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The Savages - 1x06: The School For Scandal

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Thesavagestriggerwarning1x06

PreviouslyOnTheSavages

Carl encourages The Savages to ditch school for the day and take a road trip to Portland, Oregon; however, things backfire when they are stranded in the middle of nowhere. After a night at the Rave, The Savages lose control and are chased by drug dealing businessmen, whom Carl’s father secretively works for. Zachary develops a crush on Trae, but when Joe kisses Trae—a part of his scheme—Zachary feels disappointed. Alex and Gina discover their childhood history together, and Sydney becomes fed up with Nate’s behavior. Rose accuses Dirty Dan of the infamous video scandal, and it leads to one question—who made the video?

__________________

It was 1:00 in the morning—hours after The Savages faced potential consequences in Portland, Oregon. A glossy, silver Ford Edge vehicle drove hastily on the highways; the front headlights lit the dark concrete road. As the car drove at a soaring velocity, a large breeze entered the cracked window of the passenger’s seat, where Alex Herrera sat. He faced the windshield across from him, while his mother angrily complained in Spanish.

Alejandro Gustavo Herrera, estás metido en un buen lio!” Alex’s mother yelled furiously. She had beautiful hair that went down to the edges of her shoulder blades, covered up in a black sweater.

Alex’s mother, Marie, continued to yell in Spanish, “Me cago en la puta, Alex. Cuando vas a aprender a compotarte como una persona y no un animal. Estoy harto de tus niñerias.”

Confused with her belligerent, foreign language, Alex tightly closed his fists, anxiously waiting for the trip back home. He felt a sense of guilt through his body, but again, he knew he wasn’t at fault. That entire night, he hasn’t touched one glass of alcohol—despite the peer pressure. He enjoyed himself, yes, but he definitely didn’t want to set a bad example for Gina, who, ironically, set a bad example for herself at The Rave.

He hoped, yet knew that Gina would be safe and okay—but aside from facing verbal consequences from his mother, Gina was on his mind. At the same time, his fantasies were distracted by his mother, who continued to yell in Spanish.

Alex rolled his eyes—he got it—what he did was wrong. What else could he say to shut her up? He sighed as he began to reflect on his life before The Savages.

Alex narrated, You think this is bad? My childhood’s been bad for years—even my family. I respect my mom, but I just wish she would just… shut up. Before I moved to Seattle when I was four, I lived in the worst part of Brooklyn, New York. Bedford-Stuyvesant—you know, where Biggie Smalls resided. Believe it or not, I never noticed how dangerous my life was there, but it wasn’t a life in paradise. I’m talking Papi store robberies…

~

REENACTMENT: On a cloudy, snowy day, a Hispanic family of five roamed around the empty store, while a father watched a Spanish telenovela on the Telemundo channel with his wife. On a small, gray Sanyo television, the two talked in Spanish, while children roamed around behind the aisles with paper airplanes.

The peaceful, usual family bond was disrupted by a dangerous group of robbers—the quartet wore black ski masks on their faces, with holes showing their eyes and their mouths. With guns, they pointed at the husband and wife at the counter. The children hid fearfully behind the aisles, screaming, “Mama, papa!”

“Freeze, motherf*ckers!” A robber yelled aggressively. “Give me the money!”

The father raised his hands up to surrender, along with his wife, who fainted on the floor.

“What’s wrong with your bitch, ese?” The robber asked the man at an inopportune time.

“Heat,” The father said in a timid tone.

~

Alex continued to narrate, Ghetto pregnancies.

REENACTMENT: Near a row of brownstones in Brooklyn, New York, cars drove by quickly, while a pregnant, aggressive girl stood in front of another guy, arguing with him constantly in front of passing people.

“You the father, Marquan, you the father,” The girl yelled and repeated. Marquan’s eyes drifted away from the girl as an intimation of denial.

Marquan replied, “No, I ain’t.”

“Yes you are, Marquan. You finna take care of this baby. You finna buy the pampers, the Similac, the bottles, the clothes, my weave, you gonna take care of this baby, Marquan.”

“You crazy, Tonya, you better get out of my face with that sh*t,”

“So, you really think you’re gonna bust me wide open in your bed, and not take care of this growing seed in my kitty cat?” Tonya yelled, grabbing a gun from the pocket of her white fur coat.

“You got me f*cked up!” Tonya pulled the trigger, shooting Marquan once in the chest. After Marquan fell slowly to the ground, Tonya looked around in guilt. She put the gun back in her pocket.

She yelled, “And you better pay child support in heaven, hoe!” as she faced him on the ground. She walked away from his direction, and rubbed her enlarged abdomen.

“Don’t worry, Baby Shaquille, I’m gonna find a real man with real money to take care of you,” Tonya whispered hoarsely. She caressed her stomach with her lengthy, neon fingernails.

~

Alex narrated, Well, maybe I exaggerated at that point, but my family is like oil and water… every day.

FLASHBACK #1: Alex, at two years old, played with number blocks on the floor of his living room, and his playful curiosity was disrupted by constant arguments between his oldest siblings—specifically, his second oldest brother, Fernando (everyone called him Fernie), and his oldest, and only sister, Isabella (everyone called her Izzy).

“Mama, Fernie keeps touching my diary; tell him to stop!” Izzy yelled, while Fernie approached him. Alex watched, innocently witnessing the verbal confrontation.

“I didn’t touch your nasty diary—it’s full of cooties!”

The two began to argue in Spanish, and the arguments began to augment. Maria, the siblings’ mother, entered the room angrily, confronting both Izzy and Fernie in Spanish, and the father entered, yelling at them all in Spanish. The family’s oldest sibling, Roberto (also known as Robbie) walked across the confrontation with Sony headphones on his head.

~

FLASHBACK #2: Compared to years ago in Brooklyn, New York, the same, routine arguments continue with the Herreras. While Alex returned back home from school, he grabbed his large backpack as he avoided the tense argument between Maria, Alex’s father, Armando, Izzy, and Fernie. Alex tilted his head to the left side, rolled his eyes and walked upstairs carelessly.

Alex narrates, Keeping Up With the Herreras, coming to your local televisions this winter.

~

Alex sighed as his mother continued to yell in Spanish, after 3 minutes of lecturing. Alex turned to his mother as she finally began to calm down.

“Comprende?”

Alex looked away, still confused with most of the things she said to him. In order to end the conversation, Alex sighed and complied, “Si, mama.

Welcome to my life, Alex narrated.

Thesavageslogo

_______________

Rewindsavages

30 minutes after The Savages were pulled over by a fallen tree and a few police cars, the members all sat in a police station in Portland, Oregon, awaiting their departure or further discussion. The sounds of banter and conversation filled the air, as well as numerous sounds of phones ringing.

Trae rocked back in forth in his chair—ironically, he felt nervous of the possible consequences. They weren’t under arrest, luckily, but in his eyes anything could happen. Zachary watched him, noticing the similar behavior—he was anxious himself.

“I’m not ready to be someone’s bottom bitch,” Trae said nervously. It was silent, as the Savages continued to revel in the tension.

Lily whispered softly, “I’m too pretty to be living the Orange is the New Black life.”

“My mom will kill me,” Alex said chuckled. “I’m telling you, she will go from Maid in Manhattan to Crooklyn in a minute if she knew I would be in a police station.”

“Okay, guys,” Carl began to sound optimistic. “You guys are overthinking everything—we’re just here for protection. The van’s in safe hands and we’ll get out of here in no time like nothing happened.”

“Carl?!” Eric, Carl’s father rushed inside of the police station after the phone call. Carl familiarized with his father’s voice, and he knew that it was going to be an issue.

“…or not,” Carl said weakly.

Eric rushed to The Savages, less angrily and more relieved. He calmly approached Carl, who stood up to hug him. “Are you guys okay? What were you guys thinking driving all the way out here? Your mom and I were worried sick.”

Lily whispered in Sydney’s ear, flirtatiously stating, “Damn, Carl’s dad is smoking hot,”

“I heard that, Lily,” Carl sighed—he turned back to his father’s direction and replied, “Dad, we—um—ditched school for Portland, Oregon.”

“I know,” Eric grabbed his cellphone, showing him the evidence. “How did you think I found you guys?”

“Does Mom know?” Carl said fearfully.

Eric replied, “No. I’m not going to tell her, or Trae’s mother, who was pretty much worried sick about a sleepover at our house tonight?”

Carl’s father gazed in Trae’s eyes—he began to chuckle nervously, “Well, um…you see what happened—”

“—You can stay with us tonight, Trae.” Eric said calmly with a short smile, and Trae approved of his acceptance, leaving him silent. Carl’s father turned to Carl, whispering, “We’ll talk about this later.”

Carl nodded his head, while Trae gave a brief smile before he looked at Carl with relief. Alex sighed, while his arms consoled an exhausted Gina in the waiting room—he knew he would have to face the music with his mother. She wasn’t exactly the happy type, neither was the rest of his family.

__________

Savagesforward

On a Monday morning—two days after the Portland, Oregon incident—it was a cooler, crisp sunny day. Alex Herrera stood in his bedroom after taking a shower; he quickly grabbed a white T-shirt and covered his toned chest. He picked up his backpack from the side of his tidy bedroom, covered with posters of video games and hip-hop music. He closed the door, with a “Keep Out” sign boldly centered on the front.

After walking downstairs to a full kitchen, Alex hoped to grab breakfast as fast as possible. However, Alex sighed as his mother and father, and his oldest sister, Izzy, who erratically lived with his parents after numerous conflicts with her boyfriend, and college.

“You’re early this morning,” His mother said sarcastically. “Is this the time for crime plotting?”

His father was aware of the situation, and he decided to laugh, although his mother was still unhappy after two days ago. Alex rolled his eyes and stated softly, “Funny.”

Alex’s sister, Izzy, walked to him as he sat down on a stool in the kitchen counter with a full bowl of Cheerios. She was a gorgeous resemblance of her mother, with long black hair.

Amused by Alex’s situation, Izzy teased, “My baby brother, Allie Cat, is a premature jailbird.”

While Izzy began to wrap her arms around him, to tease, Alex pushed her off, “Stop.”

“Don’t influence him, Isabella,” Maria demanded, and she turned around to Alex in disappointment. “He’s already been influenced enough.”

“Great, just make everything about me,” Alex said in annoyance. His mother still held a grudge after what happened—he apologized, he moved on, so why couldn’t she?

“Why were you arrested anyway?” Izzy asked out of curiosity, as she walked to the other side of the counter, pouring cereal into her bowl. However, Alex corrected her while he responded.

Alex placed the silverware back inside of a red bowl, responding, “I wasn’t arrested—we were sent to the police station because we were being chased. I would have explained that to Ma, but she was busy cursing me out like we were back in Bed-Stuy.”

“Well, Alex, could you blame me?” Maria asked. “I’d rather see my son dropping books off to the college libraries than dropping soap in jail.”

“And when were you going to tell us that you ditched school, or decide to go all of the way to Portland, Oregon?” His father, Armando, decided to enter the confrontation.

Alex responded, “Maybe I didn’t want to. I said I was sorry, why can’t you guys just leave it alone?”

“Maybe we don’t want to,” Armando grabbed his mug of coffee from the counter. “Now, watch your tone, mijo.”

Alex rolled his eyes, while continuing to listen to his mother’s usual lectures about his life.

“Alex, it’s not about the things you say, it’s about the things you do,” Maria stated. “I want what’s best for you. You’re our youngest son.”

“Ma, yo no entiendo. You want what’s best for me, but what about what I want?” Alex claimed, pushing his empty cereal bowl aside.

His father replied, “A speeding ticket or a trip to Beyond Scared Straight?”

Maria chuckled and nudged Armando’s arm, “Armando.”

Izzy shook her head and ate from her bowl of cereal, watching the conflict between Alex and the parents.

“I’m leaving,” Alex couldn’t take the amusement. He stood out of his chair, tossing the empty bowl in the sink. Before he began to leave, his mother stood up to give him a reminder.

“Don’t think about heading out after school,” Maria demanded. “We have some special visitors coming to stay with us for the week. Your cousin’s coming all the way from Los Angeles.”

Alex stopped himself from walking any further; when he heard the word “cousin,” he didn’t even want to know who.

Which cousin from Los Angeles?” Alex raised his eyebrow once—curious to know who.

Maria replied, “Your cousin, Andres.”

Alex’s face cringed—Andres was nothing but trouble. He wasn’t exactly a bad guy, but he influenced bad things; that’s what Alex disliked about him. As soon as his mother said his name, Alex nodded his head quickly, and responded negatively.

“This is my punishment, right?” Alex asked, “I’m being Punk’d—where’s Ashton Kutcher?”

Maria folded her arms together, unsatisfied with his response, “Alejandro.”

Alex responded quickly, “Look, I’m serious. Even Izzy, Fernie, and Robbie know that Andres is nothing but drama everytime he visits—no matter if it’s a family reunion, a birthday party, or at one of Marc Anthony’s concerts.”

“True,” Izzy took a sip from a glass of her orange juice, and Armando turned around to ask her a question.

Mija, don’t you have somewhere to be? Like work? The place that I helped you get because other jobs refused to hire you?” Armando asked.

Izzy shrugged, “This is my day off, papa, don’t ruin it. Besides, where is Andres going to stay?”

“Alex’s bedroom,” Maria smiled sarcastically, turning to his direction. Alex looked at her with fury.

“You really hate me, don’t you, mama?”

“Now, don’t be stubborn, Alex. That bunk bed didn’t come out of your pockets. Besides, Fernie is in college, so he’ll make himself right at home,” Armando commented.

Alex sighed and looked at Izzy’s side of the kitchen. Maria began to lecture him—“Now, Alex, you know that my sister, your aunt Helene, has breast cancer. Andres has no one in Los Angeles to help him. Your uncle is ill. I promised your aunt that we’d welcome Andres with open arms—and we’re going to do that, you understand?”

“Well…” Alex tried to make another statement, until Maria’s tone became very serious.

Do you understand?” Maria asked.

Alex sighed and paused shortly, “Si, mama.”

“Good, now get to school before you’re late,” Maria said.

Alex tried to control his attitude; he decided to exit, and his facial expressions intimated his anger with his parents. He felt punished—it’s not that he hated his cousin, Andres, but every time there was something new about him. Alex began walking on the concrete sidewalks.

____________

At James A. Masters High School, the environment was back to normal—The Savages were back, but remotely together. Carl, Trae, and Sydney walked together, alongside Nate, who noticed the tension between him and Sydney. After their “wild ride,” everything between them, even Trae, wouldn’t be the same.

Sydney’s blonde hair lied on her shoulder blades—she pushed her hair behind her back, while she noticed Nate was walking beside her inside of the building.

“Where’s your little friend, Nate? He’s usually with you every day of the week,” Sydney said, mentioning an absent Joe.

She was interested, yet surprised with Nate’s presence, prior to their brief argument.

Nate responded, “He’s not coming. Why are you so worked up about it?”

