Talia looked out the window and frowned. It was drizzling outside and there was very little chance that it would turn into a storm that would result in the closing down of school. She turned towards her bedroom door and sniffed.
Something smelled really good and she was suddenly ravenous. Her dinner had been a slice of toast and a little soup. There was a lot of food on the table, but she had eaten only what she had made for herself. She picked up her bag and decided to skip breakfast. If she got hungry, she would buy something from the school cafeteria.
As she went downstairs, she hoped no one would call her in and ask her to eat breakfast before leaving. The last thing she wanted was another argument and she already had a headache from last night.
“Talia!” It was her father’s girlfriend, wearing an apron and holding a spatula. “Why don’t you have breakfast before you leave for school?”
Talia took a deep breath. It was really no use was it? “I rather die than eat your food.” she replied and crossed her arms. “You should know by now that i want nothing to do with you. It’s been seven years, get over it Aunt Rosalind!”
Rosalind started to say something when Talia put her hand up. “Oh, I’m sorry, you’re not my Aunt anymore. You’re my Dad’s girlfriend. I would of course use an appropriate adjective for you, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to waste my time on you.”
Rosalind nodded at her and put her arm around her waist. “Talia, you have to understand that your Father and I love each other very much. I just wish you would give me a chance.”
Talia walked over to the kitchen table and picked up an apple. “You both lied to me.” she said, taking a bite. “You hid your affair for years. If I hadn’t walked in on you guys, you would have kept fooling me.”
“We weren’t trying to fool you.” Rosalind said. “It wasn’t the right time to tell you.”
“But it was the right time for you to move in here.”Talia said and threw the remaining apple in the dustbin. “Just, don’t show me your face, okay?”
Talia walked towards the door and stepped out. She put her hands in her pocket and took a deep breath. Why did she feel on the verge of tears every time she had to talk to Rosalind? They had both gotten along just fine; until she had found out that her mother had left after finding out that her sister was having an affair with her husband. How could Rosalind do that to her?
Talia walked towards the bus stop and wondered when the hurting would stop. She couldn’t wait to go to college next year and get out of this house. Everyone over here had only disappointed her. Her mother barely kept in touch with her. She had married and settled down in another state. When her mother had called to invite her for a visit, she had slammed the phone down. Where was she when she needed her? Her mother had said that she couldn’t take care of her then, but what about now?
She stood near the bus stop and tapped her bag. Did the bus have to be so late?
“Hi!”someone said from beside to her. Talia turned to see a boy about her age standing with his book bag over his shoulder.
Talia turned away and looked down the road. She could see her house from here and frowned when she saw Rosalind still in the kitchen. Her Dad was in the kitchen and he was chatting amicably.
“I’m your new neighbour.” the boy said. Talia rolled her eyes and said nothing. Hopefully, he would get the message. “My house is right next to yours. I just moved here. My first day in school!”
Talia stepped to the other side and fixed her eyes on the empty road.
“So, what’s school like?” the boy asked stepping towards her.
“Get lost!”Talia said and sighed when she saw the bus arriving. As soon as the bus stopped, Talia pushed past the boy and got inside.
“You stink! When was the last time you had a bath?” a girl said. Talia looked at her as the girl smirked at her. Carla- her once best friend and now her arch-rival. She considered giving her a piece of her mind and then decided against it. Rosalind had effectively managed to ruin her mood. She walked towards the back seat and sat down. No one but her sat here. No one dared sit with her.
She looked out the window and snorted as they went past her house. Rosalind was looking out the window with a stern expression. Talia turned away and saw the new boy making his way to the back seat.
“This seat’s taken!”She cried.
The boy ignored her and sat down. He put his book bag on the other side and looked out the window.
Talia got up and stepped towards him. “Can’t you hear me? This is my seat.”
The boy continued to ignore her and Talia clenched her hands into fists. If this is what he wanted, then that was exactly what he would get. She raised her fists to punch him, when he caught it in mid air. Talia gasped as he spun her around so that she fell in his lap. “Let go of me!”She said and struggled to get up, but the boy held her tight and Talia noticed everyone in the bus turning to look at her.
“Not until you apologise.” he said.
“What?” she asked and tried pinching his arm without success.
“I said, not until you apologise.” he said out loud. This time Talia was sure that everyone was looking at her. She could feel her cheeks growing warm. For years she had managed to appear threatening. Many of her classmates even feared her and refused to sit next to her and she had revelled in their fear of her. But today, her reputation was on the verge of being destroyed. If she didn’t do something, everyone would forever regard her as a weak.
With renewed energy, she broke free of his grip, stood up and slapped him across the face. She stared at him for a few minutes to gauge his reaction and when she saw that he wasn’t going to retaliate, turned around to glare at the rest of the students.
She smiled to herself when she saw the look of fear on Carla’s face. This would teach everyone not to mess with her.
The bus stopped abruptly and Talia managed to stop herself from falling over.
“What’s going on back there?”the bus driver asked hoarsely.
“None of your business.”Talia said. “Just do your job and drive us to school.”
The bus driver gave her an angry look and Talia raised an eyebrow at him. The last time the driver had complained against her to the principal, she had broken the windows to his house. He had known it was her but there had been no evidence against her.
The driver stepped on the accelerator and they started to move. Talia sat down and looked at the boy who was still sitting in her seat. She put up her legs and kicked his book bag on the floor. The boy said nothing and to her disappointment, didn’t even bend to pick up his bag.
When they finally arrived, Talia waited as the other students stepped out. The boy, however, continued to sit quietly.
When the last of the students had gotten off, Talia got up and started to walk towards the door. Her hands gripped tight on her bag and she half expected the boy to attack her. But as she got down the bus, the boy was still sitting quietly and looking out the window.
Talia smiled as she walked towards the entrance. Maybe she had scared the boy so much that he had decided to go back to wherever he had come from. She turned around to see that the boy had gotten out and was walking behind her.
Talia felt her smile drop. There was something about him that was starting to irritate her. All she knew was that she wanted him out of her life.