I would recognise this voice from anywhere. This one amazingly unbelievably annoying guy who I wonder how on earth he can find me even when I am hiding in my locker. I quicken my pace, pretending not to hear him. I almost bump into him when he suddenly appears in front of me. Sweat beads his forehead. The smell emanating from him almost makes me want to vomit. I cover my nose using my hijab and talk behind the fabric.
“What do you want?” I say, giving him the death look which doesn’t seem to bother him at all.
“Well, you promised the rest of us? Hawa, Tia, Gary and I are waiting.” He waves the book in his hands and points to the classroom where we would have our tutorials.
“Ugh,” I grunt. “I, did not promise you, Adam,” I tell him.
“If you don’t then..,” He doesn’t have to finish off the sentence because I know how I will end up if I don’t ‘help’ them complete their assignments. Help is not the right word, more like copying. Cheating really. The last time I didn’t help them I end up sitting on a chair that was glued that I had to rip my dress off before I could stand and walk away. Another time when I didn’t, they told everyone in the whole school that the deep red scar on my chin, now almost invisible, is due to my father beating me up using a glass bottle. And the rumour spread so quickly that it might as well be announced during our school assembly.
I grab the book from his hand and stomp to the room. When I enter, they all look at me with amused expressions. Tia eyes me as if I have disobeyed a queen.
“You, you, you and you,” I say and point to each of them. “One day, you will need to learn to do this on your own,” I slam the book on the table. I rummage my back pack and show them my assignment. There is no other choice. This is why I never like school. Being almost every teacher’s pet make them hate me even more. My scores are always on the top three, not just in this school but the schools in the whole district combined.
Adam snatch the paper away from my hand and put it at the center of the table so that everyone can see. They copied with expertise, having done this the whole year. Editing my answers here and there just to make it sound original. I stand and press my back against the wall, arms folded on my chest. I want mum, I thought to myself. This is the very reason I dread school. I close my eyes, taking deep breaths and hold myself from tearing up. The last thing I would want to do is breaking down in front of them.
I open my eyes and ask, “Done?”
Gary looks up from his paper and smiles mischievously. “Yes, of course,” he answers but something in his voice gives it away and I panic. I throw myself forward and try to reach for my paper but he is a few seconds faster. He holds my paper right in front of my face and tear it apart. Along with the pieces of my heart. They all laugh, enjoying to see the pain shown across my face. A crystal tear falls down my cheek. I run out of the room, pushing through the crowds and am about to head to my secret hiding place when someone stops me.
“Hey..” She stands in front of me and block my way. Apart from my mother, she is one whom I can confide everything to. One whom I can trust. Aisyah. I fall into her arms and weep like a child. “This will be the last time they will disturb you. Exam is coming soon and you will do just great. Like you always do,” I nod, unable to utter a word. Yeah, once exam is done and college is over, they will be out of my life.