Excerpt for Love and Sorrow by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Love & Sorrow

Tears of the Dragon, Book 1

T. L. Jenkins

Dream Big Publishing

West Columbia, SC


For Trinity Hackney

***

Being deeply loved by someone

gives you strength, while loving

someone deeply gives you

courage

Lao Tzu


This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used factiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Dream Big Publishing

A publication of Dream Big Publishing

West Columbia, SC

Copyright 2017 by T. L. Jenkins

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in

whole or in part in any form.

Dream Big Publishing is a registered trademark of

Dream Big Publishing.

Manufactured in the United States of America

All rights reserved.

Summary: Meara Lovechild is anything but normal. Normalcy doesn’t apply to one who has been blind from birth, and diagnosed autistic at the age of two, unable to be touched by anyone – not even her parents. Tutored since the age of six, she is unexpectedly thrust into the school system at the age of thirteen, and learns the true brutality of teenage bullying. Brutally beaten, thirteen-year-old Meara finds her world turned upside down, and Martial Arts is the key for control over the elemental power awakening within her. A deadly family secret sends her already turbulent life on a tailspin of lies, and deceit, as a deadly Assassin sets eyes on destroying everything she holds dear.

9781370995783

[1. Young Adult – Fiction 2. Action]

T. L. Jenkins

Copyright 2017 by T. L. Jenkins

Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved.





Chapter 1

Odd Beginnings


My world consisted of bright colours, loud sounds, and the painful nearness of others. In all, I was overloaded! I couldn’t stand being touched by anyone, not even my own parents, and that went back as far as I could remember. I couldn’t understand how the Doctors, my parents brought me to see over the years, could diagnose me as being both blind and autistic. It didn’t make any sense at all. All the people I talked to, talked of a world of darkness. My world wasn’t dark. If anything, it was too bright, too full of everything in the vicinity crashing upon me all at once! My young mind was overwhelmed. The colours blended into a swirling stream that collided with sounds, and the nearness of people’s presences. I couldn’t shut them out, not even in sleep.

I spent most of my young life learning from a tutor, for, I couldn’t stand being in a classroom full of other students. It hurt too much. She taught me how to read and write with raised dots known as braille, as well as how to walk on my own with a stick. I had a nasty habit of walking into things without it. It wasn’t until I was ten, that I was able to sort some of what was entering my mind into a semblance of order. I could differentiate between people and objects, though, I still had a hard time with sounds, especially if there were too many coming at me at once. I was thirteen when my parents decided to see if I could handle being in a real school.

I sat stunned. My father’s words chilled me. Needing to confirm that I had heard him right, I asked numbly, “You’re sending me to school?”

“We can’t afford a Tutor. Just before she left, your Tutor had you do an assessment, placing you in the Eighth Grade.” My father, Richard Lovechild, explained again. I could hear and feel his annoyance at repeating the obvious. He loved me, yet, he also felt I was a burden. I had always known this, and it had never bothered me before, till now. He was ex-special ops in the military and didn’t know that I knew this and other things as well. It was why I couldn’t touch him or have him touch me. The same went for Mom, who was sitting across from me at the breakfast table. I have not touched either one of them since I was two.

“Please, Meara.” My mother, Miranda Lovechild, sighed. I could tell she was exhausted. Between dealing with a child like me and her work as an interpreter for several Foreign Conglomerates, she had little time to rest. Today she was struggling not to voice her true feeling towards me, though, personally, she shouldn’t have worried. I already knew how much she regretted giving birth to me, though deep down she did love me. This only made the guilt she felt worse.

“I understand.” I told them calmly, though inside, I quaked with terror. “It just startled me is all, I hadn’t expected to be placed into a school so soon.” Or so late in the year. It’s March and the school year ends at the end of June. Four months left and they want to shove me into the school system?

Both of them sighed, relaxing their guard. They had thought I would put up a fight.

“Though, I don’t read or write the way they do.” I sighed, “How is this going to work?”

“There will be a Teacher’s Aid available for you in all your classes.” Father informed me. “They will guide you to your next class and help you to understand. They will also be the one marking and grading your work if the Teacher cannot understand Braille.”

