— THIS CHAPTER HAS BEEN EDITED ON 09/16/12 —
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 issixteen, and in grade 11, because her birthday is in November.
Tyler is seventeen, because his birthday's in June (he'll turn eighteen then), and he's in grade 12.
Charley is sixteen, in grade 11.
Evan is seventeen, in grade 12.
Sorry again! Continue on!
- OOO -
"He Has a Nice One, Doesn't He?"
"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.
"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. As if she actually thought I would refuse a dare. I'd never backed down from a dare since I realized how much fun it was to do them—since I was crowned the "Queen of Dares" by my fellow peers for eight years in a row now. People even called me "Sandares" instead of my original last name, Sanders, sometimes.
Well, at least those who knew about my reputation.
Unfortunately, ever since I started high school three years ago, I'd been hearing that title less and less. Only Charley, (obviously, since she was the one who gave me the name in the first place), my older brother Evan, who enjoyed giving me dares as much as she did, still sometimes called me that notorious nickname. This year, I promised myself I would start making myself known to the world as Erin Sandares again even if it killed me.
Charley 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 no one knew that not only was she prettier than almost all the girls in our high school, but she was also smarter than them too. Despite her charade of acting dumb to maybe attract the new hot tutor—or better yet—a new hot substitute teacher that visited the school every once in a while when our regular boring teacher was away, Charley is really a nerdy brainiac who could get better grades than me if she actually tried in school.
I was the complete opposite. My hair wasn't short, but it wasn't really long and flow-y like hers was either. It reached just barely past my shoulders, in a mess of irritating waves and curls that could never be straightened. And instead of her sun-kissed hair, mine was dark and boring, mixed with a hint of auburn. My skin was pale like one of those porcelain dolls, with only bright pink cheeks to liven up my face. Charley said they brought out my lips, which are "really plush and full" but I thought my lips just looked fat and weird. My hazel eyes were really big and wide, while Charley's were narrow and petite—the way a girl's eyes were supposed to be like.
And I never acted dumb to attract guys. Firstly, because guys never got attracted to me in the first place, and also because I couldn't. I was the world's worst actress ever when it came to maintaining a character—I was only good at coming up with quick, short lies under pressure—while Charley was brilliant at both. And I liked getting good grades and maintaining my straight A average. Charley slacked off in school to maintain her I'm-hot-but-dumb-could-you-please-tutor-me-insert name of cute guy reputation.
"Why are you just sitting there, Rin?"
She stood up from her seat, and tugged on my arm to make me stand up with her. She nudged her head towards the mini soccer game going on in the field in front of us. It was against Dreadnaught Prep. Our school, Lanchester High, had a huge rivalry with them that went back to the time when the schools were founded, because we were always the top two schools in the district.
Every four years, the board gave out the Most Achievements Award to the school that had the most achievements. So whether you were on the football team, or even the stamp collecting club, if the school had the most awards for whatever team, the school will get the Most Achievements Award. Lanchester would win games for one year, but Dreadnaught would beat us the next. We were always deadlocked in a never ending competition with them.
This year, however, was different. This year, we were in the lead.
Our school had broken the cycle and won games for two years in a row. The sport that led us to victory had been soccer, so that was why everyone in the school held the team with such high reverence. The captain of the team, Tyler Hawkins, had scored the winning goal last year—or at least that was what I heard from my brother, who was also on the team. I was sick last year and couldn't make the championship game.
Anyway, if our soccer team won again this year, our school would finally win the Most Achievements Award. Really, what each school was trying to win was bragging rights—being able to rub the fact that Lanchester was the first school to win the Most Achievements Award in Dreadnaught's obnoxious faces for all of eternity.
"Rin!" Charley's voice snapped me back to reality. "Hurry up and do the dare before the game ends."
I looked at the scoreboard, and sure enough, there were only two minutes left until the end of the game. Lanchester was tied with Dreadnaught, each school with one point.
I watched as my brother, Evan, kicked the ball to another player on our team. They were now running towards Dreadnaught's net. The player was dodging each of Dreadnaught's attempts to block him, and was deaking (A/N: I don't know the spelling, sorry) them as he swished left and right with the ball in complete control. I was impressed by the amount of skill this guy had.
"Are you sure?" I bit my lip and hesitated for a moment, looking back onto the field. "Erm…I think they'd get really mad at me if they lose the game. We're so close to winning the MA award, Charles."
Charley rolled her eyes. "This is a mini-game, Rin. It doesn't count, trust me. Plus, when have you ever backed down from a dare?" I opened my mouth to respond, but she beat me to it. "Never. And you're not going to start now. Erin Sandares does not back down from any dare—whether it's dangerous, hurtful, embarrassing, or even trouble-causing."
