You've read the prologue. Now read the remainder of Chapter One - Enjoy
Present Day . . .
The sound of the school bell echoed throughout the halls of McKinley High School. Roxanne Summers watched in amusement as students rushed by her, trying to get to class on time. She smirked, turning her attention to the small mirror that hung inside her locker door. She pouted, staring at her long black hair and its blunt fringe that fell across her forehead. She really needed it cut. She reached for her make-up bag, pulling out her lipstick when a hand landed on her shoulder.
Roxanne turned and found herself face to face with her friend, Gavin Strick. She should have known it was him from the gravely voice. Sighing, she reapplied her lipstick, blotting her lips with a tissue to get rid of the excess. "Hey, Gavin. What's up?"
"Oh the usual. Lights, sky, the school roof, my cock."
Roxanne rolled her eyes, tossing the tissue into her locker. Gavin reached past her, pulling her lipstick out. "Forbidden Passion?" he said, reading the label on the bottom of the tube. "Why don't they just call it black? That's what it is, right?"
She took the small tube back from him and placed it into her make-up bag. "I don't know. Maybe it adds a certain mystery," she told him, shrugging her shoulders. She studied her eyes. One seemed darker then the other. She turned to Gavin and asked his opinion. He shrugged. "They look the same to me," he replied. Roxanne studied her eyes once more. Her right eye was definitely darker. She pulled out her eyeliner and began to circle her left eye repeatedly. Gavin watched with interest, his shaggy black hair falling across his eyes. "So, you heading to the Lair tonight?" he asked, pushing his hair back.
"Hell yeah. Minx are playing tonight. Tay and I wouldn't miss them for the world," she answered, putting her eyeliner back and closing her locker door. Gavin grinned, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. "Razor. I thought you'd be into it," he said, reaching into the pocket of his jeans to produce two tickets. "I got premo seating for the event, but I only scored two tickets."
Roxanne snatched one ticket from his hand, grinning. "What Taylor doesn't know won't hurt her," she said, teasingly.
"Oh look. If it isn't Doom and Gloom."
Gavin and Roxanne turned around to see the five most popular students approaching them. Jonathan Rambert, Eric Wright, Carter Phillips, Ariella Saunders and Dawn Simpson. The Snob Squad as Roxanne liked to refer to them as. "Don't you two losers have some blood to drink or something," Jon, the so-called leader, asked. Eric started laughing like it was the funniest insult in the history of the universe and slapped Jon a high-five.
Roxanne rolled her eyes. "Wow, a twit with a wit. Did you think of that one by yourself, Jon, or did one of your moronic goons think of it for you?"
Jon's eyes darkened as he narrowed them. Roxanne smiled to herself, certain she could see steam escaping from his ears. She could sense he was searching for a witty comeback but was scraping the bottom of the barrel. "Freaks," he muttered after a couple of seconds had lapsed.
Ariella and Dawn smirked. "Yeah, total freaks," they said in unison, Ariella flipping her auburn colored locks over her shoulder. Jon shot her a disapproving look but said nothing.
"Wow, Jon. It must be difficult to have a girlfriend like Ariella, who's as intellectual as a house plant," Gavin teased, winking at Roxanne, as he lent against the row of lockers. He pointed at Ariella and Dawn, a glint of mischief in his eye. "It's a wonder that scientists are able to locate a single brain cell between these two."
Roxanne hid a smirk behind her hand, but her blue-green eyes lit up. She was enjoying this sparring match of wits. Jon clearly wasn't. He held his head up high. "Emo wannabes," he said, turning a sauntering down the hall with the others in tow. All except Carter.
"Hi Roxanne," he greeted, running his hand through his dark brown hair. His piercing blue eyes shone brightly but his smile was wobbly. Roxanne returned his greeting.
"I'm truly sorry about Jon and the other delinquents. They're not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier." Roxanne nodded, locking eyes with Carter. She always had a crush on him, but they were from two separate worlds. He was rich, good-looking and kind, where as she was cliche trailer trash.
As if knowing what she was thinking, Carter lent in close. "Not all rich people are snobs," he whispered, his lips brushing against her ear. "And not all people think you're a freak either. I know, I don't."
