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Authors: LaurenVDW

Tags: #celebrity, #high school, #obsession, #popular, #fame, #famous, #popularity, #clique

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BOOK: The Perfection Paradox
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The cafeteria
was a different story. Music blasted from phones, laptops and
portable speakers, couples mounted each other in plain view of
their peers, and it seemed a moment without food flying through the
air was a moment wasted.

A jock was
coaxing a portly boy with a lisp into letting him copy his math
homework in one corner. In another, a beanie-wearing boy in a baggy
t-shirt and jeans, oversized sneakers barely visible, was preparing
to backflip off the table his skater friends were sat
at.

A table of
pale-faced teenagers dressed entirely in black with fantastic
burgundy lips and dramatic rouge were rolling their eyes as a
bleached-blonde girl with skinny orange arms and legs paraded
around the cafeteria waving hot pink flyers announcing the
impending cheer try-outs.   

Hannah
approached Jessica and Marie’s lunch table awkwardly, gripping her
lunch tray tight in her hands and gulping nervously. They’d
introduced themselves briefly during homeroom, and had been the
only students so far to do so. She caught Marie’s eye and she waved
her over, scooting to make room on the bench next to her. Hannah
smiled back, relieved. For a first day this was going pretty
well.

She took a
seat next to Marie and pulled out the brown paper bag her mother
had put her lunch in. She delicately unwrapped a cheese sandwich
from its aluminium foil, lifting the bread nervously to check the
state of the cheese inside. Her mother didn’t like to confine her
diet to food within its expiration date and on more than one
occasion Hannah had unwrapped her sandwich to find smidgeons of
furry green mould pressed in amongst the cheese.  

"So, Hannah,
what was your last school like?" Jessica asked, cracking open a can
of coke and letting it fizz wildly for a few seconds before sipping
it contently. "It wasn't that different to this, it was a big
school as well” Hannah was racking her brain trying to think of
something to say, something that didn’t make her sound like the
most boring person in the world. “I just kept out of people's
way..."
Nice one
.

Jessica
smiled understandingly, "That's what we do too... We go to a house
party every now and then when one of the theatre kids throws one,
but unless you’re one of
them
…” she indicated to her right,
“life is pretty quiet in Rosewell.”

Hannah
followed Jessica’s nod. On the far side of the cafeteria half a
dozen tables stood against the wall. There seemed to be an
invisible barrier between these tables and the rest of the
cafeteria.

She could’ve
picked them out easily from the crowd, their fake tanned faces and
legs and overdose of pink made them hard to miss. They shared their
table with the wide-shouldered, polo-shirt wearing boys
that made up a large majority of the school's athletes. Hannah
couldn't help but sneer as bleach haired orange girls shrieked with
laughter at the boys’ typical caveman-esque jokes. It was all so
shallow and fake, from their hair to their faces to their
friendships. All stupid bimbos who would barely make it through
high school on their looks, let alone the real world.


Psht…” Marie
squeaked, Hannah turned to her questioningly. “It’s not a good idea
to stare for too long. We don’t need any unwanted attention.” She
gulped as she finished speaking.

Hannah knew
exactly the kind of attention Marie was referring to. Every high
school she'd attended so far had been the same, girls like Jessica,
Marie and herself trying to stay out the way of mean girls with low
self esteem, jocks with high self esteem and every other form of
rich kid or wannabe princess who thought that by picking on them
they were showing their place as the indisputable leaders
of the school.

Hannah was
quite accustomed to being picked on, when she’d been in middle
school, several girls in her grade had mocked the dirt stained and
moth eaten attire her mother dressed her in every day, throwing
pebbles at her every time she’d tried to join in their playground
games. One had hit her hard on the forehead and she’d run home
crying, begging her parents to move somewhere else, but they’d only
been living their two weeks and her parents hadn’t grown tired of
it yet.

Hannah
learned very quickly that her parents lived their lives according
to their interests and theirs alone, and if Hannah didn’t like it,
then so be it.

