Chapter 19 - Violence Is Violence

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An onset of collective gasps sounded from around me. Shock filled every inch of their expressions at how the quiet, new girl at the back of class landed a slap on the school bully. I did feel a hint of remorse for that girl Beth, who was about to pass out from sheer fear and when her wide, terrified green eyes met mine, she instantly darted her shocked stare away as if I was Medusa ready to turn her to stone. I flickered my gaze to my two friends. Jess's eyes were wide beside me in disbelief whereas Toby's, similarly shocked, had a glimmer of almost unnoticeable pride in them.

Another gasp came from my own mouth. Not from slapping Ollie, of course; he had that coming from the start. No, I gasped when I saw two familiar figures standing in the class doorway. What the hell were Blake and Harley doing here?

A final gasp came from the old bat at the front of class who shot up from her seat like a rocket, "Miss Costello!" Her wrinkly, tired face had paled and her mouth was agape in astonishment. "Principal's office, now!" She shouted, oblivious to the two feared Costello's standing in the doorway.

The 'victim' in question turned in his seat with the scariest expression he could muster but honestly, I could hardly take him seriously with a growing red handprint plastered on the side of his face. It seemed fitting, considering it reflected the growing red hot rage bubbling in my stomach.

"That won't be necessary," Blake voice boomed, commanding the attention of all in the room. Even I found myself fixated on his confidence. His clenched jaw was enough to send the pretentious pre-teens crying home to mummy with nightmares into next week. But my attention was drawn to the dangerous glint in his eyes, narrowed into an unblinking stare; right at Ollie.

I wasn't quite sure what I was more frightened of; the unbroken, murderous glare that the red-faced, trembling bully in front of me was receiving, or the promise of consequences to come for two of my brothers witnessing my violent rage.

"Madison will be coming home with us," Harley said, finishing off for Blake whose appearance right now would make a grown man cower at his feet.

Not that Harley was faring much better. Gone was the teddy bear and pacifying peacekeeper who set up a movie night earlier in the week just for me, replaced by an unrecognisable beast of a man whose white-knuckled fists looked like they were quite ready to pound the living daylights out of the thirteen-year-old in front of me. 

A bead of sweat formed on Ollie's brow as his eyes darted everywhere but the doorway. He shrunk away in his seat, searching for it to swallow him whole. That's right, I couldn't help but smirk internally, you thought I was scary.

Another figure made his way past my two brothers and over to the teacher's desk. A huge exhalation of pent-up breath passed my lips at the sight of Luke. Oh, my saviour, Luke. Now that Harley had betrayed his morality, at least one of us here was ready to rationally step in if things got out of hand and I couldn't exactly trust myself not to give Ollie a matching memento on his other cheek. I watched with anxious eyes as he spoke in a hushed whisper to deaf ears at the front, occasionally glancing back at me with an unreadable expression.

I was still paralysed in my seat as Harley caught my eye, no tentative smile reassured me all was going to be okay, only lips set into a thin and furious line. I found myself struggling to gulp down a few shallow, rapid breaths as he walked towards me and my whole body clenched at the thought of him being angry with me. A deathly silence rang in the class as he threw the books from my desk into my rucksack without a word.

"Come on," he said, my blue tropical rucksack flung over his shoulder. In any other situation, I might have giggled in amusement or teased him for being so childish, but all I could do was gape in delayed shock. Did I really just slap somebody? "Maddie, now," he ordered, sternly, bringing me out of the momentary shock I was in.

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