My burrito paused inches away from me, my mouth still open in anticipation of the burst of flavors. Alicia Rivera and Massie Block, in a head-to-head battle for the throne (aka table 18), no doubt. I sure was glad that my PC days were behind me– gone were the days of attaching status to material things.
The sophisticated matte, red shade on Massie’s lips made me wonder what happened to her Glossip Girl collection. Did she sell them on eBay? Purge them after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Or did she simply outgrow them? Did all the different flavors become too reminiscent of chapsticks for her? And more importantly, who has lips smooth enough for matte lipstick in this dry weather?
Massie’s eyes caught mine. I pulled my lips into a taut smile and gave a courteous nod, the kind you’d give someone before letting them walk in front of you.
I wasn’t paying much attention to their little argument, because, again, I had left the life of gossip in search of more spiritual satisfaction. But there were four words I couldn’t possibly ignore.
“Your daddy was bankrupt,” Alicia said, a proud smirk on her face. Massie’s perfectly painted pout fell open. Mine did, too. A quick scan of the room showed Claire and Kristen wearing similar expressions. Perhaps you don’t have to be in a clique to match.
I bit my lip; this was getting out of hand. I could hear a choir of whispers and gasps around the room, ascending and descending like waves. Each girl was clenching her jaw, raising an eyebrow in an attempt to intimidate the other. Their words challenged each other, pushing them to new limits, crossing lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Sharing secrets that were supposed to be kept. It was almost like nothing had changed.
I got up, leaving a half-eaten burrito next to Layne, and raced to stop the catastrophe that was simmering.
Kristen, like a true athlete, got there first. “Stop it girls, this is getting embarrassing,” Kristen whispered, trying to lull the anger.
“Not as embarrassing as your bank account,” Alicia retorted back, her eyes piercing through Kristen. I could feel the tension rising in the room, like mercury shooting up a thermometer, getting closer and closer to scalding waters.
“Don’t say that, it’s rude,” I said defensively. I felt physically sick. I, of all people, should know that your bank balance does not make you superior to others.
“You ripping off of another clothing line is what’s rude, my dear. I don’t need input from a loser.”
The thermometer burst. The water boiled.
“At least my father didn’t have to lie about his ethnicity. Alicia Rivers, you are just as fake as your last name so I suggest you shut up,” barked Massie.
“Make me!” Alicia shouted, her voice shaking with furious energy. She reached for her salad bowl, fingers grasping it tightly, and heaved it at Massie. Splat! A spoonful of ranch dressing hit Massie’s neck, dripping down into her fur jacket, drizzling over her hair.
“That’s it!” Massie screeched, tossing a cup of fat-free yoghurt at Alicia, missing her by a hair.
“Can you all calm down! You’re acting like two year olds!” Claire’s voice echoed over us.
“At least that’s better than being a slut!” I snapped, flinging the first spoon I could find, hurling pasta all over Claire’s jacket. That sauce is gonna leave a stain, I thought.
“You did nawt just do that.” Claire threw a handful of sushi at me. I dodged, missing all but one piece of sushi.
Kristen’s signature cackle vibrated through the mess.
“You think this is funny Kris?” Alicia shrieked, sending a plate flying towards her head.
My vision was blurred by a torrent of flying food and trays. My ears pulsed at the chaotic noise that engulfed the entire cafeteria. “Food fight!” someone cried out, and soon the entire cafeteria was caught in the mess that we created. Some started using their backpacks as shields as they made their way to the shelter behind the salad bar while others targeted them with an entire meal’s worth of calories. Spaghetti sauce stained the walls. Coke and green juice formed moats around the tables. Yells and squeals bounced off the walls. Flushing teachers tried (and failed) to calm things down.
Principle Stern’s voice crackled through the school’s speakers, silencing the room. “Good afternoon Westchester Grove Preparatory. Welcome back from winter break. I hope we can start off a good semester and year. Food fights, however, will not be tolerated. Massie Block, Kristen Gregory, Lana Lovitz, Claire Lyons, Dylan Marvil and Alicia Rivera must report to my office immediately.”