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Chapter 7 Flashback I have a feeling, that my class is the most unwelcoming group of people that I have ever met.

. They dont speak to me unless absolutely necessary and ignore me otherwise. Also they stare at me whenever I enter the room and whisper behind my back. But then there is one person Carrie. She never fails to give them a dirty look that sends them shuffling down the corridor. Somehow, news of what happened to my Dad has spread like wildfire around the whole year group. It wont be long before the whole school knows about it. But there is always one person that has to make my life worse than it already is. That one boy, Oliver Brown, really has it in for me. Whenever I walk past him he trips me up or sniggers when I enter the room. He shoves me when the teachers arent looking and Carrie isnt with me. I havent been myself lately and I can tell that my Mum senses it. She watches me when I come home and tries to get me to talk about school. I dont want to tell her about Oliver having it in for me. He makes me feel powerless at school, and I dont want to be a wimp and run to my Mum for help. Im 18 years old. I can deal with this... Or most likely I can try and fail. Such faith I have in myself, right? *** Tingling.

I feel a very strange tingling sensation. Almost as if I know something is going to happen today. I, unwillingly, roll out of bed and trudge downstairs. Theres a note on the table:

Will. Please stop by the Gardening store after school and pick up some WeedKiller. Ill finish work late tonight... Be home around 8. Have a good day at school! Love Mum
I sighed. To be honest I would rather just stay home today and not go to school at all. Reluctantly I leave my house and catch the bus. I step off the bus and turn to see Oliver and some other boys hanging by the school entrance. I dont want to face Oliver. I shiver with apprehension as I think about him. I hesitate then see Carrie waiting for me at the sixth form entrance a few steps away from them. I instantly feel better when I see her. Why is it that I need a girl to make me feel safe? Ugh, I sigh, feeling slightly pathetic. She motions to cross over the road but when my eyes flicker in Olivers direction, she pauses for a moment. Then she walks past them, crosses the road and meets me on the other side. Come on Will, they arent going to do anything to you, Carrie says, practically dragging me across the road. I spy Oliver glancing at us and laughing with his mates. I stop suddenly. Will, seriously? Carrie gives me that look that just says I cant believe you! Would you just be a man? I give in and we begin to walk towards the door.

Yeah. I mean why am I scared? He cant do anything to me... Not with all these people around. Yeah, and I should just hold that thought... I can feel them watching us as we walk past, but I let Carrie go through first, and I am just about to step inside when: Oi, Stewarts! So close. Hey! Im talking to you loser! But not close enough. Slowly I turn around. Oliver and the rest of his group are standing a few metres away. I make my fists are tight balls to stop my hands from shaking. What do you want, Brown? I ask quietly. His face tried to muffle his surprise then turned dark and deadly. Cautiously, I stepped closer. I said, What do you want? I repeated. Everyone within a 10metre radius stiffened in anticipation. I suppose no one speaks to him like that. Not when he looks like hes going to blow. Especially not then! But I have had enough; he talks to me like Im stupid and a loser for not having a normal family. Oliver laughed. I hesitated, taken aback. It wasnt really the reaction I expected. But oh well... Ill play along. I tilted my head to the side questioningly and returned a small polite smile, then waited for him to say something. You think you can talk to me like that Stewarts?

Yeah well, I shrugged. It seems ok for you to do it to everyone else. What makes you so special that you have to pick on everyone else? Huh? Do you do it for fun, Brown? Hmm...? My voice began to rise and people were starting to inch closer to us to get a better look. My face flushed as I looked around, embarrassed that I was doing this in public. But everyone was silent, eager for more. I carried on... What about me? Do you just like to torment me because I dont have a normal family; because my dad is dead?! I yelled. Its hard enough; believe me, without having you breathing down my neck every single day! So what is it? What has happened to you that makes it ok to bully the crap out of the rest of us?! Is it your family-? BAM! I staggered back clutching my face, where it was already starting to sting. Shocked, I turned back to Oliver to find him being restrained by his gang. Shut up! SHUT UP! he screamed at me. YOU DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MY FAMILY! He struggled against the other boys, trying to lash out at me. But thankfully they managed to drag him away and he stormed off. I stood there, my mouth hanging in disbelief of what had just happened. Then they began clapping. Everybody who was watching was cheering! Someone gave my hand a friendly squeeze and I turned to see that it was Carrie. She smiled at me, and mouthed Are you ok? gesturing to my cheek. I nodded grinning. *** Mr Hutchinson stood in front of us, arms folded. He sighed.

Did you punch him Oliver? he asked bluntly. I never touched him! shouted Oliver outraged. I shook my head, rolled my eyes at him and pointed to the purple bruise around my eye and cheek. He glared at me angrily. Clearly not the case, sighed Mr Hutchinson in a bored voice. So what are you going to do? Give me a stupid detention? Oliver said sarcastically mimicking Mr Hutchinsons voice. Well you guessed right! Youve just earned yourself detention for the rest of the term and a suspension for the rest of the week as a bonus. Congratulations! Mr Hutchinson smiled in mock happiness. I slipped out of the room, happily leaving Oliver to Mr Hutchinsons sarcasm, and met Carrie outside. She smiled as soon as she saw me and gave me a quick hug. A little surprised, I hugged her back and chuckled when she pulled away, embarrassed. So... What happened to Oliver? she asked. The usual: lecture, sarcastic comments, detentions and suspension. He might be my favourite teacher now! I laughed. We began to the bus stop and I thought back over what he said: you dont know anything about my family. What do you know about Olivers family? He seemed well, a bit edgy when I mentioned it. Err... To be honest, not much, Carrie answered. I think his parents had some problems and split up. Im just basing that on the fact that Ive only ever seen is mum though. I know he has a little sister

Poor girl, I interjected under my breath. Carrie shot me a look. Ok fine, Im sorry but have you ever had a conversation with him? Its impossible! I gestured frustratingly. Anyway, as I was saying, she continued. Ive never seen his dad... I dont think anyone knows about him. She paused and stiffened. What is it? Oh err, nothing really. I was just wondering if you knew... who it was... for your dad? she stammered out nervously. The blood rushed to my face and I felt my mouth tighten. I carefully tried to hide my anger. Uh... No, no I dont, I said quietly, not making eye contact. I had a feeling she knew if I was lying anyway. Oh ok then. Sorry Will, she mumbled. I turned away as the bus came. Its fine. Listen, Ive got to go do something for my Mum so Ill see you tomorrow, yeah? Feeling guilty that I didnt tell her the truth, I hastily left, leaving Carrie standing at the bus stop. Yet, I couldnt shake the feeling that she knew something and wasnt telling me. Well what can I say...? Im no different.

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