I didn't get to finish my sentence as the crowd suddenly burst out in a wave of excitement; everyone whooping and cheering as the skilled player neared the net. I looked back at Charley and she gave me her challenging face again.
I had to do it. I had to. I needed my title back.
It was now or never.
A slow, wicked grin spread unto Charley's face as if she read my thoughts. I hurried down the bleachers and then stood on the sidelines with the coach. He didn't even spare me a glance as his eyes were buried deep into the game. 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 player and the ball.
I took out the megaphone I had stolen from the coach, and shouted loud and clear into it:
"EARTHQUAKE! EVERYONE RUN! EARTHQUAKE!"
And I started jumping up and down like a crazy fool, waving my hands up in the air.
No one moved, though. I didn't think they even realized I was there. Charley was cracking up with laughter but no one in the audience spared me a glance because they were so focused on the soccer player.
The only other person who noticed me jumping up and down was…the soccer player himself.
He was just about to kick the ball, but paused and turned back to stare at me in confusion. And in that second, one of the players from Dreadnaught stole the ball, passed it to his teammate, took off running the other direction with lightning speed, scored the winning goal, and ended the game.
A loud "awww" rippled from the crowd as they sat back down and hung their heads in disappointment. The opposing team was jumping up and down and slapping high fives on each other, chanting loudly their team name with victory.
Charley was biting her lip to keep from laughing, and she wagged a finger at me to feign disapproval. Then she shrugged, and came down to join me in the field.
"That was hilarious," she said, giving me a hug. "Oh my gosh, it was brilliant. The crowd was such suckers too. Serves them right for not paying attention to the Queen of Dares!" Charley gave me a little playful push, and I laughed along with her.
But my face dropped instantly as soon as I saw the 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.
"What," he started, with his teeth clenched, "do you think you're doing."
It took a second for me to answer because he marched up so close to me without a second thought. The guy was drenched in sweat had dirt lines all over his face, hands and legs. The only visible thing that stood so bright from the rest of him, were his piercing light blue eyes the color of the sky—which were, unfortunately, narrowed into pinpricks at this moment, with 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 snapped his death-staring glare at 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. Maybe my reputation hadn't disappeared that much after all.
The guy only glared even more. "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 the school. We want that 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 it for us. So stay out of our games and mind your own business. Prank any other team in this school—prank Dreadnaught, why don't you! Anybody but us. Understand?"
"I am not a prankster!"
Yeah, so that was a pretty lame response. But this was a very hot guy, yelling at me and glaring at me with murder intent in his eyes, and my brain just wasn't working properly. "It was a dare."
"Oh, sorry, a dare," he sneered, and spat the word out as if there was poison in it. "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 it wasn't stupid, but I didn't have any points to back me up if he asked me how it wasn't stupid. I liked doing dares because I liked feeling strong and brave and invincible. I liked the adrenaline rush. No one but a fellow daredevil could ever understand how I felt 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? Man, how old are you, really?"
He didn't give me any chance to respond, because he started walking away, shaking his caramel hair furiously. But at the last minute, he snapped his head back at me and gave me another glare.
"Just stay out of our way, Sanders."
I watched his stocky built shrink farther and farther into the distance for a while before turning my attention back to Charley. She was giving me a strange look, and held that mischievous glint in her eyes.
"What?" I asked her.
"He knows who you are," she sang, curving her lips up into a smirk. "A senior knows who you are."
I rolled my eyes, and tried my best to prevent the smile, that had already begun to make its way onto my face, from appearing fully. "So?"
"Oh, come on, Erin. Don't tell me you didn't notice how hot he was. Or were you too busy drooling to even realize that?"
"I wasn't drooling!" I turned away from Charley and wiped my mouth to see if I was, just in case.
Charley turned me around again, and linked her arm with mine as we headed towards the school. "Well, I think you were about to faint when he first came up to you."
"Oh shut up, Charley. I would never like someone like him. I mean, he was covered in dirt—"
"Dirt on hot guys is hot," Charley cut in.
"—and he had a stupid attitude—"
"Attitude on hot guys is hot."
"—and he was way too fit—"
"Tough hot guys are hot."
"—and it's obvious he's an ass."
"Yeah, he has a nice one, doesn't he?"
I stopped walking and gaped at Charley. "T-that's not what I meant."
I felt colour rushing up my cheeks and I shook my head to erase such inappropriate thoughts. Charley started laughing. She gave me a look that said, you know I'm right, and skipped the rest of the way to the school without me.