A/N: Another new story. I suck, I know. But this is only…number four that I'm writing?
Monday morning. Biology class. Life doesn't get any worse than this. I strategically propped myself up so my head was on my hand and my pen was upright in my hand. I closed my eyes. My best mate Allie and I had calculated – we'd gotten a grand total of six hours sleep since Thursday afternoon. It's safe to say, my crew are party animals. We don't really party in the conventional high school way though. We'd prefer not to go and get sloshed with a bunch of people who, through certain circumstances of misfortune, we don't like but just happen to be stuck with for 30 hours a week. We see enough of the red-necked shit-for-brains miscreants during the week. Why prolong the torture?
Every member of my group owns a fake ID. And not one of those shit, peeling-laminate ones either. These are the high quality, highly believable ones that you pay big bucks for. Mind you, I'd pay anything for something that gave me something to do without resorting to high school parties. My head drooped lower as the teacher rattled on about the difference between infectious and non-infectious diseases. Beth Delaney, Miss Nerdy Pants 2004 sat next to me, furiously writing notes in between shooting me reproachful looks. I sit next to her for the plain and simple reason that I'm not allowed to sit next to anyone else. Two of my friends are in this class – Allie sits on the opposite side of the room, and Jase sits two rows in front. Despite the fact that they're my only two real friends in this class, I'd rather sit anywhere else than next to Beth Delaney. She's hates me. The feeling is mutual.
I looked up as a piece of paper hit me on the forehead. I caught sight of Jase grin at me briefly before spinning around in his chair again. I picked up the note and read it.Bryony StClair
The desk beside Beth the freaky geek
The urban oppression that is high school
I am officially completely and totally smashed. I'm so tired, hung over, and feeling the effects of a little too much 'fun.' Want to skip assembly?
I smirked and turned the paper over so I could scribble on the back.J-J
Beth is making weird noises. I'm afraid that she may have overheated. I can smell something burning. I think it's her brain. Feeling the same effects of 'fun.' Assembly sounds like a definite no-go
Crumpling the paper into a ball, I took a quick glance to make sure the teacher wasn't looking and lobbed it in Jase's direction. It hit him in the back of his bright blue head. He reached up a hand and grabbed the paper from the folds of his shirt collar where it had stuck. I saw him read it, heard him snicker and watched as he picked up his pen to write back. I glanced around the room as he was writing. It was quiet in here today. The two Jock McThick's in our class were actually working for a change. I frowned. There was something novel. Where was the grand ringleader? Oh well. Who cared? Maybe he was sick – hopefully dying from one of those dreadful diseases the teacher was banging on about. Jase finished writing and crumpled the paper into a ball again. He glanced around as I had done and chucked the wad to me. Jase has the worst aim in the world. That's why he's not a jock.
The paper landed on the floor and rolled towards the door. I stifled a laugh at the look of annoyance on his face. While Mrs Clark had her back turned I jumped out of my seat and walked across the room to get it. I'd just reached down to grab it when a foot clad in expensive Puma street shoes stretched out and stood on my hand. I yanked my hand away and stood up to glare at the asshole who'd just squashed my fingers into the cheap vinyl carpet. A look of disgust crossed my face. "Carter. I thought you were dead."
Quinn Carter bent down and picked the piece of paper up off the ground. He kept his eyes on me as he unfolded it with deliberate slowness. I tried to look bored. Inside I was seething. Quinn's brilliant blue eyes flickered downwards as he read the note. "Hmm." He said in his husky voice. "Interesting. You weren't planning to wag again were you StClair? I heard a rumour that if you got caught again, you could say goodbye to your enrolment here." He looked at me, ill-concealed mirth in his eyes. I wanted to hit him.
"Mr Carter!" Mrs Clark boomed from the front of the class. "How nice of you to join us. Kindly extract yourself from the doorway and take a seat. You're late. StClair, sit down. I won't tell you again."
