Above All, Appearance
~inscribed on the Great Seal of Alpha Alpha Alpha Sorority
by Dawn Lemanne
** ** **
I'm a senior now, and know better than to taunt fate. But during my early years at Easton College, I was above that kind of reasonable humility. How far above? Well, I sauntered the shaded campus walks reading the newspaper~not to learn anything~but merely to snicker at the unending folly of others. I liked the headlines best, two inches of ink announcing humanity's mistakes, and by default, my relative good sense. The feeling of superiority was evanescent. Still, I suppose it steadied me for a moment, made me forget where I came from, kept me plodding toward what I thought was my future as an attorney. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I, Jane Jones, could end up on the wrong end of a siren.
But then, on the first afternoon of my junior year, as I climbed the steps to deLong Hall and approached the ivied entrance, I glanced at my horoscope. I stopped in my tracks.
An attractive stranger will approach today. Pay no notice, or this week will be worse than last.
"Ridiculous," I snorted aloud. Last week, my beloved Jessica had dumped me. What could be worse? And furthermore, how could I find anyone besides Jessica attractive? Resuming my stride, I tossed the paper into a trash receptacle next to the door and continued into the building. Before the hapless horoscope had time to settle into its new home, I was hurrying down a waxed hallway toward Room 14, and the tiny warning was forgotten. That bit of hubris must have made someone mad.
Because I was indeed about to meet an attractive stranger. Still, if she hadn't been late to class, I might have managed not to notice her.
But late she was.
And did I ever notice her.
And thus began the worst week of my life.
My name is Jane Jones. The class was called "How Women Have Occasionally Influenced History." Having arrived early, I took a seat in the front row. As usual, I kicked off my high heels and flipped open my compact mirror. My hair, black and shoulder length, was limp from the humid weather. I carefully tussled it to windblown perfection. Next, since my blue eyes look pale under fluorescent light, I applied some lavender eyeshadow. Finally, I refreshed my lipstick, then pursed my lips and studied my reflection from several angles before I snapped the mirror closed, pleased. Besides having the highest grade point average, I was definitely in the running for the title "Hottest Babe on Campus" for the third year in a row.
Unfortunately, that particular September was hot, too, and my tailored suit itched unbearably. As the other students trickled in, I slid my notebook over my knees to hide the fraying hem of my skirt and cursed myself for spending my entire four-year clothing allowance on that one suit. Perhaps black wool made me look something like an attorney, but since I had to wear it every day, I wasn't sure it would last until I actually got into an Ivy League law school. And I could feel my straight-A average fraying, too.
I was worried about my grades because I had lost my lust for achievement. True, my inspiration had lagged once before~when Jessica's favorite soap, "Lawyers in Love," went off the air. But now, everything about Easton College~the gray stone buildings, the gray clock tower, the long, gray list of classes I was scheduled to take~seemed uninspiring. And it wasn't the wobbly desk I was sitting at, either, or the graffiti that sullied it~John loves Mary; Sue loves Dave. While I waited for class to start, I used a ballpoint pen to carve the cause of my malaise into the desktop.
Jane loves Jessica
Jessica. How I hated her. She was nothing but a stuck up snob. She loved me only for my grades~and my plans to go to law school. In fact, the whole law school thing was her idea. How clearly I saw all that now~now that she had dumped me. Oh, but how she would miss me. Who would tenderly bleach the roots of her platinum blond hair? Without telling a soul? I stared at the blank blackboard, the center of my chest aching. My only hope for a meaningful life was to present Jessica with another straight-A report card and my admission letter to an Ivy League law school~and pray she would take me back. That was about the time the professor took the podium and began to call roll.
"Daryn Archer?" There was no answer. The professor continued with roll call. When he called my name, I, like everyone, answered with a grunt. By that time, I had drawn a plump heart around "Jane and Jessica," and had pierced the heart with an arrow. The arrowhead was shaped like an 'A.' It dripped with inky blood.
Finished with my artwork, I sighed languorously, slumped in my seat, and watched the professor pick lint out of his beard. While he shuffled his notes on the lectern, I stifled a yawn. But when he announced his grading policy, I sat at attention. "I give only one 'A' per semester," he warned. "If I give any at all."
No problem. That precious 'A' was all mine. There were only ten other students in the class. I knew all of them, all majoring in kegs and contraception. None of them could compete with me. And now that Jessica was gone, I had nothing to do but study. I'd already read the entire textbook. Since I knew exactly what the professor would say, my mind was free to wander the wastelands of Jessica. And within that desolate plain, one major problem loomed large, casting another shadow over my life~without Jessica, my sorority, Alpha Alpha Alpha, had too few sisters to pay the rent.
The professor caught my attention again. "And if any of you want a letter of recommendation from me, besides getting the one 'A,' you'll have to walk on water." But I knew no one else in the class was contemplating law school. The letter of recommendation was mine, too. Thus, I let my mind drift away from history to a more serious subject. Religion.
Unless Alpha Alpha Alpha House found some new blood, I would have to move into an apartment off campus. But at that thought, my throat tightened painfully. Tri-Alpha House was full of sacred relics. How could I exist without raising my eyes to that special place on the ceiling above Jessica's bed, the spot where she had made me tape my report cards? What if some impious fool cleaned up that coffee stain in the living room carpet that immortalized a daring~but secret~morning of passion?
The lecture started, and I stared glumly out the window. My eyes took in the blue sky, the yellow sun, the fiery maples that shaded the walks. My mind, however, was roaming the back alleys of Europe, searching for signs of Jessica, imagining what she might be doing at that moment.
That summer, we had gone to Paris together. She left me for a man~one Pierre-Francois~who lived on the Left Bank, delivered bread on a scooter, and was an honor student at the Sorbonne. But Pierre-Francois? How could she make love to someone named Pierre-Francois? My desk wobbled noisily as I shifted my weight, trying to envision Jessica at the height of passion, calling out "Pierre-Francois! Pierre-Francois! Pierre-Francois!"
A man called my name. "Jane Jones!" It was the professor. He was scowling at me over his wire spectacles. "Forgive me for intruding, Ms. Jones. But perhaps during your pre-life years at Easton~"
"That's pre-law," I corrected.
"I find that hard to believe." As his eyes narrowed at me, I shrank down in my seat. His words were clipped. "Because I would imagine anyone contemplating a law career would find this question of utmost interest."
"Oh, I do, sir. Fascinating question." Sweat secretly dripped from my underarms. "Could you please repeat it?"
