I found myself tangled up in the bedsheets. My breathing was rapid, sticky with cold, damp sweat. The clock next to me made it normal buzzing noise, and I slapped the off button. Sitting upright, I pulled the soaking wet t-shirt off my body. The sweat had tangle my hair into a mess and quickly jumped into my shower as soon as I could. The hot running water jetted out of the shower head. As the warm water flowed, I had time to think.
These dreams are getting more and more real. I thought. They can’t be real, can they? Maybe it’s because of everything that’s happened. I thought as I let the warm water flow over me.
I stopped the shower and grabbed the towel and quickly dried myself. I was drying my hair in the mirror when suddenly I felt weak, like all the energy I had just left my body at that moment.
“Maybe it’s cos’ I have had no breakfast yet.” I said to my pale reflection.
I continued to dry my hair with my hair dryer. I looked awful; I had many cuts on my face along with a few bruises, which were now turning a coppery shade of yellow.
I walked down the stairs, careful not to fall. My balance was still not a hundred percent yet, but I wandered into the kitchen expecting to see my Dad sitting there with his usual cup of tea, but there was no sign of him. The house was empty without him, and I hated it. I switched on the TV, but only for the background noise as it was too quiet. I put two pieces of bread in the toaster and I waited for them to go golden brown. I was in the kitchen, waiting when I heard my name coming from the living room. At first, I thought it was Dad, but it was the voice of a woman and it was coming from the TV. Walking into the living room, I could see a woman presenting the morning news. The presenter was sitting in form of a desk talking about a recent car crash.
“A truck hit the car and immediately killing a young nurse named Kate Laveau, a valuable member of the local hospital. There was also another victim.” the woman said into the camera. I walked closer to the TV and there it was; a picture of Kate with her enormous smile. I fell to my knees in pain as tears fell my cheeks. I just sat in front of the TV, staring at Kate’s picture. The presenter still had more to say.
“Please don’t say my name, please don’t say my name,” I said to the TV.
“The junior girl’s name, Ellie Laveau, was niece to Kate Laveau.” a picture of me came up. I was in my school uniform. They must have used one of my school photos. I was wearing a giant smile. I hadn’t smiled like that in a long time.
“They took the young girl to a nearby hospital with minor injuries, where she made a full recovery.” the woman then went to the next story.
The story was over, but my eyes would not move from the screen. A popping noise brought me back. I got to my feet and went into the kitchen where a burning smell greeted me. The toast was completely burnt, but I grabbed two more slices and placed them in the toaster. This time, I waited, taking the hot golden toast before I spread some honey on it. I ate it carefully, hoping not to get any honey onto my uniform. I finished my breakfast, placing the plate into the sink. Inside the there were a few dishes piling up slowly.
“I’ll do them after school.” I said to myself.
I grabbed my school bag and put on my heeled black shoes and I was out the door. This time, there was no car to take me to school. I was walking my way this time. The news report had me thinking. The woman had been talking about Kate and the crash.
“Why did it have to be on TV?” I muttered to myself. “Everyone will talk about it and I don’t need that right now.”
Seeing Kate’s picture on the TV brought it all back. I didn’t want to think about that right now. I tried to shake the horrible thoughts nagging at me. Just a few more steps and I would come round the corner. My school was in plain sight. I could feel my heart skip a beat. Maybe staying home would be good for me. No, I need to do this. The school was what I needed, something to distract myself.
I walked towards the grim building and saw Lilly and Becky standing by the main gates talking amongst themselves. Straight away I smiled and nearly ran towards them, but my injuries filled me with pain.
“Ellie?!” It was Becky who saw me first. Lilly whipped round, and I saw how happy she saw.
Both of them ran towards me. They were about to hug me, but I instantly backed away and they quickly remembered.
“Oh my God, Ellie.” Becky sobbed, “I’m so sorry about your aunt.”
“Yeah, we’re sorry about Kate, she was a wonderful person.” Lilly had tears in her eyes. “We heard it on the news the other day.”
“We wanted to see you at the hospital, but they wouldn’t let us in.” Lilly said.
“Yeah, we had flowers, cards, and a cute little teddy bear for you.” Becky said while counting on her fingers.
“Ellie.” Lilly paused. “I don’t want to upset you, but there is a rumour going around that you caused the accident.”
I felt my body go weak and my head flushed with dizziness. The tightness in my stomach was back, but this time, it was hurting. I wanted to scream, shout, anything to relieve this pain I was feeling.
“Who?” I said through gritted teeth.
“We have been trying to find out who started it, but we know it’s utter bullshit.” she said.
“Yeah, Ellie, we know it was just an accident.” said Lilly
Both of the girls took turns offering their condolences, but I wasn’t listening, I was ready to explode on the inside. How could someone go around spreading rumours, what is wrong with people? I had to keep it locked away for now and keep going.
