Down the wide wooden stairs, worn almost to the edges by centuries of schoolboys -- and now schoolgirls -- along the corridor of noticeboards, past the library where Jim’s mother was deep in conversation with someone Tariq was sure he recognised. Then it was out through the fire door, thoughtfully propped open for the day, and around the corner to where the smokers’ shelter stood downwind from the teachers’ bicycle rack.
Surprisingly, the shelter was empty. Perhaps, like Neil, the diehard smokers had consumed their quota on the way to the event. Perhaps the other occasional smokers, like Jim, were staying with family, and had no wish to announce their habit when they returned after the event. Tariq leaned back against the rail, really too narrow to be described as a bench, and lit up.
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