Chapter 9 - From Heaven to Hell
CHAPTER 9 - FROM HEAVEN TO HELL
Having lunch with Kyle was fun. That's the simplest I could put it. Once we dropped the bad boy topic, we really enjoyed, well, I enjoyed our talk. He's the kind of guy who always makes you laugh, so even if I could feel eyes on us, I didn't really care. Just dipped into the conversation, trying hard not to blush and to even say things that had some sense.
I could feel eyes on us because he's popular and whatever he does, it's news. More than once there were people stopping by just to salute him, yet his attention was always on me, which made my heart race, but I was able to conceal it ... I think. I think I'll never thank Mrs. Porter enough. If she'd never paired me up with him in that project, I would have been so stupid to let even this year pass without trying anything and I would have regretted it maybe.
I'm not saying that simply because we had lunch together now I have a chance with him, but from not talking at all, to spending a good hour chit-chatting just for the sake of it, I'd say that's a huge step in advance, isn't it? Possibly in the right direction. At the very least, we might be friends and I might even come out of this shell I've built to keep people at distance.
But ... as, Rumple says, magic always comes with a price, and the price for this sudden luck was reappearing on my nemesis' radar ... I had Dana in some of my afternoon classes and all the time, she kept glaring, not that that's new, she does that a lot, but what's new is that her glaring was more intense and more frequent. Honestly, I've never heard of her and Kyle ever being together, but they're kind of friends, belonging as they do to the popular circle, so I can only assume she's implicitly telling me to keep away from her friends.
I wonder ... if she ... let's say promised to Eric not to bother me again, will she violate that just because she hates me too much? And if she does, will he even care? I think no. If he told her to stop bothering me, it must have been only because he pitied me, and actually, as far as I know, back to middle school he was known as some sort of punk, yes, but wasn't that dreaded as he is now, so maybe back then he still had some sort of positive emotions that allowed him to pity that silly nerd that was the Queen Bee's favorite victim.
I repeat, not that Dana ever bullied me in the strong sense, which is why none of the teachers or even my mother know, she just ... made fun of me, prank me. Ok, sometimes her pranks were pretty hard to swallow, but while not fighting back, I did my best to keep my cool. I've tried to understand why does she hate me this much, but was never able to get to a clue. I guess it's just that we're opposites.
As for Eric, I shouldn't even think about it, I mean, pity is the only reason I could give for him to bother, but I guess even that faded throughout the years, also considering that he's been getting worse only. Well, rumors say that. His reputation speaks more volume that him apparently, because he doesn't talk much.
Even though Kyle cleared many of my doubts, it's still obvious that Eric Rivers is and remains quite a bad element to be hanging around. Not that I'm so dying to be hanging around him anyway.
Actually, the farthest I am from him, the better. Too bad I've got this project to work on till the other Monday ... which means I'm gonna have other rendezvous with Mr. Bad Boy ... oh, so glad I am, that's so clear, isn't it?
Oh, whatever. Despite everything, this has been too much of a good day to spoil it by thinking of the wrong people. Today it's even plenty, because I've got an appointment with Dr. Green and then work and then ... long story short, I'm busy. So no working on the fairy tale ... thank God. Well, ok, I shouldn't be so glad, I know, but ... well, technically, tomorrow should be Eric's day and ... after this morning, I'm not really sure I want to see him.
Besides, he clearly said he doesn't want me around and doesn't even want to work on the project anymore. I don't want to push my luck and face him again today, so I'll leave it up to Monday directly. It's due for the following Monday, so I think we've got plenty of time at least.
I was taking books from my locker, ready to head to my last class, which is French, when I heard the alarming click of stilettos hitting the hall tiles. Alarming because those stilettos seemed to be heading my way, and only one girl wears those. Yes, I know what kind of shoes she wears. For one simple reason: self-preservation instinct.
Even if she's stopped bothering me, I've always thought it was wiser not to push my luck, so I steer clear and to do that, I've learnt to recognize her pace, her voice ... even her scent. Like dogs, yes. Better said, like wolves. Although a wolf would fight instead of drawing back in fear, but she's got a whole circle of haughty friends while I'm just me, so ...
