Chapter 4: Lollipops and Guilt, or Is This a Date?

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"And then Meredith's date threw up in a plastic plant, which the country club still claims is real, and I just think it's hilarious that they're worried about their image as far as whether or not they use live plants for decoration than that some kid vomited on, or I guess, into, their property."

Courtney was regaling them with Homecoming tales at lunch the Monday after the event, and while Elise seemed shocked, Audrey thought that what happened at their school activities had to be lame compared to those at public school. After all, movies showed kids doing unbelievable things at parties and even at school while they should have been in class, things like having sex on football fields, drinking booze from their parents' liquor cabinets, and smoking pot in the school restrooms. One girl had done that last one the first day at St. Cat's this year, and she didn't return for a second day.

"Seriously, how is that shocking to you? Don't your friends do this sort of stuff at Manchester? Here I was thinking you must be unspeakably bored here, but I think we need to shake things up a bit so you don't think we're completely hopeless."

Elise always had that wide-eyed look about her, and Audrey was kind of getting tired of it. High school was high school wherever you were, wasn't it?

"Some dumbass always gets drunk at Homecoming and Prom and does something stupid yet mildly entertaining."

Joslyn was listening, too, and Audrey could tell that if Elise wasn't bored, Joslyn just might be. What could she and Courtney, perhaps Natalie as well, do to liven things up a bit without doing something really bad? It wasn't like she wanted to get a detention, or worse.

"Courtney's sister usually exaggerates, except when it comes to what a moron Lord Voldemort is. That is a fact that can never be exaggerated."

Audrey waved a breadstick as she spoke, until someone snatched it from her fingers.


Natalie pulled out the chair beside her and dropped into it, crunching on Audrey's breadstick as if she hadn't a care in the world.

"Are we talking about Meredith's date vomiting in the pool at Homecoming?"

"The pool? That's more disgusting than the plant!"

"Is there even water in the pool this time of year?"

Joslyn and Elise were talking over each other now, and Courtney was correcting Natalie, insisting that it was a plant.

"Actually, it was Becca's date, and he was sick in the front bushes. Becca and Meredith dared their dates to see who could eat the most cupcakes, and Becca's date won, until he didn't."

Audrey knew that Ms. Dacha had been wandering around near their table, but hadn't seen her approach until she heard her voice. Well, that was idiotic . Were there any boys around who weren't that stupid? 

"Ugh. Isn't Homecoming supposed to be romantic or something?"

Natalie stuck her tongue out and groaned, and Ms. Dacha laughed.

"Sure. Making sure your date doesn't get chocolate frosting on his tie when it comes back up is about as lovestruck as you can get. Girls, you aren't missing anything. You have plenty of time for boys later. Much later, if you ask me."

Audrey wasn't asking her, but still, it sounded more like babysitting than a date. She noticed that Elise was looking down at her lunch, a small smile on her face that looked more than a little suspicious. She sighed and stood up.

"Well, I'm not sorry that I didn't go. We're only freshmen anyway, so we have three more of them, if we even want to bother."

Courtney stood up to follow her as Audrey sorted her trash into the recycling bins, bumping her hip with her own.

"Jealous much?"

"Jealous of what, exactly? No one in our grade went. It's not like it's a competition, especially if the option is to go with someone who will end up getting kicked out for unloading the contents of his stomach somewhere other than the toilet."

She looked over at their table, watching Elise and Joslyn talk to Ms. Dacha. Joslyn was listening to Elise, watching her with awe. What were they talking about?


Courtney shoved a Tootsie Roll pop into her hand. It was cherry, her favorite. Audrey sighed and unwrapped it, shoving it into her mouth and holding it there for a few seconds before crunching it into pieces very loudly. Courtney shook her head and Audrey rolled her eyes. Maybe she shouldn't be annoyed with Elise. She was a decent student, and hadn't asked Audrey to give her any notes or help her cheat. She was pretty quiet and minded her own business, too, the second one a rare character trait at St. Cat's. Small school meant small world, and that meant someone was always up in your business.

She felt a little guilty for not being more patient with Elise, and thought that she and Courtney needed to figure out how to have a little fun. They would show Elise and Joslyn, along with the other new girls, that they knew how to have a good time. It just couldn't be on school property, because they were on a tight leash. The stories that came out of Homecoming and Prom each year were possible only because they were held at country clubs, and while supervised by St. Cat's faculty as well as parents, were an opportunity to get into trouble, usually for the dates rather than the St. Cat's girls.

The International Club was having a meeting the next afternoon, but today after school, the officers were getting together for a short planning session with their advisor. Audrey was secretary, which was unusual for a freshman. All of the older girls knew her, though, and knew that she was responsible and reliable. Sometimes Audrey wished she wasn't so much of either one, although in her heart, she knew she didn't want to be the opposite.

After the meeting, she sat outside on one of the picnic tables as the other girls met their rides or left to get into their own cars and drive themselves home. Audrey's mom was running late, so she sat by herself, closing her eyes and thinking hard about absolutely nothing for a change.

"Imagine that. A girl, here at St. Cat's."

Audrey opened her eyes in a hurry, frowning as she looked at the boy who stood only a few feet from her. He looked familiar, but she couldn't place him in her memory.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. My sister, Danielle, is a junior here. Maybe you know her?"

"I'm not scared. And St. Cat's, if you haven't noticed, is about the size of a fishbowl, so yeah, we all know each other."

He had shining green eyes, and held his smile even as she knew she sounded snotty in her response.

"Hey, Audrey, is this a date or something? You know we don't allow strange boys here."

If there was ever a time that Audrey wanted Lord Voldemort to find his way under a moving bus, it was now. She shrugged as she looked at the boy, who still didn't seem bothered. Just then, the doors opened and an older girl walked out and over towards them.

"Oh, hi Audrey, Mr. Jackson. This is my brother, Eli."

Eli reached out and offered his hand to Audrey, and after she shook it for a single second, Voldemort stepped between them and took Eli's hand in his own, pumping it several times. Audrey pulled an exaggerated frown, and was pleased to see Eli smile conspiratorially in return. 

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