They sashay up to me, all three of them with beaming smiles; the sort you'd see on billboards. Hips swinging, blonde hair swaying behind them... There's nothing you can call them other than perfect.
And then there's me.
I smile too, my lime coloured braces reflecting the light at odd angles, my dark hair a frizzy untamed mess. I can't get a comb through it, and to be honest, I'm scared even to try - I don't know what's hiding in there after all. Rats. That's what my sister says. Or mice.
I take a deep breath and look up at them, towering above me. I'm short for my age, but I daren't wear heels of any sort seeing as it's against our uniform regulations. Not that these girls seem to pay any attention to uniform regulations. "Hey. Keira. Ashlin. Arianna," I say, noting them each in turn.
"What's up?" asks Ashlin. I blink through my glasses, immediately on my guard. All three of them are known for having sharp tongues, sharp enough to cut deep down into any teenage girl. I'm normally left to myself, wary of the make-up obsessed barbies I see the rest of my year as, and now my eyebrow is still raised, my protective barrier lifted.
I stay silent.
"Hey? Did you even hear me Ethel? I said, what's up?" she tries again, saccharine smile still perfectly in place.
I make no response.
Ashlin lifts her hands, exasperated. "It's only a simple question you know. I thought you were meant to be clever!"
Clever. In my school, I'm classed as clever, though I know I'm nothing compared to all the snobs at my old school. My best friend Clementine's school. Sorry, let me rephrase that. The person who USED to be my best friend, Clementine, until I moved school and she never bothered to contact me once. You know what they say, old wounds hit hard. They hit even harder when the wounds are young and fresh.
I look down at my shoes. They're scuffed at the toes, and not particularly interesting, but tears are burning my eyes and I don't want the other girls to see, don't want the rumour to spread round that I'm a crybaby. I had enough rumours at my last school.
Meanwhile, Ashlin is still talking, biting her lip in a way I guess is meant to be endearing. "Wait... I didn't mean that to be mean, you know that? I haven't upset you have I? It was only a joke Ethel!"
I don't reply, continue staring fixedly at my feet.
When I look up I am all alone again, so I shrug, and make my way down the corridor to history.