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Diary of a Wickedly Cool Witch : Bullies and Baddies

 

Diary of a

Wickedly Cool Witch

Bullies and Baddies

By Kate Cullen

 

 

 

 

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any matter whatsoever without the written and signed permission of the author.

All trademarked names are the property of their owner and are acknowledged by the proper use of capitalization throughout.

Written and Illustrated by Kate Cullen

Copyright © 2015 @ Kate Cullen

 

 

OTHER BOOKS BY KATE CULLEN

Available as eBooks or print books

Free ebook Game on Boys 1:The PlayStation Playoffs(8-12)

Game on Boys 2 : Minecraft Madness (8-12)

Game on Boys 3 : NO Girls Allowed

Game on Boys 4 : Minecraft Superhero

Diary Of a Wickedly Cool Witch : Bullies and Baddies (10-13)

Lucy goes to the Halloween Party (Early readers)

Lucy the Easter Dog (Early readers)

Follow KATE at

Kate Cullen at katekate5555

Or email [email protected]

 

 

Dear Reader,

 

This book is a work of fiction. The characters and events are fictional and any resemblance to actual events or people is coincidental.

 

If you enjoy reading this book, please do me the honor and leave me a review when you’re finished.

 

In the meantime I would love you to download my free ebook ‘Game on Boys’, while it is free for a limited time. Both boys and girls (8-13) will love laughing out loud to the crazy antics of the gamer boys in the first of the series, ‘The PlayStation Playoffs and ‘Game on Boys 2: Minecraft Madness’.

 

http://amzn.com/B00K3W0KNM

 

 

 

 

 

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referred to in this work of fiction by the proper use of capitalization throughout.

 

 

CONTENTS.

 

1. Me, the Weirdo

2. All About the Gang

3. Cool Dude Super Spy

4. The ‘Sort of’ Cool Group

5. Koolbar Princesses

6. To Stalk or not to Stalk

7. The 12 year old Stalker

8. My New Boyfriend

9. Football Hero

10. It’s Finally Here

11. The First Cheeroff

12. Who Made it?

13. Something’s Going Down

14. And the Meanness Begins

15. Mom the Dragon and Dan the Stinkbomb

16. The Kitty Terrorist

17. Sneaky Tactics

18. Time to Take Action

19. Something Smells Fishy

20. Something Stinks

21. The Dirty Deed is Done

22. Home Sweet Home

23. Detonated Disaster

24. Little White Lies

25. It’s a Miracle

26. Truth and Lies

27. The Truth Hurts

GAME ON BOYS EXTRACT

 

1. Me the Weirdo

 

There are things about me that I will never be able to tell you. They’re too dark and too scary; well maybe not really scary, but weird, really weird. I mean, I don’t even know you yet. What if you’re not cool enough to handle the stuff I might tell you? You might lose it and freak out completely, or worse still, you might think I’m a wicked liar. I’m not superwoman or anything like that, but the things I can do will blow you away. I suppose I could give you a quick little rundown about my life and see if you can dig that. Then later on, maybe I can divulge the more nitty gritty, gruesome stuff.

 

My name is Lily which is short for Lilymandra. I was born two hundred and eighty-six years ago in a volcanic eruption of crystalline and ash. I don’t like to say that I’m 286 years of age because that makes it sound like I’m really old and decrepit. So I just tell people that I was born two hundred and eighty six years ago, and I have a really good skin care regime. Most people just laugh or snigger in my face when I say that. Especially the grown-ups. Some even tell me I’m too cute. Then they turn their backs and chuckle together.

I guess by now you probably have a picture in your mind of some disgusting gremlin looking creature straight out of the pages of Harry Potter, with wispy bits of silver hair, wrinkled features and a long pointy nose protruding from ancient spectacles. Exotic crystal earrings hang from oversized, weathered ear lobes, because I have to have crystal. Yep, crystal is my thing. I have to wear crystal, like, all the time. Crystal to me, is like armour is to Ironman, Spinach is to Popeye, a pencil is to Mr Squiggle and kryptonite is to Superman. Hang on, that’s wrong. Kryptonite kills Superman doesn’t it?

 

If I don’t wear crystal …..actually I’d better not say. You really don’t want to know, believe me! And I don’t want to scare you off just yet. Maybe I’ll wait until you’re a bit older, like when you’re 50.

 

 

2. All About the Gang

 

Actually, I don’t look like something out of the pages of Harry Potter at all. I’m just like every other 12 year old girl in the seventh grade, with strawberry blonde hair tied back in plaits. Mom says it makes me look like Pippi Longstocking because of the few freckles that sprinkle my face.

 

I live in my denim shorts mostly and I wear loom bands all the time; up my arm, round my ankle and even on my toe. Once I even made one big enough to go round my waist, but it busted when I farted. My dad calls me ‘Loom band Lily’ and unfortunately my snotty nosed three year old brother, Lukey, copies him. The only problem is, he’s still learning to talk properly and it comes out ‘Woom band Willie’.

 

Dad is a salesman. I’m not really sure what he sells though. Most of the time he just takes people out to lunch and rings Mom to say he doesn’t need any dinner that night. She always says “good,” and we all get to eat baked beans…again. I love baked beans maybe once a week, but three times a week!!!!

 

And you know what they say about baked beans, well it’s true. Boy do they make my brother fart, and he’s not shy in letting us know about it either. My brother’s farts are deadly; deadly in smell, deadly in sound, and deadly in their ability to suffocate the poor person unfortunate enough to be standing behind his butt cheeks. His butt missiles have enough ammunition to make your face squish up into a dried sultana. Actually baked beans do kind of make me fart too, but I don’t let anyone know about it. I sneak off to my bedroom, and if I can’t escape quick enough, I blame the dog.

 

Mom, whose name is Fiona, works part time at the shopping mall in a clothes store. She says she is a ‘fashion consultant’ which is really cool because sometimes she gets to bring stuff home for free and I get to go and check out all the new clothes and try some on. Mom’s boss says I should be a model when I grow up, but I don’t think he’s for real. I think he’s just trying to suck up to Mom so she’ll do some extra shifts, but Mom says she already works long shifts at home as a slave. She’s always saying, “I’m not a slave you know, I’m not a slave,” like over and over again. Ok Mom, we know you’re not a slave, you’re a ‘fashion consultant’.

 

We also have a cute little pug dog called R2D2 even though he looks like Yoda. He has one black eye and one pink eye and a bit of curly hair around his neck like a woollen scarf. Mom thinks his dad was a poodle and his mom was a pug dog, which means he’s not a pure breed pug dog. Does that means he’s a poogle or a puddle?

 

Even though he’s very cute and adorable, he has one tiny problem. You know how some dogs like to eat things they shouldn’t, like pebbles, and bark and stuff, well my dog likes to eat leggo blocks, but only the mini ones thank goodness. Mom keeps saying one day he’s going to poop out a star wars battleship. She says the most ridiculous things sometimes. And Dad always has to be funnier than she is of course.

“It’s a pity he doesn’t eat colored crayons,” Dad says, “he might poop out a rainbow. And there definitely wouldn’t be a golden nugget waiting at the other end either,” he says. Really! My dad is just as weird as my mom.

 

I also have a black cat, Mr Sirpuss (every girl like me needs a black cat).

 

 

Oh I almost forgot. There’s this other creature that inhabits the house. It slimes around one of the bedrooms and occasionally when it thinks no-one else is home, it slinks out and raids the fridge, leaving nothing but a shrivelled up piece of lettuce and a few nuts and bolts on the ground. Later on, when its belly is bulging with satisfaction, it sits like a sloth at the PlayStation and the occasional grunt is heard. I think there must be super glue on the bean bag because the creature seems to get stuck on it while it wrestles the remote control for hours on end until my dad comes in and says in a police officer’s voice, “Move away from the PlayStation.”

“Daaaaad,” a muffled grunt comes from somewhere in the bean bag.

“I repeat, move away from……..”

“DAD! I’M GOING! Why can’t you just leave me alone? So sick of this, grunt, grunt, grunt, mumble, mumble, mumble.” And the creature creeps back to its flea infested cave. The creature’s name is Daniel, which is short for ‘Dopey Dan’ or ‘Drop-kick Daniel’ depending on how much he’s annoying me. He likes to call himself ‘Dan the Man’.

 

Dopey Dan is in actual fact my bigger brother. He’s the one that does all the super dooper farts after baked beans, not Lukey. Dan is bigger, fatter, dumber, but definitely not older than I am. He’s 15 and in the tenth grade at high school, so that makes him about 271 years younger than me. And boy does he act it. Sometimes I think Lukey has more maturity in his nappies than Dopey Dan has anywhere.

 

 

Dopey Dan actually has a girlfriend would you believe? Her name is Ariana. I don’t think she has an intellectual disability or severe cognitive issues or anything, but there must be something missing up top where the grey matter blobs around. Seriously, how can she bear to go out with him? Maybe she’s forgotten to clean her glasses in the last five years and they’re a little gooped up. Actually, I don’t think she wears glasses. Maybe that’s the problem; she needs to. Perhaps he pays her in chocolates to be his girlfriend. It’s got me stumped that’s for sure.

 

Ariana is actually an ok girl. Dad calls her the grand Ariana after Ariana Grande. God Dad is so embarrassing. I think he might even be more embarrassing than Mom!

 

Talking of embarrassing, the other week when Mom and Dad were at work, I sprung Dopey and Ariana doing ‘you-know-what’. KISSING! (In case you didn’t work it out.) I was at my friend Mishy’s house as it was a student free day. Ariana and Dan were supposed to be looking after me. His style of babysitting is to give me five dollars and say, “Get Lost!” I did get lost for a while but I had to come back home to grab my iPad as Mishy and I were going to make a Video star movie. I burst through the front door because I was in such a hurry, and Dopey Dan seemed like he was wrestling Ariana on the couch. When I came in, he kind of did this whacky triple somersault into the air, lunged over to the other couch and did a face plant into the kitty litter. Eewgh!!!!

Then he swore at me under his breath!

 

If it wasn’t for my little ‘differences’, we’d be just like any other normal, suburban family. It’s just that there are a few peculiar, inexplicable occurrences that happen from time to time that leave Mom and Dad a little mind-boggled. In fact every family I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a few), has always been a little bit mind blown with the things that happen in their otherwise normal, boring everyday life.

 

 

3. Cool Dude Super Spy

 

I’ve had many life epochs, and in each one I always have a mission. But I have to remain confidential and inconspicuous at all times, which means, I’m not allowed to tell anyone about myself. I have to work ‘incognito’ like some cool dude super spy without being noticed. In my current epoch, I have to ‘save the world’ masquerading as a 12 year old sassy school girl, which is lots of fun.

 

But I can tell you, it’s hard to get people to listen to you when you’re trying to prevent them from entering their death car, when you’re just a kid. I remember vividly how hard it was last summer to convince a fifty year old man dressed in a classy business suit not to get into his flashy sport’s car because I was just a dumb kid dressed in a bikini with multi-colored zinc splattered all over my face.

 

That really happened at the local pool last Summer. Maybe if I was twenty-five, wearing a mini- skirt, low cut top, black boots and hot red lipstick, he might have actually listened to me. But since I was just an annoying, gum-chewing, freckle faced twelve year old, he didn’t, and well, the end result wasn’t too pretty. I still remember my diary entry that night.

 

 

*Saturday June 18*th 2014

 

I walked into the pool today and the first person I laid eyes on was Craig, surrounded by a harem of bikini-clad girls. Craig is the captain of the football team at school and one of the junior life guards at the pool over Summer. He’s in the tenth grade but he looks like he is a senior. He has the dreamiest brown eyes and olive skin bronzed warmly by the Summer sun.

I quickly scanned the area for a familiar face so I could stop feeling like a drop kick loser with no friends. As I started putting on my multi-colored sunscreen whilst surveying the area, I noticed Craig step away from the pack of hungry female hyenas clawing at his body and start to walk over in my direction. I looked behind my shoulder to see what gorgeous girl he was headed towards but I couldn’t see anyone. When he got to me, he stopped and reached out tenderly towards my face. ‘OMG OMG OMG!’ I thought. ‘He’s going to touch me!’

Then, just as I thought I was going to make spectacular contact with the ground, face first, he spoke to me. “You have a big blob of zinc in the corner of your eye. Have you ever had zinc in your eye? It really stings.”

But before he could complete his heartfelt charity mission, that familiar feeling came over me. My mind became dizzy, my body started to shake and I felt hot and sweaty all over, and it had nothing to do with the fact that the school’s cutest boy was speaking to me. I dropped my zinc tube and bag, and raced off through the front gates and out onto the kerb as fast as I could, leaving several of the girls laughing madly. I’m sure they thought I was a stupid seventh grader embarrassed speaking to a boy.

I saw my target straight away. Mr Fancy Pants getting back into his flash sports convertible after dropping his fancy pants daughter off. Tiffany was probably the richest, most gorgeous girl in the eighth grade at my junior high. She also happened to hold the title of meanest and snobbiest. Actually mean is an understatement. She’s more like a tyrannosaurus rex with hot pink lipstick and salon straightened hair.

 

As I saw the devastation flash through my mind I begged him not to get in the car. I warned him that danger lurked perilously close, but he looked dismissively at me and bellowed. I know I looked ridiculous rapping on his window. Some people walking into the pool whispered to each other and they too probably thought I was a ridiculous spotted face child.

Well I warned him. He survived fortunately, but the sports car wasn’t a pretty sight apparently. And I heard he was in a wheel chair for six months.

 

They’re the sort of things I have to do; serious things that can save people’s lives instantly in the physical sense. My job is done swiftly and the target moves on, unaware that something has intervened to alter their course and protect them from an unfortunate circumstance.

 

Then there are the things that take a lot more time, and I have to provide my service slowly and thoughtfully over a longer period, sometimes months, sometimes years. These things don’t always affect the subject’s physical safety, but their happiness and emotional welfare.

 

And that’s exactly why I found myself being born into the Samson family during this life epoch and living on 108 Rowntree Lane. There was someone else living on the same street and she needed the help of a good witch. She just didn’t know she was about to be saved from one of the most humiliating and embarrassing experiences a teenage girl could ever possibly have.

 

 

4. The ‘Sort Of’ Cool group

 

Life at Green Valley Junior High is pretty good. I’m in the ‘sort of cool group’ at school. Not the super cool gang, who are snobs, not the jocks who are awesome at every sport, and definitely not the geeks, nerds or dorks. We’re just hanging round in the middle there somewhere. There are four of us girls who hang out together and sometimes Alex. Alex is a little crazy at times but he’s heaps of fun. He’s always telling jokes or pranking us. Occasionally the boys tease him for mucking round with the girls, but he doesn’t let it worry him. He says the boys are just jealous. He still does all the boy type stuff like baseball and computer games and farting, things like that.

Then there’s Maddy, Mishy and Sarah who make up our gang. Maddy is pretty, with long blonde locks that frame her blue eyes and naturally toned face. Sarah has long dark hair and wears it in plaits like me. She has braces on her teeth which she absolutely hates but we don’t notice them anymore. My mom says one day when they come off, her teeth will be a work of art and we’ll all be jealous. Sarah is super good at everything she does. She’s on the school basketball team, tennis team and in the school strings group.

 

 

 

 

My BFF is Mishy. The only word to describe Mishy is cute; a cute little package with brown eyes, a little button nose and silky, brown hair that she wears tied up in a high pony tail. When she laughs it sounds like a tinkling waterfall. She’s so small she could fit into my school bag. In fact once we tried to squash her inside it, to smuggle her on a family holiday.

 

 

We were going camping in the mountains and Mishy really wanted to come with us. She’s an only child and hates having to stay at home with her parents doing boring stuff, so we hatched a plan to smuggle her in my school bag.

Our plan was going smoothly until she let a little fart go off in the school bag, followed by a giggle while Dad was packing things in the car. He pretended he didn’t notice as we continued, but he kept saying, “phewie, what’s that stinky smell coming from your school bag? Have you left old egg sandwiches in there? It smells like an elephant’s fart after eating a ten course dinner of baked beans.” And then when he tried to pick the bag up he added, “this bag is so heavy, I think there ‘is’ an elephant in here, possibly even two, and possibly even an elephant poo ….ewghh! I’m a poet and I don’t know it,” and he laughed his head off at himself. My dad the crazy poet.

 

Mishy and I are besties and Sarah and Maddie are besties too, but we all hang around together in one big group. Every now and then I wished I could tell them that I was a witch, as it would help explain why I acted so weirdly at times. But I knew it was forbidden. It’s the first rule of the sacred code 112 not to divulge. Bad things happen if I break the rules.

 

I remember the time in a life epoch when I broke the rules. It was way back in the 1800’s and was with a different family (obviously). I was sentenced to one lifetime epoch living in the dungeon of a dreaded giant acting as his servant. It was appalling. This was my diary entry that day.

 

 

*Diary Entry Wed March 12*th 1849

 

I HATE HIM! I HATE HIM! I HATE HIM! He is the reason I lost my life. That scoundrel Billy Bob came over again today and started throwing stones on our roof. One smashed through the window, nearly knocking Elizabeth out of her high chair. Dad was in the fields ploughing and Mom was working at the factory in town. I hate it when she works for so long. I have to do all the house work and look after Elizabeth when I’m supposed to be at school. How is anyone to have time for reading and Math around here when all you do is sweep, make bread, launder clothes and nappies and look after children?

 

So when I heard the clattering on the rooftop I almost jumped through the rafters, it gave me such a fright. I ran and hid under Mom and Dad’s bed as it was bigger than mine. Then I remembered Elizabeth was still sitting in her high chair. I ran back to get her and a stone came pelting through the smashed window and hit me in the leg. Boy oh boy it hurt and I forgot my fear for a moment as the anger within me procured my emotions.

 

Then I heard some boyish giggles disappearing into the fields. That’s when I knew who it was. I closed my eyes and chanted the spell that would take me to where the beastly boy was running gutlessly away. As I landed, a smoky haze and rumbles of deathly thunder enclosed around me as I grabbed the villain by his braces from behind. His futile attempts at fleeing from my clutches made him look ridiculous as his legs jogged up and down, but he made no advance. He couldn’t speak, he was stuttering and his petrified face was as white as a snowman in a blizzard. He looked like he’d seen a ghost. Little did he know it was a witch he had seen instead.

 

Billy Bob had been mean to me ever since my papa punched his Father in front of the general store. There was a rumor that his father, who owned the factory where Mama was employed, had tried to make a pass at her while she worked, so she could keep her job. I’m not sure what a pass is, but it must be very bad for a gentle soul like Papa to become violent.

 

At that moment I was about to turn him into an ugly frog with a big wart on his nose with extra loads of slime dripping from his body. As I started to chant the spell, I looked into his terrified eyes. I could see that finally he knew the pain and terror that he had caused myself and other children, and I crumbled, unable to inflict the punishment he deserved. “You’re lucky,” I said to him as I pushed him to the ground. “It would have been a big improvement to see you squished on the ground by a horse and buggy.”

What are you? A witch or something?” he screamed as he scrambled to his feet.

YES!” I exclaimed, wanting to shock and torment him, but as the words spewed forth uncontrollably out of my mouth, I knew I had broken the sacred code 112. I had enlightened the mortals of what I was.

As the thunder roared and lightning encircled my failing body, I knew my time in this life epoch was over.

 

I’m more careful these days not to give my identity away by doing stupid things. Sometimes it’s really hard though, because even though I dig my school, there are some really mean kids there.

 

Every now and then, like a couple of times a day, I get this strong urge to use my powers and turn someone into a frog or an ant. And sometimes an even bigger urge beckons me to go and stomp on the ant. Seriously though, I only want to inflict evil on those that create their own kind of evil on helpless kids. I’m talking about the bullies of the school. It’s not like I would ever want to hurt them badly though. I’d just want to help a seagull drop a big white clanger in their eye, or have them trip over their own clumsy feet, face first into a steamy clump of dog poo. It might even be cool just to have them blurt out something inappropriate in a silent English test in Miss Cranski’s class. She’s so mean. Mom says she’s just strict, but I say she’s mean. I think she might have been a bully when she was a kid and grew up to be a senior bully.

 

Miss Cranski absolutely ruined my Summer holiday last year. I have never been so totally embarrassed in this whole life epoch as the day I was walking with Mom behind my dad at the beach. This rather large woman sunbathing in a red polka-dot bikini (who definitely shouldn’t have been wearing a bikini), got up and sort of smiled at Dad and batted her eyelids at him. When we got closer I realised it was Miss Cranski. I nearly puked. OMG! That was my teacher! That was my dad! That was one woman who should not be allowed out of the house in a bikini!

 

 

 

There is one particular girl who I would love to make swear in Miss Cranski’s class, or to step in dog poo. That girl is Tiffany. She brings out the wickedness in me, like, ALL THE TIME! If only she would stop causing me to have these wicked thoughts. If only she could have been nice to everyone and not just the boys, things might have turned out a little differently for her this year.

 

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5. Koolbar Princesses

 

On Fridays after school, our gang always hangs out at Koolbar café to grab a smoothie and share some hot chips. It’s a good place to check out some of the boys, though most of the time we just act like we don’t even like them, which is sort of true. Although I think Mishy really likes Zayne. Zayne’s friend Josh is sort of cute but he’s going out with one of Princess Tiffany’s friends. They’re both in the eighth grade so they probably don’t even know we’re alive. Most of the time they just hang out with Tiffany and her princess gang, Krystal, Chantelle and Kaitlyn. They’re the prettiest and most popular girls in the eighth grade and boy, do they know it! They’re also the dumbest. I’m sure their boobs have developed quicker than their brain cells.

 

My mom says that will happen to me too soon, but believe me, I am quite happy to wait a bit longer for that major milestone to occur. It will just mean having to put one more piece of uncomfortable underwear on and having something jingle up and down while you’re running. And having boys gawk at you! Not to mention the embarrassment of slipping on a bikini at the beach.

 

Last Friday when we were slurping our smoothies, competing to see who could blow the most bubbles out of the cup, Tiffany and her princess gang were mingling in the corner making all the boys drool over their hamburgers. Even James, the most sensible of all the eighth graders was hanging in there trying to sneak in a funny joke, trying to get a laugh. It was sickening.

 

Why do boys have to go all ‘goo ga’ just because a girl is pretty and wears fancy clothes? On the football field some of these boys are so rough and macho, but around Lady Tiffany and her princesses in waiting, they become like gooey green slime, dripping through her fingers waiting for her to hand out morsels of her time.

 

This day was different though. Something was not quite the same with the princess gang. As I looked over at them, trying to pretend I was looking elsewhere, I tried to figure out what was different. It wasn’t until I was riding home Friday afternoon, that I realised what it was.

 

 

*Friday 17*th October

 

Dear Diary and whoever else who wants to stick their nose in my business (yes Dan, I mean you),

Today I found out why I am here. I don’t mean why I am here in this bedroom, or in this town or anything. Ok I’m not making sense am I? What I mean is, why I am here, in this life epoch, and what my next main mission is.

[_ I wish you had a name diary so I didn’t have to keep calling you diary. What’s a good name for a diary though? Deborah diary, Denise diary, Di, Debbie, well I suppose you could be a Damien Diary. But definitely NOT a Dan diary. No I think you’re a girl diary- Debbie diary, that’s gonna be it! _]

Debbie, my next target in this epoch is just a young girl like myself. She’s in the eighth grade and she lives in my street. Her name is Kaitlyn. I think she’s in trouble, but she doesn’t know it yet!!

 

 

After we had left Koolbar, Mishy had been dinking me home on her bike. Yeah I know we’re not supposed to do that, but at least we had our helmets on. It looked hilarious with Mishy pedalling like crazy lugging me behind on the seat. It would have been easier if she’d contorted herself into the carry basket and I could have chauffeured her home.

