Home > The Initiation (The Secret Circle #1)(14)

The Initiation (The Secret Circle #1)(14)
Author: L.J. Smith

Faye walked out the door. There was an instant's pause; then, as if everyone had been released by a spring, a sudden mass exodus. Jeffrey grabbed his notebook and was gone.

Cassie looked at her own poem. Fire. She and Faye had both written about the same thing…

Suddenly she tore the sheet out and, crumpling it into a ball, thrust it into her backpack. So much for her dreams of being romantic and mysterious. With a girl like that around, who was ever going to notice Cassie?

And yet they all seemed almost afraid of her, she thought. Even the teacher. Why didn't he give her a detention or something? Or is lighting fires in trash cans normal in New Salem?

And why did Jeffrey let her hit on him that way? And why did he care where I live, for God's sake?

In the hall, she nerved herself to stop someone and ask where room C310 was.

“It's on the third floor,” the girl said. “All the math classes are. Go up that stairway-“

“Yo! Look out! Heads up, everybody!” a shouting voice interrupted. Something was whizzing down the hall, scattering students right and left from its path. Two somethings. Dumbfounded, Cassie saw that it was two guys on roller blades, laughing and bellowing as they tore through the crowd. Cassie had a glimpse of disheveled shoulder-length blond hair and almond-shaped, slightly tilted blue-green eyes as one passed-and then she saw it all again as the second one streaked by. The boys were identical, except that one was wearing a Megadeth T-shirt and the other's said Motley Crue.

They were creating chaos as they went, knocking books out of people's arms and grabbing at girls' clothes. As they reached the end of the hallway, one of them caught a pretty redhead's miniskirt and deftly flipped it up to waist level. The girl shrieked and dropped her backpack to push it down.

“Why doesn't somebody do something?” Cassie blurted out. Was everybody in this school crazy? “Why doesn't somebody stop them-or report them-or something. …”

“Are you kidding? Those are the Henderson brothers,” the girl said, and she walked away, joining another girl. Cassie heard a fragment of a sentence float back: “… doesn't even know about the Club…” and both girls glanced back at her, then walked on.

What Club? That girl had said it as if it had capital letters. What did a club have to do with breaking school rules? What kind of place was this?

Another bell rang, and Cassie realized that she was now late for class. She slung her backpack over her shoulder and ran for the stairs.

By lunchtime, she still hadn't exchanged more than a “hi” or “hello” with anyone, no matter how she tried. And she hadn't seen the girl with the shining hair anywhere-not that that was really surprising, considering the many floors and corridors of this school. In her present state of insecurity, Cassie wouldn't have dared to approach the girl if she had seen her. A leaden, miserable feeling had settled in her stomach.

And one glance at the glass-walled cafeteria teeming with laughing students made her knees go weak.

She couldn't face it. She just didn't have the nerve.

Arms wrapped around herself, she walked away and kept walking. She walked right through the main entrance and out the door. She didn't know where she was going-maybe she was going home. But then she saw the lush green grass of the hill.

No, she decided; I'll just eat here. Partway down the hill there were several craggy outcrops of natural rock, and she found she could sit comfortably in a little hollow below one, shaded by a tree. She was shielded by the rock from the school; it was almost as if the school didn't exist. She could look down a flight of meandering steps to the bottom of the hill and the road beyond, but no one from above could see her.

As she sat, looking at the dandelions dotting the grass, the tension gradually drained out of her. So what if the morning hadn't been the greatest? Things would be better this afternoon. The clear blue sky seemed to tell her that.

And the rock at her back-the famous red granite of New England-gave her a feeling of security. It was strange, but she almost felt she could hear a buzzing in the rock, like a heartbeat tremendously speeded up. A buzzing of life. If I put my cheek to it, I wonder what would hap-pen? she thought with a curious excitement.

Voices distracted her. Dismayed, Cassie knelt up to look over the top of the rock-and tensed.

It was that girl, Faye. There were two other girls with her, and one of them was the biker who'd nearly run Cassie over that morning. The other was a strawberry blond with a tiny waist and the most well-developed chest Cassie had ever seen on a teenager. They were laughing and sauntering down the steps-right toward Cassie.

I'll just stand up and say hi, Cassie thought, but she didn't. The memory of those disturbing honey-colored eyes was still with her. She kept quiet and hoped they'd pass her by, go all the way down the hill and off campus.

Instead they stopped on the landing just above Cassie, sitting with their feet on the steps below and pulling out paper lunch bags.

They were so close that Cassie could see the red stone blazing at Faye's throat. Although she was in shadow now, if she moved they wouldn't be able to miss her. She was trapped.

“Did anybody follow us, Deborah?” Faye asked lazily as she rummaged through her backpack.

The biker girl snorted. “Nobody's stupid enough to try.”

“Good. Because this is top secret. I don't want you-know-who to hear anything about it,” Faye said. She took out a stenographer's notebook with a red cover and laid it on her knee. “Now let me see, what shall we do to start this year off? I feel like something really wicked.”

Six

“Well, there's Jeffrey…” the strawberry blond said.

“Already begun,” Faye said, smiling. “I work fast, Suzan.”

Suzan laughed. When she did, her extraordinary chest jiggled in a way that made Cassie certain she wasn't wearing anything underneath her apricot-colored sweater.

“I still don't see the point of Jeffrey Lovejoy,” the biker girl said, scowling.

“You don't see the point of any guy, Deborah; that's your problem,” said Suzan.

“And your problem is that you can't see the point of anything else,” Deborah retorted. “But Jeffrey's worse than most. He's got more teeth than brain cells.”

“It isn't his teeth I'm interested in,” said Faye thoughtfully. “Who are you going to start with, Suzan?”

   
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