I don’t have to wait long until an office assistant comes and pulls me out of class. I sigh and share a look with Josie before walking out. She looks at me for only half a second before averting her gaze. My parents are waiting for me, again. No one even said anything and I already want to cry.
I know they will just take his side. I know they won’t even bother to hear me out. I know no matter what I do, I’m going to get the short end of the stick. Just like always. It’s hopeless. My tears aren’t tears of sadness, they are tears of anger and frustration.
“Take a seat, Kathleen,” the prick says.
I just stand in the corner and cross my arms.
“Kathleen,” mom chastises me.
“Let’s just get this over with. I’m suspended, I’m grounded, I get it.” I look away from them.
“Your daughter threatened me,” he goes on.
“You deserve it!” I spat at him.
“Kathleen!” Dad shouts.
“He does!” I mean am I wrong?
“I have no idea what’s gotten into her lately. She’s been acting out at home too. I’ve so sorry. She’s usually not like this.” Mom says.
I roll my eyes.
“I know what it is.”
All the hairs on my neck stand up and I feel my stomach drop.
“This was shared around school today.” He turns his computer so mom and dad can watch the video.
I feel my heart stop. This can’t be happening right now. Please tell me this isn’t happening right now. When my parents look at me in shock I just cover my face and shake my head.
I want him to choke on his own spit and die.
“Kathleen Ricki Hanson, explain yourself!” Dad demands.
“Once again, you focus on the wrong thing.” I force a laugh. “Someone shared that video of me around, not just anyone Bryson did. And does anyone care, nope. He’s harassing and stalking me! Why won’t anyone do something about that!? Why is me liking girls such a big freaking deal!? You should be bringing him in! Calling his parents!” I shout.
“Allegedly and I am not too trusting of your word since you threatened to have me fired.”
“You deserve to be fired!”
“Point and case,” he says with a stupid smug look on his face.
I hope he stubs his pinky toe today.
“I am so sorry for all this; I can promise you it won’t happen again. We are going to have a long and serious talk. Isn’t that right Kathleen?” Mom says between gritted teeth.
I clench my jaw and avert my eyes.
“I’ll let her off with a warning this time, I know she’s only acting out as a way to get attention. But if it happens again, I’ll be looking into expulsion.”
“Thank you, you’re too kind. It won’t happen again. Come on Kathleen.” Mom grabs me by my arm and drags me out of the office just as the bell rings.
People move out of our way as we walk by.
I see Sage and she looks at me with a look of sympathy as I hastily wipe my tears of frustration.
“Bye Bye Kitty Kat,” Bryson waves at me as I leave.
I flip him off.
How could I have ever dated someone as awful as him? I must have been out of my mind. There are literally no redeeming qualities for that douchebag.
Mom forces me to put my hand down and drags me out the front doors.
My phone buzzes from a text from Sage,
‘You good? Did your parents find out?’
Before I can respond dad snatches the phone right out of my hand, turns it off, and puts it in his pocket. He looks at me with a look, daring me to say something. Not that I would chance further humiliation in front of everyone at school.
I am pushed into the backseat of the car as if I was a criminal being pushed into a police cruiser. Dad slams the door and they take their seats upfront. We drive home in silence for most of the ride.
Mom only says, “Grounded and I mean it this time.” As we pull into the driveway.
We all walk inside and before I can say anything dad grabs his screwdriver and walks over to my bedroom door.
“Can you at least try to hear my side!?” I say.
“How long has this been going on?” mom asks.
“You’re not even listening to me!”
“Josephine is no longer allowed in this house, is that clear.”
“You can’t ban me from seeing my girlfriend,” I say.
Dad scoffs as he unscrews my door.
Mom shakes her head at me.
“I… I like girls too okay. I’m bisexual. We’ve been secretly seeing each other for a couple of weeks.” I say much calmer.
“If it’s not one thing it’s another Kathleen.”
“It’s kat,” I snap at her.
“Whatever you are calling yourself now.”
“It’s Kat! It’s always been Kat since I was like five!”
“This is just a phase, like all the other phases you’ve gone through. Remember that time you thought you were vegan?” Mom says.
“Or when you wanted to dye your hair orange?” Dad adds.
“Let’s not forget when you wanted to be a model.”
“Or wanted to enter into the spelling bee.”
“How about when you just had to have that new phone, and right after you got it what did you say?”
“This phone is lame, it’s all about the new iPhone now.” Dad mocks me.
I feel my tears spillover.
“Let’s see how long this lasts. You’re only doing this because everyone is doing it. It’s so “hip” now to be anything other than straight. Please, spare me the drama.” Mom rolls her eyes.
Dad yanks my door off its hinges and with a satisfied huff takes it down to the garage.
I swallow a lump in my throat.
“It’s not a phase, it’s how I feel,” I say as calmly as possible. Even still my voice cracks and wobbles.
“Sure it is,” she pats my head before walking away.
“Why do you think that pride march meant so much to me!?” I whirl around to face her. “Why do you think it affected me so much when I saw the way you reacted? This is who I am. This is me, the real me. And Josie… she’s amazing. Not that you ever bothered to get to know her, or any of my friends. I love her, and I don’t care what you say. Nothing and no one will change the way I feel about her.” I declare.
“I give it a month tops,” she waves me off as she turns the corner.
I feel like I’ve just been slapped in the face.
No matter how hard I try, tears stream freely down my cheeks.
I slowly drag myself into my room, now doorless and plop down on my bed.
I pull out my laptop and quickly open the desktop version of this old messaging app that me and the girls used to use. Before we switched to snap. I can hear my dad coming upstairs and quickly pull up my school assignments and hide the tab.
He sees me on my laptop and marches into the room.
“Give it,” he says.
“How am I supposed to do my homework? Or do you want me to flunk school too?” I turn the laptop to face him and show him I am indeed doing my homework..
He eyes me.
“Stand over my shoulder and watch me do math all day for all I care,” I turn the laptop back to me and get to typing, pulling our pencil and paper to use for scratch.
He sighs before walking out and leaving me alone.
Once he’s gone I quickly switch tabs and start a new message to Sage.
‘Parents took my phone. They are so ugh! They took the door off my room and banned me from seeing Josie. Said and I quote “this is just a phase.” All the while Bryson gets off scot-free. So not fair.’ I send.
‘You going to be okay?’ Sage asks.
I eye the screen for a while.
I feel like someone ripped my heart out of my chest and cut it into little pieces. How could my parents be so cruel? How could Josie ever believe Bryson over me? How did I get myself into this situation?
‘Still there?’ Sage asks.
‘Yeah…’ I respond.
I stare at my screen and narrow my eyes before typing,