After the case of Victoria Burke, I dodge her as if we’re playing dodgeball in gym class. It’s not a surprise to say she officially hates my very existence.
I’m not saying that because she aimed for me during dodgeball as if I’m America’s worst enemy or served only towards me during volleyball.
“Jessica Thompson!” The PE teacher shouted. “This is volleyball, not dodgeball! Why do you keep dodging?”
Because I’m trying to keep my head intact. Victoria and her little cheerleader crew continuously hit the ball in my direction. In the past, she would’ve gone easy on me since I’m Brody’s sister. Now, she’s trying to kill me because I’m Brody’s sister. Freaking Brody.
“Coach!” Shannon screamed. Shannon and I have gym class together. “Why are you screaming at Jess? The other team clearly has it out for her! What are you doing?” I want to give Shannon a thumb up.
“Are you screaming at your teacher?!” I would’ve screamed at the coach too if I weren’t so tired.
“You’re standing on the other side of the gym, so how else can you hear me if I don’t scream!” Shannon is on another team across the gym.
“Shannon Lakis! Are you asking for detention?”
“For what? Nowhere in the rules say I can’t scream so my teacher can hear me!”
The coach’s face turns red. “Lakis! Detention!”
“Alright! But, remember, everyone here knows Victoria is your niece, and you’re clearly playing favoritism! How would the principal like it when she hears the coach had been picking on other students because of Victoria?”
“And guess what? I hate to brag, but my ma is a part of the school district!” The gym coach is new, so he doesn’t know that Shannon’s mom is a member of the school district.
Even while Victoria is aiming for me, she can’t do much except a little shove here and there. It’s because of Shannon’s mom, and again, it’s because I’m Brody’s sister. No matter how much of an eyesore I am, he won’t stand by if Victoria pushes too far. Plus, Mrs.Lakis likes me. She said I’m a good influence on her daughter. It seems that staying at home and doing nothing automatically makes you a good student.
The coach’s face turned from red to white.
Shannon smirks, “I’ll see you during detention after school coach.” That sounds more like a threat than a statement.
She looks at me and wink. I exhale lightly and smile, mouthing: “Thank you.”
After the verbal argument between the coach and Shannon, Victoria and her followers went easy on me. She understands that her uncle’s job is on the line so that she won’t bully me as much during gym class. At least I can breathe a little now.
After changing out of my gym clothes, the coach called for me. I didn’t bother remembering his name because it’s too much work to know all seven teachers’ names when we’re going to change again next semester.
I stood inside his small office. There’s a drift of sweat and unused materials. My eyes scattered around the room to see old reminisce of what used to be. The coach seems to be quite popular among his peers.
I heard he used to be an outstanding football player until he broke his ankle right before the recruitment season. His cousin grabbed the scholarship and is playing for the NFL right now.
Now he’s stuck in his hometown, wrapped in a dead-end job.
I don’t look like it, but I really do feel pity for him. Even if he did pick on me, a small innocent girl.
“Excuse me, what did you say coach?” I didn’t hear what he said. I completely zoned out.
“I said: Sit down.”
I put my bag on the floor and sat down on the century-old chair. I wonder if I’m in trouble.
The coach cupped his hands together, “You know I’m not purposely picking on you, right?”
Sure, you aren’t. “Yes, coach.”
“All because Victoria is my niece, it doesn’t mean I’ll automatically side with her.”
Sure, you won’t. “I understand.”
“I’ll make sure to talk to her about her behavior.”
Sure you will. “Okay.”
The coach exhales sharply. The longer I look at him, the more I understand why the girls swooned over him. He’s handsome. His defined features, his lightly shaded beard, and his carved arm muscles can make any female swoon. “You don’t sound convinced.”
Now, you’re getting it. “Of course not, coach.”
“I heard about you, Jessica.”
I don’t know if I should be happy or creep out that my hot gym teacher had been hearing things about me.
“And I’m concerned.”
“Yes. You don’t seem to get along well with many people and-”
“Coach-” I said, “Thank you for your concern, but I don’t believe my social life is any of your business. Not to be rude, but whether or not I decide to make friends with someone or cast them aside is my choice.”
“This type of behavior is the reason why those girls-”
“Don’t tell me you’re standing on the side of the girls who purposely hit the ball at me.” The atmosphere dampens even more, and I’m not talking about the scent. “I hate to play the victim card, but I am the victim here. You can’t make me sit here and lecture me about how it’s my fault that they decided to aim for me.”
“Jessica, that’s not what I mean.”
“Then, tell me exactly what you mean.” I’m not sitting down - from the argument -
“I’m saying, if you change your behavior a bit then maybe they-”
“Maybe?” I stopped him. “You’re advising me to change who I am, so those who picked on me might change the way they treat me?”
“I think we’re done here.” I grabbed my backpack and stood up. “I appreciate your help, but I would be more thankful if you step back.” I head out of the office doors.
I didn’t care if I was rude. Sometimes, you have to be rude to get your point across. What was I supposed to do? Crawl back into my shell and take his advice? Change myself? How laughable. He isn’t involved in the situation. He doesn’t understand the situation. What right does he have to intervene? Because he’s a teacher? Because he’s an adult? Because adults know best?
Clearly, that’s an overstatement.
Wow. I am a pit of anger right now.
I stopped when I remembered something. I went back into the office. “I need a pass because I’m late for class.”
The coach exhaled lightly and wrote me an excused pass. I grabbed it from his hand and made my way back towards the exit.
I stopped and turned around, “Just a word of advice. Not every student lives a high school life like you and your niece.”
When I left the gym, I kicked a rock. “I’m the victim here, and you’re telling me to change?” I scoffed, “I don’t see you calling in those girls to tell them to change their behaviors.” I continued to kick rocks on my way towards the classroom. Once in a while, I would run into a hall monitor, and I showed them my pass.
Then, the expected happened.
“Sup,” Jax said.