“I just find it interesting that you’re with us, but when he’s here, you aren’t--that’s all.” Sydney’s response was short and brief. Nate rolled his eyes, ignoring the sarcastic reply she made. She chuckled and turned to Trae, who seemed more silent than usual.

Sydney seemed very confused with the awkward tension and emotion with most of the Savages. She began to question Trae, who walked with sudden anxiety and confusion in his eyes.

He looked at his glossy iPhone, awaiting a text from Zachary, who continued to avoid him after he caught him and Joe in a compromising position at the Rave. Hoping to get a response after texting Zach the night before, Trae reached for his phone to check his messages.

TraeZachSavages1

“And you’re pretty quiet today, Ventura,” Sydney acknowledged it. From the look in Trae’s eyes, she could tell something was wrong, even Carl.

Carl asked sympathetically, “What’s wrong, man?”

“It’s nothing, I’m just a bit off today,” Trae said, in a deeper, unusual tone. “My mom’s been on my ass after she realized I ditched school; it’s just a lot of personal stuff here and home.”

“Did she ground you?” Sydney asked.

“No, surprisingly,” Trae replied. “She’s been giving me warnings and cursing me out like a sailor—it’s all because she’s going through PMS and she missed last night’s lottery.”

“What’s PMS?” Carl asked curiously, while Nate replied with a disgusting statement, “P*ssy Meat Syndrome.”

Sydney winced as she looked at Nate; she rolled his eyes, “You guys are so clueless, Coach Radnor taught us about this a couple of weeks ago in Sex Ed.”

Carl scoffed as he grasped a strap from his backpack, “I only show interest in Sex Ed when he talks about the use of the penis.”

“Okay, um, can we not?” Trae asked calmly. “As much as I like the thought of a di—” Trae stopped himself, replacing his words, “—penis, let’s not drift away from the fact that it’s been almost 7 weeks and we still haven’t done anything to go against Rose De Vil and her bullsh*t.”

Nate scoffed, “We would have if you didn’t decide to add a bunch of annoying, irrelevant people like Gina—who, shall I recall, blew chunks on my new shoes the other night, or how about the fact that De Vil is still on our heads about a Sean Cody audition video we didn’t know sh*t about.”

Nate mentioned Brian and Vik’s popular video scandal—it was clear Rose De Vil would not back down, and Trae refused to respond to Nate’s complaints.

“Seriously, she’s still on that?” Carl asked, as he turned around to Trae.

“Apparently, she’s not backing down until she finds out who did it,” Trae commented; he chuckled briefly and shrugged. “She should give up, though.”

“It could have been an outside source for all we know,” Nate said. However, Trae stopped walking as he discovered someone familiar entering the school building. His eyes were straightforward.

“Speaking of an outside source,” Trae referenced Nate’s previous statement.

The four members from the Savages noticed the familiar face—as the girl walked through the hallways, she wore bright, neon colored Adidas, with the tongue shoe pad exposed in front of her black, tight spandex pants. Her flamingo pink shirt was printed with Hollister Laguna, bolded in royal blue.

Her long, blonde hair was straightened neatly with a red baseball cap, rotated to the back of her head. As the girl flipped her hair back, like a girl in slow motion, the face became very familiar. It was the one and only Watermelondrea Jones.

Her lips were pursed, and her nose piercing was evident as she walked towards the four members of the Savages, preparing for a verbal war.

"Watermelondrea?" Sydney asked; she was not pleased with Watermelondrea's visit.

Watermelondrea confidently flipped her blonde hair behind her. Her green eyes glowed as she made a response.

"In the flesh, bitches,” Watermelondrea said.

As Carl and Trae showed no actual emotion to her presence, Nate made a snide comment, considering their long-term rivalry, “Shouldn’t there be a “No Trespassing” sign outside?”

Watermelondrea rolled her eyes and looked at Nate, “Very funny, Slim Shady.”

“Why are you even here?” Sydney asked succinctly. “You graduated last year—in other words, that means there’s no point in you coming back.”

Watermelondrea commented, “Well, Horse-Track Barbie—I’m an intern here, so I can make some money to pay for your trip to the salon down at 32nd Avenue.”

“At least I do have real hair,” Sydney rolled her eyes and responded.

“That’s fine, ‘cause I got the best weave, and I have edges. I got a good man—whenever he gives it to me, he buys me Chinese food every night,” Watermelondrea said.

“General Tso’s Chicken!” There was awkward silence after Watermelondrea shouted the name of the food. Sydney, Trae, Nate, and Carl stared in disbelief.

Watermelondrea gave an unusual laugh—she asked, “You mad?”

Trae noticed that Watermelondrea began to approach him flirtatiously, “But I’m willing to make an exception for your fine ass.”

“I’m fine, Watermelondrea, thank you,” Trae calmly denied her sexual and persuasive behavior, and Watermelondrea sucked her teeth.

“Please, I know you’re not strictly d*ckly—I heard about you, Trizzy Trae,” Watermelondrea gave a gesture that made Trae uncomfortable.

Trae cringed, “I don’t even want to know what you heard about me. I just want to know why you’re back. You work here?”

“No, child, you know I can’t get no job,” Watermelondrea said. “At least not yet—I just can’t keep my kitty box off the pole. Besides, I go to Everest College, and I’m a part-time therapist and I’m about to be an independent artist. I got these bitches calling me Dr. Drea.”

“Independent… artist?” Sydney raised her eyebrow after asking that question.

“Bitch, did I, did I, did I st-st-stutter?” Watermelondrea replied sarcastically. From her large purse, she showcased a CD in a crystal case.

Watermelondreasavagealbum


The album was titled, “Mad House,” as Carl, Trae, Sydney, and Nate moved closer to each other to examine the cover art, they looked at a confident Watermelondrea, pursing her lips with a smile.

“Yup, I’m cute, right?” Watermelondrea asked.

Nate looked up, “You look like a low battery.”

Watermelondrea’s confidence level lowered as she yelled at Nate in a different language, in Spanish, asking, “Pero, ¿quién carajo estaba hablando con azada?

TRANSLATION: But who the f*ck was talking to you, hoe?

The quartet was surprised with Watermelondrea’s ability to speak Spanish. Carl laughed, “Damn, you can speak Alex Herrera?”

“It’s espanol,” Watermelondrea corrected him, leaving Carl silent. Watermelondrea elaborated, “I got into a car accident about a year ago, and my nurse was Spanish. I also ate a fat ass chalupa the other day and now I’m fluent.”

“Am I supposed to be scared that you used the Google translator from your brain?” Nate stopped himself. “Even though, I’m 99% Purell Hand Sanitizer sure that you don’t have a brain at all.”

“I think you’re jealous, Nathan Sykes,” Watermelondrea bravely responded to him in the hallways.

Nate angrily responded, "My name is Nate, or Breadquanda."

"Breadquanda?" Watermelondrea's very high voice squeaked, and her face cringed. "What is that, a different name for a yeast infection?"

Sydney's mouth gaped as she turned to Nate and the other members of the Savages. Trae laughed, and Nate noticed the laughter from the latter. He refused to make a response to Watermelondrea’s insult, deciding to back away and exit from their area. Watermelondrea laughed.

She shouted, “That’s for talking about my edges!”

“Well, I’m gonna see some of ya’ll ratchet hoes, later. My girl Sheedra is waiting for me in the car.”

“No, wait,” Carl stopped her, asking, “Before you go, can I have a copy of your album?”

Watermelondrea was pleased—she pulled her purse in front of the group, while Trae and Sydney looked at each other in disbelief.

“Do you want the visual album, too, boo?” Watermelondrea asked with a smirk on her face.

“Visual album?”

Watermelondrea nodded her head, “Beyoncé thought I was playing when I told her I was coming for her edges. I’m coming for Igloo Australia and Taylor Swift’s edges too. I called Nicki and told her I was coming for her edges, but she said that if I did, she’d trash my career like she did Lil’ Kim’s.”

Carl chuckled at her statement, while Sydney whispered in Trae’s ear, making it less obvious that she was preparing to insult Watermelondrea.

“Bitch is still delusional,” Sydney said, Trae chuckled softly while watching Carl and Watermelondrea interact.

___________

In the teacher’s lounge, Rose De Vil’s hair covered her face as she lied down alone at a round table. Ms. Angela Jones--the sophomore music teacher--held two cups of thin cups of coffee in her hands. She walked, kindly handing a cup to Rose. As she looked up to Ms. Jones, she gave a short smile and thanked her.

“Looks like you’ve hit rock bottom this morning,” Ms. Jones sparked a conversation as she sat down across from her.

Rose De Vil responded in a very exhausted tone, “Is that what they call it? Rock bottom.”

Ms. Jones chuckled, “What’s wrong, Rose? You seem and look different. Rough night?”

“Rough two weeks, to be exact,” Rose covered her face for a few seconds, trying to physically heal her headache.

Ms. Jones folded her hands together on the table, and continued, “Tell me what’s up, girl,”

Rose looked up, confused by her friendly behavior towards her—weeks ago, she was part of an entire teacher confrontation over her rules.

“Ms. Jones, if you’re expecting me to give you a raise for teaching kids how to burst out in song like those annoying, cliché kids on Glee, today’s not the day to be manipulative.”

At that point, it was awkwardly silent, while Ms. Jones looked at Rose in complete denial based on her accusations. “No, I’m not that desperate—besides, I’m a considerate person, so I consider talking to you.”

“That’s a first,” Rose took a sip from her coffee, placing it back on the table. “You’re the only staff member here that’s nice to me.”

Ms. Jones shrugged her shoulders with a brief smile, deciding to sift back to Rose’s problems, “So, why do you look like just got out of a trash can?”

I did get out of a trash can,” Rose replied.

~

FLASHBACK: As Rose De Vil began walking, with sunglasses covering her light blue eyes, she walked away from her car in the school’s parking lot, and didn’t exactly know where she was going. Either she was exhausted, drunk, or losing her sanity, she hit a large trashcan, and she flipped inside.

“Somebody help!” Rose yelled.

~

“It was horrible, I felt drunk and I didn’t even drink anything last night,” Rose said in a guilty tone, “Except for a few shots of Vodka to make me feel better.”

Ms. Jones was sympathetic, while Rose continued to rant. “I have binge watched The Golden Girls for weeks. I have eaten tons of food. My breasts ache, and these kids have been killing me with their stupid sob stories and episodic fits of rage. They all hate me. I’m stressed out.”

Ms. Jones knew the issue—she grabbed her wallet from her back pocket and picked out a card from inside. After she took it out, she slowly passed it across the table. Rose looked at the card.

Dr. Sonya Mitchell

Therapist

Phone: (206) 545-9237

“Dr. Sonya Mitchell?” Rose asked curiously.

“Mmhm—she’s one of the top therapists in Seattle. She can help with stress, family problems, domestic abuse, you name it. I heard she also helped with a man’s sex drive.”

Rose’s eyes widened in bewilderment; at first, she denied the offer, “I don’t need a therapist; I’m sure I can function even if I’m stressed out.”

“You fell inside of a garbage can looking like a rat’s ass and you think you can function?” Ms. Jones claimed. “Trust me, Dr. Mitchell is the remedy to your problems, especially if you just talk to her, you’ll feel 100 times better. Just take the card just in case.”

Rose sighed; she continued to look at the card—she placed it in her pocket and stood up from her seat, grabbing her coffee and leaving Ms. Jones alone.

“Thanks for the coffee,” Rose said before leaving. Ms. Jones turned around with concern.

___________

The school bell rang for the next classroom period. Students began to transition, while Alex departed from the classroom with fury. Alex’s temper was high—while preparing for his second period class, he aggressively opened his locker and placed a binder inside.

He snatched another binder from his locker and slammed it loudly. From behind, someone called his name, “Alex!”

“What?!” Alex yelled angrily, but as soon as he turned around, he was in shock. From behind, Gina was in awe by Alex’s volatile tone.

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry, Gina,” Alex’s tone shifted immediately.

Gina timidly asked, with a chuckle, “Is this a bad time or?”

Alex sighed and walked closer to Gina, calmly responding, “No, no, it’s not—I’m sorry, just a bad morning.”

“Are you okay?” Gina asked; she knew Alex was angry, she could tell in his expressions, and his sudden tone change.

Alex and Gina walked together while students passed by, “Just some family issues at home—enough of me. Are you okay?”

Gina felt guilty for her unbridled behavior that previous Friday; she sighed and responded to Alex’s question, “I’ve had the first worst hangover—I guess I got a little carried away.”

“Yeah, you did,” Alex laughed, even though Gina felt embarrassed. “Did your mother know you were…drunk?”

“She thought I was coming down with something—flu season.” Gina said with relief. “I don’t even remember what I did the other night.”

Alex replied, “Well, besides dancing on top of tables, slapping the hell out of Sydney, throwing up on Nate’s shoes, and asking for Jell-O pudding—Bill Cosby free—nothing extreme.”

Gina covered her face up, embarrassed by her actions. She closed her eyes and groaned, “Oh my god. That is so embarrassing. I know Sydney hates my guts right now.”

Alex looked at Gina, attempting to make her feel more confident, “I was worried about you a lot,”

While Alex’s left arm quickly wrap around her shoulders, Gina felt a sudden spark. She dared herself to look at Alex while he continued to talk—but she refused to and felt comfortable with his arm around her.

“You were?” Gina was surprised—she barely remembered that Alex helped her that night.

“Well, for one, you can’t hold your liquor,” Alex joked—Gina looked away, trying not to laugh.

Alex continued his response, “And two, I refused to drink because I didn’t want to give you the wrong impression.”

“Did I give you the wrong impression?” Gina asked, hoping she didn’t embarrass herself in front of a guy she secretly began to have feelings for. Alex, meanwhile, gave a smile at Gina and responded kindly.

“No—you impress me all of the time,” Alex complimented her and Gina’s cheeks turned to a hue of pink. When she began to blush, her body began to shiver.

Alex chuckled as he looked at Gina, “Wait, wait, are you blushing?”

Gina, however, immediately went into denial, laughing as he asked her the question, “Blushing? No, no, no—I just feel more confident, thanks to you.”

“That was my intention,” Alex smiled at her, and she smiled back with no hesitation, “I gotta get to class before Mr. Lee kills me—see ya.”

Gina gave a large smile, without giving an adieu. With her glowing turquoise eyes, she watched Alex, weaning a camouflage jacket that covered a black shirt, ripped jeans and black, unlaced Nike shoes.

Gina didn’t know what was wrong with her—aside from a 48-hour hangover, she felt another headache emerging—a dilemma. Was Gina too blind to realize that she was indeed into Alex Herrera or was it easy for her to assume that Alex was playing a game with her heart?

She was love struck; her mind drifted to many different places, losing her focus on her next class. She smiled at the thought of him.

“Oh, yeah, oh, oh,” Gina vocalized. She walked around the full hallways, expressing her feelings to random students.

