Post Reply Lillynn Minuette
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Posted 5/6/08 , edited 5/6/08
LILYNN MINUETTE

“Never go for the alpha of the group,” Minnie said seriously, leaning forward. “They’re hard to beat.” Adelle, who was sitting next to her, immediately slapped her upside the head.

“Ai!” Minnie winced, rubbing her head.

“Idiot,” Adelle sighed. “When you’re dating, you’re not in competition with the person you’re dating.”

“Why not!” demanded Minnie belligerently. “It’s my relationship! I can do as I please.”

“I agree with Minnie,” interjected Nami from across the table.

“WHAT?!!” said three voices.

“No! No!” denied Nami. “The competition angle is stupid and pure Minnie, but the whole thing about doing as she pleases. I like that idea.”

Bam-bam frowned. “How can you tell he’s an alpha?”

“Because --,” started Minnie, leaning forward once more, all business.

But Adelle shoved her back. “You’re blocking the view.” Adelle craned her neck to see over the barrier and catch a glimpse of the boys hovering beside a table directly across the diner from them.

Undaunted, Minnie continued. “He’s the leader. The unquestioned instigator of barbaric maleness. Let’s call him ‘the instigator.’ He --”

“Why not call him ‘alpha,’ since that’s what he is?” Bam-bam asked, slurping her milkshake.

“Because we’re speaking code here,” Minnie said irritated.

Nami rolled her eyes and sipped her coke.

“Oh,” replied Bam-bam, confused.

“Okay, expert,” interrupted Adelle, tugging gently on Minnie‘s hair. “Pick out the alpha then.” She nodded towards the boys.

Minnie, who was shortest of the four, lifted herself off the seat and peeked over the barrier. With narrowed eyes she glared at the boys. A few minutes passed and then she finally sat back in her seat.

“What did you see?” Bam-bam asked, wide eyed and breathless with anticipation.

“Any instigator-ness leap out at you?” Adelle asked, amused, as she ate a French fry.
Nami smothered her giggles.

“It needs further observation,” Minnie said, clearing her throat with dignity.

“Ack, you saw nothing,” Bam-bam said with disgust, sitting back in disappointment.

Adelle smiled at Nami and as one they both gave a quick peek over the barrier before sitting back down. A second of silence passed and then together they said one name:
“Orin.”

“Whatever. That jerk’s not an alpha,” sneered Minnie.

“Instigator,” corrected Bam-bam.

“What-the-heck-ever,” drawled Minnie.

Adelle laughed.

“It’s called over-exposure,” said Nami. “You live next door to him, he was your best friend in elementary and middle school --”

“And freshman year!” added Bam-bam.

“-- and even now, you’re the only female he actually talks to with a semblance of humanity. Seeing him everyday, talking with him, you‘re over-exposed and, thus, immune to his charms.”

“He’s not worth discussing,” sighed Minnie, bored. “And besides, that’s the whole point of this conversation isn’t it?”

At the puzzled looks on her friend’s faces, she shook her head in disbelief. “Never date the alpha!”

“Idiot!” sighed Nami and the other two laughed.

AN UNEXPECTED GUEST

Several hours later, Minnie pulled her key from her purse and unlocked the front door. There was a post-it note stuck to the screen door.

“Sweetie -- gone for conference. I told you about it right? You know where emergency stuff is. Call my cell if anything comes up. See you on Tuesday. Love Mom.”

“Great, Mom. Thanks for the heads up,” sighed Minnie. As she opened the door, a figure loomed out of the darkness of her porch.

“ICK!” she choked, jumping back.

“Lilly,“ an all too familiar voice said.

She blinked then stared at the tall, broad shouldered figure.

She grimaced. “Oh. You.”

“Let me crash here tonight,” Orin said.

She ignored him and went in. He followed, closed the door, and locked it. When he turned, she sighed in resignation. He was beat up and bleeding.

“Another fight, Rin?” she asked.

He grinned. “Your Mom’s not here, huh?”

“It’s a Friday night. Don’t you have a party to go to or something?.”

