05 | quinque

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When I'm finally allowed back into the school after enduring a hard week at home with Penny, whose only job is driving Pheobe to school and attempting to cook meals, I am greeted with the cold stares of every single staff member in the school. They must really believe Isla's accusation of me being a vandal.

Angie runs up behind me and tackles me. "Wave, why haven't you been answering my texts?" 

"Penny confiscated my phone," I reply. I take a sip of my pumpkin spice latte, which I got just to spite Angie, who's anything but basic.

"Hmm," Angie says, narrowing her eyes at me. To my relief, she doesn't question any further.

"Don't tell me, Isla told everyone about the awful dinner party," I groan, not meeting her eyes.

"Of course, she did," Angie tells me, smiling as if this is unimportant. Nothing is really important to her since she can always make things seem so happy and nice. "Lovely things. It's probably best that you weren't at school."

I pinch the bridge of my nose so hard it hurts. I wish that I could pinch hard enough to erase the past, present and future.

Angie rests her hand on my shoulder. "It wasn't as bad as you think, Wave. She mostly talked about..."

"Talked about the embarrassing stories my dad told them about when I was little," I say, interrupting her. She cringes at the sharp tone of my voice, but I continue. "Like how I used to refuse to wear clothes and I would run around the house naked, screaming at the top of my lungs? I bet Isla relished retelling that one."

Angie bites her lip, suddenly becoming very interested in a nearby water fountain, though she's vowed never to drink from one ever again. She's an extremely intense germaphobe, so devoted that she wears disposable gloves in the lunchroom every day.

"Angie, you don't have to act like that. You can be honest with me." I shouldn't have exploded like that. She looks as though someone took a plate full of guilt and rubbed it all over her face.

Finally, she looks back up at me. "You can't let her get to you like this, Wave. It's exactly what she wants."

"Then what should I do? It's a little hard to brush off every single insult and tease she throws my way." I've been living under Isla's shadow for almost three years now. And it all began with one simple mistake. 

"Well, the other day," Angie starts. "Shiloh had this idea..."

"Really? That's a first," I retort, rolling my eyes. Shiloh's been coming up with plans to get back at Isla since the bullying started. They haven't exactly worked out so well. Most didn't even get a chance to see the light of day.

Ignoring my sour reply, Angie says, "He suggested that we plant some spray paint in Isla's locker, and then arrange for the principal to walk by as she opens it." The hopeful look on her face is almost endearing.

"Well, he must have just been concealing his genius all this time," I reply sarcastically. "That is a fantastically, insanely, horrifically stupid idea. No." I feel bad for hurting Angie's feelings again, but the fact that she actually supports Shiloh's shitty-ass ideas gets on my nerves. This isn't the first time she's proposed one to me.

She sticks out her bottom lip in a look of false sadness, looking up at me with big eyes. "I don't think it's that bad..." she whines.

"Believe me, it is," I reply, my voice holding little emotion. My patience has run dry.

Her face takes on the rare expression of disappointment, and I feel a bit guilty. "Angie, I'm sorry..."

"No, I understand. You're depressed about Isla harassing you so you've decided it would be best to take it out on your friends," she replies sharply, then immediately brings her hand up to cover her mouth as if she could erase what she just said. It's quite unusual for something so harsh to pass her lips. "Oh, shit, Waverly, I'm - I'm so sorry. I didn't mean - "

"No, I deserve that," I say, looking at the ground. I kick a pebble around with my toes until it gets too far away for my foot to reach. Our school is filthy, of which Angie greatly disapproves, but I don't really mind. The PTA has petitioned to clean up the halls and classrooms countless times, but nothing ever really got done, since everyone is either too busy or too lazy to take the time to clean up. The janitors don't try very hard either since they get such lousy pay.

Someone bumps into me and I realize that school is about to start. Angie and I have been standing in the middle of the hallway for almost five minutes. "We better get going," I say. "Come on."

As we begin to make our way to science class, I hear Isla's loud voice from the other end of the hall. "Oh, look. There's a piece of shit on the hallway floor."

A few people snicker, some shoot me worried glances, and some just ignore her completely. Grabbing Angie's hand, I duck my head and scurry quickly down the hallway, eager to escape any more of Isla's taunts that come my way.

I slide into my seat a few seconds before the bell rings, continuing my streak of barely making it to class on time. Shiloh turns around to smirk at me, but whatever remark he has is cut off by our teacher beginning class.

"Today, we're going to pair up for a lab," Mr. Rouce, our science teacher, begins. "But before you go high-five your friends, I will tell you that I will be making the pairs this time."

The class groans collectively but he ignores them. "Now, I will be reading the partnerships aloud..." He proceeds to list off names of people in the class. Some of the pairs get a disappointed response, while some get shrieks of joy. People get too worked up about simple things. I'll probably get paired with someone I barely know and I honestly won't give a shit.

"Shiloh, you'll be working with Waverly," he announces.

I'm actually quite surprised. It has always seemed to me that all teachers hate me, especially after the vandalism incident, so why would he choose to pair me with Shiloh? Maybe he doesn't believe Isla. There might be hope yet in gaining the support of at least a small part of the school.

"And Angeline, you are paired with Isla."

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