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Toxic #4: How to Make Friends in Twenty Words or Less

Feb 26, 2014

The girl I pegged as the leader had dyed black hair like satin, and nails so perfectly manicured they had to be fake. She was perched on a stool staring into a compact, a pile of makeup spread out on her lap. The girl on her left looked like Pippi Longstocking might have if she’d grown up rich: boutique jeans, crazy red curls, and freckles that weren’t quite covered by concealer. There was a third girl on the right, a Boho chick who didn’t know 2004 was over. She had to be the follower, the one who was in the group on a trial run. I could tell by the way her gaze never quite landed on my face.

“Nice hair,” Pippi said, her nose wrinkling so that her freckles turned into a dusty-looking blob.

Makeup girl glanced up from her mirror just long enough to snicker. “It’s better than her shirt. What is that?”

Pippi shrugged. “Some fangirl shirt that’s supposed to be funny?”

Makeup girl snapped her compact shut and dropped it in her bag. “She’s got to be new. I’d remember someone with that kind of unfortunate fashion sense.”

I moved to squeeze by them, but Pippi slid her bag so it was in my way. “I don’t know, Julia. Do you think she transferred from a special school? She looks like it. Maybe she doesn’t know better.”

I rubbed my scar, knowing the only way to have peace was to come back at them with something equally bitchy. Maybe after one fight they’d go away and leave me alone.

Okay, I wasn’t that stupid. I just knew when I didn’t have a choice.

“Do you have a problem?”

Miss Makeup, Julia, gave me a smile that was all lips and no teeth. “More like your shirt does. Did you get it out of a dumpster?”

I eyed her, debating how big of a bully she was. Some queen bees were all talk and no fight, cowards when it mattered. The only way to tell was to push them, which of course no one did. Except me. Because what could happen? The teacher was here. They weren’t going to throw down and break my face. “You know, I’m new to the whole bitch posse thing. Is bowing down and kissing your shoes the proper etiquette, or what?”

Her eyes narrowed. “What are you? A comedian?”

“A blogger. Horribly boring. And so cliché, right? Everyone’s got a blog these days.” I tugged down my shirt, covering my flying bats belt. I doubted these twits were followers, but I’d posted the belt on the site last week. “Look, I’m tired and not in the mood. Can we just agree to hate each other and go our separate ways?”

I took advantage of their dropped jaws to step over the redhead’s bag. Somehow I made it to the empty easel before they came up with a comeback. Of course, I had a big, imaginary target drawn on my back regardless. And from the whispers behind me, the target was there until death. Or graduation. Whichever came first.

My grandmother settled on the windowsill next to me. “That’s what you call making friends?”

I couldn’t help it. I’d had enough. “No, that’s what I call heading off a couple of bullies. Now for God’s sake, would you go away and leave me alone?”

“Sorry?” The guy at the easel in front of me dropped his charcoal and swiveled his stool around.

My mouth started up before I thought to stop it. “Ignore me. I’m just arguing with myself.”

“You do that a lot?”

I went to shrug, some snarky comment on my lips that would shut the conversation down. But my words never made it past my lips.

He wasn’t human. Not even close. So much for a supernatural-free town.

© A.M. Schilling  2014. All Rights Reserved.



Toxic: Installments