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The Savages - 1x01; The Mafia

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Black leather jacket, destroyed jeans, scuffed shell-top Adidas – Trae Ventura kept his style as aggressive and exclusive as possible. His parents barely knew him anymore; his closest friends abandoned him, ignored him, or just disappeared. Trae was once a teenager with optimism, sensitivity—he still has this trait, and compassion, but he knew he had to speak for himself, to speak for his school, for his reputation… for America.

Rihanna’s song, “Hard,” played loudly on his dancing water speakers as he quickly sprayed a Michael Kors fragrance around his apparel. He sprayed hair sheen above him as he looked in the mirror, smirking.

Trae narrates--My mother always told me that you have to show an image, one that could make or break you or fits who you are. Well, look at me, a seventeen year old boy with the “I don’t give a sh*t” mindset. I never had a father figure around to steer me in the right direction. My friends came and went, I’ve made mistakes. But, now that I look back, those mistakes meant nothing.

I’m not a good person, but I’m not rude. I’m not bitter. I’m not an ass. I’m a savage, and savages like me and my crew are undefeatable. We’re bad asses, and bad asses never stop being bad asses. People can say what they want about me, but I’ll never change.

Trae walked out of his house, ignoring his parents who barely noticed his departure. He strutted through the cloudy streets of Seattle, singing with aggression.

“They can say whatever. I'ma do whatever, no pain is forever. Yup, you know this.” Trae performs, walking down a street surrounded by people passing by. “Tougher than a lion, ain't no need in tryin'. I live where the sky ends. Yup, you know this.”

“Never lying, truth teller, that Ventura reign just won’t let up.” Trae smirks as people watch him in confusion, most in astonishment. “All black on, blacked out shades, blacked out Maybach.”

“I’ma rock this sh*t like fashion, as in goin’ til they say stop, and my runway never looked so clear, but the hottest bitch in sneaks right here.”

“No fear, and while you getting your cry on, I'm getting my fly on. Sincere, I see you aiming at my pedestal, I betta let ya' know.” Trae had made his way up to his high school, James A. Mathers High School. As soon as he made a turn, his friends—or his clique—began to walk with him as he performed.

“That I, I, I, I’m so hard.” Trae chanted outside. Students at the courtyard looked puzzled at a rare, impromptu performance like this. Trae’s group began to chant along. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m so hard.”

“That I, I, I, I’m so hard. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m so hard.” The mob continued to repeat, and sang, “So hard, so hard, so hard, so hard.”

“That Ventura reign just won’t let up, that Ventura reign just won’t let up. That Ventura reign just won’t let up. So hard, so hard, so hard, so hard.”

“Where dem girls talkin' trash? Where dem girls talkin' trash? Where they at, where they at, where they at?” The Savages sang.

“Where dem bloggers at? Where dem bloggers at? Where they at, where they at, where they at? Where your lighters at? Where your lighters at? Where they at, where they at, where they at?”

“So hard, so hard, so hard, so hard.” Trae strutted through the hallways with ease.

“That I, I, I, I’m so hard. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m so hard.” The Savages repeated, singing, “So hard, so hard, so hard, so hard. That I, I, I.”

The room was filled with silence and intimidation, and more space for intimidation as well. Trae looked around, turned to his group mates, Sydney, a fiercely gorgeous girl with blonde locks, Nate, a rough, tough-looking guy, Alex, an attractive former jock, and Carl.

There we are. This is my crew, my mafia. We are the Savages.

Thesavageslogo

_________________

As the school bell rang, a rushed atmosphere augments. The hallways are comprised of rowdy teenagers jostling their way to classes, talking, horse playing, and other careless activities. A group of 6 enter the school building, creating silence as the students pushed to their lockers hesitantly.

Trae, with confidence and style, led the group inside, as if they strolled in slow motion. Sydney pursed her lips at the unusual reactions from the students, rolling her eyes and chewing her gum with finesse.

If you’ve watched The Breakfast Club, Mean Girls, or those high school soap operas that break out in song, you’d know high school caste system, Trae narrates, it’s all about who’s popular or hot, and who’s not. I’ll go in order.

Thejocks


You have your jocks—the perverts, bullies, gays in denial. All of them are ridiculous if you ask me. Most of them barely have brains to make it out of school, but hey… prove me wrong. You have your quarterback, Rufus King. I don’t know or really care much about him. Additionally, you have his minions—I mean—friends. Brian, Matt, Zach, and lastly… Viktor, but everyone calls him “Slick Vik.”

Slick Vik bites his lip as he looks in his mirror, but he’s really glaring at a picture of Zac Efron.

“What a fox.”

Don’t get why people call him that? You’ll see in the future. Next up, you have The Red Hot Cheer Peppers.

Theredhot

It’s some corny team name for the cheerleading squad, a squad that barely goes to competitions, but they’re still popular, apparently. Looks aren’t everything, especially when you have a little girl in your squad that belongs on Barney & Friends movie specials.

The cheerleaders, wearing their black and red uniforms, stood all together putting lipstick on, as if they could care less about The Savages’ entrance. A little cheerleader had stood to watch them.

Thesex

Next up—The Sexxx Symbols; it’s literally spelled like that. This clique is basically just a bunch of boys who think with their screwdrivers more than their brains, if you know what I mean. They’re the creepiest. Well, one of them is really hot, you’d mistaken him for an amateur porn star. They call him Dirty Dan. There’s also Liam and Glenn.

Moneybags

They’re the rich kids everyone wants to be. Only thing is, here, no one wants to be them. They’re cocky, they’re rude, supercilious… just complete asses. There’s Felix Winchester, the super elitist of the crew. Kyler Chase, the Georgia-born rich kid. Rumor has it he dated almost all of the cheerleaders. Then there’s Cass Everett. You don’t really hear any bad things about her, she’s like the sweetest.

And now, it’s us, The Savages.

Thesavages

Trae and his group had strolled to one locker, watching everyone pass by. Sydney, the blonde girl, strolled without hesitation.

Sydney

That’s Sydney, the Bonnie to my Clyde, the vice president of The Savages, and sidekick. Before you ask, no, we’re not dating. Our friendship is quite platonic. Sydney is a badass. She used to be the head of everything in school – The Glee Club; that is until she got into a catfight with some hater named Watermelondrea. Literally, that’s her name.

FLASHBACK: Sydney began to perform a group number alongside an estimation of 9 members in Glee Club. She stood in the music room where rehearsals took place and performed Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness.”

“Kiss me hard before you go, summertime sadness,” Sydney sang softly. “I just wanted you to know that baby, you’re the best.”

As Sydney began to sing her next line, Watermelondrea Jones, a blonde-haired girl with caramel skin and an unprofessional tone, interrupted her, taking over her song off-key.

“I got that summertime, summertime sadness…”

Sydney was irritated as Watermelondrea sang loudly and out of tune. Sydney had looked at Watermelondrea unpleasantly. The music stopped and Sydney replied. “Excuse me, but that’s my part you’re singing.”

Watermelondrea shrugged her shoulders, rolled her eyes and whipped her hair, “And?”

“If it’s not your part, don’t sing it.” Sydney smiled sarcastically.

“Bitch, you sound like Tinkerbell on steroids.”

Sydney raised her eyebrows in shock, “And you think yours is any better? And what did you just call me?”

“A bitch. B-I-C-T-H,” Watermelondrea responded.

Sydney’s serious expression barely intimidated Watermelondrea, “You really don’t wanna say that.”

“Girl, bye.  You’re Laguna Beach. I’m Bad Girls Club.” Watermelondrea said.