So…they even anticipated this problem. I grumbled silently as I started to eat my breakfast.

“A Driver will pick you up every morning and take you to school where someone, chosen by the Principal, will guide you around the school. The Driver will also pick you up after school and bring you home.” Father told me as both of them started to eat their own breakfasts.

“So…when does this start?” I asked casually.

“Today.” Mother answered.

I dropped my fork full of eggs, squeaked, “Today?!”

“Yes. So, finish eating.” Mother continued calmly as If I hadn’t just panicked.

Shakily, I finished my breakfast, though my stomach churned. I now understood why she had me wear this suit. I couldn’t quite figure out the colour of it, but the dark blazer matched the dark skirt. The blouse at least was light and the dark tie now made sense. She had even braided my long dark hair so that it was back off my face. I was at least able to understand white and dark, but shades and colours still mystified me.

Mom guided me to the waiting dark car. The man standing at the rear door seemed shadowed. It made me uneasy as we approached him.

I gripped my school bag and walking stick like lifelines. The glasses mom forced me to wear, gave me something to hide behind as I took the backseat, buckling up for the trip to the school. The stick and glasses would show everyone that I was blind, and hopefully, make my transition easier. Easier for the students, not for me.

“I will bring her home safely, Mrs. Lovechild.” The Driver reassured mom before he took his spot behind the wheel.

The trip to the school was a strained one. The Driver didn’t speak to me the entire way. Only when he handed me over to a strange girl, did he speak.

“I will be waiting for her here after school.” He told the girl. “Make sure she’s not late.” Then he was back in the car, driving off.

“Wow.” She grumbled, “Someone’s having a bad day.”

I sighed, “He didn’t care for being made a chauffeur to a blind girl.” It was the truth. His skills were being wasted on driving me around.

She giggled, then said, “I’m Kim Davenport. I’m your escort for this week. The Grade Tens will be taking turns escorting you, so not one person takes on the entire responsibility alone.”

“Just as long as I don’t become a burden.” I grumbled, “That’s the last thing I want.”

“No burden.” Kim told me as she walked with me towards the school.

I was aware of the curiosity coming from the other students as I used my cane out of habit, not that I actually needed it. Too my surprise, I wasn’t in pain. I could still feel the pressure of them around me, but not like before. Maybe I’ve become tolerant.

I was wrong. As soon as I stepped into the school, the pressure of being around a flood of students all heading for their classes, became painful. By the time Kim got me to my first class and seated in my desk, I was sweat soaked and vibrating from the pain.

“Are you okay?” Kim asked peering into my face in concern. “You don’t look too well.”

“I’ll be fine.” I told her tying to brave it out. “I’m not used to being around so many people.”

“Okay.” Kim relented, though I knew she didn’t think I was going to be okay. She left just as the Teacher entered the room followed by a woman.

“Good morning class.” He called bringing the talking to a halt and forcing everyone to take their seats. Once he had everyone’s attention, he added, “For the benefit of our new student, I’m Mr. Harris. I’m your Homeroom Teacher. This is Miss Marshall, you will be seeing her in every class. She’s here to help your new classmate.” He then looked at me, said, “Miss Lovechild, can you please stand?”

Trembling, I got to my feet as every eye turned to look at me. Again, I was glad I wore glasses.

“She’s blind?” The startled whispering filled the room.

“As you can see, Miss Lovechild is blind.” Mr. Harris stated the obvious. “Miss Marshall will be helping her to understand and adjust to being in a school. She has been tutored most of her time at home and this is her first experience being around others, so, try not to make her time within our school too hard. Miss Lovechild, you may be seated.”

I sank trembling into my seat as Miss Marshall walked over to me. She took a vacant chair from the desk beside me and sat down next to me.

“Pleasure meeting you, Meara.” She said as Mr. Harris started to take roll call. “I will help you as best I can to find your classes and to help you with your work. At breaks, a student will show you around the school.”

“Thank you.” I whispered.

With that, my first day began. I struggled through each class. Even with Miss Marshall’s help, I found myself making mistakes. My fingers read the dots, but, I couldn’t focus through the pain. All I wanted was to escape to a place where there wasn’t anyone around.

