Authors: Taylor Henderson
He shook his head at me, giving me a disappointed look that I easily returned. “I didn't do anything so I don't see why I should apologize.”
He flicked his eyes to my mom for a second before returning his gaze to me. “It was very insensitive of you to laugh like that.”
My mom nodded her head in agreement as Mrs. Richardson added on saying, “Brianna may put on a hard front but she really does mean well. It would mean the word to her if you apologized. That's what friends are for right? To lift your spirits when you're feeling down?”
I held back the need to scoff at her words and figured that it would be of no use for me to explain that Brianna and I weren’t and never would be friends. I sighed, and after taking another bite of my food, I followed in the direction that Brianna had run off in.
At the top of the stairs I could hear the sound of sobbing coming from the bathroom.
What a drama queen.
Rolling my eyes, I walked to the door and lightly rapped my hand against it.
“Go away!” came the response.
“Are you really crying because I laughed at you? Because if you are, then you really are a baby.”
The door was yanked open to reveal a red eyed Brianna staring at me as if I was gum stuck to the bottom of her shoe. “It's none of your business. Now I would really appreciate it if you would go away,” she growled.
I crossed my arms over my chest, leaning against the wall opposite of the bathroom doorway. “Cut the crap, Brianna. Just tell me why you're crying and stop acting like a brat.”
“I'm the brat?” she scoffed and took a few steps toward me, the wet trails on her cheeks glistening in the light. “You don't know one thing about me.”
“I don't? I guess I don't know that you're middle name is Nicole. I also don't know that you got your period at your twelfth birthday pool party and spent half of the day crying in the bathroom. I definitely don't know that you're a natural brunette either. I’m also completely oblivious to the fact that you’re a conceited, arrogant slut, right?” My words were dripping with sarcasm and only caused Brianna's glare to deepen.
“You don't know what I've been through,” she crossed her arms over her chest and smirked. “Blake understands me. I can tell that he knows how to keep a secret because he obviously hasn't told you anything, has he?”
I had the urge to slap the stupid smirk off her clown paint covered face, but I refrained myself. “What are you talking about?”
She shrugged, but her eyes stayed on mine. “Remember that day he was at my house?”
I nodded, waiting for her to continue, but when she didn't, I said, “Yeah, what about it?”
Brianna shook her head, “I'm not telling. Blake's your boyfriend so why don't you just ask him?”
“I already did. He said that nothing happened.”
“That's what he may have said, but that doesn't mean that it's the truth.”
I frowned, getting immensely annoyed with her for implying that Blake was lying to me. I know Blake, and although he had lied once before, I knew that he wouldn't lie to me again. “Blake is my boyfriend, he wouldn't lie to me.”
She smiled. “Not for much longer. You can be so naive sometimes, Violet.”
The wind whipped at my hair, sending chills through my body as my eyes adjusted to the blinding sunlight. For the first time in years I was actually proud to have a mother who worried about me nonstop. If she had not forced me into wearing a jacket I probably would have spent half of the day complaining about how cold it was. It wasn't cold enough for me to be freezing, but it most definitely was not hot outside. Just one look at the ground would inform you that it had been raining cats and dogs last night. The lawn was still wet in some places so I made a mental note to avoid the grass at all costs. The house door behind me slammed shut, bringing me out of my silent reverie.
“Don't hog the sidewalk, Violet,” Brianna growled moodily as she shoved past me, causing me to lose my footing and slip right off of the sidewalk and into the muddy grass that surrounded it. My feet sank into the ground and I could immediately feel the murky water, cold against my toes as it permeated my shoes and socks. A single glance at my shoes was enough to tell me that they were not only ruined, but also coated in a fine layer of mud. With a deep scowl lining my features, I narrowed my eyes as my head slowly tilted up to look at Brianna's retreating figure.
My feet came free from the mud with two soft suctioning sounds. Just as I was about to turn around to grab another pair of shoes—preferably a pair of mud free ones—the bus turned the corner at the end of my street. For a moment I debated whether mud covered shoes would be a good enough reason to miss the bus before I made my decision and sprinted toward the house, leaving muddy footprints behind me. My feet slapped against the concrete until I hopped up the few steps to the porch and yanked my feet free of the muddy shoes in one fluid motion.
I was mere seconds from stepping into the house when I froze mid-step. My mom would literally kill me if I tracked mud through the house, no matter what the reason was. Glancing over my shoulder, I made eye contact with the bus driver who was stopped at the bus at the corner of my house. As the last kid boarded the bus, she sent me a self-satisfied smirk just before the doors closed and the bus pulled away from the curb.
