Chapter Three - Madeline Shire (Part 1/2)

It didn't take much convincing to get my mom to sign the papers. She believed that I was chosen because I was "special", and if I was "special", that meant I was more "popular". I hate being the center of attention, but that's all I ever seem to be. I don't like being popular, and I hate the image I am forced to maintain.

"Here." I say, handing the paper to Ms. Baker.

"Thank you, Madeline. But you didn't have to turn this in until our next class." She says, taking the paper. I shrug.

"Just wanted to get it out of the way, I guess." I tell her. I head out the door, almost running into a small girl.

"Oh, Jinx, right?" I ask. She looks up at me and nods. I move out of the way so she can enter. She slides past me without a word. Strange girl. I make my way to my locker without any incidents, but Julia is waiting for me.

"So... are you going to tell me what you got pulled out of class for?" She asks, swinging her long brown hair over her shoulder. I notice two guys staring at us a few lockers down. It was times like these that I hated my clothes the most. Always tight enough to "show off my figure". My mother makes sure I stay thin, I eat mostly vegetarian, and do yoga with her some mornings.

"Nothing interesting." I tell her. Julia is an okay girl, she gets good grades and takes care of her health, but she's really annoying. She tries so hard to be pretty and popular, when she doesn't need to. She puts on too much makeup, and wears clothes that barely pass the dress code. The boys love her though, and honestly, I'm sure some of the girls do too. It always disgusts me to think that someone is probably thinking about me the same way. It makes me want to wear a huge coat and sweatpants around. Maybe even some sunglasses.

"Oh, come on. You didn't get called for no reason, what is it?" She asks again. I sigh, not bothering to hide my annoyance.

"Just some stupid class, okay?" I hiss. She smirks.

"Don't gotta be so mean." She says, leaning closer, "the guys are watching, don't be a B. You know what I mean, right?"

I meet her eyes, glaring. We aren't friends. She follows me around and keeps me "in check". She always says it's for my own good, because without her I wouldn't be so popular - apparently. That made me want to get away from her even more.

"So what? I'm not interested in guys...looking at me." I whisper, glancing at the bottom of her shirt, which left an inch of skin exposed above her pants. "Might want to pull that down before the teacher sees." I warn. She scoffs and I turn my back on her. One of the guys stops me before I enter the classroom.

"Hey, Madeline. We're having a party tomorrow night. Want to go as my own personal date?" He asks. I stare at him for a moment, waiting for him to say something else. I look back and forth between him and his friend, who looks really shady. Like, drug dealer kind of shady. After a moment of silence, I laugh nervously. 

"Oh! You were being serious?" I ask. The two guys look at each other and then back at me.

"Um...yeah? You in or not? I'm not gonna beg, I'll find someone else." He says, running a hand through his hair. He put too much gel in it, it just looks like a greasy mess. Unless he really hadn't washed it.

"Yeah, you do that. I'm not interested at all." I tell him. I walk into my classroom, Julia is already back on my heels.

"Who was that?" I ask. I only want to know so I can avoid seeing them again.

"Xavier Rhoads. He's pretty popular. I heard he's even gotten college students to come to his parties. His friend, Keith, sells vapes and stuff." She says.

"And stuff?" I ask, looking back at her. She shrugs and raises her eyebrows.

"Yeah, definitely no. That's suspicious a.f." I whisper. We sit down in our seats - which are next to each other - and I pull out my notebook.

"So you're really not going?" She asks a minute later.

"Why would I? You have to know what goes on at those parties. Beer, drugs... you know. Loss of virginity and stuff." I whisper back. She shakes her head.

"This isn't an R rated movie, Madeline. That's not at all what happens. You wouldn't know because you've never gone to one." She says. I hate the condescending look she gives me.

"Then enlighten me, party girl." I snap back.

"It's just dancing and playing around. Not every teenage party has to be sinister. The only thing you could get in trouble for... is being out too late." She assures. I give her a look of doubt and face the front of the room again.

"And this Xavier guy, you told me his friend sells vapes and stuff. And you heard that college students go to his parties... that means you haven't been to one of his parties, right?" I ask.

"No." She admits. I look at her with a raised eyebrow. My point has been proven. Just because the parties she has been to weren't sinister, doesn't mean that his wouldn't be. I don't trust him, and I definitely don't trust Julia to not lead me somewhere dangerous. 

(End of Part 1/2)