Quinn walked to the front of the room. "Mrs Clark." He said in his smooth voice that had 99.9% of the female population at Redford High swooning. "StClair and Lewis were passing notes, yet again. I'm sure you'll agree, a rather childish past time." he said, smirking as he handed the note to the teacher. Mrs Clark looked at Quinn suspiciously as she took the note from him. She read it and looked at me, then Jase. "Mr Lewis and Miss StClair. Owing to the rather suspicious nature of this note, I myself will escort the two of you to assembly. Wouldn't want you getting lost along the way." She said dryly. "Sit down Quinn."
I clenched my jaw as Beth gave me a patronising look. I hate him I hate him I hate him I hate him. Quinn and I have a long history of hating each other. He has every quality that I despise. He's arrogant, selfish, obnoxious, loud and too intelligent for his own good. He's a total dick and he's a total jock. He plays on just about every team in the school. The animosity between us is somewhat legendary in this school it runs so deep. We've been at war with each other ever since grade eight. It's gotten to the stage where everyone who matters in grade 12 is divided. You're either on Quinn's side – or you're on mine. You're either a jock or you're not. You either hate Quinn or you love him. There are a few people who don't care about either of us. Like Beth. The hostility between the two of us is always there, just simmering below the surface. Every couple of weeks it'll blow out into a prank or something. Two weeks ago Quinn and his gang slashed the tires of my car. I got him back though. Quinn had this little coffee table he'd made in Manual Arts. He'd been working really hard on it. The day before he was due to have it assessed, Robbo and I broke into the room and smashed it to bits. Both Quinn and I had been put on two weeks after school detention, so we'd let sleeping dogs lie.
But he wasn't going to get away with this latest act of asshole-ism. It wasn't always this way between Quinn and I. We used to be friends. All through primary school we were pretty much inseparable. Our mothers had taken Belly dancing classes together when they were pregnant with us. We've been together since we were born. It was only when we got to high school that things started to go bad. Quinn started it. He started making new friends, really getting into his sport- becoming an asshole. Suddenly I wasn't good enough for him. I wasn't cool enough to be one of his jock buddies, and I wasn't pretty or skanky enough to be one of his adoring fan girls. I didn't want to be an adoring fan girl. I wanted to be his best friend again. Pretty soon he wouldn't even give me the time of the day. By then I had my own friends, but it still hurt. I wanted to get back at him. I played a prank on him; he got pissed, played his own back. We hated each other.
Still do. Neither of our parents knows. We've been making excuses for the past five years as to why we never hang out anymore. I can't stand Quinn. Everything about him makes my blood boil. I want to hit something. An involuntary look of disgust and anger crosses my face just thinking about him. That's how much I hate him. I don't have an aversion to or dislike him. I hate him, I loathe him, I detest him. There is not a single good quality about him. Well ok…he's hot. As I picked up my pen again Quinn turned around and grinned nastily at him. I held up my hand like I was going to wave to him, then turned it around and put all my fingers down bar the middle one. Quinn made an action like he was grabbing it and put it in his pocket, still smirking meanly. He turned around again and face the front. He didn't look at me for the rest of the lesson.
"We've got to get him back for that." Jase hissed to me as Mrs Clark frog marched the two of us to assembly. "Don't worry." I replied in an undertone. "I'm working on it already."
"Will you two stop talking?" Mrs Clark barked. I sighed and followed docilely the rest of the way to the hall. When we got there my form teacher was going spare again at some poor kid. We have to sit in alphabetical order for assembly, and Mrs Rodriguez is the nazi of alphabetical order. "Michael! You're a WONG Michael! WONG? W Michael, W! You're at the END of the line Michael!"
"It sounds like such an insult." Jase said in my ear. "You're a WONG Michael!"
"It's his last name Jase."
"I know that Bryony. I said it sounds like an insult."
