I made it into the classroom mere seconds before the bell rang, I was out of breath and my legs ached from running to school at last minute. I realised that I needn't of rushed, however, because even when the trill sound of the school bell rang out, our teacher still had not arrived and my classmates were stood together in clumps chatting away.
"Sleep in again, Jack?" Justin asked, a smirk on his face. He was lent casually on one of the tables, surrounded by the rest of my friends; Trevor, Darcy and Armani. The four of them turned to look at me.
"..Something like that, yeah." I said as I walked over to join them. I didn't tell them that the reason I was late was because I had to spend so long convincing my mother to get out of bed and go to work. For the past few months all she has wanted to do was lay in bed for days at a time, but I don't want her to lose her job..
"Did you not have time to comb?"" Darcy teased, running her hand through my hair with a giggle. I batted her hand away and rolled my eyes.
"You know my hair sticks up no matter what." I said with a chuckle. A dark figure caught my eye. I tuned out the other's conversations I looked over to the corner and saw Violet sat on her desk, alone, her eyes staring intently at the book clutched in her hand, her long faded blonde falling into her face. She was the epitome of gloom. I felt a sudden stab of guilt- We were over having fun while she was sat there all alone.
"Hey.. Do you think we should like, re-connect with Violet?" I interjected into whatever conversation the others were having. I kept my voice low so that the girl in question wouldn't hear me talking about her. "I know she's been kind of.. distant.. lately, but I think that she's having a really tough time. She could do with some help."
Silence followed my words. The other four looked at me intently. Trevor and Justin exchanged glances and Darcy frowned, biting her lip before speaking.
"Jack, we tried to be there for her, remember? She was the one who pushed us out." Darcy hissed, her eyes darting between me and the figure of Violet in the background. "I get that her sister her died and it's like, super sad, I'm super sorry for her, but there's only so much we can do for her. We've tried and she doesn't want out help, so we should stop wasting time on her."
Armani nodded in agreement, her blonde curls bouncing as she did so. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes; Of course Armani would agree to whatever Darcy said, She was like her minion- If Darcy didn't want something, it was a lost cause trying to convince Armani. I turned to Trevor and Justin, hoping they would support me.
"It's not like I have a problem with Violet or anything. I want to help her.. But it's been so long it's sort of awkward." Justin said, and Trevor nodded in agreement.
"Maybe she doesn't want any friends, maybe she's happier this way- " Trevor said, but it sounded half-hearted. I frowned, indicating over to her.
"Does she look happy to you?" I asked, indicating over to the gloomy figure in the corner. Trevor and Justin exchanged awkward glances and shrugged. Before the conversation could continue any further our teacher burst in; Mr Trout looked harried as ever, as he struggled to balance his coffee and his laptop, papers spilling out of his hands. His wiry grey hair stuck up in all directions and his tweed suit was covered in chalk. The rest of the pupils and I dispersed back to our seats.
"Ah- Sorry I'm late.. lost track of time." Mr Trout said as busied himself setting up his desk with fumbling fingers. I rolled my eyes; He was always late to class, no point in apologizing for it.
Ten minutes later, Mr Trout had finally found his lesson plan crumpled in the bottom of his bag and with a slightly embarrassed cough he began the lesson, talking about the importance of new technology or something, although to be honest I was hardly listening (Which is actually unusual for me, I'm usually a pretty good student.. today it was just hard to focus).
"So I want you to get into pairs of your choice and do a presentation on emerging technology- " Mr Trout said. My head flicked up that got my attention.. pair work. Before I had even registered what was happening, the rest of the class were shifting together into pairs. I stole a glance back at Violet, still sat in the same place as before like a statue- this could be my chance.
I felt strangely nervous as I walked over to Violet's desk, which was strange considering she used to be the person I was most comfortable with in the world. As I made my way across the classroom I could see Darcy staring at me intently with a leering grin that looked almost overly inviting, I smiled awkwardly back at her, before turning to face Violet.
She looked up at me from her desk, her expression slightly surprised but her blue eyes still bore into me.
"Want to be partners?" I asked, pulling up a chair. It was more of a statement than a question. Violet stared at me wordlessly with a intent expression on her face as if she were working out a puzzle for a few long moments before speaking.
"I think that would piss Darcy off. I have a feeling she wants to be your partner." Violet said after what felt like moments spent analyzing me. I glanced around and sure enough, Darcy was glaring over at us with an almost murderous expression. Yikes. What was her problem? I understood if Darcy didn't want to speak to Violet herself, but why would she be pissed off about me doing it? I offered Darcy an appeasing smile before turning back to Violet.
"If I pair with Darcy then Armani will be by herself. It's better this way." I said, unsure if I was trying to assure myself or Violet, but sure enough when I glanced around Darcy and Armani were sat together.
"You're Mr generous." Violet said, resting her head on her hands and staring at me. "But what if I don't want to pair with you?"
Ouch. It sort of hurt hearing your best friend say that. I sighed unconsciously before speaking.
