t w e n t y - n i n e

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I hadn't spoken to Mia in weeks. Whenever I found her in the courtyard with Dina, or chilling in the library, every time our eyes met, she'd glance at me for a moment and look away or walk away. It was hard being this far from Mia. She was always there for me ever since she entered my life, and now, I practically betrayed her.

I just needed to apologise. I needed to tell her I was wrong, that I shouldn't have said what I said. But before I could even approach her or say something to her, I stopped myself and walked away. I couldn't find myself to do it. Why? I was somewhat angry at her for saying what she said, even though part of it was true.

When I saw Mia in the courtyard the following week, I was determined. I couldn't sleep last night, thinking of hundreds of ways to apologise. Now, I had a speech ready and before I could even approach Mia, Beth stepped into my view.

"Uh, hi?" I said, a little taken back by the sudden attention.

Beth hadn't done anything to met yet since I showed up at the airport before our Gold Coast trip. I expected she would do something during the trip, but it seemed she was more interested to avoid me and enjoy her holiday. But it didn't stop me for looking over my shoulder every once in a while and be cautious of my surroundings in case Beth did something.

"Do you not have any common sense?" Beth asked venomously.

I was confused. What was she harping on about now?

"How much longer are you going to play with Kyle and Daniel until you figure out that you're the problem?"

"I'm not playing with anyone."

Beth snorted. She placed her hands on her hips and glanced at me intimidatingly. I tried standing strong, but I was just confused. I didn't want to question how her twisted mind worked. I needed to see Mia. I needed to apologise. But I also had enough of Beth's drama.

"I don't get you. Why do you hate me so much? I did nothing to you."

She scoffed. "That's right. Poor Ellie. She's just a victim, here with her poor dead mother, aren't you? Please," she rolled her eyes, crossing her arms. "You haven't changed one bit. You're still the lame, selfish piece of shit I ever met."

I sighed hopelessly. "I don't have time for this," I mumbled. I walked past her, no daring to even glance her way and this annoyed her.

"Do you really want to know what you did to me?"

I stopped and turned to face her. "Yes, that's what I've been asking you ever since the beginning of the year," I replied, perhaps with a little bit too much irritation.

Why was she dragging this on so much? Just tell me! I wanted to clear the air, figure out what I did so wrong to her. But knowing Beth over the past couple of months, I was beginning to think it was nothing. That it was just some excuse to be angry at me for being Daniel and Kyle's friend.

"You were gone from school for weeks. You left me alone at school for a month, and I didn't hate you for that," she began. "No. But people were making fun of you even though your mother died, and as a good friend, I defended you. I protected you, telling them all to shut up and leave you alone. But since you weren't there, they targeted me instead."

Why didn't she tell me any of this before?

"They pushed me around, called me loser, pulled at my bra and even threw rubbish at me. I was going through so much pain and torture in the weeks you were gone just from defending you."

"I didn't know," I replied softly.

"Then you came back. I thought, finally, my best friend was back ,and we were going to fight off these bullies together like we used to. But you didn't speak to me anymore. You didn't even look at me and everyone noticed. So, they continued harassing me. They didn't dare touch you. The teachers protected you/"

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