I was pretty convinced that the school lunchroom was a social experiment set up by the district. There was no other explanation for the cruelty involved in picking a table. I scanned the room, my tray heavy as it pointed out how lame it was to eat hot sliced turkey and gravy at the age of seventeen.
“Stella!” Brandi yelled, waving wildly from across the room. I sighed. Thank God. I thought I was going to have to eat by myself in the bathroom or something.
I walked slowly toward her table, glancing from face to face, recognizing only the blonde from Physics. The minute I sat down, everyone turned to stare at me.
“I’m Katrina,” the blonde said. “Where’d you transfer from?”
“Wow,” Brandi said, sliding a can of soda toward me. “I bet that was awesome, all the sunshine and shit.”
“Yeah. It was nice.” There was a tug in my chest as I remembered my friends, my little stucco house…. my mom.
“Great,” Katrina mumbled, looking down. “Here comes the douche.”
My eyes snapped up to a petite, ridiculously pretty redhead walking toward us. Damn. She was pulling on the arm of Conner, dragging him behind her. The girlfriend.
“Hi, girls,” she said, looking between Brandi and Katrina. She was obviously ignoring me, but her grip on Conner’s arm was turning his skin white.
“Wow,” Brandi said, sounding completely fake. “I love your sweater, Trish.”
Trish’s sweater, although tight as hell, was a hideous color of green. I smiled.
“Thanks, Bran,” she answered, tossing her red curls over her shoulder and dropping Conner’s arm. Her dark brown eyes flicked to mine. “Who’s she?”
Okay. I had this thing. I got really pissed when people talked about me while I was right there. I wanted to answer, “I’m your worst nightmare, Bitch,” but I rolled my eyes instead.
“That’s my new neighbor,” Conner said, grinning adorably. My cheeks warmed.
Trish spun around to face him and then looked back at me. “You?” she asked sneering. “Live next door to my boyfriend?”
I laughed. Her fake tan just faded by three shades.
“What’s your name?” she asked me, adjusting into what could only be described as a battle stance.
“Stella,” I answered, locking her in my stare.
“Stella?” She laughed. “You sound like somebody’s grandma.”
“Uh, yeah. Well, I’m named after my grandmother.” I clenched my fist under the table.
“Obviously,” she said, smiling to herself. She looked around at the rest of the table and when no one said anything, she sucked at her teeth. “Whatever,” she said. “We’re sitting with Paul and them today anyway.” Her eyes narrowed on mine. “See you around, Stella.”
I stared at her as she stomped away. Conner stood for a minute at the end of our table, scratching at his blond curls. “Sorry,” he said. “She’s really not that bad.”
“If you say so.” Damn. He was seriously cute.
Conner nodded and then walked away, leaving me a little breathless, disappointed.
“So cool,” Brandi said, shaking her head.
“What?” I turned to her and saw her grinning from ear to ear.
“He likes you.”
“Who?” As if there hadn’t been an insanely hot guy talking to me thirty seconds before.
“Conner. Oh, man.” She giggled. “Trish is going to be so pissed.”
I twitched my nose, not answering, and instead poked the turkey on my tray with a spork. Let the bitchfest begin.