Chapter 1: Natalie "Golden Girl" Barnes - Cheerleader Bitch

As soon as I arrived, I could sense that something was out of place. How could there not be? Complete silence from the masses, even the teachers weren't speaking. The only sound was the shrill voice of Natalie Barnes.

I tip toed across the court yard, my eyes scanning the tables filled with frozen students. Suddenly, behind the monstrous argument between the "It" couple, sat my friends, wide eyed as they stared at me.

Oh, shit.

At this point, everyone's eyes were on me, instead of the two in the center of the circular courtyard. I could feel the terrified looks, and I could only guess the whispers. Things like: "She's dead." and "Nat's going to eat her alive!"

I gulped and couldn't hear anything but my heart pounding in my ears. Taking a deep breath, and wrapping my pointer finger in my pale blond hair. Slowly, and as quietly as possible, I tried to step around the couple.

Almost there, my mind whispered. I'd made it halfway around them now. But alas, life hates me; a loose stone wobbled under my step. Natalie's head snapped in my direction, making her turn herself completely around and away from her seemingly horrible argument. She seethed, steam blowing from her ears. I inhaled sharply.

Natalie Barnes. Gorgeous. Super popular. Cheerleader. Bitch. All adjectives the everyday student at Cunningham High School would use to describe her. Most people had known her since kindergarten and, in all honesty, she hadn't changed much. Just like back then, she was the definition of immaturity...and perfection. But there was no doubting it, she'd become the ideal girl. Her red hair was longer and even more shiny. Her eyes were the color of storm clouds, and her skin as smooth as porcelain. She had big boobs, and curves in the perfect places. Cunningham's very own "It" girl.

My only comfort when it came to Natalie Barnes was that after high school she'd be useless; her kingdom would fall to pieces the day of graduation.

Then my attention turned to the boy standing behind her. Eli Church. The "It" boy of Cunningham; completely irresistible, unfortunately. Nat's "perfect" boyfriend, or maybe ex-boyfriend once again. Messy dark hair, striking blue eyes. And made of muscle; so much so that any slight movement made them ripple ridiculously.

And he was staring directly at me.

Natalie's head snapped back to her boyfriend (or ex) and then back to me. She, and everyone else watching, noticed how Eli was looking at me. And, I assume, the way I was looking at him. Our eyes were locked, and I was drowning in the sea that was his eyes.

His eyes narrowed, and he returned his attention to Natalie, "Whatever, Natalie." Eli looked at me once more, before turning and walking away, his head held high, his shoulders relaxed. The "It" guy, indeed.

Natalie stared at Eli's retreating figure. She had an expression she'd worn only once before; when her father had temporarily suspended her credit card privileges during finals. Slack jawed, wide eyed, defeated.

Quickly, she turned on me. The look was gone. Her eyes held a familiar sense of anger, her lips were pursed and her knuckles were turning white from how tight her fists were clenched. "You bitch."

Great. Blame the innocent bystander that happened to get here a little later than everyone else. The invisible girl no one knew yesterday, but would be a parasite today. Fan-fucking-tastic, I thought.

I chanced a glance at my friends on the other side. Marisol and Blair. Both held pity in their gazes, much like everyone else. Yet, there's was a teensy bit more personal.

Suddenly, pain sprouted from my cheek as my head snapped to the right. A tingling sensation took over the cheek, and I could picture the hand sized red mark there. A perfect impression of the manicured hands of Natalie Barnes: Cheerleader Barbie.

And with that, she stormed off, a hoard of cheerleader zombies and their brainless victims following her. In the distance you could hear her calling to Eli. But at that point, my hair was wound so tightly around my finger, it had turned purple. I unwound it, and brushed my cheek with my fingers.

"Ouch," the sarcastic voice of Blair commented, walking up to me, her arm linked with Marisol's.

Blair Castro. I'd met her in kindergarten during lunch time, when I'd taken the last free table and she sat with me. We'd stuck together since then. Mousy brown hair, all knowing silvery gray eyes and pale thin lips, she was actually quite attractive. She wore thick eye-liner, but hid it behind flashy red glasses. Her skin held a light, all year tan and her lips a confident smirk. She was thin and had little to no bust or butt. But, overall she was beautiful.

Next to her, their arms linked, was Marisol Brown. Transfer student from Spain. Spoke fluent Spanish, and felt the need to incorporate Spanish into our everyday conversation to "indulge" us. Blair and I had invited her to eat with us on her first day when Natalie had rejected her. And, in reality she was beautiful also. Long, perfectly curled and glossy black hair. Perfect, clear, dark skin. Sweet, dark eyes. Full lips and somewhat bushy eyebrows. She was sweet and the most creative person in the entire world. She, in essence, was bubbly...around her friends.

"Yeah," I whispered, glancing at my fellow students. They were avoiding me and trying to be nonchalant about it. And, by doing so, being totally obvious about it. Great.

"Let's go, Penn." Blair linked her arm with mine, and pulled me along with the both of them into the school. This day was going to suck.

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And Happy 4th of July! :) (It's tomorrow, but still.)

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