TOUCH AND GO
Plot:When best friends fall in love, some 'people' thrive to get noticed and some others hide away with a clique war in the background.
CHAPTER ONE: THE WORST DISASTER
"Alright, lets settle this one. Did I just hear that you're newspaper staff is planning not to cover sports and other events related to the...erm, more fortunate section of the school because we take you for granted?" Brad Riverzic almost yelled at Morgana Myres, Editor of Fire and Ice, the school newspaper.
Three of the most eligible guys of Crescent High- Brad, Justin Krantz and Dave Heathman -were seated on the hard, plastic chairs of the School Newspaper Office. As soon as Morgana's new "policy" of not covering any events by the "Popular" people hit Jennifer Jennings's ears, she had ordered the guys to put an end to it. Rather, try to put an end to it, as she in turn would treat them at Xs and Os, the newly opened hangout.
"Yes, you did. And you heard right," Morgana replied, flashing him a sarcastic smile. She gave her dark brown hair, cascading down her shoulders a toss, as she widened her even darker brown eyes.
It was as though she were teasing the three guys, and inwardly singing You-can't-change-my-miiind. And it wasn't often Morgana even teased anyone, as she was normally the bad-tempered editor, loathed by almost everyone. She was dressed today, in her usual uniform of black slacks and matching black sweater, speaking in the same monotonous drawl minus the scowl on her face.
She leaned back, her body pressed again the plastic of the chair, before giving them The Look, as though she were challenging them.
"And Principal Hertz agreed to that?" Justin Krantz asked, running his hand through his soft, silky smooth blond hair. He was the only one who hadn't yelled at her so far. Probably because he wanted to handle it using his quarterback charm, rather than scaring her.
"Oh, he's too busy dealing with his latest divorce to notice," Morgana replied, with another smile that had now become annoying.
"Ol' Hertz got divorced?" Dave asked, looking surprised. "Isn't that the second time he got divorced?"
"Actually," Morgana shot back. "It's the fourth."
"Right," Brad said, sounding as though he had far better things to do than sit here discussing Principal Hertz's divorces. "The fact still remains, you are not getting away with this."
"Oh, I am." Morgana said, giving him another plastic smile. Yet, her gaze was actually focused on Justin, admiring his athletic build and perfect green eyes. It was laughable but true, to take in the fact that Morgana -Ms. I-don't-give-a-damn- was secretly in love with Justin Krantz, the superjock.
And if Justin weren't there, she wouldn't have wasted her time fake-smiling. Hell, she wouldn't have even let the guys in.
"And you're going to regret it," Brad barked, before getting up and moving towards the door, closely followed by Justin Krantz.
"Buh Byee," Morgana mumbled, letting go of the stupid fake smile. Like it had got her anywhere. She rolled her eyes, thinking about how jerkish Brad had acted. You're going to regret it? Please. Is that even a line? Those guys were nothing but empty threats and nice hair. But Justin..he was-.
"Hey, sorry about the way those two behaved," a soft voice spoke, interrupting her thoughts.
Morgana turned up, to come face to face with none other than clean-shaven, raven haired Dave Heathman, the tennis player. The guy who, although not very handsome when compared to Brad and Justin, had his own share of good looks in a more mild manner.
"It's not like I care," Morgana replied carelessly, raising an eyebrow. So Dave was as nice as people normally described him.
"No, really. Brad and Justin wouldn't really care about this policy of yours. The only reason they are here is because the girls asked him to speak for them."
"Girls?" she asked, frowning.
"Yeah," Dave replied, smirking. "Jennifer Jennings, Sarah Sacremento and Marissa Coperham."
So the guys were playing the girls' puppets? Interesting.
"Yeah, um. I'll see you around?" Dave said, phrasing the sentence in such a way that it was more of a question than the statement. He ran his long, artistic hands through his dark black hair, as his bright green eyes gleamed.
"If you're lucky," Morgana mumbled yawning, as she went back to the article she'd been editing before the guys had barged in. Dave being oh-so-sorry about two other rude, so-called-macho, hot guys was nothing to pay attention to. As being "sorry" and "nice" was just...Dave.
If Justin had played Dave's part now, it would've been a different matter. But Justin of course, hardly even noticed her. Inspite of the way she had dissed Brad that day.
Dave shrugged, seeing that Morgana was busy again, and left the place.