 

As we turned onto my street, we just about did a face plant onto the sidewalk because some dumb person had left their bike jutting out from behind a tree. I could see Mishy lose control as she tried to steer the bike away from the offending wheel. I closed my eyes and chanted the sacred spell of safety in my head as quickly as I could. Sacred rule 352: only use the powers you have for safety of self or others. In a nano second, actually it was more like a mini nano, micro second, I could see Mishy and I doing an aerial somersault and being pinged like a sling shot off the bike, landing ungracefully in the gutter, probably head first into a steaming pile of dog poo.

 

Miraculously, (well not really, because I used my witch craft) Mishy was able to steer the bike to safety as her tyres magically ploughed through the bike on the ground. She kept saying over and over, “What just happened, what just happened? I thought we were dead!”

I said to her, “Its ok Mish, you saved our lives.”

“Sorry guys,” a timid voice popped out from behind the tree. “It was kind of lying against the tree when I left it. It must have fallen down. I hope you’re both ok.” As soon as I saw Kaitlyn sheepishly step out from behind the tree, it suddenly clicked as to what had been missing back at Koolbar. It was Kaitlyn. She wasn’t there and she was always dutifully there with Tiffany.

 

Kaitlyn Ramsay was part of the princess gang, though she wasn’t as fake as the rest of them. Every Friday the four of them always sat in a corner of Koolbar, slurping on their shakes and getting guys to slurp on their every word. I don’t think I’ve ever been there on a Friday when the four of them weren’t huddled up together batting eyelids and preening themselves, whispering and fussing. Which is why it seemed so strange when I didn’t see her.

 

As she stood under the branches, the sun sprinkling filtered light onto her face, I could see that her normally creamy colored complexion was blotchy, and her eyes were red and hazy. Her makeup was streaky under her eye’s with smudges of black casting shadows. She looked a little bit like Dracula’s daughter meets prom queen Barbie, but she put on this big phony smile as though nothing was wrong. As if! Did she think we were born under a rock?

“So what’s happening guys?” She tried to sound cheery.

“Nothing much, we’re just on the way home from Koolbar,” Mishy replied. “What about you? What are you doing hanging around a tree?”

“Yeah Kaitlyn, we didn’t see you at Koolbar. What’s the deal? You’re always there on a Friday with the others.” Kaitlyn’s face crumpled momentarily when I questioned her, then just as quickly went a fake shade of happy again.

“Agh, I didn’t really want to go today. I have aghh ….some other things I want to do,” she stuttered, searching for words.

“Like bird watching?” Mishy giggled.

“You didn’t want to go? That’s not like you Kaitlyn.” I added.

“So are you two going straight home now?” Obvious change of subject from Kaitlyn.

“Yeah I have to babysit my kid brother while my mom and dad go out on their date night.

“Aren’t your parents married?”

“Yes, they just like to have a date night once a week where they don’t have to be bothered by us kids. Apparently they need a break from us every Friday. Wanna come over and chill with us? We’ve got three bags of candy.”

“Is your brother going to be there?”

“Well yeah, I’m babysitting him remember.”

“No, your older brother, Dan isn’t it?”

“Who? Oh him, Sorry, I try to forget about him when I can.”

“Why, he’s really cute?” Kaitlyn was starting to look happier again, her mind obviously distracted from her previous thoughts.

“Cute!! Eewgh! I try not to put the words cute and Dan in the same sentence. It kind of makes me puke. But yes he’ll be there, hopefully locked away in his bedroom so I don’t have to see his big dopey face.” Kaitlyn laughed at me ridiculing my brother in jest.

“Look guys, thanks for the invite, but I’d really better get going, I have some things to do.”

“Are you ok Kait?” Mishy questioned, as Kaitlyn started on her bike.

“Sure, why wouldn’t I be?” She was looking down to the ground so we couldn’t see her expression.

“Oh nothing, it’s just that you look……”

“Mishy.” I interrupted. “We need to get going. I’m running late and Mom’s going to kill me if Dad doesn’t get to me first.” Really, I just didn’t feel right about pushing Kaitlyn into something she didn’t want to say. I jumped on the back of the bike and held it up for Mishy to use her pedal power again. I felt sorry for her. I mean, I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t exactly as light as fairy floss either. I looked back at Kaitlyn as she slowly rode off on her bike. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going on and how I could help her.

 

Kaitlyn lived at the other end of my street and was usually a bubbly and popular girl in the eighth grade. But she had seemed different; withdrawn. I wasn’t sure whether something bad had happened at school or whether she had problems at home that she didn’t want to face. But whatever it was, I had an uneasy suspicion I was going to be needed.

 

 

*Monday 20*th October

 

Dear Debbie

Today I bumped into Kaitlyn on my way to science. I had to walk past where the eighth graders hang out. Some of the seventh graders don’t like walking past that area and they go out of their way to avoid it. But I don’t care, it doesn’t worry me. If they want to stare and snigger they can. I pity them that they haven’t got anything else to talk about. I should tell them to take a picture, it will last longer lol.

Anyway Kaitlyn was standing with the other princesses.

You know what dear Debbie diary? I think she snobbed me. I said hi to her and I’m not sure whether I missed it while I was blinking or whether she ignored me. Can you believe that? After Mishy and I actually felt sorry for her on Friday, and we chatted to her. I mean, seriously, she even said my brother was cute. I should have known then that she was a bit loopy.

Is it just me or does every-one find it really annoying when some kids like you one minute, and treat you like you’re their BFF, and the next minute like you’re their WEF. That’s short for ‘worst enemy forever’. Yeah I just made that one up. I might start a new trend.

Seriously I don’t care if she doesn’t like me and ignores me. I can deal with that, as long as she’s consistent about it. I mean, I can’t be liked by everyone, that would be like, really draining, being invited to all those parties all the time. But this ‘friendly’ one minute, ‘ignoring’ the next is really boring.

My mom, who thinks she knows everything, says it’s probably because she’s insecure about herself and that I should feel sorry for people like that and try and just treat them nicely. I don’t know why Kaitlyn would be insecure when she’s pretty, has heaps of friends (even if they are mean) and she’s good at school. Unless there is something that is making her uneasy at home. I don’t know what’s going on with her. I’m a witch, not a psychologist.

 

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6. To Stalk or not to Stalk

 

I didn’t see Kaitlyn for the rest of the week at school or in my street which was really unusual. Usually Kaitlyn gets picked up by the princesses after school and they go off on their bikes or roller blades boy hunting. Chantelle and Krystal both have boyfriends but it doesn’t stop them from going off flirting with the others.

 

I do basketball training with Krystal’s boyfriend Josh. He is the assistant coach. I have no idea what he sees in Krystal. She may be pretty, but she’s also pretty bossy. I don’t think Kaitlyn has a boyfriend. I think she used to go out with Connor, but he seems to hang around with Chantelle a lot now. Typical boy, changing their girlfriends as much as they change their undies.

 

On Thursday after school, Mom asked me if I could deliver some party invitations to the ladies in the street. “Oh great, can I ask some friends too Mom?”

“Ah NO, not a good idea,” she retorted firmly.

“Why not? You always let me have friends when you have a party.”

“We only have parties once every ten years Lily!” She laughed.

“Well I had friends to the last one didn’t I?”

“LILY, this is not the type of party for your friends.”

“Why not? They like any party, as long as there’s food and drink.”

“Because it’s not a party, party. It’s more of a sales meeting type party where people buy things.”

“Oh I know, like those plastic container parties where Dad says you buy useless bits of plastic and pay ten times more than in the shops, and someone demonstrates muffins that turn out perfectly. But when you try it, they are never the same.”

“Well yes, sort of I guess,” Mom said rather hesitantly.

“So what are you selling Mom?”

“Nothing you’d be interested in.”

“Why not? Of course I’m interested. I might want to buy some.”

“Lily!”

“What?”

“Lingerie, if you must know!”

“What’s lingerie?” I quizzed, puzzled.

“Clothing.”

“Really? What sort of clothing?”

“Oh really Lily, you ask too many questions,” Mom answered becoming exasperated. “Bras and undies and other stuff if you really must know.”

“WHAT?” My mouth nearly fell onto the floor and hit the tiles at the thought. “Why would you want to be buying undies in public Mom? Eewghh! How embarrassing. What about Mrs Big Bum at number 56? She can’t come and try on undies and bras in front of all our neighbors.”

“Lily, would you just go and take these to Mrs Andrews, Mrs Kelsey, Bobby’s mom, Mrs Stevens and Kaitlyn’s mom please.” Mom didn’t have an invitation for Mrs Anderson and Betty. They were both in their mid-eighties. Somehow, I think pretty knickers and matching lace bras were the last thing on their minds.

“So you’re not inviting Mrs Big Bum?”

“No, Mrs Big Bum is away and would you stop calling her that. Why would you call her such a name?”

“Because that’s what Dad calls her and because she has a big bum.”

“GO!” She handed me the red envelopes that were bordered in black lace, as a sneaky, little giggle escaped from the corner of her mouth.

 

When I knocked on Kaitlyn’s door, she answered in her pj’s. She had cute pink boxers on with a short white singlet top in a pink marshmallow design. I looked down at her feet that were covered in two big balls of pink, furry fluff. “Cute slippers,” I said, trying to think of something to say.

She was a little embarrassed but at least this time she spoke to me.

“Hi Lily. How are you going?”

“Hi Kaitlyn. Can you give this to your mom please?”

“Sure.”

“Thanks. See you later then. Might see you at school.”

“Sure.” She started to close the door slowly as I walked down the driveway. “Lily,” she called out after me. I turned around. “Doesn’t matter,” she said quietly and closed the door swiftly.

Sometimes I wished so badly that mind reading was one of my powers. It would come in very handy at times. I really wanted to know what she was thinking at that moment when she called out my name, and I was determined to find out, even if I had to stalk her.

 

 

7. The 12 year old Stalker

 

I was determined to find out what was going on. I became obsessed. I was like a mouse sniffing out a piece of Swiss cheese in the dungeons of a mansion. I was like a dog drawn to a chicken liver on the bench top, a cat standing in front of a gold fish bowl. I was like Tiffany searching for her bottle of fake tan. If there was something to be found, I was going to find it.

Because Kaitlyn was in the eighth grade, we didn’t always hang out in the same places, so I had to use my psychic skills to find out where she was and what she was doing. Actually at times I did begin to feel a bit like a stalker. Everywhere Kaitlyn was, there I was; one step behind her. Sometimes I felt like grabbing a microphone and singing that old song, ‘every breath you take, every step you make, I’ll be watching you.’

 

My dad always said I was like a sniffer dog. If there was a bone to be found, I would find it. Sometimes he was truly amazed at how clever I could be. Oh if only he knew!

If I was within a five metre radius I could hear what Kaitlyn was talking about, but only her. As she was my target for my psychic and intuitive powers, I could zone in with my tympanic radar and know what she was saying without actually hearing the words. But only her. I couldn’t comprehend what the others were saying unless I was actually close enough to eavesdrop on them. But that would look a little bit obvious; a seventh grader lurking around a circle of eighth graders with one ear sticking up into the air trying to catch their conversation.

 

No matter how many conversations I snooped on, how many times I spied on her at school and in the street, I could find nothing; no dirt on anything or anyone. There was nothing suspicious, evil, cunning or conniving in any of the conversations she had. There was just brain dead chatter about clothes, boys, jewellery, Instagram, sleepovers, boys, makeup, loom bands, video star, iTunes, boys, boys and more talk about boys. They were boy mad in case you hadn’t realised.

 

Mishy and Maddy started to catch on to me and were beginning to get sus about why I would suddenly take off and have to find Kaitlyn, and why I always had to go to the bath room so often. Then I started going to the water fountain and the library all the time. Man! I’ve never pretended to read so many books. I used to say I was going to the library but then I would forget to bring back a book. But I definitely drew the line at pretending I was going to the chess club. That would be so uncool. And they would see right through me anyway.

It was beginning to get exhausting and boring. It was like having a fulltime job as a spy and being a student all at the same time. Plus I was running out of excuses to keep nicking off. I had just about given up and admitted that I was wrong. I had to concede to the real possibility that I had only imagined that Kaitlyn had a real problem in desperate need of my professional services. I was about to throw in the towel when I discovered something very interesting, and I wasn’t even looking at the time.

 

 

*Thursday 30*th October

 

Dear Debbie.

I’m sitting here in my bedroom supposed to be doing homework. At least that’s what Mom thinks I’m doing. But I’m just not in the mood. I’m just not focused, and seriously, sometimes you just can’t get motivated to work out what x divided by y is when the value of p = 6 and the square root of 9 is equal to k and it’s all really poo anyway. I hate Algebra. I mean I HATE ALGEBRA!!!! I don’t know anyone that likes it and I don’t know how it’s going to help me get along in this world anyway. Why can’t they just tell us the value of x, then the sum would be much easier instead of being so secretive about it?

 

Anyway putting all that boring Math’s hogwash aside, I heard some interesting stuff tonight at basketball. Mom made us all go and watch Dopey Dan play because it was a quarter final. Josh (my coach’s assistant) was filling in for Dan’s team, so it made it a little bit more interesting. He’s such a nice guy. But you’ll never believe who was there watching; Tiffany and her ladies in waiting. I think Tiffany’s brother plays in the team they were competing against, and of course Krystal is Josh’s girlfriend. I’m still flabbergasted about that one.

I even went up and said hi to them in my sickliest, sweetest voice just because I know it annoys them. Everyone knows the fact that they HATE the seventh graders and they always try and ignore us. (Probably because we have more brains in one of us than they have all put together.)

Anyway I don’t care what they think of me, cool or uncool, I can’t stand rudeness so I always say hi.

So this is the low down Debbie.

After they gave me a little fake hi and a few little smirks and whispers to themselves, I continued walking to the café to get my hot chips. (YUM! That’s the sole reason I go to basketball.)

On the way back they were heavily engrossed in a conversation and it was definitely about another girl. And I have to say dear Debbie, certain things I could hear didn’t give me the feeling that they were being overly complimentary or nice about this girl. And the things they said that they were going to do to her!!!

Who were they talking about Diary? Could it be…….? No, surely not. She’s one of their BFF’s!

Gotta go, Mom’s coming. Aghhhhhhh!

 

 

 

 

8. My New Boyfriend

 

I couldn’t wait for Monday to arrive to seek out answers and solve the case of the mysterious eighth grader. I had briefly seen Kaitlyn from a distance on Friday but she was going to Tiffany’s for a sleepover party and was frantically discussing and preparing so I didn’t interrupt her.

On Sunday my patience wore thin waiting for the Monday to arrive, so I decided to get a little head start. I had nothing in particular to do with my family that day, so I summoned up a little witchcraft to give me a helping hand to start my Kaitlyn research. I told Mom I was going out to feed the chooks.

“We don’t have any chooks darling.”

“Yeah I know, so I might be gone for quite a while looking for them,” I replied.

“What are you going on about this time Lily? You say the most ridiculous things sometimes.” ME? OMG! If Mom could hear herself talk. She’s the one who says the most ridiculous things, not sometimes, but ALL THE TIME!

“Nothing, I’m just going for a ride on my broo……BIKE!”

I quickly ran outside and down the street into the vacant block of land. It was densely covered with bushes and fallen trees giving me the perfect opportunity to ‘disappear’ when I needed to. I sat down behind a tree and chanted.

 

Give me strength

Give me power

Take me where

The road is sour

Find the one

Who needs me most

Search the land

Search the coast

 

I began to feel hazy and light-headed. My eyes were blurry and before I knew it, I had transported to Kaitlyn’s backyard under her window. I couldn’t see in because the blinds were drawn, but I could hear gloomy music playing, and muffled sounds of sobbing echoed through the window. I thought back to the Friday before and remembered Kaitlyn being so excited about the sleepover at Tiffany’s on Saturday. She couldn’t stop talking about it, so I wondered why she was home this early on the Sunday. When I go to a sleep over, I don’t usually go home until Mom drags me out kicking and screaming late in the day.

 

I wondered how I could confront Kaitlyn without it seeming too weird or obvious. I could knock on the front door and ask if she wanted to come out and play with me but that would sound too babyish. I could say my Mom wanted to borrow a cup of sugar, but that would seem ridiculous considering we have about five houses between us.

 

Then the perfect idea hit me. I could pretend to be looking for my lost cat. I was just about to run around to the front of their house when I heard a lawnmower starting from the side, and the sound was fast approaching and getting closer. I scanned the backyard for a quick hideout and dove head first into the dog kennel, right into a bowl full of mushy dog food and a half eaten, saliva smeared teddy bear staring helplessly back at me.

 

And that’s where I stayed for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably more like half an hour while Kaitlyn’s dad mowed the back lawn. And I’ve got to say, the smell of freshly cut grass isn’t so good when you’ve got dog food stuck up your left nostril. I thought of using a spell to get me out of there but I only have so many non -emergency type spells to use and I didn’t want to waste one.

 

After Kaitlyn’s dad had finished and gone, I crawled out of the kennel on my hands and knees only to come face to face with a ferocious looking animal with gooey saliva dripping from its jowls. He started to growl menacingly at me, and the more he growled, the more saliva that frothed from his mouth bubbling and dripping until it plopped revoltingly onto the ground.

“Good doggie, good boy, go away,” I whispered. “I promise I didn’t eat your din dins.”

Then the growl turned into a snort, and he started sniffing the air and panting round my face.

“Go away!” I was trying so hard to be commanding in quiet tones. Then the most horrendous thing happened, imprinting a memory that will scar my mental being for life.

 

As I was trying to get up, the ferocious looking dog took one large leap into the air, bowled me over, wrestled me to the ground, and started licking me all over the face. Then, OMG, then it started humping my leg. I was so embarrassed. I’m still embarrassed just thinking about it.

“Aghhhhh, get off!” I screamed. “Get off you big dumb animal.” But my screams fell on deaf floppy ears as the ginormous tongue kept slobbering all over my face.

“BONGO, GET OFF!” yelled a voice from inside the house. It must have been my fairy god mother (or my hairy Godmother) come to my rescue, because ‘Bongo’ got off my leg, and after one last slurp, pulled his tongue back in and ran to the door as Kaitlyn came out. She had a look of astonishment on her face, and I had saliva all over mine.

“Lily? Is that you? What are you doing here? And more to the point, what are you doing in Bongo’s kennel?”

Think quick Lily, think quick, I thought to myself.

“Ahh…. my cat, my cat ran into your back yard. I came looking for Sirpuss and your ferocious bull terrier backed me into a corner and I had nowhere else to go but the kennel. I’m so sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry. Good boy Bongo.” She turned to the monstrous looking animal and patted him.

“GOOD BOY?” I exclaimed. “He nearly ate me for his dinner, not to mention doing other unmentionable things. You should keep savage animals like that tied up,” I laughed, trying to lighten my grumpiness. My heart was still panting with fear and with being caught.

“Lily, he’s just a dumb old Labrador. They’re like teddy bears with four legs. I’m really sorry about that but Dad is trying to train him to be a watch dog and he just licks everyone to death. So he’s only doing his job. Would you like a towel? You’ve got goo all over your face, brown stuff and gooey white bits.”

“That would be your dog’s breakfast I think.”

“Ahh that’s what I can smell.” She screwed up her nose in mock disgust.

“Yes a towel would be great thank you.” All I wanted to do was go home and have a hot bath full of disinfectant, but I didn’t want to miss the golden opportunity to quiz Kaitlyn. I couldn’t help but notice she looked miserable again. Her eyes were puffy and red and she was still in her pyjamas.

“Do you want to come in for a minute, or do you want to stay out here with your new boyfriend?” She laughed at her joke and it was nice to see her smile.” So I was now invited into the house. This was getting better and better by the minute. Maybe being smothered in dog spit and dog food will have been worth the agony after all.

“Sure, if that’s ok with your parents.”

“Yeah, it won’t worry them,” she said opening the door and motioning to Bongo with her hand to back off, as he tried to slime his way round her legs.

“Sit down. Would you like a drink?”

“Ok that would be great.” Anything to get the taste of dog food out of my mouth. Kaitlyn handed me a towel and a face washer. She was really quite thoughtful. It puzzled me why she hung around with Tiffany and Krystal.

“So where do you think he went?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Who?”

“Your cat!”

“He’s probably at ho…..I mean, I’m hoping he probably went home by now. Because I couldn’t see him anywhere. I’m hoping your dog scared him off.”

“Yes well, sorry about that again. He gets a little bit excited at times.”

“So Kaitlyn, how was your sleepover last night? Wasn’t it last night you were going to Tiffany’s? You’re back pretty early.”

Kaitlyn looked down towards the ground. “Oh that, it got cancelled.”

“Oh what a shame, you were really looking forward to it.”
“It was just a dumb old sleep over, no biggie,” she said with a laugh that I suspect was laced with fakeness. “I had a much better night here anyway. Sooo… how did you know about the sleepover?” She looked at me quizzically.

“You were talking about it on Friday remember. You said you had new pj’s to wear and two bags of candy to bring.”

“Really? I can’t remember talking to you about it.”
GULP
BIG BOO BOO. Stupid me!

I recalled I hadn’t been talking to Kaitlyn about the sleepover. It was one of the times I had hunted Kaitlyn down and zoomed in with my tympanic radar and listened to the conversation. She was talking with Krystal about what they would bring for the midnight snack. I had thought it was part of the conversation I had with her that day.

Only one thing to do to get out of this one.

LIE!

“Sure you did, on Friday, we were talking out front of the gym.”

NEXT: CHANGE THE SUBJECT QUICK!

“Anyway, I guess Tiffany will be organising a different night real soon and you’ll be able to eat all the candy then.”

“I guess,” she said with a hint of uncertainty, and I thought I saw her eyes glaze over.

“Kaitlyn, are you ok?”

She stared at me for an uncomfortable moment. I think she was sizing up my trustworthy factor. I wanted to tell her that I was here for her, that it was my mission in life to save her from the evils that lurked, and that everything would be ok if only she would let me help. But I couldn’t because that familiar eye-watering, mind numbing, fuzzy feeling washed over my head as my senses began to heighten and the need to save overwhelmed me.

 

I scrambled out of the chair knocking it flying and burst through the front door. In a split second, I landed in the front yard and screamed in a high pitched shrill, “GET OUT OF THE WAY. Get out of the way!” And I leapt into the air pushing Kaitlyn’s dad so he became airborne, flying through the air and landing on the ground feet first, just as a massive tree branch fell where he had been standing. He looked stunned. We both looked at each other and then turned to look at the monstrous tree on the ground.

“I don’t know who you are young lady, or where you came from, but I think you just saved my life.”

“I’m your neighbor.”

“And she’s my friend Dad,” Kaitlyn had followed me out the front and had arrived just in time to witness the event. “I don’t know how you heard that tree crashing Lily, but you acted so quickly. I think you did save Dad’s life. It’s like a miracle how you did it.”

She called me her friend.

She turned to her father. “Dad, you could have been killed. What were you doing? You are so dangerous with that thing.” She pointed to the threatening power tool that had been flung to the ground and burst into tears.

“Kaitlyn, it’s ok honey. I’m alright. Your friend saved me. It was almost magical the way you appeared. Are you sure you’re not my fairy god mother?” he chuckled as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Take your friend inside and give her a chocolate bar. In fact give her 100 chocolate bars.”

“Oh that’s ok, I’m fine.” I waited for Kaitlyn’s response. I was so close to finding out stuff before her dad decided to go running loose with a chainsaw. Such bad timing.

“Lily, I really have to go and work on a Math’s assignment. I hope you find your cat.”

“What!”

“Your cat, I hope he turns up.” I had forgotten all about my little white lie with all the action. “And thanks again for saving Dad.” Kaitlyn ran inside holding back tears, and that was that. What was going down with that girl?

