Steve noticed Gronk and Groate up ahead, posing as usual. Gronk spotted his enemy and wanted to provoke a reaction. He considered himself an expert in denigrating others as a way of asserting his own position. Gronk and Groate looked like they wanted to talk. Steve broke away from his friends, saying he would catch them up. The noise passed down the corridor and away. Steve was struck by the silence. Menace seemed to emanate from the invidious pair strolling toward him. Agitators on the prowl.
“You seem a lot more chipper than you were a few months ago,” Gronk said.
Steve looked at him, but said nothing.
Groate cleared his throat. “Crumbs, I thought you were going to cry when your computer went missing.”
A searing intensity was rising inside. Steve clenched a fist.
“I might just have outdone myself that time…” Gronk began.
“What do you mean?” Steve interrupted.
“…wouldn’t you like to know. Feeling harassed are we?” Gronk bristled.
“Not really. But I know you were both behind the theft of my computer. And it didn’t work. My exams went well,” Steve smiled. “Better than expected, actually.”
“How dare you insinuate we had some sort of nefarious purpose,” Gronk hissed. “How dare you talk to us at all. You should know your station.”
“Yeah you creep… such a repugnant yobbo” Groate added.
“You’re a damned prig,” Gronk sneered.
“Stay the fuck out of my business,” Steve snapped.
“Or what?” Gronk asked. “What exactly are you going to do?”
“You’ve been warned.”
But Steve was not going to let this pair spoil his day. His time at Snookington Sixth Form College had come to an end and his friends were celebrating. He walked away from Gronk and Groate, relaxing his hand as he did so. With a thumping chest, he knew he had to be clever. If the situation between him and Gronk was going to escalate, it would not be there and then. But Steve was determined not to be pushed around. He was not a doormat and knew he would have to stand up to them sooner later. The way Gronk and Groate were acting, they would not be able to help themselves. They were bound to push their way into Steve’s life again. And next time he would be ready.
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