"What, Ms. Jones, is the difference between history and mythology?"
Desperate, I flipped open my three-ring binder and riffled through the reams of notes I had made the night before. When I found the correct passage~which I had copied verbatim from the textbook~I cleared my throat, confident.
"History is the branch of knowledge that impartially records and analyzes past events, whereas mythology is a fiction that embodies a particular ideology."
"A mediocre answer." The professor looked over my head toward the rest of the class. "But it's a difficult question. Can anyone else do better?"
Scotch Mackenzie, slouching in the back row, shot her fist into the air. Counting her black Mohawk, she was six feet of buff, tattooed brawn. She was dressed in a black tank top emblazoned with a burning labyris. She completed her look with black jeans and studded motorcycle boots. Her great grandfather had made a fortune during prohibition. She was missing several lobes of her brain, but by some miracle, she maintained a solid 'B' average. When the prof saw her arm waving wildly, he hesitated.
She encouraged him with her considerable charisma. "Are you too goddamned chicken-shit to call on me, Prof?"
"Well put. Give it a try."
"Hysteria has two female bass players, and Mythology broke up after their 1999 UK tour."
"Thank you, Ms. Mackenzie," the professor sighed. "Anyone else?"
There was a long silence, and I was about to congratulate myself and return to my doleful daydreams, when, from the back of the room came a sunny voice, tinged with Oklahoma.
"I'd like to try, sir." I whirled around. Standing in the doorway~three miles from the Atlantic coast, mind you~was an authentic cowboy of a girl, from her hat to her pointed boots. Tall, slim, and athletic, she was lounging against the doorframe, her hands shoved into the pockets of her jeans. Her eyes sparkled, her smile would have made an orthodontist swoon, and her hair was right out of a Western~dark blond, wavy, brushing the collar of her shirt. She was even wearing a denim jacket. There had to be a swaybacked appaloosa tied to a post outside.
"Sir?" she drawled, then she looked right at me and tipped her hat as if we knew each other. "Ma'am? I mean no disrespect. Your answer was quite fine." My insides felt odd, which made my cheeks burn with embarrassment.
"Where are you from?" the professor asked with interest.
"Oklahoma, sir," she said.
"There's a surprise," I muttered.
"I thought Okies were extinct," someone else quipped.
"You must be Daryn Archer," the professor said, and to my chagrin, there was a note of awe in his voice.
She tipped her hat again. "I am, sir."
The professor nodded warmly. "Welcome, Daryn." He addressed the class with a pompous tone. "Daryn is a pre-law student. Make her feel at home." There was weak applause. I clapped once. The professor turned back to Daryn. "Give it a try," he encouraged. "What's the difference between history and mythology?"
"Well, sir," she drawled, "all depends on who's tellin' the story."
I rolled my eyes. Her answer was dumber than Scotch's. But to my astonishment, the professor nodded vigorously. "Why, that's exactly right."
I felt faint. My only hope was that perhaps the Okie was in the wrong class. I prayed she would simply turn away and disappear down the hall.
But she looked me in the eye, gave me a broad smile, and tipped her hat yet again. Then, to my horror, she sauntered in and kept coming, all the way to the second row. She swung her canvas pack from her shoulder and took the seat right behind me. As she set her fawn-colored cowboy hat carefully on the seat next to her, I got a whiff of leather and ivory soap.
The topic that day was a favorite of mine: Women Doctors in Ancient Egypt. But I didn't hear a single word of the lecture. I was too busy hating the newcomer. She simply couldn't be as smart~or as good-looking~as she had seemed. I was dying to get another look at her, but I didn't want anyone to see me, a difficult feat, since I was the only one sitting in the front row. I slumped, squirmed, and fidgeted, until the professor glowered at me.
Finally, I looked. And unfortunately, the Okie was still as handsome as she was five minutes before. She didn't look any less intelligent, either. She even gave me another smile, or perhaps it was a grin of victory. In any case, I narrowed my eyes at her and turned to face front. No one~no one~would beat me out of the single 'A' the professor would bestow that semester. I whipped out a fresh page of paper and clicked my pen into gear, raring to capture every word of the lecture. But after carefully writing the date at the top, I filled the entire page with "Stupid Okie, go home".
After class, when I stood to go, Daryn Archer smiled at me again. "Hi," she said, and I shook my head in disbelief. How intrusive these hicks were! I shot her a smile that was all teeth, snatched up my things, and hurried outside and down the steps of the history building. She caught up to me at the concrete fountain in the center of campus. After all, I was wearing high heels. Still, she was breathless. "Are you really Jane Jones?" she gasped.
I stopped and turned. Despite my spikes, I had to look up at her. "Who wants to know, Sheriff?"
Her eyes were light gray, and glittering with excitement. "Well Jane Jones!" she drawled. "I've heard all about you!"
I had never heard that line before. I'll admit, I was intrigued. But I caught myself. I wasn't about to flirt with a hick. "Everything you've heard?" I began sweetly, and when she nodded expectantly, I added, "It's all lies." Her face fell. Satisfied, I turned to walk away. She followed.
"Now hold on. You're friends with Jessica Meriwether, aren't you?"
I felt a stab of pain in my chest. "Well, Sheriff," I mocked, "All depends on who's doing the telling."
I was practically running, and she was scampering along beside me. I looked at her, and her face lit up even more. "Well Jessica called me and said I should ask you about finding a place to live. You see, I'm new in town and I'm trying to find roommates that I'd fit in with~"
"Have you considered looking west of the Mississippi?" The truth was, besides being too smart to help my competition, I couldn't stand the thought of anyone else living in Jessica's room. It felt like a violation.
"Jessica said that Tri-Alpha sorority needs members."
I stopped and faced her once more. "Not that badly."
At last, the hopeful eagerness in her eyes evaporated, and I almost felt bad about it. "But Jessica said that Tri-Alpha was open to lesbians~"
"Listen, Okie," I spat. "I ain't~I mean, I will die before I ever let you or any other lesbians join my sorority."
"But Jessica said you and she~"
To my horror, I felt my eyes fill with tears. "Whatever Jessica said about me is a big fat lie."
"Well, ma'am, no it ain't." Her voice was earnest. "It ain't a lie at all. What she said about you is the greatest, truest thing I ever did hear."
