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Synopsis: Alex goes to school with a plan, but some run-ins with some a few people throw her off course
Authors note: I'm eating pizza! :D
Thanks for all of the support on the past chapters! It's the fuel that keeps my writing engine running!
I hope you all enjoy this one! Comments and kudos are appreciated!
Chapter 11: A pleasant school morning
I somehow managed to make it to school before classes started, although only barely. By the time I reached the row of oak trees behind the front gate there were only five minutes left before classes started and my injured leg was killing me. My knee was a burning circle of pain that was sending little streaks of lightning throughout my thigh and if Rise Grammar had been just another block away then I doubt I’d have been able to make it. I really should have been at home resting…
The year eleven lockers were in a long hallway connected to the IT building, which thankfully wasn’t too far away. I carefully rubbed my sore knee and began hobbling my way there, having to move around quite a few students as I did so. Yesterday Jen and I had gotten to school after classes had already started so things has mostly been quiet, but now there were people everywhere. There was a constant stream of students coming in front from the front exit, as well as a few sitting amongst the oak trees talking animatedly to each other. And when I reached the plaza it was a mess, full of teachers yelling at students who were being too rowdy or had uniform violations, such as girls wearing nail polish or boys with untucked shirts. If one of them noticed that I was in the sports uniform then I was going to have to explain why and I really didn’t have the time to waste on that. I was pretty sure that I needed a note from the school nurse or mum explaining about my injuries and I didn’t have either, so I was going to have to avoid notice.
Luckily, my small stature made me easy to miss and I stuck close to a group of older boys as they passed through the plaza, and I broke off from them as we reached the classrooms on the other side. The IT building was to the right, down a covered path that cut through a group of art buildings, and as I hurried down it someone shouted out my name. I blinked and looked around, but there were so many students walking down the path with me that I didn’t see who had called my name, and I didn’t recognize the voice. I couldn’t imagine what a stranger would want with me so continued along the path, but before I could even take a step someone tapped me on the shoulder and said my name.
I spun around and blinked in surprise as I saw girl from yesterday standing behind me, the one who’d come out of the nurse’s office and argued with Jen. Annie or something? She looked better than she had yesterday, as her blue eyes weren’t swollen red from crying and her long black hair was tied back in a loose ponytail that trailed over her right shoulder.
‘You’re Alex, right?’ her eyes narrowed and she crossed her arms under her chest. She wasn’t wearing the school’s blazer and her long-sleeved white shirt was untucked, its ends running down the front of her black skirt and admittedly looking pretty cool.
I tore my eyes away from her clothes and looked up at her. ‘Yeah, I’m Alex. You’re-’
‘Anya,’ she finished for me and jerked her head so the ponytail fell behind her back. ‘I want to talk about yesterday.’
I forced myself not to grimace and shook my head. Anya had been pretty awful yesterday and I really didn’t want to talk to her, especially when I needed to find Jen. ‘I’m sorry, but I ne-’
‘Why was Jen being so nice to you yesterday?’ she cut in, her voice almost shaking with anger.
I blinked and took a step back, starting to get nervous. ‘What?’
‘Jen’s not that nice to just anyone.’ Anya’s arms tightened underneath her chest and a look I didn’t recognize crossed her face. ‘Especially not someone she’s apparently only known for one day! What’s going on between you two?’
I took another step back, confusion mixing in with the nervousness. ‘What do you mean?’
‘You know that she and I used to date, right?’ she stepped closer to me. ‘So what she does and who she hangs out with is very important to me.’
She leant down and glared at her. ‘Are you two dating?’
I stared at her in shock and then burst into a fit of giggles. ‘W-what? No! I only met her yesterday!’
Her face darkened as I giggled and she dropped her hands to her side, where they slowly clenched and unclenched. ‘So? She’s hooked up with people in less time than that.’
I blinked, not sure what to make of that. ‘Really?’
‘Yes. She’s hooked up with so many people…and I can’t…she won’t-won’t…’ Anya tapped her foot on the ground and looked to the side for a moment, biting her bottom lip. Then she shook her head and ran her hands through her hair, groaning angrily. ‘Fuck! I hate this shit! Why can’t everyone just leave her alone? Why’s everyone fucking with me?’
