Warning: naughty language to follow.
I Pronounce You...Dead!
Susan did a twirl in front of the mirror, liking what she saw. A lot of glitter and sparkle. Her outfit was almost too bright to look at. But people would look, and they would marvel. Then they'd see the rest of her. Tall, blonde and slender, with luminous green eyes and a pouty plump of a mouth, Susan was certainly a sight to be admired.
There was no way Ryder would be ignoring her tonight. He'd be helpless in her arms by the end of it.
"Well? What do you think?"
She watched dark-haired, olive-skinned Aleena, sitting on the bed, for a response. Aleena was studying her crimson nails. At Susan's question she looked up and eyed Susan. Her face lit up in genuine enthusiasm. A good sign, that. This chick was grateful for what she had. For what Susan had given her.
"You look great."
Okay. That wasn't quite what Susan wanted to hear. She frowned, arching one brow. "Great? That's it?"
"No, no, I mean, you look…" The dark-haired beauty hesitated, looking almost pained. Then she sighed and said, "You look Suesational." Why the reluctance? She shouldn't be sounding that way. But under Susan's sharp gaze, Aleena smiled. Sure, it took her a while, but she did smile. Good.
And yeah, the girl had a point. Damn right Susan looked suesational. It was what every girl in school aspired to be. Sue-fucking-sational. Because Susan "Sue" Leukandi was the most popular girl in their entire fucking year. Maybe in the entire damn school. Aleena knew how lucky she was—she must know, surely. After she'd arrived in town at the end of last year, the only new kid in her class, Susan had decided to take a chance on her. She'd glimpsed potential in Aleena. Potential for her to become one of the most legendary Susettes in history.
She'd also seen how Aleena looked at Ryder that first day. And she'd known, at that moment, that she had to act. Aleena couldn't be allowed to get out of line. She couldn't be allowed free reign. She was stunning, after all, and stunning girls needed to be controlled.
So far, so good. And yet there was a problem tonight. It was a problem that would have to be rectified before they left for the party. Susan eyed Aleena's reflection, wondering what to do about that problem.
"What's up?" Aleena asked when Susan's study went on a little too long.
"Oh. I was just thinking…"
She spun to face Aleena, sauntering forward a few steps as she plastered a beaming smile on her face.
"Are you…are you really going to wear that?"
Aleena frowned, pressing her slender hands against the bodice of her black dress. It was a beautiful dress, and Aleena looked sensational. She looked…suesational. And that just wouldn't do.
"Well," Aleena began hesitantly, "I thought…"
Susan smiled and tilted her head. "It's just, you know…it's your first big party…" Her laughter tinkled as she leaned forward a little to eye the dress more closely. "You want to impress, right?"
"Well…yeah." Aleena sounded doubtful, and she was still frowning. But she also looked at Susan with entreaty, like she valued her opinion. Of course she valued Susan's opinion. Everybody did. Well, everybody except nobodies, anyway.
"How about we pick you something from my wardrobe," Susan said, all the while thinking she would have to tread carefully here. She didn't want to dress Aleena in something else suesational. And most of Susan's wardrobe was suesational, naturally. No, she had to tone it down a little. But she didn't want the chick in a potato sack. She had to look at least half-decent.
Then Susan remembered, and began to smile. Yes. She had the perfect outfit for an up-and-coming Susette.
Not long later, Aleena was studying her new appearance doubtfully in the mirror. Susan wore a smile, but she realised it was more like a smirk. She immediately worked to make it less of one. "Woo!" she cried. "You look amazing!" And Aleena did. After a fashion. This was a fancy twin set and pearls. For a moment Susan's mouth twisted as she remembered her evil mother forcing her to wear it for photographs ahead of last year's dinner dance. She'd never forgiven her mother the humiliation. At least she hadn't made her wear it to the damn dance. Susan would never have been able to live that down.
Aleena glanced at her. "You don't think I look…"
"Like I'm forty?"
Susan laughed, that tinkling laugh everyone knew. "No, no hon. You look fantastic. The guys'll be all over you." The ones that don't matter, anyway. There was such a thing as taking another person too far under your wing. Susan had never had a problem with that. She knew the limits like the back of her hand. Her attentions to her Susettes never came back to bite her. She was an expert.
Aleena didn't look happy. Susan even saw her eyeing the slinky black dress she'd been in earlier. But eventually she exhaled and slapped her hands against her beige silk-clad thighs, turning and giving Susan a smile. "Are we ready?"
"Sure are," Susan gushed, picking her way on her silver stiletto heels over to the dresser where their purses waited. She took Aleena's and handed it over. It no longer really matched her outfit—it would have looked amazing with the black satin—but it could've been worse. Susan saw that Aleena had scooped up the black dress, and frowned at it. "Can't you pick that up later?"
Aleena blinked. "Well…no. It's a special dress. It's got…sentimental value. So, yeah…I'll take it with me."
