Gossip

Lori is the school's most popular girl. Fifteen years old, grade 10, born on December 25, 1988 with a head full of bright blonde hair, which sparkled under the sunlight and smiled beneath the moon, along with a pair of brilliant light blue eyes, their gorgeous colour seemed to have made the clear, morning sky jealous.

She's the head cheerleader of her school, valedictorian for her previous years in junior and middle school, is on every sports team there is, voted as the prettiest girl in school, most artistic person the school has ever had, and the person with the highest grade average of the entire school.

Though everyone loves her, she's not a snob, no, not at all. She forgives everyone, she never lies, she never brags, she never starts rumours, she never believes in rumours, she always thought of others before her, she always knew what's appropriate and what's not, she always comforted anyone who's upset, she would partner up with the people whom cannot find a partner or group, and she had all the other unimaginably great qualities of a person who is beyond perfection, may have.

As she walked through the hallway of her school during a certain Tuesday morning, everyone waved to her as usual, and she waved back to everyone like they've expected her to.

It wasn't long before her best friend caught up with her. Well, everyone thought they were best friends since the two of them had walked into this school on the very first day, side by side. But to Lori, he's just a very, very close friend, because in her opinion, there's no such thing as 'best'; she always treated and thought of everyone to be equal.

"Hey Lori." He greeted, resting his arm on her shoulder in a careless gesture.

Lori smiled. "Hi Ray, what brings you here today?" She decided to tease him. "What's the special occasion?"

"Your radiant beauty, of course. I felt your warm and heavenly energy like those from a true angel, miles away, and I know I just had to see this stunning goddess with my own eyes, or I shall live in regret for the rest of my life. With beauty as astounding as yours, I was complete sure you wouldn't come out of your angelic housing just to see little old me. But now that you did, I feel truly blessed." He paused and a sly grin crept to his lips. "Now how about blessing me a little more with an innocent kiss?"

She shoved him gently away from her. "When it involves you, nothing is innocent!"

He grinned maliciously in a joking way and of course, went back to her – even after her shove – grabbing her hand and swung it back and fourth exaggeratedly like an immature, young little boy. "Guess what?" He said, barely above a whisper, though not looking at her to cause suspicion. If you were walking by, you'd think he wasn't talking to her.

She looked at him with great curiosity. "What is it?"

"I heard that Helen slit both her wrists last night and was just barely alive when her parents found her, if they had came home a second later, she probably would've died! Here's the bizarre part. They found out the reason she tried killing herself after the girl finally woke up in the hospital bed. She ended up screaming at the doctor and her parents for saving her life, because she claimed to have wanted to die due to fact she's too unpopular and no guy would ask someone as ugly as her out!" Ray burst out laughing at his own words. "The stupid girl committed suicide because she can't be like you and I!" He obviously found it utterly funny…

Lori only sighed. "That's not a very nice thing to say." She stated firmly. "Helen's actually a very nice girl, I don't know why people don't like her, they shouldn't judge a book by its cover… Besides, you know that gossips aren't true! Especially ones as absurd as this!"

"So what? It's still fun listening to them and carrying them out!"

"What? Ray, you shouldn't be spreading this around! It's not nice! In fact, it's a very rude thing to do!"

He merely shrugged. "It's being spread around pretty quick anyways, a little help from me won't make much of a difference. Oh, and Lori, don't act like my mother, please. I can't stand two."

Lori stopped walking and looked straight at him. "How would you like it if someone began spreading some crazy rumour about you?"

He snorted. "With my popularity, no one would dare!"

"You got your popularity mainly because people thinks that I'm your best friend. Obviously they don't want to make someone close to me upset! I gave you something, now I ask you to give me something in return, therefore, I demand you to stop spreading lies!"

He stopped too. "What's gotten into you today, Lori?" With a confused and disgusted look, he walked past her and out of sight.

Guess he no longer feel blessed.

Lori sighed once again. This has got to stop; the spreading of lies, the fun found in spreading lies… and much more related to that topic. But first, she's got to make sure Helen is doing all right.

