The last of the rains that signifies the end of summer was falling when Zoe stepped down from her grandmother’s car.
She looked up and let the rain splattered a bit on her face before she turned around and bent down to the car window to wave her grandmother goodbye.
“Be strong Zoe, you’ve got this.” Her grandmother said to her and she smiled and blew a kiss at her grandmother.
She stuffed her both hands into the pockets of the coat she was wearing as she joined other students in trudging into the school, she had her head bent so no one would recognize her.
Zoe’s summer has been a rollercoaster of emotions, from losing her parents to getting betrayed by the one girl she had loved like her sister, her best friend.
Zoe had first met Rue when she moved into the neighborhood for the first time, they were about five years old then and since then up until the beginning of the last summer they were inseparable.
Then Zoe’s parents were killed in a tragic car accident that she had miraculously escaped, with just little injuries.
While the rest of Zoe’s family were happy that she was alive at least and also mourning the loss of her parents, the one person she thought would be by her side in her hardest times left her to be alone.
Rue had not for one day visited her when she was in the hospital, she also had not been present for her late parent’s burial.
When she had asked about Rue from her parents, they had made up some kind of excuse as to why Rue had been MIA, in Zoe’s toughest times.
But Zoe swallowed the bitter pill a month after her parent’s death and after she was discharged from the hospital, when Rue had posted on their high school’s unofficial page that she was a murderer that had caused the death of her parents.
Rue had gone ahead to call her different kinds of names, also accusing her of cheating on her boyfriend which were all lies. Her boyfriend chose not to listen to her but went ahead to breakup with her.
The cyber bullying became too much that Zoe had to deactivate all of her social media accounts, but that wasn’t enough for Rue.
A week later, Zoe saw her ex best friend making out with her ex boyfriend through her bedroom window.
She had shut the window and never opened it again throughout the summer, in fact she rarely went out throughout the summer.
Now, today is first day back at school. First day as a senior, back at the school that had kids who bullied her and called her names throughout the summer.
She never wanted to come back her but her grandmother would have none of that.
So here she was, mingling with kids she knew absolutely hated her. She pulled the hood of the coat to cover her face completely as she stepped into the school building.
Zoe sighed, soon she’d have to take off the hood soon. She looked up for a minute to see if she could find any familiar face but then she remembered that Rue was the only friend she’d had in school and her ex boyfriend Dwayne.
She felt a pang of pain as she thought about him, all summer she had been trying to avoid thinking about him with her ex best friend but she was back to the school where they’d had made so many memories.
With another dejected sigh, Zoe trudged to her home room. Preparing herself for any nastiness she was sure to encounter, this is a high school and high school kids are mean and merciless.
“Uh-oh, here comes murder Zoe.” Someone in her grade called out immediately she stepped into the home room and Zoe couldn’t help but scoff.
“Murder Zoe, really? That’s the best they could come up with?” She asked herself as she walked further into the room.
Even though Zoe was not impressed with her new nickname, it seemed to have an effect as students started scurrying away from her, clearing the path she walked while others took out their phones taking videos of her while throwing obscene names at her like, “freak!” “Witch!” And “murderer!”
Of all of these, Zoe wasn’t moved. She’d rather just get to the back of the class as quickly as she could so she could put her head down and block out the rest of world, like how she have been doing for the past few months.
Luckily she found a lone seat at the end of the class and she took off her backpack and slid into the seat.
Zoe looked as the bag fell with a “plop!” On the floor. She had avoided going to her locker first this morning, she didn’t want to start the day in a bad mood. She’d rather have this ‘no mood’ mood than have some bunch of high school idiots ruin her day.
Zoe already knew what she would find in her locker so she postponed redesigning her locker to during the lunchtime period where she would be alone in the hallways to scream or cry anyhow she liked.
After confirming that their assigned grade teacher won’t be in for another ten minutes, Zoe placed her head on her desk and tried to tune out the snide comments her classmates were throwing her way.