Alexandra Cavalier, leaned against the cool glass seperating the Editor of Fire and Ice's office from the other room, filled with spare computers and desks for the School Newspaper staff to use.
Her already plain-looking face looked ridiculous when pressed on the glass, but she did so all the same. She just couldn't help eavesdropping what was going on between I-bark-like-a-dog Morgana and three of the hottest guys in Luvrise High. Three of the guys she had known fairly well, back when she had been best friends with none other than the great Jennifer Jennings.
And the guys had practically forgotten her existance once Alex and Jennifer had split up during Eighth Grade. Typical them.
You couldn't really blame them, as they were typical "guys", at least Justin and Brad were, who remembered only pretty faces when it came to girls. And Alexandra, inspite of being a member of one of the wealthiest families in Luvrise, California, second to only the Jennings, hadn't really faired well in the looks department.
Her features were as plain as dust. Her complexion, tanned, but dull, all the same. Her figure, average. Her hair, a dull brown, and quite thin. She, after practically starving herself, managed to stay Size Six, while her ex-best friend whom her mother still compared her to, managed to stay Size Four after eating ten times of what Alex ate.
The only thing worth noticing about Alexandra, was her long, well-shaped legs that looked great in a pair of shorts or a miniskirt. It was a pity, Alexandra chose to hide that as well, in her usual baggy jeans.
She was talentless except for her flare for fashion. Which, she never seemed to apply to herself. If she did, she would've thrown out all her baggy jeans' and welcomed a few miniskirts in her wardrobe. Nevertheless, she was the Fashion Reporter of Fire and Ice.
Clutching her brown locks, her plain brown eyes widened, as Brad's well-toned arm bent forwards as he banged his fist against the table and then left. Justin, looking typically bored in a very "Justin" way, followed Brad's lead, leaving Dave with Morgana.
Minutes later, as Dave left as well, Morgana stood up and made her way towards the door leading to the Staff's room. Alexandra quickly turned away and forced herself to focus on her new article and tried to start where she'd last stopped. Something about wearing things that suited you rather than- Wait, that was definitely not what she wrote. She hastily struck out the sentence, as she heard a cough, next to her.
"Uh-huh?" Alexandra mumbled, looking up. "Oh, Morgana."
"Alexandra," Morgana said, in a prim voice. "Could you get an article that is as anti-trend as possible by my desk by the evening? Include some insults directed at those skanks' clothes, as well. What are their names? Sarah, Jenna and Melissa or something."
"Its Jennifer, Sarah and Marissa," Alexandra corrected. "And Morgana, they are actually kinda sweet. And it's not possible, the article I mean. I'm working on the "What's In" column, now. I-"
"There won't be a "What's In" column anymore." Morgana interrupted. "The "What's In" column dictates' styles. Write the anti-trend one instead."
"Just do it. Good day."
Alexandra sighed. She had no idea why Morgana was suddenly anti-trend and anti-clique. And she also knew that the anti-trend article would only be another reason to distance the already vague friendship between Jennifer and herself. But who was she to tell Morgana that, anyway?
"What's taking the guys so long?" Jennifer whined, giving her sun-streaked blond hair, a toss. "They were supposed to be here like, five minutes ago. We aren't sitting here, at Xs and Os for nothing, are we?"
"Um, we have lattes and good music and...um, ambience, so what's lacking?" Sarah asked innocently, flashing Marissa, the brunette sitting on Jennifer's right, a knowing smile.
"The guys, duh," Jennifer shot back, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. Her greyish blue eyes narrowed slightly, as she took a sip of her previously untouched latte. "I didn't offer to treat them at the Xs and Os, for nothing. Besides protesting against that stupid policy, of course."
Sarah laughed. Typical Jennifer. Even with her guys-are-my-life-and-I-can't-just-pick-one-guy attitude, it was pretty obvious her eyes were on one particular guy lately. But Jennifer, in her typical nothing-fazes-me manner, acted as though she was least bothered. Like liking one guy was something to be ashamed of in her book, or something.
Sarah sighed, taking in the surroundings of Xs and Os, that was decorated quite tastefully. Cute tables, all in red and black with elegant lighting and delicious latte's. It was quite expensive as well, for a hangout. Something Sarah wouldn't have minded last year, when the Sacremento's were well-off.