A loud witch-like cackle came from my left, immediately gaining my attention. Brianna sat in the driver seat of her car with the window rolled all the way the down so that I was able to see her evil face more clearly. Her elbows were propped up on the window's edge and the gentle breeze blew at the wispy strands of hair that framed her face. I hated the fact that she was prettier than I was but I would never admit that to her. When we were in our prepubescent years, I was stick-thin and lanky whilst Brianna's only flaw pertained to the fact that she wore glasses. As soon as she ditched the glasses for contacts my self-esteem had plummeted to the ground.
I had never thought that I was ugly per se, but I had never seen myself as pretty either. I don't really seem to fit into either category. I'm just an average teenager, and I'm perfectly content in staying that way. In some ways it's a gift that I was born with normal looks. People like Brianna have to stress over potentially harmful hair chemicals, make-up that will definitely cause wrinkles in the future, and clothes and shoes that can break your neck or ensure that you will get hypothermia from the lack of warmth.
With a smile to myself, I focused my eyes back on Brianna who was giving me a strange look. For a moment I was surprised because this was not the usual, I-stepped-in-gum-look that she always gives me. This look seemed as if she was trying to figure me out. Before I could come up with a witty reply about her staring at me, she opened her mouth to speak.
“Thanks,” she mumbled under her breath, looking away from me.
I stared at her with a look of confusion, waiting for her to turn back and meet my eyes but she never did. What was she thanking me for?
“Get in loser,” she sighed; hooking a thumb over her shoulder to point at the seat behind her.
I glanced from her to the back seat with a dazed look on my face; slightly confused from her abrupt change in attitude. “I'm not a loser. Besides, I don't even have any shoes to wear.”
Brianna turned her head slightly, trailing her eyes from my favorite band T-shirt and all the way down to my mud coated socks. “If you're not a loser then you're a freak. Only freaks talk to themselves.” I bit my lip as I realized that I had been talking aloud. I tried to look nonchalant as her eyes met mine for a split second before she continued. “Get in. I'll just have Ella bring you some shoes out when we pick her up. You look about the same size,” she shrugged nonchalantly.
Although I desperately wanted to sprint away from Brianna's car and run to hide under my bed, I swallowed my insults and pushed my hatred back as I went to open the car door and slide into the seat behind her. After all, I needed a ride and she was offering. I would be an idiot to pass that up. As soon as I pulled the door shut, Brianna backed the car out the driveway and peeled off down the road.
The car was going so fast that everything outside of my window was one big blur. I grappled for my seat belt until my hand made contact with the cold metal and I heard the satisfying click as it came into contact with the holder.
“Slow your roll, speed racer!” I screeched, now fully aware that the only reason she had offered me a ride was so that she could ensure I died an untimely death.
The sound of Brianna's laughter filled my ears, but to my surprise, the car slowed down. “We're here already anyway.”
I looked to my left to see that we had pulled up in front of a house that was on the end of our block. The “For Sale” sign that had been up all summer now had a new sign in its place that said, “Sold!” in black, bolded letters. Standing on the porch steps was a skinnier and younger version of Lena, accompanied by a pretty brunette with her hair in a high ponytail. They jogged over to us with smiles on their faces.
Ella's hair whipped out behind her as she ran toward the car, bumping the other girl on the hip and giggling as she did so. Her pleated uniform skirt was hanging longer than usual and she had on a pair of Hello Kitty knee high socks. She yanked the passenger side door open with a little too much force than necessary.
“Hey,” she greeted, smiling sweetly at Brianna, and not noticing me in the back seat.
The brunette opened the door to the back seat on the passenger side and slid in next to me; a smile lighting up her delicate pixy-like features. Noticing me almost instantly, she waved, and her smile brightened showing off a set of deep dimples in her cheeks. “Hey, I'm Anya! Who are you?”
I forced a smile, now feeling the stares of all three girls. Brianna's was jaded, whilst Ella had a look of pure hatred on her face, and Anya was waiting patiently with her pink lips turned up into a smile. “I'm Violet. It's nice to meet you Anya. I've heard a lot about you,” I lied. In all honesty, I had never heard her name before in my life. Brianna had a new friend every day, and most of their names were simple, and sounded good when said in a cheer-like manner.
Anya smiled, “I've heard a lot about you too! You're all Brianna talks about lately. You're the girl dating Blaze, right? Is he really as hot as I hear he is?” Her eyes sparkled in the sunlight as she spoke.
I furrowed my brows as I said, “His name is Blake. And no; he is not as hot as everyone says he is.” My eyes snapped to Ella who sat in the front seat with her arms crossed over her chest as she glared back at me. I wonder what I did to piss her off already.
Anya laughed and waved me off with her hand. “I bet he's gorgeous.”
