Author's Note: Woo! So far I've gotten four of my new ideas up. (You may see more). Now the only challenge is finding time to work on them all.
I hope this won't be too cliche. Cliches are fun, but I think I can still make it my own.
For everyone who is familiar with me and my other works, you know the speech. ;) Thanks for putting up with me, guys.
For being the most important pep of the year, the Homecoming pep rally was really turning out to be the worst in high school history.
For starters, it should've started over twenty minutes ago. Every minute counted, because ours tended to be notoriously long. And second, instead of cheers for the team bouncing off the walls, a chorus of uneasy whispers swept through the stands and through the gym.
Something was up.
The gossip turned to rowdy demands. "Bring out the team already!" and more boisterous things being yelled, along with some uncalled-for foot-stamping. I sighed and carefully inserted my bookmark. It was too noisy to concentrate any longer.
With the natives growing restless, the cheerleaders attempted to soothe them by performing the routine that won Nationals last year. No one paid much attention to the fact that there were girls in tiny miniskirts somersaulting in the air and bouncing across the floor. They wanted to see the team.
More importantly, they wanted to see Casey Nolan.
Quarterback, football captain, basketball captain, and part time model for a relatively new designer who was taking the fashion world by storm with her line Totally U.
I personally thought the line was unimaginative and predictable—anyone could sell jeans and t-shirts. It was really Casey's ads that did it. Guys worldwide seemed disillusioned with the idea that they would become Casey should they even remove a garment from the rack in stores. Girls meanwhile were certain that the clothes guaranteed a boyfriend like him.
Just because he posed with certain girls didn't mean he was dating them. It was just acting on his part, and he was well-paid for it. But it just went to show that guys and girls alike drooled over him.
If Greek gods did exist, one definitely walked among us.
There was no other way to put it. Casey was hot. He had a killer body from strenuous exercise and sports. Piercing blue eyes that could depict any emotion. Slightly wavy blond hair that fell a little past the back of his neck.
Like the rest of the mere mortals, I probably drooled my fair share over him. And why not? In addition to being accomplished, he was gorgeous—he was a model for a reason—he was smart, and he was rich—both coming from money and making his own.
Before things could get any more out of hand, the doors opened. Everyone strained for a glimpse of the team as they ran through, now erupting into cheers. Only it wasn't the team who came tearing in.
A kid, probably my age or a little younger, came stomping in, clad from the neck down in fur. He was holding the bulky mascot head under his arm and wearing a scowl on his face. For a moment, the gym became so silent that you could hear the shuffling of the costume's big paws across the floor.
When he reached the half-way mark, everyone began to talk worriedly. Seeing a decapitated mascot before a game surely meant bad luck. And our luck got worse. The kid dumped the head at the principals' feet and declared loud enough for everyone to hear, "I quit."
He turned, tail lashing out behind him, and marched back towards the doors.
"Bobby—Justin—wait!" The staff realized the severity of the situation and took off after him. If we didn't have a mascot, what was the point of even showing up for the game? The stands began to clear as my peers filed out, positive that they could talk some sense into Justin.
I remained where I was sitting, having no reason to follow the crowds. Maybe things would get resolved and the pep rally would continue as planned.
God, the gym looked bigger when you were the only one in it.
I sat a little longer.
The longer I waited, the more doubtful I felt about coming to begin with.
I didn't warm up to new people very easily and huge social gatherings like this were stressful. Maybe if I had come with some people, or even sat nearer to the others, things might be a little different. But I just couldn't work up the nerve to ask some people if I could sit with them. Suppose the empty seats beside them were reserved for friends? Maybe they wouldn't want any more members in their group. Or worse, what if they just laughed in my face and told me to go away?
But what if they invited me to join them? Small talk was a painful subject for me. I'd produce maybe one or two topics and then get stuck. My only strategy would be to answer with one word replies and that invited horrible awkward pauses and silences, forcing them to work harder to bring on conversation.