 

 

9. Football hero

 

As I left Kaitlyn’s house and started walking down the street, a bike rider came zooming down the road. As he came closer, it became clearer to me who it was, and my cheeks started to burn so fiercely I could have boiled an egg on them. My heart started to beat irregularly. I couldn’t believe it. I was wearing my daggiest shorts, a stained t-shirt dripping with gooey bits of dog food, and my hair resembled a bird’s nest ravaged by a tornado.

 

I looked for a bush that I could quickly dive behind, but there wasn’t any. I thought about doing a quick bit of hocus pocus and a disappearing act but he was too close. He would notice and it might cause him to stack his bike and face plant onto the road. Actually maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I would have to administer CPR; the lifesaving kiss where you lock lips and blow in recycled air. That would be an interesting way to experience ‘the first kiss’.

 

But it was too late. By the time I over-analysed the situation, Craig, the football hero rode past me, lifted his hand and waved calling out, “Hey Lily.”

“Hi,” I said, gobsmacked. He knew my name. HE KNEW MY NAME. I couldn’t believe it. I stood there with my mouth drooping on the ground letting the flies swarm inside to have a party as he whizzed by. I quickly ran home and face timed Mishy.

“Oh Cool,” she said. “I was just about to face time you. Great minds think alike. I have lots to tell you.”

“Ok but you’ll never guess who just rode down my street past me.”

“Well you’re never going to guess what I just heard.”

“No me first before I pee myself. Guess who rode past me and actually had a conversation with me.”

“Santa Claus?”

“Mishy!”

“Easter Bunny?”

“Yeah right, as if Easter Bunny would ride a bike,” I laughed

“I don’t know, just tell me.”

“Craig!”

“Craig Cameron from the tenth grade?”

“The one and only and, wait for it, he was wearing bike shorts.”

“Eewghhh!” We both screamed in girlie hysterics. “Could you see anything?” she whispered.

“What do you mean?”

“You know.”

“Oh Mishy stop! Eewgh that’s gross.”

“And he talked to you? What did he say?”

“Hi. And that’s not all. He said ‘Hi Lily’.”

“And that’s it? That was the conversation?”

“Well it’s a start Mishy. So are you jealous or what?”

“Then what happened?”

“He kept riding.”

“Well you should have fallen over or something so he would have had to stop and help you.”

“Oh yeah right, and make a complete idiot of myself. No thank you. I’d rather bask in the glory of having him speak two words to me and keep my dignity in tact thank you very much. So what were you going to tell me?”

“Well you know how you’ve been worried about Kaitlyn lately?” My ears pricked up like a bunny rabbit. “Alex went skating yesterday with his big sister who is in the eighth grade, and he overheard some of the girls talking about Kaitlyn. Apparently she was going out with Connor but Connor broke up with her because he found out she had kissed someone else.”

“Kaitlyn? I don’t think she’d…..”
“Hang on. You’ll never believe who she cheated with. That nerdy guy in ninth grade Nigel.”

“Nigel! Nerdy Nigel? No way! I really don’t think Kaitlyn is the type to two time, and if she was, it wouldn’t be with Nigel. He’s so….well let’s just say, he’s not Kaitlyn’s type.”

Mishy laughed. “Let’s just say he’s not really anyone’s type. And now Connor is back with Chantelle. He was going out with her in the sixth grade, but she had to move overseas for a year so they broke up. And now she’s back, and she’s best friends with Tiffany and Krystal again.”

“So you think that’s why Kaitlyn has been acting weird and upset lately? Because her boyfriend dumped her?”

“Well it makes sense,” Mishy replied.

“M’mmm, maybe. I gotta go. Mom’s calling me. See you at school tomorrow.”

“Hey you know that photo we put on Instagram of you and me doing a love heart in the sand, it’s got 150 likes.”

“Mishey, so what? If it gets one like, I’m happy. If it gets a million likes I’m happy. If it gets no likes, I’m still happy. I’m happy because it was fun doing it with you, and I’m happy I have a friend like you to do things with. We don’t need other people’s approval and likes.”

“Ok! Well let’s see if we can get to 200.”

“Mishy! See you tomoz.” I ended the connection. So Mishy thought Kaitlyn was having boyfriend troubles. Maybe she was right. But I was not convinced. There was more probing for me to do.

 

 

10. It’s Finally Here

 

When I got to school on Monday morning, I was ready to put on my private detective hat for a day of investigation following Kaitlyn the whole day if it killed me. But when Mishy, Maddy and Sarah greeted me at the front gate with over excited looks on their faces, my mind started to boggle with curiosity.

 

Mishy had a huge smile that wrapped from one side of her petite face to the other. She was jumping up and down on the spot like a little girl with her ponytail flying through the air. Sarah was standing, keeping her cool as usual while Maddy beamed with childish excitement. As I walked closer, Mishy started to run toward me flinging her arms around animatedly.

“Don’t tell her Mishy,” Maddy ordered. “Let her see for herself.”

“Let me see what for myself?” They looked around at each other. “Common guys, let me see what? What’s happening? Have you made another loom band or something Maddy?” Maddy always got so excited when she mastered a different style. When she created the confetti crisscross design, she posted so many photos on Instagram and Facebook, it was ridiculous.

“Yeah right,” said Sarah coolly. “As if that’s something we’d get excited about.” Sarah wasn’t really into making loom bands. She was always training for one sport or another or practicing her violin. “Just come this way and follow us,” she said. They began walking quickly towards the gym. We had to go past the eighth grade area.

“Can’t we go the long way?” Maddy asked.

“Why?” said Sarah.

“You know why. They always stare at us when we go past.”

“Don’t be such a baby,” Sarah replied.

“Maddy, if they’re staring, it’s because we’re worth staring at. We’re hot, we’re gorgeous, we’re beautiful. Why wouldn’t they want to stare at us? Just stare back!” I offered.

“What planet are you from Lily?” asked Maddy.

“I’m not sure actually.”

 

We all laughed as we approached a large group of eighth graders. Right in the centre was Tiffany holding everyone captive with her good looks and popular status. On the edge of the circle was Kaitlyn looking a little more comfortable than she had previously. As we walked past the group, Kaitlyn’s eyes connected with mine briefly and she started to open her mouth to speak. She glanced back at Tiffany and immediately lowered her eyes and looked away.

“Hi Kaitlyn,” I said as we kept walking. It made me laugh to think how some girls acted. They talk to you one minute and even call you a friend, and then, when they are in the company of others, they zip their mouths as if you’re totally invisible. It also made me sad; sad for them.

“See,” Maddy said. “Did you hear them whispering when we walked past?” I did hear them, and I heard the spiteful laughter that followed. “No, I didn’t hear any whispering. They’re just talking softly to each other.”

“Yeah right!” Maddy retorted. “It just makes me feel so uncomfortable walking past that group.”

“Maddy, you only need to feel uncomfortable if you let yourself feel uncomfortable. If you walk past with your head held high, and think nice thoughts about something else, you won’t even know they are there.” Oh dear, I sounded just like my mother. SCARY!

“And what am I going to think about?”

“Ice-cream?” I suggested.

“Oh right!”

“Craig Cameron,” giggled Mishy.

“Yuk, I don’t want to think about boys,” Maddy replied in mock disgust.

“Think about where we’re walking to right now,” Sarah added.

“Ok yep, that’s sort of working,” Maddy started to grin after a few moments.

“So shall we walk past them again and you can practice it over?” I asked.

“NOOOO!” Maddy and Mishy both automatically replied together.

By the time we arrived at the gym, there was a swarm of girls around the front buzzing around excitedly like hungry bees.

“Over there, have a look,” Mishy said to me excitedly.

“What is it?”

“Go and have a look for yourself.”

I went over and tried to gently ease myself into the crowd so I could see what they were looking at. My heart started drumming an energetic beat as I read the colorful notice. I couldn’t believe it. It was finally here. We had waited so long for this and the day had finally arrived.

 

 

*Monday 3*rd November

 

Dear Debbie Diary

OMG! OMG! OMG!

I am so nervous. Wednesday is the big day. Mishy keeps face timing me to show me what she’s going to wear. She keeps changing her mind. I really don’t think it matters whether she wears an elephant onesie or a polka dot bikini.

 

*Wednesday 5*th November 8a.m

 

Ok Debbie, here goes. Wish me luck. This could be the biggest day of my life. It’s days like these I really wish I could use my divination and black magic stars and use the powers within. But I can’t.

I’ve already had to go pee like 3 times. Mom calls them nervous pees. REALLY! Is she serious?

Ok here I go.

Whoops, I forgot to clean my teeth.

 

 

11. The First Cheeroff

 

It had been such a long wait leading up to the Wednesday, the day of the first heat. From the moment that I read the sign on Monday morning, I could think of nothing else but the cheerleading tryouts. It was every girl’s dream at my school to get into the cheerleading team. Well, nearly every girl. There were a couple who didn’t really care, like Dorky Doreen. I’m sure she just sits at home playing with her dolls and reading her books. And of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that either. My mom always says, “Everybody has different interests in life.” My mom thinks she knows everything, but I suppose she’s right. It’s Doreen’s choice if she wants to read boring books and not do any sport. She’ll probably grow up to be really rich one day in some highly paid intellectual job and we’ll all be jealous.

 

I don’t mind reading occasionally, but cheerleading is my thing. Sarah and I have been going to cheerleading classes for five years. Mishy joined two years ago. She’s so good because she’s light and petite which makes it easy to throw her on top in a pyramid. Maddy unfortunately broke her elbow a few months before, doing a cartwheel and can’t compete in anything physical this year. This was the first year that we were able to try out for the junior high team. We were against all the eighth graders but that didn’t matter as we’d been doing it for longer than some of them. Mishy and I had the same try out time which we were very happy about.

 

We changed quickly during first break and put a little bit of makeup on. Mishy still kept stressing over whether she’d worn the right outfit or not. It was a blue and white short suit with a crop top showing off her petite belly.

 

There were about fifteen other girls in our heat and a panel of judges including the head gymnastics coach Mr Gordon. We call him Mr Gorgeous because he definitely is. Mrs Carmichael who is the cheerleading coach and Miss Cranski the English teacher sat either side of him. We call Miss Cranski, Miss Cranky Pants because she’s always wearing hers. That’s probably why she’s still a ‘Miss’. She’s too cranky for anyone to want to marry her.

 

They sat wide eyed at the front of the gym while fifteen girls jumped and shimmied to the beat trying to impress in five brief minutes. I thought Mishy and I both grooved well but the other girls were fantastic too, except one. I think Candy was her name. She wasn’t disastrous, just a little slow, and she didn’t keep up with the moves very well. She was also a little bit on the plump side with a couple of muffins popping out over her high waisted shorts. Actually it was more like a whole tray of muffins but I’m trying not to be too brutal in my description. Not that size means everything, but it is possible Candy might eat a little too much candy sometimes.

 

On the way out, the girls were abuzz with excitement, chatting eagerly and squealing together, including Mishy and me. Miss Cranky Pants had said that we would find out at the end of the day or first thing the next morning who was called back from each heat.

 

The next group were waiting in the foyer stretching and chatting, waiting to be called in. Most of the girls were from the eighth grade but there were a few seventh graders also, including Sarah. We gave her a big hug and wished her good luck. Sarah was sure to get in. She was super athletic and could dance better than Beyoncé. But we wanted the whole three of us to get in together.

The cheerleading teams were travelling to some awesome places this year and we would get to stay away for the weekend in motels. Not to mention that there were a few hot looking players on the team. Not that we were interested in boys……………..much! Well maybe just a little bit, secretly.

 

The girls were called in as we dawdled back to our class, chatting excitedly, quietly eliminating who we thought would get through from our group and who wouldn’t. Mishy and I decided there were at least seven other girls who were as good as us. I wondered cheekily if there was some permissible spell I could use to gently persuade the judge’s mind. But even if I could find one that was allowed, I really wanted to make it on my own. It would be unreal to be selected, but if I thought I had to cheat to get us in, it just wouldn’t have the same electrifying feel. And my ‘know it all mom’ always says that ‘honesty is the best policy’, and I kinda think she’s right. Though sometimes when I’m honest and tell the truth about taking the last three cookies out of the jar, I get punished. I don’t know how that can be good for you.

 

The cheerleading tryouts were so exciting, I hadn’t even thought about Kaitlyn and her illusive problem for days until I saw her warming up with the other girls. Krystal and Tiffany were with Chantelle huddled closely together. They looked sensational in their outfits and golden blonde hair tied high above their heads. I looked down at my own simply designed red two piece outfit with the big L across the front and compared it to Krystal’s stunning outfit and gloriously tanned legs. HO HUM! Oh Well! I knew my legs didn’t compare but I also knew that it wasn’t the outfit that was being judged. It was the moves and grooves from the body inside. I was happy with me in my plain red costume. There’s nothing cool about being jealous and wishing and wanting for more. “Be happy with what you’ve got,” my mom always says, like over and over, like a scratched CD.

 

I wished Kaitlyn good luck thinking she would probably look away, but to my surprise she quietly said, “thanks.” She then quickly glanced over towards Tiffany. “How did you go?” she asked.

“Oh great, I think. Let’s just say I didn’t trip over my big feet or embarrass myself anyway,” I replied, dumbfounded that she’d initiated a conversation with me in front of the Princess gang.

“Good Luck,” Mishy said to her.

“Thanks,” Kaitlyn said, as she reclined back against the wall by herself. I could see out of the corner of my eye that Tiffany and Krystal were looking towards us whispering to each other.

 

“Did you see Tiffany staring at us?” Mishy said as we walked to class.

“Not really,” I lied.

“What do you think they were saying?”

“Probably how gorgeous we looked in our outfits compared to them, and how we posed a threat to them getting on the team.”

“Do you think they’ll stir Kaitlyn because she was talking to us?”

“No of course not. That would be teasing. Actually that would be a sort of bullying, and only mean girls do that.”

“Well they are mean girls,” Mishy retorted.

“Mishy! They’re not necessarily mean.” I tried to look on the bright side of everything. My over informative Mother always told me that it was better for the world in general if we could look for the good in every bad, which is pretty hard sometimes in my profession. I’ve met some pretty evil witches in my time and I could hunt high and low in every nook and cranny of their decrepit bodies, and there definitely wasn’t any good to be found!

“Maybe they were wondering if we were good competition for them.” I knew that wasn’t true, but it didn’t really bother me. If girls wanted to be mean, it was their problem and I felt sorry for them that they had nothing more interesting to talk about.

 

At the end of the day we raced up to the gym to see if the list was up. Maddy came with us for moral support. As we got closer Mishy said, “Let’s close our eyes so it will be a surprise when we get there.”

“Yeah right!” said Maddy. “How many poles do you think we’ll take out along the way? You’re such a kid Mishy. Knowing my luck I’d probably bump right into Tiffany.”

“Oh no. That would be just devastating,” Sarah said sarcastically. “You might mess up her perfect hair.”

“I doubt it. She uses a bottle of hairspray every morning to hold it in place,” I smirked.

“Can we just get this over with?” said Sarah impatiently. I guess she wasn’t as excited as we were. Not on the surface anyway. “Can we just walk there using our eyes and feet?”

“Well alright, but be careful you don’t squish your eyes,” I interjected.

“WHAT?” They all looked at me dumbly.

“With your feet. Don’t squish your eyes with your feet. I’ve seen it happen before.”

“Oh Lily, you are so weird at times.”

“I know. That’s why you love me. Hee hee.”

 

By the time we’d finished our crazy discussion on how we were going to get there, we’d arrived at the front of the gym. Maddy said, “Ok girls, I’ll lead you up to the notice board with your eyes closed.” This was it. Had I made it through the Cheer offs to the next heat? My heart started to pound like there was a little green gremlin racing through my blood stream playing the bongo drums a million miles per hour.

 

 

 

Wednesday 5th November 8pm

Dear Diary

[_ AGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!_]

NOOOOOO call backs posted today! Now I have to endure a sleepless night worrying about whether I got in or not. This is torture. SO UNFAIR!! I bet it was Cranky Pants’ fault. The list is probably ready. She probably just said, “let them stew all night.”

Well I wish I could make her into a stew, with bat’s poo, dog’s doo and cat’s spew. Eewghhh!

 

 

12. Who Made it?

 

The morning after the tryouts was unbearably deadly. Mishy kept sending me messages on my iPad.

 

Do you think we made it?

Do you think the list will be up?

Who do you think will get in?

How many call backs do you think there will be before the team is announced?

What are you wearing to school today?

 

My answers were:

 

I Don’t know

IDK

IDK

IDK

IDK GTG BYE

 

I love my iPad and messaging my BFF’s but I hate the way they sometimes let it take over their whole life. It’s so uncool. There are so many other things to do. Oh dear, I really was beginning to sound like my mother.

 

I could hardly stomach any breakfast that morning.

“Why are you stalking that bit of egg around your plate with your fork?” my mother enquired. “Normally you can’t get it down fast enough.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“What! Heavens above! I never thought I’d hear those words pass through your mouth. You’re not getting sick are you?”

“No I just have a lot on my mind that’s all.”

“A LOT ON YOUR MIND! Lily! You’re in the seventh grade. How can you possibly have a lot on your mind at your age? You are a funny chook.”

“Well I’m nervous about the cheer offs.” That was certainly true, but thinking about the tryout’s had also made me wonder whether Kaitlyn would get on the team, which lead to me thinking about her situation again. I felt I’d neglected it during the week because I was too preoccupied about myself and my desperate desire to be in the team. I didn’t like to think of myself as a self-centred, selfish witch. So I made myself a promise that once the first call backs were out of the way, I would get back onto the job and get to the bottom of Kaitlyn’s unexplained melancholy.

 

On the way to school that morning, I passed Kaitlyn’s mom picking up the paper from the front garden. “Morning Mrs Ramsay. Is Kaitlyn excited about the cheerleading call backs today?” She had a surprised look on her face.

“Oh I didn’t realise you found out today. Kaitlyn’s not well, she won’t be going to school today.”

‘SERIOUSLY! YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING RIGHT!’ was what I wanted to say, but I mumbled, “What’s wrong with her?”

“I’m not really sure to be honest. She says she has a sore throat. Perhaps you could let us know on the way home who got in.”

“Sure,” I said eagerly, realising this would be a perfect opportunity to sus a few more things out.

 

I met the other girls earlier than usual at 8 am at the front gate as we’d arranged. We wanted to be altogether when we looked at the list. “Hurry up,” Mishy said as I approached the gates. “I can’t contain my pee any longer.”

“Eewgh!” said Sarah. “You are so gross.”

“Well I’m so nervous I feel like peeing all the time.” I guess Mishy gets nervous pees as well.

“Ok well I’m here now, so let’s go.” I said, and we all began running towards the gym, as fast as our heavy bags would allow us, holding hands like preppies and giggling along the way.

 

SPLAT!! Our excitement came to a roaring halt as Maddy clipped the edge of the bike racks and tumbled to the ground. It was like a hysterical snowball effect as each of us fell like dominoes on top of one another, laughing and gasping for air. Finally when we were all laughed out, I heard Mishy peep from below. “Ow!”

“Is everyone still alive?” I said from the ground looking up to the hazy blue sky.

“I think so,” someone mumbled.

“Yes I’m ok,” Maddy piped in.

“Anyone hurt?”

“Yes, my pride is hurt. So embarrassing! Did any-one see us?” Mishy said half joking.

“Who cares?” I answered. “Just think, it will give them their first and maybe only laugh for the day. Wouldn’t you like to provide that service to someone who is just about to start a boring and brain numbing day of school work?”

“NO!” came the chorus of girls at me.

 

We got up and dusted ourselves off. Mishy had a gravel rash on her knee and Maddy’s shorts were ripped where the bike rack caught them.

“Now you’ll look really trendy with your ripped shorts Mads.”

“I’m already trendy thank you very much. But now I’m going to be a trendy dead person. My mom’s gonna kill me. These shorts were fifty dollars.”

“Seriously! I could buy a whole wardrobe for fifty dollars. Now enough fashion commentary,” Sarah said, getting frustrated but laughing at the same time. “Let’s go amigos.”

 

Again we discovered a group of girls buzzing around the gym excitedly, and a few boys having a sticky beak. It was obvious the list was up because there were some very happy girls jumping up and down screaming like barbie dolls (that’s if barbie dolls could scream of course). There was also a few forlorn faces walking away. One girl even had tears streaking her face.

Mishy started walking backwards as we approached the board.

“What are you doing Mishy?” Maddy asked.

“I can’t do it. I’m too nervous. I need to pee first. Can you wait while I go pee?”

“Seriously, you’re kidding right?”

“Let’s just go look at the list, then you’re free to go and spend as much time peeing as you want.” Maddy grabbed Mishy’s hand and dragged her to the board. Sarah and I followed until we could all see the list without being able to see the names.

“Ok, do you want me to read the names out since I’m not in it?”

“Sure Maddy.” That sounded like a good plan. We all closed our eyes.

“Ok, so number one on the list is……….”

 

 

13. Something’s Going Down

 

“Do you really want to know?” Maddy teased.

“Shoot! Would you tell us the names already?” Sarah demanded.

“OK! OK! Don’t get your knickers in a knot.” That’s such a weird expression. I’d heard my father say it before. It would really be quite interesting to see someone wearing their knickers in a knot. Would be quite uncomfortable I’m guessing. Especially if you were a boy.

 

“So the first person on the list is…Oh god you’re not going to want to know who is first on the list.”

“At this rate, we’re never going to know who is on the list at all. Come on Mads,” Sarah said, getting impatient.

“OK. Number one is Krystal and Number two is Tiffany. Is that rigged or what?”

“Keep going Maddy. We knew they’d get in so it doesn’t matter what number they are,” Mishy urged.

“Kirsten, Jesse, Kaitlyn.” My ears pricked up at the sound of Kaitlyn’s name as Maddy continued, “Ella, Mishy, yey Mishy, Ellie, Sarah, yey Sarah.” She finally got to the end of the list. “And the final name is Angel.”

 

My heart sank. Actually, it felt like it was stretched up like a slingshot and plummeted through my body onto the ground like a failed bungee jump. I didn’t want to look at the others in case I cried.

 

“And what do we have here?” Maddy began. “One more name squished down at the bottom. Now let me have a lookie, what does it say? M’mmm ……..Could it be Lily?” Maddy teased.

“Yeyyyy,” we all screamed and jumped up and down and around and round like we had been transported back to kindergarten.

“MADDY! How can you do that? How can you play a trick on me like that? You nearly killed me.”

“I didn’t trick you. My glasses were just blurry that’s all.”

“You don’t wear glasses.”

“Oh there you go. That’s my problem then,” and she burst out laughing. “Well done guys. You guys rock. I’m so jealous.”

 

We circled and hugged each other. Nothing could spoil our excitement at that moment. Nothing at all, except………

“Hi guys. Did you make it through the cheer offs?” came a smooth voice. Krystal, Chantelle and Tiffany were standing behind us. Tiffany spoke so sweetly you could have sworn she had fairy floss dripping out of her mouth.

“Yep,” I answered. “What about you?”

“I’m not sure. I’ll have a look when the crowd is gone.” As if! She wouldn’t be acting so coolly if she didn’t know already. “Will you be wearing that delightful red number you wore to the first cheer off? It was so…well, so you,” Tiffany asked with spite.

“Not sure Tiffany, but if I don’t, you can borrow it if you like. Although I think it might be just a bit too small for you.”

“I’ll be right thanks.”

“Are you sure? Cos I guess you’ve had that blue one for a while. It looked like it was getting a little tight for you in the you know where,” I said in my sweetest voice. Tiffany glared at me. “Well good luck for the call backs,” I added, as we left and walked excitedly away.

“How do you do that?” asked Mishy.

“Do what?”

“Act so cool towards Tiffany.”

“Der! Because I am cool, got it.” We all laughed.

