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The Fuel

ICHABOD FRENZY - Chapter 10, 11 & 12

Chapter 10 – Angelina

 

 

I kept my appointment with the animal shelter around the block to the Creekside Hospital the next day. Sunday was a day of rest, but I wanted to spend the day to heal instead of in tears. The sign above the blue awning said, "Creekside Animal Rescue." A woman with green hair stood behind the glass double door. The place looked like a veterinarian office than a local animal shelter.

 

"Angelina? Is that you?" the woman at the door asked me, opening her arms expecting a hug. Her green hair looked alien, but bright.

 

"Yes, I am," I replied.

 

"Daisy, it's a pretty common name. For an uncommon girl," she said, shaking my hands with the most assuring and firm handshake. "Wow, shiner."  She commented on my swollen eyes. "Looks like you've had a rough weekend. Let's go inside."

 

"It's great to meet you. Were you waiting for me?" I asked her.

 

"I can give you a ride home if you need me. But, you're going to have to set up an appointment with the therapist at the hospital before you go home. I've been waiting for about half an hour. I thought you were going to come this morning. It's almost noon now," Daisy said, carefree and talking away. "I'm hungry that's why, and I'm the only one here. But anyhow, follow me." She walked to the back of the office.

 

There was an administrative desk and a large double doors to the side, behind the counter, leading to more rooms inside.

 

"I've been looking forward to meet you. But, let's start with the tour. This is the office, and we do all the paper work here. I'm going to ask you to help me enter some data for the website, take pictures of the puppies, and enter their descriptions...et cetera, et cetera. You've done computer work before?" Her jovial tone was rapid and cheerful, which made it pleasant for me to pay close attention.

 

"Yes. I can do all kinds of work. I'm so happy you're nice," I told her.

 

"Sweetie, this place built me. I met Bernadine when I was 16 years old. I started volunteering just like you. Then they hired me as full-time staff. I'm at school now, starting my junior year in college," said Daisy. "Don't worry. I'll take care of you."

 

Daisy held my shoulder for a short moment, and then my hand. We smiled at each other, and felt intuitively as close as sisters, instantly.

 

"I work well with animals," Daisy said. "And humans."

 

"I'm a sophomore at Silver Creek," I told Daisy.

 

"Oh, I had friends there. I was at a school in Brighton, it's further down closer to Denver, and you're rivals with Longmont and Boulder right?" Daisy asked.

 

"Yup, the armpit of Boulder and Longmont. It's nice there, cozy except for last night," I said.

 

"If Silver Creek was so nice, how come you were raped?" asked Daisy.

 

I wasn't sure how to respond. Daisy was right. If it was so nice in the world, how come I became a rape victim?

 

"Hahaha...just kidding wit' cha," Daisy joked, and looked closely into my eyes, "I can see you still have faith in the world."

 

"Smart," Daisy murmured, while nodding in silence.

 

I felt so naïve.

 

Daisy walked towards the back of the second room, behind the office. "This is the kitchen!"

 

She pointed to the giant sink that was two feet deep, as my eyes followed her every move. "This is your station for the next week and the week after. I'll train you how to wash our babies," said Daisy.

 

"I'm so excited. I love dogs!" I said, as I felt comfortable. I looked to the the right side of the room. "That's a huge fridge! What's in there?" I asked Daisy.

 

"Oh, you can't touch the stuff in the fridge, except for the dog foods. Those are left over sometimes we keep them in the fridge. But the rest is for the on-call vet," Daisy said. She opened the refrigerator and we looked inside, and said, "See. These are vitamins, and medicine, in case they get sick and some vaccines. The vet will be here in at nine in the morning, and off by noon. So you won't see each other."

 

"So where are the puppies?" I asked, yearning for cuddle times with a sweet pup.

