Welcome to Twelve, a new book of Friday Fiction! This story begins the summer Emily Kingston turns twelve and is about a friendship that changed everything.
I hope you enjoy it!
CHAPTER ELEVEN – FIGHT IN THE HALLWAY
School had become a problem. Every day, I worried about what might happen when I got there. I was still hanging out with Rena and Amy and things seemed good with them, but I felt a distance between them and me.
Every time I went to my locker I worried that there would be something new scratched into the door. And when I changed for gym, I worried that everyone was wondering why I had a flower power sticker on my gym locker and what I would say if someone asked me.
I began to pay more attention to Marcy because of what she said to me about my pants. I wondered if she was the one who was behind all the problems I was having. Marcy was popular in school, but she wasn’t the cheerleader type and she wasn’t super high-fashion. But she did seem to be in charge of her world and she had a certain way of talking and looking at you with her eyes over to the side, and her face never looked totally interested in what she was saying. Kind of like she was not only bored with you, but bored even talking about it. She had a group of friends, but it wasn’t exactly a gang and some of the girls in her group were some of my friends too. I thought about Jackie’s advice to keep an eye on Marcy or whoever it was who was messing with me. Even though I wasn’t into plotting revenge, I decided that at least the watching out part of Jackie’s advice was good, so that’s what I started doing.
A few weeks went by and nothing happened. I watched Marcy, but I noticed nothing different. Then one morning on my way to first period History, Marcy came up to me and stood right in front of me and blocked my way. When I looked at her, I saw she was staring me down. I didn’t know what I could say to get past her. I didn’t have a chance to say a word because Marcy opened her mouth and said, “Uh, Emily? Wanna get out of my way?” I couldn’t understand her reason, but I knew she was messing with me. She was the one who was in my way, and if I was in her way, then she was going the wrong way because we were in the same class together down the hall. All of this raced through my head, but instead of talking, I stepped to the left to get out of her way. But as I moved to the left, she moved with me in the same direction so we were still facing each other.
By then kids had noticed what was going on and some had stopped to watch. Everyone likes a good fight in the halls and I’m sure they were hoping to see one. I was so surprised to see Marcy still standing in front of me and I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I moved back to the right to try to clear a path away from her. And once again, Marcy moved right along with me. She was expecting that, I think and when we were again positioned in the same place as before she opened her mouth again and this time she said, “Hey bitch, get out of my way!”
I froze and I felt my face grow red hot. I could also feel everyone’s eyes on Marcy and me, and all their voices melted into one low throbbing sound that suspended me in time. My whole body felt hot and shaky and in that short time, my mind raced through the few choices I had to get away from Marcy. And out of nowhere, before I had the chance to decide if I was making the right choice, I moved in close to Marcy, opened my mouth and I spat right in her face.
To say that Marcy was surprised would be a huge understatement. A look of shock passed over her face and when that look was gone, it was replaced by loathing. And the next look I remember was pure rage and fury. Then I felt a hand on my hair and she yanked it so hard that a tuft of it came out into her hand.
Now like I said, everyone likes a good fight in the halls at school, but usually those fights are between two boys. To see two girls fight, that’s a rare event. So when it happens, well you better believe a crowd will form and it will be a big one. Before I knew it, Marcy and I were on the floor, kicking and scratching each other and pulling each other’s hair. I could hear kids from all sides cheering us on, adding to the frenzy.
I don’t know what I was thinking by spitting in Marcy’s face and then getting into a fight with her. This was my first fight ever and I was not very good at it. After about a minute, it was clear to me and I’m sure to Marcy too that she had a huge advantage over me. I didn’t decide to curl up on the floor and cover my head, I just did it. And even after I had stopped kicking and scratching, Marcy was not through with me. By then she was sitting on me and she had grabbed my arms and pinned them down on the floor, one on each side of my head. I turned my head to look at her and I understood her trap too late. She smiled a smile that looked anything but friendly and sort of made a slurping-in kind of sound with her mouth and I realized what was coming. Just as she was spitting in my face, just as I was feeling the double humiliation of being beaten and spat on, Mrs. Smithfield came out of her classroom.
From then, all I could hear was her yelling at kids to move away and then I felt a hand on my arm and it yanked me up. And by then I could that see our principal Mr. Kearny had done the same to Marcy. Soon we were both being marched down to Mr. Kearny’s office.
My heart pounded, its beat was loud in my chest and I couldn’t imagine what I was going to say in front of Mr. Kearny. When we got to his office, Mrs. Smithfield let go of me and told me to sit in the chair that was outside Mr. Kearny’s office. Mr. Kearny led Marcy over to a different chair, away from me and told her to sit. Then he and Mrs. Smithfield went into his office and shut the door.
My face was still wet from Marcy’s spit and the first thing I did was wipe it off with my sleeve. I was glad I didn’t have any make-up on that would have been smeared all over my face by now. I didn’t dare look at Marcy, but I secretly hoped the spit on her face had dissolved and smeared some of the make-up she had put on that morning.
We sat for a long time. There was nothing to do but sit and I kept my head down hoping no one walking by would stare at me. I wondered how bad I looked and if anyone would be able to tell I was missing a tuft of hair. I looked sideways over to Marcy’s chair to see what was going on with her. I figured she had already checked me out to see what kind of damage she had done. Before I had the chance to do anything more, Mr. Kearny’s door opened and Mr. Kearney stepped out and asked me to come inside.