I wish I was at home. I sighed, miserable in my English class, as I finished the last sentence in the chapter I was following along with the girl reading it aloud. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. At least no one has tried to touch me.

“Okay.” Mr. Fraser, my English Teacher sighed, “Let’s stop there for today, but, I want that chapter done, and the next for tomorrow, along with a review of what the story is about so far, and what you thought of the characters.”

Miss Marshall helped me pack up my books just as the bell rang for first break. She showed me to my next class: Math. After I got my things organized on my desk, Kim arrived to show me around the school.

Kim talked up a storm as she led me around like a puppy. All the while, the students watched us. I could feel their eyes following our every move as she led me through teeming halls. The only thing that was good about it, the talking would stop as soon as we entered a new hall only to fill with hushed whispers as we passed. This eased the pain coming from my ears, but did nothing for the pain caused by so many people.

“This is the cafeteria.” Kim said as she led me into chaos. “It’s not lunch yet, but students like to gather here, to either, go over the work they had failed to complete, or to study for exams.”

I nodded as I followed her to another door. This one led outside. I couldn’t stop the relieved sigh I let out once we were out of the school.

Kim giggled. “Still not used to being around people?”

“No.” I told her honestly.

“Give it time.” Kim advised as she started to follow a paved walkway that led to the back of the school. She led me to another large building that was not attached to the main school, said as we went in, “This is the gym. I’m not sure if you’re scheduled for it, but, I thought I’d show it to you anyways.”

I was, but, I didn’t tell her that as I followed her inside. Father didn’t care that I was blind. He had made me workout every day. Pushing me till I dropped from exhaustion. Some of the exercises he had me do, were weird at first, but, in time, I learned the use of them as my body grew stronger. My favorite was the rope climbing, along with rock climbing, I didn’t need eyes for them.

“Yo! Kim!” A guy’s voice hailed from the other side of the gym. I dimly saw a shadowy figure step away from other coloured shadows to start towards us, and again I wished the colours would work itself out. “Who’s your new friend?”

“This is Meara.” Kim told him happily when he stopped next to her. “She’s the one we will be guiding around this year.”

“She looks fit.” He mused as he looked me over.

“My father’s ex-military.” I told him with a grimace as if that explained everything.

He laughed, then said, “My father’s ex-military too, so, I know the feeling. He’s always pushing me to do better.”

My expression turned sour, said without thinking, “Father believes everyone should be military trained whether they are military or not. The only handicap is the one we place in our minds.” This brought the memory of father trying to teach me hand-to-hand combat. Mother had torn a verbal strip from him as she tried to staunch the flow of blood from my lip and nose. My eye had swelled up tight which didn’t bother me any for I didn’t use it anyways. After that, he focused on building my strength. Though, I really did want to learn.

The guy laughed, “I guess it didn’t go as he planned?”

“No.” I sighed shaking my head, “Mom tore a strip out of him when he thought I could learn hand-to-hand combat. He forgot I couldn’t see.” Left the rest to his imagination.

“God!” The guy choked.

Kim gasped, “Were you hurt?”

I grinned, “Not really. Mom thought he had killed me. I kept swatting her, trying to stop her from cleaning me up. I wanted to keep fighting, even though I couldn’t see. Despite the pain, I found I liked it.” I shrugged my shoulders, added, “I guess I am weird.”

The bell rang.

“Okay, I got to get you back to your class.” Kim chuckled.

I was about to follow her, turned to look at the guy, asked softly, “What is your name?”

That startled both.

“Oh.” The guy said sheepishly, “I’m Nolan Davenport, Kim’s cousin.”

“Pleasure meeting you Nolan.” I grinned then turned and followed Kim back to the school.

Math class was interesting. I even had the chance to give correct answers aloud after three students failed to give the correct answer. I had figured it out in my head. Simple. The only problem, they had been told to write the answer on the board, I had done the entire equation in my head. The feeling of dissension rose as I continued to give correct answers as the Teacher called on me after several students failed. I guess they figured being blind also meant I was an idiot.

My classmates swept out of the room for lunch as Kim entered to help me.

