Author's Note: I posted this on my tumblr, but I figured I could just post it here too. Hope you guys enjoy! Feel free to review/comment, I'd love to hear your feedback!
"So why do you care?"
"…Because she's my mom."
Your hands were trembling, and it was suddenly harder to breathe. You could feel their stares, almost could hear the gears shifting in their heads once they realized what your words meant. You look down at your plate, both ashamed and proud of yourself. You had finally stood up for the woman who cared for you most, but now you know you lost any chance at making friends. Even though you're shaky, you shut your eyes, take a breathe before resolving the conversation with a soft but firm, "I thought you guys were different."
Your eardrums were booming, blocking out any other noise. Were they calling back to you? Trying to apologize for their mistakes? It didn't matter and you knew that. They were just like everyone else. Cruel. Selfish. A bunch of hypocrites. They were supposed to be the one group of people that embraced diversity, no matter who you loved, who you admired, and especially no matter what you looked like. Guess you were wrong. Guess you were stupid to think that you had any hope at finding friends that understood.
Once you manage to rush out of the cafeteria, your food tray somewhere dropped between the table you had been sitting at and the door, you find yourself in the bathroom. You practically run inside a stall, shut and lock the door behind you. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Your chest was constricting and you knew if you didn't settle down fast, you'd have a panic attack.
You inhale sharply, covering your mouth with your hand and backing as far away from the stall door as you can. You didn't want to confront whoever was out there. You didn't want.. or need their pity. You just wanted to be left alone.
"Marley. I know you're in there. Just… just open the door already."
You hesitate again, jumping slightly at the sudden knock on your stall.
By now, your breathing's gotten under control but you know you must look an awful mess.. you always do when you start panicking. Slowly, you step forward, unlocking the door then pulling it open. "…Kitty?"
Sure enough, there was the head cheerleader herself standing there, arms crossed, a stern expression on her face, but you swear you see sympathy lingering in her eyes. "Yeah. Kitty. I didn't come to apologize or anything. I just wanted to make sure you…" There was some hesitation. "You knew you were no longer allowed to sit at our table for lunch. I can't have my reputation trashed any further by being seen with the cafeteria lady's daughter."
You keep your lips sealed, not daring to point out that her somewhat.. threat wasn't as menacing as usual. Her voice was softer… had she been worried? You look into the cheerleader's eyes, hugging yourself with your arms. "O-okay… thanks?" Were you supposed to thank someone for a rejection memo? You didn't know. This school was… so confusing with their social hierarchy.
"Hmph." Kitty rolled her eyes, shaking her head. She probably thought you were an idiot. "Also.. this didn't happen. Got it, hairnet?"
You nod quickly, running a hand through your hair. What else are you supposed to say? Kitty obviously wanted the last word. So you decide to quietly watch her leave, trying not to let your eyes linger on the way her skirt moves with each swish of her hips. Once the blonde cheerleader left the bathroom, leaving you alone, you notice it. A small bit of paper, folded up rather neatly. You think Kitty must have dropped it by accident. You leave the safety of your stall, stooping down just enough to grab the paper. It wasn't time to be nosy, but you couldn't help yourself. You unfold the paper, staring at what was written down.
It had to be Kitty's handwriting, after all, who else would turn their y's into cute hearts? You brush over the words with your thumb, unsure if Kitty meant to drop this or if it was even for you. Something told you it was, that it was the only way for the HBIC to be able to apologize. It wasn't much, but you were grateful beyond belief. Maybe William McKinley wasn't going to be completely terrible after all. You smile just a bit, tucking the slip of paper into your pants' pocket before heading out into the busy hallway with just enough confidence to get you through the rest of the school day.