By the time
she’d started junior year in some distant town she’d already
forgotten the name of, she’d become almost immune to the taunts and
cruel jokes that girls and boys alike directed at her.


Hodge the
hog’ chants, volleyballs to the face during gym class, door being
slammed as she tried to walk through them, she’d experienced them
all and they were all met with the same expressionless reaction,
like she was staring through the snickering perpetrators, like she
didn’t even notice they were there.

She continued
glaring at the bevy of bimbos until Marie gave another small
squawk. “Who is that brunette? In the black dress?” Hannah asked,
watching the girl, who was lost in her own charmed world of hunky
boys, designer clothes and devoted admirers.


That’s
Brooke Kent. She’s a senior too. She’s best friends with…” but the
bell rang, indicating the end of lunch and drowning out Jessica’s
last words.

Hannah made
her way to her locker, pulling her shabby bag off its hook and
swinging it on to her shoulder, and then onwards to her AP calculus
class. She knew just what to expect here as well, apart from one or
two of the smarter jocks, this class would be predominantly social
outcasts. The pretentious students who wore suits to school and
felt destined to end up at an Ivy League, nerds, and then the wall
flowers of the school, much like herself, bright but quiet, astute
but unsure.

Hannah
shuffled into the classroom; she sat in the row furthest from the
door at a desk with empty neighbouring desks. This way she avoided
interacting with people bustling past her to get to a free
table. 

The class was
full except for a couple of seats when the bell marking the start
of afternoon classes rang. As the piercing shrill of the bell
stopped, a tall blonde girl walked into the classroom, reading off
a schedule in her hands.

"Excuse me,
is this AP Calculus?" She asked the spotty boy in a head brace who
sat closest to her. He looked over both shoulders, clearly unsure
of whether or not she was addressing him, before nodding and
turning bright red.

The general
chatter of the classroom seemed to have quietened down now, and as
Hannah looked around, all eyes were glancing at the blonde girl
unpacking her binder and pencil case.

She couldn't
blame them; the girl was easily the prettiest Hannah had ever seen.
Her golden hair fell in long natural waves to the middle of her
back. Her flawless skin seemed to glow and her fair eyebrows and
icy blue eyes gave her an angelic appeal. She was tall, much taller
than Hannah, and very slim. She wore a simple white shirtdress and
brown gladiator sandals that showed off two rows of perfectly
pedicured toes. Everything about her was
beautiful. 

Hannah had
been caught off guard; a pretty girl all the boys were watching and
Hannah didn’t immediately hate her. But this girl had something
different about her, she sensed.

Finally a
middle-aged man bustled into the room, clasping a binder to his
chest and a travel mug in his fat hand.

He dropped
his binder on to the desk in front of him and turned to write on
the board. "My name is Mr Smiiiiithson,” he stated, dragging out
the last word as he wrote it. "Welcome to AP calculus.” He
declared, rummaging through the messy piles of paper on his desk
“We'll start by checking class attendance."

Mr Smithson
read through four names before shouting out "
Kennedy Blakewood.
" The blonde girl
raised her hand to confirm her attendance, "lovely to have you in
my class again Miss Blakewood" Mr Smithson said, beaming at her
"Miss Blakewood finished top of her AP statistics class last year.
She's the one to beat."

Hannah
couldn't believe what she was hearing, a math genius
and
she looked like
that? Life could be unfair.

Mr Smithson
began the class with easy math problems, explaining they would get
more challenging. This first class was to gauge everyone's
mathematical abilities, he said. 

For the first
forty minutes of the class, the students solved the problems by
shouting out at random. Slowly, the shouts became dispersed as the
questions became more challenging. It was taking students multiple
attempts to get the answers now, and it was only a few students
calling out guesses.

"Okay, last
question, let's make it a hard one...” he said, writing a problem
on the board. The class fell silent.

"Anyone?" Mr
Smithson asked.

No one
answered.

