Cheerleading Can Be Murder (Horror High #1)(9)

By: Carissa Ann Lynch

“No piercings,” she added, staring directly at Amanda’s eyebrow piercing. “No tattoos, either.”

“Now as far as practice is concerned, I will be dividing all of you into three groups to learn a group routine. I will make sure that at least one of our veterans is in each group, as they will be helping to lead you,” she said, glancing at Monika and the Triple Ts fondly. Already, I sensed her favoritism for the veterans, but I bit my tongue.

“We’ll spend today and tomorrow learning the group cheer. On Wednesday, I’ll teach each of you an individual cheer. On Thursday, we will review our individual and group cheers. Friday will be the actual tryouts. Group routines will go first, and then each girl will perform their individual routine. Next Monday, I will announce the six chosen, and the alternate. In addition to learning our routines this week, we will be running a mile every day at the end of practice. If you want to be on this team, then you must prove to me that you’re in shape. Any questions?”

I had a million, but I didn’t dare raise my hand. Hard work didn’t scare me, but I simply couldn’t believe I’d have to wait an entire week to find out if I made the team. What a bummer!

“I have a question, Coach Davis.” Tasha leaned her head to the side, staring at her bitchy sidekicks. “Which of these freshmen will I be leading in the group routine?” she asked, looking around at the likes of us.

The sideways glance Coach Davis gave her revealed to me that she might not be as fond of Tasha as I thought. Perhaps I have a shot at beating out the veterans after all, I thought, perking up in my seat.

“Keep listening and you’ll learn the answer.” She gave Tasha a stern look.

“First, I will teach the four veterans the cheer, and then I will divide you up into three groups. The veteran girls will then be responsible for teaching their other team members the routine. While I’m teaching Tasha, Tally, Teresa, and Monika, I expect the rest of you to stretch and begin practicing your jumps.”

We all nodded dutifully and got down on the floor for stretching. Coach Davis led the veterans to the other side of the gym. Girls were chattering, but I was too nervous, and too focused, to engage in small talk right now. I have to learn this group routine perfectly tonight, and please, please, please don’t let me be on Tasha’s team, I prayed. After smarting off to her earlier today, I felt certain she would find a way to screw me up on the routine if she had the chance.

After Coach Davis taught the veterans the routine, they all returned to the center of the floor, where the rest of us were stretching and doing jumps. Already, I’d noticed that Brittani and Sydney had the highest toe touches and spread-eagles in the bunch. Something else I would have to work on…

“Line up, girls!” Coach Davis puffed on her whistle, causing my ears to ring.

We did as we were told, forming a straight line. I knew she was getting ready to announce the group routine teams, so I took a deep breath and childishly crossed my fingers behind my back.

“The first team will consist of Tasha, Genevieve, Ashleigh, and Sydney.” Sydney was my BFF, but I couldn’t help thinking—better her than me. Being on a team with Tasha and Genevieve would have been unbearable!

“The second team will consist of Tally, Mariella, and Monika. And the last team will consist of everyone who is left—Teresa, Brittani, Amanda, and Dakota.”

Although I didn’t like being with one of the Ts or Principal Barlow’s daughter, I was glad to be with Amanda, and relieved that I’d avoided the two worst girls in the group. We immediately broke off into our groups and spread out to opposite areas of the gym. My team chose an area close to the locker room. Genevieve and Tasha’s group took the center of the floor, of course, while the last team headed off to the far right corner.

I caught Sydney’s eye as she trailed behind Genevieve and Tasha. She looked miserable. Ashleigh was on their team too, and she was wearing an expression to match Sydney’s. No doubt those two snotty blondes would do everything in their power to outshine Ashleigh and Sydney. I felt so bad for them.

Coach Davis brought each team a compact disc player, and we went to work, learning the routine to music. Teresa demonstrated the entire routine for us while we sat on the floor, studying her moves. It was a complex set of dance movements, cheer motions, and jumps that ended with a basic lift. I could learn the routine…I just needed to learn how to do it better than everyone else.

Chapter Seven

Even though Teresa was one of the evil Ts, she turned out to be, much to my delight, quite a terrific teacher. By the time Coach Davis blew her whistle, everyone on my team knew most of the routine by heart. We were competing as individuals, but in order for this group routine to turn out well, we all had to work together and stay in sync.

Brittani had no problem learning the routine, and Amanda’s skills blew me away. She honestly looked like she’d been cheering for years, instead of the beginner she truly was. She even knew how to do a back handspring, though she’d had no formal gymnastics training. I thought about all the years of classes and practicing I’d invested, and couldn’t help but feel slightly resentful toward her natural abilities.

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