I will be by your side
"It's okay Mum - you do not have to come with me - that would be embarrassing"
Tyler Down slowly reached for his schoolbag, which he had stowed in the footwell of the car seat until now. Today would be the first day - his first day of school after the rehabilitation programm - after Mr.Poter left - or was dismissed, which better describes it - the school has hired a new Counselor - and that has convinced Tyler's parents - how important it is , that he attends a special program outside of the school , to get his views and aggression under control. Less than a month , Tyler had not attended classes, walked not into the school building, and he was unsure how his first day of school would be.
"Are you sure Tyler? I'm worried that Cyrus is having a bad influence on you again - you've developed so well and your father and I are so proud of you", Mrs.Down said carefully. Well, it was true - he had really done shit during the time with Cyrus - damaged school property and burned the word 'rapist' with petrol on the pitch of the baseball field. Then he had fallen in love with Cyrus' sister Mackenzie - had gone to the movies with her and then had peed with nervousness that he had gotten certain male feelings. At a concert he had the red-haired then insulted as boring and Cyrus had told him he should fuck off. It was all very complicated.
"All right Mum - Cyrus probably hates me and Mackenzie does not want to do anything with me anymore - but thats okay , and Liah promised me, that she would there, to pick me up at the parking lot" Tyler replied after a few seconds.
"Liliah Jensen? Clay's sister who was in England during the last year?" Mrs.Down asked in surprise.
"Yes, she - she had an exchange year there" Tyler said, thinking of the blonde girl, the younger sister of Clay - she had told him one year ago , that she would go to England for an exchange year - she was one of the closest friends Tyler had and . With Hannah Baker's suicide - the cassettes and court cases that had come increasingly with many threats to the witnesses who had to testify. He told her anything about it and Liliah don´t judge him - she trusts him.
"Well ... then I wish you a lot of fun and good luck today" his mother lovingly stroked his arm.
"Thanks Mum - Bye Mum"
Tyler shouldered his bag and then got out of the car, watched as it went away and tensed - what if someone from the baseball Team or the other students recognized him? He had attended this course to get better-to go back to school-he had been forced into this class-and he just wanted to make it clear to everyone, that the legal system at Liberty High was doing something very wrong. And he thought he was still instinctive - that someone like Bryce Walker gets away with such a damn shit - gets only three months probation and someone like Justin Foley gets six months in jail is not fair - but absolutely no one wanted to understand that.
Tyler had developed a deep antipathy to the baseball team - especially against Walker - well, he was one of the reasons Hannah killed herself - Tyler was a stalker - but he had only taken pictures - he had not raped her like Bryce or destroyed the friendship with Hannah like Jessica did.
"Sorry for the delay - Clay is a slow driver and I had to listen to the jokes from Justin - wich are not really funny"
Slowly, the teenager turned around and noticed the smaller, blond-haired, green-eyed glases wearing girl - Liliah Jensen standing in front of him and Tyler was so glad to see her at that moment. Not only had he not seen her for a year-now , he knew Liliah was behind h - she was a true friend - -that this shy, quiet 16-year-old was the person Tyler could rely on-Liah was a good friend.
"Your hair has grown during the one year", Tyler noted and was pulled a few seconds later by the young Jensen in a hug - which lasted much longer than a few seconds. The overwhelmed Tyler patted her gently on the back and had not expected such a reaction of the student.
"I've missed you - and I believe you Tyler - no matter what the others say about this Shit - I know you and I've brought some delicious chocolate from England" Liah told him .
"Thank you - you are the only one who belives me - I do not really want to go in there, after I testify in court ... some classmates are not good at talking about me or see me back at school" , Tyler whispered to her softly, watching like the little Sister of Clay briefly shouldered her backpack - and finally decided to shake her head.
"They do not know you - they don´t know what really happened , like you and my parents, and my brother told me - there are worse things the others have done - you want to change and that's good", Liah said softly to him and then looked over to the school building.
"Did your brother or Foley say anything, something negative?", Tyler wanted to know as he slowly started walking next to the blonde.
"Not directly - Justin wanted to make more jokes and they told me - Liliah do not go to Tyler - he had a breakdown - I'm 16 and a very responsible person and - hey why are you grinning like that?"
The Jensen wanted to know, as Tyler started grinning at the last part of her sentence.
"Great that you still remembered the only compliment I gave you", was the teenager's answer.
"So Mr.Porter is not here anymore - because he told the truth, how unfair that is. I got my timetable and guess what - we've got the first two hours together - that's a cause for joy, and i must tell you so much about England and the great school uniforms there"
A few minutes later, Tyler stood a bit indecisively next to Liliah before the front steps and knew that the 16-year-old was just waiting to go up these stairs and go to class. But something in Tyler resisted the plan. His Answer in court had annoyed so many students - he'd generally had many enemies before, and if they go in there - those people would surely fall on him like animals.
"We could just go to town - eat a sundae - like we did before you went to England" Tyler said, starting to chew nervously on his lower lip.
"You look pretty - though I miss your curls Hair - and my parents would kill me if I skipped my first day of school too - hey ... Tyler?"
Liliah noticed the nervousness that had taken her good friend and carefully reached for the older man's hand. This prompted Tyler to look directly at the blonde.