That certainly brought to mind the last thing Jessica had ever said to me. We were standing in the shadow of the Tour Eiffel. She had tossed her platinum blond hair over her shoulder and climbed onto the back of Pierre-Francois' smelly scooter for the last time. As he revved the tinny engine, she turned her big brown eyes on me. "Jane," she said with sorrowful superiority, "I'm telling you this for your own good. I'm leaving you because you never give. You only take, take, take." How original. She was referring, of course, to my class notes, which I refused to share with anyone. Jessica! What did she know? I forced the tears back and stared the Okie down.
"So, Sheriff," I said. "What is Jessica's Great Truth?"
"She said you were the absolute smartest girl on campus. The prettiest, too." Then Daryn looked down. She scuffed the toe of her boot on the stone walk. "Boy, is that all true. But I sure wish she had told me you were meaner than a rattlesnake."
That evening, at Tri-Alpha House, the three of us who still lived there were sitting on a dumpy, L-shaped sofa in the living room. My sorority sisters were drinking wine coolers. I was drinking espresso in order to calm down. I had just gotten home, and the horrendous noise as I was coming up the walk~a bird yacking in the elm on the front lawn~had set me on edge. I was about to head upstairs to my room, where it was quieter, when the topic of the evening suddenly turned interesting. They started talking about me.
Polly began it. She wore a white tank top that ended a foot above her checkered boxer shorts. She had rings in both eyebrows and both lips. She kept her hair four inches long, dyed blue with blond stripes, and waxed so that it stood on end. People called her "Parrot" behind her back. Her father had made a fortune in adult literature. She prided herself on knowing the scientific name of every sexual practice on earth. She patted my hand. "Gosh, Jane, you're in a worse mood than usual."
"And I know why," said Emma. Emma was a redhead who wore a pageboy and frilly sailor suits. She ate three lettuce leaves and a can of tuna a day. Her father had made a fortune in something. She would never say what. She narrowed her eyes at me. "It's because Jessica didn't come back. And it's your fault."
Emma sniffed. "I think you two were..."
I glared at her. "Were what?"
"Lesbians?" piped Polly.
"Yes." Emma made a face. "That."
Polly rolled her eyes. "Come on, Emma. Everyone knows Jane and Jessica were doing it. But that doesn't make them lesbians."
"Yeah," I said, crossing my arms. "It wasn't as if either of us played field hockey." Emma looked confused, so I continued. "Besides, I'm not sure what to call what Jessica and I did."
Emma's eyes widened. "What exactly did you do?" she asked breathlessly, and Polly leaned in close, eager to hear.
"Well," I said, keeping a straight face, "Jessica could only do it if I taped my report card to the ceiling."
Polly slapped her thigh. "Aha! That's not lesbianism. That's grade fetishism."
Emma frowned, which meant she was about to give us one of her sermons. "Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with being...you know," she said. "But we all agree that those things shouldn't go on in a sorority house."
Polly patted my hand. "Now Jane, don't pay any attention to her. You're definitely not a lesbian~or at least not a very good one~because Jessica left you for a man. Besides..." Polly pointed an accusing finger at Emma. "At last year's rush I caught Emma making out with Scotch Mackenzie."
"Now Scotch could be a lesbian," I pointed out. "After all, she plays field hockey."
Polly nodded. "Twice a day. And last year she wore a gay pride sweat-shirt to the women's studies final."
Emma tossed her pageboy. "Scotch only wore that shirt because I wrote the answers to the exam inside the cuff for her."
"Her double-digit IQ explains that," I said. "Now explain why you were kissing her."
Emma shrugged. "I'd had five margaritas that night, and besides, Scotch looked so cute in that tuxedo. But my point is, now that we're older, we have to set an example for the freshmen."
"Speaking of which, Emma, dear," I said sweetly. "You're looking chubby. Isn't it time for you to heave up your dinner?"
Emma frowned. "Not until we discuss rush. We have to throw a party this Friday."
"Why bother?" Polly pouted, examining her navel ring.
"Because," Emma explained, "we have to move someone in by Saturday, or we'll lose our lease."
But Polly crossed her pierced arms. "It's hopeless. No one ever wants to join Tri-Alpha. Thanks to Jane, everyone thinks that all we do is study."
"That's a problem," I conceded. "You'd think Easton was a college or something."
Emma shrugged. "Scotch is interested."
"Scotch?" Polly looked surprised. "But she has a great apartment...on the hill, with a view and a pool."
"Had," Emma corrected. "She got kicked out for making too much noise."
"But Scotch? Here?" I asked. "What does that drunken, foul-mouthed, dim-witted jock have in common with us?"
Emma looked at me. "I don't believe all those rumors about Scotch."
"That she drinks, swears, and needs help tying her shoelaces?" I asked.
"That she's a lesbian," said Emma. "She can't be. She's one of the nicest, sweetest people I know."
Polly rolled her eyes. "That's because the only other people you know are me and Jane."
"Doesn't matter how much you like Scotch," I said to Emma. "On Friday we vote. And I'm not voting for her."
"Fine," Emma replied, "but no one else seems interested, so unless you come up with someone better, she's in."
I was so determined to find someone on campus good enough to join Tri-Alpha House that I spent the next two days papering telephone poles with flyers announcing the rush party on Friday night. I missed several classes, and by the time I dashed into history class on Wednesday afternoon, the lecture was almost over. Undaunted by the professor's glare, I crept all the way to the third row and took the seat behind Daryn. Her head was bent over her notes, and I had an unexpected thought~I wondered if she would shiver if I ran the tip of my tongue over the fine blond hairs on the back of her neck. The thought gave me goosebumps. I had barely gotten my notebook open, however, when the professor ended the lecture with a particularly chilling fact.
"Quiz next time."
"Shit!" I said in a loud whisper.
Daryn turned. "Something wrong, ma'am?"
"All depends on who's asking, Sheriff," I muttered. I slammed my notebook shut and sank back in my seat.
"I'm asking." She flashed her smile. "And here's another question. You wanna copy my notes?"
"That's awfully, awfully nice of you," I purred. Pretending to struggle with my decision, I looked into the distance and frowned for a while. "I accept," I finally said.
"Wanna study them together?" she asked. "Over coffee?"
"Never drink the stuff, thanks."
I took Daryn's five pages of notes straight to Tri-Alpha House and upstairs to my dimly lit room. But when I sat at my little oak desk and tried to copy them, concentration eluded me, because the windup clock on my desk was ticking softly. Even after I buried the clock under the pillows on my bed, the ticking was still loud enough to make my hands tremble. I absolutely couldn't get rid of the clock~it was a gift from Jessica~so I dug out some wax earplugs I kept in my desk and shoved them into my ear canals. Once ensconced in that blissful silence, I could focus. And I had never seen notes like Daryn's.