“Look at who had the nerve to show up at school on the first day.”
Zoe heard her voice and hesitated in looking up, she hadn’t seen her ex best friend face to face ever since the beginning of the summer break.
“Rue,” she merely breathed as she finally looked up.
“It’s nice to see you again, funny how you have my time now to come stand before me, I heard you were too busy stealing my boyfriend that you never came to see me in the hospital or even to pay your respects to my late parents that took you as their own daughter too. You were also busy trying to cancel me for something I had absolutely no control over, you were busy trying to make your insecure and irrelevant ass mean something even if it means backstabbing me, you coward!”
Zoe could feel her rage in the words she spoke but they weren’t hot scalding rage. It was the ice cold kind of rage, the one that freezes you over until you feel numb and dead.
Zoe welcomed the familiar feeling, she had gotten used to the comfort that the ice cold rage usually brings her.
Rue was lost for words after Zoe’s cool outburst, she stared at her for about a minute and then she raised her hand and smacked Zoe right across her cheek.
Zoe smirked up at her, knowing that she had struck a nerve there and also because she had caught a peripheral vision of their teacher coming into the class.
“I needed that Rue, honestly.”
Before Rue could catch on with what she meant, she heard the teacher’s voice.
“Detention for you after school today miss Rivers!”
Miss Eva James, our twelfth grade teacher bellowed just immediately.
Rue turned an embarrassing shade of deep red as she turned around to face the teacher.
“But miss-“ she started to say but miss James halted her by raising her palm.
“Not a word from you, I don’t care whatever explanation you’ve got. Zoe here is your classmate and she has just lost her parents, it would be great if you all be just nice to her and be grateful you still have parents, you can’t relate to her pains at all!” Miss James continued and Zoe couldn’t help but wonder why she heard so much pain in her teacher’s voice.
“Maybe she has been through what I am going through.” She muttered to herself and watched as Rue walked back to the front of the class where she sat with her ex boyfriend.
Rue made a show of PDA with Zoe’s ex and Zoe rolled her eyes, sure enough it had hurt but Rue was going to make this very much easier for her to get over than she realizes.
The rest of the morning went by in a blur, Zoe was trying so hard to accustom herself to the bullying she received in school, it’s one thing to deactivate your social media accounts when facing cyber bullying but she can’t just drop out of school because of the bullying, bullying over something she had no power over.
Soon enough, the bell for lunchtime rang and Zoe stood up from her history class and walked to her locker with her headphones securely in place so she wouldn’t have to listen to anything anyone says.
Like she had suspected, her locker was in a state of mess. She sighed and began taking off anything she could take off.
“It’s all fine, as long as no one touches me. I have just eight months to endure then I’ll be out of this stupid school and town!”
Zoe worked in silence, the last thing she did was to put up a family picture that included her and her brother with their parents.
Zoe slid her fingers over the picture and sighed, slamming the locker close after picking out her books for her next class.
Part of her wanted to skip lunch but then, a part of her wanted to know how bad the situation was so she ended up in front of the cafeteria.
Immediately Zoe stepped into the cafeteria and students noticed, they all fell quiet except for some noises coming from other students that actually don’t care about school drama.
Zoe quickly noticed that almost every student had their phones in their hands and they kept looking at it, then back to her.
Zoe walked calmly towards a girl and snatched her phone from her hand, she looked down at it and almost recoil out of disgust and a bitter hatred that was almost consuming her.
She looked up towards where she used to sit for lunch before, knowing she would find Rue and her ex boyfriend, Michael there.
Rue let a slow smirk spread across her face as their gazes met and Zoe knew what that was for, revenge for this morning in class.
Zoe felt the hot tears threatening to make their way out of her eyes but Zoe wouldn’t want her or any of the students to see her weakness, so she turned around and ran out of the cafeteria.
She ran for a long time, not caring where she was going to while hot tears cascaded down her face.