Carol was already standing beside the door when I arrived. She had taken the time to restyle her hair into a neat ponytail and she’d smartly washed the small amount of makeup from her face. It was a perk allowed to students after their second year, but it was never really encouraged and under some circumstances, teachers would use it against you. I’d never really gone down that path, it cost money from our allowance to purchase makeup and I’d always found better uses for the funds, like trips into town.
“What,” asked Carol, “are you doing here?”
I stood against the wall beside her. “Mr. Boggs asked me here the same as you.”
“Oh,” she said.
It seemed the possibility that he might discipline us both had never crossed her thoughts before that moment. For me, it had plagued my mind the entire study period and throughout dinner. He obviously disapproved of my silence on Carol’s minor abuses of power. It was difficult to say which rule he thought I violated in that act though. In fact, lodging a complaint seemed more against the rules, in the form of resisting discipline, than keeping silent. If I’ve learned anything during my stay at Rosecliff, it’s that when someone on staff wants to discipline you, they’ll find a way.
Mr. Boggs arrived with keys in hand. He unlocked the door and motioned us inside. Behind us, he closed the door and relocked it. The lights flickered on, overhead fluorescents humming to life with dim light that gradually brightened. Carol and I stood in front of the desk, hands at our sides, backs straight.
He sat in the chair behind the desk, rustled a few papers as if the placement on the desktop was more important than the two of us standing before him. When the desk was neat and orderly, he finally looked up at us.
“Carol,” he said, “why are you here?”
She blinked at him. “You asked me to come.”
His gaze narrowed on her. “And why would I do such a thing? You’re a monitor and I am head of this house, do we not have better things to be doing with our time?”
Carol’s shoulders slumped, not to the point of drooping, but enough that she looked shorter. “I was running.”
He maintained his harsh stare into her face. “I think you continue to miss the point.”
“I don’t understand, Sir,” she said.
“Of that I’m a certain,” he said. “however, by the time you go to sleep tonight, I’m quite certain you will understand.” He turned his gaze on me. “Why are you here Britney?”
I realized the question could have multiple answers, anything from the immediate circumstances to the events that led me to be incarcerated at Rosecliff. And that realization led to another. “Because I’ve made a habit of making poor choices, Sir.”
He smiled and nodded. “Now, that’s precisely the mature sort of answer I’d expect from a pair of girls who have been here as long as you two. Between the two of you, I can safely say I know which I would choose to continue as a monitor for this house.”
It occurred to me that he might be under the mistaken impression, as many of my peers with less time at Rosecliff often were, that I was a monitor. The post was not something I had ever desired and I had in fact turned down the offer from Ms. Chambers on two previous occasions. “I’m not a monitor, Sir.”
“I’m aware of that, Britney,” he said. “As of tonight, that is going to change.” His gaze turned on Carol. “We have here a student who has abused her authority and been caught running on campus.” His gaze turned back on me. “You’re going to discipline her for that and take over her responsibilities as monitor.”A single look into his dark eyes convinced me there was no arguing with his decision. As of that moment, I was a monitor.