Tame a Monster

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Chapter Two

At lunch I was comforted by the idea that I knew I’d at least have a lunch buddy, Jean invited me to sit with her.

The way the cafeteria was set up, there’s the north end and the south end. Besides all your average cliques, it seemed the more popular you were meant that you sat at the north end of the cafeteria. Jean’s table was located in the south end, I was surprised to see the girl from gym amongst Jena’s table, along with two other girls and a guy. Jean introduced them as Derek, Sammy, Ulisa, and Angelica. It appears as though Derek and Angelica were in a relationship from the way they googly-eyed each other the whole lunch period. That’s cute.

A couple things Jean made adamant to me in lunch was to A) make sure I stayed in my lane. Apparently, their school already had a hierarchy system in place that was very set in stone. B) was to stay out of Vivienne’s shit list, but Ulisa ready explained that one to me in gym. C) and most important was;

“Never, ever, EVER cross Keenan Hallins. Ever.”

“Who?”

“He’s the next- he’s just a big deal in this town, his dad practically runs it. They could destroy your reputation, they could destroy you financially, even legally with the number of connections they have.”

“How does one person have so much power? Which one is he? How will I know who he is?”

“I haven’t seen him all day actually, he’s probably not here. But you’ll definitely know it’s him when you see him. He’s impossible to miss.”

Just a couple hours ago, my hope coming here was to gain hundreds of friends and make my experience here the opposite of what it was in my old school. But by the way Ulisa and Jean are talking, it’d be best to fly under the radar instead. No worries, I’m an expert at that.

I learned a lot of things about my friend Jean, too. She’s also never been outside Chambers either and says the first thing she wants to do when she graduates is to travel the world. She has big aspirations and I felt so excited for her just hearing her talk about it. Another peculiar thing I noticed, was that on the inside of her wrist, was a name. It wasn’t a tattoo but looked like it was carved into her skin. The carving read the name ‘Eric’.

———————————————————————

7th hour was my last class of the day, so far I would count today as a success, and now I’m actually looking forward to the rest of the school year.

My 7th-hour teacher Mrs. Howard directed me to sit all the way in the back in an empty black science table meant for two. The bell rings and everyone gets seated, I note that Vivienne and her friend Savannah are in this class, as well as some of the jocks I recognize from their cafeteria table. Vivienne and Savannah sat in a table near the front, while the guys sat at the table directly in front of mine.

Mrs. Howard was already more than halfway through attendance when the classroom door swung open, and a boy comes in. No, not a boy, but a full-grown man! His massive build overpowered the size of the class and hard muscles covered every inch of his body. He had a strong angular jaw and his eyes were as black as the night sky and his hair was just as dark but trimmed short. His height easily toward everyone in the school, and not to mention that he was possibly the most gorgeous human being I’ve ever seen in my entire life. His face alone must’ve been carved and chiseled by the gods themselves. After ogling his very defined features, our eyes connected, and I felt like someone just kicked in my ribs.

An overwhelming emotion I’ve never felt before overcame me, and I could only hear my heartbeat beating loud and fast in my own ears. I couldn’t understand anything other than I wanted to jump into his arms and stay there forever.

Um, what?

One second he’s across the room and the next he’s standing only a couple of inches away from my face, saying something I can’t comprehend.

“Huh?’”

“I said, you’re in my seat. Move.” His voice left no room for argument, and his sheer size alone intimidated the crap outta me. “Hey, are you deaf?”

My mouth was probably gaping open at his blunt rudeness. My anatomy teacher, Mrs. Howard gave a nervous laugh.

“Oh! That’s my mistake! I meant the other seat.” She gestured to the seat on the left of me, meaning I’d still be sitting right next to him.

I scooted one seat over but you could still cut the awkward and uncomfortable tension between us with a knife. The two boys sitting in the table in front of us did a complete turnaround.

“Keenan, my man, where have you been all day?”

OH MY GOD. This was the infamous Keenan Hallins? Why does it feel like every rumor and every warning leading up to this point was true? I buried my head in my textbook so we wouldn’t make eye contact again. I could feel him glance my way before answering.

“I was just discussing... strategies with my dad and uncle Felix.” He had an incredibly deep and smooth voice, one I was having a strange reaction to.

“Why did you bother showing up to school to attend only one hour?”

“Cuz my mom made me.”

I let their voices fade into the background and from my peripheral vision I could see Vivienne glaring daggers at me. Oh crap! I’ve screwed up already! Maybe if I explain that I’m not interested in her man, she’ll know that I’m not a threat?

Are you sure you’re not interested? The little voice in my head instigated.

No! I don’t even know him!

Keenan and his friends, who I just found out were named Tanner and Alan, kept on with their conversation for the entire period. No matter how loud they got or how obnoxious, the teacher didn’t reprimand them once. Even when their voices completely drowned out hers, and it wasn’t just them either. About only a handful of people in the entire class paid attention.

