album one, track four -- outta my system
October 6th, 1977
The hustle and bustle of the school cafeteria proved everpresent today more so than any other. Like more people randomly showed up for the first time in forever, and raised their voices paired with their extreme chatter.
And Corrina despised it.
Not being able to hear herself think was one thing, but feeling her teeth chatter and head rattle everytime someone in the school spoke was on a completely different level.
"Did someone just give every student in this school a megaphone today?" Corrina groaned, rubbing the right side of her temple with her index finger, taking a bite of her brownie. Any second and it'll finally kick in. That second will be the most joyous of Corrina's cafeteria experience thus far.
Claire shrugged, remaining silent as she persisted to stab her flimsy salad over and over again. Lips curled in a discreet scowl, her eyes cut the salad with such intensity Corrina thought it owed her money.
Julian, however, saw the situation as a much more dire one than Corrina orginally pegged it to be. He reached over to his right, one hand gripping her wrist while he attempted to remove the plastic object out of her hand. Before he managed to disarm her, she shrugged him off, ribbing him in his side with her elbow.
She resumed stabbing her lettuce once again.
The violet haired girl raised her eyebrow towards her chestnut brown haired friend. He shook his head, motioning for her to drop it.
Silence fell over them once again.
Until Heather Swanson and Matthew Burroughs walked up together, Matt's hand placed with care at the small of her back. He led her, an unusual amount of care woven in his actions. It shocked both Julian and Claire, who've both been around the couple's ups and downs. Corrina thought it was sweet. Not always a fan of PDA, she longed for a lovingly relationship like that. One where they weren't afraid to show their love for one another.
"Hey, guys," Matt shouted over the crowd, beaming like the Packers won the Super Bowl. He hopped down on the bench next to Julian, Heather opting for the opposite side, leaving room for a mountain between her and Corrina. Since Heather decided to sit straight across from Matthew.
Heather's soft blue eyes shift all around the cafeteria, refusing to connect with Matt's chocolate brown ones. She squirmed under all the attention despite the fact no one really was. Except for Corrina. Something about her struck something, like she was hiding something. Honestly, Corrina really didn't know. She felt a pull, finding her mind swirling with why the girl dubbed to be so outspoken and blunt, a chatterbox of sorts, lost her voice. Silent during the gossip hour.
Something had to be wrong.
Corrina reached over, tapping the petite girl on the shoulder. Her sad eyes met the rebel's jade ones, waiting for her to say something. "Are. . . are you alright?"
Heather nodded, tucking a strand of auburn hair behind her ear, revealing a line of three piercings, one of which in her cartilage. "I'm fine."
Though her small voice said otherwise. Corrina knew so. Not that she said it.
"Where's Scott?" Corrina asked, knowing damn good that it was the brownie talking. The last thing she wanted was to give any of them a reason to tease her.
Claire shrugged, still mute as she stabbed at her salad, not having eaten any of it.
Matt took a huge bite of his salisbury steak. "I think I saw him in the bathroom. Told me not to wait up."
"Guess he didn't plan on being here for lunch," Julian chimed in, digging into his own school made steak. Though it was more reminiscent of limp chicken scratch. Despite the fact this school supposedly held the title of Best School Lunch in all of Wisconsin, its food was nothing to write home about. Corrina wouldn't even feed it to her dogs. It worried her about the rest of the school food in Wisconsin.
Corrina shrugged. "Guess not." Her voice soft, no one else able to hear her. And she was thankful for that. Thankful they couldn't see inside her to notice her heart chipping, even though she didn't know why. Instead, buried it deep down so she wouldn't find it again.
They were just a two night stand. Friends with benefits, if even that.
Corrina needed to remind herself that. And eat more brownie, of course.
She'd need a dozen of them to get through the hell she was about to endure.
Thanks a bunch, Chicago. Love you too.
October 6th, 1977
"Alright, ladies. Line up," the coach shouted into her megaphone, motioning for all the cheerleader prospects to congregate towards the middle of the gym in front of her.
In a straight line, each and every girl lined up shoulder to shoulder. Tall and short. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Each person with their hair tied neatly back in a high ponytail. Various shades of blonde, brunette, black hair, red, and. . . violet? Each uniform hugged each girls' body. All paired with white speciality shoes and knee high socks.
