Later on that night, you instantly found that it was extremely difficult for you to fall asleep, and so you had spent the majority of the night tossing and turning in your bed, several thoughts running through your mind. Mostly, they were about that moment earlier that afternoon when Gilbert had told you he wanted to be your friend.
After bullying someone so harshly up until the point of near suicide for almost three years, didn't at least a tiny part of him think that after only a day of acting nice and suddenly wanting for you to be his friend, wasn't he moving things going a little too quickly? He could have at least thought about your feelings a bit more. Even though he seemed to understand the pain you had went through during the time he had bullied you, he still didn't seem to realize how this affected the way you thought of him. Just because he was acting friendly to you now didn't mean you could've allowed yourself to trust him all of a sudden after all that he did to you, and he had to understand that.
Suddenly, another thought entered your mind that instantly made your heart skip a beat. Throughout the entire time that Gilbert had bullied you, you had always been wearing clothes that usually completely covered your body from your neck down to your feet. If you were to wear something like a short sleeved shirt or shorts, the bruises and scars that you had received from Gilbert would've been revealed to the whole school. It was humiliating enough for you to be forced to reveal your injuries to your parents back when you had to go to the hospital.
But even though Gilbert bullied you so constantly and so severely, he had never actually seen any of your actual injuries. Sure, he had seen you clutch your stomach when he had punched it, and sure he had watched you bleed sometimes from the force of his attacks, but he still had absolutely no idea just how much damage he had caused you.
Maybe after you showed him, he would get an even better idea of how much destruction he had done to you, not just mentally, but physically as well.
The next day, you made sure to have a slight change in the outfit you usually wore to school. Instead of wearing just a long sleeved shirt and jeans, you wore a sweater with a short sleeved shirt under it and sweatpants that were easy for you to roll up until they reached up to your thighs. That way, you would’ve been able to expose the areas that suffered the most injuries without having to take much of your clothes off.
But, still....Revealing your bruises in front of the one that caused them felt so intruding and slightly disturbing to you that it almost seemed like you actually were going to be taking your clothes off. However, it was the only way for Gilbert to completely understand the fullness of all the damage he had done to you.
As you walked to school that morning, you couldn't have helped but feel a bit of anxiety and anticipation. Finally, after all these years of causing you injuries, Gilbert was going to see exactly how they looked like. You couldn't wait to see the reaction on his face.
As you reached the school and began heading towards the front steps, you looked up in time to see Gilbert standing on top of the steps next to the front doors of the building, eating what appeared to be a bagel with cream cheese. You paused, looking around you briefly, and smiling when you realized that for now, you two were the only ones standing out there.
Perfect, you thought, resuming your walk to the steps. There were still about 15 minutes before school started, and now seemed like the perfect moment to walk up to Gilbert, lead him somewhere where you knew nobody would've found you, and expose your bruises to him. Maybe then he finally would've realized that you weren’t going to accept his request of friendship so easily.
You were halfway up the steps when Gilbert seemed to notice your presence and lifted his gaze from his almost eaten bagel in time to see you reach the top and pause in front of him. “Oh, hey ____,” he said casually before he resumed finishing his breakfast.
“Hi,” you said uncertainly with a slightly sharp tone to your voice. He seemed to be acting so casual towards you...it was as if absolutely nothing had occurred between the both of you for these past three years at all. And that thought bothered you greatly. A somewhat awkward moment of silence stretched between the both of you as you continued to stand there, stiffly watching Gilbert eating his bagel as if nothing unusual was going on between the both of you at all. Finally, when it seemed like the last of your patience had withered away, you cleared your throat.
“Listen, I need to tell you something.” The tone in your voice seemed hard, cold, and empty of emotion, and the iciness remained in your gaze even when after Gilbert finished his bagel, licked stray crumbs off of his fingers, and looked up at you.
“Yeah, what is it?” The emotion in his voice seemed to resemble yours, something which gave you a tiny bit of ease, though that did not stop you from feeling the way you were.
