" shocking "

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2 weeks had passed now. The bell signaling lunch had begun sounded off as I kept my books close to my chest ambling through the lunchroom. Several snickers and whispers fell behind me as I moved closer to my usual table in the back corner of the cafeteria. I noticed Zoey's table was where most of the rude comments were coming from. Zoey gave me a look of sympathy before turning his head away. I looked down at the floor and finally made it to my table. I sat my bag and books on the table and sat down, pulling out my lunch which was only a salad. I picked through it with a black plastic fork, not feeling very hungry.

Suddenly, I felt a piece of bread hit the side of my face. I sighed heavily already knowing where the bread had come from. Laughter erupted from Zoey's table, causing me to look up. Everyone was laughing except for him. He was the only one with an irritated look on his face. I couldn't bare to be in the cafeteria any longer. I threw the half-eaten salad away and grabbed my things, heading towards the doors. Before I could reach the doors, Kyla stood in front of me. I could tell from the devious smirk on her face that she was up to no good.

Before I could fully react, she mushed her lunch tray that contained meatloaf into my plain white t-shirt. Some splattered and got onto my face and hair. The lunchroom roared with laughter from everyone who witnessed what she had done. She continued to smirk at me, satisfied with embarrassing me. Out of nowhere, Zoey jumped up and slammed his fist down on the table top, getting everyone's attention.

"Y'all forever picking at her!" He shouted. "Only because all of y'all know she too damn scared to stand up for her damn self! Cut that shit out!"

The lunchroom fell silent and everyone went back to eating. Zoey stormed over to where Kyla and I stood and snatched her arm, slinging her back over to their table. He came back and grabbed my arm, dragging me to the girls bathroom. I was shocked with how defensive he was becoming whenever someone did something to me. I dropped my books and bag and took of my ruined shirt. Zoey stood in the corner with his fist balled up and was breathing hard. I cleaned off my face and hair and started trying to clean the stains off of my shirt.

"I told them to leave you alone." He said lowly. "They don't fucking listen."

"It's okay Zoey." I assured him. "I'm used to it now.."

"That don't make that shit okay Savannah!" He yelled. "You already dealing with shit at home then you gotta come here and deal with they bullshit! It just ain't right.."

"H-How do you know I have problems at home?" I stammered, taken back by his knowledge.

"I saw the way yo dad grabbed you when I dropped you off a couple of weeks ago." He huffed.

"Oh my gosh." I put my head in my hands. "Zoey, you can't tell anyone about that. Please.."

"Savannah why you letting that nigga treat you like that! Shit ain't right! Ain't no man supposed to put they damn hands on no damn woman! Why don't you stand up to him!?" He shouted.

"Because I can't!" I shouted in frustration. "He's bigger than me.. and he's stronger! There is no defending myself!"

"Like hell it ain't!" He moved in closer to me. "You always thinking you weak, and I know you ain't. Somewhere in you, you got the power to stand up to all of these niggas that mess with you.. including yo stepdad."

"I am weak though." I looked down at my shoes. "That's why he treats me the way he does.. because he knows I can't do anything back."

"Stop saying that shit." He lifted my chin up. "You can't give none of these niggas a reason to think you're weak. Hold ya head up when you walk by em, say shit back when they say something to ya, and most of y'all, don't let no bitch like Kyla punk you like that."

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