Story: The Popular People (chapter 4)

Authors: Jdwheels

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Chapter 4

Title: Chapter 4 - Rumours Abound

[Author's notes:

Who can be really a friend... and who can twist a knife in your back?

That is a question as old as time itself.


Chapter Four: Rumours abound



On the clay track out behind Strickland High school, a large clustering of many people were moving slowly around the oval. The whole grouping of students seemed to move as one, but there was more than a few straggling runners behind them as they laboured in a huge attempt to keep up.

Up near the front of the main mass of runners, Abigail ran along with the amoeba like pack with such effortlessness that it seemed like she was fluid. She was smoothly pacing herself keeping up with the leader who was a long and very skinny boy on her left while keeping a eye on the few students that were directly behind her.

The girl really did not seem to being even close to exerting herself at the moment, her strides were fluent and loose like a cat on a leisurely jaunt. She seemed focussed as she went along, seemingly making each stride as long as her shorter frame could really give her.

As the main pack of runners passed the starting line on the track area, Abigail could hear the two coaches yelling out from the infield area....urging them all to go a little faster than they were at the moment.

" Come on, people... Pick it up, you are not all eighty year olds here... I wanna see hustle before I dismiss you from this practice time..." Shouted Mr. Hammerland, the one who worked with the boys, and was also the football coach as well for the Strickland Saints.

" I want to see everyone really beginning to sweat and grunting on the next few laps..." Yelled out Ms. Vascombe, the female coach. " We are not going to have you all stop until both Coach Hammerland and myself are really satisfied that all of you are giving it all that you’ve got!"

Abigail swallowed and started to pick up her pace with little effort, knowing that her coaches were going to be on their asses all afternoon until most of the people here did what they were being told to. Both coaches were known for pushing ever boy and girl to heights that were nearly impossible to meet, and she knew that she had to push her own levels to get better..

She heard a collective groan go up from the other runners, but ignored them all as she kicked her speed up to the next level. She easily passed the almost anorexic thin looking lad on her left as she did, and sped down the track at a greater clip.

She heard the lad swear a few times, and knew that he was having a little trouble in getting himself to the next gear. She smiled and settle into the new pace as smoothly as she had been with the last speed, easily making the transition. As she lengthened the accumulated distance between the pack and herself, she heard a few more choice swears that were being hurled at her. She just passed the words off and seemed to continue to really concentrate in on every one of her strides.

Twenty minutes later, the whole track team were all scattered across the field that was the inside of the track. There were groans of pain and grumbles of many complaints coming up from most of the team. There were even a few sobs in the crowd, but no one seemed to be willing to let themselves be seen doing it.

Abigail was laying back on the soft grasses, panting away hard. She had pushed herself hard because City finals for Track was about a month away. She was ranked third in the whole city, and she was pushing herself to move into that first spot... a feat never done by anyone from Strickland High School. In her heart of hearts, that was the man reason why she pushed herself like she had been... but there was a alternate reason as well.

She had to admit that she was pushing herself on this day to make her mind from constantly mulling over every single thing that had been happening over the last while. Even right now, her mind was so busy, she only heard a few words spoken by the coaches only a few yards away from where the whole school track team had all collapsed.

Coaches Hammerland and Vascombe seemed to be rehashing over about the upcoming City Finals meet held at the large stadium downtown, and they were doing it all with their normal aggravating ways of making an encouragement type of speech. The details that were being given Abigail had already put it to memory, but she wished that they would stop... they were notorious for repeating themselves.

Abigail was just wanting to take a nice hot shower and then just head off straight home... her school day had seemed so much more longer than what a school day would have been normally. The day had really dragged on, and the argument that she had with Eddie had not helped any either.

The girl was pretty sure that it was some sort of a weird effect from what has been happening in her life the last couple of days, she was almost assured of that. It made long days of school seem so endless in a really bad way... sort of what it was doing to her today.

Abigail then snapped back to reality, realizing that she had not been listening to the head of the Strickland Track and Field team. She found that the coaches were still droning on, spouting things that they already had said many times before.

The girl just groaned deep in her chest, because she knew that the two coaches were on some sort of a verbal roll at the moment, and recognized that it very well might be almost ten minutes or so before the two would finally would end up running out of steam. She tried to listen politely, but because this was all what she already knew... made it ten times more difficult.



Sixteen very long and almost painful minutes later, the track team was finally dismissed. Every last member seemed to be relieved on this unusually hot day to be heading to those showers, as fatigue seemed to hang in just how every member seemed to move. The people went into the school, all glad that the school day was now officially over and done with.