“I’ll tell you somewhere that’s more private.” Without even giving him the chance to reply, you turned around, walked down the steps, and headed off in your own direction, glad to hear the tapping of feet behind you as Gilbert followed you.
You led him past the front of the school and to its side, where a couple of dumpsters were located and where you knew that it was rare for people to come here, especially during the hour when school started. Finally, you paused at an area where there was no school windows located around either of you, and you turned around and pressed your back against the wall of the building so that you were looking at Gilbert through crossed arms and narrowed eyes.
“Well?” he said impatiently after a few moments of silence passed between the both of you. “If you’re just going to stand around here wasting my time then I’ll just leave.”
“You don’t have to worry.” You lowered your gaze so that it was fixed on your feet, and after a brief pause, you began quietly. “I’ve been thinking about it, and...Well...I was thinking about how all this time you’ve been bullying me and causing me injuries that were so bad I was barely able to stand up. And sure, you watched me as I was laying on the floor in pain, or sometimes bleeding because of my injuries, or sometimes having to go to the infirmary because the damage you did to me was so bad I had to have medical attention.”
“I know,” Gilbert said, and you were able to detect a bit of guilt in his voice. “But—”
“Let me finish,” you interrupted, your voice slightly louder as you lifted your gaze up so that it was able to meet his. “Throughout the past three years, you’ve been bullying me and causing me injuries that I sometimes felt were too much for me to bear. But even after all of this, I realized that you’ve never actually seen them. Sure, you’ve watched me react to all the blows you’ve given me and stuff, and sure you probably knew I was in pain. But you never were able to understand just how much pain I was in. And you were never able to understand the exact impact that all your punches and kicks and attacks had on my body.”
You paused, taking in a tiny breath, before you dropped your gaze down again. “Hey, Gilbert,” you muttered quietly, “do you ever wonder why I always wear clothes that completely cover my arms and legs? Why I never wear shorts or short sleeved shirts or tank tops, not even when I go to gym class or when it’s extremely hot outside?”
“Uh...” Gilbert tried to come up with an answer to your question, but after he realized that he wasn't able to come up with a logical answer, he fell silent.
You once again lifted your gaze to meet his, feeling a new sense of determination and confidence spread through you. “It’s because of this.”
You never took your hard, cold gaze away from Gilbert as you unzipped your sweater and let it loosely fall down to the ground, revealing nothing but a light, short sleeved shirt on you. You bent down and rolled up the ends of your sweatpants as much as possible until they went up all the way to the top of your thighs. Standing into an upright position, you once again lifted your gaze and took note of the drastic change of the expression on Gilbert’s face.
You were able to notice that his eyes were slightly widened and filled with horror. His mouth was a little open, and his entire body had gone stiff in shock at the sight of you. All around your arms and legs, the bruises that had been given to you throughout the course of months remained, significantly darkening your skin and making it look as if it were half dead. You mentally smirked at the terrorized expression on Gilbert’s face, thankful that you were able to scare him in the way that you expected.
“Mein gott,” he muttered as he found that he was simply unable to take his eyes off of the bruises and scars that covered your arms and legs. “_-____...I never thought....”
“But wait,” you interrupted. “That’s not all.” You grasped the ends of your shirt firmly with both hands, and lifted it enough to reveal your bare stomach, which was almost completely covered in several deathly shades from the brutal impact Gilbert had given to you a few days ago at lunch, and all those other days before when your stomach had received many vicious blows.
You were able to watch the color drain from his face at the sight of your harshly bruised abdomen, and before he had the chance to say anything you pulled your shirt back down, unrolled the ends of your sweatpants, put on your sweater, and slung your backpack over your shoulder.
“Now I bet you’ll realize why I won't be friends with you so easily.” Your voice was cold and empty of emotion as you shot one last look at Gilbert, who was still staring at you in utter shock, turned around, and walked back towards the front of the school in silence.