She puffed out a hot breath of air, slumping over placing her cold hands on her knees. The air was so cold, it burn as it filled her lungs. No, she told herself and pressed on.
The echoing sound of her shoes slapping along the pavement was the only content sound she could hear. Anything else she ignored, the light misty rain, the breeze forcing her teeth to clamp together.
Why was she doing this? Because, they said otherwise, they all said she wasn’t pretty, she wasn’t thin, and she wasn’t popular. She was a good for nothing nobody.
And how do you solve that problem? Wake up at five in the morning every day before school and jog the 8 miles to school. Yes, she lived 8 miles away from school. She wouldn’t get a ride from friends, or let her mother drive her there before work. No she had to do this.
A bitter chuckle came from her lips as she shut her eyes tight and wipe away the rain. I feel like that time Alfred freaked out about having a soft belly,
Her story was a bit different. No matter how many times her friends told her she was pretty, she was nice, she was smart. She didn’t listen, that’s not what she wanted. Friends lied to make each other happy.
At lunch her friends would tell her different. Arthur may have told her “No, you’re a woman with curves. That’s considered attractive in England!”
Alfred with respond back saying something along the lines, “No guurrrl, you just got some nice boobs. Big boob~! Hahahaha almost everyone in California has breast implants! Even the men~!”
Oh but Antonio would calmly laugh adding, “No, no, no~ She has a nice ass, look at it! Eres Hermosa!”
A loving laugh from Francis rose among them “It’s her rosy cheek~! Look them, so soft and pretty!”
Gilbert’s loud voice would cut in rudely, “What the hell dude!? Her cheeks are red from blushing, it’s her eyes that make her pretty! Just like look at these bad boys, all red and shit! Then look at (Name)!”
A childish voice with a childish smile responded and Ivan looked calmly at her, “It’s her smile, she shines and is as beautiful as a sunflower,”
“I think she is just really pretty~!” Feliciano chimed in with a raise of his hand. His brother, Lovino, grunted with crossed arms in agreement.
“Hai, she is very cute when she wants to be,” Kiku smiled nodding his head.
But, nothing came after that. She didn’t get to hear the one voice she wanted, the one that meant most to her. But she’d just smile, and ignore it. She wasn’t pretty; she didn’t want to be told she was. No one would change her mind.
(Name) didn’t look like the other girls, the girls all her friends dated. If she was so pretty, then why did they say the same thing to their girlfriends? Why was she alone, not that she wanted to date any of them, maybe one, but she’s never even had her first kiss, and she was one year from graduating from high school.
She wore T-shirts with matted old sweaters and jeans. She tried wearing a dress once, but it wasn’t her. Everyone would stare at her, just watching, and under their eyes she felt scared and judged. It made her feel more ugly, more useless and unwanted by those among her.
But why should she care what they thought? Why does anyone care? Because they want to belong, they want love, and to be accepted among society. And those who didn’t fit where exiled to be shunned and bullied by those who were.
Just as (Name) was now.
They didn’t even feel like friends. They never spoke up when one of the other girls would call her fat. They never came over to defend her when other guys said she’d grow up to be a whore. They would come after all that ended, and tell her she was perfect.
Once she even saw the BTT standing at the end of the hall minding their own when she had her books slapped out of her hands by a guy with his friends. Not Gilbert, not Francis, even Antonio, none of them came over to help her, they walked away and to their class. Like they didn’t even see it happened.
In Gym class, while doing warm ups, one of the other girl’s tripped her, laughing as (Name) fell to the floor. But Alfred didn’t run over to help her, Arthur didn’t yell at the girl for being impolite and rude. They just went about their day until (Name) was left alone on the floor.
It was like they were ashamed to be friends with her, like it was a dare, or they just felt sorry for her. Did they owe her something? Was that it?
Was she so blind that she couldn’t see what was really going on? But there was once person, but he was never around. He was only in two of her classes besides lunch. There was a study hall. Most of the time he was gone anyways doing work for one of his many clubs. And second was Chemistry.
Ludwig hardly talked to (Name). And when he did it was something that had to do with school work, or a question on the homework.
