1 The Perks of Being a Loser

When you meet a true friend your life will change. But when you have to choose between friendship and love; who knows?

"Wake up Jane, it's time for school!"

My mom squawks from the kitchen, I hear the loud sputter of the kettle, and the faint but delicious smell of coffee; the aroma of breakfast.

This would be a completely rejuvenating morning if it weren't for the label on my alarm reminding me that today is a Monday and I have school.

Now while others are waking up at the crack of dawn to work out, or go to work, spending their day to benefit not only themselves but the economy and their families; I'm in my bed complaining about an education I'm lucky enough to get. But hey, I believe that the upper middle class struggle too!

As I trudge down the stairs, I make eye contact with the rising rays; practically beckoning me to smile, stretch and salutate. Grunting I make it down the last steps, the sizzling of the stove enticing me as I follow it's call instead.

"Jane-Marie Smith, you're still in your jammies?" my mum gives me a side eye as she flips the fried eggs, my skin is practically crawling at her glare.

"My morning can only get worse from here. So I'm going to eat your delicious fried eggs and rice and reminisce back to when my life wasn't a complete screw up." I smile passively, taking a large portion of food. When mum cooks I've got to eat it all because the little boy could come down like the ogre he is and eat it all before-

"I SMELL FRIED RICE! MOVE PEOPLE, I'M COMING, HIDE YOUR CHILDREN!" a deep, hoarse voice booms. The voice howls and stomping is followed. My brother, Jordan is at the bottom of the stairs, grinning in his large, frumpy uniform.

"I forget how energetic fourteen-year-old boys are." I grunt, rubbing my swollen stomach. Even though I may end up sitting on the toilet for 30 minutes, I get more food than my brother; that's all that matters.

"Shut up Jordan, you'll wake up the neighbours, you know how they get!" Mum half whispers half booms, "Screaming like they're up in the mountains is not going to work." I mutter.

"I DON'T CARE. I'M UP EVERYONE SO YOU BETTER WAKE UP, I HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL EVERYONE!" he marches around and claps his hands together, as if in a band.

"You know you're almost funny, but it won't be when I eat all the food." Mum grins, holding up the plate of eggs and taking a big whiff. Jordan screams like he was shot in the leg and chases her around the kitchen.

"I'm leaving this freak show." I stand up and step around my seat. Mum stops in her tracks as Jordan catches up to her and snatches the plate from her hands. "Hey! Put that in the sink!" I smile, picking up the empty plate.

"Aww, what about my sweet farewell speech?" I pout exaggeratingly. Her brow raises.

"Oh goodbye dear! Have a lovely day at school!" she wipes invisible tears as she runs towards me, I run to the end of the stairs.

"Too much, too much!" I cry as she cracks up laughing.

...

When I open my closet, I throw on my uniform: a pleated skirt, blouse, tie and a sweater, socks, and shoes. With a growl, I make my way to the mirror to brush my hair. Now that I look presentable, I grab my backpack and run out the door.

As I walk out to the bus stop I put my earbud in. This is the hard part, whoever thought that putting 80+ teenagers on a moving vehicle with a driver incapable of handling our utter stupidity and drama was an intelligent decision, I mumble under my breath as I reach the sign.

It's a nightmare of adolescent specimens throwing paper, kissing, texting, talking, and running around the bus like idiots, wait...They are idiots.

"Hey Mr Garrett! How's the missus?" I greet the bus driver.

"Hey there Jane, you're in grade what now?" he smiles, the lines of his face reassure me. "Twelve." I smile politely, stepping into the bus.

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I remember when you were in grade seven. All dolled up on your first day of high school-" he smiles; talk about blast to the past. As other kids push past me to get to the back, we give each other our knowing look and roll our eyes exaggeratingly.

"Oh please no that was like a million years ago-" I visibly redden at the memories resurfacing of oversized uniforms and cheesy smiles.

"Practically the stone ages." He adds mockingly, pausing shortly before laughing hysterically at his cleverness.

"Hop on in, kiddo. Promise I won't tease 'ya anymore!" he smiles warmly, I nod and make my way down the narrow hall of the bus. Other kids have made themselves comfortable; the old pattern of seating remains even in our last year of high school.

I ignore the stares I get from old friends, classmates, and people I used to know, way too busy looking for a free seat, a seat far away from her.

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If you're wondering who Her is, well she's Zoe. My ex best friend back in middle school; keyword ex.

