After the afternoon classes, she was on her way to the auditorium to deliver her speech, when around a corner she stopped dead and gasped, shocked by what she saw: on the wall, one of her “Vote Sally Lomax” posters had been crudely vandalized, her name ripped off and her face torn beyond recognition. Who could've done such a thing? Around her, the other students were on their way to the auditorium, and were all slowing down to cast a look at the horror and comment on it. In the crowd, she recognized her rival.
“Hey, Miranda!” she called out as she strode to be at her level. “What's this? Did you do that?”
“Pff, gimme a break!” the girl scorned, rolling her eyes and bending her head sideways, her glorious shiny blond locks flowing on her shoulder in the way that turned all the boys crazy. “You don't really think I'd fall so low, do you? Besides, some of my posters were ruined too.”
“Think about it, Sal, there's only one person in this school who could be so stupid and brutish.”
Sally sighed. Cass, of course. Always same old Cass. Miranda and the others entered the auditorium, and for a moment she was left alone in the hallway, lost in her reflections. When she eventually decided to enter, she heard the loud, echoing sound of paper being abruptly ripped off, and she turned to see Cass ripping another poster down the hallway.
“Hey!” she roared out as she raced towards her. This time, she wasn't letting that bitch get away with it. “What is wrong with you?”
“Just got tired of seeing your goddamn Yuppie face on every wall,” Cass sneered, her voice as pleasant as a razorblade being jammed into your ear. “What the hell are you gonna do 'bout it?”
If Sally didn't like Miranda Parker the Queen Bee, it was nothing compared to the bad blood there was between her and the Queen Bitch, Danielle Cassidy. Cass, as everyone called her, was a bully of the worst kind: she hated absolutely everyone, especially the “Yuppies” as she called them, that is all the kids who were lucky enough not to live in a dreary apartment in the Projects like her, and she picked on everyone without discrimination, threatening those who did so much as give her a weird look with gut punches. And she was tough as a nail, too. Physically, one could even say the two girls were poles apart: Sally was of average size and pretty thin, with a delicate frame, which was highlighted by her feminine and fashionable outfits. Cass, on the other hand, was one of the taller girls, her calves sticking out of her cropped skintight jeans looked like they were made of concrete, and her Machine Head tank top revealed shoulders you could land a plane on. Sally had a pretty face, with big blue puppy eyes, light freckles on her nose, and long flowing black hair; Cass's blond hair was cut harshly at neck level, her face was square with hard edges, and she had piercing blue eyes that looked like they could freeze over anyone who dared look at them.
“I can report you!” Sally said angrily. This caused her enemy to snicker.
“Report me, oh no, please I'm scared. That's a Yuppie's way, no guts at all.”
“If you're looking for a fight, Cass, I won't give you that pleasure. I'm above those things, you know.”
“Oh, you're above those things! Says the backstabbing bitch who stole my spot in the basketball team!”
“You got fired from the team because you're a lousy team player and you pick fights constantly! Quit blaming others about your issues!”
“Don't tell me I have issues!” Cass roared out, suddenly enraged.
“You got nothing but issues, you psycho!” Sally roared out too.
“Take that back!”
They suddenly stopped arguing when they realized a boy was standing next to them. A brown-haired guy, thin, not very tough-looking, wearing a black hoodie that seemed too large for him. He was glancing at them uneasily, as if he had just landed in the middle of a tiger pit.
“What do you want, Brewster?” Cass yelled at him.
“Err...” he said feebly, “you're in front of my locker.”
“We're talking, here! Get lost!” He didn't move, but since he staid on the side, she quickly lost interest in him and turned her attention back to Sally: “Now, you called me a psycho. Take that back.” She stepped closer, trying to intimidate her. “Now.”
Sally felt her legs start shaking. Cass was a head taller than her, and she was nothing but muscles, nerves and blind rage. She could beat the football guys at arm wrestling. Two days after classes started, she was caught ramming a boy's head into a toilet bowl because he refused to do her maths. Rumor had it she was fired from her boxing club before getting in high school, because she punched way too hard. If they got into a fight, she'd grind Sally into bolognese sauce in the blink of an eye. But Sally tried to check her trembling, and to sustain her enemy's gaze. She couldn't afford to lose face to her.
“I'm not afraid of you,” she said with false confidence.
“I can fix that.”
“Oh yeah? How?”
"Okay," the boy said, finally deciding to interfere before things got bloody, "calm down girls..."
He stepped in-between them, and before he could say anything else, the shock of a piston being rammed into his stomach cut off his breath and he fell on his knees, gasping in pain. For a second, he could barely feel anything, and was hardly conscious that Sally had knelt down beside him and was asking if he was okay.
“See,” Cass said, “that's what happens when you mess with Danielle Cassidy. Next one will be for you, Yuppie...” she walked away carelessly, turning back a few feet away to add: “And don't forget my chemistry, Brewster!” Then she was gone.
“Oh my God,” Sally turned her attention back to the boy. “Are you gonna be alright?”
He winced as she gently helped him back on his feet. ”Yeah, I guess... getting used to it, anyway...”
“What do you mean?”
“I've known Cass since middle school, she's always been like that.”
“I don't understand, how can she be so... mean?”
“There's nothing to understand, some people are like that, she's just dumb. The firepower of a nuclear submarine and the brain of a canary...”
She giggled. “I guess I should thank you, by the way. If it weren't for you, I would've taken that punch.”
“Pleasure's all mine.”
“We're in the same maths class, aren't we? I'm sorry, I forgot your name...”
“Nice to meet you then, William Brewster. I'm...”
“Sally Lomax, yeah.”
“How do you know?”
He smiled. “Your name is everywhere on these posters.”
“Oh, yeah, of course... oh, no, what time is it? I have to go do my speech. You sure you're gonna be fine?”
“Yeah, don't worry, just go,” he said warmly.
And she was gone. He couldn't help but admire her delicate legs in her leggings as she ran to the auditorium. Her name was everywhere on these posters... that wasn't the only reason he remembered it. What he didn't tell her was that he'd been staring at her since classes started, without having the guts to go talk to her. Why should he bother, anyway? She was in the basketball team, and he was in the comics club. She was popular, and he was a geek. And the first time he actually got to talk to her, it was after getting beat down by a girl. Whatever. His stomach still burning, he tottered to the auditorium. At least he would hear her speech.