Standing next to her best friends, Brandi noticed that she was just about as tall as the tallest boy in their group. Without hesitation, or caring that she interrupted his conversation with another friend of theirs, she placed a hand on his arm. "Epps. How tall are you now?"
Their friend was annoyed that she interrupted, but said nothing and jumped into the other conversation.
He looked at her. "Just about six feet. Why?"
"So, then I'm about five-nine then."
He looked down at her shoes and worked his way up to the top of her head. "Yeah. Just about."
"So would it be safe to say that I could take someone in a fight?"
His eyebrow popped up in confusion. "Depends on if the other person knows what they are doing." His eyes looked deep into hers, seeing that she was hiding something. "Do you need to go talk?"
"No. I'm fine. Just had a moment of wonderment."
"Is someone bothering you?"
"Just this girl in science." Not believing that she made herself lie, she took her hand off of his arm when she saw her boyfriend walking over towards them. She looked away when he put his arm around her.
"Hey gorgeous. Are you ready to go to Drama?"
"Yeah. I was going to walk with my friends, if that was alright." She looked up at him, then back at her friends, seeing that all of them were staring.
"Yeah, cool. Can I join you?"
"Sure." The shortest male in the group hated him the most, but didn't want to hurt his friends feeling. He quickly turned with the other friends and headed down the hallway towards the back enterance to the auditorium.
When they were out of ear shot, Brandi felt her boyfriends grip get tighter around her waist. "I thought you agreed you wouldn't hang out with them anymore."
"I wasn't able to bring that up with them. I'm not going to just walk away and not tell them a reason."
"You better find one by the end of the day." He pushed her along, becoming silent when her tall friend looked over his shoulder at them, seeing if they were coming.
Once she got into her bedroom, ignoring her stepmother's request to join them for a night of board games, she closed her door and locked it. Dropping her books onto her bed, Brandi noticed that her computer was indicating that someone was contacting on her chat. She walked over to the desk happy to see that it was her cousin. Brandi pulled out the chair, slowly sat down and pulled up the chat window and video.
"Hi Brandi." She heard her cousins voice.
"Hi Rochie." Her voice was shaky.
"Alright sissy. What's wrong?"
"I.. I just had a bad day at school."
"Well what happened? Fail a test? Asshole teacher? A boy asking you out?"
"No. I have a boyfriend."
Rochelle wasn't one to lie to her and could always detect when Brandi was lying or hiding something. "Somehow by the way you said that, he's not up to par. Am I going to have to come down there and kill someone?"
"No. No. He's just upset about my choice of friends."
"Well, that's his problem. They've been your friends since you were little."
"I know. I just can't get him to see that I can't just drop them and pick up new ones."
"Then maybe you need to drop him?"
"It's not that easy."
"Why do you say that? You're eightteen. You aren't married to him. You aren't carrying his baby, so drop him and worry about finishing your senior year."
"Cause it's not that easy."
"Brandi Rae, unless he's held a gun to your head, drop him like a tomato."
Brandi grabbed a hair band and pulled her hair up into a ponytail, revealing a huge bruise on her neck.
"That better be a huge hicky."
"It isn't. And he says if I drop him, he'll have my father arrested by his for selling pot to the neighbors."
"Your father would gladly go to jail just to make sure that you are safe."
"It's more then that."
Rochelle sighed. "Cover that up before you go anywhere. I'll try to come down and help you as soon as I can."
"Thanks. But I don't think it'll help."
"Something will have to."
"I'm going to have to get off now. If I don't make an appearance to game night, my stepmother will make me do dishes for a week."
"Alright. You call me if something else happens. I mean it."
"Okay. Good night."
"Night." Brandi signed off, pulled her hair down, got up and headed towards her door.
The next day in drama, Brandi's friends waited for her while sitting in the back rows. Surprised to see her rushing over to them, they pulled their feet off of the backs of the chairs in front of them and sat up.