"Okay," Susan muttered, then remembered to be chirpy. She was Suesational, and that required being bubbly and full of life. "Let's go!"
"What kind of people are these?" Aleena Matheson asked as the car pulled onto the street where the party was happening. She'd only seen Aaron Rainey in the distance at school. He was the kind of guy you saw but never talked to. If you were the kind of girl Aleena was, anyway. She didn't particularly like the look of Aaron—he wasn't her type—but she had to admit there was something about him. He was…intriguing.
Then there were the others. Like Susan's ex-boyfriend, Ryder Whitt. Aleena was sure Susan would be working hard to win him back tonight. It didn't matter that he'd cheated on her with four other chicks in their class. She wouldn't let it matter, apparently.
Aleena had never been able to understand girls like that.
But then, Ryder was pretty sexy.
She hadn't been able to avoid noticing him that first day on school grounds. He sauntered around like he owned the school. Because, really, he did own it. He and Susan had been the perfect couple—King and Queen to rule over all. Until, of course, she caught him in a threesome with some of her closest friends. If they'd ever really been friends. Aleena wasn't sure Susan had friends. She just had Susettes.
"Let's just say," Susan murmured in the car, bringing Aleena back to the present, "Aaron's a bona fide sex god."
Aaron? She was surely thinking about Ryder. Aaron was a nice decoy. Still…sex god?
"Oh." Aleena blinked and turned to frown at Susan. "So that means you've—?"
"No!" Susan shrieked, making Aleena wince. "Of course not. I'm not a dirty slut."
Aleena's cheeks heated in a mixture of shame and anger. Dirty slut, huh? What was wrong with finding your true love and taking that extra step? Even if that true love turned out to be a jerk of epic proportions. Aleena stroked the black satin dress in her hands, longing to be in it instead of in this ugly twin-set. She didn't know what Susan was playing at, but she knew the chick had hidden motives. She'd known that about Susan Leukandi since the first time they'd met.
"Oh, so you've—?"
Susan had been watching her, reading her expression. Damn it! Aleena cleared her throat. "Just once. And I loved him, so…"
"I'm sorry," Susan said quickly. But she didn't sound sorry. Nor did she look it, particularly. "I mean, I loved Ryder." You still do, Aleena added for her silently. "But I'd never do…that…before marriage. Just…never."
"Fair enough," Aleena murmured.
"Girls around here just don't do that," Susan said.
Except your three ex-Susettes with your ex-boyfriend, Aleena elaborated again. She often did that around Susan, for there was so much the girl left unsaid. So much that everybody knew, and Susan wished they didn't.
Suddenly the car drew to a standstill. "All right, ladies," Susan's father called from the driver's seat. "This is your stop. Now, I shall be back here at 11:30 pm, sharp. You hear?"
"Yes, sir," Aleena said, and Susan pouted and muttered something under her breath. Aleena heard a distinctive, "Whatever," as the girl slid out onto the footpath. Aleena, left alone with Susan's creepy dad, hurriedly followed.
Susan slammed the door shut in her wake almost before she'd got completely out of the car. In fact, the door shut on her black satin dress, and the car pulled away from the curb, jerking Aleena with it. She cried out in dismay as the dress tore out of her fingers, fluttering away in the car. Would it be there by the time the car returned? Angry tears burned in Aleena's eyes. My mother gave me that dress! she wailed inwardly, but managed to keep it all inside.
"Oh, bummer!" Susan cried, and when Aleena turned to face her, she 9shrugged and beamed. "Well, no use crying over it, right? Let's go have fun. The party's rockin' already."
And she turned on her very high silver heel and left Aleena standing there at the curb, alone in her ugly-ass twin-set. Aleena felt something she hadn't felt in years: white hot rage. But nothing good ever came of that feeling. She knew that very well.
Forcing herself to a state of near-calm, she drew a deep breath and followed Susan into the party. At least her shoes were still awesome. Evil Susan hadn't robbed her of those.
It was a magic spell party. Shit, how lame.
Aleena wondered if these kids still thought they were in kindergarten. Maybe some of them were still as smart as they'd been back then.
Aleena watched from a shadowy corner as a girl had a supposed 'love spell' put on her and ended up with the sleazy spellcaster's tongue down her throat. She even seemed to like it; at least until she started literally choking. Aleena felt like choking herself—on her own vomit.
A spell was cast on a girl called Lilarin, who supposedly turned into a chicken. One without feathers, anyway. And one who didn't cluck, or do anything chickens generally did.
The genius of these people staggered Aleena. It really did.
"Your turn!" a piping voice sounded from right behind her, and her heart sank. She turned to face Susan, whose face was flushed with exertion and—damn it, the girl was thrilled with herself. "Here." She shoved a little shot glass full of magic 'elixer' in Aleena's face. Some of the toxic-looking green liquid spilled down her chin before she grabbed a proper hold. Midori. Not Aleena's idea of a good time. But she swigged it down, hoping it would numb some of the pain. Something fucking had to.
