I watched from the corner of my eye as Joshua got into a car with his friends and drove off, he'd made more friends in one day than I had in my life time. I guess I couldn't complain, I didn't want any friends, I didn't want anyone to know where I came from. No one could know, rumours would spread, I'd be reported to the police and taken to a home. I sighed half-heartedly, it was really a good thing Joshua hadn't come after me, I needed to get to work. I slung my bag down under my sack and made sure it was hidden from view, then, checking the time on the museum opposite I headed to the local sport centre.
"Hey Sarah," called far too happy Jen,
"Hi," I mumbled walking passed the reception towards Mr. Crawford's office. I knocked on the door and stepped in, he stood up as I entered and smiled,
"I'm afraid you're on cleaning duty today," he told me, I sighed and nodded,
"Men's toilets," he walked out the office with me and handed me a mop and bucket, "Report back for duty soon!" he grinned. I nodded and pushed through the door into the male toilets, the smell was always overpowering, and the reaction from the customers was usually either shock or abuse. I filled the bucket with warm soapy water and began to mop the floor, which was usually stained with mud as the football players came in after a game. An old man came into the door, he saw me, checked the door again, double checking it was a male toilet. He then laughed at me and went into a cubicle; I ignored him and continued to mop the floor. A few moments later he came back out and washed his hand,
"Better hurry up girly, there's a group of lads just coming off the football pitch," I looked at the man,
"I'm almost done," I said picking up the bucket and following the man out the door, I saw the last of the boys walking out the reception. I emptied the bucket and went to receive my next job; Mr Crawford was kinder and let me wash the women's toilets and sinks. After a long six hours of working I left, this job was more stable than the café job and I got a pay-check every month. Once I was back in my shelter I took off my nice sweatshirt and shoved it in my bag, wrapping myself in the moth-eaten woollen pullover and snuggling under the sack - waiting for sleep to find me.
The next day after my shift at the café, Jake offered to walk to school with me, his friends hadn't picked him up today and so his father let me off early and we walked together.
"Why do you work here Sarah?" Jake asked, "The pay is rubbish and my father treats you like a servant,"
"I don't have much choice," I told Jack hoisting my bag onto my shoulder again,
"Here, let me," Jake took my bag off me and put it on his back, "What have you got in this?" Jake asked pretending to stumble under the weight,
"Stuff," I replied nonchalantly,
"I know where you come from," Jake said suddenly, I stopped in my tracks and Jake turned around to look at me,
"What...do you mean?" I stuttered,
"I know you're from a broken home and that your life pretty much sucks," I shrugged, "I'm just sorry for spreading round those rumours,"
"What rumours?" I asked,
"About you being a tramp," he told me, I began to walk again,
"You started that... that rumour?" I asked,
"I didn't stop it," he admitted, "I should have, you're really a nice person, no matter what people say,"
"What do people say?" I enquired,
"People don't like things that are different," Jake said, "You're different, unique," I nodded, "You don't conform to the world, you stand out, and people think you're weird. Let me get the record straight, I don't think you are, just people who don't know you," I nodded again, hardly taking in what he was saying. The school had come into sight and I recognised the boy at the gates, Joshua stood resting against the wall, his foot pressed against the wall - looking very cool. I smiled as he looked up, but Jake waved and Joshua nodded towards him. Of course - Joshua was waiting for Jake; I pulled my bag off Jake's shoulder and raised my eyebrows as he began to protest.
"See you around," I muttered, I stalked passed the boys into the school gates, I heard Josh's voice,
"You said I shouldn't hang with her, and then you walk into school with her!"
"Her mom makes me!" he replied. I narrowed my eyes, ‘Thanks Jake', I thought to myself, ‘you hypocrite.' I didn't hear Joshua reply as I pushed passed a group of freshmen and walked into the school building.