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“Avoid the chicken-fried steak at all costs,” Mariam warned as her and Sade followed the crowd into the din of the lunchroom. “The pizza’s fine, the chilli’s okay and actually the pasta ain’t bad. Do you like meat loaf?”
“I’ve never heard of it,” replied Sade. She was glancing around the tables, looking for two people in particular. Marcia and Donna. She’d just feel more at ease if she knew where they were so she could go about having her lunch pretending that she didn’t see either of them. But so far, no sightings…
“Never heard of it, huh?” Mariam pursed her lips. “Well don’t worry because they serve it every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. You’ll be sick of it after a month. Trust me.” Mariam stated, whilst she dragged Sade toward the lunch line.
“Great.” replied Sade lacking enthusiasm. She was still nervous as she couldn’t see the terrible duo anywhere. As Sade went to grab a knife and fork from the counter she spotted them. They were looking at her from across the other side of the room. Sade let out a long exhale. There they were. When Marcia caught her eye, she waggled her eyebrows and smirked in a way that Sade couldn’t make sense of but that still creeped her out a little.
Sade turned back to Mariam. “Why are Marcia and Donna so horrible to Africans?
“If only I knew. But if you think they’re mean, then you should watch out for Marcia’s older sister, Molly. She’s awful. Promise me you’ll stay clear from her?” Mariam demanded. Sade nodded her head.
“Good. Anyway I’m now going to move on to explaining the fine art of selecting a lunch seat. You see, you never want to sit anywhere near the- Sade, look out!”
All Sade did was take one step backward, but as soon as she did, she felt the rough shove of two hands on her shoulders. Immediately, she knew she was going down. She reached out in front of her for support, but all her hands found were someone else’s full lunch tray. The whole thing tumbled down right along with her. She landed with a thud on the lunchroom floor, a full cup of borscht in her face.
When she’d wiped the mushy beets out of her eyes to see, Sade looked up. The angriest pixie she’d ever seen was standing over her. The girl had spiky bleached hair, at least ten piercings on her face, and a death glare. She bared her teeth at Sade and hissed, “If the sight of you hadn’t just ruined my appetite, I’d make you buy me another lunch.”
Sade stammered an apology. She tried to get up, but the girl clamped the heel of her black stiletto boot down on Sade’s foot. Pain shot up her leg, and she had to bite her lip so she wouldn’t cry out.
“Why don’t I just take a rain check,” the girl said.
“That’s enough Molly,” Mariam said coolly. She reached down to help Sade to her feet. Sade winced. The stiletto was definitely going to leave a bruise.
Molly squared her hips to face Mariam, and Sade got the feeling that this was not the first time they’d locked horns.
“All right, break it up. Break it up,” a husky voice boomed behind them.
Mr Morris stood in the doorway, red faced and breathing hard. Thank goodness, Sade thought, but then Molly was lurching toward them, her stiletto heels clicking on the linoleum. This girl was shameless. Was she really going to do anything to them with Mr Morris standing right there?
Luckily, Mr Morris’ burly arms closed around her fist. Molly tried to kick her way out and started screaming.
“Somebody better start talking,” Mr Morris barked, squeezing Molly until she went limp. “On second thought Molly, report to detention tomorrow morning. My room. First break! And Mariam come with me, your mother is waiting outside to take you to the dentist.” With that he released Molly and walked back out of the lunchroom, Mariam looked at Sade apologetically and then followed Mr Morris to the doorway. There he turned back to repeat his orders for Molly’s detention.
“Looking forward to it,” Molly replied sweetly, reaching down to pick up the plate of meat loaf that had slipped from her tray.
She dangled it over Sade’s head head for a second, then turned it upside down and mashed the food into her hair. Sade could hear the squish of her own mortification as all of Avon School got its first viewing of the meat-loaf-coated new girl.
“Priceless,” Molly said, pulling out the tiniest silver camera from the back pocket of her black school trousers. “Say… meat loaf,” she sang, snapping a few close-up shots. “These will be great on my blog.”
"Nice hat,” someone jeered from the other side of the lunchroom. Then, with trepidation, Sade turned her eyes to Donna and Marcia, praying that somehow they had missed this whole scene. But no. They were shaking with laughter, grins plastered on their faces.
Until that moment, Sade had thought she had a chance at standing up and just shaking off the incident- literally. But seeing Donna and Marcia’s reaction- well, it finally made her crack.
She would not cry in front of any of these horrible people. She swallowed hard, got to her feet, and took off. She rushed toward the nearest door, eager to feel some cold air on her face and to leave possibly the most humiliating scene of her life.