But now, when Sarah's father had left them and her mother earned the little bit she got by working in a noodle bar, things had changed. And she hadn't told Jennifer and Marissa about suddenly becoming poor either, since they just wouldn't understand.
How could they? With Jennifer brought up like a princess, and Marissa, though not as rich, not nearly as poor as Sarah either. Which was why, in order to afford those expensive latte's and clothes again, Sarah had offered to work in Cutesy's, an ice-cream store right across Luvrise, California.
Although she felt guilty at times, at the thought that she should've probably given her mother some cash instead of spending them on shoes, this was the only way she could protect her secret. Jennifer and Marissa knew nothing about this job.
"We're asking for particulars," Marissa informed Jennifer, laughing. "Like which guy?"
Sarah pulled back her long wavy red hair into a ponytail, as she waited for Jennifer's reaction. Marissa and Sarah had been having a little game with her, wondering how soon it would take for Jennifer to admit she liked him. And him stood for none other than Brad Riverzic, Mr. Arrogant. Sarah's green eyes crinkled in the corners, the way it did when she got excited.
"Yeah, particulars," Sarah urged, chuckling to herself. About time for Jennifer to admit it. It was impossible to think that this girl -Sarah Sacremento- had previously worried about how expensive the latte was. As in a knee-length black skirt and a blood red tank top, that looked as expensive as hell, suiting her perfectly, she just didn't look it. Expensive tank tops and skirts were not really the clothes someone as poor as Sarah would normally wear.
"Okay. So Brad looked kind of cute today," Jennifer said airily, trying to sound casual. That is, if casual defined the way her greyish blue eyes went all misty, and doe-eyed and her expression, faraway. Aloof. For a moment, she didn't look like the haughty, snobbish and spoilt Jennifer Jennings she was. She just looked like everyone else for a change.
Everyone else, when they were in love.
"Finally." Marissa said, with a grin.
"Finally?" Jennifer asked, confused.
"We've been getting you to admit that for days," Sarah explained, as she and Marissa high-fived each other. "Guess the operation was successful."
"Aaand..." Marissa began, as she trailed off, her dark eyes stopping suddenly. A slow smile lit up her features, as she turned back to Jennifer. "You're in luck.The guys are here."
Sure enough, a few feat away, Justin, Brad and Dave were heading towards the girls's direction.
"Hey," Dave mumbled, as he slipped into the seat opposite Marissa, as Justin took one opposite Sarah. That of course, left Brad opposite Jennifer, as Jennifer seemed greatly pleased by the arrangement, although she refused to look it. Instead, she tossed her sheet of yellow-blond hair again, the way she always did when she didn't know what to say.
She avoided even a glance at Brad, as she was afraid she'd make it obvious that she had become immensely attracted to him. As Brad would either laugh out loud, if he happened to know, and not believe a word of it or gloat, as though he'd won some trophy. Jennifer couldn't get it herself, why she felt sparks between Brad and herself all of a sudden.
Why hadn't she noticed them way long back when she'd first known him? And just why, him. It was unexplained attraction. As Brad was just...not someone a person who'd known him all her life would fall in love with. He was well, Brad. Arrogant, proud, rich and heartless.
Yet, that was exactly what Jennifer was as well, minus the heartless.
"So how did it go, the yellin' at Morgana Myres?" Jennifer forced herself to ask, still not looking at him. She hated the fact that she was in love with Brad, now. It only made things awkward.
Very unlike the relationship they had previously shared- That wasn't exactly all chummy, but wasn't full of hatred either. Just respect..idle chit-chatting and a few laughs. A relationship she'd die to get back. But she might as well kiss it goodbye, as since the encounter with Brad last week, Brad was no more That jerk who's not bad, after all.
It had started in The Trinali's, a dance bar she'd got into, with Brad's fake ID. Although they, being sixteen year olds, weren't exactly allowed, they had wanted a wild night out. And since Dave, Justin, Sarah and Marissa had backed out at the last minute, it had just been Jennifer and Brad.
What seemed a nice night dancing had loosening up had gone seriously wild, when using Brad's fake ID, Brad had bought Jennifer and himself a few drinks.
Soon, they had got drunk, and Jennifer could barely remember anything.. Except for one thing, that kept flashing in her mind: Brad's lips pressed against hers for a long time, and that flow of electricity going through her body...A chill running through her spine...
