— THIS CHAPTER HAS BEEN EDITED ON 03/13/14 —
A/N: BEFORE YOU READ! I know there are LOTS of mistakes in this story and I have only sort of edited this chapter — there's still lots of stuff I want to change, though— but for now, I've fixed her age in THIS CHAPTER ONLY. I will go back to editing OTHER CHAPTERS some other time, but for those of you confused about the characters' age:
Erin is sixteen, a junior, because her birthday is in November.
Tyler is seventeen, because his birthday's in June (he'll turn eighteen then), and he's a senior.
Charley is sixteen, a junior.
Evan is seventeen, a senior.
Sorry again! Continue on!
- OOO -
"No Attraction Whatsoever"
"I triple dare you—"
I held up a hand to stop my best friend, Charley Thomson, from continuing. She raised her perfectly plucked eyebrows as if to challenge me. "Oh, is this what I think it is? Is this the day that the almighty Erin Sanders refuses to accept a dare?"
She did a little mock-gasp and widened her eyes, while I rolled mine.
As if she actually thought I would refuse a dare.
I've never backed down from a dare since I was crowned the "Queen of Dares" at eight years old. The adrenaline, and sometimes pure silliness, of dares was just too exciting to pass up.
"I never said anything about not excepting the dare," I answered, smiling a little, "I was going to say you don't have to 'triple dare' me to get me to do a dare. You know that."
Charley smirked. "Are you sure? 'Cause this dare's pretty challenging—even for you."
"Bring it on."
Charley's light blue eyes sparkled with mischief as she proceeded to tell me about the dare. My grin grew wider with each word that she spoke. She tucked a loose strand of her long, golden hair behind her ear. She resembled a Californian beach girl because of her natural tan, even though we lived in London, Ontario and most of our rays only appeared in the summer. People always assumed her to be the stereotypical dumb blonde, but I've always had this underlying thought that it was only a charade. I never understood why she liked to act stupid to attract guys. She was stunning enough that any male would come running when she beckoned, even with only the crook of her finger.
But she'd been keeping up this act ever since we were small, and thus, I was an academically better student than she. With my shoulder-length, auburn waves, and heart-shaped face, I attracted the male species by—
I didn't attract the male species. Period.
"Why are you just sitting there, Rin?"
Charley jabbed her elbow into my ribcage, a little too roughly, knocking me over to a boy beside me. He sent me an annoyed glare and shifted farther down the bleachers away from me.
See what I mean? No attraction whatsoever.
When I was younger, Charley used to say boys were intimidated by my bravery. I mean, I guess if I was a guy, I would definitely not like a girl who made me look like a big wuss compared to her. But this was high school now and that excuse no longer satisfied my pride. The most unfortunate thing about this Lanchester High—a close-knit private school of only two thousand students—is that almost ninety percent of the students here came from my elementary school, so I had no chance of outgrowing my reputation as a daredevil.
Not that I really wanted to.
Charley's mouth was suddenly against my ear. "You're on, superstar." I could just feel her smiling, her excited energy precisely matching mine.
Out on the freshly-trimmed field, the first soccer game of the season was nearing its end. Our school was up against our long-time rival, Dreadnaught Prep. It wasn't just because their school was larger, or the fact that both school grounds shared the same lot, separated only by a rickety metal fence, and Dreadnaught was situated on higher ground. Our school always suffered during heavy rain storms. It wasn't because our sports teams were always in competition with one another—deadlocked in a never-ending cycle of equal wins and losses. It was, for the most part, due to the fact that their principal was the brother of our principal, and they've had their own personal rivalry since they were in their mother's womb. It was due to the fact that Dreadnaught's Principal Bentley was born exactly 2.2 seconds earlier than Lanchester's Principal Bentley.
And he never let that go.
As they grew older, they focused their energy into the schools—most specifically, with the sports teams. Every year, the school with the most championship wins would receive the Most Achievements Award. Dreadnaught, of course, had always won. But this year, we just needed one more sport to win championships, and that coveted trophy would be ours.
