"I expected more of a missionary's son," said the Dean softly.
He was a small man, mild as an egg in his brown jacket and lightly speckled tie. He leaned forward, folding his neatly manicured hands on the desk in front of him, and went on in the same reproachful tone, "When you first came to us, I believed you would be a fine role model for our younger students. Such a bright, inquisitive mind, such commitment to the Lord. But this?" He shook his head. "You must realize how grieved your family will be. Why, Sinclair?"
Timothy shrugged. His head was down, his face shadowed by his dark wing of hair. Experimentally he poked at his split lower lip with his tongue and grimaced. It was the only real hit he'd taken in the whole fight, but it had been a good one.
"Has anyone been unkind to you, since you came here?" the Dean persisted. "Do you feel that you have been unfairly treated?"
"Was Peters provoking you in some way when this—incident—occurred?"
"What about Upton, or Chaudhuri? Did they provoke you?"
"Then why did you hit them?"
Timothy said nothing. His leg swung back and forth, the scuffed toe of his dress shoe grazing the carpet.
"Are you aware that our school has a zero-tolerance policy toward violence?"
"Do you realize what this means – that you will be suspended for the next two weeks while your behavior is under review, and that if the parents of the other boys choose to press complaints you may be expelled?"
The Dean sat back with a sigh. "I don't know what to make of you, Sinclair. Nevertheless, I have a duty to the other students, and to their families. You cannot be allowed to remain at Greenhill when you have shown such flagrant disregard for our school principles. I realize that your parents are presently in Kenya—"
"Uganda," agreed the Dean, but with a slight hardening in his voice that warned Timothy not to correct him again. "So in their absence, you will have to stay with a guardian until this matter is resolved. I will be contacting your aunt and uncle shortly and informing them of your situation."
"They're on holiday in Majorca," said Timothy. "They won't be back for three weeks."
"But surely they must have made arrangements for someone else to be responsible for you while they're gone?"
Timothy shrugged again.
So there you have it.