"I ... I can not get in there," Tyler said, noticing the gentle green sparkling eyes of his good friend.
"I'll be by your side Tyler Down - no matter what happens in there - I will be with you and support you - you are important to me and I will not let you down - I promise you that"
A shy smile was on the lips of Liliah and she briefly squeezed Tyler's hand. He was unsure how he should think about it - but he decided to push the blonde's tender hand also briefly.
"Thank you Liliah - you're a good friend", Tyler said, releasing Clay's sister's hand - again looking at the school building and taking a deep breath, then entering the Liberty High School building together with Liliah.
The first few hours were relatively uneventful. Most of the students the two had met, had either ignored Tyler or just gave Liliah a quick, friendly smile - now they had the lunch break - and while Liliah had said goodbye - Clyce just packed her lunch box in his bag - so she need to find her brother to get her lunch box back.
In the meantime, Tyler had talked to the new Conselour - Miss Priya Singh - about the measures that had been taken in the rehabilitation program - how well he had liked the many migrations and the approaches to deal with conflicts.
Then, after leaving the school conselours office, Tyler spoke to Cyrus - he did not plan to show any more to these bad plans - that it had to be different, which meant what they had but still as friendship. That pleased Tyler - because Cyrus was important to him. And then he had a conversation with Mackenzie - it was about the spring ball and he wanted to go there with her - but Mackenzie went to Spring Ball with someone named Eric and with that, Tyler had no problem - at least that's what he thought.
"Oh yes - this ball thing is also here in America - I was inEngland at an high school winter ball in and it's almost like the stuff here... that was the sister of the boy you spend so much time huh?"
When Mackenzie left and Tyler had turned around, Liliah was now standing in front of him with her lunch box and Tyler wondered if she had heard the last sentence.
"Yeah - why did your brother pack your lunch box?" Tyler replied and wanted to change the subject.
"Somehow in the last few weeks he was not himself - I got all information about what happened last year over the weekend where I came back Home - it's like a rock or something is killing you" , she said Blonde and then put her lunchbox into her backpack.
"You know, Tyler, a dance night like that is not something for a bookworm like me - but would you like to go with me - I mean only if you want to?"
Liliah shyly looked down at the floor and Tyler was surprised by the question - he had always seen her as a good friend and not as something more - maybe it could be more, maybe he could start another life with this first new day of school - with Liliah.
"That .... would be nice, I mean I would be glad if you would go to the ball - with me Liah", he said after a few seconds and a short smile later, the glasses wearing girl looked at him so happy.
"I ... I am so happy to hear that Tyler and -"
The young Jensen could not finish her sentence - because she was interrupted by the school bell - the next class would start now.
"We meet at eight o'clock at the entrance to the school - and yes, I'll get the tickets later, for us", Liliah said, then happily hugged Tyler. Apparently she had waited a long time for the older one to ask her that question.
"Good - and I have to go in the opposite direction now - see you tonight Liah" Tyler said and he was pleased - he was really looking forward to tonight.
"Okay - Bye" , Liliah smiled once again before the two disappeared in opposite directions.
She went to the Biology class and he headed to the boys' toilets - they were on his way to the next course he had.
"Jensen! You better take care , that this pedophile Tyler does not take any pictures of you! I guess you definitely get some sexy underwear from England right!"
Liliah kept her glaze down to the ground, as no one else as Montgomery de la Cruz walked past her with his friends. She never liked him and some of the baseball players - she should just ignore the comment - what did Montgomery know about Tyler and English underwear?
"You're suspended for the rest of the baseball game season - if you want to see hot underwear I have to disappoint you" the shy girl murmured softly - not necessarily quiet enough that the baseball player stopped and gave her a cold angry look.
"What did you just say!", He hissed at her and came a few menacing steps closer. Instinctively, the student backed away and a voice in her head screamed that she should run away - but she could not. The way this boy looked at her - as if he wanted to hurt her her every second, which Clay's sister did not like.
"Failure!". Montgomery hissed at the blonde and then walked down the hall with his friends. Liliah quickly made her way to the classroom where biology would be taught - she did not again care to meet Montgomery - the guy clearly had a few problems too much.
"Tyler is so fucking death! We're not allowed to play until the end of summer! That's all his fault, and he thinks he can just get away with it! We will destroy him boys!", Montgomery swore before signaling his friends that she was should go to the toilets.
Montgomery would not hear the chattering - that Tyler could control himself better now, that he was sorry for what he did and that he was a better person now - no, he did not want to hear that shit from a fucked pedophile person.
He also made that very clear to him, because first Montgomery had the defenseless Tyler against the mirror over the sink and against the sink several times.
Montgomery had no Mercy with Tyler - he was so pissed of and angry on him.
Then his buddies dragged the struggling young man into one of the toilets' cabins - where Tyler Down was put with his head into the toilet several times.
His stifled calls for mercy and his apologies found no listener.
His tormentors did not feel sorry for him and started insulting him again when, Montgomery reached for a mop and he was about doing something horrible with this mop.
Tyler knew that Liliah wanted to be by his side - but that would not be possible for her right now - she could not protect him - not here and in pain Tyler tried to blind the next few seconds - without success ....