After my tears had dried, I decided to look at the person who had sat next to me. Xander. It was Xander. He was the one who sat next to me and gave me a shoulder to cry on, literally. Instead of saying something, I simply looked at him in surprise.
“Are you okay now?” He asked. It was still very aastonishing to me that he would just willingly sit here and comfort me after I had told him to just leave me alone. I felt guilty for being rude to him before. Slowly, I nodded.
“Do you think you’re well enough to head to class?” He asked.
“I....I....I don’t know,” I softly mumbled.
“How about I take you to the clinic? Mrs. Ramsey will probably let you stay in the clinic for a little bit,” He said. It amazed me how he was just helping me after I was so rude to him, but at the same time it made me kind of wary about his intentions. They may seem good on the outside, but who knows how he really thinks.
“A-Are you sure it’s okay?” My eyebrows knitted together.
“Yeah. I’m sure you’ll be fine,” He assured me. He stood up to his feet and dusted himself off. He helped me up off the floor.
“Thank you,” I softly said.
“No problem,” He replied. I tripped a bit when I began to walk, but he caught me and steadied me. Another “thank you” slipped from my lips. He smiled at me and we both walked silently towards the clinic. Because I had sat in the hall for so long, classes had already started and it was a relief because I didn’t want to see or hear from anybody in this school, especially my sister after what she said to me.
When we reached the clinic, Mrs. Ramsey was sitting at her desk looking through some things on the computer. Xander rapped lightly on the door and she looked over at us.
“Xander, why aren’t you in class?” She inquired turning her body towards us.
“Well....umm....you see....” He looked down at me as if to ask if it was okay to tell her the real reason why we were here. Once he saw that I wasn’t okay with it, he looked back at her.
“....I was feeling a little dizzy on my way to class and I was sitting in the stairwell when Marley walked by and saw me,” He explained.
“Oh no. Are you okay?” She stood up and rushed towards him.
“I’m fine now,” He answered.
“Are you sure? I thought your ear turning red for a bit,” She said.
“What? Really?” Xander asked in surprise.
“Yes. Now lean down a bit,” She answered. He leaned down and she inspected his ear before pinching it hard. Xander yelped loudly as she continue to pinch it.
“Do you think I’m stupid, Alexander Liao?” She hissed, “You and your classmates really think that you can put one over on me.” let out a small giggle.
“Ow! Please let go of my ear,” He winced.
“Not until you tell me why you made this poor girl cry and a week after you caused her to injure her hands,” She spat.
“Cry? I didn’t make her cry. Ouch,” He whined.
“Oh really? Then why are here eyes red and puffy?” She snapped.
“I don’t know. Please let go of my ear,” He told her. She let go of his ear and walked towards me.
“Marley, he didn’t hurt you or anything?” She asked worriedly.
“No, ma’am,” I replied.
“Are you sure? You can tell me if he is. I’ll knock some doggone sense into this boy if need be,” She said.
“I’m alright, Mrs. Ramsey. I was just feeling a little down and Xander came to comfort me,” I assured her.
“If that’s the case, then I’m glad you’re alright,” She smiled warmly. It was kind of nice to hear someone say that other than those I was really close to.
“Mrs. Ramsey, do you mind if she stays here for the rest of class? I don’t think she’s up to going,” Xander said with a fresh ziplock bag of ice pressed to his bright red ear.
“I don’t mind at all,” Mrs. Ramsey answered, “She’s welcome to stay.”
“Cool. I’ll be back later, Marley,” Xander said.
“Oh okay,” I nodded.
“I’ll even bring back the homework for you as well,” He said.
“Thank you, Xander,” I smiled.
“You’re welcome, Ley,” He smiled back. Mrs. Ramsey walked towards him with a newly written note for class that he thanked her for before heading off to class.
“You can just lie down on that bed there and take a small nap, hon. I’ll wake you when it’s time to go to class,” She said. I nodded and headed over to the small hospital bed and set my stuff down. I laid down and closed my eyes.
When it was time for second, I was woken up by Xander who was crouched down next to the bed with a small smile.