Maybe I should just leave now, when the gym was empty. Then I wouldn't have hundreds of pairs of eyes staring contemptuously at me when I walked down the bleachers and out the doors. I wouldn't have hundreds of people thinking what a loser I was for leaving a pep rally. I slid my book back into my bag and slowly climbed down the bleachers.
Considering the front doors were blocked by walls of people, the only way to escape was out the back. Then I'd be able to slip away unnoticed.
If I ran into a staff member, they would wonder why I wasn't in the gym (when nobody else was) and then demand an explanation. And if I ran into any of my peers, they'd wonder what the hell was wrong with me for trying to leave a pep rally. I didn't want to get caught, so I edged along walls and darted behind columns on my way to the main door. Finally the door was in plain sight. All I needed to do was get there and I was home free.
I hesitated. So close, but so far. The first step was always the hardest. The entire school was just around the corner, and I had the administration office to get past, so the odds of getting away unnoticed were extremely unlikely. And the door looked as if it was getting further and further away.
Run for it, idiot, I told myself. Just get going and don't look back. I started to run but completely psyched myself out and jerked to a stop. No, I'll get caught. (Even if they had cars, juniors were strictly prohibited to leave early). Okay, this is ridiculous. I've got to stop talking to myself.
But if I did, then who would I talk to?
Again, if I wasn't so painfully shy, I wouldn't have these problems. I would actually have people to talk to, as in friends. Although, I found, I was a fairly compassionate listener. Normally I agreed with myself.
I started off slow, in a quick walk, and then broke into a full-out run.
Then I hit something and bounced back. Puzzled and working with a limited amount of time, I charged forward again. This time, there was nothing in my path. I kept running, but didn't allow myself enough time to stop. I ran smack into the door, squashing my face against it.
There was soft laughter behind me and I peeled my face off the glass. To my horror, my face—and the glass—were stained with a little slobber from where I hit. It would've been mortifying if I did this in front of anyone at school, but it wasn't just anyone who was watching me make an ass out myself.
Casey Nolan was standing at a safe distance, a horrible smirk taking readily to his defined features. Even in his casual stance, wearing his bulky football uniform, he looked unbelievably good, like he was at a photo shoot.
"Smooth," he remarked.
Way to go from invisible to Queen of the Dorks, I addressed my feet savagely. Now Casey Nolan will forever remember me as the idiot who runs into doors.
"Where are you going in such a hurry?" Casey taunted, delighted by the fact that his words and even his presence was coaxing a blush out of me.
With any luck, away, far away, from him. Maybe to some uncharted island off the coast, where I would hide for the rest of my miserable, lowly existence. I could not believe I had just plowed into him and then a door seconds later. I shook violently and struggled to maintain eye contact with him.
I found myself unable to and dropped my gaze back to the floor, waiting to be ripped apart. He was a god, crown prince of the school and then on the other end of the social world was me. I was a pathetic socially awkward creature, whose name was known by fewer than ten people.
Hell, I wasn't even worthy to breathe the same air as he did.
Especially not after I almost ran him over, I reminded myself.
Maybe that was stretching the truth a little. Casey dealt with guys more than twice and even triple my size on a regular basis, so I basically did nothing but tap him. Except for staggering back in surprise and muttering, "Oof", he was absolutely fine.
The memory would haunt me for years to come. I'd be reminded of my stupidity every time I saw Casey's picture. Which would be a lot. He always appeared tons of times in the yearbook and no doubt I'd be seeing him in future designer campaigns.
"I don't blame you for wanting to leave the pep rally," Casey continued. "I mean it's kind of pointless without a mascot. Of course the stupid kid was getting a little too stuck on himself. He actually thought he was the most important member of the team. Crazy, huh?" he said.
(Everyone knew the most important person was supposed to be him).
He grinned winningly, expecting me to join in. It wasn't funny. How could I laugh at that?
I was wary. On normal circumstances, he would just knock past me in the hall and go on with his life. And suddenly he was being friendly? But since it was Casey, I managed to contort my mouth into a pained-looking smile and squeak, "Yeah, that's pretty crazy."
