“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” (Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene II)
“Hero,” Tommi said, turning the word over on her tongue. “That’s an interesting name.” By the tone of her voice, Hero could tell Tommi meant to say her name was not so much interesting as peculiar. Hero didn’t think a girl named Tommi had much room to judge.
“My dad picked it,” Hero said simply.
“Oh,” Tommi replied. “That’s nice.” Hero and Tommi made it to English class fifteen seconds after the bell rang.
“Welcome, welcome. Come in, come in,” greeted the teacher, a man in his mid-thirties with an easy smile and a slightly disheveled appearance. His collared shirt was partially untucked and looked as if it hadn’t been ironed, well, ever. “Who do you have with you this morning, Tommi?”
“This is Hero Taylor,” Tommi said.
“Hero, did you say?” Hero took a step forward.
“Yes,” she said. “My name is Hero Jean Taylor. I used to go to North High, but – but my mother and I just moved to this side of town, so I’ll be attending South High now.”
“O Hero, what a Hero hadst thou been, if half thy outward graces had been placed about thy thoughts and counsels of thy heart!”
“Pardon?” Hero said.
“Oh, nothing, Hero,” the teacher said. “Merely admiring your lovely name.”