“You complete me, like air and water boy, I need thee, and when I'm in your arms I feel free. Fallen--my head’s up in the clouds in love, I’m proud to say it loud.”

Gina grabbed a hat from a random student, who was confused at first. Gina twirled herself around with the hat, while performing jovially, “Like an accident it happened. Out of nowhere, it just happened, and I ain't mad at all…”

Afterwards, Gina placed the hat back on the person and skipped around the hallways—unusual behavior for a Savage.

“Because I've fallen, head over heels. I've fallen in love with you, I've fallen, and I can't get up. Don't wanna get up, because of love. Because I've fallen, head over heels. I've fallen in love with you, I've fallen, and I can't get up. Don't wanna get up, because of love.”

Gina spied on Alex through the classroom window on the front door. As Mr. Lee began to prepare to teach, she noticed Alex with Carl, while they conversed with each other.

“Baby, to let you get away is crazy, so I'm doing what it takes to make you pledge your love to me. You see, cause I'm tryin' to be your lady. Forever and ever, baby. The picture wouldn't be the same if you weren't standing next to me. Can't you see I'm fallen?”

Gina continued to walk across the hallways, with at least two minutes left before the bell would ring, “I've fallen, head over heels. I've fallen in love with you, I've fallen, and I can't get up. Don't wanna get up, because of love. Because I've fallen, head over heels. I've fallen in love with you, I've fallen, and I can't get up. Don't wanna get up, because of love.”

“You compliment me, not an accessory, you're necessary,” Gina sang. “You never could speak bad words against me. You’re bare with me. Security, are you here with me?”

“Your my happiness, my joy and all because of you, boy. I look forward to the time I spend with you, whatever it is we do…”

Gina began to ad-lib, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Fallen. I've fallen for you. Fallen. Head over heels for you, so in love with you. Fallen in love, oh, for you.”

“You’re my everything,” Gina lead. “I've fallen, head over heels. I've fallen in love with you, I've fallen, and I can't get up. Don't wanna get up, because of love. Because I've fallen, head over heels. I've fallen in love with you, I've fallen, and I can't get up. Don't wanna get up, because of love.”

Gina stopped herself—maybe she did have feelings for Alex, but how could she admit it? Did she even want to? The school bell rang and she immediately rushed to her next class.

“Damn it,” Gina said to herself while running to the door across from her.

___________

In Mr. Baldwin’s classroom, a set of familiar students sat eagerly—or carelessly—in their designated desks, which were organized in parallel rows. Lily Blossom and Cass Everett sat next to each other near the middle of the classroom, while Iesha Bennett and Sena Demir sat on the right side. Across from them were Matt Park and Kalleb Banks, who was usually the quiet, introvert person. On the right, Rufus King remained to himself and far apart from Matt as possible. There was obvious tension between them after their confrontation in the locker room.

Mr. Baldwin—the quite attractive U.S. History teacher—began to introduce their weekly lesson, “All right, guys, can I have everyone’s attention?”

The students remained talkative, forcing Mr. Baldwin to repeat himself a myriad of times. At a certain point, he yelled, and it became silent.

“Thank you,” Mr. Baldwin stated calmly. “Everyone, take out your textbooks and turn to page 145. Chapter 10, titled “The Beginnings of the American Imperialism,” and we’ll start a discussion of last night’s homework.”

While everyone complied with his demand, Iesha sat nonchalantly, loudly chewing from a large bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Sena looked at Iesha and shook her head, while Mr. Baldwin impatiently demanded her to stop.

“Ms. Bennett, can you please put the food away and open your textbooks like I asked you to?”

Iesha continued to chew very loudly; she asked, “Why?”

“Because I asked you to,” Mr. Baldwin said patiently.

Iesha pursed her lips and rolled her eyes, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, sir.”

“Not in my class,” Mr. Baldwin replied with a stern tone. “Put them away now or take a trip to the principal’s office.”

“Okay, damn,” Iesha scoffed and whispered to Sena while putting her chips away, “I didn’t know men had menstrual cycles, too.”

Sena nudged Iesha, unusually defending Mr. Baldwin, “Cut him some slack, Iesha.”

While Mr. Baldwin began to speak about American Imperialism, Lily and Cass shared each other’s textbooks, since Lily left hers at home. Mr. Baldwin started with one discussion question for the entire class.

“Okay, so, last night, you guys had to write an open-ended response about American Imperialism—how did America use it? What were the origins? What was the purpose?” Mr. Baldwin continued to discuss.

“Kalleb,” Mr. Baldwin randomly called students’ names to answer, ensuring that they were paying attention. “Would you mind giving us a summary of your writing?”

Kalleb’s eyes drifted from his phone—he lifted his head up from his phone with bewilderment. It was difficult for him to respond, “Um, um—what’s the question?”

“Next time, please pay attention to the board instead of your phone,” Mr. Baldwin said in a disappointed tone. “Put it away.”

While Kalleb placed the phone back in his pocket, students began to laugh at him. He wasn’t the active type of person—people usually made fun of him. Sena laughed while Iesha placed her Hot Cheetos into her desk, eating warily.

“Sena, do you have a summary?” Mr. Baldwin sounded eager yet serious at the same time.

Sena confidently stood up from her chair to respond, “In order to feel and become a world power, America wanted to expand their population, wealth and industries. Competition with Europe for overseas territories was also a favor for the start of American Imperialism.”

“Very good, Sena, well-explained,” Mr. Baldwin kindly complimented Sena, who smiled—with a smirk on her face.

“Thank you, Mr. Baldwin,” Sena said. Iesha could tell her tone was quite seductive, and her gestures were unusual and inappropriate. Mr. Baldwin smiled briefly and looked away, trying to continue the discussion.

While Mr. Baldwin continued to talk, Lily’s eyes remained focused on the textbook in front of her and Cass. However, from afar, Lily noticed something awkward from her right eye. Matt continued to look at her, giving uncomfortable, flirtatious gestures. Lily turned away once, and looked back suspiciously.

I know I’m the prettiest bitch in this school—obviously—but some boys are so desperate: too desperate. My last boyfriend was a whore—he only cared about what was underneath my cheerleading uniform more than a relationship. So, when I see certain boys staring at me like they want to pop my Cherry Valance, it irritates me, Lily narrates.

Matt’s eyes drifted to the side as he pretended to peruse his textbook. Lily looked back, staring at him up and down.

I mean, I’ve heard that black is bigger—if you know what I mean—but he is totally not my type.

“What’s wrong, Lily?” Lily’s table partner Cass asked her. Lily’s eyes continued to stare at Matt; she watched his gestures.

“Oh, nothing,” Lily lied, and at that moment, Mr. Baldwin called her name, interrupting her eye contact.

“Lily, do you have something to share with the class?” Mr. Baldwin asked sarcastically. Lily remained silent, nodding her head at his question.

Mr. Baldwin sighed and continued to read the discussion questions in the textbook. Lily lost her focus. Irritated by Matt’s uncomfortable eye contact, Lily gave a second glance and looked away with confusion, while Rufus watched the unusual behavior Matt was demonstrating.

___________

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Weeks after Brian Gustin and Viktor Nichols’ video was showcased school wide at James A. Masters High School, it goes viral. Outside at the courtyard for lunch, a jock used his thumb to scroll down his Twitter feed. Based on what he saw, a majority of students, news reporters, bloggers, and some celebrities have made the video scandal a big trend.

Slick Vik walked to the jock table with a red tray of food, despite tension with a small amount of jocks. Comfortably, he sat next to the jock who noticed the popular feed on his iPhone.

“Dude, you’re famous,” the fellow jock claimed.

Vik scoffed, chuckling with bewilderment, “What are you talking about, Sam?”

Sam, with hesitance, passed his cellphone to Vik to witness. Vik scrolled through the Twitter feed with eager eyes; he was completely in awe by the tweets he had witnessed. He clicked the available YouTube link, and as the app transferred to a YouTube application, a video began to play.

The video was titled: “Two Jocks Caught Kissing on Candid Camera! MUST WATCH!” and there were, thus far, 580,000 views. The video showed Brian and Vik continuously making out, and more. The video was uploaded by a user with a mysterious name… TripleDz, which confused Vik.

Vik remained stunned by this—he thought this situation wouldn’t go to a new limit, but it did. As Vik looked up, the other jocks looked at him differently, while Rufus sat across from him, showing sympathy. Ironically, Brian was nowhere in sight. Maybe he did it—what if he set Vik up?

A lot of theories surrounded Vik’s head—Brian could have let this happen. He could have told someone to record them and expose them; a scheme to get Vik to admit to being gay, even though he knew himself it wasn’t true.

Vik looked around, and the cliques, aside from The Savages, looked and pointed at him with smiles and laughs. At this point, Vik was completely paranoid; he stood up from the table, pushing his tray onto the ground and he departed from the courtyard, entering the school.

~

Trae sat at a round table with Alex, Carl, Sydney, Nate, Lily, Gina, and Zachary, who attempted to sit as far as possible from Trae. Shocked by how the scandal emerged, the Savages began to discuss the situation at hand.

Carl commented on the video, “Well—I guess this is what they call the school for scandal.”

“Everyone likes a good scandal,” Trae commented, while watching people pass him by. “But not in this f*cked up school environment.”

Zachary was irritated by the video’s hype in general, “I don’t get it, though, why isn’t De Vil trying hard enough to find the culprit?”

“For all we know, whoever made that video probably wanted to join in," Sydney said as she stood next to Lily outside of the courtyard.

"Menage a trois," Lily replied briefly.

“What I don’t understand is why we’re making a mountain out of a molehill over this, while we don’t even know what really happened to Sandra Bland. Two boys kissing in high school, how would that look on the news? Gay marriage is legal, so it’s not like it’ll hurt them—probably their reputation—but why should it matter?” Nate debated.

Alex responded to the debate, giving a small amount of sympathy to the two jocks, “Well, it could ruin their college opportunities and scholarships, so we do need to take that in consideration.”

Nate looked at Alex and began to add on to the opinionated conversation, “Um, hello? If they’re famous over a stupid ass video, they shouldn’t have to worry about college.”

Alex rolled his eyes and looked to Gina, who began to voice her opinion, “Maybe we shouldn’t this get to us and let nature take its course. It’s not like one of us did it, right?”

“Who knows? It could be anyone,” Trae commented. “People will do anything to instigate.”

The Savages agreed with Trae’s response, leaving a moment of silence as they watched everyone using their cellphones, perusing the news.

_________

After school, Alex Herrera felt the urge to avoid going home, yet he knew that if he repeated similar footsteps from last Friday, he’d hear the same lecture. He walked almost 12 minutes from school, and he finally arrived back to his suburban home.

He entered his house, closing the door tightly, and he placed his backpack in the living room, expecting no one to be around. Unfortunately, his mother stood in the kitchen, with a boy with curly hair—he and Alex’s mother were laughing, waiting for Alex’s entrance.

Maria turned herself around with an enthusiastic tone, in contrast to that morning. “Oh, Alex, sweetheart, look who’s here!”

Alex walked closely, and the boy—somewhat attractive, curly, with a dimple near the middle of his chin. When Alex realized it was his cousin, Andres Rivera, he kept his composure and tried to smile on the outside.

Andres turned around, excited to see him—“Allie Cat, Qué alegría me da verte!

TRANSLATION: It’s so good to see you!

Alex smiled and waved, and Andres walked up to him for a large, uncomfortable hug. Andres continued to pat his back, while Alex’s eyes remained open as he stared at Maria, who gave him a look, demanding him to act welcoming.

Alex nervously chuckled, “It’s good to see you, too… Andres,”

“You look good, dude,” Andres complimented. “Last time we saw each other, you looked like Carlos Mencia during puberty,”

“And you look….like Andres,” Alex couldn’t make a better response. Why would he? He didn’t care for Andres’ presence in the first place.

Maria decided to change the subject before there was any tension, “So, Andres, how is your mom? Is she feeling any better?”

Andres took a sip from a can of Sprite before he explained his mother, Alex’s aunt Helene’s well-being. As he sat on the stool, he changed his posture while replying respectfully to Maria.

“She’s doing better,” Andres said. “A few weeks of chemotherapy have been working for her so far, but Papa doesn’t believe it, but he’s sort of….sick himself.”

Maria walked to Andres with a comforting gesture, “Well, if anything happens, you know that we’re always here if you need us. We love your mother so much and we all hope she’ll be fine. You’ll always have a place to make yourself comfortable.”

“Thanks, tía,” Andres smiled. “I really appreciate it,”

“Tomorrow, you can head with Alex to school and maybe hang out with your cousin for the day,” Maria said, while turning to Alex, ensuring that he agrees.

Alex looked at his mother with wide eyes, implying that he didn’t want him to go, “Um, mama, I’m sure he wouldn’t want to go to school for a while,”

“—Actually, I’d love to.” Andres said with a smile. “Besides, I’ll get to spend more time with my big cousin, plus you can give me a tour,”

Andres turned to Maria for a pending request, “Also, if it’s okay—I asked my girlfriend to visit tomorrow while she’s on break,”

“Sure, sweetheart,” Maria said. “Better yet, she can join us for dinner tomorrow night.”

Andres smiled, “Great—thank you guys for the hospitality, it really means a lot to me.”

“We’re family, right, Alex?” Maria turned her face towards Alex, forcing him to respond despite his stubbornness.

Alex controlled his anger and bit his tongue—he felt tortured and his mother continued to share glances.

“Yeah, sure,” Alex said awkwardly, “I’ll be heading to my room.”

Andres watched as he walked away, and Maria smiled at Andres, continuing to be welcoming. Alex slammed his room door and noticed a majority of Andres’ things filled the right side of his room. Andres’s suitcase sat on the top of the bunk beds.

“Hospitality, my ass—” Alex was infuriated at that point.

_________

The next morning, the skies were clear and bright—at James A. Masters High School, the Red Hot Cheer Peppers were in the hallways, minus Sena and Iesha Bennett. They stood together conversing about Brian and Vik’s video scandal.

Brianna used her abrasive nail file to sand her polished fingernails, she blew residue on the ground. Alyssa stood next to her and began to speak.

“If they can be famous, why can’t I? I made out with a girl before on video,” Alyssa was disappointed in the popularity Brian and Vik were receiving.

Angelika looked at Brianna and scoffed, “Areola, please, you let a dog lick your face, and her name was Fifi. That’s nothing worth talking about,”

“Well, she was a cute dog,” Alyssa shrugged.

“No wonder you smell like a bag of Pedigree and the entire PetSmart store when you sweat,” Angelika claimed, Alyssa gasped at her insult and crossed her arms, while the others laughed.

“I thought the video was hot,” Brianna complimented it, shockingly. “I mean, well, Brian is fine as hell, out of all people, he did the nasty with Slick Vik.”

“His name is Slick Vik for a reason,” another cheerleader commented. “He’s obviously gay—we all know they both are.”

