The teachers took the opportunity to restrain her, grabbing and holding back her arms. "Come on, Jed, Aaron, we're going to the office." Aaron closed his eyes, turning his face to the sun. This meant a phone call home.
"They started it!" Mandy said angrily. "He hit me!" She said, pointing at Jed. She glared at him. "And he was messing with Aaron."
Inside, her heart was beating hard and fast in her chest, and she was yelling at herself to stop on the inside. What was she doing? She wasn't a trouble maker!
"Doesn't matter who started it. School policy is whoever is fighting gets in trouble. So you're all going whether you want to or not." Aaron had always found the rule stupid, but he didn't feel like this was the time to say so.
Mandy huffed quietly and crossed her arms over her chest. She hugged herself nervously and forced herself to back down.
The teachers left the kids at the office, muttering to themselves as they left. Jed was holding his nose and Aaron just sat with his arms crossed.
Mandy was still hugging herself tightly, protectively. She ran her hands up and down her arms, over the worn material that covered her scars. She glared at Jed for a moment before looking over towards Aaron cautiously.
"What." Aaron said flatly, drumming his hands on his arm.
Mandy ducked her gaze away, suddenly meek and shy. "Um...n-nothing...Sorry..."
'For what? For getting me into trouble because you get into other people's business or sorry for staring? Just want to clarify," He said.
"For...for everything...I guess..." Mandy whispered, flinching under his gaze, his words.
"What has it been Mandy? Three years? Four? Five?' In all those years, I didn't hear anything from you. Sorry isn't going to cut," he growled.
"Seven years. Seven years and five and a half months." Mandy whispered, partially to herself. "B-but I am sorry..." Mandy kept her gaze on the floor. She swung her feet a little, staring at the scuffed toes of her black boots. She hugged herself tightly. "I-I really am. There was nothing I could do."
"Don't lie, Mandy. You had our phone number. All you had to do was pick it up." His drumming got faster and harder.
Mandy pressed her lips together tightly and gripped at her arms.
Arms that once used to be covered in bruises.
No, I couldn't call because if I did, my ex cop of an abusive father would've been able to track us down and kill us...
Mandy swallowed hard and made herself even smaller, drawing her knees up to her chest. She couldn't bring herself to look at him, much less tell him the truth.
"Oh, so you're just going to stop talking now? Good plan." He rolled his eyes, waiting for the principle.
"I'm sorry." Mandy said, softly. She glanced up at him. "You don't have to forgive me. I wouldn't. But...I am sorry."
"Good. Because I'm not going to." He turned away, ignoring the smile that was on Jed's lips.
Mandy went back to staring at the floor. She sniffled the slightest bit, and shivered. She squeezed her hoodie sleeves between her fingers. She glanced up at Jed and glared.
"What are you looking at, ugly?" She asked harshly.
"Oh, did you find a mirror?" Jed said, holding a cloth up to his face. His lip had swollen, and he had an evident lisp.