Welcome to Edith Wharton High School, Asshole/

When Hilarie Walsh looked up at Edith Wharton High School, where she fit in with the student body about as well as a Satan worshipper at a Christian book club, she let out a sigh. Summer, where did you go? she thought, glaring at the mile-high iron gate as if it was the reason why she hated the school so much.

As she dragged her feet to the front entrance, she glanced at her surroundings. The lawns before her covered at least a few acres, and she couldn't see a single blade of brown grass. In the center of all the green lay a huge, extravagant fountain; the Nine Muses stood in a circle, all of them holding jugs that spouted streams of crystal-clear water. But all of that was nothing compared to Edith Wharton High School itself; the building looked like the epitome of Greek architecture with its smooth, white marble walls and tall, elaborate Corinthian-style columns.

Now, why couldn't the students be as nice as the campus? she asked herself, walking past teens who wore diamond bracelets, carried Louis Vuitton handbags, talked on iPhones—and whispered nasty things behind her back.

"What is that slut doing here?" she heard someone say. "I thought she wouldn't dare come here again after what happened last year."

"Oh my God, that bitch's still wearing those scuffed Mary Janes? Shit, how poor is she?"

"My friend told me she had an abortion this summer. Once a whore, always a whore, right?"

Hilarie clenched her fists, tempted to smash them into the assholes' faces. After taking a deep breath, she decided to content herself with muttering, "I'm here because I couldn't stand the terrible thought of spending senior year without you lovely people."

"Is she talking to herself? She's a slut and a psycho!"

God, please give me enough patience to survive the school year without getting a detention or suspension.

She searched the faces in the crowd for her best—well, only—friend, but Jessica was nowhere to be found. Where the heck is she? Jessica had promised to meet her at the entrance. I'm so going to yell at her later. How was she supposed to handle Edith Wharton's class-A douche bags and bitches without the only person who didn't think she carried every STD listed in health textbooks?

"Nice backpack," a male voice snickered behind her.

Just ignore him and walk away, she said to herself as she marched inside the school.

"Hey, I'm talking to you."

Gritting her teeth, Hilarie turned around—and had her breath taken away. The rude boy was beautiful: sleek, dark brown hair fashioned in an obviously expensive haircut; dazzling green eyes with flecks of gold; skin that seemed to have never known a zit or blemish; and full, pillow-like lips. Of course he's good-looking. Most jerks were.

From the smirk on his face, and the tieless white button-down shirt and vintage pair of Levi's jeans he wore—definitely not the school uniform, which, for guys, was a blue blazer, black tie, white dress shirt, black dress pants, and black dress shoes—she guessed he was a wannabe badass who liked to think of himself as some sort of twenty-first-century version of James Dean. She shot a scowl at her uniform, which consisted of a blue blazer, a white blouse, a black skirt, knee-high white socks, and black shoes. If she disregarded the school dress code, she wouldn't be able to flaunt it without any consequences like the wannabe rebel did.

"Like what you see?" he asked.

Pink filled her cheeks. "I've seen better." Liar.

"As I was saying, nice backpack. Where did you get it? The Salvation Army?"

She held the straps of her ratty Jansport protectively. "Ha-ha, very clever. Your parents must be so proud of your brilliant wit."

"As they should."

She shook her head. "Wow, you're one arrogant jerk."

"I prefer the adjective honest."

"You are...well, honestly, I have no words." She waved goodbye. "It was terrible talking to you. Hope to never see you again."

"Hey, aren't you going to show me around?" he asked, catching up to her. "I'm new to this school, and I could use your guidance."

"I'm sure someone as brilliant as you will figure things out," she said, making her pace faster.

Unfortunately, he matched her speed without breaking a sweat. "True. But I want to continue chatting with you."

"Oh, really? Because I find the thought of ripping my tongue out more appealing than the idea of talking to you for another minute."

"What did I do to make you hate me so much?"

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Are you serious? Your first words to me were an insult about my backpack. I don't know what your parents taught you, but insulting someone's beloved Jansport is not the way to make her like you. And even if you never spoke to me, you're still an ass-hat who would drop several hundred dollars on a pair of Gucci loafers." She looked at his shoes with disdain.

"You hate me for being rich?"

"Correction: I really dislike you for being a douche and spending a few hundred bucks on shoes when that money could go to feeding starving children or funding stem cell research."

"You're cute."

"You're not."

"My name is Eric Lawington."

"Like I care."

"What's yours?"

"I'm not sure I'm comfortable enough to give you such personal information yet."

When she stepped inside the classroom for AP English Literature and Composition, he asked, "Is this room 107?"

"That's what the sign says," she said, throwing her backpack onto a desk in the front row.

"Are you in AP English Literature and Composition first period?"

Her fingers went still. "Don't tell me you're in this class."

He smiled and set his Louis Vuitton messenger bag on the desk next to hers. "We're going to have so much fun analyzing Great Expectations together!"

She resisted the urge to kick a chair—or him—in frustration. Not only was she going to have to spend her senior year being known as the school slut, but she was also going to have to spend it discussing classic novels with the new first-class douche.

Sanity, don't let me go.

As she sat down at her desk, Eric asked, patting his lap, "Wouldn't you like to sit here instead?"

"Great, you're a jackass and a pervert."

"You know I would make you think I created sex."

"I'm done talking with you," she said, bringing out a notebook and two pens from her backpack.

"Too bad. I'm a great source of scintillating conversation."

"Oh my God, my sister's sweet eighteen was amazing," a girl with pink streaks in her black hair said to her companions as she walked into the room. "She arrived in the most fabulous carriage, had fire-eaters from Morocco do tricks for her, and had Lady Gaga and Britney Spears sing 'Happy Birthday' to her."

