Chapter 1

As told by Deeann

It was so stupid of her, I thought angrily. I couldn't think of anything else that Ada was. She wasn't smart, for sure. And she definitely wouldn't be cool anymore. Just wait and see. She'd need jeans with bigger waistlines. She'd need stretchy clothes. And she'd need bigger portions of food. She'd just get bigger and bigger. And I could laugh – I really could. Ada is fat. That was really funny. And she'd never been very clever, but she'd been beautiful, and now she wasn't. Just look at her. The whole school is whispering, and Gretchen is like a cat on a wall, ready to pounce. Once Ada is knocked off her throne, Gretchen is going to pounce right in from Cloud Nine. See Gretchen's face – she's really on Cloud Nine. Once she gets the throne, I wonder how much higher she's going to get.

I glanced at Gretchen, then back at Ada, then back at Gretchen, and Ada again. I stopped thinking of what was going to happen – I needed to confirm myself. I was looking at proof. Gretchen was glowing.

The last time I really stopped to look at Gretchen was in the toilet. She didn't know I was there, but I was in the cubicle when she came into the toilet. A slam of the door. Whoa, someone was mad. And the throwing of something on the sink. The kicking of the bin. And when I heard her cries – maybe this was exaggerated, but anyway, anyhow, it felt dangerous to come out. A few moments there, it sounded like she'd lost control. I heard her muffled screeches. And she made a noise that sounded as if she could cry, wanted to cry, but that would only mean embarrassing herself. I could hear the frustration at herself, at her parents, at her life. At God. I could hear the desperation – please let me out. No, I can't just lose it. But I want to lose it. No, I can't. She was angry. It's not pathetic to be angry, but Gretchen was, only because she was so helpless even when she had everything.

I'd waited for fifteen whole minutes. I know, because I kept staring at my watch as I listened to her. After fifteen minutes, I gave the cubicle door a gentle shove – it had been unlocked since ten minutes ago. It stood ajar, the noises Gretchen made flowing through easily. I wanted to hear, that was why it was unlocked and ajar. Now, I wanted to see. Of course, I didn't know who it was just listening. I didn't care, but now I cared. Who was that crazy person? Gretchen was washing her face when I finally peeped at her. With shaky hands, she re-applied her make-up, keeping it to the minimum. Mascara, eye liner and lipstick. Then she scrutinized at her reflection. She made that muffled screeching noise again – the sound of frustration. She was desperate for perfection, and angry. All of us know we aren't perfect. And Gretchen was no exception.

She pulled a box out of her make up bag. She was rough in her actions. Her hand digging into her make up bag. There were jingles and sounds of boxes, containers and coins knocking, scratching against each other. Ada looked better than her all the time, and she didn't even have enough make up to need a make up bag. Gretchen must have at least a hundred dollars worth of make up with her. She pulled her hand out of the bag quick – she had a cut. But she only sucked at it, sucked all the red out, and searched again. She found her powder and started patting it against her face. She forgot about the cut and only remembered when pink smeared across her cheeks. She made that muffled screech again. This time, she got mental, and wiped at her eyebrows, her forehead and pulled her hair. Biting her lip, she dipped her face into the sink again.

Now she was different – a certain peace came onto her face. It wasn't peace with herself. How could a girl like Gretchen find peace with herself? It was peace with the knowledge of Ada's definite downfall.

I let out a huge breath. I'd seen Ada, making her way towards me. I must have been holding my breath. I leaned against the chair and dropped my fork on the tray. I waited for Ada to come – I'd eat with her, just like I'd go through this with her. I got my tray first, but I'm going to wait, not only till Ada gets her tray, but until she's settled in our table. I waved at Ada, hurrying her. I rubbed my hand over my stomach to indicate I was hungry. She looked at me and smiled a little. Bad hair day, or was she just too tired to bother about her hair? She had her gorgeous chocolate hair that shone with the light of gold gathered, twisted, and she had a small clip hold everything up. Messily. She didn't even put much make up on. An eye liner, that was it. Ada was still beautiful. If you looked past the tiredness and sadness. I wasn't the one with the baby. But if only I could understand.