"Okay!" Susan squealed, waving a fairy wand—looked like a straw with a cardboard five-pointed star on the end, coated in gold and red glitter—"I pronounce you…Nancy Regan!"
The whole room burst into screaming laughter, and all eyes were suddenly on Aleena. She could feel them digging into her like hundreds of little spades. Her cheeks burned, and the anger surged in her again.
"Oh my god, look! It worked!"
Susan was pointing at her twin-set, somehow managing to cackle while still sounding like a squealing brainless bimbo.
The laughter in the rest of the room reached a fever pitch, and Aleena was about to scream at the top of her lungs for everyone to shut the fuck up when Susan spoke again.
"Oh, chicka, I'm just kidding! Seriously, you look hot."
And more of that white hot anger. It seemed to be turning Aleena's vision white, too. Oh, not a good sign.
"Hey, Suesational!" somebody called from across the room. A familiar male's voice. Not Aaron, but…
"Since you love this game so much," he said idly, "I think it's your turn again. Can I borrow your wand for a sec?"
Susan tittered and handed it over without hesitation. Ryder smiled as Susan fawned all over him, giggling and leaning toward him coyly. And drunkenly, too. Ryder winked at her, then glanced at Aleena.
"Love the dress," he murmured, and Aleena's face threatened to burn off.
"It's not a fucking dress, you moron," she responded, before she could stop herself. That wink, and then that smile… The guy practically dripped sleaze.
But at her insult, he just laughed. "Fair enough. I love your…whatever." And he stared at her boobs for a long moment. Her arm ached, and she realised she really wanted to punch him. But no. She'd changed since those days. Punching was out of the question.
She kept her arm firmly at her side, making do with glaring instead.
Aleena became aware of someone glaring at her. Susan.
But Susan quickly turned to face Ryder again. "Are you going to put a spell on me?"
"Yeah," he murmured huskily, and lifted a shot glass full of blue Curaçao. "Drink, and I shall cast my spell."
"You already have, Ryder," Susan giggled, and Aleena again felt the need to regurgitate her stomach contents. She swallowed and winced, still tasting the Midori on her tongue.
With nothing better to do, Aleena crossed her arms and watched Susan and Ryder. The whole while, she wrestled with her anger.
Susan practically panted up at Ryder as she raised the shot glass to her lips. Those lips were pouted, pursed, as if she hoped for a kiss. Ryder just watched her, one of his famous self-assured smiles hinting on his lips. He did have a lovely mouth. Hell, the guy was plain sexy. If you ignored his brain. And all the STIs he probably had.
Okay. Not so sexy.
Susan shot the Curaçao down and grinned stupidly up at Ryder, her teeth already stained blue. Wow, that stuff worked fast. "And…what's your magic spell?" Susan asked, slurring her words and blinking rapidly to try and keep her eyes open. She couldn't be that drunk already, could she? They'd barely been here an hour. She looked to be trying to purse her lips, as if for that kiss she so desperately wanted. But no kiss came.
Ryder's eyes lit up and he waved his magic wand. "I pronounce you…dead!"
Aleena had only just begun to frown when Susan's eyes widened, blue bubbles frothed out of her mouth and she crumpled to the floor in a beautiful, boneless heap. Aleena wanted to scream. But others did it for her. In the end she just looked at Ryder, who had turned to face her with a very different expression on his face. He looked…peaceful. And amused, somehow.
Aleena shivered. "What have you done?" she gasped.
"Do you think the world really needed another one of her?" He stepped closer to peer down at her. She truly did see laughter dancing in those eyes. A casual disdain for the life he'd just taken; for life in general, maybe. His usual leer was absent, but he practically oozed arrogance. She took an involuntary step back.
"God, yes. Couldn't stand another second of her breathing."
"But…you'll go to jail. You'll…"
"Yes. I will. I've already called the cops. So they should be here soon."
"But…what about your life?"
He laughed, and it wasn't a bitter laugh. It was…derisive. "My life wasn't ever going to last long. I'm betting I won't last long in jail either. If there's a God, anyway."
She wanted to ask him more questions, but she didn't get the chance.
"So, when I stared at you like that...you know, it's just what's expected." He did smirk then, but it wasn't sleazy. "So yeah, I couldn't blow my cover." He sighed, looking weary for the first time. "I've gotta go." He watched her for a moment, then smiled. A startlingly friendly smile. "Good luck in this shitty fucking town from hell. And maybe you can write to me in prison. I'm taking a wild guess here, but I think maybe you're the only person with anything worth hearing."
And then it was over. Aleena watched as Ryder moved past her, walking to the front door. He disappeared through it. Aleena followed instinctively, and watched from the doorway as the cops showed up and put him in handcuffs. One of the cops came to investigate—to make sure there was really a dead body, Aleena supposed—and once they saw the truth of the matter, it was all over for Ryder.
It went down in town history as the most legendary high school party ever.
Kids can be real sickos sometimes.