“You must be kidding.”
His eyebrows perched up. “I think it’s a valid question.”
Lucita’s fists clenched, knuckles white. “I’m not going to give you a hug, creep.”
Matthew sneered at her. “Really? Well, would you like to know what I think of you?”
“Go right ahead and talk. I’ll just block you out. I’ve got years of practice.”
“Enough,” said Cyrus as he stepped between them. He tried hard not to look at Lucita while she glowered at a seemingly careless Matthew.
“What exactly is your plan Matthew,” asked Lucita as she sat back down and returned to braiding her hair.
“Well, you are aware of Monday, right?”
“I have until Friday.”
“Make him wait until Monday, then.” Matthew shot her an arrogant look coupled with hatred that Silvia found more hilarious than scary.
“Fine, we’ll try.” Lucita looked up at him and smiled. “You may continue unless that is all you have to this brilliant and masterful plan.”
“You just never know when to shut up, do you.”
“Matthew!” yelled Cyrus, fist clenched. His friend looked at him briefly, then shrugged.
“Whatever. As I was saying, April Fools Day is on Monday. Play a simple prank on him. Make the dude believe he’s got what he wants, which is you for some reason, and they’ll go get your boyfriend to come and rescue you, plain and simple.”
“Hardly.” Lucita could see several flaws in the plan.
“I’ve got a question,” prompted Rebecca as she stepped forward. “How exactly is her boyfriend supposed to save her?”
“You tell him.” Matthew looked at Lucita in a way that made her skin crawl. “Get Blake to think you want more to happen than you actually want. If he’s as big of a creep as Cyrus says, he’ll take the bait easily, don’t ya think?”
“He’ll fall for it,” stated Jason stepping beside Cyrus and separating Lucita and Matthew. “He likes her a lot. He’ll fall for it and hate her afterward but let’s see, Lu, do you care?” She shook her head. “Thought so.”
“So that’s it,” commented Silvia. She didn’t like how Matthew looked at Lucita, maneuvering himself on his feet to see around Jason and Cyrus. Vee decided quickly that she didn’t like him and wanted him gone. Whatever pain he had caused Luci once, Silvia would not let it happen again. She wouldn’t let some jerk hurt her friend.
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“And you couldn’t have just told Cyrus to tell me this?” Lucita stood up and met his gaze evenly. She stared at him, her anger bubbling just beneath the surface.
“Well, you know, I wanted to see you. You weren’t pretty in middle school, and now look at you! You’re hot! It’s amazing!.”
“You’re a pig.”
“And you’re a stalker.”
“I. Am not. A stalker.” Matthew said nothing. He merely looked her up and down.
“You look way better in a bikini.”
Lucita’s eyes widened. “How the hell do you know what I look like in a bikini?”
“Cyrus had a picture on his phone.”
Lucita’s mouth dropped open. “You took a picture? And you let him see!”
“Yeah, I know, not one of the smartest things I’ve done.”
“Don’t freak, Lu, it’s nothing to worry about. You should be flattered.”
Matthew shrugged and stuffed his hands in his pockets as he walked away. “Suit yourself, Stalker Girl.”
Every fiber of her being screamed for her to charge at him and tackle him to the ground. Her eyes were wide, her nostrils flared, and her fists clenched. She held back. She would not give him the satisfaction.
Cyrus looked back at Lucita to find her feral gaze trained on Matthew. He sighed, making his way out of the pool ahead with Matthew.
“Girl is psycho.”
“Why the hell do you have to be such an asshole to her.”
“Because . . . hmm, I guess I just don’t like her.”
“You don’t even know her.”
“And I don’t care to.” Cyrus was disgusted with his so-called friend. He couldn’t understand why he insisted on treating Lucita like crap.
“I don’t buy that bull, Matthew. What’s the real reason that you’re helping her.”
Matthew shrugged. “There really isn’t a reason.”
Cyrus was fed up. He grabbed Matthew by the collar of his shirt and slammed him into the wall. Matthew eyed him, annoyed.
“I am sick and tired of your shit Matthew. Cut the crap and stop being such a freaking asshole.”
“How about you look in a mirror. You treated Luci just as badly. You aren’t better than me. I may have screamed in her face, but you are the one who slapped her; oh, how many times exactly. I never really counted after three. So how about you get off your soap box and take your hands off me.” Matthew shoved him back and pulled out his cell phone to call his mother. Cyrus resisted the urge to punch Matthew in the gut. Instead, he leaned against the wall and listened to Matthew talk to his mother. Matthew was right. Cyrus had been as much of a jerk to Lucita, if not more so. Not his best years.
“My uncle is apparently still in the neighborhood. It’ll be about fifteen minutes. He stopped to pick up some groceries.”
“Yeah. Let’s go back and spend time with Lucita.”
“Move an inch, and I will beat you to the ground.” Matthew rolled his eyes and leaned against the opposite wall.
“You used to be more fun in middle school.”
Lucita resisted the urge to go on after Matthew and take him on. She resigned to telling herself that he was not even worth the effort.
“Well, that was . . . interesting?” Rebecca made her way next to Lucita and placed a comforting hand on her arm. It was obvious that he got under her skin.
“That guy does not seem nice at all,” said Silvia crossing her arms.
“He’s not.” Lucita turned around and grabbed her bag. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow.” She waved goodbye and walked off. Silvia noted how Jason looked at her as she walked away and shared a secretive worried look with Rebecca.
“I’ll see you guys later.” Jason walked off, and Silvia and Rebecca were left waving at his back.
