I'm answering some reviews here for a change, since people are asking some pretty important questions and I think everyone should see the answers.

SneakySpy: I had a firm idea of what this story would be, and to tell the truth, that plan has pretty much imploded. Half the things that've happened were things that I didn't plan. Sebastian originally didn't have such a big part, and Sam wasn't originally so screwed up. But I think it's safe to say that we will see Sebastian turn up in the story at some point later on.

Rae Ann: I'm glad you're coming to join the FictionPress community, and it makes me so happy to read that I enticed you over. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing, I'm ecstatic that you enjoy my stories!

Tales of a High School Bluejay

Chapter 7 – A Hoodie for a Broken Bluejay

Jay's POV

I pulled the hood on my jacket closer around my face, despite the warmth of the day. I was attempting to hide the bruising and swelling creeping across the left side of my face; it was painful and ugly. Plus, my eyes were puffy and red from crying myself to sleep. Yes, I am pathetic. Yes, I am pitiful. Yes, my self esteem is super low right now and yes, I feel like utter shit.

I shuffled into my Maths classroom and slumped into the first seat I saw, laying my books out on the table then pulling at my tracksuit pants nervously. If you keep your head down, maybe people won't ask questions. James was in this class and I wasn't especially looking forward to talking to him about the whole incident, even though I had a burning curiosity about his unstable home life.

It wasn't a long wait until James dropped into the chair next to me.

"G'morning," he said with a yawn.

"Aren't you awake yet? It's second period already," I replied, jabbing him with my elbow and trying to act normal, even though my face was in pain from my involuntary smile.

"I'm not awake until midday. Why're you wearing a hoodie, Jay? It's fucking…" James' voice trailed off as he pulled my hood off my head and saw my face. "What the fuck happened to you?" he said, his eyes almost comically wide. I would've laughed if it didn't hurt so much.

"Sam didn't tell you?" I asked, pulling my hood back over my head gingerly. I felt sure that he would've, since he'd been so ready to confess to my Mum about it all. It seemed like a betrayal that he'd keep such details from his own twin.

"No, he failed to mention anything about this." He gestured to my face, frowning. "He was really emo and mopey last night, though. What happened?"

"Um, he was at the lockers after school, I asked if he was OK, he flipped out and punched me a little."

"Shit," James muttered, running a hand jerkily through his hair. "Shit. Jay, I'm sorry it was you."

"Does he do that kinda stuff often?" I asked, pulling my hood back up.

"It'd be a lie to say he hasn't done it before."

"What's wrong at home then?" I blurted. James stared at me, shocked.

"What did Sam tell you?" he asked.

"Well, he was explaining to my Mum what happened, and he mentioned that he 'didn't come from the most stable home'," I said, eyes searching James' face. His eyes tightened and his jaw clenched, but he held eye contact with me.

"That's true," he said guardedly.

"I think I have a right to know at least something about it, since you two are kind of my friends and I'd like to know the reason why my face feels like it's a painful balloon." I was sounding snappy and wanted to apologise, but held my ground and glared at James. He sighed.

"Our dad left us, five years ago," James said quietly, avoiding my eyes. "Mum hasn't gotten over it, and neither have we, really." Shit, that was heavy. I shouldn't have asked.

"I'm sorry," I said, laying a comforting hand on his arm. James smiled wryly.

"It's OK, like you said, you deserve to know."

The class passed slowly, excruciatingly slowly, and I found myself staring into space with my mind devoid of thoughts when I should have been taking notes.

"Can you tell us what the x intercepts of this parabola are, Jayden?" came the stern voice of the teacher. Fuck. I stared at the board and did some messy calculations in my head as everyone stared at me.

"Uh, the x intercepts are seven and…no, nine. Nine and negative three." The teacher's lips pursed and she nodded.

"That's correct, but pay attention now." I nodded, tugging my hood lower over my forehead and scribbling a random line on my notebook.

