I have always been disliked by my peers. Sure, no one is bold enough to walk up to me and express their dislike but it’s evident in their behaviours. The looks, the snickers or low tunes when I pass by. But they never say it to my face. Well, Olivia tries, she has always been the bold one. I don’t expect her to change but I can handle her. After all, it’s her fault we are no longer friends, if only she had kept it in her pants.
A tug on my shirt snaps me out of my musing, the reflection of my one and only best friend in the whole world appears on my car window and I turn around with a big smile. Her high-pitched scream has me plugging my fingers into my ears, she throws her arms around me in excitement and I return the hug with a slight eye roll, acting like I didn’t miss her. She jabs my sides with a scowl, I return the favour.
“Holla,” she says in her beautiful Spanish accent, switching into Spanish like I understand the language.
I wait for her to finish talking but the thing with Maria is this—she never stops talking. You have to cut her off so that’s exactly what I do. I throw an arm around her shoulders. “Maria. How was the party?”
Some boy from our school hosted a party last night to welcome everyone to the new semester and in Maria’s book, you never say no to a cute boy who asks nicely. In my book, you say no to every boy. High school isn’t for relationships, it’s that period of your life you are forced to endure so you do your best to get by. Stay unnoticed. She shakes her head and shrugs my hand off her shoulders, dragging me away from my car and into the direction of the door.
I hesitate at the front door, Maria takes a step forward and stops. “Tessa?” She turns to me, I shrug.
See, Maria is very pretty. With her waist length blond hair, honey eyes, smooth accent, banging body and beautiful heart, that cheerleader is the kind of person everyone wants to be friends with. And then, you have me. Cool Tessa. I mean, I am a sight for sore eyes, that’s what mum says. If I can try to wear something outside black T-shirts, skinny jeans and sneakers, I’ll look excellent. Sometimes, I think she’s disappointed at the fact her only daughter isn’t following her path of fashion. My mum is a fashionista.
“Theresa Mower!” Maria snaps her fingers in my face and my eyes flicker to her. I offer her a sheepish grin, widen my big, brown eyes into what I hope is a puppy-eyed look and she pinches my nose, baring her teeth at me when I try to protest. Placing her hands on her waist, she says, “This is a new session, we promise to try and socialise more, right? We have one more year to go, let’s make the best of it.”
I nod. By we, she means me alone because she’s a social butterfly and I am that friend who will rather spend her weekend binge-watching old movies. She tucks her hand into the crook of my elbow and pulls me to stand on the stairs with her. I am only two inches taller than she is but her heels already took care of the height difference. She pushes the door open, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and step in.
The corridors are quiet as we stroll in, I make sure to stay beside Maria as we head for our lockers. When I’m with her, people seldom glance my way, all attention is focused on her. I can always handle myself but it feels good to have her around me in the mornings since we don’t have any class together.
It’s too silent. And the silence unnerves me, it’s not normal. Broadway Heights is filled with different categories of teenagers. The good, the bad, the ugly and the evil so silence on a Friday morning should worry anyone. And it bothers me. Even Maria. She retrieves her phone from her bag, I laugh on seeing the big fluffy ears attached to the case of her iPhone. She calls it a fashion statement, I call it a miss.
I know she’s searching Broadway Gossip site. It’s a gossip blog run by an anonymous person. My guts tell me it’s Olivia, the whole thing reeks of her—the pink themes, boring interface and girly designs but no one knows for sure. The blog is only good for two things; ruining the reputations of Broadway Heights students or updating us on the latest gist. I pause in front of my locker, waiting for the latest update and Maria’s brows furrow as she continues swiping on her screen. I can easily pull out the Samsung phone I got on my last birthday but no, I’ll pass. I made a decision to stay away from that blog after they shared a student’s nude. I can always get whatever information I need from Maria, she’s ever willing to share.
“There’s a video of Nate dancing on a pole,” Maria says with a laugh. She pushes her phone in front of my face, I grimace at the video of the shirtless boy that appears on her screen. He is drunk, he has to be. No way will a sane boy be grinding on a stick or kissing it with such passion. Ew. “He’s so shameless.”
Nate is one of many familiar faces I can’t place a finger on. Definitely one of the school jocks, look at that body. I nod and return her phone. For sure, he attends my school but we are not friends so he’s none of my business. My focus returns to my locker, my first class is AP Calculus so I need to retrieve the textbook. I have no idea why I’m in that class. But on the plus side, none of the cheerleaders offer the subject with me so it makes it bearable. Put me in a class far away from Olivia and I’ll be fine for the day.
I open my locker, a smile slips to my lips at the picture glued to the door. It’s a picture of me and Maria. I’m standing with my legs apart, arms crossed on my flat chest, body tilted to one side with a massive scowl on my face while Maria is being Maria. Her usual diva self with the most blinding smile, model like pose and her black bodycon gown. I must have been trying to prove a point to my mother, why else would I wear a tux to prom? Admittedly, my fashion sense is dead but I hate tuxes. Skinny jeans please.
Maria made us take that picture. Maybe to have something to laugh about or simply for the memories. Liv—Olivia and I were still friends, her picture used to be beside this but I guess old things have passed away. I will never admit it to Maria but this is one of my favourite pictures of us from sophomore year.
My hands locate the textbook, I’m still smiling at the memories from the party, how I embarrassed us with my horrible dancing skills when someone rams into me from behind. Everything stops. A sharp pain spreads to my shoulder, my forehead connects with the metal bar and stars dot my vision for a second.
I hear Maria’s sharp intake of breath. “Are you blind?” she screams at the person behind us and I spin, ready to punch the demon who shoved me into outer space when I see who it is and my throat dries up.