She wasn't sure if Brad remembered that part. Even if he did, he didn't seem to care about it, as he hadn't really mentioned it and behaved as always. But Jennifer just couldn't look at him the same way, since then. She started noticing small things about him she'd never paid attention to before...
Like how perfectly his dark black hair, flopped down his forehead and merged with his dark icy blue eyes. How his smile made his eyes crinkle in the corners, and enhanced the blueness of his eyes. How, inspite of the way he looked at his string of girlfriends as arm-candy, he treated her as though she were a gem.
"That one, Morg-whatever, won't change her mind," Brad replied, shaking his head, causing Jennifer to snap back to reality. "She's as fiery as hell. But I've got another plan to make her crack..."
"Dude," Justion said chuckling, as he shook his head. "Your plans never work, remember?"
Dave laughed, shaking his head as well. "Yeah, last time you pulled off that balloon trick or something..."
"I don't remember that..." Marissa piped in, twirling a piece of her reddish black hair, her face scrunched up. It only made her look more preppy in a way, like a blonde thinking. Only, she wasn't blonde, of course.
"All you have to remember is that it was a disaster," Justin replied, winking at Marissa. "And the water balloon, instead of exploding on his ex during History, bounced on Mr. Grind's bald pate!"
It was unusual for Jennifer not to join in the lively chatter, as the girl loved being the center of attention. But now, she was too busy avoiding Brad's gaze, and trying very hard to laugh along with the others who were now, laughing for some insane reason. Finally the avoiding-Brad time came to an end, as she heard Brad call her name.
Shit. Why did he have to do that? But his soft yet clear voice, audible with a tint of arrogance made her look up at once. Big mistake.
She was soon blinded by a mixture of blue and black... and then, the foggy image was soon in place, making her feel out of breath at once. He looked irritatingly good-looking in faded blue jeans, an oxford shirt with his usual leather jacket. She managed a weak smile, and raised an eyebrow, waiting for his response.
This was getting ridiculous, she couldn't even open her mouth with him in the picture anymore.
"Drop by my house on the way, will you?" Brad replied casually, his eyes gleaming. "We'll work how to get back at that Morgini girl, or whatever."
No. No way she was going to spend an hour in his house, when she found it difficult to spend even a few minutes with him. She just couldn't. Yet, before she could control herself, she blurted out a "Yes."
Alex hastily rubbed her sweaty forehead with the help of her even more sweaty palms. She had just submitted the Anti-trend article and was waiting by the end of the Newspaper Staff room, for her best friend to date- Lili Sophrano.
She had bumped into Lili, a fellow reporter during her Freshman Year, right after the time she had bid goodbye to Jennifer and co. Lili, with tiny eyes, pink lips, dainty curves and pale red hair with dark green eyes was the kind who looked great but didn't realise it. She covered her beauty with her conservative T-shirts and jeans, apart from being the quietest person ever.
It was surprising to note that Alex, who was stubborn and blunt, even hung out with Lili, the sweet girl-next-door. As they were total opposites.
And not to mention the fact that while Lili mostly kept to herself, Alexandra told things straight to their face. Alright, not exactly straight to their face. But she made sure they got the message.
Like when she had turned down Leonard, a guy with orange-red hair curling wildly, freckles and bright green eyes by, after giving him a 'yes', just not showing up for the date. Although it could be defined as mean, it wasn't to Alex. As she would have turned him down in a more refined manner if he hadn't been nothing less than a flirt and a pest.
Erm, so that meant her action was justified. In her book, anyway.
Alex smirked, as she recalled that priceless memory. She hadn't seen much of Leonard after that, thank goodness.
At least the guy got the message that she wasn't interested unlike a few clueless jerks. Which was appreciatable. Not that she had a thousand guys asking her out, as her looks just didn't get that many. Just from a few guys who were either total geeks or totally desperate guys in need of arm candy.
Nothing to be proud of.
Oh, and not to mention the brief fling she'd had with the Brad Riverzic during her freshman year. That had lasted quite long, until Alex discovered that Brad had been going out with her just to make Ruby Rutherford jealous.
Very flattering. Not.
Alright, stop thinking about Brad now. It doesn't really increase you're self esteem, you know? Plus, he's an arrogant jerk who barely even talks to you once you blew you're image as Jennifer's best friend. she reminded herself, tapping her feet impatiently. Damn, couldn't Lili hurry up?