They were works of crystalline coherence~full of insightful comments on points the professor had made. She had put asterisks beside the things she questioned. And in the margins she had remarked on nuances he had glossed over. I sighed with envy.
All I had ever done in any class was dutifully copy down what the professor said, word for word. Then I had gone home and memorized it. It had been enough. Until now.
I raised my eyes to the wall above my desk and pondered the two dozen photos of Jessica and I that I had taped there~all that was left of our nearly two years together. While I stared at our smiling faces, I tried to recall exactly what I had gained from college, besides learning how to write fast. The effort was short, and my thoughts quickly turned back to the Okie.
Apparently, Daryn could write just as fast as I could. And she had learned how to think. That made her a formidable opponent indeed. If I were going to beat her to the single "A" in history class, I would have to think hard, too. Or I would need to gain control of her incredible notes. She would have to move into Alpha Alpha Alpha. That meant that in spite of my nastiness, she would have to like me. A lot. I smiled to myself. No problem.
On Friday afternoon, when history class was over, I went straight to Daryn, who was already standing in the second row, and handed back her notes. "Thanks," I purred. "They really helped me get through the quiz." She plunked her cowboy hat on her head and scowled at me.
"You were supposed to return them yesterday. How was I supposed to study?"
I slapped the back of my hand against my forehead. "Oh, I am so sorry. It really, honestly just slipped my mind. How thoughtless of me!"
She stood and began to stuff her books into her backpack. "I don't believe you."
"Look," I said, "I'll make it up to you. Turns out Tri-Alpha House does have an opening."
She slung her pack over her shoulder. "I don't know..." she began.
"I'm glad you're willing to think about it. Why don't you come by tonight? Rush?"
"But I think I've found a nice place, with a vacancy opening up today. It's up on the hill, with a view and a pool."
"Terrible place," I retorted. "Full of field hockey players."
"But I like field hockey," she protested.
Of course she did. Definitely the field hockey type. How stupid of me. But she was almost in my clutches. I refused to give up. I slid my arm onto hers and began to lead her to the door.
"What a coincidence!" I lied. "I love field hockey!"
"Great," she enthused. "There's a pickup game in half an hour, and my team's one short. Meet me at the field?"
"If you'll consider living at Tri-Alpha, I'll come."
I stood there, waiting for her to lead the way. She tilted her head. "Aren't you going home to get ready?"
As I ran back to Tri-Alpha House, I passed one of the flyers I had tacked on a telephone pole. Just below the three large A's, someone had added a postscript:
Jane Jones is a lez-bo
I had no time to tear down the vandalized flyer. I was too busy with my recruitment plans. And besides, the comment seemed harmless. Who would believe it?
The thought of slumming with athletes was what really bothered me, but I showed up at the hockey field on time, ready to help the poor athletes out. I had no stick, but I'd brought Jessica's tennis racquet. At first, I felt self-conscious in my suit, but I told myself I was dressed reasonably. After all, everyone else was wearing little skirts. And field hockey was no big deal. I watched for a moment, and figured out that all I had to do was get the ball past the other team to the goal. In fact, the game was so easy, that I scored three goals in ten minutes. And I saw the other players~including Daryn~looking at me with the kind of awe that I'd seen only in Jessica's eyes, whenever she perused my report cards.
The last thing I remember was having the ball and a clear shot at the goal~and seeing Scotch Mackenzie barreling toward me from the far side of the field. "Kill her!" she commanded. There was a crazed look in her eye, almost as if she were in pain. Everybody froze. When she was three feet away, I suddenly realized what was wrong with her.
"I'm on your team, you idiot!" I screamed.
I woke up in a speeding ambulance. I raised my head to see a paramedic sitting beside me. He had a crew cut and was studying a women's shoe catalog. My shoes were upside down in his lap, and with his free hand, he was stroking the heels the way one would pet a cat. "Holy shit," I moaned "Did I break my ankle?"
He kept reading. "Nope."
I let my head fall back with relief. "Thank God."
He flipped to the next page. "You broke both of them."
The doctor in the emergency room had black hair piled high on her head. If it weren't for the bags under her eyes, she'd have passed for twelve years old. She patted my shoulder and pointed to my x-rays clipped onto a viewbox next to my stretcher. I found the gray shadows fascinating. Before she could speak, I climbed onto my elbows and exclaimed, "Wow! Non-displaced fractures of both distal fibulae. Yet the tibia is intact bilaterally."
The doctor nodded. Her voice was tired but kind. "That's correct. It's an odd injury, usually seen only in mating cows. But in fact, the fractures are minimal. You'll hurt, but I'll give you something so you can sleep. And in six weeks, you'll be as good as new."
I sat straight up on the stretcher and stared in horror at the casts on both my legs. "Thanks for fixing me up, but six weeks? You have to be kidding. How am I supposed to get around campus? What about my grades? What about law school?" Just then, her beeper went off. "Can't you turn that thing off?" I screamed. Then I covered my ears and fell back on the gurney, gasping for breath.
She frowned, slipped a penlight from her pocket and shined it in my right eye. At the same time she asked, "Noise makes your hooves itch, doesn't it?"
"I see." She peered into my other eye, then flicked the light off and shoved it into the breast pocket of her white coat. "Do you have insurance?"
"Then you'll definitely need these." She was scribbling out a prescription. She ripped it off the pad and held it out.
"Pain pills?" I asked, reading the prescription.
Equus-Snuuz horse tranquilizers, take as needed
"If you get another urge to play field hockey in high heels, take one. You'll go to sleep instead."
"But those are my only shoes," I tried to explain.
She scowled apologetically. "Then you'd better keep an eye on them."
As she turned away, I sat up again and raised the sheet on my gurney. My high heels had indeed disappeared~not that I'd need them for a while. But my wool suit was gone, too. All I had to wear in the world was a bare-backed hospital gown.
By then, Polly and Emma had shown up. Polly was pushing a wheelchair. They were both anxious to get back to rush. As I clambered into the wheelchair, Emma tucked her red pageboy behind her ears and picked up my crutches. She paused a moment to stare at my casts. "Wow," she breathed. "You look so athletic."
