It was a lot easier to feel comfortable in my own skin when I had a built-in twin always at my side. Now I only felt lonely.

“Toss me your schedule, Chicago.” Ryan nudged me in the side with a smile. I guessed that was my new nickname from him. I handed it his way and he unfolded the paper, his eyes darting back and forth. “Ohh, you have Ms. Gain for first-hour chemistry. Harsh.”

Hailey frowned. “Ms. Sweaty. Her classroom smells like a horse’s butt.”

“And she grades like we are all supposed to be Harvard students.” Ryan rolled his eyes. “I’ll be lucky to get into community college.” It seemed like he was mostly saying that to himself so I didn’t comment. “At least you have third hour with yours truly. AP English with Mr. D. Easy A.” Why did he think he wouldn’t get into college if he was taking AP courses?

“That’s because he’s new. New teachers are always easy A’s.” Hailey smirked before hurrying off to find her locker.

Ryan handed me my schedule back and rushed off to class. I took a deep breath and looked up at the school building. So many people were moving around as if they knew exactly where they were going. Exactly what the next step was.

I moved slowly, searching, exploring, and hoping to get out with as little harm as possible. The first-hour class crawled by, and my new house buddies hadn’t been wrong. Ms. Gain’s room did smell like a horse’s butt.

“All right, students. Welcome to chemistry. I’m glad to see you all appear to be comfortable in your seats. Too bad. Assigned tables starting now. These will be your partners for the rest of the semester. So once you move, I welcome you to get comfortable again.”

The room was in an uproar with moans and annoyance, but I couldn’t care less. I already didn’t know anyone, therefore it wouldn’t matter who she sat me next to.

“Ashlyn Jennings next to Jake Kenn at table five.” I picked up my books, moved over to my table, and watched as a boy sat in the chair next to me. He gave me a friendly smile, but I noticed when his eyes traveled to my chest.

Their eyes always found my chest.

“Hi. Ashley, right?” Jake extended his hand my way and smiled.

“Ashlyn,” I corrected. Jake was a good-looking guy, kind of built—as far as high school boys could be built I guess. Blond hair, brown eyes.

“Well it’s nice to meet you, Ashlyn.” He put the stress on my name and that got a smile from me.

“You too.”

“So you’re the new girl everyone’s been talking about? The principal’s daughter?”

Everyone’d been talking about me? The thought of that sent a rumble through my stomach and I shrugged. “Assistant principal’s daughter. Everyone’s been talking about me? It’s the first hour of the first day.”

“You’ll learn fast… People talk here. That’s pretty much all they do.” He nodded, his eyes roaming over my body once more. “You look nothing like Mr. Jennings.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.” I smiled shyly and adjusted my chair a small bit away from him.

He noticed my move and chuckled lightly before he turned to face the teacher. “Trust me, it is.”

The class continued on, and afterwards, Jake asked me if I needed help finding my next class, which I declined with a smile. The next hour went by just like the one before—slowly.

Walking in the hallway, I felt trapped. My eyes darted to the clock on the wall. The loud ticks reminded us students that we must hurry along or we might blink and miss out on our lives. Six more hours. Six more long, dreadful hours before I would be able to escape the imprisonment of the building.

While I was walking, I saw Henry standing down the hallway giving me a halfway grin. I sighed and turned the other way, running directly into a person. My books and schedule went flying and I rolled my eyes.

“Watch where you’re going, melons.”

I looked up just in time to see that I’d managed to run into a guy wearing a letter jacket. A football player, and from how the followers huddled around him, I was sure he was the head of the team. I glanced over and noticed Jake standing amongst them, giving him a wary smile.

He shrugged with an apologetic grin and walked off. Thanks for the help, chemistry partner. A few of the guys remained near me as I started picking up my books from the run-in.

“Those aren’t just melons. Those are watermelons. I love my watermelons big and juicy,” a boy laughed as he walked past me, mocking the size of my chest.

After I picked up the books, I held them even tighter to my chest. I couldn’t even raise my head to look the bullies in the eyes.

One of the downsides to wearing Gabby’s dresses was the way they showcased my body. But for some reason, I had to wear them.

“No need to read when you got a rack like that. I can teach you all kinds of things,” the head bully said. One of the others called him Brad. I felt his eyes roaming across my body and I shifted myself away from him which made me run into another. Didn’t they have better things to do on the first day of school? Like, maybe going to class?

“Just one taste,” one of the guys muttered as he moved close to my ear and rubbed his hands against my shoulders before the rough sound of a teacher’s voice filled all of our ears.

“All right, all right. That’s enough. Get to class.” The voice ran through my ears as my head was still down. I watched as all of the feet of the ass**les scurried away. A hand came near me and I flinched.

The need for a shower washed over my skin. Violated. The boys’ words and rubs had violated me and made me feel as if I’d just been touched all over in the most callous way. I wanted to go crawl back to Chicago, where at least I knew who the bullies were. I wanted to go home.