Wednesday, September 15, 2010

He Didn't Bother Me Again - Back To School Daze Blogfest

Photohgraph by lemuelinchrist
Roh Morgon had the supremely delightful idea of hosting a Back-To-School Daze Blogfest.  Since I normally write adult romance books, I don't normally have scenes in schools.  However...I just happen to have a high school flashback in one of my finished novels.

Purple Knot is a contemporary romantic suspense. Rain's best friend, Summer, is mysteriously killed. Summer's twin brother, Jimmy is Rain's former love. They have to work together to track the killer and bring them to justice.  This excerpt is from early in the book. Its a flashback of how Rain first met Summer and Jimmy Corbeau.

Purple Knot

My ninth grade year my dad moved us from Bainbridge to Seattle so I could go to a private high school. Westbrook Academy offered one academic scholarship a year for incoming ninth graders, and I wanted it. My guidance counselor did most of the application work, and I had managed to pull high enough grades and test scores to qualify for the position. I think my dad used up all of his strength to make the move because it was one of the last times he ever seemed to be holding on to life.

The day I walked onto the campus with my second-hand uniform and used books was the day Jimmy and Summer started as well. They’d just moved up from Louisiana and their big black sedan pulled to a stop in front of the school. Terrified I’d be put on the spot as the new kid in town, the beautiful Corbeau twins were all that anyone cared about. I was free to fade into the background, for a while, anyway. Turns out my hand-me-down life didn’t go unnoticed for long.

I didn’t feel comfortable at Westbrook, I knew I wouldn’t, but the exposure to college scholarships there was too great for me to pass up. I didn’t have nice jewelry or arrive at school in an expensive car. I didn’t arrive in any car actually, I took the city bus. I used to race out of my last class of the day because the bus I took home left at exactly five minutes after school got out. If I missed it, there wasn’t another one for almost an hour. To further motivate me not to dawdle, the bus stop didn’t have an overhang, so if I missed the bus I had to stand in the rain. I never lingered after school to talk because of that.

It’s hard to make friends when your nose is either in a book, or you’re rushing out of the room the second the bell rings. I had acquaintances, lab partners who smiled at me in class, but ignored me in the lunch room, that type of thing. I was happy not to have to make excuses for not having them over. I was flying under the radar. At least until Eric Roxan decided to pay attention.

Eric Roxan was a golden boy. All state basketball and football, he acted like he owned the school. It was apparently just the library that his family donated. Eric decided he liked to make fun of me when I walked down the hall. He would follow behind me and mimic my walk. It was easy to ignore, so I did. This only encouraged him to try harder. Soon Eric started making fun of my answers in class, and mime my hand motions as I spoke. The teachers knew to ignore the behavior of their benefactor’s children, so I tried to as well, though the snickering from the other students unnerved me, and I stopped volunteering answers. By the end of my first month at Westbrook, Eric went out of his way to walk across the grass field during lunch just to kick over my soda. Then he started kicking my soda onto me. Then he just poured his drink into my backpack. I began to skip lunch and stay in the library.

The day before winter break someone broke into my locker and dumped urine all over my books and folders. A photography project I’d spent weeks working on was ruined. I stood at my locker fighting back tears because I didn’t know where I was going to get the money to replace all the books. The books smelled, my homework stank, and I couldn’t do anything about it. Eric stood down the hall and stared at me with an evil grin plastered on his face.

By the time January rolled along, Eric had tired of pranks at my expense. He decided that ramming me into the lockers during class changes was more fun. I was an inch over five feet tall, he was six-foot-two. I didn’t get support from the staff because, well, I was just a freeloader. I felt helpless and scared. My stomach churned on the ride to school everyday. Emotionally I was a wreck. I prayed for relief. Eventually I started to hide out in the girls’ bathroom, and make a run for my class seconds before the tardy bell would ring. I was pathetic and miserable. Then one day, Summer walked into the restroom where I was hiding.

She took one look at my frantic, tear streaked face and her cheeks burned red. She stomped out to the hall and yelled for Jimmy. Already in his class, he poked his head out into the hall, saw his sister’s face, and strode right into the girls’ bathroom without batting an eye. He was a tall kid, already filling out in the shoulders and arms, and he made me nervous just standing next to him.

Summer had been listening to the talk. She’d noticed the teasing. And yesterday, she saw Eric ram me into the lockers on the way to the cafeteria. I watched Jimmy’s expression go from confusion, to shock, to anger as he listened. His eyes grazed over me. I adjusted my torn sweater self consciously, hating the feel of pathetic that Eric had smeared on me. Jimmy nodded once and was gone. Summer smiled at me.

