Chapter 4 – Normal
The beautiful girl with the long red hair and emerald green eyes turned the dial on her lock back and forth. Finally, she found the right combination, and her locker opened up. She then slid her back-pack off her petit yet athletic body and hung it on the metal hook inside. Sam then stood there and stared into the metal box almost mournfully.
She wondered why she couldn’t shake these intense feelings of regret and sadness she had been having. They had been torturing her since she failed to fill Mandy’s request to call her Friday night. Did that decision to not go out with Mandy really cause her to feel this way? How could deciding not to spend time with Mandy, of all people, have caused her to fall into a depression this deep?
However, below those feelings of sadness, she could also feel a pit of intense excitement, something that told her there was still hope. It was a hope that she could finally obtain the one thing she had always really wanted.
She didn’t quite know why she was feeling these conflicting emotions, but at this point she was beginning to wish desperately that they would just go away and stop nagging at her heart.
While still standing there lost in her thoughts, she felt the fingers of a warm hand begin to massage her shoulder. She then turned around to look and saw it was her two friends, Alex and Clover.
“Hey, Sammy. You doing ok?” Alex asked with her puppy dog eyes, obviously concerned for her.
Clover also looked quite worried. “Yeah, you all right, Sam?”
“Yes, of course. Why wouldn’t I be?” Sam asked evasively.
“Well, you look like something’s bugging you, Sam. In fact, you’ve looked kinda upset all weekend,” Alex explained. “Is there anything you want to talk to us about?”
“Yeah, you can tell us anything, Sam. It’s ok. We’ll understand. We’re your best friends,” Clover added.
Sam looked into her friends’ eyes. She could see they were filled with nothing but completely honest and innocent compassion for their friend. For a moment she considered telling them the truth about what had happened and the weird feelings it had produced. Maybe they would understand like they claimed, and she would be able to let it all off her chest for good.
However, just as fast, the fear of how they might really react to these strange feelings she had been having towards Mandy crept back up from down her spine. She then looked away from their eyes, “Uhhhh… I just think I’ve been studying too much. These two tests in History and Chemistry this week just have me stressed out, I guess.”
“Ughh, don’t remind me about it. I haven’t even opened my books yet,” Clover said.
“Me neither.” Alex laughed nervously. “But you shouldn’t worry, Sam. You always do so great in science and social studies.”
“Maybe, you’re right. Maybe, I’m just worrying too much.”
“Yeah, you should try to relax a bit, Sammy,” Clover said.
“Hey, maybe tonight we should all study together,” Alex decided. “It’ll be fun. We can order pizza too!”
“Good idea, Alex,” Clover agreed. “Just no pineapple and tofu this time.” Alex looked a little disappointed hearing that demand.
“Well, ok. That does sound fun,” Sam said, finally able to curl her lips up into a small smile. “It’s a date.”
“Hey, speaking of dates… Clover, you going to give you know who a second one? Maybe you’ll get lucky this time,” Alex said, snickering a bit and elbowing Sam, who then let out a couple small laughs at the joke.
“Ha ha, real funny, Alex,” Clover said, scowling. “Arnold’s lucky he got one date. I’d rather shop at Wall-To-Wall Mart then have to sit through another stupid Star Truck movie,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Yeah, but Clover, did you notice anything suspicious about him?” Sam asked. “I mean anything suspicious other than Arnold being Arnold. He is a suspect in David’s disappearance after all.”
“Well… there was one thing. When we were at the movies, he tried to put his arm around my shoulder. As if!” Alex and Sam started snickering again. “I pushed him off, but then I noticed he was wearing this green, shiny ring on his middle finger.”
“Wait… you don’t think?” Alex asked.
“Clover, do you think it could be the same ring that transformed Arnold into that evil hunk who tried to turn everyone in the world into nerds?”
“Well… It was kinda dark. It looked sorta similar to me, but I couldn’t be sure. When I asked him about it after the movie, he said he bought it in an old, mysterious store in China Town. He said that the store owner told him that it would help him in romance and give him great power. I thought he was just being a dork.”