Although, in the back of my mind, I had this tiny voice that told me that, one, I should have one of her own friends on my side, namely, Kyle, two ... on my side I should even have someone who not even Dana dares contradict ... Eric. But he's not on my side. He doesn't hate me, but neither would he care if Miss Perfection and her disciples made my life a living hell.
Trying to escape, I quickly took all I needed and closed my locker, but ... it was too late. That sneer was already waiting for me just behind my locker's door. Behind her, her two minions, Chloe and Melanie, in their as expensive as fashion clothes, just as Dana was. Why does it suddenly look like I'm in Mean Girls?
"Watson. Long time no hear." Dana hissed in her calm but venomous voice. I swallowed and mentally ordered to myself not to care.
"Hi, Dana." I greeted, then looked behind her. "Hi, Chloe ... Melanie ..." They barely even responded, so I was back to their leader, who was sneering and sneering, like a cobra ready to devour me, well, more like poison me. Even better, I was like a little rabbit about to be poisoned and then devoured by the cobra.
"I've heard you've been having fun this week." She spat, in that mellifluous and yet furious tone only she knows how to use. I assumed she was talking about me spending time with those boys even she is attracted to, I bet, so I decided it'd be best to play dumb, considering that acting like you do with a bear and pretending to be dead wouldn't work with her.
"Uh ... not really. It's been as busy as always. Maybe more." I replied, shrugging. Her friends behind her looked at each other, kind of outraged. Maybe this could be counted as talking back and that's not really wise to do to Dana Langley.
Gee, I hate to say it, but right now I wish Eric would pop up from somewhere, because Dana's gaze was incinerating and I was the victim. Although, I'm a grown-up girl now, I don't need anybody to protect me. I can take care of myself ... I think.
Dana sneered, her eyes twinkling with hatred, arms crossed. "I'll cut it off here. Don't want to be seen with you and risk being infected." I would have asked infected by what, but I really had no will of arguing with her, so I just let it slide. Most probably she would have said something like being infected by my looserness, which is a word that doesn't even exist, but she's been using it since we were kids, saying that I was a loser and she had to keep away, otherwise she'd catch my same virus.
"Keep. Away." She hissed, her nose already flaring. I gulped but frowned, kind of confused. "I'm ... sorry?" She smirked as I asked that.
"You will be if you don't do what I said." I actually meant something like repeat, because I don't know what the heck are you talking about, but she apparently took it as me already giving up and begging for mercy ...
"Which is?" I asked, unable to retain myself, but regretting it right after, because she looked even madder. Not that I'm afraid she'd hit me, but this girl's got a certain power here and ... you know, all the Queen Bee vs. poor nerd drama. She can really make my life a living hell, like she nearly did till middle school, so I really don't want to be on her wrong side again. I've been content enough with my invisibility.
"Keep. Away." She repeated as I moved away from my locker, actually seeking an escape. "Oh, uh ... from ... what? Or ... who?"
"You know from who." I was right then. Kyle. He's her friend and possibly she has her eyes on him and ...
"He wouldn't even know what to do with one like you." Well, that's to be decided. Although, if she's warning me ... that means she actually fears I might ... do I seriously stand a chance with Kyle? That'd be impossible. But if his friend here is warning me ...
"I'm sure we'll think of something." I bit my tongue right after, conscious that I'd just signed my death sentence. I could see her minions awing, shocked. Gee, apparently I'm good at digging my own grave these days. First Eric, now Dana ...
She clenched her jaw as she took a step closer and I backed up, also because I could see her nose flaring and her cured nails were long enough to really wring my throat ... ok, ok, maybe I seriously watch too many crime dramas.
"Watson, I'm sure you'd be glad to work out with him, but come on, do you seriously think he'll even want you after that?" I blinked my eyes as she said that. She just implied that ... oh, my ... I gulped and backed up, hand on my mouth, outraged and even embarrassed. She just implied that Kyle is only trying to take me to bed! That's so low, even for her!
Dana sneered as she rejoiced of my outrage, crossing her arms, her polished nails tapping on her forearm. "Awww ... how sweet, you seriously thought he was sticking around because he liked you!" Her eyes twinkled with hatred mixed with wickedness.