"Did you go to Jason's brother's twenty-first b-day bash?" a boy with a basketball in his hands said to a group of boys who were hanging on to his every word. "Man, if you didn't, you missed something sick! He had Miss January and Miss May wrestle each other – in the mud! Dude, it was so hot – especially since they were tearing off each other's lingerie."

"The summer internship at Italian Vogue was the best experience of my life," a girl with perfectly straight auburn hair said to the circle of classmates surrounding her. "I learned so much about working for a fashion magazine. Plus –" She winked. "–I got to meet some sexy Italian boys."

Wow, sounds like they had amazing summers. Hilarie thought about her own summer: attending a funeral and working as a waitress at a coffee shop. Fun.

"I went to Paris," Eric said smugly. "Bought the finest clothes and ate the best food."

"Congratulations," Hilarie replied in a monotone.

"What did you do over the summer?"

"Nothing."

The bell rang, signaling the beginning of class. Ten seconds later, Mr. Galloway walked into the classroom.

"Good morning, class," he said. "Sorry for being late or for most of you, sorry for showing up at all." A few students laughed politely. "There was a little accident in the parking lot. Don't worry, no one got hurt, but someone's helicopter did suffer a bit of damage, so I had to help the principal persuade the helicopter-owner to not sue the school. Anyway, let's start –"

He was interrupted by the entrance of a tardy student.

"Sorry, Mr. Galloway, but my limo driver got stuck in traffic."

A chill went up Hilarie's spine. She knew the owner of the deep drawl all too well. Even without turning around, she could see every detail on his face: the lonely freckle on his nose, the twinkle in his dark blue eyes, the tiny scar next to his thin lips, and the soft blond hair that always smelled like papaya.

Timothy Buck, her ex-boyfriend and the reason why her reputation possessed a big slutty stain, had arrived.

/

As soon as the bell rang, Hilarie ran out of the room. She couldn't believe she had to be in the same room as Timothy Buck for five days a week. How could she concentrate on writing in-class essays on poetry with the boy who had soiled her name sitting behind her?

And to think I ever thought he loved me. Someone who had truly loved her wouldn't have told the whole school such filthy lies about her. Someone who had truly loved her wouldn't have just stood there as her classmates had done everything possible to make her high school life hell.

The stolen clothes, the torn textbooks, the dirty graffiti… The list of crimes committed against her went on and on.

And Timothy Buck, the boy who had claimed he loved her, had never lifted a finger to stop any of them.

"Hey, are you okay?" Eric asked, again managing to match her pace without the slightest hint of difficulty.

"I'm freaking wonderful," she snapped.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing! And stop following me!"

"This is the way to my next class."

"Don't tell me you're in AP Calculus AB."

The corners of his mouth turned up.

"Shit," she said.

"You know you're excited at the thought of evaluating limits with me."

I hate math, I hate this school, I hate this cocky ass-hat…

"I'm having a masquerade ball tonight at my house," he said.

"So?"

"I want you to come."

"Sorry, but I have other obligations," she said. Like working instead of relying on my rich daddy.

"No, you don't."

"I don't care if you believe me or not. The point is I'm not going to attend your party."

"Masquerade ball."

"Whatever. Don't sit next to me."

Then she took the last empty seat in the front row before he could respond.

/

Thankfully, Hilarie didn't see Eric in her next two classes; she could study AP Statistics and AP Environment Science without that jerk's presence.

When Hilarie walked out of Environmental Science, she received a pleasant surprise.

"Hilarie!"

She turned around and saw her best friend. "Jessica!" she shouted, running to hug her friend. Then she remembered Jessica's unexpected absence this morning. She slapped her friend's arm. "Where were you? You were supposed to meet me at the entrance!"

"First, that hurt," Jessica said, rubbing her arm. "And second, sorry about that. My mom had to find her diamond bracelet, causing us to be late for our flight and wait three hours for the next one."

"I accept your apology." Then Hilarie asked, "How was Bermuda?"

"It was gorgeous." Jessica put on a fresh coat of strawberry lip gloss as she gave a wink. "But nothing compared to Bermudan boys."

"Let me guess, you hooked up with one of them?"

"Three."

Hilarie whistled. "Impressive."

"What do you think of my tan?" Jessica asked, touching her perfectly bronzed cheek.

"You look even more gorgeous." Hilarie always felt a little homely in Jessica's presence, for her friend had platinum blond hair that boys would die for the chance to run their fingers through, plump lips that shined of strawberry lip gloss, and stunning eyes that were the color of dark chocolate.

"Thank you, dear." Jessica nudged Hilarie. "Hey, did you see the new kid? Wow, he's hot."

"And a total douche," Hilarie said.

"What happened?"

"He insulted my backpack and invited me to sit in his lap."

"Bastard. Never mind. His face looks like it was fished out of a polluted river."

"Oh, guess who's in my English class."

"Who?"

Hilarie answered, "Timothy. Fucking. Buck."

"Shit."

"My thoughts exactly."

"I still can't believe what he did to you."

Hilarie bit her lip as she recalled her ex-boyfriend saying, "What? The baby's totally not mine, man! The whore must have cheated on me." In a quiet voice, she said, "Me neither."

Jessica put a comforting hand on Hilarie's shoulder. "If you ever want me to murder him, just say the word."

Hilarie summoned a wan smile. "Thanks."

"So…want to get lunch?"

"Yes."

Author's Note (April 29, 2014):

I won't be posting any more of this story until I get a few more reviews. Yeah, I hate to be a dick, but I want your opinions! Give me constructive criticism, tell me my story is total shit, feed my ego with compliments, et cetera! I hope to self publish this story one day, so please, if you have a spare moment, tell me if you would totally pay to read this or if I should revise/delete/totally rework this.

Thanks for reading!