“Come on, we need to get to lessons.” said Lilly.
I followed them without a word, trailing behind them with my head hanging low.
“How are you feeling, anyway?” Lilly asked. “Those cuts must hurt?”
I didn’t realise that Lilly was talking to me until I looked up. “Um, I’m okay. They don’t sting at much as they used to and I’m still not steady on my feet just yet. Need time to heal, that’s all.” I said.
“Are you sure you should be here?” asked Lilly.
“I want to be here and I just cannot sit at home.” I replied.
“Do you want to lean on..” Becky got cut off.
“No, she’s fine.” Lilly blurted out.
I ignored Lilly’s outburst and cleared my throat. “So what’s been going on, any news?” I asked.
“Well, not really, just the same.” Lilly replied.
“Oh,” I replied sadly. I wished something would happen so it would take some pressure off of me.
“Well, I have something.” Becky said, “That little shit Matthew stood me up.”
“No way!” I said.
“Yep. She was totally going mad on the phone.” Lilly said. “Swearing like a crazy woman, she was.”
“Well, it pissed me off that he stood me up, I was so looking forward to it.”
“What was his excuse for standing you up?” I asked.
“He said that his cat was ill.” Becky’s face lit up bright red.
I pressed a hand over my mouth to stop myself from bursting into laughter. Looking over at Lilly, she was doing the same. Lilly was the first to crack, and she burst into laughter, I could not keep it in any longer and laughter came flooding out. Lilly was laughing too hard that some people were giving us weird looks.
“Stop laughing!” Becky ordered.
Lilly and I tried to quell our laughing fits. After a while, they died down, leaving our faces red and drenched with tears. Becky stood in front of us with her arms folded tightly with an evil stare in her eyes.
“Sorry, Becky, but it’s too funny,” I said through little giggles.
While wiping some tears off my face, the school buzzer rang loud through the halls, signalling that it was time for lessons. We entered the school and walked down the corridor to our first lesson. For a moment, we were laughing and everything seemed like it was before, but it was just an illusion.
“Well, see you later, then.” Becky said.
They both said their goodbyes before turning the corner. I turned around to walk to my class, where all the students in the entire school had descended into the hallways. More students came in and out of doorways, some of them pushing and knocking into me without a single sorry. I held onto myself while pain spiked through my beaten body. I tried to push them to get to my lesson, but it was no use, I was not getting passed. Quickly, I jumped into a small corner to avoid the crowd. My forehead began to sweat, and I swiped at the beads of sweat. I peeked out from the nook to see the oncoming tide of students.
I can do this. I thought to myself.
Deciding to stay until I could more freely. Again I looked around the corner and saw only a few handfuls of students left. I made a break for it and hurried off to my class.
My first class of the day was science with Mrs Donavan. I walked through the door and saw her standing at her desk, ready to start the lesson. Mrs Donavan wrote today’s lesson on the board. Today she wore another comfortable cardigan along with a loose pair of brown trousers with her hair tied back. I sat in my regular seat next to Leah and as I sat down; she didn’t even acknowledge me.
I grabbed my books out of my bag and waited for Mrs Donavan to start and turned around to face the class. Slowly, she scanned around the room and her eyes met mine. She gave me a tiny smile and talked to the class. Today’s lesson was about photosynthesis. Just thinking about that word made my brain hurt. Was that the thing about the plants or something? I placed my hand on my forehead, thinking more about it made it worse and I didn’t need this strain on my brain right now.
I ignored my busy mind and just listened to Mrs Donavan instead, and some notes I jotted down were useful. As I was writing more, I prayed that my pen would not run out like last time as Leah, who was next to me, did not look like she was in the mood. (Was she ever in the mood?). I didn’t need friends like her anyway I had Lilly and Becky. Just thinking about them made me smile a little, then my smile slipped.
Were they just my friends because they knew I was some freak, did they place bets to see how long they could fool me? I thought.
No, continuing that train of thought was dangerous. They wouldn’t do that, and it was stupid of me to think we are best friends. Been best friends for many years. I would do anything for them, and I hoped that they would do anything for me too. I spaced out while thinking of them, and I mentally shook myself and got back to the lesson. I stretched my cramped hand to relieve my aching muscles as I continued to write. Finally, I finished what was on the board. (God, Mrs Donavan liked to write a lot) I placed my pen down only to hear the buzzer. (Thank god). Throwing my stuff into my bag, I hurried to my next lesson, English.
Around the corner, I nearly ran into Becky, who was smiling at me.
“I came to escort you, my lady.” she said as Becky did a small playful bow.
I gave a brief chuckle. “Come on, ya’ weirdo.” I laughed.
We both walked down the hall and down to the stairs to our English class.
