It was early afternoon, and the sun had just begun to reach the apex of its journey in the cloudless sky above. Taylor peered out from behind the window of the car, which fortified him against the day's insufferable heat. It was to be his first day at Bullworth academy, and already he could almost swear to hear the other children's ridiculing remarks ringing in his ears. 'Girly boy! ' they would surely mock. And out of some unspoken queue he outstretched his feet in the back seat of the car as if willing himself to suddenly grow a few more inches. He was 17, and yet he just hit 5'1 last summer.
"Everything is going to be fine, Taylor." His mother chimed in from the front seat, sensing Taylor's apprehension through her vanity mirror, an encouraging smile on her face. "I know mom." Not wanting to worry her, Taylor returned a convincing fake smile and looked down at the vanilla colored paper in his hands. "You're going to meet new people, make new friends. Think of it as an adventure." She continued, optimism etched her voice as she spoke. "I get it mom." She had been doing this the entire drive, Taylor was almost beginning to wonder who she was trying to convince. A few moments of silence had passed before she spoke again. "Your hair has gotten longer." She adjusted the mirror to get a better view. And without thinking, he subconsciously ran his fingers across his scalp. His hair had gotten longer, but not by much, it hung just across his forehead, and he usually tucked it behind his ear. Since it was summer it was few shades lighter than it normally was. Almost a golden brown or blond. "Yeah, I kinda like it this way." He smiled. "Well, you sort of look like a girl." She said, half laughing.
Taylor rolled his eyes but generally ignored her remark, she always said that. Ever since last Thanksgiving, when his grandmother kept referring to him as she, and her, the rest of the family never let him live it down. But Taylor blamed it on her old age, the woman could hardly see a foot in front of her.
Please report to Ms. Danvers upon your arrival.
Was noted at the bottom of the page and despite the sour feeling boiling in the pit of his stomach, there was still that sense of exhilaration, like falling down a great height, and despite the inevitable fall to the ground, the excitement of the drop rushed through his sluggish veins. Finally the car began to slow down, and when Taylor looked out the window he could see campus pulling into view. It hadn't seemed like an exceptionally long drive, actually it felt rather short. They were parked in front of the rather gaudy entrance that boasted a set of very imposing double gates that sat half open, ornamented with the symbols of Bullworth.
Teenage kids could be seen busily crossing the crowded intersections just beyond the entrance. And what he saw next caused Taylor to swallow a building lump in his throat. Larger kids, their clothes hung messily from their bodies, their sleeves pulled up to their elbows. The worldwide iconic marker for a bully, he thought and suddenly that thrilling excitement began to dissipate, giving way to anxiety once more.
"Well honey, here we are." His mother said smiling, turning to face him in the back seat. "And don't worry honey, they're going to love you." She encouraged again, the type of empty assurance that only a child would find comforting.
Taylor simply sighed mentally, and grabbed the strap of his back pack before opening the door and stepping out.
"I love you mom."
"I love you too, sweetheart. Don't forget to call!"
And just like that, he was on his own, closing the door behind him, he looked at his mother through the window who was still smiling at him, before returning her attention ahead and driving off. He stood there for a few minutes, watching his mother's car grow smaller as it departed across the bridge.
"We're here, god." A female voice remarked.
The 'here' was said with absolute disdain and abhorrence. One of the girls seated inside the luxurious chauffeur-driven vehicle that had just pulled up, looked dubiously out the rolled down window. When the doors had opened, a few girls stepped out and confidently strode pass him as if he were an ordinary houseplant.
Taylor tried not to sigh too audibly as he entered behind them, passing the gate he made a valiant attempt to ignore the intrusive presence of all the in-your-face students. The school was the epitome of clichés. Immediately he recognized the segregation of cliques as he passed them, or rather they recognized him. He wasn't wearing the obligatory Bullworth uniform, and it made him a visible target.
"Move it twerp!" a deep voice demanded as it passed.
