Status: updates when inspiration and free time collide.

Sotto Voce


“Are you the girl who’s dating Zack Merrick now?”

Carefully controlling my blush, I blinked before looking up at the figure looming over my desk, blocking my light. “No,” I deadpanned, faintly recognizing this girl. I saw her with Jude and Kelly quite often, but I never caught her name, and that made me glad. Any friend of Jude or Kelly was no friend of mine. She was about to say more to me, but class started. Everyone settled down before the teacher turned on the PowerPoint.

Even after a month, Zack was still pretty uneasy about hanging out with me, but we were working on that. People started asking me why I hung out with him, or some of the girls would come to warn me that they’d slept with Zack and they thought he had some sort of STD.

“Wow. They just won’t let it die,” Zack laughed humorlessly when I told him about the shit that spewed forth from Jude’s mouth today. If Jude said something, everyone knew about it in hours. I thought this school was bigger than that, literally. I couldn’t imagine how news and gossip could travel so quickly, considering all the students in the building and the size of the campus, too.

We made lunch by our lockers a daily thing, which I was thankful for because Zack was more or less my only friend at Towson. “Hey, Brett – are you doing anything this weekend?” Zack asked, avoiding eye contact now for some reason. I shook my head, unable to speak because I had food in my mouth. “Wanna hang out?” he asked casually, texting someone on his phone. “Me and my friends are gonna hit the mall and stuff…”

I swallowed my food, a little shocked that he was asking me this. “I won’t make it awkward, will I?” I asked, dying to say yes.

Zack glanced at me and grinned, giving my fishtail braid a light tug. “Of course you’ll make it awkward, Brett. That’s just who you are.” Zack’s words made my heart sink, but he still smiled so brightly at me. “But that’s ok, we’re all really awkward. See, there’s Rian, and Alex, and Jack, who are all really…”

Zack went on and on about his friends. He spoke of them so endearingly that it made me quite jealous. To Zack, these Rian, Alex, and Jack fellows were practically his brothers. Sure, they were in a band together, but it was so much more than that. These were the people that Zack would take a bullet for, could share his hopes, dreams, and fears with, and should go to school with.

“I wish I had friends like that,” I murmured when Zack had finished talking before I could stop myself. I didn’t have anyone I could call my friend at this school other than Zack. People were only nice to me when they wanted something from me, and I had a bad habit of being a doormat. I just…I was too afraid of pissing people off. I couldn’t be like Zack.

Zack pissed everyone off and gave zero fucks about it, but that was because he could hold his own in a fight. I should learn how to do that. “I’m sure my friends will love you, because, I…” Zack trailed off, clearing his throat before he finished his sentence. “So, wanna hang out this weekend?” he asked, nudging my leg with his knee to snap me out of my thoughts.

“Sure, sounds like fun.” Yeah…that never happened.
“Hey, Brett!” Kelly Trotter called my name as I walked past her on my way to my locker.

I sighed, but paused and turned to face her because it was the polite, civil thing to do.

“Those were your parents yesterday that came to pick you up, right?” I nodded, not really sure where she was going with this.

My parents came home the other day and decided to surprise me, so they came to see me at school. When I saw them in the driveway, I ran to them and hugged them, sobbing so hard. It’s been too long since I’ve seen them. They couldn’t be home for my birthday month, they said, but this was as close to my birthday as they could get.

“Oh, wow, so when did your two dads adopt you?” Kelly asked patronizingly, her friends wearing the same smug expression as she.

I dropped my bag on the ground, pure rage coursing through my veins. How dare she…How dare she!

I was so angry, my vision was tinted red. I swear, I had no control of myself whatsoever in that next moment. I threw all the force I could muster up into one shot and I… I just…punched Kelly Trotter in the face.

Kelly screamed the loudest of all her friends, of course. She crumpled to the ground, clutching her face and sobbing. Her friends certainly looked terrified of me now. “You broke my nose, you bitch!” Kelly shrieked, calling attention to us now.

The halls were soon abuzz with word of what happened, so teacher rushed to the scene. One saw to Kelly’s injury and another escorted me to the office. “Ms. Hadley,” the teacher walking with me began, “may I ask why exactly you felt the need to break Ms. Trotter’s face?”

“She started it,” I mumbled lamely, finding tears on my cheeks.

The teacher actually smiled, though. “I’m sure she deserved it, too…”

And that’s how I wound up spending my Saturday at school, not at the mall with Zack and his friends.

…Well, no, just kidding – Zack was at Saturday school, too.

“Brett? What are you doing here?” he asked incredulously, pulling up a desk next to mine. “Whoa, what happened to your hand?” he asked worriedly, gently gathering my fingers in his. True, my knuckles were a bit bruised, but punching Kelly Trotter was worth the pain.

“I… punched…someone,” I said vaguely, pulling my hand out of his. Zack’s fingertips were callused and his hands were huge and I wanted to hold them but I didn’t want to freak him out so I stopped myself before I could start.

“Well, aren’t you a BAMF,” Zack chuckled, affectionately tousling my hair.

“…What’s a BAMF?”
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thanks for reading; hope you enjoyed it!
i know, it's been ages; sorry. i'm super busy with all this college stuff,
but i managed to update at last! please don't hate me TOO much, haha...
feedback would be lovely and greatly appreciated! :D