“The most embarrassing thing you can think of has just happened to somebody. They leave the room crying. What happens next?”
I let the water pour down over my body like thick, hot rain as I scrub the conditioner out of my hair.
I only arrived at the school a couple of hours ago, but I felt so disgusting and murky from the eight hour journey that I just needed to have a shower, so here I am.
As I finish off in the shower I bunch my hair up in my hand and squeeze the water out, watching as it trickles down the drain.
I step out of the shower and reach up to where I had left my towel.
I feel nothing.
Where my towel used to be is only a plastic wall and a hook.
I quickly turn around to where I left my clothes and see that they’re gone too!
What is this sick game?! I haven’t done anything to hurt anyone. I’ve only just arrived!
Dad said that starting late at a school would be fine; that I would have no problems and get involved straight away with everything. After a week everyone would think I’d been there since September and not at the start of November.
Well Daddy-O, that doesn’t seem to be happening.
I’ve only met two girls so far; the girl, Bess that showed me to my room in the Girls’ Quarters and my roommate Delia who seemed as if she would never hurt a fly!
How could anyone else know the new girl is in here? Unless Bess went and told everyone. Delia just didn’t seem like the person who gets out of her room much.
‘Hello?’ I call into the empty shower room.
This shower room has got approximately twenty showers in it. It’s huge and covers a large portion of the ground floor to the Girls’ Quarters.
Upstairs is the bedrooms; double-shared bedrooms; triple-shared bedrooms; quarter-shared bedrooms; single bedrooms; single bedrooms with an en suite for the people who can afford to pay extra for their time here at Marble Hills Academy. This place is giant and has around two thousand pupils!
I step out of my shower area and look around, making sure to cover my boobs and down-there for safe keeping. I am definitely not a secure person when it comes to my body. I’ve had all sort of problems with weight since I was young.
There’s a screech and cheering as a bunch of girls – ten or fifteen – jump out from behind some shower curtains with their phones in their hands as flashes erupt around me.
‘Pose new girl! Pose!’ one of the girls shouts, making the others laugh. That must be one of the leaders in this sick gang!
Keep strong, I tell myself, This is just a game to them.
I try and smile at the cameras around me, making sure to keep firm hold on my lady parts as I do so, but after a while something in me cracks.
All of my life since my mum died when I was five, I have chopped and changed around multiple schools, all around the country because of my Dad and his job. I’ve never been able to make proper friends as after I learn everyone’s names I’m gone again and at another school. I’ve never had a single friend in my life except for our two pugs GiGi and Lex; my loyal companions.
Here, my Dad’s given me a chance to make friends. It’s a place where I can stay for years and not have to worry about my Dad having to move again, dragging me with him. I can stay here until I’m eighteen! Three whole years of this school where I can actually make friends, have fun and not worry about having to move.
And yet here I am with these girls in front of me, snapping photos of me, most likely to put on Facebook or Twitter or wherever-else. Places that I can’t find because I didn’t see the point of having any social media accounts as I was never going to make any friends that I could add and want to talk to anyway.
I don’t realise I’m crying until one of the girls points it out.
It makes some of the other girls laugh, while others just stand there. Maybe they feel sorry for me; maybe their in shock; maybe they thought I’d play along? I don’t know, but it doesn’t stop me from crying.
I’ve never known how to make friends.
I’ve never known how to keep people in my life.
I’ve always been known as the weird kid.
I’ve never offered friendship to anyone in my life, and now I’m at a place where I want to, and I don’t know how.
‘Get out of the way!’
There’s a yell from behind the girls.
It’s not a teacher because the girls haven’t stopped laughing or put away their phones. They just stand there.
‘Get out of the way!’
And a girl pushes through the crowd with a towel outstretched and wraps it around my shaking body, leaving her hands on my shoulders as she leads me out of the shower room.
‘You’re all complete bitches!’ The girl yells behind her as we take to the stairs.
She uses a softer voice to talk to me; a friendly one, as if we’ve been friends for years. ‘What’s your room number?’
I give a hiccup before I talk, ‘239,’ I tell her and then give a watery smile, ‘thank you for helping me.’
The girl drops her hands from my shoulders, letting me hold the towel myself, and gives a shrug. ‘It’s okay,’ she says, ‘Nicole and her follows are complete arse wipes. They try and humiliate anyone new that starts later that September in their first couple of days. It’s tradition for them. I think it’s horrible … what’s your name?’
‘Jodie,’ I tell her, giving a sniff.
‘Belinda,’ the girl introduces herself, ‘But everyone around here calls me Belle or Bella.’
‘Good to meet you,’ I give her a smile.
Belinda laughs, wrapping an arm around my shoulders. ‘I like you,’ she says, ‘and don’t worry about Nicole. Just ignore her and she’ll back off. It’s the people who give her a reaction that get the worst of her pranks.’
‘Will I ever get my clothes back?’ I ask.
Belinda nods. ‘They’re probably already in your room,’ she winks, ‘they never take a prank too far otherwise the Matron or any other teacher will find out, and then they’ll be in deep shit.’