Chapter 4. Slut
The hallway was crowded, full of kids. Some of the boys stared as I made my way down the hall. It was strange, but it made me smile. I made it to my new locker for the year. I unloaded my duffel bag placing things in the locker.
Peyton was standing behind me. She was staring at me with wide eyes.
“Hey,” I said and smiled. “How was your summer?”
“Apparently, not as interesting as yours,” she said and chuckled. “You look great.”
“Thanks,” I said and smiled. “It wasn’t all that interesting, though. Where is Jade?”
“She won’t be here today. The family camping trip is running late or something,” Peyton explained. Peyton looped her arm in with mine. “What is your first class?”
“Algebra two with Coleson,” I told her.
“Damn, mine is History with Trisoni,” she muttered.
A laugh escaped me. “Maybe, I’ll see you later then.”
“Okay, see you,” she said and walked off.
I turned to go into class and bumped into somebody. “Sorry–” I stopped when I caught a pair of familiar brown eyes.
“Stormie?” Chris raised his eyebrows and his gaze swept over my body. His brown hair fell over his eyes. He ran his hand through his hair.
“Hi,” I said.
“Um, wow. Makeover?” he swallowed hard, and his gaze flickered back to mine.
“Oh, yeah. It was Claire’s idea,” I said and shrugged. “Like it?”
“Like it?” Chris raised his eyebrows. He rubbed the back of his neck. “You look good. It’s just weird, though. I mean, it’s not... you.”
I pursed my lips and looked away. I felt instantly irritated by the way he said it. “Well, it is me. It’s just a fucking haircut and some makeup. I’m a girl. I’m allowed to look nice. Okay?” I snapped. I turned around and stormed down the hallway. Today is going to be hell.
By the time lunch rolled around, I was ready to go home. I even considered ditching. I was so angry that all I could think about was how I would get twenty bucks to buy some weed from Avery.
As Peyton and I walked across the schoolyard, I felt eyes on me and heard a few whistles. I ignored the looks I received.
“Do I really look that different?” I murmured to Peyton.
“Well, sort of. I mean, you always wore baggy clothes and never cut your hair. You had glasses and braces. The last time anyone saw you, you looked thirteen, and now you look like you could pass for a senior. I think you filled out more, too,” she said and chuckled. “From last school year to this one, you did like a complete one-eighty.”
I sighed and sat down on a picnic table. “I feel like me, apart from the clothes and makeup. I just never cared for dressing up. I want to go home.”
She nodded in understanding. “Is it that bad? Who cares if guys are looking,” she said and chuckled. “At least they think you’re pretty enough to look at.”
“I want people to like me for me,” I said. “Nobody does, though.”
“Am I chopped liver?” she asked.
I laughed and bumped my shoulder to hers. “Of course not, you’re great. I think I’m going to go find Avery. I have to ask him something.”
“Good luck,” Peyton said. “I heard he went home.”
“Really?” I arched a brow. “Why?”
“I don’t know,” she said and shrugged.
“Then I’ll go find Mason,” I said.
“Wait for me,” Peyton said.
We were halfway across the field when I noticed Susie and her posse. Susie was friends with the other popular girls. Susie was my best friend until the eighth grade.
“Wow, new look Stormie?” Susie asked. “Doesn’t matter how little of clothes you wear, you’re still ugly. Not wearing any clothes is only going to make everyone think you’re a slut.” Susie and her friends laughed and walked away.
My cheeks burned hot from embarrassment. “I’m out of here.”
“Stormie, wait!” Peyton yelled. “Don’t listen to them!”
I kicked my heels off and picked them up. I felt everyone’s eyes on me as I ran past them. My lungs burned from the panic and the running. I stopped and hunched over. It took me a few minutes to catch my breath.
It took me about twenty minutes to make it home. I pulled my phone out of my pocket to send a text.
Me: Are you home?
I sat my phone down on the dresser and grabbed some makeup wipes. It took me only a couple of minutes to get all the foreign goo off my face. I wasn’t used to wearing makeup. Claire bought me a big case of makeup and nail polish. She bought me every type of makeup item you would need and told me how to use what I was unfamiliar with. I would need to give all of it back to her.
As for the clothes, there wasn’t a lot. I could do to fix that. Claire and I donated my old clothes. I had none of my old clothes.
I changed into a pair of tight pink sweat pants and a pink tank top; it was the most unrevealing clothes that I had. I pulled an oversized, off the shoulder, pink sweater over my head. I walked across the hallway into my mother’s bedroom. I took twenty dollars from her money jar on her dresser and went back to my room.
My phone made a ding sound. I grabbed it and opened the text.
Jerk: Yeah, why?
Me: I’m coming over.
After responding to him, I placed the phone in my pocket and slipped back into my shoes. I dashed across the yard and climbed over the fence that divided our yards. I heard my phone ding but didn’t bother looking at it.
Avery came out of the barn and looked across the yard. He looked at me, confused. “Aren’t you supposed to be in school?”
“You’re one to talk,” I snorted.