We both arrived at Mr Thomas’s class. I’d forgotten how good looking he was since I was away, but sadly he was too old for me and my teacher, totally against the rules. We entered the class, and somehow knowing it was me, he spun around and looked straight into my bereaved eyes. Mr Thomas had a sympathetic look on his face.
“I’m so sorry to hear about your aunt, Ellie.” he whispered. “How are you?”
I was getting a little sick of people asking that question, but it wasn’t their fault; I know they just want to see if I was OK, but slowly, I just wanted to scream, and run away from it all.
“Um, I’m okay just a few cuts and bruises, that’s all.” I tried to keep my voice steady, trying not to show how a complete wreck I was. “H-how did you know?” I asked.
“It was on the news.” he said.
Great, did everyone watch the news? I left the conversation there and sat next to Becky. Mr Thomas cleared his throat, and as usual, the girls foamed at the mouth. He held the book Romeo and Juliet in front of him.
“Today we will talk about the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.” he said in his most lush voice.
What? When did that happen? I prodded Becky next to me. “When the hell did they die?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah. Well, it was all kicking off, Juliet died, and then Romeo kills himself because she’s dead. Then she wasn’t dead, but then because Romeo died, she kills herself.” she placed her finger across her throat and made a squelching noise, then immediately regretting it.
“Jesus,” I said, “That’s dark.”
We both heard a loud throat clearing noise from the front of the class. We lifted our heads to see that Mr Thomas was waiting for us. His wide arms folded in front of him.
“Yes, thank you, Becky, for getting Ellie up to speed.” he said.
Some girls giggled behind me. Pathetic.
“That’s enough.” Mr Thomas scolded. “Now let’s get back to it.” he said, holding the book in the air.
In the class, Mr Thomas was asking questions about the characters in the book, and most of the girls put up their hands to show how “intelligent” they were (yeah, right.) Even Becky put her hand up and she hardly volunteered for anything. The girls blurted out any answer that came to mind. Some answers they gave were funny. Even Mr Thomas laughed at one or two. He then wanted us to write an essay about how Romeo and Juliet fell in love, even with their fighting families.
“How does he expect me to write this when I didn’t even finish the book?” I whispered to Becky.
I pulled out my workbook and my still working pen when I noticed everyone, and even Becky had a copy of Romeo and Juliet in their bag. I shyly placed my hand up to catch Mr Thomas’s attention. “Uh, sir,” I said.
He then noticed me and finished reading.
“I, uh, don’t have a book, sir,” I said sheepishly. He turned around without saying a word and took a copy from his shelf and placed firmly on my desk. “There you go.” he smiled.
“Also, this is homework so don’t think you can just do it in class.” he called out. The whole classroom moaned in disappointment. Even I gave a brief moan.
I finished writing a paragraph about how Romeo and Juliet made a quick decision about falling in love when the bell went. As the class packed away, Mr Thomas was trying to talk over the chaos.
“If you’re unsure of anything, please re-read the book. Just don’t look up the answers on the internet, the answers, please. And anyway, I’ll know.” he said.
“I’d forgotten about Google, maybe I can get some tips, or would that be cheating,” I said to Becky.
“Hell with it, I will Google it all, you gotta’ love copy and paste.” she laughed.
“I heard that, Rebecca. I will carefully read your essay.” Mr Thomas called out.
Becky’s face turned a deep shade of red. “Only joking, Sir,” she gave a smile to Mr Thomas. “Come on, let’s get the hell out of here.”
I grabbed my bag and nearly ran out of the classroom after, Becky. “That was shameful.” I laughed.
Laughing hurt my body, but it felt so good to laugh.
“Don’t laugh and don’t you dare tell Lilly.”
“Damn right I will tell her,” I said through laughter.
We both walked down the stairs and saw Lilly waiting for us at the bottom, waving. I gave her a wave back and a smile. I tried to catch up with Lilly at the bottom while trying to avoid the many students.
“Don’t you dare, don’t listen to a word she tells you, Lilly.” Becky called out on the stairs.
“What? What’s going on?” Lilly sounded interested.
“Mr Thomas heard us talking about getting answers from the internet and shamed Becky about it. She went bright red.” I laughed.
Lilly laughed along with me. “It’s not that funny, girls,” Becky called. “Oi, stop making fun of me, that’s all you’ve done today.”
“Who would do that anyway?” Lilly said through laughter.
“Becky would!” we both said and burst into even more laughter.
I turned to look at Becky, who had her hands on her hips. Closer, I looked and could tell she was fighting the urge to burst into laughter with us. My head turned back to Lilly and I could feel my smile fading. Down the darkened hall, Beth was approaching. Her dark, mischievous eyes locked onto mine. Lilly must have noticed her because the laugh died down and she stepped in front of me. I could feel the anger and hate dripping off Beth as she crept towards us.