“You’re wicked,” added Sarah.

“Yeah, I know, I’m wickedly cool,” I replied laughing.

 

The week ahead was going to be one crazy time with lots of training as we prepared for the first call back. Later that day we had to meet Cranky Pants and Mrs Carmichael to get the routine sequence and then to a training session on the Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The two cheer offs were the following Thursday and Friday. I couldn’t wait to let Kaitlyn know she was in. I hoped the good news would cheer up her ‘sore throat’.

 

I knocked loudly on Kaitlyn’s door after school but there was no answer. I could hear the song ‘Ugly Heart’ blaring from one of the windows so I figured someone was home. I tapped again and waited. Eventually the music was turned down and a few minutes later, the front door slowly creaked open. Kaitlyn stood sheltering behind the door. She looked terrible. Her face was blotchy, her eyes were red and she looked as though she’d just got out of bed.

“Wow, you look terrible Kaitlyn. You must be really sick.”

“Yes, sort of.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Ah, just a sore throat.”

“Well I’ve got some good news that might cheer you up a bit.”

“Really?”

“About the call backs.”

“Did I get in?” Kaitlyn’s expression changed momentarily and her eyes began to glisten.

“Yep, you sure did.” She gasped with glee and then her face suddenly turned serious again. She looked almost worried. “So who else made the list?”

“Mishy, Sarah and I did.”

“Go girl.”

“And your best friends. They all made it in, so that’s cool.”

“Yeah,” she said flatly, but not very convincingly.

“Do you want me to give you the moves that you have to learn. I can write them out for you ‘cos the first training is tomorrow. If you don’t go to all the training, it’s an automatic OUT. Cranky Pants said so.”

“Sure ok.” She hesitated then opened the door slowly to let me in. Anyone would have thought I was some green eyed, double-headed, shaggy monster frothing at the mouth. She looked almost frightened to welcome me in.

“Are you sure it’s a good time for you?”

“Yeah sorry, it’s just that, it’s just that….my throat’s still sore. I don’t want you to catch anything from me.”

“I’ll be alright. Just don’t sneeze on me, or blow your nose on me.” We laughed.

 

As I was writing the moves out for her, a message came through on her iPad. She glanced at it and looked up at me bewildered.

“Are you sure I got in the call backs? This is not some sick joke that someone put you up to is it?”

“What? What do you mean Kaitlyn? Why would I play a sick joke like that? That would be cruel.”

“Well I just got a message saying I didn’t make it in.”

“Who sent you the message?”

“Doesn’t matter.”

“Kaitlyn, who sent you the message?”

“Well….. Tiffany says she doesn’t ‘think’ I got in. She only had a quick look but she couldn’t see my name.”

“Seriously?”

“Well I’m not joking.”

“Maybe they are. Maybe they’re having a light-hearted joke with you,” I offered.

“Tiffany doesn’t joke………..unless, unless it’s a………”

“Unless it’s a what?”

She sighed deeply and looked down. “Unless it’s a mean joke. She likes playing mean jokes on people. That’s her thing.”

What was going on for her to say something like that about one of her best friends? And why would her best friend lie to her?

 

 

14. And the Meanness begins

 

Even though Tiffany and Krystal were popular, everyone knew they could be cruel as well if they wanted to. It was just very strange to hear Kaitlyn admitting it about her friends. It was getting more and more frustrating as I searched for the truth.

“Kaitlyn, what do you mean about Tiffany being mean to others? Is she mean to you?”

“Nothing. It doesn’t matter. Thanks for coming and showing me the steps. I guess I won’t be needing them.” She got up to show me out.

“Kaitlyn, trust me, you’re in. Learn the steps.” As I went to grab my bag, her iPad dinged again. As she glanced at the message, her eyes glazed over and she mumbled something under her breath that I couldn’t understand.

“Are you OK?” She didn’t answer me. She just kept staring into the screen, a tear rolling down her cheek.

“Kaitlyn, what is wrong?” I demanded.

 

With that final demand, Kaitlyn’s emotions crumbled and a slow stream of tears began trickling down her sad face. She passed me the iPad without speaking.

The message said:

 

If you’re still sick, stay home tomorrow so you can get yourself better.

I’ll get any work for you. Sending you hugs  Krissie.

 

I was puzzled at Krissie’s sentiment.

“Ok, and that would make you cry because…….?”

“Because the cheerleading training session is tomorrow you said. Don’t you see? For some reason they don’t want me there.”

“No way. They wouldn’t be that mean.” But it was all starting to click. Krystal and Tiffany were trying to keep Kaitlyn from going to school so she’d miss out on the first training session. But why?

“Maybe she’s jealous because you’re so good and they might miss out if you get in.”

“So if Mishy and Sarah got in and you thought they were better than you, would you try and sabotage their chances?”

“Hek no. That would be so mean. No way would I do that. That would be cheating anyway. Who would want to win something if you knew in your heart that you didn’t win fairly, or you had to hurt someone to win?”

“You don’t have to tell me. I agree completely.”

“But I thought you, Tiffany and Krystal were great friends.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” There was no answer from Kaitlyn.

“Kaitlyn, tell me what’s been going on. I might be able to help you.”

“How can you help me?” she replied as the tears began to flow uncontrollably. “I’m sorry, I feel like such an idiot crying in front of a seventh grader. What a baby I am.”

“Don’t worry, I’m old for my age. And I have many years of wisdom and a lot of life experience,” I said with a laugh. “Common Kait, maybe I can help.”

 

This was it. FINALLY! Kaitlyn was about to open up to me and all my questions were going to be answered. I would finally have the facts to be able to help her solve the problem.

“Talk to me Kaitlyn.”

Kaitlyn put her iPad down and was just about to utter her first words in confidence when the front door swung open and Kaitlyn’s Mom came in, her arms laden with groceries.

“Hi love, give us a hand if you’re up to it will you? Oh hello Lily. How are you? Would you mind helping an old lady?”

“Mom, you can’t just ask people to help with your shopping.”

“Of course I can. I just did.”

“I don’t mind helping Kaitlyn. And you’re not exactly old Mrs Ramsay believe me. I know thousands heaps older than you.”

“Oh you’re too kind. I feel about eighty some days.”

“Tell her the news Kaitlyn,” I urged.

“Oh yes, how did you go love?”

“I got in. We both got in,” Kaitlyn said quietly.

“That’s wonderful.” We chatted a bit to her Mom who wasn’t doing a disappearing act anytime quickly. Kaitlyn didn’t appear to want to continue the bleak conversation so I regretfully made my exit.

“Oh well, thanks again Lily…….for everything,” she said as I stood at the front door.

“No probs, anytime and for anything. I’m only up the road remember, if you want to talk or …. practice the moves or whatever. Make sure you’re there tomorrow Kaitlyn. Seeya.”

 

*Thursday 6*th November 8.30pm

 

[Debbie
DAMN! What is going on in the princess gang? I am going to have to take some desperate measures to find out I think. Maybe some truth potion might be in order for Kaitlyn. Or perhaps I could use a spell to switch with one of her friends and go under cover. Now there’s an idea!]

[_ I’m not sure how serious this is, but I’ve narrowed it down to something between Kaitlyn and Krystal and Tiffany, and maybe Chantelle. I don’t think it’s boyfriend troubles. Connor seems to have moved on anyway, he’s back with Chantelle- God knows why! _]

But if these girls are bullying Kaitlyn, then its ON!! Bullying stinks.

 

I was half way through my diary entry when my iPad dinged. I’m not really allowed to use it after 8.30. That’s one of Mom’s dumb rules. She has some really stupid rules like, ‘no biscuits before tea, no candy during the week, no iPad after 8.30 except on weekends, no TV after 8pm’. One day she’ll tell us we’re not allowed to poo before breakfast or something like that. She’s so weird at times.

 

I had a look in the lounge room to see what Mom was doing. Dad was asleep on the couch as usual with the remote control in his hand and the newspaper covering his face. Mom was engrossed in a TV show; something about a single guy with all these fake barbie dolls parading around him doing and saying fake things trying to compete to become his wife. I think it’s called ‘the Bachelor’. Mom was probably dreaming that she was twenty years younger and could fit into one of the skimpy little bikinis they were wearing.

 

I grabbed my iPad from my desk to look at who would be messaging me after 8.30. All my friends knew it was pointless at that time. It was from Kaitlyn. If I messaged her back, I would risk losing the iPad for a whole week. But I didn’t want her to think I was ignoring her. I had to read it. I had to answer. I smuggled it under my doona and prayed my mom wouldn’t see the little ray of light escaping out the corner of the bed if she came down.

 

Hey Lily

Hey Kaitlyn, what you doin?

Just wanted to say sorry for today

Sorry? What for?

Kinda telling you stuff, then not finishing.

K. You wanna talk?

Yeah

Ok you first

Promise you won’t say anything

Of course not. I mean yes, of course I promise

Well I don’t know if I should say anything

Kaitlyn, just say what’s on your mind

Ok I’m not sure that Krystal and Tiffany are friends with me anymore. In fact I actually think they hate me

Why do you think that?

 

Kaitlyn didn’t reply for a couple of minutes and then a very pretty and creative photo collage about BFF’s came through. I heard Mom’s footsteps in the hallway. I held my breath as she came closer so she would think I was asleep.

“Lily,” I heard her whisper. I didn’t reply and she kept walking. Mission complete. I quickly pulled open my iPad again and looked at the collage wondering why Kaitlyn had sent it to me. ‘Sleepover party’ was the caption and various words like ‘besties’ and ‘BFF’ and ‘love’ dotted the page. I couldn’t believe it when I saw who the photos were of. I was gobsmacked.

 

 

15. Mom the Dragon and Dan the Stink bomb

 

There they were, looking as gorgeous as ever in cute pj’s, teased up hair and piles of makeup layered on their faces, obviously having a lot of fun at a sleepover party. It looked like a page straight out of a teenage girl magazine. The most popular group of girls at school, ‘The princess gang’, Krystal, Tiffany and Chantelle stared back at me from their fake poses laughing menacingly. But the shocking truth was, Kaitlyn was not in the photo.

 

I didn’t know how to reply. Maybe she hadn’t been able to make the date they chose for the sleepover. Maybe she was camera shy. Maybe she was taking the photos or maybe, and I hated to think of it, maybe she just wasn’t invited. But why then would they send her the photo? They couldn’t be that mean. I had to think carefully before I answered.

 

Ahh cute collage Kaitlyn

 

Yeah for some

 

What do you mean?

 

Well don’t you see I’m not in the photos

 

I just thought you might not have been able to make it

 

I just wasn’t invited. Remember it was cancelled. I got candy, I got new pj’s. I was ready but got dumped. They msgd me 2 say it was off because T’s mom was having a dinner party. Then 3 days later I got this collage. I don’t know whether they sent it to me by mistake or on purpose to be mean. And there’s been other things happening lately 2.

 

BINGO!

I was gobsmacked…again. I knew Tiffany could be mean but this was beyond mean. This was really low. This sucked. I hadn’t answered when another message came through from Kaitlyn which read:

 

After the collage I got this message from Tiffany. ‘How come you didn’t come to the sleep over? I messaged to say it was back on. Oh well, sorry you didn’t make it. The collage was just to show you what fun you missed. Next time maybe, Tiff x’

 

What did you reply Kaitlyn?

 

I didn’t answer it.

 

I was typing out my next response when I heard Mom’s footsteps coming down the passage again. This time they were quicker, as if she was on a mission. I recognised the sound of those footsteps as the sound she makes when one of us is in trouble. My heart started racing. She was on to me. I pushed my iPad quickly to the bottom of the bed and lay there like I was dead, waiting for the scathing onslaught of the mother.

 

Mom’s footsteps approached my door but then kept going.

“Daniel,” she said in a stern tone as she opened his door. “Put that computer away, NOW!”

Gosh my mom is scary. I’ve seen some wicked witches in my days, but none so scary as my mother when she’s on the war path. How did she even know he was on his computer? It’s like she has this sixth sense that she just ‘knows’ when one of us is up to no good. Either that or she’s installed spy cams into our rooms. Another one of Mom’s crazy rules is that Dan is not allowed on his computer after 8.30pm. She takes things so seriously. One little break of the rules and the sentencing is harsher than a hardened criminal serves in jail.

 

I couldn’t risk continuing to message Kaitlyn. I didn’t want to lose my iPad for a whole week, so I lay still and sucked in my breath while Mom gave Dan a lecture. I prayed in my head that Kaitlyn wouldn’t message me again, and then right on cue I heard the incriminating ‘ding’ again.

‘Nooooo,’ I thought to myself, but Mom was too busy ranting at Dan as he gave her some cheek, to hear.

 

The next thing I heard was Mom huffing and puffing while she took his computer out. Obviously Dopey Dan had been a bit too dopey again and talked back to Mom one too many times, and the punishment had escalated. Now he’d lost his computer. Luckily for him he needed it for homework so he’d probably get it back the next day.

 

I wanted to check the message from Kaitlyn and let her know I wasn’t ignoring her, but I was too scared Mom was on the war path. It was not worth the risk. When Mom was on the war path, she breathed dragon fire and fumed like a steam engine and nobody dares cross her path.

My iPad would probably be flat without charging it while it suffocated at the bottom of my bed all night, but I just had to suck it up! I felt bad that Kaitlyn might think I was ignoring her, but hopefully I could explain in the morning.

 

I heard Mom steam roll down the hallway then rant at Dad; something about Dan and his computer. I tentatively reached down to grab my iPad while I released the cooped up air from my lungs with relief.

 

Just as my fingertips reached it, I heard the solemn saunter of Dad coming up the hall way. Poor Dan. When Dad got off his bum from his arm chair, it meant there was big trouble. I pushed my iPad further into the bed, closed my eyes and desperately tried to get to sleep. Dad was speaking in low dulcet tones trying to be quiet but stern at the same time, but his deep voice kept resonating through the walls.

 

Dad finally left Dan alone to sulk and ambled back to the lounge room again. Finally I could drift off to sleep. The empty sounds of the night were golden after hearing Mom and Dad raging on for what seemed like an hour. I was just about to disappear into the land of slumber when from behind the wall I heard the most revolting, rip-roaring almighty fart, followed by a proud laugh that came from the gross owner.

REVOLTING! MY BROTHER WAS SO REVOLTING!!!

“DAN!” I yelled. He replied with another smug laugh before a follow-up fart; not quite as ferocious as the first, but just as nauseating. It sounded like it had bubbles in it.

“I’m just warming up the bed,” he called out through the wall, and then he laughed to himself again.

AGHHH! Sometimes I couldn’t believe he was a human being. I threw the pillow over my head and left the planet for eight hours to a place where I didn’t have to see, hear or think about that disgusting creature.

 

 

16. The Kitty Terrorist

 

At school the next day there was a buzz of excitement amongst the girls who made it through the cheer offs. The cheerleading team was one of the most admired and most popular groups in school, aside from the football team, but I didn’t think I had much chance of getting into the football team. Not unless I grew a few muscles and stuffed socks into my underwear. NO THANKYOU!

 

But I didn’t really care about being popular. I just cared about dancing and cheerleading. I wanted to do it all day, every day and hear the crowd roar as the team ran onto the field on match day. Even just thinking about it makes my spine tingle and gives me goose bumps.

 

I didn’t get to see Kaitlyn before school as I was late. I had a premonition rescue I had to deal with, which really annoyed me because it was imperative that I saw Kaitlyn and apologise for ignoring her iPad message. She already felt down and I didn’t want to add to that.

 

But this dumb five year old kid decided to play cat and mouse with a real live cat on a real live road on my way to school. He chased his little precious kitten out onto the street at 8.30 am in the middle of the school rush hour; probably not the most intelligent decision he’d made in his short life. Apparently he’d been taunting the cat in the front yard with a monster mask on and when the cat finally decided to break loose and jump over the fence, the kid got the crazy idea that he would do the same and follow the poor thing onto the road.

 

As I was walking down Jamison road past some houses, my face suddenly became sweaty and my eyebrows twitched and prickled. My heart began to race and the fogginess in my head overwhelmed me.

 

I sat on the fence trying to gain clarity and flashes of cat fur and blood infiltrated the fogginess. A vision of a boy on a road dominated the image and within a beat, I had transported myself to the scene and pushed the boy to the ground as a car came hurtling past the patch of road where he had been standing.

 

“OW!” the boy yelled in an annoyed voice as if I’d purposely tried to hurt him. At the sound of his whiney voice, I knew he was ok. I grabbed his hand and walked him to the side of the road to safety.

The woman in the car got out and ran desperately up to us. She had tears streaming down her face and she appeared hysterical.

“Oh my goodness, are you two alright? I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. You saved his life. I didn’t see him coming. I just tried to swerve because I saw a cat coming and then he was there, and you were there.”

 

With all the commotion and the strange people, the boy took his monster mask off and started to cry. He still looked like a little monster if you ask me.

“I want my Mommy,” he cried. Why do kids always have to cry all the time? I just wanted to get to school, but I knew it was my duty to see him back safely to his Mother.

“Where is your house?” the driver asked.

He pointed to a cute cottage with a picket fence across the road. There were a few toy trucks and a tricycle in the yard. Obviously a child lived there. We all walked to the house together, the boy still whining and bawling with snot dripping out of his nose in big green globules. EEWGH.

 

After delivering him to his mother who appeared oblivious to the fact that her precious baby was a kitty terrorist and had gone on an escapade out into the big wide world, I raced off down the sidewalk towards school. Even sprinting the whole way, I knew I wouldn’t get there in time. As tempted as I was to transport myself in a flash of divination, I resisted. It wasn’t the right thing. I just had to be late.

 

My witch craft and spells were purely for survival and the rescue of others. On occasion I could use a frivolous one, but this was not the time. I would just have to be late and wait to see Kaitlyn at morning break. It was going to be a long few hours.

 

At morning break I told Mishy I had to go and do something important. She wanted to know what it was but I couldn’t tell her. I hated lying to her, but I’d already told them too much about Kaitlyn and I didn’t want to overdo it. I think she knew I was up to something by the look she gave me.

I raced around to the eighth grade area to see if I could find Kaitlyn. I asked a couple of geeky girls if they knew where she was. They were very kind. It’s funny how kids can be. The less popular ones are always really friendly and helpful, but the popular ones seem snobby and too superior to talk to lower grades and yet they still remain popular. Weird!

 

They told me Kaitlyn was in the gym practicing cheerleading with the others. By ‘the others’ I assumed they meant the princess gang. WOW! How things can change so quickly overnight. I didn’t bother finding Kaitlyn. I waited until after school and loitered around the school gate waiting to see if I could catch her. I felt like a stalker again hanging around to snare the victim.

 

Finally, as I was just about to melt in the hot summer sun like the wicked witch liquefying in the wizard of oz, I saw her coming out of the school laughing and giggling with the princess gang. She looked happy, and I didn’t want to disturb her. I wondered whether it was a genuine happiness or whether she was putting on a fake exterior to try and fit in with the pretentious group. I decided not to intrude on her apparent fun. The intense heat was starting to give me a piercing headache and I had beads of sweat teaming down my cheeks. I badly wanted to zap up a quick lemonade stand to quench my parched throat, but I knew better than using up spells to satisfy personal desires. I knew Mom had some cans of soda in her secret stash in the outside fridge at home and the thought of the icy cold drink was hard to resist.

 

Mom camouflages junk food all over the place in different wrappings to hide them from us. She thinks she’s got us fooled but we always manage to sniff it out; particularly Dan with his super junk food – lolly finding sniffing radar machine he keeps inside that hollow space between his ears. Once I even found a block of chocolate and a packet of chocolate biscuits in Mom’s undies draw. Gross, I didn’t want to eat those biscuits.

 

I decided to forget about Kaitlyn for a while and go home. As I was rounding onto my street I heard my name called out.

“Lily, Lily wait!”

I turned around expecting to see Mishy or Sarah, but it was Kaitlyn running as fast as she could to catch up to me.

“Oh hi Kaitlyn.”

“Hi,” she said with a beaming smile. Was this the same girl?

“I’m sorry I didn’t get to answer your message last night. My mom was on the war path and removing electronic devices all over the place so I didn’t want to risk it.”

“That’s ok, I thought it would be something like that. And I want to apologise for carrying on like a baby too. I was just feeling a bit confused.”

“Well I don’t blame you.”

“Yeah but everything is AOK now. The others explained what happened and I’m totally cool with that.”

“Really?” I tried to hide my disbelief. “What happened?”

“It’s a long story. Don’t worry about it. I understand it all now and I feel really bad that I could actually think they would be mean to me. I mean, I’ve never done anything mean to them so why would they want to be mean to me?”

 

I wanted to grab Kaitlyn by the shoulders and scream at her, “THEY DON’T NEED A REASON TO BE MEAN. IT’S WHAT THEY DO. IT’S WHAT THEY’RE GOOD AT.” Instead I just nodded and gave her a sickly sweet smile and listened to her ramble about what they were going to do on the weekend together.

“Wanna come to my place and practice the cheerleading steps?” Kaitlyn was bouncing along like she was a kindy kid on the night before Christmas.

“OK sure.” I thought it would be fun to practice together and a chance to stop thinking about the princess gang shenanigans now that Kaitlyn seemed ok.

“Great because I have to show you a couple of the steps you got wrong,” Kaitlyn offered. My heart stopped for a second and my feet slammed on the brakes and stood still as I rewound in my head what I thought she’d said. I don’t like to brag or appear vain but I DON’T get cheer leading steps wrong. I didn’t say anything to Kaitlyn. I bit my tongue and waited until we got to her place.

 

She has a big garage and more importantly she doesn’t have a snooty big brother slobbing around or a snotty little one, running around. She grabbed a cool drink out of the fridge for us and I greedily gulped it down while she went to get the music.

“Ok, let’s get started,” she said as she offered me some biscuits. The girl had her priorities right! Food first, training second.

“Ok let’s go,” she said when our tummies were full. We stood side by side and started the routine. The music was really pumping and we’d both started to learn our moves really well.

“OUCH!” I screamed as Kaitlyn jumped on my toes as she moved the wrong way and our heads clashed.

“Sorry,” she laughed. “But you moved the wrong way. That’s one of the steps you got wrong.”

I laughed back at her. “No you big clutz,” I said warmly. “You got the move wrong.”

She laughed. “Let’s just keep going from here. I’ll put the music back.”

We continued and within another few bars we were clashing on the floor again as Kaitlyn moved in the wrong direction, doing a completely incorrect move.

“Hang on, what are you doing?” I knew the moves because Cranky pants had made us copy them down. “Kaitlyn, I don’t want to be a know-it-all, but that’s definitely the wrong move. I gave the sequence to you the other day.”

“Yeah but you got some of it wrong. Tiffany showed me the right way. Two quick air punches followed by two cartwheels to the right.”

 

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I imagined the scenario if Kaitlyn was to do two cartwheels while everyone else was doing bridges. Some poor girl would get a mouth full of her foot, not to mention a broken nose. There were only a few more days till the next training session and Kaitlyn had to learn the right moves and quickly. And some dummy also had to tell her that Tiffany had given her the wrong moves, and probably on purpose. And that dummy would have to be me.

 

“Kaitlyn, I need to tell you something and I want you to trust me.”

She looked at me with a sad, perplexed face. I didn’t know how to break it to her. I took a big breath in and quickly thought about how I could say it without hurting her again. She’d had enough hurt but

there was no way around it. I just had to tell her straight up.

“Kaitlyn, I know you have a set of dance moves and I have a set of dance moves and they’re not quite in sync. One of them is wrong.”

“I know, so why should it be mine that is wrong?” she replied.

“Because I was there Kaitlyn. I was there on the day when Cranky Pants gave us the routine when you were sick. I was the one who had to listen to her voice drone on as we wrote it all down. I was the one who practiced the routine in front of her in slow motion, along with your friends Tiffany, Krystal and Chantelle.” A look of realisation came over her face. I was worried she might cry again.

