Unbelievable

Steve looked around the foyer for the rest of his mates and saw Gronk crumpling a piece of paper. His cheeks were reddened. Gronk looked down on Steve, but he was not so sure of himself now. Maybe, just maybe, he was not as good as he thought. Gronk saw Steve Nobody looking over. He eyed his enemy with scorn. Students hung around for a while swapping exam results. Groups posed for photos and the inevitable selfies clicked away. It all soon spilled outside as they went off to celebrate and commiserate.

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Disaster

The line of students shuffled toward their fate. It had taken about fifteen minutes, but Gronk was almost at the front. He felt no nerves whatsoever. Unruffled at first by fact he had to stand in line with common students, his impatience grew. He became desperate for the inevitable good news contained in his envelope. He dreamed of sitting in Poshey tutor groups and impressing everyone with his accent and intellectualism. Gronk felt he was made for the hallowed University quads and looked forward to wearing a gown around Snookford. This would be the beginning of his marvellous future. Gronk was ready to enter true socio-economic exclusivity. But here he was, staring at the back of an Outsider’s head. This low-life dared to stand in his way. When the boy was about to receive his results envelope, Gronk pushed him out of the way.

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Results Day

At last, the big day arrived. Steve met up with a group of friends and they walked to College. The conversation jogged along for most of the journey until they went up the road leading to the College. Nerves kicked in and talk faded. The day was important to them all. It would decide their immediate futures. Through double doors and the foyer buzzed with activity. Some students queued for their results, others were all smiles. A few stared in disbelief at results with tears in their eyes.

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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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