Seconds afterward, my head dropped like a cannonball towards the floor. How I had managed to stare into those intense blue eyes for even a second was a complete mystery.
"Someone had to put him in his place," Casey explained. "How was I supposed to know he was so sensitive?"
Having a one-on-one with Casey made me feel a bit more like a person (someone noticed me!) but was by no means encouraging. I would be expected to maintain eye contact with him and I could barely even keep eye contact with my counselor, one of the least intimidating people at school. Now try that with one of the most. There was also pressure on me to carry on with this polite exchange.
He was asking too much of me.
"Maybe you should get someone else to be the mascot?" I heard myself suggesting. "Until they can convince Justin to come back. Or find a better one altogether."
Oh, God. Did I just tell him what to do? I thought I was just offering good advice. It was that velvety voice of his. It hypnotized me into opening my own mouth.
Bad idea. No one told Casey what to do or how to do it. Even the staff members let him do his own thing. He just happened to be a good student and responsible.
"I'm sorry," I said quickly. "Do whatever you think is right..." Oh, no. I was doing it again. "What do I know? I was just thinking out loud."
"No. No," Casey said thoughtfully. "It's a good idea. But it's a little late to hold tryouts. The game is tonight."
"So we're screwed."
I clamped my mouth shut. As of right now, my tongue and my brain were connected. Everything in my head came fumbling out of my mouth. Any minute now, I would tell him that I had been lusting after him for years and coming to all his practices only for the sake of watching him.
And then he'd run away in disgust, the image of me being a demented stalker forever set in his mind.
"We're screwed," he agreed. "I guess I'll go tell everybody that we have no choice but to forfeit. I hate to let the guys down, but what can I do?" He sighed forlornly and stuffed his hands in his pockets, beginning a slow, rueful walk back to the team.
That was hardly the attitude for a team captain to have.
Then it dawned on me. He was trying to guilt me into doing it so he wouldn't have to trouble himself by chasing any other potential candidates. What was going on in that gorgeous blond head of his? Me a mascot? The girl who couldn't deliver a presentation in class without feeling faint? The girl who spoke an average of ten words a semester? The mascot had to be the bubbliest one out there.
Did he want our team to be a laughing stock?
The school is counting on you, coaxed the little voice in my head. And he's pretty.
"I'll do it," I managed in my customary whisper, but Casey was too busy play-acting his way over to the team to hear me. How would I catch him now? I thought it would be indecent to call him by name, especially since he only wasted five seconds of his precious time to get to know me.
"I'll do it." This time, however, the volume was turned up the other way. I screamed it at him.
He mistook my unintentional scream as pent-up school spirit. "Great," he said happily. "I'll go tell everyone that we have a replacement. You go change into the costume. Justin threw it somewhere."
Very kind of him to offer to help me find the costume.
I sighed. For an instant I thought all social borders had been overlooked. That he—maybe?—liked me. But, like always, my assumptions about people were wrong. He was still as popular as ever and I was the same nobody I was only minutes before. Why would he waste any unnecessary time on me?
I watched Casey return to the others, announcing that he had everything taken care of. There wasn't the slightest mention of me. I tried to beat off the disappointment that swarmed around me. I should've expected nothing less. This was all about making Casey look better. He needed a mascot pronto and I was there. I could jump in front of a bus as far as he was concerned—after the pep rally of course.
Why did I think that having a two-minute conversation with the guy would instantly make us best friends?
I found the costume scattered carelessly about (Justin must've been extremely anxious to part with it) and slunk off unnoticed to put it on. I stepped into the bottom. The inside was a little scratchy and I had to fight to get my shoes in the paws.
There was still a chance I could run and get out of this. Would having Casey as a permanent enemy really be worth it, though?
He doesn't know my name though, I reasoned with myself. Hardly anyone knows I'm alive, so he'll never find me.
Whose side was I on? One second, I was telling myself to go ahead and do it, the next I was trying to convince myself to bail. Except for my hands and my head, my body was covered by the brown faux fur costume.
Maybe it'll be fun. Encouraged, I pulled up the zipper in the back.