“Hmmm, strange. Did you ask him where he was during Friday’s school black-out?”
“Yeah, he said he couldn’t remember it happening. After his fight with Tara, he said he went to the nurse and she gave him some pain medication. He guessed that must’ve made him doze off during the black out.”
“Also very strange,” Sam said with her hand on her chin. “Well, maybe it’s just a coincidence, but let’s keep a close eye on Arnold and his ring just in case.”
“Well, you guys can do that. After that date, I’ve had enough of Arnold for a life time. Would you believe he actually wore a red bow-tie?”
Clover then continued to rant on and on about how nerdy Arnold had been on their date. Alex listened attentively. However, Clover’s complaining was drowned out in Sam’s mind as she turned to stare at the alluring, doll-like face, slim but curvy body, long hair of the deepest, blackest pitch, and beautiful, hypnotizing, purple eyes of Mandy as she appeared down the hall.
Sam was so mesmerized that it was few seconds before she even noticed that Mandy was wedged between two other girls. They were the long, fluffy haired and chocolate skinned Catlin and the shorter haired and lighter skinned Dominique, Mandy’s closest and most undyingly loyal companions.
Mandy was in the center of the three and had each arm draped over the shoulders of Catlin and Dominique, respectively. They continued strolling along down the hall in Sam’s direction with Mandy holding the two girls scrunched up provocatively close to her.
“So did you girls have a good time Friday night?” Mandy asked loud enough that Sam could hear.
“Oh yes, Mandy, it was sooo wonderful,” Dominique said, nearly swooning.
“Best I ever had, Mandy, for real!” Catlin excitedly agreed.
Mandy’s grin couldn’t have been more devilish. “You two like our girls only nights, don’cha?"
“Of course, Mandy, you’re the best,” Dominique answered dreamily. “No one knows how to make a girl feel good like you do. No one even compares."
“I so totally agree!” Catlin squealed.
“I’m so glad I have you two as my friends,” she then turned to make direct eye contact with Sam, who stood there, petrified, as her heart started to pound wildly, “and not any of those losers.” Hearing that, Sam turned away from those piercing, purple eyes and looked down at the ground completely dejected.
“Cha-right, like we’d want to be your friends Mandy!” Clover barked at them as the three, interlocked girls giggled and passed by.
Alex then noticed how hurt Sam suddenly looked. “Sam you ok? You look like the hottest guy in the world just dumped you.”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said, desperately trying to cover up her emotions. In reality, she looked like she was on the verge of tears.
“Are you sure it’s just those tests? Looks more like boy problems to me,” Clover astutely deduced. “Are you still upset about David, Sam?”
“… yeah, I am.”
“Awwww,” Clover and Alex both said simultaneously as they engulfed the red-head in a tight, warm hug.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure David’s fine,” Clover said, squeezing her.
“We’ll get him back soon, Sammy,” Alex said, nuzzling her.
“Thanks guys, I don’t know what I would do without you. You two are really are the best friends I have in the world. I’m so grateful to have you.”
“Aww, thanks, Sam, that was sweet,” Alex said as her and Clover ended the warm embrace.
“Yeah, Sam, we love you too,” Clover said affectionately. “Hey, Alex, I got an idea. How about let’s find a new hottie for Sam to cheer her up?”
“Ohhh, great idea Clover!” Alex said, already jumping with giddy enthusiasm.
“Well, I guess someone new couldn’t hurt.” She decided to go a long with it despite having protested them setting her up on dates in the past. Maybe a new boyfriend would be the best thing to make her forget these confusing emotions she had been feeling towards Mandy.
“Well, I already know one super hottie who’s now in Bev High, Dean!” Clover squeaked.
“Oh yeah, I almost forgot Dean’s in our school now! Have you guys seen him yet?” Alex asked excitedly.
“Woooow, you know the captain of the football team?” asked the deep voice of a near by, tall, muscular boy in a blue and yellow Beverly Hills High varsity jacket.
