I woke up the next morning, unwilling to get out of bed. The night previously, my phone had been chirruping non-stop with messages from Facebook, alerting me that there were now about a hundred comments on my wall. I checked them quickly, feeling sick.
Most of the comments were inquisitive, and a few of them were nasty--calling me names and wondering why I hurt Gill. At school, things weren't much better.
When I arrived in the cafeteria, it was to hear Lucy telling several girls that were on the squad how Mrs. Crow had kicked me out, and how she was the poor victim in all of this.
"Excuse me, Mrs. Crow didn't kick me off, I quit."
"Oh, look girls, Nikki's getting all defensive," Lucy trilled in her most childish voice.
"Why are you acting like the victim here? It's not like it's my fault you had to go and kiss my boyfriend," I snapped.
"Actually," Lucy replied, turning to face me and returning her voice to its normal, snobby tone, "it is. If you weren't so intent on being all Ms. Goodie-Two-Shoes and 'staying pure', Gill wouldn't have turned to me at all."
"So it's my fault for not being a slut?" I asked sarcastically.
"Yeah. You kept him waiting too long, and he went where he knew he could get what he deserved," she replied silkily.
I smiled at Lucy, knowing what I could say to shake her off her high horse. I leaned in close, as if I were telling her a secret. "At least I wasn't his second choice," I purred, adding an extra emphasis on the word second. I knew that was what goaded her the most, being only the second best. Lucy was very competitive, and she lost it nearly every time she didn't come first in something.
Her eyes filled with fury, her dazzling smile falling off her face. She was so angry she couldn't even speak, and I knew I'd just won.
I took my usual seat on the corner, and made sure Brittany sat across from me, and another boy whose name I'd forgotten a long time ago sat beside me. With any luck, it would make Gill jealous.
I didn't want him back, not after he hit me anyway, but I still wanted him to hurt almost as much as I did.
I talked happily with Brittany, and occasionally slid a question at the boy, but on the inside, I was numb and cold. The smile I held in place was carefully constructed to make sure that no one doubted I was okay and happy. It also served its purpose in distracting me from how terrible I really felt. To show any signs of weakness was just asking for them to attack me.
I knew these people well enough to know that, whether they liked me or not, they would leap at any opportunity to verbally attack anyone if they could get away with it. I refused to let myself be their victim, like so many others before me.
I was thankful for the end of lunch, and even more thankful that I didn't have any classes with the people who occupied the lunch table, aside from sixth period with Brittany and Lucy.
That didn't make the rest of my classes any less awkward, however. Everywhere I turned, people were muttering about me when they thought I couldn't hear. I overheard some girls that I was never kind to whispering how I was finally getting what I deserved.
I was surprised. I knew that I was mean, but I didn't think anyone could deserve this much pain. I then realized that no one knew about my life at home.
I thought about it intently until sixth period. Maybe I did deserve all of it. I tried admitting to myself that they were right and I did deserve it, but I didn't feel better at all.
In gym, we were starting on weight lifting, and it was under these pretexts that I avoided talking with Brittany, pretending to be focused on not dropping the bar on my throat--though I certainly was trying very hard not to do that.
Lucy was still so furious that she could not think of anything nasty to say to me. Or, if she had thought of any snide comments or remarks, she kept them to herself, and didn't even give me any dirty looks. She had no inkling of the favor she was doing me.