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The Mystery Of Pain

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I like a look of agony, 

Because I know it's true; 

Men do not sham convulsion, 

nor simulate a throe.

 

The eyes glaze once, and that is death. 

Impossible to feign

The bends upon the forehead

By homely anguish stung.

 

. . .

 

"Oh, Diana. You cannot comprehend the absolute thrill I am feeling right this moment!" Anne squealed as she stood below the stairs to the front of the school. 

Diana smiled fondly at her, "I, too was excited." 

"Marilla had to scold me oh so many times to get to bed, but I just could not sleep a wink! To think that I am finally going to experience such a luxury like school, Mrs Hammond would never allow me to do such a thing..." Anne paused in thought. "Do you think the others will like me? I know I can talk off a donkey's leg, but they can come to like me, can't they? And do you think I'll do well in school? I know it’s the middle of the semester, but I can catch up with everyone else, I've read so many books while being moved around between foster carers." 

Diana blinked as Anne fired question after question at her. "I'm sure you'll do fine, your very book smart, Anne."

Anne smiled toothily, showing her array of buckteeth. 

"Besides," Diana hooked her arm around Anne's and began to lead them both up the staircase. "I'll teach you everything you need to know, the rules, secrets and guidelines to surviving high school." 

"Thank you, so much. My undying love and respect for you has increased tenfold, you are the best bosom friend anyone could ever ask for." 

Diana laughed and waltzed them to the front desk. 

Anne was grateful to know someone as kind and open minded as Diana. When first being adopted by the Cuthbert family, Anne had been in the depths of despair.  She had been bullied and ostracized by the other girls in the foster system and had expected the same treatment from the other kids who she would be going to school with. However, a few weeks before she would step foot in the doors of education, Marilla introduced the two girls so that Anne would have someone to depend on during her first few days at school. 

They clicked instantly. 

Diana did not mind Anne's constant chatter, nor the wild stories her constant revolving imagination had to offer. She was encouraging and listened intently to every detail, and for that Anne holds infinite gratitude. So, after a week of exploring the boundaries of their new friendship, Anne had announced that they make it official, they would vow loyalty to each other and become bosom friends.

At first, she was terrified by what Diana's reaction would be, but when she saw the bright smile that lit on Diana's face, she knew right away that their bond was eternal. 

 When handed Anne's timetable, Diana quickly scanned over her subjects, "Oh, you're nearly in all my subjects, except for Extension English and Physics."    

The walked down the hall arm in arm, "Ok, so we have a seating arrangement between the girls during lunch, Josie sits on the right side of Ruby and Tilly is left to me who is right to Jane, and usually Prissy is between me and Ruby but because she will be busy studying for her entrance exams in the library most lunches, you get to take her place."  

Anne's mind was reeling, "Uh... could you say that again?" 

Diana, not hearing her continued, "we always share our lunch as well, anyone who doesn't is considered a bad friend. Also be careful of Billy Andrews's group... they are dreadfully annoying and are absolute horn dogs, he is also Prissy and Jane's brother. He has been pining over Josie for the past year and a bit, so don't get to surprised if he comes over to our table every now and then." 

"Who?" Anne asks with a small laugh, loosing track of Diana's speech when listing the sitting spots between the girls.

"Don't worry, it seems a lot right now, but it gets easier within a week or two." Diana smiled brightly

The two girls rounded around the corner to the lockers, where a group of girls huddled in a tight group, whispering to one another. 

"Girls, I would like you all to meet Anne" Diana said proudly and pointed to all the other girls, "Anne, this is Josie Pye, Ruby Gillis, Jane Andrews and Tillie Boulter"

"it is a scrumptious pleasure to make your acquaintances." Anne said with a bright smile 

They all said their hellos, except for the one dressed in a purple (who Anne remember as Josie Pye), who stuck her nose up into the air and smiled sickly sweet. "You must be the orphan, aren't you?"

Anne didn't notice the malice in her tone, or the warning glare given off by Diana. 

"She isn't an orphan anymore; she was adopted by the Cuthberts." Diana defended sharply.

Anne looked over at her sadly, "I'm still and orphan, Diana, I always will be." 

"Oh my, I didn't know you were an orphan." said Tillie, "I would hate to be an orphan"

"It is so sad," Ruby voiced softly with a small nod, she was a lot smaller than the other girls, and seemed a lot younger as well. "We feel very sorry for you Anne." 

One of the boys began to walk up to them and barked at Anne, his friends laughing from behind. "Look guys, someone let a dog into the school." He continued to bark at her, Jane rolled her eyes while Josie gave a small laugh. 

"You're ridiculous." Anne said hotly and glared at him. 

"Don't mind my brother, Billy is thick-headed as they come." Jane mocked at her brother and flicked him on the side of the head, he growled back at her like a dog. "Sometimes I like to pretend he's not my brother at all, it makes me feel better to imagine that I have no relations to him." She poked her tongue at him.  

