A/N: This is kinda like my first story. So please don't judge. Any reviews would be appreciated. Thanks. :)
"OMG! Guys, did you see that?"
"Yeah! She's like so clumsy!" Steph agreed.
I was sitting in the cafeteria, watching, guess who? Yeah, Clark Smith. Oh god, she's such a loser. I can't even believe that she used to be one of us-a cheerleader.
Well, my name is Christy Styles and that was one of my best friends, Stephanie Ellison. I am the cheerleader captain for Gunn High, a high school in Palo Alto, California, which also happens to be in the top 50 best public high schools in the US. Go Panthers! I have white-blonde hair that goes to the small of my back. I have blue eyes and a face that everyone stares at when I pass the hallways. Yes, you got it right. I am the most popular girl in the whole Gunn High.
I've heard some of the Goths or nerds/geeks talk about me behind my back saying stuff like, "Oh, don't you think Christy is so bitchy? She's always like 'oh my god I'm so cool you guys are all so lame and your clothes are all like omg so like last year'. Uh, I hate her." I swear I must've misheard. I mean, am I really that bitchy? I was just trying to fit in with the cheerleaders, you know?
I was just flashbacking to that time, feeling bad for myself, when my friend Katie Rooky's sweet voice suddenly snapped me back to reality.
"Um, Christy? Did you hear me?" Katie swiped her hair from her face with her perfectly manicured hand.
"What? Oh, um, no. Sorry, Katie. What was it you said?"
"It's okay Christy. I said we have an extra cheerleading practice tomorrow morning at 6."
"Oh yes, of course, Katie." I said feeling a sudden pang of guilt for being distracted when Katie was talking.
Clark, her dark beautiful hair falling into her face; Clark, her voice seeping into my mind back when we were best friends; Clark…
"Christy? What's wrong with you today?" Trisha Rogers, sitting next to me, said with a tinge of annoyance mixed with a bit amusement.
"Thinking of Josh Turner? Thinking of how you could kill that bitch he's dating?
"Oh yeah. Oh no, I mean no! I wasn't thinking of Josh." I cursed myself for even thinking of Clark. I can't do that again, I told myself. What was wrong with me these days?
Josh Turner is the Gunn High football teams quarterback AKA the most popular guy at school. The truth is that I had no feelings at all toward Josh Turner. But no one would believe me, so what's the point?
"Sorry, Trisha, what were you saying?" This time, I devoted my whole attention on this conversation.
The grass outside my window was growing too long and getting so ugly that I couldn't bear to look at it, but no one in my family was going to cut it anytime soon. Like so much, I've just got to accept it as a fact.
I lay down on my bed, staring at my beautifully painted ceiling.
Clark Smith. Why was I still thinking about that loser? I just couldn't stop. Clark Smith. She was my best friend. We were friends since the seventh grade. In our freshmen year, we both became cheerleaders, I the captain. I never kept any secrets from Clark, except for my biggest one, which I wasn't going to tell anyone, and I'm still not planning to.
The phone rang. I picked up and Trisha's voice sang into my ear.
"Hey Christy, you going to the party at Bryce Soren's next Friday? I'm so excited! Bryce is so hot! Do you think I have a chance?"
Me, tilting to the right a bit on top of Katie and Trisha; Clark's hand slipping on the grass; The human pyramid collapsing onto Clark; Me, falling and falling, an endless journey to the ground; Me, hitting Clark; Me, falling on top of her and our heads making contact; Clark, rolling; Katie, banging onto her head.
Steph, yelling at me to kick Clark out of the cheerleading team; Me, with tears streaming out of my eyes, then nodding my head slowly, thinking I had no choice; Clark, in the emergency room, with so many tubes connected to her head; Mrs. Smith, crying in a corner and watching me; Me, walking away.
"Well, Christy, you going or not?" Trisha again, can't she just shut up?
"Yes, of course, I'll see you at school tomorrow!" Well, I had to pretend like I cared. It's not like I could just yell at Trisha and say, "Jeez, shut up I'm trying to have a quiet think about Clark!" Nope, that wouldn't do any good.
"Christy? CHRISTY?! Mom says it's dinner! You better come down here or else you're gonna get into BIG trouble!" My little sister Gemma, in 5th grade, yelled from across the hall.
"Shut up Gemma! I'm coming! Jeez, I'm coming!" I yelled back, annoyed.
I hurriedly looked myself in the mirror. If you've lived in my household for a long time, you would know that missing my mom's dinner is NOT good. My mom thinks that dinner is the most important time of day for a family to talk to each other. Not that I always really want to talk about my life with them, ever since the accident with Clark happened. I have to admit, though, that my mom is a great cook.
