Crystal took off her earrings. A girl walks up, and she slams her jewelry in the girl’s hand. Crystal pulls up her sleeves.
Ricardo snapped his neck and spat the blood from his mouth. “Don’t you fucking bring my mamma into this.” My eyes widened when his hands curled into fists.
He grabbed Crystal by the collar and pulled her upward, but before he could get any hits, she twisted her body and slammed him against the lockers. It wasn’t long before Ricardo got out of her hold due to his large structure.
But, Crystal, with her small body, was much faster.
She faked a high kick only to knee him where the sun doesn’t shine.
Crystal is not afraid to play dirty.
When Ricardo was down, she jumped him.
“What’s going on here?” a voice bombed.
I turn to my side to see a teacher, Mr.Timberland.
Everyone scattered, and slowly, but surely, I withdrew too. I understand it’s a cowardly action to take, but I can’t get into any more trouble.
I look up to see myself with a bunch of strangers. “Do we know you?” one of the guys asked.
I smiled, “I’m Hailey. I think we got the same...history class together?”
He tilts his head to one side before glancing at his friend, who shrugged.
“Aren’t you Hailey Vaughn?” one of the girls exposed me.
I played stupid. “I am not the person you are thinking of.”
“Hay Bug. What are you doing?” Rats. I know that voice anywhere.
I turn around to see Josh standing behind me with his own crew. It feels like everyone has a group except me. Josh handed the soccer ball to the guy beside him. “I’ll meet you all later,” he said, and they dispatched.
Josh smiled at the small group of people around us. “Mind if I borrow her?” They stared at him and nodded slowly.
He grasped my hand and began walking me towards my class, “Why are you with them?”
The tingling sensation, whenever Josh touches me continues to rise. “Earlier...Crystal and Ricardo were bickering - fighting, and Mr.Timberland came. So, I went into hiding,” I explained.
Josh paused and sighed before resuming his walk, “That girl. When will she stop fighting,” says the guy who was fighting with Ricardo not too long ago.
Once we reached my classroom, Josh pinched my cheeks. “You did well. Make sure to always go into hiding whenever something happened and-”
“And call you,” I smiled.
“Yes, I wore both alarms today.” I pull out the anti-rape alarm and whistle.
“Yes, I also carried pepper spray,” I said, pulling out my key chains, revealing a bottle of pink pepper spray. If they allowed tasers at school, Josh would force me to carry that one too.
When I was younger, Josh’s bodyguards caught an unknown man stalking me. After that, Josh and my dad had always been overly cautious about my safety. Nothing happened, but for them, something could’ve happened.
He pats my head before heading towards his prospective classroom. Josh turned around, “Oh, I forgot to ask you something.”
“Want to be my date for the Golden Party?” His voice echoed in the nearly empty hallway.
Immediately, a broad smile dropped across my face, and I nodded eagerly. Josh smiles and waves me goodbye, a little whistle dangling in the air while he resumes his mission towards his class.
Entering my classroom, I noticed how my classmates were no longer looking at me oddly. I returned to being invisible. I place my backpack down and pull out my books. I was avoiding Taniyah’s eyes the whole time. We’ve been ignoring each other ever since the minor bickering in the hallway weeks ago.
Mr.Timberland entered and placed down his books. “Now, students. I’m quite certain you’ve heard the rumors in regards to our new student.” Don’t tell me. “Please, put your hands together for your new classmate, Ricardo Winston.”
Ricardo walks into the classroom and a good amount of the girl’s eyes sparkle.
“Ricardo, please, introduce yourself.”
“Didn’t you already do that?” Ricardo said, causing some laughter to jerk into the air.
“Watch yourself,” Mr.Timberland warned him.
Ricardo cleared his throat, “Hello. My name is Ricardo,” he half-heartedly introduces himself.
“Why don’t you tell us more about yourself?” Mr.Timberland encouraged him.
Ricardo released a deep breath through his nostrils. “I am a 15 years old male. Half Italian. Quarter Japanese. Quarter some other European blood that my mamma refused to talk about.”
“I dislike long walks on the beach. I dislike having dinner beside a glass window. I dislike birds chirping in the morning. I dislike talking to people. I dislike talking in front of people. I dislike people being too nosy. I dislike-”
That’s a lot of dislikes.
“Why don’t you tell us something you do like doing in your spare time,” Mr.Timberland cut him off.
Ricardo opens his mouth but slams it shut before lifting his eyes to the ceiling to think about what he slightly enjoys in life. “I like...baking with my mamma.”
The room was quiet.
I notice how a guy in the corner of the room opened his mouth to say something but quickly shut it realizing he wants to live another day.
Mr.Timberland nodded, “What else?” He pushed Ricardo further.
There was a brief silence before Ricardo responded, “I like...American spaghetti-o.”
Is that even a thing?
Mr.Timberland smiled, a genuinely heartwarming one that I never witness from him. It was different from his usual ones, more loving, much more memorable. I noticed how Taniyah was no longer staring at her notebook; instead, she was staring at him. I look back at Mr.Timberland, then Taniyah, and back at him. There’s something off between them. I can feel it in my soul.