"There she is! That's the girl I told you about, the one that went nuts and killed a girl at Jesse Jameson's after prom party last year!"
"Oh, right! Don't they think she killed Jesse, too, since he's still missing?"
"I heard that she doesn't know where Jesse is, and swears on her life that she didn't kill either of them that night. I think she's lying. My brother's one of the cops that's on the case."
"I heard they locked her up in a mental hospital for the last six months because she went crazy in the interrogation room and tried to stab an officer in the eye with a pencil."
Lies. It's all lies.
I continued down the hall, squeezing the strap on my backpack. It's all lies, every single one of them. I didn't kill that girl at the party, and I swear on my own life that I didn't kill Jesse, too. I don't know what happened that night.
Everything's a blank space until I woke up in that girl's blood and started screaming. No one believed me when I said I didn't know what happened. I swore up and down that I had no recollection of dropping myself into a bed covered in blood.
And now everyone not only thinks I'm guilty, but that I'm insane.
I tilted my head towards Annie, my only friend in this hell. She'd been away that horrible weekend a year ago, and when she found out, she was adamant as hell that I was innocent.
"Are you alright?"
"Not really. I'd be lying if I said I was."
A crowd was around my locker, and I stiffened, tightening my grip on my strap. What is it now? Did they write on my locker again? That poor janitor. He was going to have to clean it again.
"Move!" Annie yelled.
The crowd parted, and I almost puked right on their expensive Mary Janes and Converses. Bold black letters stood out against the placid green, and I'd never felt so sick in my life.
You killed Mililani Cristae.
I turned away from my locker, against Annie's protests, and ran down the hall. I barely made it to the bathroom. Slamming the stall door behind me, I vomited my breakfast up, coughing as I dry-heaved.
"Liv! Liv, are you alright?"
"No…" I whispered, my voice raspy.
How could I be? Someone was blaming me for Mililani's death. I didn't kill her. I'm sure I didn't. And I had no knowledge of Jesse's whereabouts either.
I stepped from the stall, gripping my bag. I stumbled over to the sink, twisting the handle violently, cold water rushing from the faucet.
I cleaned my mouth and face, then splashed water on my face, hoping to wash away the sickness I felt.
"We're going to be late. Let's go."
I doodled in my notebook, oblivious to the discussion of my U.S. history class. The teacher usually ignored me, since I've passed his class without ever paying attention fully to the lecture.
The bell rang, and Mr. Alva stopped his lecture, making a mark in his notebook.
"Okay class! Remember, you have a paper due next week, and the test the week after. I will see you on Monday, and do have a safe weekend."
I packed my things slowly, hoping to avoid the halls for a moment. I didn't want to deal with the stares, especially after this morning. There's no doubt that it's spread through the school by now.
More information to fuel the baseless rumors.
I slipped out into the hall. People were too busy chatting about plans for the weekend, shouts of "hey" and "what's going on this weekend" keeping the eyes off me.
If there's anything to keep their attention off me, it's weekend parties and getting stupid drunk.
I started pass an empty classroom, the hall miraculously empty. Suddenly a hand shot out, grabbing me. I started to scream, but another hand slapped down on my mouth as I was yanked into the classroom.
I struggled against the person, kicking and thrashing about. All those years of self-defense class were about to come rearing its wonderfully beautiful head.
I snapped my arm back, whacking my abductor right in the temple. They swore, releasing me slightly. I stomped down on their foot, and spun, swiftly kicking them to the ground.
I stopped short, hovering, about to stomp the bastard's face in. I knew that voice, although it's been four years since I heard it last.
"Hey, Liv." He said sheepishly.
"What the hell, Jackson! I would've kicked your ass! What the fuck is wrong in that damn head of yours?!"
I jabbed his tender temple, and he winced. Good. Fucker deserved the pain after scaring the shit out of me.
"There's nothing wrong with my head!"
"Then why are you here? I haven't seen you in four years since you disappeared."
He stood slowly, wincing. I crossed my arms, grounding my heels into the floor a little. I was pissed. Can you blame me? I had enough of a hard time since the incident, and today's been rough.
"I'm here because…" He said, letting out a whoosh of air.
I glared at him, waiting patiently for him to finish his sentence.
"…You didn't kill Mililani that night."