 

"Well, some are puppies, the rest are grown up dogs. We have a couple of rabbits in the very back, then some cats, but we have about ten dogs right now," said Daisy. We walked to the swing double doors behind the kitchen. "We're an animal rescue so we're not as large as an animal shelter, but we do the same things. Come, they're here in the back"

 

As soon as the double doors swung open, the cages were the first thing I saw. There were ten floor length metal cages, all about five feet deep inside, with pull up cage dividers in the middle for each of them. The cage doors were wired steel, with up and down latches that were connected to the pull up dividers. The locks on the door were larger than usual, with plastic mats inside the cages on the floor, for the dogs to have a warm surface to sit on. There were five male cages on one side and five female cages on the other.

 

"Aww. This one is so sleepy," I said noticing a drowsy pup as I tried to touch the floppy ears of the sleepy cocker spaniel. The cocker spaniel was on her back, close to the cage door, exposing her ears and belly.

 

"She's funny, her name is Cougar. The vet and I named her, because she met the young lab on the other side on her first day here, and she kept licking him. I think she likes him," said Daisy.

 

"Cougar. Go get him, you little feline," I joked, as my finger barely reacheed Cougar's ears through the metal cages. Cougar wiggled a little and her paws reached up in the air and went back down again, as she fell back into a deep sleep.

 

"I think she's tired right now, sleepy baby," said Daisy, tickled by the sweet sight of a sleeping Cougar.

 

"Each one has their papers done and their shots done seven days after they arrive. The vet makes sure they're good to go in case someone wants them," said Daisy. "If they're not eating, that's a good indicator that they're sick. Just tell one of us, and we'll be on them with some love and meds."

 

"How long do they usually stay here?" I asked.

 

"It's Colorado, we're pretty pet friendly, and especially near the mountains. Boulder and Longmont and the Silver Creek area. They stay probably three months the most, but we've had some that's been here for a year or so. We use the dogs that aren't adopted for behavioral test to become healing dogs. We don't put them down as much here, unless they're really sick," said Daisy. She walked to the end of the row of cages, and pointed to the newest addition, Sampson.

 

"This here, is Sampson, he's our newbie. You'll see their charts in front of their doors, just like in hospitals. Sampson was abused pretty badly, when he's only eight months. You'll love him," she said. Daisy opened the cage and took Sampson out, a pug and daschund mix, but he looked more like a black dwarf beagle. "Hold him for me, you'll just fall in love with him. We all did."

 

Sampson licked my lips and bit my right hand gently. "Oh my gosh, he's so adorable. I love him already," I kissed him back, and hugged him tight to my chest.

 

"You can play with the dogs as soon as your stuff is done. We usually have a list for you to help us out with. Then we just let you lose with the puppies to play with them. You'll love it here," said Daisy.

 

Daisy took Sampson back from me, and held him close, and put him back inside the cage. Sampson had a tenacious spirit and kept on licking Daisy and holding on to her arms, as she let go of him inside the cage.

 

"Yeah, I can already feel it. You'll fall in love here," said Daisy, easing off Sampson's attachment with a few more kisses to his nose. "Did you see how he loves being held by you?"

 

"So, how many of us are there? Bernadine's girls?" I asked Daisy, as we walked towards the front office together.

 

"Oh Just a couple before you. There is me, I've got my story, but after me, there was another girl and another one. But, one got hurt and didn't make it. Also, I have to warn you, we don't usually talk about anyone," Daisy said.

 

"What do you mean got hurt? The perpetrator came after her?" I asked.

 

"Oh no, she hurt herself. It was pretty hard for her, I mean, she was really young, maybe fourteen or so, but that was a long time ago," says Daisy. "She was hurt by her dad, and they moved her out to foster care and she just kept cutting and never stopped."

 

"What's your story Daisy? Mine is pretty confusing," I asked. I wanted to head stories of other victims to help alleviate my pains and traumas.

