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I looked over at the opposite side of the cafeteria. I was the only one who looked over at the daily commotion now. Everyone else had gotten used to it. I should be used to it too. It had begun happening everyday about five months ago. But I couldn't get over it. I always had to look. To see what was happening. And to who. Today it was the usual. Anderson was the victim. He almost always was. He had been at this school as long as me and many of my friends, but he still wasn't accepted. Everyone made fun of him and talked about him behind his back. They started rumors about his family.
The latest was that his family were decedents of ancient evil sorcerers and would curse you if you went near their house. I had asked how Anderson fit in to that when a girl, Rachel, had told my English class the story. I annoyed her as always by being skeptical and not believing her story one bit. The others at least acted like they did. She was stupid enough to think they really did believe her and some were stupid enough to believe her. I however was not one of those people. She had glared at me and said that Anderson was the odd one out in his family. He was a failure who couldn't use magic and was exiled by his own parents. She went on to say he never talked to them the only thing they did was let him live in their house. He had to feed himself and everything.
I rolled my eyes remembering and continued to watch. The commotion started out as it normally did, three of the guys in my grade took his food. He quietly asked for it back. He always did no matter how many times it ended the same way. After he asked the guys pushed him out of his chair. He asked them to leave him alone like he always did at this point. They wouldn't oblige of course. They never did. Now started the part I hated most of all. The part I always wished I could look away but I couldn't. It was like a car crash. Once you've focused on it you can't look away or concentrate on anything else.
"Hey the conversation is over here." Izzy snapped at me.
I sighed. I hated when she sat with us. She was one of my least favorite people but had some strange idea she was friends with my best friend. They had been friends once before Izzy left her in the dust to pursue a position in the popular possy. Her position hadn't worked out. She had been the verbal punching bag of the group. It took her forever to realize she was there to amuse them and to give them a reason to be jerks instead of because she was their friend. I scoffed at the idea they even knew what friendship was.
"Sarah..." my best friend, Jill, murmured quietly, "You know you hate to see that."
"I can't look away." I said simply turning away to watch Anderson's abuse.
It was Jill's turn to sigh. I thought I usually wasn't a difficult person and Jill agreed. Except when it came to Anderson and his abuse. She couldn't understand why I would not look away from something that upset me so much. I couldn't either honestly but I even if I didn't understand why I was watching, I would anyway. Anderson now had several bruises that had just disappeared back coupled with a bloody nose. I was surprised his nose had never broken with how many times it was hit.
"Honestly Sarah stop ignoring me!" Izzy practically shouted.
Some girls a ways off snickered. They found it amusing to watch me and Izzy. We were their personal show whenever we were together at lunch. But I didn't mind. They sided with me agreeing Izzy was a desperate backstabber who was trying to break through the surface of my hatred but kept getting pulled deeper and deeper into it. I turned slowly to her.
"Stop talking to me. It's obvious I am in no mood to listen. To anyone but especially you." I said sharply.
Usually I never spoke my mind about someone to their face. I had always wanted to shout at the people I hated to stare them down and to let them know how much they annoyed me and how much I hated them. But I always lost my courage. Why could I do it with Izzy? Anger.
When anger welled inside of me the real me could be seen. It was quite a shock to some people who didn't know me well enough to discover how profane and violent I was. Once while on a trip with some girls I had thought were my friends (and Jill), they had pushed me over the edge. We had had several arguments before the one that set me off. It ended with me hitting one of the girls, on the arm with my hairbrush, hard. I hit her very, very hard. It had felt good. I would have continued if it weren't for the fact I wouldn't have been able to make it to a room to lock myself in if I waited any longer to go. It didn't take long for the bruise to form and for her to start complaining about how much it hurt. I really wished sometimes I would have gone farther. That I would have made it known even clearer how much she pissed me off and how much I was beginning to hate her. Izzy, much like that girl who will remain unnamed, was a bit shocked by my reaction. I kept a steady glare at her until she looked away. After a moment she spoke again.
"Why do you always watch him?" she asked gesturing to Anderson, who was now getting kicked in the side while he lay on the floor.
"I don't know." I admitted.
"Do you like him?"
"I told you I don't know."
"So are you."
"You deserve to go down like Anderson."
I snapped. The next thing Izzy knew, or I knew for that matter, she was getting banged in the head with her tray. Everyone's eyes were on us. Even Anderson and his attackers had forgotten their struggle and were staring.
