Chapter 1: Thursday – part one
"Guys, can we go now? I think that was the lunch bell." Richie looked at me directly.
"Don't be a bummer, Rich." Chris laughed.
"I could eat." Mason offered.
"Oh, alright fine!" I groaned and shorted my cigarette on the sole of my chucks before sticking it behind my ear. We skipped gym to smoke a blunt in the locker room bathroom. We all shared the class before lunch so it was a natural thing to do for us.
Richie smiled his usual dorky grin and I rolled my eyes, then peeked around the corner into the locker room. We didn't see anyone yet, but I could hear the footsteps of everyone coming back from the gym.
"Come on guys, we gotta dip!" I yelled, pushed Richie back into the bathroom, and bolted for the double doors opposite the entrance from the gym.
"Hey! Come on, wait up!" Richie croaked and ran after us. He was always the dork of the group, so we kind of picked on him, but he was a brother to me just like the others.
We made it out just in time to blend seamlessly into the crowd of kids heading to lunch.
"Bro, I think it's pizza day." Chris said, matching stride next to me. Chris was my best friend since childhood, all these guys were, but me and Chris were like real brothers. He even lived with me after he ran away from his shitty house.
"Fuck yeah, I live for pizza day." Richie squeezed in between us.
Mason tagged along behind us, quiet as usual just looming over us.
When we made it to the cafeteria and up to the line, it was definitely pizza day. After we made it through, we took over our usual table off in a corner of the cafeteria-next to a window facing the student parking lot. There was a service door right next to our table that led outside, and we often skipped out after lunch through that door.
It was just a normal lunch day, we were all yelling and arguing and making fun of each other and all the other prissy shit-heads we shared this school with. It was cool because everyone was just kind of in their own conversations about whatever and it all just blended into this loud hum in the background.
"Hey guys, if you like, stick your fingers in and out of your ears really fast, all the noise sounds like a chicken! Bro you gotta try it." Chris was sitting doing something stupid, and I was about to try it out myself when I was distracted by what sounded like a girl scream.
We all looked down to the other side of the cafeteria. We couldn't see a lot from all the people, but it looked like these 3 douchebag meatheads tripped a little nerdy girl and were yelling stuff at her. She looked like she was about to cry.
"Woah that's fucked up, why are they messing with her?" Richie said.
"I know what you're thinking, Levi." Chris said cautiously, eyeing the vein I knew was bulging out of my forehead.
If there was anything my uncle taught me, it was to respect women. Nothing pissed me off more than seeing some prick mess with a little girl like a pussy. Before I knew what I was doing, I just lost it. I saw red and fucking booked it across the cafeteria. I heard the guys yell something, but I couldn't really hear words. I knew people were staring at me, but I didn't care about that either—they can watch me floor these pieces of shit.
"What the fuck do you dicks think you're doing?" I called to them when I got close. They directed their attention to me instead of the girl crying on the floor.
"What'd you say, bitch? Go smoke yourself into a coma and mind your own shit you fucking faggot!" One of them laughed at me. I only smiled a crooked little grin in response. I loved when they challenged me.
I moved all at once, grabbing the closest goon by the neck of his shirt and landing a sharp right hook strait to his temple. I felt my knuckle connect, and he was out like a light. I got a rise out of the cafeteria for that one, and a crowd had formed around us. The other two looked at each other and then at me, but I didn't wait for them to react. I headbutted the second one right between the eyes, and he went down for a nap too. The third one looked really pissed off.
"Sucker punching pussy! Fight me like a man!" He yelled, I was happy to oblige of course. I opened my arms to signal him to, as they say, bring it on.
He jumped at me clumsily, fist first. I dodged him easily, toppling him so he fell on his back. I took the opportunity to jump him, pinning his arms down with my knees and pounding my fist into his face again and again until I saw blood. My anger was burning through me like fire, I could feel myself losing control very quickly.
"BRO THAT'S ENOUGH!" I heard Chris yell in my ear, he pulled me off the football player who was passed out in a pool of his own blood. "We need to get the FUCK out of here bro, security is coming right now!"
"Oh shit!" I yelled and jumped to my feet. For a split-second I glanced behind me to the girl I had just destroyed these guys for. I intended to be smooth as hell and just wink at her, but I think I must've just stared like an idiot for that second.
We locked eyes, hers were red and brimmed with tears. They were opened wide, as big as planets and just the same greenish-blue color too. She had fear in her eyes and something else I couldn't read that quickly. She was insanely pretty too, despite being really frumpy and nerdy. She had this look of innocence, like an angel. I was kind of spellbound for a second before I snapped out of it and booked it the fuck out of there.
We didn't stop running until we made it to the park down the street. There was a clubhouse for kids there that we would bake sometimes, or hide from cops. This time it was both.