And maybe I'll make an even bigger ass out of myself. In front of the whole school. Okay, this was a horrible idea. I jerked the zipper back down and went to wiggle out of the costume.
"What's the hold up?" I knew that voice. It was the voice that sometimes came on over announcements and on occasion could be heard on T.V. No prize for guessing who. Casey advanced, mumbling something about stupid lower classmen not knowing how to even put on a costume.
"Here, I got it."
Before I had change to say anything, not that I would anyways, he shoved the arms of the costume back up and then swiftly stepped behind me, pulling up the zipper and trapping me inside the costume. He thrust the detachable front paws at me and the head. "Quit fooling around," he commanded.
I slid the paws on and then carefully placed the head over mine. No wonder Justin quit. The outside of the head was cute enough, but it was a completely different story underneath it. The stench of sweat from all the past mascots clung to the fabric, strong enough to make anyone retch. I was shrouded in darkness; the only light coming in was through the mesh that made up the Bobcat's eyes.
Against my wishes, I was in the costume. The only thing left to do was carry out this with this crazy plan. I tagged along after Casey like a frightened child clinging to his mother, violating any personal boundaries and probably treading on his heels at more than one point.
And then, I was on my own. With my limited vision, I hadn't noticed Casey slip off. He simply vanished into the others, blending in.
The team all saw me coming toward them. An enthusiastic clamor began to build up. Was all this for me? Of course not. All they saw was the Bobcat costume and assumed that it was Justin inside. They treated me like I was Justin, anyways. They would raise their hands for a high five and slap me on the back with crushing power.
I had no idea how to react. Was I Justin, who was incredibly outgoing, I probably would've given a football player or two a noogie and rubbed up on the cheerleaders. But since I was Paige, I stood there rigidly, hands shaking, which in turn made my paws tremble a little. I couldn't do that. I didn't know any of these people. Didn't belong with them.
My un-mascot-like behavior was extremely noticeable, but they all assumed I, really Justin, was still touchy about my—his—blow-out with Casey.
Everybody else had been ushered back into the gym and the pep rally was scheduled to go ahead as planned. Was it not for me. I got a severe anxiety attack last second. I couldn't do this. I couldn't go out in front of all those people. Frantic, I tracked Casey down to consult him about it. He got me into this mess, so I hoped he could at least help me out a little. I managed to get him away from the others and steer him off to the side.
"What?" he demanded viciously. The nice guy from before had vanished. He was in his element now, in front of all his friends, completely entitled to behave like an ass.
With shaky hands, really paws, I removed the cumbersome Bobcat head. The fresh air felt cool against my flushed, sweaty skin. The costume was absolutely stifling.
"I can't do this," I whimpered, on the verge of tears.
This was too overwhelming for me. The inside of the costume had to be twenty degrees warmer than the environment I was in; plus it smelled sickeningly of body odor and sweat, making me feel even sicker to my stomach. Mingling with the most popular people in school was frightening, but it was nothing next to performing in front of hundreds of people.
"You better not be backing out on me," Casey warned. His tone was so sharp that I disappeared back under the mascot head so he wouldn't see the tears start sliding down my face. "Just bounce around and get in everybody's face. Any idiot can do it. Now get out there…"
I tried desperately to push against the door, resist Casey shoving me, but he was too strong. The doors burst open and I went stumbling into the gym. I was too top-heavy, so I almost fell over, but fortunately managed to regain my balance.
For a moment, absolute silence. Thousands of eyes went to me and stayed there. I could feel the burning stares. I could already tell that people knew I wasn't Bobby the Bobcat and were going to reject the imposter. The only sound I was aware of was the beating of my own heart. They were going to begin booing any second.
Out of nowhere, We Will Rock You, all of the teams' national anthem, came blasting through the gym. Not quite what I was expecting to hear. Nor was I expecting my peers to start clapping their hands and stomping their feet in time to the music, chanting the lyrics. The noise was a little intimidating; it rivaled the music.
