Jackie's POV 🥀
"Jackie wait up." I hear Melinda say after me.
I slow down my pace, realizing I'm going quicker than I thought I actually was. Gosh I feel so humiliated and angry. Too many people know about what happened and it makes me feel so embarrassed. I tried to keep it cool and collectable, but I guess when Vincent brought it up, that was the last straw. Melinda and Bethany catch up to me.
"Heyy." Beth says, all worried. "What happened back there?"
"How do people know what happened?" I snap. "I can't go anywhere without everyone whispering about me and judging me. Why do they have to know? It was just us and the boys so h-how did word get out so fast?"
"I-I don't know." Melinda replies, "But it'll go away before you know it, it always does. I promise you Jackie."
I shake my head, unsure about that.
"No, no it won't." I say, "Everyone will remember just by one look at me."
Bethany steps up to give me another hug but I step back, not feeling it.
"I need some space." I say, "Sorry guys, but I want to be alone right now."
"But, Einstein said-"
"I'm sorry." I say. "I just can't do this right now."
I walk away from the two of them to go down the deep quiet hallway. Im positive that Einstein will call me out for cutting his class, but I don't care. When I'm in there, I feel like the whole world is looking down at me and saying stuff that isn't true. I'm even more pissed at the fact that they think I did get raped. I clearly didn't! What did I expect though? people always twist the truth.
I enter the closest bathroom, going into one of the stalls to cry. I rest my back against the wall before bringing my knees up to my chest. I wish I could stay in here forever.
The whispers increase, as I make it to my next class. They aren't exactly easy to ignore, but I'm trying my best to escape them. I even have on Bethanys hoody to seem more 'unnoticeable' but it's not doing me any help like I hoped for.
I arrive at my locker, noticing Mark had already gotten there like he said he would.
"Hey how are you holding up?" He asks."Melinda told me you skipped first class."
I open my locker, pulling out my geography textbook. Yeah, I basically did. I ended up coming to class once the bell rang. And to my surprise all Mr Einstein did was give me a warning to never skip his class ever again and I assured him that I wouldn't.
"I'm doing horrible Mark." I say, in a harsh tone. "I mean come on everyone thinks i got raped and they all are treating me like.. like I'm some freak."
He frowns, "I'm sorry about that."
I grab my hair tie to put my hair back in a messy bun, since that's how I was feeling at the moment. I put the hoody back on my head afterwards.
I groan, "I just wanna go home."
He nods, "We can skip if you want?" He suggests. "I don't feel like going to history either.. what do you say?"
I shake my head, "I can't, you know how my mom is about my attendance."
He sighs, "Right." He replies, "But it anybody and I mean anybody brings it up in class I'm beating them up. I don't care."
I chuckle, "Your already suspended for a day, are you sure you wanna do that?"
He shrugs, "If it's for you, then heck yeah."
I roll my eyes, playfully. "Your crazy."
He takes my bag pack for me, leaving me to hold my textbook. I know he's being extra generous today because of what happened. He's never this this kind to me on a regular basis, unless of course it's for something in return.
We make it to Geography on time and I find a random seat. I'm confused as our teacher when I see Mark standing in front of the classroom. He picks up the bell from Ms Odits tables and shakes it.
Everyone quiets down.
"Hey guys I got something i wanna say" He says, "I know some of you guys might've heard a rumor about Jackie and Nicholas but I just wanna say it's not cool to say stuff you don't anything about so for yall that don't have any idea about what happened aye do us a favor and stop talking about it. It's not ok and it's mad disrespectful. Thank you."
He puts the bell down, before coming to take a seat next to me. The amount of silence in the back of the classroom after that speech, is enough to crack me up. Like how did that work?
"Well thank you Mr Li." Mr Odit says, "But the next time you wanna give announcements, let me know early so it's not my time your wasting."
Everyone laughs at her response and I grin at Mark.
"You didn't have to do that." I say.
"Yeah of course I did." He replies, "See now at least you can take off your hoody so we can all see your pretty hair."
I roll my eyes, "No way, it's still staying on."
After Geography class ended, I can say that Marks speech totally worked. I didn't hear a single person mention my name or Nicks name for that matter. The sad part is that itll be the only class that I'm afraid will allow me be able to feel like myself again. I say that because during my German class, people were bringing up all the assault situations over again. Right then I wished I had Mark right there.
I wait for Jenny to get out the lunch line. She finally comes out with a tray filled with mostly junk food. I spot Fanta, a bowl of fries, three flaming hot chips and candy bars all decorated on her tray.
"Jenny that's so unhealthy." I complain. "It'll be a crime if I let you eat that alone."
She chuckles, handing me a rice crispy treat. One fun fact about Jenny is she loves junk food. She doesn't seem to worry about her health condition neither which scares me all the time.
"Tell me something I don't know." She says,plopping a fry into her mouth. "You can't blame me though, they never have good food."