The last time we spoke was at her 14th birthday party; the rest is history. I feel her gaze, glaring me down like a laser. I immediately avert my eyes, focusing on the colourful detailing on the seats of the bus.

"Excuse me, you're in my way, miss-" I look up, staring into Zoe's eyes, I falter for a moment.

"Oh, it's just you." she sighs melodramatically, tapping her heel impatiently.

I mutter a quick sorry and move out of her way, she mutters a comment under her breath and sashays past me to the end of the bus where she takes her seat right next to her newest boytoy; Parker.

I take my seat near the front of the bus, I usually sit right behind Garrett but I notice another student sitting in my spot; his brown curly hair poking out over his tall broad shoulders, blocking any possible interaction of Garrett I could've had.

I stare out the window, putting in my other earbud as the ruckus behind me turns into mere white noise. I stare at the threes turning into blurs of green and shrubbery; hell bound.

...

I walk out of the library, breathing in the fresh air; the feeling of a new book in my hands, fresh daydream material fuelling me.

Here at Saint Agatha's Academy, we strive to make the best students we possibly can. I'm what the secretaries in the office like to call a model student, or others may commonly known as a suck-up, nerd.

Meaning I complete school work weeks in advance, sometimes even sit exams early as well as keep perfect attendance, and class participation. In honour of my great work and intense five years of sucking up, the schools librarian, Pamela, has issued me a 'get out of jail free' card. I use it to spend my extra time in the most productive, clean and educational area on campus; the library.

After a very successful reading session I make my way to my locker to get my lunch. Taking out the leftover noodles from the night before. And as I'm about to make my way back to the library I find myself surrounded by two boys and one girl; Zoe. They're barely a metre away from me, glaring as if I killed her dog.

"Why is it when I'm trying to live my life you happen to be there, always ready to ruin it?" Zoe tilts her head, tapping her heel once more.

I continue the pattern, stare at the ground and hope to disappear. I can practically feel the three of them breathe down my neck as the hair on the back of it stands up.

"Don't act all coy now, we talked about this last time; remember?" I hear a chorus of footsteps down the hall, the tension increasing.

The sweat is beading on my forehead as my hands fight the urge to move; maybe if I'm still enough she will leave.

"C'mon! You got so boring over the holidays." one of the boys jeers, "And fatter, look at those man arms", another snickers. Chuckles and laughter follow that; we have an audience.

I can feel my heart beat increase as my underarms perspiration practically drowns my uniform. I feel their stares, the jeering, clapping and sound of tapping against phones drowns my hearing.

The adrenaline pumps through me as I choose which I'd rather do; Run or fight.

"I have gotten a little bigger. Simply to fit all those second-hand clothes I get from Zoe's dumpster from stalking her; Carbs aren't a good look on you." I say in my rehearsed tone, feeling a smirk cross my expression.

"So you confess? You stole my Chanel monogram polo from my locker?" Zoe states, crossing her arms in apparent victory. I let out the loudest scoff, the smirk leaving my face.

A bitter taste in the pit of my throat forms as the two boys take a step closer to me, my brain jumps to all the conclusions possible; nothing comes up. "I-" I clear my throat, "I would never steal."

"Don't play dumb! I know for a fact you have it", stepping forward, the echo of her heel rings through the hall, "Now hand it over or things will get messy." They expect a showdown, they won't get one.

"Again, I have no idea what you're talking about!" I half scream.

Zoe nods, followed by the football team grabbing my arms firmly; my adrenaline kicks in full-force now. I don't have to touch my chest to feel the pounding of my heart, I take deeper breaths, careful not to entice anything unwanted.

I need to leave, every fibre in my being tells me to kick, scream for a teacher. My throat is dry, hoarse and strained as I breathe in raggedly.

"Zoe, it's the first day-" I'm interrupted. "Does it look like I care." She continues, her voice and the group around us turn into silence. The pounds of my heart is surround sound in my ear drums. As my heart beat quickens abruptly, I feel like I'm having a heart attack. As my body goes limp in the arms of the boys I strain to free myself.

The taunts and the treachery, the sweat beading off my face, mixed with tears. I try so hard to stay strong, what's going on?

Zoe walks forward, her stare could cut through ice, she gets her hand ready to slap me-

"Let her go", The voice pulls me away from the footballers; It's bus boy.

END OF CHAPTER..

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