The same old story
″I really can’t stand the new girl! She always walks around like she is so much better than everyone else. She might be in some kind of program for geniuses but have you seen what she was wearing today?″
″I know, she has absolutely no fashion sense, and she clearly never heard of make-up or contacts,″ another girl answers. ″Also don’t forget that she was an absolute bitch to you at the movies, Trish.″
″She really was!″ Trish answers. ″I introduced myself and I invited her to join us, but she couldn’t have cared less!″
″Well, that is because she is only interested in boys. One minute she is all over Leroy and the next she moved on to Alexander,″ the other girl says disgustedly.
″She definitely wasn’t wasting any time! She was all over them, the slut! Leroy gets around enough, but Alexander deserves so much more than that!″
″Like you, Trish! Everyone knows that you and Alexander were a thing. Shit, my mascara is running. Can I borrow yours?″
I stop listening and I wait for them to leave.
Keep calm, Samantha. Don’t let them get to you. You know what happens if you lose your temper.
Eventually, the girls leave and I get out of the stall. I look at my reflection in the mirror while I wash my hands. The ash brown hair doesn’t make me stand out like my red hair used to do. I was wearing jeans, sneakers, and an oversized shirt. Again, nothing that would make me stand out in a crowd of students.
No make-up, glasses, and my hair was in a ponytail. I couldn’t have looked more ordinary and it still wasn’t enough.
Words don’t hurt Samantha. Let it go!
Being judged on my appearance was nothing new to me and I could handle the comments the girls made about how I looked. What I couldn’t handle was them calling me a slut. Not after I tried so hard to change my ways.
I haven't been talking to any of the boys here. I didn't flirt with anyone or gave out my number. Alexander was the only exception because I couldn’t keep my distance from him since he was Tyler’s best friend and therefore around a lot.
Not that it meant that I spend much time with him. My routine made sure of that, but I still got to know him. Alexander was nice and very calm compared to Tyler. Talking to him was easy and I never felt uncomfortable when we all hung out.
That was probably the reason why I leaned against him without thinking in the arcade or why I kissed him goodbye that night. It had felt so normal to me, but I kept my promise. After that night I focused all my attention on Emma and maintaining my routine.
I didn’t throw myself into any kind of relationship, not even after the kiss in changing room. Asking Alexander out on a date was actually a first for me since I had never been on a date before and I was looking forward to it.
Until they called me slut.
Suddenly the door of another stall opens and a girl steps out. Her cheeks turn bright red when she sees me and she looks really uncomfortable.
I grab some paper towels and step aside, so the girl can wash her hands.
″Thanks,″ the girl mutters.
I just nod and walk to the door. Hopefully, those girls were long gone by now.
″They are just jealous!″ the girl shouts.
Confused I turn around and look at her.
″Were you talking to me?″
Well obviously, there is nobody else here!
″Yes, sorry!″ the girl stutters. ″I heard what Trisha and Kim were saying about you. They said those things out of jealousy, so please don’t believe a word of what they said. Kim blames you for Kyle losing interest in her and Trisha can say that she was with Alexander all she wants but that’s not true.″
I lean against the wall as I keep looking at the girl with the red burning cheeks.
″They never were or couple or more than friends, Alexander is not like that. He is not like...″
″Kyle?″ I suggest. ″The creep that thinks that running after a girl is normal?″
″That would be the one,″ the girl grins. ″Kyle flirts with every girl he meets and he is always looking for an easy fuck.″
″Alright, but why do you say that those were jealous? You heard what they said about me. The way that I dress and look is completely wrong according to them. Rumour has it that I get around although I spend all my time in the library, in the gym, or at home. Why would any of that make them jealous,...?″
″Millie,″ the girl answers with a little smile. ″I think it is because they are insecure and you are not.″
I open the door for Millie and we leave the bathroom. Millie follows me to the table in the cafeteria where I left my stuff.
″Can I join you? I have a free period, but only if it really doesn’t bother you.″
″Have a seat, Millie,″ I say with a smile. ″I haven’t introduced myself, have I?″
″I know who you are,″ Millie answers. ″Samantha Jones, Tyler Reed’s cousin. You are in the gifted student education program or GSEP for short. That program is supposed to be the hardest educational program in the country!″
″They can write that next to the picture for the yearbook. Samantha Jones, Tyler’s cousin.″
Millie starts laughing and I’m glad that her cheeks are not so bright red anymore.″
″You can call me Sam if you like,″ I say as I grab a KitKat out of my bag and offer Millie half. ″How is that you have a free period, Millie? I have never seen you around at this time before.″
″Thanks,″ Millie smiles. ″I’m done with my exams, so I have a lot of free time at the moment.″
″How did you do?″ I ask as I try not to moan when I take a bite.
