Liar Liar(4)

By: L A Cotton

“It'll get easier,” a voice said, and my head craned up to find Math guy watching me intently. That was all I could call him since he still hadn't formally introduced himself, even though we had a handful of classes together.

“Is it always like this?” I mumbled, still in shock. There’d been the odd fight at my old school, but the teachers were always quick to intervene. Most of me wanted to believe his words, but a small part of me wondered if I’d ever fit in here. He seemed immune to the fight happening at the end of the hallway.

Disappearing behind his locker door, he switched out textbooks. When he closed the door, I looked at him—really looked at him. His eyes were a stormy gray color with lighter flecks interspersed. He was tall—at least a head taller than my five-foot-six—with dark hair that was mussed in that sexy just-got-out-of-bed way. As if he could read my mind, his lips tugged up in an amused smirk. “You just need to keep your head down and find your people,” he said as if he’d just given me the answers to the universe.

My face must have betrayed me because he studied me for a second, and his smirk dropped. “I’m not talking about me. Trust me.” His gaze hardened. “But not everyone in CH is a complete dick. People just tend to stick to their own. All you have to do is figure out where you belong. See you around, new girl.”

Math guy slipped into the crowd as it dispersed at the sound of the principal’s voice. I probably needed to get out of there too, but with my heart in my shoes, I was pretty much rooted to the spot. When he'd spoken to me, a part of me had hoped he might be taking pity on me. People had been less than welcoming since I arrived. No one went out of their way to be mean or anything—yet—but, in a way, that stung even more. Throwing insults and stabby looks my way would have at least meant people noticed me. At the moment, I was barely visible. Sure, I never expected it to be easy, but I didn't expect this either. Maybe Math guy was right; I just needed to find my people.

And in Montecito, my people had been the popular kids.

In a moment of fresh determination—or complete insanity—I didn't slink out of the cafeteria at lunch. Instead, I gripped my tray and weaved through the tables until I reached the last cluster at the back of the room.

“Are you lost?”

Everyone stopped talking and turned to me. It felt like the whole room had quieted. Maybe it had. Maybe this was the most stupid idea I’d ever had. But it was too late to back out now. I was here, and they were all watching me. Swallowing down the nerves clawing up my throat, I smiled and said, “Hey, I'm Becca. I just transferred to Credence.”

“We know who you are,” a dark-haired girl with a short pixie cut answered, her narrowed eyes sweeping over me. Her lips pursed as her steely gaze landed on the charm bracelet wrapped around my wrist. She looked fierce; the harsh kohl outlining her eyes matched the irritation in her voice and the black boots covering her feet. We were like polar opposites—she was intimidating and alluring in that sexy-vixen kind of way, and I looked like I was going to have afternoon tea at the Yacht Club in my cropped jeans, navy striped tee, and pristine white sneakers. What the hell was I thinking?

Ugh. I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me whole. But I couldn’t show them—her—that. Not now that I’d made my bed and entered their world. So I did the only thing I could. I met her severe glare with a brighter smile. “I wondered if I could join you for lunch?”

Sliding her foot over the chair, she leaned forward onto her knees. Not bothering to smooth out her skirt, she flashed her black panties to everyone. “Do you see any spare seats?” Her eyes moved over the tables her friends occupied, and someone snickered, causing a red flush to work its way up my neck.

I tried my best not to look at the two empty seats right in front of her. “Maybe another time.” My voice cracked, but I didn’t stick around to break down in front of them. That would have to wait until I was somewhere private like the girls’ bathroom. Clutching my tray, I spun on my heels and started walking away. As if my embarrassment wasn’t enough, she had to kill the last shred of hope I had at having any kind of social life at Credence High.

“By the way, love the outfit.” Her voice dripped with sarcasm, and I sucked in a sharp breath. Eyes set ahead, I fought the urge to throw my tray and get the hell out of there. Back in Montecito, I was popular, but I was never mean. Sure, some of our group thought being at the top of the social ladder gave them the right to do whatever the hell they wanted, but it wasn't my style. I was friends with everyone. The Pixie had looked at me as if I was nothing more than the dirt on the bottom of her boot. Way to go, Becca.