"Hey Brandi." The tall one slightly smiled. "How's your day been?"
"Hi Eppisin, Cashrin. Look. I know I've been avoiding you guys all day, but if I don't tell you now, I wont get to at all."
"Well, what is it?" The shortest male, Cashrin, moved his hair away from his eyes. He and Eppisin were brothers. Only a year apart. But since they excelled in home schooling when they were kids, they entered highschool at the same time. They had been friends with her since she and her family moved in next door to them.
But before she could even answer, her boyfriend came in through the side door and called out to her. "Look, I'll come find you when we have a break." She turned and quickly walked away.
The brothers looked at each other confused. Before any of them could say anything, Eppisin heard his phone go off. He fumbled for his phone as he got up and went to the back of the auditorium where no one could see or hear him.
"Hey Eppi. It's Rochie."
"Oh hey girl. Wassup?"
When the drama teacher announce a ten minute break, Cashrin noticed that Brandi had a hard time getting away from her boyfriend and once she did, she hurried towards the back doors, were he saw his brother dissappear.
A hand grabbed Brandi's arm, yanking her into the shadows and pushing her against a cold wall. She heard a door closed and knew that she was in the stairwell to the soundbox. Looking up, she could see a faint light shining on her friend's face. "You scared me."
"Why didn't you tell me? You could have yesterday. Anyday."
"What are you talking about?"
He reached up and flicked her hair away from her neck, seeing what he was told. "That." He spoke again without letting her say anything. "Just because I like guys doesn't mean I don't know how a woman should be treated. Especially you. You cannot allow a man to do this to you like your stupid mother had."
"Shut up about that."
"No. You need to hear the truth. He will kill you one day and then you will never know what true love is."
Silence grew between them when they heard voices going by the door.
"Someone can love you better."
"Yeah I know. But I'm eightteen. When will that ever happen?"
"Can happen now."
"Well, you would be my choice but you're gay. Your brother has Saffie and Ashton, well, he doesn't really see me."
"Fuck that idea out of your head. Ashton worships the ground you walk on. You're just so blinded by that fucktard's muscles and controlling issues. I'm sure you've been told you cannot find another man like him."
She didn't have to say anything to prove him right.
He grabbed her and pulled her close. "Okay, betch. Time for a new boo." He squeezed her tight before letting go and then snuck out of the stairwell with her. He watched her walk away and around the corner before heading back to his own seat.
Cashrin looked at his brother. "Where the hell were you?"
"I'll explain later."
Once the boys were out of the class, they followed Brandie out to the cafeteria, then sat down at their usual table with Saffron and Ashton. As Eppisin explained to everyone about the conversations with Rochelle and Brandi, everyone's reaction was just as Eppisin expected.
"What are we able to do?" Saffron asked.
"There's not much since she refuses to tell any authority."
"We could take it into our own hands."
"Intimidate him. Stalk him. Show him how it feels to be a deer in the headlights." Saffron pushed away her tray unable to eat. She was tall, thin and a beautiful blonde. She could have joined the cheerleading team, be a girlfriend of a jock or basketball player, but she felt more happy and secure with the boys she was with.
She had been with Cashrin since sophomore year and wasn't bound to leave him anytime soon. She loved his chubby body with tattoos and piercings. Jealous that him and his brother had a mother that allowed those sort of things. His hair was dyed black and had green streeks in them.
Cashrin respected her in every way, keeping his anger controlled by playing music and singing. Only touching her if she asked and making her keep her self whole until the day she married him.
His brother Eppisin, was opposite on the gender liking, but still thought Saffron and Brandi were beautiful. His towering over his classmates kept them from picking on him, and if anyone had ever laid a hand on his friends, all he had to do was stand behind them and tap them on the shoulder. Brandi had came to the conclusion that he liked boys because Rochelle was eight years older and refused to date him. Rochelle had been the only girl he liked since he was five and the other girls just "simply didn't cut it" for him.