Polly hurried my wheelchair out to Emma's car, a Mazda Miata with a passenger compartment the size of a bathtub. They stuffed me~gown, crutches, and casts~into the non-existent back seat. I had to prop my plastered heels on the top of the windshield. As Emma drove, Polly turned to me, her blue and gold parrot hairdo flattened by the wind.
"So the hospital accepts credit cards?"
Emma swung a wide left, and I almost tumbled out of the car. "Jane maxed out her credit cards," she said with glee, "to go to Europe with Jessica."
My cheeks burned. "I'll pay for it~eventually," I said.
"How?" Emma asked.
"I'll get a job or something," I muttered.
Polly looked at me cautiously. "How was the hospital?"
"What do you mean, how was it?" I snapped.
She shrugged. "Don't worry about it. It's probably just a rumor."
"What?" I insisted.
"That one of the doctors there is really a veterinarian."
We had to stop at a pharmacy to pick up my prescription. By the time we got back to Tri-Alpha House, our rush party was in full swing. Dozens of people milled around on the porch. The lawn was host to an impromptu field hockey game being played with tennis racquets and a beer can. The smell of marijuana wafted to the curb. The white clapboard façade of the house was lit with roaming spotlights. The three 'A's under the eaves were outlined in flashing neon. A fake blimp was tied to the elm tree and floated placidly above the roof. Emma's dad had done it all. Turned out he had made his fortune decorating used car lots.
With Polly and Emma helping, I struggled out of the car. As I hobbled onto the walk, the ground beneath my crutches suddenly began to quake. A rhythmic bass shook my casts, so that the raw ends of my broken bones vibrated painfully. At the same moment, I heard the tortured squeal of an electric guitar. The sound was deafening. I turned my gaze toward the source~my upstairs window. Pulsating there was a woofer the size of Rhode Island. Stuffed on top of it, filling the entire window frame, were several tweeters. There was only one person on campus who could have dreamed that one up.
"Scotch!" Emma squealed. Scotch was standing on the porch, all two hundred non-lesbian pounds of her. She had an electric guitar in her hands, and a joint tucked in the corner of her mouth. The sides of her scalp were freshly shaved, making her Mohawk particularly impressive, and she was wearing her usual black tank top, jeans with a studded black belt, and motorcycle boots. She leaned the guitar against a porch post, whipped the joint from her mouth, grabbed a two-quart can of beer from somewhere, and lumbered down the porch steps to greet us on the walk. As she approached, I read the tattoo on her deltoid.
Scotch and Sappho
"Great party!" she shouted over the music. She wrapped a buff arm around Emma, who gave her a big smile and snuggled right in. But Scotch was staring at me. "Hey, cute-face. You missed a firkin' good game." She puffed up like a pigeon on steroids. "Thanks to me, we won, three to nothing."
I ignored her and turned to Polly. "Who are all these people?"
Polly shrugged. "Some of them are Scotch's friends. The rest are just women from campus who want to meet you."
Polly shrugged. "Because of the rumors going around."
"Well," Polly said, "there's the one about field hockey." I cursed myself. I should have known people would think ill of me for playing.
Emma looked away, embarrassed. "And there's another rumor, about...you know."
"About what?" I said.
"You and Jessica...and you know...." I wanted to die then, of grief and embarrassment. Silently I cursed Jessica, who, after all, had brought this upon me.
"Well the rumors are over," I said. "Tell everyone to go home."
I hitched my crutches into my armpits and was about to hobble into the house, when Scotch looked past me toward the street. Her face opened in intoxicated ecstasy. She shook her fist overhead.
"Lets move it, girls!" she bellowed, and several dozen athletes stampeded obediently past me to a U-Haul truck that was pulling up to the curb. I watched in horror as they raised the back door, and in well-drilled teams, removed a pool table, three boom boxes, an electric keyboard, a set of drums, a red toolbox, a punching bag, barbells, and several cartons piled with softball mitts. "Take it all upstairs and put it in the first room on the left," Scotch commanded.
"The first room on the left?" I cried.
Scotch shrugged. "Yeah. The one with the hot babes on the wall."
"You overgrown excuse for an adoles~"
I felt someone squeeze my arm and turned to see Emma. She looked at me sheepishly. "We let you live here, so I decided we shouldn't discriminate against Scotch just because of that rumor that she's...well...you know."
"We were supposed to vote on it," I argued.
Emma looked hurt. "We did. I voted for Scotch, and Polly abstained. You didn't even show up."
"I did have an excuse." I tried to keep my tone civil. "Scotch ran over me."
Emma looked down. "She feels real bad about that. She's offered to pay your hospital bill."
"How decent of her," I said contemptuously. I kept my expression hard, but Emma broke into a triumphant grin.
"I thought you'd see it my way," she said. "And I know you won't mind that I gave her your room." Her eyes narrowed. "You prefer Jessica's anyway."
It was true. Jessica's things were still there, even the stuffed giraffe named Graffy I had given her. It had cost me two weeks food allowance, but when Jessica had seen it in the store, she begged me for it. Now that Jessica was gone, I spent hours on her bed, kissing Graffy's fuzzy lips, pretending they were Jessica's. It was pure torture, but I couldn't seem to help myself. Even Polly didn't know what to call my strange compulsion. But Emma certainly knew how to use it. "What you do with that giraffe remains your secret," she warned, "only as long as you cooperate."
"Fine," I lied. "Scotch is in. I'm going to bed." Feigning defeat, I hiked my crutches into my armpits again and headed for the house. Tomorrow was the day I'd deal with Scotch.
Emma and Polly helped me hobble up the porch steps and into the living room. It reeked of beer. I threaded my own way through the mob that already surrounded the new pool table and stood for a moment at the base of the stairs, which looked like Mount Everest.
It took me twenty minutes to climb to the second floor. In two casts and crutches, I walked like Godzilla. My ankles throbbed. My ears were splitting from the music. But I made it into the bathroom and brushed my teeth. I splashed cold water on my face and tied the back of my hospital gown closed. Then I took one of the sleeping pills the doctor had given me.
Just as I exited the bathroom~planning to lie down in Jessica's bed, put plugs in my ears, and switch off the lamp~someone pulled the plug on the music. The silence was bliss. I began to feel more upbeat. The worst week of my life was almost over.
As I approached Jessica's room, however, I saw that the door was ajar. The room was dark, and as I got closer, I heard noises coming from inside. I also smelled an unusual odor, like sweat mixed with rubber. There was something familiar about that odor, something that filled me with trepidation.
