Jesse O’neil is balls-to-the-wall popular, unsurprisingly. I’m in the hallway, trying to navigate the adulatory haze to gauge what sort of ship she runs here.
General chatter prevails, doesn’t exactly die or rise as she makes her way. She waves, sweetly, to anyone that that says hello, and seems genuine enough with the two girls flanking her acid-washed periphery: Brooke Remmers and Sarah Yost. They are bouncy, too, if bound for a bit more deviance than their cohort. I eye Sarah’s chaos of curls and wonder how her mom budgets for a year’s worth of Frizz-ease.
I smile and they smile. A quick, cool girl telepath, until I’m sure that they’ve gotten the message: Make room, ladies. This is not my first rodeo.
Because I was THE it girl back home (for first through third grade. and then after my mom taught me how to Nair my mustache), and I know the nicetoyourface bit intimately–in fact, I’m fairly expert. So I wasn’t going to be bowled over easily. Anyway, I have the advantage: USC hasn’t had a new student since 1795.
‘You new girls are hot,’ says a pint-sized human beside me. I turn to see John Miller, one of those anomalies that would catapult to handsome in less than a year. For now, I’m not sure what to make of him.
‘What do you mean, girls?’ I say, careful not to sound concerned. And so it’s with a smile that I follow his gesture, an open palm to the hallway, where the crowd parts and from within beams the heart of beauty itself, a black-haired, sultry-eyed Lauren DeKosky.
‘Motherfucker,’ I say.
But not really, because that would be insane. Instead, I walk up like the badass that I am and introduce myself to my competition.
And so I go through the day, fluently paving the way to 8th grade royalty. I feel relatively successful, standing here in the bathroom as bus time approaches, making sure that no new hair has sprouted, and securing my see-through bodysuit. I feel as though I’ve secured a band of misfits already–gifted to me by the sorcery of homeroom sentencing–a list through which I run silently as I reapply my lipgloss.
- Stephanie Lang, the Greek Natural Helper
- Stacy Zemba, the one with the hair, and a curious devotion to Eddie Vedder, someone I need to research immediately, as my Famous People I Like list is lame at best (goodbye Paula Abdul and Gloria Estefan).
- Amie Guarino, the one with the big hat, and a hint of the same pedigree of perversion climbing through my own psychic makeup
- Jennifer Barnes, the black girl. By my calculation, one of two in the entire school, maybe.
Good. Great, even. I smile in the mirror, satisfied. And then I open the door and see the love of my life for the very first time.