Cheerleading Can Be Murder (Horror High #1)(3)

By: Carissa Ann Lynch

“Watch it, bitch!” came a nasally voice, and I instantly knew it was one of the Triple Ts, specifically the head T—Tasha. I recovered from the push and adjusted my bag, trying to ignore the flush of embarrassment dotting my cheeks.

In middle school, I’d attended a few of the high school games so I knew what Tasha looked like. Unbelievably, she looked even prettier up close. She stood in front of me now, hands on her hips haughtily, with her clan standing as back up behind her. I wasn’t in the mood for this. I pushed her back with my shoulder, moving forward through the hallway.

“See you at tryouts today,” I shouted over my shoulder, and I couldn’t believe the words as they were coming out of my mouth. Challenging Tasha Faraday was a mistake—anyone with half a brain knew that. She pretty much ruled the school. Tasha chuckled behind me, its echo following me down the hallway.

“Don’t waste your time, sweetheart. You don’t have a chance in hell of making the squad. Right?” she said, riling up her surrounding comrades. I glanced back, recognizing T2 and T3, Tally and Teresa. I also noticed Monika standing behind them in the shadows. Tally and Teresa giggled at Tasha’s insult, but Monika glanced down at her shoes apologetically.

By the time I reached Sydney, my blood was still boiling from the confrontation. Sydney was wearing a horrified expression on her face. “You didn’t,” she hissed, her voice barely above a whisper.

“Oh, screw Tasha. She doesn’t scare me.” I stuck out my chin defiantly. I reminded myself to keep my head up as we headed to the end of the lunch line.

Sydney told me about her first three classes as we waited in line, trays in hand. I wasn’t very hungry, and honestly, I was barely listening to her. All I could think about were Tasha’s words, and how I had to somehow prove the Triple Ts wrong.

“Dakota, are you even listening?” Sydney nudged my shoulder playfully.

“I’m sorry. I just have a lot on my mind,” I admitted guiltily.

“Tryouts.” She nodded sympathetically. “I’m worried about them too.”

Sydney probably was nervous for tryouts, but I suspected that her worries came nowhere near mine. I couldn’t seem to think of anything else.

“There he is,” Sydney mumbled, rolling her eyes. I didn’t have to look. I already knew who she meant. It was Ronnie Becklar, my one-time boyfriend and the biggest heartbreaker of all time. He entered the lunchroom with a strut, dressed in skinny black jeans and a stupid faded t-shirt. He didn’t give me a passing glance, but that was no real surprise.

Ronnie and I started dating in eighth grade. I should have known it was too good to be true because he was so popular, and I was so…well, unpopular. It started with him passing flirty notes in math class. He told me I was pretty and asked for my phone number. Even after we officially became boyfriend and girlfriend, I quickly realized that he liked to flirt with all of the girls, not just me. Toward the end of the school year, he became more distant.

At first, he claimed he was breaking up with me because he wanted to focus on basketball. He’d excelled at sports in middle school, and just like with me and cheerleading, this was his time to shine as a varsity player at Harrow High. But ever since he told me we were breaking up, he’d pretty much acted like I didn’t exist.

Ronnie crossed the lunchroom cheerfully, and as I followed his path, my stomach dropped. He took a seat next to his new girlfriend, who also happened to be my arch nemesis, Genevieve McDermott. Genevieve would be at tryouts today too, and I wanted to beat her out for a spot on the team for personal reasons, obviously. Namely, because although Ronnie claimed that he dumped me because he needed to focus on sports, I knew the real reason—he dumped me for Genevieve.

Genevieve was a freshman like me, and we’d been cheering together and competing against each other since the first grade talent show. She had bleached blonde hair, cut in a totally cute and trendy bob. Let’s face it—with that hair, she’d look perfect standing next to the Triple Ts on the sidelines. She also had a perfectly sized chest, pearly white teeth, and flirtatious green eyes surrounded by the longest lashes I’d ever seen. She had a reputation for stealing other girls’ boyfriends, and I knew she would soon grow tired of Ronnie, moving on to her next victim. Somehow, that thought was comforting.

Genevieve was cozied up at her table with Ronnie and her bestie, Mariella. Mariella was a buxom redhead with long, flowing curls and a freckly, pert nose that actually made her look sweet. That was until she opened her loud, gossiping mouth. Genevieve was busy fawning over Ronnie but Mariella, being the bitchy sidekick that she always was, glared right at me. She flashed a triumphant smile, obviously happy to see her best friend getting one over on me.

“I can’t wait to wipe that smile off her face. Off all their faces…” I grumbled to Sydney through clenched teeth.

We found an open spot at a nearby table and plopped down our trays. Sitting down, I caught a glimpse at an overhead clock. Tick tock. It was almost twelve-thirty. Only two and a half hours to go until tryouts. We’ll see who Ronnie wants to be with when I get a spot on the team and Genevieve doesn’t, I thought, prying open my milk carton angrily.

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