Letters to Romeo: Bad boy good girl

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Gravitating around trouble

Hours passed, and in the evening, when Julie returned to her dorm, she noticed the space next to the window. It felt strange to return to the room and find no response to her letter from the letter thief.

Was he not able to unlock the window anymore?

She wondered whether he read it or if he had decided to not write to her anymore after hearing her story.

During dinner, Julie went to the lunchroom with her friends. While standing in the queue and waiting for their turn, Conner noticed a few people looking in their way, and he whispered, “Is there something we did that we don’t know about?”

“Why, what happened?” asked Julie, and their eyes moved to notice some who looked at them before they looked away.

Melanie said, “It must be because you have been singing too loudly,” and Conner gave her a stare.

“With the number of people who are in here and talking, there is no way my song would bother them,” said Conner, and he continued, “I think they were looking at you, Julie. There have been whispers about you in the boy’s Dormitorium in a hush manner. Especially with Roman,” when the line where they were standing moved, they took one step forward.

“I thought girls often come and go there. Is it that surprising?” she asked Conner, and he shook his head.

“It isn’t, but I think he has often been seen with… certain types of girls,” said Conner.

Julie could tell that Conner was careful with his words, and she asked, “You mean someone who isn’t wearing a sweater and glasses like me?” She had seen the girls Roman had met behind the racks of the library, and they were beautiful.

Melanie, who was staring at Julie’s face, stopped her, “I think you are prettier.”

“Only a true friend will say that. Thank you, Mel and you are beautiful and if I may add kind,” said Julie, and she pushed her glasses up on her nose.

“No, I am serious. Even with the glasses, you still look good,” stated Melanie, and Julie nodded her head with a smile so that Melanie would not continue.

“So you both never went out with each other?” Julie switched the subject, and Melanie vigorously shook her head.

“Thank God, I have nothing in my mouth,” Conner laughed at Julie’s question. “I guess it never crossed our minds. She’s like family.”

“It would be super awkward to think about him like that,” replied Melanie, shivering at the thought.

While waiting in the queue, Julie’s eyes leisurely moved to look at the people sitting at the tables and having their dinner. She wondered if her letter thief was somewhere in here. She caught sight of Roman and his friends at the table, sitting and having their meal. When she continued to look around, her eyes met a boy’s eyes who called her with his hand, the table not too far.

The boy’s face seemed familiar. He had a thick chain around his neck, and he waved his hand.

“Is that person waving at me, or do I need to get brand new glasses?” Julie questioned her friends, who stopped speaking and turned to see who she was speaking about.

She realized he was the same person who had been sent to the headmistress’ room after Roman had gotten into a fight. He had a sneer on his face and looked like another arrogant brat like Mateo, she thought in her mind.

“That’s Griffin. Why is he even calling you?” asked Conner. The boy named Griffin even pointed at Melanie, indicating to them to come over where he was. “He’s another piece of bad news.”

“What if we don’t want to go there?” Julie quickly looked away from Griffin.

Conner and Melanie were quick to look at the line they stood in, whispering to each other. “I think he’s still looking here,” said Melanie in a low voice while making it look like they were busy with their things.

“Shh,” Conner hushed her. “He lives on the same floor as me and it is going to be troublesome if he identifies me later.”

“Sometimes I feel this is a place for only delinquents then I realize you guys are here,” Julie whispered back, and Melanie smiled at her words.

When it was her turn, Julie bought her meal and turned around with the plate when Griffin came to stand in front of her. “Good evening, I waved at you,” said the boy, who was taller than her.

“Is that so?” Julie put on a polite smile on her face and noticed Conner looking slightly nervous. “I think it is time to change my glasses,” she replied.

“I am Holden Griffin. It is nice to meet you, Julianne Winters,” Griffin offered her his hand to shake, but Julie didn’t let go of her plate and held it tight with both her hands.

“I have weak wrists,” she replied but offered him a small nod. Griffin smiled and brought his hand back to his side while his lips twisted.

He nodded his head and then looked at Melanie and greeted her, “Hello there.” When his eyes fell on Conner, he used it to pat on Conner’s back, who turned tense. “Conner, it seems like we have never had meals together.”

“I barely eat anything,” chuckled Conner, the smile faltering on his lips.

