Ariel wasn't at school the next couple of days so, naturally, my being bullied had started up again and this time, it was worse than ever. I was constantly targeted each moment a teacher had averted their gaze to the board or when the halls were clear and when I came home, I was battered and bruised.
"Marcel, fix your shirt, it's crooked," My mother hisses once I step into the house. I find her in the kitchen, making dinner and fix my crooked shirt, the one that had been pulled at and dirtied from the punches I had taken after the bell and had tried my hardest to hide it from my mother by keeping my head down.
I scurry up to my room and before I could open the door, Harry stands in my way. "H-Hey H-Haz," I mumble, eyes still locked on the carpet as I try to stay casual.
"What happened at school today?" He asks, tapping his toe on the caramel carpeting I couldn't look up from.
"N-Nothing," I whisper. I wasn't about to tell Harry how the bullying had increased since Ariel left. I didn't want him to worry or say anything to anyone only to ruin his reputation. Harry deserved a good life with good friends and a healthy high school life. Considering the train I was currently riding, I would never have that luxury.
"Tell me, Marc," Harry presses, not letting it go. I straighten my tie and continue to stay silent, my words mired in my tight throat. "Look at me, Marc," Harry begs, words light and filled with worry. At this, I cave and meet my green orbs to his identical ones. When he sees the budding bruises lining my eye and jaw, his face softens before hardening with anger. "Who did this to you, Marcel?" He questions.
"I tripped," I lie.
"Who did it?" He questions again, voice stern as he catches on to my lie.
"Just some guys," I whisper. I was certain Harry knew who they were. It was Zayn, Niall and Louis of course and I still didn't want him confronting them for me. I knew they wouldn't be able to pumble him since Harry was bulkier than me, having been on the football team and they wouldn't dare to lay a finger on him yet I knew if Harry said a word, it would only worsen the problem. "Just don't say anything, Haz. They'll get bored with me eventually," I say, playing with my thumbs.
"That's the thing though, Marcel, they won't get tired of tormenting you. Niall, Zayn and Louis are assholes and have been bullying you for years. It's not going to stop now. I saw the way that Ariel seems to stop the bullying but now that she's been out for these past few days, I've seen it get worse again. I've watched this go on for too long and now we need to stop it,"
"What if she never comes back? What if she got sick of me so she left the school? She got my hopes up and then she stomped on my heart by leaving. She's meant the world to me although I've only known her for a day before she... left," I murmur. I felt so pathetic for saying all of this. I was a hopeless dreamer, Ariel probably wouldn't even remember my name by the time she came back to school. If she came back.
"She'll come back," Harry reassures me, slapping a hand on my shoulder and making my whole body jerk at the force. "Now come on, lets get some ice on your jaw so it'll stop swelling," He tells me as he tugs me along to the bathroom. I hadn't even thought about looking in the mirror, all I knew was that my face hurt like hell and I wanted it to stop. "I've dealt with this kind of pain thanks to football so I know how to get rid of it. You want to know my secret?" He asks, voice mischievous. I nod my head, trying hard to not grimace. "I take mom's Oxycontin," He smirks, handing me one of the pills.
I swallow it with a swig of water before Harry gets to work on my face. His hands move like hummingbirds, quick and delicate and by the time he's finished, my face has gone numb and the side effects of the drug had taken over. "I'm tired," I whisper, eyes beginning to droop.
Harry chuckles, helping me off the toilet seat and says, "It's the meds," I nod and walk to my room, shutting the door before collapsing on my bed and falling asleep.
Once the pills had worn off the next morning, my jaw had turned to a dull ache instead of a harsh hammer. For this, I was thankful and hoped it would stay that way instead of returning. I take another pill just in case and get ready for school, only hoping for Ariel to be back. Harry walks out of the house with me and even drives me to school in his car he had managed to wrack up the money for with his working at the local bakery.
"Y-You don't have to do this, you know." I tell him, adjusting the shoulder straps of my bag. When he looks at me in confusion, playing dumb, I say, "Being nice to me, letting me ride in your car, all of this. I don't want you ruining your reputation because of me." I mumble.
"I honestly don't care about my rep, Marc. Yeah, being one of the most popular guys in school with girls all over you is nice but I don't need any of that in my life to be happy." He tells me, sounding frustrated.
"I don't want to wreck your life, Haz,"
"Why do you do this, Marcel? Why do you think so lowly of yourself like all you do is destroy when really what you do is build bridges of hope for everyone else? Have you seen the way some of the students look at you in the halls? You're the most terribly treated kid in this school and yet you still manage to stay strong. Sure, you don't keep your head up, terrified that the boys' will scope you out but that's not really a bad thing. You're amazing, Marcel and don't ever think that I don't like being your brother because I really do,"
I am shocked by my brother's words and as we pull into the school parking lot, I say, "Thanks, Hazza,"
"Don't mention it," He smiles before the two of us get out of the car and head into the school.
I subconsciously scan the halls for Ariel and when I find Louis, Niall and Zayn at my locker, I freeze on the spot. "What's wrong, Marcel?" I hear Liam ask when he finds me in the middle of the hall, bug-eyed with fear.
"N-Nothing," I stutter.
"I can see the bruises on your face, mate. What's wrong?" He asks again.
I let out a sigh. If I didn't tell Liam, Harry would since they were close as friends could be so I may as well tell him. "Zayn, Louis and Niall are..."
Liam follows my gaze to my locker which they were still crowed around and he nods. "Let me walk you there, alright?"
I nod, feeling ashamed and I find myself saying, "Thanks, Liam,"
The two of us get to my locker and when the three of them find Liam at my side, Niall says, "What's wrong, Styles? Since when did you need a bodyguard?"
"H-He's n-not my bodyguard. H-He's my f-frien--" I start, getting cut off when the three of them start to laugh uncontrollably, clutching their stomachs with amusement.
"Liam Payne will never be your friend, Marcel. He just pities you, just like that girl Ariel does," Zayn says, smiling once he sees the pain and hurt washing over my face.
I spin on my heel, not wanting all of them to see me this way and head out to my tree, to break down. I knew no one would be out there since school was going to start in a matter of minutes and it seemed like the perfect place to be. My breathing is irregular as I sit down at the table, putting my head in my hands, tears streaming down my face. I knew she was pitying me from the start and Zayn pointing it out made it utterly real and that tore me apart. "Marc, what's wrong?" I hear Harry ask as he sits down at the table beside me.
I look up at him, seeing his worried gaze meet my watery one. "Z-Zayn said A-Ariel p-pitied m-me a-and I-I--" I errupt into a fit a sobs then, burying my face back into my palms and Harry pats my back to try and calm me as he thinks.
"This has gone way too fucking far," He hisses. "He can't use your one piece of happiness against you. You deserve to be happy, Marcel Styles and the only way you'll be able to do that is if those retched boys are out of your life," He tells me, red faced and angry before leaving the table and walking back into the school, ready to cause hell.