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   Chapter 17 Bathroom Breakdowns

Blog of a Teenage Superhero By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 9775

Updated: 2017-12-05 19:04


If you don“t already fight crime on your free time, I don“t suggest it, because it“s 51% getting beat up and 49% hiding your scars. I“m already covered in thick waves of spreading lumps and bruises, most of which I mask easily with my Hello-Kitty pull-over top. I hide the gash on the corner of my forehead by combing my hair over in a Clark Kent-esque left part, and my "waves" are so tangled and bushy I spend at least twenty minutes rummaging for coconut oil.

I only find three broken mugs and a split pair of scissors. Kai“s doing. The kid is a walking kiss of disaster.

I have cold pizza for breakfast. By the time I“m dressed for school, Dad is already gone.

The day is okay. Finn laughs at my hair, since he“s always finding new, exciting facets of me to laugh at. Branders tells me absences become habit and that if I keep this up, why, I“ll become a truant. Practically already am.

I crack open a textbook. I make a point of scribbling down every word he says. Because I“m sorry, I can“t hear him over the sound of Monet Jackson being the best student she can be, and if Mom could see me now, she“d shed a tear of joy for her lanky little soon-to-be Harvard student.

Branders happens, class happens, lunch happens—I spend that in the library with my face shoved into the pages of an AP Art History textbook, napping apparently, becuase I remember studying, and then I remember waking in a pool of my own drool, looking up into the smug faces of kids who think they“re cool because they found a particularly lame older kid.

The beauty of childhood.

But these six hours are all a footnote to the real torture: the after-school pitching. Six adults sitting at a green plastic table, drumming pens to notepads while half a cafeteria full of classroom reps watch. The historian brings charts. The president brings smiles. And me? I get to talk.

"Your speech was so funny," Max says. "You“ll be great," Max says. And I“m already swung by the way he puts emphasis on his words like the sounds are too small to contain all his enthusiasm. His whole body trembles with it. It“s adorable, which, I suppose, is it what leads me to stand in front of a white screen, my hands shaking and my head filled with so much pressure I think my eyes will spring out of their sockets.

Percy thumbs-up me from the back of the room, mouthing “Go Monet!“ Golden Boy Chip studies me, his mouth pressed into a hard line, the skull on his shirt grinning wickedly. There are fresh bruises on the side of his face.

The duo is pleasantly distracting, and I stare at a bouncing Percy to steady my shaking breath.

"Um," I say, running my fingers over my itchy hair part. "We“re looking to start a carnival. A student run one, a cheap one. It could be an annual thing, just to set up, like, a fund for superhero battle fixings, in case another fight breaks out at our school."

Principal Laurel raises both eyebrows. She h

y and my tongue is thick and bristly in my mouth. I blink. The tears flow faster, my head too heavy to hold up, and I just, I just can“t.

This draws another hiccupy laugh. I English like a stereotypical sixteen-year-old girl, which is fine. I want to be a stereotypical sixteen-year-old girl. The fantasy versions of us sure have it a lot better than we do.

"Monet." Her eyes flit up to mine. "Calm down. Tell me what happened."

This pint-sized girl just pulls me tighter and tighter against her, until all I“m breathing is the fruity sweet smell of her perfume. My head is spinning again. It“s always spinning.

"I—"

"Yes?"

"I-I—"

"It“s okay," she says when my knees begin to shake. I“m clinging to her to steady myself and I“m dirtying up her cute velvet blazer with my tears. "Okay, okay, okay. We can talk. I“m here for you, okay?"

I pull away, even though I know I don“t want to, and I reach for my back pocket. Hands are shaking, heart is pounding. Her eyes fall on mine, such a bright shade of green they“re cutting. I lift the folded fabric, the strings just brushing my exposed wrists. Tears dribble down my face slower now, collecting on my chin, dripping down my throat. I hand the mask to her.

She holds it up in front of my face. "I don“t—I don“t—Oh."

I text Mom back to avoid Percy“s eyes.

ShowMeTheMonet: nm

"Onyx?" she breathes.

I nod.

"Oh, Monet, Monet, Monet!" And then she hugs me. Attacks me more like it, her arms flung around my waist, her face pressed into my rib-cage. My mind is still whirling that someone, anyone can give away so much love, like it“s some cheap commodity, like a panicky mess like me deserves it, and for a whole minute I melt in her embrace. "You“re crazy."

"Y-Yeah. I am, aren“t I?" But I“m starting to laugh as the pretty girl sandwhiches me tighter against her, and a ticklish feeling races under my skin, so warm it brings on shivers.

I am not alone anymore.

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