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The Principal’s Daughter: Chapter 8

Will Rivky say something to stop Aliza? What will Aliza do to her if she does? Whose side would the girls take?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

T

he room is silent, thick, and heavy with anticipation. Mrs. Schwartz walks slowly around her desk, eyes flickering with a nervous energy. The girls watch Aliza, waiting for a signal, sneaking peeks at Rivky, who sits staring at her hands, her thoughts whirling inside her mind.

Rivky chews the inside of her cheek, an old nervous habit that now resurfaces. Will she say something to stop Aliza? What will Aliza do to her if she does? Whose side would the girls take?

Her stomach churns as she eyes the clock, anxious to know what Aliza is planning, when suddenly… the loud peals of the fire alarm! The girls jump up, their anxiety palpable, and Mrs. Schwartz looks around as if one of the girls is playing yet another prank on her. But lines of girls are rushing past their classroom doors, and everyone heads to the nearest exit.

Girls spill out of the building, arms wrapped around themselves as they feel the unwelcome chill outside.
“Is this a drill?” Rivky hears one teacher ask another as they begin to line up alongside the building.
“I think so,” the other teacher says. “They needed to get another one in before it gets really cold.”
Rivky walks a little behind the cluster of tenth graders from her class. She breathes for what feels like the first time in hours. She is relieved for Mrs. Schwartz, who would have been devastated by the prank, and she is relieved for herself. But in the back of her mind lurks the knowledge that she has only bought herself a little time; Aliza will be determined to carry out her plan the next time they have parshah class.

Rivky suddenly senses another person next to her, and she turns to see Penina, a girl from her class who she has gotten to know from the lunch table. Rivky tenses but is surprised to see Penina smile at her.

“Hey,” Penina says as they begin to walk in tandem. “That was pretty cool, what you did in there.”
Rivky looks at her, confused. “What did I do?” For a moment she thinks Penina means that Rivky managed to arrange a fire drill during their class.

“You told off Aliza. That was amazing.”

“It was?”

“Sure,” Penina says, looking around to make sure Aliza and her group are not within earshot. “I have been feeling really bad about all this Schwartz stuff.”

“Then why haven’t you said anything?” Rivky says, though of course she herself hasn’t wanted to either. But wouldn’t someone who is clearly in Aliza’s group be able to speak up if she wanted to?

“Are you joking?” Penina turns to Rivky, her eyes wide. “I would be terrified. It took real guts, what you did.”

Rivky shakes her head as if to clear it. “Are you telling me you’re afraid of Aliza?”

Penina laughs. “Uh, yeah. We all are. How could we not be?”

 

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