As I got up to go into the office, I walked by Marcy. She lifted her head and said just loud enough for me to hear, “Just remember, bitch, you’re the one who spat at me first.” I didn’t say anything, but I could feel my back muscles get tight. I walked into Mr. Kearny’s office. I had never been in the principal’s office before and, even though I was there because I had been in a fight and was probably in a lot of trouble, I couldn’t help but look around and notice the things he had on the walls and on his desk. He went over to his desk and sat down. Then he told me to sit down in a chair across from his desk. Mrs. Smithfield was sitting next to me.
Mr. Kearny spoke first, but not to me. “Mrs. Smithfield, would you please go get a wet paper towel so Emily can wipe her head?” I didn’t realize it before, but I also had a big scratch on my forehead and it had been bleeding down the side of my face. After Mrs. Smithfield left, Mr. Kearny looked across his desk at me and said, “Emily, I want to know what happened out there. You have never been in trouble at school, but what I saw out in the hall was very disturbing.”
I wondered what exactly it was that he found disturbing. Was it that two girls were fighting? Was it that half the school was surrounding us cheering us on? Was it that I was essentially getting pounded by Marcy?
There’s an unwritten law between kids at school and it is simple. Friends or enemies, you don’t snitch on another kid, that is, unless you want to be pounded on and messed with again and again for the rest of time. I definitely felt like it was Marcy’s fault for stepping in front of me and starting everything, but I thought about Marcy’s warning and decided I’d better say nothing bad about Marcy. I also didn’t want to admit that I spat in Marcy’s face.
I gave it my best shot. “We just got in each other’s way. We were both in a hurry. It was an accident.”
Mr. Kearny kind of laughed, but he wasn’t smiling. “That was some accident, Emily. I saw a lot of anger out there, a lot of kicking and scratching. I want to know why you two were fighting.”
I started to feel trapped. I don’t think Mr. Kearny had any idea what it was like to be a kid, let alone a kid who was just in a fight. I thought about Marcy outside the door and I wondered what she would be saying to Mr. Kearny when he called her in. I didn’t want to look at Mr. Kearny, but I could feel him looking straight at me.
“Emily, you need to tell me what happened out in the hall.”
I looked up and there was Mr. Kearny, staring into my face and he seemed to be way too close to me. I could see right through his glasses into his eyes and looked at the rest of his face, his wayward eyebrows, his bald head, his ears that stuck out too far. I wondered, if there had been hair on his head, would his ears have looked so big. My thoughts wandered into a whole different section in my head, thinking about Mr. Kearny’s face that was too close.
I broke free from my thoughts and spoke, “Nothing happened out there, Mr. Kearny. It was an accident.”
I knew my lie was ridiculous and I knew that Mr. Kearny could tell I was lying, but it bought me a little bit of time. Just then, Mrs. Smithfield came in with her wet paper towel. She came over to me and, instead of handing me the towel, she wiped my forehead herself. I wanted to wipe my own head, but I didn’t think I had much of a choice, so I sat and let her do the job. It was not a deep cut and when she finished she sat down and looked hard at me.
“Emily, you are a good student and have never been in trouble in my class. What’s going on here?”
Here we go again, I thought. But again, I did not want to talk about the fight or any of the problems I’d been having.
“I’m fine, Mrs. Smithfield. I told Mr. Kearny that it was just an accident. We were both in a hurry and we crashed into each other. That’s what happened.”
They both looked at each other and Mr. Kearny stood up and said, “Okay for now, Emily, but we’re going to talk about this some more. I’ll be sending a note home for your parents to sign. Between now and then, you should think about what happened and be prepared to talk to me again tomorrow. You can go to class.”
Mrs. Smithfield stood up too and added, “Emily, why don’t you stop in the Girls Room and clean up a bit before you go to class. I called in a substitute, but I’ll be down to class in a few minutes.”
When I got out of the office, I quickly walked by Marcy and went down the hall to the Girls Room. I looked in the mirror and I did look pretty bad, but at least I hadn’t been crying. I splashed some water on my face to get rid of the rest of Marcy’s spit. Then I dried it off with one of those terrible paper towels. My hair was a mess but I had no brush, so I used my fingers to straighten it out the best I could. I tucked my shirt back in. There wasn’t much more I could do. I would have to act like I didn’t care about the mess in the mirror.
I did not want to go back to class. I knew everyone would be wondering what happened to me and Marcy. I hoped someone had grabbed my books during the fight. All I wanted to do was leave, but I walked down the hall and into my classroom. The room went silent as I went to my seat. Another one of the History teachers, Mrs. Hinchman, was in the front of the class. She walked over to my desk and handed me my notebook and my History book and said, “We’re on page 257, Emily.”
I wondered if Marcy would come back to History class, but she did not. She wasn’t in my next two classes, but I saw her at lunch. I stayed far away from her. Amy and Rena kept asking me what had happened in the principal’s office. They both had seen our fight in the hall and wanted the full story. I kept saying, “Nothing. Nothing happened. Mrs. Smithfield wiped my face and then I went back to class.”
“Wow, Emily,” said Amy, “You two were really going at it. I can’t believe you! What were you thinking, spitting in Marcy’s face?”
“That was wild!” added Rena. “I bet that’s the last thing she thought you were going to do.”
“Listen,” I said. “I don’t want to talk about it, okay? Let’s just finish lunch.”
The Amy said, “Well maybe you don’t want to talk about it, but it’s all everyone in the whole school is talking about.”
Thank you for reading.
Just jumping in? Click below to read previous chapters:
Chapter 1 – “Meeting Jackie”
Chapter 2 – “Mrs. Conroy”
Chapter 3 – “Downtown”
Chapter 4 – “Capture the Flag”
Chapter 5 – “The Fight”
Chapter 6 – “Lemonade”
Chapter 7 – “The Fort”
Chapter 8 – “School Starts”
Chapter 9 – “The Locker”
Chapter 10 – “Meeting Marcy”
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