Andrew sat rooted to the bench outside the principal’s office. Dead silent. Shoulders hunched forward. A scowl intense enough to melt steel trained on the wall across from her as she held a tissue to her bloody nose.
The setting sun threw yellow shapes on the hallway floor from the end window. Andrew kept an eye on that window. If any of John’s stupid posse of wannabes showed up to taunt her through the glass, it wouldn’t matter how emphatically she’d been ordered to stay put. They’d wish they were roadkill when she’d finished with them.
But Andrew would go from probably-grounded to dead-and-cursed-forever when her mom showed up if that happened.
Knowing Andrew’s luck, her mom would arrive the moment she took to beating the crap out of them. And Mom would bring Derek too. Sullen, noncommittal Derek, whose black hair always draped over one side of his face like a funeral curtain. Her adopted brother would have a heart attack coming upon the moment justice was served, and that possibility was the only thing obstructing Andrew’s full conviction of annihilating her idiotic, self-righteous peers.
Why did she wear “boy clothes?” Why was her light brown hair so short? Why didn’t she chase boys and talk about makeup and have really any friends? They asked too many questions. Never in an effort to understand, but to constantly peg her as a freak and a disappointment. Andrew already knew she was some kind of misfit without them rubbing it in her face.
Did it matter she didn’t care about what a lot of 12-year-old girls were “supposed to” care about? Did it matter that she didn’t have a crush on anyone? That her hands bore impressive calluses and she could outrun eighth-graders?
Andrew had tried to be civil. She’d tried freaking hard to be civil. But John and his friends became more and more unbearable by the day. They belittled her, scorned her. Especially when she fought back.
And finally, that day, all the way through the punch to John’s face, all she could think of were her mother’s words. Violence doesn’t solve problems, dear one.
But it was a beautiful sucker punch. And the sheer horror on every one of their faces—especially John’s—was worth the fight that ensued.
The principal just happened to be looking out his office window at the time.
Now Andrew was probably facing suspension. She guessed she was a perfect anti-example of her mom’s pacifistic advice. Mom would be frustrated, maybe even disappointed.
But maybe now they’d finally understand that she would not be pushed around.
Even if she had to break each of their noses twice, they would learn to respect her.
A/N: A small scene from one of my characters’ childhood. Her tolerance for jerks has substantially plummeted since then, but she puts her angst to good use these days.