“No, we’re talking about a new transfer student, Dean McClean,” Sam explained.
“Yeah, Dean the Machine! He’s our new team captain.”
“Ummm, excuse me, this is his first day of school and the opening bell hasn’t even rung yet. So how could he possibly be the team captain already?” Sam asked.
“He walked by Coach Guile this morning, and he was so impressed by his awesome bod that he made him our new captain right on the spot. With someone like Dean on our team, I think we’re going to have an awesome season!”
“Wow and I thought David was popular,” Alex said.
“Yeah, no kidding,” Sam said, mystified.
“Oh my god, if a total hottie like Dean is going to be on the football team, we better buy season tickets!” Clover said as she started drooling at thoughts of Dean in a football uniform, Dean without the uniform in the boy’s locker room, and a number of other very perverted scenarios.
Before Alex or Sam could respond to her suggestion, the opening bell rang, and all three girls scurried off to their first period classes.
Sam was sitting in her Chemistry class, listening to Mr. Roberts drone on endlessly as he gave his lecture. Sam, who was usually attentive in class, was now seriously bored. She knew the material extremely well. She had already studied it several times over during the weekend in an attempt to clear her mind of what had happened Friday.
Despite what had happened that day between her and Mandy, today things had been surprising normal. Her classes were all over the material she predicted they would be, and her teachers all used their same, old teaching methods they always used. Nothing on the two pop-quizzes she received had surprised her, and she finished them with little to no effort. In between classes, she chatted with Clover and Alex about the typical subjects of boys, teen idols, fashion, and sales at the mall like they did every other day. Even Mandy was acting exactly like she had before last Friday, dishing out snotty remarks at her and her friends when ever she came in their vicinity, setting off brief bouts of quarreling like they had hundreds of times before.
Maybe she didn’t need to worry anymore she thought. Maybe what had happened in this very class-room last Friday was a lie. She and Mandy getting along so well without fighting must’ve been some kind of fluke. When Mandy put her hands onto Sam’s and stared into her eyes, she must’ve only been trying to trick her to make fun of her. She mustn’t have really meant what she had said about thinking she was smart, cute, and beautiful. She mustn’t have really meant it when she said she wanted to be alone with her and be closer to her than anyone else had ever been before. Maybe those wonderful feelings that Mandy made Sam feel that day weren’t true after all. The thought of her and Mandy being together like that again must have only been an illusion. Maybe everything was going back to normal now, back to the way it had been before, back to the way it was always supposed to be, and back to the way it should be.
Finally, the bell rang. It felt like a god-send to this unending boredom of Sam’s, something she was honestly not used to feeling about any of her classes. She got her things and got up from her desk. As she walked towards the door, she spotted Mandy who was picking up her books. Some how from somewhere Sam got the nerve to approach her.
“Um, hi Mandy,” she said very shyly.
Mandy looked up at her with an extremely scornful, nasty expression, one that seemed to wish death upon those who saw it. “Nice top, Sam! Did you pull it out of the dumpster behind the discount store?” she spat off with as much venom as she could muster within her.
The red-head’s face turned red with rage. “Nice teeth Mandy! They’re so yellow, I can’t believe they’re not butter!” Sam bellowed.
“Hmph!” Mandy put her nose up and marched out of the class room.
“Wow, way to go Sam! I think that’s the best Mandy slam I’ve heard from you ever,” Clover congratulated her as she put up an open palm which Sam slapped for a high-five. However, Clover grabbed a hold of Sam’s hand and brought it down to look at it when she noticed how much her fingers were trembling.
“Wow, Sam, you seem kinda intense.”
Sam finally stopped huffing from all the anger. “Yeah, I think I feel better now. I just remembered how much I hate that bitch. I think things are going to be normal now.”
“Normal?” Clover asked, puzzled both from that strange comment and Sam’s out of character curse.
“Never mind, let’s just get to English.” Sam then exited the chemistry lab with Clover, perhaps leaving part of her self behind.
To Be Continued