Mostly, the rest of the day was exactly the same. Although, no one else came up to me to make fun of or punish me, I was still the subject of the whispers and looks of pretty much the entire student body.
Callum said this
Callum did that
Callum made it all up
Well, Callum wanted it to stop. But Callum knew that it wouldn't. I knew that I couldn't stop the rumours or the hate spreading, even though I wanted it to, and it was almost painful to walk these halls when they were full of my imagined secrets.
It was in my English class- the last one of the day, when the weight was lightened infinitesimally. I was scribbling along the margin of my notepad, not bothering to focus on the class at all (the teacher knew that, but had obviously decided against trying to get me involved. That would mean actually conversing with me, and what if I brought it up, right?)
I was doodling on my notepad, when a voice sounded right by my ear.
"Are you okay?" the voice was soft, yet husky and deep. I flinched, but this time I wasn't terrified, and I didn't know why.
I turned to find two crystalline eyes staring at me. A pair of thick, dark eyebrows rose quizzically above those eyes, and long eyelashes fanned out, making the blue brighter. I looked from his tanned skin, to his full lips, to his head of curly brown hair, to his sharp cheek bones, to his boxy nose, and felt what I hadn't felt in a while. Attraction.
Instantly, I was repulsed. I tried not to think about it- not to think about anything but his question. This was horrible.
"I'm..." This was the first time I'd spoken to someone that I didn't trust unconditionally, and it was utterly nerve-wracking.
"I'm okay. Yes. I'm f-fine." I rasped, barely able to push the words from my mouth. The boy frowned, and moved his eyes around my face. He relaxed his frown, replacing it with a warm smile. Bright, white teeth. Such nice, white teeth.
"I'm Stuart." He said in his deep, raspy voice.
"Um... Callum" I breathed.
"Nice to meet you, Callum." He said. How calm he was, talking to a complete stranger. He was new here, and he could talk to me with no trouble, when I could barely force five words out to my classmates, whom I'd known for years. How unfair.
I simply nodded, keeping detached but as polite as I could stand to be, and went back to my doodles, which had now turned into a square of black ink. I moved on to the other side of the page, doodling random shapes, but stopped when a misshaped diamond morphed into a demonic eye.
"You an artist?" Stuart asked. Wow, he was persistent. Couldn't he see that I didn't want to talk?
I looked up at him, and forced a smile (a feat I had only just been able to begin to master).
"No" I replied quietly. It was hard. Believe me, it was almost impossible to keep up this charade of normalcy, but it was pivotal for my survival. I had to live my life. I'd just stopped for days after and I only realised how detrimental that was when I actually started to move and eat and talk.
"You're not very talkative, are you Callum?" Stuart perceived, humour colouring his tone. It wasn't the evil, embarrassing, abusive humour I'd grown used to with the rest of the students. He wasn't making fun of me. He was...
He was being nice. And I liked it. And I hated myself for liking it, although I wanted to like it. I liked him, and I was disgusted.
I hated this. I really did.
"I'm sorry, just going through something" I said. There- that sounded normal, and vague. I didn't want to answer too many questions.
"Well I'm sorry to hear that. I'm new here, so I haven't really talked with anyone yet- I could use a friend, and from the sound of it, so could you." He said. He was very charismatic, but I didn't find myself reacting to his charisma as I once may have.
"Not really. Sorry." I said. I know it sounded rude, but I would rather protect my life and my state of mind, than this guys feelings.
"Well in case you change your mind, I'm here." He said.
What was his problem? Why was he pushing this?
Suddenly, the lesson had ended, and the roar of the students talking and packing up startled me. I jumped, before beginning to arduously pack my things away.
Another night, crying in my room. Great.