Chapter Eleven

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"You're really doing this?" Wes asks, taking a sip of his coke. I swirl some pasta around my fork and nod. "Definitely. Don't you think this could be a chance to make a difference?" "What if it doesn't work out though, girl? Won't you give up then? You'll end up bitter like that empty-looking teacher you told me about because you tried and failed?" "That won't happen. I won't be like that." "Everyone thinks that, don't they?" "I'm different!" I insist. Wesley laughs. "Alright, Bev, alright."

"Speaking of different, is Rita?" I ask and start chewing on the pasta. Wes' lips curl into a smile. "She's amazing, Bev, you'd love her." "Would I?" I question doubtfully. "Yeah, you would. Like, she seems stuck up and shallow at first but once you talk to her and she's a bit more open, she's different. She loves old movies and she loves any kind of music, not just some jingle bingle on the guitar. Turns out her ex-boyfriend didn't understand her at all. And she wants a proper job, she wants to work for her money even though her parents have tons. It took me a while to get through to her but now that she doesn't think I only want to get into her pants..." "Don't you?" I interrupt. Wesley scoffs. "Bev, baby, you're impossible." "I'm just realistic. You saw her and immediately just..." "No, I saw her and it was love at first sight." He grins, knowing he's exaggerating. I laugh. "Right."

"I wish I could invest in your thing, Bev, I do. Have you got the concept ready?" "Not entirely but we're working on it. We've been busy. I've been telling Melanie not to let it have an effect on her grades and everything but she's a champ. I swear, I didn't handle it all so well during my time in school. But she's not embarrassed about what's happening anymore and she doesn't care if the others find out. It's amazing. I'm really proud of her." "You should tell her." I nod. "I will, I know. I just hope that it won't be for nothing, that this actually becomes something and we'll achieve something with it."

"Hey, Bev, how about I run the idea by Rita? She's been telling me about her brother and how he wants to invest in some stuff because he's just starting out in the business world. Their old man gave him some start-up money but he wants to see if it's worth it first. This could help him make a good impression. Rita says he's alright but he doesn't tend to show it." I shake my head. "Wes, that's a nice thought but what would they know about bullying? You say Rita's beautiful and if they're rich and her brother only looks half as good, he won't get it and he won't understand the message of what we're trying to get across." "It doesn't matter, you'll do all the work and representation. He just backs you up financially and if you make some money, you'll easily be able to pay him off and get rid of him once you can make it on your own." "It's not supposed to blow up like this, we're starting slow, we're trying to see if people are even interested." "Well, the option is open." I nod. "I'll think about it. Thanks, Wes."

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"So, what's the most important thing we need for starters?" Melanie asks and I can't even begin to believe how enthusiastic she has started to be about the idea. It's not like it's my thing and she's helping out, it's become our thing and she wants to make it work just as much as I do. And the fact that she's doing this even though it may get out to the others in the class and they would just use it to victimize her again made me expect her not wanting to take such a huge part in it but now that she thought of some things and is sure that she can make a difference if we get the chance, there's no stopping her. And that's why I want to rely on her creativity and motivation instead of telling her about the easy option we could have straight away.

"Well" I say, looking down at my list. "I think we need a bit of money for starters, some investment and I think it'd be best to go on a website where you put your concept and then people can judge it and possibly invest if they think it's a good idea. We want people to believe in it and to get it. Maybe small donations will be enough for the beginning but we need to come up with a concept that shows that we're not like every other anti-bullying campaign, we want to become a proper organisation." Melanie sighs. "I wonder how that's ever going to become big with just the two of us." "Hey, where's your spirit gone? Everyone starts out small! At least there's two of us and we are going to be able to reach a completely different set of people each. Our target participants are obviously people your age but I can also try to attract other teachers, parents, just volunteers who want to do some social work to help. There are no limits. And we mostly need the money for a bit of advertising but that doesn't have to be overly expensive, it can easily be done over social media for free as well, for example." Melanie nods. "You're right, you're right. But we're gonna have meetings, right? Go on trips?" "Definitely. But I don't think we're going to get to that in the start. We can make a website and it can be chatting. And we can set up a hotline where people can talk to you, for example because you know what they're going through. And we can tell them about our plans with the project and see what they think." Melanie smiles. "That sounds good." I smile back. "You know that I'm really proud of you about how open you are about this." "There's no gain for anybody if I just sit at home and cry and keep it all to myself." "You're going to inspire people with that attitude, I hope." "I'll try" she smiles.

"It would be weird to do it at mine or your place, it's too personal and people may think it's strange so they wouldn't come. We need something official, rent space as soon as we get money." "So we make the concept now and then we start promoting it on social media, okay?" "And I'll try to get some donations." "Sounds good. And Miss Nicholls, do you know what?" "What?" "If this is what you became a teacher for, to make a difference, you're doing a great job. And even if it fails, which I hope it won't, I hope you don't give up because that's what a lot of teachers do if they think they can't make a change." I smile. "Thank you, Melanie." How can a 15-year-old be so smart?

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