“Got any food?” he asked, heading into the kitchen. She stood blinking at the spot he had just vacated.

“Like talking to a wall,” she muttered.

She could here him rummaging in the frig. She went into the bathroom and brought out the first aid kit. It had been a while, she mused, since she had used this on him. About 3 years. Not since freshman year.

He was making himself comfortable on the couch in the living room -- turning on the TV, a casserole dish of cold lasagna on his lap, a bottle of orange juice on the coffee table.

“Use a cup, monkey,” she snapped.

“Aww, not the damn first aid kit!” he groaned when he saw what she was carrying.

“If your parents see your face, you’ll be home schooled.”

He glared but put the casserole dish on the coffee table. She knelt on the floor before him, opened the kit and pulled out a thick square pad of gauze. She dabbed some hydrogen peroxide on it and held it up to his face as she paused.

With a smile she said, “This is gonna hurt.”

“OWWWW! Damn it!” he yelped.

She snickered. “Sheesh, what a baby.”

“You did that on purpose!!!” he whined.

“Hold still!”

“Gently! Gently! Want your ass kicked?!!”

“Aww, what’s a matter? It’s just a little scratch,” she said adopting the tone she used for toddlers. She pulled out an antiseptic band aid and leaned fully on him, pinning him down with her body. “Now, Rin. Be a man and stop squirming,” she coaxed in a sweet voice.

Seeing the band aid, his eyes widened. “You sadist! Gerroff me!”

But with skill born of practice, she slapped the band aid on his forehead with as much force as the small space between them would allow.

“AHHHHH!”

She grinned. “All better now!”

He glared into her smiling face. Then frowned. “Are you wearing perfume?”

Thrown off guard, she leapt off him. “Y-yes?”

“Is that an answer or a question?” he said, the frown turning into a full grown sullen expression.

She smiled instead of answering and plopped down on the couch beside him. Taking the remote, she began flipping through the channels.

“Since when?”

“Since a long time now,” she said, playing it cool and nonchalant.

He was quiet and she could feel his gaze on her face. He stared for so long that her face turned hot.

“WHAT!?” she yelled at him, angry that he could still confuse her after all this time.

“Hmph,” he said, his tone more disappointed than anything else. “No matter what you do, you’ll still be little Lilly Minnie.”

“JERK!” She threw a couch pillow at him. “Get out of my home!”

“Gimme the remote,” he said, easily swiping it out of her hands. “I was watching the results of the game on ESPN.”

They ate cold lasagna together as the game results rolled across the TV. Eventually, he fell asleep. She turned the TV off and placed a pillow under his head. Bringing a fresh blanket out of the linen closet, she covered him. She knelt beside him for a while, staring at his handsome face. Then she leaned slowly forward and whispered into his ear, “You are being chased by blood sucking demons. Run, run for your life. They’re coming to get you.”

Humming happily, she turned to leave, thinking of a hot shower and cool sheets. When she turned the living room lights off, Orin opened his eyes and smiled.

AN UNUSUAL BREAKFAST

Saturday morning started at 7am for Lilynn Minuette. Her cell rang itself silly and kept on ringing. She finally answered it.

“Hello?” she croaked. Then bolted upright -- “Mrs. Taylor?! Good morning!”

She blinked her eyes and rubbed her face, trying to wipe the sleep out of her mind. “Orin? Haven’t seen him…No, Mrs. Taylor…Yes, if I see him.” She kicked the sheets off and stretched, arching off the bed. “Uh-huh…Yes, Mrs. Taylor…Uh-huh…No, ma’am, you didn’t wake me… Sure, thing… I’ll let him know if I see him. Oh and Mrs. Taylor? Uhmmm… how did you get my cell number? Oh… I see. On Orin’s desk? Ah… Really?” Confused and surprised, she hung up.

She rose into a full stretch and headed to her dresser where she‘d hung her towel.

“WAAAHHHH!” she screamed, stumbling back over her bed and falling over to the other side. She crouched there, trying to make herself small and invisible as she peeked over the bed.

