Ki$$ & $ell: Chapter Eighteen

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Chapter Eighteen

The next day, I dragged myself to the student lounge to meet Bree and her crew for our first Dance Committee meeting. I’d been kicking myself ever since I’d agreed to do the thing in the first place. But now that I was actually on my way, it was taking everything I had to keep from turning around and ditching the whole thing.

It also didn’t help that McCartney and Phin had both given me a hard time about heading to the meeting instead of hanging out with them like usual. They even made up a song about it and sang it to me before first period. And again at lunch. And in between every break. As annoying as the lyrics were, I had to admit that the tune was pretty catchy. And now I couldn’t get it out of my head, which meant that I was effectively torturing myself for them.

“We’re hanging alone now, our little Arielle is busy dancing around. She’s making the plans now, she’ll pick the color, theme and a hip-hop sound.” I sang the lyrics softly to the tune of Tiffany’s “I think we’re alone now,” as I neared the lounge. Realizing that I was doing it again, I shook my head to clear it. “Damn you McCartney and Phin!” I cursed under my breath.

I walked into the student lounge, which was everyone’s go-to spot whenever they weren’t in class. It was exactly what you’d think a teachers lounge would be—except way cooler. And only for students. Once two large rooms that had been separated by a flimsy folding wall, the student lounge was now one big open area, filled with couches, bean bags, tables and even a hammock.

The lounge had been the Class of 97’s gift to the school and every senior class since then had added another accessory to the space. In the last three years, graduating classes had donated a popcorn machine, cappuccino station, flat screen TV, Nintendo Wii and a pool table.

The area was more impressive than your local arcade and 100% free to students. I had to assume that ours was the only school where the students didn’t actually mind being there. Not in here, at least.

I spotted Bree right away, and made my way over to the corner where she and about six others were lounging around. There were three other girls with her, all whom I recognized, but didn’t know personally. A bunch of guys sprawled around, looking all different levels of bored. I smiled as I recognized one of the faces.

Cade Jones.

The good-looking, brooding, hunk of a hero who’d come to my rescue after I’d given Dan the old chair tip-over. As happy as I was to see him, I was confused by it, too. I wouldn’t have thought this was his scene. Not that it was exactly mine, either.

“Hey guys,” I said, sitting down on a beanbag breathlessly. “Sorry I’m late.”

“No problem, A,” Bree chirped happily.

A? When did we move into nickname territory?

“Okay, so now that we’re here, I’d like to call our Homecoming meeting to order,” Bree said, taking her role as committee president seriously. “The dance is only three weeks away and we don’t have a theme. In case you weren’t aware, the theme we choose can totally make or break the dance. If the motif sucks, then no one will come, and that means the dance will suck. And I will not throw a sucky Homecoming.”

“Because that would suck,” Cade whispered just loudly enough for me to hear.

I glanced over at him and saw that he was looking at me out of the corner of his eye. I smiled at his comment before forcing myself to focus on Bree as she continued.

“So, any ideas?” she asked the group, looking from one face to another expectantly.

The brunette closest to me raised her hand and then lowered it back down when she realized we weren’t in class. She covered this up with a blinding smile and pushed forward. “How about ‘Star-Crossed Lovers?’ People can dress like their favorite doomed couples. Romeo & Juliet. Bonnie & Clyde. Brad & Jen.”

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