Chapter Twenty-Nine

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I don't know why Mel doesn't tell her parents but me instead but she only tells them we have to do something for MB as I arrive at her house. I sit down on her desk chair and she sits down on her bed in her room. "Tell me what's wrong" I demand. She takes a deep breath.

"I know it seems like the others are leaving me alone but it's gotten worse than ever. You and MB and everything have taught me that it doesn't matter and that I should rise above it and I have to a certain extent but now I just can't anymore and it's becoming too much." "What happened?" I ask, already starting to feel bad. She presses her lips together and shakes her head. "It's mostly what I'm not supposed to hear but they don't make much of a secret of it when they talk about me." "What are they saying?" "Well, I do get direct messages online about how making that sort of business with you is not going to change anything and that I'll always be a loser, worth nothing, ladida..." "Mel, if you mean that, playing it down like that, then that's cool and we don't need to talk any further. But you know me and that you don't have to be 'cool' around me because I'm not gonna be impressed by you rising above it if you're only pretending that you are. You know me better than that." She sighs. "Yes, I know. Sorry. It does bother me but I've heard it so many times that I don't know what about it really bothers me." She shrugs. "Maybe I thought that MB would be the solution, maybe I thought that I'd be accepted for who I am and not defined by who they think I am."

I smile. "Mel, I'm really proud that you can understand what exactly is bothering you and that you're not giving up or locking yourself away which of course would be fine too, I mean I'd get it but you not doing that is making it a lot easier for me to help and also I worry much less if you share what happens with me. You get that, right?" She nods. "So what are they saying when they think you're not listening? And who is it? Because if it doesn't stop or if it gets out of control, I am going to step in." She shakes her head. "I'll only tell you if you don't step in." I sigh. "Okay, I promise."

I hear a few names added to the list of those I've heard before and realise that it's growing to being the whole class against Melanie which I really don't understand because they all know she's buddies with me, is nobody scared of me getting them in trouble? I start to doubt my own credibility but I know that's not the most important thing right now.

"You shouldn't let them get you down. I know this is the same old story but they'll win and you don't want that. Whatever happens after school, it will have nothing to do with them and until then, you do your own thing. If you really don't want to be a part of MB anymore, that's your decision but it shouldn't be because of the bullies, I mean, that would be so ironic, right?" She looks down and I flick her chin so she glances up and chuckles quietly. I grin. "Come on, Mel. You've grown so strong, they can't get you down. You'll show them. And to put another cliché on top of it, one of them is going to scrub the toilet of your penthouse one day." She laughs. "Thanks. Thanks for coming over and being there, as strange as it is, you're always there for me and I'm really glad you replaced Mr. Tarker." "Why is that so strange?" I grin. "Well, the girls love him." I laugh too.

She leans back onto her hands and looks at me. "Can you distract me? Tell me about something." "Well, you kind of pulled me away from a little date." She gasps. "What? I'm so sorry!" I smirk. "No, it's fine, he got it. It was a good test actually." She raises an eyebrow. "Really? Are you sure?" "Yeah, no need to feel bad." "Is it someone I know? Not your roommate, right?" I laugh. "Daley? Not in a billion years!" "Doesn't he have a girlfriend?" I laugh. "Yeah, I don't know what she's on." Mel laughs too. "So, who is it?" "It's Oli." "The photographer?" I nod and look down, smiling. "Well, well..." "Well, well, you've cheered up pretty fast." "It just always helps to talk to you" she smiles.

I spend another hour there, then I finally return home. Daley's already sleeping so I take some chocolate pudding, change into my pajamas too, grab my phone and retreat to bed as well. Just as I'm about to turn it off, I have an incoming call. "Hello?" I say, lowering my voice as I realise it's loud enough to wake Daley up with that high pitch. "Hey, Bev, hope I didn't wake you. Or aren't you home yet?" Oli babbles. "I'm home, I was about to go to sleep." "Oh, dear, don't let me stop you, I just wanted to check in if everything's okay with Mel and well, with you too." "Yeah, everything's fine, thanks for asking." He chuckles on the other end. "You rushed out of here, you had me worried." "I'm really sorry again for that." "No, it's fine, I get it. And like I said, that's one of the things I like you for. I know that if I had an issue, you'd get out of bed and come over right now so..." "Don't be so sure" I yawn jokingly and turn to get more comfortable. "Aah" he laughs. "But hey, I don't wanna keep you up, you deserve some rest after that crazy evening." I laugh. "Don't flatter yourself." "Goodnight, baby girl, sweet dreams." "Thanks, goodnight."

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