Orin was sitting in her vanity chair, watching her.

“Oh,” she gasped, clasping her hand to her chest. “Ah. You scared the --- what the hell are you doing in my room?” She gave a horrified glance down at her white cotton bikini panties and snug white tank top that she used as sleepwear. I’m not even wearing a bra!

“I’m hungry. Make me breakfast,” he stood and headed for the door, which meant passing right next to her. With a cry of alarm, she pulled her blanket on top of her and buried herself beneath. He paused beside her and nudged her with a toe. “Hurry. My stomach’s growling.”

From underneath the blanket she shouted, “What am I -- your maid?”

Buried beneath the blanket she missed his satisfied smirk. “I want scrambled eggs and toast with orange juice and, of course, bacon.”

“Go home! Your Mom’s looking for you!”

“Aren’t you making me breakfast?”

“I’d rather die a virgin.”

He laughed as he strutted downstairs.

Peeking from beneath the blanket, she checked around the room to make sure he was gone. “Psycho,” she muttered. “Peeping tom psycho.” She quickly locked her bedroom door and then stood before the mirror. Ack! Why didn’t I wear my lacy black teddy? Wait a minute -- what am I saying?!?

She gave herself two quick slaps and then quickly pulled on some long baggy jeans and a over-sized long sleeve shirt. After she brushed her teeth and washed her face, she headed downstairs to find him frying up bacon.

She sighed. It was as if three years of ignoring each other didn’t stand between them anymore. It was just like old times. She grabbed a skillet and a spatula and brought it to the oven. He turned on her hotplate and handed her a couple of eggs. She passed him four slices of bread and he popped them in the toaster.

Yep, she thought, suppressing a sigh. Just like old times. Except that she felt slightly uneasy. She looked up to find him quickly looking away. She ignored him; but the third time he did it, she glared. “What? What? Is there something on my face?”

He grinned at her instead and said, “Pass me two glasses.”

She did so and he poured orange juice into them.

She set the table and he carried their food laden plates to the table. They sat and had breakfast. He quickly leaned over and stole her two slices of bacon.

“Hey!”

“You don’t eat bacon!” he laughed, quickly devouring both slices.

“Why put them on my plate then?” she snapped, taking a bite out of her toast.

“To tempt you,” he said. “Besides, you should feed your figure healthier foods.”

Her face turned red and she choked on her toast. “W-what do you mean by that, pervert!”

He shrugged and watched her, his gaze steady, as she nervously picked up her juice and drank. “I heard that you and Denis are an item.”

She choked for a second time that morning. “Who said? Denis who? Denis grabs-his-crotch-all-time-when-he’s-talking-to-girls Denis? That Denis?”

His eyes narrowed and she was surprised by her heartbeat suddenly grinding to a stop. She was suddenly aware that his rage was only seconds away. A wrong word, a wrong glance, and he would erupt.

“Don’t. Play. Dumb.” he whispered softly, his eyes cold and unwavering.

She wanted to say that it wasn’t his business but knew that would be the same thing as waving a red flag in front of a charging bull. “I know Denis --”

“Ah.”

“But we’re not friends -- “

“Of course not.”

“And as far as I know, he’s dating Cherise.”

“Is that so,” he said, neither his expression nor tone changing.

She looked away first, suddenly angry. Casually, she asked, “How’s Isabelle?”

“Good,” he blurted. She knew she had caught him off guard. They ate the rest of their breakfast in silence. He helped her clear the table and do the dishes.

“Thanks for breakfast, shortie,” he said with a half-smile from the kitchen door.

She glared at him. “You should pay me!”

“HA!” he retorted.

“Orin! About Denis…” she called, running to the door just as the screen door slammed shut. But he was answering his cell phone and entering his yard by the side gate. Shrugging, she went back to the kitchen sink to finish up the rest of the dishes.

A REVEALING PHONE CALL

“Yeah, Phil, what’s up,” Orin said into his cell.

“Dude!!!! Where the hell have you been?”

