Brittney played her part at school, too. The only problem was she wasn’t allowed to wear long sleeves or her scarf in gym class and she sweated through her makeup. Everyone gave her pitying looks and the teacher pulled her aside, laying a hand on her shoulder as he told her he wanted her to know that he was available if she ever needed anything.
Brittney was hyper aware of that hand on her shoulder. Of how many inches the teacher had on her (four and a half). She remained rigid, waiting for the moment to be over so she could be released and run back to the locker room and the comfort of her clothing and a fresh layer of makeup. She would face more pitying looks, and maybe some offers of help in the locker room (occasionally she even received tips for covering up her bruises), but anything would be better than this.
The teacher’s wording also didn’t escape her notice: he wanted her to know. He wanted. He wanted. He wanted.
When had she ever asked what he wanted?
Somehow it never occurred to them to ask what she wanted.
It took her a while to realize it was because they assumed they already knew – they thought she wanted rescuing.
Poor, naive little fools.
She had long given up on any thoughts of rescue.
But she couldn’t let them know that, however much she might want to.
Just like at home, she had a part to play at school. She had to play the part of the helpless victim who wanted out, but didn’t want to rebel. She had seen how girls who rebelled drew attention, and she couldn’t afford that.
So, she kept her clothing neutral (subtly feminine without being overtly girly), she did all her homework, she participated in class (but not too much). It was a careful balancing act between frail victim and competent school girl, but she had learned all the pieces to the part and she had learned the discipline necessary to do what was expected of her.
To be continued…