Tawny found herself back at the McCurdy residence. Contrary to what she had assumed, they did not travel back by air on the gossamer wings…
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On Friday, Tawny awoke with a sense of dread.
Dread, because she knew she would have English class today, and Elaine still had possession of her super-embarrassing poem.
She’s going to read in front of everyone, Tawny thought, mortified. I’ll be a laughingstock…and Professor McCurdy…I’ll never be able to look him in the eyes again…
Her stomach did cartwheels at the mere thought of the impending humiliation.
Maddie tried her darndest to cheer up Tawny, but to no avail. As far as Tawny was concerned, she was a dead woman walking until fourth period.
In the meantime, however, the two girls were heading toward math class when they caught sight of the huge commotion taking place in the halls.
A crowd had grown around one of the lockers. The locker was wide open and vandalized with spray paint, silly string, and toilet paper, and all the contents inside were either damp or destroyed. On the inside door of the locker, the words FIRE SALE were sprayed on with red paint
Tawny half-expected it to be her own locker, but to her surprise, it turned out to belong to Elizabeth.
The poor girl looked like she hadn’t slept in days, and she wasn’t even in her school uniform; rather, she appeared to be wearing a grey hoodie and sweatpants with the Ivoree Gates insignia for its branding. Wide-eyed and alarmed, Elizabeth looked from student to student but was only met with murmurs and stares.
“Who did this?” she yelled. “I want to know which one of you ransacked my locker!”
“Oh, please…like it’s any big mystery,” all eyes turned to see Elaine and Victoria arrive on the scene, accompanied by Grady. Tawny noticed Elaine was holding a can of spray paint.
“You did this to yourself, Liz,” quipped Victoria. “Or should we start calling you ‘Fire Sale’?”
“Yeah, cuz she gives it all away for cheap,” laughed Grady. “And I mean EVERYTHING.”
“That’s not true!” yelled Elizabeth.
“Is it true that you got yourself knocked up?” replied Elizabeth. “Grady insists it couldn’t possibly be his. You’ve been traipsing around like some common floozy and now it’s come back to bite you.”
“Grady…?” Elizabeth looked to her ex for support but he refused to meet her gaze.
“You know Elaine and I’s MO, Liz,” said Victoria. “We don’t associate with commoner trash. By the way, Elaine, I think you missed a spot.”
“Oh…you’re right…” Elaine shook the spray can in her hand and, to Tawny’s horror, proceeded to spray a large red letter ‘X’ along Elizabeth’s face.
“Sorry, Liz,” said Victoria in a faux apologetic voice, but still smiling. “You’ve been marked for demolition.”
Grady placed his hands to mouth to amplify his voice. “Let’s take out the TRASH!”
The crowd began to close in on Elizabeth, chanting “Fire Sale” and throwing items at her, namely crumpled up balls of paper and pens, though some of the more vicious people pelted her with tampons and coins.
“Let’s go to class, Tawny…” Maddie said, tugging on her friend’s arm.
But Tawny could stand no more. In spite of herself, she felt her legs move in the direction of the mob, pushing her way to the centre where a battered and aggrieved Elizabeth lay crumpled on the floor.
“Leave her alone!” yelled Tawny, who crouched down and used her own body to deflect the onslaught on poor Elizabeth.
“Aww…isn’t that sweet?” said Elaine sarcastically. “Tawdry’s trying to protect Fire Sale. I guess science class is right – like attracts like.”
The barrage of items continued. Money and paper rained down on the two girls like the world’s strangest shower.
“You don’t have to do this,” said Elizabeth over the din of chants and clattering items. “This isn’t your concern.”
“Common human decency is my concern,” answered Tawny. “I’ve been treated like hot garbage enough to know that no one deserves this type of abuse, not even you. Regardless of station, we’re in this together.”
Tawny forced a smile amidst the barrage.
“WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!” bellowed a voice. Mrs. Lynch came barreling down the hall along with a middle-aged, bald male teacher. “Stop this at once! You should all be heading to class!”
At last, the crowd began to dissipate.
Maddie helped Tawny to her feet. “I had to get help. Are you okay?”
Tawny nodded. “Thanks,” she replied.
Mrs. Lynch went to help Elizabeth onto her feet, but she stood up on her own accord and attacked the departing Elaine. “YOU BITCH!”
Elaine shrieked in alarm as she was tackled to the ground by the enraged Elizabeth.
Victoria and Grady wisely chose to stay out of the fray. “Liz, please think of your unborn child!” pleaded Victoria.
“I think we should leave?” asked Maddie.
“You read my mind,” responded Tawny. The two girls continued on their way as the teachers struggled to tear Elaine and Elizabeth apart from each other.
“Aah! She’s pulling my hair!” was the last thing Tawny heard from Elaine as she turned the corner.
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