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~ SNEAK PEEKS...Just for YOU! ~
“Ohmygod, I just heard the news! I can’t believe it! I’m soooo happy for you…and a little jealous, but that’s okay. Tell me everything. I want to hear every detail! I may never have a fairytale moment like this, so I’ll just live vicariously through you!” Serena was talking a mile a minute and practically vibrating with excitement.
Mylee looked thoroughly confused, but before she got a chance to question Serena, Lilith stormed over, threw her tray on the table, spun around to Mylee and Serena, and seethed, “How could you?!”
Ty wasn’t quite sure whether she was addressing Mylee or Serena. By the looks on their faces, they didn’t seem to know, either.
“How could we what?” Serena ventured.
“Not we. You!” Lilith yelled, pointing at Mylee. She was now shaking, and tears were welling in her eyes.
“I don’t understand,” Mylee said. “I don’t know what I did. Whatever it was, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t ever intentionally do anything to make you feel bad,” she soothed.
“No. You don’t even have to try, do you?” Lilith bit back. “You just flounce your way through life throwing that perfect hair around, batting those perfect eyes, and smiling that perfect smile; and the boys just fall all over you.”
“What?! No, they—Lil, I don’t understand. What are you talking about?”
“Oh, puh-leez! You know exactly what I’m talking about! You were so convincing the other day, too,” Lilith said with a bitter laugh and shake of her head, “telling me you weren’t interested in Sam, that you wouldn’t do anything to get in my way of trying to date him, that you respected me as a friend too much to let some boy come between us!” Tears were streaming down Lilith’s face, leaving behind two little faint black mascara tracks.
“And I meant every word I said!”
Ty felt like he was at a tennis match, his head was whipping back and forth between the girls so fast.
“Then why would you go behind my back and agree to go to Homecoming with Sam?! You know what? I don’t even want to hear any more of your lies.” Lilith grabbed her tray, dumped her entire lunch in the trash—a shame, because it was a chicken-nugget-and-French-fries day, and Ty could have totally taken those off her hands—then returned the tray to the kitchen on her way out.
“Homecoming? I didn’t agree to go to Homecoming with anyone. I thought we were all going to go together,” Mylee said to nobody in particular, looking thoroughly confused.
“Yes, you did,” Serena contradicted. “Addison Clark texted me about it in Health class, who said she saw it on an Instagram post from Sarah Adams, who’s dating one of Sam’s linemen; so she’s a pretty good source. And I don’t know how to feel right now because I’m super excited for you, but I didn’t know Lil felt that way about Sam! Although…with those hurtful things she just spat at you, I’m not really sure I know how I feel about Lilith anymore, either.”
“Well, now you have an even better source,” Mylee said, anger spilling forth in her tone. “Listen closely. I never told Sam I’d go to Homecoming with him!”
Ty nearly fell off his chair in relief.
“Well we’re in the Twilight Zone, then, because your name has already been added to the ballot for Homecoming Queen,” Serena assured Mylee. “I’ve even gone on Facebook and cast my vote! And if you go with Sam, you’re practically a shoo-in for the title! Are you sure you didn’t talk to Sam about Homecoming? Maybe you were distracted and agreed without knowing it, like when I ask my mom if it’s okay to take twenty dollars out of her purse when she’s in the middle of typing an email and she just gives me the I’m-not-really-listening-to-you-but-I-don’t-want-to-be-a-bad-mom-and-seem-like-I’m-ignoring-you ‘M-hmm’?”
“No. I think I’d remember talking with Sam about going to Homecoming!”
“Well, who cares how we got here, anyway? My! Think about it! The hottest, most popular guy in the whole high school—maybe even in the entire history of the high school—is apparently taking you—a mere freshman—to Homecoming! I can see it now: You’re going to be the most stunning Homecoming King and Queen to ever grace the stage! So romantic!” Serena was on a roll.
Ty wanted to shove a dinner roll in her mouth. Before he could say anything, though, the devil, himself, sauntered over to their table. “Mylee! Can I talk to you for a minute?” Without waiting for a response, Sam pulled Mylee by the arm over to a corner and began quietly talking with her.
What was Sam saying? Why hadn’t Mylee slapped him across the face yet? Her knee was perfectly poised to do some serious harm to his groin. Why wasn’t Sam doubled over in pain yet? Every passing second felt like an eternity, and Ty didn’t know how many more torturous ticks of the clock he could take. Then the situation got even worse. The bell rang. Lunch was over. Sam was walking out of the cafeteria, still in deep conversation with Mylee, and Ty hadn’t had the chance to say a single word to her.
