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From bullied to bully back to bullied again. Such a life.

Navigating those bullies was difficult to say the least. I wanted to be angry with Mr. Beautiful. I wanted to be angry with Big Oaf but I knew that I was really angry with myself. How many times had I taught myself to avoid these situations? How many times did I have to go through the same torment before I learned? Wasn't it enough that I was bullied at home? Couldn't I be strong here at least? My thoughts betrayed me. Weak.

I'm brought deep into my memories. This situation reminded of the time that my brother and I started arguing about who was going to clean up our room. My mother had been very clear with her instructions

"You rotten kids better clean this room before your father gets home or so help me God there will be consequences." Her small frame towered over us, her eyes pierced into our very souls "I can't be expected to pick up after you lazy kids. You ruin my life and expect me to wait on you hand and foot. Get it clean!" she turned away from us as we stood there in silent awe.

It wasn't the first time she said something like that so it didn't sting too much. She was right. We had ruined her life. 

"You get up the clothes" I commanded to my younger brother.

He just stood there staring at me as though I had lost my mind.

"You get up the clothes!" he challenged.

I admired him, honestly, the boy was so brave. The things he had endured under my father's wrath would leave me filled with restless nights. Always afraid for him, never able to find the words to comfort him. I wanted to wrap my arms around him and tell him we would be alright but I couldn't. I wasn't strong enough. So. We fought.

The sounds of our screams must have reached her room. She came back into the room with a fury that left no confusion about her emotions. She was pissed.

"Why are you screaming and nothing has been done!? I am so tired of you both. You will strip and wait for your father in the tub." She paused for a moment. I wondered if she was contemplating her next words or if this was done by design. Did she enjoy seeing our faces overcome with sorrow?

"I don't want to see your faces until he gets here. Do.You.Understand?" the fire in her eyes blazed deep into every fiber of my being. Maybe she did enjoy our suffering. It was possible that our weakness was her strength. One day, my weakness will be gone but not today. Definitely not today. 

"Yes," we replied in unison, our voices sounded like a choir. Our simple word resounded deep into the very essence of our beings. We would willingly submit to her and face a punishment neither of us felt we deserved.

We both understood. There was no stopping this. She would have her pound of flesh. Naked, in the tub, we sat and waited. The anticipation eating at our resolve. We sat in silence, both distinctly aware of what was to come but neither of us prepared to admit it to ourselves. At least this time...we would go through this together.

I'm brought back from my thoughts and my resolve is renewed. I would go to Michelle for guidance. It was a humbling declaration and in order to redeem myself I was going to need to get my hands even more dirty than I had before. I was going to have to become a true monster. She would help me though. She was always there. 

Her mediation led to an agreement. I would fight five girls who had been itching to take me down. In turn, they would leave me alone and allow me to pursue other interests. I could have my own crew support this effort but I would need to win against them all. If anyone of those girls won, the cousins would continue to pursue me.

It was agreed. I didn't know when it would happen. That was the thing. The anticipation. 

The anticipation of what was to come brought my thoughts back to that day in the tub. Naked, with my younger brother, he never showed fear on his face. I often wonder if my own fear had betrayed me. Could he see the terror in my eyes? Is that why he always seemed so strong? I wanted to be like him, brave and kind but I couldn't. I was afraid. I was always afraid.

Fear and anticipation are a cruel mistress. In this moment, aware of my fate, I return from my thoughts. There was an uncertainty of the expectation. Yet, the thing that pained me the most was not the anticipation of this event with those guys but rather the sting in my belly each time I saw Mr. Beautiful with Amanda. 

I couldn't place it at the time, I suppose looking back it was jealousy. He was mine. He was mine from the moment I first laid eyes on him. He should have been with me. Not her. I couldn't be angry with her, I told her it was OK. 

She was loyal, and loyalty should be rewarded. Yet, the pang in my chest when she intertwined her arm in his left me bitter and cold. The urge to rip her face off and wear it as my prize was strong. The desire to rage against the night etched at my soul. 

The yearning to take what was mine and leave no witnesses...that pull felt so strong. Yet, when I looked into her eyes I saw love there. She loved me and if she had known what I felt for him she would never have taken him from me.  If I had been a stronger person I might not have allowed my envy to tug at our friendship. 

I see now that those emotions are what led to an event later that changed our fates. She was loyal and loyalty should be rewarded but should her loyalty waiver...the gloves would come off.

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Author's Note: Thank you for reading. If you liked this part please mark it. What do you think about Amanda? Was I too harsh? Send me your comments.

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