I happen to be best friends with the prettiest - and most popular - girl in school, which is a nice position to be in. You don't have all the attention the most popular girl gets but you're in a stable social position and nobody would dare insult you because they'd have the most popular girl in school to talk to. I don't really talk much; just nod or shake my head, generally, occasionally adding fuel to the fire in certain conversations.
Nobody knows this but, at my last school, I got bullied. I got really bullied, to the stage of my head being dunked in the toilet. That's why, when my parents announced we'd be moving across the country, just under a year ago, I was determined to make the right impression. I made sure to say hi to everyone in my classes on the first day - determine who was popular and who wasn't. Then, I just continued a conversation with the people that rolled their eyes at me; eventually, they stopped rolling their eyes.
I notice Lana - my best friend - take some pills, and water, out of her pockets. She smiles at me, asking me if I want some, to which I reply with a confused "what are they?"
"Laxatives, of course. The ultimate dieting essential," she giggles, putting one-two-three into her mouth and downing them with water. I didn't know you were supposed to take that many.
"Um-" I hesitate for a moment, "-what do you think? Do I need to lose weight?"
"Of course," she replies with a smirk. "Everyone needs to lose weight."
"Just one, then," I say, not entirely sure about my decision. "Can I borrow your water?"
"Sure." I take the laxative, drink some water, wipe my mouth. "Now, do you want to bunk English - where we'll literally just be learning about Shakespeare [yawn] and Tessa will keep going on about her new boyfriend, again [slut] - or do you want to just make Mr Owens just livid?"
"Bunk, I say," I respond, smiling.
When the coast is clear, we move out, through the rush of people, and out of the back door. Luckily, the gates are always open to allow people in and out, but they're never under security, so our plan out is quite simple: run through the gate. That's it.
"Wait for me!" I call after my athletic friend, who is already out of the gate. I'm not made for running, I swear.
"Mark's already bunking - him and Joseph are gonna meet us by the train station!" Lana yells. Mark is her (not gonna lie) super-fit, totally-nice boyfriend. If she hadn't claimed him first, I'd have made him mine. Joseph is alright, but he can sometimes be annoying. Saying that, he is kind of hot.
She stops outside the gate, regaining her breath. I catch up with her and she smooths out her hair, which has become a mess thanks to our good friend, the wind. My hair is probably a mess too but I can't be bothered to check. I'm not as obsessed about my appearance as Lana is.
"Joseph's got a thing for you, y'know," Lana states whilst we're walking to the train station.
"Yuck," I say, monotone.
"He's not so bad, you know," Lana laughs. "If you tried getting to know him--"
"No thanks. Besides, didn't he spit at a year eight who got in his way the other day?"
"That's gross," I say, grinning. She looks at me for a moment before staring into her mirror.
"Ugh, I think I've got a double chin coming on - we better run the rest of the way to the train station," she mutters, sighing. She starts picking up the pace and I join her.
We sprint to the now-visible train station.
Mark, in appearance, is polar opposite to Lana: his hair is black whilst hers is blonde; his eyes are brown (chocolate...) whilst hers are blue; he's really tall, whilst she's rather petite. You wouldn't put the two together, but they are a sweet couple.
"Hey babe," he murmurs, deeper-than-normal (probably to seem sexier to her).
"Hi Anna," Joseph greets, looking directly at me. I suddenly feel very self-conscious.
"H-hi," I respond, rolling my eyes and hoping he catches the signal. He doesn't.
"How are ya?" he asks with a chuckle.
Silence. Mark and Lana are snuggling. Joseph is trying to send me secret signals, which I am receiving but pretending not to notice.
"Um, Lana," I eventually say, breaking the silence, "are we gonna do anything or-"
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" she interrupts. "Mark is just so... mesmerizing." She sniggers, plotting her hand in Mark's. "Let's go to the park."
Once at the park, there are several other groups of school-bunkers from all over town. I recognise a few, others not so much.
"Ugh, they've taken the swings," Lana grunts. "Let's just sit on the grass then, I guess. On the dirty, cold, horrible grass..."
"I'll deal with it," Mark says, walking towards the swings. "Joseph!" Joseph follows after. It is then that I realize Joseph is kind of his sheep, as I am Lana's. After a few minutes talking, some nods and eye-rollings, the people occupying the swings get off them and hurry away. Mark then calls us over.
"How'd you do it?" I ask him.
"Oh, er, nothing," he mumbles.
"It can't have been nothing, you're so modest," Lana says, sitting down on the middle swing. I take the one to her right and Mark takes the one to her left. Unfortunately, there are only free, which leaves Joseph standing awkwardly.
"Sit on my lap," Mark encourages, laughing.
"No," Joseph responds.
"Come on - be fun!" Mark chuckles.
"I'm fine standing."
"Are you sure?"
Joseph seriously lacks a sense of humour. I don't get how he's even friends with Mark - somebody so funny, so nice, so charismatic.
"I'll sit on your lap," Lana jumps in. "That way we can all get a seat."
"Sure," Mark replies, with a deep chuckle.
Joseph shrugs when Lana sits down on Mark's lap.
"You get a whole swing to yourself now, Jojo," Mark mocks. "Sit on it."
"Okay, fine," Joseph sighs, sitting down next to me. His too-long-for-a-boy hair touches mine as he sits down. I immediately repulse, accidentally falling off the swing.
"Are you OK?" Joseph inquires, looking down at me.
"I'm fine," I reply, pulling myself up.
"That was kind of funny though," Lana mentions. "Like, suddenly, you just fell off your swing."
I feel my cheeks go red and quickly reseat myself on the swing. Mark looks over at me and smiles. I smile back.
After a while, I get out my phone and look down at the time.
"It's three!" I exclaim. "I better go."
"Bye," the three of them murmur as I start walking away. I look back and notice Lana cuddle into Mark. The two of them then exchange a long-and-passionate kiss, which makes me turn up my nose slightly, in disgust.
For the remainder of my walk home, I text various different people from school, who are quite jealous of the fact we managed to bunk school. Most of them don't have the guts to even try.