A Rosie in the Thorns

Prologue


"Stephanie Lawson."

Was that me? Nope, that wasn't me. That was a girl to my left. God, look at her, squealing and jumping as though Orlando Bloom had just proposed to her. Has she no shame? no pity? Doesn't she realize what a nervous wreck the rest of us are? Can't she control herself? Yeesh, get a life, girl. Your happiness sucks.

Oh, next name. Please, please, please...

"Kiley Burns."

Dammit! Call me!

Any more stalling and I'll fall off these bleachers, I swear! Hmm, that could be a good plan, actually. Maybe if I fall off and break my arm, they'll feel so guilty that they'll add me to the squad. Heck, I won't be able to wave my arm around for awhile, but I could still cheer. And at least I'd be on the squad.

Oh, this is torture. Pure, unadulturated torture.

And why was this gym so flippin' hot? I was about to faint of a stroke, right after I had my nervous break down. I fanned myself, but only waved hot air into my face. Maybe I should have put my hair in a ponytail. Pigtails are not a smart August hairstyle. The blazing heat was making them stick to the back of my neck like they were attached with super glue. I could only imagine my short, honey-colored fringe matted to my forehead. Not a truly appeasing picture. Sweatiness is not a good look for a cheerleader. Would the coach and head cheerleader overlook that detail? They better. It's not my fault they stuck us in this Hell hole of a gym and made us sweat like pigs about to be slaughtered (in a way, I guess we were pigs and our hopes of being cheering airheads were the things being slaughtered). Maybe if the gym wasn't five hundred degrees...

Okay, more like ninety-five or so. Because we'd be melting if it was that hot.

Oh! Next name. Please, please, please...

Not my name. Again. Surprise, surprise.

Maybe it was good they weren't calling my name. Who likes having their name called out in public anyway? Ivy would probably say something about it being that, as human beings, we strive for attention and recognition from our peers. Ever since our early creation, we have always wanted to be the most recognized of our people because that represented how much respect and/or power we received. That's why we like being in the spot light. It's a natural instinct, a want everyone craves so they can raise their self-esteem and feel like life hasn't screwed them over too much.

Well, Ivy would say something like that. I have no idea, being as I haven't taken as many psychology classes or read as many books on the human mind as she has. All I know for certain is her explanation would most likely include a lot more choice profanities. She's where I got my somewhat potty mouth from.

Well, I admit that I'm guilty of wanting attention, despite the fact two seconds ago I was seriously not wanting my name to be called. But my mind has changed once again and now, all I want is for my name to be called next. I do that a lot, change my mind. I am the poster child for the word fickle. Or some other synonym for it.

Anyway, now I want my name to be called. I want to be put in the spot light. Why would I be here if I didn't? Cheerleading is kinda all about attention, right?

Then again, all that attention couldn't be good. The cheer squad at my last school hadn't been the nicest bunch of apples around. They would always giggle behind my back if I got leg cramps or couldn't jump high enough and was yelled at by the head of the squad. And when my name was called during pep assemblies, they'd also giggle and crack cruel jokes at my expense. And then they'd say something about Ivy. Those bi--

Another name. Not mine. How many was that now? four? Was that four? Yes, it was. Crap. Only two more left.

I crossed my fingers and then prayed that that action would work. What was it about crossed fingers that people thought were lucky? They'd certainly never helped me in the past. Maybe if those fingers flew off my hand and quickly scribbled my name at the bottom of that list...

Coach Calevich stared at her clipboard, her face confused for a second. Then, realizing what she was reading, the corner of her mouth tilted in an amused smile. And as she opened her mouth, I figured out why. I'd seen that look many times before. Mostly it came from new teachers each year at the start of the new school year or new people I'd introduce myself to.

I almost wanted to yell at her to shut up, not say that name out loud.

Almost.

"Rose...Thorn."

And then the excitement came over me, and I was jumping and squealing like all the other girls whose names had been called before mine. I couldn't contain my feelings. I needed to shout, move, dance, do a couple of back flips off the Empire State Building.

Only, not really. That would have made all my hard work kinda pointless.

Picking up my bag, I practically flew off the bleacher steps in my new euphoria. My happiness took complete control over me. I even ignored the whispers of my completely cheesy name. Besides, it's not like anything I haven't heard before.