I entered anyway and switched on the light. On the bed was a humping couple. Clothes were scattered everywhere. From a back corner of the bed, poor Graffy looked at me forlornly, no doubt because a pair of men's briefs hung from her nose. There was a fat candle burning on the bedside table. To my horror, I recognized the woman's platinum blond hair.
Jessica shielded her dazzled eyes with a hand. She raised her head, looked at me and frowned. "Turn that light out," she whined. "It's hurting my eyes."
And somewhere, in my vast reserves of wit, I found the perfect comeback. "This is my room now."
"It is not," she pouted. "I paid for it."
"Scotch paid," I countered.
"So I'll pay her back," Jessica began. Her argument went unfinished, however, because at that moment, Pierre-Francois wedged his head against her chin. He was still humping away, apparently oblivious to the rest of the conversation. Jessica tapped him on the shoulder.
"Pierre-Francois?" Then she frowned. "Pierre-Francois." He kept humping, and she tapped him again, harder. He kept going, until finally, she swiped him hard across the top of his head. "Pierre-Francois!" He looked over his shoulder at me. His brows rose.
"Ah," he said, looking back at Jessica. "Eat ease your lesbian loaf hair." He rolled off her, sat leaning against the wall, and gave me a heavy-lidded smile. I couldn't help staring, dumbfounded at his sheathed sword, which was saluting me. He grabbed Graffy and covered himself.
I turned back to Jessica and tried to play on her sympathy. "But I can't walk, I have no money, and I have no place else to go."
"Like all that's my fault." Jessica had propped herself on her elbows. Her lips were flushed, just like when I kissed her and my heart fluttered with hopelessness. Pierre-Francois looked at me and raised his brows knowingly.
"No pless to go?" he said. "Why done you join us?"
Jessica scowled, and using Graffy as a weapon, once more whacked the top of Pierre-Francois' head. Calmer, she shoved Graffy back into his crotch. Then she looked at my casts and made a face. "What happened to you?" she asked.
"Both of you get out now," I soothed, "and no one but Graffy will die."
Jessica tossed her platinum hair. "Quit being such a bitch," she pouted. "Besides, I don't have to leave." As she was speaking, the music suddenly boomed to life again. The window near us rattled, and she began shouting at me. "...and the reason is..."
But I was beyond reason. Blood surged into the reptilian part of my brain. I raised one of my crutches, and swung it in a wild arc toward Jessica and Pierre-Francois. They ducked. The crutch hit the fat candle, which fell off the table and rolled across the room to stop at the base of the window. Jessica was shouting over the din. "I don't have to leave, because my daddy just bought Tri-Alpha House." And then she delivered the coup de grace. "And if I have to sue to get you out of here, just remember, Jane Jones, you're nothing, and my aunt is the lawyer of all lawyers~Attorney General of the United States."
No longer impressed by Jessica, I raised the crutch again.
Pierre-Francois raised his voice. "I weal safe you from hair, Jessica!" He tossed Graffy aside. She landed on the floor at the foot of the bed, next to the still-burning candle that lay there. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the candle roll an inch, until it nudged the long drape. Pierre-Francois had begun to rise. Suddenly, over the blasting of the music, there was a frightening whoosh. Flames shot up the drapes. Heat seared my face. Pierre-Francois screamed and lunged bravely past me. As he fled, naked, he opened the door, letting in a blast of fresh, fire-feeding air.
I turned back to Jessica. The flames were already roaring to the ceiling. But she was huddled on the far corner of the bed staring at the blaze and wailing, "My house! Look what you've done to my house!" Then she began to cry. I rolled my eyes.
"Come on," I growled. "We've got to get out of here."
"I can't," she wheedled, and she crossed her arms timidly over her chest. My heart ached at her distress.
I put down one crutch, and somehow, hanging by a fingertip from the other crutch, I picked out Pierre-Francois' button-down shirt from the mess on the floor. The long shirttail would cover her. I offered it to her. "Quick, put this on."
But she refused, huddling even farther against the wall. I glanced around. Poor Graffy was four feet to the sky and ablaze. Flames engulfed Jessica's dresser that stood next to the window. Flames roared across the ceiling, and snapped at a second wall. Sparks floated onto the bed where Jessica cowered.
"You started it all," she wept. "Now put it out!"
"I can't. Emma used the fire extinguisher to wash her car."
By now, I was coughing from the smoke. So was Jessica, and when I saw that she was being unreasonable~that my beloved Jessica was about to die~panic seized me. I raised the crutch again. "Get out or die, you stuck up excuse for an idiot!" I wheezed. As if she were a naughty dog, I shook the crutch in her face. Besides being satisfying, it worked.
She rose and ran out the door, calling, "Help! She's trying to kill me! Pierre-Francois! Pierre-Francois! Pierre-Francois!"
In mid-beat, the music stopped. Jessica's room was darkening with smoke. I was choking. The fire was curling the edges of my hospital gown. Everything in the room was burning, the bed, even the crutch I had dropped. With the remaining crutch, I hobbled to the door. The pain in my ankles was excruciating, but somehow I made it across the hall to my old room~Scotch's room~to find her kneeling by the window under the giant woofer.
Another joint hung from her lips, and the red toolbox lay open next to her. She was wrapping duct tape around a hefty black wire. She looked me up and down, and holding the joint in her teeth, grinned. "Hey, cute-face. You look good in plaster. You work out? I'll do anything for a cute girl. Anything. I'm stupid that way." She jabbed a thumb at the speaker. "You can use my system any time, you know." I could tell she was planning to jabber on.
"Fire!" I yelled, and her eyes rolled back in ecstasy.
"I love that group, too," she replied. Then she frowned and tugged at the wire. "I'll put them on as soon as I get this firking thing fixed." Another yank, and the music roared again. She looked up at me and wrinkled her nose.
"Do you smell smoke?" she shouted.
I pointed across the hall. "Fire!" I repeated. Smoke was now curling into my room.
Scotch turned ashen. "Holy firk! Why didn't you tell me!" She jerked the wire from the back of the woofer. The music stopped again. "My poor baby! I'll save you!" Scotch leapt to her feet, tossed the tweeters onto the bed, wrapped her massive arms around the woofer and yanked it from the window. Clutching it, she staggered toward the door. I was still standing in the hall. I tried to back away, but as she turned into the hall, she clipped my remaining crutch. I fell. I tried to get up, but the casts made me awkward. "Give me a hand, would you?" I asked.
