Year 1999, Grade: Sophomore POV: Emma

Choking back tears, I ran as far and as fast as my long, but chubby legs would take me. I could not bring myself to look back at the large white house that was practically vibrating from loud music, I did not want to only upset myself further by finding no one running after me to comfort me. Sighing, I spotted an old oak tree, sitting in solitude by quiet, flowing brook, I reached at to it, thankful to have finally arrived. The loud music had gradually quieted down the further and further away from the house I got, clinging on to the oak tree, I allowed myself to fully cry. Cry about my so called "best friend" leaving me to hang out with the popular crowd, cry about moving, cry about not being able to tell the so called "best friend" that I am actually moving tomorrow, cry about him, and cry about the previous events of the night. Closing my eyes, I willed myself not to think about what had happened just ten minutes prior, but eventually I sank into the soft bark of the old oak tree and surrounded myself in the memories.

"Emma!" hearing someone squeal my name in the middle of the hallway, I whipped my head around to see my closest friend, Hattie come bounding toward me in a soft yellow dress, "Emma! Guess what?!"

"What?" I asked, thinking it was about one of the many rumors circling around the school that Hattie practically lived for.

"We," she said, pausing for emphasis, "have been invited to Chris Henley's Halloween party!"

I stared down at her slim, five feet, four-inch frame, "What?" I said, questioning whether or not I had actually heard correctly.

"It's true!"

"Oh, my gosh," I said, quietly, still not believing.

"It's true!" Hattie squealed again, "You need to come over to my house right after school so we can get ready and you can look hot!"

"Hattie, I don't know if this is a good idea, I mean, Chris Henley's a senior. We don't exactly belong there. We don't even belong at freshmen parties. We're kind of, well, losers," I pointed out.

"Emma!" she exclaimed, "That's exactly why we have to go! To be able to belong there!"

After submitting into Hattie's pleas, I agreed to go and I stalked off to the last period of the day, history. Unfortunately, history, and basically the rest of the day, went by in a blur as I sat wondering how Hattie and I managed to get invited to a senior's party. Even as I sat on top of Hattie's floral duvet cover with Hattie was pulling and twisting my hair into an intricate up-do, I still had an unsettling feeling at the pit of my stomach. And, then finally, as things continued blurring past me, Hattie and I arrived at Chris's huge, white brick house.

I stared in awe at the tired looking mansion. Looking as if it had but up a good fight in previous parties thrown, it appeared as if tonight, despite its grandeur, that it had finally gave into the destructive antics of the rowdy teenagers. The house looked weathered down, and for some odd reason, I could not help but be drawn to it.

"Hey, Emma!" shouted one of the cheerleaders, which I recognized to be none other than my ex-best friend, Veronica Dae. Hattie and I exchanged confused glances; Veronica never, ever spoke to me. Not since seventh grade. Not once.

"H-hey, Veronica," responded Hattie, as my vocal chords did not appear to be functioning.

"Come dance with me!" Veronica shouted, her voice laced with sincerity. I looked to Hattie who simply shrugged. With that, I felt Veronica's long fingers tighten around my wrist and she dragged Hattie and me off to the make shift dance floor in the back yard.

To my great surprise, I saw that nobody looked at Veronica for dancing with Hattie and me, two people who were far, far below her on the social ladder. Everyone seemed totally fine with it. Eventually I loosened up and really started to dance and have fun. Everything was going perfectly and I was starting to think that Veronica had changed until one slightly drunk senior pushed from behind while dancing, and I went face first into the bowl of punch.

"Oh, no!" said Veronica, "Your dress! Here, come with me, I know where Chris's bedroom is, we can find you a t-shirt,"

"No, no, it's fine, the dress'll dry," I started but Veronica cut me off,

"But your dress has already started to stain! Seriously, just come with me,"

I looked down, Veronica was right, my favorite, light blue dress was already starting to turn a weird shade of purple, "All right," I said, following Veronica.

Chris's room was the third door on the right and Veronica found me an oversized Beatles shirt for me to wear, and a pair of basketball shorts that through some small miracle fit me.

"Go change in there," Veronica instructed pointing to a door on the far wall of the room.

Nodding I went into the dark room and fumbled around for a light switch but could not find one, so I started to change in the dark. I slipped off my dress and right as I was about the put on the shorts I heard doors open and someone pull my underwear down.

"Hey, everybody!" I heard Veronica shout from somewhere, "Look at Emma the whale's naked butt up on the balcony,"

Like a wave, I understood what just happened. It was all a set up. Veronica was being nice to gain my trust. The drunken senior knocked me into punch bowl on purpose. I was changing on Chris Henley's balcony. Everyone outside could see me. I had let my guard down.

Grabbing my underwear, I slipped my dress back on, pushed Veronica aside and ran down the stairs, and ran as fast as I could to the oak tree.

The only place where I could be by myself was the oak tree. The only place where I was safe was and is the oak tree. Hattie did not care about me. She cared about being popular.

Pushing myself up to my feet, I started the two-mile walk home. Today had been awful, tomorrow will probably be worse. Tomorrow I would start school at a snobby, rich kid school in California, but I guess that is what you could call me now, well, rich at least since dad got promoted. With a grim smile I made a promise never to be put in that kind of awful situation again. At the new school, I would become popular, but no matter what, I was not going to treat anyone the way I had been treated. I just could not do that to anyone else.