“I was at home. Stuff came up.”

“Yeah? You sure? I heard you and Denis got into it last night. You gave him a concussion, man.”

“Yeah? Jerk should watch his mouth. Spewing nonsense. I‘ll break his arm next time around.”

“WHOA! I’m not lecturing you or nothing --.”

“Then why call this damn early!!?!”

And Orin hung up.

OLD FRIEND, OLD NEMESIS

Monday. Sheesh, I hate Mondays, groaned Minnie inwardly. She slouched her way through the halls slowly. Someone knocked into her. She turned to glare only to find Bam-bam’s perky face smiling cheerfully at her. Ai. It’s too early for this kind of sunshine, she winced.

“Morning!” Bam-bam cheered.

“Mmmm.”

“Ah, Mondays! The week is soooo full of possibilities!” Bam-bam chirped.

“Grrrr,” Minnie growled.

“Sounds like someone didn’t get any rest over the weekend,” Nami said joining the group. They tacked slowly through the press of students.

“Something weird happened,” Minnie muttered. “I feel uneasy.”

“What?” Adelle said, materializing beside them. “What weird thing happened?”

“Well --,” began Minnie and stopped.

A space had cleared around them. Surprised the girls stopped. Facing them, a mere ten feet away, stood the Roses: Ash, Missy, Cindy, and Isabelle. As usual, they seemed to shine. Their picture perfect outfits, smooth, clear complexions and never-a-strand-out-of-place hair were the envy of all girls at Miridian High.

Minnie frowned. “Isa.” Beside her, Adelle squeezed her hand reassuringly. She gave a grateful squeeze back.

“We need to talk,” Isabelle said.

“About?” Bam-bam said, her voice deceptively pleasant. Minnie winced. The last thing she needed was for Bam-bam to go into Terminator mode. The girl was a black-belt and could put most people in the hospital.

“None of your business, chunky,” Ash said insolently.

“What’s Minnie’s business is ours,” Nami said quietly, grabbing hold of Bam-bam.

Isabelle ignored them all, her eyes focused on Minnie. “Lilly,” she said.

Minnie nodded. Adelle immediately grabbed her and pulled her aside. “No,” Adelle said. “This is not a good idea. I don’t know what she’s up to but this is the Belle Rose we’re talking about.”

Minnie smiled. “I know what it’s about and this needs to get done.”

Adelle stared into her face for a minute longer. “What happened this weekend? Does it have to do with Orin?”

Minnie gave a vague nod. “I’ll tell you all about it at lunch. But we better get back before hell breaks lose.” She nodded towards the other girls, who were now loudly trading insults.

“Isa,” Minnie said, interrupting the verbal tennis. “Somewhere private? Or will here do?”

“Private,” Isabelle said.

“Belle,” protested Cindy.

“It’s okay,” Isabelle said. “This is a private matter.”

Together Minnie and Isabelle headed for the exit. The gawking students opened a path for them.

“What’re you all looking at?” Bam-bam demanded. The students quickly went back to their business.

Outside, the approaching summer was already evident. Isabelle and Minnie walked in silence to the one spot that they both knew would be neutral ground: the great tree just off the basketball court, not far from the school parking lot. As they walked, Minnie wondered how things had come to be this way. The three of us had once been inseparable, she thought sadly. Me, Rin…and Isa.

The shade of the great tree was cool and a soft breeze blew. Unerringly the both of them climbed across its roots and found the spot that they had once sat upon many summers ago, laughing and sipping cool drinks. Minnie searched for the heart and found it. Sadly, she traced it. Etched into its center were three names: Lilly, Isa + Rin. BFF. Isabelle herself had carved that.

She waited. Isabelle stood by the heart staring at it in cold silence. “Did you meet with Rin this weekend?”

Minnie nodded. “Yeah. He dropped by.”

“Why?”

“He’d gotten into a fight. I guess he didn’t want his parents seeing him like that. You know how they are.”

Isabelle whirled to face her then. She looked angry, her cheeks high in color. “You think you know his parents!?!”

