"C'mon shawty, gotta be fast'r!" I clutched tighter onto the pink backpack and dodged into the classroom.
"No fair, Jane!" the petite brunette whined as she chased after me. I bumped into the teacher, skidded across the front of the class and swerved right into my desk. From there, I tossed the backpack to my buddy, Max, who sat in the desk to my left. He mischievously hid it under his chair, making it difficult to see.
Out of breath, the brunette came through the doorway and stomped over to my desk, fists clenched. I couldn't help but snicker as she narrowed her eyes at me. "Can I please have my backpack now?" she huffed. I rolled my eyes playfully and gestured to Max. He sighed reluctantly, picked up the bag and threw it at the brunette, causing her to fall back into her chair which was in front of my desk.
"Sorry, Tay," I laughed, "it was just too easy." She turned back at me and pouted.
"You're suppose to be my friend, not pick on me," the brunette, Taylor, sneered. She had a point; after all, I did owe her for what she did for me. My smirk soon turned into a sincere smile.
"Don't take it to heart, Tay. You're like my best friend. 'Sides, ya saved my life," I responded. I then lightly placed my finger on the black eye patch over where my left eye used to be. About a year ago, I was in the school courtyard, ready to begin a much anticipated fight. I had under estimated the bear-like kid of the time - he had a gun. Before I was able to make one move, he pulled out his weapon and shot me in the eye. As I collapsed in my spot, bleeding out, my only thought was how cowardly his move was. Taylor had been nearby, watching from a window. The first thing she did was call the Po-po. Next, she had rushed out into the courtyard and tackled my opponent from behind. She became a distraction to him as she held onto him with her life until the Po-po showed up.
Taylor smiled innocently back at me. We were at good terms when our teacher yelled, "Doe!" I exaggerated a sigh.
"Yea, Scraps?" Her name was really Ms. Scarpari, but 'Scraps' was what the majority of the class called her. She glared at me angrily.
"Lunch detention with me tomorrow," she hissed. To be honest, I didn't care in the least. I got detention all the time for these kind of things. However, Taylor frowned at me. Ever since we became friends, she's been begging me to change. I'll admit, I have become a better person deep down. If only...
"Class! I have an announcement!" Scraps boomed, interrupting my thought process. By that time, the class we full, and most eyes were on her. Announcement, eh? I wondered if it'd actually be anything relevantly interesting for once. She stood proud in front of her 26 students. "Today we have a new student." She gestured to the door. "Please welcome...Miss Bailey Benjamin!"
My heart stopped instantly, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. Bailey and I had been best friends when we were kids until she moved out of state 10 years ago. I wondered if she remembered me; however, when she walked in, I was awestruck. She looked like a million bucks! Her blonde hair flowed majestically down her back, her face matched that of a pixie's, her eyes were amber stones, and she wore clothes that appeared as if they came from the most expensive designers. Though I did notice her mouth was in a straight line, and she didn't look very happy to be there.
Scraps, on the other hand, was absolutely ecstatic. "Well Bailey, why not tell the class what you do?"
"Whatever," she murmured. Then, holding her head high, she proclaimed, "I, Bailey Benjamin, am the founder of Bailey's Bras and Bodyworks." Everyone gasped and eyed her in disbelief - even me. Triple B was the number one shop for women in the nation. It's competition use to be Victoria's Secrets, but Triple B had blown them out of the water sooner than expected. And yet I had no idea the store was run by the Bailey I knew.
"Bailey, your seat will be behind Ms. Doe," was the next thing Scraps said. I gulped as the new beauty strode gracefully past me and sat down. As she began to take out her belongings from her tote bag, I grabbed my English notebook and flipped to the back - that's where I kept the picture of us at the beach from all those years ago. I then hesitantly turned around to face her, smiling sheepishly.
"Hey..." I had to whisper since Scraps had started teaching. She gazed up at me with harsh, colds eyes that I did not recognize - eyes that made me want to cringe.
"What do you want?" she questioned. What do you want? I hadn't expected that. Perhaps she needed someone to refresh her memory.
"'Member me? Jane...Jane Doe?" I asked. Her intimidating eyes scanned over my features, but her expression was unreadable, unchangeable.
"I've never seen you before in my life," she finally said. What?? How could she possibly not remember me?! I then frantically grabbed my notebook and held it to her face, showing her the picture.
"See? From when we was kids," I tried to convince her. However, she barely glanced at it before pushing it away.
"Get that away from me," she ordered monotonously. My heart failed me at that moment. Maybe I mistook her for the wrong person. Maybe she wasn't the Bailey I knew. No, this wasn't her. She might've been the same on the outside, but on the inside, she was entirely different. I'm not able to explain reasonably what happened next: For some reason - maybe it was from stress, disappoint, temper or all three - I extended my arms and lunged at her.
"What's wrong with you?!" I shouted as I gripped tightly onto the collar of her silk blouse. Before I knew it, she propelled herself out of her desk, wrapped her arms around me and got me into a headlock. Nothing could've prepared me for that!