And before Taylor could respond he was sent back staggering when something struck him in the shoulder. "Ow." He whimpered breaking his fall with his hands across the cement. As he looked over his shoulder he spotted the retreating back of his assailant, it hadn't been more than a minute and already he was being bullied.
Having recovered, he approached the large wooden doors of the center building a few yards away as they swung open "What a dweeb!" One of the older boys shouted as he sprinted from the building, stepping back Taylor narrowly avoided being plowed over as he passed.
Entering the building, Taylor was greeted by the cold air inside, sighing; he could immediately feel the sweat drying on his skin, the odd sensation of goose-bumps rose across his forearms causing him to shiver. The interior of the building was much like he expected. A large staircase faced the front doors, which led to the arched walkways of the second floor. It was darker inside, lit by the weak orange glow from the lights above, shining everything into a strange, and short illumination.
"Wretched fiends!" a nasal voice whined, catching Taylor's attention as he approached the stairs toward Ms Danvers' office. Slowly his gaze strayed in the direction of a rather awkward-looking chubby boy stumbling to his feet and looking fairly disheveled and annoyed. He appeared sort of goofy, his shorts were pulled up far too high, and the zipper had busted, revealing his underwear underneath it, barely containing a fatty roll.
"Are you okay?"
The heavy boy turned to him, fixing his glasses, while looking over Taylor's appearance.
"What's it to you pixie-boy?"
Taylor blinked in reaction to the boy's sudden hostility. What was his problem? Feeling rather hurt and ready to walk away, a new voice appeared from the hall beside them.
"Oh, you're so intimidating pee-stain, shouldn't you be off in the nurse's office getting your diaper changed?" The new taller boy chuckled darkly as he approached; blocking off Taylor's getaway.
"S-sorry Gary." The heavy boy stuttered, stepping back.
Gary chuckled again, shoving him away roughly. "Now run along Pee-stain before you stain the carpet."
"Ow" he whined as he retreated down the hall.
Taylor suddenly felt intimidated by Gary, afraid that he could be his next victim, he lowered his head and made way toward the stairs, but was cut off once again by the taller boy's hand.
"And what do we have here." Gary smiled crookedly pushing Taylor back until they were facing each other.
"I- uhm." Taylor tried to speak, but felt the words stuck in his throat. He decided that it was wiser not to say anything.
Amusement played on Gary's face as he took in Taylor's appearance with his eyes. "Ah, seems we have ourselves a new-little-girl." He stressed that last word intentionally, leaning over to be at eye level with Taylor, it felt like he was testing his temper. But unwilling to play Gary's game, Taylor looked away "Whatever." He muttered, letting the insult slide, and turned from him in another attempt to escape, but was once again blocked by his arm.
"Oh chill out, pal." His voice was suddenly demanding and mocking at the same time, "No reason to be such a baby."
Taylor turned to him, "I'm not being a baby. You're just a jerk."
"Oh, that hurts my feelings." Gary's voice was now full of mocking sorrow. "And to think I went out of my way to protect you from big-bad Pee-stain."
Taylor was now becoming increasingly frustrated with this boy's ability to manipulate their conversation. And could tell Gary was enjoying himself. Ignoring the building frustration in his stomach, Taylor did his best to steady his voice before replying with a question.
"What do you want from me?"
He asked this question in a neutral tone, without any heat.
"What do you want from me." Gary repeated in a high-pitched sarcastic tone, supposedly to imitate the way Taylor spoke. "Relax, pansy-boy." He said attempting to take Taylor under his arm, but having had enough of him, was shrugged away.
"Just leave me alone." Taylor snapped before climbing the stairs to Ms. Danvers.
The room was large, he immediately noticed as he walked through the open archway leading to the office. Just behind the desk a little further stood a tall, thin woman; Her hair was tightly wrapped into a firm bun, her features etched in thin lines as she appraised the boy in front of her. "Yes, child?" She spoke as she turned her head to face him "I don't have all day."
Taylor ignored the woman's sarcastic tone and swallowed the built lump in his throat fast enough to respond. "I'm new," He said lifting his registration form up "It tells me to report here."