When Lori found her, she was drowning in her own salty tears, alone, in a corner where not many people walk by. "Hello, Helen."

"I never tried committing suicide!" Was the first thing she screamed to her through all the running tears.

"I know Helen, I know." She spoke with sympathy.

"I don't care if I have a boyfriend or not, I don't care if anyone likes me for that matter! I really don't care!"

"I understand how you feel…"

"No you don't! You're pretty, popular, you get any guy you want and everyone loves you!"

"But that doesn't mean I've never felt the way you feel right now… I wasn't born popular, you know…"

In the end, Helen was finally able to stop crying. Her tears stopped, but she had a bad case of hiccups afterwards. Yet her mood lightened tremendously, she even gave Lori a smile before running off to her class. Lori was 15 minutes late, but she took the blame all on herself and did not say a work that would give Helen a detention along with her.

I have to do something about this… I must… I'm the only one who can and will… Lori thought to herself during detention.

And for the next 3 days, she found out the five main rumour starters'/spreaders' names. She knew that once she gives them a taste of their own medicine, along with a few lessons, threats and forced promises, she have no doubt that they will stop. With the five main people out of the way, everything should be pretty much fine. But she's not a liar; she can't just make up something! But you see, that's just part of her plan, because not only is she going to make the five people know what it feels to have a lie being spread about them, but also how a true statement can change into a false one after going through many different ears and mouths.

Yet, she's determined to change all five of them at once; Joey, Paula, Christine, Sally and sadly, Ray.

Since all five are gossipers and quite popular, you can be sure they hung out a lot together, with or without other friends, and she knows something they once did that no one else knows about. They had once beaten up a 6-year-old boy for the sake of fun.

It doesn't sound that bad, not to high school kids at least, but it's not something the five people are proud of either, and by the time it passes around, it'll be completely different.

And so, her plan begins…

The following Monday at her cheerleading practice, she told the co-captain of the squad to stay behind for a bit with her in the change room. Both of them purposely took extra long to get dressed. And as soon as they were alone, Lori put on a serious face and looked directly at the girl sitting on the bench next to her, looking anxious to hear what the famous Lori has to say.

Lori exhaled slowly. "Brittany, you have to promise not to tell anyone about what I'm about to tell you."

"I swear I won't. You can trust me."

"Ok, I trust you." She paused. "I've been bottling this up for a while now, and I have to tell someone before it drives me insane…"

"Go on…"

"You see, Ray told me this a few weeks ago. He told me that once, him, Christine, Joey, Paula and Sally beat up a six-year-old kid for fun! I mean how cruel is that? The poor little boy!"

Ordinarily, Brittany would've said, "And your point being? Listen here, if you want to tell me something, at least give me some juicy gossip! What am I suppose to do with garbage like this?' But since its' Lori, and clearly she seemed to think the situation is horrible, her response, instead, became, "Oh my gosh! I can't believe this, that's just terrible!"

Lori nodded sadly. "I know, it is. But really Brittany, don't tell anyone about this! I'm very serious!"

"Don't you worry about a thing, Lori, your secret is safe with me!"

Lori put on the best smile she could master and grabbed her bags to leave. "Thank you Brittany! Thank you so much! I knew I could count on you! Well, I better get going. See you tomorrow!" She waved cheerfully and walked away.

Now, let's get one thing straight, just because Brittany isn't one of the main five gossipers, just because Brittany isn't one of the main five gossipers, doesn't mean she doesn't gossip. Just because she isn't a really big liar, doesn't mean she won't do anything to get attention…

And that was the first thing she did. As soon as she was out of the change room, she saw one of her friend coming out of the detention room. "Rika!"

Rika turned around and smiled. "Hi Brittany!"

Brittany walked towards the girl and whispered into her ears with her eyes wide and serious. "Guess what Rika? Today in the change room, Lori told me something… she told me that once, Ray, Sally, Joey, Christine and Paula beat up a five-year-old kid just to steal a simple, 5 cents lollipop from him!"

