'Today, class, I'm going to give you a very different sort of assignment,' Miss Winifred said with a smile.

Nigella raised her head from where it'd spent the last hour pillowed on her arms. And she leaned forwards in her seat, ignoring the press of her desk against her ribs.

'What kind of assignment, miss?' Lilly, a blonde girl with huge doe-eyes asked. Nigella's eyes bored into the back of the other girl's skull as she imagined the bright white buds of jasmine flowers sprouting from those tight ringlets.

'A very unique assignment,' Miss Winifred smiled wider, 'one that will encourage you to delve deep into your imagination.'

Nigella caught her snort just in time. Trust Miss Winifred to drag a five second explanation into a five hour lecture.

'I want you to paint yourselves!' Their teacher clapped her hands together like this was the most exciting thing to ever happen and not the worst day of Nigella's life.

'Painting?' Nigella muttered, earning a glare from her neighbour. 'That's got no practical or scientific application.'

But the girls all around her tittered like birds delighted by a magnificent worm.

Nigella plopped her head back against her arms, vowing to sleep through this hellish activity, when a compact set of brushes and paints slid right under her nose.

'I rather thought you'd like to paint my flowers, Nigella,' Miss Winifred smiled softly.

'Narcissus,' Nigella said automatically. 'The latin classification for daffodil, miss,' she added when Miss Winifred blinked at her blankly.

'Of course,' Miss Winifred's smile reaffirmed itself, 'we'll make a florist of you yet.'

'Don't want to be a stupid florist,' Nigella scoffed once her teacher had retreated, 'I'm going to be a scientist.'

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