88“Hey, new guy! You’re like a fungus. Y’know, the extra ingredient in the spaghetti sauce – a mushroom. All limp and gross.”
That’s what Maxe and Leo heard as they headed down the hallway to their lockers.
Bang! Bang! A locker door swung shut with a loud noise.
“Listen up when I talk to you, fungus!”
Maxe couldn’t stand it any more. She moved towards the crowd of kids all the insults were coming from.
In the middle was Sébastien, the new little guy in Maxe’s class. Next to him, Charles, the tall guy, was having a blast.
Charles was the oldest, the tallest and the strongest, and he wasn’t afraid to show it. Especially when Sébastien was around.
“That’s enough, Charles,” said Maxe. “Leave him alone.”
“What’s it to you?”
Charles planted himself in front of Maxe and looked her straight in the eye with a threatening expression.
“She told you to leave him alone,” said a voice from behind him.
Charles put up his fists. Looking behind him, he saw Leo.
“OK, OK, Leo, I’ll leave him alone… at least for today.”
“No,” said Maxe. “Leo means you’re going to leave him alone from now on.”
Charles shot Maxe a cold look and left, muttering under his breath, “You’ll be sorry.”
The little crowd broke up. Maxe and Leo were alone with Sébastien, who was obviously not happy.
“You shouldn’t have got mixed up in my business,” he said to Maxe before leaving.
Maxe and Leo went back to their lockers, talking about what had just happened.
“Sébastien must be frustrated with Charles harassing him like that. How come you’re the only one Charles will listen to?”
“Don’t forget that I’m the one who helps him with his homework. That gives us a chance to talk about all sorts of things. He’s not a bad guy, but he can’t seem to make any friends. He just barges in.”
“Like the big guy in the comics with the tiny head.”
“Yeah, kinda. But he’s not stupid.”
The bell rang. School was over for the day. As usual, Maxe and Leo, who were neighbours, walked home together.
It was a pretty normal evening at Maxe’s place.
Dinner with the family, homework, a couple of TV shows and a little time to herself.
Maxe loved to read in bed before falling asleep. She ignored her phone and social media, knowing that if she even took a quick look, she’d be there for hours and hours.
But all of a sudden her phone rang. Normally no one called. Maxe and all her friends texted, they didn’t call. She looked at the screen. It was Leo.
“Maxe! Have you seen the messages?”
“I wanted to warn you. Someone sent a photo of you to all the kids at school – a nude photo!”