Forest repeated the insults in his mind as he walked through the school gates, shouldering his oversized backpack with resolution. He had heard them a million times at his old school, he needed to prepare himself to hear them at this one too.
“Short ass,” he mumbled to himself as a group of six foot jocks in basketball shirts ran past him, laughing and tossing the ball to each other.
“Four-eyes,” he whispered as he risked a glance up and saw a group of friends congregating on the steps leading to the main entrance. They were passing around a cell phone and giggling at a video playing onscreen. One of the pretty girls looked up and caught his eyes. Forest flushed and stared back at the ground.
“Pimple face,” he sighed as he climbed the steps and glanced to his right to see a beautiful girl of Amazonian height with a perfect complexion and a coffee coloured afro.
“Lo-“ he began under his breath when suddenly a ball slammed hard into the left hand side of his head.
Forest groaned and looked up from where he had fallen against the top step. His knees felt shaky and bruised. Above him, towered one of the jocks from earlier. He had a team captain’s shirt on and looked like a Senior with an athletic figure and perfectly styled honey brown hair. From his ground level Forest could see the boy was wearing designer sneakers with some kind of bird emblem on them.
“Hey, you alright?” the boy frowned, reaching down to pick up his errant ball with one hand and stretching out the other towards Forest.
“Yes,” Forest nodded, swallowing quickly as he grasped the other boy’s hand, hot and large as the fingers wrapped round his and helped pull him to his feet.
“You sure you’re okay?” the boy asked. Forest gawked at him for a moment. He looked like a typical jock, albeit a very handsome one. A strong jawbone, tanned skin, piercing grey eyes and faint freckles across his nose.
“Hey Tide!” another of the boy’s friends ran up and eyed Forest critically. “We’re gonna be late man, first bell already rang.”
“Yeah,” The boy, Tide, nodded, still not taking his eyes off of Forest.
A moment later though, Tide turned back to join his friends, the group of them chatting and laughing as they sped up towards the school doors.
“Loser,” Forest mumbled miserably as he pushed his glasses back up his nose and traipsed into his seventh school in sixteen years.