I walked down to the kitchen slowly, trying and failing to make up some good lies to answer my mom's usual questions- How are you? How was school? How was cheerleading practice? How's your friend Clark? Yeah, I didn't tell my mom about how Clark and I had, a, ahh, let's just say, "falling apart". I mean, what girl in their right mind would? It's not like my mom can make it better, she's just gonna make matters worse.
Gemma was laying out the napkins and forks. When she saw me, she gave me a wide smile. Even now, I am always hypnotized by my younger sister's beauty. She is so beautiful and yet also so nice and good at studies. I wish I could be like her. If only I didn't become what I became after Clark. Everyone at my school used to say how nice I was, but after Clark, I just don't know.
"So, Christy, tell me how your day was." My mom said to me after finishing a long and tremendously boring interview with Gemma.
"It was good." I decided I was just going to stick with simplicity this evening. No more lies, just a simple "Fine" or "Yeah, I'm good".
My mom kept on pressing on and started asking more questions but I just tuned out and ignored her.
Clark, seemingly staring up at me from the white hospital bed, but actually just showing the whites of her eyes; Me, looking at her, so sad; Trisha and Katie and Steph dragging me away; Me again, this time wondering if I should ask Clark to sit with us after she got back to school and took off her casts and stuff; Then, Trisha, saying some VERY mean stuff and insulting Clark like hell.
I noticed that I didn't touch any of my food that dinner but for once, my mom was considerate and didn't say anything. So, after some sitting around and arranging and rearranging my food with my fork again and again, I went upstairs to my room.
Clark's mother, on the phone, telling me that after the accident, although Clark already fully recovered physically, she had suffered some serious kind of brain damage so that she would be very clumsy for the time being or maybe even forever; Clark's mother, still on the phone, suddenly breaking into full-on sobbing, and whispering to me through her sobs could I please tell anyone that starts teasing and insulting Clark, that Clark's clumsiness was due to brain damage from the accident? Me, feeling a sudden pang of sadness and guilt because I knew that I wouldn't be able to do that, even if I tried.
I suddenly sat up and opened my eyes, straight into a pair of bright yellow eyes. I jumped, but then I realized it was just my cat, Helen. Helen always springs onto my chest and wakes me up at exactly 7:00. I have no idea how she does it, but she does, and so I'm now used to waking up so early.
And then it hit me, I was dreaming about Clark! I had thought that the sudden flashbacks of scenes about Clark would stop after a night of sleep. However, I was clearly proven wrong. I can't believe I even dreamed of Clark, and not in a bad way. If I told my friends, I would never hear the end of it. So obviously, I didn't.
Suddenly, I just let my mind wander off to Clark again…
Mrs. Smith, calling me again, telling me how bad Clark looked after her first day of school after the accident and begging me to remain friends with Clark and not to ditch her just because of her clumsiness; Clark, obviously overhearing the conversation and blushing; Me, knowing Clark so well, realizing that Clark would definitely pretend from then on that everything was fine and I was still her best friend; Me, again, doing nothing about it; Me, feeling so guilty; Me, forcing myself to hang up;
Suddenly, Gemma banged into my room, even though I have told her countless times to, PLEASE knock on the door.
"What?" I said, with a sigh.
"What what? Today's the big day! It's the student council elections! Wish me luck!"
Oh that, I thought. Oops, I guess I kinda forgot about it.
I finally dragged myself out the door after breakfast.
A perfectly manicured hand whipping high speed through the air and making contact with a stunned face.
One small flashback of a scene. But having so much hidden meaning.
Then, I remembered that Katie had told us we had extra cheerleading practice that morning. Oh well, I thought. It's not even like I liked cheerleading, not like everyone thought.
Oh. My. Gosh. There! I said it. I don't like cheerleading. And it was supposed to be my deepest, darkest secret. Well, there, you heard me, I hate cheerleading. Now, you're probably thinking, Christy, then why the hell did you decide to be a cheerleader, and the captain, for god's sake?
Well, then. I'll tell you the whole story.
In middle school, Clark and I had always envied the cheerleaders because they were so popular and had all the guys on their heels. (Katie, Trisha and Steph were all cheerleaders then) We were not losers, but it wasn't like the popular people exactly liked us. We were kinda like the invisible kind that nobody knows. Clark, sometimes, though, got some looks from the guys in the hallways. She was very pretty, even then. As for me, yeah, um, maybe not.