Sydney was infuriated with her remarks, reaching to retaliation. After members began to jeer and yell at their argument, Sydney, with force, punched Watermelondrea in the face, with her blonde hair falling out after lying unconscious.

Trae narrates, Watermelondrea didn’t have a standing chance that day.

Nate

Nate is our third member and secretary. He’s like my big brother, I guess, yet he claims to be the fifth cousin to the Osbournes – doubt it. He idolizes Sharon Osbourne, she’s all he talks about every day.

FLASHBACKS:

Sharon Osbourne is the queen. Sometimes I think that she’d be better than my mother, or better than all of you trashy flops.” Nate lectured to everyone in the Savages. Trae and Sydney look at each other.

“My mom told me that Sharon Osbourne is the evilest witch in my family, so I pushed her down the stairs and said it was an accident.”

REENACTMENT:

Nate walked behind his mother as she attempted to walk down the staircase. Wearing long leather shoes, Nate lifted his foot to make his mother trip. Her mother squealed as she rolled down the staircase in moderate pain.

Yes, this really happened. He’s crazy in different ways.

Alex

Alex may be one of the hottest dudes in the school, but don’t let his Magic Mike presence fool you. He’s like the Hulk, at least now. He used to be a jock, and I, for damn sure, didn’t want him in it at first, but he showed me what he could do. Kick ass.

FLASHBACK:

Alex is brutally attacking a guy near his locker, attacking him, putting him into a headlock until they collapse on the floor together. Alex punches him numerous times until the staff members stopped him.

Meanwhile, Alex sits across from the school principal, Rose De Vil, a mean, strict woman. Alex is utterly disappointed when De Vil tells him that he is suspended.

“So, you’re telling me I’m being suspended for self-defense? You’re kidding me right?” Alex said.

“I’m sorry, but rules are rules, and what you did was just as worse as that other guy did. It was even worse than that Mayweather fight the other night, now go to the main office to call your parent,” De Vil stated.

Alex stood up and shoved her items down to the floor, making De Vil respond, “That’s a week for suspension!”

“I don’t freaking care!” Alex yelled.

To this day, he still holds a grudge against Principal De Vil.

Carl

Carl Touché. He has a sharp tongue. He smokes cigarettes every day, indeed the rebel child. Truth is, he did something crazy that no one will ever find out about. After getting in trouble in Mr. Bradshaw, one of the most horrible teachers in the school, he got into trouble, but yup, he got his revenge.

FLASHBACK: Carl grabbed a large brick from the ground outside of the school, and threw it with force towards the windshield. The glass broke and Carl brushed off his hands and ran immediately with a smirk.

He listened to Jazmine Sullivan that day and not over a broken heart.

Last but not least, there’s moi, the head bro in charge, the “ambadassador”, the Don, the head of the Mafia.

Trae

I don’t think I should talk about myself a lot, but I’ll let the school tell you for me.

“Trae is a problem child,” a cheerleader stated, “I heard he set his uncle’s house on fire like Left Eye Lopez did to her boyfriend.”

True. But it was by accident….psyche.

“He’s a hoe.” Dirty Dan, the leader of the Sexxx Symbols said.

That’s not what you said in those sext messages, though, but I’ll let that go. He’s right.

“He’s an attention seeker,” one of his former friends stated. “He only pushes people away and make them feel bad for it.”

I have feelings, though. We’re all human, aren’t we?

“He’s a good singer, but SoundCloud doesn’t make you famous,” Alyssa, the 11-year old cheerleader stated.

Aren’t you supposed to be watching PBS Kids? What do you know about social media? This generation is crazy.

“I think Trae’s the smartest kid in this school. But I’m not going to sugarcoat it; he is crazy, and he’s not to be messed with,” another student said.

Perfecto.

As you can see, I’m the talk of the town. Everything I do is immediately talked about. My old friend made a good point, I do like attention, but it’s for good causes. Attention is for those who deserve it, and I believe I deserve it. I believe The Savages deserve to be heard and paid attention to.

Trae continues to narrate – The Savages. We aren’t just a gang, we’re a movement. We stand up for the people who don’t have the balls to stand up for themselves. Occasionally, it may not seem that way, but our actions and behavior have a purpose.

When you’re told that you are setting a bad example, it offends you. When your advantages are taken away in a flash, it’s offensive. When your opinions don’t matter to people, you feel shut out. The only way to break out of your shell is to retaliate. That’s why we are who we are.

___________________

The Savages continued to walk fiercely, glaring at the amount of intimidated expressions on the students’ faces. Trae fixed his collar on his leather jacket, took off his sepia-tinted sunglasses, and placed them firmly in his pocket.

Sydney looked in her small mirror, sighing. “I look so ratchet today.”

“That’s nothing new,” Nate snidely responded.

Sydney rolled her eyes, “I know, it’s your bad breath that’s new.”

Trae tried hard not to laugh, while Alex shook his head and Carl laughed ridiculously. Trae responded, “Isn’t it too early for shots?”

“It’s never too early for shots,” Nate said.

Carl replied, “And it’s never too early for Listerine, I can smell your breath.”

“My breath smells amazing, okay,” Nate asked defensively.

“What the hell did you eat this morning?” Alex asked.

Nate pondered, “Kris Jenner’s cooters.”

The Savages had stopped walking and Trae was disgusted. “Nate, you’re disgusting.”

“But you guys love me, though.”

“I hate that I love you,” Trae chuckled.

“Stop quoting Rihanna, you’re making me itch.” Nate began scratching his back and Trae sighed, “Anyway, I have to tell you guys something.”

“You’re gay?” Carl sarcastically asked, laughing hysterically.

It was silent, but Trae turned around, “I pluck grapes, you know.”

Carl stopped laughing and took a huge gulp, and sighed. Sydney looked at Trae and replied, “What’s up?”

“Guys, I think we need to expand our headquarters,” Trae said. “We need to find more people to join us.”

Nate raised his eyebrow, puzzled by Trae’s idea. “Why would we do that? That would make us thirsty, and we’re not as thirsty as the Sexxx Symbols.”

“Look, I’m sure there’s a bunch of people like us sick and tired of this hell hole, so if we want our voices to be heard, we have to look and feel like a mafia,” Trae lectured.

Sydney looked uncertain of this idea, “I’m on the rocks about this, Trae.”

“You guys are punks. Seriously, what’s the worst that could happen, though?” Alex defended Trae’s idea. “If The Savages are supposed to be a group of rebels, we shouldn’t be close-minded little brats like the rest of these people in here.”

Trae nodded his head, “Exactly, guys. We have to get our sh*t together and take over this school piece by piece.”

Sydney sighed, “I guess you’re right. We are starting to become a bit irrelevant.”

“We’re not irrelevant, it’s you,” Nate replied and chuckled. Sydney’s anger boiled up quickly, strongly grabbing Nate by his shirt.

Nate squealed, “Osbourne, remember what I told you last time?”

“Y-y-yes,” Nate stuttered helplessly.

“Explain what I said to you—verbatim.” Sydney said softly, exposing an evil smirk. Trae, Alex, and Carl watched, and Trae put his hands on his face.

Nate gulped and shivered, “If I ever disrespect you in any way…”

“If you ever disrespect me in any way or form…”

“…Any way or form, you’ll break my face.” Nate continued.

“And what else?” Sydney continued to grab him with a strong grip.

“And if I ever call you irrelevant, you’ll torture me for the rest of my life.” Nate said. Sydney nodded her head.