"Violet, I don't know what's going on with you. I don't know why you suddenly stopped wanting to be friends- " I said, before pausing a smiling a little before adding the next part in a lower more hushed tone. "But if you don't pair with me, the only person left in this class for us two to pair with is either John Stobart or Kaden Abattoir."
Violet's face twisted into an automatic grimace as she glanced around at the two mentioned boys; John Stobart was a grossly obese boy with a sweaty face and greasy fingers, but that wasn't why he was disliked; He never shut up and thought he was an expert in everything. Even the most level-headed person would be annoyed by his arrogance, plus he had a tendency to ask really invasive personal questions.
Kaden on the other hand hardly spoke for the most part, but he was prone to sudden fits of rage and violence, to be honest, it was a miracle he was still in this school.
"Fine. Let's pair up." Violet said finally after careful deliberation. I let out a sigh of relief; If she had chosen Kaden or Stobart over me that really would of been a blow.
"Great!" I smile. Violet glowered at me.
"But if your project-making skills aren't up to scratch I'm going to request we change groups." Violet added and I honestly couldn't tell if she was joking or not. I chuckled regardless.
"I wont let you down."
The rest of class passed by rather pleasantly; talking with Violet was a lot easier when it was about the project, she seemed less guarded, less secretive. But still. There was a carefulness and restraint surrounding Violet that hadn't been there before. The Violet of the past was like an open book, the words flowing straight from her brain to her mouth this Violet paused before she spoke, as if deliberating and processing her every word. Still. I saw glimpses of Violet's sense of humor as we worked, albeit, more sardonic and sarcastic than before. All the while however, I noticed Darcy glaring at us, she was ignoring Armani's attempts at conversation
"I told you that this would piss her off." Violet said, peeking at me from behind a strand of dark hair. I let out a confused sigh.
"I don't get it. You and Darcy used to be best friends." I stated. Violet actually laughed at that, a dark grin on her face.
"I used to have a bad taste in friends." Violet said, her grin faded as quickly as it came and she went back to writing. I studied her, her baggy clothes, her thin frame, her blonde-dyed hair with roots almost passed her chin.
"Does that include me?" I asked, playing it off as a joke but inside a little hurt. Violet looked up from the paper and stared at me intently for a moment before answering.
"No." She said finally. "Your a good person and a good friend."
"Then why did you stop speaking to me?" I asked unable to stop myself. I had promised to avoid the heavy stuff today, to try and keep it light, but the words came spilling out. Violet looked at me, lost. She opened her mouth then closed it.
"I- " She started to say. "It's complicated. I have a lot going on."
That sounded more like an excuse than a explanation, but I decided not to push it giving almost obligatory ('Well if you want to talk about it...') before we went back to working in silence. Once again I found my eyes drawn to Violet. It was strange, because this girl obviously was Violet, but not quite. Those subtle changes did make her seem like a completely different person... Her wrists looked so thin. I frowned when a noticed a raised red-white line peeking out from her sleeve, marring the skin of her wrist.
"Violet, what's that?" I asked before I could stop myself. Violet blinked at me, before she realized what I was referring to. Her expression morphed into one of horror before she snatched her wrist away and held it to her chest.
"That is- This is nothing!" She declared, flustered, her face reddening and eyes wide.
"That reaction doesn't make it seem like 'nothing." I retorted back, once again feeling as if words were flowing out of me. Before Violet had a chance to give more garbled excuses however, the bell rang. Looking relieved she grabbed her books hurriedly and stuffed them into her bag.
"I'll text you about the project she said, before racing out the room. I watched her go, a little astounded. Mr Trout and most of the rest of the class had the same expression; You weren't meant to leave until the teacher dismissed you, but it was a little late for that now.
"Well, uh- class over." Mr Trout said, before turning to pack away his own things.
I was doing the same when I suddenly felt something hit me on the back of the head. I whipped around to see Darcy standing there with her book in her hand and Armani by her side, a pissed off expression on her face.
"Ouch Darcy! That hurt- did you just hit me with your book?" I scowled, touching the back of my head. Okay, so it wasn't exactly going to bruise or anything but it still stung.
"God you are such an idiot, Jack!" Darcy hissed at me, hands on her hips. It felt unfair that she got to be the angry one when I was the one who'd been hit with a book over here! "Can't you see she's just playing you like she always has?"
"Who? What do you even mean?" I asked, raising an eyebrow. I glanced over to see Trevor and Justin stood by the door, clearly not wanting the awkwardness of intruding on this argument. Traitors.
"Violet! Of course I mean Violet!" Darcy said. It looked as if it was taking all her restraint to stop herself from shouting. "She's making you feel bad for her. Your'e falling right into her 'woe is me' pity party. It's so unfair- even when she's being a boring loner she still gets all your attention. Even if she's mean to you or ignores you.. You've always been too lenient on her. Why don't you pay attention to somebody who actually appreciates you for once?"
"Darcy, I don't think Violet's acting sad for attention- " I started to say, but Darcy cut me off.
"Why do I even bother. You always take her side. Always have done, always will do." Darcy growled, before turning on her heel and walking out of the room, head held high, Armani quickly followed. I stared after her a little confused byt he sudden turn of events. Just what was Darcy's problem with Violet?