 

"Let's trade stories later, I just met you. Trading stories is a common type of trading sorrows, however, such method of healing was only appropriate for the right circumstances and with the right people," said Daisy, with apprehension because I asked personal questions from only fifteen minutes of speaking to each other. "Rape victims get discriminated. For some reason, people treat us like we don't belong in the world anymore after the violence. We get looked down upon, as if we hurt the rapist. Sometimes we just keep quiet about it. It's for your own good. We can talk when we know each other better."

 

"I'm sorry Daisy," I said.

 

"Don't worry, but I need you to fill out some paper work. It's for the volunteer position. I think weekends or after school for there hours just for a day is good. Unless you want to do more, but I think six hours per week is more than enough," said Daisy.

 

"I'll do six hours," I said.

 

"Great! I like that idea. Monday through Sunday, pick some days," said Daisy, her smile brought ease to the almost tense atmosphere.

 

"I think Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Those'll be good for me," I said.

 

"If you can, we have fundraising days and party days. I'll give you a notice. We usually put messages for our

volunteers on the back corkboard. So check often, for envelopes with your name on it. That's how I update you, is that okay?" said Daisy. She opened her arms, and gave me a hug.

 

"You're so warm, it's really good to meet you," I said.

 

"Girl, I've been there. So, my story. I was raped by my own father, and he trafficked me to his friends. The sad part is, I get that feeling that just won't go away, the trash feeling. You'll know what I'm talking about, but don't be discouraged. Talk to someone about it," said Daisy. "You have me here and part of the job for me is to be the program coordinator for Bernadine's girls for the animal rescue. It's my job."

 

"How old are you Daisy?" I asked.

 

"I'm thirty years old this year. It's been a long road girl. I've been here at the shelter for almost fifteen years now, and I love it. I just work here full time and go to school part time. Taking it one step at a time," said Daisy, puffing her chest from the sense of accomplishment.

 

"How do you get over the bumps on the road? I mean…how do you handle the comments about being a victim. That type of stuff," I asked Daisy.

 

"I block them out. I have this great mental ability to just ignore people. I know, right, ignorance is bliss. But sometimes you just have to do it, to help yourself in our case. We can't listen to the name-calling, or the whispers that people say about you. I went through high school feeling like a tramp, because I was having sex with old men. But it's really not something that I wanted for myself," said Daisy.

 

"I'm scared about being the target for bullying and racism," I said, "I somehow feel that's the case. Because I was called derogatory names, and there aren't many Asian girls at school."

 

"You can't always look at it from a racism perspective. Unless there is a sudden surge of hate crimes in a period of time. Maybe it's one aspect of it. I'm Latina and there are a lot of derogatory names for every race. That's racism, too, but it's the violence behind it, and the labeling is the effect of it," said Daisy. "As human beings, we want to be the fittest, the strongest and the toughest, the one to survive so we can pass down our generations to our children. People hurt other people to prove they are superior, and to claim they are better than anyone else. They blame others because they refused to see the flaws in themselves and their own race," said Daisy.

 

"I feel scapegoated, and blamed for the circumstances that were not my own creation. I felt battered because someone wanted to oppress me to become stronger. As if they knew my future and wanted to steal the good things in my life so they can have it," I confided in Daisy.

 

"Try to help yourself, so when they start calling you names at school, just leave the premises. Look at it as a violence prevention method. Sometimes you just have to leave them and stay on your own path. Unless it gets bad, then you need to report to the authorities, and fight for your life," said Daisy.

 

The tears sneaked their way out a bit. "I'm sorry, I just start crying automatically now. It's hard to control now," I said. "It's just so hard to ignore anything."

 

"You may want to tell your counselor about that. The hospital is pretty good about giving sliding scales for therapy, for victims without health insurance. So they charge with a sliding scale and especially because you're under twenty-one years old," says Daisy. "It's all good girl, I've got my own diagnosis, I have PTSD, but mild now. I'm great at noticing my own triggers."

