Are all these clocks in the school going faster than normal? I check my sad excuse of a phone in my pocket; nope, Father Time just hates me as much as Ethan does. I can’t believe five classes have already flown by; each class racing against the other to see who could get me beat up the fastest. Only a few more minutes till lunch; the very thought of it making me shudder. I flip my phone shut and place it back in my pocket; making note not to draw attention to myself.
I straighten my back the best I can in the desk and try to pay attention to Mrs. Libs; but I can’t help but let my eyes wonder after a minute. Everything was just as it usually was; smarty’s in the front and the jocks and cheerleaders in the back. My attention is drawn towards two particular populars in the back, who seem to be lustily kissing each other. My face shrivels up in disgust; could they not just get a room already?
My gaze slowly drifts back to the front, as I watch Penelope Felt madly scribbling down every word that comes from Mrs. Lib’s mouth. She was pretty low in the school food chain; but hey, who am I to talk; at least she had the smart kids to talk and hang with. I look down at my own position in the classroom; isolated and all alone; surrounded by piles of trash and paper airplanes that had been thrown at me.
Would they treat me this badly if Ethan left me alone? I can’t help but wonder this all the time. Do they treat me this way because it’s what he likes? Would they be treated this badly if they bothered to stand up in my defense? I try imaging someone, anyone, standing up for me, but it’s a hard thing to imagine, let alone visualize. Who would want to help me?
A loud smack of a ruler sounds next to me, and I give a little start, looking up at the person who slammed the ruler against my desk. Mrs. Libs stood above me with her tight-lipped scowl shining down on me; arms crossed with the ruler in hand.
“Miss Webber, have you been paying any heed to my lesson at all?” She snootily spits at me.
“ I’m sorry, Mrs. Libs; I just got distracted for a moment. It won’t happen again.”
“ See that it doesn’t, Miss Webber.” With that, she trots back to the front of the class and starts where she left off on our lesson. I can hear kids whispers and snickers behind me, mocking me in a whisper, “ Poor, dumb Winter.” I tighten my hands at my sides, but let it go; there isn’t anything I could do about it.
I try my best to refocus on the lesson and Mrs. Libs; but again, only for a short while. Soon I find a fascination with Mrs. Lib’s lips, not paying attention to a single word she uttered, but watching her lips move. If she wanted to, she could change her name from “Libs” to “Lips”, I noted. They were wide and thin; always down in a distasteful frown; her fat tongue showing occasionally when she opened her humongous lips to speak. Did she use a Botox to get them that way? I stare at the rest of her tight features and decide that she probably got plastic surgery too.
Another paper flies across my vision and onto my desk; almost falling off. The paper has a small scribble on the front, indicating that it should be opened. I cautiously pick up the crumpled paper and slowly straighten it out; revealing a bold and scrawled message.
Can’t Wait Till Lunch. Ethan has some big plans for you
My stomach drops as I look over at Ethan’s accomplice; Vince, sitting across the room. Vince is Ethan’s number one man; he is usually always there to lend an extra flying fist or kick, when Ethan takes me down. He leans back coolly in his chair with a red head under his right arm; winking at me evilly once he catches me staring.
This is going to be a very, very, bad day. I lean in my seat and wait for the high-pitched bell that signaled lunch; the all to familiar sense of fear squirming in my gut.
I feel like throwing up once I step through the cafeteria doors; the eruption of teen’s voices hitting my eardrums. I tried delaying this as much as I could; getting out of class last, taking my sweet time in the restroom, and finally showing up last at lunch. The sadness at knowing that this was inevitable forced me through the doors, though.
The talk and laughter dies down a little, as I walk towards the line; doing my best to avoid everyone’s judgmental gazes. I take a deep breath to calm myself and grab a tray; proceeding to go through the line and pick up a cheeseburger with a side of fries. I grab a few more things, and by the time I’m at the check out, it’s dead silent; every single student staring at me. The lunch lady tells me my total and I hand her my money, my hands sweaty and shaking. Why were they all looking at me?
