It had been a long day of school; shifting my too-heavy backpack from shoulder to shoulder, I climbed onto the bus and sank into the sticky vinyl seat with relief.
This was a sign of weakness. The sharks came out.
"So, what's the matter?" Charlie Douglas looked at me foux-sympathetically and added loudly, "Is it...HIM?!"
I blinked. "Um...who?"
A sixth grader gazed on Charlie with worshipful eyes. "Yeah--who, Char?" Her friend added, "What's going on?"
Charlie, realizing she had the desired audience, flipped a perfect, silky auburn curl over her shoulder and began, "You see, [mwriter1468]'s been having some issues with..." She bit her lip and turned to me with an "I'm so bad" look. "Whoopsie, maybe I shouldn't tell."
I glowered. "No, I'm dying to hear this," I informed her. I wasn't having 'issues' with anyone that I knew of...except for Charlie and her band of girls.
"Okee, well, Yemmin Montgomorry was saying how madly in love with her he was--but he was kidding. He goes, 'I love the AH-noying way she talks'"--I felt a pang of hurt--"'and of course her greasy hair is a must.'" She turned to me. "Oh, sweetie, if I was you I'd just DIE, is all."
I blinked. "I've never even TALKED to Yemmin Montgomorry in my life!"
"Well, I just thought you aught to know." She turned to her audience. "Isn't that just TERRIBLE?"
"Can't blame the guy," Whispered one of the sixth graders, loyal to Charlie's odious opinion. I turned to her feeling utmost insult, and she added quickly and louder, "For liking you, I mean--DUH. What did you THINK I meant?!"
I turned away, feeling the sting and reminding myself that, she being lowly and insignificant, who cared about her opinions, anyway? Certainly not Charlie, who cared about no one's opinions except hers...and maybe the utmost-alpha girls. Charlie'd been campaigning to sit at their table since the school year began, but if she was fishing for references in the sixth graders she could most certainly forget about it. They'd never been within ten feet of any of the popular girls in their lives, and they certainly wouldn't be chatting it up with them over how WONDERFUL that girl Charlie on the bus was if they had.
"He said she's ugly, too," Charlie added in a stage whisper. "Didn't want to SAY that, though...some things it's better NOT to know, you know?"
Her stupid stooges giggled wildly, as if they understood completely. "Of course, Charlie...don't TOTALLY crush her, right?"
"I'm too nice, I know...and she needs to know, but..." Charlie wavered, lapping up the attention like an eager dog. "Just not worth the feelings hurt for the lesson learned. Am I right or am I right?"
"YOU'RE RIGHT!" The girls chorused, cackling. I turned away.
"Yemmin can have her." Charlie snickered. She turned back to me. "Oh, sweets, everything's gonna be OK."
[This happened to me last year but still, this was a REAL EVENT]
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