 

"I'm scared about having a diagnosis. I don't want to have PTSD, or Bipolar disorder, or anything at all," I said, in sobs. The trauma was yesterday, but now I felt it inside my blood, running through my veins, stabbing my soul.

 

"I've gone through a lot Angel, I'm sorry that I have a diagnosis," said Daisy, her eyes gazed to the side of the room.

 

"Oh gosh, I'm so sorry Daisy. I'm just so scared about being diagnosed with a mental illness," I said to her, holding her hand. I was so afraid of judgments that I accidentally judged a friendly soul.

 

"I know sweetie, it's okay. I just want you to know all races, have their victims. It's the violence, not the race. And it's not about having a diagnosis. It's about moving through it," said Daisy.  "I know, baby. It's okay. I'm really not upset. I know the first few months are the hardest. About the racism stuff, I always say to the people who just hold a prejudice against rape victims of another race, to picture that rape victim as a family member of their same color. Then, and only then, will they see their own mothers, sisters, wives, brothers, or children in the rape victim's eyes. Trust me, people will learn. We'll make it through."

 

My first Sunday as a victim was spent with Daisy, and if there was such a thing as a miracle, she was one in my eyes.

 

 

 

Chapter 11 – Ichabod

 

 

 

The broken pieces inside my heart was nothing to the shredded pieces of papers I tore during first period on Monday. I wrote hundreds of verses, stained with visions of the previous weekend. I was in math class, but I didn't care. I shoved the Trigonometry book to falsely let it fall, but it won't. Michael caught it, as he stood next to my table, invisible by the world except for me. He followed me, day and night, invisibly but his spirit crawled into this soul of mine to shield this life of mine. I hoped nothing foreseeably negative would happen to my life, or as it seemed. I tried to fraudulently sneeze, and Michael stroke his index finger under my nostrils. I breathed in.


"Bless you, Ichabod," said Mr. Fette, in Trigonometry. "Are you finished with tangents and cosines?"

 

I exhaled out frustrations, yet inhaled Michael's dusty scent. I tried to bite his finger, but his spirit shifted to the other side of the room. He might be the ghost who trailed me since birth, I thought to myself. The time when I almost fell off the tree near Leona's house, because no one watched me. I suspended in mid-air at ten years old and I never knew how to express my surprise, or confusion.

 

Now, I was inside this classroom, with a guardian angel, Michael, who was ordained by the heavens to defend me. Grateful I was to feel, but my mental illness led me to fears of why I needed a guardian for my life. Was there imminent danger to my everyday walk? With Michael around me, I became paranoid.

 

The bell rang, and I fumbled to clean my desk and ran towards my locker. Everyone turned in their tangents and cosines pop quizzes, but I just kept mine. I needed to talk to Sunjit, my best friend. Speaking to him gave me ease since we met. Elementary was only three years ago, and nothing would change our friendship. I sincerely hoped, nothing could.

 

The hallway was a crowd and the taller jocks tackled one another, wrestling in the hallways, as others flirtatiously strutted their lingos to girls, "What's up, ladies!" said one of them. Michael steadily followed as every bump towards his ghostly spirit passed through each high schooler.

 

One kid cringed as his hair spiked to the ceilings, and a chill came over him. He whispered, "Something is here." He ran to his locker as he stared at me, mumbling, "No demons nor saints, Please, get away from me…"

 

Sunjit walked towards me with his book bag over his shoulder. His face scowled as if a scab was on his buttocks and he couldn't dress it.

 

"Sunjit, look here," I told him. Our lockers were always close to each other. Sunjit Fajar, with an F, similar as Frenzy, my last name.

 

"Ichabod, my parents, they had another party and I couldn't sleep for half a day. They drank and drank coffee till morning. All I could do by sunrise was yawn," Sunjit said, with his red eyes.


His parents were Indian-American, from large families with multiple siblings from both sides. Their relatives congregated multiple times during the week, turning Sunjit's home into a transient housing for his cousins, aunties and uncles.


