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She walks down the hall, protected by the veil of long, dark hair that shields her face from the onslaught of ridicule and torment that is usually slated to come her way. Fortunately though, today she is able to escape to their stairwell without meeting Amber’s Group. She lets out a quick sigh of relief and sinks down in front of him.
Today he wears a dirty, rumpled white shirt paired with ripped khakis and scuffed sneakers. His old shirt does nothing to hide the angry red welts on his arms, risen up from years of torture that Doug’s Group has inflicted. A new bruise has appeared on his left eye, which is swollen shut and subtly leaking tears. He quickly brushes them away while she pretends not to notice.
“Doug did this to me in History today,” he suddenly bursts out. He swears and thrusts his unwrapped sandwich down the stairs. “He makes me sick,” he snarls.
She says nothing but offers him her icy cold soda. He grabs it and presses it against his bruised eye, calming down the inflammation. She resists the urge to stroke his eye because if there’s one thing that Amber’s Group has taught her, it’s that she is a lesbian.
Years of being called a lesbian and dike has made her really wonder if Amber’s Group is right. Last year, her face had been PhotoShopped onto a picture of a woman kissing another woman, a nasty act that Amber was no doubt behind. The pictures then had been giggled at, made fun of, and mocked by numerous kids as the photos were passed from student to student until she herself began to believe that they really were true. Perhaps the reason that she was being bullied so hard by Amber’s Group was because she’s a lesbian; that would make a lot of sense. She peeks at him and thinks to herself, Maybe Doug’s Group bullies him because he’s gay. For some reason, she finds herself fervently hoping that he isn’t gay. She brushes the thought away and turns her attention back on his swelling eye.
He swears again and states flatly, “Have you seen Amber’s Group today yet?”
The mention of Amber sends her appetite away. She slowly sets her sandwich down and says, “No, but I’ll probably hear from them again tonight.”
It was worse when the group attacked her at home; she was always embarrassed of the fact that her entire family was privy to the rocks thrown at her window, the hate messages screaming LESBIAN left on her father’s car, and the toilet paper strewn all over the tree she had climbed as a kid. Perhaps the worst harassment occurred online though; despite having deleted her social networking, email, and instant messaging accounts, she was still being constantly made fun of online. Amber’s Group had created a website dedicated to posting ridiculous faked pictures of her in compromising situations. Even though the sight of those photos always sent a wave of embarrassment down her and made her sob with the injustice, she never could help but check the website daily.
He catches her hand in his and stares hardly into her eyes. “We’ll get them back for this one day,” he promises. “Don’t give up.”
She squeezes his hand tightly, allowing for one moment of indulgence. She holds on to his warmth and thinks to herself how she no longer lusts for vengeance; she just hopes for everything to end.
Suddenly, the door bursts open and Doug’s and Amber’s Groups pile in.
“It looks like we found your secret little hiding spot!” Doug crows gleefully.
Amber cackles with laughter and shrieks, “What are you holding onto him for, aren’t you a lesbian?!” Amber almost falls over laughing and grabs onto Doug in a clingy way that almost makes everyone cringe. Her low-cut top nearly reveals both of her breasts and her miniskirt unintentionally gives everyone a great view of her lacy black thong. Her color-and-heat-treated hair is fraught with spilt ends, and her heavy layers of makeup have given her forehead a slight rash that is not quite able to be covered up. Amber is a beauty and a wreck all in one.
Amber wobbles precariously towards her in tall stilettos and grabs her head, shoving it against her chest and whispering, “Bet you’re enjoying this, you little dike.”
With her head caught in Amber’s D sized breasts, she is only allowed half her vision to witness Doug roughly grab him by his already wrinkled shirt. With her face this close to Amber, she is able to smell the subtle scents of alcohol masked by an excessive amount of perfume.
Her tears are flowing freely now as she watches Doug pull him to the edge of the stairs. His struggles are futile against Doug’s muscles, crafted by years of weight training, wrestling, and football.
She can only watch helplessly as he is thrown down the flight of stairs, crashing down each step with grunts of pain and tears of humiliation.
She is only dimly aware of the fact that Amber has shoved her to the floor and left, the mean laughter of her and her friends and the loud guffaws of Doug and his group trailing down the hall outside.
The stairwell is silent.