Chapter 1 - Over Dramatic Much?
I slowly closed my bedroom door behind me before collapsing to the floor. I clutched my cheek with a grimace, waiting for the painful sting to subside. Once the pain had numbed to an odd prickling sensation, I reached out and grabbed the first aid kit I intentionally left close to the door.
As I treated my injuries caused from my latest beating, my exhaustion swept over me like a wave. I barely had time to close the first aid kit before a familiar cloud of darkness effortlessly overtook my senses and I faded away into unconsciousness.
I woke with a start as my alarm clock rung redundantly from across the room. Shoving myself to my feet as quickly as possible, I pulled the cord to my alarm clock out of the wall before it disturbed my father’s sleep.
If all went well, I could be out the door with his breakfast made before he starts his day.
Once my daily morning routine was completed, and my father’s breakfast was made, I slung my backpack over my shoulders and began my long walk to school; dreading every step that took me closer to that living cliché.
Westwood High is basically run by Nicole Westwood: a catty, patronizing, pompous teenage nightmare who can get away with nearly anything she wants since her mother is the principal. Although, Nicole isn’t the only reason why school is just as miserable for me as my home. Constantly by her side -- picking on me whenever instructed, is Odette and Zahra: Nicole’s remaining two thirds of her stereotypical “mean girl” posse.
Some days (if I’m lucky enough) I can make it to first period without being seen by Nicole and her posse, but unfortunately for me, today was obviously not one of those days which I quickly realized as I maneuvered through the hall.
“Hey! Watch where you’re going, loser” snapped a cackling Nicole as she rammed into my side, causing my stack of books to crash to the floor. I picked up my books Nicole had mercilessly knocked to the ground and turned to walk the other way. Last night’s beating took enough out of me, I didn’t have the energy to put up with Nicole’s tormenting this morning.
“Excuse me? I think Nicole was speaking to you” one of Nicole’s minions, Odette snapped; grabbing my shoulder and forcing me to turn and face the three girls.
Just as I was about to speak up and say ”please, not today Nicole“, someone kicked the back of my knee, causing me to crash to the ground with my books this time.As I lifted my head, I identified the culprit as Max.
Oh, how could I forget? Maxwell Davis -- also known as the popular football quarterback and the fourth member of my group of bullies -- held his head up high as he laughed down at my crumpled form. He walked over to Nicole, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her in for a kiss whilst still maintaining a cocky smirk on his lips.
He’s also dating Nicole, which comes with plenty of privilege since he too can get away with practically anything.
“Got something to say loser?” He laughed.
“Nothing to you...” I muttered under my breath, not intending for anyone other than myself to hear. Unfortunately, Nicole understood my mumbling and hauled me to my feet. Slamming me up against the lockers, she spat “what did you just say to my boyfriend?“in my face.
“Nothing” I whispered, looking anywhere but at her.
She pulled back her arm and I instantly closed my eyes, preparing myself for the blow I assumed to be inevitable. I felt a rush of wind near my face but before her hand collided with my cheek, I hear Nicole shriek.
“Get your hands off of me!” She snapped.
Opening my eyes, I see a girl with chocolate brown hair holding Nicole’s arm back. She pushed Nicole away from me, placing herself in between us when suddenly Max advanced towards her threateningly.
Now it was Max’s turn to get angry, “don’t touch my girlfriend!“he yelled.
But before he could get any closer to the brunette, three unfamiliar guys emerged from the crowd, forcing the girl out of Max’s line of sight. Even though Max was aware that he was outnumbered, he still decided to lunge at the trio of guys, aiming for the strongest in the middle.
As if this had happened before, the two guys on the outside responded immediately by grabbing Max’s arms and holding him back while the guy in the middle repeatedly punched him. All the while, Nicole and her posse were screaming in agony as if they were the ones being punched.
Over dramatic much?
Somehow Max managed to wriggle out of their grasps and stagger down the hall, clutching an undoubtedly broken and bloodied nose. Nicole and her posse hurried after him. I was so focused on the four bullies rushing down the hall, I hadn’t even noticed the trio of guys approaching me.
“Are you okay?” the first guy with light brown hair, hazel eyes and honey brown skin asked.