So much so, that some people actually got out of their seats to socialize, Vivienne being one of them. She gets out of her seat, struts over swiveling her hips, then sits right onto Keenan’s lap, she wound her arms around his neck and gave him a huge smooch on lips. Watching that made me feel so sick to my stomach, I felt a painful zapping on my lips that I bit down on them. I’ve never experienced any type of heartache before so there’s no way this could be that, again, I don’t even know him. But something inside me just shattered into a million pieces and I felt crushed. I don’t know why watching two strangers kiss is having this effect on my body.

“What are you looking at freak?!” Vivienne barked at me, face formed into a sneer.

“Um, nothing,” I said quickly and buried my head in my textbook again.

“If you have something to say to me, say it!”

“I have nothing to say.”

“What’s your name Freak?”

I didn’t answer.

“I’m talking to you Freak!”

I ignored her again.

“She asked you a question. Answer.” This time it was Keenan who spoke, and the way he said it, so full of authority, had me answering only a millisecond later. Like I couldn’t control my own mouth.

“I’m Angeline.”

Vivienne snorted and said, “hmmm Angeline? That’s a girl’s name, you’re a girl?” She said looking at my appearance up and down. I felt self-conscious under her scrutiny, my appearance is one of my biggest insecurities. Instantly I’m reminded of all the teasing in my old school.

Under her patronizing gaze, I didn’t feel just poor but also dirty. I wouldn’t belong here either.

“Never would have guessed,” one of the boys, Tanner, chimed in.

Now they were all looking at me top to bottom, from my crispy hair to my torn guy shirt, then down to my very old and worn shoes. Keenan’s lips curled in disgust. I tried to fight the urge to run and cry. I could do that later, but even I knew to do that right now, in front of them, would only give them leverage to annihilate me.

“Nope! Angeline just won’t do,” Vivienne said in a condescendingly chipper voice. “I think I’ll stick with Freak. Hm nah, on the second thought, that’s so unoriginal. How about shit-stain? Turd? Ooooh, what about Vermin? After all, you literally look like a homeless man, it wouldn’t be far from the truth.”

Don’t react. Don’t react. Don’t react.

“But I do like Vermin the most,” Keenan contributed.

“Vermin it is then baby.”

Just then I could see how the rest of my school career would play out. Nothing’s changed, I’d be known as ‘Vermin’ from then on. How did I manage to do the one thing everyone told me not to do in the span of an hour? I’ve made an enemy out of both Vivienne and Keenan. How do I fix this?

“Um, I’m sorry if I offended you. Or if something I did or said rubbed you the wrong way. That was not my intention.”

“Yea your hideous face and rancid smell in my presence offends me,” Vivienne spat. “It’s offending me right now.”

Alan and Tanner break out into booming laughter, like that was the funniest thing they’ve ever heard.

Before I could think of a response, the bell rang. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I was relieved I didn’t cry in front of them but now I wanted to bawl. I don’t know how to fix this, I really don’t want to spend this year known as ‘Vermin’.

————————————————————-

Arriving home, I sit down and write in my journal because I have no real friends to vent to. It was my only coping mechanism. After school, I’m usually home alone until my dad gets home around eight, so after I just finish catching up on the material we’re currently learning. Then head downstairs to start making us some dinner. I make us some of my late grandmother’s notorious pozole.

My dad comes home and can tell he’s very tired. He just finishes his food in silence and falls asleep on the couch. I pull a blanket over him and give him a light kiss on the forehead.

As I get ready for bed, I can’t help but feel nervous about what’s in store for me at school tomorrow. I just know I need to do a lot of apologizing and damage control. I don’t need or want anyone hating me.

Sleep calls to me, taking me under. As I close my eyes on the verge of drifting, I’m jolted awake by a painful zapping on my lips. This pain felt like I was being stabbed and electrocuted all at once. A jabbing pain that radiated and traveled. It traveled down to my neck, then to my chest, and then finally to my lower stomach. I bit down my lip hard to keep from screaming.

Then it stopped.

What the heck was tha-

My thoughts are interrupted when I feel a searing pain in the most unexpected place... in between my legs.

I stuffed my face in my pillow to muffle my screams. The smallest of moves only intensified the pain. It hurt, it hurt so much.

Ten minutes.

Ten minutes of pure torture before it finally stopped.

In the end, I found myself in a fetal position, curled into a tight ball. My muscles were sore and my joints locked. I could taste tears and blood in my mouth from biting my lips so hard.

I took two shaky inhales from my inhaler.

Emotions I couldn’t name coursed through my body. I felt like I just lost all control of myself. Before I knew it, I was sobbing myself into a restless sleep. My body felt raw and stripped, but worse.... I felt my heartbreaking.

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