|A Slice of Cheerleading And a Side of Popularity
Author: Back of Beyond PM
Josie is in her Freshman year of High School, with her best friend, Claudette. When Claudette starts to fall into the popular crowd, with Josie join her or leave Claudette behind?Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor - Words: 2,709 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Published: 06-04-05 - id: 1930595
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Well, this is my new story! I've had chapters 1 and 2 of this lying around for ages, so I decided to type it up and post it. This is probably a bit longer than I would normally right – my chapters never take long to write – and it'll probably be ages before the next chapter goes up, but your reviews will motivate me! Please R&R.
The waitress came over to our table. "What would you like to eat?" She asked us, her false smile showing off her too-white, too-many teeth.
I was about to say, 'Two Jumbo Special Meals!' - which is what we always ate Saturday lunchtime in Bernie's Café after our Gymnastics club in the Mall's Sports Centre – when Claudette interrupted me.
"Two salad plates – one with fries – and two diet cokes, please." The waitress nodded, marked the order down and went back over to the counter to sound our order, while I sat there, flabbergasted.
"What happened to our usual Jumbo Special?" I asked.
Claudette shrugged. "Don't you think we should look after ourselves more now that we're in High School? Do you even know how many calories are in a Jumbo Special?!"
I looked down at myself – my bean-pole legs, non-existent hips, boobs the size an eleven year old would expect, flat stomach and small bum (Yes, okay, the last two I'm proud of).
"Josie, I know you don't need to lose weight – I mean, you can eat anything you like and barely gain an ounce, you always have – but I could do with a bit of weight loss! Anyway, that's not the point – the point is that kind of stuff is down right bad for you! It causes spots and all that!"
I groaned. Everyone was always going on at me about healthy eating and all that, especially my gymnastics teacher. She just wouldn't stop. And for spots? I couldn't care less. The only spots I was remotely bothered about were those giant boils that some people get. And I was no where near that unhygienic.
"A salad and diet coke will never last me!" I complained, seeing the waitress walk back over.
"That's why you have the one with fries!" She said, smiling at the waitress as she put down our salads and diet coke (and wait – my small fries as well) on our table.
At that moment Melanie Ford, Rosie Jones and Lisa Heartilly walked into the café, carrying so many multi-coloured shopping bags they looked like a packet of M&M's (Melanie and Lisa, the chocolate ones, and Rosie, the peanut ones, if I was going to be specific and point out their colour of skin).
"Hey Claudette! Hey Josie!" Melanie called, while Rosie and Lisa waved, as they walked past our table and sat down on the opposite side of the café.
Claudette turned around and waved at them, while I just stared – once again flabbergasted – with my fork pauses a few millimetres away from my mouth.
"Stop looking so gormless, Josie!" Claudette scolded, taking a sip of her diet coke.
"Er, hello?" I hissed at her. "Melanie Ford, Rosie Jones and Lisa Heartilly have just acknowledged our existence! Does that not seem a tiny bit fishy to you?" Let me explain – Melanie, Rosie and Lisa were those type of girls that became popular just like that – without any effort what-so-ever. Now, don't get me wrong, because I am so not the kind of person who stares with longing expressions at the popular crowd. But ... it was a big surprise, ok?
Claudette looked up at me. "I was talking to them in form class. I mentioned your name a few times – you have a few classes with them, don't you? That's how they know you."
"Well, yeah, but … What were you talking to them about? When you mentioned my name, I mean."
Claudette shrugged, looking impassive. "I just mentioned how me and you were going to try out for the cheerleading squad –"
I choked on my fries.
"... And they started talking to me about it ..." She finished, frowning at my choking fit.
"I'm sorry, we're doing what?! Since when were we trying out for the cheerleading squad?!"
"I thought it'd be a good idea!" Claudette protested. "I mean, it's been okay all these years, but we're in High School now. We could do with some more friends, and don't you want to be a bit more ... well, popular?"
I just stared at her, shocked. This was my best friend. The girl who I'd known since I was five years old. The girl who, year after year through Middle School, mocked the popular girls and raised her eyebrows at them. What was wrong with her?
When I finally trusted my self to speak, I said, "First of all, if we became cheerleaders, we'd be more than 'a bit' popular. And secondly, what makes you so sure we'd make the squad?"