"Stop it!" Izzy screamed jumping up.
I jumped onto the table and tackled her. She screamed as she landed on the hard floor banging her head against it. I managed to knee her in the stomach before I felt arms come under my shoulders and try to pull me off. I growled and flailed my legs out kicking Izzy in the chin. It was supposed to be her nose but she had turned her face up a moment before I made contact. Several more arms joined in and managed to yank me off and pin me onto the table. I then saw that Matt, James, and Melody had been the ones to pull me off. Melody was sitting on my stomach. I could still breath though as she was very light and small. She was a girl who usually went unnoticed. Except by me who tended to notice everything but what I should notice. She was always around Matt and James, two skinny boys with a lot of strength. Strength I thought impossible for them. They both had matching messy auburn hair and soft teal eyes that shone. A lot of people found them attractive. They weren't my kind of guys though. Melody their little companion had short dull black hair with a bright red headband in it. She was about the size of a 4th grader despite being in 8th grade with the rest of us.
"Calm down." she whispered to me, grinning broadly.
I blinked. This was a little odd. She seemed perfectly at peace sitting there on me even though I had been attacking someone a moment ago. James and Matt also seemed unnaturally calm just standing there watching everyone crowd around Izzy. Several people helped her up and began to drag her to the nurse. Several people shot me dirty looks while others gave me two thumbs up.
"Let's go before a teacher shows." Matt piped up.
Melody nodded and slipped off of me to the floor. James helped me off the table. I was a bit dazed especially when I realized they wanted to help me stay out of trouble. I didn't think they liked me at all. Or at least enough to help me with something like this. As they started to lead me off I spotted Anderson trying to crawl away from his distracted attackers.
"Help him too." I commanded Matt.
He looked at me then at Melody and James.
"Why?" he finally asked.
"He's hurt and no one else will help him."
"Why don't you then?"
"I can't take those guys if they notice."
Matt nodded and turned toward Anderson. He walked quietly over and helped him to his feet. Then we all high-tailed it out of there. Just in time I might add as a teacher walked in as the door we left through swung shut. When the thugs turned around they surprised that they didn't find Anderson. They were also a bit angry and swore to beat him up later, then joined the commotion as the teacher tried to figure out what had happened during the chaos I had aroused.
"Thanks." I panted out.
After we had left the cafeteria the twins and Melody had dragged me and Anderson on a mad dash around campus until they finally settled on bringing us to the library. It was vacant as usual during lunch. No one really went in there until after school where you were forced to wait if your parents didn't come at four. The librarian was even absent. She had learned long ago that lunch could be used as an hour long break from organizing books and labels. This was why I usually came here with my guy friends during lunch. We could be loud and rowdy and have fun. I wondered what they thought about my attack at lunch. They were vacant from the table because I ate with my girl friends and hung out with the guys every other moment in school.
"You have quite a temper." James said to me.
"Not really. She just pushed me over the edge." I replied straightening out my clothes so I didn't look like I had just knocked someone to the floor.
"What made you do that?" Melody asked.
I hesitated and glanced at Anderson who was standing there looking uncomfortable no doubt feeling out of place. Would it embarrass him if I admitted why? Melody looked at me expectantly.
"It's complicated. I've had issues with her for a while." I said deciding to spare Anderson more potential discomfort.
Melody nodded in understanding. The twins were staring at me. I stared back until they looked away then grinned triumphantly.
"What are you so happy about?" Matt asked baffled.
"I stared you down." I replied crossing my arms in satisfaction.
He still looked confused but that was normal. I was weird. I accepted it. I liked it that way. I surprised Anderson then.
"Are you okay?" I asked him.
"Eh?" he murmured looking at me.
"You okay?" I repeated.
"You don't look too okay..."
"I'll be fine."
"Want to go to the nurse?"
"But your nose is bleeding."
He reached out for the tissue box on the librarian's desk and stuck a tissue up his nose.
"Problem solved." he said.
I stared at him for a moment then laughed. He looked at me like I had gone insane. He probably thought I had lost it when I jumped on Izzy.
"You look funny." I giggled out.
"Oh..." Anderson muttered but he left the tissue in.
I smiled at him. Maybe he and I could be friends. I didn't see anything wrong with him, other than the bleeding nose. Anderson smiled back tentatively.