Also, the East side is where all the five-star restaurants serving ‘authentic’ dishes have been built. I heard that one even serves lamb brains stewed in carrots as an appetizer. Eeew! I will gladly stick to my hot-dog, French fry, and milkshake order at the drive-in diner on our side of town, where the food is brought to your car window by a teenager on rollerblades instead of by an old man in a suit and tie, with so much wax in his hair that it looks like it might drip right off his head and into my chocolate shake. Sam and Rob can keep their extravagant lifestyles, and I will gladly keep mine.

But my god, the two of them do look good together. They resemble Ken and Barbie, but with the blush of youth on their cheeks, instead of the weird plasticky skin of the dolls. Jerks.

“Oh, Tilly!” Rob sings in a falsetto. “I just don’t know how I didn’t see you there. I’m so sorry!”

I know better than to fall for this. Rob is using an overly animated voice and exaggerated hand gestures, snickering, and letting loud cackles out between the words.

I look over and see Nicole angrily glaring, but her angry stare is shooting right past Rob. I follow the stare and see Sam looking down her nose at us, a huge grin spread across her face. She is definitely plotting something, and my stomach churns in dread.

Sam has been given a lucky hand in life. Her family is well known, and also very wealthy. Her father owns a chain of liquor stores that have been hugely successful. And daddy’s little girl definitely profits off that fact, especially ever since her mom walked out sophomore year. While most teenage girls would be crushed by their parents’ divorce, and especially by a run-away-mother, Sam seemed to grow stronger. And meaner too.

Unfortunately, because she’s so beautiful, she gets away with it. Her long blonde hair hangs pin straight to the small of her back, outlining her svelte figure. Her bright blue eyes pop against her fair skin. She’s got this adorable little nose that just makes me sick. I would never admit it, but Sam’s the kind of girl that looks like she just pranced off the cover of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. She’s the prom queen who marries the star football player and lives happily ever after.

“Rob, what are you doing?” she demands, her hands on her hips. “You do not have to explain yourself to these nobodies. Besides, it’s not your fault the two of them fill out the entire walkway.” Sam snickers, waving her arm towards the aisle that Nicole and I are standing in. She grabs Rob’s arm and they rudely shove past us. Nicole shoots me an aggravated look.

“Graduation’s coming, and we’ll only have to deal with a few more months of this shit,” she murmurs to me. Sam must have heard her because suddenly she spins on her heels back towards us.

This is going to end badly.

She pulls a sandwich out of her bag.

“We wouldn’t want Miss Piggy to starve, now would we?” she exclaims as she whips the sandwich at my face, making demeaning hog sounds as she does. The sandwich literally slaps me. The bread bounces off my cheek to fall to the floor, and a slice of ham falls with an ugly splat onto the table.

At first, I’m shocked. Did Sam really just do that? A hand reaches up to my cheek, and I feel a telltale smear of mayonnaise on my chin. My heart literally stops for a moment, and then begins pumping at a million miles a second.

I look around the library, horrified to see just how many of my classmates are watching. My face feels like it is on fire. It must be a thousand degrees at least. Meanwhile, Rob is beside her, continuing to snort and oink like a pig between outbreaks of hysterical laughter. I reach up to wipe the stray mayonnaise from my cheek. Do not cry. Do not cry. Do not let this bitch see you cry.

Mrs. Morrison, the librarian, pops up from behind the reception desk and begins to hurry across towards us. She instantly knows what has happened by just a quick once-over of the scene. This is not her first encounter with Samantha Nelson, after all.

Mrs. Morrison puts a comforting hand on my shoulder, urging me to stay strong. A slight tremor runs through her fingers, and I realize just how old and frail she is. Her skin looks so thin I worry that her getting a paper cut while organizing the book return could cause her to suffer some serious damage.

I should offer to come help her out sometime. I’m sure she could use the extra set of hands.

But there’s fire in Mrs. Morrison’s withered frame.

Tags: Winter Renshaw Romance