“Isa --,” Minnie began, holding up a hand placatingly.

“Don’t call me that! You lost that right. I‘m Belle now.”

Isa,” Minnie gritted out. “He dropped by, had some lasagna and that’s about it.”

“Oh, you’re really something, you know that?” Isabelle said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “After all these years, you’re still trying to reach for something meant for someone else.”

“Jesus, Isa. He’s not a thing. And I don’t want him,” Minnie said, trying to keep her temper down.

“Liar,” spat Isabelle.

“Ah! You’re as stubborn as ever,” shouted Minnie.

“Then answer me this,” Isabelle said. “Did he spend a night?”

“Of course not!” Minnie snapped. What the heck! I’m lying now?!

“Mrs. Taylor called me Saturday morning, you know,” Isabelle said slowly, deliberately.

Minnie’s heart skipped a beat but she kept her face calm and still.

“She said she’d just gotten off the phone with you and wanted to know if I knew where Rin had been,” Isabelle continued.

“Well, I don’t know where he went!”

Isabelle took one stride over and slapped her hard across the face. Minnie stood, anger pulsing in her veins, the sting of the slap heating her face. Isabelle raised her hand again, and Minnie caught it.

“Get a hold of yourself! Jesus, Isa. Calm down,” Minnie snapped, shoving her back. Isabelle fell with her back against the tree trunk. Her head down, her body bowed. She seemed weary. Abyssimally sad. Minnie closed her eyes, guilt and anger warring inside. Rin and Isa have always been nothing but drama, she thought resentfully.

“Why?” murmured Isabelle.

“Huh?”

“Why did Mrs. Taylor call you first? Why did she take the time to find your number when my number is on speed dial at their house, huh? Why? WHY, I SAID!” Her hands had rolled into fists.

“What am I, a mind reader?” Minnie quipped.

That seemed to take the wind out of Isabelle’s sails for a second. And then strangely, Isabelle started laughing. A high, disbelieving laugh. Minnie felt alarm creep under her skin.

“Isa…Isa! What is going on with you?” Minnie said, concerned. “You okay? What’s wrong?”

“If I find that you have lied to me, I’ll kill you,” Isabelle said, a strange light glittering in her eyes. “Do you hear me, Lillynn Minuette? He’s mine. Mine. I won’t give him up.”

“Keep him, for God’s sake, Isa! Isa, you gotta get a hobby or something. This kind of obsession is … well, it’s creepy, to be perfectly honest.”

“Always the joker, huh, Lilly? Always the grounded one,” sneered Isabelle.

“Compared to you and Rin, I can seem normal,” agreed Minnie, conversationally, while wracking her brain trying to figure out how to disappear without Isabelle noticing. “The pair of you were just abnormally quirky.”

“She jokes. SHE JOKES!” And the beautiful Isabelle began to pace slowly towards Minnie with predator-like grace.

“Oh--kay,” breathed Minnie, stepping back, more than a little alarmed. “Isa? You seem…not yourself. Uhmmm…Isa?”

“I knew it was you!” a cheerful voice called. Minnie bit back her sigh of relief. Isabelle seemed to come out of her trance and turned to see the source of the voice.

“D-denis!” Isabelle called, waving prettily. Her stance lost its animal-like grace and became girly, flirty. Minnie shook her head in disbelief at the rapid transformation.

“Oh. Yeah, hi, Belle. Hey, there Minnie. How you doing?” He was as tall as Orin and just as athletic. While he lacked Orin’s intensity, he seemed an all around nice guy…if he didn’t have to tug at his crotch all the time, thought Minnie. That’s just ick.

“Yeah, hey…,” Minnie answered.

“The bell’s about to ring, we should get going pretty ladies,” he said, grinning his most charming smile. He held a hand out to Minnie to help her off the large tree root, but it was Isabelle who grabbed it and helped herself down. Minnie scrambled off the roots, not noticing how Denis kept glancing her way. She was filled with a sense of foreboding, as if a shadow so large had fallen over her that no matter how far she ran, she would never get out from beneath it.