When Lily walked past the gossiping cheerleaders, she tilted her head to the side and rolled her eyes as she focused on approaching her locker. From afar, Matt was eager to make the effort to woo her. He straightened his eyebrows with his thumbs and fixed the collar on his jock jacket. While he bit his lip, he strutted slowly to her location.

Matt greeted her in a flirtatious tone, “Are you from Tennessee, because you’re the Ten-I-See,”

Lily was completely embarrassed by his weak attempt to flirt with her; she, then, ignored his response and tried to continue preparing for her first class in the morning.

“I know, that was cheesy, but I’m just trying to get to know you, you’re hella sexy,” Matt complimented.

“There are thirsty guys like you everywhere that wants more than a conversation. Get lost, kid,” Lily shut him down.

From afar, the Red Hot Cheer Peppers noticed Matt flirting with Lily. Brianna shook her head in disappointment, “Look at that man-whore trying to get in Lily’s pants.”

“Good thing Iesha’s not here,” Angelika commented. “She’d go ballistic.”

“What do you really want from me, Rhino Nostrils? You’re clearly a silly rabbit looking for his Trix and I am not a trick. I am a woman with feelings and they’re clearly not for you.” Lily said defensively.

“It’s like that?” Matt crossed his arms disappointedly.

Lily’s eyes looked up and down; she closed her locker and began to strut through the hallways. The Red Hot Cheer Peppers watched and sang along while Lily began to sing. Matt followed Lily into her first period class with Mrs. Stansfield, who was confused with the occasion.

“Ha, ha-ha, ha-ha. Ha, ha-ha, ha,” The Red Hot Cheer Peppers chanted. “Ha-ha, ha-ha, ha-ha. Ha, ha-ha, ha.”

Matt rapped, “It's funny how a man only thinks about the [beep]. You got a real big heart, but I'm looking at your [beep]. You got real big brains, but I'm looking at your [beep]. Girl, there ain't no pain in me looking at your [beep].”

“I don't give a [beep]. Keep looking at my [beep],” Lily sang. “Cause it don't mean a thing if you're looking at my [beep]. I'm a do my thang while you're playing with your [beep].”

“Ha, ha, ha-ha, ha, ha,” The Red Hot Cheer Peppers sang.

Lily walked through the classroom, dancing with the cheerleaders, as if it felt like they’ve reunited. Matt watched her, appealed, yet irritated by her denial.

“Every boy's the same. Since up in the seventh grade, they been trying to get with me, trying to—”

“Ha, ha-ha, ha, ha-ha,” The cheerleaders sang.

“They always got a plan to be my one and only man. Want to hold me with their hands, want to—”

“Ha, ha-ha, ha, ha-ha,” The cheerleaders sang.

“I keep turning them down. But, they always come around, asking me to go around, that's not the way it's going down. 'Cause they only want, only want my ha, ha-ha, ha, ha-ha. Only want what they want, but, na, ah-ah, na, ah-ah.”

Lily exited Mrs. Stansfield’s classroom, while she yelled, “Lily, Matt, get back in here!”

Matt followed Lily, while the Red Hot Cheer Peppers followed them, and Matt continued to flirt.

“It's funny how a man only thinks about the [beep]. You got a real big heart, but I'm looking at your [beep]. You got real big brains, but I'm looking at your [beep]. Girl, there ain't no pain in me looking at your [beep].”

Claudia eventually jumped in the performance, singing, “I don't give a [beep]. Keep looking at my [beep]. 'Cause it don't mean a thing if you're looking at my [beep]. I'm a do my thang while you're playing with your [beep].”

“Ha, ha, ha-ha, ha, ha,” The Red Hot Cheer Peppers sang.

“Boomp-boomp, omp-omp, boomp, boomp-boomp. Boomp-boomp, omp-omp, boomp, boomp-boomp,” Matt beat boxed.

Lily seductively sang, “Ooh, you've got it bad I can tell. You want it bad, but oh well. Dude, what you got for me is something I, something I don't need. Hey!”

“It's funny how a man only thinks about the [beep]. You got a real big heart, but I'm looking at your [beep]. You got real big brains, but I'm looking at your [beep]. Girl, there ain't no pain in me looking at your [beep].”

Brianna approached Matt and sang, “I don't give a [beep]. Keep looking at my [beep]. 'Cause it don't mean a thing if you're looking at my [beep]. I'm a do my thang while you're playing with your [beep].”

“Ha, ha, ha-ha, ha, ha,” The Red Hot Cheer Peppers sang.

Matt repeated the hook—““It's funny how a man only thinks about the [beep]. You got a real big heart, but I'm looking at your [beep]. You got real big brains, but I'm looking at your [beep]. Girl, there ain't no pain in me looking at your [beep].”

Lily sang, “I don't give a [beep]. Keep looking at my [beep]. 'Cause it don't mean a thing if you're looking at my [beep]. I'm a do my thang while you're playing with your [beep].”

“Ha, ha, ha-ha, ha, ha,” The Red Hot Cheer Peppers sang.

Lily, with the cheerleaders behind her, walked closer to Matt, who seemed to be intimidated by the girls’ overpowering behavior.

[Beep]

“This ain’t over,” Matt said to Lily, who rolled her eyes and waved her hand goodbye. The Red Hot Cheer Peppers walked away like nothing happened, and Matt watched from the other direction.

From afar, Lily noticed Rufus watching the entire situation—he didn’t dare look at Matt. Lily looked at Rufus with a smirk, as if she had a Plan B—a way to drive Matt away from her immediately.

__________

Brian Gustin sat next to his mother and father, who were infuriated, presentable, and concerned. They sat across from a weary Rose De Vil, who barely could wake up and cooperate. Brian was scarred from the video—it was obvious. Even the look on his face expressed fear that his parents wouldn’t accept him for what he did with Vik, who would have a major bone to pick with him.

“Mr. and Mrs. Gustin, no worries, the school has it under control,” Rose said calmly, discussing the investigation of the video scandal.

Mr. Gustin responded with anger, “A few weeks ago, you said you’d handle it. Now, our son is the freaking face of The Seattle Times.”

“Finding the person responsible for this video has been difficult, Mr. Gustin; the entire school board is doing the best they can,”

“Well, you guys aren’t trying hard enough,” Mr. Gustin ranted. “Because of this stupid school, our son has to live with this for the rest of his life—Grace, I told you we shouldn’t have taken him here.”

Brian watched his mother and father go on, and he sighed. At one point, Brian didn’t care anymore about the video, but he was eager to know who really did it. His parents knew—of course—he was into boys, and he felt supported. However, the video took things too far.

“Honey, this school was one of the best choices; if we’re patient, I’m sure Principal De Vil will help us,” Grace said.

Rose smiled, despite her exhaustion, “We’ve been pulling students aside for weeks, hoping to get an answer or a clue, and there’s nothing. The other thing I’ve wanted to discuss with Brian is the reason why you and Viktor Nichols were in a compromising position like that in the first place.”

“I—” Brian tried to speak, but his enraged father responded before he spoke.

“Listen, we don’t care about who he’s dating, who he’s doing, or who he’s kissing—if they’re disease-free. Grace and I have always encouraged our son to be whoever he wants to be—but we will not let Brian be bullied and objectified as a homosexual jock in the tabloids.”

“The school wasn’t in control of the video that was uploaded on YouTube, Mr. Gustin,” Rose claimed. “We just want you all to stay calm and know that we’re here to help Brian and Viktor.”

“Who is Viktor?” Mr. Gustin asked angrily.

Brian awkwardly replied, “The guy I was kissing…my friend…Dad,”

“Oh,” Mr. Gustin said. “Well, you listen to me, Principal De Vil—if this investigation isn’t effective within a few days, I will sue this school with all of my might. I will ensure you that every child in this school will be left behind.”

“Sir, the No Child Left Behind Act has already led to its demise, so--” Rose tried to defend the school, giving a nonchalant tone.

“Whatever,” Mr. Gustin confronted. “Are you a parent? A mother?”

Rose looked away awkwardly and responded, “No, sir, I am not.”

“Until you realize what it’s like to raise, nurture, and discipline a kid, understand how many risks I’m taking to protect my son,” Mr. Gustin raised his hand to pat on his son’s shoulder, who looked over to him.

Rose watched him continue to rant—her arms were folded and her eyes were halfway shut.

“I want my son to have scholarships without fearing he won’t get accepted. I want him to have a good life—people like you, ma’am, demonstrate how careless schools can be. They only care for the money more than the education.”

“Sir, understand this. I have had cramps for weeks. My breasts are numb, they feel like two pomegranates. I look like Lindsay Lohan on drugs—I’m barely awake. I’m hungry every hour, every minute. Say what you want, but the fact that my sick ass has been sitting here like a detective, investigating this case, should be enough for you to shut your trap!” Rose yelled angrily.

Mr. and Mrs. Gustin, even Brian, were taken aback by Rose’s sudden outburst. It wasn’t normal—Rose calmed herself down and closed her eyes.

“I have a short temper,” Rose chuckled nervously.

Grace, Brian’s mother, calmly responded, “Um, we’ll end the discussion here. Principal De Vil, thank you for your…help with this situation. Brian, sweetie, you can head back to class.”

Brian looked at Rose, and his parents, and departed from the office. The parents followed him, until Brian’s father stopped, and turned around.

“You don’t look so well, maybe fix yourself up a bit?” Mr. Gustin said; he left eventually.

Rose yelled with a sarcastic response, “Yeah, thank you!

She put her hands over her face and groaned. She was stressed; maybe she needed a therapist or someone to talk to.

_________

After Brian’s parents left the school building, Brian entered the bathroom to wash his hands. Before he could turn both knobs in the first sink, Vik’s arms were placed on both of Brian’s shoulders, shoving Brian backwards and pinning him to the white tiled bathroom wall.

“What the hell, man?” Brian yelled in confusion.

Vik immediately made assumptions, refusing to let go of Brian, “You. It was you who did this.”

“What the f*ck are you talking about?”  

“What the f*ck am I talking about? Nice, dude. F*cking nice!” Vik said bitterly, giving a larger grip on Brian than before, pushing him to the wall.

Brian yelped, demanding, “Get off of me, Vik!”

“You started this video—I know everything. You asked someone to spy on us in that locker room. You exposed us at the assembly; you uploaded the video on YouTube. Why? Was this part of your freaking deliberate scheme to get me to come out? Hmm. Nice move, dude. Now you have the entire world talking about us. You’re a stone cold bitch, Brian.”

Brian was in shock with what he was confronted for—in retaliation, he pushed Vik off of him, shoving him to the closed bathroom stall.

“Are you really that stupid, Viktor?” Brian yelled. “Do you really think I would be capable of exposing myself? If you didn’t forget, I’m affected too, it’s not just you. If I’m bashed, so are you. I’m a closeted gay; you’re not—let’s not forget the fact that you were the one that encouraged me to kiss you.”

“No, no, YOU encouraged me to kiss you,” Vik yelled. “I slap your ass during practice one time, and you think we have something going on. You’re the delusional one, Gustin. It’s just hard for you to freaking admit that you’re into me.”

“Maybe you’re right, maybe I liked you,” Brian said. “But after today, you’re nothing to me. We were friends. I would never do that to you—ever.”

“Because of you, because of this—look at us, we’re nothing. Everytime someone looks at us, they laugh. They don’t run, they don’t scream, they don’t cheer for us, they laugh—because we’ve humiliated ourselves on candid camera. You’re the lucky one—your parents care. My parents? They won’t even look me in the f*cking face. One kiss can lead to failure in just a blink of an eye. One kiss ruins a friendship in just a blink of an eye,” Vik ranted.

There was sudden silence, as Brian and Vik looked at each other in anger. Brian’s nose flared up as he let go of Vik, who pulled himself back from Brian.

Brian replied, discussing the kiss, “It was more than that and you know it.”

“Oh, please. I was horny—Sena dumped me that day and I needed someone’s comfort. You were there, shockingly. Besides that, I’d never see myself in a relationship with you. Even if I were gay, I wouldn’t either, not in this situation. Get over it, it was a kiss—like I said.”

Vik walked backwards to the door as he looked at Brian; he turned around and pushed the bathroom door open. Brian watched him and he kicked the bathroom stall door, leaving the bathroom.

Inside the bathroom, someone was eavesdropping. The bathroom stall door creaked, assuming the coast was clear.

________

While the school bell rang, Alex noticed Gina at her locker, a few walks away. He smiled, hoping to spend time with her—Gina looked gorgeous that day, he thought, and there were so many words he wanted to say to her, but they would never come out. He thought that it would be the best time to approach her and tell her how he really feels.

 

With confidence, Alex took a deep breath and tried to approach her. Determined to reach her area, he was unfortunately distracted by his cousin, Andres.

“Allie Cat!” Andres yelled as he attempted to catch up to him. Alex’s failed attempts forced him to frown. He stopped himself and sighed with disbelief.

“Please don’t call me that…” Alex said.

Andres continued to speak, “Dude, this school is so cool—it’s way better than Garfield. All of the teachers love me, ha.”

“Maybe it’s because you’re a temporary student. Teachers are only nice when we have visitors,” Alex claimed. He wasn’t comfortable with Andres being around, following his every move.

“Once you’re gone, they’ll forget about ya.”

“I’m sure my Garfield smarts will be unforgettable,” Andres said, laughing. Alex rolled his eyes and continued to walk, where Gina stood at her locker.

Alex sighed, and Andres continued to speak, “You know, the only disadvantage—most of the girls here aren’t as…appealing than the girls in L.A.”

“Well, everyone loves L.A., especially you, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you left,”

“Oh, come on, Allie Cat, aren’t you glad I’m here?” Andres wrapped his arm around Alex and smiled.

Alex cringed and sighed, “Yeah—I have to get to class, use your schedule before you’re late. See you tonight, I guess.”

“Wait, aren’t you coming for dinner tonight?” Andres asked. "I want you to meet my new girlfriend, she's so hot, you're going to like her.”

Alex sighed, "I guess I have no choice.”

“Awesome, adios,” Andres hurried to his next class based on his schedule. Alex looked at the other side of the hallway, hoping Gina would be still there; however, her locker was closed and she already left.

I know you guys may think I’m being a dick to Andres—but there are just some things you may not understand when it comes to him. Sometimes, he starts trouble without even knowing it. In any form or way possible, he does it, but enough of him—my main focus is Gina. Let’s be real, I’m crazy about her, but I still have doubts, you know? A few weeks ago, we agreed to be friends—but I still want to be more than that. We’ve been so close for the past few days, it’s hard denying how much I like her. I would have told her how I felt if Andres didn’t decide to interrupt, Alex narrated.

I guess it’s like this—I don’t know if I’ll survive these next few days, weeks, months with Andres. Will he be that capable of interfering with my personal life? I’ll expect the unexpected.

________

Lily and Sydney stood across from each other in the hallways, while Sydney took another binder from the inside of her decorated locker. Matt walked by, giving a very flirtatious look to Lily. She rolled her eyes and looked at Sydney as she discussed his behavior.

