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Chapter 21

“I’m not talking to them.”

“You should.”

“I should not. I want nothing to do with them. They ditched me; they gave up the right to see me.”

Today had started out normally, school and homework and all the other normal things that get done around this place .I also hadn’t had to deal with Zach since he wasn’t at school today, so things were great. All until Callie and Arizona called me down to talk.

“I just think it’s worth considering. They just want to know that you’re alive.2 Arizona persisted, and I shook my head defiantly.

Apparently, David and Sarah had contacted them, to see if they could talk to me. God knows why, since they hadn’t seemed to care for the last year since they saw me. Apparently, the wanted to know if I was okay. Apparently, they wanted to know how school was going. Apparently, they cared. A load of crap, right?

“No it’s not, I don’t need them. I have two perfectly awesome parents, an amazing little sister, and a great group of friends. Why would I need them?” I asked angrily. I had no idea why they were even considering this- surely they must hate them more than I did, given the fact that they didn’t know them?

“It’s just you’re their girl, even if they’re not your parents, and…” Arizona tried to explain. I rolled my eyes. I was their girl? Their daughter? I mean, I guess it’s completely fine to throw your daughter out on the streets and give her an ultimatum. I must be being ridiculous.

Well that’s good for them. They miss me? Their problem. I’m their daughter? Their problem. They kicked me out on the streets? Their problem, not mine, not your, theirs.” I said with a note of finality, getting up from the couch and going back to my room, where I had a half- finished English essay due for next week. I managed to divert my mind from the details of the conversation my over-elaborating on why the author used the simile ‘like a cobra’, but it didn’t last for long.

How could Callie and Arizona even consider letting me talk to them? They beat me, kicked me out on the streets and I had wandered them until I found Arizona. Why on earth would I want to talk to them? They’d had their chance- that day they showed up at school, when they showed up at the apartment, they could’ve asked and I probably would have forgiven them. I’d have never gone back to them, but forgiveness is better than nothing, right? But no, they’d given me ultimatums, insulted me and my new family and David had hit me again. They blew their chance, and majorly.

The next day at school I did my best to suck it up, because I really didn’t want this topic to be part of our lunchtime conversation. I put a smile on my face and walked into school like nothing had happened at all, but after the events of lunch I would have rather talked about it.

“Hey Lizzie.” I greeted enthusiastically, setting my tray down on the table. “Zach.” I said as cheerfully as I could, although it didn’t sound anywhere near as convincing as Lit did in my head.

“Hey, Poppy.” He greeted back, and the tone of his voice made me want to punch him. Then again, every tone of his voice did that. What can I say? He was annoying. He then turned to Lizzie and put a hand on her shoulder. I noticed her flinch slightly and frowned, but decided to ignore it because she probably just got a fright. “I gotta go, Baron’s gonna kick my ass if I don’t hand in that homework.” He told her. He then pulled her in for a kiss, and like usual I looked away so as to avoid watching their not-so-casual display of affection.

I turned around when I saw another figure join the table, smiling when I saw Chloe. She was more Lizzie’s friend than mine, but we’d grown to be friends and she was a welcome distraction from the show going on across from us.

“Hey, how you doing?” She asked, taking a bite from her apple.

“Fabulous.” I muttered, chancing a glance over at the other side of the table, sighing in relief when Zach stood up and made his way out of the cafeteria.

“You know, you could at least try to like him.” Lizzie said in a very clipped tone.

“I acknowledged him, didn’t I?” I pointed out, continuing with my lunch.

Most of the rest of lunch went smoothly, all until I noticed a purple bruise on Lizzie’s forearm when her sleeve slipped up. I eyed it suspiciously. If it hadn’t been for her flinching when Zach touched her earlier on I would have dropped it, but now I was curious.

“How’d you get that?” I asked, indicating to the bruise. Her eyes bolted down to her exposed forearm and she quickly rolled her sleeve back down.

“Oh, I just hit my arm off of the bedside table during my sleep.” She covered, but I could tell she was lying. Do I say anything to her? No. I’ll just leave it for now.

“What’s gotten into you?” Clara, who had joined us about ten minutes ago, asked me gently.

“Nothing.” I lied. “Nothing, I’m fine.”

The rest of the day went by relatively uneventfully, unless you count Zach and Lizzie little spat about the fact that he hadn’t handed his homework in, and had instead gone to play football. All in all, I was more than glad when I could put my books in my locker when the bell rang and head home.

HA nope.

It had been going well, and I was just saying bye to Lizzie when I left. Everything was aaaall unicorns and rainbows until I leaned in for a hug (yeah, I was a person who hugged people now) and she’d flinched away. Plus, I noticed yet another bruise on her left shoulder. I took a second to put it all together, and when I did I gasped.

“That’s another bruise! And you keep flinching away!” I whisper-yelled and she frowned.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” She lied, slinging her bag over her shoulder. I narrowed my eyes at her for a moment.

“You do so. I know what I’m talking about. These bruises aren’t from clumsiness.” I replied and I slapped myself mentally. That’s one of the things I hated about myself- I never just waited, or played things cool, I always said what I was thinking when I was thinking it. It was really inconvenient.

She gasped and stepped away from me. “No!” She exclaimed.

“Yeah, okay.” I muttered, collecting the last of my books and beginning to walk away. I could feel her stare on the back of my neck but I kept walking, beating myself up for what I’d just done. I couldn’t have just left it, could I? I was probably wrong and jumping to conclusions.

This was great. I’d argued with Callie and Arizona, and now with Lizzie. Today was just not going my way.

Once I got home, I dumped by stuff in my bedroom and started cleaning. Obsessively. That was something I did when I was stressed or mad or just bored. It gave me time to think. Was it just me at fault here? Because everybody’s minds seemed to be working differently than mine, and I didn’t know why.

It wasn’t like I was just ignoring David and Sarah, or had just walked out on them randomly. It wasn’t like I was just tossing ridiculous accusations at Lizzie, just to start an argument. I wasn’t being completely ridiculous here. It wasn’t my fault.

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