I rolled my eyes and opened my mouth to say something, but Mrs Clark had marched Jase off to his own line before I could. I sat down and waited for the year eights running around to stop screaming to sit down. "Move over StClair. You've taking up all the room with your over-sized ass." Someone spat. I looked up and met bright blue eyes.
"Bite me Carter." I responded just as vehemently.
"No thanks." He smirked. "I'm on a fat free diet."
"Oh my god. That was so clever. I swear, you get smarter with every blow to the head you cop running around in your short shorts." I said sarcastically.
"And you get smarter with every guy you fuck. How many was it this weekend Bryony? Four, five? At once?"
"My sex life is none of your business Carter, and I don't intend sharing the details with you just because you're lacking sexual prowess of your own."
"Ooh. Biting." Quinn's eyes hardened until they resembled little chips of ice sitting in his perfectly sculptured face. "You're not as clever, badass or as mean as you might think StClair. You might want to watch your back."
I smirked. "Is that a threat or a promise?"
"Now I know that this yoghurt is 97% fat free, but that's still 3% fat. What's the 3% fat in this, compared to say, the 10% fat that's left in these chips?" Allie asked me during lunch. I sighed. "I don't know Al. just eat it."
Allie shrugged and put the chip into her mouth. Mathew, or Robbo as everyone has called him since the age of 5, came over and sat next to me. His last name's Robertson. "Heard about your scrap with Carter in biol."
"What do you want to do about it?"
"Not sure yet. Working on it." I said through a mouthful of apple, looking up as Jase, Jem and Nat came sprinting up. Jase looked like all his Christmas's had come at once. "What?" Robbo asked, spinning around to face them. Jase could hardly get his words out he was so excited. "The home ec department is making seafood platters!"
It took me less than five seconds to come up with a plan once I'd heard that sentence. Seafood platters meant leftovers. Stinking, slimy, aquatic entrails. Bits of squid, fish, prawns and octopus. My dreams come true. Here was the golden way to get back at Quinn. They'd be talking about this one for years to come. I knew Jase had been thinking along the same lines I had. He, Nat and Jem grabbed as many garbage bags as they could from the home ec room, then vanished around the back of the block to raid the garbage bins. "We'll want something to protect ourselves." I said to Robbo. He nodded. "The year 11 biology class has just been to Nudgee beach. They had plastic gloves and disposable raincoats."
I looked at him. "Reckon you can get us some?"
He nodded. "Me and Christen will get what we can from the science block."
"Can we be ready to go before the end of the break?"
"Yeah. They always leave the end room unlocked for the lab assistant. It'll take like, two minutes."
"Good. Me and Al will head up to the home ec block and meet the others. Meet us there when you're done."
Robbo nodded. We did the handshake he'd invented and he and Christian took off towards the science block. I was so excited I couldn't stand still. "God, I can't wait to see the look on Quinn's face." I said excitedly. Allie laughed and grabbed my hand. "Come on."
Together we raced up to the Home Economics block. Jase was halfway in the bin, scooping out some squid remains. He looked surprisingly upbeat. "All the really slimy stuff is at the bottom. Pure, uncooked entrails." He explained, throwing the leftovers into the bag Nat was holding. She looked away, a look of revulsion on her face. I grinned at her and she laughed. "It's golden Bry. It'll be the ultimate payback."
"God I hope so. He so deserves it."
A few minutes later Jase was confident he'd gotten as much as he could. Robbo and Christian arrived back with the plastic. The seven of us donned rubber gloves as well as the raincoats, and took a bag of seafood each. "Ok. Well, they'll be sitting on the banks of the oval, as always. Try not to hit anyone else. We'll get into enough trouble as it is."
We crept down the hill and towards the oval. We had a perfect vantage point hiding behind some bushes. "Use the double envelope." Robbo said eagerly. "Bry, you and Jase go forward first. The rest of us hang back. It's logical that they'll go for you first. They'll probably push you back. The rest of us will go around the outside and they'll be surrounded." He said gleefully. I thanked god that he listens in history. "Ok. Are they all there?" I asked, craning my neck to see Quinn's group. "Where's Quinn?"