"Carter, come on!"
He turned to see Eric waving at him from the other end of the hall. He turned back to Roxanne and Gavin. "I guess I better cruise. Catch you later, Roxanne. Gavin." He started to walk off, only to turn around after a couple of feet. "For the record, you're not emo wannabes. Just unique individuals." He winked at her for good measure and began to jog down the hall, his sneakers making a thudding noise against the hard school floor.
"I think someone likes you," Gavin said, standing upright and wrapping his arm around Roxanne's shoulders. She nudged him in the ribs as hard as she could. Unfortunately for her, this only spurred Gavin's teasing on. "Mrs. Carter Phillips. Mrs. Roxanne Phillips. Foxy Roxy Phillips. It has a nice ring to it," he teased.
"Not as nice of a ring as Mrs. Gavin Strick. Mrs. Roxanne Strick. Foxy Roxy Strick," she retorted, snapping her fingers and poking her tongue out at him. Gavin's smile disappeared and was replaced by a pout. "Now, why you got to play me like that?" he asked, seeming crestfallen. Roxanne giggled. Gavin stuck his bottom lip out, pouting. "Oh come on. I know you've thought of me like that before, Gavin."
Gavin shrugged. "I've known you longer then anyone," he replied, not looking at her. "But if you tell anyone that I've thought of you standing before me in a string bikini, I'll deny it." Roxanne bumped him with her hip and sent him crashing into the row of lockers.
"Shit," he cried as the loud noised echoed throughout the hall. He grabbed her hand and took off running as one of the teachers poked their head out of the classroom.
They rounded the corner and stopped. Gavin placed his hands on his knees, panting hard. "Alright, as of now, I no longer smoke," he said, taking in deep breaths. Roxanne struggled to hold back a grin. She had heard that promise before. She tucked a stray strand of hair back into place as she scanned the empty halls. Everyone else was in class so they had full access to the school.
"Should we go to Study Hall, or just blow it off completely?" she questioned, slipping her hands into the pockets of her leather jacket. Gavin stood up and lazily scratched his chest. "Well, I do have a killer math exam next period that I do need to study for," Gavin said before bursting into laughter. Roxanne giggled. Call him whatever you want, Gavin was still the same guy she met in pre-school. His lack of order and his detest of authority hadn't changed one bit. He stopped laughing, moving towards the door. "Fuck it. I'll wing the exam anyway. I usually do."
He held open the door for her and she shimmied past him. He grinned as her body brushed lightly against his. But before he could say anything sexual, she shot him a look. Outside the air was crisp, the wind like ice. The trees were almost bare, their leaves turning shades of red and brown as the Fall slowly began to change to Winter. Roxanne loved Fall. She loved the colors of the season, the smell of burning leaves and Fall meant that her favourite holiday, Halloween, was nearing.
She shivered and hugged her body, running her hands up and down the sleeves of her leather jacket. She moved slowly towards the quad and the grassy knoll that had become theirs due to an E.Coli crisis in the cafeteria. Gavin pulled out his cigarette pack and held it open to her. "Smoke?" he questioned.
"Thanks." Roxanne sat on the grass while Gavin preferred to lay against his school bag. He held out his lighter, the flame flickering in the icy breeze. Roxanne lent in close, her cigarette igniting. She drew in a deep breath, blowing smoke out her nose.
She watched Gavin light up. "I thought you were quiting," she teased, tossing a crumpled brown leaf at him. Gavin blew a smoke ring at her and gave her a lopsided smile. "Yeah, well, not all of us have strong willpower. It's been a while since you last lit up."
She shook her head, taking a long slow drag on her smoke. "Actually, I had one before homeroom," she answered, avoiding his gaze. She had also had another two before breakfast, but he didn't need to know that. Gavin arched an eyebrow and stared at his friend. Roxanne had the most self-control of anyone he knew. He had assumed that she had quit months ago.
He stubbed out his cigarette on his arm. Roxanne watched his face contort as the burning pain fused through his body. "WTF?" she questioned, arching her eyebrow so high it was in danger of flying right of her forehead.