Our biggest chance of winning that sport was the boys' varsity soccer team, led by the new captain, Tyler Hawkins. He was quite a legend around here. His father was the coach of the team, and I knew he'd been the first freshman to ever make the varsity team. I'd only ever heard of him through my brother, since I usually never attended sport games.
I looked at the scoreboard, there were only two minutes left until the end of the game. Lanchester was tied one-one with Dreadnaught.
It was now or never.
A slow, wicked grin spread unto Charley's face as if she read my thoughts. No one tried to stop me as I made my way to the center of the field. No one noticed me. Everyone's eyes were focused on the game.
Geez. This was only the first game, it didn't matter if they won or not.
I took out a megaphone I'd stolen from the coach, and shouted loud and clear into it:
"Earthquake! Earthquake! Run, everyone, run!"
I jumped up and down, my hands grabbing fistfuls of air, like a madwoman.
One of the players—a senior with caramel hair—who was just about to aim the ball into the net, paused and turned back to stare at me in confusion. In that precious second, one of the players from Dreadnaught stole the ball, took off running the other direction with lightning speed, and scored the winning goal.
The buzzer sounded, drowning out my evil cackle and the Lanchester crowd's disappointed groans. Charley was suddenly at my side, and we both burst out laughing at the silliness of it all.
"God, that was hilarious," she exclaimed.
"I know. I'm brilliant."
"Well, hey. Don't take all the credit." She flipped her hair over her shoulder dramatically. "I came up with it."
"But I executed it," I pointed out, bumping my hip playfully against hers.
"You'd be nothing without me."
"And you without me."
A second passed as we exchanged fake glowers. Then I couldn't take it anymore and we shared another round of laughter.
But my smile dropped instantly as soon as I saw a soccer player stalking towards me in fury. His cheeks were red with rage, and I was pretty sure I saw little puffs of smoke coming out of his ears.
I vaguely recognized him as the player who had lost his chance to score.
"What," he started, his teeth clenched, "do you think you're doing?"
It took a second for me to answer because he had stopped very close to my face. The guy was drenched in sweat, had dirt lines all over his face, hands and legs. The only things visible were his piercing eyes, the color of the light blue sky—which held, currently, a murderous glaze in them.
"I thought I felt an earthquake," I finally answered him, blinking innocently, "but it was only the bus driver getting out of his bus."
Beside me, Charley snickered but quickly clamped her mouth shut when the guy aimed his death-like glare towards her. He turned back to me, and stepped closer, nostrils flaring.
"Cut the act. I know who you are."
"Oh, really?" I smirked a bit—I was sort of famous around here.
Like the smaller, girlier version of Chris Angel.
He didn't look very impressed with my response. "Your brother tells me a lot about you. This may be some kind of—joke to you, but it's very important to the team and to the school. We want the MA award. Most of the players on the team will be graduating this year, and we want that award as our last memory of this school. And I intend to work every ounce of my body to lead this team into victory until we win it. And I don't need some wannabe junior prankster to ruin all our hard work—"
"I am not a prankster!" Yeah, so that was a pretty lame response. But this was a very hot guy, yelling at me and my brain just didn't work properly under those circumstances. "It was a dare."
"Oh, sorry, a dare," he sneered mockingly. "That makes such a big difference when I report you to Principal Bentley, doesn't it? Aren't you a little old to play stupid games?"
I wanted to say that it wasn't stupid. Dares made you feel strong and brave and invincible. No one but a fellow daredevil could ever understand the exhilarating thrill of adrenaline and I didn't want to give this guy another reason to call me childish.
So instead, I said, "Aren't you a little old to snitch?"
He snorted. "Is that what you call it—snitching? Seriously, how old are you, really?"
The boy stalked away in big, furious strides, not even giving me the chance to respond. But then he seemed to change his mind and snapped his head back to shoot yet another glare.
"Just stay out of our way, Sanders."
I made ugly faces at his broad back.
That wasn't childish. He'd just angered me to the point where I was allowed to be a bit immature. It was justified. Obnoxious jerk. He'd just flat-out insulted my hobby—no, passion—and he actually believed I would just obediently do what he tells me?
Oh, he really had no idea who he was dealing with here.
- OOO -
— THIS CHAPTER HAS BEEN EDITED ON 03/13/14 —