Julie asked, “Was there something you needed?”

“Actually, yes,” answered Griffin, and he turned behind to look at the table he had been sitting at. “I am inviting the three of you to have dinner.”

Julie felt his gaze back on her. She replied, “Maybe next time. We have already bought what we wanted for you to treat us. Thank you for your kind thought,” and this time, it wasn’t just Conner whose smile faltered.

Melanie tugged Julie’s sleeve to start walking, and the three of them walked away and towards the table that they had saved for them. Griffin’s jaws clenched. He was a vampire, who had heard their conversation and right now, he noticed some of the juniors who were of his kind, had overheard their conversation.

He decided to speak to the new girl, who everyone had their eyes on and wanted to sink their fangs. The night creatures often found it exciting to hunt the new prey before anyone else could get their claws and take a bite into it.

In the lunchroom, where the students were either carrying their empty or filled trays, Griffin started to walk in Julie’s direction, moving like a snake. But apart from him, there was someone else in the lunchroom who had been quietly eavesdropping at the exchange of conversation.

Few steps away, one of the fellow students carried his meal-filled tray. He walked in the opposite direction of Griffin when someone decided to stick the leg out and push when the boy walked past the table.

The boy with the tray lost his balance, and his tray flew with the food and fell right in front of Griffin and spilling on him.

Retracting his leg back, Roman swiped his finger on the ketchup and licked it clean, unbothered about the brawl that was going to break between the other two guys. Not that he cared, because he had scores to settle with the boy who had tripped.

Pushing his chair, he said to his friends with a passive look on his face, “I will be outside.”

Julie had only taken her seat when she noticed Griffin catch hold of the boy’s collar and shook him back and forth before raising the boy above the ground and dropping him after a punch.

“And that is why we are careful,” whispered Conner even though Griffin wouldn’t be able to hear them from where they sat.

“Well noted,” replied Julie.

Julie decided to drop the idea of looking for the letter thief as it might only invite her more troubles, where she would be outshining the name he had given her as ‘Troublemaker’.

Returning to her dorm, she caught sight of the letter waiting for her, sitting undisturbed. Locking her door from inside, she removed her shoes and climbed on her bed to reach for the folded note.

Leaning back against the wall, she unfolded it and read—

’I am sorry to hear that the unwitted people tried to harm and make your life miserable. Some people thrive on people’s fears to make them feel important. It is a childish thought, very similar to when a student wishes for the other person to score fewer grades instead of improving themselves.

If the wound has left scars, don’t cover it and let it heal when you are comfortable with it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. About what you said, about the wallflower, I think you are doing pretty good. Of course, apart from gravitating around trouble, I am not sure if you are following it or the other way around.′

Julie paused to say, “I wish I could say it was wrong, but…” speaking about her gravitating around trouble.

She was glad that he had acknowledged what she had written, instead of teasing or calling her names like her ex-friend had done, on how weak and pitiful she was. She then continued to read what he had written—

’I am sure if the people who hurt you were to know where you study right now, they would burn much better here than in Hell. But it would be wise not to see them again, some people don’t change. Was she always like this? The girl who tried to inflict pain on you?

I will give you an insider’s known information. Some of the people here are similar to the ones you have already come across. Some worse.′

Julie reread the words from the beginning to the end. Bringing her book and wrote back to him—

’I have sensed that, which is why I said some students need to visit the counsellor’s office.

Natalie wasn’t like this before. She was kinder. She was alright, but after school break, she changed into a different person. I don’t know if it was because of how she wore her clothes or if it was her hairstyle that made her feel that way.

About what you said in the last line… Where do you stand? Definitely not good because even though you are willing to give my uncle’s letter back to me, you tried to threaten me with it. Is it bad or evil?′

Back then, though Julie had been demure, she had tried to stand against Natalie. It was also the reason that had irked Natalie to go far as to scar her wrist. When some boys and girls listened to the bully, cornering Julie at every possibility, fighting back wasn’t exactly on the cards. In the end, even the few people who used to speak to her had stopped speaking.

Tearing the page from the book, she folded it thrice before placing it next to the window. Lying on the bed, Julie stared at the ceiling of the dorm. How strange to think that the letter thief of hers might have stared at the same ceiling.

.

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