Miss Marshall thanked her then left to go eat hers in the staffroom. She had been oblivious to the tension between me and the other students in the class.

“What’s wrong?” Kim instantly knew something was up.

I sighed, “I think I just made enemies with my entire class.”

“How did you manage that?” She asked startled.

“By being smarter than them.” I told her bluntly as I followed her into the hall. “I guess they thought a blind person’s also stupid. I heard some of them growling under their breaths. The idea of my being able to answer math equations in my head, alienated them all to the point of almost hating me. Both Teachers failed to read them, and decided to test how much I could answer correctly. As a joke, Miss Marshall gave me a calculus problem. Seeing as it was already too late to save the situation, I answered that one correctly too.”

“You did?” Kim was stunned.

“I know I’ve been tutored.” I told her morosely, as we started down the stairs to the main floor. “I just didn’t know that my tutor had been teaching me advanced mathematics, until Miss Marshall told me, just before you showed up.”

Kim giggled helplessly as we headed for the cafeteria. Our conversation put on hold as we waited in line. She had gotten a tray for both of us to share. After the tray was filled, she led me to a table near the outside door.

“Why the long face?” Nolan’s voice startled me, as the coloured shadow next to me shifted.

Kim filled him in, and when she had finished, he started to laugh. He found it hilarious.

I ate in silence, forcing the food into me though my stomach churned with unease. I had gym class after lunch, and didn’t want to be overstuffed with food, so only ate lightly.

“You’re not going to finish?” Kim asked concerned when I gently pushed the tray away.

“Got gym next.” I told her. “An overstuffed belly will make me cramp.”

“Military training?” Kim asked surprised.

“No.” I grimaced, said dryly, “I call it experience.”

That made Nolan choke, “you have the mannerisms of an adult.”

I blinked in surprise, though, they didn’t see it through my glasses, asked, “I do?”

“You do, and that alone will make you stand out more than being blind and smart.” Kim filled me in, added worriedly, “Not many students take kindly to an adult as it is, but, with you, they may see it as you looking down on them.”

I turned sullen at her words, for she spoke truth. I had never been around other kids, so had no idea what a kid was supposed to sound like. All I had around me had been adults. The unease that I had felt earlier, started to grow within me.

Kim took our trays away as I sat beside Nolan, who had gone silent with worry. We still had half an hour before next class. She returned and the three of us headed outside for some fresh air. We found a spot in the field and sat on the grass. For some reason, these two didn’t bother me as much as the others did, and that surprised me. Even Miss Marshall had been a strain to be near, but, I had toughed it out, though I had been in pain all day. It had been like having a toothache that wouldn’t go away.

I started to thump my stick gently on a tuft of multi-coloured spider grass. My mind worried over my dilemma. I didn’t want to make enemies, but, obviously, in ignorance, I had. I wondered if there was a way to rectify this, before it turned ugly. I stopped when a multi-coloured butterfly landed on the end of my stick. Slowly, it opened and closed its wings sending an array of colours swirling in the coloured air. It was lovely. When it took off, I sighed in regret as I watched it fly away.

“I thought you couldn’t see?” Kim asked softly.

“I can’t.” I told her sadly, “Not like you. My world is Multi-coloured. I can tell light from dark, but, I can’t name the colours I see, or make out anything but coloured shadows of people and objects. I know what things are, like that butterfly that had landed on the tip of my cane.” I gave her a sad smile, added softly, “I don’t really need the cane to navigate. It’s just to let people know that I’m different.”

Nolan chuckled softly, “Different is nice.”

I had been scared to ask my parents, so now asked them in a small voice, “Can you tell me what colour my hair and eyes are? I really want to know, but, I couldn’t bring myself to ask my parents. They seemed touchy whenever I tried to ask them. I find it hard to look at myself in a mirror. It hurts my head.”

Kim sighed and removed my glasses, “Your eyes are a dark blue like the ocean.”

“Crimson.” Nolan hesitated as if uncomfortable, “Your hair. It’s a dark shade of red known as crimson. It’s beautiful.”

Kim choked as if she was trying hard not to laugh. I couldn’t blame her, for his attraction towards me was very obvious.

