Zee walked through the dull, echoey hallway, hugging her purple binder and her skinny flute case to her chest. Other kids surrounded her, all chattering and laughing loudly. She did her best to dodge all of them, ducking her head.
This was her least favorite passing time -going from math to band- because she had to walk through the part of the school where Tara had all of her classes. The [poor, innocent, victimized] girl's influence was greater here.
As she passed, one group of girls fell silent and watched, judging. Another two snickered, and a group of boys laughed.
"Hitting anyone with a car today?" One of the boys called, the rest cracking up like that was the funniest thing ever. Zee wanted to roll her eyes and say something clever back, but she just passed, her breath caught and the memory blurry.
The stairs leading to the band hallway below were just ten feet away, and Zee walked towards them fast, until she heard her name and stopped, whirling around.
She found herself face to face with a girl exactly her height, with greasy brown hair and faded pink highlights. Her sweatshirt was stained and teal, and her eyeliner was a sloppy, ridged line.
"Hi, Zee," Tara said, a sinister undertone to her cheery voice. "How're you?"
"Late," Zee scowled and turned to walk to the stairs leading to her refuge, heart beating fast. Tara had some nerve to try to have a friendly conversation with her after all the horrible things she’d said. Zee sped up. She could feel her pulse in her temples. Behind her, she vaguely thought she heard something like someone crying, but she was too dazed, angry, and confused to look back.
Soon enough, she stepped into the band room and assembled her flute wordlessly before joining the cacophony of the other students warming up their instruments. As she played her memorized version of “Do a Deer” at an aggressive tempo, she calmed down a bit. She’d be okay in time. Probably.