  "I like to imagine Gilbert Blythe asking to marry me, it would be so romantic.' Ruby sighed, her faced lifted with a smile and her cheeks became rosy.

"Who?" Anne asked

"You don't know?" Ruby gasped, horrified. "He is the dreamiest, handsomest boy in the school, but he has unfortunately been away for the past month, travelling with his father."   

 

. . .

 

"Mrs Kincannon, I promise that your wages will be handed to you within the next couple of days." Gilbert promised his father's caretaker as he sipped on a cup of tea. 

"My dear boy, shouldn't you go to school?" she asked when the clock chimed at twelve. She was worried for the boy, after his father was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease, he made it his mission to spend as much time with his father as possible. This unfortunately meant that school had become less of a priority.  

"I just want to be close, and he is my father, I want to look after him," Gilbert argued. 

"That is what I am here for. I think John would prefer you to go to school, he doesn't like you being here mopping all over the place." Mrs Kincannon placed a hand softly on his shoulder. 

"Perhaps." Gilbert sighed and got up from his chair to take the bread from the toaster. 

Mrs Kincannon's sad eyes travelled along with him as he walked to his father's room. 

"Dad... I have your breakfast." Gilbert called with a small voice as he pushed the door open. 

A stream of spluttering coughs signalled back that his father was awake after his second nap in the morning, "oh thank you, son... why aren't you at school? "

"I've got more important things to do." 

"Like looking after your old man, ay?" His father scoffed with a smile, "It's good to know that your heart is loyal, but son... you've got to live your life, sure it is important to spend time with your loved ones but sometimes you have to do something for yourself." 

"I am going to do something, I'm going to study hard and become a doctor, so that I can help people... people like you." Gilbert said

"That's all well in good, but you need to go to school to become a doctor," John laughed heartily and began to have another coughing fit. "Good grades don't just pop out of thin air, they are made from hard work and actually going to school." 

 

. . .

 

"You would not believe the rumors I heard going around about Prissy the other days," Anne heard a girl whisper down the hall after second period. 

"Oh yes," cried the other as they huddled around one of the lockers, not caring if other people overheard them. "That Cassy saw her and Mr Phillips making out in one of the janitor's closets!" 

Anne confused walked up to the girls later that lunch. "I didn't know that Prissy and Mr Phillip's were having an intimate relationship." 

Diana coughed on her juice, "where did you get that from!?" She looked around wearily at the other girls who stared at Anne with bewildered faces. She thanked the heavens that Jane was currently talking with Miss Stacey about her Science results at the end of last term. 

"You shouldn't be spreading rumors, Anne." Josie said with a fake smile, as she wagged her finger in Anne's face, "Didn't they teach you that in orphan school? Or were they too busy teaching you how to be a maid?" 

"I wasn't able to go to school," Anne confessed causing the other girls to gasp in horror, particularly Ruby who had a sullen look on her face. "I worked for the Hammonds, I was too look after their kids but after Mr Hammond died of a heart attack, I was sent back to the orphanage and then sent back out to the Cuthberts after they called for a... girl to look after their farm." 

The girls sat in silence. 

"How were they like?" Ruby finally asked in her soft voice. "The Hammonds, were they nice people?" 

"Unfortunately, no." Anne said. "They had eight kids you see, and I think that's what caused them both to become awfully vexed. It's strange to think that if people dislike children so much then why do they have so many?" 

"That isn't the normal size-" Diana started but Anne continued to talk. 

"Mr Hammond was also a drunkard, he most often came to the house and stomped around, and we'd all go running, but nobody as fast as Mrs Hammond. He would always catch her, and they would both go into their bedroom. A lot of the time it was screaming, but sometimes they would both be laughing so I'm not to sure if they were having fun or not, but it must've been a good thing as Mr Hammond always seemed at peace afterwards."

Jose began to pack up her lunch, the other girls followed her, except for Diana who stared with wide eyes. 

"Wait, where are you all going?" Anne stood up abruptly with the rest of them and began to pack her bag, "Are we supposed to be somewhere because lunch doesn't for another ten minutes last, I saw." 

"Don't bother coming with us." Josie sneered, "We don't want to be around filthy whores." 

"Filthy whore?" Anne gasped, "I am no such thing!" 

"You most certainly are!" Josie snapped back and zipped her bag, "and a liar as well, you'll corrupt us from our innocence with your slander. Poor Prissy, already being bullied by a selfish dog, maybe Billy was right about you all along, he's quite smart when he wants to be." 

They left the cafeteria, all with disgusted looks on their faces. Ruby looked back and gave Anne a sad smile. 

Anne looked to Diana (who was just beginning to be brought back to the living) for comfort. "Oh Diana, how many mistakes can I make in one day?" 

"I-I don't know..."