I swallowed and took a step backwards. I had no idea what Anya was talking about and I really didn’t want to. She seemed crazy and the last thing I needed right now was to get involved with someone like her.
‘Um, well, I need to g-’ I was cut off by her diving forward and grabbing me by the shoulders, her fingers digging into my flesh.
‘You know, you really fucked me over yesterday you little piece of shit,’ she snarled, shoving her face in front of mine. ‘If you hadn’t of been there then Jen would have talked to me and everything would have been fine! But it’s not, because of you! Another random fucking girl Jen’s decided she wants to fuck just to piss me off!’
‘Wha-I-I’m s-sorry!’ I squeaked in terror but she didn’t even seem to hear me.
‘Well I’m not going to let her! Or you! Or anyone else for that matter!’ her face shook with rage and thick tears started to fall from her eyes. ‘You and Andrea and Sophia and that fucking asshole Ashley can all fucking die for all I care! Just stay away from Jen! I need her and you don’t so just…just FUCK OFF!’
She shoved me backwards, hard, and I crashed onto the ground and tumbled onto my side. I let out a choked cry of pain and quickly pushed myself up into a kneeling position so I could see her, but she wasn’t following up her push with anything else. She was just staring down at me, her face a mask of hatred marred by tears.
‘Oh my god!’ gasped a girl who’d been watching us, and a few other people made concerned sounds as well.
‘Shit, man! They’re fighting!’ a tall boy exclaimed and suddenly more students were coming over, almost forming a circle around Anya and I.
My heart started to beat faster and I carefully got to my feet, unsure of what was going to happen. Anya was still glaring at me and seemed undeterred by the sudden attention we’d gained. Was she going to try and hit me? If so, would one of the students here intervene? I really hoped they would! Judging by her grip on my shoulders and the strength of her shove I wasn’t anywhere near strong enough to stand up to her. I looked around the crowd for a familiar face but all I saw were strangers, both boys and girls, all watching on with interest. There had to be about fifteen students watching at the moment, and more were joining them as they passed by. There were so many…
Too many. To my immense relief Anya finally seemed to notice them all and turned bright red as her body flinched slightly. She angrily rubbed her eyes and bowed her head, starting to shake even more, but this time clearly from embarrassment.
‘Stay away from Jen, or I’ll hurt you.’ she spat, and then charged past me and down the path leading to the plaza. I turned to watch her go as students quickly moved out of her way and a few of them voiced their disappointment that a fight hadn’t broken out, while others were still wondering what was going on.
My mouth had gone dry at her words and I just stared after her, feeling sick and dizzy. She was insane! I hadn’t done anything to her and yet she was acting like I was trying to ruin her life, just because Jen liked me? I couldn’t help that Jen liked me! Anya was way too attached to her! Creepily attached.
I really believed her when she said that she’d hurt me if I didn’t stay away from Jen.
But I wasn’t going to stay away. I needed Jen’s help, and if that meant being attacked by Anya then so what? If I didn’t get hormones then getting beaten up would be the least of my problems. And with Tom constantly harassing me it wasn’t like it’d be anything new. I could handle Anya, but I couldn’t handle not having hormones.
I scowled and then continued up the path, ignoring the few students that asked me what had happened. Anya had wasted way too much of my time already, and I needed to talk to Jen now more than ever.
I reached the IT building just as the bell rang, and I quickly rushed into the large silver building in the hopes of intercepting Jen before she went to class. It was unlikely that I’d be able to talk to her for very long, but at the very least I’d be able to ask her to meet me at recces. Freaking Anya! She’d totally screwed me over!
The IT build was a very large place, and had once been a library. It was two storeys tall and the centre was divided up into numerous computing rooms, with the outside area serving as locker bays intermixed with the occasional bathroom and teacher’s office. The bottom floor was where most IT classes took place, as the upper floor was for specialised VCE electives such as programming and digital design.
As soon as I entered the building I was greeted by the scrambled mass of hundreds of students talking to each other, and saw that the hallway was so full of people that it was going to be very difficult to find Jen. The school’s large wooden lockers lined the grey walls and on the other side of the long hallway I could just about make out the stairs leading to the second floor, and they were likewise covered in students rushing up and down them.
