The first thing Drew noticed on the first day of school was a confluence of Corinth students, most wearing blue and gray varsity jackets, hanging out in the arbor near the front door of the school. Instantly, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. The arbor was a grassy area, surrounded by thick trees and dotted with benches. It had been the gift of some ancient senior class, and everyone just sort of knew that it was an area reserved for seniors. As freshmen, kids would scurry past the arbor nervously, and as sophomores and juniors they would watch in envy, waiting for their chance to claim the primo pre-school spot. Now, the hallowed space had been taken over by Corinth before Drew and his friends ever had the chance to occupy it.
Drew stormed past the arbor and joined a group of his friends near the door. He could tell from the malevolent look on Clay’s face that Clay was more than ready to throw down.
“Who the hell do these guys think they are?” Drew demanded, casting a furtive glance over his shoulder. All around him, packs of Washingtonville students and packs of Corinth students eyed one another with curiosity and disdain. The tension in the air was patent.
Drew and the rest of the group laughed, and Marisa grinned, happy to have lightened the mood even slightly.
“Uh, guys? That’s not the only thing they’ve pillaged,” Jason added, lifting his chin.
Drew turned around to find Tamara and a few of her girlfriends, including Clay’s girlfriend Sally, joining the group in the arbor, greeting the Corinth guys and introducing themselves.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” Drew said through his teeth.
“I think it’s time to go over there and remind them who enjoys hegemony around here,” Clay said, pressing his fist into his palm.
“You got that right,” Drew said. “This is our school. Those are our women. They’re at Washingtonville now.” He looked around at his friends, all business. “Let’s go.”
The crew moved as a pack toward the arbor, with Drew at the forefront, his hands clenched into angry fists. His heart pounded wildly as he approached the obstreperous crowd, but he didn’t slow down. It was imperative that he prescribe the law of the land for these guys. If he didn’t do it, no one would. He lifted his chin and tried to appear impassive. All the better for maximum intimidation.
The group fell silent as Drew and his friends arrived. Adam Lazarus and Lance Crowe—aka Mohawk Man—turned around to greet them with inimical expressions.
“Sally!” Clay barked.
Instantly, Sally Chou turned away from the Corinth girl she was talking to and stepped right up to Clay’s side, wrapping her slim arm around his wide girth. Smart girl.
“Problem, man?” Adam asked Drew, rolling his shoulders back.
Drew’s jaw almost dropped at the absolute impudence. Was this guy really going to give him attitude on his turf?
“Yeah, I’ve got a problem. It’s this,” Drew said, flipping open the front of Adam’s jacket. “What the hell are you doing wearing Corinth colors around here? You don’t go to Corinth anymore, man. Corinth doesn’t exist.”
The crowd behind Drew murmured in appreciation. A few more guys stepped up behind Lazarus and Crowe. Drew noticed with interest that the garrulous QB was not, however, present. Maybe Samson liked to come to school fashionably late and make a superstar’s entrance.