"It almost sounds easy to do." Cashrin stood up and slid out from the bench.
"Where are you going?"
"Where do you think I'm going?" He stepped down into the lower cafeteria where Brandi was.
"Oh God. He's going to get his ass kicked." Saffron, Eppisin and Ashton stood up, watching their friend.
Cashrin slid across the ground, slamming into the back of Brandi's boyfriend, who turned around pissed off. "Oh hey, sorry about that dude."
"Watch where you are going, dork."
"I am. And she's not quite moving like she should have been." He glanced at Brandi, who looked mortified. She noticed her boyfriend's hands started to ball up into fists, but before she could stop him, he took a swing, barely missing Cashrin's face as he ducked.
When he stood back up, he puffed out his chest, ducking again when he saw the other hand coming towards him. Eppisin, Saffron and Ashton rushed over to them, pulling him out of the way before his face connected with the last swing.
Brandi rushed over to Cashrin, putting her hands up onto his chest. She looked him dead in the eyes. "Leave."
"You're going to chose this asshole over us?" He could see the fear in her eyes and took that as a cue to leave. As he turned around and walked away with his friends, Brandi turned to her boyfriend giving him a dirty look. School was out, and she wanted to go home. Grabbing her books from the table, she quickly walked away down the new hall towards the parking lot.
Soon she felt her body get shoved against the wall, books dropping from her hands, slapped across the face and her boyfriends voice in her ear. "Don't you walk away from me. I own you."
"No. No you don't." She pushed him off of her, tried to walk away but felt him slam her against the wall. He forced his lips on hers, but they ripped away and heard him yell and another voice yelling. She flipped her hair out of her face in time to see Cashrin sitting on top of him wailing on his face. Ashton had his arms pinned and Eppisin on his legs. Saffron picked up Brandi's books, shoving them into her backpack with her things and guided Brandi down the hall, out to the parking lot.
"We have to help them." Brandi protested.
"No. You are coming home with me." Saffron stopped when a red Camaro pulled up, yanked the door open and threw her bag into the back. Then ushered Brandi into the back before slamming the chair back, getting in, then slammed the door closed. As they sped off, Saffron turned to her friend and yelled at her to stop protesting. "They will be fine. Trust me, they will be fine. You on the other hand need to realize that it's over. You will be safe from now on."
No matter what her friend said, she didn't feel like everything was over and she was safe.
Sitting by the princapal's office, Cashrin, Eppisin and Ashton stared down the kids behind the counter, with bloody lips and noses. Cashrin had a black eye, Eppisin held his head and Ashton held his stomach. But they were all pleased that they could take on three huge football players.
Once the princapal sent out their enimies, she called in the boys and waved at the seats. She closed the door, then went over to the chair behind the desk. "I know you had a reason to beat the hell out of Scott and it had nothing to deal with you wanting to date Brandi. Unfortunatly since Brandi refuses to come back and show me the bruises, I cannot officially expell him. He will be watched like a hawk and you three are to take her homework to her, from this office and bring it back for her until she finishes school."
"With all do respect." Ashton spoke up. "That wont be enough. He knows were she lives and sleeps."
"Then it's up to her parents to get a restraining order. There's not much I can do from here, except protect you boys from him during school hours. It would be best that you come straight her after your last class and wait for someone to pick you up, or take the short bus home."
Several jokes came to their heads when they heard that, but they kept their mouths shut. "Transfer her."
"Transfer her to another school. But not just any school. In Oregon. Where Rochelle lives."
"I cannot do that. Her parents will have to do it."
"Then that's what we'll have to do." Eppisin stood up. "Thank you Ms. Blackwell for your understanding."
"If you boys could convince her to show me, I will do my damndest to make sure he wont step foot into another school."
"We will try." He grabbed his jacket off the back of the chair and headed out of the office, angry.
Ashton and Cashrin stood up, thanked her and rushed out the door after him.