“Uhmm, you got any plans this weekend?” Denis was saying.

“Who me?” Isabelle flirted prettily.

“Not you, woman!” laughed Denis, giving her shoulders a squeeze to ease the sting of his words. “You’re taken. But Minnie, you got anything planned?”

Minnie was lost in thought and missed both the looks of Denis’s uncertainty and Isabelle’s irritation.

“Minnie?”

No answer.

“Uhm, Minnie?”

“LILLY!” shouted Isabelle, annoyed.

“Eh? What? Hmm?” mumbled Minnie, trying to focus her mind on the conversation.

“Denis is asking you a question!” Then to Denis, Isabelle smiled, and slipped her arm around his waist. “Don’t mind her, she’s quite the space cadet. But I find it very endearing.”

Oh, why don’t you kiss my a---!

“Uh, you got plans this weekend … Lilly?” Denis said, his smile slipping slightly under the pressure.

“Nope,” Minnie said, without thinking. Wait. Why’d I say that?

“Great! Pick you up at 7 this Friday?”

“What? Huh?”

“Alright! See you then!” They were in the school halls again and the bell was ringing. Denis, a grin lighting his face, took off, leaving Isabelle and Minnie standing in the hall. Isabelle had a thoughtful look on her face and smirked at Minnie as she sauntered away.

“Wait! Hey!” called Minnie after Denis. “Hey!”

“Second bell’s about to ring, Minnie,” said Mrs. Geisinger, the history teacher, peeking out of her classroom. “Get to homeroom.”

“Uh…yeah,” Minnie said, with a worried laugh. Oh god! What the heck! How the heck??!! This can’t be for real?!!

TO BE CONTINUED
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WITH FRIENDS LIKE YOU…

Bam-bam sought out Minnie during lunch. She was concerned to see Minnie staring at her lunch with a bewildered expression.

“Minnie, what happened? Start around the time you left us at the diner on Friday,” Bam-bam said encouragingly.

“I can’t. I gotta find Rin. I feel sick to my stomach,” Minnie said in a tremulous voice. She looked up slowly and spotted the green and white school jackets clustered around a table at the far corner.

“What? Orin? Why?” Bam-bam said, quickly getting up and dumping her uneaten lunch in the garbage. She pulled Minnie’s leaden body out of the chair and ushered her towards the school jackets. “Do you think this is a good idea?”

“Hang on, hang on,” muttered Minnie, trying to jerk her arm out of Bam-bam’s grip. “You’re rushing me. I want to get there with a semblance of dignity.”

“Well, good idea or not, we should go right over and sort things out,” Bam-bam said, looking more than a little thrilled. She released Minnie’s arm but couldn’t help but poke her to hurry her along. “What are you gonna tell him?”

“I’ll tell you later. This is kind of a delicate matter and will be better said in private with the idiot. If you’re around he’ll just go all weird and stuff and I need his total focus. So go back to the table,” Minnie said, shooing her in the direction they had just came from.

“Ha. Ha. Nice try,” Bam-bam grinned, grabbing onto Minnie’s shoulders and hanging on like a leach.

“Bam-bam!”

“Minnie!”

“Go find Adelle or something,” scolded Minnie.

“Adele’s a big girl not some lost 1st grader!”

By this stage they had approached the basketball team’s usual lunch hangout. The boys were intensely discussing the pros and cons of the PS3 versus the XBOX 360. Minnie hesitated on the fringes of the huddled group and wondered how she was going to even glimpse Orin through the forest of players. Bam-bam solved the situation by shoving her hard into the group. With surprised cries, the guys fell apart like bowling pins.

“You terminator!” hissed Minnie, trying to extricate herself from limbs and more limbs.

A pair of hands hooked under her shoulders and lifted her off the mess of basketball players. She was set gently on her feet and when she looked up she was staring into Orin’s face. He tipped his head to one side and raised his eyebrows. “What’s up?”

Minnie turned to the boys and gave apologetic half smiles. “Sorry. Uhmmm…sorry.”