“You know,” she’d said. “Sometimes help comes from places you don’t expect.”

I didn’t know what to say to that so I just nodded and smiled back.

Later that day, Jimmy caught Eric pouring something in the grill of my locker. He yelled at him about picking on girls and when Eric tried to push Jimmy, he grabbed Eric and rammed him into the lockers on the left and then on the right. Eric squealed like a piglet. Jimmy yanked him by the uniform tie to where I was standing and made Eric apologize, and then Jimmy took the soda out of my hand and dumped it over Eric’s head. I was shocked speechless. I never saw Jimmy that mad again, not in all the years I’ve known him. Jimmy was suspended for a week. Eric never bothered me again, no one did.

Click to go to Blogfest

I hope you enjoyed my entry.  Many Thanks to Roh for hosting such a fun topic.

I encourage you all to click on the link below the blogfest button and check out the other entries.

Until next time...Go Write


Janet Johnson said...

Go Jimmy! Love seeing a bully get theirs.

Great story. :) Goodluck in the blogfest.

j.leigh.bailey said...

Nice entry! I think every school should have someone who bullies the bullies. :D

Mara Nash said...

That was great. It's nice to see a bully put in his place. Well done!

Elena Solodow said...

Eric is a serial killer in the making...what a brat!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

High school is often a savage place for those "Safe" to pick on.

My 9th grade year was much like your protagonist. Sadly, there was no Jimmy to stand up for me. I had to wear my own spandex and be my own hero.

In the comments to my entry, Letters said she suspected I was a sensitive soul who could rally physically if I had to. I was forced to. It's what compelled me to step in between victims and bullies all my life.

You caught the angst, helplessness, and hopelessness quite well.

Have a look at my entry, will ya? Roland

Mesmerix said...

Wonderful. I love your stuff. Soon as you're published, send me the link so I can buy it. Seriously. I'm not a fan of the romance genre in general, but you have me hooked.

Loved this line in particular: "hating the feel of pathetic that Eric had smeared on me"

Eric W. Trant said...

Erics are always GOOD GUYS. Always.

Switch the names for Jimmy and Eric.

I always say that every big guy needs to have some little squirt beat the shayt out of him just once. I can't stand punks.

One guy called me a shrimp, and I told him he was gonna feel funny telling his daddy a little shrimp beat the crap out of him.

I had to tip-toe to reach the guy's chin. He was as slow as he was big and I tore him up. True story.

Ah, school days...

- Eric (the GOOD GUY!)

Summer Ross said...

Woot- go Jimmy! I like him. LOL this was a great piece for this fest.

P.D. Wright said...

As someone who was picked on in grade school, I *hate* bullies, so your story struck a nerve with me (in a good way). Good job!

Brenda Drake said...

Loved this post. I was bullied in sixth grade so I totally squealed when Eric got his. It would've been nice to have a knight in shining armor like Jimmy to take care of my bully. Great job! :D

Tessa Conte said...

Definately Go, Jimmy!

You really have a way with words, my dear. I particularly love "hating the feel of pathetic that Eric had smeared on me". That's just plain inspired.


Damyanti said...

Great description of school life, and bullying!

Ellie said...

I enjoyed it; No one likes a bully!
I just wonder how much of this is true from your hs flashback?!

Great job; I look forward to your reading your book!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Thank you all for your comments and encouragement.

To Ellie - None of it is autobiographical. By the time I was a junior in high school I had a brown belt in karate. No one picked on me. =)

Its nice to know that the feeling came across so well, though. Thank you!

roh morgon said...

Sorry to be so tardy with my comment...

I really liked this and could relate to it. When I was in sixth and seventh grade, a boy on my schoolbus harassed me with a non-stop sexual commentary. He didn't get too graphic, but the topic was highly embarrassing to me and I hated him.

This was a great story about being bullied and it was nice to see the bully get it in the end.

Thanks for participating in my blogfest. Nice entry.

Anonymous said...

Nice dispatch and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.

J.C. Martin said...

Sorry for the late comment, but that was a great entry! Excellent description of a girl who feels she doesn't fit in--particularly love the bit about catching the bus. And go Jimmy! *sings Bonnie Tyler's "I Need A Hero"*

J.C. Martin said...

P.S.: Martialarts rocks! You go for doing karate in school! I did too, but no one picked on me after my very first day after I threw a duster at the first and last boy who tried it on with me! ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!

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