This was not going to be fun. I’d never been in here unless I had an IT class before and didn’t actually know where Ashley’s lockers were. She’d just mentioned at the start of the year that they were in here, but there were two floors worth of lockers and I was pretty sure the years tens ones were in here as well.
Uurgh! I could so easily miss Jen while looking for her! I was just going to have to push my way through the students and hope that I got lucky enough to stumble into her, or maybe even Ashley. She’d probably know where Jen was, or could at least let her know that I needed to talk to her.
I was about to begin wading through the students when a girl entered the door and walked past me, her dark red hair bouncing around her small shoulders. I looked briefly at her and then gasped when I realised that I knew who she was. It was the girl who’d been in the café with Jen yesterday! Soph…something. She’d know where Jen was!
‘Umm!’ I stepped forward but she didn’t notice me, so I skipped around a boy tying up his shoelaces and stepped in front of her. ‘Excus-gah!’
I noticed too late that she had headphones on and was looking down at her smart phone, so she didn’t notice me at all and crashed right into me. She backed up in shock and I somehow managed to keep myself from falling over, despite my injured leg.
‘Shit! Are you okay?’ she tugged her headphones out and stared at me in concern.
‘I’m fine!’ I smiled quickly and brushed my hair out of my eyes to see her better. She was just over a head taller than me and had a round, friendly face with light brown eyes and cute dimples. ‘Sorry! I didn’t realise you had headphones on.’
She studied me and a smile of recognition lit up her face. ‘Hey! You’re that girl from the café yesterday.’
‘I am! I’m Alex!’ I considered offering her my hand to shake but that seemed weird so I just smiled instead.
‘Sophia,’ she smirked and brushed her hair behind her ears. ‘Let me guess. You’re looking for Jen, right?’
‘I-yeah.’ I looked at her suspiciously. ‘How did you know that?’
‘Lucky guess,’ she smiled lopsidedly, putting her smart phone safely away in her skirt pocket. ‘She should be at her locker by now. I’ll show you where it is.’
I gasped and clapped my hands together excitedly. ‘Really? Thankyou!’
‘No problem.’ she nodded and began walking through the crowd, which was slowing thinning out. ‘Follow me.’
We didn’t get much of a chance to talk while we walked through the crowd, as people were constantly forcing us to separate so they could pass by, and people were talking and laughing so loudly that all I could really hear was mess blur of noise. When we finally reached the staircase the noise softened a bit and Sophia looked back at me with a smile.
‘So. Jen told me you’re going to work at the café with us.’
‘Oh, yeah.’ I blushed, not realising that Jen might have told some of her friends about that. I wasn’t sure if that was bad or not and didn’t have the energy to care right now. ‘You’re working there too?’
‘I am.’ she bounced up the wooden steps and I struggled to keep up her pace. ‘It’s kind of surreal, isn’t it? Working at a maids café. I used to think they were only in Japan, but apparently there’s a few in Melbourne.’
‘There are! I’ve been to one before and it was really good.’ I squashed myself against the staircase wall as a body thundered down them and almost hit me and was pleased to hear a teacher yell at him when he reached the bottom. ‘I can’t wait to see what Jen’s one is like. She’s taking me there after school and I’m really excited.’
‘You should be. It’s…brilliant.’ Sophia’s dark eyes shone seriously. ‘Like walking into another world. I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be like when there are actual customers in it. It’s going to be life changing for them.’
‘Yes.’ she laughed at my doubtful expression and jumped the last few steps onto the second floor. ‘You’ll understand when you see it. Oh! Have you gotten your uniform yet? They’re so cute aren’t they?’
‘I haven’t seen them yet!’ my heart leapt as I once again imagined myself dressed in a maids uniform. ‘I’m hoping that I’ll…get…to…huh…’
My voice trailed off into a strained squeak as I reached the stop of the staircase, and my heart crashed back down to earth so fast that my entire body shook. Walking towards me, deep in conversation with a teacher, was the absolute last person in the entire would that I wanted to see right now.
Grandpa. Grandpa! Holy crap! What was he doing here?
