Although Adina typically jotted only short and cryptic notes during Literature class, today she carefully recorded every word Mrs. Chasmin said. 

It was supposed to take her mind off things, but it wasn’t working. The topic was the different kinds of conflicts characters may face. Adina closed her eyes and thought grimly that she had had enough conflict to last a lifetime. 

You had to do it, she repeated to herself. Otherwise they’d have heard Sheva’s version. And then… 

Then what? asked a tiny, persistent voice. 

Adina dropped her pen and flipped to the back of the Literature book, to a story she hadn’t yet read. She had just managed to absorb herself completely in the text when the intercom beeped. 

“Mrs. Chasmin?” There was lots of static. “Can you plzzgh xfrtgh geo thgpphht shshsfgthy?” 

Giggles spread through the class. “Pardon?” 

“Sorry.” The voice was a bit clearer now. “Can you snnfgd Shffrd ddd fffgrreg?” 

“Gesundheit,” said Mrs. Chasmin drily. 

The class laughed louder. 

“Xzzhssffft.” A pause. “Better?” 

Mrs. Chasmin cocked her head toward the speaker on the ceiling. “Can you run that by me one more time?” 

The disembodied voice came slowly and loudly and as unintelligibly as ever. “CAN-YOU-PLSZZZV-ZZENGTH-SHEFFTGMN-TTT-FFISSS?” 

Mrs. Chasmin shook her head. “No!” she called back. “Sorry!” The girls roared with laughter. 

Adina didn’t laugh. She had a sinking feeling she knew what was coming next. 

There was a knock at the door. A secretary stood there, a post-it note on her finger. “Sorry,” she apologized. “I think there might be something wrong with the intercom.” 

“There might be,” Mrs. Chasmin admitted with exaggerated reluctance. 

“Yeah.” The secretary smiled. She glanced down at her paper, and Adina looked away, but she couldn’t stop herself from hearing what came next. “Can we have Sheva Goldman in the office please?” 

“Sheva?” Mrs. Chasmin repeated with surprise. She scanned the room. Adina cringed, imagining every eye on her. “Sorry,” said Mrs. Chasmin. “Sheva’s not here today.”