Status: Finished



My books were stolen that day, right off my desk. I didn’t notice, too absorbed with a book to see. But when the bell rang and I looked up, people were giggling. “Missing something, Will?”
“Stupid fag, doesn’t even notice when she gets stolen from.” I stood up, trying to find a kind face. Cenna, a girl I had once been friends with, shrugged her shoulders in the universal sign of, ‘I don’t know.’
At my next class I had to explain that I had ‘lost my books’ when everyone knew they had really been stolen. Mr. Humphrey scowled at me and made me sit near Brooke, a petite girl with a nasty attitude.
She unwillingly shared her English book, shoving it over to me. We spent an awkward 45 minutes not speaking and not touching.
Right before class ended she got a text, smiling cruelly when she looked over at me.
“Your books have been found. They’re in the girl’s locker room.” I sprinted to the other side of school, knocking people over in my haste to get my books.
But I was too late.
By the time I got to the locker room they were a soggy mess on the floor. Someone had left my books in the shower and turned the water on.
Every homework assignment, all my rather expensive books were damp. I wiped away tears and gathered what was salvageable.
In the end I had to throw away five notebooks, my Math book, and my planner. I cried the whole time.
I was on my knees in the shower when someone walked in. “Uh, Willa?” It was Pennylee. Her mouth was screwed up in confusion.
I had kissed that mouth. I shook the thought away. I had to keep a straight face around her, so I stood and forced a smile.
“Sorry. I dropped a quarter down the drain.” Although her eyes flicked to my shaking hands and red eyes, she didn’t say anything.
“Ms. Justin wants you to come back. She’s handing out our topics.” “Yeah. I’m coming.” We walked down the quiet hallway, not speaking.
I felt like every footstep was a little too loud. At one point Pennylee opened her mouth like she was going to speak, but she didn’t.
Our History class was in full swing when we walked in. People were shouting out their topics, grabbing for the best ones. We were left with ‘Social Life During the Renaissance’. I smiled apologetically at Pennylee.
“Sorry we got this.” She looked over at me with a puzzled expression.
“Uh, I don’t mind.” After that we were silent like everyone else, looking up facts for the project.
I lasted through the day and came home, as usual, to an empty house. After I tossed my stuff to the floor I collapsed on the couch, buried my face in my hands, and screamed, with frustration, with sadness, with just how stuck I felt in this small town.
No friends, no support, sometimes I felt like I would die there, having done nothing useful or important. I wanted to explode, to break something. Instead I picked the easy way out and went on Facebook to see if Linc was on.
‘Hey there, Willa. What’s up?’ ‘My books were stolen today, and someone put them in the shower. They were totally ruined.’ Linc took a long time to respond, but when she did the tone was surprised.
“You really go through all that at school…everyday?’ I felt a flash of jealousy. How good could her life be if what seemed like a fairly normal day to me horrified her? ‘Yeah. Anti-bullying laws haven’t really taken effect here. People can basically do what they want to me and no one will care.’
‘But that’s awful! U never thought you were actually treated like that….’ I would’ve replied, but the door rattled and I jumped off the couch, suddenly afraid. No one was supposed to be home yet.
“Who’s there?” I called out, searching for some kind of weapon. “It’s just David!” I froze and dropped the candlestick I’d been holding, flying to open the door.
“Davey! You’re back!” He looked older, with the start of a beard and tired eyes. “Hey there, Will. You got prettier.” Davey was the only person who every complimented me.
“I thought you weren’t coming home for weeks.” He let me out of the hug and smiled again.
“I wanted to surprise you. Looks like it worked.”
I thought my face would split, I was grinning so hard. “How long are you here? Do Mom and Dad know?”
David laughed and settled on the couch, linking his hands behind his head. “I’ll only be here for about a week, but I think I can make time for my sister,” he winked, “and of course Mom and dad know. I’m not a creeper.”
I sat down carefully, not quite sure how to act around this new David. It had been months since I’d last seen him, and he looked older. “So, how’s school going? Are you still being teased?” he asked, waiting patiently for my answer.
“Oh, it’s fine. I’m having a good year,” I lied. Davey wasn’t fooled though. He’s probably the person who knows me best.
“Don’t lie to me, Will. You can make everyone else think you’re okay, but not me.” I sighed and rubbed my eyes, letting my shoulders droop.
“It’s the same, basically. I’m just trying to get through the day without losing something.” I can’t explain David’s face then well enough.
It was a mix of pity, guilt, and anger. “I never wanted to leave you alone here, really. I’m so sorry, Will. When you finally leave here I’ll show you what life is really like,” he swore.
I tucked his promise away like I did everything he told me, and smiled. “I’ll hold you on that.”