ii. spite! (part one)
There is no greater fear of the new kid at school than the cafeteria.
It was chaotic, wild, and incredibly terrifying. Especially for someone like me. I was awkward and quiet. I could barely hold a conversation and eye contact? In your dreams. I gripped onto the plastic blue tray as hard as I could looking for an empty corner table or a-
Lord thank you.
I’m not going to give you the ‘never sin again’ thing because you and I both know it’s not true, but thank you.
About four tables down from where I was standing was James gesturing for me to sit with him at his table. I didn’t look to see who else was sitting there. A lunch table was better than standing at the end of the lunchline.
I briskly walked over with a small smile on my face, but my pace slowed as I neared the table. James had his arms around one of the prettiest girls I had ever seen and he was sitting across from them.
Reluctantly, I sat next to the stranger from the parking lot.
He glanced over at me and smirked.
“Woah.” The girl sat up from James’ shoulder and leaned over the table. “You’re really pretty. Are you asian?”
I shyly nodded and glanced over to him. He was still looking at me intently and I felt my stomach somersault.
“Yeah, I’m half korean and half vietnamese.”
She gasped in excitement, “My mom is from Cameroon and my dad is from Vietnam!”
My eyes brightened. I had never met someone like me before. I had just met her but it was so nice to already have someone to relate to.
“I’m Nina by the way,”
He shifted his body so it was facing me, “Are you new here?”
My mouth fell open at the sudden question.
It felt redundant, as if he already knew the answer but asked it as a formality. His eyes scanned my face as I nodded and told him I was.
But what happened to hello? how are you? my name is?
Nina asked me where I had transferred from.
“Not far from here, actually. The school districts changed so I had to change schools.” I nervously fiddled with my necklace.
I wasn’t all that upset about it. I hated my last school. I don’t even think they would notice my disappearance.
Lunch went on with Nina and James flirting and who I assumed was Alexander making snide remarks about it. I zoned out throughout most of it to actually participate in any conversation. I was too nervous to say anything around Alex. Even when we were sitting he towered over me.
The bell rang and I looked guilty at the barely eaten sandwich. Such a waste.
I placed the tray on the gradually building stack and looked to my left where Nina was waving at me. She ran up to me and shoved a paper in my hand.
“Cheerleading tryouts are next week. You should come,” She beamed. I looked down at the paper in horror. I could not be a cheerleader. I did not have the athletic capacity to be a cheerleader. I couldn’t even hold a smile for more than five second before my mouth started to ache.
She saw the hesitation in my eyes and pursed her lips. “Oh come on. It’ll be fun!”
My lips formed a thin line. How do I gently tell her that if I became a cheerleader I would probably die? The last time I did anything remotely close to cheerleading was when I did color guard in middle school.
I got kicked off purely for being bad.
I looked down at my combat boots, “I don’t even know the first thing about cheering,”
She sighed, “I’ll help you practice after school this week! You can come to my house and we can learn routines. Come on, it’ll be fun.”
James and Alex walked up behind her and Nina looked to James.
“I’m trying to convince her to join the cheerleading team.”
I saw Alexander’s eyes widened, “You think people actually want to see her in a short skirt?”
I take it back. He’s not diamond.
He’s a rat.
I glared at him and I saw the corners of his mouth tweak upwards. He was joking, thank god. If he was serious I probably would have dug myself a grave right on the spot. Even knowing he was joking, I felt the little beads of insecurity blossom in my mind.
“Maybe it’s a good idea. The team might be motivated to win faster so they don’t have to see it,” He added on.
Nina turned around and punched his arm.
The decision was made out of pure spite.
Nina smiled at me and proceeded to tell me the time and place before giving me a tight hug and disappearing into the large crowd of students with James and Alex.
I scolded myself for impulsively giving in but later realized it was probably a good thing. It was a chance to actually make friends and Nina seemed like a genuinely nice person.
School went on, slow as usual. By the end of the day I was exhausted and desperately needed another coffee. I packed my bags and headed out the school doors. The sky hadn’t cleared it up entirely, but it was a little brighter. I walked through the parking lot, admiring the white sky when all the sudden I heard tires screeching and a horn honking. Very loudly.
I jumped, startled by the sudden noise and whipped my head around to see a white jeep, with a very annoyed Alexander looking at me. There was a scowl on his lips and he tapped his horn two more times as I just stood. I finally regained my senses and moved out his way.
He sped out of the parking lot, no one giving the unusual and unsafe speed a second look. Even the teachers.
After half an hour of walking I had finally made it home. I placed my hand on the door knob and chewed on my lip before walking in. I knew he would be home. I was too tired to deal with him today.
Unfortunately the minute I opened the door, there he was, standing with a grimace on his face.
“What took you so long?”
Mike’s voice was louder than I had anticipated and I flinched when I heard it. I had hoped he would be in the living room, watching tv and then I could’ve just slipped past him. But that was too idealistic.
“I had to walk.”
I tried to brush past and up the stairs but he grabbed my arm tightly and twisted it. Pain shot through me and I tried my best to get away. I felt his other hand gently touch the small of my back.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he whispers in my ear.
A disgusted shiver ran through me and I hissed, “let go of me.”
He only pulled me back further into him but suddenly let go when he heard the door knob jangle. I rubbed my sore arm and my mother walked in. Mike held his arms open to her and smiled at him, brightly.
“Hi Mike,” she whispered back, a blush on her face. She peered at me, “Corvina.”
Mike and my mother went into the kitchen and I just grabbed my back that had fallen from my shoulder and ran up to my room.