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Going Under, Page 9

Georgia Cates

Page 9


  She was ignoring me, acting as though I wasn’t even in the room, and I didn’t like it. Oh, it was a brilliant plan on her part if she wanted to get under my skin because it was absolutely working.

  Humanities was painful with Brad as my partner. He chose Recognizing Patterns as our ingredient for discussion, but the only pattern I recognized was him talking and me wanting him to shut up.

  The only good thing about being partners with Brad is that he talked just to hear his own voice which meant I didn’t have to. While he rambled, I watched Claire, hoping she would look in my direction so I could wave the white flag to let her know she had won and my partnership with Brad could be considered penance for my bad behavior.

  When the bell rang, Claire was up and gone, not giving me an opportunity to apologize to her. I walked to third period with the intention of making her talk to me, whether she liked it or not, even if I had to go through Restless Lip Syndrome girl in order to do it.

  I waited until I knew Claire and her talkative bodyguard had gone into U. S. History before I entered. I wasn’t giving her another opportunity to get away from me.

  She and Payton had taken seats on the opposite side of the room on the front row with no open desks around them and she thought she had won again, but she was wrong.

  I walked over to the girl sitting behind her and said, “I forgot my glasses today and I can’t see the board. Would you mind trading your seat for the one two rows over?”

  “No problem. Sometimes I forget my glasses, too. ”

  I took the seat behind Claire, giving me the upper hand because I was able to lean forward to whisper in her ear, forcing her to hear me out and I wasted no time getting to it.

  “I know what I did was wrong and I’m sorry. Will you please just go ahead and cuss me out or whatever you have planned. ”

  No response. Again.

  Buckley started class, but I wasn’t ready to let this go. When he turned his back to pull down a roll away map, I leaned close to her ear and said, “You don’t have to continue ignoring me. I get it. You’re pissed and you have every right to be. I said I was sorry. What else do you want me to do?”

  Payton leaned over and said, “You can give it up because she doesn’t accept fauxpologies. Trust me. ”

  I wasn’t giving her a fake apology. This was the real thing-as real as it got for me, anyway. I whispered in her ear, “This is me being real. I am sorry. ”

  Then, she flipped me off over her shoulder.

  Payton leaned over again and whispered, “Uh, that translates into fauxpology not accepted. ”

  “Yeah, thanks. I kind of deciphered that one on my own. ”

  Man, I thought Forbes has screwed with the wrong guy, but maybe I screwed with the wrong Princess.

  I leaned back in my desk, accepting my temporary defeat, all while planning my next move. I would find a way to make the pretty Princess forgive me.

  10 The Penalty Box


  I spent all day ignoring Jessie Boone without giving in, except when I gave him the finger, and that doesn’t count because I didn’t speak out loud.

  He thought he knew how this thing was going to play out. He expected me to walk in, let him have it, then accept the smooth apology he had worked on all night. Guess what! He had another thing coming because I wasn’t letting him off the hook that easily.

  I was surprised at how well ignoring him was working and I loved how it was driving him crazy. Realizing he would grow immune to it soon, I knew I had to come up with an extension plan and who better to ask than Sergeant Spite herself.

  While we were stretching before cheerleading practice, I told Payton, “Got a job for you and only a devious mind such as yours will do. ”

  “Loving it already,” she said, as she rubbed her hands together. “What cha got for me?”

  “I’m not finished with Jessie Boone and I need ideas, something to make him think twice about using me as ammunition against Forbes. ”

  “Ooh, I’d love to help you put him in the penalty box,” she said while smiling and nodding in agreement. “In fact, I’d rather enjoy it. Let me think it over and I’ll have something together by the end of practice today. ”

  I noticed Payton spent a lot of time watching the football players instead of concentrating on routines. At one point during practice, Payton elbowed me and whispered, “He’s watching you between every play and his eyes didn’t leave you even when Gretchen bent over in those ridiculously short shorts to give him a look at her vajayjay. ”

  Eww, I wasn’t sure it made me feel better to know he chose to look at me over a peek up The Penivore’s shorts, but I resisted the urge to look at him. “Good. If he is watching me then he can see I’m continuing to ignore him. ”

  “Don’t worry. He sees your lack of interest and I don’t think he cares for it one little bit. He doesn’t know it yet, but he just gave me the ammunition I needed to devise the perfect plan of retaliation. ”

  As soon as we were alone in Payton’s car after practice, she said, “This plot is so simple, yet so incredibly cunning. I don’t know if you’re up for it. ”

  “Oh, I’m up for it,” I reassured her.

