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Pen Your Pride

Really, it was nothing new. I was used to the incessant insults that were thrown at me nearly twenty four-seven. I could even block them out for the most part.

And it was all thanks to my so-called loving sister.

But it didn’t bother me. Honest.

If things were different, I could fool myself into thinking she was jealous. After all, that’s usually the reason in the stories, wasn’t it? But I knew that wasn’t the case between my sister and I. My beautiful, prima ballerina sister had everything she could ever want. Chestnut hair. Chocolate brown eyes. Tall. I’d never lie - she was beautiful. Just because I thought she was a horrible person didn’t mean I’d lie about that.

And then there was me.

Black hair. Eyes that never decided if they wanted to be grey or brown. Short.

It had always been Hannah and Ashley.

Hannah - the pretty one.

And Ashley - the… other one.

The only time I had ever been ranked higher than Hannah was freshman year when all the boys rated us on our chest sizes - the summer after, our mother bought her new ones. That was also a common occurrence. I was the daddy’s girl, and Hannah was mother’s little princess.

So when dad died the winter we turned eleven, all I had was myself. I don’t really know what happened, the year after that. It wasn’t that my mother and I had had a bad relationship - we just weren’t as close as my dad and I were. So when she’d started doing what she did, Hannah naturally followed.

I’d sometimes thought that it was because I looked exactly like him. Same button nose, same pouty lips, same round face. I looked like Daddy - Hannah looked like Mother.

“Uh-oh, looks like Double-Wide is coming through,” a guy said loudly before cupping his hands around his mouth and raising his voice to be heard over the clamor of the crowded hallway. “Make way for the Big One!” I had to suppress a shudder, trying to ignore the laughs of everyone surrounding me. I kept getting bumped into and shoved as my grip on my books began to falter.

The bell rang to signal everyone to head to class, and the hallways quickly started to clear. I sighed heavily, finally safe.

Or not, I thought as I felt two hands on my back, shoving me down roughly. I tried not to cry out at the pain that the hands had caused in my back, and I had done a good job at keeping silent. That is until my head cracked against the floor, of course.

My vision went fuzzy as the hallway was silent, and I focused on evening out my breathing until I heard heavy boots make their way towards me. I flinched, immediately curling in on myself as I imagined how much damage boots as heavy as those could do to someone like me. The steps stopped right next to me, but I felt nothing. Cautiously, I opened my eyes and tilted my head to see the large hand held out to me through my double vision. I reached out, trying to grab on to what I thought was the hand, but I missed completely.

Turning bright red, I stuttered out softly, “I-I think there’s something wrong with my eyes. I c-can’t see clearly.”

Immediately the guy knelt down, holding my face between his hands as he inspected me. I couldn’t tell who it was, but something about the vague hazel I could see that had to be his eyes seemed familiar.

I felt warm liquid trickle down the side of my head and he froze for a second. “You have a concussion,” his words were short and clipped, his voice deep. “Can you get up?”

I struggled, putting my leg under me and began to lift myself up carefully before it gave out and I started to fall to the ground once again. This time, however, I didn’t end up hitting the floor as large hands gripped my arms, catching me. I froze, trying not to sway on my feet as I heard the guy curse under his breath. “Shit, you’re a stick.” I don’t think I was meant to hear that, though.

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