“So, call me irrelevant one more time, and you’ll never get a living chance to meet Sharon Osbourne,” Sydney pushed him away and looked at Trae, keeping her composure. “Fine, Trae, we’ll do it, but if it doesn’t work out, I’m blaming you.”

“Trust me. We’ll meet at the cafeteria for lunch and we’ll start then,” Trae said. The bell rang, and it was apparent that The Savages were late for their classes. The five all went separate ways.

__________________

Trae sat in his desk, uninterested in the classroom discussion for his Literature class. While sitting in the circle, he began to tap his pencils together like drumsticks. The teacher, to whom he found very attractive, tried to discuss The Great Gatsby, a novel that they were reading.

“Do you guys think it’s impossible for Gatsby to be with Daisy again?”

Slick Vik had raised his hand, which was an unusual gesture from the teacher, Mr. Baxter. “Viktor?”

“Gatsby could get back together with Daisy if he wanted to, nothing should stop him.” Vik replied, sounding somewhat intelligent, although he didn’t understand the book as much.

“I disagree. Daisy and Gatsby aren’t in the same social class, so it’s impossible.” Gina, Trae’s best friend, had replied. She was gorgeous – a large resemblance of Gabrielle Union or Kat Graham.

“What does the social class have to do with anything?” Vik replied, which led to a larger debate for the class.

Gina scoffed, “Seriously? Have you not read the book, Viktor?”

“Well, yeah, I have…. I guess.” Vik had stated, making it just as obvious that he wasn’t focused. “I just needed my participation points.”

“Gatsby is selfish,” one of the Moneybags had stated, his name was Felix Winchester. He was always in professional attire. It was irritating, and his opinions were even worse. He was attractive, and that didn’t even bolster his acceptance of the school.

Felix continued, “Gatsby is materialistic and he’s selfish, because he only cares about Daisy more than helping himself.”

“Wow, the pot done called the kettle black,” Joe Bender said. The boy looked unusual, he acted arrogantly, but as Trae lifted up his face, he looked at Joe wisely, “Felix, you’re ridiculous.”

“Oh, I’m ridiculous? Please elaborate, Bender.”

The mood in the room was very tense, silent, and awkward. Joe began to debate, “Gatsby is using his materialism to impress Daisy, and that’s the possibility of the two getting back together.”

“I’m ridiculous, though,” Felix said. “I’m ridiculous for comprehending the book better than you, I’m happy.”

Joe rolled his eyes, “Please, save your stupid sarcasm for someone who gives a flying f—”

Mr. Baxter interrupted the heated argument, “Okay, guys, let’s calm down.”

“Seriously,” Felix said. “I don’t get why this dude over here wants to criticize me for every opinion I have, especially when it comes to this book. I know I’m right.”

Trae broke the silence, “You’re not.”

Felix turned around, “Excuse me?”

It was tense as Trae turned his head. “None of you are correct, except for Gina. Specifically, it is clear that Gatsby and Daisy are the polar opposites of each other after Gatsby left the war. Unlike Daisy, Gatsby became rich the “illegal” way, while Daisy was married into wealth. Gatsby is clearly the symbolic representation of the American Dream, if you don’t notice, Winchester…”

Everyone had looked at Trae as he began to lecture, with mixed reactions.

“Elaboration is key.” Felix stated.

“The freaking purpose for this book is to convey the corruption of the American Dream. Gatsby is working his ass off to impress Daisy with riches and materials, so that demonstrates that he and Daisy will never get back together as he planned. It’s impossible and Gatsby is too blind to realize that until the end of the book. End of story.”

“Wow.” Gina said, whispering to Trae. “You said that better than me.”

Felix looked at Trae and scoffed, “Whatever.”

Joe looked impressed, a little, despite his lack of care for anyone in the school, even Trae. The bell had rang for the next class, and Mr. Baxter stood up to announce a statement.

“Good job today guys. Remember to finish your essay for the book on Wednesday.” Baxter stated.

Trae attempted to depart from the classroom until Mr. Baxter stopped him. “Trae, can I have a moment with you?”

Trae sighed carelessly, dropped his backpack on the desk, and walked to Mr. Baxter.

“You know you’ve been late to my class this entire week and the week before that, and the—“

“—week before that, I get it. It’s the same lecture every time, Mr. Baxter,” Trae said.

“I take it you listen to my 2-minute lectures, then,” Mr. Baxter chuckled. “Trae, you’re a good student. You shouldn’t take advantage of the opportunities you have. Your grades are so up to par, but your attendance rates are rocky.”

“Are we finished, Mr. Baxter?” Trae said. “I really have to get to my next class.”

“Nope, I’m not,” Mr. Baxter replied. “I just wanted to say how amazing your response was to that book. I never had a student in my teaching years analyze the book as much as you. Have you thought of taking AP Literature classes?”

Trae scoffed, “Why? So I can be stressed out as much as I am in life?”

“You’re so smart, and you’ll be easily setting yourself up for college if you consider it.” Mr. Baxter sounded encouraging to Trae, but reminding himself of his reputation made him feel tentative.

“I’ll think about it, I have to go, thanks for the talk,” Trae had quickly departed from the classroom before the bell rang, and Mr. Baxter, in concern, watched him. He began to prepare for his next class and sat on his chair.

“I’m worried about that kid.”

_____________________

The Red Hot Cheer Peppers often skipped classes to rehearse or practice their routines, something that is rarely done. The cheerleaders began performing their routines to Pass That Dutch, a song by Missy Elliott. The lead cheerleader began to perform the song while the girls did somersaults, backflips, or regular stretches.

“1, 2, 3, 4!”

“Pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch,” The cheerleaders chanted, “Pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch.”

The head cheerleader, Sena Demir, a brown-haired girl, performed, “Misdemeanor on the floor, pretty boy here I come, pumps in the bunk make you wanna hurt something, I can take your man I don't have to sex ‘em. Hang ‘em out the window call me Michael Jackson.”

“Heee!” A random cheerleader yelled out.

“I'm a pain in your rectum, I am that bitch y'all slept on,” Sena continued, “Heavy hitter, rhyme spitter, call me Re-Run. Hey hey hey, I'm what's happ'nin.”

“Hypnotic in my drink,”

“That's right!” The cheerleaders yelled out.

“Shake ya butt till it stinks,”

“That’s right!”

“Mr. Mos on the beat,”

“That’s right!”

“Put it down for the streets,”

“That’s right!”

“WHO-DI-WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” The male cheerleaders had yelled out before dancing on the football field.

“Pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch,” The female cheerleaders sang.

“Come on pass the dutch baby! Shake-shake shake ya stuff ladies!” Another cheerleader performed.

“WHO-DI-WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” The male cheerleaders sang.

“Pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch, pass that dutch,” The female cheerleaders sang.

“Pop that, pop that, jiggle that fat. Don’t stop, get it till your clothes get wet.”

Another cheerleader, Lily Bloom, was one of the most popular cheerleaders on the squad despite the fact that she was underestimated for the captain role of the team. She jumped up to perform.

“Number one - drums go bump, bump, bump. This beat here will make you hoomp, boomp, jump,” she sang. “If you's a fat one, put your clothes back on, before you start putting pot holes in my lawn.”

Alyssa had pushed herself to the middle of the squad, attempting to grab attention. As she began dancing, she interrupted the performance by accidentally falling down. The cheerleaders groaned at her.

“Alicia, seriously?,” Sena had yelled at her, disappointed.

“It’s Alyssa,”

Alyssa looked down with discontent, “I just wanted to be seen more. You guys never let me have a chance to shine.”