Rika's eyes became round as her eyebrows furrowed in disgust. "Are you serious? I mean I always knew those five were trouble causes, but who knew they'd stoop this low!"

"Well, now you know…"

And that's how the gossip began. One, because Brittany told Rika, two, she didn't warn her not to tell anyone, so she had every right to tell everyone. Overnight, she told each and every single one of her friends over the telephone. Some heard wrong, some decided to change it a little and then tell their friends, so it went from bad to absolutely absurd.

At first, it was changed to beating up a five-year-old kids with a lollipop, then it was beating up a five-year-old kid with a log, then it's beating up a five-year-old kids with a huge log and only stopped until the boy was bleeding, then it's beating up a five-year-old kid – who's head is already injured – with a log, then it was beating up a head injured five-year-old kid with a log, then throwing him into a lake, then it was finding a five-year-old kid with head injuries by a lake, already dying, but instead of helping, they found a log by the lake, beat him up, and just left him by the lake.

The story kept on changing, getting more and more… peculiar. Yet, the more outrageous it sounds, the more people liked it and wanted to spread it around.

By the next morning, practically everyone in the whole school was talking about it.

As Lori walked through the school, Helen suddenly appeared in front of her and quickly pulled her into a dark corner. Her eyes are wide open in shock. "Lori!" She gasped. "I overheard people talking about something today, and I just had to warn you!"

Lori is alert. "What is it?"

"It's about Ray, Paula, Christine, Sally and Joey. I want you to be aware of the kind of people you are hanging around with."

"What about them? They're my close friends, did they do something?"

"Yes, they did… you're not going to like what I have to say…"

"Tell me."

During the whole time, a look of bewilderment never left Helen's face. "Well, one night, the five of them found a five-year-old kid floating near the shore of a lake. Let me tell you, the kid was bleeding badly from a severe head injury! When the five of them managed to get him ashore, guess what those cruel monster did?"

"What'd they do?"

"They stole all the kid's money, stripped him of his clothing and hit him hard with the log he was floating on, until he was finally slightly conscious from all the pain! The kid is awake at last, but he is badly hurt, and instead of trying to help or even just feel guilty, the five of them taunted him about how he's unwanted, ugly, useless and all. But here's the unbelievable part. They didn't think this was exciting enough, so Ray and Joey shot alcohol into his bloodstream afterwards and stuffed him into the log that he had floated upon, and no one knows what happened after that. My bet is that either the poor boy died or suffered terribly with the alcohol burning inside of him."

Lori raised an eyebrow. Who knew it'd get this crazy in just a day? And if Helen knew about, who wouldn't? "Thank you Helen, for trying to warn me, I will have a talk with them about it today."

"Don't tell them I told you!"

"Don't you worry about a thing. Well, thank you for sharing that with me once again, I have to get to class now. C'ya Helen!"

"Bye Lori!"

She indeed did have a talk with 'them' today. As soon as school finished, she gathered the five teenagers to meet at a place in the back of the school, where usually not a soul is found. They sat around in a circle on the cold, concrete ground as Lori began. "I'm not going to pretend and start this conversation with a happy comment, I'll get straight to the point. Today, I have misfortunately heard about the gossip-"

"And you believed it?" Ray snapped angrily, without even letting Lori finish her sentence.

"No, I don't believe it." She stated firmly.

"So what's your point bringing us here then?"

"I want to ask how you feel, about the situation, I mean."

"Gee, since when did you become a priestess asking for honest confessions?"

"Stop this rubbish right now Ray! I'm being serious here! How do you feel about the gossip that's spread around the school in less than a day's time?"

"How'd you know it spread in around in less than a day?" Ray questioned with arising suspicion.

Lori sighed. "Because no one was talking about it yesterday."

"Exactly." Joey cut in. "Listen man, Lori wouldn't start a gossip!" He paused and added in a joking way. "At least not one like this, so stop suspecting her."

