Rules of Attraction(9)

By: Simone Elkeles


“Thanks for making me super late to class for no reason,” she says, hurrying up behind me.

“Don’t blame me. Wasn’t my idea to have a babysitter. And, for the record, I can find my way around just fine on my own.”

“Really?” she asks. “Because you just passed Mr. Hennesey’s room.”

Shit.

One point for the exemplary student.

Score is 1–1. Thing is, I don’t like ties. I like to win . . . by big margins.

I can’t help but be annoyed at the flash of amusement in my peer guide’s eyes.

I step closer to her, really close. “Have you ever cut class?” I ask her, mischief and flirting laced in my voice. I’m trying to throw her off so I have the upper hand again.

“No,” she says slowly, looking nervous.

Good. I lean in even closer. “We should try it together sometime,” I say softly, then open the classroom door.

I hear her suck in a breath. Listen, I didn’t ask for a face and body girls find attractive. But thanks to the mixture of my parents’ DNA, I’ve got them, and I’m not ashamed to use ’em. Having a face Adonis would admire is one of the few advantages I’ve been given in life, and I use it to its fullest potential whether it’s for good or evil.

Kiara quickly introduces me to Mr. Hennesey, then just as quickly she’s out the door. I hope my flirting has scared her off for good. If not, I might have to try harder next time. I sit in math class and scan the room. All of the kids here look like they come from upper-class homes. This school is nothing like Fairfield, the Chicago suburb I lived in before we moved to Mexico. At Fairfield High, we had rich kids and poor kids. Flatiron High is more like one of those expensive private high schools back in Chicago, where every kid wears designer labels and drives fancy cars.

We used to make fun of those kids. Now I’m surrounded by them.

As soon as math is over, Kiara is waiting outside the classroom. I can’t believe it.

“So how was it?” she asks over the noise of everyone else rushing to their next class.

“You don’t want me to answer honestly, do you?”

“Probably not. Come on, we only have five minutes.” She weaves her way through the students. I follow behind, watching her ponytail sway like a horse’s tail with every step she takes. “Alex warned me you were a rebel.”

She ain’t seen nothin’ yet. “How do you know my brother?”

“He was one of my dad’s students. And he helps me with the car I’m restoring.”

This chica is unreal. Restoring a car? “What do you know about cars?”

“More than you,” she says over her shoulder.

I laugh. “Wanna bet?”

“Maybe.” She stops in front of a classroom. “Here’s your bio class.”

A hot chick passes us and goes in the room. She’s wearing tight jeans and an even tighter shirt. “Whoa, who was that?”

“Madison Stone,” Kiara mutters.

“Introduce me to her.”

“Why?”

Because I know it’ll annoy the shit out of you. “Why not?”

She clutches her books to her chest, almost as if they’re a shield of armor. “I can think of five reasons off the top of my head.”

I shrug. “Okay. List ’em.”

“There’s no time, the bell is about to ring. Do you think you can introduce yourself to Mrs. Shevelenko? I just remembered I forgot my French homework in my locker.”

“You better hurry.” I look at my wrist, which doesn’t have a watch wrapped around it, but I don’t think she notices. “The bell is about to ring.”

“I’ll just meet you here after class.” She runs down the hall.

In class, I wait for Shevelenko to look up from her desk and acknowledge me. She’s on her laptop, sending what looks like personal e-mail.

I clear my throat to get her attention. She glances at me, then changes programs. “Choose any seat. I’ll call attendance in a minute.”

“I’m new,” I tell her. She should have figured that one out on her own because I haven’t been in her class the past two weeks, but whatever.

“Are you that exchange student from Mexico?”