Pain and Suffering

Greg walked through the hallway, fixing his hair (even though it may have made him seem "gay") every so often so he wouldn't look stupid in front of the other kids, who would be sure to insult him for the slightest flaw. The boy hated being the center of attention around other people, even though he wasn't exactly exposed to such a thing at home.

"Hey, Greg," some boy mockingly called.

Greg tried to avoid eye contact, and kept walking.

"What, you're not talking to me?" the boy persisted, his tone growing nasty.

Greg picked up his speed, covering the side of his face to avoid shame, and ran into his classroom. Only one more class, then I'll be alone in study hall, Greg reassured himself.

"Greg," called , also known as the hottest girl at at the school. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Greg lied. "Thank you." The brunette stared into Rachael's deep, light blue eyes for a minute.

"Hey," said Rachael. "You, uh...doing anything after school today?"

"Uh, no. I don't think so," answered Greg, trying to control his nervous trembling.

"I figured," replied Rachael, who then began to laugh. Soon, the entire class began laughing with her.

Greg's face turned red, his neck grew hot, and he desired nothing more than to run away and never come back. What made matters worse was the fact that he knew he couldn't. The teen slunk down into his chair, covered the side of his face, and pretended to read his social studies book until the teacher walked in.

The worst thing about all of this was that he trusted Rachael, and, more importantly, took refuge in their friendship (which was really just what seemed to be mutual positive feelings towards each other).

When school finally ended, Marsha and Greg walked home together. The entire time, Greg was crying.

"Forget her," said Marsha. "She's just a jerk."

"I thought she was my friend," replied Greg. "That's what ticks me off. She was taking advantage of me the whole time."

"Hey," Marsha jokingly comforted him. "Yuh still have me."

"Yeah, there's that," Greg chuckled.

"You wanna catch a movie tonight?" Marsha offered.

"...That sounds nice," answered Greg. "Thanks."

"It's what friends are for," Marsha replied, putting her arm on her stepbrother's back. Often times, the only good thing in Greg's life seemed to be Marsha. The two had been close for as long as Greg could remember: The two were like real siblings.

That night, after the movie, Greg took a shower. Greg usually only showered in the morning, but he felt dirty today: it must have been how much he was sweating that day. Greg would always sweat when he was nervous.