Crossroads: Book 1

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Chapter 24

Elena


“Well, I heard she cheated on her boyfriend, that’s why he caused such a ruckus and carried her drunk ass out.” Sitting with my feet up on the seat of this toilet in the bathroom stall, I try to silence my sobs; it’s near useless as the rumors keep spreading.

“She’s a slut.” I peer through the crack of the stall door and see the girl that sits next to me in Biology apply a dark shade of red lipstick. “She shows up with one guy, goes upstairs with two guys, then leaves with that hot biker. I mean, how much attention does she need?” She pops her lips as I close my eyes and cover my mouth, more tears drip, plummeting right down onto the green tile.

“Did you actually see all that, Ashley, or are you just going by hearsay?” Another voice sounds.

Watching her, she flips her strawberry blonde hair over the shoulder and leans on the counter. “I saw it happen. I was about to warn Mike what that whore was doing, but I didn’t have a chance. He just raced up those stairs.” Shrugging her shoulders, she adds, “I’m not too worried, though. I’ll have my chance with him soon enough.”

“I think they’re still together. I mean, all week they’ve been by each other’s side,” the redhead from English class tells Ashley.

“I’ve seen that. It’s only a matter of time. He deserves a lot better; don’t you think?” Ashley ponders.

Ovid shrugs her shoulder. “I don’t know. They seem pretty inseparable. Besides, I heard from a reliable source that he’s a dangerous guy. Did you know he brought a gun with him to that party? Some people saw the handle stick out in the back of his pants. He carries brass knuckles in his back pocket. He’s even in a gang, Ashley,” Ovid gossips.

As they step closer to the door, I hear Ashley say, “I don’t really care. He’s hot,” she giggles. “As for being with that slut, he won’t be for long.” Finally, they both walk out.

With no one left in the restroom, I don’t hold back my sobs. Not only am I the new girl, but I’m the new girl with the wrong type of reputation: I am a slut, a whore, someone who constantly needs male attention, and a girlfriend of a man that deserves better. Along with such rumors, I also have a problem with drugs and alcohol. As if that’s not enough, now Ashley wants to go after Mike. It’s not like he’s mine. We aren’t dating. I should not have a green villain developing on my shoulder; however, it sprouts anyways just to slurp up the rest of my puddled confidence.

All week, I have been strong about it - telling myself that I am above this, more solid than the lies and the misconceptions of my character. If I were really truthful with myself, I would accept the fact that words really do hurt.

The whispers in combination with dirty looks in the halls aren’t any better. Stopping at my locker, I try to cancel out the voices, concentrate on switching out my books for English lit, and all the while battling the tears from tumbling out behind my lids.

I feel a large hand on my shoulder, followed by a low drawl, and almost jump out of my skin.

“Hey, you okay? How are you holding up?” the man asks.

Wiping away the salty leaks, I look up at the man that has been glued to my side all week. He sees my swollen eyes and reddened nose.

“Who did this?” He’s fighting his rage.

Not wanting any more attention, I wave my hand in dismissal. “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it.”

He dips his head, so we’re at eye level. “When someone hurts you, it’s not nothing. I want to know. You are going to tell me: Who did this to you?” he firmly asks.

His stare is unwavering. Something tells me he won’t let this go. They are just rumors. They aren’t true; I’m being such a girl about this. Toughen up, Elena.

I lift my chin at him. “Really, don’t worry about it. I’ve got this.” My voice shakes. It’s the same lecture I’ve been telling myself for the past four days since being back in school. Sometimes it helps, other times... it’s a lost cause.

Mike cocks a brow. “Are you sure? Cause it kind of looks like you’re hanging on by a thread...” Count on him to be observant.

When I’m about to reassure him, a group of boys walk in our direction. One of the boys has on a dark green beanie over his blond hair above his hazel eyes. He’s wearing a black shirt and light blue jeans. The boy snickers low at me in passing. “Wanna fuck me this weekend?” The slither of his tongue is for good measure.

A shudder passes through me, and before I have much time to react, Mike lurches for him and pins him against the lockers. Their faces are mere inches apart; a small crowd is gawking as they size each other up.

“What was that?” Mike snarls at the beanie boy who doesn’t seem intimidated at all.

“What’s your problem, man? Just having a little fun.” The beanie boy smiles, then glances at me and winks.

The gesture repulses me back into my want of invisibility.

“You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. You owe her an apology,” Mike’s jaw clenches as he growls.

“I don’t owe her anything!” Beanie Boy bellows. “She knows what she is, the whole damn school knows.”

“She didn’t sleep with anyone that night! It’s a sick rumor, and it needs to stop!” Mike shouts back, and I’m sure everyone in the hall hears it.

There’s a pause as a malicious smile creeps along Beanie Boy’s lips; I barely hear him say, “Is that why you’re so pissy? Because she kept her legs closed for you too?”

That does it. Mike throws a punch into Beanie Boy’s jaw in a blink of an eye, and now they are wrestling and fighting. The crowd is chanting, ‘fight, fight, fight’ while more people gather to watch. Clutching my literature book against my chest, I watch in horror as they beat each other.

Mike grabs onto the boy’s t-shirt, smashing him into the lockers and producing a rippling echo. Beanie Boy charges at Mike and slams him into the brick wall with a lingering snap. Mike punches him in the nose, causing blood to burst out, and then punches him again in the ribs with his opposite fist. Beanie Boy attempts to put Mike in a headlock by his side but fails as Mike elbows him in the gut until the boy stumbles back.

Mike swings around and punches Beanie Boy’s face a couple more times, then takes an opportunity to ram his face into the drinking fountain. Beanie Boy rises from the drinking fountain leaving smears of blood on the faucet and manages to get a few good punches in on Mike to the point where he’s now bleeding from his nose.

With both being the same size as each other, neither one has fallen to the ground yet. Before the fight can continue much further, the principal and a couple of the school’s security team come to peel them apart.

I watch as the security officers place cuffs on both sets of wrists as they haul away one fuming Mike and one Beanie Boy with a bloody smirk.

As the crowd disperses, they eye me and whisper amongst themselves while others comment on how cool it was to witness a fight at school. I keep my head down and walk over the splatters of blood on the tiles - praying that I have the endurance to not only make it to English lit but also to survive the rest of the day.

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