|Topic Started: Nov 27 2010, 03:56 AM (128 Views)|
|storyspoiler||Nov 27 2010, 03:56 AM Post #1|
Once upon a time, before sophomore year, Bryant Carver and Juliet Watanabe were something like enemies.
They were both fairly hard to get along with. Bryant was a reverse-racist, a black man who hated the Caucasian establishment and angrily vocalized his bitterness--often at his fellow students. Juliet was unhappy with the establishment too, but she was a strident idealist, a moral fetishist, and just as comfortable (and vocal) at calling out Bryant for his racism as she was at calling out his white counterparts.
So they fought.
Most people couldn't stand either of them, but their arguments were fun to watch. Both had a surprisingly adroit grasp of history and (by necessity) rhetoric. Sometimes they got in trouble. Neither of them really minded.
When Juliet's parents and brother disappeared, the arguments became more rambunctious than ever.
But it was when Juliet had her leg broken, in four places one day, that she stopped talking. To him, and to, as far as he could tell, everybody.
At first Bryant was relieved by the silence. He had never enjoyed the arguments as much as Juliet, and now he could vent his bitterness on the school without having to worry about a torrent of strident rhetoric coming his way.
But she sat stiff in her seat now. She had been so animated, blustering and swinging her arms, and now that was gone. She was like a different person.
Bryant became worried.
It was before English class, a slow hot day in April, when he finally turned to her, two desks ahead of him and the only other person in the classroom, and broke the silence.
"Fuck's up with you? You been gone a month and you come back and you ain't said shit to nobody."
She looked back at him, from two desks away. Her stare was, frankly, unnerving. "Is it something to you?"
That wasn't how she usually spoke. "When a bitch been on my ass nonstop for a school year and then shuts up, yeah. It's something."
Her stare didn't waver. "I suppose. Do you want something from me?"
"Words. Truth. What happened. Whatever you got."
The words came out reluctantly, separated, water dripping heavily from a bad tap. "My leg was broken. In three places. I was an idiot." She shifted her gaze off of him.
Now he was more interested. "Fuck you do, fall down some stairs?"
There was a very, very, very long pause. Juliet's eyes were on the desk. Finally she spoke, softly.
"No. I thought everyone had heard about it by now. Harris, Matthew, Sanders*, OJ*. They broke my leg behind school. I should have been more careful."
She is careful not to look at him.
And he's burning a hole in her with his stare. "You fuckin' tell somebody?" Pointless. He knows damn well no one would touch them.
"I was in the hospital. There wasn't anyone to tell. I suspect the administration knows about it anyway."
Still looking away. She seems very focused on not looking at him.
Bryant is silent for a while. He is trying to gather his thoughts, think of something to say.
Finally, "You can't just let it go. You're the one always getting in my face about not hating those cracker faggots. Shit should swing both ways."
And Juliet, Juliet, stands up and almost knocks over the desk. She's turned to him, and her eyes are blazing. "You think I can? They took my parents! They took my brother. They'll take me too, once I step out of line. Harris said so. The school people--teachers saw. They wouldn't do anything. They know I'm dead. Dead, like Simon. I'm not going out for something stupid, like trying to fight Harris Van Allen again. When I get disappeared, I at least want to make it for something--worthwhile."
She is gritting her teeth. Grinding them. Finally she whispers: "I want to kill them. Harris, Matthew, Sanders. All the teachers who saw. All the girls who were laughing. I hate them. They aren't...they aren't right."
Juliet doesn't know quite what she means by right. But she means something, that's for damn sure.
She sits back down with a thump. There are voices outside the classroom. She speaks softer, not looking at Bryant again, eyes closed very tightly.
"I don't actually want to kill them. I just want a happy ending. But we can't have one, can we?"
Bryant recoils in his chair, taken aback. He didn't know that this girl, who'd believed so strongly in there being justice, is this broken. At this point other students are filing in; class'll be starting soon.
Finally, awkwardly, he puts a hand on her shoulder. He's not using the right amount of weight. He didn't know he would ever do such a thing, to this girl, the erstwhile bane of his existence, Juliet.
"Maybe, Maybe not. But we'll get an ending. Best we can hope for, know what I'm saying?"
Juliet has not succeeded completely in failing to cry. When he puts a hand on her shoulder, she snaps open her eyes, and gasps. When she looks up at him, there are tears.
"Yup. I know. Even after my parents died, I thought there could be something better. Good guys win, you know?"
She closes her eyes again, swallowing, figuring what to say. Her fingers are white around the edge of the desk.
"But they don't. Not most of the time. Not this time."
Bryant holds his hand on her shoulder a beat, rubs it, wondering if he's doing this whole comforting thing right. "You alive, ain't you? We can count that a win, right?" He takes the hand away.
She stiffens as he rubs her shoulder. Turns away from him, and looks straight ahead. There are people in here now. She should speak softly. Class is about to start.
"No. It's not a win. It's not a win at all."
*two bullies not in The Program who nonetheless exist at school.
Program: Juliet Watanabe ~ Dead ~ Let's Make Life A Living Hell ~ LeMat Revolver
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