Just when she was about to forget waiting for Lili and leave the place, footsteps approached her direction.
Finally the figure came into view, walking towards Alex alright, with a bundle of papers under her arm. One of the newspaper staff? Yes. But was it Lili? No.
It was, in fact, the only person in the staff that annoyed Alex. Other than Morgana, of course. It was Isabella Lucas, the synonym for excitement.
She was lively. She was mellow. She was friendly. She was well liked. She was enthusiastic. Her dark brown locks cascading down her shoulders were perfect with her deep set blue eyes. She was the only person in the newspaper staff who wore tight short miniskirts and short tops.
She was just...Isabella. Free. Full of life. She was never in a bad mood. And the only girl all guys fell for, who wasn't in The Crowd. The Crowd, of course, consisted of the rich clique - Jennifer, Marissa and Sarah along with a trail of wannabes.
Alex hated her.
The number one reason was because she was so damn likeable and everything Alex wanted to be. Also, that she was just a bit too perfect, inspite of her totally un-perfect way of doing things. And maybe because she was always cheerful and bouncing about, and these everlasting-good-moods gave Alex a headache.
Isabella now, looking irritatingly hot in a pair of denim shorts and red turtleneck, with her wavy brown locks left down her shoulders, spotted Alex at once and she let out a shriek. One would think Isabella hadn't seen Alex for the past ten years, the way she was acting.
"Aleeeexxxxx!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Isabella said in a shrill voice, as she rushed towards her at once.
"Hello Isabella," Alex mumbled, and wondered how long it would take to shut Isabella up. Last time, it had taken a whole twenty minutes.
One more reason she wished Lili would hurry up.
"Heyyy!!!! Its been sooo long," Isabella said, flashing Alex a bright smile, enhancing the dimple on her left chin.
"Yeah," Alex replied. If 'sooo long' means an hour ago in Chemistry Class, that is.
"I mean, last time I saw you, it was like, so long. I mean, we were like, mixing chemicals. And it turned into that gross solution thingy and a bit of that got on my skirt. Isn't that like, such a disaster?"
"It was like, the worst moment of my life. When that solution thingy got on my skirt, I mean. It even beat the time when I got the wrong shade of lipstick from CheckeredLips."
"Totally." How sad. Some of us have REAL disasters in our life, Isabella. Get a life.
"I mean, that was like, so sad. I got the wrong shade."
"Yeah, I know." Oooo...How sad?
"And it was also like-"
Thankfully Alex was spared from hearing the next 'disaster' of Isabella's life, as Lili exited the staff place and headed straight towards Alex. Her light red hair was pulled up in a ponytail, and she wore a V-necked green sweater with a pair of well-fitting blue jeans. She was gorgeous as usual, with her quiet aura hanging around her and lack-of-confidence masking it as usual.
"Hey Alex," Lili greeted walking towards her. "Guess what Morgana made me do today? Write an article on how The Crowd influences us,"
Alexandra rolled her eyes, thankful to rid herself of Isabella's company. "Don't ask me. Something's gone into Morgana's head. And you know what happens when that happens."
"Totally," Lili mumbled, with a laugh.
"I'll see you later," she told Isabella as she gratefully joined Lili out of the School Newspaper Quarters.
"So what were you and Isabella talking about?" Lili asked, as they made their way down the stairs.
"How the 'solution thingy' got Isabella's skirt," Alex replied, rolling her eyes. "That girl is sooo annoying. Thanks a lot for saving me from her chatter."
"I don't know," Lili responded thoughtfully, pulling back a strand of red hair. "I mean, Isabella is kind of sweet. Why do you totally despise her?"
"You've hit the answer." Alexandra shot back, as she reached to foot of the stairs. "Everyone loves her 'cause she's sooo sweet. She's just a kiss up and damn annoying."
As soon as Alex finished talking, Lili burst out laughing out of the blue, letting all the books she had been carrying fall out of her grasp. She rolled down the floor, seeming for once un-Lili-ish. All her normal self-conciousness dissapeared as her expression was no longer timid but actually happy.
"Are you done?" Alex asked, the corners of her mouth twitching inspite of herself.
"God, Alex." Lili answered, still on the floor, breathless with laughter. "That answer was just so-so you."
Next Chapter: LOSING IT
"Alexandra? Um, that was-I mean-you?"