“So, as seen on the syllabus, we will have 10 Units to finish in under 5 months, so please prepare to focus and actually study for this class.” Ms. Payne instructs as we read through our class syllabus. Well, more like the whole class except Seven, who is having a ball tugging my ponytail.
I’m seriously considering grabbing his poof of hair that’s sitting on the tip of his forehead and yanking it so hard that his hair rips out, but I don’t want him beating my ass. Yes, I hate him, but I bet a good buck that he’s terrifying when he’s mad.
I blow a gust of air from out of my mouth in annoyance and the other boy sitting at our table glances at me. His eyes flick up to my hair, watching for a moment as Seven repeatedly jerks my head back, then looks back to me in worry.
“Is he bothering you?” He kindly whispers. I mouth a “yes” in reply and he nods his head in acknowledgement.
He leans back in his chair to reach behind me and smack Seven’s arm, to which Seven reacts in offence.
“The fuck? Did you just pop me on the hand like some 4-year-old?” Seven whisper-yells. The boy purses his lips at Seven’s reaction and demands two words.
Seven raises an eyebrow in defiance and scoffs. “Watch your tone with me, twinkle toes. I can do what I please.”
“Can you please stop, Seven? This is getting really annoying and you’re messing up my hair.” I beg, and he looks in my direction, shooting me a wink.
“Only because you said ‘please’, Angel.” He smiles. He looks down to his syllabus and begins reading the words on the paper while I look up to the boy beside me in gratitude.
“Thank you...” I drag, realizing I don’t know his name. He chuckles and sticks out his arm for me to shake.
“Gabriel Tucker, but Gabe to my friends.” He grins. I place my hand in his and return a firm and manly handshake, possibly squeezing his hand a little too hard.
“Allegra Davis, but Alle to my friends. And I can call you...” I drag.
I smile in return, then focus back on Ms. Payne’s lecture.
After a while of pointless disquisition and tiring speeches, the bell finally rings, blessing the class with an escape to third period. Chatter fills up the room while everyone packs their bags and rushes out the door.
“Bye, Allegra. See you soon.” Gabe waves and I send him a smile in return.
“It’s Alle to you, Gabe. See ya!”
He grins and walks out of the room. Gabe seems like a very sweet boy and I’m glad we were able to become friends. He’s also one person that I’ll enjoy talking to in this class rather than having to make small talk with Seven. I hug my books to my chest and begin to make my way to the door.
As I turn the corner into the hall, a leg is kicked in front of me, causing me to drop my books and fall face first into the ground. Not catching myself in time, the left side of my face hits the white tile floor and a rush of pain flows through it. I quickly looked behind me to see who tripped me, and the one person who I should’ve expected to be the culprit was standing behind me, cackling.
“You should’ve seen your face,” Seven laughs while I wipe my runny nose. I look down to see a red line across my pointer finger, notifying me that I’m about to have one nasty nosebleed.
I get up as fast as I physically can and get up in his space, pointing my non bloody finger in his face.
“I’m so done with this! I-I’m so done with you!” I yell, revving back my hand to give him a much needed slap in the face. But before I know it, my wrist is grabbed by someone behind me and my body is turned to face the person.
“Woah, woah, what’s-” Loui starts, but once he looks at my face, his expression that was once worry turns deadly. “Seven, did you fucking punch Alle?”
“No, I didn’t.” He says, his hands lifting up to prove his innocence. People walking by in the halls are stopping to watch what’s going down between the two shouting boys.
“Her face is fucking bruising and her nose is fucking bleeding! Take one fucking look at her then look me in the fucking eyes and try to lie to me.” Loui roars, making me jump. I have never heard him yell or drop the f-bomb as much as he is right now and I’d be fibbing if I said I wasn’t slightly scared.
“It’s okay, Loui. He didn’t-” I try to explain, but Loui cuts me off once again.
“This isn’t okay, Allegra! Seven fucking punched you! That is assault!”
“But he didn’t-”
“We’re going to my car. Seven, I’m dealing with you later.” Loui orders, coldly. He gently wraps his arm around my waist to lift me up, like I can’t physically walk myself, and guides me to the school parking lot.
“Loui, stop.” I order him, forcing him to stop in the middle of the lot. He jolts to a stop and turns to me with a concerned look on his face.
“Why? Alle, I need to get the first aid kit in my car. Your nose is literally a leaking pipe.”
“One, Loui, Seven didn’t beat me up. Despite his lack of having morals, he didn’t hit me. I’m okay.” I slowly explain. Loui lets out a relieved breath and rubs his hand over his face.