I nodded silently in response, crouching down to pick up my fallen books.
“Does this happen often?” the middle guy with dark brown hair and brown eyes asked me with a cold expression. I simply nodded in response, purposefully avoiding eye contact.
“I’m Noah!” the last guy yelled with an obnoxiously large smile. He had golden blonde hair and bright blue eyes.
“Shut up Noah,” the first guy rolled his eyes, “and I’m Jackson”
Finally I glanced momentarily up at the last guy who seemed like he could never drop the cold expression. He shrugged, saying “Mason”
They all looked at me expectantly (well, except for the Mason guy. He didn’t really look like he cared that much), waiting for me to announce my name.
“Erin” I said quietly.
I pulled out my phone to check the time and realized I had only two minutes to get to class on time. Noah opened his mouth to speak, but I cut him off.
“Sorry! Gotta go!” I turned, rushing off to my first period class.
The final bell rang. I ran to my locker and tossed a few books in it before speeding out to the parking lot. I was determined to not run into Nicole and her obnoxious posse again today.
“Erin!” a voice that was way to cheery to be Nicole yelled.
I stopped and surveyed the small crowds around me, when I noticed the two standing in the shade of a tree. “Erin! Come here!” Noah yelled again, but this time I could see the smile on his face that literally reached his eyes.
I looked at my watch. It was around 3:40, and my father -- Robert, only got home from work around 5:00. It takes me a good 30-40 minutes to walk home from school, so I didn’t have much time to spare if I wanted to get home in time to make Robert super.
“Hey, Erin!” Noah smiled as I reached them.
“Hey, Erin” Jackson said, casually waving at me.
I clutched the straps to my book bag tightly in my hands, muttering a “hey” in response, before adding “what are you guys doing?”
“Waiting for Mason, he got a detention” Jackson replied casually.
How could someone get a detention on the first day?
Oh! Probably for beating up the school’s star Quarterback.
Yeah, that would do it.
I knew that I had to come up with an excuse to leave fast if I wanted to get home in time, and so I said “sorry guys, I’ve gotta go home. Uh -- strict parents” I laughed nervously as I came up with a lie on the spot.
They nodded, buying my lie completely and I began jogging back home. Once I got home there was still a half an hour left until Robert would get home, so I slid a pot of water onto the stove to heat up and tossed some spaghetti into the pot.
Well, since I have the time I might as well do my homework, I thought in my head. I had gotten only a sentence written down when the front door slammed open, followed by loud stomps leading to the kitchen.
Dropping my pencil, I ran to the stove to check on the spaghetti that wasn’t even close to done cooking. My heart thumped so loudly in my chest I was sure Robert could hear it from the other room.
Robert stomped into the kitchen, tossing his keys carelessly onto the counter. He was silent as he stared at me, as if studying my body language which clearly showed absolute terror before he came to the conclusion that I hadn’t finished making supper.
“It’s almost ready, I promise!” I cried out fearfully as he took a threatening step forward.
“All you had to do was have a single plate of food ready for me by the time I got home” he said calmly, but by the look in his eyes I could tell he was enraged. “ALL YOU HAD TO DO! And you failed that simple task” he roared, letting his anger loose as he took another step closer to me.
“You’re very early, I didn’t know you were going to be early” I whispered.
He grabbed a chunk of hair from the back of my head and yanked me forward, slamming me into the floor “you should have known!”
“I’m sorry” I cried, rubbing the back of my head.
“Get up” his voice boomed.
I pushed myself off the floor, bracing myself for some sort of attack. He suddenly shoved me back, and I somehow I managed to keep myself from falling. Right as I regained my balance, he punched me square in the face. The impact knocked me to the ground.
Robert crouched down next to me before angrily mumbling “supper better be ready in ten minutes, or else next time your punishment will be way worse.”
Then he stormed up the stairs, slamming his bedroom door shut behind him.
And I just sat there, crumpled in a ball of tears and sorrow.
The man I once called my father was gone, for good.
I still remember happier times. They were distant memories, but nonetheless still there. Back when mother was still alive, before my dreadful sixth birthday. But merely weeks after mom had died, he changed. His loving and joyful personality died along with her.