”Anger grows in the deep places. Deep, under the earth."
The Book of Taliesin
"I didn't!" This is useless. No matter what I say, they will never listen, "You know me, Miss Richards. I will never do such thing." I feel as if I’m in a hot seat. Predators ready to attack their prey. I never had a stand to begin with. I am of no value.
My homeroom teacher looked at me with concern in her eyes.
"I wanted to believe you, Trinity. But the security camera caught you in the act," she played the video of me on her laptop. It's me, but...
I looked down. Clenching my fist on tap of my lap. Why did I even do to deserve this kind of treatment?
"Oh Trinity, how can you do this thing? I didn't know you were that desperate to top our exams," Justine said while her aloof friends were laughing behind her. Justine, your attitude stinks so badly I could already imagine how rotten your core is.
I gave her a sharp look and looked back at Miss Richards.
"They were the one who tricked me. I didn't review the test answers. I promise!" I heard the elder lady sigh. She tapped on the spacebar and turned towards me, her eyes in disbelief. How many times do I have to explain?
"Stop accusing us, cheater! You don't even have a proof," Justine locked gazes with me. I didn't look away. I thought they were my friend. Am I just a toy for them to play? Am I the only one who thinks about this friendship?
Miss Richards held my arm. I calmed down and turned to face her. I was expecting her to be on my side but I know she has a position to protect.
"Trinity, the faculty is investigating all your exam scores, since you've got the highest all throughout the semester." She tapped my shoulders and sighed, "You may now go. Expect your punishment after the board meeting after class."
"But I-" I couldn’t continue. I bit my lower lip, trying to suppress whatever outburst of emotions I was feeling at the moment. I might even tell her bullshit.
"Go," Miss Richards mouthed. I stood up, my nails digging against my palm. This isn’t right, "As for you girls, I'm going to ask you things, please cooperate."
I walked past Justine looking down. Why do I feel guilty? I didn't even do anything wrong!
"You're doomed, cheater," Justine said. Well, more like a whisper. I gave her one last glare before I went out of the office.
"How was it?" Nicolas immediately asked as I stepped outside. He grabbed my wrist and I was there, fighting the urge to cry. I can’t believe I was so naïve. Why would I even think they will befriend someone from the lower class like me?
"Trinity, I will only believe what you will tell me. Can you tell us what happened?" Nicole seconded as she held my other hand. They already have an idea though because they were with me when Justine started her plan.
I thought ahead of myself. Just because I have these two around, my status as a commoner will not hinder me from making any friends in the upper class. Nicole and Nicolas have always been by my side since grade school, they are twins and came from a prestigious family. I’m trying my best not to put the blame on myself but that really is the case. I wish I could turn back time and listened to the twins’ warnings. I am so pathetic.
We went down the hall to the secluded area of the school. We sat on a bench and recalled what happened that very afternoon.
"What are you looking for?" Nicole was peeking from the classroom’s door and went inside soon after as I continued to search inside my bag. My phone.
"Nics, have you seen my cellphone?" I asked her. I've been searching it awhile now and I even put out all my belongings on the table.
"Didn't you bring it when we had our meeting?"
I sat down frustrated, burying my face on my shaking palm. I felt a hand on my shoulder, it was Nics’.
"Unfortunately, no. But I remember having it inside this bag," our bags are always left inside the classroom. There weren't thieves here because these people whom I study with come from wealthy families. I can't believe my cellphone would be missing inside the room.
I looked around. I can see our shadows casting. The sun is setting down.
"Your phone?" I whirled on my heel and saw Justine with her friends. Justine is someone you shouldn't have a fight. She's rich, beautiful and too influential. I'm friends with her, though. That was what I thought. I'm just an average teenage girl who had been enrolled to this school because of scholarship, so basically, I'm out of her league.
"I can't find it anywhere. Have you seen it?"
"Well, yes dear. I saw Mr. Castor bringing it to the faculty room. He said that he found it at the hallway," she answered. That is weird. I really have put it in my bag. But..
"Which faculty room was it?" I was desperate.
"Second floor, the last room to your right."
"Isn't that room intended for-" Justine cut me off by gesturing her hand for a stop.
"I saw him entered the room. I can't be mistaken," It's not like she'd lie to me, would she? "If you want to get it, I have the key right here. Well my father owns this school so yeah, I have one. You might not be able to see Mr. Castor there but hey, you can get it alone, can't you?"
"I can," I stood up and answered.
She gave me the key and they left the room. For some reasons, I saw her smirk up at me. Or was it just my imagination?
"I don't feel good about this," Nicole commented. Me too, "Can't you wait till Mr. Castor give it to you?"
"Come on, Nics, it's Saturday tomorrow, you know that I can't live without my phone, right? My aunt is far from home this week so I have to at least contact her once in a day or she'll be worried." It’s a lie, my aunt never care about me. I needed the phone for errands because I do part-time jobs. I just started tutorial lessons and my new student prospects with their addresses were saved on my phone. I can’t tell them that though. Their relationship with me is already enough, I don’t need any more charity.
"I still don't think it's a good idea to enter the faculty room," I held her on her shoulders and smiled.
"You're such a worrywart. I'll be back in a flash, tell Nico that I just did something important," I dashed out of the room and down the second floor. It's getting dark outside and as I took a step on the second floor's hallway, my heart pounded so fast.
I know this isn’t right but I still continued. I could wait ‘til Monday but I’m afraid that the deduction on my part-time wage will cause me to cut on my food allowance and do extra work on weekdays.
I stood up in front of the faculty and looked around. I can see no signs of students. That's good, if by any chance they see me here, they'll suspect me of something I'd never do. I'll just get to my business fast.
I entered the room and I can only see filed papers. Test questionnaires, mock exam scores. I really didn't gave them much my time since I'd really be in trouble if I peeked.
I opened the drawers one at a time but to no avail, there was no sign of my phone.
Soon enough, I gave in. I went out the faculty room. I guess I really need to wait two long days before I get it back. My aunt will probably scold me. I have deliveries to do too and I don’t have my phone.
I gloomy sighed and went down to my locker when Nicole came rushing to my side.
"Trinity! Your phone.." she was catching her breath, ".. I saw.."
"In the trash bin," Nicolas continued. My eyes widened.
"WHAT?" he tossed me my poor cell and gave me a tissue. How did.. But..
I am lost for words. If it was there, then does this mean Justine saw wrong? Was it just a mistake? There aren’t any meaning to this, right?
Monday came and I was called to the office. I now know why.
End of flashback...
"You don't need those test answers! You are smart than anyone of us, now how can they accuse you for something impossible?" Nicole ranted. She was more pissed than I was. Well, I have calmed down now but I still felt betrayed.
"They had the video of me opening the drawers."
"Those rich bastards! They totally made this up! You should tell on them," she continued. Nicolas flicked her forehead before she stopped muttering, "That is so unfair. I could go and tell the teachers that Justine set you up." I sighed.
"They think that it's predictable to have you at my side since you are my friend, I think they wouldn't hear you out," helplessly, I covered my face with my hands, "I'd be suspended if they believe that I did that thing."
"If you are, she should face the same too," Nicolas spoke and he had this grin on his face, "If they got you into this cheap trick," aww that kinda hurt. It felt like a slap on my face reminding me how gullible I was. Nicolas probably noticed my discomfort so he cleared his throat, “I mean, anyone can be a victim. We’ll just do something that even her daddy card wouldn’t be of any help.”
I can sense Nicole being excited but I had my second thoughts. Will it backfire?
I was too soft, I know. Revenge is never an answer but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try.
Or so I think…