Release Me Chapter 7- Next to You


I carefully stepped out of my second period class and checked if the William express was around. It was not, so I walked down the hall in my search for Anna. I had thought about asking her to go to the last game of the regular season. Since our school was out of the running for state I had to wonder if it would only be the two of us, the pep band and the cheerleaders. It would be cold, as it it usually became that time of year…except when I was next to Anna.
I didn’t feel cold when I was around her…I chalked it up to feelings I had never felt before overriding any sense of freezing I should have felt in my fingers. The more I thought of it, the more again I had those ideas of the future. It was possible that, maybe, we wouldn’t have to work for a while and could continue to go to school after graduation. I frowned at myself for thinking that I could leech off of her family, but, if I could show that I wanted to do something with myself, that I wanted to be successful and that was only going to happen if I could see Anna.
I frowned ever more as I saw Anna talking with William. I wanted to swing my backpack and throw it David and Goliath style at his head. He only had one hand free, so if I surprised him then maybe he’d fall. I could only see his face as Anna’s back was turned to me. He motioned to Anna and she must have said something that annoyed him as he scoffed at her. I could have flung my textbook at him.
“Him, huh?” William replied to her.
“Yes, him. Why is that any of your business?”
“Because he’s a clumsy loser.”
You accidentally slam into a door, slip on spilled milk in the lunchroom, and later trip over a pair of crutches and you’re forever branded with a scarlet “L”.
“At least he doesn’t use others.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Where’s Susan, William? What happened to her?”
“I don’t know. She didn’t want to stick around,” William replied as Anna handed her books over to me.
“Well bless your heart, William. You don’t have to beat ‘em off with a stick when you can just beat them, right?”
William’s expression turned from confused to annoyed and finally to pissed.
“You best shut your mouth.”
“I don’t think I will, William. See, I know bruising and Susan had a few.”
I think my face was just as shocked as William’s.
“I’m also aware you skipped first period and now your new friend, Jenny, is now, mysteriously not standing next to you. What would she tell me?”
So that was her name.
A small crowd has gathered around us. I wondered if William—who I couldn’t imagine would ever strike a girl less than a quarter of his size—would take any aggression on someone’s locker or me.
“I think you better shut your mouth. You don’t know anything about me.”
“Oh, I know all about guys like you, Billy. You don’t have the sense God gave a goose, but you’ll prance around like a poorly-trained bird dog with a duck in his mouth.”
“Watch it, girl.”
“Don't let your bulldog mouth overload your hummingbird butt, Billy.”
“My name is William, bitch.
“And mine’s Anna Renee Joel. I can spell it out for you since you’re a tad slow.”
William threw his books and the one crutch down and moved toward Anna. She side-stepped around him and shoved him down. If I had not been there, I’d would have said that it was impossible to get around William Riffle, much less shove him down. He went down hard enough to get the attention of everyone in the hall. The silence was deafening as all eyes were now on Anna.
Anna kneeled down next to William and whispered something in his ear before standing up and walking back to me. She didn’t look nervous or flustered, and her hair was in perfect order.
The hall was still quiet, and William remained motionless for a few seconds until he moved his arms and legs into a crawling position. I looked at Anna as I handed her books back to her.
“He’s not going to get up right now,” Anna said as William’s arms gave up and he fell to the floor again. “I saw someone had a doughnut; they serve doughnuts here?”
“FBLA sells them for their parliamentary procedure debates.”
“Interesting,” Anna replied as we walked down the hall to grab said doughnuts.

It didn’t take too long before someone from the office tracked Anna down and escorted her to the principal. I wanted to come to give her some back-up, as I saw everything, and the other was to make sure William wouldn’t retaliate by coming after me. Mr. and Miss Joel arrived later along with Mr. Riffle. I was told the meeting was calm with the principal nodding a lot and Mr. Riffle shaking his head in disgrace on what had happened. William sat in the corner of the room with an ice pack on his head. The Joels, including Anna, then walked out of the room, into the hallway and gave Anna a hug before leaving the building.

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This story is 927 words long.