Will, Jimmy and Jan threw glances at each other. Stella and Mrs. Banks in the same group? That would make interrogating her much more difficult.
Jimmy nudged Will on the shoulder. "Hey, supposingly one of us is chosen into Group Four, should we try asking Stella anyway?"
"Err..." he thought for a moment. "I don't know, sounds risky."
"I thought so too. But we might not get another chance so soon."
"CHILDREN! I SAID BE QUIET!" Mrs. Banks roared, making them both jump. "Start counting one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four and so on."
This meant they both wouldn't be in the same group. Jan, on the other hand, was sitting with the girls on the other side and could still be paired up with one of them.
Like a well-drilled platoon the children called out their numbers as they had done so many times before.
It was Jan's turn. "Three."
It looked like she wouldn't have the chance to meet Stella after all. Will couldn't help feeling slightly relieved, knowing now that there was no way she would let her curiousity get the better of her and get into trouble.
"Hey!" Jimmy 's voice invaded his thoughts. "Your turn!"
"Huh? Which number were you?"
"Four." Will shouted without much thought. Then it dawned upon him - he was in Stella's group! An opurtunity which he didn't quite appreciate was being presented to him.
"You'll be with Stella," Jimmy said to him, lips unmoving. "Be careful, make sure you don't mess anything up."
He nodded lightly, trying to shake off this bad feeling which came suddenly.
The count ended and the children moved into their respective groups. Apparently, each group would be painting a different floor. Though it was pretty much obvious, Will couldn't help feel his stomach sink when he heard that Group Four would be doing the fourth floor. Which happened to be where the Secret Room was.
As they were being dismissed, Jan sneaked over to him quickly. "Ask her, Will. Don't let this chance slip away."
"But what if-"
"Jan! Hurry up, no talking please."
"Yes, Martha." she scurried off.
"Ask her." Will could see her mouthing fiercely to him as they exited the hall.