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Friday, January 18, 2013

High School - Scene Nine


            After the first interview, getting the every day details about her fellow cheer squad members and the A-list football players was a snap. Especially Tyler. The more Brittany could place herself at the quarterbacks side the higher her social credit rose. She even hinted that the continued attention might increase her odds of becoming the top cheerleader next season.
            By the time her third Dear Lippy column came out she had most of the cheer squad and a few from the general student body approaching her with tidbits that they thought belonged in the social news. Very little of it helped directly with the investigation, but it gave her an excuse for being all over campus talking to all sorts of people. It gave her a solid cover.
            Who knew that trafficking gossip would be the key to uncovering the details about a high school drug ring? Crazy! Right?
            There was sooooo much of it too. Not that she cared that Bobby Seton was dating both of the Parks sisters at the same time and neither of them knew about it. Or that Julia Thomson had a mysterious morning sickness. The problem was deciding which of the rumors to include in the column. Up to this point she’d been using just the three most interesting bits, but it was getting harder to decide which ones those were.
            Mr. Lee had actually done Jackie a huge favor. In addition to still having a position on the writing staff, she’d been handed a veritable gold mine of information. The possibilities were huge. For instance, she had found out Tyler’s schedule. There had been no repeat of the parking lot encounter. Sooner or later they would have to meet again, but until then Jackie would have to pursue other leads in the investigation.
            Now that everyone expected her to be snooping around on campus for the latest gossip to use in her column, Jackie could easily follow Tyler and catch him selling drugs. Then once she had a list of clients she could follow them, perhaps even interview them as Dear Lippy and see what secrets might slip out.
            Jackie’s mind was so wrapped up in day-dreaming about her investigation that she nearly missed Tyler walking past her. He stopped at the drinking fountain for a quick drink and then was off again. His gorgeous hair and confident stride momentarily distracted her.
            A quick shake of the head tossed any thoughts of a non-investigative nature aside. She took half a dozen steps after him when somebody stepped in front of her, blocking any further progress.
            Hayden Riley stood before her. Arms bigger than her thighs. Breath worse than death. He offered a gap-toothed smile. “Well, if it isn’t Dear Lippy.”
            “Yes.” Jackie’s mind raced for something to say that would throw Tyler’s body guard off balance. “Did you want to be interviewed?”
            A confused look crossed Hayden’s face. He took a step back and folded his arms. “No!”
            Jackie gave a moment to see if there was anything else forthcoming. There wasn’t. She took a step to the side and walked around him without further impediment.
            All had not been lost; she could still see Tyler ahead. A few quickened steps and she could catch up with him. 
            “I have a something you are going to want to put in your column,” said a girl with braided blonde hair, braces, and thick glasses.
            Jackie tried to remember the girl’s name, but could only recall that she was part of the nerd herd that hosted book parties whenever the latest Zombie Love movie was released. Last year the girl and her friends had dressed up as zombie groupies and had to be sent home to put on some school appropriate clothing.
            “The coolest party of the year is going to be at my house Friday.”
            “Great.” Jackie tried to sound enthused.
            “Aren’t you going to write it down?” asked the zombie queen.
            Jackie strained her neck to keep Tyler in sight. “No need. I’ll remember it. Cool party. Friday night. Come and get your zombie on.”
            “Won’t you need my address?”
            “I got it already.”
            “Wow! Thanks.”
            A quick scan failed to locate Tyler. Jackie switched into swift pursuit mode and made for the last corner where she had seen him. She rounded the edge of the building and ran smack into the Evil Trinity of Cheer.
            “Watch where you’re going,” snarled Stephanie Canton.
            “Sorry,” Jackie offered, anxious to be on her way, but Stephanie pointed a finger at her face.

            “You!” Her tone held more than a little contempt. “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stay away from Tyler. He’s mine.”

Time for another reader choice. Should Jackie . . .
A) Confront Tyler directly

B) Start following one of his accomplices

C) Focus on finding the supplier

D) End the story – have Jackie join the cheer squad and live happily ever after.



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