relieved. I looked over my shoulder and she licked her lips! God! How bold! She got her eyes full and finally satisfied, she left. I’ll never forget it.
“Well, you look just fine from here,” she had said. I know my eyes went wide. It was how she said it, like she slowed down on just fine. That’s when I glanced back over my shoulder through the steam. She parted her mouth and licked her lips while she was staring at my ass.
It was lunchtime and I hurried to get out of the gym and into the lunch line. So far, I think Billy might have been right. He might have been the only person Penny told about me. I fully expected to be the laughing stock of the whole school today but that hasn’t happened, yet. The line moved up, and I haven’t spotted Billy. He could be already inside. I’m always going to be late having to come all the way from the gym. Other girls from my PE class are late, too. I was craning my neck looking down the serving line. It’s hard to see since I’m so short. Someone tapped on my shoulder. I turned. It was a boy, I looked up and it was Daniel.
“Billy wanted me to tell you if I saw you that he would be late for lunch. He got into a fracas with Penny Jenkins in the hallway and they are both in the Principal’s office. He said if he missed you, he would try to catch you at the bus before you left.”
“Oh no! He stirred the stink.”
“From what I hear, he told her to keep quiet about you and she was the one who got stinky. She dropped some ‘f’ bombs and then shoved him.”
“You know that Penny and I live in the same home, right?”
“Oh dear! Well, come sit with us and if he gets to lunch, he’ll know where to find you.”
“Good idea,” I said. “I was thinking of sitting with you anyway.”
“Birds of a feather,” he said and smiled. I’m not sure I’d go that far.
We got our food and went to the same table. It seems everyone always sits at the same table. I sat and some people re-introduced themselves. I smiled and nodded. My nervousness showed, and frankly I’m not ashamed to admit it. These kids were as young as me and way-out-there weird. I was not accustomed to the big city, I suppose. One ninth grade female couple with purple lips and multi-colored hair shockingly introduced themselves as lesbian, just like that. They were “out” they said, as in “out of the closet.” I’m just trying to keep up, figuring all this out.
I gave my chocolate milk carton a shake and then peeled it back to open it. Someone plopped down beside me and I covered my milk to keep them from grabbing it. It was a learned response. People tormented me so much.
That laugh! I jerked my head around and it is Billy! I went bright red, I know I did! He smiled. I smiled. “I’m um…”
“Guarding your chocolate milk.”
I laughed, “Yes.”
“Why?” he asked laughing.
I leaned back from my milk and pulled my blond curls from my eyes, “In my old school, I was bullied every day. Boys stole my food.”
“Why would boys bully a little girl?” one of the lesbian girls asked.
“She was very poor and dressed differently,” Billy said, jumping in. I’m glad he did. She nodded, not satisfied, but nodded and let it drop. “Here, let me,” he said. He took my milk and opened it for me and stuck the straw in. I smiled, took and drink while I looked up at him.
“I had a dust-up with Penny,” he said.
“I heard. Did she really push you?” I cut a piece of meat. I think it was veal, or breaded chicken. It could have been anything. It was hot food. Never turn down hot food.