"My cousins, all they wanted to hear from me was how to be as tall as me, what type of exercises I do, and what type of clothing I would buy if I was a model," Sunjit complained. "I couldn't phone anyone, and these ears and eyes are sore!"

I breathed in. Michael leaned on the lockers next to me.


"Hey whore! Finished playing your part?!" I heard those words boomed from the other side of the hallway.

 
Sunjit and I were alerted with our eyes wide affront one another. We ran towards the voice as so the others. The crowd stood still as we saw Melody Johnson and her sidekick, Keisha Malone, shoved another girl, an Asian girl, whose face was familiar to my eyes. It was her…the girl in the vision. Angel!


"Whores were never named Angelina, or any form of the sort," said Keisha from Melody's side of the hallway, to the left side of our view. Keisha was a tall brunette, half Creole and Italian, everyone was crazy about her since she transferred in from Boulder High. The hallway was silent, in anticipation for a response.


"I am no such label," said Angelina, in sobs. Angelina was in her grey sweat pants, and a t-shirt, hardly the gorgeous girl in the vision. Her hair in a ponytail with tear stained eyes as if she was a lost puppy. Her petite shoulders shivered, and I wanted to hold her.


"When the most popular cheer squad of Silver Creek High invites you to an exclusive house party…pupils of Silver Creek, would you rummage through her home?!" Melody shouted, her hands pumping the crowd.

 

"Noooo……," almost everyone replied. Except for me and Sunjit.  


"You chinks, came here to build a life or so called it so, but you just steal our business, our money and our resources. You need to know where you belong. Go back where you're from, Angel. You're nothing but a nuisance here. Ungrateful bitch!" said Melody.


"You don't belong here, chink. My ancestors got here first and were slaves here. You respect our people, chink!" Keisha shouted.

 

"Ichabod, would I have been invited to her home?" Sunjit asked me in whispers, he looked into my eyes. "There were ladies there, eligible maidens?"

 

I shook my head, "Not our business," I replied. Sunjit slowly returned his gaze to Melody, and back to me, "It was our business…..Keisha, Melody, this Angel, there were others…."

 

I took his jaw and returned it forefront to the ordeal that was about to unfold. Another girl came to the scene, another halfie, with braids, heart shaped face and beautiful. I knew Sunjit would notice her. As expected, Sunjit gasped, and held his chest.

 

"Angel, stay back," the girl in long silky braids took Angel by her side and stood by her. They backed to the lockers and let Melody and Keisha gained the attention.


"Samantha,…they hate me so much," said Angelina. "I don't deserve to be ridiculed after what happened." Angelina looked distraught and closed her eyes with her palms, turning around on the spot and reached out to Samantha.


"You two need to let Angel be," Samantha calmly stretched out her arms and drew a vast space between Melody and Keisha from Angelina.


Sunjit looked to me, and said, "There were others…, beautiful others."


I shook my head, and took his jaw and moved his face to focus on the scene of Melody and Keisha.

 

Samantha peacefully calmed Melody and Keisha, who were hawks about to swoop their prey. "Angelina is an immigrant. No need to call her racial slurs," said Samantha, her arms stretched in front of her.


"The whore has to tame down her manes," Melody yelled out loud.

 

"Do you even know The Civil War, chink?!" Keisha shouted, edging everyone to prejudice. "You never fought for our country, cunt!" Keisha looked to Samantha and asked, "You seriously gonna fight for the chink, whore?"


"Who did you call whore?! I'm biracial, bitch!" Samantha lost her calm and jumped towards Melody to pounce her face, as Keisha jolted forward and separated them. Keisha took her right leg shoving Samantha to the other side of the wall. Samantha fell backwards yet held herself up with her hands, as Angelina got up to batterfang Melody. The four girls fought hard, and ripping out Samantha's braids, pouncing faces and causing a violent scene in the hallway in mid-morning on a Monday.