“I can’t believe you’re thirteen.” Nolan groaned unhappily as he leaned against the tree, added, “And technically not exactly blind.”

“Are you disappointed?” I asked softly, wondering if Kim had told him my age, for I hadn’t mentioned it.

“Just about your age.” Nolan admitted with a deep sigh. “You’re two grades below me, but, it wouldn’t look good for a fifteen-year-old to date a thirteen-year-old.”

I was surprised he had admitted his attraction for me. What is it about these two, that I find being with them soothing? In fact, I hadn’t even flinched when Kim took my glasses off. If Mom or Dad tried that, I would have freaked.

The warning bell rang, ending our conversation.

Kim led me back inside as Nolan headed for his class. Once again, the pressure of people sent a stab of pain through my head and had to rely on my stick to get through the halls. I got to my locker and took out my gym bag that mom had gotten ready for me. I had no idea what was inside and hoped it didn’t make me look terrible. Bad enough to be blind and already disliked by my classmates, I didn’t want to be a laughing stock as well.

Kim almost had me running to get to the gym before second bell. I felt guilty, for this would make her late for her class.

“Don’t worry.” Kim told me, as she handed me over to the Gym Teacher. “I get special allowance for being your guide and so will the others when we change off.”

The tall, coloured shadow of the Gym Teacher instantly filled me with anxiety. I felt dwarfed by him and wished Kim had stayed longer.

“I’m Mr. Gregory.” He told me in a gentle yet deep voice which surprised me. “You must be Miss Meara Lovechild.”

“Yes sir.” I told him uneasily.

“Miss Lambert!” He suddenly shouted, bringing an instant reaction from the bleachers.

“Yes sir!” A girl ran up to us.

“Make sure this lady gets changed into her gym clothes properly, then bring her over to the mats.” He told her briskly.

“Yes sir!” She turned to me and asked, “Can you follow my voice?”

“Yes.” I answered as I focused on her shadow.

She then started to talk about the gym and what was going to happen once I got to the mats. All through her talk, we walked slowly down the wall, until we came to a darker shadow. She opened the door and held it as I used my stick to guide my path inside.

The talk inside instantly halted when the girls saw me. I could feel their dislike as Miss Lambert stiffened beside me.

“If you are dressed, please go out to the mats.” She told them in a voice filled with authority. I had no idea who this girl was, but, clearly, they did. Instantly there was a rush for the door. Once they were gone and the door closed, she added in a dry voice, “Even I felt their malice towards you. What did you do to make them dislike you so much?”

“I’m smarter than they are.” I told her simply. “They thought stupidity went with being blind, and had a shock in math class, when I had to answer a few calculus questions with just my head.”

“Good for you!” she chuckled, “Now, how about we get you changed.”

I found a spot on one of the benches between a set of metal lockers. Taking out my clothes from the bag, I wondered what my mom had figured was appropriate gym wear.

“Wow!” The girl breathed in awe. “Who packed your gym bag?”

Swallowing nervously, I answered, “My Mom. Why? Is there a problem with them?”

She giggled, “Not by my standards, or Teaches, but, the girls who just left, are going to be green with envy.”

I sighed, “Might as well add that to the list.”

Again, I made her laugh as she helped me out of my uniform and into the two-piece gym clothes my mom sent. From the fabric, and the way it clung to my body, I knew it was a yoga outfit. I just wished I could see what colour it was.

“Wow! You are muscular.” She breathed as I pulled the fabric till it felt right. “You look like a fiery angel in that black and red outfit.” Then chuckled nastily, “The guys are going to fall all over themselves in stunned awe.”

I blushed, as I took up my cane and followed her back into the gym.

The noise instantly turned into silence. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me as I walked with the girl towards the group of shadows at the back of the gym. My heart raced as the feeling of malice grew the closer I drew to the group.

The large shadow of the Teacher cleared his throat, asked gently, “Miss Lovechild, how much physical training have you acquired, and from whom?”

“My father had to improvise a training schedule around my blindness.” I told him softly. “He’s ex-military and believes, the only handicap, is the one we have in our minds. He trained me like he would one of his troops, sir.” Then added, “He’s also a mixed martial arts instructor at a Dojo here in the city.”