Sena rolled her eyes, annoyed by Alyssa, despite her young, innocent persona, Sena was fed up. “Listen here, Rugrat, as a cheerleader, not everyone is meant to be in the spotlight, and that includes you.”

“Don’t you think you’re being a bit harsh on her?” Another cheerleader came to her defense. “She’s annoying, yes, but cheerleading is about unity.”

With emphasis in her tone, Sena yelled, “We have to work, work, work, work…”

“Working on my sh*t.“ A random cheerleader interrupted, mocking Iggy Azalea. Sena had covered the cheerleader’s mouth.

“Shut up,” Sena yelled. “We have to work if we want to get to this year’s Regional Competitions, and if we stand here worrying about Little Annie over here,” mentioning Alyssa, “trying to get the spotlight, we’ll never get where we want to.”

“It’s Alyssa,” the helpless girl stated.

“Whatever,” Sena said.

Another cheerleader had commented, “If we had better routines, had a professional coach, and practiced more, maybe we could get to a competition.”

“I agree, Sena, your routines are boring,” Lily had replied. “We’re not original, this isn’t Bring it On.”

The cheerleaders were all cramped together in a circle, and Sena’s attitude augmented immediately. “You know what’s really boring: all of you. You guys bitch and moan about the sky being blue, whether Alfalfa is gonna get her crap together, or if you’ve all lost your edges. Boo hoo hoo.”

“I have edges, first of all.”

“Your hair recedes like Stevie Wonder’s hairline, Claudia.”

The cheerleaders were shocked, gasping at Sena’s response. Claudia ran, crying.

“Do you have to be such a tightwad?” Lily yelled out, despite the fact that she’s just like Sena in a way, she knows who deserves to be insulted and who doesn’t. She felt bad for the cheerleader.

“If you guys don’t like how hard I’ve worked to build this team, you guys can all just leave, lose your popularity, or deal with it,” Sena yelled. “I’m never changing. Now let’s get back to our rehearsals. And Australia...”

“It’s ALYSSA!”

“Whatever,” Sena said. “Android, get your crap together. I get you’re not used to being in Kindergarten anymore, but this is the real deal. This is high school, get in, fit in, or get out.”

Alyssa nodded her head. “It’s Alyssa, though.”

“Everyone let’s take it from the top.” Sena said.

Lily had rolled her eyes in disgust. She felt so out of place, she knew she could have been a better captain. She knew that she had what it takes to take the Cheer Peppers to the top. She had the abilities to do that, but Sena’s promotion blocked her chances.

_____________

That day, the cliques were immediately in their tables in the cafeteria. The Savages began to hover around, looking for hopefuls to recruit. Sydney had seemed to be the least interested. While she walked, she sighed. “I hope you prove me wrong, Trae.”

“Syd, I’m sure we’ll find someone,” Trae said.

Sydney nodded her head, “We can’t just walk around and beg people to join us.”

Alex responded to Sydney’s statement as he looked around, “I agree, it’s obvious this school is so cliqued up.”

As the Savages continued to walk together in the lunchroom, they began to examine the groups. The Red Hot Cheer Peppers, without Sena, began to gossip about her.

A cheerleader commented, “Sena needs to be removed from her cheerleading position.”

As another girl took a sip from her juice pouch, she added, “No, she should be banned from cheerleading.”

The Savages had walked past the Sexxx Symbols, who were searching for guys together on Grindr, jeering and squealing immaturely.

The Jocks were arm-wrestling, and a guy sat there and watched in boredom, while the Moneybags had stopped the Savages. Trae could hear Felix Winchester, in a teasing manner, call his name.

“Ventura!”

Trae, alongside the Savages had turned around. “What?”

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t The Outsiders,” Felix said. “Don’t you guys have other places to be, like eating out of trash cans?” The Moneybags began to laugh, except for one girl, who attempted to tell Felix to knock it off.

“You know, there’s always one thing I despised about rich kids like you,” Trae said calmly.

“Oh, really, what’s that?”

“They’re not funny.” Trae said in a careless tone.

The Savages had chuckled, and Felix clapped his hands, “Bravo, or brava, I should say, because your comebacks are as feminine as a woman.”

“Are you that angry that I outsmarted you today in Mr. Baxter’s class? It’s okay to admit it.” Trae said.

Felix replied, “Please, Trae. You shouldn’t rely on SparkNotes. Use your brain, not your mouth.”

Alex had walked towards Trae, asking him desperately, “Do you want me to handle him for you?”

Kyler had stood up in defense of Felix, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

“Okay,” Alex smiled, walking closer to Kyler. “Perhaps I can bash YOUR skull in then.”

A dark-blonde haired girl, Cass, came to The Savages’ defense. “Guys, knock it off. Leave them alone.”

“No, don’t worry, Cass,” Trae chuckled. “I could do this all day.”

Felix shook his head and looked at Sydney, attempting to find a way to confront her, or torment her.

“What, why you looking at me like that?”

“I believe it’s why are you looking at me, Prescott.” Felix had corrected her, and Sydney looked at him in angst.

“I passed Grammar in elementary school, Winchester, I don’t need you to correct me, honey.”

Felix chuckled, “Well, I guess your school didn’t teach you that a sentence must have a verb.”

Sydney gave a brief smile and slowly approached Felix. “Well, you know, I did learn that “kiss” is a verb, and it’s also a noun. So, how about you give my ass a kiss, or kiss my ass!”

“Got him, hah!” Trae yelled.

Sydney departed from the Moneybags, while Alex gnarled at them and followed her. Trae and Nate laughed as they walked away, following their lead.

Carl laughed, “I think you just got a grammar lesson!”

Felix looked immediately irritated, and Cass began to snicker. Kyler looked intrigued after Sydney left, “She’s beautiful,”

“Shut up, Kyler.”

______________________

“See, I told you this wasn’t going to work,” Sydney had paced back and forth on the other side of the cafeteria. “Trae, just deal with it, this school is filled with egotistical bastards.”

Trae sighed, making a facetious response, “Well, let’s just give up like the Savages we are.”

“That grammar lesson you gave Felix, though,” Nate laughed. “Best moment of the day.”

Sydney scoffed, “The truth tea had to be spilled. I would have gave him the Watermelondrea treatment, but I have 1 strike.”

Trae had an immediate idea, “Holy moly donut shop!”

“What?” Sydney asked.

“I could ask my friend Gina to join!” Trae said, enthusiastic in his ideas.

Sydney rolled her eyes and crossed her arms, “The egghead? Seriously?”

Trae looked at Sydney, “What’s wrong with being an egghead? I’m smart.”

“That’s different, Trae,” Sydney said. “She seems prudish to me.”

Alex was puzzled—he didn’t know who Gina was, and at first, he didn’t care. “I’m confused, who is Gina?”

Trae pointed him to Gina, and she walked away from the lunch ladies, making her way to her table. As she walked, her hair bounced constantly. From that moment, Alex was in awe. In his eyes, he immediately thought “BEAUTY.” Alex was speechless.

“Homina, homina, homina, homina,” Alex repeated. Trae tapped him, and Alex came back to life.

“Alex, get a hold of yourself,” Trae said.

Alex cleared his throat, “I’m fine, I’m cool.”

“Well, I don’t know,” Sydney sighed. “She doesn’t look Savage material to me. If she looked a little more badass, I’d agree.”

“I’ll try to help her fit in,” Trae shrugged. “It’s not that hard.”

“Do what you gotta do,” Sydney said.

“Come on, Syd, lighten up!” Nate said.

“No.”

_______________

It was finally the end of the school day, and Trae quickly ran to Gina before she departed from the school building, “Hey, Gina!”