She could remember when she was younger; she was close friends with the German boy. He was shy and sweet. But then he grew up, and they went their separate ways.
It shattered her heart to remember those days when she played with him in the warm sweet sunlight of summer. What happened? Why did they stop talking, stop hanging out? It was the first year off high school when Ludwig started to drift away. And by the end of the year he was gone.
And to add to her pain, she’s always loved him. No never a crush, because she’s known him for so long, but she loved him as much as she need to breathe itself. It seemed like the only answer to this was to work hard, and to lose weight, start wearing makeup, and dresses. She needed to be pretty. She’d do anything, everything, whatever it took to belong.
“And don’t forget to pick me up afterschool again I’m not walking home anymore because you of you!”
“Ja Ja Westy~ Don’t get you’re panties in a knot! Just because I won’t be at school today doesn’t mean I won’t remember~!” Gilbert sat in the driver seat of his old hammy down car. As his brother got out he screamed at him in a girlish raspy voice. “Bye Bye sweetheat~! I loooove yoooooou~!” He pressed his hand to his lips blowing off a kiss to his red faced little brother.
He pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to ignore any random stares from his peers. Fortunately, Ludwig was one of the last few people to be dropped off. Why his brother wasn’t going to school today? He didn’t know or care and rather he was thankful because now he had one less thing to worry about.
Ludwig walked up the stairs to the front doors of the school as the light rain softly fell down from above. That’s when he heard her.
A harsh smack to the ground echoed behind him with a sour yelp filled with curses.
(Name) was on her hands and knees at the bottom of the slippery concert stairs. She was socked from head to toe from the rain with little patterns of mud sticking to her legs. She looked like a mess, tried and depressed.
Was he really tempted to leave her their sobbing from her fall? No, he was better than that, even if it went against the many promises he made to himself years ago.
He was reaching down to grab the bag that fell a few feet away. “No,” His blue eyes darted over to her staggering to her feet, “Just go inside,”
“Not today I won’t,” He wasn’t going to argue with her and not while the rain started to come down faster.
So he forced her to her feet, and helped her walk up the stairs.
“Why are covered in mud and rain?” He may have been a little blunt asking, but his concern for (Name) was far greater than worrying about her comfort at the moment.
She didn’t say anything. So he took this as a chance to look her over again before he got into the building. Her skin was paler than he has ever seen it and the dark bags under her eyes proved how much she was pushing herself. With every step she took her body would shake like a leaf in cold winter winds. What has happened to her?
“Stop,” She pushed herself away from him, and took several steps back. “Can I- Can I have my bag?”
He hesitated, “No, not until you tell me what’s going on with you. You look as sick as a dog,”
“Ludwig, I’m fine. I’m just sick okay?” A strand of her (h/c) hair loosely fell down between her grey (e/c) orbs.
“Sick? Maybe you are but there is nothing wrong with your physical body to explain why you look like this?”
“Can I just go? I’ve-I’ve got st-stuff to do. You’re going to be late for class, just ignore me okay?”
She was so much more bitter than he remember her. Wasn’t (Name) the one girl that came over to his house all the time to play? She was so sweet and kind, nothing could get past her. She was strong, brave hearted but everything about her then seemed to be torn away from her, leaving nothing but an empty shell of a miserable girl.
“Fine,” He gave her the bag and she jogged off, stumbling every now and then until she was out of his sight.
The cool grey tiles sent chills down her sore spine. Her back pressed hard against the well as she waited for the sound of his footsteps to fade into nothing but soft mumbles between the walls.
Biting her lip, (Name) let out a much needed breath of air. Why was sure so scared in the first place? Isn’t this what she wanted? The attention, the help of those around her?
Over the years, she’s become so sad, depressed –whatever you want to call it that had to learn to hide all of that. And the only why she could do that was with hostility. No she wasn’t exactly a bitch about it. She just pushed people away when she found them creeping back into her life.
Was having the attention and belongingness of her peers what she wanted? Really? I don’t even know anymore, The little voice in the back of her head told her.
