Lunchtime at last.
Natalie scanned the crowded cafeteria for an empty seat. If she sat with the jocks and the preps she’d be eaten alive. She could try to sit with the alternative kids – the hipsters, the punks or the goths – but their cliques were even more exclusive than their preppy counterparts. That left only one option: the geeks. Sitting with these plaid-on-plaid-wearing misfits was the equivalent of committing social suicide, but Natalie’s growling stomach left her no choice.
“Where did you get your pants? They’re totally kawaii.”
“Kawaii. It means ‘cute’ in Japanese.”
“Don’t encourage her. She thinks she’s an Asian school girl trapped in a Caucasian’s body. I’m Kyle, by the way. The rainbow explosion sitting next to me is my sister Kayla.”
“He’s such a kidder. My name isn’t Kayla, it’s Sakura. That’s the Japanese word for ‘cherry blossom’. What’s your name?”
“Natalie. Just plain ol’ Natalie.”
“Hello girls. The cheerleading squad is collecting donations for Kleptos Anonymous. Would you like to donate today?”
Natalie dug into her pajama pockets. She pulled out a ball of lint, a stale peanut and a Simoleon that looked like it had barely survived its last excursion in the washing machine.
“Here. It’s not much, but it’s all I’ve got.”
“Thanks for the donation. Nice pajama pants.”
“Yeah, they’re a big hit, all right.”
“I was being sarcastic, derpwad.”
“So was I.”
Natalie ignored the laughing girl and focused on shoveling the last few forkfuls of Autumn salad into her mouth. Her lunch had an awful rubbery texture and didn’t taste like salad at all, but she forced herself to eat it anyway. She was down to the last bite when she caught the annoying cheerleader feeding her Simoleon into a vending machine.
“Hey! That was supposed to go towards a good cause!” Natalie tried to stand up but Kayla-Sakura grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back down.
“Easy, tigress. You don’t want to mess with Brittney Montgomery. She’s captain of the cheerleading squad and three-time winner of the Sunset Valley Junior Miss Competition, but don’t let her titles deceive you.”
“Underneath that thin veneer of politeness lies a soulless monster waiting to attack. That girl is pure evil. If I were you I would stay as far away from her as possible.”
“Ha! Brittney Montgomery is nothing more than a spoiled brat. She thinks she can get away with anything because her dad owns Doo Peas Corporate Towers.”
“I think it’s about time someone kicked her ass.”