Was there anything better than chocolate?
″I find my science classes easy, but I struggle with French and that’s pretty ironic.″
″Why is that?″
″My father is French, and he owns a French restaurant where I help out.″
″Indeed, that is ironic. Your father never taught you French growing up?″
″No,″ Millie grins. ″I apparently refused to learn it when I was little and it drove my dad crazy. He got me books, CDs and then he got me DVDs.″
″No, you changed the languages!″
″I did!″ Millie laughs. ″That’s why I’m fluent in German and Spanish, but I still suck at French.″
I smile and I continue to talk to Millie. I now know that she was born and raised here. She was the oldest of five, ran track and most of her classes were at AP level. She and Kim used to be bestfriends, but everything changed when they started high school.
Kim met Trisha and suddenly being popular became the most important thing in the world. Millie talks about it like it doesn’t bother her and I would have believed her if I didn’t see the sadness in her eyes. We keep talking and I start to notice that Millie was getting nervous. She is restless and she keeps checking her watch.
″Millie, do you need to be somewhere else?″
″It’s not that,″ Millie mutters. ″I mean this is the table where the cheerleaders usually sit.″
″You mean Trisha and Kim.″
″Yes, they are also cheerleaders. They will get petty or mean and it’s just not worth it. It really isn’t, Sam!″
″Well, I can’t force you to stay but I’m good right here. I’m going to give having lunch in the cafeteria a try and you are more than welcome to join me.″
Millie looks at me for a moment and then a grin appears on her face.
″I think that this is exactly what is making them feel insecure, your whole bring it and see what happens attitude. I’m going to give that a try since I have been having my lunch here for years.″
The bell rings and the cafeteria fills with loud students.
The next thing I know someone snatches the KitKat out of my hand and I groan.
Tyler laughs and he plops down next to Millie.
″Are you lost, cousin? I have never seen you here before, not once!″
″You just reminded me why that is. That was my last KitKat, Tyler!″
Tyler eats it slowly on purpose and I fight the urge to kick him under the table.
″Enjoy, I hope you get a huge pimple like last week, princess. Can I assume that I don’t need to introduce the two of you?″
″I know Tomato cheeks over here,″ Tyler chuckles. ″How are you doing, Millie?″
″Thrilled with your company,″ Millie says sarcastically.
Tyler makes a face at Millie and he then raises his hand.
''Missed you too, Tomato cheeks. Alex, over here! Guess who decided to have lunch in the cafeteria like a normal student?″
I feel two hands on my shoulders and I look up. Alexander is smiling at me and I can’t help to smile also.
″You won’t have a peaceful lunch with those two, Samantha. They started bickering from the age of six and it never stopped,″ Alexander teases.
″Samantha, babe! I knew you couldn’t stay away from me!″
Kyle looks at me with a smug face and he winks at me, before sitting down next to Tyler.
″Don’t call me that!″ I snap at him. ″Call me by name or don’t talk to me, the last one is fine by me!″
″So feisty, I like it!″ Kyle says with a grin. ″Don’t worry, babe. You will get used to it, trust me.″
Instead of giving Kyle the satisfaction of knowing that he was able to get under my skin, I decided to ignore him completely. It was the same old story everywhere. I could move from town to town. Transfer from school to school, but I could never escape the cliche mean girls and arrogant jerks.
Alexander squeezes my shoulders softly before he sits down next to me. More students enter the cafeteria and Millie was not kidding. The cheerleaders really don’t like it that we took their table and there were my newest fans again.
Kim and Trisha acted like Millie didn’t exist by deliberately leaving her out of the conversation. However, they apparently were trying out a new tactic by focusing all their attention on me.
″We should go shopping together or get our nails done! We are having a sleepover this weekend and you have to be there, Sam!″ Trisha says with a big smile.
″Yes, you have to be there!″ Kim adds. ″We would have so much fun together, Sam!″
''Only my family and friends get to call me Sam,'' I answer with a sweet voice. ''I don't want to do any of that and I already have plans with Millie.''
Kim yawns and the other cheerleaders start giggling.
″I’m sure that Millie doesn’t mind rescheduling her plans with you, right Mills?'' Trisha asks without even looking at Millie.
Millie looks really uncomfortable and I had it.
Kim and Thrisha brought it and now they were going to see what was going to happen.
''I'm sure that Millie wouldn't mind it,'' I say as I give Millie a wink. ''Tell me, Trisha was it? Would you also like me to reschedule my date with Alexander?''