I barely turn the first corner before I see it. Three tall boys, two of them in matching football jerseys and one in a black t-shirt have another boy backed up against the lockers. They are exchanging heated words when one of them reaches out, slapping the book from the one boy’s hand. The hallway is filled with people, but no one is even looking at them. It’s a genuine handicap, I realize. People are so willing to be blind when something like that is happening. Too often I’d been in his shoes, tormented by others as people around me just ignored us like we were invisible. Maybe that’s why I snap. Or maybe I’m just too, how did my dad put it? Abrasive.
Either way, I move in quickly, catching the tail end of the taunting.
“Why are you even here?” the tallest boy demands. “Nobody wants you here.”
I pipe up. “Hey, leave him alone.”
The three boys turn, looking at me like I’ve just dome some kind of magic trick like pulling a rabbit out of my ass.
“What did you say?” one of them demands.
I speak very slowly. “I said, leave him alone you giant sack of dicks.”
The tall boy, he seems to be the leader of the group shakes his head. “You’re the new girl, right? This really doesn’t concern you.”
I cock my head to the side. “Maybe it’s not my business, but, call me crazy, I don’t get the warm fuzzies when I see three people ganging up on someone.”
The guy in black holds up his hands. “Hold up there, mighty mouse. You don’t even know us. We’re just chatting with our buddy, right?” He looks past me to the boy with his back against the locker. “Right?”
I turn, looking at him for the first time. His posture is stiff, but not scared. His face is stern. “It’s fine.”
I shrug. Hey, if he won’t stand up for himself, there’s not much I can do. “Fine,” I look back to the other guys, “but you guys are still jerks.”
The one in the middle chuckles, “I think you peaked with sack of dicks.”
I flip him off, because I’m pretty sure it’s the international symbol for go fuck yourself. Bending down, I retrieve the book they knocked away and hand it to locker boy who takes it without really looking at me, and I turn to walk away.
“Wait, new girl,” one of them calls after me. I pause, turning reluctantly. The tallest of them jogs up to me, “I heard your intro in class today. Funny stuff. Any other hobbies I should know about? Besides competitive name calling?”
He smiles crookedly and flips his shaggy blondish-brown hair out of his eyes.
He’s easily 6 inches taller than the boys around him, which puts him just above my eye level. I’ve been five foot ten since I turned fifteen and it used to bug me, but the guys are finally catching up and it’s nice to be able to look them in the eyes. Especially when they’re being misogynistic ass monkeys.
“I can kill a man with only a toothpick,” I retort, not smiling.
This guy's lopsided grin widens.
"A toothpick, huh? Sounds like quite a talent."
"It’s not so much a matter of skill as one of persistence," I say with a shrug.
He laughs and steps in front of me, halting my progress. I’m about to barrel through him—and hopefully plant him square on his butt—when he does the last thing I’m expecting. He sticks out his hand.
"I’m Oliver, king of the dick sacks. It’s nice to meet you, new girl."
I stare at his hand for a second like he’s joking. Was he really trying to make nice after all that? I’m not sure what prompts me to take it, but it seems impossible not to.
"I’m Farris. She who takes no shit."
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