“Hey, Sleeping Beauty. I’m back,” He greeted. My cheeks heated from how close he was and I knew that if I was more than a few shades lighter, then I’d be blushing by now.
“What time is it?” I asked.
“It is 8:15,” He answered looking at his watch.
“Oh,” I simply stated. Slowly, I sat up and stretched as a yawn left my lips. He stood to his full height and began rummaging through his backpack until he picked out a small red binder. He opened it and then handed me the homework from our shared first period.
“Here’s the homework as promised. Dr. Reeves said that he hopes you feel better,” He informed as I placed the assignment into my binder then zipped my backpack up. I stood up and started to put it on my back, but he took it from me before I could.
“Hey. Xander, give that back,” I protested, “I can carry it on my own.”
“I know, but I want to,” He responded. Having him carry my backpack was not something I needed anyone seeing at all. It would cause problems and raise questions about why or how someone like me managed to get someone like Xander to carry my bag, or even walk with me for that matter.
“Why?” I asked.
“Like I said before, I want to,” He answered. I made a grab for it, but he swiftly moved out of the way with a teasing smile on his face. It was starting to piss me off.
“Alexander, give me my bag,” I hissed.
“Nope,” He shook his head.
“Alexander, give it to me,” I snapped.
“That’s what she said,” He childishly responded. I sent an ice cold glare his way that made him laugh.
“Give me back my bag, Xander,” I growled.
“You’re going to have to follow me for it,” He grinned. He was out the door before I could say anything else. Mrs. Ramsey laughed behind me.
“You might want to go after him, hon. You guys only have a few minutes to get to class,” She smiled. I checked my phone and sure enough I had four minutes left to get to class.
“Thank you, Mrs. Ramsey,” I said.
“You’re welcome, Marley. I hope you feel better,” She replied.
“I will. Thank you again,” I told her. Quickly, I sped walked out of the clinic to find Xander, but for some reason it was really hard and I don’t know why considering how he’s a freaking dinosaur with that long neck of his. As I walked down the hallway, I felt all eyes on me, but I didn’t pay them any mind at all. My only concern right now was getting my bag from him, but the problem is that my sister and her friends are surrounding him. As much as I want to help him, I can’t. Just the image of satisfaction my sister had on her face when she humiliated me in front of everyone was enough to make me hesitant.
“Marley, where have you been?” Kimora rushed towards me with Sadia at her side. They both wore worried expressions on their face.
“We were worried when we couldn’t find you,” Sadia said, “Especially since you didn’t come to first period.”
I felt bad for making them worry, but at the same time I kind of wanted to be alone, even though Xander had sat with me the entire time.
“I’m sorry, guys,” I apologized, “I didn’t mean to worry you all.”
“We were worried that you ended up leaving early,” Sadia murmured.
“I was in the clinic for first period. The nurse let me stay there for a bit,” I responded.
“Really? That’s so nice of her,” Kimora said.
“Did you thank her?” Sadia asked.
“Yes,” I nodded.
“The next time you disappear for a while, tell us instead having us worry,” Kimora pinched my arm.
“Ouch!” I yelped.
“She’s right. We were really worried about you,” Sadia thumped my forehead hard.
“How many times are you two going to hurt me?” I snapped.
“Until you apologize to us for making us worry like that,” Kimora answered.
“I’m sorry for making you worry and it won’t happen again,” I mumbled, “There? Happy?”
They both pinched me again and I yelped.
“Why did you hit me?” I whined.
“Because you’re being a smart aleck,” Sadia responded. Kimora nodded in agreement and I rolled my eyes.
“Since we couldn’t find you, we ended up calling Kyle and told him what happened. Needless to say, he’s pissed,” Kimora informed me. Uh-oh. If Kyle’s pissed, then nobody is safe from him or his anger. I wouldn’t put it past him to be angry enough to cut his trip short to come here and confront our sister. He’s done this many times before and it just causes more problems for me when he leaves, especially with my dad since they don’t really like each other at all. My dad is part of the reason why Kyle decided to go travel the world with his friends.
“Oh no,” I groaned.
“Yeah. He’s really upset right now and he was going to cut his trip short, but I told him that you wouldn’t want him to do that,” Sadia added.
