This situation was going on since the first day of the season. I was never really popular among my classmates but at least they used to talk to me and we had a healthy, yet not actually truly friendly relationship. But things had changed since September. I could finally tell who was a true friend of mine and who was just pretending. I know that this has been said so many times that I'm not sure if it matters anymore to be mentioned, but when you are falling down and you need help, very few people are there to offer you a helping hand in order not to let you be consumed by the darkness. Also, you are able to distinguish the people who truly care about you. Most of the people who surrounded me are happy for my fall because everything's okay as long as they are not the one who is falling. They can actually reveal their true faces and feel honest with themselves.
The others simply ignore the situation as they think that it's none of their business. I might be too judgmental but if I want to be honest with myself, I have to admit that I would do the same thing as a passerby. I would just turn around. I wouldn't be that strong to face my school's clique. I couldn't. So the only thing I had done so far in order to cope with the facts, was just to ignore them and make myself believe that everything would eventually stop. I didn't want to look weak but I wasn't doing something useful to put an ending to this story. No, I was strong. I had to be.
And I had been warned.
All of my troubles officially started the previous June while we were taking our end-of-the-year exams. We were taking a final exam on mathematics and I was a little bit nervous about it although I had been studying hard all year long. I confess that sometimes I'm kinda nerdy, too. Our professor, Mr. Barns was really strict and he had told us that only the very well prepared students would pass the test. The others would have to take summer classes and that's really the nightmare of every one of us in the school, but I suppose that it is generally a nightmare for each and every student in whichever school. I mean, who would like to be stuck for the entire summertime into a classroom, doing revision, trying to catch his breath as the sweat finds its way to glue on your body? Especially when all of your friends are out of town having holidays or at home playing silly computer games? The answer does not need a second thought. No one.
As soon as I entered the class I was shown where I had to sit and I wasn't surprised that I had to sit behind our notorious school president, Pete Wentz, because we had to follow the usual alphabetical order. Grrr. It wasn't that I had something personal with the guy; I was actually thinking that he was really handsome. But he was so high on himself and he had a smirk on his face that was screaming from a distance ' I'm sexy and I know it' and I personally find that really arrogant and irritating.
We were given the questions and the exercises and fortunately at the beginning it wasn't too difficult. But when I went to the last problem my mind somehow stuck and I was trying to relax and see it later with more sobriety and brand new eyes. Suddenly Pete handed me a piece of chopped paper with the words 'give me your answers please' written on it. Wow I would never expect him to use the word 'please' in a sentence, let alone to me.
While I was confused about this sudden act and I was feeling a slight headache appearing, I saw a professor looking directly at me with a 'what's going on' expression clouding his face. I focused my gaze on the paper again and... Finally! I found the solution to the problem so I started writing it down as quickly as I could. After a few moments I got a new small piece of paper from Pete that said 'give me the answers, please. I can't solve them, especially the last one and if I don't pass I'll have to take that shitty summer course. I know you know the answers so give them to me. And who knows? I may even let you kiss me. (I know you want to) '. Oh my god! That was way too much! He thought that he would do me a favor! What a cynicism! I had a boyfriend! And what was he even thinking? That he could pay me? I wasn't a slut! Unlike the girls he was dating I wasn't! I was actually thinking that I would help him but not after that. I didn't want him to pay me for my services. I was so stupid that I would actually put myself at risk on getting caught for collaboration in a test and he thought of me that way! I was so pissed! So I quickly wrote down an answer to him saying' I'm sorry but I can't help you and even if I could I wouldn't.'
I handed him my answer and I watched as his face got really angry and somehow broken or disappointed. Then I heard the bell ringing and I felt the weight of tension flying of my arms. Saved by the bell, another cliché. I stood up and gave my test to the professor and then I left the classroom the fastest I could without actually running.
A few days after that incident, the results of the exams were finally to be announced. I had passed and I was feeling that all the hard work was somehow worth it. I had As and Bs and I was satisfied. But as expected, Pete hadn't. He failed only in mathematics, meaning that either he was pretty good at the other subjects or he had somehow 'paid' to pass them. Anyway, although he hadn't passed only one lesson he had to take that summer course that our school 'offered generously in order to help its students overcome their problems with their performance', as it claimed.
Even though he had got what he deserved I couldn't help but feel sorry for him as I knew that I could just help him. But either way he had to learn that in life you have to struggle to get what you want. Otherwise everything would have been easily taken for granted. When Jenna, Alex and Chad left, Pete came to me and I felt really awkward as he was approaching me with two disappointed eyes of a crying puppy. I turned around to leave but he caught my shoulder and told me 'I guess you can be happy now that I didn't pass because of you'.
I couldn't help but feel guilty. I didn't show him that and I tried to look cool. 'Pete, you didn't pass because of yourself, not because of me'. Any attempt to look cool just vanished. A wave of realization hit his expression for some moments, but then he continued, 'maybe you are right but you could have helped me.' He paused for a little and waited for a response. I didn't know what to say and his brownish- greenish eyes locked into mine. 'You are going to pay for it. No one messes with me. I am the president of the school and look what you are' he paused giving me a disgusted look from head to toe 'you are nothing'. He said each word one by one and I was shocked because he was somehow right. I found the tongue in my mouth and I responded with a rusty voice 'I am not afraid of you. Now I see that I did the right thing'.
He didn't give much attention to my words and he went on. 'You are going to pay for it. Be sure as hell that you will. And then I will help you as much as you did'. I found the whole threatening theme amusing. Was he even serious? Or was he trying to scare me? Either way he wasn't as intimidating as he thought he was. 'I already told you that I am not afraid of your stupid threats. But you aren't listening are you?' I was actually laughing while I was finishing my sentence. He gave me another confused look and then added plainly 'well then you should. Have a nice summer, Hayley!', he said sarcastically. 'Because this fall you will receive your pay back and then we'll see if you will be still laughing'. These were his last words and then he went away. I wasn't afraid of him and his stupid power that he claimed that he had.
Now I see that I should have.