"It's just lunch Louise, you do this every day. Just get your lunch fast and just go sit in the girl's locker room. There's not going to be anyone in there right now, and you can just eat and then go to class. Easy-peasy." I gave myself a little pep talk before I attempted to march past all the tables of students waiting to make fun of me or snicker as I walked by. As usual, I kept my head low and just put one foot in front of the other. It was working out quite well until I found the floor very quickly approaching my face.
I hit the linoleum hard. I couldn't help the high-pitched squeal that came out of me on impact. There was an intense pain in my head, and ringing in my ears. I saw my lunch splattered across the floor, and a hundred and something faces pointed right at me. The pain in my head and the mortifying embarrassment got the better of my hard emotionless exterior, and I could feel tears start to well up in my eyes. My vision was blurred but I could hear the large football player boys who tripped me yelling crude things at me.
"Wow honey that's a nice ass you've got. You look pretty good face down." One joked and laughed barbarically. Their tone of voice terrified me, and I lost control of my tears. I cried silently, and closed my eyes. I tried to leave my body and travel up and out of the ceiling, into the sky and away from everything.
"What the fuck do you dicks think you're doing?" I heard a boy's voice I recognized. I was yanked back to reality and forced to turn my head quickly to see if it was who I hoped.
It was Levi Clemmins. Most everyone in school hated him and his friends, they all said they did drugs and did bad things. I, however, had had the biggest crush on him since the third grade.
When we were little, I saw him for the first time at lunch. He was a 5th grader. A rowdy, loud kid that got into trouble a lot. I was still quiet and nerdy back then, so he didn't know I existed of course. To me, he was the cutest boy in the whole school, with short spikey black hair and pretty brown eyes. I always wanted to talk to him, but I never got the guts to. He was the cool kid and I was just a scrawny nerd girl.
He remained the cutest boy to me even in high school. He had turned into a rebellious stoner type boy with tons of colorful tattoos and cool piercings. I always stole glances at him if I saw him around the school. He still never knew I existed, and I never got the nerve to talk to him. Though to be fair, I never talked to anyone. Yet, as improbable as the situation was, there he stood. My hero, here to save me from these big scary guys.
I wasn't sure if it was me or them that were more surprised when Levi knocked out the first guy with one punch. It was amazing! Just one swing and this huge guy twice his size just fell over knocked out. I held my breath watching him, both frozen with fear and unhindered amazement. My cheeks were burning from tears, and the blood rushing to it.
All I could do was stare as he literally headbutted the other giant guy and knocked him out. The last meathead looked really, really mad, and I was afraid that this wouldn't end well for Levi.
"Sucker punching pussy! Fight me like a man!" The guy growled at him. Levi didn't say anything, but he opened his arms to him like a badass, challenging him to take him on.
The big guy was too slow though, and Levi ducked around him. The guy teetered off balance, and I inhaled sharply as the bigger boy fell onto his back. I watched in awe as Levi pounced on this guy like a maniac and wailed on him, punching him really hard right in the face. He was already knocked out, but Levi didn't stop. The guy was bleeding from his nose and mouth profusely, and I had to close my eyes from the sight of it.
"BRO THAT'S ENOUGH!" I heard someone yell. I opened my eyes and saw his three friends standing around him, pulling him off the bloody jock. My mind was in shock, a jumbled mess of fear, disgust, amazement, excitement, and something I didn't even know how to name. Just when I thought it was over, and they were going to try and make a run for it, Levi turned to look at me. I would've liked to have had the confidence to thank him for saving me, but instead all I could do was stare in awe into his deep, warm, and unreadable brown eyes. They bore into me like lasers and I couldn't look away. I felt my heart swell with pain when he quickly turned and bolted for the service door with his friends.
"Miss Fredrick! What happened! Are you alright?" Miss Aldrich, the principal, marched up to me flanked by three security guards. She looked around in search of an explanation for the 2 incapacitated boys, and the 1 bloody one who was kind of whimpering on the floor. Luckily, she did not notice the boys slip out the door on the other side of the cafeteria.
"Come on, honey." One of the security guard steadied me and helped me to my feet.
"Miss Fredrick, tell me who did this." She was frustrated, and her fiery green eyes searched my expression hungrily. I did my best to appear terrified and helpless.
"I-I don't know! I'm sorry Miss Aldrich, those guys on the floor tripped me and I hit my head really hard. I couldn't see who it was that protected me." I was careful to word it in such a way that even if she did find out it was him, maybe he wouldn't be in so much trouble.
"Didn't ANY of you students see who beat up these boys?" She didn't seem to catch the message I had tried to send her. Luckily, nobody spoke up. They were probably afraid of getting what those 3 just got. Our school was too small and low-budgeted to afford security cameras, so he'd probably get away with it completely as long as no one tells on him.
The lunchroom was closed out early after that, so the paramedics could come get the three stooges. We were all sent to our homerooms, which meant I was finally left to the solitude of my own thoughts so I could replay the scene of Levi pummeling those jerks in my head over and over again.