“Hey, T, what’s up?”

“Are you in any other type of… activity or group?” Trae asked. He talked desperately, and it seemed to confuse Gina.

Gina held her books to her arms, and she shrugged, “Not really, I haven’t been able to join anything because I’m so worked up in all of these classes. Why did you ask?”

“I’m, uh, in a group called The Savages, and we’re sort of in need of new members.”

“What are The Savages?”

Trae sighed, “You see, that’s just the tiny little issue. I know you’re a good girl. The Savages, we’re badasses. We’re rude, honest, and we protest for good causes.”

Gina was still befuddled, “I don’t know what to say, Trae.”

“The question is would you mind joining us?” Trae asked. “That’s only if you know how to be down.”

Gina raised her eyebrows, “Of course I can… be down! Like, “Yo, yo, wassup? What it do? Ride or die. SWAG.””

Trae looked at Gina, trying not to laugh. He pulled her with him, “Come on.”

_________________

Trae stood out in the courtyard with The Savages, introducing Gina to them. “Guys, this is Gina. Gina, this is my team, The Savages.”

“Yo, what up, dog?” Gina, overacting, tried to impress the Savages by introducing herself.

Sydney rolled her eyes, “You’re kidding me, right?”

“Gina, this is Alex.”

Alex had stood up in a flirtatious manner. He grabbed her hand and kissed it. Gina wanted to blush, but she was shy and unfamiliar of Alex. Gina noticed his attractive physique, but all Gina could really think about was homework.

“That’s Nate, Carl, and Sydney.”

“I just gotta say this—if you want to last in this group, we’re gonna have to help you get ratchet like us.” Sydney stood up, pacing around her as if Gina was a soldier.

Carl replied, “Yeah, and we’ll have to help you get a new makeover.”

“A makeover?” Gina stuttered, “I-I-I don’t really do makeovers.”

“Savages should look like savages, not like preppy schoolgirls.” Carl smiled. As he walked closer to her, he went from behind. “You’ll look like a badass.”

Trae chuckled, “Gina, are you sure you can handle us?”

“Let’s put her to the test,” Nate said. “When’s the last time you ever felt like burning this school down?”

Gina had to think before she replied, she knew she wasn’t the perfect student in school, yet she knew she wasn’t the most innocent. “Well, Mrs. Cooper, the other day, made me feel disrespected.”

She continued, “Because I’m in a class with lazy people, she had admonished me, and called me an overachiever because I knew almost every question.”

“Why would that make you want to burn the school down?”

“Because of the hypocrisy,” Gina replied, with a more serious tone. “Students are supposed to set examples, but when those students like me, want to be examples, we’re never appreciated.”

“Maybe Mrs. Cooper just wants other students to participate?” Alex smiled.

Sydney scoffed, “Or maybe she hates eggheads.”

“Next question,” Carl began to speak. “Have you ever been in a fight at least once or twice?”

Gina had tried to think, “At my eighth grade graduation.”

“You never told me this, G!” Trae laughed, while the others were intrigued.

Gina began to elaborate on this moment, smirking. “Well, I was really fed up with this girl named Abcde.”

“Abcde?” Trae said. “What type of name is that?”

“A-B-C-D-E,” Gina said. “It’s spelled that way, no lie.”

Sydney put her hands on her face, while the others were befuddled.

“Anyway, Abcde kept picking on me in eighth grade. She had always needed a reason to argue with me and torment me. I was sick and tired of her, but I wanted to wait until the best moment of her life.”

FLASHBACK:

At Gina’s eighth grade graduation, her parents seemed proud of her, cheering for her as she stood to receive her middle school diploma. The principal announced her name, “Gina Woods!”

Gina received her diploma, waved at her proud parents, and then she immediately spotted Abcde, a black-haired, chubby girl with braids.

Gina continued to narrate, She was the ugliest girl ever. She had tight braids, almost like Queen Latifah in Set it Off. It was irritating. She was looking at me from afar, and I was so glad to have graduated, so I could be able to get my 3 years of hell back. So, as soon as I saw her, I ran to her, sneak attack, BAM.

Gina ran off the stage, and balled up her right fist. Abcde was confused of what was going on until a punch landed on her face.

“That’s for making my life a living hell!” Gina yelled.

Gina’s parents watched in shock, and they immediately ran out from the crowd. Abcde attempted to fight her back, but Gina grabbed her by her braids, yanking her down to the floor. Abcde screamed, and Gina jumped on Abcde, punching her numerous times. The other graduating students had all jeered, screaming, and creating a circle in front of the fight.

Gina’s parents, alongside the staff members, tried to stop the fight.

 

Sydney looked impressed, but she still didn’t believe she had what it takes. “Impressive. It reminds me of my childhood.”

“You’re so badass,” Alex was extremely pleased, but it was mostly based on his immediate attraction to her. Gina still didn’t notice it, but she smiled.

“Gina, I think you have what it takes,” Sydney said. “But I think you’ll need some more work if you’re with us.”

“Welcome to the Savages, G.” Trae had hugged her, and everyone clapped.

Gina smiled, “So, what about the makeover?”

Sydney and Nate looked at each other, and replied in unison. “You can count on us.”

“And who will teach me how to be more… badass?”

Trae smiled and looked at Carl and Alex, in unison, they replied, “You can count on us.”

______________________

Sydney went into her bedroom the next day—her room was pink and black, stripes everywhere. She ran to her beauty supplies near her mirror. She grabbed a black and white polka-dotted bowtie, a flat iron, eye shadow, and black lipstick.

She immediately ran out that morning to prepare for Gina’s makeover. Nate ran inside of a clothing store, and immediately he hid in the women’s section. He knew that school would begin in minutes, but he occasionally ran late.

Trae and Carl, meanwhile, continued to teach Gina how to act aggressive.

“Okay, Gina, your first lesson is to know how to talk aggressive,” Trae said. “Repeat after us.”

“Stand in my way, and I’ll kick your ass!” Carl yelled out for an example. “Got it?”

Gina nodded as if she understood what she had to do. However, it was the polar opposite. Her tone was weak when she responded, “Yeah, stand in my way… and I’ll hit you in your buttocks!”

Trae and Carl looked at each other and nodded their heads. “We have some work to do.”

Gina sings, “Bang Bang” by Melanie Fiona, but it doesn’t interfere with Gina’s makeover. “Finger on the trigger, let it bang bang, baby let it bang. I don't give a dang cuz  I’m a rebel kind, watch me do my thang.”

Sydney began Gina’s makeup in the girls’ bathroom at school. Gina felt uncomfortable at first, as Sydney flattened her hair. Sydney undid Gina’s bun, allowing her hair to spread out. Sydney put the flat iron on Gina’s hair, and she squealed.

“You’re such a baby,” Sydney rolled her eyes.

“Let me introduce you to my Lucy, I don't care if ya like me. I walk it out on 'em,” Gina sang. “Running from the law, I hit the border line, now try and in-trap me, so let's get down baby!”

“I be lockin’ and loading, I be shootin’ forever. Got my eye on the target and I'm aiming at'cha.”

“I wish you WOULD touch me. Try me.” Gina yelled out, as she continued to practice her attitude. Trae and Carl looked at each other and shrugged, as if they were briefly impressed.

Nate still remained in the store, finding clothes for Gina to wear as a Savage. There he found a black skirt and polka dotted tank tops. He grabbed each, looked around with awareness, and stuffed them in his backpack. A camera wasn’t in sight, so he felt relieved.

