“Okay, I am in, but we need to lay some ground rules down.” These were the words I spoke as I sat down across from Andrew and Taylor the next day at lunch. After yet another sleepless night I came to the conclusion that it was either play their game or lose mine completely. Sometimes you have to give ground if you want to win the battle. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.
The two blackmailers grinned at each other before bringing their attention back to me. Andrew spoke first.
“We thought you might be interested,” He smirked and I ground my teeth, not unaware of the irony of this situation.
“Yeah, you bet I am interested,” I let the sarcasm come through clear in my voice. “Just my cup of tea, the thing is I can’t have people knowing I am in this club. If someone finds out, the deal is off.”
“What about the other club members? I don’t see how we could keep it from them.” Taylor make a good point and I took a moment to consider it.
“Okay, I guess there isn’t anything we can do about that,” I mentally ran though my options. Then it hit me. “I’ve got it. You say you guys need a 6th member to compete right?” Andrew nodded. "The Student’s Hand book says that all clubs have to allow anyone to who wants to participate join. All we have to do tell the other members that I am joining the math club for extra credit 'cause I am doing poorly in my math. They should believe that, I mean you thought I was a moron up until a week ago.” I waved a hand at Andrew.
Andrew shook his head. “We don’t need a moron to win the Olympiad though.” He said at the same time Taylor asked;
“You’ve read the Student hand book?”
I ignored her and instead focused on Andrew. “Well you’re on the team so I guess your chances are pretty much shot then.” He tried to reply but I cut him off. “Look you’re the one who is being an idiot, I'll fake being dumb until the Math Olympiad and then I'll contribute to the contest as much as any of the other team members do.”
Neither Taylor nor Andrew looked impressed so I relented.
“Fine, we’ll play it by ear with the club, but if anyone else finds out, the deal is off.” I relaxed back in my chair, satisfied that everything had been covered. I chugged my orange juice half way down before I realized that both of them were still staring at me.
“What?” I asked confused at why they were looking so baffled.
“Why are you still here,” Taylor’s tone wasn’t all that friendly. “Are you embarrassed to be seen with us?” She smirked.
I gave her a smirk of my own and unwrapped my sandwich before replying, “See, that’s the beauty of what I do,”
“You mean bullying people?” Taylor interrupted.
I took a bite out of my sandwich before continuing. “Yeah that,” I paused to open a yogurt. “I don’t have social boundaries. I can go where I want, sit where I want and never be suspected of doing anything other than my normal routines.”
A funny look past over Andrew’s face but I didn’t have time to wonder what it meant because Taylor realized the yogurt I was currently eating I had swiped from her tray.
“Is that mine?” She asked and I could practically see the steam coming out of her ears. I would have felt guilty if it wasn’t so funny. Still I didn’t let my amusement show instead I let a mask of obvious fake surprise fall over my features.
“Is it?” I took another bite and made a show of rolling it over my tongue. “You’re right. This is defiantly not mine” Licking the spoon clean, I stuck it back in the container and set it carefully back on her lunch tray. “Sorry about that.” I apologized as I stood and picked up my own tray, leaning forward as I did so. ”I want those pictures in my locker before the end of today or no deal.” I straightened and smiled.
“See you Friday, Andrew”
I almost bailed Friday. If the Math clue had been held in close to any exit door I would have made an escape for sure. It wasn’t. Which made me wonder about our school's fire safely. As it was I arrived 15 minutes late. I reach the door of the math class room and pushed it open before I could lose my nerve.
I blinked against the sudden light from the row of windows overlooking the school's parking lot. When my eyes adjusted I realized it was going to be much worse than I thought. I recognized all kids there.
Sitting closest to the door was Gabriel, the quiet giant who’s Twinkies I had stole everyday for 3 straight months last year before I turned him over to one of my minions. Then there was Lisa, who’s fizzy mob of hair had housed many of my spit balls and finally Ethan, a pale blond, who I had never hear say a word and I generally left to himself, barring the occasionally slam into the locker doors.
The looks of complete shock on their faces would have been comical if I wasn’t feeling so paranoid. However the fact that Andrew’s expression was just as surprised as the rest tick my off. He was the one who had roped me in to this and now he couldn't even do me the curtsy of looking smug. That angry tipped my mind set just enough for me to get my head in the right place.
“Hey Andrew, this is the math clue, right?” I smiled at him and was satisfied to see him flinch along with several of the other members.
He manage to gather himself fairly quickly though.
“You guys all know Flex, he wanted to join the math club” He pushed his glasses up on his nose with a jerky motion.
There was no way I was letting him get off that easy.
“Yeah, Andrew really talked me into it. I didn’t even know we had a math club until he told me about it.” I smiled at the table as I watch the group turn glares on Andrew.
How quickly they turned on their own. It wasn’t long till some of their looks turned suspiciously to me though.
“But you are failing at math, why would you want to spend any time here?” It was Lisa who spoke up.
Making my way over to an empty desk I sprawled in it, fully aware of the eyes of the group on me. I held out my hands palms up and directed my attention to Lisa.
“Can’t a man try to better himself?” I pretended to be offended for a moment before dropping the act at the look of complete of doubt from Lisa. “Okay, my math grade is really low and Ms Dill said I could get extra credit if I joined the math club. So here I am. You guys just carry on with whatever you are doing and I will catch a few z’s over here“
I leaned back in my chair and tilted back my head, the black behind my eyelids tugging me into a place of silence.
That is until I realized that it wasn’t just a place of silence. The room was completely quiet. I cracked open an eye to find all the members watching me warily. I huffed out a short laugh before closing it again.
There was no way this group was making it to the State Math Olympiad.
Hey you guys.....and by guys I mean both male and female readers, ;) Thanks so much for reading my second chapter of 'The Bully'. Hope you all enjoyed it.
Sorry this chapter was a little shorter. I am going to try and aim to get up another chapter in the next three days.