The cheerleaders began to do their perfectly choreographed dance. Suddenly, it was becoming more like a pep rally.
But I still got the feeling something was missing. Oh, right. Me.
My brain reeled with confusion. What was I supposed to do? Did Justin have his own routine choreographed? I had two left feet. I couldn't dance to save my life. Casey failed to mention this little (immensely important) detail. He had done his part, come out as the hero, and had no further need for me. It was entirely up to me to either nail it, or crash and burn.
I really didn't want to blow it, but I had no clue what the hell I was supposed to do, other than stand there like "Okay, it's me. I'm here. The Bobcat". Entering the gym seemed to work just fine. Maybe they came to pep rallies to see other things, besides Casey.
I couldn't intentionally disappoint them.
I took a deep breath, trying to forget about my twisted stomach, knocking knees, and shaking limbs. Nobody knows it's me. If I fuck up, nobody will know that it's Paige who fucked up. Justin will take all the heat. It can't be too hard. According to Casey, any idiot can do it.
I started off small, easing my way into the music, and clapped my paws together along with everybody else.
The audience's response was positive; their energy infectious. Gradually, I begin to succumb to the music. Catchy beat and I actually knew this song and knew it well. My confidence swelled as I clapped my front paws together harder, and similarly stomped my hind paw, wanting to make as much noise as I could.
"Buddy you're a boy make a big noise
Playin' in the street gonna be a big man some day
You got mud on yo face
You big disgrace
Kickin' your can all over the place…"
Absorbed by the music, I executed a dramatic karate kick and threw in a couple karate chops for good measure. I was a little off-beat when the chorus started, but the audience seemed to appreciate it.
"We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you…"
I cupped my paw to my ear, pretending as if I couldn't hear them. I motioned wildly, urging them to pick up the noise. Thousands of voices screamed the lyrics in delighted response.
"We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you…"
The vibrations from the music, the voices, the pounding feet, the noise I was creating was great.
"Buddy you're a young man hard man
Shoutin' in the street gonna take on the world some day
You got blood on yo face
You big disgrace
Wavin' your banner all over the place
We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you…"
This time, during the chorus, for the "we will…" part, I waved my paws slowly over my head, like you might do with a cell phone or glow stick at a rave. For the "rock you" part, I pumped my fists up the air twice. Unquestionably being a ham, but I was swept away by the music, didn't care about what anyone thought anymore, and just wanted to have fun.
Never would I do this in public, but suddenly, in the Bobcat costume, I was. I was dancing my ass off in front of hundreds of people and loving every minute of it. The costume set me free. No longer was I a shy, frightened mouse; I was a Bobcat.
"Buddy you're an old man poor man
Pleadin' with your eyes gonna make you some peace some day
You got mud on your face
You big disgrace
Somebody better put you back in your place…"
I fell into step with the cheerleaders. Through quick study, their routine was simple enough to learn. I doubted I got all the steps right, but the cheerleaders seemed to appreciate out-dancing the mascot.
"We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you…"
The last part of the song was guitar. An imaginary guitar found its way into my paws and I began to strum it, bouncing my head after the end of each chord. When I snapped out of my daze, I found myself on my knees on the floor. They hurt, because of my slide, but I scarcely felt the pain through my adrenaline rush.
I panted a little as I glanced around the gym. My heart was racing in my chest, but in a different way. My limbs felt numb (and in the case of my knees, mildly bruised), but in a good way. I had the giddy sensation one might experience when they get off a rollercoaster; I was smiling so hard that my cheeks hurt.
I went out there, put myself out there, had fun, and loved it. I might not have been Justin, who had a background in gymnastics and various dances, but I thought I did a decent job. I could only hope the audience felt the same.
Sure enough, vocal chords all over were being strained throughout as the audience yelled in delight. That was the best feeling of all. All of the shouting—cheering—was for me. Nobody else.
Until the band struck up the school song, the doors swung open and the team came running inside: a steady stream of red and black jerseys, all in synchronized step. Their footsteps pounded against the floor, and the audience shrieked in response. (Truly a great audience). The cheerleaders all bounced and wave their pompoms. Content for someone else to partake in the spotlight, I did my best to make my team look better.
