Right after they posted the results, I tried to imagine what Joey would think. All those evenings in his bedroom, me lying on my back whilst he worked his way below my belt-line. He would be exceedingly surprised. Confused. Troubled. And no doubt angry. He’d stolen every minute he could away from me, every synapse he had spare trying to crack this exam. Shortly he would be starring away at the league table, blinking, trying to grasp how sweet little Emily, easy little Emily, had somehow found her way to the top.
I’d like to say it had been easy, but pulling this kind of ruse is anything but. Certainly, actually toiling away on the syllabus to have that ammunition loaded in the clip, ready to fire on that windy morning in July; one might think that’s the real challenge. And perhaps it had been. But why would I take that risk? Why would I put my future on the line, to the whims of some exam board clerk, taking randoms shots from the topic list. Oh no.
Mr Rogerson hadn’t been the challenge. That had been all too easy. Knocking the wrong side of forty, when I’d found my way to his office that one late September evening, flustered, car trouble. Could he help? Did that wise old academic know how to get my old rust bucket to start… Or, perhaps… Could he ride a vulnerable young lady back home. It’s late, the buses have stopped. Oh, looks like my parents aren’t home. Away until Satuday. Perhaps he’d like to warm up inside before heading back into town?
It had only taken a few months to plan my entry into that filing cabinet. The rest, just an evening or two of memorisation. And access to Joey’s study file.
Joey was just a cover. Joey, top of the class that past four terms. Of course we’d been seen together. Eyebrows had risen in the lunchroom. Emily? Joey? He’d better know what he’s dealing with… But of course not. The only one in the driving seat these part twelve months… Well that had not been he.
A few of those suspicious sideways glances in the throng at the notice board. I knew what the muttering meant, but what were they to do? Had anyone the nighest interest to mount an investigation, well, by then I would be long gone. Out of this town and on to the next step. Poor Joey, stuck here now. What would he do? I might try to care, but for what? When you put your arm into the beast’s mouth, don’t cry out when it bites.