"I know that I'm phat: pretty, hot, and tempting," Lily says confidently to Sydney. "But this guy is thirsty," talking about Matt.

Sydney asked Lily immediately, "Wait, doesn't he already have a girlfriend?"

“Not that I know of—I never cared about the jocks, so I wouldn’t know,” Lily shrugged.

“It feels like I’m being stalked—he’s always looking at me and winking at me—even when I told him he’s not my type. He looks like a Steve Urkel, and I don’t date Steve Urkels, I date Steve Jobs, people with money.”

“So, you’d date Felix Winchester?” Sydney asked with disgust.

Lily replied nonchalantly, “If he was straight, had a better attitude and some Bosley Hair Treatment, of course.”

“Well—are there any other alternatives to getting him away?”

Rufus stood at his locker, grabbing a myriad of important items for his next class—rushing before the bell rang. Lily saw him, and turned to Sydney with a smirk on her face.

“I know he’s friends with Rufus—maybe if I try to woo him, Matt will back off,”

“But their friendship would end as well,” Sydney claimed. Lily didn’t care, she shrugged and smiled.

“Exactly,” Lily briefly stated—she walked away from Sydney in an attempt to approach Rufus with an immediate conversation.

“Hey, Rufus,” Lily called his name, and Rufus turned around with a smile on his face.

Rufus was the type of person that was pleased with conversation and making friends—even more. He responded, “Lily—what’s up?”

“You know—have you ever dated anyone here before? I mean, you’re the star quarterback, right?” Lily asked.

Rufus replied, “No, actually—I’m sort of waiting to date until college.”

“College? Jeez, that’s a very long…long time,” Lily said—the tone of her voice became seductive and raspy. She moved closer to Rufus, who was confused. A day ago, Matt was just flirting with her, and now Lily is flirting with Rufus. He didn’t know what to do or say.

“Um, yeah—education first, girls second, I guess,” Rufus replied awkwardly.

“So, if I asked you if you’d like to go out on a dinner date with me tonight, you’d say no.” Lily continued to use persuasion in order to get what she wanted.

Rufus gulped, “Um, well…no.”

“Great—you’ll pick me up around 7:00 tonight, we’ll head to a movie or go to a food court, got it?” Lily asked, as if it were a threat.

Rufus looked at Lily, and nodded his head, “Um, yes, 6:00, I mean 7:00,”

“Later, cutie,” Lily winked at Rufus, who seemed intimidated—in a good way. Rufus thought she was one of the most gorgeous girls in school, aside from Sena, but even she couldn’t compare. Rufus felt nervous—his first date? He was the only star quarterback who never went on a date. It was unusual for him.

Lily walked past Sydney and winked at her, and Sydney smiled, “Well done, Lily.”

Rufus smiled, and eventually grabbed his items and closed his locker—Matt, however, followed him and angrily confronted him.

“I know what you’re trying to do, Doofus, and it’s not going to work,” Matt made an assumption. “Lily doesn’t want you—she wants me.”

Rufus chuckled, “Oh, really? Did she ask you out?”

Matt didn’t respond because he knew it was true, and Rufus responded confidently, “Exactly.”

While he walked away, Matt turned around and shook his head. He walked the opposite direction and entered his classroom.

_______

School was over—but Sena Demir wanted to make her move before she went to her cheerleading rehearsals. Mr. Baldwin sat at his desk, scoring assignment papers from his entire classes. There was nothing but silence, until Mr. Baldwin could hear the sounds of shoes clicking the glossy tile floors. She slowly closed the doors and carefully locked it without him noticing.

Mr. Baldwin stood from his chair, while Sena entered his classroom.

“Sena, your assignment scores were very good today, you’ve done very good in my class,” Mr. Baldwin said considerately.

Sena slowly walked towards Mr. Baldwin, her appearance was seductive. She wore her cheerleading uniform and her gestures appealed to the teacher.

“Really?” Sena asked seductively, her tone put Mr. Baldwin in a trance. “What did I get?”

“A 95—very distinguishing,” Mr. Baldwin said with a smile.

“Distinguishing—what can I do to make my score…out of this world?” Sena bit her lip. “Maybe some extra credit?”

Sena’s soft, caressing hands were slowly placed down to Mr. Baldwin’s crotch, and Mr. Baldwin’s body twitched from the touch of her hands. Sena gave her grip and moved closer to Mr. Baldwin for a long, passionate kiss. Sena’s hands reached up to the stubble on Mr. Baldwin’s cheeks, and his hands reached down to the waist of her body. They continued to kiss, but they didn’t know that they were being watched.

“You’re so hot,” Sena said while kissing him.

A person looked out of the small, rectangular window on the door, taking numerous pictures while Sena jumped on top of Mr. Baldwin and continued to kiss him.

~

Outside of the football field, the Red Hot Cheer Peppers were practicing their routines with a song, and a male cheerleader began to sing, while the female cheerleaders were organized in rows.

“I wanna rock with somebody. I wanna take shots with somebody. I wanna leave with somebody, and we ain't gotta tell nobody, we ain't gotta tell nobody, nobody.”

Iesha lead the routine, kicking and jumping while she sang, “Why can't everybody know what's good? Cause some gon' hate what's new. We just do our thing, no time to waste, always play it cool…”

“And at the end of the night when the lights go out, will we turn down? Oh, no, we won’t.”

The cheerleaders chanted, “We ain't never turn down, we ain't never turn down.”

“And when they try to make us leave, we turn and say we never going home--and you know just what I wanna do,”

Sena, meanwhile, made her way near the bleachers, watching the Red Hot Cheer Peppers perform their routines. After her encounter with Mr. Baldwin, she pretended as if nothing happened, but Iesha noticed her and immediately stopped the performance.

Sena gave her critique, “Looks good, but you guys can do better—take five.”

The cheerleaders all dispersed from each other, and Sena sat down on the bleachers. Alyssa and Claudia asked about her, as they noticed her tardiness.

“Why were you late?” Alyssa asked.

Sena responded with an insult, “Listen, you little brat—don’t question my actions, do what I say.”

Alyssa walked away with Claudia, and Iesha, suspicious, walked up to the bleachers next to her. As Iesha took a seat, she crossed her legs and picked up a small bag of Hot Cheetos behind her, chewing carelessly.

“Really? Hot Cheetos during practice?” Sena said.

Iesha shrugged, “You said take five—besides, I’m here because I’m looking for the juice.”

“I don’t see any juice over here,” Sena said, taking it in a literal way. Iesha nodded her head, implying that she wanted information.

“Not juice, juice,” Iesha said. “You see, I’ve been noticing your little changes in habits, girl. You’ve been late for practice for a couple of weeks, straight. You’re always smiling and laughing—you’re barely the bitch I met back in Freshman year. Something is glowing about you, and I’m not sure it’s a good thing either.”

Sena looked at Iesha and scoffed, “Iesha, I’ve only been late because I’m trying to get extra help from teachers. I’m like failing Algebra and Chemistry,”

“And on the flip note, you’re the star student in History,” Iesha began to make more implications. “Girl, you ain’t got to lie to me,”

“Iesha, what are you talking about?”

Iesha stood up, starting to mock Sena based on her current behavior in her classes—“Thank you, Mr. Baldwin….”

Sena rolled her eyes—Iesha made assumptions, most were accurate; as bad as she wanted to deny it to Iesha, they’ve been close lately.

“…You’re welcome, Sena; how about you come for office hours so I can give you a special extra credit session.” Iesha mocked Mr. Baldwin.

“Yes, Mr. Baldwin,” Iesha’s voice said in a high tone. She sat down and crossed her legs in a sexual manner, forcing Sena to shake her head.

Sena tried to deny it, “There’s nothing going on between me and Mr. Baldwin,”

Iesha continued to mock, “Iesha--cut Mr. Baldwin some slack. He’s just doing his job… and every day after school, I give him blowjobs in return for giving me an A+.”

“Iesha!” Sena yelled, and Iesha began to laugh hysterically.

“Sena, you can’t deny it—I know something’s going on. I’m not that stupid. Ya’ll be getting freaky under the desk, ya’ll nasty.”

“Okay, okay, Iesha,” Sena began to admit. “Maybe I am…having an affair with Mr. Baldwin.”

“When did it start?” Iesha crossed her arms.

“A few weeks ago—we were having a tutoring session and…it just happened. We kissed,” Sena admitted.

Iesha looked at Sena with concern—at this time, she was serious, “Girl, do you know what Principal De Vil is capable of? If she finds out about this, or if anyone, you’re screwed, and Mr. Baldwin will be heading to jail.”

“No one will find out—because you’re not going to tell anyone,” Sena said. “Besides, he’s single—and—“

“Old as hell,” Iesha completed her sentence. “Sena, he’s older than Quaker on the oatmeal boxes. As much as I hate him, he shouldn’t lead you on. As a friend—or associate—I’m telling you, be careful.”

Sena began to have second thoughts. Mr. Baldwin and Sena have been doing the same thing for weeks—the usual passionate kisses, oral sex, all things illegal that could damage her life and damage Mr. Baldwin’s life.

_______

There was no way out of Alex’s house that night—he wanted to leave, to visit Gina, or just escape as far as possible since Andres is there. While Alex arrived into his room, he noticed that Andres was playing NFL Madden on his XBOX 360, pretty much without his permission.

Alex wanted to confront him really bad, but for the sake of good Herrera hospitality, he began to speak to him calmly.

“Ah, so I see you’ve made yourself right at home,” Alex said sarcastically, with a smile.

Andres was more occupied in the game than the conversation—“Um, yeah. What’s for dinner, Allie Cat, do you know?”

“I don’t know—burritos with extra cheese, lettuce and food poisoning?” Alex said—Andres, who remained occupied with the game, responded.

“That sounds good,” Andres said, unaware of the food poisoning. “Hey, wanna play?”

“No, I have homework to do,” Alex said; his iPhone rang at that point and he noticed the caller, Gina.

As he picked up, he felt a bit of excitement inside—he left the room, walking into the hallway, and he answered kindly, “Hey, Gina!”

Gina walked her way towards a diner, flashing with neon lights, which was closer to Alex’s house. Aside from her was a quiet Zachary, who continued to look into his cellular phone, thinking of whether he should reply to Trae’s message, but he placed the phone back into his pocket.

“Hey, Alex! Zach and I are heading to a diner around your way to grab a bite, wanna come with us?”

“Aw, man, I’d like to, but my family’s having this big dinner tonight, so it’s mandatory. My parents are still driving me loco about me heading out at this time of night,” Alex replied.

Gina chuckled, “It’s fine—maybe another time?”

“Yeah, of course,” Alex was pleased with Gina’s question. Gina smiled at the tone of his voice and gave her adieus.

“See you tomorrow,” Gina said, and Alex said goodbye. He held the phone to his chest an felt more comfortable with Gina, far or close from her.

From downstairs, Alex’s mother yelled, “Alex! Andres! Time for dinner!”

Andres stopped the NFL Madden video game, and patted Alex on the back, “Dude, you have the best videojuegos.

Alex sighed and the two both walked downstairs to a large table of food in the dining room. Izzy and the father, Armando all helped to set the table. Alex sat across from his mother and next to Izzy.

“Wow, this food looks really good, Aunt Maria and Uncle Manny,” Andres said politely.

“You’re welcome to anything you want, sweetheart,” Maria said.

Alex scoffed, “Gee, if it was me, I’d get food limits—one piece of meat, one spoonful of macaroni and cheese, no dessert.”

Maria looked at Alex and crossed her arms, “Now, Alex.”

Alex shrugged his shoulders as if he made a point, while Izzy laughed while sitting down next to him.

“So, Andres—I hear your girlfriend’s coming over. How long have you two been together?”

Andres responded, “We’ve been dating for a few months now—she’s so gorgeous and amazing. I can’t wait for you guys to meet her.”

“See, Alex, Andres has a girlfriend—you should start dating someone, too,” Maria suggested to Alex.

Alex rolled his eyes and refused to respond to her suggestion—what did she think he was trying to do? Gina was the apple of his eye, and Andres has been a distraction to his plans. Izzy added on to her suggestion, rebutting it.

“When I was 17, Ma, you never let me date,” Izzy said.

Maria looked at Izzy and responded quickly, “This isn’t about you, Isabella, hush.”

“Yeah, Alex, you should start dating again—it’s been a while. Your last girlfriend was a nice girl,” Armando said.

“Mmm, very nice girl—what was her name again?” Maria asked. “Was it Blanca? Rosa?”

Alex’s father, Armando, shook his head while he sat across from the rectangular table, “No, sweetie, I think it was Marcia.”

While Maria and Armando continued to argue about the names, the doorbell rang, and Andres excitedly jumped out of his seat.

“That’s her—I’ll get it, you guys can stay here,” Andres said—he quickly walked to the front door, and as he opened it, the corners of his mouth augmented, showing his pearly teeth. A pretty girl smiled and hugged Andres.

“Andres,” the girl said as they wrapped their arms around each other and kissed.

“I’m so glad you’re here, babe,” Andres responded. “Come in, I want you to meet my family!”

Seconds later, Andres and the girl walked together into the large dining room—when Andres escorted her inside with him, he was ecstatic to introduce her to the Herreras.

“Everyone, this is my girlfriend,”

Alex’s smile turned into an immediate frown—he couldn’t believe his eyes. The girl, also, gave a similar expression as soon as her eyes looked straight at Alex.

“Marisol?”

It was her, all right. She couldn’t even look at his face, and Andres barely said a word. Unintentionally, Maria broke the awkward tension. After vaguely remembering Alex’s ex-girlfriend’s name, she finally remembered the name.

“Oh! That’s the name, Marisol…” Maria said, until she noticed that Marisol was already there—she could see the look on Alex’s face. Armando looked at Maria and shook his head.

Izzy took a sip from her glass, “This is gonna get interesting,”

Alex’s nose flared up and he barely wanted to say or do anything—he looked at Andres, wishing he’d pulverize him.

_______

Around 8:15 PM, the diner remained open, and Lily felt forced to go on a date with Rufus—she was suddenly irritated with Rufus’s talkative behavior. Holding a cold glass of a strawberry milkshake with her hands, she drank from a straw, while Rufus continued to talk about things she had less interest in.

“...And so, I went to this festival and I got to meet Keke Palmer, and I was like ‘YASSSSS, slay me, baby. When will Emma Roberts—she slays my life. She is so iconic…”

Lily rolled her eyes as Rufus continued to talk about random topics—such as Rihanna’s forehead. Lily couldn’t handle it, and she immediately pulled the straw from her mouth, and began to speak out.

“Rufus, look—I like you and everything, but can you, perhaps, stop the excessive talking?”

Rufus was confused at first—seconds ago, Lily claimed to be interested, “But, I thought you were interested in my stories?”

“No, I said I was going to miss my stories tonight—reruns of One Life to Live and General Hospital on Hulu,” Lily said.

