The Immortals: Book 2
Seventeen Years Ago
“Loser, loser, loser.” They were chanting again, just like the crowds of people always did at the football games, but these chants were mean, and these chants were for her. “Brit’s a loser.” Their words were sung in a well-used tune. This wasn’t the first time they’d done this, and before she knew it, the chant had morphed again. “Brit’s a hooker. Brit’s a hooker. Brit’s a hooker.” They were still singing as she stood clutching her books to her chest in the corner of the school corridor. She was biting the inside of her lip to the point she could taste the blood filling her mouth. But it was the only way to keep herself from crying.
“Why do you smell so effing bad?” The girl was her archenemy. She was blonde and beautiful, even at fourteen. She was everything Brit wasn’t. But she was a bitch. “I mean, don’t you fucking shower? Even hookers shower—didn’t your whore mother teach you anything?” The blood was now filling up the space between her teeth and lips, and she focused on the taste. It wasn’t the first time she’d bitten the inside of her mouth to keep herself from sobbing in front of them.
And then another one of the pretty girls chimed in. “No, Char. Her mother didn’t teach her anything, remember? She had to repeat the seventh grade because she’s so effing stupid. She’s stupid; she smells…” She was ticking off Brit’s best traits on her hand as though she was tallying them up for the group of kids that had her cornered in the deserted hallway. “And she’s disgusting…”
“And she’s ugly as a dead dog on the side of the street that’s been run over like a hundred times.” The boy was Gavin, and he was laughing and elbowing his buddies as he spoke. They all snorted out their laughter as though they were the funniest group of pricks in the world. Gavin was the male version of Char. They were the popular ones. Brit was definitely not.
Brit thought junior high had been bad; being held back was supposed to be the biggest hurdle she’d face. That’s what the counselor had said. But then she got to high school. What a friggin’ nightmare. She’d actually been dumb enough to look forward to it. She’d thought her past wouldn’t follow her. Most of the kids were from different junior highs, and she was hoping the school would be big enough that those who were once her classmates and who moved on without her wouldn’t even realize she was around. She was wrong.
“What’s it like being the daughter of a hooker? I mean, do you watch? You do don’t you, you dirty bird” This was uttered by Chelsea. She had a deceptively sweet face and voice that had fooled Brit into thinking she might actually be nice once upon a time. Chelsea was not nice, and falling into that trap once was all it took for Brit to know it was better to steer clear. “Are you going to be a hooker too, Brit? You’re too ugly to be one, but I suppose dirty old men don’t really care do they? So, fucking nasty…” And then the tears came. It didn’t matter that her mouth was damn near full to the rim with blood or that Brit still had her teeth sunk into the inside of her lower lip. The tears were pricking, and soon, they’d be falling.
She sunk to the floor with her back to the corner where the bank of lockers met the old painted cinder-block walls. The group was in front of her, and she could go nowhere. She couldn’t stop the tears that were welling up, and her throat was tight in her effort to stop from crying. When her butt hit the concrete floor, she tucked her head down to hide her face between her chest and the books she still held clutched in her arms, and she cried. She tried to be quiet, but the sobs took her over, and they ratcheted through her body one after another as the group laughed and kept taunting.
When the singsong chanting returned, she was almost relieved. It was easier to tolerate than the individual attacks for some reason, and she silently prayed the warning bell would ring soon. She’d have to wait for every last one of her hecklers to leave for class before she could escape to the bathroom and fix her face. She knew she’d likely end up with detention again for being late. But what was one more detention? Sometimes the counselor took her out of detention and let her serve her time in her office. She liked Brit for some odd reason, perhaps the only person in the world who did. She would likely spend the hour talking to Brit about her future, where she wanted her life to go; she’d hand her pamphlets and college booklets. She’d bore Brit to tears, but she’d be nice to her. She was at least nice.
When the bell finally rang, sounding the two-minute warning, Brit let out a deep, steadying sigh as she listened to the crowd break up and disperse. But just as Brit started straightening, she was shocked to the point of letting out an inadvertent yelp when her books were torn from her arms and thrown down the hallway. Papers flew from her folders, and her books skidded across the dirty concrete. She tucked her head down to her knees again. Looking up would only make it worse.
When it was finally quiet and safe, she climbed back up to her feet and peered out the small side corridor she was in to the large main hallway. After collecting her papers and books, she crept down the hallway to the bathroom. The bell rang, and she hung her head. It would definitely be another detention for being late to class, but as she reached the bathroom door, she was stopped in her tracks.
“Brit. Brit!” It was the counselor, and as Brit turned to her, she sucked in a quick breath. Beside her was a police officer. He was tall, but he had gentle eyes and a kind but serious expression. Cops were always nice to her. “Brit … it’s your mom.” Brit took a deep breath. She’d been at this place before, and there was nothing for her to do but wait for the words. “She’s in jail … again.” Brit clenched her jaw, and her gaze flitted between them. “I’m so sorry, Brit.”
“What for? You’re not the whore; she is.” There were no tears to cry for her mother. She’d wasted them all on herself and the crowd of hecklers. The mascara that no doubt streaked down her cheeks was all the evidence needed. She shouldn’t even bother wearing the shit anymore; it’s not like it made her any prettier, and more often than not, it ended up on her cheeks.
Just another day in paradise.