Here is another pre-To be Maria vignette, one that is followed by Life’s Not Fair.
The phone wakes Anya from her thoughts. “Good thing it’s in my room,” she mutters as she reaches over her nightstand to grab it.
“Hello?” she says slowly, hoping the person on the other line isn’t one of her little sister’s bitchy friends.
“Anya, where are you? I haven’t seen you in school all day,” Patrick says. His voice carries a strong hint of worry.
“I’m sick,” Anya whispers.
There is a pause on the other end; it is followed by a sigh. “You were fine this morning. Come on. What’s wrong?”
Anya breaks down and tells him everything, from beginning to end.
“I’m really sorry, Anya. My music teacher came by Mr. Hawthorne’s studio right after my audition and wanted to talk to me about something, so I couldn’t say no.”
Anya bites the inside of her bottom lip. “Yeah, you could have said no. Easily,” she almost says.
“Anya, you seriously have to stop this.”
“Carly and her friends. You can’t keep letting them get to you. It’s not worth it, and it’s only making things worse.”
Anya’s face flushes red. “But every time I’m happy, they have to ruin everything!”
“That’s because you let them.”
Anya narrows her eyes. “I was expecting sympathy from you, Patrick. Not a lecture.”
“Earth to Anya Preschnikov. This is your best friend speaking; not the school counselor.”
“They’re so nasty to you because they know how badly you react to them,” Patrick says.
Anya tugs on a thick strand of hair, unable to respond to that comment. Funny thing is, she can candle Carly’s malicious comments when no one else is around to hear them. But when it’s several people against her, it’s pure torture. It’s degradation at its worst, and it’s something Anya won’t ever be able to handle well.
Lucky for Patrick, Carly, Matt and their groupies have stopped gang-bullying him back in tenth grade.
“I can see this conversation is going nowhere,” she says.
Patrick breathes heavily into the receiver. “Well, if you need a place to stay, you know, somewhere where you can–”
“Yes, I know. I’ll come stay with you. I have to get out of here before my sister sees me this way. When can you pick me up?”
“When my parents get home from work. Shouldn’t be too long now.”
A faint smile flickers across Anya’s face. “Great. I’ll see you then.”
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