"Jill!" Elizabeth chirped at lunch later that day. "You should totally come to the party that Andrea's having tomorrow!"
"Am I invited?" I asked, turning to Andrea, whose watery eyes and intoxicating smell was getting worse and worse, to the point where it made you immediately not hungry once you looked at her.
Andrea's eyes narrowed, and she opened her mouth. Before she could, Caleb unwittingly interrupted. "You should come, Jill," he replied, shooting me a grin. Apparently, we had reached the acquaintance stage. Yes!
I melted. "Uh... Sure!" I giggled nervously, then wanted to slap myself. Idiot! You're behaving like a dork again!
Andrea rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Look, I gotta go. Bye, babe," she purred to Caleb as she sauntered off, out of the cafeteria. I repressed the urge to gag. Gagging didn't look sophisticated at all, and plus, people would think I was rude or nasty. I couldn't have that. Then everything would be ruined.
Glancing over at Cheyenne, I noticed that she hasn't eaten anything. I nudged her on the shoulder. "You OK?" I asked softly.
She looked at me with a start, and both of our eyes lingered on her sandwich, which was perfectly whole. She bit her lip and glanced up at me. "Feel like walking?" she asked quietly.
Shrugging, I cleared my tray and Cheyenne and I went out into the hallway. She looked down at her feet for a moment, before glancing up at me, tears welling up in her eyes. "Can you keep a secret?" she whispered.
My eyes widened as I nodded, giving her the signal to continue.
"Well... Last year, I had anorexia. I would skip meals and wouldn't eat. Andrea noticed this, and she... she..." her breath hitched as she spoke, and her shoulders quivered. "She said she'd help me. And she did... For a while. I thought Andrea was being a good friend, but then she threatened to tell everyone that I had an eating disorder if I didn't... drop out for the running of Homecoming Queen that year."
Andrea was obsessed with winning Homecoming Queen. And she and I both knew that Cheyenne would be a threat to beat her. With her toffee-colored skin and regal appearance, she was, to put it simply, a knockout. It made sense that Andrea would do anything to manipulate her competition. "And what did you do?" I prodded her, even though I thought I knew the answer.
She hiccuped. "I dropped out," she answered, sniffling. "Andrea kept my secret safe, but now she uses it to keep me in line. She's got dirt on all of us. Elizabeth, me, and back when she was in the group, Sierra. The secrets she had were often too important to keep hidden, so we stayed in the group. Once Sierra stepped out of line... Andrea ruined her. She told all of Sierra's secrets for the school to hear about, and Andrea would do the same to us if anyone crossed the line."
I raised my eyebrows. "Well, so what?"
Cheyenne glanced at me, startled by my response. "Huh?"
"You heard me. Why should you let her push you around like that? You're beautiful, girl. Own it. No little slip-up can stop that." I cheered her on. "Now, go eat that sandwich... And while you're at it, sign up for Homecoming Queen!"
Cheyenne looked at me, aghast. "No... I can't. Andrea..."
"Is a two-faced witch who takes pleasure in using your secrets against us," I finished. "She doesn't deserve to get away with doing that! Don't you think that she deserves a little... karma?"
Cheyenne looked at me, perplexed. "OK..." she said slowly, a smile creeping on her face. "I'll sign up for Homecoming Queen. But Jill, I have a question."
I smiled back at her. "Anything."
"You said us. What does Andrea have on you?"
My eyes widened, and my face grew pale. Crap. I opened my mouth to respond, but Cheyenne interjected. "Never mind, it's your business. See you at the party tomorrow!"
"Yeah," I squeaked, relieved. Then, I hurriedly turned away, speed-walking to study hall. I could not have anyone find out about the stuff Andrea had against me. Caleb already knew about my dorky past, and that was one person too many.
I didn't need the whole world knowing what Andrea and Caleb had quickly picked up on.