I show her my lunch bag, "I know, thats why I bring my own." I say, joining her side. "You know if you want I can bring you lunch too?"
We step outside to go the bench.
"Nah it's okay." She replies, "I live on the junk diet, and no offense but all you bring are salad and a ham sandwich."
I roll my eyes, playfully. Okay she might've had a point there but so what? My mother wants me healthy.
We sit down at our usual spots, enjoying the first moments of silence to eat.
"Are you feeling better boo?"Michelle asks me."You think your ready to tell us anything yet?"
"Yeah how are you feeling?" Melinda asks. "We kinda didn't hear from you after you know .. you ran out of class."
I sigh, not wanting to talk about it right now. I don't get why they have to remind me of it every single minute of my life. I already have judgmental people in my classes to do that for me.
"I'm okay." I say, opening my lunch bag. "I get your worried but you don't have to ask all the time you know?"
They get quiet, perhaps understanding.
"Okey." Beth replies.
"Yeah, your right.” Melinda agrees.
"Thank you." I say, before adding. "And I promise, when I'm ready to talk about it, Michelle. l will let you guys be the first to know, I promise."
They nod in agreement.
Mark returns from the bathroom, missing what I said completely.
"What's with the long faces?" He asks, grabbing Jenny's fry.
She hits his hand, "Dude, can't you ask?" She asks. "You know I hate it when people touch my food without asking."
"Sor-ry." He says, twitching as he said it. "But I'm kinda hungry."
Melinda hands him 5 dollars, "Here go buy yourself something."
He takes it, happily. "Awe thanks, your the best."
He rises out of his seat, to go get some snacks. We go on our phones for a while, searching our socials for the meantime. I click Instagram, noticing I have 5 new notifications. I click the school news first, run by Aaron. He posts every drama that goes on about everyone's lives.
I'm not surprised when I see the video of Mark fighting Nicholas. Just seeing him, is enough to make my skin crawl. I feel all sorts of strange emotions, fear being one of them. I cringe as I remember him squeezing my neck with his cold hands. I also remember the fear I felt when I believe I truly was going to die and I wouldn't ever get to see my family again. I remember the terrifying things he said to me, and most of all how he touched me.
"-Jackie!" The girls say in unison.
I snap out of it, suddenly feeling calmed once I realize I'm okay and it's all in my head. Their all giving me a worried look.
"What's going on?" Beth asks, "You zoned out for a minute there."
I put my phone down, "Nothing, Its just.. Nothing."
"Your worrying me." Melinda says, touching my shoulder. "Are you sure your okay."
I nod, "mhm, yeah."
She removes her hand, sitting back down.
"Okay we so need to hang out." Michelle says,with pity "We should have a girls day out"
"Yay!" Melinda cheers, "As We all should!!"
"True." Jenny replies, "I think thats a lovely idea, we haven't had those in a while."
"Well what do you think?" Jenny asks me. "Are you for it or against it?"
I nod, "Yeah, sure."
She's right, I don't want to spend these weekdays alone. I mean sadly, I'll have to sleep by myself at night but at least hanging out with them will get rid of some of my troubles.
"At least smile." Beth says, "So we know your kinda happy about that."
I laugh, "I am happy, I really can't wait."
"Good." She replies.
-"Hey thats that your fair partner isn't it?" Melinda asks, squinting in the distance.
I follow her gaze, spotting no one other than Vincent. I suddenly remember I left him all alone during class out of no where and strangely enough I sorta feel bad for doing so. I see him heading over to the bike section to probably skip like he did last time.
"It is him." Beth agrees, "How is it working with him anyway? Is he like super creepy in person?"
"Its, not too horrible. We got off a wrong start yesterday but we worked things out." I say, "But yes, he still gives me creepy vibes. "
"Well you kinda left him hanging after you dipped class." Beth goes on, "You should go talk to him."
"What?" I say, confused. "Why should I do that for?"
"Because you left him all alone." Melinda says, giggling.
"Okay, well he's always alone ." I say. "He probably felt happy, seeing me go."
"Ugh would you please listen and go talk to your partner?" Michelle butts in, "That fair project seriously takes two people to come up with something good, and if I were you I'd actually listen. At least you have a partner that actually does something, mine is so lazy."
Okay I'll admit what Michelle said about the fair is totally true. It really does take a lot to create something good, and as much as I said I rather work alone. The truth is I can't. It's too much for one person to do.And he is kind of smart.
I get up, "Okay fine." I say, "I'll be right back."
Beth squeezes my hand. "I'll rescue you if he tries anything crazy."
I laugh, "I think I'll be fine."
I storm off away from the girls and I approach Vincent. I know I told them that I'll be fine, but right now I was feeling otherwise. Maybe another reason to why I'm scared of him so much is the fact he's always in black. I've never seen him wear any bright colors. It's always just black.
I leave a big amount of space between us, in case he tries something fishy.
"Hey." I say.
He turns his head around, removing his helmet.