It all started with a joke.
A simple joke on the New Girl. That New Girl would be me. Grace Holland. That was two years ago.
My dislike for him hadn’t gone down in those two years.
I would say hate, but hate is a strong word. One I never used. You shouldn’t hate anybody. That makes for a depressing existence. Yeah, I’m weird that way.
I should probably explain about myself. I have wavy blond hair, icy-blue eyes, pale skin and I’m fairly small and petite. I also am somebody that most people would call, “Hippie” or “Tree-Hugger.” I dress normal, but I’m not one for stereotypes. Or animal cruelty. I meditate, do Pilates and Yoga, and believe in feminism.
Alderidge High is a place that reeked of stereotypes. It was expensive to get into, had your usual jocks-and-cheerleaders combination, had a Queen Bee and a King Bee (if that actually existed) and of course the “It” Couple so famously known throughout popular teen movies.
Oh, yeah. I was ecstatic to say the least. Note the sarcasm.
When my mother, Elizabeth, and my father, Rob, divorced when I was four, I moved with my dad to Chicago. My mother was a high-profile doctor and her work burden had caused the split. She agreed with my father that it was best my sister, Angel, and I went to live with my father because she just couldn’t “keep up with us”, as she so eloquently put it. But then my father got busier too, being the CEO of a popular enterprise, and we were being raised by our maid, Sheena. So we were shipped back to our mother, who was now working in another hospital as a step-in doctor, but mostly a nurse, that seemed to free up more of her time so she could more efficiently look after us. And here I landed at sunny Alderidge High.
That horrific joke happened on my very first day there. A sort of “Hey-Welcome-To-Alderidge-High-Where-The-People-Are-Prettier-And-The-Attitudes-Uglier-Induction.”
It was simple. Something I should’ve anticipated. But, of course, being naïve Gracie Holland, I never expected bad things like that to happen. Karma and all that. Boy, was I wrong.
It wasn’t something like slime in the locker or a slushie in the face. That wasn’t creative enough. It wasn’t a Post-It with the words “Kick Me” either.
It was a science experiment gone wrong. Purposely.
We had to get into pairs with a science partner, and after my introduction to the class, the Bad Boy of the school chose me, the innocent New Girl who had no idea people really did that kind of thing. They didn’t at my old school.
We had to add formulas to create this ugly green liquid in this test tube that wisped at the top with a mildly smoky scent. He added too much of one ingredient, even though we had been told Not to go over the 5mm mark. He went to twenty.
And it went Ka-Boom! He stepped back just in time, but my poor white shirt got it. And so I walked around with puke-green liquid stained all over my lovely blouse.
And that was all he did.
But I’m telling you, it was enough to set my nerves on end. He left me alone for two years, but I never went near him again. Didn’t give him a chance to ruin another lovely shirt that had cost me $25.
I didn’t give any payback, thinking karma would surely get him back. But he remained at the top of the proverbial food chain, a perky cheerleader on each arm, a geek completing his assignments and an unhealthy amount of worshippers who kissed the ground he walked on.
But I left it. Didn’t do a thing. I kept my head low, went on with my business, got straight A’s and never plotted anything.
I didn’t want trouble.
Especially when it came to Cole Adams.
With brown eyes, tousled brown hair, jeans, a leather jacket, and—of course—an expensive, glossy motorcycle, he was a god in the world of Alderidge High.
He was not someone you messed with, because he came back, double. And I didn’t do that kind of thing to people. It went against everything I believed in.
Well, at least it used to.
But after that fateful Friday night, two years later, when my whole paradigm shifted forever, things changed. And I knew…
It was time for payback.