Except for the one girl wearing wripped fishnets with hers.
"Ladies, today is the first day of the rest of your cheerleading career." The coach paced back and forth, checking down her notes on her notepad with her pencil tucked behind her left ear. "One false step, and it all could be over."
Some girls gulped. Others snickered.
Corrina scoffed. A roll of her eyes.
"Swanson," the coach barked, standing straight up with her legs in a wide v. Heather's spine straighten, though uneasy. Her eyes screamed trouble. "Tumble run, now. Show me why you were co-captain your sophomore year."
The young girl gulped, eyeing the blue mat behind them with despair. Eyes wide, she lurched forwards with a loud burp. Hand over her mouth, she sprinted towards the door, bursting through it like a speedy bullet.
"Anyone know what's wrong with Swan?" Coach asked to no response. "Then, will someone go check on her?"
Corrina raised her hand despite herself. Not even knowing she did so until Coach Fowler dismissed her.
Her legs pumped in a fast, steady run. Over the mats, through the doors, and down the hall. They refused to alleviate themselves until Corrina bodyslamed the push door to the girl's bathroom in between the gymnasium and the beginning of the math hall.
"Heather, are you in there?" Corrina asked in a light tone, pressing a tentative hand against the wall as she eased the door shut to keep from another scene breaking out in the halls.
It was the last thing Heather needed. The snickers and gossip in the cutthroat practice was more than enough for the poor girl.
Her words were met with the sounds of retching and mini sobs. A toilet flushed in the handicap stall at the other side of the restroom stalls. Each step she took proved more cautious than the last, worried about possibly provoking the poor girl. All she wanted to do was help. And help she shall.
"Heather?" Corrina round the bend, facing the inside of the stall, contents tugging at her heartstrings. There lied Heather, back placed against the wall, sobbing. Legs sprawled out in front of her, one shoe missing from her foot. Her uniform soaked in sweat, her bangs plastered to her forehead.
Corrina slumped down on the dinghy floor, the last thing on her mind the various body fluids coating it. Heather's bare thigh soaked the rebel's hand with sweat upon impact. The tears kept falling from her eyes.
"Are you okay, Heather?" Corrina asked in a small voice, brushing a thick clump of her auburn bangs off her warm forehead. Using the pad of her thumb, she brushed away a stray tear. "Eat some bad food in the cafeteria?"
Heather shook her head, choking on a sob. She hugged herself tight, pressing her head back against the crusty wall. "No, no. I'm fine."
"I don't think racing for the bathroom counts as being fine, Heath."
She gulped, snuggling into herself. Another tear fell. "You. . . you caught me, huh?"
Corrina lightly chuckled. "Yeah, I guess. Better me to check up on you than that bitch, Karen."
Both girls laughed.
"Are you okay, though? Seriously," Corrina asked for a third time, hoping to finally get some answers. Her heart pounded, gut screaming at her what she already suspected.
Heather leaned forward, spitting into the bowl, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. "You have to keep this a secret. Whatever I tell you, you can't tell anyone."
"Look I'm," she gripped the end of her skirt, crunching it with her left hand, "I'm. . . I'm pregnant."
Corrina gulped, offering the shaken girl a hand. "Don't worry. I won't tell anyone. That's your secret to tell."
Heather offered her a small smile. "Thank you."
"Of course." She hoisted herself up, careful in helping the younger girl up. "I'm always here for you, Heather. Anytime."
The two girls walked side by side back towards the gym, joking and laughing the entire time. Though the conversation in the bathroom loomed on both their minds, sticking like super glue held it in place.
Thankfully, they were welcomed back by the coach without incident. The other girls, not so much. Teenagers can be cruel.
"You okay, Swan?" Coach Fowler asked, tearing her eyes away from a small group of girls doing a mini pyramid.
Corrina shot her a worried look by the water station.
Heather nodded in her direction, turning back towards the Coach with a small grin. "Yeah, just some bad mexican food. No worry."
"Good. Now, everyone get back to work!"
"Sir, yes, sir," Corrina shouted with a giggle, tossing her paper cone in the trash. She jogged back over, wishing it would end soon.
Little did she know, three hours of gruelling practice laid ahead of her. Chicago was not her favorite person at that very moment.