The next time everyone needed to be in pairs for photography class, Eva and Cathy immediately gravitated towards each other. No questions asked and no awkward stumbling. They just both knew that for some reason, they worked well together.
This time they were in search of photos featuring the colour red and Eva was just about done with the entire course altogether.
"Is she trying to go through the whole rainbow?" Eva asked Cathy as they wandered down a completely empty hallway apart from a few students coming and going from classes.
Cathy just shrugged. "I don't really mind. It's better than a really hard assignment...or a hard colour."
Eva laughed. "Yeah, trying to find periwinkle in this school could be a bit of a challenge."
Cathy nodded and messed around with the buttons on the camera for a few moments. Eva stopped reading all the posters on the wall and looked over at her. Cathy wasn't actually doing anything to the camera, she just stood there, sliding the zoom back and forth and running her fingertip over the indents of the buttons.
"Are you okay?" Eva eventually asked.
Cathy looked away from the camera and dropped her arm down.
"I'm fine," Cathy said and gave a little smile.
Eva nodded slowly and they began walking down the hallway again. They snapped a few pictures of red lockers and a pair of red flat shoes that had been left beside someone's bag outside the gym doors. It was only when they went outside of the school and scoured the student parking lot that Cathy spoke again.
"Actually," she began, "there is something. You know about the website, don't you?"
Eva stopped walking and turned towards the other girl who stared back at her apprehensively. The weather had warmed up a little with a post-winter sun shining down with glaring beams. But there Cathy was, bundled up in a large hoodie that went past her waist and a thick scarf around her neck. A girl who probably didn't realize the whole school was laughing at her because of something as simple as the clothes she wore.
"Yes," Eva said. "Yes, I know about it."
Cathy closed her eyes briefly before slowly opening them back up. "A lot of people have seen it, haven't they?"
Eva's chest tightened sharply and she wanted to immediately be rid of the uncomfortable feeling that consumed her.
They've done more than just look at it, Cathy, Eva thought, they've shared it, talked about it, sneered over it, laughed about it and someone out there is posting it.
"Cathy, nearly everyone in the school has seen it by now," Eva said quietly.
Cathy bit her lip. "It updates every day, at nine minutes past ten. I know that because I sit at my desk every night and I watch it until two new posts have shown up. And I read them," Cathy's voice turned quieter. "Like an idiot, I read them."
Cathy looked up and caught Eva's eyes and the latter was shocked into surprise when she saw the tears welling up in Cathy's eyes. None fell. They just stayed there, locked away behind her dark lashes.
Eva let out a shaky breath and took a step forward. "Cathy...if you've seen the site then why haven't you told anyone? Have you at least told your parents?"
Cathy huffed out an amused laugh and with a quick movement, swiped a finger over her cheek. "They won't listen, Eva."
"You can't know that for sure," she said.
YOU ARE READING
The Bystander ✔Teen Fiction
[INCLUDES PAID PROMOTION] Eva Shaw's junior year falls apart when she sees a website dedicated to making fun of Cathy, a reclusive student, and does nothing about it. Eva watches the posts pop up every night and doesn't speak a word. But when she...