“See you tomorrow!” Oliver shouts back to his mate as he runs to catch his bus.

After they both finish work at the shopping centre near Greg’s house, they usually hang out there, playing video games for a few hours. The pair have been best friends since the first day at secondary school when Greg had offered Oliver the empty seat next to him.

Gasping for breath, Oliver glances at his watch and lets out a sigh of relief. “I haven’t missed the bus”, he tells himself. He takes a seat and waits for the bus to arrive. As Oliver waits, he hears the voices of a couple of lads in the distance. From the amount of noise they are making, it sounds like they have just been kicked out of a pub. Oliver glances back down at his watch. “Come on, hurry up!”, he urges the bus.

The group of lads appear from around the corner, their voices becoming more audible. Oliver instantly recognises one as a lad he knew at school. It has only been a few years since Oliver left school, but he can still remember that voice distinctly. Oliver has never forgot the taunting and bullying he had received from Shaun and his gang.

Oliver sits very still, closes his eyes and whispers to himself. “Not tonight, let them pass me. Not tonight”.

Oliver walked down the corridor with Greg, heading off to their second lesson of the day: Science.

Shaun shoulder-barged Oliver, knocking him to the ground. Shaun’s gang and other passing students laughed at Oliver being pushed to the floor.

“Oh, Oliver is that you? What are you doing on the floor?”, he paused to laugh. “I’m so glad I ‘bumped’ into you. Don’t you owe me your lunch money this week?”

Oliver had hoped Shaun had forgotten. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a couple of coins. As he handed the money over, he glanced at Greg, who was looking away from the scene, trying to ignore what was happening. This filled Oliver with a new wave of embarrassment.

“Hang on… The agreement was for a weeks’ worth. This looks more like two days, at most.”

“That’s all I have on me, please don’t. I’ll get you the rest”

“It’s too late now, I’ll be seeing you later” Shaun glared at Oliver, then indicated for his mates to follow him as they walked away, sniggering. The bell rang, signalling the start of the next lesson.

Oliver nervously got up, picked up his bag, and continued along to his lesson.

Oliver opens his eyes, chancing a glance in the direction of the lads. They are not there.

Oliver turns his head, and see the lads walking away from him. They had walked past without noticing him.