During lunch, Bruce caught up with Jane in the lunch line.
“Hey, can we talk?” he asked.
“Nope,” Jane answered shortly.
“C’mon, Jane. Don’t be like that,”
“Don’t be like what? Like the way you were with me last week because you’re too macho to have a girl help you out a little in a fight? Bruce, I wasn’t just fighting for you, I was fighting for me too! They tried to jump both of us, not just you!” Jane told him flatly as she took her tray, then moved up to the utensil and napkin dispensers.
“Yeah, I know. But would it help if I said I’m sorry?” Bruce asked in a low voice.
Jane didn’t respond as she took her napkin and utensils and moved up to where the lunch ladies were serving the food. But Bruce would not be deterred.
“Look, I’m a jerk. I’m an ass. I’m a prick,” Bruce confessed, “I don’t blame you for being angry but I’m not giving up on you, Jane. You’re not like all these other girls and it’s why I like you so much.”
Bruce Swallows his Pride
Jane looked at him, as if to see if he was sincere. Bruce looked at her and nudged her with his elbow.
“C’mon, whadaya say? Can we be friends again?” he said with a grin.
Jane couldn’t help but smile back.
“Okay,” she answered.
“And, for what it’s worth, I agree with you one hundred percent. This school blows. And so does this town.”
That afternoon, after the dismissal bell rang, Jane was making her way across the school lawn and parking lot to her bus when Janessa, April, and Samantha stepped out in front of her from behind one of the parked school buses.
“What do you want?” Jane fired off.
“I think you know what we want! That stunt you pulled this morning, in Mrs. Dufresne’s class, didn’t score you any points, bitch!” Janessa growled.
“Damn sure didn’t earn you any respect like in the movies! You only further pissed us off, and a lot of other people,” Samantha spat.
“Fuck you and your damn feelings!” Jane told them, “Go tell it on the fucking mountain, you bunch of butt-hurt, snowflake crybullies!”
A Lethal Weapon
Suddenly, Samantha pulled a switchblade on Jane, and Janessa brandished a pair of brass knuckles on her fist as she drew back. A strong pair of hands grabbed Jane from behind. Jane delivered two elbow jabs to the ribs of Bubba Northam, the guy who had grabbed her, and at the same time, delivered a front kick to Janessa before she could punch her with the brass knuckles. . Jane then smashed Bubba’s shin with the heel of her shoe, causing him to drop to the ground like a stone. With the flick of her hand, Samantha managed to slash Jane’s shoulder with the switchblade before Jane grabbed her wrist and gave it a vicious twist, causing Samantha to drop the switchblade. Next, she he delivered a jab-punch to her face and busted her nose. Jane then ran to her school bus and jumped on just before it pulled away.
Jane took a seat and Olivia, who was already on the bus when Jane got on, shrieked, as did the other younger kids. The sight of the blood that covered the sleave of Jane’s blouse filled the younger children with shock and horror.
“Jane! What happened!” Olivia screamed.
“Stop, Olivia, it’s not bad!” Jane told her.
Jane instructed the bus driver to stop in front of their house instead of Grandma Bennett’s, and he did so.
When Jane and Olivia got off the bus, they rushed into the empty house and ran into the bathroom. She stood in front of the mirror over the sink. Jane tore off her blouse. Being top-naked except for her bra, she inspected the slash on her shoulder. Olivia watched, completely horrified, as more blood ran down Jane’s arm.
An Emergency Phone Call
“I’m going to call Mom!” Olivia said as she pulled out her smartphone.
“No! Don’t you dare! Mom is at work!” Jane scolded as she stopped Olivia.
“No! I’m calling her, Jane! You’re hurt and you’re bleeding!” Olivia said angrily, and she walked out of the bathroom.
At Bobtail Bud’s, Brielle was serving a family of four their meals when Atticus approached her.
“You got a phone call. It’s Olivia. Let Elsa take over your table and come to the back,” he advised her.
Brielle rushed to the back and picked up the landline phone that was laying on Atticus’ desk and out of the cradle.
“Hello,” Brielle greeted.
She paused and her eyes suddenly widened
before she continued speaking. Both Atticus and Jo saw Brielle’s face change and immediately looked at each other with expressions of concern.
“I’m on my way!” Brielle assured because hanging up.
A Mother’s Fear
“Is everything alright, Brielle?” Atticus asked.
“I gotta go, Atticus. I gotta go now!” Brielle said in a shaky voice, “Jane got slashed with a knife at school. She’s been dealing with bullying ever since the first time she stepped foot in that school! Breanna Lindsey, Audrey Crabtree, Ashley Childers and several others made her life a living hell last year! They stopped for a while but now, they’re right back at it again!”
“Oh my God! Is it serious?” Jo asked, terrified.
“She just got slashed on the shoulder, so I don’t think it’s life threatening! But it could’ve been!”
“Brielle, you go. Go take care of your daughter. We got this!” Atticus told her.
“Thank you both so much!” Brielle said, swallowing hard as the tears began to flow.