sweat gather on the back of my neck and wondered if I should have gotten a haircut. Maybe they didn’t care about things like that in public schools.
A woman greeted us at the counter. She wore a sweater draped over her shoulders as if she were cold and a pair of glasses on the end of her nose.
“I’m Bob Nowak,” Uncle Bob said. “I called earlier about enrolling my nephew, Cody Forester.”
She accepted the envelope and then looked at me, her eyes crinkling above her reading glasses. “Hello, Cody. We expected you. We’ve got your transcripts right here.”
“That was quick.” I felt like my old school had been eager to get rid of me.
“We need this to complete the registration.” She slid a four-part form to my uncle.
While he filled in the blanks, a man stepped up.
He loomed over me. “Cody Forester? I am the Vice Principal, Mister Overhill. May I see you in my office for a moment?”
With a frown, I stepped into a room filled with photos and diplomas. Mr. Overhill closed the door. “Have a seat.”
As I looked for a chair, I wondered what was up. If he wanted to give me a standard welcome speech, he would have done it in the lobby.
He sat behind a desk and folded his hands. “Why are you here?”
I looked at him. I wanted to ask the same thing.
“You come from a rather prestigious school,” he said. “You got good grades. Until last year. Can you tell me why your grades dropped?”
I gulped. I knew very well why my grades had fallen. I’d missed school because of the fevers.
As if a light went on, I realized that my unexplained fevers had something to do with my becoming a werewolf. Maybe wolf-ism was like a virus warping my genetic code. My body tried and failed to fight it off. I wasn’t about to explain that to Mr. Overhill. I fudged for a suitable excuse.
He took my silence as an answer. “We don’t abide drug use here at the Bluffs. I can refer you to several county programs if you admit to a problem.”
“I don’t have a problem.”
“I see. Well, you obviously have some sort of problem. Moving from a private to a public school. Moving to Florida by yourself. So I ask again. Why are you here?”
I glared. I rarely talk back to an adult. It doesn’t get you anywhere. But it was all I could do to keep my words level. “I’m at this school because this is where my uncle lives. The reason I live with my uncle is private.”
His eyes narrowed. “We don’t like troublemakers at the Bluffs.”
I wondered if he’d been talking to Sheriff Brad. I stood. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
He walked around his desk and opened the door. I stepped into the cool lobby.
“Get a haircut,” he murmured as I passed.
At that moment, I knew they’d have to tie me to a chair before I’d cut my hair.
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