I pick my tray back up and hastily make a retreat to my back table, my nerves on the edge. What could Ethan have said to make them stare at me like this? I barely make it halfway before someone is towering over me; gripping my shoulders viciously. I let out a small squeal, and instantly cower under the scary, strong hands. I am to scared to look up, but I can already tell that this person was definitely not Ethan; Ethan wasn’t nearly as bulky or tall.
The pair of muscular arms lift me from the ground; making me drop my tray, as he throws me over his shoulder.
“ Please, please, please just put me down! Please! “ I cried as I pounded onto “Mr. Hulking Steroid’s” back. I could feel hysterical tears already springing out of my eyes; wherever this guy was dragging me, it wasn’t going to be good.
“ Shut up you… ” His rough voice shouts as I try to cover my ears from his vulgarity.
He didn’t carry me far before he threw me, like a rag doll onto the stage, at the front of the cafeteria. I landed on my back with a slam and I struggled to get air back into my lungs. I slowly raise myself to my knees and look out at the cafeteria in front of me; everyone was now standing right in front of the stage, as if waiting for a big show. With a sudden sense of dread, I realize I am the main event. The only question I had was: “ What exactly did Ethan intend to do to me?”
My question is answered very shortly after, when a figure pulls himself onto the stage; flexing into a fighting stance.
My eyes widen in fear and I try to crawl off the stage, but there are always a pair of hands to push me right back. I look back up at Ethan, who flashed me a sly smirk on his face as he began to advance towards me. My gaze whips across the cafeteria for anyone, anybody at all that looks like they could, or would save me from this. My eyes catch a flash of someone by the cash register and I snap my attention onto them; it was the lunch lady.
“ HELP!!! Mrs. Lunch Lady, help!” I scream at the top of my lungs.
The lady turns her attention away from a wad of cash in her hand, and onto me; concern showing in her old eyes. I feel a trickle of relief spread through me, as she began to make her way to the stage… but I should have known better. About fifteen feet away from the stage, Vince intercepts her. I can’t hear their conversation, but I can see her gesturing towards me, occasionally poking him in the chest; no doubt asking him what in the world was going on.
I can sense Ethan right above me now, leaning down to grab the collar of my shirt. He yanks me upward; making me fly to my feet, my knees shaking uncontrollably under me.
“ Please!” I beg in my mind. “Please just come save me lady!”
I divert my attention away from Ethan and continue to watch the lunch lady and Vince’s interaction; praying the whole time that Ethan didn’t hit me before the lady could hopefully stop him. Vince was starting to pinch the bridge of his nose in frustration from the woman’s ranting, and he started reaching into his pocket to grab something. Oh no, please don’t be a gun! She’s just a little old lady! Please don’t pull out a gun and shoot her!
He draws his hand back out, but there isn’t a gun, only a huge mound of cash. I knew Vince was rich; but I had no idea he carried that much money around with him. He grudgingly places the money in in the ladies hand and points toward the door. I can’t believe it! He’s bribing her! The old woman looks at the money in her hand, and then glances at me; going back and forth in her conscience on what to do. After a few moments, I see the old woman tuck the cash in her apron and exit the cafeteria; not even giving me a backwards glance. My heart shatters into a billion pieces and I let out a choked sob.
Ethan turns me to face him, a wide malicious grin gracing his features. I could see in his eyes, that he thought the display before us had been the cherry on top; watching me break even before he threw a fist.
"You see Winter? Nobody cares for white trash like you! Look at you, you're completely pathetic!"
No. He was wrong! Miss. Sheryll loves me! She's always there for me! I tell myself this, but it only seems like a very small speck of comfort at this point.
"Please, just get it over with Ethan." I whisper sadly as I close my eyes; prepared for impact. I hear a small intake of surprise; why is he always shocked when I say this? I've given up a long time ago.
With that; Ethan swings his fist into my face, making me stumble back. He quickly goes forward with a swift kick to my stomach; I grab my abdomen and double over. I can hear people cheer Ethan on as he continues to attack me; not even giving me a second to recover myself. He goes on without a pause in his actions.
I don't remember when I finally blacked out; but it came as a welcomed blessing when I finally did. The last thing I faintly remember is cracking my head against the hard floors of the stage, then being tossed into a trash can; where everyone went on to throw their left over food and garbage on me.