Coach raised an eyebrow at me, summing me up with hard, calculating dark eyes. She was an intense slave-driver from what I heard. Lucky for me, she was only here to keep an eye on things, make sure that those wannabe cheerleaders sitting on the bleachers didn't go on a riot if their names weren't called. She merely looked over the squad like a cautious mother and never interfered with it. From what I gathered, track was her one and only love.

"Rose?" she asked me, looking down at her clipboard.

"Rosie." I corrected. She nodded and waved me off to the circle of girls decked in the school colors of blue and silver. My new squad mates. I took a deep breath and prepared myself. I didn't know these girls, nor did I know what kind of attitudes to expect from them.

They nodded to me as I approached and one, who I presumed to be the captain of the squad, handed me a sheaf of papers about uniforms and practices and the football game schedule. Soon after I joined the circle, the last girl picked for the squad came over and all the other hopeful wannabes left the gym. I could just feel the hatred in their eyes burning deep into me as they walked past us. I knew exactly how they felt. I had felt the same jealous rage towards someone when I wasn't picked for something and they were. They were all probably planning devious ways to break our legs so they could take our place. It was tough to resist the urge to stick out my tongue and shout 'Ha ha, losers!'

Yes, I am a mean girl. And I am not afraid to admit it.

After a short pep talk given to us by our captain about how it was our duty to uphold the honor of our school by showing everyone just how much school spirit we had, we were also allowed to go home. As I was packing away my papers into my red and white polka dot bag, a girl from the squad tapped me on the shoulder. She was obviously an old member of the squad because she wore her blue and silver uniform with pride. Her blond ponytail was held up by ribbons of the same color, just like every other girl who belonged on the squad. I glared at the ponytail, hating it instantly because just looking at it made me wish I had put my hair into a simpler, heat-friendly hair do.

"Hello," I said cheerfully, though, because making enemies with someone on your squad immediately was not so smart. When I gave her a small smile, she flashed one back, her lip-glossed mouth sparkling in the light beaming in from the open gym doors. Her smile seemed friendly enough, but I knew from the way her light eyes narrowed slightly that my guard should be up around her.

"Is your name really Rose Thorn?" she asked, her voice just loud enough for people nearby to overhear. Some other girls giggled, just as her high-pitched voice lapsed into a small snicker as she said my name. When I glanced at them, they stopped laughing, their giggles turning into small coughs as they sputtered into silence. A sudden urge to tackle this girl and yank out her stupid ponytail washed over me. I got a lot of urges like those. It came from being around Ivy. She was the most confrontational person I knew, despite the fact she barely hated anyone. But once she got an urge to slap someone, oh, she slapped them good.

"Rosie," I answered, the hand clasping the strap to my bag trembling just a little. I tried to steady it so that no one would see because weakness was never a good trait in people and there was no way in Hell I wanted people to think I was weak. Sad to say, I had never inherited that gene that Ivy acquired from our parents that made someone strong in the face of a confrontation. I usually shied away from fights, even small ones like the ones my mother got into with my father over the coffee maker. Ivy did no such thing. She got that cool gene that made her tough. I think she stole that gene before I was born. Just like she stole all the other good genes. "My name is Rosie." I said this last line loud enough for all the other girls in the gym to hear me.

I turned around stiffly and walked out of the gym, feeling a rush of pleasant cool air across my face as I did so.

Yes, I think we've pretty much established that my name is Rose Thorn.

Seriously. Call me Rosie.


Authoress's Notes: All right, my brand spanking new story. About cheerleading! Omg! To tell the truth, I'm not sure how well this story's gonna go with readers because I know how much people don't really like cheerleaders. I know I don't like cheerleaders, and almost every high school story I read, the cheerleaders are always girls who are vile and no one can stand them and want them to die and such.

But I wanted to try something new and after watching Bring It On for like the millionth time (I don't know what it is about that movie that makes me like it so much. I mean, come on, cheerleaders! I despise them. And yet, I watch that movie every other week and know all the cheers by heart. I think it's Cliff. He's hot. I love him.), I got the idea for this.

So, please tell me what you think because I'm still not entirely sure about this. Although, I have got some of the cutest little scenes already made up in my mind and I definitely want to write them. And truthfully, I like Rosie. In my mind, I think she's a cool character. She'll probably be one of my favorite characters, despite that she's a cheerleader.