I turned back to Anya and smiled whilst nodding. “I think he is.”
“I think he is too,” commented Brianna from the driver's seat. “I also think we're gonna be late if we sit here talking all day.” She looked at Ella expectantly as she said, “Did you bring the socks and shoes?”
Ella's green eyes gazed at me with pure disgust in them. “Maybe I did, maybe I didn't.”
I saw Brianna roll her eyes in the rear-view mirror. “If you brought them then I'll let you borrow a pair of mine tomorrow.”
A groan escaped from Ella as she pulled the shoes from her bag and tossed them into the backseat; narrowly missing my body. “Don't ruin them,” she growled.
“I wasn't planning on it.”
Not bothering to reply to me, Ella buckled up her seat belt and started up a conversation with Brianna and Anya. Anya kept trying to include me into it but I was perfectly content with just relaxing on the ride to school. The only thing I heard was that Lena had missed the bus and had gotten a ride to school from her dad because her mom still wasn't “up to it”.
I zoned out and by the time we reached the school all of the buses had already left. The bell hadn't rung yet so there were plenty of kids still gathered around the courtyard. Most of them swarmed the car as soon as we entered the parking lot. I got a few surprised glances as I shuffled out of the car, but for the most part I was all right. Despite my feelings toward Brianna, I thanked her for the ride. She didn't so much as even spare me a sideways glance in response. All she did was wave me off like a queen would do to one of her more bothersome servants.
With a frown, I walked toward the gym with already aching feet. Apparently Ella and I don't wear the same size shoes after all.
The steady rhythm of my feet slapping against the spongy pavement of the track was oddly calming. Even with the constant shouting that was coming from where Ms. Botch stood on the field, I was able to focus on the empty track ahead of me. The wind blew at the wispy strands of hair that framed my face and left my nose feeling numb from the chilly morning weather.
Yesterday the weather had been bearable. The usually chilly morning air had been gentle and warm against my skin, and yet today the air was at a new morning temperature: cold. Mother Nature needs a good slap across her face for not being able to make up her mind about the weather. Lucky for her, I’m more of a lover than a fighter. Well, occasionally I am.
A sharp jab in my side pulled my thoughts back into reality. When she noticed that she had my attention, Brianna raised her hand so that her slender fingers were high in the air and in a split second, her hand made contact with the back of my head. Her sudden action caused me to stumble forward for a moment, losing my slight jog as I began rubbing my head in disbelief.
“Sorry Violet, my hand slipped.”
“Yeah right your hand slipped,” was what I wanted to say but instead I just ignored her and began jogging again at a steady pace. Ms. Botch had made Brianna, a few other girls, and me run extra laps because when we ran our first few laps around the track, we had cut across the football field. So in order to teach us a lesson about cheating, she forced us all to run an extra five laps while the other students got started in learning some new football techniques.
Next to me, Brianna tapped on my shoulder in an attempt to get my attention again. When I didn’t respond, she sighed heavily and from the corner of my eye I watched her shrug her shoulders. I took her actions as a sign that she had given up on messing with me. This thought alone, brought a small smirk to my face. At least it did for a short time period until I felt a something cold and wet being stuck into my ear.
As an instant reaction, I yanked my head to the side and brought my elbow back hard and fast; slamming it into the arm that was poking the wet finger into my ear. I heard a guttural groan of pain come from Brianna and I couldn’t suppress the smile that formed on my lips. Brianna grabbed onto my upper arm, pulling me to a stop and forcing me to look at her.
“I was just trying to get your attention, freak. No need to get all handsy.” Her blonde hair sparkled and shone in the little sunlight that was escaping through the holes in the clouds. She offered me an awkward smile that made her eyebrows raise to an unnaturally high spot on her forehead and gave off the appearance of a surprised grimace.
“What do you want?” My words came out a bit harsher than I had intended them to but now that they were out there, I wasn’t taking them back. To enhance my words, I crossed my arms over my chest; trying to give off that, “I’m a bad ass,” look but most likely failing and looking more like a rebel wannabe than anything else.
Brianna smirked and tilted her head to the side as if she was surveying me. Her hair fell to the side and hung like a curtain as she said, “I wanted to see if you wanted to race me to the finish line.” She smiled deviously at me as she waited for a response but she didn’t get one.
In response to her suggestion, I sprinted away from where she was standing. My arms propelling me forward as I pushed my feet faster and focused on the track ahead of me.
“You little cheater!” came her voice from behind me.
I wanted to respond to her, but instead I just kept running. I never was one of those talented multi-tasking people who could run and talk at the same time. The footsteps from behind me grew louder and almost immediately, Brianna sprinted past me; her feet clomping heavily against the track. I felt my breathing hitch as I pushed myself to run faster.