"In a minute," she said.
Unbelieving, I sat there, watching Scotch stumble down the hall toward the stairs.
"Fire!" I heard her bellow. "Everybody out!"
Air poured through the open window where the speakers had been. Flames shot from Jessica's doorway. I found I could move faster on my hands and knees. I struggled toward the stairs, which were twenty feet away. Before I had gone three feet, a wall of flame roared out of Jessica's room and across the hallway, blocking my path. Heat engulfed me. I could no longer see. I turned around, and crawled along the wall, patting the baseboards until I felt what had to be the entrance to Scotch's room. I scrambled inside and slammed the door.
And things were definitely better in there. The air was smoky, but at least the sound of the flames seemed more distant. In fact, I began to feel peaceful, contented. Too contented. To my horror, I realized the sleeping pill was kicking in. I had to get air. I dragged myself to the open window, and managed to get my elbows onto the sill.
Once there, I looked up. How tranquil everything was~smoke burgeoning like black cauliflower into the sky, spotlights slicing across the smoke, sparks spilling from the eaves above me and drifting in slow motion past my window, sirens singing in the distance. Why, I wondered, had I never noticed the simple beauty of nature?
I looked down. A crowd of people had gathered on the lawn. Clustered below my window were all my beautiful friends, everyone who loved me so~Emma, elegant in her pageboy; perky Polly with her parrot hairdo; Scotch; strong and noble; dashing Pierre-Francois, a god with his cupped hands concealing his nakedness; and, of course, Jessica, my one true love, her naked loveliness concealed by absolutely nothing.
And in the very front of the crowd was Daryn Archer in her cowboy hat. They all stared up at me, their mouths agape, horrified. But why? It was such a nice evening. And they were all so beautiful. For some reason, Daryn was waving frantically. Her bolo tie swung in such an interesting arc. "Hey Jane!" she shouted.
I waved back. "Hi, gorgeous."
"Jump!" she yelled.
"All right," I murmured agreeably, and I tried to stand up. But there was a distant, mild pain in my ankles, so I lay down again on the floor beneath the window. After all, there was no hurry. I could jump in the morning.
I woke up lying on the lawn. An oxygen mask was strapped over my face. I whipped it off and raised my head. Fire trucks were lined up in the street, lights blinking. Firefighters shouted orders to each other and ran fat hoses across the lawn. Streams of water arced onto the blazing ruins of Tri-Alpha House. Bullhorns blared. Police cars were pulling up. A crewcut man in a paramedic's uniform was kneeling beside me, I recognized him from the ambulance ride. He withdrew a syringe from my arm.
"That brought her around," he said. He trained a penlight on my bare toes, which jutted from the casts. He reached his hand toward them.
"Touch them and die," I hissed.
He jabbed the penlight into his breast pocket. "See?" he said to no one in particular. "She's as nasty as ever. It was just a sleeping pill, not smoke inhalation."
"Thank Gaw-ud," drawled someone on my left. I looked in that direction, and saw a black figure with white eyeballs kneeling beside me. Above the white eyeballs rested a sooty cowboy hat.
I rose to my elbows and looked down at my hospital gown. It was black. Even my casts were black. I looked back at Daryn. "You saved me?"
Daryn shrugged. "I wasn't plannin' on it. I came by to tell you I wasn't moving in. And to get the rest of the notes you stole." She tilted her head. "Why in the world did you do that?"
"They were such fabulous notes," I admitted, "and since the professor is only giving one 'A' I was afraid I wouldn't be the one unless..." My words trailed off.
"You were afraid? Of not getting an 'A'?" Daryn's eyes twinkled. "And you were so fearless on the hockey field." I couldn't tell if she was being nice or making fun of me. Tears of shame pressed against the back of my eyes.
"You're a hero," I said bitterly. "You're not afraid of anything."
She frowned. "That ain't true at all," she drawled. "I'm afraid of rattlers. Specially pretty ones. Unless they promise not to bite." She nodded at the burning sorority house, then gave me a dazzling smile through the soot. "Looks like you done burned down your snake hole."
I sighed. "I'll dig another one."
"I don't doubt it," she said, helping me up. "But in the meantime, you can stay at my place."
An hour later I was bathed. Daryn lent me a pair of boxer shorts and a tank top. She even had an old pair of adjustable crutches lying around. She shrugged as she handed them to me. "Ain't no big deal. Everyone who plays field hockey needs crutches now and then."
Feeling a little better, I plunked down in the middle of her couch, propped my black casts on her coffee table, and while she took her turn in the bathroom, I dug into a bowl of roasted nuts she had given me. Daryn came out in sweat pants and a tank top. As she crossed the room, she rubbed her hair with a towel, which she then tossed onto the back of a chair. She sat on one end of the couch, drew a leg up under her, grabbed a handful of nuts, and looked hard at me. "Why is a smart girl like you stealin' for grades?"
"To get into an Ivy League law school."
"So tell me why you're gonna be a lawyer," she drawled, "when you ain't one bit interested in lawyerin'?"
I felt my hackles rise, and if Daryn hadn't been so damned cute, I would have been downright snippy. "How the hell do you know what I'm interested in?"
"Well, ain't the law about truth and justice?"
"All depends on who's arguing the case."
"Let's say I am," Daryn replied. "And let's say I got some big questions to ask you." And she had an interesting method of cross-examination. She moved closer to me. In fact, she practically sat on top of me. Her hair was still damp and mussed. Her pupils were wide. Her lips looked as juicy as pink grapefruit wedges. I caught a whiff of Ivory soap and skin. "And let's say you can only tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothin' but." She put her hand on my cast and stroked it. Her brow puckered. "You ain't got no idea how talented you are in field hockey, do you?"
"That's your first question?" I tried hard to sound aloof, but Daryn's hand on my cast made my stomach feel as though the bottom had dropped out of it. She gave me her grin. Then her expression turned serious.
"Why'd you try to keep me out of Tri-Alpha House?"
I lowered my gaze. The truth was, I had grown up in a trailer park in Arkansas. I had joined a sorority so that I could make friends of substance. The last thing I wanted was to meet more hicks like Daryn. Or me.
"I didn't think you'd like it there," I replied. That was when I noticed a smattering of freckles on her chest. Without really thinking, I reached up and touched one of them. She took my hand from her chest and held it. Leaning even closer, she put her lips to my ear.