“So you think they might have got it wrong too? We’ve all got it wrong? Oh No! None of us will get in. I’ll have to let them know.” She grabbed her iPad to contact them.

“KAITLYN!” I stopped her by the shoulder. “They did not get it wrong! Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, they gave you the wrong moves on purpose?”

 

I will never forget the painful look of disbelief that Kaitlyn gave me. I wasn’t sure whether she was going to throw daggers into my heart or burst into tears.

“LILY! Why would you say something so mean like that about my friends? Why would they give me the wrong moves? THEY’RE MY FRIENDS.”

“I don’t know, maybe as a joke or something.”

“A JOKE! You’re the one who is a joke. I want you to go. Don’t try and blame others when you can’t get the moves right yourself. Just leave.”

“But can you…..”

“LEAVE!”

 

There was no point in arguing. She wasn’t going to believe a stupid seventh grader over her precious princesses. I’d really blown it. I’d lost her trust, and without that, there was no way I could help Kaitlyn with her problem. And if she kept practicing the wrong routine, there was no way she would get onto the team even though she deserved to. And there was NOTHING I could do about it. Unless………. There was one thing I could do but……….

I had to do it!

I had to get to the bottom of this.

 

 

17. Sneaky Tactics

 

The day before the second tryouts I saw Tiffany, Krystal and Chantelle practicing in the gymnasium. I wondered why Kaitlyn wasn’t with them so I crouched down behind a two meter stack of chairs to spy on them. I was getting really good at this stalking business. Luckily they had music pumping loudly so they couldn’t hear the raucous sound of my heart thumping through my chest or the bellows of my lungs inflating anxiously.

 

I watched them do the whole routine and a little green eyed monster took over my body. That’s what my Mom calls it when someone gets jealous. She says it’s the green eyed monster taking over.

Normally I don’t get jealous about anything. I usually tell myself to be proud of what I’ve got and what I can do, and to accept everything the way it is. But these girls were good. They were magical in the way they moved their slender arms and long tanned legs. The arches of their backs when they performed the bridges were perfect.

 

As I watched them arching it dawned on me that they were indeed arching into bridges and not doing cartwheels as they had told Kaitlyn to do. It was exactly how Cranky Pants had shown us; well how she instructed us to do it anyway. She couldn’t ‘show’ us a bridge. If she did, I don’t think she’d be able to get up off the floor. I laughed to myself at the thought of her leaning back into an arch, belly popping out over her track pants, struggling to get up, with her feet kicking all over the place and her puffy cheeks turning beetroot. I couldn’t help myself imagine her doing a little fart as she thrashed about helplessly.

 

So my suspicions were confirmed. The princess group knew exactly what they were doing with the routine. They had it down perfectly. Too perfectly in fact. I had no way of beating them. But I wasn’t worried about myself. I was worried about the deceit and why they were maliciously and sneakily bullying Kaitlyn for no reason.

 

I started to get up off the ground and sneak out, but as I did, the edge of my shoe clipped the chair leg and the stack of chairs started tumbling to the ground. I dived in behind one on the floor.

“Who’s there?” called out Krystal. I didn’t know whether to run or stay hiding, or use my other option and call on black magic for survival to get out of sight. As much as I wanted to twinkle myself out of there, I knew it wasn’t a life or death situation, so I got to my feet and sprinted harder than a deer being chased by a hungry cheetah.

 

I ran until I could run no further and leaned up against a wall, panting with the adrenaline surging through my exhausted body. I was pretty sure I was far enough away that they didn’t recognise me.

 

On the way back, I saw Kaitlyn sitting on a bench by herself reading. I hoped she didn’t notice me and I kept walking quickly. I thought she’d probably ignore me anyway.

“Lily,” I heard, after I thought I was a safe distance past. “Sorry for arguing with you yesterday.”

“Don’t worry about it.” I waved and kept walking but she caught up to me.

“I always seem to be saying sorry to you lately,” she laughed nervously.

“Look it’s fine.”

“I’m sure we’ll both be fine in the second cheer off. Maybe there were two versions of the routine and you’re in a different group,” she said.

“Maybe,” I said, though I didn’t know who she thought she was kidding.

“Look I really hope we can still be friends.”

“Sure, of course. How come you’re not practicing with the others?”

“Practicing what?”

“The cheerleading routine.”

“Oh, Krystal and Tiffany had detention for talking in class so I’m kind of on my own for lunch break. I think Chantelle is with Connor.”

Detention? Wow! Rehearsing the cheer leading routine in the gymnasium seemed like a pretty awesome detention to me, but I didn’t dare speak my thoughts out loud. These girls were really lying to their friend. There was no doubt about it. Kaitlyn’s best friends were lying to her and she had no idea.

 

There was only one thing I could do to help her. I would really miss my cat and R2D2, but I had to activate the last resort plan to help Kaitlyn.

 

 

18. Time to Take Action

 

I waited until after school to execute my plan. I lurked around the eighth grade area until I saw the princess gang parading out of their classroom. They were huddled in a private group giggling and chatting to each other as though no-one else existed. Kaitlyn walked out a few moments later with another girl oblivious to the fact that she had been left out again. I hid behind a locker and waited until they filed past.

 

Just as they started to walk past the lockers, I quickly ran from behind and collided front on with Krystal knocking her flying. It would have been hilarious except I was aching from the awesome head butt we had.

 

As our two heads collided, I reached up as if I was going to push her away and my hand snapped a lock of her hair while my fingers lightly scratched her skin, causing her to screech out in agony as she simultaneously fell to the ground. It must have looked like a scene out of a slapstick cartoon show.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” I lied. “I was trying to stop you from falling.”

“Careful you stupid idiot. Watch where you’re going.”

“I’m really sorry. It was an accident.”

“Didn’t your Mom teach you how to walk?” She looked around at her friends for moral support as she vainly flicked her hair back into place and dusted herself off.

“Leave her alone Krystal,” said Tiffany, surprising me with her support, “she probably still wears nappies and is learning to walk.”

 

My blood boiled and sizzled, and steam billowed out of my head when I heard the spiteful mockery from Tiffany. How can girls be so mean? What exactly is the point? I will never understand.

I looked them confidently in the eye as I’d been taught, and spoke directly to them without showing fear, although I was doing a bit of a nervous dance inside my stomach, and a few butterflies had been set loose in the same region.

“I said I was sorry. It was an accident and I don’t appreciate you saying ridiculous things like that.” They looked at each other and laughed. Not that I expected anything else.

“Are you ok Krystal?” Tiffany asked her friend. “Did the clumsy geek hurt you?”

I almost laughed in their faces. I may be a lot of things, but I was definitely not a geek.

“Well thank you, I’ve never been called a geek before. At least that means I’ve got a lot of brains, unlike some people round here.” I couldn’t help myself saying one wicked thing. It was either that or turn her into a big fat toad with bulbous warts all over her snout. I laughed to myself as I imagined a row of ugly toads wearing shiny leotards doing cartwheels.

 

 

I walked away with my head held high not looking back. They were probably making rude fingers at me and laughing at me, but I didn’t care. Girls like that didn’t usually bother me. I actually felt sad for them, that they felt the need to be so cruel. I wondered what was missing in their lives, to make them get their thrills by taunting others unfairly.

 

After I was out of their sight, I raced home as fast as my skinny legs would take me, squeezing the lock of hair and knowing the evil skin was under my nails. That was all I needed to activate the plan. The other ingredients were all at home.

 

No-one was in the house so everything was perfect. I found my ancient spell book in the bottom drawer where I kept my undies. I flipped through the dusty pages looking for the perfect spell, finally finding what I was looking for; the spell for switching bodies with someone.

 

I quickly organised the ingredients and followed the directions as instructed, including submerging my hand in boiling water to dissolve Krystal’s skin. The pain was excruciating but I gritted my teeth for the necessary ten seconds.

 

When I pulled my hand out, it was scorched red and blistered, but the pumping adrenalin pulsating through my body as I prepared the potion, numbed the throbbing sensations. I threw in the locks of hair, a sprinkle of salt, lavender, and a variety of herbs from my herb garden, and finished with a healthy dose of sugar to sweeten the target. Then I placed it on the stove and stirred it while it bubbled and frothed. The vile smell that billowed through the kitchen was a sickly mix of sweetened fragrance and the aroma of pizza.

I scanned the recipe to see if there was anything I’d missed. Realising I needed a photo of Krystal, I panicked until I remembered the school year book. I raced to my bedroom and tore out a photo of Krystal. There was no doubt, she was a very pretty girl, but it seemed her beauty was only skin deep. Mom always said it was better to be beautiful on the inside than on the outside. I always thought it was one of those weird things that she said, but I was starting to realise exactly what she meant.

I ripped the photo into shreds and dropped the pieces one by one into the broth as directed, letting the bubbles suck each piece into the heart of the murky liquid.

 

The broth looked disgustingly inedible. I took it off the oven after twenty minutes and set it aside to cool while I gathered ten candles and checked Dan’s room to make sure he wasn’t lurking in there. The mixture cooled and I poured it into a Sundae glass wishing desperately that it had a big dollop of cream, ice-cream, nuts and a cherry on top, instead of the disgusting, green looking film.

 

I quickly went outside and gave R2D2 and Mr Sirpuss a big hug. I went into my bedroom, shut the door and lit the candles. I turned off the light and closed the blinds allowing only a radiant shimmer of afternoon sun to penetrate the darkness. I placed the concoction in the centre of the candles and began to chant.

 

I pinched my nose and shut my eyes and threw the vile drink down my throat as fast as I could. It tasted like it was made from bat’s poo, dog’s poo, cat’s poo and a sprinkle of rat’s vomit. Not that I’ve ever tasted that before. It was DISGUSTING! I repeated the chant in my head while I swallowed until the whole glass was gone. I kept chanting until my senses dulled and my head started swirling with dizziness. The room became blurry and objects started encircling me until the darkness finally arrested me.

 

I’m not sure how much time passed but when I awoke I had a throbbing headache, blurred vision and a feeling of annoyance when I realised the spell hadn’t worked. I anxiously worried that maybe I’d done myself some serious brain damage instead. I moved away from the support I had been leaning up against and my legs melted away from me, causing me to collapse onto the ground in an embarrassing display of stupor. The glaring afternoon sun pierced my eyes as I squinted, trying to focus on the faces and voices that hovered above me.

“Are you drunk?”

“Wake up, are you ok? What’s wrong with you?”

 

I felt confused and disorientated, and didn’t know why I was lying in the middle of the sidewalk. The dull aching in my brain clouded my thoughts and my eyelids drifted together again blocking out the glare and escaping the confusion. I felt my arm being tugged and shaken like a rag doll. I wanted them to let me go so I could go back and do the spell again properly but my weakening legs betrayed me.

 

“Call an ambulance Chantelle!” AMBULANCE? AMBULANCE? Wasn’t that one of those rescue vehicles that Lukey played with? Why would they need that?

“Krystal! Krystal! Wake up! Krystal, Krystal!” The words filtered slowly through to my dulled senses until comprehension started to penetrate the darkness in my foggy brain. I looked around and saw Tiffany and Chantelle and they were calling me Krystal. The spell had worked. I was Krystal. OMG! What on earth was I going to do now?

 

The first thing I did was try and get up off the pavement. That was quickly followed by another embarrassing collapse as my legs imitated overcooked sticks of spaghetti. Strong hands clasped me from behind and prevented me from making a complete idiot of myself again. I turned around to face my rescuer and looked into the dreamy blue eyes of Josh, Krystal’s boyfriend.

“Whoa steady there Krissie,” he said as he lent me up against the fence much to my disappointment as I felt so much more protected in his big strong arms.

“Is she on something?” he said to the others.

She can hear you, you know, and ‘no’, she is not on anything,” I said, starting to feel a little more like myself, even though I definitely wasn’t myself. My mind felt like I was me, but my body felt strange, and my clothes felt very uncomfortable as though they were squeezing me in half. I looked down at my body and gasped in horror when I saw the clothes I was wearing; definitely not my choice of clothing, and showing way too much skin.

 

Then the biggest shock came when I discovered to my horror that I had bumps; two bumps in fact, in places where I was no way ready for. And even more horrific….I WAS WEARING A BRA! I wanted to peek inside my top to see what they looked like but that might have looked really weird.

“She’s awake now.”

“Shall we still call an ambulance?”

“NO! No ambulances. I’m fine. I don’t need an ambulance. I just had a little hypo that’s all.”

“A what?”

“A hypo. It means when I get a little low on sugar.”

Luckily for me, my Mom’s friend was a diabetic and I knew that sometimes when her sugar level was low she had something called a hypo where she goes all dizzy and nearly faints.

“Oh! I thought a hypo meant going off ya tree, like a bit crazy,” Tiffany said.

“She did that too,” added Chantelle.

“But she’s ok now isn’t she?”

“Would you stop talking about me like I’m not here please. I’m ok. Just let me go home.”

“Look, I’ll walk her home and make sure she gets home safely,” Josh said to the others.

 

I gulped enough to make a weird sound that resembled a cross between a frog’s croak and a crow’s squawk. I was fine talking to the seventh grade boys. They were still immature and stupid most of the time. But the eighth graders were a different breed altogether. Some of them were muscly with stubby whiskers on their chin, and they looked really weird in their speedos, if you know what I mean.

 

To walk all the way home with Josh was a little more than daunting to say the least. It was completely horrifying. I was sure I’d say something completely stupid, and that’s if I even thought of anything to say at all. I was certain I would make a fool of myself, well, of Krystal anyway.

“Go home and have a rest Krystal,” Tiffany ordered. The cheer offs are tomorrow, and you want to be at school in tip top shape.”

 

I had completely forgotten about the second heat in my haste to switch with Krystal. I would be competing for her and she would be competing for me. Not an ideal situation, but I wasn’t ready to switch back after all the trouble I’d gone through.

“Now go home with Josh.” She lent in close to me and whispered so Josh couldn’t hear. “And don’t forget to think about the next part of the plan.”

I looked at her blankly. “What plan?”

She laughed at me. “Krystal, you really are acting weird. You didn’t knock your head when you fell did you? The plan we talked about, like every day for the last two weeks. You don’t have amnesia do you?”

“No, no, I’m cool, I’m with you,” I lied. Maybe I could use this spaced out thing to my advantage every time I said or did something weird when I was in Krystal’s body.

 

Josh grabbed my elbow and led me down the road which I was very thankful for as my legs were feeling like jelly fish doing the Macarena. To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether it was the after effects of the spell or the fact that I had to walk with Josh that was making me all wobbly.

After we’d walked a few steps, Josh’s hand gently slipped from my elbow down to clasp my hand. My body froze. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with his hand.

‘Hold it you idiot,’ a little voice said inside me. But ‘how’ was I supposed to hold it? Tight? Loosely? Was I supposed to sort of stroke it? Were my palms too sweaty? I wondered how my hand felt inside his, whether it had a smooth feeling or was it rough like sandpaper? OMG! I was so not ready for this sort of stress. I was 286 years old, but I’d never held hands with a boy. I’d never kissed a boy or even hugged one for that matter. I hadn’t even had ‘the’ talk about the birds and bees with my mom. That’s how weird she is. She keeps saying we have to have a talk about birds and bees. Why can’t she just say we’re going to talk about girls and boys and rude bits and how babies are made and what to do when a boy holds your hand? Then it would make sense, and I might have some idea what I was supposed to do with Josh’s hand at that excruciatingly embarrassing moment.

 

I hoped he didn’t realise how weird I was acting. I couldn’t even think of anything remotely intelligent or witty to say, so I quickly blurted out, “Look, there’s a bird,” and pointed towards the sky pulling my hand away to safety.

“Wow! A bird,” Josh said flatly.

‘Good one idiot,’ I thought to myself. Now he’ll think I’m some boring bird watcher. I listened to myself think, analysing the situation in shock. Normally I don’t care what people, (especially boys) think about what I say. As long as I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings, I don’t stress about what I say or do. But in the presence of this boy, this one very cute boy, I was rendered speechless. I was like one big, massive brain fart with the odd stupid word thrown in.

 

We walked in a deathly silence until the end of the road. “I’ll be ok from here thanks Josh,” and I turned to go left when Josh grabbed me. Hundreds of thoughts rampaged through my mind wondering what he was going to do as he held my shoulders.

“Where are you going Krystal?” he laughed.

“Home of course.” The first sensible thing I’d said.

“Ahh….you live that way.” He pointed in the opposite direction as my face flushed again at my stupidity. Of course, I was heading towards my own home, not Krystal’s.

“I’m definitely seeing you safely to your door,” he said. “You really must have bumped your head.”

I laughed coyly. “Yes I did.”

What a gentleman. He was ‘seeing me safely to my door’. It was like something out of an olden day romantic movie. Why was such a nice guy wasted on a mean girl like Krystal? Maybe it had something to do with those two bumps that were on my chest, the gorgeous golden hair and long tanned legs. I couldn’t wait to find a mirror to look at my face……er..…her face.

 

He grabbed my hand and took me in the other direction. “Here, I’ll take your school bag.” Oh my! No-one had ever offered to take my school bag before. Even my dad used to make me carry it to kindy.

“No it’s ok, but thanks for offering,” I replied. He laughed, looking bewildered. Perhaps Krystal made him carry it all the time. Maybe she was bossy to him.

 

When we got to Krystal’s house, I let go of his hand and thanked him for walking me home.

“I always walk you home.”

“I know, but today was different. I was glad you were there.”

“What, you’re not normally glad?” he said with a cheeky smile.

“No. You know what I mean.” I looked up into his blue eyes and imagined what it would be like to reach out and hug him, just to say thank you. He took a step closer and crooked his neck slowly coming closer towards me.

‘Oh no!’ I thought, not quick enough to escape as his lips gently brushed over mine. I pulled away as soon as I felt the warm touch.

“What are you doing?”

“What do you mean ‘what am I doing?’ I’m giving you a good bye kiss like I always do,” he laughed.

‘WHOAAA. HOLD YA HORSES MAMA,’ I thought. Holding hands was one thing but I was not stepping up to a full on, lip locking kiss. NO WAY! Not all in the one day anyway. And definitely not with someone else’s boyfriend. I would feel like I was cheating with Krystal’s boyfriend even though I was Krystal….sort of. Oh this was getting way too complicated.

“Agghh…I mean…” I stuttered, not wanting to look more of an idiot than I already was.

“I have a coleslaw. I thought I told you I had a coleslaw.” I laughed awkwardly and he laughed back at me even louder.

“You have a coleslaw? You eat coleslaw with KFC. I don’t see any coleslaw on you, otherwise I could eat it up.” EEEWGHH, gross. What a thought. “And I don’t see a cold sore on you either,” he added.

“Yeah, I mean cold sore and it’s an invisible cold sore. I mean it’s kind of inside my lip. I don’t want you to risk those gorgeous lips.” AGHHHH! What was I saying? ‘Those gorgeous lips’. Oh kill me now. The next thing I’ll be telling him is he has a cute butt. I ran away before I could say anything more embarrassing.

“Seeya, thanks again. Seeya tomorrow.”

“Face Time me,” he yelled out.

“Ah sure,” I said, uncertain as to whether that would be a possibility.

First challenge over. Then it was time to face the family.

 

 

19. Something Smells Fishy

 

The night spent with Krystal’s family wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. Her mom and dad were quite nice surprisingly, but they spent a lot of time on their computers working or something. Krystal’s younger sister was away on camp which was a pity because I could have found out some dirt on her somehow. I spent most of the night in her room pretending I was doing homework. I couldn’t find the iPad so I couldn’t FaceTime Josh thank goodness, and probably missed 100 messages from Tiffany.

 

As soon as I got to school the next day Tiffany grabbed me. “Why didn’t you answer me last night? I face timed you like a hundred times.” I chuckled to myself.

“Sorry. I don’t know where it is. I think I’ve lost it.”
“LOST IT! You would never lose it. You always keep it under your mattress when you leave for school.” Well now, that’s a place I didn’t check, but it explains the distant sound of music I kept hearing.

“Well I’ve sorted it all out,” Tiffany announced.

“Sorted what?” I asked.

“You know.”

“Do I?”

“Krystal don’t be dumb. Are you suffering from post-traumatic amnesia still?” She laughed.

“Maybe. Try me.”

“Well, we had prawns for dinner last night,” she continued.

“Yum!”

“ I know, but I held myself back and only had a few. I kept sneaking them under the table. AND I left them ‘out’ of the fridge all night. Phewie!” She screwed up her nose as she spoke.

“You’re telling me this because…..?”

“So this morning after she left her bag in the locker room, I kindly made a lovely donation of prawns into her school bag and sort of rubbed a few around her cheerleading uniform. I’m such a genius.”

“She?”

“Yes.”

“Who is ‘she’?”

“Krystal, are you trying to be funny? Because you’re not doing a very good job. You’re starting to worry me actually, not to mention, annoy me seriously. I’m talking about the plan to stop Kaitlyn from getting through to the final.” My heart hit the ground with an almighty thud. So it really was true. They were ganging up against Kaitlyn. But why? It just didn’t make sense.

 

Before I could think what to say, Chantelle arrived looking very excited. “So did you do it? Is the deadly deed done?” Her eyes twinkled menacingly as she spoke.

“Aha,” Tiffany grinned with a deadly smile. “Her costume will be so stinky, there’s no way even a monster from the dump would wear it. She’ll have to pull out.” They both burst out laughing smugly.

“Isn’t that a little mean?” I offered. “Her costume will be ruined and she’ll probably get in trouble.” My comment silenced them abruptly.

“WHAT?” Tiffany’s laugh came to a sudden halt as she looked at me menacingly. “You’re the one who suggested we put dog poo in her bag. I think that’s meaner than prawns.”

“Yeah and it’s not as mean as stealing my boyfriend while I was away,” Chantelle added, finally dropping the bomb that I had been waiting to hear. So that was it; that was why they were so vindictive.

When Chantelle left the school at the end of sixth grade, she had been going out with Connor and was part of the princess gang, but she’d had to break up with him. Kaitlyn, who was new to the school, started dating Connor and eventually hanging round with the girls, probably because Connor was friends with Josh and Luke, Tiffany’s boyfriend at the time. When Chantelle unexpectedly came back from overseas to find Kaitlyn walking her territory, she set about designing a revenge plan. It made me sick to the stomach to know that girls could be so vindictive and revengeful.

 

I looked at my watch. There was ten minutes until the school bell. If I used a little bit of magic power to transport me back to Krystal’s home in the name of saving Kaitlyn, I could be back at school before the bell rang.

“Gotta go girls. I forgot something.”

“You’ll be late Krystal.”

“No I won’t,” I shouted as I flew out the school gate in a rush to the closest tree of large proportions.

 

Behind the tree I instantly transported myself to Krystal’s bedroom. The closet was full of cheerleading outfits. I quickly chose a fluoro green, off one shoulder number with high cut pink and black shorts, and in thirty seconds I was back at the tree. I stuffed them in my school bag and walked to class puffing, out of breath, but decidedly satisfied with my accomplishment.

 

At lunch time the finalists milled around the gym excitedly chatting and anxiously waiting for Cranky Pants to open the doors so we could dress ourselves and make ourselves beautiful, or in Tiffany’s case, even more beautiful.

 

I observed Krystal in my body hanging with Mishy and Sarah. I had a pang of jealousy wishing I could be standing with them and not with meanies. I looked around for Kaitlyn but couldn’t see her anywhere. Tiffany gloated, “Looks like we won.” She high fived Chantelle and went to do the same to me. She looked stunned when I didn’t meet her hand slap.

“What do you mean, ‘we won’?”