Nat pointed. "I think I've found him." She said dryly. There were two pairs of feet sticking out of a nearby bush. A pair of slender legs were wrapped around another pair of legs I recognised as Quinn's. I could tell by the shoes. They were the same shoes that had squashed my hand into the carpet this morning. I rolled my eyes. "Typical. Nat, can you and Jase go forward as the distraction? I want to get Quinn."
Nat nodded. "Ok. Go." Robbo commanded. Jase and Nat streaked forward, reached into their bags and hurled handfuls of squid at the group sitting on the hill. The girls started screaming blue murder. Robbo and I doubled up with silent laughter. "God, those bitches deserve it." Robbo said. Out of everyone at the school, the girls in Quinn's group had given Robbo the hardest time over his sexuality. He couldn't go anywhere without one of them screaming that he was a queer. Technically, he's not one anyway. He's bisexual, and has the biggest heart of anyone I know. He's 3000 times nicer than me, smart and an all round incredible guy. But those girls have made his life an absolute misery. I knew he'd enjoy getting back at them.
"Go Bry." He hissed, pushing me towards Quinn's bush. Everyone else was otherwise occupied, fighting it out on the hill. We were definitely winning. I snuck towards the bush, rolling my eyes as I heard the moans and grunts coming from it. I reached into the bag and pulled out a handful of squid. I kept walking until I was right on top of them. Quinn and his girlfriend Chrissy both looked up in anger. Quinn's shirt and pants were both undone, there were hickies all over his chest and his dark hair was tousled. Chrissy's skirt was up around her waist, her shirt was open and her bra was lying on the ground next to her. I smiled widely. "Surprise."
Quinn started to get up, but he was too slow. I let fly with the squid. Some landed on Quinn's chest, but most of it landed on Chrissy's hair. She started to scream. I laughed and flicked some at Quinn. "That's for today in biol." More landed in his hair. "That's for the past five years. That one was for ruining my high school years, and this…" I reached into the bag and pulled out a huge, stinking fish head. "This is for Robbo." I dropped it on Chrissy's head. It bounced off and landed in her lap, looking up at her blankly. She screamed even louder. Quinn scrambled to his feet. He was livid. "You…"
I decided it was time to cut my losses and run. I ran. But typically, Quinn being the dumb jock he is, tackled me down before I'd gotten away. He wrestled the bag off me and reached inside. His eyes were sparkling and he almost looked as if he were having…fun. "Big mistake Bry bry. But quite ingenious I must say."
I started backing away from him. "You know, I can almost see why I used to like you so much. You're pretty clever. It's a shame you're such a bitch."
"I'm the bitch?" I spluttered. "What about you Quinn? You make everyone feel like crap, all the time. If there're not up to you're standards, then they're worth nothing. You make their lives miserable." I screamed. "You have no idea what you do to people. At least I'm not like that. At least I give people a chance rather than sticking a label on them before I even know them! You're an asshole Quinn, and that's all you'll ever be. You deserve to die for what you've done to people in this grade. For what you've done to Robbo, to Allie, to Jesse to Clint to Ella…to me." I choked on my last words. Quinn looked shocked. He just blinked. "You think you're holier than thou Bryony? I've got news for you sweetheart. You've damaged more people in this grade than I have. So many girls who looked up to you, who wanted to be your friend, and so many guys who liked you. You just shut them down. You may have given them a chance in the beginning but once you were sick of them, you threw them away like last weeks paper. Once they'd served your purpose they weren't good enough for you anymore. Once it got old you didn't want them around. And that hurts far more than not being given a chance. I'd know Bryony." He said angrily. "You did it to me."
I was momentarily speechless. He's messing with you Bryony. Don't listen to anything he says. You know what he's like. "Do you know what it feels like?" we both shouted at the same time. "To feel like you're not good enough?"