Ms. Danvers quickly snatched the paper from the boy's hand, her eyes concentrated on the document.. "Well, Taylor" she emphasized the boy's name and grabbed something off the wall before circling her desk to step out toward him. "This is your room number" she said placing a small key in Taylor's hand. "You'll find it in the boys dorm" She turned back toward her desk but stopped and turned her head to him "Put on your Bullworth Uniform before we go any further." Finishing her speech as she walked into another room.
Taylor stepped out of the office, and raced down the stairs to the entrance of the building. He was greeted by a cold brush of wind as he got outside, he could feel his eyes sting as he looked over the campus from the top step. He had looked over the campus map online before coming, so if his memory served him correctly he should find the dorm building somewhere to the left.
The building, covered in decorations for Halloween, was not as large as he expected as he slowly approached it's doors. Happy Halloween! was printed on a large black and orange banner that hung above the entrance but he still couldn't tell if he was at the boy's dorm or not.
Feeling a little frustrated and annoyed, he searched his surroundings until he noticed a large window on the wall to his left. Taylor wasn't sure if it was the right building after all, and decided to look inside,weaving through some of the nearby hedges to get closer. He could see a figure, distorted behind the foggy glass, shuffle inside the building, but he could not make out who it was or what they even looked like. In order to see more clearly, he pressed his head against the window's surface, and cupped his hands to shade his eyes from the glare of the sun.
"Well, well, what do we have here?" A familiar voice snorted from behind.
Taylor's eyes widened as he spun around to face the voice. Gary, with a crooked grin, was standing on the front step and it quickly dawned on him now what the taller boy meant by his comment.
"I was just tryin-"
"Oh, I know what you were doing" Gary interrupted, easily hopping down from the step toward Taylor. "And don't get me wrong, I couldn't care less" Gary said, his grin growing as he cornering the smaller boy to the wall. "but I wonder what Russel would do if he knew someone was peeping through his window."
Taylor had nearly made an imprint against the wall before he realized what he was doing, and refusing to let Gary intimidate him, he stood his ground and gave the taller boy an annoyed stare.
"I wasn't peeping at anyone," Taylor said, stepping away from the wall "I didn't know if this was the boys dorm or not."
"Oh, I'm sure." Gary said sarcastically, crossing his arms. "but I don't think it will make a difference to Russel"
Taylor could feel his face burning up, but refused to give in. "But I wasn't doing anything." He said simply.
Gary pointed at him. "I just caught you peeping into Russel's dorm room, friend."
"I told you, I wasn't peep-"
"Yeah, yeah I heard you the first time," Gary rose his hands up when he cut him off "Try telling that story to a ticked off meat head though" His voice sounded amused.
Taylor pursed his lips, and looked away. "Do what you want Gary." He was fed up with Gary's taunting, and really just wanted the kid to leave him alone.
Gary raised an eyebrow and shook his head "Alright then, your funeral." He then turned on his heels, and jumped up on the steps toward the door before turning to Taylor "Nice knowing you pal." He said flashing a grin as he pulled the door open and walked through.
Taylor's skin was beginning grow hot and he could feel a cold sweat building on the nape of his neck. What exactly was going on? He stood in silence and listened to the loud thrumming in his ears while contemplating what to do next. Then, from a will separate from his own, Taylor jumped up on the steps to the door and raced inside.
He hadn't gone taken two steps inside before he was stopped, nearly colliding with Gary who had been waiting on the other side of the door. "HA! I knew you were a coward."
Anger flared in Taylor, he hated that he let Gary get the best of him, but he also couldn't risk a rumor like that getting out in his first day. With a knot in chest, Taylor swallowed his pride and looked up at the taller boy. "Gary, please don't..."
A familiar dark grin rose on Gary's face when he heard the smaller boy plead with him. He liked that. "I don't know" He placed his hand on his chin and began to pace back and forth. "I was looking forward to seeing you get your a** beat honestly," He suddenly stopped pacing and looked back over to Taylor "but I guess we could work something out."
Taylor didn't like the way he said that, "l-l-like what?"
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