“Well, look who decided to join us,” the principal said, almost derisively.
Jane slowly rose to a sitting position and perched on the side of the bed.
“They attacked me first. It was self-defense,” she said woozily.
“Well. We’ll decide what is considered self-defense when you come into the office, and we have a little discussion about what just happened. Can you stand up?” the vice principal asked.
Jane slowly rose from the bed to her feet.
“Yeah,” she answered.
“Follow us,” the principal ordered.
They led Jane into the principal’s office, where the other seven girls were already sitting in a row of seats that lined the walls in the office. The principal’s office was a large room with a total of ten chairs and a loveseat that sat against the walls. Framed degrees and awards decorated the wall behind the principal’s desk and chair and a name plate sat on his desk.
“Harold Winchester,” read the name plate.
Mr. Winchester sat down in his chair and leaned back, folding his arms across his bulging, middle-aged belly and placing one foot across his opposite knee. He looked directly and accusingly at Jane. His eyes seemed to cut right through her body.
“Mind telling me how all this got started and what went on in there?” he asked in a thundering baritone voice.
“Breanna and Audrey followed me into the bathroom and started trying to provoke me. When they couldn’t do it with words, they did it with their fists instead and I defended myself,” Jane answered.
“Oh, you defended yourself, huh?” the principal said in a voice dripping with disdain, “Well, that’s not how these kids describe it.”
“Really,” Jane responded sarcastically, “Do you think they would ever admit to starting a bathroom brawl and ganging up, 5 or 7 to one, against one girl? I doubt it!”
The principals’ eyes widened. Mr. Winchester then leaned forward, bringing both hands together atop his desk and steepling his fingers.
“I don’t like your attitude. You have a real smart mouth,” he growled.
“Yeah? Well, at least I’m honest. At least I know who I am and don’t mind letting you know where I stand,” Jane countered.
“Ooooooo!” The other girls gasped under their breath. Then there were giggles and derisive grunts.
“The rest of you shut up!” Mr. Winchester snapped, raising his voice.
The vice principal stood beside Mr. Winchester, legs shoulder width apart and arms folded across his chest, looking down at Jane, then at Mr. Winchester who remained sitting.
“Why don’t you tell us what really happened?” Mr. Winchester asked in a harsh tone.
“I already did. Breanna and Audrey followed me into the bathroom and started picking a fight and I defended myself. That’s when five other creeps jumped in and attacked me for defending myself against those two. It seems that people want to bully me because I’m the new kid and not from this sleazy, one-horse town. And when I defend myself, everyone jumps in.”
“Well, we won’t quibble about who started it, Miss Markowitz. But that’s the way it is around here, you mess with one, you mess with all. I suspect that’s the way it goes in any sleazy one-horse town,” the principal said in a mocking tone.
“Hmmph. No joke. More like, you defend against one, you defend against all, which is the case here,” Jane quipped.
Mr. Winchester and the vice principal, Mr. Sylvester, looked at each other.
“Boy, she does have quiet the attitude, doesn’t she?” Mr. Winchester asked Mr. Sylvester in a taunting tone.
“I’ll say,” The vice principal answered equally as disdainful.
They both looked back at Jane.
“We’re going to call your mother and we’ll see what she has to say about this. In fact, we’ll call yours and Breanna’s both since all this started with you two. You and Breanna both have been bickering back and forth these last few months and we’re sick of it. Now, the rest of you can go back to class. Jane and Breanna, on the other hand, can stay a while,” Mr. Sylvester told them before looking down at Mr. Winchester.
Mr. Winchester looked up at the vice principal and nodded in approval.