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Chapter 4 – Malicious Pyper

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Pyper is on a path of war, while I’m struggling to ignore the throbbing headache that I have ever since Luke hit me against my cheekbone.

Let’s just say yesterday, after their ambush, it took me hours of scrubbing in the shower to feel better. My skin ended up red and scratched by the intensive scrubbing and the long time spent under a hot shower stream.

Mom had to come into school to look for me and it had been the janitor who found me in the corner of the bathroom stall, crying my eyes out, shaking uncontrollably, mumbling all kinds of incoherent things, in total panic.

Eventually, mom made dad come home early from work to help get me home.

I debated on staying home today, but that would simply be another victory to Luke and Jimmy. I have to go and run the day the way I’m supposed to run the day. If Pyper is capable of going to school, this soon after being in hospital for treatment, I should be able to go to school despite the bruising on my cheekbone.

But, nonetheless, I’m a bit worried about Pyper. She has been marching through the house as if on a mission, after she found out exactly why mom and I didn’t come home in the regular time, dad in our company once we eventually did show up, me a complete mess, my mom crying.

Dad had been shouting in anger over what happened, and over the fact I refused to tell them who did this to me.

They’ll be having a meeting with the principal first thing today, going in to demand things to change and them to take action for the bullying they’ve been ignoring for years.

They do every so often give detention to people who call me names, but never have they really taken any action to stop the tormenting.

Not that I ever requested them to take action, but that’s not the point.

My parents are obviously fed up with it.

And so is Pyper.

After she put out my outfit of the day, she left to school early and I can’t help but wonder what she’s going to do. I didn’t have to tell her who did it. She knew as soon as she saw me scratching my arms in an attempt to scratch off the germs. She knew when she saw the bruise on my face, my dishevelled hair, the fear in my eyes.

Mom didn’t even stop her, and I think she’s secretly hoping Pyper will take her sweet revenge.

‘Morning sweety,’ mom greets me as soon as I carefully hopped into the kitchen, letting out a yawn. I haven’t slept too long, since I was in the shower until late at night and mom has slept even less, since she was adamant about making me something to eat after I finally showed my face again. ‘Good, or bad day?’

‘Average,’ I mutter while sliding onto my regular chair.

‘How’s your cheek?’ She places the plate with my regular Friday breakfast in front of me, gives me the orange juice and skips the lunch, since we only have half a day of school on Friday anyway.

‘Painful.’ I answer while she lifts my face by pushing up my chin, simply to take a look at the bruise.

‘Who did it, Ne?’

‘I’m not telling, mom,’ I whisper, casting my eyes down to not have to look at her. ‘They’ll retaliate even worse and I can’t deal with it. Its best left ignored.’

‘Pyper knows who they are.’

‘She does.’

‘She won’t tell us either.’ Mom sighs, sitting down opposite from me, as dad enters the kitchen. ‘Because you won’t tell us, she won’t tell us. How come we have the only two children who do not rat out each other’s secrets to annoy the other?’

‘Pyper and I fight over plenty of things, we’re just loyal to each other because we need each other.’

‘Good.’ Dad nods. ‘Never tell on your sister’s secrets.’

‘Never spill out anyone’s secrets.’ Mom rolls her eyes. ‘Even if your parents really want to know which kid to kill.’

‘Caro!’ Dad stares at her with wide eyes before he starts laughing a bit. ‘Okay, I suppose first degree murder would be a possibility if I ever find out who dares to hurt my son.’ He pads my back, smiling at me with some sadness, but pride too.

‘If first degree murder is considered an option, I’m most definitely never telling.’

Mom and dad both snigger in response, shrugging it off.

‘Are you almost ready, honey?’ Mom lets her hand go through my hair in a loving way and instead of feeling loved, I feel a sting of guilt.

They love me so much, despite the fact I’m completely dysfunctional. Things would be a thousand times easier for them without me in their lives. The morning rituals that have to go according to my likings. The fact mom can’t have a fulltime job because she has to drop me off at school, pick me up whenever I’m done for the day. She can’t always be with Pyper when she needs mom the most because I might have a break-down in the same moment.

I’m taking all her time and all her attention like a freaking four year old.

‘Honey?’ Mom sighs deeply, sounding exhausted and suddenly looking exhausted. ’Ready? Your dad and I have to be there in time to talk to the principal about what happened.

‘Yes, let me wash my hands and I’m good to go.’ I get up and move towards the sink, my steps faltering shortly as I notice mom didn’t do the dishes yet.

‘Oh no, Neo…’ She pushes herself up from her seat. ‘I’m so sorry, I totally forgot the dishes. Just… Let me do them first…’

‘No, mom…’ I walk further, trying not to look at the breakfast plates left by them, placed in the sink. ‘It’s eh, it’s fine.’

