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an SAT/ACT vocabulary novel

Chapter Five

Page 2

“Yeah. You got a problem?” Drew asked.

“Naw, man. She’s just kind of atypical for you,” Clay replied.

“Yeah, well, maybe I’m sick of the typical,” Drew said, taking a bite of his burger. “Doesn’t matter anyway, she’s not interested.”

“She shot you down already? Burn!” Jason shouted, laughing with his mouth full of food.

“Shut up, man!” Drew said. He felt his face start to heat up and tried to put on a carefree façade. Jason’s shout had drawn some attention, and he knew Tamara and some of those guys at her table were watching.

“Sorry. Tell us what happened. Come on, man. Maybe we can help,” Jason cajoled, enjoying this way too much.

“Just forget it, all right?” Drew said through his teeth.

They were definitely watching now. Definitely wondering what had Drew so embarrassed and what Jason and Clay were so amused about. This was so wrong. There had to be some way to get back at these assholes. Some way to show them that they couldn’t get away with their stupid games.

Just then, the door to the girl’s bathroom opened, and out walked three Corinth High girls. He had noticed one of the girls that morning. She was beautiful in a showy way, with long, dark, glossy hair, lots of makeup, and an outfit worthy of a Pussycat Dolls video. She walked like she owned the place, which on one of her male counterparts would have annoyed him, but which he kind of liked on a girl. She and her friends started to take a circuitous route around the tables, heading for the kitchen, and Drew felt an inkling of an idea forming in his mind. Unfortunately, there was no time for deliberation. They were about to strut by his table.

On pure compulsion, Drew reached out and grabbed the wrist of the dark-haired girl. Her face screwed up in exasperation, but then she took one look at Drew and settled into a flirtatious smirk.

“And you’re touching me why?” she asked.

“Couldn’t help myself,” Drew said with a grin.

The girl looked at her friends, and they all smiled, rolling their eyes.

“I’m Drew Benson.”

“I know who you are,” the girl said. “I’m Crystal Marx. This is Jackie and Jenny,” she said, gesturing over her shoulder.

“Hi,” the girls chorused.

“Hello,” Jason said, sitting up straight.

“Ladies,” Clay added with a nod.

“You’re sitting with us,” Drew said, pulling out a chair for her.

Crystal laughed. “Oh, are we? Well then, I guess you guys are buying.” She perched on the edge of the proffered chair, and her friend settled in around the other guys. “We’ll all have salads and bagels and water.”

Drew looked at Clay and Jason. “You heard the lady.”

Instantly, his friends jumped from their chairs. “We’re on it,” Clay said.

Jason put his hands on Drew’s shoulders as he passed by and leaned in. “I just want to say that I fully espouse this plan,” he whispered.

Drew nodded in self-satisfaction, then leaned in toward Crystal. “So . . . how do you like Washingtonville so far?” he asked smoothly.

Crystal grinned back at him. “I’m liking it more every second.”

“That’s what I wanted to hear.”

Drew sat back and took a sip of his iced tea, taking the opportunity to cast a surreptitious glance over at Samson Hill’s table. Sure enough, Hill and his friends were now glaring right at Drew.

Two can play at this game, Drew thought, as Crystal put her hand on his knee and chattered away. And really, it’s just way too easy.

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