She’d worked so hard for so long now, she didn’t want it to all be washed away. She wasn’t going to be nice, it wasn’t that easy to forgive and forget. Even if she was angry at people who did nothing to her. And that was just it, they did nothing. She was alone and miserable, and she feared she was falling in love with it, that she was so use to it, that she couldn’t get past the wall she put up to keep people from hurting her again.
When she left school, she waited for everyone else to leave. So no one would see her pathetic little run home.
Today was no better than any other. The same thing happened every day, a routine that needed to meet its end.
First she’d run into class late, and get called out by the teacher. She didn’t care about being late anymore like she did a few years ago.
The morning would be followed by name calling or being tripped in the halls between classes. And even in class she’d be picked on. Just smaller unheard things. When she’d be picked to answer a question on the homework she’d know the answer right away. When she was asked to solve a problem she could explain it detail for detail –step by step.
“You’re very smart (Name), you have a gift,” He teachers would tell her. They’d say all these things about her that didn’t matter because being smart was one of the reason people bullied her.
Every time the teacher called on her she could hear in the back of class her name mixed in with things like “Suck up,” “Teacher’s pet” “Why does she have to be in our class?” “I beat she even lies about everything she’s ever said!” “Why can’t she ever shut up?” “She’s not even funny?! The only people she ever talks to are the teacher’s and they love her" “I bet she’s fucked some of them, that’s way,”
With every word, every line a piece of her would fall off and break.
It could be said that her heart was an expensive vase sitting on a shelf, high up on a shelf with a long drop to the floor.
All the words, all the things people did to her, a part of the shelf would break and the vase would get closer and closer to the edge. And when there wasn’t much left of the shelf, when the vase was left to wobble, tip and tilt from side to side, they –those people who would hurt her everyday would start to chip away, and crack the vase.
So many pieces fell from her heart to fast, and she never had enough time to put everything back together. The floor beneath her was breaking, and she was crumbling into a pile of broken glass. She was only left with two options. To jump and fall from what was left of her stability, to let the floor below her cave in, or to just keep picking up the pieces that fall, even if twice as many fall when she puts it back.
And the most wonderful thing was, she stood alone while the floor broke away and she cracked on a stage for all to watch like it was a comedy movie simply for their entertainment. What could she do now?
Play along with their movie? Keep trying like they wanted?
Whatever they wanted, she didn’t plan to do much longer. But she didn’t have a plan to get out of it yet, she just knew it would be over soon.
With every sore ache in her body telling her to stop this running and to slow down, she ignored it as she pushed herself to run all the way home again. Once she got home she could do whatever she wanted, it was like a reward, and it was the only thing she looked to everyday. And most days that reward was a hot bath, nothing more and nothing less.
He didn’t stop following her after school. His apprehension about (Name) left him worried and even scared for her safety. Something was wrong, very wrong and he doesn’t know how he could have missed it before.
Ludwig pushed away his thoughts and walked those few yards behind (Name) as she jogged on home.
Was something wrong that he didn’t see? That no one saw? Behind her smile, she never seemed upset or angry. Not even like she did today. She’d just smile and tell everyone she was okay.
Every once in a while he’d catch a kid here or there say something, do something but it was never a lot. Maybe he didn’t see everything that was going on.
I shouldn’t be worrying about this, I’m sure she’s fine!
Whatever it was she was going through couldn’t be as bad as what would happen if he started to be friends with her again.
He knew how much she loved him, oh he knew very well. She probably had no idea how much it hurt himself to ignore her every day. But it was for the best, he knew that (Name) had issue with being attached to people, she had trust problems all her life. If she was still friends with him now, it would break her heart to know that after high school he’d be leaving for good. He’d being going into the military as soon as he graduated, and possible be sent someplace else on this planet. He had no one holding him back to stay home; his wasn’t a problem to him.
But (Name), he didn’t want hurt her when he left because she’d be the once person that’d convince him to stay with her tears of heartbreak. And it wasn’t because he wanted to leave; he was being forced to by his father. Even Gilbert was going with him, they both were to be sent off to server and train and do everything it was their father wanted.