  “Okay. Jessie Boone may have used you as ammo in this battle between him and Forbes, but Betty…the boy wants to be your Fred Flintstone so he can make your Bedrock. ”

  Okay, her analogy was funny, but it didn’t sound like a plan to me. “I’m hearing about some cartoons, but failing to hear a plan, oh brilliant evil one. ”

  “You’re going to continue to ignore him, then after several days you’re going to act like you’re coming around and warming up to him. After you make him comfortable with your new friendship, you’re going to turn it into a flirtationship and tease him a little. In a couple of weeks, he will believe you’re ready to fall madly in bed with him, then you break it down for him and tell him he just got punked. ”

  This plan wasn’t coming together for me. “And just how will I have this flirtationship with Jessie Boone while I have a boyfriend?”

  “A valid point,” she admitted. “You have to make him think you’re doing it behind Forbes’ back. ”

  “So, I have to trick Jessie and Forbes. That sounds risky to me. ”

  “Don’t worry, Forbes won’t find out if you’re careful and he won’t because I’ll have your back,” she reassured. “The beauty of the whole plan is that you are the one in control, not Jessie. You will make him jump through hoops to be with you under your conditions and I guarantee you’ll have him eating out of your hand. ”

  Payton could see my indecision, but knew the perfect words to push me over the edge. “Don’t forget how he embarrassed you in front of the entire football team and cheer squad with his little announcement. He basically told everyone he was doing you behind Forbes back. He as good as called you a slut. ”

  “You’re right, I’d love to wipe that arrogant, cocky grin off his face. ” Even if it was one of the most handsome faces I’ve ever seen.

  “Give it until Friday, then ease into the warming up stage of the scheme. ”

  It was a good plan once I got the gist, but we had no guarantee he wanted me to warm up to him. “You know your plan is worthless if he doesn’t like me, right?”

  Payton smiled knowingly and said, “Trust me, he’s going to need a boner barrier to hide the tent in his pants when you’re finished with him. ”

  I spent the next three days doing a bang up job of ignoring Jessie, and per Payton’s orders, I got up earlier than normal this morning so I could make myself a little sexier for today’s activity of warming up to him. I was actually on time for the first time in my life and Payton was pleased with both my promptness and appearance when she arrived to chauffeur me to school for the last day since I was getting my car back this afternoon.

  “Yes! You totally nailed the look I was going for and don’t forget-let him get a
little closer and begin to let your guard down a little today. Try to get paired with him in Humanities class so it looks like you’re forced into talking to him. ”

  “Got it. That won’t be a problem because he’ll do anything to not be paired with the others. ”

  “Man, I wish I could be with you because I know you’ll make me proud. ”

  “Wish me luck. ” I said, as we pulled into the parking lot. I saw him sitting in his truck smoking a cigarette and Payton was sure to park next to him.

  Payton went ahead of me as I pretended to return to the car for something and I timed it perfectly for us to walk inside together with me only a few steps ahead. I was a little disappointed because we were half way to the front door and he hadn’t said a word, but then I heard, “Hey, are you going to force me into partnering with one of the brainiacs today?”

  I didn’t answer as I continued walking, then heard, “I guess that’s a yes?”

  I followed my usual morning routine and when I walked into Humanities, Jessie looked up at me when I entered the doorway. He watched me walk toward him, and although he expected me to ask Brad to swap seats again today, I sat in the desk next to him.

  “Did you decide you were finished ignoring me?” he asked optimistically.

  I busied myself by digging in my backpack, then pulled out a binder and opened it to prepare for class, not acknowledging him or his words.

  “If you plan on continuing to ignore me, then why did you sit next to me? You could have done a much better job of it from across the room and you have to admit your silent treatment plan is screwed if we do the partner thing again today. ”

  When I still didn’t respond, he turned away from me and Mrs. Tanner shut the classroom door, then joined us in the circle as she usually did.

  “Today we’re going to continue discussing our six ingredients for creativity. You may keep your previous partner or choose a new one, but I want you and your partner to pick an ingredient you have not yet discussed. ”