A crowd had already gathered in the parking lot when she finally pulled in. She recognized Derek’s Ford and Liz’s car in their personal spots. As she guided her car to “her spot”, she noticed that the crowd, made up primarily of seniors, was clustered around where she was headed. The crowd suddenly parted as Derek, Liz, Sarah, Sam, Drew and … Jared, who were all talking amongst themselves, came toward where she was stalled. She rolled the window down and smiled at Derek as he leaned down to speak to her.
“Hey,” she said, happy to see him. “What’s going on?”
Derek’s face was pinched with annoyance as he answered, “Mallory,” which was all he said in response. At that moment, the crowd parted just enough for her to see what all the commotion was about.
Mallory’s Mercedes-Benz was parked snugly in Ally’s spot. The girl herself was leaning against the car, yapping her mouth off with her cronies, oblivious to all the glares she was receiving from the people around her. Allison turned red-hot in the second and at that moment Mallory’s eyes connected with hers, an evil smirk tilting up the side of her perfectly lipsticked mouth. Ally fumed at the obvious power-play. She couldn’t care less about the damn parking space. Mallory obviously hadn’t taken the hint before.
“Don’t worry about it,” she gritted out through clenched teeth. “But I’m in the mood to make a scene, you in?”
Derek smiled proudly, “That’s my girl. We’ve got your back.” Allison nodded, and abruptly backed out of the parking lot. The parking lot that had always been a congregation place for students at the beginnings and ends of the day. A place to hang out, a high-schooler’s sanctuary. Ally had made sure of it. Of course Mallory had taken it upon herself to ruin that. Turning it into something no one wanted to be around, and she would make sure that no one had to.
She pulled around the back of the school to another parking lot. One that had been all but abandoned. There wasn’t one car in sight as she pulled in, parked and got out to stand by her car. Derek’s Ford drove in a minute later and he came to stand beside her, arms crossed.
“They’re coming.” He said, as if to reassure her. But she had no doubt they would show.
“We’ll see.” She replied. Two minutes later Liz and Drew’s cars pulled in, followed by … everyone. The cars that had been grouped in the main parking lot had all up and moved. Not surprising, considering how much everyone didn’t want to be around Mallory.
“Told you,” Derek said as the crowd began to pour in steadily. Liz and Sarah emerged from Liz's car and hustled over to where she stood, throwing their arms around her and laughing. Liz was the first to speak, still beaming brightly.
“You, my dear, are badass!” Liz shouted, still laughing as both her and Sarah released their hold on her.
“Oh! You should’ve seen Mallory’s face. Priceless. I swear, I saw Sam take a picture.” Sarah said, shoulders shaking with laughter.
“Show her who’s boss, Gilbert. You’ve done good.” She nodded solemnly, but there was that unmistakable and mischievous gleam in her eyes as she said it.
“I wasn’t going to let her walk all over me and the rest of seniors like that. Mallory just doesn’t know when to quit.” Ally said. Derek pushed off from his truck and came to rest an arm around her shoulders.
“You handled it extremely well,” he said, squeezing her to him. “I don’t know how she’s going to show her face considering how everyone abandoned ship and high tailed it after you.”
“That’s a good thing, Derek,” Liz said. “She should know how people feel about her.” Liz turned to her then, grinning and pulling her away from Derek,“Wanna see that photo?” Allison was about to open her mouth to say yes. But then she looked up and over to where Sam stood, talking animatedly and laughing. She realized that Jared was the one he was talking to and her stomach suddenly went cold.
“Ally?” Liz asked. “You still in there?” She looked at her for a moment when she didn’t respond, and then followed her frowning gaze to where the two boys stood.
“Ohhh, I see,” Liz said smiling. “You’re all weird because Jared’s over there, huh?” Ally could only sigh in response.
` “Girl, you’ve got it bad, don’t you?” She said with what seemed like consolation. When Ally would have denied it outright, Liz continued.
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell, and it’s not like you’re the only one …” She trailed off.
“I don’t ‘have it bad’ ”, Allison whispered furiously. “I hardly know the guy.”
“Oh, pish posh. What’s there to know? He’s gorgeous, he’s smart, he’s English! Oh, and did I mention he’s gorgeous? You’re thinking too much, babe.” She said, waving her hand in dismissal.
And before Ally could get another word in, Liz began forcefully dragging her across the parking lot, toward a photo she was starting to think wasn’t really worth seeing, and a sweet temptation she had refused to indulge in.