So in eighth grade, Clark and I went to a bunch of gymnastics classes together. We tried very hard and soon, I could do all of the moves the cheerleaders could, and Clark, the easy ones. We were so happy! We promised each other that we were both going to try out for the high school cheerleading team. Clark also made me try for the captain since we heard that the captain was moving away to another school or something.
So, we did. And we got in! I was captain. Though I never told Clark, the coach told me afterwards that I had to make sure "my pretty friend" worked very hard and I had to teach her all the hard moves she couldn't do yet. Apparently, Clark got in "completely because of her looks". Her looks had helped her then, but the rest of the cheerleading team were jealous of her looks and hated her. However, since I was the captain, they had to suck up to her.
Before I kicked Clark out of the cheerleading team because of the accident (yes, if you're wondering, it still hurts like hell to say that, even though I guess it's technically true), Clark and I were way different than all the other cheerleaders. Clark was a nice person, and she influenced me. We never joined the "OMG she's so fat/ugly/clumsy/loser" discussions, always lead by Trisha. So, the unpopular people never minded if Clark and I hear their "I hate the cheerleaders, they're such bitches!" conversations because they knew that we understood that when they say stuff like that, they meant all the cheerleaders except for Clark and I. As for now, that is obviously not true. The other cheerleaders sometimes gave us dirty looks when we defended some of the loners at school, but that was all. I had still adored cheerleading, since, at that time, being a cheerleader hadn't meant I couldn't be myself.
However, now that I have kicked Clark out, it's a whole different story. (This is my third week of cheerleading without Clark, the first week Clark was still in the hospital) For the past three weeks, all I've ever done was pretend. Without Clark, I HAD to fit in with the cheerleaders, or else I would be the loser. Or so I thought. I never thought that befriending Clark again was still an open option. A long time ago, I realized that knowing your options was always a good thing. But I hadn't known, I thought the only way was what I ended up choosing. And that was, pretending to be all Trisha-like, and always being the leader in criticizing Clark when I saw her.
But Clark was smart, I knew that. She was in all AP classes, and I knew she still is. But not only that, Clark was also extremely friend-smart, street-smart, and boy-smart. She was smart in all the ways I knew. Mrs. Smith also told me the brain damage Clark suffered did not affect her smartness at all, just affected her coordination, which made her so clumsy. So, I knew at once, that Clark could see through the cheerleader-me to the "I-still-miss-you-Clark-me". She knew I was faking everything, even though my cheerleaders were too dumb to suspect.
And she knew that I probably also knew, considering the long time that Clark and I had spent together. So three days after Clark was back, I did what I did. I admit, I didn't like what I did, but, really, I was out of my mind at that time. So Thursday last week (it's Monday today), I cornered Clark after school at her locker. And slapped her. Hard. Across the face. I wanted to give her the message that I didn't like her and I wasn't just pretending when I insulted her. I could tell she was stunned, she knew this wasn't the me she had known for so long. I saw the red streak on her cheek and instantly felt sorry. But then, I just whispered an uncertain "forgive me" and walked away. Like nothing ever happened. And, obviously, like I knew for sure, Clark hadn't said a thing to anyone.
Clark was sure the me she had known would come around some time and go back to her. For her, it was only a matter if I was still the me I was. So I was going to show her that I was, still am, forever will be, the Christy Styles she had known and loved for so long.
The second I entered the school courtyard, all my cheerleader "friends" swarmed around me and scolded me simultaneously about how I missed practice while I made up some lame excuse about my alarm clock going wrong. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Clark watching us. No, just watching me. I glanced at her and Trisha followed my gaze. After a few seconds, everyone did. And I knew that it was time. I broke through our cheerleader crowd and started walking. I was only about 10 feet away from Clark, but it felt like eternity until I finally reached her.
I felt rather than saw the eyes of the whole high school following me. Well, I thought, I'll give them a good show. I could imagine Trisha cocking her head, her eyes penetrating my body from behind, lips twisted into a wry smile, as if seeing this was to her immense satisfaction.
"Hey," I greeted Clark like this was what we did everyday, and not like something I needed 100 times the courage I had.
Clark nodded expectantly, as if encouraging me like she used to, knowing exactly what I was going to do.
So I went on. "You wanna come over to my house this afternoon?"
"Don't you have cheerleading practice?" Clark asked, with the faintest smile.
"No. From now on, no." I responded with a swipe of my hand as if I was shooing away a fly. I didn't even feel the sudden chill after saying that, like I imagined. "So, you coming?"
"Well, in that case. Sure, why not?" Clark replied, a tinge of her old swagger back in her voice.