“Snickers” is a funny word. Just say it a few times. Snickers. Not only does it sound weird, it’s also a noun, a verb, and a rather delicious candy bar. The day after the weird incident in the hall with Tara before band, Zee was surrounded by snickers. Snickers and glares and whispers. None of them were delicious or candy bars.
This got rather annoying, so Zee was, understandably, quite ticked.
“What is she even saying this time?” Zee asked at the lunch table, violently crushing her daily turkey, cheese and cheeto sandwich.Zee didn’t have any classes with Tara, but Zoya did, so she heard things. Alice sat next to Zee, listening. She and Zoya shared a look.
Zoya sighed. “Do you really want to know?”
Zee nodded. She knew she should just ignore Tara and everything, but she felt like she was entitled to know what people were saying about her.
“Basically...” Zoya started, then stopped for a second to think. Whenever she started anything like this Zee felt like she was withholding some information from her, which Zee didn’t like. She knew that Zoya was just trying to preserve her feelings, but she’d rather know everything. “Well, basically she says that she was walking in the hallway yesterday when she came across you waiting for her. Then, apparently you stopped her, insulted her to her face, and walked away, leaving her crying.”
Zee’s stomach sank along with her reply. In hindsight, she did remember vaguely hearing something like crying as she walked away...the whole situation must have been a trap to get a plausible new rumor to spread about her.
“You okay?” Alice asked.
“No. That’s not what happened, and no, I wouldn’t say that I’m okay,” Zee said, biting her sandwich angrily. Zoya looked as if she thought she shouldn’t have said anything.
Alice patted Zee’s back awkwardly. “What actually happened?”
Zee swallowed and took a sip of her water before answering. “I was walking to band, she called my name from behind me, I stopped, she acted all nice and asked how I was. Naturally, this threw me off so I panicked, said ‘late’ and walked away.”
“I’m sorry, Zee,” Alice said, even though she had nothing to be sorry for.
“She’s the one who should be sorry!” Zee said, a bit louder than she intended to. A group of stupid-looking girls sitting up the long table looked at her and started whispering. They weren’t trying to be quiet, though, and despite the echoing din of the cafeteria, Zee and her friends could hear every word.
“That one’s the girl who harassed Tara.”
“Oh my god, really?”
“Yeah, she’s a total freak.”
Though Zoya, Alice, and Zee all three glared at them, nobody told them to stop, and so they didn’t, simply lowering their voices and turning away instead.
Zee pushed away her food, no longer hungry. Her friends tried to distract her with some conversation about the litter of kittens one of Zoya’s cats had had. Zee participated in the conversation, it helped to drown things out, but her focus wasn’t on it. No, Zee’s mind drifted across the room to the corner where she saw Jacob sitting quietly with his friends, earbuds in. She wondered if he would have stuck up for her and found that she had absolutely no idea.