Chapter 23 – Kitty (One year earlier)
The locker bay was noisy and full by the time I arrived at school. I pushed my way through the crowd to reach my locker and place my school bag inside.
“KATARINA!” I heard someone yell over the noise of the locker bay.
It was Blake. He was pushing his way through the crowd to get to me. Due to his small size, he was failing badly. In his arms, he held a pile of paper which he was clinging too tightly.
“Are you okay?” He asked me as he finally reached me.
I looked at him in confusion. “Okay about what?”
Blake turned red. “You don’t know, do you?”
“Know what?” I said as I shut my locker.
Blake turned a darker shade of red and shuffled nervously on his feet. “Well, you know how yesterday Lisa filled Maya's bag with coke.”
“Yes,” I said, not understanding where this conversation was going. “I helped Maya clean her bag.”
“Did she tell you that Lisa stole her journal?” Blake asked.
“Lisa did what!” I exclaimed angrily, causing the surrounding people to look at me.
“And they posted pages around the school which have bad things written about us.” Blake finished telling me.
“What sort of stuff?” I asked my heart sinking.
He took a piece of paper from the top of the pile he was carrying. “See for yourself,” He said, handing it to me.
I briefly looked at the piece of paper in my hands, before crumbling it in my hands. I didn’t want to know what it said.
“Where's Maya now?” I asked Blake.
“The back of the courts,” He told me.
“Well, come on then,” I said as I turned and walked towards the basketball courts with Blake trailing behind me.
As we entered the courts, I quickly noticed Maya, Jonah, Aiden, Jude, and Millie in a group in the back.
“I found Katarina,” Blake told them as we reached them.
I looked over at my friends.
Maya was seated on one of the benches with her eyes on the floor.
Aiden and Jonah stood nervously beside her as they both looked visually uncomfortable. Jude and Millie were in front of Maya. Jude looked madder than I had ever seen him before.
“How could you do that to us?” He demanded.
“Lay off, Jude,” Aiden said defending his girlfriend.
“How are you okay with this, Aiden?” Jude asked as he turned his attention from Maya to Aiden. “After everything, she wrote about you.”
Aiden didn’t answer.
“I found the last of the pages,” Blake said, holding up a pile of paper.
“We’re your friends Maya, how could you write that stuff about us?” Millie asked.
“It’s just…” Maya said, struggling to speak. Her eyes were still on the ground.
“Just what Maya?” Millie demanded, her voice rising.
“Millie, calm down.” I told her.
“I don’t know why I did it, Millie,” Maya said as she raised her eyes to face Millie.
“Don’t call me that,” Millie growled at her.
“I’m sorry,” Jude said. “But I can’t do this right now.” He looked at Maya. “I can barely even look at you.”
“Me too.” Millie added.
The two turned and walked away. “Jude, Millie, wait!” I yelled after them. “This is just what Angelica wants.”
Jude and Millie stopped, and both turned to look at me.
“Well, it worked,” Jude said blankly.
“We are done,” Millie added. Without waiting for a response, the two walked off.
Maya looked to Blake. “You’re still my friend right?” she asked weakly.
Blake looked towards the ground. He took a step forward and shoved the pile of paper into her hands.
“I can’t.” He said, not meeting Maya's eyes. He turned to leave, following Jude and Millie off the basketball courts.
“I sorry Maya,” Jonah said. “I can’t be with you right now.” He left her side without saying anything more and followed Blake.
Maya looked towards Aiden. “What about you?” She asked.
“Why don’t you trust me, Maya?” Aiden said, his voice rising to the point where he was yelling. “You wrote that you thought I was going to cheat on you.”
“Because I feel like that all the time.” Maya yelled back. She took up and faced him. “You always like her better than me.”
Aiden didn’t answer he just looked at her even angrier.
“You always prefer her in year seven. Back when you were still friends!” Maya yelled. “And you probably still like her.”
“So I had a crush on Tabitha in year seven, so what?!” Aiden shouted back.
“So you admitting it now,” Maya said harshly.
“I’m your boyfriend, Maya, not Tabitha’s,” Aiden said, matching the harshness of Maya's voice. “I’m not going to cheat on you, why don’t you understand that.”
Maya didn’t answer. Instead, she lowered her eyes again and looked at the floor.
“I can’t do this now, Maya,” Aiden said. “I'm just too angry. I will talk to you tomorrow after I've calmed down.” He turned and left, leaving me alone with Maya.
Maya began to cry again and sat back down on the bench. I sat beside her, pulling her into a hug and allowing her to cry on to me.
We sat quietly like that for a few minutes. The only sound was Maya's crying.
“Are you mad as well?” she asked, breaking the silence.
“I didn’t read it,” I told her.
“You'll be just as angry as them when you do,” Maya stated.
“They'll come around,” I told her. “They just need time.”
“No, Katarina,” she said. “They won’t. I screwed up the only real friendships I had. Not Angelica, me.
“It will all be okay in the end,” I told her.
“Katarina, can you take me to the nurse?” Maya asked. “I'm going to say I feel sick and go home.”
“Sure,” I said as I stood up and led Maya towards the nurse office.