"Me?" she retorted, "What's wrong with you?!" As I struggled to get out of her grasp, I noticed everyone in the classroom was watching in astonishment. What struck me most was the empathetic look on Tay's face. There was no doubt in my mind I had let her down. Everything was silent for a second until Scraps finally snapped.
"Doe, Benjamin, Principal's office - now!"
Being to the Principal's office was not something I was unfamiliar with. Heck, the faculty even took the chair from my 9th grade desk and its now my official seat in the room. Going to the office and getting into fights as well as detention had been typical for me ever since I joined a street gang. It was something I was used to, something I didn't mind. Why should I when I really had nothing to lose? Although this time I did have something that was lost - my friendship with Bailey.
I sat in my usual chair, looking down and playing with my fingers; she was on the other side of the room, arms folded with fierce eyes. I was already aware of the fact that I would get full punishment, and she'd be let go with only a warning. Not only was she a new student - she was famous! Of course the administration would see it being all my fault. However, they would never know the whole story.
"Hey, freak." I glimpsed up, my black bangs hiding my one good eye and eye-patch, at the source of the voice. To my surprise, it was Bailey; the one she had called 'freak' was me.
"What?" I mumbled.
Nose in the air, she continued, "How about this: instead of pointing fingers like children, we tell the principal it was a misunderstanding then settle it amongst ourselves like adults." I could hardly believe it. Had she been planning it all along? I nodded carefully in agreement to her suggestion.
About a second later the principal poked out of his room and gestured to Bailey, though he was glaring at me. I swear, the only people that didn't give me dirty looks were Tay and Max. Still, Bailey managed to stand up, elegant as ever, and followed the principal calmly into his office. When she was gone, I reached under my chair where I had placed my backpack, opened it and pulled out a pen along with a small worn out notebook - my diary. From my pocket, I removed the picture of me and Bailey from when we were younger. After I finished making notes on what was happening that day so far, I slipped the photo into my diary, then my diary into my book bag. The remainder of the time, I awaited my new found rival.
Hours later, school ended. Max and Tay were at my sides as we exited the building, talking about going to the movies that night and maybe adding our own commentary to whatever film we decided to see. At one point, I looked ahead and spotted Bailey walking a few feet in front of us. Earlier that day she used all the charisma she had while talking to the principal, and he actually let us off the hook. Still, neither of us were finished just yet.
"I'll be right back," I informed my companions. Quickening my pace, I soon caught up with the stuck up snob. "Hey you," I called to her, grabbing her by her shoulder. I had not noticed before, but she was a lot taller than I was! I guess that's why she was so easily intimidating as she glared down at me.
"Oh...its you," she snarled. I gulped nervously but narrowed my brows, refusing to back away.
"We was suppose to talk," I told her. She sighed reluctantly and rolled her eyes at me, annoyed. I bared my teeth and growled, "Who are you?" Bailey held her head high and stood erect.
"I am Bailey Benjamin - child prodigy, founder of a successful company, and one of the most intelligent students in the states of New Jersey and California," she announced to me. Her words pierced like knives in my heart. The Bailey I used to know spoke humbly with a soft tone; however now her voice was heartless and full of self-pride.
"You egotistical bitch..." I grumbled.
She scoffed and hollered, "Excuse me?!" Before my brain could comprehend what was happening, my fist slammed into her face. There was a cracking sound, but she did not yelp. Instead, she grabbed a chunk of my hair - the hair that she had once soothingly ran her fine fingers through - and kicked me in the stomach. I clutched my stomach in pain and doubled over. She was much stronger than she seemed! As people started forming a circle around us, I knew I could not be defeated. I had a reputation as a feared gang member to maintain. I couldn't be defeated by that whore.
I lunged at her and tackled her to the ground. For the next minute, all I could see was our fists flying, clumps of hair, blood and the face of my enemy. Eventually, a teacher came by, pulled me off of Bailey and split us apart. Both of us were panting and bleeding from various places; even my eye-patch was soaked with blood.
The teacher went between us and yelled, "That's enough, you two!" She then turned to the teens around us that were now quickly putting their phones away after recording the fight and continued, "Go home, all of you!"
The crowd soon dispersed, but Bailey and I wouldn't take our bruised eyes off each other. Tay and Max quietly ran up to me to make sure I wasn't beaten too badly. Unfortunately, even with Max's hand placed comfortingly on my shoulder and Tay's small hand holding mine, I couldn't focus. I was blinded with rage. Bailey and I could've stood there all day, but at last, her limo arrived in front of the school. Then as if nothing happened, she dusted herself off, fixed her hair a bit, pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket and cleaned the blood from her face with it.
Next, she coolly made her way over to the limo. Opening the passenger door, she tilted her head back to me and whispered just loud enough for me to hear, "So much for settling this like adults, you animal." That's when she got into her vehicle and drove away.
I was left standing with my two silent companions. Somehow the words escaped my lips: