"Yo, Alice!" Called Lea when she saw me come in the room for our first-class. Lea is one of my friends and I'm glad she's here with me because I just spotted the major drama queen of the year called Cassie.
I sit on an empty chair beside her and while the time away chatting. We talk about summer and what she did in London with her family (Lea's family happens to be rich) and gossip about everyone we know. We were laughing softly about something that happened to her younger brother in London when we heard the crying voice of Cassie.
"Oh my God, you big, clumsy hippo! You stepped on my shoe!" She shrieks at Jill. "You do NOT want to ruin my shoe, do you hear me? This shoe costs more than your life!" Cassie stands up and looks at Jill squarely in the eye - at least that's what she wants to do... Jill is looking down at her own shoes.
"Sorry," Jill mumbles softly. So soft, you almost can't hear her say it.
"That's not right. Jill didn't really step on Cassie's shoes. Cassie put it out on purpose to trip her. How mean!" Lea mutters under her breath, so only I can hear her.
"What was that, hippo?" Lea asks again, looking at everyone of us in that annoying stuck-up way she always does.
"Sorry," Jill says again, louder this time.
"Well, sorry isn't enough. Since you CLEARLY can't pay for the cleaning of my shoes, I'll just settle for your service," she looks at Jill, seemingly lost in thought, but I know better. She knows what she wants, even before she tripped Jill. "I heard you went to a Math camp this summer. We all know you're good in Math, so let's see you do my Calculus all of homework this year."
At this, Jill looks up at Cassie with incredulity. We look at Cassie, too. Surely she's joking! That's like bullying someone into being your slave, middle-school style!
"You heard me, hippo. It's that or pay for my shoes."
Jill stands rooted to her spot. Nobody speaks, the tension very evident in the air.
I also sit there debating with myself whether or not to help Jill. After all, she did nothing wrong: Cassie just really want her dead and dead in her glossy hundred-dollar manicured hands. Also what Cassie said was true: Jill really IS good in Math. She's actually a member of the Math Club and she's been participating in few Math Quiz Bees. She's also really nice when you get to know her (which I did, when she got to be my partner for our Biology class two years ago).
On the other hand, though, going against Cassie isn't something you'd normally do. True, she's annoying as hell, is a certified A-list bully, and just like any other bully, she's also dumb. And I mean really dumb. She just gets through with her subjects because she bullies the smart ones into making her assignments for her and other projects. At least she's beautiful. Everybody knows it, and she knows it most of all. I mean, ask the football team how "beautiful" she is. If you know what I mean. Oh, she's also rich. A bully who is dumb, beautiful, and rich is not someone you'd want to pick a fight with. With all her connections, she can make your life a living hell even outside the school. Trust me, she just can.
"Hold on, you can't do that to her! She did nothing wrong!" Lea suddenly steps up to Cassie.
"Oh, lookie. It's the saint-Lea, everybody's savior!" Cassie mocks. It's true, though. Lea is so nice, she'll stand up for anybody. She hates bullies and she hates Cassie even if she's not a bully, so I guess, I should say she double hates Cassie.
"It's true. I saw you put out your foot when you knew she was going to pass by you. And you just can't go on bullying people!" Lea exclaims. She's a few inches taller than Cassie, so she's kinda looking down on Cassie and Cassie is looking up at her. It's actually really nice to see. Cassie looking up at someone.
"Well, even if that's true, my shoe is still dirty," Cassie snarls at Lea.
"I'll pay for it," Lea says readily.
An audible oooooooooooooooh ripples through the whole room.
Cassie looks at Lea with narrowed eyes. She hates being overshadowed, and Lea is overshadowing her. It's clear, we're all siding with Lea and since Lea is also rich and pretty, her bullying prowess doesn't really affect her. She just has no power over Lea. Never has and I think she never will.
Just then, Mrs. Polanski, our first teacher for the day came in, at the same time the bell rang.
"Settle down everyone, summer is over. Let's get our heads out of the class for now," she says, looking at Lea, Jill and Cassie in particular since they're the only ones standing up.
It's as if the whole room is put out of a trance when Mrs. Polanski entered because we all straightened up and acted like there was never any tension to begin with. Lea sits down beside me with a sigh.
"That was really brave of you," I whisper to her.
"Someone had to do it," she whispers back.
I look over at Jill who is barely able to sit her whole bottom on the chair, looking down as always and to Cassie, her head held high, curling her hair with her finger, with not a care in the world.
When you're a child, you think that life is fair. Do something bad and you will be punished; do something good and you'll be rewarded. But, from what I've seen just moments ago, you get the reality point-blank at your face: life is NOT fair and you just have to deal with it.
And to think this is just the first subject of the first day of school.