The team divided into two parts; one ran down past one side of the bleachers, and the other half alongside the rest of the bleachers, everybody's hands brushing against the outstretched ones of the crowd. (I could see a few girls in the front swooning as Casey number 22 ran past, leading the pack like always, his lope easy and graceful, and practically glowing as he soaked up all the attention).
The team swung around and back towards the front of the gym, before sitting down the available bleachers.
"Captains, perhaps a few words?" Mr. Donnelly, the principal, suggested into his microphone. The three guys—Casey, of course, and the co-captains Jeff Bailey and Eric Johansson—climbed up onto the makeshift stage with him. Mr. Donnelly generously passed the microphone off to Eric and stepped back politely.
Everyone waited expectantly.
Eric truly preferred being out on the field doing rather than being on stage speaking. "As you all know," he began, perhaps trying to build up dramatic suspense, "our team hasn't been doing that great lately…"
His words were drowned by a screech from the microphone as Casey took it away from Eric. He only had to clear his throat, and instantaneously cheers erupted. He waited patiently for the noise to die down, grinning nonetheless. Casey definitely enjoyed being in the spotlight and having people fuss over him.
"This is our year, guys!" Casey burst out. "Tonight when the Panthers come, we're going to crush their asses into the ground and every other team who gets in our way…" All eyes were on Casey, everybody watching him with rapt attention. Even I looked towards him admiringly. He was exactly what a captain should be. Such a commanding presence. Such passion, such convincing confidence. Such pride. Such a gorgeous face… No one could help but believe him, whether he himself believed it or was just acting the part.
"…Every school in the district, no make that the state, is going to tremble with fear at the slightest mention of us. The Bobcat name has been disgraced for too long and we're getting the respect it deserves. We will take back all of the trophies that were rightfully ours to begin with! And why is that?!" He finished in a shout, chest heaving with emotion.
"Because we're the Bobcats!" the lower classmen shouted back obediently.
Casey wasn't satisfied. Still holding the microphone, he stepped down from the stage onto the gym floor. "That," he said, "was absolutely pathetic. Why the hell should we waste our time for that? If you guys don't believe it, there is no way we can make the others believe it. Now, one more time: who are we?"
"The Bobcats!" everyone bellowed as loudly as they could, certainly not wanting to let Casey down.
"And what are we going to do?"
"Win!" They all strained their vocal chords with cheering, determined to make as much noise to support the team—and satisfy Casey—as possible. The audience did their part well, because Casey gave a satisfied smile and surrendered the microphone to Jeff.
After Casey's performance, Jeff could come up with nothing better than "Go, Bobcats." He mumbled this into the microphone and waited. His response was lukewarm, but then I put my paws on my hips and mock glowered at everyone. Much to my surprise, I was able to coax a more enthusiastic response.
Jeff glared at me, or at least in my direction. I could feel the burning heat of his gaze. Certainly I had increased the bitter, behind-the-scene feelings between Justin and the team. This was probably what Casey meant by Justin thinking that he was the most important member of the team.
I looked at Casey, worried.
If I was anywhere near as bad as Justin, Casey would effortlessly remove me too. I was scared thinking about how exactly he might go about it. Justin probably had a tougher hide than I did, and judging by his reaction, Casey must've said some pretty awful stuff.
God, I hoped that I wasn't doing anything wrong.
The idea of facing Casey's wrath was terrifying. Plus, now that I had managed to overlook the B.O. in the costume, I enjoyed being in it. Being in the costume, if even for a few minutes, gave me my existence. AndI would get to go to all the games, ensuring quality time with the hottest guys in school. And Casey, whether or not he would admit it or follow through, owed me a favor.
A win-win situation. Deep down, I kind of hoped this arrangement would stick. Let Justin be an overly-sensitive little prick.
