~~ Doug was a small kid, he didn't have his growth spurt
until he was fifteen which made his high school years very
difficult indeed. His Harry Potter glasses and wild mop of curls
didn't help matters either.
One day, in year 9, Doug was waiting in line for the canteen minding his own business, when two year 11 boys sneaked into the queue in front of him. Doug tried to swallow his anger and stay calm but on some days, he was really sick and tired of being ignored, and so he shoved into them.
The two year 11's turned around to face him. Doug gulped and looked behind him, hoping someone else would look guilty. But a group of girls stood behind him, too caught up in a conversation to notice his pleading eyes.
One of the guys was Danny Ryan. Doug always seemed to get in his way through no fault of his own. He guessed today it was his fault. Danny grabbed him by his coat while his mate, Aaron Meade, ripped his rucksack off his back.
Doug trembled, too afraid to ask for his rucksack back as they threw it between each other. Doug ran back and forth between them, jumping as high as he could to retrieve his bag but he was too small to reach.
Danny and Aaron were laughing at him. The line of students behind them were laughing at him. Doug felt like whatever he did in life, wherever he went, someone was always laughing at him.
A shout made everyone shut up. Danny clutched onto the rucksack in his hands and turned to where it had come from.
Doug blinked up at the girl at the doors of the canteen and his heart pounded. He had seen her before walking around school, always on her own but she never seemed to care. She was a year older than him and always found herself in trouble. That was all he knew.
Her hair was bleached almost white and she had diamond studs running down the curve of her right ear. Her eyes were heavily made up with black make-up and her lips were blood red. She often got warned for extravagant make-up and was always forced to remove it. Doug guessed that the teachers hadn't caught her today or had just given up telling her to take it off.
"What?" called Danny.
Her pale face cracked into a grin and she jumped down the stairs. "Gimme the bag." Danny looked at Aaron. The girl laughed and stuck out her hand. "Give me the bag."
Aaron shrugged and Danny passed it to her. She took it with a smile. Doug gulped with wide-eyes, readying himself for another round of piggy in the middle.
But that didn't happen.
Instead, the girl grabbed the rucksack by the strap and swung it round in a circle, smacking both Danny and Aaron right in their jaws.
Everyone cringed back, even Doug, knowing what was in the bag. His woodwork.
Danny and Aaron stumbled back, clutching their faces.
"Hey!" A teacher came running out of the canteen. The girl quickly handed the rucksack back to Doug with a wink before the teacher grabbed hold of her blazer. "You okay, squirt?" she asked. He just nodded, unable to speak.
"Next time, pick on someone your own size, nobheads!" she called to Danny and Aaron who now had tears streaming down their faces from the pain.
"Enough!" shouted the teacher as he pulled her away from the scene.
Doug kept seeing the girl around school and he really
wanted to thank her for what she did, but he was too afraid.
Being as shy as he was, speaking to anyone he didn't know was
daunting. But there was something about this girl that made it
even more terrifying. She was incredibly intimidating.
The days dragged into weeks and he still hadn't plucked up the courage to talk to her and so he decided to give up completely.
She had another idea.
One day, when Doug was sat alone on a wall at break time, he felt a shadow loom over him and someone sat beside him. He turned and his stomach flipped. It was her.
She gazed ahead, biting into an apple, before looking to him. She stretched out her hand to him. "I'm Sam."
"Erhh…" He took her hand. "H-hi, I'm Doug."
She smiled. "Nice to meet you, Doug. Sorry for calling you squirt."
He laughed. "No problem. Th-thank you, for what you did that day."
She squinted into the sun and bit her apple. "It was nothing." She looked back to him. Her deep brown eyes reminded him of chocolate. "Wanna be friends?"
Doug almost choked on air. "Errh…yeah…sure."
She grinned and swung her legs. "Great."
And that was it. From then on, they were inseparable.
Doug had no idea why she had chosen him to be friends with. She was so…cool and he was…well, a bit of a nerd. With his Harry Potter glasses, afro-like hair and raincoat that his mum had promised he'd grow into. Sam could have chosen anyone and she had settled for him.
Little did Doug know that she hadn't settled for him at all. And the reason she wanted to be his friend was because he looked as vulnerable and frightened of the world on the outside as she did on the inside. They were like two wounded birds. They needed each other to survive.
The time-bomb had started ticking the moment she introduced herself to Doug. Sam was a self-saboteur. Always had been and always will be. Whatever chance at happiness she had, she always found a way to crush it. And, unfortunately for Doug, her relationship with him was going to get too good for her to handle and one day, they'll be a trigger and it would all be over. She'd press that big red self-destruct button.