“Hey buddy! Where ya headin’ off to?” Gray muses with his hands in his pockets, a smug little grin on his face. He walks slowly up to Mark, who is currently frozen in fear, like always.
“N-nowhere you need t-to know,” little mark answers reluctantly and starts to walk away. Gray catches up to him with a few steps and punches his arm.
“Aww, come on Marky! We just want to play… No need to be so mean!” Gray pushes mark to the ground and laughs; his friends following and laughing behind him.
Mark falls with a thud and scrapes his knees. He looks up with tears welling up in his eyes, trying to keep a straight face. “What do you want from me? Please just leave me alone.” Mark pleads with glossy eyes and gets up off the ground wincing in pain.
Gray and his friends laugh hard at him. They walk up to him, punching and kicking him. “Hahaha! I said, we just want to play! Now let us play with you!” They continue hurting him until they satisfy themselves walking away leaving poor little mark laying on the ground shaking and crying.
Mark finally walks home to his mother, who’s waiting, worried for him. He walks in the front door, bruised and all beat up; sniffing in tears and looking down in shame. “ My god! What happened to yo Mark!?” His mom rushes to her poor baby and squeezes him tight. “This is the worst I’ve seen you before! I’m calling his mom right after we get you cleaned up!” Mark’s mother yells in anger.
“Wait mom, don’t! It’ll only make it worse,” Mark looks back down and covers his face to hide his tears from his mom.
“Absolutely not! I can’t just sit here letting him do this to you Mark! I just can’t!”
“Mom please just listen to me! His mom doesn’t care what he does anymore! She gave up on his attitude a long time ago. There’s nothing she can do anymore.”
“You know what? Fine! But you need to start stepping up Mark. You can’t let him hurt you anymore.” Mark’s mother says as she walks to the bathroom grabbing the first aid kit. “Look, we’ve already had to buy more materials for the first aid kit twice! Anymore of this and I’m calling the principal or-or the police or something.” She starts to tear up, wiping the dirt of her son’s face.
“Ow ow, mom that hurts!’ Mark flinches everytime the wipe touches a bruise. “Please be more careful with that…”
“Ah! I’m sorry sweetheart! I’ll try to be.” She puts ointment on his busted brow and a bandaid over it.
“Thanks mom. I’m gonna go to bed now. I’m not really hungry tonight.”
“Wait! At least eat an apple or something. Please? For me?”
“Fine.” Mark complies and gets an apple from the fridge, walking up to his room. He falls asleep without eating it.
The next day, he wakes up with his face in pain. He checks his brow and leaves off the bandaid this time. He goes to school without a word to his mom.
School went decent for him today because Gray and his entourage gave him a break from their playtime. Maybe they felt bad that they obviously went overboard this time? Only heaven knows…
Another day passes. And another one. After school, Mark stays in the bathroom after school. He has more bruises today, and this time it wasn’t Gray’s fault. It was just his friends since Gray was called to the office.
Gray walks in the bathroom, surprised the Mark is still there. Even more surprised that Mark was crying and laughing at the same time. Like he had gone crazy. Gray walks up to Mark, scaring him in the process. “H-hey… Are you okay?”
Mark jumps, turning around to face Gray. He starts shivering even more than before, his eyes wider than he’s ever seen them. Gray backs up, nervous, ready to bolt. “What do you want!? I’ve had enough! Enough. ENOUGH. GO AWAY. Stop it stop it stop it. Please,”
Mark screams at him making it scary to stay, but he stays anyway. He breathes in and swallows, fearing Mark might go haywire from what he’s about to do, but he does it anyway. Gray moves in closer, very slowly, just to make sure he doesn’t get hit. He stares Mark straight in his wide, teary and scared eyes. He smiles softly, almost regretting waiting for him to react. He finally moves; pushing himself in for a long and needed hug. Mark melts down making the two sink to their knees. He wails and sobbs on Gray’s shoulder, while Gray lets him, still holding him tightly and comforting him softly.
“Mark… I’m so sorry. I’m horrible. So horrible. I never wanted to do it, but I got caught in the motion… It’s all my fault. I should’ve stayed with you. I shouldn’t have tried to fit in. Oh god it’s all my fault!” Gray starts to cry along with Mark. “ I should’ve been there for you,” Gray starts to grab onto mark’s shirt for stabilization.
Mark finally moves, looking up at Gray. “It’s… It’s okay now.” He looks at Gray’s eyes, tears flowing down his cheeks. He smiles and gives him a hug, Gray hugging him back. “I have to go home now. But maybe I’ll see you tomorrow?’ Gray nods, standing up along with Mark. They both go home with smiles on their faces.
The next day, Gray isn’t in front of his posse anymore. Some other kid is taking charge and giving orders this time. Gray is just standing behind emotionless.
The leader of the group walks up to Mark, the rest following behind him. “Hey Gray, why don’t we start with our normal routine with little Marky here, huh?”
Gray flinches as his name is called. He nods his head and walks up to me, his expression full of pain and sorrow.
“Hey! What are you waiting for? Punch him!” The boy barks out orders.
Gray breathes in and lunges toward Mark, his hand up in the air, balled into a fist. Mark gasps and covers his face waiting for impact, along with betrayal. To his surprise, Gray stops right before his fist hits Marks stomach. Everyone’s eyes are wide with confusion, except Gray. Gray lowers his fist and gives Mark a big hug; eventually, Mark hugs him back. Gray turns around, and starts yelling at everyone there, resulting in fight between him and all the other boys. Gray didn’t care what happened with him. He thought it was worth it, fighting for his best friend.
A day later, Mark and Gray walk to school and home together. They start hanging out every day after school, eventually the boys from before come around, and become friends again. This time, in mutual friendship.