I slip on a pair of pink cotton shorts and pull a white t-shirt over my head. Today is the start of Spirit Week and it's pajama day. Last year I made the mistake of wearing a nightgown on a windy day. I was not letting that happen again.
Stepping into the cool, crisp air, I gasp as a breeze whispers around my thighs causing a frenzy of goosebumps to run across my legs. My floral skirt nearly fall to my mid-thigh - but not quite. My white Vans slap against the pavement as I mince down the driveway. I pull my jacket tighter and look down the road in hopes that I'll see the bus hurtling down my street.
The boxy yellow vehicle comes rumbling toward and slows with a loud hiss at the top of my driveway. I step into the bus and look around anxiously. Almost immediately, there are whispers of gossip floating through the air.
I heard she slept with three guys over the weekend - none of them were here boyfriend.
I heard the same thing, I also heard that she went to a party and got hammered.
The gossip started last week when someone planted a condom in my backpack. When it fell out, everyone assumed I was a slut. I tried explaining that I hadn't even seen a condom before but this is high school and people believe what they want to believe.
Every since, I'm receiving more and more hateful notes. I try to talk about them but Sophia and Lucas keep telling me that everything is fine. I can't talk to my parents because there is no freaking way I'm telling them that I was in possession of a condom - even though it wasn't mine.
"Take a seat, whore!" Connor Hanley yells from the back of the bus. His friends explode with laughter causing a huge smirk to appear on Connor's face. Connor was a huge jock, probably this biggest in my grade. His parents spoil him crazy, and I'm sure they're just as stuck up as he is. Every girl in school thinks he's so handsome, and I'll give it to him, he is cute but his ugly personality cancels out any physical attraction he obtains.
Instead of firing back to him, I plop down in the front seat. I slide my phone out of my backpack and plug in my earbuds. Paramore's "Still Into You" blast into my ears. I close my eyes and pray that the day will end soon.
"Lila!" Sophia embraces me worriedly as soon as I step through the doors. "Come here!"
"What?" I follow her down the hallway into an empty classroom.
"Someone made a huge poster with you in it. They photo shopped you onto a stripper's body and put it up in the cafeteria. Lila, I'm so sorry." Breath passes by my lips and doesn't return.
"What?" I yell, as salty liquid streams down my face. "Sophia!"
"I'm sorry, Lila. I took them down but kids have pictures and the-"
I sprint out of the room before she can finish. I pass Lucas in the hall but ignore his confused expression and duck into the bathroom. Five girls turn to face me. Quickly, I swipe the back of my hand across my cheek.
"Look girls, it's the stripper." Christina, the girls' leader, snickers.
"Ah, yes. Do you have webcam? What's your name, I'll look you up." A petite blond next to me snides.
"Ew, why would you do that? She's so ugly." Her friend beside her comments.
"And fat." Christina adds.
"I-" I choke out.
"You what? Tell us, Lila. Tell us all how you aren't a slut." I slowly retreat from the bathroom and make my way to the back exit. I push through the large double doors and let the sobs escape my body.
I lean against the brick wall weakly. Suddenly, a warm, burning scent permeates the air. Smoke? I turn the corner to find a group of five or six of my schoolmates sitting in a circle. Lit cigarettes dangle from their mouths. Someone must have just made a joke because the small group bursts into hysterical laughter. One of the girls - Maria - looks up at me.
"Hey. I'm Maria. You got a name?"
"I…" I wipe the tears from my face and sniffle quietly. "My name is Lila."
"Lila, that's pretty." The boy next to her tells me. "Miles - that's my name. Want a smoke?"
I hesitate to answer. I've never seen anyone smoke before. I've never even thought of putting a cigarette to my mouth. I open my mouth to reply when someone bursts through the double doors.
"Lila, there you are. I was searching all over for you." Lucas smiles at me with relief.
"I just needed to take a walk," I glance at Maria, Miles and their group of friends; then, I glance back at my boyfriend. "I needed to clear my head, I guess."
"Alright, Mr. Solemonte sent me out here to look for you. You're late to class. C'mon." Lucas takes my hand and pulls me toward him. I wave warily to the new mysteriously people who were friendly to me even though everyone else thought I was a tramp. They ignore me and continue their conversation. Lucas and I step back inside and walk down the empty hall toward American Government.
"How'd you know I'd be outside?" I ask Lucas.
"I didn't. Peter told me you ran out the doors." Peter is one of our classmates.
"Also, you missed the announcements."
"And? No one ever pays attention to them."
"Everyone did today. Homecoming court nominations were being announced." Lucas stops me and grins at me happily.
"What?" I say giggling.
"We're nominated for the Sophomore class!" Lucas plants a kiss on my lips and I melt into it. When he breaks away, I dissolve into happiness. I may have had a horrible start to my day, but being nominated for Homecoming Court made today a million times better.
So I wrote this chapter. Maria and Miles weren't supposed to come in to the story until the next chapter, but I wanted the next chapter to be happy. Also, I thought that the story might be too depressing, so I needed to make something happy happen! All I'm going to say is to get ready for a bumpy ride.