“Quick, here comes Brian.”
The giggle that accompanied this breathless statement was almost as annoying as fingernails on a chalkboard. Out of the corner of her eye, Gail Roberts caught the quick adjustment of clothing, meant to reveal the best amount of curves and skin.
The amused question skipped through her mind as Gail closed the locker door and turned to look at the girls standing a few feet away.
The clique. The most popular girls in school, the girls that looked down on anyone that was not lucky enough to be included in their inner circle.
She could only shake her head in disbelief as the head of the cheerleading squad sashayed up to Brian Howell and leaned against his arm.
The smile that played around the blood red lips was nauseating to a sensible girl like Gail, and she could not help but wonder where Natalie’s pride had gone to.
Gail’s heart skipped a beat as she took in the handsome face and dark hair of Brian Howell. He was the captain of the football team, easily the most popular boy at Jefferson High; and the richest.
Gail’s heart told her he was the best looking and the most desired of all the senior class, and if Natalie’s come hither stare was anything to go by, the other girls thought so, too.
“Look at poor Natalie. Has she no sense?”
Gail turned to look at Becky, her best friend and confidant. She could only lift one shoulder in answer, while part of her wished she could claim that coveted place on Brian’s arm for her own.
The two girls turned to walk toward the cafeteria and lunch, Gail wondering what it would take to make Brian notice her.
A miracle, came the sarcastic answer.
Once settled at a table, Gail picked up her fork and stuck it into the scoop of potato salad that sat on her plate. But the bite of food never reached her mouth.
Brian settled on the opposite side of the table, halfway down its length, and picked up his can of soda as his buddies settled around him in a noisy group.
She told herself not to stare, but he was so good looking, drawing her to him like the proverbial moth to a flame.
Even as she watched, Natalie was there again, leaning over Brian’s shoulder to whisper in his ear.
Gail did not notice the slight hint of red that swept up Brian’s cheeks or the uncomfortable look that had entered his eyes. She only saw the invitation in Natalie’s stance and gaze, and imagined Brian’s whole-hearted acceptance.
She could not hear the words spoken between the two, only the other guys’ laughter when Natalie turned away.
And then Natalie’s eyes met Gail’s and the other girl stopped to stare.
“What are you looking at?” Her eyes narrowed and she turned to glance back at Brian. “Gail has a crush on Brian!”
Gail felt her face flush crimson as everyone within hearing turned to stare. And the volume of Natalie’s voice guaranteed that everyone in the cafeteria was within hearing distance.
She glanced at Brian and saw that he, too, was staring at her.
Flushing even more, she picked up her things and ran from the room, while laughter chased her down the hall.
Next Friday, part 2
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2014