Chapter One: New Year, New Me
New year, new me. That's the moto I am trying to stick with as I stare at myself in the mirror. It's early in the morning, about 6 a.m. and I am ready for school. I'm dressed in regular jean shorts and a plain baby pink T-shirt. It brings out the tan of my skin and I love it. I haven't worn bright colors in a long time, this year will be different though. I am getting back to my normal self. My long dirty blonde hair is pulled back into two french briads, something I learned how to do over the boring summer. I say boring because it's boring as hell when you have no friends and had to work all summer. I applied light makeup, a bit of highlighter to my cheek bones, mascara, and a little bit of lip gloss.
I did a few poses in the mirror trying to hype myself up. Let's face it, I look good. Grabbing my backpack I booked it down the stairs. My dad and little brother are sitting at the table having breakfast. Dad is reading from the newspaper and drinking his coffee. I look just like my dad, same dirty blonde hair and light green eyes. My annoying little brother looks like a perfect mix of our parents with his dark chesnut colored hair and the same green eyes.
"Good morning honey." Mom sings from the counter in the kitchen.
"Good morning Momma." I said to her as I slid into a chair at the bar top.
Mom slides a plate of bacon and eggs to me and I smiled brightly at her. My mom is so sweet. Always taking care of us. Her dark brown hair is tied up in a messy bun on the top of her head. She's still in her pajama's since she doesn't work. Dad makes enough to support us all, being a project engineer.
"You excited for your first day of school?" She asked me, her warm brown eyes shining with her smile.
I gulped. Mom had no idea about what happened last year. All she knew was that James and I broke up. I had to tell her something about why I was depressed. Thankfully she didn't press me about it. Mom just told me that she would always be here if I needed to talk. Honestly, I wish I could of. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone. Besides, I made it through just fine on my own.
"Sure am. I have all AP classes this year and I get to work on college applications." I told her.
Mom rolled her eyes at me. "Always so much work and no play, just like your father." She teased.
"That's not a bad thing dear." Dad said without taking his eyes off of the paper.
My mom was the advocate for 'kids should be kids'. She believes I should be sneaking out, breaking curfew, drinking, all that. Even before I became a soical pariah I wasn't into all of that. I liked hanging out with my friends, don't get me wrong, but I was also focused on school. Getting into a good college was a big deal for me, I want to be a marine biologist. My parents can afford to pay for my college so luckily I don't have to deal with a scholarship, but I do have to worry about getting in. I'd also like to stay close to home. Despite what happened to me over last year, I still wanted to remain close to my family.
"I think we should be asking if Caleb is excited." I said as I turned in my chair to look at my little brother, who rolled his eyes.
"It's my second year, nothing to be excited about." He grumbled.
"But this is the year that you are finally on varsity for the football team. You've been practicing all summer." I said with a pout.
Caleb rolled his eyes and turned to look at me.
"I am going to be the best player on the varsity team." He said with complete arogance.
I narrowed my eyes and smiled. "Atta boy." I said proudly.
Caleb chuckled and shook his head. Just then there was a loud hook of a car horn outside. My little brother jumped to his feet and grabbed his bag.
"That's my ride. See ya later." He said as he existed the room.
"Why don't you take your sister to school too?" Dad called after him.
"You want to come with us Mil?" Caleb asked.
He knew I was going to say no. Caleb has actually been a safe haven for me through all of this. He's the only one who doesn't care about the bullying. I mean, he gets like, really mad but he doesn't care about being seen with me. His friends do, and I know that, so I always decline. Caleb never really cares about anything other than football. He is the only one in the school and this house that knows the truth. Caleb was furious and he had gotten into a few fights last year over me. It's a good thing he was a big 14 year old, even bigger now. He was always protecting me and I appreciated it. I very much appreciated that he never let me eat lunch alone too.
"No, I'm good. I enjoy walking." I said with a smile. "Thanks though."
Caleb nodded. "'Kay, I'll see you at lunch then?" He asked.
"Yup." I said as I turned around and shoved a piece of bacon in my mouth.
After I was done eating breakfast, I tried to help my mom with the dishes but she refused. I kissed my dad on the top of his head and hugged my mom before walking out of the door. Slipping my airpods into my ears, I flipped through my music until I found something that I liked. There is a bit of a pep in my step. Today is going to be a good day. Everyone has totally forgotten about me and about last year. Right?
I should probably explain what happened to me last year. It wasn't anything super big but it was for me. My whole life flipped upside down. It was life changing for me.
Vanessa had been my best friend since we were in kindergarten. We were as thick as thieves. Vanessa and I spent every day together. As we got older our interests changed a bit. We still made time for each other every day though. Between my extra studying and Vanessa's cheerleading, we made it work. We had movie nights and ate lunch together every day despite her new friends clear disdain for me. Then at the beginning of our sophmore year Vanessa made me go to a party with her. It was my very first party and Vanessa had dressed me and done my makeup. I have to admit that I had never looked better.
When we got to the party, Vanessa had ditched me almost immediately to hook up with her latest fling. I had wandered to a secluded area with a cup of water that I was pretending was alcohol. That was when I met James. He had wandered out to get away from the loud noise too. We ended up spending several hours just talking and laughing. Next thing I know, we were dating.
James was picking me up every morning in his fancy car, he would walk me to class, hold my hand. It was so nice. I went to all of his football and basketball games. We went on dates, all of it. The whole nine yards. It was very sweet honestly. I used to think that he was my prince charming.
Until the beginning of last year came around. Within the first month my whole world came crashing down. After attending a party, that I did not want to go to, with James, I lost my virginity. James had taken me to a room upstairs and finally after a year of dating I let him have my virginity. Something I still regret. It took him only moments to break up with me. Like literally, I was still naked in the bed when he dressed and told me it was over. He finally got what he wanted and no longer needed me. At least that's what he said.
At the time I cried about it a lot. I ran out of the house and all the way home. For a few weeks after that Vanessa had comforted me. Then, one day I had come into school and the air had completely changed. People were looking at me and whispering about me but I had no idea what they were saying. When I had arrived to my locker Vanessa was there waiting for me with three other cheerleaders.
She had made a huge scene for the whole school. Vanessa had admitted to me that she had been sleeping with James for almost the entirety of our relationship. She told everybody how I had stolen him from her in the first place and that he had wanted to break up with me for months but that I made it impossible. Apparently, he had broken up with me several times and every time I had begged him to stay and he gave in. It was wild for me to hear, considering it was all lies.
Vanessa also told me that our friendship was a complete lie. She said that she just felt bad for me and I was a charity case for her. Then I had stolen her man and she only stayed my friend to get revenge on me. My world had turned upside down. I was so confused about everything. Honestly, Vanessa pretending to be my friend hurt worse than my breakup.
After that the whole school turned against me. Not that I was a big deal anyways. In fact, I was only ever really noticed after this little incident. Then it was a whole s**t show. Every day someone wrote on my locker the word 'slut' or 'w***e' or whatever else they could come up with. Girls would push me into lockers, tease me, throw trash on me, I even got into a couple fights. I also found out that James had told everyone that we did have s*x. Rumors were flying around and if the girls here weren't picking on me, then the guys were making comments about me. Sleeping with that sleeze ball was the worst thing I had ever done. Next time I sleep with someone it'll be someone I know can keep their mouth shut.
By the end of the year last year I was wearing nothing but black and hoodies. Anything to hide myself. You would think that over the course of months the bullying would die down but it never did. The amount of people who bullied me was the only thing that changed. Most of the school had moved on from 'my' little stunt. But, the cheerleaders and the rest of the popular crew never stopped.