“What did he say?” I frowned.
“There was no convincing him. He coming back in two days,” Kimora answered.
“I didn’t want him to do that,” I mumbled.
“We know, but there was no convincing him to just continue on his trip,” Sadia sighed.
“At least you tried,” I let out a loud sigh. This information I just received was beginning to make me feel guilty. Kyle getting involved was not something I wanted at all because, and I know I say this a lot, it would only cause problems for me, especially with my dad. The only thing I need to do is just somehow convince him to continue on with his trip and come home next month instead of coming back now.
“Marley.” I looked up to find that Xander was now walking towards me with my bag on his chest. A sense of panic filled my body with each step he took. Right behind him, I could see my sister fuming as he approached and it scared me. By the Look she was giving me in that moment, I knew that home would be a special type of hell for me. Kimora and Sadia, on the other hand, seemed to be very amused by this and I didn’t like it. There was nothing amusing about him coming towards me when Valerie was right behind him looking angrier than a bull and scheming something horrible for me to come home to.
“You’re really bad at finding people,” He joked.
“Finding? Were you guys playing hide and seek or something?” Kimora smirked.
“You could say that,” Xander chuckled.
“I wasn’t playing,” I muttered, “I just wanted you to give my stuff back.”
“I’ll give it back when you let me walk you to class,” He told me.
“What? Why?” I frowned.
“Because I want to,” He answered.
“Well I don’t want you to, Xander. So please just give me back my stuff,” I snapped. He was starting to annoy me with his playful attitude and I hated it. How could he be so carefree about this entire thing when I’m not exactly the type of person he would ever hang out with? Why is he being like this with me? There’s other girls who are much prettier and skinnier, like Valerie, than me that he can bother. Why am I so different?
“Not until you tell me what your next class is,” He stubbornly responded. Before I could even open my mouth to protest, someone beat me to it.
“Her next class is Anatomy with Mr. Vincent,” Kimora informed him. Why would she do that? She’s only making it worse for me. I didn’t want her to do this at all and I didn’t need her to do it. Why can’t everyone just think about how this effects me in the long run, especially with my parents.
“Kimora!” I hissed.
“What? I’m just helping you out,” Kimora said, “It’s not everyday that a really cute guy offers to carry your things for you.”
“She’s right. You should just enjoy this while you can,” Sadia smiled. The truth is that I won’t enjoy this because my sister will make due with her promise and make my life a living hell here and at home.
“Three against one, Marley,” Xander grinned. He’s such a handsome, stubborn idiot. God. He is so damn annoying, but as much as I don’t want to say no and as much as I can’t since he has my stuff, I just have to agree to this. I’m already in some deep shit as it is and I guess it’s been solidified with the way Valerie is burning holes into my face.
“Fine,” I let out an exasperated sigh, “I’ll let you walk me to class.”
“Great. Let’s go,” He grinned broadly. He took my hand into his and started leading me away from traitorous friends.
“Wait. Let go of my hand,” I tried pulling it out of his grasp. All eyes were on us when he did that and it made me very uncomfortable. I knew then that the rumor mill around here would be filled with countless outrageous and scandalous scenarios that have never happened.
“No way. You’re not running away from me,” He replied. As nice as it felt to have his big hands hold my own, I didn’t to add more fuel to the hellfire that was going to destroy my life.
“Xander, let go of my hand,” I whisper-yelled to him.
“Uh-uh,” He simply stated.
“Xander, please let go,” I begged.
“No way, Marley,” He responded. The entire walk to my class was filled with me begging and pleading for him to let go of my hand while he kept telling me no in many different ways.
When we arrived at my class, he let go of my hand like I wanted, but not my stuff. He walked inside and greeted Mr. Vincent who’s face seemed to light up with a smile at the sight of everyone’s favorite student slash athlete.
“Xander, what brings you by?” Me. Vincent asked.
“Oh I was just walking Marley to class,” He informed him. Mr. Vincent spotted me standing behind Xander looking a little distressed. I gave him a small smile.
“How are you doing this morning, Marley?” Mr. Xander inquired.