“Der. Look around you. Who’s not here?” I knew exactly what they were talking about, but I didn’t want to join them in their gloating. But I also didn’t want to give anything away so I just kept quiet and waited till Cranky Pants arrived.

“Now let’s act like ladies,” Cranky said when she arrived, “not animals, no pushing, no pulling, no rushing or running. You have ten minutes to be ready and on stage.”

 

I looked around and Mishy was standing behind me. I couldn’t resist saying, “Good luck,” to the surprised girl.

“Oh! Thanks. Same to you.” She was definitely stunned that Krystal would bother speaking to her. She had no idea that it was really me.

“Tiffany, I’ll be back soon. I think I’ve left my shoes in my locker,” I said before running off to find Kaitlyn.

“You’re kidding right? Hurry or you’ll miss the start and you’ll be out.”

 

I raced out of the gym and into the nearest girl’s toilets. I couldn’t see Kaitlyn there. There was just a bunch of tough chicks trying to hide something behind their backs. I ran round to the grade eight area and looked everywhere for her. There were seven minutes left. I checked every toilet block in the whole school and finally when I thought she must have gone home, I heard some quiet sobbing in the last cubicle of the toilets furthest away from the gym.

“Kaitlyn,” I whispered. There was no answer, but the sobbing ceased.

“KAITLYN. I know you’re in there.” There was still no answer.

“Kaitlyn. I recognise your shoes. Please come out.”

“I’m ok,” came a timid little voice from behind the door. “Go away.”

“I’m not going until you come out. We have four minutes to get on stage or we’ll both be disqualified. Please don’t let me miss the competition.”

“Just go by yourself Krystal.” Secretly it didn’t worry me if I didn’t get back in time because it would be Krystal missing out, not me. Krystal would be competing for me, not that she would realise. That’s one of the good things about this spell. It blocks the mind of the beholders so they become almost ‘brain dead’ for the duration and they don’t remember anything.

 

“Kaitlyn, if you don’t do it, I’m not, and that’s that.”

“You don’t understand. I have nothing to wear.”

“Look, tell me about it later. I brought a spare costume with me. You have two minutes to put it on and two minutes to sprint there and get on stage. If we don’t go now, the only thing we’ll be wearing is egg on our faces. LET’S GO!” I commanded.

 

The door slowly opened and I grabbed Kaitlyn’s hand and flung the costume at her. She put it on and we raced to the gym faster than a gazelle being chased by a hyena. Kaitlyn started laughing crazily like she was a hyena. I was starting to think she was bipolar. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” she squealed.

“Shut up Kaitlyn. Conserve your energy,” I joked.

We got to the gymnasium with about one minute to spare.

“Thanks for the costume. I mean really, thanks,” Kaitlyn said looking at me thoughtfully.

“Just don’t stink it out with your BO.”

“Hey I don’t have BO.”

 

We were still putting on our shoes when we heard Cranky Pants blow the whistle. It would be too normal and nice just to say “Into position girls.” She has to blow our eardrums out with a shrieking high pitched whistle.

“Let’s go Kaitlyn.”

“I’m coming. I’m following you,” she replied.

I ran up on stage and took my spot next to Tiffany who gave me the strangest look. I’m not sure whether she was annoyed, confused, angry, or all of the above. But when Kaitlyn came on, Tiffany definitely looked as though she was fuming. I looked at her in disbelief as if it was a complete shock to me too.

 

That’s when the music started thumping and I had to focus all my energy on the routine for Krystal’s sake. I couldn’t help but look over to Krystal to make sure she was doing a good job so that I would get in too.

 

At the end of the routine we had a five minute break before the next song. Tiffany ran up to Kaitlyn and in her sickliest fake voice said, “Where were you? We were worried you weren’t going to make it.” She looked over to Chantelle with a sly smile.

I’ve never had the urge to push a girl over before, but right at that moment, I had to force myself to keep my hands behind my back to stop myself doing something I would regret.

“I just had a costume malfunction, but my fairy Godmother came to my rescue.” She smiled at me.

“Oh, so who was your fairy Godmother?”

“No-one you’d know,” Kaitlyn replied which surprised me. Was she protecting Krystal? Did she know that Tiffany and Chantelle were behind the prawn cocktail incident? It was too complicated to even bear thinking about.

 

As we stood waiting for the next song, Carrie, a seventh grader came up to Kaitlyn.

“I love your outfit,” she said. “I love that green, but then, I do own three frogs,” she giggled. “Where did you get it from?”

“A really nice friend lent it to me,” replied Kaitlyn. She looked in my direction. Tiffany and Chantelle were preoccupied reapplying lipstick. SERIOUSLY! How vain can a 13 year old girl be; reapplying lipstick after a three minute song?

“Where did you get it Krystal?” Carrie asked me.

“Ah I don’t remember, Mom got it for me somewhere.”

“Well it’s really cool and I love your outfit too. It’s cute,” said the friendly girl to me.

I was wearing a purple and black crop top with high wasted black shorts and my hair was tied up high with a matching purple bandana. And with a body like Krystal’s, I looked great. Krystal on the other hand, stuck in my body looked ….….athletic, in a plain kind of way. My body was certainly fit looking, but dressed in my standard, one size fits all, everyday red short suit, I realised I looked a little boring, and certainly ‘out of fashion’. Now I understood why Tiffany raised her eyebrows at me every time. In the past I wouldn’t have even cared, but since wearing Krystal’s gorgeous costume and seeing her lavish wardrobe, I started to wish I had a little more choice in my humble closet. But Cranky Pants, Mr Gorgeous and Mrs Carmichael wouldn’t be looking at out costumes. They’d be more concerned with the moves and how well we took direction and how in time we were, blah blah blah.

 

As we took position for the next song Tiffany leaned over to me and whispered, “Ok, this is the song with the ‘you know what’ moves.”

“Huh?”

“You know, the one with all the ‘right’ moves.” She winked at me. It was such a shame someone so cute could be so ugly inside. I’m sure they wrote the song ‘Ugly heart’ just for her, even though it’s about a boy. It only took me a couple of seconds for my brain dead brain to realise what she was talking about. This was the song they had given Kaitlyn the wrong moves to.

 

I wished I could cast a teeny weeny spell on Tiffany so she would trip up on her own butt cheeks and land on her nose, breaking it in three places. But it wasn’t my style to hurt someone just because they were hurting someone else.

 

The powerful beat boomed through the speakers as all the girls jumped into action doing high kicks, jumps and punching the air. When the time came to do the bridges I glanced over to Kaitlyn to make sure she was bridging and not doing cartwheels. Relief flooded my veins when I realised she’d got it right. When we jumped up and sashayed to the left, I distinctly thought I saw Tiffany’s face turn a shade of green, but I couldn’t focus on her. I had to keep pounding the floor and keep in time to the music. I’m sure she was gobsmacked that Kaitlyn had the right moves after they had maliciously taught her the wrong ones.

 

By the time the song was over, most of the girls had beads of sweat running from their foreheads, some with smudged mascara and blotchy foundation blending into a messy palette. I was glad I hadn’t worn any, even though Krystal normally did. Cranky Pants addressed the girls in her normal warm hearted way. “Thank you girls. Call backs for the final on Friday will be on the board by the end of the day. If you don’t get in, for goodness sake, don’t have a tantrum. Dismissed.”

 

Kaitlyn looked around excitedly at me. She was obviously very happy with herself, and was reeling excitedly from the adrenalin pumping through her body. I felt the same. For a moment I forgot about the competition and the nasty element that cast an evil shadow over it. I was too caught up in the thrill and exhilaration of moving to the beat in a well-rehearsed routine. I loved cheerleading so much.

“Thanks again for talking me into it and for the outfit,” said Kaitlyn, “I had so much fun. You’re such a good friend Krystal.”

“Aw stop the mushy stuff you.”

She laughed and turned. “Hang on a minute.” She went over and talked to …well to me (Krystal in my body). I couldn’t hear what they were saying without looking like I was sticky beaking, but I felt a bit soft and gooey knowing that Kaitlyn was making an effort to go and talk to me. Krystal smiled, so whatever she said, it must have been nice. She then ran back to me and hugged me.

“Wow, you’re in a good mood.”

“I just feel great after doing that, and having you help me, and others who have been helping me.” She glanced back towards Krystal as she spoke. “I don’t care what happened to my outfit or how or what or why. I just want to move forward and make it to the team.” She leaped into the air doing the splits mid-flight. She was definitely a very flexible person. I could see why she was likely to get on the team. I just couldn’t see why the princess gang didn’t want her to.

 

After Kaitlyn left me and went to another class, I sped up quickly so I didn’t have to speak to Tiffany or Chantelle. I didn’t like lying but I wasn’t going to tell them I’d replaced the costume.

‘BUM,’ I thought, as I felt a light tap on my shoulder knowing who it would be.

“Where are you going in such a hurry speedy Gonzales? Don’t you want to debrief about the comp?”

“Sure,” I lied. That was the last thing I wanted to do. Like, it was right up there on my list of things to do alongside eating poo for breakfast. I faked a smile which was quite ok as I was speaking to the two fakest girls in the whole school.

“So do you think you’ll get in?” Tiffany grilled me.

“I’m not sure. I hope so, that’s all I can do. I hope we all get in,” I lied again. Oh I hated lying. I was making Pinocchio’s nose look miniature. I was sure my nose would grow longer than a one foot subway by the end of the day. It would probably have a big fat wart on the tip, like some of the mean witches I’ve met in the past.

“What about you guys? How do you think you went?”

“Great of course. We’ll get in no probs,” Tiffany said vainly.

“Oh I hope so,” said Chantelle. “I couldn’t stand it if Connor had all those cheerleaders around him and I wasn’t there on the away matches; one in particular. That’s why we need to make sure that that one in particular doesn’t get in.”

“Chantelle, you’re 13 not 30.”

“What’s that supposed to mean Krystal?”

“Anyway….” Tiffany butted in, flicking her long golden hair back vainly, “let’s get down to the really important business.”

“Which is?” I inquired, not really wanting to know. She laughed, a sweet sounding tinkle tainted with malice.

“Kaitlyn of course. So Plan A didn’t work, Plan B didn’t work, but luckily the gods blessed me as being a creator of genius plans, and I have a Plan C. That’s if she gets into the final of course.” She sounded smugly proud of herself.

“What do you mean by Plan C?” I enquired.

Tiffany looked at me bewildered. “To keep her out of the team of course. Is your brain still lying squished on that sidewalk?”

“Why are we doing this? She’s supposed to be our friend.” I knew as soon as I said it, I’d gone one step too far defending Kaitlyn. I didn’t want them to become suspicious and lose their trust in me in case I couldn’t find out any more detail.

“Because she stole Chantelle’s boyfriend! DER! No girl does that to a friend. What’s got into you Krystal?”

“But Chantelle left the school, went overseas. Didn’t she break up with Connor? And Kaitlyn didn’t even know Chantelle.”

“Only because they had to break up. She didn’t know her family would move back here. By that time Kaitlyn had moved in on her boyfriend. And anyway, why am I telling you this? You already know all this Krystal. I mean, god, you were the one who helped set up the plan to break up Kaitlyn and Connor. That was pure genius of you, and now you’re going all soft and pathetic.” She turned to Chantelle laughing. “Worked like a dream. Not only did she lose Connor, she gained a reputation as a two timer.”

“But she’s our friend. We shouldn’t….” I had to stop myself in time. “I guess I’m just having a guilty moment, sorry. Does it really matter if we’re all just in the group together? There’s room for four of us isn’t there?”

“Wake up to yourself girlfriend. There’s no room for boyfriend stealers and that’s final!”

I decided it was better if I just shut my mouth and not say anything.

“So,” Tiffany said as she huddled everyone in together, “I’m assuming Kaitlyn will get in the final, cos she always sucks up to Mr Gorgeous, so this is what I intend to do…..” She pulled us in closer.

 

 

20. Something Stinks

 

Tiffany continued telling us her spiteful plan. “So, my mom has these tablets she takes when she gets blocked up.”

“Blocked up? What do you mean blocked up? What gets blocked up?” Chantelle asked.

“Her bum gets blocked up and she can’t poo properly.”

“Eeewgh. I don’t wanna hear about ya mom’s poo,” Chantelle cried.

“Well you’re going to. This one time when Mom had one pill, it didn’t work properly so she took another one, but then she couldn’t really remember whether she had taken the first one or not, so she took another one just to be sure.”

“And did it work?” I said, feeling very squeamish inside and uneasy as to where this was leading.

“WELL! DID IT WORK? DID IT WORK? OMG! It worked alright, again and again and again, to the point where Mom was running back and forth to the toilet all day, and in a desperate hurry. In fact sometimes she said she only just made it.”

“Eewgh! You’re grossing me out Tiff,” Chantelle cringed.

“You’re grossed out! You should have been there! It sounded like we had a steam engine on steroids running through our bathroom.”

“So before I completely vomit everywhere, what has this got to do with anything?” Did I really want to know?

“Well, if three tablets makes that happen to my Mom, I was thinking six tablets should pretty well do the trick of stopping Kaitlyn competing in the final. Either that, or experiencing one veeeeery embarrassing moment.” On that note, she exploded into laughter and was quickly followed by Chantelle.

“Ooo, I hope she doesn’t wear white,” added Chantelle, and they both laughed even harder, proud of their cruel jibes.

“And imagine if it didn’t start until the presentation, and she was going up onto the stage and her bum exploded. OMG!” Their laughter shrieked louder with each cruel taunt. Inside, my stomach was churning, my heart was hurting, and my brain was into overdrive wondering what caused them to be so nasty. On the outside I faked a little titter to show my approval for their wicked plan but I hated myself for it. I had to prevent it from happening.

 

I racked my brain all through English class for what I could do to stop it from happening. I even began to hope that Kaitlyn wouldn’t make it into the final so she wouldn’t have to suffer at the hands of their cruelty. Then they might finally forget about their plan.

 

While I was at my wit’s end, the obvious solution dawned on me. I would be the one who volunteered to provide Kaitlyn with the deadly cocktail of pills, except I wouldn’t put the pills in. And if I really wanted to give Tiffany a taste of her own ‘medicine’, I could switch the pills into her drink, and make her poop for her life. But I couldn’t be so mean. I couldn’t do that to anyone no matter how mean they were to others.

 

My mom says this funny saying sometimes, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” I have no idea what she babbles on about because she tends to babble on and on and on. But when she explained that it meant, that you should only do something or say something to people that you would like done or said to you, it sort of made sense. How I wish the princess gang knew that old saying.

 

The group of excited cheerleaders hovered around the gymnasium after school waiting for the list to appear as promised by Cranky Pants. They were as nervous and skittish as teeny boppers waiting outside a ‘One Direction’ concert. Twenty girls would be listed and only twelve would make the final team. I had been so focused on helping solve Kaitlyn’s problem that I had forgotten to be excited about the competition. Mishy was getting excited enough for the both of us though. I overheard her say to the others that she felt so excited, she felt as if she had a bubble machine operating inside her head. And Maddy had said she couldn’t wait to see us all go on stage at the presentation dance.

 

The presentation dance party was on the Friday after the final. We were too young to enter the previous year but this year was going to be an awesome experience. It was like the biggest sporting social event of the whole year. I’d actually never been to a dance party before and I was really looking forward to it. A teeny, tiny part of me wished I could stay as Krystal so I could have the experience of dancing with Josh, and feel what it was like to have his arms around my waist. But I quickly stomped on that thought and squished it into a million pieces and threw it out my earhole never to be entertained again. What was I thinking? Not only was Josh somebody’s boyfriend, I really didn’t like boys all that much. Unless I felt like playing basketball or kicking the football, there was really no need for them to be around. But Josh seemed…………STOP THINKING LIKE THAT.

 

My thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of Tiffany and Chantelle who sauntered into the crowd as if they were royalty.

“What’s up chicky babe?” she said coolly.

“We’re still waiting for the list,” I replied.

“Oh come on! Seriously! I have to get home to do my nails and straighten my hair. I have modelling course tonight.”

“Here comes Cranky Pants,” Chantelle said as the door to the office swung open and Cranky Pants waddled out. How she was involved with the cheerleading selection beats me. Her stomach resembled several donuts stacked on top of each other, (probably the result of eating several donuts stacked on top of each other) and her legs looked like globules of jello clumped together in the shape of ice-cream cones. She wasn’t exactly the ideal cheerleading role model.

“Move back girls,” she said in a snotty tone as she attempted to move through the hungry crowd to put the list up. “And if your name is not on the list, save your emotional, pre-pubescent hormonal outbursts until I’m gone please.”

 

I think I was more nervous to look and see if Krystal’s name was there. I felt kind of responsible that I was competing for her and she for me. I glanced over the heads of the others all shoving to see their name. “Yey!” I did a little dance in my head when I saw my own name. “Thank you Krystal for getting me in,” I said to myself. Then I saw Kaitlyn’s and Mishy’s names.

 

I kept looking down the list and when I saw Tiffany and Chantelle’s names, my happy dance did a little nose dive onto the floor and went SPLAT! I kept looking and my heart started to pump harder when I couldn’t see Krystal’s name, but finally there it was, right at the very end next to Sarah’s.

 

I wanted to run over to Mishy and hug her, but she had turned to Sarah and Krystal (Krystal in my body) and was hugging them. I wanted to be a part of the group hug, but I knew if I tried, they would find it quite weird coming from Krystal. Instead Kaitlyn came over to me and hugged me cheerfully. Tiffany and Chantelle joined us and I faked excitement, but I couldn’t bring myself to hug them. It made me vomit inside to know what they were planning for Kaitlyn and yet they were sucking up to her big time, and pretending how good it would be if we all got on the team.

“Oh I’m so excited,” Tiffany said. “And to celebrate, I want to treat everyone to a smoothie tomorrow morning at CJ’s at morning break, my treat.”

“Well I don’t know,” I replied. “I don’t want to feel all full and awful and gluggy before the final.”
“Just have a small one then you fatty,” she responded, glaring into my eyes as if I’d said the wrong thing.

“Yeah, I don’t know either,” Kaitlyn added. “I don’t want a little pot belly protruding over the top of my shorts as I’m dancing.”

“Seriously Kaitlyn. You are so up yourself, it’s not funny,” she said with a laugh. “You are so skinny. One little smoothie is not going to make your belly stick out. It will probably just flow through you like a running tap.” She laughed as she looked knowingly at Chantelle and me.

Kaitlyn appeared confused but agreed to join us at 11am the next day. I desperately wanted to change back into my own body for the final, but I knew if I did, the consequence for Kaitlyn would be disastrous. I ‘had’ to be at CJ’s as Krystal so I could pretend to put the laxative pills in the drink, otherwise…..I just couldn’t bear thinking about it.

 

 

21. The Dirty Deed is Done

 

When I arrived at the school café, CJ’s, at 11 am the next day, and no-one was there, I panicked. I knew something was wrong. There was no way Tiffany would miss the chance to sabotage Kaitlyn. I raced from one end of the school to the other looking for them, not knowing whether to change back to myself or stay as Krystal. I desperately wanted to be back to normal by 2pm for the final, but time was running out, and things were looking very ominous for Kaitlyn.

 

I’d nearly given up when I found the three of them sitting out on the bleachers at the athletics track watching Connor and Josh train. Josh was supposed to be Krystal’s boyfriend, so why hadn’t they invited me to watch? I was Krystal. This was getting totally confusing.

“Hi,” Tiffany said in a sickly sweet drawn out voice. Kaitlyn barely looked up at me. In fact it felt like she sent a cold vibe directly towards me which was totally contradictory to the way she’d been. Something really weird was going on and it made me feel totally uncomfortable.

“So I went to meet you guys at CJ’s for the smoothie at 11 like we said.”

“Oh, didn’t you get the message? I was sure I sent one to everyone this morning. We met before school instead at Koolbar. I was wondering why you weren’t there.”

 

My heart sank to the bottom of my feet. I had failed. I wasn’t able to save Kaitlyn from the most vicious and vindictive act of hatred from these spiteful girls. I stared at Tiffany looking for answers. She turned away from Kaitlyn and made eye contact with me as if she was trying to tell me something. All the while Kaitlyn fiddled with her bag trying to avert her eyes away from me. Something had transpired since the day before and I guessed it probably had something to do with the troublesome Tiffany and her razor sharp tongue.

 

The school bell rang in the distance and Kaitlyn picked up her bag and took off. “Gotta go. I need to go to the bathroom before class. I’ll see you at the final.” She high fived Tiffany and Chantelle and passed her gaze quickly over me.

“Good luck Kaitlyn,” I said. “I’ll see you there.” She mumbled something unintelligible that I couldn’t understand. After she left, Tiffany grabbed me and started speaking in a hushed tone.

“I’m sorry, the plan changed and I didn’t have time to let you know.”

“But I thought we were meeting at morning break?”

“Well I checked with Mom about those pills and apparently they take about four to five hours to work, so if we’d waited till morning break, they might not have worked in time.”

“So you’ve done it?”

“Yes I did it. I did it, I did it, I really, really did it,” she chanted to a rhythm.

“How many?” My stomach felt sick.

“Well I was feeling very kind, so instead of giving her six, I only gave five.”

“Five? You gave her five poo pills?”

“You know that’s what we were going to do.”

“Yeah I know, but I just……” I trailed off as I realised it was useless talking. I felt bitterly disappointed in myself. I felt like I’d let Kaitlyn down severely. Not only was she going to miss out on getting on the cheerleading team, she was probably going to experience the most embarrassing moment of her life. And I had no way of helping her. I just had to let nature take its course and see what happened. Maybe the pills wouldn’t work, or maybe Kaitlyn didn’t drink the whole smoothie because it might have tasted funny.

“You know what Kaitlyn said?” laughed Chantelle. “She said it was the best smoothie she’d ever tasted.” I sighed.

“And did she say anything about me?” I quizzed, trying to find out why she was giving me the silent treatment. “Why was she looking at me funny?” Tiffany looked quickly at Chantelle, as if to silence her.

“Ah, no idea, I don’t think she said anything about you. Anyway lets go get this afternoon over with so we can rip it up at the final. I so can’t wait for tonight. I think Craig Cameron is going to ask me to dance with him. He is so hot and he’s two years older than me. He’s the captain of the football team in case you didn’t know.”

“What makes you think he’s going to ask you?”

“I’ve caught him checking me out more than once or twice, and he asked me if I was going to the presentation. When I told him I was, he said ‘well I guess I’ll see you there.’ A girl knows these things.”

“Hasn’t he got a girlfriend in tenth grade.”

“Had a girlfriend,” she giggled. “Anyway let’s go.”

“Ok. Well I’ll see you in class. There’s something I have to do first,” I said.

“What do you have to do?”

“Oh, nothing important.” There was nothing left I could do, so I resolved to change back into my own underwear again and become lovely little Lily, not cunning, conniving Krystal. I know people say, ‘there’s no place like your own home’, well I say, ‘there’s no place like your own body’.

 

I waited until the second bell went so that most of the kids were tucked away safely in their classes. I raced into the toilet and pulled out a purse I’d been carrying around, waiting for the right time. It contained a lock of my own hair, and a scraping of my skin which probably contained numerous traces of fungus or bacteria by now. That didn’t matter as long as my genetic DNA was there.

 

I closed myself in a cubicle, took out the lock of hair and skin, and chanted with my eyes closed, sitting on a toilet. Before I began the spell I prayed that no-one would come into the toilet block. If they did they might just run out of there hysterically screaming.

 

Heavens above and far below

See the other and dare to go

Take the mind from one another

Go back to where there was the other

Home! Lilymandra home!

Fulfil the deed and go alone”

 

I kept my eyes closed tight and began to feel the world spinning out of control. My eyes swivelled in the back of my head and I felt a torrent of waves rush through my brain like a tornado, enveloping my whole spirit. When it was over, I opened my eyes slowly, sheepishly looking around to see if the reverse spell had worked.