‘No, it’s not.’ Her voice sounds off and as I turn to look at her, I notice her eyes are slightly more watery than usual.

Great, now I made her cry. ‘It really is fine, mom.’ I swallow, forcing the thoughts about germs all over the dishes to the back of my head, closing my eyes to wash my hands without looking at them. ‘I’ll just use some disinfectant in the car.’

‘Are you sure, honey? I don’t want to throw you off already.’

‘I’m sure…’ I’m not, and my voice is giving it away. ‘Doctor Telham told me to take baby steps, right?’ I turn around, taking the paper towel she holds out for me. ‘This could be the first in a new attempt.’ At least I managed to keep my voice steady when I stated it could be a new attempt to tone down the amount of rituals, habits and tics.

‘I’m proud of you, Ne.’ Dad smiles, though he seems unsure of the situation too. ‘Let’s all try to help you as much as we can and try again together.’

I nod and smile unsurely. ‘Baby steps.’

‘Baby steps.’

I should have picked another day to not make a point out of mom not doing the dishes. I should have sat back down and wait for her to clean the dishes. I should have acted selfish, I should have done whatever I would do whenever I’m not feeling as guilty as I feel lately.

Today, of all days, is the worst day to start a new attempt.

As soon as I enter school, it’s evident that something is happening in the same bathroom as I was trapped in yesterday.

And as I notice Jimmy trying to open the door, and a teacher trying to help him, I can’t help but feel like this is bad. This is really bad.

For some reason, I expect Calo to be the instigator of this. Who knows, maybe news about what happened to me travelled fast and he found out. And who knows, maybe he really does want to help me and now he’s taking revenge.

It’s audibly evident it’s Luke who’s crying out in the bathroom.

I’d recognize that voice anywhere, anytime. There’s nights in which I lay awake, hearing his insults repeat over and over in my head. Telling me I’m Faulty Favre, that I’m a failure, a pathetic excuse for a human. That I’m a freak.

And I knew Pyper was up to something, but never did I expect her to be the one to open the bathroom door, stepping out with her head held high, her breathing heavy and deep.

Her eyes find me, while our counsellor Mr. Rhodes starts lecturing her in the same time Mrs. Tilly and Mr. White run inside the bathroom to check on Luke. She smiles devilish, winks, and then proudly follows Mr. Rhodes down the hall, all while followed by every students’ eyes. It’s completely silent around me as I stare at Pyper in shock.

‘Go to your classes, now.’ Mr. Giles starts sending students away, while Jimmy refuses to move away from the door. Can say a lot of bad things about the two of them, they do stand by each other in every situation. They never rat each other out, they always help each other.

I wish I had a friend like that. I wish someone would be there for me, worried whenever someone would do something to me.

Then again, brace the person who would ever be worried about me, for they would be worried constantly. No, this is my burden and I shouldn’t involve anyone else.

I wake up from my thoughts, still completely shocked, standing in the same spot, as someone puts his hand on my shoulder. ‘Jeez!’ I call out in surprise. ‘You scared the living daylight out of me.’ I stare at Mr. Giles, eyes widening as I realize I yet again shouted at a teacher. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shout…’ My head lowers in shame, while he pats my shoulder.

‘It’s okay, Neo.’ He chuckles. ‘I didn’t realise you didn’t hear me. You were in deep thoughts.’

‘What’s going to happen to Pyper?’

‘She’ll probably be suspended.’ He sighs. ‘Your parents are here, talking to Mr. Dickson, right?’

‘Uhu.’ I nod, staring at the floor.

‘How about you join the conversation and hear for yourself what the consequences for Pyper are. You can explain what happened to you, yesterday.’

‘I should really get to class…’

‘What class are you supposed to be in?’

‘Math, Mrs. Tilly…’

‘Well, in that case I’m supposed to watch the class until Mrs. Tilly is ready to teach. I’ll inform her. Go on and go join your parents and sister.’

I nod, hurriedly walking away from the scene, but not without seeing Luke in the bathroom, seated on the ground. His hair is a mess, it’s wet, there’s water all over his clothes. There’s blood seeping from the corner of his lip and his lip is quivering while he seems to be crying.

Good riddance.

Praise malicious Pyper.

Pyper still doesn’t really seem to care about what she did, and mom and dad are unimpressed by the lecturing speech Mr. Dickson gave her about her behaviour. I’m seated in between Pyper and mom, unsure of how to behave.

What a fucked-up family we are, huh?