Rufus was discouraged; he began to figure out the signs—Lily’s gestures, her annoyance with him, and her lack of interest in his presence, “Oh—well, maybe I should take you home if you aren’t interested.”

“It’s not that I’m not interested, Rufus—I just don’t want you to think that this is serious, like we’re really dating.”

It wasn’t a surprise to Rufus; he shrugged carelessly, “I already knew that. I saw through your manipulation the moment you approached me—even I know girls like you wouldn’t dare ask me out.”

Lily felt remorseful, “I’m sorry, I didn’t want to---”

“No hard feelings,” Rufus said. “Everything tonight is on me, for a beautiful girl like you. Besides, I already know why you’re using me. Matt’s clinging to your boobs.”

Lily was surprised that Rufus could see through Lily’s motives and the reasons behind her actions; as soon as he responded, she sighed.

“He’s creeping me out—the more I tell him to back off, he comes back like a boomerang. I came to you to make him mad.”

Rufus chuckled, twirling the straw around inside of his glass of milkshake, “He and I aren’t on good terms; he’s angry that I joined the Savages, so he’s being pretty petty after I confronted him for secretly cheating on his girlfriend.”

“Wait,” Lily stopped Rufus from talking. “So, he has a girlfriend already?”

“Yeah—Iesha Bennett, they’ve been dating for over a year. He was caught a few times, they broke up and got back together a few months ago. Matt’s not…really the faithful guy, you know? Once he gets under your skirt, he’ll give you a title, and the next day, he’s searching for more kittens to penetrate.”

Lily’s mouth gaped, while she tried to revel in what Rufus described to her. She asked a question, “Why are you friends with a sneaky, conniving man slut?”

Rufus shrugged, “He was the only friend I had on the football team—in school, too. Brian and Vik hated my guts, never respected me, so Matt was the alternative, but I guess he’s playing the game, and someone has to be bad enough to defeat him.”

Lily began to ponder—she wondered what could be done to get Matt away from her. Although she never had bad blood with Iesha, prior to her exit from the cheerleading team, Lily deleted her number from her contacts. She had a good idea.

“Do you have Iesha’s number?” Lily asked Rufus as quickly as possible.

“Yeah, I do,” Rufus said. “Why?”

“I have the perfect idea,” Lily said with an evil smirk on her face.

______

Gina and Zachary were in the same diner as Rufus and Lily, but they sat in a comfortable, red-cushioned booth, barely visible. While Gina continued to eat, Zachary could barely eat anything on his plate—he picked up one French fry from the basket, while continuing to look at his phone.

Gen

Zachary debated on whether he should respond or not. All of this time, Zachary really felt for Trae, but he began to doubt himself. He felt, at first, like he really knew Trae, but he wondered if he didn’t know him that well. There was a lot of things Zachary may not know about him, including the fact that he’s erratic with boys. He sighed as he placed his phone down, placing his hand on his right temple.

“Zach, are you going to finish those?” Gina said, with food in her mouth. It wasn’t a good image, but she didn’t care.

Zachary sighed. “Help yourself,” he said.

Gina could notice the look on Zachary’s face—his lips pursed together like paper and glue. His body language concerned her. After swallowing her food down slowly, she began to ask him a question.

“You haven’t eaten anything—what’s going on, Zach?” Gina asked.

Zachary replied, being in denial of his emotions, “I’m fine, Gina.”

“You’ve been looking at your phone all night; you’ve been quiet and you look sad—I know something’s up. Just talk to me, I don’t bite—only for this burger,” Gina said as she took another bite from her burger.

Zachary pushed aside his food, and changed his posture in his booth, “I’m in an awkward situation—and maybe I need your advice. You’re considerate; you’ve probably liked someone before.”

“Advice—I’m good at that. Liking someone—been there, done that.” Gina said.

“Okay, well, I like someone, a lot, but he doesn’t know,” Zachary said; Gina raised her eyebrow and found the start of his story intriguing.

“Interesting; who’s the lucky guy?”

Zachary changed her question around, “The question is—am I the lucky guy for him? It’s Trae.”

Gina dropped her burger back down to her plate—what a shocker, she thought. Gina knew Trae’s difficulties with romance, and as she looked at Zachary, she didn’t know what else to say. Zachary felt discouraged by her reaction.

“See, I know I shouldn’t have said anything,” He said.

“No, Zachary, no—I’m just surprised. Once you like him, he’d know,” Gina laughed.

Zachary sighed, “I just don’t know if he likes me the same way. When we first met, he defended me against the jocks, gave me advice when I needed it, but I feel friend zoned, and everywhere I am—he’s talking to another guy, or kissing another guy, and I’m supposed to sit and pretend like I’m not attracted to him.”

“Did you see him kiss another guy?” Gina asked.

“Joe,” Zachary said. “I had a feeling that they were a thing, if you ask me.”

Gina nodded her head, “Nah, he told me—Joe kissed him; they were drunk, so maybe it was a truth or dare game.”

Zachary sighed, “Game or not, I want to know what I’m getting myself into. I really like Trae, but how can I express that to him if he’s with some new guy day after day?”

Gina finally decided to give her advice—she cleared her throat and began to speak, “Listen, I’ve known Trae for a while now—so, I know that once Trae sees what he wants, he goes for it. I’m not saying that you’re not what he wants; you may be surprised. However, Trae isn’t an easy person when it comes to mutual feelings. He looks for commitment, but it’s hard for him to stay committed. Trae is a helpless romantic. If he finds the right guy, you’ll know. Just be patient.”

“I just don’t want to chase for fool’s gold. Even if I do admit my feelings for him, I want to know if he feels the same—I want to know if I can be the only one,” Zachary said.

“If you show that, he’ll know—it takes time, mostly with him,” Gina said with encouragement.

Zachary looked at his phone once more, and then he began to muse. He pictured himself in the hallways of James A. Masters High School; it was dark outside, but the lights were on. While it was empty, Zachary saw Trae, standing far away from him. Zachary walked to him, yet it felt like he walked in slow motion.

“You are fine, you are sweet, but I'm still a bit naive with my heart. When you're close, I don't breathe, I can't find the words to speak and I feel sparks,” Zachary sang.

Trae stood at his same spot while Zachary walked for him.

“But I don't want to be into you if you're not looking for true love,” Zach sang. “No I don't wanna start seeing you if I can't be your only one, so tell me…”

As much as Zachary tried to approach him, everything started to slow down—the more he walked, the slower he took. Zach could notice the distractions—Trae stood, at one point, with Dirty Dan, pinning him to a locker and kissing him passionately.

“When it's not alright, when it's not OK, will you try to make me feel better?”

After Trae stopped kissing Dirty Dan and suddenly, Mike Daugherty, a member of the Moneybags appeared in Zachary’s fantasy. Mike moved closer to Trae, kissing him while Dirty Dan suddenly attempted to pull him away from Mike.

“Will you say alright? Will you say OK? Will you stick with me through whatever or run away? Say OK.”

With all of his might, Zachary began to run towards Trae, despite him being occupied with Dirty Dan and Mike. “Let me know if it's gonna be you. Boy, you've got some things to prove, let me know that you'll keep me safe, I don't want you to run away. So, let me know that you'll call on time, let me know that you'll help me shine. Will you wipe my tears away? Will you hold me close and say?”

“When it's not alright, when it's not OK, will you try to make me feel better?”

Zachary noticed Mike and Dirty Dan had vanished, and Trae’s eyes targeted Zach’s. He began to smile, and Zachary finally gathered the energy to approach him.

“Will you say alright? Will you say OK? Will you stick with me through whatever or run away? Say OK.”

Trae and Zachary were finally face to face with each other in that hallway, empty and silent. Zachary couldn’t resist but to stare at his eyes, and his other physical features. He continued to sing.

“Say that it's gonna be alright, that it's gonna be OK, don't run away. Say that it's gonna be alright, that it's gonna be OK, don’t run away.”

Zach realized it was all a fantasy—Trae disappeared, and Zachary’s mind came back to reality. He stood in the diner, and Gina grabbed the rest of Zachary’s fries. He looked around, hearing the 1960s music play from the jukebox, listening to the calm conversations, and smelling the aroma of cooked food. He sighed once more, taking Gina’s advice in consideration.

______

With only a half an hour of Marisol’s presence, Alex remained infuriated, silent, and capable of doing anything psychotic. In Alex’s mind, his thoughts of Gina were pushed aside with thoughts, such as “I will strangle Andres,” or “I will punch Andres.”

Marisol and Andres, however, were the spotlight of the night. They sparked humor with the family by telling stories of their relationship. Izzy looked at Alex while she laughed, and tried to control her tongue.

Andres, meanwhile, spoke, “And after she punched me in the face, a day later, she apologized and gave me a make-up present, a cake.”

A cake—something Marisol always made for Alex whenever he had a birthday or whether he was sick.

“You still bake?” Maria asked Marisol.

Marisol nodded her head, “Mmhm, my papa and I own a bakery called Viva Los Pasteles—cakes for any event.”

“That’s very good for business, Marisol,” Armando said. “We all should head to L.A. one day and visit your amazing bakery.”

“Papa and I would love that, Mr. Herrera,” Marisol said. Despite the awkward tension with Alex, she hoped to be polite to him and his family.

Maria responded, “Maybe during Christmas break—we can all head to L.A., dodge the heat, and visit. What do you think, Alex?”

Alex continued eating—the sound of forks clattering on the regular china plates became louder. He ate a mouthful of spaghetti out of anger, and as he looked at Marisol, who looked back, he couldn’t take the eye contact and the pretending.

“I think I should head to bed, see you guys,” Alex said, picking up his unfinished plate and holding onto it while reaching for the kitchen. Alex’s mother and father watched him walk away, and Maria stopped him for a question.

“But, sweetie, what about dessert?” Maria asked Alex.

Alex shrugged, “I don’t know; maybe Marisol can bake one of her favorite cakes for you and Andres—I’m sure it’s her specialty.”

Alex entered the kitchen, scraping the leftover food in the trash bin—while Marisol looked down, and Armando looked at the family, asking, “What’s wrong with him?”

Izzy’s humor was at an inopportune time, as she replied, “Breaking up is hard to do,”

Marisol looked at Andres and the family, “Mr. and Mrs. Herrera, if it’s a bad time…”

“No, babe, you don’t have to leave,” Andres came to her defense; he stood up from his seat, hoping to discover the issue with Alex.

~

Angrily, Alex began to clean and scrape the residue from the china plate near the sink. With a sponge, he was aggressive while cleaning, mumbling things under his breath. Andres walked in the kitchen, and folded his arms.

“What’s your problem, man?” Andres said.

Alex did not dare to look at Andres while he confronted him—he continued to clean the plate, “Aside from the fact that I truly hate the taste of parmesan lasagna in my mouth, I truly hate the fact that my el puta primo is dating my ex novia.”

“Dude, I didn’t know she was your ex-girlfriend, so what’s your deal?” Andres said defensively.

Alex said, “You met her two years ago at our family reunion.”

“Well, she looked different,” Andres shrugged and replied innocently. “And I’m not talking about her—I’m talking about these past two days. You’re always trying to avoid me.”

“Now, do you see why?” Alex turned around, shoving the dish in the sink. “Andres, for years and years, you have been nothing but trouble. I mean no disrespect to Aunt Helene, but because of this, I have to bite my tongue whenever I’m around you. I’m not falling for this sympathy card.”

Andres walked closer to him, “We’re family—we’re here right now, let out your feelings, Alex. Go ahead, Allie Cat,”

“Whenever you visit, you’re always the good guy that gets his way. Whenever I try to get out of trouble, you put me in it. It’s like a punishment having to be around you—and now to live with you?”

Andres felt offended by his comment, “So, you just want me to leave, right? Fine. I’ll leave right now,”

“Fine with me,” Alex said, leaving out of the kitchen and out of the dining room, where his family tried to call his name, but he ignored. Alex waked upstairs, slammed his door and held his back to the door.

Downstairs, Maria asked Andres, “What happened?”

“He doesn’t want me here, Aunt Maria,” Andres said. “Maybe we should just leave,”

Maria nodded his head, “He’ll get over it, sweetheart. Have some dessert.”

“No, thanks, Aunt Maria—I think I’ll go outside for some fresh air,” Andres said pitifully. “Thanks for everything, you guys.”

Marisol followed him to the door, “Andres, wait.”

Armando looked at Maria and sighed, “Well, so much for a great dinner—eh, Maria?”

“Lasagna’s good,” Izzy said, she continued to eat during the awkward tension. Maria rolled her eyes and sighed.

“Help yourself to some more, although I see you already have,” Maria said.

______

Later that night, Rose De Vil made the official decision to take Ms. Jones’ suggestion—go to a therapist. She sat in the waiting room, anxiously picking her fingernails. The silence of the waiting room felt awkward to her. Next to her was an older, elderly woman who read a magazine of Women’s Health.

On the left side of her, a shelf of pamphlets remained. She curiously searched through them, yet she was appalled by the unusual variety.

Lost Your Sex Drive? Kitty Smells? D*ck Ain’t Bomb? Tips from Dr. Mitchell

Do You Have Multiple Personalities Like Roman Zolanski? Tips from Dr. Mitchell

 “Are You A Hoe? Tips from Dr. Mitchell.”

Rose was in awe—she placed the pamphlets back into the shelf. She had doubts of being there. For more information, she turned to the elderly lady next to her. She kindly asked her a question.

“Excuse me, ma’am. Are you sure this therapist is a professional?” Rose asked.

The elderly lady turned around and responded in foreign language that Rose could not understand. Pretending that she understood her language, she smiled nervously and replied, “Yeah, 谢谢.”

Translation: Thank you.

Rose looked away, talking under her breath, “Jones, you’re definitely not getting a raise for this…”

A second later, a woman with black heels and a dress announced Rose’s name. “Rose Devil?”

“It’s De Vil,” Rose said.

“Dr. Mitchell is ready for you,” the assistant stated politely. Rose followed the assistant’s lead and almost felt as if she made a mistake. When the assistant opened the door into Dr. Sonya Mitchell’s office, the assistant introduced Rose to her.

Rose was shocked by her appearance—expecting someone very different from her.

Dr. Mitchell turned around from her seat—a gorgeous, presentable woman. Her hair was very long, and she wore a bang that covered her forehead. Her face was filled with makeup, and she wore a black and white dress that covered her breasts and shown her sparkling gold necklaces.

Rose smiled while Dr. Mitchell spoke, with a nasal tone, “Ms. De Vil—it’s a pleasure having you here. Please, take a seat.”

“You know—you look way different from what I pictured,” Rose said as she sat down in a large chair in front of Dr. Mitchell.

Dr. Mitchell grabbed a pad and pen as she prepared for their session, “I get that a lot—but, don’t worry, I’m just like any typical therapist. I listen, I evaluate, I analyze.”

Rose lied down on the long, comfortable leather chair, as Dr. Mitchell sat across from her.

“So, Rose—what seems to be the problem? Sex problems, anything physically or emotionally?” Dr. Mitchell asked.

