Cam nodded an rose. When he turned around his eyes were nearly black with fury. “You’re not suspending this kid for defending himself against an ignorant bully. And if you try, I’ll go over your head to the Board of Education.”
Shocked to the core, Seth stared up at Cam. Nobody had ever stood up for him. He’d never expected anyone to stand up for him.
“Nobody calls my brother a son of a whore, Mrs. Moorefield. And if you don’t have a school policy against vicious name-calling and harassment, you damn well should. So I’m telling you, you better take another look at this situation. And you better rethink just who gets suspended here. And you can tell little Robert’s parents that if they don’t want their kid crying over a bloody nose, they better teach him some manners.”
She took a moment before speaking. She’d been teaching and counseling children for nearly thirty years. What she saw on Seth's face at that moment was hope, stunned and wary, but hope nonetheless. It was a look she didn't want to extinguish.
"Mr. Quinn, you can be certain that I will investigate this matter further. I wasn't aware that Seth had been injured. If you'd like to take him down to the nurse while I speak with Robert and...others--"
"I can take care of him."
"As you wish. I'll hold the suspension in abeyance until I've satisfied myself with the facts."
"You do that, Mrs. Moorefield. But I'm satisfied with the facts. Now I'm taking Seth home for the rest of the day. He's had enough."
"I agree with you."
The child hadn't looked shaken when he'd come into her office, she thought. He'd looked cocky. He hadn't looked shaken when she'd told him to sit down and called his home. He'd looked belligerent.
But he looked shaken now, finally, with his eyes wide and stunned and his hands gripping the arms of the chair. The thin, hard shield he'd kept tight around him, a shield neither she nor any of his teachers had been able to so much as scratch, appeared to be deeply dented.
Now, she decided, they would see what they could do for him.