Summer Days

During the rest of the summer, Gronk decided discretion was the better part of valour and stayed away from Steve Nobody. Groate also kept his distance from Gronk, which was no real loss as far as Gronk was concerned. But Fathead and his band of Posheys also made themselves scarce. That was an issue as Gronk had spent years toadying up to them. A gloom engulfed his mind. He felt isolated and spent those warm days trying to get back in with them. Gronk invested his time in building bridges with the Posheys.

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It’s Time

Steve saw his girlfriend leave and walk home. She was with a friend and hurried passed, into the darkness. Gronk and Groate were nowhere to be seen. Still he waited. He would not allow himself to back down. Things had gone too far. A big group of people walked out of the doors, making a lot of noise. And then he saw them. Groate was there, looking relatively short against the taller figure of Gronk. There were a lot of people close by. He saw the burly figure of Fathead in the dimming light and assumed some of the others were his group of Posheys. Steve rose from the shadows and scrunched out of the undergrowth to face them. It was twelve against one.

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Dark Clouds

The students who left Snookington Sixth Form College had a whole summer to wait for their results. Steve took the time to relax. There were not many jobs available in the village, so he could not earn any money. But he met up with friends and began to go out with the girl who almost got her bag stolen. They went on nights out and watched films at the cinema when she was not working in a bar job. Steve was enjoying the break and wanted to keep his distance from Gronk. But he heard some news which made him angry. Groate had been hanging around the bar where Steve’s girlfriend worked and asked her on a date. She refused, but Steve could not let this go. If it was not Gronk, then Groate would try to barge a way into his life. They were pushing buttons for a reaction. And this time they were going to get one. Steve was going to have it out with them.

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Tensions

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.

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Exam Season

It was hard work but, over the next few months, Steve wrote all his work into note books from memory. He wrote down the mnemonics and colour coded the pages just as they were on his computer. Steve worked incessantly on the revision notes and went over them time and again to ensure everything was ordered and retrievable. He even had time to memorise most of the Law text book in the final weeks leading up to the exams. Although tired, he felt ready. Everything was falling into place despite the setback.

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Dismay

Steve noticed his bag had been tampered with. A quick check inside and he saw the computer was gone. He felt like he could not breathe. Horrified, he looked in every pocket, but it was no good. Steve told his friends and they searched around the lockers and the classroom where Steve had used it last. He considered reporting the theft, but it would achieve nothing. Whoever did this would never give it back. Suspecting Gronk was behind it, he walked home. But he had no proof it was Gronk. The vendetta alone was not evidence enough. There was nothing Steve could do. He felt helpless.

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Damage

A disturbance broke out. People looked around. Shouts rang out. Screams. The girl lay on the floor, crying. Pathetic, Gronk thought. But he kept his eye on Steve Nobody. Go on, you idiot. Do something, Gronk urged in his head. Then it happened. Steve Nobody ran after Groate. And there it is, Gronk smirked. Groate probably would not get caught as Gronk had told him to empty the bag’s contents and throw it away on a path so it would be easily found, jump inside a classroom through a strategically opened window and discard the coat. But it did not really matter. The important thing was Gronk saw Steve Nobody’s backpack unattended. This was his chance. He created the opening with a masterfully executed plan. He made his own luck in life. He was the master of subterfuge.

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Predator

Gronk had to work out a weakness. Steve Nobody’s movements during College hours were obvious, but he seemed to have that bag glued to him. There must be notes or books or something inside which Gronk could get his hands on. He took to working out who Steve Nobody’s friends were. But there were so many. Everything Steve did and anyone he knew just irritated Gronk more. Most of his friends were lads, and some looked like they would be handy with their fists. He resolved to stay clear of them. Fisticuffs is not my thing, Gronk thought. But his enemy did talk to some girls as well. There was a small group of three which Steve seemed to have a laugh with. Two taller girls but one was quite petite. Gronk saw a chink of opportunity. And he needed his side-kick, Groate, to exploit it.

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Alarm

Gronk watched Groate casually stroll away and then he stopped. Looking both ways, Groate smashed some glass and set the fire alarm off. The bells rang out and pandemonium broke out. Doors flung open and crowds of students pushed and jostled out of classrooms to the nearest exit. The noise was deafening with the fire alarm, stamping feet, talking and teachers shouting. But Gronk loitered near the lockers and waited. As a few stragglers went outside, he made his move.

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Ploy

Gronk sighed. He needed a ruse to distract Steve Nobody. Something had to be done. Something out of the ordinary. Something extra special. And then a sly idea entered his brain. It was fool-proof and guaranteed to cause a stir in College. He knew later in the afternoon, Steve had a History lesson in a room opposite the locker area and close to a door to the rear of the College. It was going to be perfect. He sought out Groate and whispered his scheme. His friend nodded enthusiastically. And now all they had to do was wait. Gronk attempted to speak to Fathead, but got ignored. He saw that girl gossiping as she walked by and managed to make her giggle with a squirmy smile. The afternoon drifted by.

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