Picking the Wallflower

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Chapter 9

Excerpt

Blog post 2046, 17 November

Why did Gatsby have to die?

As we know, the book The Great Gatsby is a classic. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the roaring 20s, and the effects on the people around them. But why did Gatsby die? Surely, he should have lived. He was the main character in the story. Or was he?

You see, this is the big debate, for all of you who don’t care for classic novels. In a book named after one of the main characters, was Gatsby really the focus? Or was Nick Carraway actually the one who carried the story? After all, he could watch the descent into madness without becoming a part of it. He aspired to greatness, and yet pulled away when he realised it was a useless endeavour.

Nick was the real hero of the story. The underdog, the one who wasn’t really part of anything. He was the real hero.


Monday came around too quickly, and I slipped into my English class when Miss Partridge was looking the other way. I was already sitting when MJ finally arrived. He sat next to me, and smiled. I ignored him, jotting down notes from memory. Miss Partridge silenced the class. I put my pen down, and watched as Miss Partridge projected an image onto the whiteboard in the front of the room.

It was my most recent blog post, one in which I went into detail concerning my preference for Nick Carraway over Jay Gatsby. And now, Miss Partridge was using my notes as part of her lesson. She went on at length about the book and characters, while I tuned her out to make notes.

When I ran out of notes, I began transcribing whole passages from the book into my notes, just for something to do. Miss Partridge stopped talking, and I looked up. She was glaring at me. “Is there something more interesting going on there, Ms Oliver?”

I shook my head, but she had already stormed over to the desk I was being forced to share with MJ. She snatched up my notebook, and began to read what I had written. She glanced at me. “What’s this?”

I looked back at her. “I was taking notes about what you were saying, and using portions of the book to back up or disprove the theory.”

She shook her head. “Where’s your copy of the novel?” all of us had been assigned one at the beginning of the class.

“It’s at home, Ms.”

She scowled. “That’s impossible, Cassandra.”

I stood up. “It’s at home.”

Miss Partridge slammed my noted down onto my desk. “You’re lying.”

I scowled, pushing the items on my desk back into my laptop bag. I had better places to be than here, being accused of something I didn’t do. Miss Partridge turned back. “Where do you think you’re going, young lady?”

I kept my head down, and zipped my bag closed. I pushed past MJ, and headed for the door. Miss Partridge tried to grab my bag as I went past, and I yanked it from her grip. A blonde curl slipped from my ponytail, and slid down beside my right eye. I angrily pulled it away. “I’m going.”

I turned, and collided with the doorframe. Hard. Dammit! How could I be so clumsy? I shoved out into the hallway, and practically ran away from the class. I needed to get away from the laughing, and from the shame of being treated like I was a fraud.

Shoving the door to the girls’ bathroom open, I strode in and put my bag down next to the basin. A splash of reflected red caught my eye, and I turned fully to gaze into the mirror. Blood dripped from my nose, and from a gash on my cheek, and left dark stains on my grey shirt. I gently cleaned myself up, and winced as I touched my nose.

It hurt like a bitch. So now I was alone, bleeding, and angry. Shutting my eyes, I pinched the bridge of my nose. Crap! It hurt worse than before. It must be broken. Picking up my bag, I turned to leave. The blood still dripped from my nose, but there was no time to worry about that. I needed to get out before anyone saw me.

I eased the door open, and peered around it. Nobody was there. I breathed a sigh of relief, and started for the front door. The door was within my reach when I felt a hand grab the back of my shirt. I stopped, but didn’t move. The fear gripped me, my heart speeding up. I turned slowly. Behind me stood MJ, a neutral expression on his face. Well, it was neutral until he spotted the blood. He frowned. “What did you do? Is that from the doorframe?”

I took a step back. “I need to go.”

MJ tried to grab my hand, but I took a second step away from him. Without another word, I left. I needed to get home.

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