Samantha is the leader of the mean-girl brigade at Riverdale High. I’ve seen her knock a girl’s books out of her hands, causing all her belongings to spill into the busy hallway. Her top lieutenant, Chelsea, broke a guy’s glasses earlier in the year, when she “accidentally” stepped on them after he had momentarily dropped them on the floor. And they’re infamous for hazing freshmen, convincing them to hand over their lunch money and neat gadgets in exchange for social approval. It’s a scandal in and of itself because said approval is never truly gained, no matter how much you bend to the will of the Samantha gang.

The girls in her posse, Chelsea, Shannon, and Jen, are nasty in their own way, but I get the sense that their bad behavior really derives from Samantha. That girl is the true root of evil. I wonder why her personality is so twisted and awful. Was she abused as a child? What could possibly be going on in that twisted blonde head?

But Nicole giggles again, bringing me back to the present.

“Oh my god, if he were my prom date, I’d die of ecstasy. Just die!” she titters.

I giggle myself.

“Ugh, I couldn’t even. If Mr. Hunk-a-licious here suddenly came to life in front of us, I would just be a blubbering mess. I’ll stick to keeping him in book form for now,” I respond with an overdramatic eye roll.

“That’s fine, because I don’t think you’re going to be doing a whole lot of talking if you meet a man like that, if you know what I mean,” Nicole retorts with a wink.

We both break out into uncontrollable laughter. We are shushing each other between giggle fits, telling the other to knock it off so we don’t get in trouble with the school librarian. And just as we both start to get it under control, the other one spontaneously loses it again.

“Mrs. Morrison is going to kick us out! I am NOT getting my first detention senior year. You’ve got to stop making me laugh, Nicole!” I sputter between gasps.

At this she goes off the deep end for some reason and starts belly laughing so hard that she is bent over and holding her side.

“Oh my god, it hurts so much!” she exclaims, and accidentally lets out an unladylike snort. This sets me off real good. The two of us are notorious for getting ourselves into these obnoxious giggle-fits. But it’s not our fault because the harder you try to stop it, the more the laughter rolls in.

Suddenly, an ominous shadow descends over our seating area, and I look up. Is it the librarian? My body goes still upon seeing who it is, and immediately, I elbow my friend in warning.



Something thunks me in the back and I literally jolt forward from the impact.

“What? What was that for?” I ask helplessly while staring at my assailant. My laughter stops abruptly when I see Rob, his face lit with evil excitement.

Rob Purcell is Riverdale High’s shining star. He is a first-string player on the football team who thinks that he deserves all the credit for our school’s three championships in the last three years. Typical jock. I honestly think he could get away with murder in this town the way everyone drools over him. Heck, he’d probably manage to spin the story to make himself look like the hero. I can see the headline now: Chicago Suburb Football Star Saves Man from Tragic Life by Heroically Bringing it to a Sudden End.

I don’t get what everyone sees in him. So he plays football, but so do tons of other teenage boys. And I mean sure, he’s handsome, in a smarmy, asshole-ish kind of way. But looks aren’t everything. Plus, he is such a jerk!

Naturally, he’s dating Samantha, my nemesis. They epitomize the most wicked romance Cupid could have ever concocted. I’m sure neither of them is capable of a grand romantic gesture like the ones I’ve read about in my novels. Just picture it: Rob putting himself out on a limb to win his fair damsel’s affection. And then, Sam releasing her guard and revealing a soft, nurturing side of herself to the world. Yeah, right!

Their attraction is based solely on social status, at least in my humble opinion. I mean, that’s just how it goes around here. People like Sam and Rob end up finding each other, and they’ll probably end up with evil babies that have X’s for eyes.

Plus, they both live on the East side of the tracks. People on that side of town don’t tend to date people from our side over here. They’re more affluent, and live in big houses with luxury sedans parked out front. You can tell when you’ve crossed the tracks because you’ll see ladies in the latest Lululemon yoga outfits with dogs in their purses that would fit into a teacup.

Tags: Winter Renshaw Romance