Rose began to open up, bit by bit. “I haven’t felt like myself. I’ve been having occasional fits of rage, pain, headaches. I barely can focus on my job, and I’m easily stressed.”

Dr. Mitchell continued to write her unusual symptoms down, and encouraged her to continue, “And how long have you had these symptoms?”

“A few weeks—the start of October,” Rose said. “I haven’t taken it seriously until now—because I thought it was only work stress.”

“Do you think there’s more to your stress? Has there been any certain circumstances in your life that may play a role to your problems?” Dr. Mitchell asked.

Rose sighed, “Not really—aside from working 13 hours in a day handling a school with a bunch of reckless kids—you know James A. Masters High School,”

“Oh, yeah—my client Angela Jones works there,” Dr. Mitchell nodded her head. “I feel really bad for those two boys, though.”

Rose shrugged, “Yeah, well—things like that are getting to me,”

“What about your home life?”

Rose, at first, remained silent, trying to recall certain moments in her home life, “Well—I live in a house with a cat named Sprinkles and a dog named Alpo.”

“Alpo?” Dr. Mitchell wanted to make a remark, but she encouraged Rose to continue. “Continue,”

Rose continued, “And, well, I take care of them. I have no boyfriend, I’m pretty much single, but I’m in a little affair with another man.”

“Is he married?” Dr. Mitchell asked sternly, while looking at her pad with her legs crossed.

“Not that I know of,” Rose wasn’t sure if Coach Radnor was a married man—prior to their numerous encounters, she’d never ask.

Dr. Mitchell cleared her throat, “Okay, here’s the thing about affairs. Women who are led on by married men, you know, men… who buy expensive diamond rings from Kay Jewelers, or that Unclaimed Diamonds commercial, get themselves in awkward situations, and trust me, I’ve been there—I almost had to snatch a bitch’s weave off…”

Rose was shocked by her comment, yet she continued to explain her issues, “Well, me and this guy…I’m pretty much his boss. He’s the coach of our football team, but he and I used to work…somewhere before we became full-time school workers.”

“Okay, so, you two have a past?”

“Unfortunately,” Rose was unsure to admit her dark past—but was it worth it?

Dr. Mitchell wrote down the word, “Unfortunate” on her pad, neatly written in black ink, “Why is it unfortunate? Did you guys have a rough time?”

“Well, I’m not sure about him, but before I became a principal, I had student loans and family issues to take care of. I’m not sure if I should elaborate…”

“The more you open up, the more easier it will be for me to help you recover from your issues, Rose.”

Rose sighed—her heart rate rose up. It was something she was always afraid to reveal to everyone. She wanted to have the perfect life after her previous occupation.

“I used to be a stripper,” Rose briefly stated in embarrassment.

~

FLASHBACK/REENACTMENT: It was July 4, 1996—Rose De Vil was only a 21 year old college student. Being in debt and living in an apartment that would be later evicted frustrated Rose. Inside of a building, with a large neon sign: LIVE WOMEN. THE HORNY RHINO.

It was the worst few years of my life, but… men liked me…I made at least enough to keep my apartment and my ass in college, Rose said.

A DJ yelled after a girl finished dancing, almost naked. She exited the stage, and the DJ began to yell and cheer. Men were appealed, and from the crowd, Coach Radnor and a few of his friends, drank beer and cheered on the women.

“Whoo, the girls are hot, man!” Radnor said to one of his friends, named Derek, who worked at the strip club.

Derek replied, “You think this is good? Wait until you see our next girl, she’s the main attraction,”

“I like what I hear,” Radnor stated.

The DJ yelled, “All right, all right, all right—that was Delicious—she’s sweet on the outside and a little bitter on the inside.”

“F*ck you,” Delicious, the stripper yelled at the DJ.

“Um, f*ck yourself, I’m sure you do it better,” the DJ replied carelessly. “Our next girl is tight—she’s full of thorns, but she’s the type to lead you from the stairs to the master bedroom. She’s sweet, petite, and she’ll knock you off of your feet—give it up for our very own, Rosebud!”

The men began to cheer—the curtains opened for Rose who stood in a posture that was appealing to the men. She wore a red bra and a skirt that covered her waist. The spotlights changed its color to red.

Music began to play, and Rose began to sing. Radnor watched her and couldn’t keep his eyes off.

“Life is awesome, I confess. What I do, I do best. You got nothing, I got tested, and I passed, yes,” Rose sang with a smirk, men continued to cheer and whistle.

“Yeah, baby!” A man yelled from the crowd.

“Lay me down tonight in my linen and curls. Lay me down tonight, Riviera girls.” Rose sang. She walked to the pole and grabbed it with both of her hands.

“I f*cked my way up to the top, this is my show. I f*cked my way up to the top. Go, baby, go.”

“Go, go, go,” Rose couldn’t handle the pole like she used to—the pole immediately fell and she fell to the stage. Men were in shock, but they continued to cheer for Rose. Other men laughed and teased her.

Rose was embarrassed at that point—she felt like her life would be over.

~

Dr. Mitchell sucked her teeth and responded quite unprofessionally, "Honey, child, I used to be a stripper too. That ain't nothing to be ashamed about.”

“For me, it is—picture 1996—Rosebud, the main attraction, turning out to be the girl who broke the stripping pole.”

“They used to call me Tricks,” Dr. Mitchell began to reflect on her life as a stripper.

"Why?" Rose asked curiously, and awkwardly.

"Because I could do tricks on the pole, with my hands and my mouth," Dr. Mitchell stated carelessly.

Rose looked disgusted and intrigued at the same time.

Dr. Mitchell continued, “Sometimes you have to use what you got to get what you want—look where that got me.”

“Isn’t that from The Players’ Club?” Rose asked—she knew the quote from somewhere, and Dr. Mitchell nodded her head with excitement.

“Yes, yes, girl!” Dr. Mitchell said. “That’s my movie!”

What did she get herself into? Rose thought. She liked Dr. Mitchell, but she almost felt like she wasn’t a reliable therapist. She sighed and continued to listen to Dr. Mitchell talk about the film, relating to their stripping backgrounds.

_______

Alex sat on the bottom bunk in his bedroom, relaxing and trying to keep his mind off of Andres and Marisol. An hour of silence was disrupted by a knock on his door—Alex lifted his arms up on top of his head.

“Go away,” Alex said.

From the outside, Marisol’s voice was heard, “Alex, can we talk?”

“What is there to talk about?” Alex asked, in a stubborn tone. “I thought you were leaving back to L.A.?”

“Alex, please—I’m not leaving until you open this door,” Marisol said. She folded her arms and leaned on the side of the door. There was no response for a few seconds. Alex opened the door slowly and it was hard for Alex to look at her.

Marisol walked inside, looking at the superhero comic posters in his bedroom; “You know, I always remember your obsession with comic books. You gave me a Spider-Man comic for my birthday and said it was the best thing you could do.”

Alex remained silent, sitting back on his section of the bunk bed. “What do you want?”

“Look—I don’t want us to have any animosity towards each other because of…this,” Marisol said.

Alex chuckled, “Oh, so, now you’re concerned about my feelings?”

“I always have, Alex, and you know that,” Marisol said.

Alex lifted his feet back down from his bed, and scoffed, “Always? Marisol, you left me behind without even saying goodbye. You barely answered any of my calls—not even my Skype calls. I almost thought you were dead, and you’re coming back here like this house isn’t familiar to you, dating and baking cakes for my annoying cousin. I’m not supposed to be angry?”

“I didn’t say that,” Marisol raised her voice up a bit, and Alex responded.

“That’s what I think,” Alex chuckled. “My family thinks I’m being an asshole to my cousin, but maybe I have a reason to, and maybe I have a reason to be the same thing to you.”

“You don’t have a reason to be angry at me—what we had was two years ago. I was in Los Angeles, you were in Seattle—we were far apart, Alex. I’m sorry if I didn’t reach out to you, okay? But L.A. is filled with different people, new places, new things, I have a life too.”

Alex chuckled, “But it wouldn’t have hurt you to at least tell me that you missed me. At least a “Hi” or a freaking emoji sign, to me, would have shown that you cared, and I’m not even mad at the fact that you’re dating my cousin. I’m mad that you’d probably do the same thing to him, leave and live a new life.”

“All I’m trying to say is—give Andres a break. He’s a good guy, just like you. He doesn’t deserve the hate. I didn’t know that he was related to you; I really didn’t.”

“You guys met each other at my family reunion, Marisol,”

“I don’t remember,” Marisol shrugged. “I just want to leave Seattle with closure. I want us to be friends, I want us to talk more. I don’t want to be hated.”

Alex sighed and moved closer to Marisol, “I don’t hate you, Marisol. I’ve talked about you every day…so much that it gets irritating for everyone else.”

Marisol smiled, “And I’ve talked about you to Andres—even though I never elaborated on who you were. He’s talked about you, too. He told me once that you were his favorite cousin, and he loved visiting you more than anyone else.”

“He said that?” Alex asked.

“Yeah,” Marisol said. “You see, Andres and I met in the same school, and well, he wanted to get to know me, and we talked about our lives, I got to meet his mother, and she was very sweet, yet ill. I wanted to give my support, and I never knew he was secretly a Herrera.”

“I don’t know—it takes time for me to forgive, but…I guess you and I are on good terms. Cool?”

“Cool.” Marisol gave Alex a hug and rubbed his back. Alex briefly smiled and the two pushed away.

“I have to get going, your parents are driving me back to the airport,” Marisol stood up and began to walk towards the door.

Alex chuckled, “You’re leaving early,”

“Yeah, I pretty much ditched school for Andres. Sounds like a Savage move to me, right?” Marisol said.

Alex smiled at her response, “Damn, right.”

Marisol waved at Alex and closed his door. Proud of their closure, he lied down back in his bed and continued to ponder. It was official, the baggage he had in the past would be thrown away. He wouldn’t let go of Marisol, because she was his first love, but he knew that if she could move on, so could he.

________

The next morning at school, Lily hoped her plan against Matt would be in effect. Lily stood next to Sydney—who was curious about her secret scheme. Sydney turned to Lily, asking about her “date” with Rufus.

“So, how was your date?” Sydney took Lily and Rufus’s date night as humorous and scheming.

Lily replied nonchalantly, “Very informational,”

“What are you going to do?” Sydney asked curiously.

“Just wait and see,” Lily folded her arms, smirking at the thought of what will happen.

Matt Park conversed with the rest of his jock companions near an empty side of lockers. They began laughing, and Matt noticed his girlfriend, approaching his direction. Matt pretended everything was fine with him, but from the look on Iesha’s face, she knew everything. With anger, she aggressively slaps Matt on his left cheek. Matt's face turned to the side as he felt the stinging sensation.

The jocks backed away from Iesha and Matt, gaping at the scene. Other students witnessed the occasion while they walked by. Students jeered and gasped, while Lily kept a straight face. Sydney looked at Lily with her mouth wide open.

“Baby, what the hell?”

Iesha grabbed personal items that he gave her from her purse, such as a silver necklace that was bought from a beauty supply store.

“You no-good, ratchet, trifling ass, baby-toothed, crooked hairline cheating son of a bitch boy bastard!” Iesha yelled loudly.

Matt kept his hand on the side of his cheek, “confused” with her confrontational approach.

“Baby—”

“Call me baby one more time, I will slap you again. Do it, I dare you. You’s a liar, you’s a cheater, you been cheating on me again. I trusted you, hoe!”

“I haven’t cheated on you, Iesha, dead serious,” Matt tried to remain innocent.

Iesha wasn’t having it.

“So, you’re really gonna….” Iesha slapped Matt again, giving the students a reason to shout and yell. “…LIE to me again? Hoe, I know the truth, you been sneaking around flirting with other hoe bitches that ain’t me.”

“What the hell, stop slapping me!”

“You been doin’ me wrong since the day Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill hooked up—I got all the proof, hoe, don’t lie to me! You been messing with Alicia, Felicia, Telisha, Phylicia, Phyllis, Syphilis, Tonjanika, Wannabe Onika, Tonya, Sonya, Honda Accord, everybody, and now you been flirting with Lily and you think I wouldn’t know! We’re done.”

The students were eavesdropping, “Ooh,” they stated.

Iesha turned around, making the confrontation public, “Mmhm, he’s a hoe, ya’ll!”

Matt tried to strengthen his reputation, after jocks began to watch him, “But was I a hoe when I bought you weave?”

Iesha’s long, neon-colored fingernail pointed Matt, “N-n-no, you ain’t gon’ get out of this. You ain’t never gonna get this ass no more. All this chocolate and you wanted Neapolitan, you trifling. I would never play with your emotions like that!”

“Stop tripping and play with this D tonight,” Matt tried to show off, and Lily shook her head in disbelief.

The jocks were “rooting” him on, and Iesha found a way to embarrass him.

“Oh, oh, oh, that’s what I need to play with? That’s why it’s small anyway,” Iesha slapped him and pursed her lips together. The student body and the jocks were shocked at his response, and Matt was in shock as well.

Iesha walked away and approached Lily, “Thank you, girl,”

Matt looked at the jocks, and then he noticed Lily’s smirk on her face. She raised her eyebrows, intimating that she was a part of the confrontation. Matt nudged the jocks, telling them to shut up.

“Yeah, yeah, that’s not even true, girl!” Matt yelled out.

“Genius,” Sydney said to Lily.

With confidence, Lily accepted her compliment, “I know, right?”

________

During the next transitional period, Carl began listening to Watermelondrea’s new album with his Walkman, and Trae continued to be silent. Truthfully, he was thinking of Zachary—he focused more on their bond less than his school work and that was an issue.

Carl and Trae walked together, and Carl couldn’t resist singing along to Watermelondrea’s music from her album.

“You really love that album, don’t ya?” Trae asked.

“Huh?” Carl took off his earphones, and Trae scoffed and chuckled, “Never mind.”

The two walked near the men’s restroom, however, they were pulled inside. Trae and Carl were both confused with what was going on, and Trae was ready to retaliate. It was Alex, who was trying to hide from Andres.

“Alex, what the hell, man?” Trae yelled.

Carl took off his Beats headphones and asked, “Why did you ruin my vibe, dude?”

Alex asked in haste, “Did you guys see a tall Hispanic boy, curly hair, ugly dimple on his chin?”

Carl and Trae looked at each other and nodded their heads.

“No?” Carl claimed. “Why are you hiding in the bathroom?”

“It’s my cousin—he goes here temporarily, but we got into it last night, so… I don’t really want to speak to him.”

“Wait, wait, wait, wait,” Trae said. “Please don’t tell me… the cousin that nearly broke my mother’s window playing Hispanic Star Wars?”

“The one who threw tennis balls at my mouth and everyone started calling me ‘Carl with a Mouth Full of Balls’?” Carl said.

Alex sighed, “Yes, Andres,”

“What is he doing here?”