They glowered but no one dared raise their voices to her with Orin standing protectively beside her. Bam-bam quickly sat on a vacant spot at the basketball team’s table and seemed ready for entertainment, an expectant smile on her face. Minnie gave her the “you’re dead” look. Bam-bam’s smile grew larger. She didn’t notice the ugly looks being thrown her way by the basketball team.

“Rin, I saw Isa this morning and she asked about this past weekend,” she said under her breath.

His smile slipped away. He nodded, encouraging her to continue.

“I told her you came and had lasagna and left for somewhere else -- not your home cause your Mom called her, too, the next day asking for you,” she finished in a rush.

“Why didn’t you tell her the truth - that I spent a night on your couch?” he said, genuinely puzzled.

Because I woke up with you sitting in my room, dummy. Who knows how long you sat there, pervert.

“She … I … well, ermmm…. I didn’t want her to get the wrong idea,” she laughed nervously.

He bent low and leaned in, to whisper in her ear, “She’ll go nuts if she finds out the truth.”

She’s already nuts. Oh, that was nasty. I take it back.

“Yeah, so, since it was all innocent and all, can we just keep it between us?”

His face was still very close so she took a step back. He gave her his half smile and one even nod. Relieved, she grinned back at him. Bam-bam, watching the quiet conversation from a few feet away, fanned herself. It gets as hot as an oven whenever those two talk, Bam-bam thought.

“Was that all you wanted to say?” he asked, looking amused.

“Yeah. That’s about it. We’ll leave you guys to whatever you guys do.” Cheerfully, she took Bam-bam by the hand and pulled her towards the exit. The hangout was popular because it was right next to the exit into Hallway B. As they neared the exit, Orin called out.

“Lilly!”

Bam-bam and Minnie stopped and turned. Orin and his buddies were now seated at the table. Orin pointed at their ruined lunches. “You owe us lunch!”

Minnie looked affronted. “That was an accident ---!”

“We’ll buy it. No problem,” Bam-bam interrupted.

“Good girl!” Orin said.

“You condescending jer --!” flared up Minnie.

Orin was laughing heartily when the exit door flew open and Adelle skidded to a halt upon seeing Minnie and Bam-bam.

“MINNIE! IS IT TRUE YOU HAVE A DATE WITH DENIS ON FRIDAY?!!” She shouted, out of breath.

The entire cafeteria went silent with surprise at her outburst. Minnie closed her eyes in disbelief. A few seconds ticked by and then the bell rang, signaling the next period. Students began rushing out of the cafeteria.

“Lilly!”

“Denis! Denis?” gasped Bam-bam. “Oh my god. He’s a hottie.” The crowd of students pushed them out the exit.

“Lilly!”

“Where did you hear that?” hissed Minnie. Dodging an elbow and trying to keep pace with both Adelle and Bam-bam in the moving crowd.

“LILLY!”

“It’s spreading all over the school this very minute,” replied Adelle.

“Yeah,” laughed Bam-bam. “By you. Shouting it out in the cafeteria will pretty much do it.”

“Ohhh,” groaned Minnie. “This is stupid. I didn’t mean to accept.”

“Quit your whining and go on a date with him,” said Bam-bam with a hearty slap on Minnie’s shoulder.

“LILLY DAMN IT!”

But the crowd surged and pushed Orin down another hall, cutting him off from the three girls.

“Hey, hey. I’m fragile, terminator,” growled Minnie, rubbing her shoulder.

“Well, you have to go anyway,” Adelle said. “I asked Denis about it during fifth and he said I could bring Drew along and we’d double date. It’s all set up.”

“W-what?!! How could you d-do something so --- so ----.”

“She had to,” said Bam-bam. “Either you’re going to wait for Orin to be free. And let’s face it, the Belle Rose is never gonna retract her claws from him. Or you can move on and start dating.”

“What the heck does Rin have to do with anything?!!?” she gaped, genuinely confused.

Bam-bam and Adelle rolled their eyes.

TO BE CONTINUED
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