"Hey Eve, you're looking sexy as today!" The voice from behind me says, slowly and cutely. Like someone's trying to sound younger than they are in reality.
I spin around on the crude plastic seat, tugging my "too long" pleated skirt down. My heart squishes in my chest, as I see it's the Slut Sisters.
They're not really sisters, but Lily and Amazon (her real name) are never apart. They're both sluts though, and dress like it. Both in exactly the same skin-tight, black skirts that just keep them decent, matching polo shirts that are always completely unbuttoned, revealing identical lacey bras directly from Victoria's Secret. Their hair, which would be nice if it was sleek and shiny, is permenantely pinned into a messy birds-nest on top of their heads, with an inch of brown "regrowth" poking out under painfully fake-looking blonde hair. Identical orange faces from layers of foundation ending in a line at their chins, eyeliner that would make a raccoon proud, and foundation lips that give no definition.
"Thankyou." I reply, knowing that they're sucking up to me for some reason. I would tell them to get lost, but I've been brought up on a very strong set of morals. I may be a freak, but I'm a very polite freak.
"Can we borrow some money?" Amazon asks, attempting a smile that's supposed to be friendly, but in reality, it's patronising.
I should have known. It's always "Can we borrow some money" or "Got any gum?" with those two. With anyone for that matter. I do have a bit of money on me, but it's for Dance Club. I can't afford to give it away, or I'll lose my place. Thankfully, it's stashed in my shoe, where it won't be stolen.
"I'm sorry, but I don't have any on me. If I did, I'd lend you it, but I don't, I'm sorry." I lie, as I know what they're like. They'll take a penny off a homeless person to spend on their seventh designer bag.
Their faces fall as one, and the corner of Lily's mouth turns upwards in a sneer. I've really pissed them off, and I know I'm going to be sorry.
"Liar! You've got tonnes of money at home, lezzie bitch!" Lily shrieks, pushing me hard in the chest. Her fake fingernails dig in, and it bloody hurts.
"Yeah, at home, not here! And I'm not a lesbian, I'm bisexual. There's a difference." I reply, holding on to the spot where she pushed me.
"No there isn't. You'd still bang every girl you lay eyes on." Amazon says, punching me in the chest, just as hard as Lily pushed me.
"Oww, that got me right in the chest." I moan, as it hurts like mad. I'm going to have a bruise there later today. My pain sends them into an array of giggles. They laugh behind their hands, like those girls you see in Japanese anime.
"Yeah, don't touch her boob, Amazon. She might think you're hitting on her." Lily laughs, nudging Amazon playfully.
"I don't know what you mean, Lily. There's nothing there to touch." They both erupt into uncontrolled laughter at my expense.
"Yeah, but I'd never hit on a pair of slags like you." I mutter to myself.
"What was that?" Lily snaps. Her eyes are like little glints of pure menace.
"I didn't say anything." I reply. I do love Drama lessons, as they help you get away with cheeking the two meanest girls in the year.
"Yeah, well keep it that way. Shut that girl-kissing mouth of yours." Amazon snaps, flicking me hard on my lips with her Wolverine-style talons.
"Alright, let's make a deal. I'll keep my mouth shut, if you two keep those things shut." I reply, pointing at their exposed legs. I shouldn't have said it, but I detest direct homophobia. I can forgive ignorance once, but direct homophobia is unacceptable.
Lily clenches her fist, and I swear that she's going to punch me in the face. Go ahead, slut. Any mark you make on me, will be evidence.
She doesn't punch me. Instead, she picks up the pasta and bolognese that was my lunch, holds it above my head for a split second, then turns it upside-down and mashes it into my hair. I'm covered in overcooked pasta, blood-red sauce, and the crushed cardboard pot.
"Think that'll make a good picture for my Facebook wall, don't you?" Amazon takes out her Blackberry and holds it up, "Say, "pasta", freak!" She snaps the photo, as Mr Short, the 6 foot 7 inches tall (ironic, I know) head of year 8, finally intervenes.
"Right, you two can come with me. You've both got an after-school detention, and isolation for the rest of the day and tomorrow." He takes their wrists and drags them off to the isolation room. "Eve, I'll email your tutor saying that you're cleaning yourself up." He says over his shoulder, before Lily chips in.
