Chapter Thirty Five
I had been called into the career office to discuss my future, and I really hadn’t wanted to return to school. Ironic, right? I had wanted to have a good year, and for the most part it had been, until now.
The careers office was on the opposite side of the school from the administration area, meaning I would have to walk a bit before I reached it. I didn’t want to attract attention or distract people, so I hoped that I could go during class time.
No such luck.
It was lunch time, and the halls were filled with students who were rushing to the cafeteria. Some noticed me, some didn’t. And I got very weird looks from all. I didn’t know why, but I had a feeling it was bad. Deciding to ignore it, I kept walking through.
The stupid school design caused me to have to walk through the cafeteria in order to get to my destination. I internally groaned as I opened the doors, not attracting quite the amount of attention as I thought I would. I did, however, hear many whispers.
I also noticed where my previous guy friends were sitting. At a table filled with the ‘Plastics’ of this school: Veronica, Belle, Kaitlyn and their friends. It did hurt, like the sting of betrayal. I looked down, my face going red with humiliation and anger. They knew what she did to me, and yet they hung out with her at lunch and traded snack packs.
I even spotted some making out between the occupants of the table, and I would rather not discuss who it was between. None of them even looked up at me as I walked through, trying to hide my face in my baggy black jumper. I opened the door to the exit and practically ran through, sucking in a breath of even more pain.
That was my only question. They didn’t even bother to stand up for me while I was gone, they skipped straight to fraternising with the enemy.
I balled my fists, and looked up with a menacing glare. A few students scurried out of the way as I kept walking, trying to keep my mood absolutely calm as I headed to the career office.
After the lengthly chat with the nice lady who pretended she was concerned about my career, I left in hopes that it would be class time again. Just my luck, it was five minutes away. I was not going to be the freak show on stage for five minutes, so I simply decided to suck it up and walk out.
As I was approaching the door to the cafeteria, again, another student approached me with curious eyes.
“Hi!” she chirped loudly, holding a notepad and pen in her hand. “I’m with the school newspaper. Could I ask you a couple of questions?”
“Why?” I asked, confused and slightly irritated at her attitude. I was in a horrible mood, and anyone with eyes could see that. Why did she approach me?
“We wanted to do an article on ‘teen pregnancy’, and we thought you would be the perfect candidate because of, well, you know..” she trailed off but kept the stupid grin on her face.
“What?” I gaped, now extraordinarily more pissed off. “Why would I be someone that you would ask?”
“Because you’re pregnant? Everyone knows, by the way. Veronica did a school poll on whether or not we should throw you a party. Too many voted no,” she said. “Sorry.”
I stuttered, and those gaps were filled with silence. “What the fuck? I’m not fucking pregnant!”
I had never been more infuriated in my life. Veronica had humiliated me, threatened me and insulted those around me as well as myself. I was going to kick her ass no matter what. The anger rose in me like a volcano ready to explode, and soon enough I couldn’t control the curses constantly coming out of my mouth.
“Veronica said that you..” she trailed off again, confused. “Does that mean the STD was a lie too? And the drugs? What about the alcohol? What do you have to say about this?” She held her notepad, ready to take fucking notes.
“Everything she said is fucking fake,” I said. “Put that down in your stupid book.”
I pushed my way ahead, ignoring the stares and the slight sounds that people made after hearing that conversation. I was furious enough to kill, and kill I would.
I opened the door to the cafeteria again, mere minutes away from the bell ringing. I looked around at everyone in there, engaging in conversation and having an uneventful day.
It wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t going to get riled up, explode my anger out on Veronica, and then end up looking like a crazy psychopath. My anger still raged, but my head still ruled my decision making skills.
So, I held my chin up and walked through the cafeteria and only focused on the feeling of joy I would receive when walking out of those school doors.
The comments would stop as soon as I left those doors, and then I would be free and open to the distractions of the world.
At least, I thought this until I got home and itched to check social media as I had ignored it for weeks, maybe a month, now. I knew what was waiting for me, and yet the urge didn’t leave.
I logged into my accounts, and my heart sank at the sight of the rumours made of pure lies. The agreements, the encouragements, the spreading of the most horrible messages I had ever seen.
I had been so close to crying for majority of the past month, and now it came out. I was sick of being pushed away and isolated for things that I couldn’t control. I couldn’t control my illness, or the things that Veronica made up. Everything was out of my hands, and now I was facing the consequences.