He couldn’t answer why he couldn’t do what he wanted, it might have been loyalty to his family, but he did want to go off, to see the world while at the same time working for those who needed him. On the other hand, Gilbert was going against his will and most likely would jump out of the car window five seconds after the car started and run for his life!
That kid really didn’t want to go off to this Military service joint, whatever it was. But in the long run, if they both lasted a few years there, it would pay off so much for them. They’d be set for life.
The thought of leaving (Name) behind even now hurt him, but he wouldn’t let it bother him, not now, not when he was feet away from stopping her from doing something drastic.
He reached out and clasped her wrist in her arm and pulled her to a stop right in her drive way. His cold glare warned her that if she tried to get away he would stop her no matter what.
“Is anyone home?”
She shook her head.
“Gut,” He pulled her into the house shutting the door behind him, as she stood in front of him with a blank face. She didn’t look surprised at all, she didn’t seem anger, she was void of all emotions.
“Tell me what’s wrong? (Name) why are you hurting yourself so much?”
Nothing came from her. A blank stare and she turned.
“You don’t have to worry Ludwig,” She looked back at him with a smile, “I’m fine, I just want to try some new things. I guess I’m pushing myself to far, I’ll remember that next time,”
“Remember not to lie next time too, you can’t keep hiding, you have a choice to tell me now or I’ll force you to tell me. And you know I wouldn’t ever want to make you do something you don’t want to.”
It looked like she was giving and listening to him. But that smile, darkened into a sneer with her teeth showing. Her eyes darkened with judgment and hate. All her rage seemed focused on him, “How would you know? How would you know anything about me anymore? You’re just like the rest of them you know. I thought I’d be grateful for the day you actually noticed me again. But I’m just pissed off and hurt like I am every day. I don’t want to talk about this and I do not want to talk about my problems with you!”
Why did that hurt so much? Ludwig cleared his throat pushing past his emotions and nodding his head, “I understand-”
“No you don’t!”
“Yes, I actually do!”
She stopped, surprised by the raised tone in his voice as she waited for him to explain or calm down. “Fine, maybe do, but you only understand half of my problem then. Why the most important person in the world to me just up and starts ignoring me sure, you understand that part. But you’ll never understand the bullshit I go through every day because of the people around me! Get out of my house! Now!”
What was he going to do, stand there and act like she never yelled at him to leave? She was crying already and her back was turned as she travelled off to some other part of her house. That left him with one option, leave.
“Gah!” She threw the closest thing to her, which happened to be a vase on a shelf. It crashed on the other side of the hallway wall to fall into millions of tiny shards on the floor below. “Why did he do that?” She sobbed out seconds later.
Just when she saw herself lost in the dark and ready to give up he comes along and decides now was his time to take part in her life again. That’s not what was supposed to happen. She was just to take a happy bath and....
Never mind that, it’s not important anymore.
Maybe she was too harsh? But she was never as mean or as nasty as those in school. She had a right to act like this, didn’t she?
Later that night as a thunderstorm sang the night away, she sat alone in her living room staring at the black screen of the T.V. Her parents weren’t home; they wouldn’t be for a long time still. They were gone one a second honeymoon that last for three months as they went around touring Europe. So she was left home alone all the time, and every few days her grandmother would stop by and check up on her, give her homemade soup and watch T.V with her before she left again.
She nearly screamed and jumped out of own skin when her doorbell rang. “Whoever it is isn’t worth it,” She told herself ignoring it. She didn’t have hardly any neighbors. She lived outside of town towards the forests and fields. And her house was surrounded by tons of trees and her drive way was pretty long. It was a five minute walk from her house to the road, serving past trees.
The doorbell rang again and again so she forced herself to rise and slump over to the door, unlocking it, and opening it. “I told you to go home,” She said after she saw Ludwig standing there.
He looked as if he just stepped out of a swimming pool while still wearing his clothes. “I did, but I came back,”
“Did you walk?” He nodded, “But towns eight miles from here,”
“You run every day to school,” He was right.
“So, that doesn’t mean anything.” She was starting to close the door but he pushed it all the way open.
