We finished lunch and went off to finish the day. Things seemed to be going pretty well until I walked into my last block class and found a note on the chair where I usually sat.
Dear slut, hope you’re happy that Jim’s going to have the same thing done to him in jail that you claim he did to you. Way to destroy someone else’s life.
The moment I read the note, my throat tightened and the little I’d managed to eat for lunch threatened to come back up.
Whatever happened to Jim wasn’t my fault, though. I had to remember that. No matter what anyone else said, I wasn’t the one who’d broken the law. I’d turned him in, but he was the one who’d chosen to plead guilty. The judge was the one who’d decided Jim should go to juvenile detention.
It wasn’t my fault. None of it was my fault.
I took a couple of deep breaths. The bell hadn’t rung yet, so the room was still mostly empty, and there was no way to guess who’d written the thing. I didn’t recognize the handwriting. The only thing I could tell was it looked more like a girl’s than a guy’s.
The teacher was at her desk. I picked up the note and walked over to her. I refused to break down this time. The note was harassment, and I was going to take action. Even if no one ever found out who wrote it, at least I was taking control.
“What can I do for you, Chastaine?” she asked.
I held out the piece of paper. “I just found this on my chair.”
She took the note, and her eyes widened. Without a word to me, she picked up the intercom phone and asked whoever answered in the office to send Mr. Lawrence to our room.
“We’re going to find out who did this,” she said. “This isn’t acceptable by any stretch. We can’t prove it was meant for you, though.”
“We kind of can,” I said. “Aside from the ‘slut’ thing that half the school’s been calling me lately, it directly refers to Jim going to jail for what he did. The only people he did anything to that’s sending him to jail are me and Maryellen Rourke, and I think you’re aware she doesn’t go to school here anymore, so the note can’t be for her. It’s probably someone in this class, because I don’t think anyone in your other classes would know where I sit.” As I spoke, the lump in my throat melted away.
“You’re probably right.” She looked around the room at the other students who had shown up so far. “Why don’t you go sit down? Mr. Lawrence will be here in a minute, and then we’ll take care of this.”
There were a few other things I wanted to say, but I stopped myself. Throwing a fit about people putting me down all the time wouldn’t change anything, and I would probably end up getting myself in trouble for swearing. So I went back to my seat.