"Sean?" He
asked a pale boy with red hair. Sean stuttered an answer, "Not
quite" Mr Smithson replied.

"Kennedy?" he
enquired, turning to face her. Kennedy glanced down at her notepad,
reading out the answer she’d jotted down. Her voice was smooth and
attractive. Hannah noticed a few of the boys at the back of the
class, who had sunken deep into their chairs as the class had run
its course, perk up and listen. 

"Excellent
Kennedy, correct as usual!" Mr Smithson declared excitedly. Hannah
couldn't believe it. She'd never seen anything like it
before. 

Hannah packed
up her bag and headed down the hall to her locker. Marie and
Jessica wandered out of a nearby classroom and joined Hannah as she
shoved random books into her schoolbag.

"How was your
AP calculus class? I still can't believe you're taking that!"
Jessica exclaimed.

"It was
alright, didn't learn much today. There was this girl in my
class..." Hannah started. She shook her head slightly. She still
couldn’t quite believe it. “Very smart, very pretty…” Hannah
described.

"
You're in the same class as Kennedy
Blakewood
?" Marie whispered, shocked.
Hannah nodded, "Yeah, that's her name. Who is she? It felt like the
whole class was staring at her."

Jessica
chuckled "Everyone’s always staring at her. You get used to it
after a while".  

"She's really
smart and really beautiful and pretty much amazing at everything
she does.” Marie continued, “Last year she was captain of three
varsity teams and she wasn't even a senior. She's senior class
president as well.
And
she’s also
really
nice".

Jessica
raised an eyebrow questioningly, “how do
you
know she’s really nice?” she
asked curiously “We’ve never even spoken to her…” She explained to
Hannah. Marie smiled guiltily, “Okay, so I’ve never spoken to her,
but you can just
tell
she’s wonderful… Don’t you think?”

Hannah
nodded, usually she would have been enraged at herself for agreeing
to any statement endorsing the high school pecking order, but this
point seemed to be inarguable. Anyways, Kennedy Blakewood took AP
Calculus, so a part of her, even if it was just a tiny part, was
one of them, a nerd.

Unlike them
however, Hannah suspected she was never on the outside looking in.
Instead Kennedy Blakewood was the ‘in’, the glossy luxurious
exhilarating inside so many on the outside dreamed of being a part
of.

6.

The first day
of senior year was cloudless and bright. Hunter pulled into an
empty parking space in his silver pick up truck. Ryan and Taylor
were waiting for him, lounging in Ryan’s red Mustang with the
stereo blasting aggressive rap music. Hunter grabbed his schoolbag
and swung it on to his shoulder, striding to meet his friends, an
arrogant smirk flashing across his handsome face.


Senior
year!” Ryan shouted over the deafening music, throwing his arms in
the air. Hunter and Taylor howled fervently, slapping their hands
together. A group of lanky pimpled sophomores shuffled past them,
watching the trio of seniors out of the corner of their eye, ready
to scurry off if Hunter’s interest turned to them.


Let’s head
in” Hunter said, nodding to the school. As they sauntered towards
the schools main entrance Veronica Stell rushed up to them with
four of her effete JV cheerleader friends.


Hi Hunter!
Hi Ryan! Hi Taylor! How are you? How was your summer?” she almost
yelled at them, over excited and hyper.


It was good…
could’ve stayed at the lake house for another two months, but I
know Rosewell needs me back, no fun without me” he winked at her
playfully. She giggled loudly.


Well, see
you later!” she shouted after the boys when she realized the pace
of their walk meant they didn’t want her and her friends to keep up
with them.


You can get
lost now Veronica…” Taylor declared loudly, rolling his
eyes.

Taylor often
came out with comments like this. He’d been bullied mercilessly in
middle school for being overweight and had seen high school as the
perfect opportunity to reinvent himself. He’d lost the weight, but
still felt a constant need to prove himself, a constant need to
show he was worthy of their company.

BOOK: The Perfection Paradox
13.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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