Trace of Ink
By Zale_Valrez
Date: June 2, 2022
Ch. 21The Bully

Chapter 20: The Bully
FERA FOUND herself alone in the morning with breakfast on her dining table and preparing herself for school. She also found a sticky note posted on her fridge.
'Good morning, honey. Have a great day ahead.' A small smile drew on her lips and she kept that note in her black notebook. She left the house earlier than she usually does. She avoid walking to school so she called a tricycle for a ride.
She wasn't smiling but her mood was quite good as she started her life. She had changed her things, instead of using her old stuff with famous brands, she used her new clothes with the underrated brand and even fakes. She had been more careful this time, she remembered Nick staring at her branded school shoes once. It might be too late but she could still deny it.
The school was still quiet and peaceful when she got there. She only saw four to six teachers and students so she walked to the school library and planned to spend her time reading while waiting for her classes. After a few flips of pages, someone got in and saw her. It was nothing but she did something weird, she ran off, which made Fera frown her brows.
Yet she chose to continue reading as she hear the bell for classes. She fixed her things and got out.
But then she felt something cold touch her head down to her body. She unbelievable looked at her shirt, it turned dirty white and she saw a girl with an evil grin on her face. Someone splashed her with smelly water. And it was followed by camera flashes.
"Welcome back, Fera!"Jade cheerfully greeted her and even clapped her hands. "Do you like it? It was epic, right?" And she evilly laughed like a mad lady.
"Yeah," Fera answered, which made Jade stop.
"I'll surprise you again next time then?" And she started laughing again. Jade made her queen bee walk out of the crowd. And everyone followed her. While Fera was left alone, smelling like a fish or something awful. She went to the girl's bathroom to clean herself. She was so mad while wiping her body with wipes, the only soap that was available was a hand wash and there is no way she'd be using those to take a bath.
The worst thing was, she might stay there for a whole day because she had no clothes to wear. All of it was dripping wet and smelled worst.
"Fera?" She stopped wiping when she heard a familiar voice, that concerned voice hitched her breathe. "Fera are you in there?" She didn't answer and didn't even move. She almost stops breathing. She couldn't face Nick now or even talk.
But she hear him enter, and she listened to his footsteps, her heart was racing as she realize that his approaching. She heard him knock on the cubicle next to her. "I know you're in there." His voice came right across her, and the only thing between them was the thin white door of the cubicle she was in.
"Are you okay?" She looked down and saw his shoes. Her nervousness had climbed up to her throat and eventually to her head deafening her thought to get entertained. She only stood there unmoved looking at the door in her front.
"Fera?" she blinked and realized that she froze for a second. Though she was literally freezing, she had taken her clothes and she only had her undies on. She saw that his shoes moved.
"Stop," she instantly said when she realized that he'd opened the door.
"I brought you clothes to wear, are you okay?" But she didn't speak again. "Here, you can use my shirt and PE jogger pants." He handed it above the door and she took it. He did bring soap and waited for her to finish taking a bath. While Fera silently cleaned herself. She hate the fact it's always been him to show up when she was hopeless. He would always show up and save her day.
She wear his clothes on after and opened her door. Her eyes met his worried eyes but she avoided them instantly. She went straight out of the powder room, Nick followed her easily since he had longer legs than Fera who only walked like she saw nothing. She headed to the school gate, her right hand holding the strap of her bag firm while she had her uniform in a plastic bag in her left hand.
"Wait, Fera!" He stepped in front of her but she only passed her so he grabbed her arm to stop her. She did stop but never did eye contact with him while he kept catching it. "I know it's Jade, I will have a word with her, I'm sorry." But it seemed like she heard nothing.
"Hey, " he pulled her to face her right. "I know you're mad, it is my fault. I am really sorry." He held both of her hands and had completely forgotten that they were on the school ground where love affair was strictly prohibited. "I can make it up, what do you want? Please talk." He seemed to beg like a child while trying to catch her eyes.
"You want to go home? or What?" She never speaks and just stands there like a dead. Soon he gave up and let her hand go. Once he loosen his grip, she immediately walk away from him and he had left no choice but to follow her.
She didn't waste her time waiting for a ride and started walking by the road and Nick was still following behind her.
"You're gonna ignore me the whole time?" he shouted but Fera consistently ignore him. "I hope I know what I need to do so you would talk to me. How will I make it up when you're not talking to me?"
Until they reached the apartment and Fera slammed her door to Nick's face. She heard a knock, she only leaned on her door, while covering her mouth. Nick was still there, all her attention was on his footstep. She waited for him to leave but Nick stayed there.
"I understand, I hope you would to talk to me tomorrow, you're not in the mood today. What matters now is you're home safe. I'll be going back to school, you can message me anything you want, okay? If you need an anti-allergy, or medicine for the itch, just tell me." She only removes her hand from her lips and looks up. She kept her calm expression, she was trained to plaster a cold expression despite any situation. It was the only thing she thought was her bravest move. She calmed her breath and practiced keeping herself still in his presence.
He received nothing, and after a series of silence, "Okay, I'll go now." And a sound of footstep filled the silence. Fera looked at her ceiling, afraid to look down because her tears might fall.
"Your warmth had melted me, I see." She whispered in realization. "I was not raised to be a cry baby and dependent on anyone. But here I am."
Do I really need to avoid him? she thought. Or I just couldn't afford to lose him so I kept doubting my decision.
She brought extra clothes to school this time. She brought a bigger bag and filled it with body soap and anything she might need if someone would splash something ungrateful again. She still got to school early and walk straight to her first class. But something caught her attention.
Pictures of her were all over the bulletin board, she was soaked with dirty water. The pictures they had taken yesterday with an offensive caption for them.
"Smells poverty,"
"Just came out from the favorite pool."
"She had fun playing with pigs,"
"My reaction when I lost my phone,"
Their joke had gotten into her nerves. But she appear calm, while she was cursing those students in her head. They had crossed her line, her patience was not good as they think. She turned to the student who was watching her, waiting for her to burst out and scream in anger. "I can destroy the whole school ground if they wish." she mentally commented. She was on the verge of choking the girl who dare to take a video of her reaction when Jade arrived.
"Oh my god!" she acted shocked as she saw Fera's pictures. But it turned from an evil grin to a burst of loud laughter. Soon the crowd started laughing too. Fera looked around and remember every face she saw. She waited for Jade to stop laughing, she stood there in her front and slid her hands into her pocket. Until the laugh became awkward and it turned into awkward silence.
"How old are you?" Fera asked her. Jade mockingly smiled and placed her hand on her waist.
"Old enough to use your brain but stupid in using it," she cut her. "You like Nick, right? But he would choose to be with me instead of you. The more you laugh at me, the lower your level gets. Listen, honey, Nick will never like, a stupid, pathetic, and immature like you." Jade was about to slap her but some other hand caught it. He was standing behind Fera, she didn't need to look who it was, his perfume was enough.
"Nick," Jade nervously uttered. While Nick was looking at her dangerously.
"I have warned you, Jade." His voice would still be brought some chill to Fera's spine. But she kept her emotion still.
"I was not me! I promise I didn't set this all up. Maybe someone hates her, I am your childhood friend, why would you believe her over me?"
"What kind of trouble is this?"

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