Lori didn't say anything. She just stared at Ray. Ray stared back. So he thinks I'm the one who started this eh? What a trusting friend I have… "I will ask you this one last time. How'd you feel about this?"

"Oh! Absolutely wonderful! I just love it when I have dirty looks are thrown at me every time I pass someone-"

"Be serious!"

"Alright! Fine! I feel like heck. Can't believe this is happening to me, I tell you, I want to rip open the throat of the one who started this and the ones who dared to spread it! There, you happy?"

Lori burst out laughing. "What's so funny?" Christine asked.

"It's ironic." She replied. "I bet you guys never thought of this when you were spreading gossips now did you?" She caught Ray's eyes again, he stared back, barely able to hold her gaze.

No one had an answer, until Sally spoke up. "What's your point?"

Lori shook her head slowly, but smiled a little after. "I seldom tell people what to do, but looks like I'll have to make an exception today.

"All five of you are well known gossipers, so if I put things in a harsh way, I can easily say all of you deserved every single bit of this, and multiply it by the number of gossips you've spread. Think of this misery you've caused for the many other people! Take Helen for example." She paused and stared at Ray for the third time, but this time, he simply looked down at his fidgety hands, he could not bring up his eyes to look into her's. "She's not as popular as you guys, she's not as tough, she can't fight back, which makes it that much worse, because she can't cry on anyone's shoulder, she can't scream to anyone, telling them it's not true! She can't do any of that! Do you have any idea how she felt? No you don't! But I do because I care about her! And the way she cried, it shattered my heart completely.

"No I will ask you to, no, wait, I'm telling you to apologize to anyone whom you've spread a lie about, and to never gossip again. I'm not saying you have to stand there like a dummy when something is being talked about, but use your brain! If it sounds even a tiny bit like a lie, don't spread it, just listen and forget, if it's positively a lie, tell the person that, and tell anyone else who knows it to think with their head and see just how much of it is really true. As for the things that you're one hundred percent sure is true, you may spread it if it doesn't hurt anyone, just remember, when you tell someone, always add in the end, 'that's what I heard from people, so don't automatically assume it's the truth, I don't want trouble!'"

Lori finished with a smile. "Is that understood?"

"Yes mother…" They replied sarcastically.

She giggled. "Don't look so unhappy! As a reward for your promises, I will find out who the starter of this is. How about it?"

And so, the six of them then spent the next day apologizing, then the day after that searching for the person who started the gossip. First, they asked Molly, who was told by Zoë, who was told by Melissa, who was told by Alva, who was told by Beth, who was told by Danny, who was told by Randy, who was told by Richard, who was told by Jackie, who was told by Rika, and finally, who was told by Brittany.

The six of them at last found her. Lori stepped forward and did the speaking. "Brittany, who told you about what the five people-" she pointed at the teenagers behind her. "-So called did to that five year old kid?"

"What? Umm… why?"

"Because they would like to know." Brittany hesitated. If she spills the truth, Ray, Joey, Christine, Sally and Paula will be angry with Lori, but then Lori would be mad at her, which can cause the whole school to hate her! But she can't lie, because Lori would know, and she hates liars… "Um… I don't know if I should say or not…"

Lori smiled a gentle smile. "Tell them the truth Brittany, I won't be mad…"

"Alright… you, you told me…" Brittany spoke carefully looking up at Lori, slightly scared.

"What crap is this?" Joey howled. "Lori, how dare this stupid wannabe girl say you started this? I am so going to beat her up!"

"Calm Joey, calm…" Lori soothed. "Brittany isn't lying, I am the one who told her…"

"W-What… then who told you?"

"No one. I'm the source."

"Why you little-"

"Joey, calm. Let me prove a point to you though, watch and learn." Lori turned back to Brittany. "Tell them exactly what I told you in the change room."

"You told me… you told me…" She could not find her voice.