 

Sunjit and I stood back in awe with our mouth gaped open. This must have been a comet of a fight in the history of Silver Creek High School. But, one should never assume.


"What beauty crossed my path?" said Sunjit. "Ichabod, she's a rose, the braided one."

 

"I just saw the Angel inside my dreams?" I said. A vision of Angelina manifested in front of me.

 

"Her energy, … of a champion," Sunjit said. I rolled my eyes, as I knew all Sunjit could relate to in the world was about track and field. It was about "energy" for Sunjit, but my eyes was fixated on Angel.

 

"She caused the fight," I told Sunjit. "The cute one with braids."


Assistant Principal Rawlins burst the scene with his whistle separating the crowd. Principal Rawlins took his body in between Keisha and Samantha and managed to keep them away from each other. Collin came from the other side of the hallway, and took Angelina from Melody.


"I heard the whistle," Collin yelled. "What happened? Angel, stay calm!"

 

Angelina cradled into Collin's arms, as they sat on the floor and Angelina sobbed in distress. A jab jolted me from within, as if my heart had a prickle of a needle from Collin's touch. Melody ticked nervously with Collin in the hallway as she stood still next to Keisha.


"Samantha, Angelina, what happened?" Principal Rawlins placed his hands in front of him standing in between the four girls with Melody and Keisha on one side, and Angelina and Samantha on the other.


"They started it!" Keisha yelled out. "Samantha threw the first punch!"


"Samantha, is that true?" Principal Rawlins asked her. Samantha stood next to Angelina and Collin who were both on the ground. She looked directly to Melody, and told her, "You threw the verbal abuse. That's personal injury."


Principal Rawlins whistled another call. "Stop!" he placed his hands in front of him with his back towards Samantha, separating her from Melody and Keisha. "This has got to stop!" His once jolly face was distressed with his eyes wide as if he was about to swallow his whistle.


"Everyone go back to your classes!" Assistant Principal Rawlins cleared everyone in the hallway.

Sunjit and I were engrossed and suddenly invested in Angel and Samantha, deeply, intently, and emotionally. "Mine, the one with braids…that power! Ballsy," Sunjit said to me, shaking his head.


I looked around to find Michael, and he stood near my locker that was left opened. He held on to his sword, as if Armageddon was about to happen.


"I'm on a mission, Ike," said Sunjit. I clenched my fist and tabbed his fist over and underside. Sunjit laughed and ran to his class. I stood still to wait and listened to my guardian.

Michael came closer, and said, "Allowable, but not the most opportune time to meet Angel. You will have another. Wait for it."

 

 

 

Chapter 12 - Angelina

 

 

 

Collin twirled my fingers, as he always did when we had fights. His smile was worth waiting for. His short dirty blonde curls were perfect to my soft hands as I ran through them. We waited inside the nurse's office, where Samantha and Principal Rawlins talked about the fight in the exam room.


"What happened, baby?" Collin asked me.


"I think I was raped," I told him. My tears quenched as my heart shattered into pieces. Soft whispers eluded me, a voice of a man, who said, "He won't comfort you." The disturbing voice lingered inside my ears as it echoed inside my thoughts.

 

I looked around the vicinity of my chair, as Collin pulled my hands to his face. My eyes back towards Collin as he kisses my palms. My hands touched his face and my heart beats stronger for his touch.


"By whom?" Collin held my hands, his eyes moistened and tears rolled down his eyes. I didn't anticipate his tears, but it felt sweet, warm, loving, kind and compassionate to my heart. It was what I needed most.


Principal Rawlins and Samantha walked out of the exam room, and as they walked out, Samantha told me, "Suspension, a week."


Principal Rawlins pulled a chair to sit near me, as Collin gave us space, "What happened at Melody's party?"

 

"I woke up in an empty room and I felt raped," I told him.

 

"Did you make a police report?' Principal Rawlins asked me.