“I’m sorry Alle, I should’ve stopped talking and-”
“It’s okay. But two, why did you react like that in the hall? He was just ‘being Seven’.” I air quote.
Loui comes over to grab my shoulders, giving me a stern look. “Even if Seven hadn’t beat you up, I will always react that way when it comes to you, Alle. You may not understand how special you are to me, but I’d be damned if I let anything bad ever happen to you. I love you too much to see you ever get hurt.”
I stand there for a moment in awe then wrap my arms around his neck, embracing him into a tight hug. He returns it, squeezing even tighter. “I love you too.”
After a moment, he suddenly pushes me away, looking down at his shirt and groaning. He looks back up to me with an exasperated expression. “Alle, you got blood all over my shirt, goddamnit.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry-”
He snatches up my hand and drags me to his car. “I’m getting changed and you can stuff a tampon in your nose while you wait.”
“But I don’t have-”
Before I could finish my sentence, he opens his car door, shuffles through it, and throws a tampon in my face. I stare at it in shock, then look back to Loui, who has already pulled his shirt off of himself.
“How do you have-”
“No questions asked, just use it and be thankful I have one on me.”
Safe to say that the rest of the school week was a carbon copy of Monday. The same old class schedule and the same old petty arguments with Seven. I thanked God when Seven wasn’t in class on Friday, but got a little worried when I saw Loui stressing over something.
“Don’t worry about it, everything will be okay,” Was all that Loui would tell me, and I’d be fibbing if I said that it didn’t make me want to know what more was going on. I didn’t push into it though.
Saturday went by pretty fast with me just hanging out with Vicki and Scarlet. The girls drove by my house on their way to Dairy Queen and brought me with them on their adventure. They wanted to bring me to the club with them for a themed bar night they’re having, but I didn’t want to put myself into a situation that I won’t be comfortable in. I’m not necessarily most fond of the smell of alcohol and the older men there make me uncomfortable. I would maybe go if I knew for certain that the girls would stay sober with me, but I know that’ll happen when chickens fly.
I lay in bed, reading the book I just checked out from my school library. The school librarian, Mrs. Watson, a sweet little woman, is probably my favorite person in this whole school. She has a new book waiting for me every Monday at the front desk, recommending me the greatest novels of all time. This week she gave me “Two by Two” by Nicholas Sparks, and this book is probably one of my favorites she’s recommended to me so far. I haven’t been able to peel my eyes away from this book all night, until I heard the sound of the front door being opened and shut softly.
I sit up quickly, my eyes shooting to my alarm clock that reads “9:24”. I feel the blood drain from my face. My mom gets off from work at 4:45 and my Dad is working an overnight shift at the hospital tonight. I start to consider the idea that maybe it’s my Dad coming home early from work, but I still get out of bed to go and check.
I walk down the stairs and peak around the corner to spot my mom setting her keys and a fancy purse down on the kitchen counter. She ruffles up her beautifully curled hair while releasing a large huff of air. All of the sudden, her phone begins to buzz in her purse and she quickly digs it out and smiles. While she’s reading whatever is on it, I decide to make my presence known and walk around the corner of the stairs and into the kitchen. My Mom’s head snaps up and she swiftly stuffs her phone back into her purse. She gives me a forced smile and flattens down her, very short, dark red dress.
“Hey, baby! Whatcha doin’ up so late?” She asks, grabbing the kitchen counter with one hand and unclasping the loop of her heel with the other.
“Mom, it’s only 9:30.” I laugh. She begins to let out a very airy laugh and I suddenly become worried. “Where have you been?”
She stops working on her other heel and looks up to me with a distorted smile. “Oh, they just kept me at work late, that’s all.”
“Oh-um-okay then,” I responded, my eyebrows furrowing in confusion.
“Go ahead and run up to bed. We have to wake up early for church in the morning.” She walks up to me and gives me a quick peck on the top of my head. “Goodnight, sweet pea. I love you millions.”
“Goodnight, Mom. Love you, too.” I say, watching her rush over to the counter to grab her purse and keys, then sprint upstairs to her and Dad’s room. My stomach twists, knowing something is up, but I shove the feeling down, not letting bad thoughts into my head.
Mom works as a Personal Trainer in a gym. Why is she in fancy clothes and heels? And why did she get home so late?
Maybe she stayed late at work to go to a work party or something, I concluded, and walked back up the stairs to my room. I lay back on my bed and pick up my book again, my thoughts and worries disappearing as I get caught up in my story. Soon enough, I drift off to sleep, feeling bad for the main character and his child for what his wife has done to them.
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