“Will you let me inside?” He looked genuinely upset and pleading to come into her home. So she stepped aside and he muttered a thanks.
“You’ll need something else to change into.” She walked past him and started to go upstairs, “I won’t let you stair here if you’re going to make a mess.”
This was the stupidest idea Gilbert has ever come up with! ‘Go to her!’ he says ‘You’re the one that loves her!’ Last time I listen to that idiot. He never has a plan for these kinds of things so why did he think I could come up with one? What’s the point anyways, she already hates me and she doesn’t even know why.
All these things bothered Ludwig’s fazed mind as he stood in the same spot she left him soaking wet. Somehow, he’d have to find a way to wing this.
Even so, it was already hard enough, a beer or two would make it easier, but he knew not a single drop would be found in this house while (Name) still lived in it.
She came back down stairs with a t-shirt and pants that he knew belonged to her brother before he passed away. She kept them around for this very reason; it was always for whenever any of her guy friends showed up in spar need of clothes.
She was always prepared, he liked that about her. She always had plan, he knew he could count on her for anything. She was always looking out for those she loved, so he knew he could tell her anything.
Wrapping up in her blanket, he watched her sitting on her couch when he got back from changing his clothes. So what should he do now? Probably explain everything to her. Or…well his reasons for being an asshole on her terms. But in his mind he didn’t do anything wrong, just trying to protect her.
And so he did just that, sat down a crossed from her on the couch and told her what’s happened over the past few years. The whole time she looked at him blanked faced, not really getting upset or angry. Maybe she understood. When he was done she looked away.
“You could have just told me, I would understand. I’m not a five year old kid,” Her voice was soft and almost shy like, but behind it he could hear the venom she truly wanted to spit back at him. She was too nice, too kind.
“But if you expect me to explain myself,” She said, “I don’t and won’t do it, this isn’t your problem Ludwig, I can handle it,”
“Sure you can,” He agreed nodding his head, honestly truthful. “But you’re not doing a very good job at it,”
She didn’t say anything, didn’t even look back at him. But as he was about to go on she stopped him and spoke. “Why are you the only one that can see that I am even upset, that I’m troubled?”
Taken back by the question he didn’t know how to answer. “Well,” He started and tried to think, “I know you,” He gave her a stern look laced with slight concern. “Your parents aren’t around right now, but if they were they’d know too,”
“But why?” She challenged and her voice raised cracking at the end. “Do you even know what’s wrong!? It has nothing to do with you or my family Ludwig. I’m sick and tired of taking people’s bull shit! And if you know me so well then why didn’t you ever see me when I was crying as I walked past you in the halls, or when I sat alone in the back of class? You are just like everyone else, they ignore me. Acting like nothing’s wrong when I have some douche shove me to the floor. When other girls call me disgusting or ugly, that I’m pathetic and worthless!” She was crying, but did she even notice? “I’m done,” She finally breathed out in a cold whisper.
“You had no idea” She cut him of nodding her head, “No one does! Why did you even come here? I know you don’t want to waste your time with me,”
“No, that’s not true,” He shook his head as she watched him. As much as he was lost, unsure how to feel that his once best friend wanted to die, that he probably couldn’t do anything to change her mind, he had to try. He wouldn’t let her destroy herself over those people in school. “I knew something was wrong and I wanted to find out. See if I could help if at least have you tell me what’s wrong,”
“Fine, you know what’s wrong. Happy? Can you leave now?”
“No, I can’t. Not when you’re like this.” He couldn’t help but give her a slight glare she looked away from. Probably because she already knew he wouldn’t leave.
“Okay, what do you want do?”
So it was settled on doing something they haven’t done since middle school, and that happened to be a movie and judging it and all its impurities. But that actually didn’t happen.
As (Name) rose from the couch her stomach let out a growl, demanding the food she’d never give it.
“Hungry?” Ludwig asked behind her and she shook her head. Bad idea, it made it possible for him to see what else she was doing. Starving herself.
He didn’t warn her, or say anything as he grabbed her arm and lead her to the kitchen sitting her down at the island on the stool. “What are you doing?!” She snapped.
