Hayden looked down at Jackie. At six-four he towered over her. His arms were crossed, enhancing the bulge of his already large biceps. And his normally vacant stare had been replaced with a nasty sneer.
“Hey,” Jackie squeaked. She looked over at Brent Wodzinski, who looked just as intimidating. Matching angry-jock bookends – that couldn’t be good. “Wow, last week’s game was amazing. You really impressed me with how you . . . ran around on the field.”
Mentally, she slapped herself on the forehead. She had a father and three brothers that watched football almost every day of their lives and the best she could do was compliment them on running around on the field.
“What are you doing over here?” Hayden asked. “This is an athlete only area.”
“S’right,” Brent spoke up. He flashed a mouth full of crooked teeth. “Jockville. No losers allowed.”
A loud, braying guffaw followed his comment. Apparently, Brent cracked himself up. Then he turned back to the emotionless flesh-gargoyle that he’d been a moment ago. At least in that mode his teeth remained hidden.
“Do I know you,” Brent asked. His eyes squinted as he looked her over, a crease forming on his forehead. “Got it. You’re that girl that writes for the school newspaper.”
“That’s me.” Jackie giggled. Not one of those giggles that results from an extended shopping trip with the powder-puff gang, but one that slips out when you’re in a tough situation and don’t know what to do.
“What are you doing following
threatening tone filled Hayden’s voice. He tilted his head from one side to the
other, causing his neck bones to pop. Then he rotated his shoulders. His sudden
activity looked like part of a pre-game warm-up. Tyler
A game of pound the reporter.
“Where else am I going to get an interview about Jockville?” Jackie looked over at Brent and smiled. “I mean, that’s where all the cool people hang out. Right?”
“You don’t write about sports,” said Hayden. “You write serious stuff. You write about the drug problem at school.”
“Not any more.” Jackie interjected. “They moved me over to the Society desk. Now I write about who’s popular and how everyone else can be like them. Maybe I can interview the two of you.”
Brent unleashed the teeth again and nodded his head.
Hayden seemed to be thinking it over. Jackie needed something more to convince him that she wasn’t a threat.
“You can ask Principle Skinner if you like. Or you can read my Dear Lippy column in tomorrow’s paper. I dish out the dirt on Daniel Sutton and his horrid lack of fashion sense.”
The words had escaped from her mouth before she could try to cage them. How could she embarrass her best friend in the school paper? Not only that, but what did she know about fashion other than Daniel dressed worse than her?
Then she noticed that the snarl had faded from Hayden’s face.
“You dished on Sutton?” Hayden asked.
“Oh yea. Big time.” Not again. Didn’t her mouth have some sort of controlling mechanism to prevent her from blurting out this stuff? Daniel wasn’t going to like this at all, but it was better than getting beat down by the glum club here.
“Alright,” said Hayden. “I’ll make sure to read it. Now get lost.”
“Maybe we can do the interview next time.”
The snarl returned.
Jackie walked away. She tried to maintain a normal pace; no need to let them know she was in a hurry to get out of there. Hopefully they didn’t notice her trip and nearly fall down.
She was sure they didn’t see that.
Once she was around the corner she blew out a sigh of relief.
accomplished; she had found out which of the jocks had been in the parking lot.
That was her first solid lead to unraveling the school drug ring. Mission
On the down side, now she had to write a totally fictitious column making fun of her best friend. She’d embarrass him in front of the entire school. Oh, what was she going to tell Daniel?