Standing directly under the spray of a hot shower, Abigail felt the tension was beginning to be soothed out of her. She muttered a little to herself in pleasure about how good that steamy water felt on her, while relishing those sensations as it cascaded over her tired and very dust caked body.

" Ahh..." She said, giggling to herself that she was enjoying this as much as she was.

After a minute more, Abigail started to notice that there was no one showering next to her. There were others in the large showering area, but the shower spots that were on either side of her were empty. There were more girls who were waiting just outside the shower room, in the little corridor between the showers and the dressing room. That fact made her realize even more, that things were changing.

From her shower spot, she saw even her long time friend in the track team, Carol Stalls was waiting in the doorway rather than taking one of the empty spots on either side of her... and she was more than sure that Carol knew this fact as well. Abigail was perplexed by seemingly being snubbed... because there was no other explanation that was going to justify what was happening. It was clear, that things were not even close to being the same.

Kelli Masson, one of the three female high jumpers was the closest person to Abigail in the showers, standing in a stall only two over from her. She had known the light brown haired girl since they had been in the third grade together, even thought they had never became the best of friends... but she was one of those people that you have seemed to have known forever..

" Hey... Kel..." She called out to the girl..

" Yeah..." Said back the girl, almost as if she had come out of a daze due to the heat of the water.

Abigail thought out the question she was going to ask next as quickly as she could making sure that it would not sound too stupid in the process of saying it.. She looked up and into those light hazel eyes of her friend, and decided just to come out with it and ask.

" Is it me, Kelli... or are people sort of like, trying to avoid me?" She asked carefully.

Kelli looked at her friend, then took a quick glance at the doorway to the showers while she nodded very lightly.

" They are..." She said so short like, but not like she was angry either.

" W... why?" Asked Abigail, dumbfounded at the fact that was actually happening to her.

Kelli moved to the shower area right next to the girl, and seemed to make a conscious effort to make eye contact..

" There is this sort of... talk that is going around the school..." She said.

" Talk?" Abigail asked.

" You know... rumours... it’s is a whole lot of gossip..." Kerri said, keeping her back towards the people standing in the doorway. " The rumours I heard are about you.... And is very strange stuff..."

Abigail looked at Kerri with her mouth dropping open a little, as that was a surprise for her to be hearing from the much taller girl.

" About me?" The girl asked, as she could not believe that she was being talked about like this.

" Yeah..." Said Kelli, nervously.

Abigail thought it through for a second, feeling that her life right now was going to turn on a dime at any moment. She saw how the girl was making sure that the people waiting outside was not going to know that they were talking to one another. Making a choice, Abigail then made an effort to be discreet as well..

" What type of things are being said about me?" Probed the girl with a forced whisper, feeling more shock coming on.

" You don’t wanna really know what some of these things are that are flying around this school..." Kerri said, adding. " When I heard it all... I could not believe any of the crap myself..."

" Tell me...." Abigail asked, making sure that she was being clear. " I wanna know what it is that makes all of these people want to not be near me."

Kelli shook her head.

" No... I don’t think that you really want to hear any of this..." She said. " It’s pretty out there, even for the rumour makers at this school..."

" What is going around?" Abigail asked, almost desperately. " Kerri... Tell me what..."

" I really do not want to be the one who actually end up telling you all of this..." She said, her brow furrowing as she looked at Abigail.

Abigail looked at her friend, and could tell what the look was all about right off the bat. She took a deep breath, and knew what she had to ask next.

" I have a right to know what these things that are being said about me..." Said the girl back, her voice was tight. " I have a right to know what people are saying, and all being done behind my back."

" You sure?" Asked Kerri, she was very hesitant at this point.

" Yes!" Abigail replied back.

Kelli took a deep breath in, it seemed like the girl did not want to tell her what she knew, but the face showed that Abigail was right in having a right to know what was being said behind her back.

" The rumours are that you have broken up with Eddie... because you had decided that you were gay or somethin’..." She blurted out before she had a chance to not say it.

" More people know that we broke up?" Abigail said.

" You and Eddie have broken up?" Kerri said, with her eyebrows held high on her face.

That part was out now, and the young Galy girl seemed to be a little thankful that it was.

" Yeah... we broke up yesterday..." Admitted Abigail.

" That I sort of thought that part could have been true..." Kerri said, then she got a little stiff " but the other part of all of this, I do not believe..."