When recess came, my desire for peaceful aloneness outweighed my paranoia of looking like a loner, so I grabbed my muesli bar and went to sit on some secluded stairs in one of the classroom buildings. I brooded about the fact I had English next and would have to see Sam. The occasional person passed me, staring (I must have looked like such an emo), then I heard someone saying my name tentatively. I glanced up and saw Alana. Ffffffuck she's gonna ask questions and I don't want her to. She'll figure it out. I know it. Shit.

"Jay, what're you doing here?" she asked, standing a few steps below me and shifting her schoolbooks in her arms.

"Nothing," I replied, looking away.

"Why're you wearing a hood?" She paused, then a sharp intake of breath indicated she'd pieced the clues together. It had, after all, been her that found out about Sebastian. "Jay, tell me what happened. Show me your face." I sighed, pulled the hood aside briefly and heard her gasp. "Jayden, tell me now!"

"It was Sam," I said simply, embarrassed.

"Who else knows?"

"Sam's brother, my parents. You."

"You forgave him, then."

"He has issues," I countered, not really knowing why I was defending him.

"Oh, and I suppose that Sebastian had 'issues' too?" Alana snapped, glaring at me. "I try to help you, God knows I try my hardest, but I can't if you just...just let people tread all over you! Then you forgive them!"

"Alana, it's fine – " I protested, thinking of Sam's faceless father leaving two little boys and a crying woman. I thought of how much pain Sam would feel. Alana wouldn't have it.

"No, it's NOT fine! It's not fucking fine at all! I don't know what's going through your head, I really don't, but you getting beat up is a recurring theme and it's not healthy! And you're still friends with Sam, what are you thinking?"

"You're not my mother, Alana," I growled, growing tired of her nagging and her incessant questioning.

"You know what, Jay, sometimes I feel like I am. I fucking stalked you in Year 9 so I could find out what was happening, because all your other fucking stupid friends were so oblivious to your problems, and it's not like it wasn't obvious! Bruises on your face, Jayden! And now that's all over, you go and chum up with another guy that hurts you. I'm sick of worrying about you, but if I don't, there'll be nobody else who will. No matter what I do, there's always something else to clean up and someone else to protect and I hate it." I knew she was angry, because she was swearing, and Alana hardly ever swore. But it was the tone of resignation and weariness that struck me; she felt that it was her duty to look after me, on top of all the obligations she had to her family and her sisters, because no-one else could. Because I couldn't. This had been proven. Where would I be without Alana? Would I have been hurt more and more often, the injuries more and more extreme? Would Sebastian have been my secret boyfriend, then told me it was all an act, left me broken hearted and bruised? Raped? Suicidal? Dead, even?

I looked up into the face of my saviour, my angel. Alana. Her forehead was creased now, not in anger but in concern, her lips slightly parted as if she was trembling on the edge of speech. Even though she hated to deal with me, she still cared. I, like some silly hormonal teenage girl, burst into tears. I heard Alana curse softly then her arms were around me, familiar, and my crying intensified as I was overcome by guilt. I was burdening her, again. I was a baby bird that had fallen out of my nest, tiny wings incapable of flight, and she was my mother swooping down to raise me up.

A broken bluejay.

Author's Note

IT'S BEEN SO LONG, MY FRIENDS! I am sincerely sorry. I could make excuses but I won't. (Also, excessive amounts of smutty Drarry (Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter) fanfics may have contributed to my general unproductiveness).

Moving right along, here's another chapter for you all – I know it's short, but when I'm writing, sometimes scenes/plotlines end on a dramatic note and I hate to kill that by tacking something on that is invariably mundane lameness. And, my muse quits working after intense drama and angst. Yeah, I'm sorry for all the angst here, everyone. Truly I am. I never really intended Tales of a High School Bluejay to be this deep, not that it's necessarily a bad thing; it's interesting for me to see where my inspiration takes me.

Aaaaaand now the title of this whole story is annoying me. -_-