‘I will not sit here and allow you to call Pyper out on her behaviour, while nobody did anything to protect Neo from those awful bullies.’ Dad snaps back at Mr. Dickson. They’ve been in a discussion about who’s to blame in this whole ordeal.

’Nothing is good enough of a reason or her to go and… torture… another student.’

‘Torture?’ Pyper spits out with a laugh following suit. ‘Oh, god, I just flushed his head in the hopes of get rid of those dark thoughts. And who know, maybe it flushed off some of the ugliness…’

I smother a laugh, Pyper smirks, and Mr. Dickson takes in a deep collective breath.

‘If school would have taken action to prevent him from bullying Neo, this wouldn’t have happened…’

‘Pyper’s behaviour still is outrageous…’

‘If schools not taking action, off course I’m doing it myself! And I would do it again and again, if it would mean that fuckhead –,’

‘Miss Favre!’

‘will stay away from Neo!’ She shouts over Mr. Dickson’s protest.

‘Pyper, language.’ Mom looks at her, while dad stares in anger towards Mr. Dickson.

‘We made this appointment to discuss and find out what school did to try and prevent Luke bullying our son…’

‘Mrs. Favre, we’re doing everything we can to suit Neo’s needs. When he first came to this school, we clearly advised you to send Neo to North Haven High…’

‘My son is not crazy!’ Mom calls out in shock. ‘And we told you, with some minor alterations, Neo could function perfectly fine. And he does. He has the best grades in his year –,’

‘He has an attendance percentage of 60% –,’

’And he still outsmarts his classmates.’ They keep cutting each other off in a discussion that clearly is no longer about Luke’s or Pyper’s behaviour, but about my presence in this school.

But while Pyper is amused because Mr. Dickson isn’t capable of overpowering our parents with his words, I can only think of one thing; North Haven High.

North Haven institutional school for the mentally challenged.

Why did I not know that they advised my parents to send me there? Why didn’t anyone tell me that they wanted to send me to a semi-boarding school?

And why didn’t my parents listen to them?

If they would’ve send me there, I would only be home during the weekends.

They could go about their lives for five days, without me leaning on them. Mom could have a fulltime job, Pyper could get all the attention she needs.

I wouldn’t be a burden to them.

’You guys have done nothing to help Neo in any way. Luke has never been suspended for bullying our son and even now that it is evident Luke is the one who harmed Neo only yesterday, you are not planning on suspending him. I demand him to be suspended if you’re suspending Pyper.’ My dad slams on the desk.

‘We have no proof that Luke harmed Neo and without any proof we’re powerless to do anything about it.’ Mr. Dickson shortly looks at me.

‘Neo, please, tell them the truth.’

I bite down on my tongue, shaking my head with wide eyes.

‘Oh, for the love of god!’ Pyper calls out, perking up in her seat. ‘Off course he isn’t going to tell you guys who did this!’ She gestures to me. ‘Look at him! He’s scared shitless for any retaliation and since school isn’t doing anything to protect him…’

‘We advised numerous of times to send him to the right school. They will be able to fit his needs and help him, to protect him…’

‘We’re NOT sending him to North Haven!’ Dad shouts, now completely pissed. ‘And if you’re not going to take the needed actions, we’re going to take this higher up.’ He gets up from his seat so quickly, he surprises me a bit, while his chair scrapes over the floor. ‘We’re leaving.’

‘Perry, sit down.’ Mom demands. ‘We’re adults and we’re going to solve this like adults.’ She pulls him back in his seat. ‘Mr. Dickson, we agree that Pyper’s actions are wrong and we accept the two-week suspension. We do not ever, for a second, think that Neo belongs at North Haven and we strongly believe it’s best for his development to be able to live as a regular teenager as much as possible. Sending him to another school is out of the question. We do, however, demand actions against his bullies that are in line with the same rules and regulations that are affecting Pyper’s punishment.’

I frown, impressed by mom’s ability to keep a steady voice while she’s obviously fuming in anger.

‘We’ll go and talk to Luke to see what he will tell us about all of this.’ Mr. Dickson takes in a deep, tired breath. ‘We will do everything within our power and lines of means to get to the bottom of this and punish those who are responsible.’

‘If not, I will agree with my husband that we have to take this up higher.’ Now mom is the one to stand up. ‘We’ll expect a letter with the exact rules and consequences about Pyper’s suspension.’

‘We will send the letter today.’ Mr. Dickson gets up and shakes her hand and dad’s before he turns towards Pyper and me. ‘I suggest Neo will head to his class, and Pyper can go home with the two of you.’

And with that, Pyper gets punished, Luke get’s protected and I’m left in confusion as to why my parents refuse to send me to North Haven High.

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