That instantly brought the malice down to a manageable level.

“I couldn’t run laps, so, my father had me run on a treadmill.” I continued. “All the exercises his men did, I did, the ones that don’t need sight to complete anyways.” My voice must have had turned dry, for there were a few chuckles from the guys. “Rope climbing, with or without the use of legs. Rock wall climbing. He even had me climb a tree once till Mom put a stop to that.”

“I see.” He chuckled. “Well, while your classmates run laps, I will get you working with Miss Lambert on the mats.”

The class instantly started to run around the edge of the gym as Miss Lambert got me doing stretches to warm up my muscles. We finished just as the class fell in on the whistle the Teacher blew.

“Okay.” He called out gaining everyone’s attention. “Today we are going to work on flexibility, so everyone, partner up with someone close to your height.”

My partner was Miss Lambert.

“Now sit facing your partner.” He instructed.

I had a feeling what was coming next, instantly tensed and held up my hand.

“Miss Lovechild?” He asked.

“Do you have a double looped rope?” I asked shakily. “I’m going to need it for this stretch.”

For a moment, I thought he was going to refuse, then he sighed, “Your autism acting up?”

“Yes sir.” I told him in a tight voice. “It’s why I had been homeschooled sir.”

I guess my classmates hadn’t been informed of that, instantly, there were gasps and I could feel sympathy flowing at me from most of them.

The rope was brought and instantly the tension I had felt faded as Miss Lambert and I started to use our legs to stretch into a split. I let her go as far as she could, then gently applied pressure to force them wider, until she was in a complete split, using the rope to pull her body forward. Stopped only when she let out a trembling moan. I held that for a few breathes, then slowly released till she let out a tremulous sigh of relief. I repeated this process ten times, then switched so she could do the same to me.

She used her legs to force mine wide. I almost giggled when she had to put her shoes on my ankles, then slowly brought her legs together as mine went into a full split. She held there as she started to pull me forward as her feet and legs kept me in that split. I didn’t stop till I was flat to the floor and grinned at her.

“Damn!” Someone breathed in awe, and I knew I was being watched by the entire class.

Miss Lambert let me go and I used my hands to lift my legs into the air while still in the splits, then slowly brought them together, before slowly bending my back till my but touched my head. I finished by stepping onto the floor and standing straight facing my partner. A controlled flip.

“Now that’s flexibility.” Miss Lambert chuckled getting to her feet.

“Show off.” Someone breathed and again a wave of malice flowed at me making me shiver in reaction. I couldn’t tell who had spoken, and from the reaction of the class, knew I was the only one who had heard it.



Chapter 2

A Flying Star


My troubles started right after gym class. My uniform vanished from the change room, leaving me to head for my next class in my gym clothes. The Teacher had advised me that a report of the theft would be given, even as he gave me a written letter of why I was not in uniform, as Kim came to collect me.

The stares from the students unnerved me as I walked beside Kim to my next class: Science.

“I can’t believe someone would do such a thing.” Kim growled angrily. She could see the looks the students were giving me, I couldn’t. “I hope they catch her and expel her from school.”

I had to agree with her that the thief had to be a girl, for the guys wouldn’t dare enter the girls’ change room. I shouldn’t have done that move.

“If she was hoping to embarrass you,” Kim went on, “It didn’t work. So far, every guy had taken double looks at you. Some have even done the wave thing that means ‘hot’.”

I groaned in dismay, glad I couldn’t see the things she saw. The thought of going home like this, sent a chill through me. For the first time, I hated being blind. Not able to see those who hated me, or to fight for my honour, burned in my heart, as I took my seat at one of the lab tables.

Kim left me in the hands of Miss Marshall who moaned over the fact I had my uniform stolen. Inside, I gritted over the fact that I was helpless to fight back.

“Who would bully a helpless girl like you?” Miss Marshall continued to bemoan the issue. Her words only made the chill inside me harden into a cold lump. I didn’t want, or need her pity, but, I got it anyways. “Picking on a poor helpless blind autistic girl is the lowest thing a person could do.”

