“Shan’t.”Harold resolutely put his hands behind his back. “I don't want to and you can't make me.” He felt a little silly saying this to a teacher. It made him feel like he was ten years old again. He had a teacher called Mrs Hammond, too. It couldn't be the same teacher, could it? She looked a bit like this one, as far as he could remember, though the one he had in the seventies was much taller.”
“We don't say 'shan't', Mr Waterman.” Mrs Hammond's narrow eyes were nothing more than slits now. “Nor do we say 'can't' and 'won't'. Take the lad's hand this instant. He has to deal with rejection every day of his life. He certainly doesn't need to be rejected by an inconsiderate little wretch like you as well.”
Harold straightened up and puffed out his chest. “I don't think you're allowed to say that to a member of the PTA, the council and possibly the future prime minister. However much I feel sorry for the lad I think it's the responsibility of his parents to be his buddies and to teach him about the benefits of hygiene and cleanliness.” He looked at the lad again, who had said not a single word nor changed his expression during the whole exchange. He leaned forward to whisper. “It would hurt to teach him about deodorant, either.”
He looked for Lucy. She was a lot closer than she had been and was holding up the soft toy. Other students were shrinking away from her, leaving an easy path to his side.