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Chapter 2: DUMBEGG

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The following day, Andrew and I walked into the cafeteria during lunch as he showed me a funny post he had saved on social media. Conversation buzzed throughout the room. Even though Wellington had a huge student body, most people sat with the same group, in the same spot, all five days of the week. Looking around at the familiar faces in their regular spots, I passed by the one face I wasn't fond of: Beatrice.

Beatrice and I had known each other since middle school. We were even friends at one point. Close friends. One night at an eighth-grade dance, a boy she liked attempted to kiss me, and that was enough for her to decide that we would never be friends again. And that was just the beginning of her dislike toward me.

Most likely it was a buildup of little incidents. For instance, in grade nine when Austin and I were fooling around with a soccer ball, I accidentally kicked the ball near her face. She called me a freak even though I apologized. Or in grade eleven, when I won an award for female Athlete of the Year. That pissed her off because she wanted it since she was captain of the varsity dance team. She told half of our grade that the only reason I won the award was because I bribed the athletic committee for it, which wasn't remotely true.

As our time in high school progressed, her hate grew as she made comments to piss me off—comments about me having mostly guy friends, or my clothes, or being the only girl on the soccer team.

Her rude remarks only got worse when she involved Jasmine. Sean, Jasmine's ex-boyfriend, had dated Beatrice before he dated Jasmine. When Sean and Jasmine had gotten together months after he and Beatrice broke up, Beatrice wasn't happy, and made it her life mission to make me and Jasmine miserable. Like most mean girls in high school, Beatrice's hate was based on envy, and that didn't help me or Jasmine. It was crazy to me that someone could hate another person for being themselves.

Beatrice was typically pretty, with fair skin, long, light-brown hair, and brown eyes. She was charming, and people gravitated to her. You'd think that because Jasmine was the same way, they'd get along. But in the four years we'd attended school, I don't think I'd ever seen Beatrice without her friends close behind, which worked in her favor when she wanted to say something rude and they egged her on.

A hand came to my shoulder and on impulse, I grabbed it hard, thinking it was one of my soccer friends trying to sneak up on me.

"Relax, it's me."

I spun around and immediately let go of the hand. Sam shoved it into the pocket of his leather jacket, and raked the other through his curly hair. He greeted Andrew, asking him, "Is she always this jumpy?"

"Sorry, I thought you were someone else," I said before they jumped into a conversation. They walked farther into the cafeteria but I didn't follow.

My attention was on the boy sitting in the corner of the room, talking to his friends. Cedric. His brown eyes caught mine, and he raised a hand in acknowledgment. I waved back, my heart pounding inside my chest as he gestured for me to come over. Don't fall, idiot. Don't you dare fall.

"Hey, Mace," Cedric said.

"Hey," I said. "I haven't seen you around much."

The resemblance between him and Sam was vague, but it was there. They shared the same nose, but Cedric's eyes were brown, and his hair was cropped in a buzz cut. He was more muscular, having played rugby competitively in and out of school, and Cedric's accent was almost unapparent.

"I've been busy. We've got to hang out."

Keep your cool. Relax. "Sure."

"You're probably busy with school and soccer." He leaned back in his chair. "How's it going by the way?"

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