"You're lying," she whispered. Her breath on my ear was hot, silky. "Jessica said you got the highest scores in the state on your SAT's, and that you're here on full scholarship." It was all true. It was the only way I could afford to go to college. "I'll bet you're just crazy enough to be ashamed of that."
"I...I..." But I couldn't answer, because she was kissing the side of my neck, slowly, and in several places. It felt so good that my eyes closed, and I made funny little moaning sounds.
"Jessica said you'd do anything~anything~to get into a fancy law school." She cupped my face in her hands. Then she placed her lips on mine.
She may have been a hick like me, but I noticed that her kiss was warm and elegant, like fine velvet. I wanted it to last a month, but I broke away long enough to gasp, "That's not true! I really loved her!"
Her face fell, then she whispered in my ear again. "Jessica said you only loved her because you thought her famous aunt could help you get where you wanted to go."
"Jessica and her stupid family can all go to hell."
"You mean that?" Daryn asked hopefully.
"I do." I would have said more~lots more~but she laughed and kissed me again, harder this time, and all I wanted was for us to melt together.
After a moment, I was lying on my back on the couch with Daryn on top of me. I was breathing harder, and so was she. The casts were so big that I had to wrap my legs around her to keep from falling off the couch. She winced, shifted one of the casts a little, so she was more comfortable, then continued in a whisper, "Jessica said you could never love someone like me, just for who I am. And that I ain't oughta be a big ol' fool like she was. So here's my main question. Am I a fool?"
Her eyes were soft now, and when I thought of how she had risked her life to save me from the fire, I felt as though I had swallowed a rock. Her weight on me, however, was sweeter than anything I had ever felt. And when she started kissing my neck again, my insides felt so achy and gooey that I could barely speak.
"You ain't no fool," I whispered.
She raised her head and looked at me. "What did you say?"
"You ain't no fool," I repeated. "I could love you just fine."
A corner of her lips rose. "Even with all them casts?"
"And even if I ain't in your sorority?"
"That stupid sorority," I muttered. "It don't deserve someone as good as you. I'm quittin' it." I wrapped my arms tight around her
The next morning, I woke up on the floor beside the couch. My arms were wrapped around Daryn. Although I was covered with a couple of blankets, I had nothing on but my casts. Neither did Daryn. Her eyes were still closed, and since I knew she had to be tired from tangling with my casts all night, I lay still for a while so as not to wake her. The whole time I lay there, I was thinking how lucky I was, even if she was a hick. That night with her had been worth breaking both my legs, losing all my possessions in a fire, and denouncing Jessica and Tri-Alpha. It was even worth risking a 'B' in history. I thought of that silly horoscope and chuckled. This had been the luckiest week of my life.
But then I heard a thump at the door. It sounded like the morning paper, and I had a bad feeling about it, so I crawled to the door, opened it, and snatched the paper from Daryn's welcome mat. I crawled back to where Daryn lay, got under the blankets, and unrolled the paper. I read the headline, two black inches of folly. But I wasn't snickering anymore.
Sorority burns. Arson suspected
I read the subheading.
Niece of attorney general accuses lesbian roommate
"Shit!" I whispered, and my heart sank. I knew my luck had just changed again. Sure enough, just then, there was a banging at the door. Daryn's head popped up.
"Who's there?" she called.
"Police! Open up!"
Daryn leapt to her feet and snatched up the clothes that were strewn around. She tossed some to me, and after we had each yanked on a couple of random garments, she helped me onto the couch. A few seconds later, she went to the door. After smoothing her hair, she opened it. Two grim, uniformed policemen stood there. One had to be over six feet tall, the other, six feet around. They peered inside, suspicious. Their eyes widened at the blankets strewn on the floor.
"We're looking for Jane Jones," the tall one said. He lowered his voice to a near whisper. "A lesbian."
Daryn shrugged. "That ain't a crime in this state."
Chubby held up a photo for Daryn to look at. "Dark hair, shoulder length. Blue eyes. Good-looking. Casts on both legs, but gets around anyway."
The tall one locked eyes with me, fingered the handcuffs hanging from his belt, and asked, "She here?"
Daryn's voice was cold in a way I'd never heard it. "All depends on who's askin.'"
The tall cop straightened up. "We have reason to believe she committed arson last night."
Chubby stuffed the photo into his breast pocket. "And we suspect she had financial motives, because she left a hospital emergency room without paying her bill. She's looking at charges of insurance fraud. And public intoxication as well as possible illicit drug use."
"Illicit drug use?" Erin asked.
The tall cop nodded. "According to a paramedic, she was under the influence of a controlled veterinary substance. We also have a complaint that she assaulted a foreigner with a deadly weapon."
Daryn tilted her head. "A deadly weapon?"
"Yes, ma'am," said the tall cop. "A crutch."
Daryn looked at me then, and pursed her lips in surprised admiration. She turned to the cops. "Do you have an arrest warrant?"
"No, ma'am, at this point we just need to question her."
"Fine," Daryn said. "Her attorney will call you on Monday." She shut the door and turned to look at me again. "Wow," she said calmly. "Yore in a heap a trouble."
I stared at her in horror. "Why the hell did you tell them I have an attorney?"
"Cause you do." She sauntered to the counter between her living room and kitchen, where I saw a pile of business cards. She plucked one off the top and came over to the sofa to hand it to me. "Voila. Your attorney. The lawyer of all lawyers." The card was embossed with an eagle seal. As she sank down beside me, I read the name.
Attorney General of the United States of America
"But that's Jessica's aunt!"
"Yep. But she's my mom."
Apparently, when The Honorable Karyn Archer telephoned the police on Monday, things went well. Pierre-Francois was deported for illegally transporting a candle on an airliner. I was never charged with anything. Or for anything. In fact, the hospital suddenly paid me for my lost clothes. I used the money to buy jeans, several tank tops, and running shoes. Polly's dad had a quiet connection with Tri-Alpha's insurance rep, and somehow got Tri-Alpha House rebuilt in six weeks. But I didn't bother to move back in.
I never regained my interest in law either, and set my sights on a career in orthopedic surgery instead. When the casts came off, I led Easton's field hockey team to the national championship. According to the coaches, my years of wearing nothing but high heels had given me incredible speed, strength, and agility.
And, oh yes. I got a 'B' in history. So did Daryn. We just couldn't seem to make it to class very often. Scotch got the only 'A.' And then, of course, she got Jessica.
Emma voted them both out of Alpha Alpha Alpha.
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