Claudette rolled her eyes. "Er, excuse me? We've been going to gymnastics club since we were – what? Eight years old! Our gymnastics teacher's always said we were built for gymnastics – gymnastics practically is cheerleading! Minus a few chants and pompoms. Basically, we're made for cheerleading!"
I sighed. Claudette had a point that I did not want to admit. I mean, sure, a few more friends would be nice, but I did I really want to be a cheerleader? No! Cheerleading practice every day, memorizing chants and routines, going to all the school dances, constantly putting a huge effort into my appearance, making myself look as if I'd just stepped out a fashion magazine!
Did I even want to be friends with a cheerleader? No! If my past experiences had told me anything, it was the cheerleaders or popular girls were practically Barbie dolls. They look pretty on the outside, but are complete airheads and incapable of any intelligent conversation.
Anyway, I was getting way ahead of myself. Sure, Claudette had a point with the gymnastics, but it didn't guarantee us a place. Who said the others to try-out would be worse than us?
"Please!" Claudette said, trying her puppy-dog eyes tactic on me.
I shook my head. "You know that doesn't work on me."
"Fine!" She said, pouting for what I think was the first time in years. "But can you just try out with me, so I don't have to go alone? You're allowed to enter in pairs – we'll work together! I'll sort us out a chant and routine, and it won't take us long to learn it. Come on, Josie, please!"
I debated with myself for a moment. The pros of trying out? Er ... None. The cons? Pretty much everything. Including my humiliating defeat when I am by far the worst person there.
Eventually, though, I figured if I rode with it, Claudette would get off my back about it. And I figured I could just 'hurt' my leg of something when the day came.
"Okay ..." I said.
"Fantastic!" She shrieked, causing a fair few people to look over and stare. "Right – the auditions are on Tuesday after school in the gym. Leave the chant and routine to me – I'll sort something out this afternoon and we can practise tomorrow and Monday night. Now, they're only accepting six new cheerleaders – most the squad last year we're seniors. From what I've heard, there's at least twenty girls trying out, some of them just missed being accepted last year – we have to have a really good routine!"
"You're taking this really seriously, aren't you?" I said, sensing her excitement.
She grinned, "Yep!"
"Hey Claudette, Josie." Melanie said, suddenly appearing beside Claudette, with Rosie and Lisa behind her. "You guys want to come to the Miss California store?"
I fought to keep the gormless expression off my face.
"Sure," Claudette said, standing up and grabbing her bag – acting as if we went to Miss California all the time, instead of our usual Jean Warehouse.
When I didn't move, Lisa stuck her head out on Melanie's shoulder. "You're coming too, right Josie?"
I mentally shook my head, bringing my brain back from Australia, or where ever else it had travelled to this time. Claudette was giving me warning looks. "Er ... sure ..." I said, following Claudette's lead and grabbing my bag.
What was Miss California like? Completely different, let me tell you. The employees stood there, filing there nails with bored expressions. They sighed heavily and didn't bother to hide their annoyance when you couldn't find something. And their lips curled up at anyone who was slightly larger than a size 8. The store itself was hardly a store – more like a disco. The latest pop music blurred from the speakers at high volume. Several disco balls hung from the low ceiling and flickering coloured lights were bordering the wall. And the couple of 30 watt light bulbs, that had been placed to help people see, hardly helped.
"Ohmygod!" Rosie shrieked, grabbing Lisa's arm and running over to the far end of the store.
"She's spotted something she likes," Melanie roller her eyes, following Rosie and Lisa to what appeared to be a dress stand.
"Come on!" Claudette said, tugging at my sleeve.
"Claudette, why'd they even invite us here? We've, or at least I've, never even spoken to them before! And we don't exactly give off the impression we shop here, do we?" I said, yanking at my tracksuit bottoms to emphasize my point.
Claudette seized my elbow and steered me through the many racks and stands of clothes, heading in the generally direction of our three inviters.
"Well," She said, dodging a particularly large shoe stand, "They like me when I was talking to them, and all three are trying out for the cheerleading squad, so I guess we've bonded over it. Anyway, we've only been at High School for three weeks – it's not as if they've been blatantly ignoring us for a few years. It takes a few weeks for everyone to settle in!"