" The part of where I am gay or something?" Asked Abigail.

Kerri nodded her head, but it still seemed hard for her to have come out and tell what she had known. She shifted under the water that was coming down on her and she seemed to be still uneasy with it all

" That was just how it was told to me earlier on today ..." Kelli said, almost meekly.

" Who did you hear this from?" The shorter girl asked, wanting to know her source.

" From Tracy Keller, a girl who is in my fifth period English lit class..." Informed Kerri

" What else did she say." She pressed, as she thought that she knew the girl from her own third period class.., and one who had been there when Eddie and her were having it out.

Kerri sighed pretty deeply, which was a good indication that she was going to say what it was, even though she really did not want to.

" Tracy had told me she and heard that you and Eddie had broken up over the fact that you had came right out and screamed at him that you were a lesbian, and he was useless to you."

Feeling like she had just been kicked squarely in the chest, Abigail could only stand there and vacantly stare at her friend. This piece of news was hitting her quite hard, in a way it was hitting home on her as she stood there in utter shock. She had been scared of addressing that very topic even to herself in private, now it seemed that everyone else in the whole damned school was going to be putting that question about her under the microscope.

" She said that was what the fight was all about...? Whispered Abigail, feeling her heart fall as she heard all of this.

" Tracy said that she was there and had heard most of this stuff when you two were fighting." The reply came from Kelli, and she also added. " She said she was standing right there as you two went at it..."

" That was not what I said... hell, it’s not even close to it." She knew that part was true." Abigail said with impunity.

She wanted to know that she had never said such a thing, but she also was not about to say that was what Eddie said. She was not about to say what was goin on inside of her mind yet to anyone. It was clear that this was one of many people who could have started this tornado of rumours. There had been many people crowded in the hallway when Eddie and her had their impromptu explosion.

The girl looked at Abigail, as she nodded... her face becoming less intense. It seemed like she had resolved all of this for herself.

"I did not ever really believe it when I heard it, but I knew the truth lay in what was being said..." Scoffed Kerri, shaking her head to show that she did not believe the rumours. " It was literally one of the most stupidest rumours I have ever heard get started around here in a very long time..."

" Eddie and I did have a argument in the hallway in front of my classroom earlier..." Said Abigail, in a soft voice over the noise of the shower. " But I never said that to him..."

Kerri’s eyes seemed to flicker with a light.

" I thought it was something like that..." She snuffed, relaxed by the girl’s assurances in this matter. " People start to gossip about pretty much anything at this school... but it shows how fucking stupid some people are to believe shit... especially around here."

" Yeah.." Agreed the girl back to Kerri, although she said it with a shaky voice that was covered by the shower noises.

With that information filling her head, the girl let Kerri return to her shower in peace. Kerri seemed to be at ease more now that she had told everything... but Abigail was feeling so many mixed up emotions with all of this information... and felt like people were on the brink of turning on her as well

At this point, Abigail had finished up her shower, there was no need to hang around here to be ignored like this from the others. She simply hurried out of the shower room and pushed past the group that was congregated just inside the dressing room area, not wanting to show what it was that she was feeling right now or that she knew exactly what they were doing to her.

Abigail heard a flurry of whispers go through the group, picking out the words like ‘dyke’ and the odd phrase ‘that’s so gross’ a few times. Other more derogatory terms were also muddled in the words, but as a whole... it showed the group was all in agreement with the sayings The hurt increased when she saw that people hurried in to have their showers, once she had left the showers.

With her confusion that was now even making her question who she was, that was very hard.... with the words that had came from people, some of whom she had known for many years by now, was like a knife in her back She was feeling more than just hurt... way more than what she ever wanted to let anyone know.

" What if I am really gay??" Kept popping into her mind, as she felt herself thinking on the girl that was in her dreams and even her waking thoughts.

She had just hurried past this continuously whispering group of nearly naked girls and straight to her gym locker. She had enough of everything, and of everybody as well. It seemed like people were making up their own minds about her rather rashly, even when she could not make any determination about her own self. The only thing she really knew was the pain in her heart was real.

Abigail hurried and changed, hoping that she would get out and away from her before any of the others could finish up their showers. She slipped out of the gym and quickly left the school via the closest exit that she could find to use, while trying to make sure that nobody saw her leaving on a dead run.

Little did she know, that someone saw her running away from the school, like if she had been shot out of a cannon.  The person watched Abigail leaving the school grounds, and seemed to be instantly saddened by it.

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