Cheerleading Can Be Murder (Horror High #1)(6)

By: Carissa Ann Lynch


Getting on your Spanish teacher’s shit list on the first day of high school was never a good idea. Too late.

“No sir.” I offered a tight, apologetic smile. He turned back around to the whiteboard and when he did, I heard a melodic giggle coming from the back. How did I miss that poof of red hair and glittering eyes in the back of the room? It was Mariella, Genevieve’s best friend.

I shot a dirty look over my shoulder, and then tried to focus on the droning sound of Mr. Thompson’s voice for the remainder of the period. When the class bell rang, I was more than a little relieved. How was I going to make it through an entire school year filled with such boring classes?

School won’t be so bad if you’re a varsity cheerleader, I reminded myself.

Ronnie played forward on the basketball team. Perhaps if he saw me on the sidelines in one of those cute little skirts, showing off my cheerleading moves, he’d want me back, I considered. Even though I wanted him to want me back, I didn’t plan on giving him the time of day when he did. He crushed me, simple as that. All I wanted was an opportunity to return the favor.



***



After spending an hour in a class with one of my enemies and a teacher who now hated my guts, I was relieved to see Sydney and Amanda standing right inside the doorway of the gymnasium, which was where Phys Ed was held. In less than two hours, I would return to this exact place for cheerleading tryouts. Thinking about it made me nervous and excited all at the same time.

Amanda and Sydney were waiting for me, and I enjoyed seeing my two friends together, getting along even though they’d just met. “What’s up, girls?” I hoped they didn’t hear the quiver in my voice.

I took a deep breath, tagging along behind my two friends, who were headed to the girls’ locker room to change into their gym clothes. I wasn’t a big fan of getting sweaty before tryouts had even begun, and I could only hope that we wouldn’t be doing anything too physical on our first day. Cheerleading requires a great deal of athleticism, but I wasn’t crazy about sports involving a ball.

We found a spot to change in the far left corner of the locker room, and I retrieved my pair of gym shorts and a plain white t-shirt out of my backpack. It was stuffed to the gills with my athletic wear for tryouts, a handful of hair accessories, my toothbrush, and a small bag of makeup. I planned on fixing up before tryouts. For now, I turned my back to the others and began stripping out of my jeans and Harrow High t-shirt.

I was seriously modest for several reasons. For one, I was short and slightly chubby. You know those girls with the flat, perfect abs? Well, I’ll never be one of those girls. And despite my small, curvaceous figure, I’d never had much of a chest. I couldn’t help feeling a little ripped off somehow.

I quickly yanked my t-shirt over my head and shimmied my hips into the tiny gym shorts. I kept my eyes down, avoiding the other girls with their nicely toned, athletic physiques. Suddenly, a high-pitched giggle rang out in the locker room. This time it was coming from the queen bee—Queen Bitch is more like it—herself, Genevieve. She was standing in a row of other girls, pointing right at me. I didn’t know what she was saying and I wasn’t sure I even wanted to know.

I threw my backpack into the locker and jogged out to the gym floor, keeping my eyes on the laces of my gym shoes. I hit a brick wall. Only, it wasn’t a wall, it was Ronnie.

“Are you okay, Dakota?” He looked down at me with genuine concern.

“I’m fine.” The corners of my lips curved into a smile despite my better judgement. Ronnie had this effect on me. It was the first time he’d looked at me or spoken to me since he’d broken things off at the end of last year. Memories of our short, but sweet relationship came flooding back. He smiled back slightly, and we seemed to be having a moment. Tucking my hair behind my ears nervously, I opened my mouth to speak…

But then I was interrupted by the whipping motion of a bleached blonde ponytail, and a body cutting right between us. It was Genevieve, of course.

Go figure that the one class I have with Ronnie is also the class that I share with Genevieve. That is just my luck on a day like today.

“I’m so glad we’re in Phys Ed together, Pooky Bear!” she squealed, grabbing his forearm and leading him off toward the center of the floor. Pooky Bear? So disgusting!

“Maybe, if we have time, I’ll show you some of my cheerleading moves before tryouts!” she bragged, looking back at me smugly.

At that moment, I wished I had an egg to throw at her glittery, perfectly made up, fake-tanned face. But since this was a gymnasium and not a chicken coop, I headed out to the middle of the gym floor, trying to shake it off.

I saw the net and bundles of balls on each side, and I realized we were playing dodge ball. Another internal groan. Sydney and Amanda jogged over to my side of the net, and we all began stretching our arms and hamstrings. I couldn’t keep myself from glancing through the mesh onto the other side of the court. Genevieve and Ronnie were still hanging all over each other. Barf.

Our gym teacher, Ms. Lancioni, strolled into the gym, balancing a dodge ball in her right hand and holding a turquoise-colored whistle in the other. In a deep, gravelly voice, she explained the rules of the game, informing my team that it was our turn to throw first. At the sound of her whistle, it was time to throw down.

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