The Lonely Hearts Club
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Both Kara and Morgan had dated Todd. Morgan had dated him in eighth grade, and he would go around and lie to the basketball team about how far he got with her. After he'd dumped her, Morgan had become increasingly popular with the other guys in class, until she'd realized it was because they all thought she was easy.
You would've thought that Kara would've learned from Morgan's mistakes. But no. Todd had managed to disarm all common sense in a girl, Kara had thought it would be different, so she'd taken the plunge . . . and found that this girl named Tina Mclntyre was swimming in the same pool at the same time.
I couldn't help but wonder why it was that a guy could find two good girls to date at the same time, when we girls couldn't even find one decent guy.
My face became hot as I thought about how much trouble Todd had caused -- not just with Kara and Morgan, but with practically half our class, I never understood the power he had over girls. He was your typical dumb jock: a big guy with a dirty blond buzz cut and an outfit that always showed off at least two sports team logos.
Thinking about Todd made me realize I wasn't the only girl at McKinley who would benefit from a boy boycott.
Those nasty freshmen girls were all over him now, and he was enjoying every minute of it.
"Guys are jerks," I practically shouted.
A laugh escaped Tracy's throat. "What to the evs -- like you don't spend your time flirting with Ryan and Todd!"
Like I WHAT?
"What are you even talking about?"
"Are you even kidding me? Every time you're around Ryan, you flirt up a storm."
Yeah, well, that was the old Penny. New Penny was done flirting. I'd be happy if I never had to speak to any guys for the rest of the year.
"The guys in the Elite Eight aren't the problem," Morgan said. "Those girls are so shallow and have zero -- and I mean zero -- things to discuss outside of their boyfriends."
"Well," Kara interjected, "Diane is always nice to me. But Audrey and Pam are a little full of themselves."
Morgan glared at their table. "Please. Sure they're cheerleaders and date the star athletes -- how boring! -- but nobody really likes them. You know that's what's totally ridiculous about all of this -- all those guys who are allegedly the popular ones are despised by most of the students. And anytime they're nice to somebody outside the group, it's always, always because they want something."
"Exactly!" Tracy chimed in. "Today in class, Diane pretended she wanted to be KFFs with me. And she tried the same thing with Pen this morning."
Morgan nodded. "Exactly. It's obvious she wants something."
"Yeah, well, whatever it is," Tracy said, looking over at the Elite Eight table, "she's not going to get it."
I GOT INTO WORLD HISTORY class and was completely surrounded.
Ms. Barnes, our teacher, did the seating assignments in alphabetical order (how original!) and I was placed between Ryan and Todd, with Derek Simpson sitting two rows behind me, and Kevin Parker (Tracy's main obsession) and Steve Powell (lower on the list) close by
There were only three other girls in the class, and they ended up seated as far away from me as possible.
"Hey there, Senorita Penny," Todd welcomed me to my seat. We'd had Spanish together that morning and (much to my displeasure) had been assigned to be conversation partners. Todd had spent most of the time making up words by placing an o at the end of them -- el chairo, el sandwicho, el footballo,
Ryan sat down next to me, "What a surprise," he said.
Todd leaned over to my desk. "Hey Penny what are you going to have your Spanish name be?"
I shrugged. I'd never really thought about it,
Todd continued, "Because I was thinking of using Nacho and figured you should pick Margarita, so when we have projects together Senora Coles will have to call on Margarita y Nacho." Todd laughed, then leaned forward and lifted up his hand.
I did my best to ignore him.
"What's this?" Ryan asked. "Bloom, are you two-timing me with Chesney? Seriously, I thought you had better taste."
Yeah, like I'm the one two-timing. I'm not the one with the girlfriend.
Todd made a rude gesture to Ryan and then the two of them started trash-talking about who was going to do more laps at practice that night.
I wondered if there were any all-girl schools in the area.
I'd never been so relieved to hear the last bell of the day. I jumped from the classroom like it was on fire and headed straight to my locker. There I found Diane waiting. Not for me. For Ryan. Of course.
Still, she waved.
Did she even have her own locker?
"Hey, Penny!" she said when I got closer, "Are you going to the game on Friday night?"
"Yep." I tried to seem busy finding my Biology textbook. I didn't know why she was all of a sudden so interested in my social calendar.
"Like anybody would want to miss that ass-kicking," Todd said, coming over with Ryan, then stopping to give him a high five. "Even Bauer's dad is going to be there! So that alone is something to show up for. That, like, happens about as often as, what, a lunar eclipse or something...."