I watched Tyler approach me, a tight knot of fear in my stomach.
'Alright loser,' he crouched down in front of me and snatched my book out of my hands, flinging it to the ground. 'How's your sister?' He laughed sickeningly and my fear flared into anger. I burned my eyes into his, I could feel my irritation rolling off in waves and so could he obviously for his expression also turned to one of fury although his was much more powerful.
'What the fuck are you looking at me like that for? You better watch how you handle yourself when you're around me. I have a short temper and you might end up on the firing line. Got it? Oh yeah and watch your back cos I'll be waiting.'
He spat at me before getting up to leave. I could do nothing, only stare at his departing figure. The lump in my throat threatened to betray me but I swallowed it angrily and lowered my head as my vision grew blurry with unshed tears. I was not going to cry in front of them though, oh imagine how that'd look.
They don't understand me.
How could they? With their perfect lives and flawless appearances. No. They could never understand. What I went through each day, what I had to endure.
I peeked up through my fringe and watched them leave, laughing at me. All of them laughing. Apart from one. The smaller girl. Summer was her name? She was the only one looking anxious, biting her lip and glancing back my way. Possibly sympathetic.
They followed one another inside like lost sheep, one could never be seen without the others.
Poppy and Riley.
Grace and Tyler.
Summer and Jay.
I could crush them, if I really wanted to. If I put my mind to it, I could.
Why don't you then you coward!
I waited until the last few students had headed inside before picking up my book and following them. My day was already ruined and so I didn't have much care that I was late for my lesson. I hovered outside the door, unsure that I should enter. I could see Riley, Grace, Summer and Jay at the back talking amongst themselves. I was just about to walk away when Riley's eyes flashed up and he called out something to the teacher who then proceeded to turn to me.
I heaved a sigh and entered the room.
'I hope you weren't thinking about skipping,' Miss Brady frowned.
'Not at all, why would I do that?'
'Freak,' Riley muttered in a tone loud enough for the rest of the class to hear. They erupted into sniggers and I felt my cheeks flush.
Miss Brady pretended not to have heard which only made me angrier although once again I could do nothing.
I took my seat which was unfortunately placed only a row in front of Riley's.
All lesson I could hear their whispers and their taunts. This happened so regularly in English though, that I had developed the ability to tune it out so it was just a constant buzz in the back of my mind. I couldn't let myself focus properly on what they were saying because if I did I would go mad. It would end up destroying me, I knew it would.
I watched the clock's steady hand inch by, each minute dragging out painfully slow until there was only five minutes remaining. By this time my back was sore from Rileys kicks and I had developed a slight headache from their perpetual chatter.
'Right class, time to hand in the essays I asked you for.'
The room was filled with the sound of protests and sighs as students made up their excuses to why they hadn't done it. I reached down into my bag and pulled out the sheets of paper I had worked on the night before.
'Nerd.' Grace giggled from behind me, a terribly annoying high pitched sound.
Couldn't they at least think of anything original? I knew I was a bit of a nerd, very studious. Could they blame me for actually wanting to get somewhere in life?
I waited for the teacher to get to my desk as the class began chattering amongst themselves.
'What a fucking loser, no wonder he hasn't got any friends,' Riley laughed, purposely raising his voice so I would hear.
'I bet he's a virgin,' Grace chirped in. 'The only date he's ever had is with his right hand.'
They erupted into laughter as I tried my best to tune them out.
'Guys,' I heard Summer's voice, soft and pleading.
'What babe?' Grace sniggered. 'You don't actually feel sorry for him do you?'
'What?' Riley demanded. 'How can you feel sorry for him? Look at him!'
'Hey man,' Jay warned. 'Don't shout at my girlfriend.'
'Fuck that man, she pities this loser!'
I couldn't help the smile that made it's way onto my face at the argument breaking out. Relieved they couldn't see me, I allowed myself to feel this minute amount of happiness at the prospect that things had started crumbling in their perfect world. Their friendship obviously wasn't as strong as they'd thought.
'I don't care, don't raise your voice at Summer.'
Riley scoffed but said no more.
'Babe, how can you feel sorry for him?' Grace's voice was softer but still didn't lack the incredulity that Riley had so obviously felt.
'I don't,' Summer replied quickly. 'I just think, you know, there's a time and a place for this and English isn't it.'
Before I could eavesdrop further, Miss Brady reached my desk. I handed her the paper silently as she thanked me.
'You may go now, Daniel.'
I shot up, yanking my bag off the floor and, whilst trying to maintain a relaxed composure, almost ran to the door. Once in the hallway, I sagged with relief. I had made it through another hour with them. I had done it.
Well done, Daniel. Well done.