Our words shattered the cool air and echoed off the buildings. We both stood there in silence, unable to believe we'd just said the exact same thing, at the exact same time. After a minute Quinn's lip curled. "Your reign is over princess. I'm not going to let you get to me anymore." He said, bringing his hand up slowly. I thanked Christ I was still wearing my raincoat. Quinn smiled dangerously. "Ready to play your own game?"
An hour later, Quinn and I were both sitting in the principal's office, side by side. Both of us still covered in fish guts and smelling like month-old fish soup. The office lady gave us a nasty look and opened all the windows. I sighed and looked at my ruined shoes. "Mr Crooks will see you now." The women said. Quinn and I both stood, shoving each other aside to get through the hall first. "You two articles, in here now!" our principal barked. He gave us a look of disgust as we walked in. "Oh dear god." He pulled his hanky out of his pocket and held it over his mouth and nose as he opened all the windows. "Here." He said, throwing us yesterday's newspaper. "Stand on that."
I grabbed the paper first, took a sheet and threw it in Quinn's direction. "I don't want fish guts all over my carpet."
Once Quinn and I were looking at him, Mr Crooks slammed his hands down on the desk. We both jumped. "I. Have had. Enough." he said in a deathly quiet voice, barely concealing his rage. "First it was filling up the lockers with cockroaches. Then the cane toad in the school bag incident. Then tire slashing, vandalism, graffiti and now this. There is something seriously wrong with the two of you!" he yelled.
Quinn sulked. "She started it."
"I don't give a flying pigs ass who started it! When Mr Martin found you, the two of you were rolling around in the grass, squashing squid into each other's hair! You both start it. Quinn started the cane toads. Bryony started the cockroaches…"
I smirked. That was pretty funny. "…You're both as bad as each other! Never, in my 35 years of teaching have I ever encountered year 12's who behave like you two do! Enough is enough. This is your last warning. Whatever differences you have, I don't care. Get over it. Another stunt like this, one more incident, one more WORD that you've been playing up, and I'll expel you both without a second thought. Is that clear?" he thundered. We both nodded mutely. Mr Crooks took a second to calm down. He started pacing. You're both very smart. Mainly in your asses. So let's see if we can put some of your creative genius towards something more productive than delinquency." Mr Crooks looked at us. I knew whatever was coming was bad. "As you know, Mr Thompson has just started rehearsals for this years school musical. He needs two more industrious kids like you to work on backstage."
Quinn and I both looked at him in horror. He smiled. "The drama classes are putting on a production that Mr Thompson has written. It's an adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, set in modern times."
"Hasn't Baz Luhrmann already done that?" Quinn asked. Mr Crooks shot him a dirty look. "This is different Carter. Or so I am told. Either way, you'll be working on it. It's called, 'Romeo & Juliet revisited.' Rehearsals are three times a week, from three till five. Opening night is in three months. You will attend every rehearsal until that time, or I will expel you."
I felt like crying. It couldn't get any worse. "One more thing." Mr Crooks said. "You'll be learning the invaluable skill of how to work with someone, even when you don't like that person. I've instructed Mr Thompson to give you tasks which will require you to work together." Mr Crooks turned back to his desk. "Rehearsal is tomorrow afternoon. Be at the drama building as soon as school finishes. Now get out of my sight and my smell range."
Quinn and I exited the office in silence. "This blows!" Quinn hollered at the sky. I nodded mutely. He shot me a dirty look. "Are you happy now StClair? This is all your doing."
I sighed tiredly. "Bite my ass Carter. We both had this coming." I stood up to go home. "I'm going home to sleep Quinn. I suggest you do the same. We've got rehearsal tomorrow."
Quinn said nothing. "See you tomorrow." I shot over my shoulder. "My fellow thespian."
I felt an empty milk carton hit my shoulder. "Yeah. See you tomorrow sweetheart. Sleep well."
I sighed. It was going to be a long three months.