It was odd to see him so calm, maybe on the inside he was breaking down. God she hoped so, she just didn’t want anyone around right now. “Making dinner, you need to eat,”
“No I don’t it’s fine, really,”
“You keep saying that but it won’t change anything, I’m staying here whether you like it or not” His determination was beginning to aggravate her.
Therefore, she rested her head in the palm of her hand, dazing in and out of her imagination as he made something that actually smelled wonderful. It made her hungry, and actually wanting to eat and enjoy food again.
A plate was placed in front of her. She looked down, and her lips twitched into a small shy smile. Noticing Ludwig watching her it instantly vanished back to its formal neutral place. “You made the breakfast your mother would make us every Sunday I came over,”
“Ja, I thought you’d like it,” He sat down next to her with his own plate full of the wonderful food she’d forgotten about.
It was a breakfast meal, but it was secretly her favorite. It was a type of sausage, or wurst or whatever that had a slight spicy or hot flavor to it, fried with eggs onions and cut potatoes all in one. Toast was always on the side and it was wonderful. Hesitantly, she took a bite, taking in all the flavors with a content sigh. Nostalgia came over her, and pang of guilt stuck her core.
“Thanks, for making this for me,” She looked over to him and he let out a slight grunt nodding his head.
They went on eating in silence, but it was calm, and actually peaceful. Something she just didn’t want to disturb. All good things to and end at some point, so when she was finished eating, Ludwig took the plates and actually cleaned them too. She offered to help and he gladly let her.
For a second, things didn’t seem so bad. If she could feel this content calm emotion all the time she’d find it much easier to go throughout the day. But she was reminded that after this Ludwig was most likely to go back home, and the next day in school he’d forget she was even alive.
They settled for just watching TV later, well she did. He read a book he found in the family study down stairs. This was nice, just having him hear made her happy. Why couldn’t she have this all the time, everyday? What did she do wrong to have this taken away from her?
Whatever it was, she hated it. But she’d learn to get over it like she always would. Smile and nod that’s all they need and they’re happy. Make them happy and you’ll be fine. “I’m sorry,” She turned to him, “I’m sorry for worrying you,”
“It’s nothing,” He flipped the page of the book.
“No, really, I didn’t mean to do that. It’s just things have been hard and I don’t have anyone to go to,”
He didn’t say anything, not for some time but he eventually put down the book and forgot about it on the table. “I should be blame for that,”
“No!” She stopped him and shook her head, “I could have gone to my parents if they didn’t leave, you had nothing to do with me being like this. I just wanted to thank you, and you don’t need to feel responsible for me anymore after today. We can go on like this never happened, just like yesterday,”
“I actually, don’t want that,”
She didn’t understand. Didn’t he say he stopped being friend with her, stopped talking to her because he’d leave right after high school? Probably to run around the world doing stupid things for the military? I thought he didn’t want any attachments? It’s easier to deal with heartbreak when you don’t have anyone, it made sense.
“Why-” He paused and she watched his cheeks turn pink under the dull light of the room. "Why don’t we start over again?”
He nodded and held his hand out to her, “Hallo, mein name is Ludwig,” he gave a twisted smile, one that looked extremely close to a egotistic albino.
Wavering, she decided to give it a try. She shook his hand and pressed a smile as well “Hi, I’m (Name), nice to meet you,”
Watching, she could see his face darken more and he turned away with a red face and gave out a harsh breath, “I was wondering, maybe,” He gave another sigh and stared off at nothing in particular. “M-maybe you’d like to go out for dinner sometime?”
Her breathing stopped, she let out the smallest gasp and stared at him confused. He really wanted to do that? He wasn’t just making fun of her? She nodded her head, until she realized he was still look away, “S-sure!” She let out a smile, “Sounds like a date,” They both smiled at each other, happy, glade whatever you wanted to call it.
Maybe this happy wasn’t going to end; she’d have it every day as long as she knew he’d be there for her. Whether right next to her or overseas, she’d be fine waiting because it’d be worth seeing him smile again.