Page 20 of Hate Like Ours

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When I was thirteen, one day, out of the blue, I was experiencing excruciating pain in my stomach. After weeks of suffering through that pain—which was out of this world—I thought I was going to die after running from doctor to doctor just to get some help and get second opinions. They didn’t know what was wrong with me. My mom finally got the news that I needed to have emergency surgery because inside my belly was filled with pus. I was both relieved and so terrified, especially when I made it into the operating room.

Thankfully it all went well. But the after, well those were the longest few weeks of my life, waiting for the pain to end and the scar to heal.

I shiver at the feeling those memories bring back. It’s funny how you never think about how fragile life really is until you’re put into a position where you have to fight for yours. One minute, you’re fine and then in the next, it all goes up in flames.

It’s hard being a teenager and having to constantly hide it because you don’t want anyone else to see how ugly it looks and you’re scared that people would make fun of you for it.

It was especially hard looking at girls that society deemed beautiful and what they perceived beauty to look like—flat and smooth stomachs, with no scars and definitely not a pudgy one like mine. So yeah, hiding myself behind clothes that didn’t show my stomach was how my life usually went.

I’ve never worn a bikini because I was always filled with anxiety that people would stare. I mean, they always tend to do so when you don’t look like them or the way they want you to. That’s one of the things I hate about this world that we live in. Why can’t everyone just be who they are without others judging or putting them down for it?

Since when did society deem it appropriate to judge how beautiful someone was because of their stomach size or even skin color? Everyone would be so much healthier mentally if other people just minded their own business. Size, skin color and even hair shouldn’t matter. Everyone is meant to be different, and I wish the judgmental ones would start to see the beauty in that.

Can you imagine how stiff and boring the world would be if we all looked the same, dressed the same and had the same bodies? Yeah, I shudder to think of such a scenario because I love the fact that we’re all different in our own ways.

Sometimes, no matter what you do or how much you try to exercise and diet, it just doesn’t help and people’s comments are so fucking insensitive. I guess the way my stomach was stitched back up kind of hinders having a flat and toned one.

This town is no better when it comes to that and because Knox has made it his mission to torment me by throwing snide comments my way whenever we cross paths, everyone else has taken it upon themselves to start following him and calling me either fat or his favorite word, cow.

They aren’t even original with their insults. So far, I’ve tried hard not to let their words affect me and I ignore the idiots most of the time because all they want is a reaction. Their words can’t hurt me unless I let it, right?

I let out a sigh. No matter where you go, high schoolers will always be the same. They fuck with you and pick on you just because you’re not a size zero like them and right now, I’m a size eight. Yeah, I definitely don’t fit in with the ones and twos currently walking the halls of Riverside Academy.

“Raine! Breakfast is ready!” Mom yells for me from downstairs, pulling me out of my thoughts.

“I’ll be down in a few!” I open my door and call back to her so she knows I heard her. I quickly put on the button-down white shirt and my plaid skirt, completing the look with my knee-high socks and my shoes. Then I brush my hair out, deciding to leave it down today and then I’m ready to go.

I hate that this school has a uniform. I wish it was regular clothes like my old school. I guess this is how the rich people live and it’s the same for their offspring. Everything needs to be done a certain way.

Grabbing my backpack from the chair by my desk, I walk out of my room, down the stairs, and straight into the kitchen. Mom is already there eating her breakfast when I step inside.

“Morning, Mom,” I say as I grab some juice before making my way to the counter in front of the food she already placed there for me.

“Good morning, sweetheart. I’m sorry I’ve been so busy since we got here. I had to get everything at the office set up,” she tells me apologetically.

“It’s fine, Mom. I get it,” I answer with understanding.

“So tell me, how was your first two days at school? Are you settling in okay? Do you like it here? Any boys?” she asks, smiling at me. We haven’t had a lot of time to chat since we got here and I started school while she started work. I was asleep before she came home most nights and the mornings are usually chaotic for us both. I can’t fault her for having to work late to catch up and get used to things since she’s new here too.

“It’s been fine so far, Mom. I guess I can’t complain. No, there are no boys. The ones here are all rich and snobby assholes,” I grumble.

“Language, young lady!” Mom playfully scolds and I just roll my eyes.

“I did make a friend though. Her name’s Kinsley,” I tell her, hoping that will satisfy her curiosity.

I don’t want to tell her that things have been rocky from the start at this new school and I definitely don’t want to tell her that her boss’s son is the ringleader and the bane of my existence. She already has a lot to deal with and I don’t want to add to that.

“Oh, that’s amazing, darling! I’m so glad you’re making friends,” she gushes and I leave it at that since I don’t have the heart to dampen her mood.

Once we’re finished eating, we both get up and grab our stuff before heading out the door. She gets into her car and I get into mine and then we’re off. When I park at school, I look around for Knox and his friends but don’t see them which is a good thing.

The four of them were there yesterday morning, standing around the hood of Knox’s expensive car, smoking weed. I acted like I didn’t notice them but in truth, it’s hard not to notice those guys, especially when they’re all together.

I shrug off my curiosity, having no clue why I even care or why I’m so concerned about the asshole. It’s not like I even like the guy.

I do see Kinsley though and I stop to wait for her. When she spots me, she jogs over to me and we both head inside together. The hallway is filled with chatter as we walk in and I keep my head down as we make our way to our lockers.

In just two days, I’ve learned that it’s best to just ignore everyone around me when I’m walking through these halls. I don’t want more attention than necessary on me. So far, the only people following Knox’s lead in saying nasty things to me have been the stupid cheerleaders.

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