I was on pins and needles for the rest of the extensive pep rally, extremely careful to keep out of the football players' ways and be the perfect little mascot. If they cheered, you better believe I got the crowd going. If, for any reason, there was any sort of silence, I was as still as stone. Or as dispassionate as a mascot could get.
My efforts must've paid off, because as we filed out of the gym, Casey approached me. Sure there was a slight hesitancy in his manner, but it definitely was a boost to my already soaring confidence. Regardless of the situation, if Casey wanted you, you went to him.
But to have Casey seek you out…
"You're going to the Homecoming dance, right?" Casey asked. (It was already implied that I, really Justin as Bobby the Bobcat, attend tonight's game).
Beneath the Bobcat's head, my smile grew broader. Was this code talk for asking me to go with him? Maybe I actually impressed him. Oh. My. God. If I was Casey's date to Homecoming…
"Well, I wasn't thinking about it," I said flirtatiously, my voice slightly muffled. (Which, if I wasn't decked out in faux fur, I definitely wouldn't have had enough nerve to do). "And this is so sudden. I don't even have a dress."
Casey stopped and looked at me. Through the Bobcat's eyes, I could only just make out his gorgeous face. He was confused, eyebrows raised in a questioning arch. "You don't need a dress. A t-shirt and jeans would work just as well."
T-shirt? Jeans? Why would he want to be seen with me if I was dressed so informally, sloppily even? Maybe to stand out in magnificent comparison in his tux, emphasize how good he looked in it. Maybe he assumed I wasn't a dress person. Or maybe he was suggesting what I wear to make my costume more bearable.
I sincerely wished I could turn off my brain.
How fucking naïve can you get, Paige? It's mandatory that the Bobcat come to the dance. You're the Bobcat as of now. Seriously, what were you thinking?! Casey ask you to be his date? He has a girlfriend and you're a loser.
And you'll be an even bigger loser he figures out that you thought he was asking you to go with him. Fix it, damn it. Fix it!
"Dresses are cooler," I blurted. "Do you have any idea how hot it is in here? I'm wearing jeans and a t-shirt right now and I'm sweating something awful."
I moaned in anguish. That did not just come out of my mouth.
Great save. Just great.
Casey's face changed from bewilderment to revulsion quicker than you could change television channels. "Ugh. Wear whatever the hell you want," he responded disgustedly. "Just…use deodorant."
Better for him to think I'm a sweaty freak than freakishly obsessed with him. I think?
Casey fled, running for the security of his teammates and the cheerleaders. His people. Normal people. He wedged his way in among the cheerleaders, whispered some kind of endearment in Summer Dempsey's ear and planted a kiss on her cheek.
Summer turned her head, lips meeting Casey's. They exchanged a quick peck before he came back in again, head inclined, and she moved accordingly. Her hand crept up Casey's chest; simultaneously his slid down to rest in the small of her back. The perfect lips of both members involved opened and they began to French kiss in earnest. The posse was accustomed to these random make-out sessions and didn't react at all.
Football captain and cheerleading captain. Teenage royalty. How adorable. And since I was hopelessly in lust with Casey, it was totally revolting. I wanted to look away, but somehow I found myself unable to.
I tried to imagine his soft-looking, well-practiced lips moving against my own. Tried to imagine those blue eyes looking at me the way they looked at her. I could fantasize as much as I liked, but nothing would ever happen. Thanks to my big mouth, Casey would never look at me again, let alone kiss me.
Who'd kiss the mascot, anyways? I couldn't recall Justin ever being very lucky in love.
The kiss came to an end when a few of the less important people noticed I was watching. Summer pulled back, extracting a moan of protest from her boyfriend. Her perfectly waxed brows knitted together and she said something about it to Casey. The two turned to stare back at me.
When they walked off, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that their uproarious laughter was at me.
At least now, however bittersweet it may've been, they knew who I was.
Author's Note: Me again. Sick of me yet? I just have to say this chapter was a lot of fun to write and I hope you all enjoyed it. I absolutely love Paige. And I love the name "Casey"--it's one of my name obsessions right now, so there will probably be a lot of Caseys popping up.
I'm still as big of a review whore as ever.