Accidentally Perfect

By: Elizabeth Stevens

Chapter One


There goes the Neighbourhood.





Hadley covered my ears and glared at Tucker. “Don’t say things like that in front of the young and innocent,” she chastised and I waved her away.

“Hads,” I grumbled as I shoved her hands off me and Tucker laughed.

“Of course. My bad,” he said. “We couldn’t possibly allow Piper to know about,” he leant forwards, his hazel eyes shining, and whispered scandalously, “sex.”

Hadley put an arm around me and I gave them a friendly smile as they laughed. Because what else was I going to do? I was the innocent, virginal, sweet little Piper Barlow and my friends had decided I shouldn’t be in any rush to change myself. So they did what they called protecting me and I was plenty happy to let them.

Hadley looked at Tucker pointedly. “This is why a certain someone would be perf–”

A commotion to our right heralded Roman Lombardi staggering out of a classroom and we turned to watch Mr Dunbridge follow him. Both of them wore a scowl, although Roman’s had a hint of amused defiance about it.

As usual, Roman’s dark brown hair – shorter at the sides but longer on top – hung into his eyes, his shirt was half untucked, his tie was loose, and he carried his skateboard in one hand, his other hand a fist.

“I’m serious this time, Roman,” the School’s vice principal said as he pointed at the resident underachiever. “I catch you with it during class again and you’ll get more than detention.”

Roman held his hand up and the lighter in it flared to life. “What, this?” he asked, full of an innocence even I knew was completely fake. “This tiny little thing, Dunbridge? What do you think I’ll get up to?”

“Do you enjoy spending Friday afternoons in my company, Roman?”

That amused defiance played at Roman’s lips, but his eyes were hard and a muscle twitched in his jaw. “They’re the highlight of my week, sir.”

Mr Dunbridge sighed. “Well, consider this Friday something to look forward to.”

Roman gave him the most condescendingly mocking bow. “With pleasure, sir.” Again, he spat the word with a healthy amount of contempt.

“Get out of my sight before I kick you out, Roman,” Mr Dunbridge pointed down the hallway, clearly at the end of his tether.

“Oh, you’ve tried that three times already, Dunbridge. And, where did that get you?” Roman sneered.

Mr Dunbridge’s lip curled like he was trying to control a snarl. “Get out of here before I forget to care who your father is.”

Roman’s lip twitched but it wasn’t pleasant. “Oh, but it’s so much easier not to care, sir. Trust me, I’d know.” He threw Mr Dunbridge a completely insincere smile and whirled on his heel.

As he passed the three of us, he gave us a once over with the laziest unimpressed expression as his eyes raked us up and down. We watched him stalk out of the building as he reached into his blazer pocket.

Mr Dunbridge threw us a terse grimace masquerading as a smile before he went back into the classroom and closed the door.

Tucker snorted and Hadley smiled.

“Well, I was just thinking we hadn’t had nearly enough Roman drama this week,” Hadley commented.

Tucker smirked. “I heard Shayla’s still a lovely burnt orange under something like five layers of makeup.”

I hid a smile.

The week before, Roman and his mates had broken into the girls’ locker room and replaced all of Shayla and her clones’ moisturisers with the darkest shade of tanning lotion. I might not have liked Shayla and the idea of her being orange might have been humorous, but even that failed to detract from the fact that anyone could be the next target of one of their pranks.

“Leave poor Shayla be,” Hadley said with a grin.

“Oh, come on. She deserved it, at least.”

“That’s beside the point. How would you like to be orange?”

Tucker smiled to me. “I’m pretty sure I could pull off orange.”

“You’d look like an oompa loompa.”

“I’d make a better oompa loompa than Shayla. She’s far too grumpy.” He pouted playfully.

Hadley giggled. “Not funny.”

“Very funny. Maybe we should convince them to put Nair in the shampoo next time?”

“Stop it!” Hadley said as she covered her mouth with her hand.

“Piper, tell her. Shayla wouldn’t look anything like an angry Dwayne Johnson if she was bald, would she?”

I managed to control my smile, but Hadley responded before I could open my mouth.

“Don’t corrupt her, you arse.” She batted Tucker’s arm.