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Tired of being bullied at school and being the butt of jokes, Julie is presented with a perfect opportunity to get back at her abuser. When her brother brings home a camera with images of her chief tormenter in a compromising situation, she sees a way to level the playing field. When her attempt at turning the tables goes wrong, she is left even more on the outside and struggling to do the right thing.
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E xposure
Patricia Murdoch
Copyright ©2006Patricia Murdoch
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Murdoch, Patricia,1957Exposure / Patricia Murdoch. (Orca soundings)
isbn 10: 1551435233(bound)isbn 10: 1551434938 (pbk.) isbn 13: 9781551435237(bound)isbn 13: 9781551434933 (pbk.)
 I. Title. II. Series. ps8576.u585e96 2006 jc813’.54 c20069004064
First published in the United States,2006 Library of Congress Control Number:2006921035
Summary:Julie is presented with a perfect opportunity to get back at her tormentor.
Orca Book Publishers is dedicated to preserving the environment and has printed this book on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover design by Teresa Bubela Cover photography by Bigshot Media
orca book publishers po box 5626,Stn. B Victoria, bcCanadav8r 6s4
orca book publishers po box 468 Custerusa, wa 982400468
www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada.
For my students, with respect and gratitude, and to Jane Bow and Andrew Wooldridge —thanks for the chance.
C h a p t e r O n e
As I came in the front door of the school, I could see Dana and Brynn, their heads close together as they whispered. There was no way I was going to risk walking past them. Dana would say something or bump me or make me drop my books—anythingto make me look like a total jerk in front of everyone else.
Patricia Murdoch
A hundred kids went up the stairs.I veered right and walked down the main hallway to get to the other stairwell. It took longer, but it gave me a brief moment of peace. Sa m my, my best f r ie nd , wa s attempting to stuff her backpack into the locker we shared. “There you are, Julie. I didn’t see you. I hate this stinking locker,” she hissed between the pushing and the kicking. “I need my math book,” I told her. “You’re kidding, right? I just got this in here. Hey, I love your shirt. When did you get it?” She began tugging on her pack to pull it out. “Yesterday. It feels kind of tight,”I told her. I was aware that every bulge and roll was visible. “It’s supposed to. Shows off the good stuff.” I laughed. “Yeah, but it shows all the bad stuff too. Makes me feel weird.”
E xposure
“Get over it,” she said with a grin. “Easy for you to say, you’re so thin. How come you never wear tight clothes?” I asked her. Sammy looked down at her chest. “What you call thin, others call Lat as a board, or Lat as a boy, as my sister says.” Nothing ever seemed to really get to Sammy. Not that she didn’t get mad, but even when she did, she was funny about it. I noticed Dana coming toward us.I tensed up, right on cue. “If your fat gut didn’t stick out farther than your boobs, your shirt wouldn’t look so stupid,” she said as she passed me. She didn’t slow down, didn’t even really look at me. Just dropped her insult and went into the classroom. “Ignore her,” said Sammy. “You look good.” She handed me my math book and started cramming her backpack into the locker.
Patricia Murdoch
“She’s right. I do look fat and stupid.I wish I hadn’t wor n it.” I k new something like this was going to happen. I had looked in the mirror that morning and told myself I looked ridiculous, butI was tired of never being able to wear the same clothes everyone else wore. “Why do you let her get to you? Who cares what she thinks?” asked Sammy. “Ever yone in this entire school, that’s who. Do you have your extra gym shirt here?” “You let her win every time.” “Do not. I want your shirt.” Sammy sighed. “This is the last time I’m taking this out. Is there anything else you want?” Mr. Charles stepped out of the room. “Hurry up, girls. The anthem is going to start any moment now.” “Can I go to the washroom? I need to change,” I asked him. I held up the sweatshirt as proof.
E xposure
“If you have to.” “Come with me, Sammy,” I pleaded, grabbing her arm. “You would think that you would be able to go to the washroom by yourself,” he said. “Sammy, take your seat.” Sammy crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue when he wasn’t looking.I g r in ned, then pretended I was stretching out my neck when he spun around and glared at me. I hit the bathroom door with both palms; it made me feel like I owned the place. Two younger girls were just finishing their makeup. They were already trying to get in with the seniors. They had probably been successful. One of them was actually fatter than me, but I bet Dana left her alone. I glanced at myself. I’m not really fat, not like those people whose thighs rub together and stomachs hang down. I just don’t havea waist. I look like a cylinder.
Patricia Murdoch
I pulled the sweatshirt over my head. Sammy always bought really baggy clothes, so they would usually ît me— her shirts would anyway. Never her pants. I felt better immediately. Hidden. Protected. I waited a couple of minutes and then went back to class. Our îrst class was English and there was a substitute teacher. Having a substitute was always a change from the routine, and you could almost feel the electricity in the air. It felt a little bit like Christmas. But then we saw who it was. Old Lady Beeton. She’d been a teacher here before she retired and becamea substitute. Now she had to prove she still had it. Within îve minutes, Josh, the class clown, had been sent to the principal’s ofîce. Devon went soon after. Mrs. Beeton was even complaining about some of the girls. It wasn’t much fun. At least the class assignment called for group work. I nodded at Sammy as