Beth would walk the school’s corridors with her head down, eyes on the floor, so that she would not notice when boys would stop talking and stare at her. Even when she tried to block everything out, she would still sometimes hear her nickname being whispered in the hall: “Big-boobed Beth.” When she had first entered high school as a freshman, she had been flattered when so many boys had talked to her. Soon, however, she realized that the boys were only speaking to her when they were alone with her. During her first week, when she had walked up to Billy Miller among his friends and said, “Hey! Nice meeting you yesterday,” Billy had ignored her. Later that day, Billy had approached her again (when they were alone, of course) and asked that she not speak to him when other people were around. “I kind of have a reputation to uphold,” he had told her. Speechless, Beth listened to him ask if she wanted to do webcam or video phone chat some time. He had winked and leered at her chest. The conversations from other boys had been pretty much the same. They found her sexually desirable, but socially untouchable.
Beth had tried to focus on her schoolwork and sports, always flashing a quick, eager-to-please smile whenever one of the girls mentioned a party or gathering. She liked being around people, and she thought she was a nice person. But the combination of her big breasts, her horsey face, and her cruel nickname had rendered her at best an outlier in the Williamstown High School social scene.
On this beautiful summer day, Beth listened to her peers chat about teachers, parties, college (maybe-going for some, maybe-not for others), and the never-ending gossip that always swirled around any social gathering. Beth hung back, trying to be invisible. She had learned long ago not to say anything and risk drawing attention to herself. She had found that the other teens tolerated her presence, as long as she kept quiet. When she asked questions or talked, the eyes of her peers in the group inevitably drifted from her face down to her chest. And then the grinning and snickering would begin. Beth could have stayed away completely, of course. She could have become a hermit. But she liked people; and at any rate, she hoped that as long as she was hanging around, her peers at least would not be gossiping about HER.
Suddenly, the conversation stopped. All heads turned toward an approaching figure. The girl was their age, slightly built, with long jet-black hair that sported a purple streak. She wore a black T-shirt with the name of an obscure band on the front, black leggings, and black boots. Sunglasses hid her eyes.