With my mind clouded over by a mist of apprehension, I took my seat for Maths. I waited, full of anxiety, for my name to be called.
"Ayla Bronnley, your homework please," Mr Clark said, painfully slowly for everyone to hear.
I was confused. I didn't want to end up in detention, but neither did I want to be torn limb from limb by Tamara and her ever growing entourage. I felt her glare as it pierced my neck. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply, then felt her glare intensify. What felt like a thousand eyes were fixed on me. I felt a tear roll down my paling cheek as I choked out the words,
"I'm sorry sir, I haven't done it... and I left my book on the bus..."
The glare loosened its grip. My head fell into my hands as the word 'detention' echoed in my ears.
I was allowed a moment of happiness in my English lesson. Reading aloud from 'Macbeth' helped me to channel my emotions, and the weak praise I received from Mrs Lavender warmed my heart a little.
As lunch break came upon us, I meandered through the cafeteria to find a seat. My usual place by the window was unoccupied, so I sat down and gazed at the capacious, cloudless sky beyond the window, taking small mouthfuls of pasta every so often. This small moment of respite was brought to a close by the sudden realisation that I was being watched. I turned from the window to see what I probably should have expected. Tamara was laughing, an irritating, ingenuous tone poured over all the individual giggles. She waved an orange book at me, sniggering, My Maths book. Having taken a moment to collect my thoughts, I stood up, and walked over to the table at which she was sat.
"I'd like that back, please." I stammered, a lump growing in my throat.
"Now, why would I do that, you nerdy brat?"
Irrepressible anger welled up within me. I spoke through gritted teeth,
"Give me back my book, please."
There was a pause.
"She's irritating me, get rid of her."
At this, two girls stood up and approached me.
I was on the floor in seconds. I smelt the blood that now trickled from my cheek. Something hit the floor beside me.
"Here's your stupid book, Ayla." Tamara spat, and stormed off.
I groped for the edge of the table, when a male voice said,
A pale face owning deep brown eyes looked down at me, smiling, while the boy held out his hand. I grasped it and continued to look up into his face.
Could he want to be my friend? I thought, as I was raised slightly from the floor. Suddenly, the face contorted, the mouth twisted itself into a smirk, and his grasp on my hand was released. I felt myself falling again and closed my eyes. Some savage laughter exploded through my mind as I hit the floor. I wanted to die. Not attempting to to salvage any dignity which might have remained, I drew myself up, holding my maths book to my chest. I began to make my way to my maths classroom for my detention. Fortunately, I was on time. I walked up to Mr Clark's desk, and cleared my throat.
"I found my book, sir. I didn't leave it on the bus after all."
Mr Clark gave me a look as he took it from me, and began to flick through it.
"And your homework?"
"It's on the next double page, sir. I forgot that I had done it."
He found the page, nodded, then announced,
"I guess you can go then, Ayla,"
I turned to leave when Mr Clark added,
"What have you done to your cheek?"
My stomach flipped.
"I fell, sir."
"On you go then."
I hoped that he would think no more of it as I left the classroom. Having evaded detention, the rest of the school day went by quickly.
I couldn't wait to see Jacoby again.