See me moving in silence, feel destruction and violence. Got my eye on the target and I'm aiming at 'cha.” Gina sang, “Bang bang. I’m aimin’ at ya, bang bang! I’m aimin’ at ya.”

Trae and Carl began to see some improvement in Gina’s attitude. Gina grabbed Carl and pushed him. “What did you call me?”

“Ain't nothing like the feeling of that cold bone metal in ya hand, know I sound psycho, Daddy-O you'll never understand...”

“Let me introduce you to my chrome-plated bullet she's shining, I'll whip it out on 'em. Polishing my 45' Chevy ride scraping the highway. Top down, pickin’ up.”

Gina’s makeup began to progress, and Sydney worked hard to improve her facial features. Meanwhile, Nate began to find the perfect way to sneak out of the clothing store. He grabbed his backpack and attempted to exit out normally.

Little did he know, the cameras in front were watching his every move. The metal detectors had sensed that he stole something, and the person behind the counter yelled out, “Sir, I’m gonna have to see your bag.”

“I be lockin’ and loading, I be shootin’ forever. Got my eye on the target and I'm aiming at'cha.”

“See me moving in silence, feel destruction and violence. Got my eye on the target and I'm aiming at 'cha.” Gina sang, “Bang bang. I’m aimin’ at ya, bang bang! I’m aimin’ at ya.”

Trae and Alex began to put Gina to the test. “All right, Gina. You may have done some damage to Abcde, but can you still do damage?” Trae asked.

“I guess,” Gina replied.

“I’m aiming at ya. I’m aiming at ya.”

“Maybe I should live and let die, takin’ it like a soldier don't cry. Hold my head come down from my high.”

Gina began to walk in the hallways, where students began to enter the building. A random girl, somewhat taller and thicker, bumped into Gina on purpose. Gina turned around and pushed her.

“Watch where you’re going, Sasquatch,” Gina yelled.

The girl had pushed herself closer to Gina, “What are you going to do about it?”

Gina had looked back at Trae and Alex, who glanced with encouragement. Gina balled up her fists and punched the tall girl in the face. The students who witnessed squealed in shock as Gina pulled the tall girl down.

Nate ran as fast as he could out of the store, he kept his backpack with him. He knew he’d get in trouble, but he did what he had to. He done it before without any issues, but he ran for his dear life. The school was only a minute away, and the cashier had threatened to call the cops.

“I be lockin’ and loading, I be shootin’ forever. Got my eye on the target and I'm aiming at'cha.”

 “See me moving in silence, feel destruction and violence. Got my eye on the target and I'm aiming at 'cha.” Gina sang, “Bang bang. I’m aimin’ at ya, bang bang! I’m aimin’ at ya.”

“Bang bang! Let me introduce ya to my LUCY!” Gina yelled out.

Gina had continued to fight the girl until Trae and Alex stopped the fight until the staff members came. “All right, Gina, you did good, now calm down.”

Gina had pulled herself back from the sweating and bleeding girl. She was taken aback by Gina’s attack.

Nate ran his way back to the school in time for Gina to get ready for her makeover. Sydney, prior to Trae, Carl, and Alex’s lessons, finished Gina’s makeover, and Nate grabbed the clothes from the backpack, ripped the tags off, and gave them to Gina.

“Bang bang! Bang bang! Bang bang!”

Sydney had announced, minutes afterwards, “All right, the new Gina is ready to be seen, but don’t be perverts.”

Trae, Nate, Alex, and Carl sat down while Gina made her exit out of the bathroom. Alex, in his perspective, saw smoke coming out from behind. Gina wore long black boots, with her apparel that Nate stole. Gina’s appearance amazed the guys, especially Alex. Gina held her hips as she walked out.

“I’ll be damned,” Trae said.

“Yes, slay me!” Carl yelled out.

“I’m in love,” Alex said.

“I knew I always had good fashion taste. You’re welcome, Gina,” Nate flaunted.

Sydney had smiled, “Well, Gina, you look like a Savage. You act like a Savage. Welcome to the mafia.”

Trae clapped and high-fived Gina, who seemed like a new person. She felt rejuvenated and less uptight. She was ready to show off her appearance. Joe Bender had walked by and laughed.

“So, what are you guys, brainwashers?” Joe commented. “You chose the smart girl instead of someone like me to be a Savage? Tragic.”

Carl raised an eyebrow, “I’m sorry, but who are you?”

“Joe Bender.” Trae said. “He’s in my Literature and History classes, quite the argumentative one, are ya?”

Gina had looked at Joe, “Is that what I am to you, Joe? I’m just a smart girl?”

Joe scoffed, “Please, you’re a teacher’s pet. You can’t be a Savage, or any of these ratchet cliques.”

Gina rolled her eyes and sucked her teeth. “Whatever, Bender.”

“What’s your deal?” Nate said. “I take it as you want to be like us.”

“I don’t.”

“But you clearly said—” Nate was interrupted by Joe.

Joe replied. “You guys aren’t really Savages. All of you try too hard to be badasses. I bet once you guys head home, you get your warm bottles of milk. You guys are babies. You obviously don’t know the true meaning of a Savage.”

Sydney laughed, “Do you even have a reputation here?”

“You’ve been in this school long enough, you should know.”

“I literally don’t know. You’re barely around for me to even know.” Sydney shrugged. “No shade.”

“Shots fired.” Carl said.

“You can’t just criticize us because we’re people who just don’t care.”

“I’m not criticizing any of you,” Joe said. “But without me, you guys are really nothing. The reason why you guys aren’t so popular is because, let’s be real, you’re all boring.”

“Bitch,” Gina had stood up, as if she prepared to attack Joe. Sydney had nodded her head and stopped Gina.

“When is the last time you’ve ever tried to take action against this school?” Joe asked. “As much as I hate it, I’d love to see you guys at least do something besides mope around like thirsty flops—like those Sex Symbols—asking for people to join.”

“I don’t see any pitchforks, baseball bats, Taser guns, pepper spray, lighters,” Joe continued. “All I see is posers.”

Alex whispered in Trae’s ear, “Can I please pummel this tightwad?”

“No.” Trae spoke out. “Joe has a point. Maybe we are posers; maybe we’re not taking any action like we should. Let’s face it, we’re not making the effort. Perhaps we need you, Joe.”

Joe scoffed, “You guys need me?”

“I didn’t say that,” Sydney smiled. “Trae did.”

“Still, you guys are probably flops without me.” Joe shrugged. “I don’t do cliques, and I hate everyone, but you guys need serious help. I’ll join.”

Trae smiled, “Great.”

________________

“I do not trust him, Trae,” Sydney had yelled out in the back of the school. Sydney began to smoke during their lunch break. “I don’t trust him one bit.”

Trae sighed, “Look, we need all of the help we can get. We’re not really a group if we aren’t making the effort to act like one.”

“What about Gina? Didn’t you encourage her to kick ass?”

“I paid the girl she fought 20 dollars and a make-out session to antagonize Gina. It was just to test her strength.”

FLASHBACK:

“So, what will I get out of this?” The tall girl that fought Gina had asked. Trae talked to her privately.

“Look, if you let her kick your ass, I’ll pay you 20 dollars,”

“What about 7 minutes in heaven, too?”

Trae sighed, rolled his eyes as he knew what he was going to deal with: an unattractive girl kissing an attractive guy. He found himself in a very awkward position as he made out with the girl in the janitor’s closet.

 

Sydney looked at Trae in disgust, “You disappoint me, sometimes, Trae. I thought you were gay.”

“I’m bisexual,” Trae rolled his eyes. “I thought everyone knew that.”