I nodded my head slowly, "I suppose ..."
"Good!" She said, smiling. Next thing I knew we were standing beside a circular dress rack that housed everything from cocktail to 60's night club dresses. This happened to be the place Mel, Rosie and Lisa were in a heated discussion over whether Rosie should buy a certain dress.
"But I like this black one," Rosie whined, holding the dress in question against her, and peering down at it with a pout.
Melanie shook her head fiercely. "No way, Rosie. Your skin colour is far too white for it – you'll look ill!"
"Yeah," Lisa agreed, but patting Rosie's shoulder sympathetically, "You need a tan to wear that, and frankly you're not going to get one in early September."
"This would be so much easier if I wasn't allergic to fake sun tan lotion," An upset Rosie stated, putting the dress back on the rail, and searching half-heartedly for something else.
The others began searching through the dress rack with great enthusiasm . Even, I was shocked to see, Claudette.
I felt like I had to speak up. "Uh ... why are you looking for dresses?" I asked slowly, "Is there an event or something coming up?"
Suddenly I found myself facing four gobsmacked faces. "What?!" I asked, obliviously to what I had done.
"You don't know about the school dance at the end of the month?" Lisa said, eyebrows raised. "It's a big social event in the school! They have it every year along with all the other proms and dances – it's to celebrate a new school year!"
The others nodded in agreement and Mel said, "The principle announced it over the intercom on the first week here. Then end of the month is next week – the dance in on the Friday coming!"
"Just think," Claudette said, a giant grin on her face, "We could be cheerleaders by then!"
But I wasn't thinking about any of that. No, the only thing going on in my head was the alarm bells ringing and flashing neon lights saying SCHOOL DANCE.
"You two are going, right?" Rosie enquired, her eyes almost popping out of their sockets.
"I didn't know there was a dance ..." I managed to choke out, as if it were some kind of excuse.
"Well, you do now! So, are you going?" Melanie said, looking between me and Claudette.
"Er, yeah, of course!" Claudette beamed. "Like we'd miss it for the world!"
I was utterly speechless. In the space of half an hour, I'd been bombarded with a new Claudette raving on about joining the cheerleading squad, had some of the most popular Freshman girls befriend me, entered one of the worst stores in the entire universe, and now! Now, I was apparently going to a school dance – my most hated enemy, coming second only to wars and terrorists and the likes.
Anyway, my brain was just about ready to leave me again. The overload of everything that had happened was just too much for it to cope. In it's lasts efforts of working, before it took it's daily trip abroad, my mind was sending out signals that were going like this:
Danger! Danger! School Dance! Object! Say NO! Refuse! Danger! Danger!
And so on. You can tell I don't cope well in certain situations, can't you?
In the end, my mouth won over my brain, and I finished up saying, "Yeah ... wouldn't miss it for the world."
I hated myself. And it got worse.
Satisfied with my answer, Mel, Rosie, Lisa and Claudette all went back to rummaging through the dress rack, in search of something for the dance, while I vaguely peered through the different dresses, dismissing every one.
Too short. Too tight. Too low. Too clingy. Too yucky. Too stiff. These were just some of the problems that occurred in all the dresses. Not that I was bothered – at least, I figured, it gave me an excuse to escape.
But oh no, they weren't having that. Least of all Claudette.
"Oh come, there must be something here for you!" She basically yelled. "Look, this is nice!" She grabbed a dress from the rack. And maybe, if it wasn't bright pink, I would have accepted it.
"I think this will suit you," I heard Melanie say from somewhere behind me. I turned around and found her standing right in front of me, holding a dress against me.
"Nice," Rosie nodded, concurring.
"And you can wear a pair of black ankle boots with it," Lisa squealed, "It will look so adorable!"
Hmmmm, I thought. Adorable? Not a good concept.
I eventually persuaded Melanie to let me see the dress properly, instead of attempting to peer down at it and being told to straighten up again.
The dress was ... nice, in a I'm-on-the-pull kind of way. Which was, incidentally, not a way I wanted to be on – but my brain (who had managed to return from vacation) was telling me I was not going to win this fight. So, grudgingly, I followed Mel and the others on their escapade to Hell As We Know It.
AKA, the Changing Rooms.