I tried to ignore the shock of pain that burst through my abdomen. I tried to ignore the fact that my ponytail was falling lower and lower on my head with every step I took. I tried desperately to ignore the fact my class was now cheering for Brianna; with the exception of Lena and a voice that I couldn’t quite match to anyone I knew. Instead, I focused on the blonde ponytail that was bobbing just a few feet ahead of me.
I knew that I couldn’t let Brianna beat me. If I did, I would be hearing about it for the rest of my life. She always beats me and never fails to forget a single moment where she has surpassed me in something. Sometimes it’s even something stupid, like our test grades. Everyone knows that I’m a bad test taker and yet she still tries to compare mine to hers. A grin spread over my face as I thought about how amazing it would feel to finally beat Brianna at something for once.
With one hand pressed firmly to my aching side and the other pumping back and forth as I ran, I managed to catch up to Brianna. We ran side by side and I didn't even attempt hiding the goofy grin that had broken out across my face. Next to me, Brianna's footsteps faltered, giving me hope that I would win. I could clearly see the thick white line that stretched across the black track. A few more feet and I would be crossing the line with my hands held high into the air, and a winning smile on my face while my classmates cheered my name loud enough for it to echo inside of Brianna's empty skull.
That was what I hoped would happen, until a sharp elbow came flying into my already aching torso, nailing me right in the ribs. I gritted my teeth as the pain overwhelmed me. A whoosh of breath escaped from my mouth and less than an inch away from the finish line, I collapsed to the ground, landing with a loud thump as I fell to my knees with both hands clutching my stomach. Through teary eyes I watched as Brianna skipped over the finish line, her pale ponytail bouncing as she danced with glee.
I heard someone shout my name but I was too busy trying to keep the angry tears that were forming in my eyes from falling down my cheeks. Two feet entered my field of vision and before I saw her face, I knew it was Lena. She squatted down in front of me and took my hand, trying to help me up. My stomach lurched as I stood, but the air had returned to my lungs. Lena stared at me curiously with her eyebrows furrowed at the top of her head as if she was trying to solve a complicated math equation.
When her eyes met mine, her facial expression changed and a questioning look crossed onto her freckly face. Knowing that she was silently asking if I was all right, I nodded and reached a hand up to wipe at a stray tear that leaked from my eye. The fact that I was crying only made me angrier. I absolutely hate crying in front of people, and I hate the pity that others give you when you cry at any public place; school being the main one.
Lena reached up and tucked a curly piece of red hair being her ear. “What the hell happened to you, Forrester? All of a sudden I see you dropping to the ground and Brianna sprinting across the finish line.”
I stared at Lena in obvious disbelief. She had to be kidding me. She didn’t see Brianna stab me in the ribs with her bony elbow? How did she miss that? Deciding to voice my thoughts, I say, “You didn’t see Brianna elbow me?”
Lena’s eyebrows slid lower on her forehead as she squinted her eyes at me. “She did what?”
I guess she really didn’t see it then. “When I was about to win she elbowed me and sprinted ahead.” My eyes flickered to where Brianna was standing a few yards away. She was surrounded by our classmates with a smug look adorning her face. From the look of it, they were all congratulating her; with an exception to Ms. Botch who was trying to return order to the class.
“She cheated. I was ahead, and she hit me so that she could win.” I groaned
Lena frowned, turning away from me, and before I could stop her she was already shoving people out of the way as she stalked closer to Brianna. To my horror and slight amusement, I watched as Lena’s fist made contact with Brianna’s stomach. Brianna’s body tilted forward at the same time that Lena leaned over to whisper into her ear. I made sure to take a mental note to ask Lena what it was that she had said. By the time that she had stood up, Ms. Botch was already standing right next to her.
I walked closer so that I could hear the conversation, stopping where the rest of my classmates were standing. I smiled when Ms. Botch told Brianna to man up and walk it off, but when Brianna whined about how Ms. Botch could lose her job for disregarding an “injured” student, the smile slipped from my face. When Ms. Botch assigned Lena a detention and sent her to the front office with a note explaining the situation, I was worried that Lena would get into trouble for standing up for me. Before she was out of hearing distance, I shouted out her name to get her attention, but when she turned around she just gave me a thumbs up and a weary smile before she continued on her way to the office.
The rest of class went by pretty quickly. Seeing as how Brianna was sitting on the sidelines due to “injury” I was paired up with a different partner to practice throwing and catching. My new partner actually paid attention and didn’t purposefully chuck the ball at my head when I wasn’t looking. I definitely had no problem with getting a chance to work with someone other than Brianna the bitch Barbie.