“I had to come home,” he said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Fred called the school to let them know that my horses were out,” he said. “It isn’t like Jay is going to fix the fucking thing. If he had it his way, there wouldn’t be any animals here.”
“Right,” I said and nodded. “Do you need help?”
“No, I got it fixed.”
“Are you going back to school?” I asked.
He rolled his eyes. “What’s the point? School is almost over,” he said. He turned and started back across the yard toward the house.
“Don’t you have practice?” I asked, following after him.
“Not today. Why are you here?” he stopped and turned to face me.
“Am I not allowed to be here?” I tilted my head.
He looked away. “You don’t come here, Storm.”
“I’ve been here a lot,” I argued.
“To babysit my brother or tell your brother to get home,” he said. “What’s going on?”
“Can we go in and talk about it?” I asked.
“Yeah, sure,” he said.
Avery had the biggest and oldest house on Archer Drive. It was four stories. The farm had been in the Prince family since the middle or late eighteen hundreds.
Avery’s bedroom was bigger than mine, and Mason’s bedrooms’ put together. Avery had stairs in his room that went up to a loft and then outside, which I was jealous as hell over.
“Want to trade bedrooms?” I asked.
“In your dreams,” he said and chuckled. “So, what is it?”
I pulled the twenty dollar bill that I jacked from my mom’s jar and held it up in front of him. “I want some weed,” I told him.
“Uh, what?” he raised his eyebrows. “What the fuck do you expect to smoke it out of? You don’t have any pieces.”
“What pieces? Can’t you just give me a blunt or something?”
“I don’t have no more papers,” he said and chuckled. “Why are you trying to get weed?”
“To smoke it, duh,” I said and rolled my eyes.
“Rough day?” he asked.
“It doesn’t matter why,” I growled.
“Come on,” he said. He turned and headed for the spiral stairs that went up to his loft.
Once we were in the loft, he went over and plopped down on his couch. The couch was black and leather. It wasn’t the first time I saw it. There were a couple of sitting chairs that matched it and a flat-screen across from the couch. There was a door that went out to the roof, where there was a small balcony.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Just come over and sit down,” he said.
I sat down beside him.
He leaned over and opened up what I thought was just a coffee table.
“Ha! That is cool as hell. Is this where you keep all of it?”
He rolled his eyes. “Usually,” he said. “Don’t ever tell nobody about it.”
“Is it a secret?” I teased.
“Well, I don’t want everyone knowing where my shit is. That’s how people get robbed,” he said and rolled his eyes. “Anyway, the only ones that know is me, Mason, and you.”
“Cool,” I said.
He pulled a small jar out and a small pipe. He handed me the small pipe and untwisted the lid off the jar.
The smell of the weed filled the air, and I wrinkled my nose.
“I’ll make you a deal,” he said.
“Oh, boy,” I said and pursed my lips.
“It’s a real good deal,” he said and chuckled.
“Tell me what happened, and I will let you have the hitter and a quarter for free,” he said. “Which is at least worth a hundred dollars.”
“What’s a hitter?” I arched a brow.
“The pipe you’re holding,” he said.
“Oh, right. How much is a quarter?” I asked.
He stood up and went over to a small table. He pulled two things out and came over to sit back down. He placed the cup on a small scale and turned the scale on. He started filling the cup up. He stopped and turned it off. He grabbed a small bag and put the weed in it. He held it up for me to see.
“I’ll let you smoke out of mine, and you can take this home with you,” he explained.
“Damn, that’s a lot,” I said. “For free, really?”
“Don’t you need the money?”
“No, it comes out of my pocket, but I ain’t worried about it,” he said. “I make enough of a profit.”
I took a deep breath. I didn’t look at him as I spoke. “Susie said I was dressing like a slut,” I said. “And all the girls laughed plus a few others that weren’t far from us that heard it. She said dressing like a slut wouldn’t change the fact that I was ugly. Chris said it’s weird and not me. Everyone was staring. It’s the last time I ever listen to Claire,” I muttered.
Avery sighed and buried his face in his hands. He dropped them and turned his head to the side to look at me.
I couldn’t meet his gaze.
Avery grabbed my chin and forced me to look at him. “I saw you this morning. Your clothes were fine. I can’t see Claire buying anything for you that would make you look like a slut. Do you even know what a fucking slut looks like? When you start walking around with no bra in shirts where your boobs are damn near falling out and skirts that if you bent over slightly, you could see your thong, then we’ll talk. There is nothing wrong with what you were wearing today. Stop biting into that shit. She will stop doing it if you stop letting it bother you.”
I couldn’t respond, but I knew that he was right.
“As for Chris,” he went on, “He’s not used to seeing you wear things like that. Most people haven’t even seen you in a dress or even shorts. There is nothing wrong with dressing like a girl, and there is nothing wrong with dressing like a tomboy. What is wrong is that you worry about what people say or think. Don’t take that shit to heart, Stormie.”
Avery took the hitter from me and took some weed from his jar. When he was done packing it, he lit it and took a hit. He inhaled it and held the smoke in. He handed me the hitter and the lighter.