"You're a lost cause, Watson. A loser. The worst of losers. I mean, look at you. Who picked your clothes? A blind guy that hates you?" She sneered and her friends followed her as I listened quietly, trying hard not to let her words cut deep.
"And let me shut up at the rest ... my ... God knows if there will ever be a fool that might want you for real. I mean, when was the last time you saw your whole body in the mirror? Like ... pre-school? Yeah, that must be it, 'cause after that your ass just started getting heavier and heavier. And, believe me, hun, baggy sweaters just don't hide the whole thing ..."
She pointed at my belly while her minions shook their heads to mimic a 'no, no'. I was just going through all the reasons why she is wrong, trying to really find one, but ... honestly, I know I'm overweight. And I know I'm not what every guy would go after. I know my flaws. I can't let her get under my skin, though.
Yet ... tears prickled behind my eyes. I hate being so weak, but this brings me back to middle school, when she would prank me and mock me in front of everybody ... that's one more reason why I became invisible. So that people like her wouldn't notice me and wouldn't make fun of me. But she's still there ... ready to poison me with her venom. What the heck have I done to her to deserve such hatred, I can't understand.
"It's surprising, though. How could such a woman as your mother end up with a daughter like you? I bet even she is ashamed of the result. I bet she's tried to exchange you with another baby in the hospital. Too bad she didn't succeed."
She tsked at me, shaking her head, and I was swallowing hard to get rid of the lump in my throat. Hold it together, Natalie. Hold it together. Let the storm pass. Her words can't hurt because you don't care.
Her words can't hurt because you don't care. That's what I've repeated myself every time she attacked me, trying to stick into my mind that she was nothing to me and her words couldn't mean anything. Yet ...
"And where's your dad? He left, didn't he? Well, who can blame him? He must have predicted what a disaster of a daughter he'd have had ..." When she noticed the tears struggling to fall, her sneer widened as she was clearly pleased of the result.
I'd like to tell myself she's wrong, but let's face it, my damn father left before I was even born, he never wanted me. He's never even tried to reach me, so he's never even wanted to have anything to do with me. Like he'd always known I'd be a failure.
"Don't you feel guilty? You've wasted your mother's life. She could have lived so, so much better. And yet she was stuck with you. Poor woman. I understand why she works that much. So she doesn't have to come home and see you." She and her friends laughed evilly.
"You are a living joke, Watson." Dana stated, venom seeping through her words, hatred clear in her eyes. "Why do you think even Mitchell left? She was tired of you. She was so ashamed of being seen with you, she just opted for moving in. Just not to see your ugly face."
She sneered, shaking her head, her minions now right behind her. "Gee, Watson, a worm is more reactive than you. Hell, a worm has more of a social life than you. When's the last time you went to a date? Oh, wait, never. Because there isn't a boy with enough stomach to endure your face."
My fists started clenching and unclenching. I was sick and tired of this, and yet I couldn't find the words to respond. I was just drowning in an ocean of 'she's right, you know she's right' that was consuming me. I inhaled deeply, praying for whatever teacher to pop up from somewhere, reproaching us for not being class, but no one was in sight.
Dana's sneer disappeared when she stared right into my teary eyes, pure despise mixed with hatred brimming hers, her voice a sharp hiss as she spoke: "Keep away, Watson. It's for your own good." With that, she turned around, but before storming off, she remarked: "Remember I can make your life a living hell."
As she and her friends disappeared at the end of the hall, I crawled to my feet, unable to sustain my own weight anymore. I'm so tired of this. I thought she'd stopped.
One moment I come out of my little invisible shell and instantly I get thrown in the middle of the storm again. She promised Eric not to torment me anymore apparently. Well, apparently, she's willing to break that promise. And for what? Because I made the mistake of hanging out with one of her friends. Possibly, she and Kyle have or had a thing going.
Bitter tears rolled out of my eyes before I could stop them. To no avail was my repeating myself that people could see me and I'd be even more mocked, but I'm tired. Sick and tired. Lucky thing I'll leave this damn place in a few months.
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