 

 

22. Home Sweet Home

 

“Lily! Are you alright. Lily speak to me.” Mrs Snezel was shaking me by the shoulders. “Do you need to go to the sick bay Lily?”

“No, no I’m fine, couldn’t be better actually,” I said after hearing those wonderful words ‘Lily’. I was home again. Home in my beautiful body and spirit. I looked down. Well it was ok anyway, minus the two bumps in front which I had got used to. Maybe I didn’t have the long tanned legs like Krystal, but I was happy with just being me, because……..it was ME! Squeeeee!

“I wonder if I might just go outside and get a drink and some fresh air for a moment though?” I asked the teacher. I needed to see if Krystal made it back to her body ok.

“Certainly, do you want to take someone with you?”

“No, I’ll be fine.” I left the room slowly but then raced off to the eighth grade area.

 

I peered in through an open window, standing hidden behind a bush. Scanning the room quickly, I could find no sign of Krystal. But then, as I continued to watch, the classroom door opened quietly and I saw her walk in, dazed and bewildered. Half of the class started to snigger quietly when they looked at Krystal. Her normally immaculate hair was teased up resembling a bird’s nest, and her perfect makeup was smeared across her face like a bird had pooped on it.

“Krystal! Why are you late?” the teacher quizzed.

Krystal looked up vaguely. “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“I’m really not sure. I don’t know where I’ve been.”

The class burst out laughing. I felt a teeny bit sorry for Krystal. Her mind would probably be a blank page for a while, which people might misinterpret as dumbness. She wouldn’t remember a thing of where she’d been or who she’d been. That was the bonus about being the witch and not the mortal. We get to remember!

“Krystal please sit down.”

“Where?”

“In an empty chair, anywhere,” the teacher replied starting to lose her patience.

 

I began to feel guilty that I had caused her to become a little bit dumber than normal. It was my fault that she was acting like a turkey with a lobotomy, but I was sure she would return to normal soon enough, which was more like a turkey with a pea brain.

 

I went back to my class and returned to normal activity, though the afternoon was worse than experiencing an agonizing death in a slaughter chamber as Mrs Snezel stalked and taunted us with boring algebra equations and long division. The whole time I could think of nothing but the final and Kaitlyn. This time however, I would be competing in my own body.

 

The problem was, I had more serious things to think about than making it to the team. Looking into Krystal’s classroom, I realised that Kaitlyn wasn’t there either. I began to get really worried about her. I decided that I would totally give up my chance of getting onto the team if it meant I could save Kaitlyn. But how could I make that happen? That was the question.

 

 

23. Detonated Disaster

 

Nearly half the school was seated in the gymnasium to watch the final. That’s how awesome it was. I don’t think I’d ever competed in front of so many people including students, teachers and parents. I not only had butterflies in my stomach, I had worms, larvae, cocoons and a whole atrium full of the jittery insect inside. I had no idea how I would compete feeling like that. My mom always said if I ever got nervous about being in front of a big crowd, to take a deep breath and imagine everyone was naked. EEWGH GROSS MOM! My Mom is so weird at times. I wouldn’t dare imagine the eighth graders in the nude. That would probably make me puke all over the stage like the snobby Bella’s singer does in the movie ‘Pitch Perfect’.

 

We only had ten minutes to get ready backstage before we were on. A lot of the girls were applying makeup, heavily transforming their naturally young complexions to striking vamp-like twenty year olds. I just didn’t get it. Cranky pants and Mr Gorgeous wouldn’t be looking at the faces of 12 and 13 year olds and judging whether they’d pass beauty school or if they’d be good candidates for Miss America. They would be looking at our cheerleading skills. I preferred to spend the time stretching and warming up. And yes, I did have my trademark trusty red outfit on with the big L, and I loved it.

 

I looked around for Kaitlyn, but couldn’t see her anywhere. I started to panic. Mishy and Sarah bubbled excitedly and didn’t seem to care when I mentioned that Kaitlyn hadn’t appeared.

“She’ll be here in a minute,” Mishy said. “Do I need any more blush? What about lipstick? Is my lipstick dark enough?”

“Mishy, you would look gorgeous even if you had a bag over your head. And even if you looked like Fiona from Shrek, it wouldn’t matter. That’s not what they’re looking at.”

“I know, but I still want to look my best.”

As I laughed, I noticed the end cubicle open and Kaitlyn walked out holding her stomach. She looked pale with a greenish tinge around her face. She did not look good at all and I suspected Tiffany’s plan had worked. I felt an overwhelming pang of sadness that she had to go through this because of the sheer cruelty of others.

 

I looked over towards the mirror where Tiffany and Chantelle were applying their third layer of foundation and putting false eyelashes on. MAN! They were going to need a chisel to get that stuff off. Tiffany looked around when Kaitlyn walked out, and whispered something to Chantelle. Krystal didn’t seem to notice as she wasn’t standing next to the other princesses.

“Are you ok?” I enquired as she made her way over to the other princesses. “You don’t look so hot.”

“I know. I kind of do feel really bad. I don’t know whether I ate something off or whether I’ve got a bit of a tummy bug.”

“Where have you been? We’ve been absolutely worried about you,” Tiffany said as she edged her way in.

“I just feel a bit grumbly in the tummy that’s all,” Kaitlyn replied trying to laugh. “I’ve probably just got butterflies.”

“I know. Don’t tell me about it. I’m sure my butterflies have laid eggs I’m so nervous.” Tiffany laughed looking sideways at Chantelle. I’m sure I saw her wink at her as well.

“Two minutes ladies,” Mrs Carmichael had stuck her nose around the corner. There was a mad panic as all the girls rushed to do last minute adjustments to their makeup .

“Oh no!” Kaitlyn exclaimed in a panic as she dashed off to a toilet cubicle again. What a cruel joke they had played. How I wished I could tell her the truth.

 

The girls started to file out to wait in the wings to be introduced to the restless audience. Cranky pants put on her posh voice and addressed the crowd. Most of them wouldn’t be listening to a word she said anyway. We had to stand according to where she placed us. I looked around for Kaitlyn as Cranky started to call out the names to enter the stage.

After several names I heard Kaitlyn’s called out. When Kaitlyn didn’t appear, Cranky Pants gave one of her perfectly cranky looks demonstrating the fact that she was majorly unimpressed. I wanted to race back to the girl’s change rooms to find Kaitlyn but she appeared just as my name was called out. Her face had changed from pale white with green tinges to full on Kermit the frog green.

“Are you ok?” I whispered as she joined the group.

“No I am not! I think I need to go again.” She was nearly in tears.

“What’s the problem?”

Before she got to answer, Cranky pants had noticed she was in the wings and called her on again, just as I walked out, so she was positioned right next to me on stage.

 

When we were all on and in our positions ready to ‘bring it on’ Mr Gordon made one final speech and then the music pumped out as we moved from our beginning poses energetically into the well-rehearsed routine. I tried to concentrate hard on my moves while keeping an eye on Kaitlyn to make sure she was ok. She seemed to be turning greener and greener with every jolt of her body. Her face, which was usually beaming and full of lively animation resembled a squashed up prune, wrinkled in every corner. She didn’t look happy, but she was still doing the moves perfectly.

 

A minute into the routine we all jumped high into the air, landing then moving quickly into the splits. Then we turned quickly to the side to go into cartwheels. That’s when I noticed the shocking horror of what was about to happen. At first I saw the terror in Kaitlyn’s eyes and then I realised why. I was helpless to help her. There was nothing I could do to save her from the biggest embarrassment of her life.

 

I closed my eyes tight to try and execute a spell to prevent the catastrophe from unfolding. I knew my concentration on the spell was impeded by my current activity, and I knew it would also hinder my ability to perform competently and I probably wouldn’t be chosen on the team. But I couldn’t let the unimaginable happen to Kaitlyn. I repeated the chant quickly in my head as I did a cartwheel.

 

Stop this nonsense

Stop this cruelty

Stop this harshness

That escapes so insecurely”

 

I looked at Kaitlyn when we landed but it was bigger than before, and I could see her face tighten up in pain as she grabbed her stomach. The spell wasn’t working quick enough. There was nothing left that I could do to save her. The seconds were passing by but it felt like an eternity had passed. I felt like my body was moving out of time to the music in slow motion knowing that an explosion was about to happen. The detonator was Kaitlyn, the target was Kaitlyn and Kaitlyn would be the one destroyed.

 

I saw the little patch of brown spreading like a noxious vine, escaping through the white shorts at a rapid speed. I looked around to see if the others had witnessed the fatality, but they were all preoccupied with their routine. My heart sunk for Kaitlyn. Why didn’t she just run off the stage? It might mean disqualification but at least it would mean she could save herself from being totally humiliated, never to be able to show her face at school again.

I had failed my duty. I couldn’t save her in that split second that was left. Or could I?

 

 

24. Little White Lies

 

Just when I thought it was ‘all over red rover’ (I have no idea who red rover is), I had a brain wave of immensely intelligent proportions. “Pssst Kaitlyn,” I said under my breath as I leapt into the air, “You need to get off stage pronto. Go get some ice. Hurry! Get out of here.” As she looked at me with a mixture of confusion and total fear, I commanded (as much as you can in a whisper), “Just do it,” as I fell spectacularly, in an academy award winning face plant onto the ground. My chances of getting into the cheer leading team had just been squashed in the same manner an ant would face walking into an elephant parade. But there was still hope that Kaitlyn’s dignity might have been saved. Hopefully she would fix her smelly little problem when she ran off to get the ice.

 

The other girls started to slow down to witness my catastrophe but Cranky Pants yelled from the side to keep going as the audience emitted the predictable oooo’s and ahhhh’s. Mr Gorgeous dragged me out of the way, trying to dodge the flying legs, arms and pom poms around us. His big, strong biceps encased my shoulders and with one full scoop I was in the wings with my legs elevated.

“Get some ice,” Gorgeous ordered to a student helping on the sides.

“No,” I butted in quickly, “Kaitlyn has already gone to get some I think.”

“What? She’s supposed to be out there dancing.”

“I know, but she’s so sweet and selfless, she put my needs before herself.”

Mr Gorgeous shook his head bewildered. “Well what’s taking her so long?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well your ankle doesn’t look swollen or displaced.”

“Funny about that,” I said to myself.

“Where is it sore?”

“Ah just here on the outside.”

“Does it hurt to touch?”

“Just a little,” I lied.

“How did it happen?”

“I’m not sure, it just sort of gave way from beneath me.”

“Did you stretch before you came on?”

“Yes of course Mr Gorge… Gordon sir.”

“Is your Mother in the audience?”

“No, she had to work.”

“Well I’m not sure. It doesn’t look too bad to me, but I’d better ring an ambulance just to be sure.”

“NO! I mean, no that’s not necessary.”
“Where is she with that ice? She must be waiting for some water to freeze. What sort of PE teacher am I if I don’t apply RICE to my injured students immediately?”

“Rice? No thanks, I’m not hungry,” I laughed.

“No silly. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.” He ruffled my hair.

“Trust me Mr Gordon, you’re doing more than is necessary for the nature of this injury.”

“M’mm, well, I’m not so sure about that. I’ll get Miss Cranski for a second opinion when the girls are finished.”

 

As I was about to protest, the music came to a sudden halt and the girls held their final pose with the three tiniest (including Mishy) standing on the shoulders of the stronger ones. Mishy had a good chance of getting in because she was tiny. As for me and Kaitlyn, I was pretty confident that we’d be head of the cheer squad not the cheer leaders. I felt gutted. I felt like someone had ripped my intestines through my belly button, stretched them out, tied them in knots and stuck them back in again, all mixed up.

 

Kaitlyn finally arrived with the ice and gave it to Mr Gorgeous. Funnily enough she had made time to change into her clothes.

“Thank you Kaitlyn, that was very quick thinking and thoughtful of you. Although I must say, you weren’t exactly ‘quick’.”

“Sorry Sir. I needed to go to the bathroom. I have a really upset stomach.” She blushed as she said it, looking sheepishly at me. “Could I please be excused to go to the sick bay now that the final is over?”

“You do look a bit green around the gills. Probably just nerves, but off you go.”

“I hope you’re ok Lily, and thanks for ….you know,” Kaitlyn said looking gratefully into my eyes. She bent down and whispered, “You’re the kindest friend anyone could ever wish for,” and she raced off as she had done so often that day.

 

After the song was finished, Mr Gorgeous carried me up to the sick bay where I could get some crutches. Kaitlyn wasn’t there so I assumed she’d gone home. I wondered if she would turn up at the presentation dance; if she would be well enough. I felt a pang of sadness for us both, imagining the presentation of names, knowing that we had no chance of getting in after all the hard work we’d done. And it was all because of the mean antics of the princess gang.

 

Mom always says in her weird wisdom, “Life is full of disappointments, you just have to pick yourself up, learn from it and get on with it.” Sometimes life felt really cruel and so unfair, but my crazy Ma also told me that “life indeed could be cruel and unfair, and we could either sink or swim, we could let it trample us or get up and run ahead.” I have no idea where she comes up with these philosophical thoughts but I always choose to get on with life. Not because I like swimming, but because it’s more fun that way.

 

So what! I didn’t make it to the team, but there was always cheer leading classes and there was always next year. It was too bad that Kaitlyn didn’t make it either, but at least she still had her dignity intact. And it was too bad we wouldn’t be going on stage at the presentation, but at least we had the dance to go to. And there was a small part of me, a teeny, weeny part that lived way down at the bottom of my untouched heart that was secretly hoping to see one particular boy there. I knew there was no chance of dancing with him because I wasn’t Krystal anymore, but I still couldn’t wait!

 

 

25. It’s a Miracle

 

Finally after an exhausting week of practicing, rehearsing, competing, switching, lying and worrying, it was finally time for the presentation dance. I was running late because Mishy kept face timing me like usual. Mom picked her up and we met the others there.

 

When we arrived at her house, I didn’t recognise her as she skipped down the drive way. She looked like an eighteen year old wearing a baby blue halter neck dress with matching chunky heels. Her golden brown hair left out flowing, glistened in the sun as she jumped gracefully into the car. Maddy and Sarah both looked equally gorgeous in bright red, slim line dresses standing out the front of the hall.

 

As we walked into the gymnasium, the atmosphere was electrifying, with twinkling lights scattering the roof and lazer beams flashing across the room. Shimmering snowflakes floated around and fountains of light sprayed up from the ground illuminating the walls spectacularly.

 

Tiffany was almost unrecognisable with the amount of makeup plastered over her face. She was huddled in a group of adoring fans all wearing enough makeup to paint the faces of the whole Miss American beauty pageant ten times over. They looked like prom queen barbies escaped from the toy shop. Their eyes darted around the room checking out the scene and gossiping about what they saw. Kaitlyn was nowhere to be seen.

“Come on let’s dance,” Mishy said as she dragged us onto the floor when the song “Ugly Heart” came on.

“But I’m not sure about my ankle,” I lied.

“Come on, you’ll be ok, you’re walking fine now.” I looked around before deciding whether to dance, and to my surprise I saw Kaitlyn walking through the door alone. She looked anxious so I went over to meet her. My ‘know all’ mom always said to try and make people feel comfortable if they were alone, because you wouldn’t want to be in the same position yourself. And she was right of course.

“Hi Kaitlyn. How are you feeling?”

“OK. I actually feel a lot better thanks, and I’m not running back and forth to the bathroom anymore,” she giggled nervously. “What about you? How is your ankle?”

“Oh it’s fine. It’s a miracle!” I said remembering I should have been trying to fake a slight limp. “Amazing what RICE can do in a couple of hours.” But I think Kaitlyn could see right through my story, though she didn’t say. She knew why I tumbled spectacularly to the floor. “Do you want to come and dance with us Kaitlyn?”

“Sure, maybe in a moment. I just want to go and say hi and wish Tiff good luck.”

 

Kaitlyn went over to the closed group and I went and found the others on the dance floor. I hobbled a bit, but I really wanted to have a good time dancing so I faked a miraculous improvement.

As I danced freely, a few people commented about it and I just kept saying, “It’s a miracle,” and “I think the fall looked a lot worse than what it really was.” I may have been going to miss out on the cheerleading team, but there was no way I was going to miss out on having a great time at one of the most awesome dancing events of the year.

 

“Ugly Heart” changed into “Break Free” by Ariana Grande and we danced wildly. Kaitlyn joined us when Katy Perry’s “Roar” came on. I looked at her face which seemed to be shrouded in sadness again. Perhaps she was feeling sick again, or perhaps something happened with Tiffany. The poor girl had done nothing to anyone yet she had been subjected to so much torture by that girl.

 

 

I leaned over as we danced and asked if she was ok. She looked at me blankly, her face hard to read. I thought I saw her mouth twitch as though she was holding back tears.

“Can we talk?” she asked as my favourite song came on.

“Sure, let’s go outside.” We’d only just got outside the gym when Kaitlyn started sobbing. Droplets of tears became waterfalls as the tears became uncontrollable, blemishing her dress.

“What’s happened Kaitlyn? Ten minutes ago you were happy.”

“I just don’t know what I’ve done wrong. I feel like Krystal and Tiffany don’t like me anymore, and I just don’t know what I’ve done to make them feel that way. I hate myself. There must be something really terrible about me to make them be like that.”

“NO! Don’t ever think that about yourself. Whatever it is, it’s their problem. It’s the way they think, that is the problem. Don’t ever let meanness and bullying make you think it’s about you. Because it’s actually about them.”

“I was walking over to them and Connor came up to me. He asked if he could talk to me later. I said that as long as Chantelle was fine about it, it would be ok. As he walked away he said, ‘By the way, you look gorgeous.’ I didn’t know what to say.” Kaitlyn blushed as she continued. “When I went and said hi to the others, they pretty much turned their backs on me. I asked them if they wanted to come and dance with us, but they didn’t answer. They just kind of laughed. As I was walking away, Chantelle muttered something, but I’m sure I heard ‘boyfriend stealer’. I mean, I was only talking to Connor for ten seconds. I would never try to get him back. He’s Chantelle’s boyfriend now. I wouldn’t do that!” She started to ramble uncontrollably. “And he was the one that came up to me, I didn’t go to him. I wish he hadn’t now. I wish I hadn’t come here. I wish I didn’t even try and go for the team. I just wish….I wish I was dead! I’m going to go home.”

“Kaitlyn stop! Get a grip of yourself. These things that keep happening to you are not your fault. Have a think about it. Don’t you think it’s a little strange that they are all related to Tiffany, and Krystal and Chantelle somehow?”

“But why? Why would they want to hurt me? I must have done something to deserve it.”

“I don’t know why. But I do know, you have NOT done anything. Don’t ever let yourself think that.” I didn’t know why they were treating her so badly but I could only guess; jealousy, Connor, meanness, spitefulness, jealousy, jealousy, jealousy. Who knew why girls like the princess gang did the things they did? But it infuriated me. There was only one thing I hated more than seeing someone being treated unfairly and that was seeing someone treat someone unfairly, if that makes sense.

 

Bottled up fury started to escape from somewhere deep inside me. I was so enraged to think that I was helpless to prevent this sort of bullying. I could help Kaitlyn deal with the behavior. I could listen to her and be a friend to her, but with all the powers I had within my being, I was powerless to change the vicious behaviors of those around me. But maybe there was something I could do just to bring out the truth a little.

 

 

26. Truth and Lies

 

“Kaitlyn, you are a really nice girl. If Krystal and Tiffany are making you unhappy all the time, then move on from them. There are plenty of girls who would love to hang out with you.”

“Like who?”

“Like me. Like Mishy, Maddy and Sarah for starters. And I see you hang around with Isabelle a bit. And Carrie loves you.”
“Sure! You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”

“I’M NOT! It would be cool to have you hang around us sometimes, hek, all the time if you wanted.”

“It would be weird seeing Tiffany and ignoring her.”

“No-one says you have to ignore her. Be pleasant, be polite, but don’t put yourself in a situation where you are going to get hurt. Friends are supposed to be trustworthy. You need to know that someone is going to be your friend 24/7. Not ‘on’ one minute, ‘off’ the next.”

 

Our conversation was interrupted by Mr Gorgeous’ voice over the microphone. “Last two dances before the presentation.”

My heart became all jittery, nervous for Mishy and Sarah. “Come on, let’s go have a dance. It will cheer you up.”

“OK.” And with a smile, Kaitlyn gave me a quick hug. By trying to save her from her phony friends, I think I’d made a real friend in the process. I know she had.

 

She followed me through the entrance passed the princess gang who were still surrounded by their boyfriends and other boys. Connor glanced around as we walked past and I’m sure his eyes locked with Kaitlyn’s. I couldn’t help but notice Josh in a cute black shirt and tight denim jeans that made his butt look….well, cute. OMG! I was shocked at myself for even looking in that region nevertheless thinking it was cute. What was happening to me? I quickly turned and looked the other way when he glanced over.

 

I spotted Mishy dancing with Sarah and just as I headed in that direction, I felt an almighty thud in the back of my legs knocking me off balance. Luckily for me, I retained my composure and didn’t fall over, but Kaitlyn wasn’t so lucky. Something or ‘someone’ had caused Kaitlyn to trip up and she fell, sprawling to the floor, knocking my legs along the way and ripping her gorgeous dress up the sides.

 

The darkness of the gym didn’t hide the tears welling up in her eyes. I tried to help her up from behind. “Don’t let them see it Kaitlyn. Don’t let them get to you. Stand up, dust yourself off and let’s get on the dance floor as quick as we can.” There was a light tap on my shoulder as Connor bent over to help Kaitlyn.

“Need a hand?” he said looking into her terrified eyes.

Kaitlyn looked up and smiled at him. “No I’m ok. Just a big clumsy klutz I am. But thanks anyway,” she said as she got up on her own. “Come on Lily, let’s dance.”

“Sure,” I said, relieved Kaitlyn hadn’t fallen apart.

 

I looked around to see what had happened, although I already had my suspicions. The princess gang were all giggling and whispering secretly to each other, looking in our direction. My blood began to boil and the fury contained within me erupted like molten lava escaping from a furious volcano. I had been calm and composed for long enough. It was time to get wicked!

“I’ll catch up to you Kaitlyn. Maddy is over there on the dance floor. I’ll be there in a minute.” I turned around quickly and walked straight up to Tiffany. I looked straight into her evil eyes, psyching myself up to do the unthinkable. As I confronted her, I put my hands behind my back to restrain then from bopping her on the nose.

“Hi Tiffany,” I said sweetly. “I just wanted to wish you good luck for the announcement of the team.”

“Oh!” She replied, taken aback. I think she thought I was going to accuse her of tripping up Kaitlyn.

“Thanks. Same to you.” She glanced at Chantelle and Krystal.

I stared at her hair. “EEWGH! You have something in your hair,” I said to her. “I think it’s a green boogie,” and before she had a chance to protest, I reached up and grabbed the invisible piece of nasal phlegm and a wad of hair as well.

“OW! What did you do that for? You b…”

“TIFFANY! You can’t go round looking that gorgeous with snot dripping out of your hair. How would you look going up on stage with boogies hanging off your hair? No thanks needed. It was my pleasure to help.” And I left, leaving Tiffany and her groupies speechless. Her jaw was dragging on the ground, she’d dropped it so low. I hoped a big dirty fly might zip in and set up camp in there.

 

I escaped into the girl’s bathroom and found an empty cubicle. Holding onto the hair in front of me, I began yet another chant; this time my target was Tiffany. When I was finished with her, she would say ‘the truth, nothing but the truth, the whole truth, so help me Tiffany!’

 

Truth and lies, truth and lies

Beholder not to lie

Truth be told, truth be told

Over and over again,

Truth be told, by one so bold

Until the very end.”

 

I repeated the chant until I felt a funny sensation filter throughout my body. I did a quick pee since I was already in the bathroom, went out onto the dance floor and waited for it to happen.