I was just glad she didn’t hug me. The thought of her touching me sent a shudder of revulsion up my spine. The woman had serious daddy issues that I didn’t care to share. Her perversion gave me the creeps as I struggled to maintain a semblance of control as she sat next to me.

Three tables down and across from us came hushed giggles. I knew they were the culprits, but, had no proof other than their laughing over my state of dress. I wondered what they had done to my uniform as the Teacher started his lecture on the periodic table.

I couldn’t focus. The class went by in a blur as my rage over the injustice dealt to me swirled chaotically through my seething mind. Even when the class ended and I was once more walking to my last class with Kim, I was too enraged to speak. She walked beside me in silence as those we passed instantly hushed. I could feel their eyes, but didn’t care. All I wanted was for this day to end so I could go home and get reamed out by my parents for being an idiot.

A tall shimmering shadow blocked our path.

“Miss Lovechild?” I instantly recognized the Principal’s voice and froze.

“Yes sir?” I answered in a tight voice.

“It seems we found your uniform.” He seemed uneasy as if embarrassed.

I didn’t like what his tone was implying, asked, “Will I be needing a new one sir?”

He sighed, “Yes. I have one here for you to put on. It’s a bit small, but, it will do the trick till one fitting your size can be ordered.”

Kim took the uniform from him.

He was about to leave when I asked softly, “What did they do to it?”

The Principal hesitated, then said softly, “Its best you don’t know. Just be assured they will be found and punished for this.”

I instantly felt sick as a picture filled my mind of my uniform inside a toilet covered in excrement. Even the smell filled me as I swallowed trying to keep my lunch from expelling onto the floor. I whispered, “Thank you sir. I’m sorry to cause you and your school so much trouble.” The tears I had been trying to hold back flowed down my face.

“You are not to blame for this.” He sighed gruffly, “There will be no charge for the uniform. The ones’ responsible will take full responsibility for their actions. You just go get changed and get to class.”

“Thank you, sir.” I whispered.

Kim took me to the nearest washroom and helped me change. The uniform was indeed small. I had to leave the blazer half done up, for it wouldn’t close over my breasts. At least the blouse fit. The skirt was tight but manageable, though it hung mid-thigh like a mini-skirt instead of just above the knee. I could at least blend in now as Kim led me to my last class: History.

The class was in full session when I took my seat. All eyes watched me, and again, I heard the hushed giggles. I hated being the victim as I sat at my desk unable to do anything.

The P.A. system crackled, then, “Mr. Theron? Can you please send students, Marron Deval, Sheila Blaine, and Dalia Richards to the office please?”

I stiffened, for those were the three doing all the giggling.

“Okay, you three girls, head for the office.” Mr. Theron sighed from the front of the class. He waited till they left before going back to his lecture on Japan and its history.

I worried over what the Principal would do to them as my fingers flowed over the dots in my history book. Flustered, I realized I had forgotten what I had read. I had to go back over the line twice as my face burned. Even after class had ended, and I was walking to the front entrance to meet my ride, the worry stayed.

“See you tomorrow.” Kim told me as I buckled my seat belt.

“See you tomorrow.” I answered softly, then we were pulling away.

My Driver again drove in silence as I stared gloomily at nothing.

The drive seemed longer and instantly went on guard, I asked, “Is something wrong?”

“No. Why do you ask?” He growled annoyed that I had spoken to him.

“The drive is longer.” I told him bluntly. “So, where are you taking me?”

“Your father wants you to join him at the Dojo.” He told me. I could sense surprise in his voice and wondered about that as we drove into the city. Then, he added, “Did you have a growth spurt today?”

Confused, I asked, “No. Why do you think that?”

“Your uniform.” He seemed amused, “It must have shrunk, for it doesn’t fit the way it did this morning.”

My face burned, mumbled, “There was an incident at the school and I had to get a replacement.” Prayed he wouldn’t push for more info as I sat huddled in the seat.

A heavy silence filled the car, then, he said, “Oh.”

The rest of the drive was done in silence as I struggled to hold back angry tears. I was glad he couldn’t see through my glasses. Right then, I wasn’t in the mood for being teased even by him. I was having a hard time coming to terms with my first experience with bullies.


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