"Oh don't start the IM speak," he pleaded. "It's bad enough the Snob Squad do it." She pointed to the burn on his arm, not fazed by anything he just said. He sighed. "It's to help me quit," he said, wincing as he touched the fresh burn mark. "It's therapy. Every time I slip and have a smoke, I burn myself so that I won't be tempted again." She watched him pull out a can of Coke, pop the top and drain it in less then a minute. He belched loudly and dropped the cigarette butt inside.
"So, how's that working out for you?" she asked, sniffing and finishing off her smoke.
Gavin held out the can for Roxanne. "Not so good. That's the fifth one today and it's not even noon."
Roxanne shook the can, satisfied when she heard the remainder of the Coke extinguish her cigarette. "Dude, that was my fourth so you're in good company." She caught his eye and flashed a cute, impish smile. Gavin returned the grin, scooting closer to her, pulling her body into his.
She rested her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes as the sun streamed down from above them. "So, am I a freak?" she asked, breaking the silence. Gavin squinted, shielding his eyes from the sun. "A freak? Nah, Fox, you're just you. Sweet, sexy and only a little demented." She playfully punched him in the chest. Gavin rubbed his chest, pretending that it hurt. "It would be much more convincing if you weren't smiling," Roxanne told him, settling back down, her head back on his shoulder.
"What would be more convincing?"
Roxanne jumped and glanced up. Her friend Taylor Black stood before them, hands on her leather-clad hips. "That where I punched him actually hurt," Roxanne explained, sitting up. "It's hard to believe him when he's grinning like the damn Cheshire Cat."
Taylor giggled, joining them on the grass. She stretched her long, lean legs out and lent against the oak tree. Her tight leather pants left nothing to the imagination while her crop top showed off her toned features. Taylor was known for her wild style. Roxanne bit her lip, admiring Taylor's new haircut. Chin length black hair with a 70's flick style with bright pink random streaks.
"Nice hair, Tay," Gavin said, breaking Roxanne out of her thoughts. Taylor grinned and returned the compliment, a sneering expression on her face. Gavin snorted, turning his attention to an orange leaf that had floated down from the tree.
"Why can't you two just get along?" Roxanne asked. She turned her attention from Taylor to Gavin and back again. Taylor shrugged, her eyes narrowing, her cool exterior not changing. "Maybe if he wasn't such a prick, we'd get along better," she said eventually.
Gavin propped himself up on his elbow, studying Taylor, his almost black eyes darkening further. "And if she wasn't a total bitch, we could all play happy families." He flashed her a cocky grin in the process.
"Oh my God," Roxanne cried. "You're sleeping together, aren't you?"
Gavin shot her a look like she had just suggested that he skydive nude while setting his hair on fire. "What? Are you nuts? I wouldn't touch her. Lord knows where's she's been."
Taylor, in true Taylor style, lifted her middle finger to him and cocked her head to the side, smiling.
Roxanne sighed. There was no use fighting nature with these two. She laid back down, using Gavin's broad shoulder as a pillow while Taylor pulled out her sketch book. Taking out a small pencil, Taylor began drawing the two of them.
Gavin sniffed, holding his hand up to block the sun. "Stop moving," Taylor scolded, licking her plump bottom lip. Gavin gave her a mock salute which she frowned at. "Oh lighten up, Tay. You'll have wrinkles by the time you're twenty," he teased.
Taylor picked up a small twig and threw it at him. It missed, hitting Roxanne in the head. "Oww," she complained, sitting up. "Just for that, I'm not going to the Lair with you tonight."
Taylor chuckled to herself. "Doesn't matter anyway. I'm grounded and Daddy-dearest has gone all protective father on my ass. He actually barred my windows and put an external lock on my door to prevent me from sneaking out."
Gavin let out a low whistle. "Yikes. What did you do to piss him off?"
"I got caught smoking."
Gavin sat bolt right up and stared at Taylor who just seemed so nonchalant about the whole event. "Jesus, Tay. Even I'm not that bad. And I've had everything pierced."
It was Roxanne's turn to look surprised. "Everything?" she asked. Gavin wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. She could see he had his lip pierced and his eyebrow. She knew he had his tongue done because he got that the same day as she got her bellybutton done.