I froze at the top of the stairs and just stared at him, struggling to comprehend the fact that he was actually here, and that I’d run into him. He was dressed in a grey business suit and was holding a bunch of black folders, one of which was in the hands of the elderly teacher accompanying him. Like everyone in my family besides me, he was very tall. A large beer belly pushed up against his suit and made him look almost pregnant, while the rest of his body was thick and slightly droopy. He kept his greying-brown hair cut close to the scalp and had a mustache and goatee similar to dads. To my constant dismay he kind of resembled mum, as they both had high cheekbones and slight facial features, but his face was a mass of frown lines and wrinkles devoid of any beauty marks. He had a slight double chin too, and his eyes always had dark bags under them like he never got enough sleep.
He hadn’t seen me yet so I spun around and quickly squashed myself up against an empty locker, hoping that he’d be too busy talking to the teacher to notice me.
‘What are you doing?’ a tall boy using the locker next to me asked, looking suspicious. ‘That’s Reece’s locker.’
‘Oh.’ I whispered and turned my head slightly to look at him. He had a light brown complexion and large, expressive eyes underneath a messy black fringe. ‘Sorry, I’m…lost.’
‘Alex?’ I heard Sophia say from behind me, sounding confused. ‘What are you doing?’
‘She’s lost.’ the boy said, raising an eyebrow at her.
‘What?’ Sophia appeared next to the boy and looked at me in amusement. ‘That’s not Jen’s locker, Alex.’
‘She’s looking for Jen?’ he looked at me and then grimaced. ‘Oh. Another one, huh? How old are you?’
‘Huh? I’m thirteen.’ I said, distracted.
‘Wow. Another one from year eight, huh? I suppose it’s better than a year seven.’ he looked pointedly at Sophia, who shrugged uncomfortably.
‘Does it matter? She’s fifteen, not thirty.’ she muttered.
‘I’m in year nine, not eight. And what are you talking about?’ I asked, scared of drawing grandpa’s attention but unable to stay silent.
‘Nothing.’ Sophia said before the boy could reply. ‘Don’t worry about what Dale said. He’s bitter.’
‘Yeah. I’m just a bitter old man, aren’t I?’ he smirked and began to walk off. ‘But whatever. None of my business.’
I looked after him, something tugging at the back of my mind. Anya had said some weird things about Jen when she’d yelled at me that I hadn’t really thought about until now. She’d said something about me being another random girl that Jen wanted to…fuck…and that Dale guy had made it sound like people my age came looking for Jen a lot. Not to mention that Sophia had been able to guess exactly why I was in the IT building just from looking at me as well.
I…didn’t quite know what to think of all of that. I guess Jen dated a lot of girls my age? Did that matter? Dale had made it sound like a bad thing for some reason. I’d heard some of the kids in my class call some girl’s sluts because they slept with a lot of guys, but Ashley had told me once that there wasn’t anything wrong with that. So I guess Dale was just a jerk then. Maybe?
Ugh! It didn’t matter anyway! I was just going to ask Jen for hormones, not for a date. I was getting distracted!
‘Is that man gone?’ I asked Sophia, who was looking thoughtfully at me. ‘The one in the black suit?’
She frowned slightly but looked around the hallway. ‘No, he went down the stairs. Why?’
‘No reason.’ I carefully looked around the hall and was immensely relieved to see that grandpa was indeed gone. ‘Sorry! Where’s Jen’s locker?’
‘Right over there,’ Sophia pointed to the far end of the hallway, but I couldn’t make anything out. ‘Who was that man?’
I hesitated for a moment and then decided to tell her the truth. She’d been nice to me and I couldn’t see any reason to lie. ‘My grandpa. He’s…not a nice person.’
‘Ohh. Is he a teacher here?’
‘No. I don’t know why he’d be here.’ I shrugged weakly.
‘Well, if he was then he’s not anymore.’ Sophia smiled. ‘Come on, let’s go and see Jen.’
I pushed out thoughts of grandpa and Jen’s dating habits out of my head and focused on hormones. They were what was important, nothing else. I needed to focus!
As I followed behind Sophia we finally reached Jen’s locker, and she was indeed there. Leaning back against it while a taller, blonde-haired girl was pushing up against her. She was smiling softly and running her hands though Jen's hair while Jen grabbed her waist, her face flushed and her eyes wide.
I gasped as I saw them and a strange, lightweight feeling appeared in my stomach as my chest tightened.
To be continued!
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