So, yes, I cried. I cried because I was hurt, and I was being punished by the only people who would listen to me as I did cry. I tried to catch my breath as the tears flowed, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t breathe, I could only freeze in pain and watch as my body stayed in a panicked mode of paralysis with me no longer holding the steering wheel.
Was this what a panic attack felt like?
Walls closing in, no air. I couldn’t move, my brain couldn’t form any more coherent thoughts. I blinked hard as my forehead coated itself in sweat while I gasped for air.
I don’t remember calming down, I only remember falling asleep. Or did I pass out? Either way, I remember the darkness being the only welcoming thing about that day.
I had awoken in my bed, the good ol’ doc sitting at my side. She rushed up from her seat and inspected me with small tools straight away. Such as that little torch they shine into your eyes.
“Stephanie! Can you hear me?” she asked with concern, her voice sounding a little fuzzy but that must’ve been my ears. I blinked myself awake as I focused on her.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I believe you had a form of an anxiety or panic attack,” she said. “Has this happened before? Can you tell me exactly what happened, and what symptoms you experienced?” She pulled a clipboard out of a bag that lay rested at her feet.
“I, um,” I struggled to form a thought. “I think it was a panic attack. It hasn’t happened before,” I said. She asked me questions regarding what I felt and how it happened. I answered, without discussing the topic of the online messages, and she confirmed my panic attack suggestion.
“I’ve told you this,” she said, preparing the both of us for a short lecture. “You need to slow down and take it easy.”
I shrugged my shoulders in agreement. “I know, I’m sorry. I’ve had a lot to do lately, and it just got to me. School, and such,” I lied swiftly.
She nodded. “I’m going to go downstairs and get your parents to sign some paperwork. Just rest, okay?”
“Thanks doc,” I said, suddenly putting a small grin onto my face. Jeez, it was unfamiliar but that didn’t stop me. “Imagine if we—”
“No more Looney Tunes jokes,” she interrupted. “Please,” she pleaded, wearing a small smile of her own.
I gasped. “I wasn’t going to say that.”
“Sure you weren’t.”
“Offended over here.”
“You have fun with that,” she said, waving goodbye. “Take care of yourself.”
“Will do!” I called down the stairs, sighing as I pulled up my phone. I had forgotten the apps I had opened, and now I was filled with reminders of everything happening at school.
And then I came across an image that was possibly the worst, and it hurt even more. It added on to the impossible weight of my despair that was wearing me down.
A picture of a party, with Ethan and Veronica posing for the camera while kissing. Captioned: “it’s official, we are a couple!” Of course, Veronica had posted it.
Ethan’s comments on the post made me sick, especially with the use of emojis. I was disgusted, and heartbroken. No words could describe the utter betrayal in my heart that left me empty inside. I was lied to, talked about, betrayed, insulted and isolated by all of these people.
And the ones I had gotten closest with also assisted.
I told myself not to cry again, not to look pathetic. Not another attack in one day, that would not look good. It just hurt so damn much, I felt like I wanted to crawl into a blanket and stay there forever.
I was done.
I was officially done.
I didn’t want to believe it all, even though the proof was right in front of my fucking face. I hadn’t believed that cyber bullying could be this bad until now — why would people do this to one another?
And now, the proof was physically right in front of my fucking face.
I had walked into work feeling depressed as hell, although no one really noticed. My shift had been going fine, until a large group of people had walked in and sat down at a table, immediately causing noise.
At the table sat the four boys, the three Barbie dolls and several others whom I didn’t know.
This time, I was forced to serve them. I didn’t want to, I wanted to run away and never look back. But I grabbed my notepad and walked over, plastering a sick, fake smile on my face.
“Hi, what can I get you all today?” I said nicely, although I was ready to list off a menu consisting of decapitation and torture methods. Which would be performed by me.
I was expecting some remark, or an insult, or at least some comment from someone. I had braced myself for it, but it never came. Veronica simply didn’t greet me (figures) and then listed off the order. I wrote it down and left without another word.
Had I wanted them to notice me and say something, or was I happy with them completely ignoring me? I had no fucking clue, all I knew is that I wanted to scream at them for every fucking mistake they made.
I was way too tempted to spit in their food. I had to calm down, but I couldn’t. They brought pain with them, and as soon as I saw Ethan and Veronica kissing, I lost my absolute shit.
But, I was better than them.
Be cold, be emotionless, be collected. Don’t let them see you in pain.
Wait, wait until the moment you can absolutely prove that you will never stoop to their level.
Be the better person. And fucking slay the war in exchange for a few battles.