Piercing Chill

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Chapter 5

The next day I was perched on my desk with Craig on my right. I was trying to draw lines that defined his jaw. I had already tried to recreate his soft ashy blonde hair with my pencil. It was coming out well. I hadn’t realised that Ms Jackson wasn’t in the room any longer until I felt my hair being yanked. I screamed at the sudden pain that shot through my scalp.

“You bitch.” I heard Brittany’s voice above me.

She was the one pulling my hair. I tried to get out her grip but she didn’t let go. Suddenly I felt someone pull me away from her grasp. I looked up, some guy was holding her out of range while Craig held me. I felt my head, checking my fingers for blood or any lost hair. Thank God there was none.

“Are you ok?” I heard Craig ask behind me.

I nodded before turning my gaze towards Brittany. Was this her revenge for me spilling lemonade onto her clothes?

“Is this about the lemonade?” I asked, “I already apologised, I’m sorry ok? I didn’t mean to spill it on you.”

She scoffed at my statement and wiggled herself from the guy’s grip. She crossed her arms in front of her before whipping her blonde hair behind her.

“I’m not angry about the lemonade but the fact that you’re trying to steal Jason from me.”

Confused by her words, I started laughing.

“It’s not funny! I heard you’ve been all over my Jason. Please do us both a favour and keep your thick thighs from my baby’s view. He doesn’t need to see imperfect things such as yourself.” She finished.

I had nothing to reply her with. I wanted to laugh and tell her he was using her but I decided against it. Jason had been in this school for two days and she was already claiming him as her own. I shook my head before turning away from her.

“Don’t pretend as if I’m lying. Yesterday, he followed you into the staff room at your work. You both did God knows what in there.” Brittany huffed.

I whirled around at her words. How did she know? Not like we did anything that was obscene. However, I couldn’t tell her that Jason had come to frighten me again.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I lied.

“Liar, I’m going to get to the bottom of this. Don’t you dare show yourself in front of Jason or else I will destroy you.” She finished before walking away from me.

How did she even know I was in art? How did she even get permission to roam around the school freely? I shook my head in disbelief and watched Brittany exiting the room. Everyone’s eyes were on me. I could hear people talking around me. Doesn’t she know that messing with Brittany’s men can lend her in jail? She’s so stupid. I wonder what Jason even sees in her. What were they doing in the staff room? That whore, she has both Craig and Jason’s favour.

I felt angry tears forming in my eyes. I looked around fuming at the people’s words. Not one of the students around me opened their mouths as they spoke these words. Was I imagining it? I was brought out of my confusion by Craig pulling me out of the classroom by my arm. He dragged me towards the girl’s lavatory. I tried to to protest but he pulled me in. He checked all stalls before turning towards me.

“Are you ok?” He asked again.

I nodded avoiding his gaze. What was happening?

“What happened between you and Jason that caused that girl to bully you like that? Have you met Jason alone before?” I didn’t reply. Jason warned me to not tell anyone.

“Fine don’t tell me. At least answer me this.” Craig paused, “Is he the one who caused bruises on your shoulders?”

I lifted my eyes at him immediately. How had he seen the bruises on my shoulders? I involuntarily touched my shoulders. I didn’t reply but instead turned around to leave the room. However, Craig grabbed me by the arm and whirled me to face him. He hesitated but lifted his hand towards my head. I felt him pull some hair, he was fixing my hair.

“There”. As if nothing happened, he said with satisfied smile on his face, “Come on, we have drawings to finish.”

He dragged me out of the lavatory. I was kind of thankful he didn’t push the matter.

During lunchtime, Tina and I were seating at our normal seats. Craig joined us earlier on. As soon as I sat down in my spot, I almost regretted it. Only two tables away, Jason was seated directly in front of me. Next to him, Brittany was clinging to his arm. However, his gaze never left mine. I stared back angrily. Did he tell Brittany about last night? I saw his expression change into a shock. He glanced at Brittany before turning towards me. Now, an apologetic expression was written on his face.

Did he read my mind or something?

I shook my head and turned my attention towards Tina who was busy stuffing her face with a chicken burger. I looked at my own on the table. I picked it up with two hands and took a bite, brushing crumbs off my face right after. I glanced at Craig, he wasn’t eating. He seemed to be focused on something else. I nudged his shoulders making him turn towards me.

“Why aren’t you eating?” I questioned him.

He forced a smile before replying, “I’m not hungry.”

I put my burger down and turned my full attention towards him. “What’s going on?”

He sighed before beginning, “I don’t like the idea of you with Jason.” I could hear a gasp escaping Tina’s lips. I glanced at him in confusion. “He’s not right for you and I think you should stay away from him.”

Funny he said that. I wanted to laugh at his words but I figured he wouldn’t appreciate it. Jason had said the exact same thing. Did these two share something that I wasn’t aware of?

“What’s the deal between you and Jason anyway?” Tina took the words right of my mouth.

I watched Craig peculiarly waiting for his reply. He sighed before replying, “He’s my cousin.”

I gasped at the sudden revelation. I hadn’t expected that at all. I glanced at Jason then at Craig. They were so different from each other. I glanced at Tina, she wore the same expression as me.

“I know. It’s hard to believe.” He paused for about three seconds before continuing. “He moved with my father and I. I heard it’s because his mother thought it would be good for him. You see, he caused all sorts of commotion when his father died last year. His father was brutally murdered in front of him and he couldn’t cope with his death. Hence why he started doing drugs and became uncontrollable. His mother flew him from Romania to Canada and told my father to take care of him while she tried to pick herself up again.”

That explained his wild side and his weird sense of humour.

Despite my hatred towards Jason, I felt a slight ping of pity and empathy for him. I glanced towards Jason. So maybe he wasn’t bad after all. He just needed someone to show him that life isn’t all too bad.

“Ugh, I can’t believe I told you this.” Craig replied rubbing his hand on his forehead. He abruptly excused himself from the table. I didn’t bother following him because I knew he wanted to be by himself.

I eyed Jason. He was following Craig’s movements until he was out of the door. He turned his head towards me, an angry expression on his face before detaching himself from Brittany and following Craig out of the cafeteria. Did he hear our conversation?

I turned my attention towards Tina to see if she had just witnessed what just happened. She mirrored my expression. We both didn’t know what to make of what had just happened so we continued staffing our chicken burgers into our mouths in silence. However, pity still gnarled my brain.

That afternoon, Jason didn’t come to chemistry and I was left alone to do research. On top of that, I agreed to tutor him despite his words and actions.

I also didn’t see a glance of Craig around the school.

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