I positioned myself where I could get a good view of Tiffany while I danced. Krystal had just dragged Josh onto the dance floor reluctantly. He still looked cute even though he was a hopeless dancer. For a fleeting moment I wished it was me dancing with him as I remembered his hand lightly touching my skin and his lips sneaking up on mine that day. I kicked myself and reminded myself that he was Krystal’s boyfriend.

 

Tiffany joined them for the last dance which was “Get the party started” by Pink, and I thought that would be the perfect time to get things going. “Let’s get this party started!” I said to myself, laughing. I sauntered over to them coolly, jiving to the song, my confidence building with every step. I was on a mission.

“Hey guys,” I said cheerily. “So who do you think is going to get on the team?”

Tiffany sniggered, “Well obviously not you, the way you face planted yourself. Like, what new move was that, dork?” She laughed hysterically. “You looked like a total vegetable out there.” Her face looked completely stunned as the cruel words rolled off her tongue rapidly. She looked over at Krystal for back up.

“Well yeah, I guess with your fall, you might be disqualified,” Krystal added, looking at her friend curiously.

“TOTALLY!” I agreed. “I am such a clumsy klutz. Total dork, that’s me. I’d probably drop the person standing on my shoulders if I got on the team.” I laughed and to my surprise Josh was having a little chuckle with me. “But wasn’t it nice of Kaitlyn to run out of the routine to get some ice for me. She risked her place on the team just to help me out. Wow, that’s so thoughtful.”

“She didn’t run off to help you. She was going to poop her pants probably,” Tiffany blurted.

“TIFFANY!” Krystal nudged her friend. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Tiffany looked stunned as the truth kept spilling forth out of her over made lips.

“Yes I do know what I’m talking about, and so do you Krystal. We saw that brown bit of poop escaping out of her white shorts. Not that it was her fault. She was given a rather large overdose of pooping pills,” she laughed nervously.

“WHAT?” Josh scrunched up his face despairingly. “That is gross.”

“I know right. She is so gross that girl,” chimed Tiffany, “she should wear a diaper if she’s not toilet trained.”

“No, I mean no-one would do that sort of thing, it’s so gross,” he snapped back quickly, looking appalled.

“Oh yes they would.”

“Who would be so cruel to do something like that?” he asked.

“We did.” Tiffany clasped her hand quickly to her mouth in horror but it was too late. Josh looked over at me and I faked a look of confusion and disgust.

“She’s your friend Tiffany!” he said.

“Not anymore.”

“Why? What has she ever done to you?”

“She stole my best friend’s boyfriend.”

Josh was shaking his head. “Did you know about this Krystal?”

Krystal looked from Josh to Tiffany. “Of course not. She’s out of her tree. She’s on another planet.”

“Yes you did Krystal! Don’t lie. You even suggested the plan to get Connor to drop Kaitlyn,” Tiffany revealed.

“What plan?” Josh was getting more and more agitated as the story unfolded. “Connor only dropped Kaitlyn because she two timed him didn’t he? Well did she?”

Tiffany burst out laughing. “As if she’d two time Connor with that ugly creep. Even she could do better than that. It was all a setup. Kaitlyn’s so pure and innocent, she wouldn’t know how to two-time anyone.” Tiffany was so shocked with what she was saying.

“MAN! So you mean……?” He paused. “I gotta go.”

“No need to tell anyone though. It’s just our secret Joshie babes,” Tiffany called out lightly. She panicked and turned to Krystal. “What am I doing? No-one is supposed to know this stuff. What did I tell Josh for?”

“I KNOW RIGHT! What ‘are’ you doing?” exclaimed Krystal. “And DON’T call Josh, Joshie. Or babes!” They both looked at me embarrassed. “It’s really not what it seems.”

“Yes it is,” piped in Tiffany.

“Ok girls, no explanations needed, I think I’ll just go now,” I said to them smiling. My job was done. I could leave satisfied.

“Wait!” Tiffany looked worried. “You’re not going to tell anyone are you?”

“I think you’ll do a pretty good job of that yourself Tiffany. Have a good night.”

Her face went white as I left, but I overheard her saying to Krystal to hit her if she went to say anything stupid.

 

I couldn’t see the others on the dance floor so I went outside to see if I could find them. They weren’t there but I noticed Josh talking to Connor. I suspected he was filling him in on the latest gossip. I turned to go back inside but felt a light touch on my shoulder. I turned around to see the cutest eyes looking at me intently.

“Lily, do you know what’s going on in there; what’s been happening?”

“Ah well, I’m not really sure Josh. I don’t like to stir up trouble about other people.” Oh I could be so wicked. Inside I was really dying to blurt it out and tell him what a mean girlfriend he had. “Why don’t you ask Krystal herself?”

“No, she’s been acting really weird lately. A couple of weeks ago I nearly dumped her because she was so bossy, but this past week, she’s been like …like really sweet! And now this. I mean, this is totally unbelievable if Tiffany and Krystal brainstormed an idea like that. NO-ONE could be that cruel. And Connor is gobsmacked that they faked the two timing thing. He’s fuming with Chantelle. I don’t even think he likes Chantelle that much. She hounds him all the time.”

“You told him about that?”

“Of course I did. He’s a mate and he’s always liked Kaitlyn a lot ever since she moved to this school. He was crushed when he thought she’d done the dirty on him.”

I could have stayed and listened to Josh all night. He was such a nice guy. I would have been very happy to let him use my shoulder to have a cry on about his nasty girlfriend, but the music in the gym stopped and Mr Gorgeous came on the microphone again announcing the start of the presentation. In the background, the song “Cheerleader” by Omi played and Mr Gorgeous did an animated move to the line “ I think I found myself a cheerleader. She is always right there”, and he lip-synced the words hilariously.

 

Everyone stopped dancing and ran to the front of the stage, laughing at Mr Gorgeous doing his funky manoeuvres, putting his hands to his heart and wiggling his hips. People that were hanging about outside filtered in quickly. Nervous girls giggled in anticipation and admiring jocks jostled their way to the front to applaud the winners.

“I’ve got my fingers and legs and toes and everything crossed for you and Sarah, Mishy,” I said as she grabbed my arm and dragged me inside.

“Come on, let’s get closer,” she said. “We don’t want to miss anything.”

 

I felt like my body had been split into three zones of emotion. Part of me was really nervous for Mishy and Sarah, part of me was still quite sad that I’d missed out, and the other unfamiliar part of me was making my heart beat uncontrollably as I watched Josh casually saunter into the gym.

“Well this year we have twelve lovely, young ladies who have made the cheerleading team, due, not only to their athletic competence and dance skills, but also their ability to take direction, learn new moves, focus and be dedicated, as well as their previous reputation and their ability to be well disciplined.” He rambled on about team work and professionalism, but no-one was really listening.

“So the winners are……….. would you like me to keep rambling or would you like to know who they are?” Mr Gordon laughed at his own sick joke as the crowd roared and booed at him.

“They are, in no particular order I might add; they are as follows…….Drum roll please Steven.” Steven, a seventh grade music student did a drum roll from the side of the stage, as was the tradition, and my heart started to race wildly again. And it wasn’t because Mr Gorgeous was announcing the team either.

 

 

27. The Truth Hurts

 

I was standing up near the front with the others when I heard a familiar voice whisper to me, “Good Luck.” I turned around to see Josh again. He’d followed me to the front.

“Oh I think I have as much hope of getting in as you do. You saw my spectacular pirouette onto my nose with a nice right angle ankle twist.” He laughed at me.

“Hey, are you saying I can’t do the splits and leap into the air like a flying swan?”

“More like a flying rooster,” I replied cheekily.

He laughed again. He had such a cute laugh. In fact he had cute eyes, cute dimples, and dare I say it again, a really cute bum. Everything about this guy was cute.

“You’re really funny you know,” he said quietly.

“My friends tell me I have a wicked sense of humor.” We both glanced up towards Mr Gordon who continued to call out the names. He was half way through when the dreaded sound came out of his mouth…. “Tiffany Jacobs, Chantelle Richards.” It was a double whammy disaster. He continued and then finally Mishy’s name was called out followed closely by Sarah’s. We all squealed with delight. Finally there was one more name to be called out. Krystal hadn’t been called so I assumed it was going to be her.

 

Miss Cranky Pants took the microphone. “We have one special team position to give this year, something we have never done before. This goes to a team member who not only has all the necessary attributes to make a fine cheerleader on our team, she also has one vital characteristic that any aspiring sportswoman should aim for; that is ‘selflessness’; being part of a team, not just an individual looking out for herself. Normally if you don’t complete the routine for any reason, it is instant disqualification, but today this girl gave up her chances of being in the team to help a fellow team member. Please come and take your place on stage, Kaitlyn Ramsay.”

“And there you have the final team for the year of 2015,” Mrs Carmichael added. The crowd roared, wolf whistles echoed and there was a lot of yahooing coming from the boys, as the music of Omi with pumped up volume boomed through the speakers, “I think I found myself a cheerleader” again, and then faded just as quickly when Mr Gorgeous took the mike again.

“Our final announcement will be for the honourable position of team captain and that goes to Miss Tiffany Jacobs for her experience and extensive training knowledge.” More wolf whistles were heard as Tiffany vainly walked towards Mr Gorgeous to shake his hand.

 

Krystal, who was now standing next to Josh, was fuming that she didn’t get in, and was taking it out on him, giving him an irate earful. I felt sorry for her but I was glad we had been back in our own bodies for the final, so I didn’t have to feel guilty that she didn’t get in. Apparently the previous year she had missed a lot of training sessions.

 

“Congratulations Tiffany,” Mr Gordon said as he shook her hand. “How do you feel about winning this leadership role?”

“Well I feel great,” she said flicking back her hair, “but of course it didn’t come as a surprise. Who else on this team would be worth choosing?” Again she gasped in horror as her truthful thoughts spilled out into the world. “What I do find surprising though, is the strange choice in some of the team members. I am, like, totally gobsmacked that my friend Krystal didn’t get in, while some girls who are nowhere near as good as her got in. I find that, like, really hard to believe.”

“Ahhh thankyou Tiffany,” Mr Gorgeous interrupted, looking rather taken aback. Little sniggers could be heard from the audience trying to make sense of her words.

“So do you think you have an awesome team this year?” he continued.

“Well, if there were 12 cheerleaders just like me, it would be totally awesome,” she laughed, “but ah, like NO. We don’t really have an awesome team. Some are ok but some are kind of a little embarrassing. Seriously how did you teachers pick this team?” Her eyes opened wide as she spoke, mortified at her brutal honesty.

“Aghhh…..” Mr Gorgeous was gobsmacked himself, lost for words. “Ah, well, that’s an interesting question Tiffany. One I should probably answer.” He looked around at the other teachers for support. “They were picked because of their talent, ahh………. their ability, dedication and ……. and………” He was floundering, not knowing how to answer the inappropriate question. “And then of course Kaitlyn was picked because of her selfless act of support when she rushed off to help. That was pretty special don’t you agree?”

 

Tiffany laughed hysterically in front of the whole gymnasium. “Selfless act of charity? Oh that’s a laugh. I’ve never heard of a bigger load of crap. And speaking of crap, she wasn’t rushing off to help anyone, she was rushing off to poop….. Ah I didn’t mean to say that….. Yes I did. I did mean it. And I should know because I gave her pooping pills….I did not!……Yes I did….No I didn’t. Ahhhhh.” Tiffany’s eyes bulged out of her head. Her normally pretty face grew a hot crimson in color and her eyebrows reached for the sky in an expression of horror. Her mouth was out of control and she was completely helpless to stop the incriminations that vilely spewed forth out of her mouth.

 

There was a sudden hush over the room as the audience digested the reality of the situation. Then, small embarrassed laughter filtered across the hall. I looked up at Kaitlyn who appeared heartbroken and mortified. She hung her head low while the other girls on stage started to whisper amongst themselves. The realisation of what Tiffany, Krystal and Chantelle had been doing to her had obviously sunk in. As sad as it was for her, I was glad the truth was finally out, so she could move on.

 

Mr Gordon, who normally looked calm and kind-hearted, appeared stern-faced and serious. “Is this true?” Mr Gordon asked Tiffany. Oh bring it on Mr gorgeous Gordon. Ask her for the truth. She knows how to tell that. I laughed to myself.

“Yes! I mean no! Yes it is the truth, I can’t lie. I wish I could though, like I always do. Oh God! What am I saying? I don’t know why I’m saying these things.”

“Because it’s the truth,” came a deep voice from the audience. Everyone turned to see Craig, the captain of the junior football team. “I heard it with my own ears before, when Tiffany, Chantelle and Krystal were talking about it. They were bragging about it actually. Normally I can’t stand dobbers, and I’ve never had to dob on anyone, but in this case, I’m sorry I have to speak up. I can’t have cheerleaders cheering on my team who are not part of a team and doing dirty, vile tricks like that on each other. There’s just no team spirit in that.”

 

Craig was very well respected by the teachers as well as the kids and the audience started applauding and cheering. It was obvious there was no doubt left in Mr Gordon’s mind after Craig’s revelation.

“Tiffany and Chantelle, based on what I have heard here today, I have no choice but to disqualify you from the team until a thorough investigation is undertaken.”

 

Chantelle gasped in horror and her face turned a shade of red that any tomato would be proud of. Tiffany screamed, “But you can’t do that. I’m the best cheerleader. I’m the prettiest. I’m the most flexible. No–one can do a cartwheel as good as me, and all the boys love watching me.” She was becoming hysterical with every truthful admission she made. Tears started streaming down her face as the crowd started laughing and jeering as she rambled uncontrollably. Mr Gordon walked her off the stage as she continued to rant, collecting Krystal along the way. Chantelle had very little to say and she slinked off the stage quietly with her head held low after Cranky Pants tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to leave. Cranky Pants took the microphone and appeared utterly speechless for once in her life. Amen to that.

 

“Right!” she said. “What an unfortunate and strange set of circumstances. Never in my twenty years of coaching cheerleading have I ever witnessed such a disgraceful act of cruelty and poor conduct and …….cheating. This will most certainly be investigated further at school, and anyone seen to have interfered with another person will be punished severely.”

“In the meantime,” Mrs Carmichael entered the stage and took the microphone, “we will need to replace the two on the team. The first place goes to Carrie Johnson, while the next place will go to….” She bent over and whispered into Cranky’s ear and they nodded in agreement.

 

Maddy jabbed me in the ribs as a soft whisper melted my ears at the same time, “I hope it’s you.” Josh’s voice resonated through my whole body and I froze, captivated by the power of his words. I was completely on another planet, caught in a moment of dreamlike intoxication when I felt Maddy jab me again and again.

“It’s you! Lily, it’s you. Lily!” she kept saying.

“Lily, do you not want to accept the position?” Cranky Pants’ harsh voice interrupted my dreamy thoughts, and I realised everyone was staring at me and clapping. Josh patted me gently on the back and Maddy flung her arms around me. Momentarily I wished it was the other way around with Josh doing the flinging of arms around me, but I settled happily for a pat.

 

I was as content and happy as I had ever been. It had been one mammoth rescue episode but it was “mission complete” and I’d made a couple of new friends as well.

I felt elated but exhausted. The thing I thought I wanted most in my life had happened. I had made it to the cheerleading team, but it was achieving the mission that made me the most satisfied. I had helped Kaitlyn realise she was being bullied by so called friends and helped her see clarity to move on. In the process, (as a bonus) I had made a special friend, and maybe, just maybe I was about to make another special friend; this time of the male type.

 

I looked over to Kaitlyn. She looked gorgeous. Despite being incredibly unwell all day, a rosy glow had started to creep back into her cheeks and she looked radiant. I looked around at my friends and felt the warmth of their smiles, and felt blessed to have the sincerity and loyalty they provided. They were true friends.

 

Later that night when I dragged myself through the front door, tired, exhausted and overwhelmed, I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I went and gave my crazy, know-it–all Mom a big hug. She was always telling me stuff about how to act, how to treat people and how to put other people first. She always said, “it pays off in the end,” and I never knew what she meant until then. She was right, as always.

 

After sharing the good news with Mom, I was feeling so melancholy and emotionally elated that I walked down the hall and into my brother’s bedroom. He was lying on his bed with headphones on and a gaming magazine over his face. Then I did something that I hadn’t done for a reeeeeally long time. Actually, I can’t remember ever doing it. I gave Dopey Dan a big hug as he lay there half asleep. The response wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.

“WHAT THE??!!” He sat bolt upright. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

“I’m hugging you good night.”

“DON’T hug me. I don’t want to be hugged by you. GET OUT OF MY ROOM!” I remembered why I never hugged him.

“OK! Night!” I said sweetly. I was home again. Some things never changed and I loved it that way. I loved my dear brother just the way he was, despite his lack of outward affection for me. I knew somewhere deep down in his pea sized heart, he loved me too.

 

I blew the sleeping Lukey a kiss as he lay in his Thomas the Tank engine bed and I flopped onto my own comfy bed. It was a little outdated with its princess quilt cover on top. How ironic is that? Had to get rid of that the next day. I really didn’t want to be reminded of princesses.

 

Teeth uncleaned, check.

Hair unbrushed, check.

Clothes lying all over floor, check,

iPad checked. Oh I needed to check my iPad. I leaned over and saw there was a message from Alex. I was excited because Alex had been away overseas and had missed all the action.

Hey! Josh has dumped Krystal!

 

Friday night

 

Dear Debbie

I love my life

That is all!

Good night x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey there! I hope you enjoyed the first book in the ‘Wickedly Cool Witch’ series. If you enjoyed it, please leave me a review. I would really appreciate it. But if you don’t, I promise I won’t cast a spell on you.

 

 

Don’t forget, if you love humorous books, my illustrated short novel

GAME ON BOYS 1

is free as an ebook for a limited time. For boys and girls (8-13), but even adults have been known to laugh out loud too. If you love computer games, or love funny books, you’ll love the first in the ‘Game on Boys’ series. Here is the link.

http://amzn.com/B00K3W0KNM

And following is an excerpt of the first chapter,

Then if you like it, you can read the whole series

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1: Bottoms at school

 

I’m going to tell you something really weird. I mean super weird. You’re going to think I’m really stupid. In fact you’ll probably think I’m a real retard. My sister does. The truth is I love going to school. No I’m not kidding, if that’s what you just thought to yourself.

My name is Ryan and I go to the greatest school in the whole world and I have the best teacher in the whole school. Mr Higginbottom is his name. That’s right Higgin BOTTOM. Can you believe it? When he walked into the classroom on the first day of term, he wrote it on the blackboard and said,

“Ok everyone, that’s right, my name is Bottom, Higginbottom to be precise. Let’s all get it over with, say it out loud and then we can have a big laugh. BOTTOM, BOTTOM, BOTTOM. Come on everybody lets shout it out.”

We all burst into laughter and from that day on he has been the coolest teacher ever. It’s a pity about his name though, but he lets us call him Mr H so it’s not so embarrassing.

 

My big sister thinks I’m weird because I love going to school so much. She doesn’t understand though, because she’s just a stinky girl who’s always glued to her phone and making things with rubber bands. I call them Doom bands. What do girls know anyway? All they ever think about is cutesy, pukey makeup and revoltingly bizarre dolls that go to monster schools. Batz dolls I call them, with their oversized heads, puffy lips and only half a leg. Loom band Lisa is twelve going on eighteen, well she thinks she is anyway, the way she dresses. I guess she is kind of pretty in a fake sort of way. Just ask her she’ll tell you how gooooorgeous she is.

My Mom thinks it’s wonderful that I love school and she’s forever skiting (that means bragging) to her friends how well I do. She says she can’t believe the change in me because I used to hate school in first grade. I still remember screaming like a fire engine with tears rolling down my face and snot pouring out of my nose clinging onto her chubby legs as she tried to leave. Yuk! I can’t believe I used to be such a baby. How embarrassing is that?

But now that I’m in fifth grade, there’s no way I would miss a day of school. Uh uh, NO WAY! And there’s no way I would let snot pour out of my nose either. To miss a day at school would put at risk going to one of the best places on Earth. Well… maybe it’s not the best place. Zone Ten might be a little bit better. And this one time when we went on holidays to visit my Pop, I went to another place called Football Hero world. All the games were interactive and linked up to gigantic computer screens. You even got to see yourself being a TV presenter on a footy show on TV. It was awesome. Dad said I did a better job than Al Michaels and Emmet Smith put together and Mom said I was better looking than Tom Brady. I don’t know what they were going on about, but it was a pretty cool place. Actually, it could even be better than Zone Ten. But I probably won’t get to go again as Pop died and went to this other cool place called heaven where our dog lives.

Our dog Pugsley went to heaven because he got bitten by a green ant and died. Mom said he just got old and sick but Dad reckons he was riddled with green ant bites from rolling on the front lawn and they sucked the life out of him. Now he’s always telling me not to wrestle my neighbor Fletch on the grass in case we get bitten by green ants as well. I think he’s probably telling one of those white lies that only adults are allowed to tell to stop me doing kung -fu on the front lawn with Fletch. Sometimes we do get a bit rough I guess.

The other day I accidently kicked him in the privates and he went home squealing like a girl. It was just an accident. In case Dad is telling the truth about Pugsley and the green ants I always wear shoes now when I wrestle Fletch on the grass. That’s probably why it hurt him so much. Better than being bitten by a green ant though.

Now I have this obsession with green ants. The other day when I was eating my tea I had a weird thought about them. I asked Mom what it would be like if a green ant went into the bread roll that I was eating. We were having homemade Macca’s hamburgers which Mom says are exactly the same as Macca’s burgers except Mom makes them at home. They’re much yummier though ‘cos they don’t have the green thing in the middle. I’ve never worked out why the people at McDonalds put the green thing in because everyone always throws it out. Even my Dad takes it out of his, and he has three burgers!

Mom never eats takeaway food because she’s always starting a diet. Plus she says it’s not good for you and doesn’t taste very nice. What would she know anyway? She thinks cauliflower and broccoli taste nice. But I know she always manages to sneak a few bites of every-ones else’s when she thinks we’re not watching. Dad rolls his eyes and says ‘Why don’t you get your own?”

“Because it teaches everyone how to share”, Mom always replies. Mom works at the hospital as a food technician in the kitchen three days a week which I think just means making the food. It makes her a bit obsessed about food though I think. The other four days she says she works as a shopping technician but she doesn’t get any money for that. Dad reckons on those days she just spends all the money she makes on the other three days.

 

 

Thank you for reading my books. Stay cool!


Diary of a Wickedly Cool Witch : Bullies and Baddies

What is the most humiliating and embarrassing incident a school girl could ever experience? Think of the most embarrassing moment you’ve ever encountered at school, and double the humiliation; triple it in fact! In this wickedly funny chapter book for middle grade girls, Lily, the headstrong but adorable witch goes head to head with the schools meanest cheerleaders in a bid to stamp out bullying. But helping others sometimes means missing out on what you really want? What is the one thing Lily really wants and can she get it and still save eighth grader, Kaitlyn, from the most embarrassing catastrophe a schoolgirl could ever imagine? It’s one of the most difficult decisions she’s ever had to face, and the consequences could affect Kaitlyn terribly for the rest of her school years. Diary of a Wickedly Cool Witch touches on the notion of bullying, self-image, standing up for yourself, caring for your friends and being an individual, in a light hearted, humorous way. It will make you laugh and cry as you follow Lily’s plight to rid the school of bullies, try and make the cheerleading team and learn how to hold a boys hand without making a dork of herself, all in the one week.

  • ISBN: 9781311847966
  • Author: Kate Cullen
  • Published: 2016-04-08 15:05:23
  • Words: 40249
Diary of a Wickedly Cool Witch : Bullies and Baddies Diary of a Wickedly Cool Witch : Bullies and Baddies