“You dated so many guys these past few years since we’ve met, I’ve always thought you were 100% boy candy.” Sydney shrugged and replied, “My mistake.”

“It’s not like I wanted to make out with her,” Trae said. “I would have preferred giving her the 20 dollars as well. Besides, it was for Gina’s good, and she accomplished.”

 

“Still, I just don’t trust Joe, he looks like a sneaky little runt,” Sydney said.

Trae shrugged, “I don’t either, he seems sneaky to me too, but we’ll just have to see his status.”

______________

Outside the football field, the jocks were practicing for their football game. Although practice was going well, Alex sat on the bleachers, disgusted and abhorrent. He watched his one-sided enemy take the spot he once had.

Gina had walked her way to Alex, sitting down next to him. “Why are you here all alone?”

“You know, I used to be a member of the football team.”

Gina was stunned, “You were? Why did you stop?”

“I didn’t stop, I just got kicked out,” Alex said. He didn’t turn around to look at Gina, but continued to respond, “And I got replaced by that new kid, Rufus King.”

Rufus King was competition to Alex, and Rufus didn’t seem the same way. Rufus was more nonchalant, friendly, and unaware of the drama. Alex is the person to hold grudges, and blame the world, but his entire blame goes to Rufus. After Rufus took Alex’s quarterback position, Alex decided to join the Savages. Alex had gotten removed from the football team after his altercation.

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Sorry doesn’t really help, you know?” Alex said. “Sometimes you have to let go of the past and move on to the future. Without me, I know the football team will lose.”

Gina shrugged, “Things can get better, Alex. At least you have a team of people who will defend you.”

Alex turned around and gave a short smile, “I guess you’re right.”

“Come on, I’m heading out for ice cream,” Gina had said in a giddy manner. “Want to come? I’ll pay.”

Alex snickered, “You’re totes not a Savage yet.”

“I have time,” Gina said, the two laughed as they departed from the bleachers. Sydney could be seen from afar, suspiciously watching the two walk together.

__________________

Trae began to stroll in the hallways after school, but he was stopped by Dirty Dan. Trae knew Dan was irresistible, but he tried to avoid him.

“Hey, Hollywood,” Dan stated.

Trae squinted his eyes after he stopped, “Yes, Dan.”

Liam and Glenn watched from afar, looking at Trae, and the pair began to laugh. Dirty Dan’s masculinity, his tattoo on his arms, and his attractive facial features were irresistible. Trae wanted to try his hardest to ignore them.

“What’s the deal? No call, no text, nothing but a hit and run?” Dan said.

Trae replied, “I’ve been busy.”

“Oh, I see,” Dirty Dan said, rubbing his chin. He continued to whisper,  “I assume your mod squad is better than our little thing we have going on.”

“We only made out, that’s it,” Trae whispered. “And one night we talked on Skype, that’s it.”

Dan chuckled, “We did more than talk.”

“Dan--” Trae tried to explain himself further until Dan interrupted him.

Dan lifted his finger up to Trae’s mouth, “Shh.”

“Trae, you know you can’t deny it,” Dan replied, “You’re attracted to me.”

“I’m not looking for a monthly sex buddy, Dan,” Trae replied, “You’re called a Sex Symbol for a reason. You think with your ding-dong more than your brain. You’re a tool.”

Trae scoffed and walked away from Dan, who chuckled. “He’s playing hard to get.”

Afterwards, Trae made his way to his locker, where Joe came from behind. “Did I just hear you and Dirty Dan Daniels had cybersex?”

“You’re nosy, I see.”

“I’m pretty intrusive, give me the juice!” Joe said desperately.

Trae rolled his eyes, “It was nothing more than flirting, and a little show-off. Other than that, I’m not attracted to guys like that, nor girls who act like that.”

“I thought you were gay?” Joe chuckled.

“Jesus Christ, I’m bisexual,” Trae said.

“How atrocious, though,” Joe said. “Out of all people you hook up with Dirty Dan.”

“Well, you act like you’re innocent,” Trae replied, “Didn’t you hook up with the other Dan before he left this school?”

“No, I didn’t. I was drunk, we flirted, simple as that,” Joe shrugged. “I know I’m not innocent. I don’t care about my rep.”

Joe walked away from Trae, looking around at everyone in the hallway. He jumped in front of hallway, screaming, “I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation!”

Trae watched him from afar, shaking his head.

“You're living in the past, it's a new generation. A boy can do what he wants to do and that's what I'm gonna do!”

“An' I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation! Oh no, not me!”

Joe ran out of the school building, jostling through a crowd of people. “And I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation. Never said I wanted to improve my station, and I'm only doin' good when I'm havin' fun, and I don't have to please no one.”

“And I don’t give a damn about my bad reputation! Oh no, not me, oh no, not me.”

“I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation! I've never been afraid of any deviation, and I don't really care if you think I'm strange, I ain't gonna change. And I'm never gonna care 'bout my bad reputation. Oh no, not me, oh no, not me!” Joe sang.

“Pedal, boys!”

Trae had walked out to watch Joe perform at the courtyard, where an ensemble danced around Joe.

“And I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation. The world's in trouble, there's no communication, and everyone can say what they wanna say. It never gets better, anyway.”

“So why should I care about a bad reputation….anyway?”

“Oh no, not me. Oh no, not me.”

Joe jumped up on a picnic table at the courtyard, “I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation. You're living in the past, it's a new generation, and I only feel good when I got no pain, and that's how I'm gonna stay.”

“And I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation! Oh no, not me, oh no, not me. Not me, not me!” Joe yelled out. He received a round of applause, while Trae watched him from afar, assuming he’s going to be competition, or some sort of trouble.

Trae narrated, As of now, I have the devil and the angel above my head. The angel is telling me not to trust Joe, and the devil tells me that the Savages will be nothing without him. Regardless, I made the Savages, it’s in my control, not his. No one is going to stop what I built and take over.

Joe looked at Trae’s expressions, with people still surrounding him with applause.

Joe narrates, I think I got Trae right where I wanted him, at a level of pure intimidation. He’s afraid of me, I can tell. He’s fearing that I’ll jeopardize his leadership of the Savages, which is my main goal. Let’s face it, without me, The Savages are irrelevant. I’m ready to be in control.

A smirk landed on Joe’s face, as he prepared for plan A: manipulation.

________________

Gina visited Sydney’s house that night, but Sydney seemed completely irritated and zoned out. Gina was very talkative at that moment; she talked so much that Sydney barely understood her. All Sydney could hear was gibberish. Gina sat on Sydney’s bed while Sydney looked in the mirror.

Sydney narrated, Why did I invite this girl to my house?

Sydney tried to change the subject. “I have a question for you, Gina.”

“Sure, go for it.” Gina smiled.

Sydney was straightforward with her question: “Do you like Alex?”

Gina raised her eyebrows and began to stutter, “Um, well…. Yeah. Alex is a cool guy. He’s pretty funny, too. He’s a good new friend.”

“I’m not talking about friends, Gina Gershon,” Sydney turned away from her mirror. “I’m talking about lovers.”

Gina chuckled, and continued to stutter. “I mean, no, I’m not really… um… ready to date someone.”

Sydney smirked, “Good, because Alex is my boyfriend.”

Gina almost choked on her Coca-Cola. In shock, she looked at Sydney, “You guys are dating?”

“You know it.” Sydney smiled.

“Well, um…” Gina needed time to take it in. She knew she felt a little something for Alex, even if they only met a day ago. “You guys make a very cute couple. I gotta go, my mom just texted me.”