“My aunt has breast cancer, so he came from L.A. to stay with us for a while until she gets better—not only that, he brought a special guest. His girlfriend—my ex-girlfriend.”

“Marisol?!” Carl and Trae said in unison.

“Yeah, well—they were in L.A. together. Coincidence?” Alex said sarcastically.

“Damn, do you want me to get him for you? I’m from Philadelphia, I have sources,” Trae asked, eager to encourage violence.

Alex shook his head, “No—It’s not even worth it anymore. I mean, Marisol doesn’t want me anymore, and besides, I’m trying to pursue Gina.”

“Well, do it,” Carl shrugged.

“What the hell do you think I’ve been trying to do these past few days?” Alex asked. “I can’t even do that, because Andres’s the new teacher’s pet. Everyone loves him, even my mom.”

Carl sighed, “Aside from this stupid video scandal, I can’t even concentrate on getting a date,”

“What happened to Kyle? I thought you were head over heels for him?” Alex asked, leaning on the side of a bathroom stall.

Carl scoffed and rolled his eyes, “The hell do I look like dating a 21 year old? I have his number, but I’m not waiting until I’m legal. Worse enough, he’s in Portland.”

“Guys, I have a concern—we’re all best friends, so I need your input on something,” Trae said. “It’s been biting me for a while, so…”

“Okay, but hurry up, I’m not finished with this Watermelondrea album,” Carl said.

“Watermelondrea?” Alex asked.

“Don’t ask,” Trae nodded his head at Alex.

Trae was doubtful about revealing things to Alex and Carl. He held his hands together; his legs twitched, but he bravely made a statement.

“After what happened last Friday, I think Zachary is angry at me,” Trae said. “I’ve tried to talk to him, but he keeps walking away, avoiding my text messages, just ignoring me altogether.”

“Why would he do that? Did you do anything wrong?” Carl said.

Trae sighed, reluctant to say, “Joe and I kissed that night at the Rave, and I'm having second thoughts..."

While Carl was in utter shock, Alex's arms were folded together. Aware of Joe's motives, Alex responded sardonically.

"Second thoughts about going to the psych ward?"

Trae rolled his eyes at Alex's sarcastic question, “No, about him in general.”

“Well, maybe Zachary hates Joe,” Carl suggested, and Trae shook his head, and he came with a possible reason.

“Do you think he likes me?” Trae questioned; he wasn’t exactly sure because he knew Zachary barely expressed it.

“It’s possible,” Alex said. “Has he shown any signs?”

Trae nodded his head, “No, not really, but he has looked at me a lot, and we always spent more time together after he joined.”

“It’s probably a phase, he’ll get over it,” Alex shrugged. Trae agreed with the statement, hoping that Zachary would come around again. Trae still kept the thought of Zachary liking him in his mind.

“…I’m just still on the fact that you kissed Joe…of all people,” Carl said, still in shock over what Trae admitted.

“Exactly,” Alex said sternly.

Trae defended himself by giving his reasons, “Look, we were drunk—stoned. I didn’t know what I was doing. The only thing I remember is him telling me I was hot or something. I mean, he’s right, but—I don’t know, he’s been suspicious to me lately.”

“He’s been suspicious to me ever since you let him join,” Carl said. “I still think that was a bad move. That little smirk he does every time he looks at you—it makes me cringe.”

“He’s a snake. Don’t put your trust in him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’s doing it well. You’re his target, Trae, and it’s your initiative to not let him manipulate you.”

Trae nodded his head, “He’s not going to manipulate me. I know I’m gullible, but I’m not that stupid.”

Carl had a sudden theory in his head—Joe, the video scandal, being manipulative, it all came to him.

“What if…Joe was responsible for the video scandal?” Carl asked. Trae and Alex stood next to each other and turned their faces around with a similar, confused reaction.

“Why would he be?” Trae asked.

Carl began to explain his theory, “I mean, think about it—Joe hasn’t been here so far this week. Today is Wednesday. We haven’t seen him since the Friday incident. Whenever he’s with us, he’s quiet or always around Nate, but when we’re apart, he’s playing the game. He probably wants everyone to think that he’s this cool, normal guy, but it’s all for a reason.”

“Just like when he kept trying to get on my good side…and he kissed me, right?” Trae said.

“Exactly,” Carl said. “From what I recall, also, Sydney told me he bribed her with Nicki Minaj tickets.”

“And the route that Nate is going, it’s like he’s at the verge of dividing the group,” Alex said. “But why would Joe expose Brian and Vik?”

Carl shrugged, “Well, remember his words, he hates everyone—and to him, The Savages are ‘posers.’ So, what do you think was his real reason to join the Savages? To frame us and take us down. He probably broadcasted the video at the assembly, and to our surprise, De Vil would immediately think it’s us, regardless of how many people she searches for.”

Trae and Alex found Carl’s theory very interesting. Alex sighed and folded his arms together, “Wow, he’s poison,”

“That sneaky son of a bitch,” Trae was angered. He had a great feeling that Joe was a possible candidate. Not only would he be taking Brian and Vik down, Joe would be taking the Savages down.

He hates cliques, and he secretly hates the Savages; Trae knew there was going to be war.

_______

Alex felt the need to approach Andres—despite their conflict, Alex thought of Andres’ mother—Alex’s aunt. While she’s battling breast cancer, Andres is trying to cope with it. Andres stood near a locker, without a combination.

“Looks like you’ve got your own exclusive locker,” Alex said, trying to diminish the tension.

Andres looked at Alex, surprised by his approach. He didn’t really have anything to say to him, but he responded.

“What’s a locker without a lock?” Andres asked while picking out a binder from it.

Alex replied, “Well, you are a temporary student, haha,”

“I’m sure you’ll be glad when I’m gone, right?” Andres said angrily.

“That’s not true, Andres,” Alex tried to deny the assumption.

“Oh, yeah? Last night, you said it was a punishment being around me—now a whole new person’s telling me it’s not true,” Andres closed his locker door and turned to Alex.

Alex sighed, “Andres, I didn’t mean that—it was just the heat of the moment.”

“You know, I don’t get it—why do you hate me so much? I get it, I’m dating your ex-girlfriend, but I never knew that, and I don’t deserve to be judged, provoked, or hated by anyone right now.”

“Andres—Marisol told me what you said about me before you visited.”

“She did?”

“Yeah,” Alex said. “It meant a lot to me—even if I’m angry at you or certain things you do annoys me, it doesn’t mean I hate you. It means that we’re family and I care. I know I should have been considerate of your feelings because of Aunt Helene, but…once you came, I forgot how hard it was for you.”

“It’s really hard,” Andres looked down to the floor. “Her breast cancer came back, and we thought everything was fine. Alex, I’ve changed. I’m not the same person that gets you in trouble. I’m not as sharp-tongued as I used to be because of my mother. I’m not the same person who scratched your leg, or broke your friend Trae’s window playing football.”

“And he still hates you for that,” Alex chuckled, and Andres smiled.

“So, are we cool, Allie Cat?” Andres lent out his hand, waiting for a shake. Alex looked at his hand and scoffed.

Alex pulled him in for a hug and patted his back numerous times, “Of course, you little puta,

“You’re a puta,” Andres said, laughing.

Alex and Andres’ moment was interrupted, when Alex became more appealed to Gina, as she stood near her locker. Alex felt the urge to talk to her before the chance was over, and Andres nudged him.

“Go for her,” Andres said.

“Hmm?” Alex turned around, snapping out of the moment.

“Go to her,” Andres chuckled. “Go on, I’ll be cool here,”

Alex listened to his words, and he confidently smiled. He walked to Gina for the first time since Monday, and the two finally began to speak.

“Hey,” Alex said. Gina turned around, and she was excited to see Alex.

“Hey,” Gina replied—the conversation was awkward in a good way, and the two couldn’t help blushing.

“Well, um—I know we talked about it already, but...I was wondering if you’d like to go on a little lunch date, maybe tomorrow night.”

Gina smiled, the connection was obviously there, “I was thinking the same thing,”

“We’re so alike, aren’t we?” Alex chuckled, and Gina nodded her head and laughed softly. The sudden silence afterwards lasted for at least 6 seconds. Alex and Gina were very close to each other; without fear, Alex decided to move closer to Gina's lips.

Alex’s lips slowly locked upon Gina’s, who slowly closed her eyes while Alex finally felt the connection. They finally had each other where they wanted, and Gina refused to resist his kiss. Alex pulled back, in major shock.

“Wow,” Gina said, feeling the same as Alex.

“Um, I gotta get to class,” Alex chuckled awkwardly, keeping a smile on his face. Gina shook her head quickly.

“Yeah, you do that,” Gina said, waving at him while he walked away in a trance. Gina leaned on the lockers, love struck once more.

~

TraeZachSavages3

Trae looked into his phone and noticed the unexpected response from Zach. A three-day span of ignorance ended, and Trae looked up immediately to see Zachary walk right in front of him. Zachary felt nervous—what if he’s angry at me for being angry at him? He thought in his head.

“Hey,” Trae said with surprise. Zachary repeated the same thing, with a different tone.

There was awkward silence, and the two spoke on top of each other, in unison.

“Look, I just wanted—” The duo said in unison.

“You go first,” Zachary said calmly.

“—to apologize for whatever I’ve done,” Trae said. “I mean, I don’t know what I’ve done wrong, but I’m just glad you’re…talking to me again.”

“You are?” Zachary was sort of surprised.

Trae chuckled, “But if I shouldn’t be glad, then—”

“—No, no, that’s not what I was trying to imply. Um, I was going to say I was sorry for avoiding you. I guess after that night, I felt a bit stressed. I haven’t talked to anyone, really..”

Zachary knew he wasn’t telling the whole truth to Trae—he felt that it was way too soon. Trae, on the other hand, knew there was something more, but he didn’t want to ask about it.

“Do you need anyone to talk to? If so, I’m all ears,” Trae asked.

Zachary didn’t want to elaborate—there were much more problems he was facing. He wasn’t as open as he wished he could be, but he nodded his head, showing denial.

“I’m fine, now—I just wanted to apologize.”

“Coolio,” Trae said, moving his fist to him for a pound. Zachary looked down and gave him a pound on the fist, even though he still felt “friend zoned.”

“I have to get to class, talk to you later,” Zachary said with a short smile. Trae watched him walk away, and Trae noticed there was something suspicious and concerning about Zachary. There was something he wasn’t telling him and he was worried.

Zachary, on the other hand, kept his face straightforward. As he passed by Gina, who stood by the lockers, thinking of her kiss with Alex, she began to sing.

“This love is so dangerous, but I kind of like the thrill. It’s like a sugar rush. It's all in the way you make me feel. I didn't see you coming, but you broke me down…”

Zachary sprinted through the hallways, singing his part, “'Cause you got some nerve about you. Walk up like I know you. Bold hair and your tattoos. One smile, oh…”

Gina walked the opposite direction from Zachary, and sang, “I gotta admit you're fly, and I love it how you talk babe. Getting all in my mind, running it like a field play. I didn't see you coming, but you broke me down…”

“'Cause you got some nerve about you. Walk up like I know you. Bold hair and your tattoos. One smile, oh…” Zachary sang.

“This ain't no ordinary boy, this ain't no ordinary boy. See the funny thing about you, you got me doin' things I wouldn't do. You ain't no ordinary boy. You gon' be troubeaux… you gon’ be troubeaux, you gon’ be troubeaux…”

Zachary sat in his Chemistry classroom, continuing to think of Trae, “I, deep down I should be good. I ain't blind, you're the kind of guy that always got all these girls running after you. Do I entertain or play with you, or just be cool?”

“'Cause you got some nerve about you. Walk up like I know you. Bold hair and your tattoos. One smile, oh…” Gina sang.

“Don't sleep. I think I'm about to fall. So close, wrapped up in the heat of it all. I'm having fantasies of how it's gonna be…”

“'Cause you got some nerve about you. Walk up like I know you. Bold hair and your tattoos. One smile, oh…”

“This ain't no ordinary boy, this ain't no ordinary boy. See the funny thing about you, you got me doin' things I wouldn't do. You ain't no ordinary boy. You gon' be troubeaux… you gon’ be troubeaux, you gon’ be troubeaux…”

Alex sat in the same classroom as Zachary, and he sat next to Carl, rapping while he looked at the board, “Yo, got Henny in the cup, Gina knows what's up. She with a real one not pretending to be tough, got three cases, might have a warrant I don't know about, beef I don't know about, weed I can't go without…”

In Trae’s classroom—he sat in his Spanish classroom, with Gina. He rapped along with Alex…

“My money used to pile up every beginning of the month. Unconditional love, in the beginning it was lust. Hustler, shooter, was a dealer on the block, now my future's on top no longer dealing with the thots. I don't go nowhere without the handle,”

“Like I heard little wussy was out in Louisiana. Got friends in the fed, some dead over drugs. F*cking with me it's high-risk but she still in love. We in love baby,” Alex rapped.

“Benny Medina might wanna pay me to leave ya. I'm bad for your image, the ghetto menacing diva. 'Cause some say Trae is trouble. We all live, just ignore them nice guys is boring, I got you…”

Gina sang right next to him, and Zachary sang from his Chemistry class.

“This ain't no ordinary boy, this ain't no ordinary boy. See the funny thing about you, you got me doin' things I wouldn't do. You ain't no ordinary boy. You gon' be troubeaux… you gon’ be troubeaux, you gon’ be troubeaux…”

_____

 

Rewindsavages

8:34 pm—a dark bedroom gave light from a small lamp. An unknown person grabbed a disc, titled PLAY ME DURING ASSEMBLY. The person wore black gloves and a leather jacket, covering up the skin.

The person slowly opened a Samsung laptop, with the Windows 10 effects—then, the CD-ROM inserter ejected. After slowly placing the disc inside the computer, it slowly closed on its own. For approximately 30 seconds, the disc was synced to the computer, giving a .wma file.

Meanwhile, the person opened up Google Chrome, searched for YouTube, and clicked the “Create Account” button. As the figure registered, the user typed the username “TripleDz’ and typed in the password – 3xxxSS, an unusual password for an account.

As the YouTube registration was complete, the person uploaded a video from a saved folder, filled with many different pictures and videos.

Specifically, pictures of Brian and Vik doing more than kissing, pictures of Sena passionately kissing Mr. Baldwin, an audio recording titled “Vik’s Denial.wma,” and pictures of Kyler kissing Alyssa. Mostly, there were things that part of a complete student exposure.

From a choice of files, the unknown person clicked the infamous video that was synced to the computer. The person typed in the title of the video – “Two Jocks Caught Kissing on Candid Camera! MUST WATCH!

The description, “Watch this! Two high school “straight” boys caught kissing in a locker room at James A. Masters High School!”

The video was finally uploaded, and the person closed the laptop slowly. The top of the laptop had a large red sign, TOP SECRET bolded in white letters. The person held the computer in the hands and placed it in a safe, dark place, and exited the room.

THE END.

 

 

 

 

 

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