"The filthy freak'll never get clean. I bet she never washes." She shrieks, loudly enough for the whole canteen to hear.
"And that's another after-school detention for you, Lily Maulson." Sir adds, dragging them away.
I breath in deeply, order the tears to stay put for 5 more minutes, pick up my bag, and head down to the Sports Hall Ladies Changing Room and Showers.
On the way there, I get a few looks, but I tell myself not to worry. Just act like wearing a pasta pot as a hat is the latest fashion. You're totally hip, and Lady Gaga would be so jealous of your quirky style.
"Nice hat, sex-on-legs!" Someone catcalls, and I forget all the hipness. I just bolt for the changing rooms at full speed. The tears can't wait either, and soon, they're mingling attractively with powder, mascara and lipstick on my face.
I charge blindly into the (thankfully) empty changing room, strip down to my cheap cotton underwear, decide that it doesn't matter, strip completely naked, hide my bra and panties in my bag, then whack the shower on and dive behind the privacy wall for a good clean-and-cry.
I don't know what it is about hot water running through my hair and dripping on the terracotta tiles (with little pieces of grated cheese and pasta pieces floating in the water) but it makes me able to put all my problems into perspective. All i need to do, is get myself bolognese-free, change into my crappy (but clean) Sports kit, reapply my makeup, and things'll be ok. Just ducky.
I run my hand through my hair, removing the worst of the gunk. It splats on the floor, mixing with the water to make a "delicious" mix that looks like puke. As it smacks down, the changing room door creaks, and there's the pad of ballet-flats-on-floor, before a pretty asian girl sticks her head around the privacy wall.
"Hey, you know the bell went about ten minutes ago? You shouldn't be in here now." She says.
I feel myself going red, as I try to cover myself with my hands. This girl has a striking resemblance to a famous dancer, Sofia Boutella, whom I personally have a huge lesbian-crush on. She has almost exactly the same skintone, high cheekbones, brown eyes and long, black hair (except Sofia doesn't have blonde ends). She sees my embarassment, and breaks into a friendly grin.
Not the fake-friendly, I mean genuinely I-Want-To-Help friendly.
"I'm kidding with you, don't stress. I got you something." She slides two travel-sized bottles of shampoo and shower gel over to me. "You never know when some gay-basher will dump boiled roadkill on you, so always come prepared. Trust me, I've been there."
I'm completely stunned. This beautiful, friendly girl, is gay like me? "Thanks, I'll remember that." I go really red, as she's looking at me naked and covered in pasta. She probably thinks I'm a freak aswell.
"Hey, I know it's tough, but you've gotta be tougher. Keep your head up to the sky. Keep your mind up, stay alive." I notice that she's now rinsing out my hair, and quoting lyrics from one of the best songs ever.
"Is that from Keep Your He-"
"Keep Your Head Up? Yeah, it's a pretty deep song. You probably think I'm strange because I like that type of song, and the artist."
"No, not at all. I'm just amazed that I'm not the only one who still likes Michael Jackson. I thought I was alone." I say, as her delicate hands scrub in the shampoo.
"You are not alone, didn't you listen to him? I'm Gina, by the way. Gina Clokonson." She introduces herself, singing along to the four words that give him a boost to musical immortality.
"I listened, as I am here with you. I'm Eve, by the way." I continue the song, as she smiles. I don't have a very tuneful voice, but familiar lyrics are a big help.
"Pleased to meet you Eve. I think that's the worst of it out now. I'll leave you to do the rest, as that would be awkward."
Yeah, it would be." I stop for a minute, then realise something that would be perfect for her, "Do you know the Dance Club, that's on today?"
"No, what about it?"
"Well, there's a contest going on in three weeks. The theme is "Icons Of Dance" and, we got chosen to represent Michael. You feel like joining?" I ask, feeling shy.
"Hell yes! I'll be there." She takes her soapy hands out of my hair, and ducks back behind the privacy wall. "I guess that I'll be seeing you there then?"
"Yeah, you will be." I call over the rushing water.
"Great, so, see you later."
"Bye." I call, as her now-sodden shoes squeak across the changing room floor. The door creaks open, and then closed, as Gina leaves. I stand dripping in the shower, trying to make sense of all this.
Do I...actually have a friend?