"Did I tell you they beat up a five-year-old kid who was floating on top of a log in middle of a lake with severe head injuries, and they beat him up till he's practically dead just to wake him up in cause of pain so they may taunt him?" Lori's voice was slightly angered. "Did I tell you that even after all that Joey and Ray shot alcohol into his bloodstream, and then stuffed the poor kid back into the log that he had used to float on? Did I Brittany? Answer me dammit! Did I?"

"N-No…" Came her quivering voice.

"What exactly did I tell you?"

"Y-You told me they once beat up a six-year-old kid for fun…"

"Where's the rest?"

"W-What e-else is there? There, there is no m-more…"

"I'm talking about the promise I told you make."

Brittany hung her head low. "You made me swear not to tell anyone…"

"And what did you do?"

"I-I told Rika…" By now, tears were pouring out the corner of Brittany's gorgeous amber eyes, her head hanging low as her dyed blonde hair covered both sides of her cheeks. "I broke the promise…"

Lori reached out and pushed her hair behind her ears and lifted her face. "You've been truthful, you have nothing to be ashamed of. I'm not angry at you…"

Brittany nodded slowly, at the same time wiping her tears away. "May I go now?" She mumbled.

"Yes, of course you may."

Once the girl was gone, Joey exploded. "I can't believe you would do this Lori! I thought better of you! Can't believe Ray was right when he suspected you to be the source." The last came out in a small, disappointed voice.

Lori ignored that. "This should teach you guys something else, that rumours can be easily changed, which means that things you five have been spreading around in the past are most likely to be lies. Even if that's really what you heard, it could have been changed along the way before it reached your ears.

"Now, you shouldn't be blaming me, I've only told the truth and I didn't spread around a word of lie. This incident should have only taught you a valuable lesson, and no blame is to fall upon me, or anyone else for that matter, understood? If it makes you feel better, think of forgiving as the price for the knowledge you've gained to make you a better person."

Christine, Sally, and Paula absorbed her words in and nodded, Joey gasped in awe and stared at her in amazement. "You're truly amazing, my lady. The way you word things, the power of your words and your way of teaching… wow…" Ray just stared at the ground silently.

"I'm glad everything worked out fine in the end. Well, my work here is done, but before I go, let me warn you, if your old habits starts again, I will be forced to start another rumour, and this time, I won't stop, understand?"

"Yes…"

"Good. Well, I bid you all a good day, and take care of yourselves, goodbye." Just as Lori turned around to leave, Joey grabbed her arm. "Yes Joey?"

He blushed a little, but then smiled an adorably boyish smile. "Lori… Will you go out with me this Friday night?"

Lori laughed lightly. "Yes Joey, I would be honoured to."

Joey laughed along with her and pulled her into a warm embrace. "I'll call you tonight." He whispered into her ear.

"And I'll await your call." She whispered back. "I better be going now!"

She gave each Paula, Sally and Christine a hug, and then stopped in front of Ray. She hugged him too, though he wasn't sure how to respond. "I'll still be your best friend if you're ok with that… Just, please, don't let your pride get the best of you, I like the usual happy and childish Ray better." She spoke quietly so that only he could hear. When she pulled back, he was shaking his head slowly at her, astonished.

"You truly are amazing…"

She laughed again and ruffled his hair. With that, she walked away, with five pair of eyes on her.

Everything worked out fine ever since that day. Ray and Lori are once again known as best friends. Lori, Christine, Paula and Sally became close friend than they were before, as for Lori and Joey, they are a very happy couple.

The gossip around the school lessened drastically, but that doesn't mean it has stopped completely, though, less people are feeling hurt because the rumours have gotten under quite good control thanks to our six great guys and gals.

Lori and Brittany are still good friends, of course. Not only that, but Brittany also learnt a lesson about gossip, and is trying her best to become a member of the 'stop the gossip group', with Lori as the leader.

As for Helen? Lori introduced her to many of her own friends and they found the likeable side of her. Helen owes all her new friends to Lori…

Looks like everything worked out fine in the end, so I guess it's a happy ending after all, wouldn't you agree?