“I’m doing alright, sir. Just a little tired,” I lied convincingly. Mr. Vincent seemed to believe me, but Xander didn’t.
“That’s great, Marley,” He replied before turning back to the tall Asian boy. They both began to talk to each other about sports, which I took as my cue to take my seat. Thankfully, the bell rang and it was time for Xander to leave. Mr. Vincent offered to write Xander a pass and he accepted. Xander walked down the aisle towards me with my bag and he took my bag off the front of his body.
“Here, Marley. I’ll see you after class,” He said.
“What? Why?” I asked. A part of me liked the idea that he would, but another didn’t. He was just unknowingly adding even more fuel to the fire and I loathed it so much.
“Because I want to walk you to class again,” He smiled.
“I’m perfectly capable of doing it on my own, Xander,” I sternly stated.
“Well I know that, but I kind of enjoy spending time with you,” He chuckled. My heart swelled at his words and the butterflies in my stomach went crazy. My cheeks became very heated and I’m sure that they were red. Those little words had rendered me speechless and were doing things to my emotions in a good way.
“I’ll see you after class, Marley,” He said.
“I....ummm....uhhh....okay,” I stammered. He smiled at me one more time before leaving with the pass Mr. Vincent gave me. My other classmates, who I hadn’t noticed when they walked in, were staring at me in shock after what had just transpired. It was considered shocking how Xander Liao of all people was talking to me, but it would be shocking that he would even talk to any girl at this school because he never seemed to be all that interested in them at all. The other girls might be interested in him, but he wasn’t at all and I guess you could say that he left a trail of broken hearts in his wake.
The shock of Xander Liao turned into gossip and wonder about why someone like him would even talk to someone like me and other outrageous things like that. All throughout my second period, people would stare and whisper things to their friends. Most were about my appearance, others about what happened today, and then about how Xander had walked me to class and promised to see me afterwards.
For the rest of the day, Xander has walked me to and from beach of my classes much to my chagrin. While I was internally and externally panicking, he was joking around and doing everything he could to make me smile. His plan to make me smile succeeded, but those were short lived smiles that went away when thoughts of what would happen at home crossed my mind.
At lunch, Xander, who didn’t even know had the same lunch period as me, decided to sit with Kimora, Sadia, and I along with his two best friends Hassan and Alejandro. It worried me to have them sitting with me because one of Valerie’s friends who was sitting across the lunch room was burning holes into my face with a smirk on her face. Each time I looked over, she would be on her phone either texting my sister or taking a video. How did I know that she was doing this? Well Valerie always had her friends do this so that way she could show our parents at home whenever they banned me from eating like now.
“Marley, are you not hungry?” Xander asked. My gaze averted away from Valerie’s minion to him. He had a concerned expression on his face.
“Hm. Oh no. I’m not hungry,” I responded. As if on cue, my traitorous stomach gave me away. He cocked an eyebrow and then pushed his tray towards me.
“I’m fine, Xander. I’m not all that hungry,” I pushed it back towards him.
“Excuse my language, Marley, but that’s bullshit. Now eat,” He said pushing it back.
“I’m not hungry, Xander,” I grumbled, “Now drop it.”
His friends and mine watched in amusement as we argued about the food that he wanted me to eat that I couldn’t eat.
“Not until you eat,” He firmly stated.
“I’m not going to eat the food, Xander. Now leave me alone,” I spat.
“Uh-uh. You’re eating and that’s final,” He replied.
“You’re not my dad, Xander. You can’t tell me what to do,” I glared at him.
“You’re right. I’m not your dad, but I am your friend so just eat the damn food,” He clenched his jaw.
“Fuck this shit. I’m out,” I growled. I picked up my backpack and left the cafeteria. Xander called after me, but I ignored him and kept on walking. He was such a stubborn idiot and it was getting on my fucking nerves. His concern for me was appreciated, but at the same time it wasn’t. I don’t need anyone else coming into my life and being worried about me all the time. I didn’t want to become another burden to him so it was best that I just pushed him away now. He didn’t need to worry about a burden like me and he didn’t deserve to.
It was for the best that I just kept him at a distance.