"I made it through the SANE exam," I said.


Samantha stood behind Principal Rawlins, and said, "Mr. Rawlins, labeling is considered violence. Angelina was hurt, and I don't know why Melody would call anyone that, but everyone heard it."


"Sam, you caused a scene!" I couldn't help but shout to her.


"Angel, do you know what happened to you?" Samantha yelled back. "It might be a hate crime."


My tears kept flowing as my cheeks felt apple red out of anger. I never compared myself to anyone based on race or my ancestry. I came here with Papa to escape a dysfunctional family, and not to steal resources from any one of any race. Every race had struggles, and it was never my intent to compare or ridicule or degrade the troughs our ancestors walked. I felt shamed but I knew I shouldn't, because I was allowed to have a life worth living for here in the United States, the land of freedom and justice for all. "Is this because I'm Chinese-Indonesian?" I asked Samantha.


"Everyone calm down," said Assistant Principal Rawlins.


"Who did this to you?" Collin asked me. "The rape, I mean."


"I don't know," I said, as I sat on my chair, myself still confused of what happened.


"What did Melody mean when she said you mistreated her parent's home?" Samantha asked me. "I was there at the party, Angelina. What happened?"


"I drank something Merrick gave me, then I woke up in an empty bedroom, and I was raped," I said, with tears in my eyes. I didn't know how to explain it any other way.  This was the truth, and I felt imprisoned. Please don't say I'm incompetent. Please don't blame me. I feel bad enough, I thought to myself.

 

"Merrick? You met him? What was he doing there?" asked Collin, thirsty for information.


"I don't know. He was Melody's brother. I don't know anyone else, I thought Samantha was there, but she left early," I said.


"Did Samantha drink, too?" Assistant Principal Rawlins was furious about the new information.


"They put the test tubes to my mouth, and sort of forced me to drink it," I said.

 

"Then what happened after that night? Did you tell the police?" asked Collin.

 

"I woke up in some rape shelter and my Papa met me there. He missed work because I had the car all night," I said.

 

"I shouldn't have suggested the party," said Samantha, her hands to her face.


"What can I do to help you?" Collin asked me. I finally could breathe.


"Please don't break up with me," I said. "I know I'm damaged, but I didn't mean to drink and become a rape victim. Please Collin. I'm so sorry."

 

"I started it, and I'm so sorry," said Samantha. "I lost it when they called me a whore."


"Sam, you know what to do for a week," said Assistant Principal Rawlins. "Collin, why don't you take Angelina home. Angel, after today, you have to go to the Nurse and do your program. Bernadine designed the program for you. It's your job to keep it together."


Collin took my book bag and we walked to the parking lot. We passed a strange kid with deep set eyes and dark brown hair, staring at me and Collin as we walked outside our school.


Collin opened the passenger door to his Highlander SUV, and I slid on to the seat. He walked to the driver's side and slid into his seat and started the car. "What kind of person would fight the Pedigree Siblings?"

 
"They're not as nice as you think," I said. "When I woke up, Melody bullied me out of her house and I felt so bad, Collin. I wished it never happened!"


"You know we've been dating, Angel, then why did you talk to Merrick? Were you flirting?" Collin asked me, his voice tense and his jaw looked clenched.


My eyes began to water and told him, "No…he was flirting with me."

 
"This is not good for me," said Collin, because his parent's restaurants were The Johnson's competitor for over a decade. "They're going to think I'm out to ruin them."

 
"How is this about you?" I asked in anger. "I was the one who got raped."

 
"But, I'm affected by this!" Collin yelled at me, as he started the car, and I couldn't help but sob.


"I thought you wanted to help me?" I said, lowering my tone, trying to de-escalate our fight. The last thing I want is for the love of my life, thus far, to break up with me.


"Not good, Angel. This is not good," said Collin. His face reminded me of a losing war.

 

To be continued, ...Just write.

 

 

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