“Are you sure?” Sydney looked up, “You don’t have to go.”

“I do,” Gina chuckled. “My mom needs me to clip her toenails, bye!”

Gina had walked out of Sydney’s bedroom, and leaned on her door after closing it. She was embarrassed with herself.

“Damn,” she whispered.

Sydney chuckled as she continued to fix her hair in the mirror, “Sucker.”

____________

Trae lied down on his bed – surrounded by posters and music everywhere. That was the one thing about him, he loved music. It was his passion, just like writing. He listened to his music and began to write stories, until his phone vibrated, receiving a Kik message from Dirty Dan.

When Trae grabbed his phone, he checked his Kik, with Dan stating, “Hey babe x3”

Trae sighed, turned off his phone and continued writing.

His mother came into his room.

“Jeez, Mom, can you knock?”

“I’m your mother, you won’t get any privacy in this house if I don’t,” his mother replied, chuckling. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine, just doing some writing.”

His mother sat down, “You know, your teacher, Mr. Baxter called me; he said that you turned down AP classes. Why?”

Trae shrugged, “AP classes aren’t for me right now, Mom. You know I just want to graduate from that school.”

“You have a 3.9 GPA, your test scores are high, you’re super smart, you’ll be missing a lot of opportunities, Trae. I agree with Mr. Baxter, you should consider AP classes.”

“I’m on the rocks about it.”

His mother grabbed his hand gently, “You know, when I was your age. I wasn’t able to have these opportunities you have. If you want me to be honest, I didn’t get my high school diploma until you were 7 years old. You may not remember it, but when I was in high school, I dropped out because I didn’t pass Physical Education.”

“You’re not serious, are you?”

“To hell, I am.”

Trae snickered. “That’s ridiculous.”

“I had the door shut in my face when I was late to class. So I shrugged it off and dropped out. I don’t want you to be like me, Trae. Whatever you’re doing to push yourself away will make it worse.”

Trae looked down, “I’ll think about it, Mom.”

“Please consider,” Trae’s mother grabbed him by his arms to hug her.

Trae sighed while they hugged, looking up to the ceiling, musing about his fate with or without The Savages.

____________

The next morning, Trae had walked to the courtyard, where The Savages had sat. Gina sat further apart from everyone, while Joe and Nate began talking.

“So, what is with your Sharon Osbourne obsession?” Joe said.

“Sharon Osbourne is clearly the queen and you’re mad?” Nate replied defensively.

Joe sighed, “Beyoncé is the queen. You are the weakest link.”

While Joe and Nate continued their debacle, Alex stood up to walk to Gina—Sydney watched from afar—and Alex approached her.

“Hey Gina, I have a question,” Alex smiled.

“Okay?” Gina said. Her tone implied she wasn’t as interested in talking to him anymore after Sydney, but she listened.

“I just wanted to know if you’d like to hang out sometimes, a movie or arcade, or whatever. We can go sneak in rated R movies together like Savages,” Alex said enthusiastically.

Gina asked, “What about Sydney?”

“I mean, of course she could come to, but… I wanted it to be me and you,” Alex said.

Gina scoffed, “Do I look like a French fry to you?”

“Um, no.” Alex was confused.

“Do I look like a biscuit? Do I look like chicken noodle soup with a soda?” Gina said.

“Of course not. Why?”

“Well, why are you treating me like a freaking side order?” Gina yelled. “Go with your girlfriend.”

Gina departed from Alex, who was still confused. “Girlfriend, I don’t have a girlfriend.”

The Savages all stood together until the Moneybags approached them. Cass, however, was nowhere in sight. It was clear she didn’t want to be involved in any conflict. Kyler and Felix stood together, along with other Moneybags, to confront them.

“Ventura. Prescott. Osbourne. Touché. Herrera.” Felix said in a sardonic tone. “Well, well.”

Felix noticed Joe and Gina’s presence, “It seems like you guys added more fire to the flame, adding two of my favorite enemies, Bender, and brain dead Gina Woods.”

“What did you just call me?” Gina yelled out.

Trae sighed, “What do you guys want?”

“We’re just here for a truce,” Felix said. It was clear he was being satirical. “We believe in equality for all. We believe in America. We believe in the Declaration of Independence. We believe that The Savages are equal just like us.”

Joe scoffed, “You’re such an ass.”

Felix turned his head at Joe. “An ass: something you can’t get your head out of.”

Trae began to come to everyone’s defense, “Savages, this is an example of what money does to people. It makes them jerks, butt plugs, supercilious, selfish, and full of sh*t.”

“Boom,” Gina said.

Felix clapped his hands, “Preach to the choir, sir.”

“Winchester, when are you going to realize that we don’t care about your kind? Because of you guys, poverty still exists. You’re all selfish elitists. You guys think you’re so good with your money, but it isn’t everything.”

“Boom,” Sydney said randomly.

Carl began humming, alongside Gina and Nate. Kyler began to snicker while Trae continued to speak.

Trae continued, “My mother didn’t have to be a prostitute to become rich.” Trae hinted at Felix’s personal life, which turned Felix’s smile into an angry expression.

“Oh sh*t.” Joe laughed hysterically, while Carl, Gina, and Sydney yelled in unison, “BOOM.”

“Oh yeah, didn’t think I know?” Trae smiled. “I hear everything.”

The Moneybags all looked at him in shock, while Kyler continued to laugh. Felix nudged him, “It’s not funny.”

“Pathetic. I feel bad for Cass. She’s the only sweet girl I know in the Moneybags. She’s probably the only rich girl who was born to a good family.” Trae shrugged. “But in sum, I’ll say this. Stay away from our territory, don’t ever come near us, or even talk about us. Trust me, I have a lot of Lipton tea to spill.”

Felix sucked his teeth and the Moneybags departed from the courtyard.

“They're gonna clean up your looks, with all the lies in the books to make a citizen out of you,” Alex sang. “Because they sleep with a gun and keep an eye on you, son, so they can watch all the things you do.”

Alex had stooped down from courtyard table and started walking inside of the school building with the Savages. Joe smiled at Trae, suddenly respecting his responses to the Moneybags.

Carl began to sing along, “Because the drugs never work, they're gonna give you a smirk, ‘cause they got methods of keeping you clean.”

Nate and Carl sang together, “They're gonna rip up your heads, your aspirations to shreds, another cog in the murder machine.”

The Savages sang along: “They said all teenagers scare the living sh*t out of me, they could care less as long as someone'll bleed. So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose, maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me.”

“The boys and girls in the clique, the awful names that they stick, you're never gonna fit in much, kid,” Trae and Gina sang.

“But if you're troubled and hurt, what you got under your shirt will make them pay for the things that they did,” Joe and Sydney sang.

Every clique in the school began to watch The Savages perform – “They said all teenagers scare the living sh*t out of me, they could care less as long as someone'll bleed. So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose, maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me.”

“All together now!” Alex yelled.

“Teenagers scare the living shit out of me. They could care less as long as someone'll bleed, so darken your clothes or strike a violent pose, maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me.”

Trae led the Savages’ performance, while Alex and Gina shared random glances, despite Gina’s angst. Sydney looked at Joe, who looked at Trae.

“Teenagers scare the living shit out of me. They could care less as long as someone'll bleed, so darken your clothes or strike a violent pose, maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me.”

Unexpected applause came from the students, and other students, such as Rufus, Dirty Dan and Slick Vik, cheered the Savages on. Alyssa jumped up and down in excitement, while Sena told her to stop.

Trae narrated, I said it before. The Savages are undefeatable. This school war is not over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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