For the rest of the day everyone came up to congratulate me on insulting Tilly without getting told off, but I didn't hear them. I didn't see them. I didn't notice them.
I was in shock, when the teacher had come back Tilly had said nothing, just kept her head down, she didn't say anything for the rest of the lesson. I had looked for her at lunch, I looked everywhere I could think of, she wasn't anywhere, none of the librarians had seen her, all the music rooms were empty, the computer rooms were full of small juniors who had all come for a taster day, she was nowhere to be found. I felt awful.
Mia had caught up with Lilly and I after double chemistry, and had laughed her head off when she heard of what I had said, Mia knows better than anyone of my temper, she had often been on the recieving end, but in my defence this was usually because I had origionally been on the recieving end of her, considerably worse, temper.
Neither Lilly nor Mia were concerned about Tilly, they told me to forget it, that it was about time that she got a good kick up the ass.
Lunch break passed incredibly slowly, I had no luck in finding Tilly. History started and the seat next to me seemed to be mocking me, as if it were pointing out that the bubbly, clever, energetic girl was missing. The same thing happened in maths, Tilly wasn't there, the teachers all noticed that their star pupil wasn't present but they said nothing, they assumed that she had gone home, for there was no way that she would ditch.
When the day ended I spoke to her "friends" who all congratulated me on not being told off, "Aren't you guys mad that I upset your friend?" I asked in shock, this isn't the way friends react to someone who had upset their friend, I remember Mia had once hit someone for insulting Lilly. "Ha, why would we be? It is so annoying having to listen to her going on and on about how perfect she is, you know that she got the lead in the play this year by not actually auditioning, she spent her audition talking with Mr. Farn and Miss. Lon about how she thinks the play should be and who she thinks should be in it. The only reason we actually put up with her is that the teachers then think that we are as good as she is because we hang around with her, it means that they treat us specially too!" Lucy Carlisle said, grinning. "She helps us with our homework by complaining about how easy it was and moaning the answers aloud." Missy Tornwrose added, and then she started to giggle, "after you said that she tried to look for comfort from me but I couldn't help myself, I laughed so much!" The others all burst out laughing and congratulated me again before leaving me alone in the classroom.
I hadn't realised what I was doing when I said it, I had just had a bad weekend and hadn't realised that my words could hurt her "I'm so sorry!" I whispered to the air, floating about me, I imagined that it was Tilly hugging me, accepting my apology, forgiving me, "how could I be so hateful?"
I walked home that evening, I had missed the bus, but it was only an hour walk and I didn't notice the cold, I only felt my hellish insides, burning up, ripping me into shreds. I didn't realise where I was until I looked up to see that I was walking past Tilly's house, without thinking I slid the gate open and crept up to the front door. I had once heard her say that her mum works really late at the hospital so is never home, I was worried that if Tilly saw me out of the window she wouldn't answer the door, I just wanted to make sure that she was home.
I made it to the porch and looked around, none of the curtains had moved, but there was no light slipping through their opening, I rang the bell and waited, I waited for a long time, I paced up and down and rang the bell a few more times and waited...and waited. Nothing.
I bit my lip, surely she was home, surely that was where she had gone, it hadn't been that bad an insult, had it? I thought it over, thought of it from Tilly's point of view, quite a few people had laughed at her, she had seen everyone congratulating me after class, her friends had proven to be the opposite of what she had thought, she was alone, more alone than I had ever been, without a father, and a mother who worked until midnight. I had never realised how miserale her life was. They were very poor, the state of the house was enough to prove that, they payed her mother very poorly, and Tilly works two jobs as well as babysitting.
A sound pulled me from my thoughts, it was coming from behind the broken down fence, in the garden, I peered over it and breathed again.
She was there. She was there. Crying, sitting on the muddy ground, her bag splattered, and her face stained with the same tears that I had seen earlier. "Tilly?" I said quietly, "Go away!" She said, not moving, she wasn't wearing a coat, and her clothes looked more ragged than usual, she looked frozen but she didn't seem to care. I clambered over the fence to join her but she cringed away from my hand, I sighed "Look Tilly I'm really sorry, I wasn't thinking, I never do, you know that. We all know that you will be the best off out of everyone, how couldn't you? You have the experience, the grades, the extra curricular stuff!" I said, I have never tried to comfort someone like Tilly before and I wasn't sure how to go about it, and I realised that this wasn't the way! "So what? You're all going to be happy, cause you are all going to have a life, a family, someone to grow old with, I'm going to end up like my mum, alone." "Your mum isn't alone! She has you! That's more than enough! She has you! Someone who she can be proud of, someone who she knows will be worth the struggle, someone she can rely on! My mum isn't like that with me! She is too busy fighting with my dad, or being proud of my brothers to notice me! I think it's better to be without someone like that" I said, I wasn't really thinking about what I was saying, and before I knew it, I had said what I had promised myself that I would never tell anyone!
Tilly sniffed and looked at me, she was very observant and could see that I had said more than I had intended, for the first time she smiled at me in a way that wasn't partonizing or condescending, it was genuine and kind. "If you want" I said, realizing that I wanted to keep that smile on her face "You can come to my house, mum accidently forgot to make roast on Sunday so we're having it tonight, my brothers aren't even going to be there so there's going to be more than enough" I said cautiously, she looked surprised, but nodded, and allowed me to help her to her feet. She was properly shivering now so I took my warm coat off and gave it to her and we set off to my house together.