*: First Person (Graham)
***: Third Person
I walked down the hallway, clutching my books and binders. I noticed Terry out of the corner of my eye. Maybe he'll leave me alone this time, I thought to myself. I knew Terry wasn't going to just pass me by. If he did, he would most likely be intoxicated. Terry Openheimer was the school's star basketball player. He had short blond hair. In contrast, I had dark brown hair. Terry was walking with two of his teammates, eyes dead set on me. I kept looking forward and quickened my pace.
I had a biology test this period, and I was fairly close to the classroom. All I had to do was make it in the room in time. Come on, I urged. Just about thirty more feet.
Pain shot through my back as I was violently slammed into my locker. "Hey there, little nerd," Terry teased. His hand came down and slapped all of my books out of my hands. His friends laughed it up as they clattered to the floor. I bent over to pick them up, but my stomach was met with Terry's knee. All of the air was knocked out of me by the blow and I fell to the floor. I heard two female voices join in on the laughter.
I looked up to see Melanie Thayer and Jessie Liu. Melanie was a pretty girl with long blond hair and light brown eyes. She was Terry's girlfriend. "Give him what he deserves, honey!" she exclaimed as if this were a game. It probably is to them. Then I felt Terry's foot come down on my leg with a great amount of power.
Jessie laughed harder than anyone else. She had dark black hair and dark brown eyes. She was Melanie's best friend and they were nearly inseparable. "Nerd," Jessie snorted. "I don't even know why you bother coming to school. Everyone hates you." The painful words rang out in my head like a bell sounding. Suddenly, Melanie, Jessie, Terry, and his two friends all ran away. I looked in the opposite direction and was relieved to see Principal Edwards approaching.
"You okay, Graham?" he asked, his blue eyes conveying concern. I nodded and began picking up my things, ignoring the pain in my gut, spine, and my leg.
"I'm calling their parents," Principal Edwards said. I shook my head.
"Please don't," I begged.
"It'll just make things worse."
"Okay, Graham. I'll still be looking out for you, though." Principal Edwards was really nice and knew that it was hard for me to fit in. If I didn't want him to do anything, he wouldn't. He had been through the same thing when he was my age. I had gathered all of my belongings and was heading back to class when Principal Edwards jogged up to me.
"One more thing," he stated. "Just think about the trip to D.C. that's coming up. That'll cheer you up. And during the trip, I'll have a teacher look out for you, okay?" I nodded once more and he patted me on the back. I was irritated by that. It just made me feel so weak to have a teacher practically be my bodyguard.
He checked his watch. "Get to class, you only have two minutes." The principal walked away and I jogged to the biology room. I made it inside just a minute before the bell rang. It was a test on temperate deciduous forest biomes. An essay about animals and how they benefit from the biome concluded it. I finished it in fifteen minutes and everyone groaned in envy as I turned it in.
I sat back down and began reading a book as I waited for the bell to ring. Our teacher, Mrs. Fowler, never made us do anything the rest of the period on days we had tests. When the bell eventually rang, I headed for the exit and accidentally bumped into Rob West. He was African American with black hair and dark brown eyes. He was a little bit taller than most kids but was a solid guy, not lanky like his twin brother, Ron. Rob and I used to be friends from third grade to seventh grade. In eighth grade, we stopped hanging out. He said hanging with me made him look bad. He was captain of the dive team and was the best diver in the west coast.
"Sorry," I muttered, backing up so he could get through.
"Its fine," he said before he walked through the doorway. I followed and headed to my next class. The rest of the day was a blur. Nothing else important really happened that day. I just followed Principal Edward's advice and thought about the junior trip to D.C. I thought about the Eiffel Tower, something I had always wanted to see in person. The very thought made me excited.
When I got home that day, I talked about it with my parents.
"I'm very happy for you," Mom said.
"Might as well start preparing," Dad added. He was the complete opposite of a procrastinator. But he was really obsessive, though. He triple checked everything. But then again, he was a pharmacist. You put a pill in the wrong bottle and someone could die.
"I can't wait!" I exclaimed. "It's only three weeks away."
Three weeks later…
I got out of the car at the school and got my bags out of the truck. I set them on the ground and said goodbye to my mom and dad. I then picked up my bags and walked to the group of fifty juniors waiting for the bus. It was going to be a long ride, but a bus was the most my school could afford.
I set my bags down a safe few feet away from the crowd and took a seat on top of my suitcase. I was excited for the trip, but dreaded the coming bus ride. If I was in the same bus as Terry, I wasn't sure I could take it. I produced a paperback from my backpack to pass the time. I had to put it away when the trip chaperones came and took attendance. They told us that we were going in two separate buses, twenty-five students in each.
The buses finally arrived and the chaperones and teachers began assigning us to our buses. I seemed to take them forever to get to the last names starting with G. "Graham Gibson," a teacher named Ms. Walker said. "Bus two." Now I had to wait until they got to the O's to figure out whether or not Terry and I were going to ride on the same bus.
After ten more minutes of waiting in tense silence, Ms. Walker came to Terry's name. "Terry Openheimer, bus two." I groaned and let my head hang. I then started preparing myself for the hellish ride that awaited me. If only I knew how hellish it'd turn out to be…