"Not everything, kitten," he said. "Just the lip, eyebrow, tongue, nipple and ears."
"And they let you into McKinley High?" she teased, nudging him.
"Well, his parents initially enrolled him in Summer Glen prison, but they were full," Taylor chimed in, showing off her sketch of the two of them. Gavin flipped his middle finger up at Taylor before standing. "Well, as much as I love you, Fox, I really do have a killer exam to study for. Tonight, the Lair. Eight?" Roxanne nodded, flashing him a perfect smile. "I'll be there."
Gavin smiled, clicking his fingers as he walked off. Taylor placed her sketch pad back into her bag. "You've got it bad," she commented. Roxanne turned her head, rolling her eyes. "Please," she scoffed, standing, dusting the grass off her black jeans. "I so don't." Taylor smirked, standing and adjusting her jacket. "You do. If not for Gavin, then definitely for Carter Phillips."
Roxanne bumped her friend with her hip. "No I don't. As if he would be interested in me anyway."
"I don't know about that. He's my chemistry lab partner and let me tell you something, if we spoke about chemistry as much as we talked about you, I'd be passing the class with top marks."
Twirling a strand of hair around her finger, Roxanne smiled. "He talks about me?" she asked, coyly.
"Hun, I can't get him to shut up about you."
Roxanne wrapped her arm around her friend. "Well, maybe I do have it bad. For Carter anyway."
Opening the door, Taylor grinned. "I knew you did! I could totally see it on your face. Not too mention I've slipped in your drool puddles before." Roxanne poked her tongue out. "I do not drool," she said quietly.
Taylor opened her locker and grinned. "Well, maybe not actually drooled, but there is a definite wetness, if you know what I mean." Roxanne's jaw fell open and she gasped. She was in no way a prude but, still, there was a time and place for this kind of conversation. And in the middle of a school day wasn't one of them.
"Miss Summers. Miss Black."
Roxanne jumped and turned around. Mr. Wexler, their history teacher, stood before them. "Aren't you two ladies suppose to be in class?" he asked. Roxanne lowered her eyes. "Yes, sir," she said. Taylor nodded in agreement.
Mr. Wexler smiled. "Then may I suggest you go there."
He walked off, shoving his hands into his pockets and whistling some tune to himself.
Taylor closed her locker door. "Study Hall?" she asked. Roxanne nodded. Taylor puffed her cheeks. "I got Samson and English, so I'll catch you later." She gave Roxanne a quick hug before walking off in the opposite direction.
Roxanne saunted down the hall towards her class. There was no point in going to class when they only had about ten minutes left. She rounded the corner, bumping into Carter.
"I'm so sorry," she said, bending to help him pick up some papers. "I'm such a klutz."
"A klutz, a freak and an emo wannabe. Wow, you're getting everything today, aren't you?" he said, jokingly. Roxanne blushed and handed him back some papers. "No harm done, sweetness," he said, running his hand through his hair. "You can make it up to me later."
Roxanne looked weary. "How?" she asked, closing her eyes, afraid of the answer. Probably by walking his dog, or some other thankless job, she thought glumly.
"Dinner and a movie. Tonight?"
She opened her eyes. "What? I don't think I heard you right. Dinner? With me?"
"Do you see anyone else named Roxanne?"
"To be fair, you never said my name. You called me sweetness."
Carter grinned. Trust Roxanne to call him on that. "OK, you got me. I did call you sweetness. But Roxy, I am serious. Dinner, movie? Tonight?" He sounded hopeful. Roxanne bit her lip, shaking her head. "Sorry, Carter. I'm heading to the Lair to see Minx play a set. Why don't you come with?"
"Minx? Can't say I've heard of them."
"They're a goth rock band," Roxanne explained, fumbling around in her bag. "Here, have a listen to them." She handed him over a CD. "They're pretty good."
She pushed past him, flipping her hair the same way Ariella did. She took a few steps before turning back. "Carter?" she called.
"Yeah?" He looked up at her.
"I'm going to want that CD back at some stage," she said. "Tonight, the Lair at eight, OK?"
Carter smiled and watched her walk off before turning his attention back to the CD. "It's a date," he mumbled to himself.