her

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        They told him she was a troubled girl, with a past no child should encounter. They told him it was so bad, she has permanent reminders covering her body.

        They told him everyone ignored her, and she ignored everyone. An unspoken agreement. She sat alone. Ate alone.

        They told him not to look her in the eye, or at her disgusting face. They joked you would be scarred at the sight. He didn't laugh.

        They told him she was ugly. Pale skin. Stringy red hair. A cut down her cheek and across her lip.

        They told him she never laughed. Never grinned. Never giggled or snorted or burped or farted or sneezed. She never showed any emotion at all, really.

        They told him there was an accident. She had gotten out. But she was the only one.

        They told him it was her fault. Somehow, she started the fire, ending in her parents and brother's deaths.

        They told him she would be fine, and wouldn't be degraded in social status if he never talked or helped her. They told him she didn't deserve friends. She didn't deserve love.

        He told them to shut the fuck up.

        He sat beside her. And she smiled.

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