I made my way to my first period without waiting around to find out who had the lockers surrounding mine. I watched my white flip flops flatten on the ground as I made my way down the hallway. I took careful steps, refusing to look up. I heard giggles again, and even though they probably weren't about me, they might as well be. Slut, Whore, Ugly, Fat. The words echoed through my head, Worthless, Stupid, "The Monster", "Ew!"
It didn't matter if other people were calling me names at that exact minute, because at any given moment, it felt like it. In a way, I was bullying myself, because whenever I finally had a silent moment to take a deep breath, the words words would sing through my head like an over-played song blasting through the car speakers. And despite my attempts, I couldn't find the off switch.
"Nikki!" I heard a small voice echo beind me, sounding out of breath, "Wait up!"
I kept my head low, watching the white shoes hit the tiled floor. With every step, the noise hit my ears, Click. Click. Click.
I reconized the voice to be McKenna, the small blond I had been friends with for the past few years.
If there was anything I liked about McKenna the most, it would be her confidence. She didn't care if everyone was staring at her, or laughing. She didn't care if she was the only girl in the class passing, making her a "nerd". She didn't care if she sat alone at lunch, or the fact that her car was bright yellow. There's a long story behind that one, thanks to her older brother Mac.
And more than anything, she didn't care that people laughed at her for being my friend. I owed her my life for countless things. I owed her for staying up with me until four in the morning helping me with homework because I wasn't listening in class due to the girl behind me whispering insults and jabbing me with her pencil. I owed her for walking with me to class so I didn't look as pathetic. I owed her for the hugs she'd give me whenever I needed one the most.
I owed her for the text messages begging me to answer my cell phone because she was scared I'd go through with my suicide threats. I owed her for being my friend. And that was just it, she didn't want to be owed for any of that. "It's what friends do," She'd always tell me, "And you're my friend, Nicole."
I stopped walking, deciding that I could at least give her a minute.
"Nikki!" She ran to catch up to me, throwing her arms around me in the middle of the crowded hallway, not giving it a second thought.
"You'll never believe this," She gasped, about to go on about some lame gosip she had heard in the hallway on the way to her locker. Oh, the things you could learn in the hallways.
"Ken," I cut her off, "it's been a rough morning. I'll see you at lunch."
"Which period?" She asked.
"Damn, I have it sixth." She stomped her foot, which, of course, were covered in her famous black boots.
"Oh." I whispered, my stomach dropping. Another year of sitting alone at lunch.
She smiled, giving me another hug and whispering, "You'll be okay, Nik." in my ear before turning to get to her class. I nodded, watching her practically dance down the hallway. I turned my head for a second, and noticed the eyes. The hundreds of eyes watching me. I lowered my head once more, and made my way towards room 33C.
When fifth period came around, I grabbed my lunch from my locker.
I had yet to run into any of the owners of the lockers around mine, although I was growing more and more curious as each class period passed. Maybe we got a new student, a student that hadn't heard the rumors about me, who wouldn't go along with the constant bullying, even to fit in with what felt like the rest of the school. Maybe, just Maybe, I could meet someone new who could be another friend of mine. Maybe... As I made my way towards the cafeteria, I shoved the thoughts to the back of my mind. I was just getting my hopes up, only to have them crushed when there were either more bullies or students neutral to the bullying situation that I was faced with around me. I tossed my brown paper back onto the table, saving my seat, before taking the five dollars stuffed in my jean pockets to buy a cold bottle of water. I slid the money into the machine, pressing A2, wanting a bottle of water. I watched the metal claw reach for the water bottle. And it froze.