* * * * * *
D.J. carefully followed her map from her Language Arts class to the cafeteria. She was proud of herself for only having made one wrong turn along the way. She joined the serving line and looked around for her new friends. She found them at a table in a corner. May waved excitedly at her.
When she made her way to the table, May patted the seat next to her, just like she had on the bus, while simultaneously speaking passionately to Payton and Lexi. “…I know, right? It was so cool! Now we know that we should always have three DPS, two healers, and one tank on attack. And when it’s defense we should have two, two, and two. Hey, you guys want to know what I got in my loot boxes?”
“Oh yeah; I got loot boxes, too,” Lexi chimed in.
“Yeah, I did, too,” agreed Payton in the borderline-bored tone D.J. was coming to know well.
“But I got a legendary,” May bragged. “It was Mercy’s Devil skin!”
“No fair! I’ve wanted that skin for so long!” Lexi whined good-naturedly. A smile quickly spread on her face, though. “Well, know how it’s the Lunar Event? I got Tracer’s Rose skin!”
D.J. looked around, wondering if she had somehow stumbled into another dimension. The words being spoken around her appeared to be in English, but she couldn’t understand a single thing.
“Oooo…that one’s super pretty!” gushed May.
“Okay, I got the best skins of all time,” stated Payton with conviction. “I got two legendaries in one loot box. I got Widowmaker’s Odile skin and Mei’s Lunar Event Luna skin!”
It was the most excited statement D.J. had heard Payton make. She wanted to be excited for her new friend but had no idea what she was trying to be excited for.
“Uh…no fair!” protested Lexi. “Widowmaker’s my main!”
“No way!” May disputed. “I think you proved to us last night that your main is so Genji!”
“I guess you’re right,” Lexi conceded with a shrug and a smirk, “since we won all five games!”
May and Lexi performed a complex high-five/hand shake move that included bizarre sound effects, hair whipping, and hands flying around so fast D.J. could barely follow them. She looked from one girl to the next as she bit into her burrito, wondering if she had been mistaken with her alternate-dimension theory. Maybe something nefarious had spiked the chocolate milk the girls were drinking, and they were suffering temporary insanity. …Or maybe it wasn’t even temporary. She made a mental note to avoid the milk, just in case.
“So, D.J.—” Payton attempted to include her in the conversation. “You a gamer? Into Overwatch?”
“Uh…no, I guess not. What’s Overwatch?”
“OMG!” May exclaimed. “Only the best FPS ever!”
“What’s a…what was it? F—P— what?”
“First-person shooter,” Payton clarified. “So, you haven’t played Overwatch, but you do have an Xbox, right?”
“Uh…no,” D.J. admitted, getting the distinct feeling that maybe she should be embarrassed by that fact, judging by three sets of disbelieving eyes all staring at her.
“That’s okay,” May consoled after a moment of apparent stunned silence. “You’re really close to my house, so you can always come over to play with me!”
“Oh…okay,” D.J. agreed, although she didn’t know how excited she really was at the idea of playing video games. She had always preferred outdoor play to screen time. She didn’t want to seem disagreeable with her new friends, though, so she kept that thought to herself. “Hey, do any of you have Mr. Steele next period?” she asked, trying to move to a more comfortable subject.
“Nooo…” all three girls said at the same time with grave faces and slow shakes of their heads. D.J. cocked her head, wondering about the dire mood change.
“Sorry,” Payton spoke up, answering D.J.’s silent question. “We don’t have him for science. He’s…well, not to stress you out or worry you—” She leaned in, speaking in a conspiratorial tone, as she looked around as if to see who might hear her “—But we’ve heard he’s a real hard ass.”
D.J. noted the slow nods of agreement and frowns of pity from May and Lexi.
“Don’t worry.” May put her arm around D.J.’s shoulders in support. “Maybe…maybe every single seventh grader we’ve ever talked to has been wrong about him.”
D.J. looked down at her burrito, wondering if she should even attempt another bite, since her stomach was—once again—beginning to revolt.
Taking note of D.J.’s pointed look at her lunch, Lexi asked, “Hey, did you know the word burrito means “little donkey” in Spanish?”
That mental image threw D.J. over the edge. She pushed her lunch tray aside.