The bell rang signalling the end of school for the day.
I heaved a defeated sigh and worked my way to my locker, making sure to keep close to the walls and avoid contact with any of the other students as they rushed past me screaming and shouting in joy that the school day had ended. Laughs and giggles from the popular girls echoed in the halls as the jocks threw their football back and forth along the long corridor.
Hurrying along, I made it to my locker without being noticed and quickly put my books away before scuttling toward the door and outside to start my long walk home.
Unfortunately my good luck didn’t last very long before one of the many cruel bullies noticed me walking and stopped me.
“Going somewhere Alvera?” He asked. I swallowed and looked up at him and fought not to blush.
It was Jared Heartley, the handsome football player that I had a crush on for too long to count. Even though he was one of the main bullies that made my life miserable, I tolerated his cruelty as punishment for having such a stupid crush on the very handsome boy.
His hair was just so perfect, falling this way and that in a style that made his gunmetal grey eyes stand out prominently. His smile would be enough to melt a large ice berg with his perfect white teeth and the curl to those lips that just seemed too plush for a male.
Brushing profusely, I looked down at my feet.
One of his many friends snickered and nudged him. “She likes you Jared.” He said in a loud voice.
Jared winced and stepped closer to me. “Is that true Alvera?” he asked me quietly.
Swallowing, I shook my head.  “N-no” I stuttered.
His friend laughed and nudged Jared into me, causing me to fall backwards on my rump. Jared stumbled and quickly regained his footing before shoving his friend back.
“Idiot” he snapped at his friend then looked down at me. “Your little crush is pointless Alvera, a loser like you would never get somebody like me” he said to me cruelly and walked off with his friends still laughing.
Getting to my feet again, I slung my school bag over my shoulder and continued walking out of the school gate and toward home.
I was just outside the gate when I felt somebody grab my shoulder and spin me around roughly. I instinctively brought my hands up to protect my face and squeezed my eyes shut, waiting for the blow to come.
I heard tyres screeching then a loud shout, opening my eyes, I saw a tall male with dark blonde hair rushing over to me and swearing at the person that had grabbed me.
“Leave her alone” he growled at the bully. The bully raised his eyebrows, “Thought you didn’t like girls Hayden?” the bully sneered. The boy, Hayden, stiffened and turned toward me.
“Are you okay?” he asked me softly. I blinked and nodded jerkily.
He grabbed my arm gently and pulled me toward the car he had emerged from.
I followed him stiffly; not trusting who this guy was, though I didn’t fight him.
“I’m Hayden by the way, and you are?” He asked as he opened the passenger’s side door for me.   
Frowning, I looked at the car then back at him. “Alvera” I whispered quietly.
He smiled at me and nodded toward the seat inside the car. I blinked again and shot him a confused frown. “Why did you help me?” I asked him quizzically.
He sighed, “I know what it’s like to be alone” he murmured softly.
I titled my head to the side curiously “What do you mean?” I asked.
He sighed again and folded his arms on top of the cars door. “I’m gay, and since I came out, I’ve been kicked out of the football team, lost all of my friends, my parents barely talk to me and I just have to deal with everybody else’s scorn because of it.” I bit my lip and looked down at my feet.
Here was another victim that had suffered at the hands of others unfairly, I thought to myself. Not to mention, he put himself in harm’s way just to stick up for me even though he had no idea who I was.
“Thank you” I whispered to him with a small smile. He nodded in acknowledgement and gestured toward the interior of the car.
Taking him up on his offer, I got into the car and watched him close the door and walk around the car to get back into the driver’s seat.
“Where to?” he asked as he pulled into traffic. Rattling off my address, I sunk into the seat of the car and watched him out of the corner of my eye.
A small, minute part of me waited for the blow to come but I knew that he wouldn’t hurt me, this stranger that shared the one thing I thought I was alone in was helping me and showing me a side of people that I rarely ever see.
With my smile growing, I sat back and enjoyed the ride with what I hoped was my new friend.

The End

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