Lucita sat there nervously, waiting between classes for Blake. Her heart was racing. Lucita took another peek at her watch. She only had three minutes left until the bell rang. Where was Blake or Jason (she hoped for Jason)? She looked to her left and skimmed the crowd, rising on her tiptoes, keeping a hand on the wall for balance. No sign of either. Lucita turned around and almost fell over, caught off guard. Tiffany’s big green eyes stared back at her, fierce.
“Hello, Lucita. You look scared.”
“Startled, actually. You caught me off guard.” Lucita stood back, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. She noted how fake the smile was on her face.
“Aw, I’m sorry. Next time I’ll cough or something.”
“Sure, whatever.” Lucita looked at her watch and then peeked over Tiffany’s shoulders.
“Who are you waiting for?”
“None of your business.”
“That’s not a nice way to talk to your friend.”
Lucita stared at her like she was insane. “We aren’t friends.”
“Really? Well, that’s hurtful.”
“Even if that statement were true, I still wouldn’t be sorry.” Lucita looked at her watch for the fourth time. “I gotta go. Class is far more entertaining than our stupid banter.” Lucita winked goodbye and took off. Approaching her finally was Jason.
“What the hell took you so long?”
“Sorry, got distracted. So yeah, Monday, everything is set.”
“Great! I think.”
“It’s about fifty-fifty.”
“Let’s go with that.” She looked at her watch. “I gotta run, and you should do the same. Later!” Lucita ran off, dodging this person and that. She entered her classroom the moment the bell rang. Her phone vibrated as she took her seat. On the screen was a number that she didn’t recognize. When she read the text, she knew exactly who it was and thought about deleting it briefly. Her finger lingered over the button until she changed her mind and started texting a reply. This time she would be the player instead of the toy.
Silvia sat in Biology, taking notes. Her day had started out well enough, but for a while now, an uneasiness was growing in her stomach. Something terrible was going to happen. The fire bell rang, and everyone jerked and jeered. It was just a drill. No fires had ever been reported at this school. Not in the past few years, anyway.
Silvia grabbed her bag, feeling unsafe leaving it behind. She was glad to be getting out of class. But waiting out there in the hot sun, she hated it. She made her way to Elizabeth, who looked different than usual. Instead of emanating a putrid dark persona, she looked happy and thrilled. Even her eyes lit up when she saw Silvia.
“Hi,” she began cautiously. “Are you okay?”
“It’s nothing. Something about you seems off.”
Elizabeth grinned. “Well, that’s because Jason finally asked me out.”
“Whoa, really. That’s great!” Silvia was happy for her, but she was more worried. Lately, Jason seemed more into someone else entirely and was, despite all sense, Blake’s best friend.
“Yeah, me too. To tell you the truth, I didn’t think he would ever ask me out, though.”
“Honestly?” Silvia nodded, wondering if her assumption was the same as her own. “Okay, well, I was beginning to think that he had a thing for Lucita. Whenever we hung out, like at the skate park or something, he would talk about her a lot. About how worried he was about her, and stuff like that.”
“Yeah, well, now you know that he likes you. Aren’t you glad?”
“Yeah.” Elizabeth smiled like a normal person for once and began texting Jason with a bright grin on her face. Silvia was weirded out.
“Hey guys,” chimed a bright voice. Silvia and Elizabeth turned to see Rebecca making her way to them. She looked at Elizabeth strangely.
“Liz, are you okay?”
“She’s fine. Jason just finally asked her out. She’s dating him now.”
“Thanks for just putting it out there, Silvia.” Silvia rolled her eyes.
“That’s great, Liz!” Rebecca gave them the fakest smile Silvia had ever seen. Elizabeth, of course, didn’t even notice.
“Hey, I’m gonna go look for Jason. Later.” After Elizabeth was out of earshot, Silvia gave Rebecca a stern look.
“Spill, what’s up?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about.”
Rebecca sighed. “Yeah, I know. Jason, well, you’ve noticed, right?”
“That he has a thing for Lucita. Oh yeah. Dude couldn’t be more obvious.”
“Exactly.” Rebecca pulled out her phone.
“We can’t tell Lucita. She’s got enough on her plate to worry about.”
“And more so. She just texted me. Matthew is texting her.”
“Seriously? That guy has serious issues. He calls her a stalker, and now he’s cyberstalking her. Dude is wacked.” Both girls laughed just a bit at the irony until a cold voice froze their spines.
“Hello, girls. I hope I didn’t spook you.” Tiffany smiled at each of them, her hair curled and sleek, perfectly manicured hands on her hips.
“What do you want now,” asked Rebecca.
“What is wrong with people today! Everyone is being so mean to me. First Lucita, now you guys. Even Jason was a jerk.”
“It’s real simple, Tiffany, you’re a bitch, and no one likes you.” Silvia smiled and tightened her grip on her bag straps.
“Oh, haha, how very funny. What Blake saw in you, I’ll never know.”
“What do you want, Tiffany,” asked Rebecca again.
“How nice of you to ask Becca! Okay, hmm, where to begin. Oh, who cares. Tell Lucita to dump Lucas and leave Blake alone. Okay? Good. See ya around!” Tiffany half skipped half and strolled away. Rebecca looked to Silvia for confirmation.
“So do we tell her?”
“Hell no. Tiffany can shove all that crap up her butt.”
New Girl (Memoirs of the Third Floor #1)
Lucita is starting at a new school. Silvia is keeping a secret. Rebecca is struggling with herself. Three girls and their friends have entered high school, and for each of them, it’s hard enough without having to deal with friends, betrayal, and their insecurities. High School is tough enough without having to be the new girl.
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